Friday, January 29, 2010

Visas in hand... to Central Asia! Thank God for 1-month visas in hand, and the promise (hopefully) of an extension to 6 months or a year once we're in country. Unfortunately, visas for our family cost almost a literal arm and leg, so that's not good news... but good thing our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills!

I am not looking forward to being in another airport with our toddler, at least not if he has another day like today... It's a shame the cute moments are sandwiched in between lots and lots of very NOT cute moments, like angrily lashing out and yelling ballistically whenever he's disciplined, or throwing an absolute fit in front of everyone at the pool when Ben lost the plot and I had to pull him out of the water early and drag my two screaming children into the elevator... thankfully there was a nice man to hold the door and push the elevator buttons, and Ben was in his buggy so he couldn't go anywhere... I feel like my life lately is made up of one long string of physically stressful moments!

Anyway, the cute moment from today was Will's running monologue while playing with his trains... "Oh! Dayah's Gordon! Hi Gordon! Unduh bridge, Gordon! Unduh bridge, James! James Daddy! Mom, James Daddy! (He's only just figured out that James is Daddy's name too) Oh! Day go (there you go), Hectuh! Day go Bul-lee (Billy)!"

And Benjamin's non-cute moment (most of his other moments are cute these days) was when he pooped not once but TWICE in his new Thailand Huggies, which are definitely not as leak-proof as New Zealand Huggies... and got poop on James's pants in the tuk-tuk (Thai open-air taxi) and then poop on my skirt at the restaurant... yay, Ben. So that's why your tummy was hurting all day.

::sigh:: So pray for us tomorrow on the 6-hour blasting hot furnace-y flight to Central Asia, when we arrive at 1am and still have a 2 hour drive to our house... thankfully our new teammates have bought breakfast food and sussed things out for us, so hopefully we can just crash into bed when arrive... They say it's cold. Here I am in Thailand's blasting heat and humidity... how cold can it be?

All I know is, it will be WONDERFUL to be in our own house, where we will stay for a good long time, Lord willing, and be able to start our new "Whip Our Two Year Old Into Shape Right Quick" regime ASAP. Just having a consistent environment will help, for starters! Thank you so much for thinking of us... more hopefully sooner than later.

(By the way, our camera charger got left in New Zealand, so we're hoping to buy a new one here in Thailand before we go... that's why there aren't any pictures of the boys at the pool :( Oh well...)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


...are impossible.

1) They have no concept of cause and effect (so they have no idea that if they refuse to let you change their poopy diaper they will have a red, itchy, sore bum).

2) They must do everything themselves (which takes twice as long and is never quite adequate).

3) The entire universe is “MINE!”

4) You can’t understand what they’re thinking because they have no logic (or if they do, it’s two-year-old logic, which makes no sense)…

5) …therefore, it’s impossible to reason with them—you’re wasting your breath.

6) You can’t physically control them, especially if they weigh close to 30 pounds!

If they decide (for whatever illogical two-year-old reason) not to comply with your desires, your only options are:

a) Cajoling (which requires twice as much creative energy, takes twice as long, and works only sometimes)

b) Threatening (which hardly ever works—see complaint No. 2 above),


c) Brute force (which results in huge amounts of noise, is nigh unto impossible with a 30-pound toddler, and is illegal in some countries).

However, when your two-year-old...

...looks up at your new hairstyle and says "Pretty, Mom!"

skips over to his baby brother with “Hi, Ben!” and plants an unsolicited kiss on his forehead

…insists on wearing his blue baseball cap (that exactly matches his eyes) backwards at the most rakishly adorable angle

…prays spontaneously before eating with “Dear Jesus, yum food…Amen”

…willingly offers hugs to people he’s just met moments before

…at the suggestion of blowing bubbles starts singing, “Bubbles pop… bubbles pop, pop, pop!”

…puts on Daddy’s sunglasses upside-down and comes running over laughing uproariously, and then carefully puts them on his head like he’s seen Daddy do and says “on head!”

…asks “dat foah?” about every new object

…remembers “gud-duh” (cluster) from yesterday’s episode of bubble-blowing

then you remember that this two-year-old phase is like those bubbles—ephemeral and quickly popped—and you decide to deal with the impossible as quickly and deftly as possible, and savor the adorable.


We’re launched! I feel like one of those wrapped T-shirt parcels at big sports games that two clowns pull back in a bungee and hurl into the crowd. We’re still hurtling, but at least while we’re hurtling I’m allowed to suspend my list-making temporarily and try to relax!

Here we are in Bangkok, all of us pretty tired and cranky from jetlag but at least the hotel is air-conditioned and we’re all napping during the day. Will had two pool sessions yesterday, and we finally managed to get him all the way into the water (briefly) by the end of the second one… He’s quite content to just sit on the side splashing, and would do it wearing all of his regular clothes if we let him. It took at least half an hour to get him to let us change his diaper and put his bathing suit shorts on after his nap. And that was as far as it went—he stubbornly clung to his regular T-shirt, until it started getting wet down by the pool and I quietly took it off while he wasn’t really paying attention. ::sigh:: This hating-to-take-off-clothes phase has been going on for several months now, and is really getting old… We’re not sure whether it’s a privacy thing, a personal space thing, a genuine fear of something, or just “don’t mess with me, I’m TWO”—but it’s definitely annoying, whatever else it is. James and I vacillate between trying to understand and empathize, and then losing patience and just barreling him through it while he kicks and screams. I sympathize with the water thing—I’ve always hated getting water on my face—but changing clothes is a part of life that happens multiple times every day. And baths, unfortunately, combine the two… too bad we don’t live back when people only took baths once a week at the MOST. Let’s hope five days at the pool helps to shorten this phase.

Interestingly, even though we now have two babies to lure them, people still gravitate to Will. I think it’s his blue eyes and long lashes, and that he’s pretty polite and responsive—smiles, shakes hands, says “Thank you” and “Bye”… I thought they’d go for Ben since he’s so much littler, but everyone seems far more interested in Will. This morning there were Italians at breakfast gushing over him—“Que bella bambino! What a beautiful child!” I just hope he doesn’t figure out what they’re saying.

Ben is pure enjoyment. He is such interactive baby: he loves to be held, talked to, tickled, played with, and rewards us with whole conversations of gurgles, coos and grins. He smiled at 4 weeks and chuckled around 7 weeks; his eyes just dance at you while you talk to him. He’s chubbier at 3 months than Will was—chubby thighs, chubby belly, chubby cheeks and chin—so edible, and he chuckles appreciatively when gobbled and munched. Where Will attracts with his looks, I think Ben will attract with sheer charisma. I just pray they both grow a genuine love for Jesus that draws people to them, rather than relying on looks or charisma…

So. Three more sleeps in Thailand, and then on Friday we fly back "home" to Central Asia. I am so hoping that God will be gracious and let us stay in this new home for at least the next two years... that would be the longest time we've ever lived in one place since we've been married, and probably the first house Will will remember. What a life. Good thing we love it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

4 more sleeps!

Just 4 more sleeps until The Big Launch... can't believe we're almost there! Saturday morning we fly to Auckland for one night, and then on to Bangkok on Sunday. We'll stay in Bangkok for 5 days to get our Central Asian visas, and then fly back to our current home on the following Saturday. We are so thrilled to be going back to our new relationships, house and teammates, but our hearts are so heavy leaving New Zealand where we've gotten so close to people over the past couple years. It's difficult to say goodbye. It definitely makes me long for heaven where "goodbye" won't need to be part of our vocabulary anymore!

We have a cousin here visiting for two nights, Jameson Rohrer, and it's been so great catching up with him and showing him a little bit of Christchurch. He laughed at my "Kiwi" accent (which quickly dropped off the longer I talked to him... I am still American deep down!), and we had a great time at the Canterbury Museum and Christchurch Square this morning. There's a plaque in the square commemorating the first settlers in the South Island, and you can find "John Broughton" from 5 generations ago, the first Broughton to settle here. He actually became a Christian on the boat to New Zealand, and the Broughtons have been a Christian family ever since. Pretty amazing, huh?

So as we head back to our work and ministry, please think of us:
  • The boys and I have all come down with colds this week, so ask for health, especially on the plane. And since Benjamin is sick, I'm not sure I can get his second set of shots done on Thursday like I'd planned... bummer.
  • Also pray that our house is in good order and heated up for us when we arrive (at 2am!) with two tired boys and a whole heap of luggage in -10 degree weather... We are kitted out with warm clothes, but still-- that's COLD!
  • Pray that our visas come through without a hitch in Thailand, and that we're able to extend our initial 1-month visa to a 1-year visa shortly after arrival without problems.
  • Pray for a good resettling into relationships there, and that people will remember who we are and be willing to pick up where we left off.
  • Praise God with us for anticipation and excitement about going back! That was really on my heart, and it has happened-- I am really looking forward to these next 2 (at least) years in our new context.
  • And finally, pray for LAND for the projects we want to start over there... nothing has happened yet, and the waiting is getting really old. Several deals have fallen through, and it's very clear that nothing will happen unless God makes it happen.
Thanks for your prayers! More pictures of the boys coming soon when I can get them off my camera. :)