Archive | May, 2011

Happy Monday

23 May

I have soooooooooooo many things to be happy about today… but so little time to share. I’ve been MIA for a bit because z-baby and I were getting ready for and are now on a month-long trip. Busy, busy, busy and lots of fun so far.

Like I said, many things to be happy about. But one is so huge that it deserves a solo appearance so I’m only posting one thing today.

Drumroll please…..

  1. Sig-o is now officially a US citizen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He was sworn in last Monday and we still kind of can’t believe it (and still can’t get visions of the hyper, over-the-top patriotic ceremony out of our heads, but that’s another story…). This is a big deal for us. We’ve been working on this process for 12 years now! Now that we reached this milestone, I promise to share the whole story with you soon. YEAH!!!

Advertisements

Camping, crabs, and dirt

11 May

Last week we took z-baby on his very first camping trip. Sig-o and I love to camp, but it had been awhile since we had actually done it — since I was pregnant with z-baby, in fact. So we were thrilled to finally share this piece of our lives with him.

We decided to stick close to home in case he didn’t take to it well, and camped at a nearby state park. This is what I call posh camping… and it was perfect for z-baby.

We told z-baby what we were doing and he helped us pack up. But when we talked about going night-night outside, he just looked at us like we had lost our minds. But he did have fun playing in the tent as we set up camp… he liked it so much we had a hard time coaxing him out.

Tents

Color coordination not intentional, but kinda cute

We sat around and relaxed, but found lots to do, too. There was a great little playground, and I’m not sure who enjoyed it more — z-baby or the dog.

Playground

No, you go first!

Then the camp hosts lent us some crab pots and we went crabbing for the first time ever. It was so much fun!

Crab pots

Crab pots

We didn’t have meat for bait, but we had some fried chicken. And we all know how much crabs like soul food… right?

Baiting crab pot

Baiting the crab pot... with fried chicken

So we baited them, tossed them in, and waited.

Watching crabs

Watching crabs at low tide while waiting to check the crab pots

And would you believe it? We caught our first crab!

Crab in pot

There's a crab in there!

We caught a few more that we tossed back because they were too small. By the time we were getting the hang of it, z-baby and the dog were ready to move on (go back to the playground, that is). But we did enjoy one crab as an appetizer that night!

Crab on grill

Yum!

Z-baby and I also took a few nature walks. We focused on textures and looked for things that felt different — leaves, pine cones, thorns, marsh mud, moss. He wasn’t so sure about this at first, but picked out some pine cones on his own to take back to Papi.

Luna hiking

Doggie leads the way

Once he let his guard down enough to touch some new stuff, he must have been feeling adventurous. He waited, of course, until he was freshly bathed… and then he became one with the dirt.

In the dirt

Testing it out

Cars in dirt

Driving cars in the dirt

Dirt on hands

Showing off his dirt

And what could be a better way to end our evenings than with roasted marshmallows and smores?

Marshmallows

Double yum!

The first evening it took z-baby a bit to realize we weren’t kidding about the sleeping outside part. But he got over it and had no problem with it. He even slept though our dog obnoxiously whining, growling, barking, and generally being a restless pain in the butt the e-n-t-i-r-e night. We knew it would be rough when some deer came up into our camp area before we were even in the tent. And then all hell broke loose when some raccoons came up and stole the backpack with all the dog food in it because someone (ok, me) forgot to put it up high enough where they couldn’t get it. Oops. She drove us so crazy that sig-o put her in the car to sleep sometime in the wee hours of the morning. And then we went to buy more dog food.

We had so much fun we stayed an extra night. It was a perfect get-away that we greatly needed, and some nice family bonding time before z-baby and I take off for a month-long trip to see family. Can’t wait until we get home and can do it all over again!

Happy Monday

9 May

So many things to be happy about today!

  1. Taking z-baby on his first camping trip!
  2. Witnessing z-baby become one with the dirt on his camping trip.
  3. Roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.
  4. Seeing my dog act 5 years younger because she was so happy to be camping again, too 🙂
  5. Surviving z-baby’s first sleepover with grandma.
  6. Gearing up for sig-o’s big interview for citizenship. Send us good vibes and well wishes… he’ll be sitting in the interview at this very time next Monday!
  7. Cooking… and lots of it. I’m getting ready for a trip (I’ll be gone a whole month!) and cooking ahead and freezing stuff so that sig-o will have plenty to eat while I’m gone. When I did this last summer I remember how overwhelming it felt. This time I’m making progress at record speed and having fun while I do it (though I’ve been going so fast I haven’t taken time to take pictures for Foodie Friday).
  8. Watching z-baby and the dog romp around and playing this morning.
  9. Last night while giving z-baby a bath, the shower curtain and rod fell down on us. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I could just laugh about it with no melt down.
  10. Melting into a puddle of lovey goo when z-baby toddled over to me yesterday with a big bouquet of flowers and a card and said, “Lub ooo, Mommy!

800 days

6 May

800 days. Even.

It has been exactly 800 days since z-baby was born. And in those 800 days, we have been separated for no longer than 12 hours.

But tonight, for the very first time, he is sleeping over at my mother’s. His first sleepover.

He helped me pack his bag and reminded me over and over again not to forget his hat. He was so excited as he rolled his bag up to the door. He gave me a little kiss, said, “Bye, Momma!” and was off to play.

It pained me to leave him… and I kept myself busy this evening so that I wouldn’t think about it. But after sig-o got home and we started winding down for the evening, it hit me again.

I miss my baby. I may have cried a little. And I’ve been fighting the overwhelming urge to go over there just to be close to him.

I know he’s with my mother, but I feel like he’s all by himself. He’s still such a baby (only 800 days old!) and I’m still not ready to share him.

Sig-o says he’s just a part of my life, but not all of it… and that I’m not his whole life, either. But I want to be. For now, at least. Is that soooo wrong?

Just say NO to crack!

3 May

Yesterday z-baby and I went to the neighborhood pool for the first time this season. I was so happy! I wasn’t planning on going until sig-o could go with us, but I just couldn’t wait. We even had the pool to ourselves for a long time before a bunch of people showed up. Z-baby had a lot of fun and his skills have improved significantly despite not having been in a pool for about 7 months. He kicked like a pro, blew bubbles, jumped in from the side, and went under water without barfing (yipeee!). And he was much easier to get changed after all the fun — not at all like last year when he would run around like crazy and try to get back in the water at the precise moment that I pulled my dress over my head.

I threw our swim clothes in the washer last night and as I pulled them out this morning I was bragging to sig-o about how well it had gone for us and how much fun we had. And then I saw my bathing suit. Oh mah gah…

Swimsuit

See how it's dark on the right and dark on the left? And see that sunlight coming through the middle? Yep. That's where my crack was shining through in all it's glory, too.

Now, I’m not a big worrier about how I look, but I am opposed to showing the world my butt crack. Holy hell! I had no idea my ass was totally on display yesterday! And what about all those people? Ok, the tiny teens in their tiny bikinis were probably laughing their tiny asses off, but what about the mom with twin toddlers? She couldn’t mention to me that my bathing suit was one little underwater bubble from splitting wide open?

I told a mom at the playground the other day that her fly was down… Where’s the karma? Where’s the love?

Happy Monday

2 May

Happy Monday to all! A few things making me happy today…

  1. Scrambling to get my own pillow before z-baby does every single time we lie down in bed together
  2. Z-baby’s laughter when he beats me in the pillow war
  3. Letting him beat me at the pillow war
  4. The opening of the neighborhood pool — YEAH!
  5. The feeling of accomplishment from getting some cleaning done
  6. The anticipation of z-baby’s first camping trip
What’s making you happy today?

Going with your gut

1 May

For those of you visiting from the Multicultural Awareness Blog Carnival, welcome to The Vaca Loca! I’m so glad you could stop by and hope you enjoy your stay!

I’m originally from Kentucky, and besides Speedy Gonzalez and The Three Amigos, I didn’t grow up hearing much Spanish spoken. I started taking Spanish in high school, and it was there that the universe started opening little windows for me and laying out paths that would ultimately lead me to where I am today — married to a man from Mexico and trying to raise a bilingual baby.

I consider myself fluent in Spanish, but not fully bilingual. I think in both languages, dream in both languages, feel in both languages… but English is still by far easier for me. This became especially apparent after having my baby. I spoke to him in both languages, but when it came time to comfort him, coo at his cuteness, and play baby games with him, English dominated. Complicating matters was the fact that I had postpartum depression, which utterly exhausted me and left me with an abysmal emptiness. And it’s when I’m tired and weak that my Spanish suffers the most.

My husband and I had talked early on about how we were going to go about teaching both languages to the baby. The one-parent-one-language method felt forced to us. And since we now live in the US we knew the baby would be getting an overwhelming amount of English no matter what. So we planned on just using Spanish in the home and with Spanish-speaking friends and family. The effect that my postpartum depression had on this plan only exasperated me more and fueled my feelings of inadequacy when it came to raising a bilingual baby. But we pressed on, adamant that he learn Spanish. We quit worrying about the “right” method, and just did what felt right in our guts.

My little z-baby is now two years old and his language skills are really starting to blossom. My husband speaks to him almost only in Spanish, and I speak as much Spanish to him as I possibly can. Some days this means no English. Others it means about half and half. And z-baby? He understands both beautifully. And he speaks some of both, though he has yet to string sentences together in either. He picks and chooses the words he uses. For some things he only uses Spanish — the alphabet, numbers, colors. For other things, it’s only English — parts of the body, apple, move, bed. And for yet other things, it’s what suits his fancy in the moment — ball/pelota, agua/water, kitty/gato, comer/eat, basura/trash. He’s let loose a perfectly conjugated verb or two in Spanish (cayó and ¡ya voy!) and chastises the dog in English (Bad gur!). And I’ve even noticed recently that he asks my husband and me to pick him up in Spanish, but asks my mother in English.

My heart explodes as such displays of bilingual communication. And it’s those moments that make all the hard work worth it, and make it easier to put up with the daily aches and pains of what it’s really like to try and teach our baby Spanish and English. So what does the daily grind feel like anyway? Well, a little something like this….

  • It means translating for grandparents and abuelos
  • It means walking through stores and jabbering away in Spanish while you get stares from everyone (both Latinos and non-Latinos)
  • It means actively seeking out books and activities in Spanish (this is the only gift we ever ask for from Mexico now)
  • It means learning the words for things you may never have had to use before
  • It means getting your Spanish corrected more frequently
  • It means learning songs in Spanish and making up new ones
  • It means always being aware of the balance between how much you use each language
  • It means not beating yourself up when you slip into English
  • It means second-guessing e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g you say — “Did I say that right? Is that masculine or feminine? Is my accent off?”
  • It means loosening up, letting go, being persistent, and having patience

But most of all, it means trusting yourself and going with what feels natural in your gut — and isn’t that the ultimate lesson in parenting, no matter what language you do it in?

******

A big Thank You to Bicultural Mom for hosting the carnival!