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...

...to 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.