Thursday, January 29, 2009

Still in USA Working

Still thankful.

Miss family even more!

Not so cold though.

I fly to Mexico tomorrow.

I will be in Mexico for the entire month of February! While I will continue to work remote, I will be at home each day with Husband, Oldest Son and Youngest Son. Words cannot describe how much I am looking forward to this next month ...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In USA Working for the Week

Thankful for the work.

Miss my family.

Freezing cold!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Unexpected Days

School Beach Day - Almost
It was Beach Day. Families were invited to meet at the local beach with a bucket, shovel, blind fold, broom and various other items. We had very clear instructions on where it would take place. So we thought.

First, the road we are supposed to turn down is blocked. There is an Extreme Triathlon and participants are running by us. We circle around and finally manage to get to the beach. No one is there. Are we at the right place on the right day at the right time? We have learned that in Mexico any of these factors can be misunderstood.

We call friends who are really not able to assist. We look at directions again. It seems like we should be in right place. Husband walks down beach both ways. A school of young children ought to be fairly obvious. No luck. I walk both ways. No luck.

We acquiesce to being a victim of Mexico logistics once again. (We find out next day at school that we were in wrong place – arrrggghhhh!) So we hang out at beach and have a fun time.
Then, we head over to beach village Centro for lunch. As we enter, we see there are booths EVERYWHERE on every square inch of every street. We have to park across the major thoroughfare and walk into Centro.

Surprise. There is a festival celebrating Our Lady of Peace (La Virgen de la Paz). The church is decorated with so many flowers. We choose a festival street vendor for lunch. So good! Tacos, sopas, hot dogs, cold soda and cerveza.

The boys spot a Rifle Shooting Gallery Booth. “Can we do it? Can we do it? Please!” Sure. It is hilarious. When you hit a target then some novelty turns on like the band of dolls plays. I get ready to snap a photo, Oldest Son hits a target and the Gorilla “pees” on me!

We thought we were going to play with kids’ school friends at beach but we ended up with other unexpected experiences. Another good day in Mexico.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The "Park"

Husband, Oldest Son, Youngest Son and I went to dinner in our small ocean-side village tonight. We were going to take a walk along the beautiful marina but got sidetracked at the "park." Well not really a "park" in the USA sort of way.

We stopped at Centro or the town square. There were Mexican kids running and playing a spirited game of tag, climbing on the gazebo, riding their bikes around and around and kicking the soccer ball here and there. Parents were sitting on benches chatting or just soaking up the happiness before them.

Youngest Son jumped right into Tag and was soon talking Spanish smack.

Oldest Son was greeted by an extremely Giggly Girl from his class at school. He sat with me for awhile before joining the fun. Once engaged, he chased the Giggly Girl on her bike all over the square.

Husband and I watched the kids at the "Park." "Park" to us is now defined as Centro or the Beach. Note: there are no USA type parks here.

We have been here many times. It is a family favorite. Simple. Timeless. Universal. Free.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Puff The Magic Dragon

Oldest Son and Youngest Son often go to sleep to music. Youngest Son has a favorite children’s CD that starts with Puff the Magic Dragon.

Last night I was awakened by this song - Puff the Magic Dragon. The CD player had mysteriously restarted.

I walked into my little boys’ room. They were fast asleep. I watched them and tears ran down my face.

Why you ask? Puff the Magic Dragon has prompted feelings of melancholy ever since I became the Mommy of boys. It so eloquently represents the innocence and imagination of little boys and that someday little boys are little no more.

Oldest Son and Youngest Son are still ripe with fantastic and imaginative play as they Live By The Sea. “Zorro” was in our tree this afternoon! (see above pic)

But, I have to tell you that motherhood is bittersweet. I celebrate every development but morn the parts of childhood left behind.

Puff the Magic Dragon written by Leonard Lipton, Peter Yarrow
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee,
Little jackie paper loved that rascal puff,
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. oh

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow wheneer they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name. oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee.

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, jackie paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New President

I will remember I watched President Obama take office while sitting at my Mexico dining table. Thank goodness the broadcast is in English so I can understand every word.

I love being an American today. I love watching the gracious transition of power.

Regardless of my specific views, I am thankful to former President Bush for putting forth the effort and sacrifice to lead our country.

I wish Presibent Obama and his advisors much strength to address the nation's challenges.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Shells Anyone?

Youngest Son has officially begun his Shell Selling business. Here is how it has gone down.

Oldest Son is the Supplier – Apparently Youngest Son owes Oldest Son 500 pesos so far.

Special Friend’s Daughter is a Partner – Youngest Son will send Special Friend’s Daughter part of the proceeds back to USA with me - not sure of exact terms.

Goods – Shells ranging in price from 1 to 20 pesos depending on the size (I have not told him that oyster shells may not have the value he anticipates.)

Target Buyers – Anyone walking down the beach in front of our home which means most exchanges are in Spanish.

First Customer - Security Guard in our complex - 5 pesos! (We will be tipping Security Guard well.)

Youngest Son has spunk. Perhaps those Mexican Beach Vendors are having an influence - who can predict what our Move to Mexico will turn up in the years to come?

Below - First Revenue and Cash Register - Really

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Whale Feeding Calf

See the light blue part jetting out in above picture - we think it is the flipper.

While this whole year is a once in a lifetime experience - today reached new heights.

We spent over 20 minutes observing a whale sitting on top of the water as you see in picture above. Now the whales go in and out - that is what they do. What was going on? Noe, our certified guide who does this all the time said the whale was feeding her calf. He sees this about 2 times per year! The whale just sat at the surface and would blow every 4 or 5 minutes. We could see a light blue area to the side and believe it was her flipper. We never did see the baby. As we pulled away she went beneath the surface. It was even better that we shared this experience with Special Friend and Special Friend's Daughter.

How did I get this life?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Our Shabbat Candle Stick purchased in Santa Clara del Cobre on our Road Trip.

I arrived back in Mexico this afternoon with Special Girlfriend and Special Girlfriend's Daughter (age 6 - same as Youngest Son.) Special Girlfriend is who I stay with when I am in USA. While being away from my family when commuting is tough, a surprising gift has been spending time with this family away from Mexico. So I am VERY pleased that they are visiting us in Mexico for the weekend.

We all went to swim and explore the beach when we noticed visitors who clearly looked Jewish. They are from South Africa and now live in New Jersey. It was nice to welcome them to Mexico with Shabbat Shalom.

Special Girlfriend's Daughter and Youngest Son have a unique connection. They were in the infant room together at our Temple's preschool and then spent the next 4 years in the same class. They literally have known each other since they were 5 months old! Both bubble over with personality and were laughing and playing immediately today.

Special Girlfriend and Special Girlfriend's Daughter are also Jewish. We celebrated Shabbat with them tonight. After we lit the candles and said the three blessings, Special Girlfriend's Daughter and Youngest Son alternated reading aloud Gates of Wonder, A Prayerbook for Very Young Children.

My favorite part is of this simple prayerbook is:

When I pray I wonder ...
I wonder what Mitzvah is;

I wonder about rainbows.

I wonder about day and night.

I wonder if I could touch the stars.

I wonder what I'll be like when I am older.

I wonder why people are different.

I wonder when all people will be safe.

I wonder about life.

Wondering is reaching for answers.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

FM3s Secured - Family is Legal!

Husband, Oldest Son and Youngest Son spent 4 HOURS at Immigration this morning.

The reward was their FM3s. Now we do not have to worry about taking them across the border every 6 months to renew the FMTs.

A Mexican Milestone Accomplished. No small feat.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

FM3 - Can it be?

I am in USA this week and got this email forwarded from Husband today:

"Dear Mr. Husband:
I was at the Immigration office today, and I was told to change the appointment
because the officer to sign and stamp your FM3´s won`t be working this Friday.

Could it be possible for you to go tomorrow, same time? ...

So Husband, Oldest Son and Youngest Son will be at Immigration in the morning at 9am.
Getting closer!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Canopy Zip Lines

We explored the Canopy Zip Lines with Atlanta Friends last week. Our family had never done this before. Highly recommend. It was quite fun. We caught an excursion bus which took us into the mountains of Puerto Vallarta.

A Canopy Zip Line Team of 8 charming, charismatic young men helped suit us up in a harness & helmet and provide training. You must be age 6 and 3'8" to participate. Youngest Son is exactly 3'8" - we measured. Husband, Youngest Son and I were asked no less than 7 times if he was age 6 - I do not think they believed us - he is a little guy.

We hiked up to first Canopy Zip Line. It was a short zip line and that is where they got The Photo - you know the one to sell at the end.

We then proceeded through a course of about 15 lines over trees, rocks and the river. It was really enjoyable. The kids had a blast. The Canopy Zip Line Team did a nice job of helping the kids and even riding with them on certain lines.

The final Canopy Zip Line had two zip lines side by side to race into the Landing Area. Landing Area had a bar, restaurant and beautiful mountain river. The river had huge boulders to hike around on and there was a swimming area with two rock slides. It was too cold for me but kids jumped right in!

The last bit of entertainment was a small animal menagerie. We got to go into a cage with small, rambunctious monkeys to feed them. The was also a large iguana to hold and few other creatures.

Another fun day in Mexico!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

FM3 Update - Almost There

Email from Mexican Attorney says Husband, Oldest Son and Youngest Son can pick up their FM3s next Friday morning!

Looks promising but will believe all in order when really happens!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Interview with Sons

We are 1/2 way through our Move to Mexico and how is it going? I interviewed Oldest Son (age 8, 3rd Grade) and Youngest Son (age 6, Kindergarten):

How would you describe your ability to speak Spanish?
Youngest Son: Amazing
Oldest Son: Better than Mommy's - Amazing

Why is it Amazing?
Youngest Son: Because at 1st I did not think I would be able to speak Spanish when came to Mexico
Oldest Son: Because I thought it would be super hard

What really happened when learning Spanish?
Youngest Son: We learned how
Oldest Son: We learned really fast

Why do you think you learned so fast?
Youngest Son: My teacher helps me speak Spanish. My friends talk to me in Spanish and I talk back correctly.
Oldest Son: My parents encourage me. My friends just speak Spanish so I have been determined to learn.

When at school what percent of day do you speak Spanish?
Youngest Son: 50%
Oldest Son: 45%

Do you think in Spanish?
Youngest Son: No
Oldest Son: When I think in Spanish, my mind thinks of a sentence and then translates to Spanish.

Do you dream in Spanish?
Youngest Son: Sometimes in Mexico
Oldest Son: No

What do you still need to work on in Spanish?
Youngest Son: Learn rest of ABCs
Oldest Son: I have trouble knowing where to put the accent (in writing)

What is it like to read and write in Spanish?
Youngest Son: Kinda easier in Spanish because I can pronounce letters easier and find what means faster (he is actually reading in Spanish easier due to vowels being easier)
Oldest Son: Been a little frustrating but in end works out

How do you think knowing Spanish will help you?
Youngest Son: When I grow up I am going to go to a business in Mexico and speak Spanish
Oldest Son: My work might send me somewhere where I need to speak Spanish or I might meet someone who speaks Spanish. I will also get better grades in Spanish in USA.

How do you think next 6 months will go?
Youngest Son: I think I will start learning more cursive
Oldest Son: Some hard times but I am ready for it

What foods do you like in Mexico?
Youngest Son: Red snapper, little snack fish, crab, lobster, shrimp, coconuts, coconut milk, mahi mahi, tamales
Oldest Son: Red snapper, tacos, quesadillas, lobster, helotes (local corn snack)

What do you miss from USA?
Youngest Son: My friends, Thai food place
Oldest Son: My friends, pizza

Are you glad to be in Mexico for 1 year? Why? What is best part?
Youngest Son: Yes because I am just happy. It is fun. I get to do things I don't do in USA. I like Birthday Parties and friends.
Oldest Son: Yep because Mexico is going to be an Adventure and I get to go activities like zip lining and the Road Trip/Camping. Best part is meeting new people.

My Comments: Nothing obviously profound in the literal answers. The profoundess of the answers is that of a child's happiness and unquestioning acceptence of the world in which he exists.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oh Where, Oh Where Can the Piñata Be?

Atlanta Middle Son turned age 9 while visiting this past week. We of course promised a birthday Piñata.

Embarrassingly, we could not find one! We looked in local town south of us and the one store was closed. We looked in the larger grocery stores and in shops along main thoroughfares. None.

We went to local town where we live but I have never seen any for sale there either. Then driving by on the street was the Local Whale Man who took us Whale Watching. He was dropping off son at town square.

We yelled out at Local Whale Man. He told us exactly where to go. We walked a few blocks up and the Piñata Store was closed. Local Whale Man had driven to Piñata Store to make sure we found okay. Local Whale Man talked with Mini-grocer next door to Piñata Store who said it would be open next day.

We go by next day. It is still closed. Oh Man! Atlanta Mom goes over to Mini-grocer next door who then goes somewhere. 10 minutes later up comes the metal sliding door and the Piñata Store was open!! Hooray!

So the Piñata Store was a new experience for us. It has traditional and modern designs and all are handmade. The shelves are neatly stacked with various kinds of candy. There are also the largest marshmallows you have ever, ever seen!

Atlanta Middle Son chose a Batman design for 90 pesos.

We get it home; stuff it with Mexican candy and string the Piñata up. Husband is quite clever to spray pulling rope with Pam to make it slide over tree branch easily. We locate a broom handle to whack it. Oldest Son and Youngest Son sing Mexican Piñata Song in Spanish. (I have updated since original post when I realized there are several versions! Thanks Mexico Bob

Dale, dale, dale.
No pierdas el tino. Porque si lo pierdes. Pierdes el camino.
Ya le diste una. Ya le diste dos. Ya le diste tres.
Y tu tiempo se acabó.

Here is a translation but I have NEVER heard this sang:
Hit it, hit it, hit it.

Don’t loose your aim. Because if you loose it. You loose the way.
You hit it once. You hit it twice. You hit it three times.
And your time is up..”

And as a special touch we had the Lucha Libre mask as the blind fold!

As it bursts we are thrilled to see the actual clay pot that is the body (not something you see in USA.) At every party or celebration we have attended in Mexico, there has been at least one Piñata. I enjoy reading about the history, tradition and symbolism of the Piñata. I have respect for this lovely Mexican tradition.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

School Starts Wed, No Mon, No Wed ... Monday

This is very typical of our life in Mexico.

We have a Mexico School Calendar that indicates the kids would go back to school Monday, January 5.

Other American Family (3 boys in same Mexico school and from same USA city) has a Mexico School Calendar that indicates kids would go back to school Wednesday, January 7.

We try to get in touch with teacher - no luck.

Sunday night at Taco Stand, January 4th, we run into a Local Property Manager Family (our Property Manager) who have 2 kids at Mexico School and have gone there for years. Local Property Manager Family says YES we DO have school Monday, January 5.

Then later that same Sunday night Local Property Manager Family calls us and says NO we do not have school for students - only teachers on Monday and Tuesday.

So we and Other American Family do NOT send kids to school on Monday and Tuesday - they return to Mexico School Wednesday, January 7.

Everybody asks our kids "Where have you been last 2 days?"

Oh well. Our family tagline coined by Oldest Son on our Road Trip:

"It's Mexico, It's an Adventure."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Woo - It has been a whirlwind week! We have maximized our visit with Atlanta Friends. So last Saturday …

Whales. Whales. Whales. Yes, we saw the Whales!

Majestic. Calming. Serene.

Honestly I could spend the entire day watching them and enjoy every minute.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Atlanta friends arrived yesterday. Oh Joy. And Fun.

We had a low key evening at the ole Casa. Kids played among the ocean tide pools and swam in the concrete pools . There was a pretty aggressive game of "water football catch" with some Mexican boys. Youngest Son was the smallest but who could tell?

Three repairmen showed up in late afternoon to fix our family room air conditioner unit (even though we are not using right it now). Laughter from all. The culprit? A large dead frog and a very small live frog. Even the Mexicans were surprised.

The evening had a competitive game of Risk with Atlanta Middle Son, Oldest Son and Youngest Son. Oldest Son had read all the instructions and was READY to play. Alliances and shifts in power were ramped. We finally had to call stops at midnight so I am viewing the world carnage now for the fight continues today.

Midnight brought explosions of color all around the bay. It was fun to scan the horizon and watch the New Year alight. I have never brought in the New Year in a country other than USA. Check that off the list!