Even before in arriving in Bogota we were hearing about how we had to go to Andres! It has been on our list but we didn’t go until this past weekend. It is a wild restaurant about 40 mins outside of Bogota and to be honest I really can’t even begin to describe it! We took some pictures! It is Colombian food but the best of it! Seth had a steak that I think was the best since we arrived! The restaurant is HUGE…to give you an idea we heard that they have 400 servers! It’s a giant maze of different rooms decorated floor to ceiling! It would never be possible in the US because of our standards for fire safety! Jackson was so overloaded by the end of our lunch with all of the excitement!




The menu in a metal box. We had to scroll through to see the choices!


Jackson ringing the bell at our table


fresh strawberry juice!





Outdoor kids area with carpentry, painting, clay, ball area, puppets, face painting. If Jackson had been older it would have been amazing for him!


squishing the baby belly. he was ready for nap before we even got seated!


the tables all had bowls of mango, coconut, little fruits that look like orange tomatoes, and oranges.


parade of people in costumes coming through the restaurant


old eye glasses sealed into the wall


when our food arrived so did the bibs!


my ajiaco…traditional colombian chicken and potato soup served with rice, avacado, capers and cream.


Our left overs came in a painted wooden box and a real metal soup pot!


our bill arrived in a wooden box with a flashlight and a magnified glass!

If any of you want to make a last min trip to Bogota we will take you!

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We went for a well-check on Jackson’s birthday. Here are his current measurements!

Weight: 30 lbs

Height: 37.8 inches

Head circum: 19.29 inches

He’s a big boy! Everyone keeps saying he will slow down on height but we haven’t seen that yet! He is finally in clothes that are equivalent to his age which is nice because for quite awhile he was way ahead of the sizes!

Jackson is enjoying new “big boy” activities  like getting to use markers, playing with stickers and paper, helping with things around the house and most of all he loves playdoh. He loves to run and climb and will often say “I’m fast, mommy” and “ready, set, go”.

He is speaking his mind often and some of his latest lines he uses are “no thank you”, “in 6 mins” (we think he gets this from us saying “in 5 mins we are….”). The other night he found spinach in his pasta and said “yuck, it’s a flower”. We had never even heard him say the word “yuck”. This morning he pretended to call his Nama on the phone. He picked up the phone and said “Nama,  hi, I’m here. Yea, hello. No answer. Not here.” I just sat back and listened. Before his birthday he kept saying “birthday, soon” “clown”, “birthday cake”. He had a mental record of everything from previous parties he had attended. Luckily at his party he didn’t ask where the clown was!

Jackson is starting to talk about the baby and knows he is the “big bruder”. When we ask where his brother he is comes over and looks for the baby in my belly.  It will sure be a shock with the new baby but we think he will be a great big brother!

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On Thursday we celebrated Jackson’s actual birthday and then yesterday we had a party with friends.

On Thursday, Seth got to take the day off using some comp time he had built up from the 4th of July  that he has to use before we leave so that was a HUGE treat. Jackson started his day by falling/jumping out of his crib.  I guess it was his first 2 yr milestone! For breakfast he got to open the birthday box and found a chocolate sprinkles doughnut from Dunkin Donuts!!


(the birthday box is a family tradition in our house where we put something special inside and the birthday person gets to open it at breakfast on their birthday) IMG_4273

The rest of the day we spent going to the doctor for Jackson’s well-check, we went to a neighbors pool to swim and Jackson got to open a few gifts from his cousins and from us!  Another highlight was talking to grandparents and cousins! It was so nice to see family. We especially miss our families when we are celebrating special family events from a distance! Skype helps!  IMG_4275


Jackson’s gift from us was a Fisher-Price boom box with a microphone. He jumped right in!


One tired birthday boy!!!

Yesterday we celebrated with friends! We had lots of yummy “American food” and Jackson enjoyed playing with his friends. All day when people would ask Jackson how old he was he kept saying 4! He knows he’s 2 so

I think he thought it was funny! IMG_4322


we filled Jackson’s water table with raw pasta, rice and beans and the kids dug for little farm animals.



for lunch we had sloppy joe’s , bakes beans, veggies and chips with dips and fruit salad. We had mini bagel pizzas for the kiddos! Since we can’t get baked beans here everyone congregated and tooked multiple helpings of baked beans!



Barnyard cake!



getting some help with blowing candle out!



Jackson did a great job saying thank you to his friends but after he opened his last gift I said, “Jackson, say thank you” and he looked at the gift giver and kind of growled and funny exasperated “thank you”


Happy Birthday, Jack! We love you tons!

(PS- we have decided on a name for our new little boy…..stay posted for pictures and for his name!!!)

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Kristen’s already posted on the 4th of July and what a fun time we had.  But I’ll post a bit more.

Back in November 2008, my boss asked me if wanted to volunteer to head up 4th of July 2009.  He said they were looking for someone who would eventually end up in the management section (which I’ll do at some point).  I said yes, knowing that it would be a long-term project, which is what I really enjoy.  But I know I didn’t understand just how much work would go into it.

We started meeting in November, but really didn’t do anything substantial until February or so.   I knew last year’s event was huge and that they wanted it to be bigger this year, so I quickly found other volunteers to help out.  I think by the end we had about 18 subcommittees working on everything from decorations to raffles to parking.  In June, I moved over to the management section, which handles a lot of the logistics and support for the Embassy.  And the 4th of July is mostly about logistics.  It’s hard to believe, but I was working full-time on the 4th beginning on June 1, and probably abuot 50-75% during the month of May.

By the end, I was glad it was over.  There were so many details and issues that popped up that it was becoming awfully stressful.  But fun nonetheless.  I’ve been asked if I would do it again, and I certainly would…just not next year.  Thankfully, Bern will be much smaller.  Probably a backyard BBQ kind of party.  So even if they ask me to run that one, at least I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.

Fanny Lu

VIP Event

One of the highlights was getting to select and arrange the music for the fireworks.  Last year, the fireworks were timed to Disney music (what that means, I don’t know).  But this year I wanted it to be patriotic.  So I selected 7 songs for a 13 minute show.  Everything from “You’re a Grand Old Flag” to “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  From the feedback we received, the fireworks were definitely the biggest hit.  And I know of 3 people who shed tears during the show.  I think Indepedence Day is such a big deal for Americans, that it’s hard to be overseas and away from family and traditions that the fireworks were probably the only thing that was traditionally American.


The other highlight was getting to work on a plaque for the 3 American hostages that were released last year, along with 1 American who died when their plane crashed.  (If you want to read their autobiography, I highly recommend _Out of Captivity_.)  Previously, the Embassy had a permanent memorial to the hostages right inside the lobby throughout the 1,967 days of captivity.  And the plaque will go where the memorial previously was.  The Ambassador unveiled the plaque on July 4.  And one of the fun things was that I was the one who wrote text for the plaque.  Of course, the day before they were going to inscribe the text on the plaque, I was reading over the text one more time and found that one person’s name was misspelled.  Thankfully we caught it in time!!

Memorial Plaque

Until we leave in September, they are letting me stay in the management section.  In the mornings, I’ll be doing a couple hours of visas, but otherwise I’ll be doing small management projects.  I’m really thankful they’re giving me some experience in what I’ll eventually end up doing.  Bern will be two more years of consular, so I’m also thankful I’m getting a break from consular.

Now that the 4th is over, we’re starting to wrap things up in Colombia.  We’ve made our list of things we want to do before we leave.  Kristen’s been sorting our house so we don’t bring along all the stuff we never use.  We’ve started the check-out list and even have our pack-out scheduled.  We’re less than 2 months out, which is hard to believe.  I think we’re both ready for a change and ready to get back to the USA.  Distance makes the heart grow fonder.  We’re looking forward to the food and family and familiarity.  I’m especially looking forward to Whataburger.  And since they don’t have it in DC, I’m going to have to get my fill while in Texas.

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