Wednesday, July 27, 2011


'Twas the end of July and all through the stores, there were snowmen and santas and Christmas cards galore! I went shopping at two stores today and in both places, these were the displays that greeted me. Neither one were tucked into a back corner like the store had just gotten the shipment in and didn't have a place to store it until the appropriate season. Nope! Front and center all decked out for Christmas when you walked in. Boom! Forget the pumpkins and's all Ho-Ho-Ho now!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hot adventures

Our "stay cool" hats :)
It was another sizzling 100 degree day in DC! After being miserably hot and sweaty at Eastern Market yesterday, we decided to try some indoor activities today. However, a must in DC is eating crepes at Eastern Market, so after church, we made a quick stop just to pick up a crepe and then headed back to Mary's apartment to eat them in the air conditioning. Lo and behold, the Cooking Channel was set up right across from the crepe stand and they were giving away free brownies, ice cream, and donuts from their truck!! Bingo! Crepes and ice cream :)

We then went to the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA, which is not actually a factory but rather a 3-story art gallery. There was a torpedo on display when you walked in, but otherwise, it was all galleries where you could purchase original artwork and in most shops, watch the artist at work. Very cool!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm Baaaaack!

DC welcomed me back this weekend with HEAT! I knew it was going to be a hot day when I started out this morning and the temperature was already 102 degrees before 11am! As you can see, by the afternoon it was up to 113 with a heat index of 123 degrees, and this reading was after I had been in the car driving for 30 minutes. Whew!

Sam and I drove back to DC for the weekend to visit our dear friend, Mary, while I'm on vacation. I knew it was bound to be hot but this is ridiculous!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Break time!

My second vacation break of the summer officially started this week and it's off to a great start! Summer camp at school is finished (thanks be to God I made it through alive!!) and now I have 2 weeks of vacation followed by 2 weeks of teacher training workshops and then school resumes August 17th. Waaaaay too early for my liking, but what can I do?!?! Today, I got to spend the entire day with my sister. We saw the new Harry Potter movie - I had forgotten everything I read in the book many years ago, so it was truly a surprise movie - then we went swimming since it was 94 degrees with too much humidity, baked cookies, made a "breakfast" dinner of Belgium waffles, strawberry sauce, eggs, and mush, and rounded out the evening with a few card games. Excellent way to begin vacation! I'm trying to keep these next couple weeks relatively low-key since the past 5 weeks have been stressful, but I do have a few fun things planned, including a trip to DC with Sam! Back to visit our friends and reminisce :)

I also brought my paints back out and have started painting again. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to get them out since moving, but I saw some paintings recently that I really liked and decided to try and replicate them. They looked really cool but way too expensive to purchase, so I decided I could paint them myself. I think they turned out awesome, and it's nice to get back in the painting groove!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Antigua, Guatemala

Beautiful church
The Hogar missionary group :) Rebekah (far right) was another missionary at the Hogar and she joined us for the outing
Delicious pizza and Coca-Cola lunch
Much of the city of Antigua is ruins
Shirts hanging in a market
Taking a break from shopping
Classic McDonalds
Streets of Antigua are all cobblestones
A candle making shop
Sam at Santo Domingo
Parrots at the Santo Domingo hotel!

A highlight of being in Guatemala was going to Antigua for the day! I went there in 2006 but only for a few hours and really didn't have the opportunity to explore much, so it was like seeing everything for the first time. Mother Maria was our exceptional tour guide and she showed us all the best parts of this historic city. We started at the Santo Domingo hotel, built in the 1400's as a monastery, destroyed by natural disasters in the 1700's, and reconstructed into a hotel in 1989. They maintained as much as possible the original structures so that it has an old look and feel, but it was a beautiful tropical oasis! I loved the parrots everywhere!

After that, we walked around the city shopping and taking in the sights. It was very cloudy so we unfortunately could not see the top of the volcano that sits outside the city (Volcan Agua) but it was perfect cloud-cover so that we didn't get too burned in the sun! Ha! We enjoyed a delicious pizza lunch at "Quesos y Vinos" ~ much needed food after mucho black beans and rice! I don't know if it was because I hadn't had pizza for a long time or if it really was that good, but it was the best pizza I've ever had!! I would love to have a piece right now as I write this :)

We finished off our sightseeing day with a quick stop at the Monastery Lavra Mambre on Lake Amatitlan to visit Mother Ines and show Sam where the nuns live when not at the Hogar. It's always a relaxing, peaceful part of any trip. We stayed just long enough to check on the progress of Hogar San Miguel (a new orphanage the nuns are building at the monastery) and climb on top of the church for a great lake view. It was a wonderful day and everyone enjoyed seeing a little more of Guatemala. Isabel had a great time being with us outside the orphanage...although she enjoyed too much pizza, chocolate, and coke and got sick in the car on the way back to the Hogar :( Poor thing!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Isabel and Belia!

Birthday girls posing with some decorations
Belia's gigantic piece of cake!

My blog has been quiet for a couple weeks now but that's because I was in Guatemala!! Another awesome trip and this time it was extra special ~ Isabel and Belia's birthdays AND Sam joined my family for his first Hogar adventure. I have lots of pictures to share, so be patient and they will get posted soon, but for now, here's a few of the birthday party. We got the girls their own cakes at a place very similar to Costco. Probably owned by them because the store was identical (so I was told...I wasn't able to go with everyone to get it because I was at the Hogar sick from eating something or getting the shower water in my mouth.) Anyways, they were delicious cakes and we decorated the comedor with balloons and crepe paper. The humidity was so high that by the time the party started, the crepe paper was hanging twice as low as what we hung it! Ha! Feliz Cumpleanos to Isabel, age 10, and Belia, age 8 :)