Archive for July, 2014

21st July
written by Michelle

Dear Mija,

You have a spunk and curiosity that makes me laugh and worry at the same time. Our sweet friend took these photos of me and you one afternoon in our neighborhood a few months ago.
















And I love them. I love them because they capture the way you wrinkle your nose when you get excited and the serious glare you give when there is someone or something new in front of you.

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They capture the finger by which you try to command your world  and how you have always been a girl on the go.





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But there are some things photos can’t capture, like the hours, maybe more like the days, I’ve spent rocking and bouncing and nursing you back to sleep for the past 11 months. Or the amount of bean juice that gets plastered on your highchair or in your hair or how I seem to find cheerios everywhere- in my purse, in the car, in the bathroom. Everywhere I tell you.

Photos don’t capture the frantic google search when I’m not sure what rash you have on your stomach or late night text to your Nana reporting “she still has a low-grade fever.” These sweet photos don’t capture your lung capacity or the high pitch scream you let out when you’re so overtired and don’t know how to calm down.
There is a lot of motherhood that can’t be captured in an afternoon photo shoot.




But you know what I hope is captured? How much fun I have being your mom. It’s a lot of work this mom thing. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

Mija, I am so glad I get to be your mom.

All my love,


4th July
written by Michelle


I have lived in Guatemala for 4 years now. And every year around 4th of July a wave of homesickness rolls over me. I know myself well enough, that now I can kind of anticipate it, but I can’t make it go away. Funny how emotions work like that, huh?

I have always loved the 4th of July. It’s the epitome of summer. BBQs and bare feet. Family and friends gathered around picnic tables. Sun-kissed shoulders and beach hair and finding sand between your toes. 

But when you live in another country, where summer is celebrated between the months of January to April and July 4th is just a date on the calendar, it just feels different. Gerber and I talk a lot about this because we both “know” in our heads that our respective independence days are a big deal for each other. Individually, and for our little girl. But it’s so hard because we don’t feel anything. He can tell me all about the “antorchas” and “bandas” and “actos civicos” that are preformed on September 15th, but for me it’s still  just a date.  I understand what it is and what to expect, but I don’t feel anything. There’s not a collective memory or emotion attached to those things. At least not yet.

And I know the same is true for him. I can tell him about summer BBQs and beach days and how we used to sit on the curb bundled up in sweatshirts eating popsicles, staying up way past our bed time to watch fireworks. He knows all of that, but there is no emotional attachment or collective memory for him. July 4th is just a date. 

I think one of the beautiful and challenging things about cross-cultural relationships if you get to celebrate both. Or at least learn how to make space for both. You learn how to empathize, and negotiate and understand things that you’ve never had any reason to understand before. You learn to verbalize and explain things you’ve never had to explain before, because they just are. But when you’re an outsider trying to understand a foreign culture nothing is as it seems to be.  And  you also learn to accept that there are certain things that can’t be explained or verbalized, they just are. And you learn to accept those things as they are.

We have lots of explaining and trying to understand kind of conversations. Sometimes it’s a lot of work; this cross-cultural, two countries, two languages, two independence days kind of living. But it’s a good work.

And I think one of the reasons we put in energy and time for this “work” is because of this little one. 


This little gringa, growing up in Guatemala.

Because we care about her identity and her sense of belonging. She’s too little to remember anything from today. And she certainly won’t remember her first dia de la indpendencia last September.

But my hope is that she starts to build something in that collective memory of hers. So that when she see’s  the 4th of July on the calendar she’ll feel excited. And when we get to el 15 de septiembre each year she will also get excited. 

 Today we celebrated with some other expat friends up at a park overlooking the whole Antigua valley. Gerber left early because of the World Cup because as he said, “You’ll have 4th of July every year, we only have the World Cup every 4 years.” Touché. And I didn’t get any pictures of the adults. But the kiddos were pretty cute. Maybe one year we’ll celebrate 4th of July in the US. We won’t watch any fireworks tonight, but I am thankful that we live in a country where fireworks are enjoyed year around.

Happy 4th of July!


P.S. Did you know that one year Gerber even surprised me for my birthday with fireworks?! And at our wedding we had fireworks right at the start of the ceermony?! Ever since I’ve been a little girl I have always loved fireworks.

2nd July
written by Michelle

This really could be titled, What I’ve Been Into…oh, March, April, May aaaaannd June. But for the sake of brevity we’ll just call it June.

I love seeing what other friends around the blosphere are into. Here’s  some great tips from Lesley & Sarah and we’re all linking up with the wonderful, Leigh Kramer’s What I’ve Been Into.


I’ve been loving my Mother’s Day gift to myself Earrings from Noon Day Designs & these simple, gold, Target sandals from our recent trip to the states.

Speaking of shoes, Elena has gotten tons of compliments on these shoes from Me In Mind (seriously cute baby shoes, that stay on!) And have you ever heard of, it’s like Zappos’ outlet. Yesss! My brother’s sweet girlfriend found a pair of shoes that I had been searching for after I posted this picture on instagrm picture. She found them on this site for HALF of what I paid at Nordstrom Rack. #winwin #freeshipping

Also, in June my iphone went for a swim (again!) in the toilet. When we got my new phone Gerber made me promise to get one of those bulky, un-cute waterproof cases. I wanted this one, but it was back-ordered. So I ordered the next best one, which was half-the price as the Lifeproof and so far it’s been great!

For the Little One:

Well, most of you know Elena’s main thing this month is she now sleeps on the floor, but we have also been loving these No-Spill Bubbles. Basically, they are every a independent toddler’s (and mama’s) dream. I would even consider buying this mini pack for the next time we fly. Also, I started rubbing coconut oil all over her each night. I wanted something to rub on her body and hands that I don’t mind if she also ends up “eating.” And she loves that instead of me saying, no, no don’t touch that, no, don’t put it in your mouth… I let her stick her little fingers right in the plastic tub of coconut oil.


Well, besides lots and lots of World Cup Games, we’ve been making our way through Baby Einstein.  (it’s the only way dinner gets made). My two current favorite yourtube videos are #likeagirl and this one, which tells women to stop apologizing so much. Notice a trend????


Most of my reading these days are 500 word or less posts. I loved this NY Times piece about Raising a Moral Child and What 16 people Couldn’t Believe About America until They Moved Here! I laughed really hard while reading why Jaime Worries for the Mommy Bloggers and and this: If Black People Said the Stuff White People Say.

We tried out airbnb for the first time while in Chicago and would most definitely use it again. This post makes me want to take a year off and just travel. And this post on marriage makes me want to practice being kinder and more generous with my spouse. For anyone who has ever considered sending their kids to a Spanish immersion school, this post by Bronwyn Lea makes a wonderful case for it!

I am slowly making my way through two {non internet} books: Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes, recommended by my friend Sarah and for book club this month, Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel.

I’m also super excited about new collective blog called Coffee + Crumbs started by Ashlee, a friend and writer and mother. Go check it out.

In the Kitchen:

Usually my normal mantra is cook once, eat twice. (amen, for leftovers, eh?!). But when my husband is gone for 5 days at a time, it goes something like this: cook once, eat 4 times.

So I made Kale and White Bean Soup last week and lots and lots of salads. Speaking of salads, do you ever use your Kitchen Shears to “cut” your lettuce? No, try it. Just drop your lettuce into a deep bowl and start snip, snipin. Easiest way to get small, bit size lettuce strips. I also use them to chop off a few bits of cilantro or basil. And they have come in handy when I am trying to one handedly cut Elena’s carrots and zucchini into bite size pieces. No need for a knife. Just bring out the scissors.

For Elena’s birthday I used Robin’s vegan raw frosting recipe for her cupcake. I thought it was great, but Elena seemed to prefer the store-bought frosting that we used at her “early” birthday party at my parents house. Of course. 

I’ve been making water keifer for over a week now and just got my first scoby for kombucha. My husband thinks I may have officially crossed over into crunchy, hippie land. I said not worry. I will still shaves my legs.

And for my Local, Guatemala, Friends:

Bread at the Bodegona! I know you’re not going to believe me that anything blog-worthy can come from the Bodegona…but just trust me. The new bread “station” by the milk and yogurt corner now has this sesame covered, thick, hearty sourdough loaf for Q11. I mean it’s not Epicure, but it’s really good.


P.S. Just in case you haven’t seen this #likeagirl video. Here is it (I maybe not-so-secretly wish every teacher, coach, parent, brother, mentor, & neighbor could watch this)