Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Only in Honduras

In MN, from time to time, a student would bring me an apple in the morning. Very cliche, but very cute. This morning, instead of an apple for the teacher, one of my girls brought a pineapple for the teacher. How fun!

Monday, September 29, 2008


iDo. iChat. withMyFriendsInMinnesota!

It took us over a year to figure out, but it turns out that there's yet another advantage to owning a Mac. I believe that all newer macbooks come with a built in video camera. Not too useful unless you use it for chatting with people online. A little over a week ago, we realized that there's this program called iChat and we can do live video chatting (and also voice and text) with any other mac users without downloading any special programs! (You don't even need to pay for the .mac subscription)

I was able to curl up with my Saturday morning coffee and watch my friends Ann and Megan enjoy their coffee and catch up about our weeks. No weird delays, no charge, and we could see each other. Pretty cool.

So, this is a call to any of our friends and family back home. If you have an AIM (The AOL instant messaging service) account, I believe this is compatible with ichat as well. This may be really old news to those people who have been video chatting and using all those programs for years, but it's kind of a new and exciting thing to me. (I'm sometimes a little slow to catch on to those technological advancements) If you'd like to try out the video chat with us sometime, drop us a note in the comments and we'll email you to get it all hooked up!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Menken, Revisited

I posted this quote last March, when the Democratic Primary got silly. Now that the presidential race has taken a turn for the bizzare -- see Sullivan, Fallows, Bernstein, Parker, -- I thought it would be helpful to remind myslef that American politics has always been a bit of a circus.

H.L. Mencken wrote this in 1922:

Consider, for example, the current campaign for the Presidency. Would it be possible to imagine anything more stupendously grotesque? I defy anyone to match it elsewhere on earth. In other lands, at worst, there are at least issues, ideas, personalities. Somebody says something intelligible, and somebody replies. But here, having perfected democracy, we lift the whole combat to a gaudy symbolism, to a disembodied transcendentalism, to metaphysics, that sweet nirvana. Here [politics] is purged of all menace, all sinister quality, all genuine significance – and stuffed with such gorgeous humors, such extravagant imbecilities, such uproarious farce that one comes to the end of it with one’s midriff in tatters.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Day in the Life of Karine

5:30am Wake up, let dog out and make coffee

5:45 Shower and get ready for day, put on a preggo outfit that feels like pajamas but looks like “real work clothes”

6:30 Get in the car of a family on their way to school to avoid taxi fare (1 whole dollar saved!)

6:45 Arrive at school, am greeted by 18 eager 4th graders standing outside my classroom door

6:55 All 28 kids are in desks and have started reading chapter books of their choice

7:15 Teach Reading and discuss whether city or country life is better, and then send kids to library class with Mr. Lew

8:55 Supervise recess outside, get patted on belly by at least 5 kids coming to say hi to me and the baby

9:15 Pass out English test on What is a Sentence?, reminding students that the word “is” is actually a verb/simple predicate! While students are taking test, I get brilliant and self-centered idea for this blog.

10:05 Math class- regrouping and subtracting across zeros. Tough stuff for some, collective “yessssss!” after each correct answer is read as students either celebrate or pretend they got the right answer and say "Yessssssssss!" thirty times.

10:55 Supervise elementary lunch/second recess outside

11:15 Visit 1st grade classroom to explain that the big mean 4th grade teacher noticed them throwing rocks at lunch and it will not be tolerated. Scare them a bit, but feel a little bad for the kids who weren't throwing rocks.

11:30 Eat lunch in the library’s kitchen/lounge with Tom and another woman who works in library. I have 2 squares of leftover homemade pizza and grapefruit juice. Get caught up on the goings-on of Sarah Palin and the economy from Tom.

12:05 Return to my classroom for a prep period.

1:00 Begin teaching Social Studies (studying the Northeast region of the U.S.) and then meet with 12 student groups about their upcoming science fair projects.

1:45 Shoo kids out the door as the bell rings and begin to meet with parents lined up outside classroom. Several have questions about the science fair projects.

2:20 Sit down at desk, looking at piles of math papers and English notebooks. Tom's Pop Band is providing the background soundtrack to my work as they practice in the All Purpose Room

3:15 Take a taxi home and relax on bed in tv room. End up watching 2 hours of "coverage". (Tom takes following political goings-on seriously. "This could be a landmark day".

5:20 Walk to friend's house in neighborhood to pick up Fisher, Ruby's doggy boyfriend. He's going to stay with us for 2 weeks.

6:00 Feed the dogs and the husband. (Dog food and tacos)

6:30 Spend a half hour catching up with my mom and dad on phone. Learned that my dad enjoyed reading Water for Elephants too.

7:10 Think about grading the English tests I gave today. Thinking I'd probably rather read for an hour or so before going to bed.

8:43 Time for bed. Woo-hoo!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Painting complete.

So this is the finished paint job! Don't worry, I'm sure I'll post many pictures of the room as we begin to piece it together with all the gear and stuff. But for now, we'll take a break from obsessing about that room (at least on the blog). Is parenting always this fun and easy?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Making Waves!

I'm sure that when we stopped liveblogging on Friday night, and didn't return on Saturday morning, you all thought we just quit our painting. Not so! Saturday was a busy day in the Lewandowski house as well!

While Tom got back to the painting in the baby's room, I whipped up a big batch of lasagna. I did some improvising with Honduran cheeses (generally not my favorite) and ended up with a delicious new recipe! We've got leftovers for lunch for a couple days this week now.

Tom began edging and then painting the top half of the room. It's going to be yellow- like sunshine and happiness. Two coats and 7 hours later, it looked great!

Today, I got to work making waves- literally! We got the idea to do an ocean themed sea turtle and starfish room. We wanted to have some nice bright sky and storybook style waves. After researching many different styles of waves online, we decided on a design. The next step was making a template out of newspaper and then transferring that to cardboard.

Finally, I traced the waves around the room, and I even did a little painting today! (Don't worry- the paint from yesterday was dry, and this was a very small amount of paint I was working with, so there weren't any bad fumes. I kept the windows open and the fan on too.)

All that's left is painting the "underwater" part blue. Here's a picture of the bedding set I want to get. Since we're getting a free crib from a fellow teacher friend, we (okay, mostly I) hope to splurge a bit on the bedding. Obviously, a comforter isn't really necessary for a Honduras baby, but it will make a really cute wall hanging- don't you think??? (And wouldn't the sea turtle mobile just make you coo off into dreamland???)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Liveblogging the Baby's Room: 6

Current Song: None
Current Mood: Tired
Comments: Tom, cleaning up from tonight's progress; Ruby, guarding the front gate; Karine, sipping hot chocolate before going to bed (without baking anything)

This concludes tonight's liveblogging. Look for more tomorrow!

Liveblogging the Baby's Room: 5

Current Song: Boyz, M.I.A.
Current Mood: Hungry again.
Comments: Tom, painting part of the floor on purpose; Ruby, barking at passersby and being disciplined for doing so; Karine, debating whether to bake brownies, make homemade tortillas for baleadas in the morning, or begin making dough for monster cookies. Also contemplating best way to prepare lasagna tomorrow- crock pot or oven?

Liveblogging the Baby's Room: 4

Current Song: Future Proof, Massive Attack
Current Mood: Forgiving
Comments: Tom, painting; Ruby, relaxing; Karine, chatting with her mom; dishes, not attacked

Liveblogging the Baby's Room: 3

Current Song: Oh Sister, Andrew Bird
Current Mood: Full, Determined
Comments: We are fed, and the chicken mole dinner was good. I used a bit of Dona Maria Mole paste, some salsa verde, onions, garlic served over cooked chicken and rice. Ruby is resting. Tom has 2 walls primed. He is ready to attack the painting again. I am ready to attack the dishes.

*Note- I would like to be painting, however, Tom insists that the fumes would be harmful to both the baby and me, so I'm sitting this job out. Instead, I provide edible and moral support.

Liveblogging the Baby's Room: 2

Current Song: Classic Girl, Jane's Addiction
Current Mood: Hungry for tackling a project and dinner
Comments: Dinner is almost ready. Tom is putting on the first coat of white primer. Ruby is sniffing the floor and garbage can hoping I dropped some chicken. I am hoping this recipe (or lackthereof) works out...

Liveblogging the Baby's Room: 1

Pink is just not going to work for our baby boy's room. Karine is concocting something "experimental" in the kitchen. Ruby is guarding. I am scraping. Let's do this.

Current Song: Does He Love You?, Rilo Kiley
Current Mood: Excited, Hungry
Comments: None

Attention Entomologists: Spider Mystery

Our friend Luis took one look at this spider and decided it was out to kill him. Luis opted for a preemptive strike. He decided to kill first and ask questions later. Well, now it's later. Is this spider a killer, or just unlucky and ugly?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tom's Favorite Vacation Photos

Ruby vigilantly scans the horizon for possible threats, while attached to a garden hose.

This handsome devil crawled out of the swimming pool.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

La Playa

Honduras has been celebrating Independence Day for almost a week now (Officially on Sept 15). We began celebrations on Friday at school- complete with traditional dress, dances, chasing a pig covered in manteca (basically Crisco), and games involving a mud pit and students.

After the festivities at school, Tom and I started off the weekend with a relaxing day at home and a visit to the paint store. We bought the paint to turn our pepto-pink guest room into a baby boy's beach room. Today, Tom has promised me that we will start painting!

To be truly inspired, we decided to take up a friend's offer to visit her beach house for a couple days. One of the lovely ladies who works in the library with Tom offered for us to go out and use her beach house for a couple nights to get away. This house is just 20 minutes from our own front door, but just far enough out of town that the water is clean and turquoise. Besides a few cute kids from the nearby villages, or fishermen paddling by in their canoes, we don't see or hear any other people!

One highlight was bringing Ruby with us. This was her first time swimming in the ocean, and after getting over the initial fear of those crazy waves, she loved it!

Ruby and Tom spent hours playing fetch with a tennis ball. Tom would throw it out and most of the time, Ruby would go bounding into the gentle waves, doggy-paddling out to her new favorite toy. (The other times, Tom would go swim after it and bring it back) While all this was going on, I just floated and swam in the warm, Carribbean waters. It was pretty nice.

After playing in the salty water, we all came back to the house for a dip in the private pool! It was awesome to have this little pool right in front of our hammocks. Whenever we got hot, a quick dip would cool us off. Ruby liked the fact that she could drink this water. (The ocean proved to be a bit salty for her digestive system).

You might think that the green hose in the picture is filling up the pool. It is not. It is actually our makeshift "long leash" for Ruby. When we first arrived, Ruby showed us that she is not yet ready to handle being completly free, so we improvised by tying a 30 foot garden hose to her leash. This slowed her down enough that she didn't stray too far from the beach house, and still had the freedom to wander around a bit.

And here I am in my favorite outfit of the weekend. I brought all these clothes, but just wore my swimsuit the entire time. I guess that's how it goes at the beach!

The reason I'm posting a picture of myself in a swimsuit is only to show how preggo my belly is getting. This picture was taken at 19 weeks and 4 days. For those of you who don't do weeks- it's about 4 and a half months. I'm halfway there!

The other activity of the weekend was reading. We both spent hours and hours in our beachfront hammocks, reading our books. On Monday morning, I began reading Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen. This is a book all about life in the circus back in the day. We blogged about the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI back in July, and found out that much of the research for this book was done at the museum. I LOVED this book. I didn't put it down till I had finished the last page on Monday night. I can't remember the last book I read all in one day like that- but I'd highly recommend it- especially to anyone who liked the movie Toby Tyler when they were a kid!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

WookieFoot: Sept., 2008

Here's my old band playing a really nice song at their Harvest Fest music festival in Minnesota. I have so many great memories of playing in the band. They sound really great and I'm very proud of all of them.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Birthday Present

Our son gave us an early small birthday present last night. Very small, but it's definitely there! We are excited to share that we are going to be having a little boy! Here's proof:

The arrows don't lie!

Finding out was what I really wanted most for a birthday present. Since ultrasounds here are first come, first served, we could have been waiting anywhere from 5 minutes to 3 hours for an appointment. I didn't want to spend my birthday in a waiting room, so I convinced Tom that Children's Day (Sept. 10) would be a better time to wait, and I got it last night.

This is one of those cool 4-D ultrasound pics!

For those of you who have been keeping tabs- I knew it all along! I was on cloud nine all night. When I woke up this morning, my first thought was, "We're having a boy!" and my second thought was "I'm 30."

It's been a great day so far though, and I'm so happy to be wearing my new blue birthday shirt over my 19 week preggo belly!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cayos Cochinos and other stuff

Yesterday, we took our second annual trip to the Cayos Cochinos. (Follow link for pics from last year's trip) This group of small white sand islands are located just 4o minutes by boat and a 25 minute car ride from our house. Yesterday, a group of 8 teachers headed out for a day of snorkeling along the pristine reefs, swimming, eating, and fun. We had a blast!

One highlight for me was that Josue, our guide for the day, asked me how many months I had. This may not seem significant to many people, but for me it meant that I actually looked pregnant and not just fat to someone who didn't know! Here's a picture of Tom and me with Josue and our friend Jason.

While we waited for our lunch of freshly caught red snapper to be prepared in the local Garifuna village of Chachauate, we were entertained by a few of the island kids. There is no tv, electricity, or arcade to keep people entertained out there. Instead, the locals make their own entertainment in the form of kids! One little boy, Pedro, was hanging out with Tom and was loving the Gatorade I shared with him in his cup.

We are so excited for all the celebrations coming up this week. I've got 2 student birthdays in my class on Monday, so we're enjoying cake on Monday and cupcakes on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, the kids are very much looking forward to one of their favorite Honduran holidays- Children's Day. This is a day where the whole country celebrates youth and spends time appreciating children. The PTA has organized a 30 minute, mini-train tour around the city for each grade and a big party at the end of the day. Tom is hoping to accompany all the grades on the train ride since he loves trains so much.

Then on Thursday, we celebrate my 30th birthday. I think I'll make monster cookies and bring them to school for the kids (we're going to have sweets every day this week!) For my birthday, we'll celebrate with an ultrasound and dinner. I'm hoping that the baby will show itself to be a boy or girl as a gift to me on Thursday- we'll keep our fingers crossed!

Finally, on Friday, we will celebrate Independence Day at school. Honduras actually celebrates its independence on the 15th of September, but we've got a 5 day weekend due to the holiday, so we'll celebrate on Friday in school. I'm sure there will be more treats.

In baby news... I felt the baby move for the first time this week! Now that I know what it feels like, I've noticed it every evening. In fact, the little guy/girl is squirming around as I type this blog. It's exciting!

Also, we'd like to thank our readers for their dog advice. After much deliberation and thought, I think we're going to hold off on a second dog for awhile. Ruby might just have to settle for us for now, and then once the baby is born, there will be someone here all day, every day to keep her company.