Feb-March 2016: Move to VA

Almost exactly 3 months after the boys and I had said our final goodbye’s to Brazil, we pulled out of my parents’ driveway and drove our (new) minivan through the night to Virginia.


All packed up and ready to roll!

We spent the night at a hotel nearby and first thing the next morning, pulled up at our new house.


New home sweet home!

We had the 4 of us, a few suitcases and not too much else. There was a murphy bed in the basement that Michael and I could sleep on, we brought Colt’s bed and a mattress and Finn had a pack-n-play. Our kitchen table & chairs were delivered on move-in day so we at least had that. And we had a couple of rugs that I’d ordered and had shipped to my parents’ house. So… basically a totally empty house. No couches or even cushiony chairs. No dressers or drawers to be had. No desks. No pictures. No lamps. etc. etc.


We had only been in the house when the previous owners lived there so it felt REALLY strange to walk into an empty house with 2 kids and try to realize that this was our new home.


Dinner the first night – before we had installed our new light fixture. Before we decided to flip the table. Before we had any pictures on the walls. Just paper cups, bags & piles. 


Living room…so weird!

We basically lived like that for a week before our shipment from Brazil arrived along with some other big furniture orders that I’d placed. We shipped some things back from Brazil like kitchen stuff, some art, a couple pieces of furniture, some linens, etc. but we actually sold the majority of our furniture there before we left so we had to furnish the entire house which was TOTALLY overwhelming. It was especially challenging because I didn’t want our family to be living in an empty house for too long so I tried to order most things so that they would arrive soon after we moved in, but it’s hard to really know how things are going to look and feel in a space until you get there. For the most part it all worked out but there were definitely a couple surprises along the way.


Night 2. Table flipped. Champagne popped. More random piles. 

We were very fortunate that we were only in an empty house for a week but it was a little stressful because when we moved in, we still didn’t know how much longer we would be waiting for our things to arrive. But we used the week to paint Colt’s room and put together THE IKEA DELIVERY which took Michael hours upon hours and was, to date, one of his greatest life accomplishments.


Doesn’t that just warm your heart?

After a week the deliveries started to come in, friends visited and brought us flowers and little by little, things started to come together.


Master BR Rug + Bedframe.


Our Sergio Rodrigues Diz Chair that Colt insists is his because it is Brazilian and he is Brazilian. Come to think of it, Finn loves to climb on it too…


Flowers make everything feel better. Thank you Millars!


Thankfully Michael had some time off to help us get moved in. Since we don’t have family or anyone nearby to help us with the kids, it would have been nearly impossible otherwise. And while we got settled into our house, we tried to get to know the neighborhood as well. There is an awesome park directly across the street from our front yard that has trails and green space, fields and courts and then a playground and community center.


Colt watching some soccer.


Riding the dinosaur at the playground across the street.

We walk through the park to get to Colt’s preschool so here he is checking it out.


Sweet Faith Lutheran Preschool! Just a 10 minute walk through the park!

Sunday morning, checking out Faith Lutheran Church.


Colt up in the front for the children’s sermon.




Bath hair.




Fincher wearing a Sheryl Fincher knit sweater.


Hair cut down the street.


This little Brazilian LOVED the snow.


Boots, hat & fleece ALL compliments of Colt’s killer godparents, Mike & Moira!!


Colt loved his first snowman.

Two weeks after we moved in, Colt’s godparents and our dear friends Mike & Moira Saign were in town for the weekend so we got as much time as possible with them and their precious babe, Graham – just a couple months younger than Finn.


Michael snuggling little Graham as we meet up with the Saigns in DC. (Harper boys all twinning – trippling??)


Michael & Finn back at home.


Cozy bros.

The Saigns even set us up with a full-family, private White House tour! Thanks Pete!


White House.


White House Press Room.


Finn has an important question.


Graham & Finn – total buds!

Two weeks into our house and we accidentally screwed up our heat so we took to the fireplace for a couple days.


When it’s cold out, we light the fire & scoot through the living room…

Just after Mike & Moira visited – 2.5 weeks into our move – Michael’s parents came for a quick visit! The weather suddenly changed and we had a lovely time in and outdoors with Nana & Papa.


Nana & Finn!


Family photo in front of the house.


Colt and Papa playing ball at the field across the street.


Ollie helping us break in our grill.

More getting settled into our home and the neighborhood.


Colt trying out a new park!


Front yard fun.


Back before we started cutting Finn’s side hair patches… #oldmanhair #macaronipenguin


Just hanging out at the kitchen table.

One of my favorite little things about our neighborhood is that we Have BUNNIES running around!! During the spring we spotted them all the time. (And now in the fall I am seeing them again!) Back in April, Michael and I walked about a mile to dinner one evening and we must have seen 35 bunnies. I mean, is there any cuter an infestation than bunnies?!?!


Yard bunny.


Scooter lover.


Finn & Spot.

We were enjoying getting to know our new hood but also love getting to return to old favorites.


Date night at Tabard Inn in DC where we had one of our first dates!


Strolling across the street. Coltchie hat. Nationals hoodie. Bug kit. Check. Check. Check. 


Sweet baby blues.

Up Next – South Carolina for Easter holidays!




February 2016 Arizona

When Michael finished working in Brazil at the end of January, he joined back up with the boys and me in South Carolina.We were staying with my parents until we officially got keys to our house in Virginia mid February so we took the opportunity to take the family out to Arizona again to get a little more time with our Harper family. Random photos but here we go!


The first leg of the trip was on a small plane (Columbia, SC going through DC) so Colt was in a single all by himself! He loved it.


On the longer flight to Arizona, however, this was not the case. Finn & I weren’t seated beside Colt and Michael so when Colt passed out, some kind gentleman beside him basically ended up holding his head the rest of the flight. Always thankful for kindness on a flight with kiddos!

In Phoenix:


Colt & cousin Julian (just 3 months apart!).


Feeding the ducks with Papa.


Finn loves eating at True Foods.


Wine & cheese in the grove.

While we were in town, the Harpers hosted a beautiful engagement party at their home for some family friends. I don’t have many photos of the event itself but I do have a couple of the set-up.


Barrel bar!


Paella for days!


Sweet baby Finn. About 5.5 months here.


Colt with an upside down stick-on mustache, passed out in the car with Daniel Tiger and other cozy things… so normal.

A couple days at Hidden Valley:


Hanging in the barn. Lise playing with Colt, Michael & Finn.


Michael & his dad out for a morning hike.


Catching the sunrise.

Back in Phoenix.


Another visit to the Phx Children’s Museum.


Measuring beans with Julian.


Cozy Finn.


Cutie Coltchie.


Aunt Christy with Little Finn.


Colt and Abby.


Colt & Julian at the chalk board.


Hanging out by the fire! So cozy!


Great views on our way out!


A sleeping kid is the best view one can have on a plane!

Thanks for hosting us, Harpers!


January 2016 Weekend Trips!

We were among the last of our São Paulo crew to make the move back from Brazil. This certainly made it much easier to move, as what we most loved about our time there no longer existed. When our group left Brazil we spread out far and wide. Portland, Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, New York, DC, Philly, even Singapore and Johannesburg! It’s fun to have friends in so many cities but we also miss each other a lot so we try to get together whenever possible. Our first big reunion was a girls’ weekend in January. Suzanna Jones had just had her sweet baby girl so those of us who could, hopped on a plane to Denver to get together and see her little one. All of us who came had kids as well, but we did our best to leave them with husbands or family so that we could just enjoy each other, although Paige & I did bring our babies with us since they were still pretty young and were nursing so regularly but I was very thankful that my mom was able to watch Colt for me.

We don’t have too many pictures from the weekend 1) because we didn’t do a ton of photo-worthy things! and 2) we were too focused on long conversations and snuggling babies to remember to pull out our cameras. But at any rate, here is what I have!


Paige with Coralie, Jana (sorry girl!), Finn in my lap, Brett, April, Suzanna & Addy Jayne!


Breakfast table convos.


April & Finn.


Brett & Addy Jayne.


Jana & Amy!


Suzanna had these sweet bracelets made for us! São Paulo love.


Cozy coffee & convos.


Adventuring out into Denver.


My traveling companion.


Coralie showing off her moves.

The pictures obviously don’t do the weekend justice but it was SO good to get together with these special girlfriends to connect about life, motherhood, transitioning away from Brazil into our new chapters… We were missing Michelle, Colby & Paula this trip but next time, girls!

While I was in Denver for the weekend, Michael took the train from DC to New York to visit his brother Joe and hang out with friends in the city.


Cheering on the Cardinals with Joe & friends!


Hanging out with BWad.


Snowy NYC.

Then, as I was getting to hang out with Brett in Denver, Michael visited Brad who was dutifully watching their two adorable kiddos back in NY.


Michael with Luke Man!


Campbell! Sweetest little girl ever!

A great MLK weekend for all!!

Jan/Feb 2016 in SC

After celebrating the New Year and Finn’s baptism in Arizona, Michael headed to DC for work and I took the boys to SC. We spent a few days apart then over the following weekend, Michael bought a car (ahem, a minivan) in Virginia then drove it from the dealership down to South Carolina. He stayed for a quick weekend visit then flew back to DC for work but left the minivan with the kids and me.


Living the life of luxury in the stylin Sienna!

Side notes on the minivan.
1) I was initially very resistant to getting a minivan because…it’s a minivan but we got a 2015 Toyota Sienna XLE and I absolutely love it. The thing about minivans is that they are literally made for families so having one makes my life easier every day. I highly recommend.
2) We have another car and then the minivan is “the family car” but we all really know that the other car is Michael’s and the minivan is “mine” since I almost never go anywhere without the kids. Anyway, I really had to put my faith in Michael since he bought it without me ever getting to see it but since I bought our house without him…he said he could handle it. And again, we love it!

Back to South Carolina…


Visiting the Columbia Children’s Museum – Edventure.


Colt sledding down the hill.



Thankful to my brother & Suzanne for letting us borrow baby gear to keep Finn cozy & entertained while we stayed with my parents.


He did not turn out to be a thumb sucker but he made us wonder quite a few times.


Colt soaking up some Pasha time.


Park time with Gigi!




Biking & strolling.




Gigi showing Colt the snow!


When the huge blizzard hit Virginia, we had already closed on our house there but were renting it back to the previous owners so they sent us pictures of the house COVERED in snow.


More cozy cuddles!


Finn with his favorite person on earth.


More park fun.


Finn likes to swing too!


What a happy little guy.




Snuggle fest.


Nanny & little Finn.


Papa & little Colt.

Michael worked out of the DC office for a couple weeks in January then spent the second half of the month back in Brazil. So while we were doing all of the above, Michael was doing all of the below!




Polenta frita at Vaca Veia – my fav.


SP Art.


We miss those Parker kiddos! Jack & Michael.


Little Finley Parker.


Parting gift from his coworkers: Corinthians jersey!


With his name on it! Vai Corinthians!


Aperol spritz with Trent.


Parkers + Trent & Michael out at 348.


Walking out of that pretty office building!

End of January and we’re reunited & it feels so good!


Daddy’s back!


So happy to see him.


#Harperboys3 #coltneedsahaircut

Another lovely visit to the Columbia Zoo with my grandparents!


Feeding the giraffes


Finn and Nanny.


And now feeding the llamas.


Colt and gorilla.


Feeding the birds!


So fun!


Colt & bear.


The truest tiger fan!! Papa’s favorite exhibit. 🙂


Gigi & Fincher!

We decided to transition Colt out of the crib and into a big boy bed before we moved. My grandfather had his “youth bed” that he got when he was 5 years old (also used by my mom and brother) and he recently had it refinished for us. It’s a size that is no longer produced (in between a crib mattress which is the current toddler bed size and a twin bed) so we had to custom order a mattress and sheets but my mom had an old trundle bed mattress that basically fit so we went ahead and started with that. Colt loved hearing the stories of the bed and watching the bed get assembled in his room. And best of all, he slept great and never really gave us any trouble with the transition. I think the keys for us were 1) he was old enough to really get it and 2) he was already accustomed to his lighted clock indicating sleep-time vs. awake-time so it made sense for him to “obey” the clock and stay in bed when the clock was blue and get up when the clock turned yellow. (I highly recommend the My Tot Clock but start them on it while they’re still in a crib!)


Getting ready for bed.


All tucked in.


Morning bro time!


**During this time, Finn & I took a trip to Denver to meet up with some girlfriends, Michael took a trip to NY to meet up with friends AND we all took one final trip to Arizona but I’ll do separate posts on those trips next. Oh yeah, and I also attempted potty training while Michael was in Brazil although I’m not sure I’m far enough removed from that trauma to write about it yet  😉 **