Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sickness and such...

This last week and a half has been super difficult for our family as both Eliana and Owen have come down with bronchitis. Learning how to deal with medical issues in a new country/culture has been interesting. While a lot of more "traditional" (in the sense of go to the doctor get an antibiotic etc.) is available here, we have been investigating homeopathy. Homeopathic doctors and pharmacies are fairly common here in Mexico City. While I had never really considered homeopathy in the States, friends here often use it as the first line of defense rather than going straight to the regular doctor. So far our experience has been great, but it definitely is different.

The first big difference is the amount of time the doctor spends with us. Both homeopaths we have seen have a very relaxed, unrushed approach, asking us lots of questions about all aspects of our lives. It isn't uncommon that an appointment might last an hour. The second big difference is the frequency of the dosis. Often we have to be giving the kids their medicine every half hour or every few hours. The third big difference is how often we talk to our doctor. It isn't uncommon that we check in daily, or sometimes more than once a day to let her know how the kids are doing.

In some ways the homeopathic approach is more work on our side, but I also have been pleased to be able to treat our kids up to this point without having to give them any antibiotics (in my book this is a plus). I have wondered why homeopathy seems to be more popular here than my experience in the States, and I think that part of it comes down to relationship. Relationship is everything here, and homeopathy is definitely a more relational way of healthcare. Homeopathy tends to investigate your health as a whole, and closely monitors changes in symptoms, changing accordingly. On the other hand, it is super easy to acquire prescription drugs here without a prescription! People self medicate all the time. There are also plenty of very good traditional (as in traditional like the States) who take very good care of people as well. All in all healthcare here is complex, but we have enjoyed exploring a new (for us) side of things. Please be continuing to pray that soon we will be back on our feet again (and sleeping at night!).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Of Kings and Turtles

January 6th Mexicans celebrate King's Day, or Epiphany according to the liturgical calendar. It is the day that the church commemorates the three (more or less!) wisemen's visit to Jesus. According to tradition, this is when most Mexican children receive gifts (just as the child Jesus received gifts from the magi) rather than on Christmas. Children all over the country write out their wishlist, not for Santa, but for the Reyes Magos. The list, once written, is folded up and attached to the string on a helium balloon, then sent up to the skies so the kings can receive the wishlist and bring children presents on January 6. This year Eliana participated for the first time. It sort of happened by accident, or rather we didn't realize that this was part of the plan -- a very common occurrence for us! We were over at a friend's house enjoying a meal together. After our meal we took part in the Rosca de los Reyes, which is a circular sweet bread decorated with fruit.

Each person cuts a piece for themself. Hidden within the rosca are little dolls meant to represent the baby Jesus. They look something like this:

If you are lucky enough to find one hidden in your slice of bread then you are responsible to bring tamales for all those in the group on February 2nd. On a side note, our family was part of three different get togethers where we partook in the rosca and every time we got a little doll! There are multiple dolls in each rosca, so it's not unusual to find one. :)

After the rosca the children broke open a piƱata, and someone announced that it was now time for all the kids to write their wishlist for the kings! Eliana, of course, joined right in. After she had "written" her list, I asked her what she was asking the kings for. The answer? Turtles! Kevin and I looked at each other in surprise. We hadn't anticipated adding a pet to our family, but when we thought about it this seemed like a very feasible option. Soooooo, long story short Kevin went to an open air market after we got home that night and found two little turtles that now live in a small pink island on our kitchen table! We plan on getting them some more comfortable accommodations, but haven't quite gotten there yet. Below is a picture of the kids right before they sent their balloons off with their wishlists.

And here are the newest members of our family! We had to get two of course so Owen wouldn't be left out. :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas 2012

As a young child, our family celebrated advent in various ways. The tradition that stuck out to me the most, however, was the years we had a felt advent tree. Every day we would read a scripture and put an ornament on the tree that served as a symbol of Christ's coming. Since having children I have been anticipating being able to celebrate advent with them, and this was the first year that Eliana was at an age to really begin to understand the meaning behind the Christmas season. After doing some research I found a blog that had written out some advent reflections for young children ( which we used as a guide. It was such a fun experience! Eliana would ask all day long when she could open up the next piece of her nativity. She eagerly waited for baby Jesus, knowing that he would be coming. She also would ask us to tell her the Christmas story each day (multiple times a day) and eventually she got to the point where she told the story to her brother! You can check out her version of the story on Leah's Facebook page. Her version has some interesting twists. 

In Mexico Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Families get together for a dinner together around 10 pm, and then open gifts at midnight. Here is a picture of us on Christmas Eve:
Owen didn't quite make it for the celebration, he fell asleep around 8:30 pm and slept soundly the whole time! Here is a picture from earlier in the evening:
We finally went to bed around 2 am. Our hopes were high that Eliana would sleep in, but she was up at seven! Kevin made a special breakfast and Eliana opened presents then we prepared to head to the airport to fly to the States. Our plan had been to stay in Mexico over the holidays, but because Kevin was needed to represent LAM at the Urbana Missions Conference, Leah and the kids headed to California to be with her family. We flew all together to Phoenix and from there parted ways, Kevin to St. Louis and Leah, Eliana and Owen to California. Leah's family waited to celebrate Christmas until the morning of the 26th. All of her sisters were able to come home to be together on the 26th. Here is a picture of Christmas breakfast:
We took advantage of the opportunity to get a picture with all the siblings!
It was sad to be apart during this time, but Kevin had a great time connecting with students at Urbana and also spending more time with the members of the recruiting team from LAM's Miami office.
By January 3rd we were all back together in Mexico. All in all it was a really special season as we were reminded again through the eyes of a child the anticipation of waiting  for our Savior, and the blessing it is to be with family and friends.