Monday, June 24, 2013

Ruby Lous for Ruby Jane

1-DSC00553-001

I’m not sure when it all started. 

Maybe it was in 2012 when I read Ani Taylor’s winning essay from The Nie Nie Dialogue’s Motherhood Essay Contest.  I was pregnant at the time, expecting our first son.  I’ve never been able to forget Ani’s little Ruby Jane who passed away at almost 7 months old.  I remember trying to envision my unborn baby boy at 7 months old.  He’ll be 1 year old this Saturday.  The thought of losing a child evokes heartache beyond compare. 

Or maybe it was last August when I promised AnnMarie that I would learn how to sew.  She was determined to make a doll for her sister Carlie, no particular reason.  I was living alone with my 2 little girls and newborn son – my husband in a foreign country.  I remember thinking that life was pretty hard for me back then…but I had a new sewing machine, and I had a promise to keep. 

The first doll pattern I found was The Ruby Lou Doll Pattern by Abby at Sew-Much-Ado.  I loved it.  AnnMarie loved it.  I didn’t think my beginning sewing skills were cut out for it, but love at first sight stirred powerful motivation. :) 

1-DSC00398

And then, I had an idea.  I couldn’t shake the connection between Ruby Lou and Ruby Jane…so I contacted Ani, and I contacted Abby. 

Now…I’m contacting YOU. 

Throughout the entire month of August, Abby at Sew-Much-Ado is going to donate the full profit of all Ruby Lou Doll Pattern purchases to the Ruby Jane Foundation.  Basically, this foundation is set-up to save lives.  It’s remarkable.

The best part is yet to come.  If you’d like to donate your completed Ruby Lou Doll to a little girl in need of an organ transplant, Ani has a connection with Child Life at UCLA in California.  The timing would be great before the holidays.

Simply send your Ruby Lou Doll to:

RJF
PO Box 505
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678

But most of all, love the littles in your life a little more than you did before.  Forget the to-do lists and be present.  We never know when the moments we share with our loved ones will be our last. 

1-DSC00385

(Feeling grateful for the lessons both Ani and Abby have taught me over the past year.  Sending BIG love their way…my new blogger friends.) ;)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Little Happenings

Our apartment is kind of empty.  We’re enjoying the ‘lasts’ of a lot of different things around here.  It’s been fun. 

Gabe took three whole steps on his own yesterday.  He’s growing out of his clothes which is NOT good since clothes are out of this world expensive here. 

1-DSC00373

I think he can wait another week…maybe…until we move back to the good ole U.S.A.  He says “bye-bye bug”  a lot - not sure where he got that from - and when I ask him his name he says, “Bob.” 

I love little babes this age.  I love little Gabe. 

We had a week of nasty colds earlier this month.  I had to laugh when I came across this picture of Gabe with Marcelo (a member of our church here that is seriously, so great).  I had kept him in his wild Monster’s, Inc. pajamas that day since he wasn’t feeling too good.  People were thinking his ‘outfit’ was a little freakish. 

1-DSC00301

I think AnnMarie is getting abnormally good at crafts. :)  We had some help from an Eco-Craft box Grandma Julie sent her, but AnnMarie is such a thoughtful, creative little girl.  She insisted that we deliver this craft to a friend “who needed it.” 

1-DSC00297

My 29th birthday decided to sneak up on me last Thursday.  It was the perfect day to celebrate a birthday, really.  June 20th is a National Holiday here in Argentina (Flag Day), so lucky for me, Jared didn’t have to go into the office, and AnnMarie didn’t have school.  I just told AnnMarie that school was cancelled for my birthday – she didn’t buy it. :)

Something that I’ve been grateful for during our time here is the chance I’ve had to feed the sister missionaries weekly.  It hasn’t always been convenient, but I recognized the need early on and decided that that was something I could do - even if all I had were sandwiches, apples, & tang sometimes. :) 

I’ve said it before, but the Argentine culture is a late culture.  Most people eat dinner between 9 & 10 pm, so members are asked to feed the missionaries during lunchtime.  It’s become a special time for Carlie & I, too, since AnnMarie’s at school and Gabe’s usually taking a nap…our little lunch date with the missionaries. 

Anyway, I fed the missionaries on my birthday.  Love these girls so so much.

1-DSC00487

Later that day, around 4 pm, our door buzzer buzzed – that thing scares the heck out me every time, it’s not normal – but it was a friend from church stopping by to wish me a happy birthday.  Within the hour, there was another…and then another…and then another…and then another…without the other knowing…until our empty apartment wasn’t so empty anymore.  It brought tears to my eyes and made my whole heart spill over with love…and gratitude. 

1-DSC00501

This ‘winter’ birthday of mine was one to remember, and I’ll always be so grateful for the women here that have warmed up to me when it wasn’t always comfortable for them.   

As the Argentines say - a strong hug, a little kiss, friends for always. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Early Birthday Celebration

For the past few months, we’ve been anticipating a birthday celebration for Miss AnnMarie.  Technically, her birthday isn’t until July, but since we’ll be in a different country by then, we thought it’d be perfect to celebrate here in Argentina with the friends and faces she’s known for the past 2 years.

I had a lady from our church make this cake for us; it turned out beautiful.  She really put a lot of effort into it for us - what a talent.    

1-DSC00414

I finally finished the Ruby Lou doll I was working on for her – much more on that later.

1-DSC00418

We rented a party place here in town called Saucecito.  There are so many party places here - it’s big business!  AnnMarie was beyond excited.  It was perfect to have a special gathering with all of her classmates and close friends before we leave. 

1-DSC00419

1-DSC00422

1-DSC00426

About 6 weeks ago, a family (originally from Rosario, Argentina), moved here to Venado, but they’ve been living in the United States (Georgia) for the past 3 years. 

I’m in awe of Vera, their daughter AnnMarie’s age.  She speaks English so well.  Her and AnnMarie have become such good friends.  Together, they speak English and Spanish,  it’s amazing – and cute to see Vera so excited about being in her home country.  It’s almost like she’s prepping AnnMarie to return to the States – so incredible these tender mercies that come into our lives.

1-DSC00428

1-DSC00434

1-DSC00439

Our sweet neighbor from downstairs came – love this girl.  AnnMarie was completely preoccupied about Juan Patricio ruining her cake.  Oh, I could fill a book with Juan Patricio stories…but I won’t.  ;)

1-DSC00445

1-DSC00455

1-DSC00461

This little guy filled AnnMarie’s pocket with tiny cut-out hearts the other day.  She thought they were paper scraps…until I looked a little closer.  Oh boy…I can only imagine what 10 years will bring.

1-DSC00462

1-DSC00379

Back to the party…

1-DSC00465

I will miss these ladies so much.  From the beginning, they’ve been extra supportive and helpful.  Because of them, I will always be more aware of a foreigner’s needs.  They went the extra mile so many times, especially in the early days when I could barely communicate. 

1-DSC00472

1-DSC00475

1-DSC00476

Hopefully, friends for life.  Oh, such sweet memories.

1-DSC00486

Happy Birthday AnnMarie!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Reality

Bottom line, sometimes life is hard, and that’s okay.  Reality isn’t always pretty. 

It’s late, and it’s been a long week.  I’ve had bronchitis, and we’ve been battling lice all week long.  Yes – every mother’s worst nightmare lice.  It’s hard to escape lice here.  It’s hard to escape bugs in general here…but we’ve managed…and everything will be okay.  My everything spotless clean self feels pretty defeated here in South America right now.    

Jared has been out-of-town in the desert of North Argentina.  He’s home now, but our phone conversations were broken up through the week as he calmly tried to explain to me how to treat the lice situation with the chemicals he picked up from the pharmacy last December when those pesky bugs paid us a visit before Christmas.  I won’t even begin to explain the process of de-bugging a home - it’s rough.

To make things worse, Gabe crawled on top of the stove’s bottom cupboard flap while I was baking cookies - trying to maintain some sense of normality & ‘home’ through the ongoing lice episode.  He burned the bottom half of both legs – not severely thank heavens – but enough to leave it’s mark for a while.  His crawling hasn’t slowed down much, but he hasn’t been comfortable. 

On top of all that, the movers came in Friday morning and boxed up our life.  We’re living out of suitcases now and doing everything possible to keep the kids entertained and comfortable with the emptiness we feel. 

I’ll never forget what life feels like right now.  It’s as if the page is almost turned over, but not quite…not yet.  The last few sentences still have something to say.  

I feel so much better today after getting on the antibiotic I needed.  Jared & I gave our last Castellano talks in church this morning.  It’s a true miracle that I was able to wake up at 4:30 this morning to really prepare and translate a talk after the week we’ve had.  I felt guidance from above…helping me, and I think that’s exactly why we go through rough weeks - to recognize His hand – to remember the eternal perspective and to appreciate the good days maybe a little bit more than we did before.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The May Revolution Celebration

I’ve been anxious to post these fun pictures all week, but life has been a little crazy around here. 

Anyway, it’s always interesting to be an integral part of the Argentine holidays.  The May Revolution began the Argentine War of Independence back in 1810. 

Basically, it was a week-long series of events that ended on May 25th, 1810 in Buenos Aires.  Every year, the May Revolution is celebrated on May 25th – yet another holiday (and reason) for the people to take work off.  :)  The Argentines have so many holidays it’s not even funny. 

AnnMarie’s school had a special program in the assembly courtyard.  The weather was beautiful, and the students were all so excited.  AnnMarie and a few other classmates were able to dress-up as Paisana Argentina, a patriotic Argentine cowgirl with braids, boots, and a bandana.  

A few other classmates were “gossipy” housewives pretending to sweep the streets. 

1-DSC00242

1-DSC00241

Francisco (on the far right) was the Pope.  The people here are so proud of the new Argentine Pope…billboards, banners, lots of publicity going on. 

1-DSC00271

AnnMarie had to stand around with gauchos (Argentine cowboys) drinking mate (mah-tay). 

1-DSC00273

1-DSC00274

I wish I could’ve gotten a better photo of her in her get-up, but it was one of those days I tried to soak in…just enjoying the fact that we were all together as a family supporting one of our own. 

AnnMarie’s favorite part about the whole thing:

1-DSC00296

Monday, June 3, 2013

Christmas in June

Yesterday marked the beginning of a countdown.  Instead of 25 days ‘til Christmas, it’s 25 days ‘til change, and around these parts, we believe change is a good thing. :) 

Since June is the coldest month in Argentina (we’re dead smack in the middle of winter here, and yes, it’s very cold), I thought it would be appropriate for our little family to have what I’m calling Christmas in June

My sole intention is to bring in the Christmas Spirit.  Both Jared & I have a tendency to anticipate change to a fault.  We need our last several weeks here to be savored, not watered down with everything else to come!  The Christmas Spirit is real, and I want our family to slow down by remembering Him, our Savior, right now – really remembering Him.  I feel like this approach will best help my family to finish out our time here strong.   

Last night we finished our poster board which is now hanging up next to our dinner table.  We have 24 little gifts (simple magazine cut-outs) scattered around the board.  It’s nothing fancy – in fact, it’s pretty un-fancy to say the least, but the kids did almost all of it, and that’s what matters.

Under each gift is a scripture coupled with something to do that night – something special that will invite the Christmas Spirit into our home.  Tonight was our first official gift opening….. ‘As a family, pray for someone with a special need (Alma 34:27).’  The girls’ suggestions surprised me.  I learned something new about a classmate and felt inspired to serve.  

We’re all looking forward to the next several weeks as we seek the Christmas Spirit with our whole hearts.  We’ve been playing Christmas music, making lots of yummy soups, and trying to think a little less about ourselves, our to-do lists, and all the busy stuff that comes with change. 

It was a little ironic though that right after we finished our poster board, a neighbor brought us a loaf of fresh bread wrapped in a Christmas napkin.  That’s only happened like never.  What are the odds?!  Ha!  

1-DSC00262(Carlie & I at AnnMarie’s school program enjoying the last warm day in May.)