What's in a Name?

You would think I'd be getting better at it rather than worse.. I usually have names ready before we even conceive!  I'm strange that way.  But for some reason, or rather a multitude of reasons, every name I come up with just doesn't work.  I swear it shouldn't be this difficult!

I finally resorted to asking all my FB friends for help and I awoke to one heck of a response!  Here were my stipulations:  It has to be 2 syllables and can't start with a B, H, L or P and can't end with an N... and no obvious nicknames where it can be cut in half (ie. Mitchell becomes Mitch, etc).  Over the top?  Let me try to explain:

Quite by accident I named all four of my kids 2 syllable names.. would the new little guy feel only half as important if his name only took half the time to say?  "These are my kids, Bailey, Hunter, Landon, Peyton and Joe."  I just couldn't do it.  It has to be fare right?  Two syllables it is.  I am not  a monogrammer, but one day if I ever decide to monogram my kids' things, it would be quite confusing if two of them shared the same first initial.  Am I right or am I right?  It can't end in an "N" because my last two kids' names do and I feel like I'm getting slightly repetitive here.. time to change things up!  And for the sake of all those poor preschool and kindergartners who don't know whether to practice writing their "real" name or the name everyone calls them, I have to put an ex-nay on names that are easily cut.

My initial list looked like this:
After my stipulations and the ones my husband vetoed for one reason or another, I was left only with Carter or Conner.  The problem?  I LOVE the name "Collins" for a girl.  So much so that I had to get rid of the "C" names so that if we ever have another girl I can still use it.  I know.. you don't have to say it.  So, between FB suggestions and a late night find on a DVD cover last night, we now have two favorite boys' names:
Marshall & Channing
Each of my kids has a middle name given after a person.  This time we want the middle name to be after a place.  After all he will be born in Brazil!  So it's only natural that he has a Brazilian middle name right?  I like:
Antonio, Mattheus (not to be read with the traditional English "th" sound.. too confusing?), & Luiz 
The big question?  Which first name and which middle name?!  At least now I have options right??  Decisions decisions..

We Learn, We Grow

It's been a long time coming.. I have been meaning to write about this for quite some time, but never had the time to give it the dedication and time I felt it deserved. 

A few months into the year my husband and I decided that we were ready to add a new little one into our fold.  It didn't take long, and on June 12 (the last day of school AND the day we boarded our flights to the US), I had my first doctors appointment and ultrasound.  I was about 6 weeks along and beyond exited that I was already going to get a peak inside the womb (here in Brazil you get ultrasounds monthly!).  THIS is what we saw:
My heart flipped.  Could there be TWO?!  I have always dreamed in doubles!  The doctor explained that although yes there were two, one was clearly abnormal and that I should prepare myself to miscarry one while on our trip.  I have never felt such a strange combination of emotions.  Should I be excited for the healthy child, or devastated for the one we would would lose?  I knew I was only in the very early stages, but right away I felt connected to the idea of twins and all the fun (and yes, HARD!) times they would bring together.  Motherhood is so miraculously instantaneous that way.. at least it is for me.  I started a desperate google search for miracle events where an abnormal gestational sac still produced a healthy baby, and grasped hold to the fraction of a chance that maybe I could still have both after all. 

My husband didn't feed into my hopes as he started flashing back to memories of my first miscarriage, prior to our first successful pregnancy, and was anxious and worried that this would be the same.  That miscarriage was one of the defining moments in my life.  It happened around 12 weeks pregnant.  For 3 days I laid almost unfeeling on the couch at home with no desire to talk to or see anyone, and completely angry at God.  "Why would he give children to those that don't want them or can't care for them and take one away from me?!"  I felt completely abandoned and utterly alone.  It was my sweet husband and his incredible patience, foresight and faith that saw me through.  On the 3rd day, desperate because he couldn't reach me, he insisted as I threw myself into bed that we needed to say our couples prayer.  It had been 3 days and he had been praying alone.  I rolled my eyes at his apparent lack of sensitivity and rolled out of bed to kneel next to him.  He then sighed and said, "Honey, it's your turn."  How could he?!  How could he ask me to do that now?  I put my head down and stubbornly exclaimed, "I have nothing to say."  As we knelt there in silence for a while he softly whispered, "It's your turn.. Just tell Him how you feel."  For what seemed like hours we knelt in silence until I allowed my heart to soften slightly and started to sob.  I spilled out my heart to my Father in Heaven.  My frustrations and hurt from our loss.  My desires to raise a righteous family, to be a mother.  After I finished we crawled into bed and I sobbed while my husband held me.  The next morning when I woke up, the world seemed a little brighter.

I assured him that this time it would be different.  I am a mother now, and even when I am weak, I must be strong for them.  No matter what.  We opted not to tell the kids, or most anyone really about what was going on until we knew for sure.  Before my husband left the States to come back to Brazil I wanted to be prepared for what was going to unfold.  We scheduled an appointment for another ultrasound.  I wasn't expecting what we saw next.
One baby.  One healthy and thriving baby.  But where was the other?  The doctor reviewed the first pictures which were unmistakable - there had been two, but now there was only one.  "Have you had any cramping?  Bleeding?"  No, none.  "Sometimes, for reasons we can't explain, the body will reabsorb a pregnancy that is not developing correctly.."  I was mystified.  I didn't realize that could happen!  As we got in the car and drove around a bit, I could tell my husband was nervous.  My mind was spinning with thoughts and I tried to form them into words to help him see that I really was going to be just fine.  My eyes brimmed with tears, "I am disappointed of course, but I'm alright.  I'm just searching for a bit of closure I guess..  But what a tender mercy really.  I was scared I would have to go through not only the emotional aspect of miscarrying a child, but the physical aspect as well.  Knowing that I won't have to go through that pain at all is miraculous.  That first time I felt like I had been completely and utterly abandoned, but this time, I know that I'm not alone."  I truly felt at peace with what happened.  I was able to feel the genuine excitement for yet one more healthy child that we were being blessed to receive in this life!

Last Friday we had yet another ultrasound - this one to determine the gender of our new little bundle!  I should have known.  Really I was asking for it..  I had no preference, honestly.  It's just that after 4 kids, we needed a new infant car seat, and this one was by far the cutest of the bunch!
Adorable right?!  I know.  Well, at the ultrasound, our new little hooligan gave us one VERY clear shot.  The rest were poor quality and fuzzy due to the amount of somersaults going on in there.  But nevertheless, I think the message sent was pretty clear:
"Get out that black sharpy mom, I am ALL BOY!!!" :D  Oops.. sorry little man!  Looks like I'm going Etsy shopping for a car seat cover! Lol  21 weeks and counting.  Baby BOY Hooley is due the end of January 2013, and we couldn't be happier! :)


Dia da Independência

The kids celebrated Brazil's independence day this past week in school in preparation for the actual holiday, TODAY! :)  They were asked to wear Brazilian colors and had a history and food fair that was run by the trusty PTA.  I had originally planned to give them these outfits for Christmas, but where's the fun in waiting another 4months to have them match so perfectly and show Brazil a little love?!  I'm thinking I may have to sign them up for soccer now just so I can see them run around in cute jerseys all the time.  I mean really!
As per their request, here is a more true to form shot of my little goobers.. no disrespect Brazil.. they are nuts in the red white and blue too ;)
So today, dia da independência, our Plan A was to rent a beach house in São Sebastião for the weekend and just relax.  Unfortunately the rest of Brazil had the same plan as we could not find ANYTHING available!  Next year we'll plan a good 6 months in advance.. who knew?!  Our Plan B was to go to the Zoo today and the beach tomorrow.  Typically a 30minute drive away, we finally arrived at the Zoo after 3hrs only to find the most massive crowd EVER.  There were police standing guard "just in case".. needless to say we had to do a quick improvise as we drove on by and went to the drive through zoo "Simba Safari" once more.  A little de-ja-vooey if you remember "Dia das Crianças" (http://minutesformama.blogspot.com.br/2011/10/simba-safari.html)??  We are slow learners..
All the plan changing tired the kids right on out.  5pm and all 4 were out cold!  Maybe we'll have to improvise more often.. ;)
Happy Dia da Independência everyone!!!


Picture This

To save you from an hour long scroll down, I have oh so cleverly condensed the remainder of our crazy shenanigans in the states into these nifty little collages!  You're welcome. :)
I guess I am officially that annoying mom who always has a lens in your face.. but truly, the magical moments I capture because of it!  It's worth every eye roll and "Aww, do we have to?!".  With 6 weeks in Utah we had plenty of time to run around and be crazy.  But a very large part of our summer was spent right in Gma and Gpa D's backyard, and really, who could blame us?!
A short hop skip and a jump away and we were at Thanksgiving Point and visiting their fantastic dinosaur museum (pardon the poor lighting):
And when that got old, there was always (my favorite) the farm there as well!  Princess P rode a pony for the first time and made sure EVERYONE knew that she was not in need of any help.  Thankfully seeing independent 2yr olds ride horses without a two hands on adult in tow in Utah is no new thing ("You only have 4 kids?  When are you planning the next one?"  "If you think 4 is a lot of work, just wait until you have 12..").  Here in Brazil I most likely would have been stoned to death.
While driving the familiar streets of my later teenage years, I came across an ADORABLE fair, so naturally, we had to go there too! :)  The two dare devils of the evening?  The girls.  Princess P and Miss B wanted to go on EVERY ride.  They probably would have jumped off the top of the ferris wheel if Grandpa had let them.. the boys?  They had a blast too, as long as it wasn't too risky ;)  The irony!
While Gma R was having special time with the boys, Gma D and myself found an adorable man made lake nestled right up against the beauty of Utah's mountains.  The sand couldn't hold a candle to the beaches here in Brazil, but the girls where just thrilled to be by the water again!
We went up the canyon to cook s'mores and soak in the smell of a campfire.  It's a beautiful thing. :)
Sadly, due to a Mountain side wildfire close to my parents' home all fireworks where banned on the 4th of July.  Fortunately we were invited to a small neighborhood firework show a few weeks later with Gma & Gpa R. :)  I think I enjoy capturing fireworks more than watching them - I dare say they look even more incredible still!
The other place we practically lived at was Seven Peaks Water park and Trafalga Fun Centers (we bought season passes!).  Sadly all of those pictures where captured on my phone which I accidentally wiped clean while restoring.. don't get me started.. At least I captured some shots of the kiddos bowling at one of the Fun Centers on my camera (poor lighting again - I need to invest in a decent flash). :)
"I'm sorry, you must have mistaken me for someone who actually needs help.."  Princess P was a riot to watch.  She didn't care about whether or not she knocked over tany pins.  She was on a mission and it was to get that heavy bowling ball on top of the ramp by herself and then push it down!  I had o stop her from rolling a 2nd ball before the first one even made it to the pins!  Lol, when this girl walks it's like something out of Jurassic Park.  Half stomp, half swagger, and so much confidence a mal rhino would move out of her way.  Don't mind the crazy hair - her tie broke.. true story.
Sir L took business VERRRRY seriously.  It was my bad not asking for bumpers.. if the poor guy got a gutter ball it was an exasperated sigh, head hung low, and arms disappointedly crossed across his chest.  Adorable, yet so sad.  But knocking a bunch of pins down??  You can't buy that kind of happiness! :)
Mr H played it cool.  Trying so hard to mask the emotions that where obviously bowling over inside of him!  Biting his lip to conceal an excited smile.. then slowly the grin of inevitable success!  Priceless.
Ms B took the professional approach.  Each time she carefully repositioned the ball ramp and visualizing her plan of attack before the final release, and then joyously skipping back with pigtails swinging! :)  It was such a fun day - I love how different each of our kids are, and watching the different ways they handle the same situations!
Before we left to head back home to Brazil, we had a family dinner on my side.  Ms B spent the entire morning preparing a "surprise" for the "goodbye party".  After dinner, she sweetly invited everyone upstairs and unveiled her hard work:  She had a table set up with chairs and playing cards, a petting zoo area where we could visit all the stuffed animals, and she even gave us complimentary "makeovers by styling our hair.  "Adorable" doesn't even come close!  I sense a little party planner in the making :)  It was the perfect way to conclude a rather perfect summer!


BYU Sports Camp

We signed up Miss B for a week at a week of Gymnastics camp fun (sleep overs not included.. I'm not THAT brave!), at BYU in Provo this summer.  It was adorable to watch and she grew in confidence so much during that week!  Now I just have to find a way to get her to stop watching TV upside down.. there's got to be a safety limit on headstands wouldn't you think??
We were clued into the great BYU Sports camps by a friend here in Sao Paulo.  Amazingly a bunch of us were able to get our girls in at the same time!  Here's the little Brazilian friend reunion in good ole Utah:
This was so cool to watch!  She mastered the ring flip so quickly.. my arms hurt just watching, but she absolutely GLOWED with pride! :)
My little gymnast!  It's too bad good gymnastics groups are a bit hard to come by here in Brazil.. and EXPENSIVE!!!  Oh well, until next summer I guess! :D