The Past Two Weeks

Life is definitely a rollercoaster. There are times when it’s so awesome, you just can’t help but whoop. And then there are times when you just feel horrible and want the whole thing to stop so you can get off.

The past two weeks have been like that around here. Irving hasn’t had much work lately, which is usually fine, because I tend to have work when he doesn’t. And I did. But somehow, three of my regular clients just stopped paying me. Why? I’m not even sure. I did the work, sent it, and . . . crickets. It was actually four clients, but I managed to get one to pay.

Just after his birthday, Dante started to complain of stomach pain. It came and went, so we figured it was amoebas or something and gave him basil tea. It didn’t help and on the third day, he was in so much pain, he was doubled over crying and the pain was worse when his stomach was pressed. We rushed him to the doctor . . . only to find the doctor was on vacation. With a crying child in the backseat, we headed for the ER. After a somewhat traumatic exam, it was determined that he had an intestinal infection. We scraped up the cash to get his meds and headed home. On the way home, the car died and we got a phone call from our niece saying that Dorian was vomiting (he’d had an enema earlier). Talk about amping up the stress levels!

After about 10 minutes, Irving discovered that the battery connections were loose. With those fixed, the car started up and we took off for home. Fortunately, both boys recovered fairly quickly.

Hospital visits are never easy with children and for Irving and me, they can be a scary reminder of past visits. I can’t walk into Hospital Hermano Pedro without my stomach clenching and my heart starting to pound. Though it’s the hospital where Dominic was born, it will always be the place I ran into with a nearly lifeless child in my arms and that trauma apparently doesn’t fade! Fortunately, Dante doesn’t have those memories, so he was mostly bored while we sat around waiting for test results.

It’s been two weeks and my clients are still non-responsive. While Irving is picking up odd gigs here and there, life with two freelancers in the house can be . . . shall we say, challenging? ;) In addition to the previously mentioned issues, our car is broken down and several other things have gone wrong. When it rains, it pours, right?

Fortunately, life is like a roller coaster. You have dips and twists and all manner of unpleasant downs, but there’s always an up again, at some point. Here’s to that up coming sooner, rather than later.


What About the Boys?

WARNING: This post is a little heavier than my usual posts.

As I was growing up in a family full of girls, we were taught that our bodies are ours and to say “no” to someone who wanted to touch us inappropriately. We learned about sexual abuse and were taught to be vigilant and to watch out for each other. This is good and certainly something all parents should talk to their children about. However, as a mother of boys, I’ve been noticing something . . . most tips and ides for discussing abuse revolves around girls. While girls are more at risk for sexual abuse, 1 in 6 boys is abused before they turn 18. So it’s important to talk to your boys about this issue, as well.

Today, I’m going to look at a darker side of things, though. Talking to your kids about sexual abuse is very necessary, but with all the information about the Duggars in the news right now, I started thinking. What if your child is the abuser? We talk a lot about preventing abuse, but from the standpoint of protecting our children from other people . . . what about protecting your child from BEING the abuser?

No parent wants to think of their child as being capable of something like this, but 40% of young sexual abuse victims are abused by older children. While it’s easy to skim over this and think that those children have been abused, that isn’t always the case. So, I started thinking about how to talk to children, especially boys, though it is certainly not limited to them, about consent and abuse from the other side of things.

How do you teach children about this subject without going overboard? I started to do some research and with the help of some friends, I found some websites that seem very useful.

The Good Men Project: This site has a lot of great info for raising boys, but this page talks about teaching consent from toddlerhood through the teens. I think this is extremely important! It works both ways. Children should respect other people saying “no” and should also be respected in this way. For example, not forcing children to hug or kiss someone is a way of respecting their consent or lack thereof. You can ASK, but not force. By giving them the power to say no or stop, you teach them that these are important words. The site has a lot more info on how to teach that, age by age.

EveryDay Feminism: This site has an excellent page (linked) that talks about teaching children about consent. There is some very important information there, including teaching them the difference between an enthusiastic yes and a non-response.

If you have any other useful resources, please share them in the comments and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Happy Birthday, Dante

I’m running behind these days! Dante turned 8 on the 16th and I’m just now blogging it. Oops. Things have been a little insane here, but that’s another post.

Dante spent a lot of time planning his birthday. Despite this, his requests were simple! A cake, a piñata, and a cookout at Florencia, as well as macaroni and cheese for dinner were what he wanted. Easily accomplished!

He had a terrific day and even told us that it was the best day of his life! Gotta love it when kids are so easy to please. :)

Here is the cake he requested.

Five Nights at Freddy's Cake

For his gift, we filled a box with all sorts of craft and art supplies, everything from markers, crayons and scissors to fancy papers, a mini stapler and stencils. He was THRILLED!

The trip to Florencia was a fun one, though we thought we’d be rained on. It stayed perfect though, cloudy and cool without rain. We roasted potatoes, made chirmol with grilled tomatoes and onion and grilled some delicious beef with chimichurri sauce while the boys ran around and explored the forest.


Nature Time

One of the things I miss most about living here is the lack of nature around me. Sure the neighbors have banana trees and coffee plants, but my patio is concrete and our bit of land is so small that there’s not really room for much. I miss standing in the middle of the forest and feeling the calmness of living things around me.

Lately, Irving has been taking the boys on hikes so I can get more work done. This has made it easier for me to work, but it also allows the kids to get a taste of nature that they don’t really get at home. They headed up to the piece of land on the mountain where I eventually want to live and they have been having picnics there. It’s a popular place to hang out . . .Melvin and Sofia 3 have been visiting, too!

The best part is that the kids are getting some serious nature time, which is pretty awesome. Now I just need to get away from the computer and head up with them!

hiking in Guatemala

A Day in the Life

Wondering what life is like around here? It varies drastically, but here’s a look at a typical Monday in our home.

5 am: Older boys are up and bouncing around or making stuff in the main room. I get up because it’s Monday and I have bakery orders to fill!

6 am: Get kids working on school while I knead bread. First items are usually in the oven and we munch on the extras for breakfast or one of the older boys will make breakfast for everyone. Dominic bounces out of bed around this time. Put tea in the microwave.

7 am: Check emails, plan the day while bakery stuff is baking, teach kids science and make sure they understand their work. We often do experiments or they work with their electricity kit. Remember tea is in the microwave, reheat it.

8 am: Start responding to client emails and/or working on the day’s assignments. Do some jumping jacks and Follow the Leader with the kids to get our blood pumping.

9 am: Pack up the bakery goods for Irving to deliver. He heads out, boys ask if they can play computer and we negotiate an amount of time and a room cleaning before they can start. Remember the tea and heat it up again.

9:30 am: Sit down to really work on assignments, getting interrupted every few minutes to check something in the boys’ room, chase a lizard out of the house or get a snack for someone. Cat wanders in, wanting to know why he hasn’t been fed for the tenth time yet. Finally finish my tea.

10 am: Get a call from Irving wondering where the new customer is, he can’t find their house. Give him directions from Google Maps. Get morning snack for starving children (and cat).

11 am: Irving is back just in time to take over child-wrangling while I get on Skype to discuss a project with a client. She wonders if my children are okay, hearing them yelling in the background at a computer game.

12 pm: Realize that it’s lunchtime, thanks to Dominic whining beside me on the bed. Rush to make lunch for everyone and enjoy a few minutes of boy humor at the table before shooing them outside to enjoy the sunshine before the rain hits.

12:30 pm: Back to writing.

3 pm: My niece, Sofia, shows up with her dad, who needs to run some errands. Get her and Dominic set up with paints in the kitchen and move the computer to the living room so I can keep an eye on things. Put some rice in the crockpot for dinner and alternate between proofreading a client’s book and preventing paint from flying all over the house as toddlers fight over the water dish.

3:30 pm: Snacks must be had or everyone will surely perish. Popcorn is on the agenda and everyone settles in to watch a movie while I respond to emails and check my social media.

3:40 pm: Toddlers lose interest in the movie and decide to move into the boys’ room, where they promptly get into everything they shouldn’t. Spend time cleaning up after them and getting them to play out in the main room with a few select toys.

4 pm: Work on my essential oils site for a bit, realize that it’s almost supper time and recruit the older boys to chop veggies for it. Wash Sofia’s face and hands, which are somehow black, before her papa picks her up and give her and Dominic some carrot sticks to tide them over until dinner.

5 pm: Dinner! More fart jokes abound, along with some interesting anecdotes about the ducks and chickens next door. Dominic gets up in the middle of dinner to spend a couple of minutes spinning before returning to eat. Sometimes, you just have to move!

6 pm: Irving washes up while the kids use up their remaining energy by running the circuit through the house and patio and yelling at the top of their lungs. I start herding them, one by one, to the shower.

7 pm: Bedtime for Dominic! Stories for all and a dab of “sleepy oil” (lavender) and he’s off to bed. The older boys stay up reading or drawing in their room. I spend my time checking social media and going over client messages for the next day.

8 pm: Big kids are in bed. Irving puts on a TV show for us to watch together as I work on mindless tasks, like adding products to my online catalog or adding tags to a client project.

9 pm: Chat on Skype with one of my salespeople and discuss what we can do this week to increase sales. Lay out plans for an oil event on Saturday and list everything that needs to be done before then.

10 pm: Write a blog post for The Family Oils while watching another show with Irving.

11 pm: Bed.


Over the past week and a half, we’ve been painting the main room of the house. The walls haven’t been painted since we first built the space, so it was definitely time. Kids and furniture had rubbed the paint off in some places, darkened the walls in others.

When I say “we” I actually mean Irving and Melvin, since I had a lot of deadlines to work on. However, they were well supervised.

The entire space took 3 days to paint in bits and pieces, shifting furniture around and painting two coats in each space. The older boys helped some days.

You can see in this photo that the wall was pretty dirty! The wall to the left was already painted here. Which is another thing. I’d asked for golden yellow to match what we already had, since I like that color, but it ended up being a sort of butter yellow! I’m used to it now, but it was annoying at first.

Here Comes the Rain!

Well, my last post was about the heat, but literally the next day, it started to rain! We were pretty pleased about that. The boys watched the rain roll in from the hills.

Not only did it start to rain, but the temperature dropped about 10º in few minutes and we ended up with HAIL! The boys were so excited about it. They couldn’t believe that ice could fall from the sky. This triggered a nice little science lesson on how hail is made.

The hail was gone in a few minutes and then it poured rain. All three boys ran around outside and got soaking wet. We do enjoy our rain . . . especially at the beginning of the season.

Unfortunately, our patio has a little dip in it that collects water, so Dante was out there sweeping the water into the drain. It’s not actually necessary, since it will drain off at a certain level, but he had a blast doing it.

It poured all night long and was quite the storm, so we talked a lot about thunder and lightning, too. All in all, an educational night!

In the morning, we found this . . . too bad the bananas were still super immature and nowhere near edible.