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!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Photo Friday [151]

It's Photo Friday again!

Hmmm... we're feeling pretty patriotic here in September I guess....

Why do little kids always put their sunglasses on upside-down?

Say a little prayer for Brian today.  He's out on the island of New Ireland attending the dedication of the Hinsaal New Testament.  (We live about where the red dot is, for reference).  He texted me this morning to tell me that he apparently didn't bring the right attire.  Since he is going to be giving a speech, apparently he needs to wear a lap-lap (think sarong, or "man skirt"), and a borrowed white shirt! 

You may have heard about a big earthquake off the coast of New Ireland on Wednesday.  I haven't heard any reports of damage, and it may be hard to believe, but a 6.7 earthquake doesn't really feel all that big in PNG.  Take a look at this older post by my friend Jessie (who happens to be a translator in New Ireland), which does a good job of explaining how earthquakes here are a different than those experienced in the States.

Steel Magnolias was a big success!  We did two shows last Friday and Saturday, and folks are still talking about my amazing co-actressses (is that a word?)  and the great job they did.  That's me in the pink and short wig on the left.  No photos from the play itself, as the show's regulations wouldn't allow for it, so a cast photo will have to do.

I started working again this week!  I ended up taking on a part-time job as the receptionist at the clinic, because they really needed one.  A series of events has unfortunately left them with no one to do the job at the moment, and the rest of the staff have been taking turns sitting in that chair.  I'm only able to help two mornings per week, so they could still use another person!  Kate is proud that she can put on her backpack too on the days that the boys go to school, though she is just going to the daycare.  I think she's doing OK at daycare, though she wishes that her beloved Caleb were going with her.

Missionary kid moment.  Back in July, Greg was given an Amazon gift card for his birthday.  It really didn't mean anything to him, though I tried to explain it.  It was just a black card with an "a" on it.  I mentioned it from time to time, but he wasn't interested.  Finally this morning I suggested that he look to see what he might like to buy, since we have family visiting next month, and they could bring whatever he chose with them.  "But mom, it's only 25 cents."  I told him no, it's actually 25 dollars... and that's like 75 Kina.  His eyes grew wide!  75 Kina??!!  That's a fortune for the boy who has 12 Kina in his savings jar.

Our kids usually don't have a concept of specific things they want for gifts.  No TV advertising, no walking down the aisles of Target with mom, no Sunday ads.  They just don't know what's out there, unless they see a friend that has a toy.  

So imagine how Greg's mind was blown when I helped him navigate to Amazon's kid section.  I even narrowed it down for him to Lego sets in his price and age range, and there were still 400 pages!  Man, that little boy was excited!  Let me tell you, Grandma Dee and Grandpa Keith, you really made his day.  He went to school just bursting to tell his friends that he had chosen an Iron Man Lego set, and he still had another $15 to spend!