Saturday, April 7, 2012

Last month in El Paso ...

It's been four weeks now since I was in El Paso to see Jesse, Diana and the grandkids. Time has just zoomed on by and I am just now getting to looking at the pictures I took while I was there. It's way past time that I post them and journal our time together.
This is the first time that I landed in El Paso during a sandstorm. On our approach, visibility was less than one mile. I usually take such delight in the view of the Franklins, but I could not even see the mountains one single bit! After landing, Jesse drove me up into the mountains so that I could SEE them ... the sun was trying to shine through the sand blowing everywhere. When we stepped outside of Jesse's car to take a few pictures, the wind was blowing really strong ... I got sand in my teeth even!
It's always wonderful to be reunited with the children. Matthew surprised me by quickly sketching the Cat in the Hat. It was the week of Dr. Seuss's birthday, so we did a lot of Dr. Seuss stuff!
I thought Matthew did a pretty amazing job with this drawing ... it took him less than a minute!
This is Emma Joy, cuddling with their kitty, Belle. I love Emma's smile in this picture. We smile a lot when we are together!
And Christopher drew me a whole bunch of robot and transformer pictures. He is very confident with his art work, and always spontaneous about it. He really enjoys drawing, so I tell him every time I am with him that he is an artist. His teacher, Ms. Foreman, agrees with me!
We had a very early celebration of Matthew's 7th birthday. I brought a few silly presents for him to open up, but all of them were fun and we had a wonderful time playing together. I'll show you more pictures further on down of all of the kids playing with our favorite toy.
These two pictures of Christopher show that he can be totally serious one minute and absolutely goofy the next. He was using these pieces of licorice as a huge mouth. He reminded me of the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz when he tried to talk to us with this on his face.
We worshiped together at Sunshine Community Church. I went to the kids' class with them where we studied about David and Goliath. The teacher did a nice job presenting the story to the sixteen kids in class. I got to share with the kids that I went to the Valley of Elah (where David fought Goliath) the last time I was in Israel (2004) and picked up a few stones from the wadi bed while I was there. Christopher was SO impressed that I had actually seen the two hillsides where the Israelites and the Philistines had fought. The teacher had all of the children draw the story.
She kept holding up Christopher's drawing as a good example of telling the story! I loved all of the detail Chris captured in his drawing! Look how HUGE Goliath is and how little David is! And look at the soldier on the horse and the army lined up on the hillside. Isn't it great? I really appreciated how the teacher emphasized that although David was just a boy, he trusted in a BIG GOD to deliver him from Goliath. She talked about David's courage and trust in the Lord.
This is Emma's drawing. She listened well to the story. I love how her river goes in between the two hillsides right up to the sky! But see David down there picking out his stones? And speaking of Bible stories, we read so many together. Every single day we had a Bible story time along with tons of other story books. And sometimes in the afternoons when the boys were playing outside, Emma would bring me her copy of the Children's Bible Storybook and ask me to read it to her. We would read a story that was quite an abbreviated version so I would ask her if she wanted to hear more of the story ... and she always said yes! So then we would open up my New Living Translation and read the entire story together.

The following pictures are of the children playing with Matthew's stomp rocket. This is such a great toy! For only $15 you can get hours and hours of fun launching rockets more than 100 feet in the air. We actually did this for hours, honestly!
Everyone wanted to see whose rocket would go the highest. But these little Styrofoam rockets go SO high, sometimes we couldn't even see them in the air!
If you want to order this toy, just go to and order a set for yourself!
Matthew was kind enough to share his rockets with everyone. It comes with four rockets and I ordered an extra three rockets ... just in case we lost some to the wind and the roofs. I was there for eight days, and we did not lose one single rocket. I'm not saying that none of them landed on rooftops, though, but we just waited until they blew back down and retrieved them!
We recruited Jesse to stomp a rocket, and his single stomp was the highest launch ever.

We also made hundreds (yes!) of paper airplanes. A friend of mine checked out a paper airplane book from the library and shared some of the designs with me so that I could take them to El Paso. These are the best paper airplanes I have ever seen in my life. We learned to fold The Missile (which flies awesome!), The Dragon (I think it is my favorite), and The Fish. What is so fun is that you just need plain copy paper, some markers or crayons to design them, fold them and fly them everywhere! I wrote down the name of the book where these designs originated, but I can't find it anywhere ...
I also had a book of simple origami projects. Emma folded this paper cup all by herself and was so proud that she was able to follow the directions successfully. She even filled it with water and drank from it.

The children were on their spring break part of the time I was with them, so we walked to a new playground one day. Matthew plays his heart out every time we go.

I'm not sure why Christopher was looking so serious in these pictures! He is eight now and has so many questions about life ... and it was really great to just sit and talk with him. Especially during story time. I loved the questions he asked about God ~ how honest he was and how sensitive he is about wanting to be the kind of boy God wants him to be.

We spent our usual amount of time sitting around the table sketching and coloring and making stuff. It's my favorite thing to do with kids.

Chris likes to tape a few papers together to make a really BIG picture. We were doing lots of fish and undersea drawings and etchings ... beautiful, aren't they?
For Matthew's birthday, I got him a little pirate game that comes on a pad of paper with a treasure map and secret hideouts, etc. Emma and I played the game together first to see if we could figure out the directions ... and she beat me! Can you tell by the happy look on her face? Matthew and I played it too, and I lost that game as well. What's nice about this little game is that it comes with 50 copies of the treasure map and you can play it again and again.

Emma and Matthew showing me their new bike helmets.

Some of Emma's beautiful artwork.

Eight days always goes by too quickly and then I have to leave. As usual, I didn't take many pictures of Jesse or Diana ... they were there, honest! And I enjoyed my time with them very much. I'm already counting the days until June ... hopefully I will be there when the baby arrives.