Monday, April 27, 2009

Update on Riley's Science Fair project

As part of Riley's project, he used a device made by Steve Spangler, a professional speaker, and one of Dave's clients. After the Fair, Dave sent Steve some pictures of the results and he posted them to his blog here.

As you can imagine, Riley was over the moon.
Manzanillo, Cuyutlan, and our 12th Anniversary

I recently made a list of the places I still want to go before I leave Mexico. It looks something like this:

Guatalajara Centro
Mexico City ruins
Beach one more time
Patzcuaro (try again)
Tapalpa (check)
Ruins near Tequila (check)

Keep in mind there are many more I would love to see but these are within driving distance.

So this last weekend we debated between going to Mexico City and the Beach. I leaned more toward the beach (I always do and always will) and Dave relented. But I worried that the more we put off Mexico City the harder it would be to get there. (It's an 8 hour drive and only barely within our kid's car-tolerance-parameters.) And I was right. The now-famous Swine Flu is going strong in the D.F. and we probably won't make it there. But I'm also glad we didn't go because we might have caught it and that wouldn't be good either....especially if we died.

So we had a swine flu-free 4 days at the beach in and around Manzanillo. I picked this beach because there is a town to the south, Cuyutlan, that is supposed to have an Ola Verde (green wave) in April and May. It's a wave at dusk that glows green. Sounded cool. Well as is our luck on road trips, it is really only in May. We only found this out after we had settled in for a long stay at a beach side restaurant.

It's also famous for black sand. I'd call it dark brown, but look at that sand, it's not wet.

Luckily Dave thought to ask the waiter if we would be able to see the wave. No, solo en Mayo.

Also luckily we had already had a great experience nearby at a turtle sanctuary. After looking at full-grown rescued sea turtles in their tanks, the kids got to each release a baby turtle into the sea.

I thought it was one of the coolest things I'd ever done, while the kids acted as though this was something they did everyday. Charlie, although, would have nothing to do with it. After handing me the turtle, with a "mom. do. it," he wandered back toward the sanctuary.

The rest of the weekend was spent swimming in a great pool at a cool hotel in Manzanillo, eating lots of food and playing card games. All the kids were crazy for the pool, especially Charlie.

On Sunday, on our way home through Colima, we stopped to see a cave that we missed last time we were in Colima. It was not what I was expecting. This was how we got down to the cave.

I was so nervous. 87 steps with huge spaces between the railings that any one of my children could have fallen through to their deaths. Ok, a little dramatic, but I'm terrified of heights. It was really cool in the cave. And I did much better going back up.

And to make it even better, Sunday was our 12th wedding anniversary. Great weekend.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mexicans love their dead...

Although you can't tell from the state of their cemeteries. A cemetery in Mexico is a Panteon. This one is near a little village called Mezcala. It looks a mess, but it just because every tomb is different, individual and special. And as with all publicly owned areas, hard to keep tidy.
But what a gorgeous setting!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter and Guachimontones

The kids have this week and last week off of school for Easter and thus far have been pretty bored.

We tried to prepare for Easter by making our own baskets. I'm no weaver so I thought this easy fabric and paper one would be just right for us from Family Fun:

Cute, right? A lot harder than they look when you have no printer, no fabric and like I said no weaving skills. We used some old T-shirts for the fabric and tried to copy the pattern from the website. Ours didn't look quite the same. After Riley saw how Jane's and Amelia's turned out, he chose an old ice cream container for his basket. I let Charlie follow suit.

But even though Milli allowed hers to be thrown away after Easter morning, Jane said she wanted to use hers next year. Who would have thunk? The power of doing it yourself.

During the last week we also did some cleaning, swam, went to Tobolandia for half a day and relaxed.

As a last minute trip, Saturday, we drove up to an archeological site near Tequila called Guachimontones. Round structures used for sports, performances and worship ceremonies.

Then ate at a seafood restaurant near the Lake. Laura bought some sugar cane fishing poles and the kids fished in a little, dirty pond at the restaurant.

Next week promises to be just as exciting with dentist and doctor appointments, more swimming (it's getting very hot), and a church party at our house. Maybe we'll have to take another trip to Selva Magica to add at least a little fun.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm going to miss this place...

Last night Dave and I went out to dinner. We got a babysitter, Martha, we know her from church. She doesn't speak English, but she does a good job anyway. And boy you can't beat 35 pesos an hour. About $2.50. That's the first thing I started to miss last night. #2 We went to a restaurant high on a hill in San Juan Cosala. You could see the mountains, the lake and the town lights. The weather was awesome, some wind since we were so high, but so nice. At least once a week, it hits me how relaxing this place is. So much like a year long vacation, sometimes. #3 We ate a wonderful meal. There are so many great restaurants here, some holes-in-the-wall but others, like this one, 4 and 5 star restaurants. We ate crazily good food for about the equivalent of $30. Valet parking and live music. And no special occasion needed because it was sooo cheap. Just Saturday night. Oh, am I going to miss that.

I know it's still 3 months till we go home, but I already miss it here and am going to soak it up as much as I can.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day trip to Tapalpa

Tapalpa is a little mountain town similar to Mazamitla, a town we visited last fall. The thing that made me want to go to Tapalpa are these flowers.

They are made by kids at a school for the underprivileged and are made from recycled 2 liter bottles. I just think they are so cool and you can only buy them in Tapalpa.

Tapalpa had some other things going for it too. This church is pretty cool.

There are supposedly some cool rock formations to the north of the town and a waterfall to the south, but the kids opted to go to "Ecopark". One of those adventure parks where you zipline through the canopy of trees. Dave, Riley and Jane enjoyed that experience while Milli, Charlie and I enjoyed some slides and overpriced snacks.

I was really proud of Jane. She usually gets pretty nervous about things like this, but she was a pro. I mean, look how high she was. I wouldn't have been so brave.