Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We're home from Guatemala!

We had a wonderful trip to Guatemala! Claire got to meet all of the family, and they all adored her!  My husband is the oldest of 4 children, and his youngest brothers are only 3 and 6 years older than our oldest son! Our kids love visiting them, they have so much fun together! On our last evening there they threw a party for us and invited the entire extended family. It was so much fun seeing everyone we had missed so much since we moved to the USA! There were great,great aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles, aunts and uncles, cousins, second cousins and several other family members there whose official family title even I wasn't sure of!!! I enjoyed catching up with all of them! I'm posting a few pictures here of our family in Guatemala, for my family (in the USA) and friends to see.

Rodrigo's ladies from left to right: his sister Carmen Maria, His grandmother Julia Josefina, Me and Claire, and his Mom Julia del Carmen

Claire's Tio (Uncle) Esteban (Rodrigo's youngest brother):

Claire and her Tio Sebastian:

I have tons of party pictures as well, but I am tired and it is late, and I'm sleepy,  plus I doubt many people outside of our house will care much to see them ;-)

I am so very glad to be home with my own sweet boys! I missed them very, very much! We had a nice trip, but I agree with Dorothy "There's no place like home!"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Claire makes new friends...

Claire with her Daddy's best friend Ricardo, Ricardo's sister Diana, and her Daddy's little namesake "Rodrigo" (Ricardo's son)

A bath in Guatemala

Claire and I are enjoying ourselves here in Guatemala. Although we miss our guys back home terribly. We are staying with Rodrigo's family. This house was built by his great-grandfather. His grandmother was raised here, his mother was raised here, and Rodrigo was raised in this house. This is truly his ancestral home!
I find that the internet here is very, very slow so I’ll upload lots of pictures when we get home! But for now here a couple I just took of Claire taking a bath “outside” in the interior garden of the house. (Many homes here in Guatemala are built in colonial Spanish style with interior courtyard gardens.)

She thought she was just the bees knees for taking a bath outside!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ten Things

I woke up this morning feeling rather un-rested and more than a little whiney. I have so much to do in such a short time (doesn’t that sound familiar to every mama on earth!!!) The very busyness of my life has me spinning right now! I keep saying that as soon as I finish with ______ (fill in the blank with whatever thing is urgently waiting to be attended to right this very second) then I am going to slow down and simplify my life. I am going to spend days where I don’t go any farther from my house that the back garden and hen house! But somehow as soon as I finish with that project there seems to be another even larger, more urgent one waiting for me to finish it! Then I saw this post this morning over on Soule Mama, and it started me thinking about just how many wonderful blessings I really do have throughout my days! So with an attitude of gratitude I decided to slow down for a minute share ten things that are making me very thankful today.
1. The cutest tiny little catcher in the whole wide world! (The flames on his shoes help him run faster!!!)
2. Playing hop-scotch on the longest hop-scotch grid ever, drawn by his brother all the way to 100!

3. Matthew, my little love, taking his newest passion so seriously! They are in the championships now and will be playing for first place next Tuesday!
4. Opening a jar of last summer's homemade hot pepper jelly to have with toast and cream cheese!
5. Learning to be more independant every day

6. These perennial sunflowers growing right outside of my dining room window. Every day they attract tiny little goldfinches to share in the harvest of their seeds. I don't have a picture of our goldfinches on the sunflowers... I didn't like any I took from inside through the windows and I don't have any yet that where taken outside...

7. This book I picked up from the library today! Looks like a very "me" kind of book! I plan on reading it on my upcoming trip to Guatemala. It's called Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre.

8. Lots of hot sunshine, in which to dry my sheets and clothes!

9. This boy, who I watch with awe, turning more and more into a thoughtful young man every day. The metamorphosis is amazing (scary, thrilling, exciting, happy, and quite sad for the sweet baby he was) to witness.
10. My precious loves... nothing more needs to be said.

Oh my goodness, when I started this post out, I was really trying to find some gratefulness to show. I was having a bit of a pity party thinking about how everything seems to be going around here lately. But honestly, in taking these little snapshots and sharing them here with you, I am so happy to realize how blessed I am every minute of every single day! I have nothing to complain about! I have a beautiful, happy, healthy family that loves one another, we have clothes to wear, good food to eat together, a happy home to live in surrounded by beautiful flowers and things that we have planted together, a safe place for our kids to grow and play. We are good! Life is so good! And our God is so wonderful for blessing us with all of these things, not because we did something to deserve it, but because He loves us and wants us to be happy! Such a heavenly father we have!

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
James 1:17 New Living Translation

Like Soule Mama, I'd encourage you to try this as well! "What are ten things bringing you joy right in this moment? Write it down, say it out loud, photograph it, or share it with those you love..."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Camping in the Mountains

This past weekend we went camping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with my parents. We all had a lovely relaxing trip. There was much hiking through the woods, reading in the hammock, playing in the river, bicycling, blowing giant bubbles, music around the campfire, catching fireflies, good food, roasting marshmallows and eating smores, making homemade strawberry ice cream, and talking late into the night under the stars. Family is such a good thing, I enjoy mine so!

Icy cold mountain river! Great fun on a hot summer day!
Blowing Giant Bubbles...
Grandpa teaching Claire to play the harmonica!
You must answer the riddle to pass over the bridge...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Goals for today ~Update~

We are back from a lovely weekend of camping in the mountains with my parents. (Blog post about that coming soon!) This morning the sun is shining and I am feeling the need to get stuff done! I am (slowly) trying to get my house in order, a very belated spring cleaning if you will. I am feeling overwhelmed by piles of stuff everywhere. I long for clean open spaces. But paradoxically I love collections, and sweet little vignettes of kitschy cuteness sitting out where I can pass by during my days and enjoy them. And just to make it even more fun, I am a lazy perfectionist. I want to have everything just so... and if I don't have hours of uninterrupted time to fix everything how I want it then I often feel like why bother starting! (And we all know that with a nursing baby in cloth diapers and three little and not so little boys, home with me all day long, I have hours of uninterrupted time everyday HA!) I am travelling with Claire in just a few weeks (June 20th!) to go visit family in Guatemala. Her passport came in the mail last week and our tickets are bought. I have so much I want to get done before then, so I decided I need to make a list! Lists always help me stay on track! This is today’s list, I plan on sitting down this evening and making a more comprehensive list to cover big projects I’d like to have done before our trip.

Today I’d like to get the following done:

Air out sleeping bags Boys helped with this and the tent!
• Set up tent in drive to dry out (it rained as we were breaking camp yesterday…)
• Wash all clothes from camping (So glad it’s sunny, no need to use clothes drier!)
• Wash sheets from beds
• Get everything off of clothesline before early dinner and put away (I often find myself dragging when it comes to actually getting the clothes from the basket and into their places! Some days I contemplate moving somewhere that is warm all year and becoming nudists… sure would save time doing laundry! ;-P) Boys put away all of the clothes, I'm still considering banning clothing though!
Weed at least 2 rows in garden Only got one row totally weeded, but the "good" thing about weeds is, if you leave them alone, they'll still be there the next day waiting to be pulled!
• String twine up/around bean house posts
• Collect dandelion blossoms to make fritters for lunch We decided to use squash blossoms and cosmos flowers for our fritters... They were wonderful! The boys' favorites were the cosmos flower fritters!
• Mop whole house
• Grind flour
• Make bread
• Read about how to get rid of potato beetles that are eating my eggplants
• Really deep clean kitchen
• Dinner fixed early (Logan has baseball tonight)
• Harvest lettuce
• Search berry patch for any remaining berries
• Let chickens wander in yard and eat bugs for a few hours before dark
• Transplant last few plants into garden
Plus I got the leak fixed in the boys pool.

I was really surprised that we managed to get everything on my list done today! It feels good to be able to cross all of those things off of my list! Now I'm off to get cleaned up before dinner and time for Logan's baseball game!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Look Mama, I'm ready to go!"

This was said proudly by Ethan, as he showed me that he had got totally ready to go to Vacation Bible School by himself without being asked. (Usually I have to remind him of nearly everly little thing it seems... some days I think that child would happily go out of the house in absolutely nothing but a pair of shorts! No shoes, no shirt, no underwear...)
We decided to change his shirt, for one that matched, and was short sleeved, and right side out! But you've gotta love his "fashion sense" Too cute!
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