Caleb

Caleb's 3rd Birthday

On Friday, Caleb turned three and in the days leading up to his birthday, I found my mind wandering down memory lane. My earliest musings are of nights filled with endless walking and nursing, singing and crying and then starting all over again. But gradually a light began to pierce through the newborn fog and there was his first laugh, the first time he sat up by himself, his first steps and words. I have watched in awe as this little human being stretches into his limbs and personality with each new day. I remember the first time he hugged me, the first time he hugged a friend, the first time he told me he was sad, and the day he screamed in rage the entire tuk tuk ride into the city. I love watching Caleb and Aaron laugh themselves silly or go exploring together. I love seeing Jacob kiss an owie or take off on the moto with him. And just last week, Caleb looked at me and said for the very first time, “Mommy, me want Caleb/Mommy ‘I love you’ snuggles now.” It pretty much made my month. 

And lest you think it is all rainbows and bunny kisses, we do have more than our fair share of tantrums, weird poop stories, and scratching-our-heads, frustrated-beyond-belief moments. But this blog is about birthdays and CELEBRATION!!! And what is there to celebrate about digging plastic animals out of your toddler’s bottom on a Sunday afternoon? NOTHING. Anyway, moving on...

On Saturday we had a little party at a local playground. Just a playtime, some banana bread cake (Caleb’s favourite and Cambodians too), bubbles and some presents. It was a bit hot (tropical blazing was more like it) but we still had fun. Caleb plays in Sak Saum’s nursery while I work downstairs so these are his buddies, their moms, and a few other good friends. He loves his friends and that night when I put him to bed he said, "Mommy, me happy with me friends, me playground." Enjoy the pics! — Noelle

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Trip Home to the States and More!

In September, Caleb and I had the opportunity to fly back to the States for a short visit. It was Caleb's first visit to the U.S. and I hadn't been back in over 3yrs! It was my first time traveling with a toddler that distance, so I was so thankful to have Noelle's Dad, Bruce, with me on the first half of the journey. Caleb did so great. I was so impressed by how resilient he was whether it be his capability to function with a lack of sleep or adjusting to new people and places. We both experienced some culture shock. I wish he could have expressed it in words, but even I don't have all the right words to express the different emotions and the way I was feeling after being away for so long. One thing I noticed right away was the amount of space available. There is so much space, everywhere. It blows my mind. Also, I loved driving there. My blood pressure stayed consistent and didn't spike to alarming levels because someone decided to quickly putt across my lane and nearly kill himself. I could spend the next several paragraphs comparing and contrasting the differences in culture, but I won't bore you with that. 

What I cherished the most was spending time with family and friends. It was so rich and I was thankful that, for many of our relationships, we could pick up where we left off so easily. I visited some of my old MILL friends, my home church and of course spent gobs of time with my family and some with Noelle's family as well. I am so grateful for our families and close friends. 

Since Noelle and Aaron weren't traveling home this time, Bruce (Noelle's Dad) came to visit the ten days prior. It was so nice having him here with us again. We had lots of fun - going to the zoo and visiting an ancient ruin on the way, lots of games and books with the kids, special father/daughter time and many other memorable moments. And I will say again how thankful I was that we were able to coordinate our flights so we could all fly back together. It was great having his help with Caleb.

Well, you can probably imagine that I took lots of photos during this trip, and as usual I had a hard time narrowing down which photos to include. I tried to break them down in sections so the blog doesn't seem so lengthy :). Enjoy!

Grandpa is Here!

And the zoo...

And the zoo...

Lots of games!

Lots of games!

Grandpa got to be here for Aaron's first day of school.

Grandpa got to be here for Aaron's first day of school.

Aaron running some last minute errands with me before I left.

Aaron running some last minute errands with me before I left.

The big Plane ride!

Caleb was pretty excited to watch Frozen on the plane. We were so fortunate to have a whole row to ourselves too!

Caleb was pretty excited to watch Frozen on the plane. We were so fortunate to have a whole row to ourselves too!

We made it safe and sound!

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Friends!

Friends from my MILL days now living in Ft. Collins helping with MILL City Church.

Friends from my MILL days now living in Ft. Collins helping with MILL City Church.

Aaron Stern and I

Aaron Stern and I

Love my community there. I was so encouraged and felt so supported during my stay in Ft. Collins.

Love my community there. I was so encouraged and felt so supported during my stay in Ft. Collins.

Good friends -- Kevin and Becca Browning and Maggie Turner. Wonderful people!!

Good friends -- Kevin and Becca Browning and Maggie Turner. Wonderful people!!

Picking my Grandma up from the airport

Picking my Grandma up from the airport is indescribable. This woman is so important to me!! Love her so much!

Picking my Grandma up from the airport is indescribable. This woman is so important to me!! Love her so much!

More Friends, More Family!

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Caleb loved the trains at Grandpa's!

Caleb loved the trains at Grandpa's!

Grandma's Birthday Party!

Last but not least, the zoo!

I found myself taking lots of photos of Caleb sleeping. I thought I'd show you a few :)

Finally, Caleb and his big brother reunited!

February Update

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A favorite time during my day is lunch hour in the nursery at Sak Saum. I love bringing my lunch upstairs and eating with some of the young moms and the children. One of the gifts God has given me in this season of my life is the ability to navigate motherhood with them. I have been so grateful to share some of the struggles and joys that are common to moms with young children — sleepless nights, odd rashes, potty training, funny things our children say, and so on. I have learned a lot from them in a short time…

  • Generosity. Cambodians are so willing to share what they have with each other and each other’s children. This has both challenged and encouraged me.
  • Helping. Regularly I watch mothers take turns holding each other’s children or helping calm a crying baby so that the mother can take a brief rest or eat some lunch. 
  • Laughing. There is a great deal of the humorous in parenthood. Some days, the good belly laugh I share over a child’s antics or a new game is such a bright spot.

And it has been interesting to hear from them what they find to be so curious about how I am a mommy. Here are two that they have mentioned to me before.

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  • Talking. I am always talking with Caleb about himself, his actions, the reasons why he should or shouldn’t do something, what God thinks about something and so on. This is quite strange to them! I still catch stares out of the corner of my eye. But the other day, I came up to the nursery and found Channa with her daughter on her lap as she explained to her why hitting the baby was not a good idea and encouraged her patiently to say sorry.
  • Showing affection and saying I love you. I can’t help it! I have a little boy who craves as much physical touch as he can get and I simply cannot help but hug, kiss, and snuggle him. I love telling him that I love him. I love seeing moms loving on their children.

Thanks for letting me give you a peek into my very precious world. I love and miss you!

Noelle

Prayer Requests

Thanks for joining with us in asking God to…

  • Continue to protect our marriage against the normal and abnormal stressors that come with daily life here.
  • Continued progress with Aaron's foster care/adoption process.
  • Give wisdom and strength to the ministry as they experience new growth in many arenas.
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End of Year Giving Statements 

We are working on our end of year giving statements, however you should have received your official statement from New Life Church already. Thanks so much for your patience! We plan to have them out soon.

Crazy Instagram

I'm sure most of you have heard of the social service called Instagram. It's a service that users can upload photos/videos and share with Facebook or Twitter and to your Instagram feed. 

It's really great because it's not Facebook! It's a simple service with a simple function allowing you to focus on one important feature -- photos. 

Noelle and I both love it. I thought it would be fun to show you some of our favorites. 

You can follow us on Instagram here: Jacob and Noelle 

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The Goodlins Go to Sihanoukville

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A couple weeks ago, we had a few days off for a holiday, so we decided to hump it down to the beach! This was Caleb's first time and Aaron absolutely loves the ocean. Caleb did so well in the car - sleeping for about 2 of the 4hr drive, which was great.

Normally, everyone swarms to Phnom Penh during the Water Festival, but the boat race was cancelled, so I guess everyone decided to go to the beach too. It was quite busy on the road, but our stay was pleasant.

It was so enjoyable watching the kids just having fun and I took lots of pictures too! Enjoy

Our first evening.

Two things: Caleb hates his hat and he's not a fan of the sand...yet.

Two things: Caleb hates his hat and he's not a fan of the sand...yet.

He was warming up...slowly.

He was warming up...slowly.

Aaron just jumped right in!

Mama and Caleb

Mama and Caleb

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Love this look!
Love this look!

Breakfast time -- free buffets are the best!

love this...

love this...

Aaron listening to the ocean :)

Aaron listening to the ocean :)

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