Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Nativity

This Christmas we decided to do something different.  We headed to the Christmas market and looked for items to make a nativity scene.  We thought it'd be fun for the kids to pick things out and  make it their own.  This time of year there is a whole section set-up that sells everything you can imagine for a nativity as well as Christmas decorations - moss, grass, figures, mangers, pine cones, colored sawdust, garlands, lights, etc.

The scenes are something many families (not so much poor families) make every year and they can be quite elaborate and are probably equivalent to our American Christmas tree.  Ours is pretty basic but we've got ducks and turtles.  

 We had to haggle a little bit for the baby Jesus.  The starting price was $10 but we got him down to $2.50

Mary and Joseph are orange but this is Guatemala and they like things bright. 

                  The 3 wise men complete with frankincense and myrrh, a gold ring too.

Christmas Eve is the big day here - Noche Buena.  Today, families are busy preparing tamales and a hot fruit punch which is the traditional meal.  It takes hours to make and they will eat at midnight.  We will receive lots of love today in the form of this yummy tipica food.  It's one of our favorite things to eat!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Outta Sorts

It’s been an unsettling couple of weeks here – in our family and in Guatemala.  The government is all in an uproar with the president being impeached and then arrested for corruption (Google it if you are interested in reading all about it).  There have been protests and demonstrations for months now.  Our school was closed for safety reasons the day of the big protest last week, the one that the whole country participated in to oust the president.  Sunday was primary election day and it was crazy.  There were riots all over the country.  We could hear the one in Magdalena from our house.  It was in font of the school, which was the voting location.  We went to church in the morning but were advised by friends to stay in and not leave.  On Monday morning when we took the kids to school, there were fires still burning, presumably ballots, and police at the schools.  We also saw truck loads of police with riot gear throughout the day.  It was slightly nerve wracking and makes us sad for this country and how it’s been taken advantage of. 

On August 10th, we got the keys for the Project for Hope property and it’s been non-stop ever since.  LONG days working, making repairs, cleaning, etc., and getting the place clean enough to move into which we did, a week ago Saturday.   It doesn’t stop there though.  There is a tremendous (I am not exaggerating with that adjective) amount of work to be done here.  Right now, we are working on our leaky roof, getting internet, a working well so we don’t have to pay for water, and laundry hook-ups for the Nortons.  Not to mention cleaning and gardening this soon to be oasis.  The place was vacant for several years, which gifted us layers and layers of dust/dirt on every surface imaginable.  I will write more about this endeavor later. 

giving Pete some love

With all the changes in our lives since the property and the boys starting school, Kendy ,aka Baby Gurl,  is all outta sorts.   She doesn’t know if she’s coming or going.  She’s 4 and in her short life, her world has been rocked many times.  She’s gone from home at birth, to an orphanage shortly after, back home, to another orphanage and then here with us.   I am sure in between those trips to orphanages she was placed in foster care too.  So, something like moving to another house takes her back to a place and feeling she can’t express with words, just actions – crying, screaming, etc., when things feel out of control for her.  When are things out of control for her?  When it’s time to eat or get dressed or go to bed or go somewhere.  So let’s just say all day.  It’s “Toddler Insanity” all over again.  She’s not been sleeping well and gets in our bed most nights. Everyday  I tell her over and over that we love her, we will never, ever leave her, this is her family and she will be with us forever.   I was happy this morning because she was able to tell me that she missed our old house.  That gives us something to go on and something to talk about.   As for Angela, she’s a trooper and takes it all in stride.  Her feathers aren’t ruffled quite as much and she’s able to talk about her feelings most of the time. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Life With Girls

The last 7-ish months have been a blurr.  Lots more crazy in the house since the girls came.  We went from having "older" kids 8, 13, 16 to having a 3 and 5-year-old around (now 4 and 6) and that brought our parenting journey to a screeching halt!  We went from semi-smooth sailing to bumpy back roads.  It's taken us back to a time/place that we haven't been in so long that we don't even remember what we did "back then".   It's kinda funny and kinda not.  The amount of daily conflict in our house has tripled.  I feel like my primary job is a court appointed mediator, in a bad divorce, with crazy people who refuse to give in and who can't be reasoned with.  It's quite tiring!

Having little ones around who did not come from me is scary.  I take for granted all the things the boys "know" because we raised them, and all that the girls don't.  For instance, don't touch outlets, or hot things on the stove, or try to break up a dog fight, or open the door when someone knocks, or put things you found on the ground in your mouth, and on and on and on.  There are plenty of times I want to say "You know better than that" but the truth is they don't.

People have asked "Is it everything you ever imagined?" Well, not exactly.  I imagined girls to be delicate little creatures who don't delight in bodily functions like boys do or fight with each other or act like wild animals.  I've learned that girls are really no different than boys, just slightly more dramatic and manipulative.  They are crazy and full of energy and the boys have met their match.  They remind me of the days when Jon was little - always have them in your sight and don't leave scissors laying around!!  One afternoon, Kendy (the youngest) had one of those Barrel of Monkey games, except a miniature one, on the floor in her room.  The moneys were out so just the barrel was there.  I came in and noticed it and that the floor was a little wet so I asked her about it.  She retracted faster than a turtle, a given that something not good is about to come out.  Her sister was quick to give her up and told me it was pee.  What!!!  Apparently she had to go the night before and went in the tiny, little cup.  Seriously...  she's got skills to be able to pee in something so small, I'll give her that but the bathroom is right outside their door.  She is Jon all over again, who I vaguely remember peeing through the screen of his bedroom window once.  She's a handful for sure.  A few days ago she told me that she felt something crawl in her ear.  I said it was probably water since she just got out of the shower.  She started to cry so I got my glasses and a flashlight just to make her feel better.  I wound up pulling out a rather nice sized piece of foam that was way down in there.   I think I'm going to get her a nanny.....

But seriously, they are great and we are happy to have them.  When they first met us, they called us "Abuela and Abuelo", grandma and grandpa.  It was cute but slightly prophetic because that's exactly how we feel sometimes, way too old to be doing this!

They are biological sisters and appear to be from the caribbean side of Guatemala.  There is a population over there of people with African dissent so they don't look very Guatemalan.  They've got the afro hair and dark skin.  We don't know exact details but they were given up by their grandmother because their mother was not able to care for them.  It's kinda sad.  But, they are with us now and we trust God that this is how their story goes.