Jumping Into Bilingualism

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to go to a lake that is close to our home and swim.  My big boy is very comfortable in the water.  In fact, he can spend hours in there practicing his swimming and splashing around just for fun.  But his absolute favorite thing is playing with his papa.  He throws him so high in the air and he loves the ride.  It’s very exciting to see! My little one is starting to get comfortable in the water and one day he will be flying through the air as well. Watching them always makes me think of how lucky we are.  How fortune I am to be able to stay home with them and teach them about my life, my culture and my native language.

Being a bilingual family is like being thrown into the air, flying high and then landing in the water with great big splash.  You know it’s something you want to do, you look forward to it, the anticipation grows then you jump.  And all you can do is hold your breath and enjoy the ride until you make a big splash!  I hope that I am making a big splash in their lives.  I hope that they are learning from me. I come from a family of teachers, my grandmother was a teacher, my mom, my aunts and uncles and even one of my sisters. It probably goes back further than that, I’m sure. I, however, am not a teacher.  I do not have the patience or skill required.  I know I could do better at it, but I am doing the best I can. I just have to hold my breath and jump.

I like to look for ideas all of the time on how to incorporate Spanish into our daily lives. Since I know that English will always dominate in our home, Spanish should then be something we practice for fun. I think next time we go to the lake, I will find a way to use teach more Spanish as we play. I found some fun games on Pinterest that may work nicely for this.


Do you know any songs about the outdoors I can use? Do you have any games you like to play to teach your native tongue? I want to look through your bilingualeyes.  Will you jump in with me?

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)


Bringing Themes to Life Through Language


The second session of Spanish school is complete.  This time, my oldest learned more about animals.  He loves to point and name them in Spanish.  We also had a planned trip to the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary which happened to fit in nicely with the theme. While at the zoo, we would review the names of the animals as we passed them. He seemed to be really interested in this as we went along. 

Now the zoo here is an animal sanctuary so it’s not as large as other cities’ zoos.  It’s a wonderful place where the animals are cared for nicer than they probably ever have been before. It’s a great place and a great cause that I urge you to support if you have the chance. But, back to the story, I don’t know how receptive he would have been to repeating names in a larger setting for hours on end.  This was just the right size for a little review. And we had the additional bonus of being surrounded by total cuteness.

How can we tie in a theme like we did this week in future lessons? I’m searching for new ways to make it fun just like the zoo was. And I’m hoping to be able to combine settings and activities to give them different types of exposure to themes. I think this will help him visualize the words better.  At least that is what I’m hoping.

Being able to make the connection between words using different examples or in different ways helped me learn English. I loved when I made the connection and finally got it.  That feeling of accomplishment is one of those good feelings that I want my boys to experience over and over in life.

So with all of that being said, I’m researching themes and ideas to help with this little plan.  I know a lot of you have developed your own systems to make learning fun and interactive.  I would love to hear your ideas. What do you see through your Bilingualeyes


(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

Nominated for an Award!


My blog has been nominated for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” by writer of “Viviendo en el Extranjero” who writes about her amazing world travels, learning to live in a new country and starting a bicultural family keeping her roots. Thank you for thinking of me! This is so cool!

So it’s now my turn to keep it going.  I have to nominate 10 other blogs and state 7 things about myself.  Here goes…

These are the blogs I have been reading since I started on this journey through the blogosphere less than a month ago:

Blogs I have gotten to know through this journey with two very cool ladies I’d love to meet one day

Viviendo en el Extanjero


Blog I find inspiring by a good friend about life as a wife and mother of two sweet boys we love (been reading longer than a month, but deserves to be in my top list)

Little Bit of Life with HK

Blogs I started reading to learn more about the bilingual world

Journal of a Bilingual Family

Bubu Books

On Raising Bilingual Children

Bilingual Mom

Taco de Lenguas

Blogs I like about the writing world

A Little Birdie Told Me

A Little Goes A Long Way

 Seven things about me:

Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Observer, Writer & Dreamer

I hope I do inspire someone out there.  It’s awesome to have your thoughts validated in this way! I’m a happy mama.

 If you have been nominated, please keep it going as well.

1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.

 2. List the rules and display the award.

 3. Share seven facts about yourself.

 4. Nominate 10 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

 5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

Teaching Language Through In Music My Own Way

Music has always been a part of my life. Even though I cannot play an instrument, I have always loved listening to different types of music. I also enjoy singing along to the ones I especially like and dancing in the privacy of my own home. Since both my singing and dancing leave a lot to be desired I will not subject anyone other than my husband and children to those. My husband is very sweet and never teases me on what I compare to be Elaine-esque (from Seinfeld) moves and I think my children find them funny.  At least they are good for something. 🙂

Anyways, I do believe that music is universal. You do not have to understand the words being sung to understand the tone and mood it is trying to achieve. You do not have to know the place the music comes from to accept it in your own home.  And you do not have to do anything other than listen to it and enjoy it. Sure there are certain types of music I just cannot for the life of me get into.  And there are certain singers whose voices I cannot listen to. But I respect them as artists if they created their own music, wrote their own songs, have an amazing voice or all of the above. And I appreciate the talent it takes to do so. These are all gifts I really do wish I had. Hopefully my children will have that extra passion for music so they can share it with the world one day.

As I was growing up, music was always being played in the house. And when we moved to the states, music was not only our companion for singing and dancing, but it also became our teacher. My parents would let us listen to music in English and we would sing along to it, learning what the words meant as we went along. My most vivid memory of this process is learning through ABBA. Now I know that they are not native speakers in English either, but perhaps that is what made them easier to understand. My mother has always said that she understands people who speak English with an accent better than those from the United States. And she means accents from anywhere in the world. I always found that interesting.

ABBA and all of those old records we had allowed us to pretend to be the artist. We could sing and act out the words along with them and just be one with the songs. My older sisters would help explain the words we were unsure of and we learned a lot of vocabulary through song. And my parents would make us look them up in the dictionary if we weren’t sure. (I still love looking things up to this day)  This is a memory that I love to hold on to because not only did I learn a lot, but I had fun being silly with my sisters.

I started trying to create this experience for my children as well. I have a couple of CDs with songs for kids in Spanish on them and we play them all the time. We usually have our own little dance party after our Spanish hour. Sometimes, however, we have it just because. My oldest tries to sing along with the words and is actually getting to be really good at it. My little one just yells and hums.  And sometimes, if my husband is home, he even joins in. It’s very sweet.

I have attached a little video of them singing along to “Juanito” sang by Jose-Luis Orozco. It is one of their favorite songs. I hope you enjoy it.  If you have any suggestions for music in Spanish to share, I would love to hear it. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, do you have any songs in your native language that you play for your kids? Any favorite artists or records? I would love for my babies to hear music from all around the world. Like I said, music is universal and you do not have to do anything other than listen and enjoy. And with that I hope you enjoy what I see through my bilingualeyes. 🙂

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)


Offically Bilingual, or at Least Part of the Group

I have talked about finding new ways to help my children hear and learn more Spanish.  I have looked at so many sites, articles and books that I’m starting to confuse myself a little with all the advice offered.  So I decided to put myself out there and become part of a larger community.

I’ve joined a new Facebook group called Bilingual Parents Connect that I think will be great for my family.  It’s a closed group right now, but will be open soon. The main focus of the group is accountability.  Right now, the parents will help each other be accountable for reading to their children in their heritage language.  I think this is a great idea and it may actually work for our family! Fingers crossed.

I have been telling myself I need to do more, I even wrote a post about it not too long ago. I know I am not so great at motivating myself to try something new or something different on my own.  But, if you tell me people are watching or will be, well then, let’s go read! I have never liked failing, especially in front of people. (I suppose this could have something to do with my fear of public speaking 🙂 )

Of all of the things I have not done so great, this is one I can start to change.  Reading to my kids in Spanish is a great way for them to get used to hearing it and understanding it.  Plus we get to have that quiet bonding time where it is just the three of us looking at the book together.

I try to do what I call our hour of Spanish and we get excited for by chanting “es la hora de español” as often as I can.  During that time we also go over books we own or check out from the library.  (I will post some of our favorites another time.) This group makes me want to add more stories for them.  I hope we can keep each other motivated and can continue to grow as an international community together.  The diversity on the group so far is invigorating!

I shall keep you posted on our progress and hopefully work with them for a long time. For now I would like to say thank you to Olena Centeno for welcoming me and for lighting a little fire under me!

Do you have any favorite children’s books or children’s series in Spanish for little ones that you recommend?

Your Family can Help Boost Bilingualism


A great bilingual site posted this article about bilingual grandparents.  I think we can use the advice not only for grandparents, but for parents and all of the family and friends.  It will help keep the bond strong.   Thank you, Bilingual Monkeys:


Here is my breakdown of the three ways to boost language:

1. Strengthen ties through photos and video clips

My kids see pictures all of the time.  And they know I love to take their picture all if the time as well.  I think looking at old pictures helps them see that we were kids once, too.  I hope it helps them understand that we have gone through what they are going through and they can talk to us about things.  They’ve even met my dad who passed through photos and recognize him now.  That makes me happy. And I’m developing a project we can do together in Spanish incorporating our baby pics.  More on that later.

2. Create communication via Skype video chats

FaceTime is a must in our house for my husband parents to see my kids whenever they like and Skype is a godsend for my family in Mexico. Though we sometimes have a bad connection, being able to see their Lita is priceless.

3. Establish an exchange of handwritten letters

I remember growing up and having to do this.  It was not my favorite thing to do because it felt like homework. But I must say that having my own private chats with my grandmother through letters and then catching up in person when we were able to see her again is a great memory I have of her. My babies are too young to write still, but once they can, we will definitely keep this tradition going.

All three of these ways to boost language growth are excellent and I hope to keep incorporating them into our everyday lives for our bilingualeyes.


Public Speaking? Not in English or in Spanish, Please

Public Speaking_ Not in English or in

When I was 8 years old, my family moved to the United States. I remember being nervous and excited about the change. I remember worrying about finding friends and being able to communicate with them.  I remember going to school for the first time and having to take a test to see what grade I would be starting based on my English skills.  And I remember failing this test. It was horrifying as I do not like to fail. It was embarrassing for the same reason and for the looks the teachers gave me (which may or may not have been my imagination making things worse). And it made me a little angry.  I was angry at myself.  You see, part of the test consisted of the teachers showing you pictures of things and you were then supposed to name the object in English. The problem was that I didn’t want to get it wrong so rather than say the word and take a chance; I took the less risky route and said nothing at all. You can see how that could be a problem, can’t you? The teachers assumed that my silence meant that I didn’t know the word, which is perfectly understandable.  I mean they couldn’t see I was frozen in fear, right?  I remember how upset I was at myself trying to get the words out but unable to open my mouth.  Thinking of the word over and over, but saying nothing.

Being unable to speak up has been a problem for me ever since then.  I am not the best at letting my feelings show or speaking up for myself.  Anyone that knows me knows that I can’t stand public speaking. Anyone that went to school with me may remember that when it was presentation time, no matter what the subject was, I would freeze. My whole body would shake, I would turn bright red and I would speak as fast as humanly possible just to get to the end faster. Yet that always backfired on me.  The fast talking would make the teachers stop me, ask me to slow down or start over (gasp), or have a lot of questions for me at the end. Oh the horror!  You think I would have figured out that this only made my pain last so much longer, yet it happened every time. It was awful.

Not feeling comfortable speaking up or even just standing in front of people and talking about something, anything is something I battle with and hope so desperately that my boys don’t have to suffer through.  I want them to feel comfortable speaking up. I want them to never be afraid of being wrong and even if they are, that’s ok. (You were wrong, now you know what the right answer is and you move on from there.)  I want them to shout it out, sing it out, act it out, play it out or even dance it out if they choose and be able to do it in English and in Spanish. I don’t ever want them to wish they had said something but hadn’t or to think it’s too late to speak up after the fact.   The good news is that as of right now, they are true performers and will sing you a song once they warm up to you. Hope they keep that enthusiasm.

What do you do to get your kids to engage in conversations and to feel great about voicing their own opinions? How do you get them to avoid the artic throat syndrome that freezes any comprehensible sounds in your mouth when nervous?  I say comprehensible sounds because I think I can get quite a few painfully sounding noises out, but that’s pretty much it. Heck, how would you teach me how to do that?  I still haven’t figured that one out myself. I’ll just sit in my room and write it out instead…

Bilingual Means More than just Two Languages

When I was growing up, I understood why my parents wanted us to keep our Spanish but also learn to speak proper English.  It was important to be able to communicate with our family back in Mexico, to talk to other people from Spanish speaking countries, to never forget our history and culture and to understand that there is more than one way of doing things that are right. The fact that we knew early on what a big world we were a part of and not the center of the universe has helped my sisters and I appreciate every day we get to be a part of it and everybody we meet along the way. We embrace different cultures and people even if we may not agree with all that they believe, just as we know not everyone will understand what we grew up believing.  And that is as it should be, in my eyes.

Sure, it’s hard to see where someone is coming from sometimes and even harder to be mocked for your own views. And I am not saying we are perfect, I for one am far from it.  I know I have a short fuse sometimes, I know I can be overly sensitive more times than not, and I know that I can shut down in order to just not talk about things that I don’t want to talk about anymore.  I know my flaws, and I am ok with them, as long as I am trying to better them a little at a time. And this blog will test me on all of these, I’m sure (I typed that part full of dread of what responses I will get…fingers shaking)

What does this have to do with being bilingual? I think that being bilingual or even multilingual makes us a little more open to the world because we realize how much more there is out there.  It’s not just about language; it’s about our lives and the lives of all others all being connected in some way. It’s just a matter of always trying to communicate with each other, with or without words. And that is how I see it through my bilingualeyes.

I Am Bilingual but My Kids Are Not, Not Yet…

Being bilingual means having the ability to use two languages especially with equal fluency. I am bilingual. I am Mexican. I am American. I am both. And I am proud of that.  However, my children are not as bilingual as I would like them to be and my husband does not speak my language any better than they do.  This, I take blame for.  I should have spoken more Spanish in the home.  I should have found more Spanish speaking families to play with. I should have searched for Spanish speaking groups to learn from.  I should have, but I did not. Not then anyways.  I am trying to fix that.  My babies are still small, so I have the opportunity to do so. I have found groups to play with in Spanish, story times to go to and we sing songs and play games in the house in Spanish now.  The only thing I have not done and can’t see myself doing is switching to speaking solely in Spanish to my little ones NOW.  Not after I have spoken to them in English all this time.  I do not want them to feel as if they are being punished in any way or slow down their own learning because mama won’t talk to them the same way anymore. I want them to feel comfortable learning. I want them to feel proud of knowing more than one word for everything.  I want them to be able to eventually start having conversations with the family I love so dearly in Mexico anytime they want and every time we are with them. I want them to have fun with it.

There are bilingual parents out there that speak with their children in one language at home and have them learn the dominant language solely at school. There are parents that do twice the work by teaching them both since the beginning and make sure they know both languages equally. There are parents that are fortunate enough to have schools that either immerse their children in their language of choice or have wonderful classes and activities to participate in and have the kids learn in a more social setting.  And then there are parents like me, unsure of how to start because we are not comfortable enough teaching. Or there are not many affordable programs nearby to take part of. Or maybe we just do not want to isolate the people we love in our families that do not speak the language we are trying to teach. So we keep the first language as the dominant language in order to all be able to communicate, love and learn together and put our language on hold while we figure it out. Wherever you fall in these or even if you have your own reasons for being or looking into being bilingual, I hope we can share and grow together here. I look forward to your comments and suggestions, your ideas on how to teach, your fun games, your fun songs, your different approaches to learning.  I look forward to starting a friendship with you to help our little ones see that we are not that different.  There are many bilingual families just like ours out there trying to hold on to part of what makes us who we are: the love for two worlds and two languages.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how you are helping your children become bilingual. Hope to hear from you soon.
¡Hasta Pronto!