Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Baby Christopher Attacks!

Our nephew Christopher is a super sweet baby. But sometimes he acts like a monster. He likes to sit on things, throw things, and growl. Karine says he's got an old soul. She says his soul is older than mine, whatever that means. Here he is attacking me.

Driving North on Hwy 10

Here's Tom lip pointing at a passing train while we are driving on the highway. This is his idea of a really good time. Shortly after this picture was taken Tom's older sister Anne saw the mustache for the first time. She told him that it was gross. Fifteen minutes later it was gone.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Baby Atlas

I would like to publicly announce that we will not be naming our little boy Atlas. Many, many people have expressed support for this name. Some people even exclaimed that it was surely the best name they have ever heard for a little boy. Ever. After some heated discussion, we have decided to go with something more traditional. We are donating the name to our community of readers. Feel free to use and enjoy this unconventional but unquestionably awesome name as you wish.

Painting by Boris Vallejo

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Omaha to Minneapolis by car

We're listening to Vampire Weekend as we drive north across the frozen plains. I'm posting from a rest area. Karine took these pretty pictures. Now she's going to the bathroom for the ninth time today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

1,844 Miles Later....

We find ourselves in beautiful Omaha, Nebraska. I am like the number one supporter of Omaha, worldwide.


Chicago

Here we are in Illinois, where the governor is a laughably corrupt scumbag with ridiculously poofy hair. And his name is Blag-blah-jo-vich. Or something like that. When we arrived we found everything surprisingly yellow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

SPS to Atlanta

We found ourselves seated in the middle of a church youth group on the plane. I beat them all at in flight trivia. Then we watched Arrested Development. That Jason Bateman is such a goof.


Atlanta.

La Ceiba to San Pedro: Photos of Excitment

On the tarmac at La Ceiba. Prettiest little airstrip in the world.

Our plane had a working ashtray. I took a picture of it.

Just in case you were curious. The departures area at the San Pedro Sula airport.

We always fly into and out of San Pedro Sula. Our first trip into Honduras we flew into Tegucigalpa. That's a really nice airport to fly into. If you like feeling like you are going to die.


Leg 1: La Ceiba to San Pedro Sula

After a delightful breakfast of baleadas and Coke at the La Ceiba airport, we are on our way. We've successfully landed in San Pedro Sula with all of our luggage still with us. We're looking forward to our flight with Delta and a late afternoon meal in Atlanta. We took the picture above while waiting for our luggage in reclamo de equipaje. "Equipaje" is one of my favorite Spanish words. (Ache-ee-pah-hay!) It just sounds fun in my mouth.

Adios Honduras- Hasta Pronto, Estados Unidos!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Airports

We'll be enjoying airports in the following cities over the next forty-eight hours: La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha. If we see anything magically awesome or otherwise noteworthy we'll post it. We will not be travelling on Spirit Airlines.

Karine has volunteered to start crying at all of the ticket counters. She thinks it might score us a first class upgrade. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dogsitter

This man has agreed to take care of Ruby and watch the house while we are in the states.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Growing Excitement!

Since Tom has been the main blogger lately, I thought I'd take my own chance to write about the ultrasound and the cool stuff going on with Baby Lew. When we went in for our ultrasound yesterday, we went in with the idea that I was about 32 weeks along. (There are usually 40 total weeks for those of you who weren't aware). Anyway, we've been expecting this baby to come sometime around Feb. 10 or so. The doctor originally thought my due date would be on Valentine's Day, but since getting our ultrasound yesterday, we've learned that he's coming sooner!

Since our little guy is already over 6 lbs, we will probably be meeting him sometime closer to Jan 25. This is a full 2 weeks earlier than we had planned! I'm taking this as a good sign, because if he's already over 6 lbs, I don't want him growing inside me for 8 more weeks! I'm just not prepared to deliver a 14 lb. baby!

After a visit with our regular doctor today, we were reassured that the baby looks wonderful, healthy, and I do too. I've been given the go-ahead to fly home for Christmas, and we've got plans to see a doctor in the U.S. when we get there. We're ready to be flexible with our plans, just like our baby is with his body. (Seriously, I think he might have a future in Cirque du Soliel)

Here are two self-portraits of me and my giant baby belly taken in the mirror. My maternity leave begins on Friday afternoon, after report cards are handed out.




While we're home in the states, we're grateful to our friends back here in Honduras for house-sitting and dog-sitting. We sure will miss Ruby, but we know she'll be in good hands.

Oh- and Cousin Mark is arriving within the hour! How exciting to have a visitor here- more about our fun to come...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our son putting his big toe into his nostril in utero

We went down to our local clinic and got ourselves a 4-D ultrasound after school today. Without a doubt its the best twenty bucks we have spent since we went out for lobsters last month. The toe goes into the nostril at about 9 seconds. Real rocket scientist, this guy.

video



Note that the Spanish word above his face is cara, not mono. An ultrasound in Spanish is really fun. Everything is -ito, -ito, ito.

Honduran Machete Culture

Andy's comment yesterday got me thinking about the machete's place in Honduran culture. I am sure a real a cultural anthropologist would have a field day with the topic. Basically, Honduras is a place where it is still pretty much normal to walk around with a sword. Anyone who thinks that chivalry no longer exists in the world may be surprised to find some of its last vestiges here in Honduras. Check out this picture I snapped on the way up the river a couple of weeks ago. A gentleman walks his lady down the street. His sword hangs ready at his side. The sight is not at all uncommon here.


Of course machetes are also the number one cause of "accidental" drunken decapitation and dismemberment in the county. There is nothing chivalrous about that. So I guess its not a slam dunk.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ruby: Super Number One Yard Helper

As Karine mentioned, we've been doing a little landscaping in the backyard. I cut a nasty tree out last week. It was really ugly. I don't even want to call it a tree. It looks better as a pile of leaves and sticks in the garden than it did growing out of the ground. Today, with some help from the dog, I removed the stump.

My dad always told me to use the right tool for the right job. In Honduras, there's really only one tool you could possibly consider for a job like this. Ax? Wrong tool. Bow saw? Wrong tool. Chainsaw? Definitely, wrong tool. Machete? You betcha. A German shepherd comes in pretty handy, too.



video

Stuff We Like: Craig Drives South

Karine discovered the blog Craig Drives South last night while doing some research on Central American tourism. Its the story of a guy who drives from Seattle, Washington to San Jose, Costa Rica in a junky Subaru. He has some pretty hilarious adventures along the way. And he writes with style. Here he is describing a character he met crossing the Nicaraguan border into Costa Rica:
"A couple customs checks later I was reduced to one faithful, non English speaking guide that had the breath of a dragon. If he was within a 6 foot radius the compost pile which was his mouth would almost asphyxiate you. I tossed him a couple cordobas for some Chiclets and he returned to duty as fresh as a daisy."
He travels into Honduras briefly, but most of the blog describes adventures which occur in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. He traveled between February 13 and April 23 of 2008. Anyone interested in visiting Central America would benefit from a gander at Craig's blog.

Craig took the picture below near Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica. Its the first place that Karine and I visited in Central America, sometime in January of 2002.

Photo: Craig, Craig Drives South

Saturday, December 13, 2008

German Shepherds in the News

Joe Biden has always seemed to us like the type of guy you wouldn't mind running into at the hardware store. We agreed during the presidential campaign that if we had to sit down and have a cup of coffee with someone on either ticket, Joe Biden would be our guy.

Turns out that old nice guy Joe Biden is a German shepherd man. Now we know we like him. Cute kids in the White House, German shepherd at the Navel Observatory. Things are looking up already.

German shepherds are wonderful dogs. We would be happy to answer any questions on the breed based on our experience with Ruby.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stuff We Like: Books

We like books. We like that they are portable and that they contain information. We also like them because we enjoy the different ways that authors use language to tell stories. We like the imaginative landscapes they create. We like that some of them are very old and they are as true today as they were hundreds of years ago.

Click the links to browse our favorite books. The links will live in our sidebar. Enjoy!




Karine's Favorite Books



Tom's Favorite Books


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guaruma

We went to a fundraiser last night for the Guaruma Organization. It was a silent auction at an art gallery here in La Ceiba. We wore our fancy pants. Click on the pretty butterfly to learn about all the wonderful things they do.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Awesome Hair -- Awesome Brain: Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut deserves recognition for his peerless contributions to contemporary English literature. He wrote science-fiction books for everyone, not just book worms and math nerds. Vonnegut saw no reason why a construction worker or bus driver wouldn't want to read a book about another planet. Also, he had extremely enthusiastic hair and a quietly assertive mustache.

I learned a valuable lesson about suffering from Billy Pilgrim in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. Pilgrim becomes unstuck in time. He bounces from moment to moment randomly: one moment he's a thirty-five year old man, the next he is a baby. This curious circumstance allows him to experience his life as an unbound accumulation of experiences, rather than a linear narrative.

In a linear narrative, like a book, the end always seems like the most important thing. But its not. That the book exists at all is the most important thing. The same is true in life. Suffering is certainly a part of our experience, but it does not define our experience. Even if it occurs at the very end. The present moment always seems like the most important, but that is only because we are stuck in time. The most important moment in life is all of them.

That's what Billy Pilgrim taught me while living in a zoo on planet Trafalmadore.

Thanks Kurt!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm here too!

Hi everyone- Karine here. I just wanted to write so you all know that Tom and his mustache have not completely taken over the blog. I'm still here and I'm still pregnant. And just look what Tom did to our backyard today!


I was shocked. Our neighbor gently suggested to Tom yesterday that we trim the tree that used to brush the top of his water tank. I thought Tom would trim the tree. Instead he took his machete to the whole thing and afterward informed me that it is a weed. Apparantly, we will be investing some money in "real trees" and "real dirt" for our backyard. I'd rather spend money on onesies.

Here's a little on the pregnancy and the baby (for all you baby junkies out there)
The pregnancy- still feeling good for the most part. I've got some symptoms like leg cramps in the middle of the night and a bit of acid reflux if I eat too much. My walk has turned into a waddle- especially by the afternoons. I get that Christmas carol "O Here We Come A-Wassailing" stuck in my head a lot, only I sing "O Here I Come A-Waddling". It entertains me.

According to my pregnancy websites and books, Baby Lew is around 3.75 pounds and around 17 inches head to toe. This would explain why I feel little feet kicking under my ribs, and a big butt sticking out of the side of my belly from time to time. He seems to prefer the right hemisphere of my belly. I've also recently discovered that if I scratch my abdomen, he'll move his little arms (or at least what feel like arms). I picture him scratching back from the other side! He's an active little guy, but all the movements are reassuring. I plan to visit my doctor one more time before making the trip home for Christmas. So far, things are looking great.

I don't know if I can consider this the homestretch yet, but the thought of only 7 or 8 more weekends before we're parents makes me feel like this is coming fast! I put up a couple craft blogs that I like. I have high hopes for my time in January. My maternity leave starts at Christmas break, so I should have some serious time for crafts and sewing before this little guy arrives. Cleaning has never really been my style of nesting anyway.

Oh- and the ladies of Honduras have started asking me daily what we're going to name this little guy. We've got a few ideas of our own, and will probably keep them a secret. However, for anyone who has an opinion or suggestion- we'll take it now! No final decisions have been made yet, so there's still time. Just leave a comment...

Ghost Train

I pass by this old diesel engine every morning on my way to work. The train still runs, but its not going anywhere. The line is being torn up for scrap. This is the line that moved bananas from the plantations on the North Coast of Honduras to the docks in La Ceiba for eighty years.



Here's the sign for the train station. The banana lines were nationalized in 1983. Ferrocarril National de Honduras still operates one line, from La Union to Cuero Y Salado Wildlife refuge. The trains hauls tourists going one direction and coconuts going the other. I visted last year.