Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas in the village part 1: our family

We've had many people ask us, "so what is Christmas like in the village?" I'll have to split it into two posts, but I hope to show you what our holiday was like. I'll start with the family side of things in this post and then share with you about our celebrations with the community in the next post.

I heard Jeremy making noise around the farm house at 4am which told me that our transitional egg mcmuffin sandwiches were in the works. I think Bronwyn was a little non-plussed by the whole breakfast thing until we showed her the awesome-ness and gave her some egg of her own to nibble on and then she started to perk up. 
awake but not yet diggin' life
egg mcmuffin and hashbrowns. our one christmas tradition

my dad's the best chef ever!
We had "decorated" the farm house a bit to help bring some Christmas cheer. When its in the 90's outside, its hard to feel Christmas-y, and a few decorations go a long way. 

our Christmas tree

whiteboard greetings

the happy birthday Jesus gift table with sparkling cider and a porcelain caroler figuring

we had to cage the child to keep her from attacking the wrapping paper

After breakfast we got cleaned up and watched Bronwyn open her presents. I now understand why parents like to give their kids gifts. Its pretty much the sweetest thing I've ever seen to watch Bronwyn tear into paper and then giggle with delight and surprise. I wish we could do the present thing every day!
mom's old cell phone a dolly, a book and a picnic basket! YAY!

Lovin' it all!

And now we're pooped...

 Jeremy read us the Christmas story and we gave thanks for the good gifts in our life. I had been stressing out about Christmas for some time, feeling like we should be doing something really awesome... and traditional. I come from a family with a wide variety of traditions and I've felt so haphazard regarding this holiday. What I think I realized on Christmas day is that traditions grow out of what a family enjoys doing together. Whatever that is! Yesterday we had fun, we enjoyed, we made memories.
It was a very MERRY Christmas!

We hope your family had a wonderful day as well!

Monday, December 24, 2012

our gifts

I mentioned last week that we've been thinking about presents and what to do for our daughter. But what about the adults in this family? I just posted on our Choshen Farm website (Merry Christmas from Choshen Farm) what Jeremy and I are considering to be our gifts for this year. We hope as Bronwyn grows that she will gain an appreciation for this "genre" of gift.   

Christ has come that we may have life and have it to the full. WHAT A GIFT! 
We have the opportunity to share that full life with others. WHAT A GIFT!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

toys, Christmas time and the like...

I’m always so impressed with what the kids around us create by way of toys. A plastic shopright bag, some sticks and string makes a perfect kite. 

Some banana stalks and chitenge materials makes a sweet doll (complete with braids!). 

Bottle caps and Maheo drink boxes makes an impressive flatbed truck. 

Old wire, carved wood and a stick makes an awesome vehicle that can even be steered! 

Seriously, these kids are more creative than I remember being as a child.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our neighbor kids and their toys, especially as we approach the one holiday per year when parents all of a sudden feel compelled to buy their children boatloads of toy-ish things.

Jeremy and I have had this conversation more than once – what should we do for Bronwyn such that she understands the purpose of gifts at Christmas and so that she feels special and loved, but without fostering in her a sense of materialism and without communicating that the simple lifestyle of all of her village friends is somehow inadequate or inferior?

Our answer?


Gosh it feels good to admit that! We have two simple gifts prepared for her from us, and two from her Grandma Rawson. Part of us feels like, “goodness, that’s so little!” and part of us feels like “goodness, that’s so much!” Both statements are probably accurate on some level. Every time we’ve ever seen small children open gifts (in America), the parents always laugh at how they should have just given them the box the gift came in. Ok – so why didn’t they? I recently found out that Chama, our neighbor boy, burnt his foot badly enough to take him out of school – and he did it by jumping into our rubbish pit to retrieve a box that he wanted to use as a toy. Saddest. Thing. Ever. I heard his story and wanted to die.

And I’m supposed to follow that up by giving my daughter more STUFF?

Are you tracking with my dilemma? Is it possible that most parents’ gift giving philosophies are more about the emotions of the parents than the wants/needs/desires of the kids? Is it possible to find the perfect middle ground between (1) inappropriately disregarding meaning and (2) inappropriately embracing extravagance? I hope so! Have we found it? I HOPE SO!

I recently said to Jeremy, “I’m glad Bronwyn has the memory of a goldfish, because I’m not sure we’re doing this right. At least we can try it again next year…” This Christmas we want our precious girl to know that she is important to us and that we love her. But more importantly, we want her to know that Jesus loves her and sent his son – a perfect Gift – to die in her place. Moreover we want her to know that our purpose in this place, and in life, is to represent that Gift in word and in deed. Will letting Bronwyn unwrap some presents help her to one day understand this simple message? We certainly pray so.
For truly, ‘From the fullness of His grace, we have received one blessing after another.’ (John 1:16)

May this be what you remember, baby girl, at Christmas time and always. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baby Sitters

Usually the kids around us are awesome baby sitters. They have been carrying around small babies since they were babies themselves. They don’t freak out when Bronwyn cries, but do bring her back to me promptly. They consider it a pleasure to relieve me of my heavy little bundle of joy long enough for me to get something done. I’m really grateful to the slew of neighbor kids who step in and help me out on a regular basis. 

bouncy chair on the porch is a fav.

Richard is in charge of Bronwyn's critical thinking development

They are actually playing checkers with chess pieces
which is why they can spare a few for Bronwyn to chew on

But I have to admit that TWICE this week I encountered baby sitting issues that have me considering whether I should keep my little pumpkin closer to my side. We were doing a Bible study at the Learning Resource Center and Orpa and Maggie came in and took Bronwyn out to the playground. (See the slide in the background there?) I looked out the window just in time to see Maggie hoist Bronwyn up to the top of the slide, Orpa grabbing the straps of her jumper to hold her in place while Maggie ran to the bottom of the slide, and then Orpa let her go, watching her slide down on her own. I walk/ran out there trying to not startle the girls, but politely said, “Aaaaaaand we’re done here. Thanks though!”

that would be the slide in the background

Then the next day Charles decided to take Bronwyn for a stroll while I helped Jeremy with some things. She came back a little bit later and as I took her in my arms, I saw a weird look on her face and upon closer examination noticed she had a mouth full of leaves. “Umm, Charles, how did that happen?” I fished out the leaves, determined that she wasn’t choking and then had a good chuckle. What else was I going to do?

I’ll probably never hold interviews or ask for first aid certification, but until Baby B can be slightly more discerning in terms of age appropriate activities, I should probably still keep an eye on her even after letting her go off with the big kids. Thanks kiddos for loving my baby like she were your own!