Tuesday, July 31, 2007

3rd Anniversary Celebration

This past weekend Sharon and I celebrated our third anniversary by heading into Boston and spending a night at the Hilton. We got a pretty good deal through priceline on the room and the Hilton was generous enough to upgrade us to a suite when we got there and told them it was our anniversary. Friday evening, we went out for dinner and spent some time just hanging out around the waterfront area. On Saturday, we went on a free whale watch (courtesy of a Shaw's supermarket promotion - we love those deals :) where we were treated to some very close encounters with three humpback whales. It was a great weekend and it was a little strange thinking that this will be the last anniversary for just the two of us with Kürbis set to make his grand entrance in January. With Kürbis on the way, I find that I am trying to think of all the things I would like to do that will be more difficult to do with kids. I know that may be a pessimistic way of looking at things, so I'm also challenging myself to think about all the things that will be so much fun to do with a baby/infant/toddler/child/teenager/etc. Maybe those of you who have kids can spur me on in that way as well.

Speaking of Kürbis, we also celebrated our anniversary by finding and putting together a crib for him. One of our neighbors was leaving and getting rid of this crib, so we rescued it from the dumpster (don't worry moms, it wasn't literally IN the dumpster, just beside it when we claimed it) and assembled it after church on Sunday. I sort of felt a little bit like Jack Bristow (those of you who have seen that Alias episode will understand) in the care, concern, and mild incompetence that was involved in putting it together. It still could use a little bit of structural reinforcement, so we may have to convince my dad to come up and repair it (or else create an inferno in our backyard with it if he deems it a lost cause). As far as the recent outcry over not finding out the baby's gender, our will has been bent but not broken on our decision to wait until birth. However, financial incentives could push us over the edge in case any one is really set on finding out during the Ultrasound.

Today is the actual date of our anniversary, but since we had a big celebration over the weekend, we're going to maintain our weekly tradition of going to Chick-Fil-A for their buy one-get-one free value meal special on Tuesday nights. It is not necessarily the most romantic dinner date, but it is very cost effective and we enjoy the company of all our seminarian friends who will join us. In conclusion as I reflect on the past three years of marriage to my wonderful wife, I thank the Lord for bringing us together. Although I will miss the numerous times of just the two of us together, I am also excited about the journey of parenthood that lies before us.

P.S. I finally got around to posting pictures from our Germany missions trip. If anybody is interested in seeing them, they are posted under the original blog entry.

Sharon and Kürbis in the new crib

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kürbis' First Doctor Visit

As all of those reading this blog should know, Sharon is over three months pregnant and her due date is January 18. In order to have a fun way to refer to our baby while he/she is in the womb, we decided to use the German word for pumpkin (Kürbis) since it is a little, growing Koerber. The German teens we were working with last week got a great kick out of it and would ask questions about our Kürbis throughout the camp. We are still debating whether Kürbis can refer to any child in Sharon's womb, or if we'll have to think of a new name for our next child. The good thing is that we should have a lot of time to think about that.

Anyways, yesterday was Kürbis' first time to see Dr. Steece, who will be overseeing the pregnancy. We had seen a midwife before who was great, but were excited to be able to meet Dr. Steece and get to know him a little bit. It was very interesting to discover that he is the exact age that Sharon's biological father would have been and began practicing the same year that Sharon's dad did. Like Sharon's dad, he also was a Pastor's Kid who decided to go into the medical field. Both Sharon and I really liked him and his experience and warmth were very encouraging to us. The check-up with Kürbis went very well and we got to hear a strong, healthy heartbeat. The ultrasound is scheduled for August 23rd and we are currently planning on not finding out the gender (but that still might change). We've included some pictures below to show you how the pregnancy is going and how hard I (Mike) am trying to really empathize with Sharon through this time.

- Mike

Monday, July 23, 2007

Germany Missions Trip

Yesterday night, Sharon and I returned from our two week missions trip to Germany. I had planned on trying to update the blog while we were there, but it was hard to find enough time to sleep, let alone get on the internet. So I will now try to sum up the highlights and lowlights of our two week trip as best as possible and I've included a few pictures from the camp.

We arrived in Germany on July 8 after a rather uneventful flight and were very pleased that all of our luggage made it. We had a few busy days of orientation/preparation where Sharon and I realized how much we felt over our heads in trying to direct an English camp, when we hadn't even worked at one previously. Originally Sharon was to be the head cook and I was to be a counselor, but we were asked to lead the camp a few weeks before the camps began. Our experience living in Germany and working in the dorms was helpful (especially since the camp took place at one of the BFA dorms) but we were definitely learning the ropes on the fly. I feel like our staff appreciated our leadership for the most part, although we both wished we would have had more experience with the camps before having to direct one. The pressure of being in charge of the entire camp also took a toll on both Sharon and I, so that we were definitely ready to not have to make any more decisions by the end of camp.

The camp itself seemed to be a success, and the majority of the campers had very positive experiences. This was our first experience working with German teens, and we were suprised to find out that our group was the loudest, most rambunctious group of Germans that I had every encountered during my three years living in the country. Throughout the 10 day camp we struggled with trying to provide structure and get them to be respectful (which never happened) without being too strict or legalistic. Most of the campers were returners, which meant that the primary reasons for coming were to reunite with old friends rather than learn English or grow in their faith. This also made it a little difficult to connect with the campers as they were not particularly interested in getting to know us very well. However, it was still encouraging to see that out of the 28 campers, 6 rededicated their lives to Christ, and 1 made a first-time committment. Although Sharon and I (as well of the rest of the staff) may have experienced some frustrations with the campers, it was rewarding to see that kind of response from campers.

In addition to our struggles with campers, I also had the additional drama of losing our passports while I was hiking in the woods with the campers. Miraculously, I was able to go back the next day and find them in the woods so that we wouldn't be stranded in Germany. All in all, the trip was a good one and it was a lot of fun to be back in the country that still feels like our home and where we have so many great memories. I am feeling less certain that we will be going back there immediately after seminary, but we still don't know what God has in store for us.
- Mike

Entire Camp Photo

My Team ("The Frogs") for camp activities/competitions

Sharon serving dinner to the campers

Monday, July 2, 2007

Janz Team and the AT

I'm just on a tear with my first foray into blogging, so I might as well keep it up. Sharon and I have been pretty busy these past few weeks. Sharon was in Canada helping lead Janz Team Orientation from July 17-24. Orientation went very well, and there is a great group of candidates that will be heading over to Germany in the next month or so to work as Teachers, Dorm Parents, and RAs at BFA. Although it was a good week, she was exhausted when returning from having to burn the candles at both ends and feeling pretty worn down in addition to that.

While she was gone, I headed out for ten days with two Seminary friends (Bill and Seth) to hike the 90-mile long section of the Appalachian Trail that runs through Massachusetts. We started in Connecticut on Sunday July 17 and reached our destination in Vermont on Tuesday July 26. There is so much to talk about concerning the trip, but all three of us that went were amazed at how those hiking in the Appalachian Trail live in their own world and subculture. On the trail, everybody picks up trail names such as Bird, Toothfairy, Retro, Applesauce, A.C., Strider, Leader of the Pack, etc (I went by Gumby - long story). We also learned a little bit about the lifestyle of thru-hikers (those that hike the entire trail in one summer). The demographics of thru-hikers is rather distinct, as almost all of them are either in the early-mid 20s or recently retired. We were also introduced to the wonders of trail magic (goodies that kind locals leave by the trail or give to hikers) and trail angels (those people that leave trail magic and/or take hikers into their homes, drive them places, or help them out in any other way). Our group had some trials and tribulations throughout the trip (I knew one day was not going to go well when Seth decided to open the day by reading from Lamentations) but we persevered and accomplished our goal one day earlier than planned. We really enjoyed getting to know many different thru-hikers and it felt neat to really be a part of the Appalachian trail culture. I've posted a few pictures below from our trip, but there are a whole lot more interesting details that I'm looking forward to sharing with family at the beach.

This Saturday, Sharon and I are leaving with our team of six others to head off to Germany for two weeks to serve at the English camp that Janz Team runs there. We're both looking forward to it, but we know it will be a lot of hard work and it will also be a learning experience for us in relating to German teenagers (as opposed to the American teens we worked with at BFA). Hope everybody reading this is doing well and not getting too bored by my endless blogging.
- Mike

Seth and I at the junction where we started the AT in Conn.

Me studying the map as we entered Massachusetts

Toothfairy, Bird, and Retro (three of our favorite thru-hikers)

Atop Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Mass.

The Mass./Vermont border - our final destination

First Blog Entry

Well, here it is - my first entry into the world of blogging. I figure it is just about time since Sharon and I hope to be having a lot of fun pictures to share in the next year or so. Also, I'm a bit shamed by how much we can keep up with my siblings through their blogs and my youngest child competitive nature has been awakened. Sharon is out nannying all day today, so I figured I would suprise her with the gift of her own blog when she returns. I don't know how often she'll update, so I may be the primary Koerber blogger (especially since I'm the one with the most free time this summer). That's all for now, as I'll give you more updates about what's been going on with us in my next post. - Mike