Monday, March 31, 2014

march thirty one

HaPpY BiRtHdAy ShOrT!!!!

Oh man am I excited to celebrate my littlest sister's birthday today, though from a far off distance!

In lieu of her special day, I looked through a little book she had made me a few years ago, and found these two awesome pictures. Yeah, she made me a scrapbook of lots of pictures of her and I growing up when I moved to France. She's awesome like that.

This was our very first day together in Central African Republic. She's always been so at peace in my arms.

Besides accidentally sticking a safety pin in her side, instead of her cloth diaper, I was a pretty good big sister. 

I think we should have reenacted this same picture when we were together at Christmastime! That would've been hilarious. Instead, I made her play the role of Mary and ride around our living room on a brown suitcase (aka donkey) being pulled by her betrothed.

She's always been so willing to put up with strange things I ask her to do! That's what sisters are for!

If you don't know Shorty, I would highly recommend her as a friend. She's super fun. When she gets tickled about something or starts laughing non-stop cause she's overtired, it's really contagious. My cousin Jared once nicknamed her "chuckles", perfectly describing her awesome laugh. 

It has been so fun to watch her grow up. Wow. That sounds soooo cheesy. But how else do you say it? It really has! She is now working as a nurse and quite the accomplished one at that! 

A few years ago, she became friends with a guy that would forever change her life. 

Lindsay, Ando and I knew that it would take someone pretty amazing to be suitable for the youngster of the family. And Kman is just that. African/Kansas country girl meets New York pilot! 

He's just as crazy as she is, and very willing to cooperate when his future SIL (sister-in-law, aka me) asks them to strike a pose with this Rennes lumberjack. 

And be hand models for this classic engagement photo. 

I am very excited to get Kman as my BIL and couldn't be more excited for their upcoming wedding in 4 months!!!!!!!

But back to Shorty. She blesses me so much; she prays for me; encourages me in what I'm doing in France; loves me and is always ready for new adventures together! 

I feel extremely blessed to have you as my sister, Shorty and can't wait to spend lots of time with you this summer! I will be thinking about you all day!!! Happy Birthday!!! Love, Ita :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

would you mind taking your hankie off the table?

This afternoon I had a lovely tea with a new student in Rennes named Yessy. She hails from Mexico and we are privileged to get to have her with us for one short semester.

We walked by these gorgeous roses and I sooooo badly wanted the crates! I have a million craft projects in my mind using crates, but don't know where to find them...

Anyway, I decided to take her to this cute little tea parlor (I think I've blogged about it before) that is simple, cozy and elegant all at the same time. I've been there once or twice before, and have always loved it.

It's run by an Irish couple and all their food is made from scratch - they even grind their own wheat  for flour every night, in order to make scones the next day. Homemade honey, homemade jam, homemade get the idea.

So we get there today, and we had just sat down when I heard my phone ring. Embarrassed that I had forgotten to put it on silent, I was reaching into my bag to turn it off when the owner said, "hmmm, would you mind turning your phone on silent?" Hmmm...yeeeees...I was a bit taken aback that the store owner of a tea shop was asking me to turn my phone off, but I quickly apologized and did so. A bit strange, no? 

Anyway, we looked at our menus, ordered our tea, and then I took out a kleenex, put my gum into it, folded it up nice and neatly and nonchalantly set it beside my plate. I didn't think anything of it. 
When the owner came back with our tea, she saw my kleenex and said, "would you mind taking your hankie off the table? We have a trash can downstairs in the bathroom if you need it." Hmmm...what!?! I didn't know whether to think it was funny that a stranger was telling me to throw away my kleenex or wonder what kind of Irish manners I hadn't learned or if it was my right to decide where to put my kleenex! In any case, I suddenly became a bit paranoid that I would do something else wrong! My phone hadn't been turned on silent, my kleenex was lingering on the table... and that's when I poured my tea out of the pot and a whole bunch ran down the side and onto the tablecloth. "I could have wiped it up with my kleenex, had I not had to put it away moments before" thought I a bit begrudgingly. 

It made me think of Grandma Wiebe keeping her kleenex tucked up the sleeve of her sweater, and wondered if that would've shocked the owner as well! 

After the lady walked away, Yessy started talking again at a whisper and was like, "I'm afraid to do something else wrong or talk too loud!" Yikes! But we had fun nonetheless and were the only customers for all 2 hours we were there. Never a dull moment around here! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

cows, churches, carey

Alliteration at its finest! :) 

Early morning dates are my favorite! The earlier, the better. Right Joel? :) Coffee is always always always part of the deal - whether it be in awesome Cessna travel mugs (thanks Bev!!!) 

Or free from mcdonalds! Can you believe that from 8-9 this past week, Mcdonalds was giving out free coffees? #mennonitedates

I love early mornings, and seeing beautiful sunrises, scenery and sssssssso cool paths (alliteration again?)

We took a break from reading through the Chronicles of Narnia and have been working our way through a William Carey biography. Suuuper interesting! 

I thought maybe Uncle Gordon would get bored reading this post if I didn't include any farming in it. Always thinking of you, Uncle Gordon!! Hello French cows! I don't think they quite know what to do with these early morning visitors! 

What a nice guy, to sit down in the middle of the road with me and take a timer picture at 7am! :) 

Monday, March 24, 2014

diy treasure chest pinata and other randomness

**dearest Danae, please accept my sincere apologizes for making you wait so long for news from your "refined cousin living in France". I decided to uphold that great title by showing you how I recently made a pirate pinata. :) 

Several weeks ago, we organised a themed Saturday afternoon for students involved in Agape. The theme was pirates/treasure island and the goal was to get to know each other better, hang out, have fun, eat, etc. Everyone came dressed up -- Toucan even came for the occasion! He pretended to be a parrot on my pirate-shoulder! Speaking of Toucan, he is SUPER excited for the upcoming family wedding in July! 

The whole afternoon was a giant treasure hunt with lots of challenges along the way, and the treasure at the end of the hunt...well a treasure chest pinata full of candy, of course! 

Eva and I decided to try our hand at making one -- saving on money and having an excuse to spend time together and be crafty. It was so fun! 

My crockpot box served as our pinata. Eva was ready to go!

All of this with coffee of course (Teresko and Cass!!!!!)

Lots of cutting to make rounded corners, a dome roof and a secure pinata.

The top was actually the hardest. We were worried that the string would break through and that the whole thing would fall down...kind of defeating the purpose of smashing it in pieces! So we reinforced with hot glue, tape, and more hot glue. And that baby stayed in place!

It was so fun. So fun to figure out how were going to make it, using geometry calculations that we thought we'd never use again in our life.

Once we were done, we covered everything in craft paper, and then added black streamers for the finished touches.

 The last clue on the treasure map led to this bus stop. I had to watch carefully to make sure no one else ran off with our precious treasure!

Our real moment of victory though, was watching our friends hit it with all their might, again and again before finally breaking it open. Well, maybe that's a sliiiiiiiight exaggeration, but it held up really well!! 

Oh and Danae, about "keeping tabs on my relationship", things are going great. :) Here is a picture of him and his bff Jeremie at our disco party! :) I was very proud of the DIY bow tie that I made him -- all sparkly and glittery!