we're off!

Please pray for us!  We leave tomorrow at 4:30am.  We'll catch a ride to the airport, a plane from Panama City to David, a bus from David to Paso Canoas, where we'll cross into Costa Rica (in hopefully no more than a few hours) and then we'll catch another bus to Golfito.  From there, we'll take a short water taxi across the bay to the small beach rental house we've reserved.  Hopefully once we get there, we'll be able to settle in and relax for a few days before returning to Panama on Thursday with 90 more days on our visas!  Phew!

My Latest Attempt...

I decided to hold off on my vector people until I have been able to practice doing simpler images.  So here's my next attempt at vector graphics.  I call it "Cottage Seasons"... that's all I can come up with right now 'cause it's 4 AM!


the great dilemma...

What to pack!?  We leave early Monday morning for Costa Rica.  We're taking a small commuter plane from Panama City, and they have a baggage weight limit of 25 pounds per passenger.   Anytime we go anywhere, I ALWAYS pack too much stuff.  But with a toddler, I feel like there's so much we need!  But this trip, we have to go light because once we get off the plane we have to take a bus to the border, cross the border on foot with all our stuff, and take another bus to Golfito where we are staying.  Unfortunately, we have to take the pack-n-play or Anna won't have anywhere to sleep!  So here's my packing list so far:

-baithing suits
-3 days of clothes
-sweatshirts (it gets cool in CR at night)
-2 laptops
-toys for Anna

I'm SURE I'll remember some more things!  How am I supposed to fit all of this stuff?  We can't leave any of it behind!  (My laptop is definitely not optional, lol).  Arg.  Any packing/traveling suggestions to keep it light and simple this time around?  My husband has already warned me that I won't be packing like I usually do.


when I grow up...

(this is a post orginally from March 2, 2008 on our family blog... but I am feeling very uncreative and thought I would recycle it!)

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


a day in the life of Anna...

"Ooohh a camera!"
"Hmm... there's still 4 toys actually left in the toybin... We can't have that!"
"We're on the move toys..."
"Don't mind me, I'm just leaving my really neato house"
"What are you looking at?"
"I love you Scarlet... I give you kissies"


A Mommy Moment

Isn't it amazing how, as a mom, the small, seemingly insignificant little things bring so much joy into our lives? Today I was in the shower with Anna (we don't have a bathtub) and her hair was full of shampoo. Normally I have to use a cup, fill it with water, and gently pour it over her head to rinse her hair. (Keep in mind we don't have a water heater, so we are talking about cold water here!) But today she leaned back and let the water from the shower run over her head and face. I was utterly delighted by this act of bravery! I chuckled to myself later when I thought about how much joy I received from that one little moment. It's good to be a mommy.


so bad but so good

Our brains hurt from trying to figure out all the details of this trip! (read previous post) So tonight, we're going to watch "The Matrix part II" (we have a very limited selection of movies to watch people!) eat brownies (yummmm I can smell them in the oven as I type this) and vanilla ice cream! (Well, it's not like the vanilla ice cream back home... the stuff here is very, well, hmm... I'm not even sure how to describe it... let's just say "different". But when you don't have other options, it starts to taste pretty good! *DING*... yay! Brownies are done... gotta go!


Some aspects of life here are truly pure and simple. We buy our fruits and veggies from open-air, outdoor markets. I hang our clothes on lines to air dry in the sun. We don't have a car. My day is fairly quiet... busy... but uneventful if that makes sense.

But some things about living here are VERY complicated. The most complicated aspect so far is our visas. We need to apply for Missionary Visas, but currently aren't able to (for a variety of reasons I won't bore you with). So while we work on that, we still have temporary tourist visas... and they are only good for 90 days at a time. We moved here last January, and in April had to go to Costa Rica for three nights and come back into Panama to get new tourist visas. Then in July we were in America. Now it's nearly November and it's time to go!

Eric and I have been going back and forth, back and forth, trying to figure out a way to leave the country with spending too much money or too many hours traveling (it's so hard with a toddler, you know?!) We've contemplated the idea of flying to San Jose, Costa Rica... or Miami, or even Peru. We've discussed the various ways of getting up to the border of Panama and Costa Rica and just enduring the border crossing on foot. We've had about 10 different plans in the past week. One of which called for Eric to leave this week and leave us here alone, and the for us all to make another trip in a few weeks. ick.

But as it turns out, I think we have a good plan figured out. We are going to leave on Monday and fly from Panama City to David (the northern most airport in Panama). From David airport we will take a taxi to the bus terminal. We will take a bus to the border (about an hour). Then we will brave the border crossing and pray for God's mercy! We will then hop on another bus for an hour and a half to the coastal town of Golfito. We found a beach house rental online for very inexpensive and the place even has wireless internet (can I get a Hallelujah?) We will stay 3 or 4 nights and then do the same routine all the way back home.

Complicated isn't it? I just wish we could stay home and not have to deal with all this visa stuff! Too bad that's illegal. Anyways, just wanted to share the saga with you... I figured since I've been losing sleep over it, that I would share.


FINAL iguana update...

Well, hopefully you'll be happy to hear that we set the iguana free! After the guys found it and brought it back, they stuck it back in the bucket and our dalmation, Dewey, just sat there and barked at it ALL DAY. So when Eric got home that evening, and nobody came over to cook the poor thing, I demanded that we set it free. I did not want to continue to torture the little guy for no reason. So we all went on a walk down to the nearest area of dense vegetation and let it go. I am slightly disappointed that I won't be trying iguana meat (yet) but more happy for the little guy... he was so cute!


What's for dinner you ask?

see for yourself... No. I'm not joking.
As I sit here comfy in my room, this poor, doomed iguana sleeps in a yellow bucket in the front yard. He has no idea this is his last night on earth. I seriously feel really bad. BUT... they (some local men) caught this wild iguana and are eager to cook it for us. It's not an uncommon meal here, so what can I say? Adios Iguana.

Just moments ago the iguana escaped from the bucket and ran through the backyard and disappeared into the vegetation.

The Good News: No iguana for dinner.
The Bad News: There's an iguana running free outside of my house.

Nevermind, they just found him and brought him back. ARG.

I almost didn't make it...

without internet all day! For whatever reason ( because it's Panama...) our internet has been down since last night! I didn't realize how CRAZY I would be without it... until I didn't have it! I literally felt like I was losing my mind! The internet is my connection with the outside world, and I really couldn't believe how helpless and isolated I felt without it... even for just a few hours. Pathetic, huh?
So anyways, I'm back on as you can see... at least for now.


an answered prayer...

I recently began praying that the Lord would provide someone to come and teach me spanish every week at my house. I know that I need to learn the language, but being home with Anna all day doesn't permit me the luxury of being out with the people and practicing spanish. We've been here 9 months now, and it never occured to me to pray for this. But a few weeks ago I began asking the Lord, and you'll never guess what happened last Sunday?

Isn't that just so like our God? He knows what we need, and I'm sure it delights Him so much to hear us pray for just those things... knowing that He is going to provide and be glorified! Anyways, one of the moms at church, who is a teacher and speaks fluent english, asked if she could come every Wednesday evening before service to spend an hour teaching me spanish! YAY!!!

We had our first session last night, and it was awesome! She is going to draft a plan for me, with goals, and I have homework! :( I am so excited that she wants to help me, and I just know this will turn it around for me! Thanks Jesus!


have you ever wondered?

how to get rid of the blogger bar that runs across the top of your blog? It wouldn't be so bad if you could make it any color you wanted... but they only give you four choices! So instead, I opted to take it off altogether! I asked a friend how she did it, and got a simple and easy answer!!!

To do it, you'll need to go into your blogger dashboard, click on "Layout" and then open the "Edit HTML" section. Find this part of the code... very close to the top: (yours will have different info than mine, obviously)

Blogger Template Style
Name: Mommy Chronicles
Designer: Lindsey Tharaldson (based off Douglas Bowman- Minima)
URL: http://www.mamaneedstoblog.blogspot.com
Date: September 2008
----------------------------------------------- */

Then right under the lower dashed line, add this snipet of code:
#navbar-iframe{display: none !important;}

So it will now look like:
Blogger Template Style
Name: Mommy Chronicles
Designer: Lindsey Tharaldson (based off Douglas Bowman- Minima)
URL: http://www.mamaneedstoblog.blogspot.com
Date: September 2008
----------------------------------------------- */
#navbar-iframe{display: none !important;}

Then hit SAVE!

***If you have a horizontal navigation bar, it's going to throw off your alignment. So if that is the case, you will need to go back into your code and find this (near the bottom):

/* topnavigation
#topnavigation {
font: bold 10px normal normal 162% Georgia, Times, serif;
position: absolute;
top: 181px;
width: 895px;
margin: 0 0 0 5px;
padding: 0px 0px; /* duplicate the tab size */
text-align: center;
display: block;

You will need to adjust the number that is highlighted in red. A lower number will make it closer to the top of the page... just keep changing the number and hitting the Preview button. Once the horizontal nav bar is lined up again, hit SAVE.

That's It!!!


isn't this just so like a man?

This is what I found when I stepped out the front door just a few minutes ago:
Me: "Honey, why is there dog food all around the bowl?"

Hubby: "Well, the bag was almost empty and I was trying to finish it off. I guess it didn't all fit in the bowl."

Me: "Why didn't you just save it for tomorrow?"

Hubby: "I wanted to make room for the new bag of food."

Me: (very confused)... (long pause)... "I gotta get my camera."


What is normal?

Friday, Eric went to the city dump to pass out sandwiches to the men, women, and children who live there. Yes... I said the dump. As he left for the outing, I was thinking how different... vastly different... our lives are now than just a year ago.

I guess "normal" is completely relative. Normal used to be visits with my parents, shopping trips to Target, Sunday mornings at church, Thursday morning bible study, days off that were truly days off, etc. Life was normal. I guess what I mean by that, is life was comfortable, familiar, routine.

Life here is definitely becoming more "normal". The culture, the language, the frequent outings to villages comprised of metal shanties and thatched huts & a 24/7 ministry are all becoming comfortable, familiar and routine. I'm getting used to be stared at wherever we go, to not understanding the conversations being had all around me, & even to not getting see my family.

I've longed for "normalcy" the entire time we've been here. But recently the Lord is showing me that normal is wherever He has me... and whatever He has me doing. I guess "normal" is a decision... at least it is for me. I have to choose to accept this life as normal, or I'll go nuts longing for what used to be comfortable, familiar and routine.


A weekend of Awards!!!

I can not even tell you how excited I am to receive these fun blog awards! And this means I get to give some out, which I'm even more excited about!

First, from the beautiful Jade at Momma Wannabe, I received this lovely Uber Amazing Blog Award for my site design! Muchas Gracias Jade!

In return, I'd like to give this blog award out to Reagan at The Adventures of Baby Boy Martin for her amazing blog design which she did herself after recently learning blog design! Great Job!

I also received this I Love Your Blog award from both Miranda at Keeper of the Cheerios and Suzanna at Firefly-Shop! Thank you girls!!! I am so honored!

The best part about receiving this award, is that I am supposed to present it to the 7 blogs I love! This is sooooo hard because I have about 50 that I love, but I wanted to give this award to certain bloggers for different reasons:

1. Brianna at Just Showing Up - she introduced me to the bloggosphere, and she blogs about her life and learning how to be the mom of 4 kids under 5, 2 of whom are adopted from Ethiopia.

2. Sarah at The Eatons In Peru - she inspires me by sharing about her life on the mission field in Peru. They are getting close to opening an orphanage that they have been working on for nearly 2 years (and much longer in theory).

3. Paige at Fun With The Turners - she's funny and sweet and very due any day now with boy #2 had baby boy Luke William literally while I was typing this! Congrats Paigy! Her blog just makes me smile!

4. Kate at Just Another Day In Paradise- she blogs about life and things that I find important, interesting and relateable. AND, she's always got some comment lovin for me!

5. Little Birdie Secrets- okay i don't know this lady or ladies, but they have an incredible blog filled with crafty projects and I visit frequently to get inspired!

6. Lauren at Restored316Designs- not only is this girl incredibly talented, she blogs about families who need prayer... and she just has a caring and compassionate heart!

7. Lindsey at A Kindred Spirit's Thoughts - she blogs about all kinds of stuff, including her adorable baby girl. It's a fun read!



So I'm getting into vector graphic design... and here is my first attempt at a human. Why is this so much more difficult than a cupcake or a kitty cat? This girl is a good start, and I'm not frustrated quite yet, but as you can clearly see, she has NO EXPRESSION. It's like starring at a... well... a drawing. I want her to be alive and have personality, expression, emotion. But I haven't the first clue how to do it. I'm not an artist. I'm just a mom with a hobby. Any suggestions?


I'm blogging this right now because I'm sad and I need to get it out somehow (why does that make us feel better I wonder?)

Anyways, my husband has to leave me and Anna and go to Costa Rica for three days & nights. His Panamanian visa is expiring and he is required to leave the country (Anna and I have until Nov.20th)

We all went to Costa Rica in April to renew our visas, and thought we wouldn't have to do it again. But unfortunately we still aren't able to apply for our missionary visas, and thus, we have to leave the country yet again.

So Eric will leave next week sometime on a midnight bus and be back 3 days later. I know it's not a long time, but I hate being without him, and I hate being alone and I have a very hard time sleeping when he's not here.

I keep telling myself that, not only is my God a big God who will of course protect us within His will, but there are thick iron bars on every window and door of our house... that's got to be helpful, right?

Still, I'm sad and a little fearful (okay a lot). And now I want to eat cookies.

schedule, sweet schedule

It's 11:35am, Anna just finished lunch and is in her crib for a nap. I'm eating my lunch now, in the peace and quiet of my new "craft area" and playing on my computer. I was just sitting here thinking how thankful I am for learning about the Babywise schedule when Anna was born. We know it's controversial, but it sure has worked for us... and we continue even still, at 15 months, to keep her to a schedule. I love it! She knows what her day looks like. I know what the day looks like. And I always eat my lunch in peace because I know exactly when Anna will be napping. It's a beautiful thing!


My All Time Favorite

This one song has ministered to me more than ANY other song over the years. I first heard it about 6 years ago in college. I was single and seeking to serve the Lord... and decided to spend 3 months living in the Ukraine as a short-term missionary. Now even more so... after marriage, and a baby, and a big move to Central America to serve the Lord... this song means so much to me... and reminds me why I'm here... especially when I have rough days!


ummm... is that a CENTIPEDE???

IN MY HOUSE???So in case you don't know, centipedes are poisonous, and are easily differentiated from millipedes, which are nasty... but harmless. Centipedes have only one pair of legs extending from each body segment, where as millipedes have two pairs of legs extending from each body segement.

We have seen many millipedes crawling across our floors over the past 8 months. I am always grossed out, but not worried. But last night I spotted this crawling next to my bed... and to my horror I discovered only ONE pair of legs... blue legs I might add... and a red head... and it was about 5 inches long... and in my bedroom...

Amazingly, I still slept fine. Thank you Jesus.

My Husband Rocks!

In a period of 2 hours yesterday, my husband built this huge (8 feet long!) work table for me! It has a really thick and sturdy top and it is about 35" high... perfect height to stand and work (which will save my back when I'm cutting & ironing fabric!). He also ran to the store after he was done to buy me a drafting chair because standard office chairs aren't high enough for my table. He's going to build the shelving later in the week, and a small stool for me to put my sewing machine pedal on! OOOOOHHHH I LOVE THAT MAN!



the water. was on. all day.

Today was the longest the city water has ever been on in one stretch during the day since we moved here. I took 4 showers just to enjoy the sensation of actually getting clean & getting all the shampoo out of my hair. just awesome.


the before...

Tomorrow is the day! My hubby is leaving first thing in the morning to go to the little hardware store, Comasa, to buy wood to build my worktable. It's going to be 8 feet long and 28" deep! Later in the week he is going to install shelving all the way up the little cove area. Here is my official craft area "before"...

And here are some baskets I found at El Machetazo which I will fill with various craft supplies and sewing notions!

I'm sooooo excited to get started! I am going to sew new curtains for our windows and make a table skirt from the same fabric to go all the way around my table (at least that's my plan). I also bought a bulletin board which I will cover with fabric and put on the wall! EEEKKK! I can hardly contain myself (can you tell?)


starting your own WAHM business... ever thought about it?

It's so easy to get started selling your bows, personalized baby clothes, jewelry, whatever it is that you make! Here's how!

Step 1: Select a hosting provider. These companies provide you with a website complete with shopping categories, shopping carts, e-commerce solutions, etc. Each company provides similar services... I am most familiar with Pappashop, and know that they offer a site for as little as $10 per month. Providers: Pappashop, MerchantMoms, ShoppePro, Designer218, EcoChic Hosting. (I recommend Pappashop because I have worked with their company before and they are wonderful!)

Step 2: Find a Domain. (www. yourstorename .com) When regestering your business with your selected hosting provider, they will offer to register your domain for you. You'll need to think of a name that is not already taken, and the registration fee for a year is about $10. (to search for a domain that's available you can go to http://www.domain.com/- but I recommend actually registering your domain with your new hosting provider... makes everything easier!)

Step 3: Dress up your site with a gorgeous web template. This is the funnest part! Just check out these adorable sites from Restored316Designs! You simply order your design, and Lauren will customize everything to create a gorgeous store front for your new business!

Step 4: Set up your store! Your hosting provider will give you all the instructions to add items to your store, set up the shopping cart, and begin selling your handicrafts!

Step 5: Tell everyone you know & start selling!

It's so easy, fun & inexpensive to begin your own WAHM business! And you can always email me if you have additional questions, I'd love to help you get started. mommychroniclesblog (at) hotmail (.com)


cabin fever

I don't get out.

Most days not even to take a walk. It's the wet season here in the tropics of Panama... and lately it's been raining all day. And when it rains, there is always thunder & lightning... and hits down hard and close... a local was even killed by it recently about a mile from here! So I'm also paranoid now.

We don't have a car. There is a ministry vehicle, but we don't have access to it at will. It's always being used in one way or another... and the fiesta buses just aren't safe. So we don't go anywhere.

I'm just going a little koo-koo in this tiny cement house all day. My only outing is to the grocery store- which is a chore- not fun. My husband is out all the time doing ministry stuff... and for the most part, I love being at home. But once in awhile the walls feel as though they're going to close in on me completely.

Ug. It's hard, on days like this, not to have a pity party and long for my "old life" (my Egypt) when we had 2 cars, and money to spend, and I could go the JoAnn's fabric store any time I wanted... or Target... or Cold Stone's!

So instead, I blog.

quick & yummy

Here is a quick and simple dinner that I make when I'm short on both time and ingredients. I learned part of this from a church friend back home, and it's been in the recipe notebook ever since! It's not the healthiest or lowest calorie/fat thing to make, but once in awhile it hits the spot.

Fried Chicken Filet with Lime, Peruvian Garlic Rice & A Veggie


*boneless, skinless chicken (as much as you need to feed the family)
*italian seasoned bread crumbs
*limes (about 1 for every 1-2 people)
*oil (I use olive oil to make this a little healthier)
*white or brown rice
*6 to 12 garlic cloves
*a green vegetable of some sort (we usually go with raw bell peppers)

-Filet each chicken breast in half (so you have two thin pieces)
-Crack a few eggs and whip with a fork
-Coat each chicken filet in the egg mixture
-Lay the filet on a plate of bread crumbs until both sides are evenly covered
-Meanwhile, heat up a skillet of oil on medium heat
-Once hot (flecks of water should sizzle and pop) add the filets of chicken to the oil
-Turn a few times and remove when cooked through
-Chop a lime into wedges... and put a few on each plate
-Before eating... squeeze lime onto the chicken! YUM!

-For every 1 cup dried rice, mince 6 medium garlic cloves
-In a skillet, heat a Tbsp or 2 of butter and then saute minced garlic
-Once the garlic is golden brown, add the dried rice to the skillet &
toast rice with butter and garlic for a few minutes
-Add water (2 cups water for every 1 cup dried rice)
-Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer until steamed
(optional- if using brown rice, add a chicken bouillon cube to the water)

We are in the habit of eating all of our vegetables raw, to preserve the nutrients... but of course, fix a veggie or salad as you normally would.

Then go on a nice long walk to work off the fried chicken. :)


Anna's Words...

... in order of appearance...

1. tickle (sounds like tick-a)

2. dog (sounds like d-uh)

3. uh-oh

4. good girl (sounds like guh-gil)
(this is in reference to Scarlet by the way)

5. no (this is my new favorite... yeah good times)

6. thank you (sounds like tay-tuh)

Notice any important missing words... like, I don't know, MAMA for example???


it's happening...

it's not going to be a big, beautiful room like the Pottery Barn space shown below, but my husband is going to build me a "craft area"! We rearranged the furniture in our bedroom and created room for a 6 foot long work table. He's also going to build shelves to hang on the walls so I can store all of my crafting supplies right there within reach. It's not ideal to turn part of our bedroom into a work area, but I just desperately need a place to be creative or I'm going to burst! And since we spend very little time in our actual bedroom, it won't be too big of a deal to lose a portion of it to my new craft space. Hey, my husband has the whole front bedroom as his office, so shouldn't I get a little place of my own? Well, that's what I'm telling myself anyway. So construction begins soon... and you better believe I'll be posting photos! I'm so excited and it will be done just in time to begin sewing Christmas gifts! Yay!