Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Graduation Day 2011

Well, school is finally getting out here in the Southern hemisphere Andes. One thing I've noticed is that since many students go to private schools, and parents pay tuition on a monthly basis, parents want to "get their money's worth", so school never finishes in the middle of the month, like most places. Nope, the schools want to charge the parents for June as well, so the poor kids have to suffer through 10 months of classes and get only 2 months of summer vacation.

Nico graduated from pre-school today. Next year he'll be going to Paulo Freire with his big brother. We will miss Freedom, but not the homework. I feel like I'M going on vacation! Woohoo - no more homework!!!!

I guess it's fun for kids to have a little graduation ceremony, but sometimes I wonder - seriously? Now there is a ceremony for every grade. Agustin's is on Friday. Graduating from 2nd grade. Hmmmm. One more obligation for the parents, as well (and another day we have to ask for permission from work...)

OK, I'll stop complaining now, just because my kids look so cute posing with their diplomas...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Mess

School's winding down, and that means that every day there is a pile of books, notebooks, used pencils and markers and glue and tape and paints and construction paper and foam and glitter and... piles of it all coming home in the kids' backpacks. I can't keep up with it. It is accumulating everywhere. It is taking over the house. It's like the Blob.

I need a way to dispose of it all without the kids' seeing. Otherwise, they cry and pick it out of the trash!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Stash

He found it!

Daddy's (not-so-secret) stash of chocolate.

And, he found it right before bedtime.

Can you say, hyper?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bedtime favorites

The kids have picked up some bedtime favorites over the past few weeks. Agustin took to reading "Marvin K. Mooney, Will you Please Go Now?" a few weeks ago and got such a kick out of being able to read in English that he has decided to read it every night. Just the other night he said, proudly, "I almost have it memorized." Nico, when he hears that Tin is about to read it, whines, "I HATE Marvin K. Mooney!!"

Nico, not to be outdone, has decided that if Tin is going to insist on reading Marvin every night, then he will read something. Of course, he is just beginning in Spanish, so he chose a picture book that we got somewhere (for free, and you can tell), but he enjoys reading the words out of it (I suspect he reads the pictures but, oh well).

Lastly we have the classic The Monster at the End of this Book. Now, even I enjoy this one! Who wouldn't? And we bought the iPod app and it is so funny. The kids take turns, one reading along with Grover on the app, while the other follows along in the book, and then they switch.

The only problem? It makes for a long bedtime ritual. Some nights we have to get started by 7:30 just to be ready for bed at 8:30!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

The kids have a birthday party tomorrow. I caught Agustin walking around the house with an egg on a spoon, a few minutes before bed.
Me: "Whatcha doin'?"
Agus: "Practicing. Nico! You should practice, too! For the birthday party tomorrow."

So here they were, practicing a typical party game, with hopes to win a prize.

They also practiced their dancing, in case there is a dance contest.

ETA: They didn't win. But Agustin said he came in second place in the dance contest.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A brief look at our month

I feel bad that I haven't been keeping up on the blog, but then again, for it to be fun to read, it has to be fun to do. More than anything, I have been terrible about taking pictures. I have also been teaching a course in Guayaquil for a Master's program, in Spanish, and aside from hours and hours of prep, the actual stress of having to travel there every other weekend for three weekends in total has really taken its toll. Also, need I remind you, my Overdrive Media Console has forced me into reclusion. Soon, I expect that the novelty will begin to wear off, but until then, happy reading! :)

So, what have we got this month?

A beautiful, relaxing, warm trip to the beach house, where the kids played in the pool nonstop and we only saw the actual ocean for about one hour on Saturday.

Awesome weather, blue skies and no rain, and terrific food - the highlight being grilled prawns at $10 for about 5! YUM! Andres's great aunt went, as well, so we had a full house!

More pool pictures. (There are a lot more. Sorry, but since that is all we seem to do at the beach, the all look the same!)

Our home away from home. Too bad it takes five hours to get there. If only it were a two-hour trip!

Right after we got back from the beach, we started a bit of stress. Andres' mom went back into the hospital for pneumonia (and her stay lasted about 2 weeks again - but she is doing much better at the moment), I started prepping for a new English class I was informed about just a day before we started the cycle (on my birthday, no less!) and then I started the stress of preparing class for, and traveling to, Guayaquil. Well, only one more weekend of that (July 1-2) and I'll be done, and my students are awesome and, though my Spanish is a train wreck, it has been SO MUCH EASIER teaching it (Collaborative Learning) the second time around. The biggest source of stress has been trying to find resources and materials in Spanish, so some translating has been needed as well...

Also during this month I (well, Andres too) have attempted to start up running (jogging) again. We have taken the kids to the park a few times, and Daddy plays soccer with them while I walk/jog. They love it, and we get exercise. A win-win. But it always depends on the weather. Since we usually get home around 5 pm, that is usually when the cold mountain wind starts to descend on the city, so we usually don't bother. We have all been with the sniffles for a few weeks, and that icy cold thin mountain air does NOT help!

Plus, Nico usually peters out on us and then someone has to carry him back from the park. Of course, he doesn't mind!

Also, a friend of ours, the one who gave us the big crates of fruit a couple of weeks ago, sent us a huge crate of the most delicious strawberries I have ever had. If you got anywhere near this, it smelled like Strawberry Shortcake's hair. Pure heaven! Of course we couldn't get through them all. We ate about a fourth of them (you can't see it in the picture, but there is another layer under that top layer), froze another fourth, and with about half of them Andres made homemade strawberry preserves. Wow! It turned out so so so good!

It felt like strawberry heaven!

So, that is basically what we've been up to this month! I hope to get better about posting this upcoming month!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Silly pictures

Be careful. Be very careful.

If you allow the kids to go on Photobooth before bedtime, it will be very hard to get them to go to bed. They LOVE this program. They will snap picture after picture, using every possible effect, and each picture will send them into a fit of the giggles.

And afterwards, you will have hundreds, literally hundreds, of pictures to delete!