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...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 40

A week of celebrations.  First, we gathered with other Americans to celebrate Independance Day.


Steel wool "fireworks" are the standard here in Ukarumpa.


The boys didn't seem to mind that the fireworks show was basically a half-dozen flares and smoke bombs that one of the pilots found in a back corner of the hanger, well past their expiration date.  Glow sticks and staying out after dark is fun enough when you're this age.


 Caleb got to trade in his pack-n-play for a twin bed this week.  We figured we'd give him plenty of time to practice before we traveled back to the States.  He's actually done amazingly well with the transition.  Much easier than...ahem... certain other children in the family, as I recall.


 This kid had a birthday.  Four years old!


We had a small party at the playground.  Both boys have been obsessed with Dr. Seuss books lately, so that was the theme.

 
Greg refused to let us sing to him, because we didn't hold the party on his actual birthday.  (On the "real" birthday we were allowed to light candles and sing to him). 


After the party with the leftover balloons in the truck.  See those hands and knees?  They got pretty dirty.


 One of the new favorite toys.  Greg has been asking us since Christmas for a "wrecking ball crane."  Grandma and Grandpa Frey sent this one over.

 
 An experiment: Caleb's first time wearing headphones.  We recently got a pair in preparation for long plane rides in a few months time.  He's recently started sucking his fingers while watching a show.   Big brother went through the same phase.


 There is always time for some Thomas and friends.


Thursday we flew to Madang as a family.  We're staying at POC (the place where orientation courses are held for new arrivals).  Brian is doing some work on their backhoe and tractor, and I am sewing some new curtains for the dormitories.


 And the boys?  Well, let's just say they are doing a good job of getting dirty, and I'll need to brush up on how to use a twin tub washing machine here pretty quick!

More about the Madang trip next time, when we're back to a better internet connection.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 39

 

Happy Fourth of July, fellow Americans (and welcome back, for the readers who join us from other countries)


I already shared plenty of dedication photos, but here are a few from our flight to Madang last weekend.  That's Madang below us.


Sitting right behind the pilot is always interesting... it's like that little map on commercial airlines that shows you your progress toward your destination, but on steroids.


 
 Beautiful PNG scenery.  The boys are going to love this when we make the flight again as a family later this week (going to Madang for a work/vacation trip).


Villages below... those ponds are probably fish ponds.


Brian helping to install our new RiverScreen.  It's the latest project in the ongoing attempt to pump a reliable, decently clean-ish supply of water from the Ba'e river to supply the needs of everyone who lives at Ukarumpa.  If you like to know more about the technical side of things, check out their website.  I'm not going to try to explain how it works.


We've had some cold and dreary days, but that doesn't mean that we can't get outside and play (to save mom's sanity!)


Can't believe this guy is going to turn 4 this week! 

 

 He loves sticks.



Thanks for reading.  See you next week!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Ogea Dedication: More Photos!

As promised, here are some more photos from our day in Dogea village: