Friday, December 24, 2010

Horse Feathers (or is it one word?)

Remember how my older kids taught Pedro to replace the word "uneducated" for the word "stupid"?

They have now brought to my attention how often I say the word "crap" by teaching Pedro to tell me that crap is not a nice word (I know it already!) and to replace it with "horse feathers" (horesefeathers?).

Whatever would I do without the little gems?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Some Bold Re-Gifting

I hesitate to share this with little holiday story you because the re-gifter is a really cool lady and a friend of mine from church. But, I keep cracking up thinking about it, so I have to share. No one in my "new" life knows about my blog (that I know of), but even so, I'm sure I'll be deleting this post in a few days when my conscience gets the best of me.

Last night this woman and her husband came over for a quick visit and brought us a little plate of treats (maybe it was his idea-why am I blaming her? I can totally see Guapo suggesting something like this). We chatted for a while and then they left at which point I surveyed the plate. A nice variety of homemade candies and cookies.

But hey, wait just a second-haven't I seen that chocolate covered Oreo with the cute little holly leaf and berries on it somewhere before?

And what about those chocolate covered peanuts clusters?

I know I've seen the cute little gingerbread cookie with the M&M buttons.

We had received three plates of goodies from people in our ward before this little plate; the little plate had something from each of the others on it. I still had the other plates, so I know I'm not making this stuff up.

My friend is known for being super practical and not worrying about what other people think-so it totally makes sense. It prevents her from a) eating too many sweets and b) from having to do time-consuming holiday baking, and c) spending money on those types of gifts. Win-win-win, right? She had to have assumed that I would have received a plate from at least one of the three people I did, and yet she went ahead and re-gifted anyway.

I respect her decision and may even consider the move myself- just probably not to people within the same social circle.

Those chocolate covered oreos were my favorite-so I was happy to get an extra. :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Random Holiday Post

Holiday shopping

As of today at 4:00 pm Everything is wrapped. Everything is shipped. I will buy nothing else.

Except, what do people generally give to the mail carrier? Money? If so, how much?

Margarita Redeemed

We had a busy week of holiday parties, concerts, and recitals. And we're not done yet. At Margarita's choir concert Tuesday night this was a sight that made me happy:

The lost and found table. Apparently Margarita's not the only middle-schooler who temporarily can't find things (they are never lost; even if we haven't seen them for months).

The Problem with Mormons

I thought it'd be fun have a casual "little" get together Sunday evening with a three other families from our church. You know- hot chocolate, snacks, some relaxed conversation.

I just added up how many kids will be here.


Any ideas for high-yield snacks?

Holiday Cheer

After contemplating for months about how my children would no longer have holiday celebrations being in US public schools, I have been happily surprised. Sure, Julio had "Secret Snow People" instead of "Secret Santas" in his class, but Margarita's choir concert had a couple of songs about Jesus' birth(I thought that was a huge no-no), the teachers wished us "Merry Christmas", and Pedro's class even had a special visitor today:

I know, what a crappy photo. It was bad lighting for my poor little iPhone, but I also discovered later that the lens was totally gooped up (how in the world did that happen? Pedro, I'm sure.)

Look at this one:

Santa asked the kids to be quite while he read them a story so Pedro sat like this for the next few minutes. What a little monkey.

2 Minutes of Fame

Julio's basketball team got to play for 5 minutes at the halftime of the CU game tonight. There are 10 players so they each got about 2 1/2 minutes. Julio said it felt like 23 seconds. He attempted one shot and got a rebound. His little buddy who hasn't made a basket all season (tomorrow's the last game), scored.

See? I cleaned my lens. Much better.

Hey, What About Juan Carlos?

I just realized I've talked about every kid but Juan Carlos; as I mentioned before, this week has been crazy. So on Wednesday morning as I'm walking the boys to school I realize his clothes look a little too familiar. We had gotten home from the choir concert late and they kids scurried to bed-some of them not even bothering to change into jammies. He got up and wore the same (visibly dirty) clothes the next day. Lovely.

Oh well, at least he was at school.

So, that's what we're up to. My kids finished school today. I'm not sure if things will be more hectic because they are around, or less hectic because we don't have all of their activities we have to be at. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Forced Holiday Decorating

About a month ago, someone from the Relief Society (women's organization of our church) asked if they could have their Christmas dinner at our house. "Sure, no problem!" I told them. Then the rest of the month everyone kept telling me how "brave" I was for hosting. I was starting to get really paranoid near the end, did they know something that I did not?

It was a lot of work to get our house ready, but it forced us to do some things we'd been putting off (like washing those windows way, way up there-requiring me to get on the roof, setting up the treadmill and hanging some pictures that had been sitting around for MONTHS) , but I didn't have to be in charge of the invitations, the food, or the program (the things that stress me out), so it worked just fine for me.

The party was a success and now my house will look great for the rest of the season. Here are some photos:

Yes, that's a real tree-isn't it perfectly shaped? Several people asked me where I got such a real looking artificial tree. And those lights? They took about 10 trips to Target and 5 years off of Guapo's life to get them just how he wanted them.

Finally, something up in that space that bugs me everyday. Watering them could be difficult. I don't think dead poinsettias will be quite as festive.

Look at those awesome pillows I found. I was so proud of myself.

My favorite room of the house-so cozy for Christmas.

Guapo's tree that took an additional 2 years off of his life.

My animal from Venezuela greeted people as they arrived.

And look at Kitty with the golden reindeer the previous owners left up in the attic.

I'm practically done with my holiday shopping and wrapping so things are good. Now, if only it would snow. We've only gotten and inch and a half here-very dissapointing to my kiddos.

I hope you're having a wonderful December.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Not Today. Not Today.

My blog haunts me every night as I go to bed; it nags, "You didn't post today. AGAIN." Oh, the disappointment, the guilt, the horror. Not only am I missing my blog friends and their interesting lives, I'm not recording my own life. But I just don't have any big chunks of time like I used to when I didn't have to cook and clean and that's what I require to write. I'm hoping that at some point I will be able to get it together enough to post a couple of times a week, but so far, I'm just living with the daily nagging of my blog.

So, forgive me. It's not you, it's me. I promise.

Anyway. You may have wondered how our first Thanksgiving back in the States went after 9 years of it slowly losing its meaning because I couldn't get fried onions, cranberries, or sweet potatoes and Guapo was always at work anyway, so what was the point?

Well... we spent it...back to Mexico on the beach where we spent our three Mexican Thanksgivings. We went with my parents and siblings and their families. I'm obviously not complaining, I just think it's funny. I also think it's funny that after 9 years of having to travel with with baby after baby, making each and every flight a veritable nightmare, our kids are now pretty easy to travel with and now we won't do nearly as much airplane travel. I took naps, read a book, stared into space for long periods of time-I didn't have to do barely anything for them.

So, here are a few shots from the trip...

The lovely beach that has unfortunately been discovered by Europeans snorkel enthusiasts-it used to be so sleepy and this time there were certain days when herds of waddling-finned and goggled people invaded in hopes of seeing a few of the many turtles that live just off the shore.

The sand crabs the kids caught every night:

Poor Pedro was terrified of them and refused the nightly "crab hunt" after the very first night when he told me, "I can't take it anymore!" (My mom asked, "I wonder who he's heard that from." Who? From me? Yeah, probably.)

Here's the little guy on the beach.

Awwww. He's growing up.

Speaking of "Poor Pedro", he spent a good portion of the 8 day trip sick. I gave him the croup which I had right before we left (I know, you thought grown-ups couldn't get the croup. They can.), and then he got a bad case of "Montezuma's revenge" the last 3 days and spent most of his time on a lawn chair sleeping:

He was still pretty good natured though:

We relived our Mexico days and climbed the ruins of Coba:

And, we did some zip-lining into a cenote:

Yes, I was that scared. After having lived there for 3 years and seeing the lack of quality control, and the high frequency of jimmy-rigging with wire and duct tape, I'm still surprised I did it (and let my kids do it). But, we all survived and had a ton of fun in the process.

Here's my splash into the beautiful cenote:

And with that, I'm going to go to bed IN PEACE for once, having appeased my nagging blog.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


It is finally snowing. Just a bit-but it is snowing. Normally Colorado gets it's first snow in October and here we are, almost in mid-November. It seems to me, when I was a kid, it almost always snowed on Halloween making trick-or-treating mighty cold.

My poor kids have been weatherchannel stalkers the past month. I was in Juan Carlos's classroom last week and his teacher told me although she prefers the long fall, she really hoped it snowed soon just for Juan Carlos as he talks about it a lot at school. I can relax now, I was afraid it wouldn't snow until after we've left for Mexico next week for Thanksgiving.

Can I just say how happy I am I'm not headed in to another summer season in Brazil? Christmas in the middle of summer just isn't right.

Friday, November 05, 2010

What Would Cesar Say?

I know. It's mid-week and I'm blogging about something other than why I'm not blogging. Strange.

Just a few pictures of a very naughty Underwear Dog.

I'm trying not to think about how his favorite treat, despite the oodles of chews that I buy him, continues to be cat turds.

And Guapo wonders why I am a cat person?

(he is cute, I'll give him that; I just don't want him licking me. Or my flatware.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Unbloggable Life

It has been almost 3 weeks since I last blogged. I know I'm not the most faithful blogger, but 3 weeks without the excuse of pregnancy or summer vacation? Come on!

I guess I feel pretty uninteresting lately-just a lot of normal life stuff. Let's see-

The End of Fall Soccer


Soccer kept things hopping this fall-4 practices on three different weeknights and then 2 or 3 games every Saturday for 7 weeks. Whew. I was pretty much burned out after week 2. Julio's poor team, who went defeated until their last game, finally posted a "W" and Julio scored the winning goal. Man, that was one bad team. Julio is currently OBSESSED with playing tackle football next fall (gee, I can't imagine why he's not interested in soccer anymore). I've only got 9 months to talk him out of it-any ideas?

Juan Carlos's team won every game but their first one, and then lost the last game. :( He made a lot of improvement during the year and had fun so I imagine he'll play again next year.

Flu Shots

First time I've ever got one-after getting the flu a couple of years ago I'll do whatever I can to prevent it. It didn't even hurt.

Puppy Update

Work. Lots of work.

Oh, and I've realized that Coloradans, at least where we live, are crazy about dogs. Remember how I always talked about how much Brazilians loved kids and babies? Well, that's how the people are here about their dogs. People could care less about my kids, but everyone's all talkative and friendly if I'm out and about with Quakey (yes, his name has evolved into Quakey which is much easier because we don't have to explain why we named our dog "underwear" in Portuguese).

His latest naughty trick was getting in to Juan Carlos's backpack, removing a full chocolate milk box and then ripping it apart on our bedroom carpet. Not good.

Margarita's a Girl

Margarita has succumbed to peer pressure and started dressing like a girl. No more Nike t-shirts, plaid shorts and flip-flops. She is wearing cute skinny jeans, blouses and even an occasional scarf! The bad thing is is that she has the wrong mom for help with fashion advice. And, she has the same affinity for black, grey and white that I do-so our closets are looking pretty similar these days.


After 10 years of living in cities nicknamed "The City of Eternal Spring" (or worse, Small Town, Mexico which I nicknamed, "The City Whose Weather Most Resembles That of H@#$"), I am LOVING fall. The leaves, the crisp air, the pumpkins. You'd think I'd have taken a million photos of all of my favorite local trees, but no, I've been too busy with soccer, student teacher conferences (Pedro is one of his teacher's favorite kids ever-and she's been teaching for 20 years-wow!), piano lessons (I was the oldest student by a good 20 years to play at my teacher's Halloween recital last week-won't be doing that again!), cub scouts, and all the other random activities that come up to preserve the lovely memories.

But, I have loved it all the same.

That's about it. See? I told you, pretty boring. But, boring is good sometimes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A crush, a fox, and a storm

We went to the mountains for an overnighter on Friday.

We have made some friends here who are willing to travel with us-dog and all (at least they were last week, who knows about this week). It is the family of Pedro's "crush", a word that the older kids tried to teach him. I don't think he gets it; although they got him to say that he has two crushes, one on the darling little girl below and one on Margarita (awwwww-so cute), I also heard him say, "I have a crush right here in my mouth!"

Yep, he's still got that bad smile thing going on.

They're pretty funny together, always laughing and chasing each other around. We've heard her say on several occasions, while giggling and batting her eye lashes "Oh, Pedro, you're so funny!"

And here's a fox that was outside our back door:

He had his full winter coat and his tail was beautiful-I wanted to wrap it around my neck (please don't tell PETA).

While I had envisioned a day of being out of doors hiking, I way overestimated the temperature (my running clothes consisted of shorts and a t-shirt-no running for me); it was a balmy 28 when we got up and stayed in the 30's most of the day-so much for fall in the mountains.

In the afternoon we had a special treat: a snowstorm that lasted about a half an hour.

And now I'm ready to face another week of the rat-race.

Have a good one.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Puppy vs. Newborn Baby

When we announced we were getting a puppy the majority of the responses had something to do with how having a puppy is akin to having a newborn again.

Last time I checked, my newborns didn't:

  • leave puddles and piles randomly throughout the house
  • bite my other children
  • hoard shoes into their crib
  • make the cats hiss and run
  • run away when I open the door
  • eat cat poop from the litter box
No, having a puppy is much closer to having a very rambunctious, very naked, biting two year old than a peaceful, immobile, newborn.

That said, we're having fun with little Cuecas. And whoever dreamt up crate training was an absolute genius. We can leave the house without worrying about what kind of mess we'll come home to and he sleeps through the night in it (which makes him a bit easier than a newborn-but only in that regard).

We've decided, while we're at it, we might as well crate train Pedro, since it's working so well with the dog. He's taken quite well to it:

Like babies, puppies are super cute when they're asleep. Here's Cuecas with his favorite shoe to hoard-my fuzzy crocs:

Here we are taking a walk last weekend with the dog-everyone fought for their turn to walk him.

He's just a little guy, so he gets tired out easily:

Anyone want to babysit over Thanksgiving?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Kids Are On A Roll

One last post before it's Puppy Time. T-15 hours and we'll be dog owners once again. (sigh)

Anyway, earlier in the week it was Pedro that was cracking us up, and today it's Juan Carlos (7 yrs old). I was going through his Friday folder which contains all of his graded work from the week and I came across this little gem in which he has to list 10 mammals. I was there that day, helping some of the kids with this worksheet. He had one mammal left to go and told me he was going to put "naked mole rat", a totally acceptable mammal. I left him to finish up and went on to the next kid.

I should have checked his work. (you can click to enlarge)

Not "naked mole rat". No, no. He ended up writing "naked male" You can see the teacher's obvious confusion-the double question marks and the arrow pointing to #4, "people", which would obviously included all naked males (and clothed ones for that matter).

Oh my. I've been laughing all night thinking about what she must have been thinking when she read it.

("peking bird" was also a mystery-maybe he meant "Peking duck"? or a "pecking bird"? Who knows)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eradicating Stupid

Today in Pedro's home folder was the following note from his preschool teacher:

"Today Pedro thought someone said 'stupid' and told the kids in circle time, 'in our family we say 'uneducated'!!!

I know I'm not supposed to have favorites, but...

Love, F"

It's true; Pedro has had a little problem with the word "stupid"; his siblings, being the jokers that they are, thought they'd be funny and teach him to replace the offending word with "uneducated".

Which he has.

Pedro has uneducated wii remotes that won't work, uneducated cats that won't let him pet them, uneducated train tracks that won't fit together right, an uneducated hermit crab that pinches him, uneducated flashlights that are out of batteries, and two very uneducated brothers.

Got to love that kid!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another Week

Has another week come and gone? I tell you what, my biggest fear living here is that I'll wake up one morning and- BAM! I'M 45! Seriously, the weeks fly by.

So, the happenings of last week...


Tuesday night we went to the Rockies vs. Padres game. My mom's cousin's son, so her second cousin? And that would make him my second cousin once removed or something? It doesn't matter, any sort of extended cousins are just "cousins" in my family (especially when they are major league baseball players). So anyway, my cousin is the third baseman for the Padres and when they come to town we go to the games. This time we got to sit in great seats with his parents and the kids even got to go down by the dugout and talk to their "cousin". It was great fun.


Wednesday was a busy day. I helped out in Juan Carlos's class for the first time. I'm doing a swap with a friend where one stays home with the kids and the other volunteers in the classroom. She has the cutest 5 month old baby girl who makes me insanely baby hungry. Pedro probably doesn't have quite the same effect.

A little later in the day the boys' school had their annual "Jog-a-Thon" fundraiser. All the kids had to run around a 220 yard. lap for 20 minutes. We all had to pledge money per lap, the goal being to raise $35,000 ($85.00 per kid-sorry, we fell a bit short). Juan Carlos's goal was 15 laps and he ended up doing 16. The cool thing was that the kid had a grin on his face the.entire.race. He never complained (and if you know Juan Carlos, you know this is a minor miracle). Guapo, my mom and I took turns running around with him and he was pretty tough to keep up with.

Me and Juan Carlos:

Guapo and Juan Carlos:

Grandma and Juan Carlos:

Then there was poor Julio, who came home with a fever Tuesday after school; we drugged him with Tylenol so he could go see his "cousin" play. He woke up Wednesday morning worse (go figure), but he still wanted to run for his school-so I drugged him again and he went and ran/walk 13 laps. What a trooper!

I was greatly discouraged when we got home and lo-and-behold, what do I find in Juan Carlos's backpack but yet ANOTHER fundraising opportunity-this time selling cookie dough and wrapping paper.


Coupon books, jog-a-thons, silent auction dinners, cookie dough-make it stop!

Anyway, later that afternoon (poor Julio still under the effects of the fever reducing drug), we had cub scouts: we took a hike on a trail to pick up trash. I know, I know, I'm super hot in my cub scouts shirt.

But, I do have to mention here how much I'm enjoying being a den leader-it's so fun. The boys are cute and it's only an hour a week-how hard is that? Janice was right-it's a great calling to have.


Julio still sick; Margarita comes home with a fever and a sore throat.


I take both both kids to the doctor, despite the fact that Julio is markedly better, and after one quick whiff of Julio's breath he diagnoses them both with strep. Ok-how guilty did I feel for letting Julio run in the Jog-a-thon?


More soccer. Speedy Juan Carlos, who tends to shy away from the ball, sprinted his heart out to catch an opponent quickly approaching their goal and stopped him. His teammates were full of high-5's and celebratory chest bumps and instantly dubbed him "Lightning Bolt" which supposedly he "hates". He's retold the story 100 times this weekend- about how it was the same as scoring a goal since he stopped one. So cute.

Now if I could just get my act together and do a mini-posts during the week I wouldn't feel like such a lame blogger.

The dog's coming in 6 days. Help!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Officially a Soccer Mom (I think)

Just wanted you all to know I experienced an American first today: I went to Julio's and Juan Carlos's first soccer games. In my minivan, of course.

Are there any other requirements for being a "soccer mom" that I don't know about?

Unfortunately, both teams lost. :( Julio scored the only goal for his team, so at least there's that. For the most part the parents behaved-only a few who got a little too excited with calls made against their sons.

All and all, a fun time!

Next time I have to take orange slices (maybe then I'll be a true soccer mom?).

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Did I mention that I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant?

Wouldn't that be funny? It would explain my lack of posting...

No, I'm not really pregnant, but we do have a little "bundle of joy" arriving two weeks from tomorrow who will likely cause me as much work as a newborn.


We've come full circle here, folks. We started our marriage out with dogs, then we moved on to kids, and now, I guess, we're back to dogs (well, just "dog" for the foreseeable future, if I have any say in it, which I probably don't).

This one's all Guapo's doing. He's the dog guy. I've been holding him at bay for 9 years thanks to our "apartment living" and "frequent travels". We always told the kids we'd get a dog when we moved back to the US, and here.we.are. But it's not really the kids who want the dog-they are cat people thanks to years of my brainwashing. It's all Gaupo. (And guess who gets to get up at 5 am to let the little guy out? I've paid my dues over the last 12 1/2 years, thank you very much.)

Have I mentioned we have new furniture for the first time in our married life? Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Since he's a Brazilian Terrier, bread by a Brazilian here in Wisconsin, he will have a Portuguese name, chosen by Guapo. And that name is (drum roll please) "Cuecas" (pronounced quay-cuss). That means boy's or men's underwear in Portuguese.

Why, you ask? I'm asking the same thing. It is kind of fun to say I guess, but really, who names their dog "Underwear" ?

Margarita says she's just going to lie about what it means there aren't a lot of Portuguese speakers around here. That's probably a good idea.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What I thought of Mockingjay

So I finally finished Mockingjay after just over 1,347 normal interruptions of daily life.

I'm assuming you've read it, so if you haven't and plan to, you might want to stop reading now.

For the most part, I loved it. I know it wasn't the feel-good ending of say Harry Potter, but I thought it was realistic. Warm and fuzzy? No at all. But, probably truer to life. I was glad Katniss ended up with Peeta despite the fact that Gale was still alive. That was the warm-fuzzy of the book for me-that she decided that what she needed to survive was to be with someone with a more optimistic outlook; someone who believed that life could possibly be good again on some level despite all of the horror that they'd seen and losses that they'd suffered.

Katniss had a different attitude and played a less stable role than in the first two books-but really, who wouldn't be seriously messed up after having participated in two rounds of the Hunger Games? Who wouldn't contemplate suicide or need to be occasionally drugged? She was a broken, flawed character and I love broken and flawed characters.

I thought that both sides ended up "bad" was also true to life-justifying one's actions based on the previous actions of your enemy-pretty realistic I'd say.

I sat and cried at the end not because I was happy that Katniss and Peeta ended up together (even though I was), but because I felt the kind of sadness that I feel when someone's external circumstances makes it virtually impossible for them to live the remainder of their life without feeling the continual pain and sorrow that their memories bring to them. Margarita came in to the room in a tizzy, "Did someone die? Who died?" For me, the tragedy was that all the characters seemed emotionally, physically, and spiritually broken and that the healing process seemed so lengthy and difficult; like even though they had "won" the war, they still kind of lost. Their children had gained much improved lives-but for the remainder of their lives they would be haunted by what they went through. I don't say that as a criticism of the book, I liked it-it all seemed very real to me.

Here's what I didn't like-I thought that despite the gruesome subject matter, the first two books did a pretty good job of not being super violent. The third was completely different for me. I found it to be over-the-top in that department. Maybe the author was making a statement on war, which is fine, but I felt like it was a little unfair to get all of the tween-agers hooked on the first two milder books and then end with such violence.

I always know I've read a great page turner when I'm having problems getting into my next book-I'm definitely experiencing that right now.

Friday, August 27, 2010

We interupt my latest obsession... bring you this brief post.

The first two in the series I think I read pretty much in one sitting, but thanks to my new life of non-luxury, I just can't do it. I'm telling myself that I've matured and that I'm just savoring it, but it's just a lie-I've got too much else going on.

When I was complaining about all the housework were you thinking to yourselves, "just wait until school and activities start, hehehe,"?

Oh my goodness. How do you people find the time to blog?

I'm not one to over schedule my kids-we've got some piano lessons, soccer practices, cub scouts and Young Women activities and I feel like I'm drowning. Have you ever been in one of those whirlpool things that is shaped like a donut and it sucks you around and around and around and you have to cling to the exit to pull yourself out of the rushing water? That's kind of what my days feel like.

Oh well, it's all good.

The transitions is going nicely I think-it's always difficult, but I think we're through the worst of it now.

Margarita-7th grade

She's definitely coming in at a difficult age. And coming from an international school where kids are used to lots of comings and goings and people are always looking for new friends, to a US public school where most of the kids have been together for a while is tough. She feels like no one is really looking for new friends. And the size difference is tough as well-her class in Brazil had around 50 students-her PE class her has 47!

But, she's got a great attitude and will survive.

It is funny to hear her talk about how well behaved the kids are here compared to in Brazil and how teachers here tend to be able to control their classes, despite the large class sizes, much better thank in her old school. Unless you've lived there that probably sounds strange, but Ballerina Girl will know just what I'm talking about.

Julio-4th grade

He had a few rough days at the beginning but now he's got friends in the neighborhood and feels pretty comfortable. He loves being independent and riding his bike to and from school. He has a kind teacher who doesn't raise her voice and that's just what he needs after his somewhat different experience last year.

He started piano, reluctantly, yesterday and starts soccer next week. My brother gave him about 5,000 of his old baseball cards and now they are all over the house being "sorted out". Thanks, bro!

Juan Carlos-2nd Grade

He's doing great. He's got a teacher who's basically a rock star at their school, everyone wants her as their child's teacher; she's already sent him two cards in the mail and one nice note home. He was sick on Monday, so of course, being the rock star that she is, she called to check on him. She told me that they had moved desks that day and that the kids were allowed to make a request of someone they wanted to sit by; she said she had close to 15 people that wanted to sit by Juan Carlos and she thought it was so funny because he wasn't even there that day for them to be reminded of him.

That's Juan Carlos.

He started soccer this week and starts piano next and wants a different friend over everyday for play dates.


Pedro loves his preschool and so far his teachers think he's the cat's meow.

Wait til he comments on their "bouncy" bottoms!

Well, I've got 15 minutes until the kiddos come storming in.

Back to my book...

(have a great weekend!)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pedro Zings His Parents

Pedro's a real charmer these days.

He saw a wedding photo of us a couple of days ago and asked who the man was next to me. When I answered that it was "dad" he said, "What? He has a new face!" He called Guapo over and showed him-"Look dad, you had a new face. Seriously." (yes, he did say "seriously").

Since he didn't fail to recognize the me of fourteen years ago, I was feeling pret-ty good about myself.

Until this morning when he was nudging me in the behind and I asked, "Why are you poking my bottom?" and he answered, "Because it's bouncy."

Maybe he meant "perky"?

That's what I'm telling myself at least.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blasted Lunches

Juan Carlos and Julio start school tomorrow.

After three years of having my kids eat a wonderful lunch at school, it's back to packing them. I made the boys pack them tonight. At this point, I think it's probably more trouble to make them do it, but I just didn't have it in me. That's not good the night before the FIRST day of school.

Woe is me...

Speaking of school-oh my were the supply lists LONG. This is our first experience with public schools-I'm used to buying a few pencils and pens and having everything else provided by the school. The kids' school supplies covered my dining room table and cost well over $100. I think I'll need a fork lift tomorrow to get the stuff into the classroom. Juan Carlos has to take 3 reams of copy paper; Julio has to take 48 pencils. Forty-eight pencils??? I'm truly surprised I didn't have to take in 1,200 rolls of toilet paper.

Oh well.

The organizing went well, thanks for asking. The movers unpacked the stuff and took the boxes away which is the only way to go. I worked myself silly that first day and finished about 80% of the job. I did 15% the next day leaving me with just 5% that I'm saving for when I'm uptight (organizing mellows me out). It all fit in the house, so that's good.

I'm off to put the kids back in bed, again (they've been going to bed around 11:00 pm, so 8:30 pm was a bit of a shock to the system).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Stuff

After waiting 2 months and one week, our stuff will be arriving tomorrow morning from Brazil. Remember the one hundred boxes of stuff?

And, just as I predicted, I don't really want the stuff anymore. I don't need the stuff anymore. We're doing just fine without the stuff. I mean, sure, the kids are whining about having no toys, but other than that we're good. I don't really feel like caring for 100 boxes worth of stuff that's just going to clutter up our house and make it even harder for me to keep things nice and tidy.

Oh well. Not like I can refuse delivery, eh?

I have missed one item though. Any ideas on what that might be?

My three-hole punch. I like to organize things into folders and it's been a real bear with my hand-held punch.

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

See? I'm Trying to Be a Good Blogger

Two days in a row after two months of blogging inactivity.

Margarita left for Girls' Camp today. It was so fun to see her with her new friends all excited at the church this morning before they took off for 3 days of camping in Wyoming. I have to say, the 12 year olds were way more enthusiastic than say, the 14 year olds. The 14's and up were a little too cool for school. So, I think Margarita should just stay a 12 year old forever.

Poor thing got stung by a vengeful wasp on Sunday evening. Right on the eyelid-ouch. Initially it didn't swell, but by Monday morning she looked like this:

Poor thing, she wore sunglasses for two days straight.
We will miss her the next few days.
I went to a yoga class today; I got a bad case of the giggles (while the room was dead silent, of course) when the instructor said in her soft, soothing, yoga voice, "breath into the sleeping pigeon."

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Enough's Enough

Ok, no more excuses. I've been here for 6 weeks now.

Yes, there's laundry.

Yes, there are dirty floors, toilets, and windows.

Yes, there are meals to be cooked.

But there always will be-so I must return to blogging so as to please my fans (ok, really just my mom) and to record a bit of our new life.


The kids are adjusting nicely; it's been like watching little baby birds attempt flight the last month. They have lived with constant adult supervision their whole lives, so to be here, where they can ride their bikes around the neighborhood without me is something completely novel.

The flip-side of that is that they are adjusting to living in a house without a guard and with so many bar-less doors and windows; it's taking some time for them to feel comfortable in the house, especially at night. I don't blame them, all they've ever known are apartments that have had security. I just find it ironic that after having lived in Caracas, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro, they feel unsafe in a small town in Colorado.

The other day Margarita commented about the mailboxes. "I can't believe people don't just steal the mail-I mean-it's just out there in the open!" I've never thought of that, but it's true. She's grown up with a totally different perspective of the world. We had the missionaries over tonight for dinner and she and Julio sat and told them stories about watching favela drug raids from their classrooms in Rio. The missionaries' eyes got HUGE as they described the hovering police helicopters shooting down into the favela before their very eyes.


I'm feeling less overwhelmed with the house responsibilities-the kitchen is clean for the most part when I go to bed at night and I'm keeping up with the laundry (for now). I've even read a few books and have been running fairly consistently. And once the kids go to school in a couple of weeks, I may have a tad bit of free time. Although I do miss some things about having a maid, it is wonderful to have my house all to myself. I do try to channel her energy when I have to tackle the bathrooms though. :)

I have been called to be a cub scouts den leader in our new ward. After years of avoiding Janice's posts on cub scouts (telling myself that if I didn't read them, I would never have to be involved), fate has caught up with me. She even emailed me within days of our arrival here telling me to let her know when I needed Cub Scout information (ummm, never?). Sure, enough, days later I was asked to be a den leader.

It will definitely be a learning experience...


Kitty and Ron are in heaven with our yard. Kitty caught a baby bunny the other day. :( I found just the head in the boys' closet. Not pleasant. She sat in one spot the rest of the day with a distended belly and a smile on her face.

Pedro told everyone in his nursery class his first day that instead of "Pedro" his name was actually "Paulo" causing many a raised eyebrow and comments like, "Wow, you're going to have your hands full with that one."

Tell me something I didn't know.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Quick Update From a Thoroughly Haggered Woman

You're going to have to forgive my blogging habits this summer.

You see, I totally underestimated what it would take to take care of a household on my own. The laundry, the floors, the cooking; so many things I haven't had to worry my pretty little head about for eons, like:

1) my kids spilling stuff on the floor, I used to be like, "no biggie, I run a cloth over it and then the maid will mop later"

2) my kids putting practically clean clothes into the hampers-now I'm pulling stuff out like crazy to cut down on the constant stream of laundry.

3) my trash-now I've got different bins-compost, recycles, trashy trash and a designated trash day with the compost and recyclables being picked up every other week. And if I have extra trash I have to either leave it until the following week or pay extra! Never thought about these things before-I used to just stick whatever I wanted into the hall and it would disappear like magic.

4) finger prints and dirty floors as far as the eye can see.

The really bad thing about ending my overseas life with a good maid is that I want my house clean, I'm used to my house clean-I don't want to live in a sty. I even had to iron this week (gasp!). I got so used to having my shorts and jeans pressed that I had to do it. Previously my "iron" was better known as my dryer. I could probably count the number of times I have ironed in my life on one hand.

I know I'll adjust. (right?) It's got to be harder during summer as well (right?). I've got the kids home all day wanting to be entertained, there's the lawn that needs tended to, and Guapo's back in Brazil for 2 1/2 weeks. So, it can only get easier when school starts, fall comes, and Guapo's here. (right? please, please, please tell me I'm right)

Anyway. Review time.

Much Appreciated Help

Last week we had our first visitors. Guapo's brother and his two oldest boys came out to visit us for a few days just to help around the house and the yard. How awesome is that? And help they did. The biggest job they tackled was the garage which had become a veritable dump. It got to the point where I just opened the garage door from the inside of the house and would huck my garbage onto the quickly growing pile of trash and cardboard. No room for cars, bikes or anything-just trash.

Here's a before with the brothers working on taking down some of the cupboards:

The Home Depot truck they rented to take the trash to the dump (we didn't have any rope to hold stuff on, so they used some wrapping ribbon)

And my car that they used to haul the cardboard:

Here are the "afters", notice both cars parked in the garage and we have room for bikes and such:

Much, much better!

For fun they boys and the kids fished for crawfish in the lake.

Juan Carlos (7 yrs old), who is all about hunting, fishing and catching his own "meat" to feed on these days, begged to eat the crawfish that they caught. In order to realize his dream (and those of the other kids, whom he had gotten excited about his plan), Guapo made them each commit to eat a certain number of crawfish and then he prepared them for them. (I know, disgusting)

We had several left over (imagine that) that Guapo's brother cleverly lined up in the fridge and freezer with their little faces looking right at me to freak me out when I opened the doors. Thank you, Estefano.

Sixteen Days

On our Gaupo family blog, someone posted a survey asking how long it would be until the wimpy "Brazilians" posted about how cold it was here.

The correct answer was "sixteen days". The 4th of July was FREEZING here-in the 50's and it rained the entire night. The kids were sure they saw snow flurries about every five minutes. That didn't stop the die hards of my parents' neighborhood-they had the grill going under a tent and they were lighting stuff off until we just couldn't take it any longer.

I only took one photo because I didn't want to have my camera out in the rain:

More House Photos

Here's our loft area that we turned into an office space. I love it-so peaceful:

And, we now have patio furniture to enjoy the beautiful evenings here (except for the rare nights like the 4th):

All in All

Despite all of the work and the utter lack of free time to play piano and read to my hearts content, I am loving being here. This is the first time in our almost 14 years of marriage that we have moved somewhere "permanently"-we always knew in the seven other places that it would be for a relatively short period of time- and this feels like it's just too good to be true. I love the house, the neighborhood, being near family, the close proximity to schools, shopping, church, and recreational activities, the running trails and the mountains.

But again, I apologize for being a bad blog friend. I will get my act together at some point and be visiting you all shortly. ;) And I know I need a new header-but at this point I don't know what to put there. I don't want it to be a picture of a vacuum cleaner or a heap of dirty laundry, but that would be fairly representative of my new life. I've got to come up with something better.

Just as soon as I sweep the floors (again!) and fold a load of laundry...