Tikal National Park, Guatemala

We took a tour to Tikal in Guatemala, “one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya,” according to Wikipedia.

One of the best experiences was just driving through parts of Guatemala and getting a chance to see yet another country. Large portions of the roads were unpaved, livestock and pets roam alongside the road and run across, families lounging in hammocks outside their homes and women were seen lined up along the rivers and lakes hand washing their laundry.

Driving into the park, we stopped to see Spider Monkeys…


Ceiba, the national tree of Guatemala. It’s huge!


Practicing their Tarzan moves…



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We hiked along a path about 5K to get around the site and see everything. Approximately 30% of the ruins are unearthed, they estimate.


Temple 2…



Temple 4, the tallest pyramid built by the Maya, is 70 meters high. Even though there are technically steps going up from the bottom, they are so steep they are not seen from the top. These pictures don’t convey how freaky it was to be looking over the tree tops.


Simon was making me panic seeing him tripping around close to the edge….



What is Jason looking at? About a half inch from the top center of the pic is where a Spider monkey is lounging.


(zoomed in) The monkeys were so high up…


Whew! Lunch before the long ride back to Belize.


Cahal Pech Mayan Ruin in San Ignacio, Belize

Our first Mayan Ruin experience was just a quick taxi ride up a hill in San Ignacio to Cahal Pech. It was an expansive park setting with a museum.




Can you see the Bergemans up there?


There was a little boy, about 6, following us around-his family works the gift shop there. I asked him if he gets to play here every day and he nodded yes. The only minor hiccup was getting a bunch a fire ants in our shoes and feeling the stings. The kids screamed as we yanked shoes off and brushed the ants out. We learned to watch out for them. The’re tiny!


We were all impressed with the size of the various leaves…



One of the ruin tour guides explained how small the Mayans were and temples were built steep with big steps. Climbing to the top is a spiritual act that requires some effort. This is me starting the spiritual ascent. I make it look so easy, eh?

(need to locate the awesome gif that goes here)

Parrot Nest Lodge in San Ignacio, Belize

We had such a wonderful time in Belize! Now that we are home I can work on the many photos taken and start sharing them here.

This was our first international travel with our four children and it could not have gone better. We traveled extremely light, “the Rick Steves-one bag” method and it made things easy.

We used two eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible bags for all of our clothes/packing and a smaller backpack for waters, snacks, camera and other day pack items. The eBags are exact carry-on luggage measurements and carry easily with backpack straps. We were able to travel light and avoid checking any luggage. We only packed four days worth of clothing and did laundry once during the trip. From the airport security to customs; taxi to hotel staff, we got so many comments about how light we packed. People kept asking where our bags were. “We have them right here on our backs!”

The path from the main dining and hang-out area to our cabin at Parrot Nest Lodge in San Ignacio…


Our cabin…


No AC or TV, screens without windows, tin roof, geckos all over and the deafening sounds of crickets and tropical birds. It was fabulous!


The lodge is family run and feels like home. Breakfast and dinner were served fresh and unprocessed every day. The only unhealthy food we saw the entire trip was the fake maple syrup (too far from maple trees :D) and the ketchup. Maybe I’ll need to add 3oz of maple syrup to my carry-on liquid ration next time. ha!


The Mopan River right in front of the lodge.


I asked the kids what their favorite part of each day was and on this day Lotus said it was when she found this flower…


The main hang-out area where we chilled on hammocks and used the free wi-fi. The owner hooked the kids up with some paper and markers. A book shelf full of children’s books kept Lotie busy.


This is the “toy box” I packed in the day-pack. It kept both Lotus and Simon happy on many occasions. We also brought two iPads loaded with things to watch…


Many family pets hanging out with us…


We ventured into town for lunch and sight seeing…


Seeing all the school kids in uniform was fun. Every school is affiliated with a church and every school has their own uniform. They all bust out for lunch and return later for the second half of their school day.


more of the same

We stopped by my parents house on the way to the store. I think we’ve had to go to the grocery store for single items every day this week…but that’s okay, more biking!

My brother Chris’ new bike. The handle bars are awesome. His dog, Honey rides up front.
Chris tries out Jason’s new bike…
Jason tries out Chris’ new bike (with Honey)…
I pedaled the cargo bike with both of the big guys. I guess they wanted to relax while I huffed and puffed but I did it! I had to tell them several times to quit the shenanigans back there, they were jerking the bike all over the place. We rolled up next to a blind and nearly blind couple that ride a tandem for the second time so finally introduced ourselves. Cool folks!

bribes for biking

It takes the promise of ice cream to get these big guys to go on a bike ride apparently.


Family bike rides are back!

30 days of biking kind of went out the window when Jason had a seizure and scared us half to death. We were stewing in our thoughts of worse case scenarios.

But, Jason’s MRI and EEG were both negative for any abnormal findings and we are much relieved! Next week he will have a sleep deprived EEG and his broken toe evaluated by ortho but we can handle that, no problem.

To get him back onto a bike in the safest way we could think of, during his doctor ordered driving suspension, we picked up a recumbent trike off Craig’s List. He loves it! The best part is I get to cruise kid free on my bike.




The boys wore matching shirts and I had nothing to do with it!



Forestry center and zoo

We stormed the forestry center museum and the kids were a blur of motion as they checked everything out. The staff tried to herd them in with a field trip group but Isaac set them straight. Whew!

The zoo was the usual sad display of caged animals. The mom and baby elephant caged and standing head to the closed door was the worst! I’m at the point where I’d like to not support it with our patronage but the kids ask to go every once in a while. A moral crossroad indeed.






Onion skin dyed yarn

My friend Sally has done a ton of onion skin yarn dying, mostly using the yellow onions. She gets a gorgeous variegated yellow.

I wanted to give it a try with red onion skins. The two colors red onion skins yield are green and brown, according to this website.

Sally helped me through my first yarn dying-I was hoping for the green but got something in between, more of a khaki color.

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It was fun and exciting to see what comes out of the pot and I think It will make a nice sweater. Hopefully I can find a great pattern.

today’s bikey frustrations

***Update on Jason and his seizure scare: He saw the neurologist today and the next step is an MRI and an EEG in the next week. In the meantime he needs to avoid risky activities and no driving for at least the next three months***

Lotus is big enough to ride Simon’s old Strider. It’s funny to see her walking it carefully between her legs, just like little Simon did in the beginning. Soon enough she’ll be zooming around on it.

A few frustrations with the new bike. First, I am upset to finally figure out my gmail was being blocked by Craigslist-which seems to be an ongoing issue with gmail accounts and Craigslist. I kept thinking I was not getting a response and ended up buying a new bike when I couldn’t get it second hand. I realized something was up when the bike I wanted on Craig’s list was re-listed a few days ago, Googled the issue and sure enough, lots of hits on the problem. grrrr!

Secondly, I should have ordered an XS bike instead of the small. I have to keep the seat at the lowest position and now I can’t ride with the trail-a-bike attached for Simon like I had hoped.

Thirdly…yes, there is a third issue-the front baby seat is incredibly cramped on this bike. My arms are tightly wrapped around her and her head is right in my face. My hopes of a second mama-kid hauling set up in which Simon can pedal is not working out so far. The guy really wants to pedal too, but is not ready to ride on his own.

It would be an easy thing to hook it all up to Jason’s bike so we’ll save it until we know more about his health scare. For now he has ridden in front of the house after adjusting my bike but that’s it. We’re both kind of scared of taking that risk just now.

New bike

The seizure scare with Jason put a damper on the excitement over my new bike arriving. His appointment with the neurologist isn’t until Thursday and he hasn’t had another seizure, thankfully, so we’ve just been taking it easy and waiting.

I didn’t leave him at all over the weekend and then Monday evening I went to the grocery store to pick up a few snacks and a box of cold cereal. After laying around depressed all day, I thought convenience foods would be better than relying on my cooking. But today, Tuesday, I’m not as useless as I thought. I made bread and Xander and I walked over to the bike shop to bring my new bike home.

Woohoo! A nice easy rider with a low step through frame. It’s a Giant Sedona. When my Amazon order finally ships I can get it all dressed out with accessories.

Jason made some beautiful apple pies too. Life goes on, even when scared and worried.