Tuesday, December 20, 2011

When being "cool" really just means being "cold"

Umm, I haven't posted for a while.  Blogger's all different.  Not sure I like it.  Hmmmm. I see I can now strike through my words with ease.  And change font color? or background color?  Maybe I do like it.  We'll see.

So.  My fifth grader, Julio, is a relatively cool kid as far as fifth graders go.  What this currently entails is wearing summer clothing despite the fact that we are well into winter in these parts.   If it's below 32 we've got a deal where he wears pants to school over his shorts and then strips down once he's there.  I haven't seen his winter coat all season-if it's really cold he wears a sweatshirt.  We got in a big "discussion" a couple of weeks ago because it was 3 degrees out (windchill below 0) and he was headed to basketball practice-I told him to put some pants on over his shorts and he freaked, "Stop treating me like a baby-I'M ELEVEN!!!"

And showing such good judgement, what was I thinking?

Yesterday I was taking the kids over to my mom's to decorate Christmas cookies.  It was probably in the high 30's.  He started to head out to the car in a t-shirt, shorts and BARE FEET.  I mean, why should he wear shoes? He was just going to remove them the second he got in to the house so, really, what's the point of wearing them in the car?


If he starts acting like a teenager 2 years early-does that mean he'll come out of it 2 years sooner or will I just have 2 extra years of it?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Confirming My Suspicions

Walking in heels for me is not a comfortable task. I've never been good at it-but I had hoped that after 37 years of life maybe it wasn't too noticeable and I wasn't too awkward. Is it asking too much that after 10 years of life in Latin America where all the women seem to don heals to go to the grocery store and school functions-that just a little of that would rub off on me? Just a teeny, itty-bitty bit?

Today, as I was walking through the hall at church, a older woman was coming towards me and after watching me for a second, cocked her head to the side and said, "Oh honey, what did you do? Are you hurting?"

Apparently, it is that noticeable and I am that awkward.


Oh well-I think I'd better console myself with some new (non-high heel) shoes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Basking the the Adoration of a Four Year Old

Today in the grocery store I ran in to my friend from Columbia. We chit-chatted in Spanish for a few minutes. When we were done Pedro asked me what language I was speaking (he has obviously abandoned his Mexican roots).

I told him I was speaking Spanish to which he replied (with awe in his little voice), "How do you know everything, Mom?"

If only it could last another 15 years...

Monday, November 07, 2011


Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Snow

A couple of weeks ago we had our first flurries:

We were excited, but today we woke up to this:

Nice, huh?

Except that it was a really heavy, wet snow that brought down a lot of branches. My parents had some serious tree fatalities. :(

This afternoon we made this:

Margarita wanted a "traditional" winter snowman-but I finally convinced her that a Halloween snowman would be so much funnier given the date. Poor Pedro's worried his costume's going to be stolen tonight. It's so cold out though, I really doubt it (and if it is, I really hope there's another one at Target).

Here's Juan Carlos "holding" our little Snow Vader.

The funny thing about Colorado is-the snow will all be gone by tomorrow afternoon and the sun will be out. I love it!

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Back With My Peeps

I don't know how another two weeks have flown by. Nothing very blog-worthy has happened-just a blur of running from soccer, football, and swimming practices and games. Soccer has come to an end-Juan Carlos had the goal of the season last weekend as he headed the ball into the goal. Poor Pedro had the croup and missed a week of school but is doing better now.

The biggest event of the last two weeks is that I was released as a counselor in the Relief Society (woman's organization) at church and was put back in with the 8 and 9 year old Cub Scouts which is what I did last year from August through December and I loved it. It's grown a little since then-instead of three boys now we have nine.

I'm happy to be back with my den for many reasons:

1) Very few planning meetings
2) Three one-hour den meetings a month-you get a week off every month for pack meeting. We've got three adults-so we're each going to be in charge of ONE den meeting a month (totally manageable)
3) No den meetings over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break
4) It's a great program with tons of ideas out there for help
5) I get to have fun with Juan Carlos who thinks it's awesome him mom is one of the leaders
6) 8 and 9 year old boys are super easy to please-not a lot of complaining if you put a little effort into your meetings
7) The program, which requires continual record keeping and advancement, fulfills my organizational needs to organize, plan ahead, and keep meticulous records.

This week we went to a local pumpkin patch.

I love my cubs!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Fall, Fall, Fall

Another week has flown by. I would have posted earlier (ummm, sure...), but Margarita has been heavily involved with her science fair project until late every night which involves using my laptop because the "family" computer has a dinosaur version of Word (according to her).

Fall Colors

Last Friday Pedro, Guapo, and I went up to the mountains to check on our lovely house that we no longer are able to use due to soccer games, football games, basketball games, swim meets and such. So we decided to take the afternoon and go just for a couple of hours so we didn't miss the leaves (like last year).

It was beau-ti-ful.

Guapo loves this picture that he took; I think I have lion hair:

Remember Quakey? Yes, we still have him.

Fall Sports

After being drug to his siblings organized sporting events for the last year, Pedro has been looking forward to his chance to shine. I finally gave in and signed him up for "PeeWee Soccer". It was a pretty lame program run by college age girls that were more interested in their iPhones than the cute little 4 and 5 year olds (you can feel the enthusiasm in the photos below). But, finally, in their last two practices, instead of playing freeze tag (a critical element of any serious soccer program), they actually had a little scrimmage.

Pedro rocked!

Look at him going in for this goal-and against 2 goalies nonetheless:

So cute.

Fall Grapes

We have great grapes in our backyard. People far and wide (in our neighborhood) talk about the wonderful grapes they've eaten over the years from our yard. Unfortunately, Guapo trimmed them back so far that we only got like 6 this year (we each got one). Fortunately, our neighbor didn't trim his back and therefore had a bumper crop that he had no interest in harvesting.

Here's Guapo picking them (didn't you know grapes grew on trees?)

Just look at these babies:

This is pretty much all we did last weekend:

We made 5 1/2 gallons of juice that is de-li-cious. I am now making grape jelly from the juice. I tell you, I'm a domestic goddess. And, there are still more grapes out there. (Guapo doesn't know it yet, but he's going back up the ladder when he gets home. I'm not letting them go to waste.)

Fall Obsession

I'm still pretty big into my food storage kick these days. I figure it just makes good sense what with food prices constantly on the rise. I'll have you know that today I took a Sharpie and wrote the expiration date so it would be easily visible on each of my 56 boxes of cereal. And then I alphabetized them.

It made me *so* happy.

I hope you're all enjoying your fall and that you have a great weekend. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

5 Posts for the Price of 1

I'm still here. Dang blog. Had I been a good little blogger the last few weeks I would have posted no fewer than 5 times! Unfortunately, I'm a not a good little blogger...here they are anyway:

Food Swap

I had a post planned two weeks ago-and it never happened. I was going to show you what my kitchen looks like on Tuesdays:

Pretty bad, huh?

Since January I've been doing a food swap with another family in our ward. I take her family of 6 (with no food allergies) dinner Tuesday night, and she brings us food on Wednesday nights. (It seems a minor miracle to NOT have food allergies here where we live-is it that way everywhere now or is there something wrong here?)

Let's just say Wednesday is awesome and Tuesday kind of sucks.

Having a warm meal delivered to your door is perfectly delightful; coming up with recipes that are new and exciting and worthy to be shared with friends once a week is stressful. Not to mention the preparation and clean up.

That's a lot of dishes!

Preparing homemade baked manicotti for last week's swap gave me an idea for another post...

My Food Processor Finally Comes Out of the Closet (and box)

Long ago, when we lived in Small Town, Mexico, I went through a freezer meal obsession. I purchased a food processor and had it sent to New Orleans where they were supposed to stick it on a boat that was coming down to Small Town. Instead, the new guy in the mail room just sent it down in the mail and we ended up having to pay about twice what I paid for it in customs (grrrr).

I never even opened it up until last week when I was making sauce for the manicotti (ground beef and pepperoni ground up together-interesting).

New things scare me. I remember when I first got an ipod-it sat in a drawer for 6 months before I opened it.

It worked great. Today I made pesto with fresh basil out of my garden. How domestic am I?

On to the next would-be post...

7 Kids=Chaos

My friend had her 4th baby last week. Her 3 other kids, ages 8, 5 and 19 months, came and stayed with us for a couple of nights. These kids are great kids (believe me you, I don't offer to do extended babysitting very often), and I was EXHAUSTED! Like falling asleep on the couch at 9 pm with my clothes on exhausted.

Here are a couple of shots of my house...

Next post...

Pedro, Always the Charmer

I hope this was due to the fact that my friend had her baby last week, but I can't really be certain...

Pedro came up to me the other night and put his hand on my stomach and asked if I had a baby in there because my stomach, according to him, "is big".

Time to lay off on the Blue Bell ice cream.

And last but not least...

Bishop Guapo

Guapo was called to be the new bishop of our ward last Sunday. That makes me a "bishop's wife", which to me conjures up images of someone MUCH older (and slightly nicer) than I am. Oh well. So, I've been spending a lot of time coming to grips with what that means for our family for the next 5 or 6 YEARS. I need to simplify things as much as I can around here in order to remain sane (note to self: this does not mean neglecting my blog).

(For those of you who aren't LDS, our church doesn't have a paid clergy-every position in our congregation is fulfilled by a "regular" person in our 300 member ward. A bishop is the person in charge of the ward and it's kind of like taking on a part-time job in addition to going to his regular job. It will require anywhere from 15-30 hours a week of service. A bishop doesn't have a set "term" but it is normally around 5 years-our last bishop was in for just over 6 years)

He'll do a great job. And don't worry-I'll never again refer to him as Bishop Gaupo on my blog.

He's still just Gaupo to me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oozing with Enthusiasm

I didn't mention Juan Carlos (8 yrs) the other day-he has no hair issues at this time (or girl issues, thank goodness).

But, I must say-the child lights up like 100W bulb when he's excited. People always comment on this aspect of his personality (and physiology). It's like his face actually lights up-like one of those glow worm toys. If you know him-you know exactly what I'm talking about. You can't help but smile when you see him like that.

Saturday was his first soccer game. He had fun playing last year and improved a lot-but he never scored during a game. Saturday he was fast, he always seemed to be near the ball, and he SCORED TWO GOALS!

The best part of that was watching him run down the field after he scored with a huge grin on his glowing face (it's also the best part because I didn't get a picture of him scoring an actual goal).

Remember how I said Julio hasn't gotten hurt yet playing football (and I very clearly knocked on wood)? Well, he got a helmet to the knee in the first five minutes of his game on Saturday and sat the game out. He's ok now. It was probably for the best-the smallest kid on the other team was bigger than him (Julio's one of the biggest on his team). A lot of big, tough boys. I was perfectly fine having him on the sideline with a bruise. :)

Fall is crazy-but it's fun watching the kiddos!

Friday, September 09, 2011

My Boys and Their Hair

Hi there! Remember me? That's ok if you don't, I don't blame you. I've been on a relaxing, unannounced blogcation. We're all fine here-I have no excuse besides having 4 active children and not a real good grip on keeping everything and everyone under control.

But, the annoying thing about the blog is that it never stops bothering me. I tried at least 4 or 5 times to declare myself a non-blogger but it never quite takes. So, here I am, for how long-who knows? I could go AWOL again at any moment.

I hope you all had a great summer. Didn't it go fast?

Julio (almost 11) finally wore us down and is now playing tackle football. I spend most of his games flinching as I wait for him to be knocked silly. His team is on the smallish size-so even though he's just under 80 lbs he's the 5th biggest on his team. Because of this, he always has to play on the line against boys that honestly look twice his size. He's remained unscathed so far (knocking on wood...)

But this post is about hair. Julio's got some awesome hair-thick, wavy, dark brown hair that apparently the 5th grade girls love. He came home the first day of school and told me, with a sly little smile on his face, that at one point during the day no fewer than 8 girls surrounded him and asked him to "flip" his hair like Justin Beiber does (which "flip" he has perfected-I've seen him practicing in front of the bathroom mirror).

By the next day it must have gotten old because he came home asking Guapo to take him to get a buzz. The reason? He needed to make himself "less attractive to the girls". Of course when Guapo called his bluff and grabbed the car keys he changed his mind in a jiffy.

Oh how that one's going to give us problems...

Remember Pedro? He's 4 1/2 now if you can believe it. He goes to the same preschool as he did last year-his teacher adores him there. I'm grateful for that everyday because I can see how a person could go either way with him. He's still quite the handful.

Remember his beautiful curly baby hair?

It lasted for quite a while, but recently I had noticed that it was looking pretty nappy. He was finally ready for a big boy cut. :(

Here he is all proud of his new do:

After the cut, he told me, "I like myself like this!"

I'm glad Julio and Pedro don't have self-confidence issues... :)

Have a great weekend. Hopefully I'll be back next week.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Survived

I survived the 2011 Southern California Ragnar race. Our team of 12 successfully ran 202 miles from Huntington Beach to Coronado Island in San Diego.

We flew out all together Thursday afternoon and got settled in in our hotel in Newport Beach. The six of us from our ward left behind our adoring husbands and 24 kids. It was strange to be without all the kiddos so we celebrated our short-lived independence by jumping on the beds a little:

We also had to get our vans ready-each team has 12 people (except for those "ultra" teams that do it with just 6-crazy!), so you divide into two groups of 6 and each group has an 15-seater van that they basically live in for the duration of the race. The ladies in my van were all from my ward and all great gals. Here's the side of our van:

Our team name was "Sea Level is for Sissies", borrowed from the Bolder Boulder (a local 10K) a few years back. The sea level dwellers didn't really care for our name (I can't imagine why) and the few who passed us (did I mention how awesome we were?) made a point of asking us, "So how's sea level feeling now?" Oh well. It was really hot which obviously outweighed any oxygen benefits we may have had.

The night before the race began all 12 of us ate like pigs at the Spaghetti Factory (love that mizithra cheese and the spumoni). Guapo's sister, who lives in the "OC", was kind enough to join us and to listen to all of our pre-race fears and dreams. She's expecting her first baby in 6 weeks or so-the first girl in 10 grand kids!

We got settled in for the night and tried not to think about all the running we would do during the next 24 hours.

In the morning we filled up on breakfast at the hotel and headed out to register. We were the second van, so the other 6 started the race around 7 that morning. Here we are before my first leg (I was runner #7, so I was the first runner of our van)

Because the other van started in Huntington and ran inland, by the time we stared running we were nowhere near the ocean, or more importantly, the nice ocean breeze, and it was HOT. Like 90 degrees hot-not quite what we had trained in. My first run was 7.3 miles and I started getting goose bumps when I hit mile 3-not good. But, I finished it in decent time and re-hydrated while I rested and cheered on the other 5 in our van (so happy that I got to go first and have it over with).

I felt great after the first leg and we started making plans for next year's race. A veteran of Ragnar races on our team told us to wait and see how we felt after the second leg...

We all soon realized how important these little babies were:

It seemed that we all knew who had gone, who needed to go right now, who would need to go soon, and who couldn't go (a very sad state to be in). I hate porta potties (Pedro calls them "torta potties") but I learned to appreciate them (kind of) during the 30 hours of the race.

Our van finished our first leg and handed off to the second van near Lake Elsinore. We had about 5 hours to kill, so we went out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. Did you know in California they are required to put how many calories things have on the menus? Wow-that's a drag-probably smart, but dang, you could easily put away 2,000 calories with an appetizer, drink, and main dish-without even thinking about a desert.

After dinner we wanted to go see a chick flick, but there was nothing good at the theaters so we went to Trader Joe's instead and loaded up on a bunch of their fun treats. The Sea Level Sissies (ie the locals) didn't particularly care for our outfits mocking their lack of elevation. Oh well.

Then we headed to our next exchange to wait for the arrival of the van 1 runner who would hand off to me. We all got out our sleeping bags and tried to sleep but I just couldn't-the second run of my leg was horrible-a huge hill, 8.2 miles (that we found out later was actually just over 9 miles), and at night in the dark-spooky.

Not that you care, but so that I remember it, here's the profile of my second leg-icky!

So, thinking about that huge hill-I couldn't really sleep. I did visit the porta potties a couple of times and listened as other runners came in and were talking about how creepy it was to run in the dark with very few people around- so very helpful.

Finally, it was time for me to run. Here I am with some of my peeps (I'm the one with the headlight)

That leg was a beast. The hill was so long and so steep and so dark. And near the top, when I felt like dying, there was a guy standing off the road in the shadows-no car in sight, no flashlight or anything-just standing there. That really freaked me out. I mean, how easy would it be for some sick-o to look up the course maps and know just where to be-by the later legs it's so spread out-a lot of the time there was no one else around me that I could see.

So, I made it up that beast of a hill-I did walk a teeny-tiny bit while I rearranged my clothing (my long sleeve shirt got way too hot)-but it wasn't much. The downhill was FAST. I had been so concentrated on that first hill when I was studying the course map I didn't even notice the second 1.5 mile hill-much smaller, but very painful completing the first one.

I felt like crap (if I could use a stronger word I would) after the second leg and wondered why I had ever thought this would be fun...

I was in and out of the van for a while trying to decide if I was going to throw up or not. My stomach finally calmed down and I curled up in my sleeping bag in the van and slept through a couple of the other runner's legs-bad teammate.

We handed off to the other van around 3:00 am and had a little more than 5 hours before we had to start running again (yuck!). We got a hotel near our next exchange-everyone had to decide if they were going to shower and then sleep or sleep and then shower. Since I was near comatose when we arrived at the hotel, I chose the latter option. We slept from 3:30 to 7:30-a whopping 4 hours-but it felt so nice. I even got my own bed.

When I woke up the last thing I wanted to that day was run again. I was exhausted.

Before we started the race, we decided as a team to even things out since my leg was 25.2 miles and the next closest runner from our van had 20.0. So I traded off my last leg which would have been almost 10 miles for a 6 mile leg. I was very grateful that morning that we had traded. I kind of felt like a wuss but I still ran just over 22 miles, and I felt so bad that morning, I just didn't care that much-at least not enough to trade back.

Here I am taking off at the start of my last leg-I looked a lot happier than I was feeling:

The great thing about it was that it was through La Jolla and went right along the beach for 3 of the 6 miles-it was gorgeous. But I was so tired and it was hot out again. It was pretty painful. And whereas my other legs were pretty much straight on the same road or path, this one had lots of turns and not a lot of signage-so I was scared for a lot of the run that I was going the wrong way and was tacking on extra mileage-not what I needed. But, I ended in the right place and was DONE.

What a great feeling.

Everyone else finished their legs up; here is our team at the finish line on the beach in Coronado:

and the six that were in our van:

We ate dinner at In 'n Out, sat in the hot tub and went to bed at 9:30. When the alarm went off at 6:30 it felt like the middle of the night. I was so tired. And sore. I flew home that morning and made it to church that afternoon.

By Monday, amazingly, I was hardly sore.

I've woken up almost every night wondering when my next leg starts and if I'm in the right place.

We're planning our next race and are thinking of inviting our husbands to join us...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring in Colorado

Was I just complaining about no snow?

That's spring in Colorado-I took the pictures this morning and now it's up to 50 and most of it is melted. Crazy.

Anyway, I'm headed to the airport to head off to California for my race. Do I feel ready? No. Am I scared? Yes.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Spring Obsession

No, I don't have Spring Fever.

In fact, quite the opposite.

I have this icky panicky feeling that winter is ending-after 10 years of perpetual summer, I'm not ready for summer to return. And it wasn't exactly what you'd call a satisfying winter here in Colorado, just a handful of snow storms (it is snowing right now as I type-so typical for Colorado-yesterday it was 80 degrees-now it's in the low 30's-tomorrow it will be back up in the 60's). I have this fear that once winter is gone for good-it's won't return.

Anyway, I've realized something about myself-I think I go through the majority of my "obsessive episodes" during the spring.

Let's review: 2006 we were moving from Carmen to Mexico City-moving is always a huge project that lets me obsess to the nth degree for months beforehand.

In 2007 Pedro was born, I went through my Freezer Meal Frenzy and then we had another move-this time to Brazil.

I can't find any major obsessions during the spring of 2008. I did, however start making individual photo "yearbooks" for my three big kids that year-I think that qualifies as slightly obsessive.

In 2009 I went through the Great Photo Frenzy (still painful to think about-what a pain), I was training for a half-marathon, and continued with the photo books.

2010 was the move from Brazil to Colorado-much obsessing took place about our "stuff".

So, the topic of this year's obsessions? First- my big run coming up in less that two weeks. The last two Saturdays my lady friends and I have gone out for double runs- a seven-miler in the morning and a seven-miler in the afternoon. It's not fun but it has definitely increased my confidence that perhaps I can run 25.2 miles in less than a 24 hour period.

Who am I kidding? My heart is throbbing and my palms are sweating just thinking about it. I'm scared, people!

My second, and primary obsession this year is food storage. This is the first place we've lived as "adults" where it is feasible to store a substantial amount of food. So, over the past month I have:

-gotten out my bag sealer and sealed up many a Mylar pouch with flour, sugar, oats, beans, and pasta

-ordered an electric pressure cooker (now I'll be able to cook dried beans in a matter of a half an hour-I know you're jealous)

-ordered whole wheat for long term storage-a scary proposition that will eventually require the purchase of a wheat grinder

-ordered a 55 gallon drum for water along with some 5 gallon boxes

-tried to make homemade yogurt in my crockpot (it was a complete fail-I've got to try again)

-made blueberry muffins using bean puree instead of oil (don't make that face-they were good!)

-taken umpteen trips to Costco trying to get my pantry well stocked

And today (drum roll please...), I made an acceptable loaf of whole wheat bread using powdered milk and a homemade dough enhancer. I can't tell you how excited I am about this. I've tried bread so many times and it always comes out like a big disgusting brick.

Check it out:

Yay! It's soft and chewy and the kids will eat it.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Break Staycation Days 1-3

It's been a busy few days around here. The Staycation is going fairly well-despite one sick day spent at home organizing the boys' clothes and having the kids going stir crazy, we've spent some time at the Denver Science and Nature Museum, the Golden Train Museum, had a picnic in the park, and spent some time climbing trees.

But the real reason (I promise it wasn't to bore you with the details) for this post can be found in the last photo.

Blue Bell has made it's way to Colorado.

What a great day!

It's a good thing I'm running a lot...