Sunday, November 29, 2015

Officially engaged!

So today I turn 25 which is pretty exciting, but the real event of the day was Danyelle officially becoming engaged to Franco at church this morning! You'll have to get their whole story from her, but it was no surprise to any of us and we couldn't be happier for them!

In their church here in Cochabamba, an engagement really isn't official until it's announced to the congregation. They decided to get married a few weeks ago and have spent that time talking with many different people about their decision. Today, Franco called her up on stage during the announcements so they could make the announcement together. It was great! (Anne, we videotaped and took lots of pictures for you!) I don't think anyone at church was really surprised either and the kids were thrilled to be there!

So now, Danyelle, the real question is which hashtag do you prefer? #franyelle or #becomingamoron ...?

 Something really great must be happening for us to take 19 kids to a church that isn't ours! We wanted to make sure all the older kids got to watch the big announcement, and really, we want them to see what a godly and healthy relationship can and should look like.

We did so well getting to church we had 45 minutes to spare... We made the kids play "duck, duck, goose" while we waited!

All of the pictures below are from the engagement. Franco spoke about their decision and desire to marry, and then two of their church elders came up to speak briefly and also pray for them and their future together. 

We all met Franco at Horita Feliz, our Saturday afternoon Bible club. The children have always referred to him as "Hermano Franco" (Brother Franco) as your fellow church members are called your "hermanos." Today, Jhosi asked him if they should now call him "Tío Franco" (Uncle Franco)!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Haircuts for all!

This afternoon, two friends from my church here came to give haircuts to all our boys. They desperately needed them! We counted when everyone was finished, and they gave 16 haircuts in the span of about three and a half hours. Not bad! 

I only had my cell phone for pictures and they were doing it so fast I couldn't get many before and afters, but I'm posting a few! We also had a big church group come visit us this afternoon as well so it was a very full, busy day... Our favorite kind!

 J. went first... He sat SO well!

O. also sat very still and now looks like such a big boy!

C. before...

 And C. after... Who is that little boy?!

C. was so unhappy when it was finally his turn!

So handsome!

 B. made the funniest faces! He didn't like all the hair falling down onto his face.

 L. was last! He really didn't want to get his haircut but giggled his way through it. He's come a long way in not crying when things like this happen... He used to be scared of so many things but now likes to tell us how "valiente" (brave) he is and how he doesn't cry anymore!

All that hair looked like some sort of dead animal...

While haircuts were taking place, we had a HUGE group from a church comes over to put on a party for the kids. They played games, sang songs, ate jello and cookies and also brought many donations for the kids. We're always so thankful when groups decide to visit us!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday at CDA!

 I spent the morning with these two very silly kids! Yesterday L. wasn't feeling well at all and only wanted to lay in bed, but he was in much better spirits today!

 Look who had her LAST day of pre-school today! She very excitedly ran inside to give me the french fries and cake she'd brought me from her school party... If only I'd known there'd been a party, I would've gone!

 Well that looks like a good idea!

O. had a rough first few days but is now such a happy baby... He was sleeping during lunch so got to get out of his highchair and crawl around for a bit. He even smiled when seeing his picture on my phone!

Fashionista. I'm embarrassed to admit that I took her to speech therapy dressed like that.

 I had an hour to wait on A.M. and Daniel while they were at speech therapy so I walked next door and bought ice cream. It was yummy!

Fashionista Numero Dos... We'll call her the "fashionista in training," obviously learning from her Mamá S. who put that lovely ensemble together!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving marks my third one in Bolivia. While it'd be nice to be home on this day, I'm thankful for a great group of friends here in Cochabamba and that we're able to celebrate together! I guess we've started a tradition of going over to the Boohers' house for Thanksgiving... We might need to come down south to y'all next year! ;)

It'd take awhile to list all that I'm thankful for but know that all of you are pretty high up on my list! It's always nice to see how we're not alone in caring for the kids here and that people all over the world want to be involved in their lives at Casa de Amor. There are days when I certainly feel alone (we all have them!), but the truth is I'm surrounded by wonderful people at home in the US and here at home in Cochabamba... For that I'll always be grateful! 

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and lots of good food! We certainly did!

 Since the Boohers adopted David and his siblings, he's had such a change! At first he didn't want to see any of us (especially me) as he associated us with the hogar and going back. Little by little he's opening up and is happier to see us. I saw quite the difference in him tonight! He was happy, giggly and so playful. He willing sat with me several times and let me serve him his food too!

 Myles was tasked with cutting up the chicken. Also fun fact, yesterday we saw a 12 pound turkey for sale for $53... Anyone out there want to pledge to provide this delicacy next year?! We had 17 people there tonight so do the math on how many you'll be agreeing to buy! ;)

 Peter celebrated his first Thanksgiving! He's such a happy little guy who just started walking all over the place!

 All the good stuff!

While we had just 6 different foods with dinner, we had 11 desserts... No one complained about that!

 My mom sent us this paper tablecloth with activities for the kids on it. I think we enjoyed it more than the kids did!

Sample platter for dessert... It was just as much dessert as it looked like and I couldn't finish it!

Just an extra picture... If your Thanksgiving was even a little better than theirs was, I'd call it a success!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Weekend Fun!

Friday morning while at the hogar, I heard Tía Silvia saying "Come on, kids! Go outside!" When I looked over, she was chasing her chickens out of the kids' bedroom. It was too funny! Also, we're down to 6 chicks, half of what we started with... They're certainly growing but it'll be interesting to see how many we still have around by the time they're grown.

The chicken in the back is mean! He was pecking at my hand as I tried to pick up his little friend. Tía Silvia claims they would never bite but I don't believe her!

A.M. skipped school on Friday but still had homework that afternoon.

Ready for Horita Feliz! If you think we're missing one of our toddlers, you're right! A few days ago, Denis moved over to the boys' house.

The tías have pretty much stopped taking the big kids to Horita Feliz and church as they know we'll do it, but Tía Yovana did help us walk down to Horita Feliz with all the kids.

 O. at his first Horita Feliz! He's having a bit of a hard transition while still missing his mom, but he's already had several outings with different volunteers and has done SO well. He was so easy to bring along!

 Brushing her teeth before our sleepover!

Charque for days... After Horita Feliz, the Boohers and Clarks invited Sarah and I out to eat charque (llama meat with corn, potatoes, cheese, and hard boiled eggs). Four of us ate from this plate and just about finished everything. I've heard good reviews on the restaurant and everyone was right... It was delicious!

Time for church! 

 R. can be a handful at times, but she loves going to church with us!

When I went to get the babies from their Sunday School class, I was told they had a birthday party. When I asked whose birthday it was, they said it was for A. as they knew her birthday had just passed. They had cake, gave her a gift and had favors for the kids. As if we needed another reason to love our church family... They go above and beyond anything we could ask for!