Monday, June 27, 2011

Gardening and Other Tidbits

There has been an abundance of gecko's in the house lately.
Generally we have quite a few, they hang out by the light outside that eat the mosquito's.
But now they are all over the place inside too. We really don't mind them because they eat the bugs.... but I can't help thinking that there are more gecko's around because there are more bugs around.
Which is true, there are definitely more bugs. I think all the rain has brought them.
During the day the gecko's crawl between the metal plate and the ceiling to climb up into the electrical pipes. They then come out early evening, Maria is always so excited to see them. Sometimes there are baby ones not more than 2 inches long, and it's fun to watch them, they don't have quite all the know-how that the big gecko's have.

Today I was making topo gigio's (pronounced toh-poh ye-yo's) which are the local popsicle's. Fruit juice in a plastic baggie. I was making mora (which is raspberry or blackberry... I'm not quite sure) ones. I ran out of sugar (these berries were pretty sour) so we took a walk over to the mini-super to pick some up. Before we went I changed my shirt because I had gotten some of the juice on it, and I put it in the sink to soak.
When we got back the floor was COVERED in water. I guess between kids shoes, crying, changing my shirt, and everything else that happened between turning the faucet on and getting out the door, I forgot to turn the water off.  Oops.

Marco's family doesn't eat their meals together.  Not even dinner.... which is so foreign to me.  They generally eat three-ish meals a day around the breakfast/lunch/dinner times, but I have never once seen the whole family eat together.  I asked Marco if they ever had and he said perhaps once or twice at Christmas.  

And now onto the garden.  This is the garden area that we built not too long ago.  When my parents were here we bought a bunch of different plants.... and I am by NO means a botanist so I have no idea most of the names.  There are a few bougainvillaea, and orange tree (with oranges that taste like orange-pineapple) 4 rose bushes (yellow, red, white & a salmon color), a hydrangea, a yellow shrimp, and a few others.... plus the veggies that we planted not too long ago.
Here is the hydrangea (I hope that's it's name) with it's first bloom.
Oso, the dog, keeps getting into this area so we had to put up more boards to protect it.  He dug up seeds that I put down twice, so I'm not exactly sure what is growing where in here.  These roses here have really taken off.
This last week Abuela and I took a few cuttings from this tall pink rose bush that she has and stuck them in the ground..... hopefully they'll take.  Apparently that's all you do here, cut off a branch and stick it in the ground.
Out of all the rose bushes the red one is the only one that has not taken off.  The others have doubled or tripled in size since we planted them the end of April.
This is the back side of the house.  That window is a window into the bathroom, which is unfinished and acting as a storage room.  I don't want to put food waste in the garbage can for fear that it would attract even more bugs, so we throw it out the back window, our compost pile.... Probably in early April, I threw some tamarind seeds out the window and now we have some little tamarind trees growing.  I think we'll let them get a little bigger and then move them.
This is the elevated garden box that Abuelo built for me.  I've got tomatoes, chile's, and spinach growing.  When things get a little bigger we'll transplant.  I'm really not a great gardener.  I don't think I should have planted so many seeds in such a small area.  But at least they are in lines this time around.
This metal tub is where the ginger grows.  If you break off a leaf of the plant and smell it it smells wonderfully of ginger.
This plant a bush/tree that is mixed up with the mandarin-lime tree.  The red circles shows the "fruit".... little peppers.  That is about the size they get, pretty small, and when they change from green to red/orange they are ripe.
And here is the mandarin-lime tree.  These puppies are still not ripe, they're best when they've changed to an orange color, but they are starting to get juice in them.  There is a TON of fruit growing.
 This is the camaron amarillo or yellow shrimp.
 This papaya tree was next to nothing when we first moved here in November.... I'm not even sure it was around, but it sure is now.....
 ... and it's even beginning to bear fruit.  We have two trees that started on their own that are now bearing fruit.
 This is a pretty little plant that we have hanging by the bedroom window.  Each of the flowers only lasts a day, but the next day there are another half a dozen or so ready to bloom again.
So, there you go, a little tour of our gardening efforts as of late. Let's hope that something grows and more importantly, that my knowledge of gardening grows.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kids and the Laundry.

This little guy gets up between 5 and 5:30 every day.
He & Maria are SO different when it comes to sleep.  He's never really been that much into sleep.  In his whole 14 1/2 months of life he has slept thru the night 3 times.  Naps are always short... If he happens to sleep longer than an hour I'm SO excited.  When he's awake he's super happy and sweet which is nice, it would suck if he were cranky.

Maria on the other hand loves sleeping.  The going to sleep part isn't the funnest, but once she is asleep she will sleep for HOURS.  3 hour afternoon naps are not uncommon, and she sleeps thru the night like a pro.  Goes to bed 8ish and wakes up 8ish. Generally she wakes up cranky, and if she hasn't gotten enough sleep she's cranky..... kind of like her Momma.
So this past week when she started getting up 6ish she totally surprised me.  And for the most part she's been pretty happy.  She will get up, find her markers and a coloring book and sit at the table and color for at least 30 minutes.  It has certainly been making an interesting start to our days.
With all the rain we've been having lately getting the laundry dry has been a task.  Cristina washed it yesterday, and shortly after she was done it started to POUR. There was a short break between storms so I gathered up some clothes and hung them on our new indoor clothes lines.  There still wasn't enough space for everything so I left some clothes out to weather the storm overnight.  The sun dried them pretty good this morning and then I brought them in this afternoon before the rains started up again.  Sometimes I'd LOVE to have a dryer.

A few things about laundry here.....
-clothes go moldy.  if you spill something on your shirt and it's wet you'd better hang it to dry and not just throw it in the laundry hamper and wait three days for the laundry to get done because little black spots will form on your clothes and they'll be ruined.
-all the washing by hand and drying on the line is not exactly good for your clothes..... shapes are lost and stretched out. (another wonderful reason to have a dryer!)
-the clothes are washed outside-out, and then flipped inside-out to dry.  I couldn't figure out why so I asked Marco...... The sun bleaches the clothes so by turning them inside-out the outside does not get bleached.  (This doesn't work great on collared shirts.... the collar ends up getting sun-bleached)

Remember when Maria was wielding the frying pans like Rapunzel.... well today she watched Ratatouille and during the photo shoot she ran and got the frying pans and wanted me to take her picture over and over again.  This was the only shot where her eyes are open.
Before bedtime I took a couple pictures of Cooper.  When I showed him the picture on the back of the camera he was so cute, pointing at himself and then kissing the camera and then motioning for me to take more pictures so he could repeat the pointing and kissing.

The Stroller Hammock

The first time we came down here we brought a double stroller.  One that had the normal-smallish wheels.  It couldn't handle the roads here.  The kids wanted to go for walks, but the road is more rock than dirt and that stroller was definitely NOT made for off-roading. 
While I was in Washington visiting my parents we had plenty of opportunities to take the kids for walks in the stroller (their gravel driveway is SO incredibly smooth compared to the roads here) and they LOVED it.  I wanted to bring a stroller back down with me, but buying a double jogging stroller was out of the budget.... even a used one.  One night.... for one of Cooper's early, early morning wake-ups.... as I was rocking him back to sleep (this is apparently a great inspiration time for me) I thought about those Phil &Ted Strollers and though that I could make a Stroller Hammock and convert my old single jogger into a double.

Now a few things to take into consideration if anyone wants to try something like this.....
-There are no wheel guards.  I don't know if they are even available.  So being careful and watching my kids fingers are a must.  I wouldn't ever go jogging with this set-up, wheels turning fast makes me too nervous.  My kids are pretty good at listening and after the first 5 or so times of telling them not to touch the wheels they stop... hahahaha.
-There is a weight issue.  If I were to put Maria in the back I would definitely have to wait until Cooper was in the front to put her in so that the stroller wouldn't tip backwards.  Even if Cooper is going in the back I would still but the front child in first.

A couple of changes that I would make...
-Optional longer head rest straps so that the hammock could recline more.
-A little extra padding behind the knees, and velcro so that it can attach to the basket and not move around so much.
-And possibly some kind of a buckle to strap them in.... possibly.

So, with all that said here are some pictures.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Welcome to the Rainy Season -OR- Sometimes a Rain Coat Just Doesn't Cut It

Today we had another thunderstorm.
It rained...
 And rained....
And rained....

Sometimes when it rains like this the water comes into our little front patio area.

We use a broom to sweep the water out.

I went to go get my camera to take a picture of the water flooding down the road and as I was walking towards the open front door I saw this guy riding his horse down the road.

I'm assuming that it was a man (I have yet to see a woman riding a horse), but I don't know that it was a man because the tarp was hiding pretty much everything.  There was just a slit in front for him to peek thru.
Here there are two seasons.  The dry season which is September-ish thru April-ish and then the wet or rainy season which is the other months.  Its a little different than the four seasons that I'm used to.  Planting a garden is definitely different here.... you definitely don't have to worry about the last frost.  I'm pretty sure you can plant things year-round.... but I'm still learning.

So, back to the rain.... the power went out during the thunderstorm and due to the lack of windows in the house Cooper and I hung out on the front patio and watched Marco clean the road (Maria was napping).  The road has changed so much from all the rain.  The "rivers" have formed little valleys all over the road, apparently when it gets bad enough they'll fix it, but who is to say what bad enough is. 
And because the power was out I did dishes, cooked, and we ate by candlelight.
And then there is Lionel (pronounced lee-oh-nell) who is Orfito's cousin.
He was taking a shower in the rain water that was running off the houses.  He said that the water off of our house was warmer than his house.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Two and a half weeks.
That's how love we've been back in Honduras.  We've spent the majority of the time cooped up in the house trying not to spread whatever germs we had to the people of Honduras.  Between all the throwing up, poopy pants, lots of crying, whining and cuddling I've tried to get a few things done....
-paint some areas with chalkboard paint (above the kitchen counter for me and the wall in the laundry room for the kids..... they are both still not done.)
-hot glued some corkboard to the wall.

-used that tacky stuff and hung a collage of pictures on the wall that is roughly 60"x28".
-took a few walks with the stroller (I made a "hammock" converting the single stroller into a double when I was in Washington)
-read the "Hunger Games" trilogy.
-made an apron for Cristina for when she does the laundry.  (It is made out of a laminated cotton)
-here is Cooper modeling Cristina's apron.... I also cut his hair.  We had his hair cut while we were in Washington, but it was getting long again and starting to bother me.
-enjoyed SEVERAL thunderstorms (the road is SO bad now.... all this heavy rain is washing away the dirt leaving very big rocks... making it very hard to push the stroller)
-we had the water turned off for so long that we used all the water in the tank (the pipes were fixed and the water was back on 18 hours later..... so we didn't go that long without water)
 -we planted some seeds.... it's amazing how quickly things grow here, at least two times faster than at home. (These I believe are cucumber plants that I planted a week after we got here, so they are roughly 1 1/2 weeks old.)
-figured out how to make some good flour tortillas (they are easier to make than corn ones.... I think I might have to find a different method of making corn ones though.......)
-read "Go Dog, Go" about a hundred times.
-told Cooper not to eat the rocks in the backyard about two hundred times.
-was entertained by Maria wielding a frying pan like Rapunzel in "Tangled".... that was until she came at me.
-fell in love with having a kitchen sink (and water tank) multiple times daily

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kitchen Sinks, Neighborhood Boys, & One Super Amazing Daughter

Can I tell you how incredibly wonderful it is to dishes in this sink, with a counter, IN THE KITCHEN!!!.... It's SO incredibly wonderful!
Remember Orfito, Maria's little friend.  He came over to hang out today while Maria was sleeping.  He had his hair cut while we were gone and he looks so grown up now....
And if you're wondering what he's eating like an apple.... that would be a beet.

And for those of you who wanted to see.... this is Kevin.  He's a little neighborhood boy that was my Mom's little protector in the market while they were visiting.
He's sitting on his new (to him) bike and is SO thankful and excited!!!
Before this he and his uncle (who are about the same age) would both hop on a bike quite a bit smaller than this (one on the seat, and the other sitting side-saddle on the cross bar) that didn't have any tires and ride like little maniacs down the hill and around the corner.
Last night was a LONG night.
Around 1:30 am I woke up to the horrible sound of heaving....
It was Maria AND Marco. 
Cooper did great last night, slept thru the whole night.  Only the second time in his whole life he's done that.  He did his throwing up on Wednesday.... I did mine on Monday.
There's a nasty little bug going around.
Now, I'd like to tell a story about my darling little girl, because after all this is my family blog, and I'd really like to remember this one....
I was nursing Cooper this morning and Maria came over to me with a towel (She is learning that if throw up is involved then most likely a towel will be and he's brought me a towel a couple of times now just before she starts to throw up.) and then she gets this sad look on her face.  The poor little thing has thrown up so much today and she hates it so much.  She has started saying "please" while throwing up, as if saying the word will make it all go away faster.  So...I'm nursing Cooper, Maria brings towel, and starts to throw up.... the nursing of Cooper abruptly stops so I can take care of Maria, which Cooper is totally NOT thrilled about and proceeds to cry like it's the end of the world.... Maria is heaving, her little body trying to get the nothing that is left in her stomach out, and she sees that Cooper is crying and gives him a little toy flashlight that she had to him so he'll stop crying.  That kindness that she showed to her little brother while she was in such discomfort is huge to me.  Such charity in one so young.  She is a special little girl.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

We Have Arrived

After 23 hours of travel the kids and I made it back home to Lepaera. 
The worst part of travel was getting off of the flight from Seattle to Houston.  We landed early in the morning, the kids had gotten less than four hours of sleep and were super cranky.  Taking the stuff off the plane and two kids who only wanted to be held was extremely difficult. 
The best part of the trip was seeing Marco again..... and seeing Maria's face when she saw her Daddy was so special!!

We had a lovely trip to the states.  We filled our time with so many wonderful things. 
We went to library time, lots and lots of parks, made just a few trips to Edaleen Dairy for ice cream. 
We went to lunch with Grandma Penn and had some super delicious fish and chips. 
We took a train to Oregon to visit some friends and hit up a great fabric sale. 
We celebrated Nana's Birthday with molten chocolate lava cake. 
Sorted thru boxes and boxes of stuff trying to figure out what were the most important things to bring back with us. 
 I did a little sewing (Maria a dress out of an old skirt, and some leggings and a t-shirt out of an old t-shirt, a tie for Cooper, and one quilt top (my insane mother did 3!!!)) 
We went "swimming" in the hot tub.
We bought some baby chicks for Nana.
I mowed the lawn once (got the lawn mower stuck & unstuck all by myself!)
Bapa mowed the lawn with both Maria & Cooper (now that's talent!!)
Maria, Nana, & I went to a bridal shower for my cousin.
Went to my the wedding.
Cooper got his first hair cut.
Played on tons of  swings & slides.
Played in Nana's potting soil.
Threw Bapa's rocks all over his sidewalk.
Bought some new shoes.
Maria gathered the eggs all by herself (and didn't break a single one!!!)
We were the continuous tornado at my parent's house (thanks for putting up with us for an entire month!!)

I am writing this from Marco's computer.... I have to figure out how to use the internet on my new computer.... so, no pictures yet... but we'll get some soon. 
I'm excited to show everyone the kitchen sink.... It's AMAZING.  No more dishes in the bathroom!!!!