Sunday, October 15, 2006

Gretchen's online journal

October 22nd, 2009
Well first off, an update on the homeschool conferance.  It was a joy to attend and to get a bit more energized for homeschooling.  Thanks so much for those who encouraged me and prayed for me concerning this!  Please don't stop. :)  I got some cool little books on just everyday craft and learning ideas that I can implement now at the ages they are and also can use in Vanuatu!  So many little craft books that are more recently published have amazing ideas for normal "around the house" supplies BUT those just AREN"T everyday around the house supplies when you are in a different country especially in a third world country SO I was thrilled to find 'old school' books that use more natural supplies. I am pretty stoked about my finds.  And graciously all the books Houghton and I found useful at this stage were given to us free of charge!  What a blessing.
Si is currently playing with a balloon that he drew a person on and he happen to name it "Jesiah" so he is running around the house popping the balloon into the air saying "I like to play with Jesiah!"  What a wierdo! :)  I love it.
Well, I am off to make some banana bread with some very ripe bananas... It seems like some weeks we eat through 2 dozen bananas and then the next I have to cook with them because we couldn't eat them fast enough... 
So off I go.

October 15, 2009

These past few weeks have brought lots of poor health our way unfortunately.  At the moment Gwen and Addy are suffering bad colds.  Heavy, chesty coughs and Gwen has been sneezing like crazy for a couple days now.  Poor girls.  Houghton and I are hoping to go to a homeschooling conference tomorrow on the other side of the city.  We were able to go to one in the states a couple years ago and I am looking forward to this one.  I hope that it will help me wrap my brain around homeschooling a bit more.
I have to honestly say that I am not looking forward to homeschooling.  In fact I am dreading it.  I cannot place my finger on the exact reason.  It feels as though it has been forced upon me and I am not sure I like that at all.  In theory it is such an awesome idea and I am convinced that it is possibly the best for strong families (wow there is a bold statement there huh?!) BUT that doesn't mean that I WANT to.  I think that we would even have more kids if I didn't have this homeschooling thing looming over me.  You can pray, Pray, PRAY for me in this regard. 
It has rained so much this week.  Which I am actually not too unhappy about because it is easier to keep the kids inside so they can heal quicker.  I LOVE the feeling of heavy blankets on the bed as I sleep.  Random thought there. :)  But that too has been a special feeling. Hehe.
I am really looking forward to being alone with Houghton tomorrow.  It has been nearly 2 months since our last night out.  
Well, I suppose I should get to figure out what to create for supper.  I REALLY need to get to the grocery store!  Tonight I will go after working out.
tata for now

September 23rd, 2009

I just scrolled down and read my entry from a year ago!!!!  I suggest you do the same.  How awesome is our God and how fast does time FLY!!!!!!!!  MAN it has gone so fast.  It amazes me to think that it was a year ago that the Jones and Kenner families just came to Vanuatu. Bizarre!
We have some friends visiting during this two week break.  The Milsons.  They are from Cairns which is Northern Australia and are good friends with the Gibb family (also BMW missionaries in Vanuatu).  The Milsons got hooked up with us as a potential extention of our bush team.  We are in need of a family to work logistics in Port Vila (or Luganville depending on what ends up happening) for us while we are out in the bush.  The Milsons may be just that family!  So they popped down here for the two weeks to get to know us and us them.  
It has been a joy to meet them and talk about the possibility of them joining with us in this crazy adventure that God has lead our family to.
The two weeks off has already flown by!  Seems like time is just a vapor..... hmmm.... sounds familiar!
The kids have been keeping me on my toes.  Addy continually amazes me with her vocab.  She will just break out in the most obscure phrases that shock me.  Shock me because they are just so random that she knows them!  She asked Houghton "where are you going?" yesterday!  
Gwen is struggling with how to talk respectfully to others.  She uses her words quite well a lot of times but she also has quite a sassy attitude and talks back.  So she is learning what is appropriate and what is not.  This is a HARD lesson for mom (ME) because it takes faithful diligence to stay on her about her mouth.  A mouth is SO hard to tame isn't it (also so familiar!)?  So you can be in prayer for ME in this matter that I would not let her get away with how she talks to people (ME mostly as I am with her all the time) and also pray for Gwen to understand what she is saying and HOW it is disrepectful and rude.  I wonder if a lot of times she has no idea what she is saying (well she IS only 3) but I know that at other times she is very clear on what she says...SO.... just be in prayer for me in this! ;)
Addy is ALSO becoming quite vocal!  Man is she all over the house too!  She loves to get into drawers and draw on everything etc.  Thankfully we are tackling one thing at a time and she has broken some bad habits!
Laura and I are in a hand bell choir for the Christmas program for church.  We hope to practice tomorrow.  They are super fun and I totally NEED practice.  I have never played them before and I feel totally dysfunctional when we are playing!  It is quite funny.
I am hoping tomorrow will be a nice sunny day.  So far the break has been pretty rainy.  Some spots of sun here and there so I cannot complain!
On Saturday we all (Jim, Tania, Laura, Milsons, Houghton and I) are all going to a cricket game in the city.  It doens't start until 8PM so it will be late night.  But I am looking forward to it.  It will be fun.  Some friends here are watching the kids for us.
Well, I am getting a bit slow in typing and need to hit the sack.  Until next time!

July 8th, 2009

Apparently I get the gumption to write every month... weird. I hope to have a day sometime here during the break to FINALLY catch up with SO MANY of you all. I feel like I have left you all in the dust and I am so sorry for that. It seems that life is just taking up so much more of my time lately! :)
It is amazing that Houghton has such a long break and WE NEED IT. We just got done doing Vacation Bible School with our church yesterday. So most of our last week break was full of prep for that and then there were team meetings... blah blah blah so I SUPER hope that we will be able to just RELAX for the rest of the break. The VBS was a lot of fun. Laura, Tania and I taught 1st and 2nd graders. Houghton and Jim did games for all the age groups, and Laura and I also did puppets. Which I have to say ROCKED! :)
We are having Christmas in July on Saturday with friends from church and Laura and then Kenners. Looking forward to that. LOTS of food and there will be Christmas music and movies. :) Good times.
Houghton and I are leading the music at church for the next two weeks so we will be getting some prep done for that tomorrow at Pastor Phil and Lenna's house after we hit Maccas (Mc D's) for lunch and then its grocery shopping afterward.
We finished our newsletter tonight too so as soon as it gets its final editing (via Laura and Kenners and BMW) we will pump that out to you all and post it here too!
SOOOOOOOOOOOO you can see we have kept amazingly busy! :)
Well, off I go to bed. I am super tired from yesterdays crazy VBSing and need another night of sleep to recoup.

Jun 10th, 2009

Our anneversery just pasted this week. 7 years flown by. I was commenting to Houghton that if we would have had a kid right away we would have a 7 YEAR OLD. That makes 7 years seem so much longer! ;) I cannot imagine my life any other way. Well, that isn't totally true. I often think of living close to family, in a perfect house where my kids would always be happy and the meals would look wonderful and taste even better. Si, Gwen and Addy would tell me a thousand times a day how much they love me and thank me for being such a wonderful mommy. HAHA. So other than THOSE imaginary life images...I am so humbled by how God has lead Houghton and I over the years. I am SO unworthy of the blessings He so lovingly lavishes on me. Man, I screw up a million times a day and so often its the same things that I struggle with! How frustrating it is that I cannot get ahold of some of these things in my life that haunt me and it often feels like they lay in wait. This season of our lives is such a struggle for me to love each moment. I just keep waiting and waiting for a time for all 5 of us. Houghton is so busy with school (and I am so proud of how he has commited to doing his VERY best) and these days are just going past me so quickly without me savoring the moments I have with the kids and me alone. I just am trying to survive these days instead of savor them. HELP. PRAY! Oh I need it so badly. Everyday it sometimes feels like the stress of each day is going to overtake me. And I am sure Houghton feels the same. We need that prayer! Thank you.

May hmmm what is it? AH, 25th, 2009

How fast does time go? Just in looking at when I updated my journal last, i see it was just under a MONTH ago. DAH. Not so hot and doing this I guess. Had another grocery day today. Just before heading out the door, Si puked on the floor of our bedroom also getting some on our bed :( agh! So Si stayed home with dad and Addy was napping so just Gwen and I ended up going into town. The plan was to not only get groceries but also get a new load of library books to enjoy BUT it is some sort of holiday today so it was closed. I hate it when no one except Post Offices and Libraries (apparently) know that it is a holiday. Maybe if I was Australian I would have known. But the kids were a bit disappointed to not have new books. They have plenty of old ones to enjoy until we make it into town again though. Which will be not until this weekend. It costs us .50 a km!!!! Man that adds up! Would be nice to have our own vehicle here. It works fine to borrow from the school but I am SO TIRED of putting 3 car seats in and out EVERY TIME we go anywhere! It takes FOREVER just to get kids in the car after fiddling with the seats. But I am so thankful we have a car to borrow from the school despite the cost and car seat switching!
I am looking into buying some "sea-bands" bracelet things for Gwen. She gets so sick when we drive. Mostly just on the way to church especially. She puked again last Sunday. She complains of a tummy ache the whole drive and then looses her whole breakfast as we are getting ready to get out at church. Poor thing!
I am starting a new book by Isobel Kuhn called , "Green leaf in drought". I read a couple of her books while I was in Bible school as required reading and really enjoyed them. I was talking with Lenna, our pastors wife and she said that she has oodles of books and sure enough she had some of Kuhns I am thrilled to read from her again. I haven't read much seems like if I have any extra time I am online. Bad and good I guess. But I want to get my head growing smarts a bit more. :) So I need to keep reading and I am excited to find time (haha) to do this for myself.
Well, as I am yawning...I will end here before I blab more about who knows what. :)

April 29, 2009

Wow, I don't enjoy winter. I don't enjoy having my clothes hang out forever (well it was 3 or maybe 4 days this time) and then having to bundle kids up so they can play. But that is a random thought. :)
I am so proud of myself today. I made these amazing tuna and macadamia nut patties for lunch with white (or maybe it should be called purple) and orange sweet potatoes. Was a very yummy lunch! And then for supper had pork, pear, and potatoes with purple onions, all in one dish kinda thing. Was really good as well. SWEET...a whole day with REAL food and I didn't go insane. Supper was 45 minutes late...but whada ya do? And then yesterday I took the kids to the grocery store by myself. I mean really this shouldn't be that great a feat, but I am sure I was quite a spectacle for some. Baby Addy in the sling, and then a kids in each hand. And that was just going IN to the store, looked even better coming out with all my groceries! And shopping here can be interesting. I went to the green grocer (or where you buy fresh produce), hit a "opp shop" (or thrift store) to find pants for the kids, then to a store to find a birthday present, and finally to the supermarket to finish off my list.
Kids did great. They got to have 75% discounted Easter candy for a treat. SCORE! haha.
Houghton is staying long hours in the library these days. We had visitors come last weekend right after mom and dad left, and then again this weekend for meetings and such from BMW (or mission agency in the states) so that means extra homework time during the week. We see him at meal times so that is awesome. He does well making sure that he gets a good wrestle in with the kids etc. before needing to take off again. What a good man I have!
I am hoping to finish updating our newsletter today. Houghton usually writes the newsletter but I figured I would have more time than he would. So it will probably sound different these next couple months. I find that when I have to write about real things (unlike my journaling haha) I dont write well...SO our "April" newsletter has now turned into our "May" newsletter. HAHA and so that story goes.
Well I am off to update our praise and prayer on our blog and throw some more items on our care package list on our website.

April 20, 2009

Its hard to believe that mom and dad will be leaving in only a couple days. Three weeks have flown by. I think that it will be hard to see them go. They went and visited with a couple that they met here at school for supper tonight. Si had a hard time seeing them go just for tonight. I am looking for creative fun ways to say goodbye without it being just a sudden, "and they have to go now" for the kids. Pray for creativity in this for me. It will be a while again before they will see their grandparents. It has been a HUGE blessing for the kids to see them, and also for gparents to see the kiddos and Lur and I. I am praying that Tim and Karen will be able to come out and visit us during this term as well. We would love to be able to have them here to see the kids again. Pray with me in this!

I clipped by fingernail too short and it hurts to type so I will pathetically end here. Haha. Cheers.

April 16, 2009

Pretty sure I love IKEA. It was yesterday that I had a lot of truths sink in to the reality of what my life will, and will NOT look like in the bush of Vanuatu. I mean really, DUH, I don't know what I was thinking in the first place, but still. We (Jim and Tania, Laura, and Houghton and I) went on a "group date" haha sans kids that is, to Melbourne today. Which means for me, more time to relax and look at randomness and less time to always have an eye on someone else. Yep, I struggle to have a day out with three kids without coming home with someone in tears. WOW, I digress.
This was my first IKEA experience. I have looked online at their website but never actually got to SEE the showcases (are they called that?) of the different rooms that contain their products etc. And I am convinced that I could most definitely live in a home that was furnished from top to bottom and side to side complete with doors and hinges from IKEA. I had a great time. You must keep in mind that I LOVE looking at housing stuff. In my free time, (aka when Houghton was pulling 18 hour shifts during college and I was at home, kid-less) I would spend HOURS on the Internet configuring the blueprints to my dream house and all that it would entail. All the way down to the very knobs on my closet door! There is something about this kind of decorating thing that just gets me going. So my trip to IKEA was a very fun, dream time for me. And I have to say it was just that. A "dream time". I quickly was reminded that my life will NOT look like those showcases. It is something that is a bitter sweet for me. I know that God will create something beautiful to me in my future jungle home and I look forward to His creativity in what might come along, but it was difficult for me to realize that I will not have a kitchen etc. as my mind imagined (again another duh) for a million reasons. Pray for me in this. It is a battle of the will for me. And I know it will only get harder as the time comes closer for me to ultimately be totally leaving the "modern day conveniences".

Mom and dad have been able to visit for the last two weeks and get to stay another before having to head back to MT. What a joy it has been to have them here. A little slice of familiarity has been SO refreshing to my soul as it has been harder to be away lately. Again I think reality is beginning to hit. The kids are loving that grandma and papa are just next door and they can pound on their bedroom wall through their own bedroom wall. :) What a blessing that God made it possible for this visit.

MARCH 31, 2008

Hanging out with the kiddos today. We went to a playgroup that is held every "fort-night" oh how I laugh every time I say that word...They totally use it...doesn't it sound Medieval or something? Its great. Anywho, went to playgroup this AM and so the kids played at the childcare center with some other kids. Another mom and I were joking saying that it is almost like we are at a play group 24/7 at our house. We all live in flats that are connected together. And the kids are usually always playing (or fighting haha) together all day. What a HUGE blessing. They (Si and Gwen) have grown socially SO MUCH. They are also growing in how they interact with each other and with Addy.

Gwen got her finger pinched in a door today. It is a lovely shade of purple and I am waiting to see what it looks like tomorrow before I decide whether or not the nail might even fall off. The poor thing. It was pretty nasty. We were walking down a creeping staircase to look in "Dorcus", a give away clothing room that the school has, and the old wooden door caught her finger. It was a long walk back up to the house. Addy on my left in the sling and Gwenny on my right crying and holding her finger. Si walking along side disappointed because now we wouldn't be able to jump on the trampoline. He LIVES to go to the trampoline! When we go I put Addy on with them and she has a blast. Si gets mad because then he cannot jump high but I let him do his big jumping too when Gwenny, Addy and I go and pet the horses and the cat that always come and visit us when we go to the trampoline. Their pasture is right next to it.

I wonder if the honeymoon stage of being overseas is over for me. I am getting annoyed at planning meals, buying groceries, not having a car, etc. It is easy to just think back to our life in America, and just as the Israelites saw their captivity as being better than the dessert...I think of all the wonderful things that our life in America had. HAHA I dont mean to compare America to Egyptian slavery. HAHA but you get the point.

Well, Hought just came home from a study in Mandarin where he was taking cultural observation notes and is hoping to get some contacts to interview for sociolinguistics class. I am off to get some sleep and hear how his night went....and OHHHHH he brought home sweet and sour chicken, what a man. :)

MARCH 26, 2008

You know its a bad sign when you have to actually check the date to know what day it is. AH. But tis the life of this stay at home mom. :) I generally know when Thursdays are though because that is MY DAY to go with Houghton to class in the AM. I go to sociolinguistics. It is a totally fascinating subject (as are most subjects here I have to admit) and I am so thrilled that I am able to sit in and soak in that subject.

It has been FOREVER since I was writing in this journal so I apologize for that, but I hope to get back into it.

Days are going well. The weather is good most days, although I totally stink at knowing what to dress the kids in. It can be bitter cold in the AM and then by 9 be warm and back and forth again a thousand times before supper! But thankfully (or not so thankfully) Gwen is in the house changing her clothes about every 1 1/2 hours anyway. She seems to have this obnoxious problem with figuring out she needs to GO INSIDE to use the toilet. ARG. Havn't we already gone through all this???? I am hoping that it is a stage and she will figure it out. In the mean time I am doing A LOT of laundry! I have to say though, that it is partly my fault as I forget to have her go the the toilet any time I see her really. :) She is SO busy that she hates to slow down and I think that that is what is going on.

Si is also going a thousand miles a minute. And he has the scars to prove it. He is seriously all BOY. He is constantly busting his face into brick walls, falling out of trees, jaming his toes...etc. etc. I am a pretty tough mom, the poor guy, so he is equally a pretty tough boy who gets over pain quickly. ;)

Addy is SO CLOSE to walking. She is starting to stand up for long periods of time. She will crawl (at the speed of lightening) to any sort of object that she can pull herself up on, and will pull up and just stand there and jabber away and sway until she falls down again. She doesnt have a huge interest in walking with help though. And it is because of this that I think she may have a ways to go before taking some real steps. But we shall see.

My mom and dad are going to be coming in 10 days! WOW time has flown and I am really really looking forward to having them here. There is somthing about experiencing another country with people from home that makes overseas living much more exciting. There are so many times that we are out doing something and I see somthing that makes me think, "oh, I wish I had someone from "home" to experiencet this with". So I will enjoy that. Along with many other things I will enjoy for sure. Like seeing the kids faces light up when they see grandpa and grandma! Yes it has only been 9 months (can I say "only" when it has been that long?) but it seems that distance makes the time seem even longer!

Houghton is at a footy game tonight. It is kinda like a mix between our American football and Rugby. Footy athletes are AMAZINGLY amazing. haha. Some serious athletes there! I enjoy watching it because of the techniques that it has etc.

I went online to find "holidays" for everyday of the week. I remember ages ago when Laura and I were, hmm, not sure how old we were, we found out that there was something like National Pickle Day and so we make necklaces (yep, necklaces of all things) out of pickle slices. We kept them for such a long time. They were absolutly discusting! These little stinky shriveled up greenish things on a string. Oh that makes me laugh. ANYHOW, so I thought "how fun would that be to do with the kids?" Just silly little things each day to celebrate. So I wrote at least one for each day on the calender for the month of April and I hope to get into the habit of looking at the calender each day with the kids to see what day it is today and what crazy thing we could do together to participate in that "holiday". It will be fun I hope.

Well, I best be off to sleep. Abigail, a 3 year old girl whose parents are full time students here, comes over on Fridays to hang out with us while her parents go to class. Which means, I have to be sort of ready for the day by the time she comes in the AM. And that, my friends, is a BIG chore! ;) So off I go to get some shut eye!

DECEMBER 8, 2008

Wow, I am amazed at how time has flown. It feels like I had posted a journal after this last one...but aparently not...or maybe I didn't save it right. Anyhow. It has been a fun day today. It was family time this afternoon so after lunch we all headed to the Gibb's house to pick up a care package (YIPEE-thanks great grandma) and then off to town to stop by the market and then headed over to the park for a couple hours. It was fun. We picked up two coconuts at the market to have for drinks while at the park. (aren't you all wishing you could do that!)

Houghton, Addy, and I sat while the kids played. We talked some with people around us (once they realize that you can speak Bislama they love to chat with you...otherwise they are generally quite) We snacked on peanuts (bought from the market in little baggies-sun dried in the shell) and drank our coconuts and then when the coconut water was gone Hought hit them open (yes he is an amazing man) and we ate the meat out of them. Just a normal day at the park. :)

We then hit a take away and picked up hot dogs and hamburgers for supper. Once home we ate and corraled the kids to bed as they were exhaused. After all the kids were in bed we went out on the porch and talked with Suzanne, Timo, and Fred for about an hour while Houghton cleaned out a sore that Suzanne has on her leg. She fell a couple weeks ago and busted her leg on a rock. It kept getting worse and worse and when I finally noticed yesterday that she was still covering it up (with a leaf and vines - to keep flies off) I told Houghton to come and take a look. It was pretty nasty so he doctered her all up and he repeated the process tonight. It has a pretty bad smell to it so it is infected but it isn't sore around the wound so that is a good sign.

The four of us talked about times that they all got sick or had a sore and had to have a shot etc. It was fun. :) I LOVE talking with kids. It seems like I can relax a bit more because the conversation is light and fun. Which makes me speaking a lot more light and fun. This is also a problem as I am not learning good words for strong talk (or deeper comunication). But I still feel good talking with them as they help correct me and when I say something wrong they give the best facial expressions to let me know that I screwed up. HAHA. Love it.

Well, I am excited to hit the sack tonight. Cleaned the sheets know how that is always a joy to slip into good smelling sheets! And trust me, when something smells good enjoy it SO MUCH more! :)

Well, I am off to bed. Houghton is gone ALL DAY and I mean ALL DAY (from about 7:00 AM to 1:00 AM) tomorrow as he and Brad and Jim take a friend fishing. They have lifted a ban on a particular part of the ocean and there are a bunch of locals that are from that area going down to fish all day and Houghton and the other guys are driving Jimmy Carlo and get to soak it all in as they hang out with him. AWESOME.

NOVEMBER 22,2008

Another full day. Magareth, a friend of Laura's, came to my house along with Laura and Tania, to talk and play cards a bit. We sat under the porch on the library that SIL has here. We were asked to not have any Ni-Vanuatu up and our house while we stayed here as they have had a problem in the past with people coming up and stealing things from the house we are in and Loius and Monique's house as well. So we met down the hill and played Skip-Bo until 1:00 and I headed back up the hill to our house to meet with Monique at 2:00.

Laura stayed down and played longer with Margareth as it was a bit awekard to tell someone..okay time you go now. But they ended coming up with us after a while. So I hope that Monique wasn't put off by Margareth coming up. It was a bummer because it was what we weren't supposed to do but didn't want to hurt feelings it was a hard place to be in. But we all hung out for a while and talked and had fun. Laura and Magareth left just before the sun went down (around 5:30) and we ate Simbaro just before they left. It was a good full day.

I must get to bed now as I am singing tomorrow for church. Houghton is preaching and asked if I would sing one of the songs I wrote many moons ago as he saw that it fit with what he was preaching on. So it will be an early morning. Off I go,

NOVEMBER 21, 2008

Well, my body feels like I just did a triathlon, and my mind feels like I just talked with Einstein for the last 9 hours. I was able to go to a friends house and just hang out and make lap lap. Lap lap takes an entire day. So Tania and Gracie (our teammates) and I left Houghton and I's house with Si, Gwen and Addy at 7:45 this morning. We walked down the hill (a huge hill I might add) to meet up with Winnie or her kids so they could walk us to their house as I couldn't remember how to get there. So we were all a bit confused on where to meet up (apparently as I thought we were sitting and waiting at the right spot, but her kids were waiting at another) so THANK GOODNESS after waiting an hour in the sun, Rebekkah a friend of Winnie's who lives by her and knows me came by and saw us waiting and I talked with her a bit and found out that we needed to go up the hill (this is another hill mind you) to meet up with Winnie's kids, Beverly and Joshua.
As soon as we realized this, we promptly took off and saw Beverly and Joshua as soon as we rounded the bend. BUMMER! I thought as I pulled up the grumpy Gwenny. She was tired of waiting in the hot sun with nothing to do except complain. But they did remarkably well, considering.
So we got up to Winnie's house about an hour later than hoping, but all was well. We talked a bit and then got to making lap lap. Starting out by cleaning the yams and grating them into a mush. I has Hought buy the wild yams in Ambrym while he was there a couple weeks ago. They were very ready to be eaten up. If we would have waited a couple more days, I think they would have rot.
It was a good, but very full day. We cooked and talked until about 2:30. If you are curious about lap lap check up Laura's blog and search "lap lap" and you will have a ton of info on it with video and pics and all that....
After a full day of talking Bislama, chasing the kids, and being out in the hot sun with never enough water....I was exhausted! So when it was time to come home, we took a bus! Lazy me! But Addy was sleeping in the sling on Winnie, Gwen was amazingly tired as well, and Si wasn't going to fuss about being able to ride instead of walk.
I have a ton of phrases that I am saying wrong in I am bummed as I know that I keep using them forgetting that they are incorrect. Get the point across but incorrect. So that is a huge step. But I have to say that it is SO awesome to be able to talk a little...LONG way to go...but talk a little.

NOVEMBER 17, 2008

You know that you have been here a while when you no longer scream when a cockroach flies at your face. It just happen a couple minutes ago. Mind you, this cockroach was HUGE, well they all are here, at least 2 inches. But this was probably 3. I cannot say that I wasn't freaking out as it randomly fluttered at my face, but I didn't scream... maybe because I have three babies sleeping now. :)

For some reason I have been quite tired lately. Maybe the weather draining the body. Maybe not drinking enough. Etc. Not quite sure.

I am going to be making some fun food with Monique this week. I am looking forward to that. Luois (pretty sure I spell his name different every time I type it ha ha) brought over some lap lap that he made. It was the best lap lap I have had here yet. He is AWESOME at cooking with spices.

I love living here in this particular house. Having this family just outside our doorstep is so wonderful. We often do supper exchange...they will bring over some mangoes (these mangoes you can eat the skin...wild huh?) or some yam or WHATEVER and then when they need something I usually have it or just randomly offer whatever food they would like etc... They are good friends and I am thankful for them.

The only downer there is to living on SIL missionary care grounds is that we cannot (by policy) have Ni-Vans over to the house. I cannot totally understand this policy as it is wrapped up in a cultural thing that I don't totally understand yet...but I am thankful that we can meet on the lawn down from our house and hang out.

I am getting a bit anxious for SIL training in Australia. Its all a bit intimidating to be going to learn things that will impact how you will TRANSLATE THE BIBLE into someones language that you will have to learn. CRAZY how sometimes the whole reality of what we are doing here strikes me and brings me humbly before the Throne knowing that I CANNOT do this in and of myself. There is NOTHING in ME that can go back to school with three kiddos, and then also support Houghton as he studies intensely, all while there are kangaroos hopping around in my backyard. Ha ha. And why are you (who is reading this) not a missionary? What a JOB huh????? But as I already stated it is an incredible thought that God thought I could handle this immense task. I still question that daily.

Well, my brain is slowly falling out of my eyes as I am tired to the bone. ;) Off to bed I head....

NOVEMBER 8, 2008

Well well, I finally have a little time to breathe. Well, really I have about a million things I
should be doing now but decided to put off because, well, I can! Seems like it has been a month of sickies these last few weeks. We started off with Gwen puking and diareah followed by Si, then I got it, then Houghton, and now Addy is now just getting over Dengue Fever! Dengue, if you aren't familiar with it, can be an awful disease. It is also called the "bone crushing" disease. It starts with high fever, accompanied with serious bone and joint pain. As the fever begins to subside after a couple days you are then covered with an itchy rash all the while the bone and joint pain continues. Addy started this out with high fevers. For a couple days (about 4) she had temps up in the 100's once reaching 104 (when I checked anyway). I thought she was just having a case of the flu but as she started to begin fussing every time she moved (poor thing) Houghton started suspecting she had dengue and on Thursday the rash came to confirm his suspition. Today is Saturday and she is feeling so much better. Her fever did eventually break Wednesday night and rise again just a little on Thursday, but since she has been feeling much better with the exception of an occasional fuss when I think her body hurts. She has been such a trooper! Her rash is nearly gone today so I am thinking by the beginning of next week she will be much better.
I guess there are four different strands of Dengue Fever and apparently the one going through Vila at this time is a mild one thankfully! We know several people, Laura among them, who suffered from Dengue this time around. Houghton found info saying that once someone has suffered from one strand of Dengue that person will not be effected by the same strand again. So Addy is 1 down 3 to go! :) I thank God that she is over it and that it was mild.
Life seems to be moving at a fast pace. I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Talking with our teammates last night, we figured that they only way we will remember what season it is is by the fruit that is in the market. When we start seeing mangoes, we know that it is fall, when pineapples start to show up, Thanksgiving, avocado's means Christmas....:) it is kind of a funny way to know the season. But when we are without snow and see not much change in the is how we will know I guess. ;)
Well, I am hoping that we will be able to get some time this week to take the kids to the beach. Houghton is sick yet, so we are waiting that out so he can be feeling good when we go out. He also happen to cut his finger badly while carving Si an arrow and so he has been nursing his finger. Cuts here can become serious very quickly as the climate is so humid and there are SO many nasty germs out he has to take it more serious then he would have to in the states.
Gwen has been doing well with potty training. She will go pee all day long in the potty and I am SO thankful. It is annoying just because the toilet is too big and I have to lift her I am taking a thousand trips to the bathroom. But she is terrified to poo in the toilet so that is another matter. But soon I hope. I am amazed at how much less diaper washing i have to do...LOVE it. I cannot remember what it was like to not have kids in diapers...well I guess it has been 4 years. :) And more years to come.
Well, I am wanting to put up some more pics. So I best get to it while Addy naps.

OCTOBER 27,2008

Wow, sorry I haven't written for a while. I was off to bed when I thought that I should post a quick little entry. This week has been great and hard all in one little package. This week brought Houghton to another island for 8 days, the flu to all of us except Addy (Praise God), a successful survey trip, a successful survival week without Dad, and a great chance to grow even more in Bislama. It has been a busy week.
I have been very blessed to be able to talk with Suzanne, a 10 year old who is the daughter of Lewi and Monique (see other entries for more details of this family), a lot this past week. Si and Gwen have played with her day in and day out when she comes home from school. She is a wonderful young lady and a ton of fun for the kids.
I had her eat with us a couple times this week as her dad has gone back to Epi (his "home" island) for a couple weeks, and her mom has been away at work and visiting friends a lot. Whenever the kids are outside on our porch with her I try to make it out there too just to talk with Suzanne more.
I have to say that I am thrilled that I can just TALK and not really have to think too much when I am with her. I love it. Granted we are just hanging out and talking about random things and nothing of too much importance...but I can just talk. It has been great.
Rained A LOT this week. I am hoping that it doesn't rain tomorrow AM as I want to get my shopping done as quickly as possible so I can bust home and get me and the kids ready (we want to dress nicely - well as nicely as we can as I didn't really bring nice clothes for me :) ) for when dad comes home. We will be heading to the airport to see his plane land just around lunch time. Arian comes in the AM and so I will have her give the kids some lunch while I am still out shopping and so they will not be crabby and hungry while we wait for Houghton. That would be a great way to ruin the whole experience....
feel totally comfortable leaving us all home (well comfortable in that I am capable and not a On that note...BOY AM I READY FOR DAD TO BE HOME. This week has been a real proving week for me. There are some definite things that I need to change in my mothering otherwise I fear we all will not make it another day. :) I want (and I need for that matter) to let Houghtonlunatic with our kids....I totally looked this way a lot this week unfortunately) and so he can focus on the HUGE task of surveying out villages and peoples to which God may be calling us....HELLO THIS IS HUGE and I really want him to be able to do this without thinking...WOW, I hope my kids and wife are still in one piece back home. Ya know?
All this randomness being said...cannot wait to have dad home for a while. We are not sure how long he will be home until the next trip. He is waiting on a boat. Literally. There is a boat that is going to take a SIL families truck to Tanna (a southern island) that is needing repairs and as soon as these repairs are made...the guys are accompanying Ken (SIL translator) to Tanna to help him set up his house for his family to move back in (they have been on furlough). This family has been waiting on the boat for months it could be days or weeks...or maybe not even while we are still here.
Well, I have rambled enough now I think. And I best be off to bed with just one fun story to leave you with.
So if you have been following the pics on our blog at all you will remember the pic of the ENORMOUS gecko that has lived with us since we first moved here. We first saw him a couple days after coming and then Si, Gwen and I saw him again last week during bath time....well tonight he reappeared! Si and I were sitting in the living room putting off bedtime as much as possible and we saw him above my computer...just where I am sitting now to be specific....AND I ran and got Suzanne and told her to come and took at the GIANT gecko. She is a master at catching them so I put her up to the job. Sure enough she caught the beast (not without breaking its tail though...their tails always break and fall off and then grow back...kinda gross). You will have to check back to the pics on the blog as soon as I get a chance to post the new pics. She is my HERO...I am glad to have the creature out of my house. Although he probably was responsible for a lot of cockroach deaths in the it was kinda a toss up whether to let him outside or not.
That is my story for tonight...and now I'm off to bed! Hoping the kids decide to sleep in longer tomorrow than they did this AM...5:00! Argh.

OCTOBER 18, 2008

I just sat down, for the second time tonight now...hope this time is to last for a while (Addy woke right when my butt hit the seat...ya know)!? Today was busy busy it seemed. Gwen caught the flu so Hought was up with her all night while she puked the poor thing...but thank God she hasn't done it again since early morning this morning so we went all day without any episodes. Seems like Si and Addy are safe from it too so far...God has been so gracious to us! Si and I went with Addy to town all morning to get out of the house and so Gwen could rest and hang out with Houghton. We went to an American Cafe that is here and had blueberry pancakes. AWESOME! Haven't had those for months! And then we buzzed past the park so I could feed Addy and Si could burn some energy. Headed into a supermarket to get some various items and then went to a Chinese store (there are a TON here as all the businesses are run by the Chinese for the most part) and bought a movie for Si. Its funny...the movies you buy here are TOTALLY illegal...well in any other country they are that is. They have about 12 movies on one disk. We bought an animated themed movie so Si will be set forever.
We then headed back up to the house via bus. I got to sit next to an older guy who chatted with me all the way home (it takes about 1/2 hour as there are TONS of stops) in Bislama. So that is ALWAYS awesome to get some more speaking time. It is amazing how the kids open up conversations. Especially Addy. I can talk with ANYONE when I have her with me. It is awesome. They just love kids here.
Got home and made lunch, put Gwen to bed...sent Si outside (about 15 times as he kept coming in looking for things as you well know) and did laundry. Finally got Addy to take a nap and I got a small one in myself (YEAH). Woke up and finished laundry, got the kids settled into a snack etc. and then cleaned a bit. Houghton made supper (he is awesome by the way :) ) and then i just chilled with kids. Put them to bed, a couple different times, and then finished laundry, dishes, cleaned the bathroom, and took a shower!!!!! WOW... a busy day... All this done, I hope tomorrow is a bit more relaxing. I will be stayin home from church since Gwen is still on the mend.

Things are similar here to what I would be doing there...isn't that amazing. Just in a different language and style. Today was amazingly hot so I am SO THANKFUL for showers. They REALLY help.

OCTOBER 17, 2008

Went to a wedding this morning. It was in a nearby village called Pango. Arian, my housegirl, asked me if we would want to go. Her uncle was one of the ones getting married. I say "one of the ones" because there were three couples that were married during that same wedding. It was a christian wedding ceremony so it wasn't all that different than one in the states. They have kustom weddings and christian weddings. I am not too sure what a kustom wedding entails as I have not experienced one yet...but I know that they are quite different that what I am used to and differ largely from the religious ones. After the wedding I got to meet all of Arian's family...and I mean ALL (well some very well may have been absent but I wouldn't have known). I think there were probably 50 people there. I got to help (mostly watch) them prepare salads. Cole Slaw type salad with carrots and cucumbers. They tasted amazing and looked even better. I told them that in America we would just plop it on a platter and call it good but these ladies where making the Cole slaw look so pretty. It was great. We ate salad, rice and then beef, kumala, and taro were all cooked in a bunia. A bunia is like a big BBQ thing only in the ground. So maybe a mix between a BBQ and an oven. It tasted amazing!
The kids did pretty good throughout. Gwen, Addy and I spent most of the actual ceremony outside just to keep cool and also to keep busy. Si and Hought sat inside. It has rained all week so today it was pretty muggy and it rained off and on. Thankfully it was dry that morning while we were in Pango.
The kids ate with me on mats close to the bush kitchen with the other "mama's" and Houghton sat a ways off with all the other guys at a decorated table. Interesting. :) But very fun to be able to talk with all the ladies and watch them interact with each other etc. I would have liked to stay later but it was creeping past Gwens nap time and it began to show so we had to head back home.
Me and the kids went home, Houghton went to a meeting that took up the rest of his day. He is quite busy these days. But all necessary and good.
Houghton will take off next week for a week of survey on the island of Ambrum with the other guys on our team, Jim and Brad. Laura too will be gone all week but she is going to the island of Santo to take part in a conference going on there. So the kids and I will be hanging out sans papa. The Jones (Amber and two kiddos) and Kenners (Tania, and two kiddos) will also be staying here in Vila so we all will have to get together and I might utilize Gracie (Kenner oldest) to come and help me that week...we shall see.
Well, looks as if Gwen is going to be sick tonight... flu going around something awful so I am hoping she will not have the worse of it!

OCTOBER 11, 2008

Had some friends over for supper tonight. It was great to chat with them this afternoon and into evening. I found myself getting lonely this week. Although I am surrounded by people...I just wanted to be with FRIENDS. To be able to talk, to hang out within the culture that I KNOW and relax. I cannot thank God enough for organizing a team of families for us to work with. I CANNOT imagine going into a village as just our family and doing a translation or whatever work within a village. Correction, I CAN imagine it and I know that I couldn’t do it. No matter how long you live with a people, I think that you will never completely feel like one of them. We come from different backgrounds, lifestyles, languages, etc. etc. and there is a lot to say in feeling at home within a culture.
I don’t feel homesick necessarily but it is such a relief to be able to know how to act within situations etc. like when we are in our home interacting with other Americans.
What a huge eye opener to how DIFFERENT cultures are. They go FAR BEYOND a language and way of doing particular daily activities. A totally different way of verbal communication, non-verbal communication, ideals, expectations, thought process, work ethic, EVERYTHING imaginable. It is so exhausting to begin to try and pry into this change and to be able to start and wrap my brain around it just to try and fit in, much less blend in. YIPES. What a comfort to know that GOD called us to this work and that we didn’t just decide to do it on our own. I don’t think anyone could ever do this alone without HIS help!!!!!
Got a new bed for Addy today. What a blessing as I have been nervous about her sleeping on her own because of bug and whatnot...killed two centipedes this week. One yesterday on the porch and one today in our toy room! A bit unnerving as they are deadly to children.
But a friend here had a small pack-n-play that they no longer needed so we were able to use it and I feel comfortable with her in it by our bed. So Hought and I finally have our bed back. It has been a long while since Addy wasn’t sleeping with us. Not the ideal for us (or probably her) but that was the way it has worked out for the last 7 months. I am looking forward to stretch out a bit tonight.
Having a hard time finding time for just our family. WIth SO MUCh to do everyday it seems that by the time that we can all get together it is either nap time (just after lunch) or it is dark already outside (by about 5:45 PM). It has been a bummer for me as I LOVE spending time with Houghton and the kids. Just us. I am hopping that we will be able to find a time before Houghton takes off for Tanna for survey work. Looks like that time is coming soon.
Needing some I go....

OCTOBER 8,2008

Man oh man, is it seriously October? I TOTALLY loose track of time here. Since seasons are all different I cannot keep track of the season either...much less the month or day for that matter. YIPES. I need to be careful to not just let each day slip past me! I find myself just surviving. Not living like Christ was coming back any moment but just making it through another day. Houghton and I are starting a new book together that is called "Leading from the inside out". Using the ideas of goal setting...not just to have something to accomplish and cross off a list but to actually USE the God given abilities, talents, family, dreams, passions etc. to bring about an awesome purpose-filled life that is God honoring by using things He has placed in your life to bring about glory to Himself. So I can highly recommend this book if you are up for a new book.

When I look around online, I notice that Halloween is around the corner (as I am here I obviously don't pay attention to some American holidays that we didn't choose to celebrate here) and it again reminds me that I am NOT in America anymore. It was just another wake up call that all that I know and am used to is changing at a rapid pace. I thought I would be fine and it would be an easy transition...I think I was correct in thinking this for the most part but really it is an easy transition only because of the ignorance that things are going on (i.e. Halloween, fall, thanksgiving etc.) when I don't have any reminders here. I really hope to instill a passion for celebrating with my kids. Especially with thanksgiving...etc. So if anyone runs across some fun holidays that are coming up...I WOULD LOVE a reminder, as I loose track of time so easily here.

I am starting to get into tea drinking before bed. It is kinda funny. Because of the Australian and French influence here, there are some circles that ask if you want tea or coffee around 10:00 or so in the AM. I gladly accepted when I was out at a friends one day and found that I REALLY like tea with milk and sugar. Plus I can chase it all down with some cookies :) and who wouldn't do that? So I am drinking a cup as I type tonight. Just black tea as tea here is SUPER expensive if you want anything flavored. A treat for some days I choose a blackberry tea. Fun. Another thing that I will put on my care package list... flavored teas. :)

Addy the poor thing, fell off the bed today. She is SO quiet when she wakes up that even though I was sitting outside the room I didn't hear her wake up until I heard her hit the floor and cry out. Break my heart the poor dear got a bloody nose even. Her lip is busted up and swollen, along with her nose. I feel AWFUL as I should have just been putting pillows around her, even when I was outside the room. She is such a trooper though. As soon as I picked her up she stopped crying and was laughing almost instantly...all through her stuffed, bloody snorty nose. What a dear. Just another lesson for mom eh?

Looks like the guys may be heading out to another island sometime coming up soon. I am excited as this just makes it all a bit more real, but anxious as it means that we will be missing Houghton terribly. Lots of people to keep us company though.

Si and Gwen play nearly all day outside. Most of their time is spent with Suzanne (our grounds keepers daughter) She is wonderful and seems to love playing with the kids. They will play hid and seek, sing songs, chase, build castles in the sand, and most importantly and by far their favorite - catch geckos. Suzanne has a knack for getting the quick little (or sometimes not so little) critters. I do need to be careful though as Si and Gwen will play all the time with her and it may be that she wants a break from them but because of their culture they will not say "no". So I must be aware of that and keep an eye out for some body language from her.

Well, I must get to updating the blog with pictures. And drinking my tea...of course. :)

SEPTEMBER 30. 2008

Shopping day today. Had a good day at the market as I wandered about looking for things. It is always interesting to see how much I can carry while I also have Addy in the sling. I’m sure I am quite a spectacle. But just holding a white baby is a spectacle in and of itself. It would be SO MUCH easier to do my shopping without her. However, she is such a blessing to have with me as she will call attention (people remember me this way, etc.) in such a way that I can have a TON of contact with people whereas if I was alone, I would just be another white person.

This afternoon we had a play date with a lady that we met a couple weeks ago. We met with her daughter and granddaughter along with two friends while Houghton and Jim (Kenner) met with her two sons. We met at the park and the kids played while we sat and talked. I have been having numb brain for a couple days. It is hard to continuously have to THINK to just carry on a conversation. I SO WANT to just be able to relax and hang out and just talk when something comes to mind and sit quietly when nothing comes to mind. But this is not possible and so I felt bad when Laura had to carry most of the conversation with them. I contributed a small amount but have to say that when the kids would come up and need something it was a welcomed interruption for me. I need to pray more for this I think. I don’t want to shut off just because it is hard. This is my natural tendency. Hard things don’t go well with me.

Speaking of hard things...Si was playing with the kids at the park ( he goes all for it...wrestling in the sand with the kids etc. He would also jump right into the bay if I let him (it is about 7 feet deep...hence why he cannot jump in)) and he cracked his head on a monkey so hard that he had a two inch bump coming out of the back of his head. I haven’t seen a bump that big in my life (granted my life experience of bumps is very limited) the poor guy. As we put him to get tonight he was like “how can I sleep when I cannot put my head down?”. Good point! But he managed just fine.

Time to just relax a bit before heading to bed.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2008

Our teammates came this morning. What a joy to meet them at the airport and welcome them to Vanuatu! Only by God's grace have we been able to all be here in Port Vila, Vanuatu together with each unit (Jones, Kenner, us, and Laura) being financially ready to spend this time here in Vanuatu and also in Australia during our training. God has raised up amazing people to support each team member through prayer and through financial giving. I feel that our team has been prayed for on such a HUGE scale that I feel incredibly humble and endepted to all those who have committed to this.
I was pumped to all be in the same house together sitting around and chatting...not skipping a beat like we have all been together for years. God is good and has brought the specific people to this team that He knows are needed to complete His desire among the ni-vans here. Makes me feel SUPER intimidated being in on such a plan.
I have come down with a cold and therefore, I have lost my voice...not the best timing...but thankful that I am feeling okay. Although I do feel like I could sleep for a couple days and then would feel even more better! Doesn't seem like that is an option with the kids at the ages they are. :) All you moms out there know that when mom is goes on! Pitty party for me.. :)
We ate kumala, coconut milk, and rice for lunch with the Kenners and then just our family had the leftovers for supper. Kids weren't too thrilled and didn't eat any of it for supper. So they went to bed hungry tonight. I would mind as much (because it is all about training them) if they didn't wake up SUPER early because thier tummies are hungry.
I am amazed at how selfish I naturally am. I would LOVE to just hide out and sleep for a while, and just clean and clean my house so it was just how I wanted it to be...and then life could go on. Pray that I would ENJOY pouring myself into the ministry and family etc that I have at the moment. As many of you are experiencing and is unpredicable (but not God - thankfully) and every moment precious! I need help remembering this as each moment passes!
I hope to sweep and mop the house tomorrow morning. As well as do a couple loads of laundry...LOTS to do tomorrow morning. I wasn't feeling well yesterday and therefore didn't get anything done. And then today was full of picking up the Jones and Kenners and hanging out with them so I didn't get house work done today I am behind. My shopping day (normally tues) was pushed to thurs. so we are getting by on things that we had around the house until I can get fresh grocery. Crazy week. But SO GOOD.
I LOVE that we now have people (teammates) that we will see regularly that I can hug on. Not that I am a super huggy person but I have realized that hugging is one thing I missed. After about 7 weeks of not having anyone around that could give you a hug (other than hought of course) it was starting to hit me that I really just wanted a good squishy hug. :)
Off to bed I think to help repair my tired, sore body.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2008

We just got our internet working on my computer today. So when I pulled up a browser it said “google vanuatu”. I got such a kick out of it! Just a little reminder that I am IN VANUATU now. Hehe. Silly how my everyday life screams that I an here but just seeing that word on my computer screen was fun for me.
Today was fun. Houghton went with me as I did my normal Tuesday grocery shopping. Which I was SO GLAD for because there were several things that I wanted to buy at the market that were large things and I just cannot carry them around and having HOughton there made it all possible. SO we were able to get a basket of kumala (sweet potatoes) which weighs about 20 lb.., some bananas, some cooking bananas (look like normal bananas but on steroids), bok choy, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and island cabbage. All on a bus mind you. AND this was only what we got at the market...we still had some supermarket food stuffed in Hought’s backpack and I was carrying a heavy large bag of stuff as well. BUT we got it all on our bus ride no problem. So this week we saved 1000 vatu by not needing a taxi. AWESOME.
Had tacos tonight. Always yummy. We can get those ingredients pretty easily. With the exception of the tortillas. You can buy them at the stores here but they can be pricy...although we found a wholesale store that we were able to get them much cheaper when bought in bulk...SO we have an entire BOX of tortillas. Kinda funny. But well worth it as we will eat tacos and fajitas a lot. Also used good with peanut butter or Nutella for kid’s snacks.
After tacos, we had some other SIL missionaries over for dessert and to hang out. They have four kiddos and it was a treat for the kids to run around the house playing all sorts of games and to talk with Ken and Mendy a bit. Laura came over too. We ate Kumala pudding. Made by shredding sweet potatoes, and then cooking them in sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Not bad but I need to make some adjustments on the recipe I think.
Arian came today so I could go to the market. The kids LOVE hanging out with her and she is SO great to me! I get home and the house is all tidy and the kids are happy. It is such a blessing to have this time.
During our time in town today we ran into a boy (Atkin) who we had met a couple weeks ago while eating at the market. He is 9-ish and is the SWEETEST thing to Si and Gwen. Last week we saw him at the park in town and he played FOREVER with Si and they were everywhere...down to the water, up to the park, over to look at some water floaty ride thingys...etc. and he would help Si climb and push him on swings...and on and on. SOOOOOOO back to today. We ran into him and he followed Hought and I aground all morning just talking with us and helping us carry the stuff around the market. He was SO intrigued by the internet (we went to a cafe on the waterfront that has wireless as we didn’t have Internet at the house yet and wanted to check e-mails) He sat next to Houghton and just watched and watched Houghton as Hought just typed and responded and downloaded emails.
I guess he is normally in school in the AM but his teacher died yesterday. Weird. So he didn’t have to go to class until he gets new one I guess.
So nice to be connected with everyone again with Internet! I am uploading pics now. Hope to get everyone caught up soon!


Cannot believe that in 10 days Gwen will turn 2 years old! Wow. Time flies. Every time I look at her it feels like I haven’t looked at her in weeks. It seems like she is changing that much. She was being such a sweetheart tonight. She has this new fascination with putting everything to bed. Today she was taking this little hand that broke off one of Si’s army men and wrapping it in leaves and saying that it was going “night, night”. So apparently ALL things need sleep...
Which brings me to my next entry. Sleep. Feels like this is something that will never work itself out. Will it? I pray so. No matter what time we get to bed, the kids are up by just before 6:00. Which of course, as anyone can see, means that bed time is early as well. About 7:00 PM. This proves to be difficult as night life here starts at about 7:00. So if anything is going on in the evening that we are invited to, it starts at the time that our kids need to be in bed. Tis life as a parent of 3 under 4 I suppose. But hey, this is my journal and I can gripe about whatever I want right?!
Arian came today, as today was/is Thursday. She does the sweeping (that God) and then helps with other random things. Today she cleaned out the fridge...a MUCH needed chore. I find that there is ALWAYS something else that could be cleaned just near by whatever she is working on so that has helped with our conversations. They are limited as I can never think of how to phrase my thoughts totally due time. Arian is just a blessing and I am hoping and praying that our business relationship (as she is our house-girl and gets paid to help out) will also turn into a friendship. This is something that I feel lonely for. As I am an alien in a strange land...a land in which I cannot totally be myself because I cannot communicate clearly...I long for normal everyday conversational friendships. God knows and He has been good to make this longing be bearable. Thankfully this time will soon pass and life here will become the only life I know.
I struggle to remember why we are here sometimes. Who am I kidding...A LOT of times. It seems like life in general takes up so much energy and time in a day that my thoughts seems to be shallow and I easily forget that I am here to be a spokesperson for Christ. I pray my life shows His love and goodness. In a country (or city rather) that is saturated with the name of Christ in one way or another it is easy to not feel the need. But there are PLENTY of people here don’t have a true idea of who Christ is and the message of salvation. There is a lot of messengers here but also a lot of messages coming through unfortunately.


I think today I really miss milk. In Vanuatu they only have shelf milk and powdered milk. Sad, very sad, excuse for a nice cold glass of white goodness. I LOVE milk. When we were back in the states our family would go through three gallons a week. INSAIN. So I kinda miss that. I suppose I will get used to powdered though. Just in time for us to get goats (when we life in the bush) and have to start liking a different tasting milk all together.
But if living here has only brought me a homesickness for milk, then Praise God.
What a blessing to have Hought back. He has been around the house for the last couple days just so we can all hang out as a family. I LOVE IT. I am excited for supper. I am going to be grating and squeezing a coconut and will cut up some yams and kumala. We pour the milk over the veggies. YUM YUM.
I am starting to understand most conversations in Bislama. I want to just talk so badly without having to be so brain dead. It feels like if I can hear and understand I should be able to speak but I forget how to say stupid duh things like...what and how and why. ARGH....all in due time. God has been so gracious by putting helpful Bislama speakers in our lives. I LOVE that we live SUPER (just outside our door nearly) to the Ni-Van family that work here on the SIL grounds. There are some houses down the hill a ways that we could have easily been housed at...but God was good and placed us here at this house until November to learn from Louis and Monique.
Every time I look at Addy I laugh. She has the goofiest facial expressions and is just a ham! Just eye contact with her makes her laugh like none other, so I get laughing and we laugh together. Its great. She ADORES Si. He will just walk towards her and she gets SO excited and giddy. Gwen is starting to be more gentle with her and want to kiss and cuddle her. I am so thrilled.
Addy is going to start baby cereal soon. I am kinda holding off on it (she is 5 months old) because it is AMAZINGLY expensive here as you can imagine and she isn’t suffering for more food. Whenever we go out everyone ALWAYS comments on how “fat,fat” she is. Pretty funny. Praise God, she is a healthy little thing.
Gwen has been suffering from diaper rash. Because she has been suffering from diarrhea because she has been suffering from the fact that she puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. She is constantly eating things off the ground (no matter where we are). Yesterday we were at the beach and she found a chip on a beach chair thing...and of course ate it and said yummy. So I am sure she has all kinds of bugs going through her little system. I am ready for that stage to be over.
I am bummed that we cannot figure out the internet for my computer. I have to use Houghts to update our blog and website and I frankly don’t like his computer. It has quirks that I am not used to and don’t appreciate so much. :) So I look forward to getting this computer up and running so I can update everything more effectively. I also really want to put our video clips online and haven't been able to do so. Everything I try doesn’t work. I pray to find a solution so everyone back in the states can see a bit of a different side of our life here. I LOVE to be as informative as possible for people back home. I was on that sending side and wished to see a bit more of what life looked now that I can do that for you...I want to do so badly. Soon I hope, soon.

AUGUST 28, 2008

I am looking for a miracle drug. I need a lifetime supply of un-grumpy pills. They need to be able to be used by children...and if there isn’t any available for children...then is their a pill for consistent parenting for adults? Today was such a battle....but lets not start with today.. lets start with last night.
Laura came over yesterday afternoon to bring over some kumalas (or sweet potato) for the island kakae (food) that I would be making for lunch. She was on her way to visit with a young lady she met at a Bible study. So we all tagged along.
It is about a 1/2 hour walk to town from where we live. Normally 10 minutes, but with 3 kids, 1/2 an hour. And naturally Si had to pee along the way. Gotta love the looks you get when you got a little white booty flashing everyone who drives/walks by. But, ‘tis the way it goes sometimes :). Kids did WONDERFUL. Walking for so long is NOT EASY. We left the house at about 3:30 and walked to town and then around town until about 5;30. We enjoyed some cooking from the “mama’s” at the market. A plate of rice, steak, and cucumber for 350 vatu. Talked a bit with the people who hang out at the market
(People come from all around Vanuatu to sell produce at the outdoor market. They sleep there overnight and sell all day for a full week and then start over again the next week. I am not totally sure how all this works as I only get explanations in Bislama and I only get gist's at this point.)
After eating at the market and visiting, we headed over to the park so Addy could eat. She is THE BEST little thing. She didn’t fuss about being hungry all afternoon (I fed her about 2 hours before we left for the market- so it had easily been 6 hours since she ate last). The whole time we were eating at the market ladies passed her around and walked with her so I could eat. The people here LOVE kids. Even boys of all ages (the weirdest to see is guys my age - 20’s - come up and kiss and squeeze on the kids. It is great. They also love to feel Si’s hair.)
At the park Laura played with the kids and I sat (and fed Addy) with a Ni-Van woman and talked with her for about an hour. As it was getting very dark, we needed to head back (by bus). It is still not tally safe at night here. Especially for women traveling alone. It is good that Laura and I were together with the kids but still not the best to stay out late. We have heard many stories of why this is unfortunately true.
SO... last night the kids did AWESOME. No huge gripe fests and they walked a ton...did awesome... I was so proud of them!
Today was so difficult for me (and for them I imagine) Morning was good for the most part...other than Si not eating Breakfast...Arian came this morning. I hired her as a house girl to come 3 days a week and help me with some cleaning, cooking (of island food), and watching the kids so I can do internet stuff ( as soon as internet is working that is). She is a sweetie. Her father is the Prespetarian pastor in a village just outside Port Vila. She is 21 and single. She talks faster than I would hope but I suppose that is good to help me with getting used to a quick (although not as quick as most speakers) speed with talking Bislama. She comes tuesday, thursday, and fridays.
This afternoon was a constant kid battle. I get so frustrated. All you moms of more than 1 kid out there can agree that it seems like someone (out of all the kids) is ALWAYS either crying, fussing, hitting, biting, hurting themselves, etc. etc. at every moment. I can only imagine that this feeling only increases with the number of kids. I am only at 3 and I feel this way. I would LOVE to have more kids..but will gladly (GOd willing) wait a while. They are a true blessing but I just have to remind myself of this after a day like today.
But Houghton will call soon and I am excited for that!!!!

AUGUST 26, 2008

Seems like the days are longer when Houghton is away.
Today was Tuesday which means that it was my shopping day. I went to the “supermarket” and then to the outdoor market and then to some bulk supply warehouses. Laura went with me today and we took the kiddos along. Not too bad...lots of snacks and sweets were involved. It was a long morning for them I am sure. But we survived just fine. We have to hire out a taxi for the morning as we cannot carry all of our stuff on a bus with multiple stops. Plus we found you get really nasty looks from not only the driver but also other passengers if you are taking up too much room because of sacks etc. So, taxi it is. Jane Gibb recommended a driver, Elder Willy, to me and so I have used him two weeks in a row. I guess he is part of a political party that is running (election next Tues.) and if his party wins he will not be driving taxi anymore. BUMMER. It is super hard to find a reliable driver here. One who will actually pick you up at the time to ask etc. It costs me 900 vatu for him to take me to about 3 stops (about an hour-ish). That is roughly $9.00 in US currency.
SIL (housing where we are staying) has a grounds keeper who lives just out our door with his wife and oldest daughter (also has twin boys living on another island going to school). Louis and Monique, daughter Suzanne. Houghton works daily with Louis and another hired help, Joe, clearing brush and doing various things around the grounds. He has picked up Bislama quickly that way. Monique was gone for the first two weeks we were here but has just come back this last weekend. She has been super helpful for me to learn more Bislama as I am more able to hang out with her than the guys. She is willing to correct me when I say something wrong which is WONDERFUL as most Ni-Vanuatu know what you are trying to say and just let it we keep making mistake without knowing. So they have been a huge help to us. They also LOVE teaching SI and Gwenny some words here and there and hearing them speak Bislama. It is pretty cute. Slowly but surely.
My back has been hurting lately. It is frustrating as there is not much you can do. The furniture here are pretty old and uncomfortable. Including the bed mattresses. So I am looking forward to having our own furniture when we live here permanently. Otherwise the home we are staying in until Nov. is wonderful. A view that cannot be beat and tons of space for an awesome price per month. Praise God for His goodness and provision.
My sleeping is still a bit off. I am exhausted by now. It is not quite 8:30. And Jesiah has been waking up promptly just before 6:00. I don’t like waking up to him telling me “mama, its time to get up!” He is so sweet but not what my ears want to hear when you are tired. Poor thing.
Kids can tell when dads away. Moms more cranky and I get frustrated a lot sooner. And therefore they too are more cranky and irritable about EVERYTHING. Seems that someone is always crying. But tis the days of having 3 under 4 years old!!!!
Off to bed I go, at just 8:27 p.m..

AUGUST 23, 2008

As I sit and type, I can hear the cockroaches scurrying! I think I killed approximately 15 tonight. The kids before heading to bed had a great time going on a bug hunt. They alone killed about 5. Si and Gwen would take turns scooping them up with the dust pan and throwing them away. It was pretty fun actually. But now that they are sleeping and I am still on the has gotten old. I would just squash the cockroaches and then leave them till morning for them to scoop up (they would LOVE it) but for some reason I have found that they have a way of disappearing. I stepped on one outside while I was soaking diapers this evening and then to my (after about an hour) literally came back to life and scurried away. WOW what an amazing testament to the curse eh? Well they have taught me to be more thorough in my picking up after meals. One that the kids and I killed was enjoying some of Gwen’s leftovers (crumbs on her chair). Seriously gross. But hey, if that is all I can complain about tonight...THANK GOD! And like I said earlier, if the kids were still awake...they would actually be fun to chase. I think we have started a Vanuatu nightly routine of bug chasing before bed. (along with the singing, BIble stories and praying of course!!! We are missionaries ya know) :)
Houghton left this morning for Malekula. I am always taken aback by how much I miss him, nearly instantly. If I knew he was coming back that night and was only heading off to problem (well not as much anyway) but just knowing that it will be so long before he is here with us just gets me. I am sure family and friends may have felt that way when we took off on this adventure. We were a bit blessed I think because it was all such a blur for us. God has been good and I have been enjoying it here. Now that Hought is gone, I feel a bit more lonesome and miss “home” though. I pray that I would find companionship in Christ in such a way that I would not be dependent on Houghton for my feeling of completeness. I always worry about loosing him. Normal I suppose for any spouse. But I feel guilty that I have such weight in that relationship. May Christ be real to me these days as I seek out friendship in an unfamiliar place.
Language is coming slowly. It is SO intimidating to leave the house knowing that you cannot just hang out with anyone you see and chat...I can easily talk about my kids though. It seems that that is always the conversation that comes up and so I am pretty good at communicating that way. But after I have talked about their names, ages, and how good (and fat) Addy is (for some reason she is ALWAYS referred to as “fat, fat” :) pretty funny), and after I have explained why we are hear, where we are living, how long we have been here and when we will be leaving.....the conversation is about over on my end...argh...soon enough. Hey it has only be 2 1/2 weeks.
I think I maybe got most of the cockroaches from the house!!!! Since I have been typing I haven’t seen a one... which at this time of night is a miracle as they are running all over usually. YIPPEE.
Well I am off to bed. It is nearly 10:00 and the kiddos (addy for sure) will be up at 6:45. Which is not too bad...
I will leave the night time sounds and the stories about trying to sleep here in Port Vila for tomorrows entry.

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