Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Today is William's 10 month "birthday" and it's still crazy to think that he's been in our lives that long.  Although it feels weird... at times it's like the past 10 months have been sooooo long and other times it feels like only yesterday we were preparing for baby William's arrival.  

We've been back in Thailand for a little over a month now and if I could pick any word to describe what we've been up to, it would be "readjusting".  The interesting part about living overseas is that I feel like I'm often in a constant state of readjusting.  Not just to the time difference, but to the culture, the people, the way of live, the food, the weather... you get the point.  Add parenting to the mix and I feel like things are never staying the same!  *Sigh*  Such is life, I guess, so I just better get used to it :)

William continues to grow into my favorite person in the whole wide world and every day it is a JOY and PRIVILEGE to be a part of his life.  He is constantly on the move these days, which keeps me very aware (and sometimes on edge!).  He loves to stand and "walk" alongside furniture.  He is constantly standing up and sitting down... it must make him feel really independent or something because he will do that for at least 30 minutes.  Up, down.  Up, down.  It's so cute.  He also is eating just about everything that I'll let him eat.  He still loooooves rice and doesn't seem to mind vegetables as much as his mommy does.  Just the other day, I fed him some leftover "braised pig cheek in a homemade ravioli with a brown butter sage sauce" and he devoured it.  I hope his sophisticated palette continues on into his toddler years!  He also stopped nursing this month.  Cold turkey.  Just one day decided that he was done and wanted nothing to do with it anymore.  Kinda sad for me, but also kind of freeing.  :)  He's drinking formula now and seems to love it.  Doesn't even like it in a bottle anymore... he's moved on to bigger and better things like a sippy cup.  I'm thankful for such an easy baby!  He's also learning how to wave "bye bye" and we are trying to teach him to put his hands together and bow when people say "Sa wat dii khap".  I'm trying to say things in English and also in Thai when I talk to him.  Pawn obviously speaks to him in Thai all the time, so it'll be interesting to see what his first words will come out as... Thai or English?  :)  Well, enough about the boring milestones of William (that are only interesting to me and his grandmas!).  On to what "readjusting" has looked like for the Sauder fam... enjoy!

Pawn was outside sweeping and he was just waiting for her to come back inside.  So sweet. 

Having fun playing in his room!

When he smiles, his whole face lights up!


Sometimes we have dance parties and William likes to go on our shoulders and doing this "pointing" move.  I gotta say, he's got moves like his daddy!  :)

This was one of my favorite onesies we got for William at our baby shower in America.  A personalized "toolbelt" onesie!  He finally fits into it! 

This is how we do bath time in Thailand.   In a big bucket.

Catching up with friends and ordering our favorite pizza.  This place makes huge New York pizzas... too big to fit through our door!

We were all praying for our meal and we opened our eyes to this.  Stinker. 

Listening intently at church :)

William's first (and hopefully last?) playing with his own poop.  Gross.

William's been sick a couple of times since being back (he got roseola and also a very stuffy nose).  The  only perk about him being sick is that my very active boy because very cuddly.  Here we are cuddling after his bath.  What an adorable lil monkey.

In coming back to Thailand, I asked God to renew my love for Thailand and help me see things that I appreciate about living here.  I hoped it would lead to a more thankful heart and an attitude of praise.  God was really, really gracious.  He gave me little things each day that reminded me of his care for my heart.  He is restoring me... and for that I am so, so very thankful.
Thankful for beautiful coffee shops like this one

 Thankful that when William is sick, he finds comfort in Pawn.  SUPER thankful for Pawn's life and the impact she's had on mine.  I love her dearly and love who she is for William.  On days when I'm missing my parents (and feeling sorry that William is missing out on being with them), I have to remind myself that God is providing for us in different ways.  Not better nor worse, just different.  I'm thankful.

Thankful I can go to the market and buy fresh veggies and fruit year round for really cheap! 

Thankful that Steven and I had an unexpected visit from our dear, dear friends... Jon & Bonnie!  It was good for our souls and reminded me that we do have a great support system here.

Thankful that Pawn makes delicious food for us and that I get to create things with her in the kitchen.  It's life-giving for me.  Here are her maple-bacon scones.  Soooo good.

 Thankful for my husband and the vision of Expat Homes.  Upon reading his entire business plan, I realized how gifted Steven is and how blessed I am to be his helpmate in this crazy journey.  He has not only worked diligently to speak Thai well, but he has devoted hours into putting this crazy idea into a reality.  By faith, he takes risks and trusts God to handle the unknowns... and not for his own sake, but solely for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.  My husband is awesome.  And I'm blessed that he chose me and continues to choose me every day.
Since being back, our team (the girls) have launched a new ministry, called Bliss, to house-helpers in Thailand.  To quote our mission statement:  Bliss is a training network aimed at building relationships with Thai house-helpers, affectionately known as "Mae Baans".  Bliss empowers these women to find joy and fulfillment intheir work through specific skill training, while ultimately discovering the depth of their self-world.  Bliss: creating stories of joy.  

We hosted a meeting for our friends to cast vision for the ministry and to gain more ideas on how to begin this work. We hope to start offering cooking and cleaning training classes in the new year.

And just thankful to have such a cute, sweet boy.  All ready to go to church!

After his afternoon nap, he likes to have a snack and watch a baby video.  I love seeing his cute feet dangle from his high chair.

The boy loves potstickers.  And this random toy that's a big red screw.  Stevo's happy about that :)

He stands up in his crib now :)  And sometimes he manages to wiggle out of his sleep sack.  And sometimes he cries.  :)

I call this "A meal in the life of William".  Eat. Shovel. Stuff. Poop.  The end. 

Time for a baby gate!  My boy is getting so tall! 

On a hike with William... who looks so ridiculous in his carrier!  :)  He was smiling the whole time behind that blue flap... the boy loves the outdoors.  Like father, like son! 

And that's a wrap.  A month full of readjustments and growth.  I'll leave you all with another video... a Saturday morning activity with dad!

William's 1st Haircut!

Just 9 months old and he's already going for his first haircut!  William has always had a lot of hair, but over the summer it really grew to the point where it was falling in his eyes.  Must've been all that good food he ate!  Steven kept saying that we needed to get his haircut, but I thought he was way too young so I kept putting it off.  But now that I look back at pictures, it definitely was way too long.  He looked so shaggy!

So, off we went to our hairdresser in our neighborhood.  Steven has been going to her for awhile to not only get his haircut, but to practice speaking Thai.  It's not a bad deal really... she shampoos your hair like three times (I have no idea why...), gives you a head massage, cuts your hair and speaks Thai with you!  All for only $3!

The "before" shot!

"Mom? What's gonna happen to me?!?"

Not sure if William is more unsure about the lady in the pollution mask or the two HUGE hands wrapped around his neck... :)

Anyone who knows William also knows that the kid never sits still.  EXCEPT when getting his haircut!

"Seriously. I'm so confused."

Getting shorter!

I love that face oh so much.

So still.  So unusual.

Time to trim the back!


Tada!  New cut.  Not the best I've seen, but it'll do!  (Especially since William's cut was only $2)

 Unsure about the lady in the mask.

My two handsome boys with their fresh haircuts!

As a celebration for William's good behavior, we took him to the market and let him go wild with his favorite food... fried rice!  Way to go, Bud.  You're 1st haircut was a success, now stop growing up so fast!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We're back!

Well, we've actually been back in Thailand for a little over a month now and I'm just catching up with all our pictures and events.  Opps!

Obvioulsy we all made it back in one piece and we were thankful for a relatively smooth trip back.  William continues to prove himself to be the best kid ever, always adjusting with our crazy schedules and demands!

Before we left, we had a quick breakfast with Auntie Kara, Uncle Josh & Grandma/Grandpa Sauder

William sure does miss them!

Testing out the carrier for the plane ride.  I always think William and Steven look so ridiculous in it!  Turns out, we never used it.  Steven just carried William around in his arms until he fell asleep.

Some last giggles with Ama

 Not the greatest picture quality (I gotta stop taking pictures with my iPad!), but I love everyone in this pic too much not to include it.  On our last night, Mom cooked an amazing meal for everyone and we just enjoyed our cherished time together.  I miss them all so much.

Bye bye, Uncles and Aunties!

This was a big "God help" moment for me.  The morning of our flight, packing our things, getting William ready, saying goodbye to my parents... my heart was heavy and quite fearful.  It has been no secret that this past year in Thailand has been very hard on us and I was really anxious about returning, especially after such a great summer with loved ones.  This moment was a very tangible step of faith for me as I boarded the plane once again for Thailand.

God was gracious though and we ended up having bulkhead seats for both flights.  It gave us a little more leg room and some more space for William to "play".  Unfortunately, William didn't sleep much on the first flight (14 hours).  I did manage to get him to fall asleep on me a few times, but it was never for too long.  Let's just say we were all pretty tired by the time we made it to Korea!

In Korea waiting for our flight to Chiang Mai.  Mommy looks awfully tired, but I think William was so out of it that he was almost giddy!  Just another 6 hour flight to go...

WE MADE IT.  Oh my goodness, praise the Lord, we made it!!!  William slept a lot more on the flight to Chiang Mai (on mommy... which meant that mommy didn't sleep at all!), but I was thankful that at least William could get some rest.  All in all, it was an emotionally and physically draining trip but it went the best it could.  All of our flights were on time, William only had a couple of breakdowns, I actually got on the plane and all our bags arrived.  A successful trip indeed.

The above pic is at 2 in the morning on the night we landed.  William's schedule, of course, was completely messed up and he had no intentions of going to sleep!

He did, however, fall asleep in our bed with us the following morning.  That's some serious jet-lag bed head!

Just bein' cute.

Reunited with Pawn and pretty happy about it!

Just a few days after being back, William turned 9 months.
This is his 9 month selfie.

The great thing about living in Thailand?  Fresh fruit for this kid year round!

So thank you (a very belated THANK YOU), to all those who prayed for us and our trip back.  I, especially, felt the peace of God transcend all understanding.  Even though leaving was incredibly hard, I wasn't nearly as emotional and upset as I thought I was going to be.  I take that as a great gift of grace God was extending me... and I have no doubt that it was through the prayers of our loved ones.  So thank you.