Thursday, January 31, 2013

Little Man

We found a restaurant called The Tortilla Factory that resembles good Mexican Food.  Wahoo!  So, I took the kids there after we tried out a piano teacher for Kate.  (We were excited to find a Korean women who advertised that she would be teaching in English.  Double wahoo!!!)  The kids and I ordered and when the food came out, Luke looked right at the waitress and announced, "GRACIAS!"  I was floored.  This kid finally just started speaking English and a "gracias" came flying out of his mouth!  Since then, whenever the doorbell buzzes, he's the first one to open it-- "Hola!"  And the last one to wave goodbye with a whopping "Chao."  I LOVE it.  My little bilingual man.  
Throw in some of his dance moves and he's the cutest kid in South America.   

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


After exploring that colorful city, we hopped in the car and headed north through Vina del Mar
 for a delicious lunch
end then onto our 2nd Stop:  Zapallar

a beautiful beach town with a coast that reminds us of home


 We explored the coast 

 and after massages overlooking the Pacific Ocean, we ended up at Chiringuito, an incredibly yummy restaurant right on the water.
Attached to the restaurant is where you can watch the fishermen prepare fish for you to take home.


 The waiters never bring your check until you ask for it-- so we decided to take advantage of the nice evening and stay until the moon made it's appearance.

 And then headed back to our hotel
 These cute, kind souls offered to take a picture of the two of us... I wasn't going to put my camera into their hands for fear that they'd run off with it :)  So I ask them for a picture and they HAPPILY obliged, throwing out every English word they knew, including "sexy lady" from that Korean song that is so popular right now... Nice...
What a wonderfully, relaxing time!  I loved every moment with you, Joe.  Can't wait to see what the next ten years (and more) hold for us.  Love you forever.


January 24, 2013... Ten incredible years together.  Funny how we can't believe it's been a decade, yet life before our commitment to each other seems like a long, long time ago.  
We had to do something to celebrate!  A little tricky when our family isn't around the corner to spend some QT with the kiddos.  Although a little nerve-wracking, we made it work by splitting the 3 days between 2 babysitters.  Antonia, a cute, completely bilingual 16 year old who lives right down the street, and our sweet Nana, Sandra, who comes 2x a week to help around the house (like ironing Joe's shirts--it's fabulous!!) She only speaks Spanish.  I made sure to have friends check up on them, and with a little faith, we were off to explore the coast.  

1st stop:  Valparaiso
A port city built among hundreds of hills, right on the water.  
Fantastic to see all of the color and the ingenuity of the builders to make it work!!!While we were having dinner overlooking the city, Joe surprised me with the BEST possible gift ever.        He told me that when we got back to the hotel, there was something waiting for me on his computer.  Normally he has a hard time keeping a secret...but this time I really had NO CLUE what he was up to.  "When we are finished with dinner, we can go back to the hotel and watch the video of our wedding."
"WHAT?!!!!!!!!!"  You don't understand how exciting this was for me.  We have never seen it.  The videographer told us that he lost all of our footage when his computer crashed.  I had given up hope about 8 years ago.  Joe got an email from him about a month ago, saying that he had all of the raw footage-- did we want it.  OF COURSE!!!  So, without me knowing, he contacted our amazing friend, Jonathan White, and had him edit and put together my 10th anniversary BEST. PRESENT. EVER. 
Thank you with all of my heart.
 And with that, we continued our exploration of Valparaiso.
 A quirky city full of character

 Funiculars:  Really old escalators that take you from the tops of the hills to the bottom

You can take one of these or....

 colorful stairs :)

 An artist's haven where graffiti has become part of the art...

 View from our hotel
 Apparently our hotel was one of the few that had "secure" parking.  When the lady gave us the key for the parking lot and told us it was only 5 blocks away, we hopped in the car and came upon this gate:
 Looked sketchy to me--secured by a simple chain and key lock--but when we went to pick it up the next day, it was still there!!
 If you don't have a car, a horse is always a good runner up.

 Walking among the hills, we came upon another chapel wedged between the colorful homes and restaurants.  Even though I know our church is world wide, it is still exciting to fall upon them!


I think we could have made Guinness Book of World Records last week for the amount of time we owned a pet.  We figured it'd only be a matter of time before we owned some form of a pet.  Kate has been pleading with us for years.  Really.  Years.  So the other morning, I came up from the basement to get some water after  exercising, and I saw a mother cat carrying her little kitten in her mouth into the back corner of our yard.  Hmm.  Interesting.  I didn't say anything about it until the next day.  I told Kate what I saw, and she went bolting out to the spot where I had pointed.  No cats.  "Well," she reported, "sometimes I see that cat go into the bushes by our pool."  
Before I could blink, I hear, "MOM!!!  THERE IT IS!  THE KITTY!"
I couldn't believe it.  It's like animals gravitate to her.  There it was, curled up and alone.  I told her to let it be, because the mama cat was probably coming back for it.  
Then it started crying and crying and crying...Kate stood there and meowed back of course... but still, I told her to leave it alone.  Well, it cried all afternoon, and around 6pm, when we saw it's little shaky legs trying to crawl through the foliage to Kate, 
we decided we should take it to the vet to see if it was ok.  
"Are we really going to keep it?!!!  I can't believe this is happening.  I MUST be dreaming!"  
She squealed.  
I've never wanted a cat.  But a kitten is a different story :)
If it had been abandoned, then we couldn't just let it cry in our backyard!  I was worried about bugs and ringworm so I wouldn't let the kids touch it.  Off we went to the vet.  I told the kids that we would have it checked out and if it didn't have any diseases, we could keep it.  But if there were little stray buggies inside of it, we'd have to find someplace else for it.
The vet began the exam and then went over to the computer to enter our information in.  "Un Nombre?"  He asked.  "A name?!"  Who knows!  I just want to know if the thing is clean...
"CHARLIE!" A voice rang out loud and clear from my right.  "I want to call him Charlie."  
So, after purchasing food and vitamins, kitty litter, and a thorough exam, we brought Charlie home.  The kids were elated.  I admit, for not loving cats, kittens are really cute, and this might be fun.  We cuddled it and played with it for about an hour, and then I made everyone wash hands for dinner.  As we were eating, I heard something that made me a little uneasy.  Another meow.  I told Kate to run outside and see if she could see the mama cat.  She came tearing around the corner white as a sheet.  "It's out there!  It was staring at me!  Those eyes!!!!"  And she burst into tears. So I went to take a peek.  There was the mama.  And those eyes!!!  She looked possessed.  No wonder Kate was freaked out!  I explained what was happening to the kids and that we needed to give Charlie back to the mama--a flood of tears.  I picked him up and his little claws clung to my shirt, so I couldn't put him down on the back porch.  
National Geographic unfolded before our eyes in our own Chilean backyard.  The mama cat hissed and showed it's fangs as I was trying to free Charlie's little claws from me.  I finally put him down and she hissed again, darted for her baby, grabbed him, and they disappeared again behind the bushes.  

    Kate doesn't want another kitty.  She said their eyes are too scary when they grown up to be cats.  

                                 We had a pet for about an hour and half.  Charlie was his name.  
(anyone need any kitten food or cat litter??)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bath Time

Love. Love. Love.

Happy Birthday Jose!!

January 18th is a great day.  Kate couldn't sleep the night before because she couldn't decide what we'd make in the morning for breakfast for Joe for his birthday.  She came down at 11:54pm while I was preparing a few of Joe's favorite things, and was just giddy.  "Wake me up in the morning so we can surprise Dad!"   We had so much fun planning and surprising little things to make his birthday a great one.  This has been a crazy time at work for Joe, so I asked him how we could celebrate best.  He asked if at all possible, I could make Mom's rolled tacos for his birthday dinner.  Of course!  I went to the store to get all of the ingredients, only to find that the grocery stores don't sell corn tortillas down here!  What?!!!!  Thankfully, I started this process a couple days for his birthday!  I went on a hunt.  Found a "Tortilla Factory" that I could special order them and the kids and I went on yet another adventure.  It was a success!  Homemade corn tortillas!  YUM!!!!  
Just don't ask me about how after our success story, I got stuck trying to get out of the parking lot, because I didn't know I was supposed to have purchased a ticket and there were cars lining up behind me and Kate was freaking out...  We survived!
Joe woke up to Swedish pancakes and then after he left to go to work, the kids and I went to work making cookies and a big banner for him.  We thought it'd be fun to leave them in his office for him while he was out to lunch.  After getting through yet another dramatic parking incident, and trying 4 different floors in his building-- we found it!  And we also found Joe sitting at his desk!  Too busy for lunch!  We gave him hugs and hung our banner up and let him get back to his phone call.  

 The rest of the day we wrapped presents and I went to work on the rolled taco feast.  We were all SOOOO excited to sit down and eat!!
 Thanks Mom, for this DELISH tradition.  It tasted just like home!!!
 I have loved every single birthday with you!


 Jake saw these hats in the store and got so excited thinking that the boys could all match.  He was determined that this would be the perfect gift for his dad.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that I could only find smalls and mediums, and Dad had a bigger head than that!  So we got the smalls for the boys and the medium for Joe :)  Hopefully I'll be able to go to another store and find 
a bigger size!!!

 Kate picked out the perfect wallet for him and even helped him organize it!  
 Luke surprised his Dad by strutting around the house yelling "SURPRISE!"  and then doing a little dance, over and over again.  We didn't know he could say that!  Let alone all of the other words that are finally starting to come out of his cute, little mouth.  
"Chocolate Death" for dessert (forever grateful for Alyson Whitaker giving me this recipe).  Yes, those are 3 mini bundt cakes stacked on top of each other.  I've given up trying to do a normal size bundt in my oven.  Never turns out.  But the little ones do!  They cook more evenly.  So, we stuffed ourselves silly and had a lot of fun celebrating our favorite person!  
What a wonderful day!

Super Family

As I was doing the dishes one afternoon, I heard a little body run around the corner and come tearing into the kitchen.  "MOM!  WE HAVE TO SAVE SOMEBODY!"  I looked up and saw this:

Yes, that is one of my old pedometers attached to the waist of those angry bird briefs.  Jake had discovered his purpose and found a costume to match.  I was hysterically speechless.  Then I realized he had been glued to the "Larry Boy Super hero" movie and music that Momo and BG had sent for Christmas.  In one of the Veggie Tale songs Larry says, if you don't have a uniform, just grab some underwear!  And that is exactly what Jake did.   
The following day Jake came to me with one of his undershirts and a sharpie, and his pack of power on his back.  Apparently the footie jammies were a little too hot.  "Mom, I need you to write Super Jake" on my shirt for me.  It's been worn for 3 days straight. Notice a new set of briefs over the shorts?  I even found our super hero swimming in the pool in his get-up.  The best part is that every night this week, when Jake says his prayers, he asks Heavenly Father to bless our "Super Family," and I am now officially addressed as "Super Mom."  I hope you'll ALWAYS use your powers for good, Jake!  You are superbly super and I'm so glad we are in this one together :)