Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Daily Life: 2012 January to May

The May edition of our daily life roundup is coming shortly. In the meantime, we thought you might want to see a compilation we made for the first half of 2012. We love our photobooks as a great way to easily revisit some of our favorite travel moments.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Andares Shopping Mall

Just before our trip to Mexico City, we had a great excursion to Andares Shopping Mall. This is the nicest mall in Guadalajara and has lot of top end shops but more importantly, has a wonderful open courtyard with year-round activities that take advantage of the beautiful weather here. No wonder it was the first place we were taken when we first came to the city! Little N is old enough to enjoy some of the offerings, so it was the perfect little activity for us.

Boys and Dirt

This was the moment that I realized that Baby Boy is becoming a little boy.

applauding his work

We go to the park, and OF COURSE, Baby Boy had to find the bare patch of grass and starts to dig a hole in the ground and play with the dirt! The baby book doesn't have a spot for "first hole in the ground", but I having a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship lots of extra laundry.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Itty Bitty Baby Pool

For a few weeks, Baby Boy had an on-again-off-again runny nose. First it was a little cold, then it might have been a little too much sun, then some teething, then a vaccination. All in all, it meant that I preferred not to take him to our club pool. But meanwhile, it is SO hot here (mid-90's every day). We realized that the pool we bought this time last year thinking we could use it later on for the baby, would take too much water to fill up. So one day when M went to run some errands downtown he picked up this itty bitty baby pool. It is really small but perfect for the kiddo to splash around and cool off from the heat.


We only have grass in our common area and I didn't think it was appropriate to take it out there, so we put in on our patio. Of course then Baby Boy wanted to pick at the destroyed-by-rainy-season-and-definitely-not-low-v.o.c.-floor-paint. So we put some floor tiles underneath, and Baby Boy was up to his old shenanigans.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jalisco Artisans Fair

Shortly after coming back from Mexico City, we hopped downtown to see the Jalisco Artisanal Fair going on downtown. There was a nice variety of goods, mostly things we had seen before, but generally of a good quality.

Then of course, since D was in town, we hit up a couple other landmarks: the Teatro Degollado and Hospicio Cabañas. And what centro visit is complete without a lunch at La Chata?

Teatro Degollado

Hospicio Cabañas

La Chata

Things that are hard about being a SAHM

*This is to counter all my rose-colored posts because I like to keep it real. I actually wrote it a couple weeks ago, but it didn't seem fitting to post right before Mother's Day. So here it is.

Being a Stay At Home Mom is a choice. I realize that, and most of the time I really do love it and am happy with my choice. But there are things that are hard. That mean that I am tired at the end of the day. That I need some time to veg. on the couch on the computer. That hanging out with a baby all day is not all it's cracked up to be.

Exhibit A- Baby Boy naps twice a day for (only!) 35 minutes.
During those precious minutes, I usually do something that I have just not been able to get done with the kiddo at my feet: pruning and changing water in our flowers, filling all the bathrooms with toilet paper, answering a long email with coherent sentences, organizing and storing clothes that don't fit anymore, and the list goes on. On bad days, I'm trying to get in a late breakfast or lunch or just get dressed!

Exhibit B- I can't go to the bathroom by myself.
Baby Boy will not stay put in any contraption, so that means he goes where I go. On an easy day he sits shredding toilet paper and I have a quick tidy in the end. On the rough ones he's figuring out how to open the trash can, use the cabinet to stand, and disassemble floor tiles.

Exhibit C- Meals are a mess. I wash Baby Boy's high chair tray 3 times a day, pick up stuff from the floor at least twice, and end up washing at least one outfit by hand every other day. Meanwhile I am mentally figuring out what food group he hasn't had yet and getting things together. If I'm lucky I get to eat too, if not see Exhibit A.

Exhibit D- Everything takes longer, but the days are still long.
Doing a short errand easily takes 3 times as long- loading Baby Boy into the car, getting there, taking him out, doing my thing, loading him back in, driving home, taking him out. And that's assuming everything is good and he's not hungry or tired or fussy. But the days last so long- diaper, feeding, playing, diaper, feeding, playing, diaper, feeding, playing, diaper, feeding, playing, diaper, feeding, playing.

Exhibit E- The guilt.
I don't think I need to elaborate much on mommy guilt. For whatever reason, I just can not ignore Baby Boy when he is fussing, can not watch TV when he's around, and feel bad if I take 10 minutes on the computer. So I end up playing with/ stimulating/ educating/ coming up with fun activities all day long (in between exhibits A, B, C, and D, of course). What can I say, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how tiring it is to play with a baby.

Exhibit F- I still get asked if I have a "real" job.
Obviously being a mom is not my career, but the insinuation that I should be doing something better with my time, that I shouldn't be wasting my intellect or that I have potential to do "so much more" is both infuriating and depressing. Furthermore, socialization as a form of intellectual stimulation for me is definitely misunderstood if not looked down upon. I take solace in the appreciative grins I get from the kiddo and try to keep my head up.

Why it's all worthwhile

The sob-fest is coming to an end. I do like my life. I am happy with my choices. But, (the ubiquitous "but""), nothing is perfect. I have mostly been content and even enjoyed the changes that have come to my life, however, there's no getting around it: the day to day grind is not easy, nor highly regarded by others. That's just how it goes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mexican Play Kitchen

The Mexican equivalent of a play kitchen...is a Taco Stand!

Just had to share this little find!

Daily Life: April 2012

We traveled to Mexico City: bribed cops, rode the metro, ate Indian food, saw the pyramids and an Easter parade.

We had a family visit from D.

D hosted a lunch for the wives of medical students.

Little N got his first tooth!

We attended an event for families of the medical school.

And semi- celebrated Independence Day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mexico City: Easter and the Alameda Central Museums

Our final full day in Mexico City, we again stayed near the Centro. As it was Passover, we opted to go back to the Indian restaurant, for another excellent bread-less meal. After getting re-adjusted (read: making up sleep) from the previous late night, we were ready to go. This time we headed towards the Alameda Central, a public park we visited last time, that was totally closed under construction. The park wasn't actually our destination but rather, we wanted to check out the area and a couple more museums. Before we could get very far, our walk was intercepted by a huge Easter parade heading towards the Zocalo.

We ended up having to take quite the trek around the closed park in order to get to the Museo Mural Diego Rivera, housing a huge mural (and a few other pieces).

our guide

We were thoroughly impressed, and since it was still early enough, decided to check out the Museo de Arte Popular. This one was quite amazing- full of handicrafts and folkloric themed pieces from all over Mexico.

We made one more stop, taking the elevator in the Sears building to see the Palacio de Bellas Artes from above (again, we had been inside last time). We then spent way too long searching for a place to dine in the overwhelming, never-ending crowds. It was time to retire, pack our things and get ready for the long drive back.

Contrary to the drive down, this time we left early and made excellent time. Little N was mostly cooperative, the drive was pretty uneventful, and we were happy to get back to "small town" Guadalajara.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

to me and to you!

Today is Mexican Mother's Day. We are planning on celebrating on American Mother's Day, so today was a pretty normal day. Walmart, an afternoon nap (that's a pretty good gift around these parts), and a neighborhood walk.

I wanted to share this quote that I saw floating around; it's a little different and resonated with me:

Hijo es un ser que nos prestaron para un curso intensivo de como amar a alguien más que a nosotros mismos, de cómo cambiar nuestros peores defectos para darles los mejores ejemplos y de nosotros aprender a tener coraje. Ser padre o madre es el mayor acto de coraje que alguien puede tener, porque es exponerse a todo tipo de dolor, principalmente el de la incertidumbre de estar actuando correctamente y del miedo de perder algo tan amado. ¿Perder? ¿cómo? No es nuestro, ¿recuerdan? Fue apenas un préstamo”….Cierto, pero es un préstamo que llega a convertirse en el don más preciado que jamás llegamos a tener en el efímero tiempo que dure el empréstito. Un préstamo por el que damos la vida, sabiendo que hay que devolverlo. Un préstamo sin intereses, pero cuyo cuidado lleva implícito el más alto sacrificio y la defensa mas sólida! Cuida tu préstamo, muchos lo querrán, otros lo odiarán, pero para ti no tiene precio.

by José Saramago (originally in Portuguese)

Now in English:

A son is a being that we're loaned for an intensive course in how to love someone more than ourselves, in how to change our worst defects in order to give them the best examples and in ourselves learn to have courage. Being a father or mother is the greatest act of courage that one can have, because it is exposed to all types of pain, mainly in the uncertainty of acting correctly and the fear of losing something so beloved.
Losing? How? It is not ours, remember? It was just a loan...
True, but it is a loan that would become the most precious gift that we've ever had in the ephemeral time that is the loan. A loan from that which gives us life, knowing that we must return it. A loan without interest, but whose care implies the highest sacrifice and most solid defense. Look after your loan, many will want it, others will hate it, but for you it is priceless.

Mexico City: Teotihuacan (and Condesa)

Having been in the city for the better part of a week, we were more than ready to visit the site that was our primary reason for coming: climbing the pyramids of Teotihuacan. We had been schooled in the Anthropology museum about the religious importance of the place "where the gods were born" and so proceeded to make our way through the site.

ready to go

We started at the Ciudadela, market place, then walked down the Avenue of the Dead to the Pyramid of the Sun. Luckily we got there just before most of the crowds, and our wait time to ascend to the top was relatively short. We kept going down the Avenue to the Pyramid of the Moon, and then made our way back to the entrance. Climbing the pyramids was a bit trying, as the size of the steps (tall and narrow) make it a bit awkward, but overall, other than the scorching heat, it was a great experience.

Avenue of the Dead

Pyramid of the Sun

with Pyramid of the Moon (view from Pyramid of the Sun); on small pyramid

with Pyramid of the Moon

still have to trek back...(view from Pyramid of the Moon)

At the end of the visit, we cooled off in the restaurant and then drove back to town. We had two more tasks: buying flowers (on Good Friday, when almost everything is closed), and eating carbohydrates before Passover began later that night. We were able to take care of both by checking out the neighborhood of Condesa. We had excellent pasta at a nice restaurant, soaked in the trendy atmosphere, found flowers, and retired to rest before the evening Seder.

cooling off

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mr. Lounger

A couple of weeks ago Baby Boy started lounging in his stroller! Suddenly, I peak through my stroller window and the kiddo has his feet up! I don't know if it's the heat or he just feels like chillin', but as a passerby said: se ve divino (he looks divine)!


hanging out

it's becoming a daily thing

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mexico City: Templo Mayor and the Centro Historico

The next day, we decided to stay even closer: we would explore the Centro Historico on foot. We left our apartment, right next to the Iglesia de Santo Domingo*, and walk a couple of blocks down to the Zocalo, Mexico City's main plaza. By this time it was Maudy Thursday, and so the main Catedral Metropolitana (de la Asunción de María) was packed. Walking by it, and by the Palacio Nacional we realized that we had visited both on our last trip.

Catedral Metropolitana

We continued straight to the Templo Mayor, the main temple of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. We perused the temple ruins, and by perused we mean, dragging the stroller up and down lots of stairs, and tried to decipher what the cryptic signs were explaining. Then we headed into the attached museum, to see some of the artifacts that had been found there.

Templo Mayor

best way to see a museum

By this time we were starving and excited to find a fabulous Indian restaurant, hidden in the portales along the edge of the Zocalo. It took a bit of searching but it was well worth it! We took the opportunity of being so close to retire to the apartment for an afternoon break before heading back out to dinner, in an overpriced mediocre restaurant with fabulous views from the top of a hotel right on the Zocalo. It was an appropriate ending to our Centro Historico Day.

heading out again, Plaza Santo Domingo (opposite church)

the Zocalo

Cathedral from above, lots of people in line on Maudy Thursday

*The place we stayed in was an apartment in the former monastery of the church!