Stepping away from the treadmill: a month of get-togethers

no more hustling: a month of get togethers

It’s been a month of get-togethers and kid-fun!  Carlos and I have been thrilled with the chance to step away from work and reconnect with our kids, friends, and family.

We visited Carlos’s second mom Alejandra in Cabo.  She’s the one under the blanket.

Back story: Carlos grew up in a family of 9 kids out on a ranch, far from schools.  His mom sent him to live with her friend in the city of Cabo San Lucas so he could get an education when he entered first grade.  What a heart-wrenching decision!

Funny story: Carlos hated it at first.  At one point he sneaked out of Alejandra’s house and started running back home.  Through the desert, by himself.  He made it about ten miles, to a ranch along the way, whose residents he knew.  The police were there waiting for him.  Alejandra had called them and they knew which path he’d have taken.  The police took him back to Alejandra’s.  Cue muted trumpet sound: wah wah.

Leon’s first birthday party

Leon turned five this year, and we threw him a party for the first time.  When he was really little, it just seemed silly to throw him a party when he wouldn’t know what was going on and since he didn’t have friends.  By the time he was 3, I had four kids under 3, and again when he was 4, I had four kids under 4, and it was all I could do to feed them dinner and dress them every day.  Parties were out of the question.

But this year, Leon’s been asking about his party for months.  He finally gets what all the commotion is about.  He talked about how he wanted a cake and a piñata.  We kept it small: just his 2 best friends and 2 of his cousins.  We all had a blast.  It was perfect.

Piñata’s are really popular in Mexico, and there is a method to the madness.  There is someone holding the other end of the rope that’s attached to the piñata who jerks it around and makes it just the right level of hard.  The kids go in order from youngest to oldest, and everyone sings a song that marks how long the turns are. Here’s the song:

“Dale, dale, dale! No pierdes el ritmo!  Porque si lo pierdes, pierdes el camino! Una, Dos, Tres!”

On “Tres” the adult working the rope yanks the piñata up out of reach and the stick gets passed to the next kid.  The song translates to “Hit it, hit it, hit it!  Don’t lose the beat! Because if you lose it, you’ll lose the way!  One, Two, Three!”

We served ceviche, the Baja favorite for outdoor parties.  Then it was time for cake.  As I brought it out, Leon whispered excitedly, “Yo lo voy a apagar”, (“I’m going to blow it out”).  Sweetie!  He knew after watching the ritual countless times at others’ parties, that this time it was his turn.

A friend’s birthday Party

The following day we were invited to another little boy’s party.  Carlos had a date with his brother to go fishing, so I went alone with the boys.  After checking to make sure they had a fenced-in yard (because, you know, my kids!), we went ahead.  They had a bouncy castle!

Carlos called me from the boat when they were ready to land, and we met him at the beach to watch them come in.

When the bring the boats in, they just drive as fast as they can up onto the beach, timing it perfectly with an incoming wave.  From there, they use a truck and a rope to pull it up to the trailer.

We brought the catch back to Carlos’s sister’s house, where they cleaned, filleted, and fried it over an open flame in the outdoor kitchen.

Now Christmas

All that, and it’s not even Christmas yet!  Enjoy your friends and family this holiday! Sing a Christmas carol!

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