A Day in Denver

After a wonderful stay in South Carolina, our next stop was Denver, CO. There were no direct flights from SC so Colt and I flew through DC so that we could pick Michael up en-route. This was great since I was 32 weeks pregnant which makes holding a toddler in your lap for a long flight less than ideal. Colt and I got lucky on our flight to DC and he was able to have his own seat in which he promptly made himself right at home.

Right at home on the plane. And yes, he put a diaper on his bunny.

Right at home on the plane. And yes, he put a diaper on his bunny.

I was very thankful to have Michael with us on the next leg since we were delayed and there were no extra seats on the plane for Colt. After a long day of traveling, we were SO happy to be greeted in Denver by our dear friends, Jeff and Suzanna Jones! The Joneses were some of our first and dearest friends in São Paulo and we were devastated when they moved from SP to CO in January so it was wonderful to get to see them, hang out and see their life in Denver. Which is awesome.

We arrived late on Thursday and were heading to Vail Saturday morning so our only day in Denver was Friday. We spent Friday morning trying to recover from the previous day’s travels and from the 2 hour time-change as the Joneses worked. That afternoon Suzanna took us to visit Jeff’s office which is, hands down, the coolest work space I have ever seen. He works for a company that developed the space so it was really fun to get to see it. We went from there to a nearby Mexican restaurant which was delicious and perfect because as the Joneses know, good Mexican food is basically impossible to find in SP! Denver is a very dog-friendly city so they brought their adorable dog, Canela, and we all sat outside in the sunshine for the afternoon. Later that day we all met up for happy hour with more former São Paulo friends, Amy and Anand – and their adorable new addition Khush. Even more fun, Suzanna’s sister, brother in law and their dog Piper came as well!

All former São Paulo friends!

All former São Paulo friends!

Colt knew Aunty Z would always play with him!

Colt knew Aunty Z would always play with him!

Hugs for Piper!

Hugs for Piper!

Colt approved of the restaurant that we chose.

Colt approved of the restaurant that we chose.

Walking back.

Walking back.

The next morning the Joneses generously agreed to drive us to Vail where we were meeting up with Michael’s family, but first we had one important stop on the way: brunch with the Kopps! Michael’s cousin Shannon and her family live in the Denver area so on our way to Vail we went by their home where they hosted us all for a fabulous brunch outside on the front lawn under a tree. It was perfect weather and such a beautiful setting.

Soren and his buddies - both welcoming and profitable!

Soren and his buddies – both welcoming and profitable!

Enjoying a beautiful morning.

Enjoying a beautiful morning.

Kopps and Harpers!

Kopps and Harpers!

We were sad to part ways from the Joneses but before they headed back to Denver, they left Colt with the coolest gifts – a sweet Colorado Rockies hat and an awesome world puzzle! Colt loved it.

Loving the hat. Very eager to tear into the puzzle.

Loving the hat. Very eager to tear into the puzzle.

Proud as punch!

Proud as punch!

BIG thank you to Jeff & Suzanna for being the most fun and gracious hosts. It was quick but we loved our time with you!!

**Up Next: Vail!**

Friends Visit! Part 2 – Rio de Janeiro

Jumping right back in on my friends’ visit to Brazil… On Thursday afternoon we headed to the airport to fly to Rio. The flight is only about 45 minutes and Colt had fun hanging out with “Emmie” and looking out the window at the beautiful views as we flew into Rio.

Plane buddies.

Plane buddies.

View from the plane.

View from the plane.

We rented a cool apartment in Ipanema through Air B&B and got ourselves settled in before dinner out Thursday night to Bar Astor on the water.

Bar Astor.

Bar Astor while Michael babysat back at the apartment.

On Friday morning while I hung out with Colt, Michael led the group on an awesome hike up the Dois Irmãos mountains. I had actually already done the hike once before with Michael’s family but he had been working at the time so he hadn’t been able to join, so he was happy for an excuse to go. In order to get to the starting point of the hike you have to first go through a local favela which is an experience in itself.

Favela.

Favela.

I would say the hike is moderately easy (but definitely not a cake walk) and takes 45 minutes to an hour and is a Rio must-do. It’s beautiful all the way up with monkeys, wild orchids and gorgeous views, but the view from the top is of course the best.

On the way up!

Michael leading the pack!

Little monkey poking his head out.

Little monkey poking his head out.

View of the favela below.

View of the favela below.

Views to the right.

Views to the right.

Group shot at the top!

Group shot at the top!

Pretty Rio!

Pretty Rio!

Friday afternoon we went to the beach where we relaxed for hours. It was pretty crowded but fun and perfect for people watching. And bonus – our sweet friends, the Cannons, who live in Rio came out to play on the beach as well!

Girls!

Girls!

Beach scene.

Beach scene.

Group shot!

Group shot!

All FOUR Harpers.

All FOUR Harpers.

Paula, James & little Gabriel Cannon.

Paula, James & little Gabriel Cannon.

I love this shot because you can literally count 8 soccer balls in the air as you look down the beach. That is the beach in Brazil.

I love this shot because you can literally count 8 soccer balls in the air as you look down the beach. That is the beach in Brazil.

Friday night the Cannons let us put Colt down at their apartment for a few hours while we went to dinner at our favorite Rio sushi spot, Sushi Leblon.

My favorite plate of the night.

My favorite plate of the night.

Saturday morning the sky was totally clear which is perfect (and unusual!) for visiting the Christ statue. I was on babysitting duty with Colt but Michael led the crew to the top and they had awesome views of the statue and the city.

Cristo Redentor.

Cristo Redentor.

Kern, Em, Andrew & Mere.

Kern, Em, Andrew & Mere.

Michael & Kern.

Michael & Kern.

Views from the top!

Views from the top!

And this is what Colt and I were up to back at the apartment...

Meanwhile, this is what Colt and I were up to back at the apartment…

That afternoon was another perfect day at the beach.

My heart.

My heart.

Colt-man. Loves the sand.

Colt-man. Loves the sand.

Sweet boy.

Sweet boy.

Coconut waters!

Coconut waters!

In front of the Dois Irmão Mountains that the crew hiked up!

In front of the Dois Irmão Mountains that the crew hiked up!

Saturday night we hired Paula’s babysitter to stay with Colt so that we could go out for dinner at Zaza Bistro then fun and dancing at Rio Scenarium!

Group shot at Zaza Bistro.

Group shot at Zaza Bistro.

Kern & Em with their fancy pants dessert.

Kern & Em with their fancy pants dessert.

Michael and me.

Michael and me.

Andrew & Mere.

Andrew & Mere.

When we showed up to Rio Scenarium, the line to get in was around the block – as far as you could see. We tried to use my pregnancy to get us in ahead of everyone but the woman said that while Michael and I could go in as “priority,” I couldn’t bring the whole crew in with me so, to the back of the line we went. Thankfully, however, the line moved quickly and it felt like it moved even faster due to the plethora of music, drinks and fun happening. And once inside we all agreed it was worth the wait. It’s hard to describe Rio Scenarium but basically it’s a 3 story club with a great samba band that plays on the bottom floor, food and drinks served throughout and fun, different, totally random decor in each room.

Rio Scenarium.

Rio Scenarium.

Part of the line, stretching around the block.

Part of the line, stretching around the block.

Staying hydrated while we wait.

Staying hydrated while we waited.

Ladies! Paula, Emily, Meredith & me.

Ladies! Paula, Emily, Meredith & me.

View down to the band from the 3rd floor.

View down to the band from the 3rd floor.

Part of the random decor.

Part of the random decor.

The next day was Easter Sunday! We started with a fun brunch down the street from our apartment and then went to mass at a nearby cathedral.

Baby at brunch.

Baby at brunch.

Mass.

Mass.

After mass we headed to the hippie art fair that happens every Sunday afternoon in Rio.

Colt and Kern.

Colt and Kern.

Easter baby.

Easter baby.

Michael and I have bought art here in the past so we were hoping that our friends would find something they liked too. Meredith and Andrew bought a couple of small paintings and Kern and Emily went big on this awesome painting of Rio.

Photo with the artist!

Photo with the artist!

That afternoon we all hit up the beach for some final hours of sunshine before everyone parted ways to the airport to journey home again. It was such an honor to me that my friends wanted to take such a big trip to come visit me and see my life here in Brazil and I hope that it was everything they hoped!

Friends Visit! Part 1 – São Paulo

So, one reason why I have gotten so behind on blogging is because I have been wanting to post about my friends’ visit to Brazil but it has taken me forever to go through ALL of our joint photos, hence the delay. Anyway, back in March two of my best girlfriends and their husbands came to Brazil to visit!! We spent the first 5 days in São Paulo and then hit Rio for the final 4 days which I’ll post on next.

Unexpectedly, the first major part of the journey was just getting here! Kern and Emily came from Mississippi and had no problems with their flights so they arrived right on schedule on Saturday morning, March 28. Michael was actually en-route home from a work-trip in Japan and wasn’t going to get in until Sunday, and unfortunately Meredith & Andrew got stuck in New York so they were delayed until Sunday as well. This was a big bummer but I was so excited to see Kern and Emily when they arrived and we went ahead and stuck to our original plans for the day.

Saturday afternoon we recruited Trent (who was also flying solo as Paige and Mailey were in the US) to come pick us up and take us to our first stop – lunch at Bar Samba in Vila Madalena. Bar Samba on a Saturday is a great introduction to São Paulo because it has live samba music, they serve tasty feijoada and caipirinhas and it’s generally just packed and fun. And bonus – a bunch of friends met us there too!

Table! Trent, Colby, Holly, Brittany, me, Emily, Kern, Hayden and Pete!

Going around the table: Trent, Colby, Holly, Brittany, me, Emily, Kern, Hayden and Pete!

Kern and Emily getting their samba on with the band in the background.

Kern and Emily getting their samba on with the band in the background.

After a few hours of drinking, dancing and stuffing ourselves to the limit, we headed over to nearby Beco de Batman (“Batman Alley”) which is famous for the beautiful graffiti which changes regularly.

Emily can always spot an owl - such a faithful Chi O.

Emily can always spot an owl – such a faithful Chi O.

Black & white.

Black & white.

Aren't they the cutest?

Aren’t they the cutest?

After a ton of traveling and a full day, we decided to take it easy and have dinner at home that night. The next morning we had planned on going to church together but poor Meredith and Andrew’s new flight had some delays and then they finally landed in São Paulo only to learn that their luggage had NOT! They waited in line to report their bags and by the time they had gone through all that, Michael’s flight actually landed as well so they met up at the airport and came home together. Upon arrival, the first things on the agenda were fresh juices, hot pão de queijo and naps! Afterwards, we gave them a little tour of our apartment complex and then headed out for lunch across the street at the Gourmet Tea and then a walk around the neighborhood before drinks at São Bento and dinner at Espirito Santo.

In the complex, in front of our building.

In the complex, in front of our building.

Colt and Emily at lunch.

Colt and Emily at lunch.

Group shot in Parque do Povo.

Group shot in Parque do Povo.

Colt's preferred mode of transportation: Uncle Trent.

Colt’s preferred mode of transportation: Uncle Trent.

One more in the park.

One more in the park.

On Monday we started our day in the Centro by visiting São Paulo’s Mercado Municipal. It’s known for its amazing selection of fresh, exotic fruits, any and all cuts of meat and, perhaps most importantly, for their famous Mortadella sandwich. So, we shopped around, sampled fruits, then feasted on pastels and THE sandwich.

Emily in the aisles.

Emily in the aisles.

Meredith and Andrew showing off the sandwich and a pastel.

Meredith and Andrew showing off the sandwich and a pastel.

Kern lovingly named the pastels "hot pockets" although I would argue they are much better.

Kern lovingly named the pastels “big hot pockets” although I would argue they are much better.

Fruit stand.

Fruit stand.

Group shot!

Group shot!

Back at our apartment, Michael and Colt were visiting with Michael’s dad, Ollie, who also happened to be visiting for a couple days that week as well! It was so much fun getting to see him AND he also served as a great babysitter for Colt which was incredibly helpful as I was out and about with my friends a lot!

Harper boys!

Harper boys!

Seesaw time!

Seesaw time!

So, after we hit up the market we had a drink at Bar da Dona Onça while we waited for Terraço Italia to open up.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Next up was Terraço Italia – the tallest building in São Paulo which offers impressive, expansive views of the city. The perspective of the city from there always amazes me. It’s truly massive.

Sprawling city as far as you can see.

Sprawling city as far as you can see.

Girls.

Girls.

More SP!

More of our never-ending SP!

That evening we just went down the street from our apartment for an amazing Argentine steak dinner at 348 and again, lots of friends joined in for the fun.

With Emily & Meredith.

With Emily & Meredith.

Kern, Emily, me, Meredith, Andrew, Trent.

Left to right: Kern, Emily, me, Meredith, Andrew, Trent, Ollie, Joe, Michael, Michelle, Pete & Brittany.

Tuesday was another busy day out an about. We started with a morning trip to São Paulo’s main art museum, MASP.

We couldn't find a good MASP sign so this was the best we got.

We couldn’t find a good MASP sign so this was the best we got.

Emily with one of her favs.

Emily with one of her favs.

After the museum, we headed to the famous shopping street, Oscar Freire, for lunch and shopping.

Lunch at Santo Grão.

Lunch at Santo Grão.

Boys table.

Boys table.

Doing some shopping at Havaianas.

Doing some shopping at Havaianas.

Gifts from the Granado store.

Gifts from the Granado store.

That evening we did pre-dinner drinks at Hotel Unique. It’s a favorite place to bring visitors 1) because it is in fact quite unique and has a fun, cool atmosphere and 2) it also offers great views of the city.

Hotel Unique's sweet bar.

Hotel Unique’s sweet bar.

Kern & Emily.

Kern & Emily.

Andrew & Meredith.

Andrew & Meredith.

Drinks on the rooftop.

Drinks on the rooftop.

After drinks, we headed to Nagayama, our favorite sushi spot in the world. Their sushi is incredible and it did not disappoint!

Best sushi ever.

Best sushi ever.

Wednesday we had a laid back day and actually ended up spending hours in Parque Ibirapuera, São Paulo’s largest and most well-known park. We walked around and explored, had lunch there, rented bikes and generally just enjoyed the gorgeous weather and day.

Amazing old trees.

Amazing old trees.

Kern trying local soda Guarana.

Kern getting into the local soda, Guaraná.

Meredith totally on the açai train.

Meredith totally on the açai train.

Em & Kern.

Em & Kern.

Andrew & Mer.

Andrew & Mer.

We were in no rush thanks to grandfather extraordinaire, Ollie, who was with Colt!

Ollie reading with Superman.

Ollie reading with Superman.

That evening we went to one of our favorite bars, Vaca Veia, for drinks and dinner before Michael took Kern, Emily and Andrew to a local soccer game!

Vaca Veia.

The group at Vaca Veia.

Boys.

Boys.

Table.

Colt was a total champ at the bar.

Next up was the soccer game. Soccer games here are late, starting at 10:00pm, but Michael, Kern, Emily and Andrew were champs and had a great time (while Meredith & I went back with Colt). They got to see the most popular team in Brazil, São Paulo’s Corinthians, play against Danuvio from Uruguay (playing in the Libertadores Cup) at Itaquerão stadium. The Corinthians pulled out a win and everyone was happy!

In front of the stadium.

In front of the stadium.

Kern rocking a Corinthians jersey!

Kern rocking a Corinthians jersey!

On Thursday morning before we headed to the airport to fly to Rio my dear friend Paige hosted us all over for a little brunch at her apartment. My friends hadn’t gotten to meet Paige yet and she has a beautiful home located on a gorgeous park, plus she is a fabulous hostess so it was perfect all around.

Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen x 2.

Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen x 2.

The spread!

The spread!

Up Next: Rio!

Birthday Week! Turning 28.

I’m honestly the kind of person who would be happy to tell no one about my birthday and just go to dinner one night with Michael – not necessarily on my birthday night, just sometime that was close to my birthday and convenient. That would totally do it for me. BUT I have an amazing husband and incredible friends who do not let me get away with that and this year I was really over-celebrated.

My birthday was on a Thursday so the night before on Wednesday, my dear friend Paige Hudson hosted an incredible over-the-top dinner party for me with all of our friends. Her mom and grandmother were in town visiting but she still insisted on hosting. Check out the night:

With the amazing, beautiful hostess!

With the amazing, beautiful hostess!

Appetizer Table!

Appetizer Table!

Crostinos!

Crostinis! Cucumbers with mint & dill, caramelized leeks, strawberries with aged balsamic, lemon zest with truffle oil, radishes and sea salt and tomatoes with basil.

Sausage & roasted chickpeas.

Sausage & roasted chickpeas.

Figs & queijo minas.

Queijo minas with figs and honey.

Cheese ball and crackers.

Cheese ball and crackers.

And then dinner was served!

Course 1: salmon ceviche on top of avocado with pita chips.

Course 1 (Fish): Salmon ceviche on an avocado salad with pita chips.

Course 2: Broccoli with romesco sauce and a side of greens.

Course 2 (Salad): Cold broccoli salad with romesco sauce and a side of greens.

Curried pumpkin soup.

Course 3 (Soup): Curried pumpkin soup.

Course 4 (Main): Carnitas with mashed mandioquinha and homemade pickled veggies.

Course 4 (Main): Carnitas with mashed mandioquinha and homemade pickled veggies.

How pretty are these!?

How pretty are these!?

Course 6 (Cheese): Guava and cream cheese empanadas.

Course 5 (Cheese): Guava and cream cheese empanadas.

Course 5 (Dessert): Dark chocolate salted caramel ice cream pie with crushed oreo crust.

Course 6 (Dessert): Dark chocolate salted caramel ice cream pie with crushed oreo crust.

I mean, seriously. We were all happily miserably full by the time we left and we didn’t even have the coffee / tea course with lemon cookies that she had prepared. Furthermore, she sent us home with a dish of sticky-buns to be left to rise overnight then baked in the morning — the breakfast course! It was such a fun night and I love getting all of our friends together for any occasion so this was extra special. And, to top it off they even had a tiara and magic wand for me.

Feeling like the queen of the night - holding flowers from my sweet in laws.

Feeling like the queen of the night – holding flowers sent from my sweet in laws.

The next morning, Michael took “morning-duty” with Colt and I slept in, only to get out of bed to flowers and a beautiful breakfast! Michael knew I had been craving grits so he made me grits topped with a perfectly poached egg with a tall iced coffee and fruit smoothie.

Perfect breakfast from my amaze husband.

Perfect breakfast from my amaze husband.

He also cooked up that batch of sticky buns I was just talking about.

Colt is pretty interested in the sticky buns too!

Colt is pretty interested in the sticky buns too!

Throughout the day, Michael gave me (or sent me to find) different gifts and cards all day long. Each card had a specific characteristic that he loved about me along with a beautiful note and a special scripture and then each gift corresponded to that characteristic. And, they were also all Brazil themed gifts! I think in total there were 6 different gifts and each one was so special and also totally surprising. I think my favorites were 1) a beautiful necklace which had chords of Brazilian golden grass and then a gold pendant with the Lord’s prayer engraved in Portuguese, 2) an incredible silk scarf full of my favorite colors that, when opened, is a gorgeous Carnaval scene, and 3) an amazing, fun long dress in a bright, colorful print from a store that I have always admired but never purchased anything from. I have no idea when he has time to even think of this stuff much less go out and find such thoughtful, beautiful gifts but I definitely felt loved. We were out late the night before at the Hudsons’ and were going out the next night so on my actual birthday we stayed in and ordered sushi – my favorite!

The next night, as a continuation of my birthday celebration we made plans to go to THE best restaurant in Brazil and the highest rated restaurant in all of Latin America, D.O.M. (Currently D.O.M. is ranked #7 for The World’s Best Restaurants.) D.O.M. is super famous and we had always wanted to try it but the price tag is a little much so we had been putting it off. However, lately the Brazilian currency has totally plummeted making things a lot more affordable than they had been previously. So, we decided that for my birthday we would go! D.O.M. is known for “ambitious, research-led Amazonian cooking” where “the pioneering chef is also part-historian and part-botanist thanks to his research trips with scientists and anthropologists deep into the Amazon to test potential ingredients for his menu. By doing so he has … brought his country’s indigenous foodstuffs – many of which are unknown beyond its borders – to the fore.” The food was definitely inventive and somewhat experimental and one course consisted of two large Amazonian ants prepared atop a meringue – the first ant was to be eaten by itself and the second with the meringue. Not my favorite course of the night but good and interesting for sure.

Opener: pallet cleansing pepper "ice cream" with sake served in peppers.

My handsome date with the opener: pallet cleansing pepper “ice cream” with sake served in peppers.

One of the fish courses.

One of the fish courses.

To make the night extra special and as one final birthday present, we decided that over dinner we would find out the gender of Baby #2! We had an ultrasound that Friday morning and the doctor put the results in an envelope for us to open at dinner. We wanted to open it early in the meal so that we could have fun talking about it so after I the first course, Michael slid over to my side of the table and we opened. And…another BOY!! We were thrilled and had so much fun dreaming together about how this little one will fit into our family and change it, for the better. Michael and his brother are so close and have such a special friendship so he is excited Colt will have that type of companionship as well and I just love my Harper boys and couldn’t be happier.

Heading home feeling happy!!

Heading home feeling happy!!

Blessed beyond measure. Thanks to everyone for helping make this such a special birthday!

Carnaval 2015!

Since Michael and I moved to Brazil just before Carnaval 2012, this year marked our 4th Carnaval in Brazil. In 2012 we were basically just trying to get acquainted with the city, figure out where and how to buy groceries, etc. In 2013 we took a little getaway trip to the mountains. In 2014 we were in the Bay Area after celebrating Colt’s godparents’ wedding in San Francisco. All have been great activities for us but this year we decided to something a little different, a little more Carnaval-ish.

First of all, I was still in the first-trimester season of not feeling very well and honestly I felt like Colt and I had just gotten back from the US, so I wasn’t really up for a trip. Since we decided to stay put, there is really only one main event in São Paulo so of course we were in for that! Party at the Sambódromo with Trent and Paige Hudson!

Let me explain. First, the “national music and dance” of Brazil is called samba. In preparation for Carnaval each year, there are samba “schools” which are kind of like dance/performance troupes. Each year, these schools come up with a unique theme and then create enormous floats, design crazy costumes and choreograph amazing dances for the big samba school competition. The venues across Brazil which are dedicated to hosting the Carnaval parade of competing samba schools are called Sambódromos (Sambadromes) and they are basically just stadiums with a long runway of asphalt and bleachers on either side. The competition / party lasts for multiple nights and each school spends a full hour making their way down the “runway.” We went with Trent & Paige on a Saturday night where there were 7 schools slated from 10pm through 5am. We made it until about 3:30am and were the first to leave but I thought it was pretty good for two pregnant ladies! The schools all write their own “team-song” for their performance and since it’s a just a few verses and a chorus over and over for the school’s hour-long performance, the crowd quickly memorizes it and sings along while dancing the whole time. (Honestly, you never sit down!) We had a blast and I loved getting to do something that was very in the spirit of the Brazilian Carnaval.

Just as a side note – each school reserves a certain number of slots for “tourists” who are not members but who can pay to join. For a hefty little fee, they get costumes and an easy role in the performance and together, they help fund the entire school. The real deal happens in Rio and this year, Michael’s brother Joe and some other friends of ours participated! They said it was an unforgettable experience – so cool!

OK – pics from our night – check out the amazing floats and costumes!

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Final photo on the way out with one of our fav costumes.

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Then before hopping in our cab, Trent managed to snag this part of a costume from the street!

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Back at the Hudsons’ apartment, Michael tries it on for size.

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Then next morning the two kids were feeling a little more chipper than their parents…

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It was a great Carnaval / Valentines’ Day!

Fazenda Weekend with Friends

Late November, our wonderful group of friends took a mini-vacay to a nearby fazenda. The property belongs to the family of one of our friends so Michael and I had been there before, but not lately. It’s a BEAUTIFUL place and with such a fun group we had an absolute blast. There were 6 couples (plus Joe joined us for one night!) and 4 babies, all within a couple months of each other. The kids loved the open space and the “ducks” aka the peacocks that roam around. I hardly took any photos so again am stealing all the pretty ones from Colby – thanks! 🙂

Grand entrance.

Grand entrance.

Part of the property.

Part of the property.

Entry gate.

Entry gate.

Moo!

A couple friends ended up in a little stand-off with the cows!

Leisurely stroll.

Leisurely stroll.

Trent manning the pizza oven.

Trent manning the pizza oven.

Thank you Z for the delish pizzas!

Thank you Z for the delish pizzas!

Trent & Mailey.

Trent & Mailey.

Baby buns! Mailey and Colt.

Baby buns! Mailey and Colt.

"Duck!"

“Duck!”

Mesmerizing.

Mesmerizing.

Peacock chasing all weekend long.

Peacock chasing all weekend long.

Amazing weekend and the fact that this is just an hour and a half away is just another reason why I love Brazil!

Thanksgiving 2014!

Although Michael and I aren’t able to get home for Thanksgiving these days (ahem, for the past 3 years), we do have a wonderful tradition of celebrating the day with all of our American friends over a traditional-with-a-Brazilian-spin Thanksgiving dinner. This year we all gathered at Chez Oscar and their team put together an amazing meal for us and even let us take home the leftovers!! Such a special night full of thankfulness for God’s gracious and abundant provision in our lives. (All photo credits to Colby – so glad someone thought to bring a camera!)

The gorgeous room.

The gorgeous room.

Hayden sneaking in.

Hayden sneaking in.

Suzanna giving the welcome toast.

Suzanna giving the welcome toast.

Trent giving this year's blessing.

Trent giving this year’s blessing.

Amaze turkey.

Amaze turkey.

More deliciousness.

More deliciousness.

Brooke, Jason, Julia, Claude, Michael, Suzanna, me, Jeff.

Brooke, Jason, Julia, Claude, Michael, Suzanna, me, Jeff and Brett.

Jamie, Jeff, Suzanna, Bryan, Brett, Brad, Trent

Jamie, Jeff, Suzanna, Bryan, Brett, Brad, Trent

Hayden and Colby - the lady behind the lens for these pics!

Hayden and Colby – the lovely lady behind the lens for these pics!

Hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving too!