Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Happy Birthday, Caleb!!

Caleb is 12 years old today!!  We are so thankful for him, and all that he adds to our family.  He really loves little kids, and he can't wait to be able to help in the nursery at church.  He's a huge help with Drew.  He also loves to give back rubs, and hey, I will always take a back rub!  We love forward to what the Lord has in store for this year for Caleb!

He was fortunate to have his birthday on a Tuesday, and a Tuesday where I was helping at TNT!  I was assigned to lead his tier (grades 5 and 6, Caleb and Jonathan) around to 4 different stations for the 4th of 5 weeks in the South America unit.  Neissy truly has outdone herself with this unit.  Each week has been so amazing!  I was glad to spend a day over there--I learned so much myself!

For opening ceremony, Neissy invited our assistant pastor over to speak about his visit about 16 years ago to Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world (3,212 feet), located in Venezuela.  Hunter is a really engaging speaker, so his tale of the trip first by 737 zooming around tepuys to land on a dirt strip,then by canoe 30 miles, and then hiking the last bit, swinging on vines over ravines and whatnot, all guided by Indians, certainly kept everyone's attention.  The kids had a million questions.

Then we started off on the 4 different rooms.  My tier went first to the "movie" room, where they watched several short youtube videos on different aspects of South American culture, such as the history of piñatas, some different kinds of South American music, and a fascinating clip on the making of semana santa carpets for Holy Week processions.  Wow--I had no idea these even existed, and they are simply amazing!  And we watched this totally great video of the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra playing Bernstein's Mambo--these guys know how to totally have a fun time! 

Before we started watching the videos, we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Caleb, and then we passed out rice krispie treats that Caleb had made for everyone.  Yum!  (We also sang at Rivendell, but we will have our *actual* celebration tomorrow, with Caleb's birthday dinner, cake, and presents.  Prolong the celebration!)

Next we went to the "craft" room, where the kids decorated piñatas that the ladies in charge had painstakingly made out of paper bags!  You can see Caleb's on top, although he was not really enthused about how his final product turned out, LOL.  The kids had fun--lots of glue spread around!

Then they went to the "teaching" room, where a mom talked about different areas of South American culture, such as music, celebrations, language, and so on.  Again, it was so interesting!
We finished up in the "games" room with Neissy, where she taught the kids several games, including one where the "it" kid dressed up with another item of clothing each time after the other kids chanted something, and then after he put the sombrero on, he was ready, so he chased them around!  Here is Jonathan, all gussied up.
Then we all went back into the big room, where we had a special presentation by Neissy's brother.  He is a musician, and he has a big collection of instruments from South America.  After he introduced and demonstrated a ton of instruments, he let some of the kids come up and play in a little orchestra!  Anna and Jonathan both got to go up the first time.  Anna is playing a little guitar-like instrument that used to be made out of armadillo shells, and Jonathan is playing a pipe drum thing with 2 holes made from bamboo.  So fun, and such neat sounds!  It was a great morning!

Then it was on to Rivendell at our new church building.  We all ate lunch and got set up for classes there before I ran over to vote (grrrr).  It was a good thing I stuck around, because we set up in one room we have been using, only to have it be taken over!  We had to scramble to find another room with good enough internet.  Everything is still in a state of flux over at the building, so we are hopeful that in a few weeks, we'll be able to sort of "claim" a few rooms and use them every week.  It is already a hassle to have to set everything up by moving tables and chairs, getting the computers going, etc., and then to have to move everything again is stressful!  There is plenty of room, but unfortunately the building was built with good old 1960's cinder block construction in the children's wing, and steel studs in the adult wing, making good internet connections practically impossible in the vast majority of rooms!  The day was especially stressful because Micah and Drew had also spent the whole morning at TNT with me, and they were absolutely fried.  Micah had several loud tantrums, and Drew didn't melt down, but he was soooo tired and crabby.  Fortunately I only have 1 more morning at TNT, and that isn't until March.  I'm glad another Tuesday is over!

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