Saturday, April 28, 2012


I love this Blog. I recorded our adventures when our family lived in Mexico from July 2008 to July 2009. We then returned for 5 weeks in Summer 2010. This blog was and is our family history and also a resource for other families looking to raise kids abroad for a limited period of time.

Oldest Son is now in 6th grade and Youngest Son is in 3rd Grade. They are both still fluent in Spanish - we have created opportunities to maintain their bilingual status.

We start a new family dynamic in April 2012. Husband is commuting between Houston and Dallas weekly - similar to what I did the year we were in Mexico.

I am starting a new blog. I think I can help other families who choose the Commuter Family option. And once again, I capture our family history. And I just like blogging - when I have something of interest to say.

American Mommy in Mexico ends. For now. Tear Drop. Expect to SOB again some day.
"I am mid-40s Mommy to Oldest Son (age 10) and Youngest Son (age 8). I am married to Husband who is 50ish. We both earn a living in small independent businesses. We have a typical kid juggling existence but look for a slightly different life path when possible ..."

I am now Mommy with Commuter Husband.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Camping Friends Checking Out the Beach on Day 1

In our year living in Mexico (July 2008 - July 2009), we were fortunate to have many visitors - special time with special people in our lives.
We were able to replicate that experience last week. Two couples, I will call them our "Camping Friends" stayed a week in the same place we are in now and we were able to show them bits and pieces of Mexico. While Camping Friends have children, they were able to go SOB for an adult vacation.

We had a great time with them.

Here is a glimpse from Camping Friend #1 Husband thanking us: " ... for showing the path less traveled - the taco stands, raw tuna, Tu Pollo, the pie lady, Sienna and fish on a stick at the beach, surfing, Latcho and Andrea, etc."

And another email we just got from Camping Friend #2 Wife: "I want to go back to Mexico. Very crazy week. Very much like in Mexico. Plumbers saying they will come and do not. And, when they finally got here, they even spoke Spanish. Spent 48 hours with plumbers, inspectors and atmos trying to figure out gas leak mess. Trying to board dogs, but petsmart phones at location I want are down until next week...ugh......all this hassle and no waves to go with it!"

Mexico is a frame of mind. It is a way of thinking. It honestly thrills me that our Camping Friends took a part of the "path less traveled" and the "things do not go as expected" paradigm with them back to the USA.

Mexico is way more than geography. Mexico can change you. Or maybe it is just the concept of exploring other ways of approaching life that is the change agent. I do believe that tolerance is the real goal and living abroad for even a small part of my life has made a difference. So sharing that experience with people important to our lives and the lives of our children is significant.

Special time with special people in our lives ... this is what really defines our lives where ever we are ... who ever we are ...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Guest Blogger: Youngest Son - A Poem

by: Youngest Son
Mexico Mexico is the best
You can swim in the water
But you better put sun screen on every day
Or else you'll burn up that day

Note: Oldest Son and Youngest Son are keeping a journal this summer. Youngest Son asked to write a poem today.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Boys Are Boys ... Where ever they are ...

A Cheap Mega Plastic Power Rangers Ball
Two Cardboard Boxes
A Rectangle Play Area
An 8 Year Old in Ben 10 PJs
A 10 Year Old excited about the Recent NBA Playoffs ...

"You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again."
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Friday, June 18, 2010

Los Piojos for Oldest Son

Well the adventure continues for Oldest Son. He has his first case of piojos ... lice.

Wednesday: The Nayarit schools announced that they will close school on Friday - 3 weeks earlier than planned! Husband checked with kids' Mexico school to see if Oldest Son and Youngest Son could attend for last two days. Yes.

Thursday: Kids went to school and had a great day. Oldest Son was excited about high marks on a math test. Youngest Son brought home a great picture he had drawn about his summer: Oldest Son surfing, Youngest Son hanging on to Oldest Son, a flattering depiction of me wearing a bikini (which I never do!) and Husband colored in with a sunburn all over. Ummmm, there must be some kind of deeper meaning to these artistic choices by Youngest Son. Something to ponder.

Friday (today): Parties all day long at school. Youngest Son came home covered in dirt from playing outside. Oldest Son came home with lice. Well, to be technically correct, we only found the eggs. We have treated Oldest Son's scalp and are hoping no hatchlings reveal themselves tomorrow. We have switched all the linens and quarantined the stuffed animals. Husband, Youngest Son and I are piojos free so far.

Saturday: We will see ...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Oldest Son Gets Stitches


Oldest Son continues what appears to be a tradition of sorts. He has taken our family further into the Mexico Health Care Experience. (Remember
As you can see from the BEFORE picture above, Oldest Son fell and busted open his chin this afternoon.

Husband and I began the very common parental decision discussion: does he need stitches or not? We decide he probably does.

Husband and I then have the uncommon parental decision of how to handle in Mexico. While we have been to the Mexican doctors many times, we are a little more conscientious due mostly to the risk of infection and some to the cosmetic considerations. We call Other American Family to see if they have a doctor suggestion. We end up with 2 choices: (1) go to large tourist town hospital or (2) go to local small coastal village doctor who only speaks Spanish and seems reputable. We call local doctor. He is there and says he can handle it. Note it is 5:30pm.

Husband, Oldest Son, Youngest Son and I walk to get Other American Family's car and head out.

Doctor is ready for us when we arrive. He is very friendly and welcoming. His office is pretty much like other small Mexico village doctor offices: small, sparse and dark. Doctor is dressed plainly. Husband and Oldest Son translate Doctor's Spanish for me. Youngest Son is eager to watch the "show."

Doctor lets us know after first examination that Oldest Son will probably need a couple stitches. Doctor indicates he will use a topical anesthetic. Hmmmm.

Doctor starts cleansing. I am most concerned about infection so his aggressive attack on cleaning puts me at ease. His assistant is a young Mexican girl - sweet but definitely not a nurse. She opens package after package of sterile gauze for the doctor to use. There are several squirts of the topical anesthetic.

Doctor then advises us that a just proper bandage will probably be enough and demonstrates (no stitches.) We decide that we want him to do the stitches so he gladly does as we request.

Doctor starts but the topical is not enough anesthetic. Assistant is off to get the needle. Several injections later Doctor is ready again. Oldest Son's body language shows he is relieved that the stronger anesthetic is used. There seems to be a good bit of blood. Doctor puts in 2-3 stitches, has us look to see if we want another one in the middle. This time Husband and I agree with Doctor that the additional stitch is not necessary.

Whew. Oldest Son was our usual stoic, brave soul. No complaints. No tears.

Doctor writes down the antibiotic and something for pain. He instructs us to keep area dry for couple days, no ocean swimming and come back on Monday (no particular time.) Doctor also says to eat no fat or pork and drink no sodas. Hmmmm.

Husband and I are comfortable that Doctor did a good job and Oldest Son will be alright. We think we made the right series of decisions.

Doctor Cost: $650 pesos which included all the supplies he used (about $46 USD).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Shabbat Shalom

I love that Reform Judaism is portable and tolerant. We embraced both of these attributes this Shabbat evening.
Our Shabbat preparations started with a bus ride. Husband, Oldest Son, Youngest Son and I caught the local bus on the nearby road. Our 30 pesos took all 4 of us on a 30 minute ride to Mega. We purchased items for our Shabbat dinner. We took a taxi back for 190 pesos in order to transport our 4 boxes of groceries and make a quick stop at our favorite bakery.
It was time ...
Oldest Son lit the candles. My Chanukah present this year was this clever Shabbat Candle Travel Holder. It folds to a ball (see the hinge) and then opens to hold the lights of Shabbat. There are scenes of Israel on the outside.
We recited the Blessing Over the Candles:
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
l'had'lik neir shel Shabbat. (Amein)
to light the lights of Shabbat. (Amen)
Then ...

Traditional: Kiddush is recited while holding then drinking fruit of the vine (a cup of wine or grape juice)
In Mexico: Well - we embrace the spirit that moves us and customs around us ...
We recited the Kiddush:
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha-olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
borei p'ri hagafen (Amein)
Who creates the fruit of the vine (Amen)
Finally ...

Traditional: We lift the Challah loaf and recite the Ha-Motzi. The challah is then ripped into pieces or sliced and passed around the table, so that each person may have a piece. The family meal may then begin.

In Mexico: Youngest Son lifts the Totopos ...
We sang the Ha-Motzi Song:
Hamotzi lechem min haaretz,
We give thanks to God for bread.
Our voices rise in song together as our joyful prayer is said,
“Baruch atah adonai, eloheinu melech haolam,
hamotzi lechem min haaretz. Amen.”
(Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe
who brings forth bread from the earth. Amen.)
The Family Meal ...

Traditional: Brisket or Chicken, Vegetable

In Mexico: We made Sopas - Muy Bien!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Guest Blogger: Oldest Son - Going Back to MX School

Heading out from our Villa
Yesterday, I went to school at Colegio --- with my friend Other Oldest Son. I was nervous because I didn't know if my Mexican friends would remember me. But when I got there, everything was fine.
First I went to Spanish Class where we read a story called "La Fantasma de Canterville." Then, the Spanish Teacher had me write a reflection in Spanish (see below!). I enjoyed Spanish Class because we got to read an interesting story.
Afterwards, I went to English Class. In English Class, we had had a spelling competition but no one won. Each student said one letter of the word but it seemed like most kids had not studied. We had to translate from English to Spanish.
It was fun coming back to Colegio and seeing all my friends.

My brother, Youngest Son, also went back yesterday. When he arrived, his friends happily chased him around the school singing a song that included his name!
He did this excellent work below. He also sold his Silly Bandz for pesos and used the pesos to buy Oreos, 2 Ice Creams, Pie and Bolita (frozen juice.) He ate all of it after school in 10 minutes except the Oreos!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Busy First Few Days

We have been very busy settling in the past few days. We have already done so much!

On Thursday, Other American Family (Other Mom, Other Dad, 3 Boys) and our family picked up USA Friends (2 Dads and Son) from Cruise Ship. We caravanned to the Zip Lines. So fun. Above you can see Oldest Son jumping into river after we did all the Zip Lines. The 6 Boys had a great time swimming and playing on the large boulders.

Then we went back into town. The 6 Boys then opted to swim in the ocean. You can see where 6 Boys have hastily abandoned shoes for the sand and surf.

On Friday, we finally were able to move into our small villa (2 bedroom w/ kitchen) in a "resorty kinda of place" for the month. The view above is from our balcony and shows the haze of the rainy season approaching. I was able to get a really, really reasonable deal for this low season month! Husband has been busy setting up Skype lines and computers and cables and internet so we can work remote this month.
We are right next door to where Other American Family lives. So on Saturday, Youngest Son spent 5 hours building sand fort with Other Youngest Son (age 6) and Other Middle Son (age 8) while Oldest Son alternated body surfing and pool play with Other Oldest Son (age 10.) Husband went to Mega to stock our kitchen - it was the usual spotty experience - some stuff there and some stuff not so much.

And this Sunday morning, the crabs were moving about in multitudes as happens every year as the rainy season starts. Youngest Son carefully shows his morning catch. We do, of course, practice catch and release.

I have not written about our Friday night yet - quite the night - next post!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Back - June 1, 2010 to July 8, 2010

We arrived South of the Border on June 1, 2010. Husband, Oldest Son, Youngest Son and American Mommy in Mexico are back but only for a short time. We will be here until July 8th. We are back in the same Pacific Coast area.


I will work remote just like before (when we lived here July 2008 through July 2009) but no commuting. I worked most of today. However as I sat in front of 3 computers, I had a great view of the ocean and palm trees and a lovely coastal breeze. Not bad work conditions.


Oldest Son and Youngest Son took sailing lessons in local marina today. They were able to man their own boats. Very cool.


We had tacos and flan and cerveza at Tacos on the Street.


About to go to sleep to the sound of rolling waves and bats chirping and geckos singing.


Sunday, August 30, 2009


It was August 1 when I last blogged. It is almost painful to bring up this blog now (I seriously have tears in my eyes). Mexico and this Blog have been our life and our adventure since March of 2008 when we decided life was to be embraced. And embrace we did!

How is re-entry?

Husband and I feel like we are on the "Truman" set - you know that movie with Jim Carey where everything is perfect. Mexico is raw, untidy, unstructured, messy, loose, unpredictable, tolerant, imperfect ... and the USA is the opposite of many of these things. The USA is an amazing country and it is easy to see why people want to live here. Everything just "seems" so perfect ... it is surreal ... like a movie set.

Oldest Son and Youngest Son have re-entered their fancy private school. They are adjusting seamlessly. Youngest Son's exciting news is that he broke his arm but he will be fine. Interesting side note on Oldest Son is that we did private tutoring in August to catch him up in Hebrew - he successfully "did" a full year of Hebrew in 3 weeks - could this have been affected by the language skills he acquired last year? Maybe.

Yesterday, we spent time with friends at their ranch. They lived last year in Spain with their 9 year old daughter. It was great to talk with another USA family that had made similar choices and ended up with similar conclusions. Not everyone here can understand who we were before and who we are now.

And one topic of discussion with these friends of kindred spirit : Where will we go in 2 years?!! Moving Kids to ...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

So we are back ...

It has been a very busy time since we arrived in USA. Here are quick updates:

Final Leg of Trip
It is ironic that our drive through Mexico was fine but getting across border and drive up through Texas was challenging. We sat on the Nuevo Laredo Bridge for over 2 hours in over 100 degrees heat! Not fun. But we finally arrived at our destination at 11pm Monday night, 7/20.

Oldest Son
Oldest Son had a GREAT time at Jewish Sleep Away Camp. He started Hebrew Tutoring last week to catch up on the year of Hebrew he missed. So far so good. I think, perhaps, those language development skills he acquired this year should help ... maybe ... who knows.

Family Emergency
My grandmother (age 78) went into ICU last weekend for Congestive Heart Failure. I actually landed in Atlanta airport and had to board a plane to head straight back. While still in the hospital, she is doing much better.

Before I discontinue this blog, I have some wrap up and transition kinds of posts I want to write about so more later ...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

We made it to Saltillo!

My view from front seat to back of SUV - every inch is full - good thing Youngest Son is small!
We left at 7am (about an hour later than we had hoped) and arrived at the Hampton Inn in Saltillo at 9:40pm. Whew. Here are some highlights of today’s Road Trip.

Taco Stands – I Love Them!
We got our first tacos and tamales at 10:30 am from roadside stop off 15 outside of Tequila. Youngest Son and I had bean/steak small tacos and Husband had chicken tamales. I dressed mine with cabbage, salsa and pickled onions.

Our next stop was late afternoon where Youngest Son ordered quesadillas and I got flautas dressed with cabbage, tomatillo sauce, salsa and cr̬me fresh. Husband got a cheeseburger and it had a slice of ham on it which he quickly removed Рpork creeps into everything in Mexico!

The day's meals totaled about $11 USD.
Youngest Son Antics

Scene #1 – In car headed down Mexico highway.
Youngest Son
“I gotta poopie.”
Mommy “Can you wait a few minutes?”
Youngest Son “No, I gotta poopie.”
Mommy “Well, you are going to have to wait because we cannot stop here.” (no facilities in sight and no shoulder to pull off onto)
Youngest Son “I went poopie.”

The scene deteriorates from there with me quickly finding a Poopie Bowl and you do not want the rest of the details. Side note: Poopie Bowl now joins Vomit Bucket and PeePee Bottle for our Road Trips.

Scene #2 - Federales Checkpoint # 3 of 4 (we were pulled out 2 of the 4 for search)
Federales ask to purchase our Roller Blades. Husband respectfully declines to sell.
Youngest Son “We can sell Oldest Son’s!”
Note: Oldest Son is not with us ...

Quota is My New Favorite Spanish Word
We took a different route this time by going through Guadalajara to Quota 80 to Aguascalientes. It was a bit out of the way but we avoided the curvy, curvy curvy (but very, very, very beautiful) 54 route. Quota describes the toll roads in Mexico and they were worth every peso today.

We almost made a Mexico Road Trip with no wrong turns which never, ever happens. We made it all the way to Saltillo with no major logistical issues. We arrived at Saltillo just as it got dark and there is tons of construction. So we had to back track a bit but all is well.

We leave at day light tomorrow and cross the border at Nuevo Laredo.
Below is pic from car window of view between Zacatecas and Saltillo. Those "trees" always make me think of Dr. Suess!

Saturday, July 18, 2009 - Part 1

Saturday was our final day in our Mexico Casa. How did it go?

5:30 am drip, Drip, DRIP
Awaken by drip, Drip, DRIP. Husband, Youngest Son and I are sleeping in master bedroom with wall unit air conditioner. It is leaking allot. On the wood table. On my 2 computers! “Husband!” We spring into action with towels and pans to catch the water. Yes, we have done this before so know the drill. Computers seem fine since I caught it early.

drip, Drip, DRIP. Husband cannot go back to sleep since it is like water torture.

7:30am-1:00pm Packing
Pack Pop-Up Camper and SUV. We have 1 majorly rude exchange which is good for us when getting ready for a trip. Husband is in shock that we actually got it all in the truck. We brought all in two trips but only going back in one. Husband is then stressed about the weight - good grief.

We gave 2 large loads of stuff to our housekeeper which helped.

We did have some trailer hitch drama which went something like this:
- Trailer hitch stolen several months ago off SUV
- Husband gets 2 new hitches when in USA in May
- 2 New Hitches do not work the greatest
- Husband orders another hitch
- I go out of my way to pick up while in USA on last trip
- I forget to bring them back to Mexico last week!
- We are going to make due with what we have and cross our fingers

One of 2 loads of stuff we are giving to our housekeeper.

1:00 pm-2:30pm Mexican Landlord
Mexican Landlord and Property Manager arrive for check out. All in good order. We discuss many repairs Mexican Landlord needs to make mostly around water leaks and talk for awhile. Mexican Landlord says is going to do a total re-do with new kitchen, plasma television – we will see – he definitely could since he made a sizeable sum from us this year having the villa rented in USDs for 13 months straight.

Housekeeper arrives. She cannot get a truck to our house to pick up stuff today. Our SUV is full now. We arrange for Property Manager to meet Housekeeper after we leave. We give her an extra couple weeks of pay – she has 5 ninos.

Husband secures items on top of Pop

1:00pm-3:30 pm More Packing
Complete securing items on top of Pop-Up Camper. Oh my gosh we can relax a bit.

3:30pm-6:30 pm Relax Watch a movie, swim in pool and take showers.

6:30pm-8:30 pm Walk and Dinner
We walk to ocean village for tacos and cold cerveza. We enjoy our walk:

Walk through marina.

One of our favorite taco stands in el centro that has been closed since April - I hope it re-opens in high season.

Walking through village to taco stand.

We check out the igaunas while waiting for our tacos.

I will "finish posting our walk later - gotta head out so we make it to Saltillo before dark!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Shabbat Shalom & Shehecheyanu

Our candles are packed. So we improvised.

The setting is in the pool beside the ocean at high tide. The roll of the waves is soothing. The sounds of a large Mexican family on holiday are pleasant.

Husband, Youngest Son and I lit imaginary candles reciting the blessing, pretended our cerveza was wine singing kiddish and held up invisible Challah for the Hamotzi:

Hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz
We give thanks to God for bread
Our voices join in song together
As our daily prayer is said:

Baruch atah adonai,
Elohaynu melech ha'olam
Hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe
who brings forth bread from the earth

I wish for Oldest Son a very special Shabbat tonight. His first Shabbat at Jewish Sleep Away Camp will be filled with song and tremendous fellowship. I think of the Shehecheyanu:

Baruch ata adonai elohenu melech ha olam, shehecheyanu, v'kiyimanu, v'higiyanu laz'man hazeh.
Blessed are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.

This joyous blessing is recited at the arrival of any long awaited occasion. Holidays come once a year, as does sinking your teeth into the first cherries of summer, and events such as b'nai mitzvah or the arrival of a new baby. All of these are occasions to say the Shehecheyanu. Any kind of a "first" ... First Shabbat at Jewish Sleep Away Camp and our Last Shabbat for this Move to Mexico.

Reciting this blessing enriches one's appreciation of the little things in life.

A favorite photo of the boys earlier this year along our beach.