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Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's All About the Tickets

Another gorgeous 60 degree weather on December 30th, and how do we spend it? Three hours at Chuck E Cheese's. I wanted to take the kids there before the year ended because we only go about twice a year--plenty enough for us parents. The last time was back in May.

We got there at 1:10 and they were busy, but not too busy where we couldn't find a table. I think they were just understaffed. Roger and Evan stood in line for 20 minutes just to get our pizza ordered and then it took almost an hour to get our food. But, we had our tokens so we started playing the games and that made the time pass quicker. After eating we still had plenty of time to play more games. When the kids ran out of their tokens, they wanted to look around for any tokens that may have fallen on the floor, or any tickets left in games that people forgot, and they found several! Everybody except me hit some jackpots on games which means at least 50 tickets spitting out at once. Boy, did I try really hard. I mean, that's why you go to Chuck E Cheese, right? To get as many tickets as possible in order to trade them in for a bunch of small trinket toys (or let's just call it what it really is--junk). We totaled up 860 tickets allowing the kids to each spend 430.

This outing showed me one more sign that my little girl is not my little girl anymore. She played 3 games in the little kids section of the restaurant and got bored, so she spent all of the rest of the time in the big kids section. I'm not sad, though, because all of us playing in the big kid section is so much more fun. Otherwise, it was Roger and I switching off who would take her to the little kid section while the other one had fun in the big kid section. Yes, even mom and dad had fun today, but, we're not in a big hurry to do it again soon. Twice a year is good enough for us.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

El Salvador Missions Trip

Roger went to El Salvador on a missions trip and absolutely loved it! He wants to go on the trips every year now. They helped do construction work on a school. He packed old clothes, tools, and candy to pass out to the kids, in his suitcase. He left on a Friday morning and got back the next week on Saturday night. It was a long week with him being gone.

I'm happy to say that I kind of helped pushed him into this trip. He has always been talking about doing something like this for years, but never acted on it . I was sick of hearing him talking and wishing he could go and finally said he was going so I would never have to hear him talk and wish about going any more. I seriously don't know what was stopping him. Everything fell into place and he was going.

I was able to see daily pics of him on facebook, and we skyped almost every day. He was always smiling, but he said he was so happy to be there that he just couldn't stop. The students at the school put on an opening and closing program for the group to show their appreciation. They stayed at a very nice Hilton, which is not usual for mission trips, so what a way to be introduced to your first missions trip, huh?! Usually they sleep in dorm type rooms, or on church floors. They were escorted around on a minibus, and usually didn't leave the hotel or school areas except for dinners. They worked Saturday-Thursday, and then Friday they got to go sight seeing.  He brought us home some nice souvenirs. He wants me to go with him next year, but I said it depended on what country they went to and we would have to get a will in case the worst happened and we ended up orphaning our children; so we'll see about next year. I know that sounds extreme, but from all of the details I heard about that he didn't tell me until getting back from the trip, so I wouldn't worry during the trip, we have to take precautions. I did put my two cents in to some of the missions committee and said my first safer choice would be Ireland.


All of the above was typed up in September--I just never got pics posted, so never shared this post. I have since learned that the 2011 missions trip will be to Brussels, Belgium! Okay, Roger will definitely be going again, but I will only go if I feel God is saying it's okay. Men keep telling me it's hard work and several of the older men will not be returning any more, so they are trying to recruit younger men. They said they won't be sleeping in a wonderful hotel this time either. However, there were a handful of women on this last trip, and I'm not afraid of hard work and I never said I expected to sleep in a 5 star hotel. We'll see what God tells me to do, and I will follow. If I can't go, there's a reason. But if I can go, wow! I'm thinking maybe I should invest in the Rosetta Stone foreign language program and start boning up on my French just in case?

The following pics are only a few that I have on my computer. Roger has so many more, but just so I can finally get this post up after a few months after the trip, I'm just including some of what I have.

They were beginning part of a building by laying cement blocks to form walls. They had to mix concrete for mortar, lift the blocks over re barb, and carry all of the blocks down those flights of stairs.




The children of the school put on ceremonies at the beginning of the trip, and at the end.




Here's the lovely hotel they stayed at, and one of the employees was nice enough to have her picture taken with Flat Stanley, which was a project for one of Evan's co-op classes.



On their day off, one of the places they visited was a fish market--kind of. I thought the pic of them raising the boat was really interesting.


Here are some pics of the city--dirty, exposed wires, yet look at the pretty painting on what I think is a church. It's a very poor city and country.





The kids loved what Roger brought back for them. Lauren got a dress like the she saw pics of the little girls wearing, and Evan got an El Salvador soccer shirt. I got a nice woven purse that says El Salvador.

Friday, December 17, 2010

School

Two days ago we finished Evan's 3rd grade curriculum! I have been behind since last year when we took too much time off--totally my fault. I need to order the 4th grade stuff, and hopefully we will be caught up when next autumn comes around. I know some people are total sticklers when it comes to homeschooling and want the time frame to match that of the public schools. Obviously, I'm not a stickler for that. That's one of the beauties of schooling at home--you can get behind and catch up during the summer if you need to. Besides, as hot as it can get here in KS in the summer, and you're stuck inside, it is great to be able to work on school for a couple of hours each day.

Lauren has made some huge strides in her reading ability. She's still not quite where I would like her to be, but I know she will get there soon just by what I have witnessed in the past couple of months. Since October, I have seriously been wondering if homeschooling is the right path for her, but God has specifically told me I need to do this and in the long run it will all work out. He's absolutely right, and this reading improvement has been some special encouragement for me. We completed the first book in the Explode the Code series (look it up if you're interested), and she had to take some tests in the back. She did awesome. One test was reading 2 paragraphs, each describing a certain object and then there were 3 choices and she had to decide which object the paragraph was about. But, the choices were a little tricky: pop, pup, or pip, for example. Well, the paragraph was describing a pup, but she had to make sure she was not getting the u vowel mixed up with the i or o vowel. Well, #1, she had to read the paragraph, #2 she had to understand what she read, and #3 she had to figure out which answer choice was correct. I wasn't sure how she would do, but I shouldn't have worried because she did it. I was so excited for her and Evan and I cheered and cheered for her!

I Love homeschooling!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just 4 Moms From Wichita

Last Friday I got to go to Kansas City with 3 friends from church--Brenda, Carmen, and Crystal (in this order in the pic below). I had originally thought of the idea after 3 of our husbands went to El Salvador in September for a missions trip, and the other husband past away in September. After discussing it, we all decided to go at some point when there would be Christmas lights up at all of the shopping areas. Even after deciding this, it still seemed to take forever to get a date down. Isn't that the way it goes for moms? We barely ever get away, and when we do, it takes forever to plan because we have to do it around our husbands schedules, or whoever can watch the kids for us. The picture below was taken by some nice passersby who were celebrating their anniversary and I guess we looked just as friendly to them as they did to us because they were going to ask us to take their picture before we stopped them and asked them first. They did a nice job, didn't they?


Brenda's husband was able to use some hotel points and put us up in the Intercontinental Hotel which is across from an outdoor shopping area known as The Plaza, and looking out our balcony doors we could see the lights on the Plaza. Very nice hotel where people met us at our car as we drove up to check in and they were wearing uniforms and top hats. We parked in a bright parking garage. When checking in, we all got a little gift bag from Tiffany & Co which had some nice smelling cologne samples in them. Crystal and I had an elephant made out of a towel sitting in a chair for us when we got to our room--reminded me of what they do on cruises. Such a nice hotel that they didn't even have a room with vending machines, and Carmen wanted some Peanut M&Ms. But, a nice employee went to the employees lounge and got her a pack of M&Ms, and even though they weren't peanut, we were all impressed that he did that nice act for her.







Yes, even though I didn't snap too many pictures, I seemed to get a few of bathrooms LOL! The first one is from mine and Crystal's room; notice the bidet toilet? We were going to try it out, but just never did. The next two pictures are of a bathroom in the hallway. No regular paper towels for this room; after you washed your hands you dried them with a hand towel and then threw them in a hamper.  




We arrived in KC around 4:30, checked in, then walked to the Plaza. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory. Their menu is HUGE. We divided up into pairs and split a meal which ensured that we had enough room for the cheesecake. We decided to get different flavors so we could try each others. I got White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut. Brenda got Turtle. Carmen got Lemon Raspberry, and Crystal got Peppermint. They were all delicious. The pic of our cheesecakes were half eaten before I remembered to snap a picture. Then, there were 2 huge dollops of whipped cream to go along with the slices. Two moms couldn't finish their slices, so they brought them back to the room, and Crystal set hers on the balcony to keep cold through the night and finished it up in the morning. Brenda's was not put on the balcony, but she ate it in the morning anyways, and is still alive, so it must have not gone bad!





As we walked back to our the hotel, I snapped a few pics of some carriages and lights. Next time we will take a carriage ride; it was only $10 a person which I thought was reasonable.






After getting back to the hotel, we decided to go to an indoor shopping area called Crown Center, and visited their outdoor plaza area. We went to see the Mayor's tree which, would you believe, is taller than the Rockefeller Center tree, and the White House tree? Also, each year, they use the wood from the tree to make ornaments for the following year which they sell and the money is donated to charity. Pretty cool. With all of the lights, this plaza was beautiful. There were people ice skating, some fun play things for kids, and the fountain was even shooting up water to holiday music. To watch and try to listen to the video, you might want to pause my playlist above.







video

When we got back to the hotel again, we played a fun game of cards called Dutch Blitz. Then we decided to go to bed. I think the time was now 11:00. Our two rooms were on the first floor by the lobby. Crystal and I had an adjoining room to a conference room, and Brenda and Carmen had an adjoining room to another guest room. Well, there was a holiday party going on and Crystal and I had to fall asleep hearing the music and karaoke going on. I must have been tired enough because even with that commotion, plus all of the people walking past our rooms, it didn't take too terribly long for me to fall asleep. However, as I usually do when in a new place for the first night, I woke up several times during the night, but was able to keep falling back to sleep. I know that it wasn't until about 1:00 am when the party finally ended. Brenda and Carmen were awaken at 5:20 by the couple in their adjoining room let's just say doing what couples sometimes do in a hotel room. Brenda called the lobby to have them go knock on the couple's door, but they didn't. One hour later, Brenda called again and this time security knocked and there was no more interruptions for Carmen and Brenda. One other thing to talk about sleeping...Brenda and Carmen said they would wake up about 6:00 or 6:30 and Crystal and I said we could sleep until 9:00 if given the chance. It was decided that if Brenda and Carmen did wake up early, they were going to go get some breakfast and bring it back to the hotel, and Crystal and I would set our alarm for 7:30. When the alarm went off, we both laid around in our beds for another 30 minutes, but then got up and started getting ready for the day. Around 9:00 we had packed up our stuff, had our jackets on and were ready to go next door to let the girls know we were ready to check out. All of a sudden the phone rang and it was the early birds calling to say they had slept in and were just waking up! This was all hilarious, but at the same time us two late risers couldn't help but tease them because we had set our alarm just for them and could have kept sleeping longer.

We finished our day at Oak Park Mall which is a very nice mall. Carmen introduced us to the Teavana store which sells amazing tasting teas. We all did a little looking and shopping, and then hit the road to come back home. We had such a fun time. We did get a little silly, but we all agreed that the rest of our stories will follow the slogan from Vegas: what happens in KC stays in KC. Don't read too much into that because after all, we are just 4 Christian moms from Wichita, KS...as far as you know!