Saturday, June 27, 2009

quito - part 1

outside our cabin (cabaña)
So, while Emi & her Papa are out at Fafa's shop (Farmor - Marcus' mom), I finally have a chance to update the blog and put up some new pics. This first group is from our overnight stay at Arasha' Resort & Spa near Mindo. The resort is located in the rainforest, about a 2 hour drive from the city. It was amazing to have only driven for a couple of hours and yet be in such a completely different ecosystem. The foliage and flora was just out of this world and for as remote a place as this is, the services, spa, food and the resort itself were 5 star all the way. Marcus and I "enjoyed" (in quotes because really, I can't enjoy stuff fully without my Puchis with me) our 24 hour mini-vacay. Emi stayed with her "A" and the two had a grand time tearing the house apart, putting it back together, playing babydoll, eating all sorts of goodies and going downstairs to the park about 3 times in 24 hours.

Otherwise, this first week has been all about visiting with 3 of her 4 grandparents and playing with cousins, aunts & uncles. She loves spending time with all the "niñas" (girls - our friend's kids) and with her prima Sofia (" 'afia" as Emilia calls her). Thursday we went to my "Gero's" house - my Tio Gerardo & Tia Marcela are well into their 80s and the closest thing I have to grandparents. They are the most spectacular people you've ever met in your life and every Thursday, for as long as anyone can remember, they have always had an open invitation for lunch at their house - sometimes it's just the 2 of them, sometimes it's close to 30 people. This Thursday was average - 12. Lunch is always the same on Thursdays - locro (a potato soup - but so much more), choclos y abas (corn on the cob and fava beans). I know it sounds gross but it's the best comfort food you can imagine and I'm so glad that, even if she'll have no recollection of it, Emilia has had the opportunity to take part in this lunch at least a few times.
a little down time, watching "George" on the DVD player loaned to us by Kate's mom, Anne. Thank goodness for everyone's blogs - we look at the every day to see what all our pals are up to!
Friday was a big treat as we took Emilia with "Fafa" & "Abu" (Marcus' parents) to the zoo. I was a little worried thinking it was going to be a bunch of very poorly cared-for animals, but it was really pretty nice with all sorts of exotics like tapir, an amazonian bear, and even a condor. Emilia ran her grandparents ragged as she sprinted through the zoo. I think everyone, including Emi, really enjoyed an afternoon nap!
window shopping with Papa
So, this is a very poor picture, but here Emi is playing with a total treasure... my babydoll crib which is older than I care to admit. As you can see by the fabric... it's a total 70s wonder. A made a ton of babydoll clothes and we've spent HOURS dressing and undressing baby and putting her in bed.
Today (Saturday) Marcus, Emilia, "A" & I went out for lunch to a restaurant called "Taita Pedro" in the valle (valley) of Tumbaco - about 15 minutes from the house. This restaurant specializes in traditional Ecuadorian cooking and is super "old-school" (as in, you walk into the restaurant, and there's Mr. Whole Roast Suckling Pig looking all tasty and delicious). Emilia enjoyed what I think might be her first "plato de hornado" - slowly roasted shredded pork, a potato pancake filled with cheese (yes, fried in lard -because frankly, lard makes everything taste better), a small salad, roasted sweet plantain, avocado (that actually tastes like avocado should), a little ultra crispy slice of heaven known as fried pig skin and mote which is a type of corn.

Tomorrow is another big day as Marcus & I are hosting a lunch for our friends and their kids - about 30 of us will gather outside in the garden of my mom's building. Should be a good time!

Friday, June 19, 2009

somewhat of an update

So it's been completely crazy around here with all the pre-trip running around. Finally, we're all set (or at least as all set as we get) and I have 30 seconds to write up an update that will have to suffice as Emi's 22 month update.

Emilia mia is a non-stop chatterbox. It's amazing how many words she's picked up all of a sudden. Some of the newbies are "truck", "waso" (vaso/cup), "setate" (sientate/sit down), "tasha" (from Backyardigans cartoon), "tapa" (blanket), "Chola", "trapo" (trapo/rag/towel), "nino" (little boy), "oso" (bear), Jean (Miss Jean from the Y), Lolo (also from the Y), bisa (bicicleta/bicycle), "caco" (casco/helmet), "oe" (Zoe), "alla" (alla/over there). She also strings words together to form sentences like "Emi sit here", "Mama sit here", "Emi Mama car bye bye vroom vroom" and my personal fave "washete" (a combination of "wash" and "lavate"= wash hands... hurrah for Spanglish!) It seems like each day she's got another word that pops up. She's also gotten pretty good at recognizing her friend's cars in the parking lot at the Y.

The puffer for her asthma and the singulair have done a tremendous job of keeping her lungs nice and clear. She hasn't had a drippy nose since she started her new meds so we're hoping things will stay like that for a long time.

A big thing for Emi right now is imaginary play. She loves to pretend cook and spends ages talking to her baby doll, reading her stories, and the incessent diapering. Here's an example of what I'm talking about...

a follow up...

Other developments include a change in our sleep pattern. Some days, Emilia will take a 3 hour nap... other days, like today, it's more like 45 minutes. I think a 2-year molar is starting to come in so we're relying on baby Orajel to get us through. Also, Emilia has become a bit of a picky eater. She's not interested in eating breakfast at all and for lunch she pretty much only asks for "hummy bap" (hummus and bread). Perhaps she's getting in touch with her Middle Eastern side? :)

She is, without a doubt, the greatest joy we've ever known.

We depart for Quito tomorrow morning... 1 1/2 hours to Miami and then a 4 hour flight to Quito. Here's hoping we all make it with our sanity relatively in tact. Kate's mom, Anne, was kind enough to loan us their portable DVD player and, as a surprise to Emi we bought a couple of "Curious George DVDs, books, and even a tiny stuffed George as plane entertainment. Hopefully we'll be in good shape. Postings from the middle of the world will be sporatic, but I'll do my best.


Thursday, June 11, 2009


On Monday we had Caitlin and Kyrie over for a mini playdate out in the baby pool. The weather this week has been very hot but beautiful... perfect for a little splashing around...

drinking water out of the pool.

kyrie discovered the fun of sliding on her bottom.... and the fun of wearing emi's crocs.

pouring all the water out of the pool.

bathing beauties.

Friday, June 5, 2009

hanging, finale, and change

Sheer delight in gymastics.

Thursday was Emi's last gymastics class for the summer. Honestly, it was the best money I think we've ever spent on an activity for her. Granted, it wasn't super structured or anything, but it was a great opportunity for her to run around and jump like a crazy person (thus ensuring a fabulous Thursday afternoon nap).
MoMo (Morgan) has been an expert at swinging on the bar pretty much since day 1. She's got abs I'm sure we'd all kill for.

For the longest time Emi would just jump off the little riser and barely touch the bar... MoMo, as usual, continues to swing.

Finally! Since January Emi's been working on this skill. She finally got it!

Emi and Kate enjoying the trampoline (Kate making her "cheese" face).

Someone else making her own "cheese" face.

If you look closely in the above picture, you'll notice something different. Thursday morning one of Emi's gold hoops fell out. I managed to catch it before it went down the drain, but I figured it was a good opportunity to FINALLY switch out her earrings. She's now sporting her diamond earrings from Tio Esteban (her padrino/godfather) and Tia Claudia that she got for her baptism.

We have started the potty training in earnest. We're averaging probably a 40-50% success rate at this point. Sometimes we make it to the potty in time, sometimes not. We're going to continue the potty training until Wednesday (an arbitrary day if ever there was one). I figure if by then she's not potty trained then it's a sign that a) she's not ready and/or b) I'm doing something wrong.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Can you tell these two love each other?

Saturday afternoon we hit Ramblewood Park to watch the Charlotte World Cup Soccer tournament. Basically, every foreigner within the greater Charlotte area with $20 and any sort of soccer-playing ability participates in this tournament. This year, the Ecuadorians didn't field a team (not enough people to play and some folks didn't cough up their $20 from last year - shocker!) so we went to support the Turkish team, and our friends Ozlem and Tulu. Emilia and Alara (almost 14 months) are good buddies and had a blast running around (and sometimes on) the field as well as giving each other lots of love. Thankfully Ozlem had her camera and sent us these pics since I had forgotten mine.