Saturday, July 30, 2011

A wonderful, marvelous distraction!!

John took a mission group to Japan today.  They left early this morning and I have been anxiously awaiting word that they made it their safely without too many difficulties.  John and a group of people from our church will be working over in Japan for 10 days with the clean up and relief effort going on over there.  We are trying to find ways to get our church involved so that while we are getting feed spiritually, we are also looking outwardly so that we are aware of the needs of others around us.

Anyways that little blurb was not the reason for my post -- part of it but not the reason for it.  I am trying to organize and clean my apartment -- or at least become better at reducing the clutter -- ugh I just can't handle it anymore and we just don't have the space to put it so if toys are broken, and papers (that we don't need) are hanging around I'm getting rid of them!  This week I have a list of things to do before the little boys & I go on vacation -- I want to get all the rooms cleaned up and stuff organized and put away.  So today I worked on our extra bedroom -- de-cluttered, put away (which we will have to figure out what to do with later), washed the windows, dusted, swept & mopped.  I got that room cleaned when I got a phone call from a friend inviting us over to go swimming.    I immediately said yes -- who turns down swimming and spending time with friends?

After we hung up I started to think of how I would get there.  The kids were sleeping and most likely would sleep till it was time to go.  So walking was out of the question -- the walk would probably take a 1/2 hour to get to their house.  I thought about taking our car, but I haven't driven over in Taiwan yet and to get to their house you have to go on a VERY, VERY busy road which I wasn't willing to try and do my first time driving in Taiwan.  I thought about finding a taxi but that made me nervous because I wasn't sure what the name of the apartment building was and I definitely didn't know what it was in Chinese.  Thankfully I have a number of a taxi guy who speaks English -- knows where we live and thankfully with enough descriptions of where I wanted to go and landmarks was able to easily get me to my friend's apartment building.  Oh my goodness if John had been around he would have been rolling his eyes in utter disgust with the directions I gave.  We got there and our friends were just pulling in so we walked inside with them. 

We waited by the pool for them while they got their swimming stuff on.  The boys decided that they were ready to ham it up for the camera and I knew that as soon as our friends were here I couldn't take anymore pictures -- mostly because I needed to be in the pool with my kids.  Both boys did great.  Little N had a blast -- going down the slide, being dunked underwater, trying to swim while I held his upper body up and just generally having a great time.  Little M was a little tentative at first not wanting to go in the water at all but by the end of the time in the water he was trying to go down the slide, kick his legs as I held onto him and just in general having a blast! 

We had a surprise invitation to join our friends for wii games & dinner.  So we showered -- I wasn't thoroughly prepared for that but went with the flow.  It's a hilarious thing watching 2 little 4 year olds attempt to play wii.  We went through 3 disks trying to find something they could play but sadly they were just too young to play wii.  We had pizza and even when you can speak the language you still get surprises.  The husband ordered pepperoni pizza and what we got was a interesting pizza -- corn, onions, mushrooms, sausage & cheese.  Thankfully we also had some noodles so Little N ate the pizza without toppings and noodles.  Little M ate the pizza but not all the toppings (kind of picked them out) and some crackers. 

Got a ride home -- we cleaned up our toys and the boys went to bed!  I stayed up long enough to find out that the mission team made it safely to Japan! Which made me happy!! 

So thankful that I got to have a fun day with swimming and hanging out with friends.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Our newest little friend

Today we got to visit our friends.  She is one of four pregnant women (myself included) that I know from Victory English Fellowship (or otherwise related by different events hosted by VEF).  She had her little baby girl ---Little R, last week.  She is super cute and was sleeping the whole time we were over there.  We got to play with her older brother (who is also a Little R), he got a whole bunch of new Thomas the train toys that all the kids got to play with.  Thank you, Kelly for letting us stop by and see your new daughter!  She is so adorable and I can't wait to play and visit with you guys again!! Congratulations on your precious little girl!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I am Blessed!

Over at He sows & She sews, Gretchen has started a blog carnival just talking about our blessings.  How has God blessed your life?  Have you looked closely into your life....are there little or big things that you have not noticed but are blessed with!  Please post your blessing and then share your blessing with everyone so that people can be blessed.  Mondays are sometimes a rough day and when we start our week counting our blessings our outlook just changes.

I have been struggling big time lately.  I am 17 weeks pregnant and at 12 weeks I was told to wait till I had my health insurance card before coming back.  Our secretary was in the states when we became eligible for our health insurance and then we were at the TMF conference so the ball just didn't start going till later than we expected.  We are now realizing that this will be an adventure....because we are the "first" foreign pastor being employed by a Chinese church getting paid in Taiwanese dollar so we just have to go through all the proper channels and it's going to take a little bit longer than we expected.

I guess I am what you call a high risk pregnancy.  I don't ever feel that I am but if I were talk to the doctor I'm pretty sure they would consider me high risk -- just because of my c-section and the risk of of all that involved.  Like I said....I've been fine and don't feel high risk but just would be considered it.  I'm also getting nervous because I'm 17 weeks....I've been to the doctors 3 times but I didn't have any of the "normal" stuff done -- blood test, urine samples, etc.   So I am anxiously waiting to meet with my doctor (who will hopefully deliver me) and get all my "normal" pregnancy visit stuff done....also be able to ask if it is possible if I can try to do another VBAC.

My biggest struggle is being in a foreign country and the doctor telling me -- sorry you've had a c-section and even though you've had a successful VBAC we want you to have another c-section.  The reason why I don't want to have a c-section is I just don't have the family support here to figure out how to recover from the pain of major abdominal surgery and also successfully raise three children.   When I had Little N  I had to have a c-section and it took me at least 6 weeks to recover and feel like I could carry on with normal day to day life without being in pain.  When I had Little M -- I was sore from delivering a baby but I just didn't have the on going pain which required me to take pain medicine.  I also was able to spend time with both my boys and not feel like I was restricted due to pain.

My blessings are that this week I am able to go to the doctors.  I am so thankful because I will be able to ease my concerns and worries about am I doing everything that I possibly can to be healthy for me and this unborn child.  I am also thankful that I will finally be able to talk to a doctor who will deliver me and they will be able to tell me definitively yes I can try a VBAC or no I am not able to (hopefully I can get a reason for why I wouldn't be able to).  I am also blessed because my secretary is able to help me navigate and get me registered into the hospital system and I will have a friend able to sit with me as I figure out if going to the doctors is different from the states or not.  The unknown is always a scary thing for me!!  So I am thankful for people that are willing to help go through this experience with me!

I am also blessed with going to the grocery store (we bought some fruit that I am excited to blog about and try) and being able to have a meal out today.  Sometimes it just nice to eat out and have something comforting -- the little boys & I had McDonald's (which we haven't had in probably a month) and John tried some Chinese food which was all steamy and hot -- which made for fun pictures! (I'd rather not eat to hot (in temperature) foods when the it's very warm out -- so I was happy for a hamburger, fries & apples!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

17 weeks

I've made it to 17 weeks! :-) Feeling better lately.  I go to hospital this week hopefully I find out some more information that will ease my worries & concerns.  John was nice enough to take pictures of me but my two little boys needed to be in the pictures also..they turned out cute though!

P.S. All these pictures were completely unscripted which is what I love about them!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hiking

We went for a drive and a hike today.  Up into the mountains and then what John told me was gonna be an easy 1 km hike up the mountain.  Boy was he wrong.....we put Little M in the backpack carrier (that thing has been a life saver) and had Little N walk.  Little N was SO excited to get to go hiking.  He would step on every rock that he saw and just tried the best he could climbing up the mountain (and also going down the mountain).  We are pretty certain that this is the last time we will be able to go hiking until after Baby #3 is here.  I have discovered that I get dizzy going up hill and start seeing these wonderful spots.  (UGH....so not fun and it also happens when we walk up to church.....so I need to figure something out.)  Thankfully no one fainted, everyone made it to a stopping area -- the kids and I rested in a homemade playground while John continued up the mountain to see how much further it was. 
  Little N kept on telling me how much fun he was having and that this was a fun day!!  Also we talked about how the clouds homes are in the mountains and the clouds have to move so that they can get back to their mountain.  His mind is always thinking and trying to figure out this world -- it's both intriguing and frustrating at the same time. 
The rest at the "top" of the mountain was wonderful....as was the light!!  Both Little N & John humored me as I took pictures.  Little M yeah....ummm....not so much!!  He was too excited to sit down and let me take pictures he had to explore the mountain before daddy put him back in the backpack carrier. 
We had lots of fun and if I could figure out a way to go do some more hiking I totally would because I love going up the mountain and just seeing the absolutely gorgeousness that you see once you get to the top.  I guess what we have to do is just find the easy trails and do that!!  Also we probably shouldn't go during the heat of the day!!  But our stop to 7 eleven to have a Slurpee made it all worth while!!  Kiwi Slurpee tastes pretty good!!
 Notice how sweaty he is -- we all were that sweaty and disgusting!!  Plus Little M fell in the dirt as he was exploring the "top of the mountain" so his sweat was a little bit muddy!  The Coke bottle was filled with water and Little N feels really cool to be drinking his water from a Coke bottle!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A mango taste test

We went over to friends' house today.  They made a 7 layer cake for me to take a picture of (for a scavenger hunt that I'm doing) yup, I know that I have some good friends!!   While we were over there the husband made homemade bread & hummus.  They also had just gotten back from the market and bought 6 different types of mangoes.  They are only a family of two so they figured with all of us (6 of us total -- minus two in the mommies bellies) we could do a little taste test and just see how they were all different.  I was VERY surprised at how different each of them tasted.  My friend was smart and wrote down how each them tasted was it sweet or tart, etc.  I wish I had been that smart because I just have a vague memory of what everything tasted like.  I guess I'll have to do another mango tasting!
It was yummy and delicious way to spend time with friends.  My meal plan for the night went out the window because we ate so much freshly baked bread, hummus & mangoes but it was so worth it.  Plus we helped them eat the 7 layer cake to help celebrate their anniversary!  It was a good day!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meal Plans

I stink at meal planning!!  We like to be spontaneous with our meals….which usually means being clueless about what we are gonna eat by or .  Because of that we usually end up making two different meals and they usually aren’t that healthy either.

My goal is for making some changes in my life.  To de-clutter my life and to organize it.  I’m starting working on getting my house organized and de-cluttered. I’m trying to get our calendars organized so that way we both know what’s going on in our lives and each others lives.  I’m also trying to get our family eating more health and a variety of different meals. Which is why I’m willing to try the meal planning.

This is my first week planning my meals….oh my goodness has pinterest either been a good thing for me or a bad thing.  I’ve gotten some many different yummy ideas that I want to try to make that I made a list of a couple things. 

My menu for today was Bacon wrapped Chicken & Cheese Biscuits.  I found them on Pinterest and then added my own spin to both of them!!

The cheese biscuits were originally supposed to be a cheesy loaf and I just made them into biscuits and had shredded cheese because seriously everything tastes better with cheese and when it’s melted into every thing life is oh so better!!  My kids loved these biscuits….Little N scarfed down I think three of them during dinner.
Cheesy Biscuits
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

The recipe:
3 cups of flour
1 tbs of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
¼ tsp of cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp of black pepper
5 oz of sharp cheddar cheese shredded
1 ¼ cup of milk
¾ cup of sour cream
3 tbs of butter (melted)
1 egg lightly beaten

The Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Grease two trays
In a bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients together.
Carefully stir in the shredded cheese so that is covered with the flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.
Fold both bowls of ingredients into one another and stir until combined don’t over stir.
Make the buns – if you want them big or small.  I used a large spoon a scooped about I believe 12 biscuits on the two trays, just depends on if you want big or small biscuits.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes….depending on your oven.  I cook with a miniature convection bake oven and it took maybe 55 minutes.  Just check them and you should be okay.  Let the biscuits cool for 10 minutes  and then remove them from their tray.  Enjoy them warm with lots of yummy butter on top!

For my main meal – we have a lot of cream of mushroom soup that we have to use up before August – people gave them to us and we looked and saw that they expire in August….doesn’t help that right before we got them we had just bought a 8 pack of cream of mushroom soup from Costco.  So I found this recipe that used cream of mushroom soup and then also had bacon.  I also modified this recipe from the original because I pounded my chicken flat (okay so I didn’t but John did) then put ½ a mozzarella string cheese inside and then rolled and wrapped it with bacon.  Verdict was that John told me we could serve this meal to company!  I guess he liked it!  Woo hoo!!  My kids….ehh….they really didn’t want to try it but Little N tried the little tree that was on his plate and called it good!  I’ll take what I can get! J

Bacon wrapped Chicken
Serves 4
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Ingredients
2 cans of Cream of mushroom soup
salt
pepper
bacon
2 or 4 softened string cheese sticks
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (thawed)
2 ½ cups of water
1 tbs of butter
2 cups of rice
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Cooking spray
2 tbs of flour
1 cup of water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350

Combine a can of cream of mushroom soup, butter, and water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil.  Rinse your rice in some water (then drain as much of the water as you are able to).  Transfer the rice to your casserole pan and pour the boiling sauce over the rice.  Cover your rice and place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes (or till all the water has been absorbed).

Pound your chicken break (using a meat tenderizer & plastic wrap) till it is flat.  Season both sides with salt & pepper (I also used John’s seasoning salt too) then you can decide if you want to use ½ a cheese stick in the middle of the chicken breast or a full one (your choice – you always need choices).  Add your cheese stick and then fold in the ends of the chicken and then roll the chicken around the cheese stick.  Bacon – I only had 4 pieces of bacon so it was just enough to wrap the chicken breast.  But I’m sure that two slices of bacon per chicken breast would be delicious also! (Can you ever have to much bacon?)  I wrapped my bacon and then stuck the both ends with a tooth pick to make sure the bacon would stay on the chicken breast and the chicken breast would not come undone.

Lightly cover a frying pan with cooking spray.

Place the bacon wrapped chicken in the pan and cook until the bacon is nice and crispy and the chicken is no longer pink.  Remember to put flip the chicken so all the sides are cooked evenly.

Take the chicken out and put it on a paper towel to drain – or I just put mine right on the rice mixture which was fine also.

Take your flour and a cup of water along with your ½ of your other can of cream of mushroom soup and mix till your flour is diluted (then add the rest of your cream of mushroom soup to make a nice sauce) Pour into the hot pan that you cooked your chicken in and stir til your sauce has thickened. 

Place your chicken on top of your rice mixture and then pour the sauce over the chicken and rice mixture.  Top the chicken with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Place back in the oven until the cheese is melted.

Enjoy your meal!!

I served this with broccoli!!  I love some good broccoli (John does not and usually my boys don’t either) but I still serve it!  This time we called them little tree and my oldest ate it!! 

My meal for today was very time consuming but so worth it because we got to eat something different and somewhat healthy and we ate as a family which was the most important thing for me! J



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Those big blue eyes!!

Today was a busy day!  We had church, went out to lunch at a Thai restaurant (the little boys didn't try anything and were extremely exhausted -- which makes for interesting visiting time!) took a nap, ultimate Frisbee & then we went over to a friends' house for a welcome party & birthday celebration!!  They made grilled chicken, grilled steak, grilled veggies & we roasted marshmallows and finished with tiramisu.  The steak was wonderfully seasoned oh I could just eat that up and the roasted veggies had an interesting seasoning to it!  Oh so it was wonderful to have steak and visit with friends! 

I love that both my boys have different color eyes and that they are just so much fun to take pictures of!  Did you also know that this weekend had a full moon?  I liked how the moon was surrounded by clouds!! Do you like how the end of this post really has nothing to do with the beginning of the post!  It's my blog and I can be crazy if I want to! :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's tough being the youngest!!

You know sometimes it's tough being the youngest!!  I have never been the youngest....oldest in my family -- however my brother at times it feels like he's the oldest & I'm the oldest grandchild on both sides of my families!!  Watching my two boys interact with one another I realize that sometimes it's tough being the youngest.  You are always trying to play catch up.  John got some second hand toys -- a pink scooter & a pink hula hoop.  Little M so badly wants to be a big boy but  he's just a little guy!  Little N was riding on the pink scooter (doing an okay job on it too -- I was pleasantly surprised) and all Little M wanted to do was ride that pink scooter and he got so frustrated that he wasn't able to do it!  Poor little guy....sometimes it's hard being the youngest trying to keep up with your older brother!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Look who we met!!

We were taking out the trash and then gonna go for a walk -- I think to 7 eleven for a yogurt drink because the kids cleaned up all their toys and worked really hard! Well on the way to take out the trash we came across this snail -- just creeping along on the sidewalk!  Little M wanted to pet him and Little N wanted to bop his ears (he saw someone else do it once so he wanted to try it too!) but just couldn't muster up the courage!  I took a picture of him!! :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Playgroup - The Farm Coffee

Playgroup, it's always a fun time!  I'm still not sure how I got involved in it BUT I am so thankful that I have.  The ladies I believe are all some how connected to Victory Church and have kids.  I love the one lady and her two children -- they are right around my kids age and she's very laid back.  It's just fun watching my kids interact with other kids!
Where we have been going for lunch have been hole in the wall places that most foreigners would never find.  Thankfully we have GPS on John's phone and tablet so we have found all the places.   All the places have been great finds just we would have never known about them because they are so hidden.  The restaurant that we went to was called the Farm Coffee.  It still in the city but so strange because there are farm animals -- chickens, goats, horses, pigs, oxen (or water buffalo), etc outside the restaurant.  The menu is all in Chinese so I am thankful for the ladies who go up to me ask what I want and then translate the menu for me! :-)
When we first got there was a little playground that the kids played on, then we got to eat (I got a yummy pasta dish and a salad & soup!)  sadly my kids weren't feeling to good -- Little M is working on 4 teeth (I believe his eye teeth) so he was just miserable -- out of it and just not himself!  After eating we went outside took a group picture!!  Woo hoo....I finally have a picture of most of the ladies and their kids!  Then we watched the animals.  Little N & M were so fascinated by all the animals -- so much so that they insisted that John come and look at them when he picked us up!  As per usually we are usually the first to leave -- mostly because our kids are SO exhausted that they are almost in tears because they are so tired! 
As we were leaving we noticed this lady riding a bike with a wagon on it filled with recyclables! (You can get money for recycling -- most people don't do it unless they are a little bit older. We just sort our recycling!)
 Every time I go to playgroup -- I try to focus on a couple different kids to take pictures of!!  This little girl fascinated me and wouldn't smile for me so I was determined to take a picture with her not looking so solemn!  She is just gorgeous!
 In our playgroup there are at least 3 ladies expecting babies.  It's a little crazy to think about! :-)
 Little N feeding the animals!!  He was a little nervous!! :-)
 Showing Daddy the animals!
 Lady on a bike pulling a wagon!!  Pretty amazing....also this road is a pretty busy road!!  She is very brave to be doing this!  I would never do it!! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

15 weeks

So every pregnancy I have thought was different then the other one.  Little N & Little M yes they were different but they were the same.  I started out the same weight, had basically the same symptoms & the only thing different was that I had to figure out what types of food would soothe my pregnant belly or the babies. 
This pregnancy has been very different.  I thought it might be similar but it really has not been at all the same as the two boys.  I am starting out at least 10 pounds lower then from what I was with the other two.  I haven't put on as much weight because of morning sickness.  I get dizzy easier and I haven't figured out what soothes this pregnancy.  It's finally getting better -- mostly because I'm in my second trimester but this pregnancy has kicked my butt!! 
Last week I popped a little bit.  Not too much but enough that John & I can tell that I am pregnant.  Most people over in Taiwan don't believe that I am as far along as I am just because I am not showing as much.  Most the women in Taiwan who are expecting baby basically start showing by 12 weeks or earlier.  So it's shocking to them that I'm not showing. 
Waiting for our health insurance card.....hopefully that will come so we can go to the doctor's again and maybe find out what we are having.  It should be interesting navigating through this experience over here in Taiwan.  As I find out more about what's going to be expected from this I'll share (or not)! 
For those curious as to what I look like....here I am in all my 15 week glory!!  My goal is to take a picture every week....but I have a feeling I will fail at that!  So maybe every other week or every month!! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday -- a potluck outside

Wow....being gone for a week takes A LOT out of our kids!!  You could see it in them.  They just wanted to snuggle during church with either mommy or daddy and just lay around.  (Fortunately John lined up a speaker to speak just because he thought he might be very tired!) So our kids could rest on daddy's shoulders and snuggle!
After church we quick stopped at the bakery and then made our way home.  The boys immediately went straight to bed!!  SO tired.......slept for a long time until it was time for us to go to Beipu!
We were invited to go have a potluck with friends.  It was really fun but had we not followed people there we would have been desperately lost.  We went into the mountains, then made some twists and turns several times thought we would stop but we kept on going up higher into the mountains.  Finally parked the car to see this beautiful site where we were gonna visit and eat!  All the kids played and then we decided to go on a walk (hike) and went across a scary bridge.  A scary bridge made even scary as Little N & I were half way across John came BOUNDING across and made the bridge sway back and forth and up and down!  Both of us screamed!!  We were terrified!  Little N, M & Caristy got across the bridge and then started to walk where everyone else was and then quick made the decision that it wasn't a wise mood for any of them.  So walked back across the scary bridge and headed back to the food area. 
Got to chat, visit and eat (amazing) food!!  Whenever you get people together when do you not have enough food to share and go around?  Oh potatoes, steak, pasta salad, corn on the cob, fruit, dessert!  SO much food and not enough room in my belly for it all!! :)
So thankful for the privilege to spend time with others!!
Welcome to our blog! We try to keep this current for family and friends. We moved to Taiwan in February 2011 and are trying to keep in contact with loved ones through this blog. We love comments and will respond back if you have questions or comments!! Thanks for checking us out!!

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