Friday, December 4, 2009

The Meat Market

So today Lori took me to the vegetable and meat market. Now, I've seen a lot of things with all the traveling we've done and countries we've been to. But I thought this was a notable experience to share with those that may not be as fortunate to experience the joys of a Chinese meat market.

First off, let me say that I am thankful for once that I am here in the freezing cold. I can not imagine what such a place would smell like in the heat - no check that. I can imagine - we passed through just a place in India in the middle of summer, worst smell I have ever experienced EVER. So I am thankful that I did not have that fragrance to accompany this trip.

In the middle of the square is a large open building where the vegetables are. I liked this part. Tables and tables of veggies - you could make really good salads or stir fry. It was really beautiful - the colors and smells of the produce. The venders are funny - Lori has been told to bargain for the prices, but they don't budge, so she doesn't think it's really a place to haggle the price. We bought some lettuce for our hamburgers tonight. We are having a teacher and her family over for dinner, and they make american food when the host local guests for meals. Last night we had fajitas - yummy!!!

Then comes the meat. All around the outside of the vegetable market are stalls of meat sellers. I think it is arranged by type of meat - but some venders sell multiples types. There are hunks of meat sitting on the tables - huge carcasses hanging from hooks on the ceiling. After asking several people for beef and being directed in several directions, we ended up at Lori's mutton man - he also had beef. There are feathered chickens in a pile to one side of the table. There is half a sheep or some animal laying on another part - some ribs, and then chunks of cut beef around the table. She asks the man for 3 jins (lbs) of meat - to show she wants it ground she makes a really funny grinding noise while making almost a movie motion with her hands to show grinding. He understands. He asks if we would like bones in our beef - not for tonight thanks! He places chunks of beef on the scale until it reaches about 3 jins.

Then the grinder. Who knows how long this butcher has had this grinder. It is well used, and probably has never been cleaned - ever. There are at least 3 types of meat he sells - today. So most likely, this grinder has ground 4-5 types of meat over the last years, with no cleaning in between. (Is your stomach turning yet?) So, he grinds the meat into a bag - double bags it and gives it to us to take home. Time to pay - Lori hands him the money, and he gives her change. He gives her change without washing his hands - I don't think they wash their hands at all throughout the day! So - we have contaminated meat and contaminated money. Just saying - don't ever let your kids play with money in other countries!

So, now we have our ground meat to make hamburgers for dinner. I think it goes without saying that all burgers are well done in this China House!

On the way around we pass a row with a crate of live chickens. These are the fluffiest chickens I have ever seen! They are actually kinda pretty - all white with these little blue spots on their faces by the beak. I peeked inside the shop they were outside of, and there were feathers everywhere! This is where they kill and pluck them... I have had to kill and pluck a chicken before, so it wasn't too startling, but still, a real look at another culture of butchery! Next comes fish - they have tanks of crowded fish (live) and then they have trays of dead ones - some skinned, some not. I'm not big on fish, but considering we are in the middle of China - no where near the coast - I would definitely go for the live fish!

In addition to meat and veggies - you can buy various canned goods and spices in this market as well as pots and pans (for under one dollar!) It was a great afternoon and really interesting to see the way the chinese in this city acquire their food!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving! Our Chinese Thanksgiving at Beijing Duck! Yum :)

Carving the bird....

Liam and I outside Beijing Duck - with the duck.

The market - notice the GIANT Zucchini??? That would make a LOT of zucchini bread!

The meat market - yummy eh?

Eli and Alleyah making tortillas! Funny the first time we make tortillas we are in China!

Liam at the baseball game with one of the university players. Will gets to help coach a team for the 2 weeks we are here. Their last game is this weekend since it is getting TOO COLD!

Cute kids - I really love the girl's tuke!

Busted! Liam is always hungry and trying to get into snacks!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Small Things

So -here are some small things about china that I have noticed that may easily get passed by in a newsletter/update/emails/slide shows. It's nothing too exciting - but small things I would like to remember.

-When we first arrived I noticed a LOT of people (well, mostly women) wearing face masks. I thought - wow - everyone is really really cautious about getting sick. Then I noticed they were stylish face masks - all sorts of colors and patterns. And I learned, they were face masks for the cold, but it probably doubles for germs as well.

- Most stores and restaurants have thick blankets hanging in the doorway to keep the cold out when the doors are kept open. It feels like you are going into a tent or fort everywhere you go.

- There is no cold water here - they serve it hot everywhere.

- Most kitchens have big sliding glass doors/walls separating them from the rest of the house.

- For some reason, my friends here have to go to the Post Office to refill their gas card. (Gas for their house - everything is prepaid here.) Not sure where the connection is between gas and mail.

- Chop stix and rice. Enough said.

- They do construction 24 hours a day - the off shifts sleep in make shift tents on the sidewalks.

- Eli's favorite thing about China right now is the kitties. Our friends have 2 kittens and when Eli woke from his nap today, he came out and said, "there are so many kitties in my bed with me!"

- The have these rooms - we would call them sun rooms - in every apartment. This is where they hang their laundry to dry. It is very cold in these rooms right now, but apparently they warm up a lot when it's nice out. The kids like to play in them - they again are separated from the rest of the house by a sliding glass door.

- There are a ton of taxi's here - but it can take up to 20 minutes to get one!

- They really do have 100 year old eggs in the stores here. Not sure if it's considered a delicacy when they are everywhere.

- There is only one type of cereal to buy here and it is in the chip aisle.

- The milk is so pasteurized it is not refrigerated in the stores.

- We can only buy real coffee at a local coffee shop where they bring it in from the Tibetian villages. Otherwise - it's all nescafe.

- Oh- my friend here says that everything you buy (clothes) here, the buttons will fall off... so I will be sure to redo the buttons on such purchases when I get home!

- Um - that's it for now. I'm sure I'll think of more little things later.....

Friday, November 27, 2009


So I thought I would try to write a quick up date about our time here so far! We are having a great time here with our friends. It is day 3 - we are slowly adjusting to the time change - the boys slept until 5 this morning so that was great!!!! We are pretty tired but hoping to soon be over this transition so we can have late night talks with Morgan and Lori!

Our Thanksgiving here was nice... didn't feel like thanksgiving really, but we were half zombie! We had thanksgiving dinner at this nice restaurant called Beijing Duck - where we ate - beijing duck! My first experience with duck - the soup they make with the leftovers tasted turkey though. It was really fun, our first chinese restaurant here - we met some others that are friends with Morgan and Lori and it was a nice time.

Other than that - we have spent our days with the jones and are resting and adjusting to the time. The weather is freezing - we are waiting for snow - and we are getting good exercise walking up the 6 flights of stairs to their apartment!

Eli and Liam are great. They are eating well and having a blast with their friends. Eli says it is really really really cold here and shivers. He is also a trooper climbing all the stairs - with Liam and our stuff, we can't carry him. He slows way down about the forth floor - and says whew all the time... it's cute! Liam loves spending time with the 2 cats here - Figaro and Norah - he chases them and laughs at them a lot. When we first arrived on the way home from the airport there was a traditional chinese building with christmas lights on it. I said to Eli - look at the lights! He said - Hey - it's like Kung Fu Panda! He also loves the noodles like panda, but he wouldn't try the dumplings (like the ones panda and shifu fight over in the movie) -which were delicious!!!

Tonight we are going to another chinese restaurant with Chinese Dishes - sweet and sour pork, garlic broccoli, eggplant, - the real good stuff! We are definitely loving the food!

I think that is all for now. We don't have much hope of learning much language while we are here - it is really difficult and we have no context for the sounds. I have learned hello, and two other phrases that aren't much good for conversation (not that they are bad - just not that useful!)

We are doing great and loving being here! Thanks for all your thoughts - keep em coming!

Keep looking to Will's facebook for pictures - we can't really post them from a computer!!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Life of Faith

We are going to India next week.  It has been a crazy adventure lately!  Last week we were in Colorado for a YWAM conference for North American leaders.  It was a great conference.  It didn't start out so great.  We left on Friday night to drive (yes I said drive) to CO.  On a good day it should take 18 hours.  It wasn't a good day.  We hit a lot of obstacles which just made me more determined to get there.  I figured that if the devil was trying to block our way so hard, there must be some amazing stuff going on!  Anyway - after long stops with the kids - trying to eat breakfast at the slowest Burger King EVER - a whole in a heating hose in the car - a snowstorm in the mountains - a HUGE car pileup 12 miles from Denver - a detour through the mountains (that actually saved us probably 2 hours!) and a crying baby the last hour - we arrived in Fort Collins 22 hours later!  Praise the Lord it was over!

Anyway - long and short of it - it was an amazing week.  God has spoken to us a lot and we are excited to be  home and to start putting some of these words into reality.

So - next week we are off to India.  We have yet to buy our tickets!!!! CRAZY.  Anyway - we have been trying to buy them for about 4 weeks now.  We haven't had the money - we haven't been able to find good ones, we find good tickets but don't have money....etc.  So this past week we were really praying about this.  This trip has been the most difficult to get the finances for and so we wanted to seek God and see what was going on.  We also asked our staff and some friends to pray for us as well.

During one of the sessions our speaker was talking about as leaders we need to lead lives of faith as an example to the other staff in our mission.  I really felt that that was a word of God to me.  That this trip is definitely pushing us further in our faith.  We are trusting God in the last minute - holding onto the promises and His Word.  Another friend at the conference shared how she had recently heard from a YWAM leader that "The Word of God is our provision."  So His Word is what we go on.  Will and I prayed again and we felt that our whole family WAS to go to India, and so we were to pursue this with our whole hearts, no reservations.

So we are walking this faith out now.  Since then, we have seen over $1000 come in and we have found some great tickets we are buying tomorrow.  The really cool thing is that for this trip we will be flying around the world - going East all way!  It's kind of exciting as we have never done that before.

So I am super excited about this upcoming trip.  We will be visiting two of our teams in India - first in Calcutta, and then on the coast in Visak.  It is going to be an amazing time!

Please be praying for us!  We would love prayer for safety traveling and health!  From traveling, from food, from sickness - especially Liam crawling, it makes me a little nervous and I will definitely be a little OCD about keeping him clean!

Yay God!  He is ever faithful.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Poop goes in the Potty...

Tonight, Eli pooped in the bath - while it was full of water and he was supposed to be getting clean.  I was not exactly speechless - but definitely at a loss of what to do at first!  I got him out - put him on a towel on the floor and used his kiddy potty bowl to scoop it out of the bath into the toilet before draining the tub.  Thankfully I am not pregnant or I would have been gagging and needing the toilet for a different use! Anyway - that was disgusting.  Scrubbed the tub and put Eli in and gave him a quick shower with a cup!  OH MY GOSH _ if that ever happens again it is so Will's turn.

While we were getting his jammies on, we just kept talking about how we don't poop in the bathtub, only in the toilet.  So - "Eli, where do we go pooppy?"  Eli - "In the toilet - not the bathtub!"

Cute and not at the same time... Oh - the life of a mommy.

Monday, March 2, 2009


After trying to get Liam to take a bottle and formula for a few weeks - we have succeeded today! Will got him to take a bottle of my milk but it wasn't very much, so then he made formula and he drank it all! I am so excited and relieved...

On the down side - I think we may be wrapping up with b-feeding. I think my milk is drying up and I'm pretty over trying to make this work. I'm not sure if I'm completely ready to be done done with it, but I am at least relieved to now have an option.

Anyway - so that's good.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Love of My Life

My husband is amazing.  I am so lucky to live my life with him, to share this journey of parenthood and spend all my time with him.  I love you babe.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Having 2 boys in the same room is hard.  We are trying to get Liam to sleep through the night - but with Eli in there too, it's hard.  Liam has a habit of waking up every 3 - 4 hours to eat.  This is really annoying to me.  (Sounds bad as a mom- but physically, he doesn't need to eat that much - I'm not really being mean.)  I know that he can sleep through the night (2 times in Columbia - and 2 other times) and he is fine.  SO- I want to be able to go in his room when he wakes up, check his diaper, hug and sooth him for a minute or so and then lay him back down and let him go back to sleep.  Rarely does this work smoothly.  Most of the time he screams bloody murder for 10 minutes or more until I go back in and pick him up because then Eli is crying to, or worse, he thinks it's time to get up and play.  
The worst time is the early morning 
hours because if it's 6 or a little after - Eli is up for the day.  Nobody should have to get up before 7 (spoiled a little!).  Anyway - this whole process would be a lot easier with more space.  We are wanting more rooms when we move in August - but if we get 3, we'll probably still have the boys share so we can have an office/play room...

So that's my rant for tonight.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Christmas in Canada

Right after our time in Columbia - we spent one day in California and then went up to Canada for the holidays.  Talk about weather extremes!  Needless to say - our bodies did experience some shock.  We had such a good time with the family - it was the first time all 5 cousins have been together and it was a lot of fun.  I'm really looking forward to watching them grow up together!

Christmas in Cartagena

We spent the first two weeks in December in Cartagena Columbia - that is South America....

It was weird to be in such a HOT climate in December - and to see Christmas decorations everywhere. I loved seeing Santa's climbing over balconies - instead of sticking out of chimneys.

They don't have large Christmas trees in Columbia - so they make big trees out of lights!

Fireworks are all part of the Christmas celebration - these went off right over our head!

All around the old town of Cartagena - they put up these huge blow up figures of historic people and events. The pirate ship is symbolic of the attacks that used to come around the walled city. It was Eli's favorite.

One of our favorite Columbian Christmas sites. We were there for the first lighting of this plaza - it was really beautiful.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Little Liam

August 19. 2008. My second son was born. It was quite a different experience than my first. Eli was a long labor - but I had an epi so it was mostly pain free until the 2 hours of pushing - that was excruciating. Fun - but so worth it! Liam was different. I prepped myself more for this time around. I felt that with Eli I was not mentally prepared for what birthing a child would truly be like. So this time - I read a lot. I asked my doula friends for advice - for pain management - I read a labor and delivery book to refresh all my classes from Eli. I felt prepared for the long haul. I knew I would prefer to have pain medicine - but I knew that I had some tools to help me until I could get it.

August 11 was the due date. It came and went. I was ready for him to come. The waiting is the worst part. It's the anticipation of the most exciting and potentially scary thing that will happen to you - and not knowing when it will happen. August 18 - one week late and my next doctors appointment. I figured we would discuss inducing (I did not want pitocen) but that she would probably wait a few more days to see if he came and schedule me for later in the week.

Not what happened. I went in that night!!!! Talk about shocker and weird feelings. It's weird to know you are going to have a baby in the next day or so. It's weird when the anticipation turns into a little trepidation and fear of the next 24 hours. We had a few hours until we were to go to the hospital. Went home, finished packing, dropped Eli of at the Jones house, and went to get a quick dinner. Got to the hospital at 7 - checked in and got settled, at our dinner we took to go.

At 9 they gave me this medicine that softens my cervix so that I can get pitocin to start my labor. The first medicine can stay in for 12 hours. I figured I would have a good night's rest before the fun began. 11 - went to sleep. 1 AM - woke up with strong contractions every 5 min that I couldn't sleep through. 2:50 AM - Have to pee - really really bad. Will was sleeping with ear plugs in - I manage to sit up and throw a pillow at him. He helps me stand up.

HOLY COW!!!! The contractions don't let up or stop - I make it to the bathroom after a 5 min walk 10 feet. Probably takes 10 minutes to pee because I can't relax through the constant contractions. I finally make it back to the bed. Nurse comes in - manages to take out the medicine and checks me - I'm 6 cm. 3:20 AM.

I freak out. Ask for an epidural - haven't even had a full bag of saline through the IV - can't get an epi until that goes in. Yeah right am I going to get that epi. 2 minutes later - I really want to push. They get me a little stadol (I'm among the few who LOVE it). I'm 10 cm. I'm really freaking out. There is no way I can do this without an epidural - somebody give me one NOW! I can't do this, seriously - I can't do this. Once I said I can do this - they wouldn't let me forget I said that.

I started pushing. I don't know how to explain it. I'm fully aware of what is going on - I can feel all the things happening in my body - the need to help the baby down the birth canal - the need to push him further and further so he can come out - the extreme pain, but at the same time - mentally - I feel separated. I wonder if it's our coping mechanism for going through something so intense. I was there - and above it the whole time. And I made it over.

3:45AM - Liam is here! Thank the Lord it's over! And he is so beautiful - and small! Thank the Lord for his small head! And he was posterior. Crazy. He had a knot in his umbilical cord! OMG _ thank God. It could have been so bad and he is healthy and safe. No wonder he was smaller than Eli - and thank God for that too!!! :)

7 lbs 13 oz. 20 inches long. Small head - that's the most important. And so beautiful. I'm a mom - again. It's amazing.

20 minutes later my mom, dad, and best friend arrived. Sorry you missed it!!! But I'm glad it was that fast! I love being a mom - I love being a woman and being blessed to go through this amazing journey. I can't wait to do it again ( but in about 2 years)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Return to the blog

So I haven't blogged in FOREVER. A lot has changed. I will try to post some blogs that I have rolling around in my head from the last 8 months....