Hello friends and family! I hope you all are enjoying the festivites of this season.
The girls keep reminding me that it simply does not feel like Christmas here to them. (Even though we do have a couple of plastic snowmen downtown). They miss our get togethers with close friends and family, caroling, delivering x-mas cookies, special plays, concerts, Silk Soy Egg Nog, fluffy x-mas trees, snow...I've been trying to make it as Christmassy as possible in this gorgeous tropical climate, but it wasn't until last night that I won them over onto my side through a beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Christmas is All in the Heart." The chorus is: "Christmas is all in the heart, that's where the feeling starts. And like a fire inside it touches every part..and even if no white snow falls, well that's all right because, the joy can still be found wherever you are...x-mas is all in the heart" After this song they were feeling amazingly better, so we played our favorite Amy Grant x-mas song, "Sleigh Ride" and grabbed our mops and brooms and did our annual silly galloping around the house on our "horses"...while singing along. I wonder if they will still do this with me when they are 16--I hope so. :)
We have been invited to spend 10 days in Florianapolis over x-mas with some Brazilian friends, Loda and Marcos. We have chosen to stay here for x-mas eve and day and then join them in Florianopolis the 26th, so that way we can keep some of our x-mas traditions alive for the girls. The girls love to sleep in front of the x-mas tree every Christmas eve, and open their stockings the second their eyes open. The city we are visiting, Florianopolis, is along the southern coast of Brazil. We haven't been there yet, but are told it's gorgeous--hundreds of little islands with beautiful beaches. I guess we'll still have a white x-mas--it'll just be a sandy one.
Andrew is doing well. He's been crazy busy the past few weeks as there are several Americans here that he's helping. There is a project that requires considerable help from Moline over the next few months, so we'll be having many visitors which is nice. We enjoy having them over for dinner and talking in English!!! :) It's so exciting for us. The girls think it's the best thing to listen to people who can pronounce their names "right." And, they are gracious enough to bring things from home for us that we can't buy here--like peanut butter and fruit roll ups!
The girls have been very concerned that I didn't have my nativity this year, and have been asking Andrew about it. Andrew unbenownced to us asked our neighbors, Bernie and Tony, to find it in our storage room back home. (Thank you Bernie and Tony, we miss you guys!!!) Then our friend, Balaji, picked it up at their house, and gave it to one of the American's who was traveling down here. When it was delivered to Andrew, he took it in to a local store and had it gift wrapped with Portuguese writing and gave it to me this week. I obviously assumed it was a present from here. It was a special suprise find out it was my nativity from home. So, now I have my nativity and the girls are thrilled. I swear I married the sweetest guy ever.
I hope this finds all of you well. God bless and hugs from all of us to you.
Autumn, Andrew, Samantha, Makaela, Sir William, Theodore, and Tuletta the Turtle (our newest and tiniest family member)