That Other Guy In Our Family

We’ve written a lot about Max and a little about me…

But can I just say Jared has been a champion all the while too! We’ve moved some things around on our centre and he was busy building a new chapel and relocating our recording studio. The results are fantastic, stunning, and we’re really excited about the change in culture it brings to our centre and the impact that has on all of our staff and students. Its funny how rearranging the furniture just a bit can make just the right change to our home and I think that’s what these projects have been about.

Our ship is still doing phenomenal things and I thought I’d share a short video clip that had me in tears (and I don’t think its just the hormones) from one of our DTS outreach teams who were working alongside the ship in PNG.

For those of you who get behind what we do, know you’re not just championing our family but an entire nation. And the results have been astounding – not just statistically – but in the way they are changing individual lives, families, and communities.

Good work, team!!


A Rocky Start to An Incredible Adventure

We’re here. One exhausted dry docked daddy. One meetinged-out mama. And a baby boy whose “white” skin, as tan as it is, is quite the novelty around these parts. We are talking strangers-taking-pictures-of-you sort of novelty.

It’s strange to be on the other side. Strange and good.

We are anchored off the coast of Port Moresby where we have welcomed doctors, dentists, nurses and deckhands to join us in the Gulf next week.

I’m not going to lie and say that it’s the romantic picture I’ve had in my head. Keeping a kid quiet around 50 sleeping people in close quarters (read: very few actual walls) is not easy. Pacing him around the only room on the ship that is sound proof before sunrise was not part of the vision.

But at the same time, we are so so so convinced we are to be here at this time. Challenges are interesting like that. They seem to take the best of you, mess it all up, and spit you out. But sometimes what comes out is pure conviction… And pure conviction is hard to argue with. We have a job to do and we are not going anywhere.

Clearly, deep thoughts muddled by an exhausted mind while sitting on the steep steps of a ships cabin don’t come out very eloquent.

I wish this was the time and place to tell you how amazing this week has been meeting with different leaders of this country. But, this place is the world wide web and it would in fact be wholly inappropriate. So you’ll have to trust me when I say that it has been absolutely fantastic.

Can you picture me in my heels and a life jacket riding across in a Zodiac to go to meetings with Governors and CEOs?

Now you can.

The adventure was the icing on the cake of a truly amazing week.

So was this little honey who fell asleep in his daddy’s arms as his thick teething drool literally hung about a meter long, waving in the wind of the Zodiac.

After our 15 minute boat ride, he stayed asleep in that life jacket for well over three hours.

Sweet boy.

We are off to the Gulf early next week but for now we sleep in our gorgeously renovated cabin with 42 balls underneath us.

We can hardly wait to meet the friends who will receive them!!

Love, The Hoovers

Ship Shape

We’ve been spending the past few days down at the water. There’s been a little of this:

(Entertaining a toddler beside the wharf)

And a little of this:

(Walks along the wharf)

And a lot of hard work, sweat, hammering, sawing, and beautifying.

The results are stunning. Check out the new lounge on board:

With the ship being up in PNG for 6 months this year, we wanted to make it more liveable. The bunks are tiny and people need space to chill out, relax, and recharge. And trust me, this new lounge is really the ultimate place to hang out and refresh. Max & I are well aware. We’ve been bringing lunch down to Jared on a regular basis, enjoying some family time sliding down the wood floor on bean bags and tracking Jared’s progress as he gets our medical ship into… ship shape!

We waved them off yesterday as they sailed and word has it that its so smooth they started working on painting “our” cabin.

Yep, we renovated a little cabin and built in a cot for the three of us. Its all happening in three weeks and we are SO excited!!


Travelling with a Baby These Holidays? Take Some Tips from the “Experts”

Jared and I like to think of ourselves as expert parents. Never mind the fact that we only have one child and that he’s only 9 months old. We like to tell ourselves we’re good at this gig. Mostly so we don’t break down wondering what they heck we’re doing wrong every second day but hey… you take what you can get, right?!

So, let the “experts” give you some tips on travelling. I mean, in 9 months, we have travelled with Max numerous times by plane, train, automobile… and boat. If that doesn’t make us experts, tell us what does!

So here they are, our top tips for travelling with a baby this holiday season:

  1. Pack Light. This is my number one piece of advice (hence why its number 1.) Try to be somewhere you can do laundry and do it often rather than trying to pack for everything. Yes, you’ll get sick of your clothes, but it will feel like you have a celebrity’s wardrobe when you get home!
  2. Do what you gotta do. Even if that means your luggage cart is stacked so high you can barely get up to the checkout line, much less the bathroom and you have to change your child’s exploding poopy nappy on the filthy floor of the the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX while a Chinese man laughs at you in Mandarin. Its better than getting more poop all over you and your baby. Trust me.
  3. Forget the toys. Remember your first flight? An in-flight magazine, a flight safety booklet, a BARF bag?? These are the most fascinating things to someone who has never seen them before! Especially when that someone is little and fascinatable! Use what is around you and pack light on everything, including toys!
  4. Bring snacks and don’t worry about making a mess. I know, I know. Its a rule to never feed kids out of boredom. But there is an exception to this rule and that’s when you’re travelling! Healthy snacks are the best distraction. And packing your own is way better than paying $6 for a small water and banana in an airport (sometimes, we get desperate). And don’t worry about apologising for the cheerios that are all over the floor. The flight attendants will just tell you its someone else’s job to clean them. (Okay, they might do that but its still nice to pick the cheerios up as much as possible. Unless you can’t and then just pretend that you’re at a baseball game and everybody’s doing it, then walk away swiftly.)
  5. Accept Help. When someone offers to hold your baby while you go to the bathroom, take them up on it. Its going to be really hard for them to do anything naughty with your baby since there are 300 other people watching them and no where to escape. And besides that? It sure beats setting your baby down on the floor of a aircraft “loo.” (Although, if you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry about it – just remember you’re doing what you gotta do.)
  6. Pack an extra set of clothes in your carryon for every traveller. There will be spit up. There will be pee. Pumpkin puree WILL go flying. Plan for it and bring an extra set of warm but lightweight clothes for everyone. And a set of shout wipes.
  7. Routine SHMOOTINE! Plan to be extra tired, plan for your kid to eat and sleep at different times. Just do what you can when you can. You will all settle in a lot quicker than you expected. Sleep as often as possible and work to get back into a rhythm slowly. A nursing cover (whether you’re breast feeding or not) and baby carrier can help block out stimulation if you’re in a busy place like an airplane or public place.
  8. Request the bulk head seats on an airplane. Even if your kid is too big or too curious for the bassinet (ummm… I think he’s about to jump out of there), it still provides extra crawl space for baby and leg space for husband. You will be everyone’s favourite wife and mommy.
  9. Compartmentalise. Jared thinks I’m ridiculous to pack bags in bags, but hello? I don’t want to be digging around for the change mat, the nappy AND the wipes when the Chinese man is laughing at me in Mandarin. I had it all handy dandy ready to whip out in one swift movement (Jackie Chan, eat your heart out!) Pack your snacks close together so when the cheerios have redesigned the aircraft carpet and upholstery, the rice cakes are ready to work their magic. And keep all your travel documents in one case too. That way you won’t wake that baby (who is FINALLY sleeping in that baby carrier) while you dig for a pen, an itinerary, and the passports, while trying to figure out where the heck you put that silly customs card.
  10. Choose to have fun! It will be inconvenient. It will be challenging. You might be carrying a baby with a blow out poo and walking a luggage cart taller than yourself through the rain and ask for help and the guy (whose job it is to help) will tell you that you with a mocking tone like like you can handle it and glare at you like a crazy person as you walk by. But who cares?! This is the making of family memories! Embrace every moment and instead of crying or getting overwhelmed, find the humour and laugh. Right then. Right there. Yes, people will think you’re even crazier than you already were as you stand in the rain laughing with yellow goop leaking out the side of your baby, but its a lot better than crying. Make it a moment you and your kids will remember with joy forever. That’s what its all about, right?

So, happy travelling! And when you get home, be sure to post lots of pictures so we can ooh and aah at how cute your baby is and post an update on your blog or Facebook so we can laugh with you at all your mishaps!

Oh, and if you want some REAL travel tips, ask my friend Tiffany. She has some awesome products that are very cool or my friend Adriel who is pretty much a pro by now too! 🙂

Finding Family in Unlikely Places

Stephanie is one of the girls on our media team. She has a hidden talent for sharing really good stories. So good, in fact, that I’m going to share one of them with you to give a bit of a picture into life in PNG… and what YOU are a part of there!


As we were going to Orokolo Bay for our last week I turned to my friend and said, “Im going to make a best friend here,” and she said… “OK” ( She probably didnt believe me.)

So off I went in search for a best friend. During our welcoming kids were coming up and grabbing our hands left and right. But alas I had no buddy to walk with (Maybe it was because I was taking photos and kids were a bit frightened of me. which happened suprisingly often. I somehow made a habit out of making kids cry. Good times.)

I was a little bit defeated and decided to get on with my life and do what I came here to do. Halfway into the morning I sat outside the clinic visiting with the locals who were waiting to see the doctor and snapped a couple photos. And as I was taking photos… I saw him… I saw my new best friend! I didnt even care if he wanted to be or not. I was determined to win this kid over.

His name is Konkii and I sat with him and his mum and found out he was the one in line to see the doctor. He has been pretty sick for a while and they didn’t know what was wrong, so to tide them over until he got in to see our doctors I was determined to teach them something and decided on the peace sign because I think its funny. As you can see, my first few attempts kind of failed. Good effort anyways.

By the time he went into our clinic they were pro stars at the peace sign and even mastered the pound it handshake and he was all smiles. But dispite that we found out he was pretty sick with malaria and worms. Classic PNG child illnesses.

We were able to help him out and put him on some malaria medication and also give him some deworming pills which they never normally would have been able to afford.

They went home soon after and as they were walking away I was a little dissapointed, thinking my best friend just slipped through my fingers and I wouldn’t see him again.

BUT, it turns out that his family lived close by and came back to the clinic to say hi every day until we left. I would sometimes see him peeking through a crowd smiling shyly and holding up a peace sign in my direction. And other times he would be at my feet holding up very unripe guava for me in his hands with the biggest grin on his face. Knowing I would never eat them I just thanked him each time and put them in my billum he gave me with the rest of them.

The day we left I carried him through his village to our awaiting boat and every time we passed any of his family they would all say, “Oh look! its Konkii’s sister!”
Apparantly peace signs and pound it handshakes are ways to be adopted into a family in PNG. Yay!