Monday, December 30, 2013

Bike Rules

The excitement about the new bicycles is still as high as it was on Christmas day.  We had to make a few rules, though. 

We want the kids to take care of their bikes.  They have to check the air in their tires and check for loose parts daily.   Most of them are doing really well with this.  They have to ride with their shoes on.  Yair loses his bike daily for this offense.  I usually give him two or three chances and he still loses it.  They can`t hit another bike, person, fence, building, swingset, etc.  Katy sometimes has her bike for 10 minutes before she loses it for this infraction.  They can't touch someone else's bike.  This is a little difficult for some of them.  They have to do homework and chores before they can get on the bike.  For the ones that work, they cannot opt out of work to ride their bike.  Sisi tried this yesterday.  It did not work.  She had to work.  It made her mad and she pouted most of the afternoon.

I have to laugh sometimes, because some of them just cannot follow these rules. 

Several have been up to the bicycle repair shop for minor little things.  And, because so many of them have been, people have been asking how many new bikes are there?  Everyone in town knows there are new bikes at Casa de Esperanza.  They do not want to chain their bikes up at night.  They are afraid someone will steal them.  Every night, they put their bicycles in the dorm and then we double lock the door.  On this, they are being really responsible.  Several of them start pushing or riding the bikes over to the dorm at 5:15.  Two or three of the kids move them into the dorm and someone always counts to make sure all the bikes are inside before we leave.

Maybe some day everyone will want to leave their shoes on and not have wrecks.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

On The Fourth Day Of Christmas

I know you think this is going to go for twelve days,but it won't.  Tomorrow we get more back to normal.  There are two doctor's appointments and speech therapy.  But for today, bare with me.

Today was Christmas at Casa de Esperanza.  We never put presents under the tree.  With this many kids, the paper would be torn and unwrapped and rewrapped in the the middle of the night.  In the past, I have tried to wait until I thought they were all asleep and take the presents in.  If I wait an hour after they go to bed, someone is still awake waiting and sneaks out to watch me put the presents under the tree.  This year, I decided to take them in at 4:00 a.m.  While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads, I could only hope for a long winter's nap this afternoon.  Going in at 4:00 worked.  Not a single soul was up watching me.  I also put a lot of candy in the stockings.  As quietly as I entered, I left.  I returned a few minutes before 7:00. 

Nicole passed out the stockings first.

Olman began to eat the chocolate in his stocking.

Anyone who reads Marc's facebook page, knows we were giving bicycles to the kids.  Some kind soul decided to tell them that.  We decided that bicycles would not show up until mid-morning or so. 

Nicole would take a present from the tree and call the name on it and everyone would watch as one person opened.  The girls got new shoes.  And what girl does not like new shoes?  The boys got cars or trucks.  At some point in time, I looked over and Olman was still eating chocolate.  I hope he is not sick.  I did take away the rest of the candy.

There was just a little bit of a mess.

All of the kids were excited and liked these gifts.  But, if they were expecting bicycles, they had to be disappointed.  I was so proud of those kids.  No one acted disappointed.  No one cried.  No one said, "where is my bicycle?"

Marc was in the kitchen cooking breakfast.
Jonathan showed up and just stood around in the kitchen while Marc cooked.  That was a bit odd and might have been the first inkling that there was more to come.

We ate and everyone thanked Marc for breakfast. 

I had the kids start their morning chores.  Though still in their pajamas, some of the girls were wearing their new shoes.  Then Marc says Jonathan and I will be back later.  Nothing unusual about Marc leaving.  I thought Marc was gone a really long time.  Chores were finished and the kids started a movie.  They chose "Santa Claus is Coming To Town:"  A bit prophetic perhaps.

Marc came back before Jonathan.  He left the gate open and asked everyone to move their cars.  He also asked me to keep them all in the living room.  They began giggling and whispering to each other.  They began to gather at the window.  I did not even try to keep them in the living room. 

Jonathan backed  a great big truck through the gate and as the children were looking out the window watching, their squeals were the sweetest music of the day.  They all broke and ran out the door.  Jonathan opened the back of the truck and this is what we saw.

Marc, Matt and Jonathan unloaded the truck and put the bicycles on the concha.
All of a sudden, there was another round of squealing.  It dawned upon the kids that there was one bicycle for each kid, not 5 or 10 to share.

You can well imagine how the rest of the day is being spent.  It was fun watching the kids on their new bikes.  And, at times, amusing.  Katy did not quite get the hang of the hand brakes.  When she got ready to stop, she would scream ·"Alto. Alto. Alto alto alto."  And then throw her leg into the fence of the concha.  Yair got the hang of riding easily.  Others not so easily.

I made a huge chicken lasagne yesterday and cooked it this morning.  That is what we had for lunch.  I was really thankful when staff began arriving at noon.  After lunch and chores, I headed for the house.  I was long past due that long winter's nap.

Thanks to everyone that made this wonderful day possible.  I wish you could have been here to hear those screams and see those sweet faces.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

On The Third Day Of Christmas

The kids were crazy in morning devo.  And, they got more so, as the day went on. 

Nicole has been building graham cracker houses with the kids.  The last group finished theirs this morning.

There was a lot of play time and not much else today.  Of course, there were meals and chores.  

We wanted our staff to be able to spend this evening with their families.  Our staff began leaving at 1:00 and by 2:00, there was only one paid employee here.   Were Nicole and I up for the challenge?  Of course, we were.

For supper, Matt and Nicole made chili.  It looked good and smelled good, but this no meat eater passed on the chili.

After supper, dishes and chores, we got down to some serious fun.

Cris made himself comfortable as he colored.

Emma Kate had a new Christmas gown.

A bonfire was built and the biggest kid of all had to shoot some fireworks.

Yair loved the fireworks.  He laughed like that after each one.

Haley wanted to help with the fireworks.  She did not get to, but she tried.

Some played on the trampoline.
Some played Just Dance
And, then there was movies, popcorn, malteadas and a few messes.  A few fell asleep and had to be carried to bed.  We ended about 11:30.  I think everyone was ready for bed.  I am.

Monday, December 23, 2013

On The Second Day Of Christmas

Last year we did our family Christmas after all the other Christmases.  We were exhausted.  The girls were exhausted.  This year, Nicole decided we would do our family Christmas on the 23rd.  Haley's advent calender goes all the way to the 25th, but Haley kept saying those last two days don't matter.  She was counting down to the 23rd.  Haley told Cindy that we were opening gifts on the 23rd.  Cindy said I don't think that is right, but whatever.

Nicole prepared a lovely meal.  I made bread (at 3:00 this morning) and desserts.  I made the splurge of the decade and bought pecans for a pecan pie.  And, it was worth every penny of it.  Haley helped me with the pie crust.   Nicole left here at 3:00 so she could get everything ready.

We got to Nicole's before 6:00.  The girls were in their little Christmas dresses.

Nicole had all the presents beautifully arranged under the tree.
After we ate, the opening began.

The room was soon full of paper.

Nicole saved the big present for last.  It was a rocking horse.  If the horse could talk, he could write his own blog.  He was shipped from the factory to Indiana.  From there he rode in the back of an ambulance to Texas.  Then he sat on the Mexican border for several days before making his way across Mexico and Guatemala.  He then sat in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras for a while.  He arrived in Tegucigalpa by bus on Saturday and was safely put into Nicole's hands on Saturday night.  She was sweating this one out, afraid this magnificent present would not arrive.

Haley saw the horse first and jumped on it.

She is four years old and she was tired.  She told us that she would not let Emmy on the horse, not even to take a picture.  Well, she did.

When Haley was playing with something else, Emma Kate played on the horse.  It was a time of introducing herself to the horse.  And she laughed and laughed.

I think this guy is going to be their friend for a long, long time.

Of course, there is always something with some assembly required.

Then it was time for that pecan pie.  A great way to end the evening.

I enjoyed this sweet family time.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

On The First Day Of Christmas

Last Sunday morning, it was announced at the end of church that tonight would the Christmas dinner and program.  There was no church this morning.  Just tonight.  The kids were so excited about the dinner and program.   Everyone was suppose to bring some food.  We talked about it together and we signed up for the tortillas.  300 tortillas.  When we got home from church, Brayan and I talked to Elvia about 300 tortillas.  Her eyes grew big.  Brayan was so excited that he could not contain himself. 

Many of the children were in skits and practice began on Thursday. So, for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and this morning, at least one group had practice.

Elvia wanted to come in early this morning and get started on those tortillas.  We did things sort of backwards this morning.  We ate, did chores and then had a devotional.  We usually do not have devotional on Sunday morning because we go to church.  Nicole and Jose read the Christmas story.  We sang a couple of songs and prayed.

Brayan and Elvia began the tortillas.  Brayan did most of the work.  He came in after he made 100 tortillas.  He had been standing over that hot fire and he was sweating.  But he was so proud of himself.  He told me 100 tortillas.  He came back in after 200 tortillas, and then again when he was finished.  He was quite please with this accomplishment.

Since there was no church, the girls did each other's hair.  Some were not even through by lunch time.  Everyone hurried through their after lunch chores and the they all took showers.  Everyone was dressed in their very best clothes.

The twins were dressed alike
So were Reina and Guadalupe
A good group shot before we left

The church building was nicely decorated.
Haley and Fabiola became fast friends.

Several of the children were in skits and sang songs.

Adonis joined the boys in a song
And, Katy led the girls.

 Even Pamela participated in several skits.

Pamela even sang a song.

There was a devil character in several skits.  Olman did not like him.  He screamed at the top of his lungs every time the devil appeared.  We tried to cover his eyes.  But, somehow Olman managed to see the devil every time.  

It was a great evening.