Friday, August 22, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 46

Our week started off with a visit to the bouncy castle - a rare treat that was brought out for a 9th grade fundraiser.

Because of Caleb's afternoon nap, we only made it to the school in time for one 5-minute stint in the bouncy castle, but I made it up to them with some cotton candy (another treat that only comes out a few times a year)

I think he likes it.

Caleb wearing daddy's hat.

Greg's new specialty meal, the "funny bun," as he calls it.  It's a sandwich with peanut butter, jam, and ketchup.  Sounds gross to me, but I can't complain about the fact that my never-eats-protein-without-a-fuss preschooler is now regularly eating peanut butter. 

 Today Greg's preschool class had a little program to show the parents what they are learning.

 Greg and some of the other boys.

 Friday is the day when parents can come and have a picnic lunch with their kids at the primary campus.    This little boy with Greg has rapidly become his best school friend over the past month.  They are pretty inseparable.  Unfortunately, his family will be returning to Sweden while we are in the U.S. having our baby.  Who knows when they will see each other again?  Such is the life of an MK....

Friday, August 15, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 45

Hello again!  We'll start with a quick update on the bridge situation.  (See last week's post.)  The old bridge has been removed, but they had to tear up the bank considerably in order to remove it.  Some work is being done to prepare for a new bridge.

In the meantime, you have the option of crossing one of these homemade foot bridges 
(for a modest fee, of course). [photo: Adam Boyd]

How are we planning to get supplies across the river?  Check out this video below that Brian took this week.  The owners of a local coffee plantation have rigged up this "Flying Fox" in order to transport their coffee to the warehouse.  They have made an arrangement with our organization to allow us to use it for shipping our own cargo.  Brian and another man went into town to test it out this week (that's when the video was taken), and tomorrow he will be going back to town with some others to unload and transport two 10-foot containers of food that are waiting on the Kainantu side of the river.


In other "news":
 This bridge is part of a play structure at the primary school.  Racing across the bridge is a must-do activity whenever we pick up Greg from preschool.

 Caleb was helping me scout out good spots for taking portraits, as I had the opportunity to take family photos for a few friends this week.


 And this is the view from my living room, as the smell of decking oil permeates the house.  Re-finishing the porch steps and railings was another project that we really wanted to take care of before we leave.

That's all for this week!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 44

Well, the BIG news this week is that the Kingston bridge finally fell into the river.  (And did it rather spectacularly too, I might add.)

 About 7am on Wednesday (6 Aug 2014) a commercial fuel tanker attempted to cross the Kingston Bridge traveling from Kainantu towards the Aiyura Valley (where we live). While the truck was on the bridge the bridge collapsed under the load. Both the bridge and the truck fell into the river below. Reports are that the driver is okay, but we have no further information on his condition.

(bridge photos by Andrew Koens)

So what's the big deal?  Well... this bridge was kind of our only connection with the rest of the country by road.  So at the moment, we're stuck.  Thankfully, we all knew this was going to happen one day, and contingency plans have been talked about for years.  Check out this post Brian wrote over two years ago the last time that the bridge almost collapsed.

Brian and I were actually planning to drive into Kainantu that same morning to stock up on dog food and some other supplies (we can buy dog food for half the price in town), but our plans were dashed by an early-morning phone call.

All in all, our situation is not terrible.  Our store had just received a huge shipment of food, so we won't starve.  Our fuel supply is limited, and so fuel sales are being rationed, but we don't really have anywhere to drive to, now do we?  We still have our airplanes, and can fly people and supplies if needed to and from other parts of the country.  A replacement bridge has actually been purchased and just needs to be installed, although we have no idea how long that might take.  Let's just say that Brian and I aren't expecting to drive to Kainantu again before we leave for the U.S. in September.

Please pray that the new bridge would be installed quickly (and properly)!

In other, more mundane news:

The boys enjoyed splashing in their friend's backyard kiddie pool.

 Caleb came up to me one day with this bookend and said, "Look mom - chainsaw!"  He has been carving up our whole house with it this week.

 My last two weeks have been dominated by trying to paint the baby's room.   It's hard to paint with two little kids at home and a husband who, through no fault of his own, has been swamped at work and unable to help.   It's almost done - I still have to finish painting the trim and baseboards.  The old paint (top) was a peeling purple color over green.  It had to be scraped and sanded down before I could paint.  Thankfully a friend came over to help a bit with that tedious part.  I now finally have the walls painted, with a special shade I like to call "leftover paint from living room" because we're trying to do this on the cheap.  I'm going to be giddy once this silly project is done and I can get down to what this pregnant lady really wants to do: get the baby things out of the attic and set it all up for the new baby! 

 Ahh.. the brothers play so nicely together.  (Were they fighting over the "chainsaw?")  Actually, I'm pretty sure Caleb was laughing when I took this photo.  They do place nicely most of the time.

 Caleb fell in the mud yesterday when we were walking Greg to preschool.  All was well again when he discovered some big, muddy rocks to carry home though.  This boy loves rocks and sticks!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 43

It's August already?  This year is just flying by!  Here is what we've been up to this week:

Grandma Kathy - this board game you sent Greg for his birthday is a huge hit.  We play it multiple times daily.  And it also makes a great track for cars or trains when mom gets tired of playing and needs a break!  (It's Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye Found It!  game, for any other moms with 4-year-olds...)

 One day this week Caleb was obsessed with having his hands in his pockets.  They pretty much stayed in there the whole day.

Sunrise from my front porch.

One day when Caleb was napping, Greg helped me scrape ice out of the freezer.  We put it in a big bowl and carried it to the front yard.  Greg had fun playing in the "snow" before it melted.

 When Caleb woke up, Greg was really bummed that he missed out on the snow, so I gave them a tray of ice cubes to play with.  That kept them entertained for quite a while too.

Caleb had to taste them, of course.

Caleb finally feels confident to really jump on the trampoline.  Sometimes he can even handle jumping with the big kids without crying.

Random leaf from the back yard. 

 These are photos I took for this week's photo theme: "together."  I actually got Greg to cooperate and voluntarily smile for the camera!  (And no, he didn't get to eat the whole stack of cookies...)

 Milk and cookies and kids do go well together, don't they?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 42

I don't have much to share this week.  On Saturday the hard drive in our laptop died.  The amazing thing is that I had done a backup of our data that same morning!  So thankfully we didn't lose much of anything.

The second amazing thing is that our computer department had just received a new shipment of Dell hard drives that week, so we were able to get it repaired fairly quickly (i.e. we got it back yesterday afternoon.)  We're thankful once again for our friend Ben in Oregon who gave us a loaner laptop last August when we had to travel back to PNG without our laptop (because it was in for repairs... we haven't had good luck with computers this year!).  We had something to use while our main computer was in the shop.

Still... it takes a loooooong time to restore all files and programs to a computer and to get everything working again, so I only have a few photos for you this week:

 At 25 weeks, the baby belly has become pretty prominent.

 A photo of Brian not doing some sort of work.  (He's been working a ton this week since we got back from our "vacation," so I had to document the fact that he does come home for meals).  Actually, I was taking a sample photo to prove to him that he'd made the right choice letting me order a hot shoe flash for my camera as my birthday present.  (It came in the mail this week). Now I just have to learn how to properly use the thing.  Anyone want to let me practice on you?

 Caleb found daddy's safety glasses in the shop and had to run upstairs to show daddy.  "Daddy glasses wearing... show daddy."

 A new school year is upon us.  Greg started Kapuls (4-year-old preschool) yesterday.  He was a bit nervous when I dropped him off with a new classroom and new teacher, but when I picked him up at lunchtime he reported that he "had a wonderful time at school."

And this kid cracks me up with his expressive faces:

Until next week!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 41

Lots of photos for you this week!

We are back from our eight-day trip to Madang, leaving the hot and mostly sunny coastal weather to find that Ukarumpa has been pretty soggy and grey in our absence.  That's OK - we were thrilled to come home to a nearly-full water tank!

As I mentioned briefly last week, Brian was invited to "lay hands" on some of the machinery at POC (Pacific Orientation Course), the site in the hills above Madang where new missionaries serving in the Pacific get their cultural orientation.  Since Brian has been to Madang several times in the past year and it's been about three years since I last went, we decided to make it a family trip.  POC asked me to bring my sewing machine, and I sewed some new curtains for some of the rooms there.

 Brian had plenty of work to do, with a backhoe and two tractors needing a bit of TLC.  Unfortunately he was not able to completely fix all the problems during our week there, and new parts will need to be ordered, but he did do a lot and was able to leave some follow-up instruction for the staff there.

 This little boy was VERY excited about our trip - especially the part about flying in the Kodiak.

Although this was a working vacation, it was very nice to have a change of pace.  Things definitely move at a slower pace at POC!  The campus is outside of town, on top of a mountain.  I think someone told me that it's at about 1,000ft elevation.  That means that it's a bit cooler and you get some lovely sea breezes. 

A sunrise view of the ocean from the house where we stayed.  It takes you about thirty minutes to drive down the mountain and actually get to the beach, but the view is spectacular.

We brought very few toys and books for the boys, and so we amused ourselves with other things.

This swing was visited daily.

I can't count the number of times the boys and I walked this little trail.  That's the house where we stayed at the top of the photo. 

Empty cupboards in the living room kept Caleb entertained for hours.  After we got back to Ukarumpa I caught him peering in my kitchen cupboards as though he was trying to figure out if he could fit in there somehow.  (Sorry buddy - not happening!)

 We enjoyed some tropical fruits that we seldom see up in the highlands.  The green spiky one is soursop and the yellow one on the right is a pomelo (kind of like a giant, not-too-tart grapefruit)

In the office at POC we found a shelf full of children's books and this game (Secret Square), which Greg played over and over.... and over again.

We actually only went into Madang town once the whole time we were there.  Some friends from Ukarumpa were vacationing in Madang at the same time, and they actually volunteered to watch the boys for us so that Brian and I could have a meal out by ourselves!  This is at the Madang Lodge (not the Madang Resort, fellow PNGrs - if you haven't checked out the Lodge yet, you should!) 

On Sunday we attended a service at the local Lutheran church. 

 And twice we made it down the mountain to do a little swimming at Jais Aben Resort.  They have a nice little kid-friendly beach which you can use if you buy some food and drinks from their cafe.

This little guy loved the water.  After the first trip, he would get sooooooo excited whenever he saw the ocean, and would ask to "go down splash in water down there."

We flew back to Ukarumpa on Friday.

Caleb is so friendly and absolutely comfortable with strangers.   While we were at the airport waiting for our plane, Caleb found a small space on a bench and inserted himself between these complete strangers.  (This was after he made the rounds and shook hands with everyone who was at the hangar.)

And yes, we did fly back on my birthday, and we got back home early enough to bake a cake and make some enchiladas for dinner.

'Till next time...