Oct 25, 2009

When poop hits the fan . . .

WASH EVERYTHING! Most parents of small children are painfully aware of the poop art milestone that many toddlers pass. You know that your child has arrived when you open your little sweatpea's door to be met by not only by a cloudy haze of ode de poop, but also the sight of poop art: poop smears, poop splatters, poop body painting, etc. Like a little artist's gallery, the work of a proud creator is properly displayed around the room (or atleast within arm's reach and/or throwing range). On three occasions now, Annabelle has created several poop masterpieces which have required that everything in her room either be washed or thrown away. At one of her showings, she managed to do this even while her diaper was still on, and on the other occasions she found her inspiration after stripping down in her bed. Though I usually have my camera on hand to document the passing of such milestones, I have been completely disoriented by the stench and the scenery that I don't have any photos and have automatically clicked into biohazard mode trying to clean the baby, and EVERYTHING else in her room! And yes, the poop did hit the fan, literally!

Oct 21, 2009

The Best of Gracie's 4th Bday!

CLASSIC Gracie! This picture says it all: frilly dress, striped leggings, converse tennis shoes and a mud puddle in the rain! She could not have been happier!
Yuki and Tate in the Barbie van headed towards the bday party!
This makes a good case for the fact that we could have more kids since we have a van that will holds lots of people! In true Dominican fashion, we just kept picking up more people along the way to the party.

It's exhausting being the life of the party AND maintaining your balance in hot pink plastic high heel shoes. More proof that our little Dominican is authentic.
I had to take this picture because when I picked Gracie up from school on the Monday after her birthday she was wearing her new hot pink high heels, but she had left the house in her red converse. Evidently she smuggled them into her backpack and then did a wardrobe change at school right before recess . . . . . Her teacher asked me not to let her bring them to school again. Agreed. It looks like we are going to need to do a backpack check before we send her out of the van for school.
You have to love the way the shoe compliments the p.e. pants and thick, sport socks.

Oct 17, 2009

JCS Dia de la Raza

"Day of the Races" is basically a celebration of various cultures. There is a parade of nations, singing, dancing, performances of all kinds, etc. Students are selected to represent various countries and dress in traditional attire for their country.

Last year, Allie and Tate represented the U.S. and a note was sent home saying something like, "Please have your child wear colors for the country they are representing." So, I ran down to the local tienda and found a t-shirt from old navy that had a cat with a crown waving an American Flag with the words "American Princess," and paired it with a denim mini skirt/leggings for Allie and for Tate found a blue/white baseball type t-shirt with red/white board shorts. I thought I had done pretty well. But when the parade started, I realized why Allie had been telling me that she needed a poofy dress so that she could flap her skirt (which was not possible with her form fitted denim mini). This was because all of the little ladies had beautiful dresses which seemed perfect representations for their countries. I felt like that when the parade started, it was like that dream that you have where you are walking down the street naked, ya know? Somehow, the part about having a really stellar costume got lost in translation in the note that was sent home, and my little Americans looked VERY casual and underdressed! But hey, there is not a costume shop here - no "Statue of Liberty" getups or colonial costumes hiding in the local shops.

So, this year, when I got the note saying that Allie was going to represent the U.S. in the parade, I set out to create a miniature First Lady.
Red Velvet Christmas dress: check.
Star spangled hair bow: check.
Red and White striped hair tie used as a sash: check.
Large blue "pearl" necklace: check.
Navy bandana flower pen: check.

And then the little sister and brother desperately wanted to be patriotic as well. So with a cut up stars and striped bandana and a stick, we waved our American flags proudly!

Little Taino Indians.
Gracie's class sang "Jesus loves the little children." She is next to her pal, Marcela.
Danny, who is actually American, in true Dominican fashion escorts not 1 BUT 2 little ladies for the Dominican Republic. Very machissimo!

Allie and Marcos, who is the most American looking Dominican that I have ever seen, getting ready to walk out for their part in the parade. And guess what song they used to play while they walked out? Star spangled banner? Nope! America the beautiful? Nope. The Cotton Eyed Joe!!!! Get out! My camera was shaking I was laughing so hard. I had nothing to do with that song selection, but it made me VERY HAPPY (sorry Dan Speciale from Delaware who was slightly offended by the song selection so I heard). Hillbilly up the U.S! I don't have a problem with that!

Love those faces!
Gracie and Marcela, who looked like a live doll (she was one of Danny's little ladies for the D.R.).

Reasons why this Dia de la Raza was my favorite:
-New friend and fellow Texan, Holly Neil - who I met for the first time on this day.
-Some of the girls did a line dance to the Cotton Eyed Joe, and despite the fact that their arms weren't locked and that they weren't moving around in a circle and screaming cuss words, it made me pretty darn happy!
-The high school students danced to a mix that was infused with hip hop, merengue, salsa AND Michael Jackson music and dance moves! I wanted to break out my sequined glove! Good times!
-My "first lady" had a great time and loved it!

Oct 11, 2009

Allie is 7!

Meet Oreo. We just happened upon him the day before Allie's 7th birthday and while he is not solely hers, she was quite pleased that we got him in honor of her birthday. I'm so glad that Jon is secure enough in his manhood to drive a van with pink hibiscus flower decals (a gift from people that we love) on it and to have a wittle yippy dog, making the women in his life very happy!
She is 7 going on 20. One of her gifts was a stuffed animal mother hen with 3 baby chicks attached under its wings (Tate, Gracie and Annabelle), which she totally dug!
A rare photo of all of us before Allie blew out her candles. It was a great day!

Sep 28, 2009

No bottoms. No heads.

Jon reports that today as he was exiting onto the main road to take the kids to school that a pig was in the process of being slaughtered.  There they were, stuck,  waiting for traffic to pass so that they could turn onto the road.  Motionless they witnessed a process that in the states would not occur in such plain view right there at an intersection of sorts.  But here in the Dominican, the preparation of food from start to finish is just a regular part of life that is not concealed by doors with hanging plastic.  And this particular event led to a lengthy discussion among a 6, 5, and 3 year old about what animals and what animal parts are acceptable for consumption.  It went something like this:

Allie:  Daddy, why is the pig bleeding and still standing up?
Jon:  They are fixing to kill it so that they can eat it.
Allie:  Oh, but no one eats horses.
Jon thinking to himself:  They do here!
Gracie:  And no one eats birds.
Jon:  Chickens are birds.
Allie:  Oh ya.  But NOT cute little birds.
Tate:  jingle bells jingle beeells jingle all the way oh what
Gracie:  But NOT their heads.
Allie:  And not their feet.
Jon:  Allie, I have a picture of you eating a chicken foot.  Remember, you liked it?  
Gracie:  But not their legs!
Jon:  What do you think "chicken on the bone" is?
Allie:  Okay, but NOT their heads!
Jon (snickering):  That's right.  No heads.  No bottoms.

Sep 23, 2009


There is nothing like being greeted by someone that has been awaiting your presence.  This morning I could hear Annabelle in her room chattering and playing in her bed.  Once her chattering turned to disgruntled cries, I opened her door to find her standing up in her bed.  Like a monkey in a cage, she was holding onto the bars of her crib and shaking her bed back and forth. She greeted me with a big, drooling grin and dropped to her mattress and crawled to the side where I was standing to get her out.  When I reached for her, she reached for me and when I scooped her up she clapped wildly and said "yeaaaaaahhhhh!"  

Sometimes I feel far from God.  Not because He has gone away, but because I have become consumed, eaten up, by everything else.  I suspect that each time I return to Him, that He has been awaiting me and after a separation of any kind, that when I reach for Him, He claps and says "Yeahhhhh!"  

Sep 21, 2009

If I could bottle baby laughter and sell it, I would be RICH!

Yesterday I was having a bad time.  Not really sure why except that I had a lot of stuff swirling in my mind that I had not processed, and when I sat down at church and the worship started, tears rolled down my cheeks in a steady stream.  I didn't even get up to go to the bathroom to try and conceal them, realizing that they were descending without my permission and that no amount of toilet paper pressed to my eyeball was going to stop them.  My poor husband held my hand silently.  A sweet friend touched my shoulder and asked if I was okay, and through a veil of wetness I helplessly smiled with quivering lips.  The music stopped.  More tears.  Sermon.  Tears still flowing (no offense, Glenn!  It was not anything you said in your sermon), and then finally a break in the stream . . . . . . . Despite the fact that I had finished with my impromptu crying session, I still felt as if a heavy, wet blanket was on me and making my joy moldy and spoiled.  I was walking around with it.  It was heavy.

Then after church we were sitting at the table eating lunch.  Jon had to run down to school to take care of a situation.  Tate, Gracie, Allie and Annabelle and I were eating our lunches silently.  And then, breaking the silence was THE BEST SOUND I HAVE HEARD IN A WHILE!  Allie and I burst into uncontrollable laughter.  Annabelle was throwing macaroni on the innocent kitten lurking under her high chair and she was CRACKING HERSELF UP like I have never heard.  She was in hysterics.  AND, we were in hysterics.  And like that, the heavy wet blanket of burdens was lifted.  Well, hello there JOY!  

Thank you, Lord, for all that you have blessed me with, and for even the little things like the hysterical laughter of a 1 year old sweet pea, that remind me of your truths.  

Sep 19, 2009

INTRODUCING Cosita (Little Thing!) Adios Mice!

Stalking the baby hamsters.  Good work!
Cutie pa-toot-ies!
We named this cat Cosa, which means "thing" in spanish, because we could not figure out whether it was a boy or a girl.  Duh, your thinking.  But it is really hard to tell with young kittens, and this one was barely weened when we got her.  After careful research, we think that it is a safe bet that it is a girl, to which the kids say " Yeah!  Kittens!"  Oh brother.  

Jul 25, 2009

A Boy and His sisters.

Poodle Tate (too bad you can't see the tail!)

Princess Tate.

Gymnast Tate.

Despite the fact that he is constantly surrounded by girl things, bombarded with princess paraphernalia and dollies, he does plenty of boy things like scratching things that shouldn't be scratched in front of others, pee-ing off of porches, and pushing his sisters out of the way to be first out of the van and to the door and the clear "winner!"  I can't believe he is about to be 5.  It seems like just yesterday that he was a little baby boy in a seersucker baby suit for Easter.  Good times.

JCS End of School Awards and Kindergarden Graduation

Allie and her amigo, Erri Junior, at Kindergarden Graduation.
Allie and Joy, her best friend from this school year.
I bet he completes his work on time because he scribbles . . .  Tate also got the award for "Most Improved Student."  We are very proud of him.
Gracie and her class performing a little ditty. Gracie got the award for "Most Joyful."

Apr 10, 2009


As I passed by the kids room, I heard a quiet yet distressed call for help and as I entered I saw Allie sitting prone on her bed with a very weird look on her face.  It was not until I got closer that I noticed the long, fine tooth comb woven into the front of her hair which had been pulled back into a pony tail all day long.  Her curly hair is long and beautiful, if I do say so myself, and this predicament was certainly a threat to it.  She had somehow wound it so tight that there really wasn't anywhere to make a cut in my opinion, and after a few minutes of trying to unwind it, I saw very little hope of untangling the nest she had made at her hairline.  All I could think, was "why did you do this?" which I'm sure that I said repeatedly out loud at the end of a long day.  The poor girl was practically hyper ventilating as I called a friend to ask advice on how to make a cut that would give her some form of bangs.  Having flashbacks to my really bad kindergarten picture which had been taken the day after my one and only trip to what my mother dubbed as "Rachel's beauty parlor", I felt rather frightened at creating a bad moment for my oldest daughter who is already very sensitive to what people think.   But my husband, who is ever calm and even keeled, came to save the day with his patience and problem solving skills.  He meticulously worked with finely wound curly hairs all the while cutting the tines off of the comb, making it smaller and smaller and easier to unravel Allie's hair.  Thanks to him, she will not have to have a traumatizing haircut from her mother!  

Mar 4, 2009


Gracie caught her first lizard today . . . . . poor lizard.  He was no more than an inch and a half long (before she broke his tail off, which proved, in the end, to be fatal . . .though, in Gracie's defense, she did try and re-attach his tail with some pinching and squishing).   She was oddly unimpressed that his tail was moving even though it was not attached to his body anymore.  He was caught and released (rather violently with a sort of flinging motion) repeatedly.  Luckily, Allie was there to mother him to death during his final crisis in his short little lizard life.  Allie did convince Gracie to take him to the "lizard hospital" where he was force fed a meal of pine needles and "put in bed," which was a fern leaf and a little pebble pillow.  Seriously, poor lizard.

Feb 28, 2009

Monkeying around

Step 1:  Catch the Monkey.

Step 2:  Put the monkey on a leash.

Step 3:  Walk the monkey to it's home.

Step 4:  Smile and contemplate God's sense of humor.

Sometimes life is interrupted by the unexpected.  In this case, Jon got to do a little impromptu monkey-sitting when our friend's monkey, Monica, escaped from her tether while she was away for a few days. Monica the spider monkey and Jon the monkey whisperer used to be good friends, but on this particular day Monica escaped multiple times and was not the slightest bit interested in stimulating conversation, long walks or free bananas.  She  does not escape often, but this was a banner day for her and we got the call to be on the look out for her several times.  It turns out that she came down to the casa de Sawyer where she was distracted by the small children behind glass windows staring at her fondly long enough for Jon to give her a banana and clip the leash on her all the while I'm snapping photos.  Good times.