Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ansley!

In honor of my daughter, Ansley's, 18th birthday, I am posting......

10 Special Things About Ansley

1.  Ansley is really funny.  She makes me laugh a lot.  I don't encourage her to grow up and become a comedian, but I will miss the silliness when she doesn't live in my house anymore.  Boo hoo.

2.  Ansley can sing really well.  And play the guitar.  And her mom is always telling her that she must share these talents with others and not keep them to herself.  So if you are around Ansley, bug her about that.

3.  Ansley got her athletic ability from me.  Which is bad news for Ansley.  Sorry, Ansley.  But you are good at running.

4.  Ansley loves ice cream.  In fact at this very moment Ansley is about to dig into an ice-cream buffet - what she chose instead of a birthday cake.  So if you want to make Ansley's day, get her some ice cream.

5.  Ansley has some strange body quirks.  Her whole life she has entertained us with her vibrating eyeballs, and other oddities that I won't go into on this blog or you might think we are all weird.

6.  Ansley couldn't say her "r" sound until she was about 7 years old.  So it was "wooster" instead of rooster, etc.  It was so cute and I was sad when she figured out how to say her "r's ".

7.  Ansley doesn't know what she is going to major in at college.  She is so smart and talented that she could do anything she wants to do.  But, I will continue to remind her of the choices that she made when she was about 5 or 6 years old - "either I want to be a teacher or work at Walmart - which one do you think I should choose?" (said with no r sound....)

8.  Ansley can clean better than me.  Her room is always neat.  Mine, too.   OK that is a lie - mine is never neat.

9.  Ansley Maye Blume is named after both of her great-grandmothers.  Berchia Mae and Fannie Maye.  I don't know why we decided to use the Maye part instead of the Berchia or Fannie part.  Anyway, there aren't two finer ladies to be named after in this world.

10.  Ansley is a special, unique, and awesome girl.  I wouldn't change one thing about her and I couldn't love her more.  Ansley, don't let anything hold you back from being all that you can be.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Guess who.....

stays at preschool by himself all morning long - finally! 

After staying with Giovanni at school for several weeks, first in his classroom and then on the couch outside the door, we were finally able to drop him off at the door and leave.  He runs in and doesn't even look back.

Tuesday it was Indian Day.  He came home like this.  (still with his fake smile.....)
Wednesday he had an Easter Egg Hunt at school.

You may be able to tell from these pictures that he is pretty tired.  He needed a nap pretty soon after this, but later enjoyed his chocolate while talking to his sister on Skype.

This morning, first thing, he wanted more chocolate eggs.  This was his reaction when I wouldn't let him have it.

After he calmed down, I chopped up the chocolate egg and put it in these muffins.  (recipe here)  What he doesn't know won't hurt him...

Our family is taking a much needed break from all computer things this week, but I will try to sneak in some posts of our Easter fun days.

The kids have Thursday and Friday off of school.  So we have a long weekend.  In the plans are.....seeing the movie HOP (which is on in English!), decorating Easter cookies, and dying and decorating Easter eggs - plus some Bible story reading so we don't forget the real meaning of Easter.

More later!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Big News!!

A while back I shared about the uncertainty of our living situation.  You can read about it here.  That June deadline of us finding a new place to live has been creeping up on us, and while we have pretty much held it together,  we have been under a lot of stress just because we haven't known where we were going to go.

In the midst of the uncertainty, however, we do feel that God has shown us that we are not ready to leave Porto Alegre.  We have been a witness to strong workings of the Spirit in the last few weeks and there are so many opportunities for us to continue to serve here.  We feel needed.

But, finding a place to live IN Porto Alegre has been....... challenging.  This city is booming.  Houses are hard to find, and expensive.  Apartments are small, expensive, and in great demand.  After a lot of waiting, looking, back and forth, we decided that we needed to rent.  We wanted to rent a place close to our kids' school.  They are in school until lunch time, then eat lunch at home, and often go back to school for special afternoon classes.   We only live about 15 minutes from their school now (depending on traffic), but we were spending between 15 and 20 hours a week just driving back and forth to their school several times a day.

We began combing the neighborhood around the school for something to rent.  We drove around, we looked online, etc.  We found an apartment to look at, but when we got there, someone else had already moved some boxes in.  It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, and about 50 other people were looking for the same needle.

Yesterday I was walking on the sidewalk near the kids' school and I saw a man that I had been introduced to at the beginning of the school year.  This man had a house and an apartment, both within walking distance (one block or less) of the school.  At the beginning of the year, he showed me both of them saying that he didn't know if they were going to rent their house (where they have been living) and move into the apartment, or sell/rent the apartment and stay in their house.  I looked at both the house and the apartment but at that time, we didn't know if we were going to rent or buy.  Later I got back in touch with him asking him if he would be willing to rent the apartment or the house.  He said he had decided to stay in the house and sell the apartment and already had 2 interested buyers.  Oh, well...I thought.  But then I drove by his house and saw a "For Rent" sign on his house.  I asked him about it and he said that they were thinking of renting the house commercially (very expensive) and move into the apartment.  They weren't going to sell it after all.  He said his wife couldn't make up her mind.

I told him that I understood, that where you were going to live was a big decision. I told him that we had been frantically looking for a place but with no success.  He got a quizzical look on his face and said, "How much do you think would be fair for rent on our apartment?"  I told him that we had looked at another apartment that size and it was XXX amount.  He said, "Do me a favor.  Call my wife this afternoon and offer her that amount for our apartment and see if she will take it.  You will be helping her make up her mind and it will help me out a lot."   Wellll.....OK!  I said.

I called her, presented the offer, thought I might have to nudge her a little, but she accepted right away!!  So we have an apartment to move into!  It's not cheap, but in this city, cheap doesn't exist.  But it is on the same street as our kids' school.  That is going to save us so much time, so much gas money, and just simplify our life in general.

This apartment is big, for an apartment.  There is no apartment "big enough" for a family of 8.  But starting in the fall, we will be a family of 6, since Bronwyn will be at college and Ansley in Equador.  So we will be crowded for a few months, and then it will be just fine.

I know a lot of you have been praying about this with us.  THANK YOU!  I have no explanation as to why this family changed their minds and decided to rent us the apartment, other than God was working.
I have learned a lot during this time of anxiety about where we were going to live, and I want to share some more of that on future blogs.  I do know that God works when we pray and He has shown me that in these past weeks, in much more important ways than just finding us a place to live.

So that is our big news.  This again will be a temporary living arrangement, but we are just so happy that  we have a place in such a great location.  Thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement during this stressful time.

PS.  This apartment is one block away from our "clube" (like a YMCA) where there is a big playground for the kids, soccer fields, swimming pools, etc.  YEAH!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Anderson's Birthday

Yesterday was Anderson's 7th birthday.  He was so excited about his day and had his list of presents all ready.  I was worried that the actual day and actual presents would not live up to his expectations, (read this hilarious post and you will get an idea of what I mean...) but he loved his day.  Here is what we did in pictures.......

We actually started celebrating the day before with a lunch at one of Anderson's favorite places:  "Paulinhos" (that's not really the name of it, but we call if that because Paulinho, the owner, and Karen are our friends.)
  A cool present from Paulinho and Karen....
Then a trip to Green Park - our little carnaval type amusement park in Porto Alegre - where they have a new big roller-coaster.
  "this car ride is super boring compared to the roller-coaster...."
 Fun in the bumper cars.

On his birthday, Anderson chose cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  I think he liked them....
 Giovanni's new smile - you'll be seeing it a lot.

 Then worship at the ch├ícara, the drug-rehab center that our church supports.

 We went there to show our support for our brother, Paulo Renato, who has loved Anderson since he was born.

 The guys all sang "Happy Birthday" to him.  It was great.

 Then it was lunchtime and a lot of fun running around, playing, chasing dogs and chickens.

 When we got home, we had a little brother/sister/dad soccer time at the park.
 Then McDonald's cheeseburgers and fries for supper before present time.  (several of us are practicing Giovanni's smile in this picture...)
 From Carys - a Diary of a Wimpy kid "do-it-yourself" book.  I can't wait to read this when he finishes filling it in.....
 A soccer magazine from Garrett....
 A card and "10 dolerrs" from Ansley.....
 Another Diary of a Wimpy kid book, an Inter shirt, and a nerf gun from Mom and Dad.  (If you haven't read any of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, you should- then you will know what Anderson is like.  He loves them...)
 Ansley made him the most oreo infused chocolate cake that there ever could be.  It was really good.

Here he is at the end of his special day.  I think he had fun.

Even though we couldn't get every present on his list, or do anything really fancy, Anderson loved his birthday.  It was great just to be together as a family and play and have fun.  A really fun day for a really great boy.  We love you, Anderson!!

PS: We will have a party at our house on Friday afternoon for him and his friends.  
(I would love fun, cheap suggestions for what to do with a bunch of 7 year olds....).  

Friday, April 1, 2011


I am about to kind of make fun of my two year old.

I guess I can do that since I'm his mom and he won't be reading this anyway.  So here goes....

Giovanni has always had kind of crazy hair.  He doesn't like anyone to mess with him in any way ( like clipping fingernails, toenails, haircuts, etc.).  So getting his hair to look cute has been hard.  But finally, a few weeks ago I managed to cut it, while he screamed, and it looked as cute as it has ever looked.  See?

Then, right after that cute haircut we had a "pesky little infestation" in our household.  An infestation that was most easily dealt with, in the boys' case, by a super short hair cut with the clippers. That's all I'm going to say about the "infestation", but it's about done me in.  Anyway, away went Giovanni's cute haircut.  See?

THEN..... a few days after the bald haircut, Giovanni was pitching a fit (doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's pretty strong) and he banged his eye on the wood of the bed - which was without it's cushion because of the afore-mentioned infestation.  He got a big, open cut right above his right eye.  The doctor glued his cut instead of stitches.  Gluing is much better for him because we have to do nothing to it, but it made a huge bloody scab on his eyebrow that has lasted forever.  I think it has been four weeks now and he still has a huge black scab on his eye. See?

THEN.......a week after the cut eye, he was running in the house and slipped on a rug and fell flat on his face.  He cut his bottom lip on the outside and his upper lip on the inside.  Didn't need stitches, but his mouth was messed up for a few days.  See?

By now he is looking like a completely different kid.  And kind of funny.  Somewhere in the back of my mind he was reminding me of a cartoon character.  But I couldn't think of who it was.  The bald head, the big eyebrow, the puffy bottom lip.  I never could quite put my finger on it.  Giovanni adds to the goofy look with his little "poses" in these pictures......

Then yesterday, I remembered a clown toy that we had when I was growing up.  I did a little google search, and wa-lah!  It's Patootie!

It has been ages since I even thought about this clown and I don't know how in the world I even remembered him yesterday.  But I think he is the one that Giovanni looked like.

Mean mommy - calling your baby a clown doll.