Monday, January 28, 2013


... is the first day of school for my two littles! I will take lots of pictures.

Their preschool has a process for easing in kids the first year.
Day 1: The children (just the new kids, not returning) come for 1 hour, with their parents, and explore the place.
Day 2: The children come with their parents or caregivers for 2 hours, with a little more structure - snack time in the middle.
Day 3: The children are dropped off for 1 hour. (We were asked to please keep it simple when we drop them off, assuring them we'll be back soon, and to be PROMPT in returning)
Day 4: The children are dropped off for two hours.

* weekend *

Monday: Toy Day! Each child is encouraged to bring a clearly marked favorite toy from home (not too big and not too tiny). They are dropped off for four hours.
Tuesday: Regular schedule commences (some kids are half-day, some are full-day, etc...)

I'm staying home from work Tuesday and Wednesday, and working limited hours the other days to support them in this transition. They're really excited about it though. Yesterday Valerie asked me "is it Tuesday yet?"

~ :: ~

My parents are also leaving this week - Thursday morning - and I'm glad that they are here for the first few days of school; I think it will make the transition less abrupt, perhaps, on both fronts. Maybe. I could be wrong. In any case, it's been great having them here and I don't know what we would have done without them, during the month our babysitter was on vacation! Well, worked less, probably!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Just Kid Stuff

I think the kids, for the most part, are settling in. We have an interesting challenge ahead of us in February when they'll both start going to preschool half-days - I wasn't planning to put G in school so soon, but after visiting the place I kept thinking - he's going to love this. They have an arts and nature focus, and own a farm outside the city that I think Valerie will love visiting - there's even a llama, apparently! I think G will enjoy the music workshop they do with all kinds of musical instruments. It will still be an adjustment for them since they haven't picked up a whole lot of Spanish yet - but I expect that will change soon with immersion.

The kids are both growing like weeds. When we arrived, G didn't have to duck to go under the rail that surrounds the playground near our house - now he does. Sleeves that were overlong last summer are now just right. And I keep having to trim the hair out of their eyes.

G is talking a mile a minute, he's a natural mimic so picks up a crazy amount of vocabulary from us and his sister. There are still adorably "baby" things he says - like reversing word order ("Where's my little own toy!") or sounds ("Pliget" instead of "Piglet"). Another phrase he says that I love is "no many" (e.g. "The dog is sad because it has no many friends.") He's also really into mamas and babies - every toy he can, he puts into big/little pairs that are then Mama and Baby - like mama and baby tow trucks, mama and baby cement mixers, mama and baby helicopters. They must then stay together or they get sad.

Valerie continues with her acrobatics - she has excellent balance. Yesterday she climbed on the back of the couch to get more traction for pressing play-dough flat on an end table - her feet in the air, her middle balanced just so on the couch, one hand on the play-dough. She loves monkey bars and basically climbing anything and everything she can. She often talks about Tirana but tells me she likes it here and is happy.

We've had opportunity this month to check out some kid-friendly fun things in Bogota, including the children's museum, a huge park surrounding a lake in the middle of the city, and exploring a big mall in hopes of finding an indoor play area for rainy days. The park was pretty awesome, you could buy fish food for the carp in the lake, as well as all kinds of other finger foods, and there was a huge playground for the kids. The Children's Museum and Mall were both pretty expensive, we thought (my parents have been kind of shocked at food prices here as well, compared to Peru). So I'm not sure how often we'll be doing those things. But the park was great. Anyway, I do have photos of all those things just not on the computer yet, so I'll save them for a future post.

Our sitter has been on vacation for about a month so we've been relying completely on grandparent care! I don't know what we'd do without them!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Hello, 2013

Well. A year ago I promised you all 150 posts in 2012... I didn't even break 100! The last quarter of this year was a doozy... we moved to Bogotá, Colombia, on November 1, and pretty much hit the ground running. Things didn't really slow down until after Christmas. 

Well, I'm not sure to what extent I'm going to be able to catch you all up on the past two months... but at least, here is an assortment of photos that I finally got around to downloading and prettying up on my laptop (my camera suffered a rain-related mishap in October, so the lens cover doesn't open all the way anymore... which is why a lot of my photos have a dark shadow in one corner. Those that don't, it's been cropped out.)

This is the view out our bedroom window. We don't actually get direct sunlight in our apartment, but we are close to some green spaces - the trees you see there are on the National University grounds.

Another nice green space nearby: this is a sweet little park half a block from our house. This neighborhood is referred to by some as the "Mennonite neighborhood" because so many Mennonites live within a few blocks of each other!

For the past month, my parents have been visiting us here in Bogotá while house-sitting for a Wycliffe missionary who is in the US right now. These roses are from her garden - a sunny little backyard patio where the kids have been having a ton of fun playing. The "Fancy House" (as we've been calling it) is quite a distance from our apartment, so we've been dividing our weeks between the two places, staying 3-4 days at a time over there. Bogotá is seriously huge... although the TransMilenio bus system does a lot to facilitate transit.

We spent Christmas Day relaxing at home, and also at a team Christmas party in an apartment complex that had its own little grassy area with a playground, which the kids vastly enjoyed.

For New Year's, we went to Montserrate - a local landmark with a wonderful vista of the city. We took the Funicular - a train built at a slant to go up steep slopes - to go up, and the cable car to come down. At the top we enjoyed the view and had a delicious lunch at an Italian-themed restaurant there. 

Well, 2012 held a lot of surprises. We'll see what 2013 will bring!