Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sunday Morning

Saturday night we all crashed at an early hour, which was great. We got a good nights sleep. After the previous night of sleeping on the plane, I noticed and was so grateful to be able to have my feet up and not get swollen by pregnancy. It was also so nice to be able to lay down all the way - the night before my tailbone was killing from sleeping sitting up. Those little things I always take for granted every night but not this past Saturday night. I will try to do better to always remember and be grateful. We don't have any fans in the house yet, so it got a little hot for the little girls, and I think that made them wake up. So the came in to increase the joint body heat in our bed. It's a queen, smaller than our king at home, but we all squeezed in together and got toasty warm!d Around 6:30 Natalie was waking up, making Sophi start to stir too...
Let's go peek in on the other kids - Wes and Hyrum are sharing a room. This house doesn't have a lot of furnishings, but we are glad it has mattresses.
The rooms stay nice and dark until you open the wood shutters.
Here's the girls asleep on their floor mattresses. Abi wants to be with Mel "cause the little girls make a mess" (Abi, sweetie, you're one of them!) and Lily doesn't feel safe with Sophi cause Sophi bailed on her during the night leaving her all alone. So we're still figuring out the room arrangement, so had to move her mattress over during the night.
We woke up nice and early here compared to when we wake up on typical Sunday mornings in Utah. So we got ready and made it to church in time. In Primary, they gave all the kids a little chocolate treat with a cute foam bunny. Abi was the only one who saved her treat until after we got home so I could take a picture. :)
And we broke out the "hardship ice cream" to help Sophi. She looks like she's had better days...
She's got a lot of mosquito bites and keeps picking at them and making them look worse. The cold sore on her upper lip is looking better though. But she still looks like she's had a rough week! Here, have some hardship ice cream. To remind you of the easy life in the states you used to know. I've been serving up fruit for breakfast. The kids are already "tired" of fruit... Yesterday Abi griped "we have it everyday!" (which had been two mornings thus far). I told her she could deal with it, and "how come you never get tired of cereal, huh? You used to have that everyday, my goodness, let's toughen up a little!"

After church I had a nice nap and Abi got a hold of my camera. Here is her work.
When I woke up I joined them outside and we had a nice chat about what's different than the US, what's better, what is new, what they miss. We enjoy expanding their definition of what reality is, this is going to be a great experience for all of us. We're glad to be here! :)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Arrival and Welcome Party

Saturday morning - May 28th, 2015.

The relatively calm and convenient arrival in Campinas might just have been worth the stress I felt as we left Miami. After as good of a nights sleep as one expect on a plane, we had breakfast. How did you sleep Sophi? How's your apple juice?
 Glad she seems to be in good spirits. 
The plane landed in Campinas at 9. It was nice to find ourselves all alone in the airport. Gave us a sense of calm.
It is not a busy or crowded airport at all. If we hadn't gone to Miami for the direct flight to Campinas, we would have had to go through Sao Paulo. And Corey said we do NOT want to do that. So this was nice, there was lots of space to watch the kids with no worries of losing track of the little people.
We got through customs easily, yes there are 9 passports there. 
There was no wait for people front of us and no one behind us either. Ahh, nice and calm.
Corey's friends picked us up and were there waiting after we got through customs. They took all our stuff to the house while I waited with 4 little girls, Wesley, and 3 car seats for Corey to come back with the plan of attack as to how to get our rental cars.
Natalie's still smiling. On the drive to Miami, she got or was given one of Abi's brown non washable crayola markers and drew all over her face and body. There are still a few traces of it you can see on her cheek, chin, and in her nostril. I tried to wipe it off her face, but didn't bother with her legs. Her messy self and Sophi's bad looking lips, plus our piles of stuff made us look like a disheveled bunch in Miami.
We got more than a few stares as we pushed our train of luggage through the Miami airport. Not sure if it was the 7 kids or the loads of stuff that was getting the looks. One lady commented on how good the kids were. She asked us jokingly if we were moving, I assume since we had a ton of stuff. I said that we were, kind of. Just for 4 months. Our luggage space in the bins mostly consisted of pillows and blankets. Back in Campinas, Corey came back from sending off the luggage and we went to the car rental place, where we waited again for Corey as he had to go to a different place to sign the car rental contract and get the keys. I gave Wesley back his ball along with my blessing to bounce it around at will.
Natalie was a crazy goose on the loose. And we are all sweaty now cause it's hot and humid in Brazil, oh yeah! We took refuge inside a few times. Nice cold water there too.
Inside, outside, then inside, then outside... repeat x 20

Corey's back! Hooray, time to try to squeeze into these little vehicles. Not a lot of leg room, the car seats are kinda big.
And now we followed his friend Raphael to the house.
There was a welcome party waiting for us when we pulled in!
His friends and employees were at the house with their families for a bbq. The pool looked really nice and the kids said it was cold ~ would have felt sooo good to jump in. But I didn't know where my swimsuit was in our luggage. Even if I didn't, I wouldn't have felt comfortable/confident enough to put in on in front of all the office people. So the kids went swimming...
The sun was bright and shining in their eyes. 
They had a banquet table full of exotic fruit greeting us - it will be fun to explore all these interesting fruits!
I met the Movie Mouth office staff and we all enjoyed some grilled meat and fruit.
Lily trying the dragon fruit. 
What do you think? She's all smiles. 
Sophi explored the house with her little shadow.
Standing on top of some crates, she proclaimed "I AM FOFI!! I AM FOFI!!" Such a fun game.
Angela and Nathali took me to the grocery store to get supplies to make it through the weekend.
I went to this store last time we were her in Brazil in 2007. I'm starting to have a few flashbacks of how to navigate life here, but will need a bit of help getting it running smoothly.
But I do have a bias that, by default, most things don't run smoothly here. Corey thinks our last trip left me scarred and wounded. At the store and I'm already missing Costco and Walmart. I felt like I didn't know what to do with half the stuff for sale there, especially the food. Oh, we miss you orange chicken and pb and j! Life is so easy in the US of A. But Angela and Natalie are great, I know that I have lots of friends eager and ready to help me when I need it.
Tuna sandwiches, packaged cookies and ice cream might be on the menu for a few days though.
Yeah, don't really know what to do with this stuff, except the toilet paper. That one seemed the same as in the US.
So! When I got back from the store the party was winding down, we said chao to everyone and put the groceries away. I started to unpack our luggage a little, and soon noticed all the kids had crashed. And it was only 7pm! I unpacked a little bit, but was ready for bed too. I'll report on our first Sunday tomorrow. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

All Aboard in Miami

Catching the plane in Miami will probably be remembered by myself as being the most painful part of our departure. Corey just told me that now he thinks it wasn't too bad, but it could have been. Here's how it went, you tell me if it sounds painful or not... We were an hour late checking out of the hotel, finally on the road at 1. First - a few errands to Walmart and Ikea. On the list - microwave, pack n play crib for Natalie, mattress pad, and some Ikea cups and bowls (don't live without them, on the list of absolute must haves for international travel with kids) (I had packed a few bowls, but somehow forgot the cups. Plus thought it wouldn't hurt to grab a few more of the other things while we had the chance) Corey ran into Walmart for the microwave and mattress pad while the kids waited in the car and ate apples - 2:30 and we're done with errand one. No sweat. 
(Natalie's such a cute stinker)
Then Corey waited with the kids while I ran into Ikea. Piece of cake. But I did find out that I stood in the wrong check out line. It happens. We were on the road to Miami at 3:30 and looked like we would have plenty of time - plane leaves at 11 pm
We took the Florida Turnpike, which we didn't know was a toll road. Luckily Mel had cash and we cleaned her out. Thanks Mel, you saved us again. She's our little miss money pockets, good to have her around.
I was pretty tired on the drive (since I was awake from 3 to 7) I called Corey a few times as I got drowsy to help me stay alert, and talked to Nicole and my mom too. We took a break from the drive around 6:30 at the Chic-Fil-A in West Palm Beach. We were able to say hi to some sister missionaries there.
There was a total downpour while we were inside, so looks like we chose a good time to stop. There were a few times when we were driving that the rain was coming down so hard and fast that the windshield wipers couldn't keep up with it. The traffic was kinda slow, maybe because of the rain, also probably cause it was a bit busy.
After some food, I went to the car and took a short power nap while the kids played inside with Corey. I got just enough sleep to help me finish the drive.

We finally got to Miami, but our gps took us to an airport shuttle parking lot, which wasn't going to work for us with our rental cars, plus we were still full of luggage. It was 9:00 and I felt like we were lost and was starting to get a little nervous about how we were gonna get there and check all our stuff in time. We decided to go to the Fox rental car return. They took the cars and helped us load our 16 checked items and other stuff into their shuttle.
So far so good, it's 9:30. On the drive over, they said they couldn't take us to the departure place for check in, they could only drop us off at the car rental area. Ugh.
There are a few kids hiding behind all our loads of stuff.
So this is the part that almost killed me. We loaded up 4 smart carts with our stuff and Corey pushed one and he held Natalie who refused to walk. and the other 3 were pushed along by Hyrum, me and Melodie. Abi pushed Sophi in the stroller as she pulled a carry on.
We had to go to the train, up an elevator, all the while pushing all our stuff and counting kids to make sure they were still with us.
We finally got to check in at 10:00 and were there for 25 minutes.
Sophi was tired and done with this little adventure.
Of course a parent's adventure isn't complete without a kid collapsed and crying on the airport floor, right?
The kids did great, but also couldn't help asking a hundred questions that we didn't have answers too. They endured our constant commands of "Please, just sit still, be quiet, watch Natalie, go get Natalie, help Sophi, just wait, we'll tell you when we know...." etc. And I had to banish Wesley's bouncy ball on a string that he got at Universal studios. Sorry, children, but we can't handle any unnecessary movements right now, just sit still! Sorry, we're a little frazzled!
Then off to security. We had to take off our shoes, blah, and each laptop had to be put in it's own bin. "Ok kids, this really is the last hard part, we're almost there!" And then we were off to D16.
We got there at 11 and luckily they hadn't boarded yet. We made a quick bathroom run and then I ran with Sophi to the bathroom, which made us miss our priority boarding for families with kids, sorry Corey. But soon enough we were on the plane and in our seats. Phew! Time to relax, kinda. Most of the kids zonked out pretty quickly once we were in the air. It wasn't a full flight, so we spread out, Lily moved over and got two seats where she slept...
Which gave Wes and Abi more room for them to crash...
Natalie, wasn't tired of course. She's little miss high energy. After we'd had an hour of fun with her we passed her over to our trooper Mel, where they played with the seatbelt for a while
So interesting how it clicks! And unlatches too?! It was a good game for a one year old. 
Sophi's cold sore getting better. She put her stickers on the wall. You having fun Soph? Sophi sat by Corey.
Time for a little light reading. Anything to try and keep her distracted from climbing around or being noisy.
Hmm! Very interesting.
Then we had some dinner at 1:30 a.m. Miami time - 2:30 a.m. Campinas. Hyrum woke up for that but we didn't wake up Wes, Abi, or Lily. Just sleep, little people. Natalie thought it was a good chicken dinner!
After dinner they turned down the lights and we went to sleep. Natalie slept with me. My tailbone was killing me from sleeping sitting up. Around 6 a.m. I left her on two seats by herself and woke up Mel to move by Lily and she was so kind to do it. I woke up Hyrum to tell him I needed to prop up my swollen ankles on his lap. He went to the bathroom and threw up, and then we all slept for another 2 hours until breakfast at 8:00. We landed at 9:00 am on Saturday morning, we made it! Exhausted, yes, but we're all still alive and haven't lost our kids or any bags, so that's pretty good.
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