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Before I completely forget to blog it and move into all things December I wanted to note for my records that we hosted our 2nd Annual Adult Halloween Party this year. I was on the fence about hosting another one, remembering how crazy busy everything got right after Halloween but Nate was up for it and a friend asked us to host it, so host we did.   We kept things simple. Another competition of best Fall treats, another costume competition and the introduction of a few minute to win it game...

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This year we had a "traditional" North American-living-in-Ecuador Thanksgiving. And by that I mean we skipped the turkey and headed to the beach for four days of sun, sand, waves, and fish. The weekend prior to Thanksgiving we did have an impromptu dinner with some Thanksgiving sides and a roasted chicken but that is as close as we got.   We drove 5 hours to Casa Blanca and I have to say our kids are becoming semi-enjoyable in the car. Of course there was bickering and whining at times, but...

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After mulling over several ideas, we ended up landing on Scuba Divers. The kids were excited about this and I love having them coordinate! (And let me tell you it made it so easy to just buy two of the materials we needed.) Canaan has been chatting about being a "deep sea diver" for weeks and the week leading up to Halloween I involved them in the process, cutting out their flippers together one afternoon and painting the scuba tanks with Eden another day.   The day of the kids were ecstati...

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The morning after Matt and Tina's wedding we packed up and headed about 15 minutes away to meet my parents and sister's family at a different rental. I can't recommend our location highly enough. It was a fun, family friendly neighborhood with a huge park and lots of ethnic cuisine close by. And every landmark we wanted to hit up seemed to be within 10-15 minutes of our house. The rental itself had lots of character, having previously been a horse stable that was converted into 6 loft units &nbs...

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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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