Today we took a hike through the Parque Natural Metropolitano in Panama City. This is not a zoo, it's just 600 acres of protected rainforest. For the first 30 minutes, we didn't see anything! But... all the sudden... we saw a sloth only 4 or 5 feet from us!
All the hiking and sloth excitement tuckered Anna out!


La Playa Punto Barco

Today we took my parents, visiting from CA this week, to the nearby beach. It was Anna's first time in the ocean... and she loved it!

As you can see, we found a very popular beach...

Fun with poppy!

Cruisin' the shore...

It was a fun day (except for all the crowds!)



Someone in our house has picked up some crazy fungus and has it all over her- I mean, their-toes. Now, this someone has cream from the pharmacy, but that hasn't seemed to thwart the yucky growth that I- I mean, they- have been experiencing. Carmen informed me that these fungi live in the soil, so I- I mean, that person- should always put on sandals before going out in the yard. It is a big pain, and even hurts to put on shoes! I mean, that's what they told me anyway. Would you guys pray for healing please?! Thanks...


Para llevar?

So tonight, Eric and I wanted to treat Carmen and Rafael to Pizza Hut as a thank you for spending the day watching Anna while we took care of some business at the Immigration Office in Panama City, and walked around Albrook Mall. We left at 5am and got home around 4 pm. We decided that with church at 7pm, and Anna still needing to take a nap, it was better if we got it delivered, rather than the going through the ordeal of catching a taxi and going downtown to eat at the restaurant.

Eric found the number and went into the other room to make the call. He came back a minute later and reported that we couldn't get any pizza delivered because the delivery boy was taking a lunch break. So instead, Eric had to take a taxi and pick it up himself. Now that is some awesome customer service!


Los Mortales

Today Eric, Rafael & Carmen took a truck-wagonmobile to a small village called Los Mortales. They spent the morning sharing with the people and blessing three families with large boxes of food and toiletries. The next scheduled trip is April 6th. We are all very excited about the ministry opportunities in this small town, which has no church at all.


You know you live in Panama

when you see a pair of really cute shoes for $5.99 and your first thought is "Whoa... those are expensive"

You know you live in Panama
when you have to heat up a big pot of water on the stove to give your baby a warm bath

You know you live in Panama
when 80 degrees feels cool

You know you live in Panama
when you have to get up at 1:00 am to start a load of laundry

You know you live in Panama
when you pay $2 for 40 oranges

You know you live in Panama
when a little kid's birthday party starts at 7pm and goes past midnight (on a school night no less)

You know you live in Panama
when you are excited to have lizards living in your house

You know you live in Panama
when you have to go out to the backyard and turn a knob in order to take a shower

You know you live in Panama
when you can't get a straight answer from anybody

You know you live in Panama
when there are people selling lottery tickets at every bus stop, street corner, sidewalk and store front

You know you live in Panama
when an hour late is early

You know you live in Panama
when the ceiling in your bathroom is made of styrofoam

You know you live in Panama
when you never run out of reasons why you know you live in Panama (I'll post more later)


La Cazuela Anyone?

Pastor Bertin suggested that after the team devotional on Friday, we all head to our favorite breakfast joint, La Cazuela. This place is great, very slow service, but cheap (usually the bill is under $10 for a small group!). I thought I'd document our little excursion...

First, we walk to the main street corner to catch a ride...

Pastor Bert and Anna have a little fun along the way...

Vero rushes ahead to catch a bus...

The gang's all here... oh wait, whose missing?

Eric! Poor guy all alone in the back... apparently confused by something...

I get shotgun!

Waiting, waiting, waiting for our food...

Vero (not shown) holds Anna on the La Cazuela saddle! Yee Haw!


Look Who's...

pulling herself up!

Anna is growing and changing everyday! She pulled herself to standing in her playpen a few days ago, and is talking up a storm and making all kinds of new sounds and noises. Her crawl is getting faster and her will is getting stronger. Where is the time going????


A typical day...

We're finally settling into a daily routine- and I love it!

5:45 am - Rise and Shine!
5:46 am - Take a cold shower (we don't have a water heater) Brrr....
6:00 am - Quiet Time & Eric leaves for team devotionals (which he teaches... in spanish!)
7:00 am - Anna wakes up, eats breakfast & Eric arrives back home
7:30 am - Sweep the entire house, hang the laundry from the late night load (I do one load every night when the city wate comes back on), make baby food, put away dishes, whatever needs to be done & Eric entertains Anna
8:30 am - Go on a walk while Eric gets ready for the day
9:00 am - Eric goes to the office, and we stroll by for a visit when our walk is over
10:00 am - Anna goes down for a nap & I study spanish
11:30/12:00 noon - Anna wakes up and eats lunch
12:00 noon - Eric comes home for lunch
12:30-3:00 pm - Play with Anna, visit with Carmen, go on another walk, watch Baby Einstein, etc. Study spanish if possible.
3:00 pm - Anna goes down for afternoon nap & I sweep the house again, study spanish, tidy up, and prepare Anna's dinner
4:30 pm - Anna wakes up & eats dinner
5:00 pm - Eric comes home, plays with Anna while I start fixing dinner
6:00 pm - Dinner
6:30 pm - Eric gives Anna a bath and a bottle while I clean up dinner
7:00 pm - Anna goes to sleep, Eric goes into his office to prepare and study, and I start the nightly cleaning which includes: sweeping the front porch and driveway, sweeping the side yard, sweeping and mopping the inside of the house, picking up Anna's toys, getting the dried laundry off of the line, folding clothes, and putting away clean clothes. Gathering the laundry and starting a new wash load, putting all the chairs and the stroller safely in the backyard, locking up all the doors. After I clean up, I hop on the bed, post to the blog, check my emails, maybe call my mommy, and read my Joel Rosenberg novel! Whew!
10:30 pm - Nighty night!


What's for Lunch?

I absolutely love making Anna's baby food from fresh fruits and veggies! For the first month, I made everything from scratch, no jars! But in the chaos of moving to another country, I fell back on the high convenience of jarred baby food... and was fortunate enough to find Gerber brand baby food at my local grocery store (the Panamanian brand looks WEIRD!)

Now that I'm settled in, I have returned to making homemade baby food! We have a freezer full of pureed carrots, broccoli (she loves it believe it or not), zucchini, green bell pepper and potato, squash, apples, etc.

Even more exciting, now that she is 8 months old (and has 6 teeth), we are moving away from creamy purees, and into chunkier purees and finger foods! Today for lunch Anna will have:

freshly prepared (I just peeled and cored the apples this morning) chunky steamed apple puree (aka- applesauce), low-fat cottage cheese, a few pieces of cheddar cheese and one cracker broken up- she may not eat it all, but at least there's some variety.

Most meals include at least one veggie- lunch today is a special exception as I introduce cottage cheese. Starting next week I will be preparing more exciting meals for dinner- such as "Tomato, Basil, and Parmesian sauce" over tiny pieces of pasta.

I have a great book filled with quick and easy (and nutritious!) recipes for baby from first foods-toddlers! Right now we are in the 6-9 month chapter, and it is full of great recipes.

Anna eats dinner between 4:15 and 4:45, right after her afternoon nap, which works great for me! I can prepare her dinner while she's sleeping, and begin preparing dinner for the rest of us after she is finished eating.

Yum yum yum!


I MISS . . .

My doggy!

Scarlet enjoys a day on the boat... Bass Lake, July 2005

We got Scarlet from the LA pound on February 7, 2005. We named her Scarlet, because I love the color red... and I wanted to name her Ruby, but Eric vetoed the name because of a bad association with the mean old lady named Ruby who lived next door when he was growing up... or something like that.

Anyway, Scarlet is definitely our FurBaby... pampered in every way. She is a spoiled brat, no question about it... but we love her. She doesn't like kids, or dogs, or really much of anything except eating (human food, that is, not dog food) and laying on the softest thing she can find.

We had always intended to bring Scarlet with us when we came to Panama. Unfortunately, I didn't actually find out how complicated it is to bring a dog into this country until it was too late to file all the necessary documents.So, the next time we visit the U.S. we will arrange to bring Scarlet back with us.

I miss her so much! I can't wait to scratch her cute little head and give her kisses. Mommy misses you Scar Scar!


Panama Time

Last night I went with Carmen, Vero, and some other ladies we have met, to a christian concert in downtown Chorrera. Well, actually, we went to the little stadium, we didn't actually see or hear any concert. The tickets for the concert said 6pm... so... silly us... we got there at 6pm. The only other people there were the workers, who were literally just starting to put the chairs out. We stood on the sidewalk and talked for awhile. Then Vero and I smelled fresh baked bread and we decided to go in search of the panderia. We got some bread and juice and slowly walked back to the concert. At about 7, when the chairs were finally in place, we took our seats hoping the concert would start soon. By about 7:30, the workers were finally starting to set up the instruments and microphones. By 7:45 Vero, Carmen, and I were getting VERY bored. At 8:00, we'd had enough waiting around and we jumped in a taxi and went for pizza.

This happens all the time. Nothing here starts on time. In fact, an hour late is actually really good! I have no idea what time the concert actually got underway, but we left 2 hours after the "start time". This phenomena is what we affectionately call "Panama Time". It drives me absolutely INSANE! But by the grace of God, I'm learning to just go with the flow instead of getting irritated.

In the end, Panama Time was a blessing, as Carmen, Vero and I had a great time at Leonardo's enjoying being out and having some girl time. I truly love these ladies... they are just hillarious and sincere and godly, and just bless me so much.


When I Grow Up...

I have absolutely no idea why this came to mind, but I thought I'd post it and humor you a bit. When I was growing up, I wanted to be many things. (Believe it or not, missionary was NOT one of them! Hee Hee)

"When I grow up, I want to be..."

... "a Kentucky Fried Chicken Maker" (4 years old... it's true, ask my mom)

... "a children's book illustrator" (10 years old... I even sent in a bunch of drawings to a publishing company, but surprisingly they didn't buy my work)

... "an astronomer" (11 years old... I have no idea why I wanted to be an astronomer, but my dad even bought me a used telescope and star charts)

... "an archaeologist" (12 years old... I really have no idea why- but I remember being fascinated by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)

... "an astronaut" (13 years old... I even went by myself to Huntsville, Alabama to attend Space Camp! I know, I know... what a nerd!)

... "a commercial airline pilot" (9th - 10th grade... I joined the Air Force ROTC because I was told the Air Force was the best way to become a pilot (I even wore the AF uniform to HIGH SCHOOL every Tuesday for 2 years)... but after my dad surprised me with a pseudo "flight lesson" at the local airport and I got so sick I almost puked right there in the cockpit mid-flight, I decided against the idea)

... "a veterinarian" (11th grade - freshman year of college... I even chose my school- Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo- because it was such a good animal/agriculture school... but all that came to a tragic end after my second semester of chemistry when I realized that I didn't like school all that much and didn't want to be in it for another 8 years)

... "a nurse" (freshman year of college- right after deciding not to be a vet... but once I realized that my school didn't have a nursing program, I looked for other options.)

... "a nutritionist" (end of freshman year... NO, I'm totally serious. But this only lasted about 1 semester, long enough for me to take a nutrition class and remember that I don't like to eat healthy, exercise, or bleach blond my hair like the rest of my classmates... so I scrapped that idea)

... "a science teacher" (sophomore year of college - last May... sadly this was my last resort. But it turned out to be the right choice, at least for awhile.)

... "a mommy" (Right now! I have finally grown up to be just who I am supposed to be... a stay-at-home-mom-wife-missionary-disciple-of-Christ.)

An Explanation...

In emails and posts, I have mentioned the names Rafael and Carmen. But since most of you don't know who they are, I wanted to take and minute and explain.
Carmen and Rafael are from El Salvador. They have been married for 15 years, and have lived in various places outside of El Salvador for a good part of that time. By trade Rafael is a painter, and thus they have traveled around Central and South America, & Europe as Rafael struggled to sell his paintings. Recently, they were living back near their families in El Salvador. They had come to know the Lord and were fellowshiping and serving in a Calvary Chapel.

Last October, they decided to come to Panama in hopes that people here had the means to buy Rafael's paintings. The Pastor of their church in El Salvador contacted Pastor Bertin, and put the two in touch. When Pastor Ray, Pastor Bertin, Eric and I came to Panama in November we met Rafael and Carmen for breakfast and everything just fell into place.

Rafael has been our contact here in Panama during the past few months as we all prepared to move. He has been invaluable to us thusfar, and we know that the Lord will continue to use his strengths and gifts to help build the ministry here.

When Pastor Bertin, Veronica and Eric arrived in January, Rafael and Carmen met them at the airport. At that time, they lived in a small apartment in Panama City. That week, the Lord placed it on Pastor Bert's heart to offer them a place to stay in La Chorrera, and the opportunity to serve in a brand new work. They were both thrilled.

This past Wednesday, Carmen and Rafael moved into the pink house, just one door down from Eric and me! For now, the house will also be used as the church and church offices. Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm, Eric, Bert, and Rafael will work and Carmen will answer phones and perform various secretarial duties.

It has been a great blessing these past few days to have Rafael and Carmen as neighbors. I am so thankful to the Lord for providing fellowship and friendship for us all. I feel much more at ease having someone living in the pink house, since Pastor Bertin and Veronica ended up renting a house in an adjacent neighborhood.

And, in addition to that, Carmen and Rafael absolutely adore Anna. For reasons they do not know or understand, God has not given them children, despite a strong desire to be parents. So Carmen just loves Anna and Anna is very attached to Carmen. It is so sweet watching them play together, as I know they are going to have a very special bond!

Please keep these two special people in your prayers!