“Having kids – the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings – is the biggest job anyone can embark on. As with any risk, you have to take a leap of faith and ask lots of wonderful people for their help and guidance. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to parent.”
― Maria Shriver

So, I was having a not so good day today that was filled with many toddler tantrums, not wanting to eat, not wanting to nap and so much more. And then I read a blog post suggested from a friend about parenting and how I’m not alone in my efforts as a mom to do our best with our children when we are just so tired, incompetent, frustrated. It turned my day around. It encouraged me.  I felt like I wasn’t alone in my efforts to do my best. ( I mean, am I the only one who prays for patience constantly and also for nap time to come sooner than later??)

I found this quote and loved it. It makes me think of so many of my good friends who I have come to with ENDLESS questions about child raising.  Questions that sounded a little like:

“Why does she…”, “Is it normal that..”, “Did your kids ever…”, “I feel silly for asking, but…”, “Okay, I know I’ve asked you this before, but um…”, “HYPOTHETICALLY speaking, if one were to…” and so many more questions.

Regardless, I’m so thankful for this journey as a parent.

It is official! Countdown for our adventure begins now!

First off, I apologize for not updating information on what’s been going on around here.

But to be honest, other than being sick for a few weeks, nothing too exciting has been happening. But, earlier this week, excitement landed in my email inbox.

The school we will be teaching for is a godsend. Really, we are so fortunate theat they are so organized, patient and able to assist with any kind of questions we may have.

And to top it off, they’ve just informed us that they bought our tickets to Rio! Image (Pretend that’s a blue American passport and that’s pretty much how I feel)

We’ll be leaving soon, in about three months. And there’s so much to do; the list for things to donate, sell, buy  is endless! But none the less, we are so excited! It’s happening!


Oba! We’re on our way to Rio!

Every step of the way, (well, all the exciting steps) I’ll post what’s going on… who knows, maybe this little blog will inspire you to do some traveling and “adventuring” of your own 🙂


Large Mice, Ducks, Dogs and Princesses Galore

We finally did it..we visited the Happiest Place on Earth with a toddler.

Our daughter LOVES Disney movies, the Princesses, Winnie the Pooh and even loves strolling       the streets of Downtown Disney, so she was familiar with the idea of what she was going to see, but man, it was a long (enjoyable) day.

We chose to wait to bring her until we thought she would understand what she was seeing, maybe remember it and hopefully not be afraid. But at Disneyland, you can’t really account age as a reason to be okay with what you’re seeing. Its a place like no other, really.

B was a year and a half the first time we noticed that she really enjoyed Downtown Disney. We walked through the shops, ate in the cafes and looked towards the park and talked of the future. We kept saying, someday, someday we’ll take her and she’ll love it.

Bella’s first visit to Downtown Disney in January 2012
Meeting the VIP of Disney

The time to visit was upon us with our big move coming up. We knew we had promised ourselves (and our little one) that we would go someday and that someday was now!

As native Southern Californians, we knew there was hardly a day when there wouldn’t be crowds, but we tried for a Wednesday hoping there would be fewer people.

Since this was a momentous day, we decided to take one of the grandmas with us. It had be twenty five plus years since she had visited the park and maybe four years for us, so we all knew there would be a lot of changes within the park for all of us.

I have to admit, there were a lot of reasons that we waited to go to Disneyland: the ticket price is ridiculous, (and it really did hurt a little bit when I handed over my credit card) the crowds, our initial fear of  how our daughter would react to seeing such large characters, and even, I’m ashamed to admit, the price for parking.

She loved Disneyland. Simply stated, it was magical. Some of our fears were accurate:

Yes, she was afraid of most of characters (Mickey, Donald, Goofy and even Pluto were seen from very far away), but she’ll eventually get over that.

DSCN2105     DSCN2100

Yes, there were crowds in almost all of the lands, but that’s okay, we had a stroller, snacks and plenty to look at as we waited.


And finally, the price for parking WAS ridiculous, but we forgot about that once we got into the park.

Those are silly fears, really, because joy is so much greater than fear. Joy, like the joy on my daughter’s face when she met Ariel, Sleeping Beauty and Belle (“Look, mama, she my friend!”)


Belle and Bella



Telling secrets with her best friend

We saw Nemo in person (or through a submarine’s window), we followed Tinkerbell and Peter pan on a rooftop tour of London, we rode magical horses and unicorns on the Carousal, and  we even took a picture with Cinderella’s fairy godmother (see Gorge’s photobomb below) .

DSCN2174     DSCN2200


We had such a great time, I know she can’t wait to go again. Maybe this time we can get a photo of her with Mickey or one of the characters.

< Photoshop Bella in the middle of her Disney friends here!

When it comes down to it though, all the reasons we waited to visit were just reasons of anxiousness. We often do that as a parent. We don’t expect our child to be able to handle, or handle a situation well, and we often shut a situation or circumstance down before we even give the child a chance to try something they might be fine with or excel within.

DSCN2107 DSCN2117 DSCN2115  Love that sideways smile of hers!

Welcome to Expats in Paradise!

Hello everyone! So, I’m new to writing a blog and very nervous. Funny that I can correct and suggest what others should write (as a teacher), but when it comes down to my own writing, it is a different story.

So, here’s the thing, this blog is going to be a way to communicate and share. My husband and I plan to share with friends and family and who ever wants to read about the adventures of two teachers and a toddler..hey, that’s not a bad title.

As you can see, I tend to veer off my main topic of conversation at times, which can get frustrating for an audience, so I’ll try my best to be as straight and to the point as I can be.

Great news! We’re moving to paradise, hence the name of the blog 🙂 And we’re not moving across town, or even across the country, but to Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Let me explain why…

In 2008 we visited family in Brazil and loved it. We dreamt, fantasized and wished for the opportunity to move to the paradise that is Rio de Janiero, Brazil, but it didn’t work out then. We were sad and hoped that some day, maybe, we could have our wish come true….

Here are some pictures from our first trip to Rio as a married couple:

Typical Rio sunset
   Gorge pretending to play the guitar..funny thing about that wig…when he wore it out on the streets he got stopped so many times by people who asked if it was real!
Look how young we were!
Here we are supporting my cousin Leo’s band, Granada
We didn’t make it all the way up to meet him, but this was good enough for us
Beautiful beaches
Fresh coconut water along the beach

Fast Forward to 2012…After a challenging year, we decided to try again for our dream of moving to Brazil. We’re crazy, right? It took a few months before we jumped through all of the hoops needed, but it looks like it’s a certainty.

It’s not going to be easy, but we’re excited.

Can I change my daughter’s name to Mischief?

Hello all!

I have been a stay at home for a few months now (officially since last summer) and I love it.

Mama and Bella

There have been days where I knew without a doubt that staying at home was the best decision I could have made for my family at this moment; I have happily watched my daughter blossom into an energetic two year old with an undeniably unique imagination.



Every girl needs a shower cap

  On the other hand, there have been other days where I longed for a minute or two to be able to do whatever I wanted or at times, needed to do. (Like use the restroom alone…)

You see, it was clear to us that we were going to have a fun and original daughter even before she was born.

We had even nicknamed our little one the diva when she flipped on us in the womb. She wasn’t going to be like all the other babies who wanted to come out head first, oh no, our little one wanted to sit in the womb, like one sits one the carpet. And, she didn’t want to budge. She’d probably still be in the womb if it was up to her!

We have had numerous adventures with her little beauty, I only wish I had written them down sooner.

Who needs a horse when you’ve got a papa?


Another example of our little angel’s antics

On this particular rainy day, my little one decided that my plans to stay home and do laundry (for me) and crafts (for her) were too boring, so she made her own plans that unfolded from early morning mischief to ending in a middle of the afternoon visit to the ER…

9am-While mom decided to take a shower, Bella decided to unroll the toilet paper roll. And then turn on both faucets, turning my warm shower into a cold one. I should have known she was doing something…it was too quiet.

10am-During a conversation with my mom, I look over at my angel drawing long, black exaggerated lines all over her hands and arms. Somehow she had traded her doodling markers in for a single black pen…When asked why she was doing this to herself, she responded, “I’m a tiger and these are my STIPES!”

Hmm, these are the times that her “cuteness” gets me shaking my head and laughing as I clean her off.

11:30- Playdoh, pom-poms, pipe cleaners and piano music should have been enough to entertain a two year old for 2 minutes, right? To add to her play time, I decided to add a healthy snack of a tangerine into the mix of her perfect play scene…I peel her tangerine for her and divide it into sections and run upstairs to grab more laundry…

11:31-I came downstairs to silence and a happy little one “smelling” a tangerine peel. When I ask her what she’s doing, she proudly says “I put it in my nose!”

I didn’t know if I was supposed to laugh, turn around and finish my laundry (because I didn’t believe her) or call my nearest expert for advice on what to do with a two year old with an tangerine peel stuck in her nose. So, it turned out, I called my expert on child rearing: my mom. We tried everything just to see the peel, but it was waaaay up there.

Off to the clinic we go…bless their soul, the doctors tried to get it out, but like my expert and I determined at home (and for free) it was not going to come out easily.

Our little burrito baby wrapped up waiting for the first doctor to see her..  

Two and a half hours, a clinic visit and an ER visit later, the peel is gone. I paid $170 to get the peel out and really, I did the work to get it out. The doctor and the nurse at the hospital held Bella down as they also put pressure on the opposite nostril, and I blew into her mouth.

After two tries of what looked like me giving my daughter mouth to mouth resuscitation, it was out. I was so surprised that it just flew out of her nose; no meds, not even a need for a doctor or even a nurse (or the $150 copay I had to pay at the hospital for the 10 minutes we were there).

Can you believe she was giggling when I was done? She thought it was the funniest thing in the world to have her mom kiss her like that!

The culprit

As we were walking out, I was a little shell shocked and tired after our day of many adventures and my daughter turns to me and says, “mama, you sad? Don’t worry mama!” I am so surprised, I just laughed.

The curious things kids do/say…

The fruit snorter and mama