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September 20, 2012

Families | Our Own Family

Ben’s (and now my!) family lives around the globe.  Literally.  His dad was born and raised in Africa and then Ben was born and raised in Paraguay, South America.  In fact, when this little boy named Arnaldo first met Shellie, he knew, (even at just 10 years old!) that he didn’t want to let this girl out of his sight.  Even after coming to the states for school, Shellie and Arnaldo stayed in touch and eventually married.  Luckily for us, they live in town (although they’re currently raising support to go back to Paraguay), so in spite of busy lives we try our best to get together as much as we can.  Usually Ben and I go to their house and sit around the amazing spread that Arnaldo and Shellie have prepared while the kids entertain us during dinner.  Even in just the two years that Ben and I have been together, these kids (now my own nieces and nephews!) have grown so much.  The baby, Gabriel, isn’t so much of a baby anymore.  And Mikeila, well, she’s the big 1-0 and I love that she’s already getting her own style and learning and growing like crazy.  Iana is the introspective one, as you’ll see below.  And Estaban is fully boy with his running and jumping and rolling and an imagination that spans as far as his family is around the world.  I love these kids.  I love my brother and sister-in-law. And I love that Ben went with me and snapped a few of his own pictures.

Speaking of pictures… well, we’ve been meaning to get these since January :-)  But, I would say the tad cooler weather and the golden hour at the park were the perfect conditions and worth the wait.

We love you guys and had so much fun hanging out and capturing life as it is right now!

The one of them above is great, but it’s pictures like the one below that I love.

Ben got this one and it’s a tie between it and the one above as to which I like most!

“The boys” picture turned into a bit of a wrestling match :-)

Are they not both so pretty??

Ben and I are really thankful for the many wonderful marriages that have been examples to us – even before we met.
Arnaldo and Shellie have been SUCH an encouragement to us in their love for Christ and for each other!

Thanks to the amazing clouds, this hill was one of my favorite finds!

Canvas!!!

Mikeila, you are SO beautiful, my dear :-)

And Iana!  You are such a beautiful girl. (I’m pretty sure Ben snagged this image too!)

Sometimes I think Esteban still doesn’t really know what to think of me… and then I go and put a camera in his face! :-)
Luckily, his Uncle Benji is always right there to throw Esteban over his shoulder and make him roar with laughter!

Look at that sweet face!!!

This one of Shellie and Arnaldo might be my favorite of them…

This is Paraguayan tea.  Tea leaves are in the cup on the right and water is poured into it from the jug.  The tea is then passed around and every drinks from the same straw, which happens to have a filter of sorts at the bottom so that you aren’t getting the leaves along with your tea.  When the water is gone from the cup, more is poured in and it’s passed around again.  From what they’ve told me, Americans have a really difficult time with this cultural way of drinking tea.  I didn’t fully understand what I was supposed to do the first time I had it, so as usual, when faced with a new cultural practice, I came out embarrassed!  Luckily, Ben’s family is SO VERY gracious!!

Thought I’d end with this one.  The kids were kind enough to let Ben and me jump in a picture with them :-)

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