Saturday, March 31, 2012

ISR Easter Party

Yesterday was the annual ISR Easter party. The party started at five because we had to wait for it to cool down so all the candy would not melt. :) The kids did not mind the late start because it meant that they would get to hunt for eggs in the dark. How fun is that?

Brooklyn trying to not drop her egg. I love the look on her face.
Easter Tree
Brooklyn and her buddy Teghan
The grown ups joining in on the fun!
Brooklyn and her buddy Pablo.
Water Relay - the first team to fill up the water bottle with is the winner. Sydney was a good sport because she had a lot of little kids on her team. She was pretty wet by the end of the race.
Brooklyn has on a flashing whistle because her Mom is a safety freak.
Last year I had the hardest time finding her in the dark. This year she was easy to spot.
The Easter bunny made a visit to Rumbai.

Brooklyn comparing eggs with her buddy Joel.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Many Colors of the Jungle

I thought it would be fun to show you just a few of the many colors we see in the jungle. All these photos were taken while walking around our neighborhood this evening.
Our House and Yard

Our front yard

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meranti 107

I thought you might enjoy a quick tour of our house in Sumatra. The pictures are from Christmas but they will give you a feel for what our house is like.

Living Room
Kitchen Sitting Area
Living Room

Living Room looking into the Kitchen

Porch - Front Door

Kids Bathroom

Kade's Room

Sydney and Brooklyn's Room

Our Bedroom

Saturday, March 24, 2012

We're BACK!

Grocery Shopping in Kuala Lumpur.

Ah...Western Groceries!

Our favorite little grocery store is named Ampang.
It's owned by the sweetest Chinese family.

Shopping for some new sunglasses at the Chinese Market. I am sure they are originals! ;)

Charlie Brown Restraunt looked cute; tasted terrible.

Where's the beef? Yes, that is a water bottle lid.

There is no place like home even if it is in the middle of the jungle. I tell you John and I were both thrilled to make it back to camp today. Everyone pretty much collapsed on arrival. We had a fantastic time in Kuala Lumpur. We did a lot of fun stuff:
Day #1 hanging at the hotel just swimming and relaxing.
Day #2 was spent at Sunway Lagoon with our good friends Shane and Gabi
Day #3 was a trip to Kidzania, Ikea and Bubba Gumps.
Day #4 shopping at the Chinese Market and dinner with friends, the Sullivan's, at Chili's.
Day #5 traveling back to Pekanbaru

While our visit in KL was fantastic our trip home did not go as smoothly as we had planned. When traveling abroad you ALWAYS have to be flexible with changing plans. It happens a lot and is pretty much expected. The morning started with us leaving for the airport early. Normally we give ourselves a two and a half hour window to get to the airport and get checked in. This morning because Kuala Lumpur is hosting a Formula One race and the city itself was packed. We knew we would have to leave early. I had no idea Asia was so crazy for Formula One. It's a huge deal. We saw lots of people wearing the uniform of their favorite team. The track was right by our airport so we left at 7:15 am for a 10:50 am flight. Since breakfast was included with our hotel we ate even earlier.

The trip to the airport went surprisingly smooth. It helped our taxi had a DVD player. The kids loved watching "Toy Story 3" and we never stopped for traffic. I imagine if we would have left later we would have ran into trouble because cars were already lining up at the track. Better safe than sorry, right? I know my Dad is breathing a big sigh of relief reading this and probably shaking his head. He is a firm believer you can never be too early. Unfortunately, I did not inherit his promptness.

Our flight wasn't too bad. I have come to expect the flight to PKU to be rocky and will end with a bumpy landing. The runway is pretty short and it is definitely not maintained SeaTac style. Let's just say that landings here are typically something you might equate to a seat belt training exercise. I wasn't afraid of flying until moving to Indonesia. Now with every bump my heart jumps a bit. Indonesia is not known for their aviation safety. However, we do stick to the Chevron recommended airlines, which does give me some form of comfort.

Getting through immigration was actually not too bad today. We managed to get our luggage without any annoying chalk marks. If you get a white "X" on your bag then immigration makes you open it and does a search. We had a ton of food with us, which we are not exactly supposed to bring in the country. I have become so rebellious living abroad. Actually they have always been really tolerant with us but you never know when things are going to change. I always get nervous that they will end up taking our beloved Cheerios or Wheat Thins, or gasp, our chocolate chips. I think I would rather be locked up abroad then face my children after they confiscated our Western goodies.

Once we made it to Pekanbaru, we realized that someone had not got the memo to pick us up. Grrr! Pekanbaru airport is not my favorite place to hang out. We get lots of interesting looks and the airport is crazy hot and smoky. I can't stand having smoke blown at me from every direction. I think that it sometimes some sort of sick game. Let's see how long it takes before we make the American move. We spent over an hour waiting for our ride before we began to develop a back up plan. It cracks me up that an hour late is within the normal wait limit. We had two options: try and get a hold of someone, or take a local taxi home.

I wish I had taken a picture of a local taxi. Think a car similar to something you might buy someone for their first car in the price range maybe $1000.00. In fairness some of the taxi cars are not that bad but the three lined up for us looked like we might need to push them to get them started. Option #1 would have been do-able except for our massive amount of luggage and of course our family of five. We figure we would need at least two taxis, possibly three. It just did not feel safe. We have learned when you hear that little whisper not do something "DON'T DO IT"! So we waited and finally were able to reach our two school drivers who picked us up about 45 minutes later. We spent some quality time hanging out in a restaurant called CFC. It is a lot like KFC. We enjoyed some fried chicken and a couple of cokes. Brooklyn loves the chicken in Indonesia. She seriously attacks it and doesn't leave a single piece of meat on it. It is actually a bit embarrassing. I am sure everyone thinks we should feed her every once in awhile. I am firmly convinced that Brooklyn will one day be a competitive eater. You know the people who weigh like 98 pounds and consume 103 hotdogs in like 60 seconds.

We finally made it home about 1:30pm. Not our smoothest homecoming but a glorious one in our book. We now have a fully stocked freezer again which makes this Mama's heart oh so happy. It is funny how much comfort one gets knowing they have brown sugar and cereal in their freezer. Both John and I felt like we made a solid effort to not over buy. It's not easy to estimate what a family of five will use in the next two and half months. Only time will tell how well we estimated.

Thanks for being flexible while we were away. I will do my best to get back on a more normal blogging schedule.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Orphanage Dress Up Day


Dress up Day :

One of the fun things about going to the orphanage is coming up with new things to do with the kids. This week’s theme was "Dress Up" thanks to Brooklyn giving up some of her old dress up clothes. The little girls loved it. I also learned a few things in the process. I definitely need more plastic dress up shoes. I also need to take the big girls shopping to get new church shoes. You should have seen them trying to squish their feet into tiny little plastic shoes.


My thought for the older girls was doing their nails. I really should have thought that one out better. As soon as I brought the polish out they were wildly painting their nails. It was a total mess. I remembered to bring nail polish remover but I forgot the paper towel or cotton balls to use with the remover. Whoops! Of course the orphanage did not have any toilet paper so I was out of luck. Luckily, my friend Wendy had some Kleenex. Oh, well! Lesson learned. Also a pair of fingernail clippers is a must. I am definitely putting that on my next shopping list.

Naked Hair:

I had taken a bunch of old hair bows with me with the orphanage thinking I would put them in the little girls hair. I expected the younger girls to love them. I did not expect the older girls to also love them. It was fun seeing a hair bow in every girl’s hair. I am definitely going to have to go through the rest of Brooklyn's hair bows and find some more that can go to the orphanage. Brooklyn cracks me up because she always says her hair is naked if she doesn't have some kind of hair accessory in her hair. I think she was seriously relieved to find out the kids no longer had naked hair.

Story of Hope:

The more I learn about the stories that brought the kids to Insan Permata the deeper my commitment becomes to helping this orphanage. Some of the stories are down right horrific and the intentions of some of the people involved down right evil. I am so thankful for Pak Jonedy and Ibu Anna who are willing to do something about it. Learning to trust again is a huge issue for these kids for obvious reasons. It is a slow process. I am watching it happen right now with the three newest arrivals. Having new kids enter into this big family is not always easy. There are LOTS of challenges. Each child reacts differently to coming to the orphanage. Some withdraw, some become people pleasers, always trying to do the right thing so they are not sent away while others become down right difficult. There is one specific little girl that is so angry about being at the orphanage. She is loud and obnoxious. I am amazed at how patient everyone is with her. They are slowly chipping away at her protective barrier she has put around herself. I watched Ibu Anna patiently feed her lunch yesterday. She did not want to eat her vegetables and she was being quite a stinker about it. Ibu Anna never lost her cool nor got upset. I think this little one has definitely met her match. In the end the vegetables were gone as was a little piece of the wall that keeps everyone out. I got the pleasure of giving Ibu Anna a break during the vegetable match. I think the novelty of a crazy white lady making airplane noises distracted her and the vegetable were gone pretty quickly. The victory definitely goes to Ibu Anna.

Next Steps:

I haven’t had any luck getting any organizations willing to take on the kids from Insan Permata into their sponsorship program. Riau province is very corrupt and most non-profits don’t want to touch it. We are praying for guidance as we begin take the next steps in securing monthly funds for the orphanage. I know that God will provide for them. I am excited to see how this is all going to come together. I am also thankful that we get to play a little part in His plan.
Snow White

Campbell getting some love!

Trampoline Uno.

Scooter Time
Thanks Melina and Miranda!

Sydney enjoying another day at the orphanage.

Grace. What a great smile.

Playing Basketball.

This picture was taken by Grace.


Sweet Angel Fitri.

Princess Lisa.

John getting some baby time with Samuel.

Hannah the ballerina takes a call!

Painting Finger Nails.

Wendy getting Samuel to smile!