Friday, November 30, 2012


This morning David left for a 4 am airport run.  By 6:15 the boys were up.  By 6:30, my patience for the day seemed to have run dry.  Jude woke up crazy. Lots of loud talking. He wanted pancakes, stat.  He also wanted to body slam a still groggy Silas. He wanted to open every drawer and pull out the innards. Pour his own juice.  And by 7am he was wake-the-neighborhood screaming on the porch because I wouldn't let him slice his own strawberries....with a steak knife.

Love is patient. 

By the time David returned, the floor was covered in a thrown plate of pancake and strawberries, thanks to Silas's long arms. Jude was still in hysterics over the knife incident, and I was about to go out on the porch and scream myself.

As it would happen, when Jude was finally tucked into the school bus and I sat down to read my devotion, I had come to the break between the Old and New Testaments. Just in time for Christmas, I'm entering into the gospels after long months plodding through prophesies and the Israelites' unbelief.

The commentator remarked on God's profound and generous patience.  The cycle of calling a people to worship Him, fulfilling promises to them, followed by their all to predictable rebellion.  Time and time again. He gave them manna to eat, a land to call their own, sons as numerous as the stars...and finally, a Savior.  All amid rebellion after rebellion.  And even yet, in His mercy, we daily experience His constraint and patience amid our sin.

This is the God who strengthens me to parent. It is His Spirit I have right, through Christ, to rely upon.  That knowledge heartens me to press forward with these two little men whose actions are such a mirror of my own heart.

As for my parents, they were delayed in NYC and are now stranded somewhere in the Middle East.  I hope they're riding a camel or something! We're trying to have patience as we wait for them:)  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday Three

1. After a little tylenol and ear drops, a few band-aids on Jude's stomach (which do absolutely nothing but seem to have boosted morale) and quite a few prayers, we are all up and running again.  yay!

2. It's a good thing we are....because my crazy wonderful parents are making a Christmas stop over in asia! wohoo! It's going to be a little wild, and no doubt a lot of fun.  My dad is scheduled to speak to some rural farmers about getting a co op started. It'll be right up his alley!

3.  And now for the least exciting Thursday Three ever.....can anyone tell me what's going on with my side bar? I can't fix it.  My links all fell to the bottom of the page and won't link. Do you see that in America or is it only over here on the far side? Help.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

advent & earaches

I've been wondering what to do this year for our advent celebration. My friend, Erin, tipped me off to this fun little resource on the website. I printed it off this afternoon and thought I'd pass it along.  It looks like a great starting place!

And for those who heard through the grapevine about little Silas...his fever seems to be subsiding.  He woke  from his nap feeling happy. I was relieved...until Jude woke up from his nap with 101 and an earache:(

On that'll understand why this is all the post I can muster today! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

the age of defiance

David and I did something last week that we're learning never to do. We talked about how well Jude was behaving. What a sweet temper little Silas has. How far we'd come with the boys. We were feeling like we'd finally figured out what stage we are in, and learned to manage it.

Maybe it's a trick kids play, maybe it's divine humor. Maybe both. It seems to always follow conversations like that though.

Just when we seem to learn the rules, the game changes. The week following that blissful (and maybe too puffed up) conversation, Jude started throwing his hand, shouting "no," and contradicting every simple request with loud, violent emotion and aggression. Silas picked up speed in crawling and has acquired, in a very short time frame, an unnatural ability to rip the house to shreds in around 3 minutes.

A struggle for independence is raging!

I did the only things I knew to do: Bought a "terrible twos" parenting book for my kindle and began praying for mercy...for us and them.

We're forging ahead in this age of defiance here in the dawkins house. And making slow, steady progress. It's not all defiance...there's still a whole lot of sweetness, laughter, and fun. But I wouldn't be keeping it too real around here not to admit that my head has been in my hands quite a bit this week. Hubs is no doubt sprouting another grey hair or two.

On the up side, with the age of defiance has also come the age of imagination. Jude recently turned the corner into imaginary play. Adventures ahead:) I've been roping lions all weekend and lovin' it!

Monday, November 26, 2012

the charlie brown... up and strung with love.  

I'll let you guess how many times I've had to say "no touch" so far:) 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

While our families are just putting the finishing touches on their meals, here on the other side, we're getting ready to tuck into bed, full of thanksgiving.  Holidays are hard away from home.  God was so gracious with us today.  We had a fantastic time together cooking, taking a little family turkey trot, and meeting up with plenty of other Americans living in abroad.  There was not lack of home cooked goodness among us.  These tasted as good as they look: 

Here are the lines I've been singing to Jude at night this week.  God is good.  We give thanks for his good and merciful gifts.

For the beauty of the earth, For the glory of the skies, For the love which from our birth, Over and around us lies, Lord of all, to thee we raiseThis our hymn of grateful praise. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

an environment of progress

My mom was believed in environmentally aware living long before it was en vogue. We read Ranger Rick as kids and she didn't buy styrofoam;)

 I wouldn't have said I was oblivious to excessive waste before coming to Asia. But it takes work to live a life that makes conscientious decisions about electricity, pollution, etc. I'm growing in it... but let's face it: I love my hair dryer and I still generate more trash than most of my Asian neighbors.

 Life overseas has definitely moved me to the next level though. I'm still a loooooOong way from hard core, but progress is something to celebrate, right?

Most of these were rather thrust upon me, but here are a few changed this year has seen:

1. I almost always use a recycled bag for grocery shopping. It helps that I walk to the store and keep one in the stroller;) I tried to do that in the US but always forgot.

2. The good ole days of long hot showers have come and gone. I turn a hot water heater on 10 minutes before a shower, switch it off immediately after, and can only squeak about 5 minutes of hot water out of it for bathing. I get 2 points on that one, water and power!

3. A tiny roll of not so good paper towels costs $3. I haven't bought a roll in almost a year! We switched to cloth napkins too.

4. Our a/c usage is only by room. If we're not in a room, it's off. In this season, there's usually only a fan going. Heating would be an utter mystery in these parts.

5. Public transport is great. I don't think I ever took a public bus in Memphis. Not once. Here, even after the acquisition of a car, we still ride public transport when convenient.

And now...check out these rad plates I found for our Thanksgiving shindig tomorrow! The are made from heat pressed fallen palm leaves. And they're cute too!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

eat more pumpkin

The pumpkin cheesecake just keeps getting better as time passes.  I love that about cheesecake.  I used a modified version of this recipe. In the absence of graham crackers, I made a walnut crust that added a lot to the overall taste.

Next time, I'll double the recipe.  A sweet friend just gave me an actual springform pan, my first ever, and it was a bit bigger than I realized when I was mixing up the ingredients. Ooops.  Thin but tasty!

The good news about my mistake is that I now have just enough pumpkin stored in my fridge for pumpkin soup. If I drop down the ingredients to 2 servings on this recipe, I think I can squeak two delicious dishes out of that delightful little can!  Yay.

In other news....Jude went on his first "field trip" today.  Just look at this guy:

Apparently, the toy store is the only place they felt would be manageable with a class of 2 year olds.  I have a feeling that teacher is napping this afternoon! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

the hike

The hike was everything we hoped for! We went with a few friends to the top of an old 11th century fort. The air was fresh.  The breeze was amazing.  The fort was isolated...not a pinched cheek all morning! It was my first time to wear Silas on my back, and I will definitely repeat it soon.  He even took a nap while I walked.  The only snag was a pack of monkeys who threatened our picnic amid the ruins at the top.  But the menfolk waged war, and won:)

It was worth the drive out of the city to have a few hours of scenery and smog free air.  My legs are definitely feeling it today but it's the good kind of ache!

And in case you're wondering, the pumpkin cheesecake was also a success.

Recipe forthcoming. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekend Agenda

Two things on the list for our weekend, if all goes as planned. A family hike in honor of some fantastic fall weather. And an attempt at pumpkin cheesecake, thanks to my sweet mother in law who lugged puree across the ocean to us.

Happy Fall Friday!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

toddler knees

Jude has been complaining of knee problems lately. Yikes. Two seems early to start that!

Today after school, he was 'racing' when he suddenly burst into tears over his knee.

I confess for the most part, he runs around barefoot on the marble and wearing cheap knock off crocks outside.

No more. We went straight to the fancy Clarks store in the mall and bought him his first pair of running shoes:)

Hope it helps!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

light air

Yesterday was Diwali, the Festival of Light, in honor of the goddess Lakshmi, who Hindus believe  brings them wealth and fortune.

It was just plain wild.

I'll let you guess what the air around the city looks like today...after a few million people shot fireworks until the wee hours of the morning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

my asian man

Remember David's hand-hold experience not long ago? Poor guy.  The culture just keeps getting richer for him.  It's a hard life for a westerner turned asian. 

Recently he had a meeting out of the city. 

When night fell, he agreed to go with a new friend to his home. These people are over-the-top with hospitality. They handed him a plate piled with rice and laden with curry.  Afterwards, he told hubs that there was no need for him to go to a local hotel.  He had a guest room in the bottom of his house.  David thanked him, agreeing to stay the night.  There was an awkward pause in the conversation as the host tried to find words.  He seemed concerned. 

David felt confused.  

"Um, sir. Are you habituated to sleeping alone?" his host asked. 

Suddenly hubs saw the turn this could take.  He assured him, eagerly that he would be very comfortable on his own for the night.  

There was some obvious curiosity about how he could not possibly be lonely, since he was traveling alone and all. Asians rarely go anywhere by themselves and they sure wouldn't travel to an unknown city alone overnight. There's always a brother or uncle or cousin-brother (as they call the extended relations here:) to go along. We're talking a seriously communal culture. 

Thankfully, David's eagerness worked some magic and he did indeed get the guest room all to himself. We're not exactly sure what protocol would have been had he admitted that he preferred company, but we're guessing it probably would have included a random guy from the family on a bed mat right beside him.  

Next time, he might just take a friend to avoid the possibility. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Madness

Jude is out of school for 2 days this week for Diwali, the Hindu festival of "lights." That means we're painting on the porch in the mornings, and staying away from the designated "cracker" area...where fireworks are being manned by unsupervised 7 year olds.  It's a crazy world out there! 

A few tidbits from our weekend: 

1. Jude is still donning an angry birds tattoo from a friend's party.  The theme was out of control. One of the cutest cakes I've seen in these parts.  Those birds are solid icing! 

2. My bests from junior high...yes, junior high.....had a "spa" night this weekend and skyped me and Christy V in for a few minutes. I loved it! 

3. Saturday mornings can be crazy at our house.  Not exactly the lazy sleep-in times of yore.  So we got up early and headed to the botanic gardens. Their rose garden is one of the only places in South Asia where I really want to smell the air:) Jude's taken to smelling roses with me. 
4. I tried to work on our Christmas photo for this year.  As you can see, it was....productive ...exciting. 

Back to the madness of another week! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

talking to myself

It's been a hard week. Externally, besides a little sleep deprivation, a few out of the way worries and a couple of intense cultural moments, it's just been average.  Hubs was in town. Jude was in school.  Silas was crawling all over the floor, pulling over the lamp. Nothing unusually stressful. Just the norm.

But I have been struggling...verging on turn out the lights, sit in a dark room, quit talking or cooking or diapering struggling.  My spirit has been heavy.  And what I've really been wanting to do is...wallow in the heaviness.

The pressing in of the struggle has irked me.

I don't like to struggle for joy, cheerful thanksgiving, right thinking.  I prefer just to default to it.  And sometimes when, for whatever reason, the struggle is present and pressing, I feel the freedom to do what I don't believe.

After a few days of fog, I was sitting on the couch bemoaning my inability to overcome myself, when I had a bit of a light bulb moment.  Not really profound, but profoundly powerful.

I don't have to do what my feelings tell me.  

Perhaps most girls learn that lesson in primary school. I'm still working on it in my 30s.  I think it's Tripp who wrote that the most powerful influence in your you.  Your own internal dialogue sways you more than any other person. Talk truth in your internal dialogue and the outflow will pour from what you believe.

So I got up off the couch and I did what I needed to do.  I listened to truth. I fed the family. Went to the gym. Sang some bedtime songs.  Laid my head on my pillow and gave thanks. I still didn't really feel like it.  But most of the times in my life when I've gotten into the biggest messes...have had more to do with feeling than belief.

I hope the struggle lightens up soon. But in the meantime, if you catch me talking to'll know why:)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

eye spy

From almost the first time Jude's sweet baby eyes opened wide at the hospital,  I noticed that little white speck on the edge.  It took a few confused pediatric doctors to get the final diagnosis: a small, non-impairing limbal dermoid.  When Jude was a week old, he made his first trip to the ophthalmologist. We've been making the trek every six months ever since.

In the states, the pediatric ophthalmologist's office means a lot of cute kids in adorable glasses running around the waiting room.  Here, it's a different story.

The most reputable eye place in our city is an incredible hospital that has assisted millions of eye patients in asia, with 50% of those being served free of charge.  We paid double the price, so someone without the resources to pay could go free. It's a beautiful and needed service.

The waiting room wasn't filled with kids with cute glasses strapped on, but babies with eyes half open and patches, and a wide variety of very obvious diseases.  There was a waiting room filled with children who, in a better world, would have been treated long before now.  It hurt my heart to look at those moms and know they want the best for their kids just like I do mine.  But their resources to make that happen are far, far less.  Simple conditions, not treated in a timely or educated way have erupted into serious, sight impairing conditions.

It was a hard reminder for me, especially with two little ones in tow.  It was a good one though. Mercy shown always is.  It pricked my heart and made me consider ways to do good to others.  A simple check up...but it reminded me of One who spent a lot of time healing eyes and bodies and hearts. I'd like to be more like Him.  

Blessed are the merciful....

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

a donut day

It's election day. And while living overseas has made us a bit more philosophical on the beauty of democracy and joy of freedom, it hasn't made us miss the muddy mess of campaigning.

We'll be watching from the far side over here while the votes are counted!

And in case all the hubub makes you want to take on an extended project in the kitchen, I have just the thing for you today.

David brought home a knock-off Krispy Kreme last night from a friend's house. Since I haven't tasted a decent donut in over a year, it was like America in my mouth. 24 steps in all for this recipe. I can't foresee such an intricate project making its way into my kitchen any time soon, so I'm just posting hers:)  Really delicious! Let me know if you are brave enough to try them.

In the meantime, happy voting!

Monday, November 5, 2012

eating the elephant

I feel like I'm eating an elephant. And to be honest, I'm getting pretty full. Language. Garbled words and irregular, unpredictable grammar. My fuzzy post-collegiate, mom-brain isn't all that it was. I feel like I'm swimming in an asian ocean of words, and I've swallowed enough water to start to sink.

Part of the problem is that I had my sights set on the one year mark. I thought that by now, I could slacken the pace and still progress to an advanced state.

I've definitely slackened my pace, but it's hardly because I'm advanced. I'm in a learn-like-a-toddler, barefoot kind of program. And I am a structured, literate learner. Hence the 'bobbing in the ocean' feeling. I am getting sea sick.

"Let us run with endurance the race marked out for us." Yikes. Those are hard words. Perseverance has never been my strong point.

I guess it's time to work on that.

So tomorrow I will wake up and meet my tutor one more time. And then next day after that, I'll do the same. Because in the end, the only way to eat an one bite at a time.

Friday, November 2, 2012


rain, rain go away
if you stay
my house just may
fall to pieces this very day

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Hubs is out on a trip. We are hunkered down from the inland arrival of a cyclone on the coast. I'm planning to drink hot tea and watch Pride & Prejudice after my wild banshees are in bed. Jude figured out how to wear his pjs pants on his head. Silas is into knee socks for warmth. My neighbors are acting like 60 degrees is an arctic climate.

That's us in a nutshell.

I guess I'm substituting the blog for a Facebook account today.