Gaelyn’s Hall of Fame

Gaelyn was far more hyper about her Golden Birthday last year and bounced around like Tigger himself.   This year she just wanted to play soccer with David Sampson and others.  David has sparked a love for soccer/futbol in this girl, making them both extremely happy! So cake and soccer was it for the scheduled birthday event down in the terraza.  When we sang in both English and Spansih she cuddled Coco and hid from view!!  Silly girl.  Then look at that scowl, ashamed at how low the flame was or something, I’m not quite sure.  At least she got more pleasure out of the cake itself!!  And when she blew out the candle I heard Mark say in the background, “Did she kiss the angel’s butt?”  Ah, they’ve caught on to the Johnson tradition (thanks to Seth-er!)Collage Cake To burn some sugar off the kids and David hit the soccer field. Collage Soccer People returned to the terraza with beet red faces, sweat-glimmering foreheads, and happy hearts.  Gaelyn was in her glory!  Then Anders happily shared the project he had worked diligently on all day….robotics that said, “Hello” then waved, said “Hope you have a good day” and moved to pick up a stack of legos.  Proud little brother. Collage Gifts And then we were off to Reception to watch a video Maret and other siblings managed to conceptualize/execute/edit in less than 24 hours.  Great job, kids!!

Hall of Fame video

Disclaimer: Gaelyn says she wasn’t ashamed or disturbed by the pathetic candle flame…..she was realizing that she was officially a ‘Tween’.

I Want It All

The younger kids have gotten into making videos, and without being overly familiar with the lyrics they were up at 1am the other night recording this lip-sync…..and I didn’t send them to bed, of course, because they were having just far too much fun.  Didn’t want to squelch good sibling bonding!!

Did you note the budding pole dancer?!!

So, the following day they wanted to do a retake, and obviously they did some editing.  Here’s the final (for now!!) product.

Rosca de Reyes: The King’s Ring

January 6th is known as Dia de Reyes which translates literally “Kings’Day”.  This commemorates the arrival of the three Magi or Wisemen that are purported to have brought gifts to the baby Jesus.  It is on this day that many Spanish children traditionally  receive presents, which are attributed to the 3 Wisemen (rather than Santa Claus). In some countries, like here in Mexico, children may leave their shoes outside filled with hay or dried grass for the animals the Wise Men ride.

When I was little (Everette had the same experience) my mother would wrap dimes in plastic wrap and shove them into my birthday cake for my friends and I to discover.  Meant you weren’t to shovel that cake down but to savor it or you might discover you swallowed the prizes.

In the pic below, Gus (the landowner, in his 70’s) is telling us in broken English what the cake is all about.

Collage KIngs Cake

There is a very old tradition of placing a figurine of the Christ-child in the cake.   There are several figurines inserted, supposedly to remind us of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus fleeing from King Herod and the massacre he initiated of all male babies (in his attempt to wipe out any possibility of a ‘king’ to succeed him).  Each person cuts a slice for themselves, and whoever finds the baby Jesus figurine (there are multiple figurines per cake/bread) is blessed and is supposed to take the figurine to the nearest church on February 2 (Día de la Candelaria).

Here in Mexico we were told that each person who discovers the figurine in their slice has the responsibility of hosting a dinner (in our case, contributing funds to pay) of tamales and atole.  The date of our next Party….Feb 2.

With about 25 of us there, and 7 of them from our family, I suspected the odds were certainly against us. The outcome?


Only Anders needs to find a way to raise funds!  Less than a month to accomplish.




Posada & Floating Lights

All around us are signs of Mexicans and gringos alike celebrating.  Most are celebrating in their own way the story of the Christ-child.  Some just celebrated Winter Solstice.  Jews celebrated Hanukkah earlier this month.  There’s been other celebrations such as that of Lady of Guadalupe.

Whatever and however you choose to celebrate, we can all engage positively with one another.  I think its absolutely ridiculous the recent Facebook posts on whether one should/n’t say Merry Christmas or if it should be Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings.  Can’t we stop nit-picking and just accept Well Wishes from other people?  Must we criticize?  Must we judge the intent of the greeter?  Can’t we just accept our differences and trust that their intent was to bless us?  To spread some Cheer?Collage reception

Okay, now that’s off my chest 🙂  we’ve had opportunity to attend our first Posada Party last night (23rd) where our young boys danced the night away.  This is their newest thrill and I some how think they are developing a crush on their most attentive dance partner…..the beautiful Tina.

Collage Tina

Posada is from Dec 16-24th,  a procession of a Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay, where they are turned down time and time again, with more and more people joining the procession.  It ends with the arrival at the church where they finally find shelter…..and mass and a party begin.  Tamales and a hot punch (much like a cider with chunks of fruit in it) are the standard food, though of course cuisine and traditions change not only nationally but regionally.

Our Posada skipped the procession and jumped right to the party!!  Live music was delivered by Jimmy and Noe and a few more of their friends.  Jimmy and Noe had provided music for our Thanksgiving Dinner last month, and they doubled in size for this party.  Now if we can just do something about acoustics in the big hall it’ll be near perfection.  Maybe in time for Valentine’s Dance???

Collage Music

The kids had a ball, and we met many people we hadn’t previously, and of course were able to get to know better some people we  met at Thanksgiving.  Our children buzzed around the room with Mexican children (its neat how they don’t need to share the same spoken language but the language of Love and Fun are universal!!), danced their tootsies off, and chitchatted with the adults.  Anders was even invited to dance with a lady (I’m unaware of her identity). Later Anders was put in his place when Daniel (Texan cowboy singing in the pic above right) was escorting Tina to the dance floor and Anders asked if he could join them.  Daniel clearly told him No! that Tina was his partner, and his alone for this dance!!  Wow, the boy will have to learn real quick.

Collage G & A

So that was on the 23rd.   Today, Dec 24th we welcomed our new friends, the Nichols from Lost Coast, CA who are going to stay here at Perico for a few days so you’ll meet them later.

Then Everette and I took drinks down early to our sitting spot where we overlook the city of Chapala.  It’s where we drink our morning coffee and watch the sun spread across the lake.  It’s also were we park ourselves to unwind at the end of the day.  Today we snuck down there early, and so glad we did.

There was a Mexican family of four down there barbecuing.  We had struggled to understand them earlier in the day when they were inquiring about the bbq.  Now they were successfully underway preparing their evening meal.  We sat to have our drinks.  Then Everette decided to offer them a gift…they graciously accepted.

About 20 minutes later the woman and one of her young sons came over with a plate of food and offered it to Everette.  Seasoned pork (I think) with warm tortillas, s-p-i-c-y sauce and limon.  A few moments later they brought a plate for me.  Insisting that we eat.  Oh so tasty!!

We exchanged pleasantries when we were heading back to our suite and the man seemed seriously pleased that we responded to his Merry Christmas with the Spanish equivalent Feliz Navidad.  Thrilled that we would say that in his own language, and when I attempted  “Happy New Year” in Spanish, oh he was pleased!  It was great to bless his heart with such a seemingly simple gesture.

Tuesdays are usually Movie Nights and the kids were preparing for Home Alone, and as I headed over to watch I looked up to my left and saw this huge glowing blob at the top of the driveway.  What the heck was that?  I took a step back to get a better view.  I quickly called the children and we gathered around that same Mexican family as they attempted to release this hot air lantern, with no success before it caught fire.

They had more pkgs so they invited us to come to the open grass area to watch them hopefully release the next one, where maybe a draft from the grass would help lift it into the air.  But when it was partially filling up with air we spotted a big tear in the side….it would never launch successfully.  So the third (and final??) lantern pkg was brought out, and this is when we discovered that none of the instructions were even

written in Spanish.  Product was made in China so the instructions were in Chinese characters, then poorly translated into English.  That was worth a good laugh!  Good thing there were pictures, some guys who had a general idea of what to do, and a Toveli with slender fingers who gently separated the folds of crepe paper without tearing holes in the lantern.Collage Lantern

The man told us that the reason they were releasing the lantern tonight was in celebration of the baby Jesus….the Light of the World.

Success this third time!  And a thrill to watch my first lantern lift high into the Ajijic air, higher and higher until the paraffin wax ended and the flickering glow extinguished.

Does the lantern fall and land on some unsuspected child’s head?  Laars & I were wondering.