Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Asher & Preschool

Preschool in Ciudad Juarez...

This year, Asher started preschool in Mexico.  It was an interesting experience for everyone.  Overall, Mexican preschools are not my favorite for a couple of reasons.  But for the most part, Asher had fun and learned quite a bit.  The school days were half in Spanish and half in English.  Whether he actually learned any Spanish, we honestly don't know because he would never speak any Spanish to us, and he ignored us if we spoke Spanish to him.  Regardless, he was exposed to the language and like I said, he definitely did learn a lot from the English portion at least :)

Asher and his friend in their school uniforms :)

Goofball :)

One of the frustrations for parents/fun experiences for kids, was that once a month they had a performance for the parents.  The frustration for parents?  Sometimes a couple days before (but mostly the day before) we were informed of the very specific costumes that the kids needed to bring in.  Half of the time, they were obscure items that no one had in their homes and would then have to frantically search throughout Juarez and El Paso for it :)

The around the world dance performance - Italy

Asher shaking it with his tambourine - moving to his own beat, as always :)

The labor day performance, where we were told the day before that Asher had to come dressed as a Mexican barber - ?!?!?!  What in the world does a Mexican barber dress like???  Well - This was what we came up with :)

Apparently, they took the mustache and the hair clippers away for the actual performance - probably a good idea... 

The science fair.

They made the kids stand like this for an hour and repeat the presentation multiple times... 
Yeah, that went over well with Asher, this photo was taken near the beginning of the hour...

For the final presentation of the year, teams of students represented countries around the world.  Asher was in the Brazil group.  His line to memorize - "Hello, my name is Asher.  The country is Brazil.  The population is more than three percent of the world's population.  There are many fruits."  They stood again for about an hour while they repeated their lines over and over for different groups that came by...  It was a long hour :)

Now this was the best part of preschool by far - swimming!!  Twice a week every grade has swim class.  Asher went from swimming with floats and hating putting his head under the water, to swimming by himself, and being a little less apprehensive about putting his head under the water :)  The last swim class of the year, the parents were invited to come and watch the class.  It was a lot of fun to see Asher show off what he learned.  Proud Mama moment for sure!

Asher's awesome swim uniform :)

Waiting his turn...

Jumping in the water to his teacher.

Paddle board time.

Asher deciding to leave the group and run up and down the side of the pool.. oops. :)


Last but not least, jumping in from the "high" platform!  Way to go Asher!

And this is how we got to school.  Everyday was an adventure.

Fun in Mexico City!

Back in April, Sean had to go to Mexico City for work.  Fortunately, the rest of the family was able to tag along and we made a mini vacation of it!

The first thing we did after checking into the hotel was walk to Chapultepec Park (Mexico City's Central Park) where we found these sweet masks :)  At 2-3 bucks a mask, we pretty much bought out the vendors's supply.  

Souvenirs from Mexico for anyone we have ever met and a ridiculously content Mexican vendor?  Check!! 

While Sean was off doing work-related stuff during the day, Shauna and the kids explored the kid-friendly side of Mexico City.

The first stop was the Mexico City zoo!

Asher's favorite part was the butterfly house...

Except it wasn't the butterflies that held his attention, but the rolly pollies/potato bugs :)

Also, the squirrel in the park that he was excited/scared to be around was fun for him.  He was really loving it when the squirrel was a bit further away, but then it got anywhere near him, panic was clearly written across his face :)

A couple came up and fed the squirrel some of their snow cone after this.  It was off-putting how bold the squirrel became - at one point he was literally in the woman's hair, and she was cool with it.

The next day, while Sean was working, we made it to the Mexico City Children's Museum and loved it!

The full sized...pin cushion/impression thingy?? was a big hit with the kids :)


Asher's impression of Han Solo frozen in carbonite. 

He had a great time in the bubble area too.

Human hamster wheel.

Look at the amazement in Asher's face as he is shocked by how cool science is!  In other words, the air blowing ball flying thing (that neither parent knows the name of) was a hit.

Everly and her first drawing with crayon experience.

Chopsticks anyone?

Once Sean was free from work, we were able to explore the city a bit more.

First up, the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts) - a beautiful Neo-classical/Baroque/Art Deco building built in the late 19th century that still hosts opera, ballet, and popular music and entertainment acts.

This cathedral was impressive - we like to call it the Mexico City Cathedral, it's real name is:
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven

This is Mexico City's main square, also known as the Zocalo.  The national palace is in the background, where the Mexican president lives.  The Zocalo has always been an important seat of power for Mexico.  From the time of the Aztecs, through the Spanish occupation, to the period of independence, the country has been ruled from the Zocalo.  These days, it is also the final destination of many a protest march through Mexico City.  Leading to the need for the next photo below.  

The police lining the square with their riot gear on...
We decided to leave pretty quickly after we saw that, just in case :)

Our major day trip that we wanted to do was to Teotihuacan.  It's an ancient Mesoamerican city that may have been the largest city in the Americas at its height.  It is a UNESCO world heritage site, and with good reason.  It was definitely the highlight of the trip!

While hiking up the steps, we began to realize just how out of shape we are :) Either that or the height and quantity of steps really was a lot.  We will go with that.

The temple of Quetzalcoatl was our first stop.  The feathered winged serpent.

We then began our walk to the other pyramids at the site.  On the right is the Pyramid of the Sun and on the left (at the end of the road) is the Pyramid of the Moon.

The impressive ruins of the civilization. 

The Pyramid of the Sun.  The human sacrifices happened on the top of it.  We opted to not attempt to climb up it, given that we were with Asher, the steps were uneven and steep, and perhaps most importantly, there looked like there were 10,000 steps on a blisteringly hot day.

We stand by our choice.

Our climber.

This is the Temple of the Moon.  

Inside the Temple of the Jaguar, where the original design and colors of the city remain.

While we were busy looking at the beautiful ruins around us, Asher was fascinated by the...metal doors on the ground :)

Yay for Mexico!

These two cuties did a great job that day.

When we were done with the pyramids, our tour guide took us to a little town to pick up some souvenirs.  Asher ended getting this awesome hat, which we then unfortunately forgot an hour later at the place we had lunch :(  No one was happy about that, especially Asher.

The awesome cave restaurant where we forgot the hat.  While the atmosphere was awesome!  The food was okay and the service was terrible.  I guess when your restaurant is in a cave, you can cut corners on other things and stay in business.  But look at how beautiful it was!

Our view from our hotel room downtown.  You can see the Angel of Independence, built on Mexico's 100th anniversary of their independence.  It's a beautiful city. 

We got to swim on the roof of our hotel a couple of times too, and everyone had fun with that.

We had a great time in Mexico city and would absolutely jump at the opportunity to live there in the future!