Wednesday, August 28, 2013

a little update

They guys have been out in the village this week. Doing good things. Important things. It has really been a good week for them together. They also have some pretty wild village stories to tell. Affirmation that we were better off in our little city house.

To write that it's been a rough week on the little guys is an understatement. Jude has seriously missed his daddy during this trip in particular. It is hard for me to navigate. Discipline is more needed, and at the same moment, I know that the root is his insecurity. He seems to be testing boundaries because he wants to feel safe. It's hard for me to gently, yet firmly, meet that. I am learning.

After a few good stories together, Uncle Brad is now safely en route home, and David should return for good by tomorrow night. He made a quick trip back out to take care of a few things.

I am counting down the hours.

That's a little update from our world.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

it' s here

The age of fits has arrived.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Uncle Brad

Visitors in town this week and we are happy! Uncle Brad made his way here last night.

Jude, who is usually pretty reserved for the first little while, warmed right up and talked to Uncle Brad the whole drive home. The guys left this morning for a trip to the village, but not before a little story reading and breakfast together. 

We love familiar faces! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Wrestlers

Sometimes wrestling Dad at night turns into playground aggression. Team Dawkins won.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

bear necessities

We've been watching a little Jungle Book around here lately....

...forget about your worries and your strife:) 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

samosa stop

After the samosas and sprite, we bought a piece of cake. I'm not much on absolute statements regarding culture. But if there's one lesson that I can issue with finality after almost 2 years in asia, it's this: Cakes always look better than they taste. Always. Don't be fooled. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

in the movies...

I got into the elevator this weekend with a neighbor.  I see her fairly often.  Her son is Jude's age.  She is pregnant with her second. We bump into one another at the playground and such but don't chat a lot. She uncharacteristically began a query this weekend.  Here's how the conversation went:

Neighbor: I've been wondering something for a while now.  My husband keeps telling me to ask you, since you're American and might know.  I told him I didn't think it could be true though. How could I ask?

Me: Sure, I might know. What is it?

Neighbor: We watch American movies sometimes. And there's something we keep seeing that we think must just be in the movies, not in real life. But my husband says it might be true.

My mind begins racing to all the shady turns this conversation could take now that we're in American movie territory.

Neighbor: (looking skeptical) Does your son sleep in his own room? Alone?

I start laughing.  

Me: It's true.  It's not just in the movies.  A lot of kids in America do. Even Silas sleeps in his own bed in a separate room.

Her mouth drops a little.

Neighbor: But how can he can adjust? I can't imagine.  Isn't he lonely? I thought it was only in the movies.

I shock her with a few statements about crying it out.

Elevator door opens. I leave her staggered by the reality of individual bedrooms in a co-sleeping society.

I am an American in Asia.

Monday, August 19, 2013

monday, monday

My Monday morning in a bullet pointed list:

  • Silas was attacked by fire ants on the playground. 
  • Jude's school bus came 30 minutes late. Silas was chasing caterpillars. 
  • After his return from school, Jude touched some sort of poisonous frog.  Hysterics. 
  • Silas poo-ed in the tub. 
  • Jude retrieved some filthy shoes from the laundry room and was practically licking them when I discovered him. 
  • Silas wouldn't stop rocking or head butting while I put Jude to bed for a nap. 

Thankfully, for now, they're both sound asleep.  And I'm just reminiscing on the good times we've already had today.

It's Monday, friends.  Bring it on.

Friday, August 16, 2013

50 cents a cap

I recently purchased a few additions for Jude's little library. While I was perusing the classics for his age range, I came across Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, an old favorite from my childhood.  Such a fun story.

Now we're both lovin' it! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

caterpillar catchin'

 This is Jude, after Silas accidentally stepped on it:

Don't worry, everyone was still alive and well after:) 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I just finished up the book Desperate that I mentioned a little while ago.  I found it helpful in this season of life.  One of the things that was most helpful for me was that it served as a reminder that mothering is hard, no matter where you live.  Being a (literal) world away from our home town doesn't account for all the struggle.  A lot of it would be there anyways.  These are years of endless work and not a lot of tangible fruit.  Faithfulness doesn't hinge on a clean house or measurable fruit though.

There are a few aspects that I began to note are actually easier for me, in this international context, than they would be in Memphis. Here are a few:

1. The schedule of our life is, in large part, determined by our decisions.  Not societal protocol. As ex-pats, we have more leeway in veering from cultural norms.  And, in our favor in this season, asia is actually a very family-centric place to live.  Their social mores hold them much firmer to obligation to family and home.  We feel pull, but not as much as we would feel in the west.

2.  Househelp.  I really don't mean to make you jealous. I have a househelper who sweeps and mops, hangs my laundry on the line, folds clothes, irons, and washes my breakfast dishes....six days a week. It's a standard for a household here.  A very affordable, almost necessary, expense. When I hired ours, I hit the jackpot.  She's worked for us for over a year and a half, in an amazingly trouble free relationship.  It was something I prayed for before I even knew where we would land on this side. There are seasons of life when that might not be such a big perk.  In these little years though, it's beyond huge.

3. The accessibility of conveniences I would consider rare and expensive in the States. I can have almost anything delivered right to my door.  When David is out of town, Jude and I eat veg manchurian and buttered nan delivered for $3 from the local restaurant. Every week, I order the bulk of my groceries online.  They bring them straight into the kitchen. In fact, there is very little I can't have at my doorstep. It's the way of asia.  And I love it.

In the end, of course, I would give these up in a heartbeat to be close to family and friends.  But this is where we are.  And I am learning to embrace it.
Here's to the perks of asian living! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

village day

The boys and I went with David for a little trip to the village this weekend.  We left at 7:30am on Saturday, and pulled in about 12 hours later.  It was long.  It was laden with culture. We're talking pinches innumerable. It took us a full day to recover after...but it was worth it! We had a great time. Here are a few "snaps" as they say in these parts:

A 700 year old banyan tree grove. One of my favorite sites so far on continent!  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake

When I was little, we lived down the street from a lady who always had shortbread in her freezer. My sister called her "The Cookie Lady." It's been years since I've had shortbread.  But it didn't prevent the craving from sneaking up on me.  I found this recipe and gave it a whirl.  Success! 

It's great by itself, but when I pulled out those strawberries in my freezer, a little ice cream and whipped cream...we're talking over-the-top delicious.

Close you're eyes to that cup of butter, and enjoy!

Kay's Shortbread

  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour 

  2. 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 

  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt 

  4. 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 

  5. 1 cup butter, softened 

  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

  7. 2 tablespoons white sugar (I used 4 T and sprinkle extra on top) 
  8. add 1/4 c milk if too dry

Check All Add to Shopping List

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and confectioners' sugar. Stir in the butter and vanilla, and mix until a stiff dough forms. Pat dough into 9-inch round cake pan, and prick well with a fork. Sprinkle remaining sugar over dough.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Cut into wedges while warm. Cool on wire rack; separate cookies.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

the tattoo parlor

They had a fair at Jude's school today.  Silas and I volunteered to run the tattoo booth.

It was a bit wild.

I confess that my little introvert was more than a little overcome by the flurry.  He stood with his fingers in his ears for most of it, because the "balloons kept dying." I sometimes wonder if that's how he spends the majority of his 2 hours in school.

Nonetheless, it was a fun day and the tattoos were definitely a hit.

  That's the tale of our asian tattoo parlor! Happy Thursday to you. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

humbling hospitality

We just got home from lunch with friends.

Friends whose home is smaller my bedroom was growing up.  Hardworking, honest, loving friends.  A husband who drives a taxi for about 12 hours a day so that his kids can go to school and his wife can cook him curry and rice.  Friends who love Jesus so much that they spend their off time, when that 12 hour shift is over, investing in others for His glory. Friends whose lives show marks of grace and poverty, joy and sorrow...all mingled in together.

They served us chicken curry, an expensive treat for them. There was no decorated table or fine china. They talked in broken English and we stumbled through in native dialect. We ate with our hands and sat on the floor.  And I loved it.

Sometimes I just need to say out loud how grateful I am to be here.  Here among these kind of friends.  Who show us hospitality in such unaffected, generous ways.  In ways that remind me the heart of hospitality.  It humbles me and helps me.

I had lunch with friends today.  And it was good.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

you just never know...

...what might pull up beside you in traffic.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Miscellany

Friday night we stayed up way too late watching the latest version of Les Miserables.  I didn't think I would really be sucked in by Anne Hathaway instead of a Broadway star...but I confess that I was. It was definitely worth the late night.  An hour after we went to sleep (at 1am) Jude woke up with a fever.  The rest of the night was downhill. For the most part, he spent the weekend like this: 

It wasn't all a wash though.  We did manage to make it to the zoo before the worst set in, much to the delight of the boys.  We are lovin' the cooler weather! We're determined to break away from the indoor mall Saturday routine we developed when the temps were 110 and above. This weekend, we're heading to the countryside for a little village time. 

As for sweet Silas, he's on a major reading kick.  I can't get enough of him crawling up in my lap with a book in hand! He's starting to break out some serious words these days too.  His latest and most frequent is "Go.Go." Usually while standing by the door trying to make a break for it!  He's a mover.

That's all the miscellany I have for you this Monday!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Date Night

A few months ago I listened to a talk on building your marriage.  It was great, helpful, encouraging.... and very American.  One of the aspects was the near-insistance that regular weekly date nights are an essential part of a healthy marriage. 

Hmm.  I thought.  Is that true? 

Well, friends.  I've looked.  And date nights aren't in the Bible anywhere.   So I'm going to say no on that one. In fact, I'd venture to say that's a pretty modern-western directive.  BUT, I agree that regular, focused and intentional time with your spouse is one of the best ways to keep growing into a life that reflects that 'the two became one.' I mean, let's face it...dinner out with the kids just doesn't have the same ambiance, eh? 

That kind of focused and intentional time together was much easier to come by pre-children.  I could give you the looong list of excuses why taking a date night out of the house every week just wouldn't work for us. I'm sure most of you have your list as well. 

Asia is teaching me to think creatively though.  

I wanted to share with you something that we've been doing for the past few months that has been a really fun, marriage-building activity in our world.  We set a goal to go out once a month, just the two of us.  That feels like a reasonable goal within our situation. A very kind American couple in our complex regularly help us with our boys. A gift from God.  But let's not wear that kindness out, right?

On the other weeks, we try to set aside one night from the week when we will have an at-home date after the boys are in bed.  It might mean I need to take a little nap in the afternoon, or fix an easier-than-usual dinner so clean up is quicker.  We try to actually get those banshees in bed on time. (Which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't.) 

One of us is usually in charge of "planning" the date.  My favorite by hubs was the night when we did pedicures and watched part of High School Musical.  Points for thinking about what I like! There's been a caramel fondue, Dick Van Dyke night, speed tournament, chess, etc, etc.  The goal is to spend time together enjoying one another's company.  No emails or phone calls.  No frantic sewing projects or  chores.  Most of the time, it's only an hour or so.  But always so worth the effort.  

This post is for you gals who might sigh when you read that little tip in a marriage book too.  Think outside the box.  Don't look at what you don't have...the money, the babysitter, the extended time.  Think about what you do have...and use it to deepen that precious marriage that God gave to you.

Happy Date Night!