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We spent our last two nights in Chicago as the Runyans' first guests to try out their new airbnb basement redesign. The redo is beautiful and we always have fun sleeping in our old queen bed that we gave to them when we moved to Quito! (It's a whole lot nicer than our used mattress here.) It was sweet of them to set that time aside. I love how graciously Ella and Edie invite our kids into their lives and rooms and toys and more. We started out with a trip to the River Forest Pool where everyone ...

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I have a really nice husband who likes me a lot. We decided to try this experiment of the fastest Home Assignment ever. We took a regular 12-week trip and pared it down to just 4 short weeks. We didn't know if it was a good idea but we agreed we were both willing to try it and assess later whether it was a win or a fail. But in all of that planning and looking closely at days and realizing how few we had, I let Nate know that my dream day that we had missed out on last visit to the US would be t...

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For Mother's Day Nate booked Christine and I a room at Swissotel. We played our traditional volleyball on Saturday afternoon and then headed out with the whole family. We spent a few hours in the pool, splashing with our families before the guys headed off with the kids and we got some alone time. We walked up and down, looking for a new restaurant to try and landed at OM Lounge, that had fusion asian. We were happily surprised with our experience there and had a relaxing dinner. After we headed...

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Another four year tradition is being at the El Refugio cross on Easter morning for a simple worship service. We focus on the resurrection as we look at the crude cross and the beautiful mountains beyond. Most come from home and have their matching Sunday outfits and hot brunch items ready. We come from two days of camping and look a bit more bedraggled. After the service we head down the mountain together for a communal brunch. Afterward we send the kids off into the prayer garden for a chaotic ...

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For the past year we've let a lot of holidays pass us by. With my new travel/work schedule it's hard to stay on top of more than the week in front of us. But those times to get away are important to us so we were determined to plan ahead. We found a great condo on the beach thru airbnb that accommodated us and the Passmores perfectly and was just a one minute walk from our favorite beach restaurant. We spent 4 days, 3 nights living the beach life. Our first day we usually get there just in time ...

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Oh Chicago, how I love you! There is still something that just feels like home when we land in this city. In fact when we got off the plane at O'Hare, Canaan said, "Ah it's just so good to be in my home city!" (Never mind that he left when he was 10 months old.  We did a whirwind 5 days here. We landed and had an afternoon and evening with Nate's family, first at Laura's house where they packed boxes and painted and then at Giordano's where we opted for thin crust pizza (sacrilege) because ...

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4th of July Nate had to work, since after all it's not a holiday here at all! The kids and I picked up EBB and headed out to Calacali, jamming to music and having conversation in code since Canaan is just as curious as his mom was at that age. Christine, Aaron, EBB and I ate too much bean dip before the grill was even going. We had grilled zucchini and too many sides as dusk settled and the kids ran around and underfoot. The kids watched some 4th of July movie on blankets outdoors while I stood ...

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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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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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