The first few weeks with a newborn always feel like I'm functioning under water.  So, I'm surfacing for air before things get really nuts. 

It's almost surreal how quickly time is passing.  Skylar turned three weeks old yesterday, and the movers begin packing us out on Monday.  We're simultaneously trying to soak up as much of Rio as we can, while mentally preparing for life back in the States.  Send us some good vibes, will ya?

Lots of good things are on the horizon, and I can't wait for them to unfold, but I'm trying to be patient.  NOT one of my strong points.

Speaking of good things...

I commissioned some paintings from the (soon-to-be-way, WAY famous)


of MFAMB.  I asked her to interpret my daughters Avery and Isla with paintings.  They were a Mother's Day gift to myself - instead of a Mother's ring or jewelry, I envision a Mother's Wall with a grouping of her fantastic work that each girl can have one day.  When the baby is a little older, I'll get her to do another one, and somewhere in the mix, I'll pick out something just for



First, though, get a load of the Isla and Avery.

Got them back from the framers yesterday, and am so loving the natural wood.

They're even prettier in person, and I think everyone (and any room) could benefit from some of Jenny's talent.  She offers originals via

her Etsy store

, and now, via


, you can purchase prints.  There's no excuse - go get yo'self some!

I also managed to have Skylar's birth announcement designed.  As much as I love a nice paper card, I know the truth is most people toss them (how dare they!), so I sent a digital announcement this go-round. #thirdchild

design by

River & Bridge

Lastly, I ordered these Paige denim skinnies about three weeks before my Due Date to act as Post Partum motivation.

I've been giving them the side-eye since they arrived...

...but succumbed to their promise of fabulous-ass-ness yesterday, and started

Tracy Anderson's

post partum workouts.  Her Pregnancy Project dvds served me well for nine months, so I have faith the post partum one will, too.  We'll see....

Skylar Areia

It's not like I'm the MOST consistent blogger, but I have been trying to be more so.  Of course, that really gets put on the rails when you have

a new baby

in the house!

That's right, Baby Girl surprised us last Wednesday (can't believe it's almost been a week, already), and decided she was ready for this world on her due date:  June 19.  Funny how your mind-body works when it's time to have a baby.  The day started off with us attending Avery's Kindergarten graduation, no signs of labor on the horizon.  I even teased her teachers that once the ceremonies were over, the baby was "cleared for take-off," and that's pretty much how it went.  Sometime around mid-afternoon, my contractions began, and that was that.  She was born early evening.

As we had planned, she was born at home.  I'm a huge cheerleader for natural birth, and have always wanted a birth at home.  Here, with an amazing midwife, we delivered her in calm and comfort, without the interference of hospital protocols and interventions.  It was incredible.

Her name is Skylar Areia.  Areia (ah-ray-uh) is Portuguese for sand - a nod to her Cariocan birthplace, and head of blond hair.

Needless to say, we are smitten.

Mental Hygiene

Just in case you were wondering, there's no baby news yet.  I'm a week from Due Date today, so the official Kettle Watching has begun.  As I waddle around our neighborhood, I catch glimpses of passersby with that look of 'Wow, you're about to pop - don't do it here, please."  Good times.

Things have been really hectic 'round Casa Portu-Giese.  We've had to attend to some major issues in our US


, and all of it has had both Ben and I mentally drained.  It's times like this when I tend to pull back from things like blogs and (to a lesser degree), Pinterest because I feel like I let them unduly influence my scope of reality.  You could say I'm performing a little mental alignment hygiene.

Summer is a good time to do that.

Pre-baby is a


good time to do that.

I've also been reading

The War of Art

by Steven Pressfield about overcoming inner creative battles.  So often, people who are called to creative endeavors are challenged by severe inner Resistance that keeps them from being their Ultimate Self.  If it sounds hokey to you, you've perhaps been lucky in not experiencing it.  I have it in droves, but instead of just calling it Resistance, I call it my Gremlin.  That nagging inner voice that lives to create self doubt anyway she can.

Anyway, so far, the book is very promising, and I'll share my take when I'm done. 

That's not to say I'm totally forgoing internet eye candy.   How perfect is this



I know.

Stay tuned for Baby G updates...

The Poopside of Parenting

We've been making a concerted effort to potty train our 3 y/o, Isla this week.  Actually, we've been doing the parental peer pressure thing for several months, as we look at having two children in diapers as only slightly less punishment than Purgatory.
It has been hit or miss. 
Last Sunday, Isla didn't want to eat her breakfast eggs, and said "I want to tee tee in the potty" as an excuse to get away from the table.  We called her bluff, and somehow that turned into a concentrated Potty Training effort that didn't exactly match my expectations for an "I'm off the grid" Mother's Day.
We had about a 50% success rate.
So, Monday, Ben offered to stay home with Isla, so we could put her through a Potty Training Boot Camp Day.  It began horribly, with her screaming she didn't WANT to use the potty, and crying for the ensuing hours.  As I am the weaker parent, I bailed to go to the grocery store.  When I came back, she was happy, and had used the potty several times.
And, she has continued to refuse to use the potty for #2 all week, instead holding it all in, creating one, giant, compacted, uh...s%*t storm.  Last night, she woke up screaming that "It HURTS!"  Well, yeah, kiddo, I'm sure it does!
We had a similar problem with our first-born - something about the different sensation of going on the toilet that first time is terrifying to them.  We ended up using a water enema on her that STILL has me scarred.  But it worked.  She remembers it, though, and I think she'll probably use it against me at some point in her life.
So, basically, I am the worst potty training parent ever.  I dread the time so much, and I will very possibly consider ECing with this third child - in the hopes of truncating the whole endeavor.

So, that's what I've got - no pretty pictures of interiors, or plans of future projects - just preschool poop talk.  Any advice on getting us over this hump?
OK, I'll leave ya with this pretty toilet.