Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Interview with J. D. P.

Name: J.D. P
Age: 1.41666 yrs
Occupation: Full-time Toddler
Interviewed by: Ma P

Ma P: Thank you for giving us a few minutes of your time today.

J.D. P: No problem. But I only have a few minutes before nap time.

Ma P: I'll be quick. To start out, tell us a little about yourself.

J.D. P: Well, I'm a typical toddler-boy who loves to hit things, throw things, make noise, eat, chase the dog, and follow mommy and daddy around.

Ma P: What's it like living on a tropical island?

J.D. P: It's wonderful! I get to play outside in the sun. And when it's raining I try to go outside and make myself as muddy and wet as possible! I also eat delicious foods such as fresh fruit, avacados, and comida dominicana.

Ma P: Sounds exciting. Tell me, what type of activities fill your busy day?

J.D. P: Well, I always start out my day with some hearty breakfast and good ol' mama's milk. Some days I go walking with mommy. I'm there to navigate in case we get lost. I have some time to read books and play with my stuffed animals and toy piano. Otherwise, being a toddler is hard work! I sweep and mop, re-organize the kitchen cabinets (mommy always puts things in the wrong places), feed the dog, hammer wooden balls, help mommy with the laundry, instruct mommy in making lunch and dinner, and entertain daddy when he comes home from work. It's a lot, but somebody's got to do it! And nap time fits in there too.

Ma P: Wow, sounds like you've got an important job to do! You had previously mentioned something about a dog?

J.D. P: Ah, yes. We have one dog, Chiste, and one cat, Chai. Chiste says, "Woowoo" and Chai says "Mow."

Ma P: Interesting. And what is your interaction with them?

J.D. P: I feed Chiste. And sometimes I give Chai treats. I enjoy playing with both of them. I like to pet Chai. Chiste is a little rougher. Sometimes he bumps me over. He also gives me doggy kisses.

Ma P: Well, it looks likes it's time for your nap. Is there anything else you want to tell us? Maybe some helpful information for fellow toddlers?

J.D. P: Always remember that your role in the family is very important, despite your small size. Mommy and Daddy are depending on you, so remind them to drink lots of water, bring them their shoes, and give them plenty of hugs and kisses!

And indeed, what would I do without my snuggly little boy who continually hands me my water bottle, brings me my sandals when I mention a walk, and adds so my joy to my life?!!

mopping the rug

reading with mommy

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our tropical Christmas

Rain, waterfalls, palm trees, 70 degree weather, sancocho, rice and beans....
Sound Christmasy? Maybe for some, but this year was certainly an unusual Christmas for us.
The past three years we traveled home for Christmas. This year, we decided we'd had enough of traveling to a frigid climate, the shock of the dry air that leaves our mouths feeling parched, and me feeling nauseaus, etc. So, we decided to stay. While we missed many of our family, we enjoyed "staying put" for the holidays this year.
Here's a run-down on our week:

Monday- get the house ready for my parents to come; Daniel picks up my parents from the airport. Yay!

Tuesday- wrap presents, hang out around house, Dad not feeling well :( , make moro, ensalada russo, and pollo guisado for dinner, Jer has fever

Wednesday- walk with friend and mom; Dad is still not feeling well, but is willing to go to waterfall (during a clearing in the rain); visit waterfall; finish wrapping; make Sancocho for dinner; Mom, Daniel, Jer, and I go to Escuela Caribe for Christmas Eve service and dessert

Thursday- Christmas!!! Sticky rolls and ginger tea for breakfast, read advent scripture, relax, open presents, relax, open more presents, Jer takes nap, Jer eventually finishes opening presents, relax, make dinner (Daniel smokes pork, I make Dominican salad), guests come (a family from church), eat yummy food, talk, sing Christmas carols, watch "It's a Wonderful Life," go to bed late

Friday- Go walking, Mom not feeling well, go to another waterfall when it's not raining, relax, eat Columbian food for dinner. Daniel gets sick (fever). Power goes out in the middle of the night... twice. Wakes us. Wakes baby. Baby cries and throws tantrum. Daniel spikes a high fever.

Saturday- raining, sleepy, Dad and I go out for breakfast (we're the only healthy ones), hang out, decide to drive to Manabao (further up into the mountains) as the rain cleared up and Daniel felt a little better, I drive, we picnic by the river, drive back down, starts to rain again, go back home and relax, go out to eat for dinner

Sunday- Daniel wakes up with sore throat and neck; Dad, Mom, Jer, and I go to church; come home and grill; relax; Mom and I walk to the farmacia to buy medicine for Daniel; Mom and I go to neighbor's for birthday party (for their 6 yr old); throw-together dinner (mac n cheese); pray together

Monday- Daniel drives Mom and Dad to airport

So, in spite of all but me being sick at some point, and it raining some every day, we had a very enjoyable time together. Things on tab for this week:
-do stuff around house (make shelves, hang pictures, etc.)
-visit friends
-get some work done (tutoring prep and grading, Daniel needs to look over final exams teachers have written, etc.)
-play with Jer and his new toys

Daniel's family comes in two weeks, so Christmas decor will stay up (yay!), and we'll just extend the Christmas season (we'll keep listening to Christmas songs, watch Christmas videos...). We're looking forward to seeing them!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Caroling, Dominican Style

It's the middle of the night; you're asleep in your warm bed, dreaming of family gatherings and Christmas plans, when you're suddenly awoken to loud voices and banging. Is it a burglur? Is it the end of the world? Did Santa Claus come early? No, no, and no. Music fills the air and you realize that it's just some typical Dominican Christmas caroling. Afterall, what't the fun in caroling when everyone's already awake? This noisy disturbance is what befell my household last night as we lay tucked under our blankets, slumbering peacefully:

Waking to drumbeats and voices, my heart beat quickened as I heard the commotion. Realizing what it was, I rolled over in my bed, hoping they would pass us by quickly so I could continue my snoozing. After a few minutes I realized, They're not moving any farther away.
"Why are they still here?" I mumbled to my husband.
"Maybe they're staying until they can tell they woke up someone." He suggested, as he lumbered out of bed to investigate.
My mind, still slowly waking, pondered this idea. I recalled previous years in our other house, when we woke to carolers passing quickly by, causing noise and disturbance in one minute, but leaving us to go back to our dozing in the next. No, this doesn't make sense.
As I lay there in my room, trying to unravel the mystery, I began to notice certain clues. The drumming- it sounds experienced. And there's a guitar. This isn't just a random group; there are musicians outside.
[Side note: While things are slowly changing, opportunities to learn to play a musical instrument with fluency are available, but not prevelent in our little town of Jarabacoa.]
Suddenly, a voice stood out from the others; a voice that I heard each and every Sunday at our Spanish church.
The lightbulb turned on; I bet it's a group from our church! They had mentioned something about caroling (though in my naïveté I had assumed it would occur much earlier).
I climbed out of bed to inform Daniel of my newly aquired discovery. However, he was not in the living room, as I had expected.
"Daniel," I called quietly.
It was then that I realized the door stood open. Peaking out into the dark night, I could make out a few vehicles, and by now, I had begun to recognize more voices. Timidly, I reatreated back inside, not feeling fit to be seen in my wrinkled pjs and messy hair. They finished their last song, and I mustered the courage to go outside and join Daniel, realizing that in the darkness, they could not see me very well. "Merry Christmas!" they hollered, and proceeded to choose their next victim. As they drove off, we called for our "watch" dog who had somehow slept through the commotion, as did our child, much to my relief.
Crawling back to bed, I tried to slow my racing heart and calm my awakened nerves while feeling strangely appreciative that we were included in this festive tradition. Meanwhile, a few miles away, another family lay in slumber, unaware that they too would be jolted awake by a friendly, and very loud, group of merry Christmas carolers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Coffee House

Last night we had our "annual" Christmas Coffee House for the JCS staff. I (with the help of a friend) baked cookies (sugar, candy cane, and ginger snaps). We also had rice crispy treats, M&Ms, candy canes, and guacamole. It was a wonderful time, and made many feel that it was truly Christmas season (it's hard to feel Christmas-y in 70 degree weather). Here are some pics for your enjoyment.

Check out this huge avocado! It's almost as big as our pineapple!

We used two of those avocados (50 cents each) to make all this guacamole- it filled half of a large(8 1/2 in diameter) sauce pan.

Yummm... Christmas treats.

At the JCS Christmas Benefit Dinner

For more pics, go here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Needing Motivation...

I don't know why it's been so difficult to blog lately. Maybe it's because a little boy tends to throw tantrums when I'm on the computer. And when I am, I usually want to do brainless things, like read comics... Anyway, thank you, Leah, for nudging me back into gear. :) Here are the very late pictures (is it really December already?).

For some albums, you'll need to click the picture to take you to view the entire album. Others are in "slide-show" format.

Let's start with Fall Festival. The kids had a great time! Older students helped out for half the time and relaxed the other half. Younger students had both halves to participate in the activities. We had a waterballoon throw, football toss (which turned into a football game later on), basketball throw, beanbags, sack race, beads, orange (we have no pumpkins here) painting (this was a popular one), face-painting, leaf coloring, pin the nose on the pumpkin, and dancing (WMCA, Chicken Dance, etc.). And of course, don't forget the scarecrow contest and food contests (pie and hot-dog)!

Fall Festival

Ok, moving on to Thanksgiving:

And now for Christmas Decorations:

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Green Onions?!

I like green onions in salads, stir-fry, soup, grilled, etc,. but I can't say that I'd ever snack on them plain. Apparently, my child's tastes differ from my own. He's been fairly picky about food lately (he'll like something one day and refuse it the next; suddenly spit it out in the middle of a meal, etc.). Sometimes, though he'll suprise me, like the time he tried something with hot pepper and like it. Today, after he finished eating, he tried to grab a dish from the table. The dish had various toppings for our Asian salad. His hand reached for the green onions, so I decided to give him a taste (thinking he would then leave the dish alone). But no, he not only ate the piece of green onion, but came back for more... several times! Strange child...
In other Jer news, he said his first phrase, "Ma, ma Papa" which translates to "Mas Papas," which translates to, "More Potatoes." (He was eating potatoes at the time and wanted more). He continues to say "Ma" a lot for "Mas." It's hard for me to tell when he's says Mas, and when he's saying Mama. He also loves to say "Chee-Tay" for Chiste (our dog- pronounced Cheestay).

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wow, am I late! But at least today's a Thursday, right? Last week was a busy, but fun week. I spent Monday and Tuesday preparing for the week, Fall Fest, and Thanksgiving (making food, cookies, and curtains). Wednesday was fall festival including games, activities, and food eating contests! Visiting school and hanging out with students (and Daniel) was a highlight of the day. We also did some dancing (country dancing, WMCA, etc.). Pictures to come...
On Thursday, the entire JCS staff (and families) were invited over to our house. About 40 or so people came. We potlucked, so the Thanksgiving feast was a wondeful combination of traditional American Thanksgiving foods, and yummy Dominican foods. Daniel smoked a pork leg, and a friend of ours brought the Turkey. The weekend was spent relaxing and decorating for Christmas.
I love Christmas time; I love the decorations and the lights. I love listening to Christmas music. Most of all, I love the time to reflect on God's love for us and the gift of His son. I feel like Thanksgiving is a wonderful "kick-off" to the "Holiday Season." I don't want Thanksgiving to be a one day event in my home, but a reminder throughout this season of all that God has given us: family, friends, and an eternal home through Jesus Christ, His son. God's faithfulness amazes me, and I want to carry "Thanksgiving" throughout the Christmas season, and into the New Year as we celebrate the birth of the King!