September 27, 2013

This Week in Pictures

Saturday, David and Carter took a hike in the jungle.  Carter found a cool lizard and David got some lovely photos.

Monday through Friday, Carter's sophomore class led Spiritual Emphasis Week for the elementary classes.

On Tuesday the airport was hosting a blood drive in honor of Hari Perhubungan (Department of Communications Day).  It's such a different experience than giving blood in the U.S.  The only screening was a blood-pressure check.  And they don't take as much blood as in the states.  Aaaannnd, the snack choices for post-donation recovery are definitely different - boiled eggs, boxed milk, red bean pudding, and spring rolls.  

On Wednesday we had to go to the big city of Jayapura for fingerprinting for our visa.  The bonus was we got to stop by the mall there.  Zoe and Luke rode bumper cars for the first time, and we enjoyed treats at JCo Donuts (the closest we get to Krispy Kreme).  This is my favorite drink - avacado and coffee.  I know what you're thinking, but avacadoes are not just for guacamole, my friend.  

September 20, 2013

Blah Bread and Pet Rocks

Lately it seems that my approval rating as a mom is highly dependent on the quality of food coming out of my kitchen.  Maybe it has something to do with having two ravenous teenagers in the house.  Poll my kids and you’ll find that homemade pickles, after-school cookies, and weekend hamburgers send my numbers through the roof.  So when I made bread last week and forgot to put in the salt and my kids were still forced to eat it, the numbers took a nose dive.

Have you ever had bread without salt?  You might as well just open a bag of flour and eat it straight than mess with eating the blah-ness that is salt-free bread.  No amount of butter and jam could cover up the fact that it was a big fat food fail for Mama.  And I was too cheap to chuck it and start over.

But I think I redeemed myself, at least with the younger kids, when I green-lighted a project the next day.  I made the supreme mother sacrifice: I let the kids paint.

What is it with painting that makes it so hard to say “yes”?  I’ll tell you – it’s the newspapers, brushes, paints, mugs of water, smocks (which I just discovered that Ibu L – God love her – had cut up to make rags). All that prevention and I still end up with paint in my hair.

I feel like I’ve spent a good many of my parenting years either cleaning up messes (exploding diapers, toddler food fights, midnight pukes, playdate pandemonium) or trying to prevent them (“stay outside till it’s your turn to shower,” “eat that outside,” “I’ll pay you a dollar if you puke in the toilet” – thanks Jon and Ceri for that tip).  Kids are messy, and most of it is inevitable.  And when the outside world is so darn messy (you should have seen the puddle of sludge I put my foot into at the pasar this week), I need my home to have some semblance of order and cleanliness to stay sane.

So to invite the mess and chaos – to allow them to paint, or help you cook, or do experiments – well, that just kicks you up into the Supermom category and redeems any salt-free bread mishaps.

And you might just get a cute pet rock out of it.

September 08, 2013

Earthquakes Can Lead to Family Warmth

Sometimes, I try to force feel-good family moments upon my kids.  I want us to have discussions that are uplifting, encouraging, and sweet, and not wind up with insults, tears, and someone being sent to their room for sassing off.  But somehow, despite my best efforts, I just can’t seem to pull it off. 

Last Sunday was one such instance.  David and I wanted to talk about a few things with our kids, one of which was our re-instituting an allowance for them (hello? Who wouldn’t want to sit still, be sweet, and listen to that?).  There was bickering, negativity, and the obligatory four-seems-to-be-too-many-kids-for-peaceful-discussion-so-one-gets-sent-to-their-room.  Argh. 

But then a strange thing happened.  About an hour later, we had gone our separate ways in the house – some were resting, some were reading, some were doing Lego, some were rearranging a snake cage (you can figure out who did what). And then the earth moved.  Literally.

I was on the couch trying to nap when I was shaken awake by the shimmy of the earth.  I looked at Luke – who was laying on the floor reading – his eyes wide.  David called out from the bedroom – “Earthquake!” 

It was over in a few seconds, and wasn’t a big one (it was 27 kilometers deep and about 25 kilometers away) but it was enough to shake us out of what we were doing.  Everyone gathered in the living room, and this same family who struggled to speak civilly to one another a mere hour ago was all warmth and concern and chatter as we piled on the couch and talked about how the earthquake felt to us. 

Nothing like an earthquake to stir up some spontaneous feel-good family moments.

It was a good reminder for me: our kids do love each other – and if it takes a little shake of the earth to make them show it, so be it.

And for the record, I don’t like earthquakes.  My default reaction is to stand up and “surf” the tremor while praying for it to stop. My friend told me she likes to lie on the floor to “get the full effect.”   I’m definitely not there yet.

Here are a few pictures from a recent flight David did.
These guys seem cracked up by the load they're carrying from the plane
No trouble picking my husband out of a crowd