Saturday, February 27, 2010

first ever tot school post.

i've been lurking on this blog carnival (is that what they're called? i'm so far behind on my internet lingo!) called tot school. it's mainly tons of really creative stay at home mamas who post what they're doing with their toddlers in their home.

i love it. i get tons of ideas for samil - and even for amely. and since one of my goals this year is to be more intentional with samil's (and amely's) education and stimulation (and to watch less tv) this tot school hits the spot.

and i've been wanting to post our activities for a while. like for the past two months since i found it and started stealing ideas :) but... the camera is broke. and the good part about tot school blogs are the PICTURES!

alas. this fancy new laptop of mine (hi dad! i love it!) has a webcam. and said webcam lets me take snapshots. horrible quality for printing, but will have to suffice until i get off my butt and take the camera to the shop.

we did a ton of things this week. we didn't really have a theme, but it is independence week here. in fact, today is independence day.

-- we dyed rice red and blue to make flags
-- painted a flag
-- read some spanish books about the padres de la patria
-- counted the banderas dominicanas (flags) in the

sara, our little neighbor, came down yesterday and we made bead necklaces. i thought that just taping the end of some string to make it hard would make it easier for samil to thread - but we've done no threading activities before and it was HARD for him. i'm going to buy some pipe cleaners and work on that. sara (who is 8 months older) LOVED IT and kept telling me her necklace was for her mommy because she's so amorosa y bonita (loving and pretty). in the end, though, she loved the necklace so much and decided to keep it for herself. HA! samil laced like 6 beads and lost interest.

i gave samil an eye dropper and some green water (green is his favorite color) and had him drop droplets on these tubtoys (you know, the things to stop slipping?) it took him awhile to figure it out, but he loved it! he played at it for like an hour!

i made this toy a few weeks ago. i just covered an old formula can with construction paper, and then put strips of different colors all around it. then i took seven clothespins (seven colors of paper!) and glued some construction paper strips to them. cut a hole in the lid the size of a clip and VOILA! color matching, small motor skill development, and FUN! i've taken it with us to the doctors and the supermarket and it keeps him pretty entertained.

we're working a lot on matching because mommy really wants to get into patterning soon (i love patterns, i'm a geek, i know!) my aunt (i think? maybe my mom) sent me these AWESOME handy manny flashcards a long time ago. they've got shapes and colors (and the colors are so cute, in the silhouette of the tools from the show!)he is getting way better at matching.

what a marathon post! next week will be shorter, i promise! click on carisa's blog to find out more and find blog's from other families in the tot school!

Friday, February 26, 2010

the week that was.

it's been a long week. a really looong one. like demasiado long. i can't handle those weeks. especially because there is no break between this and the next.

it's not always nice and sunny here. and sometimes the weather is plain gross. throw nastiness in with two kids, a small-ish apartment and that's recipe for desastre.

it's been cloudy. not rainy. not a nice cloudy. a gloomy, cold(ish), yucky kind of cloudy. the kind where you can't your clothes on the line because you're just not sure. que llueva o no?

and when it wasn't cloudy and cold, it's been cloudy and unbearable humid and sticky. and, if you remember, i've got a baby who abhors the heat. lucky her, she was born in a tropical paradise.

we've been keeping busy. more to prevent hysteria than anything else. and i can't handle another episode of max and ruby. en serio, it's the worst kids programming e.v.e.r.

there were a few meltdowns. normal two year old crankiness and a baby who wouldn't sleep. i suspect indigestion. amalio suspects heat hating, and predicts a long, long, pero muy largo summer ahead of us. but tomorrow is saturday and the week is over.

and i can only hope and dream that next week will be less of us cooped up in this little casita and more playing outside. that it will be less tempers and more love. and above all, that the stupid max and ruby dvd will break, get lost of otherwise be disposed of.

in the meantime, it's time to prepare for independence day tomorrow. it'll be another long one.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

a visit.

i sat down at the computer, sweaty as a pig after doing my (borrowed) biggest loser cardio max dvd, ready to waste some time while my body cools down. because dominicans believe if your body is hot, you can't take a cold shower. and believe me, i am never in the mood for lectures about ridiculous things.

so i waste time. waiting to dejar mi cuerpo enfriar.

the excess of visitors lately has me tired. nunca. pero never is there anything in the house to brindar and i'm not really a great cheese and crackers hostess anyway. but, as people find out more and more about that accident. that one. the bad one. they want to come visit.

it's like rubbernecking eleven days after they tow away the wreckage.

so, i'm at the computer, wasting time on facebook and reading strangers' blogs when the doorbell rings. me all sweaty and smelly. kids napping. brother-in-law doing laundry. ?y quien sera?

oh. it's people from church. you know, the church we stopped going to like three months ago. not oficially, but you know. we haven't been there in ages.

what gets me is that we've been gone since at least november. and now, now they come knocking on the door. ding dong. like nothing.

i'm not one of those people who thinks a pastor should call me if i sneeze. but three months. en serio? not only has it been three months since they've seen me, it's been eleven days since the accident they were coming to check on. and, i promise you folks, the gossip line in santiago is fast. there was food in my house from friends before i even knew there was an accident.

as soon as i saw them i knew what was up. que lo que? what's up? are you guys visiting another church? oops. because we just realized you haven't been here. just realized it's been three months since we last saw you. oh! and we heard about the accident and it's bad dominican form to not visit the injured.

no. we're not visiting another church. we're attending one. but not visiting it. thanks. don't worry we're not going to hell. estamos salvos todavia. well, we'll leave you alone then. hope you figure your car thing out.

gloria a dios amen

Saturday, February 20, 2010

nothing really of interest.

santiago, apparently, is replacing some old water mains this weekend. which would be fine and dandy if it didn't mean they had to turn off the water in

and, because we live in the cloistered community of what is a latin american apartment complex where nobody talks to anybody else, it was only by casuality that i knew there would be no water.

except i forgot to tell amalio. and he used every last drop of water in the bucket i filled up for his shower. and good old hugo spent the night, so between his shower and isaias' shower, they used up that whole bucket.

let me tell you. a day with kids who like to play in, and eat, dirt and no water is a little stressful.

right now my mom is saying "you never have water, what's the difference?" the difference is, that yes, we usually do have water. little. infrequent. but water nonetheless. today there was not even one drop.

and at 9:00 last night, they turned on the water pump, and like the idiots they have proven themselves to be ohsomany times, empted the cistern by running the pump for two hours! instead of using only half of the water and so, this morning the city graciously turned the water back on long enough for us to shower and fill up buckets and hopefully refill that cistern.

it's going to be a long one. at least it's not hot out!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


we celebrated carnaval last weekend. now it's time to enter those 40 days of reflection, meditation and spiritual investigation.

you know, no meat, no chocolate. the little sacrifices we make not even really understanding why. just to give it up. because that's what we do.

i've been a few years now avoiding the giving up of the lenten season and instead trying to use lent to enhance my relationship with jesus. because i know that no sacrifice i make can trump his sacrifce - or even come close to it.

and frankly. giving up chocolate is ridiculous. because there are all kinds of loopholes in the church. like. i don't know. not having to observe the sacrifice on sundays, because that's a holiday. a feast day. and god doesn't want you to be chocolate-less on the sabbath. right?

there was no break on good friday. oh, the suns too hot, let's take him down and we'll start again later.

i do respect people who give something up and really do it because it enhances their relationship - and not just because they're supposed to. but really i would do it because i'm supposed to. and that's not cool.

so, we're working on some lenten devotions. learning more about love. how to love. what is love. what are the kinds of love. how can we express love. love your neighbor. love like children. love.

to have the time to be more intentional about god, about his son and about our relation to him.


happy lent.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


we're not big celebrators of carnaval.

as in - i've been here five years and have been once. in five years.
a little shameful if you ask me. it IS the biggest celebration of the year. i mean, the thing lasts a month. A MONTH!

see. carnaval was supposed to be the party before lent. you know, those 40 days of fasting the "devout" latin catholics take part in. but only take part in after the biggest party ever. but it's transformed into the independence party.

it's actually really interesting - different groups, different personajes. from the lechones to the roba las gallinas every thing is new, fresh. different.

i took samil and amely today to "family" carnival. a place where there is no fear of getting smacked on the nalgas with an inflated pigs bladder (i've heard rumors of butt sores lasting weeks!) no fear of losing the kids in the crowd or getting run over by competing comparsas.

samil was grumpy and amely just wanted the cotton candy. at least she was happy.

at the very end, there were some "little" lechones that samil wanted to touch. and was happy about them. he thought they were cool.

i didn't take any of these pictures, i snagged them from the centro de la cultura page but they don't have a photog credit. and by the way, my blogger is being ridiculous and i can't change the format of any of my posts without going into the html and, frankly, i'm too lazy to do that :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

i'm a little piece of tin. - part two

it's already been a rough 2010.

remember that accident i had the other day? literally just like two weeks ago? you know, the one i had to pay $20,000 pesos for to fix the Rav-4? well. that was nothing.

on sunday, amalio and my brother-in-law, Isaias were driving with three cousins to a funeral in their hometown. their hometown three hours away. and while they were driving to this funeral, something happened to the car. nobody is really sure. of course there are the ideas of what maybe happened, but it's all conjecture.

what we do know is that the steering column went dead and amalio lost control. from there, people on the street saw the car go. maybe he'd get it in control. maybe he'd be able to steer it back. but he couldn't the control was gone. and the steering wheel just kept turning. then the front wheel came off (which leads people to believe the axle snapped) and the car hit a coconut tree, flipped over and was stopped by another coconut tree.

in the process, luckily, some windows were broken and the boys were able to climb out. luckily, because the doors wouldn't open.

nobody will show me pictures of the car. i saw one on a cell phone, but i don't want to see anymore. and i don't know, from the little itty bitty grainy photo i saw how anyone walked out of that accident alive, let alone virtually unscathed.

the air bags beat the mess out of amalio and isaias. and isaias is still having problems with his elbow, but both boys went back to work this morning. thank god that they are all right, that eventhough the car was wrecked all five passengers are safe and alive!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Play Time.

one of my goal's this new year was (is?) to be more intentional with samil's learning. mainly, spending more time developing some skills he needs, giving him more opportunities to be creative, things like that.

neither of our pictures came out good. my camera is broken and with the storm of mess that has been hitting us (broken cars, needing to move), fixing the camera is on the bottom of the list of things to do.

samil's working on his sounds and speech with and pbs kids and doing some speech activities with me. i'm still not really too concerned with his speech development, but i figure it's better to be proactive than to let the problem get out of control.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

the added bonus.

while the eastern seaboard of the US is being beaten down by a snowstorm, i'm sitting here in a skirt and tanktop. my kids are in their underwear. all of our windows are open.

we're thinking about maybe, maybe going to the beach tomorrow.

and tonight.

tonight we're going to sleep with the fan on.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

super allergy?

last week amely had what we thought were mosquito bites all over her legs.

let me tell you. the mosquitoes here right now are fierce. big doesn't describe them and every time you smoosh one in the shower your hand gets covered in the blood it already sucked from you unknowing.


so, she had these marks that looked like mosquito bites. didn't itch, didn't bother her. and then they went away.

a few days later she got some on her forehead. maybe mosquitoes. maybe an ant got on her. who knew?

but now. now, she is covered in these little bumps. They no longer look like mosquito bites.

so i took her to the doctor on monday. the idiot doctor tells me it's chicken pox. i thought, in the beginning, it might be chicken pox, but as it progressed, it's become clear that it's absolutely NOT chicken pox.

take her back to the doctors yesterday. three idiot doctors, three idiot opinions. one says scabies. but scabies itches like a mo-fo and is highly contagious (think lice only way harder to get rid of), another says food allergy (which should go away with benadryl, or at least lessen with it and it hasn't) and the other says no way to any of the three previous opinions but has no opinion herself.

i finally, FINALLY got in touch with our regular pediatrician (who doesn't live in our city and is only here on the weekends because she's studying something crazy in the capitol until may) and she gave me some advice. i've got to now wash every thing that's been used in the past three days. put all the stuffed animals in a black bag. take the crib mattress to the roof (in the sun) and wash with some special soap. if it hasn't gotten better by saturday, take her in.

i get so frustrated with the poor medical care here. don't get me wrong, there are good doctors here. but you've got to find them. because ANYONE can go to medical school if they have the money for it. and you never know who is really an intelligent, thinking person and who is stupid#3 from down the street with a few thousand dollars in their pocket.

so, today we're washing and cleaning and hiking to the pharmacy for the soap. not what i had planned, but i'll go with it. i'd rather try this than go doctor to doctor and not getting an answer.

Monday, February 1, 2010

and what makes your life better than mine?

the haitian police arrested some american "do-gooders" trying to transport haitian children into the dominican republic. from what i've read all around, the idea is to get these kids "out of haiti" and adopted in the "developed" world.

it wasn't even certain that these kids were orphaned. just, you know, supposed.

something that has been eating at me a lot lately is the idea that just because the USA is "developed" doesn't mean that it's better.

like, really, do i want my kids to sit in front of their big, flat screened, plasma t.v. for hours everyday, only to get up to gorge themselves on some more unhealthy processed food and when they're older to play video games all day and have to walk through metal detectors to go to school?


so maybe haitian kids don't have all that. there might be no t.v. there might be no pizza pockets or bagel bites or hershey chocolate. and they might not be able to play rock band or exercise on wii fit.

but, they're also not inactive, sedentary lumps suffering from type 2 diabetes at age 12. they don't have a fake guitar to rock out, but they also don't NEED a wii fit to keep in shape.

so many people are trying to "save" haiti. the arrogance of americans to think that OUR lifestyle is the only valid lifestyle. that adoption into an american family is the only way these poor, little haitian babies are going to have a worthwhile life.

i don't live in the states, but i get stuck in it to. the american way isn't the only way. people are thriving the world over.

they might not have the material goods or money that americans have, but maybe. maybe that's not all life is about.