Current Child Count

  • HOGAR DE AMOR I: 11 babies
  • HOGAR DE AMOR II: 6 boys
  • HOGAR DE AMOR III: 8 girls

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Baby Picture Sunday

I've never participated in these things (this one hosted by "Who Says 8 is Enough?") but couldn't resist this time since I have sooo many cute Christmas pictures.

The theme this week is "wrapped in holiday cheer". Maybe these babies are wrapped in holiday cheer (a loving hug)?

Christmas Eve 2007

Or maybe I could go "counter theme", hehe, with a few NOT so cheery pics....

This one always makes me grin...I know, cruel, but it's not very realistic to never take pictures when they're crying, now is it? Gotta note the bib caption, too.

Christmas Day 2005

By the way, we just got post-adoption pictures from France of this baby and WHAT A CUTE LITTLE GIRL!! All the changes of clothes were so worth it (two words: reflux deluxe!!).

To be fair, one of her not screaming:

And even another (although we're not looking exactly cheerful):

Ohh, I can just HEAR the screams here!!

December 2007

A cheery one to end on, also from Christmas 2005:

Okay I could go on and on, but I'll leave it there and wait till next week when I REALLY have the theme wrapped up since we have the tradition to dress the Baby Home in red at Christmas. So check back next Sunday to be seeing in RED!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy First Birthday, our E & E!!!

It's been so much fun having you two!! You have quite the fan club already (MANY visitors for the party yesterday), and just get cuter by the minute.....and noisier. =)

For more pictures from the momentous occasion, see November's slideshow at right ----->

Friday, November 28, 2008

My amazing brave strong adventurous VERY cool sister, Emma

(Cuz if I called her by other adjectives I tend to use--little, cute, beautiful, etc., I would be in BIG trouble...those who know Emma can back me up here.)

But anyway, if I may digress from the usual stories of the kids and homes, I just had to share these pictures I snapped of Emma today, so happily playing with our cook's new bunny during E & E's 1st birthday party (those pictures next, I promise!).

Notice the fine Texan boots--she came over straight from horse back riding.

This would remind one of her "kiss the fish" picture of about a year ago:

And, my personal favorite (I've been experimenting with the "angle thing" after noticing its use by photographers and bloggers):

Hard to believe she's so close to 10 years old!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Girl Scout Visit

I about gasped in horror to see this picture from Saturday afternoon. Then burst out laughing. It's so bad it's funny, and this was the best! No offense to the lovely girls who were trying their hardest; guess our babies are too chubby to be held easily, and remembering the condition in which many of them arrived...that's a good problem!
Shortly after this chaotic group picture taking session, a couple girls were overheard asking "What time do we leave?" It was a wee bit more overwhelming than they had planned for, as they saw that even adorable babies and yes even TWINS are actually just lots of work. With so many "helpers", we still lacked hands. It was a good afternoon though and I think that in the end, the girls enjoyed their experience.
Today we were asked to take in a 1 year old boy until mid-December and I actually said YES (trying to get the government on our good side again, after sooo many NOs) but in the end he went to the same home as his older siblings. That's a relief, although of course a disappointment too after expecting him all afternoon. HOWEVER we're finally closer to transferring our baby Carla's 1 year old brother from the home where he's lived since birth, so there will still be a new child soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My baby bear cub

Volunteer Melanie snapped this picture after church last Sunday while I held Baby J, about 3 1/2 months old. I had covered his head due to a drop in temperature, customary this time of year when it rains often (and thus, no blazing high-altitude sun).

My sister Heather picked out the outfit while my family was in Texas, with some credit they had at Gymboree. Great job, H!

Makes you just want to pinch his cheeks, doesn't it?

Then here's Twin E asleep on Melanie this Sunday on our way home from church and a delicious Thanksgiving potluck at the home of fellow missionaries (who just also happen to have 11 children).

Who knew riding in the car could provide so many cute moments? =)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Doing the twister

It's not as fun as it sounds. Beats me--it's what they call this thing in Bolivia. Here's Toddler B, sister of the birthday girl of the last post, sporting "el twister" and her two pair of orthopedic shoes:

And playing with sis in the Baby Home's physical therapy room:

Many thanks to the donator of the many lovely dresses! Our little girls LOVE wearing them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Outing with a few

Yesterday, my outing to HDA II, pick up Emma, then go next door to our favorite clinic was well accompanied, with a 3 year old, 2 year old, and 3 month old. (You see, that's one for each hand and another to keep me balanced in the middle....or so I told myself.)

My daily stop at Clinica Los Olivos, once voted the best in Bolivia (the odd conditions and tragic and/or unknown backgrounds of our kids demand only the best, believe me! and we're blessed with discounted prices). Emma, my 9-nearly-10-year-old sister took this picture in front of the clinic. She didn't want to be in it, and thus spotted helping with babies, heavens no.

And earlier, picking up Emma from horse back riding lessons. I already love the mountains, but add in afternoon/early evening light and throw in rain clouds for a shadow effect, and pictures don't even do it justice!

Emma didn't know I took this picture, with the "sunset" setting of my camera. There are horses in the distance. These little ones had never been so close to a horse and decididly preferred viewing from AFAR. Still they chattered away about them and also got to pet baby kittens...what joy!

A cute moment from the 2 year old: I had picked him up to carry him across the field since he was tripping on the rough terrain. He suddenly looked at me and gasped with little hands upturned "Tia Jenny, where is the baby?!" I held back the edge of my sling to show him we had not forgotten the baby in the car and he breathed a sigh of relief. It's not like I've done that sort of thing so not sure why he panicked, but it's always sweet to see them watching out for each other, even in such a big family.

(Happy International Babywearing Week, by the way! It's an invaluable technique when caring for multiples and keeping your baby close and happy. Especially a cuddly, sleepy baby like Baby J. Um...pure bliss!)

Cute kiddos and a happy birthday

R: woo-hoo!! (imagine sound effects for best results)

S: This is my best party ever! (last year it was "celebrated" in the hospital)

A: I'm getting outta here!

C: Uh, this is supposed to be fun...?

J: trying out new moves

Back row babies: also mixed opinions of the "tia clowns"

It was hard to remember that this is S's THIRD birthday. She's had a rough start to life. Later today I'll take her to a check up with the neurologist (and tomorrow the ophthalmologist), but I don't really care what she says. S has BLOOMED the past few months in marvelous ways. If she is happy and has this smile, that's improvement and it's not just a smile for the pictures or party--she is almost always grinning or giggling about something. Even six months ago, she was closed up tight as a snail and was terrified of life. Look at her now!!

The glorious doll cake is courtesy of Glenda's Bakery (that's my Mom!)

Update 11/20: the neurologist couldn't say enough good things about how much S has developed just in the past few months! For one, she wasn't clinging to me in terror. In fact I was holding another baby and never even touched her as she proudly sat in her chair with her legs crossed like a seƱorita. The diagnosis of FAS still stands, but it's always encouraging to see progress.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

This video is a must-see. Please watch, be blessed, and let's commit to WORSHIP this year!!

Christmas: my feelings exactly.

11/22/08: "Jesus is the Gift" movement, click here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

THE Hearing Aid!!

Our Baby B finally has hearing aids, yeah!!! Starkey Foundation has been wonderful at assisting and advising me, and have now provided two at low cost. So far we're using one, with the second to be added after we've adjusted and gotten used to using the first.

Yesterday, taking advantage of having NO medical appointments for babies (!!!), I researched several issues instead. Lately I've been blog hopping late at night (or even in the day, I admit), and not just because I LOVE reading how other people live and admiring their creativity and seeing the pictures of their beautiful, highly functional families...although I do a lot...but I also figured that soon or later visiting one of these amazing mother-of-many-children blogs, that someone would have special needs kids. Today I discovered this one, Octamom! (Yep, 8 kids, including a hearing impaired daughter and twins, and she homeschools.)
I related to her story of her daughter being fitted with the hearing aids, walking out, and no further help...until the hero of the story, the mother of course, tracked down a group who would answer their questions. Here in Bolivia, the lady at the hearing aid clinic/store/whatever it is just put it in his ear and said to come back in two weeks and I was like uh.......that CAN'T be all there is to this. When do we take it out? Then how do we put it back in? How do we know if the volume is too high? Can't that volume knob be moved wayyy too easily? (Answer: it can! By the time we got home, several errands later, it was twice as high as she had set it. Oops!)
And the main problem: the highly valuable end practically flaps in the wind it's so loose on him. With a spastic little body and (currently) 16 brothers and sisters, this is NOT gonna work. So now I'm researching how to better secure it. The tias and I are also curious as to what the little switch is, or does. I'm already planning to go back early next week, and hopefully the main guy will be there and can answer our rapidly growing list of questions. Also it seems to me that B isn't responding any better so I think the volume will need to be increased, or is that due to the brain damage, or that he can't control where he looks very well? Talk about a wad of issues at once!! This is going to be interesting. Now to find a blogger with a baby with cerebral palsy...

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Child's Prayer

A frequent comment about our work is "How rewarding that must be, to work with children!" With some, however, the victories are few and far in between. I am grateful to Kathy Alseth, "chief mother" of HDA III, for recounting this story to me via email this week. I have to admit that when I saw the subject line of Mayra, I had no idea what to expect! Although she's improved marvelously in her 11 months with us, we've had an uphill battle to tame this third generation "street child". What a relief to read this story:

"I am really sick right now with some kind of food or water bacteria! Mayra came over to me last night and asked if she could pray for me, all on her own without anyone else mentioning the idea. She laid her hand on my head and said, "Jesus, help me with the Tia Kathy. She needs medicine because her stomach is sick. Help her, Jesus, because I don't know what to do. In the name of Jesus, Amen." Isn't she just the sweetest! I've been praying for her for a lot of things and teaching her to ask Jesus for help when she needs it and this is the first time I've seen her do anything like this on her own initiative and for another person...and she even laid her hands on my head! I felt really blessed to see that she is absorbing these things because her behaviors don't show it a lot."

*By the way, Kathy is on the mend now but still weak. Join us in praying with Mayra for God to heal her sensitive stomach and other digestive issues! We are beyond honored and blessed to have such a family pouring their lives into our kiddos.

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Squirrel in a tree

Yesterday morning during a staff seminar at the Baby Home, my family pitched in with the babies. Here is my Dad multi-tasking, coordinating the day's dentist appointments with HDA III. He held me and my sisters like this. =)

Apart from being a comfortable way to hold babies (at least in my thinking, although I get odd looks fron the locals), it's about the ONLY way to keep Twin G happy when she has her gas/colic/digestion problems. I soon had her out to the dr and running errands for 4 hours, and Emma was obliged to hold her for me, tummy down, much of the time. (This method was always referred to as "Russian style" in my family. Now is it "Bolivian style"...?)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

For an exciting Sunday...

The best way to attend church: lots of little escorts! This morning 9 CDA babies and little people were at Cochabamba International Church. It also just happened to be our 2nd annual missions weekend so we had a booth (thanks to the Alseth family of Casa de Amor III, who set it up and ran it for us!).

CDA's Baby Row (and hardly a peep the whole service, I might add):
Twins G & G, Baby V

Baby wearing!! Also lots of fun. Here I am with girl twin G and the fellow missionary/children's home director who sews baby slings:

I'd like to say our "glow" is our joy in our babies (although could be!), but I believe we're glistening with SWEAT. We guessed it was a good 85 degrees F inside church today AND it was a packed house with not even elbow room. No AC in Cochabamba! I'm thinking baby wearing will be cooler in the winter.

Note: Turns out that at the time of this picture, we were in "International Babywearing Week", haha. We're still in it actually, so better go find a baby to wear...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Twin Photo Shoot

"Tia, WHAT are you doing standing on your bed?!"

With so many babies who grow so quickly, I'm taking more pictures now than ever. However I've always wished to take better ones, more interesting...

Inspired by browsing through this blog "4 little men and girly twins" on Saturday, I took advantage of a looser schedule today (a holiday) to play around with some of our littlest models. Although let me point out that she makes it look WAYYY easier than it really is with two wiggling, peeing, always-either-hungry-or-tired-or-wanting-to-be-held babies! I loved her picture of the baby feet, but that one proved impossible for me, at least to do alone. Instead I got some adorable ones of their hands (yes, I know, some nails need to be cut....imagine the challenge here to keep 18 tiny pairs of fingernails and toenails clipped!)

I probably spent longer than I should've and now am backed up on today's "to dos", but what's the point if I can't just enjoy my babies every now and then?! Above is a slideshow with some of the 81 pictures I snapped...