Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Whew! Our Kids Won't Be Dummies

Next year's teachers...Becky and Jimmy

Tara and Troy came to stay with us on the farm this past weekend.  We only had a few objectives.  Hang out.  Interview teachers.  Preferably hire teachers.  Eat at Chuys.

We hung out.  Interviewed teachers.  Hired teachers.  Ate at Chuys.

We felt so American again having multiple plans for a 24 hour span of time and actually completing each one of the things on our list.  It felt glorious.  We did however walk into what most people would consider a very important interview and realized about five minutes before it started that none of us had any idea what we were going to talk about or had any questions written down.  Awesome.  In that way, Haiti's influence on our lives was glaringly obvious.

We're all pretty blown away that these highly-qualified people would want to come live in Haiti with us and teach our children.  When we started the process of putting the word out that our two families were looking for teachers, there was this running joke between us.  Sure.  We'd start out by saying we wanted the applicants to have college degrees, preferably teaching degrees, and have at least one year of teaching experience.  We had several people hint around that they were surprised we were asking for so much.  "Are you sure you're going to get people with those qualifications to live in Haiti and teach your children?"  One of those people was Aaron.  I'm totally outing him here.  That's what good wives do.

In all honesty we were as doubtful as anyone else.  However, educating our kids is no small thing.  It's important to us.  While we don't mind educating them in a less traditional way, we do want them educated well.

The running joke went something like this..."Let's start out by asking for the qualifications that are ideal...the ones we actually want and think are important.  But let's not be surprised if "College degree with education emphasis, and at least one year of teaching experience" turns into "Did you finish the fifth grade with all A's?"

Thankfully it did not come to that.  More seriously...this truly was a deal-breaker of sorts for me from the beginning.  After one year in Haiti the thought of homeschooling our kids on my own was terrifying.  I had exclusively homeschooled our kids prior to moving to Haiti, but teaching three grades with a baby in the house in a country with unlimited access to internet, curriculum fairs, prime shipping with amazon dot com, and stellar public libraries was hard.  I'm not even sure there is a word that would describe what it would be like to educate our kids well in a country like Haiti if I had to do it on my own.  I'm pretty sure their education would get pushed aside most days because there are always huge, life-or-death issues coming up in Haiti that require immediate response, and it's a daily fight for simple things like keeping a family's clothes clean and food in the refrigerator (and getting electricity to that refrigerator).

I knew I could not do a good job of educating the kids without help.  Tara and Troy felt the same way.  We asked for teachers online.  We were pretty sure we'd hear the sound of crickets chirping when we mentioned our list of qualifications we were looking for in the applicants.  Yet we were floored at how many people responded...qualified (most of them over qualified) people began sending in their resumes and applications.

If you're one of those people we want to thank you again for being willing to pick up your life and move to Haiti into a land of so many unknowns to be a part of what God is doing there.  We're incredibly grateful and want you to know that your applications grew our faith.  God used you to teach our families yet another lesson about His faithfulness and presence in our lives and our children's lives as we live and serve in Haiti.

We're excited to welcome Jimmy and Becky to Haiti.  Aaron and I actually know them and went to church with them years ago.  They have both taught for years and are excited about teaching in Haiti and creatively approaching educating seven unique children in a foreign land. 

We'll be working together this summer, picking curriculum, buying supplies, and mapping out the school year.  This will be a strong partnership between us as parents and Jimmy/Becky as teachers. 

Our beautiful school house will be located right next door to the house where our family will be living next year.  Like I can probably wave to my kids while I'm in the house and they are in their desks.  Pretty cool, huh?  Tara and I are excited about getting the school painted and decorated cause we're big dorks that way.  For some reason I get all emotional when I think of all the things our kids will learn together next year.

Mostly I'm thankful.  Thankful that God reminds us time and time again that He's in this with us.  He goes before us.  He causes highly-qualified people who could be doing a long list of other things with their lives to sit at our kitchen table and agree to come to Haiti to teach our kids while loving and serving in Haiti as well.  Miracles.  Every piece of this journey points to the miraculous.

Monday, May 30, 2011

For the Local Ladies

Our friend Jordan with BlackBox Strength and Conditioning is offering a Women's Summer Challenge.  Girl.  Don't tune out on me now.  Don't do it.  I mean it.  Get your face back over here.  Unless you aren't a local.  Then you can go finish loading the dishwasher or give the person you're talking to on the phone your undivided attention.  Am I the only person who reads blogs while talking on the phone?  I'm sure that's rude.

One time I got busted for updating my facebook status while in the middle of a so-called serious phone conversation.  Not smart.  It's only funny now.  A year later.

Bottom line:  Jordan with BlackBox Strength and Conditioning gave me my groove back and forever set the standard for what a good workout is and what it isn't.  I'm forever indebted and will forever sing her praise and brag about the work she does to inspire women to care for their bodies.  I'm trying to think of another way I can use the word forever.  Hmm.  Now Friends are Friends Forever is going through my mind, and I'm frantically trying to find the "next" button on the Ipod of my mind.

Last spring/summer Kirby and I trained with Jordan.  The year before I gave in and got a trainer, I had been very sick.  I had mono for months, was going through some awful church/spiritual/relational stuff, and was ridiculously anemic.  Talk about the life of the party!  Yeah buddy.  That was not me.

It was a rough year.  No mother of four boys should have mono.  There should be a rule.  Mono is what you should get when you're sixteen and your mom still takes care of you and brings you chicken noodle soup.  The combination of mono/anemia/weird-random-made-me-crazy-other stuff left me unable to fit into any of my jeans and feeling like a disgusting slob. 

Although I had been a consistent runner for several years prior to my black hole of a year, by last summer I was completely out of shape and could not get back into the groove of working out consistently...no matter how hard I tried.

Working out with Jordan was one of the best long-term investments I've ever made.  I wasn't smart enough to do it on my own.  Kirby made me.  She forced me.  I can't really remember, but I bet she threatened me.

If you're needing a kick-start or a reset button or a good, hard kick in the rear...I want you to seriously consider being a part of this summer program.  Here's what I learned the year I was sick.  Ready?  This is deep.

Not working out and taking care of your body will make a lady crazy.  Eating well and exercising regularly will change your life.  Nothing comes easy, and yet pain is temporary.  Like everything else, God has given us our bodies and asked us to be good stewards of this gift we have been given.  In doing so, we bring God honor.  It's never too late to start.  It's never too late to get back in shape.  Sometimes you just need some motivation, encouragement, and help.  Like so many other things in life, there are times when community...when having others walk with you...is a necessity.  In that, we admit we're created in the image of God.  We thrive in the loving presence of others.

Jordan is offering that kind of encouragement and accountability this summer.  Will you consider training with her?

{{Women's Summer Challenge}}

During this time we will focus on healthy lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, stress, posture, and so much more!  There is no better time to start than today!  Enjoy the environment of a supportive community by signing up for the challenge!

When:  June 1-July 13
Where:  BlackBox Strength and Conditioning
7610 Eastmark Drive
College Station, Texas
Time:  9 a.m. - 10 a.m. Monday/Wednesday/Friday
Cost:  $200 for the six week program.

Email Jordan@crossfitatm.com to participate.

Get this:  If you tell Jordan that you read this blog post when you email her, she'll give you 15% off.  That's six weeks of a personal trainer, nutrition counseling, childcare, and better posture for $170.

I won't be there this summer, but Kirby will.  I may never get to do crossfit/training with Jordan again due to living in Haiti, but like I said...working out with Jordan was an investment.  It got me going again.  I finished my training session with her, felt well, and craved exercise.  I started running again and exercising consistently and have never looked back.  The things I learned about nutrition are things I still put into practice living in a third world country.  I learned so much from Jordan, and she showed me how much I was capable of...that I could push myself...that I was a lot stronger than I thought.  That's what I call a priceless gift.

When I don't work out I feel awful, crabby, and a tad-bit neurotic.  Maybe it's because I'm a nut job...or maybe it's because stewarding well brings a lot of joy, and there are a hundred and one ways exercise relates to scriptural concepts.  Maybe when we fail to care for our bodies, we not only rob ourselves of a long life of service to God, but we also miss out on beautiful things God wants to teach us about life, His Kingdom, endurance, faithfulness, reaping and sowing, and running this race with our eyes set on the prize.

So whether you're a local or not...maybe this summer could be the summer when we stop making excuses and simply rest in the fact that God extends life to us...good things...and so why not put on some tennis shoes and go find that life?  Run hard after it?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Plans....

Last summer on the farm the cousins sold rocks.  Yes.  Rocks.  Not even special ones.  Rocks they found in the flower beds and fields around the farm.  Rocks?  You laugh.  And yet these relentless entrepreneurs sold $350 worth of rocks and sent some kids to school in Haiti.  This proves two things.  People are way nicer than I give them credit  AND attractive people have a much easier go at life.  That study can forever be proven with a handful of adorable kids, a bucket of regular ol' rocks, and a toy cash register full of money. 


This year they are up to their old tricks.  Except now they have a more marketable product.  Well.  Maybe.  The vegetables they are selling are the dregs from the winter garden.  Check out what they are up to this year.  They have decided (on their own) that this year their money is going to build wells in Haiti.

We've enjoyed our week on the farm.  We'll be here all summer waiting for our house in Haiti to be completed.  We needed to come home, regroup, raise some funds, figure out how to furnish our house in Haiti and possibly get some of our belongings there.  Seems overwhelming.

Thankfully my family is allowing us to stay at the farm.  What an enormous blessing.  We arrived on the farm with a house set up and ready to go for us.  Our own comforters on our beds.  Our favorite foods in the refrigerator.  Lynsey and her mother worked hard, and we felt so loved by all they did to welcome us home.

While we are here we'll be busy.  Aaron is going to be working side-by-side with my brother, Jason.  Aaron's degree is in agriculture, and my brother is a farming genius.  Aaron will be purposefully learning a lot of the details about running a farm like this one.  When we move back to Haiti we'll live on about 5 acres of land.  We will be using a lot of the skills that Aaron learns on the farm this summer to set up a more sustainable lifestyle on the land where we will be living in Haiti.

Aaron will also be traveling and speaking at churches and camps.  The kids and I will accompany him as much as we can.  More about that later.  For now you can read Aaron's most recent update here.

I'll be reading and studying midwifery books and trying to keep four kids alive and happy.  I have a long list of things I want to learn.  Skills that will make sense and be useful in Haiti.  Like how to make butter and cheese and pickles.  It's no secret.  Food motivates me.  So help me I will figure out how to eat in any country!

Aaron and I will hopefully be continuing our Creole lessons with a girl (Hi Beth!) who lives in College Station.  What are the chances that a fluent Creole speaker attends our home church?  Yay!

I'm looking forward to this time of rest, focused work, time with friends and family, and getting to wake up every morning...drink coffee while staring out the window at cattle grazing on green pastures.

Links from this post (in case you missed them).

Aaron's Update

The Cousin Store (My sister-in-law's blog)

Yonder Way Farm (Our family's farm.  They deliver to lots of surrounding cities!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Harbor House Haps

All photos in this post courtesy of Troy Livesay.  
And when I say courtesy I really just mean I stole them.  :)

Tara posted an update about the Harbor House.  Please take a minute and go read about all that God is doing to restore young women's lives.   Challenge Grant and Harbor House News

For those of you who gave money or sent items to decorate each room and make the Harbor House feel more like a home, we are still waiting for the container that is holding the items you sent.  Frustrating.  I know.  One day.  One day we'll get those items.  Then we'll post pictures of the decorated rooms.  Getting items into the country is very difficult.  Living with that frustration is a constant part of doing life and ministry in Haiti.  Being an American, delayed gratification is something I stink at.  Thankfully Haitians excel in this subject!  We wait and growl.  The Haitians wait and smile.    

Aren't these women and babies beautiful?
My heart overflows with thanksgiving when I see God's grace and mercy on display in their lives.

Don't forget to check out Tara's post!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

There's a Frog in My Tennis Shoe

Believe me.  Oh please.  Believe me.  This is never what you want to see when you walk into your kitchen.

Two boys.  Faces on the floor.  Trying to dig something out from under the cabinets.

Hayden begins to explain.  "I brought my shoes in from the front porch to put them on.  I put my foot inside and felt something in there.  So I reached in to grab it."

Let's pause.  What the heck is wrong with him?  Just that part of his story made me cringe.

"There was something alive in my shoe.  I grabbed its head."

Again.  What?  Who does that?

"I thought it was a rat."

At this point in his story I am not breathing.  Especially since he is still standing there...holding his shoe...in the kitchen...noticeably amused by what just happened to him.

"I grabbed its head and it started shaking.  So I pulled it out.  It wasn't a rat, mom.  It was a frog."

Whew.  I was relieved.  I hate frogs, but in the hierarchy of things I hate, rats are above frogs.  I was thankful Hayden had not grabbed a rat's head, or I would have had to cut his hand off.  I was thankful and relieved until I remembered that the boys were on the floor looking under the cabinets trying to fish something out of there.  This scene happened before I had consumed coffee.  I was slow.  And weak.  The boys had a major advantage over me.

Hayden continued..."The frog jumped out of my shoe and went under the cabinets.

What?  No!

It's still there.  Barf.  I have no idea how we remove it.  Wait it out?  Will it come out at night?  Yuck.

In other kid news, there was this moment yesterday when I looked at all the little bodies around me and thought..."Wow.  Total wardrobe anarchy is going on around here."  This is what happens when kids wake up with the sun, throw clothes on, and go sit on the front porch waiting for their cousins to come out of the house across the driveway.  I don't want to be that mom who micromanages her kids to death, but I took a good look at the kids yesterday and announced that this was the last day for them to look like trash.  "For goodness sake...at least turn the light on in the closet when you're picking your clothes."

Hayden put a side pony on his sock because he couldn't find two socks that matched.  He opted for one regular sock and one of Big Foot's socks.  Asking his mother for assistance would have delayed his early morning exit.  He had worn his sock like this all day.  I only noticed in the evening when we were going for a walk.

 Normally Lynsey has her girls looking cute every moment of the day.  This is Laney Rae's new summer look.  She is one of the first cousins to come barreling out of the house next door to meet her cousins in the driveway.  What's a mom to do?  The kids run away from home as soon as it's light outside.  They are too excited and busy to be bothered with pony tails and pants...

Whenever the mood hits him, Hudson takes off his shorts.  I've found them in the garden.  Near the pigs.  It's summer.  The time of year when pants are optional, I guess.

Hayden with his side-pony socks and various shades of blue clothing playing "airport" in the garden with giant spinach leaves.

 Your plane is now safely landed.  You're welcome.
Having just flown, I'm thinking American Airlines will soon stoop to this.

Thanks for your sweet, encouraging words yesterday.  Every day is getting a little easier.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beware the Freak

Reverse culture shock.  I've heard the phrase.  I admit.  I thought it was probably a bunch of malarkey.  I've yet to even google it.

I lived in the US for 33 years.  Surely leaving America for 10 months would not turn me into a basket case weirdo.

Think again.

Thankfully I'm on the farm, far away from lots of people and big-city suburban life.  This farm makes sense to me.  This way of life...simple...staying put...it is a source of comfort...a soft landing back into this country that I love and yet don't feel like I understand anymore.

I went into College Station yesterday for the first time.  First stop:  Target.  Second stop:  Church. Hello America.  Why don't I just crawl right up on your lap, suck my thumb, twirl your hair, and sit for awhile?

Half way through church I felt the sudden, intense desire to disappear.  "This was a bad idea."  I wanted to close my eyes, wiggle my nose, and be back on the farm sitting cross-legged in the middle of a pasture so I could think....alone.  A trip to Target and 20 minutes of church.  I'm thinking re-entry into America should be approached like a crossfit workout.  You need intervals.  Jump in for a few minutes.  Grab some water (or something stronger), sit down, and think.

I need to think.

At this point, I don't really trust much of what I'm feeling and am certainly not in a spot to process my thoughts out loud.  I'm afraid my musings would come out in a giant, jumbled mess, and make me sound like those people that used to drive me nuts...the America haters. 

I'm not an America hater.  I'm in love with all this hot water and never-ending electricity.  I love ice cream, smooth roads, the smell of clean air as I run.  Something about the beauty around me has brought me to tears every single day since I've been home.  I love this place.  Particularly this farm.  Particularly Texas.  Most importantly, these people.

I don't want to come across like a judgmental jerk or a sad...oh. so. sad...person.  So I think I have to be honest with myself, and all of you who are in this with us and say that I'll need some time to process.  I need time to think about church, the messages I'll hear, and the things that are important here while this other big thing called Haiti...the people...the images...the injustice...the joy...simultaneously run through my mind.

This place is very different from the one I left behind.  The God I love and yell at is not the God I knew when I lived here.  This world is a lot more broken than I thought 10 months ago.  The needs so much more real.  Quick, easy answers are laughable to me.  I feel unsure and every single thing about life seems extremely complex.  Everything I see and hear is now running through this other enormous filter called Haiti.  It makes my brain very tired and my soul heavy.  It makes me thankful, content, and yet angry and frustrated.  I'm sure somewhere in the mix of all those emotions I'll find truth. 

Bear with me.

There is so much beauty around me.  God truly uses this farm with its wide open fields and buffet of all that is beautiful to heal me.  Our family and friends are a true place of safety and love for us.  I feel God's hands on me.  It brings me joy to post pictures of smiling cousins, belly-laughing children all wide-eyed and wild as they wrap themselves up tight in swim towels and creation.  But behind the scenes, know that I'm asking God to bring clarity to my thoughts and speak peace over my troubled heart.  I'm a mess.  Perhaps I'm supposed to write about those feelings.  Maybe one day.  But not until I understand my own heart better and not until my thoughts are iced with grace.  Maybe God will sort out some of these feelings, and whisper gently for me to keep them to myself, fold them up tight and stick them in my pocket.  I guess we will wait and see.

For now I'm going to keep it light on the blog.  Life is odd, isn't it.  In the midst of feeling like a wreck, my days are also full of love, laughter, doing Insanity workouts with my sister-in-law, hanging with my dad, watching my boys find adventure after adventure, and holding my adorable nieces.  I'm going to post about that stuff while I think the deep, down, possibly crazy thoughts.

I offer a retroactive apology to everyone I thought was ridiculous for claiming to have reverse culture shock.  Will there ever come an end to my pride and stupidity?  It's doubtful.

Friday, May 20, 2011


My family's farm.  My favorite place on Earth.

Four boys and four girl cousins.

Panties in the pasture.  Don't ask.

I found this post in my archives about Blue Bell ice cream.  How ironic is life?  How. Flippin. Ironic? 

We are all extremely tired from a long, tough day of flying but that hasn't stopped us from eating Blue Bell ice cream like it's our job and soaking in clean air, wide open spaces, hot water, cousins, Apels, and Kramers.  Pretty soon, I keep promising myself I'm going to soak in some sleep.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Grace Upon Grace

Packing.  Did it feel like someone just hit you in the stomach?  Well.  That's what that word does to me.  Most of the time I was packing this house I was frustrated and overwhelmed with how to actually pull off boxing up a house for six people while still coming up with something to feed my family for dinner every night (fast food is practically non-existent here) while also trying to keep Hudson from eating sunscreen and prescription meds.  No fun.  I know God orders trials for our sanctification, but sheesh.  I would be very thankful if "moving in a third world country" or moving anywhere were never on the menu again.

Mostly I was grumpy and there was even one day when I had to find my kids during their snack time at school, ease up next to them, and whisper in their ear that I was sorry I was such a beast that morning.  "I'm stressed and I'm not handling all of this well at all."  I begged for forgiveness, which is never necessary with kids.  Simply asking is enough. 

As frustrating and seemingly impossible as it was to get this house packed up, I was equally aware as I put things in boxes of how faithful God has been to our family this year.  I was well aware as I stacked our possessions in plastic storage containers that we are not the same people who moved here 9 months ago.  God has done a lot of work.  That's always good, even if the work He is busy doing is hard and painful at times.

Sometimes I was overwhelmed by the simple things...like that it did not even look like we'd used any medications this year.  I brought what I thought would be enough for a regular year in the United States.  Plenty of children's tylenol, benadryl, and motrin.  Plenty of medicine for all the diarrhea I was sure we'd get.  Malaria meds.  Plenty of triple antibiotic creams.  You name a sickness.  I brought the meds.  We barely used any medicines out of our giant tote this year .

I'm  not one to think that just because we're here in Haiti that God is obligated to keep my kids sickness free.  I don't believe that just because we're here, God would never let one of my kids get sick or hurt or (I don't even want to think about it) die.  Sickness and even death could be ordained for us at any time, whether here in Haiti or in the States.  I don't believe our family is "extra" protected because we're doing something "extra" big.  We know we're sinful people saved by grace. We know we are a giant mess a lot of the time, and that we also happen to live in Haiti. Yet God is in control.  The end.

Packing away all those medications I simply marveled at God's grace towards us that our kids were far less sick here in Haiti this year than they have ever been in one year in the United States.  Besides Hudson's seizure (that was terrifying but ended up being nothing to worry about) and us all being sick during Christmas break while were in the United States...we have not been sick this year.  I think one of the kids missed one day of school.  Grace.

Sometimes as I was packing I was overwhelmed by the giant things.  While I was stuffing things in totes Tara and I texted each other about 9,000 times.  I'm exaggerating a little.  Like by a hundred or so.  Beth kept texting me updates on births and things going on at the maternity center. Heidi and Ben were here every night, helping with dinner and the kids.

One of our greatest fears when we came here (we had lots of greatest fears) was that we would not have a solid community here in Haiti like we had back home.  How could we ever be so "lucky" to find that again?  It was scary leaving our friends (who were more like family) behind to come to a place where we didn't know anyone.  And yet God provided all we needed.  Above and beyond.  Looking back I was probably prideful to think that it was something about us...something about me...something we did to create the community we had back home.  Now I know how silly I was.  That's God's territory.  Community...family....deep friendships...He created those things and He is still creating them today.

We spent time last night telling the Livesays good-bye.  I really wanted to get through the evening without crying because this thing with them is so good I was afraid if the tears started they would not stop.  Aaron and I have great friends in Tara and Troy....and our kids...well...they are having a hard time imagining that life can be good if they are not with the Livesay kids for the entire summer.  So much for not crying because these precious people wrote us a song.  A real song.  A whole song.  With arm motions.  For us!

Grace.  Sweet grace.  Who wouldn't want to hurry back to be with these people?  Isaac Livesay....we're coming back.  Okay?  We're coming back.

Thus starts this weird few months of fund raising, learning how to farm, intense midwifery study, and getting school for the kids lined out for next year as we wait in Texas for our home in Haiti to be completed.  Please pray with us that the funds we need for our family to be here next year are raised and that our house is finished on time (that would be a miracle of epic proportion in Haiti!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First Day:::Last Day

 First day of school

Last day of school

Their white shirts were actually white on the first day.  Not so much on the last day.

Looks like a steady diet of sun, rice, and beans has put some meat on their bones and made those bones grow taller.

Ready to have these boys all to myself this summer.  Bring it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

School Ending and Beginnings

The kids have loved their teachers this year.  Tomorrow they will say good-bye to them.  Ashton wrote Mrs. Jean-Charles a card this evening that says, "I love you so much I wish I could stay in first grade forever."  I wish Ashton could stay in first grade forever too.

It will be a bitter-sweet day for the boys.  They are so ready for summer and ready to see their cousins and friends in Texas, but they love their teachers and are dreading not getting to see the Livesay kids and other friends for the next few months.  Aaron and I totally get what they are feeling.  Bitter-sweet.  Life in two worlds.  It affects the youngest to the oldest in this house.

In other school news....

Tara posted a picture of the school that's being built for seven of the most funtastical kids on this planet.  Check it out!

We hope to have teachers hired in a few short weeks and then begin picking curriculum and mapping out the school year.  The kids have enjoyed going to "real school" this year, but I must admit...I love the idea of homeschooling again.  And so do the kids.

I know "education" can be a controversial, hot topic.  You know how some families are margarine families and some families are butter families?  Some are whole milk families and some are 2% families?  Well, now that we've spent a year doing school in a more conventional way, we have come to the conclusion that we're a home-school kind of crew.  It fits our family better.  It's more "us." That's just it, and we're cool with that.  The kids enjoyed school this year and we could not be more thankful for how their teachers loved and taught them, but we're looking forward to going back to homeschooling.  And we like whole milk.  And butter.  Real butter.

The teacher geek in me is ready to make plans, buy books, and brainstorm with the teachers we will hire.  We were blown away by how many quality, gifted, (perhaps overly qualified) teachers applied for the teaching positions.  I find myself daydreaming about next year's school year and it's not even summer yet.

I leave you with some of my favorite homeschool pictures from past years.  These were fun to look through tonight.  Made me nice and nostalgic.  I'll probably cry myself to sleep thinking about how fast time flies and how quickly babies grow up and turn into sixth graders.  Aaron just loves it when I look through old pictures.  Loves it.

The Hendrick brothers wrapped Hayden in toilet paper when we 
were studying Ancient Egypt and mummification.

 Then they buried him with all of his favorite earthly items.

 Astronomy with daddy and Uncle Jason

 researching Native Americans

Language arts, home-school style

Don't forget to check out the picture of our building being put up on Heartline's new land and read the school update that Tara wrote.  You can find it all here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kickbutt Kickball Party

Last night we got together with a few friends to celebrate Hayden's birthday.  Before moving to Haiti I would be awake in my bed (when sane people were sleeping) wondering all sorts of things, trying to imagine what our new life would be like.  As neurotic as it sounds, I panicked about normal things like more earthquakes and abnormal things like birthday parties.  Would my kids ever have another fun party?  Would they hate my guts one day for moving them away from friends, family, and Chuck E Cheese?  While birthday parties (and most everything else) are a little different here, I am pleased to announce to all other neurotic people like myself that fun can be had no matter where you live.  Whew.  What a relief.

Hayden's favorite food is Haitian food (works out well for us, considering where we live) and his favorite game (along with almost every other kid in the world) is kickball.  So we had a Haitian food/kickball party.  Just wait.  Party stores everywhere will be selling Haitian food/kickball themed merchandise soon.  It will be right next to the luau stuff.

Hayden may love Haitian food, but his mother has no clue how to make it.  Thankfully we know some cooking rock stars.   The food was delicious.  I asked the ladies to cook for 25 people.  Lesson learned.  They cooked for 60.  We will be eating Haitian food for awhile.  Want some?  I'm pretty sure all of you could come over and there would still be leftovers.
Paige always wears her hair this fancy for Haitian food/kickball parties.  Oh wait.  No.  She doesn't.  In addition to celebrating Hayden's birthday party, it was also prom night!  Go see!  Go!  Paige got all fancied up at our house while the rest of us were getting covered in dirt on the soccer field.  It was special to be a tiny, tiny part of this big evening for one of our favorite families.  We watched Troy dance with his daughter in our living room.  After they left the room Aaron said, "Was Troy about to cry?"  I looked over at my husband and said, "Are you about to cry?"  Yep. He was.

Yum!  Hayden was in Haitian food heaven.

After gorging ourselves with mountains of rice and beans, we did what all smart people do...played an intense game of kickball.  Brilliant.

The team captains.  Hayden and Dr. Jen.

Heidi running the bases pregnant.  She was amazing!
These gummy worms for the dirty cupcakes were sent to me in the mail by Flower Patch Farmgirl.  
She's my internet bestie, and she knows how to love us!
Dirt was definitely the real theme of the night.

It was a perfect evening.  Kickball will forever be one of the world's greatest games, and Hayden will forever be one of the world's greatest kids.  See?  Perfect. 

These pictures were too good to leave alone.  
So I decided to do some zooming.
Happy Birthday, Hayden.
We can't give you Chuck E Cheese or a bowling birthday party but we CAN give you FREAKS!!