Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Wandering Boys

So, normally on the blog we talk about what we're up to, and we occasionally mix in some pictures of the boys or something, but I thought today we'd show you what they've been up to lately.  Mostly because that's all we seem to have pictures of this month, since the lovely Bobbie and I have pretty much been doing straight language study and not much else.

Anyway, it's been a while since we posted, so here's a shot of our New Year's Eve.  We kept it pretty simple, stayed in and just watched the fireworks (the boys loved that; they would NOT go to sleep!).  We did get together with our neighbors from across the hall, who came over to say goodbye to the old year with us.  Not much of a party, and they didn't stay long, but we hung out and chatted for a bit before they left to ring in the new year in their own apartment.

Earlier that night we let the boys light off a sparkler.  Well, I should say "boy," because Matthew was having nothing to do with letting something burn in his hand.  He's too bright to think that's anything but a bad idea!

For Christmas we got a sushi kit, and Steven is a budding chef.  Thus, it was only natural that he would want to help out whenever we make sushi.  Here he's laying out the raw fishy bits for the roll.  The odd thing is that the boys don't really like sushi, but they love making it.  So do we, actually, as it's one of the only 'ethnic' foods that we can get the ingredients for here.

Matthew showing off the muscles that he gets every time he takes a bite of broccoli.  We've managed to teach the boys that eating green food makes them "strong," and they think it takes an instant effect and have to show us their bulging muscles every time they take a bite of vegetable.

On the other side of the healthy/non-healthy spectrum, we had a taffy pull.  It was mostly a test, to see if we could do it with some of our friends sometime, but the boys loved it.  Matthew gave up after a few pulls, so we had to help him out some, but Steven did really well.  We let them choose which color and flavor they would put into their taffy, which was a big hit.  Steven's was red and vanilla; Matthew went for blue and mint.

Grandpa and Grandma in the States sent us some money for Steven's birthday a few months back, and we saved it until a really cold day.  On Saturday we took the boys out to the indoor pay-per-play playground, which has an area like a McDonald's playplace that kids can play in.  They had a fun half-hour running around (during which we forgot to take out the camera), and then we went out for pizza.

Seriously, Daddy, it was fun, but please put the camera away now.  I've had enough pizza and now I'm tired:

In other big news, the other set of grandparents sent a hammock, all the way from Bolivia!  It's like a slice of home, right in our living room.  The boys LOVE it, of course, and so do I.  I like to pull out the e-reader I got for Christmas and just lay in it, reading.  Could anything be better than unlimited books and a hammock?  If only I had unlimited time ...

The hammock has actually been quite a novelty for the folks here.  Our upstairs neighbors came down for a visit the other day and couldn't get enough of it!

It was quite tricky to figure out a way to hang a hammock in concrete walls, but I had a handyman here putting in a new lock in our metal door, and I asked him what he thought.  He disagreed with my idea of a brace drilled through the wall, which I admit was overly complicated, and came up with a solution I never would have thought of (but which is totally brilliant).

He thought for a minute, said, "We need a metal plate that we can drill in," and left.  He came back with two of these, which are spare parts for a car (it goes somewhere underneath where the leaf springs and suspension hook into the axle, I think).  It already had two holes, we drilled two more, and voila!  A hammock hook hung with 4 anchored bolts, size 20cm by 10mm.  Holds me and the boys, swinging.  Pure genius.

And that's about it for the Wandering Boys.  Next time, a post about ... I don't know.  Whatever happens between now and when I leave for Thailand in a couple of weeks, I guess.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Shaken Up!

 Most of you probably don't know, but, on December 27th  around 11:00pm as the boys slept and we were getting ready for bed, we had a pretty serious earthquake here (6.6 on the Richter scale).

Is started with a loud rumbling outside (sounded like a semi truck right outside our window) and then, all of the sudden the apartment started shaking, and then rocking back and forth.  We ran into the boys room, grabbed them in their blankets, threw on our coats, and ran down 8 floors to outside where we joined other people who had the same idea.  

The rumbling had stopped by the time we got outside but we didn't want to go back in since we weren't sure it was over.  After about 40 minutes outside, Jesse and I decided it was OK to go back in (the fact that is was -30 and we didn't have our regular clothes on and the boys only had the blankets around them helped in making that decision).  

There have been several strong aftershocks ranging from 4-5 on the Richter scale. Once we went back inside, we got our things and spent the first night at our office since it's in a 4-story brick building versus our apartment building which is 9 stories and made of concrete.  As you can imagine the buildings here are not built for such things, since an earthquake that strong has never happened here before.

We are all OK, if a little shaken up (hehehe).  Several teams have been going around to check buildings for damage.  I read somewhere that they found 31 buildings with enough damage to evacuate.  I'm not sure how true that is so I can't confirm or deny it.  Our building is fine and there are only 2 minor cracks in our apartment (not serious).
But, we survived and we didn't lose anything.  The aftershocks have stopped for the most part and life is back on track.  Thank you for those who knew about this already and thought for us.