Tuesday, June 30, 2015

mishaps: Brazil Part 4

Just as a disclaimer: this is not a complaining post! These are just the funny stories of things that didn't go quite right and made our trip more memorable :)

rooftop view from our São Paulo apartment

Apartment Damages

 Our apartment in São Paulo had a glass top cover over the gas burners on the stove.  One evening, we were heating some chicken nuggets/french fries for dinner, and we'd gotten creative with stove top cooking since we didn't have any oven-safe dishes. I had a pan full of french fries heating on the stove when I started to smell something funny and see smoke from behind it... And suddenly I realized I'd forgotten to lift the glass cover! We quickly turned it off and lifted it up off the heat of the burner, but a moment later as we were turned away we heard a crash and the entire glass top had somehow exploded or just crashed with bits of pieces all over the kitchen. Yikes!
(no one was hurt and Jordan was amazing and helped clean up all the glass, and the hotel was super nice and charged much less than we'd expected to repair it. phewph!)

very average São Paulo sidewalk! (and our only real rainy day - woohoo!)

Street Robbery (but not really)

We were very cautious/careful as we made plans for where to stay and where to visit. And we felt very safe almost everywhere we went. Still, we returned from our day trip to Rio to hear the report on how the day had been for Kathie and Winslow with the little boys and heard that Owen had been robbed! (well sort of :) As well as I remember --

They'd ventured out to the supermarket near out hotel with the boys and stopped for ice cream on the way. As they neared the market, a homeless man was asking for money and getting more persistent and upset. He got frustrated that they wouldn't give him anything and finally reached out and took Owen's ice cream (!) The market's security guards came over and he returned Owen's ice cream before he was escorted away from the market.

Sweet Landon heard the story and said  "I think Heavenly Father sent those guards to protect them so nothing worse would have happened."  We tried to ask Owen about it, but he always just answered happily something like, "It was okay, he gave me my ice cream  back"

what could I have to be unhappy about??

A Mess

I had a hard time with the transition from São Paulo to Florianopolis. With our flight schedule that day I'd missed lunch (which is a big deal for me!) and was overwhelmed with a funny smell in our (otherwise beautiful!) house and I don't know what but I was just having a hard day. When I went to unpack, one of our bottles had spilled and everything in that suitcase was covered with (sweet smelling!) sticky soap. (Which, obviously is not a big deal!) But, it felt like a big deal on a hard day. Isn't it crazy that we can have hard days when their is really nothing hard even happening? (A vacation in paradise, on an island with 42 beaches? And I was crying about a soapy suitcase?)

play time with Grammie at our Florianopolis house
A Bat!

One evening we were playing games (I think) at our house in Florianopolis and a bat flew through the room! There were a few places in the house that had gaps where windows should have been and it must have just come in that way. Jordan and Winslow bravely searched but he had happily left before they found him.

Wet clothes

We were lucky to have washers in both apartments, but had some trouble with dryers and travelled home with a decent pile of still-wet clothes. In São Paulo our washer was a washer/dryer in one. You put all the clothes in, set the timer (for about 4 hours) and it would wash then dry the clothes all in the same place. Except, that it didn't really dry them so much. When I tried (in my not so excellent Portuguese) to ask the housekeeper if there was something we needed to do differently to help the clothes dry better, she brought me a drying rack to set up on the balcony. :) In Florianopolis we had drying lines, but with the humidity, things didn't ever really get totally dry (although, I never had any trouble with wrinkles in my t-shirts so that was a definite plus!)

at the Butantan Institute
An Expensive Museum Visit

We flew back to São Paulo the day before our flight home, so we had a little extra time to do some last fun things. We stayed in a hotel out by the airport and April and I planned a trip to visit the Serpentarium with Landon that we'd missed while we were in the city before. The metro/buses looked too long to be worth the time so we got a taxi (which we'd done several times before during our trip) and headed out. It wasn't long before both April and I were getting nervous, watching the trip meter rising and rising and rising... by the time we got to the museum, the trip cost shown was about triple what we had anticipated. Then we were told another 50% would be added on because we'd crossed city boundaries (!!!) The museum workers at our drop off spot confirmed that as a normal fee, so we paid and then dreaded the trip back with another crazy expensive taxi ride! (The museum was a great deal though with entrance for about $2!)

Diving Practice

The kids loved the front yard pool in Florianopolis. We'd come back from a day at the beach and they'd jump in the pool for even more water fun. Having an open pool meant we did have to keep extra good track of the kids, but they did amazingly well. Just once while we were all outside, Porter was walking around the edge of the pool when he lost his footing and fell in. Without thinking, I jumped in (fully clothed) but as I tripped on the pools steps, Landon who was swimming and playing right by the fall calmly stepped over and pulled Porter out. Even though I got some soggy clothes,  I was so happy that was our only pool mishap!

at Daniella Beach  (playing safely away from the agua-viva)
Learning about Jellyfish

The owners of the Florianopolis house were super nice. One afternoon, they offered to lend us their kayak for a trip to the beach. We picked it up and walked the block from their home to nearby Daniela Beach. Before we got settled, Landon (running in the waves along the shore) pointed to the sand, showing Jordan, "Look Dad! A jelly fish!" "No, that's just some seaweed..."  Jordan answered as he picked it up to toss it aside.
But, when the seaweed clung to him as he tried to pull it off his hand,  and then left his hand stinging more and more and more... he realized it really had been a jellyfish! A fisherman nearby came over a few minutes later with the warning of "água-viva" or 'live -water' (which is their name for jelly fish -- a perfect name because these looked like just see-through little blobs that you'd hardly notice in the water). We found a few more, and ended our beach trip short that day!

stopping by on the way home from church to see another beautiful beach (and look at that happy Grandpa + Porter in the background!)
Things that didn't happen that I worried would happen

I am an expert worrier. And maybe one benefit of worrying so much is that when everything turns out okay, it is such a relief (that's not true, it's not worth it! I'd much rather not worry in the first place !  :)

Most of all, we were grateful that Landon did not get lost! (Or any of our other children, he was just the most likely candidate for getting distracted and wandering a little too far)

Also, we didn't get sick! We've had a history for crazy sickness when we get together so we felt so lucky to stay healthy and not have any trouble with new foods either.

And we were safe and happy and didn't get lost or hurt or any of the other many circumstances I'd imagined might happen! Hooray for a wonderful time (and some imperfect stories to remember too :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

weekend report/ other thoughts

Our expert pancake maker, hard at work. 
Well this has been a wild and fun summer so far! We got back from Brazil and caught our breath for a few days, then before we'd finished unpacking, Jordan and the kids had a campout (a promised reward from May). We unpacked as we packed up for a day trip to Provo. Then Father's Day (we love you Jordan!) and a spur-of-the-moment decision and a trip to Bear Lake. We finished unpacking from that while Jordan packed up (see a theme here?) for the Father and Son's campout!

Add in Portuguese Camp for Ellie, Art classes for Ellie and Landon, getting back into our callings, a couple rounds of stomach flu for a few of the kids, working in the garden, reading good books, a late birthday celebration for Jordan with a surprise party in the 'forest' at the park, getting started with school time (traveling the world from our kitchen table)... phewph!

And yet, Jordan and I have been noticing and talking (amidst all of this!) how we're coming into our sweet spot again. Which I think translates mainly to we're sleeping again! (we're still hoping for sleeping through the night one day, but we are most definitely back to a life of sanity sleep-wise) And our kids are just sweet ages right now where we can do so many things we love to do.
We've been going and doing and playing and working and we've been happy. Also, sometimes grumpy because that's life. But mostly happy and capable and enjoying our little ones.  So hooray for all that.

This weekend, Jordan took the boys minus Porter to the Father and son's campout and Ellie and I had girls night/morning (+ Porter :) and it was super fun. A restaurant trip to Ellie's choice of Texas Roadhouse, reading scripture stories together before bed, a morning walk, a magic show by Ellie, and art project. And lots of time for Ellie to tell me about all the things.  I sure love this girl!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Parks and Playgrounds and Other green spaces: Brazil Part 3

I loved the parks in Brazil. A few we went to specifically as an outing, but often we just stopped to play for a little while when we passed a new park along our route. And they were so beautiful! And so fun to see the different, unique playgrounds and jungle gyms. Such fun. And now, lots of pictures :)


In São Paulo, we stayed in an apartment hotel just a block or so from one end of Avenida Paulista (one of the major streets of the city). So on one of our first days, we took the metro to the opposite end of the street, and slowly walked back through the day,  stopping to explore along the way. And one of our stops was this beautiful park.

Those trees! They completely surrounded this  pretty wood playground - what a beautiful background for an afternoon of play. 

This is how Owen spent most of his time at the playground!

The kids loved having new things to try out.

The park wound through a beautiful forested area on these paths, with fun places to sit along the way.

I took a turn on the see-saw with the kids too for just a minute before a park security woman let me know that this was a playground only for children! :)

So then, I just had fun taking pictures of these happy kids in such a beautiful place.


Ibirapuera park was one of our day trip destinations. It is one of the largest in Brazil, and was often compared to New York's Central Park in travel reviews and such with it's lake, monuments, museums and trails.  We took the metro there and then just started walking, stopping whenever we found an interesting place to stop and explore a little more. 

This looks like a pond, but it was really a great big beautiful lake.

Even more common than playgrounds in Brazil were these outdoor gyms. This was the first one we spotted (there were several more within the park and many more in São Paulo and in Florianopolis) and the kids (and Jordan and April too) had fun trying out the different exercise equipment.

Cute Owen!!

And oh my goodness, it was sure wonderful to take this trip with Kathie and Winslow. Besides just enjoying their company, we never could have managed getting from place to place without their constant help! (And they were such good sports about waiting for the kids whenever we found another playground to try out!)

This tree! Those crazy roots!

Of course he couldn't resist climbing!

And bamboo! (Plus some drum practice, I hope that was okay...?)

Cute Porter inside one little space in  a huge, long tree so nice and smooth, set up as a perfect place for climbing and tunneling and playing.

Hooray for Grandpas! (And such cool black swans)

On our way to the 'big' playground we'd seen on the map of Ibirapuera park, we had several stops at other playgrounds (that seemed pretty big too!) I loved these trains made of giant pipes.

Such fun! I just loved all these interesting playground spots!

Sometime after lunch (plus some delicious juices at a little restaurant in the park), we rented a few bikes and surreys here and toured a little more of the park that way.

What a happy group! Little Porter didn't last long in his front row seat before he started to get a little too sleepy. It only took a minute or so in Grandpa's arms before he fell asleep and enjoyed the rest of the ride in dreamland.


While I went with Landon to school one morning,  Jordan explored the neighborhood nearby and found this beautiful park. Full of trails (that were carefully raked in many parts!) and beautiful trees, plants and flowers - it was such a peaceful lovely place. 

Before we arrived, the sand here was raked perfectly smooth and flat - totally pristine. (At a playground!) Such a beautiful quiet place to play.


After lunch at a fun Italian restaurant, we stopped to plan our route home and the kids had a super fun time running and playing around this little green space.

A helping hand from Grammie

Happy kiddos.

Hooray for Aunt April!


Just outside the airport in Rio, they had this fun little space where the kids had a great time running and playing and climbing while we made plans for our first destination.


Of course we had to stop to play for just a few minutes, just for the park's name. (Girl from Impanema)

Another outdoor gym :)


We stayed a few blocks from the Jurere beach, and this little playground was right next to the beach and shopping there so the kids played here a few times on our way coming or going to the beach or restaurant/shops nearby.

A cute little playground/fort

A little balance beam bridge - just so fun!


A quick stop at the park to play before an oceanside dinner


Kathie and Winslow took Porter out exploring and adventuring one morning while we took the big kids to Daniela Beach nearby. The outdoor shopping center by our house had a great little kids play area perfect for Porter. 

Phewph! What a lot of play!

I don't think I even realized until I looked through for all of these pictures how much we really loved the parks in Brazil and how much time we spent at these great playgrounds!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bear Lake!

We thought we were about ready to settle into our at-home summer plans this week, but at the last minute we decided instead to spend a few days at Bear Lake for Shauna's family reunion - hooray!

We actually started out Saturday with (another last minute) trip down to Provo/American Fork. We drove down after lunch and spent the afternoon with my brother Dan and his wife Danielle (visiting the newly remodeled Bean Life Science Museum and searching unsuccessfully for BYU brownies :) (And oh! I sure love BYU. Such beautiful buildings and plants and trees and bright colored flowers, and the mountains! And so many happy memories.)    We got to see lots of the cousins and aunts and uncles at Grandma and Grandpa Brady's in American Fork for the evening.  Then a late night drive back home to Logan!

I hadn't been to Bear Lake since we'd moved to Logan, and it was really so fun! Great to spend time with family (from Landon "I never knew I had so many cousins!")  and to visit and relax and play too. It was a working vacation for Jordan (hooray for working remotely!) but he even got to fit in some pool time and beach time and ping-pong playing.

Wednesday Jordan brought Ellie and Landon back to Logan for their art class & Portuguese class before coming back up to play a bit more. And that meant I got to spend most of the day with just the two little boys, which was so fun! It was our day at the lake and I just loved watching and playing and sitting in the sand and water with those two. (And all of our other family too :)

Hooray for a fun last minute trip!
(Now it's really time to get that last Brazil suitcase unpacked...)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Street Performers: Brazil Part 2

One of our first nights in São Paulo, we went for a walk from our hotel and ran into a big group listening to this violinist. Some of the street performers here were pretty well organized, though none so fancy as this - the tux, the speakers,  pianist, photographer, CD's for sale instead of just a jar for coins... (of course there were also several one-man shows too). I thought this was so fun. We stayed to listen for quite a little while - Landon was particularly mesmerized and the kids loved hearing familiar songs like I can't help falling in love with you.  It was just a happy welcome to the city!

Other street performer favorites -

* After our visit to the soccer museum, we stopped for a mini picnic just outside. While April and Jordan planned our route home, a trombone player nearby provided some fun tunes while we snacked and played.

* At the public market in Florianopolis, we heard a few minutes from this sweet teenager with a beautiful voice. "A menina  que canta e encanta" (The girl who sings and enchants) I loved it. (I just found this article with more about her - you can use google translate to read more --  Isn't it amazing that we could travel across the world and hear a 13 year old sing beautifully on a street corner, and then return home and find out more about her story online?)

* And one more music thought - There was American music everywhere here. In the malls, grocery stores, taxis, restaurants... I'm sure I heard more American music than Brazilian. There is such an interesting American/English influence in Brazil in their music, tv, bookstores, etc.

Friday, June 19, 2015

on getting there: Brazil part 1

Waiting at the terminal in the Atlanta airport

All right, here we go! I want to share and remember so many things about our trip to Brazil, but I feel a bit overwhelmed at all the things. So, I'm going to write about it in little bits at a time and hope I can share the best parts.

There were definitely a few times flying through the night when I thought back to this little quote above! But truly, all of the flights went remarkably well. We flew to Atlanta where we met up with Kathie and Winslow and April (hooray!!) Then came our family's first over-night flight, from Atlanta to São Paulo. I checked with the flight attendant in Atlanta about Porter sleeping on the floor. His response was something like "These floors are not so clean... I wouldn't let my child sleep there, but you can decide for yourself..." So, we set down blankets at our feet and April & Winslow's feet and Porter and Owen both slept sweetly (well, as sweetly as you can on an airplane floor) nice and stretched out, Ellie curled up in her seat next to Grammie and Landon just did great in his own seat.

We made it! + matching hats :)

Coming home I didn't ask about the kids sleeping on the floor (This is not like me, but I didn't dare in case they said no!) so we had Owen sleeping at Jordan/Landon's feet and both Ellie and Porter sleeping at my feet. Until around three in the morning when Ellie's little legs poked out into the aisle and the flight attendant became very alarmed that I was putting my children in such danger (!) So we made it through the rest of the flight snuggled up together for a while plus a turn for Jordan with Porter.

So the kids did amazing! I don't think any of the grown-ups got any sleep, but as sleepy as we were, we were still super grateful for the how well the kids did.

Other fun flight bits:

* I was watching Mcfarland, USA on the flight out, pretty much all night long. I'd watch a bit then try to sleep, watch a bit more, rewind and try to listen to the same part to put me to sleep... by morning it felt like that was the longest movie ever!

* It was so fun to get to the airport terminal in Atlanta and get our first taste of Brazil with everyone around us speaking Portuguese. Here we go!

* The captains let the kids come up to check out the cockpit and tell them all about the different controls and such. When I peeked in, they were telling Landon all about how much fuel they needed for this flight ("a swimming pool full!")


* São Paulo is the largest city in both North and South America - flying in you can see that with a sea of skyscrapers that just goes on and on and on!