Thursday, May 30, 2013

Getting Ready

"Luke Skywalker" (JT's Build-a-Bear) is testing out the new baby swing. It's given us plenty of opportunities (in just the first hour) to practice the "don't touch the swing" rule. Maybe it won't be an issue by the time Baby JL arrives.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Being a bilingual family, language is a common topic of conversation around here. I thought you might be interested in some of the interesting language developments and topics lately.

Both JA & JT began speaking by omitting portions of words, usually the last syllable. Well, JMC is showing his need to be different by speaking complete words from the get-go. He does struggle with 2 vowel sounds in a row, and usually will just say 1 of them. For example, he says "aga" instead of "agua" and "carto" instead of "cuarto." Just as the older 2 eventually began to speak complete words, I'm confident JMC will as well, all in his own time.

The other thing that JMC has begun is to play with words. He likes to add "y" to words that he knows full-well don't have it. He adds it on to his siblings' names, and to any other words he thinks of. He knows it's incorrect and he's just playing around, which makes it all the more fun.

JT has begun to read in English. Just like his sister, once he was fairly confident in his Spanish reading, he taught himself to read in English. This has brought about a whole slew of questions about English spelling and grammar and why can't English just make sense like Spanish does. :)

When asked what language they would like to learn next, JA chose Chinese, and JMC chose Mexican. He is very aware that there are several words/phrases that are different between Guatemalan and Mexican Spanish, since we have made some new Mexican friends at church this year. I explained that it's all the same language, just a few differences, and even gave him examples of how there are different terms for things in English depending on where you are in the country. He accepted this and decided to choose Korean as his next language so he'd be able to understand the lyrics of "Gangnum Style."  :)

I am a lot more relaxed teaching our 3rd child both languages than I was with our first. I haven't changed much, I just have a better idea of the stages of development and basic time table. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, changes as baby #4 joins our family and the language acquisition process begins once again.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day, I received a much needed break from looking at boxes in need of unpacking. We went to St. Louis for the weekend and had a great time. Before we left Saturday morning, Papi and the kids gave me a new tomato plant and some strawberries for my Topsy Turvy planters.

We made it to St. Louis in time to enjoy Grant's Farm, which was our goal. It was wonderful, as always, to see the animals and enjoy the tram ride through the property. A nice surprise for me was that JA was interested in the history of the farm and actually listed to the speaker, commenting to me on how it compared to what she's been reading in the Little House books.

That evening, we took the kids to Build-a-Bear, where the boys were able to spend some of their Christmas money. JA had already spent hers on an American Girl Doll, but she was happy to help JMC make his Build-a-Bear. JT chose a cute puppy dog that he dressed in a Jedi outfit and plays the Star Wars music. He hasn't seen Star Wars yet, but he loves playing Angry Birds Star Wars, and knows the various characters in the movie from the game. JMC chose a black teddy bear that says "Te quiero." He dressed it as a fireman, which is what he wants to be when he grows up.

On Sunday, we went to church and spent the day with Tia V. and her family. It was nice to hang out and relax, and we enjoyed it so much, that we stayed later than planned and didn't get home until after 10pm! It was a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!


The boys usually wake up in the morning asking for a snack, which is generally denied in lieu of breakfast. They seem to be constantly hungry, though oddly enough, not at meal times. This morning, they decided to make breakfast on their own.

They chose the bowl, added the oatmeal (almost the entire container) and all of our dehydrated fruit (strawberries, cranberries, papaya, & mango). The only thing I did was add the boiling water. They had poured so much oatmeal into the big mixing bowl, that it took over a liter of water to cook it all!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


We went on 2 field trips the other day. The first was to my doctor appointment for the 30 week ultra-sound. The kids were able to see their sister's leg, hand, foot, profile, spine, stomach, and arm. (We were only viewing one side of her.) They were able to see and hear her little heart beating.

The best pic we could get; her profile.

Then we went to the zoo. There were 5 school buses in the parking lot, but not all of those kids were at the zoo, some were at the playground across the street. Still, for a weekday morning, it was quite crowded. We were able to walk about half the zoo before I was too tired to continue.

waving to the gold-handed tamarin

identifying birds

blue poison arrow frogs!!!

watching the armadillo run in circles

JMC was concerned at first, but was happy to tell me, "es un tigre estatua!"

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Name that creature

This tiny little creature was waiting at the base of the stairs the other evening. It look to be the size of a small shrew, but had the features of a mouse. We haven't seen it again since then. I would like to know what it is, in order to determine what we need to do, if anything, about it.

out of focus, but it gives you an idea of how small it is.

Soccer & Bubbles

Papi is now a referee for the recreational soccer league at his work. I enjoy watching him referee, and the kids enjoy running around during the game. On this occasion, they brought bubbles. Last time, they played tag and "Ring Around the Rosie."

JMC had bubbles too.

JT bought bubble wand swords with his birthday money.

JA was really good at making long strings of bubbles.

Monday, May 6, 2013

La artista

JA is very artistic  She writes poetry and song lyrics. She turns poems and Bible verses into songs. She draws, creates her own paper dolls complete with outfits, crochets (bracelets, headbands, and even slingshots, all without a pattern) and is learning how to knit. (I'll have to take pictures and share them in a future post.)

This spring she had the joy of participating in the children's choir at church. They sang 2 songs for the church the last Sunday in April. It was fun to watch her up there singing with her friends. I found it quite interesting that she wasn't fond of doing the hand movements. :)

The sad part

An unexpected disadvantage to moving is that we had to return Mercedes to the animal shelter we had adopted her from 4 1/2 years ago. We searched and searched for an affordable, safe neighborhood to rent in that would allow dogs, and they either don't exist, or had a weight limit of anywhere from 25-40 pounds.

When we bought our mobile home, we thought we had found the solution. Unfortunately, the neighborhood has pet rules too, and they include a 40 pound weight limit for pets. :(  We all agreed that a safe neighborhood for our family was the most important thing, and so we sadly returned Mercedes on April 11th. It's a no-kill shelter, so that is a HUGE sigh of relief for us. Plus, it was in the original adoption contract that if at any time we couldn't keep her, we had to return her to them; we couldn't find her a new home on our own.

I thought the kids would be more disappointed than they were, especially JA, who just last fall used her birthday money to pay for Mercedes' vet visit, nearly $100. The benefit of having a home of our own, and the excitement of a new baby sister, soon to arrive, has helped ease the sadness. JMC has asked where Mercedes is a few times, and even accused her of eating his snack once (something which had been a common occurrence.)

The day we took her back to the shelter