Friday, April 18, 2014


"And talking about our kind of shoes have you seen this one?"

We were in the shoe section of TJ Maxx, and the black flats with the thick ankle strap were, indeed, very much "our kind of shoes." I had never heard my sister-in-law say anything like that before and I was pretty delighted to hear it. "We have similar taste in shoes" the off-hand remark meant, we have something in common.

It was this sentence from M, my third (in order of becoming part of the family) sister-in-law on my husband's side (his youngest brother "K4"'s wife) that prompted me to think about them: the sisters I never had!

I have only one brother, but I have four sisters-in-law!

I've known my brother's wife, P,  the longest (she was six years old when we moved to São Paulo in the mid-eighties), but sadly I never got to spent much time with her -- what with them living in China, then New Zealand, traveling the world, and never visiting! Moreover, when I left Brazil, she and my brother had been together only for a few years. Her brother used to be our best friend (actually, I used to joke that he was more like my "twin," because we have so may things in common), P & I both play(ed) the flute (we played a few duets at a wedding once) and we have curly hair. I think that's about it! ;-)

However, in the past 23 years, since I "acquired" my first sister-in-law on my  husband's side, I've gotten to spend time, get to know better, and to love my new sisters! That's why when I heard the sentence above (not precise because it was said in Portuguese), I knew I had to write this post.

K2 started dating D only a year after K & I became a couple (24th anniversary of that was last week, on April 7th!). She's 5 years younger than me (and K2 is 4 years younger than K), but we interacted some while I was dating and more after I got married. D and K2 got engaged earlier just so that we were able to be at the engagement party before we traveled to the U.S. back in 1996. Their wedding was the reason for our first trip back to Brazil in December 1997 (paid by our parents, since we really couldn't afford it, having just started our graduate programs).

D & I have the most it in common as far as upbringing is concerned. She was born in the same town as my mom in Southern Brazil. In fact, her dad is a distant relative of my mom, born and raised on the same small village as my grandfather. In addition to our common Southern Brazil upbringing we share a passion for cooking. We can spend hours in the kitchen and start and/or finish each other's dishes or meals seamlessly!

In spite of the age difference, we watched some of the same TV programs and listened to similar music growing up, so we have these things in common, and one of my childhood friends is her second cousin. We also spent the most time together because K2 and D moved to the U.S. back in 2001 and we lived only 2-3 hours away from each other for ten years so our boys (her oldest and my youngest) grew up together. So we know each other pretty well and she's given me lots of lovely pieces of clothing that people always compliment me on.

I can't believe they're gone "forever" (I doubt we'll ever live in close proximity again, but "never say never," right?) and I haven't talked to her at all since they moved to Egypt (and right now they're spending a few weeks in Thailand at a Mission Institute). :-(

I can't believe her sons are going to have the childhood that I thought I was going to have (missionary kid, third-culture-kid, traveling the world) and I know that their unique and amazing experiences will make them drift apart from my sons... Sigh... that's life!

Rene (A):
"Rene" is the youngest of my sisters-in-law, 11 (or 10, I might be wrong in this one) years minus precisely a week younger than me. We met soon after she and K3 started dating when we visited D & K2 in Texas, while K4 was living there for a while and K3 was living with us in Massachusetts (for about two years all four brothers lived in the U.S.!). She was visiting MA when Kelvin was born, so she got to meet him right away with K3 (maybe that's also one of the reasons why she's Kelvin's favorite aunt -- the first one he met? ;-) Two years later, I almost missed her beautiful wedding because my youngest son was born only a week before the big day, but I managed to fly with a six-day old and made it! It was such a thrill! (and a surprise to everyone, apart from K, obviously)

As the only American, I hope she feels included and an integral part of the in the family. In any case, we all joke that her son is the "most Brazilian" of all the grandkids and she was the lucky one to have the ONLY GIRL out of eight grandkids (the eighth is due this summer). I totally think that she is (and would be) the best mom to a girl of all four of us, though! She's also the most athletic (having run several marathons) and the healthiest (well, not all of the time! ;-) person in the family.

In addition to loving popcorn and cats, we have lots more in common because both our husbands (K & K3) studied and taught the same science and she and I studied language and literature (she earned a master's degree a while back). She is the only person in the family I can really talk to about my work and academic matters. She even read parts of my dissertation! I wish that over the years we'd have more time to talk about our passions for literature and teaching, but I'm thrilled that she has a (sporadic) blog and reads mine!! So she probably she knows even more about me (or more in depth at least) than D. All the writing I do and her always cheerful comments are equivalent to lots conversations, that's for sure! ;-) And I'm a huge fan of her writing and her adventures (she's so much more hard core than me!) chronicled in her blog and sometimes, like whirlwind day-trips [?!!] to Japan or Hong-Kong, in facebook. Thanks for always being there for me, 'sis!

And all that brings me back to M, where I started. M, married to the "baby" of the family, K4 who is, comically, the tallest of the four brothers (and unarguably the thinnest, at least until now!), is "a character." Extremely opinionated, pretty, sometimes demanding, in turns energetic and the person who sleeps the most in the family. She speaks her mind so freely that I sometimes joke, tongue-in-cheek (this is a Brazilian saying that may not sound right in English) that if you have her as a friend or in the family you don't need any enemies. :-)

She and I grew up in the same state and she knows all my family members who live in Curitiba, Paraná very well. I was first introduced to her when visiting Brazil back when Kelvin was little, in 2003-04 and always enjoyed how well she interacted with her nephews (she has always loved babies and little kids).

She was a great professional had a fantastic job in Brazil which she loved -- she was sales rep for big pharma companies, most recently Pfizer. She and K4 were crazy to splurge on a HUGE wedding all paid by themselves with no help from families (the tradition in Brazil is that the bride's family pays for the wedding). [today she says she would have used the money as the down payment on an apartment!] However, in 2009 they decided to immigrate to Montreal, Canada (mostly because it's impossible to immigrate to the U.S.!), not exactly what M wanted to do with her life, but now she enjoys it. Their move was great for us because now we could (and can!) see and visit them several times a year!

The visits are short, so we don't interact enough, but M always likes to chat on skype (we do that with Rene & K3 once in a while too), especially when she needs any kind of advice on shopping or other things. She loves to share what she's doing around the house, especially for the new baby and nephew N's bedrooms. Amazingly I was able to be there to photograph the birth of their son N! And then my sons and I could also be there for N's first birthday party. I probably won't be there for the next baby's birth, but we'll go meet him in August.

M & I love the color green, but apart from that (and our home state/town), we don't have much in common, that's why her unexpected comment about the shoes struck a chord with me. I'm no expert in social interactions, but I feel that identifying with people is one of the most basic steps to building a relationship. K & I couldn't stop talking the day we met because we had a nearly endless number of interests and experiences in common that we wanted to share and we're still talking that way 24 years later.

I'm glad that slowly, but surely, I'm building relationships with my "sisters" and I hope that in spite of the distance, we can continue to interact and become closer. Acknowledging the things we have in common, like shoes, it's a good start!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"I'm Alive" A Song For Brazil's Rainforest - Coming on Earth Day!

"I'm Alive" is project filmed in the Tijuca Forest in the city of Rio de Janeiro by Brazilian musicians Caetano Veloso, Lenine (who recently has become one of my favorites!), Criolo, Emicida (rapper), and Pretinho da Serrinha. Here's the clip, narrated by the Brazilian top-model Giselle Bündchen:

The video was posted last week and I can't believe it has only 8 thousand views! I hope more people see it and support the Rainforest Alliance -- more information here!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I hate money...

Seriously... I don't have a problem talking about money as much as I don't have a problem talking about my age -- both taboo subjects for a lot of people, the first one particularly in this country, I suppose. As for age, I've gotten used to my indiscreet boys broadcasting out loud how old I am to classmates and friends far and wide (my oldest doesn't do much of that anymore, obviously).

[ridiculously long run-on sentence]: I'm 42 and I should be happy that with my two "jobs" I make nearly 50K a year, so I know I'm doing OK compared with billions of people worldwide and shouldn't complain, but the possibility I'll make way less than that next year, K not having a summer salary, my summer class probably being canceled, and the fact that there's this huge expensive-tickets trip coming up next summer and all of the things I wish we could do added to those we actually need, just make me overwhelmed, stressed, and make me hate money (especially its lack) more than anything.

OK, rant over. I don't want to write more about that. such a first-world problem. such a whiny person. Very very bad! :-( It's just that sometimes (ok, all of the time) I get sick and tired of living a very frugal life which is the only life I've known and probably the only life I'll have so I should just shut up, right?

ok, bye then. (says the ashamed blogger, as she shamelessly hits publish)

Sisters I

This weekend it was my oldest maternal aunt Esther's 85th birthday, so my mom's other sister, Ruth, drove (OK, her youngest son drove ;-) all the way from Curitiba, state of Paraná, where she lives to my parents' house in the São Paulo countryside* (and aunt Esther came too from the capital). Then on Sunday they all drove to São Paulo (city) to celebrate at aunt Esther's house with a churrasco [Brazilian barbecue]. I'm SUPER jealous of my local friend Mimi who happened to be in Brazil and got to meet both of my aunts. I haven't seen aunt Ruth since July 2012... :-(

Here are two photos of the sisters this past weekend (cropped & edited, my mom's camera is not very good):
 Helena, 73; Ruth 81; Esther 85
Their mom, Adelina, lived to be 94 years old, but I'm always worried about them. Especially on how my mom would deal with losing her sisters. (sniff, sniff) In the mean time, each moment has to be cherished, even from a very long distance! I'm actually glad that my friend was there. She shared a special moment of my family's history and she can rub some of it off onto me. Sigh...

* Aunt Ruth's visits are is really always "momentous" because they are to rare!! In all their lives I think aunt Ruth has been to my parents' house only three or four times (and my uncle only twice! He doesn't like traveling much, he's such a character!).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Intrigued: Should I go Gluten Free?

Eating a healthy diet isn't easy, especially when I'm so tired by all my teaching and mega-commuting to feel like cooking. So I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I haven't been very good about feeding my family well-balanced meals. It's hard enough to try to be mostly vegan at home (when we don't have guests), but lately something else has presented itself and, because of my parents, I'm intrigued.

After reading the Wheat Belly book my parents have gone gluten-free and my brother's wife is not feeding any gluten to their kids. My dad has actually lost some weight and they feel great, so mom and dad have been kind of gently nudging me towards checking this out.

I have friends who are celiac (severely allergic to gluten), so I understand how serious of an issue gluten can be for certain people. I am also aware that parents of kids in the autism spectrum think that going gluten-free benefits their kids (and I know it may benefit people with ADHD too), but I was pretty skeptical of the benefits of gluten-elimination in "regular people's" diets.

I also have to confess that I've been feeling pretty irritated by this whole "gluten-free fad" (as I used to call it) for years now,*  so for me to be even considering it is a breakthrough. It's just annoying to realize the bad timing of this because I finally learned how to make amazing no-knead crusty bread (I promise to post some photos). :-(

I don't like to be extreme or radical in anything (so we do eat dairy once in a while and, much more rarely, fish), but maybe I'm wrong and in order to reap the full-benefits of any dietary choices we should be more strict... In any case, I'm not a big "bread person" so I think I would be OK and not crave it too much (now, not eating rice or potatoes, as the paleos do, I think it's going a bit too far!!).

I'll keep you posted as to whether I decide to give it a try. Maybe it will help me with ADHD, who knows?! Do you have any experience with a gluten-free lifestyle? Please share.

P.S. And there are more recent books like the Grain Brain, by a neurologist who claims that carbs and sugars actually cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, depression, etc. Sigh...

*and as a believer in the benefits of an animal-products free diet I've been particularly irked by the "paleo" diet)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Epic Wedding Shower!

I can't resist, I have to post these photos! 
Many of them are a bit blurry because there wasn't enough light to photograph without flash. :(
I edited them and cropped some (a first for me! I never take the time to edit, but I'm learning).

I was only responsible for the drinks, my passion fruit mousse, and helping set things up (thankfully, because I was up most of the night on Saturday with my husband who was making a movie for the shower on iMovie). And I also gave suggestions to the bride's mother which helped her plan some of the decorations. This shower was a group effort, although the bride's mom made most of the decorations and the food. Oh, and I made prints of the couple's photos and put them in picture frames from my house, and prepared a banner (inspired by this one) with the bride & groom's names, but didn't take any good photos of it.
The "Lovebirds" ;-)
aren't they adorable? :-)
The drinks 
(plain water/seltzer water with fruit and punch made with Hagen Daz sorbet)
An overview:
 The Food! (mostly Romanian)
 The Desserts: 
(my passion fruit mousse* is in the tiny cups)
 The Gift table:
Wasn't it a lovely shower? :)
* I make it using frozen passion fruit pulp by Goya, if anyone is wondering, blended (in a blender, obviously) with condensed milk and "La Crema" heavy cream.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Busy: Cooking, Teaching, Writing, Presenting, Helping

Yeah, I've been crazy busy.

Last weekend (Saturday night & Sunday) I cooked TONS of food and drove to U#2 with all that food to perform my "semesterly" ritual of feeding my students Brazilian food. It was tiresome as usual and with some drawbacks such as much lower turnout of students than in previous semesters and uncomfortable feelings because I was busy cooking and cleaning while my colleague was having a good time and talking to the students. I think this is all I'm going to say about that... sigh!

It was lovely to go to my friends' new house for the first time and sleep there, I wish I hadn't gotten there so early, but it was for a good cause (little home improvement project, I'll share at another time! :-)

Then, there was the regular teaching, with a departmental conference added in for "good measure" (ha ha ;-).  Old-timers here will know that I just love conferences, though, and I've been organizing a panel with students every year  for this particular one (except last Spring because I didn't have many students at U#1). This year's panel was just fantastic! I had a former student (who's finishing his master's and will go on to Duke to do his phd in Brazilian history!!) and three current students who spoke about various fascinating topics related to Brazil (don't want to share or else you can google and possibly find me ;-).

I wrote my paper on the fly, downloading (through Google reader for the first time ever) 15 articles on Wednesday night then writing the paper all day on Thursday, including during this poetry panel I participated in at the conference. ;-) I was done for our panel, though, and the paper came together pretty nicely in the end! Phew!

OK, now on to helping, my favorite activity, something nearly innate in me, a trait I "inherited" from my parents and took to even greater lengths (particularly in the cooking department). I spent quite a bit of time this past month helping organize these friends' wedding shower and it'll be tomorrow afternoon. Last night I started making them a banner that looks a bit like this (slightly different colors -- added yellow) and I just finished now! I am responsible for the drinks and I'll make Brazilian passion fruit mousse, but I mostly have to help the bride's mother to decorate the venue.

When it rains, it pours, so tonight we have another shower, a baby shower this time, involving some of the same friends, but I 'm not helping with this one. I'm just really upset that the book I ordered wasn't delivered on time because for whatever strange reason, Amazon isn't selling it (it's Dr. Sears' Baby Book) and I had to order from someone else that didn't offer prime. I paid double for express shipping, but it didn't work out. :(

OK, gotta go pack that present and find out whether I have a ride for tonight or whether I have to drive there by myself!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

24 Years Ago TODAY!!

I met my husband for the first time at a bus stop in the "Francisco Morato" Avenue in São Paulo (city). My friend was asking me this evening how I'd met my husband and, so I remembered that today was our "anniversary" of meeting each other!

YIKES, years ago when I first blogged about this only 16 years had passed so I feel really really old (and an "ancient" blogger).  

I love to remember and cherish this day, it was truly the a day that changed my life forever! I like to say that my sons' births were the most amazing things that ever happened to me, but they wouldn't have taken place if I hadn't met K, so our meeting is even more important!

I am away from home tonight (I cooked dinner for my students), so I've only spent part of this day with him (working feverishly to finish cooking the meal). I'm glad I remembered to blog about it, though!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Remember Slavery & the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Today is UNESCO's "International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade."
The very first class I took in graduate school was a class (taught only this once, back in 1998!!) on Slavery in Brazil, so this topic has remained of great interest to me and my two publications are related to it. You may not know this, but over 90% of all Africans brought to the Americas during the period of the slave trade were taken to the Caribbean and South America and around 60% were taken to Brazil. Brazil was also the last country in the Western Hemisphere to end slavery (1888).

An amazing resource is the The Transatlantic Slave Trade Voyages Database, especially its Introductory Maps! This is the first one, but you should check the others:
I hope to continue producing more scholarship related to this topic as well as raising awareness of it's connection to Brazilian history and culture in my classes!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Writing is what I do

I was thirteen when I first felt the urge to write what I felt (one night I simply had to get up from my bed, grab a pen and a notebook and write!). From then on, I never stopped.

Journal entries, countless poems, reflections that could have become essays, parodies, and (very rarely) ideas for a play. Never fiction (only with prompts in writing class in high school).

Studying literature almost killed all my writing, except for journaling. I did write a few more poems, even translated and "published" them in several volumes of an yearly journal from our department's undergraduate majors.

Then I started blogging, and wrote a 500 page dissertation, and continued blogging.

Published 2 academic articles (one of which I translated into Portuguese and which was published -- last year -- in a super prestigious literary journal in Brazil), did not publish an essay in this book (it's ok, it would have "blown my cover" -- ha ha, unknown little blogger that I am!)... and I keep on blogging. (even if it's not a conversation anymore, it's one only if you're really well known)

Why am I writing all this?

Because I love writing, in spite of the fact that I don't really do it well enough -- that's why (in addition to not having time) I never really got involved with Literary Mama, though I know several of the founders virtually and in person and I think it's a great site.

Not good enough.

But I don't care. I write for myself here and I write... tons of emails to my students, to friends and family. I write long comments on blog posts by my friends and also on status updates on facebook.
I can just write and write.

I write.

Because words matter.

I'm actually writing this because I'm helping organize a wedding shower. Helping is what I do even more than writing. Much more because it's more important. Being there for people is more important than anything. That's why, deep down, I truly don't care for an all-consuming academic career (though I do wish I could do research). Because I need time for people.

So, I'm helping organize this wedding shower as much as I can with my busy schedule. The bride and groom are close friends and today the bride emailed me (even though, poor thing, she's so incredibly busy in medical school). She wanted my help to write the Evite message from the wedding shower host (technically her mom, in practice us, her friends, in addition to her mom) and that's what she wrote at the end of her cute email:
p.s. I'm asking you L... because i know you can write :) well.
That really moved me and made me happy. "Writing is what I do" was my first thought. And yes, I'd like to think I write well, even though by some standards I really don't (and you write way better than me, J! And you too, Heidi! Not to mention my SIL who's an awesome writer, and writing teacher!). Unfortunately I don't have a gift for editing and rewriting and reworking. Maybe it's the ADHD, or the oversensitivity and thin skin. So I don't think I will ever publish anything, really. I probably "don't have what it takes" (but it doesn't matter, because I can help and love people and be there for them!).

After I wrote and sent the little "blurb" to my friend she replied with "you are simply awesome." And if that's what awesome means: being there for people, doing what I can to help (especially if it involves writing, or photography, or cooking, or anything, really), yes, I am. Thank you very much. I just hope I can keep it up. Forever.

P.S. it is really hard to hit publish because I'm keenly aware that this could be a much better post with much editing, but I just don't have the time. And I don't want this in my draft folder... oh well! And since I'm writing this p.s. I have to mention that I (again!) accidentally published a post that was still a draft (about needs & wants) and I hope to finish and publish it for real soon, OK? Sorry!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"The institution of the faculty wife is alive and well in academic culture. She's an adjunct."

Ha! I should have a new blog called "The New Faculty Wife," shouldn't I?

NAH... are you kidding me?

In fact, that line is so painful to read that it just had to become a blog post title.

(well, it is still painful, even after I read the really, really [irritatingly] upbeat article that the pseudonymous "Marie Smith" wrote yesterday FIVE years ago for the Chronicle, but which someone tweeted this week, so I read it, unaware it was so old ;-). Her strife to write a "resentment-free" essay paid off, but her anonymity makes it clear that it's an unpleasant situation to be in. Sigh...)

~    ~    ~    ~
I remember the day I met my office mate as if it were yesterday. I also met another "faculty wife" right then, but we never saw each other again. I wonder if that bright German young lady is still around... (I'll answer this question at the end!)

Anyway, I met E at the end of the orientation program at U#1 and we had just come out of a very depressing session for "part-time faculty." We were right outside the building, sitting on the steps and talking, commiserating about our lame "part-time" jobs. P, the German young woman sitting next to us, sounded pretty rebellious and I jokingly said we should begin an association of adjuncts -- I should have probably said "adjunct wives!" (I didn't know back then that there were no unions here).

E, my current office mate at U#2, had just moved to the U.S. from Spain because she'd gotten married to a TT professor at U#1 (he'd been there for several years). P, the German girl, hadn't been married long as well and her husband -- like mine -- had just started his TT job at U#1. The main difference was that P had a degree in the same area as her husband so she would be teaching in the same department.

Back to E, though... She was an adjunct for two years at both U#1 and U#2 and in the second year she was actually also full-time at U#3 -- a one year appointment to replace someone who had taken a leave of absence which wasn't renewed.

On the year I started at U#2 she also applied for a full-time lecturer position there and we started together (that's why I asked to share an office with her, it was nice because we already knew each other).

Last year the department decided to give E and two other lecturers (including the current chair's spouse) three-year contracts which came with a 14K pay raise!

I teach the "wrong" language, though, so, as you already know, I am risking going back to part-time next semester. The "perfect time" to learn, after looking for her in the university website, that P, the young German woman is actually a "visiting assistant professor" right now -- the perks of being on the same discipline as one's husband!!*

In any case, I don't know if P will ever become tt faculty and I know that E doesn't want it at all, she's happy to continue as a lecturer.

Right now, I will be "over the moon" if only I can remain a full-time lecturer because that sounds the tiniest bit better than simply "adjunct!" Wish me luck!

* My husband's department has not one, but TWO faculty couples in which one was a tenure-track professor and the other one ended up entering the TT later after being full-time non tt faculty for a while. Interestingly, both couples are from Romania!

Monday, March 17, 2014

The End of an Era & Saying Good-Bye

Yesterday afternoon, after a busy weekend with tons of driving, we said good-bye to my brother-in-law ("K2") and his family by having a late lunch at K's family's favorite chain restaurant, Olive Garden.

Then we drove home in the snow while they drove to the airport where the snow didn't hold them back and they flew to Turkey then Egypt (we're hoping they arrived safely because we haven't heard from them yet!).

For almost exactly ten years we lived only a couple of hours away from them and we got together as often as we possibly could because we wanted our sons to grow up being very close. When they moved from Michigan their eldest boy was only five months old and our youngest nine months old, so these cousins practically grew up as brothers and they consider each other as best friends. Then they had another boy less than two years later and our four sons spent lots of time playing together whenever we visited each other.

That's why we were all so sad when we found out they would be moving across the world. And now we don't know if our boys will ever live close together like this again (they do plan to send the boys to study at the boarding academy close to us, but that's still many years in the future). It's definitely the "end of an era," one of those life changes that we need to accept and move on. That's why we didn't cry -- we need to approach this 100% rationally and see the positive sides even though it's hard and we know we'll grieve their departure and miss them like crazy.

In January they'll be back from a few days and we're already planning what we'll do together (in spite of the fact that our sons will be in school already). Now every vacation will revolve around their visits and getting the boys to see their cousins. Something tells me it will become harder and harder to plan spending time with friends who live far away (e.g. in Brazil). Sigh... this is part of life too.

Let's hope they will soon have internet access so we can be in touch -- the world is so much "smaller" now that we have the web, right? One more thing to be thankful for.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Leaving the Major Carriers!!

Almost precisely ten years after going wireless we're delighted to finally be able to ditch the major wireless carriers!! 

Since 2004 we've used Verizon, T-Mobile and, more recently, Sprint, and now we're going to be using Ting! Three days ago they started accepting the iPhone 5 and we immediately switched!

Apple fanatic "iKelvin" won't be able to have an iPhone, but he's happy to have bought a Samsung S4 Mini (hey, Jen, you win!!) and can hardly wait until it gets here.

My phone hasn't been switched yet, but it should be by the end of the day. The early termination fee will be LESS than our monthly payment and we hope to save quite a bit of money!

OK, we're almost at the ski place and this geeky family is playing with remembering what these acronyms stand for: PDF, NASA, LED, LASER :-) Do you know? 

Twelve! (03/09/14)

Kelvin turned twelve on Sunday and when I told him today that I hadn't had time to blog about his birthday he let out a whining sound (bless his heart!). So I have to rectify this situation, no matter how late I go to bed!

Unlike his younger brother who doesn't much like to be blogged about, Kelvin enjoys it when I write about him. He even has a blog, but he doesn't update it. We want to wait one more year so he can use google products without fear of being shut down after the pretty sad loss of his email account a couple of years ago (to make a long story short & not to have to look for the link, he was invited to join Google+, tried to register & when he had to enter his birthdate his main email account [he has three or four like me] was deleted! It could only be recovered if we lied about his age, which we didn't want to do... sigh...)
Before I talk about his day, let me just share his favorite recent photo (above) and say a few words about my handsome "tween" boy! When I posted these photos to facebook a friend asked me if he had already began to act surly like a typical teenager and I think that the photos speak for themselves a bit. He's got plenty of "attitude" already, but I know it may get much worse.

One thing is certain, my son really cares about his appearance now! After his latest haircut in Brazil (finally someone got it right! Too bad I ruined it just slightly by cutting his hair a bit a couple of weeks ago [no photos from "after," just before in this post]), I've been helping him to blow dry his hair and, once in a while, he wants me to use the straightening iron. (I will delete this info if he tells me to! ;-) Isn't he the cutest thing, though? I love it that he still wants to spend so much time with me and wants hugs and kisses. I won't ever take that for granted because I know that for a period it will be very different!

He's maturing and growing every day and... he's getting a phone next week which has been his greatest dream for a while now! I could go on and on about my "baby," but I need to get some sleep! ;-)
His birthday celebration was great, but bittersweet: skiing with all the men in the family who were here! With his dad, his two uncles and three cousins (including the 3.5 year old!). The women didn't go (though I did want to). D (K2's wife) stayed home to study Arabic and I went shopping with M, K4's wife, who is pregnant and needed to buy things for the baby. She's having another boy, the 7th grandson!

Kelvin was looking forward to snowboarding with his uncles, especially with "K2" who had seen him  try to snowboard over a month ago when he had just started learning and who could really appreciate how much he had improved. All the boys enjoyed themselves very much and I was glad that in their excitement with the novelty of spending several hours together on the ski slopes and (especially) the terrain park, they didn't stop to consider that this is one of their last times together until January next year. Here are the cousins together for one last time until probably Dec. 2015
-- we were missing only two who are in Brazil :(

Well, here's the post, Kelvin! Now I need to write another one about your present! But that will have to be at another time.