Saturday, May 30, 2009

Play Dates in Mexico

Oldest Son, Youngest Son, Nanny, Nanny’s Husband and I spent yesterday afternoon at Punta de Mita. The intention was to surf. We went with Other American Family (Other American Dad, Other Oldest Son, Other Middle Son and Other Youngest Son) who lives In Mexico too. We have mutual friends visiting which includes Oldest Son’s Best Friend and Best Friend’s Dad.
No surf. Zilch. So …

Youngest Son and Other Middle Son grabbed their boogie boards and used them to collect sand and rocks from the bottom of ocean to play some imaginary game. They were fully engrossed and had a good time.

Oldest Son, Other Oldest Son and Best Friend took a fishing pole and some bait to fish. They caught a couple of eels and a rockfish. I get the Mommy of the Day award since I removed the hook from the rockfish. Rockfish have spines that are poisonous so I used a plastic bag to grab the fish and maneuver the hook out of his mouth and then to release the rockfish back into the ocean.

We all piled into a water taxi to boat around. Some of the kids took a swim and we all enjoyed the views.

Finally we had dinner on the beach after which the 6 boys spent a long time playing and building stuff in the sand.

A Play Date in Mexico.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Swine Flu Effects at School

The initial rumor was Oldest Son and Youngest Son would have to extend their school year from July 3 to July 14.

Tuesday we got The Memo effective Wednesday – the very next day.

Oldest Son will attend 3rd grade 30 minutes earlier and 30 minutes later each day until July 3rd. He will also go to school for the next 2 Saturdays.

Youngest Son will attend Kinder3 30 minutes earlier each day until July 3rd. Much to Oldest Son’s displeasure, Youngest Son does NOT go to school for the next 2 Saturdays.

So in usual Mexican fashion, things have been a bit confusing the past 2 days but nothing we are not used to in our Mexico life.

Just relieved that school year will finish as expected.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Yelapa in May

Our favorite thing to do with guests is to spend the day at Yelapa. Nanny, Nanny’s Husband, Oldest Son, Youngest Son and I took a water taxi from Los Muertos pier. We got a surprise when the taxi took us through the tunnels of Los Arcos which are located near Mismaloya.

Once at Yelapa, we had a very relaxing day at the beach. Kids commandeered Chicos boat as a spot to jump into the surf. We snacked through the day with our friend, random dog, sprawled next to the table. Of course, we sampled pie from the Yelapa Pie Lady. Nanny’s Husband was a popular “playmate” for Youngest Son – thank goodness Nanny’s Husband is so good natured!

We decided at the last moment to hike up the waterfall through village with Youngest Son astride a horse. Guess what? There is no waterfall at the end of the dry season – only a trickle. Duh.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Culture Shock Already Beginning

Husband and I were in USA this past week and Husband will be there another 2 weeks. Husband has not been back to USA since last July. So how is it going for Husband … well what has become intuitive to Husband is Mexico …

- Husband remarked “I feel like I am in the car all day.” In large USA city, you are. In Mexico, we have 1 main road and everything is right off it and we can walk to our coastal village and we do not go out and about too much.

- Say where is that and where did you say and which exit is it?

- Pants. Ties. Real shoes. Where are my flip flops?

- When did the mall get so big?

- Sinus headache anyone?

- USA money is all the same size and same color and it is paper – takes a little longer to count things out.

- Husband went to McDonalds drive through and started ordering in Spanish. The young woman kindly informs Husband she does NOT speak Spanish.

Meanwhile, I am back in Mexico. Muy Bien.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kids Back to School After 3 weeks!

So our kids have been out of school 5 of the last 6 weeks. We were out 2 weeks for Easter vacation, back in school 1 week for exams and then out another 3 weeks for swine flu.

When we dropped them off this morning we were greeted with an “official parent” asking whether we were sick. Upon answering no, we were allowed to progress to drop off where we were greeted by hand sanitizer and teachers in masks.

I am off to USA this afternoon to join Husband. Our much trusted and loved Nanny and Nanny’s Husband will be in Mexico with Oldest Son and Youngest Son till I return on Friday. Husband and I are a bit nervous leaving our two precious boys in Mexico without us but logically we know all will be just fine. The boys on the other hand are excitedly awaiting Nanny’s Husband’s arrival this afternoon - Nanny’s Husband plays in a band, writes music and is much cooler than Mommy and Daddy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Overheard: Chess Anyone?

Youngest Son: "I am going to play chess against myself."

American Mommy in Mexico: " Okay ... who do you think will win?"

Youngest Son: "I don't know."

The scene shows Youngest Son playing Chess and Oldest Son outside on patio with Housekeeper's Son (who only speaks Spanish and often comes to play) drawing pictures.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Role Reversals

Husband breaking open cocoanuts with Oldest Son and Youngest in our "backyard."

Husband and I are quite fluid in the way we approach our life roles. We have had every configuration you can imagine since kids born:
- Both working full-time
- One part-time worker and primary kid caretaker and the other working full-time
- One not working outside the home and the other working full-time
- One part-time worker and the other working full-time while having a part-time nanny

This past year I have worked full-time while commuting between USA and Mexico and Husband has been in Mexico full-time taking care of Oldest Son and Youngest Son. Very traditional roles assigned to non-traditional genders. It has had its advantages and challenges.

Husband and our two boys have had the greatest gift. How many little boys get this kind of time with their father? Incredible really. Husband loves Mexico and the lifestyle.

My experience has been mixed. The remote commuting routine has taken a toll on me as a mother and wife. Although, it has been wonderful in my role as provider this year. Totally worth the sacrifices to have our unforgettable adventure in Mexico.

Now what?

Husband is in USA for 3 weeks and I am in Mexico with Nanny (our previous USA part-time Nanny). Husband feels odd not having kids 24/7 and feel odd running a household again (while maintaining work commitments.)

We hope to adopt the “Mommy working part-time, Husband working full-time and having a part-time Spanish speaking nanny” family model when we move back to USA this summer.

However, we have learned to follow life’s path which for our family is clearly a winding river with twists and turns.

Friday, May 15, 2009

American Mommy in Mexico Gifts

We have become less consumerist in Mexico. As a result, Youngest Son has developed a new gift giving approach. He is a natural hoarder so he has lots of stuff stashed in his privacy drawer. When an occasion for gift giving arrives, he searches through his treasures, picks out something meaningful, wraps it in toilet paper and presents it to the deserving recipient.

On Mother’s Day I got many gifts of the heart:
- Handmade Card decorated by Youngest Son and written by Oldest Son
- Handmade rainbow (Youngest Son) and turtle (Oldest Son) using pegs kit (design on template and then iron)
- Spiral shell from Youngest Son
- Flowers picked by Youngest Son and placed in plastic shot glass
- "White bark" collected on one of our Mexico hikes that you can write on as paper - yes from Youngest Son
- Youngest Son took colored sand from one of his necklaces and poured into a shell and then placed another tiny shell in middle – lovely in so many levels

I hope to take a collection of everyday pottery back to the USA. Husband, Oldest Son and Youngest Son surprised me on my 44th birthday with the beautiful cup and saucer pictured below. It is made in Puebla and is found throughout much of Mexico (I think.) I also received a large shell wrapped in toilet paper – of course - from Youngest Son.

Spent last week in USA and am now back. Husband left today for USA for 3 weeks! Our previous part-time Nanny (who we love!) is here to help over next few weeks.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

La Manzanilla Critters

Youngest Son gathered a posse of other young boys and set out to collect beach specimens. Dead specimens. Ugh. My life as the Mommy of boys is always full of surprises.

I also encountered another critter of some kind while in La Manzanilla. I returned home with bites which could be chiggers, sand fleas – who knows. I came home with the same affliction from Cuernavaca in December. Bites on my legs and arms were swollen knots, warm to touch, itch and ache. I applied cortisone cream, took antihistamine and pain reliever. I clearly had allergic reaction because kids had none and Husband had a few but with minor discomfort. Ugh.

Friday, May 8, 2009

La Manzanilla Mangrove Tour

Last weekend, while in La Manzanilla we went on a Mangrove Tour set up by Visitlamanzanilla Mom and Lyle (Thanks!)

Highly recommend.

We left at 7pm in a small paddle-powered "panga" boat with 1 guide paddling and 1 guide talking and 8 participants a looking. We each had a set of binoculars in which to see all the wildlife. The talking guide, Dave, was a youngish and good looking scientist who was an excellent educator. We saw the crocodiles, of course, and many kinds of birds in their rookery (nesting areas.)

Here is some information from
Mangroves are a wetland ecosystem formed by plants and animals that live where fresh water rivers empty into the ocean in tropical or subtropical regions. In general, Mangrove forests filter out pollution, stabilize sediments, hold nutrients, protect the shoreline from erosion and provide food, nesting and nursery areas for many animals, including at least 220 fish species, 24 reptiles and amphibian species, 18 mammal species and 200 bird species. It’s been reported that the mangrove in La Manzanilla has as many as 200 resident American crocodiles.

This is my favorite kind of outing with the kids – all about nature and learning how to take care of our world.

The evening did not stop there, oh no.

We then went to the town square for ice cream for three little rowdy boys and tacos for the mommies. Kids ran and played till dark. We said Buenos Noches to Visitlamanzanilla Mom and Lyle.

The evening did not stop there, oh no.

Oldest Son, Youngest Son, Husband and I went to the beach with flashlights and a bucket to catch the little sand crabs scurrying about the beach. This is a family tradition at all beaches we visit. The kids chase down fast moving crabs, catch them with their hands, quickly drop them in the bucket and run for more. At the end we release all the crabs and jump about as they escape around our feet.

It was a lovely evening in La Manzanilla with nature, family and new friends.

Friday, May 1, 2009

La Manzanilla: Bloggers and Swine Flu

Husband, Oldest Son and Youngest Son and I met up with fellow bloggers Steve ( and Visitlamanzanilla Mom (

This was my first live meeting with bloggers and I was excited and a little curious on how it would feel to be “in person.” It felt like being with old friends. We already know each other and in some ways better than “normal relationships.” I guess this is how it felt when people got to know each other with personal letters.

I have followed Steve’s journey from planning to fruition. Given that he posts daily, I felt like I could talk with him openly about lots of stuff and it was like a continuation of a prior discussion. Meeting his Brother was a total bonus! Both are congenial, lovely men – no surprise. As Steve mentions on his blog, they seem very much like my two sons who are two years apart. Oldest Son sat at the dinner table reading most of the time and Youngest Son went from sulky to happy to looking for the next big adventure and back through all those again. Which Son matches Steve do ya think?

Visitlamanzanilla Mom arrived with Lyle. Here is how it went. When I asked Youngest Son this morning what he wanted to do today? “Have a play date with Lyle” Fast friends and very much alike in their blazing spirit to live life to its fullest.

I am still a bit overwhelmed that we literally arranged a play date in the virtual blogger world and I felt zero qualms. I knew Visitlamanzanilla Mom and Lyle would be a lot like us. In some ways more alike that many of our friends in USA in that we share this common (but uncommon) life of Moving our Kids to Mexico.
Husband (who is not a blogger and was hesitant on meeting up with what he would consider total strangers) said “They were surprisingly uncreepy.” Well said Husband (who had a great time too!)

I really, really enjoyed the La Manzanilla Bloggers Meeting.

Swine Flu Update
My own Swine Flu update is I am not flying to the USA Sunday. My client has restricted travel between USA and Mexico. So I think we may hang out in La Manzanilla longer or perhaps head up through Colima. All family members are healthy right now.

Kids on boogie boards right outside our La Manzanilla Casa - taken from balcony: