Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mexico day in first grade

M's class had an in-school field trip on Friday.  

A local Mexican restaurant owner brought her taco truck to school to teach the kids about Mexican food and culture.  The first graders got to mix and press their own tortillas, fry them into chips, and make salsa!

This special day was made doubly-special by the fact that, luckily, it was a restaurant we visit often, and M knew he would be able eat everything they made.  

That was a first, making it M's favorite special day to date. (aka número uno in his libro.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Too cold to think of a title

We're enjoying our annual 2 or 3 days of winter here in Bangkok.

We've slept with the windows open the last few nights, and have been doing our best to make it feel like a special season - sweatshirts, hot chocolate, lots of layers, and cozy socks.  The works.

"Enjoying" it might be an overstatement, though.  At least for some of us.

This morning, as we walked out to meet the taxi, I reminded the boys that if their hands were too cold they could put them in their hoodie pockets.  (Laugh if you must but these kids aren't used to being cold and still don't even know how to sleep under blankets!)

L immediately plunged his hands deep in to his pocket, winced against the wind, and asked," But what about our faces!!?"  No kidding!

If this week has been a preview of life in Carmel, I think it's safe to say we've all got some adjusting to do!

Friday, January 22, 2016

To do: calm down

Good thing I didn't make a New Year's resolution to blog more!

Since our decision in October to take a sabbatical from my work next year and move to the states for a year of rest, I've been pretty preoccupied with making preparations.  

I feel like almost every day I add a new subcategory to my ever-expanding To Do list: home improvements, boys' school business, purging/selling/giving away, last-calls for local medical care including vision/dental/physicals for everyone, financial decisions, route and schedule planning, work-related paperwork...  

It feels good to be doing something, even if each new thing I do seems to set off another list of things, domino style.  It scratches the itch I have- to be busy, to be in control, and to accomplish things. But it also stresses me out.

In my anticipation for our "dream year" next year, I lost sight of the dream year I am already in.  This is my only tenth year of marriage.  My only year with a five and seven-year-old.  My only January, 2016.  And I'm spending it grouching at everyone about how much there is to do!

I'm so lucky to have the job I do, in the city I do, with the family I do. It's pretty ridiculous stressing myself to death planning the perfect year of rest.

I still have a list of things to take care of.  But now, thanks to a long chat with Whim and a longer chat with God, I can approach them joyfully.  Instead of seeing them as hurdles between me and my perfect plan, I can see them as a part of my already-pretty-perfect life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fair isn't fair

Last night, M sighed that "nobody else likes what I like and nobody is ever going to vote for my field day theme idea".  

Hmm... He's probably right. Sad.  We talked through the procedure his teacher will use and I pointed out that if he wants his idea to be chosen, he has to make a suggestion his classmates would be exited about.  "She'll take everyone's suggestions.  Then everyone will vote on the one they like best.  Whichever one gets the most votes wins.  So it's fair."

His answer?

"How is it fair, when nobody else in my class even likes Egyptian gods?"   Touché.   

Friday, January 8, 2016

Zoo day

L had to miss his class field trip to the zoo the week before Christmas.  A mysterious fever that kept popping up at night and then disappearing for the rest of the day made it impossible to make it the required 24 hours without a fever needed to get him back to school.  The day of the trip, Whim texted me from home every hour or two to let me know that - yep, he's still fine.  Sigh.

Anyway, I promised him that we'd take him over break, and yesterday we finally did.

We went straight to the sun conure aviary- my favorite place.  L went back and forth between hating it...

And loving it. Mostly loving it.  The jacket helped a lot!

His favorite part of the day, though,was the dolphin show.  We were really impressed with the trainers, and the dolphins were so smart.  

M's favorite part was the "Spy Wars" show, which somehow featured exactly zero animals, but which basically was made up of some power rangers characters and a string of pyrotechnics, fire, and loud explosions from start to finish.

I was on the edge of my seat the whole show because I kept thinking every other explosion would trigger a seizure.  It's been over a year since he had one, so it's probably safe to say that he won't have any more, but those explosions were so loud and so sudden!  I couldn't help it.

He was fine (of course) and sat eating his smuggled-in popcorn without a peep.  Speaking of snacks, I have to admit that the zoo offered several additive-free choices.

We brought all our own food, but hot corn on the cob and chilled fresh fruit were as easily available as the less-healthy options like the ice creams and chips.  And despite Est cola being advertised at every turn, cold water was cheap and everywhere.

Another favorite- giraffe feeding!  

The boys both brought their own pocket money and happily bought their own feed from the handlers everywhere we stopped.  L is so generous, he kept offering to buy all M's, too.

We hadn't been to this zoo since L was an infant, so it was about time!  

(Note to self for next time- pick a day when Whim doesn't work the night before and go early!  And we don't need to go to every show.. pick a few, and enjoy the animals without having to battle the crowd.)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Before and after of whim's records

When Whim started collecting records, he didn't do it gradually.  It was an avalanche.  Suddenly, we had stacks of dusty records everywhere.  

Now, our house has never looked like a magazine photo, but the piles of old records everywhere were bad, even by my standard.  Whim Mickey-moused some temporary storage for them and his record players out of some side tables and an unused kitchen cupboard.  Sounds awesome, right?

Needless to say, there is not much photographic evidence, because it looked ridiculous.  And also needless to say, our "temporary" solution was in place for longer than I liked it.  You can see some of them behind L.

Recently, we've been working on getting the house ready for our adventures next year, and this area was at the top of the to-do list.

I heaved such a sigh of relief when that mess was all shelved.  Doesn't it look lovely and peaceful now?

Now all we need is a renter.  


I looked for this game at every store we visited when we were in Alaska last year, after hearing about it from a friend. 

We never did find it, but my thoughtful Aunt C sent it for Christmas and it's just as fun as I thought it would be.

I love hearing which answers pop into my boys' heads.

Bean?  Mr. Bean!
Magician?  Uncle Diggory!
Business Mogul?  Daddy Warbucks!/Zaccheus!
Jazz musician?  Papa!

They never let their limited life experiences stop them from coming up with a creative answer.

Happy New Year

"Now I know what they mean," he said, "when authors say, 'The wind whipped his hair across his face.'"

It was a little like something from a book, our little New Year getaway.

There is nothing so peaceful as the feeling that comes over you when you leave the city behind- even just for a day or two.

The river view was idyllic.

Someone was always in the hammock.

The boys and I swam and relaxed, listened to Whim's band play, and happily hit the sack way before midnight.

I saw the fireworks through the zippered window of our tent with two cozy boys snuggled by my sides.  Good enough for me.

The next morning I woke up to ring in the new year in a way that's more my style.  A silent sunrise.

A new year reminder to find moments of peace for myself amidst the chaos of my always loud, often busy life.