Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snip, Snip

(This may be the same title of the blog entry on Lo Maximo when he was circumcised - ha!)
This was much less invasive.

In a mere afternoon our little babe went from this:

To this...
From Baby to Boy in a simple haircut...
The guy went a lot shorter than I wanted, but he looks really cute, and hopefully the curls will continue to grow back!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Getting Things Done

Though I've been feeling a bit lazy the past few days, I've really been getting a lot of things crossed off my List of Things to Do This Summer. Usually every summer I make a list, unfortunately, many times, I never get through them (I'm embarrassed to say that sometimes I haven't crossed off one thing!). I won't bore you with my whole list, but it includes things like:
  • Renew Passport
  • Renew Teaching License
  • File Health Insurance Claims - ughhhh.
  • Scan in Wedding Photos
(I'm about 1/3 of the way there!)
  • Dentist, Dermatologist, blah, blah, blah...
We've fallen into a nice schedule this summer, two days with the nanny (and Friday nights for Date Night), so it's been a nice balance of hanging out with Maximo and having a little me time - to get things done, but also to go out to lunch and do a little shopping, which is something I don't do often.

And looking at Max this morning, the list gets longer... that boy needs a haircut!
Pondering life while nibbling on a Cheerio

Hey Ladies!

"Wanna go for a ride in my convertible?
It's a one-seater, so you'll have to sit in my lap.
Watch out for the stick shift!
Beep, beep!"

This was on sale at the American Outlet and we couldn't resist.
I know we're leaving in a few months, but he's worth it!

It was a hot day in Lima, so after a riding in his car, we played in the pool in the yard.

This was seconds before he slipped on the stone, hit his head and screamed for ten minutes.
Our delicate little boy.

Friday, January 23, 2009


It's fun listening to Maximo now as he has a few words that he is using. He's pretty impressive with what he can repeat. He often times repeats what we say, but more in the syllabic repetition than the actual phonetics of the word.

He are his words, in order of usage:
"cayo" (it/he/she fell - though he doesn't understand the subtleties of throwing, chucking across the room, dropping and the rare occurrence of something actually falling)
"la luz" (the light - proper article included)
"bebe" (baby - but for him, this often times means any Little Person)
"tick tock"
"galleta" (cracker or cookie)

These are ones I can honestly say he knows and can use on his own without mimicking us. He does say, "Thank you" but it doesn't sound anything like "thank you" it's more a two syllable grunt, but he uses it properly in context when he receives something.

Fun times. My brother complains quite often that my five year old niece is now never silent. I'm sure we will be there one day, but right now, I love to hear him talk and giggle!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

¡Los Lemleys Leen!

Sorry, I just wrote that in Spanish because of the L - alliteration.

The Lemleys Read!

Our dear friend Holli just came back from her holidays in the states and brought us some books I ordered on Amazon. We're really excited because most of them are books about Japan. Besides talking to our friends about what life is like there, I am (we are) very naive to Japan and its culture. So now, I just need to finish reading Eragon so I can start these books. The books vary from historical fiction, two ex-pat autobiographies, a travel guide and a Japanese language workbook.

Literacy is very important to us on many different levels. For one, we're both English teachers (normal high school and middle school English teachers teaching the same stuff as we would be in the states, not ESL teachers as some of you may think). Secondly, we both LOVE to read. And lastly, we really feel it's important to have a literacy-rich household for Max.

We've been reading books to him since he was about six months old and it's gone in stages. First, he'd sit and cuddle with us while we read to him, but really didn't have a clue as to what was going on. Second, he started trying to rip the book out of our hands and chuck it on the floor. Third, to really enjoying reading books with us at nighttime before bed.

And now, we still read before bedtime, but now he constantly brings books up to us throughout the day and looks at us with those big blue eyes handing us the books. We'll take the book, he climbs up into our laps, and is totally engaged in what we're reading him. He has started to be able to point out certain things to us, "baby" (which is really any kid) and "cat". He has a book about Opposites and he knows the page when it say "hot" with a pig at the beach in shades and says "hot" without us saying it. It's quite fun!

Unfortunately, it's not easy getting English books here in Peru. We have a fantastic library at school, but he still is in the board book stage because he's quite rough with books and will rip paper pages and there's not many board books at our library. So, we've been reading the same books over and over and over again, which I know is good for his language development, but really it takes every ounce of me to read some of these books over and over and over again.

Literacy is interesting in Peru. I believe that Peru has a higher literacy rate than the U.S. (I need to check that stat). But, this is not a reading culture. Books in Spanish are expensive here. It's not like popping into your local Barnes and Noble and getting great books on sale or finding most paperbacks for under $10. Many of my students do not have many (if any) books in their homes (and we're teaching very affluent kids here). I'm not sure the reason why reading isn't really important here. Maybe it's because books are expensive. Maybe it's because many young children are not brought up with books because many are raised by nannies. I don't know.

What I do know is that I love that he loves books. I could read to him all day, okay maybe not all day, but it makes me so happy when he hands me a book, climbs into my lap and wants to hear a story.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Down at the Farm

Today we went to La Granja Villa which is kind of a cross between a farm, namely petting zoo, amusement park and ecological park. It was great! Last Sunday we tried to go on a family field trip to the zoo and we spent more time in line buying tickets than we did in the zoo itself - it was hot, there was a bazillion people at the zoo, and after about 10 minutes John and I looked at each other, didn't have to say a word and headed for the exit.

We decided to not attempt a Family Field Trip again on a weekend and have been wanting to go to La Granja Villa. There was about fourty people in the whole place and it was fantastic. Maximo loved the petting zoo area where there were llamas, goats, sheep, pigs, and cows. You could feed them food or feed the babies milk from a bottle. The babies were a bit aggresive when they saw the bottle, and I was really concerned Max might take the bottle and try to swig the goat or even worse, pig (ughhh) milk, so he "helped" John feed them.He had a great time except for when a sheep nipped his finger. Really we're quite shocked that that was all that happened given that Max was sticking his fingers in their noses, pulling their ears and patting their heads. He also loved the carousel. We'll definitely go back!

Here's a video of a couple of clips put together from today. Note the part when Max finishes sticking his finger in the sheep's eyes and nose, then puts his finger in his mouth. Yummmm!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Swim Class

Maximo is continuing with swim class this summer. We are taking the Parent and Child class at school on Wednesdays and Fridays. What's nice is that the pool is almost empty and on Wednesdays we are in the class by ourselves and on Fridays there is just one other little girl. During the school year, there are more kids, but most teachers are traveling right now.

We love the teacher, Gina, and Max is getting a lot more attention since he is the only one in the class. Since the pool is almost empty, he focuses a bit more on what he's supposed to be doing and paying attention to the "1,2,3" cue of going underwater.

Here's a little clip of him swimming. I know it's not spectacular, but he's going under the water for five seconds on his own which is pretty cool. Next time, I'll have to get a clip of him jumping in or me throwing him in the air and letting him "fall" into the water by himself (that scares me a bit when I'm floundering around, blinded by the splash trying to yank him out!).

He loves the water and keeping him out of it for the few minutes before our class starts has proven to be a bit difficult. The changing room is also loads of fun! Yesterday, I put him in the bathroom stall with me so I could go to the bathroom before class and he crawled out of my stall, into someone else's, then out into the locker room.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My First Kiss

I have for the past eight months or so, continually tried to get Max to give me a kiss. I plead in both English and Spanish, with no luck. Supposedly he doles out kisses to his girl, Hania, in the park and to his other friends. He kisses characters and animals from his books, but nothing for Mommy (or Daddy for that matter).

This morning, over breakfast, I just asked, "Max, give Mommy a kiss." and low and behold the little prince leaned over and planted one right on my lips. I almost cried! And of course, I made him do it another five times, just to make sure it was real (and to make up for some lost time), so I probably won't get another for a while.

This was SO much better than my first kiss to Jeremy Scott in 7th grade at the Old Mystic Village gazebo! Ha!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Giardia Anyone?

Let' s just hope by now that his guts are stronger than the common Peruvian parasite or plethora of bacteria that frequent in our tap water. He drinks bathwater every night, so hopefully this won't hurt him too bad. Dad was on duty and thinks he'll be fine and this will just toughen up his son. I hope so!

Peruvian tap water also has proven weight loss qualities. Wanna sip?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

La Pirata: Peru Part IV

Okay, I'm kind of squeezing this into the Peru series. It is a part of the culture we live in, but really it's just the daily happenings at Los Lemleys.

In Peru, it is very difficult to rent and buy decent films. That being said, there is a HUGE pirating industry. You can buy any DVD, video game, CD for about $1.50. Some of them are crappy copies of a guy sitting in the theater with a hand-held camcorder, while others are great copies - burned from the originial or even a "screener copy" from, say, The Academy, yup, that's run across the bottom of a film once. Some people may have higher morals than we do, and just watch the movies when they come to the theater, but we sleep at night just fine. If it was easier to rent them, maybe we'd think about watching our movies in a more lawful way, but after our first year here, Blockbuster went out of business.

John and I have really gotten into watching series by purchasing these DVDs at the "gray" market. It's a great way to watch TV series - no commercials, and quick either thirty or sixty minute shows and we don't have to wait a week or for the next season to watch the next episode. Our favorites include: Big Love, The Wire, Weeds, and 30 Rock. And once we're done watching the series, we can give them away and go buy the next season.

Recently, Max has become interested in Baby Einstein videos, specifically the ones with animals in them like Baby Doolittle. They are great copies, but the guys who are copying them, really may not have all the experience in the world when they are trying to replicate the DVD covers.
God, what are they putting in baby shows these days!

That, and, I think they are using Babelfish to do some of the translating work!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In Case You're Dying to Know

La Casa de Los Lemleys is BOTTLE FREE! It was rough the first few days before nap time when all he wanted was to be soothed by his bottle of milk, but 6 days later we were done with bottles. So, we ceremoniously disposed of them today:

Yes, those are also beer bottles in there - we didn't get all wasted because our kid finally stopped drinking from bottles, those were already in there. We're being responsible and are recycling the bottles!

This is Love

This is what happens when Max takes a two-hour nap and Mom has a lot of time on her hands! I can't take the artistic credit, though, I found this idea on one of the (ahem, many) blogs that I read called Lunch in a Box.

Hotdog-o-pus anyone? And don't think for a minute that I didn't make one for myself too - boxed Mac and Cheese included! Normally he eats a bit healthier than this, really!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Wet and Wild

Tonight we went to the "fountain park" in downtown Lima. It just opened about a year ago and it has about twenty fountains in it. Most people go when it's dark because there's a music and light show. We, however, went right when they opened at 4:00 pm, so Max could frolic in the four fountains in which you could romp around it. Oh, did he ever romp. While Kate shyly watched from a distance, Max went straight for one of the fountains as soon as we walked in the park, chanting, "Agua, agua, agua!".

Even after he dumped it pretty good (and it left grate marks on his forehead and cheek), he still wanted more. He got soaked, and so did I (though I didn't plan to get so soaked, so I was cold and miserable on the car ride home). He couldn't figure out that he shouldn't look for the water if it didn't come out of the fountain, because seconds later, it'd shoot him right in the face.

Most importantly, he had a blast, and we'll definitely go back. Check out the pictures here.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Summer Lovin'

We're in a groove now - part lackadaisical, part efficient. We really have a lot of things to get done this summer, and I am methodically checking items off my to do list, but we're also having fun adult time (dates!) and really are enjoying Maximo right now. He's at a great age and he is learning and changing daily! I plan to go to the beach at least once a week, since (I'm going to speak for Maximo here) it's his and my favorite place in the world (not necessarily these specific beaches, but beaches in general). We've being going to the park daily to play at the playground, walk on the malecon or just romp in the grass. Today, we also started swim classes again and we signed up for the Parent & Child class twice a week.

I'm not trying to rub this summer thing in to all of you who are enduring cold, icy, miserable winters, especially those of you stuck indoors with little ones, but I'm just lovin' it.

Here are a few cute shots from the week:

Not always smiles and sunshine -
he can throw a pretty decent fit now

I love those buns.
(He loves to walk around naked.
Problem: he likes to pee on the floor.)

Hmmm. Me like peanut butter.
Me rub myself in peanut butter because it's just so good.

Still rockin' the peanut butter. All dipping apples are gone,
so he's scraping the tray with his spoon.

Ooh, PB in my hair!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Cultural Differences: Peru Part III

There are many cultural differences between Peru and the US. There are a few that really stand out to me; ones that I had a hard time with when I first moved here, but now, don't really bother me at all.

1. The finger wave - When people say no here, they wag their finger back and forth like a 50's school teacher scolding a naughty child. You'll see someone doing it to a taxi they don't want or really to anyone. I thought it was the most condescending thing I had ever seen when I first moved here. It drove me crazy. I felt like the upper class Peruvians were belittling the lower class when I first saw it; then I saw that many Peruvians, of all classes did it. Well, it only took me about a year to get over that one... Now you'll see me waving my finger at my students to keep them in check.

2. The noise - We lived in an apartment on the 16th and 17th floors of a high rise our first year here. We loved the apartment, but sometimes the noise was horrendous (especially for Mr. Lightsleeper, John). There was a hospital next door, and there would be car alarms going off constantly. What maybe was worse, was that our apartment overlooked a tennis club. Often times, on Saturday or Sunday, there would been a kid's birthday party with a lady with a Madonna headset, squealing in "squeaky-baby Spanish" for about 4 hours. It was always mid- afternoon when I wanted to take a nap too. It was simply awful. For Christmas and New Years, fireworks abound from almost all houses. Many of my students don't have an "inside voice". I know what makes South Americans special is their boisterous personas and their loud affection. I am definitely more numb to the loudness of Peru (especially Lima), though some days it still gets on my nerves.

3. The blatant public nose-picking - Yup. Need. I. Say. More.? Really! It's everywhere. Finely dressed business men, put-together women waiting in their SUV at the stoplight. Not a faux-pois here!

4. The lack of personal space - I'll be in line and feel the breath on the back of my neck. You will have someone right behind, even right next to you in line for anything... which leads me to #5 - the "line".

5. Organized lines - Lines don't really exist here, well they do, if they are roped off or are otherwise very evident. As I think about it now, I guess it's more the first come, first serve theory doesn't really exist. I can't tell you the amount of times I'm waiting at say a table at the Saturday produce market (Bioferia) when a woman will come up and start barking her order over me. I then shoot a glare, but it really doesn't phase them. If I'm really annoyed, I'll say something, but most of the time, I just sigh and wait. I think that waiting your turn makes sense, but maybe it just is a cultural thing.

6. Peruvian time - This doesn't really bother me. It's just SO different. There are two aspects of this - one being being somewhere exactly on time doesn't really happen and two, that many things open much later than my normal schedule.
So to preface this, I HATE being late. In college, I would rather miss a whole class then walk in late and disrupt class. I used to set my clocks all ten to twenty minutes early. I would always show up fifteen minutes early. If I didn't know where I was going the first time, I'd sometimes do a "test run" (I know, a bit neurotic, I know).
Here, that means that I am maybe two hours earlier than anyone else! Seriously! If there is a large ex-pat group function, then maybe not so much, but otherwise, I feel like a big idiot and John is wondering why I rushed him out of the house so early. Our first year here, we went to a New Year's party at a club. We arrived at 11:00 pm and were the ONLY ones there for at least 30-45 minutes. And I thought we were going to miss everything. This is mind-blowing to me! If someone is coming to our house to fix or deliver something (with the exception to the 3o-minute or less pizza delivery), it could very well be hours after they say they'll be here - this is when it's wonderful to have a maid at the house!
The second part of "Peruvian time" is how late things open. There isn't a true siesta time when things close here as there is in other Latin American countries, but stores open late - 10:00 or 11:00 am and that is just a guideline. Yesterday, Ripley, a major department store, was opening at 11:00, their doors finally opened at 11:15. When you're out running errands and trying to be productive in the morning, it can be quite frustrating. And when you've been up since 5:30 am, it feels like 2:00 pm when you can finally get anything done. Many (though there are a few good ones that open earlier) restaurants open at 8:00 pm. When John and I have a date night, we'll go out for a drink first so we don't get unmotivated before our dinner plans at 8. Often times, we don't even make a reservation because this time is "gringo time" and most times we go out to eat, they'll be no one else in the restaurant for at least the first hour we are there. Many times we leave just as the place starts to get busy, around 10:30 pm. I used to feel awkward walking into an empty restaurant, but we get excellent service, it's not too loud, and it's not like John and I are really into the "scene of being seen".

There are others, but these are the ones that really stand out to me. Others may come out in future Peru posts, but this entry is already long enough. That being said, we truly love Peru and it's been a magical place for us the past three and a half years and we're really going to miss it!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Operation Big Boy

One of our goals this summer is to get Maximo off the bottle. This is going to be no easy task. He drinks from a sippy cup during the day to have juice and water, though he only drinks maybe 4-5 oz. throughout the day.

So, in theory, he CAN drink from a sippy cup. On the other hand, we have a bit of a milk addict... He drinks about 32 oz. a day (4 - 8 oz. bottles). I know it's a bit excessive and he definitely depends on the bottle to soothe himself to sleep.

This morning we gave him a sippy full of milk rather than his bottle. He did okay. He didn't drink much, but he also didn't scream bloody murder either (this maybe due to the fact that he slept 12 1/2 hours last night). We're going to try to transition him from the bottle to the sippy cup. So, the plan is that we give him a sippy cup for his morning milk for a couple days, then replace his other bottles every few days.

I know this isn't going to be easy, but at least we have time now (and a little more patience?) since we're on summer break.

Speaking of big boys... Look at his little Fred Flintstone feet in his new Spiderman sandals for the beach. How cute!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Years!: Peru Part II

Okay, I know it's been two months since I started (and haven't continued) my Ode to Peru series, but the end of the semester is a killer, and we had a lot going on.

There are many traditions in Peru for luck in the new year. Some of them are:

1. Wear yellow underpants. This is supposed to bring you luck in the new year so go out and add some color to your underwear. Note: all stores and kiosks on the street are chocked full of all different styles and sizes of yellow underwear.

2. A well known tradition is running around the block once with an empty suitcase as fast as you possibly can. Do this if you want to travel in the New Year.

3. Put a handful of lentils in your wallet. This will mean your wallet will never be empty (even if it is full of lentils and not money)

There are more listed at Living in Peru. There are many I haven't heard of, but they are pretty comical.

Since we haven't done any of these in the past, we decided not to add any "lucky traditions" this year. 2008 was fantastic! Maximo got stronger and stronger and turned into a real boy! (Sounds a bit like a line in Pinocchio.) We enjoyed another adventurous year in Peru with vacations to Argentina, the US, Columbia and Cusco. And we made the decision to move on after this school year and are heading to Japan in the fall of 2009.

Last night we went to our friend, Gilles' house down at the beach where a few couples with babies took over his gorgeous beach house. (What was he thinking?) We had sangria and sushi, lots of decadent appetizers and fish on the grill with the waves crashing just feet away. Once down there, I realized my camera battery was just about dead, so all I got was this little video of Maximo destroying enjoying the blue cheese dip! (Linda I'm sure got great photos, so I'll upload some of those later when she sends them to me - Max and Kate are super cute together!)

We had to head back to Lima before midnight because Maximo couldn't fall asleep with all the excitement going on. Which is fine with us because we haven't stayed up that late since before he was born! We were fast asleep but were awoken at midnight by a barrage of fireworks - something almost EVERYONE sets off on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. Not beautiful fireworks that you wouldn't mind gazing out your window to watch, just loud bangs and booms.

I decided to go into Maximo's room when he started to cry with the first of the fireworks and stay there with him until they stopped. Unfortunately, also at 12:00 the cheap portable clock we bought at radio shack decided that it was going to celebrate the New Year by going off! It was not set to do so, it just wanted to get in on the celebration. I tried to turn it off multiple times, but only "snoozed" it. Finally I hit all the buttons at once, then stuck it between the two mattresses of the bed, then I put Max back in his crib and we peacefully slept through the first six hours of the new year.

Today, we'll have another lazy summer day, though it looks like the sun may not come out, to start 2009. We wish you all a Prospero Ano Nuevo!