Monthly Archives: December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hi all!

Sorry to disappoint – there are no fabulous photos of our kids ripping into their Christmas packages just yet. We spent a lovely day today and had a very tasty, very merry Christmas in our new home. The photos will come. We woke up to our traditional cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs with cheese (had to skip the lil smokies – so sad), then quickly opened stockings and got gussied up for church. Christmas and New Year’s mornings are the best-dressed days of the year when everyone gets new clothes (not sure why!?). I did buy Anna a new ‘fancy’ dress (gaudy is definitely IN here), and the rest of us had nice clothes that fit, so off to church we went on foot for 8am service. There were 3-4 choirs (sorry I lost count), a good sermon on Matt. 2, and the 2-hr service ended with 18 men and women playing trombones, trumpets, and a French horn! They played a bit of Handel’s Messiah and we couldn’t help but sing along. So cool! And a little ‘taste’ of home for us.

We came home, did presents with the kids, Kent made salmon cakes and we all watched The Nativity Story together, took naps and woke up to Grandma’s Roast Beef and mashed potatoes! Anna had three helpings!

This Christmas kind of bowled us over with many activities, no set traditions yet, lots of personal goals (like handmade gifts for everyone by yours truly and Kent getting us real couches!), but somehow all my planning and preparations couldn’t make up for bad colds x 5.

So the next couple days you will see our Christmas photos and videos and hoopla.
We love you guys and miss you.
We are ready for a few days of REST!
Have yourself a fabulous time celebrating our Savior’s birth!!

The Sweet Side of James

Right around Christmas starts the hot, dry season of the year here. I’m almost tempted to make a big potato salad every Christmas, but it just seems wrong. I don’t know if it was due to the sudden change in seasons, the sibling slumber party, or just the fact that he’s growing like a weed, but James came down with a sniffly cold a few days ago. It never brought on fever, so we pushed fluids took an extra nap or two and kept on keepin’ on.

Well, surprise surprise! Today I woke up with the sniffles. Sarcastically early this morning I said, ‘Hey, thanks for sharing James!’ Weak smile and courtesy laugh. I hopped in the shower hoping the steam would help me breathe and returned a while later to a little note on my doorknob in the shape of a flower:

Hi Mom,
I hoop you feel
beedr, soon.
(heart) James

It should be noted that this kid HATES handwriting, so this is quite possibly the longest sentence this first grader has ever composed on his own initiative. He suggested I hang it by my bed so I can see it every time I feel sick. How sweet is that? The sweet side of James is very sweet indeed! Sweet James, I’ll take your colds any day!

On the Up and Up

With our new ‘kinesthetic’ teaching philosophy, Joel is doing really well in kindergarten. Here he listens to a story while climbing on the windowsill that overlooks our driveway/sideyard and watching the dog and lizards. Anna is, of course, right behind him. Wouldn’t want to miss anything fun or important!


Okay, so when someone says ‘monsoon’ I think of East Asia, but there has to be better words than ‘heavy rain’ or ‘thunderstorm’ for what we experience. It is not only the fact that half the ocean dumps on our house an hour at a time, it is so loud we can barely talk to each other because of the noise on the tin roof overhead. We are very thankful each and every time the roof protects us from the rain! It is the end of the rainy season here and 3-4 times per week we get huge storms that wash topsoil right off our compound and into the drainage ditch and street outside our front gate. I’ve seen legos and shoes float by as well…

Yes, those are our ripening mangoes getting washed by the skies…

The center of this particular storm must have passed directly over us because the lightning and thunder were extreme! Once it made us jump and I’m sure one of our neighbors’ house was struck by lightning (not uncommon here). We quickly unplugged everything we could. We found out the next day that it had blown out our first current stabilizer, so we have invested in lightning protection for the future. Now there’s another thing I never planned on buying… There was also a ton of wind and the rain looked like it was going sideways at times. Now I’m learning the meaning of ‘batten down the hatches’!

Hang in there Hoppy!

You can see why rainwater storage is efficient.

It’s on our list of renovations to make eventually.

While I am not the fan of thunderstorms, they do make good reminders of the might and power of our Creator. It’s no wonder traditional cultures here often have a monotheistic folklore of a powerful god. He has amazing power. Even more amazing through ‘monsoon’ storms is imagining Jesus standing up and saying ‘QUIET!’ …

…followed by stillness.


As any parent will tell you, getting good pictures of everyone together can seem an impossible task. I have been known to take a few shots and resort to cutting and pasting smiley faces. True confessions. So it was time for the annual Christmas picture…

…and I fell victim to one of the classic blunders. Dress up three kids in cute jammies right before bed and expect them to sit and smile. Ha! This was like trying to stand up wet noodles. Seriously. Everything they did and said was SOO funny!

I think James might start crying from laughing so hard! I was tempted to use this because of Joel’s sweet face…

Not quite the Christmas picture I was looking for, but you’ll see the one I did get in a couple weeks. In the meantime enjoy this blooper reel (with obedient princess Anna patiently waiting with a grin on her face and both hands on one knee, pains in her cheeks from holding this smile and waiting for her noodle brothers to get it.) Not sure what look Joel was going for here… =)

A Bed for Anna

It’s been an interesting venture to design our own furniture for local carpenters with paper, pencil and tape measure (the metric side of course!). In a land with very few ‘power tools’ I designed a bed fit for a princess that was ‘shooting for the moon’ if you will. Three feet off the ground, yet short enough to have a mosquito net still hit the floor… Note to self: Next time you design furniture in Congo, DO NOT start the design process online at pottery barn kids…

With all due respect, the carpenter who did this is the best of the best here, and the lathe work does look really nice.

Head- and side-board getting coat after coat of white paint… And after 4 days of painting and drying on the front porch – installation day!

Hey, it can double as a jungle gym! Not.

Though I did design it to have play space underneath for those days when she wants to have a slumber party or curl up with a book. It’ll be a while…

And a little later, we had a great night’s sleep in her first real BIG BED! Some of you do not realize how momentous this is… We have waited, visited, cajoled and prayed for this bed to be finished for over three months, so it is cause for joy! Here is the princess tucked under the mosquito net and lovin’ it! (notice the awesome prayer quilt made lovingly by a group of women in ministry at home – Hi ladies!)