Friday, March 29, 2013

Exuberant Details

We picked up daughter #4 at the airport last Saturday. She was returning from her college spring break...a mission trip to an orphanage in Baja, Mexico. I LOVE those first moments with returned travelers. The experience is still so fresh and alive in their minds, they can't help but share it with the rest of us in exuberant fashion. (Well...unless there's a lot of jet lag involved...then it might not happen quite so exuberantly.)

Tabitha was full of stories - everything from candy to concrete to contrary kids. She enjoyed the kids, and quickly explained, "These kids have a sixth sense for candy - they KNOW when you have it in your pockets, and they really like you when you give them candy. But hey, I didn't have candy - so any friends I made this week were genuine."

Genuine is good. How about the kids?
Not always so good...

"Some of those little kids were SOOOoooooo cute!" Tabitha continued. "But the cute ones could get away with almost anything. Some of my team had been to this orphanage before, and when one of us newbies declared one particular little boy the 'cutest thing ever' she was quickly told, 'Perhaps - but last time we were here, we were debating whether he might be the very spawn of Satan himself!'"

"Then there was this one little adorable girl who looked just like Boo, from Monsters, Inc. She'd seen the movie, too...because she'd walk up to us and say 'Boo!' And one little boy who liked to beat up on one of the guys on our team had this PERFECT evil villain laugh...'Mmmuaahahahaha' was so funny!"

Ok, so when you weren't playing with the 100 orphans, what did you do?

"We did some concrete work." Tabitha said...and then paused.

"So, I kind of gained some respect for my lifting and shovel skills," she tried to explain without too much bragging. "This group of girls would go fill buckets with sand for mixing up the concrete, then expect a guy to come carry it for them. I was like, 'Hey, I got this, girls - we don't need a guy.' And they'd all be like, 'Wait - you can carry that???' and I'd be like, 'Sure - I got this!'"

"And then I became the one to carry the heavy buckets of water, also," she continued. "After awhile, someone said, 'How come you're so good at all this hard work stuff?'"

"It's all because of my dad," was her simple reply. Even in the darkness, I could see Nate beaming from the driver's seat. He loves it when he receives even the tiniest of accolades for always expecting his kids to do difficult tasks and work hard, whether or not they're females. He's certainly received his fair share of grief and complaints about it through the years - just last week he heard some griping from our 13-year-old who didn't really want to help with a roofing project. Thus, these glimpses of victory are worth basking in for a few moments.

"By the end of the day - the Mexican guy who was in charge of the concrete work requested that our team help him again the next day. They said that never happens, because he's very picky and is rarely happy with his volunteer helpers."

More basking from the driver's seat.

Lots more stories and laughter ensued throughout the trip home. (An advantage of living over two hours away from the nearest airport.) Some random Spanish sprinkled in now and then for good effect. Stories of digging trenches and guys getting to prove their manliness by eradicating 300 LB rocks from the trench. Climbing mountains for quiet time. Shopping in the market. More kid stories.

All in all, a great experience - not only for the girl who went, but also for the parents who love to welcome home their world travelers.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

A View of the Movies

My family has a unique view on movies - both as a whole (see this post from several years ago) and as individuals. That uniqueness came up during a meal-time discussion when three of my older girls all happened to be home...

"We saw that new 'Bourne Legacy' movie recently, when all of us were together at my apartment," Bethany, the oldest of the three began. "It was crazy - Tabby and Lydia were just arguing the whole time; Lydia saying she didn't understand how it could be a 'Bourne' movie without Jason Bourne in it...and Tabby saying what a great movie it was, whether or not Jason Bourne was in it!"

"Then, the whole time we were watching it, they kept arguing. Lydia would say, 'I don't get it - what just happened?' and Tabby trying to tell her to just pay attention and Lydia saying, 'But why are they getting all political - why'd they put politics in it?'" Bethany continued telling us, with all her exuberance and animation.

But then she paused. "I was like, 'Wait - what do you mean it's political?' To me - if it's not congress and the president, you know...government stuff...then it's not political at all."

"But Lydia just kept going on and on throughout the movie about how she didn't get it and why'd it have to be political," Bethany continued. "But it wasn't a big deal to me. I didn't have a clue what was going on half the time, but I liked it anyway. They got to hold hands once in a while...there was some great action scenes; so who cares if I didn't get it - I liked it."

There you have it. A little hand holding is enough to satisfy some of my kids; some don't want anything too complicated, political or confusing; and yet others need deep plots that they can analyze and figure out (without having to explain it all to one of their sisters.)

Me, personally?

I tend to agree with the hand-holding girl. A cute little bit of romance goes a long way in my book...errrr, I