OK - so it's not exactly a wintery Christmas picture, but I thought it was fun
in that it was taken at the Posada Santiago (well known to many of you),
and is one of very few with me included.   
 lizakidsposada.jpgIt also seems appropriate as a family picture because I am hanging onto that Tommy boy - who is always WAY out there, close to escaping - and then there is my Jessenia, quiet, shy and hiding in the background.

And me in the middle, just trying to figure out how to
 best navigate
what life throws at us, provide my children opportunities to learn and
grow and feel part of this community called our world, while
somehow managing to stay sane, make a living, keep the house
reasonably clean, buy groceries, you know, keep up with the details of life. 

Ok - so last nite the kids had a friend over, a very sweet girl I particularly enjoy because they all three play together so well.  So, they are playing house and Elena is the mom.  Joey and Tommy are being themselves and she is trying to get them up for school and they are arguing and fooling around not getting up - even more so than in real life - and I'm in the kitchen listening to this young 11 year old girl sound EXACTLY  like me, but with more patience than I have (I would have told them I was getting out the wooden spoon by now and then I'd be calling the police to haul them off to jail because that's what happens to kids who won't go to school) -
and I started laughing.  It was so funny to listen to this scene
(as all parents know, it is not so funny when you are one of the players)
and then I hear Tommy yell - PULL MY FINGER  PULL MY FINGER!!!

And then Elena, with total panic in her voice -

By this time, I am practically on the floor with tears running down my face
I'm laughing so hard.  So where did this come from ??  Yep, David at the Posada taught him that little trick.  Not only that, but he and Keith take Tommy out
squirrel hunting, while Jessenia goes along to protect the squirrels. 

Just one of the many things we love about our life in Guatemala.

As all of you know, because you've spent time with us in Guatemala,
the journey for us has not always been easy,
but it is NEVER EVER boring!!

wells nebaj churchHmmmmm,, I just looked at last time I sent you all a personal update - summer 2007.  It's now a year and a half later and the kids are in 4th and 8th grade respectivly.  Joey will be going to high school next year.  Can you imagine !!  Many of you knew her when she was just a baby in that green backpack. Her Spanish is very good and she feels connected to her Mayan culture, not to mention her birthmom, Flori.  This is all good stuff and will serve her well in life, and for that I am grateful. (Jessenia with Lidia summer '08)

The issue of my kids and school, is huge.  We have such an unusual lifestyle.  But then, we are an unusual family and my kids are unusual kids.  So, it all matches.  Both Joey and Tommy are special ed kids.  They haven't always done well with large class sizes and traditional methods of teaching here in Minneapolis.  So, often their time in Guatemala with smaller class sizes and immersed in Spanish has been beneficial.

But now that Jessenia is in middle school, she can't be away from school, and we don't want to leave her too long with family and/or friends while Tommy and I are in Guatemala.  So I've cut back on the winter/spring classes and am putting more effort into our summer offerings, where I'm focusing on providing learning experiences for educators, which is a great fit for me right now.  I spend huge amounts of time and energy trying to figure out how to best help my kids feel successful in a school system that doesn't work all that well with special ed kids. And, really, my business is all about education.  I describe it as an educational travel program. That's why years ago I chose a .org address instead of a .com.  I wanted to be in the global education business, not the tour business.  Tommy as cucuruchu

So once again, business seems to be meandering in a way that works well for us.  Other than taking Karen Searle and weaver's up to Nebaj for the first time, the 2009 schedule is looking pretty familiar.  This is just not the year for big changes.

So, once again, there's our update.  We send our best regards and warm thoughts to all of you who have joined us, and become friends, over these past 14 years.  I hope you are doing well, and, in all you do que le vaya bien

Thanks for being the wonderful, caring people that you are and we'd love to see you again in Guatemala !!
Abracos grande de Liza, Jessenia and my ever active, and increasingly funny, Tommy boy,

(Tommy takes carrying in the processions VERY seriously... He carries in every procession possible !!) 

PS> A few of you have helped with Sindy's education the past few years.  She graduated from basico (like high school) and now wants to go on to a more expensive school - and major in tourism. Also, I know the family will be looking for help w Jaqueline's education soon.  So,  if anyone else wants to help out a bit, let me know. 

PPS>> I'm considering offering trades of a stay in our house in Antigua, or free or deep discount of workshops in exchange for staying in Minnneapolis with Jessenia
or maybe both kids while I'm taking care of workshops.  I really want to pursue workshops in other countries.  Just a wild idea that I'm thowing out there. 


MARCH   12 - 21  2009
Textile, Weaver's and Crafts Tour
(with weekend add on for Santa Ana procession)

MARCH  26 - APRIL 4  2009 Travel Photography / Capturing Guatemala's Light
with David H Wells

local instructors

With Lidia Tarton de Santos

with Cynthia Padilla

With Doug Beasley

NOVEMBER  10 - 19  2009
Textile, Weaver's and Crafts Tour
THE SEQUEL with Karen Searle