Sunday, October 26, 2014

Moving day/ Our new home

Sometimes life is ironic. I'm so grateful to know that we serve the Lord who makes His will obvious, even through irony! 
Our first two years in Cambodia were coming to a close. Our two year contract with our landlord about to expire. The natural question we had for each other: Should we extend the contract? When we left for our trip to North America, we told him we would confirm when we got back from our trip. He was hoping we would extend the contract. When we came back and told him that we planned to stay, he surprised us by telling us he had changed his mind and wanted to sell. He was not open to negotiations: his mother had told him he needed to get married, and he needed the extra money. 

So, we started to house hunt. 
We found a house identical to ours, on the same street, with very reasonable and friendly landlords, and even $20 less per month rent! So we were packed up and moved out by the last day of our contract. 

The same day that we had completed moving, our previous landlord told us that he had changed his mind! He no longer wanted to sell and he wanted us to move back into the old house! haha, that's what I mean by ironic. God deliberately moved us out of our old house to place us into another environment. The same street, yes, but one block up. Different neighbors, which honestly, was a blessing. Although it was a lot of work which turned out to be unnecessary, we are SO grateful for our new home! We are really REALLY loving where we are! 

Thanks to those of you who prayed with and for us through this process! We are exactly where we are supposed to be and are loving it!!

Here is Wes & Bria, playing in our new house, while we had a friend help us by reviewing the contract (written in Khmer) before we signed it. An empty house is always SO much fun to play in!

We basically had to empty one house and move it up the street (100 steps!) to set it up again in exactly the same way. Sounds simple, but really it was still a LOT of work. 

Here is Joe emptying bookshelves, and me emptying out my kitchen. Such a mess.

We hired a truck and movers to help us to move the big stuff. 
This is the truck backed inside our new house.

On the official moving day, Wes & Bria played at our friend Khmerin's house. When they left their room, it was all set up in the old house. When they came into the new house, their room was all set up again in exactly the same way! Except for Wes being frustrated with pictures not on the walls or curtains hung up, they didn't even realize they were in a different house! 

Moving day for our kids = non-stress. PTL!

One of my very very favorite things about our new house is the tin awning that covers our little driveway. It is perfect for sitting outside, eating popsicles, and watching the pouring rain! As soon as the rain starts to fall, the kids and I run outside with books and/or popsicles and just enjoy.

It's not just moving stuff. It's uninstalling and re-installing everything. 
Wes got out his toy tools to help the guys install our internet! :)

And here it is, a few weeks later!
We love all our plants on the main level, under our awning, and even our beautiful bamboo providing a romantic covering over our entry. 
By Cambodia standards, we definitely live in luxury. 

We are so grateful for our home and look forward to seeing what God plans to do within these walls in the coming years! 

Pressing forward!

Joe, Nica, Wes, & Bria

Playdates & Growing Babies

I have been blessed with a wonderful group of moms & children in my area that get together weekly just to play and visit. I usually don't take photos, but simply enjoy my time visiting. However, I do periodically snap a few shots for special moments. :)

We were invited to an animal-themed birthday party for one of our little friends who turned 3! The children were invited to dress up like animals. After changing his mind repeatedly, Wes settled on being an elephant. He was thrilled with my attempt!! haha

Bria was a cute little bunny

Most of the little kids didn't keep their costumes on for long, but she just strutted around with her little bunny ears on! She was just too cute!

The birthday boy was a little overwhelmed. :)

Katherine lives on the same street as we do! Not only was I thrilled to just have someone that I can talk to in English (although she's still working on teaching my kids Australian! haha), but we've become great friends, too! Khemrin and Bria are just a few weeks apart. Not the best photo, but the only one we have together! Will have to fix that.

Wes is becoming more and more independent. 
Here he is, sitting with the birthday boy, enjoying their animal cupcakes

And here is my sweet little bunny, throwing her goldfish crackers all over the yard!

She's cute, but she makes quite the mess wherever she goes!
We have to give her a bath, wash her hair, and wash the floor after almost every meal!

Mommy had to dress up, too. So, Mommy Pig it was! 
(Wes' choice, of course, based on his favorite cartoon, Peppa Pig. haha)

Here we are at our friend Mattai's house.
Mommies usually take turns hosting at each other's homes. 
When we feel like mixing it up a little, we hit an indoor playground!

There were 3 in the hammock and the little one said, "Roll over! Roll over! So they all rolled over and 1 fell out..."

Here is one of the indoor playgrounds we have started going to frequently.
It's got great aircon! It's got LOTS of space to run! It's usually quite empty! And it's FREE!
(of course you have to walk through their toy store to get to it, but if you can resist the urge to buy all of their wonderful toys, it's a free playtime experience!)

Bria is really loving play kitchens, lately! She's my little apprentice.

My monkey.

She adores her big brother and wants to do everything he does!

She'll ask for "help! help" if she can't do it on her own. Or, "up! up!" 
She's becoming quite an excellent communicator! 

Since there were so many kids there that day, they blew up their BIG bouncy-castle slide!
Wes was thrilled!!!

Of course, mommy had to do it, too! Bria had to stay at the bottom, though.
She had fun with Auntie Katherine while mommy pretended she was a little kid again! haha

Not all play times are with our play date friends, though.
We love going to the park with Daddy!

Wes is playing with his cool yellow football from his Uncle Andy, Uncle Chris, & Uncle Danny! Thanks, guys! He loves it!!

Bria, although running all over the place, is still very uncertain about uneven ground, even if it's just a little step! But gone are the days when I could keep track of her. I see her at my side one minute, glance away, and the next second I wonder where's she's disappeared to! She's keeping me on my toes!! Love my growing baby!

Sometimes we even have fun when Daddy isn't around.
Since he works most evenings, the kids and I like to go outside for walks. Wes' favorite destination is a little icecream shop on our street. He justifies it by saying that "Bria wants chocolate icecream!" Oh, thanks for caring so much about your sister's needs, there, Wes!! lol

In closing, here are a few little clips of my growing babies!
(this one is a little long, but I kept it going so you can hear my housekeeper's accent! She's talking in the background to Bria, and telling me a story.)

And, here is a video of Wes playing with his word cards! He does so many of these, and he's getting faster and faster! He still loves letters & numbers, loves having books read to him, and is playing independently with toys like this. I love to watch him explore and learn!

Wes exercising with Mommy. My accountability partner!

Bria eating ice. Her favorite snack!

Sorry for the long-overdue blog post! I know you need to see pics of the kids. My heart aches when I think about how many stages of their lives you all have to miss. We love you so much and love showing Wes & Bria pictures of you, talking on Skype, and talking about each of you as much as possible. 
You are in our hearts! 

hugs from us to you

Joe, Nica, Wes, & Bria