Friday, December 7, 2012

Highlights from November

Somehow, another month has passed me by and I've completely ignored this blog.  My sincerest apologies to those who reference this for updates.

If you read our latest newsletter, you'll know that life has been 'hopping' since we arrived in Chonburi.  So, here are just a few highlights from the past few weeks here in our new location (in no particular order)...

#1) Working with a team from The Bridge church from Bakersfield, California.  I got to help out with the VBS program they held in one of the Ang Sila slums.  It was such a joy working with these kids.

#2) Watching 7 people get baptized in Ang Sila one Saturday evening!  5 Thai people and 2 people from the California team.

#3) Getting to decorate Callie's room and getting started on Marek's (his pictures are yet to come).

#4) Watching Marek light up the lives of pretty much everyone who meets him.  Such a happy, happy boy... so thankful for his easy-going spirit.

#5) Several swim dates with this little girl.

#6) Having an amaaaazingly delicious American Thanksgiving meal with our new team.
(Sorry... I forgot to take a picture... I was too busy stuffing my face with turkey and stuffing!)

#7) Decorating for Christmas!

#8) Teaching English at one of the Government offices here in Chonburi city.

#9) Overloaded 'Cranberry Bliss' bars from Starbucks and a great girls night with my teammate, Corina.

#10) Trips to IKEA.

#11) The joy of sloooooowly getting settled into our new home. (Pictures to come! I promise!!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

1 year...

It really is hard to believe that its October 14th again.  It feels like just yesterday we were stepping off our Cathay Pacific flight, after a LOOOONG journey from Vancouver to Bangkok.

So much has changed since then.  

One of the biggest things being, that there were 3 of us when we arrived in Thailand on October 14th, 2011,

and now there are 4 :)

Not to mention all of the crazy things that happened in between.

All in all, its been quite the year.  I'd say one of the deepest truths we've had reaffirmed since we've been here, is that God truly, truly is FAITHFUL and hasn't left us... not even for a second.  There have been some dark times... some of the hardest times of our lives... but also some really incredibly rich times.  And through it all, God has remained the strength that has got us through and the joy that has shone through, even when we felt like we couldn't do this.  

And I guess what I just really want to say in this post is THANK-YOU.  

Thank you to all of you who have believed in us... who have walked alongside us on the long road that got us here... who have supported us financially... who have supported us through prayer... who have sent us ridiculously awesome care packages... who have emailed and FB messaged us, just to say you're thinking of us and praying for us daily... who have taken time to Skype with us... who have come (or are planning to come) visit us... who love us... who want to see us succeed... who have made this entire last year (and the many to come) possible.  We feel deeply, deeply blessed by all of you.

Thanks for being a part of this crazy journey we're on!  We honestly couldn't do it without you and we're so thankful you're along for the ride! :)

So, as I reflect back over this past year, I guess my heart just feels really thankful.  Thankful to God and thankful to all of you.  And I can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the year to come.   

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another month gone by...

Some of you have probably heard through the Facebook grapevine that our family has been sick for the past week... and I mean SICK.  All 4 of us.  Absolutely awful.  Tricky trying to keep your kids occupied when you feel terrible yourself.  Thank goodness for laptops which make for great in-bed movie times.  This was a common sight around our house last week...

But thankfully, after several days of antibiotics, we're all starting to feel human again.  
What a relief... 'cause I've missed seeing these two monkeys feeling happy and healthy!

I can hardly believe that the month of September is almost over already.  Life is definitely busier with 2 kiddos and the result is often a feeling of having life in fast-forward.

Marek turned 4 months old on the 15th which totally blows my mind.  He's such a happy boy and brings all of us so much joy.  He's a noisy little critter and is often heard "exercising his vocal chords" with screeches and giggles and coo's. I love the stage he's at and the fact that he'll smile for anyone.  He's getting a TINY bit better at sleeping at night (though the sickness has changed all of that again).  He started rolling over last month and I can tell he's enjoying that new found freedom.  Its been interesting having a boy this time around and seeing the differences between him and Callie.  I can tell that he's going to be much more of a "mover and a shaker"-- Callie was so laid back and didn't do much moving til about 8 months old (rolling, crawling, etc.) whereas he is already rolling, does 360's in his crib and has even attempted to shimmy himself along by pulling with his arms and getting his knees up under himself.  I fear that crawling will be upon us far earlier than I would like :)

Callie continues to entertain us with her random thoughts and antics.  She is constantly babbling about something and makes us laugh with some of the stuff she says.  The other day, she went to play at Jason & Corina's and apparently when Uncle Jason asked her what they were celebrating, she responded with this: "Its not going to snow today in Thailand.  Its going to rain.  At Christmas time we went on a train." :)  Gotta love the randomness.  A couple of weeks ago, I was helping her onto the toilet when she, very dramatically, put her hand on my shoulder, furrowed her eyebrows in a sad expression, and said, "Its OK Mommy... its not your fault."  We've quickly realized just how careful we have to be with what we say because she is a SPONGE and mimics just about anything and everything she hears.
Last Friday, she and Jon went to the doctor for their follow-up appointments.  When it came time for the doctor to check Jon, Callie handed him her blankie, and said, "Here Daddy.  Take this.  It'll help."  She then instructed him, "Now sit niiiice and still Daddy."  I can already tell how "mothered" poor Marek is going to be as he grows up :)
She is extremely dramatic and almost always talks with her hands.  She loves to dance and quote long lines from movies and books.  I have a feeling we've got a little movie star in the making... yikes ;)
And as trying as this age of 3 has been, I still love the times when I can leave Marek with Jon for a couple of hours and spend some good one-on-one time with her.  Its amazing how much she'll tell me over an ice-cream or while she helps me with grocery shopping.  I sure do love this girly...

As for Jon and I, we're finishing up our last month of formal language studies at Araya Language School here in Chiang Mai.  At the end of October, we'll be making the big move down to Chonburi to begin ministry (and continue with language studies through a language helper).  Corina and I will be taking a little scouting trip down to Chonburi this weekend to see if we can find housing for all of us.  If you think of us, please pray!  Finding housing down there isn't as easy or accessible as it is up her in Chiang Mai so we're a bit worried we'll come up empty-handed.  Please pray that God will lead us to the right houses and that they'll be available for move-in when we move at the end of October.

It really is hard to believe that we're just a couple of weeks away from our 1 year mark.  If I'm completely honest, its been a tough first year but at the same time, its been amazing to see how God has come through for us again and again and again.  We serve a faithful God who cares deeply for us and for every aspect of our journey and we're so thankful for the ways He's protected, provided and comforted us over these past 11.5 months in Thailand.

Our Chiang Mai team--
Us, Jason & Corina, Jesse & Chase, and Andy & Carmen, Connor, Isaac & JJ

We're going to miss a lot of things about life here in Chiang Mai-- Andy & Carmen and Lauren & Steven, just to name a few. ;)  We feel deeply thankful for the friends God has given us while we've lived in Chiang Mai and hope that even though there will be a bit of distance geographically, that the relationships will stay strong and visits will be possible as often as we can make them happen.  A&C and L&S... thanks for making this a great year!  We love you guys more than you know!  Come visit as soon as you can! ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Time to go pro...

Callie has been in desperate need of a haircut for a while now but I've been hesitant to take her, considering she's still VERY shy around Thai people (and as a general rule, doesn't like to be touched).  But, it was time for her to get more than just a "trim" from Mommy, so, she and I ventured out to the salon this evening.

On the car ride there, I explained to her that a Thai person would be cutting her hair and that when they touched her hair, she didn't need to be afraid and that she needed to speak nicely.  I walked her through exactly what would happen and explained that she would be like a beautiful princess after her haircut (is that bad of me? :) ) and that it would be LOTS of fun.  She seemed to buy it, thankfully, but I was still unsure about what would happen when we got to the salon.

But, much to my surprise (and delight!), she was absolutely AMAZING!  She didn't flinch, whine or cry... not once!!  I couldn't believe what a big girl she was about the whole thing.  The lady that cut her hair kept commenting on how good she was and that usually, foreigner kids cry the whole time.  I was one proud Mama!  Plus, it was great Thai-speaking practice for me... so I guess you could say we 'killed 2 birds with 1 stone' today! :)

She doesn't even like it when I wash her hair so I was extra surprised when she agreed to have her hair washed.  You can see by her hand in the above picture (and the look on her face) that she was a bit tense about it, but as I said, she didn't say a peep the whole time.

I honestly couldn't believe how perfectly still she sat, through the entire haircut.

I think watching herself in the giant mirror helped keep her distracted...

And, the iPod helped for those last few minutes that just seemed a bit too boring for her :)

Almost done...

When she got down from the chair, she pointed to the ground and said,
"Oh wow, Mom!  Look at all my hair!"

She even "wai-ed" the hairdresser and said, "Khop khun kha" 
(which means "thank-you") as we left.  
We both agreed that this experience was worth a thumbs-up! :)

Well done, my sweet Callie-bear!  You're growing up!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

สองเดือน ...

Considering I'm in the thick of reading and writing Thai script in school, I thought I'd title this post in Thai.  For those that don't read Thai, it says "song duan" which means "two months"... which is how old this little goose is now...

I haven't kept up with our other blog but have found this a great place to keep track of the kids' growth (I'm absolutely terrible about keeping up with their baby books) so if you find this boring, feel free to skip this post.  Its more for me than for you :)

We took Marek in for his 2 month check-up and immunizations last night.  He is now 11 lbs. 4 oz. and 23" long.  No idea what percentile that makes him (they don't give that kind of info. at the clinics here) but considering he started at 6 lbs. 7 oz. and 19.5", I'd say he's good and healthy.

I wish I could say he's been the amazing sleeper his sister was at this age, but alas, that would be a lie.  Though, I have had 3 great nights in a row from him this week (only waking once in the night).  But then he had his shots yesterday and that threw everything off and I was up about 4 times with him last night.  Ah well... I just keep telling myself that I will actually get to sleep again... someday.  One thing we have discovered in the last month though, is that he loves to sleep on his tummy and this has helped immensely.  He's also a bit of a "suck" and will sleep for HOURS on end if he's in someone's arms.  I have a feeling he's going to be our "cuddler," which is great because his sister definitely isn't. :)

He is a very happy baby other than that.  He's smiling and cooing a lot now and will grin for anyone who's willing to try to get a smile out of him.  This is when things start to get really fun.

He seems intrigued and delighted by his overly-smothering doting big sister and I look forward to the day they can play together... as does she.  You can definitely tell they're siblings, looks-wise, but Marek is still quite distinctly different in a lot of ways.  It'll be interesting to see if he and Callie look more alike, the older he gets.

I had to get back to language school last week, which meant Marek had to come with me.  
Let's just say, the teachers didn't mind one bit...

As his Auntie Corina stated, 
"he's learning by osmosis..."

Thankfully, I've been able to time his feeds this week so that I can leave him with either Auntie Carmen or P Boh while I head off to school.  As cute as he looks in the above picture, its not actually as easy as it looks.  Keeping a baby happy while trying to study Thai is tricky and I've had WAY more productive classes this week when he hasn't been with me at school.  As much as I miss him during those couple of hours, I must admit it makes life a lot easier.  And, if he's at home with P Boh, he'll still be getting his 'Thai language practice' in anyway :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Canada Day in Thailand...

Although we didn't spend July 1st in Canada, it seemed only fitting to celebrate it here.  So, seeing as it was just after Callie's elephant-themed party, we decided to visit one of the elephant camps just outside of Chiang Mai.

It ended up being a pretty long drive (almost 2 hours away) but it was SO worth it.  We parked the car and got on one of the little shuttle "trains" which took us to where the elephant show was about to begin.  Callie was already in her glory just with the transportation!  Little did she know that it was about to get so much better...

We got there just in time to watch the elephants make their way up the hill towards the show grounds.

They held onto each other's tails as they passed by. 

All lined up and ready to perform...

They showed how the trainers get on and off the elephants...

... and how they sleep at night.
Apparently they only sleep about 4 hours per night... 
something I can totally relate to these days ;)

This elephant took the trainer's hat off and then gently placed it back on his head...

Showing how strong their trunks are...

Mom, Callie and Jon enjoying the show...

And, probably one of the most impressive things...
watching the elephants paint pictures.
They were actually REALLY good.  You could even buy the paintings in the store after the show.

Some of the artwork that was produced during the show...

Mom meeting the elephants...

Callie enjoying feeding some of the smaller elephants...

Best Canada Day ever! :)

Callie even got to ride an elephant with Nammy...

Off they go for a very bumpy ride...

Did I mention this kid loves elephants?

Marek was there too, of course.  He was such a trooper and slept most of the time.  
Here he is enjoying some cool-off time out of the Baby Bjorn carrier...

And, to complete the day, we watched the elephants take their afternoon bath...

Callie purchased this hand-woven hat from the store with some of her birthday money.
Can you believe it only cost just over a dollar?  

Heading back to the train shuttle after a long day...

So, as you can see, our Canada Day looked very different this year,
 but one thing it certainly didn't lack was "fun!" :)