One Step Closer

We have been working on obtaining legal custody of Aimee for quite a while.  Since Eric had Friday off of work, we finished up some things on our end that were not difficult, but only needed a little time.  Our lawyer asked us for a photo, like a passport photo, of Eric, Aimee, and myself, along with a dr’s report on the three of us, and Eric and my marriage certificate.  Having left a “box of important papers” with my mom, it was up to her to get the marriage certificate scanned and emailed to us.  Luckily, my brother-in-law Alan was at her house this weekend and helped her figure it out!

We went to a little photo store called Belle Photo for the necessary pictures.  Aimee did great and and we were in and out without any hassel. Eric and I were reminded of when we had to take Christa to a similar place to get a photo for her passport when she was only two weeks old.  Trying to get a two week old baby to open her eyes long enough to snap a photo was difficult.  I was glad Aimee cooperated a lot easier!

Waiting for the pictures at the Belle Photo

As we were upstairs in this little shop, I was sitting on a bench with my back against the wall.  I could feel the vibrations traveling through the walls from the endless traffic from below.  I didn’t like it; it makes me think about things like substandard building practices and earthquakes.  Luckily, our wait was short and we were on to our next assignment.

We went to a local ‘hospital’, but the best I could tell, it seemed to be like a one man dr. office.  There were vaccines for babies, a small drug laboratory, and a small pharmacy.  Our physicals consisted of taking the vitals, weight, and a blood test  (for AIDS) for all three of us.

Aimee getting weighed at the dr's office.

I thought it was funny the way they weigh the babies here.  Of course, all of my other kids have had similar experiences, but we called it a Johnny Jump-Up!  This was a lot like Eric’s fish scale.  Aimee didn’t seem to mind.

Aimee finally broke a tooth through this morning.  My housekeeper was sure she was going to walk before she ever got a tooth!  She will be surprised on Monday morning.

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Haitian Thanksgiving

We now have spent four Thanksgivings in Haiti.  We moved the week of Thanksgiving in 2008.  At that time, we were living at the New Hope Haiti Mission.  And since every Thursday they have had a big, goat soup with a lot of huge vegetables all cooked together (in Creole, Boullion), that is what we ate our first Thanksgiving in Haiti.

The next Thanksgiving, we decided to have a huge Thanksgiving feast, the best we could come up with.  We shopped long and hard at the Caribbean supermarket (which went down in the 2010 earthquake) to find the things we needed.  Our Haitian friends, Jean Claubert and Louizanie Belton came over to join in with our festivities.  Louizanie prepared diri djon djon (rice with mushrooms) at our house.  While I watched her prepare the delicious Haitian dish, I noticed that everything was fresh, real, and whole.  The rice, the beans, the coconut, the green onions, the mushroom were all very natural while I opened cans of green beans, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes.  It was at that moment that I realized that what I thought was cooking a homemade Thanksgiving was really just opening and dumping and mixing.

This realization led  me on a challenge to really learn to cook.  Many times here in Haiti we cannot find the things we want at the grocery or the price is so outrageous that we refuse to pay.  Instead of doing without, we have learned to make what we need.  It has been a fun adventure and we continue on this path of using what is available to get what we need/want.

This year, the only thing we had to use that was canned were the sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, we cannot find that traditional sweet potato variety here in Haiti.  Eric really wanted my mom’s sweet potato souffle, so we had to settle for canned yams.  Sure there were some random cans thrown in the mix here and there, but overall, I thought it all turned out pretty fresh.  I even made my first pumpkin pie all the way from scratch.  Definitely, the way to go!

The winner of the most beautiful dish was my mother-in-law’s cranberry salad.

The absolute freshest part of dinner had to be the TURKEY!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from the Lotz Family in Port-au-Prince, Haiti!!

Painting and Funnel Cakes

Hannah Grace was the one who chose to make funnel cakes last Wednesday.  I love funnel cakes!  They take me back to the days of Silver Dollar City when I was a kid.  I am pretty certain we smelled a lot more funnel cakes than we actually ate, but I remember our whole family digging in together for a sweet, tasty treat.  That smell in my nose and that taste on my tongue takes me right back to those carefree days of riding rides, watching the glass blowers in awe, and smelling the sawdust of the woodworkers.  (and waiting for my mom to hurry up and stop looking at all the things we weren’t allowed to touch!) When Hannah said she wanted to make funnel cakes for our Wednesday Tea Party, she didn’t have to ask twice.  We found a funnel cake recipe that was simple and delicious. We poured the batter into an empty honey bear and then squeezed it into the hot oil.  It worked perfectly. Topped with a little bit of powdered sugar, they tasted every bit as good as Silver Dollar City’s (and a lot cheaper!).

Hannah's Funnel Cake!

On Wednesdays, I try to work some art into our day. My mom sent down a bunch of paint-by-numbers for my kids to do.  What can I say?  We are all beginners!  Last Wednesday, the kiddos painted while I read out loud to them.  The girls lasted for two hours!  They boys grew tired after the first hour, but made some really good progress on their paintings.

Hannah and Christa working dilligently.

Jetty's Clown Fish

Wilson's Panda

Since last Wednesday, Christa finished her painting.  I think she did an excellent job!

Good Job, Lotzie!

Pumpkin!

So, I know before I posted that the pumpkins in Haiti are all green.  That was not quite accurate.  I have found another variety that is a yellow-orange color.  It has a much richer, sweeter flavor than the mild green pumpkins.  I am very excited to find some more of these pumpkins because I have found that they make some awesome recipes simply amazing!  I really want to stock up on this puree and keep a year’s worth in my freezer until they come around again next year.  I love these pumpkin recipes.

Some things I have made recently with this pumpkin:

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

This recipe can be found over at Heavenly Homemakers along with a lot of other great recipes.  My kids LOVE these muffins! Oh, and so do I. In the words of 3 year old Callie, “I love chocolate because it is so chocolatey.”

French Toast Pumpkin Pancakes

When Hannah Hamilton came over after church last Sunday, she suggested we eat breakfast for dinner.  I thought that was a great idea!  I had this pumpkin pancake recipe that I had been wanting to try out; however, she said she wanted some French Toast.  I had no bread in the house to be used as French Toast, so we compromised!  I made the pumpkin pancakes and then proceeded to batter and fry them up for…tada…French Toast Pumpkin Pancakes.  Simply put, they were amazing! I topped mine with a small handful of walnuts to add a little extra protein (and flavor!).  Perhaps a little too much work for a regular pancake breakfast; but, it will definitely be the way I serve leftover pancakes in the future!

The Little Red Hen

Sometimes I feel like the Little Red Hen because I have this song in my head from when my big girls were little… “Who will help me grind this wheat, grind this wheat, grind this wheat?  Who will help me grind this wheat?  ‘Not I,’ each animal said.”

Actually I am really excited because I have a new grain mill.  I am excited to join the wheat grinding extremists out there!  I am also looking for opportunities to use my grinder for other grains as well.  I really need some good suggestions!  Until then, I will focus my attention on wheat and continue to develop a great love for whole wheat baked goods.

Yea! There she is!

Wheat to Flour

And really, it is super easy to grind the wheat, I don’t even need any help.

Mexican Pizza

Because sometimes you just need some Taco Bell…

Homemade Mexican Pizza

But, darn it, there just isn’t one nearby..

Corn tortillas (brought back from the States by my favorite husband) fried.  Topped with shredded chicken, another corn tortilla, homemade refried beans, cheddar, black olives, tomotoes, and a dollop of sour cream.  Deliciousness.

Kind of like Taco Bell, only a lot better.

Sisters

This Gratituesday, I am thankful for my sisters.  I am so thankful for the family that I grew up with.  Although my sisters and I do not get to talk a whole lot and are able to see each other even less, I am so blessed by their devotion to the Lord and to their families.  The times we do share are spent in meaningful conversation, intense board games, and a LOT of laughing!  Between the three of us, we have 13 children, which makes for a houseful of giggling, rambunctious cousins.  I am hoping to meet up with them soon; it has been way too long since I have seen them last!

The cousins petting the Baby Bella, back when she was just a pup.

My sister Jeanna and her little G-man, Garrett.

My sister Joy, and her oldest daughter Madison.

These pictures are about a year and a half old.  They were taken before our family headed back to Haiti after a brief stay in the States following the 2010 earthquake.  We are way overdue for a long visit!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

God’s Blessing, My Children

When I was in college, I was an active participant in Christian Campus House at the then Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.  The name is now Missouri State University and the Christian Campus House is still a strong training ground for young Christians to learn to serve and to become “doers of the Word”.  It was through CCH that I went on my first cross cultural mission trip, and ultimately through Campus House that I found myself in Port-de-Paix, Haiti after I graduated.  I learned a lot about serving and doing as an extension of my love for the Lord, and my relationship with Him.  I am forever grateful for my years at campus house!  I met so many great people and I am so thankful for fb and for the opportunity to keep up with my college crowd.  It is amazing to see how God is using them across the US, and the world.  Truly CCH did (and still does) an excellent job training young people that our Christian service was something that was to go with us, no matter where that might be.

During our eight years in Joplin, five of those years were spent at the Wesley Foundation for Missouri Southern State University.  Eric and I were able to reverse our roles and be the campus ministers for some great college students.  Our oldest daughter, Christa was just a year old when we took that job and just after the beginning of the second semester, Hannah was born.  Wilson came along a couple of years after that and then Jett after a couple more.  It was a crazy time of babies, toddlers, much cooking, small group meetings, one-on-one meetings, late nights and early mornings!  Eric was also a student at Ozark Christian College.  Our lives were full and there was always something going on.  I remember having to cut short a discipleship meeting with one of our female students to attend to a crying infant. I remember praying, “God, I could do so much more for you if I didn’t have all these kids!”

Talk about a sudden and instant conviction from the Holy Spirit!  As if God really needed me to help Him accomplish anything, and what or who could be more important in my life than my husband and my children.  That was a humbling time of repentance and submission before the Lord.  God didn’t want me to do a lot FOR Him, He wanted me to become a lot LIKE Him.  I am so thankful and blessed that He chose six beautiful children to help transform my image into the image of His Son.  Oh, there is much left to transform and I am thankful for the willingness of my children to help teach me all about patience, love, self-control, kindness, and thankfulness, and self-sacrifice. 😉

Since that time, the Lord has continually drawn me closer to my home and to my family.  We are now in Haiti, homeschooling and living almost every second together.  Some days and weeks are difficult, but that is when we step back, re-evaluate our blessings, and re-establish our priorities.  Now I am thankful to be a “doer of the Word” in my own home with my own kids. I am grateful for the privilege I have to share the Lord with my little Lotz family.  Ok, maybe it isn’t so little anymore…

Callie (3), Jett (5), Wilson (7), Hannah (9), Christa (11) and our newest baby girl Aimee (8 months).

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.”  James 1:22-25

A little "jumpoline" fun!

Thanks again to Melinda Wilson for taking some pictures of my kiddos.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!