Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Beaty Family Adventures: Part II!

Those who know Jake know that he LOVES travel.

Those who know me know that I used to travel a lot before the work in Bolivia sucked me in.

And now children!

But my husband's heart for adventure still beats strong, and living so near amazing sites in South America has always made him long for a big trip.

Always happiest out in the country, in whichever country
(Picture from April 2014)

We're squeezing that in now before our big move to the north!

Both of us have wanted to see Iguazu Falls and originally, the falls were the destination. But Jake has also had a hankering to get to Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost tip of the continent. He petitioned for that trip first, but when he saw the look on my face.... He revised. And then revised again.

And now what we have is a 5 country road trip, a 4500 mile (7240 km) circumvent, with an estimated 102 hours of actual driving time.

It's still going to be the road trip to beat all road trips!!

I'm sure Jake will plan something crazy wonderful for us like this again, but most likely in the tame United States of America, not developing countries with markedly different cultures.

Another little run-down:

Paraguay (obtaining visa from them in person in Santa Cruz this week)
Brazil (visas in process)
....then back through Argentina (via Buenos Aires) and Bolivia!

Jake is excited about picking up four new countries on this trip. It's the same for our children. I'll get two new myself.

The cool thing about the visa process (and fees!) is that our five children are Bolivian, with Bolivian ID cards and passports, so they enter for FREE. Just Jake and I are running around getting our visas in line.

He's also been busy preparing routes, maps, his GPS, and getting our big trusty car ready with various features, like...

 Curtains! Hopefully making baby nap-times NOT a thing of the past!!

One of the boys took this picture of Sophia, probably to show off her chocolate face!

I've been busy preparing car games and books for the kids, and nourishing snacks for all of us. AND.... There are 13 different hotels to book. Well, make that 11-12, depending on how many times we camp from our car/tent!

Another last little run-down for you...

We'll have kids ages
12th birthday (on trip!)
22 months (a few days into trip)
4 months (a week into trip)

As absolutely wild as this trip is, please don't call me crazy! I'm following my husband and enjoying seeing him so happy!

Besides. He promises it will be a grand adventure that we'll really enjoy...even if that means enjoying the memories many many years later. ;-)

A mere 8—9 days after getting back, we’ll be all packed up (hopefully!!) and leaving Bolivia for Tennessee. Prayers for sanity and happy children appreciated!!!!!

Beaty Family NEW Adventures: Adventure #1

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beaty Family NEW Adventures: Adventure #1

BIG NEWS from the Beatys in Bolivia! 

And no, it’s not another baby! ;-)

There is actually enough news for THREE separate blog posts, so that's how I'll do it.

Sunday, July 19, was my 11 year anniversary of moving to Bolivia!

On July 18th, 2004, I went to church with my family. Then there was a heartwarming send-out, I changed clothes, and went straight to the airport!

I've been out of Bolivia for 2 months twice, and of course regular short visits, but otherwise this has been my home base since right after I turned 22. That's 1/3 of my life, all of my adult life, and all of my life married and as a mother!

This is the first picture I have after moving here:

Titled "Discussing Contract" (from the architect building the first Baby Home on HOH's property)

I love how my life here has come full circle! In the picture above, Guillermo is holding the contract that we're studying. Even though neither of us is currently with Hospitals of Hope, he is our neighbor now and our sons all play together, as we share the same yard. His father-in-law Jorge looks on, and Jorge is the owner of the house we currently live in! He and his sweet wife even lowered our rent when he found out we were going to have five children.

 One week after moving here in 2004 with a volunteer family from Alaska

This will be my last anniversary in Bolivia. 

The current plan is to move in September to Memphis, TN, to be near my parents and sisters.

Sometime next year we will move to Washington state to be near Jake's family and our kids' only (so far) cousins. The exact timing of that will depend on Jake's job in Memphis, how affordable housing is, etc.

Although Jake feels more adapted and comfortable now in Bolivia than he ever has, let's just say Bolivia hasn't become his favorite place in the world! Or at least, the city part of life in Bolivia.

However, the timing wasn't right earlier because of these important items:

~ Two years of follow-up is required for adoptions (an international law, I believe), and since there is no "agreement" between the US and Bolivia, those needed to be done here. We have done three faithfully and lack one at year's end, but we have spoken to our lawyer and she told me about another family who adopted from Casa de Amor and has sent in social/psychological reports from another country and that's been fine with the court. We'll do our final evaluation from Memphis!

~ The boys have valid US visas but must live with us 2 years before being allowed to become citizens, and one applies when LIVING in the United States. They get a 6 month stamp entering the country, so we couldn't go further out than 6 months before it's possible to apply for their citizenship... Going in September and applying early next year is just about right. (If that all makes sense?!)

~ For years, I would get emotional every time Jake talked about us leaving, but in the past few months I have finally come to embrace the plan. Casa de Amor finally had potential future leaders on the horizon, and as our family grows, I have longed to be sharing the joy of our children with relatives. Jake has also "paid his dues" with the frustrations of Bolivia long enough, and I look forward to seeing him feeling more at home in the states!

We both think it will be a plus to be in a city that is new for both of us, a place we have never lived. That should help our expectation level, something that often seems a challenge for returning missionaries. And we'll be "learning the ropes" of raising a family in the US together!
~ And last but not least, we couldn't leave without having replacements at Casa de Amor Children's Homes, my original reason for coming. Almost a year ago now, two ladies wrote us asking about long term positions, and I jumped to offer them something probably quite a bit larger than what they had dreamed! Even though our departure was not confirmed at that time, I knew that expecting our 5th child in 18 months meant that I could use some help no matter what. (Cool side note: They discovered us through lots of prayer...and when God told one of them to add the name "Thompson" to their search terms online. Casa de Amor popped right up!)

There will be an email to all CDA supporters soon describing the "hand over" in more detail, but suffice to say four wonderful people have stepped up to the plate and I'm so excited about everyone's dedication and passion for our children!! This month I've been making strides on the transition process, spending time on the necessary paperwork and training.

Incredible to think that I arrived alone and now there are SEVEN of us!

We’d appreciate your prayers as we all make this huge transition!

Now that we have made the news public, people are worriedly asking me what the boys think. Well here's the answer: If they were in charge of the decisions, they would never have left the US last year after our visit!! They will jump on that plane with excitement when the day comes. That's not to say they comprehend the implications of this move to so many thousands of miles north. Even I am going to struggle with the concept of LIVING in the states and not just visiting. It's going to be a change, for sure!

Stay tuned for more....

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Three Months!!

Time is really flying with #5!!

Happy 3 Months, July 16!

We were busy with big brother's birthday on the 16th, thus the lateness posting.

There are quite a few pictures! And here I was worried that I haven't been taking as many, but I have some from almost every day!!

Our little baby is still growing like a weed!! I haven't had her at the Baby Home recently to weigh her, but my estimate from our adult scale is at least 15 pounds. That would keep her steadily on the 97 percentile curve! Her height is also in the 97 percentile and head circumference is 80. So great!

I am still amazed that I do nothing special for my milk supply, something I worked so hard on with Sophia and still struggled with. If anything, my issue this time has been OVER supply! After having a week of uncomfortable days in a row, almost two weeks ago now I switched her to 6 feeds a day instead of 7-8, and things have been going much better! Around 2 months, she started to spit up quit a bit on some days. Somehow now feeding her less times/day has decreased that issue.

Showing off those chubby thighs! 

This incredibly soft blanket was a thoughtful gift from the Booher family, brought down from the US.

Her face is finally clearing up from all her baby acne!!

Wearing my favorite dress of Sophia when she was little

...Only happened once, though!

Keeping up with her clothes has become a part time job!! She probably could have gone in 0-3 month size from birth. It seemed I was packing up the NB size all too soon, very bittersweet. (How is it that I cannot WAIT for her to be as grown-up and cute and chatty as Sophia, and yet be so sad for her to grow?!)

Daddy says the elephant dress is appropriate...
(The shirt that went with it wouldn't fit over her head so she never wore it!)

By the time I pulled out the 0-3 month clothes, she was almost out of them, too. I quickly got out the 3 month...then only days later, the 3-6 month size... All of this before she was even 3 months! I was flabbergasted! Now she is in 6 month clothes and the pants are too tight and short. I need to unpack Sophia's 6-9 month size clothes!! I remember getting bored with Sophia's clothes, because she wore exactly the size for her age, but this baby can barely wear stuff once or twice before she's busting the buttons, ha.

Our chubby chubby baby, hard at her favorite thing - sleep! :)

Left diaper is Lydia's (name brand, large), right diaper is Sophia's (off-brand, XL). Is there a difference?!

After comparing the girls' diapers one day, I just had to take a picture. Then the boys and I did an experiment and realized that they can share! Crazy! In fact, Sophia ran out of diapers today, and she has been using Lydia's.

Already playing with the brothers (they call her a "campesinita" in this hat, and this is countryside type slingshot)

Learning her "ABCs" already! (The "brother-teacher" was camera-shy)

I keep stuffing her in this 3 month outfit because it's great for a Bolivian winter!


July 1 - Lydia beat daddy at the Beaty game of "rabbit"! ;-)

Happy July 4th (on the 5th)!

Off to church!

Our five firecrackers, oh boy!

When Sophia is asked "who is this?" she now replies "SISTER!"

Big sis - stealing the show as usual!

First intro to SNOW up in the Andean mountains!
Sophia was not impressed; Lydia slept most of our visit.

Keeping warm on cold mornings!

Wearing our Bolivian socks

It's so fun when she's sociable!

A few days ago, Michael commented that she doesn't seem to talk as much as Sophia did as a baby. I told him that several nights in a row, she got VERY verbal about 10 or 11pm, cooing and singing to me. He immediately exclaimed in all seriousness, "Just like a HAMSTER! Lydia is like a hamster, because she only talks at NIGHT!" Oh my, I about died laughing. 

I was going to say "pretty in purple", but I don't think Jake would appreciate that....

 Trying to pose the sisters, but Sophia is MUCH too busy for such boredom...

She has discovered her hands and likes them very much. Today coming back from church, the brothers announced, "Lydia is eating herself STARTING WITH HER HANDS!! AHHH!!"

Best smile caught on camera yet!

Hard to believe that this was her last month "birthday" in Bolivia. Next month we'll be passing through in Brazil, and when she turns five months, we should be in the states! Jake is so excited that she is about to start living up to her name meaning - "traveler". :)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

June Birthdays!

Yeah, you read that right: June! Soon I'll get up the two posts pertinent to today: Joel's birthday and Lydia's 3 months!

June is a double birthday month for us, doubled again by the visit of cousins (alll the way from Washington state) for half of the month!

First was Jake's birthday!

Dinner on the balcony

We were all very glad that he wanted German Chocolate Cake. WOW. I found the most amazing chocolate fudge icing online and that was my favorite part of the cake. Taaaasty!!!

My two chocolate lovers taste-testing the icing

Jake and Joel

(Sophia was bundled in her blanket to keep it from dragging on the ground and getting so dirty, but it was beginning to get cool at night!)

The girls being not quite "Daddy's sunshine" as their new pjs proclaim, ha!

One of my favorite pics of the sisters so far

Nine days later, we had Samuel's 11th birthday!

Jake and I were relieved that this year's "birthday attitude" was vastly improved. (Adjusted expections, perhaps? Having a family is cool, but not Disneyland, Christmas, movie marathon, sleep-over, and all-you-can-eat-junk-food-day all-in-one! Oh, and we still do school the entire week before. Ah-hem.)

He wasted no time in putting together his new lego house!

Lunch at Panchitas Chicken
(Plan B, as the cool place we had planned on for weeks was closed for annual maintenance, bummer)

 Happy little girl at the birthday party!

Singing to Samuel

Happy, much? 

The boys watch Sophia eat goldfish crackers almost daily while we work on school, and now it's becoming a tradition to get each boy his own bag on his birthday to eat all by himself!


The day after Samuel's birthday was cousin Keaton's 4th birthday!

Cousins Sophia and Keaton chowing down

I was holding Lydia all evening and didn't get many pictures. He was a bit astonished at all the fanfare when Globo's staff came to sing to him, though!! Everyone enjoyed the ice cream afterwards.

Less than two weeks later, we had cousin Preston's 9th birthday!!

Lovely day for a birthday at Parque Bicentenario, just a few minutes from our house!

He said he likes chocolate and strawberries...
(The cake shifted a bit in transit!!)

Getting so big!

Playing after the cake and gifts

And as an aside...

How about our soccer team?!

Love it!!

We had so much fun with our visitors and were sad to see them go!