01 October, 2011

Well, it took me long enough...but just as we've moved, so has our blog! Follow our latest adventures and family updates at:

02 May, 2011

Is this goodbye?

Not to come across as too melodramatic, but in light of the fact that Abby hasn't updated here in a couple of months (it's been a lot longer than that for me), who knows what else will end up on this blog. Indeed, our time in Brazil is waning. India beckons, and with this knowledge we have neglected to give the proper props to Brazil before we leave. It is with this in mind that I compile a top 10 "Things I'll miss about Brazil" list. The top 10 list isn't about Brazil, it's about Brazil through my eyes. It's about how Brazil has affected me and the experiences it has afforded my family. So now, without further ado:

Top 10 things I'll miss about Brazil

10. Monitors. These are the people who watch your kids while you're at a restaurant eating a nice meal. Or at a kids' party and you want to talk with other adults. Or any other place where kids go. These people are paid by other people to watch my kids. My kids do activities with them, play with them, play with other kids while monitors.... monitor them. Monitors are great.

9. The food and drinks. I love picanha. There isn't a cut of meat on the planet that I'd rather have than picanha. For some reason, they don't cut it this way in the states. It's beautiful, tender and amazing. The kids will miss rice and beans with their meat. We'll miss the fresh mangos and papayas, the acerola juice and - for those of you who have visited Brazil before - the caipirinhas. Lime and sugar with cachaca. It's really amazing.
Capirinhas are good

8. The weather. With the exception of about 50 days a year, the weather is between abou 70 and 85 degrees here every day. Sure, it rains sometimes - usually in spurts of a week or two at a time - but I really don't think there's a single location in the US that has such regularly excellent weather. Maybe some part of California, but who wants to live in California? Correction: what teacher wants to live in California? No thanks.

7. Graded School. This is the place that brought us here. I will always be grateful to our first director, Rick Detweiler, for hiring us straight from the states. We have lots of friends who are making a career out of teaching and living overseas. Aside from the fact that we find ourselves moving to India in a couple of months, I don't have any reason to believe that we'll be making an entire career out of this. But either way, the opportunity to move on to such an amazing school in Mumbai (ASB - check it out) now is a product of having had the chance to work at Graded. The kids love their school, and we have some colleagues who are excellent, committed teachers and outstanding friends.

6. How Brazilians fix potholes. Seriously:

5. Beaches. I know, it's shocking that Brazil's beaches would be missed. But seriously, it's perfect beach weather about 300 days of the year, the beaches are beautiful, beachfront hotels are totally affordable, and beach food it freakin' good! What's not to love? I only lament that we didn't go more often. We've only been once with Stella, but she made it clear that she is not ready for beach life. So it's not our fault! I have a feeling we'll compare every beach we visit to Guaruja, Praia do Tombo, Ipanema and Leblon for the rest of our lives.

4. Zeli. Zeli is our nanny, and she loves our kids. She's so good at all the things she does for them, but most of all, she loves our kids. And most of all in loving our kids, she loves Stella. If I didn't trust her so doggone much, I'd be worried that she's going to kidnap Stella right before we leave and move back to Bahia in northern Brazil to live with her little blonde-haired, blue-eyed Brazilian "Baby 'tella", as she calls her. She cooks, cleans, and takes amazing care of our kids when we're at work... and on Friday nights so Abby and I can have a life, too. We'll have household help in Mumbai, but we won't have Zeli.

3. Athletics for the kids. Noah and Sophie get to spend their after-school time doing swimming lessons, ballet for Sophie, soccer for Noah, and a variety of other after-school offerings at Graded. The things they get to do at the Portal are things I have a feeling we'll recognize that we took for granted as soon as we move away. Zeli takes the kids to their activities once they get off the bus and they stay at the gramadao or parquinho playing until dinnertime. A high quality childhood if you ask me!

2. Friends. We have been blessed to live among friends that I can safely say we will stay in touch with for a really long time. While most of them are fellow North Americans (I'm trying to be inclusive of those strange Canadians here), many are Brazilians. There's even a Brit and a few Argentines that I'll miss quite a bit. Living in a situation like this definitely lends itself to counting on colleagues and neighbors for all of those friendship needs that can happen more organically elsewhere. Given that, we have been extremely lucky with the friends we've had here. That's ALL of us - kids included as the photo below shows! We'll miss most of them, though some are headed to Asia along with us.
Easter egg hunt at the Portal

1. Our home. Sao Paulo is a gigantic and ugly city that somehow manages to provide an adequate to good life for nearly 2o million people. In the midst of this gigantic and ugly place is the Portal do Morumbi, where the skies are always blue and the grass is always neon green. The trees are tall, the air is fresh, the pools are refreshing, and the club food is... well.... this place is almost perfect. For three wonderful years, our children have grown up here. I will always remember this Club Med oasis in the midst of a chaotic urban jungle. Aside from the great friends we have here, living in the Portal is the thing I will miss the most about Brazil.
Our Brazilian souvenir with mommy at the club

So there it is. Though Sao Paulo has its challenges - pollution, traffic, chaos and ugliness - these are things that go with the territory of living in many of the world's big cities. I suppose I could do a top 10 list of things I most assuredly won't miss about living here, but I that would imply that there are as many bad things as good things, and that just isn't so. It's been a great ride for three years. But we are excited and ready to move on to the next ride. Hello, Mumbai. We'll put a link up here sometime soon to a new blog. A blog that will capture our life in India. Who knows, maybe we'll even start it before we move to chronicle some of our preparations. And maybe we'll even update the blog more often than we have here lately! Time will tell. One thing we've learned for certain: you never know what lies ahead in life.

Tchau for now....

19 February, 2011


The Cuteness is Overwhelming

Where does the cuteness end? Chubby thighs! Personalized bloomers! Sweet dress! *sigh*
I love this girl!

Same Story, Different Day

I think the "same story, different day" feeling is what is keeping me from blogging. I feel like our days, weeks, months are rather uneventful and therefore I don't have so much to say. I do know, however, that our families don't necessary feel that way or like that excuse, so I'll do my best. Here's a random smattering of events from the last month:

I returned to work! This has been a nice transition for our family. Sure, I don't LOVE being away from Stella all day, but she's in good hands. Our nanny is wonderful and Stella gets lots of love and attention all day. When I come home I find her on the playground and get several hours with her before bed time. It isn't easy, but it is the best of a working mom situation. Sophie is in school full-day now, so really it is just Stella with lots of undivided attention all day. When Noah and Sophie return home around 3:30 they are off to activities and Stella tags along. She loves it! She loves being out of the house and has gone so far as to crawl over to the elevator or her stroller when she's ready to take off! So, all in all, our days have found a new rhythm that is working well for our family right now.

Weekends! Of course, now that I am working everyday I love the weekends even more. Our weekend weather has been amazing and pretty much every Saturday and Sunday is spent at the Club. Stella loves to sit in the baby pool and splash around. She usually makes it 2-3 hours before she needs to come up and nap. Paul or I take her up and the other one of us gets to enjoy the pool with the "big kids" for a bit. Most weekends we only leave the Portal for the grocery store. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Carnival! Paul's parents arrive in just under two weeks. We are headed to Ushuia to walk with the penguins. Everyone's excited...and if I can get over my anxiety about traveling with Stella I will be too! Going to Patagonia is a huge dream of mine!

Thinking ahead! We leave Sao Paulo for good (or at least for several years) in June! Time is flying by! We'll be packing up our belongings and heading for India in no time. The kids are really excited (another family that lives here is headed to the same school) and we are starting to feel that way too!

Finally, some sweet pictures from the last few months...most are taken with my itouch, so excuse the quality!
Tub time with all three kiddos is one of my favorite times of day!

Our big girl eats dinner with us every night now!She stands up in her crib too!

Soph celebrated her fifth birthday! More to come on this...
Sweets for my sweet...Happy belated Valentine's Day!

15 December, 2010

Merry Christmas...A bit early!

I really am a very organized person, despite having three little people that frequently try to upset my plans. I even ordered my Christmas cards over a month ago! They are waiting for me to address in Colorado-our first stop on our Christmas 2010 World Tour. They most likely won't get out until the 25th or slightly later, so I thought I'd give a sneak peek now. I love, love stationary and cards and went with my usual Tiny Prints to make the card. The pics were from our family session a month or so ago. I think they turned out great! Hopefully arriving in a mailbox near you before Valentine's Day!

22 November, 2010

Brazilian Baby

We started introducing solids to Stella very casually. Sort of like every few days, if we're feeling up for it, we grind up some fresh fruit for her. In Brazil most babies start eating fresh fruit (not cereal) and based on all my reading of childhood nutrition we are going that route as well. So far Stella has eaten banana, pear, and papaya. She still has a bit of the tongue thrust reflex so I think more food gets on her than in her...but it is fun to try! I think papaya is her favorite!

Photo Recap

21 November, 2010

Life Is Full!

Wow! I don't get to this space nearly as much as I should. Things are busy with three kiddos! Busy for all the right reasons, but busy nonetheless. Add in my training schedule and a non-night sleeping four month old and putting together any kind of cohesive thought is a challenge. I have a ton of pics to download from the weekend. Highlights include:
*Stella's first swim
*Circus trip
*Graded's Thanksgiving

I'll have pics up tomorrow. It was a fun time!

03 November, 2010

Meet Finn

Meet our new family member Finn. I bought him at the fruit stand for the kids last week. He's cute, right? Notice the distinctive U.V.A. colors? Coincidence-I think not. Fate. Both kids are completely smitten with him. Sophie feeds him every morning and Noah every evening. Last Monday we averted a near disaster (on many levels) when the maid knocked his bowl onto the ground. The fish apparently went flying and the maid yelled like crazy for the nanny to come and capture him in a bowl of water. Sophie and I were at the store, but Noah saw the whole thing and burst into tears at the sight of sweet Finn flopping around on his bedroom floor. All is well now-he has a new home and seems to be happy. How can a fish look happy, you wonder? I don't know, but he has a little more swing in his swim and fish lips seem to turn up. I think he's happy. The kids are happy. We're happy. Welcome to the family, Finn!

01 November, 2010


Stella is different than Sophie (and Noah, for that matter) in many different ways-probably more than we can possibly imagine since Stella's only approaching four months. One big thing is her cheeks-I mean, from two months of age on Sophie's cheeks touched her shoulders. They were huge! So yummy! Not Stella. Stella is llllloooonnnnggg and lean. Just about 13 pounds and 25 inches long. When we went to see the doctor last week he called her "magro falso". As in, she looks skinny but she isn't when you take her clothes off. See? Absolutely squishable.

Halloween Photos

31 October, 2010

Because I Have So Much Extra Time...

I decided to start a second blog: See Abby Run

Running has always been a goal of mine, but now I am making it a priority. This blog is a way for me to stay focused on my training plans, goals, and keep myself honest on my progress. Feel free to come on over and cheer me on! I can could use it!

26 October, 2010

Pride calleth

So I don't post here anymore. I've left that task to my immensely capable wife, who takes care of our updates here. But an event took place last Sunday that has inspired me to take up the quill and scroll to record for posterity: Noah's first competitive sports event.

Now, I was no soccer boy. I was a baseball boy who took up basketball later in childhood. But I get soccer. Especially here and now, in Brazil. Literally everyone plays soccer here. At least all the kids. But the weekend warrior middle-aged (and older) men get out and play on the weekends too. It's a culture where it's inescapable. So there has never been any question about what sport Noah would take part in here. He's been taking soccer lessons for two years.

But Sunday was his first competitive game. His 6-and-under team of mostly Brazilians (and a couple of Argentines) against a 6-and-under team of Brazilians from just around the corner. And guess what? Noah's team won. Big deal, you're thinking. Somebody had to win. But get this. Our little gringo showed those big, bad futbol-playing Brasileiros how a gringo on a mission plays. Noah scored the first goal of the game and later added a second goal in his team's 4-2 win.

Photo Session Sneak Peek

We had a mini photo session with the kiddos on Sunday. I've been wanting have new photos taken since Stella was born, but wanted to do it closer to December so I could hopefully get a Christmas card out of it! Karin, our photographer, was late and Stella was not so happy half an hour after the original scheduled start, but the few pics I've seen turned out very cute. I love that I feel like these look like our kids...you know, without the stuffy outfits and fake background. These are our kiddos in their element and these are the moments I wanted to capture. I can't wait to do it again (when Stella's sitting up and has a larger "happy window" to work with)!

21 October, 2010

This Our (Littlest) Girl

She's sweet, right?
She's also a maniac
She rolls both ways
Scoots across her crib
Babbles at us
Smiles at Noah and Sophie like they hung the moon
Grabs at her toys (and Paul's glasses)
Starting to organize her naps during the day (at 9, 1, and a cat nap at 5)
However...She DOES. NOT. SLEEP. AT. NIGHT.

I love her. So very much. But not so very much at 11, 1, 3, 4, and 5. Seriously.
I clearly need some help in that department.
She is sweet though.

18 October, 2010

It's An Obsession

Some of you may know that soccer is pretty big in Brazil.
Pretty big in this house too.
Noah was obsessed with the World Cup.
He can recite most of the game scores. And teams. And players. Still.
Now he can't stop thinking about Brazil's soccer teams.
He spends Saturdays organizing his stickers, memorizing players, and generally making the rest of us realize how bad our memories are.
I wonder if his love will continue when we leave Brazil? I don't think we'll make it to the next world cup in 2014 in Brazil. It would be pretty cool if we did though!