The good news is..

We officially moved into our house the 1st of June.  It has been a crazy 3 months since that finally happened! When you're in the midst of those transitional moments, they seem to drag on FOREVER, but when you look back, it's much easier to say, "huh, that wasn't so bad!".. I'm assuming it'll be the same for when our belongings finally arrive from Brazil.  The good news is, they're FINALLY on their way!!  The bad news?  It didn't quite make it in time for my parents' 13 day stay with us this past week and a half.  The good news?  It was pretty cute seeing my dad work in a borrowed camp chair, with his laptop propped up on an empty moving box.  The bad news?  My dad worked in a borrowed camp chair, with his laptop propped up on an empty moving box!  Oh, and they slept on an air mattress on the floor.. some host I turned out to be! :P

For having "nothing", it really is amazing how dirty a house can get!  I mean, before the Texas heat turned up, it was fine being empty handed - we were outside playing ALL DAY every day, and LOVED it!!
We've met some awesomely authentic neighbor friends too!  Okay, so my real neighbors are MUCH prettier, but isn't that little baby cow just adorable?!  Nothing says Texas quite like a sweet and happy baby cow.. well, happy until his mom ends up on your plate anyways..
It's AMAZING how much "stuff" there is to do in the States!  I didn't realize how incredibly spoiled we were!  I swear there are probably 1000+ museums, theme and water parks, zoos, libraries, recreational facilities, and SO much more within a 20 mile radius of us (I'd be more dramatic and say 5, but we kind of live in the middle of nowhere..)!  Now that we are stuck inside due to the heat, you would think that would stop us from enjoying nature, but no!  We Hooley's just bring nature on inside..
Impromptu Roly Poly Farm anyone??  Good news is, I have a pretty decent sense of humor.  Bad news?  This carpet was installed literally DAYS before this happened..  Good news is just days before, I also received a lovely new vacuum courtesy of Amazon (and my husbands check book..).  Bad news?  Watching mom "kill nature" may have permanently scarred my tender hearted son.. oops..
"Creative" is a word that I like to think I can identify with, but 3 months with limited toys (blocks, barbies & cars) are enough to test any creative mom's skills!  Thank goodness for boxes!!  Proceeding the relaunch of my online boutique (http://www.baileysblossoms.com/), we had many a shipment arrive.
Would you believe me if I told you I had this all unpacked and cleaned up before my husband got home so he could park his car??  Good times..
But what did we do with all those boxes??  What did we NOT to do is an easier question..  We've played in them, colored them, slept in them, stacked them, smashed them, gone sledding on them, and when their life has run out (or a new shipment of nice "new" ones arrives), we recycle them.  Ahh, a box has never seen such love..
And a box has never seen such.. uhh, shall we say drama??  *My work office sits midway up the stairs, underneath it there is a "secret room" - the coolest, biggest "kid room" you've ever seen!  With ceilings at 4.5-5 feet high, it is the perfect playroom escape for all of our little Hooligans!  The following video is a clip Miss B shot (unbenownst to me) after the attempted set up of a box party fort, complete with 31 boxes! :) Every time I watch it I swear it makes me laugh harder.. but perhaps that's just because I'm their mom and I understand how well this personifies the two of them right now! #kidsmakemelaugh #bigsistersyndrome #NOideawhereshegetsitfrom ;)
I guess now would be the time to wrap it up with some witty moral of the story type thing, but the moral of the story is, there's no moral!  Because this journey to attempted normalcy is FAR from over!  Good news is, I'm pretty patient! :)


Saying goodbye is hard to do..

Where to start?!  I could go on and on and ON about how fortunate we were to have some of the most AMAZING friends and teachers in Brazil!  How they went the extra mile and really made the experience seem like a giant family reunion rather than stumbling through a new culture and country.  How our kids were genuinely LOVED and cared for beyond any hopes I ever had for their first school experience.  How I could call my girlfriends at any time, for any reason or none at all, and I knew they would be there for me.  So saying goodbye?  Yeah.  That, was HARD!! :(  But alas, pictures speak a thousand words..

We had a farewell churrasco with some of our friends from school and church before we left.  It was PERFECT.  I was completely able to have fun and pretend like leaving was still months and not just days away!
What started out as a rocky school year with a head strong little boy who wanted to stay with his mom and hated taking "no" as an answer, turned into nothing short of miraculous due to the two women that we were fortunate enough to have as his teachers.  Kicking and hitting, screaming and crying (from me too!), turned into hugs, kisses and gentle waves goodbye as my little boy was shaped by these two teachers and now genuine friends.  Saying goodbye would have been easier without them in our lives!  He and I have been forever touched by their influence!

At a little farewell classroom party, he was presented with a sweet gift that is now a treasured keepsake..
Cupcakes can sometimes make you cry.  Or maybe I'm just special.. ;)
No, I blame this woman right here for MANY of the tears I shed!  Sir L refers to her as "My Nana" :)
This was one school year that won't soon be forgotten!
For two years Handsome H was beyond lucky to have 2 more of the GREATEST teachers in the school! Renata, who was on maternity leave, made this video for him that they played during his little farewell party.. taking pictures with tear filled eyes, for those who have not done it, is HARD!! :(
That got me right there! :(
He LOVED his presented school shirt signed by all of his friends and pronounced it a treasure to be kept and never worn!
Fernanda let him pick some of his favorite songs to sing before it was over and I think that was the icing on the cake for him! :)
Of course, we had to get some cute pictures of the class visitors too ;)
Such a fun class full of great friends and incredible teachers!!
I love that whether in the classroom or out, these ladies REALLY care!  That is something hard to come by these days it seems..
My sweet, shy boy has grown in countless ways, both academically and socially.  It has truly been such a privilege to watch!
I am SO sad and embarrassed to admit that my camera was dead when we went to Bailey's farewell.. apparently you're supposed to switch it "off" to preserve battery life.. who knew?! :P  Her sweet teacher Tracey made this great video for her: 
It's crazy to look back over the past two years and realize exactly how FAR she's come and how much she's grown!  She had a tight little group of girlfriends that was hard to say goodbye to.  Her shy quiet little self was in many was conquered and overcome by this new excited, happy and bubbly version that is as endearing as ever!!

I have mentioned Amazing V before - she used to work for us full time, cleaning house and providing us with Friday date nights for our first year in Brazil.  Our 2nd year we opted to be a little more American and have her come to help only once a week.  Work aside, Vera has become one of my greatest friends.  Her example of hard work and diligence has surpassed all else.  She forwent many popular and socially common things and events to pull her sweet family out of a dangerous favella and into a home that took them years to build together.  Piece by piece as money was saved, they did it, without incurring any debt, and though incredibly modest by most standards, it is the greatest success story I've ever witnessed!  I am SO proud of her and what she has been able to accomplish.  With only a 3rd grade education under her belt, I never imagined that she could have taught me SO much.

When Channing was born, she insisted on working an extra day to get everything extra clean for him.  She would not accept money for her time, and it was very hard for me to accept her service.  She insisted that she didn't have a fancy gift to give him or us, but she could offer time, as little as it was, she prayed we would accept.  I tried to explain to her that her "gift" was nothing to be ashamed of.  The quote by President Gordon B Hinckley from the Mormon church sums it up well, "He who gives money gives much.  He who gives time gives more.  He who gives of himself gives all."  She truly gave of herself, and taught me what that really means.  She and her family will forever have place in our hearts and in our home.
So here's to friends that are more like family.  Teachers that teach more than they were hired to.  And a country that has helped us shape our own personal family culture!  Que saudades Brasil!


Pushing Pause

No updates here!  Just basking in the glow of pictures - I love having a reason to photograph my little sweethearts.. product photography anyone?? :)  Don't mind if I do!!
Good heavens I love these kids!! :)