Friday, February 17, 2017

Adjusting to life in Texas

These past few months have been filled with a lot of love, fun, laughs, stress, sickness, and so much more. Christmas was amazing. My older brothers flew in, as did my best friend. It was so great seeing them again. With the start of the new year, I began looking for jobs. Within a few days, I found one as a cook at an elderly home. We thought it would be the perfect fit for me. I love to cook and have always had a special connection with the elderly. When we lived in California, I would regularly visit a home. Well, this job just didn't work out. The residents were great, but the working environment wasn't. I'm not going to go into much detail, but after much prayer, trying to make things work out, and talking with my parents and Thomas, we decided that I couldn't work there anymore. Before I quit, I started looking for jobs again. My mom told me there was an opening in the school district working with the food services. I applied, and within a few days I got a call back. I had an interview, and on the spot they told me that they liked me and would offer me a job at the primary school (Oliver and Natalie's school) because they think I'll do good with the younger kids. I got my badge and begin training on the 27th. God is so good. 

We have been dealing with coughing, sore throats, vomiting, diarrhea, and fevers over the past few weeks. Oliver pneumonia, Dennis strep throat, Paul flu, to name a few. It's not over yet, and we are still praying for God's healing hand over our home. 

Our house needs work outside. We are tackling it one project at a time. The latest one was doing cement work. It used to be just dirt here that would end up on shoes and brought into the house. We did the work ourselves. The first square we did the middle boys were healthy and were able to help my dad. We don't have a cement mixer, so they did it by mixing each bag in a wheelbarrow. On Sunday, my dad talked to some people at church about what he was doing, and they let us borrow their mixer for the next slab. The middle boys were either sick or at school that day so my dad had to tackle it himself. At least he had the mixer though. When I got back from my interview that morning, I changed and went out to help him. It was fun working with my dad. This is what it looks like right now. 

 The other night, I built a fort for the little boys. They really wanted me to sleep in it too. Oliver loves taking pics, and wanted me to take one, but it was dark. We needed the flash, and this is how the picture turned out. I love Oliver's contagious smile. 

 Aren't Oliver and Natalie just the sweetest? I love them so much!

 On Valentine's day, I had to make bread. I decided to do something special with the dough for Thomas. 

Wedding planning has been kinda crazy. So far we have decided that we are having the wedding and reception at our church, and it's going to have a rustic theme. We have bought different things to use for it already. My mom is constantly trying different hairdos as well, and I think we have a winner.  There is just so much to do, and it can be stressful. At times I want to just get married without a wedding, but I know I can't do that. Thomas and I are starting pre-marital counseling in two weeks, and we are both excited for that. 

I'm sorry it's been so long. It's taken me longer than I hoped to adjust to life here in Texas, but I am.  I know the roads pretty well now, and I'm learning names of people. It just takes time.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fun at the Park

A couple of us went to the park the other day. It was a little chilly, but we had fun none the less.

Oliver loves riding his tricycle. He can't figure out the pedals yet though.
 

Big brother Adam helping Natalie on the slide





Alex, Dennis, and Nolan having fun on the swings



The boys loved being on the tire swing. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Baking

My brother Adam just flew in from California on Monday. It has been so great having him home. We've been baking a lot these last few days. My mom got a new pan to make a house, and Anastasia and I had fun decorating them. 

Here are the finished results.

Sveta helped make cinnamon popcorn to give to the kids teachers as Christmas gifts.

The choir had a Christmas party last night. Annalyn and Thomas are in choir, and I plan to join it after the new year. For the party, I made carrot cake cupcakes. I was feeling creative so I decided to decorate them with little carrots.

Not much of them got eaten. That just means more for us at home. I personally love carrot cake, but I can see why some wouldn't. 

 After the kids got home from school, we decorated cookies. 

Nolan was particularly excited, and took extra care with each cookie.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Tree

For the past few years, my family has been using a fake Christmas tree. This year, we wanted to try something different and get a real one. We ended up going to a local Christmas tree farm and cutting our own down. 

Here we are getting a ride down to where the trees were. 

We found the one!


Nolan, Oliver, and Natalie. Aren't they precious?

Thomas insisted on giving me a shoulder ride. 

3 monkeys in a tree

Afterwards, we went home and got out all of the decorations.




Saturday, December 10, 2016

Happy Birthday Wiliam!

When I came home, my brother Dennis greeted me with this sweet card. It made me get all teary eyed. 

Oliver still gets excited every time he sees me. Anytime I go somewhere without him, I have to reassure him that I'm coming back. 
 

 Oliver and Nolan being little hams
 

Natalie and Oliver

Nolan and Natalie

One thing I missed while in Guatemala was baking for my family. It wasn't long before I was baking again.


Yesterday, we celebrated William's 17th birthday. The change in him that I've seen since I've been home is like night and day. He has matured so much, and I'm so proud of him. 

He asked for Golden Graham bars. I know he really likes muddy buddies too, so I made a batch of them to go with it. Happy Birthday Wilbur!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Leaving

Leaving was hard. This place was my home for 3 months. I got to know and love these kids so much. I'm so thankful for my time at the home, but it's hard to say good-bye to
Checha's contagious laugh, 
Alejandra's sweet hugs,
Yeni's crazy personality,
Brayan's helpfulness,
playing ball with Cesar,
Rafael's squeals,
Humberto's feeding times,
Ruavis's cuddling,
Olympia's kisses,
Merlyn's beautiful face,
Edy's sweet cooing and giggles on his good days,
and Alison's smile. 

On the night before I left, I brought baby Alison upstairs with me. She "helped" me pack, but I also got to spend a little more time with her before I left. I look at this picture, and I long to hold her again. These kids changed my life for the better. 

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I've been home 6 days now. It was very overwhelming at first, as my family moved from California to Texas while I was gone, so I came home to new everything! It's been hard adjusting, but it's so good to be with my family again. I got my younger siblings off the bus my first day back, and they were so happy to see me. Oliver freaked out, and did not leave my side the rest of the day. He still pretty much is always with me, and I'm okay with that, except for when I'm in the bathroom and I can hear him pounding on the door. :) 

I plan now to continue my blog but about my life her in Texas with my crazy family. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Family Day in the City

The Monday before I came home, we went on a crazy adventure. We decided to take all of the kids into the city to walk around the mall so they could see all the Christmas decorations. We also saw the movie Trolls in the theater. We took two vans and a truck. A total of 7 wheelchairs, two baby carriers, and a a double stroller was brought. We left the home around 10. I got to ride in one of the vans with this amazing group of kids.

Cesar, Olympia, Ruavis, Alejandra, and Humberto

Sweet Edy

We arrived at the mall, did diaper changes, and put the kids in their chairs. There were so many neat decorations, and the kids loved it. At one point we had to take the escalators/elevators to go down a story. Brayan, Yeni, and Cesar came on the escalator since they are walkers. Yeni freaked out at first and started doing the splits like in the movie Elf, but after she was on it, she enjoyed it. 

After walking around for a bit, we went for lunch in the food court where we got Pollo Campero. It was really good. We then walked to the theater in the mall. Thankfully, we were the first ones in since it took us awhile to get everyone situated. When the movie started, you can hear oohs and aahs from many of the kids. It was such a neat experience for them. What kid doesn't love the movie theaters? And, all of the kids were well behaved during the movie and we didn't have to take any of them out. The movie was in Spanish, but I felt like I understood most of it. 

Here's a group pic in front of the big tree in the mall. All in all, it was a great day, and I'm so blessed to have this memory with such an amazing group.