Friday, July 17, 2009

Be Back Soon!

For those of you who follow the blog, you have noticed that there haven't been any new posts as of late. It certainly is not for lack of stories as a lot has been happening and we are in the middle of Victor's "language explosion"!

Suffice it to say that we have had a crazy summer with a month in Spain and a move to NYC. We will be installing internet this weekend and I hope to start posting on a regular basis again very soon!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's the Thought that Counts...

The challenge of truly learning a foreign language is not the vocabulary, grammar, or even the fear of making a fool of yourself.  For me, the biggest challenge is taking the leap and really "feeling" the language.  

What do I mean by that?  Let me give you an example:

Last Thursday, a group of us went to Schenley Plaza to listen to Flamenco Music.  While Flamenco is generally more popular in the south of Spain in the Andalusian region, it really penetrates a lot of even popular culture throughout the country.

For example, when going to a nightclub, you can see people dancing and doing what I like to call la manzana, (the hand movements tend to look like you grab an apple, eat it, and then throw it away) or even clapping and stomping in time to flamenco rhythms.

I secretly hope one day that the Spanish culture will have penetrated so deep as to enable me to "feel" the music and participate without looking like a complete gringa.

The same goes for some of Spanish words.  I can now more or less hold my own when arguing (which took me several years to master), and I remember the first time that I said joder like a true Spaniard.  But certain words still elude me.  Even my attempts at using the simple "Ole!" has my husband rolling on the floor in hysterical laughter.

I am hoping that spending a month with the family in Spain this summer will help the boys begin the process of "living" the language and starting to absorb the culture and idiosyncrasies that I am either too old or too American to truly understand.  I am hoping that this vacation will be the start of them being perfect Spaniards and Americans.

It's Been a While...

I can't believe it's been 2 months since my last post!

As I'm sure you can imagine, having 2 little boys keeps me quite busy.  When you add on top of that a husband who is finishing up his MBA, planning a trip to Spain, and a move to NYC, I have not had much free time.

However, I have received several emails (and comments from friends!) that I should keep writing the blog and recording our adventures.  The truth is that this is a very exciting time for our family with a lot of changes and a lot to tell.

I am hoping to dabble a bit when I have the time this summer, and get back "full force" in the fall.  Please keep checking in, sending the emails and keeping me going with the blog!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mama dice....

As we enter into the 5th month of cold here in Pittsburgh, I am running out of ideas to entertain Victor at home.  Unfortunately for us, it has been a long, hard winter, what with a newborn and the entire family sharing illnesses for about 4 months straight.

Luckily, Papa has done a great job working with Victor on his body parts.  So far he knows:
  • la cabeza
  • la oreja
  • la nariz
  • la boca
  • la tripa (this is our favorite as he walks around grinning as he pats his belly with 2 hands!)
  • las manos
  • los pies
We've stayed away from los ojos since we're afraid he'll poke his little brother in the eye.

Next on the list are las piernas, los brazos, and el culo.

This morning, we played a fun game of Mama Dice.  I didn't want to confuse him (who is this Simon guy anyway, and why does he keep telling me what to do???) and since I love hearing him say "Mama", it was a win-win.  

While he is too young to know that he should point out his body parts only if Mama lo dijo, it was a lot of fun for both of us!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Talking up a storm!

Friday afternoon, we had our 18 month pedi appointment where the dreaded question was asked:

"Does your son speak at least 4 words?"

What?  All of that nervousness and he only needs to be speaking 4 measly words???  (he does:  bye-bye, suave (i.e. "don't hit the baby"), no, Eli (the pink elephant from Pocoyo), a-oos (adios), and various animal sounds).

Well, if that weren't enough, this weekend he added about 10 words to his vocabulary including silla, leche, agua, papa, and mama...even something that sounds a bit like "Ah-viz" (Oscar and I like to think that he is referring to his brother, David).

Por fin!!!!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cool CD giveaway!

The SpanglishBaby blog is giving a fun contest, ending tomorrow.  You can check it out here.

The habla blah blah CD is meant to be a tool for parents to sing along with their kids and help them learn Spanish.  There are fun songs about getting dressed, eating breakfast, and other every-day activities written by an educator mama.

What makes this CD really unique is that the singers have accents--American accents, that is.  Why would they do that?  To give us confidence to sing along, of course!

As my girlfriend Kathryn used to say, "Why do you worry about your accent when you speak Spanish?  Didn't you always want to get to know the cool foreign guy?  Well, now you're the cool foreign girl!"

This CD is your Kathryn--  Check it out!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: Global Wonders Mexico, Interactive DVD

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I would review an interactive DVD produced by "Global Wonders" that explores Mexican culture. While I do try to limit my toddler´s TV time, I tend to let him watch a bit while I´m nursing the baby so I figured I would give it a try. Unfortunately, I think my 18 month old was a little young for the video.

Instead of giving up then and there, I decided to bring it along to one of his playdates, where one of the boys is 3.

This DVD is one of a series of cultural videos--Global Wonders also has interactive DVDs for African American, Indian, and Italian culture, among others. In this video, there are 3 main characters: Marisa (from Mexico) and her friends Trey and Brianna. As they have a playdate at Marisa´s house, they help the viewer learn about Mexican culture.

The characters are cute and lovable and the animation is very well done. I also enjoyed the "language jams" (where Spanish vocabulary was reviewed) and songs. Preschool age is definitely the appropriate audience. The video was a good length--about 30 minutes.

While I am not, of course, as familiar with Latin America as I am with Spain, I do feel that the video tried to take on a bit much. Topics included the big sister´s Quinceniera, Mexican food, holidays such as The Day of the Dead, leaders and famous people, music and dances such as the Rumba, and more. I felt that it was a lot for a small child to absorb. On the other hand, it would be a great tool to use as an introduction to Mexican culture, followed by detailed lessons on each of the topics.

All in all, I think it was a very well made DVD, a lot of fun to watch and sing along with, and I would be interested in taking a peek at a Spanish Culture DVD if they decide to create one!