Thursday, November 7, 2013

We're baaaaack! ;)

Wow.  My last post was literally months ago.  Sorry about that!  My excuse?  Well... the same as everyone else, I guess.  Life has been busy and I actually kind of forgot about this blog all together, to be honest :)

But, lots has happened over the last few months and so I'll try to get you caught up via pictures.

For starters, our kids are growing up WAY too fast... especially Marek.  And he's such a character.
Jon had given him a custard bun to eat on the way home from a meeting and turned around to see this...

... so exhausted he couldn't even finish his mouthful ;)

And Callie, well... she's so grown up as well.  Even started golfing with her Daddy...

Speaking of being a little character...

We had a chance to do a little weekend road trip up to Chiang Mai a couple of months ago.  We had to drop off our car (our friends are selling it up there for us) and also wanted to see some of our dear friends.  Considering the 9 hour drive, the kids did really well.

Callie and Daddy were delighted to find corn dogs at one of the gas stations we stopped at...

... and we were so excited to see some of our old friends at our favourite market in Chiang Mai.  
Dtan and her husband have the best restaurant in the market, by far! :)  We've missed our almost daily visits to their spot in the food court.  
Marek loved meeting their daughter, Dtenggwa (which is Thai for "cucumber").  They're just a few months apart in age.

And of course, Marek was pumped to see his little buddy, William.  It was so fun and refreshing to be with our amazing friends, Lauren & Steven, again.  

And of course, our dear friend, P'Boh and her family.  She was our maebaan (house helper) during our year in Chiang Mai and is honestly like family to us.  We surprised her with our visit and it was honestly one of the most heartwarming things watching Callie run into her arms and embrace her!  I couldn't help but tear up.  We had such a great visit with them!

Even though Marek was only 5 months old when we left Chiang Mai, I swear he remembered P'Boh.  
He loooooved being with her :)

In September, Jon and I were able to take a little solo vacation for 3 nights.  We celebrated our 8th anniversary in August so this was our chance to have a little "us time." We found an INCREDIBLE seat sale with Air Asia and had booked it over a year ago.  We managed to get roundtrip flights for the 2 of us to Krabi for only $60!  Taxes in and everything!  We just couldn't pass up an opportunity like that!  So, bless "Auntie" Sandy's heart for being willing to come stay with our kids while we got away for a little R&R.

And boy was it amaaaaazing!  Krabi is absolutely breath-takingly beautiful and we had such a fun time relaxing together and stepping away from the busyness of life for a few days.

I mean, really.... isn't that water incredible!?  I took these pictures with Jon's phone so there wasn't even a filter used.  That was literally the colour of the water.  So.beautiful.

As for ministry, we had a bit of a lull last month and had to cancel our weekly outreach several times (due to rain & flooding, etc.) but we started up again last week and are thankful for the same faithful kids that have continued to come, week after week, for the last (almost) year!

Couldn't resist posting one more... such a ham!

And the biggest news of all... WE FINALLY MOVED!!  
Most of you have heard that already but if not, let me know and I'll send you our last newsletter that tells the miraculous story of God's provision of a new rental house for our family!

We've been in our new place for a couple of weeks now and are slooooowly getting settled in. Between having Jon gone for a week (to Canada) and being at MB Mission's ASRAC (Asia Retreat and Consultation) for a week, we haven't had a ton of time to unpack.  But we're starting to make some progress and it feels good to check things off the list! We absolutely LOVE our new place and are enjoying the convenience of living closer to everything as well!

Well, that's all I've got for now.  But thanks for continuing to check in and I'll try to update more often! "Try" being the key word there ;)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lots of birthday cheer

Summer time means... birthdays for everyone!!
At least in our little family of 4. :)

Marek started us off by turning 1 on May 15th!  Seeing as Grandma & Grandpa Esau were set to visit at the beginning of June, we put off having a party until they got here.  By then, it was time to celebrate Jon's 31st birthday (June 10th) so we turned it into one big celebration.  Grandpa E also had his birthday on the 6th so it became a 3 generation Esau men's birthday party! :)

Marek turning 1 was definitely the biggest "deal," so the cake was more for him than anyone.  He LOVES the movie "Despicable Me" so it only seemed right to have our extremely talented teammate, Jason (cake maker extraordinaire), make a minion cake.  
It looked AMAZING!!

And tasted great too!  
Marek double-fisted that cake down in less than a minute flat!  
(I have video footage to prove it :) )

Lots of awesome presents...

Even Jon got spoiled by our teammates!

Next up was Callie turning 4 on June 30th!
We were able to have a little party for her at her school the Friday before her birthday.  
I took cupcakes, icing and sprinkles and the kids had a blast decorating their own little cupcake.
Callie was pretty excited about celebrating her birthday with her friends. :)

Callie with some of her preschool friends... hard at work.
Patty, the little girl to her left is one of her "best friends."

Class picture with her amazing teachers, Jessica & Pam.

Our dear friends, the Nikkels, came to visit us from Singapore on the weekend of Callie's birthday so we held another big party with them and our teammates.  Callie got absolutely spoiled!  
Thanks again everyone for lavishing her with your love and lots of fun gifts!!

And once again, Jason amazed us with his cake-making talents!

Callie and her long-dreamed-about Cinderella castle cake...

And last weekend, I had my 29th birthday (July 21st).  We weren't able to celebrate as it was the annual Thai MB Church Family Camp but I DID get baby-powdered and everyone sang 'Happy Birthday' to me on the beach (which was very sweet)! :)
And that's it for another year of birthdays!  
Thanks to everyone who sent each of us emails, cards & messages of happy wishes.  
We truly appreciate your thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Our neighbourhood...

I've had a couple of requests for pictures of our neighbourhood, so without further ado, here is our street in our muubaan (community). 
We live on Soi (lane) 15...

Our house is where the short white fence is on the left.  
This is facing our street from the 4 way intersection of Soi 15. As you can see, the neighbours across the street from us looooove yellow and green.

Here's Callie walking up to our house...
The neighbours to the left have the corner lot, so we're the next house in on the left.

And behold, the "work of art" we look at every time we step out our front door :)

The neighbours to our right aren't too much better.  Thai people love bright colours when it comes to homes.  There's never a shortage of blue, green, peach and even pink houses in any given neighbourhood.  The sky is the limit!

And lastly, one of the front of our house.  I love the frangipani trees that grow in the front "yard."  They're in full bloom right now... one is bright fuschia and the other white (as you can see in the picture above).  

Its probably good for me to post this so that I can remember this house, our first home in Chonburi.  We're actually currently on the hunt for another house to rent.  We like the house but this location has proven to be a bit too "out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere" for us and we find that we do a lot of driving into Chonburi city (about 20-25 min. away) and would like to try to rent a house somewhere between Chonburi city and the community we're trying to plant a church in, Tha Rua Phlii.  

So, if you think of it, we'd definitely appreciate your prayers for a new home!  Its incredibly tough to find rentals down here in Chonburi province so we'll take all the help we can get! :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Using my skillz...

It was a couple of months ago when Ricky, our team leader (as well as country leader for Thailand) asked Corina and I to team up and transform the head office here in Chonburi.  Corina is great with purging and organizing and I have the eye for design so we knew that between the two of us, we could work some magic on a space that desperately needed some help.

It all started with my very favourite thing to do...
drafting up the floor plan for the new layout.  
I didn't realize just how much I missed this until I got busy doing it again...
... such satisfaction. :)

Then it was time to make it all come together.

Corina and I had the help of two ladies on the MB Mission ACTION team that was working here in Chonburi, as well as Corina's dear friend, Jessica, who was here visiting.  It was a full 2-day affair for the 4 of us (plus some help from my sweet hubby too!) but by the end, I'd say it was worth the work!

Corina and Jessica did the sorting, purging, chucking, and re-organizing, while Annelisa and I painted and Jana gave the office a thorough, much needed clean. 

Then we all started moving furniture and slowly but surely,
the office went from this...
(please note the drab white walls and nassssty-falling-apart-vertical-blinds)

To THIS...



More "AFTER"...
(that space between the curtains will house the King of Thailand's picture...
just haven't had a chance to re-hang it yet)

And more "AFTER"...

As you can see, the old layout didn't utilize the fact that that entire back wall is one giant mirror.  They had the filing cabinets up against it and so the room felt small and dark.

And there were pictures hung all over the office, that were just sort of "haphazardly" placed, with no real flow or order.  It all felt a bit cluttered.
... Before...

So, we changed up the space to utilize that big mirror (which makes the room feel twice as big now)... 

... and gave some order to all the great pictures that are worth showing off!

I had a very small budget to work with (which needed to include paint, paint supplies, curtains, hardware and new accessories, such as plants and a new door mat) so I tried to reuse things we already had around the office.  This giant bulletin board was one of those things.  All it took was a $2 can of black spray paint and now its ready to house the new TMBF logo and new picture collages of the ministries happening all over Thailand. 

Another "AFTER" shot...

And one more "AFTER" of the office entrance...

So there you have it!  I have to say, the pictures really don't do it justice.  Anyone who has been into the office before, and now after the transformation, will admit that it is so much warmer and more professional looking.  The space seems much more useable and hopefully more inviting as well.  It was a lot of fun to get to use my design skills again and I know Corina enjoyed getting to throw out lots of junk! :)  I hope I'll have more opportunities in the future, to express my creative side.  So good for the soul to get to do the things we love, hey!? :)