Happy 4 Months Ezra!

Today we celebrate Ezra’s 4 month birthday. Right after Ezra’s 3 month birthday, he started sleeping through the night. This has been a sweet gift to me, since the extra sleep is a great help for my daylight hours. Part of Ezra’s sleeping is due to his love for sucking his fingers…or hands. He just loves sucking on his fingers and it’s so cute so watch. He sometimes gags himself as he tries to get as many fingers as possible in his mouth. (After I wrote this post, Ezra decided to stop sleeping through the night. He’s been up at 2am every night this week.)

Ezra has started laughing and I could just listen to it all day.  He usually ends by spitting up, very much like Isaiah did when he was a baby. It’s always amusing to see what he finds funny. The other day he kept laughing when I was practicing speaking Jarai to him. When I called Josh in to try, Ezra stopped laughing and listen very intently. I guess that tells you something about my ability to speak Jarai!

Last Friday we decorated for Christmas. We all had a fun time and the kids were so excited to put everything put. Clara got the honor of putting the star on the tree.

We took the kid’s picture in front of the tree. Josh told everyone to “make a Clara face!” I’m sure you can figure out which picture that is. Clara is the master of making grumpy faces during picture taking.

Excited about Christmas!

Becca’s 9th Birthday Party (2018)

Becca made a huge clown pinata. We were planning just to have a round balloon shaped pinata, but somehow it evolved into a clown and we were both very pleased with it. Becca requested a horse brownie cake.

 

We played pin the tail-on-the-horse, did the pinata, sang our Khmer Bible verse songs, and had cake. Our friends brought stuff to face paint and were kept busy the entire party painting kids’ faces or arms. We’re so thankful that the Hodgsons could come. They were a big help with the party and with Clara (Ezra slept through the entire party).

The pictures to the right and left are of our friends from our church.

The best part of the day was Becca’s delight at the end of the day. She was so happy with how everything turned out and that was the best present for me!

Happy 9th Birthday, Becca Grace!

This week we celebrated Becca’s 9th birthday! We started celebrating two weeks before her birthday with her birthday countdown calendar. This year it was themed on Walter Brook’s Freddy book, Freddy the Detective. Recently Becca has been joying reading through the Freddy books.

We had Becca’s yearly neighborhood party on Sunday afternoon. I’ll post pictures from that next week. For Becca’s birthday meal we had soft tacos, brownie cake (left over from her party), and did gifts. That night Becca got to stay up late with us. She chose to play Phase 10 and beat us both! A nice way to end her birthday!

Becca’s birthday pictures seem so much older than I think of her…she’s growing up. This year Becca has really grown in her love for reading. She’s often tucked away in a corner reading. She also has thanked me many times for teaching her how to read, now that she loves it so much. (This is especially meaningful since it was not always the most enjoyable part of our day.)

We’ve seen Becca grow in her ability to be thankful – she often thinks of specific ways to thank us for the things we do. She made thank you notes for all of us after her birthday. She’s very thoughtful and often makes me signs or posters telling me how much she loves us. Becca is creative in designing games and activities for her siblings to do and she loves leading them.

Becca has also grown in her ability to be content and delighted. It used to seem like there was always something that was a disappointment to her in the activities we would plan for her. Now Becca really focuses on the things she enjoyed and expresses her delight. We love seeing this spirit in her and it’s a big encouragement to us.

We’re so grateful for all God has done for Becca this past year and for the many ways we’ve seen her grow and mature. Thankful for God’s protection in her life. Thankful for our first and oldest daughter.

 

When Daddy’s Gone…. (Fall 2018)

Ezra here – Daddy has been gone this week teaching at the Pastors’ Bible School and I’m here to report what mischief has been taking place. Most things are going on as normal, but some of the older kids are being more helpful than usual. However I don’t understand what’s been going no at nights.

Monday night Anna and Mommy stayed up while everyone went to bed. From my bed, I could smell nail polish and popcorn and I heard a lot of pages being turned. Later Anna slept on Daddy’s side of the bed. In the morning I saw no evidence of that anything unusual had taken place.

Tuesday night Isaiah and Mommy stayed up late while everyone else went to bed. Again, I heard popcorn, but this time it sounded like they were buying and charging each other rent. I also heard talk of going to jail. Whatever happened it sounded like Mommy ended up with all the loot. This time Isaiah slept on Daddy’s side of the bed – guess they both escaped jail!

On Wednesday night Becca and Mommy stayed up and did the popcorn and jail thing. I think Becca took all of Mommy’s money for I heard loud weeping from her before bed. Then Becca came in and slept on Daddy’s side of the bed.

Clara has been up early with Mommy and I think this morning they put cocoa powder in the coffee. I don’t think Clara or I will be sleeping on Daddy’s side of the bed. He’ll be home soon and I think Mommy looks pretty worn out from all the extra evening excitement. I’ve been making sure she gets up at 4am to give me detailed reports of the evenings!

Happy 3 Months Ezra!

Happy 3-months to our little man Ezra! Our boy is sweet and precious and has now reached a very nice season. For weeks we’ve been praying Ezra would learn to suck on his thumb. He loves to suck – but as of a few weeks ago had refused a pacifier and hadn’t mastered the knack of sucking on his thumb. Last week (or maybe two weeks ago) he started sucking on his pointer finger and we’ve noticed a difference in his sleeping. It’s so cute. He’s slept through the night (10-5am) the past to nights. So hopefully the finger sucking will be the key to sleeping.

Ezra has a strong neck and likes looking around. He is a super sweet smilier and likes to coo.

I finally made a collage comparing all five kids at age 3 months. (Becca looks smaller than the rest because she was a preemie.)

So thankful for our youngest man and for the health and development God has blessed him with.

Isaiah’s First Loose Tooth!

On October 28, 2018 Isaiah pulled out his first tooth! A few weeks ago he noticed that it was loose and claimed he would pull it out that week. It wasn’t that loose.  Later on the night of the 28th, while he was playing with his tooth in bed, he pulled it out. Unfortunately, once Isaiah saw the blood he spit into the sink, all the excitement disappeared and he claimed to be sick. Thankfully, he was more excited the next day when he found money under his pillow.

Right after I wrote the blog Isaiah pulled out his second tooth – November 7, 2018PM. This boy is the champ when pulling out teeth. We don’t even know until it’s done!

Happy 2 Month Birthday, Ezra!

Happy 2-month birthday to our youngest Jensen man! Ezra has been doing great. He’s now tracking and you can definitely tell he’s paying more attention to what’s going on about him. Ezra is making sounds and sometimes get into a little conversation with me. He can also smile – which is so cute.

We’ve settled down into being a family of 7. No one had any major adjustment problems and it really doesn’t feel that different, except I’m now nursing a baby every 3 hours. The real game-changer will come when Ezra is mobile!

Last month Isaiah finished Level 1 of All About Reading! We are thrilled with his progress.

A few more pictures to end this birthday post for our youngest Jensen man. Love him! (And yes. it’s much harder to find time to take pictures these days.)

Bangkok Zoo (2018)

On August 28th we took a trip to the Bangkok Zoo. We read that the zoo was closing at the end of the week in preparation to move to another location over an hour away. Most taxi drivers refused to take us there, since they said it was already closed (“believe me” said one man). Interestingly enough we found an article that announced that the zoo was going to stay open another month and when we got there it was very busy with people – so much for it being closed.

We had a great time (well, Ezra was a bit grumpy). The seal show and African acrobat show were fun to watch. The kids enjoyed seeing all the animals – they even got to pet the giraffe and give a bottle of milk to the goats.

Toward the end of our time there we found a playground. Anna ended up slipping in some mud nearby and her shorts got very muddy. Josh took Anna and found a lady who showed them a hose and helped clean Anna up and completely wash and wring out her shorts. Then as we were walking away, the same lady found us on her moto. She had gone out and bought Anna a new dry outfit. We were so touched by her kindness and consideration to complete strangers.

It was a good, fun day. Thankful we could visit a zoo while in Bangkok!

Bangkok Funarium & Children’s Museum (2018)

On August 23rd we took a trip to the free Children’s Museum. A highlight was the splash pad. The kids also enjoyed the town area where there was a plane, firetruck, salon, TV station, grocery store, and a few other things. Ezra was not impressed!!

On August 17th and 30th we visited Funarium (a large indoor playground). Ezra and I stayed home the first time, since we had just returned from the hospital the day before. All the kids love it. Both Josh and I took turn running around too (I’ve had a great postpartum recovery).

A highlight this year was the above ground ropes course – including a zip line. Becca did it the first time and then both Becca and Isaiah did it the second time. We were so proud of them both, especially Isaiah who was very brave and thrilled with himself!

  

Terminal 21 & Girls’ Outings (Bangkok 2018)

About a 20-minute walk from our guesthouse is a huge mall, Terminal 21.  The mall is supposed to be a giant airport and each level is set up like a different famous world city: the Caribbean, Rome, London, Tokyo, Paris, Istanbul, and San Francisco (has two levels). The amazing thing is the bathrooms. They are beautiful and each patterned after the city.

     

Before Ezra was born, Becca and I took a special Mommy/Daughter trip to visit the mall for the first time. We were amazed. We rode lots of escalators and visited every bathroom! We stopped in San Francisco to eat ice cream at Swensen’s Ice Cream. Becca and I shared The Earthquake a 8-scoop sundae. (This was my last time to eat ice cream before Ezra was born…no more dairy products for me.)

Two weeks after Ezra was born, Anna and I took a Mommy/Daughter trip to the same place and enjoyed walking around for a bit and Anna had some ice cream.

We’ve been to the mall two other times to eat at Sunrise Taco (kids eat free on Mondays). And Brooke took the kids there two days after we got back from the hospital.

Ezra’s Passport Secured

We are thrilled to announce that on Monday, August 27th, Ezra was declared a US citizen. The following Friday, the 30th, we picked up his one-year passport. We will be able to renew his passport for free when we are in the States next year. We are so thankful that the Lord allowed this process to take place in the time frame needed.

On the way the Ezra’s Embassy appointment we stopped at a park and had a picnic.

We enjoyed traveling different ways in Bangkok. Normally we take taxis, but we used the SkyTrain for a few trips and the water taxi. We only did the water taxi once as a whole family, as it is very tricky getting everyone on and off the taxi with no ramp – you just hop on and hop off!

 

 

Happy 1 Month Birthday Ezra!

Happy one month birthday to Ezra! Just last night I noticed that Ezra seems to be a bit more aware of seeing things. I love watching babies develop and am always anticipating their first smiles.

Ezra has adjusted to life in Cambodia. He’s getting less Mommy time, since I’m back to my normal responsibilities and don’t have time for extra-long holding sessions. (But we still cuddle lots.) His siblings all enjoy holding him. Anna is probably our best babysitter. When Ezra is crying she tries all sorts of positions to help him out. It’s so cute.

It’s hard to capture Ezra’s cuteness. He always seems to look huge in the pictures I take…but he’s really not chubby as this. I guess it’s just the position and camera angle.

Ezra is doing pretty well at going back to sleep after his night feedings. Sometimes he has to cry himself back to sleep when he won’t settle in my arms. I’m hoping he finds his thumb soon. Love this sweet little boy!

Bangkok Aquarium 2018

On August 8th (5 days before Ezra was born) we took a trip to Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World. We visited this aquarium when Clara was born last time we were in Bangkok and everyone was looking forward to going again. We were able to use Christmas money to sponsor our trip. Thankful for people’s generosity.

We had a great time seeing all the fish and other sea creatures. A highlight was the shark tunnel, where we walked through the shark, sting ray, and other large fish tank in a glass enclosed tunnel. The place where we could walk on top of the same area was a highlight as well.

What a special treat for our family, especially since we don’t have access to these kind of things in Cambodia. I love watching our children get so excited seeing everything. We love that we can visit special places while here for Ezra’s birth – it’s a special treat!

Ezra – Happy Week 1 & 2 Birthdays!

Photo taken when Ezra was 6 days old – on his due date.

Ezra (birth story will be coming sometime in the future) was born on Monday the 13th and we were at the hospital 3 nights. Thursday around lunch time we took a taxi back to the guesthouse we’re staying at while in Bangkok. The kids did great with Aunt Brooke – she spent one night with them and watched them while we were in the hospital and played with them for a few days afterwards. Brooke left to head back to Cambodia Saturday later afternoon. We’re thankful Brooke was able to come help us out.

Ezra’s first trip out was on his 1-week birthday – he got to go to his doctor’s appointment and to mine. Isaiah came along and was a big help. That night Ezra got out for the first time to see the big city. We celebrated his one week birthday by eating supper at  Sunrise Tacos (at a mall near us). Kids eat free on Monday!

During Ezra’s second week he/we went to church, the Free Children’s Museum, and rode the water taxi to go shopping. To celebrate Ezra’s 2-week birthday we had his Embassy appointment where he was granted his US citizenship! His passport will be read for pick-up on Friday. On the way to the Embassy we stopped and ate p&j sandwiches at a nearby park. That night we again took advantage of kids eating free at Sunrise Tacos.

  

By Ezra’s 2-week birthday his umbilical cord had fallen off and his circumcision wound was completely healed. So nice not to have to do extra cleaning or inspecting any more. This was the first time I was instructed at the hospital and by the pediatrician to do such extensive cleaning on an umbilical cord stub. The doctor had me pull it up and wash around it with alcohol and a cotton ball.

So our little man Ezra has done lots in his first two weeks! This boy is getting around. He usually shuts down when we’re out and about and then decides to stay up between 12-2am that night! Everyone continues to love holding Ezra…including Clara!

Baby #5 Update

I wrote this post about two weeks before Ezra’s due date and planned to post it on the 16th. But he came before that. 🙂

I haven’t posted many pictures of my baby belly. That’s mostly because I’ve been too busy to even take many pictures of this one. It’s been an interesting pregnancy, starting with the car accident and concussion recovery, which made 1st trimester much harder than normal. (These pictures were taken at 38 weeks.)

This pregnancy has seemed longer than the others. Maybe that’s because I’m past the “35” mark (I think that makes me an old pregnant lady). Maybe it’s because the concussion. Maybe it’s because the Braxton Hicks started way early (somewhere in the 20 week range). Maybe it’s because these last several weeks I’ve had lots of nerve related pain. All that to say – I’m ready for this little one to come on out!

I’ve had several people tell me that they are praying that I make it to the hospital this time. I’m not. I’m praying for a intervention, surgery-free birth. I’d be very happy to have a safe, home-birth like last time. It’s quite thrilling. I really don’t like hospitals and if I could have a bathroom baby again, I’d be thrilled. Actually, I don’t even feel like I know how to have a baby in the hospital, since none of our births have been normal.

So now we wait. We arrived in Thailand about three weeks ago, leaving several days earlier than planned due to the Cambodian election. It seems like the weeks leading up to our departure were over full, including a trip to Phnom Penh to take the 10-year driver’s license test. Then I spent hours preparing our house for our absence (putting away things to prevent mold and rat damage). When we finally arrived in Thailand, I felt like I’d done everything except prepared to have a baby. It actually felt like I’d left all that stuff at home! (Note – though I enjoy the break of coming to Thailand, I’ve struggled with not being grumpy about having to leave the country to have a baby – it’s a lot of work!). Lord-willing our little one will be born without complication and by then I’ll be ready. (Picture on the right is from May 27, 2018.)

Adding another child into the family is always an adjustment. I love children, but every time we do it I think, “what in the world was I thinking?!?” It’s not so much additional human being to take care of…it’s the responsibility of caring for another soul from birth. It’s the gift of training a child in the way he should go. Not an easy task. Thankful God does not leave us alone to do His work.

We recently went to IKEA in Bangkok. Bangkok is not known for families with multiple children, so we were quite a sight. People often stop and count our children and say “WOW!” And we’re thinking, this is normal, right? Guess Bangkok isn’t know who families with multiple (3+0 children)!

36 Years

Last month I celebrated my 36th birthday (note – this is second time I’ve been pregnant on my birthday. Most of our children have been born before my birthday). It was Friday and I had made plans to meet with my Jarai ladies at church to go over their lessons with them. It was the last time I would be meeting with them before heading to Thailand, and I told them I would try to get through as much of John 14, 15, and 16 as I could to leave them with enough material to cover their lessons while we were out of the country.

Ok, I’ll be honest…I did not want to spend my late afternoon teaching John in Khmer. I didn’t feel ready to tackle those chapters. I was still tired from our Phnom Penh trip. But I went. The kids were glad I was going, since it gave them a chance to decorate for my birthday meal. Josh dropped me off at church (I’m still not a good stick-shift driver, especially with a pregnant belly!) and I walked up to meet with the ladies. And there they were, preparing lots of different fruits for us to snack on. They had no idea it was my birthday, but they wanted something special for my last meeting with them before we headed to Thailand. I was so touched by their thoughtfulness and kindness. Our friends don’t have much. But they had spent their money buying fruit at the market. After we finished the lessons, we enjoyed the fruit together. When Josh and the kids came to pick me up, they joined us, and we stayed an extra hour eating fruit.

The kids did a great job decorating the house with streamers a friend had just sent. We had a lovely meal of grilled chicken kabobs, salad (minus the lettuce), and potatoes. Becca made cherry bars for dessert. Then the kids all gave me cards and gifts they had made. Josh had a special wooden cross candle holder made for our Passion Week celebration. I’m looking forward to using it.

So now I’m 36. Is this where I imagined myself as 36? Can’t answer that, since I’ve never really been the kind of person who pictures the future. I’ve been married 10 years to my man. We have 4 – almost 5 – children (one preemie C-section, one regular C-section, one surprise VBAC, and one bathroom baby). I’ve been living in Cambodia 4 years. I feel way out of touch with life in America. I’m not a very cautious mommy (I figure our kids do all this dangerous stuff when I’m not watching them outside, so why should I restrain them when I’m watching them?). And currently I’m dealing with the aches of being close to having our 5th child. Wow, zow – this one is a mover and shaker and seems to always be trying to punch a hole so he/she can escape. This little one knows just the nerves to put pressure on to make his/her mommy yelp.

36 years. And still lots to learn. Yards to grow. Tons to be sanctified. 36 years and thankful for the many gifts God blesses me with each day.

We Made it to Thailand! (2018)

Last Thursday afternoon we left our home in Oyadao and headed for Ban Lung to begin our trip to Thailand. Our plan was to have a good part of Thursday to close up our house and then drive to our team leaders’ house (45 mins away) to spend the night.

Friday morning (6:10), we left Ban Lung, stopped for breakfast at friends, and arrived in Siem Real around 2.

Saturday morning we left Siem Reap at 5:40am and arrived at the Thai boarder a little after 8am. Thankfully a friend wanted to borrow our car, so he dropped us off at the boarder. The kids were troopers and there wasn’t much boarder traffic at the exit and entry buildings. We made it to the Thailand side of the boarder in about 1.5 hours. We had pre-arranged a taxi van and we’re soon on our way to Bangkok. We arrived at our guesthouse in Bangkok around 2.

We’re very thankful for the smooth trip God provided us. Thankful we made it. And now to start thinking about having a baby…I mean, I’ve been kinda busy lately.