Sunday, December 28, 2008

What more could you ask for?

In addition to getting new toys such as the Leapster2, Didj, and fashion Barbie computer program, our kids are enjoying time with family, friends of the family, and a Mom and Dad who feel like they're on vacation. Oh, yeah, I guess we are.

Joseph is sporting a pair of glasses. And the whole family even got a personal tour of the TV studio where my sister works - how cool is that? We're making plans now to visit with some of Dave's extended family and then tomorrow we're off to visit a high school friend and her family in Ohio then on to The World Missions Summit 2 in Cincinnati.
Never a dull moment here. Maybe I better schedule a few of those in the mix ;-)
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Pictures

I thought I would post some pictures from the holiday festivities. We are really enjoying ourselves, and the kids are having a blast with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and adult friends.
Blessings to all - I am sooo thankful for family :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Comfort Foods

I can understand why people (me included) are emotional eaters. So much in a family is linked to foods. Great moments together and memories of childhood days seem to always contain some element of it. When we return to my hometown for holidays or visits, my Mom always asks what she can make. My thoughts go to things that I ate growing up - pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy, city chicken, spaghetti with mushrooms, ground beef and Prego, and desserts like apple pie. Memories of my Dad and I watching a football game or western on TV included eating Doritos and bean dip. There were special moments with my Mom and Grandma, picking strawberries, making canned jams, and homemade pastries and cookies.
It is no wonder that a person feels good when eating (and remembering) these foods - they're linked to love and acceptance. Yesterday, I had a good day. The kids seemed to have a good day. My hubby had a good day. Plus, thanks to him, I had an especially clean kitchen. And do you know what happens when I have a clean kitchen? I want to bake :-) So, I did. I found a recipe for old-fashioned strawberry shortcake, made the recipe that was 8 servings and divided between the five of us! Words can't describe how delightful it was creating it and how delicious it was as we enjoyed it around the kitchen table while Dave read the first chapter in 'A Christmas Carol.' Making memories. The tradition continues - food, family and great moments together.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Start each day with love

You've heard it said to start each day with a good breakfast. Here at the Godzwa house, we try to do that. Each morning we try to include the major food groups of cereals, milk, and fruit. Also, Dave will make a cappuccino for me and, for him, an espresso and an americano. Pictured here is what my breakfast looked like this morning. Notice anything? Now, coffee from my hubby always puts a smile on my face, but my grin was extra wide this morning.
The heart is just a symbol and Dave said it was "serendipity." But, it made me think about something even more important than a good breakfast, and that is starting each day with love - a smile, kind words, acts of kindness, understanding, the ability to listen, not getting angry, showing patience - just a few ways to show it. Being "out of commission" these past 2 weeks, I have felt it in several ways through the diligence and attention to detail that Dave has shown as he picks up the many loose ends around the house and takes over several of the "mom" tasks. Thank you, dear hubby.
My prayer this morning is that I would allow love to flow in me through my attitude and actions, remembering not only the earthly examples of love shown to me this very day, but also keeping in the forefront the great love shown in the sacrifice of my savior, Jesus, and His promise to me of eternal life with Him.
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

What happened to my foot (original, huh?)

I had just gotten back from a busy morning of dropping the kids off at school, watching my daughter in a morning presentation on Thanksgiving, paying the school bill at the bank, and stopping by Sam's Club to pick up a few needed items. Pulling in the driveway I saw a stray dog who looked like she had babies to take care of. Maybe my thoughts were prone toward animals since we are caring for our friends' Schnauzer while they're away for the week, I usually try to ignore stray dogs since I know we can't take them in (although I would love to) - whatever the case, I was a little distracted. So I got out of the car, walked around to get the food and talked sweetly to the stray as she was sizing up the situation. Continuing around the car I looked back to see where the dog was as I took a step onto our patio. Problem is, I sort of stepped sideways in my comfy heels and my foot slid along the step and doubled along the outer edge of my left foot. I sort of slowly collapsed to the ground basically to put down the groceries and reassemble myself. The stray come over to give me a sniff and then walked off in search of someone who would actually give her food. I shook off my shoe and got up to enter the house with the stuff then returned to get a few things and sort of hobbled back inside.
I figured I had pulled a muscle, so I checked online to see what I should do. I knew it involved ice. After getting some info, I rested for the remainder of the morning and early afternoon, icing it off and on and keeping it elevated. When the time came to pick up the kids, I figured I'd pass by Burger King so I wouldn't have to move around the kitchen - we could just eat. Then I called Dave to fill him in. Oh, didn't I mention? Dave is out of town until Saturday! He suggested I at least get my foot looked at . . . to make sure nothing was broken. So we went to StarMedica instead of going home. There I got an x-ray taken of my foot which revealed an incomplete fracture. Oh, good. What does that mean? Well, I can't walk on it - no pressure, lots of rest. And the options? Well, some would get a cast for a complete fracture, but that wasn't really necessary. I opted for a splint of sorts with bandages and asked for crutches since I had to be mobile. What? you're going to do it here, now? Will I be able to slip off my jeans? NO?. Ok, then, let's get those off first so I won't have to cut them off later . . .
So, I made several phone calls and one of my friends came with her daughter on the bus to bring me a pair of shorts to borrow so I could leave the hospital in something other than a hospital gown.
I am so thankful for the friends that I have made here - they are the kind that would drop anything to help and be there in your time of need. Thank you Norma and Jessica who came to help me and Fabi who made some phone calls!
When we got to the house I suggested we celebrate. We all laughed together and ate some leftover birthday cake from Jonathan's birthday party and Norma cleaned up the kitchen for me. What great friends.
Ok, so, this is the long version. I wear this thing for 2 weeks. Maybe this is an opportunity for scrap booking?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trying to Jump Start

Waking up early to read the Bible and your daughter (who also woke up early) needs your help putting some finishing touches on an assignment. Studying for an exam and not being able to follow through with it because your son threw up during the night and has diarrhea to boot. Taking a morning shower to start your day right and there is no hot water. Leaving an event a little early because there are some things that need to get done before an evening service at church and you're involved in an traffic accident. This final one is what happened right before I stopped blogging . . ..

All these are part of the rhythm of life, I suppose. For this, we have sayings like "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." So, with my little guy resting on my bed watching Playhouse Disney, I am trying to jump start my habit of blogging (among other habits that have fallen by the wayside).

This weekend we attended a friend's family birthday party for her daughter who is Bekah's age. As we waited for other guests to arrive and interacted with the kids and other family members I was struck by the humble thought at being invited to this home. As far as I could tell, we were the only "non"-family present. I felt truly honored. And, as an honored guest, it is truly important to partake in the food offered on this special occasion. The appetizers were Cheetos and chips with bean dip as well as Jamaica to drink (a very yummy drink made with dried flower petals). Later, the main course was brought in with 2 items on the menu. The first looked like a healthier version of corn dogs - they were actually hot dogs on a stick with a breading much like you would see covering chicken or fish. These may have been mainly for the kids but I asked for one as well as "one" of the second dish which was a bit different. They were tacos, but the contents seemed a bit hard to stomach for me as I was watching my friend prepare a plate of 4 for my hubby. I, however, trying to be a good missionary and friend, cleaned my plate which contained one of these pig-ear tacos. Yes. And Dave cleaned his plate, too. Later I found out that our sweet girl also had one but discretely offered the remainder of hers to her friend (and birthday girl) who loves them. We also enjoyed the ever popular Coke to clean our pallette and prepare for the party cake.

It was a great afternoon of hanging out with friends and, might I say, family. :-)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Working Things Out

Here it is - a new school year. It's funny how a person's perspective is tinted and shaped by the start of a new routine or fresh information. I was walking this morning with Dave. He was ready to head to the park we frequent for exercise and I wanted to tread a fresh pathway. As we took this new route (heehee) I commented on the start of this new school year, how it seems to be less stressful somehow. He, of course, had to dig a little deeper, which made me really think about my comment. Why? For what reason? I determined that it mostly had to do with the schedule of the new school and how our meals were planned accordingly. Yes, I think that was the main reason. We had time to prepare and eat our meals without feeling overly rushed to get out the door or get home. Plus, the kids' activities didn't interfere with this schedule.
Then, today, after our daughter went to a trial ballet class, Dave informed me that her schedule would be different than we had thought and something about there-going-my-stress-free-schedule. So, ok, we assess the situation, adapt and change accordingly. Isn't that life in a nutshell? Well, not that it is easy or pain-free or exactly what we had hoped, but that we can be content despite the circumstance. I realize that my example is from the lighter side of life. There are issues that go much deeper and take much more out of us, life-altering situations. I can only pray that big or small, I learn from all of it and apply it to what is to come.
Earlier, Dave shared a quote from an article online concerning a gentleman dealing with the hurricane situation in Louisiana. The quote basically said that you have to be alive to experience trouble . . ..
Now there is something to chew on.
I'm thankful today, thankful to be alive, thankful to have "life" to deal with and relationships to work on and a loving, faithful God who is "still working on me" as the song goes "to make me what He wants to be." Sometimes those kids' songs just sum things up so beautifully (He's Still Working on Me - Words and Music: Joel Hemphill).
"How loving and patient He must be. He's still working on me."
How are things "working out" with you?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Day of School

The time has come again for school to start - but, oh, the preparation beforehand! I have never prepared for public or private school in the States so my "firsts" have all had a Latino flare to them. Sure I remember my own school days - new back back (at least new to me), lunch box, maybe a new outfit for the first day, and I'm not sure what else. Mom, fill me in here. But, really, the majority of the "school supplies" were provided by the school itself - all that great tax money put to good use. Here, the government provides the books for the basic subjects - regulated across the country. Other than that, the parents fund the purchase of books, paper, supplies (glue, white out, erasers, crayons, markers, etc.), school uniforms, the proper shoes, you-name-it. So, entering school is a big deal and a big cost, not only to us (who chose a private school) but to every parent with a school age kid.
Here's a picture of the kiddos this morning - ready for their first day of school. I might add that they were all ready before Dave and I even woke up this morning - lol.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Work Day

The kids got into the yard work with Dave on Friday. Me? Oh, well, I worked inside and took pictures ;-)
The yard looks great - tons less in the weed department. Usually Dave is the one to spend a morning or afternoon working on things. This time, with school still out, Bekah got very involved and took things pretty seriously - she even got bit by an angry ant. Jonathan found joy in the work (as usual), picking me 2 flowers (you know, those beautiful weeds . . .), and Joseph, well, he had fits and starts. He was looking for the profit in all of it - what was the reward?
Well, he didn't get to "go out" which Joseph has been asking to do lately. But, they did get to hang out with their Daddy, eat peanut butter chocolate sandwiches and ice cream, and listen to another chapter in The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis.
Me, well, I went to a baby shower and only heard about the fun evening they had ;-)
Maybe next time . . .

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Camp Time

Wow. We're in July. Actually, we're nearing the end. I should probably post about the vacation Bible school held at our church last week. But, I'm going to show you what we're doing this week instead. Yesterday, we started camp here at home. It's my way of spending time with the kids and getting back into routines and good habits this summer. The kids wake up happy and ready to go, exercising and eating meals from the 4 food groups and implementing routines while receiving motivation from a star chart and family activities. Yesterday, they decorated and made their own canteens from OJ bottles.They called the camp "Camp Animal Power" and named their cabin "The galloping horses." Here's a picture of them exercising this morning. We started with some warm-up exercises, then walked/ran around the park trail 3 times, which is 0.6 miles. (Joseph did 8 loops!). Rebekah and Jonathan worked on a sand castle afterwards while Joseph tossed around the basketball with Dave and me. He also tried his hand at photography . . ..

All in all, we had a very nice morning. We plan on eating what Joseph picked for lunch today - chocolate/peanut butter sandwiches on wheat bread, red fruit yogurt, and mangoes - yup, bread, protein, dairy, and fruit - all 4 food groups.
Later on we'll try s'mores a la Mexico - marshmallows are different here.
Well, I'm off to the showers. We've got more planned today :-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

14 years and counting . . .

Dave and I celebrated 14 years of marriage this week. Did we break a record? I don't think so. Have we changed much since the day we exchanged our vows? Oh, more than I ever thought possible (and not just our "looks").

Here's a picture of us from when we were dating - one of those "vintage" photos that we did at Cedar Point - 16 years ago!
And here we are today.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!

Monday, June 09, 2008

New places

Last Sunday Dave was invited to speak at a church in the state of Campeche. The city is called Calkiní and sits just across the Yucatan/Campeche border, about an hour drive from here. It reminded me of our days itinerating, visiting churches in the States for services on Sundays and Wednesdays, mainly, to share our desire to minister in Mexico and our need for prayer and financial support. It is always a blessing for me to go new places and meet new people. I had the opportunity to talk with the pastor's wife Tili at length which was a welcome change to the activity that sometimes overtakes our time with people. They seem to be very forward thinking and have worked hard to overcome some of the legalism that permeates the church culture in this area. Between services, one of Dave's students took us to eat at a restaurant in the city. Interestingly, it had a pool which apparently you could swim in before or after eating. We, of course, didn't come prepared to enjoy that aspect of the location :-P
But I did get some cute pictures of the kids while we were there.
The kids are always ready to have a good time. So, instead, they played tag on other side of the pool, and they got friendly with the waiters and played with them using the walkie-talkies that were at the waiter station. Before we left, Jonathan returned to the counter to find his "friend" in order to say goodbye!
In the evening after the night service we went to an outdoor taco place and had "tacos al pastor" which is Dave's favorite meal here. It is a seasoned pork with onion, cilantro and small pieces of pineapple on what most Americans would call a soft taco - either flour or corn, take your pick. (The hard curved Taco Bell tacos just don't exist here!) After the kids finished, they ran to the nearby park - you know the kind with metal equipment, with railings missing at the top of the slides, etc. - to enjoy a few minutes of playtime before the drive home.
Since coming to Mexico, I think I have loosened up as a parent. I know I will always feel protective, but I have felt the need to "allow" my kids to be in less than safe environments and more than an arm's length away. Raising kids teaches you so much. Every day is a learning experience and I have SO far to go. I'm very thankful for me 3 blessings.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Celebrations

Here in Mexico we celebrate Mother's Day on May 10th every year, whichever day of the week that falls on . . . and it seems to be a pretty big deal. On Friday, the kids put on a presentation which had a Hawaiian theme at school for all the moms. They prepared songs and dances that were both fun and touching. Looking at the photos, you might not know that this was a Mexican school. You have fair skin to dark skin, blue eyes to brown. You can also tell the kids really enjoyed this presentation. I'm interested in what they have planned for Father's Day . . . Saturday, we didn't really celebrate anything. Although, if we had wanted to eat out or something, we would not have found space! And Sunday the kids also presented songs, poems, and gifts to their moms at church. Dave couldn't be there, because he had commited to a service in another church, but I went and was "loved on" by my kids.

I love my kids and they had fun showing me their love this year on Mother's Day - I am truly blessed!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A day away

Recently our family had the opportunity to spend just under 24 hours outside of Mérida for a little getaway. This past weekend our kids had a few days off of school to make it a 5 day weekend, but between homework, parents' work and church we couldn't really relax until the very end. So what do you do when you live in Mérida? Head to the beach! No, the waters aren't crystal clear like they are near Cancun. But they are just as wet and just as salty and the sand is just as soft. So, after church and a late lunch with the pastor and her family, we drove to Celestún, a fishing city on the gulf coast where flamingos can be found, at times in the thousands. Once there, we checked into a hotel for the night and went straight to the ocean. The kids ran and swam and played in the water as the sun set, making for a very beautiful and relaxing evening. Afterwards, the kids rinsed off under a very powerful spray of water from an outdoor shower. Although they didn't want to come out of the water, our hunger compelled us to find a place to eat along the beach. We found a restaurant that had fresh fried fish - mero - which in English is the fish known as "grouper". Very yummy - I couldn't finish mine, but Dave said that my fish was larger then his was and he helped himself to some of my dish :-)
The following morning we ordered room service. You know, I don't remember EVER getting room service anywhere. Anyway, we were brought coffee, eggs, toast, hotcakes and juice. I'm thinking that, including the tip, we paid about the same (or less) than we would in any American restaurant for breakfast. After that, we had scheduled a boat tour to see the flamingos and a water hole along the coast. Our guide, Don Louis, picked us up at the hotel along the beach and we boarded his boat for a 2 1/2 hour tour. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be on the ocean and enjoy God's creation. Don Louis took us to a place they call a petrified forest, which is really and area where the trees are preserved because of the salt water. We got out and saw dozens, maybe hundreds of little crabs called "violinists" - because with their larger claw raised (which is actually attracting the female crabs) it looks like an orchestra playing their violins. Rebekah and Joseph picked some up and I captured what I think is a pretty cool picture of a female crab (the female does not have the enlarged claw like the males do) on Rebekah's finger. Later, we went on to see the flamingos and other birds that call this place home during part of the year, at least. This is actually not the "season" but we were blessed to not only see a group of young flamingos, but also to catch them in flight. We heard that, just one day before, all the tourists who came saw only 1 lone flamingo. Can you imagine?
Next on the agenda was visiting a water hole. On the way we maneuvered through "los manglares" (mangroves) and saw huge termite nests in the trees and got the feeling that we were in Costa Rica again during our getaway on the Atlantic coast a few years back. After this short passageway through the trees we arrived at the final stop called an "ojo de agua" which literally translated means "water eye" or "eye of water" - which we had heard was fresh water found along the coast. My guess is that those who called it fresh water did not jump in and try it out because it was definitely salty, although not as salty as the ocean. The water was very clear, like you would find in a cenote or a water hole along a creek, and it was full of fish. The whole family tried it out, but we didn't stay very long since it was deep and not even Dave and I could touch bottom in the majority of the pool. Here is a picture Dave took of us sitting on a fallen log in the water. Then it was time to head back to the hotel. We had to be checked out by 1, but when we returned to check out they said we were free to enjoy the beach and use their area for changing. Bonus! So, we packed up, but returned to enjoy the ocean waves, sun and fresh mango on beach. Of course, our stomachs got the best of us, and we were craving more seafood. Don Louis had been talking about jaiba which is a type of crab and also shrimp that they served along the coast, and he also suggested some restaurants. He did not let us down. I now have a new favorite - jaiba a la mexicana - basically crab meat served Mexican style. Oh, was it delicious! In the picture, that is shrimp that you see closest, of course, then ceviche with mixed seafood (crab, shrimp, fish, and octopus), and on the plate near Dave is the crab meat. Did I say that is my new favorite seafood?
There are always people selling things on the beach, even inside the restaurants, so we had to get some local sweets as well. Dave got an almond cookie, of sorts, picture almonds laid side to side in circle, held together with a caramelized sugar. Rebekah got something similar, but with other ingredients, kind of had a Cracker Jack quality to it. Jonathan picked a coconut treat and Joseph and I went for pure sugar in what is simply meringue (basically egg whites and sugar, slightly baked) - just a baseball size treat that is crispy on the outside and soft in the center. Can you tell who has the sweet tooth in the family?
Well, that, in a nutshell (no pun intended, Sky), was our 24 hour mini-getaway. I couldn't have asked for anything to work out more nicely. I count it a blessing to have experiences like this and a double blessing to be able to share it with family and friends who are far away. We miss all of you.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Remembering - May 2003

I'm going to showcase the family with pictures from May of 2003. I guess I was pretty photo happy because there are several different occasions where I used my camera this month.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Little Things

The other day I was in a well known grocery store that sells a whole lot more that groceries here in Mérida. Have you ever heard it said that the tendency in this type of store is to buy more than you come in to buy? Has that ever happened to you? Well, I have learned that when you live in a foreign country and you see something new or something that is sold in the States but not here, it is a good idea to buy it (evaluating the need/cost, etc., of course). Why? Because tomorrow or next week or the day you have planned to make it a part of your dinner, it won't be there!

Ok, so I'm walking through the store and what do I see but Dr. Pepper. I know, you're saying, "Dr. Pepper? What's so big about that?" - Here's the thing. I've NEVER seen Dr. Pepper here! They don't seem to know what Root Beer is either, but I haven't been so lucky as to find that one. Anyway, I just had to buy some cans. That led me to thinking about snacky foods and movies, so we enjoyed a movie night as a family with popcorn and Dr. Pepper - great family memories :-)
You can tell that the kids thought it was pretty special, too! You can almost hear them from their looks in the picture "It isn't every day that Mommy gets us our own can of pop!"

I remember stuff my Mom did when I was a kid, too - like buying the "sugary" cereal when she had a coupon and getting the big, crisp shiny apples and large juicy oranges to put in my Easter basket on Sunday morning. Thanks, Mom, for the memories and the example to do "just a little extra" when you could.

Friday, April 04, 2008

April of 2003 - Remembering

Take a look at the kids' pictures from April of 2003. I love looking back to when they were little. In these photos, Rebekah is 4, Joseph is 2, and Jonathan is 5 months old. All our kids were practically bald from birth, but believe me it grows in quickly and pretty thick! Their smiles are just as bright now as when they were little, though.

I love my kids!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Vacation Days vs. Sick Days

Here in Mexico, the kids get a nice long vacation for the Easter holiday. And, yes, it is because of Easter, not Spring ;-) So, starting back on the 15th of this month, the Ides of March, all the way until today - our kids have had off of school. The first week involved a lot of church activities like I wrote about in the Easter blog, but this second week has been a little disappointing, to say the least.
On Monday, we kind of played "catch-up" with laundry and cleaning and such. Tuesday, we reserved for going to a water park here in town, but it was (now don't laugh) a little chilly for a day of water activities. So, we changed out plans and went to a museum and then had a picnic in the park. It was an enjoyable day even though the kids were pretty sad about not being able to swim. Dave and I especially enjoyed the cool breezes and sunshine after our picnic while the kids played on the playground equipment at the park.

After this relaxing family day, things pretty much when downhill. It started with me on Wednesday . . . I will spare you the details. Basically, I was in bed in pain or in the bathroom. The days following did not keep me in bed, but I was definitely at less than 100%, without much of a clue as to what was causing my cramping and trips to the bathroom.
Then Dave got hit on Thursday, but with something completely different.
Our poor kiddos, vacation practically ruined due to their parents' ailments. We rented some movies, we let them play in our pool one day, and we let them play on the computer. They made a fort with their beds. Rebekah worked on a project for school. We spent a morning at a mall where the kids jumped on an indoor blow-up slide/plaything and we shopped for shoes and socks. We finished with lunch in the food court where I had noodle soup. They also played in our backyard of plants and concrete. But even that ended up a little stressful for me with them discovering what little mud we have and combining it with water from the tap outside - well, you know, boys will be boys, - this mom just wasn't in the mood to have to deal with the clean-up necessary. Today the kids are inside again, playing with each other and listening to Dan and Louie (thank you AG World Missions!). The kids have actually done a lot to pitch in with stuff around the house, too - helping prepare meals and working together to make sure the table is set and cleared. I'm really proud of them for taking the bad with the good :-)

Well, it turns out I may be dealing with a pesky little critter called an amoeba. Not fun. But I now have some medicine to deal with is. And Dave has a serious sinus infection for which we are trying to discover the correct antibiotic.

I'm thankful for our God who sees our needs and situation. Yes, I would love to experience His healing RIGHT NOW. But, I realize that God can also use circumstances to teach us something about Him or about ourselves. I guess I'm still learning.