Ale was really sweet trying to determine what was up with Bubbles!

Who’s the greatest dog around?
Who’s the cutest dog in town?
Little Bubbles, he’s our pup
And we love him oh-so-much!

It’s Bubbles! It’s Bubbles!
A wiggly-waggly Bubbles
It’s Bubbles! It’s Bubbles!
Good ol’ Bubbles, Yeah! Our golden dog

This is Jojo’s request at night when we begin to sing.  It’s based on a song in a Clifford book that I read to Ale–and not knowing the music was at the back, I just made up my own as we went along.  We sang that song for years, so when Jojo wanted a song about Bubbles, it was what popped into mind.

I couldn’t sing about him starring in Hollywood, so the verses have changed to fit our dog.

Who takes his mama for a walk?
Who plays with Simon in the park?
Who chases chickens in the yard?

You get the point, right?  Because I forgot what we usually sing on that last line.  The song changes every night with the exception of the Chorus: It’s Bubbles!…

Bubbles has been a bit of a point of contention for us.  I got him without Victor’s full support.  I have really good reasons, but I probably should have waited until he was more on board.  Let’s just say he’s learning to love Bubbles…

When we got Rocky a few years ago, it was mutual.  He was a free bassat that a high school student was giving away.  We loved him so much in his short little life.  Ale was almost two at the time, and she would wake up and RUN to the door looking for him.  When Rocky got sick, Victor and I employed country thinking: let’s just see how he does, and if he doesn’t get better, we will take him to the vet.  The next day, Rocky seemed better.  Then he died…  I’ve never seen my husband so distraught.  It was the saddest thing to happen to us in the few years we were together.

A few days ago, Bubbles seemed sick.  It isn’t too surprising–he does try to eat every smelly thing he finds.  BUT we have taken him for his shots, so we really thought he was going to be fine.  We waited a couple days, but the poor guy seemed really out of it.  Now, you should know that I do the same thing with my kids.  I don’t rush them to the doctor, they aren’t fully up-to-date on their immunizations, and I let fevers burn for a bit before administering medicine.  So this isn’t a case of us treating him as less than our children.  Sometimes little bugs work themselves out: two nights ago Ale threw up all night long.  I didn’t send her to the doctor the next morning, I just slowly added some electrolytes back into her diet before giving food.

Last night was my limit with my little Bubs.  I started googling his symptoms, and I worked myself into a frenzy.  What if we had another Rocky situation on our hands?  We would never forgive ourselves.  Luckily, the veterinarian is about 1/2 a mile away.  He responded to my text by letting me know that he was still in the office, and I could come on by before he left.  We loaded up our sick pup, who had spent the day lying around and looking at us with sad eyes.  The doctor gave him antibiotics and something to reduce his fever–and instructions that included not taking him to the street until his vaccines are complete.

Today he’s better–not completely, but much better.  And if anything, we all love him more.  Even his reluctant papa…

Summer Lovin’

I’ve been out of school for a few weeks now, and I am reminded how hard it is to be a stay-at-home mom.

In any case, I’ve enjoyed getting to see my kids grow and interact with one another and the people around them.  Days are full with a routine that I’ve come to enjoy:

When I wake up, I can smell the coffee wafting upstairs.  This lets me know that Derek is already awake, and he pushed the button.  I roll out of bed, throw on some leggings with a skirt to keep a few secrets from all my friends.  By now, Bubbles is barking, anticipating his walk.

I struggle into my tennis shoes, reminding myself that 1) I need to stretch 2) I need to lose weight.  I hurry outside to cajole the pup into sitting through his excitement.  I clip on my fanny-pack full of baggies for poop (How low has mankind stooped to pick up canine poop?), money for tortillas, and doggie treats.  I begin my audiobook and fitness tracker, and Bubbles and I set out.

If you’re like me and you struggle with exercising, you should download an audiobook.  It’s amazing to WANT to exercise so that I can find out what happens next in my book.  Nerd alert?  Currently I am listening to The Zookeeper’s Wife.  That’s because I couldn’t find a good young adult novel quick enough the other day.  It’s nice to pretend I am grown-up for a change.

Bubbles and I trot along the street, following the shade when we’ve left the house too late.  I remind myself that I need to leave earlier tomorrow.  We say hello to dogs, runners, and domestic workers on their way to work.  We greet the guard at the school and wave to the groundskeepers who daily water and clean up the pristine lawn.

Finally, we turn back towards the tortilla shop, buy the beans and tortillas for breakfast and head back home.

Once home, Bubbles gets fed and watered.  A handful of dog food goes with me to chicken coop along with the scraps from the day before.  I collect eggs and turn to go back inside to begin breakfast for the day.

Our houseguests and friends enjoy a Mexican breakfast, as does my husband.  So breakfast consists of fresh salsa, tortillas, beans, and eggs.  Occasionally it includes bacon or hotdog sausages.  Sometimes we make migas–where old, cold tortillas are cut into pieces and fried with eggs and onions.  Afterwards, I clean up and we have a little study or sing a couple hymns before Victor heads off to work.

The girls and I do some chores or go shopping for groceries.  Then it is time for a nap.  Jojo and I nap, while Ale hangs out.  I can’t figure out why she isn’t tired like we are.

By the time we get up from our nap, it’s time to prepare Mexican lunch (2:00 p.m.).  Sometimes the girls and I will eat before our nap if the workers are heading out for visits in the area.  Victor pops in at some point and eats, or we take him lunch wherever he happens to be.

Cleaning…more dishes…more chores… and it is time for Mexican supper (8:00 p.m.).  On evenings that the workers are visiting for supper, we eat like Americans around 6:00 p.m. then we head out to walk or play with the dog.

The girls each have their little moments of hilarity.  Jojo is speaking more English now, in addition to the Spanish that rattles out all the time.  She asks for us to pray in English (Engish) when we sit down to eat or pray in the evening.  She says, “Coco-Mijo” in the place of con permiso or “excuse me” in Spanish.  She calls Ale, “my baby” and her daddy, “mi Victor.”  When Victor loses his patience with the dog or Ale, she will say, “Daddy, tu a babe!”  She means to say, “She’s a baby!”  She loves me to sing a song about Bubbles at night, followed by a song about herself.  She tells her sister what to do, and will mock her at every opportunity, “Mami, mira! mira!”  Look! look! she says–then makes a face as she copies her sis.

Ale has started to ask me questions like, “Mom, how does it feel to be a mom?” or “How does it feel to be a teacher?”  Today she told me, “Mom, I don’t know when I get big if I will be a mom or not–but what if I don’t know how to cook?”  We’ve been reading chapter books when Jojo is asleep, such as Junie B. Jones.  She’s growing to be such an amazing kid, which makes her little fits with her sister sting even more!   Last night, she was washing dishes, and her sis was climbing up beside her to play in the water.  Ale kept saying, “Mom, I don’t need Jojo’s help!”   She begs us for a cell phone (WHAT?!), and walks around with rectangles of plastic or paper pretending that she’s texting, taking selfies, and playing games.  She will even pass it to Jojo in the car to watch videos.  If there’s one thing I am proud of, it’s that: the moment where she says, “Be quiet, Mommy, I have to talk to Karen,” then proceeds to talk, in Spanish, to her neighborhood friend on a Jenga game piece that she decorated to look like an iPhone.

The girls play babies together, which is a nice change.  They have a cocina and a bathroom area in their play corner in the living room.  Jojo throws a fit at night or when we leave, demanding that she has her baby AND the baby blanket.  They play like one is the mama, one is the babysitter.

Victor’s dad is a little sick right now–we aren’t quite sure what’s going on.  One doctor said he has cirrhosis of the liver, and another said he has something wrong with his prostate.  Neither of these reports are good news, so understandably, the family is pretty worried.  The problem is, in order to practice medicine in these remote towns, you don’t always have to have a medical degree.  We want him to visit Tuxtla to see a real doctor, but we don’t know what the family is planning to do.  Victor’s been a bit preoccupied with worries about his dad, and is trying to work as much as he can to be able to send some money to Chiapas.

We still haven’t sent Victor’s waivers, so no news on the immigration front.  We are waiting for August when I receive another paycheck–and the retention money the school saves from my check each month to cover the cost of teachers who take off in the middle of a contract.  When that comes, we should be able to submit his waivers, so stay tuned!

Summer days are quickly passing–and one day I know I will look back on this time fondly.  IMG_5585