I apologize to our regular Sunday night readers for this being so late. We have had quite the weekend and for more reason than one, I was not feeling up to sitting in front of a computer on Sunday night! I'm still not feeling so great. I must be getting sick or am just severely over-tired. Either way, I still wanted to get this up, so thanks to Jeff, there is actually something fun to see!
But first... a few more words from me.
While the highlight of the week was the Father and Sons outing (which Jack has talked about EVERY day since we knew it was coming up), there were also a few other highlights we thought were noteworthy.
I spent Thursday morning with Jack and his friends at the zoo. It was a lot of fun, and the monkeys that I love so much were talking once we left, so we all loved that. (They are Gibbon monkeys and make the best animal sound ever. Anutra tells us that it is the woman calling to her husband. When you think of it this way, it's pretty hilarious because after the "woman" starts yelling, it gets all the others going really loud and they all start yelling around at once. I love it. If you've ever seen the Jungle book movie (not the cartoon), it's like those monkeys that guard the treasure. Good movie, by the way.)
Jack, Jane, Narissa, and Cyrus all had a great time together, as always. Although before 10am, we were all soaking wet (from sweat) and the kids were all white from all the baby powder we kept loading on them. Whatever helps!
As I waited to meet up with Som and Mary Jane, we played on these little arcade toys and I loved this one of the tuk-tuk. Janie loved to drive this one because it wobbled a little on its own, so she almost got the full effect!
The snake and reptile cave is a nice, cool place to take the kids for a break. Mary Jane and I were dying when we saw what was in the cage of this huge snake. We were just hoping he would get hungry, but he was already so swollen looking, I think this was the second course, so we didn't get to see much of a show. Can you tell what it is?
Jeff and Jack left Friday morning (sad to have them be away from me for the first time in how long? I missed them like crazy! I think I'm more attached than ever), and on Friday afternoon, I got a call from my friend, Kathrine, who lives on an island down south, Koh Samet. I talked about Kathrine last month when we had her and the kids over for dinner. She was coming into town for church, like she does once a month, and needed a place to stay. She and the kids arrived Saturday afternoon around 4pm and stayed until Monday around noon. If you can imagine 4 children under 4 in our apartment for 3 days...wow. We had quite the houseful, and we had to give the kids breaks from each other occasionally for everyone's sanity, but overall, everyone had a good time.
The bathtub was one place where for some reason, there was less screaming, so we did this several times during our time together. Do my kids look WHITE or what? It was really fun to visit more with Katherine, and more and more I admire how dedicated she is to attending church with her children. Even if it takes them hours on a bus, boat, etc. to get here. Her story is amazing, and I can't believe how well she handles it all. Certainly, an exceptional individual.
At church on Sunday, Jeff met some visitors, like we do EVERY Sunday (which we love), and he came into the nursery and told me that we were having guests that night. I have given him permission to invite people over anytime and I'll do my best, so I am always happy when he actually takes me up on it. Thank goodness, we already had a houseful, so it wasn't much more of an issue to add two more! Unfortunately, Amy and Eric couldn't come over until later, so they missed dinner, but we were so excited they came over just to visit for a while and eat Jeff's homemade cookies.
Like I've said before, everyone here has a story, and these two were no exception. They have 3 young children (who were in California with grandparents), and are on spring break from Stanford where Eric is graduating with his MBA in June. They just really enjoy traveling, so they've been to South America, Italy, and now Thailand and Cambodia. It was fun to fill them in on some of the things they have and will see here. Especially with Katherine there, who has been here for MUCH longer than we have, so she was much more helpful when it came to culture and traditions. We got the kids down and had some time to visit like real adults, it was awesome. We were so grateful that they would come to our home and share a little bit of their experiences with us. I love meeting people from all over the world, there is so much to learn and everyone has so much to offer. It's things like this that make me think that I could live abroad forever. Don't worry, Mom and Dad, I'm sure it's not really going to happen.
Well, here's my handsome husband with a briefing on their adventures as Father and Son:
Jeff here. Hey! Wait! Come back! I promise this is just temporary!
For the Father and Sons outing this year, we went to Khao Yai, a beautiful national park Northeast of Bangkok. Jack and I traveled there with the missionaries and a few members in vans hired by the ward. Others came in their own cars later in the evening. Over 100 Cambodian members and investigators were unable to come after a crackdown by the Thai government last week that put most of them in jail. The future of the Cambodian branch, as well as the Cambodian part of the mission, doesn't look very good at this point, but the missionaries still managed to be positive and have fun on the trip
We stopped at a gas station for a few minutes to rest on the way to the park. I think this sign is hilarious. Mom, avert your eyes now to avoid being disappointed in me.
The real surprise was what we found when we followed the arrow on the sign. This is pretty typical in our experience here so far. The cleaning ladies at the Reuters office frequently mop around the feet of individuals using urinals in the men's restroom.
You can't tell from the picture, but the area to the left of the urinals was wide open, with nothing to stop anyone from walking right through.
These are a couple of friends Jack made during the outing. Patrick and Ali. Only about half of the kids spoke English, but that didn't stop them from having fun.
We went on a short hike after we arrived Friday night. Ali carried Jack almost the whole way. I couldn't believe how patient Ali was with him. Jack would just run up and jump on his back, yelling “horsey ride!”. Ali smiled through the whole thing. Jack hasn't had opportunities like this to just run around as much as he wants, without danger of traffic or store displays, for quite some time, so he really had a blast.
At the end of the hike, we spent some time at this observatory. It overlooks a lake and a salt lick where a wide variety of animals usually gather. We must have scared them off with our less-than-stealthy approach, but it was nice to look at anyway.
Friday night, one of the older boys from the ward made a bow and arrow out of some sticks and packing tape. Jack, of course, thought this was the coolest thing he had ever seen, and the boy was kind enough to let him try it out. Saturday morning, Jack spent quite a bit of time digging through a pile of sticks. When he had selected the ones he wanted, he found a left-over piece of packing tape from the night before, and asked me to tie it on his bow. That's all I had to do, and he had a bow that worked just as well as the one from the night before, which had since lost its spring. Everyone at the outing loved Jack. At one time or another, almost everyone commented on how smart he is, or how fun he is. At Church the next day, he got quite a few smiles from members and investigators who didn't know him as well before.
After dark on Friday, we all got in trucks equipped with spotlights to go out looking for wildlife. After seeing lots of deer and even more nothing, I was about ready to head back.
That's when we saw two wild elephants, one of them right on the road. It is one thing to see these huge creatures in a zoo, or even in the closer settings we have experienced in Bangkok, but it was really cool to see them in the wild. Jack loved it. He manned the spotlight for most of the trip, and asked non-stop questions. Luckily, everyone loved it, especially Elder Ensign, the missionary who's lap Jack is occupying in the picture above.
This last picture is of a monkey that we saw in the trees right next to where the vans were parked before we left for home. This one came and took a couple of bananas we set out for it. It is pretty amazing how quickly they peel and eat a banana. I don't think I can do anything as well as they can do that. (note from Mindy: you should see Jeff juggle or use a yo-yo, he's way better than a monkey!)
Mindy: I found this video when I was going through some old pictures and thought you might enjoy it. It was taken over a year ago in the family room in our West Jordan home. I can't remember why Jack had SO many snacks, but he sure was chomping while he told this story. Also, you should note that the memory space was running out on the camera, hence the hurried feel at the end. Also, we added a less gory ending than most storybooks tell. I can't believe he was only TWO in this!