Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Spring is almost over so we have to rush and get all that spring cleaning finished. Kati and I scrubbed the backyard today. Does that sound strange? Well, a year ago it would have sounded strange to me too, but not today. Our backyard, which we prefer to call a "courtyard", sounds more formal, is all tile. We do have grass, but it is in our front and side yard. The tile has not been scrubbed and really cleaned since we have lived here this 3 months and before that the house was empty for over a year, so I am sure it has been awhile since the tile was scrubbed. Well, it was scrubbed today and Kati and I took turns making it happen. We washed it all off with the water hose and a broom and then we literally scrubbed on our hands and knees. See the picture below....I'm not kidding. It was hard work, but we did it and were able to sit back, relax and enjoy our pretty, clean tile. I do think the caption on this pictures needs to be something like Cinder-relly, or something like that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

From Christmas Cookies to Emergency Rooms

Preston and I decided today was the day for Christmas cookies. I had Grandmother's recipe for sugar cookies, but was a little nervous that I just wasn't going to be able to make it work. So, it was just our practice batch, but it turned out great. We will be making more to give to our neighbors this weekend. So, let the baking begin! One funny note about the cookies was that we don't have cookie cutters, which is fine so don't send us any. What we did was cut out shapes out of paper like a snowman, candy cane and gingerbread man just to start with. We laid the paper shapes on the dough and used a knife to cut around it. (see picture of Preston in action below) It worked rather nicely. Once we figured out that it would work, we then did a cross, a manger, smiley faces and bells. We had a lot of fun. In addition to the cookies, we made a Brazilian sweet treat, brigadeiros, and a new found recipe from Susan Clements, cake balls. All of these turned out great and Preston was so excited that he was the only one that helped me. He is always excited about Mama/Preston time. Kati wants me to explain however that she had a friend from Campinas here spending the night and that is why she wasn't helping us......The flour all over everything and us was Preston's doing. He thought we needed it for the pictures.

We barely got the sweets finished when Kati came in the kitchen and said she was starting to itch all over her body. I gave her a benadryl and told her to go take a shower. Well, nothing seemed to help and it was getting worse. It started out as just red places but they were everywhere on her body. Then those red places began to swell and developed welts. She said her clothes touching her skin only made everything sting and it was obvious that she was very uncomfortable. She then thought she was having trouble breathing and that is when I got nervous. I went ahead and called for a taxi to take us to the ER. Paul and I didn't want to take a chance on her throat swelling shut. So, Kati and I were off to the ER with my Portuguese dictionary in hand. And just for the record that dictionary was never needed!!! Woo-Hoo!!! I was nervous though being by ourselves and having to rely on our language skills, but we did it. I got the paperwork filled out and she was checked in. That was task number 1. It may not be a big deal, but we are counting it as a major accomplishment. Then we were called back and the doctor spoke no English whatsoever. She had to examine Kati and explain to us what she was going to do; she did, and we understood! Accomplishment #2! So, she told us that they were going to give her medication to stop the itching and hopefully it would in turn stop the swelling. By this time, Kati's eyes, lips and ears were all swollen, but her breathing was okay. After they gave her the medication, they just wanted us to sit and wait to make sure that it was doing what they hoped it would do. It worked and Kati was feeling much better within 15 minutes. The swelling went down and the redness was gone, so Kati and I had a little time just to sit and talk. Once we knew she was going to be alright, it was a nice time together. So, it may have come about in a strange way, but I was able to spend some good one on one time with both Kati and Preston today. And on top of all that really felt like we had a major victory in the language being able to manage the ER with no help. I have already said many little prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord for seeing us through this and giving us this victory.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brazilian 1st Birthday Party

I told you it would be nothing exciting, but here goes with my first "journal entry". In Brazil, the 1st birthday is a big one, along with the 15th birthday for girls. Well, we got to go to our first Brazilian 1 aninho aniversario festa and it didn't disappoint. We knew when we received all 6 invitations that it would be something spectacular. The picture below shows the invitation. It was adorable! It was just this cute little box and we all six got one.
When we took the top off of the box, it popped open with this cute green with white polka dot inside with little ladybugs all over it. The center ladybug is even a 3D type bug. The picture doesn't do it justice, but it was so cute.The inside of course just gave the details of when and where the party was. Fofinho, neh? We waited after getting these cute little invitations for 3 weeks for party time. So, we were ready and excited to practice some Portuguese. Let me tell you a little about the party and then I will add some pictures. When we arrived they had red and white balloons everywhere and ladybugs on the sidewalk all the way up to the door, through the house and to the backyard where the festivities would actually take place. Everything was red, white and black with the ladybug theme - the cake, the treats, the sweets, the napkins, the tables, everything fit the theme of the party. Too cute! We first got there and sat down to be greeted by the waiters wanting our drink order. Remember I said that this was a 1 YEAR OLD birthday party! Waiters! Ok, then they brought around a little tray for every table with all kinds of little salty snacks. And when we ran out, they brought more. Then they brought around these cute little hot dogs, and even the wrapper for the hot dog had a ladybug on it. See below:Preston ate about 5 hot dogs and this was after all the little salty snacks which he ate way too many of. Not to mention all the guarana that he had already drank. Then there was lots of talking and mingling and chasing babies. We were there for almost 4 hours and no English was spoken. I felt that from a language point of view, it was good. We talked plenty, we didn't just sit there. We found a great couple that was so kind and so patient with us, Luciano and Marlise. We are supposed to have dinner with them after the holidays are over. We are looking forward to this! Ok, in this backyard the family has a pool and a beautifully shaded area that was just decorated to the tee. As I was enjoying the tropical trees in the yard, I noticed one of them was a pomegranate tree. They told me to come back and get as many as I want when they are ripe.
I was fascinated by the pomegranate. You know there are just some things that this Mississippi girl is not used to seeing and this was my thing for the day! The babies loved the pool and this dolphin that spit water. I was afraid that one of them was going to fall in, but Preston was the only one that got wet that day and I was the one that pushed him in. He liked it so don't feel sorry for him!Then we sang to the birthday girl, ate cake, ate chocolate covered strawberries, ate more treats and talked a lot more. It was fun and a great experience. We had heard that the first birthday was sometimes as big as a wedding reception and this one could have been a wedding reception. A neat little side note to this party was that there were 3 sets of twins there. Ok enough already, I know, I will quit boring you now, but here is a picture of the birthday girl, Bruna, and her cake.Isn't she precious? Her family speaks no English whatsoever and they are so sweet to us and are so very patient with us as we struggle to make our Portuguese words make sense. We are thankful for our new Brazilian friends and ask that you pray with us that the Lord will nurture these friendships and show us how to be a light to them even if we can't speak as fluently as we would like.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Way of Posting

Ok, my kids have informed me that I keep forgetting details of things that we have done or things that have happened since arriving in Brazil 10 months ago. And I can't seem to be consistent enough to actually put pen to paper and write it down, but I am on this computer enough that I think I can type it out. So, with that in mind, I am going to start blogging as if this were my journal in a kind of sort of way. If it gets to a point that it is just not your kind of blog, then feel free to stop reading, but I have to do something to help my memory. Hopefully this will be just what my mind needs to help jog my memory. And if not, that's ok at least I will have a written record. I will start this new blog style tomorrow, so I will see you then.