Thursday, December 31, 2015

Beaty Family Christmas Letter 2015

Another Big Year...

Dear Family & Friends,

Happy New Year! Probably can't call this a "Christmas" letter, but hey, we've done a thing or two this year. (No time for grass to grow under our feet - Jake loves that!)

Let’s see…
…new baby
…new Casa de Amor administration
…new countries visited
…new home in a different country
…new jobs

Starting with our busy head-of-the-family, Jake has worked hard this year providing for our family through different internet marketing/writing jobs and also exploring new income opportunities. It's been wonderful to have him at home as he works via the internet from Bolivia or the US. That allowed from some flexibility when his brother Luke and family (wife and three sons) visited us in Bolivia in June for a great visit!

In his free time, Jake finished writing a book! His first draft of Winter’s Comin’ tells the story of his family’s adventures when they moved to central Washington to build and live in a cabin off-grid. He also began blending traditional Bolivian fabric with the design of his favorite hoodie and started a business: Tunari Apparel.

Jake and the boys did Boy Scouts the first half of the year in Bolivia including some camp outs. They also trained for and participated in a triathlon, quite the feat - and at high altitude! Jake still has a special way with Sophia—I never tire of watching them interact!

Jennifer (that’s me) rarely has a quiet moment keeping the family fed, rested, educated, and clothed - in about that order. It's a round-the-clock job! This year had several all-consuming projects. For the first few months as I “cooked” our next baby, I was also working to pass off Casa de Amor to new administrative hands after 13 years at the helm. With a large family of my own, it had become apparent that big change was necessary for the good of everyone, and Jake encouraged me to make those steps. He also thought it would be a great idea to take our family on a five country road trip through South America before leaving the continent. Only he and I needed visas since our five children all possess Bolivian passports. We traveled approximately 5,000 miles in our family-size 1991 Land Cruiser as we made a circuit through Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, and Uruguay...and now shiver in fear to imagine do anything remotely similar ever again!

Iguazu Falls, Argentina side

After that, we had exactly two crazy weeks to close up our wonderful life in Bolivia and move to Germantown, Tennessee, on September 15. We now live near my parents and three sisters, plus grandparents who moved to TN one week after us. We're also more accessible to other relatives - Jake's parents visited us at Thanksgiving! I love all the opportunities for our kids and they love the attention from relatives and visits to the cookie stores! I’ve been surprised how easy the transition has been, although I of course miss Cochabamba and all our friends there.

Joel, now 12, does very well in school. As his teacher, I most appreciate his good attitude! It's also neat to see him become a reader. He is a great helper and has really grown in his patience with the babies. 

Michael, who turned 12 in August while we were in Buenos Aires, keeps busy and keeps us busy…listening! It’s encouraging to watch him mature and settle into his place in our family. Of the three boys, he made the most progress with an adoption therapist earlier this year in Bolivia. Michael loves playing with his siblings and the neighbors and is a very good student when he decides to be!

Samuel is 11 ½. He has a hard time with change and with English, but we hope that the resources we now have in the US will be beneficial to him. I started looking for help with the moderate dyslexia, ADD, and other associated issues, as soon as we arrived. Finally, after months of various tests and appointments we await a thorough report that should point us in the right direction of curriculum, programs, therapy, etc., to make life less frustrating for him (and all of us!). He still loves his Legos and wishes we had a cat!   

Sophia, age 2 going on 12, is Miss Charmer and the center of attention wherever we go, in any country! Always one to follow her own time table, she finally decided at 17 months that walking was superior to scooting around. At 18 months and 3 days, she had the shock of her life when a new baby arrived on the scene to vie for mama’s attention. After a rough couple of months, I’m happy to report that she’s come around and perhaps even likes her little sister. She is very verbal, using hundreds of words well, and keeps us all on our toes!

Lydia Ruth, now 8 1/2 months, joined our family in the early hours of April 16. Baby #2/5 was born weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce, at home in Bolivia with a midwife from New Zealand, a medical student from Canada, and Grandma Thea Ruth Beaty visiting from Washington. Lydia means “traveler” and her Dad has made sure she lives up to it! The very day she turned 4 months old, she woke in Paraguay, napped through Brazil, and went to bed in Argentina at Iguazu Falls. The day she turned 5 months was her first day in the US, her fifth country.

Lydia has been the perfect addition to our family, so happy and laid back. She eats well, sleeps well...then eats well and sleeps well! The boys affectionately call her “fatty”, “gorda”, and “chubs”. Yesterday Jake called her a jelly doughnut: “squishy and sweet”! It’s funny for us to hear people say she looks like Sophia, as closer observation reveals how opposite they are. Even aside from personality and volume differences, by 8 months of age, Sophia had a full head of hair, several teeth, and refused to crawl—much less stand! Since birth she hangs out in the 25 percentile for weight. Lydia doesn’t have enough hair for a bow, zero teeth, and crawls and pulls up to everything. She grows along the 95 percentile curve and has worn the same size diaper as big sister since she was 4 months old!

Merry Christmas from the kiddos

That's it from us this year! We'd love to get your Christmas letters and pictures if you mailed one. Let us know if you'd like our new contact information!

Happy New Year!

Jacob, Jennifer, Joel (12), Michael (12), Samuel (11 ½), Sophia (26 months), and Lydia (8 months)

Sunday, November 15, 2015


 I still can hardly believe it, but....

September 22, 2015


(If you missed the "why", read this post.)

Stair step kids...sort of :)

Exploring the woods behind our house

 New past time for the boys: raking leaves!

The transition has actually gone way, way, way better than Jake or I ever imagined. We were expecting the worst, especially for me, so content for so many years in Bolivia! Although it took a year for me to accept the impending move, we can both say without a doubt that it was the right decision for our family at this time. I love all the opportunities for the kids! Joel is in art, Michael is the one who most thrives on interaction with new friends (neighbors, homeschool group activities), Samuel has many more therapy opportunities for his educational and emotional needs, Sophia loves library story time and real baths, and Lydia is super close to crawling thanks to rolling around on soft carpet - something her sister never did on the cold tile of our Bolivian abodes!

Fall at the Collierville Square!

Everyone asks how the boys are doing. They are doing great! They have begged us to move to the states ever since coming last year. I would say the challenges we have are the same as in Bolivia, but it's somewhat easier to deal with living near family support, and just generally less stressful lives here. The English is still a main focus with them. I think that by this point, each one just needs to make a conscious decision to properly pronounce the sounds that are different or not found in Spanish, and to use past tense correctly, sentences without double-negatives, etc., because when asked, they know how to correct themselves.

 At Old West with Nana

And, for sure, all five LOVE time with Nana and Pops (my parents), my sisters the "aunts", and even great-grandparents!

A note found one day...

Biggest fans of Nana and Pops' cookies!
Sophia with Pops at Old West Stables
I finally got to watch my sister Emma with her Grand Entry team!

 Great-Grandpa on his 92nd birthday!

Talk about a crazy time for my parents: my grandparents were moved here from Texas less than 2 weeks after we arrived!

We have found a friendly church, adoptive mom/dad support groups, very active homeschool group (extra bonus: many members have adopted), gotten library cards for both Germantown and Collierville, and zoo and local museum membership (thanks to the grandparents)! There are some lovely parks nearby, too.

 Sophia on the boardwalk at her favorite pace - running!!

Yeah for a double stroller, a consignment store find!

We are rapidly finding our way around and enjoying how peaceful and relaxing it is to drive here. For wheels, my family has almost continually loaned us their 4-door pick-up until we get something else, plus Jake had his 1969 Ford Fairlane trucked in from Washington last month. A speaker at a pro-life conference once told him that would rapidly be traded in for a mini-van once Jake married, but look at us...

 Back from church

Don't mess with "The Soph"!

Both vehicles seat 6, but our kids are small. ;-)

It's easier to miss Cochabamba now, as our time here lengthens. I find that when I close my eyes, I often picture myself somewhere in Cochabamba. I have to make the decision to not "go there" for too long or else risk becoming very homesick. This is where we are for now, and it's a good season.

Our grand backyard!

As for Casa de Amor, the transitioning process was in full swing and seemed to be heading to a happy conclusion by August... And then completely unraveled my last two weeks in country. Casa de Amor really needs and deserves solid administrative support for supporter communication and finance matters. They continue to have to rely on me for certain things, gracious as usual with my big-family-busy-ness. I am blessed to have Rosa as director and Danyelle assisting with the volunteers!

November 3, 2015
The whole crew! :)

Any day now our container of books, wall hangings, and Jake's favorite car will be here, and then we'll really be set up!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy SIX Months, Lydia!!

As I play catch-up, these pictures are from October 16!

It was hard to believe that our {huge} little baby is already SIX months old! That also meant that her sister was also TWO years old! (Pictures to come! Every time I do these posts for Lydia, there are sooo many cute ones I pass by of Sophia - believe me, the only time in life that Sophia is "passed by", ha! - and I say that I need to do monthly posts on her.)

In her elephant onesie...

She weighed a little bit more than 19 1/2 pounds on this day... She's in the 97% in almost all areas.

Big sis wanted to be part of the fun, as usual

She still loves her toes!!

And Dada stopped by to "help", ha! (He did actually get her to smile in lots of the pictures below.)

This is what always happens to the number sticker now!! EVERYTHING goes to the mouth.

Such a sweetie!


She pushes up so high

Smiling at Daddy


She's so sociable now


Love the rolls! She props on the bed fine now.

Both Sophia and Lydia were in XL diapers when we left Bolivia, and both still use size 5 here. Makes it easier, to just stock up on one big size!

The pictures below are of Lydia's 6th month, taken between September 17 and October 16. I was surprised by how many pictures there are since I lost the first 2 1/2 weeks of pictures in that period (first weeks in the states) off my new cell phone - always in closer reach than a camera.

Snuggling with Pops a couple days after moving from Bolivia to Tennessee

Now if that face doesn't say "gimme some"...

Happy Baby!!

Looking classy with Daddy after church!

Getting some lovin' from GREAT Grandmother!! 
(Trying on a new hair bow from Aunt Heather)

October 11, during Sophia's first 2nd birthday party :)

Pretty girls in pink ruffles, Sophia's 2nd birthday, October 13

Sophia has pretty much given up asking to "hold Lydia?" She gets squished!!

Getting so big! First time in the grocery cart! I didn't know what to do our first month here, as in Bolivia there are infant seats with straps attached to the carts. It's great that she can use them now - if sister Sophia isn't already!

We LOVE our sweet baby!! She still eats every 4 hours, and occasionally 7 times/day, and I look forward to eventually sleeping through the night soon...??...but I can't complain much as she always goes right back to sleep after waking to eat at night. During the day, I occasionally forget where I've put her, as she so rarely cries or fusses. If she does, she simply wants to eat or sleep, and then she's her happy little self again!

It's fun to watch Lydia grow and get more mobile. She becomes tangled in cords or is chewing on a shoe in the blink of an eye as she moves around the room now. As she plays more and more with toys, even Sophia is coming around and starting to enjoy her more, interacting with her in various ways...including some not so appropriate: "Look mama, Lydia horsey!" as she sits on top of Lydia's back! We have to keep an eye on both of them, that's for sure.

God knew just what kind of baby we needed to join this big crazy family! We love our Lydia Ruth.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Happy 5 Months, Lydia!

Yeah, this is over a month late.

In a nutshell:

Our happy baby at 5 months, on September 16, her first full day in the United States of America:

It's getting harder and harder to get a picture with the elephant friend...

I can just hear her attacking him, ha!

Happy baby!!


By this time, Lydia had been in FIVE countries apart from her birth country (Bolivia):
Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, United States


Smiling at Da-da!

Miss Chubby Cheeks with Pops!

Now, to begin on August 17, Lydia's 5th month.

Bonnet sisters - ready to hit the falls!!
Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Brothers took this picture of our sunny traveling baby

...same here (these are Joel's prized binoculars)

The whole family at Igazu!!!

Mama with "two babies" as Sophia likes to point out when I do this juggling act

It's hard work exploring a wonder of the world when you're so small :)

Igaucu Falls, Brazilian side
(Lydia slept until almost the end - nice for her, since it was rainy and drizzly)

Exploring an ancient army base in Uruguay!

Lydia's first time at the Atlantic Ocean! 
At the upscale Punte del Este, Uruguay

All my little duckies in a row, Montevideo, Uruguay

Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Delightful lunch outdoors in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Now "'Round the World with Baby" time is over, and we're to September 1, back in Cochabamba!!

The first order of business was to catch up on sleep, yeah!! And heal from vicious mosquito bites...

Sweet, tired baby

It was great to be back and have baby toys again! Lydia learned to take everything to her mouth and chew on it while we were traveling with just two toys.

Matching big sis (not so much a dress anymore!)

Dinner on the patio, Mt. Tunari and clouds behind... (how we miss that view!!!)

Miss Cowgirl!

You can guess which members of the family set up this pose...

Watch Out, World!

Last visit to Casa de Amor II... :(

Lots of hugs and kisses!! (Little girl J and Tia Sarin)

There weren't many pictures of kids those last crazy days as we sold our things and packed.

These next three are pictures on planes, moving from Bolivia to Tennessee:

Multi-purpose food tray, on the plane from Santa Cruz to Miami. 
Daddy made her a "tent". :)

Getting some love from sis, playing with hair bows missionary friends passed on to us

Taking an airport snooze in the Mei Tai, on Mama

I hope to post her 6 months and Sophia's 2nd birthday pictures SOON!