Saturday, January 25, 2014

One lesson learned from my Mom ~ generosity (or I should say “hope I learn!”) . . .


As I sit by my mom’s bedside and she’s no longer able to communicate with me, I am thinking of some of the things she has “said” over the years, in actions or words.  So I felt like sharing one.

I was looking through some of her papers and came across this ShopRite grocery store gift card.  I said to Larry, “don’t forget you have a gift card here” but then I remembered, this gift card wasn’t given to them.

IMG_2370My mom had bought several recently because she wanted to be able to give them to someone she would see shopping in ShopRite who looked like a mom with a large family, I guess a woman with a lot of groceries in her cart!  So not necessarily a homeless person or someone down on their luck, just an ordinary mom with a lot of kids who $20 might bless on their shopping trip.

Once she offered to a woman who turned out to work for a group home and they had a good laugh about that.

I love my mom’s generous, kind heart. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our Birthday Board

IMG_2298So.  I’ve been here eleven years next month.  You’d think I’d have thought of certain things a little sooner.  But the good news is, I keep learning and getting new ideas!

Like our Birthday Board!  I actually got the idea from a Catholic center for disabled people.  Over a year ago.  Sometimes I’m a little slow at putting my ideas into practice.  Ahem.

But now we’re up and running and the boys love it!  I love it too – except when Dionsio asks me every day if today is his birthday since he’s been told it’s soon but doesn’t quite grasp the calendar concept yet!

Apparently we have a drip above the board and when it rained it ruined my little Feliz Aniversario sign.  Which is not a big problem as I was hoping to find some visitors with fancier writing skills to make better signs and captions anyway!

Pray that no one discovers the fun alternate uses of push pins!

Love, Laura

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Meet the Meninos ~ Afonso!

IMG_2249Afonso Pequno (Little Afonso) has now graduated to be called Afonso-Bonso!  You see, we had another Afonso here in the dorm whom I called Afonso-Bonso and he moved up in December to the next dorm.  So this little munchkin feels pretty special now to be called Afonso-Bonso himself!

IMG_2007Afonso-Bonso is one of those quiet boys who, sadly, is easy to get lost in such a big crowd.  I have to make an effort to reach out to him.  He’s not angry or moody, he just doesn’t seek a lot of attention and he doesn’t get in trouble. 

He is sweet-natured, a good friend to the other boys and loves to help!  I look forward to getting to know this little boy more!

With 33 kids, it’s not easy to “find” the invisible ones with so many clamoring for attention – pray for me that I do!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Meet the Birthday Boys, Francisco and Lourenco


These two pumpkin noodle heads are turning seven today!  They are darling twin brothers, Lourenco on the left and Francisco on the right.  We only have one birthday hat so we were silly and improvised a hat out of the bottoms of the Spiderman birthday pjs!  Let me tell you, the rest of the boys were delighted to get TWO pieces of candy today!


Francisco is the bigger of these two non-identical twins.  He still sucks his thumb, which can be quite cute although we’re working on stopping it, and doesn’t seem at all put off by his two missing front teeth!  Francisco is lively, squirmy, silly, funny, helpful and full of love.  He is going into second grade this year (if school will ever start – I’ve now heard it won’t start til Feb 4th!!!)


Lourenco is the smaller of the two but I like to call him scrappy!  He is also thoughtful, reflective, funny, inquisitive and loves to pretend to be in church – he plays all the roles, preacher, dancer, singer!  He also loves to play our toy guitars!  Oh, and one thing I love when he does – he taps his temple when he is thinking!  He saw me do it once and has done it ever since!

Now you’ve met Francisco and Lourenco!

Love, Laura

Sunday, January 05, 2014

San Diego Chargers Repost! While hoping they win the game they are playing right now!

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Some of you may know I LOVE the Chargers!  I LOVE football!  I LOVE visiting the US during the Fall so I can watch as much football as possible!  The sights, the sounds, the action - I LOVE it!

And it's 100 times better when you're there in person!  I've been to only a few games but I always tear up during the National Anthem and love the fireworks and canon booms at the end.  The last couple games I've been to have included F-13s doing a fly-by as the last note of the anthem fades away and the crowd cheers their hearts out - amazing!  At that particular moment this year, I so wished I could share something so exciting with all my boys, none of whom have ever experienced anything like it.  Maybe someday . . .

Everything 293Until then, I gladly share my Charger games with my oldest nephew, Randy.  He's a huge fan himself and we've tried to go to a game every year for the last several years but a few times things have come up preventing us from going.  One year, it was the San Diego fires!  We had tickets but had to return them when they had to move then venue to Arizona. Everything 301










Anyway, nothing stopped us this time and it was a great game.  Sadly, the Chargers lost to the Colts in the last seven seconds so it was a lame ending but it sure was a lot of fun!

We'll beat 'em next year!

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Randy and Emma Fariss from Faith Fellowship sent me this jersey as a gift after reading a previous post about my love for the Chargers - what an amazing gift!  Thank you!

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The Chargers hold off a touchdown but couldn't prevent the field goal that ended the game.  Bummer!

Ain’t it grand to be a kid?


I remember when my nephew Sean (my wonderful nephew Sean that is!) lived with me for a couple of years when he was 12, I rediscovered how to play!


It crept up on me but really kicked in full force one day when we were at the beach.  He was playing in the ocean, and I was tanning on the beach – of course!  (That was back before I was worried about wrinkles and dark spots!) He strayed out a little further than I was comfortable with so, grumpily I might add, I swam out to bring him back closer to shore.  Fully intending to get right back out to my reading.


Instead, I played!  And played!  Dove under the waves, tried to dunk him, tried not to let him dunk me, tried to bodysurf – it was so much fun! 

IMG_2191We had a terrific time!  I can’t say I never laid on the shore again but it highlighted for me that having him with me helped me rediscover the kid in me again.  And it was fun!

Now of course, I have 30 something little ones to remind me to play!  I don’t join in as often as I should but when I do, I’m always glad I did! 


Make sure you make some time to play – and not just video games or candy crush!  And hey, why not come visit me and play with my kids?  So I can take a break and lay on the beach and read!!! Smile

Love, Laura

Friday, January 03, 2014

Welcome Little Ones!


“Mana Laura!  We’re moving to your dorm!”  That’s what I’ve heard ever since I’ve been back from these three little cutie pies who were living in the transition house.  They had moved there from the Baby House and knew that this January they would be coming to me.

Today is the day!

They arrived this afternoon and are so excited, maybe a little apprehensive, but mostly excited.  They’ve been visiting to play and get to know the boys and the dorm for a while now so it’s not all new to them.  And as it happens, they have the same PJs that we have so they will fit right in tonight!

Igor, Manuel Sergio and Manuel 2 (who join our existing Manuel, bringing us to THREE Manuels in the dorm!) – more adventures to come!

(Please excuse my outfit, I threw on what I had where I was housesitting and then life happened and I never got around to changing so that I would match!)

Love, Laura

Thursday, January 02, 2014

New Look!

Hey loyal – and first time – readers!

What do you think of the new look of the blog?  I LOVED the color scheme I’ve had for years now but just thought I needed something a little different and lighter and fresher.  After much experimenting, I’ve chosen this look – for now!  I may still tweak it a little.

Your thoughts?  Is it light and fresh or plain and boring?  I’m not sure myself!

Comments welcome, good and bad, you won’t hurt my feelings!

Love, Laura

Happy New Year!


Alas, I was too busy doing the macarena, manning a craft station and putting tomato sauce on grilled sausages to get very many good photos but wanted to show you a glimpse of New Year’s Eve, Zimpeto style!


Superman even made an appearance!


There’s always someone in a crowd who can’t stay up til midnight!


Must have been the chicken dance that wore him out!


And a good time was had by all!

We all know that January 1st is just another day of the year but . . . I think most of us are wired to pay attention to natural turning points, mile markers perhaps, those bends in the road that signify a change.  So while you might not make resolutions, I do pray that at the beginning of this new year, you take time to reflect on where you’ve been and dream a little of where you are going!

May God open new doors for you you never thought possible and give you the faith and courage to walk through them!

By the way – I’d love to know if anyone still makes resolutions, please share if you do!  Although I get why it’s fallen primarily by the wayside, we don’t keep them, they aren’t SMART goals, etc., it makes me kind of sad that another tradition has passed out of fashion!

Love, Laura