A new perspective

A picture is worth a thousand words.. or so I hear!  I am just getting into photography.  I have always loved it, but never had (or rather MADE) the time to learn it..  okay, and I always had a piece of junk camera too which doesn't help much!  Brandon went back to the States for business last week and brought home a bunch of goodies including my new Nikon D7000 which is technically for Christmas, but I married a softy! :)  So, don't judge, but these are the first shots right out of the box!  The thing was on automatic which is an insult I know, but I'll learn! :)

This is a shot of our view.  Not too shabby given it was taken out of my dirty window!
A stalker shot. I zoomed in on the main pool area.. VERY enlightening how easy it was to get so close!  I guess even when you're alone, you're not!  eeek!
We have a black swan in one of the ponds on our ground who has been sitting on a nest full of eggs for a couple of weeks now.  I can't wait to see little "ugly ducklings"! :)
A view of some of the buildings in our complex.  We are in the middle building you see with the tree blocking the right corner of it.
 Hunter with his sweet impish grin! :)
 Landon, Peyton and I took a nature walk.. they were watching the swans here.
 Crazy Peyton.  SOO much personality for such a little thing! lol
We went to the main pool (pictured up top) with a friend of mine's son.. Peyton and Landon were more content to eat than swim!
Until that is, Landon got distracted by this poor unsuspecting creature!
Peyton wasn't distracted in the slightest!  She just took the opportunity to inhale as much as humanly possible while her brother was away!
Don't bother me, I'm eating!
 I got some fun action shots of the kids and their endless amounts of energy jumping in the pool. :)
I don't know why ,but I LOVE this!  It looks fake to me with every splash of water being so crazy defined!
This isn't a great shot, just sentimental and fun.  This is for Gma De Groot.. another little floater :)  She layed in the water for about 5 minutes like this!
 Awww the many faces of Bailey.  I sure do love these crazy kids! :)
More pictures to come as I figure out how to use this amazing beast! 

Stocking Up

Last week my sweet husband traveled to the States for business, leaving the kids and I home alone in a still fairly new country!  He's traveled a lot in the past, leaving us in much more familiar surroundings.  I have always been supportive, but never really like it when he's away...  accept this time!  Not that I was excited for him to be gone, but I was excited of where he'd be!  Things are outrageously expensive in Sao Paulo.  When we found out he'd be heading back to Michigan for a week, Amazon.com and I were more than happy to get reacquainted with one another!  I purchased things we don't have access to here, or are just too darn much to even consider purchasing.  I shipped box after box to my girlfriends house for him to bring back.  He brought 3 large suitcases and filled them each to the brim with as much as he could!  Every hour he wasn't working, he was running to stores for me.  Costo, Target, WalMart, Best Buy, you name it!  He was quite the trooper through the whole process, and I'll tell you what, it was SOO exciting when he came back home!  It was the little taste of home that we all needed!  For a moment I almost felt like I had all my favorite stores here with me! :) 

I know what you're thinking, what does a family of 6 get in the States (while they are still waiting on everything they own to show up)??  Oh, just a few things...
  • Christmas gifts for the kids (the new LeapPads! Complete with headphones for our long flights back and forth to visit family in the US. Shh.. don't tell them!) Although I already had Christmas taken care of in our shipment, it most likely won't be here in time so we had to prep again "just in case"!
  • A new read for me. The Help - I HIGHLY recommend this book!
  • Portuguese language books (501 Verbs & a Visual Dictionary)
  • Coloring books for church
  • Clothes for the kids
  • FLAT shoes for me! :)
  • Birthday gifts for Sir L (turns 3 next month!) & paper goods for the event
  • Misc birthday gifts for all the parties my kids keep getting invited too (Barbie's, Nerf ball sets, etc.)
  • Kindergarten & Preschool work books
  • nylons
  • Christmas gifts for Amazing V's family (small digital camera & toys for the kids)
  • Bathroom towels
  •  DAIPERS!!!
  • Movies - some for the kids and some for mom and dad! :)
  • Kitchen Utensils
  • Salad Shooter
  • My Nikon D7000!!!  (Technically for Christmas, but I have been previewing it a bit early.. hehe - NO this horrible pictures were not taken with that beauty!  How could one even think such a thing??)
  • A fabric tree for Christmas that my mom made for us.  It seriously turned out SO cute!  And of course she sent a few goodies with it for the kids too. :)
  •  Halloween candy
  • Oatmeal
  • Oatmeal packets
  • Ziploc bags
  • Dishwasher tabs
  • Raisins
  • Cleaning sponges and rags
  • Misc cooking supplies
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tin foil
  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • TUPPERWARE!!! (Yes, I get overly excited about this kind of thing.. tupperware containers with matching lids.. wow!  Sometimes it's the simple things!)
  • Ranch and Caesar dressings
And THIS!  A perfect new stroller (since the airline broke ours on our way down here).  I've been without one for two months now, and may I just say how much I LOVE a good double stroller with 4 kids running around?!  Amazing V was almost more excited than I was to see this! :)

Moral of the story??  We are now counting down the days to daddy's next trip back to the US! :)  We LOVE Brazil, but it's always nice to have access to the familiar things as well!


Mother of the Year

After a few days of rain and gray skies, I have been getting quite restless.  I hate to be cooped up indoors, so when weather.com promised a sunny sky with mid 70 degrees today, I started ordering my kids into their swim suits and out we went!  Sadly I neglected to bring my camera which at multiple times watching the kiddos play I kicked myself for..  An hour and a half later we were merging in on dangerous territory (naptime!), so we started loading everything back up to start the walk home.

We started up the paved pathway when I saw a HUGE iguana.  We haven't run into one of these guys here yet, so I quickly called the kids over to take a peek at him.  As kids often are, they were incredibly intrigued by my find and crouched down to get a closer look.  The iguana, oh, let's just call him "Cruelio", started pumping up and down on his legs and filling himself with air to try and look bigger.  I took the opportunity to verify that these were in fact docile lazy creatures that don't take it any further than looking silly by asking a nearby teen boy (a reliable source, I know).  "Você fala Inglês?"  "Yes."  "Is that an iguana?"  "Yeah."  "They don't bite do they?"  "Oh, no."  "Perfect.  Thank you!" 

My 3 oldest kids inched a bit closer.. "Hey guys, they don't bite, but he's still a wild animal so don't go any closer."   They were maybe 3 feet away from Cruelio admiring how "cool" he was when out of nowhere the sucker charged at them with a hiss!  My initial assumption of big lazy creatures went flying out the window.. he literally lashed forward and back again before I could register what the heck was going on!  All 3 of my kids flew backwards SCREAMING their little heads off.  I knew no one was hurt, quickly surveyed the scene, and it happened.  I BUST UP LAUGHING!  All of my kids were in hysterics.  Miss B with tear brimming eyes nervously choked out, "Why did he DO that?!"  In between giggles I was able to reply, "Well honey, he was trying to scare you guys.. and you know what?  I think it worked!"  Yeah.  You know that whole "inappropriate nervous laughter" thing I mentioned a while back?  This would be it.  I walked the kids a safe distance away from Cruelio, aka the spawn of Satan, and knelt down to console my terrified kids (still giggling). 

The entire walk home all I could think about was how hilarious it would have been if I had gotten that on camera.  SERIOUSLY - AFV ("America's Funniest Home Videos" for you poor deprived souls,) would have definitely awarded us the Grand Prize for 2011!  I wonder how many hits it would have gotten on YouTube?  Is the show "When Animals Attack" still airing?...  Telling isn't it??  If any of you thought I was a decent mother, please erase that thought from your mind immediately.  CLEARLY I have issues!  I talked myself out of driving back down to the pool area to try and get a picture of Cruelio to share, (maybe even a reenactment.. or would that get my reported?), but alas 2 kids naps took precedence over those rather disturbing thoughts.  Now that my kids are safe and sound at home, I took the opportunity to gain some knowledge for all you curious types:

According to Bill Kern, an assistant professor of entomology with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences said, “Adult iguanas are large, powerful animals that can bite, cause severe scratch wounds with their extremely sharp claws and deliver a painful slap with their tail.  These reptiles usually avoid people, but will defend themselves against people and pets who try to catch or corner them.  Wild adult iguanas, which can be dangerous, never tame sufficiently and rarely make acceptable pets."   Hmm.. that would have been nice to know.  Oops.. well if this hasn't scarred my kids for life, I'm sure I'll provide MULTIPLE other opportunities in the (most likely, rather near) future!



I love me a good pair of uber cute shoes!  Pumps, boots, wedges.. I don't care - just make them a size 8 please and price them at or below $25 (more for boots I'll admit), and I'm sold!  I never did understand the shoe fetish with women, until that is, I had children.  I then clued in to the most amazing thing ever.. your "size" may change everywhere else, but feet are FAITHFUL!  I love me a good pair of faithful feet! :)  I also love me a good set of matching tupperware containers (as you can see by this glimpse into my closet), but alas, that love story is for a different day..
"Betrayal" is an ugly word. It brings with it feelings of agony, pain and embarrassment. But the truth can be ugly at times, so this is me swallowing my pride. And for what?  Because I may not even know you, but I feel strangely connected to you anyways.  And because I figure you may need a good laugh, even if it is at my expense...
So Sir L and I headed to Carrefour (pronounced "cah-he-foo"), a local grocery store chain much like WalMart, but without the exported-from-China prices. Anyhoo, we were going about our normal business and roaming the aisles in search for BBQ sauce for my beloved hubby.  I went down the aisle that had mayo and ketchup, figuring it to be a good bet, when the newly polished floor and my shoes decided to have a dispute.  It was more like an all out battle to the death actually, and I was sadly stuck in the middle.  4 store employees and 2 customers watched with utter confusion as my feet were ripped out from underneath me and I slid to the floor.  What did my darling of a son do?  Did he rush to the aid of his loving mother?  Yeah.. that would be a no.  He laughed so hard his pacifier popped out of his mouth and rolled across the floor (don't judge me, he loves that stupid thing!).  I wanted to get up and say something witty, but alas I have been so absorbed in the basic necessities of the language that I forgot to study the "how to save face" section (silly me!).  So I jumped up as quickly as I could without going back down again, and nervously giggled until I was out of sight from the bewildered employees who most likely only kept it together for fear of being fired.

The culprit:
When I arrived home I relayed the experience to Amazing V who then taught me a VERY important word when holding up these unsuspected traitors: Perigoso. Aka "dangerous". Nuff said. Whoever said cute shoes were classy has never taken a dive in them before. Out goes the class, when you fall on your, uh.. rear! So, in honor of yours truly (that would be me), please watch the following clip and mentally insert my face (as well as an additional 50 or so lbs!). Thank you, and have a safe, flat-shoed day.


Orange you hungry?

To me, orange is the color of bold optimism.  It's not just for Halloween anymore - you can make a killer statement by adding orange to your wardrobe with a fun and flirty scarf, purse, or a pair of sky high heels (squeeel!).  I've seen some stunning weddings where bright orange gerbera daisies abound and leave you breathless.  Orange reminds me of fresh fruit smoothies (when you ditch the avocado of course), hot summer days, and my son Mr H:
This adorable little man of mine loves orange.  LOVES it!  Yesterday he dressed himself for school in his favorite orange outfit, complete with orange underwear which I thought might cross the line for me to picture...  For his 4th birthday this summer he asked for an "orange" themed party.  Orange balloons, orange silly string, an orange food menu... he was in orange bliss!  It's no wonder when we first arrived in Brazil and he saw their hotdogs that he made goo-goo eyes at me in the store.  I almost fell for them too!  I put them in my basket for about half an aisle and turned right back around to put them back!  Now, I like to think of myself as a fairly adventurous person. I love to try new foods and visit new places, but something about fluorescent orange hotdogs makes me cringe.  We already know they are made up of "mystery meat", which I prefer to not really think about.. why add the creepy artificial coloring??  Truly.  Check out the insane color difference between the orange dogs and the more natural looking (and sadly EXPENSIVE!) dogs I found at a whole foods store:
Creepy?  ..is that even a question?!  At least half a dozen times I have added these orange little suckers to my cart only to put them back with shivers going down my spine and visions of a new unnamed cancer dancing in my head.  The other day as I was thinking about the menu for the week and my kids begged mercilessly for hotdogs, Amazing V (our embregada, aka housekeeper) mentioned that they were "MUITO gostoso!".  So I bit my lip, held my breath and threw two packages into my cart for her and the kids to share last night while Handsome Hubby and I went out.  What's the worst that could happen right?  I mean, the packaging looks legit..
After watching the kids pack away 2 hotdogs a piece, I decided I had to at least try bite, just to say that I did it.  Something spectacular happened - once it was in my mouth and I couldn't see the bright unnatural looking orange hue of it, I enjoyed it.  I REALLY enjoyed it!  I'm not saying I want all my food (outside of a lovely mango or clementine) to be bright orange, but Amazing V was right!  "MUITO gostoso!"
Amazing V is just that - AMAZING!!! And not just for her ability to spot a good tasting orange dog!  Not many people would be willing to tackle our brood and still wear a smile! :)  LOVE this woman I do! :)