Friday, July 29, 2011

Why the Mistress?

I realize I never explained why our truck is called the Mistress. I'm sure you've lost sleep over it wondering and it makes me laugh so here it is:

This little anecdote is for all the people who think Dennis never does anything wrong (ha!) and for those that have told me they can never imagine me ever getting mad (double ha!).

I started calling her that (a truck that needy could only be a girl) one night as I lay in bed alone at 11pm, just days after Calista was born. Where was my husband, you might ask? Outside. Under the hood, covered in grease, just as he had been all day and most of the days he had taken off for his "paternity leave." I stormed outside and said, "Dennis! If I didn't know any better, I would swear you had a girlfriend. If there was a checklist for wives to go through on how to know when their husband is cheating, mine would be completely covered in angry little checkmarks! The way you never come to bed with me anymore, the way you're always daydreaming and distracted, the way you disappear anytime I turn around so you can come outside and get under the hood, the way you've stopped doing everything else you enjoy, the way you sit on your phone and computer for hours researching and ordering parts. I kid you not I'm about ready to take a sledge hammer to this thing!"

As my grandmother used to say, "Esa es mujer chilena!" That's also in case you were wondering what un-ladylike behavior I was referring to in my previous post.

That caught his attention real quick and after that he was sure he gave equal time to his wife and new baby as he was his Mistress, but the name stuck.

So there you have it. Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Mistress

Meet the Mistress. I've had a few people who live far away ask to see pictures of his truck so I thought I'd post them. I mentioned before that Dennis sold, what I called, his pretty-boy truck and bought this man's-man truck.

I had to laugh when a friend of mine saw the torn apart, truck with chipping paint sitting in our drive way and said, "Ummm...I thought Dennis sold his truck so he could get a better truck." I told her, "You don't understand. For Dennis, this is a much better truck."

For as much grief as I give him for the endless hours he spent laying under the truck working and for the grease he tracked into the house, I must admit that I was the one that egged him on to sell his truck and get something he liked better. When he found this one on Craigslist, and he told me he wanted to fufill his childhood dream of putting a Dodge Cummins engine in a four-door Ford, I naively thought that this would take a day or two and I told him I thought that was a great idea and to go for it.

A few days into the project, I asked him how much longer he had, thinking he would say "Oh...not too much longer."

He looked at me a little confused and said, "Sweetie, this will probably take at least 80 man hours to finish." His friend later corrected him saying it would actually probably take at least 90. I didn't know at the time but even that was a conservative estimate. I think the final tally came to well over 100 hours.

Needless to say, this truck took a very long time to finish and I had some very unlady-like moments during the process. Blame the post-baby hormones.

At one point, he had gutted out the entire motor and interior of the truck, including seats, window panels, everything. Looking at the truck from the front end you could look straight back, through the hollowed out truck and see the tail gate.

After a new motor, new paint job, new window tinting, fancy new gauges in the inside, and some other ingenious modifications that he made, the finished product is pretty awesome, if I can say so.

Putting the finishing touches on after it came back from being repainted.


(I think this picture is too generous. It looked pretty rough in real life with it's bubbling, blue window tint, and chipped paint.)


Dennis had to put this Cummins decal on as the finishing touch of his masterpiece to show what he had done.

Good job, Dennis! Once again, you amaze me with your ingenuity and your ability to do literally anything you put your mind to.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Calista's Baby Blessing

We had Calista blessed on July 3rd while we were on Utah. She was blessed with her cousin, Evelyn, Cristina's little girl. The day was hotter than Hades, at over 100 degrees, so Calista didn't really cooperate that day for baby pictures. I recently had to buy a new camera since our old one died and I've been dying to try it out. Calista, in the gorgeous blessing dress my mom bought her, was the perfect subject!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Favorite Things Party

Okay...I'll apologize ahead of time. This is by far my lengthiest blog post. I always like hearing about products that other people like, and after watching Oprah one day, I thought, "Hey, I should have one of those!" So I facebooked a bunch of friends and asked them to bring a treat to share and some of their favorite products that they can't live without so that we could get some ideas from each other on what's out there. I was surprised that we had about 20 ladies show up, but I did feel bad that they were all squished in my living room, many sitting on the floor. So sorry! (This picture doesn't have all the ladies that came.)

Here are pictures and short descriptions of what people brought:

At first glance this looks a little like the hairball your just cat coughed up, but Natalie swears by these scrubbing pads when cleaning. Buy them at the Dollar Store or the Avon Store. They start out round and tight, but even after they get matted after multiple cleanings, they still work great.

Joanne says Keens are her favorite brand of shoes. I would have to agree. Camden went through 5 pairs of shoes last year...yes 5. I kept buying Sketchers or other brands I thought would last, but nothing other than these babies proved to be a match for my little Camden. If you buy them on sale, they're cheaper than Sketchers. If you buy them at REI, their return policy is unbeatable.

Cindy said she likes this powder cleaner much better than Comet or Ajax. It can be a little hard to find, but well worth it when you do.

How did our mothers ever get by without these things? There's no toddler-invoked catastrophe this stuff can't clean. Enough said.

Stephanie, chef extraordinaire, loves this no-fail America's Test Kitchen cookbook that you can buy at Costco. All of the recipes have been extensively tried and tested.

Stephanie also claims this chapstick, which also can be a little harder to find, is better than the flavored tubes of wax that we call Chapstick.

Gretchen loves these bra strap holders that prevent the straps from sliding off your shoulder and making you look like the perpetual 7th grader, always tugging and adjusting. You can buy them at Kohl's for fairly inexpensive.

Gretchen says this Revlon Color Stay lipstick lives up to its claim to not rub off. Even her hubby's shirt collar is still white after a little smoochy, smoochy with Mr. Muscles (aka Donavon).

Rachelle and Cathy say they are able to clean and sanitize every surface and area of your house with these silver-infused cleaning wipes without using any chemicals, just water.

Cathy and Cindy love their Iphones. Now that Cindy's daughter, who she claims is her brain, is getting older and isn't always around, she depends on this to be her new brain. Cathy loves being able to download and listen to songs from dreamy Irish bands. She can also take professional quality pictures her husband to console herself that although she's not available to those Irish band members, she did pretty well with Derek.

Tyauna said she was thrilled to get rid of her Winnie the Pooh purse and finally get this one with interchangable covers to feel like a woman. (Tyaunna, I can't remember the name of the brand, but if you'll let me know, I'll add it)

Tyaunna brought this Shark vaporized cleaner sanitizes and cleans your floors with just water. The water heats in just 15 seconds. Many of the women present agreed that they love this machine. Dennis, if you're reading this, take note for Christmas.

Tessa, who always looks fabulously fashionable, brought this purse with matching wallet. (Sorry Tessa, I think I was gabbing to someone else when you said the name of the brand and where you bought it. If you'll let me know any additional details, I'll add them)

Tessa also loves the Bare Minerals foundation which she says is light, long-lasting, and actually improves your skin quality as you wear it.

This eyeshadow is also a Bare Minerals product which looks like a tube of lip gloss, but has the eyeshadow powder in the tube. Tessa and Cathy claim this outlasts any other eyeshadow they've tried.

Cynthia made Calista this adorable tag blanket. It's pretty genius if you ask me. Since babies love the texture of the borders of blankets, this one has multiple textures and types of borders, sewn on as the tags. Thanks, Cynthia!!!

Angie made a good point about these Cutco knives. She said you would never send your husband to work without the right tools to his job in the workplace, so you should have the right tools to do YOUR job in the kitchen. Very good point, I must say. Although they are pricey, they are well worth the investment because of the quality and warranty behind the product. She swears you won't regret it.

Angie says she hated flossing before she discovered these. They are inexpensive and so easy to use that your kids don't mind using them. Ahhh-mazing!

The Va-Va-Voom, Super Sexy Holli loves this Hawaiian tropic tanning creme that doesn't leave funky smells or streaks. (How do you like that name I came up with for you, Holli? Admit's true.)

Staci loves the Wet and Wild lip gloss that is only 99 cents and wears really well. The awesomest thing she brought was a 2 inch, little, green, plastic alien, to announce her services as the new Sci-Fi guru of the neighborhood. And she means it! That's so awesome. Phooey, I didn't get a picture of the alien!

Andra uses this to straighten wrinkles out of her clothes with just a simple spray. Hmmm...maybe that's the trick to how Andra always looks so flawless.

These Almond Joy Pieces are heaven. Andra, I thank you for introducing me to these, but my waistline and butt don't.

Kris says these baby wipes from Costco are great for cleaning stinky baby bums, but also for sponge baths when camping, cleaning grass stains from pants, and a host of other purposes. Well da-gum! (My boys have been a little obsessed with Cars 2)

Kim, the other chef extraordinaire, says this cooking magazine has awesome recipes that are not only delicious but light in calories and fat. Anyone who has had Kim's cooking will perk up their little ears and listen when she gives any opinion about cooking. (Kim, I know you talked about some other things, but for the life of me, I can't remember them. Sorry!)

Suzanne was downright giddy about her discovery of Zenni Optical where you can get your prescription eyeglasses for $6.95. This is especially great for kids who wear prescription glasses.

Kim brought this bleach pen courtesy of Kiersten, her sister-in-law, who is reportedly the resident expert on stain removal. The bleach pen is great for shirts that you don't want to dunk in bleach to remove spots from.

If you didn't already want to take a bite of of Kim's deliciously cute Conlie, you will now when you smell her after she's been bathed in this body wash and shampoo. You can buy it at Target.

Suzanne loves TreSemme's hairspray that holds even the biggest of Utah hairdos without stickiness, crispiness, or the little white flakes. I've tried this stuff myself and it's great!

Katie was so excited about finding the website She was able to fill some holes (no pun intended) in her family history search. Way to go Katie! Listening to her talk about genealogy made me realize once again, how awesome people are that do it!

These last items are the ones that I brought to show. I love these Kirkland pre-moistened facial cleansing wipes. They are inexpensive and awesome for removing all of your makeup, even water-proof mascara. The cheapest awesomeness you'll ever buy.

This Shout Advanced Stain Removal is great from removing those three-kids-ago stains. You can spray it on and leave it for up to a week before laundering. Many articles of clothing were saved from forever being banished to the D.I. pile because of my discovery of this stuff.

I've had a hard time finding foundation that actually stays on all day and cover up my newly emerging lovely age spots. It even stays on through naps, slobbery kisses, everything. Good stuff.

I must say, I haven't given these much of a try, but I've heard people swear by them so I thought I'd give them a try. I LOVE high heels and with my stubby little legs, the higher, the better. But after 30 minutes, I'm cussing myself for being so vain so I'm going to try these in hopes that I can trick everyone into thinking I have more than stubbies for legs.

Last but not least, I have loved my discovery of listening to books on CD on my Ipod. This is what provides most of my motivation to get me through my long runs. I'm too antsy-pantsy to sit down and read books so I have REALLY loved this. It's also great for late-night house cleaning frenzies.

So that's it. It was a lot of fun and the treats everyone brought were quite tasty. If anyone would like to add anything that I forgot, email me and I'll add it. I realize I may have missed a few things.

Funny note-Before the party, I told Dennis what we were going to be doing. Being Dennis, he offered to make cherry and peach pies for my treat. I got a little huffy told him that I'm tired of people thinking I'm the dead weight in this relationship! I'll make my own dang treat!! (I really was just joking- well, half way)

Then he offered again, yesterday morning to make chocolate chip cookies since he knows they are my favorite and saw I hadn't made anything yet. Geez, will ya knock it off?! I was determined to pull of my own little girly party without any help from my husband.

But then he ended up cleaning, vacuuming and getting the house immaculately ready for the party. Gaaaaaaaah!

Thanks, sweetie. Bar none, you are definitely my "Favorite Thing."

P.S. At the top of my list of "Unfavorite Things" is Blogger. It keeps adding weird spaces and things I don't want. It has taken me way too long to get this posted!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I first discovered squash when I was a senior in high school in Rio de Janeiro when we were living at a long-term stay hotel that we had been furnished until we found our permanent housing. The hotel had squash courts and offered complimentary lessons so I jumped on it and immediately loved it.

I was introduced to racquetball, which is similar to squash, in college and have loved playing ever since. There aren't very many women that play so I've had a hard time finding partners to play with. It's by far my favorite sport to play.

I took Camden to play with me this morning and he did surprisingly well and loved it. Hopefully within a few years I'll have a partner!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Coming around

I find it interesting how being a mother can evoke such strong feelings, ranging from overwhelming feelings of love and affection to the most intense irritation and frustration, but always coming full circle back to the feelings of love and affection. Here's how my day often goes:

I wake up at about 6:30am to Camden's footsteps quietly padding downstairs to play the Wii before anyone wakes up. I look over at Calista who ended up in our bed sometime during the night, my little bundle of sweetness, cheeks smooshed together as she lays on her side, lips pouting outwards as she sleeps so deeply, uneven breaths and squeaks, and sneaking fleeting grins as she sleeps. Moments later I hear a quiet tapping coming from Lauren's bedroom. By the time I reach her room, the lady-like tapping has turned into impatient pounding that she be let out of her room. When I open her room, she squeals and gives me a bear hug. The racket has woken up Luke who emerges from his room half dazed. Unlike most people who normally wake up with swollen half-shut eyes, his eyes are the very widest immediately after waking. He also greets me with a big smile but with a softer, more subdued hug (the only time of day you can call anything he does subdued). We go downstairs together to start the day and I'm overcome with a feeling of being the luckiest woman in the world that these four little lovies are mine. This is going to be a great day.

Fastforward about 30 minutes. By now, both the decibel and anxiety levels have risen considerably. Calista is awake and fussing, wanting to be fed, and Luke and Lauren are complaining loudly that Camden is still on the Wii because Curious George is on and they want to watch it. Diapers are soggy and hanging down to their knees from the night and need to be changed before they start leaking through. I've been working on breakfast, but all four are ravishing little wolves and need to be fed...hmmm...about 30 minutes ago.

Fastforward a couple of more hours and perhaps we have gone out to the grocery store or to do some other errand. Getting out the door in and of itself was like a Russian circus act, getting the flip-flops on the right feet, going potty one last time, finding the binkie, telling them for the tenth time that they can't bring their Legos along, and packing the diaper bag that's big enough and holds enough supplies to support a small army. By now I'm feeling like my ambitions to take the kids out with me is as about as smart as trying to take a goat into a grocery store. Make that four goats...three of them without leashes. I look like that mom you see and instantly feel sorry for. My heart rate is significantly higher and I'm sure my blood pressure is similar to what happens when the kids are playing with the garden hose and it accidentally gets kinked off. I'm letting out a steady stream of statements like, "No Lauren, that's not candy! That's someone's yucky chewing gum!" and "Luke, please get your hands out pants!" and "Camden, if you hit your brother one more time...!"

By lunch time I've begun thinking that people that have more than 3 kids must have some loose screws upstairs...seriously. Why would anyone in their right mind deliberately put this kind of chaos into their lives?! And then continue having children!? And now I'm a part of that crazy club.

Naptime is a God send and by the time the two hours are over, I'm beginning to see glimpses of my sanity reappearing. While the girls sleep, Camden shows me his newest Lego creations and tells me about the new level he has advanced to on the Wii. I listen to Luke tell me his made up jokes that lack in both sense and a punchline but that still make me laugh at his creativity and bizarre thinking.

The time between then and when Dennis gets home is the wildcard. Sometimes he comes home to a smiling wife, happily peeling potatoes in the kitchen. But sometimes he comes home to a woman who makes him think "Whoa, Nelly. Who are you and what did you do with my wife?"

I sheepishly admit that bedtime is my least favorite time of day. Both me and the kids are tired and irritable and I eagerly bargain with Dennis that I'll clean up dishes and straighten up the house if he'll please put the kids to bed. Dishes and brooms don't sass back so they sound like pretty good company right about then.

By 9:30pm things have settled down, the house is darkened, clean, and quiet and Dennis and I are discussing the day. We laugh over the funny things Luke said, talk about new words Lauren has started saying, how big Calista is getting and how much Camden is growing into such a little man. We swap stories we heard or read on the news and discuss our visions for our future. Once again, life as a suburban housewife is peaceful and calm.

I go into each of the children's rooms before I go to sleep to check on them. As I watch them sleeping, each with their characteristically ultra long eyelashes and sweet faces, I fall in love with each of them all over again. I think sometimes, what if this were the last time seeing them? I would want to remember every curve of their face, the size of their tiny hands, the sound of their little voices, everything. I would want to take it all in and not miss a single thing.

I know there will come a time when I long for these days. When they're gone and the house is quiet and empty, I'll look back on these days and wonder why I ever took things so seriously. Why I took myself so seriously.

The feelings I have for my children come full circle with the ending of each day and once again I'm filled with gratitude for being the luckiest woman in the world.