Uruguay Christmas



Our trip to Uruguay starts back in the summer when my mom mentioned it. I looked at tickets and said, “Not gonna happen!” Around the end of September, I couldn’t really stop thinking about it, and I felt like God was prompting me to check again. The tickets weren’t a whole lot cheaper, but both Travis and I felt like we needed to be there for Christmas. My sister and her husband work there, and I wanted to see where they lived and worked. Plus, I love being with my family more than anything in the world, and on top of the my Grandma (Lewis’ great grandma) was going to be there. So we bought the tickets, and IT WAS AMAZING!

First, we got to have a day layover in Madrid, which is my favorite city in the world. Lewis got to jump in some leaves, I got churros from my favorite place, and Travis got to experience our happiness. Haha. Then, every flight Lewis got a seat even though he was a lap infant. And finally, I was hugging my sister and tearing up at the airport.

The whole trip was a delight. The food (chivitos, asado, milanesa, dulce de luche, pan dulce, media lunas) was so good. We took a beach trip and the AirBnb was perfect and the weather was great and the beach was fun and…you get the picture. The sisters and grandmas went out for coffee and had a good conversation. Christmas presents being opened. More food. Another beach day. In the park. Seeing college friends. Getting to know where my sister lives: their grocery store, their school, their church, their home! My heart is so full from all of it.

The best part of all though was getting to see Lewis with his family: running around with Adrian, laughing at Emi and Lucia, reading with Bisa, yelling at Grandpa, going to park with Grandma, singing with Uncle Mark, going in the water with Aunt Kassi, letting Aunt Kora hold him (it’s rare for him!)…

Oh man! Just thinking about it….it was a gift from God!

And saying goodbye was horrible, and I’m processing what it means to be the mom of a TCK and me having grown up a TCK and knowing what that means from being an aunt and a cousin long distance. But joy joy joy in a trip of a lifetime!

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Summer Time

8 beds, 3 states, and 6 airplane rides later, we are back in Indonesia. Those numbers make our summer sound crazy, which it was a lot of traveling, but it was so wonderful. Getting to see Lewis really interact with his family made my heart burst. The laughter with grandparents, holding aunts’ hands, and watering plants with the grandmas made all the traveling worth it. He experienced all the great things of summer…ice cream, splash pads, playgrounds, hiking, and fireworks. He ate at all our favorite places like Young’s Dairy, Chipotle, and Chic-fil-a. He “watched” lots of World Cup soccer and experienced the magic of Target. It was so fun to see him experience these firsts, but also share them with our family. Now we’re getting ready to tackle the new year ahead of us!


Here’s some of our favorite times:



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This Mother’s Day is different…


One of my favorites pictures because it represents that joy that was present during that really hard time.

It’s Mother’s Day, and recently I’ve been putting together a baby book for Lewis. It’s been making me think more about the first 3 months of Lewis’ life, and it makes me sad. Last Mother’s Day, I didn’t really want to be a mom because of the postpartum depression. His baby book is somewhat lacking in pictures of him as a tiny baby, and the tiny baby pictures I do have remind me of all the little baby moments I missed. I know it wasn’t my fault, and when I was in the midst of it my need was to just survive. I did survive, but my postpartum depression defined the newborn stage. I will forever have to look back at that period of time with a bit of sadness.

But I also look back at that time, and realize how far I’ve come. It’s a testimony to God’s faithfulness, the wonderful people I have in my life, the awesome husband I have, and that it does pass.

When you are in the throws on postpartum depression or any type of depression, it feels like it will be there forever, but it does pass. You do come out the other side, but the memory of it still hurts. I wish I could back and change how I felt during those first couple months, but I can now only work on savoring the moments I have now with Lewis, and I’m thankful I am able to do that. Oh and this Mother’s Day I’m real happy I’m his mom!


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Bali with a baby

Travis and I went to Bali our first spring break, this time we went with our little guy. A totally different experience, but super fun! We went with some friends of ours from our church here in Bandung. They love to play board games and have two little girls. I found a great AirBnb in Canggu. The place overlooked a rice patty and was close to some great restaurants. We also got to meet up with some other friends of ours who have a 1 year old, too.

What did Lewis think of Bali? Smoothies are his favorite, so he was loving that part of Bali. He loves water (if it’s in a pool), and our pool had a great shallow spot that he could play in. He loved the sand, but was not a fan when the ocean came with his sand. His hair got lighter and his skin got a bit darker. He loved hanging out with his friends, and making lots of new friends on the airplane. I’d totally go again with him and I think he’d be totally cool with that.

Best of Bali 2018:

Best Beach: Echo Beach (at low tide). Perfect for little kids and exploring the tide pools.

Best Food: Milk and Madu. Their pancakes with the berry compote is still making my mouth water.

Best Smoothie: Crate. Super yummy smoothies and pretty to look at. Their salads are good too!

Best thing about our AirBnb: Pool fence. Made our stay 100x better when we didn’t have to worry about Lewis falling in the pool.

Best dessert: Snickers gelato at Gustos.

Best Game: Terraforming Mars. Super fun game (complicated though), but I keep losing to Travis, so I may have to stop playing!

Best Lewis thing: He smelled like sunscreen and the beach all week long. Plus he looked so cute in his swim trunks.


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Dinosaur First Birthday

Lewis’ birthday is tomorrow, March 19th, but we celebrated early with friends. Lewis favorite books have to do with dinosaurs, so we decided to go with a dinosaur theme. Here’s a snapshot of the dino-mite fun we had!

First, everyone at the party had to figure out what their dinosaur name was and put it on their name tag. I was Titan-Raptor, Lewis was Strongdraco, and Travis was Stegotitanis. You could also take a picture as a triceratops (which Travis made!)

After, I read Lewis’ favorite dinosaur book. We headed outside to find dinosaur eggs. Inside the eggs, were little dinosaurs. We took those and put them in air dry clay to make fossils. We set them out to dry.

Meanwhile, we headed back inside to eat. There was something for the herbivories, carnivores, and sweetivores.

After eating, we sang Lewis happy birthday and enjoyed our cupcakes (Travis made because Lewis wouldn’t let me put him down prior to the party!). Lewis just ate the frosting, but kept it pretty clean.

After cupcakes, presents. Lewis was uninterested in opening them, so Travis did the honors. Then mild craziness ensued (with 11 kids what else would you expect?) as there was lots of opening the presents to play with, water tables, painting the fossils, and just a generally good time.

We were super blessed by everyone who came to celebrate our little boy. Love the “family” we have here in Indonesia. Also HOW IS THIS KID ONE ALREADY?


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Our Favorite Indonesian Food

Travis and I are still just experiencing the surface level of Indonesian food, even after almost 3 years of being here. Partly because there are so many different kinds depending on what area of Indonesia you are in. That being said, we love Indonesian food. It’s super flavorful and has just the right amount of spice. Here are some of our favorite dishes. If you want to try to make them, I linked a recipe. I haven’t tried these recipes (so don’t blame me if they aren’t good) because there are so many great places here to get them, and our pembantu, Ibu Neneng, is a fantastic cook.

Nasi Kuning

Nasi Kuning– We have this A LOT. It’s rice cook in spices like turmeric and lemongrass. It’s so flavorful. The best part though is the crunchy, fried tempeh we put on top. We also eat it with eggs, cucumbers, and tomatoes.


Beef Rendang– When we order this, it comes with rice and wrapped and stapled in brown paper. It’s spicy, but kind of sweet too. It basically beef smothered in spices. All of the spices go together to create this delicious flavor. I always want more.



 Sate– What isn’t to like about grilled chicken and peanut sauce? The best is the extra sauce to then slather on your rice. So good! Fun fact: There is a government building in Bandung that’s called Gudung Sate because the top looks like a sate stick.


Soto ayam (Indonesian chicken noodle soup)Soto Ayam– This is kind of like an Indonesian version of chicken noodle soup, but deconstructed and more lemony. You have the broth that has chicken, but then you add what else you want with it: egg, rice noodles, bean sprouts, green onion, and lime.


See the source imagePepis Ayam- This can be made with many different things tofu, fish, chicken, but our favorite is chicken.  It’s wrapped in a banana leaf, so it ends up being a little packet of goodness. I couldn’t seem to find a recipe, so you’ll just have to come to Indonesia to try some!


*Sambal is also super tasty and goes with almost any meal here in Indonesia. It’s a garlic chili sauce. It adds a good punch to whatever you are eating.


Any suggestions of other things we should try? Which one of these would you love to try?


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So staying at home with Lewis is great, but I was concerned about losing my mind (ha)! But seriously, more in the sense, of losing the learning and constant usage of my mind when I was at school. Watching Lewis figure out how to walk doesn’t take a lot of brain power on my part! Enter podcasts (how moms stayed sane before the invention of the smartphone I will never know). I’ve found some that I really enjoy listening to, mostly when we go on our walks. It’s a mix of education, news, and just interesting.

Splendid Table– My friend Jana recommended this one to me, and I love it. It’s about food, but less about making food and more about the things that surround food. Super interesting, but also includes lots of new things to try in the kitchen.

Cult of Pedagogy– I wanted to stay current in education, so I listen to this one. I haven’t listen one of her podcasts that I didn’t like and/or didn’t feel like I could use practically. She’s great, and she covers a lot of different areas of education.

How I Built This– I love listening to this podcast. It’s all about how various entrepreneur started their companies. The interviews are always interesting. One of my favorite ones I listened to was about Five Guys because I love their burgers. It was cool to hear how it started.

Hidden Brain– My friend Justin just recommended this podcast to me. I’ve only listened to two, but am looking forward to listening to the next ones. It’s focused on more psychology and choices that people make.

Upside Down Podcast– This is another newer one that I just started listening to. It’s three women that discuss different areas of life and faith. The one I listened to on ethical clothing was really eye opening and has led me to start thinking through how I can be more ethical in my clothing choices. I just appreciate what they have to say and the topics they choose to talk about.

Code Switch– I started listening to Code Switch after reading some books about racism and racial identity. The podcast is about racism, race, racial identity, pop culture, and news. I appreciate being able to listen to something that helps me understand something that I haven’t really experienced. It challenges some of my perceptions.

The Daily– The Daily is a podcast by New York Times. It is a shorter podcast and covers one topics of something in the news. I find that they explain things going on in politics, news, and other areas really well. It is definitely less biased than some of the other news sources out there.

The Village Church-Sermons– These are the weekly sermons from The Village Church. I like listening to Matt Chandler preach and have been blessed by many of his sermons.

I feel like I should include a disclaimer: *I don’t agree with all views or opinions stated in these podcasts. *Just because I like these podcasts doesn’t mean you will.


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A Year in Review

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December 31, 2017 · 9:14 am

Heart Explosion

I was listening to a podcast on my morning walk with Lewis, and the person talking described holding their baby for the first time as their heart exploded. I had heard that before giving birth, and fully expected that to be the case for me, but my heart kind of did the opposite.

There were a lot of factors that led me to have post-partum depression. A stressful birthing situation in a hospital in a foreign country, where it’s easy to question the medical practices, with a baby who didn’t seem to fit into my expectations or any of the baby advice books, far away from family and mourning the loss of my previous life, oh and hormones. To not want to be with your new little baby is horrible and heartbreaking. Then on top of that, comes the shame and guilt that you have this beautiful baby and you aren’t happy when there are thousands of women who want a baby or have lost a baby. I felt like I couldn’t do it, and I wanted my old life back. I remember vividly sitting in my bed sobbing and actually screaming, “I can’t do this. I can’t feed him again! I don’t want to feed him!” I hate that memory. I still wish I could go back and change those months.


This picture is one of the most special pictures to me because this was when I was at a really hard place and that little smile brought me so much hope!

But as I walked through, those painful weeks, I was encountering the faithfulness of God in so many ways: connections with counselors, emails and calls from a high school friend who was walking with me, provision for my father-in-law to come, and the steadfast love of Travis. Everyday there was some way that God was whispering to me, “I’m still here in this with you.” But it was still so hard, and I wanted to know when I would feel heart exploding love for my son.

I was reminded of the heart exploding love tonight when I was singing him his goodnight song and he reached down to hold my finger, when I made him laugh really hard, when he couldn’t pick up his avocado because it was too slippery, when he concentrated on his toy with his little tongue out, and my heart swelled with love for my little boy. I remembered wondering if I would ever feel this way about him. At the time, it felt like I never would, but joy comes in the morning (my morning was just a couple of months away).


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How to watch football in Indonesia

Football is important to our family (at least we hope Lewis will be included). It’s something we like to do together, and now that we live overseas it’s something we like to do with our expat community. We have Monday Night Football at our house using the NFL GamePass. It lets us watch the games after the fact, and the best part it’s without commercials. This year Travis put together a schedule, and I had to be sure it didn’t favor his Green Bay Packers too much.

On the days that our Monday Night Football get togethers don’t include Green Bay, this is how Travis and the NFL team up together to watch his games. Steps 1- 5 are followed regardless of who we are watching on Monday.

Step 1: Purchase the NFL GamePass.

Step 2: Make sure your colleagues know not to say anything about the game. This is something that needs to be set up at the beginning of the year. This also includes me (I’m impatient) because I look up the scores.

Step 3: Turn off the internet on your phone the night before so you don’t get any updates or just don’t look at your phone. 

Step 4: Stay off all social media and internet sites that would potentially tell you anything about the score.

Step 5: Watch the football game that’s on the schedule and turn off the TV if they give Green Bay updates. 

Step 6: Wake up at 4:00 am in order to watch the Green Bay game, so that you don’t have to wait until Tuesday night to watch and find out the score.

Step 7: Come and tell me all about the game when I wake up in the morning (mostly things I know because I already read about the game!)
*Travis is mourning the loss of Aaron Rodgers and actually just watched highlights this morning. Poor guy. 


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