Monday, December 22, 2008

shortest day of the year= longest night of the year!

We made it to California happy, healthy and in one piece. Josiah did great on the flight and slept most of the way. The lady sitting next to us didn't even know we had a baby until two hours in the air! It has been a different story since landing. The last two nights we've been up with Josiah from 1:00- 5:00 am. Here's a pic of him with Dad looking perky as a petunia in the middle of the night. I am typing this at 3:35 am, so you can guess how tonight is going (:

Aside from mid- night dance parties and mid night snacks, here is what else we've be up to with the Paine folk in Oceanside.
wrapping all of our online purchases (thanks amazon)

admiring Grandpa's award winning nativity
filling up on cuddles with aunts, uncles, Gma and Gpa
Eating, eating, and eating
And of course, soaking in that California sunshine!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

can you guess what this is?

Crawling 101

Santa's Lap

This is our last "Christmas" weekend in Hong Kong, and we have been enjoying lots of fun holiday events as a family and with friends. After an afternoon of delivering cookies to neighbors, I put Josiah down for a much needed nap. I then checked on Santa's hours at the mall and realized he was only going to be there for another hour! So Jason and I scooped Josiah (who had not yet fallen asleep) out of his crib and jetted to Festival Walk. This mall is beautiful and classy at Christmas. Just as we strolled up to Santa's North pole Josiah konked out. We didn't have the heart to wake him, so these are the precious pictures we got. The "elves" enjoyed it so much, they asked if they could print another copy to use for their promotional display.

Friday, December 12, 2008

ups and downs

Now that Josiah is a hefty 16lber (okay, so he is actually a light weight for his age, but still not small load) we are growing weary of carrying him for hours in the bjorn. In fact carrying Josiah in the bjorn was the straw that finally broke Jason's back (another story for another blog~ ask him about his experience with Chinese Medicine). All that to say, Josiah is mostly stroller bound these days. Since the stroller isn't supposed to go on escalators, I've found I'm using a lot of elevators these days. For example just to get from our house to school (just a 25 minute trip) we have to take 7 elevators- that is 14 round trip.
Here's the break down-
2 elevators to get out of our estate
2 up and over the street
2 up and down the train platform
1 into the school.
When we go to church it is 10 elevators, 20 round trip (that's if we don't got to lunch or shopping afterwards). All of this traveling leaves Josiah (and mom) tuckered out!

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Working" From Home . . . .

. . .it sounded like such a an easy idea when the school approached me about writing their summer school curriculum from my home office. Of course at that time Josiah was just a few months old and sleeping half of his life away. How things have changed! Some days I love the creativity and vision of the project I am working on (designing 300 lessons with biblical worldview integration) but other days go more like this:
9:30- Josiah goes down for his nap
9:35- I grab my coffee, turn on the computer
9:40- Ah, I've got to throw the laundry in
9:45- Write the lesson objective
9:50- A friend pops in and we have a chat
10:10- Back at the computer begin research
10:15- Josiah wakes up- already? I manage to nurse him back to sleep
10:30- Research is not going well, so I check my friend's blogs
10:35- I begin to outline the lesson
10:40- Ah, I've got to defrost the chicken for dinner and email our guests
10:45- Josiah is up again, this time for good!
I'd rather play with him anyways! And because every blog needs a photo- here you go!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with a gathering of 40 American friends. The food was amazing and we ate way too much. I cooked my first turkey ( we affectionately named the 20 pounder 'Turk'). It was a great time and completed by a prank by our Canadian friends. We have so much to be thankful for . . .family we truly love. . . friends that flavor our lives. . . . health. . . .wealth. . . and God's grace. And if you are reading this we are thankful for YOU!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Best Buds!

Click to play My Boy
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Six months ago I was fairly nervous about becoming a father. I hadn't spent that much time around infants and didn't really know what to expect. Although the early days with Josiah were extremely enjoyable, they were not exceptionally fun. I think I have entered the stage in fatherhood where I can interact with my son. Now it is just plain fun. I can throw him in the air, tickle him, hold him upside down and watch him giggle. He's better than any form of entertainment I've ever experienced, and better yet, he's free! Pretty much I just love him to pieces.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How Much is That Baby in the Window?

Tonight we went to Starbucks down by the harbor. Jason was sitting on "display" in the front window with Josiah in his lap. Soon they were stopping traffic as passer byers smiled, taped on the window, took picture of him, with him, and carried on with other antics to make him smile. It was pretty funny, if only we'd gotten a free latte out of it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Luke 9:24

Hopefully the pictures from the streets of Manila were able to tell a lot of the story. There is certainly more to be told, but I have had a hard time sitting down to write this blog. Maybe because there seems to be so much to do after a week away(5 loads of laundry, emails galore, empty fridge, sick family) or maybe because now that I'm back in the comforts of Hong Kong there is a part of me that doesn't want to revisit the hardships that define the lives of the 5,000 squatters at our doorstep. This was my 3rd time to the Philippines and Jason's 5th. Having visited this ministry before we knew what to expect, but the suffering that accompanies poverty struck me in a new way this time. It has something to do with being a mother.
For one, I had to calculate the risk of taking Josiah at 6 months old into this setting. I knew all to well that the streets where the children played barefoot in the rivers of raw sewage were a breeding ground for cholera. We knew as well of the case of cases of dungae fever that had taken children's lives in past years. We weren't too concerned with the fact that all the orphans have TB because Josiah has been vaccinated for that (but that was a risk too). The children and adults in the neighborhood loved Josiah and kept saying "he looks like a doll!" They wanted to hold and touch his hands that go to his mouth with magnetic force. It was hard as a mother to engage the local culture, validate their value as people, and protect my son from their germs. In the end I let some women in the town hold him, smiled at everyone, and held Josiah out of little finger's reach. Josiah did catch a cold, but I knew at any moment I could be back in Hong Kong in 4 hours flat. Not so for the mother's around me.
There is one woman (beautiful woman) who I pass several times a day who lives in a house the size of a bathroom with her family of five. She paces the streets all day nursing her baby with an expression of resigned acceptance. The Bible calls us to enter into the sufferings of others. As I pass her I imagined nursing Josiah in the street because I have no rocker or crib to lay him. I try to fathom the panic of not having food or medicine to give to my sickly baby. Down the street a bit I pass another house with twin 8 months old. When I pick them up they feel like a piece of popcorn compared to Josiah. With swollen bellies and weak limbs, there mother often leaves them on the dirt floor of their house alone during the day. Sometimes the nurse from the children's home chases away the rats, scoops them up and feeds them for a while. The nurse reports that they are slowly dieing.
God calls us to be a voice for the poor, so here is my small voice telling the stories of real people that symbolize the struggles of lots of other people. It overwhelms me to think that 80% of the world lives in poverty. We want to raise our son to not think the world is about an affluent 20%, but to have a heart of compassion for social justice. For us that tipped the scales with the other risk factors in our decision to bring him. "Whoever wants to save his life will loose it. But whoever looses his life for my sake will save it."
*There is a LOT more about the trip. Maybe my amazing husband who led all the middle school kids will write his perspective later. Stay tunned.*

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Off to the Philippines

Our bags are backed (work gloves, children's toys, every medicine I could possibly have for Josiah) for our trip to the Philippines tomorrow. Jason is leading a group of 25 Middle School students on the annual trip to serve in the slums of Manila and Josiah and I are tagging along. Jason and I spent last Christmas at the orphanage and LOVED the kids there. They were very into my pregnant belly and so we promised to come back once the baby was born. I can't wait to hug, play, listen and share the love of Jesus with these precious kids. Please pray for health, safety, and patience, did I mention 25 middle school students?! (: We will post photos in a week when we are back. Here is the ministry's website if you want to check it out

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Click to play Sqeaky
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Election in HK

Just now I was walking down the street and passed a Pizza Hut delivery man. I greeted him in Cantonese and smiled. He smiled back playfully and replied "Obama."
You may think we would have dodged all the election hype being on the other side of the world, but I have been amazed at what a big deal it is to everyone, American or not. Yesterday morning 10:30 our time, I was reading an article online about the terrible violence in Congo and the plight of the quarter million refugees. My heart was heavy over the situation and I was crying out to the Lord for relief. At that time I got a call from Johnny, our friend from the Congo. He was ecstatic yelling in the phone "Thank you God . . . Obamba first black president . . . no more white house, black house!" He then passed the phone to another African friend who was celebrating with him, but I couldn't even make out what his friend was saying because he was over taken by tears (literally sobbing) at the excitement of Obama's presidency. I thought it was ironic that we were both so moved by the news of each other's countries. However you sway politically, history was certainly made and I can't help but feel caught up in the excitement.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Guam Cross Country 2008

Oct 22nd-28th I helped lead a group from our XC team to participate in the Asia Pacific Invitational. It consisted of a 5k race early friday morning and an 8k relay Sat morning. Most of the athletes ran their fastest times of the season. We got to enjoy the sand, surf, and overdosed on american fast food:(.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Half a Year

Josiah celebrated his six month birthday at the party of his girlfriend, Zara, twice his age. It was his first party and he even got his own party hat and goodie bag!

Every night as we put Josiah to bed Jason and I pray over him for protection, that he would know the love of Jesus, and for him to sleep (it works- last night he slept 11 hours straight!) Most importantly we end the day with a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift Josiah is to us.

Here are six things we love about our son:
1. the gusto with which he splashes in the tub
2. his resilience, he takes a tumble and keeps on going
3. his wide, two toothed smile- it is so contagious people across the train catch it
4. the bewildered face he makes the first bite he takes of every meal
5. his chubby, sturdy legs that love to stand
6. his interest in everything going on around him, he doesn't miss a beat

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Little Pumpkin

I was determined that Josiah needed to experience a pumpkin for his first Halloween. So you can imagine my excitement when I found a gorgeous one in the wet- market (a far cry from the quintessential pumpkin patch). In my novice Cantonese I thought the vendor said $25, but then realized the pumpkin was $250hkd. You pay for novelty. I couldn't justify that purchase. Today I went to the markets with my Philipina friend Flora. She couldn't understand why I would take a picture of my son with a vegetable, but showed me where you can get these cute Japanese pumpkins. Josiah was very curious and slightly suspicious. . . enjoy!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kaadori Farm

We can't go to traditional farms or pumpkins patches here this time of year, but last weekend we did take a family hike to a local organic farm and botanical gardens. It is so beautiful and has lots of hiking trails, waterfalls, and butterflies! Josiah loves hiking in his backpack and nodded off about half way through the hike.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My definition of a bad day

Most days of my life are great. I have a beautiful wife and son, a job I enjoy, and lots of love and support from family and friends all around. This past Tuesday was not a great day. Bummer #1. I had organized a XC meet for 8 teams from all over Hong Kong with over 150 runners. The races were going smoothly until the high school race was 3/5 the way done and 90% of the runners took the wrong turn finishing the race way before they should have. The race was pretty much a total failure and it was my fault since the course wasn't marked clearly enough. Bummer #2. After the race I was going around picking up cones when I almost stepped on a king cobra. It whirled around, hissed and flared its hood at me. Had I taken one step further I would have had a nice ride to the ER. Bummer #3. Then for some unknown reason, perhaps stress, that evening I contracted hives. It was probably equivalent to rolling in a bush of poison oak with just your skivies on. No sleep, no rest, no relief. The next day I went to the doc and got some powerful antihistamines that knocked me out cold and seemed to knock out the allergic reaction as well. After some reflection I realized it could have been worse. Both races could have gone off course. I could have been bit by the cobra, and I could have a life long condition of eczema or something similar. Despite the ups and downs in life there is always an opportunity to be thankful no matter the circumstances.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy 60th Dad!

Today is my Dad's 60th Birthday and I'm wishing I could be in CA to celebrate with him. I so admire my Dad and the faithful father, husband, pastor and community leader that he is. I love it when people tell me I'm like my Dad because I just love everything about him.
Jason and I commissioned local artist to create a Chinese paper cutting for my Dad. We came up with a design that reflects the legacy that his life is. Can you see the 4 kids, wedding bands, hands of service and world? The Chinese characters on the cross say Faith and Love. We were happy with how it turned out, especially when the artist told us this was the first cutting he's ever done not from a pattern. Happy Birthday Dad- we love you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008