Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Sweet Treat.

Every Tuesday we make it a point to go to Swensons - a local ice cream parlor - for their buy one, get one free deal. We love ice cream and Swenson's has a flavor called Midnight Brownie that is just fantastic!

Everything is better when shared together, so Paul shared my ice cream with me. I think it's safe to say he enjoyed it. :-)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Birthday Buddies.

One of my favorite things about Nat is he shares my birthday! Or perhaps I share his birthday since he's older than me. :-) I suppose it doesn't really matter because every year we celebrate together and it is always so. much. fun!!

This year we asked a friend to watch the kids while we went to dinner Saturday night. There's a restaurant at the edge of our village called Eat On Earth (no joke!), so we enjoyed a quiet walk through the neighborhood on the way to the restaurant. We opted to sit outside for dinner since the ambiance was spectacular (until the mosquitoes came along!) and we just enjoyed some quiet time together.

We both ordered the same thing (chicken cordon bleu) and it was absolutely delicious. My mango smoothie was pretty good too!

Nat chose the peach and orange smoothie and was extremely pleased with his choice. Everything was so nice and since we were tucked away in a corner, we didn't have to be distracted by a lot of people going back and forth past our table.

Today was a quieter day for sure. We usually get together with another family for a bible study Sunday morning, but half of their family was sick so we just spent the day at home. The church we attend has services Sunday night, and so that's where we went tonight. After church, we came home and got the kids into bed before pulling out our birthday treat: brownies, ice cream and fresh strawberries. Yummy! 

In addition to today being our birthdays, we're doing something different this year and having a count-down to Valentine's Day. We each decorated several cards on the front and put various things to do together on the back.

So this was our first one (sorry for the blurry picture)! On the back I wrote down, "if money weren't an option, make a list of all the places to travel together as a couple." We enjoyed talking (and dreaming!) about places we want to go. I'm looking forward to see what tomorrow's idea is! 

All in all, I would say we had a pretty good birthday. :-)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Family Day.

I think it's safe to say we are finally adjusted to Thailand time again! What a blessing the long airplane ride and jet lag are both behind us, hopefully for a good while! God definitely gives grace for those trying times and it's so good to be home.

We've enjoyed "setting up shop" again and jumping back into life in the tropics. Before the return of language study, we decided to take a family day and headed for the great outdoors! There's a gorgeous lake about 15 minutes away, so we wandered over there on Friday and enjoyed biking, walking, and eating lunch by the lake.

{a clear, cool day at the lake with a mountain backdrop}

{love these two blessings}

{my blue-eyed girl}

{Paul is happy to run barefoot again}

{flowers in our neighborhood showcase God's creativity}

Since we are still in cool season, I've taken Paul on plenty of bike rides. There's something exhilarating about feeling the wind hit my face and from the little giggles coming from behind me, I'm pretty sure Paul is enjoying it too! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thoughtful Thanks.

I decided in 2014 to be more intentional in praising God and even came up with a tag for my blog called "purposeful praise." Last year really stretched me in my praise to the Lord, so I decided on another personal theme for this year: thankfulness. Now I'll be the first to admit that there are many blessings in my life, but I need to pause and ask if I'm actually having an attitude of thankfulness, especially in the midst of a situation.

For instance, this morning Nat and I were watching our church's Wednesday evening service and as I was trying to take notes Paul was wriggling in my lap and kicking the table. Not exactly an ideal circumstance to be still before the Lord and let the preaching minister to my heart. To my shame I let out a sigh of frustration and even said, "Paul, why must you do that?" But then the still small voice reminded me to stop and be kind to my son. I put the pen down and pulled my little boy closer, quickly reminded how glad I am for such an active little guy!

So that's my goal for this year - to have an attitude of thankfulness, and hopefully IN the situation instead of AFTER the fact. :-)

To start things off... I'm extremely thankful for these three human beings; my entire, little world and I wouldn't trade any of them for anything!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Precious Memories.

In November we headed to the States for the purpose of spending time with people and I would say we accomplished the job! In fact, I wish we took more photos with people, but we didn't always think about it. So here's a quick recap of just some of the things we did during our 8-week trip.

We landed in NYC on a Thursday and five days later we were driving the 700 miles to my brother and his family in Kentucky. A quick two-day stay with them rounded out the Thanksgiving holiday, and I'm so glad we made the effort to go. The return drive of 15 hours seemed like it would never end. :-)

My niece, nephews, and sister-in-law with my baby girl.

We did experience a few warmer winter days and Paul enjoyed getting outside to play with some balls and our pastor's children. But most of the days were too cold to play outside.

Some of my family got together the Saturday after Thanksgiving to go to a nearby Christmas village. What fun and what a good memory as we shivered together. :-)

Yes, it did snow while we were in Pennsylvania! I'm glad Nat thought to get some snow pictures, because most likely it will be several years before we see snow again.

We took a trip up to New York to spend some time with Nat's extended family. On the way we stopped at a grocery store that had the perfect cart for Paul. He loved pushing it around and stocking up on an essential: Cheerios! By the way, the one time I found a box of Cheerios in Thailand it was $12.00, so we won't be eating Cheerios anytime soon. :-)

While in New York, we stayed with Nat's aunt. She had a neat toy car collection that Paul loved to play with.

Of course Paul got to go sledding at Great-Grandma's farm! He absolutely loved it. 

Our main reason for returning to the States was for Nat's sister's wedding, which was just before Christmas. 

We also updated our family picture to reflect our newest little family member. It only took us 7 months for a new mug shot. :-) We took this after the wedding, so both kids were beyond tired, having missed their naps. Paul was quickly won over with cranberry bread keeping him smiling, but Ellie would not smile for anything. Oh well.

The week of Christmas found us in the Poconos with Nat's family. We got a vacation rental house and enjoyed lots of family time. Paul loved getting to know his grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

We also spent some time with my sister and her family at Valley Forge National Historical Park. What started out as a quick walk turned into a 4-mile hike. After that brisk walk, the kids slept soundly!

Paul with my sister and nephew.

Some friends of mine and I intended to slip away for a 2-day ladies retreat in December, but the house we had found forgot we were coming and shut the water off for the winter. I was definitely disappointed, but last Friday night we enjoyed a fun evening together as couples, so it all worked out in the end.

 We packed things up and headed for JFK Airport this past Wednesday. Good friends of ours were very gracious in waking up early and driving us to the airport for our noon flight. Thanks Ben and Alyssa!

Our layover in South Korea was a lot shorter than we remembered, so Paul didn't get to play on the playground this time around. Instead Paul got to watch the plane being loaded!

So there you have it! There were so many things that happened while we were home, but I can't recount them all. I'm just glad for the opportunity to be back in PA... And now I'm glad to be home in Thailand!

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. :-)