Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oregon Trail & Scarlet Fever

I think most people in my generation have very fond memories of playing Oregon Trail growing up. It was one of the few games that we were allowed to play in school because it was considered "educational." I know that I wasn't fooled by the "educational" label - the game was actually a lot of fun. Like most boys that played the game, my favorite part was seeing how many pounds of meat I could harvest during the hunting phase of the game. Though my family would barely make it out of Kansas before winter came - we'd at least have plenty of food to live on as we slowly succumbed to various illnesses.


I guess the game was somewhat educational in teaching you all the various diseases that could kill people back in those times. This past week, Sharon and I have realized how grateful we are for the advances in medicine since the days of the Oregon Trail. Caleb was diagnosed with Strep Throat on my birthday (April 27th) which developed into Scarlet Fever two days later. I'd actually not heard about Scarlet Fever outside of it being a common cause of death in the Oregon Trail game. Thankfully, we've been able to treat Caleb with some antibiotics that should kick the illness pretty quickly. Caleb has really been a trooper throughout and the main difference we see is that he is sleeping like a newborn again - which I have trouble seeing as too bad of a thing. When he is awake, he is just as energetic and cheery as usual and he has been free of a fever the last few days. We're hopeful that he'll be back to 100% soon and are very grateful for the fact that we're not on the Oregon Trail. Anyways, I know it has been a while since I updated our blog - so I've posted some pictures and videos of Caleb over the past few months.


Walking down the aisle at Sharon's brother's wedding


Caleb styling in his tux with his trusty Iphone at his side

video
Caleb getting some early golf lessons


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Caleb rocking out on his guitar

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Long Overdue

So I haven't officially given up blogging even if my inactivity would lead you to believe so. Basically, the perfect storm of blogging neglect happened - in that I was super busy and I also lost our camera. Fortunately, my life is starting to get a little more sane (for now), and my mom was gracious enough to send our camera back to us after we realized we left it in Pennsylvania. Though it seems ages ago now, we did have a lovely - yet chaotic - Christmas season. Our travels started the week before Christmas when we flew up to Pittsburgh and spent two days with my brother and family. While there, I took Sharon to the Nutcracker Ballet for her birthday present and Caleb also got to go sledding for the first time.

After heading to Clearfield and spending Christmas morning with my parents and having the rest of the family join us later in the day, I had to leave Sharon and Caleb in Pennsylvania so I could head to the Urbana Missions Conference where I was representing TeachBeyond. Though it was hard to leave my family so quickly after Christmas, the conference itself was really great and our team connected with a bunch of individuals interested in serving with TeachBeyond. I was also really glad that Caleb and Sharon got to spend a few extra days with my family - and Caleb especially loved his quality cousin time.

After a super busy 6 days at Urbana, I flew home on New Year's Day, arriving two hours before the rehearsal dinner for Sharon's brother Brian. We do have some super cute pictures of Caleb in his tux as the ring bearer, but we'll have to work to find those since we were camera-less for the ceremony. For now - you'll just have to take our word that Caleb looked super cool. Since we bought the tux on ebay and it will fit for a few more months, Caleb did say that he would gladly serve as a ring bearer-for-hire in return for a modest contribution to his dad's mountain bike fund.

Since Caleb's 2nd birthday was the day after the wedding, we decided to postpone his celebration a week so that everybody had time to recover. Sharon also had more time to create super awesome train cake for his train-themed birthday party. Caleb and I have especially enjoyed our times playing "together" with his Ikea train track set - though I think I enjoy creating new and unique track routes more than he does. However, my creativity is getting a bit stunted by the number of track pieces we have - so I've already told Sharon what I want for my birthday this year. Maybe if Caleb is nice, I'll even share my tracks with him - but we'll have to wait and see about that. So...if anybody has any of those old Ikea train track sets lying around and they're not sure they know anybody who could use them - just let me know and I'd gladly take them off your hands.


Caleb celebrating Christmas in Atlanta before we flew to Pennsylvania

video
Caleb's first sledding experience


Caleb opening presents with mommy in Clearfield


Me in front of our booth at Urbana (notice the clothing that expertly matches our display)


The amazing choo-choo cake Sharon made for Caleb's b-day



Caleb (and Mommy) blowing out the candle

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Frauzer's 30th

As many of you know, one my many endearing nicknames is Frauzer - which is a loose derivative of the German word for wife. Well, yesterday was her 30th birthday, so I am now officially married to an old Frauzer. For the last 7 months, I've felt a little strange being a 30-something married to a 20-something woman, so I'm glad that we're once again in the same decade of life :) Though yesterday was Sharon's birthday, the major celebration we had for her was a surprise party the week before while her friend Julia (and her daughter Alyssa) was here visiting from Texas. It was a great time to celebrate her birthday with her family and close friends - and I was so grateful for those that made the surprise possible.

Anyways, I wanted to take this occasion to share just how thankful I am to have my Frauzer in my life. Though she loves to ask me if I've gotten bored with her yet - I honestly can say that she is not the type of person you can get bored with :) After five years of marriage and two years of parenthood - we still have a lot of fun together and are just as much rivals in board games as we were at the beginning. Though she still claims that I ALWAYS win every game we play, a tally of the results of the last few months would likely reveal otherwise.

In addition to being such a great mommy and homemaker - I have been so proud to see how she has gotten involved in the refugee community in Clarkston. As one of the primary volunteers with the Refugee Sewing Society (RSS), it has been amazing to see the impact that she has had on that ministry and the women involved over the past several months. The goal of the RSS is to use sewing as a tool to minister to the refugee women who have experienced all sorts of trauma while also allowing them to obtain some much-needed income through the sale of their products. The major project Sharon has been working with is getting the ladies to make cloth diapers that are in high demand both within and outside of the refugee community. In addition to the dramatic cost savings they allow - they are also much more environmentally friendly, which we all know is especially appealing nowadays. If you want to learn more about the RSS, you can read the blog of the organization's founder (http://palmermissions.blogspot.com/). Also, the first batch of diapers has been completed, so please contact us if you're interested in knowing how you can order some.

Finally, Sharon has also been involved a lot recently in helping out the Iraqi refugee family that we're sponsoring through World Relief - a Christian refugee resettlement organization. Though I've been involved primarily with driving the dad, Hasan, to and from doctor's appointments and the grocery store - Sharon has had a great impact on the mom, Enas, and their 2 year old daughter Fatima. It has been neat to see the bond that has developed between Sharon and Enas, and we feel blessed to be able to be a small part of this family's lives as they transition to the US.
Sharon and Durga trying to figure out what is wrong with her machine.


Rabha showing off her first diaper...she was so proud of it and it looked perfect!

Sharon and Enas at Thanksgiving

Sharon did quite a job with the turkey and other food when we had 12 people at our house for Thanksgiving.

This is Caleb's new favorite way to show us he wants food.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

For the handful of you who follow our blog and wondered if we fell off the face off the earth over the past month - we sort of did. More precisely, we were just in the midst of a road (or plane) trip that last from Oct. 7 until Nov. 1. In between those two dates, we spent 3 days in Texas, 14 days in Germany, and 9 days in Boston. The trip was primarily built around a set of meetings that I had for work in Germany as well as a missions conference in Boston - though we also had a layover in Texas on the way out. The greatest thing about the trip is that we cashed in our frequent fliers to get two round-trip tickets from Atlanta to Germany and the extended "layovers" in Texas and Boston did not cost any extra money or miles!

Though I could easily go on for several paragraphs about how wonderful it was to visit old friends and the two other places we've lived as a couple - I still couldn't do the trip justice. We truly enjoyed every moment of it, though we were also thrilled to finally make it home this past Sunday. As much of the time for me was dominated by work responsibilities, it was somewhat difficult to find as much time to connect with people as I would have liked. However, we were excited that Caleb was pretty happy and flexible throughout - apart from his desire to wake and play from 2-5 AM while in Germany :( Following are some pictures from our trip, and I promise that this next month of blogging will be better than the last.


During our whirlwind "Bridesmaid Tour" in Texas Sharon got to visit with 5 of her 7 bridesmaids, including Angela and Julia and their kids.


We were thrilled to have one sunny day in Germany to take Caleb to Sausenburg - the castle ruins where I proposed to Sharon.


Caleb and me beneath the tower where 68 months before I knelt to ask Sharon to be my wife - and she responded by falling to her knees as well while forgetting to even say yes


On top of the tower for the first time as a family

While in Germany, we also had time to relive some of our favorite times in the dorm - such as Saturday evening pizza prep.

In Boston, Sharon and our friend Dawn took Caleb to the aquarium...


Where he enjoyed the penguins...


But his favorite exhibit by far was the one that was empty except for the aquarium workers


On Halloween morning, we went to a local orchard where Caleb got a free apple cider donut for dressing up as "Farmer Bob"

After we got home, Caleb had his annual pumpkin-themed photo shoot...


And showed off his charm and toothy smiles

Monday, September 28, 2009

5-Year Anniversary Trip

Sharon and I had talked about wanting to do a special trip to celebrate our 5-year anniversary, though I never really thought it was going to all come together. However, thanks to a lot of frequent flier miles and Sharon's parent's willingness to Caleb-sit, we were able to swing a 4-night trip to Puerto Rico. We truly had an incredible time, and we were definitely not ready to come home at the end of it - though we were excited to see Caleb. Caleb had a great time with his grandparents and didn't really seem to miss us at all, so maybe we should have stayed longer after all. Anyways, since I have so many pictures from our trip, I am going to intersperse the pictures with the description of our time in Puerto Rico. For those of you who could care less about our vacation and are really just interested in seeing recent pictures of Caleb, you can scroll to the end to see the one Caleb picture we threw in to keep you reading.

During our first full day we rented a car and drove out in the morning to hike in the rain forest - which is the only one found in the US. Below is a view from a window of an observation tower.
We also hiked up the mountain and got some great views of the island.
After that, we hiked down to La Mina falls - which is a great waterfall to swim in. If you look closely, you may notice that Sharon is the person standing behind the waterfall. Her husband was super impressed by her gutsyness to get back there :)
Below is a picture of hiking through the rain forest.

After our morning/early afternoon, we had a boat excursion to Vieques - a small island off the coast of the Puerto Rican mainland.

On the way over, we were treated to incredible views of the sunset and the clouds.

The main reason we went to the Island of Vieques was to swim in the bio-luminescent bay, which is a pretty amazing place that is hard to describe. Basically, you get the chance to swim in water that is filled with tiny creatures that light up when disturbed - creating the effect of swimming in glowing pixie dust. It can't really be captured on camera, but I encourage anybody to take in this experience if you're in Puerto Rico. Below is a picture that somebody with a very high-tech camera took, and you can read more at www.biobay.com

After our first full day on the island, we needed a vacation from our vacation. Our second day we spent just hanging out around our hotel on the beach. On the third day, we went into old San Juan where we go to see streets such as the one below.
In addition, we also visited El Morro - which is the impressive fort protecting San Juan Bay


Here is a picture of me in one of the lookout posts in the fort.
Here is an imposing cannon pointing out to sea.


Sharon also convinced me to take her on Bicardi factory tour. Though this may have been the first time she ever drank rum, she did really enjoy the science behind it and learning how they make it.


Our final evening in Puerto Rico was spent in Old San Juan enjoying the sunset and the views of the old city walls.


Finally, for those of you who persevered - following is a picture of Caleb showing his joy after successfully using his toddler potty. He is definitely getting better at potty-training himself and we're hopeful that he can keep up the good work.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Farewell to Summer(s)

This summer brought the realization that summers as I've known them for the past 25 years have changed dramatically. For almost my entire life, summer has meant a change of pace from the routine of the rest of the year because my life was built around the school calendar. In my current job with TeachBeyond, summer actually brings an increased busy-ness rather than a slowed pace that I had grown to love. Though last year I was in the same job, the fact that we moved early in the summer served to signal the beginning of a new season.

Thus, it was with amazement and a bit of dismay that I noticed this year that summer was already over before I even realized that it began. Even so, we were able to have a lot of fun times this summer, and we so much enjoyed our family vacation in the middle of August. I also imagine that in a few years I will once again be in the typical summer mindset as Caleb begins school himself. In the meantime, it will take a bit of an adjustment to get used to being off of the school calendar mindset. Maybe I'll appreciate more that the true mark of summer is the weather rather than the change of pace I had become accustomed to over the past 25 years.


The annual Koerber family beach photo

Good luck trying to get 6 kids under 6 to look at the camera


If only Caleb was looking...

Feeling the love

Caleb loves his boxes...


his bagels...
his bath time...

and his mommy's undies.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Florida Pre-Vacation

This past weekend, Sharon, Caleb, and I had a fun opportunity to head down to Florida and attend a wedding of one of our HBR "boys." Since we're leaving this Saturday for our family vacation in New Jersey, we were initially worried that it would be a little much since we'd be traveling a lot in a two week span. Though we did spend about 20 hours of the extended weekend in the car, it turned out to be a good warm-up for our family vacation that starts this Saturday.

After driving down to Orlando on Friday night, we got up on Saturday morning to head to Sarasota where the wedding was held. It still is pretty crazy thinking that one of the guys who was a high school sophomore the year Sharon and I met at HBR is now getting married himself. It was also a pretty unique wedding in that it was their third one. They had gotten married in her hometown in Korea and then they got married again by a justice of peace when they came back to the States. The wedding was a ton of fun - as it was the first opportunity for most of our HBR boys to meet and hang out with Caleb. They were super excited to see him, and it was really cool to see them bond by the end of our time together. After the wedding, all the BFA alumni headed to the nearby beach. It was also one of the few weddings where there wasn't any farewell to the bride and groom, since they ended up hanging out with their friends all night long.

Caleb was super excited to have some quality beach time both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. He really had no fear of the water, and we are excited how he does with his cousins next week. He may be a little shocked to find out that the Jersey shore ocean water is a bit different than the Gulf Coast. As long as he doesn't expect to be able to see his feet or have the water feel like a hot tub, he shouldn't have too much trouble adjusting. Anyways, I hope to have some super fun pictures from our family vacation - but we also managed to get some good ones from this recent trip.



Our HBR "boy" and his bride

The HBR guys (and RAs) after the wedding


Caleb's first steps into the water

Learning that salt water isn't so tasty


Snuggling with mommy after a long, hard day of playing
Hanging out with Sharon's brother Tom on the way home