Sunday, December 31, 2006

More Christmas Pictures

Here are a few more photos from the pre-Christmas in Fernie.

Aysha loves grandma's cookies.

The little baker (mouth full of dough)

Aysha examines the cookie cutters

A Blue Christmas (this one is from Humblodt)

Sledding in Muenster

We all enjoyed Aysha's first day of sledding. Despite a bit of trauma from snow in the face on the first run, Aysha had a great time sledding with uncles, aunt, and Grandma G. Mom and Dad looked after recording the event for posterity.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Thank You

Here we are, relieved to be back in Cartagena safely - no going into labor on the air plane! As I reflect on the holiday, I am profoundly thankful for my family. Both Moms made the trip more relaxing for us than if we had stayed in Cartagena. There were many delicious meals prepared and cleared away, grocery shopping done, and extra hands to take care of Aysha. I was able to relax and recover from my cold. It was wonderful! Grandpas, brothers, and sisters also helped so much to entertain and care for Aysha. It was a joy to see Aysha bonding with family. She is a lucky girl to have so much love and attention. I appreciate your care for her more than I can say.

Thanks also for all computer contributions! I am writing this blog from my new computer, which I am so excited about! And the web cam is great! We've already used it to call both grandmas and grandpas, as well as aunts and uncles.

We've been back in Cartagena for two days, and I've been busy getting ready for the new baby, setting up the bassinet, organizing baby medicines/toiletries, baby clothing (washing and ironing), and baby bath materials. I've also been voraciously reading about labor and pain management. If this baby comes as early as Aysha did, then I have until next week Tuesday! Jamie keeps reminding me that I also need to get my grading done, but I know I will feel better able to do that once I am prepared for the baby. I still have to pack my bag for the hospital, but may do that tomorrow. Then I'll tackle those final exams!

Well, it's Aysha's bed time (actually it is past her bed time - she is on a new, altered holiday bed time schedule, which means she gets to stay up until 9:30 or 10:00pm, and sleeps in a bit later too). I need to go and put her to sleep. "Aysha, are you tired?", and her response, "NO!" But I know she is.

Love to all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This is Christmas



After decorating the gingerbread, we took a couple of portraits of the family in front of the fireplace.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Something Else to Do with Your Money

We found out about on an episode of Frontline called Uganda: a Little Goes a Long Way that we saw(and you can watch online by clicking on the link). It's a microcredit organization based out of San Francisco. It allows people to loan money to small business owners in the developing world. The small business owners use the money for whatever they feel they need to improve their businesses. Some build a new house as a headquarters for their work, others buy machinery, and some just buy more stock. The organization in San Francisco uses non profit organizations in a variety of countries to evaluate and support the people requesting the loans.

Most loans are between $500 and $2000, and are provided by several people. The loans are repaid over 6 to 18 months. Once the loan has been repaid, the money you loaned is returned to you to withdraw or to loan again. So far, the organization has a 100% repayment rate.

Karla and I made our first loan. I was hoping to make a donation to a Nigerian or Cambodian, but as no loans were currently requested from either of them, I chose a widow from Mexico who prepares and sells food to care for her 6 children. It was only $25. At the time of writing this, she still needs $200. There is a link in the sidebar, to her (and after all her money is raised, to others).

In other family news, we are now only one week away from heading back to Canada. I sent an email to Jocelyn, the owner of Fernie Academy, to set up an interview to talk about working at the school next year. I hope that by the end of the vacation we will know what wwe are going to do next year.

It's our last weekend in Colombia, and so we've got to get everything finished off. Karla is relaxing tonight watching Anne of Green Gables. I'm doing a bit of work and posting to the blog. Tomorrow and Sunday, we have a busy schedule of work. Good night all.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Holiday Photos (or Photos of Aysha in New Places)

Hi everyone!

Nice doggie...


Let's roll!

Karla, Aysha, and Jamie - under the wax palms

The wax palms (under Karla, Aysha, and Jamie)

Aysha hikes the Andes

Whew, that was a great trip, but it's time for bed.


It is the American Thanksgiving weekend here. We had a scheduled holiday yesterday, but the sea came up on Wednesday and flooded the road that the school is on. School was cancelled on Thursday, leaving us with a four day weekend. It's Saturday morning, and I'm almost done everything I need to do for the weekend.

Today, I am finally getting around to taking a look at our holiday photos. Hopefully in a little while I will have them ready to post to the blog.

Karla has been in touch with the airlines and has it all sorted out. She has written a letter that satisfies all their requirements to allow her to travel over the holidays. It was translated into Spanish at the school. The doctor took a look at it at the last appointment and said that she would be happy to sign it.

Karla is feeling increasingly large and uncomfortable. She is slower than usual, but still is getting everything done. Stairs don't agree with her, but once last week she came up to my floor to get me at the end of the day. She managed to get out to do some Christmas shopping yesterday too.

Aysha is telling us more and more about what she wants. This morning she got out her puzzle and sat down on the floor. She patted the floor on the other side of the puzzle and said, "Dad." She wanted me to sit with her on the floor. She is starting to put words together, too. She says things like, "This is a book."

A couple of her favorite games at the moment are putting the ball back. I run and put the ball somewhere, and Aysha goes and picks it up and puts it back in its place. For a while she has been playing the Pina-Papaya game (Pina is the Spanish word for pineapple). When you say either word, she says the other. After a few rounds, you change your word and she changes hers. The game can be prolonged by adding other words, like mango or manzana (apple).

Well, I'm getting back to editing. I will try to post some photos soon.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I've Fallen Behind and I Can't Get Up

Aysha is sitting in her little chair babbling away and drinking juice. We've barely left the apartment this weekend as we've been busily working away to try to get ready for our departure in three short weeks. We only have two weekends left after this one and we have course grades to finish off, exams to write, and reviews to plan for our absence.

Ever since last week I have been trying to sort through the photos of the holiday to post a few. Today I got a chance to do a few of the Halloween night ones. Aysha went out trick or treating with Julian. She left behind her cork costume for a Cinderella one that Sylvana, our neighbours' daughter, lent to her. We gave special instructions to our colleagues to only give healthy treats. Aysha came home with a bag full of crackers, veggies, and yogurt.

You ready?
I'm ready.
Good, let's go.

Come on, people, we haven't got all night!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Family Halloween Fun

Well, we might not have had time to blog lately, but now you can see why - we've been working on making these costumes. Here we are:

Can you tell what we were? There are a couple extras of Aysha since she is changing faster than Karla or I. Aysha is saying more and more everyday: not only more words, but combinations too. This week she even whispered for the first time. We peeked at Karla through the bedroom door and Aysha whispered, "shh, momma."

One less desirable development in Aysha's communication is that she has begun to cry for everything that she wants. Gone are the days of the rising tone "Moooooore?" Now, she repeats whatever she wants more and more urgently until she breaks into sobs. The whole process takes only a few seconds - from realizing what she wants until despair sets in at the realization that she doesn't have it. Usually, she recovers from her misery quickly, but not always, especially not when tired.

Karla's last doctor appointment was last week. Everything seems to be progressing well. Karla is larger than she was with Aysha and hot all the time. The AC runs night and day here.

It's almost 5:30 and Aysha is napping right now before her first night out trick or treating. We have set up all of the other teachers with instructions to provide healthy snacks: fruit, crackers, cheese, etc. We'll only have four or five stops on the rounds tonight. We need to go wake her up and work off the post-nap grumpies before the trick or treating.

Happy Halloween

Halloween Experiment
Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.

We haven't forgotten you. More photos of the family in our costumes are coming soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Recognized Photo

Xavier Rudd
Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.

I have been using Flickr a lot with my digital photography elective. And I have had a photo of mine added to the 500 best shots of the day! In fact, it is the 231st best shot of the day. Here it is from the Calgary Folk Festival two years ago.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Bogota Monserrate
Originally uploaded by Jamie Hide.

Aysha and Karla are in a church in Bogota we stopped at on the way back to Cartagena in August.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Two New Videos

The first one is a few weeks old. Aysha and I are in the bedroom practicing our body parts with Baby. When I was getting this one ready, Aysha was watching it with me and playing along, pointing out the body parts along with the video.

The second one is Aysha and a peg puzzle she borrowed from Julian. She got so good at hers that Karla organized a puzzle swap. Aysha is picking up the pieces and delivering them to me. She isn't patient enough to put them all back so the video ends a little sooner than I has hoped it would. This one is a little long even in its shortened form. Maybe Aysha made a wise directorial decision by wandering off to look at the ocean when she did.

Aysha works on her peg puzzle.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

One Amazing Photo

Museos Vaticanos
Originally uploaded by Juanillo1.
I have been looking at a lot of photos on the web with my digital photography elective and I came across this one that just blew me away. I've been back to look at it a couple times and I am more impressed with each viewing. You really shout take a look at it in its full size. (Click on the photo, then on the all sizes button along its top edge.)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

All I Want For Christmas

Here it is... Aysha's Christmas Wish List (up early by most standards, but requests for it have already been forthcoming from the early-bird shoppers - Grandma G.)

Before getting to the list, we would like to request that not a lot of money be spent this Christmas on Aysha gifts. She will have plenty to play with regardless, and later won't get any more enjoyment from a mountain of toys than she would from a few toys. If you would like to contribute something more than just one play item, then money invested toward her future education would be helpful.

In order to save confusion and overlap, we're dividing gift ideas by sides of the family.

The Germaine Side:
- stroller for "baby" - her baby, that is, not the one due in January
- Fisher Price Farm Set
- Hot Wheels Cars
- simple puzzles (wooden or other)
- paints
- books (a couple)
- musical instrumnets (ideas: tamberine, triangle, finger cymbals, recorder, drums for kids, xylophone)

The Hide Side:
- Mega Bloks (medium size, age 2+)
- clothing (24 months to 30 months) - pants, long sleeved shirts, socks, PJs
- Magna Doodle (Fisher Price makes these, but so do other companies)
- big ball (beach ball size)
- medium ball
- train set (something age appropriate)
- bubble bath
- play stethescope (she is starting to be afraid of doctors)
- a boat for the bathtub (she now identifies boats that she sees from our front window)

Of course, if you already have a gift ideas of your own, go with those. These are only suggestions for anyone wanting guidence. We are thinking that birthday gifts should all wait until the summer, when they will be more appreciated than on the actual day of her birthday.

As I look at this list, I realize how lucky Aysha and we are to have a family, immediate and extended, that love us immensely, and that are well enough off for gifts over Christmas to be taken for granted. I think that we will have to give a bit extra over Christmas to help Claudina's family so that she can purchase toys for her grandchildren.

My Morning with Aysha

Last night, the girls and guys gathered for their own nights. The girls watched Sex and the City at our place, and the guys met up at Tony and Diana's for a game of Settlers of Catan. It was John's first time playing and he seemed to be hooked by the end of the night, talking on the way down in the elevator about strategies and variables to account for. There's a bit of a Settlers of Catan craze on right now - the game is borrowed for a game or two a week and plans are being made for who will get which expansion pack over the holidays. Christian won John's introductory game(partly because I miscounted and declared myself the victor when I actually was one point short), but I came back the second game to defend my honour (and math skills).

This morning Aysha was up at 5:30 and wouldn't go back to sleep, so we got up and she had a breakfast of cereal - which she can ask for by name now - no longer requesting it by crowing like the rooster that is on the corn flakes box. While I was waiting for Karla to rise, I had an apple, which Aysha shared with me off the core. She chorused "mmmmm, apple" after each bite. After her apple, she decided that it was time for a rest on the yoga mat. She went over and lay down for at least three or four seconds before popping up to come and grab my hand. It seemed that we both needed a little rest. Unfortunately, our ideas of how long a little rest lasts are very different. After another few seconds, she let me know what was missing... "Baby."

We were off to the crib to collect baby. Snuggle Puppy was there too, so he came along for our rapidly expanding group nap. The yoga mat was getting full. Baby needed a clothes change, and after a couple reminders from Aysha that I needed to be quiet... "Shhhhhhh," the nap seemed to be coming to an end. I tried to lure everyone back to restful stillness by getting Aysha's pillow from the bedroom. It was a hit, but didn't produce the effect that I had hoped for. A couple of wrestling moves later, Aysha had baby safely napping in the center of the pillow and Aysha and I were headed for new adventures.

We took a look at the family photo album. Aysha is getting better at recognizing everyone, and is much better at pronouncing names. All of you in the book are also getting regular kisses through the plastic coated pages of the book too. Mom finally got up and pancakes were for breakfast.

In other Aysha news, she has become an expert at goodbyes. She watches us every morning and when we start to get our bags and shoes, she heads over for her goodbye kiss and hug and starts with her farewells. She has developed quite a repetory of words for the occasion: bye, see you, ciao, hasta luego, adios and hasta manana. She responds to requests for kisses and hugs and even sends people off with waves and blown kisses.

There's only two more weeks left in the first quarter of school - that means soon we will be half way to coming back to Canada for Christmas. Karla has been busy trying to get her tests corrected since the party last weekend left us tired and lazing in bed half the day. She tried all week to get caught up, only to give another test on Friday and be buried under paperwork again. I give my test next Thursday, and will be busy next weekend.

For the Novembrinas holiday, we are heading to the Zona Cafetera, or coffee region, in the center of the Colombia. It's up in the mountains and should be a cool, rainy respite from coastal Cartagena. We are planning to go with Tony, Diana, and Julian again. Another teacher, John, and his wife, Katherine, are also planning to be in the region.

Well, Karla's got to get ready to head out to pilates for expectant mothers, which she is starting today, so I have to go take over with Aysha. We went to another doctor appointment this week. Everything seems to be coming along fine. The doctor confirmed a due date of January 15-26 after seeing the ultrasound. She is still willing to confirm Karla to travel back home, but would like another examination in Canada before Karla is cleared to return. Karla still hasn't gotten the low-down from Air Canada yet on height and size of the hoops they reserve for pregnant women. We'll let you know...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Tonight, Aysha put together her farm animals peg puzzle all by herself. I was sitting on the couch while mom was napping. Aysha retrieved the pieces one at a time for me, with a bit of prompting. "Where's the sheep? No. That's not the sheep." After she had delivered them all to the couch, I got up to see to the music playing on the computer. When I looked back, Aysha was picking the pieces up from the couch, one by one, and putting them in their places in the puzzle. She would even turn them until they fit in place. I was impressed.

There's not to many new words to report that Aysha says, but she really seems to understand a lot of what we say to her. She is usually pretty good at following directions. Well, directions that don't include the word "no." She can "go get" things and "give" things to someone. A couple times she has responded to the call for a diaper change by laying down on the clean diaper in almost the right place (except that the velcro ended up at the wrong end).

Karla and I are maintaining a good, clean lifestyle. Most days we get to be before 9, after not much more than a bit of baby playing, dinner and perhaps a walk or jog (for me, anyway). Novembrinas, a week long holiday, is coming up and we are deciding whether it would be better travel now, before the new baby, or in April, after the baby is born when Jeff may come to visit. My vote is for November. I think that with two babies, even with an uncle-at-arms to assist, a good day would provide 15 to 30 minutes of sightseeing amidst the rounds of diaper changes, feedings (breast and otherwise), naps (mother and children), stops at parks, diaper runs, clothes changes and other less glamourous aspects of travel with children.

That's all the news that's fit to blog for today.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Saturday Afternoon at the Pool

Yesterday, we sat out by the pool in the afternoon with Tony, Diana and Julian, and Christian and Sophy. Here are a couple photos from the day. Julian was doing some big jumps into the pool, but quit before I could get the camera. Aysha was being her usual cute self.

I played soccer at the school yesterday morning too - we moved the game from the late afternoon to eight in the morning, hoping more people would come and the game would be cooler. No one showed up at eight and by the end of the game at ten it was very hot. Next week we will go back to the afternoon game. I am still the worst player on the field, but am having as much fun as the others.

Last night we played a game of Settlers of Catan, which is proving very popular. First we played with Christian and Sophy a couple weeks ago and the next day at work, Sophy told me not to give any of the details about the game to Christian so she could get it for him for Christmas. Right after the game last night, Tony was planning to get the expansion pack so more people could play at once.

At school, progress reports are due on Monday (that means the first quarter is already half over) and so I should get back to work. I just took a little break to put up a couple of pictures.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's A Boy!

Or so the ultrasound says. I'm estatic! And a little disappointed too - disappointed that Aysha will likely never have a sister, but excited to add another male presence to our family - someone to balance the male/female ratio. I guess the only perfect way would be to have two girls and two boys, so that each child would have at least one brother and one sister. That's what happened in my own family. But it was difficult enough convincing Jamie of a second baby.

In light of rising world populations, Jamie and I agreed from the beginning that it isn't right for families to opt for more than two children - unless they are willing to adopt someone needing a home. With that in mind, I've always maintained that if we had either two boys or two girls, then we would adopt a third child of the opposite sex. Tonight, after finding out that this baby is a boy, Jamie jokingly said something to the effect of "so I guess we won't adopt." His joke surprised me a little, since he has recently been so certain that he doesn't want more than two children. For a second I sensed that he wasn't as dead set against a third child as he'd have me believe. I said, "We could still adopt!" Whether or not we ever do consider adopting - it is certainly not the first thing on my mind these days - I really am delighted to be having a baby boy.

Yet boys are so much more foreign to me. Despite growing up with two brothers, and teaching classrooms always half full of boys, in many respects boys remain just a little less understood. What will it be like to be a parent of a boy? I guess I'm going to find out! And Aysha is going to have a baby brother!

So these are my thoughts at 2:00am. I think I'm too excited to sleep. Earlier this evening I was exhausted from a long day at school, and fell asleep on the bed in Aysha's room as I waited for her to do the same. Then, after moving to our bedroom, I lay awake tossing and turning with thoughts of boys, names (nothing yet chosen), and feelings of excitement. Maybe after writing this blog I'll be able sleep. Sometimes putting jumbled thoughts into words that won't disappear makes it possible to turn them off - the jumbled thoughts, that is. We'll see.

Monday, September 04, 2006

First Baby Pictures

Karla went for her ultrasound today. I stayed home and watched Aysha. It was a first come first served ultrasound, which meant that Karla needed to be there an hour early to avoid a long(er) wait in line for the machine. We didn't think that Aysha would appreciate the event, so we stayed home. They did provide us with a CD rom of the event, which I pass along to you in a slightly condensed version for internet viewing (three cheers for technology!). The whole video is a little more than seven minutes long. It does seem to freeze in places where the technician froze the screen to point something out. You can also see the meansurements being taken. According to the technician, the ultrasound shows that this baby is going to be a boy.

You can see quite a few parts clearly: head, ribs, spine, legs and arms. The moving part in the image is the heart. There is one part where you can see the face and one eye (but it looks kinda creepy to me). When Karla was talking me through it I could usually figure out what was there before she told me. I did get quite a bit of ultrasound practice in Kuwait at our monthly ultrasounds, but hopefully you'll be able to see the baby too.

The estimated due date did come in a week and a few days ahead of what Karla had expected, so we'll have to see what the doctor has to say about travel over the holidays. Karla still hasn't gotten in touch with Air Canada to find out exactly what their policy is either.

Here is the ultrasound of the new baby. (it's a 33 MB so it will take a while to transfer - probably much longer than the seven minutes it will take to watch - maybe you'd like to get yourself some popcorn and a cold drink, and dim the lights while you wait)

Watch the video

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Resting on the Weekend

Thursday, Karla saw the other OB/GYN that had been recommended to us. I couldn't make the appoint on account of it being right after school and me having gate duty at the end of the school day. This doctor did not have an ultrasound machine in her office. Based on Karla's dates, she estimated the due date between January 15th and 28th and said that if Karla's checked out before our return home, she would write a letter authorizing Karla to travel. We still need to contact Air Canada and find out exactly what they require in the letter from the doctor. Hopefully their requirements won't ask to the doctor to make any statements that she won't be willing to make. Karla has an ultrasound appointment on Monday for the new doctor, which may alter her estimate. Karla was impressed by the new doctor, who also agreed to allow me in the delivery room, as long as the delivery was proceeding routinely.

They are replacing the windows on the apartment next to ours. Yesterday they installed the new frames and windows and aare now doing a bit of finishing. it seems they have stuffed wads of newspaper in the gap between the top of the window frame and the brickwork of the building. The worker is just applying a layer of plaster over the newspaper to hide it from view. No wonder it took six months to get our AC fixed. It is a wonder that is it still working six months later (touch wood).

Aysha is doing her thing. She has added a few new words this week. She's started pointing our boats on the ocean, which she identifies as either agua (water) or mar (sea). She is also using in instead of up to communicte her desires. Sylvana, the neighbour's daughter who is a year older than Aysha, is much more willing to play with Aysha than she was before we came home for the summer. But now, Aysha is the one who doesn't want to share her toys. Claudina said that Sylvana told Aysha , "You would look prettier without that soother." I have started referring to the soother with derision: "soother? yuck!" in hopes that Aysha will catch on. I've also started taking it away from her in the day when I can. She is pretyy easily distracted and often immediately forgets she had it. It's all in preparation for "Operation Chupo."

Karla has been fighting a sore throat this week. She refused to stay home from school, but rested as much as she could at home. I ened up feeling like an overworked dad most nights. Hopefully this weekend, she'll take it easy and be in better shaoe for next week. She's napping right now. By the end of this post, she will have been sleeping for as long as she's been up today, which she needs right now.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Spanish is Coming Back and "Why We Fight"

Aysha had a good day today. She went swimming in the afternoon with Mom and then out to the park in the evening. We live about a 20 minute walk from a playground. There were two other teachers from the school with kids around Aysha’s age amidst the tens of kids running around. It was b-u-s-y. Parents just sat around and kids were on the loose. Aysha went over and grabbed a beach ball out of another stroller and when I tried to give it back the mom and grandma sent me to give it back to Aysha.

Aysha’s Spanish is coming back too. She has started beckoning us to follow her. Instead of walk over and grab a finger to have us do her bidding, she holds out her hand palm-up and motions to us with all her fingers. At the same time, she says “veng,” which is Spanish for “come.” Also, Karla was telling me about Gabriel (one of the kids at the playground), and how his mother was telling Karla that whenever something falls, he says the Spanish equivalent of “uh-oh.” Well, as soon as the word (which I can’t remember) was out of Karla’s mouth, Aysha said it too.

Her English is developing as well. She is pointing to the family members now and identifying us, “Dada, Mama, Aysha.” Facial features are another fun-to-identify set of words she uses.

Aysha is still carrying her baby around with her everywhere. When I was giving her a horsey-ride, she hopped down in the middle and plopped baby on me. “Mooooore.” After about three seconds of baby’s ride, it was Aysha’s turn again, but she did share a bit.

Here are a couple of Karla's photos of Aysha sporting one of Claudina’s many marvelous hair styles. Every day when we get home she has done something different with Aysha’s hair. Claudina says that Aysha just sits calmly while she puts them in, but Aysha just wiggles and squirms for us.

Last night we watched a very well made documentary called Why We Fight. It goes back to a speech Dwight Eisenhower gave as he left the presidency. In it he warned Americans to be weary of the power of the defense industry. The movie then goes on to examine how the defense industry has encouraged war to support its business. It’s nothing new about the current war, but it does give a slightly different interpretation. Wars are not fought for ideas or the necessity of having a wrong to right, but to maximize the benefit to the victors. Well worth your time.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Missing Piece

I noticed this week that there is an important piece of information missing from our blog. Karla is pregnant and we are expecting another baby in January. We didn't post it on the blog sooner to be able to tell people in person over the summer. Then by the time we got back to Colombia and started posting again, it was old news and never occurred to me to post here until now.

We saw the first of the two doctors that have been recommended to us. The first doctor did and ultrasound and gave the baby an clean bill of health. He thinks that the baby will be born around January 15th, but Karla isn't convinced. She is sticking to her prediction of the end of January. We get the second doctor's opinion on the 31st.

Last week we bought our tickets home for the Christmas vacation. The school has given us the last week of school-the exam period-off. We leave here the 10th of December and fly overnight to Calgary. We fly to Saskatoon on the 18th and then back to Cartagena on the 29th. As long as the second doctor's estimated due date is close to Karla's, our travel plans should be fine. If not, we may need to see a doctor in Canada before the return flight to get medical clearance. We are checking with the insurance agent about the possibility of delivering the baby in Canada. (as a backup plan only- grandparents, don't get your hopes up)

Karla and Aysha are having their morning nap. Karla had a girls' night last night and I went out with the boys for poker night. We' re all a little tired today. And Aysha's up again.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Sandal Queen

Aysha is the sandal queen. She has fallen in love with her sandals. Usually, before we leave for school in the morning, she finds them and brings them to someone for help putting them on. She wears them all day around the house and cries at night when we take them off her to go to bed.

It's Sunday morning: nap time for Mom and Aysha. Yesterday we went out to the islands with the school. It's the big integration activity. It involves drinking beer and sitting by or in the ocean. For anyone who came to Cartagena and braved the trip out to the islands with us, this trip reminded me why we took you. In August, when we first went out, the water is smooth and the boat roars out to the islands. It's an easy trip when the seas are calm. Unfortunately, in the winter when visitors are here, the seas get all excited and bumpy.

Aysha and Erin kayaking.

Alba and Julian's noodle battle.

We all had fun, but I am still sore from going tubing.

The latest chapter of Made in America has been describing some of the myth making around the creation of the US. Is was actually a problem filled process whose result instill few hopes of success. Aside from the key figures being drunks, womanizers, avoiders of baths, and all around failures, the founding fathers rarely agreed with one another. The Constitution was widely regarded as too full of compromises to be useful and it was only hoped it would last a few years until something better could replace it. When George Washington was sworn in as President, most of the members of the House and Senate didn't bother to show up. It was a month before enough members of the House arrived to establish quorum and more than that before the Senate could operate.

Now is it pure ignorance of history that lead the US to believe it could set up an effective government in Iraq? Or does the ignorance simple make people's expectations of what kind of government can be imposed hopelessly optimistic? I have been critical of the slow progress of the government forming in Iraq. Maybe it's actually going well. It would seem that the idea that no deal is better than a bad deal is not correct. Who's to say what a bad deal is.

Well, it's time to head down to the pool. Until the next nap...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Shaun of the Dead and Made in America

It's 9:30 here and Karla's been asleep for two hours. She and Aysha went down about the same time. Aysha is still off her bottle - three whole days now. When she asks for her tete (tay-tay - her bottle), we offer leche (lay-chay - milk) in a sippy cup. She is drinking less, but eating considerably more.

Karla has two appointments to see the doctor - one on the 31st to see the probable doctor, and another on the 22nd to see another recommended doctor. Those were the first times the doctors had available to see her. We have talked to the school, who are going to let us off a week early to come home. As soon as we know when Karla is officially due, then we can book tickets for Christmas and start to make plans. We'll keep you posted.

Since nights like tonight are becoming a regular occurrence, I have been left with time in the evening to occupy myself. I finished watching Shaun of the Dead tonight, a comedy about a slacker thirty something that tries to save himself and his friends from a zombie horde. The movie doesn't live up to its clever name, but it did have manage to slowly catch my interest. At the end of the first 45 minutes (when I took an overnight break), I wasn't excited about watching the second half. By the end of the film, as Shaun and his girlfriend rally for one more attempt to escape, I have to admit, I felt sorry for their poor, doomed, soon-to-be-eaten-by-zombie characters.

After I've soaked up a bit of culture, I've been reading Made in America, Bill Bryson's history of the American version of English. So far it hasn't been as good as the first couple chapters of his book The Mother Tongue, a history of the English language, which I managed to start this summer. So far the Puritans have just arrived and are busy getting rid of words like slobberchops (a messy eater) and simplifying other words by forming new words out of combinations of others. So chilblains was replaced by frostbite and counterpaine by bedspread.

Ten o'clock has rolled around and it's time for this little camper to hit the hay.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Cliche and a half

"22,524 posts matching long-time-no-blog"

I was going to start this with the title "Long time, no blog". However seeing as 22,524 people have already used my clever twist on an old saying, I won't.

We're back in Colombia and tomorrow we start our first full week back at school. We had students for three days last week.

Over the summer, we were too busy going to weddings, a folk festival, and visiting family to keep up with our blogging responsibilities. Here are a few photos of the summer:

Aysha and two of her great- grand- parents

Aysha at the park with Grandpa and Jenna

On a hike at Island Lake Lodge

At the playground

Frisbee time!

Canada Day fireworks over Fernie

Aysha and Auntie Lianne at the wedding.

A Germaine family photo

We had a difficult trip back to Colombia. Our 6am flight to Toronto (that we got up at 3:30 to catch) was cancelled. After an hour of exploring, the agent managed to find us an alternate route through Houston that would get us to Cartagena on time. Once in Houston, we had a couple hours to kill before the airline, Continental, hit us up for $40 each for airport taxes that we hadn't paid with our original ticket. In the end they let us go without paying the taxes. But we did get stuck in the very back row where the seats don't recline for the five hour flight.

When we got to Bogota, we arrived late and were immediately told that we would miss our connection - that last flight to Cartagena that day. When we got down to the Avianca desk, they told us that since it was a long weekend, all the flights were full until Sunday (2 days later).

Air Canada was our saviour, although a slow one. It took them more than two hours to work it all out, but they got us on a flight on Saturday and put us up in a hotel until then. It was 1am by the time we got to the hotel. Whew!

The day we had in Bogota was a blessing is disguise - although we missed a day of work when we could have begun getting our plans together, we were forced to take a day to do nothing and relax.

Friday we did make time to go up to Monserrate, a church perched on top of one of the mountains that surround Bogota. Here are a couple shots from there.

Karla and Aysha in the chapel

I had no idea they came in any other variety!

On Saturday, we did get back to Cartagena and had some time to unpack and settle in. Aysha was excited to be back home and ran around for the first day rediscovering all the stuff she had almost forgotten about.

Aysha saved her protest about having to sleep alone in her room until the night before the students arrived when she cried from 11:30 until 3:00. We did try the usual calming technique of going in and sitting beside her, but she just didn't want to be in her crib. In the end, we left her to cry. After a little while we heard the familiar rattle of chupo, her soother, falling on the floor. We got it for her a couple times. Then as soon as Karla got back into bed from another retrieval trip, we heard rattle and "“Uh-oh". The little devil had figured out a way that she could make us come in to see her. After that, it stayed on the floor. By morning, her pillow, baby and blanket had also made it to the floor.

The next night, the crying lasted about 30 minutes. It only lasted 5 minutes the night after that. Now she's slept through the night twice.

Aysha was happy to see her friends again. Claudina and her granddaughter, Maria Claudia, have been welcome visitors, as has Julian, the son of other teachers. Aysha hasn't been as warm towards the other teachers - I guess we know who's really important to little Miss Playtime.

Aysha went for a playdate tonight with Julian while I did a bit of treadmilling and found time to finish off this post. They're late getting back so I guess they are having fun over there.

There's lots more to say, but there's not enough time tonight to get it all down. There have been more visits to the website since we got back so I thought I had better put up something before you all give up.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Travelogue Warehouse

Your one stop shop for our travel experiences
Egypt during Pregnancy (November 2004)
Tuscany by Tandem Bike (June 2003)
Thailand (March 2003)
Cambodia (December 2003 to January 2004)
Sri Lanka (December 2002 to January 2003)

Friday, June 02, 2006

One More Week (not that we're counting)

In one week it will all be over and we'll be ready to come back to Canada. It, as always, is busy at the end of the year and blogging and photo posting gets put on the back burner.

It's Friday night and Karla is in the bedroom correcting tests, Aysha is sleeping and I am feeling confident enough in my ability to do all the things on my to do list to put up a post.

Aysha is letting us know what she wants (and doesn't want) more and more. Little crying fits and temper tantrum are becoming more freuqent, but she is still fairly easy to distract. She has discovered that piggy-backs from dad are an entertaining and efficient way to get around. If she can catch me crouched down, she pats me on the shoulder from behind and says "uh" (that means up). There are often tears when the piggy backs run out.

One morning this week we had been sitting together in the living room when I went in to get something (probably coffee) when she came into the kitchen. She pointed to her mouth, which is the I'm hungry sign. Then she pointed to the cupboard where we keep the cereal and made a little uh-uh-uhh sound. That is her version of her parents' Urh-ur-Urh-ur-Urhhhh sound, which is much more baby firendly than the more traditional Cock-a-doodle-doo variation.

So there Aysha is, pointing at the cupboard and crowing like a little rooster learning to welcome the day. What does she want? Eggs? Eggs don't come from roosters, they come from chickens. What she wants is corn flakes. Corn flakes come from roosters, or at least from boxes with roosters on them.

Karla is starting to feel a bit better, but is still coughing like a chain smoker. She says that she is starting to feel like she is overcoming the illness though. Aysha is fine.

I may get the bags out this weekend and begin to put a few things together.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Study Guide for Grandparents, Aunt and Uncles

Well, summer is almost here and it's time for all you you in Maple Leaf Land to start brushing up on some new communication skills you will be needing this summer.

An Introduction to Ayshaese
Aysha speaks in a combination of English and Spanish words, along with a few signs.

Agua (ah-wah)- usually, water, although it is also used for other liquids (coffee, juice and sometimes milk)

Aysha (Ay-yuh) - Aysha, after no, the words she hears second most frequently

Ball (ba) - ball

Banana (nana) - either means I want to eat a banana, there is a banana, or that is where we keep the bananas (which is often difficult to differnetiate from the first meaning)

Bath (ba) - Usually, I want to take a bath, sometimes, there is the bath.

Book (buh) - accompanied by the sign made by opening your hands like a book - means I want to read a book, or I want you to give me a book so I can play with it, or this kids' book is no fun anymore, give that big one that you've got.

Chupo (Tu-toe) - soother, this one she says two ways: normally when she is asking for her chupo, or called out when she is looking for it and wants it to come home like a little lost dog

Done (duh) - accompanied by the sign, made by swinging arms from the centre outwards (like a baseball umpire making a call of safe. This means I've had enough of this and possibly, I want something else. (see ja)

Eye (aye) - this means, "I'm going to poke you in the eye for fun and you're going to pretend that you like it."

Horse (no word) - sign is made by clicking tongue and bouncing hands as if they were holding the reins.

Hungry (no word) - she points to her mouth with one finger - later in the day, more can also mean hungry

Ja (ya) - Spanish for done, used interchangably with English, depending on mood.

More (Moe) - accompanied by the sign, pointing at the palm of one hand with the index finger of the other - usually means more to eat or drink, but can also be a request (ie. demand) to do something again.

(no) - no

Ow (ow) - that hurts - the sign should by to touch your two index fingers together, but she can only point with her right hand so far, so she ends up pointing at the palm (like more) for ow

Po-po (poe-poe) - poop, as in I have poop in my diaper - sometimes also used to describe wet diapers

Rana (nana) - frog, as in there is a frog - sometimes accompanied by the sign made by poking your tongue out and down

Shoes (soo) - these are shoes (Aysha likes shoes)

Sleeping (no word) - rests her head on a hand, used to say "I am sleepy"

Sucio (tu-toe) - dirty, mostly just repeated after mom, dad or Claudina

Tete (teh-tay) - bottle, as in, there is one, or more frequently, I want one

Uh-oh (uh-oh) - something fell

Up (uh) - it looks more fun up there

Vaca (dada) - cow

Wow-wow (wah-wah) - dog, can mean I see a dog (either in person or on television) or I hear a dog. Generalized to be any four legged animal.

and last but not least, Mama and Dada - definitions not necessary

Saturday, May 20, 2006

"Moderate Danger" is Sleeping

Aysha, aka "Moderate Danger," is down for her morning nap, and I must admit that I am tempted to join her. But Lianne has been awaiting a new post, so I will manage without. Lianne gave Aysha the middle name "Moderate Danger" last Christmas. The girl likes adventure, but only to a point. Now that she's walking, whenever we leave the apartment and step into the evevator, Aysha very carefully negotiates the small gap between the landing and the elevator floor. In fact, she holds onto the side of the elevator with both arms while very slowing stepping over the gap. That the gap is only about a centimeter wide doesn't matter - falling down it is a potential risk!

We haven't been doing much picture taking recently, but have instead been playing with the video camera. There is some footage from last weekend at Coco Lisa resort, and Jamie has been experimenting with time lapses (or film that is sped up). He first did a series of sunsets, and has been now working on a few other themes.

School is BUSY. We are down to the last three weeks, and the grading is piling up. I have a new set of essays to grade as well as a Social Studies test that I gave on Thursday. And there are final exams to write (and untimately grade), books to return to the library, classrooms to clean, remedial packages to put together (for those students who look like they are not going to make the year), and year end field trips to plan. Thank God we decided not to change apartments, so at least the only packing we'll be doing is for summer vacation!

My sense of being overwhelmed at work has been compounded by illness. Aysha was sick for four days this week, and shortly after I became sick too. I blame it on the two year old next door who plays with Aysha on a regular basis. Aysha had a low grade fever, coughing, and a runny nose. I've just had an incredibly sore throat which resulted in me losing my voice by the end of my last class yesterday. Today my throat still feels really raw, but my voice is slowly coming back.

Alright, I've run out of news to tell, and that nap is calling me. If Aysha continues sleeping long enough, I might even get to some of my grading!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Goodbye Sarah and Zavion

On Tuesday evening, Karla organized to have a few people over to say goodbye to Sarah and her son Zavion, who left Catagena on Wednesday. During the festivities, Kristina decided to do a little organizing of her own and talked her mom into giving Aysha and Julian a bath. Here are the photos of the event. Kristina and Copeland, her mom, are coming back today for a little recreational babysitting with Aysha.