Friday, August 24, 2012

Eid & Hani's presentation at the tekke

Eid was on Sunday. That is the feast after the fast of Ramadan. We got really lucky that it landed on a Sunday because the festivities are during the day and I don't think Iajia would have gotten the time off otherwise. We had Hani's presentation to the mosque as well, since it was her first visit there. It includes giving her a taste of honey while reciting prayers and giving her her spirtual name. The shaykha chose to use the name we gave her, Hannia, which is Arabic for "place of tranquility/happiness". She is a very laid back and happy baby.

Receiving of the honey. 

Hani is watching the whirling dervishes. Can you find her? She is in the upper right hand corner, I am just outside the picture. 

Here we are at the picnic/feast. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bring On the Preschool!

Sigh. The time has come. Noori is three now, and that means off to preschool. It's definitely the best decision for him.. I have to convince myself of that.

1. He is constantly bored in the house. He is totally type A personality, unlike his mom who's B. A little social butterfly. He has done things that make me think he's prone to be a class clown.
2. The kid he spends most his time with is six months younger than he and still talks like a baby. So, instead of the other kid picking up English or Noori picking up Spanish, N comes back to me asking for things by grunting and pointing. Very frustrating! So it will be good to get him away from that influence.
3. I would love to homeschool, and I would, but N is absolutely stubborn about learning. Especially the colors. Outright refuses. He's better with numbers, letters, and definitely shapes, but still not that far along. I think he needs to be with other kids and the teacher in order for him to find the importance in it.
4. The school seems alright. It's a private school. The government schools around here have 30 three year olds to one teacher and that is just a huge deal breaker for me. The other school I looked at has too few. Only had one other child enrolled last I checked. At the end of the previous year, there were only three or four. The school I enrolled him in has twelve or thirteen.
5. While I am still concerned about the quality of the school (though I think it is probably at least one of the best around).. I haven't seen a lot, and since they've been out for summer I can't really evaluate them. So I checked out the ones that are within walking distance to me. And beyond proximity, security is important. Security and safety. As long as that is met that is what's important. And his emotional needs. The learning.. I have no doubt he will learn more than he will if he stays at home with me all day.

So those are my reasons. Beyond that, I can give more of my attention to Hani. I am really excited by that. N keeps me so busy, and then I have "all the stuff" I have to do in any given day. She is such a laid back baby though and takes it all in stride. I am so glad I had Noori first because if I had had her, I would have been really frustrated with N because he is so demanding of attention.

So I'll share with you the cost of school.
All figures are in pesos. 12 pesos to the dollar
Enrollment fee: 1100
Monthly tuition: 1000
Uniform (includes formal uniform, casual uniform, & karate suit): 1800
Books: 2000 (I think this is ridiculous for preschool!)
Medical insurance: 600 (paid once per school year)

Aside from that there is a pageful of school supplies to get: a wooden puzzle, white index cards, colored index cards, jello packet, bag of noodles, crayons, string, paint, 20 bars of silicon for a small gun???? I dunno, I just translated that.., more crayons?, green wax markers? again, doing my best to translate!!!, one meter of green/yellow/purple/or black foam, 5 meters of American paper... ok. 1 liter of glue, dry erase markers, water markers of different colors? two oil markers, ok ok ok, I'm tired now, that is about a quarter of the list. Why can't they just buy the stuff and charge me for the supplies????!!!
Aside from that.. his notebooks are ..
for Spanish... professional notebook with German squares.. orange with stickers of letters on it.
for math... porfessional notebook with big squares.. orange with stickers of numbers on it.
for science... professional notebook blank with no squares... orange
Assignments... French style notebook with small squares... orange
English... professional notebook with no squares... PISTACHIO GREEN.. haha, what if I can only find it in mint?!?!

:::Head desk::

Is preschool really suppose to be this complicated?

Aside from those academic classes- that is, Spanish, English, math, science, there is also 2 hours of computers a week, 2 hours of P.E., 2 hours of Art, and 2 hours of karate.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Noori turns three!

Noori loved his third birthday party! So much so that he is still talking about it. He wants to see the bounce house and his primos again. It was really cool that his birthday fell on a Sunday. We got to have the party in a very nice garden that a friend loaned to us. As I can imagine in any big city, lawns and gardens are a luxury and hard to come by.

The bounce house. 

Dale dale! 

Noori's friends!

The main party table. Presents, cake, party favors (a friend made the Go Diego Go! backpack bags), and dirt & worms.

Iajia went WAY to easy on Noori with the cake smashing! But I guess I can only thank him for that, because it would have been me wiping up the mess ;). And that big pile of chocolate craziness was my attempt at a volcano since N has taken a huge interest in volcanoes recently.

My boy is threenager now!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Bambinos & The Mangey Dog


Noori is potty training! He is in his third week now. I just decided that we just weren't going to do diapers anymore. I don't want to be buying or washing diapers for two & also I want him to start preschool in the fall and he must be trained by then. He's only had a couple of accidents this week and I don't even put him in a diaper for naps or night time. It's really cool to see, it seems like the first really independent thing that he does on his own. Going to the bathroom without me there. 


She is seven weeks as of yesterday. She just seems so huge in comparison to Noori at the same age. She is already out of her newborn clothes and fits pretty well into 0-3 months. She is not nearly as demanding or clingy as Noori was and still is. Talking to other moms who have one of each- all agree that girls seem more independent than the boys. It helps me feel better about my parenting too, because in the back of my mind I felt like maybe I made Noori so dependent (he still doesn't sleep on his own without assistance from me). But I know that's not true at all now. She will fall asleep on her own, many times without complaint. And when she does cry it's just a little bit and by the time I get to her, she's already asleep! And then there are a few occasions where she really demands me to pick her up and help her fall asleep. With N, I can count on my hand the number of times he's fallen asleep on his own. 

The Mangey Mutt Truman:

So this dog.. just showed up on our doorstep one day. He really did. Saturday morning, there he was and he just hung out there. He was mangey though. He really had it bad. Lots of hair loss and bloody ears from the scratching. N started jumping around him and practically on top of him. The dog didn't seem perturbed by it in the slightest. And even started playing with the kids outside. On Monday, the dog followed Iajia to his bus stop in the morning and then came back. 

So we decided to keep him and I took him to the vet the next day where he got a mange treatment bath and some shots. He spent two nights there. All this only cost us $25! From then on, we have kept him in our back patio area and I have been applying a topical cream for the mange. He looks a lot better. Finally, yesterday, I took him back for his appointment at the vet for another bath, and hope that when we pick him up today the vet will give him a clean bill of health.

We named him Truman, after the president, but also after a dog Iajia saw in a movie a long time ago. He seems like he'll be a very nice dog and good with kids! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

little Hani

Here's a pick of Hani at six weeks!

She has been a great baby. She is really pretty laid back. She likes to grab ahold of my hair and she smiles and coos and even gives little chuckles. She isn't as gassy as she was, she's doing better. But I found out she is  extra sensitive to caffiene so I've had to take all of it out of my diet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Welcome Back & Postpartum Bath

July 8th. Hannia meets her abuelita. She says she looks just like a Lomeli (Iajia's mom's side)! 

July 8th. Noori with his tios & primos.

July 9th. I finally get my postpartum bath. First, the herbs are boiled. Some of the herbs included are ruda (rue), manzanilla (chamomile), romero (rosemary), hoja de santa maria,  pirul, eucalipyo, & a lot more. Then. draw a bath of hot water and then add the near boiling hot water from the herbs (strain the herbs). Then, hop in naked, or whatever you are comfortable with. Put a stool or something you can sit on in the bath- this is just for if the water is too hot for you to sit in, slowly you can slip into the water as is comfortable. Then you'll be covered with a light cotton sheet. And just relax and soak in the heat. This should be done at night or whenever you plan on not going out for the rest of the day. The reasoning behind the bath is that mother and baby go from being hot during pregnancy to cold afterwards. This sudden change can cause health problems later on. The bath is also said to aid in milk production for nursing mothers.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Menu Plan.. in the middle of the week

Going to the grocery store.... 

While I am staying with my mom and step pops, I am going to focus my culinary adventures on southern food. This is what I am lining up:

Cornbread pie. Cornbread on top, beef underneath.

Chicken pot pie. Self explanatory. Can't have southern cooking without it.

Red beans & Rice! I am substituting all the pork for some turkey sausage & bacon. That's just the way it's gotta be, even if it's wrong. & this is a good blog for southern cooking anyway! 

So far, planning for three meals is good. That leaves two left over nights and one eat out night. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Las Grutas and ETA


we almost went to "Las Grutas de Telantongo" in Hidalgo, Mexico. I have no doubt in my mind that it is stunningly beautiful. Here are some pictures I took from the internet. . . 


But I wasn't really quite prepared to go. We left with Iajia's family and we were actually headed to a hot springs aquatic park, but they decided that we weren't too much farther from Las Grutas and we should go ahead and go there instead. 

So we went. Before you get to "Las Grutas" which is another word for "caves" you basically have to go down a long, windy, unpaved road on the side of a steep mountain- not unlike the Grand Canyon to get there-- except in the U.S. they would never allow you to go down the Grand Canyon in your car.. or do they? 

Here you can get an idea of what it is like going down the side of the mountain to get to Las Grutas. I'll admit, I was so scared that when I took pictures, I was facing away from the camera for fear of shifting the center of gravity over the mountain. I was also worried about getting the van back up the mountainside as well. And I didn't really like the idea of being so far from civilization at 31 weeks pregnant either. I really was about to just start crying when I asked Iajia to stop and ask our brother in law, in the other car, if he wanted to keep going.. "for the cars' sake". Fortunately, my sister-in-law had already started crying so we all went back up the mountain. Took some pictures, and went back to the aquatic park! My other sister-in-law already has a tour scheduled to go this Sunday, but I don't think I want to go. Besides the fear and the risk, I just don't think now is the right time. I don't think I'll be able to enjoy completely as a pregnant woman and taking care of Noori. We'd just end up hanging out at the pool area, but I think the natural areas.. the caves, the waterfalls, the river, is just too risky for the both of us. And what's the point in going if not to enjoy those aspects?

Here's what it's like to go down the side of the mountain to Las Grutas: 

At about 46 seconds, you get the idea of the depth of the canyon. I think I was told that the windy road down to Las Grutas is about 8 km.. which I think is about 2.5 miles or so.
At about 1:20 seconds, you get the idea of how steep and the road on the way down is. 
In other news, my trip back to the U.S. has been rescheduled for the weekend of April 20th. Coming by car.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What We've Been Up to

So I have gotten a little behind on updating, so I am going to do the past two weeks. It's been nice, we have had some effortless, fun weekends the past three weekends.

 Iajia has a friend who races his car and we were invited to watch the race. He came in 4th or 5th of 40 or 50 cars.

Noori looking VIP with some pink shades in the VIP section.

Last weekend after our doctor's appointment we went to the park.

Chapultepec Park I would consider the Mexico City equivilent to NYC's Central Park. In the sense that it is a huge park in the middle of a huge city.They have a zoo, a castle, a fair, and a lake that you can go row boating on. All of the major museums are there as well as an auditorium for shows and concerts. Iajia also works nearby there. I wish we could live close to there someday.

In other really important news, Iajia found a job. He has been working for two weeks now. He likes it, but it is on the other side of the city and takes 2.5 to 3 hours ONE WAY to get there and back. I plan to talk more on the subject in a different post.

Dear Family- even though you may not have a blog on this site, you can still leave comments!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Teaching Noori his colors, but he really showed me

So I feel like he should know them by now. It seems like he doesn't, but maybe he does after all. At the breakfast table there was an orange, a glass of orange juice (really, agua de sabor- orange flavored water, and an orange goldfish (the real thing, not the snack).

Me: What color is the water?
N: Blue.
Me: It's orange.
N: Orange.
Me: What color is the fruit?
N: Blue.
Me: It's orange.
N: Orange.
Me: What color is the fish?
N: Blue.
Me: It's orange.
N: Orange.

We repeated this one more time, but I got the same results. So we did it again. I have been avoiding telling him he's wrong and just correct him instead, but this time, I decided to see what would happen if I let him know he was wrong.
Me: What color is the water?
N: Blue!
Me: No......
N: Oh, purple.
Me: No, it's orange.
N: Oooooh, orange.

Me: What color is the fruit?
N: Blue!
Me: No....
N: Purple!
Me: No...
N: Naranja!!

Me: pretty much speechless and didn't know how to respond to that! We were practicing in English so I never said naranja.

Me to N: Yes, that's right, it is a naranja. You know more than you want mommy to know you know, isn't that right? :-P

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dinner for the Week

Here is my grocery haul from shopping yesterday. Followed by some ideas for dinner this week.

1 Kilo     Lentils for                          $2
.25 kilo   Oatmeal for                       $.50
3            Green & red bell peppers   $1.20 (.40 cents each)
1 Kilo     Roma tomatoes                 $.80
1 Kilo     Carrots                             $.50
1 bunch   Spinach                            $.50
1 Kilo     Brocolli                             $1

1 Kilo    Banana                               $1
2 Kilo    Watermelon                        $1.20
.5 Kilo    Plantain                              $.50
1 Kilo    Strawberries                       $1
1 med    Cantalope                           $1.50
                                                        total: $11.70*
                                                         plus $10 for meat & cheese

For dinner this week:
Lentil Soup with sweet plantains, bell pepper & spinach
Tortas de Brocolli (croquettes of brocolli with panela cheese in the middle)
Meatballs with zucchini hidden inside
Alhambre de pollo (pretty close to chicken fajitas for the most part)

*I like to buy the meat & cheese fresh, so I didn't pick up any shopping yesterday but
1 Kilo of ground sirloin beef is $7.
1 Kilo of chicken breast is $4.5
1 Kilo of panela cheese is $7
1 Kilo of eggs is $2 (needed in the croquettes)
I only need a half kilo though to make the meals.

This isn't to say we live on $20 a week for food, though that would be nice. There is still breakfast and lunch: cereal, milk, bread, pasta etc.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our Bilingual Baby

Wow... Noori is translating things. Two things that have happened in the past couple of days.

Me to Iajia: Bajeme el jabon antibacterial para limpiar la trumpeta, no? Por favor.
Noori to me: Cleaning the trumpet, mommy?

Noori's two year old neighbor is crying outside our door (doors are right next to each other) Another child tells his mother: Emmanuel se cayo!
Noori, who is paying full attention while eating a snack at the table, turns to me and says: Mommy, Manuel fall down!

So he has been translating Spanish to English to me. I haven't noticed if he has translated any English to Spanish. Though he has less opportunity to do that.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Names, names, what's in a name?

The estimated due date is still months away, but here is a list of names that we have considered or are considering. There are names that we both like, that only one of us likes, and names that have been considered but not anymore, and even names that I like to joke about liking, like Lupe Lepe.

This poll is anonymous and it is a like/dislike poll. There is about 20 names on the list or so. Thanks for checking it out and voting!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Noori's Year in Review 2011

As per the request of family that hasn't seen Noori in a while: here are some of my favorite pics from throughout the year. I'm working on setting up a Picassa album so that I can post more pictures there.

January 2011
Sledding for the first time. 

February 2011
Cherry filled tomales for Dia de la Candelaria. Feb. 2nd is one of the snowiest on record. Winter 2011 was the second snowiest in over 100 years for Kansas City!

March 2011
St. Paddy's Day

April 2011
Before and during pics of a hair cut. Definately not the first hair cut ever, he needs a cut every month!

Summer 2011
Summer with family and friends!

Fall 2011
Ice cream after a bike ride with tia
Harvesting persimmons with grandma
Daddy/son photo of the year!

Winter 2011/2012
Decorating his letter to the Three Kings

 Picking out pinatas for the first of the year

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hello Shamsiah!

This is the first time we got to see her. It is a head shot with her sucking on her fingers. 

This is the video where the doctor reveals the gender!

Transcript (more or less):

Noori wants to be picked up. Then he wants us to give him the camera.
Noori: Pasa! Pasa! (Pass the camera)
Iajia: No, not right now, we are recording a video of your little sister.
Doctor: That's right. You already know! It's a little sister!
Iajia: We didn't know.... we only thought so, for the way the pregnancy has been going.
Doctor: Well. it is a little sister!
Me: speaking English...
Doctor: This here is her bladder. And these here are the femur bones. And this here is the female genitalia. Without a doubt!

Sopa Aguada (Noodles in Fresh Tomato Broth)

In the U.S. the staple food for little kids is mac & cheese  likewise, I would say that the Mexican equivalent would be this sopa aguada. It is so easy to make and you can use any noodle.

1. Blend 5 roma tomatoes, half an onion, one clove of garlic and a cube of chicken soup seasoning with about a cup of water.
2. Lightly sautee your noodles of choice in some oil in a big pot (that can hold 2-3 liters)
3. Using a sieve, add the salsa to the pot of noodles. You might need to stir and push the tomatoe juice through the sieve with a spoon.
5. Add about 6 cups of water.
6. Bring to a boil and you're done.

To make it more nutrious, add vegetables such as peas and diced carrots.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rica Agua de Coco

In the grocery store all of my life I have seen that exotic, hairy coconut. Sometimes I would go over and pick one up and shake it. Sometimes even knock. And always wonder about the holes in the top... like they really were specifically put there for the insertion of a straw and a little paper umbrella. I never bought one though. I didn't know what I would do with it once I got it home.
Finally, here in Mexico, I bought my first, very own coconut. I even had a plan for it. I bought it at the tiangis, a street market, where the seller was kind enough to explain to me how to make a delicious coconut drink. It is the simplest drink ever, but so very good that Iajia and I find ourselves rationing it out. This drink is like a really good song... you want more and more of it and never want to tire of it.

Here's what you do:
1. Buy your fresh coconut. Don't be shy, pick them up and shake'em. Pick one with a good amount of water sloshing about inside.
2. When you get it home, you'll have to hack of the hairy brown shell. They did this for me at the tiangis, but it didn't look too hard if you have the right knife (eh, they were using a machete), a butcher knife might work... any knife good for whacking. It isn't hard to get the shell off- more like peeling a potato, but the skin is too thick to actually use a peeler.
3. After the shell is off, poke a hole in the coconut. Turn the coconut upside down in your blender so the water comes out. Then cut up the coconut and add it to the coconut water in the blender. Blend to pulverization.
4. Once pulverized, take a sieve and push the coconut cream through the sieve and into an empty pitcher. Squeeze the pulverized coconut meat to get the juice/milk out.
5. My coconut gave me about a liter of the coconut milk. You can double this amount with water. So add 1 part water to your 1 part coconut. You could probably add even a wee bit more, but not too much, so that your drink stays creamy.
6. From here, you just need to add sweetener. I used sweetened condensed milk and that's what I recommend. Add to taste. I may have used less than half a can to reach desired sweetness. Just stir and you are done! If you don't do dairy- just add sugar or agave nectar. If you want it more milky try canned goat's milk, or just don't add that much water.