Sunday, March 31, 2013

Life lately..

I feel as if I haven't blogged in a long time. 
But its only been 10 days! 
I dont know if it feels like longer becuase the days are dragging on, or just because I miss it?
Either way, Im back! 
A few days ago, we had a 2 hour chat with my brother, his wife and our beautiful nephew. Well, Declan didn't have a whole lot to say, but he was enthralled with the computer screen. I like to think he knows my face already. 
(Hey, an auntie can dream!) 

(Seriously, look at that face?! Is he not the cutest!?)

It was so nice to sit and chat, by far the longest we've chatted since leaving Canada. It felt like we were in Canada, just hanging out. Its incredibly surreal that we will be home in 6 weeks. I keep trying to tell myself that, but my head doesn't quite get it yet. A part of me is so thrilled to be back there. I think about all the people we will see, and the food we will eat (We have already requested many different dishes!). I cant think of the trip home yet, it makes my stomach hurt. 
For those of you who know me, you know how I get when Im excited. Im very similar to a chihuahua who gets too excited and pees themselves. Thankfully, I haven't literally peed myself in a long time, but I get all wiggly and nauseas and have to pee every 10 minutes. 

(Any of my bridesmaids remember RIGHT before I walked down the aisle? Mom holding the dress and me, peeing on that mini-peoples toilet in the children's church class? Yeah, too excited.)
Anyway, moving on. 

It has been a good, challenging week. We have moved out of the girls house, making way for the new long-term caretaker! We are so thrilled with her. She's a young, thai girl who grew up in an orphanage up north that we are connected with. She is amazing with the girls and we are so thankful that God provided someone to be here long term! 
So where does this leave us? Well, let me assure you, we are not bored! This leaves us with more time to:
 1. Breath. 
2. Talk to each other.
3. Get little things done that we have been meaning to do for months!
4. Teach Joe english (he's our oldest boy here)

It has been strange to take a step back from the morning and evening routine for the girls. I find myself stopping by a lot, or craning my neck to listen for if they are calling me! They are adjusting well and seem to be doing well. 

Little Miss Sassy pants!

Selfishly, it makes me happy when they run up to me with giant hugs and kisses and tell me they miss me. Which is so funny, because I live literally 10 feet from them! 

Oh the toughness and sweetness that this little one carries. I love her. 

Andrew installed a ceiling fan and some lights this week. This involved being up on a ladder, his top half stuck into the attic. While he was up there, our director strolled in and said, casually, "Wow, you're brave! Im too scared of the king cobras to go up there!"
Say WHAT?! 
Apparently the cobras like to make nests above our heads and eat the bugs and geckos that live up there. 
Again I say, ABOVE OUR HEADS!!
I have deliberately decided to forget that conversation ever happened. No, I haven't forgotten quite yet, but I relying on my amazing ability to forget everything. It should kick in any day now...

Its 37 degrees out, at 8pm and Im about to enjoy a cold shower. Well, its hot enough that right now, even a cold shower isn't cold enough. Sad times. 
Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

World Down Syndrome awareness...

March 21 is World Down Syndrome awareness day. 

 In honour of that I wanted to share an incredible family with you.

What a beautiful mamas heart. Check it out here.

"I have learned something very important about Elias. He doesn’t want our life to be any different because of him, he just wants to be a part of it. He wants to be loved. He wants to enjoy life and the people in it. Sure, Elias has Down Syndrome, but things really aren’t as different as I thought they would be."
Its amazing, you don't have to look very far for true beauty

And I couldnt resist this picture of Max. 
"Keep calm, its only an extra chromosome!"

I have two foster brothers that have down syndrome. 
Anyone who has been to my parents house has been hugged and possibly interrogated by them. If you come to visit in the evening, you will be made to sit down and watch "Gilligan's Island" and eat an ice cream cone.
I could not imagine my life or our family without them. 
They have taught me so much about enjoying the simple things, loving people without judgement, and learning to laugh at ourselves. I am grateful for their lives and for all that they have taught me.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

12 months; 12 memories

We have made thousands of memories over the past 12 months. Some have been happy, filled with anticipation and the realization of dreams coming true. Some have been hard, when sin rears its ugly head and you see the despair that life can bring. All, in their own way, have been beautiful. Allow me to share 12 random memories of the past 12 months. There are in no particular order. 

1. Eating amazing BBQ in NYC. 
I had the ribs and they were amazing! It felt so New York. Dim lights, people chatting and having a drink. City living, at its best. 

2. Swimming in a waterhole in the mountains around Jerusalem. 
We were joined by friends, new and old-ish. 
We taught them about yerba mate, they showed us the ways of arabic coffee to us. 

 (One of our roommates, Alon. He reminds me so much of my older brother!) 

Climbing down into the waterhole. It is literally a hole filled with water! 

Josh, preparing strong, sweet arabic coffee for us. He told us this is the IDF way. If its good enough for the IDF, its good enough for us!
(IDF is the Israeli Defence Force)  

3. Therapy by candle light in India. 
The power was out and it was pouring rain outside. We lit some small candles and continued teaching the littles. I remember being so thankful for those moments. Simple acts of love, helping children learn to walk. And yet, such powerful, God-filled times for us. 

Her precious smiles come out, rain or shine! 

4. Night fishing in Halong Bay, Vietnam. 
We had enjoyed a wonderful, seafood meal. We sat on the edge of the boat, music playing softly, new friends beside us and fished. It was quiet and peaceful. It didn't matter than we only caught one tiny squid! 

5. Eating Cambodian "tacos" in Ankor Wat. 
It had been a LONG day of biking. We had eaten a small breakfast, then biked for 30+ KMs. I was "chimpy" as my friend Sabrina would call it. 
Hungry, dehydrated, tired...grumpy! 
We stopped and got these "tacos" which are like pancakes filled with bean sprouts, chicken, shrimp and some other veggies. You get a basket of greens and peanut chill dipping sauce. It is, by far, my favourite cambodian meal! At 75 cents each, it was a perfect way to improve my mood! 

The views weren't too bad either! 

6. Awesome greek salad in Greece. 
What more can I say! Look at that salad, it was pure perfection! 

7. Ruins in the rain, Ayuthaya, Thailand. 
We had just gotten off the train when the rain started to pour. That didnt stop us! We headed to the ruins and hid from the rain in the security hut. The security guard fed us some vegetables, then snuck us in for free! 

8. Kuang Si waterfall, Laos.
We took a auto, which broke down half way there. The men pushed, but to no avail. We eventually got another one and made it there. It was worth it. The water was beautiful and the perfect temperature.
 Even though this was where Andrew lost his ring, its still one of our favourite places in Laos. 

The exact moment when Andrew lost his wedding ring! 

We hiked up to the top of the large waterfall. It was hot, humid and beautiful! 

9. Rooftop yerba mate in Petra, Jordan. 
After long days of hiking around Petra, we would go up onto the rooftop of our hostel and relax. We watched the sun go down, drank mate and chatted about life. It was chilly enough to put on a sweater (Andrew would disagree) and it felt wonderful after a hot day, hiking in the desert. 

10. Ritas ice in upstate New York. 
Our friends Jay and Hannah introduces us to this and I will live the rest of my life as a fan! Its essentially a slushy with ice cream in it. But so. much. better. I don't know what Rita does to it, but its fantastic! 

Hanging out with these cuties was also awesome. Such spunk and energy! 


11. Exploring the Old City in Jerusalem. 
The markets, vendors and noise. The smell of spices and falafel's. The shouts in hebrew and arabic. The narrow streets, shady and pleasant. Colourful fabrics hanging everywhere, vendors haggling, smoking and eating.
 I love the old city. 

Oh how I wish I could be back there right now! 

12. Drinking sugarcane juice in Vietnam. 
We met a tiny man, who was sitting on a stool, smoking. He sold sugarcane juice, so we say down and quickly fell in love with his smile. We "chatted" with hand gestures, and drank juice together. He told us about his son, who helps him run the booth. He asked why we don't have babies yet and Andrews permission to take a picture with me. He was precious. 

He was seriously tiny. He came up to just past my elbow when I was standing! 

His legs are the size of my wrists! Eep! 

So there are 12 of many, many memories that we have made in the past year. In some ways, we cant believe a year has passed! But then, we can't remember what it was like to not live like this, out of our suitcase, exploring the world. On one hand, we are excited to return to Canada for a time (Less than 2 months now!), on the other hand, I am dreading when this adventure comes to a close. 
The past 12 months have, all at once, flown by and crept so slowly. How is that? I really don't know, but I am so grateful for each day, each country and each person we have encountered! 

I might be bragging...

But I have the cutest nephew ever! 
Look at his beautiful smile! 

At 3 weeks old, he has changed so much already! 
Only 7 more weeks little man, then you will be in my arms! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013


There is something about the two of us, alone on a beach, eating "groundnuts" and enjoying a cold drink.
Its quiet, we can talk about anything and nothing. 
The breeze cools us down, as does the shade. 
We don't hash out our differences, we don't fight about opinions. 
We just enjoy each other and the moment. 
Its peaceful and we feel at rest in a chaotic life. 

A lifetime with his beautiful soul will never be enough. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Life lately.

This is our life lately. 

This weird bug, almost like a wasp. Its bottom is attached by a long yellow stick thing! Its so strange and large! (Thats Andrews hand behind it) There are plenty of these around, Im always aware of them getting inside!

I bought these sunflower seeds because they are chocolate, but upon closer inspection, they are bacon and chocolate! They weren't amazing, but they also weren't the worst! Thailand is a huge fan of strange flavours!  

Andrew took these cuties fishing. 
Yes, they ride in the back of the truck. This is normal in almost every non-westernized country! 

Little boys in adorable hats? I love it! 

Not a bad way to spend the afternoon!

I am in love with finding shells on the beach. 
I don't care much for the water, but I can spend hours, hunched over, crawling on my knees, collecting shells. It doesn't seem to matter that they end up collecting dust, or being thrown away! Its the hunt and discovery that I love! 

I spent the afternoon yesterday, painting faces. I think they turned out pretty cute! 
It doesn't hurt when the faces Im painting are already adorable! 

This girl.
Just look at this picture. 
Such attitude, such sass. 
She is my drama queen, comedian, sweetheart, "make-me-want-to-pull-out-my-hair" all in one!  

Little man LOVES spider-man, so he was thrilled when I did this. 

 We had a bee, some pirates, a flower girl, a butterfly, lion and spiderman. Id say thats a pretty good selection! 

We love these kids and are so privileged to be a part of their lives!