Sunday, December 27, 2009

Office Christmas Party

This year we tried something different for our office Christmas party and had a family party. Bonnie did a great job of organizing everything; we had a variety of African and Western style dishes to eat and lots of fun games. Here is Kay and her classmate competing in the three legged race. They did a good job! Here our guest house hostess is helping some of the littlest ones figure out the three legged race. In addition to the three legged race, there was an obstacle course, a water balloon toss, and a blindfolded pudding-feeding contest among other things. I still hope to download the pudding pictures, there was some classic messes there! Stay tuned... Everyone was engaged in cheering the competitors on. Although the kids did the majority of the competing, we got some of us "big kids" involved too. Here we have our acting director and construction supervisor in the wheelbarrow race. They barely won as our computer intern and a family visitor were right on their heels! Some of the ladies even participated in the water balloon toss! It was fun to interact as families with those we work with every day. Unfortunately two of our employees were sick and couldn't come, another had a wedding he had to attend, and Ian was on a flight and couldn't come either. Despite the missing faces, we had fun enjoying eachother.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Family Picture

Not planned for or dressed for, but we did finally spontaneously have someone take a picture of the entire family together. I am definitely becoming a picture-taking slacker!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

St. Lucia's Day

Kay spent the last two weeks of school learning about Christmas around the world. The great part about where we live is that we have a wealth of resource people from different countries. They talked about many different countries: Holland, France (with an accompanying bouche de noel), Mexico (with Mexican hot chocolate), England, Italy...

One of Kay's classmates is from Norway. Her mother came and explained St. Lucia's Day to the kids. I had to take a picture of this as every year my Swedish Dad tried to convince me to wear a wreath of candles in my hair and bring him St. Lucia's Day buns in bed. He was never successful. Too bad you are not closer Dad, maybe the genes skipped a generation! Here is Kay in her finery. She isn't the oldest daughter, and we didn't have a white dress, so a white tshirt had to suffice, but she enjoyed the celebration all the same!


We had to take pictures of this event to make my dad proud! You may have had pig experience Dad, but now, we have tried our hand at a cow... :)

Every December those of us living in Niamey are implicated in the preparation for SIM's spiritual life conference. It is a special time for our mission community to come together and worship, hear spiritual imput, fellowship together, laugh, cry, eat, and play together. We take advantage of the cooler weather and of school break to meet right after the new year. This means the weeks before Christmas are full of planning and preperations... moving furniture, cleaning houses, and this year, in an attempt to reduce our budget despite the soaring food prices, butchering!

This was a community effort for sure! Monday, one of our coworkers who lives about 45 minutes outside Niamey arranged for a cow from the market out there to be butchered for the price of the head, the skin and the hooves. He then brought the quarters in to town in the back of his truck. We were waiting in the Sahel dining hall kitchen with lots of dubious knives, several interested people, and very little experience! Here is Ian holding a piece as it is being weighed.Thankfully, a collegue from another mission was a butcher before coming to Niger. He was an emense help in guiding the rest of us amatuers. He could make that knife fly! That is speedy Roberto on the left.After the basic cutting the meat from the bones, we moved into meal preperation: bones went into enormous pots to make broth, meat was separated into quality for cubing (20 ki worth) and meat for grinding, and fat was trimmed and given to very happy canines. We attempted to do the actual grinding ourselves, but we didn't have a grinder that was sharp enough, so we had to give up on that. We did however, clean and cube 20 kilos of meat for conference sauce. We had a fun time together: lots of jokes and learning about animal anatomy! Here is Cindy finding the trechea... Ian very gleefully claimed the liver which he cooked quite expertly for our family last night. Much to my surprise, Tom and Kay both really enjoyed the liver and onions. Tom took four helpings! Unfortunatly, our total meal take was not quite enough for the meals we will share together at conference, so now we are looking into cow #2...

Piano Recital

Our girls have been taking piano lessons this fall from one of the ladies in our community. Just before Christmas break, there was a small recital after school where students taking instrument lessons were able to perform. The variety was lots of fun, ranging from violin and piano to clarinet and flute. The girls each played several Christmas carols they had been working on. In fact, the majority of the students played carols which made the occasion a very festive end to the semester of lessons. Heidi has performed in recitals several times before and was very confident. Kay, however, was nervous! Thankfully, she did fine. Once the first song was successfully behind her, her tummy ache diminished and she enjoyed the rest of her performance as is evidenced by the big smile in this last picture below. If that doesn't say success, what does!? Afterward the girls enjoyed yummy Christmas goodies and the even sweeter taste of practice that had paid off! :) We appreciate the many people in our community that graciously share their talents with our kids enabling them to grow in different areas and have new experiences.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'll be there!

One thing we have continued to learn more and more in this culture is the importance of "being there." Back in the US, if you are invited to a special occasion, but you have to work, or your kids are small and ornery, or you have a really busy weekend, or you just don't feel like going to your neighbor's kid's piano recital, you can give a polite excuse and no one thinks anything of it. Here an event is AN EVENT with new clothes and lots of food, and to show you care, you must show your face, early though it be, tired as you are- being there for even a very short length of time is really important. I've thought about this in the context of Christmas. Isn't that what Jesus did for us? He came and dwelt among us, a physical presence testifying to God's love for us. We are slowly learning that our physical presence testifies our love for a person, and hopefully God's love as well.

This last month and a half we have had the opportunity to attend two different baby dedications. They were very different! The first was for our house worker. Salamatou has worked for us since our arrival here in 2001. She and her family are special to us, so we were excited to help celebrate the arrival of her fifth child, Zeeadd (spelled phonetically as I have NO idea how to spell it!). Idriss and Salamatou are Muslims, so typically a week after the birth of a child, there is a naming ceremony. The short ceremony is held outside among the men. The women are visiting with the mother and baby inside. The baby is brought out and the Muslium teacher, or maribou will chant some special things and the baby will be given his or her name. As here children "belong" to the father, often the mother has no idea what name will be given to her child until the grand announcement. This has been the case with our friends. After this comes the party! Often popcorn (with sugar) and cola nuts and dates are distributed to everyone. The women of the family or close friends will prepare a big feast, if the family can afford it, a sheep is slaughtered for the occation. Though we didn't stay for the feast later in the day, we enjoyed being a part of the celebration of little Zeeadd's birth! Here he is with his proud Mama and only sister (he has 3 older brothers.)

The other baptim we were invited to this month, Ian served as the family rep. Not only was he family rep, but also chauffeur! Fidel, a carpenter that Ian has worked with on several projects had another little boy. Fidel is from a Catholic background, so this was different than the majority of baby naming ceremonies we have attended. It was held in a local Catholic church. Ian used the SIMAIR van to transport the family over to the church. Little Sovereign was baptised and named much like a baby dedication back home. Here is a picture of his family (Fidel and his wife are in the yellow outfits and the little girl is their oldest.) with a few close friends.
After being together at the church, Ian drove a very FULL van back to Fidel's house where they celebrated the new little life in their family by, what else!? eating food!

We are greatful for the relationships of all sorts that we have here. Pray for us as we learn to "be there" in tangible ways that we would clearly show both our love and Jesus' love.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Neighbor's Yard Sale

The last few months we have enjoyed having some new neighbors in the back yard. The kids have been especially thrilled as they had new play mates! J has been in Tom's kindergarten class too. In fact, as I type, they are all playing dress up! Little A enjoys all the girly toys that my girls are outgrowing. She loves coming and parading around with the doll carriage in pink frilly dresses. Tom & J have played everything from soccer to legos to makebelieve. They get along really well. When they moved in, we knew they were only in the neighborhood temporarily and unfortunately that time is coming to an end. At the end of this month their family heads back to New Zealand. As the photo above shows, J & A recently had a "tag sale" selling some of the toys they were not taking with them. We will miss them and their easy availabilty as play mates!

Track & Field Day

This past Friday was one of our favorite events of the year: Track and Field Day! For those of you who know Ian and I from the past, you know we both competed on track teams in high school, so we always enjoy helping out. This was the second year Ian has been the starter. I always enjoy helping coach the jumps and relays in the weeks leading up to the big day. For a few weeks now the kids have worked hard during PE class to practice various Track and Field events. The entire school is divided into four teams. Each team chooses a color and team name and creates a team cheer. This year Heidi was on the "Blue Baracudas". Kay was a member of "The Big Red", and Tom's first ever field day team was the "Green Mambas". All three of them had a fantastic time!

The day begins at the National Stadium; all the teams enter marching together, after each presents their cheers, the sport begins! At our school, we don't have a track, so it is extra special that we have this day of competition in such a fine facility! Most of the traditional track and field events are represented, and though three weeks doesn't make anyone an expert, we have a lot of fun. The younger crowd (K-2)chose from the 200m, 100m, & 60m races, a shuttle relay, the hula hoop toss (the younger version of the discus), and broad jump. 3rd-4th grade also can participate in the long jump,a team relay and the 400m. Heidi's class (5/6)also add the high jump, shot put, a 4x 100m relay, 1500, and 800 onto their possibilities. Kay and Tom's ages also have lots of fun games in the infield such as a sack race & three legged race, among others. For each event you enter, you receive a point for your team. You also get points if you win an event in your age category. Given that we are a small school, sometimes you place just because you enter!

Kay and Tom participated in everything. They both said their favorite race was the "long curvy one" (ie the 200m). They both did a great job, even staying in their lanes, which is a feat in and of itself for the younger elementary kids! It will be interesting to see how they develop physically as they grow older, both of them were on the faster end of their classes. Heidi signed up to do the 1500m this year, among other things. I was very proud of her! She did a great job in her first ever long distance race: holding her form and running hard to the very end. She wasn't sure if the 1500m was her favorite or if the 100m was her favorite. It is fun having her take more of an interest in athletic things and even choosing to try something that is difficult and requires lots of effort and training!

After the morning at the track, we adjourn to the school for lunch and fun games in the afternoon. The kids played a very fun game with water. It was especially fun as everyone was so hot! After arranging their teams in height order, they were each given a plastic cup. The first person in line filled their cup, then had to pour the water into the next person's cup HOLDING THE CUP ON THEIR HEAD the whole time. The recipient also had to keep their own cup on their own head. They were trying to fill a small bowl at the end of the line. It was funny to see the littlest trying so hard to aim for the bowl and to successfully pour... nothing! or only little drips into the bowl. As you can imagine, everyone got quite wet! The game ruptured into a big water fight when near the end the principal got out the hose and hosed everyone down. Much fun was had by all! Here is Tom at the end of the green team line waiting for the water to come his way.

The thing I love best about field day every year is the glimpse of true community I come away with: a member of one team cheering on his competitor on another, the gracious welcoming and inclusion of home schoolers from all over Niger (and even Burkina this year!)on the various teams. The littlest kids are cheered for and helped by the big ones whether it be in showing them where to go for their leg of the relay or helping them find their water bottle. The big ones, in turn, have the respect and all the cheers the littlest kids can muster while they are competing. It is truly a joint effort and every member is valued whether they can contribute point wise or not. Each year, I appreciate the healthy competition that I see lived out and am so thankful for the models my children have in the realms of winning losing with grace, encouraging one another, and valuing every member.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vacation week

The kids are on break this week and we've had fun doing somethings we don't get to do as often now that they are all in school. We started the weekend with the yearly Niamey softball tournament. Ian was a captain for one of the teams this year. It was fun competition with the scores being very close for just about every game. Ian was disappointed to loose, yet again (0 for 3), to the Sahel team, but still greatly enjoyed the weekend. Since then, we've had several family movie nights, multiple play dates and one sleepover. We've been able to go to the pool a few times as well. We also had a fun SIMAIR night where all three families got together for pizza and then after we retired the kids, the adults got together for games and dessert! For the most part I have stayed home from the office. Next week will be work heavy, so it is a nice lull before the storm of meetings.

Right before let out for school break, the kids had spirit week. Each day they were supposed to dress up as something different. Kay won a prize for her tornado day costume where she dressed up like a tornado using a hula hoop, black material and black streamers. Tom and another classmate won for comfy day; he went in his pjs and took his blankie. From what I could tell, the judges just couldn't pass up the cuteness of kindergartners in their pajamas! My favorite was identity switch day. Tom dressed up like his daddy the pilot- spitting image! And Kay dressed up like the PE teacher- she could have been Coach shrunk down. Heidi also dressed up like fun things, but unfortunately as she has PE first thing 3 days a week, I didn't get to see many of her costumes in their full glory. Her class did win best elementary cheer during the pep rally on the final day though, so the glories were evenly shared.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Isn't he too young?

For the second time this school year, Tom came home from kindergarten today telling me he wanted to give something special to a girl in his class. I would think nothing of it if he did the same to the boys too, but so far only girls have been the recipients. When asked why he wanted to give them something, he replies with a big grin,"because I LIKE them." The first time I didn't think anything of it until I saw the resulting picture full of hearts...Isn't he too young for this?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Games Day

Recently the student council at Sahel Academy sponsored an afternoon of fun and games for the whole school. After school, most kids stuck around and parents arrived to cheer on their students as they participated in various games. The secondary students divided into four teams and played kickball. The 3-6th graders, again in four teams, played soccer on the basketball court. It was hot in the sun, but they didn't seem to mind. Heidi even enjoyed herself. It is fun to see her more willing to participate in sports. (This the 1st grader who said, "I don't want to play soccer, you get sweaty!") The k-2nd played assorted games (Four corners, What time is it Mr. Wolf?)on the grassy area between the buildings. It was great hanging out with friends and taking time to play together. Much fun was had by all as you can see from the pictures. They slept well that night!

Resourcefulness in the Rain

One of the things I have come to love about Africans is their resourcefulness. Currently I have a beautiful purse, much commented on, made out of a plastic mat. A friend of mine has a computer bag beautifully crafted entirely out of plastic ice cream bags sewn together and, I must mention, it is lined- with recycled water bags! I can’t wait to buy one! In Niger, I have seen items I would have thrown away recycled and reused in unimaginable ways! Large milk powder cans store books where termites can’t intrude. No vehicle, no problem! Mattresses can be carried on a bicycle, as can your goat, or even your family of three. Plastic bags turn into many, many things: woven into a wallet perhaps, or serving as the ever present patch for any pipe that is leaking. This trait is never more obvious to me than in rainy season.
Niger rains are not usually a slow, steady drizzle or an overcast day with heavy mists now and again. The rains here come with a vengeance. It pours cats and dogs (or would raining camels and goats perhaps be a more fitting phrase?). Everything becomes drenched in minutes. Streets flood up to your knees, (drainage is largely disregarded due to the complete lack of need for it 8-9 months of the year). It is largely understood that if rain comes, all appointments are off. Someone is not expected to come to work until after the rain has passed. But what are you to do if you are caught in it? In particular, what is a man on a moped to do? (Mopeds and bicycles being the most common form of transportation.) I’ve seen lots of men on motos recently with suit pant legs rolled up, or better yet, dress shoe enclosed feet on top of the body of the motorcycle and plastic bags tied on their heads… The goats tied on top of a van become common place, but whenever it rains, I remember … creativity and resourcefulness know no bounds!! Viva the plastic bag! :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

F is for FROG

It is official, my son has fallen in love with amphibians! The past months have seen him FREQUENTLY searching them out after the evening church service to joyfully thrust into people's faces. I think he enjoys the screams as much as the frogs! If the screaming person is close to his size, he also enjoys chasing the screamer with the frog. A week or so ago, I noted he was giving his younger cousin, Silas, frog exposure time, showing him the best way to hold and pet a frog. Perhaps due to the recent rains, all the baby frogs appeared this week at Sahel. We are talking hundreds and hundreds of them! They are no bigger than my thumb (see Tom holding one up above)and seem to hop out of every clump of grass by the handfuls. Handfuls is NOT a random word choice either! The kindergarten boys (and others) have spent all their spare outdoor time this week collecting them, primarily in their hands, but also in cups and back packs and any other available container. Despite lectures that live frogs were not allowed in my truck (that was directed at my niece, Kira, who promptly zipped them in her lunch bag. "See Aunt Beka, they won't get out!")and that the neighbors' hungry cat would shorten the life of any small moving creature in our yard, Tom snuck one home in his aunt's car after school today. Luckily, I had a tip off, or that frog would be roaming the house uninhibitedly (is that a word?)this evening. As it was, when I received the timely tip (THANKS KRISTA!!!)mr. frog was still under the basket where he was initially hidden in Tom's room and was forthwith escorted outside to befriend the bunny. Tom and his backyard buddy, Joe spent the afternoon "playing" with the new "pet." Unfortunately, the frog couldn't stand all the love and died just before dinner time. Frogs ON his backpack, frogs IN his backpack. Paper frogs and plastic frogs. They are all the rage in our house this week for one 5 year old boy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Details, Details...

As I interact with other people, I realize time and again what a detail person I am. Sometimes I am TOO detail oriented, too picky; I major on the minors and sweat the small stuff. But other times it is confirmed to me that God made me with an eye for details and that is a good thing! I have been reminded of this as I have read through Deuteronomy lately. What stuck out to me this time was how precise God was in his directions, particularly in making things for the tabernacle. He delineated exactly what He wanted made, what specific types of materials and colors to make things with, who was to make them, where each item was to be placed and used, who was to use each item and how, even who was to care for moving and carrying each item on the road. Now those are detailed instructions! I was reminded again that we have a VERY detailed God. He was glorified in the details. Another confirmation that my eye for details is God given has been my new job at the office. Though I have just recently started, I can already tell I will enjoy it. Why? I get to fine tune all the details: organize files, develop charts, keep records up to date, plus I am still in charge of arranging housing for newcomers which entails matching curtains and remembering to put everything from spoons to toilet paper in the house. I LOVE details! I glory in details. I am very happy when time allows me to fine tune the details. God has made me detailed, and it glorifies him. To misquote Eric Liddel, “when I organize I feel his pleasure!”

Sunday, August 16, 2009

First Day!

Empty nesting has officially begun, for the mornings at least. Tom is officially a kindergartener, and very proud of it as you can tell by the big smile above!! In the school parking lot, on the way to the opening assembly, he told me he didn't need to hold my hand because he was a BIG boy now, but he consented to hold Daddy's hand saying, "because you will miss me right Dad?" Kay and Heidi are now in 2nd and 5th respectively. Kay has a big class for Sahel with 18 kids in her combined 1/2 class. 16 of them are girls!!! Heidi has entered the "big leagues" of 5th grade coming home with books to cover and homework to do on the first day. They all started on Wednesday with a half day and can't wait for the end of the weekend to get back again! We are so thankful for the many staff that God has provided this year. Not only do we have all the elementary positions filled, including Bible and French, but we have been blessed with a PE teacher, an art teacher, and a music teacher! Continue to pray for the secondary as they await a key English teacher, and have several more postions including someone for the computer lab that they would like to have on the ground.

Good, Clean Fun!

During a post-swim shower, the cousins all got in on the soaping and posing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Summer goals: Heidi

Before vacation comes to an end, I have to get in a blog about Heidi's summer goals! We have had poor internet connection the last bit, so I'm not sure if pictures will come with this blog or not!
Heidi wanted to do a lot of projects this summer. She had made her kitchen debut this past school year, learning how to make meatloaf, and this summer she has expanded her repertoire enormously! She has made everything from lemon bars (her favorite) and brownies, to muffins and cakes, to beef stroganoff and sloppy joes! I am LOVING having her helpful hands around. This summer she has been in charge of planning and making dinner one night a week. I will miss that when school starts!!! Heidi is also very interested in creating right now, she has a sewing project, a crochet project, and a cross stitching project all underway. Her skills in all those areas continue to grow. She has worked on her watercolor painting a bit this summer too. I am proud of her creativity and desire to learn new things.

Mom's goals for Heidi this summer were to take advantage of her interest in the kitchen to show her some basic cooking and meal planning skills. We tried to give her some freedom to continue to emphasise the responsibility that comes with it. She has been shopping down the street for me, continues to take care of her bunny, and both bunnysat and "babysat" this summer. She is growing into quite a young lady!

(Oh well, pictures to come later! I give up! )

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Who among us has watched The Princess Bride? Since my sister is reading, I can assume at LEAST one person who will quickly grasp the meaning of my title! We have had an outbreak of ROUS-es at our house... (Rodents Of Unusual Size for those of you not fortunate to have watched the movie a million times forwards and backwards.) Here is the most frequent visitor. He even built his own house. Sometimes he has companions as well...

If he were to turn around, you could also see his tail!

Lowly the Worm

Well, we have been living in Africa on and off for almost 8 years now. We are very thankful that we have never caught any strange diseases or anything other than normal viruses; there are a plethora to choose from too! This week, Heidi broke our trend! Ian has named him Lowly after the Richard Scary character... I don't think these are unheard of in the States, but with many more dogs and cats dewormed, and not as many chances to walk barefoot, it is less of a problem. Here these parasites are frequent during rainy season, which we are trying hard to have right now. They don't cause much harm actually, eventually if left to their own devices, they would die and be ousted from the body on their own as they can't reproduce there, but meanwhile, their wiggling is VERY itchy. The solution? We took a worm medicine and crushed it up,put it in vaseline, and applied it topically (that is what the orange blobs are). The red line is Lowly himself! If my sister in law is reading this, she will be saying, "That is so discusting!" but Heidi says you are a nurse, so you should be used to things like this. She was rather grossed out herself at first though too!


I mentioned in another post that they girls and I had matching outfits made, VERY African. Here for a wedding or other celebration often families or organizations have outfits made out of the same material. For example, I recently attended a graduation and the graduates, their families and the school staff all had matching outfits. I had a "uniform" for the wedding I attended earlier this spring, and I also have one from our church women's group. Here is the picture of the girls and I all coordinating!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Goals: Tom

Tom's efforts this summer have focused on whistling. He is trying really hard, but alas, as of yet no success. I did get some cute pictures of him trying though! Who can whistle when they are trying not to giggle?

Of course, Mom has goals as well. Tom is drying and putting away the silverware and learning to set the table properly, though we haven't gotten very proper yet as I haven't taken the time to show him too much. Here he is celebrating the silverware? What a clown!
He is also helping to gather laundry: all the towels one day, the bathing suits another. Plus he has become our resident expert in putting on pillow cases! He is really teetering between wanting to be big: play with the bigger kids, go to school, read & so many other things, and wanting to stay Mama's baby: he loves to cuddle, wants help with things he knows how to do already. Never thought I would be one to say that I am sad to see the last one off to school, but it is true. I am going to miss his sunny little self at home and work in the mornings when he starts kindergarten!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Fourth!!

Friday night Ian and I started our celebration of our country's birthday by going to a party hosted by the ambassador. We have never gone to one before; it was very interesting, not quite what I expected. For starters, suits & ties and evening attire isn't my interpretation of "business casual" dress! We filed in and shook hands with a whole line up of people whom I could not identify (except for the ambassador). Too bad they didn't wear name tags so we knew who they were and what they did! I was also rather surprised at how many people were invited that were not Americans. Obviously, given our surroundings, there would be some, but 3/4 of the very large crowd were not Americans at all. I guess I should have guessed if they extended the guest list to include me, it must have been quite extensive! :) Mostly it was a reception on the grass with drinks and the occasional munchie if you were willing to use football moves to get near a serving tray. The Marines presented the colors, a band played the our local national anthem as well as the Star Spangled Banner and the ambassador made a speech which no one could hear, I think it was in French? They passed around sparklers which was fun, but over all, I was hot & hungry, my feet hurt and I don't think I would go again! I am not a big fan of social mixing I guess.

Saturday we celebrated in a more traditional way: with our family! Heidi started the day on clothing patrol, insuring we all wore the appropriate red, white and blue. She asked me if I wanted her to pick out my clothes, but I told her I thought I could handle it, thanks anyway! :) Though there weren't any parades or fireworks, swimming and playing softball were on the schedule, as well as dinner outside. Then, in the evening, came the grand fanale which was a big gathering complete with red and blue tablecloths, homemade ice cream (YUM!) and games.
These pictures are for you Amy! We may be far away, but we still did our part of the cousin Fourth of July line up! Krista and I BOTH reminded eachother :) so we were thinking of you all across the ocean.
So, here they are, after a day in the pool and an evening of eatting chocolate ice cream and getting sweaty with their friends, they look pretty decent considering all that!
Oldest to youngest: Heidi, Kay, Kira, Tom, Brynn, Elayna, & Silas
I thought it rather appropriate that though attired in their red, white and blue, they are sitting on a couch that had African themed cushions!

Happy Birthday USA!
As a country, God's grace has truely been "shed on thee," we pray that God's mercy, justice and love would be evidenced through our leaders and citizens from "sea to shining sea."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Summer Goals: Kay

All of the kids have some things they want to accomplish this summer. Kay really wants to learn how to ride her two wheeler without training wheels. We don't have very many places for beginners to ride here. Our driveway is fairly bumpy and sandy, both of which are hard when you are trying to learn how to balance. The other afternoon was fairly cool and Ian had some time, so we went over to the rec center basketball court to give it a go. She doesn't quite have a feel for the balance yet, but she and Dad had LOTS of exercise and fun! I sat on the sidelines with the camera and finished up Ian's ice tea! :) Someone has to be the cheerleader! She won't give up until she succeeds, so I have a feeling we will be headed to the court many times this summer!

Mom also has summer goals for the kids, mostly involving household skills. Kay has been sorting clothes and loading the washing machine several times a week and drying dishes as well. She and Tom are also learning to put new sheets on the bed. This is a fairly hysterical procedure so far, involving heavy doses of Mom-involvement. This week, Ian and I are sleeping on sheets that are inside out... but they started out inside out and sideways, so we are much improved! :) Summer is a good time to learn and grow in all sorts of ways!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tom and his buddies

Poor Tom has been getting the shaft due to all the end of school blogs. We can't ignore his cute self, he is growing up so fast! It seems he stretches a bit more every day. He is really ready for kindergarten this fall. It has been particularly fun recently watching him interact with his friends. It is fun to see them playing games together and developing their social skills. This is a picture of him with one of his friends, Johnny, at the Fine Arts Festival. Their friend Ethan usually is with them as well. The three of them really enjoy playing at the pool together and at the playground. They all love cars and animals. Currently they are frequently seen trying to catch lizards and frogs. I have to get a more recent picture of the three of them together!

Fine Arts Festival: Heidi's turn to shine

This Sunday Heidi played the piano for the offertory at our evening service. She was nervous, but she did a fine job. She had the first part memorized, and then couldn't find her place when she ran out of memory, so she started again, this time remembering to look at the music the entire song. In honor of Father's Day, she played the hymn "This is My Father's World."

The piano playing reminded me though that I neglected to get back to blogging some of the girls' end of the year activities; one of them being the fine arts festival at school. During the two evenings the spring play was being performed, the art teacher set up k-12 artwork from the entire year in the library. She worked really hard to pull all this together, and it looked fantastic. All of the students had at least one piece of artwork in the show. Previous to the showing, judges had awarded a ribbon to the "best in show" for each grade grouping (K, 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, etc). There were also two "runner up/well done" ribbons given in each category. It was fun to see all the things they had been learning in art this year. Heidi won "Best of Show" for her picture shown here. Here is Kay standing next to some of her artwork. You can see it at the top of the matting above her head with the large painted sun. Before the play and during intermission times people were free to browse the work which also included writing the students had submitted.

Students were also encouraged to sign up to perform musically as well. (Hence my piano connection, I'm sure you were wondering how that came in!) My very enthusiastic daughters both signed up to play the piano, despite the fact that they had only been back into piano lessons for a few weeks (Kay never having had previous lessons at all)! But they did very well, and it was nice for them to play for the small group gathered in the library. Here is a picture of Heidi playing "Amazing Grace." Kay played "God is So Good," one of my favorite songs! Unfortunately, my camera battery died just as she started playing, so I didn't get a picture of her at the piano. I am very thankful that our school here continues to expand and explore new ways kids can develop the gifts God has given to them.

I couldn't end this blog without this picture of the girls from that evening. Here it is considered VERY COOL to have a "uniform" where several friends, or even better, your whole family wears an outfit made of the same cloth. The girls and I all three had these dresses made. We all like them as they are very comfortable, and the girls were SO excited that they have "twinsie" dresses with Mom. I must confess, we haven't all THREE worn them together yet... perhaps my Western upbringing cringes thinking about being "twins," but who knows, perhaps we'll coordinate yet. Heidi is a very avid coordinator after all! Wonder where she gets that from!? :)