November is the month when we reflect and give thanks.  And this month I have been ever so thankful for our family!  We have gotten to see all of our siblings in the same month.  This hardly ever happens!  My baby brother (who is 34…) had a baby in early November.  Our new niece, Evaleigh, was born in Tucson!  So we were able to drive down and visit her in the hospital!

Isn’t it amazing how quickly you forget how tiny newborns are?  I mean, we had our own newborn just 9 1/2 months ago and I’ve already forgotten how little she was!


We also had Thanksgiving with Nathan’s side of the family.  So. Many. Kids.  All of these cousins together reminds me of my childhood, running around with my gaggle of cousins.

Turkey.  Stuffing.  Cousins.  What more do you need really?

Fagerlie cousins

Fagerlie cousins

Since Billy (my brother) was still in Tucson with his little family and my parents and older brother flew out to meet Evaleigh, we had a second Thanksgiving with them.  More turkey.  More stuffing.  More cousins (well, only one cousin in this case).

I love how much Elias loves Evaleigh.  He was rubbing his face on her head during all of these photos.  I had trouble getting him to actually look at the camera.  I’m not sure Evaleigh loved it as much as he did :)

Tjernlund cousins

School Days

In the midst of all of our travel, work, and other activities, I have been attempting to do preschool with Elias.  Somedays it’s super fun, somedays it’s super frustrating and somedays it doesn’t happen at all!  This year, I bought curriculum called “A Year of Playing Skillfully.”  It is based on the idea that preschool-aged kids learn through play.  So far, it’s been pretty fun and much better than my night-before Pinterest scramble that I was doing in Indonesia!

FAITH School

FAITH School

FAITH School

FAITH School


Elias has started to develop a love for books, which is basically this mama’s dream because it gives me an excuse to buy ALL the children’s books.  My kid book wishlist is longer than my own book wishlist.  It’s an illness.  Of course, he mostly wants to read about Legos and ninjas, but it’s a start, right?  Lego books are a gateway to E.B. White and N.D. Wilson, I’m just sure of it!  In the meantime, we’re learning all about Hero Factory, Ninjago (Legos and Ninjas!), Lego City and Lego Batman.  Hashtag: boymom.  Hastag: yesiknowthatsnothowhastagswork.


Of Crohn’s disease, Adoption and Gratitude

I’m just going to jump back in here…


Hi. So, furlough has been…well, not what we planned.  It came suddenly (for very good reason.  Yay Layla!) And it’s been a ton of travel and a lot of doctor visits.  We have been to Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and California.  That doesn’t include all of the states Nathan drove through on his way from AZ to MI and back again.

Two weeks after we arrived, we found ourselves in the hospital with two-week old Layla sick with RSV.  Thankfully she was the “healthiest RSV baby in the hospital” and was released a few days later.  Still…not fun to rush your newborn to the hospital with a 104 fever at 12:00 a.m.

Two months after we arrived, Nathan starting having a Crohn’s flare-up.  And now, 7 months later, he is still in the midst of it.  He is on a new fancy medicine with promises of being “disease altering.”  It will take 12-14 weeks to know if it is effective or not.  He’s on week 8.  If it is effective, he will potentially be on this medicine for the rest of his life.  But words like “disease altering” give us hope that it could be amazing! Most likely, he will need to have surgery come December to remove the parts of his intestines that are too damaged, but the doctors want to give the meds the full 14 weeks before they decide if surgery is necessary.

In happier news, we completed Layla’s adoption on September 29.  We were in the courtroom a whopping 8 minutes, and just like that, one little bang of a gavel, we officially have a daughter!  Layla is this amazing little ball of happy.  Seriously, I think God totally knew we needed this baby at this period in our lives.  She is such an easy baby!  And, oh is she a joy-bringer!


Furlough has ended up being longer than we expected. And more doctor visits than we expected. And more travel than we expected (20,000+ miles on the car). But we are grateful to be in America where there is great healthcare and Taco Bell. We are grateful that we will get to meet our new niece when she’s born (any day now!) We are grateful that we will be able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. We are grateful for our awesome churches and supporters who have been so understanding of our extended time away from Indonesia. We are grateful for each of you that have asked us how we’re really doing.

Now, go eat some Taco Bell and pray for Nathan’s gut while you’re at it!

Snow Day!

I just got home from the store and I’m sweating. And I don’t mean that in a glistening sort of way, I mean that in a I-just-lost-3-pounds-of-water-weight sorta of way.  It’s hot here y’all.  And not just hot, humid.

So, let’s think back shall we?  Let’s think back to three weeks ago when Elias and I were SO COLD, but SO JOYOUS to be playing in the snow at my parent’s house in Michigan. (Let’s be real…Elias was much more joyous than I was…I was mostly just cold.)

There was a snow-covered dirt pile in the backyard, and if you know my boy, you know that this dirt pile had to be conquered!

King of the Snow Mountain

See, I was there too

Flying on top of snow mountain

“I can just fly off it, Mommy!”

But, instead, I insisted he slide down…

Sliding down snow mountain

More Sliding

And then Elias helped Grandpa shovel the driveway and I took way too many pictures because he is too cute for words.






Finally, it was time to go inside!  But not before gathering up some fire wood so that we could thaw in front of a warm fire.

Helping with firewood

So, with that, I’ll all cooled off (or maybe the A/C has something to do with it) and dreaming of the next time we see big, fluffy, white snow!


Selamat, America!

Packed and ready to go home.

                 Packed and ready to go home.

Today is Monday.  It is snowing and my toes are numb.  But in just two sleeps, we will get on a plane headed for home.

Home, where the air is salty and warm.  Where we stand out in a crowd and can’t buy butter.  Where my son is growing up and I’m learning to be a mom.  Where my husband comes home everyday with a smile on his face because he loves his job so much.  Where kids call out “hello mister!” to me on the streets and I silently (and sometimes not so silently) vent my road rage at the motorcycles that cut me off.  Home.

This trip to the U.S., my “home,” has truly solidified to me how much Indonesia has become my home; the good, the hard, the hot.  It’s home.  I used to always say about our return, “when we go back” but this time around I have found myself saying, “when we go home.”  And that kinda terrifies me and fills me with joy all at the same time because I know that I have lost something, but also gained something so beautiful.  My wise hubby always says that you will value something when it costs you something.  And my goodness, Indonesia has cost me something and now I love my life there so very much.

So, selamat, America, it’s been real, but I’m ready to get home.

“Home,” but not Home.

Playing in the Snow

One of Michigan’s perks: Snow! (and also: central heat!)

Elias and I have moved on to the third (of four) State that we will be visiting during our little jaunt to the U.S. while Nathan remains in Idaho to finish up his training.  My parents moved to Michigan last Spring after spending my entire life up until then in Illinois.  So, here we are in Michigan soaking up time with family while we have it.  Elias has been thanking Jesus every night for time with family, but he also prays that his friends in Nabire will still remember him.

Can I be honest?  This whole three-year-old experiencing culture shock for the first time thing is hard. How do I explain to the nursery worker at the third church we’ve visited in three weeks why he doesn’t want to be there? (“I will throw-up on the ladies, mom.”)  And how do I explain to Elias why we can’t go home yet, especially when he asks so nicely. (“Please may I please go home to Na-Ba-Ray, Mommy?”)  And how do I explain to the restaurant worker, who sweetly touched his cute face, why that little action would cause a complete melt down and panic that she would take him away from me.  (In restaurants in Indonesia, workers will carry him away to show him off to the other workers…he hates this.) Sweet, confused little boy.

And now we’re away from Daddy, for the longest period of time that he has ever been away from Daddy.  But don’t worry, folks.  Elias has a plan…”I will get on a kite and fly to Daddy and he will say, ‘I love you, Son.'”

So, yes, coming “home” is wonderful and has some amazing perks.  But it’s not really home anymore.  And it’s definitely not home to Elias, my little MK.

Which is my thumb, Mom?

Fagerlie Family

We have left Arizona now and traded our light weight jackets in for heavier winter coats as Nathan attends some training at MAF headquarters in Nampa, Idaho.  This is good news, because we weren’t sure if Nathan’s doctors would want us to leave Arizona.  But with new medication in hand, we have hope that we can get this flare-up under control without any surgery.  Time will tell in a few weeks when Nathan has to fly again if they medication is suffiicient enough to get the inflammation down (gut inflammation+elevation change=ouch).

Meanwhile, we are still enjoying our time in the U.S. but missing our friends in Nabire.

Some firsts for Elias:

Throwing a snowball!
Visiting the dentist (he totally rocked it!)
Wearing mittens (“Which is my thumb, mom?”)
Seeing a pink pig (Indonesia’s pigs are not pink)
Discovering that the salt thrown on sidewalks does not taste good

The Haps: Fagerlies Visit America

We’ve been in paradise America for about a week and a half now.  Say what you will about the state of our country…but easy shopping, anonymity, amazing food, wide roads, general cleanliness, lack of people pinching my kiddo’s cute cheeks (all the while still noticing how cute he is), church in English, and, let’s be real, Target, make this place pretty awesome!!

But, I’m sure you don’t want to just read about my adventures staring at the cheese section of Walmart; you want to hear about Nathan’s health.  So, here’s the lowdown:

Nathan visited with his G.I. doctor the day after we arrived who ordered a ct scan and some blood work.  Surprisingly, considering all of his symptoms, the tests came back relatively normal, other than showing two spots of inflammation in his small intestines.  But, he continues to have issues that don’t match with the test results.  So, the doctor has ordered a few more tests that will be completed this week.  Hopefully it sheds some light on what’s going on.  We have one more week here in Phoenix until we head to Idaho for Nathan’s training there.

Can I tell you what a blessing it is to be in America right now?  All of this health stuff is so much easier here.  There is comfort in knowing that we can just drive to the E.R. if we need to; no medevac, no third-world medicine…qualified medical professionals at our fingertips!

P.S.-one of the highlights (can I call it that?) of Elias’ culture shock…watching his expression and listening to his questions as he experienced a drive-through for the first time.  “Grandpa doesn’t even have to get out of the car to get the food???”

American Soil

Countdown Chain

According to Elias’ countdown chain, it is 16 sleeps until we get on a big get and go see his cousins (he has a little bit of tunnel vision when it comes to our trip to America.  Most exciting things about our trip according to Elias: 1. riding on a big jet 2. seeing his cousins; although he might change his mind about the big jet after the first 7 hour stretch on one plane).

It has been two years since we last set foot on U.S. soil and so I am excited about the normal stuff…family, food, friends.  But I’ve been thinking about a few other things I’m looking forward to as well:

  1. The moment in customs when the agent stamps my passport and says, “welcome home.”
  2. Being anonymous.  Everywhere we go here, we stand out.  I cannot leave the base without someone saying “Hello, Mister!” to me and I often hear the word “boule” being muttered.  People ask to take our picture all the time and seem completely astonished and almost offended that I won’t let them take a picture of my two-year-old (“But he’s so handsome!”).  So…I will welcome blending into the crowd.
  3. Shopping for leisure.  This is just not something I do here.  With my non-anonymity (is that even a word?) and everyone pinching Elias’ cheeks, shopping is not relaxing.  I never go out to a store just to wander around to see what there is.
  4. Wide aisles in the grocery store.  The concept of making an aisle wide enough for a cart to go through, let alone two, as yet to hit the stores of Nabire.  I am always navigating my cart around boxes and employees.  Thankfully their annoyance that I’m asking them to move so I can shop is usually tempered when they see my cute kid (whose cheeks they want to pinch).
  5. Cold weather.  I might regret saying this the second we step off the airplane and the first gust of cold air hits me, but right now it sounds pretty dreamy to sit in front of a fire with snow sitting on the ground outside.  Also, Elias needs to build a snowman :)
  6. Traffic patterns that make some kind of logical sense.  Indonesia gives me road rage.
  7. Going on a dinner/movie date with Nathan.  I realize that seeing a movie in the theater is not the most important thing in life…but we haven’t done that in almost 3 years so I’m looking forward to it.
  8. Seeing Elias’ reaction to all things American.  He was 10 months old when we left the States and so he has no memory of it.  I’m sure he is going to have some culture shock.
  9. Karson.  Karson falls in the family category but still earns a place on this list because he is our brand-new nephew and I can’t wait to squeeze him!
  10. Buying new clothes.  I’m in a I’m-tired-of-wearing-the-same-clothes-all-the-time-year-round funk and I’m ready to get some new ones.  And bonus: new clothes aren’t all stretched out and holey!

America, my home-country that I love but don’t really fit into anymore, I’m excited to see you again!

Fun fact: two years is the longest we have ever spent away from U.S. soil!  We’re not breaking any records here, by a long stretch, but it seems like some kind of milestone for us.

Cutest Pumpkin in the Patch

Fall.  Sigh.  How I love Fall!

We are soaking up all of the Fall-y goodness that we can before we return to the land of eternal summer.  Today we visited a pumpkin farm (forget for a second that it was 85 degrees outside.  Hello??  October??  Where is your crisp fall air?)

DSC_0740 resize

Elias totally loved the corn bin!


Posing like a pro!

DSC_0801 edit

Seriously, how is he so cute??

Next on the Fall bucket list: Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer