Un Nuevo Techo…

30 May
A new roof, that is…

Sometimes I find it amazing that we can be friends with people that we can barely communicate with!
One of the new families in our church ward/congregation has 3 children who are all close in age to our children. The parents, Maria and Luis, parents do not speak English, and so I do my best to put together my truly terrible Spanish in return. They live up at the very top of the hill in Chapala, which means that they climb up and down that hill to catch the bus. We give them rides to and from church whenever we are able.

We noticed there are a lot of needs that we would like to address. One of those needs was their “kitchen” area, which had a roof made from a tarp and some junk scraps of odd sorts thrown on top. The kitchen is really just an extension of their house (built brick-by-brick by themselves), and the walls are made from junk scraps, such as pieces of old screens or doors that perhaps other people threw out. It is humble.

Anyways…regarding the roof…the wife told us that during the rainy season the roof leaks and she cannot cook on the stove. We volunteered to help replace their roof, and made plans to go pick out the materials with them.

We were happily surprised when the ward leaders addressed this need in a meeting the day before the scheduled date. They volunteered to pay for the project–even better!

A few other young adults volunteered to help with the project, and they all met up with Jared and the family to take care of the job. As it turns out, the company that sold the roofing closed before they were able to deliver the materials. Ugh.

So, the first day of the project they did some other tasks. Here is Luis making a new foundation for their small wash basin to be moved outdoors, closer to the hose spout.

Yes, closer to the HOSE spout.

They do not have running water in their home.

Things like this make me realize how spoiled I am. Seriously…have you considered that people live without running water in their homes?!!

They are pretty lucky that their source of water is a hose in the front yard…at least it is close!

But…if this was you…

How would you wash your dishes? Or your clothes? Or your children? Or your hair? Or mop your floor?

Well, as it turns out…they don’t do much of these


But we had to start somewhere….

And so…the roof was their biggest priority…

The second day Jared got the supplies delivered successfully, and they put the new metal roofing up. Luis ended up doing most of the manual labor to secure it to the roof.

The front yard (and home) consists of piles of what we would consider junk, but Jared said that Luis kept pulling supplies out of it, like a magic hat (although not nearly as cool-looking)!
The final result was a HUGE improvement!! Here is Jared with the family (on the right), and a young adult who helped (on the left).

Again, it is hard to know where to begin when addressing some of the basic needs that many of us take for granted.

1. Running water in our homes (needed for baths, sinks, toilets, etc)

2. A front yard that is not just dirt (which tracks into the house and makes it difficult to keep things clean)

3. Clean drinking water (many of these impoverished people buy sodas instead of filtered water!)

I have such a great desire to go into these homes, clean them to the bones, and help teach them how to keep things clean and organized. But in reality, where do you begin?

The Abastos…

30 May
I didn’t take any photos that do this justice…

But the place to shop for groceries in Guadalajara is at the Abastos. It is not easy to navigate, as it is block after block after block of specialty vendors. For example, you will pass a whole block or two that specializes in fresh spices (yay!), or fresh produce (a watermelon vendor, a mango vendor, etc). They have many many different things, but I admit we only made it a block or two in the hour that we had to spare one Saturday.

These vendors prefer to sell in bulk to smaller vendors who then resell the items throughout the area. Truck after truck would pull in to pick up some goods (perhaps even headed to the US? I wouldn’t doubt it!).

We were overwhelming by the size of the place, and ended up giving Ella the camera so she would catch some photos (like the one above). Again, this photo doesn’t do it justice. This is just one of the little streets that makes up a massive massive amount of blocks with soooo many vendors.

I love some of the photos Ella took….

One of my favorites in the batch is actually one I took of the girls standing in front of the GIANT basket of chilis!

The girls are show-stoppers. Everyone stops to take a look at such fair children (and fair parents)!

One our trip to the coast last month, we were getting out of the car to go into a restaurant, and Maiya said, out of nowhere, “I think they will say I’m beautiful!”

She is so used to people stopping to talk to her and “oooh” and “ahhh,” and call her a little doll (in Spanish) that she is actually coming to expect it! It made me giggle…!!!


30 May
A treat given to some mothers at a church event…
Cantelope with the seeds hollowed out, and vanilla ice cream put in its place…and topped with a chocolate wafer stick.

More photos…

30 May
Ella and Maiya enjoy having play dates as often as possible. One day when their friend, Alex, was over…we discovered them in the front gate “selling” beaded jewelry they had made. We thought it was cute, and didn’t stop them. We live on a dead-end street with very little traffic. We were surprised when they actually managed to sell a few of their very unique creations! Business owners in training…

The house down the street from us has been under construction for at least 3 or 4 months, now. They’ve had to close down the street a few times to bring in the big concrete truck that dumps the concrete on the top of the house. Luckily, we’ve managed to see their cardboard signs announcing the closure, and we’ve parked on the other side of the construction and have walked to our house. We haven’t been locked in (like some others in the neighborhood)!

The missionaries are a big part of our life here. We do a lot with/for them, and they do a lot with/for us (translations, etc)! We feed them usually once a week, and we’ve made very good friends with them. It is always sad when a missionary is transferred…but we’ve always liked the “new” ones, too!

Ella likes to take photos, when she is given the rare opportunity to control the camera. She caught this one of Jared, and it deserves to be shared! Sorry, Love!

The other night I went into the kids’ room to shut the garden doors. I decided to steal a peak at the cute kids, and was in giggling hysterics when I realized Ella looked like this:

That is a toy that she got from a school pinata (it’s one of the those perfume poof/rings things that I’ve never understood)! She was totally OUT!! And I had to take a photo!

Edible Baby…

30 May
I don’t know why the word “edible” has always come to mind when talking about my kiddos. But that is definitely the word that I use with this one, since he is just so cute I could eat him up!! He is almost 11 months old. How does time fly so quickly?

When fingers aren’t good enough…

My baby poops on the potty…

24 May
No, really. He does.

Doesn’t yours?

I don’t mean to brag…
Well, I guess I DO mean to brag…

Because, let’s face it, if YOUR baby pooped on the potty, wouldn’t you be bragging, too?

Ethan has been using the potty since he was just a few months old, and he is quite happy doing it! And I am quite happy that I rarely have to wipe a poopy bum!

As it turns out, there is a growing community of people who practice “Elimination Communication”, which is the art of learning to read your child’s cues, and communicating with them when it is appropriate to use the potty. “EC” people refuse to call it potty-training. But let’s get real…it basically is. When your child is young, you hold them over a potty, make a hissing sound when they pee (or a grunt sound when they poop), and they learn to make the association of where/when to go to the bathroom. They know the sounds, they know the positions, and they go without a fight.

After learning that my Brother-in-Law’s sister does EC, I got curious one day, and looked it up online. After watching a video of a mother EC her 3 DAY old baby…I decided it was worth a try. I took Ethan over to the potty, and sat down. He peed and pooped almost immediately!

Uh. SWEET. That was one less diaper for me to change!

So…it became a fun challenge. Sometimes it required a longer wait sitting on the potty with him, and sometimes he’d go almost immediately. I discovered he would typically do his business right after a feeding. So, I would nurse him, and take him to the bathroom.

Now, there are some EC fanatics that don’t put their babies in diapers, and let them run around naked, etc…until they are fully “diaper free” (without the need for one at all)! I am classified as a “part time EC’er”…which works just great for us. It means that I practice it regularly, but don’t insist on every drop landing in the potty. He was in diapers all day, but I offered him the potty after every feeding (at least). If he went on the potty–great! One less diaper change!

But I didn’t stress about it, and he still peed in his diaper regularly. However, we generally “caught” all of his poops on the potty. He would sit in his own little mini baby potty, which he seemed to like (Ella is sitting behind him to hold him up–he was probably only 4 months old in this picture).

Nowadays, we just use the adult potty (no extra washing!). Now, you’re probably wondering how you hold a baby over an adult potty. There are several different ways. This is one (also demonstrated by Ella…who probably was only allowed to do it this one time):
You sit on the potty (clothes on, silly!) with your back agains the lid. There is just enough room between your legs to hold a baby over the potty, and balance them quite comfortably! Another option is straddling the toilet the other direction, and holding the baby over (it works great until they get active enough to kick the seat). Boys are a little tricker to “direct” than girls…but still a breeze once you figure it out!

So…back in the days when I was preparing to have my first baby…I wandered across a website about EC. I didn’t give it the time of day. I saw a hippie looking Mom holding her baby over a bowl, and I laughed, pointed it out to a co-worker, and moved on. Seriously…who wants to walk around with a naked baby and a bowl all the time? Oh…how misinformed and judgemental I was! Now, 6 years later, here I am–having become one of those hippies! 😉

At 10 1/2 months old now, he is doing pretty great. He happily pees when offered a toilet, and he always makes an effort to poop, as well (sometimes he doesn’t need to–but he knows to check!). We do not have to hang out on the potty for a long time. We sit, he does his business, and we are done. Many of his diapers in-between these potty moments are turning up completely dry, too…which is pretty sweet! It means that he is learning to “hold” it between being offered the potty! And did I mention that when a baby poops on the potty, there is almost no cleanup?!

Who would have thought pooping could be so cool?!

After he poops…I let him watch it swirl down the toilet drain, so both of us can cheer on his super-power baby abilities.

You should try it 😉

The end.

Pics of the Month

9 May
Maiya…looking older, and acting older, too!

The girls have discovered that some of their crayons work for body coloring. Ella exited the bathroom the other day with this butterfly she created.

Poor baby boy…

The after-effects of being dressed like a girl over and over and over again…
The girls had birthday party withdrawal (could it be that their school classes went a full week without a piñata? It seems hard to believe…). They decided to make their own piñata.

Jared helped them string it over our clothes line…and they were in business! It was cute to hear them singing what they knew of the traditional Mexican piñata song.


Ethan likes computers, too. We start ’em young…