Friday, December 21, 2012


Hello, my name is Asia, and I can spell that out for you if you need, because I'm in kindergarten and I know how to read and write and do some arthmetic.
I homeschool, and I think that it's actually pretty cool. For school.
That's my baby sister, her name is Skye...She likes to go to school too, but I just don't tell her she can't start until she's 5. It's ok for her to pretend...She likes to play and listen, and she can already say the pledge of allegiance and sing lots of Bible verses.
And that's my brother Slater, he's in preschool too, he likes to make magnet dinosaurs, and mommy says they can learn by playing. If that's true, they must be learning a lot! 
And, that's my brother Leif. He is the class clown, but he's also a really good artist. I think he's trying to decide what color dinosaurs really were.
For the Christmas season, we've been making lots of Christmas crafts and learning about Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus.
I can't wait for Christmas! It's my favorite holiday!!
And, mommy says we might take a day off of school for Christmas...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Malaybalay Runners

Yes, that would be me, dancing...quite badly I might add. Why? Well, I went to the Christmas party for our local runners group...and this was one of the games. I missed the Videoke part, but still had a pretty good time with the rest of the party.
We actually had a pretty big party, with a lot of prizes and games and of course, lechon! And, since everybody knows I'm a missionary, I got asked to do the closing prayer. I did it...mostly in Visayan.
And, this is the whole group. Really is cool that the town we moved to has so many people who love running!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Family Day

So, it was family day at church....these two young men are my daughters bodyguards. They sometimes share snack too.
We got the back seat--best place to be when you have 4 noisy kiddos...that need to have their mouths perpetually stuffed with crackers to keep them quiet.
 Check out the new tin roof! It used to be palm thatch, but the old roof blew away in the big storm, so they put up a new one.
It was a pretty full house---Lots of Christmas songs...mostly in Visayan. Brooke make about 300 cookies for the celebration.
As per usual...we ended up in the "cry room" area with some kids who got fussy. Yes, that is a whitewater river 50 yards away from our church. 
And, even though the kids got fussy, they still ended up smiling again. And, I know Skye was trying to listen. The pastor was talking about today's date or, in the language here: "petsa" and the instant he said it Skye looked up at me and said..."Pizza?!?" Just goes to show...little pitchers have big ears...and you never know what they might hear.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

GTO Night Run

'Tis the season for...running! Last Saturday night, Brooke joined her Muay Thai friends for a night run 5-K.

Conditions? A dark and stormy night. The course? Really hilly, with the last kilometer one LOOONNG heartbreaking hill to the finish line...
Emotions?!? Let's go!! Brooke had a great time with her group. The race started about an hour late, so they also had some time to hang out and talk...and then finally...the Gun!
Apparently, my wife does awfully well for being the mother of 4 children 5 years old and under and only running once or twice a best. She got 1st place for her age category!
And, one of her friends from Muay Thai got second for the same category. That's a One-Two Muay Thai finish! Apparently, kick-boxing is good cross-training.
And, perhaps the best part...When she got home, there were some VERY excited young fans to greet her and check out the sweet medal. Great job Hon!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Muay Thai Xmas

So, the latest ad campaign by the Department of Tourism here is..."It's more fun in the Philippines!" And it really is true...Filipinos are always ready to have a party.  And they love to laugh and have a good time with friends. And since it's the holiday season...we find ourselves going to lots of Christmas parties. It's awesome for us, because we get to do three things: be with friends, have fun, and learn a lot more about Filipino culture!
Tis the season for...kickboxing! Well, it's time for a Muay Thai Christmas party anyway...I had a great time celebrating the season with my group. Rule #1. If you have a Christmas party here, you  really need a Videoke. And you just gotta sing with your whole heart...
I've had a great time this year getting to know my Muay Thai group-- And it was really nice to finish off the year with some holiday fun. Rule #2, every opportunity for a picture is an opportunity you should take! And, of course, Rule #3, if possible, a party really need a lechon. (Roast pig.) That always makes things more festive. (And our local lechon is usually REALLY good.)
The whole group. Fun to hang with friends!
See, Mom!?! At least in this picture, I'm the normal one!
And, after having a party, there's no rest for the weary. Rule #4, things happen EARLY here. Muay Thai normally starts at 6:00 on Saturday morning. When we run at 5:45 AM, there's still a lot of people out exercising. But if we go at about 6:20, almost everyone is already done. Life seems to start by 5 AM if you're not a morning person, you either become one, or you go crazy.
A Merry Muay Thai Christmas!!
See People...we're not just going to parties...we're learning culture.  :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Xmas Abroad: Christmas @ RI

We got the first-class seats on the way to our 1st grade Religious Instruction Christmas party. Wendel and I enjoyed the wind...Air Conditioning is more fun in the Philippines...
And, our kids were all amped up to sing and have some fun! They seriously sing so loud that when I play my guitar, I can't even hear it. Having taught kids quite a bit over the years...I know this is a good problem to have.
After some songs and a short telling of the Christmas story, Wendel led some games. We have a rowdy class, and they didn't disappoint! A good time was definitely had by all.
And of course, we finished off with small gift bags for the kids, and a present for the first-grade teacher. Thanks first-graders for a great year! We'll see you in January.
Maayong Pasko sa inyong tanan!
Merry Christmas to all of you!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Xmas Abroad: "Wintery" Typhoon Weather

The months of December and January are the supposed to be the coolest months of the year here in the Philippines...some people refer to them as "cold season". (Of course, "Cold" is relative...mid 60's would be practically arctic around here..)

So...when "wintery" weather strikes around's not snowy, but it can be serious.

We have a monster typhoon heading into our area tonight and tomorrow, and it could do some real damage--
We live on the island right to the left of the storm. The eye of the storm is supposed to hit the northern tip. 
We live up in the, usually where we live, we just get a lot of rain and some wind. We should be fine. (At least we normally are fine when there is a typhoon in the area . We're praying that we just get wet and don't have the gale-force winds)

But people living by the coast could be in for a very rough ride. And, flooding is often a huge problem when a storm like this hits.

We are currently under Storm Signal #2 in our area, which normally means school closures here. But since we home such luck for Asia. :) 

Please be praying for safety for those in the path of the storm, and for those who will be leading rescue efforts.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Tree: Part II

Trimming the's all about teamwork. Mostly.
Wow, those ornaments are a lot more durable than I thought they would be.
And Slater, I totally understand how those icicle ornaments could look like a carrot to you...since you haven't seen too many icicles in your young life...
Good job decorating, team!
Merry Christmas season!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Xmas Abroad: The Tree

In all honesty, when family is an ocean away, and the temperature was in the 80's again today, it's easy to feel that it's not beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But, sometimes, we just have have to stop dreaming of a white Christmas, and realize, we really are home for the holidays, because this is our home.
And besides, the kids are already VERY ready for their "favorite holiday" we are slowly getting into the Christmas spirit.
 Today, we pulled out the plastic tree and put the kids to work decorating. They were, to put it mildly, reallyreally excited.  
Everybody got busy...they weren't too sure what the icicle and snowflake ornaments were though....not a lot of the cold white stuff where we live.
But they figured stuff out pretty quick!  
This was the first time for all four kids to decorate a Christmas tree.  Last year we had just moved into this house on December 23rd...and let's just say...we didn't exactly have our act together...and before that the kids were just too young.
Success!! Our Christmas-tree hugging bunch had an awesome time, and shockingly enough, they broke zero ornaments, and actually, had almost no bickering over who should decorate with what.
Good job Christmas crew! As of now, nobody's getting coal in their stocking.