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The weekend before we left for 3 months in the US I snuck away for about 36 hours of beach time with girlfriends. A big shout out to my friend Christine because she was more determined than I to make it happen and when I likely would have bowed out, feeling guilty about money and time away from the kids as travel plans got more difficult, she persevered through and got us both on that plane! I'm so glad she did because it was 36 hours of rest for the soul and deep connecting with friends. The ot...

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Part of the idea of camping was to already be up on the mountain at El Refugio so that we could continue our tradition of an Easter Sunrise Service at the cross at El Refugio. I really enjoyed this year, with our kids being old enough to sit quietly and enjoy the worship music with us. I appreciate the tranquility up there and the ability to ponder the Resurrection while in nature and with a small community of people. I appreciate the simplicity of no microphones or amps, just a guitar and our v...

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The same day as Canaan's birthday party we quickly cleaned up and then headed out for an Easter weekend camping trip with the Passmores. It was a great way to spend the break, despite being a bit hectic to plan for the party, packing for camping, and Easter food and supplies. For me, camping is made fun by the people I'm with. It's not naturally fun to me to pack up half my house and then be dirty and work hard to make the simplest of meals only to immediately start over on the next meal shortly...

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I have wanted to do a mud run for over a year now and was thrilled when I learned El Refugio, a branch of Youth World was gearing up to do their first ever mud run. Initially I'd hoped to do the full course mud run with Nate and Christine and then do the short course with the kids but with Nate's soccer schedule it got too hard to predict his availability. So Christine and I decided to do the full course together. It was a BLAST! It was definitely muddy, soggy and all the rest. We ran with mud a...

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For Carnaval this year we decided to go away with the Passmores and Enderles. We wanted to get out of the city but no one wanted to travel far so we started our Air B&B research. We ended up picking a place with a Mickey Mouse pool in Ibarra that seemed to have lots of space, bedrooms and enough to do on the property. It turned out to be a great house, great town to visit, and great time with friends. We enjoyed eating all of our meals together family-style with each couple taking a days' wo...

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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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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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We celebrated Christmas with my play group friends on an Ecuadorian national holiday.  Appetizers which were more like full dinner entrees, a pumpkin spice latte cake, a water table and drinks in the bright sun, kiddie gift exchange, many language corrections to my Spanish and chaotic fun with friends.  Glad to have friends from here to celebrate with as we share our different traditions and talk about what Christmas means to each of us!           Add new comme...

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My new favorite thing is seasonal bucket lists.  They are fun and help fill up long toddler days with creative activities.  Our fall list included "s'mores over a campfire."  Honestly we have to skip many of the seasonal activities or change them up because they don't exist here but this was one we could do.     In the end we turned it into a group event and invited about 15 people over for Brats and S'mores.  It was a chill night with minimal prep for me because ev...

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