Wednesday, July 1, 2020

July 2020 Newsletter

Restriction Update
Another month has come and gone.  Not much has changed since our last update. Our State of Emergency was recently extended until August 5.  Our current restrictions now include only being able to get out in your vehicle based on the number on your tag.  Odd numbers can get out three days and even numbers the other three days.  There is a total lockdown on Sundays.  We still have our curfew from 6:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.  There are to be no gatherings of any size and still no crossing department (county) lines.  That leaves us at home most all of the time unless we get out to buy groceries or supplies.  We are managing well but we most definitely have restriction fatigue.  Pray for us to not grow weary in waiting and that we would all be more content during this time. 
One Day At A Time
While it is more of an inconvenience for us, the restrictions have been severe for the average Guatemalan.  Many have been out of work since mid-March.  Schools are still closed.  The school year in Guatemala runs January- October.  They were just at the start of the year when everything shut down.  At this point there has been no word on if or when they will be allowed to open back up.  Airports and borders are still closed.  Guatemala depends heavily on tourism.  Many hotels and restaurants have already had to permanently close.  At the rate we are going it will take years to recover and there is no end in sight.

Please pray for the people of Guatemala.  Pray for wisdom for the leaders who are making difficult decisions.  Pray for the health care system that is struggling and the healthcare workers who are completely exhausted.  Pray also for the hunger needs that everyone is experiencing.  Without work many have no means to buy food.  Guatemala has always had a high mal-nutricion rate.  This virus has just escalated that.  Many organizations are working hard to combat the needs.  We are trying to help do our part as well.  Through funds given to Send Relief we have continued to do feeding projects during the month of June.  Because of your giving, many Guatemalan families have had food on their tables.  Thank you!

Below are a few photos from food distributions done this past month.  We plan to continue that work throughout the month of July.
Family Update
We are thankful for good health these days.  Pray that we would continue to avoid the virus and stay well.

We long for the day we can return to church locally. In the meantime, we are enjoying online worship each Sunday morning.  Getting to have weekly English worship has been a blessing to us and one of the positive things we will remember about this time.

I am making plans for our upcoming school year.  With no volunteer teams allowed to come in that has made me have to look for other options to get my books brought down.  I have been stressing about that since early April.  We ended up having them shipped.   We are hoping they will arrive mid-month.  Please pray that that box arrives safely and on time!  If so, I plan to begin our new school year sometime within the last two weeks of the month.  We have been on break since May 8 and barely left the house.  My creativity is running low and hopefully school will give us something to help pass the time.  Starting early will give us a little extra time to take off later in the year when hopefully things begin to open back up and we can travel again.
David and the boys celebrating Father's Day.
While we ask you to pray for Guatemala, know that we are praying for you all as well.  There is so much sadness and unrest happening in the U.S. right now. It is hard to watch from a distance.

If living outside of the United States has taught me anything it's that we are so blessed to have been born there.  We take so much for granted.  I know the U.S. has it's problems, but in spite of them, I am proud to be an American.  We look forward to celebrating our home country later this week.  Happy Independence Day, everyone.  Our hearts will be celebrating with you.

 Thank you for praying for us!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Walking, Reading, and Cooking

This title pretty much sums up our lives lately.  It is what we are spending most of our time doing.  Here is a look at life over the past few weeks.

For the first two months or so of corona virus restrictions we rarely left the house.  The boys did not get out at all for many weeks.  They still rarely leave.  We did little to no exercise at all.  A few weeks ago I decided it was time to get moving.  We began daily walks around our block.  With the exception of the days that we have been on total lock down we have walked every day.  Some days we walk twice.  It has really helped us mentally and physically.

Here are the boys on a recent afternoon walk.  Yes, Ben is still in pajamas.  And, no, I did not care.  I would have walked in mine if I could.  lol

Views like this make our walks extra enjoyable.

At least once a week our walks include a stop at the gas station for ice cream. 

another beautiful view

Our summer reading challenge is going well.  The boys have probably read more this summer than any summer yet.  On this particular day I looked out and saw Ben reading like this.  Cruz had built that "cage" with the hopes of catching a wild animal in our front yard.  We live behind concrete razor wired walls.  The chances of that happening were very slim.  After about three days of no luck Ben moved the cage to the backyard and turned it into a reading fort.  How fun is that!

Cruz recently discovered the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and loves them!!  We have access to three and are hoping to get more.  This is the first time I have seen him not be able to stop reading a book.  Every spare minute he is reading more pages.  Here he is reading before breakfast one morning.

reading in my bed one night

A friend is starting a school around the block from our house.  It will be for English speaking expat families.  We are excited about getting to do some extra curricular activities with them this next school year.  She has given us access to her library and we have enjoyed borrowing books from her.  In addition to our own summer reading program, she has started one too for the kids in her school.  She awards points to the kids for every book read and they will get to redeem them at the end of the summer.  In addition to reading, the kids have to also do some type of project about the story.  This has been a lot of fun for us so far and given us extra things to work on. 

Here is Ben reading an Amelia Bedelia book.

In the book Amelia makes chocolate cupcakes.  She was also told to ice the fish.  She puts chocolate icing on both.  Her sense of humor makes us laugh.  For his project Ben wanted to make cupcakes.  Here he is learning how to use the mixer.  It turned into a fun cooking lesson as well.

decorating the cupcakes

This was the photo from the book.

educational and delicious

Another book and project Ben did.  We looked up a step by step video on YouTube on how to draw a dinosaur.  Art and reading all in one.

In book 8 of Diary of a Wimpy Kid the grandfather was trying to blow out the candles on a birthday cake.  When he did he spit out his teeth.  For Cruz's project he made a set of teeth out of Lego's and gave a summary of the book.

In this story Benji tries to rescue Daisy from a dog pen.  Ben followed a YouTube video to draw the dog and then used construction paper and some screen to make a pen. 

This was a fun project for him.

Another book and craft project for Ben.

In addition to these, Cruz will finish A Lion To Guard Us today and Ben is finishing book #6 in the Magic Treehouse series.  Summer reading has not only given them something to do but is also giving them something to look forward to when they get their rewards. 

We turned a recent rainy Saturday night into a fun puzzle night.

All done!

I have lost count on their fort building.  This one they built in the backyard and had plans to sleep in it but it rained.  Since the restrictions they have built forts inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs, in the front yard, and the backyard.  I have had to learn to overlook the mess and just let them go at it.

We cannot wait until we can go on another real camping trip again. In the meantime, our yard will have to do.

Here is Ben watching a YouTube video to learn the difference between an oyster and a clam.  He had asked the question randomly over a meal so after eating we researched it.  It turned into an educational moment.  I am always looking for those moments and trying to take advantage of them. 

They are not big fans of wearing masks but it is mandatory here.  If caught without one the fine could be very expensive.  Seriously.  Things changed when they got these new camo ones.  Now they don't mind wearing them quite as much.  Who knew a cool fabric would make all the difference. 

I am loving my new masks made out of Guatemalan fabric.  All of the different colors are so pretty.

Another fun thing we just finished this week was a free virtual summer cooking school.  It was eight days of skill learning and fun.  The boys would watch videos every morning to learn the new skills and then spent time in the kitchen practicing them.  The class was offered by Kids Cook Real Food.  We all loved it!

learning knife safety

Cruz was especially excited when he was recognized on the morning live campfire circle that was done every day during the course. 

And of course you cannot learn to cook and not clean so this is another skill we are practicing right now.

Cruz is getting very handy in the kitchen.  He enjoys making pancakes all by himself.

He is also completely independent on cooking eggs.  That is his current favorite thing to cook.

Here is Ben after helping me make potato salad one day.

It is rainy season here which means afternoon and evening showers are expected daily.  That makes for cooler weather also.  We love it!  Just a few days ago we ate supper in the living room by the fire. It was so fun and cozy.   The weather in Antigua is our favorite thing about living here.  After spending a little over eight years in super hot areas this climate is so refreshing.

As I was closing the curtains one evening I looked out and saw this beautiful sunset.  I had to stop and thank God for letting me see beauty in that day.

I will be honest.  The pictures I share are only of us smiling and doing fun things.  It doesn't show the tears, frustration, and discontentment that we are all feeling these days.  We recently passed the 100 day mark of corona virus restrictions.  There are days when I feel like I am going to lose my mind from being at home so much.  We are making the best of it but we are all tired, burned out, and longing for an end.  I know everyone is. 

So very true!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Father's Day 2020

This year Father's Day was very quiet and simple. We were on total lock down for that day meaning no one could leave their property.  It was another special occasion that the corona virus took the joy out of.

Like all special occasions in our home we decorated the night before with balloons and streamers.  It helps start the next day off fun and festive. 

David's chair ready for Father's Day breakfast

"Dad you are the best"

The boys gave David homemade cards and some chocolate.  He also got a new coffee pot.

They helped me make a pancake breakfast.

Happy Father's Day

Ben reading his card to David

After breakfast we enjoyed watching church online.  Here is Ben coloring during the service.

For lunch we had one of our favorite things, pulled pork sandwiches from Pappy's BBQ.  They are selling these packs of meat precooked and ready to eat or freeze.  We keep several packs in our freezer to enjoy whenever we want.  Pappy's is one of our favorite places in town!

David requested a chocolate chess pie for dessert so that is what I made him.  It's another family favorite.

The rest of the day was spent watching movies and playing.  We took a few more pictures late in the afternoon.

David and the boys
I won't say what it was that made them laugh but as you can see they got very tickled there for a moment.  These pictures make me smile.

This describes David well.  We are thankful for him and all that he does for our family.  We are very blessed!
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