Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween at the beach

Strange to spend Halloween at the beach, but we had a five-day weekend and needed to take advantage of it! We stayed in La Pradera, and it was nice. Very economical. Not near the beach, but we drove into Tonsupa and Las Palmas with no problem whatsoever. Spent the first day in the pool and then in the sand.

This is the life! Why don't we live here?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Funny and Hot Wheels

We got up early to do our pumpkin carving. The kids picked out a face online and Andrés drew them freehand. The pumpkins this year weren't totally orange, but they had a really nice shape. They were really thick, too, and I got tons of seeds out of them. Fresh pumpkin seeds - a childhood favorite of mine!

So, meet Funny (Nico´s pumpkin) and Hot Wheels (Agustín's). Those are the names they choose for their special guests.

The whole Hot Wheels thing is very reminiscent of Hannah's Soda dollies, since Tin seems to want to name everything "Hot Wheels".

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy (Early) Halloween!

Ding dong. The doorbell rang around 7 p.m. tonight. Shoot! I forgot about Ecuadorian Halloween (haha, this just means that the kids in the neighborhood trick or treat whenever they get the inkling - at 2 in the afternoon, two or three days before Halloween, or even the day after Halloween!).

I handed out some stale candy I had in a cupboard, as I was totally unprepared. It was really nice, though, that some of the kids asked if mine could go out and trick or treat.

Nico was in Superman pjs, so he was ready, but Agustin was only in his school uniform. Oh well, he went out as a school boy.

The kids loved running from house to house. Nico was a little crazy, running all over the place - he didn't even notice me there. That is, until he fell and scraped his knee and put a hole in his pjs. Oh well. Those are the perils of Halloween!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Colada morada, or purple drink

It's that time of the year again - colada morada. Yum! Andres's mom made some for lunch today, but I had already bought the ingredients yesterday at the grocery store, so I decided to make some this afternoon as well. In total, it took about 2 hours, but most of that was just watching pots boil.

I got the tea made (a heavenly-smelling mix of lemongrass, orange leaf, and myrtle), then the blueberries cooked, then the blackberry juice made. Andrés helped cut up the pineapple and strawberries, and when it all got thrown together I added a cup of sugar and the cornstarch mixture. I forgot the cinnamon, cloves and allspice, however, so I decided to stick them in a coffee filter sachet and add them to the final pot for a little while. Unfortunately, the sachet broke. I tried to pick all the little spices out, but I apologize in advance to anyone who breaks their tooth on an allspice kernel!

Andrés went to the store and came back with naked breads, which he decided to turn into guaguas for the kids. It was a hit! The kids won't touch the colada (Agustín seems to think fruit was God's way to punish us for Original Sin) but he sure will scarf down a guagua or two!

The finished product - it tasted awesome! And I am happy to say that I am keeping the tradition alive. I wonder how many gringas out there are making colada morada this finados?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

So tired of Sharks!

That Sharks book. I bought it for the kids this summer, to help relieve the onus of the Reptiles and Amphibians book, which was a book we were reading at least 3 times a week, if not more. I am beginning to regret buying it, however. Like its predecessor, Sharks has become the go-to book for Nicolás. We probably read it four times a week. I love reading to the kids at night, but I cringe when Nico brings this book into bed (each of the kids gets to choose a book each night). Tonight Daddy did the reading, and I felt relieved. I love sharks and manta rays, but a girl can only take so much! ;)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Good thing

I sure hope this is appropriate. Maybe I have lived in Ecuador too long. Regardless, Agustín has started taking showers. And anyone with little boys in the house knows that this is a good thing. A really good thing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Breakfast Outside

For the last week or so, Agustín has been getting nauseous every morning, especially if he smells breakfast, like pancakes or eggs or even bacon! Daddy taught him a little trick, to try to avoid the inevitable vomiting we have not seen for a long time: Go outside and get some fresh air, walk around, breathe deeply. So far it has worked - there have been no accidents, and this is important not only because we don't want to clean it up or have to change uniforms at the last minute, but also because once he starts the whole vomiting routine, he takes it to the next level, and we see a lot of it for quite some time.

This week he has spent every morning outside, trying to control his nausea. He still gets hungry, though, so we bring him his breakfast. Now Nico has joined the action. It is cold mountain air out there at 6 a.m., believe me, but neither of them seems to mind.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ah the memories Grandpa Dan is making...!

The last few days Andrés and I have been doing some paperwork to register our U.S. Marriage certificate here in Ecuador. It has been a long and tedious process (think legalizing each paper in 2-3 different offices - or rather legalizing the legalizations!), but will make future paperwork in the country a lot easier once it is done. Yesterday we were in the Vital Records Offices from 10 a.m. until almost 4 p.m., and again today for an hour or so, and I have felt the exhaustion!

Anyhow, we got home, did homework, studied for Tin's math test, and ordered Papa John's. While we were eating, Andrés asked, "Are there any shows on tonight?" I'm thinking, "Tuesday? Nah, nothing good," so I say to him, "No, but on Thursday 30 Rock is going to be live, so we shouldn't miss it." He looked at me kinda funny, but didn't say anything.

Later, once we got the kids into bed (early might I add!!!) and were finishing the last story of the night, I suddenly realized what he meant: The Grandpa Dan Show!!! I ran to the computer and made the call. Luckily, no one had given up on us yet and we still caught the show.

And gems like this.

I think it will be hard for Agustín and Nicolás when they grow up not to realize that most grandpas won't put on elaborate puppet shows and dress up in giant Mickey Mouse costumes for their grandkids.

These will be great memories that will stay with them forever. These will be the stories they tell to their own kids. "When I was little, my grandpa used to dress up in funny costumes and dance and sing for us with puppets he made with his own two hands..."

*Like we kids will always remember the Toby-as-dinner-table-shark episodes, cabin Olympics (and really so much more) as well as, my personal favorite, the mantra "Pretend it's a giant Hershey bar!" - and yes, I've taken to using that exact same phrase, although my kids, because of cultural considerations, have NO idea what a Hershey bar is. I'm going to have to change it to Manicero bar, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Remarkable Cows

Tin spent a good portion of his afternoon today listening to Rhinoceros Tap and reading/singing along with the CD. He was really proud of himself, that he sang all 19 songs. ("Nineteen songs, Mommy, nineteen! That's a lot." in his own words)

In the meantime, in my own book news, I am currently coveting Hoda Kotb's new book, released today, I believe. (It really is too bad her name is a swear word here in Ecuador or I would tout her a bit more around here, haha). I really hope it is on iBooks! Although I'd much rather have a hard copy, but I doubt it will make it to the bookshops down here.

I am also re-reading Gone with the Wind (on my iPod) - oh it is just so good, I'm already lost in the story in chapter 2!!! - and the best book ever, The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam. How could I have never heard of this book before? It was one of those purchases where, I had a few extra dollars and ran to the bookstore to treat myself with something, and couldn't find a single thing I thought looked good. Desperate, I spotted this little treasure. I was unsure, but went ahead and picked it up anyways, and I am so glad I did. So far, halfway through, I am really loving it. It takes place in the now-Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, and it feels nice to read something about a place so far away and "exotic".

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just a humhumming away

I had the window open this afternoon and was sitting upstairs in the bedroom on the computer when I heard two little voices just a-chatting away. Tin was walking around the backyard as if he had somewhere important to go, just talking up a storm, and Nicolás was just following him.

This went on for a good 20 minutes, until Agustín remembered the dentist's orders - lots of freezies and popsicles - and sat down for a bit of his "medicine". Still no problems with the stitches, so I think we can start cutting back on the freezies now for a while. Yesterday he (Agustín) had about 10.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Oral surgery

The end of this smile?

Agustín went in for minor oral surgery this morning, to get rid of the the flap of skin that connects his upper lips to his upper gum. It has grown too much, too long, and is between his teeth, which is why they are so separated. Last week when the kids went to the dentist (Agus 0 cavities, Nico 3!!!) the dentist said it was time. I was really really nervous, and once we got there Tin was too. It took over an hour just to get the anesthesia in! Once the Novacaine started working, however, he was fine, although not too happy about getting stitches. We go back next week to get the stitches out, but in the end, he was a real trooper and hasn't complained even once about it all.

With this little operation, he will be ready for braces if necessary, but hopefully once his front teeth start coming in they will correct themselves a bit. Although, if he needs braces, I don't mind at all. It may improve his speech, too, according to the doctor.

Friday, October 08, 2010

December Daily 2010

Getting my December Daily together. So excited to be starting on it. I am going to do all my pages the same size, like Ali Edwards, but not sure how I will like that. One of my favorite things about it in the past has been having different sizes and textures. We'll see, I guess.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Month at a Glance

So I have been gone for TOO long! I am going to try to be better - it isn't really the blogging I have been stuck on, it is the taking pictures. I haven't really been very good at all about taking pictures. Here are a few snapshots from the last four weeks:

The Grandpa Dan Show continues to soar off the charts. Agustín especially can not WAIT for the show each week, and looks forward to it more than anyone, I think. It's funny, because I think he talks about it to his friends at school, as if they knew what it was all about. He really likes getting the little assignment at the end. This week it was chocolate (that was definitely a popular one!), and next it's... oh brother, I forgot! Well, Agustín will remember I'm sure.

We have taken advantage of the sun, since it has been a bit MIA most days. We got a nice day, however, and had a little barbecue. The kids like watching Daddy light the fire.

I haven't been working full time this month, but the house is still a mess, maybe a bigger mess! I hope to get on it a bit next week. It doesn't help that Nicolás got into his closet (which is more like storage at the moment), and found some race tracks we had packed up. The kids had fun racing on them, as they hadn't seen them "in a really long time."

But mostly we have been enjoying each other's company, chilling a bit with TV and books and Legos, and just plain trying to keep out schedules as empty as possible.

I am looking forward to the next couple months - I love this time of year - decorating for Halloween, baking and cooking fall dishes, doing crafts for the upcoming holidays, and putting together my December Daily.