Tuesday, April 28, 2020

March - no scratch that - April

I seem to have completely forgotten about the blog in the month of March. Oops.

But I’m back on track now! And this month has obviously been a big one - I’m sure it’s not just me.

First off, we are safe, healthy and feeling very blessed to be that way.

Second, no real pregnancy updates. I feel an awful lot of kicking so that’s a good sign, but the babies were in the wrong position during the last ultrasound and we couldn’t tell the gender. Maybe tomorrow at the 21 week appointment (couldn’t get in at 20 weeks) I’ll have an update.

Third, the Offspring and I are in the states. We went on orders called Authorized Departure - meaning we are temporarily allowed to leave post for our own health and safety. This seemed like the wisest choice given the fact that we just couldn’t practice social distancing with the nanny (and sometimes her preschooler) coming and going every day - and work would have been impossible without her. So I paid her several months in advance, packed up our bags and we left for my house in Florida. The flight up to the US was surreal - empty airports, almost empty planes... frankly we were lucky to make it with all the regional flight cancellations. I’m teleworking now and my parents have graciously been providing child care so I can work without (too many) distractions. The beaches have been closed which makes for even fewer distractions and we are in a very isolated part of the state so I feel as safe as possible here. I think we’re all anxious for normal life to resume but we’re also really aware of how lucky we are to be together.

The Offspring is growing and picking up new skills every day. He’s trying out lots of new words - like Grandma and cookie, he can climb anything, he is surprisingly good with a touchscreen, and knows the whole baby shark dance. He is more dramatic with the tantrums but also more fun with each passing day.

As for me I am making good progress on the New Years Resolutions - well, except the rubix cube. I have some ambitious baking plans now that I have several sous chefs and co-eaters, and I am really behind in planning to be a parent to three. I figure as long as I get car seats and strollers set the rest will sort itself out, right?

Ate a próxima!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Well, where to start?

As promised, this month is a big one in terms of updates.

Offspring and I started off the month on vacation with my parents. We cruised the high seas - to Montevideo and Punta del Este, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was lovely to skip the cooking and cleaning for a week and so nice to be able to travel internationally with the offspring without having to fly. With a more baby friendly cruise line I would totally do it again.  And even though it was incredibly hot every day we did have fun. We saw tango, bought wine, shopped and walked and generally took life easy.

life on board ;)

Watching tango in La Boca (Buenos Aires) - offspring loved this, even with the intense heat

My parents stuck around a second week for some Brazil time and we spent two days of it in Iguaçu falls. Honestly, it was the best. I used points to book the Belmond hotel and it was so worth it. Especially when we got upgraded for no reason whatsoever. Our rooms had private pools attached. Seriously. And the restaurant was amazing. 

They were seriously SO kind to my 1-year-old despite the fact that he was very much behaving like a toddler in their fancy hotel - would go back in a heartbeat

Another perk of being at the Belmond was that you have the falls to yourselves at sunrise, the coolest and prettiest time of day. Given the crowds and intense heat at midday this perk more than made up for the expense. In addition to hiking on the Brazil side and hanging at our super awesome hotel we also did a boat trip up to the falls (fine, but didn’t mesh well with baby nap time) and a super awesome helicopter tour. Something else to cross off my life list- thanks Dad for splurging on that one! It was scary and beautiful at the same time and my little adventurer did a great job.

I swear he did enjoy this once he got over not getting to sit by mommy

Back on the home front we stayed in São Paulo after coronavírus cancelled a work trip I had planned for the week of Carnaval (and it was much too late to plan anything else that late in the game). Honestly it was a relief not to have to turn around and pack my bags all over again so soon. And we both got the stomach flu anyway so traveling would have been miserable.

learning to shave with dad-dad

Oh, and I promised some potentially big news. Now that things have been cooking a little longer I am proud (and a bit scared) to announce that I’m having twins! The due date is September but multiples tend to come early so look for a bigger announcement sometime near the end of August. Meanwhile I will be busily googling “how to take three kids under two to the supermarket”. Wish me luck and happy February!

Friday, January 31, 2020


Well, I have to write since it’s one of my New Years resolutions to write each month, but to be honest I haven’t got much to say. Having a 1 year old (actually 14 months) means I have an even harder time than before getting out of the house. He’s become sort of a Tasmanian devil at restaurants especially. I response, I’ve started using a delivery company for groceries and I haven’t left town once so far this year.

But I have been busy - mostly prepping for what is shaping up to be a jam packed February. We’ve got a family visit coming up this weekend, followed by a trip to Southeast Asia for work. Perhaps against my better judgement I am bringing the baby and his nanny along. I know it seems a little crazy but he still just seems awfully young to leave with a sitter for a full week. And before you say it, yes, I absolutely could have said no to this trip and my bosses would have been supportive. But after the hit my career took after maternity leave I have decided that I want to stop saying no to things just because I’m a parent now. If that means a 24 hour flight with a lap baby and a million dollar plane ticket for my nanny, well it will be tough on one level but I just have to power through. I’d love to know how other single moms do travel (for work). 

Also, I have some very big news, but you’ll have to wait at least two weeks because this special project isn’t quite ready to share.

Til next time!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Resolution Time!

Well, what a long strange trip it’s been!

2019 was not really what I expected but looking back I’d call it a success and I still feel immensely privileged to have all the blessings I do.  My brother’s family got their immigrant visas and moved to the states this year. My house started paying off - both financially and personally. Offspring is healthy as a horse and has started walking and talking. Work is going well. It really is a wonderful life. 

But enough of that nostalgia! Time to review those resolutions for 2019 and see how I did!

New Year’s Resolutions 2019
  • Learn to make sushi - done! Don’t do it often and I usually do sushi bowls rather than rolls, but São Paulo has been a great place to practice with its huge Japanese community and plentiful Asian groceries.
  • Visit one new country (Brazil doesn’t count) - Done! We visited Argentina this summer which I wrote about previously.
  • Go on a big vacation within Brazil (something like an Amazon cruise or Carnival in Rio) - um, no. Unless the farm visit counts we went NOWHERE in Brazil. Big disappointment. The lack of trains and easy travel infrastructure has been challenging, but maybe next year.
  • See the top 75 films according to the American Film Institute - Done!
  • Earn $100 via one or more side hustles - so, it’s kind of cheating to use my house for this since it isn’t a side hustle, but I have done zero other earning so I’m just going to have to cheat and say the rental income counts
  • Take tennis lessons and/or join a sailing club in São Paulo - exactly one tennis lesson
  • Read one book each in Italian, Portuguese, and either French or Serbian - will make it. Italian and Portuguese done and I’ve only got a few pages left in the French book
  • Turn my last area for improvement into a strength on my EER - I certainly think so. I have certainly taken on lots of opportunities and feel more confident with my new skill set. I hope others have taken notice!
  • Host some sort of group - yes! I hosted a brunch, plus a kid party, a baby shower and I’ve got a couple of other plans in the works
  • Get promoted - sadly with almost no time in the rating period this was a long shot
  • Learn a DIY skill - I totally forgot this was even a goal. Oops. Obviously no progress was made.

And now for next year...

New Year’s Resolutions 2020
  • Make bagels from scratch - never know when this might come in handy and in the Foreign Service it’s often difficult or impossible to find bagels
  • Learn to stir fry and make tomato sauce without a recipe
  • See a dermatologist and/or have laser hair removal - I would like to do just ONE thing for my own self/ego this year
  • Complete duolingo Arabic
  • Take one international trip
  • Take one Brazil trip 

(is it cheating if I have these trips both booked already?)

  • Solve a rubix cube
  • Finish the Suzuki piano book 1
  • Watch the AFI top 90 films -(top 100 would have been too many)
  • Blog once/month
  • Write 100 pages of whatever I want
  • Eat 90% of our family meals at the table like civilized human beings 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

International Baby ... and his assistant

The Offspring has now visited his third country and has the photos to prove it!

First off, I would not necessarily recommend 9 months as a good age for traveling solo with a baby. Offspring was much wigglier than a few months ago and also has started to experience separation anxiety so in an unfamiliar environment he wanted to be held approximately 110% of the time. Like, to the extent that it was hard to put on pants because he wouldn’t let go for a millisecond. 

However, we powered through and of all the international locations we could have chosen, Buenos Aires was probably the best choice. Stroller accessible, only a 2.5 hour flight away, safe... We also took it pretty easy schedule wise which helped. We walked Recoleta and saw the cemetery (and the very anticlimactic tomb of Eva Peron), we did a short (and wiggly) wine tasting, we very briefly watched a tango Milonga (meetup) until Offspring got too wiggly again and we sampled the gritty neighborhood of La Boca. 

My overall impression is that Buenos Aires is very liveable, if cold, and that Argentines don’t like kids nearly as much as Brazilians. But we had a good time nonetheless and I’d highly recommend a visit if you want to eat well, enjoy European-style architecture, and practice being very sophisticated. 

Surviving this trip also gave me a boost of inspiration and confidence to try more travel, hopefully within Brazil this time.

La Boca

La Boca again (it was seriously cold that day - as in it could have snowed - so we only stayed an hour or so but I'm glad we got to see a different side of the city than fancy Recoleta

Recoleta cemetary

Recoleta cemetary x 2 - I liked the architecture styles here but didn't take many photos

Eva Peron's tomb - see what I mean? Underwhelming

I loved all the French-style architecture

And baby just loved goofing around

Thursday, August 1, 2019

July in Sao Paulo

I would say I can’t believe how long it’s been - but I can totally believe how long it’s been. I have been pretty busy with small fry of course and now that he’s a little older I’m also trying to force myself to get out of the house more and enjoy life.  So what did you miss in July?

The offspring and I went to a real life fazenda (farm) for the weekend. We saw pigs, sheep, horses and chickens and we had a carriage ride and a big churrasco (BBQ) party. I was very glad to get the baby out of the city for a change both for the fresh air and so he can taste just a little bit of what my own childhood was like - my grandparents had a farm and we used to spend weekends there with the cousins running wild and exploring.  I hope he gets the chance to have more moments like that as he gets bigger.

We also celebrated Brazilian country culture at Festa Junina (a few weeks late, but better than nothing!)

And we went to a fantastic performance - sorry no pictures - of a visiting American jazz group. It felt just like a Sunday afternoon at the farmers’ market back in DC and it was another needed change of pace from our usual routine.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Brazil with a capital B

Me and the offspring found a new favorite spot in São Paulo a few weeks ago and I have to say it’s one of only a handful of times since we arrived that I really felt like I was in Brazil. Not that São Paulo isn’t great, just that it feels very much like home most of the time. (But with bad sidewalks)

It was raining a bit, so that may have scared off the majority of visitors, but the botanical garden (Jardim Botânico) felt just right with everything dripping. This is the rainforest after all.

Baby wasn’t actually in the mood for a stroll, but we managed and once he can walk I think he’ll really enjoy this place.

So check it out if you get the chance - ie if you are in São Paulo on a rainy afternoon. It costs 10 reais (about 2.50) and is right by the zoo.