Well that was a fun week off from life! Heh.
Seriously, though, I'm really ready for 2012, most specifically the children trotting off to school and John returning to work and me getting busy with CHA preparations.
A lot of people asked which charities the kids chose.
They both ended up making microloans through Kiva.org
Emma had $100 to loan, so she completed the loan of a Rwandan rice farmer who will use the loan to increase his rice fields and buy fertilizer. She also completed the loan of a Philippino woman who owns a fruit and vegetable cart.
Karl had $50 to loan, so he chose a fruit/vegetable market in Lebanon. The owners will use the loan to increase their inventory of fruits and vegetables.
Both the kids were extremely happy to know exactly where their money was going and how it would help these businesses grow in other parts of the world. Even better is that the loans will be repaid over the course of the next 14 months and around next Christmas they will have the money back in their Kiva accounts to loan out again.
It was also an eye-opening experience to read the stories and get a sense of how important these comparitively small loans are to people trying to better themselves in places where, for example, the average yearly income is around $5000. There was a loan request from a woman with a coffee shop who wanted just enough to buy a table and some chairs to make a seating area in her shop. Both kids were absolutely beaming after choosing their loan recipients, and agreed that the feeling was better than anything they could have bought for themselves with the money.
So what have we been doing around here for the last week? Lots of board games, lots of video games for John and Karl, lots of scootering around the neighborhood, a little bit of class design work for me, and a ton of reading for Emma.
We also decided to get out of PJ's for a day trip down to Galveston. For a bunch of land-lubbers from Colorado, it's pretty surprising that it has taken us 18 months to make the 90-minute drive to the beach.
They really make you feel "welcome" at the beach:
Now you don't necessarily think, on the last day of December, that it's going to be wading weather. In fact, we expected to just stroll up and down the beach and enjoy the sound, smells and views of the water.
But it is, after all, south Texas. And Lucy, we assume, was born in Colorado and had never seen an ocean. So it didn't take long for this to happen:
Would anyone care to guess whether the Burnistons took a day trip to the beach armed with, say, towels, changes of clothes, or even, say, several plastic bags in which to store seashells and wet shoes?
Exactly. Your guess is accurate.
But hey . . . we know for next time!
A picture that I wish I would have taken would have been John and my pockets, which were overflowing with electronics after each kid ran up and asked us to hold a cell phone and iPod so they wouldn't get wet.
I commented to John that there was something completely timeless about this scene. This same photo could have been taken 30 years ago of me and my brother and sister, absorbed in the feel of the sand between our toes and waiting for the next wave to wash across our legs.
Batteries NOT required!
Happy New Year!