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Friday, April 26, 2013

Making Pastel de Choclo with Gloria

This is a post I realized I forgot to write... Three weeks into our trip, Gloria, the nanny from across the hall, offered to make Pastel de Choclo for us.  I asked her if she would mind doing it at our apartment so I could learn, and she happily agreed.  This isn't an exact recipe, but more or less, here is what she did:

Husk and cut corn off 3 large cobs (Cobs of corn in Chile are huge, so in the U.S. it is probably closer to 4 or 5 cobs...)

Chop 2 yellow onions - Cook them in a pan for a few minutes without oil, then add oil afterward (she claims doing it this way makes the onion's flavor less strong...)

Put the cut corn in blender with a small amount of water and liquify.  Add in a few leaves of basil, too.

Add ground beef (about a pound) to the cooked onions with some salt and let it cook.

Put the corn and basil mixture into a large pot to cook for a while on medium-high.  Add some sugar to taste, just to make it a little bit sweet.  Cook until the color changes.

Boil an egg - put a quarter of the hard boiled egg into each bowl on top of the meat and onion mixture.  
Optional:  Add one olive to each bowl.

Fill each bowl to the top with the corn mixture.

Sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top just to make it golden.  Put bowls into the oven under the broiler just long enough to turn that sugar golden. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Landon at 17 months

Since we missed Landon's 15 month well-baby checkup while we were in Chile, I took him in this past week instead.  He weighs 27 1/2 lbs, and is actually in the 85 percentile for height - surprising to me because he seems on the short side to me.

I think probably the most notable change in Landon in this past month and especially past few weeks is how many recognizable words he is starting to use.  He is visibly excited when we repeat them back to him, showing that we understand him, and very proud of himself that he is able to communicate.  I have been trying to keep a running list of the words he is using.  Here are most of them:

Buh-P (peanut butter) - Can't give Caleb a spoonful of it without Landon going crazy for some, too.
Poon (spoon) - Now he is using it to ask me to load food onto his spoon so he can feed himself
Din-dong (when we hear the school bells ring or make noises like doorbells)
Tire truh (fire truck, as he is pointing at the one on calebs pjs)
Toeees (toes, while pointing to his feet.  He often uses this to tell me he has hurt his toes in some way)
Ma-men (amen - repeating it multiple times after Caleb and I as we prayed at dinner)
Kurrr (car)
Dowww (Down, used to mean both up and down)
Bump (when he bumps his head, as he is patting his head with his hand)
Shooos (shoes)
Bamel / Babble (bottle)
Ah dah (All done, eating or bottle as he hands them to us proudly)
Poo-poo (when pointing to his diaper)
Pee-pee (when pointing to a dirty diaper on the changing table)
Shishee (fishie)

Ho-aaa (hola)
Chaaa (chao)
Tal-ta (salta - jump - see videos in previous posts :))
Landon doesn't know he is saying something in Spanish with this one, but Caleb was signaling to something 'over there' by saying allá, and Landon immediately repeated it, too.
Bayo (caballo - horse, as he is playing with a horse)

Landon's personality these days is very playful, silly and affectionate. He loves to climb in our laps, clap and dance wildly to all sorts of music, which becomes even more fun for everyone when he and Caleb dance at the same time.  Video:

Big brother Caleb has been very sweet these days wanting to hold Landon's hand a lot to say prayers, and trying to keep Landon from walking into the street, as he is testing his limits since we have been back home.  Thankfully we live on a quiet cul-de-sac and not a busy street. Today Caleb held Landon's hand as they walked over to the next door neighbor's driveway and back, and on the way back Caleb told me "Mommy Landon isn't listening to me," (Which he hears me saying about Landon and the street).

Landon is starting to take interest in books, and will bring them over to us and sit down briefly in our lap to look at them. Its so cute, he turns around and backs into our lap to sit down close to us.

He is still a good sleeper, thank the Lord!  Between two and two and a half hours for the nap. :)

Lefty or Right?  It has seemed for awhile that Landon is leaning heavily towards being a lefty, but this past month we have been seeing him show more use and control with his right, too (though I don't have as many pictures of the righty moments).  Some days he seems completely ambidextrous doing something just as well with one hand as with the other...

(LEFTY).  Trying to paint like he sees Caleb do

(LEFTY): Taking an interest in coloring - mostly in holding the crayons but doesn't know what to do with them yet.

This one just made me laugh because he actually paused from eating so he could pose for the picture when he saw a camera in my hand.  Landon loves having his picture taken!  "Cheese!," he always says.


Learning to wear sunglasses, sort of...  During the last couple of weeks in Chile Landon would actually leave his sunglasses on when I put them on, but he would only leave them on if they were down on his nose or mouth like this...

Loves pointing out trucks of all kinds, and he points and excitedly yells "truuuuuuh!", as he was doing here when we were on a walk on morning.

He is starting to like drinking other things than water.  Here is his 'pencil mustache' from a smoothie I made the other day.  Glad he is liking the healthy ones with all the fruit and veggies in them!!

Since we've returned home from Chile, Caleb and Landon have a renewed interest in the piano that is not-so-gentle, but oh-so-cute. Watch the video to see what I mean...

According to many he has changed so much since we left for Chile, which we can see, too.  I feel like he is starting to look much more toddler and much less baby. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Headin' home

I imagine similar things exist in other airports around the world, but this is the first time I have ever seen it - play stuff inside the airport for kids.  The best idea ever.  We were at the airport really early in Santiago, so it was a great way to kill lots of time and let the kids run off their energy before the flight, especially since they had been inside the apartment all day while we were packing up.  There were lots of other kids around playing, too, which also made it more interesting for the boys. 

Caleb called this one the Fire Station and he liked climbing in through the window.

School bus?  Truck?  The most fun for all the kids.

Before take-off Landon (and his little double chin) was intensely studying the airplane safety card.

Here is how Caleb spent a good part of the flight Santiago-(stop in Lima)-Los Angeles.  He slept very soundly this time around, unlike on the flight there when he was too overtired and restless. Maybe all that running at the airport helped. :)

He is still sort of short enough to stretch into half of my seat and I can cram myself over to the outer side of my seat and try to sleep...

Landon, too, slept on the long flight, but not as much as Caleb.  He is starting to figure out what headphones are and left them on longer this time than he did on the flight over in January.

Jimmy found this one on his phone from the flight in January - I could tell by how long Caleb's hair is!

Overall the kids did well on the flights and it was definitely helpful that it was a night flight so they could sleep.  We are happy to be home and getting to see our friends and family again!

Wrapping things up in Santiago

Here is a compilation of pictures and happenings from our last ten days in Chile...

How we do grocery shopping
(Caleb is on Jimmy's shoulders...poor guy needs a massage!)
Barbecuing in the quincho area of our building one last time.  There were supposed to be four couples, but in the end it was just us, Matt and Jessica, and our kids.  The boys always have so much fun with Jessica!
Looks like she's doing interpretive dance, but she was just throwing up a football.

Turning the crank handle that raises and lowers the grill

Landon loves hiding under this little counter.  He just barely fits!

"Un nariz azul mommy!", Caleb yelled to me while painting in the living room as I cooked dinner.  I was excited about his sentence formation, and thought he was telling me about painting someone's nose blue in his coloring book.  Turned out he had painted his own nose blue and was telling me about it proudly.

Video of Landon dancing with the Handy Manny tools, click here.

Caleb's turn to play.
Drumming and singing...

Taken by one of the kids...

During the last two weeks in Chile, Caleb pretty much stopped taking naps.  I was devastated.  His sleep schedule is a mess and his routine is all off, and now this.  This picture was just a few days after stopping napping when he fell asleep for a cat nap while watching a movie.  Now that we are back home we are getting back into a routine and (praying) maybe he will return to napping again when he isn't so overtired...

The day before we left it was very cold and too much so to play in the backyard, so we went out front where the sun was shining more to let the kids play.  Gloria and Laura were with us, and Laura had her new motorized moto that she had just gotten the day before on Easter.  She was nice to let the boys ride it, and they had a lot of fun.  Landon even figured out how to make it go (well, unintentionally).  See video here.

There is a tiny little bakery one block over from our house that someone told me about early on in our time in Santiago, but the one time I tried going in the end of February they were closed for vacation.  I finally got to go the day before we came home.  Its called Dulceria Violeta, and it looks like a little garage or side room of someone's house that has been converted into a full bakery.  Except for this small sign I would have never known it was there.

I don't remember the name of this, but it is basically merengue with manjar (like dulce de leche or caramel) inside.  Yum.

Jimmy thought it looked awful, but it sure tasted good!  Sorel and I enjoyed it ourselves after dinner on Monday.

Monday was Caleb's last day at Pipo :(  People have asked if it was hard to leave Chile, and my answer is that we were ready to come home but not ready to stop taking Caleb to Pipo.  He might not readily admit it, but he had a lot of fun there, and learned so much in just three weeks.  Now I need to do some research and put my thinking cap on to figure out what we can do with him here.... I doubt there are many all-Spanish nursery schools or preschools in Lodi... Spanish speaker Play Group?  If anyone knows of something or has suggestions I'd love to hear them!

These little play areas are in the front yard of the school and for the last week of school Caleb and Landon wanted to play in them each day before we went home.

Eating his grilled cheese sandwich - this came to be expected and I brought one for him each day for the three weeks, and he would eat it as soon as I would pick him up.  This day he ate it in front of the little play house.

When I picked him up they gave me the project they had been working on all month, along with his Easter treat and summary of what tasks he knows how to do, and which he has yet to learn.  This wasn't an easy thing for the tias to assess Caleb since during the first week and a half or two he didn't talk hardly at all, even though several of the things they were practicing he already knows, like his shapes and colors.  It is still interesting to see what they were able to see, and give me ideas of what else to work on with him.
Easter Bunny cups that were filled with little candies for each child. Caleb said he thinks it is a cat, not a bunny.  :)

When I saw this book I understood what Caleb had previously told me about painting with blue one day, and painting with yellow another day (you may remember me mentioning that in earlier posts about Pipo...).  They were painting the backgrounds for this book.  The other days when he told me about cutting and gluing, it was also related to work on this project.  Its fun to see the details of what he was sharing each day come together into a finished product.
"My house and my garden" - This was the theme for the month.
Part of Caleb's explanation of the cover included pinta (paint) and pega  (glue, for the green paper) - apprently he remember the instructions he was given of what to do.  He also pointed out the red manzanas  on the trees.

The book opened up into a tryptic with three different scenes...

This looks like his classroom, with little hooks for their backpacks (mochilas). The roundish paper next to the little kid is some scribbles he did that are supposed to represent a human body (maybe himself?).  The blonde lady with the blue dress is Tia Andrea, Caleb told me.

This is like the backyard at Pipo where the kids play each day, with some ducks and chickens, slides, and toys.  They do have several live animals in back, including birds, chickens, and a few other things I can't remember.  When I asked Caleb to tell me about this panel, he pointed and said "patos" (ducks).  

Lots of painting, gluing, cutting, and it looks like threading and molding for the tree on the right., although when I asked if he had threaded it himself, he said "No, they did it for me."