Wednesday, April 24, 2013

boy can my kids sleep they just don't sleep 'in' the morning

I completely forgot about these pictures, b/c they were taken on Tim's phone. This was how Preston and Isabella slept on the way home from the village.  They slpet like this for like 2 plus hours. It was so CUTE!

Monday, April 1, 2013

For the grandparents

 A few updates about my kids. If you are not family please feel free to not read. Bella is 17 months now and talking lots. She is also responding to Vietnamese commands like, "shake hands" "give a hug" "say hello" She adores our helper who watchers her in the morning while I do language study. She is quite the fashionista and when she wakes up from her nap she will pull on her clothes and say, "change clothes." She often follows Prestons every move. It is so cute to watch her follow Preston around the house imitating his gestures.
 As many of you read on facebook, a couple of weeks ago Preston hit some major milestones. He made it to his 100th reading lesson and as a present he got a new Ninjago toy (his most favorite toy at the moment) During this same week, he transitioned to the top bunk on his bunk bed, and began riding his bike with no training wheels.
 It feels like overnight he just grew up. Im so proud of him!

 My two favorite guys in this world, aren't they handsome!

Our time at the village wedding part 2

The family knew that there would be hundreds of people in attendance at the wedding, but no one knew there would be 1000 plus people there. In order to accommodate the massive amount of people expected, the cooking began days in advance. From butchering animals, to cooking kilos of sticky rice. Below is some of the food prep.  

 Preston was born in Thailand and the majority of his 5 1/2 years of life have been spent in Asia, so he is used to Asian food. However, village food is a different story. Below is Preston sneaking candy into his back pocket. Actually, for days he survived on sticky rice, candy, and boiled quail eggs. He learned the hard way that this combination is lethal, when he threw up in the middle of the night.

 The bride and groom welcomed the community to their wedding. Below is a picture of the bride and groom with their parents. This was the official beginning of their vows.

 As you can see below the tent was packed with people, and still hundreds waited outside for tables to be cleared and a reset with food to eat.

 Above is a picture of some of the people who were waiting for a table. It was the biggest wedding I had ever seen.
 Above is a chicken stuffed with something. Sometimes in the village it is better to just eat and not ask questions as to what you are eating. Below is the mother of the bride and Bella bonding over sticky rice.
The wedding day turned out to be the warmest day of the year, it was a gorgeous day and we were happy to be a part of our friends wedding.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

our time in the village

we left Tuesday at 2:30 pm for the village. It takes 8 hours by bus. We take the sleeper bus as there is room to stretch your legs. It was about 11 when we arrived at our friends house. Bella and I shared a bed, and Tim and Preston shared another bed in the stilt house we were staying in. The kids went right to sleep, and we all woke up early in the morning with the help of the chickens who arose with the sun below us. 
 Bella ate breakfast first while playing with the cats that she was totally obsessed with. We were all tired, but it felt good to be back in village again. Our friend cooked us fried eggs plus some more traditional food for breakfast. It was yummy and we were thankful for his hospitality.

 In all breakfast was, cooked greens, dried meat of some sort, fried eggs, fish and sticky rice. After breakfast we all got ready for the wedding. For all meals a mat is laid on the floor of the 1 room house and a small table is brought in. We all get a bowl of our own and eat the food around the table family style.
 We arrived at the place of the wedding early so we could see all the preparations  When we got to our friends house, the family was gathered around a table of food that had been offered to the spirits. The grooms family was handing out presents to the various aunts and uncles. We were so blessed to have received one of these family presents as well. The present was a Tai Dam head scarf, a pillow, and a wash cloth. It was a very practical gift to receive.
 Also during this time many people were cooking TONS of food for the wedding that was to start in a couple of hours. You can see the greens being prepared below. As it turns out there were about 1000 Vietnamese and Tai Dam who attended the wedding. More on that to come.
 Below is a picture of Bella and Hoa. Hoa used to come to our house almost every day. However,  Bella had not seen Hoa in a long time since she had moved back to her village months ago.

 While Bella took a nap, I chatted with the ladies who were all waiting for the party to begin. It was a very cultural experience, and we were honored to be a part of the big day. Preston and Bella survived on quail eggs and sticky rice for the days while we were in the village. They were tired and so were we, but for the most part they did great. I was so thankful for their willingness to be flexible and travel to the ends of the Earth with us. Also I was so grateful for the hospitality of our precious friends in Son La. They took such good care of us. I will write more later on the actual ceremony but for now this was just to get us started.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lent is fast approaching

I just wanted to remind everyone that Lent is fast approaching. Do you remember the Jesus tree we did last year for Lent? It is coming out again this year, but it isn't too late for you to make your own. If you want the ornament patterns I used email me and Ill send them your way. It is a great way to share the story from Birth of Christ to Death and Resurrection  It makes Easter so much more meaningful. Also if you are like us and did some sort of 'Jesse' tree during Advent, than this is the perfect addition. Click here to see last years picture.

I added a picture of the ever so  squeezable Bella to encourage you to GO FOR IT THIS YEAR!

funny faces

These pictures crack me up. Like father like son :) Some more pics of our park time in Bangkok.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bangkok at a glance

We ran into some visa issues, and had to leave the country to reissue our new visa. So in a way, it was a forced trip that we turned into a mini vacation. It was so nice to get out of cold dreary Hanoi and into some warm sunshine. We had 4 days to play and we tried to make the most of each one.

We decided a trip to the aquarium would be a great way to spend 1 of our 4 days. The kids loved it. Bella liked the glass bottom boat and seeing the shark swim under the boat. I on the other hand had flashbacks of being in a small boat in the Okavango Delta in Botswana and praying hippos didn't tip us over. I was 15 and spent the summer in Botswana. One night our guide took us out on a small boat with a huge search light. We were spotting baby crocs in the bush, but being careful to not wake sleeping hippos, apparently they like to tip over boats. At 15 that was the biggest adventure I had ever been on. That was then and this is now :) Of course sharks weren't going to tip our boat but I couldn't help the trip down memory lane.

 Preston met a friend. His name was Louis, and he was German. They were behind us in line when we bought the tickets. Preston at 1 point asked Louis if he was Korean. Tim and I were both confused at the question. Preston then told him that he spoke Korean. Of course we thought he meant to ask him if he was Vietnamese, but then Preston proceeded to sing Gangnam style complete with dance. SO FUNNY! The kid was obviously confused, but they played for the rest of the afternoon so I guess Preston's dancing and singing skills won him over.
After the aquarium Bella was tired so we thought we would try our luck and head to see a 2 pm movie hoping that Bella would sleep through it. We went and saw Wreck it Ralph. It was a cute movie and only the 2nd Preston had ever seen. It was a fun treat for all of us. Bella did sleep through the 2nd half of the movie so that was nice too.

 Of course we didn't just come to Bangkok to stay indoors, we spent 1 of our days at the park. When you live near a park, I'm fairly certain you take it for granted. It was so unbelievably nice to be in grass, and nice weather. Both of the kids went to Bangkok with a cold, and just the sun and warmth cleared them both up. For Tim, he said his highlight of the trip was playing frisbee as a family in the park. We were surprised at how quickly Preston picked up this skill.  It was a gorgeous week. My mom was also going to fly from Atlanta just to be with us for our few short days, but when she got to the airport, they didn't let any standby passengers on the flight because of weather and weight of plane already. That was the only bummer. I was so excited to see her even if it was for a few short days. The good news is mom and dad are planning on meeting us in June after our conference in Thailand. YAY!