Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

When I picked Kate up from school today, she started talking about her costume for school tomorrow.  Have to admit.  Hadn't given that one ANY thought.  I just finished unpacking boxes 2 days ago and wasn't in the mood to find my Halloween box and put up all of our decorations!  I did at least find some pumpkins.  Apparently they are pretty rare around here.  These little, awfully shaped ones, were $10 a piece!  We decided we'd let Kate and Jake design 2 for our whole family.  I gave Luke some oranges to color on...

When we did pull out our box tonight to find our carving stuff, THANKFULLY, Kate found a witches hat and was thrilled to wear that tomorrow, and Jake found a Where's Waldo outfit that would be perfect for Trick or Treating.  So grateful they were so easy this year.  Normally I try to coordinate costumes... that'll have to wait until next year :)  We'll see what Trick or Treating is like down here!  Should be interesting!  

Oh!!!  And do you notice that Kate is toothless in the front?  She will officially be a toothless witch tomorrow.  We are all getting used to her little lisp and I'm trying to find soft things to put in her lunches!  Hard to eat when you can't bite much :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Typical Sunday or Any Day, Really...

Driving home from church on Sunday, we came across a pony and it's mom.  I made us stop to capture it because I've seen random horses eating the median on multiple occasions.  I almost got in a crash the first time I saw them, because the kids and I all wondered where they came from and if they were wild!  I had to get a better look and swerved just a bit...Here is Kate's school in the background of this shot:
 My Spanish tutor laughed at me and said there are no wild horses here.  Well, how was I to know?
They escape from the pastures and just wander... kind of pretty if you ask me.

Good Day

 Jake has been so pumped about his new bunk beds. All week I've been looking for his sheets and haven't been able to find them in any box.  I turned slightly psycho, staying up til 3am (and finally feeling my first earthquake down here), tearing through boxes, hoping I'd make my discovery.  Nothing.  I guess it was a good thing, because I put the house together pretty quickly!  I finally went upstairs into Luke's room/storage room, to do one final check.  All of the boxes were opened, and I was so disheartened, thinking that Jake wouldn't have sheets for his bed.  I poked around and found one box with the writing hidden on the other side.  We dug it out from all of the kids old clothes, and it said, "Bed sheets."  What a good day!  I ran to Jake's room and put his bed together.  He was so proud.  He kept telling me that he didn't fit in his old bed (the toddler bed) anymore.  He has grown wayyyyyy tooooo tallllll.  
 So, we'll save that one for Luke when he is ready to get out of his crib :)  
For now it's still getting some good use.  
 I was so happy about our discovery, I thought we'd celebrate with blueberry waffles.  Luke really wanted to help.  Everyone was feeling pretty grown up today.  It was a good day.

Sunday, October 28, 2012



Yes, our things finally arrived this last week.  

 We put the boxes to good use while we opened and sorted and put away everything inside of them.

 It really felt like Christmas!  It was so exciting to see and find things that reminded us of home!

And we finally found HIM.  The kids asked constantly, "Where's Snowball?  Where's the bear?" 

Even though Snowball is Kate's-- Luke adores him and snuggles with him whenever he can steal the chance. Good thing he got some time in while Kate was at school :)

We've spent all week going through everything and getting the house put together.  I LOVE the fact that I don't have to cram my closets full to the point of overflowing.  Love love love it!  We put the last two boxes out on the side of the house this morning.  Ahhh.  It feels sooo good.  The only things we found missing are, the microwave, fondue set, a couple of my big pots, laundry detergent and some of Joe's tools.  Hoping that maybe they "misplaced" a box or two and will soon find it... Who knows.  It just feels good to have the computer and office all set up, and our clothes in our closets.

I guess I have to get into a routine of some sorts... I'm settled in now, right?!  It's time to wipe the cobwebs out of my running shoes.  Heaven knows this Chilean needs it... BAD!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bad Words

Kate announced at dinner last night to me and the boys, that Gabriella told her there was the "F" word in some song--that it was a bad word, so she couldn't listen to that version of it.  Oh no.  I have to say, one of the perks of homeschooling was that Kate wasn't subjected to a lot of gross language.  "What's the 'F' word, Mom?"  Here we go, I thought.  The wheels were burning rubber in my head.  "It's not a nice word, honey.  We can talk about it when I tuck you in tonight."  The last thing I needed was to have 2 little boys hearing us discuss swear words.
Joe called while I was getting everyone bathed and I mentioned the conversation.  We agreed I should go ahead and tell Kate the swear words so she'd know what they are,
and know that we don't ever use them. 
I tucked her in bed, read her a story, and then began to explain swearing.  She got a funny look on her face and said, "I've never heard those before, Mom!  People who talk like that are stupid!"  Premature exposure?  Possibly.  Great.  Now that's all she's gonna think about!
Then our conversation ended on the best note ever, which eased my mind.  It went like this:

Kate: "Then why would singers put bad words in their songs?"
Me:  "Because they can't think of better words to use--they aren't very smart.  That's why, when you are listening to songs on iTunes, if it says, "clean" or "explicit", you always choose the "clean" song.
Kate:  "Oh ya!  Because the "clean" version is in white-- like an angel--like what Heavenly Father wants us to be like.  And the "explicit" is red, like Satan.  We don't want to be like him."

Thank you iTunes for making it so clear.  I love you Kate.   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quite Typical

Joe left for Brazil yesterday for a week.  We have worked it out so he drives Kate to school in the morning at 7am, so I can let the boys sleep a little bit.  Now that he's gone, I've got to get everyone up and out the door to drop her off.  Not that big of a deal, but Jake is now sick.  I hate waking a sick kid up when I know sleep is what he needs.  But we were up and out this morning.  On our way home from saying goodbye to Kate, I was telling Jake that he needs to drink tons of water to get better quicker.  This is how our conversation went:
Me:  "Jake, when we get home, I'm going to get you lots to drink, lots of oranges--"
Jake: "Because it's good for me?"
Me:  "Yes, and lots of strawberries..."
Jake: (As he does kind of a snort) "And DEFINITELY lots of spinach."
Way to go buddy. 

This afternoon I had a couple of errands I needed to run before we went back to school.  I went to the bank to change the password on my new credit card.  Joe told me I'd have to use my debit card to unlock the door to get into the bank where the ATM machine was.  I was proud of myself for keeping track of the boys and reading all of my Spanish cues correctly at the machine and changing my password without a glitch. Feeling pretty good, I said, "Come on boys, let's go get our carrots."  I pushed on the bank doors to walk out to the Jumbo grocery store and they didn't budge.  I pulled.  Nothing.  Jake asked why we were locked in.  I had no idea!!  I looked for a slot on the inside of the bank to slide my debit card in to unlock the doors and nothing!  I looked around and no one seemed to notice that the three of us were locked inside the bank.  I started to laugh.  I looked outside as I faced the doors, and a man happened to be walking by and noticed my dilemma.  Without slowing down (probably thinking what a lame-o I was), grabbed his debit card, unlocked the door from the outside and kept going.  "Gracias!!!"  As I walked toward the grocery store, I made a mental note to find out how get out of the bank before returning.

At the Jumbo, Jake found a Devil's pitchfork that he thought was so cool.  Begged me for it.  I told him no.  "Can I at least hold it while we walk around the store?"  He just loved the fact that it gave him a "longer arm."  Sure, that wouldn't be a problem.  When I got up to the front to check out, I handed the fork to the lady and said, "Gracias, pero no lo quiero."  She smiled big and checked the toy and bagged it for me.  Trying to take advantage of me by pretending she couldnt' understand my Spanish?  Possibly.  I could have fought her on it, but Jake's eyes were so big and he yelled out, "I can have it?!  Oh mom!  Thank you!  You're the best mom ever!" 
Nice.  I let it slide. 

I made my last box of brownies tonight that I brought with us from the US and while I was pouring in the ingredients, I found Jake playing with Luke with a big, black plastic bag over Luke's head.  I screamed.  Explained NEVER to do that again and then instead of pouring
2/3 cup of oil in my batter, I poured 2/3 cup of water.  Nice again.  No wonder my batter was so watery!

Then the phone rang and it was my new friend Leslie.  Her daughter, Gabriella, and Kate both started the 2nd grade in the same class on the same day.  The girls hit it off.  Leslie had just moved into their home and was calling to ask where we lived.  Turns out we are in the exact same complex.  What a blessing!  Another walking-distance-playmate.

Breathtaking sunset tonight from my kitchen window.  The sky was clear and the Andes Mountains were pink.  I stopped doing the dishes and went out to enjoy it.  I love my backyard. 

Highs and lows.  Quite Typical.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Two Weeks in and Home Sick

Kate caught a cold from some germ from some part of the world, 2 weeks into school.  I kept her home one day and look who missed her.  We all did. 
The kids decided to give me a makeover.  Kate did my hair and makeup and Jake did the bows and jewelry.  I think it should be my new look.  Story about the earrings I have on--when we were in Hawaii, we were shopping, and Jake dragged me back to a store we had already been in.  I told him 3 different times that we had already been in the store.  When I finally followed him back, he took me to these earrings and said, "Mom, I NEED to buy these for you.  You'll look beautiful in them." 

Sometimes Being a Minimalist comes in Handy

We've been living out of our suitcases for almost a month.  Our home is empty except for a few beds, one small sofa, a table and a TV that we've rented.  So when it rained nonstop over General Conference Weekend, we decided to utilize the space we had.

 and play a little dodge ball
among other things in our empty basement.

First Day of School

After Kate discovered that she couldn't learn to play the flute at Nido de Aguilas, Ms. Nancy informed her that violin was a possibility as well as all of the after school activities.  As I was reading through all of them and came to "fashion design," she almost had a heart attack.  "Mom!  Pleeeeeez can I do fashion design?" Unfortunately fashion design was already full, so we signed up for cooking and soccer. 

We got up at 6:30 am and Kate was pumped!  It was too dark outside to take a picture, so we did it inside.  We found out her teacher's name is Ms. Sam from New Zealand and there was another girl from Peru who would be starting the same day as Kate.
Suddenly she was extremely independent and didn't want me to help her with anything!  Even though she didn't want me to, I took a picture of her sitting at her desk, and then I said goodbye.  Cried the whole way home. 
Here she is at her first show and tell.  She can't stop talking about all of the experiences she is having and what friends she meeting...The only part she doesn't like is waking up early.  Neither do I :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012


It's important to have girlfriends to experience things with.
 Kate was worried about finding one.  She didn't know about Mary.  Mary and her brother Thomas (as well as their 3 older brothers) live in our same complex and go to church with us.  They are walking distance from our house and have been a HUGE blessing in our lives.  Kate and Jake LOVE to play with Mary and Thomas. Their mom, Elizabeth has been an immediate friend and resource to me! 
 So grateful for the Lamberts! 
Yes, the girls have hit it off.

Any Differences?

Yes!  There are quite a few!  First and foremost, everything is so much smaller!  The cars, the dishes, the mugs, the washer and dryers, the ovens, the toilets... The rest of the world must think that Americans are over the top.  I just blame it on our size!  But let's be honest.  You blow you nose once and throw the kleenex in this trash can, and it's full!  There's a reason the trash guy comes 3x a week instead of one :)

 Check out the papertowels compared to ours at home!  I am at the grocery store every other day it feels like, because we run out of things so quickly.
Pretzels come in containers
And tomato sauce comes in bags
But the little girl aisle isn't much different :)
  1. They don't have a section for refrigerated milk-- it all comes in cartons on the shelf
  2. No refrigerating the eggs either
  3. More yogurt than you could EVER imagine
  4. You have to get your fruit/veggies weighed by one of the workers before checking out
  5. The selection of hot, fresh, baked breads are to die for
  6. The meat cuts are different...haven't figured them out yet
  7. You tip EVERYONE down here-- for taking your shopping cart, for filling up your gas, for helping you back out of a parking spot (one day I had to tell the cashier that I didn't want the bagger to bag for me because I didn't have any change to give her!)
  8. There are Nana's (maids in their little uniforms) everywhere.  Ever read "The Help"?  That's what it feels like down here.  Huge disparity between the classes.
  9. Stray dogs everywhere (even German Shepherd types--Yikes!)
  10. To greet people, you kiss them on just one cheek.  But Joe found out his first day here, that men don't greet men this way--he really freaked the gay realtor out :)
  11. Every man for himself on the road
  12. Street Performers juggle, dance, to all sorts of tricks while you are sitting at red lights, and then come collect tips just before the light turns green
  13. The jardinero (gardener) asks you for black bags to put the trimmings in
  14. We've seen random horses that have escaped from their pastures, munching on the grass in the middle of a busy street!
  15. At McDonalds, they have Orange Juice and Peach juice as an option for the kids in their Happy Meals
  16. Restaurants are dead until 9 or 10pm at night!
  17. I'll be adding more, I'm sure :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blunder #2

Everything seemed to be going relatively smoothly...of course I hadn't had to really go anywhere or do anything yet :)  The kids were LOVING their new home and finding ways to keep themselves entertained even though we don't have much to play with. 
Suddenly, in about 30 minutes, it all fell apart.  The gardener, pool man and the maintenance guy to fix the windows all decided to come within 10 minutes of each other.  While I was trying to communicate with one of them, I found that the kids were up to their knees in mud with the hose in the garden.  I went to pick Luke and his soaked blanket up, and realized he had blown out his diaper as well.  I ran upstairs to put him in the bath, and in the 5 minutes it took me to clean him and get him dressed, I hear downstairs, "Oh No! I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry."  And then sobs.   I run down and see in the corner of our floor to ceiling glass, sliding doors, this:
Hadn't even been in the house for 1 week and we busted a window.  I was furious!  I threw Jake in timeout and then the doorbell buzzed.  Ali, Joe's bosses wife, had come by to see how we were settling in.  I opened the door and thankfully, I just love the woman, looked at her and said, 'We were doing really great until about 3 minutes ago!!"  She just swept right in and got the kids talking and me laughing.  I'm so grateful to know her. 
I found out later, that Kate and Jake were wanting to make crystal necklaces out of the rocks in the backyard.  Kate said they had to somehow break the rocks into smaller pieces, and since we didn't have tools, she was showing Jake how to throw them against the ground to break them.  Jake over shot his rock and it went right into the window.  We really need our toys :)  Still don't know how much that one is going to cost.  Been waiting for the estimate for a couple of weeks now. 

Feliz Cumpleanos

We had been in Chile for one week when I turned 34.  I never would have imagined a few months ago that I would be celebrating this day here :)  Joe got the kids up early and snuck out of the house.  When I heard the doorbell buzz, I was greeted by 3 big smiles, 2 dozen roses, and a box of Dunkin Donuts!  So cute.  They set everything up and we all had a yummy breakfast while Joe told me that he discovered the donut shop didn't open up until 9:30am.  What type of donut shop opens up that late??  Amazing. 

We had a 3 hour customs lesson later that day and then we got a call that Kate had been accepted to Nido de Aguilas. 
School.  I'll admit it has been a weight on my shoulders.  I have homeschooled Kate from day one.  We have loved it.  I've loved the flexibility; I've loved being in control of what she learns and how quickly she does it; I've loved our homeschooling community and the friendships we've made; I've loved the time we've been able to spend together.  When we found out we'd be coming down here, Joe's company said they would pay to put Kate into the best Private American School in the country, as long as they accepted her.  I just assumed I would keep homeschooling because it would allow us that much more flexiblity.  Joe felt strongly that Kate should get started in the school, so she could learn Spanish and have an amazing experience with friends from around the world.  I did agree, but worried a bit!  The days are long!  We'd be going from being around each other all day to only a few hours a day.  They weren't sure they even had a spot open for her, so we went ahead and made an appointment for her to get the testing done and have a tour of the school. 
She was really nervous and was really quiet as Ms. Nancy, the counselor, showed her around the school.  Nancy was amazing.  I fell in love with her instantly.  After Kate completed all of the testing, she looked at Ms. Nancy and with a smile on her face, she said, "I'd like to play the flute.  Can I do that here?"  Where the heck did that come from?  I had never heard that request before! 
Anyway, I got a message on my birthday that Kate had been accepted and she'd start school on Monday.  We ran out and got her uniform right then.  More on that to come. 

A little gift the kids surprised me with when I opened the kitchen cabinet :)

We went out after and tried to catch a movie together as a family.  We were 10 minutes late and found out that the movie which said it would be in English, was in fact in Spanish.  Decided to stay--it was Tinkerbell, and the kids wanted to see it, even if they couldn't understand it.  The popcorn is buttered with oil instead of butter.  We ended the night at a yummy Italian restaurant and finally found my special hair dryer so I could actually style my hair.  Yeah!  We were exhausted.  It was a good day. 

Blunder #1

Our first few days in our home, we didn't have hot water and we couldn't figure out how to work the heater.  It was FREEZING!  We were all bundled up in sweatshirts and socks and the first chance the sun had to warm our back deck, I was out there lying on it to warm my insides.  The toilet upstairs didn't work and 4 of the windows wouldn't lock. We were warned that when you call to have anyone come do mainentance, you never know when they will show up.  It might be that day or it could be in 3 weeks.  If they say they'll come at 1pm-- they will NEVER be there at 1pm.  It'll be at least 30-45 minutes later, if not a couple of hours.  So, when we couldn't take a hot shower to warm up, I started to wonder how long we'd be popsicles. 
THANKFULLY, a nice guy came out a couple of days later and got things working for us.  His wife and son were sitting outside waiting for him.  When we realized this, we invited them in, and she started talking to me.  I was using all of the Spanish I could to carry on a conversation.  I thought I was doing pretty well, until she asked me a question, and I thought I heard her say something about our backyard.  "Oh si, tenemos una piscina!"  She gave me a funny look and that was when I realized I couldn't understand one lick of Chilean Spanish.  What she had asked me was, "Do you need a Nana?"  Which is a maid.  And I answered with, "yes, we have a pool!" 

Where Are You From?!

After checking out the animals at the zoo, we continued around the park to the very top, so we could see the view of the city.  We got out of the car and bought some cotton candy from a vendor and headed up the steps to see the Statue of the Virgin.  On our way, a man stopped me to ask if he could take a picture of Jake with his blond hair and pink cotton candy all over his face.  Then another couple walking down the steps asked us where we lived.  Joe answered, "Lo Barnechea," because as of a few days before, it was true.  They just laughed and then said, "No really, where are you from?"  You might say we stick out here.  We aren't the only blonds, but we are definitely a minority.  But I think our size is baffling to most :)  We were told Joe and I wouldn't be able to buy pants or shoes here.  They stop shoes at size 9. You can be sure I went on a shopping spree before we left :) 

 Luke's signature grin-- every time we say "Smile," he pulls this face

Some random dude who wanted to have his picture taken with Jake as we were climbing into our car.  Maybe we should start requesting tips like everyone else here does :)

Our First Outing...

One thing we've quickly learned is that you can't just hop in the car and figure out how to get somewhere.  You have to know exactly where you are going or you're gonna get lost.  Our first Saturday here, we wanted to see something.  So we decided to check out the Parque Metropolitano.  It is a huge park on a hill in the middle of Santiago that gives you a 360 degree view of the ENORMOUS city.  There is a zoo at the base of it.  We hopped in the car and figured it would take us about 25 minutes to get there.  2 1/2 hours later and after driving through this one tunnel like 5 times, we finally found our way to the Parque.  A little frustrated, but trying to hold on to somewhat of our adventuresome spirit, we were just grateful we had an ipod that the kids were playing with, so they didn't realize we had been in the car for a as long as we had!

 No feeding the animals, but check out how this monkey figured out how to get what he wanted!

 The zoo is on a huge hill, so just walking around to see the animals was a workout!  Which was a good thing, considering all of the stress eating I was doing before our arrival!
This peacock was just hanging out by all of the onlookers.  The birds were our FAVORITE part of the zoo.  So many new varieties with bright, vibrant colors that we have never seen before!