Thursday, December 30, 2010

Toddler-hood

I’m not sure how the magical switch from “baby” to “toddler” gets flipped but as I interacted with Caleb this morning I had the distinct thought  “he’s not a baby anymore.”  Folks, toddler-hood has replaced my precious baby boy.  It seemed to happen almost overnight but the change is pronounced,  however it came about.  I’m not sure what it is that pushed him from one realm to the next…
Maybe  it’s the teetering steps he takes several times a day now. And his solid stance, (mostly)unshaken by clapping, dancing, bending or turning.
Maybe it’s his wide and easy grin full of new teeth.
Maybe it’s his grimy little boy hands that have replaced his soft, clean, brand spankin’ new baby hands.
Maybe it is his new way of playing that is much richer than simply holding and observing objects, it is interactive, using objects as tools, setting cause and effect into motion, creating play, hiding objects and laughing when mama can’t find them and then proudly showing her where they can be found, bending and stooping to “search” under things for lost items (namely his balls that roll under the bed, the dresser, the coffee table, the dining room table).
Or how at naptime he transforms his pacifier into a toy car, “driving” it along the rail going “vroom, vroom, vroom.”
Maybe it’s the fact that he moved from his pack n’play (the bed he’s used these past 10 months) into a “real” crib that is almost twice as big and has a real mattress, sheets and everything.
Maybe it’s the way he wraps up in his blanket and lounges back while I read him story after story.
Maybe it’s the way he calls for me from the other room:  “mama.”  “Mama.” “MAMA!!!”
Maybe it’s the way he watches his daddy to see what he is doing and how he responds…the way he rushes to see him the minute he wakes up and is “rescued” from his crib.
Or perhaps it is the way he is starting to insist on doing things himself or the way he wants to hold the spoon when he eats (although he is still a LONG shot away from actually being able to OPERATE said spoon).
Or the ways he makes crystal clear exactly what he wants, thinks or feels without even needing to use words.
Or the way (in just the past few days!) he has learned how to throw a major temper tantrum, complete with flailing arms, kicking legs, arched back and screams when he doesn’t get his way or doesn’t like something.
Or maybe it is the big wet kisses he gives.
Or the way he notices every time we laugh about something and throws his own head back in laughter like it is the funniest thing he’s ever heard.
Or how he is learning to fold his hands and pray with us before meals.
Or the way he teases and flirts, with that gleaming mischievous little boy look in his eyes and then laughs when he succeeds. 
I don’t know what it is but there is a difference and it is noticeable:  I don’t hold a baby anymore.  I hold a little boy.  A little boy who will soon grow into a man.  My eyes fill with tears as I write and my mama- heart bursts, full of both pride at my little baby growing up and sadness as he (literally) is walking out of my arms and taking those first steps of independence.   Oh Lord, watch over this little life!  Grow him in your ways. Capture him with your love.  Bind him in your mercy.  Wash him in your grace.  Carry him in your arms.
“And so [Dear Caleb] from the day we heard [in May 2009] we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in  a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.  May you be strengthened [Caleb] with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father [May He] qualify you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  [May He] deliver you from the domain of darkness and transfer you to the kingdom of His Beloved Son in whom you may have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”                     
  ~ Our prayer for Caleb, based out of Colossians 1:9-14 ~

Buried in Laundry

One of Caleb's many favorite books (he has a lot, he loves his books) is "Jamberry" by Bruce Degen.  The last page says:  "Mountains and Fountains rain down on me, Buried in berries what a jam jamboree!"

I may have read that one too many times but lately I just can't get out of my head the following stanza with regard to our laundry "Mountains and Fountains rain down on me, buried in laundry what a frightful quand-ar-y!"

We have piles of it. Literally. All over our bedroom.  And from any lack of effort on our part, mind you.  It's not that we've been lazy or neglectful....we just have been without a washing machine!

Steve has even gone so far as to do several loads in our bathtub....mostly of Caleb's diapers but he may soon branch out to other items of clothing.....



The first washing machine we were given looked like this:



And it worked about as well as you might expect:  In summary, it didn't.  Nothing we did to that poor washing machine would coax it to life.

So we were given a different one and we were excited about it because it was an American washing machine. This one worked for exactly one glorious load and promptly stopped.  We thought maybe the pipes just froze (apparently this is common in Korea since they keep their washer/dryers in the porch area that is not heated). 

So Steve got us a heater



And winterized our laundry - porch - room.







He did a great job.  We had high hopes, the faucets melted and.....



Nothing.  Still doesn't work.

As a sidenote while we are on the topic of laundry, have you ever seen anything so complicated as far as washing a load of clothes?  Check out all these wires, pipes, cords etc. 


And yes, we do hang our dryer vent out our window from the third story...That's just how it is done around here!  We are not short of adventure or new challenges here - Living the "Wild At Heart" dream!

Not sure what is next but for now, I thought it was comical enough to write about. That and I am so darn (yes, I said darn, I know it looks like something different if you are reading fast or skimming so slow down a sec) thankful for Steve and all he has done to try to make things work for us.  While I'm on the topic of thankfulness with regards to laundry, I also have a "shout out" to Michelle (Pastor Nelson's wife) for all she has done for us....namely, several loads of laundry in her washing machine (she's done a lot more than that but we're just on the topic of laundry at the moment).

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Korea!

"How Did You Do in 2010?"

I read this great article today and plan to listen to the sermon from 1980 tonight...maybe some of you reading heard it in person originally?  That's pretty cool.  Anyway, it is a great article encouraging me to reflect back on 2010 and consider "what things to repent of and to reach for in the next lap around the sun."  I love the encouragement that end of year reflections are a "rehearsal of the end" and that "His mercy is opening before us a new life in (2011) and we can enter it and finish as a victorious fighter" if we renounce Satan's power and self-reliance, trusting Jesus. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Merry Korean Christmas

Well, not really.  At least the Korean part.  It was mostly a fairly "normal" Christmas although sadder than usual, as we really missed our families and friends.  I've had several people ask me what we did for Christmas this year, so I thought I'd give you a little play by play with some pictures. This was our 4th Christmas together (our 3rd as a married couple!) and that was really fun to reminisce about our last 3 years together!  It was also our first Christmas with Caleb and (like so many other aspects of parenthood!!!) no one "warns" you how draining/exhausting Christmas is with a little one!  It was fun but I think Caleb got a little overwhelmed, overtired, and overstimulated!  I'm just glad he isn't eating sugar yet so that wasn't added to the mix - ha!  Lookin' forward to next year.....

On Christmas Eve Eve, Steve and I had a quiet Christmas Eve Eve dinner together by Christmas tree light.  I made a Christmas pommegranate pear kiwi salad and home made bread shaped like a wreath.  Then we stayed up really late listening to Christmas music, baking and decorating cookies for a Christmas Eve party we were going to and wrapping gifts for Caleb. 

That is our low to the ground Korean-style table (they traditionally use this and sit on the floor on mats).  We use it when we eat in the living room under the Christmas tree...and snuggle under blankets.  Our heating in Korea is water-heated floor heat.  Our water heater is in the laundry room (off the kitchen) so the further you get from the water heater, the cooler the water gets and thus the cooler the rooms get.  It follows that our kitchen and bedrooms are the warmest and our office and living room our cooler.  I'm sure that's a longer explanation than you needed but it's an interesting Korean tidbit for you.


On actual Christmas Eve we went to Pastor Nelson and Michelle's house for dinner with a group of friends from church (mostly people who didn't have family around to celebrate with on Christmas day).  It was delicious and fun.  Michelle planned some games and it was nice to have somewhere to go and people to be with in celebration and remembrance.



My handsome men :-) And Michelle's beautiful tree!


Caleb and his "friend" Grace




On Christmas Day we skyped with family

My mom's pretty cute, huh?

Which was bittersweet and then went to the Christmas Day service at noon.  It was a combined service in the Korean church with translation.  I wish I could share a video of the choir, it was beautiful.  But I wasn't about to whip out our camera and interrupt the beauty of the moment so you'll just have to take my word for it.And of course, we opened gifts.  We all felt very loved, spoiled and blessed. 


Caleb didn't quite "get" the concept of unwrapping gifts but he does enjoy the new books and toys!




Daddy does too....



Caleb's Great-Grandma B sent him a Praise Baby DVD and (as you'll see below) he really got into it!  It was fun (and funny!) to watch so I'll share two little clips below! Thanks Great-Grandma B!


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For Caleb's first Christmas we bought him a red racing car (pictured above) that says things like "When I grow up I"m going to be a real racing car" in a British accent.  We think it's pretty cute.  And we got him a big toy train with buttons that make various noises when you push them and it moves forward on it's own.  He isn't so sure about it moving on it's own....we thought he would think it was really fun to crawl after but he thinks it's a little creepy.  Hopefully he warms up to it!

Merry First Christmas, Caleb!  May you come to know the Great Giver and may you see past the many gifts He gives and those you receive on Christmas, to know the greatest Gift of all.  We love you!


Recent Conversation

Steve:  "I thought you liked shrimp?"

Me:  "I do. But I like mine without heads, eyes and antennas"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Steve's First Baptism

And mine too!

Tonight was a special night for me.  Tonight I was baptized.  I am posting a little clip of it below.  The only thing I wish could have been different is I wish many of you could have been there with me.  I have wanted to get baptized for a while now and I was disappointed I was not able to get it done before we moved but I know the Lord has His perfect timing and I am happy to be able to share it with you via this blog.  Even if you couldn't be there in person, I hope you are able to enjoy it and rejoice with us through the clip!

Even though baptism does not save me, it is an exciting outward symbol of God's saving work in my life and His grace towards me.  It is an outward sign of belonging to God and to His people and an expression to those who witness it of my faith in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of my sins.  It means that I am professing that I am trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of my sins and the fulfillment of all His promises to me, even eternal life.  It is an expression that I forsake Satan, all his works and all his ways and that I intend with God's help to follow Him as my Lord.

It was especially meaningful to have Steve baptize me.  Although I was a believer before I met Steve, the Lord has really used him to bring me closer to Himself.  For a long time I really struggled with doubt and doubting if I was truly saved or if I was truly a believer.  Steve has been so good to point me to Jesus again and again and help teach me that it really isn't about me at all.  It is all about Jesus and trusting Him that He is able to save and then trusting Him with my life, my heart, my soul and my salvation.  Another thing that Steve has really shown me is that it isn't about being perfect.  Christ came to save the sick and the sinner, not the righteous!  One picture Steve reminds me of  often is that we don't wash ourselves before we take a bath. We come to a bath because we are dirty.  In the same way, we come to the Lord because we are dirty, we are sinners, and we are not perfect.  We need Him to clean us.  We don't need to try to clean ourselves up or get our own act together before we come.  That is why we come.  This has been a freeing truth for me these past 3 years.

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"You held out Your arms, I see them still
You never left, You never will
Running to embrace me, now I know
Your cords of love will always hold
Mercy’s robe, a ring of grace
Such favor undeserved
You sing over me and celebrate
The rebel now Your child"

- Prodigal by Sovereign Grace Music

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear Readers!  Thank you to everyone who helped to make this Christmas away from home special for us and for Caleb (his first!). Thank you for remembering us with cards and pictures, for your thoughtful gifts, for taking time to skype, and for your love and care.  We felt loved and we hope you know our love for you too!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

B&W

Here's to wishing all of life could just be black and white and this darn cute


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Praise You In This Storm

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus:]
And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus]

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Ville

Yesterday we went for a walk to The Ville...The Ville is a little shopping area outside of Osan Airbase, near our home.  There are lots of street shops and fun souvenirs.  It is about a 15 minute walk from our place (one way - up hills both ways, literally.) and we spent a good hour walking around.  Caleb loved every minute of it and sat in his stroller like this the whole time:


If you haven't realized this yet, the kid loves walks.  My only sad thing is that he is outgrowing his moby wrap (he still prefers it to the stroller, but he is getting too heavy for me!).  I miss the moby!!  Anyway, back to our walk.  Below are some pics I took along the way:

I thought these were pretty cute....Look close, they are made out of carnations!


No, this is not a traffic jam.  These are parked cars.  This is how everyone parks in Korea.  I have yet to see how people maneuver out of these parking predicaments but this is how they park.  You see it everywhere.

Ah, Korea.  Some day we will look back on you fondly.  For now I'll just be glad we walked.


We thought this was a funny combo.



Well, there you have a few more snapshots of Korea!  Hope you enjoyed our little walk to The Ville.

Serious Eatin'

For those of you who know us fairly well, you know Caleb has been "slow" in his interest of "real" food.  He has never been a big eater and he has (until the past month or so) been pretty uninterested in real food.  Back around 5 months his pediatrican warned me that if we didn't get him on solids soon he "may never eat real food."  Which got us to wondering, "hmm....never seen any 15 year old boys out there still nursing." If you have, please let us know and we'll get right on this eating thing!  Anyway, it hasn't been something we've felt the need to fight over, figuring he will let us know when he is good and ready. 

I was starting to wonder though when he got to be around 9 months and still would push the spoon away and clamp his mouth closed......But I am thankful to report I don't think we'll have a 15 year old nursing problem because he has started eating just fine.  Although in true Caleb form he isn't a big eater, he is starting to eat small "real food" meals each day (along with continued nursing, of course!).

Below is a link with some clips of a recent meal time.  As you'll see, Daddy doesn't make it too easy on me.  And don't be too worried, most meals aren't as silly serious as this one!

Warning:  This is probably only for the serious Caleb lovers out there, or the extremely bored....It's a little long but the ending is my favorite part -- his little tongue is way too cute!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snow

Yesterday morning we woke up to big beautiful snow flakes falling everywhere....I was surprised when Caleb woke up that he noticed them out the window almost immediately.  He started pointing and got all excited.  We decided that we would take him out quick to experience the snow when Steve left for work.  We didn't bundle him up too much because it wasn't that cold and we weren't planning to be out long.  This was one of Caleb's first experiences with snow, so I thought I better document it.  We didn't get the best pictures and actually he didn't seem that impressed but it was a "first" for him!


Later, when daddy got home from work we took a little walk out in the winter-land.



Caleb + Toy Plane + Dad Clips

These are a little old but am just getting around to putting them on our computer (or rather convincing Steve to put them on for me since I couldn't figure it out) but I thought I would post them, in case you are interested.  Make sure the volume on the clips is turned up (scroll your mouse over the bottom of the clip) so you can hear all his wonderful sound effects!

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This was one of the toys that someone donated to Caleb when we moved here...He really enjoys it, as you can see.

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As you can tell in this clip, Caleb is getting heavier...so Steve is gaining muscle and losing weight thanks to this child...Old Man Strength!  Why is it that babies make mama's gain and daddy's lose?  Someone please tell me how that is fair!

Books!

As I posted the other day, we were thrilled to receive 12 of our boxes the other night (most of which were books!).


I think I posted once before (when we were packing up to move here) that we realized we have a lot of books....Well, we realized while we were waiting for our books to get here how much we enjoy (and missed!) our books. 


There is just something about a book shelf (or several) full of books that makes a home, homey and an office, office-y.  And there is just something to be said for being able to read further into things with a commentary or look back at something you read and re-read it again or be able to share a good read with someone else....So if you live in Korea and are reading this, please feel free to stop in and borrow anytime! 


It seems we may have passed our love for reading on to Lil C, he sure enjoys books right now anyway and we hope it lasts!



He seemed to enjoy unpacking his box of books and re-discovering ones he hadn't seen in about a month.



Or maybe he just enjoyed pulling them all back off the bookshelf, it's hard to tell.



Whatever the case, I think we all enjoyed unpacking our books and getting them all put away.