Sunday, September 27, 2009

Riding the Rails

Yet another reason to love Thailand. The tourism board is sponsoring a number of day trips to various regions of Thailand, and my friend Jen and I went on a white-water rafting adventure on Saturday. It was a long, long day but incredibly fun and cultural. Our mode of travel was the 3rd class train again, but I'm now convinced that watching the world go by while resting my chin on the windowsill forces me to pay more attention to nature. And pay attention I did. With over 7 hours of the day taken up with train rides, the highlight for me was the fields and fields of rice paddies that are a color of green that is indescribably beautiful.Mind you, it was a tour mostly for locals, so it had its share of cultural features that made it even more charming. Take, for instance, the guides. There were about 8 of them, and they all seemed to have more than one job. This guy was the massage instructor (Thailand takes their massages very seriously and it's a huge health benefit here) and was teaching our tour group. We also had our fortunes read, ate like kings and queens (we drank ice cream with a straw for some reason), stopped off at a national park and finished off with a tame, but fun, rafting trip. The only negative Jen and I could come up with was the nonstop use of the megaphone. 14 hours of a language you don't understand coming at you at a very loud volume made me really want some quiet time.

See what I mean about the green? The weirdest thing is I still have no clue where we actually were in Thailand. It was all hills and green and gorgeous. And, if you can believe this, the entire price for the day for 28 US dollars each. Next month, the town of Lop Buri is on the travel menu. Khmer temples and a large monkey population that is really cheeky.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Tropics

We really love living in the tropics. The mangos, the 'every day is a beach day' weather, the fabulous rainstorms, just about all of it. Ok, well, maybe some days I wish I didn't sweat as much. Sometimes, when we live somewhere, we forget that what is right in front of us will be the things that will be memories later on. This picture I took the other day of Sojo walking to the playground reminded me that there are these banana plants right outside our apartment. We love to watch them grow and make the plant bend with the weight, and then notice how they seem to disappear right before they turn yellow. A treat for someone... A treat for me and Dale was to have a personal day downtown doing some errands. Breakfast at a lovely cafe and some wandering of the Bangkok streets. Always something interesting to see there (picture is of a Buddhist spirit house, but I'm loving the Jim Beam juxtaposition).
T minus one week until my parents arrive in Bangkok! Yippee! Dad, check out the lemon curd in the breakfast photo. It is to die for! We'll go there for breakie when you guys get here. xoxo

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beach Getaway

Keeping in line with our desire to get out of town a bit more often this year, we headed off to a nearby beach town called Pattaya for a 3 day weekend. Even though it's nice and close to Bangkok, the town has a bad reputation in Thailand for being super sleazy. Truly, one of the only bummers about Thailand is the sleaze factor. But the best way to avoid the yucky street action is to stay in a fabulous hotel where you don't have to leave! At a posh new hotel, they were having what is called a 'soft opening.' Basically, this means they are working out some of the kinks and practice having guests at a much reduced rate. Think movie star hotel at teacher prices! However, some of the kinks they are working out were weird, like the exposed electrical wiring right next to the kids' water slide. And the sand that was somehow glued onto another water slide, making for an exfoliation that I didn't ask for! No matter, though, because this place was kid heaven and grown up heaven. Water slides, kiddie pools, great big sister-like friends to hang out with Sojo and good, good times.
p.s. We ditched the public bus idea when our lovely taxi driver offered to drive us to Pattaya for a reasonable price. Gotta say it sounded so much nicer than a bus, so we agreed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Laughter

Having Sojo around is fodder for lots and lots of laughter in our house. She has quite the sense of humor for a little person. Just the other night, we played around on the author Mo Willem's website. We laughed like crazy making silly hot dogs for the pigeon to eat and watching Piggie and Elephant dance.
Heading to the beach this weekend. Public transportation again--bus this time. Only two hours to a city called Pattaya and a smoking deal on a super posh hotel. Asia has totally ruined me when it comes to hotels. I used to stay in really basic hotels (right, mom?!?), but I've been spoiled rotten in Asia. Good prices and great hotels in this area of the world.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baby Squirrel

Meet Baby Squirrel.

She doesn't know how to walk yet, hence the reason she is crawling up the stairs.

She communicates through a very cute, albeit high-pitched squeal.

She even drinks baby squirrel milk. Strangely, it looks like water.


We are three months into the coolest stage of acting in character. Just the other day, we were walking down the stairs when Sojo stopped and announced, "I'm a baby egg and I'm hatching." She then went through some sort of egg hatching process that involved squishing her face up and clenching her fists, and then informed me that some of the pieces fell on the stairs behind her. Add 'eggshell' to her expanding vocabulary.

The best part is that she goes to sleep as one animal...let's say, the baby squirrel. So the next morning, you say something like, "Morning, baby squirrel!" and she looks at you like you are completely batty and says, "I'm not a baby squirrel! I'm a nice chicken!"

Of course you are, sweetie.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Easy Like Sunday Morning


Lately, we are just in the groove with our weekends. Between lunchtime picnics, discovering our plastic table can double as a water table (hours of fun!) and good 'ol family time, it feels so smooth and easy. I love how this photo shows the trail of fun all the way out the door last weekend.
On a cultural note, while riding our bikes to the mall, I've noticed this house before with a row of water bottles all lined up and ready to go. But go where, I wondered? Came to find out they are put out for the monks. Every morning, very early, the monks are dropped off in various neighborhoods with their begging bowls, receiving food from the locals as is the custom in Buddhist countries. It is a beautiful sight to see if you happen upon it here: orange-robed monks silently walking single file down a road holding their bowls. These water bottles are for them to pick up on their way. Lovely, eh?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Independence


Becoming a parent had its share of transitions for me. In a nutshell, it had been all about me for so very long, like 38 years long, that it came as a bit of a shock that it was suddenly not about me at all. Whoa! It wasn't as if I wanted to be out partying all night long or taking a midnight train to Estonia, but more the simpler parts of my life that I was longing for. I really just wanted to sit and enjoy a latte before it went cold. And that didn't happen for a long time, which is just fine in the big picture of life because this little puzzle piece in our lives is so fabulous, but still...I really love a good cup of coffee and a good chat with my man or just time alone with my thoughts.

So, imagine my surprise when, at some point in the last few months, I realized that there is time in my life for that now. Sojo can be entertaining herself or finding a new friend to play chase with at a hotel, and I can have the best of both worlds: lingering over a latte while watching this beautiful kid becoming more and more independent.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

More Power

Sojo's on a kick where she is starting to protest the nap more frequently. Usually, she says she 'gets more power' after she takes a nap--a little recharge, you might say (pretty sure this concept came from a conversation I overheard between my brother Matt and Sojo talking about power and electricity this summer). It's cute as can be, but lately she has been saying that she already has enough power. Banish the thought!

At naptime today, I heard the same story. How she had enough power and didn't need a nap, so we agreed to do a rest time in her room with books. As you can see, the sheer act of adding books to the bed was a fabulous stalling technique. I read on the floor next to her for a while and then said it was her own rest time. From a different room, I listened to the sweet sounds of her reading to herself and singing. (the bottoms of her feet in this pic are so, so cute...)

Then it got quiet. Score one for maintaining the power nap a bit longer.

And if this isn't the picture for the poster child of cheekiness, I don't know what is.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Super Swimmer

This girl just loves to swim, and we love watching her swim. Dale and I are constantly amazed at how she experiments with what her body can do in the water. Looks like synchronized swimming is her newest adventure (that is supposed to be spinning,not flailing). Just waiting for that upper body strength to develop so she can hold herself up. video

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Happiness

Taking a moment to breathe in those simple moments that bring so much joy.

like chocolate mouse mustaches
near-daily swims (skinny pencil and fat star jumps have been super popular)
our newfound obsession with cribbage, played on our vintage cribbage board given to us by Dale's mom and Pat (Tim Tam's not included)
and a healthier twist to an already healthy food: cauliflower hummus made from this great vegan cookbook, Veganomicon.Here's the recipe:
1 smallish head of cauliflower
2-3 cloves of garlic (more, more, more!)
1 1/2 cups of chickpeas
2 Tbs. tahini
1 TBs olive oil
1/4 cup scallions
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
2-3 Tbs lemon juice

Boil cauliflower until soft. Blend in blender. Add rest of ingredients and blend away. You may never go back to regular hummus. Yum!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Skinny Pencil and Fat Star

Oh, this is what I love so much about being a mom with a kid in preschool! After we got home from school today, Sojo was sitting on my lap, telling me a bit about her day. Then, quick as lightning, she scrambles off me and says, "I got something special to show you." Well, cool, bring it on!

And here you have it:
Skinny Pencil, as pictured, and its counterpart Fat Star. No picture of fat star, but picture it as arms out and legs spread wide. Seriously, Dale and I were to the moon with excitement.

And some gorgeous lamplight bouncing off our orange bedroom walls made for a fun photobooth session the other night. I love everything about this photo, from the smile on Dale's face to the fan on the wall to my wild afternoon hair.