These two: just had another round of pure tens on their report cards.

I'm so proud of them.
It's not about the tens, really . . . the truth is, that their education  in the Mexican public school system is not all the rigorous; I expect my kids to be able to master the academic concepts being presented to them . . .

But these tens! They signify so much more than memorized information; they are reminders to me of how hard they have worked to figure out another system! The concepts of creativity, order, and authority are just so different at school than they are at home . . . and the tens remind me that they have learned how to communicate respect to their teachers, that they have learned to manage their notebooks in just the right Mexican way . . . that they have learned to get work done in a classroom that is often noisy and chaotic.

Well done, my loves, well done!


There was a robbery in one of the apartments in our building last week.  Our neighbor posted a notice in the entryway yesterday - calling all the neighbors to a meeting tonight. I'm pretty sure that we're going to be having some heated discussions about locking practices for the entryway door.  

I'm totally bringing chocolate chip cookies.  


It was Sunday morning, and I had just pulled myself out of bed.  Selma had already been up for an hour. She had cleaned the bathroom, fluffed the pillows on the couch, and was trying to decide between pants or a skirt to wear for the day.  

I had barely splashed cold water on my face, and had started to pile the plates and forks on the table when Selma spoke up:  "So. How are we going to do this baby shower today?  When EXACTLY are we going to play the games? before or after dessert?"  

"Um . . ." I mumbled "I don't really know; I haven't decided yet"

"What!?" Selma looked at me in disbelief "Mama! how can you not know!? Aren't YOU the one planning the baby shower?" 

cough, cough 

In defense of myself, however, I have to say . . . 
Who could have planned for the mama-to-be to disappear into my guest room mid-shower to take an hour nap? (she totally needed it)
It wasn't in the schedule for the papa-to-be to pull Joshua's guitar off the wall and organize an impromptu singing session with all the guests; but he did (and it was awesome) 
I didn't have enough forks or plates for dessert, but one of my guests placed herself on permanent kitchen duty and cheerfully washed everything while I made the coffee (and it was beautiful) 

Not to rub it in, Selma, but I think -that for my creative, quirky, loving, flexible community -I planned just right.*

*But seriously, though, if you need an event coordinator for a more normal group of people.  Selma's your girl.


Joshua: Well babe, yesterday was valentine's day, and I didn't do anything to celebrate it with you*
Me: and yet, yesterday I did feel deeply loved by you
Joshua: happy day after valentine's day
Me: I love you

*although, to be fair, we did spend the entire day with our church family - loving them, and being loved by them . . . and it was beautiful

This picture has nothing to do with this post, except to remind me that I need more pictures of Joshua and me together.


We spent Christmas in Texas with Mom and Papi this year (we haven't spent Christmas with them since - gasp! - before Joshua and I moved to Spain 15 years ago!)

The morning that Papi took Joshua and the boys to the zoo, mom and I ran errands - running errands with mom is always a good thing to do, because it means that you'll get good conversation.

And of course, mom didn't let me down; we were zipping through downtown in mom's red diesel Volkswagen (because that's how my parents roll . . . ) and she said to me: 
"Naomi, you haven't been writing; you should write" 

"I know!" I said,  "but I don't always know what to write about" 
"You should write" she said

"I feel like it's too risky to write about important things, because--what if I'm misunderstood?" I said.
"You should write" she said

"I'm not really the best at summarizing big ideas" I said
"You should write" she said

So tonight, I write. 
(this one's for you, mom)  

*mom makes the best breakfasts . . . and papi always makes the hot chocolate -- he calls it sparkle juice, because it makes your eyes sparkle.



Malachai:  You submitted a comic to the school newspaper. It was printed (!) . . . but you had some concerns about the quality about the printing.  You slipped out of class as soon as you saw the newspaper so that you could express your concerns to the principal.  To be honest, it always makes me a little bit nervous when you take matters into your own hands . . . but I'm also proud of you; you live passionately, bud.

Josu: You love, love going to the park to play (american) football with Papa. Sometimes the game is put on pause when we run into someone we know. sigh.

Selma:  You told us over dinner that one of the boys in your class asked you to be his girlfriend and his wife.
"What did you say?" I asked
"Oh, I just pretended that I didn't hear him" you said.

check out Jamey and Gab's blogs too;  sheesh . . . I miss my family! 



Malachai: We had a meeting with your teacher this week to ask her if she had any any recommendations about what jr. high we should send you to next year (public? private? big? little?) She said "I know this about Malachai - he is a great kid; he will thrive anywhere he goes"

Josu: I asked you to stand right in the middle of the sidewalk and I took your picture. You smirked and said "you wanted me to stand here so that you could take a picture of the guy playing guitar, didn't you?" you know me.

Selma: I keep finding you reading books in English.  I haven't worked with you on your English reading at all this year; I'm thankful that you took it into your own hands.