Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Start To Our Good-byes

Last night we had our final get together with other Fulbright alumni and Megan our fellow Fulbright exchange teacher from Chicago. We had a BBQ at our house and had a great time.
It's hard to comprehend that we are saying our good-byes now. Especially since we finally feel like we have made some real connections. There were a few tears in the end but we hope and pray that we will meet again along life's journey.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sports Day

Knockbreda Primary has a traditional sports day towards the end of the school year each year. Thankfully the weather was pleasant enough for all the races.
The parents sit along the sidelines as they cheer for their child as they compete in different types of fun races. There were sprint, bean bag toss, caterpiller, and dress the knight races for the P1-P3 levels. They also had a tot race, a race for the mums, and a race for the dads.
They eached received an award sticker after each race.

For the older kids they had more competitive races. Ian got 2nd in the sprint and 1st place in the mini-marathan. We were so proud of the kiddos. They did great and had lots of fun.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Castlewellen Forest Park

This past Saturday we spent the day at Castlewellen, a park where there are campsites, hiking trails, picnic spots, and a castle used for conferences and weddings. We spent it with our good friends, Simon, Deborah, Callum, and Lewis. We have gotten to know them through church and Deborah participated in the Fulbright teacher exchange a couple of years ago. So, we've had lots of similar experiences to share.
We've been blessed by their friendship and willingness to show us more of their beautiful country. The kids get along well and loved hiking around the lake which included climbing trees, throwing rocks, watching Molly (the dog) swim, and goofy joke telling.
I think the highlight for the kids was rolling down this big hill and it only started to rain as soon as we were done with our hike and on our way back up to the car park. We finished the day off with a BBQ. A perfect day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pony Rides

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to spend time with Anne Marie's (our exchange partner) family. They have a beautiful home with a georgeous view of the Mourne Mountians. They also keep horses much to my kids' delight. We took a walk through the forest while the kids took turns riding the pony. Avery, was a natural. She thinks she wants a horse now!
Elise wasn't too sure about it at first and then warmed up and enjoyed it.
Ian jumped on and was away...
Gabe "negotiating" whether he should attempt a ride on the pony or not. He was making a "deal".
Throwing rocks in the river.
The outcome of Gabe's negotiations. "If you ride the pony...I will ride the pony."
Sucess! We had a lovely time.

The Crown Bar

We finally made it to one of the best know pubs in Northern Ireland which happens to be a National Trust property as well. The pub was established in 1885. It's known for its elaborate tiling, stained glass, and woodwork. The craftsmen who helped renovate the pub were Italians who were brought over to work on the churches in the area.
We have recently made good friends with a couple who participated in the Fulbright exchange last year. So, we have had lots of good conversations comparing our experiences and sharing our stories. They were great company and we enjoyed our evening together at the Crown. We even got a chance to grab a "snug" or enclosed booth. They originally built these booths to accommodate the pub's reserved customers during the Victorian period.