More Ben Pictures

Because we know that all you really want on our blog is more pictures of our kiddos. :)


Maggie's Egg Hunt Extravaganza

Last year, Maggie was too little to participate in the Tenwek Easter egg hunt...in fact, she wasn't even walking yet. And she was napping. What a difference a year makes. She was SO excited to take part this year. First, she got dressed in an Easter-themed butterfly shirt, and visited Aunt Jess's nail salon on the front balcony.Then, while the big kids were hiding the eggs down in the fields by our house, we went up to the Popps' porch with all the little kids and heard an Easter story.
There was a carton of 12 plastic eggs, and inside each one was an object that helped tell the story of Easter. Here's Abi picking out her egg:
And Maggie got to pick one, too. The 12th egg was empty, reminding us that Jesus' tomb was empty because He rose!
After the egg story, we walked down to our house and posed for some pictures before the egg hunt began.
Here's Maggie finding her eggs:
Oooh! These eggs have CANDY inside!
Happy Easter!


Easter Eggs

Here in Kenya, we still try to participate in a variety of holiday traditions, as is evidenced by our blogs. Last year, Maggie was too young to participate in any Easter events, but this year we decided to dye eggs. The problem, as you can see from the photo below, is that Kenyan eggs (for whatever reason) are brown. This does not lend itself to easy dye-ing. But we gave it a go anyways, opting for some basic and strong colors.Maggie also enjoyed learning about coloring with crayons on eggs (although she never pushed hard enough to leave a mark). A good use for the white and peach crayons that get little use otherwise.
Ben, meanwhile, offered advice from his carseat. He asked to wear his ducky outfit in honor of the Easter season.

The finished products: actually not too bad! I think we chose good colors for the brown eggs. Maggie is going to wonder why all the eggs are white and come in cartons at the store (instead of from Joseph the egg man) when we go home next year.


Remembering Eunice

Friday night Eric and I got some tragic and surprising news. Our good friend Eunice Loeweke was in the hospital, unresponsive after a brain surgery due to bleeding in the brain. She passed away this morning. When we said goodbye 18 months ago, we didn't think it would be for such a long time. I've spent a lot of time thinking about Eunice these past days, about her remarkable life and what a huge impact she has had on both of us.

Eunice was a true old school missionary. When she was in her 20s, she and an Australian lady sailed to Papua New Guinea with Wycliffe Bible translators. They approached a remote tribe and asked to live with them. For 20 years, they lived among a tribe that spoke no English. It took about 4 years to learn their language, and the next 16 to translate portions of the Bible. She spent another 6 years on the PNG coast before she began to have visual side effects from her anti-malarial medications and was forced to return to the States. Now in her 50s, what does a former Bible translator do with her time? Eunice moved in to a house on the edge of the U of MI campus and spent the next 20 years ministering to students and the Chinese community. She would have students over for lunch many a Sunday afternoon, prompting the formation of what people would affectionately call “Eunice's Lunch Bunch.”

Eric first met Eunice back in 2001 when he was interviewing for medical schools. He actually sat next to her sister (from Nashville) on the flight up to Ann Arbor, who proceeded to talk to him the entire flight. She volunteered Eunice to give Eric a free ride back to the med school. Years later, Eunice told us she was so mad at her sister for offering a ride to some strange man without asking her! Eric took her contact info but promptly forgot about it until coming to the U of MI for med school. One Sunday, a friend of his was talking about her friend Eunice, a Wycliffe Bible translator from Papua New Guinea. It was the same Eunice, and Eric started attending her usually weekly Sunday lunch gatherings.

(Eunice's lunch bunch; hosting our last wedding shower)

Eric and I have both lived with Eunice in one of her spare bedrooms for about six total months. We ate at her house countless times. She prayed at our wedding (my favorite part: “May they be able to factor in Your presence and power in any analysis of the possible.”). We shared rides back and forth to Nashville, and once got caught in a snowstorm and sat on US-23 for over an hour eating Christmas cookies to tide us over! We drank her lattes. We enjoyed her museum house that she had taken back from nature. We enjoyed free music performances. (In short, she was the only individual on our top 10 Ann Arbor list.) Our last 2 years in Ann Arbor we tried to get together for a meal at least once a month to soak in as much of her wisdom as we could from her years of missionary and life experience. She urged us to consider the spirit world in dealing with patients overseas. She emphasized having prayer supporters in addition to financial supporters. She reminded us of the typical struggles of a patient in the US medical system (through her own experiences). We prayed regularly.

(Our wedding; Eric's medical graduation)

When I look at Eunice's life I am forced to re-examine my own in light of how she lived hers. She sacrificed much to live in a remote area, with almost no one that spoke her language, and no creature comforts to speak of. She did not spend time in PNG coercing villagers to believe in her God but instead faithfully translated His Word, letting it speak for itself, living out her faith in actions and deeds, and the entire village came to Christ because of this. When health problems forced her to take a life detour and return home, instead of settling in to a comfortable retirement or despairing at how her calling had changed, she embraced a new ministry, one that had profound effects on the Ann Arbor community and literally on people throughout the world. She was always willing to help out with a meal, a ride to the airport, a spare bedroom, a listening ear.

(A free symphony performance at Hill; meeting Maggie)

Eunice, our hearts grieve at our loss of you here on earth. I wish we could have one more meal together, one more talk, one more time of prayer. I wish I could tell you one more time how much you meant to us, the difference you made in our lives, how much we love you. And yet we have such joy for your homecoming. I pray that you are being welcomed into eternity with the open arms of so many who are in heaven because of your faithful service. I have tears in my eyes as I picture Jesus smiling at you, speaking the words we all long to someday hear:

Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done.

(Rachel's residency graduation; our last visit with her)


New Family Photos

Well, after 5 weeks of life as a family of 4, we realized we had no photographic documentation of the fact that we are actually 4. Our first attempt to capture said documentation was on a very small plane to the Kenyan coast, where we attended a great WGM retreat (the missions organization that runs Tenwek). Here's us smiling because of the money we saved by flying with 2 lap children! Eric and I have a long history of taking photos of ourselves, and it's requiring a little bit more skill to include 4 people in these photos. It sort of worked......but not really, as you can see, so we had someone else take the next photo. Note the color coordination. This was taken at the Turtle Bay resort in Malindi, Kenya. There were about 50 bright yellow weaver birds in the trees behind us, although that might be difficult to see with the downsized image I used. Beautiful place! And many more family photos to come as the years go by, I'm sure.



Quote of the day, from this snippet from Andrew Peterson:

"That anyone at all in the world would set their sad heart and tired hands to the work of wreaking beauty out of chaos is a monument to Grace."



Before Maggie was born, we already knew we would be moving to Kenya before she was potty trained (way before). So it seemed logical to use cloth diapers for her, as we were unsure what the availability of disposables would be. As it turns out, there are plenty of disposable diaper options in Nairobi, although they are quite a bit more expensive than in the States. While I was researching cloth diapers, I found that the days of the traditional "pre-fold" cloth diaper and rubber pants are long gone, and in their place are a myriad of options for cloth diapering. We ended up selecting what I like to call the cadillac of cloth diapers, BumGenius 3.0 (that's the official name, yes). BGs are a one size option that, because of a series of simple yet ingenius snaps, fit babies 8-35 lbs. Maggie has been using them since age 2 months (we received a diaper service as a gift in Ann Arbor) and they are still working great. Although, we have high hopes that she will not be using them much longer. :) All the McCropders kiddos who use diapers have at least a few Bums. Shown below was a photo shoot of Maggie, Abi, and Micah in their matching "grasshopper" colored Bums, maybe 8 months ago or so.
All this to say, when we knew Ben was coming along, it was only logical to continue the Bum trend. We debated about if 20 diapers would be enough for a newborn and a toddler and wisely decided, no. I had heard about a company in the US called Cotton Babies who offers diaper grants to missionaries. I emailed them and, what a blessing, we received 15 more BumGenius diapers, plus some wipes, diaper bags, "bum spray" and detergent samples for FREE! If you are at all interested in cloth diapers, or you are a missionary who wants to apply for the free diaper grant, or you just want to check out these nice people, the website is www.cottonbabies.com

Here is Ben sleeping next to his giant pile of clean diapers (to be fair, some of them are Maggie's):
Thanks, Cotton Babies!