Friday, July 31, 2009

A New Member

Our housekeeper Mariza has been with us since just after we arrived in Caracas last year. She is a godsend in many ways, not the least of which is that she genuinely cares for our children. When Kenny is out of town over the weekends (which occurs often) she accompanies me to church to help with the boys while I direct the music in every conceivable meeting. A few months ago she started coming to our Sunday meetings even when Kenny was in town and then last week she made the decision to be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was very excited, and we were thrilled to be there with her on such a very special day. The boys were a little confused and wanted to know why they too couldn't go in the water if both Mariza and Daddy (he baptized her) were. Mariza will likely return to her home country of Peru when we leave Venezuela next year, but for the time being we are delighted to be with her as she begins to learn more about this church we hold so dear. Next on the agenda is finding her skirts and dresses to suit her diminutive size.

Friday, July 24, 2009

School's Out for Summer

Caleb's last day of school was also a medals ceremony.

All the medals were alike and each child received one.

For whatever reason Caleb started the event in tears.

But, once the singing began he forgot his woes and joined in with gusto.

He sang the loudest of all the students. Apparently, he is always the loudest and was not just trying to impress his parents.

Then he received his medal. He was excited about it
for approximately 5 minutes, then took it off,
handed it to me and said, "no mas, Mommy."

The whole class.
(Incidentally, by law, all preschool children in Venezuela wear red shirts, elementary children wear white, junior high are assigned light blue and high school wear tan in all schools, public and private -- according to the government, it is just easier that way.)

Caleb with his teachers Margot and Mariolga. He has loved his school and only a week into vacation is already asking when he can go back. Mid-September is not going to come soon enough for either of us.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Hair Cutting We'll Go

At nearly 18 months old Isaac was finally
ready for his first haircut.

Initially, he was a little nervous.

But, after sizing up the situation,

and proof that others had gone before and survived,

he calmly and cooperatively,


Ah, the delicious sweetness of success.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 233rd America!

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays and in my opinion best celebrated with the masses. I love the food, the fireworks, the feeling, the festivities, everything and have been disappointed the last few years not to be able to share all of that with our children. Summer in the foreign service is transfer season so it is rare that US embassies will celebrate the 4th of July, claiming, erroneously, that most families are on vacation or have left the country for good. Sure there is the formal diplomatic reception, but unfortunately families are not invited to this event.

A former US ambassador to Venezuela decided a few years ago that as long as Hugo Chavez was anti-America anyway, the embassy should pull out all the stops and celebrate Independence Day American style. In particular, he wanted a fireworks display that was visible all over Caracas, especially from the President's official residence. Luckily for us, his decision started a tradition of a 4th of July extravaganza just like those back home. We had our very own county fair on the embassy grounds complete with all-we-could-eat food and drink, live entertainment, characters in costume, a petting zoo, bouncy houses, red, white and blue bunting and festoons and culminating in a fireworks display as grand as any we have ever seen.

the embassy all dressed up for the occasion

Isaac getting close enough to touch without actually making contact

playing with the giant pinwheels

waiting for the fireworks to start

finally the wait was over


our lone patriotic decoration (Isaac's hands and Caleb's feet)
we got the idea here


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