Monday, September 14, 2009

Vacation to the US/Beach

Hola again. Many of you already know we went to the US in July & August. We drove from Guadalajara to Denver in 3 days, and then stayed with friends in Denver for a week, and Joe's brother Alan for a week. We then preceded south to Houston, and stayed a 5 days with Uncle Dan & Aunt Marty. Again the long drive home from Houston took 2 days. Yeah!! All things considered, the kids did great in the car. They are good travelers. Like they had a choice. The hardest part is the 12 hour drive from Laredo, TX to Guadalajara. We had a great time with our family and friends, but were glad to get home. Thanks to Joe's pre-planning, we had a 5 day trip to the beach to enjoy before school was to start for us again. The weather was hot in August, but since we spent most of the time at the pool or beach, it was bearable. Alexandra and I went to a few night shows, however, and about passed out from heat stroke. It is clear that HOT for us, and HOT for Mexicans is not the same. I was pouring sweat, and they appeared to be fine, even comfortable. Maybe it is just bad genetics that I sweat so much. Luckily, my daughter has inherited those genes. Anyway, it was a great trip, and we are extremely grateful for all the hospitality shown by our family and friends. We wish we could have stayed longer, but because we only had 5 weeks off until school started, we had limited time. Thanks for the free lodging and food, the laughs, the babysitting, and diaper changes, as well as the free concert tickets (including child care), Tucker walks, and Mega Mel competition. We love you guys!!!! We hope so see some of you at Christmas, and some others at Easter vacation. Otherwise, we have a place for you if you want to visit when the weather up north is COLD.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New House Pictures

Everyone has been asking for pictures, and now that we are back, I am finally posting this. We are still working on the casita, so I am not putting pictures of that yet. It is hard to get the full picture so hope you like them. The house is one floor with three bedrooms. There is a separate "den" that is our TV room. The master bedroom has two spaces. One is the actual bedroom, and the other is a sitting area/???? We are using it as our office area. The house is so comfortable for us, and we are so excited to be home. We still have a ton of work to do, but it keeps us busy. Hope you like the pictures. I am posting our vacation update next.........

Pictures are of the living room, den, kitchen and front & back of house.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Alexandra turns 4!!!!!!

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Things here are crazy and good. Things were shut down from the flu scare for a while, and now things are back to normal. The school year is being extended by a few weeks to make up for lost time. No one we know has gotten the flu. We did hear that it may have been around since November, and just not identified until April, so we could have already had it. We were all a bit ill for a while there. Who knows.

Alexandra turned 4 on May 16th. I am a bit slow updating this. Alexandra had a "party" at school, and then we took her to her favorite place for dinner. It was nice. She got a "computer" and she really likes it. Pink even. Time seems to be flying by. The school year got extended until July 10 (which is the current update). I am so looking forward to being out. So are ALL the kids. It is hot here right now, and it is beating all of us down. Teachers, students, etc. We are planning on driving up to the states when we get out, but no definite plans on where we will be when yet. I am planning on working at the school again next year, so we only have about 5 weeks off for the summer break. Considering it takes at least a week of driving time to get there and back, we don't have as much time as we would like.

We moved to a different/nicer location house about a week ago. We have a much bigger yard, and it is much quieter. The place had not been lived in for about 1 1/2 years, so Joe has been battling the "rats". We have not seen a single sign of them in the house, but we have seen them out in the bushes, so they are around. Joe managed to feed them 10 ice cube size death pellets in about 2 days, so we know they are active. We also haven't seen as many squirrels around, so they might have helped. Either way we are very happy with this place. The parking area is nice, the security is good, the house is laid out well for us, and the kids love it. It is also MUCH cooler and quieter here. We can sleep with the windows open!!!!! Not much else happening here besides just life. Good overall, so we can't complain.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Alan Turns 2!!!!!!

Wow! How is my baby 2 years old already? We had a "party" for Alan on his birthday (which is the 10th of April), and it was a good time.

We had spaghetti for dinner, which is one of his favorites, and then he got a cake. Alexandra was such a big sister. She kept asking me all day when Alan's party was. He then opened his gift, and it was a big hit. It has only taken me two years to pick out a toy that he will actually play with. A race track! We ate cake and ice cream, and he spent the rest of the evening playing with his toy. Pretty good birthday for turning 2.

We had a great time on our trip to Houston. We had a good time shopping, and we just hung out and chatted with the family in the evening. Aunt Marty and Uncle Dan were great. Alexandra was a bit confused about the grandma status, but all worked out fine. One morning Alan sneaked out of his crib and wandered around down stairs. Uncle Dan found him grunting at the back door trying to open it. I guess he didn't want to be the only Alan who didn't set the alarm off at 5:00 am. Luckily we got home and he hasn't tried to climb out of the crib. I don't know what I would do with him if he could get out of that thing. Overall, it was a welcomed trip. We are enjoying our last week off work/school, and it will be back to the action again. I think the kids will be glad to get back to school since Alex has already been asking if she has school today.

Alexandra's Easter Egg hunt at school. Check out the tail!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

March Already, Update

Hola! Things here are rolling along. We have been crazy busy. Between work and kids and life, we keep things interesting. We have been checking options both here and in the States, and we have decided to extend our time here by at least another year. The kids like school and the schools are fantastic and affordable. Alexandra is speaking Spanish, and so is Alan in his limited almost 2 year old vocabulary. The economy in the US is not very good, and the job markets are tight. We both have job options here (although the pay is low), and we really have no reason to return at this time. We are starting to find our comfort zone with the language and culture. We have made many friends, love the weather, and are really starting to embrace the lifestyle. Maybe we may never leave!!!!

We are planning a 5 day trip to Houston, TX next week to take care of some things, and get some "supplies". Mexico has tons of benefits such as inexpensive fresh fruits and veggies, great weather, and any pirated movie you can imagine for about $10 pesos, but if you want a decent sippy cup, shoes you can afford, toys, or a decent makeup counter, you really may have to go to the US. Alan's birthday is coming up, so we planned to get there and back before he turns 2 so we don't have to buy another full price ticket for him (considering I will be holding him with all my might the entire trip anyway). We have a 2 week vacation for Easter/Spring Break, so we figured it was a good time. It is hard to believe we have been gone for almost a year already. We are planning on driving up to Colorado sometime in July. Depending on when we leave here and how long it takes us to get there, we should arrive time time mid-July. We need to take care of some things up there, and it will be a good time to visit with some of our friends and family. We have 6 weeks off during the summer until school starts again in mid-August. Summer is the rainy season here, and we are looking forward to that. It hasn't rained a drop here since October, and it is getting dry. We arrived here during the rainy season, and it was fantastic. May and June are supposed to have a decent amount of rain (approx 6 inches?), so that will start soon. We have been looking at some other homes to move to that might be a bit quieter than in the city. There is a lot of street noise and roosters here, and we are hoping to find something with a bigger yard for the kids. We might move sometime in June or so. We will see how it works out.

We have discovered an unknown resource here. Birthday Parties!!!!! As of late, the kids have been invited to several of these, and they are really fun for the whole family. Even Alan gets involved. One or more pinata's is a guarantee, and there is usually a bounce house, icy pops (called Bolis), face painting, and other activities. They have a company that you can hire, and they send a group of teenage girls to keep the action going. Alex LOVES it. The adults can usually hang out and just keep track of the constant flow of sugar, hold the pinata bags, and chat with the other parents. It seems like there is one every week lately. For the price of a small, inexpensive gift, you get several hours of kid fun. When the kids get a little older, we may even be able to do a drop off, and not have to spend a full 3-4 hours there!!!

That is about all the update for now. You really just want to see the pictures anyway. Alexandra and Alan in their "fubol" outfits, and us at a chili cookoff (awesome time). Will update soon.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas/Puerta Vallarta

Merry Christmas!!!! Thank you for all the Christmas cards we received, and the well wishes. It has been an exciting month for us. I have been busy as always teaching school, and managing the house. It is amazing how much time it takes to do laundry and keep this place clean. We had a month of school programs and activities, some parties for the holidays, and we spent 5 days at the beach in Puerta Vallarta. Tough life I know.

School is out for Christmas break, and we don't have to go back until Jan 7th. Joe found a great "last minute" deal at an all-inclusive in Puerta Vallarta, so we drove over there on the 18th, and returned on the 23rd. It was a 4 1/2 hour drive. It was beautiful. The kids loved the pool and we had a great time. The hotel itself was older, but we didn't mind. The food was great. We watched CNN every morning, and giggled when we saw all the snow. I don't miss the snow at all.

While we were in Puerta Vallarta, we visited a Mexican Zoo. The place was AWESOME. You purchase a bag of miscellaneous animal food when you enter for $50 pesos. Then, you walk a paved path through the entire zoo. As you go, you see the different animals, and you can feed them. Peanuts, carrots, bread, etc. We got to feed a Giraffe, and it was great. You could touch him if you wanted. We also fed monkeys which took the peanuts right out of our hands, and Zebras and camels also. They even had a baby tiger, and a baby jaguar that you could hold and get pictures of. It was the coolest zoo I have ever seen. I would go back anytime.

Whenever you go outside here, it feels somewhere between 70-80. It is like a beautiful spring day in Colorado when you take a deep breath and just smile. FABULOUS!!!! It hasn't rained since September, and it is sunny EVERY DAY. We spent this morning opening gifts from Santa. It took Alexandra about 2 seconds to rip the paper off her two gifts. She also got a bike. Along with the doll and the stroller, her life is now complete. For now anyway. Alan got a truck and a trike. Alexandra couldn't wait to see what Alan had received, so she also had to help him rip the paper off his presents. Joe and I carried their bikes to the plaza for the kids to ride, and both of them have already crashed. It was a nice morning. The weather is perfect as always, and it is a quiet day in Mexico.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekly Update/Manzanillo

These are pictures of us at the beach in Manzanillo, and Alexandra for her school program. She cried before she got on stage, and this is the only picture we have of her before the program.

Hola! It has been a while since I posted, and we have been very busy. Life keeps us that way. We made a weekend trip to Manzanillo, Mexico, and it was a great time. The kids were good, with only a few glitches. We found a hotel that is right on the beach, and was less than $50 dollars a night. The have a pool, and the breakfast was included. Overall, we loved it, and are planning another trip for the week before Christmas. Manzanillo is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Chapala, and is a major port town in Mexico. The beach was very nice, and the weather was warm. When we first arrived, the kids were hungry so we decided to go to the Burger King because it had a playland. We parked and walked in, and Alan must have been a little car sick or something. He threw up all over the floor as we were waiting to order. Needless to say, I was mortified, and we left with no food. Luckily, there are not a lot of sympathy pukers in Mexico, because no one seemed to notice. He was fine after that. The kids loved the sand and they could have stayed there forever.

Here is me and Alan on our first day of school, and me and Alan at his school program. He was dressed as a Christmas ornament.

I took a job. I wasn't sure it was the best idea, and I am still wondering, but I was offered a job at a ...... you better sit down for this..... a preschool teaching English. The school is called Tohui. I have no teaching experience, so I couldn't tell you if I am doing a good job or not. I guess I speak English, so that is the only requirement other than showing up. The classes have about 1/4 English speaking students. It is actually a very good program, and it is right down the road from Alexandra's school. I can take Alan with me, and he is in the Maternal program at a discount. He is there for about 2 hours including eating lunch, and then he is at recess with me, and then he takes a nap and we go home. I was a little nervous about putting Alan in there, but he seems to be doing good. So far he hasn't made as much of a fuss as Alexandra did when I took her to preschool. They also speak only Spanish in Maternal, so he will be learning that as well. It could work out really good that the kids can both get some good exposure to Spanish in the next year. I have spent 3 weeks there so far, and I am catching on. If you would have told me several years ago that I was going to be a preschool teacher, I would have said NEVER! It is a bit challenging, but the best part is that only 1/2 of the day I teach English with the help of the Spanish teacher in crowd control (there are 21 students total), and the other 1/2 I am a helper to the Spanish teacher (crowd control). We also have another helper in the classroom with us. It is a definite eye opener to me on how 4 year olds act. I wonder how Alexandra acts at her school. I also think she is ahead of a lot of these kids in speech. They are planning on giving me my own classroom after Christmas, and split the class so that I only have about 10 kids at a time. I am actually looking forward to that. It doesn't pay much, but it does cover the kids tuition, and I am finished when they are finished. School here runs from Mid Aug to the end of June, so they only have 6 weeks off during the summer. Since Alexandra is only right up the road (about a block away), I walk up there right at 1:30 and bring her to my school until 2:00, and then we all go home. It works out pretty good. I could have never gotten a deal like this in the US, I could have, however, made a lot more money.