Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Playing House

 When Clay and Ryan made the trip to Chiapas to look for a house, I was completely confident that Clay would findan appropriate house for our family. But when he said they found a house and it was "rustic," I wasn't quite sure what to think.
But here it is...and I do like it. In fact, I find it to a cute little house. Just right for our family.

The living room has a very cute fireplace. And all the floors required LOTS of scrubbing.

The kids enjoyed "helping" us scrub.

We even have a front YARD, with grass and an aloe plant! I can hardly believe it.

 We still have lots to do to get our house functioning completely, but we at least have our own place. The fun part is choosing our own furniture, dishes, and decorations for the house.                                  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Venturing in to the Village

Explaining how the filter works.
This week Clay and I had the opportunity to go in to one of the nearby villages to set up a water filter and to adjust a wood cooking stove that had been installed a month ago (when Clay was here house-hunting). Finally...a glimpse of what we hope to be doing in the future with the Z people! It was a great reminder of why we're here...not just setting up our house and getting our kids in to a good school, but improving lives by sharing the Gospel.
Most of the indigenous people who live in the villages cook over an open fire. In the picture above, you can see the walls of the kitchen. There are gaps, which would have helped let some of the smoke out of the kitchen. (The "house" is separate, where the family sleeps.) With this new stove, there is a chimney which means the family is not inhaling the smoke from the fire. Another benefit is that the family is using about 1/4 the amount of firewood. Now, less time is needed to gather firewood to keep the cookstove burning.

This is Juan and his family with their stove and water filter (2 white buckets)
And look at the tall, white guy!
Juan's neice came to watch!
The neighbor's house...

The view from the drive

A woman returning from the field.
The people were as intrigued with us
as we were with them!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Birthday Boy, part 2

   For Ryan's birthday celebration, we went to Arcotete which is the equivalent to a state park in the States. There were rocks to climb on, a swing, a campfire, a rickety bridge (which I don't have a picture of) that we crossed to get to the caves, cake, candy, coca-cola,trails to hike, a herd of sheep, and lots of room for the kids to run! We had such an enjoyable, relaxing day! But don't forget the pinata...the moment Ryan has been waiting months to enjoy!
Ryan was especially excited to get to pick out his own pinata. There are so many different options, but his favorite was Batman. Gabi and Chloe (they're the kids who live upstairs from us) got to come join in the fun! We made for quite a sight with all that blonde hair and white skin!
I have more photos that I'd like to share...like the crowd that gathered to watch us break the pinata, the little boy that rushed in to gather candy (he sticks out a bit due to the amount of skin pigmentation that he has) and the herd of sheep that nearly crashed our party...but alas, the internet is not allowing it. So enjoy!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Birthday Boy!

Ryan celebrated his 6th birthday yesterday...something he's been looking forward to for awhile! We decided to hide his gifts this year and make him read the clues to find where they were hidden. He LOVED it!

Reading the first clue
Two of the clues

Found it!
Ryan displaying his new toys with his sister Ellie and friend Chloe.

The party with the cake and pinata will be on Sunday! Nothing like celebrating for a couple of days!

Friday, February 10, 2012

To Build or Not to Build?

We are surrounded by local artisans who make just about anything you could want. So as we look at the furniture we will need in our new home, we had to answer the question of whether "we" (okay, I really mean Clay) should build or buy from the locals.  We saw lots of beautiful furniture...entertainment centers, book shelves, bed frames, picture frames, a vanity, and more! And most of it is very reasonably priced.

We've decided that since we have access to a wonderful woodshop, and Clay has the skills and desire to build some furniture, we will start by building our beds and our kitchen table.

Step 1: Making the plans with help from our friend, Nathan

Step 2: Find good help

Step 3: Start sanding

Step 4: Continue sanding

Step 5: Sanding by hand...the more hands the better!

There's a lot of work that goes into making furniture, so when it's done I'll post more pictures!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

For many people who grew up in the United States, Super Bowl Sunday is a huge event. People gather to watch the game, hang out, eat good food...oh, and don't forget the awesome commercials! We had an interesting night in San Cristobal as we gathered with Americans and Mexicans to watch the "Big Game." Clay and I are not big football fans...we didn't even know which teams were playing. But we had fun! (I don't even know who won the game...I think I saw more Little Einsteins with the kids than football being played!)

So, yes, we have arrived in San Cristobal. We have a house, but it's not ready for us to move in yet. In the mean time, we are staying with a wonderful missionary family (The Terrells), who are quickly becoming very dear to us. It still boggles my mind that we "met" them through google, and now we are living in their basement.

The Terrells have 3 little girls who are about the same ages as our oldest three...and they have #4 on the way! It's been fun to watch the kids play and interact with each other. Our first day here, the girls decided to play outside in the water! It didn't take Ryan and Levi long to join in on the fun!

Today the kids had their first exposure to a Mexican church service! The service lasted two hours, and I think we sang four hymns during that time. They did very well, trying to listen and sit still. At one point, Ryan leaned over and whispered to me, "I just heard the pastor say 'hand' in Spanish!" I hated to point out that he heard "hermano" (brother), not "mano" (hand), but it's a beginning, and I am thrilled that he could pick out that much!

Tomorrow marks our three week point of being in country. The time has passed quickly, and it's so good to be here. Now that we are in our city, we are ready to "get started" with all that is before us.