Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Big Day Preparation

My sweet daughter is graduating from the eighth grade tomorrow. 
She is all excited and a little nervous.
In the morning she has her last chapel service where she will be singing with the praise band.
Tomorrow night we will be gathering to celebrate the graduation of the eighth graders.
But the thing that makes me proud here -

Allison actually asked that we go have her fingernails painted.
Could it be that my little tomboy is starting to "girl up"?

Monday, May 30, 2011


Today I am thankful.

Thankful for the comfortable home where my family lives.
Thankful for a safe town to raise my children.
I am thankful for the church where my family worships freely and without persecution.
Thankful for freedom to affect government with my voice and vote.
Thankful for utilities, paved roads, health care, and hundreds of other privileges that I take for granted.

I am most thankful for the men and women who have sacrificed time with their own families, their freedom to live where they wish, and their personal freedoms while they serve to protect our country and our freedoms.

I am thankful for ultimate gift of sacrifice given by those who lost their lives to protect ours.

I am thankful.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Puppetmaster

Today is our Peaches' 5th birthday.

It seems that one of her favorite past times is making puppets out of her stuffed animals.

At any given time there are one, two, or twelve fiberfill tumbleweeds rolling across my wooden floors. 
If we weren't talking about stuffed animals here,
what she is doing would create quite a gruesome scene.

This is Justin Beaver. 
He used to have big buck teeth, ears, and a big flat flap of a tail. 
Sadly he has been reduced to a unidentifiable critter.

The rest of the clan include Blackbeary, Coocoocachu (a very mangled walrus), and Chuck the duck.

While I was taking pictures of the motley crew, the Puppetmaster struck!

Poor Chuck was forced to be a part of the Puppetmaster's downward facing dog.

Even though the toys take a beating around here, Peaches has been a welcome addition to our family.
Happy birthday Peaches!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dad's Garden, Part 5

Dad's garden is coming right along.
All of the plants are far enough along that they are easily identifiable.

Everything is all neat and tidy.

The lettuce is ready to eat and the carrot tops are getting nice and full.

Dad plants marigolds between his tomato plants. 
When I asked him why he told me that nemitodes, which will stunt tomato growth and production are repelled by the marigolds.
He started planting them together many years ago and hasn't had a nemitode problem since.

I thought I was the only one who didn't care for the smell of marigolds.

The Grandma Parham's pole beans are finally getting big enough to climb.

The muscadines have a long way to go.

But the blueberries are showing off this season. 
The branches are so full of berries that they are sagging a bit.
Just a few more weeks and we will be enjoying those delicious blueberries.

On another note, my folks noticed a cardinal nesting in an Oakleaf Hydrangea in their backyard.

I love this time of the year.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Graduation Day for Chase

Today was a big day for my nephew.
He graduated from high school.

I am so proud of him.

I sat in the stands with my family.
Chase's dad, my youngest brother Will was one proud papa. 
I couldn't help but snicker as he watched his 18 year old son walk across the stage
while he held his 8 month old daughter.

Good thing he loves the dad gig and is good at it.
He gets to do it for a very long time.

It has been a pleasure watching Chase grow up.
He is a terrific young man who is going to do great things.

Way to go Chase!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Family Time Surprise!

Tomorrow my youngest brother's son, Chase, graduates from high school.

My oldest brother and sister in law along with their granddaughter, who is visiting with them currently, traveled from Texas for the occassion.

Here is my oldest brother's granddaughter.
Isn't she cute?

The big surprise was that her parents, who live in North Carolina, decided to travel to be part of the graduation festivities.

This is the first time in a couple of years that I have seen my nephew and his family.

All we are missing is my niece Michelle who has just said goodbye to her husband for the third time as he heads back to Iraq.  Stay safe Darrell!

I love all this family stuff!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bell Banging Time!

A couple of weeks after we joined our new church, Allison joined the bell choir of our church.

She was apprehensive about joining because this isn't something that she has done before.
But she is a trooper.
She has brought her music home and highlighted all of her notes.
Practiced as best she could at home.
Met with the Music Minister before practices. 
She was ready.

The bell choir sounded terrific in church this morning.
A wonderful musical addition to the service. 

And much to her relief, she didn't miss a note.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Training 'Em Right

Ben thinks that this is just another chore that I am making him do.

He doesn't realize that this is part of his life-skill training that as a parent I am required to do.

That, and I ran out of tea and asked him to make some more.

But mostly it is life skills training.
Yep, let's go with that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sounds Like Spring

Today my lovely 8th grader participated in her last spring concert. 
Each class had songs to perform.
There were three different student orchestras. 
Well, maybe orchestra is too big a word for these small groups, 
but they were playing orchestral instruments.
And Allison's praise band performed.
As did two different bell choirs.
And there were cute kindergarten and early elementary performances.
It was a pretty sweet concert.

Allison has enjoyed playing the flute, although she doesn't have plans to be in band next year.

The principal called out the 8th graders at the end to thank them for their leadership and participation.

As we wind down this year it seems like a good time to go.
Earlier in the year Allison was already starting to worry about how
she would fit in at her new high school.

Now that she is about to finish the 8th grade she is getting excited 
about her new school next year.
She will do fine.
That's my girl.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bittersweet Day

 Although May 16th is a special day in the Peters' household because of my Ben's birthday,
 it is also a bittersweet day for us. 
Ben is a twin. 
He came into this world with a sister named Hannah. 
She didn't stay with us for very long - just for 56 short months,
but she managed to change us for a lifetime.

Today marks her 11th birthday in heaven.
There is always a little bittersweet tug at my heart on May 16.
Happy birthday my little Hannah Banana.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Baby's Growing Up!!!

When Ben went to bed tonight this is the Ben that I have been thinking about:

The cutie-patootie on the beach...

The boy who loved to play in the bath...

My Risky Business boy...

My little Batman, ready to rescue fair Cinderella...

Grammy's best buddy...

But, come tomorrow my son will be a sixteen year old young man.

He makes me proud.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dad's Garden, Part 4

I actually took these pictures on Mother's Day while over visiting with my folks.  But - with trying to get back into the routine of my regular life and conquering the impressive mountain of laundry, getting the 800+ photos of the Haiti trip edited and ready to share, and getting belated posts from the trip posted I have been a little busy this week.  Hopefully I will get back on the blog wagon and start posting regularly again.

Dad's garden didn't suffer too much during the storms of April 27.  There was standing water in a few spots and a few plants that needed replacing but overall no too bad.  Dad said that there was so much water that his soaker hose unburied itself in a few places. 

It has been a couple of weeks since I posted pictures and things are definitely greening up!

The lettuces are in full swing.  The carrots are finally picking up some speed now.

The tomato crop has been planted, Dad just planted a few plants. Again. 

The cabbages and brocolli are looking good as are Ma Parham's pole beans. 
Love this time of the year when everything is so green and new. 
New update coming soon!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rushed Goodbyes Stink!

The morning we left was crazy busy for Jenny.
From trying to get the last minute paperwork done with Wilna
and getting all of the stuff that she brought down for Melissa out of her luggage. 
Then there were the dozen or so questions that everyone has before the doctor leaves to go home. 
Jenny's plans to spend some time with Melissa before leaving got compressed in to a very short time.

Melissa was pooped by the time we left for the airport. 
My rushed friend had all of her emotions of leaving her daughter once again hit her pretty hard.
The time to snuggle once more and get on top of the emotions had to happen in the truck on the way to catch our flight.

So - in honor of my friends with a Melissa-shaped holes in their hearts, here is a little snippet of a video that I took with my Ipad the last night.  While Jenny was taking a shower I introduced Melissa to the pretty baby in the Ipad.  They had quite a little conversation. 

Hopefully the next time to Haiti Jenny won't have to tell Melissa goodbye.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Heart Surgery Roundup

Yesterday afternoon there were a few families that 
showed up at the guesthouse to spend the night.  
The children are heart surgery candidates with their parents 
who have come here in order to travel as a group to 
Santiago, Dominican Republic in the morning.

We have had a little girl and her mom as guests in the house this week. 
The little girl, Kerozine, is traveling with a group of children and 
parents to Santiago, Dominican Republic.  
They left early this morning in the prison truck, er Chadasha tap tap.  
Not a very comfortable way to travel, but fortunately they only have to 
ride in it for about 1 1/2 hours until they get to the Jumani compound, 
just inside the Dominican Republic.  
Then they will switch vehicles and ride the 7 1/2 hours to Santiago in a bus.

These children have been identified by medical teams 
as children in need of heart surgery.  
The Chadasha organization has helped these families compile 
(and in many cases, create) the needed paperwork for the trip. 
Many children in Haiti don't have birth certificates.  
To get an identification number (like our Social Security number) 
one needs a birth certificate.  
To get a passport one needs the identification number.  
The process to have a birth certificate created is 
a rather complicated and expensive. 
Since these kids need passports to travel to the DR, 
they have needed help to get everything ready.  
There has been many phone calls made and many forms filled out 
and much money spent in getting these children ready to go.  
I am grateful that there are so many folks, like Chris Keylon, 
Wilna Nelson, and Michelle and Greg Roberts, 
who have been dedicated to getting these kids hearts fixed 
so that they can lead full, normal lives.

I am proud to know these amazing people who feel 
called to help these children.

Down Time

We woke this morning knowing that the only firm plans for 
the day were that the heart surgery candidate families 
were leaving and that Jenny would be going 
with baby Melissa and two kids from the Brewer orphanage 
to have heart echocardiograms and to the lawyer's office 
to sign paperwork for Melissa's guardianship.  
Both of these did happen but it took all day!  
I keep having to remind myself that I am in Haiti 
(rhymes with Waiti!)

We had hoped to go back to the Brewer orphanage to play with 
the kids there and get to know them better 
but it just didn't happen.  
There wasn't a driver available to take us over.  
Karren and Kathy took advantage of the time to get all 
of the pharmacy supplies restocked.  
This pharmacy is in such better shape since Karren (Karreem!) 
came on the scene.  
It is 200% more up to date since all of the bags from 
past mobile medical clinics were emptied and expired meds 
removed and meds grouped and alphabetized. 

We missed spending the time at the orphanage but 
we did enjoy the few hours spent talking with Andrea Brewer 
while she was waiting to leave with the two kids from 
the orphanage who were getting echoes.  
Andrea is an amazing woman, dedicated to being the face of Christ 
to the sweet children in her care.  
She and her husband have been in Haiti through 
the earthquake, the cholera epidemic 
(for which she was very closely associated) 
and still manages to get up everyday 
and do it again.  
She is my hero.  
I don't think I could do what she does.  
You can read more about her and the orphanage here: reachhaiti.com.

Anyway, it was so very nice to get to sit around 
the dining table at the guesthouse and just have 
a good long girlfriend visit with Andrea.  
We loved getting to know her better and she 
really appreciated girl talk.  
She said that most of the  medical teams that 
come through are mostly men.  
To have an all female medical team to visit with was fun.  
We were glad to accommodate her need for girl time. 

Sweaty Gorgeousness

We haz it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Clinic in the Land of Canaan

Today we headed out of town to the largest tent city named Canaan. 
It sprawls over a rolling hill and large valley. 
Lots of new construction going on, which is good to see, 
but still the vast majority live in small shacks or make-shift tents. 
We were wondering if the many half-built homes were the product 
of mission teams who left before completing them. I hope not. 

By the way, the white-roofed mass of buildings in the background are new structures 
built by Haitian workers for World Vision. 
See folks, here are your World Vision donation dollars at work.

We held the clinic in an empty, multi-roomed concrete block with dirt floors. 
I initially thought that we would all be just miserably hot but there 
was enough of a breeze and enough holes (for doors, windows, and well, just holes) 
in the walls that the breeze kept us reasonably comfortable.

The estimate was that we saw 100 people. 
As usual, with the exception of a few more serious medical problems 
that needed to see Jenny, we saw the usual assortment of
 intestinal worms, allergies, lots of eye irritation, and STDs.

This was the first patient that I saw.
She was so sweet and had the best smile. 
She blessed me as she left.  
What a great way to start our clinic!

Everyone that we saw was orderly and grateful to be seen. 
After the clinic was over and we began to pack up I realized that a girl 
was peeking through one of the holes in the wall of the room we used for the pharmacy.
 It didn't take long for her to see that I had my camera and 
started to make a game of peeking in and seeing if I could catch her.
 Nice moment that didn't require a translator.

Today was our last day of medical clinics. 
Tomorrow we hope to get to go back to the Brewer orphanage and 
play with the kids, unpack and shelve our leftover meds and supplies 
and get ourselves packed for our early morning flight out on Friday.