This is the week

A week from today we should be back at our little rented house in Baja Mexico!  This past week has been a mess of packing sorting and finishing up odds and ends...although I'm not exactly finished yet. 

This is one of the piles in my house.  I don't have any spare rooms to pack and stack in so there are plastic totes, piles and suitcases everywhere.   This particular donation pile is made up of boxes of kids clothes and shoes that I've pulled out of our dressers and storage, some school supplies, as well as blankets given to us by friends and relatives.  I may have over estimated that amount of space we have in the back of our van.   This pile doesn't include any of what I have packed for us, a family of 6.

I try to pack our things as light as possible but with a wide range of temperatures in North Baja in the winter, a road trip through snowy provinces and states,  and a sketchy laundry/ water situation in the town we'll be living in I can't pack too light...it's tricky balance.   Any surplus I have is always used to clothe our little friends anyway.  I just hope I can scrunch most of this stuff in.    I have a feeling there will be blankets stacked between our children and rolled up under the seats.

This week has also been our first real week of winter.  Brrrrr.  I'm freezing my summer spoiled hiney off.   By March five degrees below freezing will feel like a delightfully balmy spring day but right now it feels like some sort of cruel torture. Oh how our perspective changes after only a few months of summer.  

The perpetual problem of a toddler in the snow...lost mittens and cold hands. Good thing this cold little hand has a big brother to help her out and bring her back to the house. 

I'm looking forward to saying adios to winter for the next month....and hello to 10 peso tacos and palm trees.

My next post should be written in a hotel somewhere between here and Mexico.   Hasta luego amigos.


Snow Birds

Silas face pretty much looks like how I feel when winter arrives.

It looks like he's thinking...."Remind me why we live here again"

I'm glad I pulled out the snow gear yesterday, because this is what we woke up to this morning.

Some of us are more thrilled than others.  Cece thought it was wonderful and Roman is just happy he has something to dig.  He and his shovel are having a fantastic time together.  Thank God for heavy work.

Speaking of Roman, he got glasses last week and I'm happy to report they are still in one piece.  He insists that they make a big difference (even though his prescription isn't very strong) so I'm hoping that it helps with his frustration level when doing book work.  He has done an awful lot of eye rubbing and complaining of head aches lately. 

In other news..
our little guy in a far away land received the care package we sent to him. 

Here he is winding a tiny little transparent music box. 

Looking at some pictures of his new family members and our every day life. 

Some Robeez shoes, socks, treats, animal crackers, a John Deere tractor, a book, a music box and a couple little toys the kids snuck in.  It was a small package but it feels amazing to see something that we held in our own hands in his.   

Oh my heart I can't wait to get my hands on this boy.  We're still hoping for a January trip.  We're currently waiting on our "LOA" or otherwise known as "letter seeking confirmation" which is one of the final steps other than our travel invitation.  We're at about day 48 and in we've been watching other people's LOA come anywhere between about 40 and 120 days.  There's really no rhyme or reason as far as I can tell.  It seems the typical wait is around 65 days.  Once we have our letter we could travel in about a month I think...or on the next month our agency does a trip which in our case would be Jan.  We should have everything done by then, that is unless we got in the wrong check out line for the LOA and it takes 120 days instead of 60.  I'm confident it will all work out in His timing.

This weekend I was given the opportunity to serve lunch at a trade show to raise money for our adoption.  I spent quite a few days last week cooking and baking up a storm (and recruiting my mom to bake as well).  It was actually quite fun, in a totally exhausting way...and at the end of the day we have $275 more for our adoption fund!  

and because life just wasn't interesting enough....

We are headed to Mexico in a week!!
I don't really have time to explain right now how God opened this door for us to go after months of seeking and praying about it (honestly we didn't expect it would happen this year for obvious reasons) but we're super happy to go.  I'll save the story for another post. 

I've been busy sorting donations,  doing the great season exchange of clothing, and packing for a 4 day road trip and a month in Baja Mexico.  
I'm feeling about as scattered as my house looks at the moment.  I'll give you fair warning...if you stop by my house unannounced it pretty much looks like chaos on steroids.  I may even forget your name, or my own...or just stare at you blankly.  My brain is filled to the brim with mental lists and because of of cold and flu season I'm quite sleep deprived.   
Don't judge me too harshly....this chaos has a purpose.  I must admit it's been hard to stay focused on home school lessons when we're only a couple weeks away from smooching these little cheeks.  

We're looking forward to surprising our "Special Seven"...the kids that call me Tia.  
We're super excited to hang out with and serve Amber and Saul and our other friends at EFF!  We're also super duper excited to gorge ourselves on tacos and tamales.   It will be a bit of a whirl wind fast trip down and back.  Because it's such a last minute spontaneous trip we don't have a lot of firm plans as far as "projects" but we're going to rent a house in town again and make ourselves available to whatever (or whoever) the Lord has for us.

The thought of being gone while finishing up two adoptions and then possibly leaving again in January kind of makes me want to breath into a paper bag!...and thinking about all that needs to be done makes me want to take a nap.   If you don't hear from me for a bit it's fair to assume I'm neck deep in a pile of mess somewhere, attempting to teach a home school lesson, dissociating from my to-do list by wasting time on Facebook, tending to my neglected children, or trying to scrape up something for dinner.

I'll do my best to take my blog friends along with us again this year...so stay tuned for another Burlando family adventure.

Soli Deo Gloria,



Can I get a witness up in here?

"We have come to testify...
God is surely great"

I was blasting this track (featured below)  from my stereo in the kitchen, when Miss Cece came wandering in with her new tambourine   A tambourine that I bought yesterday at a second hand store (you know the depths of desperation I had sunk to, when letting my 2 year old play a tambourine 40 minutes home from town was the best option).

This afternoon, I smiled as I watched her dance, jump, sing/hollar, and bash her tamborine to the music.   She sang "ooooo"  "hawewuwah!".

She has no idea.  She has no idea why mom was singing "Hallelujah" this afternoon.

She has no idea that today her mommy and daddy just signed the last of the papers....the papers with her new name.   The papers that will soon be sent to the judge.  The papers saying, YES we want this child!

She had no idea, even while we were in the case workers office, what we were doing, she was only concerned with shouting "POOPY!" and being taken out to the bathroom three times (none of which she actually pooped).  Between potty trips we did manage to get all the lines signed and have the documents read to us.

She has no idea that her life could have been very different.  She has no idea everything is about to change and yet nothing will change.... the best part is she will notice nothing.   She will become ours very soon...but being ours is all she remembers.  No new home, no adjustments, no grief or trauma....just being labelled a  "foster kid" one day and officially  a "daughter" the next.

Our God is truly good.

He sets the lonely in families.  He raises up the least among us for His purpose.  A sick baby no one wanted, is a beloved and cherished child .  We breath a sigh of relief, exhale from two years of uncertainty.

We are here to testify.

God is surely great!


Filled up with Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada.   Our American neighbors to the south also have a 'Thanksgiving' holiday but they celebrate late in November.  Our Holiday lines up with Autumn and harvest.  It is a day set aside to reflect on the abundance we have and give thanks to God for our blessings.  

We started our holiday a little early with a visit to our good friends who live a few hours away. 

I'm so thankful for friends that are just as strange as we are.  It's not very often in life when you find a family that meshes completely and naturally with yours.  The more our life looks a little odd, or we make decisions that are out side of the norm...the more we come across raised eye brows,  criticism, or the opinions of others on how our life should be.  Not that we expect, or require, the approval of anyone...I had my people pleasing idol painfully crushed a few years back.  We have friends and family that we dearly love and enjoy spending time with on all different paths through life, but it's completely refreshing and encouraging to just put our feet up and hang out with our friends who "get" us.  They have the same love for Jesus, the same intentional heart for orphans, the same passion for traveling to serve and love people who are living in desperate circumstances,  they happen to home school their kids, they have a larger than average family, the same sense of humor, and they even drive a big old van like we do.  

 If you've ever home schooled, lived as a mixed race family, or adopted you know what an asset and gift it is to be able to share struggles, glean wisdom, and gain lots of practical advice on everything from curriculum choices, to parenting a child that has a past filled with trauma and loss.  

It's pretty awesome just to be our "weird" selves...and have sweet fellowship in our weirdness.  We spend a lot of our time together laughing...and drinking a a lot of coffee (the secret to keeping up with 10 kids) 

I love all of our kids!...and I love that our families are continuing to expand, and that they will grow up sharing life together.  

Duncan, our friend's new puppy is the newest addition to the pack.

Our Thanksgiving weekend Saturday included cleaning up the yard and garden for winter, washing windows and generally preparing to be snowed in for the next several months...and then tea and cake with friends we haven't seen in a while.   On Sunday we worshiped with our church family, drove out for a quick visit to see my sister and her new little princess.  After that visit, we joined with some friends from church, two other young families, and had a delicious thanksgiving dinner complete with home made pumpkin pie.  We got home late again last night now I have a horribly crabby over tired toddler to bring me back down to reality.  It was worth the pay back though.

Roman is away on a fishing trip with grandma and grandpa.  We're expecting him home tonight and I know he'll have many tales of adventure to tell us.  

My new little neice is such a gorgeous baby...she looks so incredibly familiar as I clearly see two of my sisters in her little face.  

It was pretty sweet to hold a newborn baby again.  

A proud cousin marvels over her tiny little hands.
This guy has always adored babies. 

Today, and every day, I have SO much to be thankful for.  

I am thankful for each one of my five little treasures. I am thankful to have a husband who is continually growing deeper in his faith and selfless love for his family.  He intentionally and humbly leads his family closer to Jesus.  I am thankful for a husband who only has eyes for me, and still tells me everyday that I'm beautiful.   I am incredibly thankful that both of our adoption processes both have an end in sight.   I am amazed, and humbled, and so filled with thanks that our China adoption is now fully funded...and that money will not stand in the way between us and our new son.  I'll write more on that miracle later.

I am thankful for family, for friends, for new life, and growing families as hearts and homes are opened.  I'm thankful that God provides what we need before we even realize we need it. 

I am thankful that a holy and good God would love a wretch like me.  I thankful that He lived the life I couldn't live and died the death I should have died. I'm thankful that I am now free, and no longer a slave to myself.   I am thankful that I stand completely covered in the righteousness of Christ, a righteousness that I could never earn, merit or add anything to.....AND as if that wasn't enough, that He would have a beautiful purpose for this broken, redeemed, vessel.   In Christ, I can live life abundantly, secure, and filled with every good gift, continually amazed that He would fill me up, so that I can be poured out for His glory.  

Soli Deo Gloria,