We invite you to join us in our adventures with our little one: watching her grow and discover.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Last Post From Brazil

Well, it has been fun here on the "Adventures of the Little Missy" blog. This will officially be the last post I write on this blog. As our family makes our transition out of the work in Porto Alegre to the United States I am making a transition in websites.

I will begin a new site for our family and friends (in the U.S. and in Brazil) to follow. I prefer to limit access to the new site to the folks that we know. So, if you would like to find our new site please leave me a comment below with your email address and I will send you an invitation.

We hope to see you around! Tchau tchau!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saying "Good-bye"

Although saying "good-bye" is one of the toughest things to do (in my opinion) it is necessary sometimes. I am learning from others and from our experience that if you must say "good-bye" you should do it right. Don't leave anything unsaid. Don't regret later that you didn't make an effort to be with someone or say something important even if it would have been difficult.

We have been saying our "good-byes" over the last couple of weeks. It has been our first priority to meet with as many people as possible to express how much we love them and appreciate them. We have had meals with families and couples; Jennifer has had time with a couple of her close friends; and I had the chance to go camping with my good friend, Tiago. We are trying to take advantage of what time we have left in Porto Alegre. As of now, the countdown is at 9 days. We leave on Tuesday, January 27th at 6am.

Last night we had our big good-bye. Our teammates, church family and friends threw a going away party for us. It was very special for us to receive this blessing. We were presented with a framed verse, a photo album of our church family and friends with messages, and Elisa was given a present of 2 great books. In addition, they put together an amazing slide show of our time here that definitely made the tears flow! The whole experience was very moving.

I would like to share some pictures of our party in the slide show below. Hopefully, you will feel the love that we felt in the smiling faces you will see.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Farewell to Gramado and Canela

If you follow our blog then you might know that our favorite little get away spot is just an hour and a half away from Porto Alegre. The sister towns of Gramado and Canela are wonderful places to go and enjoy culture and food. The German influence makes it just that much more fun!

We have gone to Gramado and Canela with every visitor we have had in our 5 years here, plus several trips on our own and the Missionary Conferences in 2007 and 2008. It really is a great place.

Around this time of year there are a couple of great Christmas shows and parades for the family to take in. In addition, you can always drop by Santa's South American home on the road between Gramado and Canela.

We tried to check out the parade and a show, but the fireworks frightened Elisa and it was raining. We decided to turn in and try to see Santa at his house the next day. That was a lot of fun. We still had to battle the rain, but that isn't out of the ordinary for that area in the Brazilian mountains. Besides the rain, we also delt with cooler tempteratures. We have been seeing temperatures around 100 the last week or two. When we left these mountains towns last Saturday it was 51 degrees and raining. Much cooler!

In our farewell tour to Gramado and Canela we also visited our favorite German restuarant 3 times and saw some of our good friends (Fabio, Thais and baby Natalia) at the house.

Here are some pictures of our last Gramado/Canela trip:

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Some kids need expensive toys to be entertained. They may require game systems and all kinds of craziness to keep them from being bored. Not our girl! No way! All she requires is some leftover packing material. To be specific... bubble wrap! Once she has it, there is no one stopping the tipity-tapity tap dancing! Enjoy the video!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Future Star

Sometimes it is fun to watch Elisa and guess what she will do in the future. Her interests and vocabulary at 2 and a half years blows me away. She is especially interested in animals and music. Maybe she will be a veterinarian who plays multiple instruments in an orchestra or rock band! Hard to say, but I wouldn't be surprised.

Just to give you an idea of some of the things she knows she can name off probably 30 different kinds of animals. As far as musical instruments go... she knows the sounds, shapes, sizes and positions of the saxophone, flute, bassoon, violin, cello, bass, guitar, piano, trumpet, french horn, trombone, tympani and the drums (courtesy of Baby Einstein's First Orchestra).

Check out this video to see our future star in action...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Month Away

You've all heard the saying "time flies". After our time in Porto Alegre, Brazil and being the daddy of a 2 and a half year old I really believe it! One month from today (January 27th) we will board a plan and leave the place we have called home since March 9, 2004.

Jennifer's parents were here for a visit last month. They left on November 27th to return to the States. We marked in our minds the date of December 27th (today) as a half-way point between then and when we leave Porto Alegre. It is hard to comprehend that we are at the half-way point.

Today, Jennifer and I were talking about how we only have a few more weekends left to spend with a particular couple that we are close to here. Some of those weekends are already spoken for, so there really isn't that much time. It made me have the thought "we are running out of time and I don't feel like I have had enough". I know it is time to "move on", but saying all the good-byes is tough. Especially when you want to do it right and make an effort for it to be meaningful and not just a one-armed hug and a "tchau".

Well, those are my thoughts for today. I'm sure that I will have many more to share as January 27th grows nearer. Until then...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fresh Garlic

Since living in another place for the last 2 weeks Elisa has picked up a few new things. I had never realized this before, but she had never been introduced to garlic until this last week. In our house we had a little pot where we kept garlic and onions. Due to a completely different kitchen set-up now we just have a bowl of garlic and onions on the kitchen table. We use garlic and onions to cook a lot, so they are always out.

Last week Elisa started asking about the garlic. Every meal that she is eating at the kitchen table she talks about the garlic. Today she picked up a little clove and was playing with it at lunch. She pretended to eat it while she was playing. She would give a little nibble like a rabbit eating a carrot as quick as possible. Elisa is an extremely picky eater. So, the though of her actually taking a bite out of a raw garlic clove just didn't enter our minds. BUT SHE DID! I seriously wish I had the camera out! The look on her face was priceless. Jennifer and I did the best we could not to laugh as she exclaimed that the garlic was yucky and attempted to pull her tongue out of her mouth! She scraped and clawed at her tongue trying to get the garlic taste out. It was something to see. She finally took a drink of milk upon my urging and felt better about it. After a couple of minutes it was forgotten about. Of course, tomorrow when we are sitting at the table eating I'm sure she will have second thoughts about experimenting with the garlic. I will let you all know if she decides to take a chomp out of the onions.

(just to make sure we are understood - she didn't eat the garlic, just bit into it and that was enough!)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Brazil

Christmas in Brazil is quite different than Christmas in the U.S. It isn't too difficult to stick to our typical American traditions because Brazilians do a lot of the same things. We went to see Santa at the mall (several times), we made Christmas cookies, we had a tree and hung our stockings and we played a lot of Christmas music. However, there are several things that they do differently.

Some observations:
  • Brazilians have a Christmas feast at mid-night on Christmas Eve. After they eat they open all their presents. Sometime Santa Claus appears to hand out presents. Depending on where you are in the city you can actually observe this happening through apartment windows. It is neat to see.
  • Santa is at the mall just like in the U.S. However, besides taking requests for presents he collects the pacifiers of children who are ready to be rid of them. Some times the children giving up the pacifier can be 8 or 9 years old. This isn't as neat to see as it is strange.
  • The Mall is decorated so extravagantly. It is a true wonderland. This year they had a Christmas tree that was several stories tall inside the mall. It had a path with a tunnel going right through it! Elisa asked to go there and check it out about 50 times over last last several weeks.
  • Brazilians do Christmas trees (fake - I've never heard of a real one here). They do a lot of the decorations we are used to. However, they don't do stockings. This is something that is just starting to take off here.
I think that is enough of the observations. Let's get on with the Christmas pictures...

Santa Claus & the Mall

Christmas decorations (we are currently living in Matt & Waleska's apartment, so we did what we could). Notice that the presents surround the Christmas tree! They can't really rest under it!

Christmas Cookies (making and decorating)

Christmas Day! (opening and enjoying presents)

We hope that you had a very Merry Christmas and that the rest of your year be blessed!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bronwyn's Graduation

Monday night Bronwyn Blume graduated from high school. She has been one of Elisa's babysitters for the last couple of years. We are very proud of Bronwyn. We know that she will go on to do great things. She plans on attending ACU's nursing program starting in the fall of 2010 after some time with family and exploring the world. God bless you, Bronwyn. Congratulations!

Above: Bronwyn accepting her diploma. Below: the proud parents, Kevin and Benay.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Poor Child Update

In yesterday's post I eluded to the fact that Elisa has struggled with the move. I think most of the difficulties were because of the lack of constant attention she wasn't receiving. One of us is with her most of the time (if not all), but that is practically impossible while preparing for and executing an international move. Before giving some details on Elisa's struggles I will say that she is doing so much better now that we are back to a somewhat normal schedule.

Children are pretty perceptive. When things start to disappear or get carried out the door (garage sale) or get boxed up they sense something is up. Elisa got this load and clear. Our whole family felt the weight and stress of this move - including little Elisa.

Although the people that we had watch her while we were working on things are some of her best friends the situation kind of freaked her out. We followed some advice and did the best we could to explain that we were "going to live in another house soon" and that she would see "Grandmommie and Granddaddy soon". It was good that we had her say "good-bye" to the different rooms of the house, to the moving truck and to the house. We will also take her to say "good-bye" to the mall, to the parks she knows and to other frequented spots. It should help her cope. I don't think she really got it though, until she went into the house when it was completely empty. Then it was like a light bulb going off - we don't live here anymore.

To add to the stress she has been hitting a real accident prone stage. Five times in just a couple of days she smashed her head really good. Once she rolled out of the new bed she is sleeping in at Matt and Waleska's house (we learned how to keep that from happening the hard way - sorry, Elisa), twice she walked straight into the sliding glass doors at the old house while they were closed, once she feel face first into the sidewalk while trying to run down a slight slope (really, really bad) and once she feel backward off of a chair at a store - slamming the back of her head against the tile. The poor thing was really beat up. I think that the new surroundings made it hard for her to sleep well which caused her to be tired whick in turn caused her to not be as coordinated.

There have been some fun things though. As noted above, Elisa is sleeping in a different bed now. She is in a queen bed! We had to line both sides of the bed with chairs so that she would roll off onto the floor. She has discovered, though, that she can get out on her own when she wants. This hasn't been to troublesome, but we have caught her sneaking around the apartment when she is supposed to be taking a nap. I thought I heard her quietly walking down the hall the other day. I found her in a back room, squating on the floor, messing with something unimportant. I just watched. After a couple of minutes of playing she looked up and saw me. She smiled great big and said, "Hi! I woked up!" We get that a lot these days. She gets herself up in the morning now, comes to our room and announces "I woked up!"

She is enjoying the Christmas season and is looking forward to Santa coming tomorrow night. We thanked God for Santa in our prayers this evening. After we said "Amen!" Elisa said, "I love Santa Clause." She really does. I'm sure that he is going to reward her well for all that she has suffered through the past few weeks; the poor child.