Last year for Christmas we were in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Becky asked the kids afterwards what they liked and didn't like about Christmas that year as it was our first Christmas not in Michigan, our first Christmas not with extended family. So it was our opportunity to set up a new family tradition and a new family style of celebrating Christmas.
One of the main things that came out from the kids is that it wasn't Christmas without a house and without a tree. So back in June Becky started making plans for Christmas 2016. Something that has always been true for our crew is that food is how we celebrate Christmas, so combined with the kids' desire for an actual Christmas tree and a house, we rented a house on the beach north of Merida because we were planning on checking out the Yucatan peninsula for the winter/spring.
However, it was a chore leaving SMA as we were sick, it was a chore getting to Merida through sickness and RV troubles. The whole time Becky was concerned about are we going to make it, will we have to redo the entire schedule. Christmas for us this year was a 10 day activity and food packed adventure.
Unfortunately nothing went according to plan. First off most of the kids were sick when we arrived. Becky had spent the night taking care of us sickos and didn't sleep much... so after an uneventful hour long drive up to the beach house we were ready to collapse.
It wasn't going to be that easy however, as we made a wrong turn into the neighbors driveway and backing out of that driveway was a long challenge which involved me ripping off the driver's side mirror.
Once we got Gracie into the right driveway we had to do a bunch of finagling to get her into a parking spot. I shouldn't have attempted any of this without radios between Becky and I (Lesson finally learned!) but I did.
Our radiator has had prior problems which were fixed in Zihuatenjo, and again fixed in SMA yet it didn't fully appear to be fixed, and while parked in Merida we noticed radiator fluid leaking out underneath.
I had no idea how bad it was and when gassing Gracie to get over a bump into her parking spot for 10 days... the radiator blew!
Green fluid all over the place and a mess.
But we parked Gracie and got the kids into the house, a pool, an ocean front view, this was going to be awesome, despite being sick, breaking a mirror and having a blown radiator!
Turns out we all would go through multiple rounds of sickness for the next 10 days. I'm writing this on our last day in this house and we're all tired but on the mend. Will we get sick again? I hope not!!!
Just to be sure all guests know, this house has survived (resisted) two hurricanes. Yes we're on the Gulf of Mexico and yes hurricanes do turn south and hit Mexico. Fortunately December hurricanes are VERY rare!
The sunrises we were able to be awake and out for were fun!
Sunsets were equally beautiful!
Becky did a fantastic job decorating our tree with meager decorations we had along, it really did feel more like Christmas thanks to having a real Christmas tree!
Due to the house only having one couch which was very uncomfortable and the fact that we were sick so much I spent a lot of time in one of the two hammocks, all of the kids loved the hammocks and these two boys sat on me most of the time I was in a hammock. The hammocks were a blessing to have! (We'd like to modify the trailer so we can hang a hammock or two or three from it because they were so great!)
Zander found out that hammocks double as awesome swings... and yes heads were hit on the tile floor a couple of times... no sever injuries, but some tears were had. Eventually the kids learned how to get in the hammocks and flip so they were on their hands and knees with the hammock opening beneath them and the hammock on top of them. Lets just say they had a blast with these!
One of the many fun activities Becky had planned was fake snow, who knew that baking soda and hair conditioner makes snow? The kids had a lot of fun with this!
Reindeer Pancakes, even though not everyone was feeling well enough to eat these they are super cute and tasted great! -- Can you tell Becky had done a lot of planning for this celebration?
Unfortunately this is how we spent about half of our time at the Christmas house... still if you're going to be sick, being sick at a beach house is a pretty sweet place to be sick!
The wind and waves never quit here, it's not enough to surf but they're perfect for body boarding, the kids loved having their body boards with them.
On one of our beach walks Thys and I found some treasures, there are tons of shells here and we were able to find a bunch of whole shells overtime we went for a walk. This day we also found a bunch of horseshoe crabs... yes they were dead, but it was fun for the kids to be able to play with and study them.
Attack of the crabs!
Josiah received the Brick Bible for Christmas, we've been amazed at how much the kids are into this Bible more than any other version we have. I had no idea how controversial this book is but all I can say is we've had more discussions about circumscision since Christmas than ever before in our house!
One of the other activities that Becky had planned for us was a plastic wrap ball of candy, as we unrolled it the candy flew out... the kids loved the game more than they loved the candy. Although the airheads did disappear somehow. :)
With some of the shells we've found on the beach the boys built a couple of sand castles in our "front yard"
As boys would do, the shells are missile launchers and weapons :D
MooMoo LOVES the beach, between the freedom to run and go where she pleases to the frisbee fun, to the digging holes to cool off in she too had a blast here. 10 days without wearing her harness! The wind was so strong that the screen doors were often blown open, she used these as opportunities to come and go as she pleased. She's a fun dog for sure!
As a family we made a sandcastle instead of making a snowman on Christmas day. Despite many days of high tides since the castle still stands!
A close up of the Shell Awning and the drip castle section of our Christmas day sand castle. Alia and Mom were the drip castle specialists!
The castle mountain and the moats. The boys were all about the moats and sticking shells places. It's fun to see their personalities develop!
Glow sticks! We were able to do a glowstick party inside. We had planned to have the party on the beach, but due to high tide there was no beach during the time we were all feeling well enough to do the glowstick party.
The ornament Becky created for us to remember Christmas 2016 by. Pretty awesome in my opinion!
It's gonna be hard not having this as our front yard... beautiful!
So tomorrow we leave with no real schedule except to be back in Merida in April. There are near and long term goals of checking out all the cool snorkeling spots in the Caribbean coast of Mexico as well as hitting up some of the Mayan ruins around here and taking the kids cenote swimming. But the immediate goal is getting Gracie the 45 miles to the radiator shop without seezing the engine.
I went to fill up the radiator the other day and the water just gushed out underneath... so we have a massive hole(s) in our radiator and need a new radiator. The problem will be getting Gracie to a shop. 45 miles (just over an hour of driving) is too far to go in the Mexican heat for a rig her size without coolant. So our plan is to drive 10 miles at a time and let her cool off for a couple of hours between. Which means it might take us 8 hours to drive the one hour to Merida!
Never a dull moment with our crew!!!