Sunday, July 13, 2014

Traveling to the DR

Our travel day to the Dominican Republic got started about 2:15 a.m. on Saturday.  We got up, dressed, caught a taxi, and were at the airport by 3:15 a.m. for our 5:00 a.m. flight.  The boys slept in their travel clothes the night before.  We waited until the last minute to slip on their Crocs and carry them to the taxi.  We moved Ben into our bed and stripped the sheets from up under them and neither one woke up.  They were sleeping good.
 sweet dreams before we woke them up and threw them on an airplane, ha


me and the boys at the Guatemala City airport about 3:50 a.m. - all smiles

the boys watching our plane being loaded in Guatemala City

Cruz peeking out the window at the beautiful sunrise

We traveled with most all of the other IMB missionaries serving in Guatemala.  We had a short layover in Panama City, Panama.  There we caught up with a group from Colombia and we were all on the same flight to the Dominican. 
David and the boys at the Panama airport waiting for our connecting flight 

As we neared the Dominican you could see the ocean.  I got soo excited to look out the window and see the blue water.

 Arriving at the Punta Cana airport in the Dominican Republic
Most of the buildings had thatched roofs and the inside was open air.  There was a nice breeze though.

David and Cruz walking to get our luggage

We had about a 20 minute bus ride to our hotel and an easy check in to our room.  The best part about having to get up soo early was that we arrived around 1:30 in the afternoon.  Because Saturday was a travel day for everyone there were no scheduled activities.  That meant we had the whole afternoon to explore and have some fun.  The boys had slept on the flight so there was no chance of an afternoon nap so we kept them busy the rest of the day.  We started with a late buffet lunch and then walked down to the beach.

the water here is gorgeous!!

 

After putting our feet in the ocean a bit we changed into our swimwear and walked to one of the kiddie pool areas to let the boys swim.  They spent around 2 hours playing and having a blast.  




Look at that smile.   That pretty much sums up how we are all feeling about being here.

We left there and went back down to the ocean for a swim.  The water is very warm.  We enjoyed a buffet supper and then called it a night.  Within minutes of getting into the bed they were both out!

Cruz told me "I'm just going to lay here and watch cartoons a while".  I looked back over and saw him like this.


It had been a long day.  In spite of traveling with little ones our day was very smooth though.  Both boys traveled very well and made us proud. 

We are having a pretty amazing time already but what has been the most amazing thing so far is the hugs, hello's, and how you doing's we are getting with our IMB colleagues from all over the Americas region of the world.  We are seeing lots of familiar faces and already met some new ones.  We had an amazing praise and worship time this morning led by a praise group from Florida and heard an amazing, challenging message from David Platt.  He will be sharing with us every morning. 
David and I with David Platt on Sunday morning

We have a busy week ahead but it's going to be a great one y'all.  I just know it!

Friday, July 11, 2014

This Week

Well hello again! Today's post is just a bunch of randomness from the past few days.

If you follow us much you'll know that while in the States our boys received quite a bit of toys and things.  We tried to bring back as much of their stuff as possible but as you can imagine a lot of it got left behind in storage.  One of the things Cruz wanted to bring back was his Big Wheel.  That thing is large and bulky but we did our best to make it work.  David took it apart piece by piece, bagged up the small parts, and we distributed all the large parts throughout all our bags.  It got here and one morning this week he got all the parts out and the boys helped him put it all back together.  It took them a while and it gave me lots of time to get some things done.  I am glad they have it to ride on.

working hard on their Big Wheel

I haven't unpacked all of their costumes yet but we did get out their masks and capes one morning.  Here are my little super heroes at play-
sweet brothers

The one thing the boys have played on the most since returning is their swing.  They love that thing!  That's the same swing that caught Ben between the eyes a week ago. 


On Wednesday Dan drove over from Honduras to spend some time with us.  He is our Ag partner.  It was great to catch up with him, hear how the work is going, and talk about ways we can work together in the future. 
David, Cruz, and Dan

I have forgotten to mention in my other posts about a few improvements that have been made to our place since we were in the States.  The first was that our landlord installed hot water in our kitchen and bathroom.  It's great getting to wash my dishes in hot water now!  That is a luxury that I didn't even realize until I didn't have it for many years.  Our favorite improvement of all was that our road got paved.  YIPPEE!!!  I am hoping for a lot less dust now.  I'm glad it was while we were gone because we missed all that construction, noise, and headache.  It's a nice road and we feel very spoiled to have it.
Our new paved road.  Our boys are going to be spending  lots of late afternoons riding bikes up and down this area I just know.

On Wednesday night we met some friends for dinner at a new restaurant that opened up near Jocotan while we were gone.  It's a cute little place and I am sure we'll be back there more often now that we've tried it.
Josh, Jessica, me, and David

David and I ordered the grilled beef.  It comes with black beans, and tortillas.  It was delicious and seasoned very good.  The best part was that it was only around $5.00.  Yummy and cheap, ha.

We drove into Guatemala City on Thursday afternoon.  We stopped half way for a bathroom and ice cream break at Sarita's in El Rancho.  The boys had a banana split and I enjoyed a PiƱa colada shake.
YUM!

ice cream at Sarita's

We did some errands in Guatemala City on Friday morning.  One of those was getting Cruz a haircut.  He was so excited about going back to his normal barbershop.  He loves sitting on the four wheeler while they cut his hair.
ready for his haircut

We also let them ride the carousel in the mall before we left. 

We leave tomorrow morning (Saturday) for the Dominican Republic.  I'm very excited about the week ahead there but dreading the 3:00 a.m. taxi and 5:00 a.m. flight to get us there.  Yikes!  Another thing I am dreading is our exposure to the Chikungunya virus.  It is pretty wide spread in that area so we are taking lots of bug spray and will be cautious while outdoors.  Would you pray for us and the others who will be joining us there that no-one will be infected by this virus.  Ohhh, that would not be fun to have!!!

I'll try to update again from there in a few days and hopefully post some pics.  I've been known to take just a few so if I do I'll share them, ha.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Life Lately

As I mentioned a few posts ago we had to spend an extra day in the Capital last week to put our car in the shop.  We ended up leaving it and taking another vehicle home.  We hope to swap back later this week when we return to Guatemala City.  Being there just gave us a little extra time to chill out and catch our breath before we returned to our home. 
The boys on one of our outings in Guatemala City last week.  They look pretty excited, huh.

We spent some time one morning at a McDonald's letting the boys play while we sat, talked, and drank coffee.  Here's Cruz inside the spaceship on the playland.

We ate supper on Wednesday night at my favorite place in Guatemala- TGI Friday's. 

We had plans to drive home on Thursday morning.  Our boys made sure we got an early start.  Ben (my normal late sleeper) was up at 3:30 and Cruz was up at 5:30.  I think we pulled out of our mission house at 6:15 headed home.  The vehicle we were using was  PACKED OUT.  We still had to leave a few things behind because we just couldn't squeeze it all in. 

I kept calling the boys my little sardines. 

all smiles about heading home

We made a half way stop in El Rancho for a bathroom break and to stretch our legs.  We let the boys play a bit before loading back into the car for the second leg home.

We stopped at Pollo Campero in Chiquimula to pick up some chicken to take home for lunch.  We arrived home around 11:00 that morning.  We were welcomed back by these pretty flowers.  They really brightened my day!
our "welcome home" flowers from our landlord

The next several days were very repetitive- lots of cleaning, unpacking, and storing away.  It was some long, hot days but we got it all done.  The hardest part was keeping the boys entertained while we worked because you know they're just a little bit active, ha. 

We let them cool off in their inflatable pool while we worked and then in the afternoons we would all go swimming in our landlord's big pool.  How refreshing!

We had our first accident since returning home on Saturday morning.  Ben (after being told numerous times) learned the hard way not to walk in front of his brother while he is swinging.  The corner of the wooden swing caught him right between the eyes.  Needless to say we have not had to tell him another time to move out of the way.

On Saturday afternoon we drove into Chiquimula to attend a soccer tournament being put on by some missionary friends and a team they were hosting.  It was the second year they have had it. They have fun things for the kids to do so they always invite our boys to join them.  That's sweet!  HERE is my post about our time there last year.
 
My boys with the clown.

While there they enjoyed jumping on the trampoline and jumping in the bounce house.  They also enjoyed the free popcorn (a lot).

One of the first things we noticed when we drove home through Chiquimula  last Thursday was the big circus tent.  Back in the States everyone was setting up tents to sell fireworks for the 4th of July.  Every time we saw one Cruz would ask "mama, is that a circus"?  So you can imagine his excitement when he saw that tent in Guatemala and I answered yes.  I promised him we would go so Sunday afternoon we went.  The best part was that it was 2 for 1 day.  We always enjoy the circuses that come to our area and we always make plans to go.  Our family loves the circus!

heading inside the big tent for some afternoon entertainment

Our family at the circus in Chiquimula.  Our missionary friend Jessica also joined us.


The circus was very entertaining with lots of animals but the best part was the finale.  They had six tigers.  Cruz was ecstatic!  They did a great show.

They even all jumped through the ring of fire- Cruz's favorite thing of all.  It was a fun afternoon!

Here are the boys ever since-
I have definitely gotten my monies worth out of those costumes!  They are crazy about tigers!

For the most part we are settled back in nicely.  It sure feels good to be back home.  Just about everything has been wiped down and cleaned and I finished up by washing all the curtains this morning.  We are both just a little bit OCD about everything being in it's place neat and tidy. Our house is looking nice and smelling good.  That makes me very happy. 

So, now that everything is unpacked and put away it's time to dig it all back out and repack for our upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic.  We fly out on Saturday morning.  We planned our return from the States just specifically to be able to attend this conference.  In spite of being a little tired we are excited about our time there.  I expect it to be very refreshing and just what we need at this time in our lives.  We look forward to the fellowship with the other missionaries and being around those who do what we do.  Our boys will be spending their days doing VBS with the other missionary kids.  They are going to have a blast.  Would you pray for our trip to the DR?  We'll look forward to sharing with you all about it soon.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 2014 Newsletter

Greetings from Guatemala!  As the saying goes "all good things must come to an end".  We returned to the mission field last Monday to begin our third term with the IMB.  We had spent seven months in the States.  And what a wonderful seven months those were!  Our feet first hit U.S. soil back on Wednesday, Nov. 20 and we barely slowed down the whole time we were there.  During those months we traveled to five different States- Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia.  We visited 32 different churches and had 26 speaking engagements.  We met many wonderful people along the way and the memories we made will last us a lifetime.  It was an amazing time for our little family and we returned to Guatemala refreshed, encouraged, and eager to get back to work.  We say a big THANK YOU to those of you who prayed for us while in the States and for praying for our readjustment to the mission field.  We are happy to be back home and are getting more settled with each new day. 

We plan to make some visits this upcoming week to the villages where we were working with hopes of getting our Bibles studies back up and going soon.  We have already talked with our contacts over the phone and they are eager to see us.  That is encouraging.

We are excited about an upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic later this month.  We will be attending a mission meeting there with our other IMB colleagues that serve in Central and South America.  We anticipate a great time there for everyone and are especially excited about our boys getting to spend some time with the other missionary kids.  They are going to have a great time- I just know it!

All is well in our little part of the world.  We are looking forward to finding our groove and getting back rolling.  We are thankful to have all of you praying us through this next term.  We are eager to see how the Lord is going to use us over the next 3-4 years.  Your partnering with us through prayer will have a great impact on the Gospel being spread and people coming to know the Lord.  So thanks for praying.  It is such an encouragement to us.  You keep praying, we'll keep serving!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Independence Day 2014

I'll do a separate post about life lately and how we are doing getting settled back in and unpacked next.  But I wanted to go ahead and share how we spent the holiday from our home in Camotan, Guatemala.  Normally I like to "go all out" for holidays with themed food and lots of festive decorations.  Having just arrived home the day before I didn't have it in me to do much this year. Getting our house cleaned and in order, our bags unpacked, and our stuff stored away has been an overwhelmingly tiring process.  But, in spite of that, I still made sure we took family pictures and ate something American.  Here is how we spent the day.

If you'll remember back Cruz has always been an early riser.  In the States he had started sleeping until 7/ 7:30.  We were loving it!  But, since returning to Guatemala, he has gone right back to his old ways and has been up around 5:30 a.m. every morning.  Oh, that's hard on these old bodies, ha.  So, we got our 4th of July started off bright and early that morning.  We were up, dressed, fed, kitchen cleaned, pictures taken, and a load of clothes on the line before 7:30 a.m.  We hit the floor running!

 I am crazy about taking family photos on holidays.  I love having them and looking back at years past.  I just know I'll treasure these in years to come.  This is our 2014 4th of July family photo-
Happy Independence Day, y'all!

and here we are back in 2012
It's hard to remember the boys that little!


 and July 4, 2013 

I also enjoy making the boys some type of festive hat to wear on holidays.  I know my time is about to run out on this tradition because they will soon protest it so I'll do it as long as I can.  I knew I wouldn't have time this year to make anything so instead I picked up some holiday headbands while in the States for them to wear.  I thought they were cute (David not so much).  I took their picture wearing them and then realized they looked more like ponytails.  Oh well, I tried.
my boys being good sports for their mama

We spent the whole morning working around the house.  We ate banana pancakes for breakfast and turkey sandwiches for lunch.  After long afternoon naps we put on our swimwear and walked over to our landlord's house for an afternoon swim.  It's been pretty hot around here so it felt great to cool off and just chill for a bit.  The boys loved it. 
 Now that the boys are bigger I'm sure we'll be spending a lot of afternoons at our landlord's pool.

We came home and grilled hamburgers for supper.  The only decorations I used were red plates and these flag napkins I picked up in the States-

and I hung this "Happy 4th of July" banner over the table
our family eating supper on the 4th of July 2014

For dessert I served these red jello jiggler stars. 

There was no watermelon, no homemade ice cream, and no fireworks but in spite of that we still had a fun, simple day.  Just being together made it nice. 
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