Texas Routines

In the past few months, we’ve gone to stores and garage sales to get all the things we needed for our home.  We’ve adjusted to a new altitude, new food, and a new schedule in which mommy doesn’t have to rush off to work and in which Daddy has to leave a lot earlier than he used to in Ecuador.  So far, we’ve come down with the following weekly routine.

Monday – Mommy gets up earlier and runs on the treadmill.  Then after breakfast, we go to the pool store with a sample of the pool water to get it tested so that we know how much cleaning agent we need for its weekly cleaning.  When Cristina and Stephen bought the small 8 foot wide by 3 foot deep pool, they didn’t realize how much maintenance would go into keeping it clean.  But they are glad they have it in this hot, Texan weather. After running errands, we come back home for lunch and an afternoon nap.  Mommy is grateful to get all three kids sleeping between the hours of 2pm and 4pm.  She usually gets the house swept and mopped during that time.  Then Stephen comes home to play with the kids before dinner.

At some point during the day, we also work on Jared’s Awana lesson for the week and his memory verses and try to work on some of his phonics lessons.  Right now, he is going through the capital letters of the alphabet.  Luke is trying to keep up with him, but he’s not quite figuring it all out.  He doesn’t seem to mind.  He is just content to repeat everything Jared says.

Tuesday – Mommy tries to get on the treadmill before the kids get up.  Then, after breakfast, we all go to the library for story time with one of the librarians.  This is usually followed by an arts and craft time.  Jared and Luke have fun doing the craft and then selecting new books to check out of the library and bring home.  Then it is lunch time and nap time. Mommy spends some time on the phone with her advisor talking about what she needs to do to get her Ph.D. dissertatation written…ever so slowly.  Then she tries to get some dusting done before the kids wake up.

At the Lake Jackson Library

Wednesday – After breakfast, we all meet up with our “play date” buddies.  A lady I met at the library and her four year old son have come with us to the Texas Sea Center (a Fish hatchery), the Gulf Coast Observatory or visit each other’s homes.  This keeps the boys busy for the rest of the morning.  Wednesday evenings, Jared also attends Awana at a church in Clute.  It’s the only church in the area that has an Awana program.

Posing in front of a statue at the Sea Center of Texas

Thursday – After Mommy runs on the tread mill, breakfast is served a little more quickly, because we all have to rush out the door for her to make it in time to her weekly women’s Bible study that she started attending last month.  Most of the time, she arrives at the Bible study about 5-10 minutes late, but no one seems to mind too much.

Friday – This is usually Mommy’s day to wind down and do some things with the kids around the house.  Sometimes they just go out in the yard so the boys can get out some excess energy before nap time. Sometimes they’ve gone garage sale shopping on Fridays and Saturday.  Some evenings, they have gone to watch a BCS football game.

Saturday – There isn’t really a schedule for Saturday.  We’ve gone to garage sales, or driven to the beach or played around the house.  Just this past week, we joined a group of people to do a 5km race sponsored by the school.  Jared and Luke ran a short race for little kids.  Stephen and Cristina ran the 5km race.  It is usually the day that weekly shopping gets done.

Sunday – We go church shopping.  Yes, eventually, we will decide to go to one church on a regular basis.  Right now, we are making sure to visit as many as we can before we make that decision.

So, this is a typical schedule at the Meier household.  Cristina is enjoying being a home maker and spending time with her three kids.

August Prayer Requests

We have a few prayer requests as we wrap up our summer months and prepare for a new school year at the Alliance Academy International.  Please be in prayer with us for the following situations:

1) Stephen’s Intensive Spanish Classes – That Stephen will get the most he can out of a three week intensive class in Spanish.  After finishing one week of classes, Stephen has felt challenged in taking in and retaining the mountain of language that is being thrown at him each day. 

2) Cristina’s Ph.D. program – That Cristina will continue to be motivated as she comes into her final year in the program.  She needs to retake two parts of her comprehensive exams in the fall, as well as work on the first three chapters of her dissertation so that she can defense her “dissertation proposal” in the fall.  If she passes this defense, she will be able to finish writing her proposal and possibly graduate in May of 2010.

3) Renewing Our Visas – That the process will take place quickly and that we might be able to obtain Ecuadorian residency.  We are in the process of renewing our yearly missionary visas for the family.  We had managed to get Luke’s Ecuadorian citizenship (because he was born in Ecuador) and his paperwork was completed before we went to the U.S., but we were running late in obtaining missionary visas for the rest of the family.  We were told to return to the country under tourists visas so we could get the visas renewed after we returned.  As of now, the school’s lawyer has all our passports and legal documents to see if it might be possible for us to obtain Ecuadorian residency based on the fact that we have a son who is an Ecuadorian citizen.  If we do obtain residency, we no longer have to obtain a missionary visa every one or two years, but would be able to pay a one time fee for being a resident of the country.

4) The RE-scheduling of the 2009-2010 school year – That the administrators will be able to make wise decisions that include the recent changes in the scheduling of school days. In past years, the Alliance Academy had started their school year in mid to late August.  However, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education informed the school this summer that they were not allowed to begin the school year before the first Monday of September.  Therefore, the first day of school is being moved to September 7th.  Recently, they’ve also expressed to the school that they are required to have 200 school days, of which 190 days must be “educational.”  This has the potential of increasing the school year for two solid weeks. Be in prayer for our scheduling team as they work out all the details.

A Busy Mamma

Mamma and Jared at the Beach

Mamma and Jared at the Beach

At the end of the day, when I’m so tired that I start falling asleep at 8pm, I have to stop and wonder what has kept me busy all day long.  I have to remind myself that I do have a lot on my plate and not to worry too much about not getting everything done.  So, I just thought I would share a little bit of my daily routine with all of you to show you why I haven’t had much time to do any blogging.

6am – Either I wake up or Jared wakes me up with his babbling or by calling out my name. I check on the boys and change their diapers, start warming Luke’s morning bottle, and get Jared’s bottle of formula mixed. 

6:30 am – Stephen usually takes over the feeding of Luke so that I can pump milk to store for him for later.  I usually end up trying to entertain Jared and Luke while I’m doing that. 

7am – If I’m done with pumping, I either start bathing the baby who needs a bath that day and get them dressed in their clothes.

7:30am – This is when I aim to jump on the treadmill and run for 30 minutes.  I either set Jared up with some books to look at or have him watch a Dora video on the computer.

8:00am – I’m cooling down from my run on the treadmill and getting showered up. Jared is usually still being entertained by books or his toys or a Dora video.

8:30 – I get dressed and start preparing Jared’s breakfast.  I aim to have him fed by nine am so that I can eat breakfast and feed Luke who is ready for his second breakfast by then.

9:00 -10:00 – I’m usually wrapping up breakfast and cleaning up the dishes in the kitchen. 

10:00 – Jared’s nanny arrives.  Sometimes she takes Jared out so that I can get a little bit of work done on the computer.  Other times, I take Jared with me to run errands, pay bills, etc.

10:00-12pm – These hours fly as I take care of errands or play with my babies or type on the computer. 

12pm – It’s time to feed Luke again, give Jared his lunch and put him down for an afternoon nap before I have to go to work. 

1pm – My afternoon classes begin.

3:30 – The school day ends and I check my school e-mail and wrap things up for the day.

4pm – I go home so the nanny can leave.  She’s already fed Luke a bottle, so I need to use the pump again and store more milk.

5pm – It’s time to make dinner.

6pm – We eat dinner together and I feed Luke at some point in time.

7pm – 8pm – Stephen helps me wash the dishes and I play with Jared and Luke. This is also the best time to make phone calls or Skype or family and friends.

8pm –  We start getting the boys ready for bed and diapers are changed.

8:30pm – Jared gets his teeth brushed.  I read him a bed time story and dad gives him a couple ounces of formula to help him go down for the night.  While Daddy is doing that final step, I’m nursing Luke one last time before putting him to bed. 

By this point, all I want to do is go to bed.  I’ve found that if I want to do blogging or catch up on e-mail or grade papers for school, I have to do so over the weekend when it works out.