Friday, September 30, 2011

Sweet Boy

So lately I sometimes don't know what to do with myself with all the "spare time" I have.  Caleb is in a phase of just going off by himself for long periods of time, entertaining himself.  I'll go find him on the porch playing with his legos or in his reading corner reading or on some chair reading his Bible or playing trucks or kicking his soccer ball around.  It's seriously so weird for me.  It's the first time in 20 months that I haven't had a little crying for my attention, needing something or crying at my legs to be carried.  I feel like I have oodles of time to get my dishes done, mop and sweep the floors on a regular basis, cook meals, plan meals, blog, study, etc etc etc.  It's like a new found freedom.  So strange.  Not sure how long it will last but for right now, it's really nice. 

Here is a long (ish) video clip of me "spying" on him during one such loooooonngggg quiet spell.  I thought you might enjoy.  It gets more interesting around 45 seconds or so, if you want to skip ahead.  Also, I really have no idea what he is saying.  Most of it is jiberish with a few "real words" peppered in.

And no, that is not his bedroom. He is still camped out in the office in his pac'n'play because his room is ripped apart from the mold and water leak upstairs.  We are waiting as our landlord and the upstairs neighbors argue over who is responsible to pay for fixing it....something tells me it may be a while before Caleb's room is liveable again. 

DG & Sweet Cards

The Desiring God National Conference is one of our absolute favorite times of the year and is filled with special memories....mostly it brings thoughts of our former small groups, of Dan and Tara and Mark and Meggy and Alex and Christie, of pumpkin spice lattes,  bagels, crisp-sunny fall days, of Megan getting to feel Caleb kick inside my belly to the worship songs, of last minute lunch plans with friends we haven't seen in a long time, of finding out Megan was pregnant with baby Jude, of endless piles of books to oogle over in the book store and very best of all, glorious worship times surrounded by friends and amazing teaching, encouraging our hearts.  It never fails to be so good.

This year, however, we are hundreds of miles away, half way around the world and missing one of our favorite events.  We decided to make it a special time with the two of us, a week of listening to the recordings online post-conference, complete with our own popcorn snacks, hot chocolates and tea, snuggled under blankets in the cool evenings after Caleb is tucked away in bed.

Last night was our first "conference date" to listen to Louie Giglio speak on the "Global Galactic God Who Gives the Great Commission."  I found this note tucked away before we began our series:

"on a rainy day, my relationship with you is the sunshine I need.  Love, your thankful Husband"

The first talk we listened to last night was absolutely phenomenal.

If you were not able to attend the conference and haven't already listened to it, I can not recommend it enough.  It was so good.  You won't regret the hour you spend listening. 

 Check it out!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Badminton Date Night.

Learning a new sport to grow old playing.

My Lil Chef

Found this "cooking" in Caleb's toy kitchen the other day.  It's one of his favorite things recently (and has been for a while) -- to "cook."   I find him at his kitchen often (thank you again Todd and Charlotte!!).  "What are you cooking, Caleb?" I always want to know.  Usually he replies "supper." or "pop" (Korean word for rice) or "soup" or my personal favorite "coffee for YOU mama."

The other day I made bread and let Caleb help me from start to finish.  We put everything on the floor and he helpled measure it all out and pour it in and stir it up.  He was pretty proud of himself.

Celebrating an accident-free week

As I posted about a few weeks back, Caleb decided it was time for big boy underwear.  Although I am not convinced I am ready for the inconvenience of taking a toddler potty all the time, he has been doing a fantastic job.  Although he still doesn't like to go number 2 on the potty (which I've been assured is very normal for kids), he has been accident free for over a week.  BTW:  No one warns you how scary it is to go out of the house without diapers for the first few times! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Traditional Hanbok

Below are some pictures of Steve and I trying on the traditional Korean Hanbok.

The hanbok is traditional wear, but now is typically only worn during special occasions such as weddings, lunar new year and chuseok. There is a wide variety, but they are characterized by their vibrant colors and beautiful, ornate patterns. 

Who says dress up is just for kids? 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Welcome to the World, Tristan!

I am a few weeks late on this post, but most definately do not want to miss posting it!

One of the couples in our small group (Ross & Renee, also known as Caleb's friend Sadie's parents) gave birth to their second baby, a little big boy weighing in at just over 9 pounds!

Welcome to the world, Tristan Kimball!

Tristan will always occupy an extra special little place in the corner of my heart because I had the priviledge of being at his birth.  He is the 4th birth I've had the joy of attending, but the first birth that I was the sole doula. It was a wonderful experience, one I am really thankful for.

We look forward to watching you grow and develop, Tristan. I know the Lord created you on purpose and with a plan - can't wait to see what that is!

Flavor of the day

In case you can't read my picture of the menu - the flavor of the day today is "Hot Chicken Blueberry." 

Yes, my friend, you read that correctly. I did write "Hot Chicken Blueberry" in reference to pizza.

I assure you, I did a double take as well. 

We ordered cheese.

MountainTop Picnic

We climbed the (small) mountain near our apartment, the one we love hiking, and brought a picnic dinner.  A fun family time in the midst of business.  Caleb is still talking about "climbing da mountain, eating da picnic."

Pictured above is the city of Songtan (where we live) from the mountaintop view looking down.

I do have to say, I love the mountains.  I remember when Steve and I moved my bestie Emily and her husband Kevin out to Colorado 3 summers ago and Steve and I talked about how fun it would be to live in the mountains "someday." Little did we know that would mean Korea in just 2 short years!

Chicken curry salad, apples, carrots, baguette and water.

The weather in September has been perfect.  The sun finally returned and we've been enjoying bright sunshine all day long, blue skies, white fluffly clouds, no humidity and high 70's/low 80's during the day with crisp mornings and cool evenings. It's been wonderful.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday, Natalie!

How hard it is to watch our nieces and nephew growing up from a distance.  I miss these sweet babies-growing-big so much.  And I long for Caleb to be cousins together with them and not just via skype and facebook pictures.

(L to R) Audrey, Lukey, Caleb and Natalie


Enough pictures already!

These pictures are just too great to not post all three attempts! Note the different expressions on all 4 faces in each one - too funny.

It's hard to believe Natalie is turning one today.  She was born shortly before we left for Korea.

There I am holding her sweetness for the first time - what a little dolly baby!

And now here she is all grown up and 12 months old.  It's crazy how fast they do that.

C and Natalie "camping" together this summer
Love you Sweet Natalie - Happy First Birthday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


As hard as some aspects of our transition to Korea has been, one thing I do have to say that I love is the close community we have here.  Now that is not to say I don't really super duper miss some of our wonderful friends and family back Stateside. Not at all.  I miss ya'll terribly.  It is to say, I think it is rare to find a community like this in the States.  Sure it is possible and does happen but I think it is rare to have so many of your close friends, community and fellow believers within such close proximity and so frequently around you on a daily/weekly basis.

Case in point:  Yesterday I wanted to make date nut bread and realized I don't have a loaf pan.  I texted Gail and asked her if she had one.  She texted back that she had two and she could drop one off.  She walked over (because she lives a 5 minute walk from us), dropped it off and sat down on our floor with her son and stayed to chat for another 2 hours (or so).  This is our life in Korea.  I love this aspect.

Our entire small group from church lives within 15 minute walking distance from our home.  Our church is a less than ten minute walk.  We see these same people as we walk errands around town, at the market, in church on Sundays, in small group on Tuesdays, in playgroup on Wednesdays, at the park in the evenings and often for get togethers on Friday nights and holidays.  We serve next to them in the nursery, at moms group, in the youth group, at outreach events and in the community.  We can't easily get away from them and they see us on the good days when the house is clean and we're showered and in good moods and they see us on not so good days, when the house is in shambles, we are exhausted and crabby.  They are there for us when we are acting like we believe the Gospel and when we are acting like we don't. 

We have community around us All. The. Time.  We can't get away from it and I think that is good.  Too often it is easy to put on a face when you go to church or when you see friends.  It's easy to act like you have it together and things are going great, even when they aren't.  It's easy because you don't see people every day or every week or every month. It's easy to pretend. It's easy to seem "together." It's easy to live a lie (or at least a half truth).  It's easy to be someone you aren't.  Although this is often what we/I want to do, I don't think it is good.  It's not good for us, it's not good for our families, it's not good for the church and it's not good for our souls.

All of this hit me last weekend when we were hanging out with the Lantz family for a last minute - "hey what are you doing for dinner?"  "I don't know, what are you doing?" "I don't know,want to come over?"  "okay."  type get together (again, how frequently does this happen in the states?  not as much when you have to drive 40 minutes one way to get to someone's house).

The 4 kids were playing happily in the living room,

Jason was jamming out,

everyone was enthralled,

Jason was loving on Caleb,

Steve was loving on Isaac,

and the mama's were chopping veggies and cooking dinner in the kitchen.

It wasn't anything fancy or special (well actually, it WAS bulgolgi cooked by a wagook so maybe it was kind of special), it was last minute, it was low key, it was community.

Now this isn't to say it's all perfect.  It's not to say we haven't been hurt or disappointed.  We've actually had our fair share of hurt feelings and mistreatments since moving here.  It hasn't been perfect. It has been messy. At times I'm not sure I agree with the statement "relationships - a mess worth making" but overall I would say it is good.  If nothing else, I can feel my refinement happening.  Sanctification never feels great, right?  I am humbled often.  As I feel frustration or hurt, it drives me to realize my own imperfections, my own failings, my own shortcomings and drives me to deeper levels of grace - both the giving of it and the need for it.

Community here on earth will never be perfect but (I believe) will always be needed.  We weren't meant to live alone or to fight the fight of faith in solitude.  We are sinners, interacting with sinners and that will never look perfect or feel perfect.  But despite the imperfections, it is still needed -- needed to refine, needed to sanctify, needed to help us fight and to press on.  "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

Wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever your life looks like, I encourage you to find a community to take part in and to be a part of....don't live this life alone, it is so much sweeter and richer and fuller when lived together.

Wordless Wednesday


One new found food that we have discovered here in Korea (thanks to Michelle) is duck.  Nom, nom, nom.  Here are some recent delicious pictures, grilling Korean-style at the table:

handsome griller hubs

a side of salmon

Steve and Pastor Nelson
Caleb is a big fan

Mr. Independent

I guesss independence comes with toddler-hood and as we begin to close in on two years, independence seems to be Caleb's new title.  His independence brings new-found independence for mama too. 

It is hard to explain my feelings but mama-hood and parenthood is taking on a completely new look and feel, and I don't feel ready!  My ever-fading "baby" seems to be totally gone.  I have a tall, lanky, independent little boy on my hands now.  And that changes things.  Our relationship to Caleb is changing, boundaries are changing, discipline approach is changing, interactions are changing and our daily routine is changing.  Just when you think you've figure things out and have a good thing going, you hit new milestones and it all changes again.

Caleb likes to do everything for himself, by himself now....he frequently reminds us with a frustrated "no, no, SELF!" (tranlsation: stop helping me (or doing it for me) I want to do it by myself).

We now have the beginnings conversations with our little boy (versus just talking endlessly to him).  We say something, he responds back or asks questions or voices opinions.  This also comes with him interrupting OUR conversations a lot and the beginnings of lots of questions...."mama, DOING?" (translation: What is mama doing or what are you doing?) or "turtle say?" (translation: What does a turtle which I still have no good answer, what DOES a turtle say?).

Caleb has definite ideas about how things should be done.  For instance, he wants THREE scoops of yogurt, not two and not four.  He wants us to go down the slide on our tummy NOT sitting up.  He wants to wear his "choo choo shoes" not his "brown shoes."  Yesterday he wanted to take his  nap at 11:30am (instead of his usual 1pm).  He came and told me, I laid him down and he went right to sleep.  Weird. 

One of my favorite things lately is when he wants me to do something or he wants to show me something, he comes and finds me, takes my hand and says, "show me." (He frequently mixes up pronouns, what he  means to say is "show you")

And with all this independence, he is starting to play on his own more and more and for longer periods of time.  I find myself able to actually do things again without someone pulling on my legs, crying or interrupting me - Spelling new found freedom for mama as well. 

Several times throughout the day I will realize it is really quiet and find him in random corners of the house, deeply engrossed in one activity or another. Below are some recent pictures:

Yes, I found him sitting naked on his potty, reading his daddy's football magazine.....Wow.

Any tips or ideas for this stage of parenthood would be greatly welcomed! I feel at a total loss and like I need to relate to him in a completely new and different way than I've been doing these past 19 months.  I don't know how to explain it, but it just feels like new territory. Totally different. Can anyone relate to this?