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Find us on our new blog page!

16 Dec

Find us on our new blog page!

We’ve moved…and there’s a LOT more to be found at LivingOutsideoftheBox.com!

STOP RIGHT THERE!

29 Nov

Thanks for finding us online, but we have moved to a new location. Please read our new and improved blog at:

Living Outside of the Box

Speaking of…

24 Jul

If we’re talking about “what comes up, must go down”…I must point out another little tidbit that always surprises me.

Homes in Mexico are built from brick, which are then plastered over. Wiring cavities are hollowed out throughout the walls, and then covered again. I have found that little bugs find their way all the way through a house through these small wiring cavities, and they pop up in the most unusual places.

For example, Jared was cleaning the overhead light covers in our bedroom, and in the girls’ bedroom. The the girls’ room he d found a dead scorpion inside the light cover. It’s absolutely disturbing to think of scorpions falling down from the ceiling.

Then, lately I’ve noticed a fairly large collection of crickets in our overhead light cover.  They aren’t dead–they are moving all around! I thought for sure they would die when we turned on the light, but day after day they have lived on. After several weeks of surviving in our light fixture (most likely on the other smaller bugs (bobos) that have also followed the crickets up the walls), Jared finally set them loose.

Who knew crickets could survive that kind of intense heat?

Crickets in light cover

What comes up, must come down…

24 Jul

Imagine our surprise when this little critter was sitting in our toilet one afternoon…

Lizard In ToiletHow did he get there?  Did he squeeze in a door, and find the only sitting water in the house?  Did he come up the pipes? We couldn’t imagine!

So, we did what any reasonable person would do. We slowly closed the toilet lid, and flushed him down. And then Jared flushed it 3 or 4 more times for good measure.

But…30 minutes later…guess what came back up?

You guessed it! He came up THROUGH the sewer pipe, and he really liked our toilet!

My head started swimming with all sorts of scenarios. We could flush him again, but imagine him coming up the toilet while we were SITTING on it?!  Or imagine the girls’ surprise if they were going potty and saw this critter!?

No, flushing him down again would not do. Jared grabbed a bowl and a plate, and easily trapped him inside. We then took him to the empty field next door and let him loose. Problem solved. This time.

One thing is for sure…we will not take an empty toilet for granted again. Beware what lurks below…

Trompo Magico Children’s Museum

4 Jul
“Guadalajara” is one of those amazing words that when spoken correctly, sounds nothing like how an American would say it. In general, locals refer to it as “Guad” spoken with a lovely hacking G (think hacking a loogie, and you’re close to the right sound)! I think perhaps I will never say it right…and therefore have settled with my Gringo “Gwad”
Anyways…we have made some wonderful friends in Guadalajara! Earlier this year we attended the temple that belongs to our church, and I met a Gringo senior missionary couple who had just started their mission, serving in the Guad temple. I got the wife’s email address, and we became email buddies. On a whim, I asked her if perhaps she knew of any young couples that lived near the temple, who might be interested in babysitting for us, so we could more easily attend the temple regularly. She returned to me with an email address for Megan & Hugo, who are some of our new best friends!
Megan is from Washington, and her husband is from a small Portuguese speaking island off of the coast of Africa. They have three children, and our kids are all similar ages! We have officially probably spent 75% of our weekends with them for the past several months. We have been able to do a couple of temple swaps, where they watch our children as we attend the temple, and then we switch and watch their kids while they get to go to the temple.
While doing this switch last month, Jared and I exited the temple and I noticed a younger woman on the stairs with a kid, and my Gringo radar went off!
We started a conversation with her and suddenly found ourselves making friends with Liesel and David, who live in Puerto Vallerta. They own a Segway tour in Puerto Vallerta and I have seen their business reviews on Trip Advisor (5 Stars!). Everyone LOVES them! Anyone for a trip to PV?!
Back to the story…
They were in Guad for a youth temple trip, but had brought their own car and had some time to kill before heading back to the coast. They asked advice on what cool things they could do in Guadalajara, in which we really had nothing to offer (heck…all we do is shop in Costco!!). They told us about a Children’s Museum in the area (“really?! Oh–cool!”), and we agreed to go with them and our 6 kids in tow (remember, we had Megan & Hugo’s kids, too!).
Liesel and David (Liesel is from UT and David is from Mexico City) led us through Guad like they were experts (they put us “locals” to shame!), and we found the Trompo Magico Children’s Museum without too much trouble.
It was an amaaaazing find! I think it puts the Salt Lake City Children’s Museum to shame (although I’m not dissing on that…it is awesome, too!)…but it is less than half the price, and much larger! Admission for kids and adults is $35 pesos (approx $3), and you can pay a bit more to do some super cool activities, if you choose. We stuck with the basic price, and were not disappointed.
They have many many different rooms (so many that they actually give you a map), and even have activities/rooms for older children, in addition to the younger. We stuck to just one of the giant rooms, and the kids stayed entertained for several hours (we had to drag them away in the end). They did their grocery shopping, played nurse, cooked in a kitchen, went fishing, could read books, build with giant blocks, and the list went on…
Ella with her shopping list of produce…

Dr. Ella…

The fishing hole…

By far the coolest section was the BUBBLE place. It was soooooo cool! This is the ceiling…

A fairly short line waited to go into the giant bubble maker. The large metal ring is lowered into the bubble pool below, and raised to form a giant bubble around the person standing there. The kids liked to pop it by touching it, or watch it expand by gently blowing on it.

Also VERY cool was the crazy wire contraption that even kids were allowed to operate. It made a huge bubble that would then fly above your head until it popped.

And of course, many many other opportunities for making bubbles!

They close this bubble section every hour for 10 minutes to clean up, and start the mess again!
Anyways, it was such a great fun-filled day! Jared thinks we should start hanging out at the temple more often…because we tend to meet the coolest people there🙂
I agree!

Ballet Class…

4 Jul
Ella has been begging for ballet classes for approximately 2 years (since we last lived here). When I discovered 3 of her friends attend a local class, and that the cost is only $250 pesos/month (less than $25), I decided we should give it a try.
The first day of class she jumped into the class of 6-9 year olds, she proved she is a natural! She had good form, posture, and keeps her feet turned out like a pro! She is the smallest in her class (although another girl comes close), but she tries hard and really looks forward to class 2 times each week!
POP QUIZ: How do you say “ballet” in Spanish?
Everyone here seems to say it as: “Bah-lett”
I guess they didn’t stick with the whole French thing…
Umm…okay!

Star Day

13 Jun
The last quarter of school, every child is highlighted on their very own “Star Day.” On this special day, the parents of the Star child are invited to come to class and do an activity with the children. Some parents may choose to play a movie, make some crafts, play some sports, etc.
Since my girls love to make beaded jewelry, I died some pasta noodles (super easy and cheap–food coloring and rubbing alcohol!), purchased some stretchy necklace cord, and we made noodle jewelry in both girls’ classes.
All of the kids in both classes really seemed to enjoy it (even the boys, which I was a bit worried about)!

Here is Ella and her best bud, Alex (the only other classmate who has 2 Gringo parents). Alex has been living in Mexico for nearly 3 years, and is now fluent in English and Spanish.

The view of Ella’s classroom. The kids all wear uniforms–a school polo shirt and navy bottoms of choice (skirt, shorts, pants, or even a dress).

It was kind of funny to see how the different children managed their noodles/beads. This beautiful little girl (with a Barbie doll Mom, I might add…) separated hers by color and type. She was the only one!

In Maiya’s class the children tried very hard to bead the noodles. “No puedo,” they exclaimed (“I can’t”), as the teachers and I assured them they could! With a bit of help, all of the kids managed to walk away with at least una bulsera o collar (a bracelet or necklace).

One of Maiya’s best buds, Jimena:

Maiya’s teacher helping some of the children glue noodles to a sun clip-art I printed out, just in case some of the kids wanted to do it, too!

A view of Maiya’s classroom. This is the youngest group at the school, and some of these children are still in diapers!

Maiya’s entire day is in Spanish. She is picking up a lot of the language, and her teachers tell us she seems to understand almost everything.
She has also mastered the Spanish roll of the tongue. It is ridiculous how she applies it, though. She rolls EVERYTHING, even when seemingly impossible.
These are some words she manages to roll (don’t ask me how): could, would, hurt
You try it, see if you can pull it off!

When Maiya is playing pretend and talking to herself, she almost always talks in “Spanish.” I must put it in quotes, because it is not true Spanish. Sure, I hear plenty of Spanish words, but she also sticks in Spanish-sounding gibberish, too. It is cute to hear her make up words, but have them sound Spanish instead of English.
Also, about 50 times a day Maiya gives us a Spanish translation for a word. If we are talking about a computer keyboard, for example, Maiya would say something like this:
“My teachers say ______” (insert a true Spanish, or made up Spanish-gibberish word).
I applaud her when she is correct, and when I know it is just Spanish-sounding gibberish, I just say, “Oh, Really?“, to which she confidently says “Uh-huh!”
Overall, I am hearing both of the girls use much more Spanish, lately (even Ella)! They often respond with simple answers in Spanish…and I am discovering already that they are teaching me! I am so excited for them to be fully bilingual. What a huge blessing and benefit this will be to them in their lives!
Now if only I could manage to become bilingual this quickly, too! How jealous I am! Fortunately, I am understanding more and more, but I really lack the skills and knowledge to put the sentences together (I need to study more). The exciting part is that I now find myself thinking in Spanish…or at least challenging myself to figure out how to say a particular phrase in Spanish…which is a good first step!