Sunday, December 27, 2009

Second Annual Christmas Eve Drama

Last Christmas Eve, if you remember, we thought Julio and Juan Carlos, then 8 and 5 years old, had been abducted for what were the longest 90 minutes of my life. Only after the local police were involved did we find them in a neighbor's basement, playing video games, totally clueless that they had all of us sick with fear.

This year's Christmas Eve drama involved my parents. They were headed up to our house in the mountains, their car loaded to the brim with presents and food. Along with our Santa Watch on Google Earth, we were also keeping a "Grandma Watch" via telephone to know how long before they arrived. My mom and I were calling back and forth, planning all the ways we could terrorize our Steeler-loving neighbors who have a real talent for blocking the entire driveway so no one can come or go.

A few minutes before they were to arrive, my mom called hyperventilating and crying; all I could make out was, "...we went off the road...send Guapo...police on their way..."

Not a good feeling.

I yelled at Guapo to go find them, and then I went and really yelled at the neighbors, whose cars were, once again, blocking us in. So annoying. Anyway, Guapo left and after a few minutes I tried to call him to see if he had found them yet, only to hear his phone ringing inside the house. Uggh!

After what seemed like forever, they finally made it up to our house and everyone was, amazingly, in one piece. They had in hand the two extension cords we had asked them to pick up on their way up so we could plug in our fondue pots-my dad had climbed back down to the car to retrieve them- how sweet (and totally unnecessary) is that?

We got bundled up and headed 2 miles down the mountain to the scene of the accident because we had to unload all the gifts (I didn't really think this was too important at this point, but my parents insisted). These pictures don't do justice to how scary it actually looked:

It was very steep where they went off. Luckily, they went straight down and some big rocks slowed the car to a halt; had they gone down sideways, they most likely would have rolled the car and things probably wouldn't have ended so happily.

The second picture shows our 4 person chain we used to get the gifts up to the top (all while it was below zero outside).

Here are a couple of pictures in daylight, to gives you a little better idea of how steep it was.

We were "lucky" once again and were able to sit down for our traditional Christmas Eve fondue dinner (extension cords and all) together as a family (albeit with red, puffy eyes). It's funny how the gifts just don't seem as important after an experience like that, I was just happy to have my parents there with us on Christmas day. In case you haven't ever gotten it from my blog, I love my parents so much, and thinking about life without them is not something that I want to do at this point in my life.

I hope you all had a wonderful day with your loved ones.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas Photo Post

Picking the tree:

The final product:

Festive Moses:

Our naughty neighbors whom Santa surely won't be visiting:

Snow, finally:

The temp outside right now:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Ugly Face of Jet Lag

We made it. We had a very tight connection in Houston; we, along with Ballerina Girl's family, were literally running through the airport, but we made it. It was one of the better trips we've had-the kids slept most of the long flight and I flew first class on the short flight-so I don't have a lot to complain about.

As world travelers, we pride ourselves on quickly adjusting to jet lag. Our strategy? Staying very active our first day of arrival no matter how crappy we feel. Remember last summer? We bought a car, went to Target twice and got everyone a haircut. Summer's a little easier though because it's only a 3 hour time difference and during the winter it's 5 hours.

Anyway, Friday night, after a very busy day including a child's size root canal for poor Juan Carlos, my dad offered us tickets to a lacrosse game at the Pepsi Center; even though the starting time was 8 pm local time, 1 am Brazil time, we accepted. At first things were going fine,

Everyone was awake and having fun. Pedro was particularly revved up-hopping around the box like we'd given him a hit of Red Bu11.

And then, they started dropping like flies:

Here are Julio and Juan Carlos shortly after arriving in the mountains yesterday:

And I'm sad to report, the kids are dealing with the jet lag better than I am. I can manage alright for a while and then I'm just exhausted and MUST sleep.

But, we're up in the mountains now, having a great time. It just started snowing and we are all loving it. Tomorrow I'll post our lovely Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We Are Outta Here

After a week of intensive Christmas preparations and packing, we are leaving for the States. In just 20 short hours of travel we should be arriving at my parents house.

Please wish us luck as Pedro has not proven himself to been travel-worthy the last few weeks.

I am scared.

The good news is that we are traveling with Ballerina Girl's family-so that will be a fun diversion. If Pedro get's too out of hand, he'll get to go visit Auntie Ballerina Girl (he he). And, Guapo got bumped up on the Houston-Denver portion of our trip and because he's such a nice guy, I'll at least get to travel in style (and peace) for the last couple of hours. At least there's that to look forward to.

Until tomorrow!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Mom Is Bossing Me Around Like I'm 12

So my mom didn't like my sunbathing Santa header. You know, this one:

She's been calling me for days, begging me to change it. She's even sent me possible replacement photos. He grosses her out for some reason. Poor Santa. So, to get her off my back, I've changed to the Christmas tree on the Lagoa out in front of our house. Supposedly it is the largest floating Christmas tree in the world and who am I to doubt that? I've never even seen another floating Christmas tree before. We have a perfect view of it- Margarita lays in bed at night and looks right out at the beautiful tree.

I love Christmas, but man, it's a lot of work. I was thinking last night I need to hire a Christmas Coordinator, something akin to a wedding planner, to help me make it through the season. I'm not begrudging Christmas, I love this time of year more than any other; I love giving gifts and making cookies, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, traveling home to see loved ones. This year my lists just seem so long-maybe it's living here? I've got to prepare gifts for the maid, her sons, the driver, the guards of the building, the tennis teachers, the piano teacher, the regular teachers, assorted friends and colleagues. And then there're all the people in the States that we will be seeing this year that I need to buy for. I've got a spreadsheet going to help me keep track of all the gifts.

I'm about to start handing out "A donation has been made in your behalf to the Human Fund" cards.

Is there this much gift giving going on in the States?

I think I'm ALMOST done. A few more little things here and there. We leave on Thursday (yay!) and I want to have it all done by then so I can just relax and enjoy our vacation.

So, just a few random Christmas things:

Music Presentation

The music teacher combined the music presentations this year, so I only had to go to one (last year I had three different presentations on three different days). My boys only tolerate these presentations. About a week before they start mumbling about being sick and the day of it's like pulling teeth getting them up and dressed. Then they stand there and move their lips and kind of sway as the other kids belt it out and do their dance moves.

They definitely weren't having as much fun as this guy:

Finally, A Good Gift

At our book club Christmas party each year, we do one of those stealing present games. I have not had much success, until this year.

The first year was a disaster. If you remember, I held in my had a bag full of wonderful American goodies only to have it stolen from me from some mean lady who is no longer apart of book club. Good riddance. (I'm just joking people. Well, mostly)

I was left with these very bright Unicef place mats (that I later re-gifted to my Mom).

Last year wasn't as traumatic, but this was my gift, a little wood thing to hang in the kitchen (it now hangs in the kitchen of my maid, if she didn't re-gift it, that is):

But this year, I won't be re-gifting my gift. I scored this cute bracelet:

And while I'm taking pictures of myself, do you want to see my tennis tan? Despite using 50 SPF sports sunscreen (i.e. sweat proof), look at my arm:

I would expect the top of my arm to be tanned, but check out the bottom:

I must have some awesome moves to be getting that much sun on that part of my arm.

Looks like I need to reapply more often.

Did I mention we're going to freeze our fannies off in Colorado and Utah?

Christmas Magic

I was in the mall last week with Julio (9 yrs old) and I as we passed the Santa who was sitting there without any children on his lap, I teased him about going and telling Santa what he wants for Christmas. He said to me in his, "mom, I'm too old for that kind of stuff" voice, "Mom, I know how things work." My heart sank a little and then he said, "I know that's just a guy in a suit, the real Santa doesn't go to malls." (...and my heart rises back to it's normal position)

Hope you're all enjoying the season!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

One Deranged Fish, One Defamed Cat

I just wanted to clear Kitty's name.

Pumpkin jumped. Kitty actually saved his life by being on the scene last night-otherwise we never would have seen Pumpkin laying there looking like a little red grape (which are often found on my kitchen floor).

How do I know this?

Last night, I put Pumpkin on top of the refrigerator, a place where Kitty for sure couldn't reach. This morning, I went downstairs to see if Pumpkin was still alive; he was swimming around as good as new. I woke up Juan Carlos a few minutes later to tell him the good news. When we went into the kitchen, the bowl was empty, and there was Pumpkin, looking like a grape again on the floor.

I think it's a cry for help-had he really wanted to commit suicide he would have jumped during the middle of the night-he waited until he knew we were up.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Quick Break From The Madness

I don't know what it is about going home, but as the date approaches I turn into my most obsessive self. Whereas I thought that while Guapo was traveling, I'd be leisurely blogging and whatnot, instead I've inundated myself in a slew of new projects. For example, this morning I spent almost two hours going through all of our medicines, throwing away everything that was expired and then separating them into gallon Ziploc bags according to their category. Why?????

And tonight I'm working on a few *meaningful* Christmas gifts that I can't really talk about because those who are receiving them may be reading this (and if they're not, they don't deserve the gifts!). We're talking some time consuming projects.

I had to take a quick break though and write about my sweet Juan Carlos (6 years old) tonight.

He won a beta fish at the school Halloween party (don't you love it when live animals are the prizes? yeah, me too). Anyway, he's been taking very good care of "Pumpkin" ever since; tonight Kitty somehow got Pumpkin out of his bowl (how I'll never know), and we found him on the floor in a little ball with Kitty looming largely over him. (Why do these things always happen when Guapo's out of town?)

Juan Carlos immediately broke down; I got him out of the room and called Julio to "take care" of the fish (i.e. put it in the toilet). Julio instead put Pumpkin in his bowl and he started to swim. Juan Carlos was relieved but I tried to explain to him that the fish was probably in shock and still might die.

And this is what got me, and why I had to blog tonight, he said, through his tears, "I want to take a picture with Pumpkin before he dies."

How sweet is that? Sometimes I just love my kids so much it makes me want to cry.

So, we had a little photo shoot; if I had time, I'd download them. But I don't, so just imagine a sweet, blond boy with red, swollen eyes trying to smile as he holds up his injured little fish.

I hope Pumpkin makes it through the night-it's been over an hour now and he's still swimming around, so I think it's possible.

And now, back to my projects.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Random Catch-Up Post

Where to begin?

December's here and things are crazy, as things tend to be in December. We leave two weeks from this very moment (yay!). I apologize for not only being a bad blogger, but also being a bad blogger friend.

Guapo's traveling the whole next week, so I'll be free to spend guilt-free time on the Internet at night.

But, for the time being a quick review of recent happenings.

Who Will Be My Next Top-Babysitter?

Ok, how weird is this?

This year's winner of America's next t0p model is a girl who lives three doors down from my parents house and who sometimes babysits my kids when we're there. I'm not a fan of most reality shows, so my mom had to keep me updated. Not that she watches America's Next T0p Model or anything (no offense if you love the show), she just hears the occasional neighborhood gossip.

She called last week and told me I'd better find a new babysitter because she probably won't be needing the money anymore. (and since young girls + money + fame doesn't often yield great results, I probably will want to find someone a little less famous)

Her little sister and Margarita always play together when we're in Colorado. It's pretty funny, because her sister is a total tomboy and has inspired many of Margarita's *interesting* fashion choices (black socks, plaid shorts, converse sneakers).

Thanksgiving Success

Not only did I bring Thanksgiving cheer to Julio's 3rd grade class, I spent 7 hours in a un-air-conditioned kitchen on a 90 degree day making my first-ever solo Thanksgiving meal. It all turned out very nicely, including the homemade rolls and pumpkin pie. I kind of feel like a grown up now.

(don't mind my funky hair and my wet shirt. I'm pretty sure that it's dishwater and not sweat, but I'm not entirely sure, probably a mixture)

Some special Thanksgiving art:

My Niece (and her mom and dad) Came for a Visit

Isn't she cute? And such a good baby. Almost makes me want to have another...almost. (the little guy there on the left does a pretty good job at outweighing baby cuteness most of the time. This photo is deceiving.)

Piano Recital

I had my second adult piano recital on Saturday night. It was held at the apartment of the older lady I mentioned after my last recital. She had invited 20+ of her closest friends including her entire computer class and some guy she had met in the line at the bank 2 days earlier (not joking). I walked in and saw all of those people cramped into a little apartment and I just about turned right around and walked back out.

But, I did ok despite my visibly trembling fingers. I made it through both my songs with minor errors and what was good was that I kept going on when I messed up which I normally have trouble with. I played "Old French Song" by Tchaikovsky and "Fur Elise" by Beethoven (the entire thing, thank you very much).

Now I'm recital-free until at least April or May.


Despite my awesome new tennis outfit, I got smoked by a 60+ year old lady on Tuesday. Pretty depressing.

I guess I'd better stick to 12 year old boys.

I've got lots of random Christmas tidbits too, but I'd better save those for my next post.