Thursday, May 28, 2009

American with a Spanish accent

I was reading Chicky Chicky Baby's blog about the hail storm that struck Southern MA on Memorial Day. Boy, was I sad I missed it. Sounds like it was a blast.

I was stuck here instead on Memorial Day weekend:

Sleeping here:

And eating this:

Each night I was lulled to sleep by these little guys (coqui, coqui, coqui):

And boy was it tough nursing a touch of a sunburn with our own indoor pool:

Looks like the kids had a good time, though:

OK, enough with the sunny, warm, happy pictures. The trip really was a good time. I could have done without the windy (not as in breeze but as in curves), incredibly steep hills that we traveled each day just to get back and forth to civilization...but at the end of the day we were surrounded by family and I was able to freshen up my spanish accent. By the end of the trip, instead of saying "Abby", it would be "Ahbby". Fun to hear your annunciation change in a matter of days. And while I wouldn't attempt to hold a conversation, I could order a ham, cheese and egg sandwich in spanish at Burger King in St. German, PR on the way to the airport. Bravo for the white girl.

One night, all the brother/sister in-laws went out to eat while all the grandchildren (9 of them) stayed home with the grandparents. What a treat. I ordered the food pictured above which is called Mofungo. Sounds kind of x-rated, but it's really delicious. This version was Mofungo Italiano which meant they would bake the dish and add cheese. Who doesn't love melted cheese on everything?

It's mashed plantains (type of banana), covered in shrimp (many Puerto Ricans prefer octopus or mahi-mahi) and a red sauce broth with onions and Puerto Rican spices (which are NOT spicy like Mexican spices). It was baked with cheese and so delicious.

We also enjoyed an appetizer plate with plantain chips, surullitos (fried corn sticks), fried pork and cheese sticks with a ketchup/mayo type dip. I don't ask a lot of questions, I just eat. However, if I lived in PR I'd weigh 300 lbs because everything is fried. I finished off my meal with vanilla flan (custard) and others ordered queso flan (cheese custard) which was yummy, too. All of this while we were sitting out on a deck, built on a mountainside, being serenaded by the little frogs on the island called Coqui which are like loud crickets - but more pleasant sounding.

We obviously enjoyed a beach day as you can see above. Water was in the mid-70's and the natives thought it was cold. Us tourists just jumped right in. My kids spent 4 hours (yes 4 hours straight) in the water. I made them come out for 1/2 hour and I spent a good portion of the day in the shade of a tropical tree. We were lucky, only a couple of pink shoulders and cheeks. No one blistered or swelled like I used to do as a child. Who loves SPF 50+ raise your hand? *Raising*

By the end of our visit my son and I were ready for air conditioning, hot showers, and our own beds. We're the two home-bodies in the family.

We'll be back to visit - in a couple of years. I need a little break from the tropical paradise. Too much of anything isn't a good thing. Buenos Dias.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Si habla espanol?

Nope. Not me. Not a word of it. Well, except cheese (queso), beer (cerveza) and milk (leche). And we leave for Puerrrrtooo Rico on Saturday. I spell it that way because that's how it sounds in my head.

I can't wait, actually. Hubby's Dad and Step-Mom live there with 2 half brothers and a half sister. Must I refer to them that way? We'll just call them siblings. And those siblings all have children ranging in age from 2 - 16. Which means....built in babysitters. Which means....I can relax.

But I won't understand when they say one of my kids is rotten. Or fresh. Or hurt. But I won't care. I'll just sit under a Banana Tree and pluck a fruit or two down for a snack and smile. Because I'll be in Puerrrrtooo Rico for the long weekend + a few days and will only check on the kids to be sure they are lathered in sunscreen and drinking plenty of water.

Hasta la vista. I don't think they allow blogging on the island. Sorry.

Hair's looking at you kid

My daughter is approaching the age of 6 1/2 this summer, and I think she's had less haircuts than that. My curly princess doesn't have hair that grows terribly fast, or long, just curly. And curlier. And curlier. To the point where you can't always see her face:

So, I was thrilled over the weekend when, FINALLY, she sat at the sink at a hair salon (ok, Great Clips, but for $8.99 you can't go wrong!) and let them wash her curly locks to get a little trim:

You'd think I would have documented her first haircut (which I didn't because I'm a horrible memory-making Mom) but this event was far greater. No more spray bottles full of water wetting down her hair. And the poor just-out-of-hairdressing-school hairdressers trying to comb through her hair as she wiggles in pain. This was a soft, conditioned head of hair that the nice young lady could work with.

Abby said she liked her. I think it was the purple shirt. Whatever makes it work is fine by me!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday afternoon Riddle

What do you get when you combine a glass of wine (ok...working on 2 glasses of wine) + a bunch of new magazines that NEED to get read + a 6 year old "older sister" + a couple of buckets of water + a 4 year old "little brother"??

A negligent clueless Mother who thought her kids were quietly gardening near the swing set but apparently they were preparing to plant my son:

I really wanted to hug him and say "Oh sweetie, boys will be boys", but I was afraid that would encourage another mud wrap so I quickly snapped some photos, brought him out to the driveway and watered him down with a water can (because our hoses are broken and I couldn't hose him down!) and then reminded him that our dog poops in the backyard and there could be germs in our dirt.

What??? It's true - and gross - and I can't believe my husband had to work today and missed the whole thing!

But, boys will be boys and it was a joy to see him in his element, if just for a few moments.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Which end is up?

I promise this isn't a blog post about any anatomy parts - it just reflects the way I've been feeling for the past week as I work through the calendar - both at home and work.

Mother's Day was a surprisingly relaxing day (I even got a late afternoon NAP!) and for the first time in 6 years, my kids presented me with crafts they made a school! The other daycare center was very non-celebratory to be fair to children without Mom's, Dad's, Christian Holidays, Muslim Holidays, etc. So most of the crafts were spring related, and not Mom related.

This year was different. New schools. New rules. Alex presented me with TWO homemade cards, one with his handprints that I'm going to try to frame. And he made a great thermos cup that he decorated. It's hard to see here but I loved his scribbles of him and I holding hands:

My daughter created a beautiful poster that was all wrapped up in a ribbon and waiting for me at the kitchen table:

And hubby came through with a thoughtful card and gift card to Ann Taylor Loft - just what the wardrobe ordered! Later that day we had lunch in Portsmouth, NH with my parents and enjoyed a bright, sunny (yet windy) day.

Now, the fun begins. The two week race to our Puerto Rican vacation. Squeezing in Field Days at school, conferences for work, trips to the office, hubby working a Saturday, packing and more packing and I'm already exhausted!

In fact, this morning I went to use my cute new thermos cup for a cup of tea and after throwing in the tea bag, I threw in my splenda - and as I poured the hot water in the cup I noticed something - I literally threw in the splenda...packet and all. Forgot to open it up and pour it in the cup. Happy Monday or Life at 40??

Sunday, May 3, 2009

When in Rome...

Do as the New Yorkers do. Or something like that. Celebrated the big Four-Oh in the Big Apple this weekend and I can't put into words how wonderful it is to be surrounded by people you see regularly, and people you see rarely, and how quickly you can jump right into the laughs and the stories as if it were yesterday.

Friends who celebrated 21 with me were there, and friends who celebrated 30 were there...and were I not so exhausted right now, there would be something wonderful to say about that, but for now: Thank you my wonderful, funny, intelligent, caring, thoughtful and dear friends! I enjoyed every minute of the weekend and love you all.

And the first night will be remembered in one phrase: Woooo Hoooo!

Celebrations the second night included good food and great friends.

And my cousin represented the family well!