Friday, March 26, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, tra la la la la...

After a wonderful vacation in Brazil, it was time to start the long journey home. We started at the Falls do Iguacu airport. We walked out to our plane and boarded our flight to Rio.

Now, you'd think that the Rio airport would be big, nice, and air conditioned right? Well, you would be wrong. It's tiny and HOT. And we were hot, tired, and a little grumpy.

While waiting in the endless line for the Delta counter, I realized that we did not have any seat assignments on our itinerary. Not good...not good at all! I was starting to get very nervous because this was one of the biggest traveling days of the year with everyone heading home from various Holiday vacations. When it was finally our turn we headed to the counter, handed over our paperwork and waited. The first thing the attendant said to us was, "are you in a hurray to get home?"

"What does that mean?" I asked.

"Well, if you were willing to wait until Monday to travel, we would put you up in a hotel here in Rio until then and fly you home business class."

"Huh? Don't we have a seat?"

"Not at this time."

So, we said we would rather travel home with our family and so he checked us in WITHOUT a seat assignment.

Again, not good. Not good at all.

We went back to the gate and I sat down to wait for a Delta attendant, and Kirk and the girls went upstairs to grab something to eat at the ONE eatery for the whole airport. Yes, it's quite a good operation they have going there in Rio. (forgive the sarcasm!)

Our flight started to board, and I still did not have seat assignments for my family, and no one to talk to. They kept sending us from counter to counter telling us that someone would help any minute now.

Finally, my father-in-law threw a mini-tantrum in Portuguese, and they handed us 4 Business Class tickets and one Coach. We were ushered on the plane with First Class status, and we all said good-bye to Kirk as he headed back to spend the next 10 hours in Coach.

Now we were on the plane, but our troubles were not over because our seats were not together. At this point, I was the poor, disheveled, pathetic, crying mother at the front of the plane. Luckily, a wonderful couple took pity on me and moved so I could sit with my girls.

I wish I could fly this way everywhere. We had an amazing 3 course dinner (the food was really good!) and the flight attendants were so good to my girls helping them with everything while I took care of Olivia who had spiked a fever. (she decided to start cutting her molars!)

After eating, listening to some music, and watching a bit of a movie, Monique turned to me and said, "I'm tired. I think I'll go to sleep now."

And with that, she positioned her seat to lay back, put her sleeping mask on, pulled up her blanket and went to sleep.

We all slept very well, in fact, right through breakfast. Gotta love Business Class!

We made it to Atlanta and through our last layover and flight home to Denver.

Ah..... Home Sweet, Cold, Snowy, Icy, Cloudy, Brown.....


Take me back to the beach!


Align Center

Sophia was so excited for all our kids to come to Brazil. She doesn't get to play with other children often (she is the only grandchild) so having FIVE other children to play with was fantastic for her. She is a very sweet little girl, and I really appreciated her wonderful nanny, Milena, who was constantly taking care of my children as well as Sophia. Olivia kept walking around saying, "I want to play with Sophia, where is she?"

Sophia also has a HUGE assortment of Barbie's to play with. The girls loved getting them dressed and doing their hair. It was a nice, relaxing afternoon activity for them.

The most amazing part is this: Sophia doesn't speak any English, and my children don't speak any Portuguese, but they managed to communicate just fine and play all their little games. It's amazing how that works and is just another testament of the beautiful spirits of little children.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Uncle Norton

Whenever Kirk has visited his Uncle Norton he has taken the same "famous" picture on the balcony.

So, naturally, we had to use the same pose for the whole family.

(Izabella was a little frightened of the balcony, so Monique helped her out)

Uncle Norton lives in Camboriu which is nicknamed "Little Rio" and the beaches there are always packed! It made me really grateful for our semi-private beach back in Itapema. Norton's maid had a cute little puppy for the children to play with, so they were in heaven.

Olivia decided to look for Pirates!

I think Uncle Norton was excited to see all of us together for the first time.

Afterward, the kids were super excited to go shopping at all the different shops and gypsy stands. It was a fun afternoon.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sweet Monique

Needless to say, by the time we were in Iguacu Falls we were pretty tired. We were on the last leg of our trip and we were pooped. Our first night there was New Years Eve. Our room was amazing and right by the pool. Normally, a room right by the pool would be fantastic, but this night was party night and they were having the big New Years Eve party at the pool. We spent the evening and late into the night listening to horrible covers of American songs. The music was so, so loud. Luckily, the kids were able to sleep through it, but Kirk and I were in and out of sleep in between songs.

FINALLY, I heard the countdown to midnight. Thank goodness! The "singers" started having longer and longer breaks between songs and I started to fall asleep.

A few minutes after drifting into sleep the phone rang. As I answered the man on the other end said, "Hello Mrs. Lima? We have your daughter Monique here at the front desk and she is crying."


"It's OK we will bring her to you right away."

"Um, OK!"

I punched Kirk to wake him up and ran to the door of our room. As I opened the door a gentleman came down the hall holding Monique. He handed her over to me, assured me that she was fine and went on his way.

Well, she might be fine but I was not. I was totally freaked out! I tried to talk to Monique but she had already crawled back in her bed and was fast asleep. I kept trying to wake her up, but she wasn't having it. All she could say was..."I just woke up in the hall."

After a few minutes of trying to talk to her she got up, went to the bathroom, crawled back in her bed and went back to sleep.

I was still freaked out!

I ran upstairs to Kirk's dads' room and rang his bell. He didn't come to his door. Finally, I used my key card (all our rooms used the same card) and went into his room to wake him up. I explained the situation to him and said we needed to go to the front desk and find out what really happened and since I don't speak Portuguese he needed to come with me!

Here is what the front desk explained to us:

The hotel had a nursery set up in the two conference rooms right down the hall from our room for all the parents going to the New Years' Eve party. One of the Nursery workers saw Monique standing in the hall in a daze, thought she belonged in the Nursery, and took her in to sit with the other children her age to watch a movie. After a few minutes she started to cry. They could not console her or get her to tell them her name so they took her to the front desk. Again, they tried to find out her name and were just about to go out to the "fiesta" to see if anyone would claim her when she finally told them her full name. At that point, they checked the files and compared her with the copy of the passports they took of all our children and determined that, yes, she did belong to us. That's when I received the phone call and they returned her to us. All in all, she was probably gone only 20 minutes.


I didn't know my child was gone for 20 whole minutes? Yes, the mommy guilt was taking over big time. As I thanked the front desk gentleman for his help and my father-in-law and I walked back to my room, I realized for the first time, Monique had been sleep walking. There is no way she would have walked out the door (I always leave the bathroom light on when we are at a hotel just so they don't get "lost") without screaming her guts out as soon as the door shut if she were awake. And she definitely would not let someone wrap her in a blanket and take her to the front desk without having a total fit.

She was sleep walking. Scary, scary sleep walking. And, I didn't hear the door open because the "singers" were so loud I couldn't hear anything. She must have started crying because she had to go to the bathroom. (At home, she will sometimes come in my room in the middle of the night crying because she needs to go to the bathroom but is disoriented.) I told Kirk that I don't know who is watching over our little Monique but I am so grateful she is still with us. At least now we know she is a sleep walker and we will be much more watchful of her in ANY hotel.

After moving any furniture that was not nailed down in front of the door and a lot of crying, I finally fell asleep out of pure exhaustion; all the while thinking about how grateful I am for all my many blessings.

The next morning.....

Monique didn't remember a thing!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Falls Do Iguacu

After a wonderful week at the beach, we headed back to Curitiba to catch our flight to Iguacu Falls. This place is a jungle. Hot, humid and beautiful, and our hotel was right across from the biggest part of the falls.

Lucky for Olivia, Grandpa was more than willing to carry her on his shoulders while we walked through the park.

The trails are amazing, and take you right out into the spray of some of the falls. get very wet!

Kirk was excited to go and see all the big gross spiders.

I don't know why he insisted on holding them!

The butterflies landed right on the girls. They carried them around everywhere.

On the second morning we went to an Aviary. I worried most of the time about getting pooped on, but the kids thought it was fantastic when the birds would come right up to them. They even had a parrot for you to hold!

The cute little critters, Quachi, (Coati) are very abundant in Iguacu. So much so, that they are not afraid of people and will come right up to you. Kirk leaned down to see one as it walked up to him and it jumped right in his lap, stole his cookies, and ran away! Kirk managed to get some of the cookies back and we all had a good laugh.

Then, the same little guy came back and tried to steal Olivia's ice cream! I had to keep kicking him away so she could finish.

Needless to say, their charm seemed to wear off after a while!

One of the highlights of our time at Iguacu was a safari jeep ride that ended in a boat trip right up to the falls! In fact, our driver was quite enthusiastic and took us UNDER a waterfall. The people in the front of the boat were soaked.

Oh, that's right....WE WERE THE PEOPLE IN THE FRONT!

Once we had walked all the trails and were pretty pooped, we were very thankful for the buses that would take us from all the gift shops back to the hotel.

Experiencing this wonderful place with my children was the best part of all!

Happy Birthday

Kirk's birthday is the day after Christmas. I'm so glad I didn't forget with all the traveling and craziness! We had a nice dinner and they brought him a cake with sparklers in the top. I even remembered to bring him a gift.

(too bad he was being snoopy in the suitcases and saw it before his birthday)

Happy 36th Birthday Old Man!