Friday, September 14, 2007

Preggo in the Park

After the boys had their hour sweatin' under their bike helmets on the SK8TR KDZ park, we headed over to the playground so Sabrina had something fun to do besides push her baby in the stroller and eat all the snacks. I'm 26 weeks preggo here. I seem to have a beer gut baby in there. So sad. We won't mention I've already gained 33 pounds. Woops.

The billy goat's gruff hill. She of course wanted to climb the rock wall.

Yay! I still could fit down the slide! Amazing!


Fantabulous skate park in Lacey, Washington very close to where we used to live. (Yes, one of 50,000,000 houses we have occupied in our short lives.) Sure beats that drive way we paid to have cemented in Banda just to get about 12 feet of good board room, eh?



Jared defies gravity!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Keeping It In the Family

So my husband was out 'in the field' so to speak and stopped by one of the several villages he is in charge of rebuilding in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. One of several tasks of each of these NGOs who is over there constructing after the 2004 tsunami is to painstakingly go over beneficiary lists; see who really gets a brand spankin' new house and who is in it for the take.

Hubby had heard some strange things about this particular beneficiary and wanted to meet him personally to discuss the problem. He knocked on the door, but there was no answer. He knocked again, and, well, the picture tells the rest of the story.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Max, Max, Max of the Jungle,...

Okay, so my mom the mad scrapper thought up the title. Here is what every Rescue Dog Mission in America prays you WON'T do with the newly adopted dog. Fall in love with it and move it to some crazy foreign country.

We got Max from Coastal German Shepherd Rescue in Southern California two weeks before I was due with the B, the fourth child. How deranged is that? Actually, I had done the research on finding a new dog (we had to get rid of our last German Shepherd right before Christmas and this of course broke the hearts of all the boys in the family, hubby most of all) so I agreed to go LOOK at the dogs. The boys loaded up the truck, I grabbed my purse and when I walked out and saw the water bowl and a gallon jug of water being loaded next to the dog kennel in the back of the pick up, I knew it was over. We would not be coming home without a dog. Never mind I was 36 weeks pregnant and had to drive two hours in a pick up truck to go see these doggies. Argh.

Well, that is what these rescues do so well - they really care about the dog and match them up best they can with the right person or family. Our contact knew right away that 'Bruno' would be going home with us, too. Coastal was awesome to work with, not crazy like some rescues where you have to send in neighbor references, photos of the house and write an essay about how much you love dogs. I was actually terrified to get out of the truck and have the staff see I was so pregnant, thinking they would not let us adopt a dog so close to a major milestone in our lives. Thankfully, they weren't crazy and we went home with that stupid dog.

Little did we know that four months later we would accept a position doing tsunami relief work in Sumatra, Indonesia. So, we did the necessary vet visits, lots of shots, chip installed in the doggie, crazy phone calls to every major airline and airport trying to figure out how the heck to get a German Shepherd to Banda Aceh. I think flying a cat to the moon would have been easier. In the end, after the kennel flopped off the airport cart and they had to drill even MORE airholes in the kennel 'just to be sure', we found pet expediters in both Singapore and Jakarta who made our lives easier and Max made his doggie way to Banda.

I think Max is the biggest dog many Acehnese people have ever seen. Little did we know when we moved there what a stigma a dog is to most very religious Muslims. Dogs, monkeys and pigs are seen as unclean in Islam. The truely devote Muslims in Aceh aren't allowed to touch Max. I had to find my live- in nanny from Medan. Although she is Muslim, she is used to the way of us 'unclean' Christian foreigners and doesn't touch Max, she doesn't freak out by cleaning his hair off the floor, feeding him or having him hang around. I had to give my housekeeper hazard pay. We can't host parties for hubby's local staff because many will refuse to enter a home where a dog has been unless it has been thouroughly cleaned both physically and by the Imam (Muslim 'priest'). Kind of an exorcism, I guess.

So, jogging with the dog on the local streets always draws quite a crowd. That or the fact that my husband said "(#$)&* it" and all 6'6" of him would dress in a tank top and jogging shorts (I on the other hand, had to wear long pants and long sleeve top. I bought a treadmill.) to go jogging with said large animal.

The most this dog will do is shed on you or lick you to death, but he certainly is a great deterrent from any unwelcome visitors trying to make their way into our gated yard.

While the family has been back in the U.S., hubby has been taking Max on lots of jungle walks to find tigers and wild boar, as well as walks on the beach. So far just a bunch of monkeys have been found. Max the city slicker dog has gotten over his fear of water and is finally rather enjoying his traipses in the great Sumatran jungle.