Friday, December 18, 2009

Showing Off

Speaking of performances, our boys are not to be outdone! At our recent MK School Open House they were able to strut some of the stuff they have been working on... no not math, not reading, not art or science... body-building! Here's a shot of Uncle Larry's Mighty Men after their first quarter of intensive physical training. Saiah demonstrated a weight-lifting technique, Eli did the splits, and Zeke did 30 push-ups. We were all duly impressed!

Don't worry, they have also been toning their minds. Our two fellas stood up and recited about 2/3 of Luke chapter 2 (we're working on that last 1/3 this week). They also acted in a play called "The Fourth Wiseman" which their teacher wrote and directed. Good stuff! Of course now they are on Christmas break and all they want to do is sit around and play the gameboy...

Our Little Teapot

Here's our newest performer, Eden Glory, singing "I'm a Little Teapot" during the recent Christmas Open House at our MK school. She already has her next gig lined up - a special English performance for her kindergarten's New Year's Eve ceremony! In the meantime she continues to refine her dancing and twirling around the house. I even caught her the other day singing into the brush, "I am little and I am cute."

Usually that is true, but she also knows how to push our buttons sometimes! I've never known a slower eater... or toothbrusher... or dresser... or bedmaker... or toy picker-upper. Her favorite song lately at bedtime is "Lord, You Are." Singing it night after night after night we have begun to play with it a bit, like "Lord, You are more beautiful than pink pajamas" etc. But my favorite part is the chorus, where instead of "exalt" she sings "I exhaust You" over and over. I have to admit that sometimes I am exhausted, but she sure is little and cute too!


Some days it seems we are back in the Middle Ages... one neighbor pays us back with a cow, another friend gives us a sheep, and all I can do is take the rope, smile in a bewildered "what am I supposed to do with this" kind of way, and say thank you! Thankfully another neighbor is an expert at butchering sheep & goats (not a cry or a drop of blood!)... unfortunately he can't do cows. But somehow we round up a crew of young guys and manage to quarter it just after sundown, fingers frozen to our knives (we are already -30s and it is NOT even winter yet!).

The next stage is thawing a quarter at a time so that we can butcher it into steaks, roasts, hamburger, etc. (notice I gave all of the organs, head and feet away to grateful Mongolian participants!). Larry is our Head Butcher, but we all got into the action... some of us more than others ;) Our kids didn't even flinch. Nothing like the feel of good meat between your fingers...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Trick or Treat

This year we splurged and bought cool costumes while in the "big city!" Meet our lil' ninjas and sweet princess! We had a little get together after walking around to each of our teammates' apartments (that didn't take long). Then we enjoyed some cookies and watched "The Great Pumpkin" at the Cutlers' (the wonderful couple who is filling in for a couple months teaching at our MK school). That's pretty much it... and then wearing the costumes again and again for the next several days!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kindergarten 1st Quarter

Our school has completed the first quarter and wow was it fast. We have gotten a good start on the year, letters and numbers. Uncle Nghia came into take school pictures and got a great one of our class. Note in the boys' hands are their names. We have worked hard to get the kinders writing their names well and for open house we made signs with our names. Everyones' progress is steady and good; it has been a good but challenging first quarter.

I am so pleased the way God continues to prepare me for homeschool my three next year once we have moved. Starting with kinders and 1st grade is a great way to feel out teaching and get familular with the curriculum since next year I will have Zeke in 5th grade, Saiah in 2nd and Edie in kinder!

and Mountain Tops

By the fourth day of paragliding we were feeling pretty good. Unfortunately it got REALLY windy so we couldn't fly... couldn't even do much ground training! We tried for awhile, but between the rocky ground and getting pulled backwards (yes, I did a few backward somersaults) we soon called it quits. Thankfully we were able to borrow a couple wings to practice our kiting up in Darhan. Hopefully in November we will have a chance to go back and tackle a small mountain or two!

It's getting cold (0F last night), but frozen ground means no upward thermals and smooth sailing for beginners like us. Someday, though, we will seek out those thermals and higher mountaintops!

Blue Skies...

Larry and I began "flight school" for paragliding this past week. There is a club in UB south of town, with a nice ger camp next to a mountain and small river. The first 2 days were mostly introductory theory and ground training - practice controlling your "kite" while on the ground (except when I flew over a guy in a really strong wind). It's harder than it looks! Kind of like trying to hold 30 kites steady over your head, with about 100 strings attached to 5 straps for each hand.

On the third day we started with some small hills. All together we did over 40 of these small flights - about 2 minutes of graceful flight followed by 470 steps back up the hill. Who knew paragliding was such a tough sport!?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

O little town of Hovd

Hovd is only a town of about 30,000 (10% Kazakh?). We didn't spend a whole lot of time investigating the area. We were in the local market a couple of times, got to know the main strip through town pretty well, and even went on a small road trip to a countryside Kazakh town about 30km away.

We didn't even spend much time looking at construction and building materials... although I did hear that you can build a decent sized one-story house with about 2,000 clay bricks ($500). We didn't see a single bale of straw...

Most of our time was spent on the northern end of town visiting Kazakh homes and going to meet with local officials. We had lots of great contacts with leaders and teachers, met a few farmers and herders and business folks, and discussed all kinds of living issues with all kinds of Kazakh folks in Hovd.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Long Way Across

Finally some pics of the trip! Here's a couple of our favorite shots from the road... that long, winding dusty washboard road! Actually it was kind of fun to drive... didn't really matter if you stayed on the road or not. Thanks to God we never needed helmets or seatbelts (since our van doesn't have any)!

It was kind of like driving across Alaska and back, but without any of the trees, rivers or wildlife to look at along the way. There were lots of camels though, and plenty of shades of tan...

We camped out one night - set up in the dark, fried up a couple burgers, and our director (Phil) even slept out under the stars! He was really cold, and had to chase away a few horses so as not to get trampled, but he did it!

We did see a couple nice perennial snow-caps (about 4,000 meters), but Larry didn't bring any of his ropes... maybe next time.

Coming soon - a few pictures of the town.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Some how the time thus far teaching has flown by! We have just completed our 5th week of classes we all seem to be thriving! I am so pleased with how my classroom has come into shape and there is something for everyone. Here we are just this last Friday both working at our math and then having fun with science. The table you see us all over is full of sand, basically a sandbox inside. We used it to make our volcano, which was a success when it, not just erupted, but exploded upwards getting me with vinegar. What a hoot!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mongolia Field Forum

Not long after coming back to Mongolia we participated in our annual team retreat, where we prayed together, played together, and planned together too. This is a picture of the kids' program. We stayed in a very nice wooden ger, climbed some beautiful hills (with trees!), and even rode a horse or two... Zeke rode one of them side-saddle for over 100 yards hanging on for dear life! It was a great chance to worship and fellowship with teammates - some of whom we hardly ever see! And then we came home and got to work - organizing the house, preparing Krista's classroom, and making plans for the year in our community.

Friday, May 29, 2009


What wonderful weather in the pacific northwest - we brought along a Mongolian sky! Just so you don't think that we are finished having fun, every day is a blast at grandma's house - bike riding, hot tubbing, picking flowers and strawberries, sprinklers, speedboats and more!

Also our kids have been going to swim lessons twice a week at the local Y. Eden is finally getting over her aquaphobia! The boys have a pretty good flail too...

More Fun!

Does the fun never end?! Our kids think they are on an extended vacation (while everyone else is still in school!). First we went bowling on cousin Kaden's birthday... they should hand out knee-pads along with those shoes! The whole ground shakes when these guys play! Zeke took home 1st place with 120-something (no trophy, though). The week after that we caught a new movie in 3D!!

This week we all went to the Enchanted Forest. The kids flew through the Fairy Tales ...I don't remember them being so scary. They were even a bit scared of Alice's rabbit hole (maybe I overdid my evil cackle?). The kiddie rides were great, especially the bumper cars and boats, but they REALLY loved the big rides! They went again and again on the bobsled, log ride, and Challenge of Mondor (side note: I am now a "Champion of Mondor"). It was a gorgeous day and there were almost no lines!

More Sand

As if Hawaii wasn't enough sand, we recently spent a lovely weekend with Grammie & Papa on the Oregon coast! We had some great pine-cone fights, experienced some wildlife (note our fearless "croc hunter"), and tromped across the sand dunes. Our boys climbed up and slid down to their hearts' content, along with Papa's great dog Amos. They even burrowed together and took a quick nap! Different from Hawaii, but still lots of fun and beautiful.

We also had the chance to spend time with some new and old friends at Reedsport Church of God - great desserts and even better fellowship!

Hawaiian thaw

What a great place to thaw out! While our friends are still getting snow (end of May!) we were surfing, snorkeling and castle-building in Honolulu!

We made some new friends at Kapahulu Bible Church, which was walking distance from Waikiki - where the boys spent every day in the water. But Eden stayed elbow-deep in sand most of the time (aquaphobia?).

Top it all off with a fire-dancing Luau and we were a very happy, long-john free family!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mongolian kids

Every year we probably get a little more Mongol... for example we eat some pretty weird foods, have no fashion sense, and have really tiny space cushions! But we get to learn and do a lot of neat things too... like wear cool hats and hang out in round tents,

hone our archery skills,
and eat some pretty weird foods! Isn't the world full of intersting things?! As we get used to the Mongolian things, and bring them back to America with us, some people might think us strange... and maybe we are! Wasn't Abraham a "pilgrim on the earth" and Moses a "stranger in a strange land"? Wasn't Paul made a "spectacle to the world...a fool for Christ"? As for me I am very much looking forward to some of the quirks and flavor we will bring home with us next month!
Please pray for preparations and trip!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our "Big" Girl

Here she is, almost 4! She sure is growing up... although you can't tell it much from her height. I think she is still wearing some 2T clothes!! But she is chattering away - in BOTH languages - and twirling her way around the house. Notice also how she manages to get chapstick or even make-up from any female within a 20-foot radius.
Every once in awhile she gets a bit tired from her busy schedule... the other day she even fell asleep at the snack table!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Merry White Moon!

It is that time of year again, as we come to the end of the nine 9's of winter - the White Moon, Mongolian new year. There are all kinds of traditions associated with this ancient holiday... most of which aren't done anymore. Here are the kids enjoying one of our many home visits... you can probably tell by all of the smiles that they get ALL the candy they want!

Although still quite crisp outdoors (sub-zero nights) some of us are looking forward to the beginning of the archery season... no, not hunting. The Urianhai, an ethnic group known for their archery, shoot from 50 meters at a row of leather balls - the object of which is to knock as many out of the square as possible. Larry, Zeke and I are still a bit rusty... can't hit a thing at 30 meters. But we'll get there as long as the neighbor kids (and adults!) stand back long enough to let us practice! It's surprising how many "modern" Mongolians have never ridden a horse or shot a bow...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Growin' Up So Fast

Our kids sure are growing up! All of them will have birthdays again in the next month or so.

Static-Girl: small of stature but sporting a powerful shock and scorching scold. Watch out for her glare AND her kisses...

Favorite song: "Mamo Nash Ir" (Mongolian lullaby)

The Yeller: superpower includes both piercing high-pitch and tremendous volume. Unfortunately his powers do not seem to have an "off" switch...

Favorite song - "Afternoon Delight"...?!

The Wacky-Tackler: demonstrates a variety of curious interests and skills - kung-fu, memorizing songs, drawing strange creatures, and tackling dad from behind...

Favorite song: "Jedi" by Weird Al

Monday, February 09, 2009

Lil' stocking stuffer?

Santa was NOT pleased with these kids last Christmas! That's a big lump of coal. Or perhaps, in Mongolia, that means you were a really GOOD child... it could keep our house warm for days! Especially with the heat wave we have been having lately...
snow has actually been melting! If you don't know, that is HIGHLY unusual for Mongolia in February. And of course it followed right after I shoveled another 2+ TONS into my coal closet!

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Every other week or so we keep some strange company... the Lains! We feel so sorry for them in that horribly warm apartment, with all that running water, that we invite them for an overnighter on occasion (plus we usually make lattes when they come!). The kids have a blast even though we confine them to the upstairs (except for Edie who prefers to hang out with adults). It is very nice to spend time talking about our backgrounds (theirs much more interesting than ours!) and our dreams (surprisingly similar!), and get the chance to pray meaningfully with one another. It's all good... well, except for the small lice incident...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Preschool Days

Thanks to good snow this year this is what our school bus has looked like for Edie. On this day I made the mistake of thinking that it would be just as easy to pull Saiah down to the school and then back with Edie, as without Saiah.

Now that the first of the year has come and gone the Hepatitis that was a worry in Saiah's class is gone and he is back at Mongolian preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This gives me much needed time to do other jobs without kids. Yesterday was his first day back and he came out telling me how it was his "best day at preschool ever". Then he continued to tell me how he pested his teacher during the entire time he was to be sleeping. Not a surprise but, I have true sympathy since he does that to me the other three days of the week.

They are both doing well with preschool and Edie even taught me a new word in Mongolian this week, I just wish I could remember what it was!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"Snow Daughters"

Here is our adorable little girl. She is all dressed up with her friends for her school program. I know I showed you pictures of their programs before, but these are worth a closer look. It is especially important to know that Edie was sick that day and the only reason I took her to school was so she could be part if the program and then she was a pro!

Merry Christmas

What a Christmas this year! Our holidays must have resembled many of yours it was full of parties. We counted the other day, we were invited or helped plan 8 different Christmas/New Years parties, crazy! We are relieved to say that we did not make it to all, thanks to Jeremy's terrible cold, but those we did make were a good time!

Here is us after the presents had been opened, as always too much good stuff to count. Thanks to all who prayed for us during the holidays. We trust yours were as blessed as ours.