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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Snack time (after the cave)

Decided to have the snack I brought along for the kids looking out over the lake... well couldn't expect the kids (especially mine) to stay away from the water. Don't know what I was thinking. Anyways, they all set out and as soon as they saw that there were frogs in the pond, they got sucked in even further to the mud and water. Nathanael lost a shoe in the muck. Thaddeus fell over and then sat down in the muck. Man, what a mess (but fun!)

This was the drive home. Had to stop and take a picture.

Gruta do Natal

This first photo is of us in the Algar do Carv√£o. We have an earlier post with a lot more photos of this cave if you are interested.

Went to the caves... and yes we found one of the more rugged caves. Found out that there are over 60 caves like these throughout the 9 Azorean islands.

This one is named Gruta do Natal or Christmas cave. It is named the Christmas cave because since 1969 they have held a Christmas mass inside the cave and have for every year after that. Pretty cool.

The pictures are mostly of Hannah and Nathanael because Thaddeus was deathly afraid of the caves... didn't help they had some of the scarier music of the movie "The Lord of the Rings" playing in the background. So he was pretty much clinging to my leg or in my arms. The first photo is before we really got into the cave and he got scared.

Yes Nathanael... one more picture. Smile, please?

Hope you enjoyed!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fumas do Enxofre

Today was a “good day.” Every thing when kinda according to plan. Kids did well with breakfast and with the errands I had to run in the morning (i.e. commissary, BX, shoppette, mail box and other assorted runs) told the kids that after naps we would get to see a cave. They were all VERY excited about our outing planned. As you can see from the pictures… there was not any caves. All outside walking path around the pretty cool thermal vents.

You can see here next to Thaddeus’ hand is a small vent that if you were to stick your hand into it you could feel the warm steam coming up through it.

Our planner of the group, Hannah, was pretty upset about not having any caves to explore.

Anyways, I ended up compromising (I know… a softy at heart) and said that we could go to the caves tomorrow.

I am going to try some new ones as well as a stop at the other (more domesticated) caves if I can not find the other ones. The other caves are said to be a little more “rugged.”

Monday, May 26, 2008

Some sun, a run, and a dip...

Well, Rebecca is back in the States safely. Shopping spree for the next years worth of clothes and necessities that we don’t really feel like paying shipping for (i.e. Christmas/Birthday gifts) and for more importantly, relaxation time for Rebecca.

Yes, you heard correctly (scary, I know)... Ryan is home alone with the kiddos...
We went to the beach yesterday and today. Nothing to report for yesterdays festivities, but today we had a near drowning and a bicycle accident all within 2-3 hours of each other. First the bicycle accident... nothing new really. Thaddeus learning to ride (with training wheels) and hits something new, in this case unlevel ground. Bike tips, kid falls and wouldn't you know it; he hit the one thing NOT covered by the bicycle helmet... his face. He is alright... just a bruised forehead and ego.

Well, on to the big event; the near drowning of Nathanael. To set the stage Nathanael was in the water with a kick board (called it bogey board), daddy (me) in the sand with Thaddeus building a sand castle, Hannah off playing with some friends.

I was watching and waiting to see what was going to happen as Nathanael drifted in to some of the deeper than Nathanael water... would he kick back towards shore and continue playing or would he panic? Yup... panic sets in, instead of clinging to the floating toy and calling for help... the boy lets go and sinks. Dad jumps up and sprints the 10 yards and jumps into the water, a short swim later; Nathanael is back on top of the surface. All is well again.

So was the boy fazed by all of this?? Nope, I caught him 10 minutes later being dragged out into deeper than Nathanael water by the undertow of the wave action. Man, talk about keeping me on my toes.

Well... that’s it for this day’s adventure in "Ryan is home alone with the kiddos..." Hope you all enjoyed and be sure to check in tomorrow (or the next day) for the next exciting adventure!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nathanael, our Cautious? boy

After Ryan's post about Hannah's Mother's Day card, we thought it only right to include Nathanael's creation. Of course, there is a story behind it! Nathanael's Sunday School Teacher, Miss Tina, grabbed me Sunday to tell me that Nathanael insisted she write a note on his card. He started, "Mommy, NO!" She thought, 'Uh-oh, that does not sound like something that should be on a Mother's Day card.' He continued, "more...." 'Getting better,' thought Miss Tina. He finished, "bad stuff." :) Then, he started to write his name (which he knows rather well--especially for one so long), in the first try he made a mistake, so he crossed it out, and tried again. Miss Tina said when he realized he would not have room for the rest of his name on that line, he fell apart. She finally convinced him to continue writing his name up the other side of the card, and so he was happy again. So sweet.

Two days later, he decided to give Mommy a heart-attack.

We have been going as a family pretty regularly to the outdoor track on base. The kids walk or ride (Thaddeus in the jogger). There, Mom and Dad run or walk as it suits us and the kids play on the nearby playground or the hill. Of course there has to be a hill on our island...for the kids to create panic in their parents.

Nathanael and Hannah ride their bikes down this hill. Now the first time I saw this happen, I was concerned and warned the kids to turn at the end of the hill as it drops off onto the road below (do you see the problem yet?). For the most part they were doing as Mom had dictated. However, I had noticed Nathanael experimenting more and more with pedaling furiously down the hill and braking hard at the end; while his less cautious sister was braking all the way down the hill and turning as directed. Should have been a clue to me!

Tuesday, I had just finished running and was trying to corral Thaddeus back onto the jogger so I could do some more walking when I happened to glance up and see Nathanael head down the hill. 'He's stopping...surely he's stopping--Now. *GASP* HE DID NOT STOP!' I think there was a short moment of silence and motionlessness in the world. Then, I grabbed Thaddeus and pulled the jogger to the side as I heard Nathanael's piercing cry. I figured Ryan likewise heard me and Nathanael and was right behind my mad dash down the hill (nope--he didn't realize the life of his son was held by a thread and kept on running...Thaddeus was more than content to throw rocks down the hill, completely unconcerned for his brother's well being. After all, Mom was on the case, right?)

I arrived to find Nathanael on his bike, sobbing in fear, with his bike embedded in the Island aloe plants up to its seat--all you could see of the bike were the handle bars, the seat, and the rear tire. I stepped over the little wall he had jumped and pulled him back to safety, but decided for my own skin's wholeness and for the effect--Daddy could pull the bike out.

Nathanael had a little scratch on his knee.

The kids were so excited (all of them had to be a part of the fun now), that they dragged one of Ryan's co-workers away from starting his run to show him the bike. He has a little boy about Nathanael's age and twin boys Thaddeus' age. We chatted and laughed about the event all the way down the hill. When he saw the bike in the aloes, though, he got pretty serious and decided he would have to bring his wife and show her.

When Ryan was done with his run and shown the adventure, he promptly had the family kneel at the wall and thank the Lord for Nathanael's safety. We are not sure if Nathanael understands the seriousness of the ride he had, but tried to hammer it home by showing him if the plants had not been there--that car coming down the road could not stop in time to avoid hitting the boy on a bike careening down the hill at mock 2. By the way, Nathanael kept saying his brakes didn't work--in fact they did--he slid for several feet before hitting the wall, flying over it and landing in the aloe plants. Thank You, Lord, for Aloe Plants!

(We went back and took pictures on our walk today. The kids start at the top of the hill, and Nathanael is pointing where he landed...if you look closely, you can see some broken aloe branches.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

And it begins....

This story is pretty short and sweet. I, Ryan, have the kids at the Exchange and am watching the boys playing with toys in the toy aisle. Hannah is getting older and has the opportunity to wander off, not too far, but is able to make it to the card section. She is in eye sight looking through the cards and begins to giggle... then outright laugh. She is almost in tears from laughing... she runs up and asks me if she can buy this for mommy. I obviously said yes.

Hope you enjoy!