Category Archives: our kids

Choir Practice

During our most recent village trip, Kara was asked to help the local choir learn some new songs to prepare for an upcoming competition.  It was a challenge considering the notation system is different, they have changed the names for the solfege (ti is now si) and the songs had some very difficult parts.  However, Kara did great and the choir loved it!  We also just made them some “practice tapes,” actually mp3s these days, so they can continue to learn their parts well. 

Here’s some pictures below from the trip, in no particular order:

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Drawing in the sand with Grandma

 

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One of our helpers, Hisma, and Charlotte

 

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The road through town

 

 

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Charlotte eating a fried whole fish, tail first (her favorite part!)

 

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Elizabeth doing the same, and Grandma getting the photographic evidence.

 

 

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Our girls and some friends.  Our tablet is a big hit…

 

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Elizabeth and her friends.

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Kara leading choir practice

 

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A panorama of the inside of the church there.

 

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Charlotte and a friend.

 

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Soprano and Alto practice at our house.

 

These photos are from an older trip, but they’ve never been posted so I’m putting them in here:

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All the kids out swimming.

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Our girls wading in.

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Filed under Ethnoarts, Family Pictures, our kids, Village life

Daddy-daughter date!

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Today daddy and Elizabeth went to Royal Chocolate Donuts 🙂

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A week in the village

Just after the start of 2013 we headed up to the village as a family to spend a little over a week in our new village house.  It was an excellent trip: we met more of our neighbors, went to church and Sunday School, and generally learned a little more about life there.  The church also hosted a special community-wide service to celebrate the end of the Christmas and New Year’s festivities.  It wasn’t just a church service; afterwards there was a meal, singing, and then dancing (called dero) that went almost all night long.

This blog post is just a random sampling of some of our pictures from our time there.  Later I’ll post again with some video and more information about the singing – it was interesting to see and participate in!

Kara and the girls enjoying the beach. A little rocky, but otherwise excellent:

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Kids playing in a fishing boat by the shore.

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Elizabeth LOVES exploring the beach and wading in to look for special rocks and shells.

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Once everyone got over being shy, we had kids in our house nearly every afternoon:

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Not the greatest picture, but here’s Elizabeth in Sunday School.

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The inside of the church.  For being in a village, it is quite a large church building and the community is very proud of it.

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The church is on a hill, and this is a view from the front of the church looking back towards the beach and our house (not visible).

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Some of the best (and freshest) fish ever.  It may not look great to you, but don’t knock it until you try it!  Here it is chopped up and prepped for frying.

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The local sawmill.  It was really nice to order wood for some shelves and to be able to pick out the lumber myself and have it cut to my specifications. This sawmill has to obtain government permission to cut trees, and they are given seedlings to replant in the areas where they chop down trees.

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The kids playing in the field in front of our house:

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Overturned canoes make great benches:

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That’s it for now!  Another blog post will be posted later about the singing tradition, batunjuk.

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Filed under Church Events, Food, our kids, Village life

Elizabeth’s 4th Birthday!

It is really hard to believe, but our little girl just turned four years old! Elizabeth is a bright ray of sunshine in our lives, and we are so thankful to celebrate four wonderful years with her.

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Originally I was planning a ballerina party for her, but a few weeks ago we were talking about it and she said, “No, Mommy. I want a rainbow party!” She stuck to it, so a rainbow party she got. Her birthday fell on a Sunday this year and she wanted just girls, so we had her party over lunch yesterday. There were 5 little girls that came, and they had so much fun together!

Here they all are, with the birthday girl in her rainbow dress!!

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We decorated everything with rainbows and rainbow colors.

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All the food was rainbow. Rainbow pizza, rainbow veggies, rainbow pinwheel cookies, skittles, watermelon cake (rainbow colors), rainbow kool-aid,  and of course rainbow cake!

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We did a LOT of fun rainbow crafts and activities. The girls used colored pasta to make rainbow sun-catchers, they played rainbow bingo while they ate all the food, and then they made Fruit-Loop necklaces (thanks to a box that my mom sent that made it JUST in time the day before the party!) before cake and presents. And then after stuffing themselves full, they went outside to play with water balloons and swing (and burn off all that sugar!).

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Happy Happy Birthday to my sweet Elizabeth girl!

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My Diagonal Life

I think that someone should come live in my house and study the different cultural viewpoints of objects in space. How’s that for a statement?

For example…

There is a little neighbor girl who lives across the street. She is eight years old and very sweet and kind and loves to play with our girls. Every day. Anyway… One of her favorite things to play with at our house is the little toy kitchen and table. And every time she comes, she rearranges everything. The exact. same. way. Every single time! It’s really quite amusing. Can you see my smile from there?

Actually, after my initial annoyance at having to put everything back after she leaves, I find it quite fascinating. She has such a different understanding of everyday objects and how they should be arranged. I would never ever think to put things where she does! Also, recently I rearranged our little toy area and put the little toy table and kitchen on a diagonal. Woah.

It took two whole weeks for her to stop straightening them. And I still have to remind her sometimes. 🙂

Really it makes a lot of sense. No Indonesian house that I have ever been in has ever had anything on the diagonal. Usually the furniture is pushed flat up against the wall all the way around the room. Very rarely a table will be in the center of the room. So my living room must really throw them for a loop. Actually, they probably have just as hard of a time understanding why I have a rug, chairs, sofa, coffee table, and end tables floating in the middle of the room (on a diagonal!) as I do understanding why the neighbor girl rearranges the toys the way she does. It really is a fascinating cultural study!

Actually, maybe I am crazy for putting things on the diagonal. At least, living here in this country. Such a mish-mash of culturally mixed up situations at my house! I hope at least that our daughters feel comfortable moving in and out of different furniture arrangements. If only it were that easy to move in and out of different cultures. But I guess they have a good shot at it since their crazy Mommy rearranges their toys to be on the diagonal, and then their sweet neighbor girl friend straightens them all out again.

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The Difference Between 1 and 2

I think that anyone that really wants to know and understand their first child should have a second child.

While Elizabeth and Charlotte both have the two exact same parents, it is funny and bewildering sometimes how different they can be from each other. With just Elizabeth we took a lot of the little quirks of her personality for granted. Now I realize that a lot of those things really are quirks of her personality and not just the way that every kid is. And it is Charlotte that has taught me that.

Elizabeth is verbal. Charlotte is physical. Elizabeth is a morning person. Charlotte is a night person. Elizabeth is a visual learner. Charlotte is a tactile learner. Elizabeth likes to organize. Charlotte likes to be messy. Elizabeth is a lot like me. Charlotte is a lot like my sister. It’s pretty cool.

I’ll give you an example. I ran across this website that is full of creative ways to provide your kids with imaginative play at home. It’s really a great resource for me because we do a lot of stuff at home. One of the things she suggests is playing with shaving cream and food coloring. Fun, right? I thought so. I got it all set up one afternoon to keep the girls busy while I cooked dinner. This was Charlotte after five, wait no, three minutes.

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She loved it. Elbows deep loved it. She used all of the spatulas and whisks and cups and scooped and swirled and mixed and splatted. Just in case that one picture doesn’t give you a good enough idea here is another.

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Yes, she is using a spatula to smear shaving cream on her leg. She had a blast!

Now, for the sake of comparison I will show you the one picture that I got of Elizabeth.

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You see she has no shaving cream on her at all. Oh wait, one little spot on her side which, as I remember, was a source of great hurry to the roll of paper towels so that she could wipe it off soon after this picture was taken. She spent most of her time wiping with paper towels. You will notice that she has her foot lifted to step into the bucket. It was my suggestions and she only got that far. Then she was done with the whole activity. She would much rather sit at the table and color.

Isn’t it amazing how much you can learn from your kids? As mothers, we carried them inside of us for 9 months (or 10 months if you’re me) – shouldn’t we know everything about them? Yet every day I see a little more personality unfold as I wipe, answer questions, teach and correct. I understand a little more of how unique and individual we all are. And it makes me wonder again at God, who never makes any two things exactly the same.

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Peel a Tomato?!?!

Yes. Have you ever? I have. As of Tuesday I can now cross peeling tomatoes off my bucket list (HA!). More on the tomato peeling adventure in a second.

This week I only got to two new recipes. And I think that was the only two times that I cooked. It was a bit of a crazy week. Nothing in particular was crazy, but when you put it all together it felt really busy. We went somewhere almost every day which is not normal for me here in Indonesia.

And Friday was my birthday!! The big 29. It feels so strange to be in the last year of my 20s. I remember when my mom was 29, so now I feel really really old. Just kidding, Mom! I actually had a really great day. Matt took the day off and we just had lots of family time. I didn’t cook, and then in the evening I went to do karaoke with all my girlfriends here in our little city. It was SO MUCH FUN!! I didn’t have a camera with me, and I was really too busy having fun singing and dancing my heart out to tunes that really date me to take any pictures. Yay!

Okay, back to peeling a tomato. Do you know how? I started making this Tomato Bisque at about 4:45. We usually eat at around 6:00. After getting everything out for the recipe I noticed this tiny little word next to the word tomatoes, “peeled”. Okay…. no canned tomatoes here, so I had to figure out how to get my rather ordinary tomatoes on my cutting board naked. Quickly. So I did what every person my generation and younger does… RUN to Google! If you would like to learn how to peel a tomato, this is the website that taught me how. I also made these Biscuits to go with the soup. It was a frantic hour! Overall, Matt liked the soup and Charlotte, Elizabeth, and I did not. However, we ALL loved the biscuits. Here is a picture!

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The other recipe I made was Cheesy Spinach Macaroni. It was a really quick recipe and pretty good. I only had linguine pasta on hand and it probably would be better with a smaller noodle that could hold on to more of the cheesiness. Next time I might try adding chicken, too. I didn’t get a picture of this one so to console you I will leave you with a couple pictures of our cute little girlies.

So, have you ever peeled a tomato?

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Filed under daily life, family, Food, our kids, recipes, Uncategorized

The Journey

Hello all!

Matt just returned this evening from a trip to one of the villages where we work. He was there to support the translation team as they prepare for the upcoming consultant check for the book of Matthew. Getting close to being done! Here at home, we had a successful time too! No one got sick (thanks for praying!) and the power never went out – yay!

I know you all just really want to hear how our long (loooong, looooooooong) journey  was from America all the way here. I know that we have been here for two weeks now, but I think that I finally have processed being here, landing, jet-lag, and unpacking enough now that I can reflect back on it a little bit. The whole trip was better than I expected it to be. The flights (#s 1 and 2) from Ohio to California were pretty uneventful other than having to pay an arm and a leg for our 8 pieces of checked baggage on a domestic flight. Grrrrr. Oh well. C’est la vie. Elizabeth now LOVES to fly, and she was so excited to get on an airplane again that we really didn’t have to do much to keep her entertained. Both girls even took a (short) nap on the second flight.

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Charlotte was very curious!

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There was a lot of this…

I was glad that we had an overnight in San Francisco so that we didn’t have to start the really long haul to Asia already tired. We were able to get a good night’s sleep before the next flights. Those flights (#s 3 and 4) were L-O-N-G. The 12 hour flight from San Francisco to Seoul, Korea was SO much better than I expected that I wished we could’ve just kept going instead of having to get off and back on the same airplane again. We all got to sleep on that flight, and the girls and I all slept for like 5 hours in the middle of the trip which on an airplane with two small kids is a small miracle. Yay!

The flight from Korea to Singapore was the roughest one. None of us wanted to get back on an airplane for another 6 hour flight. No one really got to sleep for very long, even though we were all tired, and Charlotte decided to scream herself hoarse on this one. At least then the sceaming was silent…. (sad). She had a pretty bad cold also, so we kept her going on the Ibuprofen and Benadryl almost the whole time. Poor thing! But a big THANK YOU to Aunt Denise who gave Charlotte some Sesame Street stickers for her birthday. They kept her entertained for hours. HOURS. We put them everywhere. And then moved them. And then ate puffs. Puffs and stickers got us through!

We had an 8 hour layover in Singapore and we went straight to the transit hotel when we got there (it was 1 in the morning Singapore time, but felt like I don’t know what to us… we were pretty mixed up by then). We showered and tried to put the kids to bed. I think we all slept something like less than 2 hours. I think. It was a little fuzzy. Anyway, we were up early enough to have time to get breakfast in the airport, look at the butterfly garden…

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(sorry it’s blurry, it was REALLY humid in there and I was trying to keep two kids from ripping the butterflies apart)

… and still be one of the first ones to our gate. The flight from Singapore to Jakarta (#5) was only 1.5 hours, and it felt good to be back in Indonesia when we got here. All our bags made it safely, too!

This was when the jet-lag hit us really hard. We all went to bed by 6:30 p.m.  But then we were up nice and early (ha ha!) for our final two flights to our home city (#s 6 and 7). We didn’t have a seat for Charlotte on those flights, so she sat on our laps. It worked just fine, but neither of the girls napped at all that day. So we were all really tired again and went to bed by 7:30 p.m. But… we were up nice and early the next day to get a great start on all the unpacking.

Which is what I’ve been doing since. Unpacking, settling, re-organizing, going through and tossing, and wiping. Wiping and wiping and wiping. The kitchen (EVERYTHING in the kitchen), the floors, the doors, and I’m not done yet. I think coming straight from America gave me new eyes to see the dirt that I am not willing to live with. Hoping it will last.

Okay… I hope I didn’t bore you with the miniscule details of our travel back to our home here in Indonesia. We miss everyone in America! In some ways it feels like we’ve already been back for a really long time, and in some ways like we’ve barely been here at all. I’m sure some of you can relate.

P.S. – I forgot to praise the Lord for Dramamine Less Drowsy. Lasts 24 hours and I didn’t get sick at all. AT ALL. But yes, I took it for 4 days straight.

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Easter

Since we had only been back in Indonesia for 4 days we did a few things for Easter but for the most part kept it pretty low key. I just wanted to post a few pictures of our girls and little things that we did for family to see. Keepin it simple these days. I’ll write a post about the traveling in a few days here for those of you who I know are just dying to hear how it went…

So we woke up (really early, because we were still getting over jet-lag) and let Elizabeth open her Easter basket. Charlotte was still sleeping until a bit later. Elizabeth was very happy, can you tell? Love that precious smile!

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Both girls got these goofy glasses in their Easter baskets. So silly!

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Me with my girls on Easter morning! (sorry a bit blurry)

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After church we did a little egg hunt in our front yard. Elizabeth was SO excited about doing this that I wasn’t even able to snap a picture of the two girls together before she was off finding eggs. Charlotte wasn’t sure what to do at first, but after she watched Elizabeth and then saw us pointing to the eggs and putting them in her basket, she thought it was so much fun.

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Happy Easter to you all!! Praise the Lord for a Risen Savior who has come to set us free from the power of sin and death!

P.S. – Thanks to Aunt Margaret for the adorable dresses!

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Those Who Love Us

During our training time in Dallas we were able to be in a Bible study with some wonderful people. They were all in the same line of work as us, and all in training. Someday we hope to be reunited with these wonderful friends, but right now we are scattered all over the globe.

One of my friends from that study, Erin, is preparing with her family to move to Africa. I just received her newsletter and I LOVED what she had to say about getting ready to leave family to go live overseas. She is an excellent writer and shares poignant thoughts that are sometimes very difficult for people in cross-cultural work to articulate, but are almost always felt. I hope you enjoy what she has to say:

“My dad asked me jokingly the other day if he could take us to court to prevent us from taking his grandkids to Tanzania. I told him that if the judge were a grandfather, he would probably side with dad against us. We both spoke in jest, but we knew that the feelings involved in taking our family overseas are very real.

     Most people know that packing up your children and moving to Africa involves some sacrifice. But what about the sacrifice of those we leave behind? We get all kinds of accolades for what we are doing. We get to go through the line first at church potlucks. People bring us up in front of crowds of kids and tell them to make us their role models. We get checks in the mail almost every day! One might say we have received our reward in full. But there are no awards for being the parent of a missionary. Yet what they give up to allow us to follow God’s calling are some of life’s most treasured moments – birthday parties, ball games, heart-to-heart chats, Sundays around the dinner table, and thousands of precious hugs.

     They had little say in our decision, but just as with so many things over which one has no control, they got to decide how they would respond to it. Our parents would have had every right to be angry with us, to obsess over the perceived dangers we are exposing ourselves to and discourage us at every step, or to refuse to do anything to move us closer to our goal. But they also have the option to offer us up as sacrifices willingly, to embrace and make the most of their position at long-distance grandparents, and to encourage us like no one else can when we face difficulties. What a blessing it is to us to have parents like that!

     Our families have given of their time, their finances, and their talents to help us every step of the way. They have made plans for how to stay connected with us and our kids once we leave. They have said they would like to make the long trip across the Atlantic to visit us if they have the chance. And, perhaps most difficult of all, when faced with the opportunity to remind us of what we are asking of them and saddle us with guilt, they have refrained.

     I hope that someday, if Rose or Everett tells me that God is asking them to go to some place where I can’t follow, where I can’t keep them safe or get to hug and kiss them every day, that I will have the faith to give them my blessing and help them on their way. Our children are the most precious of God’s gifts, and nothing is more natural and right than to hold them close. But at the same time we have to remember that they belong to God first of all. We have to raise them to be the kind of people who will love Him with their whole selves and follow Him anywhere. And when they follow Him far away from us, we have to pray and give and speed them on their way, even when it breaks our hearts.

Erin

Amen. Matt and I have both also been very blessed with wonderful understanding families that have supported us and loved us (and our kids) so much! We have 5 days left in America – so many mixed emotions!

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