A Few of My Favorite Things {June 2015}

I heart summer! And June is a good part of summer where you're not quite exhausted from languishing in your own sweat in 92% humidity. You've still got some spring in your step when you haul forty-five totes to the swimming pool. (Why on earth do I need so much stuff?!)

June: good times all around. I mean, how cute is this kid at the pool?

Besides the pool, here's a few more of my June favorites:

Sunset Kayaking

It's hard to believe we've lived in Atlanta six years. This is definitely a record for me, but I'm finding I'm really enjoying getting to know a city and an area for more than a couple years.

We've visited Sweetwater Creek State Park many times, and it's a great, super close nature space to enjoy with the kiddos. But we had no idea they offered kayaking on the reservoir! This was a highlight for us for sure.

Billy and I both love water, and it was so peaceful to be out on the water at twilight, paddling and splashing. Naturally, I wore my waterproof hipbelt, which proved to be both useful and incredibly cool.

Bring Back the Dinos!

Jurassic World. Seriously, this movie was so great. I had mediocre expectations because it's not like dinosaur movies are my go-to. And also... how can you replicate the greatness of Jurassic Park and the glory of my middle school days?

But it was super impressive - you'll laugh, you'll scream. Who could ask for me? Also, I snuck in my sparkling water because that's how I roll. And it turns out the empty can rolls, too, when you accidentally kick it over during the movie. Billy pretended not to know me.


Billy and Gabriella spent a week in Guatemala. If you ask the girl about the trip, there were two main highlights: her Elsa piñata and what she refers to as Kid City. She and her cousins went to Kid City, where they were issued debit cards and given cash, and then they got to live in a replica world run by kids.

She got jobs, like working as a grocery cashier or a gas station attendant, and used her earnings to pay for her manicure and her river raft ride. Billy got a special badge to go in with her to all the exhibits because he was her translator. While that makes me a little sad on the bilingual kid front, it meant really fun memories (and more pics) for the two of them.

While they were gone, Isaac and I rocked life as two wild single people. We hung out with friends, watched a lot of Heartland (or "horsey" as Isaac calls it), and went to the gym a lot for some reason. (Oh yeah, free childcare... that's the reason.)

My Favorite Purchase

Once home from Guatemala for about ten minutes, Billy said, "I see we got a new paper shredder while I was away." I do love a good paper shredder.

Ours broke forever ago, and when you're as involved in international spy work as we are, you really need a high-quality shredder. Side note: I once had a job that involved hours of standing at an industrial shredder after I had committed all the pages to microfiche. Long live 1974!

Summer Reading List

I have started listening to The Maze Runner on Audible. (Seriously, click here to try Audible and you can download two books for FREE!) I liked the movie alright, but I kept having this feeling that the book would be even better. We'll see!

I also got The Good Shufu in the mail. So exciting! I can't wait to start reading this one.

All the Links

Here's a few favorite links I shared this month:

Attraction Is (Almost) Colorblind - Ultimately, it's the open window you have to watch out for in marriage!

Images of International Borders Speak Volumes - Stunning photos from international borders all over the world. They are very eye-opening.

When Daddy Has an Accent - The struggle is real.

21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own - This one blew me away.

And here are a few posts on A Life with Subtitles that readers enjoyed:

Celebrating Rockstar Couples for Loving Day - It was a joy to highlight interracial and intercultural couples on this historic anniversary.

Conversations in Casa Quezada - I wrote this guest post of our favorite, funny Spanglish mix-ups!

Does God Speak Spanish? - Our first bicultural kid discussion on the intersection of faith and culture.

I'm linking up with Leigh Kramer again this month. Keep me posted on what you're into this June, too!

In Case You Need to Beat Elsa with a Stick

We had a piñata at Gabriella's first birthday. It was one of the brightly colored ponies you can buy at Party City. With enthusiastic delight, Billy strung it up between two trees. 

He then introduced me to (what appeared to me as) a complex rope and pulley system, which allows party hosts to actually slide the piñata back and forth between the two trees. It really revolutionized my perception of piñatas since this setup makes it much harder for kids (or adults) to actually connect with their paper mache nemesis. It can be quite amusing to watch.

A young kid vested Billy at Gabriella's party, however, and broke it on the first try. This led Billy to blame poor, American piñata construction, which I found hilarious.

Also, in comparison to my daughter's recent Guatemalan piñata, that pony was also minuscule. Look at this bad boy Elsa! 

I love how Gabriella's holding her hand. Best friends forever! (Just sleep with one eye open, girlie, because if the occasion calls for it, I will whack you with a stick...)

We held off on Frozen for forever, but a couple months ago, Gabriella watched it for the first time. She was hooked. Now we've watched it probably more than anything else, including Daniel Tiger getting mad. Even Isaac is smitten as he points at the TV throughout the day, asking, "Ana?"

So Ella's love of Frozen translated into a giant, bigger-than-her piñata of Elsa. The fact that this Frozen princess was filled with candy just endeared her to Gabriella even more.

Billy sent me this picture with the simple caption: "Chocolate or poop?" (We love Baby Mama, by the way, if you get that reference.)

So we love a good piñata, and the kids have an absolute ball. So I'm left with just one question. Am I the only one who finds it the least bit strange that we string up and whack our kids' favorite characters to death?

Does God Speak Spanish?

She wriggles in the pew while I hold Isaac back from his unrelenting desire to rush Papi on the stage. Billy is playing guitar in the band, and the Spanish worship music is a live soundtrack for my own personal circus as Gabriella talks in a whisper-shout and Isaac tries to escape my arms with Houdini-like artistry.

Suddenly, Gabriella looks up, barely makes eye contact, and asks into the wind, "Does God speak Spanish?" I mumble an enthusiastic, "Of course!" while Isaac executes a sudden and impressive backbend, leaving me holding "boy rainbow."

The End.

That was our whole conversation on a topic I've wondered about for years. Not which language God speaks exactly, but how bilingual kids understand God and faith and spirituality when church is in their minority language.

Does God feel distant? Will she only connect to God in the limited vocabulary of her Spanish? Are we giving her the tools to understand faith in English or Spanish? Am I over-thinking it all?

Of course, Gabriella hears about God in English as well. We read Bible stories before bed. She listens to her Adventures in Odyssey CDs. And she's a big of YouVersion's Bible app for kids.

Still, I wonder if my quick response that of course God speaks Spanish says to her that God doesn't speak English? I actually think that bicultural kids have a very unique and sacred opportunity to understand God.

They can appreciate on a deeper level how God came to earth and joined our culture. How Jesus was fully man while also fully God. They can have deeper insight on what it can mean to be in this world but not of it. It is truly beautiful.

We may not be having those discussions just yet, but I can see Gabriella's brain turning. She wants to know God, and she is already asking questions about culture. My prayer is that her bicultural identity actually brings her closer to God rather than creating an artificial distance.
Did you attend church in your minority language growing up? Does language affect your relationship with God? How do you help your kids - whatever their language(s) - to understand God?  
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