After an amazing summer visiting with family for 2 1/2 months, and welcoming our beautiful daughter into our family, we are back in Phnom Penh!
People ask me if I'm looking forward to going back. I feel like the expected answer is no. How can I look forward to going back to the heat, the tuk tuks, the language barriers, the backward way that is Cambodia?
I agree. However.
I have been living out of suitcases since June 3rd.
I have a nursery that has been waiting for months to meet Briana.
I have been letting child training slide horribly all summer.
So, with the exception of saying goodbye to family, I have to say I was REALLY looking forward to being back!
Of course, between the agony of saying goodbye to family, and the glory of being home again...there was the flight. 18 hours of flight time with now 2 young children. A total of 28 hours of travel. Yikes! This was the moment we've been dreading since we got off the plane in NY in June!
God is so gracious in giving us patience for each moment. Joe and I really just focus on getting through 1 minute at a time and work together to keep the babies happy, the belongings together, and get where we need to be at the right time.
Here are a few pictures from our adventure heading back to Cambodia!
Wes looking at the big plane which we were about to board. He loves finding planes flying "high in the sky" and seeing them sit on the ground was no exception!
PS...note his backpack. He puts his "treasures" in there and doesn't like going anywhere without it! When we got back to PP we found that there were still stones in it from the park at Gramma Eby's house! Such a boy. :)
Briana waiting to board her first flight! New York to Seoul.
Wes was getting hungry, so we quick bought a sandwich and had a picnic on the floor of our gate right before boarding. Paying $10 for one tuna sandwich was a small price to pay for a happy boy! :D
Briana peeking out of her bassinet. We were thankful that we were able to reserve the bassinet on both flights!
This is how Wes spent many hours: watching moves. On the computer, on his TV, or on his new Leap Pad. We let all rules about TV watching go out the window. Whatever it takes to keep him happy for the trip!
This age, however, is the BEST age to travel with! Here she is, 5 weeks, and content only with food, dry clothes, and a comfortable place to sleep. (she did, however, have two big explosions at the very beginning of the trip, which made me question if I brought along enough extra outfits for her in our carry on! haha)
the view is always exquisite from above the clouds...
Upon our arrival home again, the FIRST thing we did was crash in our beds! I was so excited to FINALLY have the nursery complete with Briana in it! We had prepared the nursery for someone who we didn't really know. I couldn't stop looking at her laying in the crib and being overwhelmed with gratitude at this gift of motherhood.
Here is the new carpet that I bought while I was out shopping with mom! As soon as I saw it I knew it was going to look perfect in our nursery! And Joe was gracious enough to carry it with us from ON to PA and all the way to PP! haha, thanks, hun! I love it!!
With the arrival back to PP I immediately notified my work to let them know I was back and I started sifting my way through emails. It felt so good to be back! Many people were amazed at how "short" my maternity leave was. However, I'm blessed to have a job that allows me to have my baby beside me while I work, and a baby that LOVES her bouncy chair! Even if I'm in a meeting and she's hungry, she stays content as she bounces away in her chair. I just wiggle my toe to keep her bouncing and she's happy as long as she needs to be! God blessed us with a very contented baby girl! And yes, sometimes having this cute little face beside me, can be a distraction from my work. ;) ;)
Our neighbor kids are all so happy to have us back and meet Briana! I'll write more about that later in this post.
Wes adores his baby sister. We're often asked, 'How is Wes adjusting?' Our answer is: amazing! He's always happy to show his sister off to other people, and from the first time he saw her picture when she was born, even before he met her in person, he was amazed by her "tiny toes" and these days he is still amazed by that!
He always says, "Hold it! Hold it!" haha, we're working on his proper pronoun usage.
Whenever Briana is laying on her mat on the floor, Wes wants to lay down, too!
He even says, "Share Buddy! Share Buddy!" Sometimes his "sharing" ends up with his monkey tossed in her face, so we're still working at taming his enthusiasm.
A few pics for Auntie Darlene who made this adorable Christmas stocking for her!!
So, jetlag was a little harder than we'd anticipated. It took about 16 days of Wes waking up at 1 AM, ready to play, and then random times of just crashing in the afternoons before we were back on schedule again. We were beginning to wonder if he (and us, too!) would ever recover!
Thankfully that part has passed and we're on schedule again.
The one habit we haven't yet overcome since our trip is Wes insisting that he has to sleep in mommy & daddy's bed and not his own. We're still working on that one.
We're back in the land of year-round fresh fruits and veggies! Wes wouldn't pose here, but I thought it is so cute. He walks across the street to the local market (I'll have to post some pictures of that in another post!) with his wagon being pulled behind him. He then brings it home again with yummy veggies! He's loved this wagon ever since he got it a year ago as a present from Gramma!
Here is Briana and I, dressed in pink, remembering our dear friends on the day of their daughter's memorial service. We knew them from Shanghai and they returned with their daughter back to the US when they found a lump on the top of her leg. 15 months later, after agonizing tests, fasting, prayer, and deep sobs wept for this precious baby, our friends realized that God's plan for their 2 y/o's life was for Him to take her home to be with Him. This was (and still is!) a very difficult and sad process for us. Wes was friends with her in Shanghai and we have labored through this process with them. I wish we could have been there for the memorial service as a way to say goodbye to her and show our love and support to her parents. Instead, we just wore pink and prayed with and for them all day. To lose a child is an agony that any parent cannot know how to bear, and our hearts will remain in prayer to her parents as they continue to walk this difficult road.
Here is Wes playing in the nursery at church.
How do parents train their child to sit still??? We haven't figured this out yet. Wes is good at playing, but it's never quiet, and it's never still. Many times he is simply saying his letters and their sounds as he plays with his flash cards, or his colors as he lines up his crayons in a row, or his animals and their sounds as he puts stickers all over his body. However, if we're in the middle of communion, this type of "quiet" play just is not quiet enough! Joe and I are still taking turns taking him out of the service where he can play without disrupting anyone.
These little girls, Adelaide and Abigail ADORE Briana! So cute to answer questions like, "how do you know if she's hungry? what if she poos her diaper? why does she sleep so much? when will she walk?" I've always loved girls this age!! Looking forward to the years ahead with my own little jewel!
My ipod got hacked!!! I opened it up to see my pastor and my worship leader on my display!! lol They're great. Thanks for the photo, Darren & BJ!!
8 weeks old!! This was the day when I shed a tear as I put away her NB clothes. I realized she didn't fit in to them anymore when I seriously couldn't take her NB onesie off after church! Her arm just wouldn't fit through the hole! The next time she sees these clothes, she'll be putting them on her dolls. I wish I could keep her teeny just a little bit longer!
Of course, now she fits into all kinds of cuuute new clothes! Thanks to our amazing friends and family, she has SO many adorable outfits!!
Wes spends time just talking to his sister. It's so cute!
I tried to video him talking to her, and that's when he decided to take her for a walk. haha
I thought he was actually going to obey me when I told him to stop, but as soon as I said, "good boy!" of course he continued. Still working on that instant obedience! So many things left to train a 2 y/o to do!
8 weeks pictures cont...
We're so glad to be able to enjoy SE Asia food again! Our housekeeper, Kim, is grilling eggplant here. Yum!!
The rainy season is beginning, which simply means that we have days where it can pour rain for an hour, but it gets back to sunshine again soon after. Here is Joe sitting, watching the rain. It really is mesmerizing.
The funny thing about our summer is, with the exception of only 1 week, our entire summer was quite cool! So I welcomed the heat coming back to Cambodia!
I had to wonder, though, is it really hot in Cambodia? Or was it just because I was pregnant?
Nope, it's really hot.
The principal of Phnom Penh Bible School, Samnung, came to visit Briana!
She gave him some beautiful smiles! His heart was won. :)
Perhaps this is an odd photo to post, but this is a special photo for me.
This is me laying in my bed with my son on my right and my daughter on my left.
"Glory" playing on my ipod from the album, "All Sons & Daughters Live"
A precious moment to me as I count God's many blessings.
I'm loving my new ipod! I had been feeling very "behind" in the world of technology. What is the point of an ipod? ipad? why use an iphone when a regular cell is so much cheaper? What's the big deal about Twitter? How to hashtags work? Why do people use hashtags on Facebook? What is Instagram? etc etc etc.
I mentioned to Joe that if I didn't get in the game now, I was going to be behind for the rest of my life!
He bought me an ipod for my birthday!!!! And it's cool. I get the attraction now. :D
One AWESOME thing is that I have instant access to my sister anytime, from anywhere!! I just message her photos or notes and she gets them instantly! I've been taking advantage of that a lot!
She set it up so that I can message her that way.
If anyone else wants to receive my instant messages (so you don't have to wait for my sporadic blog posts!) let me know! Then you, too, can know that Briana is sleeping right now and what she's wearing, and that Wes and I are eating apple slices and watching Hoo Hoo Ha. :D
She is all full of smiles these days!
And is starting to coo!
melt my heart...
Wes still loves fish! (we really need to get him some new ones for his fish tank)
A new family Sunday morning tradition? Perhaps!
Our church doesn't start till 4 PM, so that gives us time to go swimming in the morning, come back and have lunch & naps, and then get ready for church. A perfectly relaxing Sunday!
I have a weakness for baby shoes. They're just SO CUTE!!!
I had bought these this summer, and even though they're labeled NB, they looked WAY too huge on her when I put them on. Now, however, her body has grown into the shoe and it looks so cute!
Here is is all dressed up for church. Thank you, Children's Place & Kohl's who were having such AMAZING summer sales!
Trying to capture the shoes in a selfie. Didn't work.
and here we are!
Wes was given a puzzle animal train along as a gift since he's a big brother now! He loves it!
Since our return, we have had SO MANY children come to play in our home! Seriously, every evening we have 2-8+ kids playing! It's amazing! We love having a ministry to our community kids! Some can speak a little English, most can speak none at all, and one boy is quite fluent.
These two boys, when they heard me singing worship songs and playing guitar, and Wes playing the drum and singing along, ran into our house and wanted to play, too! They didn't realize the words we sang were praising Jesus, but I believe we made a very joyful noise unto the Lord! We're praying for wisdom to know how to reach out to these kids in this unique aspect of our ministry here.
And here is a glimpse of some of the action that is our home on any given night! Riding bikes, building towers, reading books, playing ball...all at the same time. It's chaotic, and my house if often left in a mess, but it's a joy for us to use our home to get to know the kids!
Last year at this time, as we were moving into our house, everyone was afraid of us!
This is progress! :D
So, this is our life at the moment summarized by photos! This post is specifically for my dear Grandpa Eby, who has been waiting patiently for an update on this blog for almost a year now! Sorry, Grandpa! I'll try to do better for your sake! Love you!!
I'll make another post with an update about more specifically now to pray for us and for this country God has called us to serve.
lovies from the Martins!