Thursday, July 30, 2009

Everything happens for a reason!

Ok - so I have to say that I don't believe in coincidences. I feel that everything happens for a reason.

First of all I just renewed a relationship with an old high school friend on facebook. I commented on her status and mentioned something about Guatemala. Later that night a friend of hers contacted me. She had just booked a flight to Guatemala the day before. Her father is a sponsor for a foundation here in Guatemala. It is started and run by members of our church. . He and his wife are coming to Guatemala and bringing two of their children and their spouses to check on the foundation and tour some of the great places to see here in Guatemala.

Second of all, today we decided to go to lunch with Nate at a new Mexican restaurant here in town. We've been really wanting to try it. Anyway we decided to wait 10 extra minutes so I could hang out the laundry once it was done washing. It's a good thing we did. We rescued a man who was drowning in the middle of the river. For some reason he decided to try to swim the 200 yards from one side to the other and got caught in the current and was not going to make it. We pulled him up on the boat and took him to the other side.

Crazy right? Neither was a coincidence.

We went to the mexican restaurant and it was ooooooh, so delicious! Every one of us cleaned our plates. There was not a smidge of food left. That's a miracle with 4 kids. They gave us a super yummy piece of flan. It was more like cheesecake and one of the best desserts I've ever eaten. Betty's beat it for sure but it was close.

It was raining but not too bad when we left. We should have known it would be pouring in a few minutes. It was reallly, really hot this morning which usually means an earlier rainstorm. We got about a third of the way across and it downpoured. We have shelter on our launcha but that doesn't help much in this situation. It was raining so hard that it hurt your face and it was hard to keep your eyes open. The current picked up and you couldn't see far in front of the boat. It was freaky! Ammon was our hero sitting on the bow of the boat watching out for boats (and now we have added people to his watch:))) Xela prayed and the rain quieted a little so that we could find the house. Needless to say we were soaked every inch through when we got home. Good thing I forgot to bring my camera! We finally felt chilled enough to break out our chocao hot chocolate we bought when we were in Antigua and brew it up. The kids have been asking for me to make it but it is so hot here I always put it off. UMMMM! It was so delicious!

I finally finished off the bananas today. I dehydrated a ton and froze a bunch and have some in the fridge to ripen and make into banana bread. Yumm! Problem is I think I may be allergic to them. I may have over done them with my smoothies and now my body is responding against them. I'm not sure, but today I broke out with a rash after handling them and I have had a bad sinus headache since Sunday. I hope I am wrong. I've never heard of anyone being allergic to bannanas before.

Robin! I totally agree! Let's exterminate all bug like critters anywhere near our home! I am so happy to see your comments. They always put a smile on my face.

Hannah, It sounds like you are having a great summer! I am so glad Dallin learned how to swim. That is such a relief I know! Afton will be right there soon and next summer Henry will be swimming also. Give Grandma a big hug for me. We tried to call her on her birthday and left a message but we didn't get to talk to her. Have fun at family reunion. We are so bummed to miss it this year. It is a highlight of our summer every year. We love to see everyone and catch up with all the cousins. I'm sure it won't be the same without us :))))!!!


Monday, July 27, 2009

Scorpions, Lizards and other Critters

So I already told you on facebook but I have to blog about it anyway because it is a new Guatemalan experience and part of the adventure.

Yesterday when I was at church I reached in my bag and pulled out a wooden puzzle. On the bottom was a scorpion. When my hand brushed against something weird I swished it off of the puzzle. It went flying. I looked and it was a scorpion. I screamed and grabbed the kids and ran to the other side of the room. Luckily the Primary President was in there doing singing time. She went over and calmly killed it with her heals picked it up and put it outside. I was shaking so bad, but soon became the object of much humor throughout the building. Apparantly it hitched a ride in my church bag because I pulled it out of the closet zipped it up and didn't unzip it until I went in for the puzzle. I bet you are all dying to come visit now! At least it is the only one I've seen in 4 plus months. Right?

My baby brother got married on Saturday! Congratulations Jared and Nicole! I wish I could have been there. Kelley was the only one to make it I believe. Everyone else is hoping to go to the Colorado reception next month. I don't think I will be able to make it. I'm pretty bummed but they are hoping to come see us at Christmas time. I still wish I could have been there to celebrate with them.

The first pics are of Gabby getting into the brownie mix while Xela was mixing up a batch. It was a mess but so cute I had to take a pic and post it.

The rest of the pics are of our trip to Livingston. We took the same trip on our Guatemalan vacation in 08 so some of the pictures will seem similiar.

We stopped about half way there at a bird island. It was like the one near our house except it had these huge bugs. They look like huge grasshoppers but have bigger wings. The kids and Nathan held them. I didn't of course, but they were cool to look at.

We then went into a Lagoon. I can't remember the name but it had lilly pads everywhere and if you look close enough you can see little birds on them. The water was so glassy. It was amazing. I can't quite describe it. The picture of the boys in the little boat was crazy because the water was so glassy it looked like they were about to go over a waterfall. It was illusion caused by the reflections but it freaked me out at first. I took tons of pictures because I thought the reflections of the nature in the water was so pretty. Maybe Xela will paint one for me one day. When we were coming out of the lagoon we saw children in little homemade wooden boats paddling frantically toward us. One was a little girl selling shells. We bought two from her. One is the one Gabby is holding to her ear. The little boys were selling crabs for a Q a piece. We didn't buy any then.

As we approached Livingston we saw all of the shrimp boats. Apparantly they go out at 5pm and come in at 5am. So the boats look abandoned. The cranes and pelicans perched on them add to the view. They were everywhere. In the trees on the boats flying by. It was amazing.

When we got to Livingston the girls got their hairbraided. Gabby was so cute. She felt so big. In the center of their park they have a concrete pool with crocodiles or alligators. I don't know the difference. We walked through town and checked out the vendors. I bought some coconut oil which was great because I had just ran out. They make delicious coconut rolls there. We walked down to the beach but it was cloudy so we didn't get wet. I had to take a picture of the pigs on the beach with us. It is so classic of Guatemala. Pigs and chickens everywhere. I don't know how the owner's have piece of mind w/out worrying about someone stealing and eating their chickens and pigs. Not to mention the stray dogs making a meal out of them. When we went to the restaurant the lady said they were out of bacon and she was having a hard time finding any in the stores around town. I wanted to tell her there was a bunch of it down at the beach.

There were two little boys practicing playing drums on old cans of various sizes and soda bottles on a stick. It was amazing the rythm they had together and that they could make it work with what little they had. Livingston can only be reached by boat and from what I heard it was settled by people off of a slave ship that swam to shore when the ship wrecked. The african culture is apparant all around you.

Gabby zonked out the minute we hit the river to head home.

We stopped at two places on the way back. One was a ecological farm that is also a college. It teaches the mayan youth two things. One - about all of the animals, insects and bugs that inhabit Guatemala, and two they train them in tourism and how to become business owners. They make and sell 100% natural crafts to fund the college. At this farm they have waterfalls to swim at. We were also given a tour of the trees. The picture of the tree with the red pods hanging off of it is the Cocao tree. This is where our chocolate comes from. These pods have nibs inside with a sweet white fruit on them. The nibs are made into cocao powder. The picture of the little white baby pods are cocao pods also, when they first appear. It was amazing to me that the pods grow right out of the bark. I also took pictures of a line of ants carrying huge chunks of leaves to their home. Our guide told us that they travel like that for 2km. Amazing! We also stopped at the Aguas Calientes. Ahhhh! Natural hot tubs are the best! A little stinky but so relaxing under the canopy of the jungle.

Ohhh! We also stopped at the entrance of the lagoon so Nathan could purchase blue crabs. 20 for Q20 or $2.50. The last part of the ride was in a rainstorm but we got home just before it hit hard.

Sunday we were given a bunch of banans at church by our friend Jorge Garcia. I don't know how many we have but we have frozen a ton for smoothies and my dehydrator is going 24/7. I just hope they don't all ripen at the same time. We gave a lot of them to the guards and to Temio also.

We would love to hear what all of you have been up to, so please leave a comment letting us know!