Sunday, March 26, 2017

just jumping in

I have half-written posts about both boys' birthdays, and their birthday parties, but I'm missing many photos.  As my phone gets older the photo quality is getting worse, and I often find myself reaching for Matt's phone to take a picture.  Which works great when he is around, and then he's gone and I don't have the pictures!  ack.

Last Monday was the prettiest day we have had in months! Sunshine!  We scrambled through some school and then took beach towels outside and I read-aloud in our history books.  (We're making steady progress .... reading about Abraham Lincoln's childhood now, then on to the Alamo and Harriet Tubman.)

Unfortunately the sun and warm did not stick around and we continue to slog through an unseasonably cold March.  High of 52 yesterday, and brrrr, it's a chilly wind.

Matt was home Friday so we canceled home school and played Ticket to Ride (the kids' birthday gift to Matt).  These guys are really getting into strategy games.

Now we plow into an incredibly busy week.  The girls' bible club helped lead worship this morning.  Then after a quick lunch we went to see a piece of Julianna's art that was displayed in an International Schools art show downtown.

That's her owl.  'Hoot' is the name of her piece :)

Tomorrow is our most "normal" day for the week ahead, and Mondays usually kick my tail!  Then Tuesday it's the swim meet and off to the races (literally)!  I hope to do a lot of posting this week!  We shall see!

oh. And Matt?  it's a big week for him too :)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

one Wednesday

We moved our every other Thursday library trip to Wednesday (so as not to conflict with Isaac's lunch date with his Daddy on his birthday!)

A Wednesday trip had some fun twists.  Like no little boys :) ha!  They are at school on Wednesday mornings.  And we saw our good friends.... books are better when you have a friend sitting in the chair next to you!

Without the little two it was easier for me to do some of my own browsing (mostly a new stack for Luke and John Paul) and also help the girls with some research.

They are writing essays about a place.  Julianna picked India (she's really into India these days)... and Lydia picked Rocky Mountain National Park.

Seeing as how we were sitting in an international school library, right smack in the middle of Asia, you won't be surprised to hear that books on India were plenty, books on Rocky Mountain National Park were scarce.  Thankfully we got some solid info on Trail Ridge Road and elk from the World Book and we also have some good stuff here at home that we collected last summer.

Later that afternoon (when my big kids were at local school) the boys and I walked to a nearby grocery store to look for some sliced ham.  Unfortunately, it wasn't there.  sigh.  But we had a very pleasant walk and threw rocks in the river and we will eat ham another time, huh?

The forecast says we are really going to see warmer temps this week and I'm going to be very tempted to wash the big winter jackets and get them put away.  Or maybe just put them straight into suitcases because the next time we need cold weather clothing we will be in America!

We came home from our walk, rounded up the rest of the siblings, ate a quick dinner and left to drop the girls off at their club.... got through the traffic with minimal difficulty and as soon as we walked in the door I started the oven preheating for Isaac's birthday cake and a few loaves of pumpkin bread (his request for his birthday breakfast, which was coming up the very next morning!)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

catching up

Well I've gotten way behind.  And there is much to update!

These girls and their sweet friends are swimming for Team Homeschool this March.  It's Lydia's first year and she is doing great!  I'm proud of them!

Hilarious advertisement we saw at the mall one night. What in the world is Mattitude?  [Matt did NOT want to pose for this photo but I insisted.]

Birthday packages arriving!  Excitement levels are running HIGH ;)

Sunday afternoon strategy games.... this is our second cold, rainy Sunday afternoon.  Last week we made hot chocolate and played Settlers.  (check out Julianna's competitive face)

Mom and Dad sent some new UNC gear - (and we had a few nice warm days to wear them!)

hockey puck in the pond.  oops.

And most recently?  John Paul finally spent his birthday money!  A (knock off) Lego Millennium Falcon (see the Star Wart box!).  This has made my boy SOOO happy.  Lydia and Isaac are also very involved, and Matt has spearheaded a role of 'construction coordinator'.

The box arrived while Dad was out of town and oooooohhhh was Momma so glad that he was scheduled to get home that very evening!  They started building as soon as Matt had his shoes off and Matt even woke up early the following morning so he would have time to build with them before he had to leave for work!

So thankful for this fun project (that they are still working on).

This is a big birthday week - we had a party for Isaac yesterday and then his real birthday is Thursday and then Luke on Saturday and his party coming up this weekend.  woohoo!

40 Matt years

February 28th Matt celebrated his 40th birthday!  What a gift to have this man in our lives, he is definitely the family hero and we are all smitten!

That's 40 candles - quite a glow, huh?  I love this picture!

Matt has big 40th birthday plans to climb a 20,000 ft mountain in late June.  I'm so excited for him to have this opportunity - he's deep into making arrangements, choosing a guide team, etc.  It will be a 8-9 day trip with multiple nights on the mountain at different camps before they attempt the summit.  It's the perfect way for him to celebrate 40 years!

And his actual birthday week we had lined up 4 different dinners (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) all in celebration.  But the week turned out different than we expected and we spent quite a bit of time and energy addressing some new challenges and plans got derailed.  ugh.  Thursday (the day that just the two of us were going out to dinner, which was cancelled) I was pretty frustrated, but with the gift of two weeks behind us, I can see that God really did redeem a lot of those missed opportunities.  He also has one last birthday dinner (with a bunch of guy friends) re-scheduled for later this week - so in the end he's definitely stretched out the celebrations!  ha!

The biggest celebration is definitely coming up this June, and I am Oh-So-Hopeful that he gets to set foot on the top of that mountain!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

some of the best (vacation pics)

These are some of my favorites

We had an amazing time.  On the final night the kids and Matt built a bonfire with dried palm branches (collected from a nearby field).  The bonfire was a HUGE hit!  and a perfect way to cap off vacation.

So thankful for the sweet time together to REST!

home. yes!

We are home, and after a month on the road we are deep in all the re-entry wiggles and wobbles.  It takes a few days to get everyone and everything and every feeling all straightened out :). 

We spent our last three days in Bangkok.  For all its big city glam there are plenty of street side sellers roasting and frying and grilling their treats for passer-by.  

One block past this tin-roofed pancake stand we rode an escalator up three flights of stairs and boarded the sky train.

You get a little bit of everything in Bangkok! Including the largest Toys R Us my kids have ever seen!  We were there for over an hour :)

One morning while I was doing medical stuff Matt took the kids to Lumpini Park to look for monitor lizards. They had a blast.

and swings!  what a treat!

and a tuk tuk ride, of course.

On this day Julianna provided one of my favorite quotes of the entire trip.  I asked her how they got to/from the park and she said, "Well we walked there but it was so hot we decided to take a taxi back to the hotel".

"How far was the walk?" I asked.

"Oh, I'd say it was a good stretch of the legs."

(Can you tell Matt is still reading Tolkien to the kids?  To me this sounds just like Hobbit talk!)

We landed a bit after midnight on Saturday - greeted by your standard Asia airport experience (cold crowded bus to terminal, long lines, pushing and shoving, etc).  It's never a highlight.

The next day we slept late and unpacked and I tried to wrap my mind around starting back to home school, local school, cooking, cleaning, laundry, the works.

The kids pulled out their currency collections to sort - and add a new one.  Isaac's good buddy from our beach stop was an American living in Takijistan.  They traded some cash :).

Now we are day 3 back in country and it's a big one - Matt's birthday!  woohoo!  Time to celebrate!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

vacation photos (a very random selection)

I have a terribly random assortment of vacation photos.  We are rarely near our phones - yay!  but that means we are also rarely near our cameras - boo!

In the evenings the tide pools are huge and the hermit crabs abundant and the sunset is gorgeous and the breeze is refreshing - in other words, it's worth a trip.

At the pool - a little frisbee catching.  Isaac and Lydia love this game.

so does their daddy :)

Matt has taken each of the kids on a special date (I got a date too! - ha!)

With Lydia on a beach bike ride and ice cream outing

with Luke and a gigantic watermelon shake

He took John Paul and Isaac kayaking (on different days).  He and Isaac kayaked two hours - around one of those islands (inhabited by monkeys)!  The water in this bay is super calm (except our first few days were windy and rougher waves).  Normally it's like a lake - not even a large lake! The waves hardly make a ripple.  Pretty great for kayaking - kids can team up and take a kayak out on their own.

Yesterday we went to a waterpark near Hua Hin (about 45 minute drive from us).  We all had a blast - so many great slides to choose from, and a super nice wave pool too.  So fun, we will definitely go there again.  {also, bonus, the three largest slides were closed for maintenance so we got half price tickets, which saved us $$ and I'm not sure any of our kids would have dared those three slides anyways!}

The retreat center where we live is full board - three meals a day (Thai lunch, western supper, served family style) with the exception of Sunday dinner.

Pineapple fried rice (crucial that it is served in a pineapple!) is probably Julianna's favorite Thai food.

And John Paul, my fish lover.  If only we lived near the ocean and owned a dog, his life would be complete.  He eats fish every chance he gets.... and in Thailand, he's got plenty of opportunities.

We eat outdoors, of course, because every minute we spend in beautiful sunshine and clean air is worth it!

One more day here then a few days in transit and home midnight Saturday.  sigh

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A few more from our last hotel -  king size hotel room beds provide lots of room for reading snuggles!

[Life with big brothers and sisters has it's perks - and a few downsides, to be sure, but I'm confident the perks far outweigh the other.]

And, yay for e-readers!  We normally stick to paper books but on the road it's just not practical (that's two kindles and one iPad in the pic).

Our drive to the beach was long and arduous and traffic-y and longer than we hoped.  But NO ONE puked!  And the whining was moderate and the drive was WORTH IT!  I'm unofficially collecting pics of the 5 and this is a new one for the collection.  (living room of our bungalow, drinking cold water from the fridge after a hot unloading of the vehicle)

Now after a few days here we are in solid vacation mode.  I have nothing to do!  Our spot is so sweet and our kids roam free with little need for supervision (unless they are in the pool, or waves, of course).

Matt's engineering skills hard at work on the beach - perfect late afternoon activity :).

I'm only turning my computer on about once a week, so it might be a bit til I'm updating again.