Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chicas de OSSO!!

"Along the way, you find sisters, and they find you. Girls are cool that way."

To say I've had the time of my life thus far would be a GIANT understatement. Who knew toddlers (day in and day out) could be so much fun? Well to be honest, that is only half the fun. In one short month (that has flown by much to my dismay), I have met some incredible people and made some irreplaceable friends.

To the world we are the "Chicas de OSSO". I have never been more honored to share a collective title with a group of people. I feel like I know many of them better/they know me better than some of the people I have known for years. 

I really can't say enough about the girls I have met. I flew into a house knowing absolutely no one. However, once the first day was out of the way, I knew I was going to enjoy my time in Ecuador. I had not anticipated to grow as close or attached to the girls I am serving with. 

The first girls I met were:
Brandi: 23 - Washington. She's a nurse! Also, my roommate. :) Labor day trip fo' sho. 
Mikele: 19 - Washington. BYU-I. She's Brandi's cousin. I'll be visiting her and Hayden this coming semester at school. 
Janessa: 19- Utah. UVU. Cheer camp 2012 instructor. She and I are going to go crazy this Fall!
Danielle: 21- California. BYU-I. Planning a visit to see her in Cali in Jan. 
McCall: 19- California. BYU. She is friends with Danielle. And goes to MY school!
Karlee: 22- Utah. Just graduated from BYU-I. She WILL be living in Utah now so that we can hang out. Right?
Melissa: 20- Utah. UVU. Friends with Karlee. She'll be in Orem and I can't wait!

Danielle and McCall left this morning. But, I know with McCall in Provo, Danielle in Rexburg and much collaboration on planning visits... it will be far from the last time I see them. :)

The girls who have come this past week are (I don't know all of them that well. Except that I know that they are AWESOME!):
Sam: 20- Utah. UVU. She is living south of BYU in a house. SUPER JEALOUS. 
Leah: 21- New Jersey. She goes to school at Tufts University and is a ballerina! Taught me "the Kendra"
Katie: 20- Oregon. I'm not sure where she is at school... but we basically want the same amount of kids (same gender and order and everything!)
Morgan: 20- Kansas. BYU-I. She's about to be in the same position I'm in when her BF of 3 years leaves on his mission! She's awesome. 
Aubree: 20- Utah. Utah State. She's our other roomie! 
Caitlin: 19- Utah. UVU. "Chonchos in ponchos." haha

Here are some pictures of our adventures in collage form. Click on each one to make them bigger!!

Top left to bottom left: Model shots last friday. Basilica, basilica, Papallacta, girls night!, our May Banquet. 

Teleferiqo, Mikele and Danielle, Basilica, Basilica, Modeling in a gondola... 

Danielle, colby, Janessa, McCall, Janessa (twice?), Mikele, and Karlee. We did this catapult ride... it was AWESOME!
I love every single one of the girls who are here with me. I have loved every crazy second we have spent together, eating out, cooking, cleaning, wiping noses, dancing, talking and playing. This is a different atmosphere than I have been in a long time. In middle and the beginning of high school I had a big group of girl friends that I always hung out with. As time moved on and I got a boyfriend, my group of girl friends slowly got smaller and hangouts less frequent. I went away to school. In my first semester at college I bonded quickly with my roommates whom I love so dearly. But, we really only hung out with guys. Same second semester... and the pattern repeated itself this past year.

After spending a month with these girls I realize what I have been missing. Girl friends. And not to discredit my 3 amigas out at BYU. I love them like mad too. I just have been missing a group of girls hanging out. I dunno, silly I guess. But, girls just wanna have fun. And with no boys or drama around... that is exactly what we've been doing. 

Anyway, I came out here April 19. I told myself "you have 2 months. No wasting time being shy (which is unlike me to begin with) or not yourself. Make friends and have fun." I was kind of nervous being thrown into a house full of random girls. Especially since I had a not so hot experience with college roommates once. I jumped in and was me from day 2. Day 1... I was still getting to know everyone. 

In basically a week I felt like I was extremely lucky. Everyone was nice, cool, fun and pretty. And you know what... we are all pretty close now. We talk about everything (boys, family, friends, hobbies, hopes, religion, school... EVERYTHING), I am able to say outlandish, crazy or weird things and they get me (a rare quality), we dance like crazy doing dishes, on the way to shift or just when someone turns on some music, we cry, we laugh, we smile and we love together. 

I am so blessed. I really am. I feel like I have known most of these girls our entire lives. I know I came at the right time for me. I can't wait to travel to Washington, California, Idaho and Nevada this coming school year. I can't wait for road trips or hangouts with new and old friends. I love them and their individual stories and quirks and talents. I love that we can share our talents and thoughts openly. I'm glad I can share clothes (today I borrowed one of Brandi's sports bra because mine were missing?!). 

I love being here. I am not ready to leave. I have had the time of my life! I love my kids. I love my friends. Life is good!! 

"Along the way, you find sisters, and they find you. Girls are cool that way." And these girls are just that. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Feliz Dia de las Madres!!

Happy Mother’s Day!

For the first time in my life I feel like I can truly understand what it feels like to be a mom. While none of the kids that I am with are my own, they might as well be. I love these kids. I love their snotty noses, their poopy diapers, the moments when they are whiny and even the times when I have to do a little bit of discipline. I have fallen in love with the kids from the 1 month old to the older girls at girls house.

Since being here I have learned that being a mom is more than just loving the good moments. I have a greater appreciation for everything my mom has ever done for me.  

Being a mom is being a cheerleader on the day when one of the babies takes her first steps. It's being the cleaning lady at the end of the day when you are tired and there are (what seems like) thousands of toys to pick up. It's being the cook (which we don't do) and the "feeder" on days when no one wants to eat and you're covered in goo. It's being the nurse and helping take out stitches, administer cold medicine (I know I gave my parents a run for their money in that area), holding down babies to rewrap their fingers. It's being a teacher and counting stairs as you walk up and down them. It's being the role model and correcting bad behavior and showing that it's way better to be kind than cool. It's being the coach and showing them how to run, throw, catch and somersault. But, most importantly it... being a mom is being a mom. It's a tricky combination of the impossible, tears, stress and hope. Being a mom is all about love. 

I have learned to love as my own mother (and with a little help from these kids) taught me. I love my mom. 

My mother is my ultimate role model (she and my grandmother). My mom exemplifies all of those qualities ten fold. She has been my friend, my cheerleader (even when she wishes I had been the one cheering ;)  ), my anchor, my best friend and most importantly my example. I am excited for my own family because of the pattern she has set for me. I am excited to love my children as perfectly as she has loved me. 

Even in my years of teenage angst and downright rudeness she was there. If there is own thing I took for granted it was coming home every afternoon from school to the smiling face of the woman who loves me more than anyone else. I took for granted sitting at night on her bed laughing with my brothers (which we now do around the holidays), I took for granted her selflessly making dinners she thought we would like EVERY night for dinner. I took for granted her throwing my friends cookie parties and making my house a place people wanted to be. 

I miss my mom all the time. I used to want all boys. However, with the way I love my mom... I NEED A GIRL. I cannot wait for my future family... I cannot wait for my kids and to tell them all about my first babies, the ones I took care of for 2 months.

My heart has been stolen. So to all you mother's out there... thank you. Thank you for loving your children the way that they should. And think about adopting my beautiful babies in Ecuador. They need some love too.

Mom, I love you. Thank you for everything.

Happy Mother's Day. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Another Week in Quito.

Time is flying and I hate it! It needs to stop! I know time flies when you are having fun but this is ridiculous! Next week I will have officially been here a month... something about that just doesn't seem right! It feels like I have been here for months! And I LOVE it. I have enjoyed every minute of this experience.

This is going to be a longer post... with lots of pictures...

A couple things I love about Quito: (This is going to be a two part post... part one):

1. The kids.

I know the pictures last week were proof enough that I am with the CUTEST kids alive. But, really… do they come any cuter?

Morning Shift: Leave at 6:30am… arrive at the orphanage by 6:50-7am depending on traffic. This shift ends at 12pm. We walk in, change our shoes and anxiously head straight for the babies. It is funny, no matter how tired I am walking into that orphanage my energy kicks in as soon as it is time to get the children out of their cribs. We walk in to a chorus of “Hola chicas!” And quickly hug and kiss all of the babies (even though their diapers are filled with poop and pee)! We have to take their dirty sheets off their mattresses and it is ADORABLE. They do it so often that they will usually have taken the sheet off for us and yell “chica! Chica!” until we come and get their sheet. A worker comes in to bathe them all. We are in charge of stripping the kids down to their diapers (and then they sit in their crib) until it is their turn to be washed. We get the clean babies, I say babies (but I mean Sala dos and tres) and put diapers on them as well as their clothes and shoes for the day. We then drop them off in their play room. If we take too long… and there are more clean babies than ready volunteers they just put them in one crib and all the clean toweled/naked babies hang out together and wait for clothes.  After that we feed them breakfast (all are fed at once. Each volunteer gets a bowl of cereal/yogurt/jello and they huddle around us. We feed them each from the same spoon. Some of the kids in order to make sure they get their “fair share” will hop from volunteer to volunteer taking food from both bowls. Then we play with them. We take them on walks (only tres kids). We play outside. We dance, sing, and really enjoy each others company. They are smart, kind, fast, and funny. They dance to music and love to be tickled. They love kisses (besos) and are quick to give them. 

He's gone! He was adopted last week! Our first adoption since January!

Baby model!


The biggest difference with Sala Dos is that there are no walks because they can’t walk! Instead we spend our time with them helping them to crawl and walk and having a good time. They are adorable as well and fun to be around. I almost forgot… we are in charge of keeping the peace, changing diapers and wiping noses.
Sala Uno… they wash the babies… and we dress them. The rest of the day is spent playing new mom with a room full of 10 newborn babies! We feed them, change them, get peed/pooped on, clean up baby throw up and I love every second of it… note to self though: only have kids when you are ready… and don’t have 10 at once.
Also if you have dos… you get to pick out clothes for Dos/Tres for the next day. I love picking out their clothes. Baby clothes are just better than normal people’s clothes. And they look cuter than most people in them.
We have a lunch break from 12:30-2pm.

This is the kid I'm totally bringing to BYU with me. He looks like he could be mine! Right?!

I want him too. :) Really I'd take them all. 

Afternoon shift… We leave the house at 2pm and get to the orphanage around 2:20pm. We stay there until 6pm. Here we wake the kids up from their naps and take them outside, play with them… the same as we would for morning shift. At 3:30pm we begin the biggest challenge… Sopa. This is their dinner. We start with Sala dos and begin… Basically we each take a child… sit them on our lap/their own chair depending on their age… tie a bib around their necks and go at it. It is a war some days. They spit it out, they yell, cry, close their mouths, shake their heads and occasionally… throw it back up onto you. In their defense… it is kind of a lot of soup and the workers want them to eat it all. Plus, you should see some of these workers force feed… I am always impressed. Except that the kids are full and their bellies are bulging after dinner. It’s kind of fun… but really hard work. After dinner… we play until it is 5pm. At this point… we take a child one at a time and we get them ready for bed. Once they are in their onsie, pants and footie pajamas we put them back up in the play room until 5:45ish… we then put them in their cribs, give them a bottle and say good night for the night.
Whenever I change diapers/get them ready for bed… I try to take as long as possible without being obvious. I love being one on one with each of them and showing them a little personalized love. A smile, hug, kiss on the cheek, blow on their stomach or just pay them some attention. I love them. 

This boy was adopted last week toO!

The stitches... after his hand being slammed in a door. :/

That face! :))))

One of my favorite people in the world... She is an angel. 

Their adorably ingenious attempt at escape. 

Night shift… night shift comes at 6pm and stays all night until  7am when the other volunteers arrive. Basically… we take care of the newborns who eat every two hours. At 9pm we go around and change all of the kids diapers in Dos and Tres. They are adorable. They are half asleep as we flip the lights on and quickly begin. It is so heartbreaking to see them know the routine so well that they help you take their clothes off/put them back on… eyes closed half asleep. But, they are so cute! Then they get a bottle, we turn the lights off… and leave. At 10pm one volunteer goes to sleep for 4 hours. The other takes care of the newborn babies. At 2am… they switch. At 6am both of us wake up, take care of uno, brush the teeth of dos and tres… and then leave to go home and sleep, when the other volunteers get there.

Pretty sure he's supposed to be my baby... 

Such a little man... 

I love when they hold onto my finger as I feed them!

Look how long his pants are! He has a good 6-7 inches to grow! ;)


I also love when they look at me!

Her cheeks are so cute!!

He's gone! So adorable!

This guy + the boy with stitches = Blake. 
I am also a site leader at a site for neglected/abused girls. :) I love it. It means I get to go every week and hang out with some of the sweetest nicest girls. They are amazing at making friendship bracelets and anything with beads. But, really they just enjoy crafts. Gosh. I love them. All of them! Here are a few. :)
Them crafting... and me attempting. 

Colby and 2 of the girls. 

The girl in the pink is THE sweetest girl EVER. 

They loved my free BYU shades. :)

Me and Danielle :)

I love my kids. I love my girls. I love every child at every orphanage we visit. I have been changing in so many ways. And I have never been happier. Please... let the time slow down.