Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Welcome!

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

Elephants.

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

Goals.

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.

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.