Monday, April 20, 2009

Quasimodo

The first Sunday following Easter Sunday is the celebration of Quasimodo, here in Lo Barnechea. This is a celebration of communion. Someone takes communion to the sick, to those who cannot go to Mass and many other people accompany him as protectors. The huasos (cowboys) of Lo Barnechea gather together on Quasimodo Sunday and dress up themselves and their horses and make a parade through the streets of Lo Barnechea. People decorate their gates along the parade route and you hear shouts of "Viva Cristo Rey" (Long live Christ the King!) Then, at noon, there is a huge mass held in the "medialuna" (the rodeo arena) of LB for everyone to attend. We live in a "rural" suburb of Santiago in the sense that we are close to the mountains and there are many people who have farms and horses in this area. Quasimodo does not happen in many suburbs of Santiago, just those that have a big "huaso" community. It is the most cultural event that I've seen here in Santiago and it's so neat to see the huasos and their horses dressed up.

Here is the start of the parade at Plaza San Enrique:


It's not only men who participate - look at this little guy:


There's a whole family in this cart. Look at that little baby:


This man and boy are wearing traditional huaso gear, not the robes and scarves that most people wear on Quasimodo Sunday.


Look at the colourful costumes for the horses. And some horses and riders match!



And it's not just horses that participate. Cars, trucks, go-carts...


Bicycles...


One of my favourite shots:


Isn't he sweet?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Riding Lessons

Today was Kirsi's first horseback riding lesson and it was fabulous! We went to find out more about it on Monday and there was a spot open for her age on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 3:30 so we took it. It was awesome! Kirsi was so excited to go to her lesson - she even agreed to go down early for a nap. :)

The "Poney Club" is about 5 minutes from our house, just up the road towards the hills. Ms. Tole is Kirsi's teacher and she's amazing. She's so patient and she knows how much to do with the little ones without overwhelming them. First off, Kirsi took care of her pony, Chilindrina. She brushed her all over, even her tail and mane, and then she cleaned out her hooves. Then she helped get all the tack out - the saddle, blankets and reins.




Once she got the horse taken care of, she was ready to ride. Ms. Tole and Kirsi led Chilindrina down to the riding ring.



Then Kirsi got to ride...all by herself! They worked on balance - leaning forward to touch the pony's neck, leaning back to touch her rump and leaning sideways to touch her tummy. Then she got Kirsi to hold on to the reins with only one hand by pointing to something. They also played a little game - "Start and Stop". Kirsi had to stop the pony when she heard one beep and to get the pony going when she heard two beeps. Then they went for a walk around the area, just to see what there was to see. Kirsi was on the pony by herself but Tole was beside her the whole time. Kirsi kept looking around everywhere, fascinated by all the new things.




While they were still in the riding ring, Kirsi saw the jumping things and told Tole that she wanted to jump with her pony! Tole laughed and said that Kirsi needed to get used to the horses first. :) Kirsi is just a little ambitious, eh?


Once the ride was done, Kirsi helped put the gear away and then gave Chilindrina a little prize - a couple sugar cubes.


It was a fantastic experience for our little girl. She loved it so much and looked like such a big girl riding all by herself and cleaning the horse. Our little girl is growing up!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everyone! I hope you've all had a great weekend as we did. Der had Thursday and Friday off so we had a long weekend together. Thursday we took care of some business (got our permanent residency cards and renewed our drivers' licenses) before going to a pool birthday party. The kids had a blast in the pool. Aidan loved the water - he even liked going underneath the water and splashing. What a kid! Kirsi loves swimming but isn't so keen on getting her face wet.

Friday we went to La Campana, a park about 2 hours northwest of Santiago. Our plan was to go for a hike but both kids were pretty tired by the time we got there so we only got a kilometre in. We still had a good hike, though it was short. And we got to have a picnic at the park too which was fun. Here are some pictures from our trip there.






Saturday was a very chilled out day. Der was in the mood to get some spring cleaning done and I felt guilty so I helped him out. I will admit that he's the one who gets that kind of cleaning done - I will never start it on my own but will get going once he does. I wonder why that is. Anyways, that's beside the point. We hung out together all day long and then we dyed Easter eggs for the Easter bunny to hide. Kirsi loved dyeing the eggs and Aidan enjoyed watching her and munching on Cheerios at the same time. :)


And today was the big day! The Easter Bunny visited our house last night so Kirsi and Aidan had to go on an egg hunt this morning. Aidan found one egg and he was happy to play with that. It was up to Kirsi to find the rest, but she was totally up for it! She couldn't believe how many eggs the Easter Bunny left and that there were chocolate eggs too. Once she figured out that the Easter Bunny had hid the eggs in sneaky places, she got pretty good at finding them all. The Easter Bunny brought Kirsi some chocolates in her basket too and brought Aidan a little Easter Bunny since Aidan can't have chocolate yet.




Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt

Last Thursday, Kirsi and I went out to a friend's place for an Easter egg dyeing party. There were 4 other little ones there to dye eggs. Kirsi liked choosing what colour to make the egg and seeing how it would come out of the dye. Then she had a blast playing with the kids after the dyeing was finished.



On Sunday, we had the annual Nido Easter egg hunt. Darlene hid all the eggs around International Park and others brought a few chocolates to hide. The kids had so much fun looking for the eggs all around the park. Kirsi filled up her basket pretty quickly so we just looked for eggs to help the other kids. Aidan wasn't very interested in the eggs at all; he took one and just waved it in the air before sticking it in his mouth. We had a great potluck meal after the hunt and then the kids had fun running around the park with Der and another daddy. It was a great afternoon!






Saturday, April 04, 2009

Our little girl turns 3!

Today was a big day for our family - it was Kirsi's 3rd birthday! It was a very busy week getting ready for our two birthday parties - yes, two! - but it was totally worth it.

Kirsi wanted a Charlotte's Web theme this year so that's what we went with. I made a Wilbur cake for her, one carrot cake and one chocolate cake. Der made chili, our version of "slop". We made animal decorations for the dining room so we could be with Wilbur and his friends during the party. It's a really fun theme to plan a birthday party with.


Kirsi with Wilbur:


On Wednesday, we had a birthday party for Kirsi's playgroup friends - Caroline, Zane, Ethan, Caitlin, Nico and Noah and the babies, Lucas, Maya, Ana Sofia, Billy, Bella and of course, Aidan. Everyone brought something to share at the party so we had lots of food and there were lots of people there to celebrate with us.


This morning, Kirsi woke up and was so excited! She knew today was her birthday and that she'd be having lots of fun. Before her party, Kirsi got to open her presents from us and from Auntie Rhonda, Uncle Ian, Brody and Hannah. She had lots of fun playing with her new things. Today we had a smaller birthday party for Kirsi's older friends or friends not from our Nido group. Asher and Liesl, Agustina, Marin and Thomas and Antonia came to celebrate with us today. We had a morning birthday party and it was perfect - the kids were all in great moods and had lots of time to play together before we had lunch and then cake. After a short nap, we went out to Starbucks and Kirsi got to have her very own "coffee". We got her a chocolate frappuccino and she loved it. I know she felt super special. The guys at Starbucks were great - they brought it up to her and had a candle in the cream. They sang "Happy Birthday" to her in Spanish and she was so surprised. She didn't know what to do so she snuggled in close to me while they sang to her.



It's so hard to believe that our baby girl is 3 years old. The time has gone so fast, just like everyone says it does. Once you're a parent, I think time goes even more quickly. Kirsi is no longer a toddler, she hasn't been for a while. She's definitely a little girl now. She talks all the time and tells all kinds of stories. Often what she says seems too old for a 3-year-old to say. For example, after watching "Charlotte's Web", she now says, "It's so unjust!" if we do something that she doesn't think is fair. Or when we're doing something that we don't normally do, she pipes up with, "I can't believe it!" We have had such a great time with our little girl these last three years and I know we're going to have so many more great times with her in the years to come. Happy Birthday, Kirsi Bear!! We love you!

Here's Kirsi with her blue ribbon, just like Wilbur:

Phuket - Be Nice or Get Out

The second part of our December break was spent in a little AirBnB 3m from the beach in Phuket, Thailand. The majority of our time was spe...