Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nothing like a Nana

There's nothing like a Nana for popsicles and picnics
And for every sort of treat
Oh there's no one like a Nana
To give you all the chocolate you can eat

There's nothing like a Nana for sunglasses and stories
She always is the best
For baseball, beaches, and boat rides
Nana is way above the rest



Oh there's nothing like a Nana
As you can plainly see
No there's no one like a Nana
She's the greatest she could be


My mom "Nana" came for a visit for Abbi's birthday at the beginning of the month.
Can you believe we have a 2 year old? We can't.
Nana is Abbi's bestest pal in the whole world, and as you can tell from the pictures, we had lots of fun while she was here. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday

So, we're not going to blast way back in the past - only 3 years, but man these kiddos and our family have sure changed a lot in those 3 years!

3 years of "First day of school" photos for your enjoyment today.

2011- Year 1 - Just married and just arrived in Haiti to teach the Hendricks and the Livesays.
You've gotta love the look on Isaac's face.  .

 2012 - Year 2. Our crew has changed a bit - The Hendricks are gone, the Livesay's 2 youngest girls are starting school, and the Meadows have arrived in Haiti and are joining us once a week for CC. We also have added Abigail to our family, but I guess she didn't make the picture

 Jan 2014 - Year 3 - Down one student and up one baby. Paige, our first student to graduate, is off rockin' college, and Rachel our newest addition is just the cutest ever. Who are all those other big kids?!? Are some of them really turning into teenagers? And what happened to those newlyweds?

Hope you enjoyed this blast from the past.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Make New Friends But Keep The Old

When we were back in the States last year, I had several people ask me if we had good friends in Haiti that we missed or were keeping up with.  I felt a little awkward answering "no". Because we HAD gotten to know lots of different people in Haiti our first 2 years here, people that we cared about - just none that we were really keeping up with while away or that I would call "good friends". When we decided that we would be spending the next several years in Haiti, I immediately began praying- or maybe more accurately, begging God for this. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived back in Haiti to realize how many people I actually had missed and was excited to see and catch up with. However we have still continued praying that God would help us develop deeper community and friendships here and have been making an effort towards that.

Haiti can be a difficult place to develop relationships. To begin with, we are foreigners. We stick out because of the color of our skin, our inability to speak the language well, and our lack of cultural understanding - these things compounded with the assumption that all Americans are really rich and will probably give you something, can make it hard to develop real friendships with Haitians. We have many Haitian friends, and I am very thankful for each of them, but I would classify all of those relationships as still in beginning stages.
Haiti is also a tough place for relationships with other foreigners. Although you may have the immediate bond of being outsiders and speaking the same language, people come in and out of Haiti all the time, so you never know if the person you are getting to know will be around next week, next month, or next year. Even when people intend to stay here we've found there are often unforseen circumstances that cause them to leave Haiti not long after their arrival. On top of this, most foreigners here work with some sort of NGO or mission and their work keeps them really busy. If they are able to find time away from work/ministry it is given to taking care of their household and family (simple things like keeping food and power in your home can be such a chore here). And if you can somehow find time outside of these things, there is always the gargantuan obstacle of Haiti's traffic to keep you from getting together with other people. Despite all these things we are continuing to try and are asking God to bless all of our attempts at relationships here.

Abigail has been an interesting case study in relationships this last month. She adores our students and wants to spend any moment she can at school with them.  The feeling is mutual and they love and play with her very well. It is probably due to the dearth friendship options that an 11 year old and an almost 2 year old can be such great friends and playmates.
In contrast, on our return to Haiti Abigail did not remember or recognize any of the Haitians who work around us and who were her best buddies before we left. And much to her mother's dismay she has successfully given them all the cold shoulder, turning away, pouting, and shouting "NO!" at them every time they have tried to talk to her for the last month. Thankfully she finally had a break through last week with one of them. This particular lady was washing clothes right outside our house and let Abigail join her in playing with the water, soap, and bubbles- which happen to be some of Abbi's favorite things in the world. It worked like magic, Abbi has at last reconnected with one of her old friends. There are still many workers she shouts "no!" at - especially when they smother her in typical Haitian fashion, trying to kiss or hold her. But one step at a time right? That goes for her and for us too.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The end (temporarily) of the cabin

So obviously we failed to finish updating about the cabin adventure. We got a little busy working on the cabin, preparing for Haiti, traveling to Hawaii, and celebrating the holidays with family and friends. However, since we are now back in Haiti and need to start writing about our Haiti adventure on our blog I feel obligated to do some sort of cabin wrap-up first.

We were not able to get the cedar siding put up, do any interior finishing, or get electricity and plumbing installed. So, we were not able to rent out the cabin. However, Jimmy did manage with the help of a very kind friend the 2 days after Christmas to get all the windows and doors installed and the place more or less "dried in". This means it should be able to sit as is and stay in good condition. Although we can't rent it out in this condition, there is a woman who lives at Jimmy's parent's RV Park who is very excited to use the building as a "house of prayer" while we are gone.

 I was hoping Jimmy could write a wrap up post on the whole project since it was really his project, but since I ditched him this year to stay at home with our 2 daughters, he is currently VERY busy with school :o) My take is that we learned a lot, Jimmy for the most part (minus working in the freezing cold wind and rain) enjoyed the work, and we are glad we made an attempt at building a cabin even though we weren't able to finish it yet. We look forward to finishing it one day - maybe this summer? - we shall see. As we say in Haiti - "si Bondye vle".

Here are the final cabin photos before we left for Haiti.

Roofing - Paper, Cedar Trim, Shingles

Gable Ends

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Decking and Dormers

Once the rafters were up, we were in a little bit of a race against the rain to get the roof on. You don't want your well built house to get all wet and end up with warped, moldy, rotten wood.
You may not have notice, but the roof to our cabin is very high and steep. This can make roofing a little tricky. So, we were thankful to have some help in this difficult stage. The night before Jimmy was supposed to start the decking (the wood that goes on top of the rafters and under the shingles) we got a phone message from our friends, the Moores, asking if they could come out to the next morning to help us build. When we got their message Jimmy heartily proclaimed "Thank you God!" and then quickly called them back to say "Yes, please come help!". Jimmy and Matt completed the "easy" side of the roof. That is, the side without windows in it.
 Notice the wooden blocks nailed on top of the decking. Those are to prevent the ladders from sliding and my husband from falling to his death. Speaking of which, I need to brag a little. My husband claims that he is afraid of heights. And I believe him, because although I was thrilled to go cliff jumping on our honeymoon, the only thing that finally made him very shakily jump into the water was his pride and the 7 year old little girl that went before him. And unlike me, he sure didn't want to do it again. HOWEVER, as we have been working on this house, you wouldn't suspect his fear because he has been climbing all over things in all kinds of crazy positions with heavy materials and equipment way up high without letting it slow him down a bit. When we were putting up the rafters (in a strong wind) I was definitely nervous and shaking and he was acting like it was nothing. Just goes to show what a little bit of determination can do for you.

So, a few days after the Moore's help, Jimmy's brother Ben came back and helped him finish up the dormers (windows sticking out of the roof) and the decking on that side.

Some people might say that a construction place is no place for little children. We would reply that it is a great place for them to begin learning custodial skills :o) Abigail is our ever diligent cleaner.