Home at last!

Cyndi, the world traveller is home at last.  At least for a while.  Returned from Jamaica Saturday evening.  The whole mission team made it back tired and happy and mostly well.  Pete has a sprained ankle and the adults (me included) are a bit tired, but it was all worth it.  This mission trip was the best vacation I’ve had in a very long time.  It was a chance to get totally outside of my normal life, and reinforced what is really important. 

I was one of four leaders and 10 youth who went on this mission trip.  It was arranged by a company called Wonder Voyage, as part of the Journey to Adulthood (J2A) program at our church.  We spent most of the week in Christiana, Jamaica at the New Vison children’s home.  Christiana sits on the ridge of the Moho Mountains. near the center of Jamaica.  So it was a bit cooler than at sea level in Montego Bay.  Our work projects included moving a large pile of large rocks down a hill to be used in the construction of a holding pit for a septic system, moving dirt (clay, really), to level the ground near the new building under construction, and general clean up.  We also spent a lot of time playing with the kids at New Vision.  Uno (the card game), dominos and four square are the games of choice.  You could also count the sideline game to 4 square – seeing who can cut  in line to be the next to play.

 

At the end of the trip we had a full day in Montego Bay to do some shopping and enjoy the beach.  It was a great way to end the week.  It’s a pretty stark contrast to Christiana, though.  I really enjoyed being back in the ocean.  It was wierd at first, and I couldn’t figure out why.  Then I realized there were no waves!  (Of course;  we were in a bay.)  Still a lot of fun, and beautiful.

 

I’ll post some more stories and pictures tomorrow.  For tonight, I’m just glad to be back, and thankful for all that I have here.

Milk and Tookies

   Ok, she doesn’t say Tookies, like some of her friends do, but it sounded like a cute title. While we were walking around the block today after dinner, she asked why don’t we make cookies, so I said sure, why not? It was a little late, but seemed like a good thing to do together, and I know how she likes to cook. So I rumaged through the fridge and cupboard to make sure we had everything, which we did. She got on one of the aprons, and we measured stuff out and put it in two bowls, then combined them like the instructions said(I am an engineer, afterall). Here’s one picture of her stirring before the dough got really tough. She measured out a couple of sheets of cookies, then I told her to take a bath while they were baking. So the second picture is of a clean-smelling-baby Arianna enjoying the fruits of her labor.
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Girls Rule, Boys Drool

   This is a picture of Arianna with the two daughters of one of our neighbors, who came over to play tonight. That’s Gabby(Gabriel, whom you met here in April) on the left, and Desi(Desiree) in the window. They are close in age, 4 and 5. We’ve been spending a lot of time with the neighbors lately, and the kids are loving it. Naturally, the kids enjoy playing with someone their age, but I have to admit having the kids entertain themselves together helps take a load off the parents.
   Tonight, I am babysitting to give the neighbor a break. We had dinner, played outside, watched a movie(for about 5 minutes), played Chutes and Ladders, and now they are playing house with Arianna’s Barbies. There’s a mommy doll and two daughter dolls(big sister and little sister). Oh, and the saying “Girls Rule, Boys Drool” comes from their househhold.
 

Arianna beats Daddy in Monopoly

   Arianna asked to play Monopoly this weekend, because she is playing it at daycare, thanks to Rochelle. They play the short game, where three properties are handed out at random at the beginning of the game, and if you land on Free Parking, you get $500, and you get out of jail quicker. Well, somehow, Arianna was able to buy properties of the same color quickly, and found herself with lots of spare cash despite that. So she invested in houses, and later, one hotel. Somehow, Daddy found himself with less cash on hand, maybe because he sprung for both Park Place and Boardwalk and houses. Before those could pay off, however, he landed in Arianna’s high rent district just past the jail! Maybe I could have mortgaged my way out, but I think that would have merely prolonged the inevitable, so I thought it was best to shake hands and call it a game. Wow, I think this makes all three kids that beat Daddy in Monopoly! You can’t see from the picture, but Arianna’s playing piece is the money bag. I should have known…
   Later, we had movie night, where I make dinner and she sets a little table downstairs so we can watch a movie while eating dinner. That night was mac & cheese and corn and The Incredibles. You can see how Arianna likes to roll up the silverware just like in a restaurant.
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Daddy and Arianna time in Michigan

   Arianna and Eddie have been hanging out in Michigan while the boys are in Texas and Cyndi is in Mexico. We called Grandma Amy on her 91st birthday and sang Las Mananitas, which is a tradition in Eddie’s family that Grandpa Tony and Grandma Amy started a long time ago. So Arianna wanted to play Adam’s little guitar, and then, she wanted to play Aaron’s bass guitar. Turns out that the bass guitar is really, really heavy, even Aaron’s small one. Anyhow, here are pics of a future musician:
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   Today, we went to the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum. This is a favorite place of ours to visit, although we only seem to pull it off once a year or so. We were looking for something to do today, and Eddie thought of taking a drive to go see it for a little while. Arianna likes visiting the first floor(there are four or five, I think), where there are lots of thing geared for people her age and size. This thing she is playing with has a suction screen, and you place these tiles on it, which are sucked to the surface by a vacuum pulling through little tiny holes in the screen. But there is a time limit, and after a while, the vacuum stops and all the pieces fall down, and then you have to make something new. I shot the first picture as the pieces were falling, but I decided to post this one, and one of her at the entrance to the museum. As you can see, she chose full blown pink camo, with pink flip flops.
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Visit to Texas

Hello, Potato

   Last night, when I called from Memphis, Aaron got on the phone and said, “Hellooooo, Potatooo”. He just found out that the Spanish word for ‘dad’ is also the same word for ‘potato': papa. The plural form, ‘parents’, is ‘papas’ in Spanish. Therefore, according to Aaron, “my parents are potatoes.” I thought the www should know this…