Monday, March 26, 2012


Pointing the finger at others keeps us from making necessary improvements in ourselves.  

So I am in a conundrum because I can not call out all those bloggers and whiners who sit around and nit pick at some aspect of the church that they simply cannot support or agree with.

I would be stunting my ability to be compassionate  if I told them to get over the history already.  Noted scholars have written books for and against Joseph, the plates, the Book of Abraham, etc. Every historian has an agenda. Neither books for or against are unequivocal. It will always come down to faith. You can't prove it.  You can't disprove it.  Do you believe?

What aspect of my character would need some TLC if I told those who are so annoyed by the "narrowness" of the church that there is a way to be orthodox and still come to your own conclusions about what you believe.  When I was just becoming active as a 17 year old I had a teacher tell me that dinosaur bones were from other planets that were used to put together our earth.  I knew the moment she said that that it wasn't true.  This is a small instance, but I've had many where I have decided for myself what I believe on any given topic.  So it becomes hard to sympathize with these people who feel they were fed a certain line by their teachers and leaders and then resent it when they realize that their teacher wasn't perfect and that they should have used their brain while listening.

How hypocritical would I be if I told the complainers to stop focusing on the negative!!!  There is so much that is good and beautiful about the gospel and even the Church institution.   What do you choose to be about?

To be fair, I have learned a lot from those who get a thrill from being a rabble-rouser.  But it gets old. And I ended up in the same place where I began: I had to decide if I believed or not.  You can choose to believe or not based on the simple gospel you learn in primary or in the discussions or you can research every detail and then choose to believe or not to believe.  There is no difference.


Saturday, December 3, 2011


     First, I have to tell you about Lorenzo and what a good boy he is. (This is probably a good time to let you know that when I brag about my kids I am hardly bragging about myself because I believe that they are mostly just good little people.  My contribution to their upbringing is to give them issues to have to work out when they are older.)  So today was their Winter Festival, a show the school puts on where each of the classes does a dance.  They practice for a month, get costumes, and even rent out a theater hall to perform in.  A little over the top?  Yes.  But totally the type of stuff Mexicans love.  A few days ago we found out that Lorenzo's semi-final for soccer was on the same day as the festival.  I asked Lorenzo what he wanted to do.  He said that he wanted to go to his soccer game and that he'd just show me his dance "right here in the front room."

     Then I said, just sort of thinking out loud, "What are we going to do if the final is on a Sunday?"  I wasn't wondering if we'd go or not, but more about how we'd console Lorenzo about missing out on the final.

      And Lorenzo responds with out skipping a beat, "Then we go to Church instead."

     "That's right."  I said.

       In the beginning we just wouldn't tell Lorenzo when there were games on Sunday.  But this year we've told him and have asked him what he wants to do.  At first we were a little manipulative saying something like, "There is a game on Sunday.  Daddy and I dedicate Sunday to Heavenly Father by going to church, spending time with family and friends, and serving others.  What will you do?"  Each time he's said that he wants to go to church. Even if they've developed from coercion, I'm glad he has his priorities straight.  I am glad he is still little and that it's not a big deal if he skips games on Sunday because I  know there will be a day when it will be a much weightier matter.

What's not at all a weighty matter is when you see someone wearing the same shirt you own and you frighteningly think, "Is that what it looks like when I wear it?"   That happened to me tonight at Costco.  I still have a lot of maturing to do.

     That's what Emilia's gymnastics teacher says about her, "Todavia le falta madurez."  She said Emilia needs to be able to concentrate for longer periods of time and stay focused (I wonder where she learned how to not focus) even when it's not her turn. Whatevs teach.

     Gymnastics is probably not a good sport to choose for your kids unless you have just one because it's expensive.  And its probably not a good sport to choose for your kids for a good many more reasons.  Never the less, it is the sport that Emilia has chosen and that she loves so far.  She is currently "on trial" for lack of a better term to be on the team for girls her age.  Ridiculous.  The little girls are bratty, the teacher is super serious, and the practices are long.  But she comes out of practice happy and asking me to "go to gymnastics everyday and just quit swimming."  I am not 100% convinced about gymnastics so we are just taking it slowly, one step at a time.

     Something that does have me quick-stepping though is Harry Conick Jr.'s Christmas Album.  I love that guy.  I remember listening to his album "We are in Love" the summer between 8th and 9th grade non-stop.  Yes, I mean this to imply I've always had advanced musical taste.  So you can trust my recommendations.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Day in the Life

When my sister read my post about nationality she said that it reminded her of a rhyme (like a rap) that she'd written.  I said that she should send it to me so that I could put the link on my blog.  That way the world could have two Chavez ladies' ideas on the subject.  Well she sent me the rap but said that she wasn't ready to go public.  I am trying to convince her otherwise for my large readership of about 3 people.

In other super exciting things in my life, I have some funny stories about the kids.  They are probably mostly just funny to me. Since this blog is to be a family journal they will be recorded here never the less.

So last night I am watching "The Sing-Off" (I know how embarrassed I should be by this) with what I thought was all my kids.  The younger two sort of venture in and out because TV doesn't interest them unless its Barbies or Barney.  Now you must understand, I really don't watch reality TV.  However, I linked to one of Vocal Points first performances on the show through some article I was reading and then I became interested to see how they would do.  Anyway, we were watching when all of the sudden I heard this buzzing noise.  I'd actually heard it for a while but I tend to ignore irritating things and hope someone else will take care of it.  With JR out of town, the two oldest kids watching TV with me, and the other two people left to solve the problem being aged three and under, the noise didn't go away.  Finally, I got up to see what it was.  The electric Little Mermaid toothbrush was stuck behind the bookshelf.  I called for Lucy but she didn't answer.  So I went to look in the closet.  The door had been locked but wasn't closed all the way. So when I pushed it open I saw Lucy lying there asleep.  She must have somehow got the toothbrush stuck and decided I would get mad. So she went in the closet and locked the door assuming she would be safe there.  She was confident enough in her escape that she fell fast asleep.  Here is the cutey I found.
 The next day I found a cracked egg on the floor and I asked Lucy if she did it since her body language sort of gave her away. She said no in a very unconvincing way.  I assured her I wouldn't get mad if she told me the truth but she persisted in her lie.  Then I asked her, "Did you want to see what would happen when you cracked it?"  She told me yes.  So I gave her a disinfectant wipe to help me clean it up.  I must have been too harsh on her lately about other innocent mistakes borne out of curiosity.

Another story about my kids involves Emilia and Lorenzo. This story is mostly me bragging about both me and my kids so if you can't stand this kind of stuff please stop reading now.  Today I felt that my hard work had paid off as I walked in and saw this.

 My kids look at books a lot, but mostly I see them looking at the pictures.  This time they were both so engrossed in their books.  They sat there and read them from cover to cover without any prodding from me.  That is the key part.  They had been taken in. Granted they were reading easy books, but I think that's why they were able to get into them.  They weren't struggling with any words. Recently I stopped telling them what books to read and instead let them choose. And what do you know? They are finally enjoying it. Lorenzo mostly chooses books about animals and nature.  Emilia likes stories about girls her age.  Could they be any more typical?

This is what I've been working for since they were three.  I knew if they were strong readers that they would enjoy it. I  never read any books as a kid for whatever reason.  In high school I read like one or two books all the way through.  Some how in college I became an English Major and read a whole bunch of books.  I obviously wish I had read more as a kid.  I want to help my children have that experience.

I'm sure most people have kids that read books for pleasure without having been taught at an early age to read.  I am mostly paranoid about everything and therefore try my hardest to control outcomes.  So if you are one of those parents who doesn't really work with their kids and then they just automatically are amazing its probably best not to tell me about it.

Lastly I am just going to add a video of Paloma to round out the post.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Since trick-or-treating is a little more difficult here, I just counted Saturday's Trunk-or-Treat as our Halloween celebration for the year.  The kids did dress up today for school and had their parties there and that totally counts. My  modus operandi  is generally to do the least possible work to get the job done.  Since JR is in Dubai I just didn't have the energy to go it alone looking for every 10th house that was participating in Halloween.  (If you are ever trick-or-treating in Mexico you should know to say "Queremos Halloween" instead of "trick-or-treat" when the door is opened. It always makes me laugh.)
Instead, I took the kids out to dinner for caldo and tacos.  They were happy to go because the place we went had a play place.  That is pretty much the only requirement for them.
This is a picture of our costumes from the Trunk-or-Treat.  JR and I have worn the same Walmart costumes for three years. I plan to get new costumes next year when they show up at Walmart in some random month no where close to October.

The Great Debate

My husband (JR) and I have an ongoing debate about whether or not I can say I'm Mexican-American (I sure did on my college applications). Here is the evidence to support my claim:
  • My last name is Chavez
  • My paternal grandparent's last names were Ruiz and Chavez and they spoke Spanish in their home
  • We eat beans, green chili, tamales and tortillas at all Chavez family gatherings
  • My dad totally looks like half of the people in Mexico City
JR says that I'm as much Mexican as he is German. His last name is German. But whatever. It's not like his grandparents spoke German in their home or like they eat bratwurst and sauerkraut at their family gatherings. His Dad may or may not look like half of the people in Berlin.

And while I didn't grow up speaking Spanish in my home, the ancestral forces have pulled me back to the motherland and taught me her language. I am so Mexican. The evidence continues to grow in my favor.

For one thing, I love living in Mexico (apart from the traffic). It was easy for me to feel comfortable here because I see the people here as my people, even if it makes JR laugh at me to say such a thing.

My children aren't really sure what they are. They were born in El Salvador, lived in Mexico for as long as they can remember, but they know that somehow they are linked to the United States even if only by their language and passport.

The longer I live outside of the US and the more I observe how my children's national identities are formed, I realize more and more how nationality is such an invented concept. I suppose on the one hand having pride in one's country can be positive to help pull a people together for a common purpose. But on the other hand in order for a group to pull together they are by definition excluding others. And while I feel such a sense of pride in my Mexican heritage, I am glad that my children, one of whom really is Mexican since she was born here, will have an understanding of the man-made and artificial nature of borders and nationality. Hopefully, the experience of living abroad will help them to grow up having respect and compassion for those from foreign borders while still maintaining pride in their family history. Kind of like me. I accept and even respect JR even though he is not a part of La Raza.