December is really our favorite month in Nicaragua (despite the increase in random fireworks that get set off all times of day and night). The weather is comparatively pleasant, everything slows down for Christmas, schools are on vacation which results in less traffic on the roads...it is a great month. December is ALSO a fantastic month because we spend the entire month up until December 24th getting ready to celebrate Christmas! We probably went through 10 pounds of butter as we baked a different cookie or Christmas treat every few days. Here is how Christmas Cookie Baking works in our family is: we bake a batch of cookies, save about 10-12 cookies for Christmas Eve and Day in the freezer, and then we EAT THE REST!
|actually, our neighbor/friend Sarah made these in our kitchen...but we taste-tested.|
|The "saved" plates of cookies|
This December we had the blessing of hosting "our boss's daughter" Hosanna for a few weeks over Christmas and New Years. We put on our tour guide hats and showed her around the city and surrounding area. It was a blast! It was wonderful to make her part of our family while she was here (and of course, she is forever an honorary member of our family)! Her sweet spirit and cheerful nature were such a gift to all of us!!!
Here are a few snapshots of her visit with us.
|Naturally, fireworks have become part of our Christmas Eve celebration.|
|A good ol' wrapping paper fight on Christmas morning!|
|Cinnamon buns and fresh squeezed orange juice are a Christmas morning tradition!|
|Exploring the waterfront of Lake Managua|
|Snooping around the Old Cathedral that was destroyed in the 1972 earthquake|
|A misty and cold hike through the cloud forests of Mombacho Volcano|
|Ringing in the new year at the beach!|
|"Sisters" picture on the Pacific Coast|
Then in January, we jumped back into a modified homeschool schedule. We are cruising at reduced speed until February when we will pick back up with ALL the subjects! Part of the reason for modifying the schedule (besides wanting to inflict the torture of a grammar intensive on Andrew and Ella) was that we knew our good friends, the Copples, were planning to visit us for a week in January! It seemed like a great reason to take January slow!
Even though their visit with us was short--it was SWEET! We donned those tourist hats again and hiked the Mombacho Volcano (obviously, one of our personal favs) and introduced their girls, for the first time, to the Pacific Ocean! It was great to 'pick up where we left off' with Mark and Michelle. I do believe it was a mutually encouraging visit and FUN was certainly had by all!
Here are a few snapshots of their visit with us.
|Loving the hike along the crater of Momacho Volcano|
|What a crew!|
|Overlooking Lake Nicaragua and the Isletas|
|Enjoying the sunset over the Pacific and some sunset boogie boarding and body surfing!|
|The lovely couple, Mark and Michelle|
|Mark and Michelle were SUCH good sports to cram in the third row with Noah for multiple hour long adventures. However, those of the group that get car-sick were so grateful for their sacrifice of leg room and adequate air conditioning.|