Saturday, February 28, 2009

18 Months

Little man is 18 months old... and doing well! John and I were just talking the other day in the car how we never dreamed of being where we are now when he was born. And here he is in all his glory.

Here are some things about what's going on in Maximo's world right now:

Linguistically: He has a few more words to include in his vocabulary: flower, up, thank you (though he says this when he gives you something, like that's what he expects from you!), coo-coo (bird, though not the word for bird in English or Spanish), chou (like the Italian, "ciao" - goodbye), cheese (for the food and when he sees a camera).

Physically: He climbs on everything he can, he can get himself onto the couch by himself and into his ball pit without crashing on his head! He still puts EVERYTHING in his mouth, which makes it difficult to turn your back on him.He's walking well, but still not running. He likes to turn in circles,
He seems like he's really gotten tall and not as pudgy in the face... His blonde hair is getting darker (but still wavy!)

His cute stuff: He loves to give kisses and blow kisses good-bye. He begs whenever anyone around him has food, even if he's just eaten. He'll point and say "Num-num" and bat his eyelashes and usually get what he wants.

His not so cute stuff: Still biting! Ughh! Whining. Putting everything in his mouth.

His loves:
  • The park - he goes twice every day.
  • Raspberries! Seriously, he LOVES them!
  • His monkey
  • His pacifer when it's time to go to bed (this is a fairly new thing)
  • To "beep" things - point and say "beeeeeeep" - anything circular really - with fondness towards belly buttons, nipples and small holes
  • Reading
  • Singing songs - like Baby Bumblebee (below), Wheels on the Bus, Patty-Cake
  • Music
  • His cat
  • Birds in the park
  • Being silly
  • Throwing himself onto pillows or backwards on the bed or in his ball pit
  • Water - the pool, the fountain, the hose, sprinklers, a bucket... anything with AGUA!
  • "Daddy!" I'm trying to get some video of him talking, especially the cute excited way he exclaims, "Daddy!" but, he doesn't like to perform in front of the camera

We've really enjoyed our summer with Max and are REALLY bummed to be back at work. But c'est la vie.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Passport Photos

Maximo needed passport photos (as did John and I) so we could send a package to Japan for our visas.

Why do passport photos always make you look somber or disinterested? It kind of looks like a baby mug shot - but cute, nonetheless.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Our last date night of the summer - enjoying sushi at Osaka - after a wine tasting in which we tasted too many Argentinian wines and then bought a case we'll have to consume before we leave!

6 date nights
8 weeks
Full of...
Long, lazy mornings playing with Maximo while sipping coffee
Not wearing work clothes (and wearing flip flops everyday)
Reading... (I've read over 10 books this summer!)
A memorable trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu
Hundreds of trips to the park
A few trips to the beach
12 swim classes
Dinners and get togethers with friends
Many kilometers (running) later...

Our vacation is officially over. We start back to work on Monday.

I know many of you many not be too sympathetic because as teachers we get a lot of vacation, but everyone knows what it feels like to return back to work after a vacation.

So, two days and four months left until our next summer vacation... I haven't started counting the days, yet!


I found this site through a blog I read:

I thought I saw it all...

I'm disgusted that nannies would treat their kids this way
and that someone created a blog to "out" them.

Really?! Your thoughts?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Driving: Peru Part V

When we first moved here, we didn't own a car for about six months. It was liberating to live somewhere where it is EXTREMELY easy and CHEAP to take taxis everywhere. I would say at least every third car is a taxi (note: this is not a fact, just a mere, but I think realistic observation). It was a great way to learn the streets, learn Spanish from reading the billboards and practicing what little, terrible Spanish I had those first few months with taxi drivers. We never had to worry about parking, finding something or getting lost. All you had to do was hail down a taxi, negotiate a price (no meters here - you can go about anywhere in the city for no more than $6) and jump in.

After six months of using taxis, wanting to run multiple errands at the same time, and wanting to get out of the city during summer vacation, we decided to buy a vehicle... And we fell in love with this: A 1981 Toyota Landcruiser.

And our house... Oh, I'll miss it!

It was fun - 4x4, it didn't matter if it got banged up a bit, and really, I don't think anyone would have stolen it. However, it was a bit lot bouncy and had no A/C, which turned out to be miserable in the summer. We decided to buy a new car a few months into the pregnancy because we decided I didn't want scrambled eggs in my womb and a carseat wouldn't work with the jump seats in the back....

So, we bought this...
Okay, I would NEVER drive this vehicle in the states with the current tint job. This car looks straight out of LBC, but it has it's benefits: it keeps the car cooler, the sun out of Max's eyes and it makes us feel better (that sounds terrible, but true) ignoring beggars at the intersections. It is an extra dark tint, one that you needs a special permiso (certificate). One we don't have a license for, because it's $200 per year, and we can bribe the police for about $5 if needed. That's a whole lot of bribes to make up $200. I haven't had to pay a bribe on the tint, though John has. But, I have been pulled over and hassled a little, but the police here have been extremely nice and send me on my way, even though we are breaking the law.

Okay, now so you know what we're driving (oh, so important)... On to "driving in Peru"...

To some (ahem, my mother), being in a vehicle in Peru, especially Lima, is a white-knuckled affair.

Some people think it's down right craziness.
I, for one, like it. There are "rules", but they are mostly guidelines. I've seen less accidents than I have in the states, and feel safer because people are driving a WHOLE lot slower than in the states.

You can be the "lost driver" and fit right in, easily reversing down a (side) street or taking an (illegal) u-turn where ever you deem necessary.

Lines in the road are mere guidelines... Frequently you'll see a three-laned highway made into four lanes by drivers, but it works.

Drivers are in and out, which is unnerving at first, but you just drive defensively and let them in and out, as you are also in and out. Rarely do you see angry drivers, even after being cut off.

As soon as a light flicks green, someone (sometimes multiple drivers) will honk their horn to get everyone moving.

It's amazing to see the makes and models of cars on the roads, anything from top-end Mercedes to a car that wouldn't pass anyone's emission standard yet is still running - sometimes with side panels even missing.

My two favorite things about driving in Lima:
  • Coasting over 5 lanes where the Via Expresa and Javier Prado merge
  • Getting an open window at the Ovalo (de Muerto) and sliding across seamlessly to Av. Las Palmeras
The things I hate most about driving in Lima:
  • Taxis cruising for customers and botching up traffic (I realize they need to make money, it's just frustrating sometimes)
  • COMBIs (mini-buses that are unregulated that seem to multiply like Gremlins) which are all over the city cutting in and out of traffic with lack of regards to others
Unfortunately no photos or videos really can put driving in Peru in perspective (otherwise I would have tried to include them for those of you who haven't experienced the chaos). It's wild... sometimes annoying... definitely entertaining... and truly a very Peruvian experience. One in which I will miss in some weird way.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dancing King

Maximo loves to dance.
Whenever he hears a tune, he'll start wiggling all around - mostly in an up-down motion with a hand gyration. It's quite cute. His favorite music is Cumbia (music previously popular with the "lower classes" in Peru, but it is becoming more mainstream and heard frequently in clubs and on the radio) and reggaetón (a mix of raggae and Latin club music), though tonight he really got into the Beastie Boys (update: "Sorry, I'm an idiot - Cypress Hill"). It's going to be fun when he gets into music we loved in high school that we get all nostalgic about - though it's a wide variety of music, since I was in elementary school for most of John's time in high school (touché, John).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

True Love, that's what it is... Me and my boys, cat included... Life couldn't be better.

A little Daddy love

We had a nice, low-key Valentine's Day minus all that mushy-gushy hearts, flowers, chocolates and rose business. A normal summer day of play then we played in the park with friends and checked out the scene in Parque Amor - it was still early, but there were already about 500 people there and we saw four different sets of brides and grooms.

Here are a couple of pictures. Maximo is really running around and into EVERYTHING which accounts for my lack of photos this month. I can't seem to keep him off of cliffs and touching everything he shouldn't to take a couple of shots.

Maximo playing with Kelani and Fatima at the fountain

Mason, Max and Steve at Parque Amor

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ooh, ooh!

I had other plans for this post; I know I've been quiet for a while...

BUT! We woke up this morning to an email from the Assistant Headmaster at the Canadian Academy with our apartment assignment and we're so excited! We'll be living close to school - a five minute bike ride or ten minute walk!

Drum roll, please!
I'm actually excited to move back into an apartment.... I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our house, but it's big, and the thought of no maid next year makes a two bedroom apartment sound divine! I'm already envisioning being in our cozy (Ikea decorated) apartment on a cold winter's day making a big pot of soup while John piddles on the computer and Maximo happily plays in the living room, constructing an architectural masterpiece out of blocks.

We're in the building in the lower left corner of (what I think is) the greenbelt labeled EC 5. Near the top center of the picture, "CA" indicates where we'll be working, Canadian Academy.

Friday, February 06, 2009


I've been relatively productive this summer, more so the first few weeks of January, but, I've been checking things off my list... BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!

I totally screwed up this week. I was just settling into bed two nights ago, I opened my book, and I shot up, "John, John!" (not in a yelling tone, but more like a fierce whisper, so I wouldn't wake up Maximo).

He walks in, "What?"

"John, I forgot about Flavius. He was supposed to go to the vet today! Now he'll be coming to Japan another day later! UGGGGGGHHHHHHH!"

I have been a little preoccupied lately, but I can't believe I forgot about the cat's "appointment" with the vet. I needed to bring him in 31 days after he had his first rabies vaccination for a second rabies vaccination. After which he needs to get his blood drawn 21 days later to send to the states for testing and then he begins his 6 month in-home quarantine before he can enter Japan.

He's already not going to be with us for over a month, because he can't enter another country within six months of entering Japan, not that it would be logistically feasible to drag our cat to Georgia, then Connecticut.

So, we're arriving in Japan on August 8th, Flavius won't join us until August 24th. That's 7 weeks that Flavius will be with friends and then he'll have to venture overseas solo. Poor Flavius. He never knew what was coming when I snagged him from the park.

And on an exciting note, we received this book from the Canadian Academy yesterday, which was at the perfect time to keep our excitement going and give us some momentum as we get closer and closer to starting second semester, sighhhhh......

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Little Quality Father - Son Time

John took Maximo for a little bit so I could put some dinner together. A few minutes later I hear a pfoosh, pfoosh, pfoosh and the giggles of a happy baby.

I walked into the guest bedroom to see this...

And he has since dragged the bicycle pump out to play twice. It's amazing how many things Maximo finds to play with, normally not his toys, and frequently dangerous or disgustingly dirty; it's nice he finally found something that can't cause him harm. At least I don't think so!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My Uterus is Empty

Well, I've had a lot on my mind lately. A LOT! And because of my worry-wart nature, it has made my mind spiral out of control with many different scenarios, has kept me up at night and has made me feel nauseous, which really led me to believe I was pregnant - that and not getting my period for almost three months.

Normally, I'd be over the moon if I was pregnant... We really would like to have another baby soon, but there are a few circumstances right now that would have made it a difficult, though not impossible, situation.

1. I'd be due around September.
2. It would be considered a high-risk pregnancy (which it will be, regardless of when I get pregnant next).
3. We're packing up all of our belongings 2 months before I would be due.
4. We will be homeless and traveling to visit family for July and flying internationally quite a bit.
5. I'd have to email my future employer, one I've signed a contract with to say, that I'm going to need time off and/or I may not be able to travel until after the baby is born, even though I already have a contractual agreement with them to start teaching in August.
6. Insurance? I don't know. I'm not even sure if our health insurance coverage overlaps (I really need to check this one).

In my head, I had written my letter to my future boss. And to our friends who really rooted for us to get this job, one of which I'll be "sort of" working for.

And thought of the possibilities of what I would do if I was pregnant:
  • Max and I would stay with my mom until I had the baby, then join John in Japan later.
  • I'd go to Japan, big fat and pregnant, find a new doctor, hoping my water wouldn't break on the long flight
  • I'd constantly think I was putting this baby at risk because I was moving and adding extra stress on him/her.
  • There are more scenarios, but I won't bore you with my neuroses.
Anyhow, it turns out I am not pregnant. It's just the birth control I am currently using and my body is trying to get used to it.

I almost broke out into tears when I saw a pregnant lady in the doctor's office parking lot. I want to be happy and not stressed due to us moving to Japan.

I then almost cried when I was about to get on the table to get an ultra sound.
The moment of truth

And then, I almost cried when I went back into the bathroom to change and looked at myself in the mirror. Relief.

But, I would have also cried if Dr. Arce had said, "Julie, you're pregnant" and I saw that gummy bear in my uterus. Cried with joy.

So today, midday - I celebrated over a beer and nachos at Chili's. I feel bad "celebrating" this, but this would have been really bad timing (right, Jon)? Really, John said that I need to chill and deal with situations when they happen, not get all worked up about them before they are really real. He is right, but it's in my blood. I wish I could just "chill" about certain things rather than keep myself up at night thinking about all the "what ifs". But that's what I married him for... he's my calm, cool, collected other half (except when it comes to cleaning the house!)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Denis, Watch This!

A bit of information if you are confused... our friends have a new son who is not super thrilled with bath time. Max decided to be proactive and help out Denis, for one doesn't want to have stinky friends.

On two side notes: sorry for the orange - tinged movie - our bathroom is bright orange and the tile and red tub don't help. Speaking of the tub... poor guy... I can't wait until he can have a real tub!

All apartments come with full bathtubs in Japan, right?