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Showing posts from May, 2020

First Birthday Cake Smash

Inviting your one-year-old to smash and demolish a cake is the new way to celebrate his or her first birthday. Because what’s cuter than a little one covered in cake? And it’s the perfect photo opportunity for priceless memories. When Maya turned one, I made a beautiful, healthy, sugar-free, fruit-based cake for her to “smash” during an outdoor photo shoot. Everything was perfect... until she refuses to touch the cake! (But we did get some cute photos, at least!) So the second time around, I decided to change my tactics. Now that I have three kids, making an organic, sugar-free, cake from scratch was no longer realistic, so I bought a cute present-shaped one from Big Y. Also I didn’t give Maya any baked goods or treats whatsoever before her first birthday. That didn’t work out the same for little brother, either, who outright grabbed a slice of cake off of his Papi’s plate when he was just 9-months-old, and has been double-fisting Dunkin’ munchkins since the quarantine began.

Our Birth Story Testimony/Nuestro testimonio (Escrito en ingles y español!)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt like my prayers were a direct pipeline to the Lord. “From your mouth to God’s ear,” is the saying, and countless times from my youth through early adulthood, all I had to do was utter the prayer, and it became God’s will. One of my favorite verses was Matthew 17:20, with the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains. At 16-years-old, I prayed for a car and within days an affordable one became available to me. At 20-years-old, while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the Israeli police wouldn’t let my Lebanese friend into the country with the rest of our group, which left us stranded at the border between Jordan and Israel for hours. Not even 20 minutes after praying for her passage, did the Israelis let her through. These are some of the more grand prayers that have been answered in my life, but smaller ones have also traveled straight to God’s ears. Whenever I have lost anything, I’ve always prayed to Saint Anthony, patron saint

Storytime Bilingüe featuring “The Tooth Book”

This week's bilingual story time is going to sound a little bit different, because Maya insisted we read a book in English! A friend of ours had recently gifted us some lightly loved books, and since they are new to Maya, those books have been her favorite reads for the past week. One of these books is the Tooth Book, by Dr. Seuss. So when Maya, Mateo, and I sat on the floor Monday morning after nap time to record our  story time and I was ready to do a read-aloud of El Camioncito Azul, Maya outright refused, and would only read the Tooth Book! I tried to convince her we could read both, but if anyone has ever tried to negotiation with my beautifully headstrong two-year-old, it is a futile attempt. I decide to acquiesce, because I figured we have call our story time bilingual if all of the books we read are only in Spanish!  And the timing was perfect because Sofia lost a tooth a few days ago. Maybe that's why Maya is so obsessed with the Tooth Book this week? For whateve

What's in a name?

According to William Shakespeare, what matters most is what something is, not what it is called. It’s one of the best-known lines in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Meaning, the names of things cannot affect what they actually are, and suggests that a name is just a label to distinguish one thing from another.  But if that’s true, why is there such a market for baby naming books?  The study of names is actually called onomastics or onomatology. And naming a child is a very important social ritual across every culture that not only helps a person establish an individual identity, but also links a child into the family identity. So it comes as no surprise that one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking parts of bringing a tiny human into the world is deciding what to name him or her. When I taught the highest level of ESL, I always began the year by reading “My Name” by Sandra Ciscnero

Storytime Bilingüe featuring “Nos Vamos a Mexico!”

The tantalizing spring days we've been having lured us outside for this week's story time bilingue. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to read Nos Vamos A Mexico! with Maya and Mateo, as the subtitle is "una adventura bajo el sol," which translated means an adventure beneath the sun. This Barefoot Book has vibrant pages that illustrate the culture of Mexico. As we read, we travel to historic landmarks and iconic destinations of Mexico, like the beach, the mountains, the pyramids, the village square, an indigenous marketplace, and the desert. It even includes a map of Mexico at the end of the book, in addition to a few informational pages on Mexico's history and festivals. Since I grew up in Southern California, I've traveled to Mexico many times for pleasure, for mission trips, and for volunteer work. It was the first foreign country I traveled to, and the beginning of my love for the hispanic culture and language. Nos Vamos A Mexico the also

A lesson from the Cave Mothers

When I first had Maya, I thought constantly about what early human mothers did to raise their children. I think experiencing birth (however your birth story turns out) and then raising your young nursling is the most instinctual, primal experience we still have as humans. In a world that relies so heavily on industrialization and technology, caring for a tiny human has transported me back about a million years to the very beginning of our existence.  Early human mamas did not have sound machines, wipe warmers, mamaroo baby bouncers, or disposable diapers. And yet humanity exists today because they nursed on demand, coslept, and probably did babywearing constantly. While our modern-day innovations may have made motherhood easier and somewhat less messy, I wonder what other ramifications it has had. There are so many fads that have come and gone or remain, catchphrases that influence our every decision as mothers.  Breast is best Fed is best Back to sleep Sleep training  Cry-it-o

Storytime Bilingüe featuring “Are you my Mother?"

Today, we honor the women in our lives who bore us, nursed us, clothed us, wiped us, bathed us, comforted us, raised us up, and laid us down to bed each night. These women might have been our biological mothers or not, but they have loved us unconditionally through our best of times and our worst of times, and they are ever deserving of our praise and appreciation.   So for this week's Storytime Bilingue we present to you a special edition, with a special guest reader. Since today is Mother's Day, we asked my mother to join us for story time and read the English version of our selected text. We read  Are you my Mother?  written and illustrated by PD Eastman. It is a part of the Dr. Seuss Beginner Books, so it is repetitive and melodic, making it perfect for early readers or emerging readers. The story is a sweet tale of a little baby bird searching for its mother, and we hope that everyone has the chance today to find the women in their lives who have mothered them, and

From those who made me a Mother

In celebration of Mother's Day 2018, local Patch readers were asked to write a letter to their mother and let deliver it. In recognition of this year's mother's day, I'm posting the  letter  Francisco submitted for me. Our family has changed just a bit over the past two years (like the addition of Mateo!), but the sentiment of this letter is just too special not to share. I will be forever grateful to my supportive husband, my surrogate children, and my biological children for making me a mother, and giving meaning to this day for me.  I write this tribute on behalf of my daughter, Maya, who will be 1 year old at the end of this month, and not quite ready to use a computer yet. She and I would like to thank her mom, Mae Waugh Barrios, for being an amazing mom — not only to little Maya, but to all of the Barrios family. Although she has been a biological mother for just less than a year now, she has mothered my family with unconditional love for years.

Still I Rise Reprise

Long before I began raising my own emerging bilinguals, I dedicated my life to raising others. I’ve now been a certified ESL teacher for a decade, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with a wide range of emerging bilinguals from kindergarten to adult learners, but the majority of my time has been spent teaching middle schoolers.  There must be a very special place in heaven for middle school teachers, as the role of ringleader to a preteen circus is not for the faint of heart. But I feel compelled to teach those middle years, where young people are just starting to find their voice, understand their identity and assert their individuality. They’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical, and guiding those kids through young adulthood is such a challenge, but also a joy. I taught the highest level of ELD at Fuller Middle School for many years, and each June we would have a promotion ceremony for the students who passed the ACCESS test and