Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Day and weekend

When I was young Christmas morning was always full of presents, candy filled stockings, laughing, screaming, camera flashes from mom and dad putting together all our new stuff. Being the second to youngest of six kids one of my favorite things Christmas morning was my stocking. My mom had us all take turns opening our gifts but stockings were free reign. I enjoyed my little bit of control I got with it. Last year we tried this approach with Alana and after getting her stocking she didn't even want to open her gifts. Seriously Issac and I opened her presents for her. This year we decided we would just make her and Joslin take turns but no stocking till after presents. She was so busy playing with the first 2 items that were opened that she didn't want the rest. I actually had to bribe her with the stocking to get her to open some more of her gifts and even then I had to help her. Abuela Tina (mi suegra) stayed the night with us Christmas Eve so she helped the baby open all her gifts. And somewhere between all that we managed to open our own gifts also. This was all finished before nine am. Oh I didn't mention that early in the morning as I was giving the baby her bottle I spotted a roach on my mother in laws pillow. I was mortified and told her it was there. She calmly flicked it off and killed it. I apologized and she laughed at me and said, "you should see the ones in Monclova they are this big." and she held her fingers an inch apart. Geess nothing like her not freaking out to make me feel better. But seriously Yuck Yuck Yuck.
Then we packed up the car and headed to Tuxpan which is only a three hour drive from where we live. I was again reminded that having Issac in my daily life is so important. I will never be thankful for our two years of life apart but I do know it has made me so much more grateful for him. He and his mom and I worked as a team and I don't think we forgot anything. Issacs sister lives in Tuxpan and in the year and a half I have been here we have never visited her. I was very excited to get to see some more of Mexico and I was most definitely not disappointed. I'm sad to say that I have now lost all my pictures from the trip but I am holding them in my heart. I love the mountains and to actually be driving in them was so great. We of course saw the typical random cow on the side of a busy street, and the people haling items you would swear were much to heavy for there carts. But aside from all that we saw the splendor and imagination of our God. He really is so amazing and nothing can remind you of this as much as nature. We actually took the Cuotas which are the toll roads and I was afraid we wouldn't see as much nature but boy was I wrong. To all sides of us where tall rippled mountains. At times they looked like a blanket you could curl up in. Everything was so green and fresh and I just felt like I could reach out and touch each mountain. Thats the funny thing about mountains they are deceiving like that, you always feel so close to them but it takes hours to actually drive up close to them. Issacs mother had warned us that there would be part of the drive that we wouldn't like. She was talking about the stretch of desert which we actually loved. For the first time in my life I saw a true glimmer on the horizon that looked like an oasis. Mind you I wasn't hot and dehydrated so I knew what it was but how cool to see it. I read a lot and flashes of all the stories I had read that were in deserts and mountains came flashing back to me. How you can look for miles and miles and see nothing absolutely nothing except far in the distance the mountain that is you destination. I did get to see one of the famous huge aunt hills. I so didn't believe my husband at first when he said that's what it was. It would have come up to your knees!!!! The whole way there we had the volcanoes in view. There are two but one is so tall that it has snow on it and no smoke. The slightly smaller one was smoking the whole time we were there. The view was truly beautiful and has inspired me to try to paint it. I'm getting all excited again just thinking about it, and could go on and on about it but your my readers sake I will leave that as is.
We stopped at the rest area before getting off the toll road because knew it would be our last chance for a fairly clean tinkle with the hopes of toilet paper (we did have our own in case). Getting into Tuxpan we were privileged enough to have to wait for a heard of cows to cross the street without any one to push them a long. I don't understand how the owners of these free roaming animals are not afraid for their safety.
Tuxpan has a great statue of an Indian as you drive into town and I so wanted to show you but maybe next time.Finally we arrived at his sisters house. We were greeted with hugs and kisses and Alana was so excited to see her cousin. He is two years older than her and she drives him batty but they are so cute playing together. That afternoon Issac and I left the girls with the family and took a walk alone. It was so nice we never get to do that kind of thing. We happened upon these people who were dressed in strange costumes and doing an Indian style dance in front of a little house type thing that had a baby in a manger. We decided to take a closer look because we assumed it a Catholic thing due to the baby Jesus. They had sticks in there hand and at one point this kid jumped in on their dance and one of the older dancers bonked him on the head. After watching close up for a min or so we got an eerie feeling and headed back home. On our way home we saw them round a corner and they were dancing up the street we were taking to get back. We rushed so we could get Alana outside to see them. His sister then explained to us that the town of Tuxpan was originally a canable town. When the Spaniards come they not only killed them but ate them. She said these people state that they practice the religion but don't eat humans and instead of idols they worship baby Jesus. Sounds like they have Jesus a little confused. As most of you know every town in Meixco has a certain meal that they are "famous" for. Well in this town it is a soup that was originally made out of human flesh, but now they use chicken. That is just weird and gross and no we didn't try any.
The next day we headed to the beach and for the life of me I cant remember the name of the town. Ill ask my husband later and post it in a comment. This was another beautiful drive but I also get motion sickness very easy so I wasn't feeling to hot upon arrival. I wasn't really sure what to expect because they kept saying we were going to the beach but when they showed me pictures it was a pool. Then when we got there and said we were hungry they said it was a restaurant that we were going to. By now I was pretty confused. This place was so cool and there were others exactly like it all up and down the strip. Basically you walk in the front of this open air restaurant and it had a pool for the kids with slides included and if you just walk strait through and out the back there is the beach. So you have the comfort of the table and chairs and the safety of the pool and the view of the ocean. What a great idea. The sand on the beach was very dark but Im not huge on sand no matter the color so to me it was as pretty as any other beach. I love the sound of the waves and grabbing stones and shells as the waves recede is fun. Issac of course had to go as far out as he could into the ocean and had to be called back in by the life guard. It really wasn't that warm but Mexicans are crazy so the beach and water was pretty full. The food was marvelous and was seafood of course. Issac got a grilled fish, it was the whole fish simply cut in half and slapped onto the grill. It was a little over a foot long. My meal was the same old same old cocktail because Issac was gone when it was time to order and his mom and sister were not to patient about helping me pick something. But I got to sample Issacs and my brother in laws. He had marlin with a bar-b-q sauce and shrimp and octopus under it. Yummmmm his was the best.
The last day of our stay there we got to out to where my brother in law works. He does fishery and they actually lived out on the fish farm for seven years. They only recently moved into Tuxpan. It was actually interesting to see the huge fish tanks and to hear how they keep them cleaned out. Alana of course loved seeing the fish and had fun running all over with her big cousin. He obviously loved being there. There is a lot of land and lots of stuff to get into. We got to knock pecans off a tree and eat them and go next door to see some cows. This day was a blast and a great ending to the trip. We headed home after eating and once back in our apartment decided it was the perfect time period for a trip.
I look forward to going back and will have pictures the next time. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Leading up to Christmas

Well as my frequent readers know I do advent activities with my three year old. Some of the ones we did were really easy and others a little more complicated. Either way I hope that she learned about the bible and had fun doing so. I know I had a blast with it. We also do activities after Christmas until the new year. Yesterday we made new years goodies bags for the new years party we will be attending. I didn't have the time or the money to get the items that were suppose to be in it so instead we used the candy from our Santa stockings. (we had plenty of that) The little story that is attached to the bags goes like this:We are giving you chocolates with colorful wrappers to represent the colorful people in our lives, Candy canes to remind us to keep Jesus with us all year long, circle shaped caramels to represent the ending and beginning of a year, silver pieces for fortune and prosperity for the new year, and most importantly red suckers to remind us we can pray for forgiveness thanks to the blood Jesus shed for us.
Today we will be making the armor of God and learning the My God Is So Big song, and tomorrow we will open our time capsule from last year and make a new one.

For Christmas Eve my husband had to work all day so we decided I would take the girls out to El Valle to hang with his family all day. The day before I baked two pies (pumpkin and chocolate pecan) and a sugar plum coffee bread. (not sure what sugar plum is suppose to be but the recipe was just cherries) That morning I was trying to pack for the day to El Valle and for the weekend in Tuxpan at Issacs sisters house. Also I was planing to bring Alanas activity out there and enough stuff for all the kids to get to join in. The activity was to paint old bottles and make glitter pictures. They bottles where to represent the gifts from the three kings. (the kids all loved it and made such pretty stuff) Issacs mom and Aunt showed up a lot sooner than I thought, and not sure if this happens with anyone else but they seem to be fine with making you wait but when its their turn its obvious they are not to happy with it. So in all the rushing about I forgot Alanas sweater because its actually pretty warm in my apartment and its warmer in my town than in the valley. To say the least I didn't hear the end of it all day. And one of his aunts reminded me like 3 times to be sure I packed it for the trip to Tuxpan. Sometimes I swear they think Im an idiot and a bad mother. I expect this sort of thing from my mother in law, after all they are her grand-kids. Also I have seen her do it to Issacs sister so that makes me feel a lot better. I´m starting to realize that in Mexico Aunts have the same nagging rights as mother in laws. I always get so frustrated with all the constant corrections with my how I´m doing with my girls but my husband assures me that this is just how family is here and its not that they think I´m a bad mother. So needless to say by the end of the night I was a little on edge but for the most part the day went well. This year was so much more comfortable than last year. I knew where to pick up and pitch in and when I didn't I was able to ask. And as a matter of fact they were cooking a turkey and no one had any idea what they were doing so I was able to give advise and help with that. Although there were a few miscommunication even with that. It came with a bag of gravy and I told his aunt I would fix it when it was time and that it needed to wait until right be fore time to eat. She asked me how you eat it and I told her you poor it on top of your turkey. Well after I made it I had to run out and help one of my girls. When I came back in she had pored the whole pot of gravy over the whole turkey. lol. I didn't say anything I figure some day Ill make them something with gravy and explain it then.
At one point in the day I was in the kitchen with an Aunt (wife of Issacs uncle) and Grandma and we were cleaning the romaritos (not sure I wrote that right). Anyway the Aunt asked for banana and Grandma made a crude comment to her. Tia was all like, "That is your son you talking about." And grandma just kept shrugging her shoulders and laughing. The reason I tell this story is because I got it... I got the joke and was able to laugh with them. This also is how things go in my family and so at that moment I felt so at home. Honestly even though the aunts drove me nuts sometimes with their nagging and Issac and I got into a tiny tiff about it all in all things were better this year. I told Issac that couples fight over stupid family stuff like this even when they are all from the same country.
It was a pretty exhausting day though and when I got home there was a card from my mom under the door. It was her Christmas card and in it was an invite to come to her house for games and food. At that moment I could picture us all there playing checkers and my girls tearing up her house and I balled. I think the worst part is that Issacs mom was staying with us that night, but she cries about everything so I'm sure she understood. I haven't cried that hard in a while and for that reason it was most likely a good thing. A good cry is good for the soul. I did and do miss my family at this holiday time but I know that my life is in the right place and on Gods track.
And so to all have a safe and Happy New Year.

Monday, December 21, 2009


A job, a new town, dead bugs, relearning typing and raised rent is a run down of this blog.

First off apparently me telling the landlord that I didn't think we would be able to pay the raised rent and that her husband needed to talk to my husband did the trick. He still isn't back from the States so my hubby hasn't had a chance to talk to him. But when she came to pick up this months rent she told him they decided they were not raising it. So way to go me. :)

The job and the new town are all in the same. I may have mentioned in a previous post how I had a phone interview for a job. This job would be in San Luis, Potosi and I would be teaching Mexican nurses how to pass the NCLEX (or state board test). This is perfect for me. I love nursing and I love to teach. Most likely I will also work some hours at the IMSS because apparently this program works closely with them. Also these nurses will have just come from a fairly strenuous Medical English course so my class is to be in English. I'm sure from time to time I will need to speak in Spanish to help them to understand more clearly. This program has been started in 4 other locations in Mexico all of which were on the coast or near the boarder for the States. The one I will be working for is a trial because they are unsure if it will work well in central Mexico. I received an e-mail the other day that said that I was for sure the candidate for the job. I'm sure all contracts and such will end up waiting till after the beginning of the year. But my husband is already asking about if he can transfer and stay with the store. He doesn't really like his job but it has good benefits and he has almost 2 years in there and doesn't want to loose that. Hopefully when I'm also working he can eventually go part time and get some schooling so he can do what he wants to.

This brings me to the typing thing. We decided to get a PC finally, so far we have been using a laptop. We bought that laptop in 96 when my husband got deported so we could chat via web cam and he could use it anywhere including cafes. That poor thing has been used like a PC for almost 4 years now. Plus we figure I will be needing a separate computer with the new job. Of course we bought it here and therefore it is a Spanish keyboard. Apparently you can put it into English mode but I figure its a good lesson for me. Its a little frustrating and I cant seem to find some of the punctuation keys, thankfully spell check catches most of those words. Although I just noticed that cant is not underlined. Well I will have to ask Issac about that when he gets home.

And lastly the bugs, oh yes the never ending war against la cucarachas. We may have found our solution and it had been suggested a long time ago. Its borax powder, now that's not what it was called where I got it but its the same thing. We sprayed about a week ago and only saw dead bugs for a few days. yesterday and today we have seen some live ones so I sprayed again today. This stuff is suppose to be safe for my girls but to be safe I am only spraying places out of reach. Its the first thing that we have tried that later we have actually found dead bugs. And actually any live ones we have found are walking funny or out in broad daylight which is odd so I'm thinking they are a little doped up. So if any of you want to try it just go to your closest pet store (they are everywhere here) and ask for the powder to kill cucarachas. That is what I did and they knew just what I was looking for. Its a powder which in my case we added to water in a spray bottle and sprayed everywhere. When it dries you will see the dust and be able to avoid it pretty well.

So that was pretty long but a good update on life here in Tepa for the Hernandez clan. I'm nervous about our up coming move and the new job but I know God is with us and will carry us safely to where we need to be.

Monday, December 14, 2009


So after vomiting throughout the night we decided to try the IMSS once again. Now that we knew when to drop off our book we expected it to go a little better. My husband headed there at 830 (let me remind you at one point we were told we should show up at 6am)and he was told that they don't start accepting books until 9am. Issac told me that when he showed up there was a guy there that was saying, "Iv been here since 630 where am I suppose to put my book!" He must have talked to the same person I had at first. My husband then went to the store to get me some crackers and pedialite and went back at 9. We were like the third book they received and he was told to come back at one or 130. We showed up at one and the place was as empty as Iv ever seen it. Slowly it started to fill up. I saw the doctor saunter into the office and back out a few times but no names were called until about two. And then neither person was there. And instead of going to the next person they waited. Anyway we were seen at almost 3. At one point Issac went to ask if they could estimate when we would be seen and the lady said anywhere between one and three. That is a good estimate when your sitting there with a 8month old and a 3 yr old. But all in all the lady was nice and receptive but that is the way things go. So when seeing the doctor he said I had Colitis (which made perfect since to me), we asked about my gall bladder and he said that if it doesn't hurt when I eat no grease or fat then that's what I should do, and that he would not say I should get it taken out until it hurts even then (which it wont). And we also asked about birth control. Basically the only type of birth control the Seguro supplies is the pill, and both types of implants the 2 yr and 5 yr. I cant take the pill because of my gall bladder so we were asking him about the implant. I was actually quite impressed with his answer. First he gave us all the medical mumbo jumbo which I already knew. Then he gave us his personal opinion. He told us how most of his patients were so unhappy with the side effects and that even he and his wife have chosen the rout of condoms because of it. After discussing it with him I was actually swayed in my opinion which doesn't happen often. Something that is interesting to me is you wont see that happen often in the states. Maybe if you have been going to the same doctor all your life but then its still a maybe. In the medical field in the states you are trained and almost brain washed never to give your personal opinion even when its asked of you. You are simply to lay out the facts and let the patient decide. He was in no way trying to persuade us and many times he said "como tu qieres." But he was giving us his opinion as a husband and a doctor of other patients. How great to be able to be so personal and open with your patients. He then proceed to do the physical examination. He did an excellent job of explaining that because it hurt when he pushed in certain places and the way it sounded when he thumped others he knew was colitis. He didn't wait often for Issac to explain things to me but thankfully for the most part I understood. After dealing with a pesky printer, he typed and printed out a list of meds for me. I still get a kick out of seeing doctors take my B/P and deal with printers (you wont see that in the states). Then we walked over to the pharmacy area of the IMSS and got ALL MY MEDS FOR FREE!!!!!!!!! Oh yes you read that right it was all free the visit and the meds. As Iv said before there is a small amount taken out of Issac check but not a lot. So it took us 3 or 4 hours but didn't cost us a dime. So Im thinking the good out weighs the bad when your broke and sick. And at least the doctor was nice and totally competent. The funny thing is two days later we were at a friends house who has cable and we saw a commercial for the Seguro and it looked so fast and easy. lol Well, life never was like it is on TV. ;)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent week one

We started our advent calendar on the 1st of December. Basically each day we have a bible story from a list I found online. Most of the time I read it from my daughters kid bible which helps her stay interested. We then make an ornament that correlates to that days story. I also have added fun Christmas activities. So far the ornaments we have made are clay earth for creation, and apple with a snake for Adam and Eve. These were our first and have yet to harden. The clay melts when it gets hot and so I assume it shouldn't be cooked. If anyone has any ideas on this let me know. Then we made a rainbow out of foam for Noah, a star for Gods promise to Abraham, a ram (foam and cotton) for Issac, A burning bush (foam and glitter) for Moses, a n for Joseph helping Pharaoh understand his dream.
As far as activities we have talked about the animals in the nativity and why they are there. On that day we got to go visit a friend who raises cows so she got to see them live. We made sugar cookie ginger bread men (because I didn't know what to use for molasses which I do not thanks to Leslie). We kept some and gave some to the store owners across the street who in return gave Alana a bag of peanuts she was asking me for. We also made a bird feeder which when it rained is not just a pine cone hanging outside. ;) This week was also about the letter C so we made Candles and wrote Candle on them with a big glittery letter C. We also made a Christmas colage where she got to pick clip art off of the computer and we talked about why each item is used around Christmas time. Yesterday we discussed Saint Nicholas the real one and where Santa came from. We plan to pretend about Santa until she asks about him and then I will tell her hes pretend. Anyway 'Im actually going to post pictures of some of our adventures. We are still using the box calendar and hopefully I get the felt one done soon because I have to continue on the scrap book I started for Issacs mom by next week or I wont get it done before Christmas. Im trying to fit everything in this year because I will hopefully be working by next Christmas and we will have to tone down the calendar a bit.

Oh and yesterday we got to go to a traditional celebration for a small town around here. We are not Catholic but honestly I was curious to what goes on at these things and we were invited so we went. It ended up being almost and hour from our house but we were glad we went. Three of the english speaking couples we know were there so it was a nice change. Basically for nine nights the statue of Mother Mary is brought to a new house each night and they say prayers and sing to her. Like I said Im not Catholic but I don't see anything wrong in giving Mary respect. I cant even imagine what her life was like. I do plan to teach my daughter that while they say there prayers to Mary we can pray to Jesus. I know growing up here she will end up attending many masses and Catholic type celebrations. And like we did last night we will stand quietly and respectfully during the prayers. Actually last night Alana said, "Can we pray mommy." And I said of course. And we prayed to Jesus and thanked him for coming as a baby, we also thanked him for giving women such an honor of raising his son.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The brain is a wonderful thing

I worked on a neurology unit for almost 6 years. I find the brain extremely fascinating and have read a lot about it. One of my favorite authors is Oliver Sacks. Lately due to the odd things my brain has been doing with the Spanish and English I was reminded of an article I read once of his. I actually tried to look it up but cant find the exact one. So here is my best rendition of it.
There was a guy who had a stroke and after getting a little better everyone thought he was having aphasia which is difficulty with speech. But when his wife showed up she said that he was speaking perfect, but not in English. I honestly cant remember the exact language but I want to say it was Japanese. Basically his wife was from there and he learned her language later in life. You see the area of your brain that is called your speech or language center is where you originally learn your first language as a child. But if you learn a new language later it is in a different area of your brain. So this guy couldn't speak english anymore after his stroke and would have to relearn it but was able to communicate with his wife there to translate. How cool is that.
If this seems at all interesting to you, you should look up Oliver Sacks and read some of his books. The ones I read where "The man who mistook his wife for a hat." and "An Anthropologist on Mars." Both of which were amazing books, he writes in a way that you don't feel you are reading a medical journal but more about the life of the patient and how they learn to live with their disorders. Because I was trying to find the article I spoke of before I noticed he wrote about visiting Mexico titled Oaxaca Journal (2002). I plan to find this book. Here is a link to his website and a list of his books.
So hang in there all you students of Spanish and remember if you ever have a stroke in your language center you will be able to communicate still if you learn well. ;)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I think its sinking in....

That is I think the Spanish is getting ingrained into my subconscious as well as conscious. Weird things keep happening. For example I was rewriting my grocery list the other day after I went to one store and couldn't get everything I needed (this happens a lot). So I'm going to write pan (bread) but I realize the rest of my list is in English, I don't know why but I hate to have both languages on one list, so I'm sitting there thinking, "Pan... Pan..... Pan.... Oh I know its bread." Ok then I get to the next entry on my old list and I realize it says jam (just curious how many of you just read that as ham). Ok I look at this word and can picture slices of jamon or ham in my head but can tell this word is wrong. And it seriously took me a min to realize what it was. I wonder if my issues with spelling and not being able to picture spellings of words has anything to do with this or if this is typical of learning a new language. Any one ever had situations like these. This isn't the only time for me but is the most recent and easiest to explain. Sometimes I don't think I could really explain what the weirdness is. I showed my husband my list and told him what happened with the bread and he smiled at me and said, "Your really learning Spanish honey." I'm thinking this is a bad thing and he acts all proud of me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Calendar

We started last year doing an advent calendar. I made it and its keeps falling over so I plan to make a new one out of felt to hang on the wall. Yesterday was the firs day. We made ornaments out of clay to represent creation and Adam and Eve. We made a world and an apple with a snake. We read both stories. Also we were suppose to make ginger bread cookies which we made today. We actually made sugar cookie men because I cant find molasses around here. Today will be Noah and we get to make a rainbow. I also have been doing activities with the letters each week. This week is C which is easy with Christmas stuff. Yesterday we found all the C's that were on our Christmas decorations. I still need to find one for today. Anyway this is a picture of my calendar as each day gets flipped up it makes a picture. and when I get the new one made I will show it. I love this time of year and doing our advent activities.