Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - II (now sunny)

I have to save my words for paper writing, so I'll give you more photos even though this is turning into a photo blog! :) Today was a gorgeous day and I decided to skip one of the afternoon sessions to go up the Sugarloaf mountain. I also went to the same place I'd been to yesterday, so I decided to post some photos of the same beach for contrast, the one above, and this one:
Walking back from the beach to the conference, I has this view of the Corcovado Mountain and the Christ statue:
This is the sugarloaf mountain as seen right before taking the cable car to the top:
From the Sugarloaf Mountain zooming on the Corcovado Mountain with the statue of "Christ the Redeemer" on top:

This is the view of the Copacabana beach from the top of the Sugarloaf Mountain:
The bridge between the cities of Rio de Janeiro (on the left) and Niteroi (right) can be seen if you click on the photo below -- I'm taking the boat to Niteroi tomorrow across the bay to visit this museum. Isn't this view just breathtaking?

Coming down from the top, the nice cable car "operator" volunteered to take this photo of me:

I tried to frame the mountains with this tree.

Cloudscome, in response to your questions Sao Paulo is where I lived the longest in Brazil and I was there last week, but I didn't have a camera with me and besides the weather was horrible, it was raining all the time. Sao Paulo is just a city full of tall buildings, not much nature to see, though. Rio is quite different in this respect and visually STUNNING.

P.S. I'm glad one of you mentioned that I look relaxed in yesterday's photo, but I need to say that I've actually been in constant pain in the last few days. Something is wrong with my neck, probably related to some of the tension I experienced last weekend (I'll post about it next week, promise) coupled with the fact that a week ago I had to carry a huge and heavy duffle bag in the bus station after my first conference was over and I did so over my neck and shoulder. So I have a kind of stiff neck and the muscles in my neck and shoulder are sore and hurt constantly on the right side :( I hope it gets better, but it's been like that for 2 full days now...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - I

I arrived in Rio last night. It's always a thrill to arrive in this city, even if the bus station* is not in a pretty place, surrounded by old, crumbling docks. My history with Rio goes back to when I was 15 years old and one of my dreams in life was to visit this city. So my parents planned a trip, as an 8th grade graduation present for me. It was wonderful (except for the little part where some boys tried to steal my watch - also a graduation present - but then my mom recovered it) and all I had dreamed of.
Rio was the capital of the Brazilian Empire (yes, we had two emperors, back between 1822-1889) and then capital of the Republic until Brasilia was built in 1960. It's a city between the sea and the mountains. The weather wasn't nice today, but it promises to be so in the rest of the week, so I'll be back with more photos for you. The mountain in these photos is the Sugarloaf Mountain as seen from the "back" or from Praia Vermelha (Red beach). This place is only a 10 minute walk from where the conference is taking place. I'm going to take the cable car to the top as well. The view is just breathtaking!
* Buses are the main means of transportation in Brazil. They're extremely comfortable and one can even choose travel in different types of buses and classes (executive, 1st class even). Air travel has become more mainstream, but I still enjoy traveling by bus. It's a good way to see the country too.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Quick Updates: Trip, Housing, etc.

*I'm having a "spacing situation" with blogger right now, so I apologize for the many updates and republications of this and probably any subsequent posts *

The Trip...

... is going well so far. The academic meeting I participated in was good in spite of the torrential rain and cold weather (it's winter down here) and the absence of around 50% of the scheduled presenters due to the fact that the airport where last week's accident took place was closed. Everything went wrong technology wise during my presentation - computer and video projector problems, but fortunately two people in the 4 people panel were absent and there was enough time for me to finish the presentation after the problems were fixed. It was nice to reunite with the boys. Kelvin met me at the bus station and his face lit up when he saw me and he jumped in my lap. Linton was sleeping in the car and didn't react in any remarkable way. I think he actually looked the other way when he saw me at his side, but I know it's because he was sleeping.

Housing Situation...

... remember that I was looking at houses (townhomes) on the day I was supposed to travel? Then, two days later my husband went to look at single family home I had looked at from the outside but not gone in and he loved it -- it was a nice, large but cozy, and well kept fixer upper with four bedrooms, a garage, and a nice yard (with a clothesline!). He uploaded photos, went there again to take some films with the camera, uploaded those and we had pretty much decided that we were going to make an offer. It turns out that the siding of the house is made of asbestos -- which is said to be very costly to remove and a health hazard, so we were disappointed with the house. Two days later we found out that our prospective tenants had decided not to rent our home after all... so, we're going to have to put it on the market and hope it sells and we can only buy another house contingent to the sale of the old one. I know... so complicated. I'm kind of glad that things worked out this way because it would be very hard for my husband to vacate the house on his own and for us to have to postpone our trip back. As for his visa, we're still waiting for the petition to be sent... (oh, and just yesterday, two days after out prospective tenant in the U.S. bailed out, the tenant of our house here in Brazil also decided to leave!).

Potty Training...

... The arrival in Brazil prompted some serious accidents that had never before happened (not that I thought we'd be lucky and they wouldn't happen). Linton continued with his super-human efforts to withold his stools and he ended up pooping twice in his underwear -- the first time at a play area of a shopping mall (very tough situation for my poor mom) and the second at my aunt's house. Today I was finally able, and patient enough, to have him use the toilet. The trick was reading books to him there and on Wednesday night. Luckily I'd just bought this awesome picture book (image on the left) by Mariana Massarani (she has two great blogs in Portuguese where she publishes lots of her great illustrations) titled Banho! (Bath!) in which one of the characters pees and then stays seated on the toiled reading a book while his three siblings take a bath and go eat dinner. I read the book to him several times and then I brought a box of old stuff to be sorted out to the bathroom and I just stayed there with him. Remember I told you at the end of this post that I didn't have patience to potty train him? I guess that's slowly changing!

I have so many other things to share, but I guess they'll have to wait until I don't know when. Tomorrow we're going to São Paulo again where I'm going to see some more friends and on Sunday I travel to Rio de Janeiro, where my second congress will be. I'll be back whenever I can.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The First Time Away a Mother Never Forgets

(sorry for the edits -- Iwas trying to get rid of some weird extra spaces, and then everything was centralized, yikes!)
I had never been 24 hours away from my youngest son, not until today. And I'd spent two nights (not in a row) away from my oldest, but that was when I had to travel with newborn Linton to my brother-in-law's wedding in Texas 3 years ago and our tickets were almost 24h apart.

I know that they're doing well at my parents' house, after all, at 5.5 and 3 they're old enough to be away from me. This week we'll be away for 3 days, next week for 5 days.

I guess this will mean full weaning for Linton.

I can't help but tear up at this thought, but we're definitely ready. He'd even been talking about it for weeks before the trip: "In Brazil I'm going to nurse, but then mommy will go to the conference and I won't nurse anymore" (snif, snif), since I'd explained it all to him.

If he never nurses again our last breastfeeding session will have been a very meaningful one indeed. Last week he only nursed once every two or three days, but on Saturday we went to visit my grandmother and he had just woken from a nap in the car and was fussy. My grandma (I posted about her here) is very proud of the fact that I practice extended nursing with my sons since she breastfed all her 8 grandchildren (on only one breast, but that's another story) and she suggested that I should nurse him if it helped him calm down, so I did, and it worked. He only took one side (the one with the less milk, and I'm almost dry anyway) and then he wanted a cookie. If this is indeed the last time (if he asks to nurse after we get together again on Wednesday I probably won't resist), I'll treasure it forever since I shared it with my precious grandma.

I'm OK here without them too. It's good to have sometime just for myself since I've spent the past 5 and a half years with them almost 100% of the time (apart from the few days spent at conferences, literaly!!), so I know I should enjoy my freedom while it lasts because next week on Friday we'll be back together. We were a bit afraid that it would be tough for them to be away from mom and dad but I guess that the novelty of being in their grandparents' house, coupled with the fact that my parents have lived for many months with us, are just what they need. And besides daddy has been calling every day from home (thanks to a great VOIP line that allows limitless calls to Brazil), so we don't miss him as much.

We'll survive. But I guess I'll remember this first time forever.

I do miss my precious precious boys.

50 Years Together

Last week on July 18 my aunt and uncle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The celebration was in style with a party -- a banquet for over 100 friends at their Rotary Club hall. I'm glad that I was there to participate (in spite of the fact that my boys were the only children at the party). Coincidentaly, my parents got married on the same day, so it was also their 39th wedding anniversary.

Some photos of the celebration:

My oldest uncle* (I can't believe he's almost 80), my mom, and my two aunts (another uncle wasn't able to come).
Mothers & Daughters
My aunt's daughter is my favorite female cousin.* She's 11 years older than me and when I was a teenager I loved to play with her children (who were later in my wedding, as well as their 4 cousins -- I'll post about my wedding sometime in the future, perhaps not until December, but it'll come :)
I'll be back later with more posts, OK? (and now it'll be your turn to catch up).

* The one who gave me the "silver"ware.

**I want to write about my favorite male cousin some other time. Interestingly enough, the female cousin is from my mother's side of the family and the male cousin from my dad's side.

Back Online, Back in Business

I'm finally back online, after being off since last Wednesday. Last night I checked email, but I had to work on my conference presentation, so I couldn't blog.

Five days offline were hard on me, since I'm definitely addicted to the internet. It's not a really bad addiction, though, since I didn't have withdrawal symptoms, I just felt kind of weird and "empty," a bit disconnected from the world. Tonight I'm planning on catching up on all the blog reading, I hope my online friends didn't post much during the past week...

The "Back in Business" part from the title refers to the fact that I'm here attending a conference. I joke that now that I'm only dissertating and not really "working," I work a few days every year -- when I attend conferences. It does feel good to be "working" on those days! My presentation went OK (in spite of some problems with the computer and the video projector). This was my very first presentation in Portuguese since I started going to academic conferences back in 2001. The conference is also taking place at the university where my husband and I went to college. That place brings me lots of memories of the time we met and started dating.

It's raining very hard here in Sao Paulo, which is causing some turmoil for travellers, given the horrible accident that happened here last week. This afternoon 4 people (out of 7) who were supposed to present were absent. Airline pilots have been refusing to land in Congonhas, the airport where the accident took place -- I wouldn't blame them.

Well, I'll try to write a few more posts later today. It's good to be back.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

From Brazil

The Trip...
... went really well, in spite of our six hour sojourn in the Dulles airport in Washington D.C. . Thanks to the moving walkways and escalators between the Main Terminal and Terminal B, the boys were entertained for over an hour of those six. :) The flight itself went well and I'm glad that instead of being over 9h long as it would have been from Chicago, it was a bit over 8 hours.

The Arrival...
... was OK, I had some trouble juggling the 4 large suitcases, 1 booster seat, 1 carseat, 1 stroller, 2 boys (plus 3 smaller pieces of carry-on luggage), but in the end Kelvin went ahead pushing "his" carry-on bag (in fact the bag containing our laptop and other electronics), I followed with the cart piled high with luggage and car seats, and Linton came last, pushing his own stroller, since he refused to seat on it (had he sat down, an airport employee would have helped me to go through customs -- unlike in the U.S. mothers with children do receive help in airports, not only disabled and elderly people -- I have travelled several times alone and I was told everytime in the U.S. that NO ONE could help me push strollers, carts, etc... at least no airport or airline employees, isn't that outrageous???**). Consequently, when we left the security area and Linton saw his grandparents and a huge crowd of people awaiting the other passengers, he just wanted to go back, so I had to force him to go ahead (at this point an airport employee was helping me push the cart) and he had a meltdown and was crying piteously while grandma was trying to take photos of the newly arrived grandkids.

First Impressions...
... The transition is getting seamless for me at this point since this is my 9th trip to Brazil in my 11 years abroad. There's only one thing that gets me everytime and which is the hardest (and almost only) thing I have trouble adapting to: not flushing the toilet paper. Plumbing here is not able to support that. Yeah, I know, it sounds groze to have to toss it in the garbage, but public restrooms here are generally very clean (much cleaner than any rest/service area bathroom in the U.S.) because there's one or more cleaning people around at all times. I spend several days doing it anyway and when I finally get the hang of it it's time to go back to the U.S.

Going to the American Consulate...
... Surprised me very much. I have written in this blog before (item #49) that "Being an expatriate is not easy, but I enjoy every minute of it (except those spent in the American Consulate)," but I guess that this last time was almost an exception. They have now an easier system in place for those renewing a visa that expired within the last 12 months or less, so I wasn't even interviewed and only had to stay in line to hand in my documents, get fingerprinted, and pay for the postage for the passport to be returned. Considering that this will likely be my last consulate visit on a student visa, I was quite happy with how it went.

The First Full Day...
... (Friday night-Saturday, today for me, but technically "yesterday") was nice because we got to spend time with our best friends here and their children. On Friday, after we arrived and loaded our luggage into the cars (they are quite small here, so my parents came in two cars with my uncle so they could carry all our luggage), we drove to by my aunt's house where I opened the suitcases to get several things I had brought to various people out. Then my mom came back home with my uncle and the boys while my dad took me to the consulate. We got back home after 6 p.m. so I had so many things to do that I didn't get to go online until 24h later -- now. Our finds returned to São Paulo this evening and we're getting ready to leave in the morning to Curitiba, the city most of my family is from. Our trips to Brazil always involve quite of bit of traveling here and the boys are already used to this. I probably won't be able to blog much from there, but I'll try at least once or twice. Reading blogs will be hard too because my first conference starts on the 23rd and I have yet to write my paper (I do know what I'm going to be talking about, but I have to finish writing and to prepare the power point presentation).

So I hope to be around, but we'll see what happens. There are so many things I wanted to post, but being here is quite intense and it feels like a waste of time to be online much.

** In addition, in Brazil there are special lines EVERYWHERE, from banks to supermarkets, to pregnant women, nursing mothers, mothers with young children, as well as the elderly and disabled. And if there's a single line, you get to get ahead of everyone. Mothers (even mothers-to-be) get much more respect here!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alternate Reality

(hey, the date's seven eleven :)

Right now, I was supposed to be in a flight to Brazil, maybe eating "dinner" and trying to help the boys to be more comfortable in those horrible seats so they could sleep. But I'm here instead, blogging.

This situation feels a bit like time travel, giving a sensation that you're living something that you were not supposed to be living, like an alternate reality. If I were in the plane, for example, I might be imagining how it would feel to sleep in my own bed, but since I'm here, I imagine how the flight would go and how would the day be tomorrow there in São Paulo.

[At this point in the post I stopped and went to watch Being John Malkovich, which was quite fitting for a night like tonight. Now it's 1:15, but I'm keeping the original time of 11 o'clock for this post. Yeah, time travel, virtual style]

So... what happened? While we were getting ready to leave for the airport, my husband got a recorded message in his cell phone from Orbitz, letting us know that the plane from Philly to Chicago was delayed and that we'd be missing our flight to Brazil. From then on, as a tremendous thunderstorm raged outside we frantically finished getting ready, at this point not even thinking right, which probably made us get ready later rather than sooner. When we got to the airport, the checking in machine told us we wouldn't make it to the flight and that there were no more flights available tonight. Then we had to talk to a real person, who put us in a flight to Washington D.C. and from there to São Paulo.

The only problem is that we're leaving here at 2 p.m. and our flight to Brazil leaves at 9:40! What am I going to do with the boys in the Dulles airport (which I hate) for SIX HOURS? That will be another alternate reality to be reckoned with, much worse than sleeping in my comfy bed tonight. And then, after those six hours, there'll be nine more on a plane with a 5 and a 3 year old. Wish me luck!! I'll keep you updated, if possible.

P.S. and by the way we saw three houses this morning (am I not the craziest of people to do that on a day I needed to travel?) and I think we found another one we like. Much smaller (and cheaper), but I think it's a good option. Especially considering we have to vacate this house in 40 days.

P.P.S. I like traveling like this -- having some extra hours to accomplish what you weren't able to do in the stressful hours preceding the trip. My husband was telling me that when he schedules our next trip he'll tell me that the trip is on one day and as we're about to leave for the airport, he'll let me know it's actually not until the next day. Of course that wouldn't work, but still, it goes to show that we should plan ahead, but we never do.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Beach Themed First Birthday Party

The cake mirrors the design on the wall (the sand is graham cracker crumbs):
Food tent:

I just couldn't resist "playing" with the camera's focus (I have a great lens) and my nephew's photos in the decoration:

The outfit my nephew is wearing was purchased for Kelvin (who was the "Bible boy" at their wedding back in 2004) by my BIL and his wife while in their honeymoon to Hawaii. Both my sons wore it and now it is their youngest cousin's turn. Of course he was wearing the very same outfit at the party:
Isn't he just the cutest thing?

More Bullets (Potty Training, Housing Situation, etc).

On Saturday night/Sunday early morning I forgot a few things I wanted to say, but at 2:30 a.m. one can hardly think. I enjoy staying up late and I'm getting used to it, but it's doing terrible things to my memory. I just forget things right and left. When it's just things to blog it's OK, but when I spend 10 extra minutes to leave (when I'm already late) to print out a document and then forget said document at home, then it gets really annoying.
  • (Sat. night) Potty training is back on track, except for solid waste. I'm afraid Linton's going to get in the same rut as his brother, asking to go on the diaper (Kelvin did that until he was 4 1/2 and he was potty trained at 3, even at night). The fact that he's constipated doesn't help much with potty training. The pediatrician told us to use Miralax and it's been working OK, but he didn't say for how long we could use it. It says on the label that it should be used for only a week. I don't know if we should go back to mineral oil or what. I'm afraid not to give him anything since even on the medicine he only has a BM every 3 days or so. Any advice from parents out there is appreciated on this issue.
  • UPDATE on previous bullet: He's doing GREAT with poop as well! :) He went on my in-laws house on Sunday night (kicking and screaming from his fear of it, but compliantly sitting on the toilet with that child seat) and... drum roll... today (a record for him to go every other day), he went on the toilet proper, without crying. WOW! I gave him a fiber supplement yesterday, so I guess that worked wonders!
  • Moving on from potty talk, look what my mother in law brought for me from Brazil when she arrived a week and a half ago:

This was one of my wedding presents, given by my one and only rich uncle. It must have cost around 600 dollars at the time. Not much for here maybe, but a small fortune in Brazil, the same price of my washing machine (I had a front loading machine there too, like I do here, and it was also a gift from my best friends' parents ;). The silverware (should I say "stainless steel ware") is kind of plain looking, but I like that because it can go with anything.

My mom sent it because now that my husband has a job, she has finally realized (with much sadness, I'm sure) that we're staying here for good, so we have to start bringing the last remaining things we have stored at her house (I've already brought most of it -- baking pans, pots, everyday silverware, serving dishes, comforters, etc). And I'm going to do a "tag sale" there with the rest.
  • As for my husband's job and visa situation, we're still waiting for one remaining letter for his process to start since the one that was mailed over a month ago got lost somehow since it never arrived. We're very stressed out about that because of the next item.
  • We're renting this house for an assistant professor starting at Penn this fall. They're staying here for a minimum of 9 months until they find and buy a house next year. It's a family from Russia and they have two children, 4 y.o. and 8 months. A perfect match to the house and for us (we only wanted to rent for academics). If we don't find another tenant we'll try to sell.
  • Now we have to vacate this house, but we don't want to make an offer on another house until my husband has started work. So... we may need to put things in storage and I may have to extend my stay in Brazil until we're able to close on another house. As I told you on Sunday we already started looking, but can't make a move on any houses yet. Luckily the market is extremely slow, so we should be fine. Wish us luck!!
OK, I have to go finish packing my bags, but I may yet write a couple of posts before leaving tomorrow night. And now my mom has DSL in her house in Brazil, so it'll be easier for me to be online there.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Better Day

Thanks everyone for your lovely words!! I'm glad to report that I'm feeling much better and that I had a nice day today (technically, yesterday). The pity-party is over and I'm back to being my cheerful self again -- this is such a relief!

While I wait for a few cheerful photos to load, I'll try the "Random Bullet" approach to share some "news and notes:"

(here are the photos)
This is my friend's beautiful bird, Mango:
"He" looooves ice-cream:
We hadn't seen these friends in over three years (they hadn't met Linton yet) and now, after a sad miscarriage (and a 4th degree tear -- I've never heard of anything more horrifying in my life!), they have a gorgeous 10 months old daughter.
Aren't they cute?

- Today/yesterday (Saturday 7/7) was a long day because we had to travel almost an hour to go to a church program that lasted all day long. Our group sang and we had people from Maryland who were visiting and helping out in the program.

- Last Thursday and Friday we spent a few hours looking at houses again since we have a family who's interested in renting our current home. Since "today's" events took place only 20 minutes away from where we're going to live we drove around some of the houses we had looked online and I fell in love with one particular townhome. We also drove around the neighborhood of the "lost" house (I didn't let my husband drive past it) to look at another, a bit more expensive home and I was delighted to see that it had gorgeous flowering hydrangeas planted all down the side of the house. We may go look at some houses on Tuesday, the day before I leave for Brazil.

I guess having something to look forward to does make us happy, doesn't it? I know I should be happy because we're traveling and all, but this house problem has certainly been bothering me.

- My parents-in-law, one of my brothers-in-law and his wife (and fellow blogger - hi there sis!), and my husband's grandma are here tonight. They arrived shortly before 11 p.m., and that was when we had "dinner" and celebrated my birthday (and SIL's -- since hers is on the 14th). The boys had taken a two hour nap in the car while we looked at houses, so they enjoyed the (short) time we spent together before going to bed around midnight.

I know I have more things to say, but now I'm going to have to go to bed. Tomorrow/today will be yet another long day since we'll drive to Maryland and back for my nephew's first birthday. Party decoration photos will be here soon, as has become traditional in this blog! :) (I should create a category for that, right?)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

07/07/07 - 36 Years on this Planet

Too bad it's not 37, though. And 1970 would have been a nice year to be born: Brazil won the World Cup for the third time then (such a random thing to say, huh?), but I just came to be in 1971.

This year everybody's making a fuss about today because it's 2007, but 7/7 has always been special for me, obviously.

If you want to see some cute baby pics of me, you can check last year's b-day post, it's much better than today's. (I'm all for abbreviations today, OK? It's 2 a.m. and I have to sleep 'cause tomorrow will be a looooong day).
Sorry if I don't have much to say (I guess yesterday's mood hasn't significantly improved, wanna see? read on) I had to use a cropped photo for this post because I'm always the one taking the pictures, but I'm hardly ever in them. Well, even I can't stand myself in this mood, so I'll stop for now ;) and I hope to be back soon in a much better frame of mind.

Friday, July 06, 2007


I've been feeling a bit contrary lately (although my name's not Mary), but mostly it's because some "contrary" things are going on.

The main one is that now that we had decided to wait to buy another house and stay in this one for a while longer, there's someone interested in renting it [sigh]!! Just looking at houses online today made me depressed because given what happened last time, house-hunting has lost its charm for me. Besides it's such a time suck and so draining! Not to mention that I'm about to travel and won't be here so we can choose another house and buy it in time for the tenants to move in, were we to rent this house. :(

I have tons of things to do to prepare for my trip but I have no energy whatsoever to do them. The worst of all is going shopping with the boys. They haven't been behaving badly or anything (I spent the whole day out last Friday and it was fine), but I dread getting them in the car and going out, I have to entertain them, keep them nourished, and keep them from fighting, all while trying to concentrate on the tasks at hand.

I wish I could be excited about going to Brazil, but I'm just apprehensive. I won't be taking my laptop, so I have to try and have the conference papers partly ready, and I have to load all the documents I may need into a flash drive. Then, I feel stressed out just thinking about all the things I want to do in Brazil and how I should be planning carefully every minute of my month there so I can do all I want.

Well, but I know that I shouldn't really worry about the conference presentations -- conferences don't really faze me since I know not too many people, if any, are generally interested in other people's research (at least this happens often to me here since nobody cares about Brazil -- I'm hoping it might be different there, obviously), so it's not a big deal to write do an oral presentation. As for the planning, I better relax and let it happen, although this time I'll be traveling around and need to tell people of my schedule, at least.

Sorry to be so boring, and I warn you that there may be some heavy posting ahead since I wrote some posts in my journal, actually, and hope to transcribe them in the next few days. I also want to post some fun photos from the last few weeks. I know that those will be welcome, though :)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Success (Temporarily) Recalled

(At least I hope it's just temporary! :( )

In looong and hard days like today I wish I could do what my older son Kelvin did the other day.

He has a "daughter," a Cabbage Patch Kids doll which I got as apresent from a friend two years ago and that he promptly adopted as his. He hasn't treated it well, though (throwing her everywhere, trying to "hurt" her) and I don't like that, so we hide it put it away for a while so it can last a few more years. Last month he asked me to get her out and promised that he wouldn't throw her or do anything to "hurt" her, so I gave her to him. He was very careful and gentle, took care of her, had her sleep in bed with him, etc. Before the week was over, though, he did something that surprised me very much. He handed me the doll and told me: "Mama, you can put her away. It's just too hard to be a father." Very wise words from a five year old. He surprises me like that quite often.

I can't do that, though. I can't just decide not to be a mother anymore or take a temporary break even though sometimes I wish I could.

I thought that our trip to Massachusetts wouldn't be a wise move after our recent success in potty training Linton and initially everything went really well. We had to stop more often at service areas than we'd like to so we could take him to the bathroom, but he was OK. It was actually going so well that even though he was wearing diapers to bed, he woke up with the urge to go a couple of nights (in the beginning of the night). We took his little potty and he even used it for "number 2" when we were visiting a friend on Tuesday. Yesterday, though, things took a turn for the worse -- he had two small "accidents" while at grandma's apartment. The drive home was OK, we stopped a few times and he remained dry (in his pull-ups), but then came this morning.

Today he had four more "accidents" of the wet kind and refused to have a BM until I put his diaper on for the night. Sigh. I was so stressed out about all that (and trying to keep the boys from fighting constantly)! I'm praying that this is just a temporary "recall" of the potty training process... I feel apprehensive because next week we're traveling to Brazil and I guess big changes don't bode well for potty training. Today, for example, I think he felt the change of both coming back home and not having daddy with him anymore after hanging out with him during the day for 5 days in a row.

Wish us luck.

Monday, July 02, 2007

From Massachusetts

Yesterday we decided on a whim to take advantage of the 4th of July holiday and come to Massachusetts to visit my husband's parents and his paternal grandmother who is visiting from Brazil. I think it's wonderful that the boys still have 3 great-grandmothers so I want them to spend as much time with them as possible!

It's always a "trip in time" to come to the area where we first lived when we came to the U.S. eleven years ago. This year June 19 came and went and I didn't even remember to post about our 11th anniversary here in the U.S. like I posted last year in the 10th anniversary. I'm truly delighted that finally, in our 11th year here, we have future prospects with my husband's job offer, but I won't be able to really "feel" that these prospects ar real until his visa is granted (we're still waiting for one last letter to arrive) and he finally starts to work. Interestingly enough, moments after he received the offer, back in April, when I was driving to NJ to teach piano, I finally thought to myself, for the first time in eleven years: "Maybe we're going to be immigrants here after all" (I posted about these issues two years ago).

Well, I'll try to post again soon, but now I have to go check on the boys who are going to the pool in their grandparents' apartment complex with daddy. (I want to take photos, obviously).

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I can hardly believe it, but Linton has been now fully potty trained since Thursday* -- I'm amazed that it took only three days for him to get it!! We even spent the whole day out on Friday, in and out of stores, and he did a great job using the bathroom everywhere we went.

And only 5 days ago (for me it still feels like Saturday) I was so skeptical that we'd be able to do it, but we did it! I guess it's worth waiting to do it when they're ready. With Kelvin it was relatively easy for pee, but very complicated for poop. He was afraid of sitting on the potty or toilet and asked for a diaper until he was 4 and a half!! I'm hoping that the fact that Linton was able to do it on his first try on the potty will make him more comfortable to use it again. He still resists going, but at least in the little potty he can still stamp his feet as he's been doing for a while now when he tries to hold it but can't. I guess we'll finally get our 16 bucks put to good use now since I had already assumed that buying that potty was a waste of money like most of their toys are (more on that later).

I hope to blog more this week since I want to write about several things before I travel since I won't want to spend as much time blogging when I'm in Brazil. I also need to update my blogroll, but now I'm going to bed.

*That was the day he first pooped on the potty. I'm hoping he'll do it again when he has the next BM. We started Myralax last week, but I've forgotten to give it to him for 2 days now.