Friday, October 29, 2010

Long Avery Update

Well I realized that I have been terrible about updating the blog, and I also haven't been so great in writing down all that Avery is doing these days, so I thought I would tackle both at once. This post is more for my own records and for our families back home, so feel free to skip to the pictures :)

It is so hard for me to believe she will be 17 months next week- I feel like we were just having her first birthday party last week. Time is flying!

- Loves to play outside. Every morning after breakfast she grabs her red ball and baseball hat (ha) and stands at the front door waiting to go out and play. She loves to run, run, run, run and is pretty good at kicking a ball.
-Loves, I mean LOVES, shoes. It is her favorite word to say and she always points out peoples' shoes. Every morning after I get her dressed, she runs straight to her closet saying shoes and insists I put on the pair for her that she picks out. She also loves picking out my shoes. Same thing- after I get dressed she runs to the closet and comes out with a pair of shoes. She is actually pretty good at coordinating my shoes with my outfit- If I have on running clothes, she brings out my running shoes. If I have on a dress, she brings out my flats. If I have on shorts and a tshirt, she brings out my flipflops.

-Ridley is her best friend. She follows him around all day and loves to lounge on him. She now likes to pat him on the back and say "good boy" (It sounds more like bo-boy, but she's got the right inflection when she says it).

-She is starting to talk more and more. She can say: no, eyes, nose, hair, hat, hot, brrr, dog, bear, bird, boo-boo, uh-oh (her new favorite phrase- says it all day long), aww, shoes, boom, poop (she is always very insistent in letting me know that she has a poopy diaper), cheese, please, Dad...and others I know I am forgetting.

-Very affectionate- she loves to give hugs and kisses. For kisses she puckers up her lips and says mmmmm-mmmm until you kiss her. When she gives hugs she says "awwww."

-She still doesn't say any words in Spanish, but it is so cool to see how she understands it. If I ask her to give me a kiss in Spanish, she puckers up and gives me a big smacker.

-She goes to bed between 7-7:30 most nights and wakes up at 6:45 or 7 in the morning. She takes one nap around 11 and sleeps for about an hour and a half. She is finally better about going down for a nap and falls asleep pretty quickly.

-Her favorite foods are grapes, oatmeal, broccoli, cheese, yogurt, goldfish, smoothies, and tofu.

-Loves to sing and dance.

She is so much fun and brings us so much joy!! We love you sweet Avery Elizabeth Drake!!!

Avery with her Taiwanese friends at Para Te
Playing in the park
Avery at the beach with the Breul boys. They buried her and she loved it.
This was right after a big wave came and splashed her.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fishy Fishy

On Saturday we went to the National Aquarium. It was such a fun and relaxing little family outing!! The aquarium is on lots of property right on the ocean with a beautiful view of the blue, blue water below. Avery loved the fish and would point and say "dat, dat, dat" every time she saw one. The aquarium has a new play area for kids and Avery enjoyed toddling around and playing. Then we found a nice shady spot under a palm tree, ate some Bon Popsicles, and watched Aves run around in the grass. Large areas of mowed grass are a scarcity here in the big city of Santo Domingo- so the three of us were loving it!

Look at Avery's little crossed feet- cracks me up.
Such a big girl!

There was a little group of special needs kids sitting next to us and they all wanted to come over and take pictures with Avery. They were the sweetest little kids ever. The little girl, Brittany, was so good with Avery and kept kissing her on the head. It was such a special moment to see Avery with these precious children. I felt the Lord smiling down.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Fun

We just got back from a WONDERFUL time in the states!! First we went to Dallas for my brother's wedding. It was a beautiful, Christ-honoring wedding, and we loved getting to spend time with John, Kate, my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and everyone else that traveled to TX for the wedding. I am SO excited that Kate is my new sister!!
It was also so much fun spending time in TX because I hadn't been back since college. I got to see some of my dearest college friends and two of the girls that were in my K-Life small group!!
My college roomate and best friend Elizabeth and her precious little baby girl Reese came to the wedding!

After all the wedding festivities were over, we drove to Amarillo, TX to spend some more time with Elizabeth, her husband Mark, and baby Reese! It was so great to finally be able to visit Elizabeth and Mark, see where they live, and get a little glimpse into their lives. They were amazing hosts and made us feel so loved. We spend most of our time just watching Avery and Reese :)
Avery loved kissing Reese's toes!
We drove about 30 minutes outside of Amarillo to Palo Duro canyon to Mark's aunt and uncle's cabin to have dinner, watch the sunset, and look at the stars. It was so beautiful and quiet!
Elizabeth MADE matching dresses for Avery and Reese. We dressed them up and did a little photo shoot!
After a sad goodbye in the Amarillo airport, we flew to NC to spend a week at the beach with Elliott's whole extended family. His grandmother rented 2 beach houses for 2 weeks and invited all of the family to come whenever they could. At one point there were 25 of us there at the same time!! It was so much fun getting to see Elliott's mom, dad, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, and his cousin's kids! The beach was beautiful and we were blessed with amazing weather all week. Avery loved the water and the waves, she would charge into them as soon as we would put her down- no fear in her.
Elliott's cousin, his wife, and their four children came all the way from Montana!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Great Weekend

This weekend our church here in Santo Domingo put on a conference and invited John Piper to be the main speaker. We got to go to several of the sessions throughout the weekend- and were soaking everything in like sponges. It was so refreshing and filling to listen to a sermon in our "heart language," English, and to receive from one of God's servants that shares our culture.

Before we moved to the DR, I remember someone that had lived in the DR for a number of years telling me how RICH the US was- not just rich with money, but with spiritual recourses as well. In the US we are exposed to so much- preachers, books, musical artists- and there is so much variety in all of these things. I found that to be so true this weekend. I don't think I realized how spiritually dry I had become (even though God has been working in my heart in new and different ways because of our circumstances here), and how much a I needed to be challenged, encouraged, and filled by the hearing of the word of God. So praise God for the RICH weekend were were able to experience in Him.

Our good friends Jake and Kyla came down from Jarabacoa on Thursday night to go to the conference with us. Their son was born 5 days after Avery and they are already great little buds. Here is a little video of the two of them together!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Tomorrow- Avery turns ONE!!! We welcome the day with so many mixed emotions- so excited for all the new and exciting things ahead, and sad that the "baby days" of bottles, carrying her everywhere, etc., are over. The year flew by, but then again it is hard to imagine life without sweet Aves.

Here are some Avery updates for all of our friends and family at home (keep in mind that she is the first and only grandchild and the grandparents want to know all the details!) :

The biggest news is that she's walking!!! She took her first steps a little over a week ago (and loved it- didn't want to stop). She would go back and forth between Elliott and me...over and over and over. Yesterday, she started letting go of things and setting out on her own. I was so surprised when I looked over and she was in between the table and Ridley- walking towards him. Then she dove right into him and gave him a big kiss on the nose (I think that was her way of celebrating her big accomplishment). She also loves to push her little car around. She just smiles and looks from side to side to see who is watching her.

Her little personality is really starting to show. She is really friendly and waves to everyone and says hi with a southern drawl- "haah." She can also say da-da, Rid, Ana, milk, dog, bye, mas (spanish for more) and the occasional ma-ma. She had picked up on some signs really quickly and signs for milk, more, and all done.

She LOVES to look at books. It is so cute when she crawls over to her books, chooses one, and sits by herself, flipping through the pages making little noises. In one book, when I ask her where the dog is, she flips to the page with a dog on it!

She loves to blow kisses and give wet slobbery ones too. It is so cute because she is starting to give us kisses out of the blue- El and I can't get enough.

We just recently finished the "playroom." When our neighbors just recently moved (soooo sad), they gave us their couch, and we got a few things from IKEA and set it all up. It is so nice to have a place for Avery to play where she can get into whatever she wants- she is into everything these days. And I must admit, Elliott and I are really enjoying the playroom too!

I will post more pictures of the birthday soon- the internet is loading them really slow and I'm losing patience.

Well, I think that's it for now. Sorry I have been a bad blogger. We are headed to the states in a few weeks for my brother's wedding and then a family reunion with Elliott's family. We couldn't be more excited!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Villa Pajon

This weekend Elliott and I escaped to the mountains to celebrate his birthday and sweet little Avery had her first weekend stay with her abuelos (the De la Cruz family). We dropped Avery off at the de la Cruz house (along with just about everything she owns- ha) and set our for Valle Nuevo- the highest valley in the DR at 8500 ft. The drive was absolutely beautiful- high mountains overlooking valleys and lakes. We passed through the city of Constanza, which is one of the major farming cities in the DR, and then drove for about an hour up a rocky, dirt road to Valle Nuevo.

Valle Nuevo was the antithesis of Santo Domingo- quiet, clean air, secluded (we were literally in the middle of nowhere), and cold (40's at night and 60's in the day). We stayed in a little cabin with no electricity- at night we lit a big fire in the fireplace and used kerosene lanterns for light. It was so much fun. Here are some pics and a recap of our time.

On our way!!
So glad to be out of the city and in the fresh air.

Our cabin
The view from our cabin

The first night we grilled steaks and zucchini. Yum! While Elliott was cooking the steaks, I was inside building a fire. El had to come inside to get something and when he came back to the grill there was only 1 steak...a dog came and stole a steak off the grill!!
As the sun set, the clouds and fog set in over the farm fields.

Saturday morning- Happy Birthday Elliott!!!

The place we stayed is also a working farm. When we woke up on Saturday morning the farmers were out harvesting the potatoes. It was interesting to watch the whole process...the digging, the bagging, loading the truck, and then the workers that came back at night to glean the field for leftover potatoes.

We hooked up our hammock between 2 trees and spent the morning reading and dozing off.
In the afternoon we went on an awesome hike to this field filled with huge boulders- who knows how they got there?? It was crazy.

Elliott said that he got about a weeks worth of rest in 2 days....I agree. I want to book for this weekend!

And then to top off the great weekend, I got to go pick up my sweet little girl and be with her on my first mother's day! The De la Cruz family said she did awesome and that she smiled and laughed alot and didn't cry when she got passed around to everyone at church- I wish I had a video of her weekend!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


We had an AWESOME weekend celebrating Elliott's 32nd birthday!!

More to come tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Para Te

So there is a little jewel of a restaurant right down the street from our house named Para Te- it is heaven. Elliott and I stumbled apon it while house-hunting, and then it turned out to be right down the street from the house we decided to rent. It is a Taiwanese, vegetarian, tea spot with the tag line "Jardin del Descanso" (Garden of Rest). If you know me, you know that these rank among my favorite things...good ethnic food, I always say I could be a vegetarian, I love, love, love tea, and after spending 3 months in Guatemala I fell in love with little garden restaurants. And, to top it off, I can walk to it- another one of my favorite things.

The restaurant is in the Taiwanese family's yard, and they have made it into a little garden complete with a fountain, soft music, and bonsai trees! They have green and red tea- and then you get to combine that with just about anything you can imagine- raspberry, apple, orange, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender....(even prunes- haven't tried that one yet). Our personal favorite is Te verde con Jasmin poco azucar- green tea with jasmine, easy on the sugar. We have ordered it so many times that when they come to take our order they ask "te verde con jasmin poco azucar?" The food is awesome too- my personal favorites are the dumplings, and noodles with peanut sauce. Mmmmm. And to top it all off, the most expensive thing on the menu is 100 pesos (less than $3)!

I go every Wednesday with some other American moms. I am so blessed that the Lord has finally provided me with some American friends.

Katherine (on the left) had her TWIN BOYS on Monday!!

Avery and I have been sick all neighbor (who is more obsessed with Para Te than I am) just brought me a green tea with grapefruit juice, and a frozen orange juice drink ....I am feeling better already!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

B&K in Haiti

Two Saturday's ago we had the awesome privilege of having our new friends Ben and Katie stay with us. Ben and Katie moved to Haiti to teach at Quisqueya Christian School just a few weeks before the earthquake. A few days after the quake, I was blog-hopping, and came upon their blog. Turns out, Katie went to Baylor, and we had met once through a mutual friend. My heart was drawn so much to them because I know what it is like moving to another country....the adjustment, the highs, the lows, missing family and friends, adaptation...and then on top of all that, a MAJOR earthquake??? I can't even imagine. So, I sent them an e-mail and told them if they were ever in Santo Domingo, or needed to get away, they were welcome to stay with us. They took us up on it!!! Their school had a week break for Canival, and they were headed to a beach just outside of Santo Domingo, and needed a place to stay the night before they checked in. We had SUCH a great time with them...they are such an amazing couple. It was such an encouragement to see their faith in ACTION, on the front lines. God is truly filling them each day, so that they can make it to the next. They are excellent writers and update their blog often. Check it out! It will help you see what is going on in Haiti, and give you names and faces to put everything together. They wrote about our time together here.

God really used their time here to give me a grateful heart. It is so easy for me to compare everything to the states, and start to feel sorry for myself....we don't have Target, it's hot and we can only use our AC at night, constant noise, it takes forever to get the simplest thing done, terrible driving and traffic...on and on and on. Through hearing what they have been through, learning what Haiti was like even before the quake, and seeing how big their eyes were in Jumbo (a Wal-Mart-like store), God was saying, "Be grateful!! You have SO much. I have provided you with so much...and even if you didn't have these things, you would be fine."

What a blessing they were to us! Come back soon Ben and Katie, and in the meantime, you are in our prayers.

(My camera is semi-broken, so unfortunately we didn't get any pictures together)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Avery is eight months old!!

She has such a fun little personality and a great sense of humor. She is always laughing at something...if I move a certain way, make a funny face, up on dad's shoulders, jumping in her jumper, dancing with dad, chasing people with Pops...she giggles and giggles. I love it! She loves to give wet slobbery kisses and even says "mmmmwa" (kinda- more of mom and dad's interpretation that actually knowing what she is doing). She is a really really good eater and eats most everything I give here. For some reason the DR only sells fruit baby food- no veggies. And the fruit they do sell has sugar as the second ingredient listed. So, I have resorted to making my own baby food, which has actually been quite fun. She loves auyama (a Dominican squash), broccoli, green beans, peaches, apples, and pears. But, her absolute favorite thing to eat is Cheerios- I never leave the house without them. She can even pick them up and feed them to herself. She is still a pro-sleeper at night, and now takes 2 naps a day (sometimes three). She sleeps with her little frog-blanket that Elliott has affectionaly named Maco (frog in spanish). She's still not crawling yet, but getting really close- although she can cover some serious ground by scooting backwards on her belly. Her hair is starting to come in more- I finally have something to wash when I give her a bath.

We love you so much Avery and can't wait to see how you grow and change this month.

So proud that she can stand up in her crib.