Wednesday, April 30, 2014


The Texas wildflowers this Spring have been AMAZING! So fun to spot new ones on Lane and my morning park walks while Noe is at school.

She loves zooming across this long bridge...


Even the cactus are in bloom...

The kids treated me to a funny puppet show... they had flipped Noe's mattress up on its side in the doorway and then called me over to watch. Too cute.

We ended the day with them watching Charlotte's Web for the first time. Our animal lover was completely entranced: 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Rey is still down at the border working on the parent's house... and we had a fun day at the "Mini Fiesta" Noé's school was having.

Señorita Aleni y Señor Noé:


Face painting:

Noé cracked me up with his choice of the "Texas Flag" on his cheek.

Ending the day with a little dress up:

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I am pretty sure in the night, I heard some loud shouting/agitation and running going on in the hotel, or right outside. The hotel is located in town, on a busy street so there are always people wandering the streets below--and it is not the nicest hotel. I prayed yet again for safety and fell asleep after all was silent for a while. There are guards at the doors with rifles during the day... but I'm not sure at night? I would guess that yes? 

Speaking of the guards, it was hard for Noe to get that the guys standing around with bullet-proof vests and semi-automatic weapons probably weren't the most social of people. He thinks police men are the best ever... so he would be so excited to try to tell them "Good morning" and wave... but, always back away confused when they wouldn't make eye contact or would just turn away. Ah, well. 

Saturday, we again arrived first thing in the morning and jumped right into working on the shed. We were really wanting to finish today... because we know we do not want to try to cross the bridge into the US on a Sunday. Crazy long lines!

Progress--with just the 2 of us... and often just the 1 of him--was so much slower than we'd anticipated! But, it was coming along!

Today, we were left alone with all the kids for a big chunk of time... which meant, I couldn't really help Rey since I was the only one left to keep an eye on them. It was so stinkin' hot and everyone was miserable and cranky... so--tablet to the rescue again!!

As the afternoon went on, we came to the realization that there was no way we were going to get all the finishing touches done on the shed today. So, we made the decision to lock up the shed with all the leftover pieces and tools inside... and that Rey would come back later to finish.

Those final hours seemed endless--we were so drained and soaked in sweat. It seemed we'd never get everything put away and packed up. The kiddos were at the end of their rope, and we promised to get them an ice cream cone and hamburger on the way out.... "Just be patient!"

Aleni fell asleep before we even made it to the highway.... Poor baby!

Noe was very happy to slurp down his ice cream cone and chow down on his fries.... AND play with the super cool slingshot abuelo made him from a stick Noe found on the ranch!

... And, take some selfies--ha. He looks so old in these!

Well-deserved rest in a comfy bed in McAllen!!

Friday, April 25, 2014


We decided to try to get to Rey's family's place first thing in the morning today. Working through the heat from yesterday just took it out of us! We were sweating so much that it was hard to see/hold on to tools. 

But, getting there earlier did not mean beating the heat. It was one of those days that was so humid that you were sweating even before the sun came up. 

We began working and again found ourselves working alone most of the time. This time, it was probably more frustrating, because everyone knew we needed help (yesterday, we thought--"Well, maybe people didn't remember we were coming... so, that's why...")

Around 2, Rey brought us back to our hotel room. When we had rented to hotel room last night, they failed to mention that we would not be able to sleep in that room tonight. So, while we were at Rey's parents'... the hotel staff moved all of our things to a room at the back end of the 3rd floor. They said it was a deluxe suite with a king sized bed.

We had to laugh when we walked in. It was exactly the same as the room we'd had the night before, except that instead of two full-sized beds, we now were expected to sleep all together in one king sized bed. Hey, whatever, I thought. It's got air conditioning. I'm in!

So, Rey dropped us off for some down time/cooling off at the hotel and then went back to the ranch for a couple hours. Although, those couple hours turned into four.

What to do when you're a tiny bit stir crazy?? Dance to the mariachi band on the TV! :)

Noe playing on the tablet again... in our deluxe suite. ;)
Rey sent one of his younger sisters to pick us up around 6, and we went back out to the ranch. 

When I had left for the hotel, Rey and I had gotten the metal frame of the shed sorted out and partly installed. When I was gone, he was able to rally some help from some of the men and got a good portion of the walls put up!

The kids had a great time, playing out in the field with a water hose as the sun set behind them. Water fixes everything.

We came back to the hotel room after 9 pm... still laughing at our deluxe suite. Rey had been able to get a rollaway cot ordered to the room to sleep on. This is a picture of the bottom side of it, pieces of the broken wood slats poking through. It was also deluxe. 
And, finally, a snapshot of our deluxe curtains.... ;)

I spent quite a bit of time that night looking out of that curtain. Turns out, across the street below was a discoteca (dance/night club) that had THE loudest club music playing. It sounded like our hotel room was in the club... thankfully we had noise machines so the kids could sleep through it.

It was fascinating to watch from the window as people came and went. Definitely a very shady business and watching made me say some extra prayers for safety.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


We decided to make a "run" down to the border to see Rey's family over the weekend. We thought we'd try to go now--since Rey doesn't have a job, and to try to "beat the heat". Ha! I think we brought the heat--it was the hottest weekend they'd had so far... over 100 every day. Yuck!

"Guys, guess what?? It's time to go to abuelo and abuela's house!!" 

"Aleni, how do you feel about going to abuelo's house and riding horsies??"

The bridge in the distance! Donna bridge is the best--hardly ever a wait!

It is so interesting to drive through Rey's hometown of Rio Bravo now. I told Rey, "I don't know if it's because I'm older now so I see it differently--but, I feel like every time we come, the town looks more and more like a gangster town!" Rey agreed. It definitely is not looking better, things just seem darker and grimmer as you drive the streets. Sad.

We also came down to build a room for Rey's parents. Rey's mom has been sick off and on since winter--pneumonia, and then complications from that (fluid in the lungs)... combining that with extreme weather and arthritis, anemia and issues with hernias... she has been feeling pretty awful these days. They were all extremely worried about her, since she wasn't ever really getting better and was loosing even more weight (when she's very thin to begin with). 

So, we organized details--got some financial help from some awesome friends--and came down with a goal: Get this air-conditioned, weather-proof room built!!

First step: Get the ground leveled out to build a base.

There were 2 baby kittens there, so the kids were in heaven!! So fun...

Aleni is a total worker bee, so she loves having "jobs" to do!

Once it gets hot there, there's not much else to do but look for a piece of shade to sweat in!! Noe entertained himself and his cousin with his tablet games. :)

Working on laying out the frame for the base. (I actually did all this, and when a friend jumped in to help, I stepped away to take the picture!) :)

It was actually surprising to us... We had thought: We bring everything... and then, everyone will jump in to help. The reality was everyone was too "busy" to help (gone, sleeping, eating, whatever) and it was my pregnant self and Rey doing most of the work most of the time. There were often times that all the adults were gone, leaving us with the project AND everyone's kiddos. We didn't expect that (or understand it). 

One of Rey's sisters came back from shopping, and had picked up a horse shirt and cowboy boots for Aleni. Needless to say, Aleni was thrilled. 

Putting the frame over the gravel base:

End of Day 1: Base was finished!! :)