Monday, June 24, 2013

It's Official

Little Mr. Love, Our Little Caleb, received his first official haircut at the barber on June 15, 2013. Handsome and sweet are the two words that describe our little guy. He sat in a chair propped with two big cushions,  next to Daddy, who was also getting a haircut. What a memorable day, a few blocks from home, with everyone in our little family there to say, "Hip-hip hooray, Handsome Boy!"

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sweet love

File:Batoni sacred heart.jpg

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine. Heart of Jesus, burning with love for me, inflame my heart with love of Thee. Amen. (5 Reasons to Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus.) As we pray for the unborn, and beg God that abortion and contraception will end, how moving it is to think of Our Lord's Sacred Heart beating beneath His Mother's heart... what if she had not said "Yes!" Thank you, Lord, for your life and your love and your generous mercy. Make our hearts like yours. 

(Maddy and Pita have enjoyed making drawings of Our Lord's and Our Lady's hearts)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ciudad del Este, Paraguai

While we were at the Iguacu Falls, we ventured across the border into Paraguay. If you ever want to be enlightened on a fascinating part of history of South America, look up the Great Paraguay War, or the War between Brazil and Paraguay. Truly, an incredibly unknown yet incredible history.

Anyhow, Ciudad del Este is the biggest city in Paraguay second only to its capital, Asuncion. Ciudad del Este is reached by crossing the Friendship Bridge (Ponte de Amizade) that connects Brazil to Paraguay. It was a mass of every form of transportation you can imagine crossing the border. The city itself is an overgrown flea market that carries every item under the sun. We really didn't want to buy much of anything, but rather to experience the city itself and pass a morning there. This is exactly what we did. Our trusty Argentine cab driver, Ramon, drove us there and led us through the never-ending maze of shops and sellers. Everyone is trying to sell you something. (If only I needed white socks--it seemed like that was the deal of the day.) It was quite a challenge and quite fun to keep the six of us in our family linked hand to hand as we slithered like a snake through merchants and stalls. The one place where we did stop to buy some stuff was at a neat fabric store, so that we could get some native patterns and designs. Mares has become quite the seamstress, and hence this stop seemed like a great way to take advantage of Paraguay!

Visit to Itaipu Dam

Itaipu Dam is the world's second largest hydroelectric plant in the world! It's humungous. Straddling the divide between Paraguay and Brazil, it was a project that enjoyed joint investment over a 25 year period until completion in 2007, and now both countries reap the energy. The dam is providing all of Paraguay's energy and 25% of Brazil's energy. It was neat to explain to the kids how the dam worked and to marvel at this wondrous blend of nature and engineering.

As Brazil contains 20% of the world's freshwater resources, hydroelectric energy plays a much more prominent role (though equally controversial) here than in the United States, where it makes up only 2-3% of the domestic energy portfolio.

Humming Bird Paradise

On the morning of our flight home from Argentina, we took a 15 minute walk from our posada hotel to a humming bird garden.  The garden was the backyard of some residents of the city. They had been feeding the humming birds for some 15 years. There were literally hundreds of humming birds zipping this way and that. Over 16 different types of humming birds were feeding that day. The humming birds were eating so much of the sugar water drink that the young man who was guiding the tours said he had to refill the feeders every 1.5 hours all day long! It was a delight to watch, listen, and marvel at the wonder of these beautiful and feisty little birds.

Mares: the Chili Cook-Off Champ!

This past weekend, as a way to send off those who are leaving and welcome those who are arriving, the embassy hosted family party with a chili competition. Mares has a tried-and-true chili recipe that our family has always enjoyed. She whipped up the chili the morning of the competition. Five judges "scientifically" assessed the 20 chili contestants...and Mares won. Hands. Down. The girls were so excited (as you can see in the photo). Little Guy was asleep in my arms. The ambassador gave us a gift card for a local restaurant and the chili queen--my Mares--was officially crowned for 2013. I love you, Beautiful. You are such an incredible cook. The girls already look to you as a culinary inspiration. I enjoy your cooking from the receiving end! :) Thanks for all that you do to care so well for our family. You always keep us well-fed, and entertained as you can carry on five conversations simultaneously from the kitchen as you mix or prep something. I am proud. I love you, Chili Queen!