Backyard Explorers

I have really great memories of my backyard when I was a kid.  I, along with my friends and siblings, played for hours and hours in our backyard: kick the can, climbing trees, swinging on swings, playing in our tree house, building snow forts, camping out, and on and on.

But over here, we barely even go in our backyard (who wants to go to the backyard when there is literally a playground in the front yard?)  However, Elias and I have taken a few exploratory trips into the vast unknown of our backyard and you know what?  There’s a jungle back there!  Full of cool plants and even cooler bugs (although the bugs don’t like to be photographed).

Barb wire

little explorer

Binoculars are a required accessory when backyard exploring!



underside of a leaf

These sweet little flowers were growing on the underside of the leaves…good thing my exploring partner is short, or I may have completely missed them!


inside a palm tree



This is definitely not what my backyard looked like growing up in the midwest, but it is gorgeous.  Maybe we’ll start hanging out back there more often!

E Week!

We have made it all the way to the letter E in our little preschool now!  And I feel like we both deserve gold stars.  Maybe 5 consistent weeks of school doesn’t seem like a big deal, but since it is often a daily battle, I’m feeling pretty good about 5 weeks of school!

E week turned out to be a pretty fun week!



E is for Eagle!  Elias made his letter E eagle and we watched a fun little video about eagles on YouTube.  He loved watching the eagles swoop and dive for fish.



Next we did some review since he’s still getting his letters mixed up.  I wrote all of the letters we’ve learned so far on the floor and he had to throw a bean bag to the letters as I called them out.  After that, he used the same letters on the floor to make play dough versions of each letter.


Next, we played a little game called Escape!  I froze several small plastic toys in ice and Elias had to use a hammer to help them escape!  He loves this activity, we’ve played it several times.


On day two we learned about elephants.  I neglected to take many pictures this day, but we talked about elephants and then walked around the house pretending to be elephants.  We also made letter Es with our bodies!


The last day of E week was Elias’ favorite.  E is for Elias!  First he did this little activity matching the clothes pins to the proper letter to spell his name.

Egg hunt

Next, he did an egg hunt in his room.  I hid 25 eggs in there and he loved discovering each of them.

What's in the eggs?
Spell your name

Once all the eggs were found, he cracked open each egg to find a letter inside–the letters of his name.  He sorted the letters by making a pile for each letter that he found and then practiced putting the letters in the right order to spell his name.  (his head isn’t really all wonky in real life…it’s just the lens I was using).

We also sang a little song that I made up to help him remember how to spell his name.  It goes like this:

That’s how you spell your name, it’s

A song writer, I am not, but it’s effective and he can usually spell his name pretty well!

Phew!  5 letters down, 21 more to go!

MAF in Haiti

Devestation in Haiti

As I’m sure you’re aware, Hurricane Matthew’s affects on the island nation of Haiti have been devastating.  MAF has 5 expat families on the ground there as well as 15 national employees.

So far, MAF has been able to do survey flights to access the damage and has begun to fly for several relief organizations.  If you’re interested in finding out more about MAF’s relief effort, click here.

Join with us in prayer for this Nation: both those affected by the hurricane and those aiding in the relief effort!

photo credit: Tim Schandorff, MAF Haiti

Belum: An Adoption Update



There’s this lovely little word in Indonesian that explains more about Indonesian’s ability to be ever hopeful than any other word I have come across.  Just this one word displays hopeful anticipation that everyone here seems to have.  Even in the face of unknown odds, this word give a glimmer of light to an other wise cloudy situation.  You know what it is?


Not yet.

Unless it is known beyond a shadow of a doubt that something is absolutely not true and will never be true, most Indonesians will use the word “belum” where we might other wise say no.  Is the sky green?  No.  Have you ever been to the moon?  Not yet!  Is you child a girl?  No.  Do you like shrimp?  Not yet!

I loved this word when we were experiencing infertility.  Do you have children?  Not yet!

So, today, the day we received another “no” about a possible adoption match (our 7th), I fully believe that God is not saying NO to us in this adoption, He’s only saying NOT YET.  There is a child out there for us.  A child that God has hand-picked for our family and we will wait for him or her with hopeful anticipation!

photo credit:

Pantai Gedo

Elias, our little fish, had been asking to go to the beach for several weeks.  So, last Saturday we packed up the troops and headed out to a nearby beach.  It had been awhile since we had visited this particular beach, and we were pleasantly surprised by the improvements they have made!  Yes, there is still trash along the shoreline, but it was otherwise clean and quiet.




sea shore

The water was a little wavier than we are used to, but Elias seems to have conquered his fear of the waves…as long as we are close by.

Big E, Little E

Indonesia is really into putting up these big signs all over the place now.  This one says “Pantai [beach] Gedo.”  We have one near our base that says “Pantai Nabire.”



play in the waves

whale shark statue

We used to say that this beach lived up to its moniker (Gedo), but now, though maybe not travel-magazine-ready, it is quite beautiful and pleasant morning at the beach!

Daboto School

If you received our most recent newsletter, you read about the school in Daboto.  (If you didn’t read it, you can see it here)  I had so many pictures from Daboto that won’t all fit in a newsletter, so I thought I’d share them here.  We are so excited and so blessed to be a part of this project, even if it’s just a small part!

unloading plywood

It's far

All the way to the worksite


Every single piece of wood, every piece of furniture, every tool that is offloading from Nathan’s airplane is carried by-hand to the work site, all the way down the airstrip, then down a narrow little path…it’s not close.  But there are plenty of helping hands to do the work!

Clinic gourd guy

Another project that we didn’t mention in the newsletter is this little clinic.  Siloam is a rather large medical group (is that the right term?)  There are several Siloam Hospitals in Indonesia.  It is, in fact, where Nathan was treated many, many years ago when he was having severe Crohn’s problems.  These clinic employs several workers that run this little clinic, treating patients and passing out medicine.  Of course, if there are any major medical issues that cannot be handled at the clinic, a med-evac will still be called.

classroom kiddos

classroom again

they're just so cute

I mean, seriously

Look at that smile

lining up

I just love seeing all of these faces!  Can you even begin to wrap your brain around the amazingness that this little school, in this little village is the time first ever, in the history of time, Moi kids have received a formal education?  Because I sure can’t.

solar panels

teacher dorm

This is the teacher dorm and the solor panels that power it and the school.  No power company in the middle of the jungle!  I believe that the teacher dorm is now complete and the teacher will be moving in soon.


And, of course, we can’t say goodbye without a picture of an airplane and a grass airstrip, right?




Diggin’ D

D is for duck

I feel like I’m losing my mojo for school and we’re only on the letter D!  Uh-oh.  But we’ll press on anyway, because ultimately I really do enjoy this special time with my boy.

So, this week we learned about the letter D and started out with our letter D duck!  While Elias pasted this together, I read Duck in the Truck, one I actually own!  One of the harder parts of this for perfectionist me is letting him glue these things together without carefully placing all the pieces myself.  But I’m working on it and we end up with wonky ducks that he totally loves because he did it himself!

Writing practice

That little sticking-out tongue just kills me.  Love him!

letter identification

You know what’s great?  Tile floors and white board markers!  Our tiles are completely smooth and so they are super easy to write on and erase.  So we played this little game where he had to throw the beanbags to the letter I called out.

d is for domino


I almost forgot I had these little cardboard dominos–a white elephant gift from several years ago.  So, Elias used the big D I had written on the floor and made a d out of Dominos.

d is for doughnuts

On the last day of our D week, I had really great intentions of making yeast doughnuts.  Because how good are homemade doughnuts?  So good!  Unfortunately, my yeast was bad and so my doughnut dough never rose.  Elias had fun helping me mix together the ingredients anyway!….And then we made cake doughnuts the next morning.


On the Beach Where we Live

On the beach where we live

I’ve said this before ’round these parts, but I can almost forget from day to day that we live so close to the ocean.  We so rarely every go down there.  Though it looks pretty from high above, the beach is actually full of trash,  animal parts and other generally unpleasant things that you wouldn’t normally hope for in your beach-going experience.

Recently though, Elias and I have started taking walks on the beach to hunt for “treasure” (pieces of sea glass, coral and shells) and I’ve come to appreciate our little stretch of beach for what it is.

Searching for treasure

amongst the trash

Ocean front

While it is indeed a dirty beach, it is still a beach.  The waves crash while salty breezes blow through my hair.  The sand is squished through our toes.  Sounds of town are drowned out by the ocean.

wooden boat


more treasure

Crabs skitter as Elias squats to pick up his treasure. (“When you see some treasure, you say ‘ahoy’, Mom.”)  And he has this uncanny ability to look past all the trash to find the little bits of beauty.

Nabire Ocean front

the search continues

Wooden boat

drift wood

So, I am coming to appreciate this little beach of ours.  For all that it is: trash and treasure.

3 1/2

Our little man turned 3 1/2 this month.  Can he really be that old already?

He is kind, funny, talkative, smart and oh-so-handsome.  We just love him to pieces!

I, of course, took a gazillion pictures of his sweet little face.

3 1/2

3 1/2

3 1/2

3 1/2

3 1/2

3 1/2

3 1/2

3 1/2

3 1/2








father son

Crazy for C!

Week 3 of Preschool: The Letter C!


C is for Car

C is for Car!

First up, we made this cute little letter C with letter C cars.  How cute are they?  And then we watched a little video about cars on YouTube (and truth be told, I don’t remember the name of it)

painting with cars


painting with cars

I really thought Elias would like this activity more than he did.  My thought was to roll his cars in some washable paint and then roll them down some paper taped to a ramp to make car tracks.  Because how fun is it to paint with cars?  Well, he did it a few times and then said, “what’s next?”

Draw in flour

Who doesn't love to eat flour

So, we spent the rest of our time practicing drawing “Cs” in a tray of flour.  This is messy and oh-so-fun!  Lots of flour may or may not have been consumed in this activity!



Day 2.  C is for Cow!

First we made this little toilet paper roll cow.  Elias had fun coloring the spots on the cow.  We also read the book “Click, Clack, Moo.”  I actually own this one :)


And then we played “how many spots.”  I tried a few different versions of this game, until we landed on one that worked.  I first tried having Elias roll a die, count the dots on the die and then putting that many spots on the cow, but this didn’t really work.  Next, I put the spots on the cow and had him count them.  Then we would add or subtract a spot and count again.  This version worked a little better and was easier than counting the tiny dots on the die.  Finally we just glued the spots down and called it a day.

C is for Cat

Day 3: C is for Cat!

First Elias made this cute little handprint cat.  He liked having his hand painted.  And then we read “If you give a Cat a Muffin.”

Practice cutting

practice cutting

Elias also practiced his cutting skills.  He has just reached the age when he can hold the scissors properly and cut a relatively straight line.  I bought these “Let’s Cut Paper!” books online a few months ago and they give some simple and cute guidelines for practicing scissors skills.

After mess


Homeschooling is definitely not perfect.  It’s messy.  There are bad attitudes (his and mine).  We are often still in our pajamas.  But it’s also brought about some great conversations and great bonding.  And, at the end of the day, when Elias says, “Thank you, Mommy”  it’s all worth it.