Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter weekend 2011

Saturday brought our traditional Bunny Day candy hunt. Both kids remembered this from last year and were eager to get out there and hunt.

Peter raced through the whole thing and could definitely use a bit more of a challenge hiding the candy. When they were finished, Robin told the kids they had 1 hour to eat as much as they wanted before we rationed the candy. Both kids sat at the table and went to work. It didn't take too long and Peter said he was finished. Gaelle in all seriousness said, "Peter... just do it. You have to just keep trying."

The older girls requested no candy but I didn't listen to them. Just a small bag tho.

In the afternoon Robin brought home a new BBQ and so there was a bit of fun putting that together with a couple of kids who really wanted to help. Our old BBQ lasted 7 years. We're hoping for another 7 years with this one.

I only boiled 8 eggs for the kids to dye. It was enough and they had fun. However, on Sunday night we ate all 8 eggs for supper. So maybe next year I'll boil more up. They were a big hit.

4 of the 5 kids out on the deck on Easter afternoon. A beautiful day and maybe next year there will be 5 kids out on the deck for an Easter picture.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

2 weeks ago Kaylin came home with a single red gerbera daisy for me "just because". And it is still as fresh as the day she brought it home. Love it. And I love her thoughtfulness.

I know I give Gaƫlle a lot of space on the blog because of her love of all jobs domestic. But there is one area that Peter takes the cake; his room. He loves to clean his room and most Saturday mornings as we are doing all those little things that need to be done (or if truth be told, just lounging around with our coffee) he can be found in his room straightening up. Then he calls us to make sure we all see how great his room looks.

Peter's birthday card came this week from his grandparents. It was postmarked February 28. For those who don't know, we are now into April. I don't know if the blame lies on the US or Canada side. Either way, that is truly snail mail.

And Peter has been having a blast listening to the song in the card... over... and over!

Emily is into full study mode and is currently taking her 3rd exam. Her first year of university has gone well for her. She is focused and really working hard.

So just a few snapshots of our life on this Saturday morning.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New hair do

It's hard to tell from this photo but I am trying a new style on Gaelle. She has asked for one large pony tail and her hair isn't long enough for that yet. But it's finally long enough for 2 puffs. I normally keep her hair in braids and twists to protect it; keeps the hair moist and free from dirt. But we are giving this a try.

So far, so good. Her hair normally gets a little fuzzy and I try not to pull it so tight anyway so the fuzz normally appears. But this is so cute and even with a little fuzz, such a little girls' hair style. We just have to be extra careful every morning and night, to work some oil or conditioner into her hair to keep it from drying out.

Food adventures

Emily has started her first waitressing job at a Thai restaurant. She loves the chance to practice her Thai with the staff and enjoy all of the food she grew to love while she was in Thailand.

This weekend we headed out to try it ourselves. Gaelle and Peter were determined to try chopsticks even though they aren't used in Thailand.

Peter actually had some success with his chopsticks. And the food was a hit all the way around. I am so amazed at all the different types of food the kids will try. But we all liked this.

Gymnastic tricks

Sunday was one of those gorgeous days so we headed out to a local playground. The kids had fun on the equipment and off.

They have been having fun trying handstands and cartwheels.

Lots of laughs and lots of falls.

But they are flexible and small enough so their landings don't hurt.

We have been trying to encourage Gaelle to try gymnastics next fall. She is determined to do ballet, but I really think her athletic soul is better geared towards the tumbling of a gym. But we shall see.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Brown vs Black

Interesting scenario this week where race collided with assumptions and a bit of Haitian youthful culture.

Gaelle was told by a class mate that she didn't want to sit next to her because she was black. The little girl who told her this is biracial... white mom, black dad. Lots of extended family involvement on both sides of her family. And this little girl and Gaelle get into it ALL the time because they both have STRONG personalities. They are good friends except when they are not. We parents and teachers have discussed their friendship and have approved of an attempt on the part of the school to limit their interaction during school hours.

So... the teacher informed the office of this statement and the vice principal who is also biracial, decided to come into the class and have a discussion. She brought books that talked about skin color and some of the different words used to describe skin color.

Gaelle eagerly participated and told the VP that God made her just the way she is. The other girl also participated and the VP sensed that by the end of her discussion, the kids in the class felt comfortable talking about race and they understood what she was saying.

So what did Gaelle learn from all of this? I waited until evening after we had done a bit of reading and Gaelle was relaxed and quiet. And I asked.

"My friend told me I was black and that's wrong!" said with great emphasis.

"So if your friend told you you were brown, would that be ok?" I asked.

"Yes. Because I'm brown... not black!" again stated with great emphasis.

"Is it ok for people to call me white, because I'm not really white," I asked.

"No, you're more peach," said slowly.

"So, is it ok for people to call me white?" I persisted.

........ silence because Gaelle is stumped.

"Did your friend tell you she didn't want to sit next to you because you're black?" I decided to be direct.

"NO. She just called me black."

"And that's wrong?" I asked.

"Yes. Because I'm not black. I'm brown."

By this time Gaelle was getting antsy and a bit out of sorts. So I didn't keep up my questions. I just told her how beautiful her brown skin was and we read another book.

So what were the assumptions?

I don't really know if the little girl meant anything racial by her comment. The VP wasn't willing to state that either, but there was an assumption by the VP that this little girl is trying to figure out who she is because the VP remembers dealing with that. Maybe... or maybe she was just pointing out a difference, like she didn't want to sit next to Gaelle because she was wearing purple pants.

But Gaelle isn't in a place to hear anything racial. All she heard was a basic error in this girl's statement. And now Gaelle believes that it is wrong to call anyone black... period.

Gaelle didn't even hear the end of the statement. We sometimes forget that this time last year Gaelle couldn't even string together a sentence in English. She still misses a fair bit of content becasue of her language skills. We notice it more when she is watching TV. But it is the reality that she isn't able to understand and catch all of our conversation.

Our kids from Haiti don't have any awareness of the term black. We've tried to explain it to Peter but quite honestly, the kids don't get it yet. To them it's simply a matter of color.

And they are brown.

So North American racial awareness collided with Haitian youthful perception.

Now who gets to tell the VP that her lesson was lost on one little girl?

Our favorite things

Peter spends a lot of time in this spot, the kitchen table, drawing all kinds of pictures. It's so nice to see the enjoyment he gets from this activity.

I know I've posted this kind of picture before, but Gaelle loves loves loves to wash dishes. She can amuse herself for hours in the kitchen sink. It's so good to see.

These pictures were taken last night as Robin and I were cleaning up a bit. Sometimes the kids demand all of our attention, but they are developing more and more interests and activities they can do on their own. Sooooo good to see.