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 points. We set up camp in the sun but honestly it was really windy and the water was a lot colder than Ecuador so mostly the two older kids swam. Eden alternated between the water and wrapping herself in a beach towel (always). We ate delicious salames and cheeses on fresh baguettes with mustard, tomato and onion and it tasted great in the hot sun. We attempted spike ball to no avail with Adrian wanting the net to himself. I love, love watching these cousins play and love how well matched they are with Canaan and Lucia being louder and non-stop and the younger two being more mellow but with a little crazy thrown in. 

After beach time we went in search of ice cream and Mark and Kora looked around for a specific place that they like best. They certainly delivered on that promise. The ice cream was phenomenol and I dream about going back for another cone. Had I known that no other ice cream would compare, I'd have ordered a triple scoop! There were no less than 8 different varieties of dulce de leche ice cream so I ordered the most intense of the dulce de leches with a scoop of vanilla with crushed up oreo-type cookies and huge ribbons of dulce de leche in it on top. Nate ordered melon ice cream and couldn't get over how intense the flavor was. We ate our dripping cones quickly before doing another quick stop off at the giant hands sculpture. Photo op a necessity of being in Punta del Este ... but yes 5 minutes is all that you need here!

We raced back to the city, knowing we'd done zero dinner prep and it was Christmas Eve. I can't tell you how many rounds of songs we listened to from the backseat. Lucia is quite impressive with her ability to harmonize already. After we cleaned up we set the table and made Four-cheese Gnocchi and Lemon Asparagus for Christmas Eve. We ended with a Peppermint French Silk Pie and then let the kids watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The plan was to let them stay up because it's traditional to have fireworks at midnight on Christmas Eve. Kora and I made Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls and then we played a board game while we waited. The two younger kids fell asleep but the older two sat bleary-eyed waiting. A bit before midnight we woke everyone up and rushed out the door to head down to La Rambla to see the fireworks along the coastline. We made a tragic error in not giving Eden and Emi enough wake up time or enough warm layers and they cried voraciously while the older two giggled and jumped in anticipation. Adrian slept peacefully with Mark staying back. Things continued in the directions they were going and when it struck midnight and the blasts and sparkles started Canaan and Lucia screamed in delight and awe. They thought it was absolute magic. And Eden and Emi wailed louder and harder and asked to go home. We stayed about 15 minutes, bracing against the wind, before heading back to our separate apartments. It was a bit magical to watch it through the older kids eyes with their total delight and I wished we'd been able to let them stay longer but it was hard with two scared little girls. Canaan talked the whole way about how fantastic, wonderful, magical and incredible the experience was, making it so worth it.

 

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