Back to school for Meg

August 18 is tomorrow. It is around the time that lots of universities are starting back. Besides all the prep work for here in Peru that we need to do for our reentry, we also have to think about what happens after reentry. Greg published not too long ago that he is submitting applications to doctoral programs. The plan is for him to study full-time. Get ‘er done. You know what that means? “Bread winner Meg” is back in the picture. 🙂

I posted not too long ago about the blessing of the library work here. It is something for me to put on my resume. It will also help me in renewing my teaching license. I have to show proof of 60 hours of professional development (along with some other things) in order to renew my teaching license for the US. Many of those hours will come from the professional development that I teach through Living Libraries.

Some of my mentors in this field told me about a new law that passed in AR (where I earned my teaching license). Someone with a middle level title can take 2 reading courses, a 45 hour on-line literacy course, and pass the Praxis in order to add elementary to their teaching title. I said, “Sign me up!” Coming back to the states, I want to be as marketable as possible. Learning Spanish while here in Peru will serve to my advantage, but it won’t hurt to be marketable for grades 1-8 either.

So… I am taking an independent study in “Teaching Reading” with one of those mentors I mentioned, Dr. Clara Carroll. I am pumped. I have already been reading ahead from my two main textbooks:

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You know you are in the right profession when you enjoy the work you are given in a masters level course. I am excited to dive in, learn things for Living Libraries currently, and add to my schema for teaching in the future.

Also on my requirement list: joining the National Reading Association (which I joined almost a year ago), writing reading reflections, formulating lesson plans using the Common Core, and writing an article to be published for CUDA’s Living Libraries project.

You wouldn’t have heard me say this back in grade school, but, “I am pumped to go back to school!”

Here’s to a semester of craziness with a little bit of professional development sprinkled in. 🙂 And here’s to hoping this helps me land a job come this time next year…

Back to school for Meg

Esta es mi tierra; Es mi Perú.


Another last for this year: the last Independence Day celebration in their school this morning. The preschoolers presented the three regions of Peru: La Costa, La Sierra, and La Selva. The primary grades told the history of Peru with little skits. I will let the pictures speak for themselves…

Cohen was a shark. The three-year-old class (or the first part of them) dressed as sea animals. Cohen almost couldn’t see out of his costume.




sitting with our intern, Mat, after his performance
sitting with our intern, Mat, after his performance

Maggie’s class represented the Selva (the jungle). They did a jungle dance, and then they sang “Es Mi Peru” as a class.





Ana was a soldier. What is hilarious is that I got her the wrong costume. She was the only “soldado” (soldier) with a gun. Ha!



Cohen and his condor craft. The condor is the national bird of Peru. Many tourists travel to Arequipa so that they can visit the Colca Canyon and see the condors flying.


The primary grades singing “Es Mi Peru.”



The ending was the school making a loop around the neighborhood. It was so sweet seeing Ana holding hands with her school BFF, Haslee. Here they are saying “Viva Peru!”


Looking up the hill at the volcano. Our house is two houses from the school.


Esta es mi tierra; Es mi Perú.

El Día del Papá 2014



Greg was invited by these three sweeties to attend his last Father’s Day show at their Peruvian school.




Maggie, the hula dancer

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Ana played her flauta and performed as a chef and a mom in two other numbers.




Cohen was the Pied Piper in his first performance.  The teacher read the story as the students acted it out.

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Gettin’ it in front of everyone.

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Ana’s musical number… they played and had breaks where they also sang.


Hula, hula


Those smiles say it all.  I didn’t have to guess if she was having a good time or not.

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Cohen was NOT excited to be a frog.  This face sums up his attitude during the performance.

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I got somewhat of a smile when he was lined up with his classmates.


Kermit the Cohen


Chefs don’t get much cuter than this one.  Ana’s class did a show where they mentioned different cultures throughout the world.  Ana represented Italy.  She is making pasta.

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Maggie was so excited to help do the “English part” for her class.  I know she had a really hard time pronouncing those words.  🙂


Greg and I both exchanged looks when Ana came out as a pregnant woman!  They told the story of a mom and dad raising their son.  So funny to see her with a balloon as a belly.


I love this shot.  Ana’s teacher above, her school best friend below.


The two little ones gave Greg a t-shirt with their handprints.  We got tickled at Ana’s gift… a card in the shape of a foaming beer mug and a handwritten letter inside.  It’s Peru.


El Día del Papá 2014

¡Felíz Día de la Mamá! 2014

I remember going though a list of “firsts” when we first moved here.  This year, I am documenting many of our “lasts.”  Today, I went to my very last Peruvian Mother’s Day show at my children’s school.  It was as Peruvian as it could get.  Rented costumes, fees for manualidades (crafts to make for the moms), items to buy and give toward the food canastas (baskets) that they give out to a mom from each class, and a show that lasted the majority of the day.  🙂  It was a joy to see all three of our littles perform this Mother’s Day.  I have a ton of pics to post, but I post them because I know I will love looking back at them in the years to come…

this is Olivia Newton John the night before her stellar performance (first time for this momma to ever use overnight curlers like this)
Bethany and I went to get manicures the day before. I wished myself a “Happy Mother’s Day” with this sparkly pink french manicure.
the baskets for every grade. I thought I would have a good chance to win one since I had three chances this year… no such luck.
my “granjero” (farmer)
the banner walking in
Sandy all ready to perform “You’re the One that I Want”
it may not be leather, but we got the “all black” look down
there’s a smile. He was such a grumpalumpugus all morning.
my pin
I was told to fix Ana’s hair with lots of little braids. There you have it.
Hasley and Ana–school BFF’s
Dafne, Mags, and Ana Paula
Cohen’s 1st performance
Yeah, the Zorro hat was all that we had in the house that would work. Ha!
Ana played the flauta and she sang. This made her Show Choir mom AND her marching band dad very happy.
somebody wasn’t too exited about their 2nd performance
There might have been an ice cream bribe. 🙂
Vilma Picapiedra (Wilma Flintstone)
some sibling love in between performances
Hasley and Ana aka Wilma and Betty Flintstone
my three beauties
look at the body of that hair
my little Amazonian
Wilma checking the stage out
does it get much cuter than these three?
Ana was picked to draw the name for the basket. She didn’t pick my name, unfortunately.
Cohen’s class
dance time
glad he had some shorts on
the caboose got left behind
there they go
The Flintstones
in her Arequipa dress
Maggie ready to perform her traditional dance
arms up
our Arequipeña
Ana and her Miss (Angela)
“Mom, get a picture of my skirt twirling.”
the lone girls
class pic
my Mother’s Day gifts from the school crafts
Can you see Cohen’s “signature?”
Ana’s sweet handwritten note (capitalized red letters and all) 🙂
¡Felíz Día de la Mamá! 2014

The GRE, Vinifan, a clausura, and Family Day


Greg took off this past Thursday evening and headed for Lima.  He went to take the GRE today.  He needs this score for his applications into doctoral programs.  I couldn’t be any prouder of my husband in pursuing this dream.  It is something we have talked about since before we married, and it is a blessing to be married for almost 10 years and still be on the same page as far as life goals go.  He put a lot of late night study hours into preparing for this test.  We both got a kick out of his math practice problems.  Good thing he married a middle level math major.  I will say, though, that the problems he was having to solve were from an Algebra 2 level.  (He called me into the room multiple times to ask, “Meg, explain this to me…”)  Why does a theology doctor need to remember the quadratic formula???  Anyhoo, this wife is proud of her husband.  I am confident that he did the best he could do.


Our kids start school after summer break this coming Monday.  We are thrilled that ALL THREE will be going to school this year.  While I am super excited about this aspect of freedom in our lives, the bank account has certainly taken a harder hit with all the back-to-school items to purchase, and this momma is wiped out from all the running around we have to do to find everything.  Here is the back-to-school prep in a nutshell:

  1. sign-up your kids at the school office.  Get all lists for each grade level.
  2. take your kids to get passport type photos made (the school uses them on various forms)
  3. figure out what vaccinations your child is missing (my bad).  I will be taking both Maggie and Cohen tomorrow morning to get up-to-date on their vacunas.
  4. Take child that hasn’t worn a uniform before to store or seamstress that is making uniforms for this new year, order correct size, pay down payment
  5. Go to a book store, drop off your list for school items, come back ONE HOUR later to find that they are still completing the items on the lists.  Pay an arm and a leg for the school supplies for the entire year (and this doesn’t include text books or all the personal hygiene items!)
  6. Go to bodega to buy boxes and wrapping paper, tape, VINIFAN (yes, the title of this section)
  7. Write each child’s name about a million times on tiny pieces of masking tape to place on every.single.thing that you bought on their list (I am talking every marker, colored pencil, paint container, etc)
  8. Take a day to go into the city with your “text book list” and buy all the various text books at all the various locations.  So fun.
  9. Prepare box with wrapping paper to resemble a “cubby” for your child’s items
  10. Begin Vinifan process.  Something I despise!  Vinifan is a brandname for a plastic that serves as a clear book cover.  They want everything covered.  Every text book, every notebook (that you buy 2 of for every subject), every 3-ring binder.
  11. Add all other items from list like toilet paper, hand soap, etc (the school does not provide ANY of this)
  12. Take kids the first day of school, sit with the teacher as she checks off the list to see that you bought everything.
just part of Cohen's list
just part of Cohen’s list
every single item
every single item

Multiply this by 3 and OH MY WORD!  This is our last back-to-school year here in Peru, and I cannot say that I will miss this part of the process.  While Greg has been gone, I have been Vinifanning like crazy (and yes, I just turned that word into a verb).  I have Cohen and Maggie’s “cubbies” completed.  Can I get a Halleluyer?!


I blogged about Ana’s art class last month.  This month, Ana wanted to repeat another art class, and Mags took a Modern Dance class.  Ana loved her art once again.  This month was with a different set of teachers.  She worked a lot on painting or replicating other people’s drawings or paintings.  Here is some of her work that was featured at the exhibit today…

her love for Angry Birds showed
her love for Angry Birds showed



Maggie enjoyed her dance class.  I was a little shocked at the dance moves and choice of music when she started (then I remembered where we lived), but she didn’t ever seem to get the belly roll down (ha!) and it was great to get her out of the house to do something fun and different.  I videoed her final dance.  I will have to get Greg to help me to post the video.  She did a great job.

showing some sister love before Mag's performance
showing some sister love before Mag’s performance

Our Day Off

Greg was in Lima, but Friday is still our family day.  I took all three kids to the girls’ clausura, and then we headed to the mall.  We ate at Burger King (or “Hamburger King” if you are Cohen), got a special treat of ice cream, and I watched them play on the “token” rides as I like to call them (except I paid nothing).  🙂  We were out about 5 hours as a family.  We sure missed Greg, but I was happy to do something with the kids and not be cooped up in the house this last Friday of their summer vacation.

ice cream treat
ice cream treat



this word is perfect for how I feel about these three
this word is perfect for how I feel about these three

I am more than ready to see my GREg when he gets home (see what I did there?!).  And I think we are ready to kick off this new school year… if I can get my Vinifan all in gear.  🙂


The GRE, Vinifan, a clausura, and Family Day

I Swear…

Here in Peru, they swear a group of kids in to the school “Police Academy” each year.  This group of kids is chosen based on their academic and social performance.  They agree to be exemplary students, and to watch out for the needs of their other classmates, academically and socially.  When I told Greg about it, his immediate reaction was, “Oh no!  That is like the equivalent of the hall monitor.  Our daughter is going to get beat up by the mean kids.”  Ha!

Well, she is only in first grade.  I don’t think the bullies are that vicious yet.  (keepin’ my fingers crossed)  Here are some pictures of the ceremony.  It is always fun to observe the culture and their traditions that are so different from our own.  It is crazy to me that my kids can sing every word to the Peruvian national anthem.


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I Swear…