Saturday, August 6, 2016

L's prayer

The other day, L asked if we could go waterskiing. Behind the kayaks.

After unsuccessfully attempting to explain that kayaks don't go fast enough to create a wake, I changed my tactics.  I explained that unfortunately we couldn't, because you have to have the right equipment and you need someone to teach you.

He was not deterred. He prayed that someone with the right equipment would offer to teach him.  I appreciated his faith, but honestly, I was just happy that he dropped it.

Imagine my surprise when, two days later, our friend K mentioned that her husband wondered if the boys would like to learn to waterski.  Are you kidding me?!?

Here he is getting the basics.

The boys both got to try it.  And while they didn't become overnight skiing sensations - and indeed Lennon never even got up on his feet - that wasn't the point.

We got an answer to specific prayer (a prayer for a frivolous want, not even a need) and another example of God's individual, personal lovingkindness toward us.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Unexpected blessings

When we planned to leave Bangkok for the year, we knew it meant Whim would be putting his musical career on hold.

Though he was willing to put his love of performing aside in exchange for the adventures to come, it was still a sacrifice.  He is someone who truly loves what he does.

He must have held on to a hope that he would probably get the chance to play now and then. But neither of us expected this!

Whim has been invited to play with the worship team several times for churches in two different cities.  He got to play at a special Fourth of July event and was invited back to play at Kendall yards for a total of 4 weeks!

His Kendall yards event gig been a particular blessing for all of us.  I've loved having an excuse to be back in Spokane, where I have many friends.  Whim has loved being asked (on several occasions) if he's "the guy from Kendall yards"?  And the boys love the kid-friendly atmosphere.

And the Feingold friendly treats!

Monday, August 1, 2016


I haven't kayaked since I went to Camp Four Echoes in third grade. And honestly, now that I think of it, maybe that was canoeing?

When our housesitting hosts mentioned that they have kayaks and that we should be sure to take them out while we're in town, I filed it away under "Thanks, but no thanks."

I don't know, it just sounded like a hassle.  I'm not always the best about trying new things.  And we aren't the outdoorsiest.

But then I remembered that this summer- and really this year away- is all about new things.  So we loaded them up and took them for a spin.

It's so easy on our still lake, we all had it figured in just a few minutes.  We've been out 3 times since, and if I'm not mistaken, today looks like another great day to be put on the lake.

As L so succinctly put it: "I hope the next place we stay has kayaks."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Post falls 2016

While we were in Idaho we visited A and her family, enjoyed the sun, played with their kids, and had delicious steak salads and s'mores.  They taught the boys to play mafia (and M is sure that life is never going to be the same.) After dinner, L was thrilled to discover that A's husband K is a computer programmer.

L picked his brain about the job and what it's like to work with computers for a living. They "talked tech" and K showed him his Apple Watch.  I listened in a little, and he made me so proud, telling K about how he was going to be a game designer.  His dream is not just to create games, but to create new technology.  Pretty cool for a recent kindergarten grad.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Coeur d' Alene 2016

In elementary school, if I could have rubbed a lamp and been granted three wishes, one of them would have been to go to Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.

I heard about it on the radio, my older sister's friend used to live there, and there was no Google back then to prove me wrong.  So basically, as far as I was concerned, Coeur d' Alene was heaven on earth.

Last Thursday, my dear friend A invited us to dinner at her home in Post Falls, Idaho.  As it happened, it was the very day our housesitting hosts were returning, and we planned to be out of the house by that morning.

It didn't take a lot of thinking to settle on a place to spend the day.  

As we pulled in to Coeur d' Alene, my heart was literally pounding. I had no actual plans, and no more than the vaguest idea of what there was to do in the city, but that didn't matter to my long-dormant secret wish!  We were here!

We hiked a little, swam a bit, checked out the park, then took a walk.

Then we checked out the world's longest floating boardwalk. (Cool!)

Basically, Coeur d' Alene was worthy of every bit of my desperate desire!  What a beautiful place.  I wish we had a week there.

Looks like M feels the same way about it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Feingold baking

Our time in Spokane is drawing to a close.  We've been so lucky to be staying with friends and housesitting.  Besides the major budgetary appeal, nothing beats the comfort of home... even if it isn't actually ours.

Between all our outings, I've been keeping busy in the kitchen.  We're still enjoying the novelty of cooking 2+ meals a day at home (unlike Thailand, where we can eat out often without breaking the bank.). In addition, I've been making all kinds of goodies.  We can't always find approved treats for the boys when we are out and about, but even when we can, they aren't cheap. I think when I make sure there are plenty of special things to eat at home, they don't mind too much when we have to say no.

Last week I made GF snickerdoodles.

And ice cream sandwiches with approved (and on-sale!) Tillamook ice cream.

Then, this week I made chocolate chip cookies!  M wants to make these cookies to sell at a lemonade stand. Think there would be any takers?

Since being here in Spokane I've also tried a few new things.


And a cherry pie!

Both the poptarts and the pie are courtesy of Feingold-approved pie crusts I found at the Gro{ss} Out for 38 cents.

This week we'll be heading into a new home in a new town.  There may not be as much going on as in Spokane, but at least we'll have another great kitchen!

Perry street fair and Discovery playground

The latest in the whirlwind-of-fun tour of Spokane was the Perry Street Fair. 

It was family-friendly and free: just our style. 

Kids with balloons!

Potato sack races!

Parachute games!

(Let me just say, the library was giving out hyper-color pencils!  As if they needed another reason to be our favorite!)

There was all kinds of junk food, too, of course. But we packed a picnic lunch and ate on our friends' porch!

Whim checked out the music- I'm sure he would have loved to play, but even his luck has its limits.

Our day didn't end there.  We headed to the valley to check out the discovery playground, and ended the night with Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the park.

The park was really something.  I read it was designed with children with autism in mind.  We would have liked to explore it more, but it was a little rainy.

By the time we sat down for the movie, it was freezing!  Next time we'll be prepared with blankets and sweaters!

We lasted until about 11:15 pm before we gave up and headed home.  I'm pretty impressed with myself, actually.

Part of me knows we're spoiling the boys with all the activities, but the other part of me doesn't care.  

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Spokane farmers markets

One of our favorite things to do in Spokane has been visiting the many farmers markets.

There are markets in different districts all over town on different days of the week, each with fresh produce, handicrafts, food trucks, goodies, and entertainment.

The boys' favorite is how they can earn kids' cash to buy fruits and veggies right there at the market.  They've walked away with gold and red raspberries, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and carrots. What a wonderful initiative that gets fresh fruits and veggies into the hands of the city's kids.  And it's free!

Plus, this week Whim got to play on stage at the Kendall Yards market, thanks to our friend S.  The developer liked him so much, he invited him back next week.  Whim knows he can't play for a living while we're here in the US, but the chance to play for a crowd still brings him a lot of joy!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cheney parade 2016

Since arriving back in Spokane, one of our best outings has been the Cheney parade!

The boys had a blast and gathered tons of candy!  They couldn't eat anything but the Pearson mint patties, but the fun was in the scrambling!

I went to elementary school in Cheney, so it was a little trip down memory lane seeing our old apartments, my old school and playground, and all the places we used to ride our bikes!

We even drove to my old best friend's house and said hello to her dad!

A good, old fashioned parade was high on my American must-see list!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Spring Canyon 2016

Our last day in Coulee was spent at Spring Canyon.

We were happy to find our neighbor friends there, too!  That's the fun of a small town, isn't it?

It wasn't quite what I'd call beach weather, but we made the best of it and even swam out to the dock to jump!

We had an quick and easy picnic - pb&js are a lot cheaper than approved hot dogs!!

I'm not sure what is up with the weather, but I do hope we get some hot summer days, soon!

We visited Dad's gravesite on the way home, and we took some time to talk about him and keep his stories alive.  It breaks my heart that my kids don't get to grow up with him, and this year at home should have included time with him.  But hearing about him is the next best thing.

Monday, July 11, 2016

M and the Sandpile 2016

While we were in GCD, it became apparent that M needed a little extra tlc.

He has been having so much fun, but I could see he was on edge the last week or so.  Any little thing could set him off, he was a little over-sensitive, and not his usual happy self.

With a family meeting and a time of prayer, it all came out.  Everywhere we go, people flock to L.  It's true, I've seen it. L is cute, he's sweet, and he's little. It's the attention trifecta, especially from teenage girls (M's preferred demographic.  Ha!)

M is handsome and intense and growing bigger every day.  He is a wonderful person to know, and people love him.  But he doesn't draw a crowd like L does, and he knows it.

Add to that the perception that nobody listens to him... Well, he just needed some one on one time.

We decided to take a walk, just the two of us.  We didn't have a plan- just started wandering.  But before we had gone far I realized that we were headed straight for the sandpile.

There is something about that sandpile that kids love.  I think, as kids, we climbed it the very day we moved to Coulee Dam!

I was not the least bit interested in climbing, so I let him at it.  

But I realized: this was one of those moments that determine if you are a fun mom or one who sits on the sidelines.

When I started after him, his eyes just lit up. Man, it doesn't matter what a boring, grouchy, lame mom you are. Once you start climbing the sandhill (or jump in the water, or fill in the blank) you are the best mom ever.

It was not an easy climb, but we made it!  And he was thrilled.  The high lasted for days.

Going down!  He didn't wait for me!

Back at the bottom, with the feathers he found. 

I have never, ever been a fan of the whole "dating my kids" thing.  But a walk, just the two of us.  That I can handle.

Fourth of July 2016 - Coulee

This is where we spent our "fourth of July weekend" (which turned into nearly a week.)

Just look at that yard!  For posterity, I will record its bounty: a play structure, a tire swing, a trampoline, two go karts, a basketball hoop, a chicken coop, all manner of cool toys, and -perhaps most importantly- a back gate that opened up into the neighbor's yard.  I marveled every time we went outside.

The backyard neighbors were my (and our host's) childhood friends, and they were all home for the Fourth with their families, too, so it just became a wonderful, writhing mass of kid humanity. I think at one point we counted 21 kids.  This was just the first wave.

The P's treated us like family and made us feel so welcome.  

For the Fourth itself, we had a barbecue with old friends, visited the park, and stayed up late for fireworks... but the highlight of the day was seeing Whim get to perform onstage at the Festival of America.

Whim never misses out for fear of asking.  When he heard there was live music planned, he leaned over to our friend S and asked who he would have to talk to to find out about performing.  The coordinator happened to be sitting right next to her.  They worked out a few details and it was set!

I know Whim is happy to see my happy and reconnecting with all my old friends.  But performing is what he loves, so I'm glad he got that chance.  Plus, now he can say he has performed onstage internationally... He'll never let that one go!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Coulee Dam Anniversary 2016

Saturday we took the drive back to Coulee Dam.  We were just here last weekend, but there's nothing like small town America on the Fourth of July, especially with friends.  Totally worth it.

The 90 mile drive took us 3-1/2 hours.

The reason?

But I've really begun seeing the area with new eyes.  We used to drive to Spokane and back for one long Saturday trip to do school shopping, make Costco runs, pick out basketball shoes... I guess after a while we hardly even noticed the surroundings.

You have to admit it's beautiful.  (Though personally I'd be ok admiring the beauty at 60 mph.)

Whim doesn't just stop and smell the roses.  He stops to smell them, photograph them, and watch them grow.  He's teaching me to slow down, which, in part, is what this trip was all about.  I'm getting there.

Saturday was our 10 year wedding anniversary. Like every couple, we've had our ups and downs.  But we're moving forward together.  This time traveling as a family, with no work responsibilities and very few other obligations, has been so good for us.  I think we'll come away from this year more connected than ever.

We had time Saturday, thanks to A, to celebrate together, just the two of us.  And there's no other place we'd dream of going than the P's own Siam Palace.

It is, hands down, the best Thai food I've ever had outside of Thailand.  It may not taste exactly the way the dishes taste there, but he's found a way to make very delicious alternatives.

We weren't away too long, with our rascally boys back at A's house.  But we stopped on the way home just long enough to pick up the ingredients for a little treat. The boys' first root beer floats!  They were a hit.

Happy anniversary to us!