Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Running a Marathon

Currently, life feels like a marathon.

I've never run a marathon, but I've talked to people who have. They say that they make it all right through the first 23 miles or so, but that once they hit the last three they feel like it just might be impossible to go on.

Their bodies begin to shut down and each stride is like another mile in of itself.

Right now I feel like I'm running my last three miles.

My body wants to give out and my muscles are aching.

I remember this feeling during the first few months after Isabela was born. She had colic and would cry for hours on end with no end in sight; all while James and I took turns trading off rocking and bouncing every 15 minutes.

While the crying is less this time around, the three mile stretch is still before us. Two kids is so much harder than one.

They tell you this, but those naive one-child-parents never seem to believe it. I know. I was one of them.

Two full-time working parents and one who's finishing a masters degree adds another layer of exhaustion to the run.

I'm not sure what it is that gets runners to push through these last three miles.

The fact that they're so close.

The intrinsic motivation that tells them to go, go, just a little bit further.

I'm straining to find that motivation.



Just a little bit further.

Because it does eventually get easier. The run eventually becomes a walk. Your body will adjust and cool down.

In the mean time, loved ones will cheer from the sidelines and someone will offer you water as you pass them by.

If we're smart we grab that water and soak in the cheers.

                                                     How amazing are these faces

Monday, October 1, 2012

Painting Pumpkins


It's the first day of October and every blog you read right now has something to say about fall.

Fall is the season that gets even the anti-domestic woman into some kind of pumpkin painting, mantel decorating, pinterest-obsessed frenzy. I admit, I somewhat fall into this category.

The thing is, I lose steam pretty quickly, as in, I was super excited to try out a pinterest idea a few days ago, and now as I sit here with my oldest at preschool, a sleeping infant next to me and a pile of laundry to tackle, I've suddenly lost all desire to accomplish said project.

I hop back and forth between wanting to be some domestic goddess and just wanting to watch a movie with a cup of coffee in hand. I only get so many opportunities for the coffee that when I have a moment or two of down time it tends to win out.

I keep reading blogs about how having a put together organized home with scented candles lit and contemporary Christian music playing in the background seems to create a comfort that benefits the whole family (I may have added the Christian music thing; it just seemed fitting).
And this concept attempts to pull me in. But it just doesn't seem to stick.

My desire for a comfy put together home with cute cheveron painted pumpkins on my front table looses it's allure when I realize that my 2-year-old will just think it's a new toy to play with and my husband won't even notice.

So are the pumpkins just for me?

As for a comfy home, I have a 2-year-old who thinks our stained second hand couches are like fluffy clouds she gets to sink into while watching Elmo and a husband who enjoys the fact that he can put his feet up without worrying about getting anything dirty.

We have a dog who gets to lay next to us on the couch and an infant who has no idea what a couch is anyway.

So I guess my house is already put together, just not at face value.

This fall I'm choosing to kick that domestic goddess to the curb and embrace the comfort my family creates in my home sans scented candles and contemporary Christian music.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


We are home.

Our family of four is snug in our little casa and it feels so good.

We are so in love with our little guy, it's unbelievable. I knew all along this feeling of love would come, that it would be possible to love another child as much as I loved my first, but to actually see it and feel it happening still swells my heart.

We are so thankful that things went so smoothly this time around.
Our little story goes like this:

We arrived to the hospital early Saturday morning, the 8th, for our scheduled c-section. We checked in, I was prepped for surgery and wheeled into the operating room. James was right there with me, holding my hand, and an hour later, Morgan arrived.

He came out screaming and continued to do so while the doctors cleaned him up and swaddled him. We got to meet out little guy at 8:55am. He came to 6 pounds, 7 ounces and 19 inches tall.

They took Morgan to the nursery and I was taken to recovery for a couple hours. Once I got back into my room they brought us the baby and James, Morgan and I enjoyed our first hours as a threesome.

My recovery went so well this time. I was definitely worried because when I had my emergency c-section with Isabela, my recovery was terrible. I developed an infection while in the hospital which not only created great amounts of pain for me, but put stress on our newborn.

This time, though, I was able to get my anesthesia out on the first day and start walking around. We only needed to stay two nights and then got to come home.

I am now resting upstairs, as I am only allowed to go up and down the stairs one time a day. I am still in a bit of pain, but it is completely tolerable. I can feel myself healing and getting better as each day passes.

Though he is only 4 days old, Morgan has been such an easy baby. He sleeps most of the time, but has his moments of awake when he opens his eyes and takes in his surroundings. I absolutely love these moments when I can see his beautiful eyes.

So far, he only cries when he is hungry and once fed, he's content and calm. It's incredible!
After experiencing colic with Isabela, James and I feel like we are in a dream with this boy. It can't really be this easy... although I shouldn't speak too soon, he's only 4 days old after all.

We are all doing so well and are getting adjusted to life as a family of four. Isabela is adjusting as well and has good moments and some hard ones. It is hard for her not to have me hold her and it is hard for me not to. I am used to being so active with her, so this is a change for both her and I. But, as her daddy explained it, mommy has an owie and has to rest right now. That seemed to make sense to her and she has been doing better with it.

I will end this post with a beautiful moment that happened this morning. James was holding Isa's hand to take her to school and before she walked out the door she stopped, let go of his hand, ran over to Morgan and gently kissed his foot, then ran back to her daddy, grabbed his hand and said bye bye before heading out the door.

My heart is full.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You're Coming

Baby Boy,

You're coming.

There's no denying it.

Not that I was denying it, but for some reason I hadn't let it sink in until now, about a week before you're scheduled to arrive.

I'll be honest, I was worried about my lack of excitement for your presence.

I was worried that my heart was already as full as it could possibly be with the love I have for your daddy and your sister.

I remember with your sister how I would sit in her room for hours just looking around, folding her clothes. I was in awe of this being.

I realize now that some of my lack of excitement comes from a lack of time or energy. I don't have the luxury of sitting in your room for hours staring in wonder.

Instead, my wonder over you has come about by holding my newborn nephew, your cousin, in my arms last week.

As I held this tiny baby boy in my arms, I felt it. This longing to meet you, to hold you, to begin this journey in knowing you.

I can feel my heart expanding; making room.

It's creating a space just for you. It has your name and shape in it.

I can already see your brown hair, your wrinkled newborn skin, your grey eyes.

Those tiny toes that don't look possible.

Morgan, my boy, you are so loved by your mamma. You are so cherished by your dada.

You are so anticipated by your sister.

I thank God for this ability to love more; for the heart's ability to grow. It's incredible.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Love and Marriage

Today I found this blog Stay Forever Sunday via Pinterest. It is an honest blog about a young woman who is married with two young kids. She writes about her life, her relationships, her kids and some random day to day things.

I was engaged by her style of writing, her casual and honest vibe, and so I read through some of her old posts.

That's when I stumbled upon this one on Marriage
She writes about her marriage since having children; the tough parts, the strain that is sometimes there. She writes about how in having and raising children you do lose a part of yourself and your relationship to the time and effort it takes in bringing up another human being.

She writes about the loss of connection that can occur between a husband and a wife and that it is in those times that frustrations can flare.

And then she writes: "But when anger flashes in my eyes, when frustration flies from your lips, I am never scared. Because we built this house of our marriage to withstand a rainstorm, a flood, wind and limbs and leaves. You laid the bricks and I poured the mortar. And I know that one of us will walk away. and we both will breath. and always, every single time, I’ll find that place in the curve of your body that God made just to shelter me."

I feel as though she has put so beautifully into words how I feel in my marriage since having children. I love my husband; I cherish him; we fight, sometimes we yell, there have been some f-bombs thrown every now and then; and yet, I am never scared. I know this is the man who I love more than anyone and who I know loves me more than anyone. We have chosen each other and this life together; all that it includes.

The tired days, the frustrations, the mess that can sometimes build up.


In these summer days when I am home all day I often find myself on Facebook, looking into the lives of other young couples raising young children and I will see what looks like always happy smiling faces, never crying babies, beautiful women, handsome men, adorable babies in adorable outfits; and I will think, wow, it all looks so perfect.

It is hard in those moments not to realize that this is only a cover to their stories. There is so much inside, and by no means is it all perfect. They are real, just as I am.

Life is hard, marriage is work and raising children is comparable to climbing a mountain.
But it's all one giant mountain with the most beautiful view. In this climb you get glimpses of the surrounding beauty and it reminds you why you are doing it; why it is so incredibly worth it.
I am so beyond thankful for my view

Monday, June 18, 2012

This Man

There once was a boy with hair down to his shoulders and a lip ring who once set an accidental fire on a stage while in college.

There once was a boy who dressed up as a girl and pranced down "caf lane" (the main drag of our college campus) in an attempt to win the "Young Hall Beauty Pageant."

There once was a boy who ran for Student Body President because he believed he could make a change.

This same boy is now a man. He is a man who has since cut his hair, taken out his lip ring, and now wears jeans with button down shirts.

He is a man who asked me to marry him while sitting on a rock watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

He is a man who told me in his vows on our wedding day that "in his lifelong quest to love others, I would always be his first other."

This man still desires to make a change in this world. His aspirations have expanded and his experiences have made him wiser.

He is my husband, my friend, and the father of our daughter.

Seeing this man's love for our little girl is beyond my wildest dreams.

He has grown my ability to love and has widened his own on our journey through parenthood.
I am thankful beyond words for this man.

Happy Father's Day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

She Knows

There are days when my impatience with my daughter seems to exceed my calm.

There are days when I sit at work and cry because I did not get to see her morning face.

There are days when I have my computer open more often then it's closed while she plays.

But on the sam,e day, I can whisper in my daughter's ear that I love her and have her whisper back in my ear, "I wub to" doing this at least 10 times while she smiles a huge happy grin.

On the same day I can hold her and rock her before bed time as she lays her small head on my shoulder and attempts to wrap her toddler arms around mine.

On the same day I can smile as she cups my face in her hands and sings a song that is in no way gibberish to her.

She knows I love her.

She knows she's special.

She knows she's cared for.

At 8:30 PM when I sit on my couch emailing/grading/looking at Facebook, this is what matters.
She knows.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Your Name

Dear Baby Boy,

Your daddy and I have officially decided upon your name.

Morgan Carl Kitchin

After lots of back and forth between two names that didn't include the one above, we just didn't feel a pull to either. Your dad had thrown the name Morgan out before, but for whatever reason, I turned it down.

After hearing your Uncle bring the name Morgan up again, I decided to look up its meaning.
Morgan means bright sea dweller.

After reading that, I was hooked. Not only is this name special because it is my family's name, it also has a connection to the sea. Your Grandpa loves the sea; he always has. He loves to sail and to be near the water. He has instilled this love inside of me as well, and so, your name is perfect.

You are our bright little sea dweller.

And even if you don't share the same love of the sea that your Mom and Grandpa do, you will always have that connection.

Carl is the last name of your Dad's Grandfather, so you will be sharing both sides; your Dad and me.
I love knowing your name and being able to call you that now. You have an identity that is ever growing and it is bringing me closer and closer to knowing you.

Love you, bud.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summa Summa Summa Time

It's hot.

The suns out.

Summer is so close I can almost feel what it's like to sleep past 5am, to finish a cup of coffee while watching my daughter run around with messy hair in her pj's, to not make lesson plans or grade papers.

Admittedly, it's been tough to stay motivated in my classroom. I can feel my students slowly slipping away into the lazy-day fog that is summer and I can feel myself letting them.

It happens to every teacher. This profession is hard and one of the only ways we stay sane is by taking a large break for the month of June and July. It's one of the main reasons we return to do it all over again the next school year.

This summer will be my last with just one child. I plan on relishing in my daughter and the time we will have together, knowing that come September my time with her will be even more limited.

This summer will be a special one. We are not taking some crazy whirlwind vacation. We are staying in Mexico City at home.


No airplanes, no road trips, no need to see everyone we possibly can.

Had you told me a year or two ago that we wouldn't be visiting friends and family in the U.S. over the summer I would have laughed in your face and said, nice try, batman.

But now, as summer approaches, I am thrilled by the idea.

This just goes to prove how much this place has become my home. It is where I feel comfortable and where I can rest.

This is where my family is.

So, cheers to warm weather, fans, being barefoot and messy 2-year-olds.

Here's an oldy but a goody to get you as pumped up as I am. You know you love it.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I saw this quote the other day and it completely caught me.

How much joy do I have in my life?

It's huge.

And yet, how often do I diminish that joy when I start comparing it to what others have.

It's so easy to create that list in my head. The list of things I wish I had or wish were different.

I almost began to type it here and then I stopped myself.

I'm not going to go there.

I'm not even going to let my fingers type it down.

Because when I allow myself to go there, to think about it, to create this list, even in the name of a blog post, I am allowing those comparisons to win.

Right now in this moment I am choosing joy. I am choosing to let that be the focus and to let that overcome those comparisons, because joy deserves it.

My joy, my daughter, my marriage, my unborn son, my bi-cultural experience; all of it deserves to be put at the forefront of my mind always.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dear Isabela

Dear Isabela,

It's Mother's Day today, so I thought it fitting to spend some time reflecting on being your mother.
I have only been your mother for a relatively short time. In the grand scheme of things it is nothing compared to the vast future I have ahead of me as your mother.

Over the last almost 2 years I have cried over you, smiled over you, laughed over you and held you. I have changed your diapers, cuddled with you before bed time, held you close after you've bumped your head while you cried on my shoulder.

There are so many tiny moments that have existed in our time together. And yet, when I collect them and put them together over the past 2 years, they are expansive.

I imagine this is only a glimpse of what it will be like 16 years from now, when you will one day leave our house and go find a home that is your own.

I hope that in all I do I am loving to you; although, I know there have been times when I have failed at showing you this; those times when you try my patience or when the crying doesn't stop. These are the times I pray for strength; strength to be just that much more patient, to be just that much more kind.

But know that even in those moments, I do love you. It is an innate feeling I have for you; it cannot be diminished. I love you big or small, crying or calm, clean or dirty, obedient or disobedient, screaming or whispering.

I love you as a doctor or a janitor, as an introvert or an extrovert, gay or straight, as a college graduate or a world traveler.

You are special and you are unique. You are thoughtful and curious. You are confident and talkative; and I am so proud of you.

Thank you for being my daughter; for teaching me what motherhood is all about. Thank you for stretching my ability to love.

I love you, my daughter.


Baby Boy

To my baby boy:

This is a song I have long loved. It is one I have dreamed of singing to a little boy one day, and now I have that chance. I am so thankful to be the mother of this little boy I have inside of me.

Dragon tales and the "water is wide". Pirate's sail and lost boys fly. Fish bite moonbeams every night And I love you

Godspeed, little man, Sweet dreams, little man. Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings. Godspeed Sweet dreams

The rocket racer's all tuckered out. Superman's in pajamas on the couch. Goodnight moon, will find the mouse And I love you

Godspeed, little man, Sweet dreams, little man. Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings. Godspeed Sweet dreams

God bless mommy and match box cars. God bless dad and thanks for the stars. God hears "Amen," wherever we are And I love you

Godspeed, little man, Sweet dreams, little man. Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings. Godspeed Godspeed Godspeed Sweet dreams

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


4: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5: It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6: Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7: It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8: Love never fails. --1 Corinthians 13

I'm keeping this one in my pocket and in my mind as the summer approaches, sickness takes my body for a ride, and life currently doesn't allow for any breaks.

Speaking of love

Monday, April 30, 2012

Toddlers, Pinterest and Why I Love Them Both

OK, so I definitely love one of those things more than the other.

When I first heard about Pinterest, I thought to myself, what's the big deal; it sounds kind of silly, however I joined anyway.

Now, I see what the big deal is. I can't explain it. There's something so great about perusing the internet and "pinning" things to keep and look back at from time to time. I guess you just don't know it til you try it.

OK, so why am I writing about Pinterest? Well, thanks to one of my recent pins I found this great idea for kids.

Basically you mix flour with baby oil and it created a thicker flour that you can mold like sand. I put the mixture in a large tupperwear, threw in some spoons, cups and smaller tupperwear and let Isa go to town.

The girl loved it! While she didn't do much molding, she did enjoy spooning piles of the flour from one cup to another. As the time progressed she realized it was way more fun to actually throw it.
All in all it was a great time and kept her busy for about an hour. As for the time it took to make it, it was probably a total of 3 minutes. I put everything outside on a towel, which seemed to keep the mess somewhat contained so clean up was super easy.

If you choose to try this at home and your kid is anything like mine, be prepared to give them a bath afterward.

Here's a progression of photos documenting the enormous fun that was had.

Things started out pretty contained

However, as things progressed, they got a bit messy

Until finally it became a game of "throw the flour everywhere."

So much fun going on!

My one word of advice would be don't wear black leggings while partaking in this activity

Thursday, April 26, 2012

San Diego

Today I'm day dreaming of San Diego Sunsets, walking along the cliffs, feeling the cool breeze of the ocean on my skin and breathing in that salt water smell. No matter how long I've been away from the ocean I can still see it, feel it, smell it. It is ingrained in my mind and in my heart. I love the idea of moving to the East Coast one day, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I will always be that girl from San Diego who lives in Maryland. I'm still a Southern California girl at heart and always will be. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012



Remember, we weren't promised easy, but we were promised love. -Chatting at the Sky

I need this reminder today. I have so much love in my life. I need to remember how to find joy; not in the situation I wish I had, but in the situation I do have. Lord, I pray for this joy. I pray for joy that translates into a healthier way of being.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

What a Day

Today I left for work at 6am, taught/wrangled some children until 2:30, then came home only to pick up my baby girl, pack her in the car and head the the IMSS Clinic (government heath care clinic) to go to the first of 5 required appointments to receive my maternity leave.

I was in the busy, crowded, hot clinic for 2 hours, running around from place to place, having numerous discussions in Spanish all while handling my almost 2 year old who was done being at IMSS after the first hour.

I came home around 6:50, ate a quick dinner, gave Isa a bath, put her to bed, made lunches for tomorrow and am now sitting. It's 8:20.


Exhaustion at it's finest.

Both my body and mind are wrecked.

It's days like this when all I want is to be a stay at home mom. To not have to worry about all of the bureaucracy that comes with receiving maternity leave in Mexico; to be able to hang out with my daughter all day instead of a bunch of 9 year olds. To have her be the reason I'm tired, not them.

To be the one who picks out her outfits and prepares her breakfast in the morning.

I know I am tired and this only magnifies my feelings, but they are feelings which are there none-the-less.

Thinking about my maternity leave only makes things harder. In Mexico they give you 6 weeks off after your due date. They've calculated that this is the amount of time a woman needs to heal after giving birth; then it's back to work.

Remembering how tiny Isa was at 6 weeks brings tears to my eyes. I can't imagine leaving a tiny baby like that at home to be looked after by someone else. It literally makes my heart hurt.

I am trying not to think about that time until it comes and know I need to take advantage of what time I will have with this new little life. I don't want to spend those 6 weeks feeling sad. I want to cherish them.

Oh tired days. You bring out the worst sometimes.

And now, it is 8:30 and I am off to bed.

Goodnight. I pray for a happier heart tomorrow and an opportunity to rest.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday


Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Good Friday is a day when we acknowledge a great sacrifice. The sacrifice that Jesus took to show the world love.

Today I am mulling over that word in my head, sacrifice.

I sacrifice daily for my daughter, for my family; but they are easy to sacrifice for. I love them deeply. I feel as if there is no other option inside of me but to sacrifice for them. While this sacrifice wears on my body, both physically and sometimes emotionally, it is still a sacrifice I choose to make.

And then there are those who I know I choose not to sacrifice for. Those who it is difficult. Those for whom loving is hard; whether it be because of a bitterness inside my heart or a resentment towards their situation.

And yet, Jesus did not differentiate between those he chose to sacrifice. He made that choice for all. If it had just been a select group, it would not have proven his point.

The point being that love does not choose some; it chooses all.

It does not give partially; it gives all.

Jesus is love and love is Him. It is one in the same.

So, now comes my role in that; because yes, I have a role. I have chosen to have a role.

It is not to love some, but to love all. It is to love those for whom my heart has somewhat hardened around.

Because a heart is not hard. It is made of tissue, of blood of veins; of things that flow.

I am praying today to choose love, just as Mr. Nouwen says we can choose gratitude, we can choose love.

It is amazing what free will and choice allow us to do. I am thankful for a God that has given us these inner skills.

I will start with this choice, then go from there. It is my sacrifice; however small.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Forward

Spring has sprung in Mexico City and we have been using our weekends to take advantage of it; going to the park, Spring festivals, the zoo and more. I love this warmer weather and the beauty that can be found inside this city.

Taking a stroll in the Xochimilco Ecological Park

Hanging out with the ducks in the park

Isa dressed as a fairy for the Spring Festival at school

Checking out the camels at the Chapultepec Zoo

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Teacher's Day

Classroom Antics:

The scene: The kids and I are sitting in a circle on the carpet throwing a ball around and naming different geometric solids. The kids have named all but one.

Me: OK, there's one more and I'll give you a hint. It's two words and the second word is prism.

Federico (my student): (confidently raises his hand, catches the ball) CYLINDER!


The scene: My students are presenting their end of the unit projects on a form of communication. Two boys are presenting on rap music. They've graffiti painted huge rolls of cardboard and lied them on the floor and around them like they are in a room. After setting up one of the kids says, Ms. Lauren, hit the lights. I do as he says and start the song "Good Feeling" by Flo Rida.

Gal (student): starts "break dancing". I use this term lightly as it was mostly him running in place and jumoping around like crazy. The music slows down and he does the robot, all while rapping and singing the words perfectly.

Awesome day.

And in case you haven't heard it, here you go:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Slow Down

Slow Down.

This is what my doctor told me yesterday.

I had called her because I was feeling sharp pains in my lower abdomen off and on all day. She said she was pretty sure they were preterm contractions. Since I've experienced contractions before and know what they feel like, I was almost certain she was right.

Contractions aren't supposed to happen at 14 weeks.

So, we made an action plan. She prescribed me some medication to take to ease the pain and stop the contractions but the main thing she told me was to rest. She gave me strict orders not to go to work for the next 2 days.

Preterm contractions can be brought on by a number of things, but the main thing is overdoing it. My doctor thinks this is most likely the culprit; and I can't deny it's probably true.

Being a 3rd grade teacher requires at least some overdoing it everyday, whether that's by breaking into song during a lesson or becoming highly animated. I'm constantly kneeling down, standing back up, sitting on the carpet, walking from table to table. Elementary School isn't about standing in the front of the room lecturing or sitting at your desk. It's about movement.

Taking care of a toddler also requires movement. Isa goes a mile a minute now days and James and I are constantly having to chase her around the house. This, plus her growing toddler body to pick up can be tiring.

So, how exactly do I slow down? I know this baby I'm growing inside of me is more important than my job. It's more important than my students, and I know I can cut down the amount of movement I have in the class, but it's hard.

Working full time and being a mother is hard stuff. Add pregnancy to it and it becomes an even greater challenge. I so wish I could find some time in my day to rest, but with work, then coming home to cook, take care of Isa and do some more work once she's in bed, it's near impossible.

My wonderful husband has began to make it a point to let (or should I say make) me rest. He will take Isa and the dog for a walk and I will try and get in a quick nap. This whole parenting this for him and I has always been a 50/50 job. I'm forever thankful that I'm not going at this alone.

I'm not quite sure how to go about this slowing down business, but I am making it my mission to make it happen. This baby inside of me requires sacrifices even before it comes out and as a parent it is my job to make them.

So here I go trying to figure this out.

Monday, March 5, 2012

They Say Patience is a Virtue

Today was one of those pull-my-hair-out teaching kind of days. My students and I made it through the morning smoothly; I'd even say they learned a few things (fancy that), but by the time recess was over and the afternoon rolled around they had lost it.

After a 10 minute or so explanation of what they were to do next (which included written instructions on the board; for those visual learners) I let them get started.

They were to work on their project about our current unit. There were books in the room for them to research, questions on the board they needed to answer and actual project work that needed to get done. Sounds like enough to keep them occupied, no?

Well, for the next 40 minutes or so my time was spent being bombarded by 8 year-olds, who, for the life of them could not understand that when one conversation is going on, it's not OK to blatantly interrupt (this happened maybe 10 times).

I had one girl asking for paint and while I was digging out the paints on my hands and knees, another kid told me they didn't know what to do (seriously?!). Next up it was another kid telling me they had to use my computer, then another telling me they can't find the art teacher who was supposed to help him with his project that day. I told him there was plenty he could do in the mean time, but he could not move on from the fact that he was not with the art teacher. For the next 30 minutes he paced around the room every once in a while stopping to say, "Ms. Lauren, can I check if he's there again?"

To top it all off I had a girl run up to me and tell me she had found her book from home on the library cart. I told her to take it and keep it somewhere safe. After the time was up and she had gone to her Spanish class I found her book on the hallway floor outside the classroom. I picked it up and brought it to her only to be told, "well, I don't know if it's actually mine."

What???!!! You just freaked out telling me this was your book, you were so certain and now you're saying it may be at your house and this may not be it.

I didn't actually say this to her, but it was running through my mind. In the end I told her to go put it on my desk and I walked away to take my much needed break for the day.

Some days I use every ounce of patience I have in the classroom and when I get home I find I have so little left for my almost 2 year-old daughter. Today was one of those days. James had to stay late at work, so I was on full time Isa duty until he got back later in the evening. I found myself being too short with her, getting frustrated easily, just wanting to put on a video so she would sit for a while and I could rest.

Today I felt like a below-average mother and it sucked. I'm not one to get down on myself, but I feel it creeping up on me today, that feeling of guilt.

I'm reassured by the logical person in my head that says:

You're not perfect,

you can't do it all,

sometimes you will fail...

and it's OK.

I know how much I love my daughter and I know I am a good mother. I just need to put that sentence on repeat in my mind every now and then.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

OK, I Admit it

So I have something to admit....

When I sit in my classroom in the early morning, preparing for my day...

I listen to country music on Pandora.

It's true. There's no denying it now that it's out in the open.

So, now that I've put it out there, I must also admit that I love it.

It makes me feel cozy, happy, upbeat; all things I love feeling in the morning; things that get me ready to welcome in 24 8-year-olds with enthusiasm.

Today I heard a song by Blake Sheldon called "God Gave me You."

Now, normally this title alone would make me switch the station due to the cheesiness of it, but I let it slide.

The lyrics go like this:

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you

On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I can’t do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo

I loved it. It's James. It's me. It's us.

So maybe country music brings out a little cheese in me, but I loved this reminder that my relationship with James is so incredibly special.

So cheers to the quiet mornings, country music and my wonderful husband.

Monday, February 27, 2012



I love this word.

It always follows something good.

A quality conversation.

A quality relationship.

Quality time.

I hope in all I do, I strive to make it quality; my classroom, my time with my daughter, my conversations with my husband, the words I choose to use with co-workers.

My prayer today is that I keep this word in the front of my mind.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Prayer

Dear Lord,

I pray for perseverance. I pray for your kind of strength. I pray for your kind of love. It's a love that knows no bounds; that doesn't just cover, but engulfs.

Forgive me for trying this phase of my life on my own; for forgetting that I have this resource to draw on. You are my water in the desert, my boat in the waves, and yet, I've forgotten.

I've tried doing this in my own strength now for some time and it's exhausting.

I don't expect a magical kind of strength to take over, but I know that some of this burden can be lifted. I have someone standing right in front me, willing to take some of it; no, not willing, but begging, asking.

So, what's my answer? I know I have a choice. I have a beautiful choice presented in front of me to either take this hand that's being offered; or to reject it and continue on my own.

It's time I took your hand. Yes, I've always loved you, I've always known you love me, but it means nothing if I only allow for those to be words in my life.

If I truly love you and if I truly believe you love me, I will take your hand. I will allow myself to rest in your arms and strength.

It's all part of your beauty. It's all part of this "love" I claim to know so much about.

Lord you are my strength and for that I will forever be thankful. Thank you for the reminder that your love is not one to be taken from time to time; but is to be chased and gripped, to be covered with and applied daily.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's True

Come September, there will be 4 in the Kitchin Family.


Isa is a talker. There is no denying that. So far her vocabulary (what I can understand, at least) consists of the following:

Mio- (mine in Spanish) Always a toddler favorite

Mas- (again, Spanish) Means More

Cookie- Basically said for any food item she wants; the other day it was snap peas... fine by me if she thinks snap peas are "cookies."

Lila- Our dog, and one of the most frequently used words in her limited vocabulary; always said with gusto.

Mama, Dada- Self-explanatory

Baba- This word has 2 meanings, the first being her bottle; the second being her lady parts... not sure how the second came about.

Chupon- Spanish for pacifier

Li- AKA her cousin, Eli

Si- Spanish for yes

No- Of course she knows this one

Hola and Bye



Shake Shake- This word is always said twice. It's in one of her favorite Sesame Street videos

There's more, but this is the majority. It seems as though that as of right now, Isa chooses to speak more Spanish than English, although I'm always impressed with the amount of things she understands in both languages.

It's cool to see that we are raising a truly bilingual child and to see it start so early.

My little genius in the making.

Here she is reading a book while daddy reads his. For some reason she decided she wanted to be in her car seat in the garage while doing this.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Strength in the Forest


I need some.

Inner, outer, everywhere... strength.

James and I could use a good covering.

Our bodies are weak and tired, both from sickness, lack of sleep and too much work.

Isa has been dealing with a weird eye infection, as well as throwing up this morning.

I had to leave my sick baby with the nanny to take care of her as I went to work since I already skipped work yesterday to be with her.

None of this is easy.

In fact, it's really really hard.

We went through a similar spell last year when James was writing his Masters Thesis. We were in the forest and all we could see were the trees.

Well, right now, just as then, I need to be reminded of the clearing that follows the forest. I know it's there, but it's hard to remember what it looks like.

Lord, give me strength to make it through each day, to see beyond the trees and to love in the midst of it all.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Becoming Kind

Kindness is a beautiful human attribute. When we say, "She is a kind person" or "He surely was kind to me," we express a very warm feeling. In our competitive and often violent world, kindness is not the most frequent response. But when we encounter it we know that we are blessed. Is it possible to grow in kindness, to become a kind person? Yes, but it requires discipline. To be kind means to treat another person as your "kin," your intimate relative. We say, "We are kin" or "He is next of kin." To be kind is to reach out to someone as being of "kindred" spirit.

Here is the great challenge: All people, whatever their color, religion, or sex, belong to humankind and are called to be kind to one another, treating one another as brothers and sisters. There is hardly a day in our lives in which we are not called to this.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My Girl Date

I made the call.

We set up a time and place.

That's right, this Monday I have a girl date.


Living in Mexico City means you pretty much only hear Spanish, all day, everyday.

But every so often you get caught off guard by the occasional English spoken here or there by that random tourist; or in my case, a family who happens to live down the street from me.

The other day as James and I were coming back from walking Lila, a woman drove by us and stopped to say hello. It turns out she's from Texas and lives just up the street from us with her Mexican husband and kids.

Her and I got to talking and exchanged numbers and have been trying to meet up ever since, and now it's happening.


After college, if you move away from your friends, like I did, you enter into this whole new round of life experiences; one of which is making new friends. It's weird and exhilarating and at times lonely and frustrating.

My college friends are incredible and it's hard not to compare them to the new friends I've made here, but I have to remind myself that it's just different.

College is such a unique time. A time when your only job is to be a student and hang out and make friends; and to make things even better, they stick you in a dorm with an array of girls to get to know without having to walk more than 2 feet.

Well, it worked for me in the best way possible. I made some lifelong friends and for that I am forever thankful.

But, as you grow up, you get thrown into new life situations, many of which aren't planned; or in my case, have what could be considered a thread of a plan.


So now, my girl date. After many texts back and forth and a few cancellations, I decided to just pick up the phone and call.

I barely know her. Her name is Nicole and she's from Texas; that's about all I've got.

But, as with any first date, I'm feeling those feelings of excitement, a bit of nervousness, and the hope of a possible new meaningful friendship.

I'm glad I made the call and I'm looking forward to what Monday brings. Amazing, mediocre or awkward; whatever it is, there's potential there and the ball is in motion.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

So Good

I did that.

I made that, and yes, it was as good as the picture makes it looks.

It's meant to be an appetizer, but if you use larger slices of bread and make enough, they can be great as a dinner dish (as long as you include a side dish or two).

It's simple, it's healthy and so worth it.

Believe me, you won't regret it.

Friday, January 27, 2012


It's 9:49 on Friday and already I know I could have gone to bed 2 hours ago and have been perfectly content.

Work +

Baby +

Life's "extras" =

I am tired.

Goodnight, sweet dreams. I promise a more substantial post is coming.

Lila at 8 weeks old portraying my current state of being.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's Been a While...

Back to the grind...

Back into the swing of things...

Back to the routine...

You can say it any way you'd like, but it all means the same thing. Vacation is over and James and I are faced with the reality of jobs, Mexico City traffic, grading papers, parent teacher conferences, getting up before the sun rises.

It's always so hard to enter back into that "reality." I'm flooded with an array of feelings being back in the city.

I miss the calm of vacation, the closeness of family, the convenience of the United States.

I'm overwhelmed with another longer semester of school to teach ahead of me and the patience needed to tame my wild class of 3rd graders.

I'm saddened by no longer getting to spend the entire day with Isa.


There's always a but; and thank God for that.

I am thankful to be with my family of three in the comfort of our own home.

I am thankful for the sweet sound of Isa speaking Spanish after being away from it for 3 weeks.

I am blessed by the amount of history and diversity surrounding me in Mexico City.

And I am thankful for co-workers and friends I've missed who provide joy in my life.

I hope to get to a point this year where that second part becomes my first; where the but is not needed, but for right now in this moment it is needed.