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

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Traded in My Mustang for a Minivan

One of my favorite Andrew Peterson songs, "Family Man," starts out with these lyrics ("I Traded in My Mustang for a Minivan") to show how his life has changed since becoming a father. Well, I've never had a Mustang - and we still don't have a minivan, but I had a somewhat similar experience this past weekend. Though I'm definitely not a world-class mountain biker like my cousins, I still really enjoy getting out for a ride every once in a while. However, I also want to be able to take Caleb along with me on more leisurely rides - which meant attaching a child bike seat to the back of my bike. Since the seat we got at Goodwill isn't super easy to take off, this has effectively changed my "Mustang" bike into a minivan. Though I am excited to be able to take Caleb with me on bike rides now, it is undeniable that I am now the owner of a "daddy" bike.

As the "Family Man" song continues, he talks about the various ways his life has changed since becoming a father and some of the things that he has had to give up (including his Mustang). In the same way, I can see the numerous ways that having Caleb has changed our lives and made it a little more difficult to do some of the things we've enjoyed doing. With our five year anniversary coming up, it is definitely a lot more difficult to get away just the two of us. Last weekend, we did have the opportunity to take Caleb with us and return for the first time to the area where we spent our honeymoon nearly five years ago. Needless to say, it was a much different experience but it was also a lot of fun to hike a bit with Caleb while revisiting the memories we had of our time in the North Georgie Mountains. Though it is sometime easy to idealize the freedom and spontaneity of out lives before Caleb, I definitely feel that I can echo the conclusion of the song that though "this is not what I was headed for when I began, this was not my plan, It's so much better than." Anyways, I've included some recent pictures/videos below and you can go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIOczph6nQE if you want to listen to the song.


Caleb's first ride on daddy's bike
video
Hiking with Caleb is always an adventure - as he's not the most "linear" walker

On top of Fort Mountain in the North Georgia Mountains

Caleb expressing how much he loves hiking with his parents (especially when he gets a free ride on daddy's back)
Caleb having some bonding time with Grandma

video

Caleb showing off his pitching skills

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Staycations and Fireworks

With the current recession, it seems like taking a "staycation" is one of the hip things to do. Ideally, I think that it is a fiscally frugal way for families to save their money by spending their vacation time at home enjoying local attractions. Since staycations are in vogue, Sharon and I decided to have a mini-staycation of our own over the 4th of July. For us, it gave us the excuse to buy annual passes to Stone Mountain Park, which is only about ten minutes from our house. Since we've bought the passes a little over a week ago, we've already been three times - and are excited about trying some of the other things there. Sharon is especially excited about the unlimited use of the mini-golf course, and I'm looking forward to taking Caleb out on the pedal boats.

One of the things that Stone Mountain Park is most famous for is their laser-show, which we watched our first evening there. We were also pleasantly surprised to learn that Caleb doesn't have the aversion to fireworks that we feared he would have. The 4th of July fireworks show at Stone Mountain was pretty spectacular, and we really appreciated the fact that Caleb seemed to enjoy it as well. Although we had so many fun experiences that we could have photographed at Stone Mountain, Sharon and I have been pretty negligent in taking Caleb pictures. However - we did take a picture of Caleb during his first visit to CiCi's pizza - and his dad was really proud that he was able to get his money's worth at the all-you-can-eat buffet (which was pretty easy since he was free). Hopefully, there will be more pictures next time, as it is has been exciting to see him grow and learn new things every day.

Caleb cleaning his plate at CiCi's Pizza

video

Though this video doesn't quite show it - Caleb actually is pretty fascinated by our cuckoo clock

Friday, June 26, 2009

TeachBeyond Orientation

The past three weeks have been really busy for me as I prepared for our misson's orientation that I facilitated. The orientation for our new missionaries was from June 13-20 in Minneapolis, and it was the first orientation that Sharon had not attended since 2005. This time, I was on my own as Sharon and Caleb stayed at home - though I am glad to say that the week went really well and that it was an encouraging and informative time for our the 20 new missionaries that attended. Our mission has been in a major time of transition the past year, and one of the biggest pieces of that is the name change from Janz Team Ministries to TeachBeyond. If you're interested in hearing more about the direction that our organization is moving, I encourage you to check out our new website at http://www.teachbeyond.org/. Though it is definitely exciting to be a part of the organization during this time, it is also a bit overwhelming thinking of all the changes that need to come alongside the changing of the name and sharpening of our focus.

While I was off in Minneapolis, Sharon and Caleb had a great time with our friend Cari who visited for a few days from Boston. I was especially excited to notice the projects around the house they had accomplished while I was away. Though I was a bit scared that Caleb would forget who I was after being away so long - I was pleasantly surprised to see that he actually did recognize me when I returned. Also while I was away, Sharon got to celebrate the engagement of her brother, who flew in from LA to propose to his fiance Emily, who lives in the Atlanta area. They've set a wedding date of January 2, and Sharon, Caleb, and I are all honored to be a part of the wedding party. Caleb was secretly hoping to be asked to be a groomsmen, but I think that he won't be too disappointed to be serving as the ring bearer instead. Anyways, following are a few pictures of Caleb as well as our recent orientation group.

Caleb's antidote to the Georgian heat

Always willing to help lick the spoon
Caleb's newest favorite perch on top of the hope chest

TeachBeyond New Staff Orientation 2009