Sunday, April 27, 2014

La Dehesa's Fancy Footsteps

The La Dehesa Relief Society wanted to do a cultural dance night in April.  We were to have dances performed by the Americans, Peruvians, Brazilians and Chileans.
 I found out the night before that I was in charge of the American team.  THANKFULLY Tiffany, Anne and Laura showed up and came prepared with their part of the dance ready to go!
I spent the evening prior getting the music spliced together and relearning the official YMCA dance with 3 Asian women on Youtube.  It was classic.  

It actually turned out to be a lot of fun...when ours was over :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Few More Easter Highlights

Before we tucked the kids in bed on Saturday night, we snuggled in and read a story about Jesus' last week of ministry.  The questions kept coming and so what I thought would be a 20 minute special bed time story, turned into quite a late, but memorable night.  It was all worth it on Sunday morning in Primary, when Jake's hand shot up every single time a question was asked in sharing time.  His face literally lit up every single time because he knew the answers and he couldn't wait to share them!  I have been in Primary Jake's entire lifetime.  This was one of the few times I have seen him actually get excited about something in there and it felt so good!  

I had to leave early for meetings on Sunday morning, but that didn't stop a little someone from visiting our home!

 The annual bunny ear picture before church.  Somehow we lost a set of ears... Kate didn't seem to mind.  LOVE THEM SO MUCH. This captures their individual personalities just perfectly.

 Classic.  The kids found some treasures outside and frankly, I have no idea what was going on in this picture, but it made me laugh so hard, that I had to put it in.

One of the cutest bunnies I've seen.

I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and love for my Savior Jesus Christ.  Because of Him, Joe and I will always be together with these cute faces...What more could you ask for?!!!

*  *  *

  Kate told me in the car today that one of her friends told her at lunch a few weeks ago, that Kate isn't a Christian.  This came from her mom, whom I know well, and it surprised me quite a bit!  I asked Kate what she said, and she said that in fact "we are Christians (I was relieved we had already talked about this!!).  That a Christian is someone who believes in Jesus Christ.  We believe in Jesus Christ and our church's name is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."  The girl shrugged and told her, "Well, that's what my Mom told me."  It made me upset at first.  And then sad.  I have had quite a few conversations with this mom, where we have referenced spiritual matters and talked about the Bible...and I would hope that through our interaction and friendship, she would be able to sense the love that I have for my Savior.  I don't see any good that comes from denouncing another's beliefs.  Especially to a child.  I sincerely hope that we have done a good job explaining to our kids that most people, no matter what belief system they have, are trying their best to do what is right and good and make this world a little better.  If we can build one another up and help each other along in the journey, doesn't it make this experience a little sweeter?  
I love Jesus Christ.  I love this Easter time when I can reflect on the tremendous love He has for me.  Maybe I need to shout it from the rooftops :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

Started off wonderfully with the Whitt's, McQueens, Hamiltons and Swains on Saturday morning for an intense Easter Egg Hunt.  The kids were armed with baskets, buckets, bags...whatever they could they awaited the opening of the gate.

Dallin and Jake
The anticipation...
These two got a 20 second head start.  I'm not sure it helped much, but they felt really good about it.

Perfect Autumn weather for a hunt

Melissa McQueen and her dad, Mike 
After everyone found their 20 eggs, it was time to crack them open and stuff as much candy in as possible,  while we put out brunch.

What a crew!  

Let's just say after this spread, along with homemade waffles and egg strata...I was totally satisfied for HOURS.  This is a very difficult thing to accomplish in my book...I can always eat a little something soon after most meals ;)

Truly loved it.  
Thanks, Karen, Laura, Grace and Tracy.  I'm really going to miss each one of you come June. 

Superheroes and Sidekicks

Joe came home from work to find someone waiting for him with a backpack, a flashlight, and a "This is serious," expression written all over his face.

 "Dad! You know you're my sidekick. We have to go on a special mission right now to discover the evil brother of Dr. Seuss. If you don't come, you're OUT." (Meaning someone else would take that sought after position).  Seriously just love him and what comes out of that mouth. 

Another burst of love moment--this time for Joe as he threw on his jeans and grabbed the backpack and said, "Let's do it, Jake!!!"  

I took Lucy out for a walk a little later and literally found them in the middle of their quest. (I'm so glad they didn't hear me coming).  Apparently the cape was stashed in the backpack for emergencies.  

I couldn't have planned it better.

Quakes and Quiet Moments

Chile has been through the wringer lately.  Almost to the point where it shakes up your nerves just a bit so you stop and reevaluate, to make sure that you're doing what you should be-- heaven forbid this country goes down first ;) 

 I never had any idea before living here, just how many earthquakes this country has.  We have "temblors" (little quakes) constantly, but then you throw in these strong "terramotos" that last long enough for you to feel them-- freeze for a few seconds-- realize that you need to check on your children-- so you run upstairs and see that they are still conked out despite all of the moving and the shaking-- and then as you head back downstairs, they finally come to a halt.  Nothing like those California quakes.  These like to linger. For a while.    
We had a 6.7 close to Iquique in March, and then an 8.2 hit again just a couple of weeks ago.  Thankfully for us, they were so far north that there wasn't any damage close to home.  Follow that with the biggest fire in Valparaiso that Chile has ever had, leaving 11,000 people homeless last weekend, you can't help but worry a bit while you are collecting items to donate to these poor families!  Kinda glad we decided to cart all of our food storage down here!

  But then you have those moments like last week, when we were sitting in Sacrament Meeting, and Kate leaned over to Joe and whispered these words for the first time, "I want to bear my testimony.  Will you translate for me, Dad?"  And suddenly, you stop.  And your heart smiles and practically bursts right then and there for the love you have for your Heavenly Father and for His Spirit that has just touched your daughter enough that she finally recognizes it, 
and wants to share it.  

It was a moment of perfection.

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  -John 14:27

I am so grateful for His peace...and for that brave, beautiful girl...and for superheroes that shower me with "wuvs and kisses" and yell at any given moment from any room in the house, "Mom!  Don't worry!  I'll save you!!!!!!!" from those evil monsters that are hiding in the dining room.  
So. very. blessed.

The Amazon in Santiago

The kids had 2 days off from school last week for Easter.  I couldn't have been more thrilled!  Everyone was ready for a bit of a break.  We didn't have anything specific planned.  Just sleeping in, preparing for Easter, big breakfasts and maybe a trip to the Amazon...

Selva Viva just opened up in Parque Arauco, so the Hamiltons, Whitt's and the Berryhill's decided we needed to check it out!

 We learned that albino snakes only exist in captivity.  I guess I had never thought of that before... they wouldn't last very long in the wild!!

Did you know that these guys have a third eye on top of their head?  They don't use it to actually's more of a sensor.

Luke had no fear when it came to the toucan!  He had plenty of practice in Brazil :)

The butterflies were amazing!

Jake was one of the lucky ones to actually have one land on him!

Thanks, Kate, for snagging a picture of me in action!  The macaws gave us plenty to chuckle about...pooped on me...ate Laura's hair band... I love Karen's face in this one.  Classic.  Makes me laugh every time I see this.

There were plenty of animals, reptiles, fish and and birds that wowed us all.  I finally got to see a live spitting fish in action!  I had only seen pictures and read about them in books!  They are a lot smaller than I imagined...but wow can they project that water to catch their food!

Black dots on a chameleon = too close!  It was so cool to see him get mad right before my eyes ;)

All in all, it was a good day with these creatures :) Everyone decided we needed a little lunch, some ice cream and then time to escape the humidity in that tiny jungle--so we headed to the park. 
   What a great way to kick off our Easter weekend.  Thank you everyone!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April Moments

 Hitting Barrio Italia with Stephanie Edeen (USA), Sabrina Thai (Singapore), and Liz Haynes (Australia)!  Such a great morning with these moms from Jake's class.  I truly love our international experience down here. And, I LOVED Barrio Italia.  Such a unique part of Santiago.  After we purused and shopped for a bit, we finished with lunch at Casaluz (Avenida Italia 805, Providencia).  BEAUTIFUL setting.
 Joe was in Switzerland for two weeks at the end of March and beginning of April.  After the first week, I grew quite lax when it came to who slept where.  Every night, I had either Kate, Jake or Luke surprise me around 3am.  Completely fine when you are the only one in a California King.    I came into my room to go to bed one night though, and found these two snuggled in.  How cute is that?!  And then I wondered where the heck I was going to sleep :) They know just how to spread their little bodies out, don't they?!
 Joe picked out the BEST watch for me (and a LOT of Swiss chocolate for all of us) while he was away.  I have had my old one for at least 18 years and you can really tell.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!  THANK YOU SO MUCH, Joe!  What a good eye!  I can't help it.  I've always loved surprises. 
The master at forts constructed a tent for General Conference weekend.  I got waffle duty.  Was totally fine with that. 
Check out the coolest eggs we found on a walk one day at our park in our condominium!  They were just sitting out in the open right by the little playground!  But don't think they weren't being guarded!  The mama and papa were squawking away and even chasing dogs to protect their eggs.  They are the Southern Lapwings and they are all over down here.  Noisy, big birds with the most beautiful looking eggs!  Here's what they look like: 
Hanging out with friends at the pool....this is how we entertain ourselves :)  
Love Britnay and those Evans kids!
Kate's swim team went to an invitational with 10 other Chilean schools on Saturday!  Scheduled to start at 4pm.  Got going at almost 5 and we were finally finished with her 50 back and 50 breast at 8:30pm.  The meet was still going strong when we left.  Talked to a Chilean and asked if this was normal.  "Oh yes--this is actually moving quite quickly!  Usually they say we'll be finished at 7, and the older kids are still swimming at 10:00 at night!"  One word.  INSANE.  But we were so proud of Kate!  She took 2nd breast and 3rd in back!  WAY TO GO, BABE! So worth it to see you swim... although we might rethink going to the next one run by this club ;)