Thursday, April 29, 2010

Field Trippin'

Today we finally made it to the JAARS Center! I visited there about 13 years ago, when some friends and I made the trip from Winston-Salem to come down for a day-long tour, and I thought the scope of their operations was amazing. Now, we live only about 40 minutes from there, so we've been saying for years we should take the family on a field trip there... and thanks to the prompting of some other homeschooling families in our church, we actually did today.

JAARS stands for Jungle Aviation And Radio Services, although it does much more than that now, as it supports Wycliffe Bible translators all over the world (6000 people in the organization). In a biography Strider and I have been reading lately, both Wycliffe and JAARS were mentioned, so we thought it was good timing that we were able to visit this week!

We took a tour of part of the grounds this morning, which started with a presentation about some of the functions JAARS performs. Strider got to be one of the props/actors as he demonstrated their boating support. :)

We saw some of their facilities on the campus, including mechanics training shops, a training airstrip, etc., but one of the most interesting spots was the airplane hangar.

Here Strider is showing a makeshift wooden wheel that a tribesman made when a JAARS pilot needed a new one in a pinch -- it only cost him $11.

This pontoon plane was the same type that Nate Saint flew -- who we had just been reading about! After being used for many, many years, it has now been preserved here on the ceiling of the hangar.

Colsen, of course, was amazed by all the airplanes to be fixed (and helicopter), and all the pieces and tools to be used.

Then we walked across the grounds to meet our friends at the Museum of the Alphabet. What a fascinating place that is. As we had learned about in the initial presentation, there are almost 7000 known languages in the world (and 2300 of them still have no written alphabet!), and the displays in this building explored the history of languages. We learned all kinds of interesing things about different cultural approaches to alphabets, literacy, etc.

Some interesting facts:
  • an ethnomusician is a person who goes into a culture purposely to help them regain their musical heritage
  • it wasn't until the Middle Ages that spaces were introduced between words
  • a king in Korea in the 1400's made symbols picturing the position of a person's mouth/throat to show every phonetic sound spoken in the language
  • a Cherokee was the first illiterate person to create a whole alphabet for his language, and he did it so well that some of the leaders in the tribe were able to learn to fully read and write in 3 days. Within 14 months, 70% of the people knew how to read.

One of the fun things for us was seeing this display (below) about a tribe that we had just read about in the missionary biography (about Rachel Saint)! It was fun to recognize Chief Tariri, as well as the women translators who had become friends with the natives.

Then we went over to the Mexican Museum, where the kids were able to explore, briefly, some of the artifacts and things there. Mostly they just enjoyed time with their friends!

Not sure why all the pictures are in such a crazy spacing/order on this thing... sometime Blogger drives me batty.
Anyway, it was a fun day! We hope to go back sometime soon... although we might wait until Miles is out of his constant-loud-yelling-when-I'm-in-my-stroller stage.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Milo footage

I ended up downloading the videos from our camera last night, so here are a couple of Miles playing some of his favorite games... One is from about 6 weeks ago, and one is from this week. (Not a whole lot of hair growth in between)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our little Gamer

Miles is in yet another fun stage... he loves to play all kinds of games. He tries to engage us in some kind of hiding/peekaboo activity several times a day, breaking out the full-blown laugh whenever he does. I love when he suddenly throws his hands over his eyes with a big grin, and waits for us to say, "Where's Miles?" or when he ducks his head behind something and then bursts out with a big yell.

He also likes to chuckle whenever he can do any sort of repetitive behavior that will get anyone's attention. Like the dog the kids wish we had, he is always up for a game of fetch. And he loves to copy funny faces or sounds... sticking out his tongue, or doing dramatic blinks (which my friend Alleyn says is a game called "Beautiful eyes" in the Filipino culture- - cute name!).

One of these days I'll try to get some video, but for now here are some pictures I took of him the other night before bedtime. He knew he was being sneaky trying to climb up the stairs before we caught him...

... and when he made it to the top, he thought he was hilarious.
Then he decided he could make swinging the gate into my face a fun game...

... and wanted me to keep playing with him when I was ready to stop. His voice and faces are so expressive when he's trying to tell us something!
Like, for instance, this face. There's no mistaking this message! (I have no idea why the colors in these photographs are all so different.... it drives me a little crazy that I don't know anything about photography or photo editing... and that I have no patience to figure it out.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

A 3-Picnic Weekend

This past weekend I employed some good tips for easy and fun entertaining:

1.) Plan large group gatherings at our house back-to-back, so we only have to prepare/buy cups, etc., once.
2.) Let other people bring food! Instead of running around trying to get things hot/cold/ready, I could just sit back, relax and make sure Miles didn't eat too much dirt.
3.) If some people are supposed to arrive at 3 pm on Friday, write on the calendar that they are coming at 4 pm. This causes a few minutes of confusion and slight panic when everyone shows up "early," but it also eliminates the last hour of whirlwind cleaning that would have happened! (Letting friends see all my dirt just paves the way for greater connection in the relationships, right? I hope so.)

We had our TFC group over on Friday night.... always fun.

Our second picnic of the weekend was not at our house, and I, sadly, did not get any pictures. Some families from Classical Conversations met at the Prevosts' house- - a perfect spot for a picnic. Highlights were: getting soaking wet "swimming" in the creek for Strider, and holding a baby chick for Rayna.
Then our third picnic was back at our house- - the youth group came over. The youth in our church are amazing -- so mature and kind! We loved watching them interact with our kids, too.

Even Miles and Colsen jumped right in with everyone... sometimes with the guys....

... and sometimes with the girls (smart boy)!

It was a fun weekend... Besides the picnics, we also had a couple over for dinner Saturday night, played with Katie and Graham on Saturday, went to Strider's baseball game, went to church, and did some gardening. So by 10:00 last night, this was how the little guys looked:
... and I think the rest of us felt the same way!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why we love Thursdays

Because it's TRASH PICK-UP DAY!
It has now been almost 9 years that this has been an exciting day in my household. And I have to admit that I still smile when I see the kids get excited. (And they don't seem to outgrow the excitement... I even caught Strider watching today)

Today was an especially good day because not only did the trash and recycling trucks come through, but it was also the landscapers' day to mow the grass across the street from us with their big mowers, AND we all got to play outside in the dirt with tools (i.e., gardening). It was the trifecta of a great Spring day.
Cole was so inspired he made his own garbage truck today (note the scrap papers in the back of the truck.... maybe it's actually a recycling truck!)

When we told him we liked his garbage truck, he said, rather disappointedly, "Yeah, but it only has one Flipper, not 2 like the real one."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pictures from last weekend

The first big highlight of the weekend was the arrival of our long-awaited new living room sofa. Something about a couch on the bed of a pick-up truck worked as a magnet for our kids. They wanted to permanently camp out here.

Eventually we got it in the house, though.... and it was good timing because Saturday morning was our neighborhood yard sale day, so we were able to sell our old couch then! I was a little sad to see the ol' green thing go, though. I bought it when I was a single girl on my own -- one of my first big purchases. And it's been the center of all our living rooms since then -- I loved it! But it was definitely time to say Goodbye.

(Why does it seem like this kid has no energy?? The pictures are misleading, I assure you)

Afterwards, Strider's baseball season started! He was happy to resume his place at the plate, and on the field (and it turns out he DID have energy after all):

And the rest of us resumed our game-watching (or at least -attending) positions:

Then on Sunday we had a picnic for some of the college students in our church going to Beach Project this summer. Some friends of ours graciously hosted... Here's Pete doing his MC routine:
I love seeing different generations getting to know one another.
Once again, a weekend to be thankful for! (And, yes, Sarah, you made it onto the blog! :) )