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.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

In One Week.

We went from being a family of three...


... To a family of four!


Ellie made her grand entrance on Monday morning and we're completely smitten with her! Big brother is very curious about Ellie and has even given her a few "gifts" in her pack-n-play. :-) 

When she was born, my doctor was giving Nat the update (he wasn't allowed in the OR for my scheduled c-section) and very matter of factly included the statement that Ellie was fat compared to Thai babies. In our opinion, 7 lbs. 3 oz. doesn't justify the term but I suppose that's what happens when the norm is a 6 lb. baby!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vacation Week.

We've been on a break from school for the past week and I for one am enjoying myself just being at home here in Chiang Mai.  Originally we were planning to drive or fly to southern Thailand for the week, but now I'm really glad that didn't work out since I've been dealing with more tiredness and very puffy feet/ankles. I'm definitely in the home stretch of this pregnancy!!

Since we were staying put during Songkran (Thai New Year), we decided on a couple of local things to do, but nothing too overwhelming for us... and Paul! But first, my one and only pregnancy picture:


Nat quick snapped it while Paul was napping and before we left for church Sunday afternoon. So it's fairly recent. :-) Supposedly I have four more weeks to go... but since I went late with Paul, I'm planning on the same with Nutmeg.

As I mentioned, this week was Thai New Year. For four days a big water festival takes place and the chances of you and/or your vehicle getting wet are great! What perfect timing though - the days are nice and hot so water feels refreshing.


See the super-soaker in the picture above? Lots of people carried those things around and even more people had a barrel of water in their trucks... like the one in the picture above. 


It was fun to watch people on the street soak people riding in the back of pickup trucks and vice versa, but I could also see accidents happening very quickly. The last report I heard, over 100 people had died during the first two days of Songkran... such a tragedy.

Since the days have been so hot, we opted to go to some malls nearby and walk around in the air conditioning. One mall we stopped at had a really fun kiddy land set up. For $1.50, Paul was able to play in there for an hour and had a blast!!


A little blurry, but balls were everywhere!


Unfortunately big and little kids played in the same area with no official supervision, so Paul did get bumped around a bit by big kids running so fast and not seeing him. Good thing he's resilient! In the picture above, he's sitting on stairs that go to a slide (the yellow on the right) which went down to a huge ball pit. He had such a fun time playing in there and as a parent I had such a fun time watching him have fun. The more I go along on this parenting journey, the more I see a picture of my Heavenly Father and how He wants to give me good things and yet at times MUST correct me when I've been disobedient.


We also decided to go to a nearby waterfall for a picnic and some splashing in the water. We had gone to this waterfall a month ago with our school and enjoyed ourselves, so we left on Monday morning for some water fun. We weren't thinking "holiday" (just imagine Memorial Day weekend or Labor Day weekend crowds), so when we got to the waterfall, we were surprised at how many people were there and even having the police direct traffic. As only the Lord could do, we got front row parking directly in front of the entrance - fantastic! Since it was only 10 AM, we decided to go down to the waterfall (down, down, down!) and then have our picnic. Such a good idea. We (mostly Nat and Paul - I found a log and sat there) were able to walk up and down the waterfall with a minimal amount of people around. When we went back to the top, the crowd had doubled. We spread out our mat under a shade tree and enjoyed our sandwiches, fruit, veggies, and chocolate cupcakes --- definitely NOT what the Thai people were eating!

After lunch, Nat took Paul back to the waterfall while I stayed on the mat. Thankfully I grabbed a hand fan from the truck because it was warm!!! As I sat there people-watching, I noticed a group to my left standing around. Five kids, one mom, and two grandparents with nothing to sit on. I tried not to feel to comfortable on my plastic mat all the while thinking about offering them a place to sit down. Soon the dad arrived with a mat and they promptly sat down; well the kids did. The poor grandma just wasn't fast enough! But she had spunk... and obviously has been sitting on the ground her entire life. She slowly got down, making sure to take her flip flops off first, and managed to squeeze onto the mat. Grandpa wasn't far behind and I stared in amazement because this is so normal for them. No cushions, no comfortable plush chair - just a plastic mat that was being shared with six other people. 

Oh, what were they eating? Of course Mom had a container of rice - the main staple. Dad went over to some vendors and came back with four or five bags of pork on a stick. At one point I'm pretty sure I saw one of the boys enjoying a long piece of grilled chicken skin. I missed out on the rest of the meal because Nat came back with Paul at that point and soon the tables were turned and THEY were watching us! Specifically Paul of course. One time he started to trip on the mat and I heard several gasps come from my left side. I just sat there knowing he would get his feet back under him. :-) 

All in all we've had such a fun family week. Today we were going to go swimming, but when we got there the sign said closed. :/ Since we had our swim stuff on, we decided to go back home and play with water there! Paul got a huge kick out of us spraying the hose around and getting the whole family wet. It was great!

Thursday is our last day of "vacation" and I'm sure it will be full of adventures! We were going to go to the zoo, but my feet are way too swollen to do a lot of walking so I think we'll skip the zoo this time and do something else instead. :-)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Quick Catch-up Post.

I'm afraid the days of Paul being a "baby" are over. Yes, he's 18 months. Yes, he just started walking in February. Yes, we're still teaching him things like eating what's on his tray. But when it comes to protecting him from bumps, bruises, and scratches, now we're talking about a five year old - at least! 

I've done lots of babysitting in the past, and I don't think I've ever seen a kid so accident-prone. Uncle Tom, he's taking after YOU!! For instance, tonight we decided to have a family night since the rest of the week is insanely busy. We settled on watching a Road To Avonlea 45- minute movie. During that time, Paul ran into the edge of the bed no less than three times and that third time finally got to him. He is now sporting a shiner on his cheek, poor kid. The worst part was we were right there and I even watched him do it (slow motion of course), but couldn't intervene in time because my ankle was propped up. Oh the tears did flow...

In other fun news from last week (I'm so punctual!), the precious ladies from my home church gave me a Skype baby shower complete with decorations, unwrapped gifts, and muffins. My husband rose to the occasion and made sure to make muffins so I could enjoy some while the ladies had theirs. I think I ate two bites in between personally chatting with many of the ladies who took a few moments at the computer to visit. It was a fantastic time and instantly transported me back to PA. Thailand is home now and yet so is Pennsylvania, especially when visiting with dear friends I haven't seen in a while!

Today we wimped out and decide to turn the air conditioner on in the afternoon. Unlike in PA where the hottest time of the day is around noon, here it's between 3-4 PM. After school we stopped by the market to pick up produce, but we took turns sitting in the car with Paul, who was sleeping. Our poor AC did it's very best, but sitting in direct sunlight at 99* was just too hot. So when we came home, I made a beeline for the AC switch and turned it on. After and hour or so, things cooled down to where we could get by with a fan. We have been running the AC a little bit at night, but have it on a timer so it clicks off soon after we go to bed. I'm actually impressed that we haven't run the AC as much as I thought we would've by now, but I think my memory is bringing to mind living in Bangkok (8 hours south) and how we ran it practically year-round. So we've been enjoying and taking advantage of the cooler mornings. It sure makes up for the hotter afternoons!

Next week we're taking a break from school since it's the Thai New Year. Is it wrong to say I'm looking forward to that break? :-) My brain feels like it's on Thai language overload sometimes, so it will be good to put a pause on the intake of information and just try to process what's in there! We're almost finished with the Thai conversation module, and the next module is reading and writing. Baby Nutmeg is due to make her appearance sometime in May, so I'm interested to see how going to school and having a newborn are going to jive. Of course family is first priority, so if it doesn't work out to go to school, then we'll explore another option. But for now my plan is to continue with school.

So there you have it! A quick catch-up with what's going on in our little corner of the world. :-)


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Glimpse

A glimpse into my day (so far)...


- Three kilos of fresh tomatoes turned into sauce.


- A cheesecake... just because!


- An active little guy who is currently playing with a wooden spoon. Simple pleasures.


- Today is not a school day, but there is always studying that needs to be done.

Not pictured:

- 6:00 AM wake-up 
- Pancakes for breakfast 
- Naptime for Paul... and for me!

Nat's at an physical therapy appointment right now and has plans to take Paul later for Paul's first real haircut at a barber. Paul's had a haircut every month of his life except this last month and it's starting to show. :-) We'll see how that goes for Mr. Squirmy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sunday.

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."  What better day to start with than Sunday?!?!

The alarm went off early, followed by the real alarm in the form of our 18-month-old son. :-) These days he's been waking up earlier and earlier and we're finally catching on to that little fact (and saying a sad good-bye to 8 AM as a normal wake up time for him!). Snuggling with Paul is a morning routine, one that I thoroughly enjoy! Soon showers and quiet time are finished, making way for breakfast. Paul's little gecko friend is still hanging out on the wall, and that brings about some shrieks of joy... followed by a frantic look for the usual banana to chew on. I make some crepes and soon we're all enjoying breakfast.

Since the church we attend doesn't have services until 5 PM, we have a Bible study time with some missionary friends of ours. Of course that time includes lunch, so right after breakfast cleanup I start in on lunch. This time the menu is taco salad with fresh watermelon on the side. I finish lunch preparations just in time to settle Paul down for his nap. Nat heads out to pick up at the market some cilantro for me and then picks up our friends for the study. Unfortunately, Paul wasn't so willing to settle down for a nap and is still crying by the time Nat returns. We start our Bible study off without singing this time. Paul soon drifts off to sleep and we enjoy a study in Colossians 2. Right on cue after the study, Paul wakes up... just in time for lunch! We enjoy a sweet time of fellowship with our friends since they are returning to the States this week on furlough.

Nat heads out the door again to return our friends to their house and then he continues on to a meeting with a man he met last week while passing out tracts. Paul and I stay home and attempt to clean up. The following pictures should give you a good idea as to why I used the word "attempt." :-)





The last one is blurry, but it show Paul doing what he now loves to do: walk! Oh and climb on everything. :-)

Once Nat returns to the house, we have minutes to get ready for the church service. Since we live 30 minutes away, the drive to church gives Paul a good opportunity to take a nap and get recharged for more activity. :-)

The service is all in Thai, with the occasional English translation thrown in for good measure. Friends of ours gave us a copy of some hymns in Thai written out phonetically, and we do our best to sing in Thai. I stumble over the words of one hymn because it seems like there are more Thai words than usual. One day at a time, I remind myself. The pastor starts to preach and I'm armed with ways to keep Paul quiet: a bottle of milk and a croissant. Effective, but 3/4 of the way through and Paul is ready to run around again. I take him to the back of the room and stand with him. 

Soon the service is over and we catch up with a dear friend who just moved to our city after being in the States on furlough for the past year. We move on to the next room where a yummy Thai meal is served, all the while chatting with various people. As we prepare to return home, the pastor asks if we would take a lady home who doesn't live too far from us. She just moved to the area and we are more than happy to help. Nat's Thai saves the day in being able to communicate with her, although she did know a few English phrases.

We return home with a very tired little boy who goes straight to bath time. After Paul's bedtime routine of reading, singing, and praying we settle him down for the night. Nat and I are exhausted, but spend some time together reading through a book and talking. Prayer time for us rounds out the night and we are soon asleep... ready to start off another week, but thankful for a day of rest.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy!

We've had an exceptionally busy week and I'm not sure why. :-) In addition to our usual three days of school and studying, we taught English at a local primary school, Nat spent a day passing out tracts with a visitor from the states, and we had a couple of other things come up. One of these times I'm going to do a post about a typical (or not so typical!) day in the life of the Williams family. :-)

We've also enjoyed an unusual number of phone calls from the States too. Communication is very important and so I was pleasantly surprised to hear my phone ring a few times. One of the calls came in at noon as we were getting lunch ready. Here a very dear friend couldn't sleep and decided to give a call... Two hours later we hung up and I really hope her work day wasn't too tiring!

We've also been able to stream the services from our church, as this week is our missions conference. How we long to be there... but streaming is the next best option!

Now we're doing a quick market run after school and then we're staying home for the evening. Language school days always feel like we're running in a marathon, so a quiet evening looks absolutely delightful. God had been good to us and we have many things to praise Him for. 

Happy Friday!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dinner...


... Is going to be good! 


Ka-bobs and potatoes grilled over the fire. Yummy benefit to living in this temperate climate. :-)