Dec 17, 2008


This post is being written for Mrs. Witchers first grade class in Watertown, South Dakota. Hi to all the first graders and I hope you enjoy the pictures. If you click on the picture it will enlarge (get bigger) and you can see the whales a little better. We got to see a mother whale and her baby. It was pretty cool. The Whales are only in Mexico during the winter time. They arrived a few weeks ago and will stay here until things warm up in the United States.

In this picture the mom showed her tail. This means that they were going down deep and probably wouldn't come up for another 45 minutes.
Here is Hannah playing with the snorkeling equipment.

I heard that you guys learned about turtles yesterday. Here is a picture of Josiah cheering on his little turtle. After the turtles hatch the marine biologists keep the turtles for a few days so that they can grow stronger and have a better survival rate. When they are strong enough they are released into the ocean. They are released at sunset because there are less predators out. The conservationists draw a line in the sand and expain that people are not allowed to cross that line. They then have you rub your hands in the sand (I think so that anything on your hands - germs, oils etc. wont hurt the turtles). After that they pass the turtles out to anyone that wants to release one. Then the turtles are layed down on the sand and they head to the ocean. It's really cool because the turtles have an instinct to head to the ocean so even if you face your tutle away from the ocean he/she will turn itself around and head to the water.
Hope you enjoyed. Have a great Christmas vacation and be nice to Mrs. Witcher!!

Dec 16, 2008

While in Vallarta we went on an excursion. The boat took us out into the ocean and then let us snorkel for a while. It was pretty cool. The fish were amazing and very big.
Abigail once again with her hand on her waist.

Josiah after snorkeling for 10 seconds. He got scared and Cory pulled him right out.

These fish were beautiful and the picture doesn't do them justice. They were probably at least 9-12 inches long.

Once again the hand on her waist.
On the beach there were two groups of guys making huge sand sculptures.

Nativity scene. To help you understand how big it was - it was taller than the iguana in the previous picture. Probably twice as tall.
We got to release sea turtles again. The kids loved it and so did the AIMers.

Abigail named her turtle Abigail and she cheered her on the whole time till she made it into the ocean.

Dec 15, 2008

Back from Vallarta

I noticed that some of you are still faithful and check my blog even though I haven't been good about updating.

We just got in the door from a great retreat. We went for 5 days/4 nights to Puerto Vallarta. We took the AIMers for an evaluation and relaxation retreat. Today the AIMers have been here exactly 7 months which is half of their time. We wanted to take them out of town to have some time of refection on how the last 7 months have gone and what they want to accomplish in the next 7 months. We had a really good time. Cory just asked what I was doing and then replied "because you have nothing else you need to do right now?" This is a very true statement we have been home a little over an hour and I am doing laundry, we just finished lunch and need to be at Josiah's school in one hour for his school program. We didn't have hot water this morning in the hotel so I also need to go shower quick. All that to say that I have a ton to tell you guys about but it will have to wait till tomorrow. Sorry. I will leave you with a few pictures though.

Abigail walking with two of our AIM girls. She feels so big when she gets to hang our with them.

Walking down from our room, heading to the beach.

Abigail loves to have her picture taken with her hand on her side.

Nov 26, 2008

Missionary retreat

Sorry it has been a while. Things are crazy around here - like normal.
Some good friends of ours from Tulsa are visiting us right now. They got here on Saturday. Today we are all leaving for a missionary retreat in Guanajuato. Our visitors are the speakers. We are looking forward to seeing all the missionaries and catching up. We will be there until Saturday. I have lots of pictures to post - I will try and get that done when I get back.
Hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

Nov 15, 2008

Feeding Dump People

Please click on this link
I know that times are tough right not in the USA. This will make you think twice about how hard things might be for you financially right now.
What a great Christmas present you could give these people. Can't think of what you want for Christmas but your loved ones keep asking you? How about if you ask them to donate money in your name as your present.
God has truly blessed us.

Nov 7, 2008


Well, different thing bring joy to different people. I love food. I love cooking food, I love inventing things, I love baking, I love eating food. The other day one of my teamates asked me what I liked doing in my free time. I explained that I loved cooking, scrapbooking etc. He asked me if I liked reading and I said that I liked reading cookbooks. He was a little shocked.
One of the things about living in a different country is that we can't get all the same things that are in the states. The other day I was making a mental list of the things we can't get. It went something like this:

Rice a Roni
Instant pasta dishes
Hamburger Helper
Liquid, flavored, coffee creamers
Muffin mixes
Corn bread mix
Non flavored marshmallows (the ones here are fruit flavored)
Instant pudding
Pudding cups
Chow Main noodles
Good ice cream
Vanilla wafers
Graham cracker
Heinz 57
Cream of Chicken soup
Laffy Taffy, Starburst, Skittles, Twizlers, Sweet Tarts etc.
Ranch Doritos
Cheetos (we can get the ones with Chili on them)
Cool Whip (we can get something similar)
Taco seasoning
Ranch powder
Enchilada sause (wierd?!)

You get the idea. Anyway as I was thinking about the list I realized that most everything on my list was unhealthy. So, I guess in the end we are better off not having those things.

Well, the other day I went to a store that is far from my house and I have only been there a few times. I thought I would go check it out because they are building one a mile or so from our house. Well, I found instant pudding, cool whip, heinz 57, chow mein noodles and vanilla wafers. I couldn't believe it.

Today I went to walmart and I found the best find of all
I was in total amazement. I just stood there and looked at it. There were only 4 flavors but the decision was still so hard. The choices were strawberry, cookies and cream, vanilla, and Dutch Chocolate. It cost around $10 for a half gallon. At first I just admired it and walked away. Seriously who would spend $10 for a half gallon of ice cream. Then a few isles down I realized that I had to go back and get it. Often they will get one shipment of something and then never have it again. I just couldn't risk it! So I put a few items back (I only had $17 with me) and got the dutch chocolate.
I am tempted to have a bowl for breakfast!

Nov 3, 2008

What a week.

This week has been crazy! It was a great week but I am glad that we are back to "normal" life. We went trick or treating in our housing complex again this year. Halloween isn't really that big here but it is becoming more and more of a holiday every year. Once again Abigail was sleeping beauty.
Josiah was Superman.
Hannah was Jessie from ToyStory 2.
This week was cultural week at Josiahs school. Each classroom choose a country and studied it for the week. Josiahs classroom was Spain. They spent all week learning about the Spanish culture, food, art, music, dance etc. During the week they traveled to other classrooms (coutries) and learned about that culture. The school also brought in a lot of artists from around town. They brought in different martial arts, musicians, dancers etc. It was a really neat week. On Wed the classes performed in a singing competition. On Thursday they danced a traditional dance from their country. It was neat because the parents were invited to these events.
Josiah is in the back row, second from the left.
Because of Day of the Dead the kids were asked to make a skeleton out of recycled material. Here is a picture of Josiahs. It isn't at a very good angle but the legs and shirt are made out of juice boxes that are silver - it looked really cool. He named his skeleton "Pelon" which means bald.
On Friday the kids learned about Spanish sculptures. The idea was to bring two tubs of playdough per kid and allow them to copy a Spanish sculpture. Play dough is expensive here so I offered to make it for the class (28 kids) and save some money. I was told that they needed it on Friday so I could just drop it off at the school on Thursday or Friday morning. Well, since I didn't get around to making the playdough till 10 o'clock on Thursday night I took it in on Friday morning. When I arrived the teacher asked me to wait a minute until she got the tables rearranged. I thought it was a little wierd but I waited - all I was doing was dropping off playdough - right? Well, once she got the classroom set up like she wanted she introduced me to the class and explained to them that I was going to teach them how to make playdough. She also told them that I was going to tell them about Spanish sculptures and what they could make with their playdough. Oops wish I had studied up on Spanish sculptures a little more. I explained to the kids how to make the playdough then I had to ask the teacher for help because I hadn't prepared anything about Spanish sculptures. In the end the kids had a blast - although I am not sure they know much more about spanish sculptures than they previously did.
It was a little sad because some of the playdough turned out fine but some of it was super sticky and made a really big mess. Oh well. I talked to moms during the weekend and they said that their kids thought that the playdough was the best part of the week.
On Saturday morning Cory, Hannah and three of the AIMers left for Texas. They are doing an AIM presentation today and later in the week Cory is performing a wedding. They will be back early next week.

On Saturday morning Josiah and I went to a Mother/Child camping trip with the other 1st graders of his school. It was an absolute blast. We had so much fun. The weekend was conducted by a group that coordinates retreats like this all year around. It is led by 4 psychologists. The theme of the weekend was a pirate theme - with an emphasis on obedience and trust. One of the activaties was that Josiah got to paint my face and then I got to paint his. Josiah with his friend Ethan.
This was an activity we did on obedience and trust. I had to crawl while Josiah balanced a cup full of water on my back. It went fairly well until the boy in the blue shirt standing behind Josiah decided to come help Josiah and he pouded 1/4 of the cup on my back. The kid was a terror all weekend long. His mom watched him pour the water on me and she said nothing! When it was her turn she got soaked by her twins. It was a really fun game, after that Josiah got on his knees and I had to balance the water. This was a little hard because Josiah wanted to get wet!
We had planned on staying in a tent with some of Josiahs friends and their moms. The week before the school had a family camping trip and it was freezing so the moms decided they didn't want to do that again. Josiah and I were still planning on camping but their room had two extra beds in it so we ended up staying with them. It was a lot of fun.

Oct 28, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly

Warning - this blog entry is going to be filled with a lot of pictures. Lots of good stuff has been going on. We have been getting some good time with our Mexican friends lately. Josiahs best friend in our housing edition is Mario and they both love soccer. They have a lot of fun playing outside together.
Josiahs best friend at school is Santiago. He came to our house last week and we had a great time. He likes cooking so I decided that for lunch we would all make our own pizzas. I was really excited about it. On the way to our house he told me that he loved almost every kind of food but that pizza was one of his least favorite. Oops - I then told him that I was really sorry but that was what we were having for lunch. I offered him a hotdog but he gladly made and ate his own pizza. While we were making them I jokingly stated "ok, I am going to get the onions and mushrooms out" thinking that he would say yuck. Instead he got really excited and said that he loved mushrooms - oops again. I didn't have any mushrooms. Luckily my neighbor did. They had a lot of fun together that day. I really like his family and hope that we will get to know eachother better. This weekend we have a first grade mother/child camping trip. His mother will be there and I am really excited about spending time with her and the other moms.
Hi-5 was in town and we ended up getting really good tickets. We sat in the 5th row middle section. Many of you might not know who Hi-5 is. I couldn't believe it when I found out that my parents and my sister didn't know who they are. I guess you have no need to know who they are if you don't have little children. They are "the" singing group of children 2-8. If you want to know more they have a good website you can look up. Anyway we went with my neighbor and her daughter. When we got to the concert we were offered a ticket to get our picture taken with the group after the concert. I asked the guy "now this is the original Hi-5 group right?" Often they have shows here where it isn't the original but they don't always tell you that. He assured me that it was the real group. So, we bought the ticket to get the kids picture taken with the group after the show. Like I said, we had great seats and when the group came out both my friend and I looked at eachother. It was not the original group. We later were told it was the official Latin American group. Oh well. We had a great time and they sang (lip sung) to all of the kids favorite songs and they had a blast.
This afternoon we had one of our AIMers over for lunch. Today was a crazy day so we had jelly sandwiches on hotdog buns and bean burritos. Not together but those were the two options. After the kids had finished their first sandwich Josiah asked for a second. I grabbed a bun and this is what I saw!!!!
A cockroach cooked into the bun!! Yuck. I asked Josiah if it would be ok if he just had a burrito and he was fine with that.

We have had a really sad weekend. Our dog - Josiahs dog - died last night. He had been perfectly healthy but started having seizures this weekend. He ended up having 6 seizures in a day and a half. After bloodwork and brain x-rays we realized that he wasn't going to have a very good life. There was a small possibility of keeping him alive with a lot of medication but the doctor seemed to think that he would pretty much pass the rest of his life needing to be heavily medicated. We decided that this wasn't what we wanted for Arthur or for our family so we had him put to sleep last night. Josiah is really upset. If it were up to him he would just stay in bed all day and think about Arthur - at least that is what he told me at 6 o'clock this morning when he got in bed with me. He has been crying at the drop of a hat but I am sure that things will get better in a few days or weeks. Arthur was very much a part of our life. When we were home he was always at the kids sides. I thought I would throw in some pictures that I found.

He put up with a lot from Hannah but he always followed her around and wanted to be where she was - from the day we brought her home from the hospital.

He was even kind enough to share chew toys with Hannah - what a great friend.
Hannah and Abigail share a bunk bed. Abigail on top and Hannah on the bottom. Well, tonight after the kids had been in bed for a while, we heard a loud crash followed by screaming. Hannah decided that she wanted to be on the top and ended up falling out of the bed. She has a huge bump on her forhead. It is so swollen and is going to leave a nice bruise for a few weeks.

Oct 10, 2008

Were back

We had a really great time at the beach but are glad to be back home with the kids. I took a few pictures of the countryside while driving. Some of you might not know that there are mountains right outside of Guadalajara. It is a really beautiful drive. The mountains are increadible but they do make the trip twice as long!
There is a ton of forestation that we drove though. I didn't get pictures of them but we also drove by a ton of banana trees, mango trees, and coconut palms.

Here is a picture looking out of our room. It was a really pretty view. The weather cooperated a little bit. It rained all three days that we were there but it didn't keep us from getting into the ocean - that is until the lightning arrived. I mentioned it earlier in another post but it was an all-inclusive hotel. Which means all meals etc are included. This restaurant is a reservation only restaurant. There are only about 6 tables and two reservations per table - 6:30 or 8:30. We choose the later apt since we didn't have lunch till 3. Right after this picture was taken I noticed something really big moving on the beach just right on the other side of the red wall. It was a sea turtle!

Right now is the time that the moms come onto shore (at night) and lay their eggs. They dig a hole in the sand and lay around 100 eggs at a time. Then they cover them up and head back to the ocean. The eggs take about 1 1/2 months to hatch. These sea turtles don't have a very good chance of survival. They are highly protected. Infact there were 3 or 4 night guards at our resort that all they did was work the graveyard shift and watch for turtles. Two guards were protecting her. They made sure that no one took pictures of her while she was in the process of laying her eggs. They said she could get scared and head back to the ocean before finishing. They also guarded the eggs. They called a marine biologist who later came and picked up the eggs to take them to a protected area to hatch (check out my posts from last November - there you will see our family releasing the baby turtles into the ocean). The guard actually had to move one of the chairs you see behind us because that was where she wanted to lay her eggs. Even with human intervention they only have a 95% change of living until adulthood. The waiter we had that evening told us that often when you are in restaurants in Vallarta they will quietly offer you the eggs and turtle meat. He said the eggs cost $10. He didn't say how much the meat was worth.
We foud out the next day that if you get caught eating one of the turtle eggs you get one year in jail per egg. If you get caught eating the meat you get 5 years. They allowed us to take pictures of her when she was heading back to the ocean.
Cory was taking a picture of me standing behind her and the guard told me that I could touch her. Notice the guard is holding a clip board. They monitor everything, what time she arrived on land, how long it took her to lay the eggs, and what time she went back into the ocean. On Wed we got to meet up with Kris and Barb Smith (my coordinators when I was in AIM and really good friends) and Jeff and Stacy Smith (Cory's coworker at Sunset and really good friends). We had a really good time with them. The guys went deep sea fishing in the morning while the women went shopping in town. Then we all met back up at the resort where they bought day passes and we got to spend some time at the beach and then in the pool. It was a lot of fun.