To My Village

I couldn't do life without you. You have come through for me time and time again. You have loved me, prayed for me, encouraged me, laughed with me, cried with me, and been there for me anytime a need arose.

Thank you for helping us through our adventures of moving abroad, and now coming home. Idaho is beautiful but it made me realize that I can't do life without YOU. So many of you have stepped up and offered us beds, furniture, a room for the night, a couch to sleep on - the list could go on and on. You bless me more than words can express and I mean it when I say that I couldn't do life without you. 
I love being a mom but I can't be with my kids 24/7. It starts to make me a little crazy after a while. But you, my village, are the ones who are always there for me, at a moments notice, you are willing to take 1, 2 or even all 3 of my babies so that I can get away and do the things I need to do to have a career and be a strong, healthy, loving mom. 
So thank you. Each …

The good, the bad, and the beautiful...

We've been stateside for 3 weeks now (well, kind of... there was that spur of the moment weekend trip to Canada that you can read about here), but it was only 24 days ago that we were leaving our home in Mexico with high hopes of a fun summer in the woods of North Idaho.

And we have had lots of fun here! I don't want that to go unmentioned.

So let's start with "The Good"

Rope Swing
The pond and the goldfish
Building Rafts
Playing with trucks in the dirt piles
4 Wheeler Rides
Survivor Games (check out our youtube video here)
Feeding the chickens
Climbing the hill
Time with Grandpa
Relaxing in the hammock
Nature walks
Throwing rocks in the creek
Smores and campfires
Legos in the loft

We have had a great little visit here in Idaho. I was able to decorate the guest house a little more, hang some curtains, and clean up a little around the outside.

But sometimes things just don't turn out as you envision them.

Enter "The Bad"

Mice... lots of them. We've…

Becoming Bilingual

It has always been a desire of mine to have my children become bilingual when they are still young, when their brains are still developing and can acquire new knowledge so much easier. When I was 12 I spent just one month in Mexico with my family, fully immersed in the culture.  I have always felt that even that small amount of exposure helped me 5 years later when I studied Spanish in junior college.

I always dreamed of going to a Spanish speaking country and immersing myself for long enough to become fluent... but life got away from me and that desire just sank lower and lower on my "list".

Fast forward almost a quarter of a century later, and here I am with 3 beautiful babies of my own.

Last November, we had the incredible opportunity to spend 6 months in Mazatlan, Mexico. I didn't know how much we would or could actually learn in just half a year of immersion, but here we are on the other side of the adventure and I'm ready to report how we did...

First of all, h…

The property I grew up on

Dear Dad,

The girls are on their way up to your cabin to see if you will take them on the rope swing. On the way out the door, I overheard Tenley: "I bet he'll say yes, because he is the best Grandpa EVER!"

I'm so glad the kids get to spend the summer here. It's so fun to see their eyes light up as they explore the exact property I grew up on. When you and mom split up some 25 + years ago, and the home we lived in had to be sold, I never thought my kids would have this experience.

We loved visiting the original cabin, and the years we came for summers and Christmas are memories that our family will treasure forever. But there is something special about having this 10 acres back, and once again having the property that Rhianna and I grew up on "whole" again. (Plus, our family of 5 and Rhi's family of 4 have kind of outgrown the 1 bedroom cabin you built when we were babies.)

The kids are going to remember this summer forever, and I'm so grateful …

Going home...

We are counting the days until we leave this sabbatical of sorts that we have been on here in Mexico for the past 6 months. Things haven't turned out like I hoped they would, and I would be lying if I said that my faith hasn't been shaken, but I still believe that my God will work all things together for good.

And our time here has been good in many ways. As a family, we have truly been blessed to be able to come here and enjoy the weather, the extremely low cost of living, and be able to introduce our kids to another culture and language.
But I can't wait to go home.
Those of you who have followed our journey might be asking where exactly home is for us these days. As you might recall, last May we sold our 5 bedroom house in suburbia and downsized to a small 2nd story apartment for the summer before taking the leap to move to Mazatlan for the winter. (You can read more on that here if you missed it.)
We have a small storage room at one of our rental houses in Molalla with …

Making New Friends

Last week, we had school at Rico's Cafe in Zona Dorado (The Golden Zone), here in Mazatlan. 

The local kids here didn't have school on Monday and Tuesday because of Carnival, so Tuesday while we were having school, these sweet kids came in and tried to sell us bracelets. We told them "no gracias" (no thanks), but they seemed really interested in what we were doing. I asked where their parents were and they said they were on the beach selling, so I invited them to sit down and join us.

From left to right, Jocelin, Judith and Luis. I think Judith was 8 or 9 and the other two were 11 years old. The perfect age for me to practice my Spanish with! lol

They stayed for Math, Reading, and were obviously the perfect addition to our Spanish lesson for the day. After we finished school, we ordered a huge plate of French Toast and we all ate together. 

When it was time to go, they asked us if we could be friends, and Luis drew us this nice picture.
Click here to view image on Instrag…

Update on our Adventure!

Well, it's hard to believe we are already half way through with this 6 month adventure in Mazatlan. It's been amazing to see God's hand in so many areas of our lives here. It really is exactly what our family needed.

Let's take a look at our original goals and see how we are doing:

#1- eliminating sugar from our diet. FAIL! I say as I sit in a coffee shop sipping a delicious white caramel mocha. I knew the sugar thing was going to be a huge bust as soon as Christmas Posada parties started happening and there were pinatas everywhere we went! In addition, our lovely Spanish neighbor who has kind of adopted us, loves to give the kids candy and treats, or take us to the bakery right when the pastries are warm out of the oven... and well, it just seems rude not to accept.

So, my compromise has been to stick firmly with goal #2, eating mainly fresh, unprocessed foods. We still to try to buy as much as possible from the local fruit stand and meat shops close to our house, and I …