Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blood? Bile?

We are having a wild time in Hanoi. The city is full of intrigue, beauty, history and motorbikes! (In fact Jason is out riding in the maddness right now). When I get back I'll let my pictures tell most of the story, but we had a funny moment today I just have to share.
This morning we visited a pottery village, furniture making village and snake village. Yes, snake, where they raise the slithering delicacies for restaurants. While sitting on bamboo mats by the river awaiting our meal, a man brought out our live 7 foot long snake (lunch). He proceeded to strangle it and then slice it open in front of us! It didn't exactly work up an appetite, but made a good video. Next they squeezed the blood into one cup and the bile in another. Our sweet little Vietnamese waitress offered us these as if she were asking if we wanted tea or coffee, "blood? bile?" she said several times in an inticing voice. In the end the "men" (Dad, Ryan, Jason and our driver) drank a shot of snake blood in whisky. I had a few bites of the 9 different snake dishes that they served up. .. hey it's better than dog!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hanoi Holiday

Well life has been too busy to blog. I've loved hosting my mom and sister the last five days. It has been great to revel in the beautiful season with them and be reminded of what amazing people they are. Last night my dad, bro, and his wife joined the fun. We took them around HK today. We all enjoyed the urban trekking, in spite of the fact the weather was dreary and drizzly. Tomorrow night we fly to Hanoi, Vietnam where an adventure is sure to await us! More to come . . . .

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thank you Lord. . .

5 loads of vomit stenched laundry. . .4 diarrhea diaper changes in one hour. . . . 1 very wiped out boy . . . and praising Jesus each step of the way that we are not on a flight back to America right now.
It would be have been hard enough making the 15 hours of flying with a 19 month old and 6 month prego belly sharing a seat. . . not to mention this. God knows what we can handle.
We certainly wouldn't have walked off the plane smelling of Christmas cheer.

Thank you Mom, Dad, Angela, Ryan and Terilee for flying out to see us so we can sit in out cozy flat recuperating and waiting. We promise to get healthy before you land!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Pics

We have been enjoying many holiday festivities in the past weeks with different groups of friends. The cozy gatherings, yummy food, and laughter really make us thankful for the communities in our lives. Here are some pics of Josiah by our friend's Christmas tree. These footsie pajamas were made for him last year and say "Baby's First Christmas". I never though they would still fit him on his second Christmas! The advantages of being a little shrimp (:
Only 3 days til my Mom and sister arrive. . . we are beyond excited!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our church is in the middle of a building campaign and using different creative avenues to raise money. Last month they had a silent auction and were encouraging members of the church to donate their talents and services to the cause. Coming home on the train Jason informed me that he signed me up. "English lessons?" I asked? "Babysitting?" "Western cooking lessons?!?" (after all, what skills does an elementary teacher turned housewife really have?!) "Organizational Consultant" he said, punctuating every syllable.
I didn't know whether to laugh or be mad. Jason went on to reassure me of the many ways I have helped to reform his life through my little organizational lessons and systems. I have indeed helped Jason many times straighten his office, joking that it was a good thing he married me because "he couldn't afford my services." This however seemed a far cry from advertising myself as a "consultant". In the end I decided to go for it because I love my church. I also returned the favor and signed up Jason as a personalized "running coach"! (I'll let him blog on that).
So that brings me to this week. Saturday I am going to meet my "bidder" and go to work on her small flat. She's told me several times it is a disaster, which should make me feel useful at least (how can you offer advise to someone who is already together?)
If anyone has any advise or tips for organizing please post a comment below. I have three days to figure out what I am doing. My friends in HK are probably laughing as they read this because I have had a severe case of "pregnancy brain" and can hardly keep my own life organized lately. To God be the glory!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Letting Go and Simplifying

I mentioned in a previous blog that I tend to over- complicated my life at times. Christmas is a perfect example of this; I want to make meaningful gifts by hand, bake every cookie under the sun and maintain a long list of family traditions.

This year I'd decided to create hand- made Christmas cards. I gathered most of the materials from various craft shops and had an idea in my mind of what I was doing. However, I hadn't had the time or inspiration to get started. The last few days I've felt myself grow increasingly anxious over the cards as the time pressure of international shipping mounted. Then, I couldn't find half of the supplies I'd bought and was unhappy with the way the photo printed. Every step seemed so needlessly difficult that I sensed the Lord was not blessing this process. Next came the epiphany, I thought "what's the worst thing that could happen? I don't send them!" The more I pondered this possibility, the more I felt I was not supposed to send these cards. I felt a calm flood my spirit as I released the entire thing. Freedom. I realized I wasn't focused on sending the cards in a spirit of love, but pride (look at my cute family and card). I've decided to simplify the process by sending a few hand written notes to people I love who don't hear from me otherwise (if you are reading this blog that's not you, sorry).

The whole decision was liberating to me because I was able to refocus my priorities. Now, instead of spending the weekend trying to pump out a bunch of cards while keeping my toddler from ripping them to shreds, I enjoyed the beautiful day outside in the park with Jason and Josiah. Christmas (life actually) is about being, not doing. So, I give you all permission to let some Christmas duty go and be in the moment!

Because this post needs some pictures, here is a glimpse of our little place this time of year. Wish you could stop in for a cup of apple cider!

Tiny winter clothes make me happy

Do you like the neighbor's laundry out the window?

I love this advent calendar because it is focused on Jesus

This is the latest addition to my collection of nativity scenes from around the world. It is made from recycled newspaper and from Vietnam, which is perfect because we are traveling there this Christmas! Can you see Mary is wearing a Vietnames syle hat? Love it!

This is our Christmas tree all the way from Sweden! Real Christmas trees are very rare here, but Jason surprised me this year with this beautiful tree (delivered by IKEA). I've never had a short needled tree and love how the ornaments hang on it. Josiah loves the "balls!"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Last week at our church we heard a message on “Going Deeper in Giving”. It left me with a lot to think about in terms of how I am using my resources (time and money). In particular, I felt urged to reflect upon where my time is going. For most of my life, this has been an easier question to answer: 10- 12 hours a day at school/work. Now, some days I really am left wondering, what am I doing all day? I feel busy (I love to be busy) but do not want to be satisfied at that.

I decided to document the hours in a week to see how my time breaks down. This is based on a 5 days a week, 12 hours a day (roughly the hours Jason is gone each day)= 60 hours. I’m not sure how accurate this really is because every day/ week is so different. I didn’t make Josiah a category because I can’t slot him in; he is a part of every category.

*Housework (cooking, cleaning, laundry) - 12 hours
*Socializing (hanging out with other moms and kids) - 10 hours
*Projects (blogging, correspondence, making crafts, planning events, internet research etc) - 8 hours
*Running Errands (grocery shopping, bank, printing photos, doctor’s visit) - 7 hours
*Ministry (planning/ leading PLUS group, meeting with leader and members volunteering at African Fellowship) - 7 hours
*Transportation (buses, trains, ferries, walking) - 6 hours
*Down time (exercising, napping, quiet time with the Lord) - 6 hours
*Tutoring- 4 hours

I don’t have any real conclusions at this point, although I am surprised I spend so much time socializing and running errands. Also, I thought I had more down time but I seem to avoid voids in my day.

I was reading this morning from 1 Corinthians this verse “There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple”
I certainly have a knack for inviting complication. When I fill my life with lots of details and projects I remove my availability to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit. When I am rushing to yet another play date or trip to the market, I am no longer free to stop and talk with a neighbor or carry the groceries of a stooped over old woman.

I have been trying to pray each morning “Lord, what do you want me to give today?” Ultimately it is about surrendering all of my time to Him.

What do you think? Where does your time go?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Presenting. . .

. . .the belly

*Angela I took these just for you (:


Last night Emily and I hosted the ICS Thanksgiving potluck. I am still stuffed this morning. In the past we've only invited the American teachers, but this year decided to invite all the teachers (so long as they didn't bring Chinese food!!) In addition to the many Americans we had Brits, Kiwis, South Africans, and Canadians. I have no idea how many people were there, but we bought 80 dinner plates and ran out- it was such a big, lively family!
Last year the (CANADIAN) elementary principal played a prank on our Thanksgiving. So of course, when he came this year we had to give him a hard time. He was a good sport and led us in the Star Spangled Banner and Yankee Doodle (: Aftter the meal Jason organized a putting tournament with some of the guys. It was a great night of laughter, games, pecan, apple, pumpkin pie. . . a heart- warming reminder of how thankful we are for our friends and family near and far.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grandpa Comes to Visit

Jason's dad has spent three weeks helping out some missionaries in Thailand and came to visit us at the end of his trip. Josiah had an instant connection with Grandpa and has been his little shadow. They've built airplanes together, gone "golfing" (on our little putting green), and played on the playground. Harry brought all of his plumbing tools to Thailand, so I put him to work on my sink(it works now!)

On Saturday we look a ferry out to Lamma Island. This place is so relaxed and a haven for hippies. In four years we'd never made it out to this island, so it was fun to explore some place new. It was so great just strolling around, eating a huge Chinese lunch, and then hiking across the island to where the other ferry took us home.
The fishing village at Lamma Island


I love this photo!!

What a ham!

The three generations

Thanks for visiting Grandpa! I love you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Boys to Men

I love my husband. I love him because he is so into the big picture and concerned with the heart. He also attempts things that are chaotic, messy and a ton of work because he believes they are worth wild. I love that he is a dreamer and has big expectations that people can be transformed through the power of love.
This week is the annual "Week Without Walls" trips for ICS. The last few years Jason has led a trip to the Philippines. This year he designed a local trip on an issue that is close to his heart, manhood. "Boys to Men" consists of 18 middle school boys and 3 awesome men. Over the week the guys are participating in lots of fun "guy" stuff including kayaking, go cart racing, air- soft duels, competitions, community service, hiking, and camping. At the heart of trip the boys are receiving affirmation from other men, their fathers, and ultimately Jesus. Each father wrote his son a letter that the boys will read on their camping trip, and the last night the fathers will join the sons for a closing banquet.
I've been joking with Jason that for him the trip is "Men to Boys". He gets a boyish gleam in his eye as he builds a potato launcher, jousts, torches and other "man stuff". It is fun to see him doing something that he is excited and passionate about. Tonight I am especially proud of them as they are camping on the coldest recorded night of the year (12 C, about 53 F- doesn't sound that cold, but with the dampness it feels freezing).
If you love Jason too, please pray for him this week and for the boys that they would grow into men after God's heart.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tickle Torture

Josiah and I love to wrestle. I steamroll him, toss him high in the air, and chase him around the house saying "I am going to get you" in a voice that immediately guarantees giggles and the pitter patter of feet away from my presence. Often it ends with a tickle attack, like the one shown here. I feel a bit guilty, since I am very ticklish and remember others pinning me down deaf to my pleas to stop. At least it helps squeeze that ever flowing fountain of energy of out him so he can sleep more soundly.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

What a shock we received when the doctor told us it was a girl! We both had so wrapped our minds around having another boy. I'm surprised he was able to proceed with the ultrasound because I kept giggling and looking at Jason in amazement saying "a daughter". As the doctor measured and checked on all the baby's organs my mind was flooded with thoughts of little dresses, tights, and pink hair bows. We are so thankful to God for a healthy, growing baby. Depite the fact people have been telling me I look small, the baby is just the right size for 20 weeks (about as long as a football). It has been 60 years since there was a girl born to the Paine side of the family so this is going to be fun!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pink or Blue?!

Last day to cast your vote! The girl- boy race has been neck and neck. For a long time it was tied 50%-50% (a very safe guess). Now "girl" has a slight lead. Jason and I both have a strong impression that this baby is a boy (which is also what the Chinese grandmas have been telling me), but it will be fun to find out for sure tomorrow. . . stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

1 1/2

I took Josiah to the clinic this afternoon for his 18 month check up. He weighs about 22 pounds now, keeping him in the 10- 25% where he has consistently been since his birth. They don't track height here, but Jason and I measured him at 31 inches. Not sure what percentile that it, but he seems short to me. The nurse was impressed with his development and he even stacked blocks and pretended to feed the baby doll like she asked. When it came time for his two immunizations Josiah didn't cry. He just let out a grunt as each needle went in his tiny arm, such a tough guy! He then told the nurse "tank you" before we walked out the door (:

At 18 months Josiah LOVES:
- Opening anything and exploring its contents
- “Styling” his hair with lotion, vaseline, shaving cream, pudding or whatever else he can get his hands on
- Airplanes. We live along the flight path and every 5 minutes he gets excited all over again, pointing and looking for the plane out the window
- Balls
- Watching sports. Whenever we pass the tennis courts he will stand at the fence watching the game until I pry him away. Already his attention span as a spectator is longer than mine.
- Popsicles and ranch dressing (not together- actually he probably would like that)
- A knock at the door
- Dogs
- Swings
- Being tickled and belly laughs
- Hugging other toddlers (especially girls!)
- Greeting people with “hi” “bye” and flirtaous smiles
- Praying with mommy and daddy. He loves holding hands, bowing his head and pronouncing “amen”.

Josiah Does NOT love:
- Teddy bears, blankets or anything cuddly
- Hoods of hats
- Footsie pajamas
- Being fed one more spoonful once he has decided he is “all done”
- Parting from the company of friends, the mailman, or anyone at all
- Time out (he’s not supposed to like this one)
- Having his teeth brushed. He has learned to scream with his mouth tightly sealed shut!
- The first 20 seconds of being left with a baby sitter
- His hands being dirty

Friday, October 30, 2009


Watch out for the grouchy tiger on the loose! My mom sent Josiah this adorable tiger costume for Halloween. I don't think I picked the right timing for our photo shoot, because this is what I got. We'll try again tomorrow night. Kids don't trick- or- treat in Hong Kong, but there are some events taking place around the city. The holiday has become much more popular just in the four years we've lived here. What will you do for Halloween?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Belly Button

Josiah and I love to sing silly songs. We also love belly buttons. So, here is a song I wrote to the tune of "Jack- O- Lantern".

Belly button, belly button
You are such a funny sight.
As you sit there on my tummy looking out at the night.

You were once an umbilical cord,
Growing in Mommy
You are now a belly button for the whole world to see!

*You have permission to copy this song, but I warn you- it is catchy*

And here is an unrelated picture of me and little man on the new ocean front walk way near our home.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Love it!

Well, I am feeling much better these days. In fact, I've had a second trimester power surge. I'm keeping my food down and sleeping more like a normal person and less like a hibernating animal. I've been catching up on deep cleaning around the house and doing some fun projects. The Mom's Group I'm a part of has been working on some different craft items to sell at a charity bazaar (don't you love that word?) to raise money for the Philippines disaster relief. These projects have given me a couple fun excuses to go the ribbon and bead markets in Sham Shui Po. I just love looking at all of the beautiful reams of ribbon and thousands of interesting beads. Josiah's interest in the market never matches mine, so I'm not able to roam as long as I'd like. The isles in the bead shop are so narrow (just barely wider that my stroller) that he entertains himself by playing a game called "kick the bead buckets over". Last trip he scored three buckets followed by an innocent sounding "uh- oh". I'll try to post pictures of some of the crafts we've made before the bazaar in two weeks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Jesus said whatever you do to the least of these my brothers you’ve done it to me. And this is what I’ve come to think. That if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my savior and Lord, the best way that I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers. But they’re just wrong. They’re not bad, they’re just wrong. Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken...." ~Rich Mullins

Friday, October 9, 2009


Usually when I go to our neighborhood grocery store Josiah stays in the stroller because it is easier. But somedays when he is being especaily adorable or I am in an especailly good mood I let him ride in the cart. The problem with the cart is it is a small Hong Kong style shopping cart and Josiah can twist aound and reach just about all the contents behind him. Yesterday when I was deeply emerssed in choosing the healthiest crackers I heard an "uh- oh" from the cart. Turning, I saw Josiah holding an empty egg carton. Ahh! I gingerly began returning eggs to the carton and was amazed to find not one broken, or even cracked! None fell to the floor or smashed on my food. Thank you Lord for little miracles that make a big difference in my day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just to Clarify

I know there was some concern (maybe disgust) over the picture of Jason's arm. The picture is not really of the wound, but oatmeal suran- wrapped over the poison oak. Still painful, but maybe not as gross as you thought.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Was it worth it?

The camping trip was great, as well as this swimming hole. However I picked up a little souvenir from my boyhood days of romping around the fields. You guessed it! Poison oak! There just happens to be an evil cousin out here in Hk that nobody seems to know about nor get except me! As the boils form, puss hardens and itching begins to subside I still give it a 50/50 shot at doing it all over.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Camping. . .the good, the bad, and the sandy

When we were first married Jason and I loved hard- core backpacking. We vowed when had kids we would "throw them on our back" and not let them slow us down. Ha, ha. This weekend we took a two day, one night backpacking trip to a beautiful beach in Hong Kong. It was fantastic and exhausting at the same time. Josiah loved every minute of it; having a huge sandbox, lots of rocks, space, and water to play in. Coming out of my first trimester coma I was out of shape for carrying 35 lbs up and over mountains in the blazing heat. But the Lord provided the strength for us all enjoy ourselves. The normal 5 minute routine of putting Josiah to bed took 5 hours that moon lit night. I don't think I slept more than an hour all night. But, to see his face in the morning when he realized he'd woken up on a beach was (almost) worth it. We learned that if you can't beat the sand, join it. Josiah ate it, slept in it, and had it burrowed in every crevice of his body. Now that we are home I am still sweeping it up. Enjoy the pics (it may be a long time before we attempt something like this again!)

Isn't it beautiful here?!?

Two of our friends we camped with, Maria and Beth. The beach behind them is where we spent the night.

Rise and shine Noah!

Josiah played with this little camping stool for hours

Jason made these cool tiki- torches to light up the beach (can you tell he is excited?!)

Belly on the beach

Everyone was too tired to hike out, so we took a water taxi back to Sai Kung. It was a scenic ride, but I was too nervous clutching my child to enjoy it as our tiny boat went break- neck speed over the huge swells catching air. Yikes!