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!? :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

"Sorry" summer

We haven't had too many days of vacation yet, but in the past week and a half, we have definitely seen a major theme developing... It is going to be a "Sorry" summer! All three of the kids enjoy playing games, and this is one they can all three play together. One day they logged 6 games total! Kay and Tom are especially fanatical. If one of them is gone for a bit during the game to use the bathroom or to finish a chore, they will play for one another, sometimes continuing the entire game by themselves- they just can't stop! Tom is currently the reigning champion, he wins so often it is uncanny. The girls don't mind too much though as our family rule is the winner cleans up the board!

Swim Olympics

Our internet has been down for one of the busiest weeks of the year: the last week of school! So I have a lot of catching up to do as far as posting things on the blog! Every time we turned around the kids had another party: birthday parties, end of the year parties, class parties, goodbye parties, graduation parties. In addition to those, we had several big "events" the first of which started on Monday, June 1. Every year as the temperatures rise at the end of school, the kids have a swim unit in PE. One of the moms in our community was a competitive swimmer all through high school and college, and she has become the backbone of this program. The kids all enjoy it so much! We are thankful at her willingness to share her skills with them. As Sahel does not have a pool, this unit involves renting a pool or two around the city for the week or so they have daily lessons. This year the pool our girls were at had a 3 meter platform. Both of them braved the platform and jumped off! Kay, our spunky one, didn't stop there though! She was doing front flips off the 3 meter platform, curling into a ball and somersaulting off! Since then, she had been working on her back dive so she can try a back flip next year. Here she is going off the tower.

This year the girls worked really hard on learning different strokes. I was so impressed with Kay's butterfly!! I can't even do that! Heidi improved a lot too. Her shallow dive has really improved which helped her when it came to race time. Here she is doing the back stroke.
The best part of the swim unit is the elementary swim meet at the end. Teachers, parents and younger siblings all turn out to watch. The kids have LOTS of fun with races for every level of swimmer, as well as fun events such as the biggest splash and longest holding of your breath under water. The K-6 swimmers are divided into teams and compete through the morning for points for their team as well as individual points. Here Heidi (in the blue striped swim shirt) is sitting with some of her friends and teammates.

This is Kay (pink suit) and her buddy. They both just got their short haircuts in the last few months. Aren't they cute?
At the end of the morning, the kids have some snacks and then free time in the pool while the points are being tallied. Kay won first place in the girls' 1/2 class category! We are so proud of her. She is not the biggest, nor the strongest, but she definitely has good coordination and some interest in sports. Perhaps she will be the family athlete! Well done Kay!