Thursday, December 11, 2008

Baby Update

We're now 15 weeks and we had another doctor's appointment last week and this time the doctor spent even longer doing an ultrasound. We really enjoyed getting to see our little one! The doctor checked to make sure that the baby is growing appropriately and that the spinal cord is fully closed. Everything looked good! The heart rate was again about 140/minute. The picture isn't as good this time, but we were able to see all of the baby including the tiny fingers and the baby trying to suck his/her thumb. Pretty amazing! I've been feeling good too and have a little more energy than I did during the first trimester. I'm starting to get a "pooch"...I'll make a slideshow of pictures so you can watch my belly grow. In this picture the baby's head is on the right and is looking down.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Visitors!

The last few weeks we've had the pleasure of hosting some visitors. Luke's parents came to visit for a week at the beginning of November and a couple of days after they left my friend, Wendy, came for almost two weeks. We really enjoyed our time with each of them! Luke had to work while his parents were here so I had the honor of playing tour guide. We went to see the Neuschwanstein Castle and hiked up the mountain to get a view of the castle from a bridge, visited Dachau, did a little shopping in a nearby town, and drove to the Black Forest and visited Freiburg. Unfortunately I didn't take many pictures while they were here...not sure what I was thinking! But here's one of the Neuschwanstein castle in winter. It had snowed a little while Luke's parents were here and then we got about 5 inches the weekend after they left and it's still on the ground. I need to get geared up for a winter here!

Wendy and I had the chance to go to Prague for a couple of days while she was here. We also went to the BMW Museum, toured the Residence Castle in Munich, visited Dachau, made a Thanksgiving dinner with some friends, and did some shopping at a Christmas market. It was a lot of fun to have her here and I've enjoyed having people around to hang out with during the day! Wendy and I on the Charles Bridge (Prague Castle in background)
Astronomical ClockEntrance to Prague Castle (some of which was built in the 10th Century!)My favorite car at the BMW Museum...maybe not such a good family car though!

***Stay tuned for a baby update!!***

Friday, November 7, 2008

Our Baby's 1st Photo

As probably most of you have heard by now we are expecting a baby June 4th. We had our first OB appointment this week. We weren't really sure what to expect since it was here in Germany. I thought they might try and listen for the heartbeat with a doppler, but we were pleasantly surprised when they did a quick sonogram. So not only did we get to hear the heartbeat, but we got to see our little one as well! The head is on the left of the picture and is about half the body right now. You can see two little hands and one foot as well. On the sonogram we could also see the heart beating and the baby moving around some. Amazing!! The baby is only about 3 cm right now...so just over an inch. Overall I've felt really well so far. I've definitely been more tired than normal, but I figure being tired is something I should probably get used to! We've decided to move back to the States sometime towards the end of March. Luke's contract here is up at the beginning of April so the timing works well with that and then we'll be home a couple of months before the baby should arrive...hopefully that will give us a little time to get settled. Right now the plan is that we'll be moving to Hesston, KS where Luke will continue to work for Agco. We've started house-shopping :-) and are looking forward to being back closer to family.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Indonesia

Luke and I returned last Friday from spending two weeks in Indonesia visiting Luke's brother, Caleb. We saw and experienced so many things that I've been having a hard time deciding how to give you a glimpse of it in one blog post. So I will do my best (without going on and on and on...) to share the highlights with you. I've only included a few pictures in this blog, but I will make a slideshow of some of our favorite pictures on the sidebar that you can look at if you'd like. Between us and Caleb we have over 500 pictures, so I promise I'll just pick our favorites!

We spent the first week in Indonesia in Bandung, where Caleb lives. We met with many of his friends, spent some time with a couple from Kansas that has lived in Indonesia for 32 years, saw an active volcano, went to a market, went a Muslim mosque, and traveled to a farm in rural Indonesia and spent one night there. We then traveled back to Jakarta (the capital city) and stayed with an Indonesian family that Caleb has gotten to know well during his time there. They showed us great hospitality and we really enjoyed our time with them. While in Jakarta we were part of a going-away party for the couple from Kansas, toured a park that displayed the culture of the different islands that make up Indonesia, and spent one night on a small island where we were able to snorkel, relax, and enjoy the scenery. On our way to the airport at the end of our trip Caleb asked us to choose five words to describe our experience in Indonesia. I think this may be the best way to highlight the trip for you. And in all honesty, I've made some slight changes to the five words from how I originally answered Caleb's question as I've had a little more time to reflect on our trip (and to try and give you a more complete picture on the blog!).

1. People: I think this word best describes Luke's and my first impression of Indonesia...there are people everywhere!! Caleb told us that the island has an average of 1000 people/sq km...and there are rural parts of the island with very few people. Most neighborhoods did not have streets through them, just very narrow paths (impossible for a car to fit down, but just wide enough for a motorcycle) called gongs. The gongs weave through all the houses that are definitely not set up on any sort of grid. We were amazed Caleb could figure his way through the mazes of gongs! The other reason we chose this word is that everyday we had at least one meal with a friend of Caleb's. It was a lot of fun to meet the people that he has been developing relationships with over the past two years. The above picture was taken after we ate lunch with Caleb's roommates. We had a great time with them and ended up giving a mini "marriage seminar" as they are almost all single, really wanting to find a wife, and had lots of questions about dating and marriage. I don't know how much wisdom we have to share after short 8 months...but they were eager to learn whatever they could from us!

2. Overwhelming: For much of the trip I found myself feeling overwhelmed, for a number of reasons (being pregnant may be one). I think one of the most difficult things for me was to see the level and extent of poverty that exists in Indonesia and feeling a sense of hopelessness and wondering how you could even begin to make a difference in a place with such poverty. The poverty level in Indonesia is considered an income of $2/day or less and 40% of the population lives at or below the poverty line. The government is well-known for its corruption and this has definitely contributed to the lack of development in Indonesia. The people we talked to though had great respect for their newest president and they all felt that he was taking steps to eliminate the corruption. This picture is a typical street scene in Bandung. There are a couple of bicycle taxis on the left side of the picture and a man carrying to large metal boxes over his shoulder. He is most likely able to cook out of these boxes and then sell food on the side of the street. This is a very common way Indonesians try to make a living. So not only do you have all the traffic of cars and motorcycles but you also have bicycle taxis, people pushing carts, and horse-drawn taxis trying to weave their way in and out of traffic. We actually saw a motorcyclist get knocked down by a young boy pulling a horse-drawn taxi against the flow of traffic during rush hour in Jakarta.

3. Culture: Luke and I really enjoyed getting to experience the culture of Indonesia. While we were in Bandung we attended a performance of traditional Indonesian music and dance. The Anklung is a traditional Indonesian instrument made out of bamboo reeds of different sizes to make different pitches. We even had the opportunity to learn how to play the Anklung. Dance in Indonesia always includes very colorful costumes, often a mask, and a lot of emphasis is placed on facial expressions and hand movements. The video at the end of this paragraph is a traditional Indonesian celebration for a boy before he is circumcised. The boy being carried in the chair is the lucky guy...I don't think he has any idea what's coming! We also got to try a variety of Indonesian foods, which always includes rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Indonesians we met joked that unless they've had rice with their meal they aren't full. In Indonesia breakfast food is not much different than what you eat for lunch or dinner...seasoned rice with tofu is a very common breakfast. We were also fortunate enough to be in Indonesia for mango season, so we ate lots and lots of mango and other tropical fruits while we were there. We also ate at a restaurant in Bandung that was up on top of one of the mountains and was an open restaurant in the jungle. There were huts spread throughout that each had one table, so you felt like you were the only ones there. There were trees, large boulders, and waterfalls all over as well. It was gorgeous and the food was delicious!! It is considered an upscale restaurant, but the entrees were all about $5/plate...what a deal! The night we ate with Caleb's Vietnamese friends they cooked traditional Vietnamese food. It was really good and Luke and I managed to eat the entire meal with chopsticks! The most interesting thing they made us was a dish they normally have to celebrate the new year that is made with meat and cartiledge from a pigs ears and face. I tried one bite, but that was about all that I could stomach. I think it was knowing I was eating cartilage more than the actual taste. I'll make sure and include some pictures of the food we ate in the slideshow of photos.
video

4. Ministry: It was really encouraging to see the fruits of the ministries that have been started in Indonesia. The first couple of nights we were in Bandung we stayed with a couple that has served in Indonesia for 32 years. They actually moved back to the US while we were there, but the fruits of their labor were very evident and encouraging to see. We met a friend of Caleb's that is a leader on a campus ministry team whose father had been discipled by the man of the couple that had been in Indonesia for 32 years. Luke and I were really challenged to think about how we can be intentional where the Lord has placed us and how we can best serve Him and the people that He has placed in our lives.

5. Beauty: While I would not necessarily say that the cities were overly asthetically pleasing, we saw some amazing beauty in the rural parts of Indonesia. We saw valleys of hand-farmed rice patties, active volcanoes, mountains, jungles, and amazingly clear blue water with gorgeous coral, sea animals, and fish. Definitely much different scenery than you see in Kansas or southern Germany! We also got to experience some traditional Indonesian music and dance while we were there that was beautiful as well! We both really enjoyed experiencing the culture and the friendliness of the people of Indonesia.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oktoberfest

This post is a little out of order, but I wanted to post a few pictures from our Oktoberfest experience. We went right before we left to come back to the States and so I didn't get the pictures posted before we left. It was definitely an interesting experience! The closest thing I can compare it to is a GIANT state fair. Although I'm taking Luke's word for that since I've never actually been to the state fair! There were TONS of people, carnival rides, a couple of roller coasters, tons of food vendors and beer tents. The beer tents are set up by the different breweries and serve beer and traditional German/Bavarian food. It can be difficult to get into the tents because of all the people, but we were there on a Sunday morning so we were able to get in and eat lunch in one of the tents.


Inside the beer tent--which is really a building they set up and tear down every year.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Adiella Gertrude Holland

Our niece, Adiella Gertrude, was born on October 7th at 7:48pm. She is a big girl and weighed in at 9 lbs 4 oz and is 21 inches long. Her and mom both did great and came home from the hospital yesterday evening. We've really enjoyed getting to spend some time with her!









Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gianna Jessen

A friend of mine posted this interview on her blog and I found it very eye-opening...so I thought I'd share it with you as well! I heard Gianna speak when I was in high school...what an amazing story and an amazing lady! You can also find more information about this at www.bornalivetruth.org

Monday, September 22, 2008

German Culture Lesson #1

A few different people have told me since moving to Germany that sometimes "culture shock" is worse in a place that is, for the most part, similar to the culture you come from. They say the reason is that things are similar enough to home that you unconsciously expect that most everything will be the same and when it's not it catches you completely off-guard, whereas in a completely new culture you don't really expect things to be the same. Some of my more difficult days here have definitely been when I felt like I had this living-in-Germany-thing pretty well under control and then haven't been able to do something simple like help the lady at the grocery store that insists on asking me about denture cleaners. I have no idea why she thought I looked like a denture expert! (There were tons of people in the store that day...many of whom were much older than me! :-) I ended up telling her I thought it was okay, but I was really frustrated that I couldn't understand what she was saying. We have also had some moments of "culture shock". One of these "moments" occurred many times this summer. We have come to learn that Germans believe that a draft will make you sick, maybe even kill you (especially if you're an infant). So even if it is 85 degrees outside and you're riding on the un-airconditioned train you cannot open your window (pictured above). If you do open your window people just come up and close it for you. I was caught so off-guard the first time this happened! They don't ask, they just walk up and close it. So funny! Some younger people apparently have not bought into this theory as much, so we always looked for cars with open windows on it when we traveled by train this summer. Now that it's getting cooler outside we've also learned that Germans believe it's good to sleep in a cold room...a really cold room actually. It is very common for Germans to turn the heat off in their sleeping room and leave their window wide open all night long! Crazy!! I haven't figured out yet why that draft is okay but the one on the train isn't. They will also leave a door or window open in winter to allow fresh air inside. Strange coming from people that hate drafts and are very energy-efficiency conscious! We haven't adopted this practice yet, but we've contemplated it just so it'd get cool enough in our apartment that we'd have a good excuse for Luke to start a fire in our fireplace! But I have a feeling those really cold days will be here soon enough!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Luke's Trip to Russia

Last week Luke took a business trip to Moscow, Russia for a couple of days. They had meetings one day and then had a morning to see some of the sights. Here are a few pictures from his trip!
The Kremlin
Russian architecture (notice each window is different...a Russian trademark)
Red Square (red in Russian also means beautiful...hence the lack of red!)
Cathedral inside the Kremlin
Another cathedral inside the Kremlin
Moscow skyline from Luke's hotel room.

Stalin-era apartments. Luke said these are everywhere...how aesthetic!
Notice the small, older (green) building next to the Stalin-era building. Luke said it was a city of contrasts of the very old, communist era, and the new capitalist era.
St. Basil's Cathedral

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fall is in the air!

Fall is definitely in the air here and I've been inspired to update the look of our blog! It has been a lot cooler here and a few of the trees have even started to lose their leaves. We welcomed the fall season this weekend with some chili and cinnamon rolls...yum...one of my favorites! We've also been able to take in some K-State football (replay of the games anyway) and watched the Chiefs yesterday (via Slingbox). Now we just need to figure out how to get our Kachelofen going! Our what?!...you may be asking...it's a large, tiled stove in our apartment. Apparently they're very popular in Germany, people get excited here when they find out we have one. It does produce a lot of heat and will definitely help us keep warm this winter...we just have to figure out how to carry the firewood to our apartment. The dilemmas of not having a car! The other sign of fall is that Oktoberfest is close to kicking off. We went to Munich yesterday for church and our church is only a block from the grounds where Oktoberfest is held. All the "tents" are up and ready to go. We haven't gotten our drindl and lederhosen yet, but we might go into Munich early next Sunday and check it out.

Soon to come...pictures from Luke's recent trip to Russia...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sommer in Marktoberdorf

My parents had originally talked about coming to visit this summer but it didn't work out and my dad recently commented that he was disappointed to not be here during the "growing season". So I thought I'd take some pictures to give you a glimpse of summer in Southern Germany. It really has been a gorgeous summer and I just told Luke the other day that I'm probably going to think that I'm going to melt our first summer back in Kansas! The highs average in the 70's and the lows in the 50's...definitely can't complain! There are several photos so I put them in a slideshow on the right hand side of the blog. I think if you click on the slideshow it will take you to the website that I uploaded them to and you can view them larger. We hope you're all doing well!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School

While I have enjoyed the past few months and the time I've had to adjust to living in Germany and the role of wife it has definitely gotten more difficult in recent weeks to find enough to do to keep busy. So this Thursday it is back to school for me. I am taking 4 courses at KU Med and plan to finish with a Masters of Public Health Nursing. Fortunately I'll be able to complete all my courses online and then will have 2 semesters of clinicals to complete when we return to the States. So it's time to hit the books!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Lord is Good

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
~Psalm 100

This past weekend the weather was gorgeous and we didn't have anywhere we had to be so Luke and I decided to ride our bikes towards Füssen (a town in the Alps where the Neuschwanstein castle is located). We thought we'd either ride part way and back or ride all the way and then take the train home. After we'd been riding for awhile we realized we hadn't brought any money with us for the train...so wherever we rode to we'd be riding back. We ended up within about 5 km of Füssen by the time we stopped for lunch...which made it about 55 km (35 mi.) round trip. I was reminded once again of the Lord's goodness and majesty surrounded by His beautiful creation! We have been so blessed in our first 5 months of marriage! It definitely hasn't been perfect and the Lord is already using our marriage to teach us just how selfish we can be and to refine us. I hope that I can continue to learn to praise Him in all circumstances and situations and learn to trust that even the difficult times are from Him and are in accordance with His good and perfect will. Here are some pictures from where we stopped for lunch.

Forgensee


You can barely see Neuschwanstein castle in mountains
(towards the left)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lindau

This weekend Luke and I took the train to Lindau...a small island in Bodensee (Lake Constance). The Rhine River flows through the lake and Austria and Switzerland border it. The weather was gorgeous (70 and sunny...I wish we could bring this summer weather back to Kansas with us!) and we enjoyed the day walking around the island, playing tourist on a paddle boat and just enjoying the scenery and weather. Here are a few pictures...
The harbor of Lindau
Cruising on the paddleboat
Luke "posing" for the camera...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fishy business...

Last week I thought it'd be fun to cook something somewhat festive for dinner on the 4th of July since we're living overseas and missed out on all the BBQing and fireworks. On one website they had different recipe ideas for different regions of the country and the Midwestern recipes were German-inspired recipes. Perfect! Or so I thought. So on Friday I went to the open market that they have every Friday in Marktoberdorf and bought some fresh fish. The filets in the window looked really good, but when the man behind the counter got the "2 Stuck" (2 pieces) that I asked for he lifted up a whole fish and dropped it in a plastic bag. I had eaten a whole fish once before but I wasn't sure I'd be able to stomach preparing it. I could hardly stand to see it's eyes peering at me through the plastic bag! I know...some of you are thinking..."really, a fish...and you worked in the Emergency Room???" And it's true...I've seen things that I won't list here because I'm sure you don't want to hear about them and yet I am totally grossed out by anything slimy or scaly!! Thankfully Luke came through for me and helped with all the preparations that required touching the fish...so pretty much all of it! They were delicious though and I guess somewhat festive...although I've never eaten a fish with eyes looking at me in the good ol US of A (and whole fish is actually what the recipe called for)! Here are a few pictures that I took to document the process!