Two Is Due

Max turned two and our little one is due.

There was a time I worried about our baby girl coming on the same day as her big bro. Now, that the celebrations are over, I just want her to get here.

But that said, we have had fun celebrating two!

our boy is two

One was special – a rite of passage – but two is thrilling. Jared and I stayed up late the night before Max’s birthday like giddy toddlers ourselves, blowing up balloons, stringing streamers, and piecing together his gift – an art easel we found in the post-Christmas sales and have had hiding under the bed… not just because like to celebrate (although we do) but because we knew just how exciting he’d find it!

favourite breakkie muffins

In the morning as he busted through a wall of balloons, we knew it was all worth it. I love making life special for my family and though there are days that the tears outnumber the giggles, I love life with a toddler – the way every little thing seems so exciting…

Like a birthday party with his best bud, Levi. Levi’s parents graciously offered to throw a party for the boys knowing that we were a bit preoccupied with surgery and a baby due to arrive any day. And boy did they do a great job! We had so much fun celebrating these boys who are only a week and a half apart.

We are so proud of our Maxy-moo and so excited for all this next year has to offer. Oh, and hoping potty training is as easy as many have said that it is. 🙂

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My Tropical Christmas Wish

Is there any better time to finish writing Christmas cards in the tropics than during a downpour? Since most of you have never experienced Christmas in the sweltering heat, much less 30 weeks pregnant in the sweltering heat, let me assure you that there is not!

The wet season has come late this year and while I have tried to be grateful for the chance to finish things off on the ship, and avoid the extreme humidity (and subsequent swelling), this morning’s rain was a taste of what I’m secretly waiting and wishing for this Christmas… days and days of pouring rain and light relief from the heat.

Other than that, we’ve had a near perfect start to the season. And a season it is. I’ll relish as long as I can to have every shop front and home declaring the glorious wonder of that little Baby who came to earth.

We’re enjoying the pleasure of Christmas at home – with our decorations and our traditions – along with the company of family. Jared’s sister Amy is here visiting and his dad even surprised us by turning up a few days later.

Its been an action-packed week and if Aunt Amy isn’t up in the morning, Max can be found knocking on her door, “AAAAA-MYYYYYY!” Yep, I think he likes them.

Of course we miss the cold. And we miss the rest of the family. And we have to pump the aircon just to enjoy the feeling of hot cocoa in PJ’s… but that’s okay too.

We went to our first Christmas party of the year last night and my heart swelled with pride watching Max decorate his cookie. His first hand-made dough ornament is hanging in the most prominent spot on the tree with “Max 2011” written on the back.

I’ve always thought dough ornaments were hideous… until now. Now, its my favourite part of the tree and I’m sure it will hang there for years to come.

So from this hot, rainy living room to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS! May you truly enjoy and experience the season for all that it means.

Love, the hoovers

BYO Water!?!

This has been a year of babies, babies, babies. For the past couple of months, I’ve had a friend deliver a baby at least once a week… and they’re not stopping anytime soon. I think I am up to 10 friends/acquaintances who are due the same week that I am early next year!

Just in the past few weeks, four of my girlfriends here have had beautiful little babies, all born in the comfort of our local hospital, with wonderful care to keep them and their mamas safe.

That’s why I was shocked when I read this as my own little one kicked around in my belly this afternoon:

“A sign at the front of the hospital in [Papua New Guinea] reads, ‘Women in labour must bring their own water.'” — Fraser Coast Chronicle

Holy. Cow. There are no words. There are absolutely no words.

And this coming from a girl who has been studying health care in PNG for the past number of years, spending this very week up late at night writing up our current strategies while Jared helps to outfit the new waiting area onboard our medical ship, knowing full well that 1 in 7 women in rural PNG will die during childbirth…

Knowing Molly’s story intimately… Molly the sweet newborn girl who didn’t live… but has inspired hundreds to take compassionate action…

Knowing that for many of these women, clean water is actually quite hard to come by in the best of circumstances, much less in the middle of contractions.

And yet, as upsetting as it seems that a woman would have to BYO water to deliver a baby in a hospital, also knowing that it is still probably the best possible place to deliver and the ones who get to go there are truly the lucky ones.

I guess some days it hits you harder. Fresher. A deeper knowing. Deeper motivation to keep on keeping on to do what we can to change it… for more to have life to the max.

Let it be…

Max visiting a remote village in PNG earlier this year.

Maybe Falling Isn’t So Bad After All…

Jared is out getting a new dishwasher. Ours has been temperamental since we moved in and officially not working at all for over a year. But he’s had to help with the dishes so often in the past two months that I think he’s finally gotten over it…

At least there’s some silver lining in the midst of this little thing they call hyperemesis.

Its taken me a while to see it in the midst of the symptoms. I won’t go through the detail here (its vulgar) but I will say that I’ve thrown up in public so much by now that I’ve pretty much stopped going out. I cried with embarrassment the first time it happened in front of the hospital on our way to take Max in during the 8:30am rush. Heaps of people walked by as I stood over a rubbish bin filled with cigarette stubs and half chewed fast food before I was ushered away by three nurses who came rushing out of their office with tissues, bottled water, vomit bags, and a wheelchair in tow.

Jared and random nurses at the hospital haven’t been the only ones to catch me lately…

My 39-week pregnant friend (who is now a mama herself) who drove me to doctors appointments when I couldn’t take myself…

My busy mom-of-four-friend who took the time to juice veggies for me and puree pumpkin soup just to get nutrition in me when I couldn’t even keep water down…

Friends who popped by to entertain my son when I couldn’t pull myself away from the toilet and he couldn’t help but cry wondering what was wrong with mommy…

Friends who brought popsicles and smut, friends who offered to cook for my boys, friends who brought grits (because when that particular friend came off his former cocaine addiction, grits were the only thing that felt good on his stomach… man, I love that friend.)

I’ve always been so happy to be independent… to be the one offering the help… and even though I’ve done my fair share of receiving in life (hello, I’m not that naive, there have been SO many people to help me in SO many ways), it has never been to this degree with the most basic and practical things like feeding my family or changing my son’s nappy.

It was somewhere in the midst of all this, as I saw how gracious and loving and helpful and kind all my friends have been as they caught me, I realised… maybe falling isn’t so bad after all.

Last week as I sat in our weekly worship service, peaceful as a friend prayed for me, I heard the words of Jesus whispering to my heart. “Rebekah, you’ve been so eager to get out of this season of your life, but have you stopped to consider what I’ve done during it?

So. True.

A deeper gratitude… a deeper humility… a deeper understanding of friendship… a deeper intimacy with Christ… fallling in love with my husband all over again as I realised the depth with which he meant the words “in sickness…,” the joy of watching my friends succeed at things I was not strong enough to do… the preparation for life to change yet again as another little one joins us…

And while I still want out (always the optimist, now that I’ve passed 14 weeks, my next goal to be finished throwing up is 16 weeks, thanks to the advice from my friend Aimee’s mother-in-law, a nurse who suffered from hyperemesis herself), I am enjoying the moment, feeling free to fall, feeling grateful for those who catch me… and stoked to have a new dishwasher by the end of today!

Can you believe our sweet boy is 18 months old already!? GAH!

Born In Paradise

Hannah Peart and Jennifer Perry were excited to be heading back to one of their favourite villages last week after visiting there last year. Ero is its official name but they dubbed it “paradise” and were telling the ship’s crew and allied health workers about the beautiful waterfalls and fabulous people.

When they arrived, Ero and its villagers delivered.

On their last visit late last year, Hannah and Jenn assisted a woman in labour. After a long battle, the woman ended up needing a cesarean. Unfortunately, the girls were unable to stay for the surgery and left the village wondering what happened to the woman and her child.

As Hannah was in the neighbouring village of Wowo recently, a man approached her with a familiar line, “Are you the nurse Hannah from Australia who was here last year?!”

When she confirmed his question, he was so excited. He was the father of the woman we had helped through labour several months ago. He went away and came back with his daughter… and her healthy baby boy.

What a joy to meet this healthy little boy born in paradise.

YWAM Delivers 6,000 Free Health Services in First Ten Days!

YWAM Medical Ships has just completed its first 10 days of providing health services in rural Papua New Guinea. Deep in remote estuaries, the volunteer crew have delivered over 6,000 health services to people in incredible need.

The beautiful Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea

Forty-eight marine and medical volunteers arrived in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea to one of the largest welcoming ceremonies in the region’s history. The next day, the work began, with people literally jumping into tinnies and dugout canoes to make their way to the vessel, moored just off the coast.

Lining Up

In just 10 days, the volunteers including doctors, nurses, primary health care workers, physios, optometrists, dentists and dental assistants, encountered diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, tropical wounds, worms, vision impairment, oral caries and more.

Thanks to so many of our friends and family for donating eyeglasses!!

In addition to the health work, YWAM volunteers also engaged in community development projects – teaching locals how to repair broken outboard motors and generators – items which are critical to their livelihood in these remote areas. They also visited a drought-stricken village where rain water tanks had recently been donated; however the water could not be accessed as there were no taps. The engineering crew on board the ship helped to create make-shift taps; the next day the village experienced rainfall to begin filling the tanks and allowing for access to clean water.

Director Ken Mulligan says, “We are really proud of the outcomes we’ve seen in PNG over the last two weeks, both the big numbers – and the individual stories.”

The YWAM Medical Ship is currently in Port Moresby for a supply restock and to pick up volunteers before returning to the Gulf Province to continue the work early next week. It will return to Townsville for routine maintenance in October.