Daddy, Maddie…& Katy!

October, 2015

As with most parents, seeing my children happy, and I mean so TRULY happy that I can actually feel the warmth of pure and weightless joy emanating from them, is my everything.

Their wide smiles….their glow…these magical gifts have become my Sun.

Moreover, seeing my children exhibit such happiness because of the love they share with their Daddy…well, let’s face it…my heart inflates like a giant Valentines Day helium balloon and raises me into euphoric bliss!

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Back from a telling Hiatus…

You can have more than one home. You can carry your roots with you, and decide where they grow. Henning Mankell

At last we meet again, dear Blog.

I am horror-stricken to see that my last entry was in September, almost 6 months ago.  Especially when there has been SO much going on…SO many wonderful memories!

Admittedly, I know that it has been because of all of this “SO much” that I have not been as dedicated.  Our life has officially finished its slow descent up the roller coaster, and has flown off of the other side, ripping and racing, high and low, side to side,  without enough pause to focus on some of the little things that I was able to observe and admire on my initial ride up.

They are those kinds of speeds that are exhausting, but invigorating.  They leave us wishful for a break, but yet make us feel like we are finally in our element…we are finally feeling alive. 

So, maybe my negligence on this blog has actually been a sign of its own?

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A FAVORITE – Isla de Chiloe

With Dieciocho comes a long weekend for Tom and the kids, which in turn meant that we had another opportunity to explore a new part of our beautiful new home.

While tossing around several ideas, we found that we kept returning to Isla de Chiloe-a relatively large island situated in the Pacific only about 3 1/2 hours south of us.  An easy trip and a beautiful place, so we had heard from the few that we know have visited.

The plan was to leave bright and early Thursday morning and stay through Sunday – a perfect amount of time to explore the entire island (or so we thought!).

Mother Nature’s Surprise

But Chile is, well….Chile….a place where the Earth doesn’t seem to want to relax.  While we were finalizing our packing the night before our departure, a screeching emergency alarm began blaring from both of our cell phones – along with a written warning of Tsunami and an evacuation alert.

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Dieciocho Celebrations

I can hardly believe it’s been a year since the last September 18th!

Time for Chile’s Fiestas Patrias & Dieciocho celebrations.

I have really become fond of this time of year.  While the weather isn’t exactly fantastic, often times cold and rainy, it is an incredibly unique and unforgettable experience to be here for “the celebration of all celebrations”.

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A Word on Spanish….In ENGLISH!

Without a doubt, one of the biggest “shocks to the system” connected with a move abroad was the transition into a new language.

But only mostly for me!

Tom is fluent, and the children were/are magically (and thankfully) impervious to it. A combination of the fact that play can happen quite easily without the need for discussion, and they are really and truly sponges when it comes to picking up a language. For example, (and I have tested this theory), Maddie can hear something one time and know it, even if that one time means in passing from a television screen.

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Birthday Celebrations in Chile

With the US Summer (so, the Chile Winter), comes our June, July & August of Birthday Celebrating!

It was absolutely wonderful being able to be in the United States during Ellie’s 2nd Birthday having the opportunity to celebrate all of the ninos birthdays with friends and family.      349 326

Ellie:  It is mind-boggling to me how much you have grown in the last year.  Perhaps it is because you are my baby, and so a part of me expects and assumes that you will always be a baby.  Alas, I must throw in the towel and admit it, you have climbed your way out of babyhood and entered the fast-paced, high-energy roll of a “terrible two-er”. But watching you learn multiple things every day, master multiple physical feats constantly…well, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  In the last year, you have officially exited your place in the baby carrier and entered the world of running, climbing (up railings, out of cribs, all over every potential corner or platform of a playground, on top of tables….Lord help us!), dancing and playing.  Of course, often times, your dear heart prefers to be holding the hand of one of your siblings while you are on your adventures, for you adore them so. And of course, the feeling is mutual…3 peas in a pod you are.  Your independence is INCREDIBLE. You have NO problem putting your siblings in their place (wagging and saying your piece, which seems VERY serious at times despite the fact we can’t always decipher all the words!), and it is clear that you fully expect that you will keep up with them anywhere and everywhere we go—NOT to be held and restricted to a parental embrace! I pray this confidence lasts your lifetime!

And of course, your “Spanglish” never fails to delight.  “Mas candy,” “I want pan,” “Leche please,”…and so-on, saying the words with your extra-adorable crooked, dimpled grin.  You have assumed a love of all things art and all things play, and will dance, dance and DANCE some more…as long as we’ll let you.  “Gummy Bear!” you plead (for the dancing video to the song of the same name).  “Mas Monkeys!” (a lover of Monkeys on the bed).  You, Ellie, are an ABSOLUTE JOY.  Without fail, each and every night when daddy is here with us, one of us will say, “Look at her! Look at her expression! Look at what she’s doing!” (snap, snap, snap, go the photos).  We cherish every moment, every day with you.  Happy 2nd Birthday my dear angel, we LOVE YOU Ellie Bear!

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And of course, Maddie and Greyson were enthused to be able to have TWO birthday parties this year, celebrating in Chile as well.

As I already wrote about the AMAZING party with friends and family in the US-I will just talk about the Chile festivities in this post (-:

Given the fact their birthdays are exactly 2 weeks apart, we decided one joint celebration would do.  They share some mutual friends in the neighborhood, and Maddie has many friends that just adore Greyson.

Maddie had attended birthday parties at a local establishment called “Happy House” in the past, liked it and chose to have the party there this year.

And so last weekend, we celebrated the two birthdays with close to 35 children and a few parents as well.  It was a hit-the kids enjoyed the ball pit, maze, table games, pinata, food and cake, and ultimately the party ended with a dance party and bubbles in the basement.

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Two particular highlights of the party were the “Tortazos.”  Tortazo is a Chilean birthday tradition involving the face being introduced to the cake.  So I am told, Greyson’s “tortazo” may have been one of the “most extreme” in Happy House history! ❤  Mbday24 207231210

The kiddos were also able to celebrate their special days individually.

Per requests, Maddie enjoyed a pancake and whipped-creme & sprinkles breakfast (and may have eaten more creme than pancake!), and her favorite pesto pasta dish and cake for dinner, along with a few gifts (-:  Greyson enjoyed what he calls “delicious muffins” for breakfast (egg-free zucchini muffins that he adores) and enchiladas, cake and gifts at night.

Maddie:  I simply do not know where the years are going, dear child.  It seems like only yesterday that I laid on the floor next to your crib until you fell asleep, and stopped myself from correcting your version of “polka dots”….”coka dots.”  I feel as though I’ve blinked and you’ve transformed.  Turning into a beautiful, young girl….a bilingual, energetic ball of light who always has multiple friends (aka play dates), multiple interests (tennis, dance, gymnastics, climbing, hiking, art, violin, swimming, crafts), and a HUGE heart.  You never ignore or reject your siblings.  You play and play with them…all sorts of games.  And if you feel it’s necessary, you are all to0 happy to help them with food, diapers (Ellie), combing hair, dressing, etc.  When you are not doing that, you’re creating some new art project (ex:  dolls) or jewelry pieces to sell in the neighborhood, and if not that, you find items in our house to sell….really anything can be sold, you feel, even if it’s a scrap of fabric (-: You are at the age where you act old around your friends, and we have officially entered the “not cuddling with our parents in front of others stage,” BUT you are the first one to want a snuggle at the end of the day.  ❤  Daddy and I enjoy you TO PIECES….we LOVE LOVE LOVE spending time with you, witnessing your evolving independence and confidence as you enter adolescence, but at the same time holding on to the sweet baby girl that is still there.  We find ourselves often wishing we could freeze this year, this age, but at the same time knowing that it’s going to continue to be amazing watching you grow, and that probably even the best is yet to come.  Thank you for showing us what a true zest, LOVE, for life really is.  For allowing us to experience the magic of the world through your eyes!  WE LOVE you Maddie Mooskie!  Mbday28

Greyson:  I learned the word “amoroso” here in Chile, which essentially means loving. Now, whenever I describe you, that is the word I use….amoroso.  It is so fitting.  You are such a sweet, affectionate, kind child.  I’ve watched you in the last year transform from a child that was barely willing to hold a crayon, and was just getting started on all things active, into a little boy who can now write his name (this week!), color in the lines, draw people, reel in a 10 pound catfish alone, ride a bike with training wheels at the speed of lightening, and keep up with your older sister…piece of cake.  You talk ALL THE TIME, your dear inquisitive mind marveling at the world around you.  And 99% of that talk is about fishing…no question that was in your DNA!  For the last month, you have slept regularly in your fishing vest, made it a point to watch fishing videos on You Tube, and sleep with your lures under your pillow.  And despite the fact your Spanish is still only nominal, after 4 months in 3k (Playgroup) at school, you still are, as we call you, “The Happiest Kid in the World.”  You do not let a thing like language get you down! Everything, and I mean everything, is viewed in the most positive of light.  Everyone is your “bwest fwiend.”  Every food I make is the “most delicious food in the woyld”.  And seriously, (You do say this…) EVERY DAY is the “bwest day EVER”.  NEVER EVER lose that spirit! And thank you for helping us see the beauty in the small things every day-for infecting us with your PURE JOY.  We LOVE you Grey Grey! Mbday3

Another year, another trip around the sun that we will feel eternally blessed for.  There really is no greater gift than the gift of your children.


gift of life



Home for the Holiday

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.” – George Moore

Choosing a date to head home for our summer vacation came pretty easily this year.

One of the other many things we’ve learned from living abroad is how much we appreciate home.  Yes, definitely family and friends, but also our home country.   It was the place we were raised, where we both planted our roots and where we blossomed.

Last year, we weren’t prepared for how sad we felt when we missed the 4th of July.  Therefore, this year, we made sure that we would be there for it, making our trip both a celebration of Independence day and a celebration of those we love.

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