Sunday, January 31, 2010

Digital cars

Nicolas and Agustin got a computer program for Christmas that lets them put together their own race car. It is called "Dream Cars" and they can't get enough of it. From deciding on the type of engine to the type of spoiler or the color of the paint job to the decals, the kids are learning about the things that go into race cars.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Race tracks and tempra

Sick day today. Agustin has what Nicolas just got over. Not fun. Very high fever. Too high for my liking. Been taking a lot of Tempra today to keep it down. He's been feeling pretty rough today, but still had enough energy to put together this great Geotrack track.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tooth Fairy

Agustin is losing teeth left and right. Tonight he lost another, the front one on the top. He is excited to hear from the tooth fairy tonight. And get one dollar richer.

ETA: He lost another on the bottom on Saturday night that I didn't even know was loose! And apparently the tooth fairy gives a fiver for losing two teeth in the same weekend. (Could it have anything to do with the fact that the tooth fairy didn't have any change?)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mommy smells

Tonight Nicolas told his father,

"Mommy smells like my favorite cereal."

Not exactly a compliment, I suppose, as that means I smell like either Captain Crunch, Special K, or "Marshmallow cereal".

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A million little pieces...of legos

There are Legos all over Agustin's room. He is a Lego whiz, and can make anything out of them. We step on them every day. It hurts. But I love how he'll put together a whole house or school, or a bunch of little dogs, or robots, or cars. He is so good at visualizing something to make. He can spend hours alone in his room, playing with his Legos. Until he realizes he might be alone. That is when he screams, "Mommy! Are you there?"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book shopping

I had the day off today to go to Agustin's open house at school. He did great and brought home a great report card (19.3/20), but one thing I noticed is that he is a little behind in his reading. The other kids read much faster than him (although I am still unsure as to whether they understand what they are reading). So I decided to take him to the bookstore this afternoon. He got four books, from Toy Story to Ice Age 3 to Transformers and one about Hot Wheels, and enjoyed sitting down with them and reading them (especially the Transformers). I really hope I can help him improve his reading skills. He loves to hear stories, loves going to the bookstore and library and going through the books, but it has been hard getting him to read on his own.

Monday, January 25, 2010

All better

This is more like it! Here he is, much better after a fever-filled weekend. During the night he slept soundly and there was no sign of a fever. We are Tempra-free today and I am happy! The worst thing in the world is watching your kids feel sick and not being able to help them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nicolás sick again

This face is what I've been looking at all weekend. Poor Nicolás has been feeling pretty bad, complaining of a headache, stomachache, and an ache in his chest. He's had a pretty high fever all weekend too, which is worse at night. Funny, though. He'll be fine and playing alone until he sees me. Then suddenly he is crying and clutching at himself and saying how much it hurts.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New computer chair for more comfortable surfing

We finally "got rid" of our old, uncomfortable computer chair (i.e. Nicolás jumped up on my lap while I was on it and the legs broke off). We replaced it with this one, reminiscent of something you might see in an IKEA catalog. And it is so comfortable, which means we surf longer. It's nice to use the computer without getting a backache!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Belated BIrthday Present

Agustin finally received his birthday magazine subscription from Grandma Bauer today. Grandma Bauer has always been good about keeping her "Ecuadorians" up-to-date with magazines, from Reader's Digest to Woman's Day and National Geographic. Agustin is thrilled - it is the perfect magazine for him: all about animals (seals, cheetahs and sharks), robots, cool innovative cars, and craft projects. Even a jokes page, and while he doesn't quite get them yet (they are a little advanced, more like for an 8-10 year old), he laughs as if he did!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dulce de leche and crackers

Nicolas got into the pantry tonight and took it upon himself to open a package of Ritz and a tub of dulce de leche. I love it when he does something independent like that.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First bombero

A bombero is a bad (failing) grade. Agustin's first, a 10.5/20 on his English spelling test. As a teacher, I have strong opinions about the nature of this test (first and foremost that there is no context whatsoever for those words), but I won't go into that. We studied diligently for a half hour, writing the words over and over. It's quite exciting realizing that soon he will be reading in both languages (at least a bit).

ETA: I forgot to mention that tonight we had a parent-teacher conference with Nicolás's teacher. That's his report card on the left, and it is PERFECT! All Very Satisfactories. Good job, Nico!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Finally finished the new storage area in the back with a new door. We got the high chair, stroller, baby chairs and other miscellaneous items in there! Woohoo - you can walk by the washing machine again without tripping over tools and bags of fertilizer and toys!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shark attack!

Agustin getting ready for his shark presentation tomorrow. He will be presenting with his Daddy, and will be presenting the following sharks:
  • Blue sharks
  • Tiger sharks
  • Galapagos sharks
  • Whale sharks
  • Great white sharks
  • Hammerhead sharks
He will also inform his classmates that sharks need to be moving to breathe, so they do not sleep for long periods of time. They date back before the dinosaurs (450 million years ago) and have advanced sight and hearing. They can see in the dark. They do not have bones, but cartilage, the type of "bone" you find in your ears and tip of your nose.

This is what he needs to remember. Then he will give each classmate a picture of hammerhead sharks to color, and gummy sharks for everyone!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Play-doh Island

It always amazes me when Agustín puts something together - a Lego dog or car or spaceship. The imagination on this kid is endless. Tonight he grabbed some plastilina (Ecuadorian play-doh) and proceeded to construct an entire "dinosaur" island - with iguana, volcano, stegosaurus, a tree with a large insect on it (for the stegosaurus to eat), a shark, a crocodile. After each little creation he would ask me if I thought it looked like such-and-such, and honestly, there was no doubt about it - it was what he said.

I love when the kids ask to do "obra de arte" (crafts). One of their favorite shows is Mr. Maker, a British show where a man, Mr. Maker, makes kids' crafts. They get so psyched after his show, and want to just sit down and create. They are a lot like their Mommy in this sense.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Out of the Hospital

After two weeks, Shushú is finally out of the hospital. She got out on Thursday, and today came over. The kids are happy to have their Shushú back, and so are we. She looked good and didn't seem too tired - back to normal, although she has to be a bit careful and continue with her lung exercises.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Playing Dentist

Ever since Nicolás has gone to the dentist, he has been playing "dentist" with everyone. His drill looks like a real drill, and when he makes the drilling noise, it feels like a real one, too!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Puffer is Back

Allergy? That's what the doctor seems to think. Nicolás gets the worst cough, about once every one or two months. Today he started - had to be sent home from school and had a fit that lasted about an hour. Took him to the doctor and he cried the whole time - for some reason, he is deathly afraid of the doctor. Back to using the "puffer", twice a day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Lego Car Just for Me

So good to be home, back with the kids. Love these guys. "Mommy, I made this for you." A Lego car.

Nico has something to say...fjgiijtlu. And...rjijgytkhkggknc j.

He loves typing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pelicans, Iguanas and the Sea

Another three today, all of Tortuga Bay.

The pelican, who tried to pee on me when I got close. (He missed.)

The iguanas that were sunbathing all along the beach. You had to be careful - they looked like washed up leaves or logs.

And the Bay, el mar manso. Calm, peaceful, crystal clear, turquoise green water. Wow. And people live there!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sea Lions, Iguanas and Tortoises, Oh My!

I have three today. Can't decide which one will go in my album yet. I think I am leaning toward the sea lion. They were so cute, like dogs, so cuddly.

Of course, the iguanas walking all over the streets, the beaches, the sidewalks, were so cool. Each one was a different color and size. One spit at me! (He was a little camera shy.)

And the turtles. Classic. Thinking of how Agustin giggles at how slow they are. So fun.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Quiet that Comes with Coloring

Coming upstairs early this morning, the kids were being so quiet, coloring. It reminded me of early Saturday mornings when I was their age. Of course, I would color for hours. Their peace and quiet lasted about 10 minutes, tops.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


We have been going to the movies more, now that the kids are older. Last weekend it was The Princess and the Frog, which I thought was pretty good. But what the kids were DYING to see, deep down in their hearts of hearts, was Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Squeakquel. Them, and every kid in Quito. The place was packed, but the kids really enjoyed it. Nicolás sat like a zombie and Agustín kept jumping up and laughing so loud, repeating what the characters were saying, and just getting a kick out of it all. He was a show in himself! But, in the end, the six-year-old was too cool to take a picture beside Alvin, his favorite character. Can you believe it? Glimpses of the teenager-to-come...scary.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Great-Aunts and Great-Grandmas

Lailai's birthday (81!!). Nicolas has always been close to his great grand aunt and great grandmother. He smothers them with kisses and hugs and torments them by turning circles until he gets dizzy and falls down, barely missing his eye on the corner of every coffee table.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Falling Ash=Dirty Car

Spent the day in Ambato training teachers. All day there was a dirty, misty rain. No, not rain. It was ash falling from nearby Tungurahua. Going to be a real pain to get off the car.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Six-word memoir

Just saw the funniest six-word memoir from It All Changed in an Instant.

Desperate enough to read my spam. -Caroline Braun.

Hilarious. Have you ever felt that way? Don't ask me...

What would you write if you had to sum up your life in 6 words? I'm going to think about it...

And I realized, that would make a good one for me, wishy washy to the core and professional procrastinator:

I'm going to think about it. -Kari Miller

Jogging Again

Starting up the jogging routine again.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Reading the Paper

Got a glimpse today of Agustin after school, reading the paper. Probably just looking at the pictures, but he seemed so serious and intent on the act that I got a small glimpse into the future.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Homework. It is the bane of my existence. Well, Agustin's. Every day he comes home and has 2-3 assignments. For a six-year-old, I would expect assignments of 10-15 minutes, a total of no more than 20 minutes of homework a night (this is based on completely unscientific and unfounded evidence, pure opinion just by watching how long he can actually make it, and 20 minutes is even pushing it a bit). But, no. He will sometimes work for over an hour on his assignments. It is just too much, in my opinion, and while I try not to say anything to him, I really worry that homework is making him hate school (and I have seen this over and over in schools across the country). I am not against it, at all, but it should be meaningful and age appropriate, something fun that encourages the kids, not busy work.

My two cents!

(And you know it's bad when I realize I already have a "homework" tag!)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

For Grandma Shushu

A picture for Grandma Shushu, who is in the hospital this week due to pneumonia and a lung infection. The kids took a picture of themselves and then we printed it off and brought it to her so that she could put it on her nightstand. They also made a The Ecuadorians among us aren't allowing the kids to go visit her, saying that hospitals are too dirty and full of infection. I think it is a crime, personally, not letting them see their Grandma, even though she is getting better. I just think it keeps them too clueless. They need to understand - we tell them Shushu is in the hospital and I think they think she is on vacation. Oh well, my intentions aren't to scare them or get them sick, just make them face reality a bit.

I visited a bit today and she didn't look so great to me - she's aged a lot in the last three days. I hope she is feeling better. She'll be in our prayers.

Memory, Books and Vacation

Lots of Memory and relaxation around the house this Christmas vacation. Nicolas especially is fascinated by this game, and asks everyone to play it. He doesn't cheat - too much. He cries when he loses and gets excited when he is winning. He pouts and walks away and hides his head in a pillow if someone gets the pair he had his eyes on (although he is getting better about this the more we play - big brother is now doing the same, however, which makes for tedious play). He "saves" the cards that are pairs by placing his hands on top of the cars, and he won't let anyone else turn them over, unless we want to see the Pout.

Myself, well, what have I been up to? You guessed it - lots of reading! Finished The Book Thief (got it in Vegas) and it was not at all what I expected.

I hate it when I get a book, thinking it is going to be great because so many people have recommended it (when I bought it at Borders, the girl even commented that I had made a great choice!). It wasn't bad. It was sort of good. Again, it was meant for teenagers, like the Twilight saga. Maybe that's my mistake. There is no comparison to Twilight, mind you, but I thought the language was too contrived at times. I shouldn't be so critical, but there were some sentences that just didn't make sense to me much at all. I guess the author was trying to show the power of words, how they can envelop you, change you, imprison you and free you. Sometimes I just wanted more of the story, though, and not so many "words".

I kind of liked the narrator, however. Death. The author did a great job of making sure that the narrator was not such a cliche. It was still a good story, although I didn't cry once (and I cry at everything), so there was something that couldn't make me care enough about the characters.

I am going to blame the power - excess - of the words.

I am still working my way through Angela's Ashes. It is really good, amazing, and I can't quite make myself believe that Frank McCourt will make it through to the end. He is amazing and the story is so great, and I can hear the Irish lilt of my Great-grandpa Kreyer as I read McCourt's memoir. The way the ideas are threaded and connected is so much fun, and there are some parts that are just hilarious! I mean, what do you do with a line like this:

Before he leaves his house he always sticks his head out the door and tells the lane, Here's me head, me arse is coming.

You laugh out loud!

So, back to school and work tomorrow. I am expecting lots of tears tonight!

Let me take this moment also to wish you all a Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

"This is how Mommy reads"

"This is how Mommy reads."

Nicolas has started taking the books off of my new bookshelf and "reading" them. I guess he watches my love of books, and has begun to understand the pleasure of paging through them and just feeling the pages under his fingers. He will caress the words on the page and tell me what they say (always nonsense words), and then go get a new one off the shelf. So fun to see him enjoying the act of reading. Also fun to realize how the second child, after watching the first, picks up the idea of words a lot faster than the first one. Agustin never quite grasped the idea of words on the page until he went to school, but Nico already has the idea down pat.

I love it when he tells me, "Agustin should read, too, instead of watching TV."

Then he says, "I like reading. More than watching TV."

And adds, as an afterthought, "But I like watching TV a little too." (Just in case I decide to make him read instead!)

Smart kid - the same one who tells us he will save his chicken for dessert because it's his favorite part (then he starts with his dessert!).

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Snuggie

Picture of the day (POTD): Agustin and Nicolas snuggling on the bed in my Snuggie. Still can't quite get over the name, but the Snuggie is really popular around here. Nicolas will just go up to it and hug it, chanting under his breath, "Snuggie..."