Enjoy Where You Are

When I first came to Guatemala, it was incredible. The beautiful greenery, the colorful dress of the local indigenous people, the bright colored fruit in the market. Everything was amazing and new and beautiful. Well, almost everything.

13 years on, it’s all pretty normal for me. I rush from task to task, schooling the boys, working on my articles and ebooks, hanging up the laundry, bringing in the laundry . . . without really taking the time to stop and smell the roses, as it were.

Recently, I noticed that I’ve been complaining a lot. The rain coming through the roof bugs me. There are a million things that irritate me about living in Guatemala and living in this particular house. I am always thinking of “when . . .”

“When we have enough money to build a house up the mountain . . . ”

“When the rain stops . . .”

“When the boys are older . . .”

Well, it just seems silly. If you’re always waiting for something to happen to make things better it will just end up being a lifetime of waiting, right?

So, I decided to make a point of enjoying the things around me. I do this already with the kids, knowing they’re growing up fast, but what about other things? So the past couple of mornings, instead of complaining about the heat, I thought about how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful country and to enjoy weather that most people have to go on vacation to enjoy. :)

Here are a few pictures I took to remind myself of this.

canicula

church

Seriously, this place is gorgeous! I love living here.

What do you appreciate about where you live?

On Aging

For much of my adult life, I’ve felt 17. I’m not sure why I ended up stuck at that age, but it was a definite point for me. Until recently.

Again, I’m not sure why, but I’ve been feeling my age lately. I know, I’m not that old, but considering that I’ve felt like a teen for the past decade or so, it’s odd to suddenly realize that not only am I 35, but I FEEL 35. What the heck?!

Why do I feel old? It might be the fact that my children are getting older and I’m seeing that this isn’t going to last much longer. Maybe it’s the fact that  look at my in-laws, who have been married for 6 months and are split, shaking my head and thinking up sage advice and realize that I’ve been with my man for 13 years. Or perhaps it’s the fact that all the tourists in Antigua suddenly seem really young and I’m surprised their parents let them travel down here!

Whatever it is, I don’t like it. Not one little bit. I liked feeling young. This feeling middle-aged business is for the birds!

Getting Closer!

I’ve always wanted a piece of land with some animals and some semblance of self-sufficiency. My parents were very self-sufficient for most of my life and I had a huge stack of Mother Earth News magazines from the early days that inspired me.

Life happens though, and while I do live in one of the best countries for homesteading (hello, banana trees!) it just hasn’t been something we’ve gotten into. BUT, we’re getting closer. Irving has finally accepted the idea of getting some chickens. Zanelle has a chicken at her house, which is on a sort of leash, like a dog. I take all my kitchen scraps to it and the chicken is like a little puppy, jumping around when it sees me coming, cooing at me and eagerly grabbing for the strawberry tops and cucumber peels that I toss.

Even more recently, we were on one of our hikes and the boys spotted a goat. Now, I’ve wanted goats for a long while. I was raised with a herd of goats on our land and it seems more practical than a cow. Plus, goat’s milk makes pretty good cheese, which I’d love to sell.

Anyway. The boys were talking to the goat and the goat was talking back. Irving stopped to check it out and said, “You know, we could have a goat and take it up the mountain to graze sometimes.” That was all the encouragement I needed! I started to check out the goats for sale in the area and grill my dad about raising them.

While we probably won’t be getting the goats for a bit yet, chickens are definitely coming home soon. Irving will be building a little coop for them. He’s already building me some planters for the fruit trees and herbs I want. Bit by bit, we’re getting closer to the dream.

Yes, I’m a Special Needs Parent

My children look perfect to the naked eye. If you were to see them walking down the street, you’d never guess that I’m a special needs mom. But I am. You’d never guess that one of my kids has serious intestinal issues and struggles daily to stay healthy. But he does.

Dorian was born with an imperforate anus, which basically means his intestines weren’t attached to the outside of his body at all. His poop had nowhere to go. At one day of age, he had to have surgery to give him a colostomy. There’s really nothing in the world that can prepare you for the shock of having a child with an undetectable (before birth) birth defect.

Over the years, we’ve found a new normal. Dorian has had four surgeries in his nine years, which really isn’t that bad, but has been stressful each time. Lately, he’s been needing more and more enemas to keep his intestines functioning. It has been scary. We’ve gone from one enema every 4-6 months to one every week. I started researching alternatives. None were great, but we decided that we would do what was necessary.

Yesterday, we had a visit with Dorian’s surgeon. I was very nervous about this consult, since we were going to talk to him about a Malone procedure.It’s not ideal, but we thought it might be the only chance for Dorian to have a normal life.

You can’t imagine my relief when the surgeon checked Dorian out and told us that he was fine and didn’t need surgery at this point. We discussed the various options and he told us that at this point, a surgery, either to remove the piece of intestine that is not working or to do a Malone, would only lower Dorian’s quality of life. He also told us that he’s seeing a lot of kids right now dealing with constipation, because of the weather!

This is something we never considered, but the hot weather causes everyone to sweat more and that causes light dehydration. When kids don’t drink enough, it causes constipation and eventually, in kids like Dorian, blockages which require enemas.

Dorian was pretty relieved to hear this, too, as you can imagine. He also talked with the doctor about his sugar intake and was told that little boys need the occasional candy, but the first priority is liquids and fiber. :) I love this doctor.

We may not look like a special needs family, but we very much are. It’s easy to see someone walking down the street and think they’re perfectly normal, but we all have our stories and our pain. For us, it’s the stress of keeping Dorian healthy, with all his intestinal issues. It’s harder than it might seem. I don’t write much about this, but Dorian has given me permission to publish more information on his disabilities, in hopes it will help other kids and parents like us.

Setting the Table for Six

Since we had Dorian, I’ve felt that we should have four kids. It just felt right. When I set the table for five people, it felt like we were missing one. Why? I don’t know.

Originally, we planned to have another baby shortly after Dominic. The C-section changed that. It was a horrible experience and a very long recovery. Plus, the doctor said at least 18 months before I could get pregnant again (this was after he’d asked if I wanted my tubes tied while he was in there and I said no, we’re having another). On top of this, the possibility of having another C-section was enough to turn me off the idea of having any more kids . . . forever.

So three it is. And it feels like someone is missing still.

However, we’ve lately had Sofia 3 over nearly every day. She is a wonderful, rough and tumble little girl who has completely installed herself into our hearts. She’s completely at home here and will often turn to Irving or me when she’s hurt or upset, instead of her papa. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to have this little one in our lives. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone else’s baby this much!

Now, we set our table for six or sometimes seven, if her papa is eating with us. The other day, we sat down with four children at the table and Irving looked at me and said, “This feels right.”

We thought we’d have four children of our own, but maybe the fourth is just borrowed.