the Reals.

last friday was an interesting day.
do you ever have times when you're praying and thinking at the same time? that sounds funny because obviously you have to think to pray. but like... when you're just wandering around in thoughts and then randomly realize "oh i need to pray for that person or x,y & z thing"? i was sitting on my porch swing after dropping the girls off at school, soaking up the last few minutes of 'quite time' that i knew my day would consist of. chui would be waking up before too long and the busy-ness of an almost 3 year old would soon be taking me over and consuming every last drop of energy that i had in my body.
as i sat there pondering in thought and praying all the sudden i had the most random idea/thought pop into my head...

Gonzalo (the social worker from the government office who places the kids) is going to call today.... 
He's going to bring a new kid here today.... 
WHAT IF IT'S MY KIDS' LITTLE SIBLING!?!?!!?!?!?!

after having those thoughts go through my head i quickly convinced myself that i was crazy and moved on.

about an hour later Chui & i walked up to the kitchen. on our way back from the kitchen i see Gonzalo and Bill talking in the middle of the road -- and i almost puked right there on the spot.  God had put those very thoughts in my head while sitting on the porch swing -- and it was happening right before my very eyes.

now, just for the record, Gonzalo doesn't typically just show up here without some formal business to take care. it's kind of rare actually. i'd say maybe once every 2 or 3 months? maybe... and Bill doesn't usually just park in the middle of road randomly and get out of his car to talk to people like that. so i knew that something was up.

i patiently waited for Gonzalo to leave  watched very intently out my kitchen window, waiting for Gonzalo to leave before calling Bill.
lo and behold there was a new kid who they were trying to place!
but thankfully it was not a sibling to any of my kids. *insert BIG sigh of relief for me*

Bill asked if anyone would be interested in taking the 4 year old boy and i immediately called Marce. :-] she came over and explained to me that just that morning she had been praying and asking God if she was suppose to stay here or go back home to where she's from... she said she prayed so fervently that God would just give her a sign if she was suppose to stay here or not... and then enter a 4 year old boy :-] i told her that between what i had felt like God told me and what her 'praying for a sign', that we needed to pay attention to this little boy and figure out where he could live and who could take care of him.  after talking it over awhile longer and reviewing all the different options we had together and separate, she became so filled with joy at the thought of having her own kids that she decided she wanted to care of the little boy! if you could have only seen her face... pure joy.

so Marce has moved into a direct caregiver role and i am SO excited for her.  Mani (short for Emmanuel) is quite the little stinker sometimes, but what 4 year old isn't?  for the first 5 days of him being here he and Marce stayed here and the house with us until they could rearrange things at Marce's house with the girls and what not. i think it's been quite an adjustment for her... i think it was day #4 she literally fell asleep in the middle of my living room floor with 4 out of 5 of the kids running around and doing stuff. :-] bless her heart, i remember the first days of adjustment... the weight of going from single and carefree to 'oh i'm a mom and have a kid who's 4 WAM!' is heavy. and when i say heavy, i mean it literally drains every.single.ounce.of.your.being.and.then.a.little.more. so she can use some extra prayers as she enters this new phase of life and begins to guide this little guy to Jesus!

how am i doing with it all? :-] the reals is :: surprisingly extremely well. i haven't lost Marce. she's still one of my closest friends. at this point she's still going to be super involved with my kids and my house even though it will be somewhat different since she has Mani now. he's been a great playmate for Chui, that's for sure. she's not going to be helping me around the house so much, but she is going to be very much present and still play a significant roll in all our lives. and for that i'm super thankful!  i don't know where the future will go. i don't know whether Marce will just take care of Mani. i don't know if more kids will show up tomorrow. but i do know that in the last 6 months Jesus has been teaching me a boat load on not worrying and just simply trusting HIM. and although that's so much easier said than done 99% of the time, i am actually feeling very peaceful considering how much unknown there is at this point right now. and for that i praise Jesus! 

our worlds are ever changing here. thank you for remember us in your prayers!

Blessed

We went to a quinceañera last Friday night. 
It was SUPER lovely. 
And all the kiddos went with, thus taking advantage of an amazing photo opportunity, Geo clicked away :-] 
Thank you Geo for your talented eye and finger snapping abilities. <3
*Blessed am I to care for these five... oh how blessed am I...*

Snip Bit from IL

One night while i was home i actually took pictures. 
what? 
gasp? 
i actually USED my camera? 
yes, yes, i know.... i have a decently nice camera and yet for my last several trips home it's never made it out of the traveling case. 
tisk tisk on me. 
but this time i had some fun little subjects to document. :-] 
 Lucy if you were any more stinkin' adorable... SERIOUSLY.







 SO mad at myself that i had my aperture turned too low on this picture... it would have been PERFECT had Jace actually been in focus!
 Connor & Owen... i can hardly believe you boys young men are as big as you are.  i still remember when you Steidingers got you and you had mohawks! 
Dixie Lou watching us from the window. :-] 

ExpoEsperanza 2014

These are raw very random and unedited pictures. Excuse the glares and bad colors. Just enjoy the smiles of the kids! 
We had our annual ExpoEsperanza (our version of 4-H) here a few weeks ago.  The kids LOVE it!  There are a variety of different projects ranging from salsas and tortillas to electronic stuff.  It's so interesting and fun to watch the kids get creative and go at it!  Thank you to all the AMAZING, and yet I will say it again, AMAZING summer staff volunteers we had this summer. 
YOU GUYS ROCK! 




Laura got to wear some cowgirl boots and was SO excited! haha so i said we needed a boot picture together :) <3 

All our household projects.  Lots of paintings and cooking and drawings and coloring and pictures with a side of cows and sheep and chickens and dogs and piano playing and singing for dessert.  It was a successful, busy Expo to say the least! 


waiting in line to get judged



Nasty bug collections that I know some people think are just WAY cool.... I just get the heebeegeebiez! 



















Gozalo's cow had a conniption while he was showing it! But he held control the whole time. it was quite the sight to see!









Absolutely LOVE this picture of Theresa looking at Alan. <3 adorable! Thanks for traveling all the way down here to judge guys! we LOVED having you here!
Ramses' cow kept butting up again Belem's so she was having to body slam the thing to get him to move.  It was quite comical!



All business :-]
Local vet helping judge horses.




SHE WON!!! WHOO HOO!!



















Jorge lost his first tooth during Expo so i snapped his picture :-]
Baners were also here for Expo and the amazing moment of Reese & Laura finally meeting took place.  Lots of memories were packed into a few short days.  Oh, and Chui fell in love - literally, like his first crush, with Reese too. Watch out Jon! ;-]

She is seriously SUCH a cheeser for the camera, it's ridiculous!



SHE WON IN CHICKENS!!! WHOO HOO!!!

Perhaps I'll get a few more pics from the Expo uploaded on here if I can keep getting decent internet :-]

Because of Jesus...