Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jake is a Published Author!!

Ever since I met Jake he has dreamed of writing books. When his two year contract at Calvert School in Cochabamba ended (June 2014), he began! He rigged up a sheet at one end of the living room to give a bit of separation from his desk and the 1200 square foot apartment with 4 children living in it. Then he went to work! Many evenings and free moments since, he has happily typed away, sharing the first story aching to be told.

After more than two years of writing and research including interviews, searching newspaper archives, cabin visits, and work with an editor...

"Winter's Comin': A Lifelong Dream Fulfilled" is published!

Proof-reading the final copy in read-aloud sessions with the kids

Today is Jim Beaty's birthday (my father-in-law), the one the story is about. Why don't you make his day special and give yourself a few days of an inspirational read by obtaining a copy or two? (Christmas is also comin'! I think it would make a great gift for the man who already has everything.)

To order on CreateSpace, click here

To order on Amazon (Prime, anyone?!), click here!


Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 4th and Texas!!

On almost the last day of July, I finally get up pictures from our wonderful July 4th trip to TEXAS!!

The whole original Thompson crew was there, plus new additions to the family:

What a great picture! Seeing it made me realize "Wow, we're a big group of people now!"
We've definitely expanded since my childhood visits.

This is the first time I've been in Texas since pregnant with Sophia. Now I was the same pregnant again (about half way) and several children richer. It was the first time for all of the Thompson relatives to meet all five of my children in person!

Cousins together again!
Jessica and Christopher; Travis and Taylor
Emma, Jennifer, Sarah, Heather

AND, there are actually TWO other tiny people in this picture... We found out on this trip that Jessica is due early next year! It's the first time I have a pregnant cousin - fun!

 A cousin picture collage hung in the lake house dining room. Great memories!

A selfie attempt as we got underway on our 11ish hour road trip. For sanity sake, we sent Samuel in the (quiet) car with Nana and Pops and crew, and my sister Sarah came with us. She loves our little ones and laughs heartily at Jake's jokes!

Lydia getting out some of her abundant energy at a gas top in Texarkana

Sophia was again the show-stopper with her favorite rolling backpack, purchased in Cochabamba right at a year ago

We had SO much fun on and in the water! The lake house is on Lake Granbury and also has access to a community pool.

Sophia as the "capitana", not a far fetched role, ha

This is the same paddle boat my sisters and I used many years ago...

Don't let the life jacket fool you! There was no way we were getting in the middle of the lake with the world's busiest and least cautious 1 year old, even though (or perhaps because?) she LOVES water and getting wet.

This is the closest she got, a quick pose with Joel to say she was on the lake a minute! Even here she is squirming to get down and run around.

It was so much fun to go out in the boat!! We all left inspired to get a lake house and boat of our own, ha.

 On the pontoon boat Pops rented for the day

 Enjoying the new experience!! Samuel often opted to stay back at the lake house, but he did have some fun out
Joel getting up on skis - on his first attempt!! My cousin Travis gave them lessons. Michael also did well.

Happy face!

 Loving a swim with Daddio

 Sophia LOVED the boat and lake!! I was glad we managed to keep her from getting sunburned...

...if not always awake. :) She (GASP!) missed her nap this day, but caught a little snooze by Daddy.

And a lake house summer tradition - Heather's birthday!!! 
 I love all the July 4th decorations

  Sophia and Lydia ready for cake

And then, because our travel plans had us missing all the firework shows, we planned to get a peek at a local country club's show a week later. But alas, a huge thunderstorm moved through right as it was to begin and it was canceled.

The birthday picture with Aunt Heather, better late than never!

Instead, we did sparklers in the garage while the rain poured.

And, just because this is the closest I got to getting pictures of the babies in their July 4th best...

At a classic car show in Collierville
Sophia is a champion poser and quite enjoys pictures, but Lydia must be contained!

Sunday, July 17, 2016


My midwife's assistant (and amazing doula and midwife-to-be) was looking for takers for six kittens, already used to playing with her (six) children! I'd been told to request two the next time some came available, so I did... And it was a BIG surprise for the kids!! Best day of Samuel's life! It was really, really tough for him to leave Stanley behind in Bolivia (picked up at a birthday at Casa de Amor, 2 months before Lydia was born!).

 Kitties June and Julian!

They were born on June 12, Samuel's 12th birthday. That would be an obvious reason to name one June, but it was mainly in my head since reading this book (from one of the boys for my birthday), which I REALLY enjoyed, and seeing that the author's daughter is named June (born in September, ha).
June was the only female of the litter.

Just meeting the kitties! It was fun to choose.

We met them on July 16, Joel's birthday! Julian comes from the Julian calendar, sounds like July, and it's kind of cool that both of their names start with J. "JJ", like Joel's first two initials...

Happy boys, happy birthday!

(The stuffed animal in the picture is being swung around by Lydia, who needed something to squish other than an unsuspecting kitten!)

We were supposed to go and choose, picking up the kittens next week when they're 6 weeks old, but well... We were told we could go ahead and take them, how could we say no?!

Sophia is still deciding if she's bigger than them or just plain afraid. :) Instead of getting cute pictures of Sophia with a kitty, I caught her pitching it down because of feeling the sharp nails, oops. We're still learning!!

This was right before Lydia's chubby hand was swatted at by a tiny paw, as Julian feared for his food! Lydia wasn't hurt at all, only offended! Everyone around here shares their food with her, and she couldn't believe she couldn't have a taste, too. :)

 Having a tussle

 The girls love them!

Love this picture of Chubs peering into kitty's face

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Modern Culture and Parenting

I wrote this post back in early March but never finished and posted it! 

Between parenting classes the months of February and March, books we are reading on parenting, a film Jake and I watched called “Healthy Touch”, and even the breastfeeding book* I just read as part of my doula training, I’ve heard a lot more on different parenting styles recently. Of course, attachment and detachment theories are prominent methods. I find psychology fascinating, but it is scary to read how much the relatively modern parenting methods of “behaviorism” and “authoritarian parenting” influence probably every parent in the Western world. (Just think how many times you offer either a reward or consequence—be it a movie, candy, spanking, separation via time-out, etc.—to manipulate your child into behaving as you desire, allowing the heart attitude to potentially remain untouched.)

When I heard of John B. Watson yet again in “The Christian Parenting Handbook: 50 Heart-Based Strategies for All the Stages of Your Child’s Life” (great book!), I had to look him up. This is one of the articles I found, and I couldn’t stop reading even though it was long:

A parenting expert who lost his own children… The dangers of “scientific parenting”, as the author call it, are many! Only since the 20th century have scientific men begun writing books to tell mothers how to raise their children, many of their premises going against the natural grain of our nurturing nature. How difficult it is to be influenced by only the Bible instead of modern science and the culture we live in!

Understanding the lack of heart change acquired with the “modern” methods encourages me to stay open to ways of interacting with my children that are the most beneficial to their character and our relationships in the long run. A big one is being a continual student of their own unique make up. Ever since the day Sophia was born, I see how impossible it is to force my kids to behave as I think they should. And even though I failed repeatedly with my first-born bio child, and had to back up to get to know this new little person who wasn’t like either Jake or I as a baby and had her very own unique DNA, I mistakenly believed that raising the boys would be easier. They were older! Could be reasoned with! Surely THEY would want to grow and change and take advantage of all the opportunities we were giving them! But more and more I hear myself telling the boys, “I cannot make you do xyz. YOU are the only person who can control YOU.” There is literally no way to force them to love learning, or books…or a good attitude as they confront a challenging school lesson.

Just this morning, I had a brief meeting with the three about our new school schedule and developing responsibility for their studies. As usual, I had them arguing with me that “This is just the way I am, I can’t change”. If they knew the word “refuse”, I’d surely be hearing “I REFUSE to change the way I am!!” They have their set list of excuses, the most common two being “Well, I was born in Bolivia” or “This is the way God made me”. It would be hard to rank our set of challenges raising the boys, but right up at the top would be learning how to motivate them to WANT to be strong, obedient, hardworking sons and students. Which reminds me, we have another book entitled “Motivate Your Child Action Plan” that Jake and I need to study and implement together. It focuses on heart attitudes and the child working with you to come up with the action plan, rather than a list of actions and consequences/rewards, as seen in Behaviorism.

If you haven’t pondered your parenting style recently, or are blessed with seemingly compliant children, consider analyzing yourself and your children anew.   

*Must mention my new favorite baby book (which includes a surprising amount of discussion of parenting styles), Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers

The only thing I dislike is the title, as I don’t consider long term, exclusive breastfeeding simple! I never would have bought it if not for its spot on my doula certification reading list. And the word “laws” is a bit misleading, as they have much to say of cultivating a warm, nurturing, loving bond with your baby for a successful feeding relationship, rather than focusing on a list of rules. Loved it! All expectant mothers should read this BEFORE beginning to feed their newborn. I completely agree with the importance of the first 40 days for many crucial physical and emotional milestones of the mother/baby breastfeeding relationship.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Happy 1st Birthday, Lydia!

 Happy Birthday, Lyds!

Before another month flies by, I'm finally getting up pictures of our sweet #5's first birthday on April 16! 

 Lydia's cake! 

The family cake, Lydia's smaller cake, and an extra little cake enjoyed the next day :-) 

 A couple presents at breakfast... Sophia's favorite, although Lydia enjoyed it, too!

A picture with Aunt Emma before she had to leave

Singing to Lydia 

It was special to have BOTH sets of grandparents and some aunts present for the special day! 

Giving little sis a hand with the candle...
(Birthdays are about the most EXCITING thing in the world for Sophia!) 

The boys have long anticipated how happy Lydia was going to be diving into her cake. She did not disappoint!!  

She demolished that thing!! 

She started to slow down at this point... :) 

Aftermath: Daddy literally hosing off her dress 

Brother Michael giving Lydia a hand with the bow on Dress #2 (made possible thanks to the awesome resale shops and events around here, woo-hoo)

More gifts! 

Some downtime with Pops
(uh...ignore the strangeness in the background! Entirely normal and Michael loves it!)

A group picture during the visit from Washington grandparents!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

12 Months of Lydia!

Our happy, chubby, busy-busy baby is ONE!

April 16, 2016

It was lots of fun looking at pictures from the last year to create this sequence! Last April seems a lifetime ago, so much has changed in our family since then.

 April 16, 2015
The Birth Day!

 1 Month

2 Months

 3 Months

(almost) 4 Months (made before our big South America trip)

(See her chunking up?! Turns out it was appropriate to use the elephant Grandma B gave her as a size reference, ha!)

 5 Months

 6 Months, 19 1/2 pounds

Sumo baby!! Weight gain slacked off after we left Bolivia - I guess my back should be grateful!

 7 Months

 8 Months

9 Months

 10 Months 

11 Months

12 Months

(She's so, so wiggly and busy, it's nearly impossible to get a picture of her straight on, with the sticker, and the elephant! There will be better pictures at her birthday later today...)