Monday, April 11, 2011

Buried with Him in his Death...

Heidi and Kay took a big step this past month! They both chose to obey Jesus' command to be baptized. This identification with Jesus' death and resurrection is especially meaningful around this Easter season. By this they indicated publicly that they were followers of Jesus, something very meaningful here in the country we live. For many believers here a step such as this one is a line in the sand. It could mean alienation from family and their support, especially difficult in a communal culture. Baptism also signifies that the girls would like to make a commitment to follow Jesus closely and continue to grow in their relationship with Him. Pray for our girls as they continue to work out what this looks like in their lives. Pray that they would be sensitive to the Spirit and willing to obey. Pray that they would know strength and joy as they continue to grow in their faith. We are proud of them and the young ladies they are becoming!

The baptism was held in someone's swimming pool. All total there were 11 students baptized.

Pastor Dave, the youth pastor at Sahel Academy led the service.

Many from the community came to watch. We are so thankful for the supportive community here that encourages, loves, and is willing to invest in their lives in so many different ways. Kay's teacher, Miss Miller, prayed for Kay after she was baptized.

Ian prayed for Heidi.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sporatic Photo Journal of Spring Break 2011

We didn't have a lot of things planned for semester break, but we ended up having a fabulous two weeks doing miscellaneous things... Having children big enough to go with the flow and entertain themselves is a gift I am still marveling over! I had to work in the mornings; the office doesn't have semester breaks! One of more of the kids came with me a few times and entertained themselves drawing, using the computer, sampling the coffee break cake and generally talking the ears off my coworkers!

Right at the beginning of break, the girls' after school club had a Mother- Daughter Tea planned. They did a fabulous job decorating the school patio. They helped with the refreshments and ran the program largely by themselves. We enjoyed delicious finger foods, played a game to see how much Mothers and Daughters knew about one another, and decorated hats! This was our table's creation.
That first weekend, we were also able to celebrate Cousin Brynn's birthday! Then we had a teenage addition to the family for a few days as our neighbors were away when their son returned from his senior trip; Tom was thrilled to have a temporary big brother!

We enjoyed lots of small things such as playing with Ziad, our houseworker's youngest. He loves Tom, but wasn't sure about the camera!
Here, he finally decided the camera was ok! A cutie if there ever was one!
The kids played and played on the rope swing.

There were many visits to the pool, and, as usual, we did a lot of reading, preferably in our pajamas!
Oops! I thought you could rotate pictures after they were on the blog...

In the garden, Ian's tomatoes finally got large enough that we could make green tomato relish (the sole purpose for their existence). The kids always enjoy cooking and baking when they have more time. In addition to cakes, cookies and other treats, they made dinner twice: beef stroganoff, noodles, jello, and veggies the first night and chili and cornbread the next. Tom helped too, I just didn't get a picture. He is our #1 cheese and zucchini grater! They are becoming quite competent in the kitchen!

There was a big sewing day planned among some of the ladies the first week, so in preparation, my Mr. Fix-it took apart and fixed both of my sewing machines!! What a champ!

The sewing day was so much fun, we did it all over again the second week of break! Beka worked on a wall hanging with African fabric scraps. Heidi finally finished the top to her quilt she has been working on since last summer. She sewed all the nine-patches by hand then we used the machine to sew them together. Kay worked on some hot pads. Tom enjoyed playing outside with all the kids that had come with their moms. I'll show further pictures of our efforts on another blog.

We also went on a picnic with our neighbors. Tom had a water rocket he received for his birthday that he wanted to try, so they brought their air rocket and we enjoyed chicken and rockets together on the school field.

We went shopping, danced and drew. We had friends over for play dates and dinner, and practiced the piano. We wrote stories, played computer games, and watched movies (I haven't seen The Shaggy Dog in AGES, very fun!)

The grand finale was on Monday, the last day of break. The youth pastor at school had organized a baptismal service and both Heidi and Kay chose to be baptized, professing their faith in Jesus and their intention to follow Him. It was a very special time. We took video clips and we haven't gotten most of the pictures from our friend who took them yet, but you can see Heidi and Kay on the far left. Not your traditional baptismal pool! :) We'll post more pictures when we have them.Those are just some of our break activities. Now bad for a break where we had nothing planned! Now we have just 8 weeks left of school! That is hard to believe!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Precision car racing

During the month of February, I think our family has had more illnesses than we have ever had before in that period of time. Nothing was dramatic or terrible, but we have passed around major head colds, high fevers, a flu bug as well as assorted other small things. I thought we were done, but unfortunately Tom came down with a high fever again this week. With medication, he was fine, but he was obviously tired and I didn't want him to pass whatever virus he had to the rest of the first and second grade, so he stayed home. While he used to spend hours at home alone with Mom every day, now he is used to having friends around and school work to do. He wasn't real impressed with the idea of entertaining himself, but after watching a movie and realizing Mom wasn't going to stop everything to entertain, he brought out his matchbox cars. He used to spend hours with his cars and took them everywhere. He still enjoys them, but he hasn't played as much with them lately as he has been absorbed with legos and plastic animals when he isn't playing ball. He used to enjoy racing his cars a lot, but I haven't seen him do it in a while. When I saw what he was up to, I grabbed the camera, as it is a very unique racing game and so very telling of our son's personality! The game always involves ALL the matchbox cars. They are all lined up at one end of the couch (starting line) then over an extended period of time (20 minutes or so) Tom moves them all centimeter by centimeter through the race. Over time, the cars get more and more spread out. He usually asks whoever is around, "Which one do you think will win?" We always guess incorrectly as the leader never wins due to elaborate car crashes, and come from behind moves which are all played out in slow motion as the car pack travels up one arm and across the back of each adjoining chair to go down the next arm (note the cars still below on the arm). I have seen the race continue over the entire set of living room furniture and across the floor to end at the piano, this day, the race ended at the second chair. It is amazing to me how much time and attention he can spend moving each car forward just minimal amounts over and over again. If he doesn't grow up to do a precision filled job I will eat his orange racing car!

Turning 9 is a special time!

Kay and Tom were born on the same day, so we were away during the weekend of Kay's birthday for a softball tournament as well. Though it was a fun weekend, poor Kay was sick through the majority of it. Here is Ian taking his turn at bat. His team came in second!We enjoyed cake and ice cream with friends on their actual birthday, but it wasn't until the next weekend that Kay had her party.
She choose a Hawaiian theme. The girls had lots of fun making leis (flower cutouts and straw pieces) and grass skirts (with colored crepe paper) when they first arrived. They looked very fun and festive! (this picture is when they were waiting for Kay to open her presents, as you can tell, the skirts had already been mostly shed...)Next we played some Hawaiian themed party games (I am hoping this is the last party game birthday I have to do, they are not my favorite!) including musical beach towel hula, pass the pineapple, and a beach relay race. We also had hula hoop and limbo competitions. Given my spontaneous and frenzied state during the party games, we didn't take pictures of these! Unfortuately, party games do not go well with grass skirts which shredded all over the yard. At the end of the morning, we had a very colorful and festive looking yard, but not so many grass skirts left! Kay choose a lemon cake with marshmallow flowers on it. The girls had fun with the little drink umbrellas as well. The thing that impressed me most about this party, however, was the girls themselves. Most of these girls have gone through 1st through 3rd grades together. They all are great girls from lovely families, but all of us mothers realized that they all have STRONG personalities and very active tongues. This has been a huge issue of prayer since even before their very first day of school. I remember first grade in particular there were lots of sparks and daily drama on the playground. It was really neat to see how they have each matured in caring for one another and learning how to interact with one another in away that respects their differences. It was a great birthday gift for this Mom to see the way our prayers continue to impact our daughters' lives!

7 is for Baseball

Tom's party was next in line this year. We were going to be away for a softball tournament over the weekend he turned 7, so we had the party Thursday afternoon before we left Friday morning. Appropriately enough, he wanted a baseball party, so we arranged to use the baseball field at the American Rec Center in town. (An added bonus was that I wasn't setting up or cleaning up from a party as I was packing to leave the next day!) We played tball with the kids on one team and Ian and I on the other. Because we had a wide variety of sports skill as well as a range in ages from kindergarten to second grade, the Tball worked really well. It gave all of them (and me!!) a chance to be big hitters! The kids even liked fielding the ball when it meant they could tag Mr. and Mrs. Rideout out! In between innings, we played various relay races with balls, bats, and water to cool us off! We had ordered pizza and koolaid for all the kids, and we also enjoyed Tom's base ball cake and cupcakes- chocolate of course-
and opened presents!Ian was a trooper doing more than his fair share of keeping them running while I set up food and cleaned up wrapping paper. The kids had lots of fun, I didn't have to cook dinner that night, and the kids slept well after running around and around and around the bases so they were well rested for our long trip the next day! We all won on this party!!

11 and Counting!!!!!

I am a bit behind the times with this post, but better late than never! The last few months are always busy ones for us, largely because it is birthday season at the Rideout house! Heidi comes first midway through January. This year she turned 11! She is becoming quite a young lady and maturing and growing in every way. She is a joy to have in our family. We are very proud of her!

We usually get together with cousins to celebrate on the day. This year Heidi requested a birthday breakfast, but scheduling required that it be an evening breakfast, but we enjoyed Breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls anyway. For the first time the kids took over the "big" table and the adults got their own table off to the side... nothing like being outnumbered! The kids were thrilled :)

Heidi's birthday party followed close behind. She had a clue party this year. Each guest was asked to come dressed as one of the characters from the game "Clue." From left to right they are: Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, Col. Mustard, Miss Scarlett, Prof. Plum, Mrs. White, Mlle Brune (we added her to have enough characters). The butler is on the right and Ms. Body is lying across the girls' laps. Here is a close up of Ms. Body, the victim and former owner of Mystery Mansion. The rooms in our house were transformed into the various rooms in Mystery Mansion and several clue playing cards were hidden in each room. Here is the butler who greeted each guest at the door. He is standing in the Dining Room. Each member received a notebook with a clue chart inside to mark off their clues. They went from room to room looking for the hidden cards, marking off the appropriate boxes and rehiding the cards for those coming behind them. When someone solved the mystery, they ran to headquarters and rang a bell. We then opened the envelope to see if their accusation was correct and they won, or if they were mistaken and out of the game. We put snacks in each of the rooms, so the girls could nibble as they went around. It was lots of fun and very easy! We played multiple rounds as each time we just had to reshuffle and rehide the cards. In between rounds we ate cake and opened presents. What a fun group of girls!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Break the To Do List Shrunk.

This Christmas break was the most relaxing one I can remember for a long time. We were able to read, sleep late, hang out, and enjoy each other. The kids really enjoyed playing together and we had just enough to do that we didn't have a lot of the squabbles that we sometimes do. The kids and Ian went hiking one day with some friends, and we had a few low key playtimes as well. We did some special baking and worked hard on finishing our Christmas projects before Christmas came around. We also accomplished a lot of things that had been on our to-do list. I was so proud that I remembered to take pictures of them. They weren't big or important items, but it is nice to have them out of the way.

I care for the furniture and household goods that SIM supplies to those coming to serve for less than two years. This spring, I brought a few items home that were fairly sturdy but had seen better days thinking I would refinish them before our vacation this summer. A refinishing job, which I have done before, is all well and good in the US, but here, without Home Depot, I discovered rather quickly that I was at a loss. I needed Ian's tools, which are never located in our garage, and inside purchasing knowledge that I didn't have. I knew he was too busy to work on my very un-urgent project, so the dresser and side tables have sat in our laundry room, in our hall, and on our back porch for the last six months. Over break, Ian finally got tired of having old furniture around and took it upon himself to sand and paint the dresser I had started in May. It looked great! I was so thankful for his expertise! And we were both glad to get the dresser off the porch.

Another project Ian worked on this break was putting up a rope swing for the kids in the front yard. They have had hours of fun on it already! It was a great idea!
We also bought a second hand desk for the girls' room. Previously, they only had a table to work on. Without the storage space of a desk, their table and surrounding floor were a a constant disaster area. Now they have a place for everything and two months later, the room is still clean! YAHOO!!! As an added bonus, the table was returned to its original purpose holding laundry. No more folding clothes on top of the freezer for me!
In further efforts to organize "the messy girls' room" as Tom calls it, we moved a set of plastic drawers into their bathroom. Again, this has made a HUGE difference in their ability to keep things neat. Formerly these drawers were in their closet holding doll clothes, but the doll clothes have found another home and Kay's dresses were starting to get too long to keep it underneath much longer anyway. Now we don't have daily piles of hair ribbons, elastics and barrettes on the floor!

Last year we had a gardener that was very enthusiastic about lettuce. While the four beds seemed a bit TOO enthusiastic to us, we did enjoy the fresh lettuce. Unfortunately, due to scheduling difficulties, we no longer have a gardener, so this year we were on our own. Ian built a garden in our front yard and we planted tomatoes and lettuce, and even some red peppers in a pot. To keep the lizards and birds from eating the seeds and tiny seedlings, we covered the bed with screen until the seedlings were big enough to survive on their own. Here is a view soon after we planted. Now Ian has thinned the rows and transplanted some of the crowded babies to other areas. The plants look great! Hopefully it won't get too hot for them before they are able to produce. We did start late... but even if the heat rises, we have a plan...

AHHHHH. Nothing like checking off some items from the to-do list!