Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Category: Family Fun (page 2 of 9)

Guess Who? (City)

Doodle and I have created a new game that’s very educational for both of us.

With labels turned off in Google Maps, I look away while he zooms in on a random city somewhere in the world. Then I look at the city and tell him what continent it’s on. Sometimes I can tell him what country it’s in, and once I was able to tell him what city it was (St. Louis).

Here are some of my techniques.

This city has some reddish roofs, a developed road system (hence the traffic circles) and the center of the city is very tight, signifying pedestrian based zones. To the west, you see the face of first-world subdivisions.

What do these point to? Europe. Probably central-northern, judging by the shade of the green spaces.

Prague, Czech Republic

Considering the photo below: the only thing keeping me from guessing Africa is the hard-to-see road layout, which points to a developed country. The roads wouldn’t look like that if Continue reading

Belated Photos

For the Chilean independence holiday, Dieciochera (September 18), you may remember that there was a weeklong festival in the park next door.  The festival is sponsored at least in part by the city of Providencia, and the city provides the park’s immediate neighbors with free entrance tickets to the festival.  This gesture is, I suspect, a sort of apology for all the disruption.  Our apartment complex is right next to the park.  During the festival traffic is heavy around our usually quiet block, and finding a parking spot is nearly impossible.  Noise is also an issue.  Concerts would start around noon, and music would blare from the park until midnight.  We could hear it inside our apartment, and we’re on the side opposite of the park!  I can’t image being in one of the units that faces the park.

The city sent us a few different types of tickets.  Basically, we were all able to go together two times.  But we also had two tickets that could be used repeatedly for the entire week.  So, at any given time, two of us could go enjoy ourselves.

So, one afternoon, Rosebud and I went together.  It was like a mother-daughter date.  Here she is all dressed up and ready to go.

You can see she had a spring in her step as we headed to the park. Continue reading

Birthday Blues, Stomach Bugs and Lost Teeth

“Birthday week” is how we refer to the week when the boys have their birthdays. This year Carman turned sixteen and Doodle turned nine.

On Tuesday Marathon took them to Cajon del Maipo, and the next day he and Carman had a stomach bug:( The rest of us felt fine… till Saturday. On Saturday Marathon and Carman had fairly normal appetites but Milkmaid didn’t feel like eating lunch. She was in bed the rest of the day.

A few hours later Carman and Rosebud felt bad as well. So this left the birthday boy and I. Also, like I mentioned before, Marathon had already gotten it earlier in the week and he was feeling fine. The three of us ate dinner, and then we sung happy birthday to Doodle. About 5 bites into his large brownie, Doodle said that he didn’t feel well, and you can probably guess how that ended. Of course, I got the bug too, a few hours later. Continue reading

Fiestas Patrias – The petting zoo

The first place we went when the Dieciochera opened was the petting zoo area. There were horses, cows, goats, ducks, a peacock, pigs, bunnies and turkeys. Most of the animals were not pet-able because of the fences. The goats had an extra tall fence, and were not pet-able.  Well, a worker did carry around a little goat kid, and then we got to pet him.  So cute with those floppy ears!

Rosebud loved the little pigs! I don’t think she had ever seen any before 🙂

My parents said this calf looked almost exactly like the calf we had on our farm, and that the cow was a Milking Shorthorn just like our cow was. I don’t remember the cow or calf we had on the farm because we moved when I had just turned three, so it was very cool to see what our cows looked like.

Of course, my parents had to get their picture taken with them:)

Then we went over to pet the horse. We were standing there petting the horse and taking pictures of it, when a man came up and asked if Doodle and Rosebud wanted to have a ride! Doodle was really excited, because he had never ridden a horse before.  The man pulled a chamanto over his head and plopped a Chilean hat over his eyes.  All set!

Rosebud wasn’t so sure, because the horse looked big and kind of scary! Plus, she was wearing a skirt and her ballet flats. But after Doodle went, she decided to try it too – in the same traditional get-up.

She did great and was glad she had tried it 🙂

We took pictures of the rabbits and peacock, but we lost the pictures because one of our cameras was stolen out of one of the outside pockets of a backpack (it was visible). It was a good lesson for us, because we had kind of let our guard down because we haven’t had anything stolen from us here. We got lucky because the person who stole it took our ten year old camera, and not the new one.  Whew.

Fiestas Patrias

“Fiestas Patrias” means “national holidays” or literally “homeland parties.” In Chile the independence day is on September 18. Unlike in the US, they have an entire week of celebrations. The celebration for the eighteenth is called the “Dieciochera” which means something like “eighteen-er”.

We live close to a well-known park in Santiago, Parque Ines de Suarez. It is a nice gated park with a large playground, concrete soccer and basketball courts, one large field, two fountains and a nice walking/running path around it. Every year the park closes at the beginning of September while they’re setting up tents and a petting zoo, constructing stages, inflatable bounce houses, a mini Ferris wheel, and other mechanical rides. Yesterday we went early (before it got super crowded) and I got some pictures.

You probably don’t realize how much work they did on these basketball courts. Here they are (the basketball courts) doubling as a food court.

This is a stage they set up in the middle of one of the big fields. Everything is red, white or blue! Well, almost everything, the chairs are black 🙁

Behind the stage along one side of the park is a large artesian fair. Lots of little booths with people selling their own special thing: Flowers, jewelry, origami, wooden kitchen utensils ect.

These are very realistic paper flowers.

This is a glass spiral with rocks inside of it, made into the glass. Also, if you’d like to buy it, it’s only 70 dollars!

There was also LOTS of food and drink booths, of which I didn’t take any pictures. Also, we can’t forget the inflatables and mechanical rides. This is the mini Ferris wheel that Doodle and Rosebud didn’t ride because of the huge line.

Throughout the days there are concerts, circus shows, story tellers and dance competitions of the national dance, cueca. This is what google.cl looked like on the 18th:

Sometime later this week we’ll probably go and watch the dances. I tried the dance the other day (one of my friends tried to teach me), but it’s the kind of dance that goes with a certain song, and you have to memorize what happens when.

There is a law here that all buildings/businesses must have a flag in front of them during Dieciochera (Sept 17-23): apartment buildings, grocery stores and even churches.

How many flags can you spot?

Cerro Santa Lucia

On Mother’s day we went with VogelJoy to Santa Lucia hill. Here’s a link to a page about the hill. Here is another.

Here we are outside the entrance.

Doodle and Oliver racing up the steps behind one of the rock layers.

Here are the seven of us kids. You can see the lookout point up behind us.

You can see from this photo that it was sunless and smoggy, but it wasn’t too cold because Rosebud, Sophie and I had short sleeves the whole time.

I love this photo!!

Here’s Rosebud, Luisa, Sophie and Marathon.

Here we are behind yet another layer of rock. In total there were probably about 10. Check out Carman’s new hair cut!

Here we are trying to find an exit. We payed no attention to the sign that says “Camino sin Salida” or “Path with out exit”, and continued walking for about 5 more minutes before we came to the dead end.

Doodle had lots of fun with Oliver!

Here are the kids in/on a big tree by the exit (Yes, we eventually found it.)

After we left the hill at about 6, we took the subway to a mall in la Florida, about 20 minutes away by subway. After we ate there (and Rosebud lost her first tooth) and did some window shopping, we arrived back home at about 9. It was a long but fun day.

One funny thing I noticed was that we passed about 25 other English speakers while walking around on the hill. It must be a well know tourist attraction.

Thanks again to VogelJoy for the awesome pictures.

Good Friday – Overdue

This is a seriously overdue post.

We met Marcela upon arriving at our 2nd rental in Las Condes.  She was there with her 2nd daughter to greet us, show us around the apartment, how to work the washer, point in the direction of the nearest grocery etc.  She’s energetic, sweet, very hospitable, and for whatever reason she took an interest in our family.

When we asked if she could recommend someone to help us with our Spanish, she volunteered.  She’s occasionally come for an hour or two and just to talk with us.  She also took me grocery shopping.  While we were out, we took lunch to her daughters at school.  We met her dog and her housekeeper.

Next thing we knew she was inviting us to a combined birthday party for her 18 year old daughter and her mother.  I was sick at the time, but Marathon went with the three older children.

Marcela even helped us understand and recommended some changes to the contract for the apartment we were getting ready to lease.  And she reminded us to take photos of the apartment before we moved in.  In short, she was looking out for us like a mother hen.

We stayed in touch over the next few months and had them to our apartment for dinner.  She invited us to have Good Friday lunch with her extended family.  Being nominal Catholics, fish was on the menu, and Marcela’s mother made her traditional fish soup.  It was delicious!

Here are Pablo (Marcela’s husband), their oldest daughter Macarena, and Marcela’s parents who live with them.  Macarena painted the picture in the background.

Here’s Marcela and Pablo with their girls.

We stayed the afternoon and just sat around and talked.  Doodle and Rosebud played with old toys and climbed in and out of the empty swimming pool.


We mentioned that some new Canadian friends helped us celebrate Rosebud’s birthday.  But did we mention that they’re a family band?  They might even be kind of famous in Canada, performing at local fairs, events, and private parties, making appearances on radio programs…  They’ve even produced a couple of cds.

Terry brought his guitar to Rosebud’s party.  Here they all come now!

They attracted quite a crowd with their songs when we were at the park.  It was spontaneous and fun.

You can learn more about their music and family band from their website.  They’ve got as much energy as you’d expect after viewing their videos.  They are homeschooling their three children and are in the midst of traveling around South America.  We got lucky enough to meet them through a mutual friend.

A couple of weeks ago we went to the Bicentennial Park, a long linear park along the river, with them.  We played soccer, marveled at the giant gold fish (I can’t remember their real name) in the ponds, and watched a street performer (the kids climbed up to get a better view).

We then tagged along with them via the subway to circus practice.  Yep.  Circus practice – where you learn/practice the trapeze, silks, hoops, acrobatics, and pole…  Good stuff.  Difficult stuff.  Not that I tried, but the kids did.  Our camera was doing wonky things in the outdoor evening light, so we don’t have many pictures.  And even though this post is about VogelJoy, here’s Carman on the trapeze — he did great for his first time.  (The group normally meets in a gym, but on this particular night, they met in the instructor’s backyard.)

Blast from the past

This is a video from a post back in 2007. This is me at age nine playing a tune from Vivaldi. I was going to re-learn it, and so we dug up this video. My recorder skills seem to have gotten better over these 6 years of not playing. After several tries, I was better than my 9-year old self.

Since then we have done some singing practice, and my ear for pitch, rhythm, and my lung control are much better than they were.

With Pals at the Park

Our apartment complex is beside a large public park sporting big green lawns, fountains, basketball/soccer courts (yes, they play soccer anywhere here, including on concrete), and ping pong tables. Last weekend there was a family event in the park with games and fun for little children. I’m still not sure what the point was or who sponsored it, but the kids had a good time.

Two young friends (they’re siblings) from our “condominio” went with us. Sweet kids. Good times.

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