Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fourth of July at the Maddog Resort

We were so excited!  It was finally Thursday morning, and our bags were packed and we were ready to hit the road. Then the telephone rang.  It was the news that one of our precious, very faithful church members had passed away.  There was no question, my prince was staying to be with the family and do the funeral.  After deliberating together and talking to my family in the country, the kids and I decided to go on.  If we stayed here, we would miss seeing my sister, whom we had not seen in two years, and my nephews, whom we get to see once, maybe twice a year if we are lucky.

So with a heavy heart, I loaded the kids in the car, kissed My Prince goodbye (he would join us after he preached the funeral of our dear sweet friend), and started our eight hour journey to the country. Thankfully, our trip was easy and pretty much uneventful.  When we made it to our destination, we were extremely glad to be there.

Aunt T and L had dinner waiting on us.  Bless their hearts!  We ate heartedly and caught up with one another while we waited for Unca's arrival.  We didn't have to wait too long before he joined us. Aunt T mentioned that if we wanted to get some Senior pictures done before everyone else got there and before L had to leave that tonight was the night.  The Oldest Princess hopped into gear and did a presto chango from riding all day in the car to raving Senior beauty in about 20 minutes.  L helped with makeup.  We gathered props and set off down  to the road by Aunt V's house that leads to the old cemetery.  With chairs, rugs, pillows signs, etc., Aunt T and L went to work.  They took a ton of pictures, and then we moved over to the corn field, and took some more.  Then The Oldest Princess swung on the gate, and sat on a post, and eventually back in the chair, but this time in the middle of the hay field.  I wish you all could have seen her jumping out there like a little field mouse because she was afraid of critters in the hay.  I tried to record her coming back out, but she was not nearly as funny coming out as she was going in.  I think the pictures turned out beautifully though.

We came in and loaded the pictures to the computer so that we could see them.  After that, we pretty much decided to call it a day and get some rest.

The fence row with flags on each post.

When you are in the country, time seems to run together and days and dates don't matter so much - one of my favorite things about being out there - And although I tried to take good notes, some things may not be in the exact order that they happened.  So if you were there, and your memory is better than mine, please forgive me if the timeline is not perfect.  And I am pressed for time this time, so I will have to hit the highlights and if I leave out one of your favorite memories, please forgive me again.

Unca had a new toy.  Surround sound out by the pool.  He had a lot of fun playing music for each of us and showing off his surround sound.  It was really nice to lay on a float in the pool and relax to music.  He even voluntarily played a little Toby Mac for the kid's sake.  That my friends is almost a modern day miracle.

On Friday we made good use of the pool.  At one point I believe we pretty much had floats, wall to wall, shallow to deep end.  The nephews (that were able to come) arrived, and we were one big happy family.  One of them barely got in before the teasing began.  Poor JS, as he said, some things are just never let go.  And sadly for him, he keeps giving everyone more and more material to work with.

When Aunt T was young, she has memories of turning large wooden spools on their sides and racing them in her grandmother's field.  She has mentioned it several times, and wanted our kids to experience the fun.  A friend of theirs, M, was able to get a really large one.  He brought it by Friday afternoon.  Everyone had to take a turn to try to make it work.  Unca, M - who is expecting, and myself are the only ones who did not try.  M lamented over the fact that she was the only health professional in the group because we could just see a trip to the emergency room in the works.  Little did we know we would indeed need her medical expertise later, but it would have nothing to do with the giant wooden spool.  We alternated swimming and eating most of the day Friday.  At one point JM was in the pool and dared me to try to throw a sunflower seed in his mouth from where I was sitting.  The first one fell far short.  The second one bounced off of his shoulder and into the water.  Prompting Unca to fuss at us.  The search was then on for the seed so we could get it out of the pool.  The Young Prince was apparently under the water when J discovered that sunflower seeds float and removed it from the pool.  About 5 minutes later, The Young Prince told Aunt T that he couldn't find the seed anywhere.  Bless his heart.  He had been searching the whole time, not knowing that we had already taken care of it.

Walking on the wooden spool.

I saw something that I had never seen before.  I noticed a dirt dobber flying around where we were eating.  I could tell that it was carrying something.  I asked what it was carrying, and about that time the dirt dobber dropped it.  It was a spider.  Yuck!  They catch spiders and take them home for their larva to feed on.  Ick!!  It was really nasty.

JS, I'll let you guess which one, who had already been teased mercilessly about his old girlfriend's name, a hunting trip that happened about three years before, and now his new girlfriend's name (that's what happens when you date a girl with the same name as you - your family makes jokes about it), was sitting beside me at dinner.  It was a normal dinner with everyone talking and cutting up, until he looked at me and said, "Help me!"  I said, "What?" not sure if he was kidding or not.  He stood up and said, "Help me!  Heimlich!"  My first thought was that if he was talking to me, he did not need the Heimlich.  Aunt T jumped up and started trying to attempt it, but to no avail.  He could communicate to us that he had a piece of chicken stuck in his throat.  Unca tried the Heimlich as well, again to no avail.  Unca then ran out to get M, our only health professional to see if she could tell us what to do.  She came in, and they all went to the bathroom, while several of us stayed at the table and prayed.  He was finally able to make himself sick, and get it out.  It was very scary for all of us, and we are all very thankful that he was okay.  We were so thankful as a matter of fact, that a new round of good natured teasing began, and pretty much never let up until he had to go home.  You know things like - guess who is definitely going to make the blog this time, and from now on, we will cut up his food for him, etc.  I sure am glad he still loves us and hangs out with us even though we give him a hard time.  And yes, he definitely made the blog this time.

The other JS played fetch with The Youngest Princess.  He would throw a tennis ball, and she would ride out on Unca's  motorized tricycle and get it and bring it back to him.  Kept them both entertained for hours.

The Young Prince has a habit of saying a common phrase in an uncommon way.  Aunt T asked him if he knew what one of the words was actually a name for.  He had no idea.  She enlightened him, and he was a little embarrassed.  And as nothing is ever forgotten, he was teased about it several times afterwards.

The Youngest Princess was talking about a password and informed us that it had no "capilization" in it.

The girls were showing us part of a cheer that they had learned at cheer camp.  We laughed at Unca trying to do it.  Someone said that he could be a cheerleader, and L said that if he were, he would definitely be a base.

Usually we have some sort of long running joke that we keep going back to several times. This time, it was T-Rex jokes.  Everyone had to do things the way a T-Rex would do them.  How a T-Rex shuffles cards, makes a bed, says "I love you this much", does push-ups, etc.  I mean, think about it. They really had it rough with those big bodies and itty bitty little arms.

We played games of course.  The first game we played was a game where a player is eliminated each round.  And I was the biggest looser.  The first one out.  JM would not let me forget it either.  He pretty much rubbed it in my face for the next few times the cards were shuffled out.  He kept saying, "Only, still don't deal to Aunt Trish."  So kind of him to be helpful to the dealer like that! And while we were playing Unca played the role of butler and brought us soft drinks and even made dip - with help from Aunt T of course.  But it was very kind of him, and we really appreciated him waiting on us like that.

Oh, and we played the game a second time, only a shortened version of it, and guess who was the biggest winner?  Yep!  Me!  No more biggest looser for me!  Whoo Hoo!

There was of course a Fourth of July family gathering.  Unca dressed festively for the occasion.  He had an Uncle Sam type hat, and some fancy red, white, and blue hair.  Both were big hits with the crowd.  Before everyone got there I helped Unca with his "secret" dessert.  Which was actually a fruit tray that was arranged like an American Flag.

Unca's American Flag fruit tray

About the time everyone got there and we were ready to eat, it came a monsoon.  The rain was pouring, the wind was blowing, the kids were screaming (but only because they had to get out of the pool).  Everyone worked together to move everything to the back porch so the wind would not blow the rain onto the food tables.  J and L decided that since they were already soaked, they would make fun out of the huge rivers of water flowing through the yard.  So they grabbed pool floats and went yard river surfing.  It did not take long for the other cousins to join in.  And pretty soon the youngest ones were splashing in the yard puddles having a grand time despite the rain.  And as it calmed down to just a steady sprinkle, most of them got back in the pool, even though Unca warned them that they would get wet.

Yard river surfing

What happens when you get one girl cousin, several boy cousins and a gun that is a fly-killing contraption call the bugasalt together?  You get boy cousins trying to out do one another in toughness, you get a girl cousin that does not mind inflicting the pain, and you get use out of an otherwise pretty worthless supposed bug killer.  The boys would tell her where to shoot them, and L would shoot them with the "fly-killing" gun that sprays salt.  Yes, Virginia, there really is such a thing.  It provides hours of entertainment if you are shooting one another, but I've yet to see it really kill a fly.  So after being shot in the back, the stomach, the upper arm, the thigh, and the back of the neck, they finally decided they had had enough.  Boys and their toys!

It was great to be able to see Aunt P this time around.  I think it has been too long since we have been able to spend any time with her.  It was nice to see her and to be able to catch up.

While sitting around talking, C asked Unca as serious as she could be if they had the tooth fairy when he was young.  He told her that yes, as a matter of fact they did, and Santa Clause too.  I thought I was going to die!  She could not have asked a better person.

The cousins were playing frisbee out in front, when one of them hit a bush.  A baby bird came out of the bush and half hopped half flew over into the hay field.  JM went through the fence and found it.  He picked it up to take it back to the bush.  He could not come back through the fence with it in his hands, so he tried to hand it off to another of the cousins.  The bird got away.  There were too many dogs around to just let it go, so the boys chased that bird all over the place trying to get it back to the bush and its nest.  They were finally able to catch it, and JM put it back in the bush.  Hopefully the little fellow made it.  We never saw him anymore after that.  So I'm guessing he either had a heart attack from all of the excitement, or he decided to get serious about learning to fly.

Later, after the family gathering, M was coming through the garage and noticed a hummingbird laying on the ground.  It had flown into the garage but could not get back out.  It was exhausted from trying.  JM came in and quickly made up some sugar water.  At first the little bird just lay in M's hand, barely opening and closing its eyes.  She dipped her finger in the water and rubbed it on the bird's beak so that it would know what she was trying to offer it.  Then it lay in her hand and began to drink.  It stopped drinking for a minute.  When they put the glass back up for it to drink some more, it sat up and then flew away. Then M cried because she was afraid that it was going to die (before it flew away).  We laughed and told her she was definitely expecting.  And JM will now be referred to as "The Bird Whisperer"  for not one, but two bird rescues in a single day!

The exhausted hummingbird

A little better now...

My Prince finally arrived late that night, and we were very glad to have him there with us.  He tried to sneak in on us, and almost succeeded.  But I heard the door open, and knew it was him.  L got to see him for a few minutes before she had to go to bed, because she had to leave us early the next morning.

The Young Prince took his guitar and blessed us by playing for us every once in a while.  He tickled his Aunt T by swinging his hips and playing at the same time.  At one point he got right up close to Unca and asked him, "How is that for surround sound?"

We did a lot more swimming and a lot more eating. Unca pointed out that The Youngest Princess spent as much time under the water as she did above the water.  She was having a blast!

Unca never fails to teach my children something that I am not so sure I am glad for them to know.  I think he feels like it is his calling in life or something.  It started with the "Birdie, Birdie, in the snow" poem, and each time we get together, the tradition continues.  This time it was a song about Marie Laveau.  Folks, we are talking about rich Louisiana history here.  Stuff to be proud of. Or not.

Sprinkled over the time that we were there, we played multiple rounds of  Dutch Blitz (or Uno, or Bingo, or Farkle or whatever game name would come to Aunt T's mind when she would win a round).  We also discovered that Aunt T's new table was the perfect height to play Dutch Blitz standing up.  So folks, we got serious and moved the chairs and stood up to play.  We never did talk any of the men in to playing with us, but they sure did like to stand around and let us know when we missed a play.  And look out when B blitzes, because there will be screaming, dancing and celebrating to follow.  I think her grandma heard her all the way at her house :-)!

We went to town one day and after Aunt T spilled tea all over her, my Prince tried to help Unca with his singing ability (or lack thereof).  It was quite interesting.  I wish I had thought to record some of it.  I don't know why I didn't.  It was not a boring trip to town by any means.

We joined the Yeti cup club when Unca and Aunt T bought us all one (except for The Youngest Princess who opted for a pair of shoes instead).  I absolutely LOVE myYeti cup!!!  I have drank more water in the past week than I have in the past few months combined. Whoo hoo!

We shopped for shoes for the Youngest Princess, and that was probably the biggest three ring circus I've attended in a long time.  But after what felt like hours of searching and narrowing down choices only to not have the one she picked in her size to picking another one, where they didn't have the color she finally picked some that were in her size and color that she liked.

We went to eat, and happened to run into someone that I have been wanting to meet for quite a while now.  The infamous S, and let me tell you, she lived up to everything that I had heard and more.  When she left, she secretly told our waiter that it was Unca's birthday (it wasn't).  She wanted them to come and sing to him and embarrass him.  But unfortunately they didn't.  When we got to the car, the wiper blades were standing straight out, and the side view mirrors had been adjusted.

We made a quick (well, not really quick) trip through the Dairy Queen drive through, and they did not have the chocolate covered cherry blizzard that Unca wanted.  So sad, but it ended up leading to a delicious discovery, because they did have a chocolate covered strawberry one, and it was wonderful!

When we finished eating a doing a little shopping, we stopped back by S's house so that we could see her new pool.  And as if my children had not already done enough swimming, The Youngest Princess and the The Young Prince went swimming with S's son in their clothes.  Good thing we had been shopping and had clothes for them to change into when it was time to go home.  While the kids swam, we visited with S and got to know her a little better.  We were visited by a scorpion and a tree frog.  S's son came out in all of his LSU gear because he found out that The Young Prince was an Alabama fan, then he talked smack to My Prince and of course a basketball game followed.  I won't say who won, but I will say that the winner was related to me...of course, he did have a little height advantage.

Back at home, the kids put on a fashion show so we could see all of their new clothes.  And we called it a day.

The next day, because S enjoyed our company so much, and must have missed us a little, she called and said that she was taking her son to a place where you paint your own pottery, and wanted to know if we wanted to join them.  It took a little convincing of the men, but we decided it would be fun. So we headed back to town.  We ate lunch at an interesting little place that had good fish and great onion rings.  Then we joined S and her son at the pottery place.  I had a major creativity block. I think Mrs. B has ruined me.  I was ready to paint as I would on a canvas and mix my paints and be really creative.  But this was not that kind of paint, and I was stuck.  I had "nothin".  Everyone else got started, and I was stuck.  I ended up doing a pencil holder for my desk, and it was sad.  I mean really, really sad.  Aunt T and S did platters that turned out great.  S's son, My Prince, The Young Prince, and The Youngest Princess all painted banks in various shapes - basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, and crowns.  The Oldest Princess painted a cross shaped trinket box, and her's turned out really great.  Unca picked out something for the coming grandchild.  I don't know if it is supposed to be a secret or not, so I won't say exactly what it was, but I will say (even though I don't want to admit it) that I think his was my favorite.  He did a great job.  If this trucking stuff doesn't work out, he just might have a future in pottery painting.

There was more swimming and more eating.  More listening to music at the pool.  And dancing lessons from Unca and The Young Prince.  We all tried, but The Young Prince is the king of the swing your hips and arms move that has no name.   This time there was no dancing in the closet, but there was dancing to Mandisa in the outdoor kitchen.

Some of us had a exercise session in the pool one evening.  We were going to do it again then next evening, but somehow that never happened.  For some reason it was just much nicer to lay on the float and relax.

The Youngest Princess had a blast driving everyone she could wrangle into riding with her on any of the motorized buggies available.  It made her feel big and important.  I love how she applies the rules of the real road while she is driving.  She has spent the last few years of her life listening to her brother and sister learn to drive, and I think she could go and take the drivers test and pass it tomorrow if we (and the law) would allow her to.  One evening she drove me from one end of the property to the other several times over.  I think she likes to drive as much as she likes to swim.

And for several evenings we had photo sessions.  There were two more evenings of Senior picture taking.  We had a hard time deciding who was having more fun - Aunt T or the Oldest Princess.  I think they were both having a blast, and I love the pictures we have as a result.  One of my favorite memories involves the Mustang photo shoot and a couple of crazy people who decided to photo bomb.

Taking pictures

One evening, we took a few family photos.  I love them as well.  I shared a couple on my Facebook page, but I am saving some.  Maybe for Christmas cards?  If I can wait that long.

The Young prince was able to get in some "practice" on Unc's tractor, while doing work for him of course.  And he was also a big help in getting Unc's boat all washed and spiffied up.  The Youngest Princess and My Prince helped on the boat as well.

Helping Unca

My prince says that his getting to drive the Mustang is a noteworthy memory.  While he was driving it, he hit a bat.  Nothing was damaged, but it was pretty funny a little later when I had him thinking that the windshield was cracked.

Marc and the 'Stang

And that, friends, is just a few of the highlights.  We had an absolute blast as always.  We love our family dearly and consider our time together very precious.  We know that it is not something to take for granted.  It is very hard to say goodbye.  As Winnie the Pooh says, "How lucky (blessed) I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

Oh, and S if you are reading this, The Young Prince said to please tell the LSU fan in your home that he says, "Roll Tide Roll!"  It's about time those credit card knife club boys met.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dominican Trip - Our Trip Home (plus 30 random pictures)

Monday morning, I had everything pretty much packed, so I left my stuff in the room until it was closer to time to leave, and went down for one last morning on the beach.  The Oldest Princess soon joined me, and we walked on the beach finding hermit crabs and watching the waves crash against the shore.  We found a bigger hermit crab in a really cool shell, and decided to hang on to it so the Young Prince could see it.  We walked back to the lobby to wait for the others.

C came down, and so it was just the Oldest Princess, C and I sitting there, when the picture taking man from the afternoon before came and sat directly across from us us again.  I told the girls that we needed to go and get our things, so we got up and left.  I did not want to sit there with that guy staring at us again. We went to our room stayed for a few minutes, and then took our luggage to the lobby. The lobby was then filled with people from our team, and the stranger was no where to be seen.

We had a group meeting.  E got teary eyed, because she has such a tender heart for missions/ministry. Mrs. B reminded the kids how much it takes, and how many years had been poured into the ministry that we saw and worked with this week.  Grammy was ready to sign Mrs. B up and take her on the road to share her speech with others.

Some of us, with some of our luggage

The bus arrived and we loaded the luggage and ourselves one last time before heading to the airport. The trip to the airport was uneventful.  We made it there and tried to sign in using the little computer stations for that purpose.  We even had airline people helping us, and it turned out to be a disaster. Finally, we just moved over to the counter and checked in the old fashioned way.  I was waiting with E while she checked in her bag so that she would not be alone, and her bag was on the dot the exact weight that it could be, without being charged anything extra for being over the weight limit.  On the dot.  The exact weight.  It was crazy.

With all of our bags packed, we then filled out some paperwork and it was time to go through the dreaded security.  We all made it through without any trouble this time.  Our boarding gate was right next to a little food deli, and some of the kids bought something to eat, as we would not be eating anything substantial until we arrived in Atlanta.

The flight was smooth.  We were a little more spread out this time.  We had individual televisions, so we could choose our own movies.  I dozed/watched Cinderella, and then dozed/watched Annie.  I had taken motion sickness medicine, and was already exhausted, so I could barely keep my eyes open.

We made it safely to Atlanta and then faced customs.  On the 15 minute hike to customs, we found out that my Prince and the Youngest Princess had come to pick us up, and we would not have to ride the van back to the school.  I was very glad, because I really wanted to see them as soon as I possibly could.  Knowing they were there, made going through customs seem that much longer.  But we finally made it through and we were all together again.  We took a couple of group pictures, and then headed to the car, and the team headed to the shuttle that would take them to the hotel where the van was parked.

Atlanta at last

We got a little out of the busy Atlanta area and then stopped to eat, because we were starving.  Then got on the road to head home.  One of my sweet friends at home called to tell me there was a major backup on the interstate, that we might want to keep tabs on it, and may need to go a different route. Later we heard that traffic was flowing again, so we didn't worry about it.  But, when we got to just before our exit, traffic was backed up.  There had been a different accident. It took us about 45 minutes to get to an exit that we could have walked to in less than 10 minutes.  We finally made it home at about 11:30 that night.

It was absolutely wonderful to be home.  And now that I have been home for a while, given the chance, I would head back to the DR in a heartbeat.  I love seeing updates on social media from my friends there.  I love that one young man messaged us and told us that he accepted Christ as his Savior.  I love that they share prayer requests with us.  They feel like family now.  Who knew that we could pack so much ministry, love and friendship into 7 short days.  But it is possible.  I know, because I have experienced it.

Thank you for sticking with me through my long rambling blogs about our trip.  I hope it helped you to see a little of what a short term mission trip is like, if you have never been on one before.  I hope that it helped you to feel like in some ways, you were there too.  I hope that you have a bigger heart for the Dominican people now, like I do.  I hope that you might also have a burden to do something to help me build a baseball field for their baseball ministry.  And speaking of that...I told you that I have already had someone donate some money.  I have also had someone contact me about doing a fundraiser.  I am beyond excited!  God is already moving!  I'll tell you more about it as the details all come together!

Until then, I will leave you with a few random pictures...

Those are the legs of the Young Prince sticking out from under that pile of Dominican children.

 The ninja pose

 Putting on temporary tattoos

 A view of the back of our first mode of public transportation

 It is very common to see clothes hanging any and everywhere to dry

 Some of the kids at the bon fire

A broom

 Playing like they were going to push N off the bridge

 The children at the Bible club

 One of the many interesting things seen on a motor scooter

 They invited them into their home and allowed them to hold their baby.  

 One more of the cattle drive down the mountain, so you can see how up close and personal we were
with it, and this was before we drove right through the middle of it.

 This guy definitely wins the prize for the most creative motor scooter.

 A typical street store.  Almost everyone is selling something in order to make extra income.

 Our kids being silly

 A dentist's office

 Shopping at Jumbo

 One of the chapels at the Palms Christian school

 A great picture of the rocky coast 

 Saying goodbye to our friends in Constanza

 See the bottom left of this picture?  Sadly this is a common site.

 Construction work

 Bananas or plantains, I'm not sure which

 It is also common to see crude types of transportation along side of modern types of transportation

 Mrs. M taking a break from planning, and organizing to have a little fun

 Ball on the street in front of Pastor M's home

 The way your pizza would arrive in the Dominican

 A girl watching our Bible club from her rooftop

Notice the lack of personal space...

We had a great time, and we definitely left part of our corazónes in the Dominican Republic.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dominican Trip - Crabs, Church, and A Creepy Man

Sunday morning, when I got down to the lobby, Mrs. S, S, and E were already down there. They were ready early and had decided that they would walk down to the beach to take some pictures.  They weren't gone long, and when they came back, they were talking about seeing little hermit crabs all over the beach.  The young prince had really wanted to see a hermit crab a few days before, and I wanted him to be able to see one as well.  When the Oldest Princess came down, we walked down to the beach to take some pictures and see the crabs.  The crabs were everywhere, and some of them were teeny tiny.  The smallest I have ever seen.  We picked up a couple and held on to them to show to the Young prince when he came down.  He was down shortly, and loved the crabs, so we went back down to the beach to take a few more pictures and let him see all of the crabs.  I was wishing that the Youngest Princess was there so she could see them too.  I know she would have loved them!

 Pictures on the beach

 Playing with the hermit crabs

 Some of them were teeny tiny!

The bus came to pick us up and take us to church.  When we got there, the worship team was practicing, so we sat and listened to them for a few minutes.  Then our kids practiced the song they were going to sing that night.  Our friend that we had met a few days before, who had lived in the DR before but had moved due to health reasons, came to church.  We were all happy to know that he had kept his word, and had come.  I am praying for R, that God will move in his life, and that he will get connected with the church there.

Our kids practicing their song

I was excited to learn that they have little radios, that you can plug your ear buds into, and hear a translation of the service.  The kids, Mrs. B, and Mrs. S all went to children's church after the music service, but Grammy and I stayed in the church service.  And at first I thought my little radio did not work.  All I could get was Spanish Music.  Then Mr. S came over and told us that C had not started translating yet.  When he started, my little radio worked, and I was very glad.  Pastor G preached a sermon about how our main focus should be on God, not on our opposition.  It was a nice reminder that God is always in control, even during the times when it looks or feels like He is not in control.

After church, we stood around and enjoyed a little fellowship with one another.  I was able to connect with M, a friend of a very good friend of mine.  It truly is a small world.  I was also able to check with Mrs. J about how things were when they got home the night before, after all the rain.  She said that the curtains had saved the day, and blocked most of the water, and the children's beds had not gotten wet.  Praise the Lord!  I am thankful that no prayer is too insignificant to pray.  That God cares about us in big and small ways.  I also talked briefly to Pastor G about the baseball field, and what it would take to actually build one.

We ate a delicious lunch of chicken, mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies.  Okay, I will admit that I said, "No, gracias." to the steamed veggies, but they were on the menu, so I couldn't leave them out.

After lunch, Aunt A called her favorite moto concho guy, and he came and gave everyone that wanted one a ride.  I even got in on the excitement and took a turn with the Young Prince.  I have to admit last year when I found out that the Oldest Princess had ridden, I was a little upset.  But it is a lot less scary when you are actually there yourself.

On the way back to the hotel, the Oldest Princess was able to see the Coke billboard that C had been talking about for a few days.  C said that it didn't make her want a Coke at all.  It was a little odd, I must admit.

Back at the hotel, everyone went their own way.  I sat in the lobby and posted some pictures from the morning.  Then the Young Prince and I went back out to the beach to look for more crabs.  We didn't have to look far, because they were everywhere.  N climbed yet another palm tree and came down with two coconuts.

Several of us including D and M's daughter, M, who had come to the hotel with us for the afternoon decided to go to our room and play cards.  Before we could play, we had to clean off the table.  I thought it was funny that every time we picked up something off the table and asked "Whose is this?" C would say, "It's mine."  Seriously, with the exception of one or two things that belonged to the Oldest Princess.

I wish I could say we had a nice, sweet, friendly afternoon of playing Dutch Blitz, but if you have ever played Dutch Blitz, especially with us, you know that the words nice, sweet, and friendly are not the words we use to describe such happenings.  It wasn't long before the Oldest Princess and C were having "sibling rivalry spats".  I think they had just been together too much!  Then S called me "The Mother."  Then the Oldest Princess and S got into it...but it was all in friendly fun, I friendly and fun as a game of Dutch Blitz can be.  I loved every second of it.  M just listened and laughed at all of us.

Before we knew it, it was time to get ready to go back to church.  Mrs. M, the Oldest Princess, the Young Prince and I were some of the first ones to the lobby.  We were sitting there talking, and not really paying much attention to what was going on with the other people around us, when a man sitting directly across from us took a picture.  I looked up at him because the flash caught my attention.  He had taken a picture of us!  We were all kind of stunned.  It was very uncomfortable. And even after brazenly taking our picture - with his flash on! - the man continued to sit there and stare at us!  It was very strange!  I had never been so happy to see the bus arrive as I was that afternoon.  Once we got on the bus, the Young Prince said that after the man took a picture of us, he had, in return, taken a picture of the man.  I would not have thought to do that, but I was glad he had. It meant we had a picture of the man if anything should happen and we should need it.

The church service started with a prayer time.  We broke into small groups depending on where we were sitting.  The Young Prince and I prayed with B, M and our other new friend M (who was only 13 but spoke, Portuguese, Spanish, and English).  Then once again, we listened to C interpret the message by Pastor G.  This time it was on How to Trust in God.  And who among us could not benefit in learning to trust God more?

After church, it was time to say goodbye, because we would be leaving in the morning.  It is not easy to say goodbye to people you have fallen in love with in just a few short days, especially not knowing if or when you will be able to see them again.  But we are thankful that there is the wonder of social media, that can help us to stay connected.

We loaded the bus and headed to The Con Con.  It is a pizza restaurant not far from our hotel.  Pastor G and Aunt A met us there.  We had a great time of fellowship while we ate some wonderful pizza. We talked about deep, important subjects like - if there happened to be a fire, would Pastor G save his new puppy or Aunt A first?  It was determined that Aunt A could help the puppy won. Again, it was all in teasing fun.  I was also able to talk in a little more detail with Pastor G about building a baseball field, and what all it would take.  I am still working on a plan, and I am still asking you to pray about what part you can play in helping to make it happen.  I have already had some money donated, after my blog about it on Saturday, so God is already moving!  Stay tuned...!

 The Oldest Princess and S walking into The Con Con

 Uncle G and Aunt A with the kids

 Aunt A and her mini me

All of the family that were there...missing Poppy, my Prince, and the Youngest Princess.
S once again taking a picture of me like I like it :-) the shadows.

We took a few pictures while we had the opportunity.  And then it was time to head back to the hotel.
Heading to our room we had another gecko experience.  I was just glad that we only saw them in the hallway, and not in our rooms.

We did our best to pack up what we could, in preparation for our trip home the next day.   I killed a strange bug that was on the lampshade.  I did it with lightening quick reflexes and Ninja smoothness. I meant that bug was not getting away, because I did not want to go to bed knowing he was in the room with us.  I was ready to get back home where my Prince could take care of things like broken toilets and bugs!

And tomorrow would be that day!