Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

As far behind as I am on bringing this blog up to speed, I won't even try! Suffice it to say we've been in the States since Thanksgiving and return to Thailand in three weeks. 

We've crammed a lot into the last month including a trip to Kentucky, a family wedding, and 10 days of sickness. Of course!

So with all that said, Merry Christmas!! We're staying at a vacation home with my husband's family and we're really enjoying ourselves. It's been a great way to spend Christmas week. 

Blessings to you as we celebrate Christ's birth!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What A Difference!

So this is the current temperature here in Thailand:

And this is the current temperature in Pennsylvania:

As of Thursday, we plan on being in Emmaus. Yikes.

We're going to need to bring a jacket or two and leave the flip flops behind!

Prayers appreciated as we head out on our trip on Wednesday. Paul loves to see airplanes flying in the sky; let's hope his enthusiasm level stays up when he realizes he's IN one!

Adventure is our middle name. :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

In No Particular Order....

* I really felt like shopping Thursday night and so we caved and went shopping! Actually we had a delicious Italian meal first at an adorable restaurant nearby. Not only was the food incredible, they actually had *drumroll please* FULL-sized napkins:

Let me tell you, this is rare here! Usually the napkins are more along the lines of a piece of toilet paper, both in length and quality. :-) 
After dinner we went to the mall to browse. Now I'll admit up front that I am not a mall person at all, but if I want to find anything remotely my size clothing-wise, we must go to the mall. Which leads me to another random thought: the two articles of clothing I've bought here in Thailand are size L and XL. As in large and extra large. How's that for deflating my ego? :-) But back to shopping. As we walked past a clothing store called A ll Z, I saw some hoodies on sale and found one I actually liked! It was so nice to actually browse a store and even find something. 

* Going out to dinner and to the mall on a Thursday night is a really smart idea. Not as much traffic as on a Friday or Saturday night. The only downside is Nat is usually teaching on Thursday nights (this past Thursday was a holiday).

* It's amazing how cool 75 degrees feels. I'm ready to use that hoodie I bought!

* The power went out tonight two minutes before the meatloaf was done cooking. Dinner was delicious.

* As I was cooking potatoes, two bugs came to the surface. Yum? At least I could scoop them out before I made mashed potatoes. :-)

* We're currently dog-sitting and it has been very entertaining. Paul loves to play with the dog and I love to hear Paul's little giggles!

* Ellie loves to roll over on her belly but sometimes gets frustrated with the squeaky toy on her play mat.

* Apparently socks are amazing. I'm starting to pull things out for our trip to the States and I found some socks for Paul. When I put the first pair on him, he danced around the room for a few minutes shrieking with joy over the socks. Oh my. Isn't that how everyone acts in the morning when they put socks on? I guess it's been too long since the last time he wore socks.

* I can't believe November 6th will mark one year of us living in Chiang Mai.

* The first restaurant I want to go to in the States is Chick-fil-A. Seriously. Olive Garden is a close second. I can almost taste it... mmm, mmm!

* My little baby smells so good after her bath. She's also very ticklish.:-)

* I am one blessed lady!

How's that for being random?!?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Then And Now.

We had a great time on Monday, in the midst of ordinary life, taking a trip down memory lane. Monday marked our 5-year engagement anniversary and as we drove to school, we talked about that fun and life-changing day. Wow, five years is a long time and a lot has happened since that beautiful fall day.

Going on a date is a luxury for us since our babysitting options are severely limited, so as we were driving past 5th Avenue -- a new set of shops outside of our neighborhood -- we commented on how we wanted to try a new cafe/bakery shop called "Now and Then" located in 5th Avenue. We were actually past it before we thought seriously about stopping, but soon we were spontaneously deciding to visit the cafe.

One thing I should mention about the road system here is that we need to take u-turns for everything. Because we were past the cafe before we decided to go, we would've had to go all the way down the road to the traffic light, take the u-turn to go the opposite direction, travel to the next u-turn and take that turn and then turn into 5th Avenue. We were just about ready to do that very thing when we saw the traffic outside of our neighborhood completely backed up. We were within walking distance of the cafe, so we got the kids out of the car and walked that way.

All day Sunday and Monday, we saw police officers standing on the road every hundred feet or so. They seemed like they were waiting for some special convoy to come through, but it looked funny to us because most of the officers were on their phones while they waited and we're talking hours of waiting. Well as we walked to the cafe and stared at the traffic, we finally realized that the two days of police officers waiting was coming to an end at the same time, because there was a major traffic jam!

The special convoy came through and traffic was "paused" in all directions to give deference to the convoy (one man at the market told me it was the King of Thailand). We continued on foot, very grateful we weren't on the road!

The cafe was quiet, new, and very date-like. :-) We had the two cutest little chaperones with us and I even got to split a raspberry smoothie with one of them. By the way, if you come visit us, I will take you to get a raspberry smoothie --- it was that good! Nat enjoyed a latte and we each tried a dessert. Paul was enjoying the results of our spontaneity: first a bite of Nat's chocolate cake and then a lick of my blueberry cheesecake. That kid has a rough life!

Since we ate our dessert first (perk of being an adult!), we decided to make up a simple meal of tacos and took it a step further by eating outside. The evening was so nice and cool (why yes 80 degrees is cool!) and bonus was not having to clean the floor after Paul finished eating. :-)

All in all it was such a lovely day. I'm so grateful for the way God put Nat and I together. It has been such an adventurous journey and I wouldn't wish it any other way!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Choosing Gratefulness.

It's been quite the week around here, but I think anyone with little kiddos can tell you that! But you know what? God is so good and we're grateful we're finishing the week much better than we started. 

I put Ellie on her play mat this morning and within five minutes she had rolled over and fell asleep!

I unknowingly dressed Paul to match his daddy today so of course I needed to take their picture together!

Happy Friday. :-)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Living In Thailand. For Real!

Not being in a country where the change in the colors of the leaves signal a season switch, I'm a bit baffled that it's October already. Our weather has been warm with a blistering sun thrown in for good measure, so it definitely doesn't "feel" like fall around here! I'm grateful to see glimpses of a Pennsylvania fall courtesy of Facebook (PA friends - please post more!), but this does mess with my mind not pulling out hoodies and feeling the crispy fall air! In fact, the air con is currently on in my son's room as he naps and I've shut all the windows and curtains in hopes of keeping it cool on the inside. All you warm weather-loving people -- wanna come visit?!

So in the spirit of keeping things real about living in Thailand, I give you this:

That, my dear readers, is our truck. 

With someone else's bumper attached to it.


Without describing in detail the intersection and traffic, I will say this was a very humbling lesson for me. I tend to be a risk-taker when driving (ouch, that hurt just seeing it written out!), and while what I did we've seen tons of people do (turning a third lane into a turning lane instead of a straight only lane),  it was a reality check that beating the system just isn't worth it. 

At this point, you may be wondering how that guy's bumper got on my bumper. As I turned, he moved from his lane to his left, trying to get around the car in front of him. Unfortunately, I couldn't get out of his way, but I was just enough ahead of him that the back of my truck met the front of his car and ripped the whole bumper right off. Let me tell you, it sounded terrible! I had never been in an accident before while driving, so I really expected the back end to be messed up, based upon the sound.

You know that statistic that says most accidents happen within a 5-mile radius of your home? That's exactly what happened in this instance. I had taken Paul with me to the grocery store to stock up on some fun food since it was the end of the month and we had extra in the grocery budget. So I had a big block of cheddar cheese, frozen strawberries, milk, and chocolate chips in a cooler bag just waiting to be tucked safely into the fridge. When the accident first took place, all I could think of was that block of cheese! :-)

But reality set in so I called Nat (who was studying at home while Ellie took her nap). Dealing with an insurance company in Thai wasn't exactly my idea of "hey! What a great opportunity to practice Thai!" when the adrenalin was running high, and yes, I was shaking. Thankfully Paul chose to take his nap at that moment. In the meantime, Ellie had woken up at home and wanted to eat... now. Poor Nat was juggling a screaming baby and trying to deal with the insurance company, plus try to find a way to come to where I was... since I had our only vehicle. 30 minutes later, two insurance adjusters, one neighbor, one husband and one quiet baby showed up on the scene. Since both drivers were at fault and since both vehicles were well-insured, everything was resolved rather quickly. Praise the Lord that was the case because from what we've heard, when a foreigner is involved in an accident here, it's their fault regardless of whether it's really their fault or not. 

Would you like some good news? I am officially done with Thai kindergarten. Yay! I was talking with my sister this morning and told her in my reading class yesterday, I was at the level equivalent to "at, bat, cat..." :-) I am so encouraged that this language is starting to unlock more and more for me! Most of the vowels I can remember, with the exception of two that look so similar to me. My teacher was very encouraging yesterday as I practiced the reading drill by saying my pronunciation was correct and I was reading fast. Without coming across as "pride going before a fall" I need all the encouragement I can get, and I'm really thankful for my teacher.

So I'll leave you with my name written in Thai:

แอน - Anne

And with this: 

Because this little lady is a big 5-month-old!

Sunday, September 28, 2014


I thought I would give you all a small glimpse into what our day to day lives look like, so every now and then I'll do a post on "a day in the life of the Williams family."  So here's Saturday!

Saturday mornings. Ahh, always a thrilling time of the week! This past Saturday we didn't have a single yard sale to attend (which is a blog post in and of itself for another time!), so we had zero plans of waking up early. And to be completely honest with you, I had a terrible time falling sleep Friday night (perhaps from the mid-afternoon cappuccino??) so I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning reading a book on my phone. *gulp* I haven't done that in a looong time, but the book was a mystery and I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Obviously. :-)

Thankfully, my knight in shining armor got up with Paul at the early hour of 7:20 (that kid has no concept of Saturday mornings yet!), and so I squeezed in a few more winks of sleep. Lately, Ellie has been getting up 2-3 times at night, so I figured sleep while the baby sleeps!

Breakfast morphed into "do your own thing" since I wasn't down in time to make something a little more planned. Last Saturday we had picked up some yummy homemade peach/plum jam from a local restaurant (well worth the $4.50!) and so this week we slathered it on some rye toast... oh so yummy and that became breakfast!

Our cleaning lady comes every other Saturday, so this was the Saturday she was supposed to come. I tell you, she is one of my greatest blessings right now! I really don't have time to clean a two-story house, and for $12.00, she does it all for me. :-) Bonus is she loves our kids and speaks Thai/English so she's an excellent fit for us. She is also a Christian so I'm glad we can help her out too. Khun P usually comes at 9:30 and is finished by 1:30. While she was cleaning, I took Paul to the market to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. I love to go to the market but especially on Saturdays because that's when the mango lady is there selling delicious mangoes -- 4.5 lbs for $2.50! We make fresh fruit smoothies daily and praise the Lord for providing an abundance of fruit.

Paul has become a good helper at the market and loves to pay the vendors. He occasionally carries a bag for me, although one time he carried the peanut bag so "lovingly" that it spilled all over the floor. :-) We're still working on that concept! Another reason I took Paul with me was to give Nat some quiet time at home, especially since Ellie was sleeping.

After Khun P left, nap time took place. We've been surprised that Paul's nap has lengthened because he used to sleep only 45 minutes. Period. Saturday he sleep for 1.5 hours... yay! Ellie and I took the opportunity to nap as well, giving Nat some more quiet time. 

Dinner was homemade chicken parmigiana and it was so yummy! Since coming to Thailand, I have learned to cook from scratch even more than ever before. Many food items here are expensive (such as tomato sauce) so by learning to make my own from fresh tomatoes, we're able to make dishes we enjoy and it's not breaking the bank, so to speak. :-)

I try to take a walk every day, usually after dinner. Once again I took Paul with me and he enjoyed every minute of it. Whenever Paul sees a stray dog coming towards us, he says, "uh-oh" and points at the dog. Our neighborhood probably has 15-20 stray dogs, so I always carry a stick with me as a safety precaution. I've yet to see a dog fight here, but Nat saw one once and it wasn't pretty. The dogs keep my prayer life sharp, and I've had several come charging at me as I walk. Hence the stick!

Bath time soon followed our walk, and I gave Paul his bath since Nat was making tortillas for fajitas for Sunday lunch. Paul loves his bath time, especially since our shower head is detachable. :-) After bath time and his bed time routine, I switched kids and gave Ellie a bath. Meanwhile Nat was still working on the tortillas. We sure enjoyed them today and I appreciate his hard work!

Because of the previous night being a late one for me, I was more than ready to tumble into bed. :-) All in all, it was a nice, quiet family day at home... just the way we like it on Saturdays. Traffic is exceptionally insane on the weekend so if we have to go out at all, we try to go early in the morning. 

Well, time to start another busy week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I'm joining in with some other missionary ladies and sharing pictures of our home sweet home here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We'll probably be moving within the next year, but currently this is where our wifi automatically connects. :-)

By the way, I'm sorry for the terrible quality, but this was the best I could do with my phone and keeping a toddler occupied (you'll see him later). Oh, and I'm keeping things real and just snapped pictures, so excuse any mess you see. We've been sick the past few days, all four of us. Fun!

So! Welcome to the Williams Home...

This picture was taken a few months ago, as we no longer have that glorious, leafy, shade (the landlord went through and purged several trees on our street) and the back of the bike is now sporting a child's seat (happy birthday to Paul). Regardless, this is our carport/patio/play place. Every other day it looks like this with the laundry hanging out to dry.

Of course our washing machine is on the front porch! It does make it convenient for hanging clothing out to dry. :-)

Welcome to the living room. Most of the furniture that is in the house doesn't belong to us, but that rocker is one of the few items that does! 

Please take a seat... Cushioned or non? I'm addition to most of the furniture not being ours, we also have an abundance of it. We lovingly refer to the "couches" as rectangle 1 and rectangle 2. :-) 

Since we have a two-year-old in the house, we keep a play mat permanently set up.... unless the cleaning lady is coming. Then we gladly take it apart for her to clean. :-) She is a fantastic helper and cleans for me every two weeks.

Ok, here's a (poor quality) look into our dining room. 

The best part of the dining room is the sweet baby girl in the bouncer. :-)

Some of you may recall our roach infestation when we first came to Thailand. Thankfully the new cabinets are working just fine - minus any roach nest!  We have had a few roaches come in under the back door, but it's rainy season right now, so that makes sense.

Homemade chicken noodle soup on the stove was lunch and dinner. We haven't done much the last few days except try to get better!

Paul has his very own room, with three beds to choose from...of course he prefers the pack-n-play. :-) 

Aha, there's my climber! We don't have any closets in the house, but we do have big wardrobes! They also work well as a place to store our luggage. 

Ok, let's go up a short flight of stairs to our bedroom.

Ellie sleeps in our room, of course. We also have a small balcony outside of our room, but we seldom open the doors (especially in hot and rainy seasons) since the sun pounds directly on that side of the house.

It's been really nice having the bathroom right off our room. Oh, in case you were wondering, we do have two nice western toilets. :-)

This picture is an extra one I'll throw in. Nat went to get his haircut the other day, so I just sat in the car waiting. Yep, that's the barber shop!

Thanks for taking the tour of our home with me. Now on to feeling better!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sickies And Sneakers.

Since we have two sick kids on our hands, we decided against our usual Sunday morning Bible study with another family (their kids are also sick). Instead we had a service at home and enjoyed it as best as we could! There's something uplifting and encouraging about singing hymns and Nat and I took turns picking them out. What a joy to praise the Lord together. We chose to listen to a message preached at our home church and we were able to hear most of it (we're still working with Paul on sitting during the service and he did fairly well).

Have I mentioned we are returning to the States just before Thanksgiving? My sister-in-law is getting married right before Christmas, so we opted to turn this into an extensive trip of seeing family, introducing Ellie to everyone and of course the wedding. As much as I'm looking forward to seeing tons of people, I think the thing I'm looking forward to the most is sitting in a church service - singing a variety of hymns and hearing preaching in English without the distraction of keeping two children quiet. Please don't misunderstand; I love my children dearly, but most of my time in the church services here in Thailand is devoted to feeding Ellie or encouraging Paul that he's doing a great job sitting still (how many 2-year-olds can sit through an entire service? That's tough). While I feel I've turned a small corner in understanding more Thai, I am NO where close to understanding an entire message preached in Thai. I count it a real victory if I can figure out the Bible passages and pick out the basic point of the message! How would you feel if week in and week out you went to church and only understood 5-10% of the service? Frustrating, to say the least, but motivation to keep plugging away at learning the language. :-)

In other random news, I've had a very humorous time trying to find some new running sneakers. I mentioned a few weeks ago about my goal of running, but soon after I posted that I ran into a small problem with my current sneakers. My well-loved (and well-used!) sneakers are quite worn to the point that there's a hole in the inside of it. As a result, that's given me a blister that has become very uncomfortable. So Nat and I started looking for sneakers at some stores in Chiang Mai, confident I would find some. Because really, how hard would it be to find some new sneakers? 

As it turns out - HARD.

For starters, I'm not a very flashy person, so many of the sneaker options were ruled out immediately because of the "loud" colors. :-) Once I found a sneaker I liked,  my next problem was finding it in my size: US 6. Now one thing I really appreciate here in Thailand is that sales people are everywhere and usually pretty helpful. So my confusion was great at store after store where the sales person would try to tell me that US size 6 is the same thing as UK size 6. I'm extremely baffled at what the problem is here, because no matter how many times I would say, "US size 6" they would always come back with a shoe that was a US size 7 or US size 8 1/2 because they kept basing it off of the UK size. Even after I would show them a sneaker that clearly said US 6 on the tongue they would still tell me, "oh this is the same" as they point to a larger sneaker that clearly was going to be too big for me. :-)

So now I'm trying to hold out until November when we return to the States. I've decided to alternate days where I'll walk one day and cycle the next. That seems to be working well; the blister is healing and I still get my exercise in! I'm still very nervous about actually running through my neighborhood because of the stray dogs. In fact, Saturday night I took Paul on a bike ride with me and as I was riding on a quiet street, two dogs came charging out of an opened gate and growled while chasing me. That got the heart rate up! Thankfully they finally backed down, leaving me to wonder once again why people keep their gates wide open when they have guard dogs. Never a dull moment! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Two Years.

My little man is a big boy today as he turns two years old! I know every parent says this, but honestly - where DOES the time go?? The days are long and the years are short. Just the other day I was watching Paul play and realized that my time to impact him, teach him, and train him is swiftly passing. I want to make every moment count!!

* Paul fills my days with laughter, joy and is seriously good at keeping me on my knees in prayer. :-)

*Our son definitely inherited my clumsy genes. Almost every day brings a new injury, fall, or ouchie. But he usually jumps back up and continues on with the next adventure!

*One of my favorite things to do with Paul is to take him on my walks. He sits in his stroller so quietly, but every now and then he pops his head out to catch a glimpse of something that captured his attention.

*We have quite the determined young man on our hands! Whether it is figuring out a lock and key set or sweeping the floor with all his might, Paul is diligent to finish what he has started. Sometimes that gets him into trouble. :-)

*I've been blessed by Paul's willingness to help. He loves to pick things up, put away the dishes (thankfully we have plastic plates!), and wipe the floor. 

*Paul is a mommy's boy.... unless Daddy is in the vincinity and then it's more like, "out of the way, Mommy. Daddy please!!"

Happy birthday, buddy!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Some Recent Pictures.

Life has been zooming by (like usual!) so I thought I would share some recent pictures to sum it all up.

We've been playing a game with the kids that basically comes down to Paul being chased by Ellie and Nat. Everyone loves it, including Ellie! She gets the biggest smile on her face and giggles while Paul is laughing. So cute!

Last Saturday I went with a friend to the market to pick out some new material for some culottes and was surprised by the chaos and disarray in the stores. Fabric was everywhere and little paths would weave in between it all. But as much as it looks disorganized to me, the shopkeepers knew exactly where to look each time. So I suppose it's really organized chaos. :-)

Nat and Paul weren't feeling well on Sunday, so just Ellie and I went to church. It was so strange keeping an eye on just one child!

Ellie gets extremely serious at night... I'm not sure why.

Paul went with me to the grocery store to pick up a few items and loved pushing the basket around. I know it's not the clearest shot but those are eggs in the background. Yes, they are kept at room temperature!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Whispered Words.

As I recently mentioned, I'm trying to be more goal-oriented. One of my goals has been to find more hours in the day. I'm excited to share that I have! I'm still within the boundaries of 24 hours, but by shifting my sleep schedule around I've been able to get a few more things done each day.  Since Ellie is fussy at night, I wasn't getting much accomplished after Paul went to bed anyway, so now I try to have her down by 9 and we've been going to bed before 9:30. Ellie is sleeping through the night (what a miracle!) and so I wake up around 5, feed her, and then I have two solid hours to work on things. Oh it's great. :-) 

It helps that my new school schedule is Monday and Friday 8-10 AM, and I have to leave the house by 7:20 since all of Chiang Mai drives right past our neighborhood (or so it seems)! In addition to getting lots of small things done in the wee hours, we've also been able to watch our church's services - such a blessing! 

Currently my two kiddos are sacked out - yay for nap time! 

My mind is racing with things that need to be done, but I'm also enjoying the stillness of this moment. This morning as I drove home from school, I was thinking about learning the language and how it seems to always tower over me, taunting me. I'm grateful my worth is not found in my ability to learn the language! When I came in the house, Nat had some new music playing - courtesy of a supporting church sending us an awesome package recently. I'll admit I was brimming with tears, ready to be defeated (again!) by this towering mountain. As I entered the dining room, I heard the final line: "thank you for being faithful." I have no idea what the rest of the song was about, but those words were a sweet reminder from my Heavenly Father to just be faithful. It honestly felt like I was given a big hug with whispered words of encouragement. Ok, Lord, I'll keep pressing forward! Isn't He so kind?!?

Monday, August 4, 2014


A friend from my church has been here for the last few weeks helping another missionary family, so we snagged her on Saturday and headed for a nearby elephant camp.

For the record, I didn't realize this camp even did a monkey show until now. Interesting. Moving along...

We started off on an ox cart ride and then returned on an elephant. Quite the experience. :-)

We're in the middle of rainy season right now - hence the full river.

We really enjoyed the day, especially getting to spend time with our friend! We don't do too many tourist attractions unless someone is visiting, so come on over! We'll take you on a ride. ;-)

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I'm trying to be more goal-oriented, so one of my goals this weekend was to write a post. I just checked and I last wrote on this blog over a month ago. Oops. So in order to put a line through one of my goals for today and in order to share life from this side of the globe, I give to you a blog post... first one for July. (Double oops)

In early July we spontaneously decided to have a family picture taken at the mall. Quite the ordeal, I assure you, and not exactly what we were hoping for, but that's what spontaneity is all about, right??

Ellie was looking quite pretty in her sweet dress...

...and then there's Paul. :-)

That's what I love about my little boy. He keeps it SO real! At the end of the year we're hoping to get some more family pictures, sans the dove background of course. :-)

I have been pleasantly surprised with rainy season. Quick weather lesson: Thailand has three seasons (cool, hot, and rainy) and each one lasts about four months. When we first got here (coming from fall in Pennsylvania), we thought it was hot and we flipped the air con on if it was over 81*. We now know better and our bodies have adjusted to the climate. Right now our mornings are in the high 70s which feels "cool" to us and we don't turn the air con on until it gets to be around 90* with humidity. I was really expecting rainy season to be hot, humid, and miserable, but so far it's just been humid. :-) I think the worst of the heat was back in April/May so I'm glad we're on the downward slope!  I keep thinking to winter in Pennsylvania and am not looking forward to the sudden temperature switch. But I am looking forward to snow... I suppose that cold weather must come with snow!

My little guy is a month or so away from his second birthday and each day I see him growing. He is such a big help to me. He loves helping me hang out the laundry by pulling the items out of the basket, he's very good about picking everything off the floor, and even helps sweep and wash the floor! He's quite the determined little guy and has such a fascination with keys. Keys and Ellie's toes. I'm pretty sure he thinks they stick out just for him to pull on. :-)

Ellie is a really good baby and has graciously fallen into a great sleep pattern, for which we are extremely thankful! She's currently in the smiling stage and was even cooing while Grammie was on the phone today. :-) Of course she is a well-admired baby by many of the people here. Last Sunday night after church I went to a market with a couple of friends and brought Ellie with me in the stroller. I don't have a clue how many people peeked in the stroller and "oohed" and "ahhed" over her, but it was quite a few! Also I'm pretty sure our language school teachers are convinced she never does anything but sleep. Well she does sleep quite a bit, but she is awake in the evenings.... our teachers just never see her then!

Speaking of school... I started back to classes on July 4th, after a two-month pause. Of course Nat continued on during my pause, so he is now in book two of the reading/writing class while I'm finishing up the conversation class. Currently I'm reviewing lesson 6 out of 30 lessons. Since I got behind, I'm in a one-on-one class which I'm really enjoying. It's a bit of challenge (ok, it's quite the challenge!) to remember the correct sentence structure for Thai. For instance, adjectives come after the noun rather than before, so I'm forever switching that in my mind. I have made some progress in learning the vowels (25+), so now whenever we're sitting in traffic (a regular occurrence), I try to read the various signs and billboards around me. I'm excited because this world of language is slowly opening up to me and I do see progress being made, which is encouraging. I definitely understand more than I speak, but that doesn't cut it when a person is speaking directly to me and waiting on me to answer!! Practice, practice, practice!

One of my big goals (haha, back to that again!) is to start running, but I have to figure out the best strategy. I have a couple of factors to consider but the two biggest ones are the weather and dogs. I had been taking Paul on walks with me, but the last time I went kind of terrified me and I just haven't gotten up the courage to go again. Paul was in his stroller and I was clipping along when I turned down one street. Two of the homes had their gates open and before I knew it, this big scary dog came tearing out of the gate and heading straight for us. I immediately stopped and waited for the owner to call her dog off, but she spoke in vain and the dog kept charging. I always walk with a stick since we have tons of stray dogs in the neighborhood but in this case the owner was right there. She kept calling the dog and saying to me, "it's ok" but since the dog was heading for us instead of to her, I had a different opinion. :-) I finally turned around to head back the way I came, all the while waving the stick behind me and the dog finally retreated. So I'm not sure what to do. I'll definitely avoid that street and perhaps just muster up enough courage to get past the other stray dogs. Any runners out there with a suggestion? Ahh, life overseas... you never know what to expect!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Life is -- as usual -- a whirlwind! It feels like we go from week to week on high speed and I have a sneaking suspicion that this speed will hang around for a while. After 7.5 months on the field, I can see the importance of furlough and the need for rest and refreshment. 

The adjustment as a family of four is going well. Call me a wimp, but I haven't ventured out by myself with the two kids yet. For one thing, Ellie hates the sling because she gets hot very quickly. The other reason is Paul is such an active, fast 21 month old boy. :-) We are in a fairly good routine at home though, which is a good thing since Nat is gone quite a bit.

(And to prove my point of life being hectic... that was written a few days ago!)

Last Sunday was Father's Day in the States, but we jumped in on the celebration too since we have a fantastic daddy in this house. :-) We were away on a trip and returned just in time for church so we celebrated on Monday night with chicken cordon bleu and some yummy cheesecake. My husband's love language includes food so it only seemed logical to me to go that route. 

Paul gave his own gift in the form of having a not-so-good day. Keeping it real... right, buddy?

Saturday was our first free Saturday in a couple of months - yay! We tried a new (to us) restaurant for breakfast which we absolutely loved! Bonus is lots of homemade items, including cheese. Be still, my cheese-adoring heart. I also found pickles which I can't wait to try. (Please be delicious.) Come to think of it, food is pretty important to me too. :-)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Choosing Gratefulness.

My son set a record today: *no* nap at all and he was awake for 11.5 hours straight. He's been having trouble napping (at home) for the last few weeks and I thought it was because his aunt was sharing a room with him. Well it's been three days since Auntie left and still no naps. So I set really low expectations since I've being flying solo for the last two days. I was quite impressed I actually got a shower in, Bible read, and laundry started before the kids woke up this morning. I think that's because Ellie was only up twice during the night. :)

I didn't have grand plans for the day; I even told Nat I would be doing great if I just got both kids fed and changed! Paul has been extremely clingy since Ellie was born, so I expected my day to be very kid-centered, which it was. I did manage to take the laundry off the line and I even found a small window of ten minutes to work on Thai.

So now I'm sitting in the quiet of my living room wondering why I'm disappointed with myself after all. Between nursing a newborn and taking care of Paul, my day went as I thought it would and yet I still think I should've gotten way more accomplished.

The days *are* long but the years are short. This day is done and I can't relive it. Instead I'm grateful for time to spend with Paul. I'm grateful for a newborn who is a good sleeper and on a consistent eating schedule. I'm grateful I can stay home with my babies, freeing up my husband to make a trip and oversee some literature getting into the hands of those who can use it for God's glory. I'm very grateful it didn't rain today and knock out the power for two hours like it did last night. I'm grateful I could get by with salads for lunch and dinner. ;-) I'm grateful for snuggle times with my little girl and being able to sit down with Paul and watch a DVD. I'm grateful to hear my son's squeals of delight as he plays with the dog we're watching.

So with that perspective, I did get a lot accomplished today after all! I spent time with my two children and they will never be this small again. And even though the rest of the world didn't see me today, my little world did... and I'm content with that.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Family Time.

This year is just clipping by at a terrific speed! I'm coming out of the typical newborn fog of sleep deprivation just in time to say I can't believe my daughter is a month old already. Really?!?

My sister-in-law has been with us for the last month and flies home tonight. So now the real reality of two kids sets in! To add to the fun, we're also dog-sitting this week, but I'm hoping that will actually help with the transition for Paul. I mean, who doesn't love playing with a cute dog?

We went to a nearby waterfall on Saturday and this is what Ellie did for most of the time:

Apparently nature fascinates her. :-)

Paul was very adventurous and loved climbing up the waterfall:

We've had lots of fun family time, especially with my sister-in-law here. Now we'll probably stop doing touristy things until someone else come to visit. :-) 

Meanwhile Nat's been pushing forward in language studies and just finished the conversation module. Next up is the reading and writing module. I went to school up until a few days before Ellie's birth but I haven't been back since, so I got behind. Now we're hoping to find a tutor for me. My kids are small only once, so it's a balance I try to maintain with learning the language and taking care of my family.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

In One Week.

We went from being a family of three...

... To a family of four!

Ellie made her grand entrance on Monday morning and we're completely smitten with her! Big brother is very curious about Ellie and has even given her a few "gifts" in her pack-n-play. :-) 

When she was born, my doctor was giving Nat the update (he wasn't allowed in the OR for my scheduled c-section) and very matter of factly included the statement that Ellie was fat compared to Thai babies. In our opinion, 7 lbs. 3 oz. doesn't justify the term but I suppose that's what happens when the norm is a 6 lb. baby!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vacation Week.

We've been on a break from school for the past week and I for one am enjoying myself just being at home here in Chiang Mai.  Originally we were planning to drive or fly to southern Thailand for the week, but now I'm really glad that didn't work out since I've been dealing with more tiredness and very puffy feet/ankles. I'm definitely in the home stretch of this pregnancy!!

Since we were staying put during Songkran (Thai New Year), we decided on a couple of local things to do, but nothing too overwhelming for us... and Paul! But first, my one and only pregnancy picture:

Nat quick snapped it while Paul was napping and before we left for church Sunday afternoon. So it's fairly recent. :-) Supposedly I have four more weeks to go... but since I went late with Paul, I'm planning on the same with Nutmeg.

As I mentioned, this week was Thai New Year. For four days a big water festival takes place and the chances of you and/or your vehicle getting wet are great! What perfect timing though - the days are nice and hot so water feels refreshing.

See the super-soaker in the picture above? Lots of people carried those things around and even more people had a barrel of water in their trucks... like the one in the picture above. 

It was fun to watch people on the street soak people riding in the back of pickup trucks and vice versa, but I could also see accidents happening very quickly. The last report I heard, over 100 people had died during the first two days of Songkran... such a tragedy.

Since the days have been so hot, we opted to go to some malls nearby and walk around in the air conditioning. One mall we stopped at had a really fun kiddy land set up. For $1.50, Paul was able to play in there for an hour and had a blast!!

A little blurry, but balls were everywhere!

Unfortunately big and little kids played in the same area with no official supervision, so Paul did get bumped around a bit by big kids running so fast and not seeing him. Good thing he's resilient! In the picture above, he's sitting on stairs that go to a slide (the yellow on the right) which went down to a huge ball pit. He had such a fun time playing in there and as a parent I had such a fun time watching him have fun. The more I go along on this parenting journey, the more I see a picture of my Heavenly Father and how He wants to give me good things and yet at times MUST correct me when I've been disobedient.

We also decided to go to a nearby waterfall for a picnic and some splashing in the water. We had gone to this waterfall a month ago with our school and enjoyed ourselves, so we left on Monday morning for some water fun. We weren't thinking "holiday" (just imagine Memorial Day weekend or Labor Day weekend crowds), so when we got to the waterfall, we were surprised at how many people were there and even having the police direct traffic. As only the Lord could do, we got front row parking directly in front of the entrance - fantastic! Since it was only 10 AM, we decided to go down to the waterfall (down, down, down!) and then have our picnic. Such a good idea. We (mostly Nat and Paul - I found a log and sat there) were able to walk up and down the waterfall with a minimal amount of people around. When we went back to the top, the crowd had doubled. We spread out our mat under a shade tree and enjoyed our sandwiches, fruit, veggies, and chocolate cupcakes --- definitely NOT what the Thai people were eating!

After lunch, Nat took Paul back to the waterfall while I stayed on the mat. Thankfully I grabbed a hand fan from the truck because it was warm!!! As I sat there people-watching, I noticed a group to my left standing around. Five kids, one mom, and two grandparents with nothing to sit on. I tried not to feel to comfortable on my plastic mat all the while thinking about offering them a place to sit down. Soon the dad arrived with a mat and they promptly sat down; well the kids did. The poor grandma just wasn't fast enough! But she had spunk... and obviously has been sitting on the ground her entire life. She slowly got down, making sure to take her flip flops off first, and managed to squeeze onto the mat. Grandpa wasn't far behind and I stared in amazement because this is so normal for them. No cushions, no comfortable plush chair - just a plastic mat that was being shared with six other people. 

Oh, what were they eating? Of course Mom had a container of rice - the main staple. Dad went over to some vendors and came back with four or five bags of pork on a stick. At one point I'm pretty sure I saw one of the boys enjoying a long piece of grilled chicken skin. I missed out on the rest of the meal because Nat came back with Paul at that point and soon the tables were turned and THEY were watching us! Specifically Paul of course. One time he started to trip on the mat and I heard several gasps come from my left side. I just sat there knowing he would get his feet back under him. :-) 

All in all we've had such a fun family week. Today we were going to go swimming, but when we got there the sign said closed. :/ Since we had our swim stuff on, we decided to go back home and play with water there! Paul got a huge kick out of us spraying the hose around and getting the whole family wet. It was great!

Thursday is our last day of "vacation" and I'm sure it will be full of adventures! We were going to go to the zoo, but my feet are way too swollen to do a lot of walking so I think we'll skip the zoo this time and do something else instead. :-)