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posted by Cinda, with Toby’s help


Sometime last week, Toby and I were walking down the sidewalk outside the apartment building.  Two men were removing a manhole cover and inspecting something down in the dark hole.  It was a cold and windy day (though in retrospect, not all that cold compared to this week) so we were both bundled up in our coats, gloves, hats, hoods, and scarves.  I heard Toby ask, “Mommy, what are those men doing?”  I didn’t really know the answer, but just gave a general answer of “oh, they’re fixing something” but the words must have gotten lost somewhere between my scarf and Toby’s hat because Toby looked up in surprise and responded “Did you say they’re chicken hunting?”  I started laughing first, then Toby.  By the time we got to our steps, we couldn’t stop giggling about the idea of those guys “chicken hunting” in a manhole!  I hope we didn’t deeply offend them because there’s a small chance they thought we were laughing at them — they definitely thought we were a little goofy, but it was just one of those moments.  That’s the price we pay for staying warm — garbled communication.  Laughter is good medicine, though, right?

100_4932     I don’t have a picture of Toby in all his winter wear, so here’s a picture of Annika bundled up on her way out the door to school.  She hasn’t put her hood on yet, but on the really cold days, the hood goes over everything else and she wears two pairs of gloves.  You can’t tell in this picture, but the down coat goes over the tops of her snow boots.  It’s at least one or two sizes too big, but she says it’s nice and cozy.  Thanks to Jubilee, Annika has gotten some very useful hand-me-down items!

by Mark


8 AM facing East

I’m looking forward to Christmas but I’m also very excited about the 22 of December, the shortest day of the year here.  (Yes I know the solstice is the 21 in the states but we were told the 22 is the shortest day here.)  We are excited about the days growing longer.  Its hard to get up and moving when it looks exactly the same out as when you went to bed.  These are a couple of shots of what it looks like when I walk Annika to the school bus at 8:00 AM and then at 9:00 AM.  The GPS has said sunrise is around 8:45 and sunset is around 4:50 give our take a few minutes. 

Some of the pics are blurry because of the shutter setting, I’m sorry about that but didn’t know how else to get the right resolution. 



8 AM facing West- full moon, day after biggest moon I have seen in my life



Annika gets ready to board.


9 AM facing West

by Mark

Well we are busy getting ready for Christmas.  We’ve been to a variety of programs and parties over the past week as we all prepare for celebrating the birth of our Savior.  More about those events in later posts.  A few presents are already under the tree. (Packages seem to arrive only on Monday’s in clumps of more than one- we still haven’t figured out the pattern.  You get a call and they expect that you pick it up immediately.  You have to pay 200 T for the phone call and have the customs official look at the package.)

Its a great encouragement to us when we hear from you via comments and emails.  To keep up to date on what is happening with the Wood clan in Mongolia you can subscribe to this blog by signing up at left.  When you subscribe you receive an email copy of any blog posting from this site.  We also want to encourage you to leave comments or questions- we will try to answer them below or in a future post.  We have not had much time to write since Thanksgiving but we now have a two week break from school and will be posting several thoughts and pictures- stay tuned and keep reading.

Merry Christmas To All-

Mark, Cinda, Annika and Toby

By Mark


This Thanksgiving Blog post is brought to you  by our sponsors- the C&MA Church of Russellville!  We love and miss you guys — thank you so much for sending the great treats for Thanksgiving.  Toby and Cinda are opening a package that Russellville sent with Jiffy Cornbread mix just in time to make cornbread casserole (a favorite). 


Our family traveled 3 hours west of Darhan to to the town of Bulgan.  Bulgan has about 13,000 people in it.  Jeremy and Renee Bergevin graciously opened their home (pictured above) to all who wanted to come and celebrate Thanksgiving; yes, its a log home- Bulgan has a lot of timber around it and log homes are the norm. 



Annika chows on some chicken.


Because there were so many families we had to eat in shifts.   The kids went first filling tables upstairs and downstairs.  The menu included chicken (we couldn’t get turkey but the roast chicken was fantastic- I wanted to sprinkle benadryl on it to simulate the tryptophan (sp?) in turkey but was turned down) fresh rolls, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole with the onions on top, jello jigglers, cornbread casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy and several other salads that I can’t recall.  We had plenty of coffee circulating to go with pumpkin and apple pies. 

The guys went outside to throw the football around while we watched the kids play on the frozen stream.  Although there was snow (is snow) in Darhan there was none in Bulgan. 

The cards came out to play some cribbage, euker and a serious game of Rook.  100_4859

Uncle Larry gets kooky while entertaining Anna Wahlen.


The kids’ upstairs table.


Toby goes after his favorite food group, gravy.


We also got together to sing Christmas carols as a team and had a game of musical charades.  You picked a slip out of a jar and had to come up with a song that fit the category. 




Kids watching a movie upstairs before bed.


Superhero’s play together: Toby, Jack, and Levi

In some ways it was very easy to forget that we were in Mongolia- except for the ride home.