Last night our dear friend Gloria went to be with the Lord, after a long battle with cancer. She leaves behind a husband, Andres, and two small children, Hillary and Andres. Gloria was a wonderful person, and a beautiful addition to our small church family here in Panama. She will be deeply missed. We take comfort in knowing that she is now healed of her cancer, and resting in the arms of Christ. But please pray for her husband and her children, who have a long road of healing ahead as well.

Update: I just spoke with Pastor Bert, and he let me know that Gloria's husband, Andres, is amazed by the peace he has in his heart. He is confident that the Lord will carry them through this, and his eyes are focused on Christ! Praise the Lord!



Two years ago I felt a tiny crack in my filling. I went to the dentist. I asked him to fix it. He said "Nah, it's fine."

Hmmmm..... guess who now needs a root canal because of a crack in the filling???? ARG.
Wish me luck, I go in tomorrow.


11:23 p.m.

That's what time it is right now. I am tired. I want to sleep. But this is Panama.

And right now, there is a 50 person marching band and parade going on right in front of my house. They are marching around the neighborhood over and over banging their drums and tooting their horns and setting off fireworks.

Is it a holiday? Probably. There are millions of them here, seems like once or twice a week. But that doesn't really matter. This kind of thing is normal... happens all the time. So as annoying as a midnight marching band and firework brigade is... we're not surprised. Not in the least!

Buenas Noches!


Baby #2 Update

I had my first official prenatal visit at Hospital Punta Pacifica today. We drove over an hour to meet with a highly recommended doctor. She was wonderful! The hospital is associated with Johns Hopkins, and is new and state of the art right on the water in Panama City. The Doctor gave me a thorough examination and our first sonogram! The baby is measuring 3.5cm right now, with an estimated due date of October 14th. We were told that everything appears wonderful and we'll schedule another appointment in a month. It is such a relief to have found a facility and a doctor that make me feel right at home. Now if only this darn morning all-day sickness would just go away...


Four Generations

I don't know why I didn't post this earlier, but this is a photo taken in mid-February during our visit to see GGma. Anna and I were in the states for three weeks, and the girls in my family spent the morning visiting with Grandma.

I love this photo because it subtly reveals little truths that only we know. For instance, it's obvious that my sister hates having her picture taken (not). My mom is making the face she makes in all photos... and we're just not sure why. Anna isn't cooperating so I had to tickle her- observe the laughing. My eyes disappear as usual in my round face. And as for Grandma, she's not even sure why she's smiling. Oh yes, I love this photo.


My Thoughts on Anna Going to School

I never anticipated that I would send my child anywhere during the day away from me. I "retired" from public school teaching to be a stay-at-home-mom (despite the financial hardship) because I felt so strongly about being home raising my child and being the main figure in her life. My husband and I have very strong, conservative values, and I do believe that for our family, it is best for me to be home.

But being here in Panama has put a little different spin on things. Anna and I don't have the opportunity to go the park, meet others for play-dates, or go do fun activities together like we would if we were in the States. We have no car, and the rainy season puts us in the house most of the year. We live in a little cement house, and most days, Anna is bouncing off the walls. In the past year, she has become such a social, animated and lively little girl with an undeniable personality all her own.

When this little school opened up 4 houses down from us, I gave it little thought. But after talking with my mom (who always has the pearls of wisdom!) I realized that this would be a great chance for Anna to get a change of scenery and have the opportunity to play with other kids, different toys, and learn outside of our little house. After giving it some prayer and thought, we decided to go for it.

It is now the third day of school, and we are so pleased with our decision. It is only 3 hours in the morning, so I still feel like we have most of the day together. The teachers, who thankfully speak english, are so impressed by the ease at which she has taken to the school and the other kids. We have also requested that they only speak to her in spanish, and they say that she seems to understand basic directions.

I have so far enjoyed having the time alone. I have had longer times with the Lord each morning, cleaned and refreshed myself. Her pick-up time is 11am, and by about 10:30 I'm just twiddling my thumbs waiting to go get her! Yesterday I couldn't stand it and I went a few minutes early :)

I have such peace with this situation, and am so incredibly thankful that the Lord has given both of us this opportunity. I can tell Anna is having a blast, and I am getting to slow down a bit... which I need so desperately right now as I'm still in the throngs of morning sickness (that lasts all day!)

So... yay for school!

Giving Blood

In the states, we have a blood bank. If you're in the hospital and you need a blood transfusion, the doctor will order it from the stores already gathered from volunteers (Eric and I always give blood when we have the chance!)

But here in Panama, if you are in need of blood, you must personally find people who have the same blood type as you, and recruit them to come to the hospital that you are in, and donate directly for you.

Eric just left, with a few other people, for a hospital in Panama City where our good friend Gloria is undergoing a variety of procedures due to cancer. Her prognosis is not good, and we are lifting her up in prayer daily. She has a husband, and two children- ages 10 and 6.

Her blood type is O+, which thankfully is a fairly common. Eric has this type, as well as several others who were in church this past Sunday when Gloria's husband, Andres, got up to ask for volunteers. This is the second time that Eric has given blood... he did the same a few months back for another lady at church who was having surgery.

There is so much about the U.S. that we take for granted until we experience life without. The health care here in Panama is actually pretty modern compared to so much of the world, and for that I am truly thankful.

Please keep Gloria in her prayers as she battles for her life. Our God is much bigger than cancer!


She's Off!

The first day of school...
We found all the supplies on the list!


Shake Your Booty!

Beware the background noise... there was construction going on next door!


My Baby is Starting SCHOOL!

Monday Anna starts her first day of school. A bilingual academy just opened down the street for children ages 1-5, and Anna is enrolled. Students are assigned to classrooms based on age, and we must provide a long list of supplies and she even has to wear a little uniform! In her age group, the kids will spend time doing art, games, learning, and outside playtime in the great playground they have set up. Anna has become so social in the past few months, and we are thrilled to finally have an place to take her where she can interact with other kids her own age. She will go Monday-Friday from 8am-11am, and I think she's going to be in heaven. (I might cry, but I'm pretty sure she won't!) So stay tuned for first day of school pictures!!!



Okay, along with this yucky all-day-sickness, I am craving only very select foods. ONLY these foods sound even remotely edible, and I want them RIGHT NOW!!!

1. Pickles (vinegar really... so pickles, cabbage in vinegar, etc.)
2. Burrito (a real, Mexican burrito that I can't get here!!! ARG!)
3. Fishy Crackers. (Don't have any, but I need them now!!!)
4. Guacamole. (Also can't get here- these avocados are WEIRD)
5. Salad of any kind (*tears*)

I may just have to hop a plane home.

The Orginal Backnobber II

About two years into my college routine, I started developing knots in my back between my shoulder blades. Hours and hours bent over lab tables and microscopes and textbooks will do that I guess! I discovered early on that I had trigger points, that when pressed cause radiating pain down my arms and even legs! A few months ago, I ordered this neato Backnobber from a website- a purchase out of sheer desperation... as often the pain is so intense it prevents me from sleeping. I decided to post a photo of my little contraption, because I am just so pleased with it (and I thought you'd get a kick out of it)! It hangs right next to my desk, and I use it often!!! It really does wonders and brings immediate relief... finally!!

Bottom-line: Don't knock the Backnobber!


"Look at my toe!"

You can't tell from the picture, but Anna's big toenail is just about off. I snapped this photo while she was showing us her "owie". She seemed quite proud that her big, white toenail hanging by a thread all day.


Things I just can't deal with right now!

{Due to my horrendous morning sickness all-day sickness}

1. Poopy diapers
2. Poopy diapers
3. Cooking
4. Eating
5. Cleaning
6. Reading
7. Smiling
8. Acting happy
9. Trying to be in a good mood
10. Poopy Diapers

I can only pray this ends quickly! (I'm pretty sure Eric's praying for that as well, lol)


Our big girl!

I'm nearly in tears writing this (must be the preggo hormones) because I can't believe my little baby girl is sitting at her very own table coloring! We knew it was time because she always wants to sit at the kitchen table to color... so today we did it. We spent the entire day searching the mall for a plastic table and chairs, and FINALLY found one old dusty box at El Machetazo! (What is with this country!?) Anywho, we also found this great rug for $7 at Conway, and I'm just delighed. Anna is thrilled of course, and is happily coloring away as I type!


When it rains, it pours...

Two weeks ago Anna needed stitches. Then Eric was very sick for a few days. Then a few days ago, we noticed Anna's big toenail was black. Yesterday I was so nauseous I stayed in bed all day. Today my neck is out. Again. And Anna's toenail is falling off I think. Oh fun times at the Tharaldson place. (Oh yeah, and did I mention the unbearable heat and humidity? I guess that's just a given...)


My Latest Craving...

Is a big, fluffy, green salad (okay a little crispy chicken and ranch dressing on top wouldn't hurt). I guess green lettuce doesn't grow down here in this humid, tropical weather- there are no salads here. And I would just about give my right arm to have a BJ's salad right now. I almost teared up last night when I was feeling nauseous and yucky, and I knew I couldn't have a crisp, cold salad. So for all of you people back in the states.... eat a salad... and think of me!