Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Hobby

This post reminded me of a conversation I had with Ansley when she was about 5 years old.  She asked me what a "hobby" was.  I told her that a hobby was something that you liked to do in your spare time, something that you enjoyed and wanted to do a lot.
She then looked at me and excitedly said, "I know what your hobby is!"
"What?" I asked.
"Cleaning the house!'

I had mixed feelings about that conversation.  Do my kids see me cleaning and/or fretting about things not being clean so much that they think this my hobby?  Do I spend too much time worrying about that, and not enough time playing with them, doing fun things with them that they enjoy, or doing things that I enjoy??

Also, even though she thought my hobby was cleaning the house, my house was not always clean.  It still isn't.  I am not one of those neat people.  I make messes, my kids make messes, and then we have to clean it up.

And guess what?  Coincidentally, I am doing a lot of my "hobby" this week!  My kids are on winter break and I am leaving for the states on Tuesday to take Bronwyn to college.  So, since I work best with a deadline, I have been cleaning out closets, cabinets, under beds, junky drawers, etc.  ( I would show pictures, but I'm too embarrassed!)
My lovely assistant....
I have hired an assistant who needs to earn money for a school trip to be my "slave" during this process. She has been a great babysitter and lunch cooker.  Today she is helping Carys organize her room.

I still have several other areas on my "list", and I'm not sure how much I'll get done.  But it feels good to get at least some things organized!  (hey, that sounds like it may be my hobby, after all...)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pretty Things

A few Saturdays ago, we went to the "hippie feira".  It's kind of like a flea market, farmer's market, and arts and crafts fair rolled into one.  Several vendors had these beautiful peach branches.  I bought all of these for 6 reais (about 4 dollars).  They lasted about two weeks.  So pretty....

My crafty daughter, Bronwyn, made this precious quilt.  While we were on furlough last year, she found a quilting book for beginners and picked out the fabric.  She has been working on it for several months and finally finished it just in time to take it to college.  I love the way it turned out!

Isn't this the cutest quilt holder you've ever seen?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mini Vacation - part 2

On Saturday, we awoke to warmer temperatures, but still rain.

After breakfast, in which we stuffed ourselves.....

We decided to hang out in the hotel lobby some more to play cards.  The kids had enjoyed it the night before and were looking forward to doing it again.

So these guys started in on their games.

(This was supposed to be a picture of Garrett and Anderson playing cards, but they would never be still.  I think Anderson is under him at this point.)

I sat with Giovanni on a couch in front of the fire while he took a nap, and I read a book. (my idea of fun!)  This is him right after he woke up..... isn't he cute?

After a little while, a guy and a girl came up and invited Anderson and the other kids to play.  In Brazil, it is not uncommon for hotels to offer "recreation" for the kids.  They have a big room and some people hired to play games with them.  Anderson gladly went to play, and later Carys and Giovanni went, too.  They had a blast!

We were a little undecided about whether we wanted to stay another night because the weather was so bad, but after the kids started having so much fun playing, they didn't want to leave.  The big kids enjoyed playing cards and reading, and the little ones in the play room.  So that's what we did.  Not our typical vacation, but very relaxing.
(Giovanni spent forever staring at this game.  It had little pictures of all the characters from Disney movies. He LOVES the movie Cars, and recognized some other characters from Toy Story, too.  He loves to stare at and study things.  I just wonder what he is thinking sometimes....)

We went to lunch on Saturday at a German restaurant.  SO GOOD.  I had always thought of German food as being a bunch of sausages and potatoes.  But at this restaurant, it is wonderful vegetables, home-made pasta and delicious pork and chicken.  We all loved it.

We also went to a little fair in town and bought some homemade jellies.

But most of the time, we spent just hanging out at the hotel, relaxing.  It was really fun, and no one wanted to leave when check out time came around on Sunday.

One more thing....remember the lady I met on the first night in the lobby?? (if you forgot, read yesterday's post.)  Well, Saturday, we met another nice couple.  They had one little boy and she was just barely pregnant with their second.  After we talked a bit, she told me that she had been sad when she found out that she was pregnant because she thought that her other son was still too little. (He was 2 1/2.)  But, she said, after seeing our family with everyone playing together and having fun, she was not worried anymore and was excited about the new baby.

I guess one of our missions on this vacation was to calm the fears of all the pregnant women we met!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mini Vacation

We live in a big, busy city.  And sometimes, we just need to get away.  Away from the rush and the responsibilities.

Last weekend, we decided to take a little family trip.  Since our area doesn't abound with interesting tourist options, especially in the middle of winter, we returned to our favorite spot in the mountains: a little town called Canela which is right by another fun tourist town, Gramado.

We usually stay at the same place when we go up there.  Mainly because this hotel has chalets, and one of them is big enough for our whole family.  Otherwise, we would be paying for two rooms and wouldn't get to stay together.

So, Friday, we picked up the kids from school and took off.

Here is what we saw on the way......

I think this was some kind of group to preserve pioneer life, or something like that.  Pretty cool.

You may have noticed that the weather was not really cooperating.  It was rainy when we left Porto Alegre, and when we got up to the mountains, it was rainy and C O L D!

This is us when we got to our chalet (which is really the size of a house with tall ceilings and no insulation...).  That black thing on the wall is a heater, which is putting out about as much heat as a lit match at that point.
We were cold, and some of us were "less than excited" to be there at all.
Since the weather was so bad and our house was so cold, we headed over to the big hotel lobby for some car playing and some card playing before we went out to eat for supper.

Apparently lots of other hotel guests had the same idea.  As we were sitting there, a lady came over and started a conversation with me.  After a little small talk, she asked if all these kids were mine. I said yes.  She then said, "I have to confess something.  I have two kids and I just found out that I'm pregnant.  I was upset because I really didn't want anymore.  But, seeing your family with everyone playing together, I am not worried anymore.  Everything is going to be all right."  I congratulated her and told her what a blessing her new baby would be.  We ended up talking a little more and her little girl invited Anderson to  play a card game with her.  They became buddies....Too bad they had to return home early the next morning. 

By the time we were leaving for supper, the weather was AWFUL.  And Kevin had stomach cramps.  We headed off to a pizza place hoping that his stomach would get better.
It didn't, but here are the rest of us trying to stay warm in the pizza place.  It was still yummy!

After supper and a stop at a pharmacy for some medicine for Kevin, we headed back to our slightly warmer, but still cold house.  We piled on the warm pj's and blankets and snuggled close for the night, thinking that we may cut our little trip short and go home the next day.

Oh yeah, did I mention that this was the day of our 22nd wedding anniversary?  Freezing cold, rain, stomach cramps, layers of pajamas and blankets with a baby sleeping in the middle.  Doesn't get any better than that!

Part two of our trip tomorrow.....

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Today Bronwyn, our oldest, gets on a plane to go to the states for college.  She won't be back here until December.  We have been so busy these last few days and weeks getting in just "one more" thing - restaurant, movie, visit, coffee, project, trip - you name it, before she leaves.

I'm not weepy.  I remember when I went to college, I wasn't weepy and I don't think my parents were either.  OK, well I went to Lipscomb which was less than 2 hours away from my hometown.  And....I get to go to the states in about 2 weeks to actually take her to Abilene and help her get settled in.  I'd like to just publicly thank my  husband right here and now for letting me do that.  (He will stay behind with three of the kids - Ansley and Giovanni are going with me.)  He has always said that I could take my kids to college for the first time and do that "mom" thing.  I'm so thankful!

Funny, she is about to leave in a couple of hours, and we are just hanging out.  Some people on the computer, some watching TV together, Ansley is painting Bronwyn's toenails.  I guess that's because we've done so much together as a family these last few days.  And because we know that our family will still be close.  Thanks to modern technology, we will only be a skype call with video away, and December will be here before we know it.  In December Ansley graduates from high school, Garrett graduates from the 8th grade, and Bronwyn will be home for Christmas.  Lots to look forward to!

In the meantime, we have a lot to keep us busy.  I'm going to try to be a more faithful blogger because there really is so much to show and tell, and I know at least one girl in Abilene will want to read it!

PS.  What do you think about this new blog design?  I can't decide if the background would drive me crazy??!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What not to do to your 6 year old son...

My mother made this dress for me to be in a square dance when I was in the 2nd grade.  I loved it.
Not sure who put it on Anderson, but he looks kind of cute, don't you think?
Did you know that you can play soccer with a banana leaf ball from Rwanda wearing a 40 year old square dance dress?  Who knew?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I wanted some (at least one good) family picture taken before Bronwyn goes to college.  So, Giu, Bronwyn's good friend from high school and our adopted son, came over and took some pictures.

Giovanni wasn't in a great mood, but we got a few good ones.  Here they are (the good, the bad, and the funny....)

Then Giu and Bronwyn (and later Carys) hijacked my camera to have some more fun.