Wednesday, December 7 – Dan and Natalie snuggling tonight before bed. I tried to get a picture of the sweet snuggles and ended up with this one of Natalie laughing into Dan’s shoulder instead!
Thursday, December 8 – My girls love bathtime. Sometimes it turns into “fight time” but generally they have a great time playing together in their bath. I love just listening to them play with the fishes, mermaids, and even toys that don’t really “belong” in the bath 🙂
Friday, December 9 – More snuggles, this time between Claire and Natalie. Love seeing my girls love on each other!
Saturday, December 10 – MAF Christmas party! I had spent the whole day decorating for the kids’ Christmas program, and was exhausted and stayed home with the girls, but you can see Dan in the back there along with the other MAF expat and national families. (photo by Alan Discoe)
Sunday, December 11 – Kids’ Christmas program! It was a lot of work but so much fun to see our kids singing songs and celebrating our Lord’s birth! (I wrote a whole post about the program here.)
Monday, December 12 – I wanted to try making caramels this holiday season. Last year I tried and cooked them a little too long, and they ended up like caramel hard candies, which were good but not exactly the chewy caramels I wanted. I do have to adjust the cooking time/temperature because we are at 5000 ft altitude. So I cooked them a little less this time, and ended up on the other end of the spectrum – I was afraid they were going to be too gooey to cut and wrap! They were tasty, though!
Tuesday, December 13 – Time for a birthday party! Natalie and Claire had so much fun playing musical chairs at their friend’s birthday party this afternoon.
Wednesday, December 14 – The expat ladies here in Wamena get together once a week for a Bible study during the school year. We ended this semester with an evening Christmas party. There was a smaller group at the party than usually come to Bible study, but we still had a great time fellowshipping, worshipping, and exchanging gifts. In this group many countries are represented, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands!
Thursday, December 15 – Had fun making some Christmas gifts. I bought a bunch of flavorings from Silver Cloud Estates and then I used them to make syrups to flavor coffee for gifts to my friends here in Wamena. I used to bring back Starbucks syrups but then realized I was paying for the water and sugar weight in my suitcases! So now I just bring back flavorings and make my own syrups! (Amber, thanks for letting me use your Christmas scrapbook paper!)
Friday, December 16 – More candy making! I love to cook and bake but have not had the best luck with making candy. But I keep trying! Three years ago my friend Jennifer and I tried to make saltwater taffy. I was still figuring out how to adjust the temperature for high altitude and adjusted the wrong way. So we ended up with peppermint hard candy. The next year we under-compensated and ended up with goo that was tasty but completely un-pull-able (check out the last picture on this post!) Jennifer was not here this year (they moved back to the States, so sad) but I tried making taffy again with my friend Carissa. Success! I am sure we could have pulled it a little longer, but little hands get tired quickly! We all had fun, though!
Saturday, December 17 – Welcomed a new family to the base today with an evening potluck cookout outside. Claire was having fun pulling her friend T around while they waited for the meal to start! (Just in case you wonder – the family who moved here is the Ringenberg family – they used to serve in Kalimantan, then moved back to the States, then were helping out in Kal again for about a year before they were asked to move here to Papua. And now they are here! And yes, I AM related to them (in case you didn’t know, my maiden name is Ringenberg). I think our great-great-grandfathers were brothers and came over on the boat from Switzerland together :-))
Sunday, December 18 – Sunday evening and that means church out in the pondok! We may not have the most beautiful church building but we get to enjoy God’s creation while we worship!
Monday, December 19 – Our beautiful outdoor Christmas lights on our house! We love our big colorful old-fashioned Christmas lights!
Tuesday, December 20 – Dan in his native element 🙂 This picture wasn’t actually taken today – a friend took it when they were doing some training a while ago, but it is pretty much typical of every day in the plane so I thought I’d share it here!
Wednesday, December 21 – We received some cards in the mail today from my parents, and the girls were SO excited to open their cards, especially when they found out there were stickers in the cards! Thank you, Gramma and Papa!!!
Thursday, December 22 – My friend Alyssa had a party today for the house helpers that work here on the base. Last year I made cake pops with all the helpers and yard guys and considered doing something again, but wasn’t sure what to do. Alyssa saved me when she said that she was going to do something at her house, so all I had to do was show up with cookies 🙂 She made soto ayam (special Indonesian chicken soup) and had a devotional and we sang Christmas songs. I had an soul-opening moment when my helper and one of her friends sang a Christmas song in their native tribal language. I don’t know if some part of me thought that God gave us the music to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” when the angels appeared to the shepherds or what, since I know that our English Christmas songs aren’t the only ones out there. But when I heard her sing her song about Jesus coming to earth to save our sins, even though I didn’t know any of the words and the tune was completely foreign to me, I was just amazed at the way that God works in everyone’s lives all over the world. I am thankful that even though He chooses to use us, He doesn’t need us, and His love is so incredible and amazing for every person on this earth!
Friday, December 23 – Flowers Dan brought from a village he went to a couple days ago. How fun to get orchids in my flower bouquet!
Saturday, December 24 – Christmas Eve service outside in the pondok tonight. Everything was lit by candles which was very pretty until some of the ladies had to read music in order to play their instruments for special music, so someone had to help them by holding a flashlight up above their heads!
Sunday, December 25 – Merry Christmas! I did not get any picture of our family all together today, oh well! We had a very nice Christmas, I will have to post more pictures later. I love this one of Dan and Claire while Claire is opening her stocking. I love how she is so excited about a $1 tube of light-up bracelets!
Monday, December 26 – The girls got American Girl-type dolls from Granny for Christmas, as well as some matching outfits! They were so excited to wear their nightgowns and dress their dollies in the matching nightgowns tonight before they went to bed!
Tuesday, December 27 – I suppose at some point we will have to graduate to a more sophisticated nativity set, but right now this one is fine for us. The girls love the “little people” nativity and play with it all Christmas season long. I have even occasionally found Dora and Polly Pocket among the wise men in the nativity scene. And I think at one point Mary went for a ride in the Little People school bus 🙂
Wednesday, December 28 – Yes, this is a picture of a camera! This was one of Dan’s Christmas presents to me – I LOVE my “big” camera but kind of wanted something that I could just put in my purse or pocket… something a little more portable. I didn’t know Dan had bought one for me, thought, and was very surprised! And of course, I had to make a case for it! I used this pattern. It has been a while since I have paid money for a pattern – there are so many good tutorials out there, but this one is really very well written and exactly what I was looking for. I love it! Now just to get used to using a point-and-shoot every once in a while 🙂 I think I will take it with me to the States rather than my DSLR – just one less thing to carry on the airplane and have to worry about!
Thursday, December 29 – Natalie got this notebook for Christmas and has been using it for making drawings. I already need to buy her more paper for it! I love her drawings and how she is starting to try to sound out words to figure out how they’re spelled!
Friday, December 30 – I found these little kitties in a store here in Wamena and bought them as stocking stuffers for the girls. I thought they were clocks but when the girls opened them and we started looking more closely at them, we realized that they are just dancing kitties and the little black strip there isn’t a clock display but a solar panel. So now the kitties live in the window and whenever there’s sunshine they are dancing! The packing was pretty funny, too – some pretty horrible Chinese to English translation of the directions. I will have to post pictures of that in a later post 🙂 (Oh, and I took this picture with my new little camera… just trying it out!)
Saturday, December 31 – Happy New Years’ Eve! We got together with our friends the Clarks for Italian dinner tonight and ate outside, despite the cold and wind. Then we set off a few fireworks before putting the kids (and ourselves!) to bed. I had Dan take a picture of me and my friend Carissa since I don’t think I have a picture of the two of us together. Her family just moved to Wamena this year and Carissa and I have become pretty close friends. I am so thankful that the Lord brought her into my life!