Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring In Review

What have we been doing with ourselves for the past four months?  Certainly not writing monthly review posts, that's for sure! So now I'm cramming four months' worth into one post, it's going to be a long one.  Be patient, there's a great quote at the end, some gorgeous beaches from our holiday in a beautiful corner of Mexico, a few successes, a few failures and an assortment of funny phrases Emma has said, amongst other things.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review

Weather-wise, spring was mostly sweltering hot, with sunblock essential protection against the potent UV rays of the Queretaro sunshine.  Now that spring is over and we're well into summer, the rainy season is upon us, making a sometimes-welcome change - you really get to appreciate cloudy days here!  When it rains, it's normally in the afternoons and evenings, so I usually get home from work at around 4pm either drenched by the rain or drenched in sweat.


Big Achievement 

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review

I'd spent about two years getting together all the documents we needed for Emma's British passport application  - it shouldn't have taken that long, I was just being slow and procrastinating.  Finally, towards the end of March I had everything ready and sent the documents, application form and photos off together and held my breath, waiting to hear if it had been accepted or not.  

I had to send everything to the UK Passport Office, and according to the website it could take up to 90 days to process the application, so I imagined that I would be waiting for some time.  I'll be writing a post soon in more detail about applying for a child's first British passport from abroad.

About two weeks later a DHL envelope arrived at the house.  I knew it had to be something to do with the passport application but thought that it was too soon and they must be rejecting the application for some reason.  So, with a sinking feeling, I opened the envelope ...and inside was Emma's new passport!

I was so relieved and completely over the moon.  I couldn't believe that after all the time it had taken me to get the documents notarised and translated, checking and double-checking that I had all the right paperwork and finally getting round to sending it all off, the application had been processed so quickly and we had Emma's passport in our hands only a fortnight later!

This means that Emma finally has a document to prove that she's a British citizen, which is a huge weight off my mind.


In March we celebrated Emma's third birthday, followed a week later by my 40th.  I still can't quite believe I'm that old!  I decided a positive way to approach it would be to write a post about 40 Things I'm Grateful for at 40.  I thought I would struggle to find 40 things, but in fact it wasn't that difficult, and once I'd written the post I kept thinking of yet more things I was grateful for.  It made me feel good to write it.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review

I felt inspired to compose a letter to Emma for her third birthday, Three Thoughts for my Three-Year-Old.  I absolutely loved writing it.  It's all about what I consider to be the three most important qualities anyone should have, and my wishes for her, for her future.  I'd love to know what you think of it, too.

In April, Emma went on an aeroplane for the first time when we flew from Mexico City to Cancun. It was only a short flight in a small plane but she seemed to enjoy the whole experience of traveling and flying.  She was busy eating m&ms during take off and she spent the flight playing with some beach toys and Dumbo the elephant, and looking out the window.  Seeing the clouds right next to us was fascinating!

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review

Emma is about to start a whole new stage of her life.  She will be starting kindergarten in August, after the summer holidays.  In Mexico, kindergarten lasts three years, from ages three to six approximately.

It's going to be a huge step for her as so far she's never been to nursery, daycare or any kind of class.  This will be the first time she'll have to learn to socialise with lots of other children her own age.  She will have to get used to a new routine, going to bed earlier in the evening and getting up earlier in the morning, being away from home, mummy, daddy and grandmother for five hours every day.
I wonder how she'll get on?


Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review
Hanging out with Auntie Alex.

In the Easter holidays my youngest sister and her husband came to visit us for the first time ever, which was pretty exciting.  It was lovely for Emma to properly get to know them in person as they'd only ever seen and talked to each other via Skype and FaceTime.  I hadn't seen them since our last trip to England almost four years ago.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review
Racing Uncle Jamie across the square.

We stayed in Queretaro for a few days then we all went to Cancun in the second week of the holiday.

It was our first visit to Cancun. What impressed me the most was the colour of the sea.  The city itself was nothing special and the hotel zone was, obviously, all very built-up, full of hotels and luxury apartments.  The beaches, though, are beautiful, with their fine white sand and that stunning aquamarine blue of the Caribbean.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review

Emma had great fun playing in the sand and making sandcastles with her Auntie Alex and Uncle Jamie.  At the first beach we went to she wasn't so keen on going in the sea as the waves were too splashy, but at the other beach she was playing happily in the shallows, jumping waves, splashing, "swimming".  The water was gorgeously warm and felt so relaxing.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review
Emma was enthralled for hours playing with the sand!

We weren't able to travel much further afield.  One day we went to Tulum further down the coast, stopping off briefly at Puerto Aventuras on the way there and discovering a quiet, hidden beach before getting caught in a sudden downpour.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review
Finishing her fast-melting ice lolly before washing her hands in the sea.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review

Tulum is an archaeological site, the ruins of a Mayan seaport city built in the thirteenth century.  Its location on the coast with its own beach makes it all the more impressive.  It was overcast and windy when we were there which gave the grey stone remains a rather moody and solitary feel.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review

On the way back we made a short visit to Playa del Carmen to have dinner and meet up with an old friend who lived there.

On the last day we visited a small seaside town called Puerto Morelos, walked along the beach and built more sandcastles  - the shore was lined with a barrier of seaweed, which certainly made swimming in the sea less inviting.  We strolled down the peer and saw pelicans and shoals of little fish, bizarrely bumped into the parents of an old friend of my husband from San Luis Potosí, then the wind started blowing stronger and stronger, the sky darkened and it began to rain quite heavily.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review
The beach at Puerto Morelos just before the rain came.

Then it was the end of our holiday, time to go back home and say goodbye to my sister and brother-in-law who would continue on their journey and be traveling around the USA and Canada for the next couple of months.

What made it bittersweet was the not knowing how long it will be until we next see each other.

On one of the three long weekends we had in May we spent a couple of days at the ranch where my husband's uncle lives.  We had gone there in February and Emma enjoyed it so much, she kept mentioning it afterwards and saying that she wanted to go to the ranch.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring in Review

It's a great place to relax and just get away from it all - it's also an enforced digital detox as there's no WiFi and usually no mobile data signal!

Me, personally


The past few months have been somewhat frustrating. It's been over a month since I published a post.  I've been lacking time, energy and focus, I think.  I have lots of ideas, I've just been too short of time  - proper time to myself - to write.  And when I do have a little time I'm either too tired and sleepy to do anything or just not focussed enough to make the most of it.  Quite honestly, I've been feeling like a failure.

I hope I can turn this around, find my focus and energy to set some goals and stick to them.  It's a different kind of stressful not getting the time to myself that I need to do things that are important to me.  I have to tell myself that it's not a luxury.

However, I did manage to finally write my potty training post that I'd been planning for ages, Successful Potty Training - How we did it + 5 Essential Tips for Potty Training Success.  I also did a book post, 3 Brilliant Mouse Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers.  My goal for July is to publish two posts a week, so we'll see how that goes!

I'm happy to say I finally got rid of my old header (the one with the parrot which was supposed to be temporary over two years ago).  The header I'm using at the moment is still not the definitive one, but at least it looks better than the old one, in my opinion!


I started off the year so well - as is often the case - aiming to do some yoga practice most days.  Right now, I'm at the point where I'm doing a short yoga practice once a week at the most.  I must do better.

Emma says...

The day Emma's passport arrived I told her excitedly that now she was British.  Her reaction? "Yay! I'm not Emma anymore, I'm British!"

I finally solved a mystery, too.  When Emma was very little, about 18 months old or so, she started saying the word "foo" to mean "small".  I could never understand where Foo had come from as there didn't seem to be any other word in English or Spanish with a similar sound and meaning.  It was funny but rather mysterious.

Then more recently, I noticed she was pronouncing the word "smelly" as "feyi". It occurred to me that she was substituting the "sm" sound that she couldn't pronounce for a "f" sound. And since she couldn't say the "l" sound at the end either, "small" became "foo"! Mystery solved!

She still mixes some English words in when she's talking Spanish, and vice versa.  Here are some recent examples.

We were talking about a new soap here:
Emma: It fells like oranges de adeveras
Me: It smells like real oranges?
Emma: It fells like eel oranges!

Emma: I want manzana juice!
Me: Don't you want apple juice? Or is that the same thing?
Emma: It's the same!

Often, she starts talking to me in Spanish, then she'll pause and think for a second before repeating what she's just told me in English.  I'm so impressed with her translating skills!

And this one: " I'm not full for afters, I'm just full for dinner!" Funny that...the same thing happens to me!

Growing up...

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Family - Spring in Review

She's becoming so much more independent these days, it's almost scary how quickly she seems to be growing up. I'm so proud of her, though.

She goes up and downstairs by herself, without any accompaniment - she's been doing this for a while now, but the first time was a bit of a surprise a few months ago. Emma was upstairs with her grandmother while I was downstairs in the kitchen then she suddenly walked into the kitchen all by herself.  The other day she even carried her toy shopping trolley down the stairs!  Sometimes I'm torn between wanting to applaud her for trying to do things herself and at the same time wanting to protect her and tell her to be careful.

More recently she's been keen to show how grown up she is by getting on and off the toilet by herself, wiping her own bottom and flushing the toilet.  I do wonder how she'll deal with using the bathroom when she first starts school as it's quite a different situation, not at all the same as being at home.


Perhaps I'm being hard on myself but I know I could try harder, do better.  I seem to be living with a feeling of not being good enough - as a mum, at work, at home and clearly I'm rubbish as a blogger.  However, to counteract this attitude of belittling myself this is the best phrase anyone's said to me recently - even if it was just in a Facebook group!

And it's true - you are awesome. Accept it.

Milestones, Achievements and Adventures of a Partly-Expat Bilingual Family - Spring In Review

Thanks to the lovely Nicole Annette for this phrase and for boosting my self-esteem!  Her journals look truly inspiring, too - check out Journal Junky.

Sparkles at Midnight

Cuddle Fairy


Rhyming with Wine


  1. Thank you so much for linking up with #SundaySmiles. So pleased that Emma's passport arrived so quick ... you have reminded me that I need to renew mine at some point!

    1. Thanks! I was so impressed by how quickly her passport arrived.

  2. The pictures from Cancun look amazing. Enjoy the summer holidays and good luck for Emma starting Kindergarten x

  3. Wow, now that's an adventure. Those beaches look amazing and Emma seems to be taking everything in her stride. Isn't it funny that she thought she wasn't Emma anymore, now her British passport is here. So adorable. #DreamTeam x

  4. Lovely to hear how you are! Great news about passport :-) I understand how you feel about being failure, you are not, I am doing the same, I want to work on my goals too! Time for a new start but its love that motives us really, I will pray to Mother of God the Virgin Mary as she is loving. I send you love and hugs! Keep blogging because I really appreciate it, thanks very much! Love Ruth Ps hope we can talk very soon.

  5. Ps well done, great blog! Thanks!

  6. Wow, the sea in Cancun is just beautiful - congrats on the British passport for Emma it must have been lovely having your sister over to visit too. Sarah #explorerkids

  7. Wow! That was a long post! lol! ;) Cancun does such has a heavenly sandy beaches. Shame about the tropical downpour. Congratulations on getting Emma's British Passport! You and I seem to have the same disease called procrastination! It's so common - so I wouldn't worry either. lol! I love it when kids does that translation thing in their head - mines does it too: English - Thai. Emma seem to be doing very well at her potty training. She is the same age as my Evelyn. Seems like they are both doing well. Evelyn used to wet her bed - like every night!! It was horrendous! I think the idea of 40 grateful things list. I think I will be doing one like that too. Yep - I am 40 as well - though I feel I am 20 with kids! lol! I look forward to reading your next adventure soon! xx

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids Linky.

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