Monday, May 25, 2009

Alpacas - and what we learned!

To finish off our school year we went to an Alpaca farm as a part of a group field trip. Mak and Jack were a bit sick so it was just TJ, Chatham, Kayte and me. This farm had about 30 alpacas and 3 Llamas. The llamas are kept as "guard dogs" because they are so much larger than the alpacas and will stomp out a coyote to protect the little ones.
There are 22 different natural colors to an alpaca's fur.
The lighter ones are the most preferred because they tend to be softer, plus you can dye them.
In Peru Alpaca garments were for the royalty and Llama garments were for the peasants.
Their "wool" is 5 times warmer than a sheep's and it is far less itchy.
The borders are closed on alpacas, none are let in or out.
It's a very strictly documented trade. They do blood work to confirm parenthood before registration documents are released.

They don't spit as often as people.
The man said it's happened three times in seven years to him.
We got to go in and pet them.
They are gentle and soft, and as you can see none of the kids were fearful.
That's my Kayte!

Where all our $ goes!

This is a "before" shot....I got a during, but have neglected to get an after shot,
because we were late for soccer :). We stopped by Dad's office before we headed to the orthodontist, all three had an appointment!They managed to fit Mak and TJ in at the same time. Both of them walked away in pain.

For the record, TJ kept asking me to take pictures as he got his braces on. Mak did not, but I couldn't resist - it was the longest he has been silent in a long time...and I just noticed the shirt he was wearing! Mak now has an appliance he has to wear 24/7 for the next six months. TJ's just finished wearing his the day that Mak got his.

After pictures will come....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Poem by Mak

Once our house was clean and tidy
But now it is a mess
Once our house was quiet and peaceful
But now it’s full of craziness
Once our house was boring and dull
But now it is exciting.
Once our house had only boys
But now it is filled with boys and noise.
Our sister came and changed things here
And I like it better than ever.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Dianne!

Today is Dianne's 22nd birthday. Last night we tried to give her an all American meal - complete with burgers on the grill, chicken wings, baked beans, potato salad, fruit salad and... birthday cake! Dave and Melissa Fry came out for the evening with their kids and helped make it a memorable evening!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Experiencing a different culture, right in my living room

On May 1 Dianne van de Schootbrugge came from Holland to our home for a three month stay. She has a long name and it is not pronounced how it looks.She laughs every time I try to say her last name, but her first name is pronounced Dee-on-uh.

She was nervous about her English, but she is doing very well. From the start the boys welcomed her as a long time friend. And of course introduced her to about a dozen games. She's gotten pretty good at Dutch Blitz - which by the way isn't a Dutch game.

We have had lots of fun laughing and learning about our different cultures. Several instances stand out as worthy of sharing.

Yesterday Kayte wanted some pop-corn, so I threw some in the microwave. Dianne was in the kitchen, and was amazed to see what came out. It was like a girl who had been thrown into the future. They only buy popcorn already popped, so she couldn't understand how something so flat could come out like that, and she was intriqued that we eat it hot!

She was also shocked last night that we ate the skin on a potato!

She had never had or seen Chips and salsa - or tacos.

She has never heard the story of the little boy who put his finger in the dike to save his country.

Last week I decided she needed to experience our Grocery store - hoping she could give me a hint of what she normally eats. On the drive in she said "you have many white houses here, there are not so many in Holland". Then when at the grocery store I picked up a carton of eggs and check that none were broken, and she said "you have white eggs? Ours are brown".
Later when I asked her of other differences she said our chicken was white compared to what she was used to. Then I said "Everything is white here" and She said "Not your president!"
She has quite the sense of humor and it is fun.

Besides the laughs we have had many opportunities to just talk. The language difference is sometimes difficult but we are working on that. But so far the visit has been a good one and we all feel comfortable.

My fun kids

My fun kids
In their favorite tree