Monday, April 30, 2012

Hello, Monday.

Last week was quite a week for us. By Friday, we were ready to lock ourselves inside our apartment, crank up the air-conditioning and watch American movies. We didn't do that (at least not for long) but I admit that I'm glad we get to start over this week. It's amazing what a few extra naps, laughs, and chocolate oatmeal cookies can bring to a victim of culture shock, huh?

Here are a few things from our weekend:

1. Silas took his first steps on American soil...at the US Embassy, that is. The passport is in progress and before too long, he should be a legal. Right now I think he's drifting somewhere in between Asian and American.


2. Ready for summer, girls? I am. I bought my first asian bathing suit. David assured me that, just this once, a swimsuit pic on the blog was ok.


I'm not joking. This is what 90% of my neighbors consider appropriate swimwear. I'll be donning it at the pool with Jude. I must admit it was a much easier purchase than in years past....my options being what they were.

3. On Saturday we had lunch with some friends. They're from up north, so the food was delicious...and ever so mild compared to the local spice.

Their 2.5 year old nephew was there. He and Jude hit it off. Apparently, the 2.5 year old wrestles with his dad frequently. On several occasions, he had Jude pinned. Jude was a little unsure what was going on. David was trying to coach Jude into showing a little more aggression.

Jude's response to this exhortation was to start kissing the other kid.


Needless to write, David's taken the lad in hand and this weekend has seen a bit more rough-housing than usual.

4. On the agenda for this week? Not blogging my friends. We're heading to the hill country for a few days of intensive language study. Starting tomorrow, I'm hitting pause:) I'm sure we'll have a few stories to tell upon our return.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In the case of boredom...



Hubs bought me a sewing machine for my birthday.

I am beside myself with excitement (and ideas).

See, I have a lot of spare time crazy obsession with crafting.

I tried borrowing my neighbor's machine and I loved it. The only problem? I generally have 5 minute intervals to work on a project. This means it takes me a week to hem a pair of pants. That's not really conducive to shared usage.

My first project? A little cafe curtain for my kitchen window. I'm pretty sure the night watchman keeps catching glimpses of me in my pjs when I'm on my 3am snack break. Somehow I doubt my tank top is culturally appropriate. The moo-moo is just too much for me at 3am.

And in that beautiful Fed-Ex box? The adorable fabric seen above. Not to mention a few others. One is giraffe print. How cute is that?

Maybe I'll start spending my 3am snack break in the sewing room.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Old Age & Laugh Lines


I'm 32. I'm not sure when that happened, but the laugh lines around my eyes, the two boys running wild in my house, and the local newspaper on my doorstep each morning all seem to confirm it.

Yesterday's celebration of the day felt a little different than in years past. Life as it stretches on is bringing with it a more profound awareness of the gift it is. I wake up every morning and breathe. And the prayer I whisper as I put my babies to sleep is that they would have breath into old age...as long as it would bring God glory. The growing number of my years alongside the awareness of life's frailty embodied in these little ones I care for, it's breeding gratitude for what I often take for granted. The simple and profound gift of life.

The verse I couldn't escape yesterday was those ancient words to Theophilus:

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Acts 17:26-27 esv

These are the boundaries of my days, my determined time to live. This breath is a gift given...that I might move toward Him.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

o happy day



It started with a spectacular pancake breakfast by my favorite chefs:


Continued with gifts from a wonderful fed-ex delivery:


Plenty of cheer around our house all day:


The best part? It included lots of time with my favorite little men (not to mention that amazing hub of mine):


What a great birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Laura!!

This is her husband writing. I have never posted and don't know how, but Laura left herself signed into her blogger account (I don't have the password), so I thought I would take the opportunity to say happy birthday.
You are loved!
Jude, Silas, and Hubs

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ode to Kroger



Hubs struck it rich at the import store this week. Beautifully green broccoli. The beauty of it apparently carried him away. He bought in bulk.

After the hour ride home, there was chopping. Washing in potassium permanganate to get those little worms out. Rinsing in filtered water. Blanching in boiling water to prep for freezing. Plunging in cold water to "seal in the nutrients." Ziplocking with one of those precious storage bags Grammar sent. And finally...freezing.

The next time you pay $1.50 for a frozen bag of broccoli florets at Kroger, smile and give thanks.

Oh, Kroger, how I miss thee.


Lest you leave the blog feeling sorry for me...let me share the good news in these parts: It's mango season.

Our neighbors came home from a mango festival yesterday with an assortment for us to try. Apparently, we'll have the bliss of every variation of mango you can imagine for the rest of the summer.

And since most of you would probably take a mango over a broccoli floret, I doubt I'll invoke to much sympathy with this post:)




Friday, April 20, 2012

a team effort

Silas has been a little fussy today. I think it's the indian food. The worst episode happened when I was in the grocery store...with both boys. Let's just say we fairly sprinted home. I was afraid my neighbors were about to call the police on me for neglecting the baby to weigh the eggplant. Apparently, babies aren't supposed to cry here. Everyone was in great distress. In the end, I put Jude on the cup holder of that stroller, grabbed my eggplant, and ran out of there. We were a sight.

Consequently, Silas has been spending a lot of time in the back-pat mode. This is Jude 'helping.'


So maybe he's not quite ready to babysit just yet. But his efforts at entertainment are valiant.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

HA-larious



If you never watch another video on my blog - watch this one.

Recently, each morning around 8am I've been hearing riotous laughter coming from the park outside our apartment. Apparently, the men's yoga group that used to meet by the cricket field expanded so much that they changed locales. Now they're right outside our door.

Part of the routine? Laughing exercises.

I sent hubs out with the video camera today. If this doesn't make you want to come and visit, nothing will.

A merry heart worketh good like a medicine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

a parting gift


This weekend I had a small cauffufle at the doctor's office with Silas. It was 1pm. I hadn't eaten since that handful of almonds just after breakfast. I'd already had to feed that kid twice since arriving at the office. My hands were full of medicines and growth charts and that heavy baby. Not to mention that half the waiting room was occupied staring at what was apparently the most interesting thing in the room...Silas and me. We had been waiting almost an hour to have his blood taken outside the crowded door of the "samples" lab.

People kept pushing the door open and rattling off in a language I can't yet understand. I was trying to wait patiently outside for my turn but I didn't understand the line-up system. I'd made several attempts at kind intervention to the attendant on our behalf. To no avail. My patience wore thin. And finally when I was usurped once more by an asian, I lost it. All those gawkers in the waiting room knew I lost it too.

We were very quickly ushered into the samples room.

I'm starting to see that having a baby in tow presses in on my patience here. It presses in on a lot of me, in fact. Rickshaw rides are more harrowing. The heat more oppressive. That pinching neighbor a bit more overwhelming. Maybe it's another round with culture shock. Maybe it's the 105 temps. Whatever it is, I seem to be losing it a bit more frequently of late.

I have been reading bits of Keep a Quiet Heart throughout my days this week. The worn pages seem always to bring a fresh word. I stumbled across a chapter in which Elliot used the NEB translation of a verse I've heard hundreds of times. I love the word picture it gives.

Peace is my parting gift to you, my own peace, such as the world cannot give. john 14:27

The words were spoken only hours before His crucifixion. Peace as a parting gift. Parting gifts are the kind you put a lot of time, thought, intention into, are they not? And as he prepared for his death, the gift was peace.

In the midst of all that presses in on me here, in the midst of all that presses in on you there...the gift remains. It is ours in Christ.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

front page story

Almost everyone in these parts sticks to non-veg, with a little chicken and fish thrown in on Sundays. If you're going for something hearty, goat would be an acceptable choice. In the land where cows are sacred, beef is a touchy subject.

Last night in the newspaper, I read that some students at a local university organized a beef festival.

Apparently, things got out of hand. Protestors showed up. They set a van aflame. Organizers got a little feisty. Sticks and stones were flying.

In the end, the police had to break it up with tear gas....over beef.

Makes peta look tame, huh?

Monday, April 16, 2012

the new normal


Today was my first day back to language class and all that that entails. Let's just say, it wasn't exactly the most focused time I've ever spent in study. Silas needed to eat. Jude wanted to play the matching game. The Vijetha was out of cauliflower this morning. We had to take a break and return after the veggie truck arrived. I listened to vocab on my iPod while we walked. Somehow, the roar of the tricycle was a bit distracting.

In the end, it felt good to be back in the routine. And boy am I glad that our sweet house helper also happens to be a good cook. I have a feeling we'll be eating a lot more chapati and cauliflower curry around here.


At least lunch was a success:)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Silas Stats

Today is Silas's one month birthday. Here are a few slightly boring mom-tidbits about his day to day affairs.


Baby Basics

Sleeping: I can't recall staying up more than 2 hours to rock him in his entire first month. It's like he was born sleeping through the night (minus 3-4 hr feedings). That's the kind of second baby this momma needed to have!

Eating: He eats like a champ. No dawdling, just gets down to business. I may have just forgotten this stage...but it does seem like he eats all the time. Really he's just averaging 2.5-3.5 hours between feedings.

Diapering: At the risk of tmi...this kid has peed on us more in a month than Jude has in 2 years of life. We're not talking moderate sprayage either. We're talking a freely flowing fountain that reaches to the far corners.

Weigh In: Based on our home scaling system, Silas is up to 12.6 lbs. Jude was at 12.5 at one month. Guess all those meals are paying off!

Dilemmas: Baby acne. It's a mild case but the asians are in constant distress over it. I'm afraid it might give him a complex.

Oddities: He sounds like a pig. Really. He grunts more than any baby I've ever heard. I love it!


Happy One Month, Silas!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

the state of our house

1. The fever was the pre-cursor to a rather violent stomach bug. We loaded the family in a rickshaw this morning to go to a clinic. They gave us masses of medicines and took blood. Awaiting the results. Hitherto, Jude and Silas have been preserved...but this afternoon during nap time, Jude threw up in his bed. Hopefully, it will be short lived for him. I slept through the whole affair. Have I mentioned I love my husband?

2. We're not much on piling things up. This week seems to be an exception though. Thankfully, our faithful house helper has been holding the dish and dirt chaos down to a bare minimum.



3. Call me a bad mom. Jude is watching a new Veggie Tales dvd a friend mailed to him - on the computer, wearing headphones. I'm pretty sure there's some parenting law against that. The lame reason? David and I wanted to watch a real movie on the tv. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is only captivating for so long.



4. In the absence of his usual outdoor play, Jude's been getting pretty creative in his indoor entertainment.




5. Silas...well, if we could all have our own rocking lounger, a pacifier, and someone to feed and cloth us...perhaps we'd be as peaceful as he:)


Seriously, we're on the mend..and doing just fine. A little way from well, but thankful that the fever seems to have passed. Thanks for all the prayers and emails!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

the fever

Yesterday was our first day with 2 kids in a grandma-free home. Eager to establish routine, forbidding myself from moping as my mom flew across the ocean, I made my check list. By 4pm I was feeling pretty good about my accomplishments. We might just make it on our own after all.

Somewhere around 6pm a sudden fever began to pick up steam. By 8pm when Jude was tucking in for bed, I was watching Anne of Green Gables from the couch. By midnight it was 103 and miserable. Even Tylenol would only reduce it to the 101 range. H

Could someone call the airline and get my mom off that plane?

It was a long night with baby in tow. By morning I was exhausted and at 103 again. David was my hero. He strapped that baby into the carrier, man handled Jude and took the whole crew off to the playground for hours.



Sometime this afternoon, the fever just left. Not even 24 hours later. A 3 hour nap to recover from the night of little sleep, and I was feeling good.

Hubs comes in to check on me. He's looking pekid.

I stick the thermometer in his mouth. 101 and on the rise. I pack him off to bed. He tries to protest. Says I'm still weak and need to recover. The protests aren't hard to overcome though. I know how he feels...just walked down that miserable road.

Here's to the hope that Jude & Silas wake up from their naps fever-free.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

fare thee well


My mom left last night for America.

I cried. Big tears in front of gawking asians.

When we came back inside, Jude was feeling a little distressed over his weeping momma. He came over to dry my tears and offer a little comfort.

His face changed to look like a kind hearted 45 year old and he repeated what we've been telling him this week about NanNan, "Going to see PopPop." He said it with such a hopeful smile that those simple words would be just what I needed to hear that I couldn't help mopping up the tears a bit.

I'm not sure when he grew up?

And now...we're man-to-man parenting around here, about to jump headlong back into language study, wading through a lot of diapers and midnight feedings, and wondering how on earth people handle more than 2 children.

After Jude's little chat with me, I reminded myself that sadness over a departure should never obscure gratitude over the gift of time together.

So we're giving thanks for the time...and missing her helping hands already!

Monday, April 9, 2012

party clothes


Jude got some new duds for the weekend celebration. These are what most of our neighbors would consider to be "party clothes." I love it!



We did have a few mishaps with the scrunchy fabric at the bottom of the pants getting a little entangled. Of course, comfort and style don't always go hand in hand, right?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

celebrating


Today has been a day of celebration.



And let's be honest, as a young mom, it's been a day of added work. Food to prepare, that early worship service to attend, etc...and all the while I've been trying to turn my mind toward Jesus.

It's been a day of giving in little ways to the little people in my house. The reflection of the cross has been more glorious, more amazingly stunning, more powerful in my heart in the midst of the little things. Self-giving was so perfectly exemplified for me in Christ. He took on death. sin. despair. wrath. He bore it. And he conquered it. By his stripes, we are healed.

And by the same power that raised Jesus from the dead...I can live this new life in Christ. Good news. Gospel news.


Praise God. He is risen indeed.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

preparing


We're preparing for the celebration of the resurrection this weekend. Gathering the items for the seder dinner, reading the story, humming the hymns. There's a helpful guide for a Seder dinner on Ann Voskamp's website...along with some other great ideas and resources. Just wanted to share:)


We raise glasses and toast. And there’s the answer as to why we keep Passover.

Keeping Passover isn’t about keeping laws and regulations.

Keeping Passover isn’t about keeping our burdens.

Keeping Passover isn’t about keeping some empty, meaningless customs.

On the night of four questions, the answer murmur clear in the stream of time: Keeping Passover is about keeping our way on The Way.

Passover is about keeping something worth preserving: emblems pregnant with the fulfillment of the New Covenant.

Passover is about the questions that keep time to the beat of our children’s heart:

Why am I here?

What does all of this living really mean?

Where am I headed?

When will I be all that I am to be?

And this story, His story, His three-thousand-year-old Passover story has answers, told on a quiet evening in spring when the trees are budding under nesting birds.

When all the rivers run alive and swift and on forever, free…


www.annvoskamp.com

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

a big day


It was kind of a big day in our little world.

1. We showed my mom the wonder of the city train. We took the baby and sat in the "ladies" car...a much milder experience than David and Jude's!



2. On our way to a museum, we left our backpack..with my wallet and camera...in the back of a random rickshaw. Miraculously, after a few kind onlookers got involved, we were able to track him down and meet him at the train station. It really was nothing short of miraculous. There are only 4.5 million or so rickshaws drivers in the city. I wonder how we could have forgotten to get it out of the back...it's not like our hands are full or anything:)




3. We visited a fantastic site down in old town that is the replica of an iranian palace...with more of an asian flare. A very fun outing, albeit a bit hot.




4. And now we're watching a bit of rain. That is quite a big ordeal here...since we've hardly seen a drop in 6 full months!



Here's to the hope that we'll all sleep well tonight:)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

the brotherhood

When Silas was first born, we weren't sure he was going to look too much like Jude. I think we were wrong.

Jude at around 2 weeks:



Silas at around 2 weeks:



Silas may be a little lighter on top, have a few less rolls here and there...but these guys are definitely Dawkins brothers.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Palm Sunday

One of things I love about our life right now is this season of cultural discovery we are daily experiencing. Life is very different in asia than it was in the streets I knew as a child. I hope the experience undoes some things in me that are too deep rooted and that it provides a broader perspective for these wee ones as they grow in this different land.

One of the greatest gifts though is the bridging of the two worlds. I find that most often, the gospel is that bridge.

Yesterday we celebrated Palm Sunday with our faith community here. It was different - but it was the same. After all, the story hasn't changed. When we arrived at church to find the children holding flower laden branches, prepared to march through the streets singing "Hosanna," the gospel tasted so, so sweet.


...from every tribe, tongue and nation, they praise Him.