Blog 2003 September 2003 - Tom, our oldest son, has taught Kika a new thing called "funny face." She pulls the sides of her mouth with her fingers and it is hilarious! She loves the response she gets and will continue making her "funny face" for the next ten minutes until you can't stand it any longer. September 2003 - Kika has learned to say, "I love you" and says it regularly. When she wakes up in the morning it's the first thing she says so that we'll get her up for the day. She used to just say, "Me! Me!" Ha! September 21, 2003 - We went out for family day to a local park. Kika really wanted to swing but the swings were just the type held by chains and a flat seat. So I had to squat next to her and make sure she didn't fall off. Then I got the idea to put my belt around her which insured she wouldn't fall. To my amazement, she would rock back and forth with the movement of the swing and built up enough momentum to keep swinging without being pushed. Our four-year-old can't even do that! October 1, 2003 - Kika "crawled" on her own for the first time. She had only done this previously during her therapy sessions with the aid of being slightly pushed. This time, she dragged herself a distance of three feet across the floor to go to mommy. That's real progress! It's very important for her to learn how to move around by herself at a young age. The older she gets, the bigger and heavier she will become, so learning to get around under her own steam is an important part of her having independence as she grows. October 3, 2003 - Kika has had a high fever-up to 106-over the past 24 hours. We all got together to pray for her and will be taking her to see a doctor today. We don't know what the fever could be from but are taking it seriously as it could be an indication of urinary tract problems. October 13, 2003 - The doctor diagnosed Kika as having a urinary tract infection and we did a urine analysis to confirm it. Kika continued to have a fever on and off until about two days ago, they ceased--thank the Lord! October 24, 2003 - Kika has been taking daily antibiotic injections which will last for one week to fight the infection she has. Once completed, we will do an ultrasound on her kidneys to see how they are doing. After that, we head for the border to renew our family's visas! Never a dull moment! November 9, 2003 - Kika and Mom are renewing their visas and visiting relatives in Texas. Dad and some of the boys brought them to the border and then returned back home. The trip went very well and our good old Colt got Dad and the boys safely there and back--a trip of 1400 miles! We had a few problems though--a bad tire that developed a bulge, a bad road that knocked out our power steering, and it seems the alternator was having some problems. We were 50 miles from home when the car died. A friendly Mexican noticed there wasn't enough water in our battery so we filled it up. After that, we made it home safely. November 15, 2003 - Kika and Mom returned home safely by bus, a 12 hour trip--at night--from the border back home. Kika had a hard night and found it difficult to settle down on the bus, which is understandable--I have a hard time sleeping on buses myself. But we're glad to all be back together and thankful for renewed visas. We are going to try to get resident visas in the next six months so we don't have to take these long trips again. It's quite taxing on us, and our vehicle. The dear Colt made it all the way there and back, but just broke down and is out of action again. November 24, 2003 - Well, we were going to write and tell everyone that Kika has been exploding with words and short sentences recently. She is talking so much it's amazing! That was the BIG news until today, we got word that someone offered us an `89 Chevy van with a wheelchair lift! The vehicle is in excellent condition and we are just thrilled at God's marvelous answer to our prayers! Now all we need to do is to come up with the funds to make the trip to Illinois to get the van, register it, insure it for the states and Mexico, and get it back home-- simple, huh? November 28, 2003 - This is actually news from the 25th but we've been so busy working out the arrangements to pick up the van that I only got around to posting it today. The news is Kika can count to ten! Out of the blue she just rattled off, "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten--counting!" Amazing! Perhaps she picked it up while Esther was teaching our two youngest boys, although she doesn't remember teaching that recently. Wherever she got it from, she has it down and repeats it regularly. Other news is that she is being much more active in her little wheelchair. She is able to go over rougher terrain, eagerly spins around, maneuvers around tight spaces more easily, and even plays ball in her wheelchair. For awhile she just seemed to want to be pushed everywhere, but now has discovered the joy of going wherever she wants to go. December 9, 2003 - Here's the latest news on the donated van. One of our co-workers just so happened to be in the states at the time we received the offer of the van. He was on his way to visit his parents and very graciously offered to drive the van to Texas so that it would be closer for us to pick up. Whatta miracle! He should be arriving in Texas near the end of this week. December 24, 2003 - We just arrived home on Monday the 22nd with our newly donated van. Our co-worker, John, drove it all the way from Washington, Illinois and was on his way to southern Texas when he had a minor accident. About 35 minutes north of Austin he ran over a two- by-four which put a hole in the gas tank. He was able to find a replacement that was donated by a local junkyard owner. At that point, I took a bus up from Guadalajara to meet him and we drove back down. The van is in great shape and runs very smoothly. Apparently, the couple that donated it, first offered it to a charity 20 miles away. They didn't want to go and pick it up so they offered the van to us. We drove around 2,000 miles to get it and bring it home--ha! You can tell we really wanted it.