May 31, 2011


Found this old picture of Max with strawberry cream cheese on his face.
Love this boy!


May 30, 2011

Clubhouse Progress

Kurt bought 4 flat boards for the flooring, which he was excited to have found.  They were expensive (R80 for a 9x3 board, which is about $45 each), but we have come this far, we just need to finish it!  Now he's trying to figure out what to use to enclose it on the sides and what to put on the top for the roof without making it too heavy.  The entire fort is probably 300lbs as it is!   Ideas, anyone?  :)


May 28, 2011

My Sweet Carolina

The girls and Kurt performing a song at our ward talent show. Enjoy!



I was explaining to Noah that with his dad's job we'll be moving to really cool places throughout the world every few years. I told him that after Brazil we could possibly go to Africa or even Japan. "Japan" immediately got his attention and he quickly jumped in and said, "We're NOT moving to Japan! I don't ever want to move to Japan!"
Now, the only thing Noah knows about Japan is the recent earthquake and tsunami. We talked about it with our kids after it hit and also watched a few videos of the horrible destruction that it caused. Also, he knows that I lived there when I was little.
Anyway, I told him, "Noah, if we moved to Japan you would absolutely LOVE it! It's a wonderful place!" Then he looked at me and with complete seriousness said, "But we're going to die there (and then raising his arms dramatically as if he's reminding me)--EARTHQUAKES!!"
A couple days later I was reading the news online when Noah walked up. I happened to be looking at pictures of the massive flooding in the South. He was curious so I explained to him that a very large river, the Mississippi River, has been flooding and that many people's homes have been washed away. He asked, "Where is the Mississippi River?" I told him it's in the United States. Then, waving his hands in the air he said, "We're not going there either."

Leaf artwork--click on the picture to see what he was writing 

After playing outside with Noah (and a sharpie marker), Max mysteriously showed up with his name on his shirt.  


May 24, 2011

Our 3 Girls

Just had to take a picture of the girls this morning because they looked so cute. They are excited for school to be out--Zoe counted this morning--13 more days! We're all looking forward to lazy summer mornings with nowhere to be!


May 20, 2011

Ouro Preto--Easter weekend

This was the view from our hotel

Our hotel was up this steep hill (we probably climbed it 10 times!) and the last house you see on the right

One of the 13 churches in town

Our gang

I was trying to take a picture of this pretty door, (I have a door obsession) but Noah didn't want me to and was actually trying to block my view.  Of course, the pictures turned out even better.  :)


Field Day

Aja and Zoe have Field Day at school today.  They're super excited for their dad to show up and participate in some of the races.  Zoe keeps saying, "My dad is going to win everything because he's so big."  They think their dad is the strongest guy on the planet--that's the way it should be, right?  Kurt isn't excited that, quote, "running might be involved", but there's a lot of pressure on his shoulders today to do well.  :)  I wish I could escape and watch, but it's right in the middle of nap time.  Can't wait to hear about it.  

They were also excited they didn't have to wear their uniforms.  Zoe wore yellow for her team and Aja wore orange for her's.  


May 19, 2011

Latest News

We are one of the last fs families that I know to find monkeys in our backyard--and because we don't have any fruit trees, I thought we never would!  Kurt and the kids were in the yard when they heard some noise in a tree and noticed 3 little monkeys high in the branches.  They ran inside to get a banana (and I, a camera) and placed it on the fence.  The monkeys actually crawled down, grabbed the banana pieces, and quickly ran back up the tree.  We think they are squirrel monkeys, literally the size of a squirrel.  They were only a few feet from us, too.  

What a fun experience for the kids--I mean, how often do you find monkeys in your back yard!? 

Noah is my little buddy during the day.  I know when he disappears for a while that he's up in his room working on his legos.  I'll call up to him, "Noah, what are you doing?" and he'll yell down, "Building legos!  Don't let Max in my room!"  It's a bonus when he comes down with lego letters and little sheep!   I'm going to miss him when he starts kindergarten.  

Max is our sleeping baby.  He plays hard, but when it's time to sleep he's ready and usually doesn't fight it.  He's like a male version of Sleeping Beauty.  :)

I finally finished painting the kitchen.  I wish I had taken a "before" picture because it's a HUGE improvement.  The walls were supposed to be white when we moved in, but somehow they were left a horrible peach color for us.  Yes, I know--who paints anything peach?? 


Here's the start of Kurt and Noah's club house.  After finding that regular 2X4's and sheets of wood are super expensive in Brazil (who would've thought?), they are going to attempt this massive project with 9 foot tall eucalyptus tree trunks.  I know that Kurt is having to rethink his building plans, but I'm sure it'll be awesome--it just might take some time and a lot more work than expected (and hoped).  :)  As you can see they haven't gotten far.  I'll keep our progress posted.      


Granola Bars

On the left: Noah's 1st reaction when I asked him to hold the pan of granola bars and smile.  On the right: Noah's forced smile, still not understanding why he has to hold the pan of granola bars and smile.

Yummy Homemade Granola Bars
I found this recipe on allrecipes (one of my faves) and have made it many times. My kids are fans, and you can even mix it up with different healthy ingredients--I like to add sunflower seeds and craisins (you just add with the dry ingredients). Or you could get crazy and add chocolate chips. :) It works out great because granola bars are super expensive in Brazil and so I make a double batch of these and stick them in my kid's lunches.

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.


May 15, 2011

Wet Dog


May 14, 2011


Meet the newest addition to our family, Tiny.


A story by Macy

This is a story that Macy wrote for her 6th grade English class.  It was supposed to be a descriptive story and we were were so impressed by it!  She's our budding writer!

"The Follower" 
        The day the follower came after me was a gray, mournful, dark morning.  Each morning, the follower chooses it's victim.  I was the victim this dreary, rainy day.  I was almost completely sleep walking this no school day.  I did not want to walk away from my soft, cushion of comfort and my warm, comfortable, layer of comfiness all rolled in one.  I slowly but surely padded my way down the cold, hard stone.  I finally hit my least favorite carpet, the hardest carpet in the house.  I heard the splish and splash of the patting rain on the asphalt.  I walked into my favorite place in the house, the place where all the food was.  That's when I saw it.
        Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a black thing struggling its way to someplace that seemed to be important.  I looked over as fast as I could and saw the bare, tiled floor.  I checked the perimeter of the area I saw the mysterious object in.  The black thing looked like the creepy-crawly that always tried to come in the middle of the dreary nights.  I called it "The Follower".  I soon realized that I had to see and discover it with my own two eyes.  The follower tailed me every second of the morning.
        Finally, I couldn't take it anymore.  So I thought I could make it appear when I wanted it to.  My thoughts cramped for ideas, but still nothing good.  The final thought popped into my head.  I could bribe it with something.  Something like food.  I trotted over to the fridge that boring, dark night and with my two sweaty hands grabbed peanut butter, I thought.  With a cold, metal knife I smeared oogy-gooey pounds of goodness onto the special spot I saw it in this morning.  I waited and waited.
        My position changed every 5 minutes.  The dreary digital clock's numbers grew bigger.  My thoughts wandered for a crazy amount of time.  At 11:57, I saw something scurry like a giant spider across the dark floor.  The follower was bigger than before.  The peanut butter had disappeared from the cursed spot.  I was sweating like a maniac.  The entire room seemingly looked like it was turning in circles.  The whole room turned as dark as the forest at night.  My eyes couldn't see anything.
        My eyes peeled open as the beautiful sunrise came up, filling the room with bright sunlight.  The flowers in the room turned to all of the windows.  My dog was out and about, his anxious eyes burning a hole in my skull for food.  As my feet skid across the floor, still in my morning clothes, the follower showed itself in the corner of the kitchen.
        It's legs wiggled up and down, side-to-side.  The antenna was bobbing up and down as if saying yes to the ceiling and no to the floor.  It's legs had a special spike to it.  The follower was about 2 inches from the highest point of the kitchen.  The high-pitched, ear aching sound came from my mouth.  Two seconds, five seconds, now ten seconds.  I finished as my mom and dad came running in.  My head guided itself over to my mom and dad's terrified faces.  They asked what was wrong.  I took my scared, shaking hand and turned towards the giant mutant.  The spot it was sitting in was now empty.
        My mom and dad could tell I was in shock.  They said I didn't have to go to school, but I was in my own world.  My thoughts churned as the doorbell rang.  Who is it at this time of day?  I thought.  My dad answered the door as I stood there in silence.  The same kind of high-pitched, ear aching sound came from the doorway.  I rushed to the door to my dad and a friend, but no one was there.  No dad, no mom was in sight.  I immediately knew the follower had gotten to them.
        I quietly made my feet move to the door frame.  The floorboards made a "Squeak, Crunch!" noise.  I finally came to the door and a black, pink, yellow, and blue blob came rushing in to the house.  I ran to my room and locked he door.  I crashed into my bed and daftly put my sheet and blanket all over me.  It was completely dark.  I was shaking in fear.
        All of a sudden, the full morning sunrise was all the way up.  I looked around.  The sheets were no longer on me.  I remembered all that happened last night/morning.  I hopped out of bed and ran to my mom and dad's room.  They were there.  Phew!  I thought.  It was all a dream.  When I walked over into my room again, there was a small, tiny black thing in the middle of the room.  It was a dead cockroach.
                                                                              The end

Also, Macy had New Beginnings a couple weeks ago.  At our church, once a young girl turns 12 they go from Primary to Young Women's.  New Beginnings is when all the current young girls get together to welcome the new girls who are turning 12 that year.  I sat there feeling a little sad that my little baby girl was almost 12.  But she's not little anymore--she's so capable, incredibly smart, pretty, funny, compassionate and caring, and talented in so many ways.  She's like a beautiful flower that keeps growing with beauty and blooming with talent, every day.  As parents we can't take much credit--she honestly was just born amazing and wonderful.


May 3, 2011

Hammer and Wood


Noah is a simple kid.  All he wants to do (on a daily basis and ALL day) is build race tracks from old cardboard boxes, play legos, or build a clubhouse.  You give him a piece of wood and he is occupied for hours!  Sometimes early in the morning I'll hear him in the backyard hammering away and he'll come running in telling me that he's building a Bat Cave and how he's measuring it out and how it'll work.  Such a boy.  He got ahold of my box of nails and ended up hammering them in trees all over our yard.  The poor trees--but I just let him do it!  I just smile thinking that these are the kinds of things that kids should be doing--being creative in their own backyards.  And I smile again knowing that Kurt was the same way when he was little, always wanting to play with tools.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Here is Noah showing me his bat cave

And little Max following Noah around all day, always wanting to be a part of whatever big brother is doing.  Here he's showing me some grass

Noah is demonstrating to me very dramatically how his ribbon trap is supposed to trip anyone who tries to enter

This is the lone piece of wood that Noah has to play with.  He hammers it and hammers it endlessly.  Kurt took him out this past weekend and together they went on a wood-finding wild goose chase (because finding anything in Brazil is a wild goose chase).  Still no luck finding wood--but we know that in the land of the Amazon Rain Forrest, it's got to be somewhere!  We have finally found instructions to a clubhouse that "the boys" are going to build.
 Check it out here  

Also, to the right is a picture of what happens when Noah gets ahold of scissors.  Our poor plants, I'm sure they have learned to cringe at his sight.