Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Expat Holidays

We had a Christmas party this past weekend. Sasha had the brilliant idea of sharing the hosting duties with two other neighboring households, sort of a progressive dinner type of deal. We got the opening spot which meant that Ivan was in bed by 9 and Sasha had the house cleaned up before midnight. Awesome.

Never this many people in our pad.

Even better, of course, was that everyone had a great time. We served some appetizers and drinks, including a Mexican version of hot cider and Sasha's seasonal Swedish meatballs. We had lots of folks come through the house and we are officially feeling very Christmas-y around here.

Yule-in' it up

As usual, Ivan worked the room much more successfully than his parents. He really took to our friend Alla's mom who is visiting from Moldova.I daresay she liked him as well! There seems to be an international language of grandmas...

Ivan's dancing impressed the ladies and as the evening went on and he got sleepier, he started to really cut loose. Lucky Laura was entertained as he did his whirling dervish routine.

Now Ivan isn't the only baby on the block and he had to share the limelight with little William, who has the most appealing laidback attitude and is adorable to boot. This kid is a total angel and was a perfect party guest!

Speaking of angels, LouLou was banished from our party because she gets a little devilish around buffets. Earlier in the day while we were cooking and generally running around like maniacs, she had helped herself to several gulps of raw ground beef. So gross. Shame she was grounded as her best friends, Jeff and Meredith, came by the place and Jeff was even wearing his festive puppy-dog pants!

The party moved on next door to the Skarstens for the real holiday fixings including a sugary-delicious ham and real-deal eggnog, and later things carried on a little further down the corridor at Miss Gallagher's for the late-night crowd.

Least likely party hosts ever aka Dessert, Main Dish, and Appetizer.

Sasha's got one more party to throw this week when she cohosts a neighborhood baby shower for our favorite Angelenos, The Catheys. And the parties will only continue as we welcome Grandma Kathe and Uncle Sam next week for Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cough wheeze

This past week has been a bit of a doozy. Sasha and Sergio, especially Sergio, have been sick --- Mexico City's air quality seems to have reached some new lows this holiday season keeping everyone sneezing and wheezing. People even wear surgical masks around town on days like this:

That's not sunlight.

Pretty grim. But Ivan has been trying to keep us lighthearted by telling us jokes...

Okay, so this duck walks into a bar...

...wait wait wait, did I say duck? I meant a gorilla...


He's a regular Don Rickles. In general, Ivan is pretty full of himself these days.

He sits like a champ and he thinks he's started crawling. In reality, though, he doesn't really crawl, it is more of a scoot. And he only scoots in one direction - backward. Nothing makes him happier than mugging in the mirror and he has started screaming in outrage when you take away one of his toys, or worse, don't leap to retrieve one he has tossed from his high chair. Oh, and he drives like a real chilango. He has one of those little driving dashboard toys and he is constantly laying on the horn and generally demonstrating a proclivity toward aggressive recklessness...

Out of the way!

Speaking of driving, we did get a chance to get out of our dirty old town when we headed out to the countryside to get our Christmas tree last weekend. Our neighbors caravaned out there with us, sadly it turned out to be a never-ending journey with the 30 mile trip taking three hours on the way home. Really. We have decided we are never going anywhere in our car ever again.

Luckily, we did find a tree and that was pretty fun. Also fun: Father and Son pretended to be Elmer Fudd.

Wabbit season!

Duck season!

And our son the arborist continued his ongoing research. You cannot tear this guy away from anything with leaves.

We brought home this little fir.

And it will make its debut at a Christmas party we are hosting this Saturday night.

The other big story this week was the introduction of another diner to our household. On Ivan's 1/2 year birthday, we gave him his first taste of food. The kid quickly put to rest any doubts that he wasn't ready for solid food by basically attacking the bowl and snatching the spoon out of Sasha's hands and trying to stuff the whole thing in his mouth. We're kind of blown away by how quickly Ivan's growing up. Next thing we know he's going to be taking us out for a steak dinner and announcing his engagement.

Tears of joy/insanity

Finally, Sasha is very close to becoming one of those infamous government contractors. She got a job offer this week and once the miles of paperwork is completed she hopes to be gainfully employed while still spending most of her time hanging out at home with Ivan and LouLou. Hooray for the privatization of public services! What will she be doing exactly? Good question, but one hint is that her paperwork is coded: DETECTIVE/ARMORED CAR.