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It’s been awhile since we posted anything new, so we thought we’d just take a few minutes to at least say hello!  After a brief warm spell, it has now turned “AAAMAR Wheaton”, which means frightfully cold.  We’re bundling up as usual and managing to persevere.  The most difficult times are waiting for the bus in the mornings (for Annika) and walking to and from language school.  However, our apartment continues to be very warm — for which we are extremely thankful!  Mark was able to celebrate his birthday (38!) in Bulgan at Jeremy and Renee Bergevin’s home.  They invited us out and we were happy to take them up on the offer.  It was a fun time for all, playing Dutch Blitz and cribbage, eating cake, and worshipping together.  We also had the fun of taking Isaiah Liberda with us to add to the enjoyment of all the kids.  Jeremy gave us a ride out there on Friday afternoon and we came back to Darhan in a taxi on Sunday afternoon.  I’ll leave space for Mark to describe the taxi ride home (related to the vulture pictures below), and to explain the eagle. 

The kids all painted together Saturday afternoon — thanks, Aunt Renee and Uncle Jeremy, for a great weekend! 

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I’m not sure if this is a golden eagle (its a bit small) or a falcon (its a bit larger than the Red Tails I’m used to seeing in Arkansas) Unfortunately it got hit by a car and met and early demise.  What a beautiful creature!  Its talons are truly razor sharp and its plumage spectacular.  (Yes I was thinking of all the flies I could tie but do not want to start any extraordinary demand for these beautiful creatures.) 

On the way back from Erdent our taxi driver was quite a guy.  I asked him if he had seen any camels or eagles on the road.  He said that he had not but he did see some camels north of Darhan.  As we were passing a field he stopped and said that there were big black birds- would we like to look at them.  Sure!  I said. In my mind this meant stopping and watching the birds from the road, the driver had other ideas.  To our delight he drove off the road and towards the birds, chasing them.  Toby, Annika and Isaiah thought it was the greatest thing.  We had fun.  We were able to get a few great shots of them as they flew off.  These vultures are the same birds that are used to fletch arrows on traditional Mongolian arrows.  What an adventure and great ending to a special birthday weekend.



100_5242  In an unrelated photo, Smokey is sporting her new collar — a gift from Grandma!