Friday, May 29, 2015

Secret Sitting Spot

The kids have been playing nicely today, the weather is cool and crisp, it feels like fall. Yesterday and this morning it was cloudy and rainy, but this afternoon has been lovely. Aside from Natalie pouring out almost all of my practically full bottle of frankincense essential oil while I was at the store, I'd say that today has been one of the most pleasant days I've had here. On the bright side, Natalie and my closet both smell very nice and the floor looks nice and polished. I'll see if there is still time for me to have more frankincense shipped to my house before Joseph and Ethan come with gifts from the promised land for us. I'm glad I found Eden's Garden, cause I can get some frankincense for just $10 there. If I had to order it from doTerra again for $70 I'd probably be really upset with Natalie. The kids have been playing nicely today. While they played, I went out to read at my secret spot. It's right on the corner of the front porch.
It is the safe place for me to read without interruption, I can hear the kids but they can't see me and don't look for me there! They can't see me from the back patio... but I can hear them and can come out from my hiding spot without giving away my location. haha!
It was particularly lovely this afternoon. Here are a few shots from my current happy place - looking to my left (east) where there is a banana tree - with two bunches of bananas growing on it! Fun
Looking south - lots of lovely green can be seen in our yard and over the wall at the park across the street.
Looking south west, at our gate, the car gate is behind the bush there.
And looking west, where the kids could spy me if they ever came searching for me out the front door.
My current read - reading about the miracles during the Revolutionary war. I love it!
When I read a book, the kids like to leave their mark in it as soon as I step away to tend to them. Natalie, I'll miss your toddler hood someday.
Here is the mega fort the kids made in the front room - not just with couch cushions this time, they brought out the mattresses from their bedrooms. Major fort there.
Wesley was the builder of the fort, as well as the prince who reigns there.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Reading Charts

As I said in yesterday's post, Hyrum and Wes have been reading a lot.
Hyrum is reading Lord of the Rings, Wes is reading the collection of the Grimm's Fairy Tales. Here are Wesley's and Hyrum's reading charts - they taped them on the wall, both charts also have their own marker taped up with it.
And I think that pocket of papers is Wesley's Portuguese homework. They're good kids.
The markers were Disney Princess markers though (gasp) so they had to cover up the abominable pink color and princesses with gray duck tape.
Good boy Wes.
I asked Mel if she wanted a reading chart too, cause she reads just as much as them. She was reading for hours a day on her own initiative before they started. She's so good, doesn't need to be motivated by money. But I felt bad to pay Hyrum and Wes and not her. "Mel, do you want a reading chart too?" She was like "Meh, I don't really need the money..." She is the richest kid we've got and she's frugal with it too. Love that girl. Here she is after finishing her reading, drawing pictures of Elsa for her sisters.
Natalie, don't you love your big sister Mel?
She's as good as they get. They've been good examples for me, and thus I've started to take my reading up a notch too. I've been reading "The American Covenant Vol 1" by Timothy Ballard this past week. And as I read it and it talked about how the pilgrims and colonists were God fearing Christians who knew and read the Bible, I once again thought to myself "I've never read the Old Testament all the way through..." I printed up a reading chart for it a year ago when I was reading Isaiah, but then have gone to studying more than just reading. But now I've resolved again to read the Old Testament. I renewed my commitment yesterday, starting from the beginning, and I read Genesis in a day and a half and am over half way through Exodus today.
I have the time now to do it, so I'm going to try to keep reading. During our first week apart from Joseph and Ethan, I told Joseph that the time will go quickly if we have goals and stay busy. I said a goal for me could be to read the Old Testament, and I can just tell myself that we can go home as soon as I'm done. I didn't start when we got here, but maybe there is still time for me to get it done.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Little Moments

Here are a few little moments of the day ~
We'll start with Sophi asleep this morning. Usually she's not sleeping like this, thus why I had to capture it. (She usually is not on her back or pillow, doesn't have her blanket on over her, or holding her hands.)
Melodie was stretching in the front room. Natalie wanted to join her on her mat, but I went and got mine for her to use.
She is such a little shadow, always watching and imitating.
And showing Mel some of her own yoga positions. This one is called "floppy fish"
My little girls making a club in the back yard with the crate couch cushions.
 Natalie kept breaking it, so luckily she got distracted with the hammock.
Swinging in the hammock is called either "wee!" or "my turn" since those are the two things said when they are swining alone (wee) or when they have to share (my turn)
Natalie was enjoying "wee" right here since no one else was in line. It is so funny and cute to watch her push herself around and dangle on the hammock. We still should try to find another hook somewhere to hang it properly
Wesley had a new hobby - braiding. He'll put little braids in my hair, then some in Abi's, Lily's, Sophi's, he even did Gianinna while she was here.
Usually it's just little tiny braids on the sides, but I showed him some youtube videos on different styles of braiding, so he's begun to experiment with other kinds of braids.
The legos are still a hit with the little girls, although they've lost the mermaid with the pink tail. I Lily hid it from Sophi and now can't remember where she hid it, cause it's not just normal lost or I think it would have turned up when I clean or something. And it's nice to not have the set mixed up with other legos and thus not be able to build it without searching for the pieces. Cause this is the only set we have, yay! It still gets scattered all over the floor most days, but not to hard to clean up. We're living the simple life.
Hyrum has been reading a lot - He asked if we could do the "50 minutes 50 times for 50 bucks" like he did in 4th grade when he homeschooled. I said sure. But then he realized that to get the lego set he wants he needs 80. So it's 50 minutes 80 times for 80 bucks, which doesn't have the same cool ring to it, but oh well.
Wesley is doing 50 minutes 60 times for 60 bucks, they are working hard to have money in their hands when we get back to Utah.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Another Milestone

When we planned the trip here, there were several things that, when they happened, we knew things were winding up. One of them was when Gianinna was going to come. We've really enjoyed having her here, and today she's headed back to Chile. The kids were able to say their goodbyes this morning and then Corey came back from work to pick her up and take her to the bus station. He dropped her off to catch a bus to the Sao Paulo airport, since we know she's a pro traveler now - she even went to Rio de Janiero all by herself and lived to tell the tale! She's ready to take on the world!
So another event is over and checked off the list. Next is Iguazu this weekend. Not all of us are going, it's just going to be Corey with a few of the older kids - Mel, Hyrum, and Abi. Wes is going to help me hold down the fort here. He said he didn't need to go, cause he went to Rio last time. ;) And after Iguazu, the next mile marker is Joseph and Ethan coming! They will be leaving Utah two weeks from today! We are all super excited to see them! We're going to hold hands and do ring around the rosies in a circle as we sing "We're all together again!" (That guy has a voice I think I recognize from an old Christmas movie)

So, yeah, things are winding up. Tomorrow we will have just 5 weeks left. The month of May has gone by really fast. Though I guess most things do when you're looking back at them. Since this whole experience is going to be a dream before I know it, I guess I should talk a little bit about why we are here in the first place? It is because of Corey's business M o v i e Mouth.
I have to encrypt the name somehow with spaces or whatever cause Corey doesn't want it to be picked up by search engines yet, cause they aren't ready to sell to the general public. He's had people emailing him for years wondering where the software is and when they can start using it. Oh, the pressure! (Don't worry, Ben, it's coming!) So, Corey, if this is okay to write... I thought I'd give a little info on it. Corey got the idea for M0v1E Mouth when we were living in Virginia back in 2006. He actually remembers the epiphany hitting him as he took the kids trick or treating on Halloween night, so Oct 31, 2006 to be exact. He had recently taken a trip to Brazil to teach a GMAT class, as he had done several times during Business school. The biggest obstacle these aspiring international MBA students have in getting accepted to business school is getting a high enough score on a test that they have to take in a foreign language. There are lots of language schools and other things online to help people learn English, but most people give up - it is just too expensive, takes too long, too much work, or it's just boring. Corey found that people he knew that spoke English best picked it up from movies and television, not from professors. Which went along with his experience with Jazz music and how listening and imitating the professionals was the best and fastest way to learn music. That made him think it would work for language too.
We first came down here to Brazil in 2007 so that he  could do some research on the demand and market for this idea. He learned that people quit language schools cause they didn't have the time, but then they would spend several hours a week watching a couple of movies in English. They like hearing the real actors voices, so the videos they sell and movies they watch in the theatres here are shown in English with subtitles. Watching movies is fun and easy. Everyone loves to watch American movies anyway, but they don't love taking time out of their busy days to spend hours in lessons with books. So the idea is to combine something they are already doing - watching movies - and turn that into a learning experience. Then you've got M0v1E Mouth. (You can watch this short clip if you want, but it's in Portuguese.) (I mean don't watch that, it's not ready yet!)
Corey did some speaking tours in Chile when we lived there (thanks to his Start Up Chile opportunity) and had he went back for a few pilot tests there after we all returned. The software wasn't quite ready though, but it did give him some more experience on how high the demand and interest in the concept is. They decided to focus on Brazil for now though. They came down and did presentations last year in May and August and a few times in between. We all came down here this time to help Corey be able to do more presentations and not have to be away from us traveling so much. In April they had lots of presentations and introduced their software to owners of language schools here in Brazil.
He's got a good team at the MM office here and everyone is getting into the groove of how to work together as a software company and serve the customers and get this thing going.
It's really a great idea. Being the wife of an entrepreneur, I've had my ups and downs along with him and his company. He often says it's good he didn't know all the work this would take, cause then he probably would have opted to take an easier career path, like medical school, haha. But things are plugging along. They've started to get some feedback from people who have tried the software and they all love it. As a family, we always pray for Corey and success for M o v i e Mouth. I am grateful for the righteous desires of his heart to help people reach their dreams by learning English.
Not that they have to learn English to reach their potential, but wow, they all seem to think so. Seriously, everyone wants to go to America. The guy who put a net over our pool - when he came by to be paid and saw we were from the US, he said he had a dream of going there, and showed me pictures of his adorable twin girls, saying he wants a better life for them. When I was buying books at the store by the temple - when it was obvious I didn't speak Portuguese well, the cashier asked where I was from. "Os Estados Unidos...." I replied. "Eu quero morar la." I want to live there she said. Everyone here wants to go. The USA is still a city shining on a hill. We've got our faults to be sure, but the United States of America is a nation that has been established under God and it will not fail, even if some people there are forgetting God.
The righteous need not fear ~ if they continue to serve Christ and seek his purposes, he will deliver us and bless us with Liberty, Prosperity, and Protection - that is the covenant of America. I've been reading "The American Covenant" by Timothy Ballard (the same Tim Ballard of OUR Rescue) ~ I love it, I love America and what it represents to the world. I hope M o v i e Mouth can help people who want to go there to get there and achieve their goals. Good luck Brazilians, and go M0v1E Mouth!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sunday Afternoon

Just another Sunday afternoon in Brazil. Natalie usually always falls asleep on the drive home. Here she is last Sunday.
When the kids have to be quiet for their sleeping baby sister, that always turns into a good time for us to take a nap too.
I thought this was cute that she had her thumb in her mouth. 
The kids usually color and play. they built forts yesterday.
I love Sophi's little people.
One fun thing - yesterday I was the piano accompanist for the ward choir! Isn't that impressive? Where else but here in Brazil would I be presented with the opportunity to be the #2 go to person when it comes to piano playing. Pretty funny, but a great blessing. I might ask our RS President back at home if I can play for the Relief Society when we get back to the states, it would be nice to have an excuse to keep practicing and playing. Although I will have a new baby soon... I better take advantage of the time I have now. But I'm really grateful for this opportunity, it's a great blessing.

The weather is great right now. There are beautiful flowers all around.
I learned recently that the orange flowers on the tree are called the African Tulip Tree. They are constantly in bloom, very pretty.
They line the whole street outside. Here is where I go for my walk three times a week, the sidewalk on the right there goes all the way around Parque Portugal.
Our house is just right across the street from the park. Here is our brick wall.
Our front gate door
 And the gate for the car on the left.
It was really nice to come home after spending a night in that beach hotel last Thursday night. Even though after we arrived "home" Sophi said kept saying "Not that home..." which made us smile. She was pretty disappointed we showed up at this place instead of in Utah. Sorry Soph, that's a bit of a longer trip to get to there, but we'll go, we promise. Life here has started to feel a little too normal, which means it's about time to wrap things up here. Another 5 weeks and we will really be home.
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