Dec 29

In which I attempt to catch up

Posted under All in the family, Around the house, Church, Clara and Libby, Life, School by MicheleP.

I keep thinking “Today I’m going to update the blog”… and then as I’m drifting off to sleep I realize my good intentions were just that. Instead of back-blogging, I’m going to give you the past month in laundry (at least some form of laundry is getting done) format (and for Mimi, some pics!)

My Birthday Week – this really deserves much more than a bullet – not just because it was my birthday week, but because my husband went totally and completely out of his way to make the day week special. I had 7 full days of birthday celebrations and presents complete with flowers, special meals, awesome gifts (hello new pink ipod) and even a Saturday morning all to myself with nothing but a box of Lucky Charms to keep me busy. It was: Blissful!Lucky Charm Mama

The girls had their Christmas program at school. Actually – it was much more than just a Christmas program. In addition to the standard Mary, Joseph, Angels & Baby Jesus we had many colorful butterflies as the little girls showcased their ballet “skills”. I guess it’s just easier and more economical to have the ballet recital alongside the Christmas program.

Butterflies 2

The girls also were in a Christmas program at church. However, no butterflies at this one.
Little stars

We got to see Santa
Santa on his sleigh
Meeting Santa

We hosted a visitor from Texas. He was by far the easiest guest we’ve had to date.
Libby and Stan

We had some special family times reading the Christmas story each night and making many yummy treats
Christmas crafts with Papa

The girls could hardly sleep the night before Christmas and were thrilled the next morning to find that Santa did indeed come to Puerto Rico!
New babies
A new dollhouse

And there you have it. Bring on 2009!!


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Nov 11

MOPS comes to Puerto Rico!

Posted under Church, Life, Mothering, Puerto Rico by MicheleP.

(side note: ARGH! I cannot get my formatting to work on this post!)
Being a SAHM can be a very isolating experience. I know it was for me at times. I was used to daily interaction – with ADULTS – and there were days when I longed just to talk to someone who could actually carry on a conversation that didn’t involve “Don’t put that in your mouth!” “No touch” or “Do you need a diaper change…again?”. The daily trials of mothering are alone a challenge, but try doing that in a different country where you don’t have deep relationships, don’t have any family, and you may not even speak the local language.
This summer I began to think about starting a regular playgroup for other SAHMs. I wasn’t sure how I was going to meet them but figured I’d start with the couple I knew and go from there. About that same time a new friend of mine invited me to lunch. She wanted to share something that was on her heart – starting a Mothers of Preschoolers…or MOPS group in Puerto Rico and she wanted me to consider co-birthing it with her.
Of course I said YES and we spent the next few months planning and organizing the first charter of MOPS in Puerto Rico. We are doing the modified version of MOPS – which is called MOPS@. It’s different from a traditional MOPS program in that we meet in a home, have a smaller group, and use a DVD system in lieu of having speakers. But the purpose is still the same – strengthening moms in their relationships with each other and with God.
Friday was our first meeting! We were hoping for at least 8 moms but we had 14 moms attend with several more who want to come. At this rate, we might “graduate” from a MOPS@ group to a traditional MOPS much sooner than we planned! I’m so excited to see what God is going to do with our group!

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Mar 25

Easter – a bit different this year

Posted under Church, Life, Puerto Rico by MicheleP.

I love Easter. It’s my favorite holiday. I’m always amazed at all the hoopla over Christmas and other holidays when as a Christian, the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ is the foundation of my faith – and yet it’s “just a day”. No month long or even week long festivities. No office parties. No caroling door to door singing of the resurrection. Nope, Easter seems to only be celebrated just for a day. Just a day, that is, until you’ve celebrated Easter in Puerto Rico.

Woooo Boy!

Easter is NOT just a day here. No sir. It’s an entire season and during Holy Week – you can feel the anticipation and excitement in the air. Ok, still no singing door to door (at least no one came to my door) but there were festivals and parties (yes, EVEN office parties – GASP!), decorations galore. By Good Friday, everything was closed. And I do mean everything. Stores, banks, post offices, restaurants – even the 24 hour Walgreens that is “Always Open” was closed (yes, I learned the hard way this year). And parties – lots and lots of parties.

And so, when in Rome Puerto Rico…

We had a little party of our own. It wasn’t quite like some of the neighborhood parties we experienced – no live band nor dance floor and I can assure you the “punch” flowing wasn’t the same but we had a blast. We invited several families over on Saturday for an Easter party – complete with all kinds of breakfast goodies, an egg hunt, toys & games, egg coloring – and of course no shortage of candy. Our party wrapped up around 1:00 as the majority of our guests melted down one by one showing those tell tale signs of nap deprivation (the kids seemed a little tired too).



On Sunday we spent our morning at church – complete with Easter cake and another egg hunt. Can anyone say “sugar overload?”

Here is our choir performing


The little kids got a little head start at the hunt



After some much needed Sunday afternoon naps, we headed to a friend’s house for yet another celebration. On the menu? MEAT!!!




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Feb 16

On finding church

Posted under Church, Life, Puerto Rico by MicheleP.

One of the hardest things so far has been finding things – most of the (good) restaurants, stores or places we’ve enjoyed we’ve found by word of mouth. Unlike in the states, massive advertising and a huge web presence just isn’t something that many places embrace. Or maybe they do but it’s all in Spanish so they never come up on my searches? Either way, just simply finding things has not been easy.

Case in point – Church.

When we moved to Kansas, we began our search for our church online. Within minutes, we had all the information at our fingertips about the church, it’s doctrine, it’s programs and could even listen to a service online in our home before trying it out in person. There were so many churches in our area that we got rather picky about what we wanted and didn’t want in a church – because we could. There literally were 20 or more churches with compatible beliefs within a 5-10 mile radius of our home. I remember feeling somewhat like Goldilox with the church search there “This one is too small…too big…too quiet…too loud…”. I think we visited at least 10 before we settled on one.

Here? Yeah. Not quite the same. Our wish list was rather short: similar doctrine and English speaking. That was it. Shouldn’t be too hard? Right?

We found several churches in our town – all Spanish speaking. We searched and searched for an English speaking church – or at least a Spanish church with a service or simulcast in English but couldn’t find anything within 20 miles of our home. A coworker invited us to his church- an English speaking Calvary Chapel. We visited and enjoyed it very much – but it was 45 minutes away – and THAT was on a Sunday without any traffic. We weren’t thrilled about such a long commute to church and so we decided to try to find something closer. We were open to many denominations – as we’ve always been more concerned about what goes on INSIDE a church vs what label is on the OUTSIDE.

When we first moved here, we had seen a sign for an English speaking church in our town but couldn’t actually find the church (the sign was partially torn down). We searched online and couldn’t find anything either. We searched the yellow pages – no listing. We asked around and no one knew about it. So we assumed it no longer existed.

Then one Sunday we saw a church van out driving around. “Hey! Isn’t that the name of the church on that billboard outside of town?” We were tempted to just follow the van and see where it went but didn’t. In retrospect, we should have as that seemed to be our only way to find this place. Many more weeks went by and we grew more and more weary about our (now non-existent) search for a church. In January, I went to a get together with some other English speakers. I asked about churches in our area and one gal said she had heard of one – and that it did actually exist – but didn’t have any more information than that. We were more determined to find this place now.

We went back online and tried again. Nothing. Then, two weeks ago, we got a new phone book – and guess who had a listing? Yep. THE church we had been looking for! Scott dials the number…

“We’re sorry, the number you have reached has been temporarily disconnected or is no longer in service” (or something to that effect in Spanish).

Oh. For. The. Love. Why does everything have to be this difficult??

Scott decided to go back online and search some more. Trying different combinations of the church name in English and Spanish and he sees something. Several pages down he finds a reference to it – on a personal business web page that actually has a phone number attached. So, Scott calls that number.

“Hello? Hi, yes, um, by any chance are you affiliated with DBB Church?” After a pause, the person on the other end said that yes he was and in fact he was a member there! A-HA! The place DID exist! He told us all about it – when and more importantly WHERE they met.

When was not really a surprise: Sundays at 11:00. Where? From our neighborhood…one turn…two turns… and viola! There it was!! It was right under our noses – just a stones throw away…but tucked down a winding dirt road.

On Sunday we took the (very) short drive to the church. We had no idea what to expect – we knew it had to be rather small so we lowered our expectations a bit… And you know what?
We were pleasantly surprised. Sure, it was small – about 45 people or so but so comfortable (was even air conditioned :) ) and friendly. We were immediately embraced (quite literally) and welcomed.

The church is diverse both racially and generationally (is that a word?). The worship: contemporary yet simple – a piano was the only instrument. The church embraces “family worship” which I was excited to see. One little boy joined in with his (pretend) guitar and what a treat it was to see him worshiping in his own way. The children (there were about 8-10) remained in church with their family until the sermon then went to another room for an age appropriate lesson. The sermon was on faith and not having fear to do whatever God has asked of you. Quite appropriate, no?

So, we think after almost 4 months without a church, we may just be able to check “Find a Church” off the To-Do list.  Yay!


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