Well, we have gotten SO MUCH done on the house and are hoping to mostly be all moved in and settled (i.e. most everything out of boxes...there will still be final touches left to do) by this weekend. YAY!!
We are LOVING this house and I will soon post pictures of just how scrumptious it is. It is really just perfect for us right now. Perfect. We are technically only supposed to be staying here until the end of the year, but are kind of wishing/hoping in some ways that it might work out that we stay longer. It's Brazil...that is definitely a possibility!! :)
Speaking of the end of the year plans, we are still hoping to make it back for furlough, as planned, by Thanksgiving/Christmas. To refresh your memories, this recent trip back was strictly to visit my mom and family...was a gift from her...not at all "furlough." So, we hope to make our scheduled furlough next winter, but are not sure what that will all look like. Since we are technically supposed to move up north to the Amazon at the end of this year, if that happens, it kind of puts a kink in those plans...not to mention that we just might not have the funds for it, plain and simple. So we are currently weighing all options.
Joel is now part of the staff at Asas. He oversees the students' maintenance training and maintenance of the airplanes. He hopes to also continue to fly occasionally, but is no longer technically in training. He had to lay down his flying before God once before, when he was a student at LeTourneau (college) and couldn't afford it. God gave it back to him later and provided training for him for free through his job at Honeywell (amazing!!). For various reasons, he is once again laying it down for God to do with it what He wants. It's always a bit difficult to lay down dreams, isn't it? Pray that God would make the paths straight and the way clear.
I am planning to start up my Portuguese classes again next week. It's been a bit of a whirlwind since we got back to Brazil 2 weeks ago. We got back on a Wednesday evening, spent the night at home (our home that still had boxes galore), unpacked our suitcases a bit, re-packed suitcases, and headed to an Asas retreat the next day (Thursday). Crazy. We got home from the retreat on Saturday evening and went straight to work getting all moved into this house. On that Monday we went back to our routine...Joel going to work at Asas, me homeschooling the kids, etc. On Monday, in addition to the 2 curriculums I'm already using with the kids (Sonlight Pre-K and Sing, Spell, Read, and Write), we started doing math (Math-U-See Primer) and I've started teaching Grady how to read (using How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons). It's busy, but SO MUCH FUN!! I can't imagine someone else teaching my kids all these great things. I'm so thankful that I get to do it. I'm so very glad that I get to spend all day every day with them. It's so fun getting to know them!!
Grady turned 5 while we were in the states (Jan. 3rd) and is quite the little man. He is quiet, reflective, thoughtful, and a very loyal friend. Within a group, he prefers to single out one person and be friends with him/her. He also likes for things to be in order. He is LOVING learning right now...of course the goal is to keep it that way for a lifetime. He learned to tie his shoe on Friday and loved every minute of the step-by-step process. He is pumped about learning to read...and his 'new book' (the math workbook). With all these little girls filling up our house, a great thing happened while we were gone. A little 6 year old boy moved into the house next door. He and Luis Felipe play together every day. Luis Felipe is a year older, but smaller than Grady, and is just as silly, so they get along great. :) Grady loves all his sisters, but baby Cass holds a VERY special place in his heart for sure. He is so sweet and tender with her and I love to hear him talking to her and showing/teaching her things. By the way, Grady's cheek still has a knot. We plan to call the doctor that we saw in the U.S. today and see what he recommends and go from there. Continue to pray please. (Update: I actually wrote that yesterday, but this morning I am barely able to feel his knot at all...in fact, I couldn't find it at first. So, I think we're on the home stretch of that weirdness...whatever it was. I'll let you know if it comes back or doesn't go away completely.)
Hadley continues to be the 'life of the party.' She is seriously the most confident little thing I've ever seen. She walks into a room and is ready for fun. She considers herself friends with the whole group. She turned 4 while we were in the states (Feb. 20th). She and Eissa are playing together a lot lately...cooking with their mini-Tupperware set, being mamas to their baby dolls, putting on make-up, etc. They also play outside with their brother in the tree house and such, but it's fun to see the girls playing together at this stage. Eissa used to be the odd man out...the tag-a-long Tooloo...but she's gotten older and is now worthy of playtime with the older two. :)
Speaking of Eissa, she is now 2 1/2 and is doing really well at learning all of the things that kids have to learn when they are 2. :) It's such a power struggle at that age, isn't it? If they learn to always obey at that age, it makes life much easier in the future...when they are 22 for instance and listening to God. She's learning very well and we are having to work at that sort of thing alot less now. Eissa is the Mama of the family...she could seriously care for a real live infant if need be. She ALWAYS has a baby on her hip or in a stroller or baby carrier. It's really, really cute. She is still our little comedian too and is so much fun.
Cass will be A YEAR OLD (!!) in about 2 weeks. Are you kidding me?!?! I seriously can't believe it. She was our perfect baby and still is to some extent, but in the last month or so, the absolute perfection is gone. :) She's just growing up and actually has opinions that she is not at all shy about 'voicing' in her own special little 11 month old way. She is all over the place. She isn't walking yet. All of our other kids were walking by this age (9 1/2 months - 11 months), but I think part of the reason she's not is because we just traveled so much during her trying-to-walk time frame...she spent lots of time in her carrier. Or who knows...maybe she was just going to walk later than the others no matter what. Doesn't matter...I just find it interesting. She is cruising all over and is VERY GRACEFUL! She has never just plopped down when trying to get from the standing position to the floor. She has ALWAYS lowered herself gently...great muscle control and poise. She's got great balance too. I'm impressed by her. She's still such a happy baby and loves her siblings...although lets them know now when they are getting in her space too much. :) She's still tiny, but eats like a horse and I'm not kidding. She is now up to 15 pounds. She's got the biggest blue eyes...my Granny says they look like big blue marbles. :) I had never thought about it, but I agree.
OH, and the double stroller story. As we left Dallas on our way to Miami, the man told us to put the stroller a certain place to be stowed away until we got off. We put it there. It never got on the plane. So, we got to Miami and had no stroller. It was so discouraging. The thought of navigating through 3 more airports (through customs too) with 4 small children without a stroller was very disheartening. But, turns out it wasn't that bad after all. And, we had more bags than when we left to go to the states, so we had more carts full of baggage to push. Me, Joel, Grady, and sometimes Hadley (sometimes one of us pushed 2) had to each push a cart...if we'd had a stroller, we're not sure what we would've done. Also, we had to tie 2 of our bags on top of our car as it was...where would a stroller have gone? :) I think God knew what He was doing. He probably just made our stroller completely invisible so they wouldn't put it on. Makes me smile. :) It was discouraging at first and we were afraid that we wouldn't see it again, but thankfully it arrived at Asas just 2 days ago. :) Seriously, God had that stroller thing all under control. :)
And one other 'update'...we have a new nephew. Asher Badolato Ebersole was born late Monday night. After 2 sweet girls, Joel's brother and his wife now have a son too. Congratulations!!
So cute, right?
Love his hair.
The whole beautiful fam...Joss, Andre, Asher, Alexa, and Kristin.
And now, pictures of our kiddos. For more pictures, go to my Facebook account. If you aren't my friend yet, what are you waiting for? I just added a lot of pictures from the past couple of weeks. I hope to add more from the months past soon. Enjoy!
His first shoe-tying.
Grady and Luis Felipe...best buds.
A little living room makeover.
Hadley and her sister about to head out the door, taking their babies on a little 'trip.'
Taking her baby on a little stroll to the park.
Eissa has started dressing herself in the morning now too...per her request..."self, Mama, self." She did a great job this morning (all by herself...I wasn't even in the room) and was so proud of herself.
Look at those big blue marbles!!
All 4 kiddos playing together. Fun stuff.
The girls with their babies. :)