what should we expect in guatemala…

may 25.  2015

i think the best things to expect when visiting a new place or country is to not expect anything.  we have read what to do to be safe-basic guidelines like not being flashy with jewelry, dress modestly, and don’t stay out after dark.  we know guatemala city is a very dangerous city, that’s why we hopefully won’t be there too long, as we plan on taking a shuttle from the airport with one stop at the walmart there to gather supplies for the orphanage and children, and then on to our home three hours away.  what will the food be like, will we get parasites(probably-i’m hoping for a good weight loss parasite-kidding of course), will we find the right place and people to help out, will we figure things out and start to jive with the locals, will we be able to really help and make a difference.  all these questions and more swirling in our minds.  i think that’s what makes part of the adventure so adventurous, the not-knowing.  if it were too predictable, than it wouldn’t be as fun.   hopefully we will be guided to where we need to be, and who we need to be with.  i’m not sure if others have ever felt this way, but there have been times where one has felt so desperate and in need, and one person somehow being there in your greatest time of need and helping and bringing comfort…we hope to be able to make that difference-even just for one person.   to change one life is our hope.

i also hope for a few things for selfish reasons…like not ever hearing my girls say they have nothing to wear, or there’s nothing to eat, or that they don’t like what we are eating(or at least hearing it less).  i hope they come back with a greater and wider perspective of what they are truly blessed with.   we aren’t sure what’s in store, we hope nobody gets kidnapped or killed-where we are staying should be pretty safe since it’s a touristy area, but we do hope for memories that will change our lives for the better.

as 50% of the population of guatemala is under the age of 15, and most kids don’t finish school past 6th grade because they have to start working to help support the family, i’m secretly hoping that we will be able to do some teaching in the schools or orphanages.  i know us being there for only 6 weeks won’t permanently help these children to get past the 6th grade, but you never know what one experience can do to help someone find a way to accomplish a goal.  if we can help out with some of our donations to also pay for some of their schooling so they can continue, how awesome would that be!

having friends going down to guatemala with us is going to make the experience so much more fun and enjoyable!   we are so glad  and grateful doug and jessica price and kids are in on this grand adventure with us-they will be with us for 3 weeks!  we have raised donations together, and look forward to being able to share these donations with the people and organizations down in guatemala.

(photos of children came from the eagle’s nest international organization site)-

http://www.eaglesnestint.org/childrens-home.html

– a home for children without a home- solola guatemala

guatemala…getting closer…

may 23.  2015

we are excited, nervous, a bit scared, and then excited again.  guatemala is only 9 days away!  we are flying spirit airlines, for the reason that their tickets were a few hundred dollars less than everyone else’s…but that’s going to be an adventure in and of itself…we’ll be fined and billed for every little thing i’m sure.

the five hour flight, five hour layover, three hour connecting flight into guatemala city, and then the three hour van ride to lake atitlan where we will be living for six weeks will be a long day.  our girls have been amazing traveling in the past, but we’re sure it’ll be a huge adventure just getting there.

being inspired by the documentary, “living on one dollar,” we felt so strongly we needed to come to guatemala.  and even though these guys lived on one dollar a day showing how difficult and what a struggle life is in guatemala, and living in a hut with mud floors, camden turned to me and asked if we were going to live in a hut.  I reminded her how i don’t like to camp at all, and we will have a home to live in, and how lucky she is…and how lucky we all are.

we are excited for the adventure, and to be able to help out others, especially in the 4th poorest country in the world.  we hope to do good, and to change our minds and hearts to more of what’s really important in life-helping others.  it’s not money or things.  we hope our kids learn and remember this, so their lives will be grounded in more important things than the ways of the world.  our minds are filled with ideas of how to help out, and things to go see and do with our kids, and getting into the life and culture of living in south america.

the house we have rented is pretty cool!  the woman who owns it is from belgium-and you can see the european influence along with the south american influence.  it’s a quaint 2 bedroom-1 bathroom home-but i absolutely love the architecture.   it’s on a hill overlooking the ancient mayan village of jaibalito, and the views will be amazing.  it will be an adventure climbing up to it daily(i may have to borrow the mule to ride up), but it will be worth the views of the lake and the three volcanoes surrounding the lake.  it hopefully will be our own little refuge, and place to enjoy nature, peace, and the sounds from the village.  living on an acre and half, and having access to the owners garden of fresh fruit, veggies and herbs will hopefully be wonderful.  some comforts we will be grateful for.

sweet beekeeping…

may 3. 2015

being beekepers is something we have really enjoyed.  2014 was our first year having bees, and our harvest was plentiful with just one hive.  the raw, unfiltered honey with pollen in it is supposed to be one of nature’s most complete, nutritious superfoods in the world.  eating honey from our bees that we harvested was also very fulfilling.  the girls felt very proud of their work and learning about the process.

when we harvested last year, we either tramatized the bees too much, took too much honey and didn’t leave enough, or killed the queen during the process, because the hive left.  so this year we bought two hives, have two beehive boxes, and are hoping for great queens, since they dictate how the hive will run.  it’s so amazing learning about these great creatures, watching them in action, and seeing the honeycomb and honey come about from their hard work.  brilliant.

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madison…and the amazing heart she has-

may 2.  2015

This kid amazes us every day. Madison didn’t breathe when she was born, was bagged and tubed, taken to another hospital, I didn’t even get to hold her. Open heart surgery at 7 days old, subsequent surgeries after that, PICU heart floor for 10 weeks, born without an immune system, inside the house for two years, feeding tube into her stomach for two years, speech-physical-occupational therapy daily, meds around the clock to keep her alive, 10 specialists, and she’s fought every second to be here on this earth. She does things her own way, has taught us there’s not one way for everyone, and reminds us to celebrate the differences we all have.

this year was supposed to be just a family party for madison too, but cam begged to throw her a surprise party.  cam said she would do the invites, food, decor, and i just had to take her out for the afternoon while they get ready for the party and while the guests arrive.  alex and i took madison out to see avengers, and came home to homemade pizza, a popcorn bar, decorations, and all the guests ready and hiding-madison was so happy and surprised!  it was a fun party!  and i didn’t have to do anything, which made it a nice break for me.  the girls played on the trampoline-which is always where the parties go, volleyball, swung on hammocks, rode the neighbors zipline, and then when it got dark, came in and played ghost in the graveyard in the basement.  ohhh, the screams!

madisons presents from sisters included a floating neckace, and jars of gum, and a vintage skirt-all of which she loved!  oh, and a butterfly mask nadia made and a loom bracelet of couse.  madison bought new shoes, a purse, and makeup with her birthday money-which is always top of her lists to shop for.  she is a shopper, never saving a dime:)

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mormon prom…alex’s first fancy dance…

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may 1.  2015

christian asked alex to mormon prom by leaving little notes with teachers to give her and in her locker, and at the end of the day, her lacrosse coach called her over after practice, and christian came over and gave her flowers and asked her to prom.  alex filled a box with starbursts with a cute reply and balloons and had christian carry it around school as her reply.  so fun.

let’s just say, 2 1/2 weeks to find a modest prom dress is no fun.  i scoured websites looking for a good deal on a dress, that’s modest, and that is in stock and doesn’t need tailoring, and it’s almost impossible.  almost.  but my determination continued, and after countless hours of alex and i pouring over pinterest and online websites, even looking in the mall, i found one online.  it even came a week before mo prom.

the day of prom, we got alex’s makeup done at the sephora near our house that had just opened for the first time that day-lucky!  found her converse next, got her nails done(which she paid for with her own money), went by the grocery and our friend happened to be working and made the boutonniere for free as a gift to alex, and we got home in time for alex to get her hair done, slide on her new dress, with a few minutes to spare.

watching christian walk down the walkway and see alex was so exciting.  they exchanged flowers, we took pics at the house, then met up with the group to take group pictures.  they headed off to dinner, the dance, and the after party playing games at a friends home.  i can’t believe my daughter is old enough for this, or that we are old enough this!  they looked so great-christian wore pink to match alex, including pink socks, and the converse they wore were the best part:)   totally vintage and adorable!

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alex’s graphic design art award…

april 29.  2015

alex is very creative, very artistic, and very talented!  she helps with all our invites, her art projects in class are amazing, and she did an amazing graphic design project of her two friends, that she submitted for the school competition(lower right hand corner of the picture with all the art).  she came in 3rd in the graphic design category, which is awesome!  there are 3500 kids in her school-the competition is pretty fierce, but she holds her own for sure!  she is an amazing kid!

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another year older…

april 29.  2015

i can’t believe our little nadia is already 7!  when the time was close for nadia to be born, jarom was still traveling mon-friday.  we knew lynn was going to go into labor soon, so the girls and i drove to ohio and stayed with the in-laws in anticipation of the new arrival.  my health was horribly bad at the time, i could hardly get out of bed, but i made the trip by myself with the girls.  jarom flew in and met us in oho when nadia was born.  it’s a very stressful time to say the least-going through an adoption.  you never know if the birth mother is going to change her mind, that is always sitting in the back of your mind.  lds family services, who we went through for the adopton, usually pays for the birth mother to stay in the hospital an extra day, so when the 72 hours after the baby is born is up, they were in the hospital the whole time, and didn’t have an opportunity to take the baby home.  we were made aware, that the hospital wouldn’t allow the extra day, and we were worried.  then lynn told us she had breastfed the baby, and we thought for sure we weren’t getting her.  but the third day after nadia was born, we drove over and picked up our little nadia.  what a sweet blessing and miracle.  lynn had prayed and was told she needed to have the baby adopted, and she stuck to it.

jarom of course left after the weekend, and i was taking care of a newborn and three kids with horrible health on my own.  even though i was staying with my in-laws, for some reason, they never even bothered to offer to help hold the baby, feed or change the baby, help with the other kids, help me because i was so sick, nothing.  i was on my own.  let’s just say, being third class citizens with your in-laws is no picnic, but these sweet girls and jarom and i continue to live our lives, and try to give our kids the love and attention we miss out on.  we notice the holes in our lives, and are taking note to hopefully do better for our kids.  we know no one is perfect, especially us, but above all, we hope our kids will always feel loved and know that we are there for them.

six months after we had gotten nadia, we were blessed to finalize the adoption back in ohio.  yes, the in-laws didn’t even bother asking about coming with us, nor did they even bother congratulating us on the finalization of the adoption, all while we stayed in their home.  so sad for sure.  but we go on and create happiness within our own family.  we then sealed her to us in the d.c. temple, which was beautiful.  we continue to have an open adoption with lynn, and nadia gets to chat with her on christmas and birthdays-and gets gifts from lynn on those special occasions.

now nadia is seven, in 2nd-3rd-4th grade lessons, and is so very smart!  she memorized the living christ when she was 3.  she was reading at 3.  she has had 3 older sisters always loving and teaching her.   she is a delightful, bright, sassy, beautiful spirit, and we are so grateful to have her in our family.  it was completely inspired and meant to be!

nadia had a friend party last year, so this year was to be a family party.  she started planning a “tea party”, made thank you bags, planned games and what the food would be, and then asked if she could have this tea party on her birthday:)  see what i mean about smart!  so we agreed.  she loved all her gifts, and got roller skates from us, magic kit and dress up from lynn, dress from grandma, baton from alex, heart purse cam sewed for her, a mood necklace from madison, and a few things from friends.  cam helped with all the food, and played with the girls during the party.  i love having helpers!

HAPPY 7TH BIRTHDAY DEAR NADIA!

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