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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sayulita Days

In Sayulita, the week surrounding Mexico's Flag Day (February 24) is known as "Sayulita Days". Have I mentioned before how festive Mexico is? How it seems that there is a holiday every other week? Have I mentioned how much I love that about Mexico? One more reason for a day off school and a party, you know? Anyway, Sayulita Days is a time for celebrating - you guessed it - Sayulita! And, boy is there celebrating! There's a carnival at the baseball field, a parade (which my kids were in!), food booths, music, dancing, more food booths, jumpy houses in the plaza, more music and a whole street (or maybe two) is closed for market booths. The atmosphere is very, very festive and we enjoyed ourselves very much, yes we did. I took about...oh...a million pictures, and now I'll begin the painstaking job of sorting and sharing my favorites.... hour later.

I didn't realize how slow my connection was. It took forever to upload 10 pictures. But, without further adieu, for your viewing enjoyment, I give you...

Sayulita Days

The candy booth was a big hit with our fam.

That's a burrito. I repeat...a burrito. Grande.

We all agreed that this was our favorite carnival game...throw a rock, break a bottle, win a beer...for your mom. Emerson won two. Yeah for me.

Sweet sisters in front of the ferrous wheel. What's that rule? Never ride a ferrous wheel in Mexico? Whatever. We break all the rules.

Evie in the parade.

Emerson, too.

See that tall gringo kid toward the back? He be mine.

Our Miss Soleil Mia watching the parade from atop the golf cart with her new friend...Soleil Maya. Did you follow that? We met this little girl here in Sayulita and her name is Soleil Maya. Can you believe it?

We heart Sayulita.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meet Luke

This is Luke. His boy is Josh. Josh is pals with Cole. Luke lives on the hill across from us. One day he came over to our house with Josh to "hang" (which is what the coolest teenage dogs and boys do nowadays). Luke has seemingly decided that our house is a sweeter hangout than his own, and, almost every day (sometimes twice a day), he comes over to "hang" with Zona.

Luke: "Uhhhh. Hey, Mrs. Stewart. I was like wondering...if Zona...could like...hang."

Zona: "Who is it, Mom? Is it...him? Is it...Luke? You know...that one I've been texting? Oh, hey, Luke. I was just licking my fur."

Luke (thinking to himself): "She's like soooo, tutally, hawwwt."

Zona: "I just can't stop smiling! OMG, Luke. You're like so funny!"

Me (thinking to myself): I'm not sure if I'm ready for this whole "dating" business.
"Maintain a healthy perimeter, Kids."

Monday, March 08, 2010

A Sad Day in Sayulita

We bought our property here in Sayulita 12 years ago, almost to the day. The woman who sold it to us, Ruperta, lived in a house on the corner across the street from the plaza where they used to sell gas out of jerry jugs. In fact, she still lives there, but the jerry jugs are long gone. On the night we went to her house to finalize the transaction we sat in her living room amongst her family members. I remember her grown daughter was there, a spitting image of Ruperta herself with the exact same hair cut and the same watchful eyes that frightened me just a little (or maybe I was afraid that they would change their minds after recalculating the exchange rate and decide that $3200 dollars just wasn't enough pesos). She watched us as we counted out our money and then took the stack of bills and recounted them herself. Sitting on the opposite end of the couch from me and Dave, was an adult son of Ruperta's who really could not be bothered with the whole business of selling properties and was far more interested in the soap opera quietly playing from the TV in the corner of the living room. There may have been another adult there, too, but I can't recall. I do remember Ruperta's grandson; her daughter's son, who was about 8 or 9 years old at the time. He played quietly on the stairs off the living room, observing the whole affair indifferently and every now and then glancing our way to sneak a peak at Cole (who was 13 months old).

Since we've been back in Sayulita we drive by Ruperta's house on the corner almost every day. I often see Ruperta and her daughter sitting up on the front stoop watching town bustle by on the cobblestone. And ocassionally I would see a young man with them. Once he was watering the orchids. Another time he sat on the steps and chatted with friends. At some point I realized that this young man was the boy I remembered from 12 twelve years ago. This young man, this boy from 12 years ago, died last night in a terrible car accident. Two other boys from Sayulita also died in the crash. It is a sad, sad day here in Sayulita. Our town is mourning. The street in front of Ruperta's house was closed to set up chairs for people to sit and grieve. Stores were closed. Kids were let out of school early to attend the service. Mass was held. The church bells rang. People cried. Oh, people cried. And for the first time since we've been down here. I felt like an intruder; an outsider. I felt like a guest overstaying my welcome in the midst of a family tragedy. These wonderful people share their town with us. Open their hearts and their homes to us. They let us take advantage of their beautiful weather, their fabulous surf and their generous hospitality. Then in the wake of a tragedy like this, they have to put up with clueless gringos on vacation; laughing and taking pictures of dogs in the plaza. It was a poignant distinction as the funeral procession marched down Revoluccion followed by most of the locals while vacationers lined the sidewalks taking pictures.

And although our family didn't march in the procession or go to the special mass service, neither are we here on vacation. Over the past four months we have become a part of this community, albeit on the periphery. We aren't family, but we feel the pain of the people who have become a part of our lives down here. Our heart aches for Ruperta and her family, their history having been woven with our own. And for Namo, our favorite electrician, when he tells us with teary eyes that two of the boys were his cousins. We feel it when Violeta recounts the details of the crash having seen it first hand when walking home with her husband. We fear for our own kids when we hear the crash site was on the highway right near where Cole walks to school. Our heart aches for Mario, who works on our crew, because those were his best buds. And for Cole's friend, Jonathan and his family, who own Carmelita's Restaurant (our favorite), because two of the boys were their family, too.

If you are so inclined please keep these people on your hearts that they may have the strength to endure this sad time. And give your kids an extra hug.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Moving In and Dave's Broken Nose

We are officially moved in to (read: "all our crap is now within the walls of") the Barefoot House. Here are some pics of our first hours:

Piles, piles, everywhere...

But, at least we have the letter magnets on the fridge. Evie's doing her part.

The kids' room "undone".

Voila! I can deal with piles of c.r.a.p. as long as beds are made, right? See the ladder going up to the boys' sleeping loft? I don't have a good pic of it yet, but if you make this bigger you can see the edge with the rail.

Check out the concrete bed frame. It's all about the concrete here in Mexico. I, myself, was a nonbeliever. But, now, I've seen the light.

Ahhh. Just in time for bed. Still need to find a king duvet cover. Not so easy to find down here. You must click on this pic to make it bigger and check out the painting above our bed. It's just the coolest. We scored it for $1100 pesos or about $88 U.S. I just love it.



We named our casa "Barefoot House" because the pool looks just like a foot (and because Casa Huella - is just too hard to say). Then we chanced upon Barefoot wine, which excited us very much, yes it did. We bought a bottle at the Mega, and last night we opened it to celebrate our first night in our little casita. Check out the acid stained concrete countertop with pebble aggregate in the kitchen. We're pretty excited about that, too.

And, lastly, Dave broke his nose surfing. He took a spill and his board popped up and kadoogied him right in the nose. The good news? It was "the best wave of my life". Dude.
P.S. I think that shade of purple does wonders for his turquoise eyes. Don't you?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


It has been on my heart to blog about my darling second born son. He is, quite simply, the most delightful 9 year old boy I know. And as our "middle" child he is often lost in the wash (we do a lot of wash). So I wanted to share some of my very favorite things about Emerson (aside from his fabulous name):

He's insightful. He can sense people's emotions and their motivations. He can tell when something is bothering me, and he's not afraid to ask what it is. Then he'll say something like, "I'm sorry you're sad, Mom" or "I'm sorry that happened." He gets stuff. You know? He gets the big picture. He gets the importance of family and of spending time with grandparents while they're here. He sees the connection we have to our Earth and the importance of protecting it. He gets on his brother if he tries to throw away a recyclable. He understands the value of quiet and thoughtfulness. He is comfortable with simply being as opposed to doing. He laughs at my jokes when no one else gets them. And he's funny. He busts out movie lines at the most perfect moments and cracks us all up. He loves classic rock and fancies himself somewhat of an expert. He plays the guitar. He is quietly protective and watchful of his sisters and even his older brother. He is his father's son. Quiet and watchful. Sensitive and sincere. Honest and good. He has a genuine heart. He deeply empathizes with people and feels their woes. He wants to give what he has to his friends here in Mexico who have so little. He wants to give them his football and his DSi game. He makes friends easily and quietly. He doesn't have to try. And he's super smart. At 9, I'm starting to see that he's an intellectual. And he's good. He's just a good person. He doesn't kill bugs. And I love him so, so much.

Em, I'm sorry I let you fly under the radar too often. I know I let the sibs demand a lot of my time and attention and that you often get the short end of that stick. You, by nature, are not demanding, which is one of your most delightful qualities. And I, by nature, am drawn to those who are most demanding. I tend to put out the biggest fires first. Your fire (compared to those of your siblings, which are often raging out of control) is always so nicely tended that I often overlook it, burning so tidily. I will endeavor to stop and sit down by your fire more often, my sweet boy, especially because you don't demand it. You keep your fire so nicely tended. We'll roast marshmallows and chat. Thank you for being who you are. You are a gift; a true joy. I love you. ~Mom