Monday, November 29, 2010

Project 365, Weeks 47 & 48

We've been so busy I haven't even been able to keep up with e-mails. But I have a few minutes this morning and thought I'd try and quickly post photos from the last two weeks for Project 365.

There have been many extra blessings on this trip! These photos will reflect a number of them. First up is Ivan's dad who is 89, has alzheimers and is partially paralyzed after suffering two strokes but we've been thrilled with how alert he is at times and just enjoy these special times with him.
I went out to lunch with my daughter and sister-in-law one day.
These are my "stylists", my fashion gurus who I turn to before buying almost anything. They, along with my daughter-in-law, spent a day helping me find a dress for the wedding. Ivan had taken the camera to Michigan with him so I have no photos of that day, but it was SO MUCH FUN!

Tina's venue for the wedding is the lobby of a restored hotel in Winona Lake. It will be just perfect for the intimate, immediate-family-only wedding.
The hotel is now owned and operated by Grace College, Tina's alma mater.

Ivan really enjoys hanging out with this brother and spent one day working at his shop, helping fix a friend's vehicle.
At the bridal shower hosted by Kyle's aunts, Tina had plenty of help unwrapping the presents. Aren't these little girls just adorable?!
Kyle's mom and I are so excited about the upcoming nuptials. Can you tell from our broad smiles? :)
One day while I was in Ft. Wayne, Tina took her dad to lunch. Then they did a little mini historical tour around Grace College. Do you see Ivan's resemblance to his uncle?
Thanksgiving morning was really foggy...
...but it didn't stop the Indiana portion of the family from gathering at mom's. Ivan and Alan brought dad home from the nursing home for the afternoon.
Ivan's sister, Rita, has been putting together multiple photo albums documenting the history of the family. Here's a page with dad and mother, the ship they took to Argentina the first time, and Rita on deck.
We're really grateful for all the work she's put into this project!

After dinner Tina tried on her wedding dress and got feedback from the females in the family on whether to do a bustle or just hem it because she doesn't want the train (the bustle won hands down). We also weighed in on her jewelry selection.
This weekend we had the joy of attending another wedding. The groom's family has a tradition of doing the chicken dance at weddings. One of his cousins even has the entire outfit! I caught her getting ready in the ladies room beforehand.
There was lots of music and dancing which everyone enjoyed. Do you think Kyle and Tina are thinking about their own upcoming wedding day?
The groom is one of Ivan's best friends so we were so thrilled to be able to attend his wedding. Here he is with his lovely bride.
The group I used to quilt with continues to get together weekly and the group worked collectively on a quilt for the couple. Isn't it gorgeous?!

And that's it for now. Hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season and all the special times with friends and family!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our week in review

Hard to believe our first week is already over! We packed a lot into it though! Here's a list (in no particular order):
~ twice we've had dinner with Kyle and Tina (he's a really good cook!)
~ at the bridal shower for Tina along with Night of Blessing for Kyle we served butternut squash soup, three kinds of homemade bread, vegetable trays and an assortment of homemade cookies
~ annual Thanksgiving dinner at our home church -- first time in over two years that I had turkey!
~ went out for authentic Mexican food with friends -- SOOOOO good!
~ went to Red Lobster with other friends -- love those cheesy biscuits and the seafood was sublime
~ five of us ate a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting (Breyer's coffee fudge chunk)

Okay, I just realized everything on that list involved food. Hmmmm.

So let's talk about non-food related activities:
~ am very excited about the upholstery denim and lovely solid apple green fabrics I'd purchased online from Fabric Mart; they were here when we arrived and I am really looking forward to using them to make slipcovers for all my furniture. I knew the price was good, but I didn't realize how good until...
~ ...I had to get fabric for the border of the baby quilt I'm working on and was struck by STICKER SHOCK at the prices in the store! Oh my goodness. I think I need to go back to buying online.

Well, that pretty much sums up the non-food related stuff. Now back to food:
~ today I'm going out to lunch with my daughter and sister-in-law, to the restaurant where Tina worked while she was in college and I know I'm going to suffer a little DMD* because they have so many good things on the menu!
~ Friday we're making a hillbilly breakfast for Kyle
~ Saturday I'm making chocolate scones and fruit salad for us women, to fortify us for the day of shopping. Let's hope it doesn't take all day to find me an outfit for the wedding, because I'd like to look at other things too :)
~ We have two Thanksgiving dinners next week AND a wedding. Celebrate, Celebrate, Dance to the Music!

[I'm sorry, I have no idea where that came from; possibly lack of sleep. I'm still adjusting to the time change and keep waking up at 4 and 5 in the morning. Ugh. Nightly "power surges" as Linda calls them don't help either.]

Suffice it to say, we are eating well and eating often. I am working my way through the list of "foods to eat while in the U.S." and fully expect to cross every item off the list before our time is up. Because, obviously, it's ALL ABOUT THE FOOD.

*Decision-Making Disorder

Monday, November 15, 2010

Project 365, Week 46

I'm a day late this week with Project 365 because we've been super busy. It's been a whirlwind of travel, time with family, with our church, the first of two bridal showers for our daughter... but let me just tell you about our week through photos...

Last Monday Ivan spent a total of TWELVE HOURS finalizing the paperwork to buy the lot. It involved sitting at the bank for a good part of the day until the money we had wired down was finally put into our account. Then he had to make the rounds of several offices for various signatures. Here he is with the seller and the escribana who handled the legal stuff.
We made the 6 a.m. flight from Cordoba to Buenos Aires on Tuesday and, faced with an almost 15 hour layover, decided to find a hotel and get some rest. Ivan was able to get us a room at this cute little bed and breakfast about five minutes from the airport. I only slept for three hours and then I slipped out to this lovely courtyard and read for a while.
Tuesday night we boarded our flight to the U.S. and watched the lights of Buenos Aires disappear into the distance as we headed north.
This walkway at the airport in Chicago reminded me of a display of paint chips at a home improvement store :)
Our daughter and future son-in-law met us at the baggage carousel and when I started to unpack my winter coat Tina said not to bother. We walked outside and it was almost 70°! Which made the Starbucks frappuccinos that Kyle brought even more refreshing. I wrote all about our travels here.

Tina showed us her office and we watched a video project they were working on.
I was SOOOOO happy to see the autumn colors weren't all gone! Friday we went to Michigan so we could attend a small group meeting that our hosts were having that night. As we headed out of Winona Lake we snapped this photo; just look at all the lovely red and yellow...
Saturday morning Ivan got up early to go to the men's prayer breakfast. It was dark when they left but a short time later I glanced out the window and saw this gorgeous sunrise. I couldn't get a good photo from my room so I slipped on my robe and Reboks and snuck outside to take a picture.
Later that day we were all busy preparing for the festivities on Sunday. We had a combined bridal shower for Tina and Night of Blessing for Kyle. The Night of Blessing is a tradition the men in our church have for the groom. Wally, who's chopping zucchini in this photo, explains it on his blog, The Daysman.
We are blessed by an amazing church family, and I'm particularly grateful for the women who have been an important part of Tina's life as well as mine. Wally took this photo while we were setting up for the party.
I almost shared a picture from our one little mini disaster :) I ground the coffee beans into a powder and then put too much in and it clogged up the pot, causing it to overflow all over the counter and sending the five of us in to action!

Wally asked Kyle and Tina to stand on the stairs so everyone could see them, and share the story of how they met and got engaged. Even though I'd heard the story before, it was fun to hear it again and to share in their joy.
After we ate the men headed upstairs and the women gathered in the living room. Woman after woman stood to encourage and bless Tina.  Some were serious, some were funny, and we laughed and cried and had such a special time.

Because of the combined event, we knew there wouldn't be time for her to open all her gifts, but Katie thought it would be fun for Tina to open the one I had made her so the ladies could see it too. Here's Tina looking at the dedication page of the cookbook I made on She loved it!
I got the idea while (finally) getting my Project 365 from last year ready to send to I happened to notice they have recipe page layouts and had one of those "Ah ha!" moments :) That's the secret project I mentioned a few weeks ago. It ended up taking about 50-60 hours but it was SO worth it to see the smile on my daughter's face :)

We're pretty busy right now but things will slow down a little in December (we hope) as we finish gearing up for the wedding. It has been so much fun to see as many friends as we have in just our first week. Can't see everyone this trip, but we're going to see as many as we can!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Reflections on Traveling

~ Why do they tell you to be there two hours before your flight if they're not going to open the check-in counter until one hour before?

~ Does it seem to you that not only are they putting fewer pretzels in the snack packs you get on short flights, but the pretzels are also shrinking? Pretty soon they'll be pretzel dots the size of pencil erasers.

~ I have a theory about why airport security seemed on hyper alert Tuesday, November 9th, in Buenos Aires. In Latin America you write November 11 as 9-11. Hmmmm. [That theory is probably due to the fact I slept NOT AT ALL the night before.] We were moved from one seating area after an unattended backpack was discovered in a nearby restaurant. Later we were asked about a bag under our seats -- not ours -- and then asked to move while they checked it out (empty).

~ I'm past the age of being able to go, go, go. After we learned our 4 p.m. flight had been canceled and we'd be on the 6 a.m. flight instead, we thought "How fun to have a day in the city!" but the reality was we were too exhausted after a sleepless night. So there we found ourselves, in Buenos Aires with 14 hours to kill and to tired to do ANYTHING AT ALL.

~ My husband is my hero once again because he wouldn't give up until he found a hotel near the airport that (1) had an available room and (2) provided transport to and fro so we could (3) REST while we waited for our evening flight. It was a lovely little B&B with only 7 rooms but great service and an inner courtyard bursting with colorful foliage and a pool (photos to follow on Project 365 this weekend). I only slept about three hours but then I spent a couple of relaxing hours reading in the courtyard.

~ Airport security was odd in Bs. As. We didn't have to take our shoes off but, instead of one checkpoint, we had three along the way. The final was the wand and/or pat-down as we were boarding the flight. Ivan got the wand, I got the pat-down.

~ Either airline food has vastly improved or I've been flying the wrong ones. United's dinner was excellent. Enjoyed the cute movie too (Ramona and Beezus) although I wasn't able to stay awake through all of it. I caught the first half hour of the first showing and the last half hour of the final showing [not sure how many times it ran during the ten hour flight].

~ Thirty hours after we left our house, we arrived in Chicago. It was almost 70°! On November 10th! Can you imagine? We thought we'd be freezing and I was all ready with my winter coat and gloves, but we even ended up taking off our sweaters.

~ Tina and Kyle were right there to pick us up. And our future son-in-law had even stocked up on our favorite Starbucks frappuccinos for the drive back to Indiana. He knows the way to our hearts is through our taste buds! That evening he made an amazing dinner -- it was like being in a fancy restaurant. YUM!

~ We didn't think we'd get to see our son until Sunday because of schedules but he was working in Indiana Wednesday so we stopped and had lunch with him!!! Made this mama's heart very happy :)

~ I could write more. Lots more. But what I've written sums up our travels over Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll be back in a day or two with more thoughts on re-entry after two years overseas. Just want to say how thankful I am for the way God has provided through people we love -- and who love us! Grateful doesn't begin to describe the way we feel. We need a bigger, more encompassing word.

~ That's all for now.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Project 365, Week 45

Crazy doesn't even begin to describe this past month. Once we knew we could go to the U.S. for our daughter's wedding -- and that we'd be leaving in November -- things really kicked into high gear. We had to button up all the projects we'd started in Sta. Rosa and get it ready for the folks who'll be using it the next few months (summer break is coming up -- vacation time!) as well as wrap up things here at home. Which means I've been on a cleaning/organizing frenzy -- here and there.

On top of everything else, we've been trying to finalize the purchase of the lot. You remember the lot with the tiny casita? We found it the end of June and I mentioned it for the first time on this blog in early July. The lot we've been trying to buy FOR OVER FOUR MONTHS?

The first six weeks was spent thoroughly checking into the matter, because the lot owner is not the deed holder and there are also a lot of taxes due... and ever since we've been trying to get the money here. Some day I'll write a longer post about the whole Ordeal (yes, I meant to capitalize Ordeal) but suffice it to say, our hair is significantly grayer than when we started this process.

Anyway... it looks like it might actually happen! Not holding our breath, because we've been told multiples times that there was "just one more thing" we needed to do... but as of late Friday afternoon, according to the guy at the bank headquarters in Buenos Aires, Ivan just has to fill out some final papers Monday morning and they'll let us keep the money here that we had wire transferred last week.

This literally consumed our week. I hate to even think about all the man hours Ivan has put into this over the past four months -- if we had a nickel for every hour, we'd probably be able to go ahead and build that house right away :)

All this to say, I haven't done the best job at taking a-photo-a-day. Yet I still have eight photos to share this week, because I feel compelled to show you several pictures of my yard. IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY. I do adore spring!

But first up is a shot of our guest room because I realized I had never shared how well the little blue nightstand goes in there.
This room is so small there was no way I could get a full shot of the room. We can literally fit nothing else in here besides the bed and nightstand and no matter where I stood in the room, I couldn't get more than this (I even tried standing on a chair in the doorway).

We spent a few days in Sta. Rosa this week on last minute projects. Which had to get sandwiched between all the phone calls to the bank and time spent running into town to a cafe with wifi so we could send e-mails to the bank. *sigh* But I had to snap a photo of the grape arbor; we're going to come back to a TON of grapes! I wish I could get my hands on some canning jars so I could make jelly!
We did manage one quick walk down to the river, where we saw this huge tree trunk washed up on the side of the vado:
Ivan wanted to install a new ceiling fan/light fixture in the dining room because the old one had broken. The light worked but the fan didn't any more. The job was a head scratcher as he could not figure out how they'd done the wiring (which was concealed in a beam in the ceiling) so he ended up working around it and making a trip (or three) to his favorite ferreteria (hardware store).
I think he feels about this place like I do a fabric store :)

As we were leaving Sta. Rosa on Wednesday, we got a call that the bank required yet another document. It was one we needed to get from the U.S. so we stopped at our favorite tea shop on the way; normally it has wifi but the system was down that afternoon. We stayed long enough to get a little something to drink. Ivan quite enjoyed his fresh manzana menta smoothie (mint apple).
It was pretty hot that day and he found it quite refreshing. I loved the color.

Ivan planted squash in the front yard, under the azalea bush. It is going CRAZY! I think it might overtake the geranium plant in size soon. Look at how huge it is!
And it's loaded with blossoms so we should come home to a nice crop of squash.
Here's one of the honeysuckle climbers. It's right by our front door and the smell is wonderful. We have another climber on the fence.

Next week I'll be posting from the U.S.! And I'm sure I'll be late because next Sunday some dear friends are hosting a bridal shower for Tina and a time of blessing for Kyle. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!

The airline we're flying domestically here in Argentina had a pilots strike on Thursday. Hopefully they won't decide to have another on Tuesday! Also, for the whole month of November they've closed the airport in Buenos Aires that we'd normally fly into from Cordoba... but it actually works better for us because now we'll fly into the airport we also fly out of to the U.S.! WOOT! No need to haul our luggage across town from one airport to the other. 

I haven't had much time on the computer lately, and that's about to become even less as we'll want to spend every moment we can with friends and family. What do you want to bet that the next six weeks are going to FLY by?!