Saturday, May 9, 2015

April 2015

Well, first of April, our twin boys cemented their identical status by both losing their first tooth on the same day, just a few hours apart. They thought that was pretty cool.
School has continued, with our intrepid band of homeschoolers. Art is always a favorite time of day.
And, so is Home Ec. Skye knows, as any good chef knows, that you can't just cook good in the kitchen. you also gotta look good in the kitchen. Fortunately, she has pink chef accessories to take care of that.
The kids had a fun time decorating some Easter eggs...
And Asia started getting excited for her birthday. Here's the plan for the cake and decorations mom...
Brian and Wendel and the students went to San Fernando for Good Friday. This is the place where they actually crucify people as part of the passion play, and also have other flagellantes.
A couple of days later we celebrated Easter. He is Risen!
Our family takes up a whole bench at church. 
And, finally, it rained! We didn't have a real rain since we arrived here in January, so it was SOO nice to finally get soaked with some good rain.
Kuya Wendel started tutoring our kids in Tagalog. No, it's not snack time, we're learning the words for cup, plate, knife, fork and spoon. We also learned the head and shoulders song in Tagalog, and some different verbs like "Sit! Stand! Walk! Run! Swim!" It's been fun seeing them learn.
And, we celebrated Asia's 8th birthday. Hard to believe our first baby is an 8 year old who just finished reading Pride and Prejudice! We must be getting old.

March 2015

So, after an insane January and February, life got a little less crazy. Sort of. 
The weather is a LOT hotter here than in our last location. Taking a swim is one way to cool off. 
Ok. There are 5 tubs there, and 4 children. and they are all in 1 tub. 
Siblings. They're silly sometimes. 
The boys had the time of their life putting together their own Lego Birds! A friend in the States sent them to the boys--- since two of the great loves of their life are, well, Legos and birds. They also proved that age is just a number, since the recommended age for putting the birds together was like 12 or something.
Then, Brian and the new missionaries took a day trip to Manila so that they could spend some time with leadership. It was fun to have some time with our leaders, not in meetings but just hanging out, eating and having fun.
Brian also got to ot to have lunch with some veteran NTM missionaries after visiting their church.
Then, life got waaaayyyy better....because we got a dog. Gunner is our awesome puppy who gets Lots and lots and lots of love.
And, we kept on trying to stay cool. It is HOT!
Brian took time out to take his two princesses to see Cinderella...they LOVED it,
And, we keep on reading. Thankfully, all our kids love books. and more books.
One of our books is Shel Silverstein with a poem about a very tall stack of pancakes. Because Brooke is Awesome Mom, she recreated the stack of pancakes. Skye recreated the little girl from the poem, and asked for the pancake in the middle.
We finally made it to the 100th day of school...
Skye learned how to fold laundry...
Asia helped Princess Skye recreate the pumpkin coach...
And, Brian finished out the month by attending an International Trainers Forum in Manila. NTM missionaries from  around the world got together to learn about training techniques and how NTM is continuing to modify their training to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world.

February 2015

Only two days after we moved to our new location, Brian found out that he needed to make a fast trip to Mindanao to ship our household up here. So, Brooke was left with these four crazies with no refrigerator, a one-burner stove, and almost no running water. Life was a bit crazy.
After daddy got home, we took a saturday to get out of our house (that had no running water anyway) and went to the seashore. It was nice to see the ocean and some palm trees!
Then, it was time for language and culture study to start. Brian and Wendel, our head language helper, started off the new missionaries study with a week of excursions around the area.The excursions were actually important for us too, because we had just moved here also, and didn't know much more about our location than the new missionaries!
In the midst of all the craziness, Cupid showed up with a homemade bow and arrow, and so we celebrated Valentine's Day.
Brooke started the kids on homeschool within a couple days of arrival. Our Fantastic Four always do better when they are on a schedule. And besides, it's always nice when Captain America takes time out from saving the world to read to his little sister.
And then...only one week after our new students got started in Culture and Language study, we got even busier! One of our Consultants was supposed to come teach on Second Language Acquisition at the National NTM training center located close to us. But, his wife got really sick and so on two days notice, one week after we started our own students in language sessions, Brian was teaching for a week to a different group of students...and trying to do it in a language that we had hardly used for four years. It actually went great! It was a great group of students and a lot of fun.
On the last day of teaching, our whole family went out to the NTM training center to have lunch with the students and staff. the kids had a great time!It's in the middle of a jungle with a stream running through the middle, so they loved it. 
Well, that was February. See you later from our four little ninjas.

January 2015

So, we finished off our furlough with a flourish....saying goodbye to friends and relatives, packing up a ridiculous number of suitcases and boxes, and then heading off...
...To the airport. The same airport that we first left to go to the Philippines back in 2009. The kids were a little easier to deal with this time! 
We arrived in Manila with a healthy dose of jet lag...but the best way to get over jet lag is to play! Thankfully, there were lots of kids to play with at the Guest House when we arrived. They taught our kids a lot of new games, and after only a week, we were (almost) sleeping through the night.
While Brooke held down the fort in Manila, Brian started house-hunting with some of our new missionaries. It took a while to find places to live, but after a few trips, everyone had a place to call home.
Even us! We moved in to our new house and got busy. It has taken a while for us and the kids to adjust, but they are getting used to their new home. And, to make things even better, they have a new puppy! And that, frankly makes Everything better.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Crazy Few Weeks....

So, after the craziness of house hunting, we settled in to our new digs. Sort of. We arrived, blew up our air mattresses, and....Suddenly, the day after we arrived, Brian found out that he had to make a lightning fast trip to Mindanao to get our household stuff from there shipped. And he had to leave the very next day.

So, he ran and bought a plane ticket, jumped on a bus at 5 AM the next morning, and by that night, he was at our old home on Mindanao.
Of course, that meant leaving Brooke in our new rental house with nothing set up, air mattresses on the floor, and as we soon discovered, no water in the faucets.
YEAH...Air mattresses on the floor=no big deal. 
Living with a one-burner stove and no refrigerator? No big deal. with this crew without water from 6 AM to 9 PM every day? 
Well...That = A Big Deal.

Funny how you take something like running water for granted...until it's not there.

So, after almost a week away, Brian got back to our new home, and we began braving our                No Waterworld  Wonderland together. 

 In case you were wondering what you do in such a situation...well, first of all you whine quietly to yourself.  If your spouse is around, and the kids are asleep, then you whine to him/her also. Then you go buy plastic garbage cans, and fill them up every night, sometimes filling up water containers until 10:30 that you have some water for the next day. And you use a bucket to take dipper baths, and try to remind your kids (who you finally trained over the last 6 months to flush the toilet and wash their hands) that they can't flush the toilet and they need to use a dipper to wash their hands.... 
And, in the midst of that, our new missionaries were starting their culture and language acquisition, so Brian worked with them to get the program going--- thankfully, Wendel, who has worked with us for years, moved here with us to be our head Culture and Language Helper....he is invaluable! And he's a really good friend.
So, we got the new missionaries started on culture and language study, and then our thoughts turned to other, well....running water. But that's another post.

House Hunting

So,  before we got back to the Philippines this January, we knew that life was going to be...well, CRAZY for a while.

We just didn't know how right we were.

Our new adventure started out with house hunting!'s a bit of a trip to where we are locating, so we had to take day trips out there to check out places for rent. It's a place that we hadn't been to before, so we were trying to figure out the area along the way.
We all got up bright and early to go find a new place to live! New missionaries Alex and Erin and Rachael came along to search for houses to live in during language and culture study. 
After a long drive with Kuya Jun Fabra, we made it and started looking. House hunting tends to be a lot of hurry up and wait...and wait...but we still managed to smile! (at least for the camera....)
On our next (all-day) trip, we checked out some places to outfit the new houses that we were still hoping to find....
And, this would also be our second trip up....Caleb, a missionary candidate for the Philippines who was visiting, came along to check out where he might be living soon. We had some good food along the way.
Then, Cole and Hannah Hinderager and their little one arrived at the Alex and Brian picked them up at the airport, and two days later, Cole went with us on our THIRD all-day house hunting trip, jet lag and all. 
Because each house-hunting trip took about 12-14 hours all together, we didn't take the kids along. Brooke had both hands full taking care of the Fantastic Four at the guest house. Thankfully, there were other kids to play with. Our kiddos learned some games from the big kids that they are still playing. :)
And, they learned to work together and build a scooter train...It was a lot of house hunting for Brian and a lot of running after crazy kiddos for Brooke, but finally, after multiple trips to our new location, everyone found houses to rent, and we got ready to move....again...but that is another story. Which will be told. In the next blog post.