Dec 29

In which I attempt to catch up

Posted under All in the family, Around the house, Church, Clara and Libby, Life, School by MicheleP.

I keep thinking “Today I’m going to update the blog”… and then as I’m drifting off to sleep I realize my good intentions were just that. Instead of back-blogging, I’m going to give you the past month in laundry (at least some form of laundry is getting done) format (and for Mimi, some pics!)

My Birthday Week – this really deserves much more than a bullet – not just because it was my birthday week, but because my husband went totally and completely out of his way to make the day week special. I had 7 full days of birthday celebrations and presents complete with flowers, special meals, awesome gifts (hello new pink ipod) and even a Saturday morning all to myself with nothing but a box of Lucky Charms to keep me busy. It was: Blissful!Lucky Charm Mama

The girls had their Christmas program at school. Actually – it was much more than just a Christmas program. In addition to the standard Mary, Joseph, Angels & Baby Jesus we had many colorful butterflies as the little girls showcased their ballet “skills”. I guess it’s just easier and more economical to have the ballet recital alongside the Christmas program.

Butterflies 2

The girls also were in a Christmas program at church. However, no butterflies at this one.
Little stars

We got to see Santa
Santa on his sleigh
Meeting Santa

We hosted a visitor from Texas. He was by far the easiest guest we’ve had to date.
Libby and Stan

We had some special family times reading the Christmas story each night and making many yummy treats
Christmas crafts with Papa

The girls could hardly sleep the night before Christmas and were thrilled the next morning to find that Santa did indeed come to Puerto Rico!
New babies
A new dollhouse

And there you have it. Bring on 2009!!


Comments (12)

Nov 06

Spanish baby steps

Posted under Clara and Libby, Life, Lost in translation, Puerto Rico, School by MicheleP.

Little by little, we are picking up more and more Spanish. Since the girls have been in preschool, they have made progress. They will often insert random Spanish words into their vocabulary. “Mom, can I have some leche?” They have also started calling Scott “Papi” and me “Ma MA” and of course their favorite word: “Mio” (which translates: MINE). Sometimes we aren’t sure what they are trying to say, but we know it’s something in Spanish. They love to talk about their friends at school and one little girl in particular – “Mal-le-handra”. I asked if it’s “Alejandra” and they say no and insist on the “Male”. Today I remembered to ask about this child and Maestra Maria had no clue who I was talking about. I said it a few more times and then she says, “OOOOOH. Maria Alejandra?!” Yes, that’s it. They hear it said so fast that they can’t distinguish the two different names.

Here is a little video of Libby singing in Spanish and then in English”…(one of the side effects of her learning the song in English at a Spanish school – LOL). Those in Puerto Rico will get a kick out of the pronunciation of “good”.

YouTube Preview Image

Comments (8)

Sep 17

Going on a field trip and other school notes

Posted under Clara and Libby, Mothering, Puerto Rico, School by MicheleP.

The girls are in preschool 5 mornings a week and they LOVE it. It’s honestly been a nice break for me too  and since they are home by noon each day, I don’t feel like they are gone forever.

Last week they told me their class would be taking a field trip to the library and then to the pizza shop for lunch and parents were welcome to come. And so, I went along with their class.

I was a bit apprehensive because not only would I be taking my two, but would also be responsible for 3 additional children who most likely didn’t speak English. And as I’ve mentioned before, my Spanish is most definately lacking in vocabulary grammer pronuciation pretty much everything. I had visions of me trying to tell the kids to hold hands as we crossed a street and instead telling them to hold a foot or something. Thankfully they put a classroom aide in my car with me :) .

I had yet to visit the library - the outside doesn’t give you too much of a desire to go inside but it was actually quite nice. The librarian was very friendly and the story time area was all set up for the kids.

Can you pick out my two? ;)


After they read the story, they asked for volunteers to come act it out. My girls immediately raised their hands. I’m not sure they knew what they were raising their hands for but just mimmicked the other kids doing it.

Libby was so proud of her pig nose (mom trying really hard to not think of all the germs inside it)[photopress:Libby_at_Story_Time.jpg,full,pp_empty]


After story time, we took all the kids to a pizza place for lunch. The girls were a bit concerned when they were served a glass of coke with lunch. They took one sip and asked for “aqua”. Mama was proud :)


The field trip was fun and I’m glad I went. It was neat to watch the girls interact with the other kids and see how they are coping with school firsthand as it’s a bit different from what we are used to.

We were asked bring a backpack to school so that they could bring home any assignments – I was thinking that meant to bring home art projects & such that they completed at school.


It’s to bring home assignments. As in: HOMEWORK! Wha? They are THREE!

They have this workbook that they work in each day at school and then 3 days a week or so, it comes home with them with an assignment.

The work is fun – coloring, counting, tracing, cutting, etc. The girls don’t see it as “work” at all. In fact, on days they don’t have any they are bummed. It’s work for me though.  I have to get out my dictionary to understand all the instructions. I’m pretty sure it takes me longer to translate the instructions than it does for them to complete the assignment.


Comments (6)

Sep 01

Ballerina Girls

Posted under Clara and Libby, School by MicheleP.

We have now entered into the wide world of extra-curricular activities at our house – namely, ballet. When I told the girls they were going to take classes this year, they were over-the-moon excited. What little girl wouldn’t be excited about pink tutus and tights?

As soon as we got home with their outfits they wanted to put everything on. Of course I wanted pictures and tried hard to snap one but it wasn’t easy with all the spinning, twirling and bowing…



They take ballet at their school – and after their lesson they get to play on the playground – in their ballet outfits, of course. I have a feeling we will go through many a pair of tights this year.



Comments (6)

Jun 12

Everything you wanted to know (and see) about school

Posted under Clara and Libby, Life, Puerto Rico, School, Sights & Sounds by MicheleP.

I’ve had a lot of questions about the girls’ school and in particular some special teachers at NLR Montessori (hi ladies!) wanted to see some pictures…so here you go!

The school is all in Spanish. The director speaks English and a few of the teachers speak some English. I’ve noticed the director will follow up her Spanish with English with the girls but the other teachers will just speak Spanish and then if the girls don’t seem to understand they will use gestures/etc to get them to understand.

The AM session starts at 8:30 and ends at noon. The afternoon session is from noon until 3:30. They allow you to take children to school as early as 7 and they have free-play until they start working in their learning zones at 8:30. Right now we are doing 3 morning sessions a week so the girls are there from about 7:30 until noon. In the fall we may add another day or add an afternoon session one day per week.

The school is actually a converted home. The school area is downstairs and the director and her family (who all seem to work at the school as well) live upstairs.


The main (front room) serves as the room for crafts and also the dining room (I couldn’t get a picture of it b/c there were too many children – they are pretty particular about taking pics with children in them) – it’s by far the largest room – at the back of it is the kitchen. They cook a hot lunch on site for the kids each day. They have a lot of rice/beans but also some days have other items (Libby says the “spaghetti with meat” is her favorite).

From the front room, there are other “rooms” – some just separated by a half wall/others with actual doors.

The shelves against the walls hold all the room materials. They keep them covered with sheets until time to use them (keeps kids as well as dirt/dust out)


Notice the mats stacked in the corner. Some kids stay for an afternoon session and take a nap…with no A/C I can imagine that is not a very comfortable nap!



The girls don’t have an assigned classroom or even one specific teacher. Here, they work in groups (somewhat age based but also assigned on skill level) and move throughout the various teaching/learning zones. There is a teacher for the reading, one for the workbook (Montessori), one who does the art, another for gym and so forth.

Here is Clara sitting at the computer (there is only one computer so I’m not really sure HOW that works?)


There is a large playground in the front and then in the back there is another playground/courtyard/outdoor learning area. They do as much instruction outside as inside (notice the laundry on the balcony above – that is part of the director’s home).


The building at the right of this photo is the gym. This is by far the girls’ favorite class – “jump class” as they call it.


It is also the only room with A/C – which is a really good thing – that would get VERY hot VERY fast!


Hope you enjoyed the school tour! The girls are loving school and seem to be thriving in the environment there. Mama is loving having some peace and quiet at home to be able to do things like spend time on her computer!


Comments (2)

Jun 03

First day of (summer) school

Posted under Clara and Libby, Puerto Rico, School by MicheleP.

The girls went to school for the first time yesterday. We are planning on enrolling them in the fall but the school offers a June “summer” session so we decided to do that as a trial run before fall term begins. I had a busy few days getting everything ready – lots of forms to fill out, finding all of their health records, getting a physical exam (which went MUCH better than my physician experience) and of course some shopping. The girls wear uniforms so no shopping for clothes was needed (yay!) but they did need shoes (closed toe) and socks. I rummaged through their closet and found some – only to discover that not a single pair of shoes nor socks fit. I was annoyed at first – thinking how could they have “just” outgrown all of these shoes but then laughed when I realized that it’s been 8 months since they wore anything beyond flip flops, sandals or crocs – no wonder nothing still fit!

Over the past few days, Clara had announced that she didn’t want to go to school. I asked her why and she simply said, “Because I can’t speak Spanish.” I was a little worried that she especially would struggle but as the days got closer she and Libby seemed more and more excited. School opens at 7 and I had planned on getting there around 8 or so – but on the first morning, they were up and READY to go at 6:30 so after the obligatory picture…we were off!


The girls went right in and immediately found some books and settled in. I got everything squared away with the Director, Ms Maria, and then I gave quick kisses and left.


I decided to stay close to home today…just in case the first day didn’t go so well and I was summoned back to the school. After nearly 5 hours, not a single phone call and I returned at noon to pick them up.

They were on the playground when I got there, both saw me in the parking lot and came running, “MAMA!!!!”. Clara wanted to show me how well she could swing…”Feet out…Feet in” and Libby was anxious to show me the turtle that lives under the slide and tell me all about how she took such good care of it today.


I talked to Ms Maria for a few minutes – she said the girls did just fine and looked forward to having them back again. I told the girls it was time to go and that is when the tears started down Clara’s cheeks…

“But Mama, I don’t WANT to go home!” 


Apparently, school was a hit.




Comments (8)