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. :-)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Living In Thailand. For Real!

Not being in a country where the change in the colors of the leaves signal a season switch, I'm a bit baffled that it's October already. Our weather has been warm with a blistering sun thrown in for good measure, so it definitely doesn't "feel" like fall around here! I'm grateful to see glimpses of a Pennsylvania fall courtesy of Facebook (PA friends - please post more!), but this does mess with my mind not pulling out hoodies and feeling the crispy fall air! In fact, the air con is currently on in my son's room as he naps and I've shut all the windows and curtains in hopes of keeping it cool on the inside. All you warm weather-loving people -- wanna come visit?!

So in the spirit of keeping things real about living in Thailand, I give you this:


That, my dear readers, is our truck. 

With someone else's bumper attached to it.

*Ahem*

Without describing in detail the intersection and traffic, I will say this was a very humbling lesson for me. I tend to be a risk-taker when driving (ouch, that hurt just seeing it written out!), and while what I did we've seen tons of people do (turning a third lane into a turning lane instead of a straight only lane),  it was a reality check that beating the system just isn't worth it. 

At this point, you may be wondering how that guy's bumper got on my bumper. As I turned, he moved from his lane to his left, trying to get around the car in front of him. Unfortunately, I couldn't get out of his way, but I was just enough ahead of him that the back of my truck met the front of his car and ripped the whole bumper right off. Let me tell you, it sounded terrible! I had never been in an accident before while driving, so I really expected the back end to be messed up, based upon the sound.

You know that statistic that says most accidents happen within a 5-mile radius of your home? That's exactly what happened in this instance. I had taken Paul with me to the grocery store to stock up on some fun food since it was the end of the month and we had extra in the grocery budget. So I had a big block of cheddar cheese, frozen strawberries, milk, and chocolate chips in a cooler bag just waiting to be tucked safely into the fridge. When the accident first took place, all I could think of was that block of cheese! :-)

But reality set in so I called Nat (who was studying at home while Ellie took her nap). Dealing with an insurance company in Thai wasn't exactly my idea of "hey! What a great opportunity to practice Thai!" when the adrenalin was running high, and yes, I was shaking. Thankfully Paul chose to take his nap at that moment. In the meantime, Ellie had woken up at home and wanted to eat... now. Poor Nat was juggling a screaming baby and trying to deal with the insurance company, plus try to find a way to come to where I was... since I had our only vehicle. 30 minutes later, two insurance adjusters, one neighbor, one husband and one quiet baby showed up on the scene. Since both drivers were at fault and since both vehicles were well-insured, everything was resolved rather quickly. Praise the Lord that was the case because from what we've heard, when a foreigner is involved in an accident here, it's their fault regardless of whether it's really their fault or not. 

Would you like some good news? I am officially done with Thai kindergarten. Yay! I was talking with my sister this morning and told her in my reading class yesterday, I was at the level equivalent to "at, bat, cat..." :-) I am so encouraged that this language is starting to unlock more and more for me! Most of the vowels I can remember, with the exception of two that look so similar to me. My teacher was very encouraging yesterday as I practiced the reading drill by saying my pronunciation was correct and I was reading fast. Without coming across as "pride going before a fall" I need all the encouragement I can get, and I'm really thankful for my teacher.

So I'll leave you with my name written in Thai:

แอน - Anne

And with this: 


Because this little lady is a big 5-month-old!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Saturday.

I thought I would give you all a small glimpse into what our day to day lives look like, so every now and then I'll do a post on "a day in the life of the Williams family."  So here's Saturday!

Saturday mornings. Ahh, always a thrilling time of the week! This past Saturday we didn't have a single yard sale to attend (which is a blog post in and of itself for another time!), so we had zero plans of waking up early. And to be completely honest with you, I had a terrible time falling sleep Friday night (perhaps from the mid-afternoon cappuccino??) so I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning reading a book on my phone. *gulp* I haven't done that in a looong time, but the book was a mystery and I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Obviously. :-)

Thankfully, my knight in shining armor got up with Paul at the early hour of 7:20 (that kid has no concept of Saturday mornings yet!), and so I squeezed in a few more winks of sleep. Lately, Ellie has been getting up 2-3 times at night, so I figured sleep while the baby sleeps!

Breakfast morphed into "do your own thing" since I wasn't down in time to make something a little more planned. Last Saturday we had picked up some yummy homemade peach/plum jam from a local restaurant (well worth the $4.50!) and so this week we slathered it on some rye toast... oh so yummy and that became breakfast!

Our cleaning lady comes every other Saturday, so this was the Saturday she was supposed to come. I tell you, she is one of my greatest blessings right now! I really don't have time to clean a two-story house, and for $12.00, she does it all for me. :-) Bonus is she loves our kids and speaks Thai/English so she's an excellent fit for us. She is also a Christian so I'm glad we can help her out too. Khun P usually comes at 9:30 and is finished by 1:30. While she was cleaning, I took Paul to the market to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. I love to go to the market but especially on Saturdays because that's when the mango lady is there selling delicious mangoes -- 4.5 lbs for $2.50! We make fresh fruit smoothies daily and praise the Lord for providing an abundance of fruit.

Paul has become a good helper at the market and loves to pay the vendors. He occasionally carries a bag for me, although one time he carried the peanut bag so "lovingly" that it spilled all over the floor. :-) We're still working on that concept! Another reason I took Paul with me was to give Nat some quiet time at home, especially since Ellie was sleeping.

After Khun P left, nap time took place. We've been surprised that Paul's nap has lengthened because he used to sleep only 45 minutes. Period. Saturday he sleep for 1.5 hours... yay! Ellie and I took the opportunity to nap as well, giving Nat some more quiet time. 

Dinner was homemade chicken parmigiana and it was so yummy! Since coming to Thailand, I have learned to cook from scratch even more than ever before. Many food items here are expensive (such as tomato sauce) so by learning to make my own from fresh tomatoes, we're able to make dishes we enjoy and it's not breaking the bank, so to speak. :-)

I try to take a walk every day, usually after dinner. Once again I took Paul with me and he enjoyed every minute of it. Whenever Paul sees a stray dog coming towards us, he says, "uh-oh" and points at the dog. Our neighborhood probably has 15-20 stray dogs, so I always carry a stick with me as a safety precaution. I've yet to see a dog fight here, but Nat saw one once and it wasn't pretty. The dogs keep my prayer life sharp, and I've had several come charging at me as I walk. Hence the stick!

Bath time soon followed our walk, and I gave Paul his bath since Nat was making tortillas for fajitas for Sunday lunch. Paul loves his bath time, especially since our shower head is detachable. :-) After bath time and his bed time routine, I switched kids and gave Ellie a bath. Meanwhile Nat was still working on the tortillas. We sure enjoyed them today and I appreciate his hard work!

Because of the previous night being a late one for me, I was more than ready to tumble into bed. :-) All in all, it was a nice, quiet family day at home... just the way we like it on Saturdays. Traffic is exceptionally insane on the weekend so if we have to go out at all, we try to go early in the morning. 

Well, time to start another busy week!

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!