Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Morning!

We were still able put up the Christmas wrapping paper, although it was driving Kate crazy!!!  She woke up 2 1/2 hours before everyone else and finally went and woke up Jake.  We got Luke up too and when the older kids tore through the paper, Luke wasn't too hot on the idea...

 He was either really freaked out or really mad that he was left behind! 
 Just a glimpse into his intensity :)
 We had fun!

 Kate picked out a spatula for Joe because he's the best french toast maker ever.
 Kate picked out a little black purse for me so I can take it on dates with Joe.
 Jake picked this out all by himself.  I love this little man.
 Luke wasn't so sure about one of his presents at first, but soon realized it was really cool.
 Spiderman took care of all of us!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve... Always magical.  The kids are growing so fast--life feels just like this!  I'm so grateful for every single moment we have together.  
We cut our Christmas tree down every year...but unfortunately in Chile that type of thing isn't done.  People put mangers in their fireplaces.  We don't have a fireplace... but we found some great spots for our manger scenes.  Joe and I were talking about getting a fake tree as we were bringing out all of our decorations.  "Why don't we just have a Christmas forest?"  They asked....hmmm...if that makes you excited, PERFECT!  So that's what we did.  Behind those beautiful blurs is our forest.  
This was our first Christmas with just our little family.  I wanted to make if feel as much like home as possible, because I know we would all be needing it!  So I went to work.  What would make us feel more like home than Nana's Lasagna.  Homemade sauce and meatballs with a bit of a Chilean twist due to the supermercados and their selective choices :)
We pulled out our Christmas plates, used our best table and even set the candles!

Someone was excited

It was yummy.  It was worth it.

The kids could barely stand themselves!  In fact, Jake went ahead and opened up a present that he said "just needed to be opened!"

Kate wrote her letter to Santa and wanted the tree to "Hold it in a Hug."  Can't do that with a real tree!  We had our Christmas Eve celebration and watched a beautiful video of the birth of our Savior and then as I was getting the cookies out, Jake came running in:  "Mom!  We need to put 6 cookies on Santa's plate so he'll be Jolly.  Because we want Santa to be really jolly."
It was a wonderful night.

Friday, December 28, 2012

San Alfanso (AKA: The Biggest Pool in the World)

When we found out we were moving to Chile, we weren't quite sure how to break it to Kate.  We figured she would be the one who would grasp the brevity of it all.  So we bought a few books about the country with plenty of photos.  After we had a good cry, she went to bed and started looking at all of the books.  She came out an hour later with a small smile on her face and said, "I want to see the biggest pool in the world."  
Little did we know it would only be less than 2 hours away!  We decided that because we would be staying here for Christmas, we wanted to do something special.  We would all be missing our family!!! 

So, after the last day of school, we packed our bags and headed to San Alfanso for the weekend.
What a RELAXING way to spend the upcoming days 'til Christmas!  I was taking pictures of Kate and Jake and looked over to see Luke completely and totally at ease.  LOVING IT!
Kick your shoes off and enjoy!!!

Luke finally decided he liked sunglasses on this trip!  Yahoo!!!  I've been trying for a while because the sun is soooo strong down here.  He loves to put them on top of his head too...makes him feel like he's the coolest guy in the room.
We took a nice leisurely walk around the entire pool and it took us 1 1/2 hours!  It truly is like a lake.  It's a bit frigid, and at times you will see sailboats, paddle boats, swimmers, and kayaks out in the middle of it...sorry, a bit too cold for me to be doing any swan dives...I just waded :)

There wasn't too much to the town outside of the pool!  A few cool little places... we found a great Italian restaurant...

and some YUMMY, fresh baked churros along the seashore.
and then spent more time in the sun :)
We can't even escape the stray dogs along the coast!  THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!!!
So amazing.

Yes, that is Joe out there going for a swim!  
I happily said I'd keep an eye on things in the nice, warm sun.

Fun, Fun, Fun!  If you look closely behind Luke, there are a bunch of people sitting in an exclusive area at the resort.  You have to pay by the day to go in there.  We noticed toward the end of the day that everyone had red, blue or purple swim caps on.  For some reason it gave us the giggles.  We decided we were having enough fun.  We didn't need to don bright colored caps...
And here's the proof!  
Thank you Joe for treating us to such a fun weekend for Christmas!  

2F Class Party

Thankfully, the next day, the storm subsided and it warmed up a bit.  Just in time for Kate's class swim party.  Here they are in all of their glory with Ms. Sam and Ms. Connie!
A lifeguard provided the safety and the entertainment:  squirt guns, water games and 
massive water balloons.  
The party was held at one of Kate's classmates homes.  A gynormous mansion I might add.  Kate noted that she'd like to buy the home...go for it, babe. 
A perfect way to end the semester.  SCHOOL'S OUT!  Yeah!!!

Missionaries for Dinner

To celebrate my parents 42nd wedding anniversary on December 19th, we invited the missionaries over for dinner :).  I woke up that morning to a FREEZING, raining, thunder and lighting sort of day.  Great.  I was planning to have a picnic dinner with BBQ chicken sandwiches and watermelon among other things... better plan for a few warm dishes too!  Table was set, food was ready, and we were all waiting for Joe and the missionaries to arrive.  Then I got a phone call.  The rain was causing such massive problems in downtown that Joe couldn't even get out of the parking garage.  He sat their for 30 minutes and no one moved.  He wouldn't be coming home for dinner. 
Missionary rules:  they can't come into a home if a man isn't there.  What were we to do?  I asked them what our options were. "Well, we can eat out on the back porch!"  So that's what they did.  The kids and I ate in our nice, warm, dining room, and I supplied the missionaries with food, and bundled them with blankets while we listened to the sheets of rain pelting on roof and the night sky being lit up by lightening.  It was crazy.  I felt like an awful hostess.  Who would have guessed that we'd have a cold spell in the middle of summer?! 
 Maybe it was Heavenly Father's way of giving all of the gringos a taste of home at Christmastime.  I have to admit, I enjoyed wrapping up in my robe to keep warm as I turned the Christmas lights on that night :)

Music Celebration

At the end of the semester, before the 2 month summer break,
 the students get to put on a musical performance for their parents.  
We were sure not to miss it!
 Kate's class was first... I was so happy we weren't late-- early in fact!  We got a really good seat!
 I think she was excited :)

All of the sudden the kids transformed into little birds and they took flight!
They did a great job!  More Ghanan music with a good rhythm and a catchy tune.  Jake was rocking out next to me.  He wanted me to catch it all on video.
The kids got to relax after their performance and enjoy the others.  I was so proud of Kate!  
Here is a taste of the music.