Sunday, December 30, 2007

More snow

We spent the morning on Mt. Hood playing in the snow! The kids sledded a very little bit while John found a leftover fire from campers and got it going. It was COLD and took a while to thaw out afterwards, but was fun to play in for awhile!


So the scenery outside my window has changed a lot in these weeks! From the drive to Puerto Plata with blue ocean to the drive up to Mt. Hood with white snow!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Primos y Hermanos

So I've got the best family, I'll just start with that. Tonight we went to my cousin, David's house and had a cousins get-together. Dennis had a special cake written on to celebrate the occasion! As I sat there listening to everyone talk, I was just really proud of them. How we've all changed so much since we were little. We used to play together and they would make me skirts out of ferns and crowns from dandilions. Now Matt has been to Iraq as a Marine, David is married with 3 brilliant kids, John is married too and has an amazing family, Dennis is a doctor and married to's been really special to step back a bit and just be thankful for each one of them, for their support and love and encouragement.


These past few days have been visiting with more family and friends! My Dixon grandparents (top left) came to visit and it was really nice to see them and talk a bit.
We went to Salem and were treated to dinner by the Dixon crew followed by a few games of Mancala, which is now the official best game ever.
I was able to meet up with my highschool friend Aaron this afternoon and loved it! Has it really been almost 10 years since high school, good grief!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Last night my cousins David, Katie, and Bridget all came over with my Aunt Kim and we got to spend the evening together. It has been probably 6-ish years since we have all seen each other so it was nice catching up and spending time together. How quickly the years go by, no??

McCool Christmas

The Dixons packed up and headed to my grandparents (The McCools) in the afternoon to celebrate Christmas with the rest of the family. It was really nice seeing everyone together once again, especially the little kids that change so quickly...the last time I saw baby Ellie was the day she was born!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


What could make Christmas any better?? SNOW!!!!!!!!!! It started snowing and kept snowing enough to stick and make a snowman! I called my friends in the Dominican Republic to share the news...I wish they could be here too. Definitely a white Christmas, perfect!

Merry Christmas

Dixon Christmas

We had the Dixon Christmas last night after Dennis and Abby arrived. The kids were showered with lots of presents, not forgetting every Star Wars figure created! It's been a few years since we have all had Christmas together so it was nice having us all together. Basil (my cat) decided not to join us as it was a bit too much for him this year. This morning we ushered in Christmas with oatmeal pancakes, scones, pepper bacon, and hash browns. Now that's Christmas!!!

Good News

Dennis and Abby made it in last night!


We went to Lloyd Center (the mall) a few days ago to the Winter Wonderland of the Christmas decorations and watched the kids show-off their ice skating skills!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

We are Family

The best part about being back in Oregon?? Family!

Friday, December 21, 2007

First days

Back in Oregon. I don't remember it being this cold. With a coat and a scarf though, I think I'll make it! I went to the store with my mom grocery shopping yesterday which was fun...there are just so many choices. I didn't know they even made 7 kinds of Oreos yet alone carried all of them on the shelves of Winco! The avocados and papayas were surprisingly small and expensive, hence the picture!

My cat is great...he is bigger than I remember but then again, everyone used to comment about how big he was.

Last night I got together with my high school friends Jenny, Jen, and Bethany. Years have gone by since we have all been together like that and yet, it is like we have never been apart. We talked and talked and it was amazing to see where life has taken each one of us.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I made it to Oregon and it is COLD (note cold face on top right)! I was thankful for my coat and hat soon after I got in. We made a stop at Taco Bell on the way home which was's been awhile since tostadas. Lots of things ahead over these next two weeks, hopefully lots of family and friends and eating of Mexican food!

Leaving the DR

Yesterday was Candace's Bday and also doubled as the day to head to the States! We started our morning (top left) at the DR version of Starbucks which was amazing as always. We left in the afternoon and said goodbye to our wonderful DR but were excited to get to do it together. It was surprisingly hard to leave, even though we both know it's only 2.5 weeks! We had a good time on the plane together and laughed a lot, cried a bit, and watched a movie together. We had our first real Starbucks together in NY after we went through customs and then we parted ways to our own homes. I'm so glad we got to do that part together, makes it all a bit easier!

Happy bday Josue and Candace!

Tuesday was Josue's bday so we went to his house after church to celebrate. I brought carrot cake which was a first for most of them! We were there late enough to welcome in Candace's bday at midnight! It also turned into the good-bye for Candace and me as we left the next day

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Almost ready

Candace and I just checked in online. We'll be in seats 6A & B and having a great 4 hour and 8 minute flight together.

One more day of sun

We spent the morning walking around Sosua and made a little side trip to the beach. Hard to imagine what tomorrow will be like on the other side of (seemingly) the world! Looking forward to seeing my family and friends after a whole year...that's a long time! Hoping to see the snow, nervous about the cold, excited to see everyone (including my cat).

Monday, December 17, 2007


So we're in our new apartment and love it. We haven't bought a stove or fridge yet because, well, they're expensive. In the meantime, so long as we have electricity (which we don't nightly) we've been using all sorts of kitchen appliances. The skillet is the most useful as it can cook all sorts of things and even make popcorn. But a few nights ago we wanted to boil pasta and only had a kettle, so we went for it. With a bit of persistance and time, it worked! We are now thinking about publishing a "Cooking by kettle" book for all to use.

Happy Birthday

December is filled with birthdays here. Just from the young folks at church there are at least 6 birthdays! We celebrated on Saturday night with cake and games and talking.

Candace's birthday is on the 19th and so we had birthday dinner of tacos (American style!) and ice cream pie to celebrate. Not long after was a game of Uno and endless games of Guess Who...always a crowd-pleaser. We leave on Wednesday, her birthday, so tonight was the best night to get together. I'm thankful for us heading out on the same flight together until New York where hopefully we can have a birthday Starbucks before switching planes to Canada and Oregon...what a different world it will be!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Last day of school

The last day of school. Mixed feelings as we see the kids for the last time for a few weeks but also share in the joy of a big party and gift-giving. We filled bags full of grapes, apples, raisins, nuts, and candy...things that we're all used to, but special treats to these kids. They were also given a big piece of cake to take home to their families. We had a special meal and the kids later returned with their families for a presentation by each class. It was neat to see the kids in these roles, so proud to have a part in something important, showing off to their family and friends. I wish I could describe fully what I feel to be here. I don't deserve this. I don't deserve to have these kids in my lives, but I am thankful everday that I get to.


Time for another baby update! Baby Jessica (above) is doing so well and is chubby and playful and smiling! It's been awhile since I've seen her but she came to the school to play with us yesterday which was excellent. Pena makes such a happy dad and he seems to enjoy being with his little one, he's so proud of her!!

Baby Susanna continues to be little and sweet. She also came to visit yesterday and we all took turns cuddling her. Jessica was fascinated by her and just sat watching. It's just amazing that this little life hung on, I truly consider her a miracle with all the obstacles she overcame just to be born and live. I think there's something special she's here for.

Storm Olga

Olga came and thankfully, she left. It was a really stormy few days as another Tropical Storm hit the island. Rain and winds like I've never seen before. At night, I envisioned the windows being blown in as I buried myself further in my sheets. Apart from being without electricity for 2-ish days, we were spared a lot of the damage. Others on the island lost their homes and some their lives. Most everything is back to normal now as we dry out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Progress continues

We are working our way through the boxes and only have a few that remain. The kitchen still needs some help, but it's coming together just fine. As we are without stove or fridge until January when we hope to buy them, we have some extra open spaces to store things too!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Settling in

Just some photos of the big move yesterday and then last night unpacking the boxes and beginning to put things in place. Today we are continuing that process and although many boxes are unpacked, they seem to be endless! It's fun setting up our very own house and finding where everything goes.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

We're in!

The rain held off all afternoon and we got everything into the apartment. We had an AMAZING group of people that worked so, so hard. I can't believe that it's done, well, the packing and moving part. Now comes the unpacking part which we'll get to over the next week.


All the paint went on the apartment yesterday and it looks amazing! Today, if there isn't rain, we are going to actually move everything in. Last night we scraped paint off the floor until the wee hours of the morning, but thanks to the help of great friends, we got it done. We're hoping the rain holds long enough to get us in there today!

Friday, December 07, 2007

We're moving!

So all in one week we found an apt, sorted the contract (or whatever it is that we have??), got the keys, picked put paint colors, and are packing! It is unbelievable how quickly it has all moved forward, we keep waiting for some hitch but have come to realize that maybe sometimes it doesn't have to be difficult. Tomorrow we are painting and will continue the packing task, hoping to move-in on Sunday! We have a lot of helpers which is amazing and very useful. The team house will stay as the team house, it just won't have anyone in it in-between teams. Definitely will be posting pictures soon!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


So meet baby Suzanna. She's 11 days old. She weighs about 2 pounds. Her arm is the size of a mans finger. She's an orphan.
Her mom was working at our school and got sicker and sicker. Eventually she was admitted to the hospital, a C-section was done (premature obviously, maybe 7 months?), and then mom died the next day. It's still unclear as to why she died, but I'm leaning towards AIDS...that is sort of the main "hidden" killer. Lots of people die in the village from "fever" or " a cough" when in reality it is AIDS.
The problem is that mom was already raising her 5 kids alone, dad died a few years back in an accident (I know, that means this baby still has a dad somewhere, but who knows who or where?) A friend who also works at the school has taken in ALL the children and is caring for them. Mind you, they live in a two-bedroom block house in the village and have 3 of their own children. The friend still comes to work everyday, hasn't complained about it once, and just keeps rolling along. I am amazed, but that doesn't even sum up what she is doing. I asked her today about the possiblity of some of the kids going to the Ark, the Kids Alive orphanage, and she said she would like to think about it. She didn't just automatically say "of course, take them!", but really wants to think through it. Incredible woman.
My first instinct is to take little baby girl home with me. Of course I could feed her, love her, raise her, make sure she gets what she needs...but who am I to decide what she needs? Maybe what she needs is to stay in the village and be raised by a Haitian family, maybe she needs to be with her brothers and sisters, maybe my desire to help wouldn't actually be a help in the end. How long am I willing to commit to her? Would I ever be able to let her go after raising her for a few years? The questions are hard, there doesn't really seem to be a right answer. So I cuddled her and prayed for her and know that I'll know what is right, somehow.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Baby no more!

This little Princesa child is sooo big now! She hung out with us at school today and it was so much fun. She's laughing and almost walking and has such a little personality. It's fun having a baby around!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Snow vs. Sun

Oh I think I'm in for a bit of a temperature shock when heading to Oregon in a few weeks! My mom just emailed me a picture of what's happening there, meanwhile, it's a bit warmer here!