Saturday, June 15, 2013

Catching Up: March

We began March with a few much-needed days of family vacation. Some missionary friends here in Quito own a condo on the beach and offered it to us for an unbeatable low-season price. (One of the perks to homeschooling is being able to take advantage of deals like this... as we are not tied to a school calendar, we can take our vacation days whenever we want and not just in August.) We spent several days just relaxing and enjoying being together. It was exactly what we needed after the frenetic pace of January and February. The resort was practically empty and so quiet and peaceful. There were several times we went to the pool and were the only people there.

One thing I noticed during our time there was how much of a difference nine months can make in the stress level of taking 3 children to the beach or the pool. The last time we went to the beach was a year ago this month (June). Ben wasn't walking yet and both he and Stephen needed nearly constant supervision in the water. Nine months later, Stephen is much more confident and can pretty much swim anywhere with his floaties. I took the two older boys down to the pool myself a couple of times while Rusty stayed in the apartment with a napping Benjamin, and I was able to just sit on the side and read my book, while they splashed and swam in the water. Of course, on the beach, we have to be a lot more vigilant since there are things like big waves and undertows to worry about. And Ben still needs somebody to be right there with him all the time, even in the pool. But it is getting easier.

Here are a few pictures of our time at the beach.

Boys and their toys
In the hot tub
On the beach
A beautiful view from the balcony

After we got back from the beach, Rusty headed out to Kumanii again for a few days. The entire student body of the Bible college participates in a mission trip each year, and when their first choice of locale fell through at the last minute, Kumanii was Plan B. They spent several days out in the jungle, participating in both "spiritual labor" and "physical labor." Here are a few pictures:

Bible class with some of the local kids
Bible studies
Making progress on the new kitchen
A typical village on the Cayapas River

Also in March, we finally bought a second car! You can read all about it (and see a photo) here on my other blog. We had been looking to purchase a second car for awhile, but were having trouble finding one that we both liked and that fit our budget. Buying a used car in a foreign country can be a tricky business, as several of our missionary friends can attest to! We found this car through the sale board at Alliance Academy (thanks to my sister, who works there and who had been scoping them out for us). It was being sold by a former missionary who was the original owner, so we felt sure we were getting a solid vehicle that had been well cared for. The price tag was right, AND it had an automatic transmission (pretty high on my "wish list" for a car). So we bought it -- and then Rusty spent the better part of the next three weeks trying to get the proper papers for it. I told him he needs to write a post about that whole experience for the blog!

Then, of course, Easter came at the end of March. We hosted a Passover Seder in our home again this year (for an explanation of why we do this, you can read this post on my other blog) and invited the Marcums to participate. Of course, with seven small children, it wasn't exactly a quiet, formal affair. Still, I hope everyone was able to glean something from the evening. We kept the Haggadah short and I provided the kids with some Passover activity placemats to color during the service. Here are a few pictures:

The Passover table. The Seder plate is on the bottom right corner, and in the middle on the left, you can see a copy of the Haggadah (the order of service). Here is a link to the one we used.
Homemade matzah!

We also did the traditional Easter activities of coloring eggs and going on an egg hunt in the back yard. And we participated in the Ecuadorian tradition of eating a soup called fanesca, which is made with vegetables, beans, and dried, salted cod (or, as we affectionately know it from our time in Portugal, bacalhãu). This soup is traditionally eaten on Viernes Santo, or Holy Friday -- which is, interestingly, a bigger deal in Latin culture than Easter Sunday. The kids weren't crazy about fanesca (okay, I'll be honest, I wasn't either!), but at least we can say we've tried it!

Look what I found!
Egg hunters extraodinaire

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