Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve 2010

What a great way to spend the end of an equally terrific year.

A tour of this year's año viejo contest on Amazonas.

Some pretty architecture.

A tour of the city and the viudas and viejos. (Grandpa Dan has some great pictures of the viudas, or widows.)

The green wig was a hit this year!

Lots of time with family.

Celebrating another year. (Happy birthday, Grandpa Dan!)

And we did end up making a viejo...

and burning it. (Shhhh, don't tell Agustín. He would NOT be happy! He prohibited us from burning the viejo this year.)

Amidst LOTS of fireworks. (Maybe a bit too much. A few went off a little too close to us, as well as our house windows!)

And my personal favorite story of the night. It was getting late, and Agustín was trying his best to stay up. We put him on the stairs to draw a bit. After a while he got up and started passing out pictures of dinosaurs that he had drawn. He had pictures for everyone, even people who weren't there (Great Grandma Ali is in Cuba at the moment on a trip, and Nico had fallen asleep in the car while we went out to see the viejos.) It was super sweet as he passed them out. He had written a dedication on each: To: (name).

He made it until 11. After I put him to bed, I found another drawing he had made. It was a picture of a a Hot Wheels car (a 7x7 - "Daddy, if 4x4 is good, why don't they make 7x7? That would be even better!" - his own personal invention). The drawing said: To: me.

I just love that sweetie!!!!

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Common Sight

Feel like you've seen this before?

He will never get tired of Legos.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mask hunting

Got out today to look for the perfect mask and see what kinds of things will be showing up in our viejos this year. Some Michael Jackson (as always), Shrek, Correa and police officers (re: Sept 30), Toy Story.

Back home it was reading time. Again. And again. And again. And again.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Star in our Midst!

There has been so much excitement around here waiting for the famous Grandpa Dan.

This morning at the beach the kids were ready to leave by 8 a.m. because "Grandpa Dan is coming!"

Every plane that went by later that evening had Grandpa Dan on it.

And now he is here and the kids are so so so happy. He is like a celebrity in their eyes.

I have a feeling he won't be getting much of a break from their attention!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Swimming in the rain

Spent the morning basking in the hot sun at the beach, then the afternoon in the pool. We didn't even get out when it started to rain.

Love these faces.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post-Christmas Trip

We decided to take a little trip to the beach the day after Christmas to warm up a bit from the colder Quito temps. The kids didn't seem to mind. It was nice and hot, hotter than the last time we were there.

Four pineapples and three papayas for a dollar means one big fruit salad!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hello Christmas 2010.

A visit from Santa during the night.

Stockings stuffed with cool treats. (When I was little the stockings were always always a favorite.)

Lots of discarded wrapping paper.

A few toys strewn every which way.

And a few favorite presents.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Family Pics

Christmas Eve. We spent part of the afternoon at Great Grandma Ali's, and the evening at our house, opening presents and having a nice turkey meal. We got our annual family pictures as well. It isn't easy getting the kids to sit still long enough to snap a couple of pictures, but I think they turned out OK.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Maybe our last Freedom Christmas pageant?

Today Nico had his annual Christmas pageant at his school (named Freedom). It was a bit shorter than other years but still a good three and a half hours. It started with a procession through the streets, election of the Christmas Queen, then a dance in Spanish and also in English for each grade level and class, then ended with Santa and presents and a special Michael Jackson performance from one of the kid's father. Nico did great. His dance was with ribbons and the kids were actually quite in sync with each other.

Last year he was one of the smallest kids in his class, but this year he is one of the tallest. Same kids. Go figure! I have no idea how he is growing - he sure doesn't eat much!

Agustín went with us since Daddy was working, but got a little bored. He's to "old" for this sort of thing now. I gave him my camera and he took a series of over 150 pictures with it. But I got a few gems!

He thought he was so funny, turning the camera upside down like that. I didn't want to disappoint him by telling him that I could rotate it back rightside up again on the computer.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December Daily 2010

Many of you know that I have been working on my December Daily. This is my third year in a row, and it is something I plan to always do, at least while the kids are small. It is a place to record my thoughts of the holiday season, our family's traditions, the way we spend a little of our daily life during the season as well. You may be reading these thoughts in my album at this moment, as I am using my blog this year to help me record my thoughts so that I can work on the actual album later in 2011.

The base of the album gets done in October or so, and then each day we record 1 or more pictures and a few thoughts about the holiday. This year I have been having trouble keeping it up to date since the Kodak place that used to be on the corner has moved to the mall, and what used to be a 10-minute trip up to quick develop a picture or two has become an hour or more, trying to battle holiday crowds and sparse parking at the mall. So I have made peace with myself and decided that getting it done in 2011 will be fine this year, for the sake of my holiday sanity. Here is my work station, which I will presently be putting away to make room for the festivities and guests. It has been here since October, so I think it is about time. :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Observatory

Every year the university gives the teachers a little "present" for Christmas. One year they had a choir sing carols outside in front of the cathedral. That was very beautiful. This year it was a tour of the Quito Observatory. This is special because the observatory is not open to the public yet.

We were given the tour, and it was cool because as not all the glass is on the stands, the tour guide actually took some of the instruments out and showed them to us up close. The building belongs to the Politécnica, but hasn't been fixed up or given any maintenance for decades. Finally they are doing something about this, and it looks very nice. It is an exact replica of another observatory in Germany. Apparently observatories on the equator are very important, which is why is was terrible that Ecuador hadn't taken very good care of theirs.

We brought the kids and they really enjoyed themselves. Especially Tin, who loved getting a first hand look at all of those cool instruments!

Later that night it was another edition of The Grandpa Dan Show. This is NOT getting old. It was the big Christmas finale show, and the kids had a great time, as always.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Picking out the perfect car

Today Agustín started his Christmas vacation. Nicolás has school until the 23rd. Nico was very disappointed, to say the least, that he had to go to school this morning and his brother didn't. Agustín and I spent a very quiet morning at home, him playing and digging through his brother's cars (which he can't do when said brother is home), and me just catching up on some work around the house. I love quiet vacation mornings...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A closer look

A closer look at our tree reveals our soft Santa Claus - one of the first Christmas ornaments Andrés and I got for our tree. There is also a gingerbread ornament the kids made a couple of years ago, and a big green car, which the kids also picked out two years ago.

I love looking at the ornaments and remembering the stories behind them.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Pageant

Today was the big performance. It went fine. Luckily I didn't have a main part, but as you can see it was a bit difficult to fit everyone into the auditorium. Plus, it had rained that night, so everything was wet and the kids had to stand. I'm not sure Agustín could see my stellar performance.

Here he is, next to the girl in the blue jacket. I couldn't get him to look at the camera!

I had Nico with me (Daddy had to work and the rest of the family is at the beach house), and he was somewhat difficult to handle (he was so nervous being alone in the crowd while I was on stage), but later I convinced him to be good by handing him the camera.

Later that day we had the annual CEC potluck. We had a great turnout, and it was a nice time to visit with teachers that I don't always get to see or spend time with.

The food was great too. We brought Buffalo cheese dip with homemade pita chips and Noodle pudding (a Taste of Home recipe - very interesting, everything I try from those magazines are perfect!), but there was also potstickers, egg rolls, candied almonds, hamburger noodle dish, lots of cakes and cookies and breads, salad, Christmas tamales, beer :), and I can't remember what else, but everything was delicious and I definitely ate more than I should have. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sheep... or Big Foot? :)

This year for the Christmas pageant at Agustín's school, the parents are putting on a show for the kids. In our grade we are doing the story of the reindeer who felt ugly, so we have to dress up like animals. I am a sheep. The costume was huge for Ecuadorians, but I barely fit into it.

Agustín is VERY excited to see Mommy out there dressed as a sheep.