Monday, December 26, 2011

Sometimes you can have it all

...and sometimes you can't.

That has kind of been the holidays for me this year. For some reason, even though there has been so many great things happening around me, I've just found the holidays very lackluster and even, dare I say, disappointing.

Here goes.

Thanksgiving. I had that fabulous idea of going to Seattle for Thanksgiving. 8 days sounds really good on paper. But, when you live it with a non-sleeping, teething toddler in the worst stage of separation anxiety, you have just turned an 8 day vacation into 8 days of motherhood hell. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely loved seeing my family and a few close friends, but it really just reminds me how much I miss my other home. I miss how I feel going to church. I miss the conversations with my sisters and best friends. I miss watching my nephews grow up. And, as much as I love my little girl and would go to the end of the universe and back for her, she didn't give me a second's rest or break nor did the people who miss watching her grow up get to enjoy time spent with her.

December. Work and home have just been challenging. I won't say terrible or bad, although sometimes I would like to find the nearest bridge and take a plunge, but I digress. My students are challenging and I'm yet to see the fruits of my labor. AV, like I mentioned is magnet baby and is attracted to all things me. She has also decided that cribs are overrated. Why sleep in a box when you can stretch out in Mommy and Daddy's bed. Why go back to sleep when you can scream bloody murder and wake the whole neighborhood? So, with challenging days and challenging nights and me being a person who thinks 10 hours of sleep a night is just an okay night, I was left really drained and ready for some Christmas traditions.

Enter Christmas cookies. Seriously, it's like I don't even read my own blog (I'm probably the one who reads it the most. Weirdo.) Why do I attempt to bake? I know it leads to disaster. I know it does. The Hickey family is full of Christmas cookie baking maniacs. That's all there is to it. We get together one Saturday in mid December and bake. and bake. and bake. We're talking like at least 6 or 8 different kinds at a minimum of 2 dozen a pop. Lots o' cookies. So, why wouldn't I just half some of those recipes and do it on my own? My cookies turned out disastrous. And that might be an understatement. I had to put an entire tray under water and soak them all night because not a one of them was going to come off the tray of its own accord or even the gentle (or not so) nudging of the bigass barbeque spatula. That night was my Christmas meltdown. Ramon came home to find me sobbing over a tray of what would have been thumbprint cookies. They were likened more to pancakes and I was a mess. All I could say was, "I just want it to be Christmas."

I turned off the oven, left the kitchen a mess and went to bed at 8:45. In my long winter's nap, it occurred to me to stop trying to make Mexico Christmas like Seattle Christmas. It's too warm, it's too sunny; it's to Spanish-y. It's just not going to happen. Why not enjoy what Mexi-Navidad has to offer and celebrate the fact that I can do one without the other. So, on the 24th, we went to mass at 8:00, had dinner at 10:00 and AV went to bed at midnight on the ride home. She was amazing (until about 2:00 when occupy mommy-daddy bed reared its ugly head). Christmas morning we were up at 7:00 opening presents, like we should (according to me). I made eggs and sausage and cinnamon rolls and we had our friends over for Christmas brunch. We spent the day together as a family and it was just fine.

The word that has been coming to my mind the past few days is ABUNDANCE. It's what I have such a challenge recognizing. The abundance of blessings in our family. Abundance of health considering two weeks ago we weren't sure if Ramon's aunt would still be with us for Christmas, and now she is not only still with us but is out of the hospital and on the road to recovery. Abundance of joy that we have a beautiful and healthy child who loves us and who we love. Abundance of wealth as we spend our first of many Christmas mornings in our own home with food on our table, clothes on our backs, and presents under the tree.

Although, Christmas wasn't "Christmas" as I know it or expected it to be, it has brought me to a greater reflection of what I need to spend my time and energy creating. I need to create an atmosphere around me that recognizes the abundance of blessing that are showered on our family, both immediate and extended, every single moment of every single day.

With that, I don't exactly know how to give the holiday salutation. For me, it wasn't especially "merry" nor was it as joyous as it should have been. What I can hope for is this, for all of you, a year of abundant blessings for you and yours.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Making Minnie

Minnie Mouse.

Ana is obsessed. A day does not go by without many conversations about Mickey, Minnie and their friends. I use this to my advantage most days by getting AV to eat, do, pick up, etc just about anything because, well, Mickey Mouse would want her to.

Halloween. A holiday where parents take complete and total advantage of the fact that we have utter wardrobe control for a very short period of time. Child, you will wear what I say you'll wear. No questions asked.

Enter "The plan." Now, when it comes to Ramon and me, I am just about 99% of the time the ideas person. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I come up with pretty stellar ideas. But, when it comes to fabrication and general follow-through, I lose some awesome points. Step in, Ramon. And you will see why.

It could be why I love him. It could also be why I hate him.

The mission that we chose to accept as any doting and unknowing first-time parent would, was to turn one tutu (my idea), one meter of red polka dot fabric (that I bought), and one piece of black foamy (I have no idea what we call this product in English. I only assume it's called foamy. I learned this word in Mexico.) into one Minnie Mouse costume (Enter Ramon).

This was the beginning. I gave myself bonus points for knowing that I should measure something, probably use a pencil and have all of my materials in the same place. That is about where my self-crediting ends.

I feebly attempted to bring my ideas to fruition. My husband very generously let me fail miserably. I think mostly because he was interested to see what disastrous confection I would create. The result was not, in fact, a Minnie Mouse skirt, but is a very nicely hand-stitched red polka dot square that could morph easily into a quite dashing sleeve. I don't understand how it happened really.

So, Ramon offered a suggestion. Why don't you cut two equal pieces and then all you have to do is sew the two pieces together. Sounded intriguing. I tried that idea. It was worse than my first attempt. At least my first attempt was able to be un-sewn and used again. My second attempt was nearing complete and total disaster land. The good thing about this was that I found it hysterical. If you don't have a sense of humor, you don't have anything, right? The other funny part is that I really thought that I would be able to do it. Kind of like how I think I should be able to paint like Bob Ross, or paint the nails on my right hand.

So, I let the architect take over. Ramon quickly fashioned a compass (like the tool that makes circles not the tool that tells where North is) out of a pencil, a needle and a piece of string. He went on to make a pattern out of old newspaper consisting to two perfect concentric circles. Then he spent approximately 12 minutes cutting out those perfect circles. He used every single needle and pin possible to perfectly attach his pattern to the fabric and then spent approximately 20 minutes cutting the fabric without one single string or messed up cut. (Not something I could claim as a success) Then he let me sew it together. What a guy.

He went further, though. He glued and wrapped, centimeters at a time, a purple headband, so that it could become a polka dot headband. He made perfect ears and glued them on. He sewed little white buttons on her leotard.

I made the bow. I think I'm going to write that again. I made the bow. Feel free to tell me how awesome it is.

And her little face made it all worth it. My little Minnie. I love every little inch of her.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I don't know how or why over a month has passed since I shared with you my disasters in the kitchen. Actually, I do know how. The deal is this, when it comes to either spending time blogging or spending time vegging with my husband or child, the latter always wins. It may also have something to do with the fact that my computer is not so much a computer anymore as it is a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse machine. Ah, the joys of an 18-month Mickey-obsessed munchkin.

So, to sum it up, I'll say "Sorry." I put sorry in quotes not so much to quote my own speech but to seamlessly lead myself into what I will bless your eyes with today. The use of quotes in Mexico. Or should I say the "use" of quotes in Mexico. Or better, the use of "quotes" in Mexico. Or, best yet, the use of quotes in "Mexico."

I love it. Love it!

I usually find it both amusing and accurate.

Case in point. At school this year, the staff has been gifted with a special parking lot. And by parking lot, I mean that we may use a small portion of the soccer field from 7 am until 2:30 pm. The sign outside the grass with some crookedy spray painted lines and illegible numbers reads: "Estacionamiento" para personal. Translation: "Parking Lot" for staff. See what I mean? Both amusing and accurate. It's not so much a parking lot as it is a "parking lot."

We now live in the grand pueblo of Cuautlancingo, Puebla. Home of the Volkswagen plant, a haven where no pot hole or speed bump will be turned away, and where the tricked out lights of the three-wheeled cart taxis can confuse even the most experienced Mexican driver into believing that a UFO is heading straight their way on a dark road. But, I digress. Around the corner from our house is a little shack (and by shack, I mean shack) that sells Birria "de res." Birria is a spicy soupy broth with shredded beef. So delicious. However, I don't know exactly how I feel about it being made from "beef." "Beef" like cow? Or "beef" like there might be some roadkill in there?

How about this one? Tiendita "Harry's." Now is it Harry's store? Was it once his store and is no longer? Do we just call him "Harry" but it's really not his name? I don't know, but I'm intrigued.

I also love when you go into "Harry's" store (if that is your real name) and there's a sign on the counter that reads. Please pay with "change." "Gracias." From "Harry." Now, what is "change?" Shall I pay "Harry" by paying it forward and making a difference? Or is "Harry" now mocking me with some sarcastic "Gracias?" Does the real Harry even care if I pay with change or is it some Big Brother speaking as "Harry."

Weird. Funny. Another reason to love it here.

"Thanks" for reading.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

AKA, Nasty brown volcanoes.

AKA, One more reason I shouldn't bake.

I don't know when I will learn that either baking at high altitude is not something I'm good at, or just baking in general is not something I'm good at. Either way. Disaster in the kitchen once again.

Ramon's birthday was August 18th. Being the loving, creative, and oh so good looking, wife that I am, I thought that I would put my creativity to work in the kitchen and make him a red velvet cake. Then I realized that I don't have round cake pans. I have everything, except that. So, I decided, oh how adorable would cupcakes be? Right? Wrong.

First issue. Apparently you need like 2 tablespoons of red food coloring. Apparently in one of those boxes of colors, the whole, entire, every last drop of the little squeeze bottle, only adds up to about 3/4 of a tablespoon. Apparently this is not enough for the cupcakes to turn red. They just turn like a turdy color of brown. De-lish.

Second issue. Apparently even if you use a high altitude recipe, that does not, in fact, give you a recipe for success. The batter tasted delicious, albeit ugly. The cupcakes went into the oven and started rising beautifully. Oh, I finally did it! was my overly eager thought. I walked away. Maybe that's the problem. Because, when I came back, I found volcanoes. What had once risen had now sunk. What's that phrase, the greater the height the harder the fall? I don't know, but that's what it looked like.

I kind of, and I use kind of verrrrrry loosely, saved them by filling them up with lots and lots of cream cheese frosting.

Now, Ramon is no stranger to my baking disasters. He usually responds in good husbandly form with something like, "No, honey, It tastes great." This time he calmly asked me, "When you bake, do you follow what the recipe says to do?" If it weren't his birthday, there might have been blood.

As I reflected (I say reflected. You say fumed. Semantics.) on his comment, I thought to myself. If no recipe recipe works wonders with chocolate chip cookies, then maybe that's the real problem. God is telling me to not conform myself to the measuring system of this world, but to make my own way!

I tried with muffins. It worked. They're delicious. I may never use recipes again.

Or, I might just start buying baked goods...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 way.

Man. Have you been on Facebook these days? Since I can't stay awake for much more than 10 minutes of the nightly news, I have resorted to using the good ol' fb as my source for news. Did you know that there is a Starbuck's secret menu? I didn't until like 5 minutes ago.

But, not the point.

If you're like me, which is both awesome and terrifying, then you also have a pretty clear division in the political opinion part of your fb crowd. I'm talking some serious Right-ers and some serious Left-ers. I especially like it when the righters and the lefters post at the same time. It's interesting to see just how similar and different the arguments are.

Here's what I have noticed.
1. Everybody recognizes that our country needs to make some changes. If you don't see this as a reality, then you are a dodo brain.
2. No one has a good enough answer for how to get there.

Here is my logic. I have no research to support it because I'm just not that kind of girl. I likes my opinions and I'ma keep 'em.
1. If you make more money, you should pay more taxes. I don't care if you are a trillionaire, a billionaire, a thousandaire, or a hundredaire like me. If we all pay the same percentage, that's just fair.
2. Right-ers, please stop saying that the Left-ers are just bleeding heart, Robin Hood-like, edging up to Comunist, steal from the rich to give to the poor, can't understand reason, Godless, conservative haters. It's exhausting.
3. Left-ers, please stop saying that the Right-ers are religious, money-grubbing, selfish, can't understand if it hit them in the head, poor people are poor because they want to be, people haters. It's exhausting.

Our country was founded both on Christian principles and the ideal of freedom to make our own decisions. So, therefore, as a country, we should uphold those universal values (as in serve the most in need, protect life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness, yada, yada, yada) as well as make and take responsibility for our decisions.

I really honestly, truly believe that if we had a balanced budget before, we can have a balanced budget again without sacrificing either our national security or the needs of the the weakest members of our society.

Is it going to take work? Yep. Is it going to take sacrifice? Yep.

I won't ever pretend to know what it's like to run a country. Mostly because I hate that the people who run our country a lot of times pretend to know what it's like to run a classroom. But that's neither here nor there.

What is here and there is this:
1. We should never ever take for granted that we can say ANYTHING we want to about our country.
2. With that great gift, I would put on my Santa list that people would use that gift with respect.
3. Vote. We're the ones who decide who we let make our decisions.
4. Be thoughtful. The Lefters are not always right or always wrong. The Righters are not always right or always wrong. Think things through, people, pleeeeeease.

So, that's what I think. I don't expect to get a million shares or reposts, but I put my drop in the bucket.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another Rain Story

Are rain stories getting old? Cuz if they are, maybe stop reading right now.

Yesterday was another rain storm. Like, the heavens opened up and decided to send down all of the hail and rain that they could find up there.

AV and I were inside, which I wrongly assumed meant that we were safe from the wrath of the sky. Not so.

We stared out the window at the hail coming down for a while, because, that is somehow mesmerizing and interesting to a 1 year old. Toys? Meh. Rain? Killer. When we found our way back to the living room, we found with it, water.

Water. Everywhere.

I don't know if because the rain was coming down sideways it came pouring in from under the door. I don't know if it came out of the drain in the bathroom. All I know is that there was water in my living room. And that's not right.

Agua, said AV. Thanks, kiddo. I'd noticed.

Damage control. Crisis mode. Operation Remove Agua from the Living Room. I started pushing furniture out of the way and squigee-ing as much agua as possible out the door. Unfortunately Operation RAFTLR coincided with AV's Operation Grab Mommy's Leg and Scream like Crazy.

AV's op was successful. Mine? Let's just say I'm preparing my official report on what went wrong and why. On the top of my list of errors? crying to a one-year-old about the rug being wet. Second on the list? Lack of control over tears when related to water. Seriously. I'm starting to think I may have some sort of syndrome. Rain Tear Syndrome.

Then, we looked in the back yard. Hey there, Noah. Need a place to float your Ark? Because, my back hard had a good 4 inches of standing water.

Agua, said AV. Yep, you've got that down, sweet girl. You know it and identify it in all its forms. So smart.

The buckets floating around the backyard. Now, that was a sight. Thank the Lord the rain dissipated because if it had started coming in the back door, I don't think I would have survived to tell the tale.

After the follow up Operation Clean Up went off relatively successfully, I rewarded myself with Operation Double Margarita.

All is well.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One of Those Days.

Today has been one of those Mexico days. Or maybe one of those Mom of a one-year-old days. Or maybe a combination of the two.

Wanna know why?

I'm starting to get one of two feelings. Either having a one-year-old can be a royal pain. Or I'm not a very good mom. Either way, AV is having major trouble being satisfied or appeased by anything I do. There are only a very few things I can do right, right now. They are these:

1. Make bubbles in a bucket.
2. Feed her Jello.

And that's about it. If I stop making bubbles or choose to try to feed her something nutritious, there is a long, long, long time of crying, moaning, screaming, laying down, running around. And it's quite possible that the crying, etc isn't just AV.

There have to be more things that please her. There HAVE to be. Bubbles and Tina (aka Gelatina en espanol) That's it??? Those two things are what lead me to believe that maybe I'm just not that great of a mom. How is it possible that I can keep 50 5th graders at least somewhat entertained for 6 hours, but I cannot entertain my own child?

Are there parenting books that I should be reading? Are there foods that are magical? Should I just let her play with the stupid bucket and one inch of water and a few squirts of soap and a couple clothes pegs all the livelong day even if it's raining out?

Now, about rain. I've talked about before, but seriously. Rain has made me cry more than weather ever should. My mom gets here tomorrow and we're planning a weekend out and about which means that the clothes needed to be washed today. But since the Clothesline Snafu of 2011, I can only do one load a day. Well, today, I pressed my luck. I tempted fate and Mother Nature. And I lost. Well, AV's clothes lost. Now, the Lord only knows when those clothes will get dry. It's quite possible that they will hang on that broken clothesline until we're back on Monday, and then they'll get washed again. Lame.

Speaking of lame. Mexico City's car circulation laws. Now, those are lame. If you know me, you know that I am a friend of the environment. I recycle even though it means driving my recycling across town. I don't feel goofy taking my bags to the grocery store. I don't mind showering quickly to save water. Whatev, you get the picture. We want to go into the city tomorrow because Ramon has to go for work anyway, and then head to the airport to get my mom. This will save us time, money, energy, and be a fun way to spend the day. But, I can't drive my car in Mexico City until 11 am and Ramon has to be where he needs to be by 10. What this means for the Alvarez Familia is this. Ramon has to get up super early, take a taxi across town, take a bus to Mexico City, take another taxi to where he needs to be, Ana and I have to drive to the bus station later, take the bus to the airport, Ramon has to take another taxi to the airport to meet us and then Ramon, my mom, AV and I will have to buy tickets and ride the bus back to Puebla, then drive home. Not only will our environmental impact be much greater, the financial impact will go from around 40 bucks total to over 100.

Today has made me want to scream quite a few times. I may, just may, have not been the most patient, loving mother to my little AV. I may, just may, have found myself sitting on the kitchen floor crying. And, btw, complaining is so obnoxious that I really don't even want to press publish on this post.

Sorry, better luck tomorrow. Silver lining? My mom will be here tomorrow. Yes, yes she will.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Extreme Laundry

Usually my extreme laundry posts are about how I turn my living room, dining room, any other room possible into a makeshift clothes rack because the once sun shiny day has morphed into the thunderstorm from hell.

Not this time. Nope. Today my extreme laundry takes the form of whiny baby, meets almost entirely hung up load of laundry meets clothes line breaks.

It was not my finest hour.

You see, patience and I are not known to be on the friendliest of terms. Frustration and me, on the other hand, best buds. Throw in a baby on her last leg before a much needed nap, and you've got yourself the makings of a disaster.

I had the entire load hung. I was just missing the socks. When Pop. Everything is now in the grass. Baby starts screaming. I just about flip my lid. We all fall apart.

Step 1. Put baby to bed. Eliminating one frustration factor will make second frustration factor slightly less obnoxious.

Step 2. Decide that when there is enough money in savings, it will be withdrawn and invested in a dryer thus, eliminating frustration factor.

Step 3. Take picture with fancy dancy new BlackBerry and send to husband with the caption, "The clothesline just broke." Not as though he can do anything about it from his office, but just to prepare him for what's to come this evening.

Step 4. Decide I will fix it myself, darnit. Planning conversation with husband when he inevitably asks what I did to break it. I'm the queen of one-sided conversations, in fact I have one going right now with the phone company, too.

Step 5. Eat my own thoughts and feel terrible when husband's response is, "Hmm, I must not have put it in right. I'll check it tonight." Feel like an idiot for starting imaginary fight, focus energy on phone company convo.

Step 6. Eat 2 chocolates to alter mood and access problem-solving capabilities.

Step 7. Utilize still functioning part of the clothes line and successfully hang up load of laundry.

Step 8. Blog about my own ridiculous self.

Step 9. Try not to scream as I see clouds heading our direction...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I'm from Washington. I know rain. I get rain. Rain and I are like bff.

I feel this way about Washington rain. Puebla rain, on the other hand, can shove it. Maybe those are strong words, but I'm a strong girl.

So, let me tell you about my day. The day greeted us with bright sun, birds chirping, and all the hopes in the world for a gorgeous July day. When, I ask, when will I learn that sun in the morning means nothing? Very slow learning curve on this one.

AV and I played with the umbrella outside in the sun, because AV doesn't do toys. She plays with limes and spoons and umbrellas, apparently.

After some morning fun in the sun, she took a nice nap and after lunch I decided it would be a grand idea to go to the park and to Costco. So, across town we went. The moment we got out of the car there was a giant, black, ominous cloud heading our way. I should have just put her back in and gone home there and then, but, I tell you, I'm really slow on this learning curve thing. So, we took one swing and about 3 slides, looked at some peacocks and called it good. We rushed over to Costco got our things, and a hotdog, so maybe not SO rushed, but whatev. And, then we buckled in for the ride home.

Driving straight into the eye of the storm. I kid you not. Sprinkles, showers, rain, pelting rain, can't see anything rain. All in a matter of a mile.

At this point, I'm chatting AV up, "Wow. This is quite a storm, bug. Wow. That's a lot of rain. Wooo."

As I take the left turn at the end of one road onto another, we pull out into, not a street, but a river. No, actually, I'll call it a creek since, what was in store was a river. We continue through the rapidly rising creek also known as Blvd Forjadores, and turn right onto the street that takes us home. Great, I'm thinking, it's totally clear. Right? Wrong.

There should have been a sign that said "Cross the railroad tracks and die." I did cross them. And I stopped. Stared. Disbelief. Honest to goodness, I am not lying when I tell you there were honest to goodness, white water rapids heading our direction. The busses' wheels were covered. It was up and over the sidewalks. The waves were rocking the car. I'm not exaggerating. Really, I promise, I'm not.

I checked on AV. Zonked out. Great, now I'm alone with my terror. Should I wait? Should I turn around? Should I drive through? Should we get out and swim?

Now, I find rain in Puebla terrifyingly hysterical. Terrifying, because, I don't want to be stuck in a river with a CRV and a one-year old. Hysterical because I think, Lord Almighty, where did you get all of this water in just one hour? How is that possible?

I made the executive decision as captain of the CRV to turn around and park the car. Good idea, I collected myself and made a plan. I would not be driving through the white water rapids otherwise known as Avenida Mexico-Puebla. I decided I would turn around and go the creek road to the freeway and come in the other side. Good plan.

Now, I made that happen with little to no hyperventilation. Until I got on the freeway. Why do semis show up when you're already on the brink of heart attack? Now, I'm driving behind a semi through enormous lakes, hydroplaning through patches here and there.

Safely exit, look up into the heavens and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Blue sky.

How does that happen????

PS. We made it home safely.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Miss AV is talking up a storm. I have no other reference point to prove that her talking can be defined as a storm, but it's a lot more than I was expecting for her age. And, she's my kid and everything she does is amazing.

I feel like she's extra amazing since she's learning two languages and seems to be doing it quickly and effortlessly.

Here's what she says.

Agua. Agua for juice, agua for water, agua for rain, agua for the shower. If it's liquid, it's agua.

Ah ya. She copies Abuela whose phrase of choice is 'Ah, ya.' Like ah, ok. or something of the sort.

Apple. She loves them.

Baby and Bebe. She likes babies, as long as they are not near or being touched by me. Jealous, much?

Bio Bio. Birdie. The sound and the name. Birds are cool in her book.

Buh bye. When the shower gets turned off, she says Byebye Agua. Spanglish from the beginning. Me gusta.

Buggy. She knows what a fly is and is fascinated by them. She also knows her nickname.

Daddy. Make him swoon? Yes, she does.

Ellie. The elephant on Pocoyo and the elephant on the mirror in the car.

Fuchi. It means gross and she says it, makes faces and waves her hand while getting her diaper changed. Fuchi caca. Nice, AV.

Gigi. My mom's grandma name. She knows Gigi is in the phone, in the computer and in pictures. apparently Gigi is also Pops because a man with a goatee and a bald head came on tv and she pointed and said, "Gigi."

Hi. Just like me, same tone, same inflection. Nice.

Iago. There's a boy in the neighborhood named Santiago. She is in love. Santiago was holding her hand when she took a face plant into the concrete. Now she says, Iago, owee.

Juice. When she wants to, not always. Sometimes she'll even go so far as to say Apple juice. But, why go through all the effort when she gets what she needs by saying Agua.

Mama. Mommy. She can say that as much as her little heart desires in my book.

Melon. Fruit. If it's not an apple or a papaya, it's got to be a melon.

Limones. Mones are any fruit that is green. Green apples, kiwis, plums, which aren't green but they're small and round so that'll do, oh yeah, and limes. They are mones and love to be held, carried and hid in places.

Moño. Which is the bow in her hair or the bow on her shoes or the bow on her shirt or pants or wherever. My girl is a girlie-girl. Yes, she is.

Oh, No. When she knows she shouldn't do something. Or when she's being a pill. I think I will start hearing this more and more over the next few months and years.

Papaya. If it's orange or a fruit and not an apple or a mone, it's a papaya.

Please. Also a word of choice, which is great except for when it's screamed at me and followed by tears because even though she asked nicely, the answer is still no. Sorry, Ana. Even if you do say
Beeee, you cannot play with knives. Nice try, though.

Thank you. Not used quite as much as I'd like, but we'll get there.

Tia. Ramon's sister is on her list of favorite people. So much so, that Abuelo is now tia, too.

Ven. Come here.

Voy. I'm going.

Zoom. Helicopters go zoom. I don't blame her for choosing zoom instead of helicopter.

I know I'll press post and think of a bunch of other words she says, but, I think you and I are both done with my parent bragging for the day...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Baby #2

Bet I really piqued your interest with that title, huh?

This post is NOT about how I am pregnant with baby #2, but it's more about how I am nowhere near even the remote side of interested in growing my family.

It seems so strange to me. When I got married I wanted to have 4 kids. Now, just barely two years into it, I can honestly tell you that if I didn't have another baby, I wouldn't be upset about that. Which makes me wonder, is there something wrong with me?

My good friend whose baby is 5 minutes younger than AV is expecting. A coworker with an 18 month old is 4 months pregnant. I know all sorts of people who are on for baby #2 or 3 or more and are like gung-ho (is that how you spell that?) about babies.

To which I think,
1. Like, it seems like we just started sleeping all night again. Except for the part that we now have stairs in our house and I wake up like 4 times a night thinking that AV has Houdini-ly escaped from her crib, opened her door and fallen down said stairs.
2. Buying and changing two different sizes of diapers? No thanks.
3. What do you do with the sleeping situation? Two cribs? Put them together in one? Seriously, baby #1 is like real small for a big person bed. Where do you put the next one?
4. Two high chairs? Where are you going to put them to eat?

I know that I do want AV to have a brother or a sister. Though, I would really love it to be a sister since putting a boy in pink dresses and hair bows wouldn't really fly. I just think that it might be a realllllllllll long time before that happens.

Maybe it's because I thought that I would be like magically wealthy and be at home and have all of my needs and wants met by some money/time fairy. Or maybe I just assumed I would be better at balancing life with a job, a family and a washing machine but no dryer. I don't know.

But for now, if you're looking for baby news, click on someone else's blog. Sorry.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I think it's time to press the restart button on this blog. I'm pressing F5 right now. And, yes, that is probably the extent of my knowledge when it comes to short keys on the computer.

There's so much to tell. There are so many moments that the blogging world has missed because of my busy-ness or laziness or whatever ness has left me disconnected.

Big news since the last time we were together.
1. We have a new house. It's awesome. It's ours. I don't have to move for like 20 years, which makes me so happy, I could explode.

2. School's out for summer. At least the kids are gone, and, for me, that's enough. They were done with me. I was done with them. We were ready. We said goodbye with a round of musical chairs and my darling students GROSSLY underestimated the power behind an almost 27 year-old mother of one's hips...that don't lie. I bounced quite a few right out of their chairs. Take no mercy. Letting the kids win is for losers.

3. It's almost my birthday and almost our 2 year anniversary. I'm officially going to be in my late-twenties. So far, I don't have any wrinkles and I still just have like one gray hair that likes to pop up here and there, so I'm okay with another birthday. I'm more okay with cake and presents, though. No big plans for our anniversary, yet. Maybe a nice dinner at our new dining room table. Fine by me.

Okay. Now, here's the deal. I don't want this blog to become a diary of boring posts about lameness. I want it to have spark, spangles, and any other exciting word that begins with sp-. So, I need you to tell me what you like to see posts about and I will do my best to make that happen.

Until then, peace out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mexican Things

There are so many things to love about Mexico.

Unfortunately, there are just too many people, both Mexican and non, who seem to relish in what I can only define as B-ing and M-ing. You know what the B stands for, and the M isn't a bad word, but the title just looks better that way.

I think for one of the first times in my albeit short history here, I can honestly say that I am super satisfied with life. Maybe it's because a lot of things have been going my way and a lot of our dreams are coming to fruition. But, maybe, just maybe, it's because my outlook on life is becoming much more positive.

There are still a lot of things that bother me and make me uncomfortable.

For example, it bothers me and makes me uncomfortable to see people rummaging through the garbage to find food that's still good enough to eat and cans and glass that are clean enough to sell. But, I'm happy that makes me uncomfortable, because if it didn't, it would mean that I have accepted poverty and injustice as normal goingson.

It makes me uncomfortable to see families with the nanny in a uniform pushing the stroller and carrying the bags and attending to the children. While I respect that employment as an accepted norm for a certain echalon of society, I won't let myself feel comfortable with seeing people pretend like that incredibly important individual who is working her tail off for minor compensation, is invisible. Not okay.

On the other hand, every day there is something more to love about this place. Things that make me smile and let me know that it might just all work out in the end. So, we're moving, right? I know I haven't told you, we're in the last hurdles to getting ourselves into our own home and I don't want to really share until I have keys in hand. Anyway, so we're moving and that means boxes and newspaper. I went to the newspaper stand. And by newpaper stand, I mean the 3 ft by 10 ft corregated metal box that's at the corner with a tiny old lady inside. I thought, "Why buy today's newspaper, if I'm not going to read it. I'll ask for yesterday's newspaper and maybe I'll get a deal." (Because, the definition of thrifty is why pay 10 pesos, when you can pay 8?) The aforementioned tiny old lady smiled at me and then asked, "Oh, do you want to buy the newspaper by the kilo?" Yes. Yes, I do. Where else could I go and by 3 newspapers for 6 pesos and have it sold to me by its weight.

I love you, Mexico.

Plus, the guy at Starbuck's and one of the police officers at school know me by name. That just tells me that for some people I've become a household name. That just tells me, that I maybe, just maybe, have a home here.

And you know what? Sometimes little things like that are enough.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mother of the Year

Just about every day I do something that gets me one step closer to the Mother of the Year award. And by one step closer, I really mean one step closer to the end of the line.

Why, you ask? Well, I wouldn't start a post if I weren't ready to delight you with a little diddy on my parenting.

Do you want the gross one or the funny one first?

I'm going with gross. So, I was changing AV's diaper, which, if you read the Frijoles post, then you can imagine, is pretty gross. Ana is in the super awesome stage where she like really really wants to grab the diaper. So, while I was cleaning her up, she did one of those one-year-old quick as a lightening bolt moves and started poking at the contents of her diaper. To which, I responded with the appropriate parental response of "Oh, Ana, that's disgusting. Don't do that. Yuck-Yucks, Fuchi, EEEEEWWWWW." I, then, proceeded to wash her hand. To which, she responded by putting her (now clean) fingers in her mouth and saying "Aaaahh" with great satisfaction.

Nice, AV.

Now, I make all her baby food, right? Which is easy considering it mostly involves boiling beans. But, since that Frijoles post, I decided that the her repetoire needed to broaden. For her own good, and because, let's be honest, I can't afford as many diapers as she'll need on a bean-diet. So, I made her next fave, spinach. My kid's weird. I know. Have you met her parents?


Later, we were in the kitchen and I was washing the dishes. It kind of, well, slipped my mind that the pan had water in it from steaming spinach. (Now cool, for all of you now concerned about her safety and well-being) So, you know when you grab something expecting it to be one weight and then it ends up being full of green spinach water? Well, what happened was that green spinach water went flying. I, being the one in charge of moving said pan with said spinach water, reacted with cat-like reflexes (because cat-like reflexes is the best way to describe me) and missed all of the spillage.

AV? Not so lucky.

Green spinach water came splashing down all over her. Being the Mother of the Year that I am, I, of course, immediately exploded into hysterics at Spinach Water Baby who was also in hysterics, but the bad kind. I did pick her up, comfort her, dry a little spinach water out of her hair and change her clothes....eventually. But, man, I had a good laugh first.

When can I expect my trophy?

Saturday, May 7, 2011


My mexi-baby loves beans.

She has never met a bean that she hasn't loved and then devoured. She eats beans for every meal. And I am being completely and totally serious. Whole beans, blended beans, refried beans, canned beans, homemade beans, with salt, without salt. If it's a bean, AV loves it.

She eats beans and eggs for breakfast. Don't bother trying to give her eggs on their own. She knows the difference. She'll have a few bites of oatmeal. She might nibble on some toast or Cheerios. But, when the beans come out she gets real serious about eating.

Lunch, beans and rice. Maybe the occasional spinach puree here and there. She might tolerate some carrots, squash, corn kernals, peas, etc, but only as long as they are mixed in with the beans.

Dinner, more beans. Tonight found us sitting on the kitchen floor because, well, when it's 6:00 and she's wearing only a diaper, her hair is going every which way, she's got fewer clean spots than dirty spots all over her body and has been going from zero to pitching a fit about 5 times in 20 minutes, you just make the executive decision that we don't need bibs or highchairs right now. What we need are beans. Cold beans in a tupperware, bubble wand in one hand, beans in the other. AV decided to share some beans with me, I got a mouthful of bubbly tasting black beans. De-lish. Thanks, darling.

I guess it could be worse. She could be addicted to chicken nuggets or candy or, I don't know, drugs. I suppose there are worse things than a food that is high in protein, fiber, folic acid, iron, and other minerals. I concede that she could probably love a food that was may more expensive or difficult to prepare, but she doesn't. She loves herself some beans. More power to her.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Things I forget.

AV and I just spent a fabulous 10 days in Bellevue. It is so nice to be at my other home where people are jumping at the possibility of spoiling us, spending time with us and making our time will spent. Though, living away from there makes me realize some things that I forget about the Seattle area and its people.
For one, sun = hot. Now that I live in a place where I can pretty much gaurantee that I'm going to see the sun at least 355 days, if not more, I forget how precious a commodity it is to Seattlites. Sun means we're eating outside, even if that means that we need to dry off all the lawn chairs and table and have goosebumps while eating. The sun's out, dangit and we're NOT going to waste a single minute of it.
On that same note, it can be sun = hot one day and you can wake up the very next day to the crappiest, dreariest, ugliest rainy day. It kind of makes you wonder if the day before even really existed. Was that yellow thing in the sky real or was it just Washington's version of an oasis?
Pedestrians are like, totally something you have to consider when operating a motor vehicle. Wait, what? You no longer have to dash out praying that the driver 500 meters, excuse me feet, won't take you stepping into the street as a signal to speed up. You just have to glance at the street and someone's already stopped to let you pass. Crosswalk? What's that? You don't need no stinking crosswalk. Cross wherever you please. EVERYONE will stop, and give you the "hey there, neighbor" wave. Amazing.
I really love my family. This isn't so much something that I forget than it is something I put in the back of my mind. I have a seriously kick-booty fam. My nephews are incredible. They are the perfect combination of silly, friendly, spunky, tricky and trouble-maker. It makes every moment interesting. I love that AV was so interested in her cousins. She loved following Liam around. She patted, and by patted I mean stuck her hands on Connor and Sawyer's faces. She loved all their toys and how they didn't even mind her being just a tad needy. And by a tad needy, I mean that I now need a vacation from my vacation.
Church can be lively, uplifting and fun. Now, I'm not saying that Mass isn't Mass in other places. I'm just saying that there is so much positive energy at St. Louise. Everyone seems so happy to be there and makes it a place where everyone else can feel the same way. Whenever I go, I leave with a happy heart. AV loved it, too. She danced all through Mass, clapped for the baptisms, and is learning how to make the sign of the cross. Just a couple pats on the tummy for now, but she's getting it. Going there reminds me why I drag myself to church Sunday after Sunday.
Going home reminds me most of all, just how blessed I am to have two places to call home.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm one now!

Otherwise known as, the day AV fell in love with cake and frosting.
I took the day of from work because a) that's what personal days are for and b) your baby only turns one once.

I had promised AV that I would take her to the aquarium a long time ago, so we did just that. By aquarium, please don't imagine Seattle Aquarium or SeaWorld. Think more along the lines of not quite an aquarium but still better than a fish store. They had tropical fish and fresh water fish. Fish from Africa, the Americas and Asia. They even have a shark tank, with no sharks. AV happily ate fishy crackers while we perused the tanks, which I found very appropriate.

Then we were off to the Honda dealership. What's more fun than spending your 1st birthday dropping off mommy's car for its service? Then we crossed the street, and by cross the street I mean I attempted to maneuver her Cadillac of a stroller on what can only be loosely defined as a sidewalk and darted across four lanes of traffic in fine Frogger style to the mall across the street. AV had her first taste of McDonald's soft serve and then commenced to walk the entire length of the mall, stopping only to check out the taco stand. Like father, like daughter.

Ramon picked us up and we spent the afternoon around the house. AV played with her birthday toy, which I am thrilled to put in the parent "Win" column considering my child is usually more interested in her toothbrush and the empty tube of toothpaste than any of her toys. She even played with it today, too. I'm impressed to say the least.

We walked over to the church where we baptized her and helped her to say "Thank you" to Jesus for one year full of growth and health and the joy she's brought to our family. She waved to Jesus and blew kisses which I think is as close to saying a prayer as you can get a 365-day year old to do.

Then we finished the evening with....CAKE!!!! I invented funfetti cake by adding sprinkles to white cake mix. Fancy, I know. I got real fancy with the frosting, a can, but I made spirals and ribbons with my new fancy dancy piping bag that I found for 50 pesos at the random store around the corner. AV loved it. Love. Like mother, like daughter.

As with any really classic first birthday, we ended the evening with a total meltdown and a much needed bedtime.

I can't believe it's been a year already. AV is a walking, talking tornado that makes us laugh and brings more joy to our lives than we ever could have imagined. Who knows what the second year of her life has in store for us, but if its as good as these past 365 days, I'll have absolutely no reason to complain.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I went and totally redeemed myself.

I am officially amazing. For the record.

Remember that time I made a million cracker/cookies that were just plain old sucky? Yeah, I didn't want to remember either. Well, today that day can be washed away from all the history books. It can be forgotten forever.

Because... I am amazing.

I made the most kick butt-est (kickest butt?) chocolate chip cookies today. From scratch. No recipe.

Yeah.. jealous?

Here is the recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.

1 stick Mexican sized butter/margarine. It's less than a US stick of butter. I don't know by how much, but it apparently makes a difference.

1/2 cup Mexican brown sugar. It's not squishy. It doesn't pack. But that don't matta.

1/2 cup white sugar.

Pinch of salt.

Use the 1/2 tsp but don't quite fill it of Baking Soda

Use the 1/2 tsp but don't quite fill it of Baking Powder (But fill it a little more than what you filled of Soda.)

Add flour 'til it's the right consistency. Like 2 - 2 1/2 cups-ish. (I live at high altitude. I don't know why that matters, but it does. I don't know how it will change your recipe for kick butt cookies.)

Add 1 cup chocolate chips.

Get out the lighter stick and light your oven....oh wait, your oven probably turns on by you pressing a button, whatev. Adjust the flame to between "cinge your eyebrows just by looking at it" hot and "you could put something in here for days and nothing would happen" lukewarm. That will get you a varying oven temperature that jumps between 200 and 400 farenheit.

Cook the cookies until they smell like they're done.

Take them out and write me a thank you note.

Monday, March 7, 2011

No one's giving you a Starbuck's card...

So, apparently, parenting doesn't come with cash rewards.

I did not get this memo during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or the first year of life.

I think a lot more people would have babies if there were some sort of incentive. You know, other than, like, that super cute baby you get to call yours.

Why am I saying this? So, the other day AV got a little fever. Nothing serious, I think the highest it got was around 100, but it was enough to make her cranky and needy... all night long. She decided she'd like to sleep in my arms. Fine by her, not so fine by me. I curled up on the couch. Why I curled up on the small couch and crunched my legs all up instead of moving to the big couch is beyond me, but I, along with many others I'm sure, don't tend to make the soundest and most coherent decisions at 1:30am with a crying baby.

Anyway, AV decided to wake up every hour, cry for a couple seconds and go right back to sleep. She slept fine. Me? Not so much. In one of those delusional sleep-wake moments, I got this fabulous idea that I was going to get a Starbuck's card for being up all night with her. That was the best idea I had heard in a real long time. It got me through the night.

But, then the morning came. Apparently, that is not, in fact, true. No magical Starbucks card with tons of free coffee coming my way. Just my same old decaf waiting to be made, by me, in my coffee maker, in my kitchen. No free day off. Just the same old 6:00 wake-up call, same old fifth graders, same old job.

But, would I spend the night squished on the tiny couch with AV again? Yep.
Even though there is no Starbuck's card? Yep. (Though I might conveniently forget so I could have that motivation next time.)

OR, I could just give myself the prize of Starbuck's...But paying for it myself just doesn't bring the same joy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


February has been a month of "firsts" in little AV's life.

Two weeks ago she (finally) got her first tooth. It came with a few sleepless nights and the classic new parent trip to the 24-hour pharmacy at 1:00am because we had the dropper for one medicine but no meds, and another medicine with no dropper. I'm sure the Farmacia Guadalajara loved my wacky ponytail, pj's and boots. Highlight of their lives and mine.

Yesterday really took the cake on the "firsts," though. Here they are in chronological order from 5:00pm-8:00pm.

1. First ponytail. Big deal in little girl world. Definitely won't be the last because I think her cuteness factor just went through the roof.
2. First steps. She's been walking around with one parent finger and cruising for a few weeks, but today she decided that she could do it all on her own. We might have to have a little chat about running, since she seems to only have one speed- fast. I give credit to a little visit from her friend Cedric who is 11 days older than her and walks all over the place. Who says jealousy isn't a great motivator?
3. First serious crash. Cheek, tv stand. You can imagine. AV is rocking a killer bruise now right across her left cheek. It makes her all dangerous and intimidating. If only it weren't for the pink ruffle-butt pants or flower pj's, she'd be super mafiosa.

Big day! Pictures to come, eventually, once I have a computer again...whenever that will be...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Long Time Gone

I know it's been a month and a half since I've blogged.

I won't make apologies, if you're looking for one.

I will tell you this. My computer will at some point be fixed. I believe this statement to be true. The only problem is that I don't know when that when will arrive.

But, let's just say the computer whiz, though I'm getting close to demoting him to computer "I kind of get how this technology stuff works," who is "fixing" it has been saying "this week" for about a month.

Soon. I promise.