Terry and I spent last week working with small children ALL DAY LONG. We helped our daughter with Vacation Bible School in the mornings and wrangled our grandchildren in the afternoons while their parents continued to work. As you might guess, I fell into bed every night and went right to sleep, one night as early as 7:30.
Our daughter, the minister, combines forces with the church next door to hers to produce a most amazing VBS each year, and we have been part of it for about 12 years, even before the grandchildren came along. Terry does audio/AV and photography. I teach a lesson, usually 4 times during the morning’s rotations. When the grandchildren were babies and too young to be a part of VBS, I took care of them all day long. Now, they too get to join in the fun.
Last year, our daughter was on sabbatical during the summer months so we all were absent from VBS. Terry and I thought that if they could manage without us, then we might be able to call it quits. Hah. Not only were we missed, it seemed that we were missed with a vengeance. Everyone, from both churches, were so happy to have us come back and reprise our roles. I could hear God laughing…you know, make plans and God laughs.
We do have a very good time. The people are delightful to work with. The children are fun and engaging. There is lots of music and activity and the energy level makes the walls vibrate. I climb stairs four times a day. I walk thousands of steps. I squat. I bend. I dance. And that’s just in the mornings.
In the afternoons we do things with our grandchildren. Shopping seemed to be the main activity this year. Our grandson needed new pants, desperately. Built like his grandfather, tall and thin, it’s hard to fit him in pants. It took two trips to get the right sizes and styles that would work on his body. He’s really a good shopper, though, and had fun along the way. He and his grandfather never seemed to run out of energy!
…however I won’t be. I am in San Mateo taking care of tiny grandchildren while my daughter and son-in-law work at their church’s Vacation Bible School. This is hard work, but I love it.
For those of you who have been around here for awhile, this will sound familiar. We have been helping out since 2008. Terry runs the sound and video and takes photos. I take care of the kids. Leeya is now attending in the preschool class but Judah is too young so I keep him occupied.
I will return next week, probably with a few stories.
When I was teaching, I had a go-to lunch that never failed me–a small can of tuna, a bottle of tea, and a container of applesauce. I could throw it all in a bag in the morning, not worry about refrigerating it and have a decent and quick lunch at my desk.
At home, now, my go-to lunch is a piece of American cheese wrapped up in a flour tortilla and zapped in the microwave for 25 seconds. Filling and comforting and very quick.
I keep both sets of these ingredients on hand at all times just for a day like today. Came home from church where I had spent about an hour and half hand lettering addresses on postcards to send to the 100 or so children who came to our Vacation Bible School a couple of weeks ago. I no longer teach at our church’s VBS due to the fact that it’s held in the evening. I am useless with children after 4 p.m. You can ask my grandchildren. They will tell that Grandma pretty much gives ups, gives in, and lets them do as they please after 4 p.m. Most parents would find that reprehensible for a church teacher, so I make no attempt to teach or even help out during the week of the actual event. I will, though, do follow-up work like addressing postcards.
I have a complaint, though, about the work. Oh, not the actual hand-lettering. That’s rather fun to practice my printing skills. These are elementary age children. You cannot use cursive writing with them. They need to be able to read their names on the cards when they arrive in the mail in the next day or so. Of course, as you may have heard by now, cursive is no longer taught in public schools because there is only time to teach answer-sheet -bubbling technique, so high school students can’t read cursive, either. The last few years I taught, I was always having students tell me they couldn’t read what I had written on the board. And I have beautiful teacher writing. Then students starting telling me they never read anything on the board of any of their classes because if you waited around long enough, the teacher would either tell you the information or give you a handout with it, or in our tech-savvy world, give you a URL to go find it. I got out in the nick of time.
But back to the those postcards. The complaint I had was with the handwriting of the parents who signed up their child for this experience. I could not read their writing on many of the forms. Here’s a suggestion: when you must fill out a form that you know someone will be using later on, use your best penmanship, whether cursive or printed. And should you take your lunch, be sure to write your name in legible print, on the bag, so people will know it’s your food and not eat it.
I’m having a pretty easy morning today. Except for the cat throwing up on my shoes. That wasn’t planned for. By me, anyway. Who knows with a cat. They seem to figure out some of the best places to throw up. After using my shoes, he next went to the heater vent. Got there soon enough to keep from that happening. Sometimes I can outsmart the cat.
The grandchildren left home so I am alone, with the cats. It’s very quiet and peaceful. Almost like being in my house. Except for the pile of toys I’m sitting next to on the couch. And the pile of dirty dishes in the sink. The only dishwasher in this place is of the human kind. Being the only human in the house right now, that task should fall to me. I’m ignoring it.
Tiny granddaughter is at Vacation Bible School. The one her mother is directing and her grandfather is photographing. I will join them at lunch time. Hot dogs–kid food.
Tiny grandson went to the farmer’s market to buy plums and get vittles for tonight’s picnic supper. There is a concert in Central Park and we plan to be there, with our dinner. He took his father along with some money to buy the food since his sleepers don’t have any pockets, making it hard to carry cash.
Speaking of cash, the kids at Vacation Bible School are collecting money to buy mosquito netting to send to Mali where kids still die from malaria which is caused by mosquito bites. Tiny granddaughter rounded up some coin to contribute. She put it in a green bucket that she also uses for dirt when she digs in the yard. She informed me that she had money in the bucket and a dollar. Looking in, sure enough, there was a pile of coin at the bottom and a dollar bill lying on the top. So, where do you keep your money?
Dear Reader, just wanted to post a note to let you know this week is a little chaotic. Terry and I are working at Vacation Bible School (VBS) in San Mateo. We are up every morning at 5:30; out the door at 7:30; working 8 to 1:15 or so; running errands for our daughter (she’s the VBS director) in the afternoon; babysitting a little, too. We usually get back to the tiny apartment around 5ish, have some dinner, and collapse.
I’m also dealing with some sort of bump at the base of my skull that hurts so badly I have trouble concentrating beyond the pain. Words will be brief, and perhaps non-existent, here for a few days.
Our main reason to be in San Mateo this past week was to help with Vacation Bible School at the church where our daughter is the youth pastor. We had offered to help last year when they had trouble finding enough workers and I guess we didn’t mess up too badly because they asked us to come back this year. Actually, it is a lot of fun as this church is very well managed, and everything they do is top notch. It’s a pretty easy job. Praise God for that.
Terry operates the audio/video portions of the program and takes pictures during the day for the slide show that is shown at the end of each day. This year’s theme was “Crocodile Dock,” with a taste of the Bayou. Tied up to the dock, was a boat named for our new granddaughter.
Leeya Marie and Jen Marie at the "Leeya Marie"
My job was to follow a “crew” of kids to make sure they got to their various stations (and behaved well while at the station), but I was hardly needed as my crew had been assigned a couple of older “kids” who were really great with the little ones. Marilyn will be a senior in high school and Kevin is in his second year of college. They were so good at interacting with the kids and keeping them in line so I got to spend lots of time visiting with various workers. I just love to share stories with other Christians and hear what God is doing in their lives.
There was talk of what we would do when we come back next year. “Next year?,” I would gasp. “Who knows if there will be a next year. We will just have to see what God wants us to do.”
Proper nutrition helps the brain and body and it’s good for one’s mood, too. I find this with my high school students who don’t eat properly…they are grumpy, tired, not very interested in anything. Many of them are obese because they don’t eat breakfast and then come to school with a bag of chips and a soda. Where do kids get the money for the junk?
Yesterday, while working with elementary age kids at Vacation Bible School, I saw the same thing. A little girl, who says she does not eat breakfast, is lethargic, behaves badly, is non-cooperative, and complains about being hungry. I think mom may just be too rushed in the mornings to feed the child. Perhaps VBS needs to do what we do in the public schools, feed the kids breakfast.
All of my photos are on my MAC (which is still in the Apple hospital), and I have no idea how to download photos on this, my husband’s desktop PC. Oh, as a multimedia and yearbook teacher I’m sure I could figure it out if I wanted to, but I don’t. It will be 107 degrees here today and I am saving all my energies (physical and mental) to just do the basic chores. So, dear Reader, you don’t get a photo of my darling granddaughter today. And I have a really cute one, too.
I will be seeing my darling granddaughter every day next week as I will be working at my daughter’s church, helping with Vacation Bible School. Although she is only two months old, Leeya is brilliant, and I want to start reading to her. I went this morning to one of my favorite places, Barnes & Noble, (they don’t pay me to say that, but I wish they would) and bought three books for her. Two are cloth books, very soft, and the third is a softcover paper book that she will probably rip to pieces when she’s about nine months old. Or chew to pieces. All three have rabbits in them. Seems like a theme I have going there.
I found a book on my shelf this morning that tells stories about familes, with the most wonderful pictures (gosh, I wish I could take a picture and show you) and it’s in English and Spanish. Leeya’s parents speak Spanish and I hope they are going to teach her to be bilingual. I’m going to read the Spanish parts to her. By the end of next week, the child should be ready for school.
Posted in The world and my place in it
Tagged Barnes & Noble Book Store, bilingual, children's books, cloth books, granddaughter, MACs, PC computers, photos, rabbits, Spanish speaking, stories for children, Vacation Bible School