Monday, June 24, 2013

Making Memories Monday - Forever Friend

Soft, sweet cuddles, a quick kiss good night.
It's time, mommy says, to turn off the lights.

I'm glad you came on this journey with us.
Things change, it's true, but there's no need to fuss.

Some of you have been by my side from the start
And now have a home deep down in my heart.

We'll exchange quiet whispers as she closes the door.
If you'll keep all my secrets, I'll tell you some more. 

You know that I'll guard you right up to the end
'Cause you, my sweet toy, are my forever friend.   

Monday, June 17, 2013

Making Memories Monday -Naranjada!

Mexico is full of wonderful flavors!  We've tried lots of new food and drinks this past year.  The kids' palates have even begun to expand.  Our favorite new drinks are Naranjada (orangeade) and Limonada (limeade).  These drinks are made with fresh orange or lime juice, a little sugar, and either regular or mineral water.  We like the sparkly kind best!  You can order these at most restaurants, but we've recently started making our own.  Here is a simple recipe if you'd like to give it a try:

Step 1:  Find some nice juicy oranges (or lemons or limes) to squeeze!  The kids bought me an electric citrus juicer for my birthday, and it is wonderful.  We are blessed to be able to find fresh citrus year around here in Oaxaca.     

Step 2:  Find an assistant to help taste the citrus.

Step 3:  Mix the juice and sugar.  You will need about 2-3 cups of juice.  Add sugar to taste (~1/4 - 1/2 cups for orange or more for lime/lemon).

Step 4:  Add plain or mineral water (we used mineral water here).

Step 5:  Enjoy!  It makes a great drink for Family Game Night (every Thursday at our house)! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Making Memories Monday - Going to the Library

I can't remember exactly how old he was, but I think Kieran was 4 years old when he got his first library card.  When we lived in South Carolina we loved going to the Irmo Library to check out books and videos, enjoy story time and dance with music and motion.  When we moved to Texas, getting a card at the Dallas library was at the top of the to-do list.  Not only was there a multistory library downtown, but our church also had a wonderful library that we enjoyed visiting almost every Sunday after church.  We are still able to check-out e-books from the church library which has been a huge blessing to us.

Books, glorious books!  Our Kids' Library in Mitla, Oaxaca
Fast forward to our move to Mexico...books are very heavy (those of you who helped us pack up know this fact too well) and many of our favorites did not make the cut with our our luggage weight limits.  It was a sad day.  However, we learned during our orientation that there was a children's library at our branch center near Oaxaca.  Our kids were so excited!  The library is one room filled with many treasures.  Our first visit was like taking kids to a candy shop.   We left that day with a HUGE stack of books.  We tried to establish the rule that we could only check out as many books as we return...but that rarely works out.  Thankfully, there isn't a 2 week return policy and no late fee...well, maybe there is if the book is gone for a year or so! 

Our stack of library card!  We've checked out a few books, don't you think?
This library has been an especially big blessing with Kieran's homeschool.  We've found lots of books that are related to American history.  They try to stock books that are connected with popular homeschool curriculum since many families in our organization homeschool their kids.

Kieran loves checking-out books!
 As with any volunteer-based program, our special kids' library has some needs.  Some of the books in this library are so well loved that they are beginning to fall apart.  Others are becoming outdated with new countries being born and technology changing.  If you are interested in helping us by donating some books or funds to purchase new books and DVDs, please let me know.

Well loved!
We love making memories in our new library and pray it will continue to be a blessing to more generations of kids serving with their parents here in Mexico.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Making Memories Last

Last week, my Facebook feed was flooded with end-of-the-school pictures.  There were many status updates (especially from moms) expressing shock at how fast their kids were growing.  Yesterday, they were starting kindergarten and now they are graduating from high school. Here's our own quick trip down school memory lane...

Kindergarten in Dallas, Texas
1st Grade in Puebla, Mexico
2nd Grade in Oaxaca, Mexico
A few days later, we sat down and started watching home videos from a couple years ago.  Wow!  Those kids really do change so quickly.  I was amazed at how much I'd forgotten.  The way Elyse sounded before she could really talk, the way Kieran sang at the top of his lungs making up most of the words to "Joy to the World".  Things we think we'll never forget, but we do.  

I recently read a photography blog post about the importance of capturing the everyday activities and not just the special events.  There are so many everyday things that I want to remember.  Now that we are living in Mexico, our everyday lives and events have changed in many ways.  My goal is to start documenting some of those "normal life" kind of things that we do as a family.  I thought about calling this series "Mundane Mondays" but I thought that "mundane" sounded kind of negative.  Nothing is ever "mundane" in this household!  So, starting tomorrow, I'm going to try to do a better job of making the memories of some of our "regular" activities last a little longer!  Stay tuned for our "Not-So-Mundane" Mondays.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Insectos Mexicanos!

I assume that even if you don't speak Spanish you will understand the title of this entry!  Last week we celebrated 10 months in Mexico.  Time has truly flown by!  We have learned so much in these past 10 months about our new home...the language, the culture, the food...and the BUGS!  Actually, I shouldn't limit it to just insects.  We've been introduced to all kinds of new creatures. I've shared some of these pictures on Facebook, but I wanted to make sure I had them all in one place so we could appreciate them a little more! 

Remember our friend the tarantula from this past fall?  Yes, this was one of my favorites...

Thankfully, the dry season seemed to hide away many of the creepy crawlies.  We experienced the "regular" types of bugs such as flies, mosquitoes, ants, and various kinds of beetles.  The real fun has come these last few weeks with the onset of the rainy season.  Evidently, the first hard rains seem to be the signal for various types of creatures to emerge from their homes...into our home!  

Our first sign was that of the bug catcher...otherwise known as a gecko.

We've named him Gary.  Unfortunately, he does not speak with a British accent like the one from the Geico commercials...probably since this one is Mexican. 

The next creature was a bit too dangerous for Gary.  However, he was no match for a big shoe!  Sorry, Mr. Scorpion! 

Just when we thought our visitors were limited to crawling around, the flyers entered the picture.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the swarms of flying ants that took over our house one evening.  I was too busy swatting and sweeping to take any photos.  However, the next night did not disappoint when we heard flapping in the hallway and saw this big guy hanging out on the wall.  I've seen smaller birds! 

 Last, but not least, we have a different kind of flying ant.  Evidently, these large ants called chicatanas are edible!  Yes, you read correctly!  Here in Oaxaca (so I hear), people catch these this time of year, take off the wings (obviously), roast them and then grind them up into a salsa.  If you prefer, you can just sprinkle on a little chili powder and snack on them.  Who's ready for lunch (I put the peanut shell down for a size reference)? 

 I hope you've enjoyed our little walk on the wild side.  If you have any budding entomologists in your family, send them down for a visit!