In this together

Here are a few more of my family photo session pictures. I think this will be the last of them...maybe. :)
This is one of the few pictures of us together. A picture with two serious looking boys was better than hands over the eyes and fingers up the nose. We'll take what we can get. :)

I like this pictures because it just shows their personalities so well. The two of them laughing and being goofy for the camera.

Mini-me and her mama. :)

I am SO blessed!

This is a short post...really!! I've got to get back to cleaning/de-cluttering and clearing out this house (and packing the trailer.) Its a big job to move from 2000 square feet into about 200! We will probably have house-sitters while we are away so I want to leave our house thoroughly cleaned and make room for their things. I am looking at my crusty stove burners, hand smudged walls and chaotic laundry room in a whole new way! Oh the embarrassment of crumbs in kitchen drawers. It feels good to have a good start on it though and goodness knows it all needed to be done anyway. I'm trying to utilize my time better....meaning less time on the computer. :( I'll be back soon though....ROAD TRIP!!! (35 hours of driving with 3 kids should make for a few interesting blog posts) :)
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Aili 's pictures...third attempt

p.s my internet sucks and is getting worse by the day! In two weeks we will be on our way to Mexico and I'm sure that I will be able to find highspeed along the way and the funny thing is I will also have a better connection in Mexico....as far as I know. I can take deep breaths and keep from taking a bat to my computer until then....only a little longer. :)

I was just sitting here waiting for these pictures to post and I came accross something that Aili wrote. She loves writing stories, journals, notes to her family, poems anything.
This is her first attempt at writing a song:
Vers 1:
I was bord sittin in my room and then I new jest what to do.
I looked up a Bible verse.
I looked up an awsome one.
It said you are like the light for the world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden.
You are the light of the world
and anytime I walk and any time I see that you've done that for me, for me.
vers 2: In the dark I'm not afrad because I know I'm not a lon.
Your here when I see the light shining threw.
In the dark nes I'm not afrad
because you show me the way.Posted by Picasa
I left it unedited for your amusement. :) What a cute glimpse into her heart and her new writing skills. Although I think her grammer and spelling isn't far behind mine!


You have probably noticed I added "link within" at the bottom of each post. I've seen other people use it on their blogs and I like the way it recycles old posts. Ideally its supposed to automatically select old posts that relate in some way to the current post you are reading. I don't add it manually after each post or select the three posts that are linked. Its supposed to work better the longer I have it but so far it seems to be pulling up the same few posts over and over again....at least thats what its doing on my computer. I just wanted to let you know that I am not a complete moron who keeps linking the same posts over and over! ;) Hopefully it will start working better soon because it really is a fun thing to have. Maybe when I get hooked up to some highspeed in Mexico it will be able to work better.


Aili Sola

Last but not least. Here are some more pictures from our photo session with my cousin...cuz I know you just haven't had enough of the Burlando family yet.

Unlike her youngest brother...this one loves the camera.

A contemplative pose. Probably contemplating how she got stuck in a family with two little brothers.

Aili is looking forward to and asking lots of questions about our upcoming trip. That makes leaving home a lot easier for all of us. I was initially worried that the kids would be upset leaving so much of what they know behind. We would have worked through it but it would cause a lot more stress and heartache. I'm so pleased that they are just as excited as we are to see what God has around the corner.
Aili already packed her toys to take along. They are each allowed a large shoe box size container. It was enough for a few barbies and some other teeny toys ( petshop animals and polly pockets.) Roman has a box of bionicles and some legos thrown in. Silas has some action figures ,matchbox cars, trucks and tractors.
When you're moving an entire family into a 30ft camping trailer you have to be selective. The toys are good icebreakers with other kids though as they share and invite others to come play with them.

Along with the kids boxes of toys we have a big rubber made container packed away with toys to give to kids there. We are filling up that trailer quick. I am a little concerned with the weight we will be pulling. We will be a lot lighter coming home next spring but we have to get down there without blowing a transmission or breaking an axle. As I put things in the trailer I am also making room for them by bringing things back in. As we reach max capacity I am going over each item I have already packed ,removing some of the less essential items.

Since this is a post featuring Aili.....I have a little prayer request for her. (She is totally recovered and healthy right now..yay!)
My concern and prayer for her is that she would be able to find a special friend or two while we are in Mexico. She is so very social and meaningful friendships are SO important to her. Having done this before we realize that she has a lot going against her in her quest for friendship in Mexico. The language barrier (initially at least) will be a struggle for her. She will be the new girl in a group of kids who are often suspicious and slow to trust newcomers. She will be the "white girl" in a crowd of kids with black hair and tanned faces. Kid are kids anywhere you go. The one who's different and new is usually the one who has the most to overcome socially.
It seems like a small concern but I know God cares about even the smallest details of our lives.
Please pray with me that he would provide a loyal friend for Aili.


Photo shoot Silas style

Here are some more of the pictures that my cousin took for us. Aren't they fun?
She managed to get a few happy pictures of Silas when he least suspected it.
The good thing about moody two year olds is that they can go from grumpy and crying to laughing hysterically within minutes.

I think he was being chased by a daddy monster.

Just throwing rocks in the river...minding his own business....*CLICK*

This was Silas' preferred pose throughout most of the photo shoot.
What a stinker. He's never been a big fan of cameras.

I've noticed a change in him over the last week or so. I think having this port-harvest/ pre-Mexico time alone at home with him is a good thing. Life is pretty relaxed for him and I right now. I don't remember the last time I was alone during the day with only one child! Between my own kids, babysitting and foster babies...its usually a full house. I must say I am enjoying my "break". We've had lots of time for reading books, going for long bike rides (Silas in the old bike trailer), strolling down to get the mail, .....I even jumped on the trampoline with him the other day (Well actually we mostly ran around in circles chasing each other). What a work out!
The compliant, sweet, silly Silas that we know and love has made a return appearance. I was starting to wonder if he was gone for good. Fingers crossed that he will stick around .... at least for a while.

We are even making progress in the potty training department. Its been a LONG road this time around. I am SO hoping (and even praying) that he will "get it" before we leave on our trip. We've been living in quasi potty trained limbo for 7 months now....and its taking its toll on my nerves....and my carpet.
The last couple days I am seeing a very subtle change for the better and he is starting to take his own initiative (finally!). My fingers are crossed and my breath is held. I'm internally chanting the mantra ..no more poop, no more poop.......

I'm also hoping we are on the tail end of those "terrible twos" that for my kids seems to hit the hardest between 1 1/2 -2 1/2. With Silas he was a compliant little angel baby right until his second birthday...then WHAMO....it hit.

It's SO nice when they reach that age of reason (at least a little bit) and can better understand life. Having a better vocabulary helps with the frustration too I think.
He is getting so tall and even starting to fill out a little. He is just one of the boys now. He and Roman (who is 3 1/2 years older) wrestle like little puppies constantly. I'm glad that they both have a brother. I was watching them play yesterday and it actually choked me up a little (usually it just hurts my ears and I tell them to take it outside). I so rarely think of my other son but for some reason I couldn't help but picture a big 9 year old boy in the mix. Its so funny to watch Silas copy every thing his big brother does. He idolizes him like crazy. I can picture what it would have been like for Roman to have a big brother.

On a totally different subject. Some of Silas' usual sayings (funny because he seems too young to be saying them....you can tell he has older siblings) right now are:

" I din mean too"
"Dat not fair!"
"It not my fawt (Its not my fault...said in totally random situations with big inncocent eyes)
"I horny" (I'm hungry)
"What dat for?"
"I boring"
"WHY?" (yep we just reached that stage)
I realize that these are not nearly as cute to readers who can't also see the ridiculous expressions and hear the inflection in his voice. I've found with the older kids that if I don't write some of these things down....which I typically don't I forget them. The things I have written down that they used to say when they were just starting to really talk I really appreciate. I always forget these things and when I go back and read them I can immediately hear the exact little speech impediment voices.

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showing off for the camera

Here is a photo shoot Roman style.

Of course he has to show off some of his moves. The newest of which is a head stand with his legs out to the side...definately a marketable life skill don't ya think?.
He wants me to put him in "break dancing classes" next winter.....not sure if there is such a thing out here but I might just have to look into it.

Anyone can swing sit on a seat. Leave it to Roman to get creative with even a swing.

I have so many fun pictures to showoff but since I can only post 4 at a time I have material for lots of new picture posts. :)
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more Burlando Family pictures

Me and my girl. The last portrait of just the two of us was taken when she was 6 weeks old!

My family of perfect angels. I am certainly glad I didn't have to distract little Silas from wailing and covering his eyes by telling him to throw rose hips at the camera. That would be outrageous. I am also glad I didn't have to resort to bribery and out right lies. Ridiculous things like telling your child to "look at the camera because a monkey is going to fly out of it "certainly has no place in a proper photo shoot with children as perfect as mine.

I look forward to a day when we have a family picture without tears and fingers in noses.

But the trade off would be having no little cuties like this.
I guess we can put up with him...seeing as he's so darn cute.

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Family pictures

I'm SO excited that we finally had some family pictures taken. Our last family portrait was taken four years ago in a bargain studio....not great. I decided it was time to try again. My cousin who , as you can see, is a wonderful photographer spent a couple hours with us snapping pictures. Thankyou so much Allison!

Silas was an ornery little stinker that day. He woke up that morning at 5am and wouldn't go back to sleep. All moms know that a 2 year old waking up two hours too early is a recipe for disaster. That combined with no nap and being sick the day before made it a challenge to get a decent photo of this little grump. He was convinced we were all going swimming in this river. Allison did an amazing job at sneaking up on him and even got some great pictures of him smiling...just not when we was supposed to. Everytime she tried to get us all together for a posed family shot he covered his eyes and cried. I love this shot though!

These were the cooperative kids. :)

Just the girls.
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Update and Thankyou!

A quick update on my last post. Aili's fever broke yesterday and she rapidly started feeling better from there. Today she was back to her normally perky self. She had been getting progressively worse all week (her surgery was Tues.) and towards the end of the week was basically spending the day laying on the couch, running a fever (although not high enough to justify a hospital trip), miserable and not eating. I am so glad I didn't end up having to take her back in to see the dr or put her on antibiotics. Thank you to all of you who were praying for her!! She has also been battling a strange skin infection this past week unrelated to the surgery...just cruddy timing (it is now healing nicely after several days of being treated with prescription topical antibiotics). I can add to my mommy resume "wound care specialist now". Her little immune system was having trouble keeping up I think. Added to that recent travel vaccinations and surgery and I think it made the perfect little storm...and made my nerves a bit ragged.

We are also done with harvest for the year! I was expecting it to take longer but we put in some long days and got it all done. :) My Dad's grain is in the bins and I got some nice seasonal work to add to the travel fund. I enjoyed being part of the farm work on the farm that I grew up on. Being a farm hand is fun for a little while ;) I will now be home catching up on my neglected blog friends....ahem...I mean housework and getting ready for the trip.

Thank you again for your encouraging words and your prayers!


3 more weeks!!

In only 3 weeks we will be loading up our family and driving down to Baja Mexico. We are getting excited about the trip but have been so busy with harvest that we haven't had too much time to think about it.
I've already started packing and organizing our new home. A 30ft camping trailer. It will be cozy to say the least :)
I went to a "bag sale" at the local 2nd hand store and came out with a garbage bag sized bag full of children's fleece sweaters, jackets,and warm baby sleepers. I am excited with my stash and it only cost me $9 total!! Yay! There are even a few really cute Old Navy fleeces that look like new. We also have sorted out of our own drawers and toy bins boxes of stuff to take down to donate. I was worried that we would not be able to fit everything...and everyone into our trailer. After packing this morning I am surprised at how much I can fit in the underneath compartment. That is encouraging.

These are a few pictures of the last time we were down there as a family in the winter of '05/'06. We only had an 18 ft trailer last time but since we have one more family member ...and a lot more home school school supplies we needed an upgrade.

It seems like there is a lot more to do and many more loose ends to tie up before we go. Yikes. I'm back out working in the fields again lately so it will have to wait. There will be time once the wheat is in the bins.

I wanted to let you all know, all my loyal lurkers and blog land friends, just how much I appreciate you. I feel bad sometimes that I am not able to visit and comment on more sites more often. We STILL have dial up and it takes a very very long time to pull up some of the blog pages. I click on a page and then go do dishes or shower or something and come back to it. It ties up my phone line. Those people who try to reach me on my land line are all too aware that it is always busy :) (hint: try my cell)
It is worth the wait though to keep up with your lives and families. I just don't get there as often as I would like to.

When I started blogging a year ago I began almost by accident. Just fooling around seeing if it would even work...and the rest is history. Its been fun and so encouraging to be a part of such a big community. As we share our lives openly someone else will always be able to relate or find encouragement from it. I have found both through the blogs of others.
I have found so many mature Christian women and moms that I would never have normally met. I have learned and grown so much by reading about what God is doing in your lives. Thankyou for that. To my readers I have been so encouraged by your comments over the year. They are my happy thoughts :) Thankyou.

As we are about to embark on this new journey as a family I am struggling right now with some discouragement. As sisters (and even brothers) in Christ I ask if you could pray for our family as we prepare to leave. It feels as if we are in a bit of a tailspin lately and no area of our lives have been untouched. Relationally we have struggled this past month. In our marriage and in parenting our kids. We've hit some rough waters lately. In our health we have had an unusual and somewhat odd array of illness and infections in the last few weeks. Silas' allergies have been worse and he is developing new ones. Aili's recovery from surgery has been slow and is now complicated by a cold. Not exactly what we had hoped for. She is also battling and hopefully recovering from another infection. Financially ....well you know how that goes. Just when we think we've got enough saved for the trip.... a kid needs to go to the dentist and the car needs to get repaired. We have seen God's provision though and trust that He will get us there (and hopefully back too )

All this has accumulated and is shaking my confidence in my ability to keep my family safe, healthy and emotionally strong during our travels and adaption to life in a different culture. I remember from the last time that we are much more prone to illness down there. I suspect in part because of our lack of immunity to the slightly different varieties of viruses . A big factor down there is also the fine dessert dust that gets everywhere...including our lungs and sinuses. We were very fortunate last time to have absolutely no tummy troubles and considering all the taco stands we ate at...that is a miracle in itself.

I had hoped to have us all healthy and well nourished, to have our immune systems strong and ready to face a winter on the Baja. I am feeling very humbled and even worried that we are starting out already battling random health issues.

My confidence is shaken in my ability to keep my family healthy but my confidence is not shaken in God's. In our weakness He is strong. He is our refuge and strength an ever present help in trouble. I would be so grateful to have someone somewhere intercede on our behalf. Thankyou SO much.

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Lean Cuisine....Carla syle

I am linking up this post with Lynettes blog today. She is asking us to share a favorite dinner time recipe with everyone. The problem is I don't cook with recipes!
After a moment of panic and feeling like I should just look through a cookbook and find something I decided to put a twist on the topic.
Cooking Carla style means throwing together what ever I happen to have in the cupboards or fridge. I am not a big fan of cooking. In fact if I would prefer someone else do it for me. I am not very good at planning ahead or sticking to directions or measurements in a recipe.
I tend to make it up as I go.
Often that leads to me wondering what should be for dinner at around 5pm.
The only things I use recipes for are for baking and even then I usually improvise because of allergy boy. So here are a few of our favorite meals and some baking recipes thrown in.

Here are a couple of our favorite meals:
some sort of meat or chicken cooked and sauced up with mexican spices(unless going for a vegi only meal)
refried or whole beans
lots of colorful vegis
lettuce, spinach or cabbage
and mild salsa for the kids and hot sauce for the adults

Pizza night (which is often Friday)

Easy pizza crust: (this I do have a recipe for)

2 1/4-2 3/4 cups flour (I combing white and wholewheat)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp yeast (instant)
1 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
Mix, knead with some more flour, let rise then shape onto the pizza pan.

Add your favorite toppings
Our pizza is different every time depending on what I have to put on it. We all agree that the more the better...no plain cheese pizza around here. Its actually fast and easy to make.
***A super easy fast way to make individual thincrust pizzas is to use regular sized pita pockets. Just put the ingredients on the top and bake for a few minutes until the toppings are hot and melty.

Creamy garden soup was a favorite this summer since we had an abundance of vegies to use up. I just cook a pot full of vegies (potatoes, onion, carrots, green beans, chopped swiss chard,) I remove a little of the vegi broth, whisk in some flour and milk then pour it into the pot of vegies and remaining broth. I add salt, pepper, and fresh dill for seasoning while cooking the veggies. For a yummy variety add some cheese. It goes great with biscuits. Its yummy creamy comfort food.

Here is my bread recipe :

1. Beat together:
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp salt
3 eggs (which I now leave out because of allergy boy)
1/2 c. sugar (or honey)

2. Add: 4 cups warm water
1 cup bran, oatmeal or ground flax.

3. Mix 3 tbsp "instant rapid rise" yeast with about 4 cups whole wheat flour. This can be done in the main mixing bowl (only one bowl needed) on top of the wet ingredients.
Once the yeast is dispursed into some of the flour mix it all together and add about 6-7 more cups of flour (white or whole wheat)mixing as you go (I never measure the flour I just go by texture...so you may need a little more or less). At some point when the dough gets thicker and tough to stir sprinkle the counter with white flour and start kneading, adding flour until the dough isn't sticky but firm and smooth. This part of the process is great excercise!! You can justify eating one of the finished buns (for quality control purposes of course) because of the great arm workout you just did.

Place the big kneaded ball of dough into a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 1/2 hour. Punch it down (the kids like that part) and form it into loaves or little balls and place them on a baking sheet. Allow the finished loaves and buns to rise for about 1/2 and then bake them for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

In the above picture I doubled the recipe so don't expect that amount...and I suggest you don't start by doing double recipes (that is a LOT of dough to knead!)
It will make plenty of buns or bread to freeze.
I make variations of this recipe all the time. In the above picture I cooked up some multigrain mix (usually used for porridge) and added it to the ingredients.

Its not as complicated as it appears. It may take a little practice to get it to turn out just right but there is nothing like homemade bread!

Homemade Banana Pancakes - I'm not even cheating because we use this as a main dish and its a recipe! :)

1 1/4 cup flour (I usually combine white with a little whole wheat)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I skip because of allergy boy)
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1 ripe banana mashed or pureed
1 large egg (I skip because of allergy boy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
If you are feeling like making a treat add 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
I also sometimes make variations by throwing in some wheat germ or ground flax.

Combine dry ingredients. beat and add it wet ingredients and banana. Cook on a greased frying pan until the tops are bubbly then flip.
I usually double or triple this recipe and have some leftovers for some kid breakfasts the the next day.

Happy baking....(and cooking).
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I delight in you

"The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing. "
That bit of Hebrew poetry is found in Zephaniah 3:17
Sounds like a domineering, critical, power-tripping God eh? (sarcasm inserted here)

I love this verse. Read it over again and soak it up. :)

God is with you, he is not distant, unconcerned or unavailable.
He is not only with you but he is mighty and able to save.
Imagine a God who takes great delight in little old you. A God that loves you with an extravagant and passionate love.
He can quiet the turmoil in your soul with that love.
He will find so much joy in being the lover of your soul that He can't help but serenade you.

My philosophy of parenting is to parent my kids the way God parents us. I prefer to take Gods word and how he relates to people as a whole rather than just search out and focus solely on isolated verses normally designated to parenting.
He relates to us with patience, grace, and mercy all within the security of loving boundaries and justice.
I fall so short sometimes and instead start showing irritability, frustration, laziness, selfishness and criticism.
Fortunately God is also patient with me as a parent. :)
I know he is looking at the the finished product and not the slip ups along the way. I can do that also with my kids.

When we take the above poem about how God relates to his people and transfer it to how we relate to our kids it takes on a whole new application for us as parents.

My children must know I am "with" them. I must be available to them physically, emotionally and spiritually. I cannot be gone all the time, emotionally distant ,or spiritually phony or unavailable.

I want my children to be secure in the knowledge that their Dad and I are "strong" enough to come along side them and shoulder the things in life that are to heavy for them to carry alone. They must be assured that we are strong enough to withstand their mood swings, their internal struggles, their mistakes, their immaturity without it affecting how we feel about them. We must be strong enough to have their best interest in mind even when that means some tough love. In wisdom and strength we can guard their hearts and provide a safe place to land when life gets tough.

I want to take "great delight" in my children, not merely just tolerate them. I want them to know that I not only love them but like who they are, find pleasure in their company, find them interesting and believe in the person they will become. Its so important to tell our kids we love them regularly but it means so much more when it is backed up by our actions, our affection and our priorities. We either bless our children by our words and actions or we tear them down. It is my desire to bless them each day.

"He will quiet you with his love".

I instantly remember Aili as a toddler. She would get so worked up over things that she would hyperventilate (and sometimes throw up). I would get so stressed and feel like such a failure that my two year old couldn't control her emotions better. I would try everything to snap her out of it. I remember one evening when she was freaking out in the bathtub because I had to wash her hair (she hated it) she was so worked up that I think she forgot what she was upset about by the end of the bath. I remember being worried that the neighbors would think I was murdering her. I wrapped my wee girl up in a big towel and sat down in the rocking chair (likely with a few tears of my own) and rocked and soothed her until she eventually quieted and fell asleep. At that moment she needed my help instead of my wrath. It takes wisdom as a parent to balance tenderness and mercy with hard firm consequences. It takes truly knowing our kids and taking the time to understand the situation and what they really need from us. I can think of times in my life when the table was turned and I was the one freaking out and God was the one to hold me and comfort me with his love.

"He will rejoice over you with singing."
How much uninhibited joy and affection do you have to feel for someone to sing over them? A mother tucking her little one into bed and singing lullabies to him. A Daddy with a child on his knee singing to her as she looks adoringly up at him. God is portrayed in this poem as a sort of warrior-lover. Strong enough to go to battle for us but tender enough to hold us. Likewise parenting is a paradox of strength and mercy. I am picturing in my mind a marine soldier outfitted for battle sitting and holding a fragile newborn in his arms. A warrior mama dressed from head to toe in the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) bending down to kiss a boo boo.

Any other warrior mama's out there? :)

Lets bless our children today and show them how much we delight in them.

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My boys

More pool pictures. :) We are actually having a real weekend right now... in the middle of harvest time! We are done harvesting lentils and it will be a couple weeks until the wheat is ready. It doesn't usually work out that we have half time break in between crops. We gave'er hard for a couple weeks and now I have some time to re-group at home before we go again.
Silas is OK being the half-time show.

The weather has been HOT the last couple weeks which has been great for getting the crops dried out....my garden and yard are pretty much toasted right now (being sorely neglected). In fact I have given whats left of my garden over to the hoards of grasshoppers that have moved in.

We spent some time at a neighbors pool this afternoon....yay for generous neighbors with pools!
Silas LOVES the water! What a fish. He even has built in flippers ;)

Silas and his Daddy making parents everywhere gasp and twitch.

My Romeo. We celebrated the end to a LONG first week of school with a surprise party (pizza, popcorn and old school starwars trilogy). The kids have never seen them and I had only seen the first one...as a child, so it was a fun movie watching weekend. Snuggling up as a family watching movies was just what we needed. The light sabers just made it extra special :)
Roman has had a bit of a hard time adjusting to school everyday. Getting back into the groove of things after a summer of climbing trees and building forts is going to be a bit of a challenge I think.
After watching him burst into tears 4 out of 5 mornings last week, I am hoping that this coming week will be easier. It will only be a 4 day week anyway.
He is in "Room 1" (there are 2 rooms total for grades k-6). They have k-3 in the same classroom right now and although the small country school has SO many benefits I think the distraction factor is going to be an issue for this guy.
I think homeschooling him this winter will be a good thing. I'm psyching myself up for the challenge.
We are starting them out in school this fall and will home school (with mainly the schools curriculum) for our 6 month stay in Mexico.
I know it will be difficult at times to keep on task (and to have patience) but I think that working his schooling around the way a busy little boy is wired (instead of trying to cram him into something he wasn't made for ) will benefit him and promote more enjoyment of learning.

Our trip will be an adventure and a huge learning experience for all the kids. Only about a month left!!!

Check out the lashes on this boy. You have to look closely to really see how long they are...they are freaky long. He is so used to people gasping and commenting on his gorgeous lashes that he just replies "I know" and gets embarrassed. I remind him he should say thank you but to him I don't think its really a compliment. They'll drive the girls crazy someday though :)

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