Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Back to school

What I will not be doing this year:

Writing a page-long fact sheet with information regarding everything anyone who might ever work with L at school might need to know about RAS.

Calling a meeting to talk with everyone who might ever work with L at school to go over the fact sheets.

Printing two-inch photos of him, attaching them to the fact sheets, and distributing them to everyone in attendance.

Preparing a full change of clothes in a labelled ziplock bag to keep in every classroom he might visit at school.   Including the Thai classroom which is adjacent to his classroom and has a connecting door.  And the nurse's office, (which, truth be told, has a giant Rubbermaid box of spare uniforms, which every child in the school is entitled to use when necessary.)

What I will be doing this year: 

Telling his teachers, special teachers and the nurse, "If he has a seizure, don't call an ambulance.  When it's over, have someone walk him to the nurse to rest."

That is all.

Last year he had no seizures at school, and only one near-miss.  So the question is, between common sense and Murphy's law, which will win out?

Super hair

As any mom to young sons can probably claim, I can handle my fair share of superheros. I know all the Avengers and Xmen.  I can recall the back stories from the ninja turtles to the fantastic four.  I even know a fair few secret identity aliases.  (Bruce Banner and Bruce Wayne...?  Two Bruces?  What's going on there?)

But I draw the line at Antman.  Come on. That is the stupidest comic book hero I have ever heard of.  I refuse to give him any of my brain space.
So on Sunday night, while Whim and the boys were at the movies, I had my hair straightened.  I love it.

I can't wash it, tie it back, or tuck it behind my ears for 72 hours.  But soon the transformation will be complete, and by tomorrow night my hair will be Super hair.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The J family dancers

The boys recently landed an exciting gig, but it came with a catch.  

A family, to be exact.

So despite my complete and utter loathing toward seeing myself on video (and my embarrassing lack of moves) today we "danced" as a part of a series of videos that will air on the Disney channel all over SE Asia beginning next month. 

I have to admit, it was a lot more fun than I expected.  And I still have my fingers crossed that all my parts will be cut, leaving adorable videos of the boys that I can be proud of and brag on, shamelessly!

Home again home again

There's nothing quieter than M with a new book -- well, and laryngitis.

Add a new maze book for L, and we had ourselves another very easy ride home.  I read on the plane for the first time in 6 years.

So now we're back in the Big Mango, with just enough time for one last adventure before I head back to work on Monday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Welcome baby Wiki

Our trip to Chaing Mai was full of adventures (and plenty of cousin time for the boys and Na-an.) But as the days passed, we started to worry if we were actually going to meet our new neice at all!

Thankfully, the night before we boarded the plane back to BKK, baby Wiki was born.

She's perfect. 

That night, as we settled into bed, M sighed, "If only she had been born the first day we came..."

I think P' Wum would agree!  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Elephant rides in CM

Whim's sister, a full 40+ weeks pregnant, planned an elephant trekking trip for us yesterday.  She's amazing!

I never made it past 36 weeks, but I'm pretty sure I gave up arranging trips for family and friends around the time I could no longer see my feet or go more than 15 minutes between bathroom breaks.

She wisely stayed behind at the camp, while we took a forty-minute ride through the mountainous jungle.

The camp also offered an early-morning elephant show, ox cart rides, bamboo rafting, and extended-stay mahout training experiences.

We were surprised to discover that all the shops closed down at 3:00 pm, though.  Good thing we packed a picnic!

Still no sign of baby Wiki!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Checking in from CM

Yesterday we took the world's easiest flight to Chaing Mai (it's a very quick domestic flight and the boys were angels!), and with any luck, will be meeting our new neice any day now.

Whim's sister- adorable even at 9+ months pregnant- picked us up at the airport and brought us to our charming guesthouse, where we will be staying for the next five days.

Whim and the boys already took advantage of the pool yesterday- nevermind the squall!

I stayed inside to entertain my nephew like a sane person!  I couldn't resist sneaking a few pictures though.

We have a few penciled-in ideas for sightseeing in CM, but it all depends on our neice and when she decides to make her grand arrival!  Soon, we all hope!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Movie night

What do you think of M's minion costume for our movie night yesterday?

L didn't want to dress up (just as well, we only have one pair of overalls anyway) but M loved being the center of attention and had people snapping pictures all evening.

The boys laughed through the whole thing (though I have to admit I thought the first movie was much funnier.) 

Regarding movies: While I am generally a strict, stick-in-the-mud rule-follower, we totally do "sneak" snacks (and a blanket) into the theatre.  Only because there is not one thing at the snack bar that the kids can eat (and it's freezing).

I carry everything in plain sight and always hope someone will stop me, so I can explain. But no one cares.  Yesterday was an all-time, personal record of awkwardness- we walked in with an entire plate of homemade cookies.

Centara Grand kids club

I wasn't aware of the mini kids club program on our last trip to Centara Grand, and had I been, I probably wouldn't have suggested it, anyway.  Vacation is family time, right?

But the boys asked to go when they saw the sign, so we agreed to drop them off for 1/2 an hour on our second day, "to see" while Whim and I hung out at the no-kids-allowed infinity pool.  We left the boys to decorate water bottles, and I have to admit, I fully expected them to complain when we picked them up later, through I didn't feel too bad about it.  The pool was very tempting. ;)

Not surprisingly, I was wrong.  They loved it, and wanted to stay!  Then they wanted to come back again after lunch.  Mind you, this is at a beach resort with 11 water slides, a kids pool, and a splash pad.  The playdough and crafts were somehow even more fun!

Whim and I hardly knew what to do with ourselves that afternoon.  I laid out under an umbrella, in silence, for an hour.  It was like I was actually on vacation.

They definitely would have gone back the next day if M wouldn't have gotten sick.  I honestly had always figured kids' programs were actually for the parents.  I never realized our kids would enjoy their time away even more than we did!

We still have another voucher for a free night at one of their other sites.  I think we'll definitely choose one with a kids club!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Perfect gross cookies

I can't even imagine liking marmalade.

I think I've found a way to keep baking for the boys without having to exercise any self-control, myself.

They all went wild for them, and I wasn't tempted in the least.

Last day = sick day

After a lot of fun in the sun, poor M woke up with a stomach bug the last day of our trip.

He has always been such a "good" sick kid.  He never complains, rests peacefully, and keeps a positive attitude. He doesn't milk it a bit and never even puts on that pitiful "I'm sick" face.

Don't ask me where he gets it from.  All I know is that it did NOT come from me. Both Whim and I are huge babies when we are sick, and we need people to know it!

M basked in the attention all the way home, where we put him to bed and coddled him and let him pick a movie (Tintin).  He was pretty violently sick all day, but thankfully he fell asleep easily and was able to rest through the night. 

The next morning he ventured gingerly, "I don't mean to be demanding, but when you're sick can you ask for presents to cheer you up?"  

At that point he was already looking perkier, but... of course you can!

He spent most of the day in bed reading, and Whim and L even went out to Asia books to pick out a present (and some grilled duck: "Sick people can ask for a special food, right?") but he was coming around.

At one point in the day, I had to reprimand him for something minor.  I scolded, "Even though you're sick, you still have to follow the rules, you know!"

His eyes immediately filled with tears and he was too sorry to speak.  When he finally was able to croak out the words, he confessed: "Well.... (gulp) the truth is... (sniff)  I don't have that much experience being sick and... (blink) I didn't know what was different and what was the same!"

Ok.  That is cute.  He is so honest.  I am truly lucky to have such communicative children.  I don't always remember that for five- and six-year-olds, the world is new and full of mysteries.  When you're sick you get attention and special treatment, maybe you can break rules too?
Thankfully everyone is back to good health.  And just in time, since we're heading to Chiang Mai this week to see P' Wum and her (soon to be born) new baby!

Friday, July 10, 2015


We are back!

We are back at the Centara Grand Mirage in Pattaya. They called Whim up and talked him into a membership card... Better make the most of it, right?

As much fun as we had on our overnighter for Lennon's birthday, knowing we have three days this time has made the trip much more relaxing.  We don't have to do it all and see it all, all at once.

Yesterday evening, after a day in the sun, we hit up the game room.  I have a thing against game rooms usually. You're on vacation, or you're at the movies, or you're someplace special, already.  Game rooms seem like an unfair temptation to dangle in front of kids, when their parents are already treating them.

But, it's their vacation, too.  And a half-hour in there with a handful of ten baht coins was a rare thrill for them.

We ended the night with the Polynesian dancing/fire show.  We opted for lounge chairs on the deck where the boys could move (and cheer!) freely rather than tables nearer the stage, so I don't have any close up shots.  The fireballs didn't disappoint.

I always hesitate to do touristy things (like the fire show) but as my mom said, tourists do them for a reason- they're fun!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

He did it again!

L was three, nearly four, when he learned to ride a bike. He was impossibly tiny, but he set his mind to it, and by day three he had figured it out (except that he had to crash to stop since his feet couldn't reach the ground.)

Whim and I immediately "got involved" to get him a bike more his size. We pulled out M's rusty old toddler-sized two-wheeler and kitted it out with new tires, and figured we were all set for some family rides.

But he could never get the hang of it again.  The spell was broken. We'd pull it out every now and then, but it was useless.  He didn't know how to ride anymore.  We didn't push it, because who pushes a three-year-old to ride a bike?  But the old saying, "It's just like riding a bike."  Why couldn't he remember?

Today, struck by the thought that he is now five and it is definitely time, I showed him a video of himself riding that day long ago.  Remember?  You used to know how.  Want to try again?

And then it dawned on me.  Instead of the little old bike, I let him ride the big bike again- the same bike he learned on- and he rode down the street and back again, just like that. 

Umm... The little bike didn't work?! Why did it take me a year and a half to think of that?!

This afternoon, we rode to the pool to celebrate.  I planned to run alongside him, but he rode all the way there without a hitch. (Though on the way back he faceplanted into a fence!)

I don't remember learning to ride a bike as a child, but I do remember the wonderful freedom that came with it. 

Congrats, L! You did it (again!)


Can you believe this guy?

I didn't use any tricky techniques or filters to get this strange picture- the pink waves radiatating out from Whim's enormous mass of sparklers are those of pure foolhardiness and danger.

And I wonder where the boys get it?!

At least with them I can put my foot down.  Two at a time is the limit!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

We had a good, old-fashioned American cookout, with burgers, corn-on-the-cob (with homemade butter!) and even patriotic Popsicles, from this cute recipe-


Mine didn't turn out quite as picture-perfect as hers, but I loved them!  Next time I will fold paper towel around a Popsicle stick and swipe down the inside of the mold between each layer.  

That, and tapping the mold on the counter after adding each later to settle the contents, should make the layers neater.  I should probably thin the yogurt, too.  The purple "blue" layer couldn't be helped, though.

Even Whim got dressed up to celebrate!

Summer mornings

All summer, the boys have been staying up later and then sleeping in.  I'm loving my quiet mornings!

Every evening at bedtime, either we'll all snuggle in for a movie (and I fall asleep) or I let them stay up and read in their room with the light on (and I fall asleep.)  Either way I am happily sleeping, and the next day, they are happily sleeping in.  

I've gotten greedy with my mornings though, and want to make sure they continue.  I've realized a few things.

After I exercise and shower, I get back in bed.  I have to.  The minute I radiate "up for the day" vibes, L is awake.  So I sneak back into bed and read and pray and check in with my family and play word chums and write blog posts and bask in the silence.

If L wakes up and I'm "still in bed", he'll get in and sleep- for 2 more hours.  Two more glorious, silent hours where no one is asking me questions or climbing on me. But if I'm up, he's up, too.

M has gotten the hang of sleeping in and doesn't need any intervention.  Two days ago he slept until 11:30, and I had to wake him up so we could go to lunch.  But I'm not taking any chances.  So I always make sure there is a book right by him when he wakes up.  My thought is, if he wakes up too early, it should distract him.  It hasn't been necessary so far, but you never know.

The other day, though, he came to me with fear in his eyes and told me he was really worried about something.  "I don't know how I'm doing it," he confessed, "but I'm reading in my sleep."

Oops...I never stopped to think what that conveniently-placed book would seem like from his perspective!  

School starts so early here, it's hard to get up early enough to make a quiet morning durning the school year.  But I'll try to soak in enough throughout this month to last me until October break!


Friday, July 3, 2015

Another day in Paradise

Yesterday Whim and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary.  I had been itching to check out Art In Paradise, so we decided yesterday would be just the day.  It was definitely worth the trip.

It was such a fun and different way to spend the afternoon.

The whole place is set up for taking funny photos- they even show you where to stand so that the perspective comes out just right.

When your perspective is off, it doesn't look right.

But when it's right, everything is perfect.

Hmmm... It's like it has an anniversary double-meaning.

We finished the day with sushi and beach plans for next week.  Can't wait!

(Whim usually takes about one picture of me a year that I like, and this one is it!)

Happy nine years to us!