Monday, June 25, 2012

1 more week!

7 more days.

168 more hours.

10080 more minutes.

And we'll be back in Georgia!

We went back in July of 2011, and I'm amazed at all life has brought in that year.

Tony and I were chatting in the car on Saturday that Panama truly feels like our home.

I'm so thankful for that.

I like getting to *visit* the US, and I'll be glad to get *home* to Panama.

For now, the focus is getting to see friends and family that we haven't seen in too long.

1 more week!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This is an Ad.

Tony had reached his breaking point.

He was not going to be denied any longer.

It was time for him to take the reins and lead this family.

After 22 months, he was done.

We WERE all going to the dentist.  Period.  No questions.

He scheduled the appointments.

We got no say in that matter.

Even though I hate the dentist.

And I don't floss.

I took Camilla and Chloe today.

Other than the light being too bright for Camilla,

the girls both did super great.

Carson and I went yesterday.  I was super nervous.  Have I mentioned yet that I hate going to the dentist?  My jaw doesn't open very wide, and it hurts to have them working in my mouth.  And, since I don't floss, it tends to be a blood bath.

Because I'm the mom, I had to see the dentist first.  Something about being a good example to Carson.  Whatever.  The dentist was great, and she even thanked me for being upfront about the fact I don't floss.  She appreciated my honesty.  I appreciated her appreciation.  Then, she looked in my mouth.  

And do you know what she said?  

Do you?  

She said my teeth and gums look "super."  Direct quotation there.  She said, "super."  And when I had my cleaning, you know what happened?  Or what didn't happen?  No blood bath.  My gums were great.  Everything was super!  I have to give full credit to the SpinBrush for that!  I really love my SpinBrush!  The dentist did say I should try flossing, too.  Whatever.

Oh.  Carson also did great at the dentist.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our Healthy Journey...

We've been continuing on with our health journey here.  Everyone is getting accustomed to our new dietary rules, and most cravings have subsided.

I began a new exercise program, and I've been super pleased with the results.  I was reading about many people who were seeing success with a program called Couch to 5K that I had to give it a try.  Each day, for 8 weeks, you go through a walk/run program to train you to be able to run longer.  I decided to skip the first week because it was too easy.  After completing the second week of the program, I ran/walked a 5K on the treadmill just to see how I did.  I managed to complete the 3.1 miles in 37.44.  I was thrilled with that time since it was my first attempt.

We've been so excited by the new exercise plan that Tony, Carson, my Dad and I decided to run a 5K while we are in the US.  Our hometown in IL has a festival each July, and it includes races on Saturday morning.  The rest of the family will be participating in the One Mile Fun Run (or mosey).  I'm hoping to get my time down to 33 by then.  I'll let you know how it goes!

I am no longer counting calories because I've eliminated almost all "unhealthy" food from my diet.  I've been pleased that the consistent exercise is proving itself valuable both in my body's shape and in the scale's number.  This morning I weighed in at...

For an 11 pound loss since I started!

I have no idea the last time I weighed that little and was healthy.  I suffered through a depression starting in 2007, and my weight was consistently in the 130s.  I have no desire to return to a weight in that range!  I am wondering if, at some point, the continued exercise will cause my weight to increase as a add muscle.  Regardless, I am completely comfortable with my weight being between 143-145.  Those numbers give me a BMI of 19.4 which is considered to be in the healthy range!!

As I've walked along this path to health, I've been most surprised by how much I've enjoyed taking control of my eating and exercising.  I love feeling better.  I love the sense of victory when I run longer or farther that I thought I could.  I love knowing that saying "no" to junk food is saying "yes" to health.  I absolutely know that my days are in God's hand, but I love being a good steward of the body He's given me for those days!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Q & A!

Chloe's Home!

Chloe got back about 12:30 last Thursday afternoon.  Tony took the day off so he could be there when she arrived so he, Coralynn, and I headed to the church to pick her up.  Camilla and Carson stayed behind so they could work on a special project for her.

They created the best welcome-home signs ever and jumped up from behind the chair to surprise greet her.  She was thrilled with their attention, and they were thrilled to have her home!  

Before we discussed her trip, we got the washing machine going because 4 days in the jungle stinks!  It only took two washes to get everything clean.

Chloe bought some jewelry from the local artisans.

Mom:  Welcome home, Chloe.
Chloe:  Hey Mom!

Mom:  Where did you go for your missions trip?
Chloe:  Parara Puru with the Embera

Mom:  Tell me about the trip there.
Chloe:  We rode on a bus for an hour, and then we got to the river.  We rode a canoe to the village.  We had to hike a few minutes to get to the village.

Mom:  Where you nervous when you got there?
Chloe:  Yes.  I was nervous about the huts breaking.

Mom:  What was your favorite part of the trip?
Chloe:  When we went to the waterfall because it was amazing.

Mom:  What was the worst part of the trip?
Chloe:  Picking up trash.

Mom:  What did you do with the people?
Chloe:  We played with the kids, and we sang songs.  And we watched videos with the generator we brought.

Mom:  What did you learn about yourself while you were there?
Chloe:  That I should be more grateful for running water.

Mom:  Do you think you are going to be a missionary when you grow up?
Chloe:  No.

Mom:  Why not?
Chloe:  Cuz, it's like scary.  Going to a place you've never been before where people don't speak the same language.  That's why I don't like moving.

**Quick note:  I received a phone call from one of the chaperones on the trip.  She called to tell me how amazingly willing Chloe was to jump in and play with the kids even though she was the only person on the trip who doesn't speak Spanish.  She may have been scared, but she certainly overcame and allowed the Lord to shine through her!**

Mom:  Is there anything else you want to share about the trip?
Chloe:  My favorite video we watched was Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

I'm just so thankful to have my Chloe home!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Praising on a Wednesday... Again!

It's been too long since I did a Weekly Blessing Wednesday so I thought today would be a perfect day to start it up again!

~Chloe is having a good time on her mission trip, and I was able to speak briefly to her!  We can't wait for her to be home, and I can't wait to hear all about it!

~Cosita is here.  Okay, getting the dog was a HUGE mistake, but we're doing our best to make the best of it.  And, Cosita was smart enough to figure out that getting Tony on her side was the only way she was going to keep living with us!

~Carson is all better!  That was quite the virus, but he seems to be have completely turned the corner!

~Camilla and Coralynn had a great time spending a week together while the big kids were at school!  It was super neat getting to watch them grow their relationship! 

~Coralynn's speech is greatly improved and the tubes are working!  She's been feeling good, and talking up a storm.  She's even cuter now than she was before!  I love getting to hear what she thinks about life, and it is great watching all 4 kids interact so much more!

~My Dad had been struggling with double vision.  After a myriad of tests ruled out something more sinister, my Dad was able to get a new kind of glasses.  They did the trick, and now he sees normally again!  I've never seen my Dad almost gitty about something!

~2 weeks and 5 days until we are back in the United States.  I have too much to do before then, but we are all so excited to see everybody SOON!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Missions Trip!

This morning Chloe left for a four-day mission trip in the interior of Panama.  She was super excited about this opportunity, but she had some nervous moments, too.  I'm sure she'd appreciate any prayers you feel led to offer!!

Chloe and some of the other girls.  
The group is 5th graders and Chloe- the only 4th grader.

The kids were told to bring certain items, and it was emphasized that they had to be able to carry their own things!

Sick Carson

Last Thursday, the kids had a half day of school.  When I picked them up at 12:30, Carson complained of having a headache.  This is not uncommon.  He's usually overly hungry, overly hot, and overly thirsty.  By the time we got home, he was super uncomfortable.  I told him to drink some water.

He guzzled down a few glasses of water and had some lunch.  By 1:30, he was in agony, and I thought he had a migraine.  He wanted to sleep so I gave him some Tylenol and put him in bed.  After a few hour nap, he woke up feeling sick to his stomach and the headache was still raging.  I was convinced he had a migraine. 

Friday morning, he woke up weak, but with no headache.  He wanted to go to school, and I assumed that his overall icky feeling was a result of the migraine.  I sent him to school thinking he would perk up when he saw his friends.

At 11:30, the school nurse called.  Carson had an upset stomach and a fever of 102.  Maybe this wasn't a migraine.  He spent the rest of the day in bed with the nausea and fever.  Saturday morning, when I returned from exercising, I found out his fever had broken.  Yay!  99.1.  I thought everything was looking up.

Chloe, Camilla and I ran to the mall and grocery store.  While we were having lunch, Tony called.  Carson had been in the restroom all morning.  We ran some more errands.  Carson ran some more to the restroom.  By the time the girls and I got home, Carson was in a lot of pain.

I asked Carson where it hurt, and he point to his lower right abdomen.  I began to wonder if we had appendicitis brewing.  I called our US pediatrician.  No answer.  I called a friend who is also a mom and asked for her opinion.  She was not sure what to do, either.  I called the US ped again.  No answer.

We made the decision to call our pediatrician here.  We have been planning on switching to another doctor, but had not made the switch.  We trust our pediatrician's medical knowledge, but her practice is a mess.  Regardless, Tony gave her a call.

She initially told us that it was nothing.  Then, she asked us to have Carson jump.  One jump, he doubled over in pain, and everyone decided he needed to go to the ER.  So, at 9pm on Saturday, Carson and Tony headed to the emergency room.

After urinalysis, bloodwork, ultrasound, iv fluids, and 3 hours, it was determined that Carson had a nasty virus that was causing his gut to be severely inflamed.  They made it home just after midnight with some medicine for Carson's stomach.

Sunday afternoon, we took Carson back to the hospital to have follow-up labwork done.  I received the results just a few minutes ago.  The labs are still outside the normal range but are better than they were on Saturday night.  We are waiting to hear from our pediatrician for the next step.  (This is where this pediatrician becomes frustrating!  I'm hoping we get in touch with her soon!)

This is certainly not how Carson wanted to end his school year, and he keeps telling me that he can't believe his missed the end-of-the-year party.  I'm again thankful to have access to good medical care!

Awards Day And End of School!

Last Wednesday, Chloe had her Awards Chapel where she was presented a certificate for honor roll for 4th quarter, and she received a certificate for being on the honor roll all school year.

Chloe has had a difficult year, but I'm beyond impressed with how well she handled it.  We owe a debt of gratitude to her teacher, Miss Spencer, who taught Chloe so much more than math and reading.  There is no question that Miss Spencer made a lasting imprint on Chloe's heart and encouraged her walk with the Lord so beautifully.  Chloe and Miss Spencer- I treasure you both!!

Friday, June 6, was the last of day of school for the year!  I am so proud of how well Chloe and Carson did.  We wondered how the transition from homeschooling would go, but they both did great!

(Carson clearly wasn't feeling right on the last day of school.  More info coming soon.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Picking another C-name!!!

Monday, we got the unexpected news that we needed to select another C-name for our family!

The kids were super excited, but Tony and I were struggling with it. Really struggling with it.

Then, we had a breakthrough of peace.

Tony remembered a trip to rural Alabama that he took last summer with his bff, Shawn.

Shawn often brings peace to our confusion.

Tony and Shawn were chatting with Shawn's dad- Mr. E.- about a similiar situation, and Mr. E. had wise words to share.

Little did we know, just 12 months later, those words would guide us:

"Shawn," Mr. E. said. "Every boy needs a puppy. And a girl might like one, too."

With truth like that guiding us, how could we go wrong?

So, it's our pleasure to introduce to the newest baby girl in our family...

Cosita Lauryn

(Cosita is Spanish for "little thing," and Chloe just liked "Lauryn.")

Trying to convince Cosita to come out of the carrier.

Cosita perfectly happy in the back corner of the crate.

Attempting to bribe her out with food. (Pedigree, of course!)

Giving her some space from the other side of the sliding glass door.


Playing with Chloe.

Every Chloe needs a puppy!

As cute as Cosita is, I think Coralynn calling for the puppy is even cuter!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Money Monday!!

It's been a while since I've posted a Money Monday blog, so I thought I would share some updates.

Really, this post only needs to be one word to clearly explain April and May's financial situation. 


April and May were some ugly months.

Coralynn had multiple doctor's appointments that required hours of driving time.  And, the doctor's office hours are from 4-7 pm.  Between the gas to get to the appointments, the cost of the visits, and having too many meals out, our budget took a serious hit.

Then, there was the cost of the surgery itself.

And of course, Carson had soccer games which required more gasoline.  Camilla had dance which required lesson fees, and Chloe seemed to need one of everything to get through life.

At the same time, we were completely revamping our dietary guidelines even further than my last detailed explanation.  This caused two financial headaches.  First, running into a fast food restaurant after a doctor's appointment or a soccer game became far more difficult and costly because of their limited selections that meet our needs.  Secondly, grocery shopping for our new diet had a learning curve I didn't expect, (and still haven't mastered).

In all, our grocery and dining budgets were at all-time highs during May and June.  We were chatting with friends yesterday, and I realized that the money I spent on groceries for May would have lasted us 15 weeks in Georgia.  15 WEEKS.  That makes me nauseous.

So, needless to say, the house-savings plan took quite a hit to help us get through the months.  We are still at a good place, but, oh, what might have been!!

I'm repurposing myself to financial responsilibility.  I'm going to attempt to hunker down in June, but that won't be easy.  We leave for the United States on July 2, so there is great temptation to buy one of everything that we might need and have it shipped to a friend's house in the States for us to pick up when we get there.  I'm normally fairly reasonable in seperating wants from needs, but these once a year trips to the States challenge my reasonableness.  I've already indulged a bit, but the goal is to stop.  Now.   Before the spending goes too far.

So, anybody want to join me in a Summer Spending Slimdown?? 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Graduation Saturday!!

The Graduates proceeding into the Sanctuary!

Miss Williams sharing her opening thoughts.

Camilla singing the Peanut Butter sandwich song.

Camilla's sweet friend, E!

Camilla's other sweet friend, E!

Camilla with Mr. Bose, the Director, receiving her diploma! 

Camilla and her diploma!

Camilla and Miss Williams- we thank God for both of these sweet ladies!!

So proud of Camilla!

Camilla Rose
Kindergarten Graduation
June 2, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Last Day- K5 Edition

This is Camilla preparing to leave for her first day of Kindergarten back on August 4.

Tomorrow, she will have her offical graduation ceremony.

It's hard for me to believe.

In some ways, August 4th seems like yesterday.

In other ways, it feels like a lifetime ago.

Congratulations, Camilla!

I'm so proud of you!

Camilla on her last day of K5- June 1, 2012