Photoshop Peru

We have always gotten a good giggle out of our official photos taken here for new ID’s or passports. They majorly airbrush our faces and put color on our cheeks and lips. Today, Maggie’s teacher gave me her USB to copy off the graduation pics from her class. I got a really great giggle out of seeing these! I thought I would share. I love that they photoshopped entire scenes back behind them. It doesn’t look fake at all. 😉

Maggie Graduation Pic BEFORE…


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and AFTER…


This next one is my favorite.

Maggie’s class picture where it was actually taken…

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And the new and improved photoshopped Arequipa edition…


Isn’t that great!? Ha!

Photoshop Peru

MK–AQP “lasts” 2014

One thing that experts say is good for expats to do before leaving one of their “homes” is to make a list of their favorite places and plan a “last” visit in order to say goodbye. My kids will return to the states with their Pop and Gram on December 28. We have 29 days left to say some goodbyes. It is a good thing that some of them overlap.

Maggie Kate, you were our first AQP-born TCK. You were a full head of hair with two giant blue eyes…


and we are leaving Perú with you looking like this…

taken in the Yanahuara Plaza by Eternity Fotos

You are in Kindergarten with your big promoción (Kinder graduation) coming up at the end of the month. You are so excited to get to wear a “princess dress” like your sister did for her graduation (we will rent the dress). Your class picked the color “lila” which is the same color as Sophia the First. 😉 We are excited for you, and what makes your graduation extra special is that Pop and Gram will get to be here for it!

You told me in the taxi this morning that Daddy told you (while I was gone somewhere) that it’s okay to be sad this coming month. You know we are moving back to the states, but you are at such a great age to make the transition. I am so delighted that you completed all three years of preschool in Spanish. Now, you are most excited to get to live near your cousin Ruby and to start in a new school.

It was a little bit harder to get your “lasts” recorded, but we will try our best to make your last memories here some of your best! We love our Maggicita!!!

Places to visit:

  1. the zoo (your school just had a field trip there this past Friday)
  2. Shaye and Cora’s house

Foods to eat:

  1. Manuela´s Ají de Gallina (surprise, surprise. It is on the menu for every other week until you leave!)
  2. Etelvina´s Papa a la Huancaína (We are making a date to eat this with her while Pop and Gram are here.)
  3. King Burger (I had to write it out just as you said it. It’s Burger King, and it tickles us that you have nooooooo idea what a good hamburger should taste like. Living on an angus beef farm for 6 months should cure that.)
  4. Chili’s cheese dip (you would request this at almost every restaurant birthday meal)


What is one of your favorite memories of living in Arequipa?

going to Shaye and Cora’s house and play with each other

What is your favorite Arequipa dish?

Ají de Gallina and Papa a la Huancaína

What will you miss the most about living here?

 Miss Yomara (your teacher that you have had for all three years of preschool)

What are you most excited about moving to the states?

We will see Ruby and Sam… and Judah, and that I am going to start a new school.

Anything else???

  • I am going to miss my best friend from my school, Ana Paula.
  • I am so excited about my promoción!
MK–AQP “lasts” 2014

MK–the dress

The seamstress was a little late getting Maggie’s dress finished. It made me nervous, and to tell you the truth, I considered asking for my deposit back. But we had planned on a slumber party with Cora and Shaye, and I thought it would be fun to save the dress to give it to her for the slumber party. She was thrilled, and I think the seamstress did a great job. It is a little too big, but extra room to grow means that she can be Elsa for Halloween this year and next. 🙂

So… presenting the $125 Elsa dress turned into a $25 dress (made in Peru):

seeing it for the first time. She squealed with delight.

2014-07-28 07.54.29the front
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the back (I love the sparkly sheer fabric that she used). It definitely has a “snowflake look” to it.

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One day I let the kids color pictures from Frozen. Is it any surprise that Maggie chose this one? For the record, Ana chose Olaf, and Cohen chose Marshmallow. It really does show their personalities. 😉
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the Peruvian Elsa

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Let it go, peeps.2014-07-28 08.11.22 2014-07-28 08.12.02 2014-07-28 08.13.25

MK–the dress

Esta es mi tierra; Es mi Perú.


Another last for this year: the last Independence Day celebration in their school this morning. The preschoolers presented the three regions of Peru: La Costa, La Sierra, and La Selva. The primary grades told the history of Peru with little skits. I will let the pictures speak for themselves…

Cohen was a shark. The three-year-old class (or the first part of them) dressed as sea animals. Cohen almost couldn’t see out of his costume.




sitting with our intern, Mat, after his performance
sitting with our intern, Mat, after his performance

Maggie’s class represented the Selva (the jungle). They did a jungle dance, and then they sang “Es Mi Peru” as a class.





Ana was a soldier. What is hilarious is that I got her the wrong costume. She was the only “soldado” (soldier) with a gun. Ha!



Cohen and his condor craft. The condor is the national bird of Peru. Many tourists travel to Arequipa so that they can visit the Colca Canyon and see the condors flying.


The primary grades singing “Es Mi Peru.”



The ending was the school making a loop around the neighborhood. It was so sweet seeing Ana holding hands with her school BFF, Haslee. Here they are saying “Viva Peru!”


Looking up the hill at the volcano. Our house is two houses from the school.


Esta es mi tierra; Es mi Perú.

MK––5 years old

Maggie Kate, you are our beautiful Peruana. Your life pretty much marks our timeline here in Peru. It is hard to believe that this is your last birthday to spend in Peru for this chapter of our lives. You are a lovely, sassy, big blue-eyed, princess-lovin’ Kindergartener. We wouldn’t change anything about you.



the best we could do for an "Elsa" hairdo
the best we could do for an “Elsa” hairdo



This year we didn’t celebrate your birthday with a party.  We celebrated with a birthday extravaganza! You have been talking for 6 months about the Frozen party that you wanted. Well, you got your wish… plus more.

Step 1: Go with Momma to look for Frozen party decor in the center. The party stores were ready for us.


one store had the huge version of all the main characters
one store had the huge version of all the main characters
but Elsa is definitely your favorite
but Elsa is definitely your favorite

Step 2: Have a school party (something that your daddy and I despise, but I thought that it would be a nice gesture since it is your last year in Peru).

ice blue jello cups
ice blue jello cups


an Elsa princess cupcake dress
an Elsa princess cupcake dress



edible pearls and edible glitter (Momma had a lot of fun decorating these cupcakes)
edible pearls and edible glitter (Momma had a lot of fun decorating these cupcakes)
Holly Richardson (TA mentor) is kind of like an adopted missionary grandmother to these kids. She was here for the party!
Holly Richardson (TA mentor) is kind of like an adopted missionary grandmother to these kids. She was here for the party!
the sugar high buffet
the sugar high buffet


They ate Cheesitos, popcorn, cookies, jello, candy and limonada all while watching Frozen in Spanish
They ate Cheesitos, popcorn, cookies, jello, candy and limonada all while watching Frozen in Spanish



making the first wish of many
making the first wish of many

3. Step 3: Family party on the actual day. Maggie requested her favorite for lunch, Tortellini Soup. She wanted cinnamon rolls for her birthday dessert. She’s got good taste if you ask her parents.

birthday cinnamon rolls
birthday cinnamon rolls
Mat even played "Let It Go" for you
Mat even played “Let It Go” for you


everybody but the photographer in the pic
everybody but the photographer in the pic
if the first wish didn't work out...
if the first wish didn’t work out…

Step 4: Mustaches in the park. One of our interns from last summer brought the girls fake mustaches (Thanks again, Lisette!). I had put them away, and Mags found them a few months ago. She got it in her head that on her birthday she wanted to go to the park and take pics with the mustaches on. Her dreams came true. Ha!


Ana got in on the action, of course
Ana got in on the action, of course


Step 5: Slumber party with Cora. Pictures to come…

Whew. We are done celebrating. chica. And I am sorry to say it, but I am all Frozened out. You got an Elsa dress (previous post), and we invited the Smith girls over for a good time. Cora and Shaye spent the night, but Aria was in on all the fun. She even wanted to stay the night with you (the last pics). You asked for cheeseburger sliders for dinner, and we made another birthday dessert. Your Gram had sent a princess party pack with Daddy back when he went to the states. We were able to use it along with our Frozen items.

You loved the princess birthday banner. You and your siblings added the extra Frozen pictures by coloring free pages off the internet.

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We made blue jello again, served the left-ver galletas from your school party, and put out the cake. That is your Elsa dress hanging in the background.2014-07-28 08.34.31

Tia Areli gave you a gift of these Frozen characters. I couldn’t believe that she could find something from Frozen! I looked. What is funny is that they are generic, and they still don’t have Elsa in the grouping. Luckily, we found a funny-looking Elsa candle in the party store downtown, and she ended up being the same size as the rest of the characters. Your sister hand drew a little Olaf and attached him to a long toothpick. Isn’t he cute?!

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Edible pearls and sprinkles are my new favorite cake decorating tools. 🙂2014-07-28 08.35.10

waiting for the guests. It was like waiting for Christmas.2014-07-28 09.10.25

the crew. Ana and Shaye (7), Maggie (5), Cora (4), Cohen (3), and Aria (2)2014-07-28 09.17.352014-07-28 09.18.20

silly face pic2014-07-28 09.18.33

Aria is not picking her nose here, but it looks like it. See the cute cheeseburger sliders?2014-07-28 09.34.33

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I mentioned the Elsa candle coming from the party store. The wick fell down and it looked like Elsa had a torch sticking out of her back. Ha!2014-07-28 11.32.14


Cora insisted that I take a picture of her blue mouth. It was much bluer before I got this shot.2014-07-28 11.40.38

This little stinker wasn’t hungry for her cheeseburger, but she ate every bite of her piece of cake. 🙂 She also drank lots of “leemohdada” (limonada). 2014-07-28 11.40.53

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Aria is all ready to stay over.2014-07-28 12.26.47

Sweet girls. Sweet memories.2014-07-28 12.26.59

MK––5 years old

Writer, Poet, and Illustrator

If you had asked me in elementary school what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response would have been the title to this post. I loved to write my own children’s books, I loved to illustrate them.  Sometimes I made elaborate pop-ups or lift-the-flaps. I won a poetry contest in 5th grade, and I always loved writing the short poems to leave for our camp counselors at summer camp (which usually resulted in us winning cleanest cabin).

It is so much fun to watch our kids grow up.  It is crazy how they remind us of us, isn’t it? I see a lot of Greg in Ana. But I also see a lot of me in her.

This week Ana had to write a story and turn it into a book. I think I had the greatest time helping her with this project. I thoroughly enjoyed helping her revise her story, figure out the lay-out of the book, and then she had no problem illustrating.  That girl loves art. It was so much fun.

So… here’s to my favorite school project up to this point in the Peruvian school system (and the only one on my list thus far). 🙂

working on her illustrations. The book is titled in English, The Two Ballerinas.


since Mags was in the room, she wanted a pic too.  Her homework was coloring the Inca. July is Peru’s Independence Day month.


the finished product. She was so excited to take it to school today.


Writer, Poet, and Illustrator

Furlough Funnies 2013 (before I forget)

Ana and Maggie in the play area of the Dallas airport.
Ana and Maggie in the play area of the Dallas airport.

Ana funny:

We had a long lay-over in the Dallas airport on our way home.  They have these really great carpeted areas with equipment to climb and play on and plenty of space to run.  The first area where the kids played, I see Ana stand up on the plane in the middle of the area with all the other kids (mine and strangers) around her.  “Okay!” she announces in a loud voice, “Now we are going to play a game, but you can only speak in Spanish.”  I immediately called her name, and she came running over to me.  I explained that we were now in the USA, and she couldn’t expect other kids to be fluent in both English and Spanish.  Ha!

Fast forward to playing in another area in different wing of the airport…  Ana finds a new friend wherever we go.  Lo and behold I see her playing with a new friend that looks about 4 years old.  I observe that she is chasing this little girl who is one of the “Three Little Pigs” and Ana is the “Wolf.”  (My kids have recently taken a liking to the old classic Disney cartoons of the Three Little Pigs on Netflix).  I motion her over to me.  “Ana, you can’t play games like that with just anyone.  A lot of little kids are scared of things like wolves.  Can you pick something different to play with her?”  Ana thinks for a moment, “Oh yeah, Mom.  Like princesses?”  I agree with her and say that it is a great idea to play princesses.  Ana turns to the little girl, and this is what I overhear AG saying, “OK, you can be Snow White, and I can be the witch.”  (me: head in palm)  Ha!

Maggie and Cohen outside at “Gram and Pop’s house”

Maggie funny:

We had been aware of our furlough dates for quite some time.  I, of course, shared the plans with the kids and later regretted it because they asked for 6 months solid, “How much longer until the United States, Momma?”  They were also aware that we were going to “the farm” aka “Gram and Pop’s house” for the first part of our trip.  So “When are we going to the US?” changed to “When are going to Gram and Pop’s house?”

When we were finally in our first weeks of being in the USA, one Wednesday night at church my little Maggie was so worn out.  She had played on the farm all day, and she was ready to go home and go to bed.  We were in the church lobby area when she looked at me, and said, “Momma, I really want to go back to the United States.”  It was at this point that I realized she equated the United States to “Gram and Pop’s house.”  Ha!

Momma and Cohen at Jeannie's wedding
Momma and Cohen at Jeannie’s wedding


Cohen funny:

I returned 2 weeks early so that I could attend my best friend’s wedding.  My mom so graciously kept my kids for 3 extra days so that I could go see my best friend, spend some quality time with her before the wedding, and be there child-free.  I was so excited to see them when they arrived with my parents to the actual wedding.  Cohen is my little boy with two older princess-loving sisters.  He is very aware of princess lingo.  I was so excited to show Jeannie, the bride, my little boy that isn’t so little anymore.  I took him up to the bridal chamber and when he saw Jeannie, he immediately commented, “Momma, look!  A “PIN-SESS!”  I thought that was so sweet.

The funny came toward the end of the wedding.  After the ceremony, eating, visiting, and dancing, it was well past my kids’ bedtime.  Jeannie and Siran were making their exit in front of the building where the reception had been held.  As we were walking around to the front as a family, I noticed Cohen was very sleepy-eyed.  He looked up at me and said, “Momma, I tired.  No more pin-sess.  No more pincess.”  Ha!


Furlough Funnies 2013 (before I forget)