Friday, May 31, 2013


I think I am going insane.  I'm not sure how much more of this I can take.  The packing, the pricing, people in and out of our house picking through things, saying goodbyes, trying to help the kids deal with their emotions when I'm not sure I can deal with my own, trying to get the kids to go through their stuff...... not to mention all of the end of the year activities and whatnot.  Uuuuugh.
Take this, for instance:
Does that look vaguely familiar?  Sorting perler and pony beads?  Yes.  That is because even though I thoroughly sorted these very things myself a few months ago and threatened a certain child within an inch of his life to keep things organized.... things didn't stay organized.  Am I shocked?  No.  I'm not that stupid.
Some stuff has been fun, however.  Take this.....

The kids have had a good time graffitiing the walls.  I had to start it off because I think that since they are such well mannered, obedient, respectful kids, they didn't think I was serious when I told them that they could paint all over their walls.  I helped myself to my glow-in-the-dark paint and painted secret messages to them on their walls so when they went to sleep at night they would see their surprise notes.  Once that happened, they joined in the fun.
Cade painted yin yang symbols in three of the rooms before I took notice.  Not being the hugest fan of the symbol, I gently asked him to paint over them.  To my delight he did it without any balking.  Now I need to go around and take pictures of all of the designs and messages.

Tomorrow I need to get a grip on myself.  We are joining a big "remate" - the term for a garage sale in Spanish.  One of the classes is holding it at the school as a fund raiser.  You pay to have a table and they set up and advertise.  It is sure to be complete chaos.  Really. Selling stuff here is mayhem.  
First of all, it is extremely difficult to know how to price things.  You are dealing with different cultures who deal with these things very differently.  For example, if you price things too high, gringos won't even look at it.  If you price things too low, Ecuadorians think they can barter you lower.  So you want to price things high enough so that you and the Ecuadorians have a better chance at getting to the same number, but you want to price things low enough so that gringos are still interested.  
Some may suggest that you just set the price that you want and stick with it.  They are blissfully ignorant.  No matter how fair you price things, certain groups of people will not leave it alone.  They will barter to the death using puppy dog eyes and whiny voices, or with various tones of being argumentative..... some even with heaping guilt.  And it will go on and on and on - relentlessly!!  
The other weekend, a friend of mine who is also leaving, had a remate at their home.  Two ladies tried to barter with her for at least 15 minutes over a comforter that was already a crazy good deal.  My friend had it priced very low for a great blanket - especially for here - and these ladies would not leave her alone.  I was proud that she did not budge and finally they bought the blanket anyway.
It should be a good time.  Or not.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

hoping, hoping

Do you ever really hope and pray that you'll win something?
I won a hat and a cooler in junior high for drinking milk.  I was pretty excited about that.  This is a lot bigger and better....
Snapknot is having a contest for a great camera.
Big thanks to the SnapKnot wedding photography directory for offering this great camera giveaway!
And yes, I am hoping, hoping.  By doing what I am doing (this blog entry), I get extra entries.  Increase my chances.... increased chances are good.
One of the biggest things this is making me realize, however, is that I need to start looking into having a photography website.  In Ecuador I didn't need one, but now that that is over, it is probably going to be important.  And along with a new website I'm thinking of a new name.
Right now I've been going with Aire Fino for the school photography portion and my name for the rest.  I'm kind of looking at something else for the new start back in North America.
The two options I've thought of are
Nest Photography
Dwell Photography
I like the logo/graphics potential for Nest but like the concept of Dwell better.
Perhaps I'll just let it simmer for a while.
Hopefully winning a new camera will provide more inspiration!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

mom's day

Why back when was Mother's Day - like two whole weeks ago.  By the looks of the picture below, you'd think I had seven kids.  Um.... no, only four.  But I still received multiple cards and things - including Lucy's music notebook.  Nothing says Happy Mother's Day like a cuaderno de musica.
Recently we've been having the Casa G boys at our house on Sundays rather than going there.  Our kids like it a lot better - they are much more interactive and love hanging out with them - at our house.  We're not sure what the difference is, but they are totally different kids at home than when we are at Casa G. 
Anywho, the boys were all so sweet.  After church they walked into the house single file, each carrying a flower (or two or three - depending on whether they picked it or not!!) and handed them to me as they walked in.  Of course I got all teary eyed.  Shocking, I know.

The kids also came home from church with roses and vases that they had made in Sunday school (I skipped out on church so that I could have a little time to myself since the rest of the day was busy with cooking, hosting and all of that).  They are all so pretty but I was so sad knowing that I was going to have to throw them away pretty soon.  I'd be pretty happy being a hoarder if it meant I would hoard everything my kids ever made or did.
After Casa G, in the early evening, Mia's bible study group had a special Mother/Daughter bible study. We were supposed to dress alike....
We played Headbandz and did the bible study - then had cake.  It was pretty great to have that time with Mia and with her/my friends.
The Friday before Mother's Day, Cade's class had a special Mother's day tea.  I was so mad at myself because I took a bunch of pictures but then I accidentally deleted them all.  Not happy.  
They had muffins and juice, special vases and flowers that they made, read some poems and filled out a little booklet together (same one as last year - and it was just as much fun).  I loved having that time with that guy.  I kind of like Cade.
Being a mom is good stuff.

Saturday, May 25, 2013



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

she's eight!

Someone turned eight a little over a week ago.  My baby who is not such a baby any more....  Eight years old.  Sheesh.  We've had a few celebrations already but we still aren't done.  We haven't been able to go out for her birthday dinner yet.  But boy the kids are chomping at the bit for that.  Patience!!! It will happen!!!
Meanwhile - on Sunday the 5th we celebrated with Casa G.  We were few in number with the Douces gone and some of the boys busy, so we just did a simple cake.... and sadly no gifts.  Really, it is just as well since we don't have much space to take it all back with us anyway!

Then school.  Time for cupcakes and all that yumminess.  The teacher's aide for that class has the same birthday so they planned a big shin-dig for the two of them.  Unfortunately Ms. Luz's dog got bit by some nasty bug that can cause a slow death, so she couldn't be there.... she had to go and put her dog down.  Not exactly the happiest way to spend your birthday.  Poor Ms. Luz.
Lucy's part of the party went on.... just with the cupcakes, however.
Ms. Luz did make Lucy a special crown though!

Since it was a Monday and we can't drive from 4:00 - 7:30 ("pico y placa"), we couldn't go out for dinner.  So she requested chocolate chip pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream.  With real chocolate chips (imported and supplied by Veronica)!  Lucy even helped get dinner ready.

Due to the nearness of our move we didn't do a "real" gift for Lu.  I thought she might be a little unhappy about getting money for her birthday.  Take a look at the picture and figure out for yourself whether I was right or wrong....
No animation what-so-ever.
Well, at least she is clear on the emotions.
Birthday dinner out... still to come.

stuff n things

Well by now everyone pretty much knows - we are leaving Ecuador.  There are so many mixed emotions right now it is hard to even know what to say.  So I'll save it for another day.... not easy to put those many many feelings into words.
Because of this big change, we are very busy trying to sell everything.... again.  I've been taking things out of various rooms, cleaning them up, checking their condition, photographing them, etc.  This of course means that then the kids become more attached to them and want to play with them.  Many of these items became a fort last weekend - a fort that was constructed, rearranged, reconstructed, demolished....  But hey, that is half the fun!  Once it is built, a bit part of the joy is gone.
Benches also became the stocks on various occasions.   

The kids asked if this could be their new form of discipline - instead of the usual taking away privileges, nasty chores (I've warned them that I have a few great ones lined up - like scrubbing the BBQ grill... funny how everyone seems to be on their best behavior lately!).  I let them know that since they are asking for it, it was a good tip-off that it might not be the most affective means of punishment.  They seemed a little surprised that I was on to them.  I was a little surprised by how ignorant they must think I am!
The last few weeks of school (we have five and a half left) is always filled with a million fun events... and some not so fun.  Today was Wacky Wednesday, so the kids wacked it out.  Lucy, being the self-conscious fashion maiden that she is didn't want to stray too far.
Cade, on the other hand, got really wacky.   Contrary to the picture, he was very into it and super excited - bouncing off the walls with each new idea.  He has his hat upside down and filled with pine cones (ummm?), he is wearing mismatched pajamas (because he is wearing night clothing during the day), two different shoes on the wrong feet, a soccer sock as a head band and when he got to school he completed the ensemble with one other soccer sock overtop of his pant leg, shin guards on his arms and slippers on his hands.
You never know what is going to float this guys boat!
Lots of projects going on - like Maddy's vikings discovering Iceland model.  Yes, I did help, but mainly with giving instructions and such.  I will not do projects for my kids but I will happily give them ideas  and instruction on how to do them!  She did a fabulous job.
And speaking of construction, deconstruction and all that.....  this is what has been going on outside our kitchen for the last several days.  The last several days that I have been home sick and now hear jackhammers and pounding concrete going on in my head....
They are tearing down the house next door.  The first two days they had two guys out with jackhammers.  Our guess is that they were salvaging various materials.  Then halfway through yesterday and all day today they have been knocking down walls and trying to break up large pieces of concrete with this rather large Cat (in the bottom two pictures you see them scooping up pieces, lifting them up high and then dropping them to break them.... it seems to take several attempts to make any headway).  You can see from the first picture that they got the top floor down (the coral and yellow walls).  We guess that tomorrow they'll be taking down the rest.  And we hope that it might be finished by then. 

Come June 26, the place where I sit right this moment will have the same thing happening to it.  It is a wonderful house.  They are crazy to knock it down.