Friday, 27 February 2009

Another story from mi barrio

I meant to share this story before but I forgot. Anyway, it was a story from the high councilman who came to talk in our ward. I can actually tell it to you because he didn't speak Spanish, he had a translator. But I understood everything he said! :)

He started out by saying that he joined the church because of a 16 yr. old girl whom he had never met. And then explained that when he was 9 or 10 his mom took him and all his siblings to a different church each Sunday trying to decide what church they wanted to go to (this was back in the 1950's). Anyway, they finally had been to almost all of them in the town they lived in and were running out of ideas when his father, who never went to any of them, suggested they go to the Mormon church. His mom didn't want to but finally decided to try it just to humor her husband (the dad, like always didn't go) and they liked it. And eventually the whole family, including the father, joined the church. The reason why his father had suggested the Mormon church was because when he had been a teenager he had gone a date with this 16 yr old girl and tried to kiss her. But she wouldn't kiss him and told him it was because she was Mormon. His father had always remembered that and eventually decided he wanted his kids to be like that, so he had suggested to his wife the LDS church.

I thought that story was awesome. Maybe it was just because I finally understood more than a couple words like "Nefi" or "Jesucristo." Maybe.

Leo went to go visit a young man in our barrio this last Tuesday. He said it was a tiny apartment where the Dad, Mom, and son lived. They are from Guatemala. Apparently the son and mom have work visas but the dad isn't here legal and they are really stressed right now because the two visas are up to be renewed and they're not sure if they will be or not. Plus, now this is the heartbreaker to me, they also have a 13 yr old daughter and 7 yr old daughter who are still in Guatemala whom the neighbors kind of keep an eye on. Ouch. The mom said that even if her visa is renewed she's going back by the end of the year. So what would you do? Starve in your own country with your children, or leave them there to be able to send them money to live on? Anyone?

The dad was so excited that Leo was a pilot. (Leo came home deflated--he said he felt awful about complaining about his job so much.) He kept telling his son, "Look he's an immigrant, who came here when he was older than you, and look what he's managed to do!!!" I understand the father's sentiment, but at the same time, it kind of breaks my heart again because the realist in me thinks about all the advantages Leo had that this kid doesn't--really good private schools his whole life in Colombia, English tutoring as a kid, and he was already attending one of the best universities in Colombia before he came here. Not exactly a poor kid. This kid's family had been plantain farmers. Leo's parents owned a factory that made parts for Bristish Petroleum. Yeah. That kid definitely has a steeper mountain to climb. Not saying it can't be done. It just makes me sad. That's all.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Window Shopping Again

So, no Wed. Reminisce. Lo siento. But here's my window/internet shopping today. This is what I buy for our family's family picture if I could do whatever I wanted. I'm sorry but I'm mostly posting this to show Kayli, because I think it's funny how different we are in style--remember her Christmas family photos??

Here goes:

Isabel in this with a big red bow in her hair. Her's is really the only one I might change, to a red skirt if I could find one.
Elena in this with a white tee underneath and red bows and piggy tails.Ana in this with a white tee and a red flower in her hair.

Me in this top with a white shirt underneath.
And this skirt.
Leo in this shirt, but in white and khaki pants.

All of us with bare feet and I get them taken in the summer at the Botanical Gardens. There's my Wednesday's wishful thinking.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Mi Barrio

Did you know a "ward" or congregation to those who are not LDS literate, is called a barrio in español? That just makes me laugh every time I hear it.

I really am loving the Spanish ward. It's great. Okay, I am really, really happy not to be teaching the Sunbeams (3 yr olds) anymore . I mean two and half yrs of it--in my last two previous wards--was really quite enough. I am teaching the 11 yr. olds, which I love. They're the best age, the most adultish kids you can get without the teenager attitude yet. So fun. Teaching in Spanish is kind of crazy, I mean, I really don't SPEAK Spanish, so I just read whatever parts I can from the manuel and scriptures in Spanish and then discuss it in English. When a kid does answer me in Spanish I never understand and so I just nod and say yeah. However all of the kids speak English, and most of the time they tell me to speak in English (I ignore them). On Sunday we were talking about "el Sacerdocio" or Priesthood power, and none of them knew what "sacerdocia" meant.

Leo says he has the same problem in Hombres Jovenes (Young Men's). The president is actually one of the two other Caucasian people in the ward--he grew up in Colorado, Catholic family, his friends in high school introduced him to the church and he was baptized, served a mission in the DR, and is still the only member in his family. His wife is from Colombia. She's awesome. Anyway, he wanted to teach the lessons in English because for most of the kids, that's what they're comfortable in, in fact one kid in there speaks no Spanish at all. Anyway, the other counselor was upset because he doesn't speak English at all, so then he can't really contribute if it's in English. Which is a valid point. However the presidente thought they should be most concerned with teaching the boys the gospel, whatever the language was, so if they didn't understand Spanish then English would be best. Plus, he thought it might be a good opportunity for his counselor to work on his English. ;) It's the same in YW's. The president told me she gives the lessons half in Spanish, half in English. She even says it's easier for her in English and she was in Venezuela till she was 15--she's 22 or so now. And a lot of the kids were born here, so English really is their first language, especially in the family's where both parents are and were working a lot, which to be honest, our barrio isn't exactly affluent and most adults work several jobs.

It certainly makes for an interesting time.

Another plus, they always have food!!! Leo and I decided to start telling people we only came to this ward for the food. Even in Primary we had hotdogs and brownies the other day. A bit unorthodox goodbye dinner for another teacher who was moving back to Mexico.

Another thing that's fun--the men play volleyball and fútbol every other week. You know how violent and intense church basketball is? I've never before seen that in a volleyball game--not to mention the fútbol! Leo was in heaven. I think that's the happiest I've seen him for a long, long time. My only complaint is that, from what I've seen in Latino culture, the women don't play. No mi me gusta. :(

It's certainly humbling to be in this ward too. I mean, I am so impressed all the time with the faith of so many of the members and what they have gone through to get where they are. One hermano was telling me about how his mother had died when he was 12, and he had nine siblings--the youngest was two--and he learned to sew on his mother's push pedal sewing machine so he could mend clothes and even help make clothes for the rest of his family. He was mocking me because I said I was going to throw away Elena's torn leotards. Ruff. Another hermana (actually the Colombiana, who's married to the YM's president) was telling us how her younger brother--he was about 12 or 13--started taking the missionary discussions, and she agreed to talk with the misionarios only because she wanted to have them come dance with her at her quinceñera, and then she was so mad when they wouldn't that she stayed mad when her brother was baptized. Then it took about four years of her arguing with her brother before she realized she had no more arguments and was baptized herself. Hee. Hee. Her husband went down to Colombia after his mission to teach English, and at church the first Sunday he was there, she was the Sunday School teacher, and well, they were engaged four weeks after that. (I love to hear how people met their spouse!)

Anyway, Leo is really happy too, and although my Spanish is not rapidly improving at least I come home every Sunday motivated to study more.

Cute do's and fun friends

My good friend Jenny had her new baby, Amelia. So I had the pleasure of babysitting Chloe, her other daughter, a couple times.
Chloe and Elena are BFF's. (I swore I'd never ever use that term, but hey, I guess it's cute when they're two.) Anyway, whenever we leave the house, Elena asks, "Chloe?" The other week she cried and cried because she wanted to go see Chloe and not go pick up her dad from the airport.
Kayli sent me a link to some hair blogs. They're inspiring. Ana doesn't even complain as much, because I mostly let her pick what she wants done. You can't really see her do here, but it was cute.
Of course, it's only the random and rare morning that I feel so inspired.
Not much you can do with Elena's, but nonetheless, I though it turned out well.
I was trying here, but despite taking a picture, I decided not to take Isabel wrapped like a Christmas present to church.
Oops. Blinked.
All tuckered out.
As you may have guessed, not much sleeping was accomplished that particular nap time.
Seriously, those two girls are so adorable!!! Chloe came dressed that day all in purple (her mother's favorite), with purple tights, skirt and shirt. I curled her hair and added a purple flower. Then I dressed Elena in tights, pink skirt, pink shirt, and pink bow. Then we went and played at the mall. They were holding hands and running around--every person we passed would start to smile and say how cute they were. They make me laugh all the time when they're together. It's so sweet.

Friday, 20 February 2009


I know this is a reoccurring theme in my blog: me spending money that I shouldn't. Well, I just have to say that last night, I was shopping online and although I was tempted, I didn't spend a penny!!! By the way, I blame the nasty gray overcast skies and freezing cold windy ugly winter for all of my impulsive purchases lately. Anyway, here's what I would have bought if I had spent my few pennies. Hee. Hee.

This shirt in red. Hey, it's on sale for $6.50. That's really the only reason I picked it out.
This swimsuit from Lime Ricki. It's not on sale, otherwise, I'd be tempted. I really do need a new swimsuit. I have a maternity one and one I bought when I weighed significantly less than I do now.

This top from Down East Basics. Not on sale.

This dress from Sweet Innocence Dresses. Also not on sale. BUT I LOVE IT!!! I love red. And I love dresses. I really need to buy tops though, if I bought anything, which I'm NOT going to do.

These boots from Ann Taylor Loft. On sale for $59--down from $149.
And I can't decide between this dress or this dress from Layers Clothing. Both on sale for $32 from $65. Basically, I just love that site, because all the models are wearing hats. I think their dresses are just a tad too short because once a kid climbed on my lap, the skirt would be half way up my thighs. Err. I'm going to start a new LDS clothing shop, one specifically designed for MOMS!! I mean really, why not add three inches, or at least two.

I like dresses a lot. Did you notice?

Oh, I did also pick out bluejeans and shoes for my husband. And yesterday while I was at the mall letting Elena and Chloe (I was babysitting) play at the little playground, I already coveted enough kids clothes to last me all summer. So much cute stuff at Gymboree and Gap kids. Sigh. The weather really needs to warm up, so I get life. Sorry. I'll stop now.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Wed. Reminisce:Collectors

When I was eight and Kayli was six, we lived at BYU. In Heritage Halls to be exact. My dad was teaching there over the summer, so our large family lived in two of the dorm apartments. I have to say it was a pretty fun summer. But not for my mom. She was sick, very sick. And to put it nicely, things went smoother if we didn't hang around the apartment too long. So, basically Kayli and I took free range of BYU and did whatever we wanted most days. (We were in a BYU summer program too--it's not as if we were left to ourselves entirely.) Really, we didn't get into trouble except for being kicked out of the canal a couple times.

Oh, and once, Jerusha Nordquist and I filled doll clothes full of berries and squashed them, and then "borrowed" everyone's laundry soap (at least thoses who left their soap in their storage units unlocked) to see which one worked best. I do remember getting in trouble for that, and then feeling bad because I was off doing something else when our mess was discovered and Jerusha had to clean most of it up. Sorry Jerusha.

Actually, we spent most of our time at the bookstore reading books to be honest. Bad habits formed young. In college, I read a whole Robert Jordan book at Borders once. Hee. Hee. We also watched quite a few dollar movies, spent some time in the art museum, ran through the sprinklers a lot, and played in the sand in the volleyball courts. Good times.
Anyway, to get back to the main point of the story and to tie in the photo that I know you all are wondering about, one time Kayli and I caught a praying mantis. We thought it was so cool. No, I mean so cool. So utterly cool, that we decided to sell it to the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum. Yep. We were smart like that. You see, we spent quite a bit of time there, although it was quite a hike for us, it was worth it because we could see an elephant, a bear and a lion, among other things. We loved it. And on one of our previous visits we had noticed that they had a tank with live praying manti. So during our long walk to the museum we discussed in depth what we would buy at their gift shop with the money they would pay us. The anticipation was immense.
Upon arriving at the museum, we confidently walked to the section with the manti, and then detoured to browse around the gift shop just to be sure of our choices, and then left our praying manti on the counter in it's ziplocked bag.
Yeah. We chickened out. We didn't have the guts to ask about selling it. However, after a while of walking around a bit more of the museum we went back just to see how our poor mantis faired.
The nice lady at the desk told us they had added him to the tank upon his discovery because he didn't seem to be doing so well zipped up, but she made no mention of monetary reward.
Perhaps another time Kayli and I will have to venture out for more exotic creatures. At least we can say we contributed to BYU's Natural History Museum's exhibit. Not everyone can say that.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A few notes from this week

This is Elena and ALL THE STUFF she has to take into the bathroom every single time she goes potty. She is a bag lady extraordinaire. She gets a sticker and a chocolate every time she goes, but lately she cares more about the stickers than the chocolate. However, she raided the drawer we kept the stickers in and now they are dispersed throughout her bag collection. Still, every time she goes potty she locates one and gives it to herself. Crazy chica.

Chilling on the couch. Oh, by the way, Elena has become so spoiled of late. Practically every Sunday at church the Hermanas in Guardaria (Nursery) give her some toy. She has a Dora doll they gave her that she carries everywhere. Then we went to a family's house for dinner two Saturday's ago, (they're in the Spanish ward, the wife's from Colombia so of course we were instant buddies!) and their daughter Nathalia gave Elena a Dora backpack--the one she's wearing. Now she takes that everywhere too. She also wants to go to school everyday with Ana and is so sad that she can't go.Elena is lecturing Ana on the intricacies of the book, but Ana obviously isn't interested.Isabel is most interested in eating books of late, rather than reading them. So far she's digested almost an entire alphabet board book and several Friend magazines. Yum. This is one of those killer squirrels out on our back step, plotting on how to enter and steal all the good food I've been baking. Evil thing. Really, I've been on a cooking kick. I'll post my favorite recipe after this. Sorry no pictures, everything was eaten too quickly. But I made brownies, apple pie, Bavarian Apple Torte (that's this recipe--sooo good!), Tortilla Soup, Pandequeso (my best batch yet), BBQ's Cheddar Quesidillas, and well, that's it, but in the space of four days, it seems like a lot. We had our friends, the Herrs, over for dinner Friday night. It was so nice, they just feel like family, friends like that are just few, very very few. :)
Elena decided to exercise with me. She is in the way a lot of the time, but at least it isn't her whining for me to come someplace else, or get something for her, or crying about who knows what.
She does pretty well, for as long as her attention lasts. Her push-ups are the funniest things ever.
Ana took some sewing classes for her early birthday present (we also gave her a Barbie sewing machine, but it was second hand and doesn't really work), anyway she loved it at first but by the last project the teacher had to finish quite a bit for her. Anyway, this is a baby blanket she made for a good friend of ours.
This is the blanket she made for herself.
And the pajama pants she has on, was the last project. She also made a pillowcase. Sweet, eh?

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Too funny not to post

Elena was watching music videos on youtube with me today, and while watching one she became the most upset that I've ever seen her. She was crying, and saying it was scary, and she ran to Daddy in the other room, but she kept trying to come back to sit by me, so she'd edge around the corner, as far as possible away from the computer and then see the screen and start to wail and run to Dad again. So here's the video for you all. Feel free to scare your children with it.

Now this video is the one that would give me nightmares. I'm just posting it because it reminded me of my Dad. He said that every year during all the college graduations that he's responsible for and has to attend, he's always tempted to play this song instead of Pomp and Circumstance. I double-dogged dared him to, but he hasn't yet.

Wordless Wednesday: Time out Corner

Friday, 6 February 2009

Fiesta Chicas

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Lo siento. Not a reminisce

Sorry today I have no time for reminiscing. Bills to pay, sick kids, grouchy me, and horrible, terrible freezing cold weather just is eating up my time. Y español. But to compensate, I will post some photos. However, I wanted to collage them, and my computer doesn't have enough memory, so there's a lot. Adios.

Okay I realized I said I wasn't going to write anything, but I'm waiting for the pictures to load and I was looking at the grocery ads and just noticed something on the local Shop and Save Market. They have an entire page with stars by every item telling where they're from. Here's the list: Italy, Germany, Thailand, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and of course, Poland. Sometimes I love living in Chicago. I'm really going to miss the stores I shop at. I feel like I'm taking a mini trip around the world every time I go. Nice.

P.S. We were enjoying the rare sunlight in my room and that's when I started taking pictures. I certainly won't miss the cold, gray days.