Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Quince 2014

On Monday we celebrated Guatemala's Independence Day- 193 years. This is the day on which Guatemala won its independence from Spain in 1821. Four other countries also declared their independence on September 15, 1821: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua and were celebrating as well.  The holiday is often referred to as "The Quince" because it falls on the 15th of the month.  Fifteen in Spanish is "quince". 

Here is how we celebrated this year-
Our day got started with a typical Guatemalan breakfast.  I made scrambled eggs, refried black beans, fried plantains, and tortillas.  We also had orange juice and coffee (lots of coffee). 

The Quince is one of the only days of the year that I attempt to make tortillas.  It's not as easy as the locals make it look.

fried plantains (plátanos) are a staple food here in Guatemala

As you know no holiday would be complete without a family photo. 
our family celebrating The Quince 2014

That morning we walked down to the center of our town (Camotan) to watch the parade. 
Here's Cruz getting ready for the parade to start. 

And here he is doing the same thing back in 2012 and 2013. 

me and Ben waiting for the parade to start

Here are some photos of the Independence Day parade in Camotan, Guatemala-

Ben got all into it.  Here he is waving his flags as the parade passed by.  He would smile and wave at everyone.  It was precious to watch him.  He loved the bands!

Here are a few videos-


And here are the boys playing on the town's new playground before we headed back up the hill to our home.

I had planned on us eating tamales for lunch.  I mentioned before that a guy comes around every Friday afternoon selling them.  I was banking on him coming by last week but it stormed on Friday afternoon and he didn't come.  So, that meant no tamales for the Quince.  Bummer!  Instead I made black bean and cheese quesadillas.  It's one of my boys favorite foods.  To go with it we had blue star jello jigglers and a Guatemala flag cake that I made.   It was a fun lunch.

I baked a chocolate cake and decorated it to resemble the Guatemala flag.  Cruz just gasped when he saw it and was so proud.  I think I'll make this a new yearly tradition. 

One thing I realized last year for the Quince is that you cannot find blue jello in Guatemala (at least not anywhere where I have shopped).   I have found most every color except blue.  I put it on my list of things to bring back from the States so we could have it for the Quince (yes, I'm just that OCD to plan ahead for such a small detail).  I thought the color turned out perfect for the holiday!  The only problem is that I only brought back one box.  Cruz has begged me since we returned to make him that blue jello.  He was glad to finally get to eat it on Monday. 

The rest of the day was spent napping, playing, and packing for a trip into Guatemala City that we are currently on.  It was a fun day and we had a fun time celebrating together.  Have I mentioned lately that I love holidays?  I just really, really love them!

I'll leave you with this last photo of our sweet Ben sound asleep that night.  My boys were TIRED by the end of the day.   All that celebrating can be hard on the little ones (and us big ones too, ha).  My favorite part of every day is going in at night to check on my boys and watch them sleep.  It's just the most precious sight ever! They are the reason I decorate, make special foods, and try to make holidays so fun.  I am building memories that I hope will last them a lifetime. 
sweet dreams baby boy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Marching, Dancing, And Running

Independence Day in Guatemala is September 15. A big part of their celebration is school parades. In Jocotan where Cruz goes to school they do a parade with the younger school kids on the 14th and then the older kids march on the 15th.  This year the 14th fell on Sunday so Cruz's parade was Sunday afternoon.   Here he is before we left our house to go line up-
my sweet boy ready to march in the 2014 Independence Day parade in Jocotan, Guatemala

There were tons of people already there when we arrived.  You have to navigate your way through the crowds to find where your particular school is lining up.  It was chaos and I was happy when I spotted those maroon uniforms. 
some of Cruz's schoolmates getting ready to march in the parade

Here he is with his sash on. It represents the colors of the Guatemalan flag.

I think the noise and the crowds overwhelmed him quite a bit.  He would not let me get out of his sight.  I had already planned to walk along beside them, but I didn't expect him to be so clingy.

Isn't she a cutie!

The crowd up ahead as we started to march.

Cruz with a few of his classmates and his teacher Miss Milvia

Here's a video of them marching

More of Cruz's schoolmates.  Because I walked along beside them I only have pictures of his school marching.  I didn't get to see the other parts of the parade.

David and Ben however got to watch it all.  Here they are as we passed them.  Ben especially loved the bands. 

His school band stopping to perform

A short video of his school band-

Afterwards there was a patriotic program at the Central Park.  We stayed for just a bit and then slipped out.  We drove into town and ate supper at Pollo Campero.  The boys were super excited when we told them we were going there.

my boys in the ball pit at Pollo Campero in Chiquimula, Guatemala


And here's a little video showing you our supper entertainment.  We like to keep music playing in our home and many times throughout the day we just stop and do a little dancing.  I'm thinking that maybe I need to start teaching my boys that dancing is only for at home, ha.

Every time I watch this I just laugh out loud.

Besides the parades another one of our favorite things about Independence Day is the torch runs.  All of the schools do runs on the 14th.  I wanted to drive into town so that we could see lots of them out running.  The boys thought it was very cool that the big kids got to run with fire.  

The students take turns running with the torch.  When not running they pile into the back of a truck and follow behind.  They are usually blaring music through a loud speaker, honking their horns, waving flags, and just having a festive time.  It looks like a lot of fun for them and I can imagine it's something they look forward to all year long.

They even run at night which to me seems so dangerous.  People line up down the streets to watch them though.  It's a big part of their holiday celebration.

This was Cruz's second year to participate in the activities with his school.  I love that he gets to be involved with it and I'm certain I'll miss it once we start to homeschool next fall.

I'll post about how we spent the Quince next.

Monday, September 15, 2014

First Time Bowling

We started the weekend off with our weekly Friday night trip into town. Last fall right before we left for the States a bowling alley opened in Chiquimula.  We have been wanting to take the boys since we returned. We got there a little early and were the only ones there.  That was nice.  Here are some photos of the fun time we had-

me and my boys on their first bowling trip

It's been years since we have bowled.  It was a regular activity during our Youth Ministry days.  We talked a little about those fun memories and it made us miss all of our former students.  Those were some fun years!

I think Cruz had the most fun.  He was a big fan of bowling!

For the kids instead of bumpers they have this metal slide.  You put your ball on top, push it down, and then it rolls into the pins.  That's a great idea and the kids loved it.

Cruz watching his ball

We even got to wear the cool bowling shoes, ha. 

David and I have always been competitive with each other.  This night at the bowling alley was no different.  But, just look below and see how it turned out.  Yeah me!!!

The time ran out right before Ben's last bowl but you can see here how we did.  Not too bad, huh.

When we finished I attempted to take a family photo.  This was our first try.  Ben wanted me to hold him and was quite mad about me having Cruz. 

So, we swapped kids and tried it again.  This one was much better.

We ordered some food and then bought some tokens for the kids to play games while we waited for it to come out.
They love to ride these machines!

Something that we love but rarely get here is fried cheese.  The menu offered it so we gave it a try.  It was very delicious and I'd go back just to order that again, ha. 

On the other hand the pizza we got was very disappointing.  I don't think I would eat it again if they were giving away free slices.  But, it was filling and served the purpose. 

Overall it was a very fun night.  The boys had a blast.   I am certain we'll go back and bowl again in the future. 
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