Monday, November 19, 2007
This past Sunday all of our children participated in the Primary Program in Sacrament Meeting! It was the first primary program that all the children were in together... it was a day full of great memories. (Mom was teary eyed through much of the meeting!)
It was a beautiful, spiritual meeting. The primary had beautiful, pink hued flowers adorning the entire room with large arrangements on the piano and at the pulpit. The presidency had made pink scarves and headbands for all the girls and each boy received a pink tie! All the children were requested to wear white and they looked and sounded like little angels! Each of our children took part in the program in English and we memorized some of the lyrics in Spanish as well. During the closing song "Love is Spoken Here" - the first two verses were in Spanish and then our little clan sang at a special microphone set up for us - a third verse was song solely in English and the fourth verse was the boys and girls singing their verses in unison! The spirit was beautiful and the children did quite well!
We are so grateful for the kindness of the people in our ward congregation at church! They have done all they can to make us feel welcome! We have been blessed in our lives to know so many beautiful, kind people throughout the world!
Our little Band of Explorers went to the local Zoo! It was a unique experience... the animals were more animated than at any other zoo we have ever attended. (We are not sure if this was due to the fact that they had not been fed for a while and we looked especially delicious or simply that they are more active than other animals we have seen at zoos.) Two chimps were swinging around and playing tag while another one was spitting at the audience and a guinea hen walking past! Then we encountered the camels - and we fed them by hand... grass. You must realize that we couldn't quite read the signs that were around the area as they were all in Spanish... so we were hoping that we weren't breaking any rules by feeding them - we do know that no one else was feeding the animals! Oh well, in this case ignorance was bliss! We had a blast and the camels loved us too!
Then we got to the cages with Tigers, Lions, Panthers, Wolves and Bears... Yes, these animals are all quite dangerous and carnivores as well - but do you think that would be cause enough to put up fences or some kind of barrier to separate the public from actually touching one of these creatures? Not here... we could easily have touched Lions, Tigers and Bears... OH MY! Needless to say Mom and Dad gave the kids quite a lecture about losing arms or legs during the outing - we suggested that they not lose their limbs! Oh, and we understood the sign near these animals, "PELIGROSO!" (For those of you who don't have a clue about Spanish that means "DANGEROUS!") As if the large gaping teeth and claws were not sufficient to warn the public of impending danger!
We loved the monkey cages. There were young, baby monkeys racing around after their mothers to be fed - and the mothers running away... imagine that! The male monkeys were just sitting around barking commands at the little monkeys.
Then we saw the littlest stars of the movie, "Madagascar" - the ring-tailed Lemur! Of course our little group sang "We like to move it, move it!" But alas, the lemurs did not jump up and dance... so sad!
We enjoyed the zebras, camels and the peacocks walking around freely! It was a dusty and smelly day (please note the lack of lush grasses in the picture)... but we had a fun time together!
Friday, November 9, 2007
Great company, Delicious Mexican Food and a lively Mariachi band for the entertainment all came together for a evening that will not soon be forgotten! The dining was prepared and tables set, and the evening began... We hope you enjoy some pictures of our festivities! Many of our guests are pictured - Claude Martel (Bombardier) and his vibrant wife, Suzanne enjoyed a relaxing evening in the company of friends. Singing with the Mariachis are Nancy Lopez (American Industries), Juan Carlos (Bombardier) and his 'novia' Tania; Real Gervais (Bombardier) and his engaging wife, Suzanne are pictured "playing with the band"; Jimmy and I had a chance to pose with the band! Other guests included Kent Horst, Eric Tremblay, and Steve Dwyer (each from A.E. Petsche). We had a wonderful time and hope to have another 'fiesta' quite soon! Until then, "Viva Mexico"!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
The third largest pyramid in the world was no match for the Ballard Band of Explorers!
This weekend our family visited the site of Teotihuacan with a friend and co-worker, Kent (the man sporting the Indiana Jones Fedora - prepared to explore)! We chose to climb the Temple of the Sun which is the third largest pyramid in the world! The children were excited to explore and were as intent on the top as is usual for this little band! We climbed to the top while enjoying the breathtaking, panoramic views on the Temple's plateaus.
The name "Teotihuacan" means literally; "The place where men became Gods" and here it is said that the "Colossal pyramids were painted red to glow under the Mexican Sun". We were able to see a remnant of the original color during our expedition! This amazing city originally had occupied approximately 10 square miles and was one of the greatest populated cities of it's time. The city grew from around the time of Christ and reached it's peak between 150 B.C. and 450 A.D.; although the city grew and had much to offer by the time it was discovered by the Aztecs it was deserted. In 400 A.D. the city was the sixth largest in the world - yet about 300 years later the civilization fell - leaving Teotihuacan deserted.
Our little band of explorers looks forward to returning and climbing more pyramids and learning more about this fascinating culture... you should come and join us!
Friday, November 2, 2007
While we are here we are enjoying swimming lessons twice a week! The children are learning so quickly and working on their strokes. The girls have all moved up one level from where they began 7 weeks ago!
Our little man has a story all his own... the first day of class he timidly got into the water and I dutifully sat on the bleachers with all the other parents cautiously watching their children attempt to keep their heads above water. Within a few moments it was very clear that our little guy was not comfortable - the thrashing body in the water with the guttural howl coming from his general vicinity only served to rivet the attention of all students and parents within earshot. I jumped up and rushed over to the side of the pool to find out what was wrong - oh, wait - he is in water, in a swimming class for the first time and with someone he can't communicate with at all! Hmmm... so, in my broken Spanish I told the teacher that I was going to sit by the pool and translate for my son! (Sure...) So the teacher begins to rapidly tell me what she needs for our little guy to be comfortable in the water - oh, did I say rapidly? About that time two or three other personnel had come over to our area and were attempting to communicate with body gestures, hand motions and drawing with a pencil and paper. The audience of parents are still watching and waiting... Finally, it is communicated to me that the teacher wants me to put on a bathing suit and climb in the pool to instill confidence in my son! Seriously, are you kidding?...
No, this is not bathing suit season... no, I was not ready for this on so many different levels... but there I was, a mom, and during the next class I was a mom (a very pasty, white mom) in a bathing suit, climbing into a pool with the audience of parents watching (and I swear they were shielding their eyes from the glare off my legs)! I spent two classes in the water with all the students, my son and his teacher - attempting to translate, working with my favorite little boy in the entire world and generally loving the time with him until I had to climb out of the water in front of the same audience of parents. (I was telling myself the entire time that they were more impressed with my diligence as a mother and would never notice the pasty, white legs; or the untoned thighs or the five year old bathing suit that was not meant to be worn anywhere near public view!) After two classes coaching my son through swimming lessons he gained more confidence in his instructor or rather he was pretty sure she wasn't going to say something in another language and then dunk him underwater. He has gone from that experience to diving right in and swimming around on his own!
I have great kids... daring and adventurous. I call them my little fish - or my "Pescaditos"!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
"Happy Halloween" & "Que tenga buen Dia de Muertos"! Our family is enjoying a festive Halloween and Day of the Dead celebration Mexican style! We have attended fiestas with Mariachi bands, dancing, food and lots of fun for the adults. The children's fiestas have included painting pumpkins, decorating skulls for the "Dia de Muertos" celebration, huge pinatas of "aranas", and haunted classrooms at their school. Pictured are the children with friends; MariaFer, Andrea (three Andreas are pictured), Constanza, Anna Gabby and our little man with his teacher in costume.
Also included is a typical altar set up for remembering the dead. At this time of year around tombstones or in a home an altar is erected and a family places pictures of the relatives that they would like to remember and upon the altar they place favorite foods, drinks, past times, toys, etc. to entice their dead relatives to come relive a day with the family - in spirit, of course. It is similar to our Memorial Day in the United States - but quite a bit less somber and more festive and jovial. We have enjoyed this month learning of the different holidays in Mexico and taking part in these traditions.