Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Terrible Twos!!

Yes, we have officially entered the Terrible Twos. I remember when my sister's boys were two and I thought, how can they get in to so much trouble?? We had a very mild daughter and now a sweet boy who has turned two and, is it possible?? Yes, he has changed into a hooligan over night!!
His birthday was November 16, we have been teaching him to say "I'm two". and it is all very sweet and lovable, but this is the same boy who threw a glass mug off the coffee table just to see what would happen (it broke into a thousand smithereens... is that really a word? smithereens, that is). He also opened the refrigerator took out a banana and the whole pitcher of orange juice and proceeded to pour it on himself and all over the floor. He put a chair up to the counter and put a stool on top of the chair and tried to climb up the shaky contraption! He jumped on the high jump mattresses that the P.E. dept had out and landed on the soccer goal (and gave himself a black eye--good thing he is a quick healer). He climbed up on the ping pong table and started throwing glass Christmas balls on the tile floor (well, in his defense, they were "balls") and he took baby Jesus out of the manger scene and tried to eat him! (just one little bite)... but he is a happy little guy, most of the time and he loves to give hugs and kisses... his little playmate, Arielle now calls all white boys "Jayson".... yes, he is famous! and TWO!

Hoola, or is it Hula?

We have discovered that our daughter is very tenacious. If there is something she wants to do she will keep at it until it is mastered. I thought that it only applied to whining and nagging until she gets her own way, but it also applies to the Hoola-hoop! Yes, our four year old has mastered the art of hula-hooping!! So I had to get her on video for your enjoyment! Hope this will load up! Sorry, we can't get it loaded up. Tim tried to shrink the pixels of the movie, but because we haven't bought all these fancy programs, we can't save the smaller video. Quick Time allows to do everything except save stuff just so we will have to buy from them. Now what kind of free trial is that? I feel another blog being born right now:)

Monday, November 24, 2008


Ok, first off, so sorry for not updating for an entire month. Shame on us. I guess track and field day really dominated our time. More on that when I get some pictures. I do not have, unfortunately, pictures of this blog. My camera died just as I turned it on. bummer:( Anyway, last Saturday, I got to experience a soccer match like no other I have ever witnessed before. After teaching at KCS for so many years and watching game after game of soccer, I never really got the big deal of how popular of a sport it was to people, until now. Niger was playing Cote D'Ivoire, yes, an arch rival. In part due to the fact that Niger rarely wins and the Ivory Coast almost always wins.

We had been going to the Stadium for the last couple of weeks and had noticed that while we were all running around practicing for our track and field day, there was the national jr. soccer team also practicing. While we rarely mingled, I found out through the ones who could speak french that there was a game Saturday. However, noone could tell me what time and who. Finally, as we were walking out the door after our field day, I asked a man who was sitting near the door what time the game started. He told me, "Seize heure", like duh, man, what planet are you on, everybody knows when the biggest game of the year is to take place! I then asked him how much it would cost thinking it would be like 3-5, 000 francs, but he said with a big smile, "Mais, c'est gratuit. It was FREE! FREE! No way, this could not be. That would never happen in the states. To open the biggest stadium in Niamey(the only stadium) and have all those people come in, it would be a huge money the states. But, that is where things are different...they would rather have thousands of screaming, singing, clapping, and foot stomping fans than make the several thousand dollars they could have made. But, there was a catch. I thought, oh, oh, here it comes. The man said that we had to cheer for Niger, if we cheered for the Ivory Coast, it would cost us 5,000francs. I laughed and promised that I would cheer for them even though some of my kids who come from the Ivory Coast would not promise such loyalty.

Normally, the dorm likes to go the American Recreation center to play softball, swim and eat yummy food, but today, many of the kids were hesitating. I asked them if they would rather go see THE game instead. So, I ended up taking some kids to the rec because softball was just too strong of a force for them, but a few more stayed in the van to go see THE game. Kind of ironic, too, that we had THE GAME here just like in Columbus, Ohio, where another GAME was taking place. I digress.

We pulled into the parking lot with no trouble at all since we were a bit early. We walked into the stadium like any other and found some seats and immediately noticed two things. First, an entire section of the stands taken up by the military of Niger who were just having a great time in entertaining the crowd. They were all singing, dancing, moving, clapping all in unison and it was incredible to watch and listen to. The second thing I noticed was that as the sun was starting its descent behind the stadium, the shadows created shade, of course. The line of people in the seats perfectly followed the line of the shade. Incredible. Of course, us crazy white people? In the sun! Fortunately, that didn't last too long.

At four o'clock when I was told the game would begin, I was ready. Come on ref, lets get this game started, I thought. But, again, unlike the states, the four o'clock time was just posted to get everyone there by 4:30, the actual starting time. But, it was quite comical to watch the two teams warm up, sometimes all together, and sometimes not. The most comical time was watching the officials warm up. I could tell who the field judge was and who was going to be on the sidelines, just by the way they warmed up. They were almost in perfect unison, did the same thing back and forth across the field for most of the time between 4 and 4:30.

The pre game band as they were, was nothing like the marching 100. Those of you who are Buckeyes fans will know who that is. The notes I did hear didn't sound too bad, but I heard like one note before everyone in the stands began to scream wildly as, I can only assume, that their national anthem was being played.

Finally, 4:30 comes and I am getting a bit anxious because I thought that the game would be almost through the first half by now. I told the kids at the rec that I would come get them at 6 so I could watch the start of the other GAME on Armed Forces Network. THE GAME is soccer, I sit back and relax because it is soccer. I have never really enjoyed soccer because of all the scoring, or lack thereof, and the first half proved my point. These guys ran and ran and ran, working so hard to score, but didn't. What a waste, right? yeah, I know, they were just breaking them down for the second half of one score after another. But, we did get to see a bunch of guys carried off the field on stretchers, because the "EmT" squad had to do its job. After they carried them off, then the trainers worked on the players to get them back into the game. Of course, you still had your "flops" trying to draw fouls, as well. There was a lot of play at the opposite end of the field from where we were, but that was ok to see all those plays open up shots on goal that were either not taken quickly enough, or they missed. Niger most definately had the advantage in attempts on goal in the first half. I felt like the superior team was kind of dominated.

The second half rolls around and the crowd is getting a bit restless for a score. We have had several good chances and just could not capitalize. As this seeminglingly endless, scoreless game continued, the only entertainment became who had the biggest fight in the stands due to the people up top throwing things to the people down below, like water bags, bottles, etc.
So, about half way through the second half, it happened. Something worth seeing on the field. A player received a red card and was ejected from the game! Yes, a player from the Ivory Coast said something to the official as the official was going over to check on an injured player from Niger. The official whipped around as if someone had just slapped his face, threw up the red card and then his hand to signal the ejection. That was all right. I felt as if Lou Pinella himself was there! What excitement! As the fans were throwing things at this player as he tried to exit, my attention was not on the game. Oh, for instant replay because in the one moment I looked away from trying to will a goal, it REALLY happened. The team from Niger scored a gooaaaaaalll! I looked up just in time to see the ball leave the players' foot and go into the net.

What happened next was truly sensational. I thought that the people up top had no more water to throw down, but it looked as if a fire department had begun to spray the crowd down from outside the stadium. There were so many water bags and bottles tossed into the air and broken, that the spray from them all created this mist all over the crowd, who, by the way, was going crazy. The celebration from this one score lasted almost to the very end of the game. In fact, just as the crowd caught its collective breath, the game ended, thus sending the crowd into another frenzy. It was an incredible win for Niger! The amazing thing was through all this is that before the game ended, the ball boys began to pick up the water bottles and things from the track and give them back to the people in the stands so they could do it all again! I thought, " what are you doing? Are you crazy?"

Now, to conclude this rather long story of this milestone, leaving the stadium was another whole adventure. If you cannot read any longer, please come back to read about the leaving experience! I will post another story tomorrow with the exciting conclusion on my complete soccer experience! I am not sure that there is anything quite like it anywhere else!

P.S. By the way, I did make it back to the rec center for the second half of the other GAME where there was plenty of least by the Buckeyes! Go Bucks!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

First Day of School

November 3rd was Mikaylah's first day of school. She was pretty excited. she picked out her dress (the uniforms are not finished yet) and packed her backpack the night before. Ethan, a little boy from her Sunday School class is also starting with Mikaylah, here is a photo of them, it was bright so difficult for Mikaylah to look up!

Well the disappointing thing was that even though all the kids were there and all the teachers were there, they could not legally open school because they were lacking one more paper... so the kids played on the playground for an hour and the other parents and teachers and we prayed for a while, then we went back home. Please pray with us that the authorities will sign the last paper. They are stalling because the pre-school is a Christian pre-school, started by a group of Christian educators. They want the name "evangelique" in their name, so pray that hearts will change and the last paper will be signed. Mikaylah thinks school is easy!! I thought she would be disappointed, but she is just taking it all in stride. We are hoping that school will be able to open in January. At least the uniforms should be done by then!