Thursday, October 28, 2010

Family Traditions #2: Birthdays

"Family traditions give identity and belonging to each member." - James Dobson

1. Pavers with their footprints: Over the years these will form the path from our gate to our front door. I like this one a lot because what's the point of a memory if it's packed away in a closet. This is out to be enjoyed each time we come home!
Silas' feet!
Paming up Jonah's feet.Jonah's imprint.
Jimmy added their name and year, but soon they will be able to write their own which will be even cuter!

2. Face smashed in cake: After you get sung to everyone cheers "Mordida!" which means that they want you so take a bite of your cake. As you lean down to bite your cake, someone behind you shoves your face in it. This is a fun Guatemalan tradition!

3. Individual Cakes: Jimmy's mom is a twin, so she is a good source for all things twins. She said that since you share so much stuff it is important to have some things that are just your own. A birthday cake is one of them. When they get older I'll make whatever is each of their favorites.

4. Family Birthday Banner: To go along with my rules for planning this birthday I didn't want to buy or make a banner that would be used one time and then thrown away. So I made one out of burlap that will hopefully survive for many years to come. I wanted something without much color so it would go with any birthday theme. We will hang this over our table for all of our birthdays.
The letters are painted on with freezer paper stencils.

5. Birthday Wreath: It's the same with the wreath. We will put this on our front door for each of our birthdays... that is if the balloons don't melt in this heat.
Our doors are huge and I could only find a small wreath form, so I added the burlap to help fill up some space. Jimmy said no girly bows, so this is our manly knot!

6. Handmade Gifts: My mom made so many things for me when I was little and I cherished them. Handmade things inspire creativity. The thought that there is not another one like it in the world and that it was designed specifically for me, always made me feel special!

My mom bubble mailed the boys these homemade place mats for their birthday. I love them! The boys always enjoy photos of their family.
Jonah just learned how to point.
For their first birthday I was just going to make them some felt finger puppets, but then decided that they needed a home. I love the idea of a quiet book for traveling or other times when the boys need to stay busy, so a quiet book it was!
I got a pattern for most of the animals from The Idea Room and a template for the barn from Homemade by Jill. The rest of the pages I sketched with Jimmy's help. It was fun!
Jungle/Pond Scenes
Farm/Arctic Scenes
Savannah/Forest Scenes
Pocket on the back for storing the animals.
Finger Puppets

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: Can anyone guess what was killed with this shoe?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jonah and Silas' 1st Birthday!

Our Twin's Are One! We all survived our first year... even with all the rookie mistakes! In fact we not only survived, we had tons of fun! Glad we didn't know what we were in for that day that we heard there were 2 in there or we probably would have been too afraid to enjoy it! If you'd like to reminisce with us about the day we found out we had 2 boys click here.

Infant twins are tough. It goes way beyond doing everything twice, double diapers are the easiest part. It's 2 babies needing 4 arms to hold them. And there's no sleeping while the baby sleeps those first couple months because guess what... they are 2 different babies with 2 different internal clocks. And if one wakes up in the middle of the night, there is no way his brother is sleeping through that, so there is no nudging your spouse letting them know it's their turn, it takes both of ya. It was about delicately scheduling feedings so that you can finish with one before the other one gets too hungry. It was about avoiding the double meltdown at all costs. Yeah, we're pros now... not so much at the beginning! But all the crazy months at the start makes for some sweet memories. We figured it out together. It made us closer and stronger. We love our family that doubled in size.
I didn't want to go "all out crazy" for Jonah and Silas' big promotion from zero to one! I knew I would have to set some rules for my tendency to overcomplicate things-self. Here were the guidelines: 1. Only incorporate things that their fabulous little one year old selves could actually enjoy. 2. Don't invest time into things that are going to be seen for 2 hours and then thrown into the trash.
And I stuck to them! (Ok, so I might have painted a couple beach balls so that they would match the others, but that was just during one moment of weakness late one night).
Their Great Grandma Wootton had bubble mailed them a mini beach ball that they have loved, so I thought we would go with that for a semi-theme. Plus they would be able to keep them and play with all of them afterwards (except the 3 I painted).
The morning of their birthday, I got the reaction I was looking for!
I think they knew this day was extra special.

I didn't want to invite a lot of people because I knew it would wear them out too fast, so we chose their 2 favorites, Mercedes and Blanca. The boys love them!
Plus their grandparents were here which made it extra extra special!

We had pizza which they love for lunch and then afterwards they got to dive into their beach ball birthday cakes.
They were a little hesitant at first, but that didn't last for long!
Icing melts fast here! They looked shocked to see how messy their brother was.
They got baths after this.
The boys had plenty of presents! Grandma and G-Dawg had brought down tons and then other family members had sent some with them too. So add that to what we got them and it was a pretty large spread.
We wrapped a lot in tissue paper so that they could tear it apart easily.
These were hard hats. Hats are Silas' favorite thing right now.
They got lots of books which they love and tons of blocks and other noise makers!

Overall I think it was a great day that the boys really enjoyed... us too!

One idea that I had to go along with the beach ball theme that did not go over well was a giant beach ball that shoots water. The boys love bath time and going swimming, so I thought this would be a hit... right? They HATED it. What I did not factor in, is birthdays are exhausting. I think they had maxed out their limit of fun for the day. They were ready for a nap.
Mercedes, Blanca, Lucha, and Jimmy loved it though!
Don't you love our redneck yard! We're saving all of our yard work skills for our forever house... or at least that is what Jimmy keeps telling me.
Poor Silas holding on tight.
Jonah didn't even think it was that safe to watch from afar.
So I packed up the giant beach ball and will save it for one day when the boys are older.

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: Jimmy came home with a new fan the other day to go on top of our fridge. It sounds like a jet engine. You can't even converse in there anymore. Silas obviously agrees with me that it's too loud!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nothing is Surprising Anymore

Independence Day was Sept 15... yes I am that far behind. It is fun to celebrate with everyone that week, but unfortunately the day of the 15th can get pretty wild. In an effort to lengthen our lives we stay home that day.
These were some of the festivities that week in Santa Rita. 4 out of the 6 kids chosen to carry the flag attend our Bible studies. I thought that was pretty great! Each grade votes for a class representative. Then for the weeks leading up to the 15th you can buy votes for one winner over all. The money goes towards the school.
Three of our girls were competing so we bought an equal amount of votes for each... which wasn't much help to them. If there had been only one we would have been sure to put her on top! Above is Maria.
Out of the three only Maria is Kekchi, but all of the girls had on traditional indigenous dress. This isn't a reflection of these girls, but it is sort of strange to us that for festivities the same Spanish folk that try so hard to separate themselves from the indigenous the rest of the year (and even look down on them) put on indigenous dress to celebrate their heritage on occasions like these. I wonder how the Kekchi there felt about it.
Here is one example of why we stay home on the 15th. Our friend, Luis, who many of you know from visiting here, was shot that night. God protected him and he has since recovered (since I am a month late posting this). Jimmy wrote about it here. Luis has helped us so much since we met him 3 years ago, he is a true friend. We care about him greatly and want more than anything for him to come to know the Lord.

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: Here is another story about one of our "friends". He was an expat that we knew mostly through email. We were really disappointed to get this news.

Friday, October 22, 2010

9 Days

Jimmy's parents flew in last Tuesday. They had 9 whole days with their grandsons.
Jonah and Silas had...
9 days to get to know their Grandparents.
9 days to realize they were more than just friends over for a day.
9 days to fall in love with them.
9 days to get used to them showing up at breakfast time and then staying to play the rest of the day.
9 days to realize that they are pushovers compared to their parents!
Last night Grandma and GDawg went through their bedtime routine with them and then kissed them goodbye. These little boys will miss them bunches, but now they will know who they are when we skype. Now we can keep the relationship going. I think with all this effort in spite of being countries away, they will grow up closer to their Grandparents than most.
We are so thankful that Jonah and Silas had this time with them. It was fun to watch them interact.
Last week, for the first time since returning to Guatemala 9 months ago we left our boys in someone else's care for a couple hours. It was sort of strange not having them with us. No one was staring at us or making comments about how precious we were... we weren't special at all. We blended in nicely. Other than finishing a complete thought while talking with Jimmy my one goal was to drink an entire cup of coffee while it was still hot... and I did. Our date was fun! Honestly I feel like every night is date night. We have a lot of things to get done after Jonah and Silas are snug in their beds, but then before we go to sleep ourselves we always spend quality time together. I look forward to it every day. What makes it special is that Jimmy looks forward to that time too!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: We got 3 new traffic lights in Santa Elena/San Benito. Traffic lights are never boring in Latin America! I miss the Guatemalan clowns that used to entertain us in Xela. They were really good at what they did. For some reason here all we get is foreigners who've run out of money. This guy decided he would twirl fire on a rope to earn some quetzals. Unfortunately he seemed to be under the influence of some type of substance which resulted in several flaming smacks to the face. Not the quality entertainment we are used to, but entertaining none the less.
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