It has been so long since we have blogged and so much has happened that I want to tell about.  I will do some snap shots of things over the past 6 weeks…

Paul’s mom and stepdad were able to come and visit for Christmas and Nathan’s birthday.  We had a great time and the kids loved having grandparents around and Paul and I loved being able to show them what life is like over here and all of the chocolate they brought.

Paul's mom, Shelly with 2 spoiled grandkids

The snickers the size of my forearm! We also had the reeses cup the size of my fist X 2!

While Paul’s family was here, JD and I took a trip with some others here to the double waterfall in the Wolaitta region.  I had never been to see it, but many visitors come and go to see the falls.  I was glad I went, it was very beautiful.  I didn’t hike all the way down this time, but next time.

Ajora falls

JD and I at the top of the waterfalls

What a few of us did while the others hiked all the way down. You can't hear it, but we are also listening to a very random mix of old school music including Ace of Base.

After the hike we went to one of the guys house who grew up next to the falls in a small village.  He brought sugar from Soddo and they served us coffee with roasted barley and peas.  In the rural villages, they often drink coffee with salt because it is so much cheaper than sugar.  Of course, they treated us with more than they had, with many bananas, snacks and coffee.

JD in the seat of honor, since he was the oldest one there and Ermias, the guy's whose house we were at, was his guide down the falls.

The whole family

We had a great Christmas day with cinnamon rolls, fellowship, church service, talking about Jesus’ birthday with the kids, and a nice meal together. Of course, I forgot to get our annual Christmas day picture together before Paul had to go to the O.R. and the kids went to bed.

Our Christmas tree with paper lights

The kids opening their stockings...i think it was still dark out.

Nathan turned 4! It is amazing how much he has grown up since he turned 4.  I feel like some things are clicking and he understands how to make things easier for all of us.  The other day he said, “Momma, if I talk nicely and say please then I don’t cry!  Like this, see.”  And he has been doing a good job asking nicely and talking to Lydia in a sweet voice, instead of yelling and getting frustrated.

The big boy and his new car

We had a little birthday party for him at a local café.  I had them serve fresh mango juice and French fries, and I brought cup cakes and popcorn.

New Years came…and went without a picture.  But we got together with the expatriates in the area (Ethiopia celebrates their new year in September).  We had a lot of fun.  Everyone brought finger foods and we had a fire and made s’mores .  And then we played Wii bowling and Tiger Woods golf.  We also had a white elephant gift exchange.  It is always fun to hang out with people who usually work together at a fun party where you don’t talk about work.

And then we had another Christmas…Ethipoian Christmas was the first week of January.  We had planned to take off that weekend and visit with friends.  We took a 2 hour drive with the kids and got to Hawassa.  This is a newer town in Ethipoia with a large university, so overall the infrastructure is much different than Soddo.  It has also become the latest place where new resorts are popping up, so there are nice restaraunts, swimming pools and fresh fish from the lake. There is a Norwegian guest house that is right on the lake that we went to.  It is really the perfect vacation place for us.  We have a small little cabin with 2 bedrooms and a kitchen.  There is a nice playground and a kids pool that we frequented daily.  We ate dinner with some friends who were there with us and another family that lives in Hawassa.  The first night we ate doro wat that Etagainu made before we left.  The traditional meal for  Ethiopian Christmas is doro wat, the famous, very spicy, chicken stew.  The next night we grilled hamburgers and ate outside while the kids played.

How many onions does it take to cook 2 chickens?...10 pounds! In order to cook traditional doro wat, it takes 5 or 6 pounds of onions per chicken! Wow! Thankfully the onions cook down first for a long time and then you add the chicken for another long time.

On our way out of Hawassa, we were priveldged to get to go and see the Heli mission compound.  The helicopter lands in Soddo every so often to bring patients or to pick up evangelists.  I had the met the pilot several times before and he offered to give Nathan a tour of the helicopter.  Nathan brought along his helicopter that he got for Christmas and asked the pilot if his helicopter had wheels too.

Meeting the pilot on the helicopter pad

Lydia flying Nathan around.

Then we went to Addis to pick up a team that was coming down to Soddo.  While there we got to spend some good time with Jeremy and Christina Gabrysch who had just arrived in Addis for language school.  It was a blessing to be able to encourage them and take them out to eat and to do some shopping while they try and adjust and get acclimated.

We also booked our tickets to America.  Which we are excited about!  We will come home in late march, spend most of April, May and June in Dallas and Travel the eastern half of the country in July, and end in Houston with my sister and family.

After that we came back to Soddo with a team from Loma Linda Universtiy.  Paul gave them a full tour of the hospital and the residency program.  I helped provide meals and take care of logistics and they got on a plane early this morning to head to west Africa…and that brings us to today.

A quiet Saturday where we had Bible study with the residents and wives this morning, had a picnic lunch with the kids, rest/quiet time after lunch and catching up on emails, blogs, and prayer letters now.

So that is the last 6 weeks!  We hope all of your holidays have great