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!