A New Week

Well, the week has started once again.  Thank goodness.  I love the weekend but I do love Mondays.  They are that - lets get it done this week chance.  I like to work in small increments for success.  For example- instead of hoping for a good day- which is tough to truly have from start to finish.  But if you aim for a good hour- you will have so much more success and much more often.  I like starting the week because on Sunday's I do not work- I try not to anyway.  no emails- no calendar- no charity project- NOTHING!  It is my day to be with my family.  Ruben works 6 days a week anyway and has not had a day off in over 3 weeks. (he is banking up 3 or 4 days off for when my Dad, brother and sister in law come next week)  He was going to work again yesterday - but I told him- no- he NEEDS to take the day off and just relax- enjoy hanging out with the kids etc.
On Friday I was supposed to go to hang out with a friend of mine on the beach for her birthday.  That did not happen. I was starting to feel like I was getting sick- you know that very beginning when you can feel it behind your ears?  Well, I bailed on her the first night - then Saturday she told me- "Mindy- you need to get out and get away from the house and away from the kids."  She was right- I had been at home with the kids for over 6 days in a row due to their schools being closed again for several days in a row.  It is too hot to walk to town with the kids so we have been in the house and in the neighborhood for days. 

My friend was finishing up some work redesigning and decorating a guest house down on the beach - hoped in her taxi and headed down to see her and Ruben was going to be able to have a date with the kids.  They love Daddy dates- anything goes with daddy! 

My friend's other buddy bought a bottle of wine and we were off to the beach.  We had a great time hanging out and drinking a little wine.  Then I had a good friend playing his last gig of the season down at Zamas.  I never get to go see him play because well, 1 it is on the beach and 2- with the kids - we never really go out at night. 

When we got there, a  good size table was set up and the owner, 1 of my bosses from 1 of my 3 jobs, some other friends and WHAM!!!! both of my other bosses!  are you kidding me! What are the odds?- Well, actually in Tulum- pretty easy.  But I thought that it was sort of funny.  Plus 2 of my bosses are actually dating.  Diego is my boss at Todo Tulum whom I write for and his girlfriend is the one who has asked me to help her with the weddings.  But still- all 3 of my bosses at the same table- on the one night I am out.  jajaja oh well.  I am NOT working tonight!

The owner was so very sweet and bought us some wine and a few pieces of cake.  Because it was my friends birthday they did the whole song and we lovingly smashed her face into her cake.  :) You gotta love Mexican tradition! Afterwards- we all piled into the car and headed to town to listen to our friends play their next set down at Pepinos Cigar Bar.  This is a new place in town.  It is really cute- right off the Avenue. 

We had so much fun dancing and talking and laughing.  It was a really great time.  I love Tulum Avenue in the evening/night!  All of the people I know and adore were there.  They were all a little shocked to see me- because I am never out at night. We had such a great time. 

We stayed the night in the rooms that my friend is working on and crashed out hard after a night of dancing.  I love Tulum.  I swear I had my shoes in my purse but never put them on.  A far cry from my crazy high heels of San Francisco.  I also ran into a bunch of my fisherman friends - which means that there will be some great fish in my near future.  Best part about an abundance of good friends that fish- there is almost always some daily catches left over. :)

The next morning- Ruben brought the kids down to play at the beach and he went harpoon fishing.  No catches today though.  the beach was beautiful and the kids had a  great time- as usual.  After a fun day at the beach we grabbed some tacos at a new place I found in town that I love!!!! Handmade tortillas, wonderfully flavored meats and freshly made agua fresca.  How could you beat watching Carlos blend up pineapple and chaya into a fresh sweet water right in front of your face!  Plus the tacos are locally priced- not tourist restaurant price.   It really pays to get off the main Avenue. :) The family that runs this place is so sweet.  They are from Chiapas and their 2 year old is adorable!

We sat at home, took showers and watched the craziest kids movie, Clouds with a chance of meatballs. It was a cute but sort of insane movie.  After the kids went to sleep Ruben and I watched  an episode of Lost and went to bed.  

It is a new day!  A new week!  My dad will be coming to visit me next week.  He has never been to Mexico since I moved here so it will be really great to finally show him where I live.  

PLUS- every Monday we start the week wondering- hoping and praying that this week the kids actually have classes all 5 days!  We shall see!   

The schools--- what am I going to do about the schools!!!!?????

The schools in Mexico really have a bad wrap.  I mean it is not hard to see why.  The schools in most smaller towns  are so tragic that the idea of University to most kids is ridiculous.  Now- to be fair- that is true for countless districts in the US as well.  But one thing that drives me crazy about here is that the people that are supposed to be the ones that care the most and that there to do it the most are the people that make it the hardest. 

I cannot tell  you how many days I have gone to pick up one of the kids at school and been informed that there is simply no class tomorrow.  Not that there is no school- but that Lena;s class will not be there.  I do not understand this.  I can see it a little bit- but really?  All the time and for days at at time??? Now I thought that this was  little more isolated to Tulum but no- this is just the way a lot of people run their schools.  It seems that if the teacher is not available then no one is called in.  This was totally reiterated in my friends blog post about her son's school.  Leslie Limon retells the perfect story to demonstrate my point.  If you have not ready it yet- read it and you will understand our frustrations.  You can read it HERE!

So after my annoyance fit of being told that my daughter did not have school for the rest of the  week (it was Tuesday when we were told) my question was... well, what should we do with them at home?  In the meantime?  You know... what lessons or homework in the mean time?  They looked at me like I was crazy.  Now granted I am always viewed as a little crazy here.

I have always wanted to do homeschooling and I do do some lessons.  I do not have the faith in my abilities not to loose my mind to do it full time.  Plus I need those 3 hours of sanity to at least TRY to write something or at least clean the house.  But when it comes to homeschooling- I do not even know where to start.  We do some good activities and stuff - and I know some really great websites with learning games and my mom bought me some reader rabbit games for the kids. 

But my prayers were answered the other day when I went to a meeting at Akilean's school.  The first part was talking about parents being more involved and participating more in the school and with the teacher.  It cannot be separate.  I totally agree- and luckily the teachers at my son's school really work with me when I ask questions or want to know what is going on.  And Lena's teacher is great too.   He has taught her to read. and she is a wiz at math.  But day s off at a time and nothing to do? 

With Akilean we have a little different of a problem.  He is a little more advanced then the other kids in his class.  He finishes his work very quickly and then is just sitting around.  That leads to acting up- One of the reasons for this is that he went to Montessori preschool for almost 3 years before we left the USA.  He plays with Lena and she is teaching him how to read.  We are trying to get him to go straight into 1st grade next year- ifhe passes the test great- but because of his age they are saying no!  He needs more to do? he is so curious and smart. 

In this meeting they were also talking about the TV and how it needs to get turned off.  Of course kids attention problems- they watch like 4 hours of TV a day.  This goes for all of the Novellas as well.  Kids are seeing things that they should not be seeing.  And novellas in Mexico are not subtle. This is one area we are doing well on.  We got rid of cable  a few months back and I love it.  The kids hardly miss it.  If there is a show I or they really want to watch- we can usually find it on line. 

The last part of the meeting was talking about a new campaign that the Education Dept was doing. In combination with SISEP - a group that is working to improve the quality and level of education in various communities.   They have developed these books.  These books outline everything that a student needs to know to graduate from that class level. Each book is designed for a specific grade and broken down into subject.  Spanish - Math- Natural Science- Social Studies- Civics and Gov't- History.  They are hard bound and fully colored.  I was really impressed with them.  There are also little exams and such to help guide what the kids are getting or not getting. There is also an atlas book that outlines every continent and country in that continent.  There are also 6 disks with even more info. 

Anyway. Long story short- I really want these.  They are expensive- well- not really when priced out but for here especially.  if you do it in payments of 250 pesos/ paycheck for 19 paychecks it would be 4,750 pesos.  If you do 2 payments each of 1,800 pesos then it is only 3,600.   I am doing everything I can to come up with this.  Yes- I want them.  If you pay it all you also get 8 paper back dictonaries broken down by subject.  I know it is expensive- but for 1 I think the product is worth it and I am one of the cheapest people on the planet.  Plus it is only 150 dollars per kid for all 6 grade levels.  And these are not work books these are like encyclopedias that are grade specific.

I know what a lot of people say- you have the internet- and yes that is true- but I do not even know what information we should be looking up.  And second of all- there is simply something about looking things up in a book.  I remember my family had these encyclopedias when I was growing up.  I loved them. I still remember moments of when I learned something from them.  Well, anyway.  I have never done this before but when I need help- I ask for it.  I am trying to come up with 1,800 pesos.  I can come up with the 2nd payment for the end of June no problem- but the first one is in just a few days and the first paycheck of the month is always spoken for with household needs. 

So although I am being ballsy and tacky - I am asking for help- anyone who wants to help me buy these for my kids- any help is greatly appreciated. You can donate via paypal at the button above- you can specify Books so it does not confused with the school project. -

 I know this is really tacky but- well, what can I do- I am a little tacky!

A perfect salad for a really hot day

Well, it has been HOT!  Very hot. The weather towards the middle part of the day is .... well... just awful.  It is so hot. I really want to go to the beach and what not but we cannot do the taxis.  Man I cannot wait to have my car.  I did the math, I spend over 700 pesos a month on taxis just getting the kids to and from their classes everyday.  I spend ,ore getting to and from then I do on the classes!!! That is just messed up.   I cannot wait to get a car.  That will be so great.  Not to mention actually being able to sell my calendar to clients on the beach.  FORGET THAT!!! Just going to the beach!  I really want to go to the beach.

I have been going to town and writting my articles from cafes and what not all over town.  It is just to hard to write as much and as often as I want from the confines of the house.  The house gets very warm and even the kids do not want to go play because it is just way too hot outside.  That is why the streets are all filled with kids in the evening.  This used to drive me crazy before I understood it.  Mid day it is simply way too hot to be outside playing.  Then mosquito hour comes- and that is just awful.  And right now we are dealing with tabanos which are HORRIBLE!!!! Then it is dinner time.  Once dinner is done and everyone is showered (usually this is our 5th shower of the day because it is one of the only ways that actually brings your temp back down! jajaja) Then it is time to step outside and BS with our friends and neighbors.  All of our houses have been baking in the hot caribbean sun for hours- we have been cooking food- and the houses are made out of cement.  Not great for releasing all of that heat.  So- well all sit outside.

When I first moved to Tulum and Ruben and I were driving around thinking about the town and where we wanted to live- Every 2 houses there were people sitting outside.  I did not understand it.  Now I do.  just like the kids running around the streets until late hours- IT IS FINALLY COOL ENOUGH TO RUN!!!! YEAH!!!! 

Speaking of the heat- cooking has not been something that I have wanted to do.  The other day I made the best salad.  Now- I am not a salad person.  I never have been.  I have always loved dressing- but dressing usually ruin a salad- health wise.  Anyway.   Salads have been sounding really wonderful to me lately. 

I made the most killer salad.  It was a bunch of lettuce, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, onion, green apple, and mangoes!!!!!!! it was KILLER- with some croutons and a little light caesar dressing.  I had some champagne dressing my momma bought me - it was amazing which is why it is gone. jajaja.  I chopped a bunch of cooked chicken and it was amazing!  The kids each ate a huge bowl full for their dinner.  I am really starting to love salad.

We had a really nice picnic diner on the floor.    

I got to spend a great night with a friend

Yesterday I had a less then great day.  I had some bad energy and just let myself get down and frustrated.  At the end of the day I went to the opening of Las Iguanas, a new restaurant in town. It really is a cute spot and I thin that it will really find a great spot in Tulum.  The whole energy from the day really started to creep into my evening.  Luckily I had a good friend there to say- "yeah..... NO!"  She had a bad day too and she made sure that  I left it.

Thank goodness.  The restaurant opening was good but crazy as you would expect.  I went the other day to meet with the owners and it was  great.  They prepared for me a number of their signature dishes.  The tasting plate from yesterday was not nearly as great but that is just what happens at grand openings.

We had some great margaritas and really enjoyed ourselves.  Even better- when we got the kids home- Deserie and I hung out literally all night long talking and laughing.  I was peaking through the trees and at one point was like- dang--- that is a bright moon.  Then I realized that it was not moon light at all.  The sun was coming up.  It was a really great night. 

Today... we are off to the beach- enjoy the sea and build something... not sure what?!?!?!  last time it was a little copy of Chichen Itza!  Lets see what happens today.


I had such an amazing night.  I cannot wait to tell more.  But it was perfect!!!

A new Tattoo

I am so happy to have finally gotten another tattoo.  I love tattoos.  I have been wanting this tattoo for quite a few years now.  Both my back piece and this one have been on my mind for several years.  I waited while I was pregnant--- and then pregnant again (almost immediately) then I was way over weight- then I was in casts and totally broke.  Now I live in Mexico. I do not have a lot of money but I can survive and I live in a place where if I had NO money- I could go to the corner store and get a credit until payday.  Could you imagine walking into Safeway and asking for a credit until payday?!?! BBBBABAHAAHHHH!  Would not happen.  But here - the good and the bad of a small town in Mexico are in full supply.  Both extremes are well represented. 

Some of the pluses are obvious- killer beach (on most top 10 in the world lists) monkeys can be spotted as I walk to town- beautiful ruins and healing energy from a centuries old culture that still exists to this day.  I love the delivery and selling system here- People drive by on triciclos and bikes- sometimes a car and sell just about everything - water bottles- tamales- fruit and veggies- even pots and pans!!! 

But then there are some bad things too- One would be the bugs- the mosquitoes are awful and I hate cockroaches.  But they are a jungle animal and I live amongst the jungle.  I do also hat the tarantula that was in my house last night.  I have found some in my back yard and I have found many frogs in my house after a good rain storm but never a tarantula - that far into my house.  He must have been in here for a while!!! Oh well.   No i did not kill it- but I am not a fan so I covered him with a sauce pan and then went to my friends house and he glided the poor guy out of my house so he could go on and life a happy life in the jungle. 

here is a totally random fact that I learned while doing lessons with Akilean about Spiders.  A female taranchula will live for up to 30 years.  A male will live for about a year and a half.  The reason is that the males- from the moment they are hatched-- are consumed with the idea of mating.  They will literally chase females and mate until all of their good energy is spent.  When the female can see that the male is no longer useful- she kills him. I am not sure if she eats him or not- but I know she kills him.  I thought that was so funny.  It is nature at its most BASIC level!  I did not include that fact for Akilean's class assignment but I used it a lot on my tours.

The other huge negative is not having a car.  The rain storms create some seriously flooded streets and there is no way to get around them.  It is sometimes knee deep.  It is sort of crazy.  Riding my son to school in the rain through a river just sucks.  Plus - when Lena does not have school- I have to leave her at the house by herself while I take and pick up Akilean.  Not a huge fan of that.  I mean, I know she is fine and she has my neighbors if there is a problem but it is a huge pain in the butt.

On the other hand... I have a reminder that I am the Joy of Life!  And I am.  I am the joy of my life.  I realized that it is not my husband or my kids that make me the joy of my Life.  It is who I am when I am with them that makes me better and I love that.  No one else can create importance for you- your spouse, your kids nothing.  Now having said that- My family is part of what makes me the joy of life.  It is my life that I love!  Anyway!  Cheesey yes- but I am in a really good mood today.  Wet and I cannpt do laundry but just happy!

A wonderful date with my little girl

Yesterday I took my little girl out for a little girly time. She is such a joy and she works so hard so I decided that we would go to town and get a treat together. Leave it to Lena. What did she want..... sushi! I do not know if it is from living in San Francisco for so long or what but she LOVES sushi! I would venture to say that it is her Favorite food.

So we headed to town to get some sushi. I love Sushill-Out but they have been closed lately. It looks like they are going to be doing some renovations or something. So we headed to the new Japanese place in town. The sushi is very good. Expensive but good. I am so used to sushi in SF where you can find amazing sushi rolls for just a few dollars.

We had a very wonderful little snack and then started to head back home. Just under the new Japanese place is Taco Diaz. They recently moved to this location. We decided to be nice ladies and get a few tacos pastor for the boys back home.

It was at this moment that it started to rain. Now, I am originally from Oregon, USA. It rains A LOT in Oregon. To say a lot is sort of an understatement. Then after 10 years in San Francisco we are very used to the cold and wet weather. Lena could not get out in the rain fast enough. She played in the water while I waited for the tacos.

While we were walking home - she would not let me run to the next cover. She said no, no no - walking mommy. It was so much fun. We could not stop laughing. It was great. We got more then a few looks and even more smiles as we jetted down the sidewalk.

Kids help you remember about the fun things in life. Sushi and dancing in the rain was a perfect Sunday evening!

Getting a handle on things

There are all sort of crazy things going on.  The other day was such a successful day for me and so many of my dearest friends- including Ruben.  I have been working on getting this killer calendar up on my website so that I can promote and sell it to companies around Tulum.  I spent hours coding and recoding and working out all of the little bugs and it finnaly worked!!!! The events calendar is great!  I am so excited.  I still do a lot of writting and want to continue writing articles on my site - but I am having trouble.  I write a lot for TodoTulum and I love it.  It is hard to keep writing an keep writting.  So the calendar is perfect.  Plus- I can find out all of the great things in Tulum.

Ruben went and spoke to the owners of his hotel that were finally there.  He told them that he was originally told that the pay was going to be $1000 a month.  That is a great living here. But then he was actually getting FAR less then that.  So he went and spoke to them and they agreed to give him a raise.  Not the full amount he was hoping for but more - so that is great.  Plus- when high season comes it is appropriate to speak of another raise. 

Then my really good friend Desere - who is a very talented artist had submitted a proposal for a redesign of one of their suites and she got the job.  All of this is so great.  They came home with a bottle of wine and we celebrated.  It was wonderful. 

The kids are doing great.  They have started to take their classes at the casa de cultura.  This is wonderful but man did it get expensive fast! They both take Tae Kwon Do 3 nights a week and  Ballet 2 nights a week.  The uniforms for Tae Kwon Do are 500 pesos EACH!!!!   Ouch!!!! Oh well.  They are really loving the class.  Ballet was not as expensive for Akilean - just the easy cheap shoes.  But Lena was almost 500 pesos for the skirt, leotard, etc.

Mother's Day... 2 of them in fact

Here is one of the joys of a Mexican American life in Mexico... 2 Mother's Days. I was woken on Sunday morning with Ruben saying "let me go make you some coffee."  About an hour and ahlf later he came with a beautiful breakfast.  Eggs Benedict is my all time favorite and Ruben makes the best hollandaise sauce.  he made my beautiful and favorite eggs Benedict and a killer fruit salad with plums, mango, watermelon and kiwi.  A hot cup of coffee and a mimosa.  It was perfect. 

My friend Crystal came over around 10 and we hung out most of the day.  She is also an American Mommy so we spent our day together and drank wine and hung out and watched our kids be crazy. 

Later that day Ruben and I went into town to get some food and some beers.  It was a really great time.  We walked to a few different spots and just hung out.   

On Mexican Mother's day I pretty much just hung on the sofa- the kids played and we just hung out.  Lena and her friends put on a little show for me.  They got all dressed up and set up a little stage and performed 2 little songs for me.  The first is a Chipettes version of the "All the Single Ladies" and the other was gasolina.  It was really cute. 

Then Ruben came home on Tuesday and cleaned the whole house for me.  That was the absolutely BEST gift ever!  Very little makes me happier then a super clean house and it was the perfect Mother's Day gift. 

Here is a video link to Lena's Performances.  It was sooooooo cute. 

YouTube Link 2

One other really sweet thing that Ruben did was put together a playlist with some songs that were from the very beginning of our relationship.  One was our song- you can listen to it HERE  - I have not heard that song in over 7 years- maybe more.  It brought back so many memories. 

So not the stage mom

So Lena has finally gotten to start her ballet classes which was great.  We went to Playa del Carmen and got all of the stuff she needed.  It was so cute.  Her little skirt- black leotard - SIZE 10!!!!! That blew me away.  She has gotten so big.  But in addition to starting ballet classes... she also was having a performance.  So after just 2 classes- she was thrown on stage. 

It was a great day.  Well, I started his post a while ago and have been so busy- working- playing - sleeping and melting that I have not written at all.  Sorry Momma. 

So the recap.  Lena had her ballet recital after only 2 days of classes.  She had NO fear about being on stage and just watched the girls in front of her.  It was great.  She has another performance on the 6th of June.  Akilean really want to take ballet with her so that is going to  be really fun.  She is also taking Ta Kwon Do as well with Akilean.  I am really glad that they are both into both sports.  I love it when they do things together.  I got so lucky that both of my kids are so close in age.  At the time I thought we would never get through it. But now- I could not imagine having it any other way. 

Lets see what else.... we just had yet another week of holidays in Mexico.  Labor Day, Day of the Holy Cross and then Cinco de Mayo.  It feels like my kids have only gone to school for like 3 days the past 5 weeks.  Oh wait.... they have.  This is a little crazy.  But hey... as my Argentinian  neighbor told  me when I first moved here.... the one sentence you need to know and repeat to yourself is... " Hey... Es Mexico." Keep repeating that to your self when you start to go crazy and you will survive. 

We took the kids to the circus again last week.  It was great.  There are not a lot of animals which I liked because I hate the animals at the circus  They are treated horribly and live a really awful life.  This one had 2 donkeys and a camel!  jajaja You got to love it. We were all sitting on literally 2x4 proper against other 2x4s that were propped against the wall held with string.  Not rope- but string.  I am not sure if anyone actually thought that it would hold but... Hey, es Mexico!  The best part of the circus was watching Lena freak out when Patito came out.  Patito is a child star singer- she has a very popular and actually cute song all about candy.  This was not the actual child star but one done really well to look like her and lip sank. It was really cute.  Lena saw her and said.. "mommy mommy can I go towards the front?"  It was so cute.  She was right at the edge of the circle watching her every move.  After the circus the kids could get a photo with her.  Lena was on top of the world!!!! After her picture she ran up and gave her a huge hug.  It was so sweet. 

Going to the circus was actually a reward to the kids for sitting with such patience while I did their hair.  Lice is a huge problem in Mexico- at least here and especially during the more humid times.  So I sat the kids down, went through strand by strand and got all of those little nightmares out and then put their hair in little tiny braids all over their heads.  Lena looks so cute.  So does Akilean but Lena is a tiny Bo Derek.  TOOOO CUTE!!!!

The other fun thing is that Lena got her ears pierced yesterday.  She has wanted them for a while.  She had them when she was a baby but my hands were in casts for months and I could not take care of them if they got infected so we took them out.  She got earrings for her birthday but we just never got it done.  So yesterday I went and took her. 

She got her earrings and I got to work on my tattoo.  She was scared of the pain at first but did fine.  Then in the middle I was not sure if she was going to do the second.  Our friend Olmo was doing it at his studio and he does not use the gun. She took a minute and got it together and did the second one.  After the pain went - she wiped her tears and ran into Olmo's arms for a hug.  It was really cute. 

What was funny was that I really did not want to get my tattoo worked on either because of the pain but after she did it- I had to.  And it was not that bad.  I mean, anyone who tells you getting a tattoo does not hurt is lying- but it is not that bad.   I still need some green but we will do that next week when I get my next tattoo on my neck.  Well, my back really - jujst below my neck.  I am really looking forward to that one too.

On a totally random note.  I also got a new front door.  We have been needing one for a while and it was finally put in yesterday.  It looks really nice.  Then only bad thing is that they took down my screen door that Ruben had built me and the mosquitoes are really bad right now.  Oh well.  We will fix it. 

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