Monday, August 25, 2008

Belize Part 1:

Kristin and I got back from an 8 day vacation to Central America. We visited the country of Belize and had an amazing trip. The first part of the trip we went to Western Belize and stayed 4 miles from the Guatemala border in a tree house. The adventure began right away as we took local transportation for 3 hours to Western Belize. We read that many tourists would take these buses to this part of the country but we were the only Gringos on the bus. We got nervous as we rode at the back of the bus with our bags and had some interesting characters getting on and off the bus through the door in the back. This was a great ride and 3 hours Kristin and I won't forget.

We spent 3 nights outside of the town called San Ignacio in an area called Bullet Tree. A small community that hosted some crazy parties, at least the noise coming from across the river seemed vibrant.
Here are a couple of pictures of our tree house.

The first full day we were in the west we rented a trusty 4wd Suzuki which we took to the Mountain Pine Ridge Region of Belize. We drove through multiple small villages as we traveled through jungle on our way to caves, river pools, swimming holes, and waterfalls. We first stopped at the Rio Frio Cave. We hiked around the cave and grabbed some quick pictures. There are multiple army soldiers in this area as in the years past thieves from Guatemala would come and attack tourists. Two of the guards asked for a ride back to town. It was great getting to visit with the soldiers on the way back but was a little uncomfortable at first with the rifles they were holding. It made Kristin a little nervous to say the least.
Below is a picture of the Rio Frio Cave

The next stop we went to the Rio On Pools. It is a river system with a series of small pools and swimming holes. It was a great place to relax and swim a bit. We met some really nice people having a picnic and talked with them for a while. The gentleman was a pilot who lived in Belize and commuted to fly. He was generous enough to offer us a Coke which never tasted so good. There was something about the old fashioned glass bottle and a foreign country that made it that much tastier.

We then went to one of neatest waterfalls I've seen named Big Rock falls. It was so cool in that it had great swimming areas leading up to the falls and then a deep swimming hole just at the base. It made for a nice landing pad for some cliff jumping. Unfortunately Kristin couldn't partake. We were the only ones at the falls for some time. Almost unheard of here in the states. This was the highlight of the day along with just hanging out exploring another country.

In the evenings we would hang out in San Ignacio and eat at a local restaurant and enjoy a nice Belikin beer. They own a monopoly and is the only beer served in Belize. The food was amazing and we enjoyed the Belizean staple which is coconut rice and beans with stew chicken. We also got to try Sri Lankan food which I thought was great as I had a neighbor from Sri Lanka growing up. Great food!

The next day we went on an excursion where we rode a tractor from the outdoor adventure lodge and took inner tubes down a river through a series of 5 caves. We were in and out of caves as we drifted down the river with head lamps on. There were natural breaks in the caves where light would pierce through. It was beautiful. We stopped for lunch on the river bank and I found a natural rope swing. It was a tree root that was hanging down from the caves top. It was perfect and made for fun entertainment during our lunch stop. The local guide and I also found a rock to jump and flip off of into the river. Kristin and I had a blast experiencing this together. We also hiked for a ways through intense jungle through an impassable section of the river. Our guide cracked some Cohune palm nuts from the Cohune palm. It was fun to try some things the local kids would do growing up.

Some other fun pics:

Kristin and I had an amazing time experiencing a glimpse of the culture from Western Belize and after three and a half days we were ready to head to the beach.

to be continued....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's a girl

That's right, we found out last Monday that we are going to be having a girl! I was 95% sure it was going to be a boy, but Paul and like everyone else thought it was going to be a girl. I was way off. We are both soooo excited to have a baby girl and can't wait to see her.

I have to tell a funny story about what Paul said. So pretty much the first thing that Paul thought of and said was that we have to find other friends having babies now that are having boys and we can set-up our daughter with them. He is already worried about our daughter dating. Haha, isn't that cute! She's going to be a daddy's girl for sure!

The belly

Since Paul and I live away from a lot of our friends and family some of you may wonder what I look like as a pregnant lady. Here is a glimpse.

4 months prego

5 months prego

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kevin and Ginna's Wedding-August 2nd

Last weekend, Paul and I went back to Houston for my brother's wedding. Friday night was the Rehearsal dinner and it was so special for me to hear all of Kevin's and Ginna's friends/family stand up and say what they mean to them. It was hard not being around to see their relationship progress, but it was a great weekend of seeing how much they compliment each other and how the Lord is truly the center of their relationship. We had a great weekend with my family and Paul's family. It was hard to come back to Denver. We miss our families so much!

The cute couple at the rehearsal dinner

Paul's parents at Rehearsal Dinner

My Brother and I before the wedding

My family

The Groom's cake was awesome (my brother's boat). Ginna looked so beautiful!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

4th of July Weekend -

So I know it is past the fourth of July, but I wanted to post what we did over the long weekend. Paul and I along with Carolyn and Matt took 10 high school students out to Buena Vista for what we called "Mountain Madness". I know what you are thinking, sounds fun! The name suites it well, it was a blast! We camped about 10 miles outside of Buena Vista. It only rained a little bit on Saturday which was perfect because we did crafts in the tent and took naps. For me, it was more of taking a nap the whole time. Having a person growing inside of you really wears you out:)

Anyway, Friday was the white water rafting day, we went through Noah's Ark. I was not going to go, but then last minute I felt okay about going. They put me in the front middle which was the safest place for me to be; however, not the driest. I got soaked on every rapid. It was a great day of rafting. We ended up staying in town the rest of the night so we could watch the fireworks show. We ate at this place that was so interesting. When you sit down and order all you have to say is "I will have the dinner". They only have one thing every night and it is usually steak. It was really great food though.

The next day was our hiking day. Carolyn and Matt did the research and bought a hiking book to find a great place to go. We got to the trailhead and started up the path. At first, everything the book said we thought we were passing and going up the right trail. It ended up being completely wrong. We were following a trail, but we have no idea where it went or if it was really a hiking trail at all. When we got back down to the bottom, we asked someone about the trail we thought we were on and sure enough behind a truck was a trailhead for the trail that we completely missed. It was hilarious, but we still had a great time. That night we cooked at the camp and then we went to some natural hot springs. The hot springs were awesome and a relaxing time. They had different temperature pools, depending on were you were from the main feed.

The next morning we woke up, had quiet time, worship, and our last group time before we cleaned up and left. The weekend was focused on the characteristics of Jesus and falling in love with him, not focusing on all the things we feel we have to do to follow him. It led to some great conversations with the students and it was great for me to hear too. I definitely felt like I came out of the weekend looking at Jesus in a new way that I have not before. We love getting to spend time away from the city on retreats with our students. It is a great time to connect and get to know them even better. Below are some pics from the weekend. Enjoy!