Monday, February 28, 2011

Big Day

Today I send my last child to pre-school.

I love him so much.
I am so excited for him to get to make new friends.
I am excited for him to learn.

He is used to being with someone in our family all the time, and he speaks and understands mostly only English right now.
His teachers will speak only Portuguese - with maybe an English word or two thrown in the mix.
It will be OK.  I know from the other kids that he will learn so quickly.

I'm not weepy, at all.  I am really excited for him.
And having a few hours "to myself" everyday will not be bad either!

I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Scenes from my Car Window

Last Sunday we returned home from our 2 week vacation.  The kids started school on Monday and it has been a whirlwind everyday since then.

I have so much to share, but I'll just start with these pictures of the gorgeous scenery that God treated us to on our trip.  I have said before, here, that Brazil is a beautiful, beautiful country.  Well, I believe that even more now.  Scene after breathtaking scene of mountains, skies, clouds, greenery, ocean, and rainforests.  I wish the pictures could really do justice to the beauty that we saw.

This was the sunrise on our first day of vacation.   When Anderson saw it he said,
"Thanks, God, and I'm not even in heaven yet!"

So many beautiful mountains.  It was never boring to look out the window...

The state of São Paulo is full of rolling hillsides.....

and on the way home, we travelled through some kind of rainforest.  There were beautiful flowering trees everywhere, a roadside waterfall and huge butterflies.

Oh yeah, we also saw dinosaurs....
 the statue of liberty......
 some pretty church buildings....
and a roadside fountain where you could drink spring water from a giant rat.

 There was something for everyone!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Vacation, so far...

There are some vacations that are fun, but not relaxing.  You go here and there and do this and that and in the end you had fun, but you are tired.

Then there are those that are totally relaxing.  There is no pressure to rush around and do anything.  And you end up having a lot of fun anyway, and you are refreshed.

This past week has been like that for us.  And we really really needed it.

We are staying with our good friends, Ramilo, Flaviana and Paola.  We met them in the hotel that we were staying in when we arrived in Brazil almost 9 years ago.   They live in a little town in Sao Paulo called Tatui.  Their house isn't big, but they have a pool, and behind the pool is a sort-of guest house.  It has an open air kitchen downstairs that leads out to the pool, and upstairs is a bedroom, bathroom and big living room area.  We are staying in the guest house.

Here is what we have done almost every day:  eat breakfast, goof off, swim, read, watch TV (they have cable which is a huge treat for our kids), eat lunch, rest, goof off, swim, goof off, read, talk, visit, laugh, goof off, swim, play pool games, eat again, talk, goof off, sleep.

No fancy tourist outings or pressure to go anywhere.  We have enjoyed it so much.

We did go to one place yesterday that was kind of like an amusement park for the kids.  I'll tell more about that later.  It was cool.

So, I don't have a lot of interesting talk, just wanted to let everyone know what we've been up to.

Tomorrow we are leaving to return to the beach where we will stay until the 20th.  It will be fun, but we will be sad to leave our friends!  It has been really special to spend time with them and we are so thankful that God brought our families together almost 9 years ago.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Yesterday was my birthday.

It was really great.  Here's why:

 * My daughter in college with some help from her roommate made me a customized birthday video and put in on facebook.  If you haven't seen it, you can ask to be my friend and take a look.  It is really special.  Technology is awesome when you are far away from people you love.
(Bronwyn is on the right, her roommate, Asia, on the left.)

 * Throughout the day I got lots of e-mails and facebook messages from family and friends.  They were all very special and so much more meaningful since I am so far away!  Thanks, everyone!

 * I am staying at the house of some friends of ours in the state of São Paulo.  On my birthday, I had a delicious lunch that I didn't have to cook OR clean up after.  That is rare!
(Giovanni eating his beans and rice.  Can you tell how much he enjoyed it?)

 * After lunch, I gave myself a birthday present.  While Giovanni was taking a nap, I got a book and floated around in the pool reading for an hour or two.  I can't think of anything more relaxing than that.  (by the way, the book is called "The Book Thief" - Cheryl, you were right - I'm loving it.)

 * Then at night we went out for pizza and birthday cake.  Yummy!

 * I went to sleep listening to rain pounding on the roof.  A perfect ending to a great day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Updates on my KIds

Is it OK if I talk (maybe brag) a little about my kids?  I hope so.  If not, then stop reading.
In no particular order.......

Carys is so sweet.  She looks for ways to help out.  She is an awesome baby sitter and playmate with Giovanni.

Other little kids and babies love her, too.

She even tries to make her mom feel better.  Yesterday, I was having a bad day and was kind of a grouch.  We were eating lunch and she got up from the table and made this bib out of a napkin and put it on.  Just to make me smile.  It worked.

Another kid who always makes me smile:
He wakes up in an awesome mood and is so much fun.  He goes hard all day, but then crashes on the couch. (Remember, it is summertime, here - no school.)  Lots of times this happens before we know it, and he has conked out without brushing his teeth.  A few days ago, he had a dentist appointment for a check up.  Before he went, he asked, "Mom, can you like not brush your teeth for a really long time, and then right before you go to the dentist brush for like an hour?"  I told him that he would get cavities if he did that, because you needed to brush your teeth every day.  "I'm in trouble, then," he said.  Miraculously he didn't have any cavities.

Garrett is all of a sudden huge.  He has grown so much in the last few months.  This picture was taken at a recent soccer game that we got to watch.  Kevin is going to give all the details of the game on our family blog, but basically it boils down to Garrett making an awesome goal to give his team the victory.  It was exciting.
 After the game he gave a high five to his biggest fan.

Ansley is at the beach right now with her best friend, Laura.  Aren't they beautiful?
(Ansley-left, Laura-right).
While at the beach, Ansley got an e-mail from the Hacienda of Hope in Ecuador. They have officially accepted her as an intern and English teacher starting in August.  She will be postponing her freshman year of college to work with these kids.  We are so excited for her and so very, very proud of her!

Look how cute.....
One would think that he is a good sleeper with all the cute sleeping pictures we have.  Actually, that's not the case.  My nickname for Giovanni is "Squigs".  That comes from the word "squiggle" which is a made up word that combines squirm and wiggle.  I made that word up when I was pregnant with him and every evening when I would sit and rest from the day, he would start "squiggling" like crazy.  I thought maybe that I just wasn't noticing him moving so much during the day, and when I got still, I noticed that he went crazy.  But, he still has this pattern.  He is pretty mellow during the day, and about 5 or 6 o'clock in the evening his high gear shifts in.  If he has had a nap during the day, it is a happy high gear.  If not, it is a kind of grouchy high gear.  But nap or no nap, he gets that energy boost at that time of day.  The time of day when all the other kids in our house are winding down.  Did he not get the Blume kid protocol memo??  I guess not.  

                    Bronwyn is enjoying snow days in Abilene while we are burning up down here.  

These two guys, Stephen (right) and Weston (left) are good friends of Bronwyn's.
We are so excited that they will be coming down to Porto Alegre in June to work with us for two months!  How cool is that!  All the details of their visit aren't ironed out yet, but we know that it will be a great experience for all of us.  We can't wait to meet them in person!

Well, that's all my kids.  Kevin asked if I wasn't going to brag on him a little too, you know because people would be expecting it, etc.   So...... 
 I'll just say he has a really nice smile
and always adds a "special touch" to our family photos.
Thanks, honey.