Less Stress for Christmas

I’m usually crazy stressed out at this time of year. With Dorian’s birthday coming rapidly and then Christmas right behind it, things can be a bit hectic!

This year, though, I finally feel like I’m on top of things. That’s because I planned ahead this year and while I didn’t do something for Christmas every month of the year, I did get gifts early enough that I could literally do nothing more than wrap them at this point and it would be fine. I do want to make a few things, though.

- Fleece minion hats for the boys
- A Left4Dead board game for Dorian’s birthday, inspired by this awesome Walking Dead game
- An activity book for Dominic and possibly one for Sofia 2
- Possibly new stockings for all three boys . . . though I may attempt to do just one for Dominic that will match the ones the boys have since I really like them!
- Mini decorations for our advent calendar that I made last year but never finished

And of course, lots of fun decorations and cookies. :)

I’m very glad I did all my shopping early this year so I can relax going into December. Not only am I more relaxed, but I bought stuff that was on sale or had my sister bring things down from Amazon. So I saved money, too!

Doing Online Black Friday Shopping?

I’m going to go ahead and put out a shameless plug . . . if you’re shopping on Amazon for Black Friday (or any time for that matter!), I’d definitely appreciate it if you used the link below. I’ll get a small percentage, taken from Amazon’s share so you don’t pay more, from any sales made through the link below. That money goes toward our trip to Canada so we can introduce Dominic to his grandparents!

Get your Black Friday on HERE.

Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers!

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 68

Dominic: “I so cute!”
Dante: listening to Dorian’s chest with a stethoscope “Your heart is still there, Dorian.”
Dominic: checking Dante’s ear with the thermometer which has a little happy face if your temp is normal and a sad face if you have a fever. “It’s happy! You fine.”
Dante: from outside “MOOOOOOOOM! Dorian’s bugging me!”
Dorian was sitting beside me, in the house, going through toys.
Dominic now sleeps on a low bed between Irving’s bed and mine, so in the wee hours of the morning, it’s not uncommon for him to climb into bed with one of us. Early one morning, he chose my bed.
Dominic: “Mama. Mama. Mama.”
Me: “What?”
Dominic: “So cold!”
I let him into the bed.
Dominic: “I saw cat!” pointing at the wall outside.
Me: trying to sleep. “Lovely.”
Dominic: Snuggling against me, “Poop. So much poop. Every day, poop.”
Me: “Are you so cute?”
Dominic: “Si.”
Dante: “Well, he’s not so cute when he hits me!”
Dorian: “Yeah, he’s not at all cute when he tries to hurt us.”
Dominic was playing somewhere outside and I was indoors.
Me: “Domi?”
Dominic: “Yeah?”
Me: “Just seeing what you were doing.”
Dominic: “Good. Doing good.”
Dante: “Do you need this flour, Mama?”
Me: “No, why? What do you need it for?”
Dante: “Potions, of course!”
Me: “Okay. Go for it.”
Dante: “Okay, my potions are setting up. Please don’t touch them.”
Me: “What are you expecting them to do?”
Dante: “Nothing yet. Later I’m going to put them together and there will be a big explosion.”
Me: “An explosion? What is going to make them explode?”
Dante: “Salt. It’s very explosive.”
Me: “Hmm, we’ll have to see how that works, huh?”
Dante: “Yeah. I’ll try it away from the house.”

Little Acts of Kindness

I meet a lot of wonderful people through my blog, who do a lot of wonderful things for us. From bringing down goodies I’ve ordered on Amazon just in time for Christmas and giving my kids action figures of their favorite characters to buying us coffee and sitting and sharing a piece of their lives with us, we’ve really been very blessed.

Years ago, when Dante was a newborn, we took the boys to the park. It was our first outing with two children and we were crazy broke, so we just went to the park and Dorian toddled around (he’d just learned to walk a few short weeks before the baby came). He kept staring at this woman with a baby and little boy sitting near us. Eventually, he walked over to the little boy and started touching his bike. They chatted a little and pretty soon the mother and I started talking, too.

It turned out she was in Guatemala to adopt a baby girl and they were nearly ready to go home. She had her five year old son with her, as well. We talked for a while and then she asked if we would like some baby stuff. She wasn’t taking it back home with her and we were welcome to it.

Now, this was a point in time when we had very little. Our house was just two rooms at that point and Dorian was sleeping in a Pack and Play while the baby slept in a well lined and padded baby tub beside the bed. So anything would be great. She said she had a bouncy chair and a few other things, so we arranged to meet up again the day she was leaving.

We met in the park and it was far more than a bouncy seat! She gave us her five year old’s bike, a bunch of baby toys, a bunch of older kid toys, books and a few other things, including a scooter. The bouncy seat was pink, but it was wonderful and Dante spent many happy hours in it while I worked.

The bike and scooter were far too big for Dorian, so they were put in a shed and left for a couple of years. Later, someone asked to buy the bike and we sold it, but the scooter came out of hiding at that point. The boys used it sometimes, but it doesn’t run well on dirt. So when we filled in our outdoor areas with concrete, the scooter suddenly became a novelty!

scooter fun

Dominic quickly became obsessed with the scooter and while his brothers play with it often, he can be found on the thing every single day, throughout the day. He’s even figured out how to ride with one foot and push with the other. He scoots around the house and out the door and generally has a lot of fun on it. Though the scooter was given to us over 6 years ago, it is still in daily use. The toys and bouncy seat are long gone, broken and used up, but that scooter just keeps going!

Where to Eat in Antigua: Casa de Las Mixtas

When I first arrived in Antigua, I found a job as an English teacher at a little school in the southeast corner of Antigua. My first day, one of my fellow teachers told me he knew the perfect place for lunch. He showed me this incredible little place that you would never look at twice if you didn’t know about it.

Casa de las mixtas, eat in Antigua

This sweet little restaurant is located down an alley that doesn’t show up on any maps of Antigua on 3ra calle Oriente (the second alley in the last block if you are walking toward the Calzada) and it is my favorite place to eat. Every day, from noon until 1 pm, they have a set lunch for Q20 or about $2.50. This includes bread and soup, a main dish with meat and a side, plus tortillas, a dessert and a pitcher of the day’s “fresco” or juice.

I took my sister twice to this place and the second time I used her awesome camera to take some photos. We had:

restaurant antigua
Baby acorn squash soup

eat in Antigua Guatemala
Baked chicken with salad

eat in Antigua
Fruit Compote

set meals, cheap food in Guatemala
Strawberry Coconut Juice

It was all delicious! The thing that really makes me love this place, though, is the people. It is a family owned restaurant and when I first started eating there, the oldest daughter had a baby. He’s now a tall, strapping young man and she’s had two daughters. The youngest daughter has only recently married and had a couple of little girls and they are frequently found in the restaurant, toddling around with their cousins. The grandfather passed away a few years ago, but the father and the grandmother are still there, working in the simple kitchen with their three daughters/granddaughters.

I also recommend this place to my visitors because in over a decade of eating there, I have never once been ill. Always a good thing. They do serve other things besides the set meal, but it takes a very long time to prepare (though it is also insanely good!), so we usually just go for the quick meal.

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 67

Dante: “Mama, this jam is all lickyish.”
Dorian: “I have a HUGE attitude, don’t I?”
Dominic: upon finding some spilled water “Uh oh! Water goed!”
Me: “Why is your face dirty? What did you eat?”
Dominic: “What eat.” holds up cereal.
Dorian: “We were trying to build a robot. It’s not really working. We could make it come alive, but we’d need instructions. How do you build a robot?”
Me: “We’re going to put a wooden door on the laundry room.”
Dorian: “That’s no good. A wooden door won’t stop the zombies. We need a metal one!”
Dorian had shared some of his juice with Dominic.
Dominic: “More!”
Dorian: “No, I already gave you some. That’s it. No more.”
Dominic: “Solo un poquito!” (just a little bit!)
We saw an ad for Barbies where they posed five Barbies with a Ken doll at either end.
Dorian: laughing “That’s ridiculous! Those guys can’t marry ALL those girls!”