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Our last day was one of my favorites of the trip. Mark and Kora had done their research and found a winery and vineyards about an hour from the city where we could tour the whole process and do a tasting. It was a gorgeous, cloudless, sunny sky and the vineyards practically glittered. We carried umbrellas for shade as the guide told us about different grapes that they had. The kids were fascinated with the bottling process and we were allowed to walk onto the production floor, staying between th...

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We stayed a number of days post Christmas and enjoyed the oh so quiet city as most others had left to go to the beach. We ate ice cream cones almost every day, though none was as good as that Punta del Este one. We ordered empanadas from a place that had all sorts of varieties, from Indian curry to chop sue to blue cheese and scarfed almost all of them down. We had chivitos (the most famous Uruguayan sandwich piled high with layers of egg, bacon, steak and so much more.) Car rides were equal par...

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After that late, late night all of the kids slept in on Christmas morning thanks to the black out wood blinds they use there ... unheard of in Quito. All the traditional festivities ensued with stockings pulled open, too many hershey's kisses consumed by Adrian and two little cute elves helping with presents. We ate the Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting and opened presents that had been sent from countless locations around the world, all to end up in one little living room in...

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Punta del Este is where everyone who has any money heads for vacation from Montevideo. Beachline for miles and miles, it's about 1.5 hours from Montevideo. We packed up our big ole van and after a quick stop at a grocery on the way for cold cuts and bread we were back on the road. Poor Adrian had a rough day, probably due to being on the older kids schedule with very little rest for days. It was interesting to see how the area is set up with different numbers for different beach front access poi...

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Our first day in Uruguay was pretty low key since we'd been traveling almost 24 hours when we landed in the bright sunlight. We immediately marveled at the wide highways, the different architecture and the cleanliness. We saw Mark and Kora's place with it's old style gate elevator and ate lunch together. After lunch we just let the cousins enjoy each other. We spent some time at the park. Nate, Mark and I sat on a little hill in the shade (holy moly the sun is more intense there than I expected)...

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We knowingly booked some crazy tickets because I like to save a buck! So we planned for a 10 hour layover in Guayaquil and figured we'd take a chance to explore a city we hadn't seen as a family. We packed super light backpacks since we'd be lugging them around for the day and headed out on a 6am flight. We were in Guayaquil a quick 30 minutes later with time to kill. We left the airport and grabbed a cab. It was HOT out and we knew this was gonna be a long one. We first wove our way through pai...

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In October they talked about baptism in chapel and Canaan came to us soon after to ask if he could be baptized. We asked him some questions and he seemed to understand what baptism was on the level he is currently able. We talked about when and who and he asked about doing it at Beach Debrief with my college students, knowing that is something special we do every semester. Honestly I didn't talk too much about it from there for awhile because I wondered if this was a fleeting thought based on ch...

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At our house we have a simple, totally non-Pintereque string of yarn with Christmas activities on mini clothespins. We hold loosely to this and always talk about these as potential activities and NOT expectations that we have to complete. (Maybe I'm the only one who needs to say this but it sure helps my goal-oriented, achiever self to constantly remind myself these aren't check boxes that MUST be completed.) We enjoy what we can and have time for and save the rest for (possibly) next year ... o...

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After spending Thanksgiving with 50+ people last year Nate & I were both in favor of a much more intimate experience this year. And we thought what better way to celebrate than to integrate some of our North American friends with our Ecuadorian friends and bring them into our traditions. It was just a lovely, low pressure, relaxed, inviting day all around and I know both of us would like to replicate this experience again! A true highlight of the day was having Canaan direct a Thanksgiving p...

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We knowingly booked some crazy tickets because I like to save a buck! So we planned for a 10 hour layover in Guayaquil and figured we'd take a chance to explore a city we hadn't seen as a family. We packed super light backpacks since we'd be lugging them around for the day and headed out on a 6am flight. We were in Guayaquil a quick 30 minutes later with time to kill. We left the airport and grabbed a cab. It was HOT out and we knew this was gonna be a long one. We first wove our way through pai...

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