Friday, April 30, 2010

About to figure it out

Agustin is getting to the age where, any one of these days, he is going to figure a few things out and make the transition from toddler/young child to young boy. Tonight Nicolas chose "Twas the Night Before Christmas" as his bedtime story and Agustin started asking the questions: "Why does Santa only wear red and white? That seems strange." and "How can Santa deliver presents - doesn't he need to sleep?" and "I really don't think Santa can fit down a chimney - and it's too dangerous!" Of course I came up with a good enough answer for each one, but day by day it gets harder and harder.

The other day he said to me that monsters don't exist. "Of course they don't, honey," was my immediate response. But then he looked at me quizzically and said, "But then fairies don't, either."

I dread these talks because one day, inevitably, the light bulb will go off and my little boy will be a big boy. :(

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Growing up

I remember when Agustín was a toddler and thinking of what he would be like as an older boy. I remember wondering when he would start to play soccer, video games, when he would start having crushes on girls... Tonight I was on the computer for a minute and got up to check on Nicolás. When I got back, I had lost my spot, and Agustín had already figured out how to get to his Nick Jr. video game. There was a part of me that was really proud that he could figure it out, proud that he would take this initiative. But there was another part of me that sort of broke, thinking that my little kid is slowly growing up, and that there's no stopping it.

At least I still have Nico. He has been feeling pretty rough the last few days, so he is all about letting me snuggle with him. Which I love. I don't need a baby with him around. But in two more years I am sure I will be writing a similar post about him.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sleeping angels

Last night before I went to bed I went into the kids' room to get something and saw this.

Tin was wrapped around his brother. It was so sweet I had to get a picture. Then, this afternoon after work, Nicolás told me he was going to wait upstairs for me to play a game with me when I was done helping Agustín with his homework. I went upstairs a little while later and noticed that everything seemed way too quiet. I found Nico in his baby room.

The kids love to jump around and play in the crib (it is about to come apart, since I don't think it is built for so much weight), and apparently he was waiting for me too long. He looked so sweet. And comfortable! He had also turned the radio on, so he had music to accompany him.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Playing with Photo Booth

Oh, we are having SO much fun with our new computer. One of the best things is the camera. Now we are videoconferencing with Cousin Hannah and Aunt Amy. It is so cool to talk and see each other. We have also talked to Grandma Chris and, even though she doesn't have a camera, she can see us. It is so weird how far away we are yet how close we seem at times. So different from when I first moved here to Ecuador and a letter took 3 weeks. So strange to think we used to live like that, haha (although I still LOVE getting letters in the mail - emails can't compare in some ways).

We also like to play with the actual photo booth feature. The kids took like 20 sessions of pictures, where 4 pictures are snapped very quickly, like in the old-fashioned photo booths. They kept moving around (I think they thought it was video) so the pictures were a bit blurry. We'll have to practice a bit more to get the hang of it. :)

(Boy, when they asked me if I wanted antiglare glasses, I didn't realize otherwise I would get the GLARE version.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cocoa Daisy Spring Crop 2010

This weekend I took part in the Cocoa Daisy Spring Crop and had so much fun, even though this weekend was too chocablock (love my British expressions?) to get much done (I even had to teach my TKT course on Saturday afternoon). We have until May 3rd to complete the challenges, so I will try to work out some time to finish a few more.

It is the best online crop. Last year I won a little package from them with the best things inside. I love their kits (shipping to Ecuador is so expensive that they are a special splurge), and their web site and blog are both fantastic! And this year I learned about Grooveshark - the coolest web site EVER. (Well, I still love Accuradio as well.)

I only got two layouts done, and of course they are nowhere near as cute as the ones everyone else did, but I had SO much fun!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Smiley face

Nicolás has been trying hard to smile more. He will catch me looking at him and give me a huge smile. I don't know where it came from. I probably told him once to stop looking so crabby - and he took my advice to heart.

I just love that smile.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A new Mac

We got a new computer today. So excited! An iMac, huge screened! I love it. Everything is wireless - including the keyboard! We can actually open iPhoto in a second or two, instead of waiting 20 seonds for it to load. So exciting. The kids are even more excited - they can finally play the Nick Jr. online games!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Every night, Nicolas fidgets and wiggles around the bed as we read our good night story, He puts his feet on the pillow and then does a backwards somersault. Then he'll flip around so that he is lying on top of both his and his brother's pillows. Then he'll roll off and duck his head under the covers. Sometimes he'll stand on the pillows at the top of the bed and launch himself off. He almost always hits his brother in the head, but Big Brother doesn't usually say much.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saying our prayers

Agustin likes to say his prayers before bed. While Kas is joking around and acting silly, opening his eyes and peeking out at you, Agustin takes them very seriously. He is great at remembering them, as well, in both Spanish and English.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That's me

I realized that I don't have many pictures of myself on the blog. Terrible. As usual, I don't pay enough attention to myself, and with my new job I haven't been giving myself much down time or me time. (I KNOW Ecuadorians don't understand it, Andres, and I will never expect them to!) This picture is actually from a few weeks ago - that's how long ago I have really taken a picture of myself.

Well, anyway, hello!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another day, another dollar

Agustin lost another tooth today. I didn't get a picture before he went to sleep so I got a picture of this little guy instead. A little present from a teacher.

Off to stick some money under the pillow!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Marshmallow smile

That title makes me think of the lyrics to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Sometimes the only way we can get Nico to eat is to promise marshmallows for dessert.

Whatever works, my sister would say. Whatever works.

Big brother always gets a kicks out of Little Brother's antics.

It would be fun to be little again.

Here is what a typical evening looks like for them.
(Approximate times)
3:30 Get home and play (cars/legos)
4:00 Homework
5:00 Play (cars/legos)
6:00 Arts and crafts time
7:00 Supper
7:30 Play (Transformers/stuffed animals)
8:00 Get ready for bed
8:15 Sleep

Sometimes I wonder what they'll remember of these days. I remember our after school routine vaguely. It always consisted of a little TV (Little House on the Prairie, Gilligan's Island), dinner around 5 (Oh how I remember waiting for the daycare kids to go home so we could finally EAT!), and TV sitcoms at 7 (with a treat - Cheetoes, popcorn, pop).

Sunday, April 18, 2010


The last two Sundays we have been going to the ciclopaseo. They close off the middle lanes of one of the larger streets here in the north of Quito and people get out and run/jog, bike, skate, walk their dogs, etc. The kids LOVE it. At first we thought we would just walk alongside them. It became clear after 3 minutes that we would have to jog. Later that became RUN (as Tin says, "Run for your life, Mommy!").

It is a lot of fun. Nico freaks out when he sees the dogs, even though they are on leashes. I am not a fan of the traffic zipping by on the sides. Daddy is not a fan of the hot, equatorial sun beating on our heads. Tin has no complaints. Regardless, we have a blast, and this is quickly becoming our Sunday family tradition.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

These moments

These are the moments that make a parent so content. Just watching two brothers play together. Sharing. Having fun. Making each other laugh. Inventing and imagining together. It isn't always like this, but when it is, it is oh so sweet...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tying shoes!

Agustin has finally learned how to tie his shoes. We tried all last year, and he never got the hang of it. Then the teacher got upset with all the parents (apparently we were not the only ones struggling) and forbade velcro shoes. It still didn't happen - he just learned how to put his shoes on without untying them. Suddenly, the other day, he calls me all excited. "Mommy, look what I did!" He had tied his shoes by himself! We had given up on teaching this, and he figured it out on his own. It was the same for him with toilet training, walking, etc. He is very independent in that way.

Needless to say, we are happy and proud, and so is he. Now, four days later, he is a pro. Although the double knot sometimes gets the best of him!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Homemade pop-up books

One of the goals this semester for Tin's class is to create a love of reading in the kids. The teacher has this great project where the kids read a chapter of a book and then write the title of the chapter, a one-sentence summary of their favorite part (or an important part/what they understood), and then they draw a picture and put it on this frame, which makes the pictures pop up when the kids open it. So far it is working - Tin can't wait to come home and get this homework assignment done, he's so excited. The only complaint I have (you knew it was coming, right?) is that the teacher didn't want us to have to buy another book, so she is retyping the chapters and making copies for everyone. Unfortunately, she is doing it typical Ecuadorian education-style, complete with typos and bad punctuation and fragments and run ons. Half the time Tin can't understand, and there are no pictures, which makes for boring reading for a 6-year-old. I have decided that we are going to have to look for the original. If only for MY sanity!

Edited to fix my typo on the word "typo" - it read "type". Hilarious!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday wrestling

The newest thing is for the kids and Daddy to wrestle.

Of course, until someone ends up crying.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Laundry: Bombs away!

The kids got a kick out of playing on the stairs today as I threw the laundry down to be washed. The mommy in me cringed the whole time. No mommy lets kids play on the stairs! But they were having so much fun. They were only five stairs up. Not too bad of a tumble, should it happen. And I yelled, "Bombs away!" every time a fresh batch came flying down.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Those hands

Some day I will miss these hands. Nicolas, age 4. I could stare at little hands and feet forever. Little hands and feet that are no longer so little.

They grow up so fast...

Thinking about Uncle Bob today. Happy birthday, Uncle Bob!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sour oranges

Nicolas has been going through a stage where he hasn't been eating very well. He never seems very hungry, especially early in the morning and at night. We used to be able to get him to eat cereal at night if nothing else, but for the last few months he hasn't been too interested in cereal. Now we can usually get him to eat a hot dog with orange slices. He likes fruit, although not bananas too much. He is a HUGE fan of watermelon and strawberries. Some nights all he eats is fruit.

Unlike his brother, however, he is not a fan of cheese.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Our pantry

Our pantry is FULL or drink boxes. Everything from yogurt to orange juice to peach nectar to flavored milk, if the kids see a drink box, they've got to have it. We put them on the bottom shelf so they can get to them easily, but sometimes it is a bit too easy. One by one they disappear, until halfway through the week 20 drink boxes are gone (and they are only home from about 4 pm to 8 pm!). Honestly. Some weeks they go through close to 50 of those things. And at 50 cents a pop, we're talking big bucks here. Just in liquids! The cashiers at the grocery store probably think we're selling those things outside of the schools. They always look at us like we're crazy!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Fridge art

My kids are way into artistic expression. Every day I hear, "Mommy, can we do obra de arte (arts and crafts)?" I usually say yes, but that means papers and pens and glue and glitter and buttons and squiggly eyes all over the carpet and floor.

Much of the artwork ends up on the fridge. On the fridge we also have some great dinosaur magnets from Grandpa Dan, which the kids will sit and play with for hours at a time. Tonight Agustin was there, creating a maze out of the dinosaurs and making one of the letter magnets try to get through the maze. Great entertainment when we're putting supper together!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Still running

I have been running/jogging as much as possible, but haven't been as constant as I was a year ago. My new work schedule has proven to be very difficult to work around - it is so unpredictable. Some days I think I'll be able to exercise and then at the last minute will have to give a workshop, or other days I get home late because of traffic. I get home about 5:30 if I'm lucky. By the time I get dressed and ready to jog, it is usually about a quarter to six. That means max 30 minutes of light. I usually walk/jog for about 45 minutes, which means going in the dark. I don't like going in the dark too much - I'm never sure how safe it is out there once the sun goes down, although we have no complaints in our neighborhood so far and I have never felt too threatened, (there have been a few scares but nothing too bad), but aside from that, it is DARK, and the sidewalks and streets are all irregular, which means a twisted ankle for sure.

Anyway, tonight I got out there and decided that I would try to beat the twilight (remember - on the equator that means 5 minutes of dusk and then pitch dark). Andres got a picture of me as I made the rounds in the park.

So since the sun comes up at 6 (dawn also lasts about 5 minutes), the whole dark thing means that I can't get up early to go running (Andres leaves the house at about 6:15 and I stay with the kids), and that I usually don't go later. So Saturday and Sunday have been the only days I have been constant.

I really want that to change. I miss running. I miss it a lot. I had hopes to run a 5K one of these days... but it's going to have to go on the back burner for the moment I guess until I feel more comfortable with my schedule.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Roasted chicken for dinner

I'm so lucky to have a husband who likes - loves - to cook. Tonight I had to work late, and came home to this beautifully roasted chicken in the oven. Delish!

The kids love helping Daddy make this. Putting the twine around the chicken and then watching it turn as it cooks - it must be a male thing!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Dressing Mommy like a princess

Nicolas had a hard time going to school this morning. After a week off, he went back yesterday without much incident, but decided today that it would be much more fun to stay at home and play. He played sick early this morning, and when he realized that wasn't working, he decided to cry. He cried all morning, so to get him out the door I asked him to help me choose my jewelry for the day, to make me "look like a princess". He got very excited when I put them on. He got upset again in the car on the way to school, but when I saw him after school he was so happy to see the "jewels" that he felt better. They didn't really match very well, but I left them on all day to remember him.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Happy birthday!

Happy 38th to my wonderful husband! How lucky we are. Twenty years together. Whew! More than half our lives. Amazing.
Love you, honey!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

The kids woke up way too early today to make sure the Easter bunny had come. He had. He hid the eggs and baskets a little too well (even he couldn't find the eggs later), so we spent a good hour searching the house. Guess he'll have to go more "obvious" next year!

We also had a little cake and party for Daddy tonight. He'll be turning 38 tomorrow! Wow! Made a Devil's Food cake with yummy frosting. Agustin DEVOURED it! I love watching that kid eat, after all the trouble we had with him when he was little.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Coloring eggs

Tonight we colored some Easter eggs. I had forgotten to get the white ones, so all the eggs turned a bit muddy-colored, but the kids didn't notice. Last year I made more than a dozen so we could do all the colors, and then they went bad on us, so this year we made 8 - four for each kid. We decided to do 3 colors, but ran out of red food coloring so the purple turned into brown. So later we broke out the yellow and made yellow, too.

Quite a lot of work for 8 eggs that no one but Daddy will probably eat.

The regular eggs were nice and pretty and all, but a bit boring. The kids (and Daddy) decided that they needed some FACES!

But now of course we cannot eat the face ones. They became toys last night, and the kids got full of food coloring, playing with them all evening. They are becoming quite attached. The next thing you know they'll want to name them.

At least they're still OK with leaving them in the fridge overnight.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Easter prep

Got the decorations out for Easter a tad late this year. I haven't been much in the mood for stuff lately, with all the stress of my not-so-new-job. Today I realized it was Easter in two days! The kids had fun - they later took all the eggs down and played with them. Next year I should just skip the decorating part and stick everything out in a bowl for the kids to play with.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Computer cousins

The kids gots on the computer tonight to watch the videos Amy sent me of Hailey and Hannah. They had a BLAST watching their cousins, especially Hannah. They think she is so silly and funny. AND they get a kick out of the fact that now she "has hair!"