Easter Weekend in Guaruja

To celebrate Easter this year, Michael, Colt and I joined 3 other sweet families – the Hudsons, Parkers and Winters – and went to a beautiful beach just outside of Guaruja. We have a very generous friend who lent us his family’s beach house mansion and we thoroughly enjoyed every moment: relaxing at the beach, swimming in the pool, playing games, cooking, and generally having a great time. We were a little spoiled as the Parkers brought their nanny AND the house has a maid so…it was really vacation. 🙂

Infinity pool on the deck overlooking the jungle and the beach.

Infinity pool on the deck overlooking the jungle and the beach.

View from our bedroom.

View from our bedroom. 

Saturday was our big day at the beach and pool with Colt.

The views were the best!

Getting ready to head to the beach. The views were the best!

Harper boys!

Harper boys!

We took Colt down to the beach and, while he appreciated the beauty of it all, he wasn’t quite sure about the ocean. IMG_0193




Since he wasn’t digging the waves, we did what any good parents would do and buried him in sand!


Sitting tall and proud atop his mound.

Since the ocean was kind of a bust, we brought him up to the pool which he loved!IMG_6724

With the babies all on different schedules, it was hard to get a picture of them all together (and happy!) so this is the best we got.

Michelle, Jack, Colt, Mailey, Paige

Michelle, Jack, Colt, Mailey and Paige. The 3 babes are all within 4 weeks of each other!



On Easter Sunday, we got up early and headed to the beach for our version of a makeshift “Sunrise Service” with the Hudsons.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!

The babies were great during the service.

The babies were great during the service.

Hudson Family!

The beautiful Hudson Family! So thankful for these three!!!!!



Hudsons back at the house.

Hudsons back at the house.

Back at the house everyone was enjoying the day, hunting for eggs or just hanging out.

Little Jack and Jamie Parker

Little Jack and Jamie Parker

Erica and Stella.

Erica and Stella.

Paige & Mailey - pretty in pink.

Paige & Mailey – pretty in pink.

Adrian, Brian and Michael. Taking it in.

Adrian, Brian and Michael. Taking it in.

Colt loving Patricia!

Colt loving Patricia!

So much to be thankful for this Easter! DSC_0855

PS – Just HAD to include this picture of Colt on the drive home. I mean, lips and cheeks for days, right?! I can’t handle it.IMG_6750

4 Years Ago…

Michael, thank you for making me the happiest girl in the world. You are my hero and my prince, more than I ever could have hoped or dreamed. Life with you is incredible – so thankful to call you mine!  I love you forever & longer than that. XO









Spring in South Carolina

Almost 3 weeks ago, Culhane and I went to South Carolina to visit my family for a couple of weeks. Michael had a conference in DC in the middle of our visit and was then able to swing through South Carolina for a few days as well, but it was the first time that Colt and I traveled by ourselves. I was a little intimidated by the idea of a 10+ hour flight with an infant by myself, but God was with us and it was better than I could have hoped. Our flight was an overnight (leaving at 2:30am SP time) so Colt fell asleep at home before we even left for the airport. He woke up at the airport but fell asleep again before we boarded and he didn’t wake up until 8am South Carolina time. He ate, played and was up for 2 hours but then fell asleep again until we landed. Easy-peasy! I was VERY thankful that there were empty seats on the plane and I was able to bring his carseat on with us as that was key.

GOOD (aka sleeping) baby on the flight!

GOOD (aka sleeping) baby on the flight!

Normally we fly into the Columbia airport but there was a direct flight from São Paulo to Charlotte and when flying solo with a baby, a direct flight is so much easier than having to change planes (and re-check bags, go through security again, etc. etc.) so my mom happily agreed to make the drive and meet us there. Colt was awesome on the flight but when we landed he was definitely ready to stretch his legs so my mom drove us straight to Bojangles where I had a huge cup of coffee and Colt was free to move around and make noise! He was SO happy to see my mom and she immediately became his new favorite person. My mom said she thought he could tell that she was my mom and that maybe that’s why he took to her so well.

Happy baby in Gigi's arms!

Happy baby in Gigi’s arms!

When he was ready to take a nap again, we hit the road and headed home. After a bath and a change of clothes, he was all cleaned up and ready to play.  He even insisted on wearing the overalls that Brad and I wore when we were his age!

IMG_6276Although my mom had already stocked up on baby food and some of my favorites, we wanted to pick up a few extra things so we took Colt to the grocery store and strapped him in the cart. I know this is a really ordinary thing, but since we usually walk to the grocery store in São Paulo, he had never done this before! Clearly he loved it. IMG_6280

Baby model for Bounce dryer sheets.

Baby model for Bounce dryer sheets.

We were all happy campers when Colt spotted the caramel cookie crunch Talentis! IMG_6286

Colt was so happy to be in South Carolina and loved seeing his Pasha too! IMG_6289

Colt is usually a pretty chill, easy baby but during our time in SC he was extra easy, even by his standards. He immediately adjusted from the flight and to the time-zone (only 1 hr off) and was just super fun and playful the entire time. My mom couldn’t wait to take him to the park down the street and we had a blast! IMG_6296





We also tried lots of new foods while we were home. Here he is enjoying some yummy black beans – a great finger food! IMG_6378

One evening my mom, Colt and I drove to Charleston to have dinner with my brother, Suzanne and Augusta Clare. Brad & Suzanne recently built a beautiful house in West Ashley and it was awesome to see how great they’re doing there. Plus it was really fun to get Colt around Augusta Clare! She was such a sweet big-cousin with him. IMG_6343



Then, over the weekend we were so happy to have Michael come visit with us! photoHe showed up and ran a 5K with my cousins, Beau & Henry. Despite the rain, Henry won his age group and both Michael & Beau came in 3rd for theirs!IMG_6600

Beau & Dolores were kind enough to have us over for dinner that weekend and Culhane quickly became best friends with his new favorite babysitter, my sweet cousin Margaret. She was awesome with Colt!Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 2.15.52 PM

On Sunday, while we all enjoyed a beautiful service at my parents’ church, Culhane enjoyed the church’s nursery and riding around in the 6-person baby-bus! So funny.


Sunday afternoon, we had some family over to visit! IMG_0321



Colt trying to be a little solider like Uncle Brad (National Guard!)

Colt trying to be a little solider like Uncle Brad (SC National Guard!)

Augusta Clare loved Michael! I think it was mutual.

Augusta Clare loved Michael! And I think it was mutual.

On Monday, my dear friend Meredith was so sweet to take a day off from work to come visit us. We played all day long but never remembered to take a picture until she was on her way out and Colt was asleep!


The next day another dear friend, Bess, came to visit! We went to the park and did a slightly better job taking some pictures! I just ask that next time you bring Mary Carol!! IMG_6428




The rest of the trip was just amazing time with family and Colt hitting milestone after milestone. My mom is pretty much Super-Grandma and was AWESOME with Culhane. He absolutely adores her and she is SO great with him. She also really gets all of the developmental stuff and pretty much taught him how to crawl, sit up, pull up and talk all in 12 days time. It kiiiiiiiind of makes me question my own parenting abilities as a mother since I am with Culhane all day every day and then I bring him to my mom for 12 days and suddenly he hits all of these major milestones!! Seriously though – she was amazing. Giving him lots of new, fun foods, constantly playing peek-a-boo, riding him around on her shoulders, and literally teaching him to crawl. She even taught him who “Buster” was – the deer-head in their living room. No matter what you were doing, if you asked Colt, “Where’s Buster?” he would turn and look at the deer! I couldn’t believe it.

Colt's' favorite - smoked salmon!

Colt’s’ favorite – smoked salmon!


Couldn't get enough sautéed spinach!

Couldn’t get enough sautéed spinach!

Ride-a-horsey ride-a-horsey all the way to town! Colt's FAV game.

Ride-a-horsey ride-a-horsey all the way to town! Colt’s FAV game.

Pasha helping Colt learn to walk around the table.

Pasha helping Colt learn to walk around the table.

Of ALL the toys that my parents have, this was his favorite. The number 8. Very Colt-like.

Of ALL the toys that my parents have, this was his favorite. The number 8. Very Colt-like.

Hi Aunt Sheryl!

Hi Aunt Sheryl! (And hi Buster in the background!)


Colt loves Nan!

Colt loves Nan!

Pull up a chair!

Well hi there!

Two peas in a pod.

Two peas in a pod.

Colt and I were both pretty devastated when we had to get back on a plane and leave SC but we had a wonderful visit full of fantastic memories. Thanks for having us, Mom & Dad! and thanks to everyone who visited with us! We love you!

Off we go!

Off we go!

Thankfully, Colt was even nicer to me on the return trip, only being awake for 1 hour and no tears at all! I’m a lucky mama.

Pre-SC Photo Dump

Before I post on our recent, amazing trip to South Carolina, I just wanted to dump some photos from March in São Paulo. Enjoy! XOIMG_6004

Mailey and Culhane sitting in a ... glider.

Mailey and Culhane sitting in a … glider.


This pretty much sums it up with these two.

Annnnnd, this pretty much sums it up with these two.

Ash Wednesday service at Nossa Senhora with the Hudsons.

Ash Wednesday service at Nossa Senhora with the Hudsons.

Happy baby!

Happy baby!

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Sweet & snoozy

Sweet & snoozy

For some reason I just love this series — I think because you can kind of see his little teeth and he looks like such a little BOY not just a baby!






Chompin’ on carrots!



Faces painted & ready to cheer!

Faces painted & ready to cheer!

Culhane: 9 Months!

Angel face! You are 9 months old today! Happy Day sweet boy!9

Colt developments: Baby love, so much has changed in the past 3 months (since I moved to quarterly updates) but even more it feels like so much has changed in the past 3 weeks – much thanks to your Gigi’s influence in South Carolina! The biggest development is that you learned how to crawl (your first crawls were the evening of April 1)! I wouldn’t say I’m “chasing you all over the place” quite yet as you continue to be pretty chill and laid back about it all – normally only going a few feet before returning to a seated position to play – but we are thrilled by it nonetheless, and I think you are enjoying this newfound mobility. You have also recently learned how to get yourself into a seated position (both from lying on your back and from your stomach) and you can now pull yourself up! You love trying to climb up on people or chairs or tables but your favorite place to pull up is in your crib. In fact, you’re having a tougher time falling asleep for naps now because you immediately sit up, crawl around and pull yourself up! Sometimes you get exhausted but can’t quite figure out how to lay yourself down and either cry or, like you did the other day, fall asleep sitting up! You’re so funny little Colt! You also love standing up and you always try to let go of whatever you’re holding onto to stand on your own, although you can only last a couple seconds by yourself.

You also started talking over the past few weeks! Your first “word” was “Dada” and you say it all the time, along with “gaga,”  “yaya,” “lala” and other like combinations. Still working on “Mama” but needless to say, your dad is pretty happy with how things went here. You have such a sweet and gentle little voice that melts our heart. Your babbles and coos are the loveliest sounds in the world.

Baby Colt, your personality continues to be incredibly sweet and just gets more fun by the day. You smile constantly and are one of the happiest, most content little babies. You don’t laugh a ton but we have learned the tricks – you are super ticklish around your knees, neck and ribs, you laugh when we make funny faces or sounds, you giggle when we swing you in a certain way, and sometimes you laugh at us laughing at you! For some reason you love it when I play with your spoon in my mouth or dance around for you. Honestly, the things we do to make you laugh are pretty embarrassing, but of course it’s totally worth it. There is no sweeter sound in the world. You love peek-a-boo, jumping in your jump-jump, riding around on Daddy’s shoulders, playing with toys and blocks, doing ride-a-horsey with Gigi, trying to climb on everything, patty-cake, going for walks, playing at the park, bath-time, and many other fun little things.

Health: Colt, your dad and I continue to give thanks and praise to God for your continued health. You are a growing boy – weighing about 18.7 lbs and measuring around 29 in long. You’re right on track, just moving into 9 month sized clothes and you’re in size 3 diapers. You have a little umbilical hernia which is pretty normal, and right now it looks like it has a good chance of healing on it’s own which we are very thankful for. Right now you just have two teeth – your bottom middles – and they arrived one week apart from one another on Feb. 22 and March 1. When they first came in you would chew on your fingers and toes so much that you ended up giving yourself little sores for a few weeks! You have never gotten sick but the past week you have had a bit of a runny nose for the first time. I don’t know if it was due to the change of weather going from São Paulo to South Carolina (full-on pollen season!) and back again, or what, but if that’s all we’re dealing with then I’ll take it! Your eyes are tricky to figure out. They seem a little brown on the inside, then fade out to a little greenish but have dark blue rims around the outside. I go from being convinced they are blue to green to hazel all in the same day. You are taking your time growing your hair but the little bit you do have is pretty straight, fine, blonde and beautiful. You have such a light and creamy complexion and beautiful skin, head to toe.

Feeding: It seems like you’re constantly eating something these days! You nurse 4x per day and you also eat solids 4x as well – breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner!

Usually we do fruit for breakfast and your snack and for that I generally make some form of applesauce (either plain or with cinnamon, pear, berries, etc.) and often we’ll mash up a banana to add to it. Sometimes we add cereal as well.  For lunch and dinner you usually have the “soup” that we make you which is basically just boiling and pureeing some meat and a TON of veggies together which is easy to do and super dense with nutrients. That being said, as you continue to improve your chewing abilities we are giving you more and more regular foods. Right now your favorites are smoked salmon (you could seriously eat that stuff forever!), sautéed spinach, black beans, sweet potatoes, cheese, blueberries and lots of others. The only food you have really shown a dislike for is avocado which I cannot understand. You also don’t care for juice or water, although we continue to offer both in bottles and sippy cups to no avail. You’re getting better at feeding yourself finger foods but it’s still much faster (and cleaner!) for us to spoon you the majority of your meal, but we are giving you more and more to pick up and put in your mouth. (Note: We totally give you the pre-made stuff too, especially when we’re traveling / on-the-go, but it’s just not the norm.)

Nursing continues to be fine. You’re good and efficient (you only spend a couple minutes on each side) and I truly love the special bonding time with you, but you’re definitely not the easiest baby in the world when it comes to nursing. You are so easily distracted that I can’t talk to anyone, have the TV on, etc. while you’re nursing or else you will constantly turn your head to see what’s going on. Also, you gave me a little run for my money last month when you started biting. It only happened a handful of times but it was really not awesome. The third time you did it there was blood and I realized that if we couldn’t get this in check there was no way I would be able to continue nursing. I’ve always hoped and planned on nursing through 1 year, but I sure wasn’t going to torture myself for it. Anyway, I was really clear and firm with you when you did it, and I think you learned because we haven’t had any problems for a few weeks. Fingers crossed that it’s behind us!

Sleeping: You are a great sleeper! You usually sleep 10-11 hours at night (almost never do you go a full 12 hour stretch) but you nap great during the day. Normally you have a morning nap that lasts 2 hours (anywhere from 1.5-2.5) and an afternoon nap that is usually closer to an hour or hour and a half. You always sleep in a sleep sack surrounded by many pacis and soft toys that you comfort yourself and snuggle with throughout your sleep. You prefer to sleep in your crib but you’re still pretty good at snoozing in your car seat – either in the car, the stroller or on a plane! (You were an AMAZING sleeper/traveler on our recent trip to South Carolina together — so thankful!)

Schedule: I’m happy that you’ve moved to 2 naps per day (versus 3) but you’re eating so frequently that it feels like it’s always something!! Since we travel a lot and go out regularly, we are always changing things up a little so you are more in a routine than a strict, set-schedule, but generally a day will look something like this:

7:15 am Wake & Nurse
8:15 am Breakfast
10:00-12:00 Nap
12:00 pm Wake & eat Lunch
12:30 pm Nurse
2:30 pm Snack
3:30-4:00 Nap
4:00 pm Wake & Nurse
5:30 pm Dinner
6:30 pm Nurse
8:00 pm Down for the night

Mama: You are 9 months old sweet Colt, and I have never been away from you for more than a few hours. I think back to the difficult decision I made to leave my job and stay home with you and I can honestly say that I have never looked back on that decision. Although there are definitely aspects of working (outside the home) that I miss, I am incredibly happy and God has made it so clear that this is where I am supposed to be right now – right here with you.

Thoughts: Your dad and I are loving this stage where we get to watch you grow from an infant to a toddler, where we get to see you go from being a baby to becoming a little boy. We love it because we love getting to know you better, learning who you are. You are turning into a sweet little friend and playmate!