The girls ended their school year with their Clausura (end of school closing program). They dressed in costumes (a scuba diver and a seahorse) and did a dance they've been rehearsing at school for weeks. It was so fun to watch them and remember a year or two ago (check out the links for a fun reminder), when they weren't nearly as comfortable up on stage.
|Ellie and a couple of her amigas|
|A proud Mama|
|My little seahorse|
|Friends at church ready for the piñata|
|Bowling with some friends.|
|Ellie got Legos for her birthday and has played with them every day for hours.|
|Birthday pancakes for the 5-year old!|
|Somehow, my baby is 5.|
Granted, 2 1/2 years is still a huge chunk of time. Our girls will do a lot of growing and changing.
I can't help but notice a few things and think about expectations I've had, and things I did or didn't know 2 1/2 years ago.
I didn't know we'd have another baby (though it was a possibility in our minds).
I didn't know that in may ways Guatemala would feel like "home," especially to our girls. Ellie has now lived half of her life here in Guatemala, and of course Hazel has lived a huge majority of it here. This is "home." This is normal for them.
I didn't know I'd fluctuate so much with my Spanish. Some days I am confident in my ability to speak and understand, and other days I feel frustrated with my lack of full comprehension.
I didn't know how hard it would be to make friends, especially due to language and cultural barriers/expectations.
I knew it would be hard to work alongside my spouse, but I didn't know just how hard.
I didn't realize we'd get to travel so much as a family, a big bonus.
Though the workload is still intense, we've figured out a rhythm. The first year was hard. Super hard. Really, really hard. But we pushed through. I look at Ruby, who is now 9 months old, and I remember Hazel, the same age when we put her in daycare. It breaks my heart. It probably always will, knowing of all three of my girls, Hazel was in daycare at the youngest age, purely out of necessity for this work and my opportunity to study Spanish.
Fun Comparison Time:
|Ellie at 9 months|
|Hazel at 9 months (our first week in Guatemala)|
(So much hair!)
|Ruby at 9 months|
We've entered another phase of work and life here. Our team has changed drastically in the last year, and we have a relatively new team. We don't foresee any changes to the team for the next year, and that's a change for us, and one we're looking forward to.
|Out on a walk with these beauties.|