Christmas at Home

Merry Christmas from Papua!

We had a quiet little Christmas at home this year.  With two of us recovering from the flu, we tried our best to keep things low-key.

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Mom and Son

We have now spent 6 of our 10 Christmas as a married couple sweating it out overseas.  And while we definitely miss time with family, I have enjoyed creating our own family traditions!  Elias has only had one Christmas in the U.S. (and he was 9 months old at the time), and so Christmas in the tropics is all he knows!

Family together

We always get new jammies on Christmas Eve.  By this point in the evening, Elias was DONE and ready for bed, thus the strained smile.

Christmas Morning

He was much more smiley the next morning :) (to our Indonesia friends:  I totally use Bungkus paper as wrapping paper!  It’s the cheapest thing around!)

Nativity

Opening

Hugs for George

So. Many. Legos.

More. Legos.

Stocking

We spent all day opening presents and it was glorious.  After each gift he opened, we would just spend time playing…so we didn’t get to the last one until after dinner!  We are so thankful for our family, who send gifts months ahead of time to be sure we have them on Christmas morning.

How do you open gifts? Do you go through them all at once?  Or spread them throughout the day?

Natalan (Our MAF Christmas Party!)

It’s that most wonderful time of year again!  With humidity and tropical rain showers, right?  Well, at least that’s what it is over here.  But it wouldn’t be Christmas in Indonesia for us without our MAF staff Christmas party.  This year, we decided to do things a little differently and blend our Western and Eastern cultures a bit more.  And, I think, we struck just the right balance.
MAF Nabire Team

Our annual staff photo.  This year on the runway instead of in front of an airplane.

Note from Timika

MAF Timika sent us a little note on a dirty airplane.  Thanks guys!  And Selamat Natal to you too :)

Pondok Natal

Natal Tables

Instead of our normal party in the hangar, this year we did a party in the yard (it’s warm here, remember?) with magical Christmas lights and gorgeous mango trees.

Shepherds

Manger Scene

After the photo, we split into 4 groups: one group per home and each group was assigned the task of coming up with a drama, acting out part of the Christmas story.  I don’t have pictures in the homes, but I loved the drama that ensued afterwards.

Night lights

J's devotional

As the sun set, we ate a meal together that all the wives worked so hard to make.  Traditionally, Indonesians wouldn’t eat at tables at a party like this, but I think they all enjoyed it.  To finished up, we sang Silent Night and Jeremiah shared a short devotional.

All and all, it was a super enjoyable evening for everyone involved.  Selamat Natal!

The Weary World Rejoices

My favorite Christmas song at the moment is “O Holy Night”, especially the line “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”  At this point in time, just before Christ was born, God had been silent for hundreds of years.  Can you imagine how discouraged the Israelites must have been?  Years of prophecies and miracles were followed by silence.

BUT THEN, suddenly, a new and glorious morn!  One holy night a baby is born and the weary world REJOICES!  The silence was broken…and not just broken but shattered by a Savior!

I hope that you are rejoicing with you Savior this Christmas!

Fagerlie Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas!

 

Missing: Baby Jesus

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We unpacked all of our Christmas decorations just two days after Thanksgiving, only to discover that baby Jesus was missing!  Elias was walking around the house saying, “Jesus, where are you?” And I couldn’t help but think that this could be, without some intentional thought, be exactly how Christmas plays out for each and everyone of us.

With all of the activities and decorations and presents and Hallmark movies, is Baby Jesus missing from our Christmas celebrations?  Even here in Indonesia, where Christmas is less commercialized, our schedules are still filled up with activities, the stores are slowly starting to carry more and more Christmas “stuff”, the pondok Natals (Christmas shacks that are set up all over town) are blaring Celine Dion singing “I’ll be Home For Christmas”; all the while it is so easy to forget what all the hubbub should be all about.

God come to earth?  What an amazing blessing!  God came to earth with the purpose of wiping away every tear, every shame, every sin!  That is the true meaning of Christmas!

While our Little People Baby Jesus may never be found, my prayer for myself and my family is that the real Baby Jesus, God-with-us, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father, would be found in our home this Christmas season.

DIY Train/Plane board

We had decided to give Elias a train set for Christmas.  We were given this train set at one of our baby showers in the U.S., but had never pulled it out for Elias because he was too young for it.  But now that he’s almost TWO (how the heck did that happen??), he’s ready.

I’ve seen some really cute DIY-ed train boards on the internet, so I decided to try it out myself.  How hard could it be really??  I used paint I had on hand and a board we found in the scrap wood pile, making this project virtually FREE!  Yippee!

My one major goal when choosing the size of the board was to make it fit under the couch for storage.  Easy peasy.  Nathan cut the  board for me and I was off to sand and paint.

I painted it outside on my front porch so as not to have paint fumes in the house and that’s when my DIY train/plane board became very DIYed looking.  Outside has bugs and blowing leaves.  Oy.  So, I lovingly tried to pick all of the bug carcasses and leaves out of my drying paint, but there just might be a little leg or torso still stuck.  The “clear” polyurethane wasn’t clear so much as “muddy” making my train and plane landscape look like that had recently been a part of mudslide.

But such is the life when DIY-ing, amIright?

In the end, Elias still loves it.  Trains can still ride on it.  Planes can still land.  The bugs and “mud” add a realistic touch to it, at least that’s what I tell myself!

Train Board Plane board

And yes, there are two different shade of green when flipping from one side to the other because I didn’t mix enough paint to start with and then I couldn’t get it to match when I was ready to do the second side of the board.  Oh well, it’s not perfect, but Elias likes it anyway.

 

Christmas at the Fagerlie’s

Christmas can be hard on this side of the world.  Family is far away and there’s not a real snowflake in sight (for this Midwestern girl, snow is a must for that “Christmasy” feeling).

But Christmas on this side of the world with Elias is so much fun!  When I was growing up, Christmas was sort of magical.  This was mostly due to the atmosphere my mom created in our home.  I loved the Christmas lights, advent, fires in the fireplace, Christmas music, snowy days with hot chocolate.  So, now that I’m a mom, I want to try to create that same magical feeling for Elias.  Obviously, it’s going to look different for him.  We don’t have a fireplace or snow, but Christmas isn’t really about all of that, is it?

Christmas Tree

Someone turned all of the nativity characters to face Jesus.  Love it.  We’ve been talking a lot about baby Jesus around here.  Especially how he was adopted by Joseph and he became a part of his family, just as Elias was adopted into ours and we are adopted into God’s family through Jesus!

A few weeks ago, we ran into a pregnant lady in the store.  Indonesians have a belief that if you touch a handsome (or pretty) baby and then touch your pregnant belly, your child will look like the child you touched.  So, she approached us to that she could touch Elias.  I explained to Elias that she had a little baby in her belly, and he innocently asked, “Baby Jesus?”  Hum…I guess he hasn’t quite got it figured out yet, but at least he knows His name!

Christmas Books

This is one of my favorite pieces of Christmas decor: our basket of Christmas books!  The teddy bear hanging out in there was my Grandma’s, another person who helped create Christmas magic in my childhood.  I love that she can be a little part of our Christmas celebrations now.

Stockings

We don’t have a fireplace, so we improvised and hung our stockings on our kitchen cabinets.

Snowflake hallway

While we don’t have any real snowflakes, I did try to create a winter wonderland in our hallway!  I cut out these on my Silhouette machine and hung them with yarn and scotch tape.  Elias was napping while I hung them, and when he woke up he stared and pointed at the ceiling.  I think he loves it too!

Merry Christmas everyone!  Squeeze your family tight if you get to celebrate with them (and maybe squeeze mine tight for me too if you see them)!

Natalan

Be Still My Heart

This photo has nothing to do with our Natalan (keep reading to find out what exactly a Natalan is) except that it was taken the same day.  Do you have those moments as a parent when you just look at your kid and your heart could burst with joy that they are yours?  Man oh man, do I love this kiddo!  I love that he calls me mommy.  It’s such a honor.  I am ever so grateful that his birth mom chose me to be his mommy. [Heart bursting…]

Ok, Natalan: Natal is the Indonesian word for Christmas.  A Natalan is a Christmas event (or at least, I believe that’s how the word is used…oy with this second language.)  So, a few Saturdays ago we had our MAF Natalan.  An Indonesian Christmas party is a pretty formal affair.  There’s singing, a sermon and lots of food.

Nabire Team

We took the opportunity of having all of our National staff and their families together to take a photo of our awesome team (including our two airplanes!)

Helicopter

This was actually on our way out to the plane.  Elias, Nathan and Paul.  And a helicopter!

Natalan Hangar

Our hangar, all decked out for Christmas.

Kids singing

A bunch of the kids sang for us.

Expats singing

All the expats did some singing too.

Elias by candlelight

It was right around the candlelit rendition of “Silent Night” when Elias was ready for bed, so I went home to tuck him in.  Nathan hung out at the party and listened to the sermon and ate some soto ayam (basically the Indonesian version of chicken noodle soup)

All and all, it was a great evening and a great kick off to the Christmas season!

Our Week

Our week as been happy and sad and crazy and joyful and full of snot (how does so much snot fit in one tiny little nose?)

Christmas.  Christmas was wonderful.  We were able to watch our nieces and nephew open presents live and in-person for the first time in 5 years.  And Elias.  Man is he awesome.  He totally doesn’t get Christmas yet, but he liked ripping wrapping paper and crawling after his cousins.  Family was a great invention.

Grandma.  Nathan’s grandma passed away on December 27th after a year long fight with cancer.  We are so grateful that she was able to meet Elias.  She will be missed, but I’m sure she’s having quite a rockin’ party in Heaven!

Snot.  Illness has hit our household.  Terri (my mother-in-law), Elias and I have all been sick for several days.  Fevers, coughes and snotty noses mean lots of mommy-Elias cuddle time, plus a lot of daddy-Elias play time (while mommy rests).

Audrey.  Our sweet little niece Audrey was born on December 28 to Nathan’ brother, Ben and his wife, Amanda.  We cannot wait to squeeze that precious little girl (we’ve stayed away so far because of the aforementioned illness).

Visas.  Our visas are in!  Can I get a hallelujah?  The next order of business then is to 1)get healthy again; 2) squeeze Audrey!; 3) attend Grandma’s memorial service; 4) attend a family wedding; 5) pack, pack, pack, pack, pack; 6) lug ourselves + 16 pieces of luggage (not including carry-ons…we’re not known for our light packing) to the airport; 7) survive 40+ hours on an airplane with a 10 month old; 8) live happily-ever-after in a tropical paradise

Phew, that was just this last week.  Life’s not slowing down anytime soon (but we’re not know for that either).

Because I’m in a sentimental kind of mood, look how tiny my baby boy was…what happened?  He’s like a giant now, or at least he feels like one when I tote him around on my hip all day.

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I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

Aaaaannnnnnnddddd Christmas….

Finally a cold Christmas!  It has been 5 years since I’ve had a cold Christmas.  I’m a Midwestern girl at heart.  A Midwestern girl that has been either living in the desert or the tropics for the last 6 years which means warm Christmases.  Somehow bar-b-cue on Christmas just doesn’t sit right with me.  I need a fireplace and hot chocolate and snow.

Yipee for Christmas in the Midwest this year!

Now I’m just praying for snow…