Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The internet is back! (maybe)

For the last couple of weeks our internet has been patchy to non-existent, but things seem to be running faster today so I'm going to try uploading a catch-up blog post. So ... what has been going on in our little corner of the mountains recently?

Well, we have gotten back into our school groove and are in our third week of Abeka K5. We have a teacher and classmates on our school DVDs, and Mrs Reese is Anna's kindergarten teacher this year.

Reviewing her accomplishments last year on her first day of this school year.  She needed some spelling help, but got a lot of it on her own!

 Reciting the Pledge with Mrs Reese

This is a very different approach from our first year of school, but it's going pretty well.  The first month or so of DVD lessons is reviewing material already covered last year, so at some points in the DVD we just switch to our own material and continue where we left off before the summer.  A definite strength of the Abeka program is their focus on memorisation.  In the first three weeks of classes, Anna has committed to memory the Pledge of Allegiance,  the Lord's Prayer, three Bible verses, three poems and numerous new songs, and is also learning to write in cursive.  Levi will often sit with her and listen to her classes, and has started reciting bits and pieces of her work with her, which is fun to listen to :) 

This little girl is growing quickly; hard to believe she is approaching 7 months!  She is almost sitting up by herself, and can squirm her way around on the floor now.  She's started eating solids, although I think I may have ruined her for life by making the rookie mistake of starting her on delicious bananas instead of some bland vegetable.  So now she has her mama's incurable sweet tooth and rejects her vegetables, silly girl! 

Family dinner, times five

Over the last few weeks, the measles outbreak seems to have slowed down and Mark is barely seeing any new cases at the hospital.  We have been staying home from church since the beginning of the outbreak since Lucy is not old enough to be vaccinated, and whenever she is out and about with me she receives plenty of attention, love and touching from our PNG neighbours :)  So we have had a couple months of family church at home in our living room in an attempt to not expose her to the illness.
However, Mark and I have each had the opportunity to take one or both of the big kids out to a bush church. Recently Mark stayed with Lucy while I took Anna and Levi to the church of a nearby orphanage.  We went with another missionary family and were able to take part in leading the service. Anna helped me teach a Bible verse to the kids - "Ol sipsip bilong me i save harim maus bilong me" (John 10:27 - "My sheep know my voice") - and explain the analogy of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  

Pastor Ruth leading the service

This lady, Jenny, gave Anna a bilum (bag) she had made as a gift

 Trading babies after the service :)

Since we're a little short on recreation/ free time options here, Mark has been developing a new hobby that makes use of one thing that IS here - the workshop.  He has been learning from some of the guys on station who are responsible for maintenance and construction, and has built a porch swing, night stand and now a much-needed bookshelf for our house.  Levi has been learning right along with him, and is always glad for the chance to go see (if not actually use yet) the power tools :)

Levi enjoying the fruits of his (dad's) labour 

 On the 16th of this month, PNG celebrated the anniversary of its independence from Australia.  We invited one of Mark's colleagues from the ER, Petrus, and his family to our house for lunch and were able to learn a little more about traditional celebrations and customs that mark this day.  After lunch Petrus and Mark walked to his village to watch some of the local fun, while Francesca and I visited and the kids played. 

Anna spent the afternoon catching butterflies with Grace, Emma & Ruth (L-R), Petrus' girls

So, there you have a little glimpse into what has been going on here while our more regular updates were on hold :) 

Prettiest girls I've ever seen