Friday, April 25, 2014

Future Plans

I don't usually post blogs without pictures and all writing, but I'm busting out of my mold for this one! I wanted to let our blogger friends in on some of our future plans, so that they don't have to read between the lines!
About two months ago it came to our attention that there was going to be some changes ahead with our employees back at home. We had some that were either quitting and moving onto other things, getting married or traveling for an extended period of time this summer. It didn't make sense to hire new employees when Rudi and Emily would be coming home just a couple months later and we would have to let the new employees go to make room for the big boss! We were able to have a good talk with Jennifer about our situation and she gave us her blessing to return home in August. Technically, we are supposed to be here two full years, so October should have been when we would be coming home. A lot of days we are sad to be going home two months early and then there are days when it doesn't seem soon enough!!! Already we are down scaling and selling some of our things and it really does feel like August is right around the corner.
I know that saying goodbye to our CDA babies is going to be the hardest thing we do BY FAR. I truthfully do not even want to think about it, so I don't... or rather I try not to! We all have changed and grown so much being here in Bolivia. At this point we do not have plans to return to Bolivia. I will say though, that we are open to returning if God shows us that He would like us to. In some ways it feels like we are just getting started here. We are finally able to communicate enough that we can have more ministry with adults. We also feel like we can be more useful to the older children in the orphanage. We also are much more culturally adapted. What was so odd before now seems normal! Eeeks!
We would really love it if you all would pray for us that we would know with clarity what God's will is for our family is in regards to future ministry in Bolivia. We know that in the U.S. we have a home and a business, two large extended families that are important to us, our church family and much more at home that we are responsible for. We know that one step at a time God will show us what He has for our future.  Our time here has not always been super easy,  but it has always been blessed. Thank you to Casa de Amor for allowing our  family to learn how to serve together and thank you to all of you who have followed our blog and prayed for us. We know that because we are
following the Lord the best is yet to come!
" Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13&14

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Farewell "Fabbi"

Fabulous Fabbi
At the end of March "Fabbi" went back to Casa de Amor Uno. It was a difficult decision to make because we truly enjoyed having Fabbi in our home. She also had made huge strides with her health and physical development. However, our plates were too full and it seemed like the fourth baby just pushed our family over the edge. With four children under the age of two and all in cloth diapers, it was time for something to change! We also felt like as we wind down our work here, preparing to go back to the States in August, that it was time to scale back on the amount of children we care for. It is also better for the baby home to "absorb" the children we have a little at a time, as they have openings.
We have been spoiled having all of our children with CDA leave us in adoptions. It is a thrill to see your work handed over to a forever family. It was a hard decision for me to have Fabbi go back to the baby house, but I believe that it is the right one!
Tia with Fabbi!
When Fabbi came to us she had a horrible fungus/rash on her back and head. I actually thought to take a picture of it! Her back looked great when she left. (I will update with an "after" picture when I get one!)
Fabbi with her "Fungus"
Before she came to our house the volunteers at House 1 fondly called her a "baby blob" because she really couldn't do much of anything physically. Her head and arms were especially floppy. One of her treatments for her floppiness was to gently toss her in the air and then catch her several times a day. It really helped the muscle tone and control in her arms and back. She loved it and would laugh each time. Within weeks we could see a difference in her muscle control.
 Before she went back to House 1 she was scooting herself ALL OVER the place. I would put her in the middle of the living room and then come back a few minutes later and she would way across the room under a table. She also could roll from front to back and back to front and almost sit up by herself! She had really come a long way baby!!
Myles on bottle duty with Fabbi

Getting "wrapped up" in Uncle Ben's birthday paper!

So cute!
One day I set her outside on the aguyo (native blanket) so that I could hang out clothes. When I came back with the clothes she had fallen fast asleep!
Tranquila, Fabbi
 Our girls especially loved having a "real live" baby to play with. It was not unusual to see them packing her around! Fabbi took it all in stride. One day I couldn't find her anywhere. When I finally found her in the girls room behind the door, totally content, Paula got in trouble for carrying her....again!
Ruth and Paula with their real live baby doll!
Like I said before it has been hard for me to leave Fabbi back at the baby home. This week I went to take some "after" pictures of her back for this blog, as well as take some photos with the Tia's that especially love her. I found her looking horrible with an infection in both eyes, a raging cold, and pretty out of it. The only thing that stopped me from taking her back home with me, was the knowledge that one of the Tia's moms was taking her home that day, to give her the one on one care she needed. We also are traveling for about two weeks starting this weekend, so if I had brought her home she would have had to go right back in just a few days. However, if she does take a bad turn again after we come home, we will be available to take her in again.
Please pray for Fabbi that she will have her paperwork completed quickly and be able to have a forever family. Fabbi will forever have her place in our hearts and our prayers! We are honored to have been a small part of her life. Que Dios te bendiga, nuestra Fabbi!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A.'s First Birthday

The end of March brought us A.'s FIRST birthday! We all enjoyed celebrating with her!

A. ready to dive into opening her gifts!
The girls had a good time helping her open them.

This looks serious!

A. enjoying her new number train...

Snuggling with her peluche
 Clara and Rudi made a giant cookie and then frosted it. We did not make A. stick her face in it! I thought that it turned out really cute!
Happy Birthday, A.
 Rudi did a photo shoot of A. awhile ago and I loved how this one turned out! It shows her spunky personality! Felizidades a A. y que Dios te bendiga.... Te quieremos mucho!
Spunky and Beautiful A.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

More Visitors From Home

Uncle Leroy with Paula
The month of March brought us visitors from our home town of Yoncalla. While Uncle Leroy and Aunt Carol are not technically related to us in any way, they have "adopted" our children to be their nieces and nephews. Leroy and Carol have traveled literally ALL OVER the world, but have never (at least to my knowledge!) gone and stayed with a family in another country. Our house is a busy noisy one, but they seemed to thrive on having the babies swarm all over them!
Carol brought us all kinds of treats and gifts. In fact most of the weight in her baggage was for us. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips anyone?!! We have been slowly savoring the "tastes of home" she brought for us, as well as the many other things...thank you again, Carol! She also brought easy crossword puzzles and spent time with the kids on teaching them how to do them.

Crossword Puzzle time with Aunt Carol
 Leroy is going to be 90 this year and is a World War 2 veteran. Not every day you get to host a World War 2 veteran in Bolivia or the U.S. for that matter!! The elevation seemed to effect him more than Carol, so he spent a lot of his day in our maroon Lazy boy reading books to the children. I think that "Eddy" was his favorite, as Eddy pestered him the most! For Eddy to sit still for more than two minutes is incredible and he did that regularly with Uncle Leroy!
The Little Boys enjoying time with Uncle Leroy

A. getting in some reading time too!
 Since Carol had brought so much for us, she had to "refill" her bags with gifts for her friends and family back home. Emily and I went with her a couple times to buy souvenirs and memorabilia from Bolivia. The funniest thing that she took home with her, was two rolls of toilet paper! She likes to take back some type of canned good or packaged item from each country that she travels to that is unique to that country. She found our toilet paper quite interesting. About every fifth "square" has a little dog holding a stop sign that says, "pare"(stop)! I had never considered it before, but it is pretty cute and unique!!
Aunt Carol enjoying A.
 The last day that they were here, Leroy was able to share about some of his experiences in the South Pacific during World War 2, with our local private Christian school, Carachipampa. The High School age youths there have been studying WW2. You can imagine their happiness in having a REAL WW2 veteran share with them! Rudi took Leroy and Carol for the time at Carachi and he said that it truly was an amazing experience for everyone there, including himself! Thank you, Leroy, for sharing from your wealth of life experiences.
F. and Eddy hanging out with Uncle Leroy
 After looking through my pictures I realized that Carol is the one who had taken all the pictures of us "out and about". All I have are inside the house pictures of their time here...We took them up to Paurumani Park and out on lots of drives through the city. As well as. out for some native foods like Charque and Pique Machu. We tried to take them on the Gondolas to the Christo, but it was closed the whole time they were here...grr. When there were bloqueos one day, Carol got to experience "off roading" in our truffi. Going the back roads got a little wild, but she said that it was warming her up for the Safari's she is planning on taking in Africa this December! Both Carol and Leroy were great guests, easy to please, thankful, and very flexible! We are glad they were able to come and are thankful that they stayed relatively healthy during there time with us.  Leroy had a chest cold some of the time.
Snack time with Aunt Carol! Gettin' spoiled by all those treats!
Leroy and Carol continue to amaze me with how well they get around and travel...Of course, it helps that Carol is quite a lot younger than Leroy. Still their love for travel and adventure is amazingly high for their ages. We are glad they made Bolivia one of their places to visit while we were here to host them...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Of Gardens and Gardeners

Myles cutting the last part with a machete!
One of our ongoing jobs with the orphanages here is lawn maintenance. We really dropped the ball with House 2 and it became a jungle. When the rains come the lawn grows like crazy and it is VERY big. The boys cut everything with a weed eater and it takes at least ten hours to cut the whole thing. Myles finally got the whole thing cut and Clancy helped to rake and pick up the piles of grass. It is time to start all over again already. 

Almost totally done...

Clancy on grass pick up duty!

Gettin' her done!
 I have failed to give an update on the jumbo garden we planted last spring. We weren't too proud of it because it mostly was amazing at growing WEEDS...EEK! However, we did get a good crop of onions, cabbages, zucchini, and some corn, as well as pumpkins and squash.
A load of Cabbages...

Myles holding one of our prize cabbages...
 The Tias much to our chagrin harvested all the pumpkins that they could find about two months ago... they were all green and not ripe. Our kids were a little put out about it. So you can imagine our joy when we found amongst the weeds several pumpkins that had not only been overlooked, but were orange as well! We discovered that communal gardening takes flexibility and patience...
Our Beautiful Pumpkins
We also got a bunch of butternut squash. My personal favorite!
Clancy and Myles "Holding the Loot"!
The guys have done a much better job of keeping House 1's yard looking sharp. It is a lot smaller and more manageable for starters. They go from two to three times a month to cut the lawn. One day Rudi and I went to cut the lawn and when we got there realized that we had left the weed eater at home....Hmm plan B. went into week!
Myles cutting the grass at CDA Baby House!
 This last week we dropped off Clancy with Myles to wash all the downstairs windows. Tia Sylvia was sure that Clancy was in trouble and his punishment was to wash the windows... It took a little convincing to get her to realize that he WANTED to wash them! Clancy had them shining bright when we got back from running errands.
Clancy sitting down after all his hard work on the windows!
Ruth watering our small garden in the backyard!
And last but not least, we have all enjoyed eating the veggies out of our mini garden in our backyard. We ate our own lettuce for about three months and are now starting all over again with new plants. We also have a nice amount of parsley, spinach, and some other various herbs! We have bloomed where we are planted here in Bolivia!