Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Evelyn!

My baby turned 1 yesterday. It was a happy but emotional day for me. I wasn't emotional about Eva getting big, I mean, I want her to grow and change and turn into her own person. I was emotional because she's getting big (all my kids are) and I feel bad because I don't take the time to stop and treasure all the special moments as much as I would like to. I made a point to slow down yesterday and just breath. I wanted to share some pictures of Eva's special day with you all. I'm sorry for the lack of really good photos. You know, the whole "slowing down and breathing" thing kind of made me forget the camera at times. =)

Here's the Princess herself opening presents. That's Nate behind her and also me with my head chopped off in the background. I think that's a good look for me. =)

Of course, Eva had a cupcake with one candle. Each of her siblings got to blow out their own candle as this was a very important day for them as well. Being older siblings is not always an easy job but they are great at it. I am so proud of my kids and the way they love each other.

A yummy cupcake! She wasn't quite sure what to do with it at first but she caught on real fast!
Happy Birthday, My beautiful, sweet Evelyn Ayalguu. "As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"I'm not cute. I'm handsome. And cool."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

To Blog or not to Blog...

That is the question that has been pestering me for the past month or so. I go round and round with this. I love this mode of keeping up with my friends all over the globe but at the same time I struggle with wanting to protect my privacy and that of my family. I want to stay real but at the same time I feel vulnerable and open to criticism (which anyone who knows me well can tell you I don't take very well.) I could make my blog a private blog and only allow close friends to read it, but by keping it open to the public I have made some really neat friends that I would have never met otherwise.

A few weeks ago I was ready to give up blogging. Besides not having much time to do it I was thinking that maybe I was "over" blogging. Like, I didn't need it anymore. But as I imagined my life without this little outlet, a place for me to be me, I felt sad and even protective. I may not write as often as I would like but, yes I think I will keep my blog. I will write. I will be bold at times and closed and conservative at others. I will opt for the comment moderation option and I will feel free to delete your comment if I am so inclined. =)

So, fellow blogger who encouraged me to write today (You know who you are), thank you.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

What's been making me smile

It's Sunday afternoon and 2 kids are napping and 2 are in UB having fun with their daddy. I'm enjoying some peace and quiet with a bowl of creamy potato carrot soup and a thick slice of buttered homemade bread. I had my dessert of chocolate cookies first so as not to risk the kids waking up and interrupting that very important part of my meal.

Anyhow, it's been a while but I'm back for now with a fresh little list of things that make me go "yay!"

  1. Kenny saying, "Mommy, I love you more and that's that."

  2. Eva is crawling and trying to talk. She's too adorable for words!

  3. Fresh yogurt and milk that is plentiful in the summer. And now new veggies are out, too!

  4. Abi will be starting 1st grade this fall. So exciting!

  5. Nate's Mohawk

  6. Our young peoples' summer camp

  7. God's amazing provision for our family time and time again!

Thanks for letting me share my little list with you. There are many more things I could list here but I still have some cleaning up to do before the kiddos wake up. Mmmm, I think I feel a cup of coffee coming on.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Taking The Time

We all say it. "Kids are more important than ministry." I grew up hearing the phrase and in our home, it was nice to know that it was true. But I have seen so many ministry families who find it difficult to balance both family and ministry. Not that Hetee and I don't find it challenging at times. But we really enjoy each other and our kids and we like spending time together whenever we can.

Last night Hetee and I planned a surprise for our kids and we had quite a hard time keeping it to ourselves. It was late when we got home from ministering at a women's meeting. We made supper and ate quickly. Then, as usual, we brushed the kids' teeth and tucked them into bed. After about 30 minutes (and a few empty threats to "go to sleep, now, or else!") we got them back up and told them to put their clothes on.

It took them a few seconds to get moving; as if they didn't believe what they had heard. Then they began chattering excitedly and wondering what could possibly worth mommy and daddy dragging them out of bed in the middle of the night.

We all dressed warmly, even Evelyn, and headed out to the car where blankets were waiting in the trunk. We drove to the outskirts of Darkhan, up a hill that overlooks the city and parked and spread out our blankets. We were running low on cash and all I had on hand was one apple and one chocolate moon pie and a couple of candies. We took those and enjoyed them on our "midnight picnic". Our kids shared graciously and we could barely find anyone to take the last bite of the apple or the moon pie.

We stretched out on our blankets and gazed at the night sky. Together, we witnessed a shooting star, asked each other questions and listened, unhurried, to the answers. We cuddled, Eva nursed, we laughed and goofed. We told scary stories. Well, not really. We told regular stories with scary voices and that was scary enough for my crew.

When it was time to go, we were all satisfied. Our hearts were full and Hetee and I, although tired, felt ready to meet the next thing Shepherding had to throw at us. Our kids' world was safe and secure. They went back to their beds and fell asleep peacefully, feeling more important than mommy and daddy's work.

I know that these opportunities to spend time together won't last forever. One day all my children will have grown up and left home to live their own lives. I don't want to look back and think about all the things I should have done with them or all the things we missed during their childhood. I am very fortunate to have a husband who has the same family goals and values that I do (despite vast differences growing up). We want to live with no regrets and if our kids develop fond memories in the meantime, we all win.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Summer, 2010

So happy to share with you all the latest pictures of our gang plus 2 cousins...

L to R: Nathaniel, 8; Kenneth, 4; Munkh-Tushig, 2; Munkh-Enerel, 3; Abigail,6; Evelyn, 7 mos.

I love how in this quick shot everyone is just being themselves!

Have a happy summer, everybody!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

They Got Style

Abi, age 6 and Kenny, almost 4

Saturday, March 27, 2010


For Aunt Leah...

For Aunt Lydia...

For Aunt Lydia and Aunt Sara...

Thank you all for the lovely surprises!

(I wish I could have gotten some better shots but the kids were cooperating about as good as a small herd of goats. But I knew you guys wouldn't mind.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


For me sadness and grief have always been a funny thing, if you'll forgive my choice of word there. There are a few things that stand out in my memory as truly sad events in my life. The memories of these things sneak up on me at the strangest times and I usually feel better if I give in and cry a little.

Today, melancholia snuck up and hit me over the head so I've put the kids to bed, put some Celine on real low and sat down for a date with my blog.

When I was about 10 I met one of the best friends I'd ever have. Her name was Dalia and she was everything you ever wanted in a friend. I remember the first day we met. I had heard about her from my dad and he wondered if she and I might like to meet.

Dalia and I hit it off immediately and we were soon as close as sisters. For about 3 years we were inseparable. We'd have sleepovers and talk all night long about things we'd be when we grew up, about our wedings and about where we would live. We would be neighbors. We promised we'd name our daughers after each other.

But in one night everything changed forever. Dalia's parents were driving home one night and passed through a small river they'd crossed, that we'd crossed, by car many times before and without warning a flash flood from the mountians washed down and swept their car away. They both drowned and Dalia and her brothers went to live with a close family friend of theirs in another city and I never saw her again. Just like that.

If I had known it was the last time I'd see her I would have held her longer when we parted. But how could I have known? Now a desperate sob wells up in my throat every time I think about her.

Losing my niece 7 years ago is another thing that covers me in a dark cloud. She was 12. She was abducted and made to suffer. She was murdered. Just like that. So cruel and unforgiving is man and his sin and selfishness.

In the summer of 2005 I lost my baby to miscarriage. It was a hard blow and made me spin in ways I never imagined.

Then 2 summers ago we burried our friends' baby. He had fallen 5 stories to his death. As I looked at the tiny white coffin I couldn't help but wonder if he was scared as he fell. I tried not to let the image play in my mind. It was hard not to. It's still so overwhelmingly sad and I think about it every day.

As sad as these things are for me I know that God still loves me and those people involved in the stories I shared and not once did He turn His back on us.

Everybody suffers. It's part of the world we live in. Bad things happen and we can't undo them. Whether the suffering comes through an act of nature or an act of aggression from another human being, we've all been there and have felt sorrow and deep sadness.

People say that time heals all wounds. That's not true at all. It's Jesus and His work on the cross that heals our wounds. When we see things in the light of eternity we can feel the hope and the peace that comes from Him alone.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Here, Hetee, Nate and Caleb are getting ready to take the first ride down the hill. As you can see behind them the hill was really busy. The weather was beautiful and lots of kids were out playing and sledding. Caleb's younger sister, Leah took a nasty spill when a boy on a sled ran into her. She was pretty shaken up but not hurt too badly, thank God!

Abi and Kenny with New Darkhan, Old District backdropped behind them.

Making a fort!

Back home with hot chocolate, red cheeks and hopefully warm memories that will last a lifetime.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Every Good and Perfect Gift

Many of you remember Bogi and Enkhmaa and the loss they experienced almost 2 years ago. I can't believe it's been that long since Yalalt was here with us. I sure do miss him.

Bogi and Enkhmaa would like to let you all know that they have been blessed with another baby boy, Tuguldur (which means "good and perfect"), who was born 1 week ago. He was 12 lbs 1 oz and oh my, what a handsome big fellow he is! He and his big sister have brought so much joy to their mommy and daddy and to the rest of us, too.

Sara and Brad, thank you again for your generosity in blessing this family! Please tell all who gave that we are very grateful for their generosity as well.

Due to some health issues Enkhmaa has not been able to breastfeed. So with the help of my friend Sara, the baby has been supplied with formula from the US. I am also breastfeeding him occasionally and pumping milk to supplement.

He is a big boy and it takes a lot to keep him full =).

Thank God for baby blessings, for healing from pain and loss, and for life that goes on.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I feel tempted to write "Let everything that has breasts praise the Lord" as the title of this post. I still might do it. It's after 1 am and my judgment is a little clouded by a serious need for sleep...

This little girl was an infant when I first met her. She was very sick, being diagnosed with pneumonia and severely malnourished. During the time she spent in the hospital her mother's milk dried up and she was unable to nurse her. I offered to step in and take the baby and nurse her for a few hours every day. I tried to have a meal prepared for the mother (Altaa, pictured here, too) as she needed some nourishment as well. The father wanted nothing to do with the gospel at the time but the grandmother and grandfather started coming to church.

A few weeks ago, at church, Altaa introduced me to her husband. He has been coming to church and is now a new believer! All thanks to breastmilk! (See, the reall stuff IS better than formula! heehee)

This not the first or the last baby I've breastfed that doesn't belong to me. In Mongolia it's not uncommon to do this sort of thing and I'm glad because it just makes so much sense. I've breastfed at least 4 babies that I can remember including one just today. It's a practical way to ensure their health, especially in such harsh weather conditions and when you look at the other option (cow's milk because formula is SO expensive or is simply unavailable) this is just so much better.

So there you have it. I was doing it before she was but good for her just the same. =)

Got milk?

Or as they say in Mongolia:

Sootai yu?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My big girl!

Guess who is 3 months old?


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"When I was born I made you a mom" --Nate, 7

When I first became a mother I used to feel flattered when another mother commented on how well I was with my child or when someone would come to me for advice.
But by the time my first baby hit toddlerhood I had another newborn and I was beginning to get the feeling of having bitten off more than I could chew. The compliments no longer made me feel flattered. Instead, I began feeling like a fraud. Friends thought I had this whole mothering thing figured out but I felt as though I was the one who needed guidance and advice. I wasn't trying to come off as one who had it all together, but to them, I guess that's what it looked like.

Now that my oldest is 7 and I've had the opportunity to learn a few lessons, I'm feeling more comfortable offering humble advice to other moms who need it. I no longer feel like I'm in over my head although that feeling just may return when my kids move through their teen years. =)

I was talking to a young mother the other day and she confided that she couldn't see herself raising more than 2 kids. I remember feeling that way and now I have 4.

My children have taught me so much. They've shaped and disciplined me more than I have them. I am a million times better because of the influence each one has had on me. I know that the day I became a mother was the day my life changed for the better.

James Dobson was right when he said that parenting isn't for cowards. It's been a tough journey so far but if you train them right, the "easy" far outweighs the "hard", trust me.

I read a devotion once when Nate was a strong-willed little toddler and I was coming to God every night in tears, begging Him for guidance. I can't remember who wrote it but it was about taking advantage of the time we have with our children to teach and train them before their character was set. The time frame for this is about 1000 days--or the first 3 years of the child's life.

One thousand days. That's not very long. If I love him/her it should be the easiest thing in the world to sacrifice my time (my work, my career, etc) and devote myself to the task of shaping the character, attitude and future of my child.

Before, I viewed toddlerhood as something that was unpleasant but unavoidable. The way I saw it, I needed to "hang on" and pray that those years would be over quickly.

But the "1000 days" thing really put things into perspective for me. Instead of wanting to run from my responsibility and seeing it as an extremely difficult task, it made me want to use each day to instill values into my child. After all, the clock was ticking. Each day that passed was a countdown. I didn't feel overwhelmed since my husband and I had a plan. We decided to make each day count and get to work with training our young children. I have applied this to each of my children and continue to offer this advice to other women who have small babies and toddlers and who are overwhelmed by the job of raising them.

Some parents leave the care of their children during this time to someone else. Sometimes a daycare or a family member has more access to a child during these 1000 days than the parents do. I think it's unfortunate that the parents don't take advantage of this window of time and save themselves and their children time, arguments and tears later on.

This is something I think about a lot since it is my line of work. I am a mom and I am a minister to women. I research and read and pray about this because I feel it is so important for us to maximise this time if we are to raise godly offspring.

Please understand that this post is not about mothers working outside the home. It is very possible for a mother to be at home, raising her child herself and yet not actively taking steps to shape his/her character. I am writing mostly to get my thoughts and, if I'm lucky, to encourage the overwhelmed, overworked young mother out there who needed to hear this today.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the subject.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Overheard at the art table...

Nate: Abi, you're so boring.

Kenny: (repeating) Abi, you're so boring.

Nate: Abi, you don't do anything fun.

Kenny: (repeating) Abi, you don't do anything fun and you're such a baby.


Nate: Kenny, you went too far. You went too deep, man.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Today Nate and I braved the freezing cold and headed out to the church office. I had a meeting and Nate had drum lessons with his Uncle Billy. Hetee has only one sibling-- his baby brother who is 2 years younger. Belee, or Billy as we call him, is a music teacher. He is extremely talented and works so well with kids. Especially my kids. =)

Billy is teaching Nate to read music and play the drums by notes. Nate is catching on fast and he is enjoying himself. Hetee can read music so he helps Nate with homework and practice. Hetee's family is quite musical. My mother-in-law is a retired music teacher and her father, Hetee's grandfather was a famous composer. I hope at least a little bit of that talent has trickled down to my kids.

I'm so proud of my son. He's turning into a talented, dedicated and sensitive young man. I get tears in my eyes just typing that out.

Nate and Billy

On the way home Nate told me that he likes being with me. "Even in this cold?" I asked. He replied, "Hanging out with you makes me warm."

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sweet Pics

To keep you on a sugar high all day!