Monday, October 31, 2011

Digging Deep

October has proven to be a whirlwind of unique challenges that have forced me to dig deep.  Life does that, doesn’t it? – it makes us dig deep.  We find out what we’re made of when it matters most.  When times get tough, our true character comes out and teaches us who we really are.  A church leader of mine use to always say, “Life isn’t for sissies.”  Yeah, I believe it.

The flu found us.  Strep throat found us.  And the ashes from the volcano eruption in Chile last year found us (giving me a nasty nasty respiratory infection).  I’ve been to the doctor a few times which has been an experience in & of itself.  Think sea green.  Think ripped foam chairs.  Think a waiting room about 12’ X 15’ full of 20 people.  Think 1960s.  Wild.  (I’m on medicine that tastes like…I don’t know what it tastes like, but I can assure you, it’s very very gross).

We learned how to live without electricity for over a week.  Line drying is doable, but very time consuming.  

Never fear I say.  We Wolfley’s will make a come back, & it’s gonna’ be huge.  In the meantime, here’s my happy helper & our favorite dish as of lately, empanadas (homemade and all) ;).

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Flamenco Musica Dance Team

Las Chiquitas - Mother’s Day Performance

Flamenco Musica is a local Dance Team here in Venado Tuerto, & AnnMarie is officially a proud member! Carlie desperately wants to join, but she’s a little too young ;)!  The team consists of 5 groups – las chiquitas (ages 4-6), las intermedias (ages 6-11), & las avanzadas (ages 12-18).  The other 2 groups consist of adult women (a beginning group & a professional group which is outstanding).  

Even though Flamenco Musica has about a month left of rehearsals, their end of year performance was on Mother’s Day last weekend.  Since AnnMarie has only been a member for a few weeks, she was obviously not prepared to participate, but the director invited her to ‘be presented as a new member’ at the end of the program. 

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The event was held in a fairly big auditorium, & I was amazed at the turn-out (there were people standing in the aisles)!  This community really supports their dancers!

More than half of the dances were performed to live music.  It was so awesome.

Las Intermedias – Mother’s Day Performance

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The culture here is a late late culture - everything happens at night, very…late…at night.  The program started at 8:30 & ended at close to midnight.  (Our branch party served dinner last Friday night at 11 PM, no joke.  Our girls were nearly sleeping on their plates.  Wish I had a picture).  Instead, here is a picture of AnnMarie with her instructor, Isabella…at midnight.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mommy Memo No. 5

It’s Mother’s Day in Argentina, so…Happy Mother’s Day!!

My sister-in-law sent me this picture.  ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ in junction with this photo made me laugh…(and almost cry for whoever that poor mother was).

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AND my Mom wrote a fantastic Mommy Memo.  No phone service makes for some great e-mails.

Practice Makes Polite

I think children learn primarily by example.  I once read that “You can't be rude to your kids and then expect them to be polite to other people."  Very true.

As a young mom,  I felt overwhelmed with the task of trying to teach my kids how to be polite!  Whether it was receiving gifts, eating at the table, talking on the phone, meeting new people, or just thinking of others, I decided that PRACTICE MAKES POLITE! 

Our kitchen table was a great place to learn.  We tried to have fun practicing – putting the napkin where it went, using the right utensils, and saying “please pass,” rather than reaching…or throwing.  Mealtime can bring out some atrocious manners, and most times, I felt like I spent the entire meal correcting.
BUT the more we practiced together, the better each meal became.  (Yet another reason why I believe eating together as a family is so important)! 

Children will learn how to treat others by the way you treat them.  For example, I have always believed that correcting a child in front of others embarrasses you and them…& ultimately, does more harm than good.  I always had a better experience when I corrected in private.  If my children were acting rude, I saved the relationship when I chose to lead them away and quietly and briefly correct them with a reassuring tone.  On that same token, we always tried to make sure that they received praise and appreciation when good manners were used. 

I remember a time when our son Kyle received a ride home from a birthday party.  When he walked into the house, I asked him, "Did you tell his mom thanks for the ride home?"  He said, "No, I forgot."  This was a great teaching opportunity.  We looked up her phone number together, dialed it, & told her thanks for the ride home!  Simple as that.

My husband and I decided early on in our marriage that when our children were young, we would make good manners a priority & basically, not tolerate bad manners. Think about it: Your child doesn't run into the freeway, play with steak knives, or stick Play-Dough in your VCR because you've made it clear that these behaviors won't be tolerated!  In the same way, you must decide that bad manners won't be permitted either.  It was a big deal for us to teach our children the importance of thinking of others through good manners.  (Some of our Family Home Evening Nights were spent writing thank you notes).  An education in courtesy must begin in the home.  Practice really does make polite.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Buenos Aires At Night

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Last weekend we went to Buenos Aires for 2 days which was about a 4 hour drive from where we live.  Being on the road here scares me…just a little.  When people find out that I am from the United States, one of the first things they say is, “I hear the streets are amazing there.  You push a button to cross the street, & the traffic stops for you,” to which I respond by saying, “Yes, it’s true.  Now you know why I am scared.”

We arrived in Buenos Aires very late last Thursday night.  It was definitely a last minute trip.  We had to go to a government office building on Friday morning to receive our national identification cards.  Simply imagine DMV times 1,000.

We had some great views from our hotel room.

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It was so hard to wake these two up.

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Friday morning came with A LOT of rain.  We drove to the church office building there in the city, & once again, I was inspired by the church’s organization & efficiency in helping us that day.  The 4 of us crunched into the back seat of a little car & drove through a massive city (3 million people massive)… in pouring rain.

If we ever find ourselves at that same hotel in Buenos Aires again, Jared & I vowed to participate in their 7 PM Tango LessonsOoh-la-la.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Met My Neighbor

 

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We had a power outage over the weekend.

(Power outages in general always make for interesting stories, right?)

We live on the 2nd floor of a 15-story apartment building.  The day after our water heater got fixed, (hooray for hot water!)…our power shut down, and since it was a holiday weekend (Columbus Day is big around here, who knew?) we knew we’d be very lucky to find any help. 

Well, to make a long story short, we did find help, & in the process, Jared met our neighbor, Walter Hermann, former NBA player.  So cool!  I ran into him the week before a few times which is bizarre in & of itself.  We knew he lived in our building, but we didn’t realize that he lived directly below us.  That’s right, he hears everything we do…everything.  (He told Jared that he knew we lived above him.  I’m not sure how to interpret that.  Are we Americans a novelty, too?!  Wait, we’re probably just really loud & annoying.  Carlie has a scream that’ll knock your socks off – or make you go deaf, one of the two).  Him & his wife have two little girls the same ages as ours, so is a play-date in order?  I’m trying to figure out how to initiate something like that without coming across like I’m stalking him.  The fact that I posted his picture on my blog might be stalking already though…

He is a huge celebrity here in Argentina which makes things a little interesting every now & then.  Our reserved parking spot (where lies our light blue minivan), is right next to his smoking black jaguar.  My only hope is that I won’t dent it.  Oh, that would be very very bad.  (Good thing we have sliding doors).

Our power is not completely fixed.  In fact, it’s gone out 3 times in the course of doing this post.  So be it.  I just hope to experience another hot shower soon.  I’ll trade our dining room light, bedroom light, & freezer for hot water, I think.  Candle light dinner anyone?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Change In View

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I use to think I did a lot of dishes, but now, I definitely do A LOT of dishes.  The view outside my kitchen window is much different than it use to be.

No worries.

You may think that not having a dishwasher would be a bad thing, BUT it’s not I tell you!  Yes, it kind of stinks having to wash…& rinse…& dry every single dish by hand, but lots of dishwashing makes for lots of thinking.

Living in South America certainly has it’s challenges, but so does living in North America, or living anywhere in the world for that matter.  I’ve come to realize that no matter where one might live, for a self-directed individual, life changes constantly.  People change, circumstances change, needs, options, stressors – they all change.  Our view outside the kitchen window may change.  But the wonderful thing is, we can make all these changes work for us, not against us.  We choose how we will react to change.  Yep, we choose for ourselves.  Will I gripe or will I grin?  Hmmm…I think the latter is much more pleasant for myself & more importantly, for others.

So…in the meantime, I guess I’ll just get up and dance for a group of 40 Argentines.

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AnnMarie’s school had an EXPO last Friday.  All family members of students were invited to attend school for the day.  During music time, AnnMarie volunteered herself & I to show everyone how to dance.  I could have died, seriously, but instead, I grinned & just laughed right along with everyone else.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

A Park To Ourselves

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Last weekend, we drove about 40 miles to Camp Kilgrumen which is roughly a 20-acre site for all church youth camps (including treks) this side of Argentina.  It was beautiful, very interesting, & a little spooky being out there all by ourselves, but we did see a diverse species of trees & birds which was fascinating.  Jared encouraged me to become a Dendrochronologist  (A what?  Sorry honey, but after looking it up, I decided that being a mother is definitely a better fit). 

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In the summertime (which is coming up), full-time senior missionaries live in this house with purple trees.  (AnnMarie’s favorite color is purple, so she was loving this).

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Where did my children go?

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Found them.

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Are feather bouquets safe?  I’m scared.

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The girls asked if we could please please stop at McDonald’s on the way back home.  Now THAT gave us a good laugh.