Sunday, March 29, 2009

Good thing I went to church

This morning, I took the kids to church and Der stayed home because he's getting sick with a cold. Well, good thing I went because we sat in front of someone pretty important. It was only when we shook hands for peace that I realized that we had sat in front of Vice-President Joe Biden, his wife and daughter. Very cool!

Some new pictures

Here are a few new pictures of the kiddos. Enjoy!

See my teeth?


9 months old:


Having fun in the ball castle!


Standing up with the Pooh car:


Playing in the water is just too fun!


Kirsi loves writing:


Cutie pie:


Playing with the drawers is fun!


And playing in dirt is fun too!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Argentine Adventures, Part 5

After our wildlife adventure on the Valdes Peninsula and Atlantic coast, we headed back through the Patagonia towards the mountains. We would have liked to only drive 6 or 7 hours and then have a break but there just wasn't anywhere to stop. There was a hotel about 5 hours in but we wanted to get further along than that. So, we just decided to do it all again. Yep, another 13-hour-drive ahead of us.

It went really well and the kids were really good too. We got to Esquel, which is the beginning of the Andes once again - this was after crossing the Patagonian steppe. About half an hour north of Esquel, we heard a funny noise. We pulled over and discovered that one of our tires had blown. Nice. The good thing was that we were only half an hour out of town and it was about 2:30 in the afternoon on Saturday so we should be able to get the work done. So, Der changed the tire and off we went back to Esquel to get the tire changed. I learned that a place that deals in tires is called a "gomeria" so we went off in the search of one. The first two places that we found were closed but thankfully, a Bridgestone tire place was still open. They were able to fix it right away, phew! So, within 45 minutes we bought a new tire and had it on our car. The mechanic told us that the tires were all off balance - thanks dude at the gas station in Puerto Piramides - and that's what caused the tire to blow. So, he rebalanced all the tire pressures and sent us on our way. He was a super nice guy and we were so thankful to have found such grea service.

Since we were behind schedule, we decided to spend the night in El Bolson, which is south of Bariloche. Both Der and I liked the towns of Esquel and Bolson more than we like Bariloche, probably because they aren't as commercialized as Bariloche is. In Bolson, we found a hotel that took credit card and then wandered down to the plaza for an early supper and to see some action. We came across a neat handicraft store where we found a couple mate cups for Der and I; a neat souvenir from our Argentinean holidays.

Heading back into the mountains:




The next day, we headed back up to Bariloche. We decided to stay outside of Bariloche this time. We found a little, family-run hosteria west of Bariloche on the Perito Moreno Lake. It was really pretty and a gorgeous setting. Once we had lunch, we went to the Colonia Suiza to let Kirsi have one more ride on a horse. It's such a highlight for her and she had been so good through the whole vacation.

Here are pics of Kirsi getting ready for her ride:



Pics of the family on the grounds of the hosteria:



The next morning, we headed out rather early for the border. We wanted to get to customs before too many people were going through. Here are some pics of the lakes at sunrise:




A shot just outside of Villa La Angostura, still in Argentina:


It took a while to get through customs because there were quite a few people there already, at about 10:30 but we got through in about an hour. The best thing was that we had no problems at all. Then we got to the Chilean border:


Once we were in Chile, we stopped at a roadside stand and bought some delicious fresh raspberries and blueberries. YUM!! Then we got to the Ruta 5 and headed north. Der just drove and drove - he was amazing. The kids did really well - thank goodness for the portable DVD player! Aidan somehow did it too, lots of toys to entertain him. We stopped 3 times for about an hour each, just to give the kids a stretch and some time out of the car. We decided to get to Chillan and then see what happened. By the time we got there, it was already about 6:00 so we just decided to stop for supper and a stretch and then to head home. Yep, we drove for 18 hours that day but we made it home. We woke up the next morning in our own beds, which was really nice. It was a fantastic vacation, lots of driving but we saw so much.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Birthday Party Prep

Kirsi's birthday is less than two weeks away so that means that I'm in birthday party mode! We're doing two parties this year. One is a playgroup party - a normal playgroup where dinner is potluck but we'll have a birthday cake at the end in celebration. That one will be on April 1st and will include all her playgroup friends. Then on April 4th, we'll have another party. We've invited 5 friends who don't come to playgroup and that's where we'll have decorations and party favours. I decided that it's just way too much work for me to do one big party - I don't get to enjoy it at all. So this way, it'll be much easier and low-key. At least I'm hoping it will be!

Today we went to the party store to try and find decorations and treats for the goodie bags. Kirsi has chosen to have a Charlotte's Web party so I've been trying to come up with some fun ideas. Her cake will be a piggy cake and it's super easy - the easiest one I've done by far. So we'll have two piggy cakes this year. I couldn't find any spiders or spider webs - wrong time of year - but I did find some blue ribbons for the kids, just like Wilbur got at the fair. I found some small plastic farm animals which will go in the gift bags. I think I'll get small things of Play Doh for everyone so they can make animals out of it. As for decorations, I'm going to see if I can find some big, big paper so we can make barnyard animals and put them up around the house. We'll see.

We also went to Los Dominicos today. Kristin, you'll be happy to know that I found some more scarves at the place where you told me. Let me know if you need more. I am getting ready for winter and getting a few scarves in my stash since they're really pretty and really cheap here. A few new shops opened up at Los Dominicos so it was fun to see what they had. Los Dominicos is a handicraft market not far from our place. They have all kinds of stuff there so it's nice to go and visit and especially take visitors to. Kirsi was happy to watch the birds there and to throw leaves in the little river and watch them float down.

I have been on a scrapbooking mission lately. My goal is to finish Kirsi's first year album by the time we leave for Canada at the end of June. I know, I know, I'm super far behind. But the progress I've made in the past three weeks is awesome. We took a billion pictures of Kirsi when she was a baby so I have tons to scrapbook. I really want to get it all done so that I can start Aidan's book when we get back. Plus, I want to get back into mosaics again. I finished Kirsi's angel but need to get it framed. I'll have to do that this week so it'll be ready in time for her birthday. Then I want to start one for Aidan - I'm thinking of doing a little monkey since that's my nickname for him.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sick little boy

Our little Aidan is a sick boy. On Sunday, he developed a fever and it stayed with him till Tuesday late afternoon. It stayed around 38.5C until Tuesday when it slowly went down and then finally broke. Plus, he'd been having diarrhea for a few days, up until yesterday. Yesterday he was so cranky, nothing made him happy - not playing, not walking, not being held, not nursing, not eating, not sleeping. It was a rough day for our poor little guy and then Der discovered that he had a rash all over his back. Last night, he had a bad night too. He woke up screaming and couldn't settle down for a long time for most of the night. That's when we decided that he needed to see a doctor. It ends up he has an ear infection in his left ear and the rest of the symptoms - rash, diarrhea, fever - are due to a virus. So, our little guy is fighting off two things at once. Poor little boy!

Kirsi and I both have colds too but we're not nearly as bad as Aidan. Kirsi had a rough day on Sunday but since then, she's been fine except for a runny nose. I've got lots of congestion and can't taste right now but I'm OK.

Before sickness hit our household, we went to the beach for the day last Saturday and it was a blast. The kids had so much fun playing in the sand! Here are some pics of our day:

This is too cool!


Kirsi and Aidan playing together:


You can see how happy he is to be playing in the sand:


Daddy and Kirsi napping on the beach:


Kirsi and her seaweed leash:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Permanencia

Yesterday, all of us headed out on a Santiago adventure, with Tito, a man who works for the school. It took us way back to when we first arrived here. We applied for permanencia, which is a permanent resident visa. There are a few benefits. One is that we don't have to go through the annual renewal process. And the other big one is that we can apply for a Lider Presto card, which gives us big discount on our groceries. That'll be golden when we can get it.

So we left the school bright and early, around 7:45 and headed downtown to the International Police station. It's located near the Central Market here so we drove past the vendors getting ready for the day - pretty neat to see. We hardly had to wait at the police station, maybe 15 minutes. We got our files processed, our pictures taken with a web camera and got our printouts. Then off we went to the City Hall in Vitacura to get a new ID card. That was where we waited for a while. Normally, it's not too long of a wait - they have three people working and not that many people are there on a Tuesday morning. But yesterday, it was packed. Tito said that it was because people were back from holidays and need a bunch of documents and their new ID cards now. Lovely. Thankfully, the City Hall backs onto a beautiful big green space/park so Der took the kids and played outside with them until it was our turn. We got our new pictures - and mine sucks but oh well - and now all we need to do is pick up the new cards at the end of the month. Then we'll be permanent residents - woo hoo!

The next thing to do is get all the paperwork and pictures done for Kirsi's new passport. Her current passport has a picture of her when she was 3 weeks old. A little out of date, eh?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Argentine Patagonia

Here's a little Animoto video I quickly put together of our trip to Argentine Patagonia. Fantastic trip!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Aidan Crawling; Kirsi and Aidan Playing

Here's a video of Aidan crawling and Kirsi and Aidan playing. Lots of laughing!


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Every day happenings

I haven't been updating our everyday activities because I've wanted to finish the travel blogs first. Well, I have discovered that doing a travel blog like I want it is very time consuming!! So, there will be a break in the Argentine Adventures just to fill you in on our lives.

We are doing really well. Kirsi is growing up more and more every day. She's getting to be such a big girl. Can you believe her 3rd birthday will be here in a month?! Aidan is now 8 months old and is crawling. He's only now starting to enjoy the freedom and exploring that crawling provides him so he's doing more now. Before, it was just too much work! Right now he's examining the digital scale and thinking it's pretty cool!

We've been to the zoo, to Cerro Santa Lucia and gone on a picnic to the playground. We're enjoying the last days of summer; Der says that this is the last week for the pool because it's getting too darn cold!!

Here are some pics of the kids lately:

Kirsi at the Children's Museum - body bubble!

We did a little photo shoot at one of the parks near our house:



Aidan loves to swing now!


8 months old!


Our little chanchito starting to crawl:


Kirsi riding her bike in the driveway and Aidan watching:



Trip to Cerro Santa Lucia...view of Santiago from the hilltop:

Der and the kids at Plaza Neptune at Cerro Santa Lucia:


Our two babies:

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...