Christmas with the MK Meier Family

The timing for Stephen’s trip to the U.S., allowed for many Christmas gifts to be brought back to Ecuador.  Stephen spent one night with my siblings in Gainesville, Florida and they gave him many gifts to bring back to Ecuador with him.  We had also saved up gifts purchased over the summer to give to the boys for Christmas.  So, we have a tree loaded with presents when the boys woke up on Christmas morning.

Jared climbs through the tunnel of his new tent.

Every year, Christmas morning becomes a little more meaningful as the boys grow to understand and appreciate what the season means just a little bit more.  At nearly three and a half, Jared was really starting to understand the concept of Christmas.  He was able to help pick out some presents he wanted to give his brother and his mommy and daddy.  We counted down the “naps” until Christmas, since Jared sleeps twice in a 24 hour period. 

I woke up on Christmas morning before anyone else.  Usually, I find it difficult to get out of bed, but the adrenaline of the upcoming day got me up early.  I puttered around the house getting last minute things done and waiting for the boys to wake up.  A surge of excitement welled up inside me as I heard the boys stirring and Jared started talking to Luke.  I grabbed my camera and waited to take a picture of the boys as they came out of their bedroom for the first time to see the tree, the presents, the bulging stockings and…of course…their first present, a small Discovery kids tent with a tunnel attachment already set up in the middle of the living room. 

Luke zooms through the tent tunnel with great excitement.

Jared came out of the bedroom first.  His eyes grew wide as he looked into the living room.  However, he retreated quickly back into his bedroom before I could get a picture.  I could hear him talking to Luke and trying to coax him to leave the bedroom. 

After about five more minutes, I see Luke walk out of the room, with Jared literally pushing him out the door. 

“Look at the presents, Luke!” Jared was saying. 

They were both surprised to see me standing there, and got a bit side tracked by my Christmas greetings.  But eventually they made it to the living room and their new tent.  They were so excited and begin to climb through the tent and the tunnel immediately.  I let them play a little while, and then told them that they needed to drink their morning milk, because it was already 7:30 in the morning.  They had both wet through their pajamas, so I changed them into new sleepwear.  By then, Stephen was awake. 

We let the boys open their stockings first.  By this year, Jared was beginning to understand the concept of digging everything out of the stocking before focusing on one object.  Luke, however, wanted to stop and play with every toy he pulled out of his stocking before trying to get anything else out of his stocking.  It took a bit of convincing to turn his attention back to the stocking when he had so many intriguing toys lying around him.

Jared and Luke open their stockings with a little help from Mamma.

 After the stockings were finally empty, it was time for the boys to take a bath and get ready for breakfast.  So, we all got ourselves cleaned up and filled our bellies before we tackled the Christmas tree loaded with wrapped gifts. 

By the time breakfast was done, the dishes washed and put away, it was already 10am.  Stephen read the story of the three wise men to Jared and Luke to explain why we give gifts to each other on Christmas day.  The night before, we had read the Christmas story of Jesus being born, so we didn’t repeat it again that morning. 

Then, we began to open presents.  We let Luke be the first to select any gift to give to the person to whom it belonged.  That was Jared’s present.  Next, Jared selected a gift.  We let Luke and Jared continue selecting the gifts.  Luke was the first to get tired of the gift-opening process.  After selecting gifts for the fourth or fifth time, Luke began to grab gifts, hand them to his dad and then take off to play with a gift he had already opened. 

Jared wanted to help everyone open their gifts, too. 

We had to pause a few times to allow the boys to try out their new gifts.  By the time all the gifts had been unwrapped, it was past noon.  We gave the boys their lunch and put them down for a nap without any struggle.  They fell asleep almost immediately.  Who knew that opening gifts all morning could be so tiring?

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From Marina Hernandez to Jenny Pilataxi

Marina accepts a good-bye present on her last day at work.

At the end of March, our little family went through a painful change.  The lady who we had hired to help me take care of the boys, Marina Hernandez, discovered that she had two completely blocked arteries in her heart.  Her doctor told her that she needed to stop working and get more rest in order to prevent a heart attack.  He told her that is she kept working, she most likely would suffer a heart attack soon. He felt it was time for her to retire since she is almost 60 years old.

The news hit me hard, because I realized how much my boys had gotten attached to their “nana” (the name they had given Marina).  I also was sad at the thought of not seeing Marina again.

That meant I had to look for someone new to help me with my boys and with the house work.  Within a week, God made it possible for the maid of another missionary family to start working for us.  Jenny Pilataxi has three children.  Two are fully grown, but her youngest is only nine years old.  She has also worked for missionary families her entire career as a nanny.

Although it has been an adjustment to have someone new working for us, we are excited about having her help.  She is actively trying to help me teach my boys more Spanish words and she said that she will help me potty train Jared when he shows us that he is ready for it. (He hasn’t quite gotten there yet.)

We are excited to have a Christian working for us who is both trustworthy and full of energy and excitement about caring for my children.