Friday, October 21, 2016

Photo Friday [158]

I think I would have forgotten to post this week if Sharon, my mother-in-law, had not reminded me.  Oops!

Anyway, here is the reason I've been so distracted - we have visitors!

Waiting at the airstrip to greet Brian's parents (Bob and Sharon), along with Brian's brother Darin with wife Becky and 3-yr-old son Winston.

We weren't the only ones expecting special visitors.  Greg's classmate was waiting for his grandparents to arrive from Finland.

The kids are having a lot of fun getting to know their cousin.  All of them have changed so much in the two years since they were last together.  

They don't look very jet-lagged to me!

Kate has really fallen in love with Grandpa.

Grandparents visiting usually means some fun surprises, like this new turtle for Kate.

 Bedtime stories.

Cousin time.

I realize, with embarrassment, that I don't have any great photos of Darin and Becky.  They have been busy with preparations, as Darin will be preaching in church the next two Sundays, Becky will speak at a women's event, and they will also be facilitating a marriage workshop.  I'll work on getting some photos of them this next week... if I remember to write a blog, that is!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Photo Friday [157]

Happy Sports Day!

Today was sports day at the primary campus, and with Greg being in first grade, it was our first year to have a child compete in all the events.  The whole school is divided up into red and yellow teams, and so you compete in different events individually, as a team with classmates of the same team color, and ultimately, red vs. yellow school-wide.  Freys are red team.  Go Red!  

Greg is a kid who takes his racing seriously, and although he knew he wasn't the fastest kid in the class, he was determined to get a placing ribbon if he could.  What's that they say about sports - a good opportunity to build character?  He had a lot of ups and downs as his team kept stacking up second place ribbons, and he fell and ended up not placing in one race,  but I was very proud with how he handled it, and even more so when he was one of two first graders chosen for a sportsmanship award at the end of the day. 

Greg and his teammates.

Greg did end up placing in an individual event - third place in the long jump!

Kate decided to go all out with the team red thing:  she wore her brothers super hero cape!  She was very cute cheering for Greg, "Go Gweg!! Go fast!  Go fast!" (even though she usually cheered at the wrong time.)

Caleb spent the whole day running around with his preschool friends and getting dirty, only occasionally coming to check in for a snack.

 And finally, here is a picture of my clothes hanging up in the shower instead of in the closet, since Brian was out of town for three nights this week, and I decided on a whim to paint our bedroom while he was gone.  It ended up being a bigger project than I expected, but I got it finished and managed to put everything back in it's place before Brian got home... and he didn't notice.  I mean, he noticed that our room was a lot cleaner than usual, with no dust bunnies in the corners, but he didn't notice the new paint until I pointed it out.  So much for that surprise.  Anyway, at least that's one big job off the to-do list!

I know already that I am going to have fun taking photos for the next two weeks, because this next week we are getting some visitors!  Not one, not two, but five family members will be joining us in PNG for a few weeks.  Yay!  Until then...

Friday, October 7, 2016

Photo Friday [156]

156?  That's three years of Photo Fridays!!

This week:

The big event of the week was an outdoor concert in our valley by the U.S.-based Gospel Reggae group Christafari.  The concert was sponsored by the local pastors fraternal, but a lot of the behind-the-scenes work was done by some of our co-workers here in Ukarumpa as well.  It was a really fun concert, with good music, testimonies from band members, and a clear presentation of the gospel.

 Sitting in the grass on a rugby field, waiting for the concert.  The crowd filled in a lot more after dark.  I've heard estimates of anywhere between 3,000-5,000 people came.

The kids are excited?  Greg was having fun until it got cold.  Caleb fell asleep, and Kate was just wild and wound up the whole time.

Caught this guy munching a guava in the back yard.

 Gina the hen gives me a dirty look after I stopped her from sitting on her imaginary eggs.

Until next week!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Photo Friday [155]

Dolly and Ruff-Ruff.  These two favored friends have been sticking pretty close to this girl as she had a week-long fever.  And now that the fever is gone, we are dealing with the aftermath.  Please tell me I'm not the only parent who has babied a toddler during sickness, only to find out once she is well again that we have created a monster who still expects to be babied and throws tantrums when she isn't in our arms all day long.  Just kidding.... but not really.  She is almost two, after all.

She ain't gonna smile for no camera! 

And then another kid got sick, which led to much sleeplessness and unhappiness in the house, which brings me to this photo of a bird:

It was 7:50 am this morning, and already I had yelled (more than once) at my children.  I had already spanked one.  I was well on my way to having a miserable day, like I did yesterday, when my husband walked in the door to the sound of crying (the kids, not me) and took one look at me and said, "maybe you should get out of here and walk the dog around the block a few times before dinner," because it was that obvious that I'd had it. 

It was shaping up to be one of those days, but I looked at the clock, then grabbed my Bible and a cup of coffee and announced to the household, "I have ten minutes until Daddy leaves for work.  I am going out on to the porch, and I will be unavailable to any children until he leaves."

And I shut the curtains (so that they couldn't look at me through the window), and sat on the porch and read.  And miraculously, it was quiet.  After Brian left for the day, I snuck back inside, and the kids were happily occupied, and so I refilled my coffee and went back out on the porch and just sat.  And I watched the birds.  How long has it been since I've sat and watched?  I have a very difficult time sitting still.  I always have an list of "things-to-do" in my head.  I never watch the birds.  But funny things happen when you take the time to sit quietly.  I felt God speaking softly but firmly to me.  Susan, He said, you cannot place the blame on your children or your circumstances for the condition of your heart right now.  Your heart is a matter between you and I only, and it needs some improvement.

And it's true.  I'd like to say that I went back inside and the rest of my day has gone swimmingly.  But right now as I write this a kid is wiping snot on my pant leg and another one is hitting their sibling.  It is probably going to be a day with it's share of challenges, but at least I can try to make sure I don't add to the mess by carrying around a joyless heart in my chest.

Whew!  That's the end of my little soapbox.  Here's a few last photos for you, and then I've got to get back to real life.

Happy Friday everyone!


Friday, September 23, 2016

Photo Friday [154]

Not many photos for you this week, I'm afraid.  We went down to Lae this week to fill in as center managers while the staff left for a few days to celebrate the retirement of one of their employees.  

This means that Brian has been running the center, and I've been spending a lot of time with the kids in the pool.  Rough, I know!

Poor Kate came down with a fever as soon as we got here, so she's spent a little time in the pool, but mostly just wants to cuddle with either mom or dad.

Some friends were here at the same time, and we agreed to swap nights watching each other's kids so that each couple got a chance to go out to eat by themselves.  That was a really nice treat.  We were remembering that our last date night without kids was for our anniversary in January!  We went to a favorite restaurant that we discovered in July that Brian loves for their great ribs.

 And Greg begged and begged me to get some grapes, which we haven't had since being in the U.S.   We don't usually buy them here, because they typically don't look like they're worth the premium price after traveling such a long way to get here.  These ones looked decent, so we were willing to pay the almost $4 USD for this small portion.   Kate declined to try them - we realized she'd never had grapes before!

'Till next week!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Photo Fridays [153]

Happy Friday!  And happy PNG Independence Day to you too!

This week we celebrated this handsome guy's fourth birthday!  I don't know... somehow my second child being four already makes me feel older than having a six-year-old.

 In preschool his class has been learning about farm animals.  What an adorable sheep! 
 [photo D. McEvoy]

He also made a pig nose, and got to wear a special crown in class on his birthday.  The crown is standard for birthday celebrations in his class, the pig nose just a serendipitous bonus on that particular day.  [photo: D. McEvoy]

He wanted an octopus cake.

Happy birthday little man.  You are totally gonna' rock this four-year-old thing.

We have a water slide here in Ukarumpa that comes out for special occassions.  We attended a water slide birthday party for one of Greg's friends.

 The photo doesn't do it justice.  It's a long steep hill with a little splash pond built at the bottom.  Get some strong guys to roll out the mat, set up some hoses and some dish soap and get ready for some good, wet fun!

 Greg says 'hi.'

 Kate loves her some ice cream.

And I love going to her room to get her up after a nap, because....

...sometimes you get to see some pretty spectacular bed head! 


Have a good week everyone.  And remember, a tutu makes everything more fun.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Photo Fridays [152]

Mostly Kate photos for you this week... she is adorable and she knows it!

She's our little chicken-herder.  Mamma's big backyard rule is to not chase the chickens, but Kate sometimes gets away with it, because she's so cute, yelling "chi-chens!  Chi-chens! Catch you!"  Not that she's fast enough to get them.  She actually does a decent job of herding them back into the coop though...

 I hit the secondhand store in Kainantu this week, and picked up this hat for the kids' dress-up bin:


Paired with a fluffy blue tutu, and you have the perfect outfit for sliding down the hill on the grass.

This was the scene in our living room last night.  It was a scheme Greg cooked up months ago: we would build a fire in the wood stove so that it was nice and cozy, drag out some mattresses, and the whole family would sleep in the living room together.  ...Yeah.  I figured, with Brian being gone this week, it was as good a time as any to cross this one off the list.  I insisted that Kate sleep in her own bed, and after a few episodes of Dinosaur Train she was more than willing to go.  Caleb didn't last long.  His mattress was returned to his room before 8:00.  So, the happy family camp-out  was reduced to just Greg and I.  I admit I snuck back to my own bed before dawn.  But Greg was cozy and happy all night, so I guess it was a success.

Until next week!