Sunday, October 11, 2009

Out of the Woods

About three weeks ago, we took a little trip down to Guatemala to visit Devins parents who are serving a mission there. They got to spend an entire week with Grammy and Grandpa, and we all had a great time together full of late night chats, perfect weather, beautiful surroundings, some great classes at the CCM, and delicious Guatemalan black beans, which I became obsessed with, only to later despise and vow to never eat ever again. The thought even makes me cringe. Anyway, getting there was a bit of a nightmare thanks to our flight being cancelled about twelve hours before we were to depart. Luckily Dev was trooper and figured out how to get us from San Fran to Guatemala and arrive at the exact same time we would have, had things not gone south. Unfortunately we had a 7 hour layover in Mexico City, a destination I will never go to ever again, but got to eat at the delicious McDonalds. A real treat. Braden had a little run in with some crazy lady with no teeth who so graciously kissed him and stuck her dirty ol finger in his mouth. I swore to Devin if Braden ended up with hand foot and mouth, someone would pay. Anyway, Mexico City was a horrific experience, but we made it to Guate and had the time of our lives.

  • Grammy came and took Braden, and Devin and I got to sleep in until almost 11 (we had a 20hr travel day on Saturday, so we deserved a little sleep)

  • attended church with the missionaries and felt their sweet spirit, even though Devin had a little bit of a hard time with the translating sometimes

  • went to Presidents class where they taught the Latins about their family and about being great missionaries


  • Drove to Antigua, an old charming little village, complete with a "Wood Factory", Jade Factory, and plenty of Guatemalan natives

  • finally got to get my own wooden apples that are a must have, I cant wait to display them in our new house

  • had lunch at a beautiful hotel, the restaurant was basically a covered outdoor-ish place and it poured while we were eating which was so neat

    Notice the cobblestone street, and the colorful buildings. Antigua is a very old city in Guatemala, and the cobblestone is almost everywhere.

    At the fancy hotel where we had lunch

Braden and his Pal


  • drove to Iximche ruins on our way to Lake Atitlan, enjoyed the history there, and thinking about the way life must have been, the landscapers cut the immense lawn with machetes....really!!

  • continued on to Lake Antigua, possible location of the Waters of Mormon; gorgeous, humongous lake

  • Devin and I did a sweet zip line course and got to see Monkeys in the wild
  • enjoyed the beautiful gardens at our quaint hotel where I think maybe 5 rooms were being occupied
  • took Braden for a little dip in the gigantic pool sized jacuzzi
  • had precious chat time with Mom and Dad, ate delicious food, and just relaxed

    View of the Iximche Ruins
    Braden sporting his sun blocking turbin, and enjoying his favorite color, GREEN and a rendition of the "tree of life" in the background

Us with our gracious tour guides
I took a quick fall into this pool right at the top of a 20ft waterfall. Dev thought I was a goner.

Atop Lake Atitlan

The view of the lake and one volcano from our hotel room

  • traveled across the lake to Santiago Atitlan where we got our first true taste of Guatemalan life

  • I fell in love with the people and the simple lives they lead. It made me cry to think of how little they have, but how much they love their lives. I think all of the little Guatemalan ladies in the catholic church where we were thought I was feeling the spirit...

  • Met Bradens first little buddy in Guatemala, Juan el Bautista

  • ventured into the market place complete with a butcher block full of fresh meat... it was very smelly, thank goodness I was not pregnant

  • enjoyed more talk time, more great food, and more R&R

Women in traditional dress selling beans and other food


  • one last look at the beautiful lake during our patio breakfast where Grandpa and Devin lured little birds to eat from their hands
  • my tragic illness began
  • drove to Chichicastananga on our way home and stopped at one of the largest markets in Guate. I spent a little time in an authentic Guatemalan bathroom. One lady asked us to pay, but since someone was in her bathroom and there was no time to waste, we luckily found the next one and it was free of charge, but not of germs.
  • traveled back to Guatemala City and just got to rest from our travels

Beautiful flowers on the steps of a "must-see" cathedral

The many different colors in the markets were incredible


  • went to the giant relief map of Guatemala, we got to see basically a 3-D map of Guatemala that had been created by a man 100+yrs ago who traveled around Guate on horseback, Dad showed us where a bunch of BOM sites were on the map

  • went to another market, where I took another bathroom trip, which this time I needed a thorough shower after... I was thinking how gross it was that all of the ladies there were wearing flat jelly shoes, until I realized I was wearing flip flops.... so gross

  • attended Dads BOM history class; it was a huge overview of the timeline of the BOM. I couldn't believe Dad had 3hrs worth of BOM history memorized. It was awesome!

Shockingly we didnt find all of Bradens christmas presents at the markets, but we did pick up this sweet little beanie which he has already worn quite proudly.the relief map... can you sort of picture how big it is?

  • Devin became deathly ill thanks to the coughing and wheezing that was going around at the CCM (MTC) and took an extensive nap on the couch

  • spent the majority of the afternoon watching the BYU game with Crappa's 80 yr old temple missionary friends.... man those guys can talk

  • walked next door to the temple for some photos

  • tried to savour our last hours together

Braden enjoying a good BYU victory.

Its best for everyone when the Cougs win!

We had such a fabulous and uplifting time. We enjoyed so much the spirit of the CCM and seeing Presidente and Hermana Christensen in their element. We told them they should ask to be called to Spain for their next mission so that we can all travel and see Europe next. Thanks for letting us come visit Grammy and Grandpa. We love you!


Dave said...

Looks like a fun time! Your little man has been growing quite a bit, it seems. Hope everything goes well for you guys!

Andrea said...

What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing your experiences. We miss you guys!

Kylie said...

LOOKS SO FUN! i wanna go to guatemala! how fun for a lil family vaca!

Aaron & Michelle said...

so glad that you guys got to go visit an awesome place. YOu really do come back from places like that a changed person. Mr. Braden is so cute!!!!!

David and Deena said...

Ive been so excited to see your blog about the be reminded how wonderful it was. It WAS, wasn't it! We love you and thank you for coming. I can't help but ask one more time...will you bring him back? PLEASE! We miss you!

Karlena said...

It seems that your version was similar to Deena's. What a great experience. I'm so glad that you were able to go visit. I know Deena and David relished every minute. sorry that you all got sick.

Crystal said...

Wow! It's so beautiful there, it looks like you guys had a blast!

Katie Brady said...

WOW sounds like you guys had a blast! So fun.. I didnt think Braden was going! How fun!