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Monday, December 31, 2007

Surprise! Merry Christmas!

Well...we pulled it off! We surprised my (Stephanie) parents for Christmas. We'd been thinking about it for awhile, but didn't know if it could happen since we fly "stand by". We checked in our luggage around 9 am on the 24th and were told that a flight the night before was cancelled and that 40 extra people were trying to get on our flight. So, we weren't very optimistic about our chances of getting on this flight. After checking in, we returned to Daniel's house and I called my parents. I "fibbed" saying that we were trying to surprise them, but the flight was too full. This left my mom pretty sad and upset. Well...we returned to the airport and the plane started boarding around 12:30 pm. Surprised and delighted....we were called up and given tickets. Unfortunately...I was by myself with Elijah somewhere in the middle and Micah and Daniel were in the back. Halfway through the flight though we were able to switch and sit together. Elijah didn't like flying too much, but Micah did fine.

We arrived in Raleigh, NC and rented 2 small cars (which was cheaper than 1 SUV) to fit all of our luggage. We surprised my Grandma first about 1 am. She met us at the door crying! Then Christmas morning...we sent Micah in to wake everyone up by jumping on the bed. Daniel filmed the whole event! What a wonderful Christmas present! Isn't God good?!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Holidays at the Beach!

I can't believe that Christmas is already upon us! Here we are in Brasil, celebrating the SUMMER Christmas season. It's weird. Santa Claus just doesn't look the same in his suit in 90 degree weather! In most malls you can find an African Santa, an Indian Santa, and a European Santa. So, you can take your pick!
Thanks to Daniel's parents, we were able to "escape" down to the beach for a few days. We went to Santos...a beautiful turistic city. The hotel was actually connected to a mall. It was nice to have AC for those couple of days, since it was hot and humid down there. I can't complain though...the weather here is Sao Paulo has not been consistent. It seems like every other day it changes from hot to cold. It's probably a lot like what I hear is happening in NC too.
We look forward to seeing many of you when we get back to NC sometime late next week.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

What Color Eyes Will Elijah Have?

That's the question everyone is asking here. Daniel's Mom is certain they will be blue like mine (Stef.). It's too early to tell since they will change up until 8 months of age. He looks like such an angel in this picture. I wish he was always this content:) We are blessed though...he's not a fussy baby. Hope you're not tired of seeing Elijah...because there will be many more pictures to come:)

Pool Time

Micah is enjoying a warmer day in the pool with cousin Sam. This look says, "Oops...They caught me."

Going to Grandma's house

Well, as Christmas draws near, so does our plane trip back home to North Carolina:) Micah is ready to see Stephanie's family and go back to "work" with Grandpa! Even Elijah is catching "tarheel" fever! Notice the words on his shirt: "That's it!!! I'm going to Grandma's!"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Big Brother Micah

We are so proud of Micah! He's a great big brother! He's not jealous of little Elijah at all. He loves to help change his diaper, give him a bath, and kiss him whenever he gets a chance. He repeatedly asks, "Why does baby 'Lijah' like to eat all the time? Why does he poop so much? Why is sleeping again?" We recently picked up Elijah's Brasilian passport and Micah said, "Ok, no he can get on the plane with us to fly back to NC because he has his passport now! Let's go!" Unfortunately a toddler has no concept of time, so telling him we have to wait until after Christmas was no consolation. We are so thankful for our "big brother" Micah. He is constantly encouraging us all: "Mom, you're a great feeder! Elijah, you're a great eater! Dad, you're a great soccer player!" I wish we could take credit for teaching him this, but I think we owe it to the "Little Einsteins" cartoon he loves to watch so much. I hope these 2 guys will be best friends as they grow up together in Africa!

"These are the days of Elijah"

Ha! I couldn't resist using the title of that song! That's what I feel like these days...Elijah, Elijah, Elijah! But, that's what it's supposed to be like, right? I feel like a dairy cow and he takes up all my days...and nights. Welcome once again to motherhood. I look at Micah and I think, was he this time-consuming? And I answer myself almost immediately...YEP! Then I thank the Lord for this little blessing in disguise, reprimand myself for complaining, and ask for more patience and wisdom.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Elijah, now 1 month old, takes his first trip!

We all loaded up in the car to visit Peniel, New Tribes Mission's Bible School here in Brasil. It's only about 3 hours away. We were a little nervous about how Elijah would do, but he did great! We stopped on the way to visit with an old Bible school friend of Daniel's. It was so much fun! He is a pastor and they have 2 daughters. The youngest, Leticia, is 4 years old and she said she could speak English with Micah. It was so cute...she sounded like a little pirate as she invented words, "Arrrr larrr larrr!"

The Bible school is located right outside a small city called Jacutinga. It's known for hand sewn sweaters. It's such a beautiful area with rolling hills, green vegetation, and lots of coffee fields. Those are all coffee plants straight ahead, behind the truck.

I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed the trip. On our way back we stopped and ate typical "mineiro" food. Mineiro is the name given to people who live in the state above Sao Paulo called Minas Gerais. It's really just homecookin'! Yummy! They sit out all these pans and pots full of food on a wood stove. The highlight of the trip was when I gave Micah some homemade Brasilian whiskey! I thought it was fruit juice....yeah, was just fruit flavored! He took a sip and spit it back in the cup and said, "My tongue is burning!". I almost got mad at him...until I smelled the liquid. Whew!! Alcohol for sure! Oops! It makes me wonder what kind of cultural blunders I'm gonna make in Guinea! Feel free to start praying in advance:)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Elijah is already 2 weeks old!

Elijah is doing much better at nursing now...which means I am feeling a lot better too! He is waking up every 2.5 to 3 hours to nurse, which means a lack of sleep for me, but that comes with the territory. Micah wants to hold him all the time and shake his hand. He says, "Nice to meet ya, sir!" Sometimes Elijah doesn't enjoy that very much, especially when he is trying to sleep.

Well, here's some pix. Elijah's eyes are open more now and the bruising is almost gone. I wonder what color they're gonna be?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Micah and Elijah are definitely brothers!

Many of you have commented that Elijah looks so much like Micah when he was born. So, I thought I'd dig up some newborn pics of Micah to compare. In these pix, Micah is a few weeks older than Elijah, but you can still see the resemblance. Daniel was worried at first when he saw Elijah, because he thought they had switched out our kid for a Chinese one. Poor Elijah! He can help he was so swollen with jet black hair! I do have to admit, he does look a little Eskimoish:) HA! He's adorable to me. I've heard mothers are a little biased:)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Elijah Has Arrived!

Hello Everyone! I know we sent out an update by email with a pic of Elijah, but I thought you might like to see a few more:) He's got a headful of black hair and his eyes are still swollen and bruised, but he's our little "squishy" just the same! We had to think of another nickname because Micah has already taken "stinky".

I (Stef.) couldn't have been happier with the delivery. Praise the Lord! After a C-section, I doubted if I would be able to delivery normally, but God answered our prayers. I started feeling contractions around 8 pm, arrived at the hospital close to 9 pm and Elijah was born at 11:20 pm. My mom told me to hurry up the process so he could be born on her birthday. Despite my skepticism (after a 36 hour labor with Micah), Elijah made his grand entrance with 40 minutes to spare! HA!

The experience was quite different at the free government funded hospital here in Brasil. I found no sympathy...and if anything...I was rushed all the way through the birth. The most interesting thing had to be the slightly large lady that mounted my belly on the last few pushes. They were screaming at me to not stop pushing..."Empurra! Empurra!" I found it rather hard to find the air to push with the nurse pressing down on my LUNGS trying to push the baby out. Afterwards I appreciated her "method" of speeding up the labor!

Let's say that Daniel felt like he was on an episode of Scrubs or ER. He enjoyed every miraculous minute and was not shy about asking questions: "How do you know all the placenta comes out?", "What if some stayed in?", "How long have you been working here?", etc. etc. I was so thankful that he was allowed to stay there with me, even though they wouldn't let him spend the night with me in the hospital room. I had an 18 yr. old roommate who delivered her first child, a premie. We were attacked by mosquitoes the second night. I stopped counting at 50 bites. Needless to say we didn't sleep a wink, fanning our babies all night. It was too hot to stay under the sheet for protection. Yes...this was a real hospital!

Overall I have to say the fact that it was all FREE was worth any frustration, discomfort, etc. Since Elijah came almost a month earlier (I think my due date was wrong b/c he wasn't a premie!), our insurance wouldn't have covered the birth and we would have had to pay, at least a percentage of the bill. So God knew what He was doing!

Elijah bellybutton fell off today and he seems to enjoy sleeping! He nurses like a piggy and usually get hiccups afterwards. He gave us a scare the other night with milk coming out of his nose while he was sleeping. He wasn't breathing when I picked him up...but after hanging him upside down and spanking his butt, his airways cleared. It was very horrible experience for me...I didn't sleep much that night. But God is good and Sovereign!

Thanks to everyone who prayed, wrote, and encouraged. Please continue to pray that Elijah learns how to nurse correctly. I'm in a lot of pain and feeling very stressed out. Pray for God's wisdom in overcoming this phase.

Enjoy the pics.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Andrea, Daniel's sister, had her baby!

Here she is....Amanda Maiken Holmgren. Despite her weighing almost 9 lbs, it was a quick delivery. She has dark hair like her mom with her dad's complexion. Mom and baby are glad to be home. Andrea thanks you for all your prayers. Pretty'll be Elijah's turn:)

Two Pot-Bellied Ladies

Well here we are...large and lovely:) We are only 3-4 weeks apart. This picture was actually taken right before Andrea left for the hospital. Despite the pain, she was very excited that the process had started!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Micah and Cousin Sam

Greetings from Brasil! What a change in weather. Just to make all you back in NC jealous...we're waking up to 60 degrees and enjoying 75 degrees during the day. Hopefully NC will be cooling down soon. It's been fun to catch up with Daniel's sister, Andrea and see meet her little guy, Samuel. We couldn't be happier with the way he and Micah are getting along! They're having so much fun together. This experience will be great for Micah. He's learning how to share, help, and even keep Sam out of trouble. And believe me, Sam can find trouble!!!

We appreciate all your prayers for our journey. We had a smooth flight! Even though Micah talks about returning to NC everday and working with Grandpa, I think he's having fun here. Today he watched the "diggers" break up the road right in front of the garage to fix a broken pipe. Unfortunately the city didn't warn anybody and we washed/soiled a load of white clothes because the water turned muddy during the load. Oh well....there's clorox!
Please continue to pray for Andrea (Daniel's sister) and me (Stef.) as our due dates get closer and closer. Andrea's doctor doesn't think she'll make it until the end of the month, even though she's not due until mid-October. Her husband is in Africa and will return Sept.28th. Pray he'll make it for the birth! I (Stef.) will be looking for a doctor next week and visiting the hospitals in the area. Pray God provides a doctor with good social skills! :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Brasil, Here We Come!

Hi everyone! Once again, it's time to hit the road....or air in this case! We're off to Brasil on Tuesday, 11th to visit with Daniel's family. We're excited to be with his sister and her husband. Marcus (Daniel's brother-in-law) will be applying for Brasilian citizenship so they are going to be in Brasil for at least 2 years. They will welcome their little girl into the world around the middle of next month. They have a 17 month-old, Samuel, who I bet can't wait to meet his big cousin, Micah:)

Around November 13th, Micah Andrew will meet his little brother, Elijah Mateus. Please pray for a safe and quick delivery:) We appreciate all your support and prayers thus far and we look forward to seeing everyone when we get back in January '08. Check out the blog for updates and pictures!

PS Some of you have asked....Brasil is spelled with an "s" in Portuguese:) In English, we make it a "z".

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Saying Goodbye

After a month at Camp Joli-B, we loaded up and headed back to Sherbrooke. It was hard saying goodbye to our friends and church family. We attended a small church called Source de Vie and were blessed by their friendship. We also became good friends with the Dallaire family who happened to live just a few blocks away. They have two girls, Anne Marie and Lydia whom Micah asks to visit often. Micah enjoyed their pool, even though it was too cold for us adults!! We're really gonna miss them, but we look forward to keeping in touch!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to Quebec!

After our vacation in NC, we headed back up to Canada for more French practice. We helped out for a little over a month at a Christian camp, Joli B, 12 hours northwest of Sherbrooke. What an adventure! The staff was really great! They treated us like family and were very patient with our French. We learned a lot and were very blessed by everyone around us.

One family we got to know there were the Bissonette's. They took an interest in our ministry and loved our little Micah! Their boys were good helpers, giving us a break every now and again. Tony ("Mr. Pony" according to Micah), gave Micah rides on the four-wheeler....the highlight of Micah's day. We look forward to keeping in touch with them for years to come!

Quick Trip to Visit Family in NC

After graduating from Word of Life in Quebec, we headed down to NC for 2 weeks to visit Stephanie's family. It was a nice break! We spent one of the 2 weeks at Myrtle Beach...ok, so we had alterior motives:)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Almost Potty-trained!

After many attempts and failures, Micah is almost potty-trained. What a relief! Not to mention the fact that we're saving money on diapers! YEAH! He likes his Bob the Builder underwear:) It's a good thing our apartment here in Quebec is all carpet. A perfect accident proof place to potty-train.

Finally a Summer Day

There is a park about a five minute walk from our apartment. On "hot" days, they turn on the little water park and kids flock to run around and splash in the water. It doesn't take much for the "Quebecers" around here to break out the bathing suits. You'll see more houses with swimming pools in the backyards than air conditioners in the windows. Micah loves to go to the park and on this day he came home soaking wet!

Last Day of Class

We had our last day of French class today! Wow! How time flies! Now it's time to pack up our things and head to North Carolina for a 2 week break. Boy are we ready! Despite all the difficulties and doubts, we know that God directed us here to Quebec for French study. Despite our attempts to go everywhere else, He knew what was best. We had wonderful teachers and made some friendships we hope will last a lifetime. Enjoy the random pictures!

Monday, April 16, 2007

April in Quebec

We have been busy these last few months with school and family visits. Micah enjoyed not only seeing his family...but the candy they brought as well. Let's just say, he's still "savoring" their visit! Seriously, seeing Stephanie's family helped quench our homesickness a little.

Our class has taken a few field trips since our last update and we thought you might be interested in seeing some pics. We went to the "Glass Hotel" in Quebec City, to an authentic French restaurant, and to a "Sugar Shack" to learn about the maple syrup process. The last one was our favorite. We got to eat the hot syrup off of a trough full of snow. Daniel ate so much he got a headache! Micah was a little unsure at first, but it only took one lick and he was hooked! Thank you all for your prayers and letters. We appreciate your support and encouragement!

Family Visits

Sweet Syrup at the "Sugar Shack"

Rooms in the Ice Hotel

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Blizzard in Sherbrooke

I know most of you back home "say" you would love to have snow like we have up here. Let's stop and think about that....would you like to: shovel 2 feet of snow away from your car; walk around looking like a thief because all people can see are your eyes; have a 2 1/2 year old who is driving you crazy because he can't go outside and play; fight against the wind as you try to make it to your car...the car you have to warm up 15 minutes in advance.
Ok...if that didn't paint a clear enough picture for
you, maybe these photos will. If you're the type of person who loves the snow, just imagine
yourself "in" these pictures. As for us, we'll imagine we're at the beach!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Word of Life Snow Camps

Hello Everyone! Our first month in Sherbrooke is almost over. We are still getting used to the cold, cold weather. Lately it has been 15-20 BELOW zero, which makes "playing" outside a little interesting! Micah usually plays in 15 minute increments. Yesterday (Sat.) we went to our school's campus to see one of Word of Life's Winter camps in action. Believe it or not, these teenagers were having a "Polar Bear" dunking contest. Yes, outside in bathing suits jumping into a tank full of tap water. Crazy! We watched them play hockey and we even went tubing down a snow covered hill. Micah loved it! I've never seen his face so red.

French study is going well. Daniel and I both are happy with our grades. The competition is always fun:) On the next blog, I'll include some class pictures and talk about our daily routine.
We appreciate all your prayers and cards. It's always nice to actually receive something in our mailbox!

Here's our new contact info:
2018 Rue Des Grands-Monts #208
Sherbrooke, QC
J1H 3Z7
(819) 565-9200

In His Grip,
Daniel, Stephanie, and Micah Dias