Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Birthday Blowout!

videoI finally got this thing to load up. I wasn't sure it even did it at the beginning, so we were hearing from the lands of good internet connections that they had seen Mikaylah's birthday cake meltdown. I guess it did load. Hope you all who can, enjoy the video. 

Another Birthday party!

Before Mikaylah's birthday, there was another birthday party our kids went to for Ariel and Bennet McIver. These are kids who met ours in Quebec during language study. Their dad is like a little boy at times and loves to build and have fun. So, he constructed this obstacle course for the kids, complete with 2 zip lines. One for the young ones and one for a slightly older. This first pic is of Jayson coming out of the "tunnel". He had a great time with almost everything. You can scroll down to see how the end of his zipline went. We was ok, until he stopped. At that point, the 
kids were supposed to drop into a       pool and get all wet. Jayson thought that if he dropped, he would be hurt, so he hung out until someone came to rescue him! I think he must get that from falling off the playgroud equipment here at school so many times:)  
Mikaylah thoroughly enjoyed her time there. She went around that obstacle course a dozen times or more. It was a hot day, so they really enjoyed themselves.

Incidentally, this is when my cell phone was stolen right in front of the guards! Only in Africa, I think:) Praise God, the perps didn't get the wallet that was sitting in the pocket next to the phone! The phone was easily replaced, with the same number even! 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This blog is really for all my canoeing buddies back home. Muskrat, I hope you log onto this to see these pics. 3 years ago, I almost put a small canoe or kayak on the container that came out here. At that time, because I didn't have total knowledge of our mission finances, I hesitated, then decided not to bring one. In hindsight, I should have pulled the trigger. I usually go canoeing at least once a month while in Indiana because of all the great creeks and rivers in that beautiful state. But, since being here, there is one river to choose from and that one is used by all. The Niger River.

You can see from the pics that we shy away from normal tents on these trips because of the heat. I slept under a mosquito net on the sand. I laid down a ground cover, rolled out my sleeping bag that just came on the container and fully expected to sleep just on top on the bag using it for only a cushion. However, during the night, a rather cool breeze kicked up and caused me to climb in my 50+ sleeping bag to keep warm. I suspect that most of you North Americans just coming off winter would not have done that. It was a beautiful night to sleep.

we put in down in Tera about an hour drive from Niamey and we had lofty goals to make roughly a 62 kilometer trek in a day in a half to land right on the back side of our campus. We pushed off around 2:30 in the afternoon only to face a fairly stiff wind. We had a place in mind to camp for the night because one of the guys scouted out a place from his plane the week before. The current on the Niger does flow, but not that fast as compared to the smaller rivers to which I have grown accustomed. So, you have a current with the wind, as soon as you stopped paddling just to look at things, if you didn't go backwards, you stopped dead still. Very frustrating because when one person stopped to take a drink or just to take a break, the other had a lot of work to do.
The girl you see pictured is Charity Bliss, who was my canoe buddy for the whole trip. We rode in a homemade canoe that was made in Ghana. Very nice riding canoe, although I am glad that there weren't too many rocks out there because I hated to hit anything for fear of scratching it. But, it rode so nicely. I would have loved to see what that thing could do on a calm day. Needless to say, we didn't make it as far as we thought we should because of the wind. Very slow. As darkness settled upon us, we had to begin looking for an island on which to camp. Of course, after passing so many islands, when we needed one, we couldn't find one. So, we kept going. The good thing is, is that the wind died down, so it got a bit easier. The down side is that we were paddling after dark. That is bad because the river was on its way down and you never know where the rocks are and you never know where the hippos that look like rocks are! As we came upon this one island that seemed to stretch out for 3 k, we saw many, many hippo tracks up on the island that we thought would not be a good camp spot because the hippos were already there. Hippos do not make for great sleepovers!

Anyway, as we were quietly paddling along this island, it was just about dark. You know where the water looks black and you can only see the fires of the Africans burning to cook their suppers. All of a sudden, this huge snort sounds very close to us to the left. And what do we see? A huge hippo rising some out of the water only about half way to shore. Needless to say, we all found some needed energy. There is only one thing worse than seeing a hippo go under the water, and that is not knowing where he will surface! Yes, Hippos are herbivores, unless they are really hungry or we have come between mommy and baby. With all the stories of those things and the amount of people who are killed by them every year, we like to keep our distance.

The next day was more of the same. You see Chris Chamberlain waking in a tent that lost its poles in the middle of the night. I am sure he will love me posting this picture! It was great to be able to get paddling again. I didn't realize just how much I miss it. Only to have my kayak here. Although, if I did, I would think that would draw lots of attention from the Africans.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Birthday, part 3

Just thought you would enjoy the remaining few pics of Mikaylah's birthday. You can see who helped make the cake and who helped eat it. Jayson really enjoyed the beaters. Gone are the days of pappa getting those, I think:) That is ok, though.

Mikaylah loved being a princess all day that day. She was just so much fun to watch. How she included everyone, especially the few kids who were there to share all her new toys, including the tent! She loved to share all her new toys, dolls, etc with Lydia. Jayson is a bit of a different story, but she is working very hard on that account. We are certainly blessed to have these two kids. They are very precious to us and they bring us many many smiles and much laughter!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Slippy Slidy Sleepover!

yes, we have made it to the wonderful world of sleepovers with Mikaylah. Jayson thought he should be included as well, but we made him to go bed and let the girls be girls. These two girls had just the best time sleeping in our new tent which we just got off a container not more than 6 days before Mikaylah's birthday! More on that later. I have no idea if they really got any sleep, but they said they did....some.
Now Mikaylah with her cake. She did help to decorate her cake. I still have even more pictures of Mikaylah sprinkling the cake with her special sprinkles, Jayson licking the beater and that yummy chocalate cake mix, and some other odds and ends pictures. But, I as I said in last blog, I wish I could upload the video. I still need to get in on disc to be sure we always have it because it is going to make for a great video at her 16 birthday party! or her wedding! Janice had lit the candles and everyone was singing happy birthday, but because it was so hot, we had our ceiling fans on. Yes, you have more than one in one room! As we put the cake down in front of Mikaylah, all the candles went out! oh, no, we just light them again, but Mikaylah breaks out into this most horrific cry I have ever heard. It is like the worst thing in the world has happened and she is broken hearted because her birthday was ruined! Her perfect day was in shambles. Well, we quickly begin to light the candles again when we discover, and it is on the video that the fans had a little help by who? yes, you guessed it, little brother, Jayson. Everytime we lit a candle, he would very sublty lean in and blow them out, furthur exasperating Mikaylah because afterall, it was her birthday and she was going to blow the candles out!I can't blame her. I am just a bit worried for her wedding day way down the road if this happened on a birthday:) The picture you see here is just after all of that. She is doing her best to be cheery, smiley and not cry. She is such a cute littel girl...we love her so much.

As you can see some of the other presents that she received were a pooh clock, which Jayson thought was for him! Some hairbands, 3 barbie dolls, fruit chews, a play kitchen and pots and pans, a sippy type cup with Tinkerbell on it, so the next day we had to watch Peter Pan because that is where Tinker bell is! Notice the outfit Grandma? Mikaylah thought that was the very best! She wanted to wear it day after day after day!

During the big birthday bash, as Mikaylah was receiving much of the attention, little brother was busy entertaining his own friend! The little sister of Lydia, Jayson and Eliza were busy hiding in the cabinet where the trash can normally rests! It is amazing, when the kids go to bed at night, and the power goes off, Jayson goes ballistic. He can't stand it totally dark. When it is a surprise thing, he does not like it! But, to hide in a dark closest or cupboard, no problem! Now, I don't know if you noticed, but he is playing with a girl in her underwear! Should we be worried?????

Slippy slidy birthday!

Mikaylah's 5 birthday party was a ton of fun. What we thought was going to be a bunch of kids to enjoy her new slip 'n slide, it ended up being just the three girls and a whole bunch of adults,...oh, and some teenagers.
Mikaylah calls this not her slip 'n slide, but her slippy slidy. "Pappa, can we play with my slippy slidy today?" she has asked almost everyday since her birthday. Here she is with her very good friend, Lydia Beebout, who she met in Quebec. They have frozen together and now roasted together:)

The rest of her birthday sleepover will come on the next post. I couldn't post all the pics. I will make another post very soon, so you better read fast! I really wish our internet was good enough to upload a video of Mikaylah and the birthday cake. That was very funny. I will tell that story in the next post.

Jayson even like the slide, although I think he thought playing with the big boys was even more fun than the water. Nowadays he loves to run, stop and fall face first into the water on the slide. They have such a great time with it! This is something that we packed on the container to come out here long before Jayson was even born. Mikaylah was a little 2 year old when we bought it for her and we didn't see it again until we unpacked the container on this side of the pond. That was best $5.00 we spent for her birthday. As you can see some of the other presents included Mac 'N Cheese, or Kraft dinner for all the Canadians. That was a real treat since we haven't had that since Quebec. Not that Janice and I were complaining much, but the kids gobbled down a box very quickly the other day! It was like we never fed them. Ok, they didn't eat the box, just the macaroni and cheese. I have to admit, it did taste rather yummy:)

Oh, don't forget to notice Mikaylah's princess crown. She spent most of her birthday telling us she was a princess. Boys are prince's and girls are princesses. I really think she felt very special for her birthday. On Saturday, she asked if it was her birthday again. After we told her 52 more Friday's and it is your birthday again, she was content. Of course, in her mind, 52 Friday's might as well be next week!

Jayson's haircut

This is a picture of a stage Jayson is going through right now where he likes to walk around being a "monster". He is the friendliest monster I know. He is always smiling all the while he squints his eyes, puts his hands up like claws and roars like a bear! It is quite the sight. Mikaylah always plays along and goes to hide from this hideous monster. When he finds her, he turns her into a monster to go hunt momma and pappa. We have had many good times as a family playing "Where the wild things are". If you don't know, that book is coming out on movie next summer, as rumour has it.

Just thought those of you who follow our kids would like to see the before and after pics of Jayson getting a haircut. I did not include all the during pictures because he was just covered with powder, so the hair would be easier to get off. But he was very proud. I was on a canoe trip when Janice cut his hair, but when I came back, the very first thing Jayson said to me was, loo, pappa(Look Pappa) while he patted his head. He was very proud of his new hairstyle!