August Update: Another Fall Approaching

Date: August 28, 2010
Location: Quito, Ecuador

It is hard to believe that the summer is already ending and that the fall season (and a new school year) are fast approaching.  I apologize for staying silent these past few months.  The end of the school year and summer busy-ness kept me away from the computer most of the time.  Please go to our blog to get caught up on the recent events and happenings in our family life and our ministry here in Quito, Ecuador.

You will find….

1) Jared’s Milestones (Family News)
It’s hard to believe that our first born is already three years old!  Find out some of the new things he has accomplished recently

2) Stories of a Fearless Luke (Family News)
Watching Luke’s personality develop has been both interesting and a little scary as he launches fearlessly into toddlerhood.

3) Two Plus One Equals Three (Family News)
Find out what will become the new equation of the Meier family

4) Changing Caregivers AGAIN (TCK Views)
After only four months of working for us, Jenny had to resign at the end of July.  However, she did introduce us to her niece, Sonia, who has been working for us for the past three weeks.

5) World Cup Fever (TCK Views)
Our experiences watching the 2010 Fifa World Cup games in Ecuador

6) Summary of our Summer Travels (TCK Views)
Some highlights of what we did during our travels to the U.S.

7) Changes for the new school year (Ministry)
Find out what is new and different about the 2010-2011 school year at AAI

Our prayer request list is also here if you wish to join us in prayer for the items that are most pressing on our hearts.

Sincerely,

The MK Meier Family

Stephen, Cristina, Jared, Luke & “little kidney bean”

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Meier Prayer Requests for September

Meier Family (August 2010)

As we begin the new 2010-2011 school year, please keep us in prayer for the following needs:

1) Financial – We had a tough summer this year.  Our renter moved out of the townhouse we own in West Virginia at the end of June, just as we were needing the extra money for our summer trip to the U.S.  Fortunately, we only went one month without renters.  Our new West Virginia real estate agency found renters to move into the home on the first of August.  However, we are still recovering from the deficit created for the month of July. 

2) Future prospects – Stephen and I are looking at making this our final year ministering at the Alliance Academy International of Quito, Ecuador.  We are looking at other international schools where we can continue to minister or to a Christian school in the United States.  Please join us in prayer for wisdom and discernment as we make a decision as to where we will move after this school year is finished.

3) New pregnancy – After two pregnancies without any complications, Cristina is trying not to worry about anything going wrong with this third pregnancy.  Keep this new child in prayer that he/she will develop to be a healthy new addition to their family.  Their first doctor’s appointment is scheduled for next Tuesday, August 31 and they believe she is about eight weeks (roughly two months) pregnant.

4) Raising godly sons – Be in prayer with us as we are raising our sons, Jared and Luke, to be godly examples to those around them as they learn about the world around them and the God who created it all.

5) New school year – Be in prayer with us for the new teachers as they start a new year in a new school and learning a new system.  We have around 30 new teachers for middle and high school alone.   Also be with the returning teachers that they will find new passion for their classes and their ministry to the students they will teach this year.

Two Plus One Equals Three

The test that came out positive

This following week, Stephen and Cristina and the boys are going to visit Cristina’s obstetrician to talk about a new discovery she made at home a few weeks ago.

 She was noticing a slight difference in her body at the end of the month of July.  Early in August, she took a home pregnancy test that came out…positive. 

So, we are ready to announce to the world that the Meier family is planning to expand to include a third child sometime next spring. 

If all is going as can be predicted, I am currently eight weeks into my pregnancy and should be do in early April.  We would appreciate your prayers for a healthy pregnancy.  I know….I know….some people are also saying, “I hope you have a girl this time!”  We’ll see what God blesses us with as two plus one will equal three little ‘MK’ meiers in about seven months.

We will keep you updated as time goes by.

Summary of our Summer Travels

Our summer officially began with our summer trip to the U.S.  We left Quito on the morning of Saturday, July 3.  We arrived at the airport shortly before 6am with four suitcases, two car seats, two backpacks, a diaper bag and a stroller.  Luke was strapped into the stroller and Jared did the big boy thing and walked beside us.  After lugging our entire luggage to the international airport, we found out that we really had to check in at the national gate, because our first stop was in Guayaquil (a coastal city in Ecuador). 

After we finally got checked in at the correct location, we didn’t have any major incidences until we found ourselves waiting in the airport in Guayaquil for our next flight to Miami, Florida.  Our flight was delayed for over an hour.  This made us a little nervous, because we had a connecting flight in Miami to Orlando. 

We arrived in Miami with about 50 minutes to find all of our luggage, recheck all our luggage to the next flight and then go from the international wing of the airport to the national wing to make our flight to Orlando.  The ladies in Guayaquil had suggested that if we didn’t make our schedule flight that we could always take the 10pm flight to Orlando which would arrive at 11pm.  We weren’t too thrilled about that idea, because we still had a two hour drive from Orlando to Gainesville where we would be staying with family.

Somehow we managed to make our scheduled flight and arrived in Orlando as planned at 8pm.  However, not all our luggage made it onto our flight with us.  Fortunately, both car seats did arrive.  But one suitcase had been bumped to the later flight.  It was the suitcase that had all of Cristina’s personal items and all the mail we were planning to drop off in the post office for people at school. 

The representative at American Airlines was very helpful and told us that they would personally deliver the missing piece of luggage to the place we were staying in Gainesville.  As promised, someone came by at 5pm the following day with the suitcase. 

Thus began our adventures in the U.S.  We spent a couple days in Florida visiting with Cristina’s brother and sister in law, her sister and brother in law.  They had each given birth to their first sons.  It was fun to spend some time with the new nephews.  Cristina’s bachelor brother, Tim, also spent some time with them.

After spending 4th of July in Florida, Stephen and Cristina packed up their rental car and two young sons and drove up to northern Virginia.  The on-line directions suggested it would be a 13 hour trip.  With two babies in two, it ended up being a 16 and ½ hour trip.  But we all made it to the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia in one piece.  We took a week to spend time with friends, supporters and members of our ‘home’ church who lived in the area. 

We were also able to meet our new realtor while in Virginia.  At the time that our tenant decided to leave our home, our realtor also told us that we would need to find someone else to take care of our property for us.  It seemed that God worked out the timing perfectly, because we were able to meet our new realtor in person a week after we signed a contract to have them care for our property.

During our time, we were able to attend church for their Wednesday night service and all of their Sunday services.  Our sons also got to participate in the first night of the church’s VBS program.  Jared rode a horse for the first time in his life.  Luke really liked to songs that they learned that night.

Link on Facebook (you’ll need to be a member of facebook and be on our friend status)http://www.facebook.com/Stephen.CristinaMeier?v=app_2392950137#!/video/video.php?v=423053256650

Monday morning, we left Stephens City, Virginia and drove to Marietta, Georgia to visit some friends.  It was a good half way point between northern Virginia and Mobile, Alabama.  The following morning, we traveled down there to spend time with Stephen’s sister, Susan and her family.  It was a short visit of about 24 hours.  But Jared and Luke enjoyed their time with their cousins, Zoe, Connor and Gavin.

Link to a Kodak Album: http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/sharing/shareRedirectSwitchBoard.jsp?token=881696395506%3A251583500&sourceId=533754321803&cm_mmc=eMail-_-Share-_-Photos-_-Sharer

Wednesday afternoon, we drove back to Gainesville, Florida where Cristina’s relatives were waiting.  Cristina’s parents, Steve and Helen Cobb, had also flown up from the country of Guatemala to spend a few days with them.  We hung out, celebrated Jared’s third birthday a little early and took a trip to Neptune Beach.  Jared and Luke had a lot of fun playing in the sand.

For our final week in the U.S., we stayed in the Gainesville area, finishing up our shopping and enjoying some of the local sites.  We took the boys to a local splash park one morning.  The boys really enjoyed playing in the water.  We also took the boys to a museum located in the University of Florida.  Jared especially enjoyed the live butterfly exhibit.

We flew back to Quito on Saturday, July 24.  It was the most stress-free trip I had experienced yet.  The only delay was in leaving Miami.  Our flight was delayed for about 45 minutes due to cleaning of the aircraft.   But we still arrived in Quito before the boys’ bedtime.

January Greetings

Date: January 2, 2010
Location: Quito, Ecuador

Packing up our Christmas decorations on New Year’s Eve has become one of our yearly traditions.  In the midst of wrapping up Christmas lights and packing small ornaments, I found myself wondering where the time went.  The last time this Meier family sent out an update was the end of October.  Now, a new year has already begun.

Sorting through all the events that have taken place in the last two months is almost as challenging as making sure that I get all our Christmas decorations packed away for another season.  Invariably, I will tape the “Christmas box” shut before I find that one last bobble or Christmas kitchen towel that I forgot to pack.  It usually ends up in a little plastic bag sitting on top of the Christmas box.

As I sort through my recent memories, I’ll try to remember those that are the most significant.  Please visit our new posts to find out about the following “happenings” in the lives of the MK Meier Family in Quito, Ecuador:
Current Prayer Requests for the Meier Family (Home Page)
– A Thanksgiving Trip and a “Compassion” Visit (Ministry)
– Nearing “half time” as the first semester comes to an end (Ministry)
– How Stephen broke his thumb bone playing Flag Football (Family News)
– Is Jared ready to be potty trained or not? (Family News)
– Luke nears his first birthday and first steps (Family news)
Christmas Ills and Good Wills (Family News)
– The amazing fruits and vegetables of Ecuador (TCK Views)

We are grateful to each of you for your friendship, love and support even during these times that we do not keep in touch as often as we should.  Give us a “shout out” when you have the time through whichever communication tool you are most comfortable with: e-mail, Facebook, Blog comments, Phone call to our Florida Vonage number or Skype.

Sincerely,

Cristina Meier (for the rest of the Meier family)

Christmas Ills and Good Wills

The Christmas season brought good will and a few ills to the Meier Family this year.  Apparently, there was a stomach virus spreading among some of the students and staff during the last week of school before Christmas vacation. 

It was during that week that Jared began to throw up his meals and started having some problems with diarrhea.  I assumed he might have been reacting to the amoeba medicine given to him by his doctor.  However, Luke started having the same symptoms during our Christmas break.  By Christmas Eve, both Stephen and I were also feeling ill. We had to decline a Christmas dinner invitation because we were trying to recover.

A Meier Family Christmas Pose

In spite of having weak stomachs, we were able to enjoy Christmas day together.  I actually started feeling better on Christmas day.  Jared had finally recovered from his symptoms and baby Luke was able to keep most of his food down that day.  We were able to talk to our extended family on Skype at different times during the day.

And the family who invited us over for a Christmas meal decided to bring the food to us, so that we could have “a taste of Christmas” at home.

By New Year’s Eve, each of us had fully recovered from our ills.  And I think Little Luke is trying to make up for all the meals he lost during his illness by being hungry all the time.

It will be a Christmas holiday that we will not soon forget.

A Three Week Visit “Home”

It only took three weeks and two days for this Meier family to travel between two different continents to visit the West Coast, the East Coast, three different time zones and eight different states (as well as the District of Columbia).  This travel included four days of air travel and eight days of car travel.  The longest day of car travel was 14 hours between the Northern Virginia area and Jacksonville, Florida.

Needless to say, the infant Meier boys (Jared and Luke) became expert travel companions during that time. Many visits were made between those traveling days. 

Our journey began when we flew out of Quito, Ecuador on June 23 and arrived in Miami, Florida.  We spent one night at a hotel before flying out the next day in the direction of Portland, Oregon and the home of Stephen’s parents (Rudy and Linda Meier). 

Stephen’s parents retired from the mission field in October of 2008 and had never seen their grandchildren in person.  We spent a week with them, as well as with Stephen’s sister, Lisa, his brother, Kurt, and some of his other relatives to took the time to visit.  While in Portland, we were able to go to the beach and visit the zoo. 

At Cannon Beach in front of "Haystack" Rock

At Cannon Beach in front of "Haystack" Rock

On July 1st, we traveled back to Orlando, Florida, where Cristina’s sister, Anita Gamblin, picked us up from the airport.  We spent the July 4th weekend visiting with her and her husband, Nick; with Cristina’s brother, Philip Cobb and his wife, Chrissy; and with Cristina’s brother Tim Cobb (who had recently returned home from a year’s service in Iraq).

We stayed with them through the weekend.  We attended Anita and Nick’s church where we had the privilege of hearing the pastor announce Anita’s first pregnancy to the entire congregation. She is due January 28.

We began our car traveling adventures on the morning of July 6th.  Stephen picked up our “premium” car rental, which had enough room in the back for two car seats and “Mamma.” We traveled to the Mobile, Alabama area to visit Stephen’s sister, Susan Blanton and her family.  Susan and Shannon have three kids.  Their oldest daughter is almost eight. Connor is about a year and a month older that Jared and their son, Gavin, is almost a month older than Luke.  The cousins had a lot of fun together. 

We left Mobile on the 8th of July to travel to Georgia and stay with some friends of Cristina’s, Liz and Dave Hansen.  The next morning, we traveled to Virginia Beach to spend one night there with another of Cristina’s friends, Kelly Head and her husband Jason.  They have two girls, Julianna (4) and Victoria (1), who entertained our boys quite well for the evening. We also managed to visit some of Stephen and Cristina’s friends the following morning.  We met up with Ken and Betty Dahm for breakfast and Jeff Anderson for lunch.  After lunch, we traveled to the Northern Virginia area to visit our church family for the weekend. 

While we were in Stephens City, Stephen wanted to run a race.  He found one in the heart of D.C. that was taking place on Saturday, July 11th at Rock Creek Park.  We all woke up at 4:30 am so that Stephen could make it to D.C. for his 7:30 race.  While we were there, we visited some good friends of ours that we had met while living in South Korea (Alex and Teresa Harrington).  We spent some time with them after the race and then ate lunch together before heading back to Stephens City. 

The following morning, we spent most of our time at church.  We spoke at both church services, the Sunday school class and the 6pm evening service.  We did manage to fit some time in during the afternoon to visit with some dear friends who used to be next-door neighbors to us during our first year of marriage (Brooke and Darrell Frick).  They had recently had the addition of their first baby to the family.  So, we got to meet little three-month-old Jacob while we were there.

The morning of July 13 was another early one for us.  My Yahoo! map directions stated that it would take 12 hours to drive from Stephens City, VA to Jacksonville, Fl.  So, we left at 5:30am with the goal of making it to Jacksonville by dinnertime.  Even with multiple stops along the way, we made it by 6:30pm. 

We spent the night with Cristina’s cousin and her family.  She had also given birth to a second daughter about two weeks after Luke was born.  Her older daughter was already 5 years old.  We spent the following morning together and then drove down to Gainesville to spend two more nights with Cristina’s family.

During that time, Philip and Chrissy, closed on their home to become homeowners for the first time. We all came over to “pray over” their new home.  When we got to the second guest room, Philip and Chrissy mentioned that they weren’t sure what they how they would use it.  They said it might be another room for guests or “possibly a baby’s room sometime in the future.”

After eating dinner together on July 15, Stephen and Cristina came home to do all the final packing of their things.  The following morning, they would be driving to Miami, Florida and flying back to Quito on a 5:10pm flight.

We made our final long road trip on July 16th.  This trip was only five hours long.  After several days of six to twelve hour road trips, this trip seemed a lot faster.  At least, that is how Cristina felt.  Poor Stephen was definitely getting tired of the driving.  He wouldn’t let Cristina assist him with much of the driving, because she had forgotten her driver’s license in Ecuador and was driving illegally each time she got behind the wheel.

People have asked us various times how the boys handled the driving.  We have to respond with awe at how well they did.  Yes, there were some fussy moments as we neared the boy’s mealtime while on the road.  However, toys, games, occasional DVDs and snacks (for Jared), chew toys (for Luke) helped to keep them busy.  We also drove no more than three hours at a time, so that Jared could run around and stretch his legs and so that Mamma could feed baby Luke, who was still doing 95% Mamma’s milk for his daily meals.

I think one thing Cristina will never forget this particular trip was the challenge of having to change diapers for two babies.  She had a new appreciation for clean restrooms with quality diaper changing tables.  It was also the first time that she realized how few airplanes actually come equipped with a diaper changing table in their restrooms.  The airplanes that did had only one diaper-changing table on the entire plane. 

It is also the last flight that both boys will be “lap-riders.” Jared just turned two years old, which means he will no longer ride for free on an airplane.

This summer trip was an adventure that the entire family will not soon forget.

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The two pregnant aunts pose with their tired and fussy nephews.

The two aunts pose with their tired and fussy nephews.