What My Eyes See Worries Me

What My Eyes See Worries Me...By

I do not like to get political.  I especially do not want my blog to ever go that way.  With all of the distrust of authority that is going on in the world and the lack of respect for the citizens said authority is supposed to work for, a mama can’t help but worry about the world.  I am not here to say who’s right and who’s wrong in certain situations where people are taking sides.  However, I do have my opinions on something more important to me: my children. 

I worry about what world I have brought my kids into when everywhere you look, there are people suffering while others prosper from their suffering. I worry about whom they can trust and who they can look up to (besides their dad and our wonderful families, of course). I worry about how they can remain good when they see how badly the good are treated sometimes. 

Being from Mexico, now being a U.S. Citizen and having access to news from around the world, so many things I see worry me. I have heard that some people are afraid of the immigration amnesty. The fear is partly because there are some people who are so against it that they deliberately make them feel guilty for wanting a better life. (You can find all kinds of mean spirited remarks all over social media.) Mainly, though, they fear that if they do sign up for amnesty to remain in the states, once the administration changes, they will be on the top of the list for deportation and the amnesty will be revoked.  If the government meant to protect people is constantly fighting and disagreeing, how can we know where will we stand every time the leaderboard changes.  It is a real fear for some. How do you teach your children to respect authority if those in authority do not respect each other?

The government where I am from is not much better, in fact it’s worse.  Corruption runs rampant. There are still some good people trying to make a difference, but it’s hard to have faith when so much needs to be fixed.  I worry about my beautiful Mexico’s future. I worry about my family there.  I worry that my children will only grow up hearing stories about its beauty because they will never get to experience what I did.  I worry about the changes to come, but a little part of me is hopeful for the good changes so many want to be realized…finally.

The world worries me.  There are and have been so many wars, so many battles for control and so many people devastated by those things. The sadness of the world worry me terribly. We shield our children from these horrors as much as we can. We want them to retain their innocence and have the best childhood we can give them. But how much shielding is too much? If we keep the truths from them, will they be strong enough to deal with them when they are introduced to the truths? How do you balance it out? So now I add another item to my list of worries. The world worries me and my actions in dealing with the world worry me.

I would love to hear how you teach your kids about the not so happy things in the world. I am trying to teach them about the world the best I can, but I am keeping it light…for now. I feel they are much too young for some information.  They know that some people have more than others and that some people need a little help from those that have more.  They know that giving is a wonderful thing and helping others will be a part of their lives as long as I can help it. They know that life is different in different places and that no one way is the right way to live and believe. They know that I will always love them no matter where we are and they know that they are as safe as they can be with us.  I hope they never lose their innocence. I know that this won’t last forever, but we will enjoy every precious happy moment as long as we can. I hope you can do the same. We send hugs your way this holiday season.


I will be taking a little time off for the holidays. It could be a week, maybe two…I haven’t decided yet, but I will peak in daily to read your comments and answer questions. I do hope to see you back here soon.

Be safe!

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

“Ojo De Dios” Craft

featured image

I was looking for a fun craft to do with my kids that would also teach them some Mexican culture.  I have seen the “Ojo de Dios” or “Eye of God” all of my life so I decided that was the perfect craft to do with my kids. The origin for this artwork is from the Huichol Indians of Mexico. It was made by the father when a child was born. Each year a bit of yarn was added until the child turned five and then it was complete. A child surviving to five was a big accomplishment for parent and child and something to be celebrated.  Celebrating children is something I love to do, so this craft seemed great for the holidays.

I love to crochet which means finding yarn is not a problem in my house.  We also have kept quite a few chop sticks in the kitchen because we love to eat. The only other things needed were glue and a marker.  I have kids, so I have glue and markers everywhere. No home with kids would be complete without them. 🙂

Here is what you need:

  • Pairs of sticks the same size (popsicle sticks are the most popular, but chop sticks work, too)
  • Marker
  • Glue
  • Yarn
  • Scissors


  • Before you even start, glue your sticks together to make a cross. Let them set and dry for at least a day. Having the cross already set makes it easier for little hands to put the yarn around.


  • Number your sticks so they look like this

Cross Pattern

  • Now wrap your yarn in an X pattern around the center to cover the middle of the cross then begin to wrap your yarn one time around 1, one time around 2, one time around 3 and one time around 4. Make sure you go over the sticks each time so they front is always flat and the back has the curves like so.

wrap 1

If you do not follow the same pattern, they will look like this (not very pretty):wrong

  • Continue to wrap in order until you feel your first color is wide enough to be the eye. Cut the yarn, leaving about an inch hanging in the back side of the cross.
  • Start same process with the second color, third and fourth.
  • wrap 2 wrap 3
  • Once you are done, you can tie the loose ends in the back together with the closest end to it, just to keep them tight and trim off the rest.
  • tie back

And Ta-dah! You have yourself a beautiful “Ojo de Dios”

featured image

Had to also make one with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, green and white) which happen to work great for holidays as well.

Had to also make one with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, green and white) which happen to work great for holidays as well.

Full disclosure:

My kids are 2 and 4.  Anyone that has little ones knows that crafts can get messy or not come out at all like you expect.  I tried to get my kids to help. They were enthusiastic at first, but as soon as they realized how fun yarn is to throw, the craft was out the window (along with the yarn). It made a great wig, though.


My oldest did help more and actually sat with me for a while trying to figure it out.  M helping

This activity is better suited for older kids. Although, I feel having younger kids watch you make things and get crafty as well is a great way to teach them details, as well as your love of your cultures and traditions.

First attempt:

I also thought it would be fun to have a hunt for the sticks we used.  The hunt was great fun, but the final product came out a little lopsided as the sticks were not straight. 


It was still fun going on a hunt, though. My point is to try to have fun with whatever you have and make your own adventure!

Have fun crafting and Happy Holidays wherever you are!

Thank YOU!



Since I embarked on this bilingual journey of mine in May, I have found so many resources with amazing ideas to help me teach my kids spanish as well as teaching them around the world!

It’s a Carnival!


I was lucky enough to become a part of a blog carnival about Bilingual Myths that unfortunately still exist.  Please read this great article in The Piri-Piri Lexicon Blog with contributions by 16 other knowledgeable bilingual writers dealing with the issue. Thanks for including me. Have a great day!

Myths busted: raising multilingual children blogging carnival


(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)



Bilingual Myths

bilingual myth

There are a lot of myths about learning multiple languages that have been inaccurately presented to people as fact.  I have seen many of these myths plague people’s education all of my life.  Today, I would like to talk about one in particular through my own experience:

“Myth: Parents who speak a language other than English to their children will hurt their children’s chances for academic success in this country”* 

When we moved to the states I was placed in an ESL (English as a Second Language) class to help learn English.  I remember there were quite a few of us from all over Mexico. Once I was moved to a regular class, some of the same students that were in the program with me were immersed in English at school and at home.  I also met other students of Mexican descent who were practicing full immersion in English in their homes, too.

Their parents believed what the school taught them.  In order for their kids to be successful in school, they had to do everything in English.  So, unknowing that they had been told a myth and not a fact, the parents obliged.  They cut off all Spanish from their kids’ lives.  I’m sure it’s not something they wanted to do, but they were told this would help their kids so they did it for their kids. I have heard some of those same kids (now grown) say they wished they would have kept Spanish in their lives.

My parents never bought into this myth.  They knew that being bilingual would be an advantage.  Also, they are proud Mexicans and no one was ever going to take that away. Being able to communicate with family in Mexico meant everything because family IS everything. I again thank them for sticking with their beliefs.

It is now believed that students who learn more than one language are able to process information better, work out problems more effectively and, because they know there is more than one right way to do or say something, are better able to understand different topics. I’m not saying that all bilingual or multilingual children are smarter than monolingual children at all.  What I do believe is that children who understand that the world doesn’t center around one language and one culture but is multifaceted become multifaceted individuals themselves.  And who wouldn’t want that for their children?

What myths have you been faced with in your lives?

*Common Myths About Bilingualism: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/540/bilingtl/myths.html

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)


What My Kids Have Taught Me…As I Try To Teach Them

learning hand in hand

Exploring ways to teach my kids to love Spanish is teaching me a lot. Mainly I have learned that it’s not as easy as all of the literature I have read suggests.  I had a vision of being calm and happy while they listened oh-so-attentively. We would laugh and sing our lessons in Spanish so blissfully.  (Sigh) Turns out, I may not be the best teacher. Even though they do get excited about learning sometimes, there are times that are a lot more difficult.  Here are six lessons my kids have taught me about teaching so far.

  • Be patient and dedicated to the cause.

I truly admire good teachers. It takes such patience and dedication to get through to little excitable minds.  I am learning how to not get worked up, though.  Hopefully my kids will see how I am trying and they will then want to be patient and not give up on whatever they try in the future as well.

  • Teaching with just words gets dull fast.

If there isn’t a catchy tune, words that rhyme or a silly story I will lose their attention so fast, all hope will be lost for learning that day. There are a lot of great resources online with rhymes and songs that are so fun for my boys. I don’t even have to set the kindle up for them anymore. My 4 year old can turn it on and find the exact song he is looking for without any help from me and he even sets it up for my 2 year old to play word games in Spanish. Oh games, songs and music; how I love you!

  • Make it short and sweet.

Being how my little ones are so young, I can’t expect them to sit and pay attention for too long every day. I have said before that we try to do our “hora en español” (Spanish hour) but I have found that I have to break up that hour with different activities. We now add little dances to Spanish songs, we jump around just to shake things up and sing at the top of our lungs because what kid doesn’t like to scream?

  • Incorporate messy fun

Let them get their hands dirty while you teach. Painting is a great way to review colors and textures. Learning ingredients, steps and tools while they help you make dinner is one of my favorite things to do. Not to mention this helps me make dinner with them by my side (BONUS). We are a family that loves to eat, so if it has to do with food, they will pay attention.

messy fun

  • Be creative

Show them that you love the language you are trying to teach them. If they see that you take the time to make something just for them, they will love it, too. It could be as simple as taking the time to search for printouts they can color having to do with a specific topic or object. You can also set up the craft table in advance with everything they will need for your craft of the day before they are ready to get crafty. They will be excited to see all of the colors and everything set up just for them. This only leads to happy crafting.

  • Create Your Own Memories.

Another idea is create your own characters for them. I wrote a series of picture books in both English and Spanish just for my boys. I used the same characters throughout so they could get to know them and learn with them. Even though my drawings look like they were done by a kindergartener, they know that they were made just for them. I think they appreciate that. They even sometimes ask me to draw the main character with sidewalk chalk when we are playing outside, which is quite flattering for me.  They have become like part of the family. They may see something in the drawings that I don’t see; hopefully that something is LOVE.

Once they see how much effort you put into everything and how excited you are about it, they will be excited, too. Sure there will be the days when they don’t want to learn and days when you are so frustrated that you don’t want to teach. All you can do is find a happy place and try again the next day. Happy Teaching!


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

Are You The Nanny?


Every so often someone says something offensive to me regarding my race. When I was younger, and the remarks dealt with Mexican stereotypes, I would try to laugh it off and feel sorry for their ignorance. I admit, I would get very upset sometimes but I would internalize it and simply give them ugly looks and the silent treatment. Very mature, I know.  Since I had kids, however, these comments seem to sting a little deeper. Not sure why I can’t let it slide as easily, but I’m trying to.  Maybe it’s because my own existence as a mom is being questioned by those words.

When I had my first born, M, people would ask me if I was the nanny at parks and public places. I assumed it was because most moms work these days.  I was (and am) so lucky to be able to stay home with my little one that I would try not to think of any other reason for the question.  Even when I was pregnant again and ready to burst, I was asked if M was mine. Really? How many parents do you know that would force a nanny to work until they gave birth? Shame on them if they do! Besides that, I would be so worried if my kid was being cared for by someone when she went into labor! Talk about traumatizing a kid! But I digress, once T was born and we moved into a new community, the comments came with more frequency. These are a couple of the things I still hear:

Are you the nanny?

Are they yours? (yep, both)

Is he yours? (about my blonde boy)

Are they related? (both again)

The rational side of me wants me to refrain from jumping into the negative connotation every time I hear these lovely questions. I like to pretend that the only reason someone would ask such a question is because I look so young and fabulous that they don’t think it’s possible for me to have kids yet. Wait… let me stop laughing for a second…ok. Since I know that is not the case, it has made me start looking for other explanations.  One of my sisters thinks people question my role because I am so involved in their lives and activities.  She thinks in today’s society, it is unusual to see the mom or dad by their side playing in the park, the gym, during playdates, etc. Other moms may use the time when the kids are distracted to work, use the phone or sit and have adult conversations. I never really think about that and maybe it’s because I have not been so good at being an adult.  I enjoy playing with them; what better excuse will I ever have at my age to act like a kid? Besides that, who knows how much longer they will let me play with them? I have to enjoy it while it lasts, so if spending time with them is the reason for the comments, then so be it.  I can happily live with that.

What if it is exactly as it sounds? Have we not gotten past the stereotypes that assume because I am Mexican and my boys are not dark skinned (i.e. one is blonde and blue eyed) that I must be the help? What kind of example are we teaching our kids when they see us making these comments? It’s just as “they” say, kids learn by example.  Whatever you do, they will emulate until they are old enough to decide whether they agree or not on their own.

I’m sure most people that ask these silly questions do not mean any harm. In fact, one man that asked me if T was mine, later realized how rude that may have sounded and came back to apologize for the remark.  I believe he was being sincere.  I mean, my jaw dropping to the floor probably hinted that he said something wrong and, after thinking about it for a bit, did apologize. Thank you, sir, for that.

In teaching my own children about respect, I will let them know to think about the words they use before they ask questions.  I will never tell them not to ask questions, because that is how they learn.  I will, however, teach them how powerful words are in any language. The way you ask a question is more telling about you than the actual question. I know that it is hard not to offend someone at some point, but how sad is a world where we don’t even try? I want my boys to show respect and be respected. Hopefully more parents feel the same way and we try to think about our own words as well.  Change starts with us. Let’s show our kids we do not (or are making the effort not to) judge so they grow up open to learning with and from each other. My bilingualeyes are open: are yours?

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter @bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

Spanish on the Rise

spanish ed

I saw a post referencing an article from The Guardian titled, “From J-Lo to Strictly: Why More Students are Learning Spanish1  which talks about how, although the interest in foreign language learning is decreasing in the United Kingdom, the desire to learn Spanish is the only one on the rise. There is a 17% increase in students taking  General Certificate of Secondary Education(GCSE) courses in foreign language.

After reading this, I decided to look to see what the trend was in the United States. In a study reported by the MLA2 from 2009, there has been just a 5% increase in Spanish language course enrollment. And in 2010, only 18% of Americans spoke a language other than English3.  That means ANY language, not just Spanish. 5% in three years and 18% total population in any language? That just does not sound very good to me.

“Algo es algo,” dijo el calvo cuando un pelo le salió.

This is a saying I always found funny and true in Spanish. It roughly translates to, “’Something is something,’ said the bald man when he grew a single hair.”  I’ve always taken it to mean that even small victories are victories nonetheless. Even though this small increase is to be celebrated, if the rest of the languages taught in schools are decreasing, the likelihood of future students having the opportunity to study them gets smaller and smaller each passing year. In fact, The Guardian article states that several universities have had to close certain languages departments because of the low interest by students.

How can we change the way the United States sees the importance of learning other languages? There may not be a clear answer for that question that everyone can agree with and I am certainly no expert on this subject. The Guardian article does focus on the effects of popular culture and media. It also talks about how that has brought a lot of Spanish speaking artists to the forefront.  For instance, the growth of Spanish speaking channels, like Univision, are helping the Latin world be heard. Univision Network was even ranked the #1 network in primetime for the second consecutive year among Adults 18-49 during 2014 July sweeps.4 This awareness is helping change the stereotypes that have been with us for so long, especially in the United States.  They show diverse programs to the world focusing on Latin American cultures, of which there are so many things to see.

Even though the stereotyoes will take some time to disappear, I hope people see the Spanish speaking world in a more positive light. We have people with great gifts and talents that can contribute a lot to this wonderful world if given the chance. If this can happen for one culture, why can it not happen for all? We should be open to what all languages and cultures have to say, me included. I don’t mean you must agree with everything or go and learn every language to understand it better (although, how cool would that be?) I just mean appreciate what those that want to be heard have to say. There are so many intelligent people in the world with great ideas, we should open ourselves up a little and listen. As always, there will be those that try to ruin it for all cultures, but if we see them as the exeption and put them aside, we should be able to grow from each other and hopefully one day understand one another.

Looking forward, I do hope the desire to learn from each other will grow as will the want to continue language education. Here is to no more universities having to close down language departments and to the world turning their eyes a little more into bilingualeyes.

1 The Guardian, “From J-Lo to Strictly: Why More Students are Learning Spanish” (http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/sep/09/spanish-more-students-learn-gcse-languages-latino-culture)

2 Modern Language Association website (http://www.mla.org/pdf/2009_enrollment_survey.pdf)

3 The Daily Texan Online (http://www.dailytexanonline.com/opinion/2013/10/06/americans-suffer-from-inadequate-foreign-language-education )

4 Univision Corporate Inc. (http://corporate.univision.com/2014/07/univision-is-the-no-1-network-for-the-second-consecutive-july-sweep-ahead-of-abc-cbs-fox-and-nbc-among-both-adults-18-49-and-adults-18-34/)

(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!)