One week home…

I had a bit of a breakdown on Friday.  Not because my children started school, nope this happened during homework time after school.

The first day of school turned out great: the kids were ready, they got a little nervous as they entered the classroom & a few tears were shed by our big girl but their teachers are great, the class was ready to meet them & the kids were armed with new lunch boxes!  The only hard part was that moment when you see your kid sitting at a desk all alone & knowing that you have to leave, can’t hover & solve their problems, or make friends for them, or tell the teacher how great they are…you just have to head back to the car & keep praying.

Friday after school we had our first round of homework…oh boy!  Big girl loves it but the two boys, they were not fans.  I forgot that this is going to be hard.  Their homework is in Spanish, the notes home from the teachers are in Spanish, all of the reading assignments, enunciations  & spelling are in Spanish…my Spanish is still no bueno.  Tyler goes back to work on October 8th, I will be doing homework time alone after that.  How can I help my children learn a language that I can barely speak, how can I find the patience to look up word after word everyday during homework time while watching 5 kids!   How can I get dinner ready, clothes for tomorrow & still give my children time?  PANIC!!!

Tyler responded, “You just will.”  It really is that simple, we will find a way.  Some things will go undone & that is okay.  We will make priorities.  I will find patience for my kid’s sake during homework time.  We will not try to do this alone, we will ask for help (a special thanks to our friends that we have already called for translation help).  “You just will.”

We have started up with Dave Ramsey again.  You will be hearing more about this later in the blog but know that it is a big part of our life.  It still scares me, about how hard it is to get out of debt but praise God we got convicted about our finances early in our marriage so He gave us the experience of living on a budget, doing without, & not trying to “keep up with the Jones.”  After reviewing the budget & revising a new one we look at it & ask, “how can we do this?”  And once again we get the reply, “you just will.”

Please know that we will not be doing this alone…

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 12:22-34

Thanks for sticking with us throughout this journey, 5 kids…we will.

First day of school here we come!

Headed to their classrooms…

It was a great first day! Please notice that the counselor & the principal are in the background to assure us it really was a good day 🙂

Here are some pictures of our past week’s adventures…

At the park with Papi Grande!

Some soccer in the backyard…these kids love soccer but have a long way to go in learning the rules.

Aunt Suzy: the kids are loving the toys!!!

Enamored by the squirrels in the park…ugh 😦

Some manual labor, raking the leaves…kids were a fan but we are going to need another rake & some garden gloves to keep the sibling rivalry at bay.

Little brother & Darth’s first Grandma ice-cream, they cost one beso each

Cousins just hanging out

Brothers in action, nice to see that both were willing to step up the plate/dirty diaper

Just for fun, in their hooded towels after bath time

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

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First day of school…nope

Oh Wednesday we had everybody up, dressed, fed, backpacks on & out of the house  by 7am to head to our first day of school.  Pictures were taken, their clothes were ironed (yes even the tshirts, I tried to control what little I could), lots of talks about being respectful & kind were said & we were off to school.  As we arrived bogged down with their new school supplies (shout-out to the Grace family that provided all of the school supplies, THANK YOU!!!) we all walked in with our best behavior.  About an hour and a half later we ALL walked back out.

On Tuesday our three oldest had their first Doctor’s appointment & all got 4 vaccines.  It was a hard day & a hard thing to watch, they all hobbled around like old men the rest of the day.  When we went to school Wednesday morning we found out that although we met TX standards we did not meet our school’s shot-record standards so it was back to the doctor for us.  Praise God I had already scheduled a check-up for our youngest 2 for Wednesday so we called & asked if we could bring in our oldest 3 again for some more shots & the doctor agreed.

My old men, please notice that they will not bend their legs at all

The hardest part for Tyler & I yesterday was that feeling of lying to your kids.  We told them that they would start school today…nope.  We told them that they wouldn’t need shots for at least another month…nope.  We told them that they would only need to get one more shot…nope.  I realize that so much of this was out of our control but it still stinks when you are trying to build trust with your kids, kids who have been let down so many times before, & nothing you say is coming true.  So we promised them the one thing that we could make happen, ice cream after shot day!

As promised ICE CREAM, thank goodness for frozen treats! They still have not experienced Blue Bell…saving that until we really need it 🙂

All in all shots turned out: Big brother (6), Big sister (5), Middle brother (6), Little brother (5), Darth (2)…(#) is not their age it is their shot count for the past 2 days.   They handled it like champs, some crying, some hobbling, some ice cream eating.  Our doctor & her nurse are fabulous & so very patient & kind with the kids, a big blessing!  Tyler ran into one of his work buddies at the doctor’s office & that instantly puts him in a better mood, he is so excited about getting back to work & all of his friends!!

Later that afternoon after ice cream & watching Cars 2 (for the 4th time this week, thanks again Sanders!) our 2 oldest boys started running fever.  So I headed off to the park to meet Grandma with the 2 girls & our youngest boy while Papi stayed home with the patients.  After the park we headed up to church & it did not go nearly as well as Sunday but the kids had been shot so many times that day so we will give them a pass. 🙂

At home everybody is feeling better but we are going to be fever free for 24hrs before we try the 1st day of school again.  So maybe Friday will be their first day of school.  I was nervous 2 days ago about them starting but now…GET THEM IN SCHOOL!!! This Mami can’t wait!  I still love them but my goodness they need to get busy learning, making friends, & staying busy.  Praying that our next try sticks!

The best of friends, Darth cannot help herself anytime she sees on of her dogs a loud squeal of delight is sure to follow

A new favorite game: notice the tip of a shoe peeking out from underneath the boy’s closet curtain…the kids set it up & then take turns running in & out of the room because there is a “stranger or a brujo” in their closet…

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

A little bit of us, a lot of you!

OK, I need to give everyone a disclaimer. We try to be very honest and show our true colors on this blog, “warts and all”, but today sounds a little like we are farting rainbows and Skittles. It was an amazingly great day, which, the law of averages says we might be in for a doosy tomorrow… we’ll see!

Today was our first of many Sundays at FBC Mansfield, and the kids did so good!

We loaded up the autobus early this morning, and got to church early to get everyone settled in before most of the people arrived. We made plans to hover from class  to class and check in on all the kids. We also called the grandparents in for reinforcements. We did this for about 15 minutes or so… then it happened!

You know that split second after you set the cruise control on your car and ease your foot off the gas to see if it set correctly or not (if you drive a fancy car with an indicator light, I envy you)? That is what we had. We realized that the kids were all fine in their classes, without needing mom and dad to peak in on them! Little brother had some trouble with transitions, so I decided to stay with him, but Beth was able to go to class and go to the worship service. After some time, I was able to leave him for periods of time, and float around a bit. God was so good today. A few of our childrens’ teachers were bilingual, and were able to communicate to them. The other children were with patient adults that did great at showing them what to do. It is almost as if God knew since the “foundations of time” what/who our children would need (shout out to our pastor)!

While floating from class to class, I got to talk to so many wonderful people that have prayed for us and supported us on this journey. The 10th graders that I used to teach all ran to the nursery after they found out we were there and asked “which ones are they?” They did a lap with me as I pointed them out. I think we have at least five babysitters ready if we need them! A few of the people in my parent’s Sunday School class, talked to us too, curious to know how things were going. One (who used to be my 8th grade Algebra teacher) even gave us a DVD of Veggietales in Spanish, and told us, “I bought this by mistake, but then I realized, that I didn’t. God wanted you to have it!” Our friends, the Sanders, also brought us the “Cars” movie in Spanish because the boys have been dying to see it. Our friends, who are in the process of adopting, gave us big hugs and lots of encouragement (even though the encouragement should have gone the other way), and the pastor came by after his sermon to see us too.

Many in our Sunday School class have children the same age. Over the course of about six months, many of those precious children have learned about our kids, prayed for our kids, and loved them before they ever knew them. Today, each one of my kids had at least two or three friends to play with in their class. I have to mention that our friends, the Cantons, have a son, that is middle brother’s age… He has earnestly prayed for our middle son for the past few months (as documented in this post). We were told that he asked God to give our son a window seat for his plane ride home on Wednesday, and God definitely answered his prayer, on both flights! For the first time, this little boy got to play with the one for whom he has prayed for so long! Amazing.

Also, Beth’s parents joined our church today! It will be super great to have them with us, to worship with us and help with the kids (I put it in that order to sound holy, but we are really excited about the “help with our kids” part)!

The in-laws, being welcomed by the church.

After church, we sort of lied to little brother and told him his birthday was today instead of tomorrow. We did this so we could have a very low-key party with most of our friends and family on a day when it was logistically easy. We insisted on no presents because the other boys didn’t get much on their birthdays a few weeks earlier in Bogota, and we’re still working hard to keep things even. We went to McDonalds, and let the kids play with a bunch of their church friends that they had met that morning. My parents, Beth’s parents, and my brother’s family were all there including about five other families that came from church. Again, it was amazing. The kids did really great listening and eating at a tiny table. Also, because McDonalds is doing a 20-piece chicken nugget meal for $9.99, the seven of us were able to eat for $25!  As a matter of fact, the biggest problem from the party was, the icing on the cake melted a little in the car on the ride there… FYI – A 4-year old doesn’t care. He picked one of the most melty and disgusting pieces for himself!

This picture is so cool to me. Day four at home, and so many friends and family to sing “Happy Birthday” already!

We went home and watched the “Cars” movie that the Sanders brought us! Darth was out before we got home so all I had to do was carry her from the van to her bed. No tantrums, no crying.

Then we jetted back to church for evening worship. This time, we didn’t bother staying with the kids at all. We went to our adult class, and got “fed” with other believers. So nice! Beth told me that the RA’s were shooting rockets during the second hour, so I slipped out in case it was too much for big brother to handle. Again God provided another great friend, who is also bilingual. He was kind enough to be with me and big brother and explain what was going on! Fortunately big brother did amazing, and probably didn’t need me for the little bit of time I was out there with him. All of the kids loaded up in the car, super happy and excited about their new church. Way to go, First Baptist! You hit it out of the park.

I honestly do not know how some people go through life without Chirst. Further, I don’t know how some people go through life without the support of a body of believers. Christianity is definitely a team sport, and we have been so blessed by our team lately. Thank you all for graciously accepting and loving our five today.

The Bible says, they will know us by our love. Thank you for loving our kids, church!

At the dinnermesa,

Ty

Day 3…to Memaw’s house we go.

We took the whole family out to Memaw’s house today to “help” mow her land/Memaw was ready to meet her 5 new great grandkids!

And it’s off to Memaw’s house we go!

It was a great day, the kids quickly found the red wagons & filled their days pushing, pulling & sitting-in them.  They played for hours, watched the riding lawn mowers in awe, ate like pigs, got to know more of their family, & finally embraced the TX heat.  We forgot to warn them about the fire-ants so everybody came home with a few bites & got some calamine lotion.  My favorite part was when Tyler’s dad said, “It’s like they have always been here.”

Love meeting their Memaw

The boys learning how to check the oil on the tractors

Go faster was the most said phrase of the day…just like their daddy

First tractor ride with Tio Chappy!

Loving her Papi!

Riding the tractors.

Holding his baby cousin

Making smores with Memaw

Oh friends guess what tomorrow is, SUNDAY!   We are headed to church tomorrow, to our home church, to the church that has been praying for us, supporting us & loving us for the past 5yrs…nervous for our kids behavior but even if they are tyrants I don’t care I am so EXCITED to get to see our FBC family, to hear about the God that I love, to get to worship with my family!!!  Kids clothes are pressed & laid out….I was very close to putting us all in matching outfits but Tyler reminded me that if the ninos are misbehaving people will automatically know they are ours if we are all dressed alike.  Thank goodness I married such a smart man!/Maybe I will just dress the boys & Tyler in matching clothes…

Go to church tomorrow, no excuses.  If you can’t find the “perfect church” that’s because it doesn’t exist, you find one that preaches the truth, the Bible & will hold you accountable speaking in the TRUTH & LOVE!  If you are looking for one come to ours, you will already have 7 friends there.  Don’t waste another week waiting for the perfect time, the perfect life-stage for your child, an easy day, there is no such thing.  If you are breathing you need God, you need Him now, your kids need Him NOW!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Day 2…

Some great things that happened today…

Most of the kid’s paperwork was dropped off at school today, they are looking good to start next week.  Just in time for the kindergarten field trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  While I was dropping off the paperwork at the school Tyler watched all of the children by himself for 45min!

Look who watched the kids for a whole 45min all by himself!!

Tia Sara stopped by & hung out with her new nieces & nephews, we went to the park & then washed the car.

Giving the instructions: we are getting ready to help at the Single Parent Fair 🙂

Reward after a long day’s work!

Had another great day of friends stopping by.  First Rachel stopped by with her precious daughter, then Angela and her son stopped by for a hello.  Once again the kids are loving all of their new friends!  Angela was kind enough to offer to come by again tonight & bring Chickfila with her!  It was fabulous & once again the kids were delighted to have new friends, especially ones that they were going to get to see at church on Sunday.  Love pictures of the full dining table!

Loving the Chickfila (thank goodness!), absolutely no leftovers tonight!

And lastly we had some great friends email us some more pictures of the airport arrival, hope you enjoy…

Another shot of the crowd

The crowd that was waiting for us!

Welcome home!

Once again look at those beautiful faces!  So very blessed beyond what we could ever deserve or imagine!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Day 1…in the US of A

Panic hit me this morning…what am I going to do with 5 kids!!! They are here, they are staying, I don’t know what to do with 5 kids!   I don’t have a Colombian sand-box for them to play in for hours!  Thankfully God gave me Tyler as a husband & he very sweetly reminded me that the kids just got here & are in new rooms with new toys.  Yep the kids played in their rooms for the entire morning.  My dad, Meme & Papa came over this morning & helped me with breakfast, watch kids & unpack.

We are completely unpacked & laundry was done!  I scheduled a meeting with the school, made doctor appointments, registered the kids for Sunday morning nursery, & added them to our insurance.  During the afternoon while Darth took her nap the kids watched a movie.  There was something surreal seeing your kids cuddled with their dad, your dad & your grandpa.  As if that’s the way it has always been.  After lunch we headed up to the kid’s school & walked around & met the staff.  I wish that I could say that the kids made a great impression & were so filled with excitement that their behavior was amazing & sweet & loving but no we are still coming off of a long day yesterday & the kids were pretty disrespectful & a little bit mean-spirited to their brothers & sisters.  As we headed home we sat on the couch for our first of many family talks…we talked about their behavior & how important it is to be kind & polite.  Then we had our first family punishment…since their behavior was stinky they would be cleaning up some stinky.

Yes friends, we loaded up everybody with rubber gloves & grocery sacks & did our first backyard-turd clean-up.  You will be happy to know that the kids didn’t mind the clean-up.  Little brother would shout, “Mucho!” if he was lucky enough to find a big pile, but they did mind the TX sun after about 10 minutes we got calls for water because they were hot & tired.  Poor kids TX summers are going to be rough!  Don’t worry water was given & hands were washed!!

Cleaning up the yard

Ugh the first of many great poopy-pick ups!

Afterwards the kids found out that some of their new friends were headed over to play with them.  As the oldest boy walked in my boys were awestruck that this big kid was their friend & they followed him like puppy dogs out to the backyard for their first baseball lessons.  Our friends’ daughter walked in & big sister quickly claimed her for herself & pulled her into her room so show her the clothes in the closet, her kitchen & how to work the ceiling fan.  (The ceiling fan is another new discovery for my kids & they are loving it!)  Darth & our friends’ baby had a stare-down that ended in them both blinking to watch one of the dogs walk by.  Needless to say it was a great night.  I LOVED seeing the our friends’ kids & our kids playing together.  I am so thankful that our kids are eager to make friends & excited to tell them about their new family & their new house!  I was also excited that our friends made dinner & encouraged us with kind words & loving on our kids!

Showing her new friend her clothes. Love that her new friend generously gave her some of big sister’s favorite dresses 🙂

Our friends’ son patiently giving the kids baseball lessons

Our dinnermesa is full! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHcrf-rgqDo  (listen to this, it’s true)

How different is our dinnermesa now!!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth

Coming home…

4am came very early & very fast after a long night of packing.  The kids woke up like champs & within 5minutes were fully awake & ready to van a la Texas!  We were all ready with bags at the curb by 5am & headed to the airport. After a long check-in with the passport office, security, American airlines, & immigration we were finally at our gate.  Our oldest had already broken down in tears about 15 times.  Anything that was said that he didn’t agree with, or thought took too long, or wasn’t the right color, anything that wasn’t exactly what he wanted caused a breakdown, poor guy he was nervous.

Ready to go, 9 suitcases later…

Praise the Lord that airplanes are so cool, while we waited to load the plane the kids were all enthralled with the planes taking off.

Excited to get on the plane…

The first plane ride was pretty uneventful.  Everyone behaved themselves for the most part, Darth took a short nap.  The only drama was at the beginning.  Turns out booking 8 seats together with a 2 day notice is difficult.  So we loaded on the plane & began the great seat-switch of 2012.  We asked the flight attendant to help us & she said to get in our seats until the plane was full & then she would help us.  Well as you would have guessed the kids freaked out, luckily when you leave a crying/screaming kid next to a stranger they cannot wait to trade places with you & let you sit by your kid!  I love it when a plan comes together!!

As we landed in Miami, the kids asked immediately, “Texas?”.  Nope kids sorry this is Miami, then the kids ask, “Bogota?”.  We reply, “Nope Miami, the United States.”  They reply, “Texas?”   After 5 rounds of this we gave us & said, “Yep Bogota.”  When we arrived we are ushered like cattle up to the sky train to sit in the passport office where our paperwork would be processed & we could all officially enter the US & the kids would become official citizens.  Remember how great the kids did on the airplane, well I am pretty sure that they spent all of their, “good & pleasant behavior” for the day.  We sat in the  passport office for just over 2hrs.  It is a room with rows of chairs of people sitting quietly…& our family.  The kids colored, played with cars, made tents from the AA blankets we snagged from the last flight & ate snacks.  I believe that the highlight was when a woman told me that I needed to change Darth’s diaper, I had to explain to her in broken Spanish that Darth was just very gassy & that the diaper was empty…as the woman walked away Darth ripped another one.  30 minutes later Darth had finally filled her diaper & cleared all of the seats around us, baby girl can carry some stink!

An officer came & took the kids finger prints & told us that we were good to go, we were so excited because now we only had to wait 1 more hour before our plane would depart for Texas….then we got to our plane’s gate & saw that the layover was going to be nearly 3hrs.   Again can I remind you that our kid’s good & pleasant behavior ran out  a few hours ago.  We claimed a row of seats at the gate & began the “let’s entertain the kids for another 3hrs” luckily God had allowed us to stay in Bogota for 7wks so it makes you pretty fearless, we entertained the kids in a sand-box for nearly 2 months, I can handle 3hrs in the airport.  Again lots of cars, card games, chicken for dinner, changing into our TX outfits, & meltdowns filled the next few hours.

Finally it was time to load the plane & I prayed for grace for the seating situation but God had already taken care of it.  The plane was not full & we could all sit together without having to disturb anyone’s seats.  As we got into the air, the drink cart came around & big girl discovered the miracle of ice.  Darth was already sleeping & I was given a cup of ice water for her in case she woke up.   When big sister was finished with her orange juice she looked longingly at Darth’s drink.  I finally conceded & gave her the water…for the next 20min big sister delighted in the ice.  She told me that it is her favorite TX snack.

Just a cup of ice for me please

As we woke up the kids & told them we were in TX we got slow sleepy smiles & the question, “are we going to our house?”  Yes!  As we walked off of the plane & rounded the corner we saw the most beautiful sight!  A glass window with our family & friends waiting to greet us with smiles & welcome home posters!  I wish I would have snapped a picture but I was too close holding back tears, seeing these people that I had missed for months, ready to greet us with open arms!!  And luckily the kids saved just enough sweetness to be sleepy but pleasant to all of these people who were excited to see them!

Walking off of the plane! Loving our Ranger’s tshirts!

Hugs were passed around, tears were cried, cheeks were pinched, pictures were taken…we were home, we were with our family & friends where we belong!  It was after 9pm & you stayed up late to see us home & show our kids that they have friends here, what a blessing!!!

After luggage was collected & eyes were hardly able to stay open from sleepiness & emotion we headed to the van to head home.  As we reached the van eyes were popped back open & the kids were thrilled with their grande car.  Oscar was not a fan of the carseat & rode all the way home in Papi’s lap.  As we pulled into the driveway there were more friends waiting with cake & OTB queso!!  The kids ran into their house & right into their rooms, exclaiming how much they loved them. 🙂

After everyone got a glass of water we put them in bed & they went right to sleep.

We made it!

At the dinnermesa,

Beth