One thing I noticed on our trip to the US was how nice it was to be in our own culture, parenting with people who all have different parenting styles, but with more underlying similarities.  I felt a freedom open up, particularly in Canaan, to BE, to run, to go that he doesn't have here.  He wasn't shadowed by an adult (often not his mother but someone who has decided that at any moment something dangerous could happen so he and the others must be watched) at all times and he was free ...

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After spending about a week in Chicago with family and friends, we all road tripped down to St. Louis for Matt & Tina's wedding.  One car left in the wee early hours in order to make it in time for Matt's appointment for his wedding license.  But our family and Mark and Kora's took the easier approach.  We left when we were ready and immediately headed for breakfast donuts before starting the real trip.  We ordered a dozen donuts from Stan's in Chicago and holy moly! &nbs...

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Family comes in different forms.  Some by blood and some just by bond.  For us, going to Chicago means getting to see both types of family.  And it was just what I needed.  Moments of time with people I know and love to soak up and fill my heart back up with.  From the moment we walked out of the airport and were greeted at 1:30am by someone so excited to pick us up at that hour we felt loved and cared for.  We had a good friend just hand over his car keys for two w...

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This summer Nate's brother got married in St. Louis.  With a brother and family coming from Uruguay and our family coming from Ecuador it turned into a two-week reunion!  We haven't had all of Nate's immediate family together in about 4 years so we were all eagerly anticipating the time.  The trip started in Chicago for all of us though as we crammed into Laura and Garenne's new house.  There was little sleep with a different person up every night and Nate and I sleeping in t...

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This summer my life got simpler with school ending just as Nate's got busier.  I had a week where I knew he basically wouldn't be around so I had to get creative with these kids!  They love pretending to host birthday parties so we decided to make a big deal out of one.  It turned into a multi-afternoon project, which was perfect.  Hijita and Fifi, Canaan and Eden's beloved stuffed animals respectively were the birthday girls.  We made invites for each party member, plan...

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I think this year I've grown a bit weary of trying to plan things, motivate people and make things happen.  I love some of our traditions and celebrations from living in the States and I love finding ways to do them here.  But sometimes I find that other people just don't care as much!  So I decided to let 4th of July come and go with many people already in the US for the summer and other things, like Nate's Showcase, being on the forefront of our agenda.  These are some of t...

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For the past month life has been - not quite normal.  And it's not just my family.  Living in South America means the World Cup affects EVERYTHING.  It's been pretty fun to experience it in a country that gets so excited about it.  A month before games started, direct TV and flat screens started appearing in every restaurant, coffee shop, etc.  It didn't matter if the restaurant is a hole in the wall with the average meal costing $3.  They found a way to get a flat ...

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Our friends, Jeff & Mackenzie, stayed with us for a few nights on their way to and from Cuenca.  It was easily the easiest house guests we've had (other than family.).  They have two young boys, with Canaan falling right in the middle of them age-wise.  They spent hours playing together, building forts, going camping, digging in the back yard and more.  We barely left the house because all they wanted to do is play together.  It brought forward some of the real paren...

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My dad found out he needed to be in Shell, a town about 5 hours from us, for work.  Lucky for us, my mom decided to tag along and we ended up with an unexpected visit in early June from Nona and Babum.  The kids were THRILLED!  Despite the kids suffering from a severe lack of sleep due to room sharing and Eden's desire to wake Canaan up pre-5am every day it was wonderful to have them.   My dad was with us only for about a day and a half total but he brought me a full stock of...

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It's been a rough few weeks.  A friend that I graduated high school with lost his 3 month old baby girl.  Mother's Day was a mix of emotions celebrating the two children they do have and grieving the one that is in heaven now.  Another friend I graduated high school with that lives here in Quito was in a major car accident with her husband.  She spent 4 hours of her Mother's Day in surgery.  It's been a sad time hurting for my friends.  It's been a sobering time rea...

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