Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Casa 2's Night on the Town



This afternoon Katrina and I got to take out all of the kids from Casa 2 for the evening. We left this afternoon and headed straight to a great park in town - it was really nice, and the kids had a blast playing on the swings, sliding, and running around. After the park we took them out to eat, which was a little bit of chaos but also a lot of fun! Throughout the evening we had one boy bust open his chin at the park, one boy wet his pants, and one boy threw up in the back of the full taxi...overall, a very successful outing!? Katrina and I had lots of laughs today, that's for sure. These kids are too much fun. Of course, our traveling was done in normal Bolivian fashion - we had 17 people in one taxi! It still kind of makes me scratch my head to see how so many people can fit into one car...(and our taxi driver was pretty nice about cleaning off his floor mat after our little carsick episode!) We did end the evening with a little trip to the hospital for some stitches, but minus this, I think a good time was had by the whole gang.




video
video

Team of Tia's

Shoutout to Katrina...I have THE best roommate/translator/visa assistant/amiga

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cochabamba



My Town
Just wanted to put up a few pictures of where I'm living. Our home isn't downtown but is more on the outskirts of the city. The city of Cochabamba is really neat - it definitely has beat all expectations that I had. I'm surrounded by mountains, there are plenty of parks, trees, and green, and the weather has been unbeatable so far - every day it's been sunny and in the 70s or low 80s, then it cools off to 40 or so at night. Summer is approaching though, (SO excited to be skipping winter all together this year!) But unfortunately, summer here brings the rainy season, so we'll see how that goes. I'm thankful for the sunshine right now.
You can't really see from the above picture, but on top of the hill there is a big statue of Christ that can be seen from all over the city - it looks especially pretty lit up at night.
On Saturday of this weekend, the Alseth family, (they run Casa 3 here,) had planned a big hiking trip to climb Mt. Tunari. The peak is 17,000 ft and has incredible views of Cochabamba. I had been looking forward to this trip since before I even arrived in Bolivia, but unfortunately, I woke up early Saturday morning too sick to leave my room, let alone join the adventure. That was the first real downer of a day that I've had since getting here, but I think we'll for sure make the trek again before June!
Today we had lunch after church with the Alseth and the Holman families. It was my first time meeting the Holmans - they are a missionary family from the US who have 11 kids, and they're a really nice family. I'm loving meeting so many new people.
Here are a few more pics from around where I live


Just like the Golden Gate, huh? :)


Love the mountains


The horse stadium has been a good landmark for me learning my way around. Sidenote: IMBA is the chicken factory on my street...mmm lovely!






El Cristo again...can still barely see it...sorry!


I love Cochabamba, and you would too, so just let me know when you book your flight to come visit!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Learning My Way Around

The past few days I've been taking kids to various doctors' appointments with Katrina - I am learning how to get to and from the different hospitals and offices around town. So far we've taken kids to get hearing aids inspected, to work with speech therapists, to get hip x-rays, and to the pediatrician.
This happy guy had to wait a LONG time to get those x-rays! Sorry for the bad picture - I'll have to get another one.



Traveling with toddlers on public transportation is quite the experience! Most of the time the kids have been really great about sitting pretty still and behaving, so it's as easy as it could be. I just still have to learn the 984759348 different bus routes or "trufie" routes...(just big vans basically.)
I'm surprised at how much I enjoy going to my language school here - it's been fun to meet people, and my teachers are just great people. It's helping a bunch, but I know that I still have a long ways to go! For the past 2 weeks I've repeatedly thought I was telling people or kids that I was going to be right back, but instead I've been telling them that I'm stirring. Awesome. :)
This week a mother and daughter from Texas are visiting to learn more about Casa de Amor - this means that we have lots of fun activities planned to show them a good time.
Last,
2 Weeks Old! Do you think she's getting bigger?


During our nights together, she thanked me for being her roommate by soaking through her 2 layers of clothes, my 2 blankets, sheets, and pajamas at 3:45 this morning...good thing she is this cute!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Slumber Party

Last night I got newborn duty...and not quiiiite as much slumber as usual! It was probably a good thing that my roommate spent the night at her family's apartment in town. :) I had some quality bonding time with the little one, so definitely no complaints! She's really sweet.



Waving to all of her blog fans?


Getting sleepy


:)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Haircuts x 2


This morning was crazy around Casa 1...all of the Casa 2 gang came over for a little bit, so there were kids evvvverywhere! It's fun having so many together, though. Midmorning Jennifer and I took the twin boys to get haircuts. Of course, the new baby came, too!

Matching shirts for everyone? :)


Pre-Haircut


Twin P...calm as can be (once he had a cookie!)


Nice pose


Checking himself out


Twin A...different story!


All gelled up and lookin' good!

We took them to a children's barber shop, which was good because I'm sure they were used to babies crying throughout their entire haircuts! After haircuts we stopped at the big Saturday market downtown to buy fruit - it was great!

It's hard to believe that already a week has gone by. It has kind of been a blur, but it's been such an awesome week. I know all of the kids at houses 1 & 2 now and mosttttttt of the staff...still have a few names to get down though! I also started going to a language school downtown for a couple of days a week to improve my Spanish - especially with medical terms, which I have very little knowledge about. It's been a week full of meeting new people, exploring Cochabamba, figuring out routines, doctor's appointments, running, changing diapers, and loving on kiddos. I have learned a lot in 7 days, and I know that there are lots of good times to come.

Friday, September 18, 2009

1 Week Old

Our baby is a week old today! Katrina and I took her out to her first appointment with the pediatrician, and she's doing well. It is so fun having a newborn in the house!




Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's A Girl!

That's the text message that I got yesterday morning from our director...and by lunch time, look who we got to meet!
Oh yes...we have a new baby in the house! Jennifer picked up our 5 day old newborn girl from the hospital yesterday morning. She's about 6lb and just tiny...most of the newborn sized clothes are too big for her right now. All of the kids and staff were surprised when Jennifer brought her in, and it has been so neat to watch everyone here welcome her into our home.
So many caregivers!
Practicing :)
Thanks, Jennifer, for the pics!

What a sweet time it is here!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fashion Show

Today I was at the Baby Home all day, and I got to work with the second half of the group of Tias here. I am slowly learning names! They are all so great to help me with my Spanish and everything else that I need to learn here...like how to make diapers out of two cloth blankets. :) I'm learning the routine around House 1 here, and every day I am feeling more and more at home here. It is really a great place to be.

Right before I left for Bolivia, I had lunch with my grandmother who surprised me with all of these cute outfits that she and Mrs. Ford had made for some of the babies here. I didn't get a ton of pictures, but I wanted to share the ones that I did get. Between my grandmother's sewing and my mom's shopping, the kids here looked really cute running around in the outfits that y'all sent with me. A lot of the outfits that we brought were for the twins, since it's hard to find matching outfits for them to wear here, but I couldn't get a pic of two of them in one place! I will try to post more pictures soon...

Playing Outside
Little Brother & Big Sis


Twin Boy

Cute little monkey
Posing for the Camera

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 2, Casa 2



Yesterday was my second day here in Bolivia, and it was long but lots of fun! I had a 12 hour shift at Casa de Amor 2, which is home to 12 precious kids ages 3-12. Tia Nahara was my teammate for most of the day, and she was great to work with. When I got there in the morning I helped everyone get dressed and ready for church while she prepared lunch for when we got back.
Church was definitely an experience! First, we piled 12 kids, 2 Tias, and our driver into one car. Seatbelts are kind of a non-issue here, I think. The church that we went to today was completely in Spanish. I knew a couple of the songs that we sang in English, but I didn't follow a whole lot of the 2 hour long sermon...I will have to get better at my spanish still. I am learning a lot every day but still have work to do! In the afternoon we had lunch at the house with all of the kids and got to play for the rest of the evening. Then we had dinner, changed everyone into pj's, and called it a night. A few of the kids get to watch a movie on Sunday nights if they have behaved well during the week. :) Last night after I got back I met my roommate, Katrina. She is 17 and has volunteered here for a while now, so she's been very helpful with my 2937498 daily questions! Here are a few pictures from yesterday:

How many kids can we fit into a car?






Playing a game called Chase the Car Out of the Driveway?...



video


Some of y'all know that Cheaper by the Dozen is my all-time favorite book - in the back of my mind I've always kind of thought it would be neat to have a dozen kids...let me tell you, today cured me of that real fast! These were 12 great kids, and I have a newfound respect for families with so many children...I just don't think that I could ever do it myself! I loved being at Casa de Amor 2 yesterday.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I arrived in Cochabamba at about 9 this morning after a long night of traveling. I am really, really glad to finally be here! It is kind of surreal. Jennifer, the founder/director of Casa de Amor, picked me up at the airport along with three toddlers in tow. It was an entertaining ride home, to say the least. Jennifer is originally from Texas, and she's the only person I've been able to speak any English with...I cannot say how glad I am that I have a translator right now!
I'm living in the first of three children's homes through Casa de Amor, and they call this the Baby Home. Kids here are mostly 3 and under...there actually may be some 4 and 5 year olds who live here, but I can't tell who lives where yet! I have been introduced to so many kiddos that I can hardly keep anyone straight...especially these two:

Identical twin boys...with identical names! Luckily, the people here have started calling them by their middle names. :)

Here are some pictures of where I'll be living this year:




My room
Right now, I have one roommate, but I haven't gotten to meet her yet!






Today the first thing that we did after getting in was have a birthday fiesta for a 1-year old. It was wild...
We had clowns...



dancers...



a pinata (grandmother, i know you wish you were here for that)


some spanish version of the hokey pokey...


and lots and lots of blue jello!


Big jello fan right here:


Double Trouble...a second pair of twins. This guy had a blast going from table to table stealing other kids cake and making them cry!


Caught in the act...


The Birthday Boy!

What's really special is that the lady holding him is a staff member at Casa de Amor. All of the kids call the staff members "Tia," (aunt.) This Tia is actually in the process of trying to adopt this little guy - it was a great celebration.
And speaking of birthdays,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMA!!!
I am 100% positive that you will read this today - love & miss you lots! Hope you have half as much fun as the birthday boy here did!

Sorry for such a long post - I am just excited to be here. Nap time just ended so I'm off to help change babies...woo cloth diapers!

I'll end with this for the day:

potty chair line-up with a view...ha!

Adios Amigos!