“summer” vacation

schools in chile end around mid-december and don’t start again until march, which means it’s summer break over here. i’m still surprised when i see posts on social media about snow because we’re sitting around in shorts and slathering on sunscreen. nate took the youth group on a service project and we’ll do things like watch movies and go bowling, but we’ve had a break from the weekly activities which has been much needed. since august, our schedules have been full with figuring out how to do life here, getting adjusted to a new job, meeting new people and running youth programs every weekend. for an extrovert like nate i think it energizes him and causes him to process methods of outreach, the role of the church in communities, how to improve church community, how to drive spiritual growth, etc. i’ve had a much harder time finding the energy to engage mumbling adolescents and figuring out how to prolong dead-end conversations. while most of the parents are supportive, few are actively involved or able to help with hosting or providing food which means we are also cooking for about 25 kids every week in a tiny kitchen with a stove that can barely boil water.

my parents have been visiting for the past couple months, which has made it much easier to be at this corner of the globe over the holidays. we’re benefitting from home cooked meals, a cleaner apartment and an extra set of hands. emi loves to go into their room and chat with them, dragging her toys back and forth. my brother arrived this week, and she’s been over the moon about him being here. my grandparents were older when i was growing up and there were major language and cultural barriers to communication, so it’s been fun to see how clementine is able to interact with my parents.  

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toddler days

it’s amazing how someone barely 3 feet tall can take up so much time, energy, resources and space. then they ask for more. the past year of toddlerdom has been my favorite year out of two eventful years. since 1 there has been a spike in her physical, cognitive and emotional development and i’ve regained some personal time and space. she’s been able to follow me without having to be carried, she’s become more adventurous, i.e. climbing onto chairs, tables, up and down steps. it is amazing to see how quickly she is absorbing vocabulary and increasing her mental map of the world.

she repeats the last word of every phrase and is learning to ask for what she needs. she loves to dance and listen to music, jump, slide, take walks, ride her scooter, color, watch dora and look at photos of herself. she generally would rather be chased than smothered in a hug, but every now and then she’ll offer a slobbery kiss. she is also testing her boundaries which means fits, tears and frustration when she is told no. sometimes she’s tired and sometimes she just wants her way. it can be hard to figure out when discipline is necessary, and when we need to just sit on the couch and reset.

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sweater weather

the other morning nate walked downstairs in a knitted vest. i guess that means the end of summer, warmth, impromptu ice cream trips and emi crawling around in a onesie. it also means an end to spray grounds. emi loves patting the surface of the water, finding rocks and sticks to chew on and babbling to other kids. i’ve discovered that i’m pretty inept at making friends with other moms. i usually freeze and my mind starts scrambling for things to say or debating what not to say.

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last week two guys from our youth group in chicago took the bus out to philly which probably took about 15 hours. nate planned on taking them rock climbing, camping, steaks, water ice, etc. they also wanted to go up to nyc and DC which made for a pretty activity packed week we themed ‘americana’. they learned how to pitch a tent, build a fire, sleep in the woods, lie awake in the woods, follow a hiking trail, run for their lives, climb a vertical stone wall, order steaks philly style, order a hoagie from wawa and hit the bulls eye on a paper target with a rifle. they played pick up soccer in the middle of the city, walked a million blocks in nyc, were assailed by times sq, ate dinner from a food cart, walked the national mall, mistook the capitol for the white house (my fault) and witnessed the difference between caucasian and asian families.

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the first bike nate tried to buy for me was out of some garage in the suburbs of chicago. he spent an hour jumping from bus to bus only to discover the bike was crap, but the guy was deaf and clearly selling bikes for income. nate tried valiantly to fix it up but to no avail. then he found another bike at a garage sale but each time we go for bike rides, something breaks. the last time we managed to get within a couple of miles before the tire fell off the rim, then exploded.

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oh hello.

reasons for the year-long hiatus:

  • philly is still just phine, i was hoping that at this point it would be phantastic.
  • took a couple of classes at westmin, writing papers and reading textbooks.
  • nate is leading our small group which means weekends are packed.
  • several weeks in malaysia at the beginning of the year.
  • we sadly moved out of our beloved hobbit hole. we live in a real house now but still sequester ourselves in the attic although we now have a deck. we have been spending a lot of time out there. nate strung up some christmas lights and a hammock.
  • pregnant! the first trimester was brutal. jan-april was spent in a blur, curled up under a pile of blankets and nibbling on buttered toast. we barely ate an actual meal for three months since i couldn’t handle the smell of uncooked food and the thought of expending energy was nauseating.

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