Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Cattle Aren't Lowing and Another Reason to Come to Cartagena

The cattle aren't lowing. The baby is not awake. Maybe I've been listening to too many Christmas carols.

I do have time and energy to post to the blog. Tomorrow is the last day of exams and the day before we head home to Canada for Christmas. It's pretty exciting. Calgary is showing clear sunny skies and highs of -7. It's pretty exciting.

Today, I finished my first set of exams, the English ones, which are the ones that take longer to correct. Tomorrow, it's Social Studies, which is mostly short answer and multiple choice questions. I might be being a little optimistic here, but I have a chance of getting them all done tomorrow afternoon and coming home empty handed. Karla is not so fortunate. There's just a bit of packing to be done tonight, a PTA Christmas feast tomorrow afternoon, a 4am taxi ride to the airport, and we'll be back on snowy, frozen ground in no time.

And now the new reason to come to Cartagena: the dentist. I had my first Colombian dental experience this week. I had a filling replaced. The office was small and not nearly so full of fancy equipment as the Kuwait dentists office, but the dentist was patient and conscientious. The whole visit consisted of an exam, an xray and the filling. It took about an hour and a quarter. It cost $40. I figure that anyone needing any dental work should come to Cartagena. Sure the flight and the work will cost a little bit more, but it's worth it for a week in the sun. Heck, I even opted for the more expensive procedure. Between the exam and the actual drilling, the dentist asks if you'd like the filling done with anesthesia, or without. In my best Spanish, I had to ask, "Does anyone have this done with nothing?" Yes, according to the dentist, they do.

Otherwise, this last week has been a sometimes slow, sometimes quick countdown to this weekend. At school, everyone has spiralled inwards, getting excited about their own Christmas plans. For al the other holidays, teachers group together and go out and explore, but for Christmas, almost everyone is headed home or to meet someone somewhere. However much Christmas has changed - been altered by Santa and gift giving and overindulgence, it's still packs a punch. It's the one holiday that most makes people think of home and loved ones.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas

Karla and Aysha are out to look for a few Christmas things - they have been for a while and I am waiting for them to get home to reheat dinner.

Christmas has arrived in Cartagena. The decorations and trees are up everywhere. At night (any time of night), we can look out and see the glowing trees in people's apartment windows. There are lots of lights decorations everywhere too - trees and pointsettias and butterflies. The trunks of all the trees around out apartment buildings are wrapped in little lights that flash all night. It's festive, but it just doesn't quite feel like Christmas. Last night was our school concert. I though, "I'd better get dress up a bit nicer than I usually do." So, I got out a clean pair of dress pants and a fresh shirt - you know, the usual Christmas gathering outfit, less the sweater. The students and Colombian staff all arrived in their shorts and t-shirts ; they looked ready for a family picnic, nice but definitely relaxed. The concert started with "White Christmas", which just about summed it up for me - as much as people try to be Christmas-y here, it just won't be the same until I get home and see the snow, feel cold and Christmas trees everywhere.

I also found out that Friday, the third last day of classes before the exams (and the day of my test) would be partly cancelled so that the Cartagena Soccer team could come and play against our school team. It was a good thing I went to the Christmas concert, otherwise, I would have been blissfully unaware that my test was not going to be able to be held on Friday until Friday morning when I got to school. I am often frustrated by the school's cancelling of classes without notice. It discourages me from planning too far in advance.

Marilyn and Cody visited. It was great to have them here and it forced us to get out and do all the things that we are too lazy to otherwise do. It was exhausting to keep up with them on the weekends, then with Aysha all day and be ready to go back to school. We kept moved Aysha's crib into our bedroom, which upset her rhythm and kept us busier than usual.

I copied a bunch of music off of Marilyn's iPod and discovered dynamic playlists on my own - in iTunes, you can create a playlist that selects it own songs based on some criteria that I set up - like songs that are less than 30 days old, or songs that haven't been played recently. I have been meaning to make some playlists since I got the iPod so I could have easier access to my favourite songs, but have never got around to it.

Alright - Karla and Aysha came in in the middle of this post - it began about 6:30, but now it's close to 9:30 and time for bed. Tomorrow I'm going on a field trip to see a Spanish play and then there's the big football game. In case you are thinking that my Spanish has developed enough to attend a play, it's not. My new hope for learning Spanish is that when Aysha starts to speak it, I will have to learn it to keep up with her.

Good night.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Wave Breaks

The Wave Breaks
Originally uploaded by Karla Maria Germaine.
on the street outside our window

Ocean's Fury

Ocean's Fury
Originally uploaded by Karla Maria Germaine.
our flooded street

Holiday Blues

I've got the holiday blues - but only because our holiday is nearing an end. We've spent the last week at home doing not much, and it has been blissful (despite that I've been sick with my usual chest cold). On Tuesday it is back to school. I feel as though I could use another week to catch up on on the school work I thought I would get done, but somehow didn't find the time or energy for. I did manage to read three novels this week, which is great considering that when the holiday began I was still working on a novel that I'd started in April!

Aysha is busy playing at my feet and grunting away. That means it will be time for me to change her diaper soon. I've just asked her if she has "stink" and she has smiles in her eyes (the soother is in her mouth). She makes me laugh.

A week or so ago I took some photos of our street after a morning of strong winds. I wanted everyone to see the ineffective drainage that makes walking even two blocks to school an exercise in flood navigation on occasion. If my post works, you will have already taken a look at these. Visitors should definately bring a pair of sandles that can get wet!

Well, time for me to change that diaper!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Back in the Saddle

Karla has been encouraging me to post a couple of the photos I took of Aysha in the morning before we went to school, and I just did.  They should be right below this post.  Now don’t skip right to the bottom just to see the pictures... they’ll still be there when you’ve finished reading this.  I haven’t posted in a long time.  Karla took over for a couple weeks and I have been doing other things.  I took a bunch of photos of some of my students, first at a sports tournament and then on a team-building field trip.  I have been having fun posting them on the flickr website.  I took tons of action shots with the digital camera and a few turned out well.  The students were either very impressed with their pictures or begged me to delete them.

It’s Novembrinas in Cartagena – a week long holiday that only happens here.  The highlight of the week is the crowning of Miss Colombia.  We talked about going to Tayrona, the national park about 3 hours away to camp (or at least stay in a cabin) by the beach for a few days.  However, we looked at treadmills on the Thursday before the break began and decided to invest in a treadmill instead of spending our money travelling.  That’s what a baby does to you.  We’re staying at home, where it’s safe and comfortable.  The idea of staying on a beautiful beach, but having to battle bugs and entertain a hot, sweaty little girl is not as enticing as having a machine to walk on in our home.  

In Kuwait, we always had a gym in our apartment, but here no apartments seem to have gyms.  There are a couple of gyms that we could get memberships at, but they are expensive and inconvenient –a half an hour walk away.  So we have a big black noisy machine in between the dining room and living room, sort of almost out of the way.

One important thing I learned during the treadmill purchase is that Colombia is not a good place to change money.  Banks, for what I suspect are reasons related to preventing terrorism, have nothing to do with foreign money.  You can’t buy or sell any foreign currency at a Colombian bank, or transfer money to another country.  The only place to change money here are either through suspicious little money change shops in the streets or through black market money changers.  The shops were offering 2100 pesos to the US dollar and the guys on the street 2500.  The official rate is around 2275 pesos to the dollar.  The Lonely Planet warns against the guys on the street who are able to skim money off as they count it.  All of the little money change shops almost never had rates posted, but all quoted the exact same rate.  In fact, the two shops that I did find that had rates posted, offered a slightly worse rate.  Canadian dollars were even worse.  The shops were offering 1300 pesos when the actual rate is about 1950.

I have been listening to quite a bit of Al Franken.  For a week, I was downloading his TV show, which I believe was the first hour of his three hour radio show.  The one hour was great.  It was a fairly serious commentary on the US news.  I’ve tried to listen to the podcast of 3 hour show, but it’s too long and I always find my attention drifting off to something else.  He talks to senators and members of congress who point out things that you don’t otherwise hear.  There was a Democrat from the government that wanted to start cancelling contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq.  Iraq isn’t being rebuilt because the American companies that got the contracts though they would be welcome, but now can’t leave their hotels in the Green Zone.  The work doesn’t get done, and the Iraqis are more convinced the Americans came for their oil and not to rebuild their country.  Until the existing contracts cancelled, new contracts cannot be given to Iraqi companies who are able to do the jobs.

Well, it’s I know you’re eager to see those new photos and Karla’s getting Aysha into some clothes to head out and see the gang by the pool.  It’s only about 5 weeks until we get home for the holidays.  It still feels a long way off here, but I suspect you’ve already heard the first of this year’s Christmas carol muzak.

Halloween costume

Halloween costume
Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.

Halloween costume

Halloween costume
Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Halloween and Other Happenings

The witches, ghosts, and goblins were out early this year (the Friday before the 31st) with the annual school Halloween celebration. It was a big event, with decorations covering the patio the entire month of October as well as our school bells being changed to spooky howls and similar scary sounds (we have different bells for elementary, middle, and high school). As the Faculty advisor for middle school student council, I had to supervise the creation of the haunted house Thursday afternoon and evening (it took about six hours) as well as be there all Friday morning as we guided classrooms in turn through the house. Considering that I was on my own (our high school student council advisor and director had gone to a conference out of town), I think it turned out not too badly.

Jamie and I brought Aysha to school with us on this day, as she was the accessory that tied our costumes together. We went as Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and Wendy. I've already posted some photos, but may get Jamie to post a couple better ones, because they were taken in the morning and the lighting was better. The costumes were a bit tricky here - no Value Village to plunder, but I think we managed very well without spending a lot of money. The best part was Aysha's wings, which took some time to figure out. In the end we cut dishwashing sponge and covered it in three or four layers of tulle. We then pinned the wings to Aysha's shirt. Jamie even shaved his goatee and mustache for the occasion (Peter Pan couldn't have facial hair).

Right now we are on a week long vacation, but instead of exploring the country, we've decided to stay in Cartagena and save our money. We want to buy a tread mill to exercise with, and as these are not cheap, forgoing this vacation seemed the only way we could justify such a purchase. Besides, we're going to be home for Christmas very shortly (less than a month and a half away), and Marilyne and Cody are coming for a visit on November 23rd. We are excited about having our first guests!

I have been fighting a cold the past two or three days, and my aching head won't allow me too much time at the computer, so I will end this post.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Aysha's Christmas Wish List

I think I've been a good baby this year, so my Christmas wish list is long. Of course I don't need all of these things, but this list gives some ideas for those of you who agree that I've been a great baby.

Pull Toys
Riding Toys
Finger Paints
Baby Musicial Instruments
(or Baby Friendly Musical Instruments)
Pretend Doctor Stethescope
Putting and Taking Things Toys
Shape Sorters
Dexterity Toys
Bath Toys for Water Play
Bath Bubbles (for Mom or Dad to blow in the bath tub)
Durable Books
Toy Trucks and Cars
Simple Wooden Puzzles with Pegs
Any of the Fisher Price Play Sets (ie House)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Chase...and a Message for Aysha Al Sane

It was Saturday afternoon, and Jamie was looking so
sweet with Aysha, that I thought a picture was in
order. Jamie and Aysha thought otherwise. Thus began
the chase, with squeals of laughter from our little
baby - she loves this game.

Today I'm relaxing at home because we recived notice
from the census that today we will be counted (by law
we must remain at home). Jamie's gone to school with
one of the walkie-talkies so that I can call as soon
as census people arrive. I might even get a bit of
grading done as Claudina is still coming (after the
census visit we can head back to school).

Novembrinas is less than two weeks away, and we've
still not made any decisions as to how this holdiay
will be spent. I wanted to go to Costa Rica, but the
flights are more expensive than I had predicted, and
finances are tight due to having the purchase of
tickets home for Christmas. We may just stay in
Cartagena for part of the week, and head to the
national park of Tyrona for a few days.

This week is Halloween, and I've been working on
costumes for the three of us. I won't tell what they
are just yet, because I'll send photos later! You'll
just have to wait.

Before I wrap up this email, a quick message to Aysha
Al Sane. Could you send your return email address so
that we might respond to comments sent in the future.
It is wonderful to hear from you. I would love to
have you as a student this year - that would be fun.
I also teach grade eight at our school here. You
could send your address in the next comment, or ask
Ms. Katherine for my email address.

Hugs and Kisses to all,

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Run, Dad, Run!

Run, Dad, Run!
Originally uploaded by Karla Maria Germaine.
Mom's coming to get us!

She's Catching Up!

She's Catching Up!
Originally uploaded by Karla Maria Germaine.
Hurry Dad, Mom's getting closer!

Melon Head Dad

Melon Head Dad
Originally uploaded by Karla Maria Germaine.
Dad protecting himself.

Melon Head Baby

Melon Head Baby
Originally uploaded by Karla Maria Germaine.
Dad protects babe from a photo!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Aysha's Harem

Above you will see pictures of Aysha and her boy
harem. These are the little boys of the teachers and
friends that live in the neighboring building. They
were all on the boat trip we took to Playa Blanca
(White Beach), on Saturday. As one of the teachers
says, "Everyone loves that baby!" And she loves the

The trip to the beach was an hour and fourty minutes
late leaving (typical) in a small boat that went so
fast the bottom flew out of the water and crashed back
into the water with a force hard enough that I wished
the wooden seats had had padding. Through it all,
Aysha was good - slept on the way there, and not even
a whimper on the way back. It took us more than four
hours to finally reach the beach (we stopped for a
couple of hours to do some snorkeling), and once
there, we had only two hours before we were herded
back onto the boat.

We were then driven to an impoverished village for a
very basic meal of fish (included in the price). It
was a family run affair (the restaurant operated by
the families of the boat owners), while everyone else
in the village attempted to sell us something. I felt
a little manipulated. Not that I don't think it
worthwhile to see how people on the outskirts of the
city live, but the entire trip was orchestrated in
such as way as to suck as much money out of the people
on the boat as possible. Earlier, the stop for
snorkelling involved renting sub standard masks and
snorkels for about 8$ Canadian (an exorbitant price
for an hour and a half of snorkelling). If you didn't
want to snorkel there was nothing for you to do for
over an hour.

The entire trip took eight hours, and we were at the
beach for only two (we had been under the impression
that the trip was Playa Blanca). I was frustrated
with the waste of time, and won't be recommending that
trip to family and friends when they come to visit!
Still, we got some great photos of Aysha at the beach,
which she definitely enjoyed. I will be on the
look-out for alternative transportation to and from
Playa Blanca.

I've been meaning to add my two bits to this blog for
a few weeks now, but rarely find the time. I've
wanted to talk some of my Colombian experiences,
including the fact that I'm teaching our nanny,
Claudina, to read and write in Spanish! Yeah, it's
ironic. When I asked Claudina to sign a receipt
indicating how much she was paid by us for the month
of August, she told me that she couldn't read or write
because she never went to school. Thus began my
endeavour. I started teaching Claudina the alphabet,
which is very similar to the English alphabet, and she
began to practise forming her letters. We have now
moved on to children's stories (I've taken books out
of the library), and we are doing exercises out of my
Spanish text book (a book to learn how to speak
Spanish, but it works for learning how to write in
Spanish too). Claudina always does her homework, and
she learns quickly. This month she confidently signed
her name to our receipt without me having to write it
out for her first.

Many Colombians are in a similar situation as
Claudina. Like many of the black people here, she is
very poor. She lives an hour away by bus, and gets up
at 3:30 am every morning to arrive on time for 6:00
a.m.. I have suggested that she might sleep here
during the week, but she says she wants to go home to
be with her family (she has three grown children and a
husband). I feel guilty that she travels so far and
for such a low wage, although we pay her more than she
asks. This is the situation for many Colombians. She
told me on Friday that with the money she makes
working for us, her family has been able to buy a
refrigerator. Claudina is intelligent. I know that
the difference between her family's standard of living
and my own boils down to nationality, skin colour, and
education. Claudina is a large part of our lives
here, since she cares for what is most precious to us,
and I talk with her in Spanish every morning and
evening - thus she is a big part of our Spanish world.

One of the electives that I'm teaching this semester
is Photography. I've arranged for one picture taking
field trip off campus each week. Parents come to the
school to pick us up, and off we go for an hour and
twenty minutes (it backs onto a recess). Last week's
field trip was the highlight of my week. A parent
arranged for a trip to the port and using a family
connection, got us permission to ride to the top of a
new crane. From up top we had the most spectacular
view of the city. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
While a couple of my students were rigid with fear
over the height, I felt as though I were on top of the
world, with a birds view of the city. Cartagena looks
even more stunning from above. It is truly unique in
terms of its peninsula location. I will post a couple
of the photos I took from the crane.

This week the highlight was retro day. Sixth graders
were to dress like people in the 60s, seventh graders
were to represent the 70s, and eight graders the 80s.
Each grade also had to prepare a little show. My
grade eights did a great job. They showed everything
from the creation of CNN and MTV to Pac-man and the
rubric cube, to Boy George, Cindy Lauper, Madonna, and
Micheal Jackson. I ended up dressing punk, and even
cut up a couple pair of socks in order to turn them
into leg warmers. Now all I have to do is figure out
a costume for Halloween!

Until next time, I trust Jamie to keep you informed.
:) Karla

Friday, September 30, 2005

good lord...

good lord...
Originally uploaded by sThig.
I saw it, I just couldn't resist sharing it.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Update (new pictures follow)

Once more, it’s Sunday evening and I am uploading a couple photos and making a few notes for the loyal readers.

Aysha has graduated from a half blanket on the floor to a full blanket on the floor. She is so close to starting to crawl, it will be hard to decide when she moves from this stage to actual crawling. If you dangle something she really wants in from of her, she will almost crawl – take a step or two, then sit down again and look at what she wants before crawling another step or two closer. It all ends with a final lunge toward the object. She arrives on her belly, outstretched to reach her goal. She could crawl is she wanted to, it’s just she hasn’t figured out that she can.

We took it easy this weekend. With a surprise Thursday off, we had a little one day week Friday. About 45 minutes before the end of the school day, the director came on the school loudspeaker with an announcement: Mr. Uribe (the president of Colombia) will be driving past the school shortly. If your car is parked on the street in front of the school, you must move it. I didn’t even notice him pass, even though I can see the road from my class. Fortunately, he moved along in time not to interfere with the dismissal.

Friday night, Karla and I got a bottle of wine, made dinner and stayed home. The grocery store near our house not only sells beer, wine and rum, they are accommodating enough to offer a rotating 20% discount on booze on Fridays and Saturdays. Two weeks ago, beer was on sale Friday and Rum Saturday, last week, wine was Friday and I didn’t go in Saturday.

We managed to get a little caught up on work this weekend. We went out for dinner on Saturday night and then for a walk around the old city on Sunday afternoon. We stopped on the way at a blender parts cart (a cart parked on the side of the street that sells parts for blenders (tops, blades, pitchers, etc). Our dinner host on Saturday night complained that she couldn’t use her blender for lack of a top. I inquired about the price of one – I didn’t think Carol would make it down anytime soon – and we got his business card. If it wasn’t unusual enough for a man with a movable cart made out or recycled lumber to have a card, what it said was even stranger. Under his name, to help distinguish him from the other blender part carts on the same corner, it said “El Negro” or “The Black Man”. He was the darkest blender man in sight. I am going to remember him (I guess it worked).

On the way home we stopped off at an Italian restaurant called Entoteca that is known for its wine selection. Another teacher, Shannon, was with us and we grabbed a bite and decided to order a bottle of wine. The waiter helped us with the list – the must have offered two or three hundred different bottles of wine – to choose a bottle suitable for us. He had a little chuckle at us when we rejected his first suggestion in favour of “something cheap”. In the end, we laid out $25 for a very reasonable bottle of Chianti. The food and atmosphere was great. Guests can expect to stop in while they are here.

It’s almost time for bed here. I watched half a movie on Saturday afternoon that I hope to be able to stay awake long enough to see the end tonight!


Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.


Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A little help from my toy

A little help from my toy
Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.


Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.


Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Almost an Update

I promise you’ll get some photos tomorrow. The family went down to the pool this afternoon for a little swim. Aysha has an inflatable toy (with built in sun shade) that we took for a test drive. She loved it. When we got to the pool there were a few families swimming. Once Aysha got in she was like a magnet; everyone stopped what they were doing and were drawn over to take a look at her. I took a few photos and will put a couple up tomorrow.

Karla is about to put Aysha to bed for the night. She has gotten used to her room and is sleeping well. Some nights she doesn’t even wake us up once. In the mornings, she has been waiting for us to come and pick her up. She can get from lying on her tummy to a sitting position. She anchors her head and scoots her feet forward until she is a little triangle with her bum in the air. Then, she drops her bum sideways and rolls her upper body over it. She also loves to stand. One night this week, she stood in her crib for almost 45 minutes before it was bed time. She holds onto the crib rail and meanders one way and the other. On Saturday morning, she was standing up when I went in to get her. She still isn’t crawling yet.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Weekend Update

It’s Sunday night again and time for another little update.  They never did fix our AC, so we are destined to be hot and sweaty for a week or two until they produce a new one.  It has to be ordered, then custom made, then delivered here from Cali, and finally installed.  So many steps: so many possibilities for delay.

Aysha has got her own room and is slowly getting used to it.  We started letting her cry at night now so she will hopefully learn to sleep through the night by herself before she is 12.  She’s on a steady diet of pureed solid food.  We are making it all.  Today she got carrots, potato, green beans, mango, and some Rice Krispies with formula for breakfast.  She is gaining balance.  When she is in the middle of the bed and supporting herself on my hip, she has started to experiment with standing on her own.  She either plunks down on her but or falls forward into me, but she is on her own in space for a half second or so.  She knows that she it’s too risky to do on her own – when she is holding herself up with some inanimate object, which is good for safety (at least for now).

I just did a cute little quiz (I was looking for something to help kids write quizzes and found this).  You just answer a bunch of questions and it tells you which Simpsons character you are:

Friday, September 09, 2005

Ghostrider of Hosmer Mountain

Ghostrider of Hosmer Mountain
Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.
Here's a picture I took this summer. It's the desktop of the computer at home now. I have signed up for flickr, which lets me post to the blog (which I am playing with now).

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Number Two, Sit and Stew, and a Boo Hoo Hoo

Not that number two... it’s the appearance of tooth number two.  It’s the other center bottom tooth, which is just poking its head out.  The first tooth is only a tiny bit ahead.

We have still have no AC again.  It’s been a saga.  Last Wednesday the AC went.  A big shower of condensation from the unit poured out from the ceiling.  The agency promised us that someone would be by to fix it that very day or the next.  That was when we made our big mistake.  We believed them.  By the time it was after school Friday and no one had shown up, we were upset.  Someone did show up on Saturday morning.  He discovered that we needed a part, and went to get it, but did not return.  Monday he didn’t return either.  His friend, a ceiling painter, arrived to make a huge mess under the auspices of painting our ceilings.  The friend said that the AC man was waiting for approval from the agency to buy the part and do the work.  Of course, the agency had a different story.  On Tuesday, the man did come back and after 10 hours of work, had the AC working again.  However, by the time we arrived home on Wednesday afternoon, the AC had quit again.  According to the AC man, the unit we have is beyond repair.  He has tried to make that clear to the agency, who prefer for him to try to fix it.  Today, Thursday, he and his partner spent 11 hours working on it, without success.  Tomorrow morning they said they would give it one last try.  By last night, we were angry.  We wrote a letter to the agency explaining that it was our intention to not pay our rent if full, as we had not received the service we had hired them to provide.  The school, who hold the lease on our apartment, didn’t like that idea.  Today, the agency did say that they would install a new AC.  It would take 5 days (the AC man said 7) to get here.  So, unless the guys work a little AC miracle tomorrow, we will be sweating through the weekend.  It has not helped that the last two days have been dead still, which makes our apartment a sticky sweaty and very uncomfortable place.

The boo hoo hoo came last night.  By the time we had finished discussing the possibility of repair with the repair people and arguing with the agency, it was about 8:00 pm.  Aysha went to sleep and Karla and I set to getting the work that we need to get done finished.  About 9, we heard the clunk of Aysha rolling off the bed.  It was terrible to realize what the thump was.  Since we didn’t see her fall, we didn’t know how she landed and feared the worst.  She cried for a few minutes (and didn’t have any signs of injury) and then went back to sleep.  Since neither Judy nor Brenda (Karla’s aunts who are nurses) was in, we called our Colombian host mom, who is married to a doctor.  His advice confirmed what I had found on the internet.  By this time Aysha was back asleep and we decided to wake her up to make sure she was alert.  She was slow to wake but happy to see us.  We both felt terribly guilty about her fall.  We checked on her every couple hours during the night.  She was easier to wake up (and happier to be up) than to put back to sleep.  Today she has been fine: not even any sign of bruising.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Weekly Update

I haven't made much time to post words here of late. I have been trying to at least post a few pictures to keep you happy.

This weekend our AC is out again. The repair man came by on Friday afternoon and told us that the salt air had corroded the compressor, causing it to leak its refrigerant. But he couldn't fix it until he got authorization from the office. Saturday authorization came along with a broken promise that it would be fixed that day. At least it has been a cool(er) weekend with a breeze to make things bearable.

Karla and I have been home doing school work for most of the weekend. Our mid-term progress reports are already due this week coming up. This week we also had our meet the parents night on Thursday. When it was supposed to begin at 6:00 there was only one parent in the audience. But most of the parents has rolled in by 6:30 and I had a few visit me in my classroom. Not the usual 90% of parents of kids that I have no worries about: more like 50%. The school set me up with a grade 12 Honor Society student to work as my translator. After there was a big buffet put on by the PTA.

Friday night I went out with the guys. We met up at "The University Bar" a popular spot in the old town with cheap beer (60 cents a bottle, instead of the 55 you pay in the grocery store). While I was there, I bumped into June, a teacher who teaches at the British school in town who came in on the same flight as we did. June works with Flora, a teacher we worked with in Kuwait who is also starting in Cartagena this year. Karla and I have seen June 4 times since we arrived here, but never Flora. Flora did show up at the University bar and we were invited to a party at June's last night. After a couple beer, the boys moved out to a Colombian pool hall.

There were 30 light blue covered pool tables, surrounded by a variety of Colombian men. I wish I could have brought in my camera. Most of the tables didn't have pockets. The people play a game with three balls where the object is to hit both of the other balls with the cue ball. We got one of the few tables with pockets. We lasted until about 10 o'clock. By then, our games had grown in length to where the group that sat out got bored waiting for the other four to finally be lucky enough to sink all the balls.

Last night we went into El Centro, the old town, to June's party. We had never been in one of the apartments there. June's was amazing. It was the third (and top) floor The entrance was a wrought iron gate with a huge padlock on the outside. The walls were a mix of old fossil filled rock, coral and red brick mortared together - roofs were planks on to of big old 8x8 beams. The floors were tiled. June said the building was about 300 years old. Her apartment was on the top floor and had a tall, open living room area up to the peaked roof in the front. In the back, there is a flat roof that also serves as a terrace and lookout on the old town. It has great character, but was definitely not baby friendly.

Aysha still hasn't got the hang of crawling. Sometimes she starts, but moves backwards a bit, then stops. She much prefers to stand, and even is daring to stand with only one hand now. She has taken a couple of spills, but has been slow to cry so far. She has started eating semi-solids. We can't get cheerios here, so she has been challenged by the tiny little rice crispies. She enjoys them, but the end up spread far and wide. She also has tried bread cubes. Her success seems to be directly related to the size of the food.

We moved her bed into her own room this weekend too. We were very excited that she has her own room now. She is used to her room. She has had all her diapers changed there and Claudina and Aysha go in ther during the day sometimes to look out the window. There is a single bed beside her crib, so we can still be there to comfort her if she gets upset. She fell asleep easily the last two nights, but now that we have to work tomorrow, tonight will probably be when she decides she wants to come back into our room.

Sunset from the living room.

Aysha with bread

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Oh look! A bottle.

Not crawling yet, but not far from it

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lo, the mighty Mount Crib...

This is very surprising.

I'm a big girl!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Do you recognize that? Well, it's supposed to be the theme to Jaws. And why am I typing the theme to this cinematic classic? In honour of Aysha's first tooth, which became visible yesterday afternoon. It's a bottom center one - on her left side to be specific. She has been a bit grumpy for the past couple days - which happened to coincide with our putting the wall up on her crib between us and the bed.

Otherwise, Aysha is getting restless. She is not happy sitting for long anymore. She rocks forward onto her hands like she is going to crawl away, but when she gets to the point where all four limbs need to cooperate, she gets stuck. On the bed, she rolls all over and can sort of make some forward progress, if something she wants is just out of reach. I'm not sure if she realizes that she is moving forward or if she just thinks she can reach farther that way because she won't continue creeping along to get an item that is a little farther away.

Work is going pretty well. It's the end of our first five day week. Unfortunately, one of our colleagues resigned this week. Danny usually teaches high school, but was trying a grade 3 self-contained class. He is going back to Toronto to try to get a job. Another teacher has benefited though. Copeland, who was having a rough time in grade one, is excited to be moving into grade 3, where the kids know some English (the first begin English in grade 1 - something she didn't know until she got here) and are a little more independent.

Karla wants to check her email and has finished her oatmeal, so it's time to go.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The living room, from the entrance

From the living room: dining room, entance and kitchen

The dining room (with entrance hallway on the right by the stroller)

Aysha's room, with view of Bocagrande

Aysha playing with Great-grandad Hide

Aysha at the Calgary Folk Festival

Friday, August 19, 2005

Home again

It's starting to look like home, again.

Last weekend, we took Saturday off to go on a staff trip out to an island off the coast. Our director is completely different from Kuwait. We met at the dock at 7:30. Pete (Mr. Nonnenkamp) had 20 beer for the dock and 40 for the boat ride out (There were more than 40 people going). Mothers, not to worry. He also insisted that everyone wear their lifejackets in the boat. We relaxed and sat by the water all day.

That evening, we even had enough energy to get out shopping and pick up a TV and washing machine, along with other bits and pieces for the apartment. Only the washer and computer desk wouldn't be delivered until after the weekend. With the rest of the weekend, we got partly unpacked at home and organized lessons for school. But then Wednesday rolled around, and the painters arrived to repaint the whole apartment, and everything got pushed into the middle of the rooms.

By Thursday, the internet had been installed and the painting almost finished. Friday after school, Karla had a student council meeting so Aysha and I went to the pool to meet with some of the other teachers. The painting was done, mostly. Claudina tried to explain to me what they were going to come back on Monday to do - inspection? touch-ups? cleaning? I couldn't figure it out. It might have just been an excuse from the painters to leave all the pictures off the walls and furniture in heaps in the rooms.

Now it's Saturday morning, the windows are still open to ventilate the place. It's 7:30 in the morning and a shade under 30 degrees and a smidge under 80% humidity. Today we will try to arrange the furniture in the heat while resisting the temptation to shut the windows and turn the AC back on.

I promise to get some photos up soon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

At home.

There was some doubt. Check in to our new apartment was at 3:30, then 4:00. At 3:40, they called to say that they couldn't make it until 4:30. Then at 4:30, it became 4:30 or 5:00. I went and picked up the boxes with the school workers, and headed over. When I got there, the people were waiting for us, while Karla and the school officer were waiting for a call from them.

By 6:30 we had taken the apartment, dirty and is disrepair, with a promise from the owner that cleaners and repairmen would be sent in the next couple days to fix it up for us. By 7:30, we had figured out that the AC didn't work and we sweated buckets as we set up Aysha's crib. Last night was unusually still and I am hoping that if the AC still doesn't work tonight, the ocean breezes will cool us off.

Today, our boxes and bags are in a pile in the middle of the living room. Karla went home to check on Aysha today and said that cleaners arrived, but their cleaning was "superficial". Claudina arrived at 6:00 this morning, and since Aysha was still asleep, she began cleaning the kitchen. I could tell her to stop, but when it came to explaining that cleaners were coming to clean today, I just didn't have the Spanish to do it. She was a little confused until Karla came out from the bedroom and explained to Claudina why I wanted her to "just relax".

It's day two at school. I kept my first kids in for detention today. I sat my kids alphabetically, and it just turned out that there is a big clump of talkative boys on one side of the room. I am just keeping up day by day, but this weekend I hope to get organized and plan at least two days in advance. Also, after school today the internet and cable people are coming to sign us up, and once that happens I'll be able to post a few photos. Oh yeah. We have a phone number now too - it's 665-3026.

right click here and open this link in a new window

Okay. Here's where we are: look at the first tall building in Bocagrande (the big y shaped peninsula at the top of the picture), its white and wide. Peeking out on the right side, is a dark building (actually, it's red brick); this is where we live- seventh floor, ocean view. Okay, now keep moving up the picture along the coast - there's another medium colored building about the same size as ours, then you see a taller building with a design that slopes down to the right(water) side. Our school is directly above the last building. It's in the area without any tall buildings.

That's all for now. It's almost time to get my books together and go sign up for internet.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

At home?

Okay. It's been a difficult time since we left Canada. Today was our first day of school and we are still waiting to get into our apartment. Actually, I am waiting to go do an inventory of it with the apartment manager, which will be the last step before we take possession. It was supposed to happen on Saturday morning, and then again on Monday afternoon, but it didn't. We have checked into the hotel three times since we arrived. It's only twenty minutes until the inventory time, and things still look good, but I don't want to get my hopes up.

Everyone else found a place and moved in either Friday or Saturday. We had our place chosen last Tuesday, but a company had it rented and had not turned in the keys to end their rental until today (hopefully). It's been very tiring moving back and forth from the hotel - we're in our third room in the hotel so far. It's been hard on Aysha. She hasn't had much variety in her diet, as all the baby food here has sugar and starch added. When we get into the apartment, we can start making food in the blender, but for now, she's been on oat cereal and papaya, since it can be mushed up with a fork.

Cartagena itself is beautiful. The school is literally on the ocean: a two lane road separates the school from the beach. The part of town we are in is touristy, but has a small town feel to it. The peninsula is so small you can walk almost anywhere. The grocery store will be in the same block as our place. The old town, which we have only driven through is much more hectic though. Once we get settled we will head down there to explore.

Our trip down here was, well, eventful, but that's another story. Air Canada wasn't that great, but Avianca, the Colombian airline, made us remember our Air Canada flight fondly.

I'll try to post more regularly once we get into our place.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Check. Out.

I have been distributing report cards for 45 minutes now. I'm sure my first victim, um, er student will arrive any minute. The school allows three hours for students to drop by and pick up their report card. Not so students have time - most of them send their drivers anyway, but so the teachers are kept busy. Then we get an hour for lunch and have two and a half hours when parents can come by (but don't).

I am happy to say that we are almost ready to leave. Yesterday, we finished our shipping at the Lufthansa office, picked up the last of our money from the business office, and got the literary magazine ready to give out. Also, the last of our furniture was picked up. All we have in our apartment now is our mostly packed luggage, two shelves that we will deliver to friends this afternoon and an inflatable bed (plus a bit of garbage that is slowly making its way down to the bin). We had to stop at Burger King this morning for a croissan'wich breakfast.

We took Aysha for her 4 month vaccination (She got a month behind when we missed the three month vaccination), and she was very unsettled yesterday evening and last night. Her little leg where she got the injection was sore and she developed a mild fever (both of which are normal). She was up several times during the night needing to be comforted. During one of her few moments of contentment, she started to make razzing sounds, which she liked to do so much she was even trying to do it with her soother in her mouth.

Tonight we check out of our apartment and move in with Greg, our upstairs neighbor for one night. Then Wednesday evening, we board the plane and we'll be home on Thursday afternoon.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Madness in Kuwait

There is only a week left - and we've only about 400,000 things left to do. Furniture has started disappearing, we've begun packing, and school has mostly wound down, except for packing up the class room and sitting around for the days that they make us come to work.

Our big concerns right now are our car and the literary magazine. The guy who agreed to buy our car called and backed out. So with only a week left in the country, we have to try to sell it, and fast. Yesterday, an ad went into the buy and sell again. There was one call last night and I am really hoping we get some more today. There is one other guy who called early this week to say that he wanted to come see the car in a few days. The he called again yesterday to see if the car was still available. He says he is planning to come and look at it on Thursday. I think he is hoping that if it's still available he might get a good deal (and he might!) If we don't get many calls today about the car, then I am not sure what we will do. We might try to find a friend who is staying to transfer the car to so that he can sell it for us later. Or there is supposed to be a car market where we can take it and have people come up and bid on it. We'll have to call Aziz, our Kuwaiti friend tonight if nothing is looks promising.

Then there's the literary magazine. It's almost all put together, but we haven't sold enough copies to cover the cost of publishing. Either we need to find some money somewhere to print it, or I don't know. We might be able to print it in-house on the school's colour laser printers and put it together somehow. But that needs to be decided today.

Aysha goes for her last Kuwaiti doctor's appointment today and for some more vaccinations. She is doing well. She is grabbing things and sticking them in her mouth. She likes to grab Karla's glasses off her face and reach for cups when we're trying to drink from them. She is also rolling over from back to tummy when she feels like it. Sorry for now new pictures, but we've just been too busy getting everything marked for the end of the year and putting together the literary magazine. We're looking forward to seeing you all soon.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Starbucks - Marina Mall

Aysha and Karla are taking a nap, and I have walked over to Marina Mall for a little time out of the apartment. This weekend, between selling the car and finishing up my exam, I'm feeling a little more on top of the game. Nearly everything in our apartment has been sold. There are a couple little pieces of furniture left and odds and ends, but we have sold enough to recover what we had to pay for it all. The car worked out well too. I found someone who really liked it. He agreed to let me keep using it until the English exams - so I will get most of my tutoring done without needing to use taxis or beg rides from families. The other great thing is that we sold the car for 700KD, which is only 20KD (about $85) less than what we paid for it two years ago.

Aysha was pooping up a storm yesterday, which is further evidence that she might be teething. Her occasionally grumpy behavior and reluctnce to eat plus the prolific bottom are all indicators that she is probably cooking up a couple of chompers. The doctor said there still might be a couple months before they poke through, but they could be there causing her some discomfort.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Aysha and I just went book shopping while mom took a nap. Karla and I got a gift certificate for Christmas and we have been trying to find something to spend it on ever since. We bought four more books. She already has a copy of I Love You for Always from Grandma and Grandpa Hide and one called Dear Santa from Katherine, but we figure she needed some more. Ones that could be read all year round and than mom and dad could get through without crying.

Aysha's expanded library now includes:
Catch by Trish Cooke - A little girl and her mom try to find something that the girl can catch. It's got these simple, colourful pictures that are super. I know Aysha will love to look at them.
Toby by Cyndy Szekeres - Toby's mom keeps him busy (and wears him out) by suggesting that he take his dinosaurs for some exercise. It works.
Give it a Try Camel-o-shy by Sabine P. Moser - Camel-o-shy does visits his friends only to find that they can do something special that he isn't very good at. It's set in around a Wadi near Dubai and features desert animals. After all, Aysha is a desert baby.
The Story of Pea Brain by Jackie Robb and Berny Stringer - Pea Brain was the odd duck in the pod. He sets out to travel the world and has wonderful adventures. On his travels he meets Sweet Pea and the two get married. It rhymes. It's international. It reminds me of our family history. (other stories in the series include the stories of dog, bat, spider, slug, plankton, amoeba and brain cell)

Who says you can't build a snowman in Kuwait?

Aysha's reaction to hearing that she will see Hawksley Workman at the Calgary Folk Festival.

In a Nutshell

Aysha is doing well. She is mostly very happy. This weekend, she has been a bit grumpy. We think it might be teething. If we give here a bit of medicine for the pain, she settles down. She's likes to play with her toys. She smiles a lot now and is making more sounds and squeals. Sometimes she is really loud.

We have been busy selling our stuff and getting ready for the end of the school year. Exams are due on Saturday and then there are just six more days of regular classes and three review days before exams begin. We sold our car yesterday, but get to use it until exams begin (good for tutoring). After that, we can catch rides with friends and take taxis.

The boxes have emerged and packing has begun. Or at least organizaing of stuff yet to be packed into destination boxes has begun.

I have been trying to post photos to the web, but haven't had any luck. I don't know if there is a problem or change with Hello (the picture posting service), or if I'm just having bad luck.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Aysha's Hands

Aysha is using her hands more and more. She is reaching for her toys and batting them around for fun. She can grab them with her little fingers, especially if they are offered to her. She can do new things each day. Now she is grabbing her toys in a kind of crude bear hug and trying to stick them in her mouth. Fortunately, all the toys are about as big as her head, so she isn't getting much into her mouth.

We've been working on tummy-time too. Since back-sleeping is in fashion now, she spends almost no time on her stomach. She has always hated being placed on her stomach. But if we put her on her stomach and rattle her toys, she is motivated to look up for them. And then this morning, she managed to roll over onto her back by herself.

We haven't taken any pictures lately. Between being busy with school and enjoying playing with her, we have not had much energy for posing.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Home Again

Aysha and Karla made it safely back to Kuwait on Thursday afternoon.

Karla slept all day Friday and Aysha was a pretty good sleeper too. I had gotten as much done as I could, but I had time to myself on Friday when both of them were sleeping.

When I was called to do a middle of the night diaper change (which ended up being a complete outfit change), I realized how out of practice I had gotten. It was hard.

Sylvia was happy to be back today and Aysha reportdly did well. Karla is aiming for an early bed time, so I had bettter go back and spend some time with her. Here are a couple photos of Aysha in Canada with he Hide grandparents.

Grandpa Hide and Aysha

Grandma Hide and Aysha

Saturday, April 23, 2005


This was my weekend to relax. With Karla just having left last weekend, I was pretty tired. This weekend, I divided my time getting my act together and taking it easy. It was a surprise long weekend too. Sometime last week, it seems the Ministry of, uh , something noticed that they had forgotten to schedule the holiday to observe the Birthday of the Prophet Mohammed (I have decided to call it Mohammedmas – the presents were wrapped under the palm tree and I was listening for the hooves of Santa Khalid’s camels on the roof). So half way through last week, the school just announced that Saturday was a holiday.

On Wednesday night, I went to salsa class by myself. It was extra-challenging because Karla is the one who remembers all the moves. I spent half the class dancing with Victor since he could remind me of all the moves I had forgotten. He’s much taller and heavier than Karla is, but I should just be extra good when she gets back.

Thursday morning I tried to take the car in for its pre-sale tune-up. Even though I got there first thing in the morning, I was turned away because they were already busy that day. Saturday would be the day the Caprice went under the wrench, which was fine, thanks to Mohammedmas. I came home and made signs to sell the car and our furniture (even with digital pictures of everything). In the heat of the day, I watched the middle Matrix movie, which only caused me to have a short nap in the middle. That afternoon, I was out doing Karla’s bidding. I went and booked a boat for the wedding party that she is supposed to be planning. It was easy and close enough to walk to.

On the way home, I passed a copy of Hotel Rwanda at the roadside black-market DVD table, but passed it up. I regretted that decision, when I watched the last episode of the Matrix that night with Greg. I just didn’t care if they saved Zion or not. It may have been overkill, watching two in one day, but he had already seen the middle one and wanted to finish the trilogy.

Friday, I played some badminton and did some tutoring. I rode my bike over to play badminton and when I got home, I discovered that summer has officially arrived. I know it is summer in Kuwait when the water out of the cold tap is hot enough to have a shower in. In fact, when I got home, hot and sweaty from the bike ride, I was looking forward to a cold shower. No such luck.

After I dropped the car off on Saturday morning, I was brave and took a Kuwaiti public bus home. Fortunately, there was a guy on the bus who spoke English and explained to me how to get home – which involved going to Kuwait city and then going home. It was the long way. If the route home had been a slice of pie, the short way would have followed the crust. I went into the centre and back out. It was a big slice of pie, so it wasn’t that bad. I came home and finished the school work I had procrastinated doing until then. When I got home, Sylvia was here finishing up. We both complained that we have been bored since Karla and Aysha left. She asked me if I was sure that there was nothing else she could do. There wasn’t so she had to go home early.

I went out tutoring - which fortunately was at the point of the pie where I switched busses, so I knew exactly how to get there – almost. Before the bus gets to the point, it stopped at home-base for a break. I had to catch a taxi to get to tutoring on time. The taxi driver spoke great English and told me that he had been in Kuwait for 14 years (parents take note – 3 years in not so long). He started out working as a mechanic for ten years, and then he moved up to a job at Burger King. Now he was a taxi driver, which was the best. At Burger King there were too many rules. He said that if he showed up for work without shaving that day, he had to pay a penalty.

I picked up the car and took it for the super wash - inside and out, vacuumed and floor mats air blasted, engine and under-carriage. While I was there, I got an offer on the car. I told these two Kuwaiti guys that I wasn’t ready to sell it, but we exchanged phone numbers and we’ll talk in a couple weeks. I’m checking the Waseet, Kuwait’s Buy and Sell to see what its worth.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Aysha and Karla left last night. It was a relief to finally see them off. Having the car loaded (packing finished), checking them in to the flight (tickets obtained) and watching them pass through customs (passport and paperwork accepted) meant that all the preparations for the trip had finally been completed. I was sad to see the two leave, but satisfied that Karla was finally headedto where she needs to be.

I got up this morning without an urgent checklist to accomplish. It was kind of lonely, and since Sylvia wasn't coming, I straightened up the house a bit too keep myself occupied until it was time to go to school.

Time feels like an unlimited resource. All of a sudden, it's not measured in moments until Aysha wakes or periods of walking loops in the apartment. Now, there's a whole lot of it, but no one here to share it with.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Check and Check

Yesterday, the passport. Today, the stamp that will allow Aysha to leave Kuwait.

Karla has tickets to go home too.

More details of the adventure later...

Friday, April 08, 2005

Grinning Aysha in a cute-but-soon-to-be-too-small pink dress


What are you lookin' at?!?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Phase One Complete

Tuesday, I went to pick up Aysha's elusive birth certificate. The parking lot was busier than I had ever seen it before (I have made several trips to the Ministry of Health) It was fast and easy. In less than five minutes I had the paper and was gone. Things were looking up.

I scooted over to the school business office. Mohammed, the guy at school who helps overseas teachers with their paperwork, took my new passport and Aysha's birth certificate. I needed to have my residence visa transferred from my old passport. He promised that Aysha's birth certificate would be taken to the translator that day and then to the embassy the next day. That afternoon, at the end of the school day my passport had already returned with a new visa. Maybe the ministry can produce residency visas (what Aysha needs before she can leave) quickly. Things were looking good.

The next day, I called Mohammed again. He confirmed the translation had been done and would be picked up and delivered to the embassy shortly. I called Conchita (the consul, not the banana) and left a message for her to the effect that the birth certificate would arrive that day. At the end of the school day, I called the embassy. It turned out Conchita had gone home early that day and so no one could tell me if they had even received the birth certificate. Next, I called Mohammed. He said the embassy had the translation and that the original was in my mailbox at school. Disaster. This is where I had a little melt down. The embassy needs the original. Giving me the original meant that Aysha's passport would be a day behind.

I ran down to the mailroom. Locked. Katherine, our deputy principal (and very understanding friend), let me in. No birth certificate, but there was a note. The secretary had kept it locked in her desk, like she does most important documents. Only she'd gone home for the weekend. I talked to Mohammed again who has spoken to the man who had actually been to the embassy. That man said that the Canadian Embassy had seen the original birth certificate and had returned it to him. So maybe there's hope. We'll have to wait until Saturday to find out.

Karla is booked on a flight to Calgary. She leaves Tuesday night and will arrive in Calgary late Wednesday afternoon. She is booked to come back about two weeks later. On Saturday, if the passport is ready, her plans will become more concrete. The travel agent also said that if the paperwork goes more quickly than expected, it will be possible for her to get on an earlier flight.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Aysha slept through the night for the third night in a row.

I spoke with the Canadian embassy today. They will issue Aysha's passsport as soon as they get a copy of her birth certificate. If the Ministry of Health comes through with the promised document this Tuesday, it can be translated and delivered to the embassy on Wednesday, who promise that the passport will be in our hands by Saturday. Then either Karla or I need to go down to the sponsor Aysha as a resident in Kuwait, a process which usually takes a few days. Hopefully, by the Wednesday the 13th Aysha and Karla can be on their way to see Gramdpa Germaine.

Thursday, March 31, 2005


She did it. Aysha lasted through the night last night without needing to be fed. Karla didn't. She got up at 2:00 to pump. On her way back to bed, she swaddled Aysha and gave her the soother. We all slept soundly until 6 the next morning.

Aysha also now seems to really be playing in her jungle gym. Instead of just lying there and bumping the dangling toys by accident, she is looking at them and hitting them. She even smiles and gets excited when she does.

She is now 59 cm long, which puts her at about the 50th percentile for height at 3 months. We don't know how much she weights exactly, but she is likely close to the 25th percentil in weight. She may have gotten a bit of her father's height.

I am serene...

Tiny hands

"No more pictures please."