Wednesday, February 25, 2009

State Championship Game

Jenica and Kendra went to the 4A state basketball championship game this last Saturday. I watched them on a web cast Friday night win a close game against Jerome. I couldn't stand to miss the big game, so Toby and my dad drove halfway each to get me to Idaho. Tyleen made t-shirts for all of us, including Zeke. Unfortunately, we didn't come out with a win, but the girls played amazing!
A couple action shots of Jenica and Kendra. They had the games of their lives. Jenica especially should be proud of her last game as a senior. What a night!

After the game, waiting to be awarded their medals.

The adoring fans. There's nothing like a state basketball tournament to get us all together.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Life back at home

I figured I better do an update on what we have been doing since we've been back home. That pretty much means an update on Zeke. He still absolutely loves being outside. I wish I was a better mom and allowed him out more often, but it is just so darn cold. We finally gave in one day and took him out to play. Toby, in an effort to keep Zeke off of the slippery driveway, dug a path through the snow in our yard.
I felt like we were putting him in a rat maze, but he was too smart for us. He still managed to find his way and make a break for the street.
Then Toby made this sweet sledding hill for Zeke to try out. We used our multi-purpose stainless steel bowl as Zeke's sled. He wasn't sure if he liked it at first, but he definitely loved it by the end.
For Valentine's day I told Zeke to blow kisses and showed him how. It wasn't long before he was blowing kisses to everyone. The best part.... he does sound effects and everything.

Of course, we haven't just been playing around all the time. We do serious stuff too.... like eat dinner. Zeke didn't get the serious memo though and decided to have a little fun.
It's hard to teach him that you don't want him doing this at every meal when you're pulling out the camera and laughing at him.
And last but not least... back outside. Zeke wanted to help his daddy shovel the driveway. He didn't mind one bit that it was snowing. That actually made it all the more fun.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 15 A jouney's end

Day 15: The big city of Bamako and then time to go home.
We all couldn't wait to get back to the Grand Hotel and their amazing breakfast. Seriously, it was soooo good. Fresh squeeze orange juice, omelettes, and fresh fruit.
The Bamako museum was actually really modern. They had detailed models of the most famous mosques. I'm pretty sure this is the Djenne mosque that Toby is standing by.
A picture with Sysoku, our driver.
They have scrap metal down to and art. Every piece of metal was used to make something else, such as wheelbarrows.
A view of the busy city. Wouldn't you love having your toddler play right there next to the road.

Sysoku invited us to his home to meet his family. Aren't they a good looking group?

Music is the universal language so we sang them 2 songs. Here we are singing a rousing round of popcorn popping.
Then they gave us their lunch. I felt bad eating their food, but they wanted us to eat it. They made us eat it Malian style... all out of the same bowl. This was a little scary because it was the one time we ate the food that had not been prepared specifically for us. Nothing like wild tomatoes, fish heads and rice for lunch.... yum!

These are a couple pictures of the Fettish market. I didn't want to look at this stuff so I went back to the artisan market. You'll have to ask how all of this is used. Sounds like it is similar to voodoo.

Well, that's it! After finishing some last minute shopping, and finally finding a nativity set, we packed up and headed to the airpot. There were a couple times I thought we might miss our connecting flights, but I wouldn't have it. It was time to get back to my baby. It was an amazing adventure and one that I will never forget. I love the United States and we are so blessed to be here!!!!

Day 14 A donkey ride

Day 14: Visiting a tomb?
So this village is famous for some king of some dynasty. By this point I had heard so many facts and stories that I couldn't keep them all straight so please forgive me for not remembering. Here is a picture of another mosque and the inside of some one's home.

Walking through a town meeting building. Didn't the lighting turn out cool?
These boys decided to do a little pose for the camera and I liked this picture of a girl holding her baby brother.

It being Christmas and all, I decided that I would like the experience of riding a donkey. After all, we tried the camel thing and all.

Just some cool pictures.
Playing some games with the kids. This is one of my favorite pictures.

This picture is for Janene... just a look at how they do bees around there.

Yes, we got another flat tire, and once again it was when the roads were good. Go figure.

Our last 2 days were spent here in the artisan market shopping for all of our final souvenirs. They had amazing, tiny wood carvings but their tools were so big it is hard to imagine how they were able to do it.

Day 13 I got myself a hippo

Day 13: A little fun in Mopti
Back in Mopti we spent some time doing a little shopping and taking in the town. After spending so much time in rugged circumstances, we were excited to be back in a little better accommodations. We were especially excited to get the breakfast served at the hotel. No more chicken for breakfast!

On Christmas day we were on the part of the Niger river where we were supposed to see Hippos. I sang the "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" song all day long but never saw a hippo. Turns out they were hanging out a couple hours past Timbuktu so we didn't get to see one. Therefore, when I saw this statue, I had to get my picture taken.

Day 12 Bandiagara

Day 12: Leaving the Dogan
Before leaving the Dogan for good, we stopped at one more village to see the circumcision grotto. You heard right... this is the village that all of the boys around the area between the ages of 9-12 come to be circumcised. This was a great spot to get a view of the village.
For some reason only white women (as far as women go) are allowed to come up to the grotto. Black women, even a black woman from the states would not be allowed up. Can you imagine the controversy that starts. Much of the ceremony is secret, but they did tell us that they bring a big snake in to keep the boys from being scared of the ceremony. They tell the boys that if they scream or cry, the snake will eat them. A couple days later they take all the boys down to the field and have a race up to the wall. Their are 3 spots on the wall for the first 3 boys to finish the race to touch. Each spot has a corresponding prize, If I were a boy, I would go for 3rd place... they get the choice of any girl in all the villages that they want to marry.

A view from the top. you can see the kids waiting for us at the bottom. They aren't allowed to come up to the grotto.

We made it back to Mopti in time to see the women out doing to their laundry. I just love how they get their laundry all clean and then lay them out to dry on the dirt. I guess when you have no choice, you do what you've got to do.