Feb 25, 2010

Meet Princess Q

This little lady just went home the other day after staying with us for a little over a week.

These pictures were taken the last day of her visit. It took me that long to get her to smile at me.

THIS was her resting face most of the time...(not just when Gabe tried to man-handle her.)
(Either this disturbed face, or her "why is the world so unfair?"-head-thrown-back-wailing-piteously face.)

Little Miss Q is quite a kid.

Some of her dislikes/pathological fears:

Taking a bath (Seriously! What kid is afraid of taking bubble baths?)
Being abruptly weened.
Being away from her parents.
Seeing her parents on the computer and not being able to get them to come OUT!
Being set down.
Hair spray and blow dryers. (not that I tried to style her hair or anything...)
Having her food messed with. (peeled, cut, ripped or torn into smaller bites)

Some of her likes/preferences:

Elmo. And only Elmo.
Soy Milk.
Being held all the time.
Eating clay. (I took her to pottery and gave her some clay to play with. She was MAD when I took it away after finger-sweeping her mouth.)
Going to bed. (She may have just been relieved to be rid of me.)

Good thing she's so stinkin' cute!!!

Her older brother wasn't nearly as demanding. He homeschools himself. He plays quietly. He never yells. He's a calming influence on Max and Sam. Gabey loved having him around all day...imitating whatever he did.

Cute kids! We'd keep 'em!

Feb 23, 2010

Random Thailand Photo's

No Smoking,
No Stinky Durian Fruit,
No Alcohol,
No Dogs,
No C0pulating,
No Large Fire Arms,
No Crazy Horned Animals
in the Taxi!

DO NOT wash your feet in the sink...(hands are okay.)
No stomach washing either! (Or is that a baby bottom?) Hands are still okay.

Lunch anyone?


Ummm...Love Milk...!

Cankles, much?

In case you were wondering....now you know.

Cutest thing EVAH!
Yay Thailand!

Feb 17, 2010


Well, we're back.

I got home Tuesday night and Doug got home Wednesday afternoon.

We've already acquired two extra kids (30 minutes after I got home) for a week.
(From the neighbor who watched two of my boys while we were gone.)

We've already had a fight. (My fault. Brought on by exhaustion last night.)

Sam has already been spanked. (Not by me, but evidently he deserved it.)

I've done approximately 77 loads of laundry and still have 2 or 3 left.

We had to make our own dinner last night and change the sheets on our bed--all by ourselves!! (If I'm going to do laundry for three days straight, may as well do the sheets too, right?)

The small patch of sunburn I got on the top of my left hand is already fading and soon I will be my normal, completely pasty-white self. (I also sunburned my scalp where my hair was parted, but I'll bet no one even notices when it turns to a tan!)

Doug is afraid to reconcile the budget for the month, and I just want to go back to a place where I don't have to cook again. Ever!

But, life is good none-the-less.

The boys were happy to see us (for a minute or two) and had a great time staying with their friends. Plus, they liked their souvenirs and were thrilled to get one each from mom and dad...

We got some great mail while we were gone...packages, birthday cards, and even one more Christmas card...(Thanks for the cards Kim & Jenny & Uncle Paul! Thanks for the book other Jenny! Thanks for the V-day loot D&C!)

The two extra kids I have are excellent: A big boy to play with my boys (and he's VERY well behaved) and one adorable baby girl with HUGE brown eyes... (who lets me dress her up and style her hair...)

My cankles have decreased in size somewhat...

The weather has been slightly sunny to ease my transition back into winter...

My cupboard is filled with new Tupperware which is filled with healthy stuff...(which I'm hoping to figure out a use for...)

We can get back to our nightly Vita-Mix fruit/spinach smoothies every night...
(throw in some flax seed and they keep you regular...!)

So, like I said, life is good and it's good to be back.

I suppose.

But I wouldn't mind a trip to Thailand around this time next year.
Yep. That'd be fine with me.

But in the mean time,

Pretend I'm saying that like I mean it.

Feb 14, 2010

Sunday and Monday in Hua Hin


It only took us 2.5 hours to get to the Anantara resort on Sunday morning. Doug is used to things taking twice as long as promised, so he was pleasantly surprised we got here in the estimated amount of time!

I was just stunned by what awaited us:

A sumptuous open-air lobby filled with beautiful wood work, cut tropical flowers everywhere, large pillow-filled beds (divans?), and excellent art work...

A beautiful, traditionally dressed woman offering cold towels and an icy, bright purple drink ("No alcohol! Made from flower!")...

But wait! There's more!

Not only is the entire resort absolutely lush and beautiful, but our ROOM was MUCH NICER than we expected! I mean, it actually looks like the rooms on the website! When does THAT ever happen?

Huge tiled tub adorned with cut orchids and a bag of bath salts...
Ginger soap, Ylang Ylang Shampoo, and Frankincense Conditioner...
Fresh fruit in a basket on the table (along with guide to "Fruits of Thailand")...
Robes and slippers and beautiful bamboo umbrellas provided for your (my!) convenience...

Yep, we were pretty stoked/overwhelmed! (And we sorta feel like posers since we're not, ya know, filthy rich--or even a little rich--like the rest of the guests seem to be!)

As soon as we got settled in, we changed into our swimsuits and went straight back out. First we went to the beach and stood talking in the calm, warm water for awhile. Then, we went to one of the swimming pools to relax for awhile.

After lunch by the beach, we went to another pool with a pool side bar and Doug ordered me a Chocolate/Banana/Creme smoothie...


You should be.

(Honestly, I'm completely baffled--but thrilled--by Doug's lack of tight-waddery on this trip! It's sorta miraculous, frankly! He actually bought me an over-priced drink! More than once!!!)

The rest of the day and the next day?
More of the same. Sun, Swimming, and frosty drinks in the pool. Heaven!

Totally worth trading in a lifetime of gifts.

I'm really not trying to brag...too much...(maybe a tiny bit)...just sayin', if you're ever in Thailand (and you should be) you've definitely got to stay at Anantara Resort and pay whatever exorbitant price they ask. (Which Doug assures me I don't want to know.) Totally worth it!!! (I'm guessing, since I really don't know the price.)

I'll add pictures when I get home to the camera cord for my camera which I forgot to bring. Or you can see some Doug has on his blog from his camera!

Thanks for the great V-day gift, Sugar Lips! (yeah, yeah...and birthday, anniversary, Mother's Day, Christmas...I get it!)

And thanks for recommending this place and convincing Doug to take me here, Interpreter Pim! I owe you big time!!!

Viva Thailand!

Saturday in Bangkok--or--Thai Nativity

"The Post Where I Try to Sound Like a Novelist"
The day dawned cloudy and over cast leading one to ask whether they might be greeted by chill air upon stepping outside. But alas, no. As D and I ventured out to begin our day of adventure, we were once again body-slammed by the wet heat.
Our first expedition had been carefully planned and extensively researched over the last few weeks by Doug. We would take the Sky Train, and then a taxi, to the Bangkok Doll Museum.
Yes, a doll museum.
A museum housing numerous dolls. This was our one “must do” this trip and we would let nothing deter us.
Why a doll museum you ask? Because Doug LOVES collectible dolls! No. Actually, because in a non-Christian country, this was the only lead Doug could find on a Thai Nativity set. The one thing I told him he MUST find and bring home. After talking to all the interpreters on the trip with no luck, and even tracking down a Catholic church with poor results, this was our last hope. He had found a website for “Bangkok Dolls” on-line and seen a nativity on the site. But the site had neither directions, nor information about whether or not such a thing was even for sale.
(Why a nativity? We bought one on our honeymoon in Mexico, Doug has one from Jerusalem made of olive wood, and we plan to buy a Kokeshi nativity before we leave Japan. So obviously, this was a necessity.)
We started our trek and after many detours, a trip through the ghetto, and numerous stops for help, we finally found it tucked back in a cul-de-sac in a crumbling neighborhood: Bangkok Dolls(.com) & Bangkok Doll Museum.

We entered and found a small over-heated workshop to the right with 5 or 6 women working--assembly line style--on hand-made dolls, and the museum in the rooms straight ahead.

At our arrival someone flipped on the museum lights and we walked into the deserted edifice.
Surrounding us were display cases filled with …well, dolls. We went from display to display trying to find the one display Doug had seen on the half-functioning website. Finally, we found it in the back corner—a complete Thai Nativity with
…a price card next to it!

But would they really have one for us? Would it have to be specially made to order? Would they just sell us the display so we could get our hot little hands on it NOW?
A woman was summoned. Doug motioned to the Nativity and communicated that he wanted to buy it. She seemed to understand and made a phone call including some random hand gestures we weren't sure how to interpret. We hoped someone was coming to assist us.
Finally, the owner of the museum showed up. The son of Mrs. Tongkorn Chandavimol, original owner and doll designer, she made her first doll in 1953. Mr. Chandavimol spoke good English and sent someone to fetch the nativity for us. An assistant brought out the different dolls. A wooden building, Mary holding Jesus, Joseph, three wise men, and three farmers. All distinctively Thai in dress and appearance. (I could have cried with happiness.)
After the price was negotiated and the pieces taken away by the assistant to be meticulously packaged for transport, we chatted with the shop owner. He told us his mother, after 50 years running the business, was in the hospital. Unconscious and on a respirator. He had retired from teaching Law at University and was trying his best to keep the shop and museum going. He tried to list some things for sale on e-bay, but *shrug*... He was working on the website but…not completed yet. Doug told him he had come to Thailand for a humanitarian mission, Cobra Gold, to do dental work on little kids. He gave us a 10% discount for helping his people.
After 45 minutes or so, we left with our prize and a determination to help this man who was trying to keep his mother’s cottage industry alive. (Know anyone who wants a Thai Nativity? All the info is at the end of this post!!!) 

Our taxi driver, whom we’d told to wait just 5 or 10 minutes, begrudgingly took us back to the Sky Train station and forgave us only when he saw Doug had doubled the promised fare.
(end novella)
The rest of the day?

We went to a HUGE weekend market to shop and my feet once again burst out of my shoes so badly that Doug bought me some $3 fake crocs. (Which my feet are currently stuffed into.) Souvenirs were haggled over (by Doug, not me.) and purchased. We left satisfied with our treasures, but hot and swollen, and went back to the hotel for a swim and some Skype calls to the boys.
(This little boy just played the same two notes over and over. It wasn't pretty. But you had to give him props--and Bat--for effort.)

(One stall featured 20 or so cages filled with puppies. Sorta cute. Sorta intensely depressing.)

I would end this lengthy narrative right here, but I can’t leave out dinner. Even after laying by the pool with my feet up, I was still incredibly swollen and had no desire to venture back into the heat in search of a cheap place to eat. So instead, we did something we’ve never done before in 9 years of marriage. We ate at our hotel. In the “Thai” restaurant. And it was fabulous.
(I got Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Doug got some sort of fish.)

We had the place to ourselves, had awesome food, and were actually able to discuss and plan our future a little bit. (I made a list. I can’t discuss important topics like where we’re going to live in the future without making a list) We actually had a lengthy, uninterrupted adult discussion! Such a novelty!

(Coconut Milk Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut Ice Cream. MAJOR YUM!)
So, all in all, I can safely say…Saturday in Bangkok was a raging success. And I happily fell asleep at 8:30pm. (Hey, that’s 10:30pm in Japan…and I’d done a lot of walking!!!!)
Now, we’ve checked out of our hotel and are in a taxi headed for Hua Hin (pronounced: Wahine/WahHEEN) to a resort by the beach. Which Doug’s interpreter recommended and which he’s springing for only with the understanding that I not expect any holiday/birthday gifts ever, ever again.
In other words, life is good in Thailand.
Happy Valentine’s Day! And, more importantly around here…
It’s the YEAR OF THE TIGER!!! Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Bangkok Doll Info:

Arbhas Chandavimol, Manager
85 SoiYak Rajatapan, (Morleng)
Rajaprarop Road, Makkasan,
Bangkok 10400  THAILAND.

Tel.  : 0-2245-3008, 0-2245-4532
Fax  : 0-2245-3929
Mobile  : 08-1689-9956
E-mail:  Bangkokdolls@gmail.com
website:  Bangkokdolls.com

Feb 13, 2010

Happy Valentines Day from the Narita Tokyo Airport!

Top Row: Soy Sauce flavored KitKat, Sakura (Cherry Blossom) flavored drink, "The American Potatochips Salt + Milk Chocolate", and Panda candy of some sort.

Bottom Row: Valentine goodies and curvaceous soda bottles. Because everyone wants a sexy Lilo and Stich drink.

Feb 12, 2010

Friday in Bankok

This Morning:
D: "Um, those aren't ankles...*"

First things first: BREAKFAST! We're staying at the Imperial Queen's Park Hotel and I can highly recommend it...because not only is it quite nice, but they have an AWESOME BREAKFAST BUFFET. And, let's face it...few things in life make me happier than awesome breakfast buffets. So after discovering I had a serious case of the cankles and adjusting my Chaco's accordingly, we headed downstairs for French toast, eggs, fresh fruit and juice, muffins, and any number of noodle, rice and curry dishes.

When I asked the server (offering coffee or tea) if they had hot chocolate, she said "no" (as I expected) but then later brought a small steaming pitcher to my table and set it down putting her finger to her lips. It was completely unsweetened, but for some reason, was still oddly very good.

After breakfast, Doug got us a taxi and we went straight to the "Grand Palace" which is a very large complex housing lots of really really cool buildings. (You had to be wearing long pants or skirts to enter--and no sleeveless tops.)

After walking around awhile, I started slowing down and waddling quite a bit. My toes were turning to sausages and trying to expand out of my sandals and it soon became apparent that my feet were about to explode.

So instead of walking the relatively short distance to our next destination, my considerate husband hired a Tuk Tuk

to take us to...
Wat Po: Home of the world's largest reclining Buddah.

And yeah...it's large. Really really large.
And hard to photograph!

Once we were out of the temple, Doug forced my feet back into their torture chambers, and we knew any more sightseeing was out of the question. So it was on to lunch at a little place across the street.

Yum! Very Hemmingway-esqe. I got Shrimp Pad-Thai and Doug got Green Curry which was so good, but burned my mouth out.

We decided the best course of action would be to head back to the hotel and go for a swim. So we grabbed another taxi and headed back. Unfortunately, this time is wasn't quite as efficient and we sat in traffic for almost two hours. We both fell asleep.

--Hotel: Quick dip in the pool, re-dress, ready for next activity.--

D: "Do you want to talk in the car or read books?"
E: "What kind of question is that? Read, of course."
(Tactical error. We talked instead and had to carry our books all night.)

Now for the...
Dinner Cruise (with dancing) on the Chao Phraya River. We got on a bus from the hotel and sat in traffic for another hour. BUT, it was well worth it. The River Cruise was awesome!!!

We were showered with orchids, and glowing jewelry, and attention from waiters and waitresses offering cool scented towels, drinks, and small gifts. There was a traditional Thai dance followed by live music and I was serenaded by the Saxaphonist. We saw a million beautiful sights and danced our way down the river and back. It was amazing. And a few times I had to stop and remind myself "I'm in Thailand! Dancing! On a river cruise! WOAH!"

AWESOME DAY!!! More later...off for more adventure!

*What he didn't say: I have some serious cankles. (Ankles the same size as my calves) Evidently 7 months pregnant + Air travel + 100,000% humidity = EXTREME SWELLING OF APPENDAGES!

Feb 11, 2010

"Expecting Mom" has arrived in Thailand!

Despite concern from every flight attendant I encountered today, I've somehow managed the trip safely to Thailand, without giving birth, and am happily ensconced in a nice hotel with Doug.

Yes, that's right.
THIS sexy thing is in Bankok:
(And just to remind me what's in store for me, there's a painting of a nursing mother on the wall of our room. See it behind me?)

(Anyone else have "One night in Bankok" running through their head right now?? I do. Wish I knew more than those four words of the song...)

Like I mentioned, most of the airline employees I encountered today were quite concerned about my delicate state of health. Both airlines needed to see my Doctor's letter clearing me to fly, and JAL even tagged me with this bracelet. (It says "EXPECTING MOM" on the other side.) (In case you couldn't tell by my protruding belly that I've got a little case of the preggers.)
On both the JAL and Thai Air flights I was pre-boarded and pampered by the flight attendants. When it was time to disembark in Bankok, one flight attendant even offered to walk me to the gate and carry my back pack. (Had I known how far away Customs was, I would have taken her up on it!)

Even without assistance, I got my baggage no problem (so what if I waddle a little) and was THRILLED to find Doug waiting for me at our predetermined meeting spot--Starbucks.

Now, after a slightly scary taxi ride, we're here! And it's only 2 a.m.

I miss my boys, but I know they're in good hands! (Give 'em all a big smooch for me, ladies!)

Can't wait for tomorrow!!!

Feb 4, 2010

Things I Love

Well, since it IS my BIRTH month, I should be positive, right? Even if it is still crappy weather and my husband IS going to miss my birthday. (I can't complain. I get to meet him in THAILAND two days after my birthday. Well, I can complain a little bit. Since it's my birth month. And I AM the Birthday Brat.)

Anyway, before I run out of positive energy, I'd better do this post.

I LOVE when Gabey climbs in my bed in the (early) morning to "cuh-yo" (cuddle) with me. (Every day since Doug's been gone.) Usually he falls asleep for a little while, then wakes up and wraps his skinny arms around my neck and smiles at me and kisses my face. He can't usually be bothered to stop and show affection the rest of the day, so I have to soak it up when I can.

I LOVE Valentine's Day decorations. I should leave them up the whole month instead of taking them down after the 14th. I came home from the hospital on Valentine's Day so my mom always made a big deal out of V-day for my benefit. (I do not love the heart sewing project I started and didn't finish, however. Curse all sewing projects! No love! Sorry!)

I LOVE when Doug posts pictures of me with my ex-boyfriend/fiance on his blog and then I have crazy, disturbing ex-boyfriend dreams all night. (This is sarcasm, people.) (Does this happen to anyone else when they're pregnant? I ALWAYS have weird ex-boyfriend dreams when I'm pregnant!)

I LOVE reading Doug's Thailand updates! (This is NOT sarcasm! I really do!) I'm getting really excited to go meet him out there. (Even if I'm a tiny bit worried about giving birth in Bankok. Although I hear they have excellent medical facilities there...)

I LOVE seeing cute BOY stuff on-line. Even if I'm too cheap to buy it and too lazy to make it. (DesignMom.com just featured two boy-centric blogs today: www.dana-made-it.com, and madebyrae.blogspot.com)

I LOVE living in Japan because it means I got a Samurai Sword back scratcher (from Max--I'm always itchy...) and a Sushi Play-doh set (from Doug) for Christmas! *I'm going to use the little sushi Play-doh molds in my Hand-building class to make clay sushi for the slab sushi plates we make!*

Oh, and I LOVE well-made Tempura and yummy, hot Ramen, and (some kinds of) sushi, and seeing cool Japanese stuff I never thought I'd see in my life! (Even if I had no desire to see it before moving here. I love it now!)

I LOVE teaching pottery because I get paid to play with clay!

I LOVE that Max makes sack lunches for himself and Sam everyday. I love it so much I'm not even going to mention the resulting mess. Because it's worth it for me not to have to make sandwiches everyday.

I LOVE Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream, even if I do spit out the nasty walnuts. And even if eating half a pint DID give me quite the stomach ache last night. It was totally worth it.

I LOVE Spring Time and I'm so glad it's going to get warm next week and never get cold or snow here ever again! Ever! (Happy place, happy place, happy place...!) (CRAP! It's SNOWING AGAIN!!!)

I LOVE Skype. It's freakin' amazing when you think about it. I get to talk to Doug, and SEE HIM every night.

I LOVE feeling Baby kick (no, he still doesn't have a name) and watching my stomach undulate. I think I love the word "undulate" now that I mention it.

I LOVE things that make me laugh out loud.
For example: authors P.G. Wodehouse and Douglas Adams; the blogs None of Your Beeswax and How NOT to Dress Like a Mom; t.v. shows like 30 Rock and occasionally Community; and people--like Doug when he tries REAL HARD!

I LOVE good books that don't have gratuitous s-e-x and swearing in them. Can't think of any at the moment, unfortunately...

I LOVE 80's music! And I really love that Max and Sam were fighting over whether or not to listen to "Promises, Promises" or "Lay Your Hands On Me" in the car one time. (Both from "Rock of the 80's.")

I LOVE ice cream. Did I mention that already? I think I'm going to go eat some now.

What things do YOU love?

Oh yeah...I LOVE blog comments...!
hint hint