Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Trip to Cambodia

We just got home from our trip across the world to see my sister and brother in law, Daphne and Ryan (aka: Ming and Poo).
We had such an amazing time in Cambodia with my whole family!
The trip over with a 17 month old was.....well, not the most thrilling adventure I've ever had. Ella Grace was a champ but on the way there she slept just 6 hours out of a total of 36. With four legs to the trip and an overnight layover in the Bangkok airport we finally arrived on Christmas Eve.
Layover in Bangkok. Trying to get some sleep.Sleep was clearly not happening for Ella Grace.
Seeing Ming, Poo, and Grandpa and Grandma at the Phnom Penh airport.

We began our time in Phnom Penh (the Capital city) with a tuk tuk ride to get a couples massage! Ming and Poo watched little miss while Nathan and I had some much needed relaxation. (If you are ever looking for an inexpensive massage definitely go to Cambodia. $5 - $10/ hour is the going rate!).

Just getting off the plane and into a tuk tuk in Phnom Penh. Wondering where in the world she is.
We headed to Prey Veng by bus on Christmas Eve which is the province where Daphne and Ryan live and work. The staring at "fat white baby" began immediately as we arrived at the bus station. Many Khemer folks have never seen a white baby so they were enthralled with her fat legs and cheeks, slapping them and clapping in her face.

We had such a wonderful time seeing their home and surroundings.

We have a much better picture of their life in Prey Veng and a better understanding of the culture they are in. Ryan and Daphne are assimilating remarkably well to life there. We were amazed at their ability to communicate and relate to folks. They definitely face challenges in such a different environment but they are growing together and glorifying the Lord.
My sissy and brother were amazing hosts! A few of the treats made were pumpkin pancakes, Grandma Hollinger's Moravian Sugar cake, Grandma Krabill's peppernuts, and homemade peppermint ice cream. All of which take considerably more effort to make with limited availability of ingredients.

After tuk tuk, bike, and moto rides around town and a Christmas service at their church we left for Kep Beach. Kep is an area along the coast of Cambodia with beautiful scenery and sunsets. We stayed at an eco lodge in the mountainous jungle called Jasmine Valley that uses renewable resources to build their rooms (like the tree house where we stayed!) and solar energy throughout their resort. We enjoyed a mountain trek, swimming, good food, and some down time.

The last part of our trip was spent back in Phnom Penh. A few things we did in the city were a visit the Royal Palace, a Wat (temple), a museum showing the attrocities of the Khmer Rouge (a horrifying Genocide that lasted four years and killed millions of Cambodians in the 1970's). We also met Daphne and Ryan's MCC friends on a boat ride down the Mekong river and spent time with our second cousins Sarah and Andrew Burkhalter who happened to be visiting while we were there.

The time went WAY to fast but we were so grateful for the opportunity to see Daphne and Ryan. If only Cambodia weren't so far away........

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Miracle of Birth

Last week I had the opportunity to witness my newest nephew being born. It was an AMAZING experience that I will remember forever! I always wanted to have a natural birth experience with little intervention but I was not so lucky. My sister in law, Melissa, invited me to be part of the labor and delivery for baby Jackson and I could not pass it up. I was so intrigued to find out what a normal delivery would be like. The coolest part was that Melissa had a home birth! Her midwife delivers a lot of babies in the Mennonite and Amish communities around Lancaster County, PA. She had an amazing ability to make everything calm during even the most intense contractions and pushing. The labor was pretty quick as Melissa started having contractions at 4:30 am and had her water broken at 6:50. Baby Jax was born at 7:30 am. I know......those of you who had 24-30 hour+ labors are extremely jealous right now. Anyway, Melissa did an awesome job and was very calm and collected.
After seeing the whole process take place I was reminded of just how miraculous and precious life is. It is an awesome reminder of how creative and powerful our God is.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sticky Orange Fun

Today Ella Grace invited a bunch of friends from her play group over to decorate pumpkin cookies. 7 toddlers plus orange icing and lots of sugar = a delightful and fun mess!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Grandma & Grandpa Took Me to the Pumpkin Patch!

One of the great things (for us personally) about my dad's job is that he and mom get to visit Charlotte quite frequently to meet with people at Gordon Conwell's campus here.
We had a great weekend together walking on a greenway (much needed for my busy daddy), getting breakfast together, visiting the pumpkin patch, and watching the Gators lose miserably to Alabama (could not believe this).
Here are some shots from Hunter Farm (a 5th generation farm in South Charlotte)...