Saturday, December 28, 2013

Planting the Garden

Down under here in Bolivia we just finished up the Spring. Of course, in Spring it is time to plant a garden. Plant a garden we did in a BIG way! Rudi had the idea to plant in the big field behind the CDA boys house just down the road from our house. Plants are inexpensive here and we were not short on workers, so we got lots planted in a short to see if it grows!
First Tio David put in lots of pipes to get water from the house to the garden.
Tio David and Clancy working on getting water to the garden....
 Next Rudi and Tio David went and filled up our car with bags of cow manure from the neighborhood behind us! I had to get a picture of all that manure in the car...
Tio David and Tio Rudi "Manure Maestros"

Bags and Bags of Manure!
 Volunteer Victoria (that has a ring to it!), the Tias and the kids all helped out!
Hard at work dumping manure into the wheel barrow!

Tia Anita y Tia Benita "Spreading the Gold for the Garden"

Tia Sarin "Goofing Off"
 First we planted onions...lots and lots of onions...maybe a thousand or more. Don't tell Tio David, but I hid a bag we were supposed to plant!!! Wow, I hope he doesn't read my blogs!
D. loved to plant those onions...

Ruth, D., Myles, and Clancy 

Lauren and Victoria "Sorting Onions" with Ruth
With all that hard work behind and in front of us, Rudi sent Tia Techy after some refresco(drinks) for all of us workers! I think that it was the favorite part of the experience for many of us!
Tia Techy serving up the pause that refreshes!
Time for drinks!

Back to Work
 In all we planted lots of corn, green beans, 500 cabbage plants, tomatoes, squash, and did I mention onions!!! Everyone has been really excited seeing the seeds and plants take root... The Lord blessed us with a week of lots of rain to get everything really soaked in. Not only has planting the garden been fun, I hope that it will yield plenty for us to enjoy!
Finishing Touches

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Leo!

While we were gone on our adventure to Uyuni, Leo met his adoptive parents for the first time! They are actually from Oruro, so it was neat that we could have visited the city where he was going to live. His parents are both in their fifties. His father is retired and his mother works in some department of the government there in Oruro. His parents are very stable, mature, and kind. They did not want Leo to be an only child, so they have also adopted a little girl who is three years old, from another orphanage here in Cochabamba. Her name is Luz. His parents are keeping their given names Luz and Leo! We have really grown to love his parents and are so happy for Leo to be with his forever family. He has been the hardest for me to see go, as he was our "first" baby with Casa de Amor and has been with us the longest! I am going to share some photos of his time with us and also of his new family....

Leo getting to know his parents!
 When his parents came for visits they always brought lots of toys and treats, as well as clothes...most of the clothes they brought were too small for Leo, because he is such a BIG boy!
Leo enjoying all the treats!
Leo with his new parents and big sister, Luz!


Tiny Leo....but not for long!
When Leo first arrived we talked with Tia Rosa about changing his name. He did not fit Leonardo at all. By the time he left he couldn't have been anything else. Our little lion of a Leo that he was! I was so happy that his parents kept his name Leo. Most adoptive parents change their child's name when adopting them.
The whole Booher clan with our Leo!

Out for a hike at Paurumani Park.
The twins arrived soon after Leo making the children in our care number three! They were not the easiest of months. We were adjusting to a new country, climate, language, food, etc... They are crazy and happy days to remember.

Leo was a pretty demanding baby. He woke every three hours en punto for feedings around the clock until he was six months old. I even took a friends suggestion and added baby cereal to his night feedings, it didn't seem to help much! He had been born premature, so I guess he had some catching up to do.
Tia Carla with her real live baby doll, Leo!
The next to join our family was our happy go lucky, Abby! She and Leo were the best of chums sharing a room and playing perfectly together! They were both so chubby and cute!
Leo and Abby "Best of Chums"
Ready for church with Grandpa Johnson
When my parents came for their visit in April they were a great help with all the babies!

Tia Techy with her "boy" Leo!
Tia Techy will miss this boy as much as we will! She has put in her days with caring for all of our babies and we could not do it without her!

Chow time! Boy could that boy put away the chow!
Happy Leo
Tio Rudi with his three "Casa Babies"
By July of last year both the twins and Abby had been adopted. It was time to bring in more children. Brother sister pair S. and A. were brought home in July. They have been the perfect addition to the family and Leo's best buddies.
First Birthday! August 2012

I really want to post a blog called "Bolivians Can Sleep ANYWHERE". It truly is incredible all the places I have seen them sleeping. Unfortunately, I don't have a camera with me most of the time. Leo was a true Bolivian and could sleep just about anywhere also.

Nap time on the swing set! Leo with A.
Paula is a great "help" with the kids... most of the time she is the ringleader in some sort of trouble. One day I found that she had introduced S. and Leo to a big mud puddle...they had lots of fun! Too cute to pass up, I snapped some photos before they took their bath!
Paula introducing the boys to MUD! Good clean fun!

Sheer Bliss!

We're happy campers!

"See, Mama, they're having fun!"
I mentioned earlier that Leo ate a lot... well he did... Emily took the following pictures of a food fest that he had!

Food, Food, Glorious Food!

Good enough to lick the plate!

And when it is all gone, maybe EAT the plate!
Leo loved his baths. He had many opportunities for them!
Splish Splash, Lovin' the Bath
He and S. shared a room and a schedule. They only drink milk three times a day, but it seems that we have them well documented!
Outside bottle time!

Inside bottle time!

Looking outside at the great outdoors!
I didn't give Leo many haircuts. This picture is of the last haircut I gave him! I thought he turned out muy guapo!
Mi Guapo Leo

Yumm... Watermelon!
When we didn't have water in the house one day, Clara set up a wash station outside. Leo was a big help! Leo could crawl super fast and was into everything all the time!
Clara and Leo washing dishes together!
Snack Time with Friends

Our Adorable Little Leonardo!

The day Leo left I gave him a quick bath. I remembered that I had taken pictures of his "first" bath with us. I decided to have Lauren take a picture of me with him at his "last" bath with us also! You can see that he has grown quite a bit this last year!

Leo's "First" Bath (Nov, 2012)
Leo's "Last" Bath (Dec, 2013)
I forgot to mention that we brought home E. towards the middle of November. We knew that Leo would be leaving soon and wanted to ease the blow by having a buddy for S., as well as a distraction for all of us. E. has been a busy addition to the family and it has been a blessing to have him in our home. He and S. are best of friends now and it has helped to have the extra little boy to ease the "missing" of Leo!
E. our happy addition to the family!

Our First Four Casa Kids

Our Latest Four Casa Kids
The week before Leo's parents came to take him home for good they threw a small going away party for him at our house. They brought a delicious cake and jello. They also gave our family the practical and useful gift of groceries! They brought lots of noodles, rice, and oats. The gift was very generous and kind of them and unexpected!

Felicidades, Leo

Leo enjoying jello with his Mama and Papa!

The guests enjoying their jello as well!

More of the good stuff!
The next Saturday it was time to say goodbye to Leo!

One last picture with Emily and her favorite little boy!

 When I went to hug Leo goodbye before he left he only wanted to be held by his Daddy. It did my heart good to see that he was totally bonded with his parents and did not need us anymore. It reminded me of at the end of "Mary Poppins" when the children skip off with their father to fly a kite, and the "talking umbrella" tells Mary that they are not even thinking about her anymore, or something like that, and she says, "That is as it should be!!" We were able to send a Bible home with Leo with a letter in it telling a bit about us and a bit about his babyhood with us. We also hope to see him before we leave for home next year.
Leo with his Old and New Families!
We will always remember this very special year we were able to have with this sweetest of little boys! To watch Leo grow from a tiny baby to an active crawling little boy is a privilege that none of us would have missed. Yes, it is hard to say goodbye, but very rewarding as well. We are so blessed that now all four of our original children have permanent homes to nurture and love them. We continue to pray for the children we are currently caring for to have permanent homes before we have to return to the States.
Que te vaya bien con tu nueva familia y que Dios te bendiga, nuestro Leonardo!