Saturday, January 9, 2010

We're moving....across town.

Nope. We're not heading back to the US yet. Just making a move to a bigger apartment a mile or so away from where we live now. This weekend we are making the big move. It is nice to have less to move than ever before, since we pared down a lot before we moved here. Our apartment is amazing and I am so excited about it. It's bigger with 3 bedrooms, so finally Eric is getting an office and I am getting rid of the clutter on our dining table. It has a really nice open floor plan for the living/dining and kitchen with a bar separating the kitchen from the dining room so I can keep an eye on Eric. I am gaining my own sewing space in a corner of our bedroom so I don't have to keep putting away my machine and supplies (one step closer to my own sewing room).

All of these things are great, but there are two other things that make this place an answer to my prayers for easier accessibility.... we are right around the corner from Eric's pre-school so I can walk him to school and take that job away from my already maxed out husband, and we are around the corner from the grocery store (which has an ice cream stand and our favorite pizza restaurant inside). AND, if that wasn't enough, some really great friends with three amazing kids are moving into the apartment right below us!

I'll be posting pictures as soon as we get things set up.

Christmas Dominican-style

We had a really fun, and restful Christmas. We did a lot of fun things, but I think just having a break from the norm was restful in itself. My mom came to visit for 10 days and we were able to show her a lot of the places we love here. She got her fill of her 2 1/2 year old grandson and I got some good mother/daughter time. Here are a few pics:

Eric is sitting in the mango tree in Eric's grandparents yard. I am sure every single grandchild has a picture sitting in this tree, too!

Here we are all dressed up for Christmas Eve dinner at the Abuelos.

Eric with his papa, bis-Abuelo, and Tio.

Princess Paula

Santa brought more trains and big crane to add to the set.

At the Botanical Garden with my mom, cousin Gabriela and Edi.

Walking with Gammy thru the Japanese garden.

Down in the Colonial Zone playing Perico Ripeio, the traditional folk music.

At the beach. So wishing Eric wanted to take posed pictures these days. Impossible to catch a group shot of him complying.

Amazing sunset. Stunning.

Dancing Merengue at our New Year's Eve party.
Eric kicking back on New Year's Eve watching a Thomas video on his new DVD player.
2010 toast. Funny thing, my hand and glass made the picture, but Eric's big mug is blocking me!
Wearing Dominican hats from the countryside (a kind of folk tradition) with Edi and Eric's Aunt Carmen, who was a kindred spirit with my mom.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Feliz Navidad!


It's been QUITE the year in the Hernandez household. We have been living here in the DR for a little over a year and have made some great memories this past year. We started out the year with Little E's big first day of pre-school. He did so well adjusting to an all Spanish pre-school program and has grown so much in his bi-lingual language skills over the past year. He can say all of his colors, numbers, some of the letters, his name, how old he is, and the words to boss us around in BOTH English and Spanish.

February 27th is Independence Day here and the colegio had a celebration. All of the kids dressed up in typical "campesino" attire, which is the costume of the country people of the past.

Eric was so excited to share a childhood memory of his by taking Little E on his first horseback ride by the river in Jarabacoa.

Eric's easter basket contained his very first Thomas the Tank Engine train...and, it has been a Hernandez obsession since. We actually love that his imagination grows as he replays scenes from the videos on his own track. This one train became a fleet.

The view from our apartment. Santo Domingo has become home. We are taking the "bloom where you are planted" attitude.

Along with teaching classes Eric initiated an institute for structural engineering research at the University where he teaches. They have already purchased a "shake table" for earthquake as well as hurricane and wind damage experiments, and have offered engineering courses to local professional engineers. Eric loves working at INTEC and plans to continue helping them grow their master's program in engineering.

Little Eric celebrated his 2nd birthday with Elmo in June.

Eric's dad and family came for a visit in June. Here is Little E with Abuelo.

I've made some fantastic friends, most are missionaries involved with an all English Bible study I attend. Here I am with April enjoying coffee at our favorite spot La Cuchara de Madera.
We celebrated the 4th of July at the U.S. Embassy's annual party. It was a Hawaiian theme to commemorate Hawaii's 50th anniversary as a state. Here we are standing under the fireworks (which you can't see) with our friends Fernandito and Rhina.

My friends from our Bible study. Most are missionaries doing various work all over the country or work in the Embassy. This group of women were lifesavers to me in the early months as I was transitioning.

Already taking after his father playing chess. He can actually identify all of the chess pieces, in Spanish, of course.

Helping Abuela pick mangoes in Jarabacoa during mango season. Gotta love living under a mango tree, as Eric's grandparents do. Can you imagine just plucking them from your yard. Too bad mango season is a short two months!

Eric playing with his friend, Edwin. They were good buddies until Edwin moved with his family to the states. We miss him a lot.

In August we went with Eric's extended family to Samana, my favorite beach area. The long stretches of beach are lined with coconut trees with not one hotel in sight as they are banned from building right on the beach. The header to my blog is a picture from one of our trips.

Zoila and Paula Marie with me and Eric in Samana.

In September Eric started back to pre-school and is in the "big kid" class. He is the youngest in his class and is keeping up. His little friend Esther, who is the oldest in the class, has kind of taken him under her wing and tries to explain things in English if she thinks he doesn't understand. So cute.

In October we got a visit from good friends, Kelly, Steve and Maddie Josti. We, of course, took the opportunity to go to the beach for a few days. Here we are toasting our friends Anne and Eric in the states who had gotten married that day.

The friends are reunited...Eric and Maddie.

One of my very favorite things I do each week is go out to Cercadillo where I work alongside very good friends Ina, Kirsten, Mercy and some local students and missionaries to teach women how to sew and make handcrafts to sell. Here are some of the dear, dear women sewing.

We wish you all the best as you enjoy the Holidays. Join us in remembering that this is the time of year to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus...Emmanuel, God is with us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm here....I promise.

I'm embarrassed at how long it's been since I've posted last, and that I kind of left our news about not having a baby right now hanging in the air. I have had thoughts at odd times about blogging, times when I wasn't near a computer, or we didn't have electricity. I even started downloading pictures from a recent beach trip (click HERE to see the pics) with our friends the Josti's who came to visit and the power went out right in the middle and I gave up. And, on top of it all I have just really been coasting through each week taking it as it comes and trying to enjoy the things that are right in front of leading the weekly discussion about relationships with the Legado student program at our church, planning for and going out to Cercadillo to work with the women, playing with Eric, learning and practicing Spanish with my friend and tutor know everyday things. Cooking, shopping, eating, hosting friends, disciplining and correcting the behavior of a 2 1/2 year old before it goes out of control, spending time with Eric when he comes home after a long day, etc.

I am about to do a year wrap up as a Christmas card to family and friends, as I we are not able to send out a physical card this year. Lot of pictures are coming. But, until then I just wanted to check in and thank you all for hanging with me and giving me the space to take a little breather from the "internets" as Eric calls them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Plans Change...

We're not having a baby after all. I had a miscarriage last week. Actually, it's my second (the first was before I got pregnant with Eric). Why these things happen I don't know. I know the statistics say something like 20% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage, but that doesn't help your hurting heart much. I still wonder why there was a heartbeat one week and all indications were that everything was good and then there wasn't. What happened to this little one? I keep asking this question to God knowing that I won't know the answer. I wrestle with this...the what happened and why question. I am so profoundly sad that I won't be able to be a mother to this baby or that this little one won't be a part of our family here on earth. My heart smiles, though as I consider that this one is with our Heavenly Father, being spared all the pain and sorrow life on earth brings with it.

I keep thinking of Job in the Bible when he was surrounded with calamity from all fronts he said, "Should we accept good from God and not bad, too?" (my paraphrase). A popular song I have sung in church for years has also be on my mind a lot these days. The lyric is, "You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name." My head is asking the questions, my aching heart is choosing to trust God.

I must say a tremendous blessing has been good friends. Our good friends Kelly and Steve were visiting us while all this unraveled and their presence represented a sense of family and home for me. My mother-in-law went out of her way to make sure Little Eric was taken care of. Friends near and far that knew what was going on have been willing to enter into our grief with us. I have made some really good friends over the past year here, friendships for which I am grateful. What has made a deep impression on me is how many people have openly acknowledged the miscarriage and been heartfelt in their sadness, not mincing words, not feeling akward, not covering it over with idle chit chat. This has been refreshing to me as it has helped the grieving process along for me.

So, here we are pressing on and taking it as it comes. Looking for the good in it all and feeling the sadness along the way. My hope is in Him and his promise that my life and the life of my family is in His hands. The day before all of this happened a friend reminded me that God is saying this to me, "For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Then you will have a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)"

Thank you, Lord that your mercy is new every morning. Thank you that I can weep and not fall apart. Thank you that there is hope for more than what I see here on earth. Thank for the incredible husband and child I have right now. You are good. Amen.

* p.s. I have literally been trying to write this for about three days and everytime I actually get a chance to get on the computer and get my thoughts focused the electricity goes out. Today I actually wrote this through four power outtages each time the computer turning off in the middle of a sentence. Is it strange that my 2 1/2 year old knows how to say, "No power or water" ("No hay luz, ni agua). Thank God I am finally done!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guess who is going to be a big brother?

Yep...this cutie...who is getting so tall.
I am due at the end of May. So tired. So sick a lot. SO excited!
BTW...this is why I haven't been blogging much...the crummy, morning sick part.

Altos de Chavon

Last weekend we took a day trip to Altos de Chavon. It was just what we needed to get out of the city and b-r-e-a-t-h-e. It's this little village on top of a hill overlooking a river that was built as a replica of an italian village. It is so sweet and quaint with cobblestone paths, little art shops, a cafe, romatic restaurants, waterfalls, and a amphitheater where they often host concerts (Kenny G is coming up, Andrea Bocelli was here in the Spring). I felt like I was in Europe, definately not like the Caribbean, and I didn't want to leave. Can't wait to go back and hope we can make it a romantic trip next time.

Here are a few pics from the day:

The expert map reader.
Eric and Ericito on the stage at the amphitheater.

Pretending to be in Europe waiting to hear the 3 Tenors.

The Church in the middle of the village. You can't see the inticate cobblestone patterns on the ground, but they were amazing.

Happy boys.

The whole village is built overlooking a river.

Here is some of the mosiac work on the buildings.

Eric, me, Edi and Little E.