Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Dance

Thank you again for your order from the Scrapbook.com Superstore. We wanted to let you know that your order was shipped today.

Oh happy happy happy!!!!!

I cannot wait to look at (and play with) my goodies.
Project Life will be starting soon and SO super excited.

December Daily is all caught up and I have found a bit of a groove. Going all out this year and printing the photos at home, regardless of price and quality of photo paper. Getting the stories down as they happen is invigorating and makes the project that much more fun.


Friday, December 02, 2011

December Daily 2011

December has started, and it is also the start of my December Daily album. I have been so excited to start this year, although I feel like I didn't get the base pages finished until just a few days ago (I normally have that part ready to go at least a month ahead of time). It has been getting harder to figure out how to get the pictures developed, as the Kodak place that used to be right up the street has moved to the mall, but I will be trying to use my computer to print out photos a little more. I didn't really like doing the photos each week last year, and proof of that is that it my 2010 album didn't get finished until October 2011... I like having the photo in hand before I figure out what to do with the page.

I won't have access to Internet or my printer for the next few days, and I am not sure I will be able to print photos until next Wednesday. I do worry that will set me back right at the beginning of this project, but I still look forward to it. I plan to just do more journaling those days to compensate.

So, here are the base pages, before anything is put on them. I am following along with Ali Edwards's basic design (pages separated by strips of transparency or photo pockets) and super excited how this will look at the end...!

My cover. I tried to do something more on the lines of Ali Edwards, with flocking and embossing and white on white, but the paper and paints I was using didn't let the flocking and powder set, and so finally I said to myself, no, keep it simple. And that will be my mantra this holiday season. Keep it simple. So white stickers on white paper and a splash of color - red ribbon with blue snowflake. The inside is painted cream and topped with a Christmas-y "tag".

Now for the the inside pages. Remember, there is a photo page protector thing-y or transparency (in some cases vellum) between each daily spread. The first one started with a photo pocket page, but I just put in some fun embellies, no photos here yet. I apologize for the glare. Had a hard time getting the colors and lighting just right - darn low energy lights! - and was doing this at midnight last night.

Here you can see how the vellum is just separating the first page from the pocket protector.

Page 2, two page spread:

Page three. Love this lace cardstock (it was orange on the other side, painted over it in cream and it turned out a little pinkish.)

Page four.

Page five.

Page six.

Page seven. Loved making my own overlays with bits of stickers and rub-ons...

Page eight - pockets that will be filled in that day with pics, journaling, or other odds and ends. Excited to try this this year. Found some business card holders and just cut them up. Super cheap -like 20 cents each!

Page nine.

Page ten.

Page eleven.

Page twelve.

Page thirteen.

Page fourteen.

Got a shot of the other side of page fourteen.

Page fifteen.

More pockets to fill in!

Page sixteen.

Page seventeen.

Page eighteen.

Page nineteen.

Page twenty.

Page twenty-one.

Page twenty-two.

Page twenty-three.

Page twenty-four.

Page twenty-five.

So, that's it! Can't wait to fill it up.

(As I go to hit publish, I am a little nervous. I am having major formatting issues with Blogger. It keeps putting 20-30 extra lines between paragraphs and pictures. Crossing my fingers the post shows up ok...)

Looking back at last year's post, I just realized that I had solved the lighting issue by using my scanner. Silly me!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shoe store or closet?

Shoes are so expensive here that we usually stock up when we have a trip to the States. Andrés really gets into getting the boys their shoes for the coming year, and usually goes ahead and gets shoes for other coming years, as well. Consequently, both boys have closets full of shoes in different sizes.

It works great for Agustín - if we forget to have him wear a certain shoe and he outgorws it, it goes directly to Nico. However, if we forget to have Nico wear his... well, then it goes to a co-worker whose son is a couple of years younger than Nico. Recently we had to give her two pairs of shoes - never been worn - from Old Navy and The Children's Place, which were so so cute but just didn't fit anymore.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gushing over our new faucet

We finally got our faucet fixed. As I thought, we couldn't find the same piece, and there was nothing in white anywhere in the city. According to the plumber, ours was Spanish and the Euro has gone up, so they've stopped importing the white ones. This winter we'll be faucet shopping in the U.S., that's for sure.

It turns out the old faucet was ceramic and very good quality. The plumber almost cried, having to change it. He got all misty-eyed and basically said, "They don't make them like this anymore..." Who would have thought?

On a more positive note, we are enjoying the new faucet. Since it isn't "green", it isn't one of those water saving devices, so water actually comes out of it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Slipper time!

Nico found some slippers in his closet that used to be Agustín's. They fit him and so we went ahead and put them on and started walking around the house. They don't have names yet (that I know of), but they have already been introduced to Sprinkles.

They've also been pet a lot, just like a real dog.

Agustín, of course, was upset that all of his slippers are too small (note to self: this Christmas in Minnesota, be sure to get the kids slippers), so we took out Daddy's! They are a bit too big but he doesn't mind. I actually think these had to have been Amy's at some point, and she was probably going to throw them away and Andrés saved them. So, just in case, Agustín says, "Thanks, Aunt Amy!!!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A small slice of our afternoon

Playing with Bakugans tonight after school. Just a lazy afternoon at home, dragging out toys we haven't seen in a while. Notice how Duckie is never very far behind.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New words for Halloween

Not living in the U.S. means that sometimes my kids are a little restricted in terms of their vocabulary. That, or they get very influenced by mine. I decorated for Halloween a couple of weeks ago, and now whenever the kids go downstairs and see the decoration, I hear:

"This house is so spooky!"

"Spooky stuff!"

"Mommy, this is spooking me..."

And the funniest one yet. Agustín went downstairs for something and came running back up like a bat out of hell, yelling, "This house is seriously freaking me out!"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Today was a bit warmer, so there was more pool in the morning, before we had to leave for Quito (the ride back generally takes a good 5 hours, and the last part is in the windy hairpin-turn roads of the high Andes, so we like to try to get back before it gets dark, around 6:30-ish). The pool water was quite cold, however, since the sun didn't come out and heat it up yesterday, but if you think the kids cared, or even noticed, you're wrong!

I got some crochet out and worked on some projects I have going at the moment.

(Do you see the use I am getting out of my thirty-one sachel-bag? Yay! I love it!)

Ahhh, what a life. I could honestly live here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pool...Ocean...? Pool wins!

The whole way to the beach yesterday, Agustin said, "I don't want to go to the ocean. It's boring. Let's stay in the pool."

I guess I have no problem with that. The pool really is amazing! And we basically had it to ourselves this weekend. And we don't get all sandy, are close to the bathroom, close to the house for Diet Coke and beer refills. But personally, I love the ocean, and we decided that before it got dark tonight, we needed to get down there and check it out (it nevers changes, I guess, but how can we go to the beach and not see...the beach!?)

The tide was high, the water cold (it was not as hot as it normally is, although beautiful weather, nonetheless), and Agustin hurt his foot, which made the two-block walk back to the cabin a bit of a ... trial.

But we came, we saw, we walked (for five minutes). So I got my beach fix, I guess.

No worries. We'll be back in about three weeks, for finados.

(Mmmm, just thinking about colada morada. Yum!)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Over the mountains...

Over the mountains and through the cloud forest, to the beach we go.

The car knows the way to carry us through the fog and winding roads, oh!

I love this time of year. Although summer is my absolute favorite (love. the. heat), the end of the year is so exciting, with all the holidays (Halloween, Thanskgiving, Christmas, New Years, Agustin's birthday, fiestas de Quito, Finados...).

I always loved that song about going to grandma's house with the horse pulling the whole family through the snow (reminded me of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who I secretly always wanted to live like, at least for a few days, lol). But being able to enjoy the beach and the heat and the pool and the ocean in October is wonderful, too. I guess driving through the cloud forests and winding around the warm tropical roads, barely missing the poor iguanas who are just trying to cross the highway, is better than taking a horse through the snow to grandma's house...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The mochila

The boys have a special mochila they use to store all their Lego Hero Factory heroes. (2.0! 3.0! four point oh!!!!) We bring it everywhere we go, basically...to restaurants, to Grandma's house, in the car for car rides.

As Agus says, "Mommy, we need to have something to do!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Homework Blues...Not!

I know I complain a lot about the amount of homework Agustin gets. Last year wasn't bad at all, but otherwise so far in his school career he has gotten all the teachers who think giving hours of homework is the solution to everything (mainly I believe it is just poor organization - not getting through your curriculum because you probably didn't plan class, but I digress). (And to be fair to some of his teachers, many times it is the parents who complain that "not enough" homework is being given out. What I have come to realize is that since most parents work such long hours, the homework keeps the kids busy and in the house and out of trouble for the entire afternoon, and the parents don't have to worry so much about them. Maybe more homework should be given in the U.S. as well...)

Anyhow, this year Agustin has had about 2-3 hours of homework almost every night (one nice thing about his school is that homework is not given on Fridays - that is, as Agustin keeps reminding us, until seventh grade, lol). Almost every day he gets Math and English (easy peasy - or as Agustin says, "tillos!") , and then maybe Spanish or Social Studies or Science. Some nights he gets reading homework and book reports (which I will not complain about because I am so happy to finally see some reading getting into the curriculum here - and the book reports are just what the teachers should be doing - more like how you can relate the story to your life and what parts of the story you liked best rather than a "test" to see if you read the story or not).

Every night he comes home and we sit down to hours of work... but he is so happy. He loves his homework. He thinks it is fun, and exciting, and there is always some aspect he gets a kick out of (like, "I get to draw a picture!" or, "I have to put this in the right notebook in red ink", etc). That is really something I love about him - he has such a sunny disposition, most of the time, and can find entertainment in anything (I will always remember how at a restaurant he'd take the napkins and fashion them into ships or planes and have "crashing" and "exploding" sessions - anyone who has gone out to eat with us knows what this can be like).

One of his assignments this year is to create a diarama of the solar system. Oh boy, has he been excited about this. We have two weeks to get it done, and so have been taking it slowly. Tonight was painting night, and even Nicolas got in on the action. After everything dries, we will just have to put it together. His favorite planet is Mars now (he is getting over the Pluto disappointment, I think), but I think his favorite part of putting it together will be putting in the asteroid belt.

They really loved figuring out what colors each planet should be. We must have had about 3-4 books open to help us get the right color for each one!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The school routine (at least this week)

This week I am off and so I am in charge of dropping the kids off at school and picking them up again. The drop off takes about an hour - traffic is horrendous! And pick up really isn't that much better, just that it is warmer by then (the mornings have been SO cold) so I am happier. I like to get in the car, which is roasting, and not open the windows or anything, just sweat through it and let the sun beat on me and have my own little private sauna session, until the kids get inside and absolutely melt, crying and whining the whole time that they are going to die because it is so hot.

Well, they really aren't exagerrating. It is HOT!

When I pick them up from school, I have to have a juice box for them (or they melt and absolutely die since they are so thirsty), and then it is off to Grandma Shushu's, where we have a lovely lunch waiting for us. Then off to do some homework. Now Shushu lives just a block away! It is so nice knowing that she is so close. I'm not sure she necessarily likes living "out in the boonies" (or in the south of Cayambe, as my brother-in-law says), but I think she likes being near the kids at least. :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Strawberry jam

A few months ago, a friend of ours gave us a whole bunch of strawberries and Andres ended up making strawberry preserves. It was such a hit, especially with Agustin, who kept asking us when he was going to make more. So, finally this weekend, we went out on the highway to kind some big crates of strawberries. Up near El Quinche we hit the jackpot - got a huge crate for just $6! And now we have about 4 jars of preserves. Yum!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Running again

Today I ran, for the first time since our 5K in August. I didn't go for very far, but it felt so good (until later that night). My knees are a bit sore but now that I got the maiden voyage, so to speak, out of the way, I expect I will be able to find more motivation to start running again. Who knows? There may be another 5K in my future, a 5K through the mountains of Quito!