Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a very happy new year!

As some of you know, here in Ecuador today is like Halloween. The kids are all dressed up and we've got our pennies and nickels rounded up so that we can circulate freely around town. We'll be leaving shortly for our annual año viejo viewings (it might still be too early but the kids are anxious) and I will be posting pictures later tonight or tomorrow. I'll also get caught up on my December Daily album later this week.

And dinner...

Hope you all have a happy and safe 2009!

P.S. Happy birthday, Dad!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

december daily days 1-9

I have finally gotten around to uploading the pictures of my December Daily album. The quality isn't that great, but I think you can get the idea.

I'm really having a great time with this, even with the problems of developing 1-2 pictures a day. The last two days I haven't gotten the kids as they have been sleeping earlier than normal, but I guess that gives the viewer a little break! :)

You can also see the before pages.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

funny things they say

In tribute to my December Daily, and as a direct result of my faulty memory, I am trying to be better about documenting the little things, the daily things, in my life.

Especially when it comes to the kids and the things they say and do.

Which brings me to the other day at the mall. We went to do a little Christmas window shopping and when we got back to the car, Kas got in and got really worried.

"¿Mi teta*? Where is it? Someone broke into the car and took my teta!" He starts pouting and within a few seconds silent tears are streaming down his face. Of course the teta was there, up front by the driver's seat, but the look of pure horror on his face was sooooo funny! As my sister said, oh the things those little kids have to worry about. Makes me want to go back to the days when I had nothing to worry about. Now it seems that all I do is sit around with a nagging feeling at the back of my mind that there is something I forgot to do... Worse is that there usually was something I forgot to do and now I didn't do it, which sets off a whole new worry. Well, I'm not the product of a Bauer for nothin'!

Later that day, Agustín was admiring the new Hot Wheel he got as an incentive to sleep on his own (we are going on about 3 weeks straight, and I am officially jinxing myself by admiting this in public). He was so excited about it because it was full of "gold". It actually looked like the color silver to me, so I asked him, "Isn't that more like silver than gold?" He simply informed me that it was too shiny to be silver, since silver "es un metal muy sucio"**.

Well. I can't argue with that.

*teta = bottle
** is a very dirty metal

Monday, December 01, 2008

First Day of December

Today is the first day of December and the start of the advent. We found these great retro advent calendars where you open a little window for every day (there is a piece of chocolate behind each one) - do you remember those? I used to love the advent calendar, opening the windows or drawers and finding some little treat. It made Christmas so real, and made it seem so close. I also like it for the kids because it will help them 9especially Tin) with dates and figuring out time better, which has been a bit of a struggle (could it be the age? When do kids start recognizing today, tomorrow, yesterday, etc.?) Actually, Tin was the one who reminded me that it started today, so it's already helping, although he thought that Christmas was tomorrow...

The beginning of December is also a special time here in Quito, when the Fiestas make the city larger than life and an otherwise somewhat conservative little mountain city comes alive. Parties and dancing on the street, traditional food kiosks everywhere, chivas with brass bands taking over the streets. But possibly my favorite part of this time of year is the bullfights.

We won't be going this year, and I'm a little disappointed. It is truly amazing watching a bullfight, and I really want to read the story Hemingway wrote about it now that I have come to understand it better. It isn't just about the fight, it is the bull, the bullfighter, the olés and handkerchiefs, the wine flowing from the botas, and the general festiveness. Every Quiteño putting on a Spanish straw hat and talking like españoles (a little annoying but something you get used to). It's man versus beast, and so exciting to see who will win. (Secretly I always hope the bull gets a piece of the bullfighter.) It's amazing how graceful both are, when the fight is good. Before I had gone the first time, I thought it was like a slaughter, but once you are there in person you can really see the art and culture and history behind it.

I'm thinking about all of this not because it is the first of December, but because today Tin was running around the house playing "bull". "Corre toro que te voy a matar" - singing it over and over. I can imagine that here little boys grow up dreaming not of being firefighters or policemen but bullfighters.

But it has also brought up another issue. Many people have been protesting the bullfights lately, oh, in the last two years or so. Usually college kids, hechos los hippies (acting like hippies), screaming and freaking out outside of the arena. They put up violent images of bulls being slaughtered (not by bullfighters but usually in slaughterhouses - or maybe the images are even photoshopped, not sure), and scream insults at everyone coming out of the arena. It is really distasteful. They call everyone murderers as they chomp on meat empanadas and hamburgers! I'm no tree hugger and I know living in Ecuador for so many years has snuffed out a love for animals I used to have, but these kids really go too far (I'm sounding like my grandpa now!). Anyhow, I was thinking about them because Tin was asking why they have to kill the bull. And I didn't know the answer. And then he said that he hoped the bull won, too.

Thanksgiving Hit

I tried the Miller family slush recipe this Thanksgiving and it was the absolute hit of the day! Why worry about the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie when it's really the booze people care about? :)

So here's the recipe (thanks, Dad!):

1 part frozen lemonade concentrate
1 part vodka
2 parts 7Up

Mix it all up and stick it in the freezer. The alcohol will keep it from freezing solid.

I couldn't find lemonade concentrate here, so I used orange juice instead, and it turned out great. I'm thinking any citrus-y juice might work (passion fruit, pineapple, maybe naranjilla?)