Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Settling In

Have we really been here almost a month?!  Wow! It's cliche but true: some days it feels like forever and others feels like we just arrived.  

Here are some of the bullet points from getting settled in:
  • We arrived really late and were missing a bag.  Took awhile to get that figured out, especially in another language. We are truly so fortunate that English is so universal. 
  • We met up with another new teacher in the airport who I had 'met' on Facebook prior to arriving.  That made it a little more fun waiting for the school van and getting together with the other couple who flew in that night. 
  • We got to the school (our new home) really late on Saturday night, and we spent a few hours getting acquainted with our new place.  
  • Jet lag was rough the first few days.
    • Our townhouse is on campus, fairly close to the gate. Above an office, beside the textbook storage room, you take a few steps up to our door. Up that first flight of stairs, you find our living room, bathroom and kitchen.  It was recently remodeled and looks great!  
    • Up another flight of stairs is the 2 bedrooms.  Tyndall's room has a twin bed and a wardrobe and dresser.  Our room has a king bed with 2 wardrobes, a dresser, and a desk.  
    • 3 rooms in our house have 'air-cons' which help cool the rooms down.  We are not supposed to leave them on when we are out of the room.  The 3rd floor rooms get especially hot, but we have learned to turn on the air-cons awhile before we go up for the evening. 
Went to Big C first thing when we woke on up Sunday for 'essentials'.
  • A couple weeks into being here, we learned that we are not supposed to be flushing our tp.  That has been an adjustment. 
  • The campus has changed so much and is much nicer!  
  • As we expected, we LOVE having playgrounds so close.  And having other families around who are in the same boat.  

  • We have spent a lot of time with 'familiar' faces from our first time here and also getting to know others.
  • The town is changing a lot.  Growing UP (there are skyscrapers we can see from our house!) and out. Several teachers live off campus now which is different than before.  Apparently the BTS (sky train) is being built really close to here now.  
  • Big C is still the go-to store, which is a short tuk-tuk ride away.  The most immediate area hasn't changed much at all... the main difference is in the people.  I noticed today most of the workers in the street shops were looking on their smart phones... such a paradox.  Live chickens and fresh eggs and no advanced sewer system... but smartphones.  
  • I think the biggest, noticeable change for me has been the community of the school.  I'm sure most of that is because we are mow and old, married couple with kids.  But the general campus makeup is now families.  There are almost more kids than adult who make up the 'farang' (foreign) community.  Very, very different from 2008-2009 where most teachers were fresh out of college. 
  • Jet lag had Tyndall up before 6am most mornings the first week. 
    Lots of snuggling in bed and watching shows on the iPad.
  • I LOVE watching Tyndall embracing life here.  He's fearless.  No surprise there.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

GoodByes and Closure

Our families are awesome.  Our friends are beyond great.  Our life in Charleston was good.  It made leaving very hard.  Especially because we were making new friends through the leaving, or reconnecting with old ones.  

Our special friend, Jaylen. He has been at out house almost everyday for the last year+.

When we just began discussing the idea of heading back to Thailand, one of my fears/hesitations was how FAST it was going to be.  We knew we would need to be in Thailand at the beginning of August, and it was the end of June when this came up.  I talked to one of my good friends, Kristen Fransman, who was also in the process of moving overseas for missions.  She said in some ways, she wished it would have been faster.  Preparing for over a year and a half was difficult in lots of ways.  That made me feel better.  And I knew it was probably easier on my heart to not drag things out.  Maybe harder on those we were leaving though.  

July was FULL of tasks and packing and details, but it was also full of visits and special memories.  I was intentional to soak things up.  Enjoyed watching Tyndall playing with his cousins, with our neighbor Jaylen, with my business helpers Adrienne and Bekah.  Enjoyed coffee and breakfast dates and family dinners and rides in the car.  Taking in the little, everyday things that usually just fly by.  It was special to be able to soak up those moments.  

Those things made it easier to let go of the cars, the house, the 'stuff'.  Majorly downsizing my Mary Kay business was one of the hardest for me.  At first, it almost kept me from coming.  I invested a lot of time, money, energy and prayers into my business for over 2 years.  It was hard to be asked to let go of that.  Eventually, I felt "released".  I'm so thankful I had a year-end celebration with my unit and got to see most of them.  I'm thankful that our meetings in Charleston had some special time for me to say goodbye.  Though I'm not fully done with Mary Kay, it will be very different.  

Rehoming Zoe was difficult.  Thankfully, Zeb made the arrangements and found a family for her who is perfect.  Mom and "Aunt" Brenda made the actual exchange which also made it easier.  The hardest part was Tyndall asking for her.  When we would come home from somewhere, he would say, "Zoe, we're home!" and wonder why she didn't come see us.  We told him Zoe had a new family, and he would be okay with that.  We told him we were moving to Thailand, and he always asked who else was coming.  Precious boy.

The GoodByes were very hard.  Very hard this time.   I know Tyndall is going to be so different the next time most of our family sees him.  I know our nieces are going to change so much.  We know things will change.  That's hard.  Pray for all these relationships and transitions.  We miss our family so much already, and it's really just the beginning!  

Here We Are Again! (Thailand)

It's our 12th day in Thailand, so I figure it's time to start catching up and processing/documenting things before I get too far behind!  

I LOVE having the blog book from this blog last time around, so I know this will eventually be a great resource of looking back and remembering the great things God does! An "Ebenezer stone" of sorts.  

I guess I should start with how we got here.  I remember being on the beach one day with Matt and Tyndall.  We did it a few times this summer, which was super nice.  We were talking about our long-term goals for our family and our dreams for the future.  Our current situation (at the time) was not sustainable.  Matt was working 3+ jobs, and we literally had opposite schedules.  Our family time was pretty limited, and we felt very stressed and worn thin.  It was not fun seeing my husband like that when he is generally such a laid-back, easygoing guy.  So, we had known that something needed to change and had been tossing around options for awhile.  

On our beach day, (June 23rd), we decided for sure to sell our house and simplify our life.  Get rid of STUFF.  Live more simply.   We met with our realtor the next morning and were thrilled with finding out the state of the market and our house's value.  We could pay off all of our 'bad debt' and start fresh.  But the "where do we live?" was harder to answer. We talked about what we wanted... to live with more purpose. To be able to do ministry as a family.  We looked into Cares again.  We looked into other schools overseas, and we even applied to a few.  And then we started talking about being back at GES.  For some reason, it seemed quite obvious.  Things would already be somewhat familiar.  We would know some people already.  It wouldn't be as HUGE of an adjustment as the first time since we would already somewhat know what to expect.  Within that next week, we applied, we interviewed, and we were offered positions.  (Matt's IDEAL position, by the way, which wasn't available when we first started interviewing only a few days earlier!) We had lots of conversations in the meantime and started throwing the idea around to family... Tyndall and I actually were able to be with my family in Saluda the weekend of July 4th which was wonderful family time!  While I was there, the house went under contract after only 4 days on the market. 

So we decided. Back to GES. It was confirmed in our hearts, in our spirits in so many ways.  Just a few days later,  the house contract fell through... time for the 'test'.  Did we really want to go? Was this the right timing?  Lots of prayer and conversations and Scripture, and we still knew we were to go.  So we continued selling all our things, closing down my Mary Kay business, preparing to go.  Visas, passports, original documents all mixed in with the details of selling a house and packing up our household.  Then the house was under contract again, after only 5 days this time.  I was VERY happy to be done with showings.  Keeping the house tidy and leaving for extended periods of time with Zoe and Tyndall was harder than I imagined it would be.  :)  But, we made it, and it was a pretty short amount of time.  Thank You, Lord!  

The whole process was only a few weeks... less than 5 weeks.  Kinda crazy.  Very faith-stretching.  Very humbling and even painful in some ways.  But, through it all, we pray we are being made more like Jesus.  Less earthly stuff.  More focus on eternal matters.  As hard as it is to leave family, especially this time with Tyndall, we knew we were supposed to be heading into this new, different season. So, here we are again!   


Friday, July 4, 2014

Stats Catch-up and Walking Videos!

Because one day, I know I'm going to want to have these. :)

One Year Stats:
Weight: 16 pounds, 6 ounces
Length: 28 inches
Head Circumference: 17 inches
Started WALKING right after his 14 month birthday!!
 2/28 5 steps in a row

 3/2 Took several steps and never looked back!
I will be forever grateful that we were ALL home together when this happened!
Here's a progression of videos. 

You'll notice we eventually took the footie pajamas off. 
Literally, since that morning, our lives have never been the same!
He has been busy, busy, on-the-go!

15 Month Stats:
Weight: 17 pounds, 14 ounces
Length: 29, 1/4 inches
Head Circumference: 17, 1/4 inches
18 Month Stats:
Weight: 18 pounds, 8 ounces
Length: 32 inches
Head Circumference: 18 inches (?)

Tyndall James is 18 months old!

So, the last time I 'blogged', he had just turned 9 months and looked like this: 
He was crawling and pulling up, and I thought life was more 'active' back then.  Ha!

Now, he looks like this: 
He's walking, running, climbing, getting into everything, and now I KNOW life is a lot more active. And wonderful.  And some days tiring, but I'm absolutely LOVING it! 

Let's see how I can sum up the past half of his 18 months in this world. :) 

In October, our 2nd cousin Noah moved in with us, and Tyndall had a blast having another person to entertain and to get attention from. 

Tyndall was Santa Claus for his first Halloween.  It was kind of by default because I waited until the last day to find a costume, and it was the only thing near his size at the consignment store, even though it was still waaaaaay too big.  But he was sure cute. And liked trick-or-treating for the few houses we did.

For Thanksgiving, we traveled to Atlanta to be with my dad's side of the family.  It was wonderful being with them. There were lots of adults, 4 kids under 4, and lots of fun.  We were missing lots of family, and unfortunately, Tyndall was pretty sick during the visit.  But, we had a great Thanksgiving and loved being able to be with extended family. It was absolutely adorable watching him fall asleep at the highchair during Thanksgiving dinner. 

Sometime in the Fall, Tyndall started going to a Mother's Morning Out program at a local church 2 mornings a week.  He LOVES it because he gets to be around other kids, and mommy loves it because I get some concentrated time to work or recharge, and he always takes an epic nap afterwards. :)  Bonus is these adorable little crafts they do and the pictures they send home. 

The rest of the holidays were really fun.  For years, we had dreamed of doing Christmas-y things with a child of our own, and this year was amazing.  Tyndall was at a fun age of being expressive and mobile but still very sweet and cuddly and containable. ;) 

We spent a few days with my family at mom's house in the mountains which was very fun, especially with Tyndall and baby Sadie there.  Then we spent the traditional Christmas morning and day with Matt's family.  That was extra fun this year with 3 kids under 3!  We especially liked having a longer Christmas break with Daddy and love that his teaching job gives him so much time to spend with us around Christmas. 

Especially since Tyndall's birthday is also during that time!!

On January 3rd, we celebrated Tyndall's first birthday with a 'small' family gathering at our house.  We made chili and had cornbread and cinnamon rolls with other chili fixings and had birthday cake.  It was very simple but VERY special.  Tyndall LOVED his smash cake and absolutely demolished it.  

We loved having the family over and celebrating our precious son.  We didn't plan it this way, but we actually had the celebration on the 1 year mark of finding out about him! 

The rest of the Winter was filled with lots of indoor fun. And everyday stuff.  We had a pretty good routine where we would get up and get ready, take Noah to school, come home and play until nap time.  During nap time, Mommy would get ready for the day, and lots of times Miss Erin would come over to help with office stuff.  Tyndall looooved Miss Erin and especially loved 'helping' us work. After work and nap time, we'd go get Noah and usually spend the afternoon out and about with him.  Then dinner, then bath (which he loooved), then bedtime. 

Tyndall continues to be a fun-loving, happy, funny little guy.  He's full of laughter and silliness and his own special sense of joy.  Even when he's fussy and cranky, it doesn't take much to get him distracted and laughing again.  This was especially a blessing since we were also living with a moody, emotional, teenage boy who Mommy and Daddy didn't know what to do wit most of the time.  Tyndall's relationship with Noah was a special blessing no one could have predicted would have been so special. :)  Noah moved back in with his Mom in May, and Tyndall definitely misses having him around.

Speaking of special relationships Tyndall has, this boy LOOOOOOVES his dog, Zoe.  One of the first questions he responded to was "Where's Zoe?" and he would point outside or point to where she was.  :) He often takes his snack/milk to her dog bed and curls up with her to relax.  He looooooves playing with her inside and outside and crawling on her and sharing food with her and 'reading' books to her.  Lately, he's been getting a little more rough, so we are giving her more breaks, but more often than not, the two can be found in close proximity.  It's one of my favorite things.

As soon as it started getting warmer, we started doing more and more outside, and I think we created a monster.  Tyndall James looooooooooves being outside.  He likes it even more if he's not wearing clothes.  Sometimes we feel very redneck.  We have had lots of wonderful days at the nearby parks, at the beach, at the pool.  Tyndall doesn't love water as much as he used to, but we are hoping that will change.  We're going to keep trying.  He does love walking around outside, going down slides, riding in his cars or on his trucks and chasing Zoe.  

(Last year's first beach trip compared to this year's first beach trip.)

Hanging in the bounce house with the Peterson cousins. :)

 In June, Matt, Tyndall and Uncle Steven flew to California for a family reunion for Matt's dad's side of the family.  So Tyndall had his first plane ride and first full week away from Mommy.  We survived, but it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I think Tyndall was in heaven, though, because he had LOTS of doting aunts, uncles, and cousins t walk around with outside, and he was without clothes for most of the pictures I've seen. :) 

We are enjoying our adventurous, tenacious, mini-but-mighty, loveable, fun-loving 18 month old.  He's starting to repeat a lot of words and respond to our questions.  He has the sweetest, softest but sometimes scratchy sounding voice, and I'm loving that he says new words almost everyday.  

The emotions are intense. The moods are quick to change, and this stage of parenting is one that I didn't know to expect.  But, it's an honor and a privilege to be raising this awesome boy, and we continue to be thankful that God chose us to be his parents.