Monday, January 26, 2009

Christmas and Feliz Año

Christmas in Utah and a Feliz Año in Mexico...

This is the Dutson Family on Christmas Eve at The Roof in Salt Lake City. My parents reserved a private room in the back which was great for the boys. I didn't have to worry about them bothering anyone or acting up. Luke, however, still managed to display an awful bit of ill-manners by letting a huge and long burp escape on our way to the buffet. It was charming!

This is Christmas day at the Dutson's. Caleb loved his Curious George, Luke LOVES the DS that his dad got, and they both love the Woody Cowboy doll (or as Uncle Brad calls it, the "Woody Action Figure, right Luke??") that Santa brought.

Nothing like the post gift opening, candy for breakfast tradition.

This is Christmas day at the Rollins'. Ben put together a little 'kit' of musical instruments and sheet music for his parents and everyone jammed after the present opening. I made the comment that they were the "HO, HO, HO band" and thought to myself, "that comment made at my parents house would have led onto a different comical path." Ha, ha!

In celebration of Ben's 30 years on Earth, Mom & Dad Rollins rented snowmobiles again this year. We have a similar picture of Caleb last year hating the helmet. He did, although, enjoy the ride.

Some one brought those super yummy, but what have to be the messiest sugar cookies, up to the cabin when we went snowmobiling and Grandma asked all the kids to eat them outside. I'm glad to see that Luke listened...sort of.

Also, while in Utah we visited with the Robertsons. It was so fun to see old friends. Luke was a little apprehensive at first, but quickly reacquainted himself with Anna and enjoyed the visit. I loved that we could pick right up where we left! Love it!!

Some of you may know that the boys and I stayed in Utah until Ben got down to Mexico and found some housing. We hadn't scheduled any flights because Ben had yet to call and confirm that he had a place for us. He finally called on a Friday night to tell us that we should come Sunday (like as in less than 48 hours) and if we couldn't, to get flights for Thursday.

I really didn't think that we would be able to pack (after being in UT for a month) or find reasonable flights with such short notice. Apparently we can! Previously, on this same Friday night Ben's mom and I talked about doing a little birthday party for Luke before we left-maybe Sunday or Monday night. After Ben and I talked I went to bed thinking we'd stay until Thursday and Ben got on the computer and booked us flights for Sunday morning. Saturday was a crazy day full of laundry, packing suitcases and boxes (for things we couldn't take) and throwing together a small get together for Luke's birthday.

All of his cousins and a lot of the aunts & uncles met at McDonalds for dinner and cupcakes. Luke loved it, which is what matters most!

And that brings us to Mexico...we've spent most of our time here getting organized and oriented, but last Friday we finally took some time to visit Parque Fundidora.

Beautiful, huh? We took the boat ride down the river and got off to tour the old, historic building (that's as much as I know about it - hard to learn anything on a tour that's in Spanish with 2 boys wanting to touch everything. Afterwords, we walked up the river and had dinner at this cute little restaurant.

The boats go back and forth every 20 minutes and we were able to ride back in the dark which was just as beautiful. The water features with the lighting they installed is amazing. Caleb enjoyed the boat ride.

Also, we've figured out how to bathe the boys. This is the bucket that housed their toys on the way down from NY. They love it!

And finally, a big birthday shout-out to my 5 year-old boy whose actual birthday is today!! We ate Mac N Cheese for lunch on Lighten' McQueen plates we bought at WalMart. When I asked Luke what he'd like for his birthday lunch he said very slyly, "cake & presents???" He's had enough presents. Today he got sung a birthday song and lots of hugs & kisses!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Good and the Bad of our 'Departamento'

So, here's the place. Not to shabby, heh? We like it, but like all places it has good and not so great features.

Here is one (yep 1 of 2) of our bathrooms. I no longer have to share a bathroom with my kids. However...there is no bath tub. We're still trying to figure out how to shower the boys. It's been a little tricky.

And now, most gloriously...a dishwasher and a washer & dryer!! I've used the washer & dryer at least 5 times already and even though it takes 2 cycles to dry each load I don't even care!! I don't have to haul my laundry anywhere but back and forth between rooms!! YEA!!!

And finally, some pictures of the outside. I told some of you that we quite literally live in a hole. Apparently, the complex couldn't rent these out because no one wanted to live in the hole long term so this is why these are furnished and available on a month to month basis. They've made an effort to make it a little better than the cement wall that it is and when the pots bloom it should be pretty, but it's still a hole. I'm sure they've broken like 20 US fire and safety codes, but's Mexico.

And this is just stitches waiting to happen.

A Few Other Tid-Bits...

What's he doing you may ask???

This is Tuesday night and previously this day we bought some groceries including uncooked, doughy tortillas because we thought we would be moving into our place. We decided not to take the place (it's a longer story) and we checked into a hotel across the street from Ben's school. After Ben's class he came back and wanted to make some dinner. Talk about thinking outside the box, right?? He even melted a little cheese on top. The boys thought it was great.

So the next time you're in a hotel you'll have to wonder how many people with bed bugs have slept in your bed, how clean the shower really is, AND about what was ironed before you iron your husband's shirt for church.

Also,we went to the grocery store again on Saturday and the boys each had thier heads rubbed by 5 different ladies. They're loved by Mexican Chicas!! By the way...I hate grocery shopping with Ben and I hope to only have to do it a few more times. He takes FOREVER!!! Granted, he enjoys looking at all the yummy Mexican foods he hasn't seen in 10 years, but the longer we're in the store the more battles I have to intervene between brothers, the more explanations I have to come up with as to why we aren't buying more junk, and the faster I lose patience.

All and all, there have been more good than not so great things about being here and we are enjoying ourselves. I think it's going to take us another week or so to figure a schedule and a rhythm that works for us and then we'll start to site-see. By the way, it's 75 degrees here!! That is the last I'll mention of the weather, I promise!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fly, Drive Across the Border, and Get Pulled Over by Mexican Police

We're all together now. The boys and I flew into San Antonio (because there were no scheduled flights to the closer border towns) on Sunday and Ben came up to meet us. We drove down to Laredo and stayed the night. Monday morning we crossed the border and then about 10 minutes later we got pulled over by the Mexican police. Turns out we were randomly selected for a more thorough search and we didn't realize. Apparently a light flashed at us at one of the checkpoints and we were supposed to know that we should pull over. We didn't and they sent a car after us. It was fine, they were nice, and we kept going.

It took a few more days for us to find housing that would work for us. We moved into our apartment on Wednesday and have spent the last few days visiting Wal-Mart, a pre-school, and searching for unsecured wireless. We finally got ours connected yesterday.

Ben only has classes Mon, Tues, and Wed nights which is great. He's able to be with us during the day in order to drive us around and do the communicating. I've already given at least 5 dumb smiles with the shoulders shrugged and pointed to Ben. The first few days were tough for a number of reasons and I wasn't at all interested in trying any Spanish. I've gotten better (not at Spanish, but at trying what Spanish I do know) the last few days.

I'll post some pictures when I can find the cord to import them. Also, on the drive down a funny confrontation in the back seat went like this...

Luke: You're a wiener, Caleb!
Caleb: (yelling) My not wiener! You a wiener Yuuuuuuke!

Caleb has no idea what a wiener is, but definitely knows that it's not a compliment.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

3 days drive to Mexico

Ben finished a 3 day drive last week and is safely in Monterrey. Big thanks to the Hartung's in Kentucky, the Reber's in Texas, and the Pratt's in Monterrey for giving Ben a place to sleep. We really appreciate it!! Ben began orientation on the 7th and his classes begin on the 12th. The boys and I hope to fly in around the's still yet to be determined. Ben has got to find us some housing and we're hoping that it doesn't take to much longer.

Stay tuned for more updates and Christmas pictures!