Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What happened to January?

I guess February begins tomorrow (in Korea) so that begs the question, "what happened to January?!?"  Apparently a lot because I haven't blogged much!  Truth be told, I haven't taken many pictures either.

So what did January hold for us?  Let me look back over my calendar (thanks Grandma Hope!) and remember.... Steve ended 2011 on a ski trip with the youth group.

 He arrived home in time to change clothes, eat dinner with us (Side note: I made tacos, homemade tortillas, salsa, shredded pork and all! We - meaning I - was on a big high because we found cilantro in the market. Unless you've lived outside of the US you just can't appreciate what it is like to go to the store and not know what you will find there for dinner. Takes meal planning to a whole new level and it makes finding things really exciting!),

 and run off to our Church's combined English/Korean late night service. Caleb and I went to bed early and I woke up in the morning to a text message "kiss kiss" somewhere around midnight.  New Year's Day was a Sunday so we went to Church as usual and then had a small group ("Community Life Group" as our church calls it) party.  We had a new couple join us (Tim and Danielle, they have 2 girls and a baby on the way).

We also had a "late Christmas" party with the youth.  We decorated and had a fun time hanging out.

I made some revisions and changes in our Church Nursery (I'm not sure if I've mentioned that I took on the nursery for our church this past spring?) and that kept me busy the first part of January, along with recruiting volunteers and organizing the 2012 schedule.

The second week of January Steve left for a pastor's retreat.  Guess what they did? They went skiing! At the same resort he had gone to with the youth.  But he had a good time and enjoyed his time with Pastor Chapman.

If you haven't picked up on all our cheesy "peace" signs, Korea is big on the "peace" sign in pictures so all of us foreigners have picked up on it for a classic Korean look.

While he was gone, I had one of the girls from the youth group over and we baked hundreds of cookies (or so it felt) and had a good time bonding and digging into life together.

Steve and I went to see Sherlock Holmes in theater.  This was momentous because it was the first movie I had been to in theaters since I was 8 months pregnant with Caleb when we went to see The Blindside.  Almost 2 years exactly since I'd been to the movies with my sweetheart.  It was about time.  To our regret, Steve and I haven't been exactly good at dating since we moved to Korea.  In part it is because finding a free sitter isn't easy, in part because we haven't wanted to spend the extra money, in part because we are busy and in part because we haven't made it the priority we should. We are trying to work on it.

Gail and I started our Childbirth Education classes  that I  mentioned previously on weekends in January and planning/executing that has taken a good chunk of time up (especially on weekends!).

Our Logo

Caleb and I got really sick for a good week or so mid January (which I've also posted about) but was no fun at all.  We ended up missing the annual church sledding trip, which was a bummer.  It seems Steve might have it now, he has been yuckie the past few days.

We received a lot of oatmeal from family back home in our Christmas boxes (which we were thrilled about and have almost completely devoured, I've been savoring the last half a canister that we have left - the rest is gone).  Caleb especially enjoyed it, if you can't tell by his facial expression below

We've also done a lot of puzzles and books this month, he seems to really enjoy both - a lot.  Some of his favorites right now are "Giving my Heart to God," "The Berenstain Bear's Too Much Camping," "Dog and Bear," "Bee-Bim-Bop," "Cars," and the Bible story about Simeon and Anna.  Dad has also started reading to him from "Kingdom Dawn" before bed (when he is home to put him to bed). It's a chapter book with no pictures that we intended to bore him to sleep.  Turns out he recalls what dad read to him when he wakes up so he must be semi following it.  Either way, he loves when dad reads to him "Kingdom Dawn!" (said in an awed voice) and he is full of talking about going on "quests for mama."

Found him reading in the corner

We have also spent significant time watching high school basketball games.  It's been a lot of fun and something all 3 of us enjoy doing together.  Go ICS!  Go Osan! It's been a great way to connect with students and support the local schools.

This month I have been reading "Secrets of the Toddler Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg, "Heart and Hands Midwifery" (a textbook) and "1,000 Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  Steve has been reading "Almost Christian" by Kendra Dean and "Stepping Up" by Dennis Rainey and we've been growing together in all sorts of ways!

The Lord continues to bring us back to the idea of adoption and it is heavy on our hearts right now.  We covet your prayers in this.  We don't wrestle with the idea lightly, knowing adoption journeys can be fraught with much joy and also much heartache.  We want to follow the Lord in faith and also have wisdom and discernment.

As we end 2011 and begin 2012, as January comes and goes, I am struck again with the quickly fleeting time we are given and how easily it passes.  One big area of my life I am working on this year is being intentional and purposeful with the time I am given - it is hard to do, given how many things (many of them GOOD!) clutter and fill our days and weeks.  But it is so easy to let the time slide right by and continue doing the "same old, same old."  Without intention, a week, a year, a decade can pass me up and what do I have to show for  it?  Is it something lasting or something trivial?  Is it lasting or passing?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Caleb's "Brudder"

Caleb informed us the other day, "I have a brudder."
"Oh really....who?"
C:  "Caillou, my bear. Caillou my brudder."

Have you met Katie Davis or David Platt?

Have you "met" Katie Davis or David Platt yet? If you haven't, they are worth checking out!  Steve read David Platt's book Radical this past year and it was really powerful (I have only heard snips that Steve read aloud to me but hope to read it in full soon).  We also heard David speak at the Desiring God conference this past fall (via the online recording).

This morning Steve and I (and Caleb until he got bored of it and went off to play trucks) listened to a recent talk in which David Platt interviews Katie Davis.  It really rocked our hearts.  I would encourage you to take the time to listen to it - it is a touching and astonishing story.  We really enjoyed it, anyhow.

I hope you enjoy it, as we did!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

a beautiful adoption story

My friend Tara shared this link on facebook recently:

Have you ever thought of it before that way?  If you are a believer, Jesus adopted you.
We have been reading Russell Moore's book Adopted for Life and I would highly recommend it (weather you are considering adopting or not).  It is incredible the parallels adopting a child into your home has with being a child of God. It's incredible how much adoption is all over the Bible too, when you stop to notice.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Caleb at 23 months

Dear Caleb, This month you are 23 months and I guess this is probably the last month that we'll go by months, huh? I haven't been one of those mommies recording your every milestone on the month with pictures but I do like to stop periodically to remember along the way.  At 23 months you know your alphabet, can recognize most of the letters and know many of their sounds.  You like to say things like "look! M like Mama and C for Caleb and cookies like Cookie Monster!"  You love Sesame Street (mostly Elmo) although you know them mostly from books and not from the show.  You talk like you are three going on four, which makes you seem much older than you really are.  I think both of us (sadly) and most the people you know treat you much older than you really are.  I guess that is what you get for being a first born though, comes with the territory.  That's how you grow up to be responsible and full of all those first born characteristics, right?

You continue to bless our socks off and fill our days with laughter although in the past few weeks you have started testing your boundaries like never before AND you've started turning what we've been teaching you back around at us.  We have been thrown off guard to hear you say things like, "you took that from me, that's mean and unkind, Mama!" (when I take things you are not allowed to have).  Or "You are being unloving, Dad." (when he says no to something).  Or "obey Caleb please." (when you want us to do something).  Or "I need you to listen to me, understand?" It's hard not to laugh sometimes.

Your favorite things to eat are yogurt, yogurt and more yogurt, peanut butter, almonds and cashews, blueberries, pancakes, and cheese.  You also like chicken and beef or "meat!!!" in general.  Eggs and bacon are another favorite.

"F" certainly is for Fun around you.  You keep us and most everyone entertained.  You also tend to be very caring about people.  You think of others often throughout the day and ask about them, "what's Shell doing, Mama?"  "Where Audrey, Luke and Natie, Mama?" "How's Opa doin?" "Where Unca Micah?"  "Mama, pray for Daddy!"  "Mama pray for Great Grandma!"  You continue to be a total extrovert, loving to go see people and have people over. Although you have been a little more jealous than usual lately, especially with other young friends like Isaac and Emma.  Speaking of littles, you frequently ask  tell us (in the past few weeks) "I want a brudder, like Sadie has." or "I want a sister, mama." And you've taken it upon yourself (with no promptings from us whatsoever) to ask God for one.  Recently you stopped in the middle of your meal, folded your hands and prayed, "Fadder God, please give me a brudder like Sadie.  I sad, I want a brudder. In Chist name pray, amen. AMEN."

You continue to have a thing for Bibles.  Especially your Children's Bible (you have almost worn through two of them, we'll need to buy a third soon. And not because you are rough, because you read them until the spine gives out).  You know that Bible so well and can easily find any story.  You also have it basically memorized word for word, almost all the stories.  It is INSANE.  The other day you said, "mama, read to me 'bout Jairus." I was like "who?"  Caleb: "Jairus, mama."  Me, still clueless...."who's that?" C: "JAIRUS, and his daughter and Jesus."  Ohh...Me, thinking, I think that's in the Bible somewhere, right? Where would it be....Caleb walked me over and promptly found it for me.  Matt. 5:21-43.

You also enjoy counting, singing LOUDLY with your "micaphone," cooking in your kitchen, reading, reading and more reading, "nuggles and mooches," going for walks outside, running around (preferably naked or in your Thomas underwear - did I mention you potty trained some time ago and only need diapers at night?), wrestling and playing "knock 'em down" with daddy, riding your tricycle, going to sports games of any kind (most especially 'baketball' - you like to yell things like "go defense! go ICS! go Osan! and you already know the Vikings are the best foodball team to cheer for), and giving mama "big squeezy hugs."  Oh and you like when you get things, "from 'Merica."

We love you, dear boy and can't believe you are closing in on TWO already!  There is no baby left and you are 100% little boy - hopefully making strides to becoming a wonderful man some day.


Korea actually does have bowling allies, but these pictures are taken from on Osan AFB.  We had an impromptu youth-initiated bowling event one Saturday afternoon not too many weeks ago and Caleb and I got to go too, which we enjoyed.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Hanging on to the last bit of our Christmas. Taking decorations down this weekend, I know a little late but they were fun to enjoy!  It's the most homey our apartment feels all year.

I have yet to blog about Christmas and for that I am sorry.  I'll try to get on that!  Sadly, many of our pictures from Christmas were accidentally deleted (sad face) so we don't have a picture for each gift, as we had tried to do.  Thankfully there were some we took on the ipod and so we do have a few. I'll post soon.

Heading to bed, but wanted to update a little since I've been so neglectful.  

Adoption Thoughts

We've had a lot of questions about what we thought of our Hope for Orphans Adoption conference we went to in Seoul this past November and what we are thinking about adoption.  It is still on our minds and in our prayers a lot - please keep us in your prayers as we think of this option and explore the possibilities!  We continue to love the idea of adopting and feel very open to what the Lord might be doing through that.  We loved the conference (if you ever have a chance to check out Hope for Orphans, I'd recommend it!) and we are doing research right now.

 It seems from what we have heard and read we are eligible for adopting from 3 countries - Madagascar, Bulgaria and Ethiopia (many countries, sadly, have very strict rules for eligibility. For example, you must make over "x" amount of dollars or you must be infertile or you may not have any other children or you must be within a certain age range etc).  We have been corresponding with some agencies and just seeing what our options are, as we continue to seek the Lord.  One agency that we are really interested in is Small World Adoption.   If you or someone you know has ever heard of this agency or worked with them, we are looking for reviews!  They seem like a great agency at face value and they specialize in expat adoptions, which is one of our main concerns in looking for an agency (since that can be a big issue if they are not familiar with the additional requirements that brings).  Anyway, all that to say - Please continue to pray for us and ask the Lord to direct and guide our steps and make it clear if this is what he has for our family and if so, when.

Childbirth Ed classes

Thankful for friendships, and partners-in-birth.

We are running our second session of (English) Childbirth Education/Natural Birth Skills classes this month (Check out our page at Morning Calm Doulas) and really enjoying it.  We have 3 couples - one homebirth, one hospital birth and one birth center (vba2c) birth!  So it's fun to see the variety and the beautiful pregnancies unfolding.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sickies (and a recipe)!

Caleb and I seem to have the dreaded "Korean Crud" (aka a yuckie cold that many Americans get and can not seem to get rid of in the winters here). It's been a down hill week and neither of us are feeling very well (C has it far worse than I do). Today was filled with crying, wanting to be held, lots of books and lots of trying to convince him to drink, drink, drink. Poor guy, I hate seeing him sick! If you could keep us in your prayers, we would really really appreciate it.

Since we've been feeling slightly under the weather for several weeks (it's just now coming on full force), we've made a version of this DakJuk ("Korean Chicken Porridge") several times (along with numerous pots of chicken stock) in the hopes of helping our bodies heal. It is surprisingly similar to what we all know and love: Chicken Noodle Soup, with some added twists. You don't have to make it with white rice - we have tried it with brown (just soak a lot longer and I would suggest removing the chicken, cooking longer and with more water and then re-adding the chicken at the end so it doesn't get over cooked) or leave it out altogether and just enjoy the nutritious broth and chicken.

I really like the subtle difference in taste (and nutrition) with adding the fresh ginger and I like to add an onion as well. I don't strain the garlic out, I eat them too but that's just me (I like garlic). And don't be afraid of the soy sauce add at the end - I almost didn't try it (it sounded weird to me) but was so glad I did, it's good! If you want us to send you some "real" soy sauce, let us know! There is a definite difference in taste from "American" soy sauce to whatever it is we buy over here.....and have I told you about The Soy Sauce Isle? You know how in the States there is The Cereal Isle, right? Filled with every nuance of cereal you could think of? Well, we have that here too except it is Soy Sauce. I never knew there could be so many varieties or kinds!

I hope you enjoy a Korean take on Chicken Noodle Soup and here's to hoping it helps all of us feel a little better this cold/flu/Korean Crud season! Stay Well.

Friday, January 13, 2012

6 Months "Late"

I was thrilled to wake up this morning and find that Steve finished the picture montage/video of our trip home this past summer. As soon as we arrived back to Korea after our trip, I wanted to post a picture slideshow on the blog of our time back home (if you remember, I didn't do a lot of blogging about it because I was WITH you all so I didn't feel the need to UPDATE you). It just blows my mind how quickly 6 months can slip by - here we are mid January, already 6 months after returning to Korea from our vacation in the States! We must be having fun, right? With time going so fast and all.

Needless to say, watching this brought me to tears. What a wonderful vacation we had this summer seeing so many of you. How blessed we are to have each of you as a part of our lives, as a support while we live and work in cross cultural, overseas missions and as we raise our family.

Sadly, we did not capture everything we did on camera so there are some very special people and very special things we did that are not included on this clip - Steve mostly kept the pics to family and the party we hosted for people to come see us, so don't feel bad if you aren't pictured. The time was still special and YOU are special to us.