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Things are a bit different around my house these days. Three of the kids – Rachel, Gus, and Boo – were asked to travel along with a visiting team to help with translating. This isn’t a team Allen and I are hosting, so the kids are off in remote areas of the mountains with the team, and without us parents! This is the first time the kids have been hired to work like this, and they’re mighty excited about the opportunity.

Meanwhile, Ben and I are handling everything on the home front that would usually be spread out amongst more people. Every morning we feed and water the cats, dogs, cows, bunny, and pigs. At noon the pigs need more water, and we have to fill the cows’ water at intervals throughout the day, because they broke the side of the wide plastic bucket we’ve been using to give them water, and now it doesn’t hold very much! In the late afternoon we again feed the cows, pigs and dogs. During the rainy season the cows wouldn’t need as much food, but grazing is pretty scarce now that dry season is here. We also have to water the garden, and clean up whatever messes any animals have made in inappropriate places.

Fortunately, there’s much less to do in the way of dishes, cooking, and laundry, with only three of us at home. To make up for the lack of work in those areas, one of the dogs went into heat, and we’re having to keep our two adult male dogs apart, or they’ll try to kill each other. We keep one of the males inside, and one outside, at all times, and switch them occasionally. The in-heat female is one of the labs, so she has to stay with the male lab, so we don’t end up with lab/rottweiler puppies. The hormonally insane males did have a bad fight when she first went into heat, so I’m nursing a torn ear on one of the males. Also, with the older kids gone (for several weeks), I’m having to take on the task of making up Christmas boxes. In the midst of all of this, I’m currently Ben’s only source of conversation, and he’s a massively chatty dude – so imagine all of this activity with a background drone of one-sided conversation about the plots of animated movies, what Ben dreamed last night, new inventions he’s figuring out how to build, and questions on the order of: “Mom, which is your favorite venomous snake?”

Allen, of course, is gone pretty much all day every day, as he and Russell and their crew frantically fight against time to complete the bridge project before the end of the dry season. At this point, there is still a slim chance that they could finish in time – assuming the weather cooperates, materials all get to the site on time, no equipment breaks down, enough volunteers show up on the days they are needed, etc. I did mention this was a slim chance, right? But it’s enough of a chance that the menfolk are still trying hard to finish before the rains start.

On top of everything else, I’ve decided I just can’t wait any longer to work on updating our website. I’ve neglected it terribly, and I’m just going to have to find the time to spruce it up, change out pictures, and update the information. This morning, I chose a new background and graphics for the site. It’s not a big change, pretty subtle really, but it makes me feel like it’s a bit fresher, since it isn’t the same background I’ve been looking at for several years. If you want to take a look, the website is The website has around 25 different pages, so this will be a long process. I might take on a page or so each day, for the next month – since I’ve got nothing much else to do . . .