Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meet me in Kissimee


A first for the family: Daddy's first trip away without wife and child. Joining his friends for an annual tradition going back to 2008, Sergio met up with his Houston friends to watch Astros spring training games in central Florida. Leaving Sasha with Ivan and a copy of the Sex and the City Movie (really sucked -sasha), Sergio hopped a plane to Orlando for four days of fun, sun, beer, brats, and baseball.

The first game was actually a non-Astros affair, but it did still have some home team appeal:


While Sasha isn't exactly a baseball fan, Michiganders do stick together, especially nowadays. The Tigers didn't win this one but their park is beautiful, their fans devoted (especially against the local bandwagon team the Rays), and for good measure they even serve Kalamazoo's Bell's Beer, which some of you might remember from our wedding. This was certainly a good start.

Next was our first Astros game. Having done this before, Sergio's friends had developed a good system: buy a cheap Weber grill, tailgate and eat some brats before the game starts, drink cheap light beer, and hang out. If there's time, buy a ticket and enter the game for a few innings.

6 dudes in a minivan = HOT...

It's the "wee bit o' garlic" that makes it Irish. (Huh?)

Astros taking on the champs, Roy-O set to pitch.

Success! (in sneaking beer into the park).

SCOREBOARD!

Saturday had us taking a longer trip out to Melbourne, FL where the Washington Nationals train to see the Astros "on the road." This was a nice new park, with a NASA-theme because of the close proximity of Cape Canaveral. But it was still enemy territory.

Only Astros fans understand the greatness of #7.

The broad shoulders of "El Caballo" are key to our coming season.

Anson is not standing in front of a screen, I swear.


Lots of time for this before and after the games.

Alas the 'Stros fell short in this one but we did witness a very cool thing. Around the sixth inning we heard a peal of thunder in the distance which made sense because it had been cloudy all day and looked like rain. But strangely, most of the crowd started applauding. Then the announcer came on the PA system and said "Welcome back, Space Shuttle Discovery!" Apparently it makes a sonic boom when it re-enters our atmosphere but even more remarkable, all the locals seem to recognize it upon hearing it.


And it ain't Florida if you don't see any gators:

By the way, Florida is really weird.

Sunday Sergio had to fly back to Mexico so had to leave the fellas early as they headed to one last game (vs the Blue Jays, Astros won 3-2). It was great to see them and they repped Houston one last time to remember them by.

10 am at the Waffle House...

After one long day of travel Sergio made it back for Sunday night dinner with the crew. There were gifts for all: peanut butter and magazines for Sasha (of course), a new chew toy for LouLou and for the Lil Dude, well, what else?


He seems to like it, no?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Madame Secretary

One of the many perks of this thing of ours is that you occasionally get to rub elbows with your overbosses, who also happen to be some of the most famous and powerful people of the world. We all know there's been some changes up top recently so now when they say "the Secretary" is in town it takes on a whole new rock-star aura. So today we got a chance to introduce Ivan to a living legend:

Mrs. Clinton, Ivan, and various other kids.

And she definitely noticed the Lil Dude.

Yup, he's a head-turner.

One interesting thing: up close, HRC looks a LOT like Sergio's mother. You be the judge:



Okay maybe you had to be there. But we both thought so, independently of each other. We swear.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Video-dude!

So it occurred to us that many of you have never actually witnessed Ivan's many recently-acquired skills in live action. So here's a video clip of Ivan's greatest hits, including crawling, clapping, mouth-breathing, and hanging out around the garbage can. And it includes footage of his duckling-like hair floating in the breeze, for good measure.

Enjoy!

video

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Plaza G


A little late this time but we had a busy week. We've both been battling various maladies, and we both did something we said we never would.

But first, the mariachis.



Plaza Garibaldi is an open square on the north side of the Centro where every night dozens of musicians gather to be hired by revelers to play songs on the spot. It's actually one of DF's most famous tourist sites but we've yet to make it down because the instructions for going there usually start with: 1) it's kind of a "rough" neighborhood and 2) it doesn't really get started until 'round midnight. That wasn't really our speed, even before we had the Lil Dude. But our days here are starting to be numbered, so when our friends/neighbors John and Julie invited a group down to celebrate John's birthday, Sergio decided to represent for the Morenos.

The whole thing has an ad hoc, Bourbon Street vibe. It's a bit unclear what you're supposed to do at first, until it becomes plainly obvious:


1) Buy beer to drink out of a styrofoam cup,


2) Pay someone to play a song,


3) Listen, drink, repeat.

The trick is to not pay too much and to hope your troubadours can actually sing/play (it's in no way guaranteed). But all-in-all, a fun way to spend a few pesos and hang out with friends.

[Insert Brokeback Mountain joke here.]

The left hand swings in the back, see...

You fellas all set here? Need me to jump in?

And for good measure, there are carnival games.

As for trying new things, we finally succumbed to pleas and pressure from friends and family alike and joined Facebook. It fits with our pattern of adopting new technology shortly before its obsolescence. Before you know it we'll be listening to some of this "digital music" on the Internets that all the kids seem to talk about.

And to move on to something else quickly, we give you the Lil Dude:

Yeah I'm using this to stand up, what of it?

And sometimes I sit with LouLou. Got it?

And now I'm standing by myself. Or maybe leaning on the wall. Ya know, whatevs.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ladies' Island


We are last-minute jet-setters these days.

Old ladies everywhere demand to hold him.

We hopped a shuttle bus to Toluca Airport on Thursday morning and found ourselves on a Caribbean island that afternoon. Nice. Our beach getaway was a hit all around: Ivan got his first taste of sun and surf, Sergio was in seafood heaven and Sasha was just happy to read, read, read. Hooray for beach vacations!

What is this strange, sandy place?

We flew to Cancun and took a short ferry ride to Isla Mujeres, a kick-back little island that had a Key West type of vibe.

Our ride.


There wasn't much to do there other than go deep-sea fishing, snorkel, eat seafood, drink or, of course, suntan. We saw some serious suntans.

Those legs belong to a caucasian.
Sasha wants this to be us some day.

Most of the visitors were Americans, with lots of Midwesterners and Southerners which made for a very friendly atmosphere.

Well, there were clearly some French people too.

Our hotel was right on Playa Norte and it was a really short walk to town. Convenience galore.

View from our room.

CARNAVAL!

Everywhere in Mexico seems to like b-ball except DF. Why? WHY NOT?!

Our boy likes elevators.

With our little adventurer in tow, we mostly worked on staying out of the sun. And no fishing took place though we did our best to consume as much of the ocean's bounty as possible.

Mmm, coctel de camarones...

Grilled octopus tentacle. Tastes about how it looks.

Ice cream in a cemetery? Why not?

We did plenty of hanging out, reading and relaxing.

Fun with cup.

Fun with magazine card.

This book is terrible, trust us.

Happy sleeping beach Buddha.


And our biggest outing was a trip to the sea turtle sanctuary out at the southern tip of the island. Ivan was bananas for the turtles. Of course we brought our camera, but funny thing is that cameras need batteries. Sigh. Trust us when we tell you that 8 month old kids LOVE to watch turtles swim around. Ivan nearly hyper-ventilated watching them. We are planning lots of aquarium visits in his future!

We didn't do much nightlife, obviously, but from what we saw this was an earlybird special kind of island, which suited us fine with our 6:30 AM wake-up calls from Ivan. We did manage to go out to dinner one night to a truly terrible steak joint. But they did have a drink special...

2-for-1 margaritas! (the "1" meaning "Sergio")

The most important part of the trip was introducing Ivan to the water. He was pretty anxious about it at first, even though he loves a bath. He seemed particularly intimidated by sand: yelping as soon as his bare feet touched the stuff. We took baby steps, of course, and started off in the pool (a really big bathtub we figured), then moved into the ocean and finally, encouraged him to romp in the sand.

Conveniently super-shallow pool.

Starting to sorta swim...

Fully-acclimated!

Beautiful clear water!

Then Ivan met a darling older girl named Penelope who happily showed him the ropes of the ol' sandbox.


All in all, it was a grand success.

One gorgeous sunset...

...after another.