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My family was here for my actual birthday. Kim, my parents, and I spent the morning in Santa Clara doing some last minute shopping for baskets before they left. I had been complaining about needing more storage space for my dishware (probably because my mom, sis and I had all just snagged some handmade pottery for pennies) and when I saw this cabinet my mom urged me to get it, offering it as a birthday gift for me. It was originally brown but by afternoon they had stripped it, painted it this tu...

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New Years Eve Day was my family's last day here so a bit of packing was done, my sis and her daughter got manicures and then we headed out to Amazonas street, where some of the action happens. Well, actually I should first let you know what the streets are like. Picture loads of colorful masks and stuffed dummies on every corner being sold. And then picture clumps of young adult men dressed as scantily clad women holding ropes across the street to make every car stop. They stop you and you have ...

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One of my dad's Christmas gifts to my mom was a surprise trip to Shell. (I'm also calling it a gift from me because it required me driving there and back, something I have previously refused to consider doing because I hate windy, one-lane roads and thoroughly appreciate Nate's willingness to navigate them but with 10 people we needed two cars.) My mom is the perfect person to surprise because she rarely notices clues ... even when one of my friends asks her directly about the trip not realizing...

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The whole Jordan family came to Quito for Christmas, which was our first time being together here since Eden was born 5 years ago. Because we've grown in number since then, they all stayed at my friend Elisa's house a neighborhood over. The first day everyone was in town we hosted Eden's birthday party at Mr. Joy followed by cake at home. Lunches consisted of things such as ocro de papa and empanadas were consumed whereever we went. We spent time at the local park, time in the pool and in the ba...

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A piece of my childhood, shared with my kids on a street town in the Historic Center: Huevos Chilenos.    Not as good as I remember them but fun to scoop into our mouths in between heats of homemade go cart racing that happens every December! We also saw a vintage VW Beetle parade, a go cart crash, shopped for tacky Christmas decor and bought Canaan rain boots for his upcoming jungle trip. It was just the Saturday we needed, with a new adventure and exploring as a family.   Add ne...

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Passmores hosted Thanksgiving this year and it was a CROWD! About 50 people total. They asked 3 friends to each set a table and it was fun to see how everyone's Thanksgiving style came out. Christy saved me with an extra piece of butcher paper. It was hectic and there was waaaay too much food and of course we came away stuffed and the kids had a blast running around with their friends and all that good stuff. Nate and I both agreed that we like a bit more of an intimate setting next year and wil...

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These two cuties get super excited about Halloween ... and thanks to Nona's post-Halloween 2015 shopping I didn't have to put a minute of thought into their outfits. We had a cave girl and a football ref and the kids embraced their roles wholeheartedly.   Per recent tradition we went over to Campo Alegre where many US Embassy families live and trick-or-treated around their neighborhood. Nate wasn't able to join us because of a team event so we met up with the Passmores. We finished up the n...

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** Remember when I used to blog and it was real time? It's been awhile. I was ALMOST caught up an then the semester hit and now I'm just as far behind. Someday ....  But regardless can I just say that the pool is great whether summer or dead of winter. We love it! **   Pepe's pool was the highlight of our summer. Not because it was the very BEST thing we did but because it was what we did. Almost daily.   With Pepe no longer living next to us we haven't used it much recently but w...

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I have been itching for some time to make doughnuts with friends and my monthly dinner club seemed like the perfect place to do it!   Frying is not my forte, nor is frying particularly glamorous what with the grease everywhere, the heavy smell in the house and more. But man, those fried pockets of dough are delicious going down. So delicious that I probably ate about nine doughnuts this night. Yep. Classy.     But it was super fun to share with friends. The kind of friends who are...

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We knew we wanted to get in a trip to the beach this summer since we would be at home with no other travel plans, we just didn't know when. Nate's schedule involves lots of nights and weekends and we never know until Monday what his Saturday will hold. But he came home one day and announced that he had a weekend with no game so we scurried quickly to make plans. I was nervous about the beach with aftershocks still being a relatively frequent thing but Nate, who had been to some of the most devas...

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