Saturday, March 22, 2014

Haitian Giraffes

When Peter and Robin were in Haiti, they stopped off at the orphanage for a visit. You know how when you get together with old friends and family, you reminisce. From what I gather Peter brought up several memories of his time there. Gaëlle's frequent time on top of the freezer was validated. Friends that he had and where they are now were discussed. Molly had saved some of Peter's school work and gave it to him. And Peter brought up the Haitian giraffes. Peter loved this painting and they laughed because Joyce thought it was odd to have jungle animals in a Haitian painting. Sometime after Peter had left, the painting was taken down. It had a tear and was showing some wear.

To Peter's delight, Joyce and Molly gave it to him. As soon as we got home, we took it to be framed. Peter wanted the exact same frame style as our other Haitian paintings, which was easily accomplished. The tear is now fixed and the painting is ready to be hung. We have 2 happy kids with their Haitian giraffes just trying to decide the best place to put it. We thought Peter would want it in his room, but he seems to want it in our living area. We'll see what the final decision is.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

3 Weeks Without a Teen in the House

Once upon a time, many years ago, we had a little girl who wore mis-matched shoes. On purpose. It was cute. She was adorable in her mis-matchy style. Now they actually sell shoes that are different. Coordinated, but different. She would have loved these!!! Our little girl just left the teenage years 3 weeks ago. And we had a house full of young adults and little kids. 

But this Sunday, Peter had a birthday. His 13th birthday. And now we have a teen in the house once again. He asked for hamburgers for his meal. 

And he has been on his scooter every chance he gets. So we got him accessories for the scooter. He was thrilled.

Emily did her best to involve the other kids in the celebration. She faithfully snap chatted the events of the meal to the 2 who are away.

The birthday boy.

I don't know why, but Robin only put 5 candles on the cake. He really is 13.

He asked for cheesecake for his birthday. He didn't even want a flavour. Just plain cheesecake. So I added some caramel sauce.

But on the new gear to the scooter. Fun, fun, fun. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

More March Break Fun

Thursday we went to the art gallery for the afternoon. An artist was available to give the kids drawing tips. We looked around for inspiration and then the kids started drawing. The artist immediately recognized Peter's talent and suggested classes for him. Not exactly the tips I thought she would give. She showed Gaëlle one of her art books with some really fun work and gave her some suggestions. All in all it was a nice way to spend the afternoon. We ended up at McDonalds which was something we did most of the week.

Friday morning we made cinnamon rolls and dropped them off.

This year we just gave them out to people Robin and I work with. Now that we work in the same building it is pretty convenient. They were very appreciative.

We met Emily for lunch which was fun. Subway for Emily and Gaëlle and Thai Express for me and Peter. Then over to the pool again where a family from church met us. A playmate for both kids and a mom for me. 

Both kids slept in every single morning. Both kids did extremely well all week. I just disciplined Gaëlle once and spoke to Peter once. Both kids stated they had a great week. It really does work best when we have structure, calm and some planned activity. Some families are able to handle full days. Not us. Or maybe it's not me. Either way, we had a great spring break. Now it's time for spring to really come.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March Break

Sunday morning we started off with a puppet show in Junior Church. It went really well and we were pleased with everything.

Sunday night our church has Alpha and other Bible studies. The evening starts off with a meal and then moves into the study time. Robin and Peter participate but Gaëlle and I usually stay home as it becomes a late evening. No school on Monday, so I volunteered to do the kids program. I only had 2 kids. I no longer do crafts on Sunday morning when I do Junior Church because there is such a wide range of interest in crafts with kids. This is only my 2nd time doing the kids program for Alpha and both times I've brought involved crafts. It's something I enjoy and so much easier when there is a small group. Both times the crafts have been a hit.

Halifax has an outdoor skating rink called The Oval. It is free and they offer free skates and helmets for those who need them. It is great. The Oval is closing this Sunday and so we went this week for the last time this season. It was a perfect day for skating outside. Love it.

Today is raining so we plan on going to the Art Gallery.There will be an artist there who will give drawing tips to the kids who attend. Should be interesting.

Birthday Celebration

We've had a few birthdays over the past few weeks. Kaylin was able to come home for a few days and so we combined the celebration. Emily's favourite meal is ham with mashed potatoes and cream corn. Check. Kaylin is vegan. So I found a spaghetti squash casserole recipe that looked good. And it was. 

Josh sent a beautiful card and then didn't write in it. In case the girls wanted to reuse it. Frugality is his middle name. 

Emily has a big trip planned and so travel items that pack up small was the theme. 

2 incredible birthday girls sharing the cake. LOVE.

Before they left, they Snapchatted Josh. We wish he was here, but his presence was very much felt.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Packed a lot into a short week

When we talked with Peter about his trip to Haiti, one thing he was definite about. He wanted to get some griot (deep fried pork) from the street vendors. One of his fondest memories was a treat the older kids sometimes got. They would sometimes go to the corner vendor and buy some food. So, he was able to do that a lot while they were there. A local who spent some time in Canada but is now back in Haiti working with Haitian pastors, doesn't even buy food from the vendors. Yikes.

Robin made sure they had a visit to the Baptist Mission. He went there a few times while at Kay B. This time the treat was ice cream.

His favourite experience in Haiti was spending time in the mountains of Kenscoff with family. He was born there and lived there for the first 6 years of his life. His memories are a little weak, but it was obvious that the time spent there fed his soul.

Peter's favourite photo of his week in Haiti. 

Another highlight was spending time with Joyce and Molly at Kay B. A couple of random kids threw themselves into the photo. It's amazing to see how much Peter has grown when we look at his former caregivers.

It's also hard to believe that Peter slept in these beds. He has grown so much.

The nannies were excited to see Peter. The kids don't come back often and so they don't get to see the results of their hard work except through photos. It sounds like they were very happy to see Peter. They all asked questions about Gaëlle and Robin was able to show them all the photos on his iPad. 

It's no surprise that Gaëlle is known for her strong will and her desire to be in control of everything and everyone. The staff confirmed some of Gaëlle's tales of her punishment and admitted that she spent a lot of time in the punishment area. I think Robin shared that she has come a long way in her ability to control her actions. 

Peter was thrilled to swim in the ocean. Even though Haiti is surrounded by water, this was his first time swimming there. 

They had the chance to experience many different ways of travel while in Haiti. On their return trip from La Gonave, they went on the wooden Wesleyana. 

Val spent three years in Haiti and this was her first time on a Tap Tap. The experience even included a flat tire 5 minutes into the trip. 

Peter developed a saying while he was there. "Let's do it Haitian." I think riding on the back of a Tap Tap qualifies. 

Home again. Back to the cold. Robin is holding the basket they picked up for Gaëlle, which she immediately filled with her American Girl doll clothes. Quite a contrast but completely symbolic of their lives now. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

School in Terre Sel

Robin has been up to Terre Sel, a little community up the mountains in La Gonave 3 times now. He has been struck by the dedication of the teacher and the isolation of the community and the desire of the people to have a decent school for the children.

You can see that the current building is very delapidated and looks like it's ready to fall down. 

The walls are up on a new building but there needs to be much more fund raising and support to help the community reach their dreams.

It really is quite the journey up to Terre Sel. Peter and Vashti did it the Haitian way ; in the back of the truck. And stay tuned as we look to see what our role can be in making this school a reality.