Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New pictures

I just got our latest pictures uploaded so enjoy a few!

Kirsi in Uncle Dean's sunglasses and hat:


Kirsi swimming by herself with the noodle:


Aidan at 5 months old:



A few more of Aidan:


The kids and Simba with Auntie Kristin and Uncle Dean:


Kirsi's not so sure about that peacock:


Our kiddos:

A Chilled Out Day

After so much running around for Aidan's passport and just life in general, I've decided that the kids and I need a chilled out, relaxed day at home! Today, we're going to just hang out around home and relax. I'll do some laundry (I'm already two loads in and it's not 9:00 yet), get stuff ready for supper and maybe even do some baking. We'll go for a walk and play out in the backyard. We need a day to just stay at home and not do anything if we don't need to.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Passport Saga

Dealing with the Canadian Embassy when trying to get a child's passport has not been high on my list of efficient or pleasant experiences. With Kirsi, we had to get her a passport right away so we could get a visa for Chile. So, at 2 weeks old, I took her in to get the picture taken. I showed the photographer the paper with the requirements and he took the picture. Mom, Kirsi and I went to the consulate in Colombo (about a 30-minute drive each way) to submit all the paperwork. When I gave the lady the photos, she told me that they weren't good, that the size was wrong. I was so ticked off because it's not the easiest thing in the world to get a 2-week-old to look straight at a camera and have her eyes open. The woman recommended a photographer relatively close by so we went straight there (after having to look for it because I didn't know where it was!). Since I wasn't planning on having to get her photo taken again, I didn't really think about what she was wearing. Well, she happened to be wearing a white onesie, which was a no-no against a white background. So Kirsi's passport and citizenship photos have her wrapped in a pale yellow receiving blanket! I had to go back to get the photos a couple days later and then returned to the consulate to get the paperwork done.

With Aidan, I thought I was fully prepared for the application process. I learned how picky the Canadian Embassy is with the size of the photo, the size of the face in the photo and that the passport photo and the citizenship photo are two different sizes. I knew that you couldn't have a parent's hand showing in the photo (so forget about getting a photo before the baby can hold his/her head up) and that the baby has to be looking - eyes opened - straight at the camera and the head and shoulders have to be centred. I asked ahead of time which photographer they recommend so we went there when Aidan was just a couple months old. Unfortunately, none of the photographers (I went to three) were able to have him laying on floor and take the picture from above; they all had to be face on. I tried for half an hour one day to get a good shot but because he couldn't hold his head up, it was impossible.

So, I waited until he was 4 months old (end of October) to get his pictures done. He was able to hold his head up and was much more alert so the chances of a good photo were much higher. I got one set of photos taken at one place and then, just in case these ones weren't any good, I got them taken at another place. I went in to the Embassy a week and a half ago armed with all the paperwork and photos. I showed the lady the photos and she said that were fine. Yahoo!! I was so excited...but soon to be deflated. She told me of other paperwork that had to be done and then translated from Spanish to English. And I needed to get a certain document from a city office but all the city workers were on strike for a week. So that meant no paper until last Friday. Thankfully the line to get the document wasn't too long but I could only request it Friday and pick it up Monday. So, this morning, I took both kids down to Vitacura and we got the document we needed. Then we had to take it to a friend to get her to translate it (though I could have done it myself). With her translation AND her, I need to go to the Embassy tomorrow morning to submit the paperwork.

Now, let's hope that Aidan will get his passport in time for our flight!

Siete La Tazas

Had a few minutes at the end of the day and am a little brain dead with programming report cards so I thought I'd take 2 minutes and throw together another Animoto video. This time, I made one of our trip with Aunty and Uncle to Siete La Tazas.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fun morning

This morning, Kirsi and I had a Mommy-Daughter outing. I needed to get her some sandals and it's just too hard to do it with Aidan along (he's already impatient with shopping and he's only 5 months old! lol). So, Derwin kept Aidan and Kirsi and I hit the mall. We went to Falabella and tried on a few different pairs of shoes; Kirsi was so great during it all. She tried them on, walked around for me, told me which ones she liked best and sat patiently while I looked for different sizes. Then we found her a pair of jeans because she outgrew her size 2s and her other jeans are too big in the waist for her and another pair of summer pants. She's all ready for the summer now!

Then, we went for coffee together. She bought me a coffee and a carrot muffin for herself with money that Daddy gave her. We sat outside and enjoyed our coffee time. It was a lot of fun - we watched people and giggled together. It felt so great. :)

After that, we went to Easy, a store sort-of like Home Depot, to find some pool things. We got a noodle and a set of water wings for her. Those should help her feel more comfortable in the water without having to hold on to Der. We're going to try them out later this afternoon. She was so thrilled with them, she wanted to carry the noodle through the mall herself to the car!

It was a great morning with her. I love my little girl so much!!

Good-bye!

The last few days were spent doing little things here and there while Kristin and Dean were here to visit. We took them out for Peruvian food on Thursday night. I love Peruvian food - it's so tasty! I was diasppointed, though, in my aji de gallina - it was very bland and not the usual flavourful dish that it is. Oh well, I know better next time.

Yesterday, we took them to Mall Sport, a big mall filled with sports and recreation stores. You can find tons of stuff there - camping gear, hunting and fishing stuff, biking equipment, boats, horseriding gear and pretty much anything for most sports. Plus, they have a rock climbing wall there as well as a huge race track and some virtual sports areas. This is also the mall where we sometimes take Kirsi to jump on inflatable games - we call it Bouncy World. Kristin and Dean thought it was a pretty cool place and they enjoyed looking around at everything.

Last night we had to say good-bye to Auntie and Uncle. Kirsi was very sad and didn't understand why they had to go. Thankfully we'll be home in a month so we can see everyone again. Kirsi won't know what hit her when she sees all her family, especially her cousins Brody and Hannah (and maybe Carson and Grace) and baby Teagan.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vina del Mar

Yesterday, Kristin, Dean and I took the kids to the beach. We got off to a relatively early start and got there by 10:00. We drove through Valparaiso to let Dean and Kristin see it but we didn't get to go down to the port. There was something wonky happening in Valpo and Vina yesterday. There was tons of traffic, lots of police out directing traffic and buses filled with people blowing whistles. I wonder if it had to do with the city workers being on strike in Santiago; maybe it's a country-wide protest for higher wages? Anyways, we bypassed the centre of Valpo as I didn't feel like driving through more crazy traffic than I needed to.

We stopped at Vina del Mar and walked along the boardwalk for a while. All the stairs that went down to the beach were pretty steep and we had the stroller so we decided to go to our regular spot in Renaca. Kirsi had so much fun playing in the sand with Auntie and Uncle; they buried Auntie's legs with sand and then buried Kirsi's too. We went down to the ocean but Kirsi is really freaked out by the waves. She only liked it when Kristin was holding her and they ran away when the waves came in. :) Aidan had his first experience with sand yesterday and he liked the feel of it on his feet. He hung out in his Bumbo or on the blanket while Kirsi dug in the sand. We ate at the little German cafe right along the beach - the one we always eat at - and it was good. I actually enjoyed a sandwich with avocado on it; I may actually like "palta" by the time I leave Chile.

Then we drove up the coast to Zapallar. I thought it would be a nice drive and good scenery for Kristin and Dean. Plus, I wanted to see if the penguin colony was still there. I thought I'd be able to find it on my own, going from memory when we went one time, but I couldn't find it. :( We drove up and down a couple times looking for a beach and rocks that I remembered but didn't find them. Oh well, I guess.

Then we drove home and got back just after 5:00. We went a different way home and Kristin and Dean got to see different scenery, which was good. Kirsi loved the beach but was disappointed that she didn't get to go swimming in the pool. What a kid!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why is it so hard?

Warning to anyone who might care, this is a post about breastfeeding. Why can I not pump milk? Why is it so hard for me?! This is ridiculous. I have an electric pump and I try to pump at least three times a week. Usually, I only get 1 oz.; if it's a good day, I get 2 oz. That's not enough to feed Aidan. I wish that I could just slap the pump on and get 6 oz. in 10 minutes like most other women. Here I am, 25 minutes later, with 1 oz. pumped. Pumped milk is like liquid gold to me - precious! I've tried a million different things to help and some things do help a bit but I still don't get much. What's up with that?! OK, I'm done complaining now. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Santiago Zoo

Dean and Kristin got back from the Elqui Valley on Friday night so we had the weekend with them. Saturday was just a lazy day around the house but yesterday, we had a big day. We first went to church and then from there we went to the Santiago Zoo. It's located on Cerro San Cristobal and it's supposed to be a great place to get good views of the city. We hadn't been there before so it was new for us too. It's a popular place for Chileans to spend a Sunday - there were tons of people there yesterday.

There is a good variety of animals at the zoo, which is neat, but some of the enclosures were terrible. It made you feel bad for the animals. Kirsi was so excited to see all the different animals but wasn't too keen on seeing the monkeys. Ever since the time we were at the Buin Zoo and the baboon jumped on the wire fence and screamed at us, she's been freaked out by the monkeys.

We didn't go up to take the cable car because we had already spent a lot of time in the hot sun. So we decided to head home and spend the rest of the afternoon in the pool and then finish the day off with a barbecue. What a great day!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Big boy!

Yesterday was a big day for our little baby boy. It was his first day eating solid foods.

Aidan's sleeping has been awful for the past month and lately he just doesn't seem satisfied after nursing. It's like he could keep eating and eating. So, we decided to give him some food to see if that helps. It totally goes against what I wanted to do because I feel that a baby's digestive system just isn't ready for solids until they're older. He's one week shy of 5 months and I wanted to wait until the 6 months if possible. He had other plans! I didn't want to give him rice cereal in case he gets constipated from it (he only poops every 2 or 3 days as it is) so we gave him avocado. He did so well with it - he took to the spoon with no problems at all and didn't mind the avocado. He didn't make any of the funny faces that Kirsi made when she first had it either.
What's going on here?


Daddy feeding Aidan avocado:


Kirsi's turn:
Hmm, got anymore of that stuff?


Finger lickin' good:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Summertime

It's summer now. No doubt about it. It's been piping hot the past three days so the beautiful, mild springtime weather is gone and the hot summer days are here. I'm not complaining, though, because I'm going to enjoy it all I can before heading back to the Great White North at Christmastime!

Kirsi and Der have been going in the pool every day for a few days now. Kirsi LOVES going swimming, even though the water is still pretty cold. Most pools here aren't heated so you rely on the sun to heat the water up. It's time to get out when Kirsi's lips are blue. :) She loves splashing in the water and jumping in with Daddy catching her. The latest thing is throwing her little balls in the water at Daddy and then him throwing them back at her. Simba is super hyper whenever they're in the pool but doesn't like it in the water. Der took him in a couple times and he was scrambling to get out! Then there was the time he fell in to the pool. He doggy paddled to the side fine but he couldn't get up over the edge. He'd have been a goner if Derwin hadn't jumped in and saved him. What a dog!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Visit to Vineyards

Yesterday (Sunday) we drove to Santa Cruz, about 2 1/2 hours southwest of Santiago, to meet Kristin and Dean and spend the day with them. We arranged two tours of vineyards in the Colchagua Valley, one of Chile's most important wine regions, especially known for their Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

We first went to the Viu Manent vineyard, a well-established, family-run winery. Our guide was Freddy and he was great. We learned a lot about making wine and about the vineyard. It's neat to visit the same vineyard more than once because you learn more about it since every guide adds different information to the tour. The highlight for Kirsi was going through the vineyard by horse and carriage. She thought it was pretty neat. We did the wine tasting and I surprisingly liked the Chardonnay. Normally, I don't like Chardonnay as it's too oaky for me but theirs is quite fruity and I liked it. Dean preferred Viu Manent's specialty, the Malbec, which is pretty strong wine. Go Dean!


Then we headed to Vina Santa Cruz, which is a much newer vineyard. Their first wines came out in 2004 and their tourist "attractions" were completed in 2006. The tour of their vineyard is very different to others. Instead of going through the vineyard, you get to see it from above. They take you up a big hill in a cable car and you have a great view of the valley below. At the top of the hill, there are three different houses from different cultures in Chile. There's the Mapuche (from the south of Chile), the Aymara (from the north) and the hut and boat house of the people of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui.


Kirsi with a Mapuche statue:


Kirsi with a moai from Easter Island:


Inside the boat house:


In the hut from Rapa Nui, there were wood carvings of the first king and queen of Easter Island and a boat pulled by turtles. Kirsi kept saying, "Look at her boobies!" Keep in mind that we were not alone on the tour!


They also have an observatory up on the hill where they give night tours. They've got a few high-powered telescopes there so you can look at the stars and planets. Very neat. They have samples of meteorites found in different countries and all kinds of paraphenalia throughout the main building and the three cultural houses. The man who owns the vineyard has a ton of money and has bought lots and lots of random artifacts from around the world. Imagine having so much money that you collect expensive junk from all over!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Kermess 2008

We went to the annual event of Kermess at Nido (Der's school). It's like a mini Folkfest or Mosaic, where all the countries represented by the student body at Nido have a booth and they serve food and drinks from that country. There's also some entertainment but usually it's not so great, this year being no exception. One of the groups was a band of 12-year-old girls and they seranaded us with "Highway to Hell". Der said that the Mexican dancers were really good, though. We enjoyed a great Falafel pita from the Israeli booth (YUMMY!!), a Nutella crepe from France's, a kebab (ie. shawarma) from Turkey's, choripans (a type of sausage) from Argentina's, Chicken Tikka from India's and a southern iced tea from the U.S.'s. We also got some Canadian stuff from the Canada booth - Kirsi got a little Canada flag and a little change purse. Got to support our country!

They also have a games area for kids. They have jumping games, fishing for little prizes, throwing sponges at people, that kind of thing. Kirsi tried a couple of the bouncy games but there were a few rowdy older kids in the games also so she didn't last very long.

It was a great morning but we had to leave when Kirsi asked to go to sleep. :0 That was the second time in her life - which also happened to be in the past two weeks - that she asked to go to bed. Aidan was tired out too but he slept with Daddy:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Cranky boy

The last couple of days, Aidan has been cranky. I don't see any bumps on his gums but that doesn't mean teeth aren't bothering him. He's been fighting sleep so much too, which he has never done. Normally, he cries his tired cry, I give him his soother and his bunny, lay him in his Amby, put on his Sleep Sheep and he goes to sleep. Now, he cries when I give him his soother, he cries when I lay him down and fights sleep like crazy. What's up with that?! Plus, he's been waking up at least three times a night to eat lately and he guzzles the milk. That makes for a very tired Mommy, let me tell you!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Siete Tazas

In Chile, they celebrate November 1st and since it fell on Saturday this year, we had a long weekend. We decided to leave after school on Thursday and go to the Reserva Nacional Radal Siete Tazas, which is southeast of Santiago. It took us over 4 hours to get there, with one kiddie break of about 15 minutes. By the time we got there, it was dark so it was a little tricky to find our cabin in the dark but we did it - just lots of pulling over to shine the headlights onto signs. :)

On Friday, we decided to do the hike to the Siete Tazas (Seven Cups) and the Lion Waterfall. It was an easy walk to the falls and they were gorgeous. We decided to go down to the river to see what it was like. The hike down was a bit tough but it was definitely worth it. The river was beautiful and Kirsi had a great time throwing stones there. Aidan was sleeping for most of the time at the river and I didn't want to climb around on the rocks with him in the Moby wrap so I stayed put and enjoyed the scenery. Der, Kirsi, Kristin and Dean went along down the river and got to see more of the nature there.









We ended up getting back to the cabin late which meant a later nap for the kiddos but that was no problem. They both slept at the same time so Der and I actually got to enjoy a nap ourselves - deep sleep is fantastic! Kristin, Dean, Kirsi and I went to the little shop at Parque Ingles to buy some drinks and charcoal for the fire and to see where the other trails are. Since it wasn't very far at all and we'd be going super slow, we let Kirsi sit in the backseat without her carseat. She was soooo excited to sit on the seat with a seatbelt on. She kept saying over and over, "This is so cool!" That night we made a campfire, Kirsi's first one, and it was great. She had a blast collecting sticks and throwing them in the fire. She even helped Derwin roast a hot dog. It was a late night for her but she had such a great time.




Saturday morning, we got to the next hike by 9:30 so that we could get a good start on it. The CONAF man said yesterday that we'd be able to do the Chiquillanes Trail easily with Kirsi so Der and I decided to do it. The sign said it was 7 km and that it would take 4 hours. We figured we'd try it since the guy said it should be easy for Kirsi to do. Oh my goodness! That was the hardest hike I've ever done!! At the beginning, we were going up most of the time but it wasn't a gentle slope up, there were many steep parts of the trail. I wasn't sure if I would make it!! I'm not in good shape to start with (I can do basic hikes, no problem but not intense ones) and I was carrying a 15-pound baby on top of it! For some parts of the hike, Der carried both Kirsi and Aidan - Kirsi in the backpack and Aidan in the front carrier. What a great husband, giving me a break! (He probably wanted me alive and well so he wouldn't have to carry me down! lol) We hiked through a bamboo forest before getting up high into scrub land. It was beautiful. It was a couple hours, I think, before we made it to the top but the view was stunning. We saw where we began and we were amazed at how far and high we were. We were at the top of one of the hills and the snow-capped mountains were not much higher than us!! We took a break at the top of the hill for about half an hour. I needed to recover and Kirsi was begging for a snack.









We thought the hike down wouldn't take very long but it wound around the other side of the mountain and it went up and down for quite a while before going down. There were some really slippery sections on the trail. Poor Kristin didn't have hiking shoes so she was suffering the most with slipping. Once we got back down into the bamboo, the trail got better and it was a fantastic hike the rest of the way. During the hike, I was exhausted and sore but now, looking back on it, I'm very glad I did it. I can't believe I made it and it was a beautiful hike.



Kirsi was truly amazing. She hiked about half the way herself. She loves climbing up the hills and she found a stick and was looking for tarantulas, like Uncle Dean had done on Friday (they saw one on the trail). She loves hiking and is such a little trooper. About 3 hours into the hike, she actually asked us if we could back to the car so she could go to sleep! That was the very first time she had ever said that to us! We went as fast as we could to get back to the car. And we made it back in just over 4 hours. Pretty impressive for having 2 little kids with us! Dean and Kristin could have done it much faster without us but they were great and hung back to stay with us. Kirsi loved hiking with them - they are so good with her!

That afternoon, Kristin, Dean, Der and Kirsi went for a horseback ride. Imagine horseback riding in the Andes mountains. It was a great way to end the day and Kirsi absolutely loved it! She got to ride on a white and brown horse and was super excited about that! We had another campfire, the perfect way to end a great day.


Sunday morning, we packed up and then went for another horseback ride. Kristin and Dean came again but this time, I went with Kirsi. She chose a different horse and was happy that it was a girl horse this time. We went on a different trail than they had gone on Saturday, so that was good for Dean and Kristin. It was absolutely gorgeous. Riding through the forest and seeing the snowcapped mountains was so beautiful and a great way for me to end our weekend there. Danilo, the guide, showed us the white mushrooms that look like Christmas decorations. They are actually the fruit of the "roble" tree (oak) and are edible. When they get old, they turn orange. If you breathe hot air on to the old ones, a vapour is released. Super neat!


Before we left the park, we stopped to get some pictures at the river. We got a family picture done - only our second one since Aidan was born - and a group picture. They turned out great! We also stopped at a waterfall called the Velo de la Novia which is amazing. The river valley is super deep and the waterfall looks so neat coming out of the volcanic rock.


We hit the road around 1:00 and we got home after 5:00. We had to stop for gas and then a couple times for a very unhappy baby. I ended up wedging myself in the back seat of our Yaris, in between the two carseats, to try and keep both kids happy. By the time Aidan fell asleep again, my legs were numb! It was a great trip and we're excited to get out and do some more hiking and exploring. We had a fantastic time with Dean and Kristin too. They are so good with the kids, it's wonderful to see them with Kirsi and Aidan. This is the first time we've met Dean and he's a great guy. We love spending time with them and can't wait till we can do another activity with them.

I got POOPED on at Jurong Bird Park & Mass - Singapore Day 3

So, while the kids were feeding lories and lorikeets nectar from a cup at Jurong Bird Park a bird swooped overhead and dropped a liquid po...