Sunday, November 27, 2016

November!

These are all out of order but at least I've blogged... ;)

 This month our school had a Walk-a-Thon. Everyone finds sponsors to pay for each kilometer they walk, and this year the money will be donated to a nearby orphanage (where some of our former Sunshine House kids were transferred over the summer!) and the Bolivian equivalent of a Title 1 school nearby our school. We had a poster contest and my class won 2nd place in the pre-school division... I've been told our win gives us a popcorn party! (The blurry parts are where I blurred out my kids' names next to their footprints.)

The school year is coming to an end for the Bolivian public schools, and our pre-schoolers at Sunshine House had an end-of-the-year exam. Sarah and I were in charge of helping them study one Saturday morning and it was a bit of a disaster. They don't know how to count to 10, barely know shapes, colors and body parts and can't identify the vowels (well, except maybe E. who sings a catchy tune when he names the vowels...). I never heard how they did but I can't imagine they did well. Students aren't allowed to fail here, so even though they'll be moved up to kindergarten, they've got their work cut out for them during vacation... We've got to study!

 A few weeks ago we took our older kids to Aldea SOS to visit our kids who were transferred there. We always enjoy our visits and so do the kids!

 Los traviesos taking part in their favorite hobby- turning on the sink and playing with water/flooding the bathroom!

 For several Sundays in a row, S.'s Sunday School teacher asked me if she could stay a little longer and practice a song her class was learning. I always stayed behind with her and no one could ever really tell me why they were learning this song... Come to find out, they were participating in our church's talent show! As several of our tías go to our church, when they found out that S. would be in the talent show, they decided that we ALL needed to go to the talent show (I'd assumed that for ease, I'd just take S. and her sister, B.)! After getting permission to take all the babies with us, we got them all ready for bed (it didn't start until 7:30pm) and headed over to church... Apparently no one told the tías that O.'s tiger "pajamas" is actually supposed to be worn as a costume?!

 B. used to be SO scared of going to church but now he loves it! He always raises his hand in the air or claps along to the music and he's even started going to his Sunday School class!

 We celebrated 2 birthdays this month! S. (not pictured) turned 11 years old, and A. turned 4 years old.

Miel had her first real vet check-up since I got her... She got a shot and has been told she needs to fatten up!

I don't know that this actually counts as "decorating for Christmas" if it's all I've done so far, but I put up my little tree the other day...  Now I need to psyche myself up to go to La Cancha to get a big tree for the living room!

 S. LOVES the babies and this morning offered to help me bathe the "triplets" before church.

We can't say it enough- our church loves our kids so well! This morning, Pastor Fernando held both his own grandson (on his other knee... you can't see him in the picture) and our O. during the children's worship time. Both boys were smiling so big! All of our church friends don't hesitate to grab a toddler and love them like their own :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Holiday at Sunshine House!

Today is a holiday (Todos Santos/All Saints Day) here in Cochabamba. While most have the day off, working at an hogar doesn't really allow that... After all, our kids need to be cared for 24/7! 

A group of tías came in and then we had a steady stream of volunteers all day. It was great because we wanted to take our annual Nativity picture (sneak peak below!) so we had a lot of help to get kids changed into their costumes and to look at the camera! 

This afternoon, we let the kids play dress-up with some other costumes we had, and thanks to a generous candy donation (if you're reading this, you know who you are!), we had a candy hunt for everyone outside this afternoon... Our kids loved it!

I normally don't go to the hogar during the week, but I had to make a special exception yesterday ;) I didn't have school today (Wednesday) and it's also Tía Silvia's birthday!  She wasn't working today so I took over a cake and we celebrated last night. Her (Our) favorite birthday tradition is to put eggs and flour in the birthday person's hair, but I didn't plan on doing it to her as I always end up covered in it too. Nine year old B. did it for us and by some miracle, she didn't crack eggs on our heads later!

 9:30pm and she's out!

 Time for some sneak peaks of our Nativity picture! Surely there was a llama at the inn...

 Chicken, angel and llama... 

When baby Jesus was crying, Joseph turned to Mary and said, "That's your baby. Make him stop crying!" It was too funny!

Always clothes to be washed and hung out to dry! S. was taking a break from pictures to help with laundry.

Ready, set, go! Off to find candy!

It's hard to see, but the yard is full of candy! 

 After the toddlers woke up from their naps, they got to hunt candy too!

I. was excited about his stash!

One of the babies left some candy on the ground and as soon as O. saw it, he went over and put it in his bowl!

B. had a hard time waking up from his nap, but when he heard there was candy to be eaten, he was a little more willing to get out of bed!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

October!

Enjoy your monthly blog post... :)

 Sometimes when my kids finish their work, I let them play with unifix cubes. If we have time, sometimes we do "show and tell" and they tell the class about what they made. Other times they just show me what they made. On this day, one of my kids handed me this creation and said "Look Miss Hannah! I made you. I didn't have enough blocks so you only have arms to your elbows."

 Our tías at Sunshine House are the best! Here's Tía Milenka helping B. with homework while letting J. sleep in the aguayo.

The kids love these little egg-shaped gummy/jello candies... They look so gross!

Tiny baby in an aguayo... One of my favorite things about life in Cochabamba!

A couple weeks ago, our church had a big fundraiser lunch for the end-of-the-year mission trip. Sarah and I were asked to bring dessert. I still don't have a working oven so I went over to her house so make the cookies... It took so long and there were so many cookies at the end. Not that we complained... We kept plenty of cookies for ourselves and took the rest to church with us!

Weekends are filled with planning for school, and this month, we had to turn in grades and comments for reports cards... Hard to believe 1st quarter is already over!

 My school has a big fundraiser called the International Fair. Each class picks a country to study and then on the day of the Fair, everyone sets up a booth representing their country and they sell typical food. In pre-school, we each studied a department in Bolivia instead of a country. My class studied Pando... For your enjoyment, the facts we learned:

Pando is a department located in the north of Bolivia. The capital is Cobija. Typical foods include sonso and empanada de charque (both pictured above) as well as patasca de cerdo. There are many popular places to visiting including Las Cachuelas, El Monte Alto and El Río Tahuamanu (spelling is probably way off...).

One of the other kinder classes studied a department in Bolivia known for their many flowers... They used tons of flowers to decorate their booth and when it was over, we all got to take some flowers home with us. They were so pretty!

Today Miel got to tag along with me to the hogar. I took her once before and several of the kids have been asking when I'll bring her back... I figured today was a good day!

 A. "washing" her baby with dirt... When bath time was over and she took her out of the bucket, she seemed shocked at how dirty the baby still was! 

 Not sure what M. was trying to do but all of the sudden I heard him start to cry and when I looked over he was hanging from the stairs of the slide.

S. drew this picture of Miel... I thought it was an interesting representation of her!

Miel needs to be a therapy dog... She was SO good for the kids and all the things they did to her this afternoon. Poor thing was worn out though!

A.M. celebrated her 10th birthday this week! She has had a family working toward her adoption for awhile now and they were granted visits on her birthday. They threw her a party on her birthday and we planned to celebrate with her today with ice cream sundaes. Unfortunately when we arrived to the hogar we found out that she was out with her new family. We decided to have the (melted) ice cream sundaes anyway!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Feliz Cumple, B. y D.!

Today was an exciting day at Sunshine House as we celebrated not one, but TWO birthdays! Both B. and D. will be turning another year older later this week, so we had a joint Ninja Turtles party for them this afternoon!

B., especially, was so excited for the party! He was the one who requested the theme, and Sarah was in charge of putting it together... She and Lindsey made a Ninja Turtle cake and cupcakes and Sarah made masks for everyone. The kids loved them! I took tons of cute pictures but unfortunately can't post any of them as they show the kids' faces... Here are a few that we can post... :)

 D. taking a couple phone calls before the party began as after he was too busy to be bothered with phone calls ;)

 B. opening up his presents- a Ninja Turtle figurine and costume

Their cake and cupcakes were so cute!
  
 B. was happy to partake in the Bolivian tradition of biting the cake and his siblings were happy to help him take that bite!

 D. sneaking some cake after everyone finished eating!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

September

My lack of updates is embarrassing (compared to how it used to be...) but here's your once-a-month update on life in Bolivia...

September started out with one of our favorite days- Pedestrian Day! No cars or motorized vehicles are allowed on the streets and everyone goes out to walk or ride bikes... Miel and I went for a walk in the afternoon!

 We've all been busy with Sunshine House activities this month! We've been working on some ways to raise support (both in Bolivia and abroad) and have some big things planned for next month... Let us know if you'd like to become involved in our work!

At the end of August, Sunshine House welcomed our first new arrivals... Twin boys! Their mom is going through some hard times and needs help with her babies. I don't want to share too much until we know for sure what will happen, but please keep her in your prayers! I will tell you, however, she loves her kids and wants to care for them.

 I love going outside on my balcony at night to look at the city... It's not the best picture but it's the only one I've taken at night!

 As if the twins weren't enough, we received another new baby- this time a girl! While we know parts of her story, some of it is still a mystery. It looks like she will probably go back to family, but we're enjoying her for now!

 Sarah and I had a day off from school a few weeks ago and spent the morning cleaning out the babies' clothes... There were way too many things that don't fit anyone and were just taking up space. It was quite the project but their cabinets look so much better! I forgot to take an after picture...

 September 14th was Cochabamba's anniversary... We celebrated at school the day before (all the kinder classes danced traditional dances and we ate charque) and then had the day off. I love this city!

 I could go on and on about how much we love our church! If it wasn't for them, Sunshine House wouldn't be around and our kids would have been sent away to other homes a long time ago... Several of our church friends now work at Sunshine House and others come to help out whenever there's a need... Last week our friends Boris and Berenice came over to cut our kids' hair!

 Only in Bolivia do you actually need a sign telling people they aren't allowed to pee in the park... 

 Last weekend, Sarah, Lindsey and I were craving our favorite chicken restaurants near the old baby house... Pollo Sabroso was just as sabroso as I remembered and Sarah said the same about the alcohol shop chicken...

 Sarah and I were wandering around Quillacollo last weekend and decided to get manicures. It was a pretty sketchy place but for $2 you can't really complain! 

Last Sunday, Sarah and I took 8 kids out to lunch after church. While eating, a lady at the table next to us kept watching us. After a little while, she asked where the kids were from and then gave us a donation and asked us to buy the kids a treat... Ice cream for all! I think it's really important that our kids see generosity and kindness from Bolivians and have role models who look like them, so it was a great thing for our kids to see!

 Miel got her first haircut yesterday! She really needed one as last week I attempted to cut it myself and really butchered her fur... Dog grooming is clearly not in my future! Some friends from church have a vet and dog groomers, so they groomed her. Of course she received a glowing report on her behavior! And also, see what I mean about our church friends helping us with everything?!

I have to psych myself up for days to go to La Cancha (big open-air market in Cochabamba), but I'd say these baby costumes made the trip worth it... Have you seen a cuter mouse?! The little bear is pretty cute too and his brother has a monkey costume... Pictures of both to come another day!