For all you die-hard fans, here are yet more group pictures, behind-the-scene footage, and even a blooper section of Christmas (Eve) 2009 at the Baby Home!
Disclaimer: I have approximately 275 pictures from this day alone! (Those here have taken all day to upload, thanks to our stone age speed internet, which has been off more than on today.)
Let the festivities begin...
After a special Christmas meal, the magical change from regular clothes to their new handmade matching outfits:
The 21 adorable matching, embroidered outfits are thanks to volunteer Savannah's grandmother and friend who made and sent these! I can't even imagine how much effort went in to doing this, and then making sure they got here in time....incredible!
Then, it was everyone to their places for the annual stair picture.
(My video of this
torturous endearing event is not uploading, due to aforementioned terrible internet. Will try again another day!)
I don't know whose idea it was, but I think the 4 x 5 + baby arrangement is brilliant! So organized, ahh. (Sometimes, you just have to take organization where you can get it!)
Then we moved onto the presents! Earlier that day, as I recalled the chaos of last year, Maria and I started planning and rearranging the dining room...
We have learned that you can't expect over a dozen toddlers to burst into a room full of presents and candy and other surprises and come out unscathed! So with a little bit of planning, everything went much smoother and I wasn't just constantly shouting orders over the din of children like last year. The staff pitched in much more to balance out the work. Very helpful!
But before presents....another group picture. Those outfits just deserve it!
I agree with my sister - looks like a private school! Oh so cute.
This year gifts was done a whole new way, and it practically made my 10 week trip away worth it just to see how my staff took the initiative to make sure that our kids had a happy Christmas even on a tight budget. After the mother of one of our babies (adopted in January) offered to obtain gifts for 10 of the children through her friends, they had the idea to prepare these for all 42 children...
...with pictures, data on the child, even a drawing, then disperse them throughout the city. Adoption representatives, lawyers, adoptive parents, pastors, and friends from our churches took at least one. Many took three. Even our former accountant got in on the giving, choosing our youngest and buying her a pink bassinet! The gifts were very generous and thoughtful. I was so blessed to see Bolivians sharing with our children, and over and over we saw how blessed THEY were to be giving, and how very willingly and joyfully they did it.
After the gift giving, we had a Happy Birthday Jesus party! Because even though I get a little worn out with the constant birthday parties and cake, the kids do not. Once I realized they knew full well that Christmas is Jesus' birthday, I decided to add in a special snack time after the gifts.
The three layer brownie-chocolate cake by Katrina and Savannah was fabulous!!
All in all, thanks to the many many people who participated, a huge success I'd say!
No day, even Christmas Eve, is exempt from a few memorable messes. =)
Working on the explosive, falling, cracking "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake! No worries girls - even if it did seem to have life of its own as I cut it, this masterpiece totally proved that messier IS tastier!!
Twin Girl E's favorite pose of the day. I have multiple like this. I'll just post one. You're welcome.
Twin Girl E again, caught red-handed in Jesus' cake while the rest played with their presents. (The scary thing is, she didn't act guilty at all. Probably didn't help that a crowd of us was laughing about it and snapping her picture as she continued to calmly pick off M & Ms.)
This is where you can be very glad that smell does not come through pictures. Twin Boy P had a top rate diaper explosion as I carried both down the stairs for the group picture. I could smell something going on but didn't know which it was......until someone squealed and I realized the deed was done! It was quickly all over my jeans, arm, hand, shirt (Katrina threw me down a new white shirt since there was an impasse of children at the moment), the floor, kids who were getting in it, and of course his outfit. Luckily the twin boys have similar outfits to the Christmas ones, so the group picture could proceed after the delay. At my earliest possible convenience, I threw on some fragrance but still smelled the rest of our happy afternoon.
So there you have it! Our joyful happy Christmas Even in the Baby Home! =)