Monday, December 15, 2008

christmas coffee, pants, & surprises

it's beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS..

for the last night together before i left for christmas (my last night sleeping in the same room as shallan and melissa..) we had a christmas themed evening..

anne's brilliant idea- the necessities:
1. wear pants (it might not be cold per se.. BUT we were going to pretend).
2. bring a to-go cup of warm coffee (again- christmas time in our heads = coldish).
3. go look for lights.
4. christmas music only.
5. visit nativity scene.

FUN. love you.
first big light display we stopped at.. the security guard finally let us walk inside to take this picture :)
the square was decorated all christmasy and so pretty. the night was actually pretty damp so, you know, let's just say it had been snowing.. oh! and there was a random art gallery showing that night in the gazebo thing that we happened upon- just one of the exciting surprises of the night..
mel has it down- pants, warm drink, christmas tree..
anne, mel, and shal at the nativity scene that had been set out by the catholic church in downtown puerto plata
ok, we went to see the extension of the art that was showing and while we were inside the gallery room, we heard singing upstairs.. so we walked up the stairs and found that we'd stumbled upon a christmas play rehearsal!! they could not have been any nicer.. invited us in to watch, pulled out a plastic table for us to sit on while we watched, and performed the whole thing! it was stinkin' amazing. they were really friendly and none of us could stop smiling when we were walking back to the truck. i love God's little surprises for us.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

happy birthday, lubi!!

happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you
happy birthday dear ROBIN

our last day of bible class for the semester was also.. ROBIN'S BIRTHDAY!! during class, ronni, one of the greatest kids ever, brought robin a surprise: a cake! a cake that he made at the bread place he works.. he was pretty embarrassed and it was ridiculously wonderful. he walked in, gave her the cake, and jumped on a moto as fast as he could to leave. i mean, how sweet is he? still has to be cool though. he loves robin :)

robin and her cute pink cake

cara and robin walkin' around town with THE cake

turns out the cake was about 37% cake and 63% icing (the part on the plate was the actual "cake" part) it was a lovely dominican-style cake.

that night was our last night together as a whole girls staff (cara left the next day for christmas break) soooo we went to the beach for the night! in celebration of ROBIN and her 25th!! woo hoo! love you, robin :) we walked to dinner and then spent the night in the air-conditioned room playing cards and watching chigaco.. ahh.

oh yes, robin.. one more HAPPY BABY TO YOU.

Friday, December 12, 2008


thanks to the wonderful donations our chilluns all got some sweet socks, underwear, vitamins, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and toys for christmas! GRACIAS

luigi is a little protective of his cosas :)

christmas at the beach!!

for christmas party #2/last day of school we took our preschoolers to long beach!! yes, we know. coolest staff ever. thank you.. :)

so this is what the day looked like:
we met at school, ate breakfast, sang a few navidad songs and made sure everyone was ready to go (making sure our boys had on underwear, getting girls shorts if they didn't have suits, etc)

next- loaded 30 kids + staff into the gua-gua.. and we were off!

we stripped the chilluns down and left everything with the amazing juan (one of the most solid men i have met in this country.. he is our favorite driver)..

then we marched down the beach..

after explaining the rules it was time to GO! everyone took off running..

ok, little yunairi is just precious..

who will get the floatie?

love luis fernando..

making sandcastles/holes/places to bury each other..


then the rain started heading our way..

we bundled up in our towels, walked back to the gua-gua (rain-free), and had a picnic! note- special food at the picnic: sandwiches, apples, grapes, juice boxes, and cookies!! WOW.


Thursday, December 11, 2008


that's right. for christmas party #1 we spent the second half of the party at the PLAYGROUND!! let me just say that some of their faces (especially the ones who had never seen a see-saw, swing, slide, etc EVER in their lives) were just as much fun to watch as playing!
haha marileidi looks so tiny on that slide!
lots of swiiiiings!
yery- ok so i am hanging.. now what the heck do i do??
shal pushing her boys :)
there were many accidents.. this one one of the funnies. poor rebecca! (i'm not evil. she was ok)
anne's amazing maneuvering skills just to protect eduardo from the agua
wilsenci was dripping sweat from his see-saw action!

ok so to sum up: FUN. (thank you, sherry!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

sprinkles and stickers!

so we had TWO days of official christmas parties at school (best preschool ever, right?). here is a mini-overview of the festivities for day one:

9:00- singing/praying outside (+ feliz navidad songs!)
9:15 ish- wash hands, eat breakfast..

THEN time for CHRISTMAS CARDS! yeah!



THEN we packed all 30 kids + all the staff in a van and went to the PLAYGROUND!! (see next blog entry..)

there were some exciting firsts- imagine icing your own cookie for the first time.. what is that stuff?? and what the heck are these colorful things we are putting on top??

oh, and the PLAYGROUND!? for some this was the first time they had ever seen anything like it.. what would you think a see-saw was?? or swings?? FUNNN!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

little santis & thank you sherry

the last week of school before christmas break is of course all about CHRISTMAS!! christmas time is HERE!! Praise God that we can celebrate Jesus, the undeserved gift from God and that through this grace, we are able to have eternal life! well we of course should celebrate this and sit in humility and awe every single day..

we celebrate in preschool. week-o-awesomeness..

one of cara's activities for the week was to make santi claus hats!! SO CUTE and man, were they excited to wear them or what? here is santi luis and santi wilsenci chowin' down on their lunch..

one of the greatest christmas presents ever this year was a donation from anne's wonderful mom, sherry, so we could have a special christmas party!! SO of course we were all extremely excited and so thankful. what a blessing. the kids all know her by name now and we made christmas/thank you cards for her because, well, she is woooonderful. :)

making special cards = very important. that's why they got so into it..

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

i am 23..

my birthday this year turned out to be rather wonderful.. greatly due to the fact that i live/work with some of the greatest people/family on the planet. my family and friends in the states also made it incredibly special. thank you.

we began the celebration the night before my birthday. we all went to pizza internacional so i could get my favorite "freak pizza" (you can ask if you are really that curious..). shallan came with crowns for everyone to wear that night. they also had our cranky waiter SING to me and bring me an invitation for later festivities. sidenote- one of my favorite things about bdays in the DR is their english version of the bday song ("happy baby to you, happy baby to you..")..

melissa, me, and shallan with our crowns and plans for the evening..
cara rockin' the crown and grubbin' on some pizza
anne left the moto driver garrett's crown when we left. i bet he wore it all night around town.
these are a few of my favorite things.. (this was part of the special evening plan after dinner- a cereal and wine picnic in our room :) we projected "love actually" on the wall and hung out. it was AWESOME)
i was rather excited about the suprise plans :) (and it wasn't even the official day yet! it just kept going!)

morning of my bday: woke up and opened the sweet packages and cards from my family and friends in the states (thank you for thinking about me). then i followed a trail of confetti that lead down to the table that was set up for breakfast (my favorite bowl, cereals, coffee mug etc). ahhh.

as i was walking up to school, the chilluns all came running and screaming. they jumped on me and kept yelling "feliz cumpleaƱos!!" the kids sang "happy baby" and shallan made me wear my crown all day. after brushing our teeth at school, miguel told me i was in his country and therefore needed to have a dominican birthday..

what does that mean? GET SOAKED. he poured water all over me and right about the time i was dry, garrett threw water all over me mid-conversation. haha it was fun!

got home and anne had a dot cake ("confetti cake" for those of you who call it that..) made for me! my mom has done that every year for our bdays and it was really sweet (almost cried) to remember that and bring a piece of the my family in the states to the DR.

the whole day (two days of celebration i guess..) were stinkin' awesome. yay 23.. :) and thank you all so much for making it so special.

Monday, December 1, 2008

THE swing

this is it. THE swing. best swing in the world.. you can run and jump, swinging out over a drop-off. it is REALLY fun. before you try it, i must warn you:
the running, jumping, flying through the air, attempting air tricks, etc = all fun. there is a root of one of the trees, however, that is out to get everyone. therefore, the landing is important. we crashed A LOT, ended up bruised and bleeding with strawberries on our shoulders (but of course we kept going because we couldn't get enough). no one could really move the next day- abs sore from laughing and bodies sore from the attack of the root and the fact that we didn't stop until it was dark..

i give up on explaining more about the greatness of this swing. i will just ramble and can't do it justice. we took hundreds of pictures (no exaggeration) of the swing but here are some of my favorites of us actually in the air.

the spread eagle (me)
the mysterious one-legger (shallan)
the tuck-twist (melissa)
the tarzan man karate kick (garrett)
the speedy double-kick (anne)
the strong-hold leg-tuck (jonathan)
the double up shreaker (jakob and isaak)
the graceful flying eagle (robin)
air-hurky (cara)


looking for mountains? coldness? swings? real fireplaces? places to explore? hiking? somewhere that feels like you are in a completely different country than the beachy DR??

is there such a place? why, yes. JARBACOA.

sharla has some wonderful friends, chad and krista wallace, who opened up their house to us the weekend after thanksgiving. we road-tripped there the friday after thanksgiving. excitement started before we got to the house.. took a wrong turn on the mountain and ended up getting the truck stuck on the path. after many, many attempts to get the truck to go backwards, uphill, between two ditches and around a turn.. garrett and jonathan rocked it (almost taking us out in the process..) aaand we were back on our way up the mountain. got to the house and were all kind of floored. it was absolutely beautiful and i can't even explain the view. wow. after running all over the house, we were introduced to the greatest swing on the planet (look at next blog) where we stayed for HOURS. we were out there until we couldn't see anymore (or move.. haha).
then.. dinner time:

we ate our thanksgiving leftovers we brought on this fun table setting..

the next morning after we'd eaten, read, explored, etc we drove to the bottom of a hike.. that lead us to this waterfall. beautiful. perched on the rocks, we ate our lunch and hiked back down.. we jumped in the car and drove to another area where we began hike #2 to the coffee farm (run by chad and krista.. where dominican joe's gets their coffee!):

..melissa crossing the shaky bridge on hike #2

made it to the coffee farm where we found some hourses and and a donkey ready for us to ride around the mountain. off we went. jonathan and cara rode one of the horses together. melissa and i also shared.. a DONKEY. yep.. a short (but tough..) farting donkey. really, melissa had to hold his tail down to keep the farting under control..

melissa showing off her dirt/donkey sweat/donkey hair booty. she was a trooper- put me in the front on the saddle an sat bareback on our sweaty little donkey.

.. and here is some legitamate dominican coffee, people.

shout out to our farting donkey! yeah. what a tropper.

shal, me, and mel on the way up the mountain. we have decided this picture sums us up rather perfectly..

anne riding on the way back down..

so after our horse/donkey ride, we hiked back down to the car and went home to eat dinner. the wallace's got home (they were gone friday night) and we had some of our friends, layne and caitlin, over.. pizza/game night! fun. perfect night.

sunday morning we relaxed and had church at the house. we headed back feeling woooonderful. could not be more thankful for that weekend!!