29 October 2007

One YEAR Anniversary!

Today marks ONE WHOLE YEAR that we've been living in Thailand. What a year it has been! When we first got here, Jane wasn't even walking! A lot has changed in this one, wonderful year. In some ways, it seems impossible that we've already been here this long. It feels like just yesterday that we could drive to our parent's houses for Sunday dinner, get to a Target in 10 minutes, or walk across the street for some company. In another way, Bangkok feels so much like home, it's hard to think that it's ONLY been a year. It's amazing how we could leave everything and everyone we know, move thousands of miles away to a new and strange country, yet it really does feel like home. We've grown up a lot this year. I feel like I have been exposed to so many situations and people that has given me a much more open mind. I have become very aware of how blessed I am to have been born into the family I was, married into the family I did, and have the family I have. One year to go and an extraordinary amount to learn.

28 October 2007

Mid-term break

This week was Jack's mid-term break, and can I just say... the week went by way too fast! I thought by Friday, I'd be ready for Jack to get back to school, but that was NOT the case! In fact, on Friday, he was invited over to a friend's house, and Jane had a playdate of her own, so I dropped him off at his friend's and took Jane to her friend's. I felt like I was getting robbed of my time with Jack! The arrangements for this had been planned about 2 weeks ahead of time, so I didn't feel okay about pulling out, plus, I knew he would have a ball, but I did pick him up early and we had a good afternoon together. Even after quite the rough Sunday today (so many reasons, don't even ask!), I still don't feel quite ready to send him back. But, I know he's ready, so life goes on. I am just really looking forward to his LONG Christmas break!

Monday morning, we met Jack's friend, Sasha, at Ocean World with her parents, Liza and Ty. Jack and Sasha always have SO much fun together, it makes it almost impossible to get a picture! Their energy levels double just at the sight of each other, so I think Ocean World was perfect because it's more or less contained, and very kid friendly.

We worked our way to the play area and let the kids go wild inside. While we were visiting, we actually ran into Scarlett with her dad, Jim. The more the merrier, right? Jack was extra excited to have two of his favorite girls there together and they played as long as we let them! Meanwhile, we adults enjoyed having a good visit between me chasing Jane down, of course. I thought this was a great picture of Jim and Ty, but Liza was actually keeping an eye on Jane for me, I think. She's such a good mom, even to my kids!

This is what Jane was doing. She was watching the diver who had just jumped into the big tank. She LOVES this part of Ocean World. She loves to blow kisses to the diver and he always notices her right off. She's always very pleased.

That night, we had a house full of company joining us for Family Home Evening. The missionaries, Elder Mortensen and Elder Mower, asked if they could bring some new members and an investigator over, and of course, we were all excited to get to know more people that we've been seeing at church. I couldn't believe that I forgot to get pictures because it was quite the group, but I think I was a little preoccupied with my monkeys who were jumping all over everything and everyone, so excited for new friends! Also, that day, Sally, our friend from Leeds who is here to teach English, asked if she could come and spend the night. She was in between hostels and apartments, and we were so glad she knew she could stay with us. Jack is quite smitten with her. In fact, when she left on Sunday night after dinner, I asked him if he liked having Sally around. He said, "She is just lovely, isn't she?". He was a little embarrassed and made sure I knew this was not to be repeated to Sally. He was ecstatic when I told him she was sleeping over. She is so fantastic with the kids, and has quickly become another member of the family.

So, for dinner we had the two Elders, Taylor (an International champion boxer from Congo who was recently baptized), Saru (a new member who bore the most sincere and simple testimony a few weeks ago in our meetings. I was SO excited to finally get to meet him. He was baptized a couple of months ago, and actually baptized a whole family today that he's been translating for, he's awesome), Sawadi (not sure about that spelling, but he's from Nepal, same as Saru, and has the greatest smile. He is investigating the church and is really working on his English, which I think will make it easier for him to learn more), and then, of course, Sally. It was a great group, and we really enjoyed getting to know more faces from church and hearing everyone's story. I even got to meet Taylor's wife and son at church today. Very fun! We LOVE company!

We did get this picture of Sally with the kids the next day. Jack was all excited that he got to have someone sleep on the bottom bunk while he was on the top bunk. We decided to actually let Sally sleep and have Jack sleep with us for the night. As much as she loves the kids, I think she was grateful for a quiet night!

Tuesday was King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) Memorial Day, so Jeff got work off. Yay! We were SO ready for a holiday! Anutra invited us to celebrate Khun Bird's birthday with them and donate clothes and food to a place for children who's parents can't take care of them. I was excited to go, but once I got there I realized how great this place was. It's a place where children can go (any child) during the day, or even live there, while their parents work. From what I understand, parents leave their children here for a time while they go up north or in the country where they can find work. The program seems beautifully run, as it uses the older children to help the younger, and as the older continue to volunteer, their college education is also paid for in full. Very cool. Anutra has been coming here for about 20 years, when as a reporter, she was the first to write about the program.

We tried to meet Anutra at this place, which of course, we had never been to before. We took a train and then tried to follow her directions in the taxi. Somehow, we went down the wrong soi and this kind motorcycle taxi guy was doing his best to help us (there was no one else around, so we were very grateful he was so willing!). We had him talk to Anutra on the phone, then instead of telling us where it was, he hopped on his bike and started loading the kids on too! We knew it wasn't far, so I let my family ride away with him and I followed soon after with the stroller. Thank goodness it was close and in a very non-traffic area. It doesn't even seem to phase my kids anymore. Do you think they'll even get excited when we go on rides at Disneyland this December?

This guy was so helpful and wasn't even going to let me pay him!

This is the monk who is in charge. We aren't entirely sure what he was telling the children about our family, but he wanted Jeff to speak some English to them, and afterward the children were calling me "khun meah", meaning Mother. I was honored!

I was walking around taking pictures of these children while they were quietly listening to the monk speak to them. I was falling in love with them!

This little girl just couldn't figure out what I was doing. What I really wanted to do was scoop her up and sit her right on my lap! Notice the powder on their cheeks. They had all just come out of another area where they all washed their hands and faces and stood in line to be powdered, which seems to help some with the heat.

THIS little girl knew exactly what I was doing. She posed for me as long as I wanted her to. She was darling!

Here's Khun Bird talking to the children. Anutra and him always tease each other (a lot!), but I can see why when it comes down to it, she will always say that Bird is a good, good man. She knows how lucky she is to be married to him! We were happy we could celebrate his birthday with them in such a way!

Jane enjoyed the playground with all the children, although after some time, it got to be a little overwhelming. I think it was the noise that she's just not used to. Until that got to her, she was fitting right in!

We finished off the day having lunch at the Navy club with Anutra, Bird, and Bird's cousin. They are so great, and we really always enjoy our time with them.

Later in the week, we met Mary Jane and Catherine and their kids at Ocean World again! I know, we go there all the time, but really, it is a GREAT place and we all love it. This is Jack, Isaac, Lucas, and Jane riding the ice cream motorbike just off the lobby area. They were in heaven.

These kids were hilarious. They ran all over the shark tank area (which is huge), and when it started to fill up for the shark feeding, they plopped themselves on down and sat through the entire thing! What a great little group of kiddos! I thought this picture was so cute, even with Jack's eyes closed.

Saturday was a Halloween celebration at the library. And, of course, the kids are SO excited to put on their costumes, once again. I think Jack's batman costume has been on his body every day since we bought it. Jeff wasn't feeling well, so I took the kids while he got some rest. This is us in the taxi on the way to the event! I've found that taking pictures and videos is a GREAT way to keep the kids entertained.

Here's some of the friends at storytime with us: Alena, Narissa, Jack, Scarlett, and Sasha. Jane got cut out of this one, unfortunately. I just couldn't back up any more! This library is darling, but it's not huge!

My kids are really loving the face painting lately. Jane got a butterfly and a flower. Jack got batman symbols on both hands. They were feeling like pretty hot stuff.

Jack and Scarlett cutting a rug in the small art part of the library. It's a circular room that echoes like crazy, and the kids can't help but run around in it! Notice Scarlett's bandaged foot. I wish I could say it was a part of the costume, but she got badly hurt in a bicycling accident two weeks ago. She's been home for the most part of two weeks, but is now starting to really heal up and I think we are all relieved it's going well. Jack prays for her in every prayer. He just loves this girl!

After the library, a bunch of us went to Fuji for lunch. I post this picture, not because it's a good picture of anyone but simply because it shows quite well what lunch was like. There's this great little space under the table for our feet, and of course, the kids love to play there. It really is awesome, except they lose interest after a while! By the end, the kids were running laps around the rows of booths and Jane was wandering out of the restaurant to visit a security guard she had taken a liking to. I felt grateful that everyone was so patient because I brought twice as many kids to the table, and half the adults! It was so fun to visit, as always, and Heather and I realized this is the first place we've eaten GOOD food together! For some reason, we always find ourselves eating places where the food is rubbish. Hopefully, we can keep the trend going.

Jack is still adjusting to having his own room. He has just started this week to actually spend the whole night in his own bed. He came out last night to say he was "lonely", so we found all his buddies for him to have close by. This is how I found him when I went in to turn out the lights. Thank goodness for "buddies" who are always there.

Today, Jack was having quiet time and Jeff and I were on our bed reading. Jack came running in to report that he "accidentally" pushed the entire roll of toilet paper into the sink that just happened to be filled with water. Hmmmm.... He asked for glue so he could make a web out of it on the walls (always a super hero). I told him he couldn't have any glue but he could play with the stuff as long as he kept it in the bathroom (this is why that bathroom contains NO decor whatsoever). He still managed to make the web and came running back in to say, "you HAVE to come see this. I made a web, and it's AWESOME!". Who needed glue with tile walls? I think this is his scary face.

It's been a fun-filled week. Like I said, I've loved having Jack home. It makes me think that some days, I need to just schedule a "day off", so we can all be together all day and do something big. It just felt normal to have Jack with me. We saw all our usual people that we used to see before Jack was in school. The same vendors on the streets, the same security guards at the train, and instead of them asking, "where's Jack", they said, "why is Jack not in school?". I look forward to some "days off" when my family comes in just 3 more weeks! The countdown continues.

23 October 2007

I'm late, I'm late

For those of you who read my blog regularly, especially those who read it on SUNDAYS, the day I usually post, I apologize for being so late! Our internet was down Sunday night, and I was exhausted anyway, so it was a good excuse to turn the computer off before bedtime and have some good "Harry Potter" time with Jeff. Oh, that was fun. Can I just say, those books are awesome? It's also nice to have people from England to explain was a "git" is (which, now that I know, maybe I shouldn't be saying it), or explain about treacle. Anyway, it was a nice night off, and now is the first chance I've had to catch up. It's been a crazy weekend, but we've loved every minute of it.

We had lots of playdates, visiting teaching appointments, school assignments, the usual swim lessons and school stuff, plus, we had Stake Conference this weekend. I got to enjoy a night out with a friend, Jade, when we went to an Enrichment meeting (a night for women in our church) out in Nichada. We met up with each other at 6:20pm, and didn't arrive until 8:25pm (after two taxis, two trains, and a motorbike). Yes, you read that right. It took us over 2 HOURS to get out there. We knew it was a risk, but thought we would make the effort anyway and enjoy the time visiting with each other. We stayed for maybe 30 minutes, then were on our way out. It only took us about 30 minutes to get home. This is how things work here! Despite my pounding headache, we still enjoyed visiting with adults and having our hands free for the evening!

Earlier that same day, we had a VERY fun playgroup at our place with some kids from our church. This picture is missing a few kids, unfortunately. It seems like just after someone had left, someone else would arrive. It was great though. Our morning playgroup soon turned into our afternoon playgroup because everyone was enjoying themselves so much. Not in the picture was Ezra and Hyrum, who had to leave a bit early. From the left: Ambrien, Reese holding Kalin, Narissa, Madeline, Jack, Alena, Jane, Kambren, and Abrielle. I think I spell their names differently every time, sorry Jeanette! Jack LOVED having everyone over, even after he got home from school. He was especially fond of Reese this day, who was thinking up all kinds of story lines to play out the whole time they were together. How do I give Jack an OLDER brother?

Friday was a special day at Jack's school, because all the children got to wear their costumes! They celebrated Halloween last week because this week is the half-term break (which we are loving, by the way), so they did their Halloween party early, then will continue the celebration for the actual Halloween day. It was funny to talk to other moms from other countries to learn that Halloween is really only big in the U.S.! But, everyone seems to be joining in the fun here, so hopefully I won't have the "mom guilt" that I did last year for not even putting my kids in costumes because we were so jet-lagged! When we got to Jack's school, we quickly discovered LOTS of superheroes! Two of his best friends were also Batman! Pictured here is Kazuya, Ollie, Oliver, and Jack lining up to go into the classroom.

I couldn't help but sneak into the classroom to get one more picture. It's not great, but I was trying to be quick to not get in the teacher's way! Notice Daisy in the middle. She's Wonderwoman! Jack talked about that costume after he got home that day. He says, "she even had the ROPE!". He was so impressed. I've got to find out where her mom got that one!

These are the spiders they made earlier in the week for their board outside the classroom. Jack told me, "I made my spider the BIGGEST because I am the youngest in the class". He wasn't joking! His is the one in the center!

After school on Friday, we invited Oliver over to play. This kid is hilarious. We had a GREAT time with our two Batmans for the afternoon. I peeked in on them in the play room to find them jumping off the top bunk onto the couch. Why was I even surprised? Getting a picture of these two was quite the challenge. This really was the best one. Oliver was a good poser, but Jack on the other hand, is SO sick of the camera!

We had fun hospital visits this week for blood work and prescription refills. Jeff and I both have this really fun thyroid issue that is now completely under control and really not a big deal. The hospital has actually become a really easy place for me to take the kids with me. The nurses see Jane and immediately bust out toys, suckers, or take her for a walk to show her off. This darling girl came over and played with Jane, even when I wasn't doing anything!

We had awesome Stake Conference meetings this week. I rushed home from a HUGE housewares fare with Catherine Beck when we found out that our husbands had an earlier meeting (lots earlier than we had thought), and unbelievably, we got home quickly! On Saturday night, I got to attend the Adult session which is always my favorite. Jeff stayed home with the kids, and I met a friend of a friend who had just flown in a day earlier from Leeds, England. It was fun to meet up with Sally and introduce her around a bit after the meeting. The meeting was incredible and again, I was struck by how wonderful the Church is. What wonderful people I get to associate with, and how I always leave with renewed goals and wanting to be a better person.

Sunday, we had one more meeting which was broadcast from Salt Lake city for our region here, which includes many different countries. The first speaker spoke in Manderine, which was then translated over the speaker in Thai, and I was listening through headphones in English. Quite an experience. Again, it was an amazing meeting, and the day didn't stop there. We took Sally home with us and later had others join us for dinner. It was quite a variety of friends and family (yes, family!), and we loved it!

From the left: Jade and David Griffiths (they were missionaries here years back and are now here for a semester abroad for David), Sally from Leeds (here to teach English for 6 months, longer we hope!), Andrew Webster (here on business once again, although this is the first time we've had him over. You might remember his wife, Michelle, who I took to some of the sights one day. Very fun! They are Americans, currently posted in Japan), Rikker and Kao (my cousin and his wife who live in Bangkok. She's due in just one more month with their first! Very fun to see them at Stake events, and actually have FAMILY while I'm living in Bangkok! It's especially fun to hear Rikker do most of the translating at every Stake meeting. He's incredible! Rikker also knew Jade and David from when they all served their missions here), and my handsome Jeff and Super Jack. Did I tell you everyone has a story here?

Jack, Jane, and Ezra playing while we ate. Ezra is Jade and David's little one. He is so sweet, and my kids LOVED taking care of him. They all got along really well. Jack said he even liked the name Ezra so much, he wanted to call Jane "Ezra". What? It's a shame you can't seen Jane's outfit. Her swim clothes and ballet slippers. She chooses the most random stuff.

So I was exhausted Sunday, not ready to sit at the computer, and definitely not in the mood to tackle the counters of dishes we had! So, it was a blessing the internet was down! Although, since Sunday, we've had loads of fun things happening already! But, those will have to wait... until next week!

14 October 2007

Our Conference weekend

I love Conference weekend. I have always loved it. Growing up, I loved that it was a weekend when Dad was home with us, even on Sunday. I loved having the sound of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and our wonderful church leaders echoing through our home on Saturday as we did small tasks, baked in the kitchen, or just sat in front of the TV to watch together in our pajamas. I loved Conference Sunday because after the first session, we would drive to Grandma Rich's home to eat a huge, delicious meal of ham, potatoes, rolls, and her famous (or should I say, infamous?) fruit salad, outdone only by Thanksgiving, with whatever cousins, aunts, and uncles were in town for the weekend. After filling our tummies, we would lay all over her couches, floor, chairs, and cushions to watch the second Sunday session together. After the Sunday session, we were off to the Ottleys for another meal, although we weren't quite so hungry this time, but we always enjoyed eating Grandma's rolls and visiting until it was dark and time to go home.

This Conference weekend was different. Since we are so far away, we can't just watch it on live TV, like everyone can in Utah. We could have gone to the church and chased the kids around for two hours (four different times!) and hoped to hear something, which was what we had planned on. Then, the Becks invited us over to watch Conference with them. They had taken advantage of our church's amazing website (lds.org) and downloaded all the sessions so we could watch them on their gigantic flat screen. We felt very spoiled. The children were all so happy to be together and have room to run and play that we actually sat on the couch and heard most of what was said.

Sunday was about the same. We were joined by Mary Jane Ungrangsee and her two girls (Bundit was out of town), and we all got to sit and watch the morning session together. Afterward, Jeremy and Catherine treated us to a delicious brunch and a good visit. The kids played and played, of course not wanting to go home.

Our weekend was nothing like the 27 years of General Conference in my past. I didn't see my Grandparents or cousins. I didn't get to work in the kitchen with Mom. I didn't eat ham and potatoes, or even Grandma Ottley's rolls. Interesting thing is, I still loved it. The things that really matter were there. I was with my little family (not to mention some of our "Bangkok Family") and we got to listen to the words of our prophet. It was so wonderful to see 22,000 members of our church filling the Conference Center and knowing there were millions more participating all over the world, in their own time. The choir sounded so beautiful, and brought back so many familiar feelings. I loved hearing President Hinckley and his apostles bore testimony of Jesus Christ. It is such a special time to spend together learning, listening, and making goals to be better people. What a blessing it is to be where we are, and still be able to participate in something that makes us feel so close to home. As much as I love it here, "close to home" is a good feeling every once in a while.

Sometime during the Sunday morning session, the kids got into the Beck's Halloween costumes, and they pretty much had one for everyone (although this picture does leave out little Alena and Madeline). From the left: Narissa, Lucas, Jack, Jane, and Isaac.

Janie climbed into Jeff's lap with her little mouse costume on. She was loving it.

Thanks to the Becks for a fun Conference weekend. We feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends in Bangkok. I regret not getting any good pictures of the adults. I guess we were a little preoccupied!

Also, this weekend, we got new beds for the kids. We found these used beds through a friend months ago, but it has taken this long to finally get everything arranged to actually get them out here! Everything here takes SO long! The family we bought them from lives out in Nichada, about 30-45 min. out of the city, and when no one has cars big enough to haul stuff (or in our case, a car at all), it makes things a bit tricky. We actually had to hire movers to disassemble and move everything for us.

So, here's the question. How many Thais does it take to move bunk beds? In this case...8 (the lady who was actually in charge wasn't in here for the picture). I don't think we had 8 guys to pack our entire HOUSE when we moved here! Actually, it was more than just bunk beds. We also got Jane a little twin bed, night stand, and cubby shelves that were quite bulky. But, we couldn't stop laughing at how many people were in our apartment moving this stuff! And, how did they all fit in the truck with everything? Funny how they do things here sometimes. We aren't laughing too hard at it though because they got the job done, and for an impressive price too (especially considering it was EIGHT people!).

Earlier in the day, we had the apartment guys come and collect some furniture that came with the apartment so we had room for our new stuff. Jack always likes to help, of course. All the maintenance guys know him now. They are really good to let him get out his own tools and help them. To Jack, having people come in to fix the air conditioner is as entertaining as watching his favorite movie, and much preferred by Mom. When these guys were putting together his bed, he came running out and into the office where I was and said, "Mom! I'm helping, and it's FANTASTIC!", and quickly ran back to finish the job. Thank goodness people here are SO patient and love children!

Here's the finished product. The kids could play on these for hours, and I hope they will! There's an official tent that fits just right on the top of the bed, but temporarily, the sheet was working for Jack. We LOVE used furniture!

When we finish getting the mattress situation figured out, we'll post pictures of Jane's stuff. It's fun to think of having some "girly" furniture for her. It needs a little work, but we're not complaining!

Jack went to a birthday party this week for his friend, Ollie. The entertainment was Clown Eckie. He was loud and extremely clumsy, which of course, the kids thought was hilarious. He knew what he was doing. Jack was eating it up. He could hardly sit down. He was mostly on the side jumping around and laughing with each new trick. They especially loved these huge balloons he sent around the room.

They all had a bite to eat. Does this remind anyone else of the "Unbirthday party" from Alice in Wonderland? I loved all the kids sitting at the long table together. You can kind of see Jack on the right, third one up. I could not get him to look at me!

This was my favorite picture of him at the party. He was running back in the middle of the show to make sure I saw the fire in the wallet, then ran right back.

Janie, enjoying her cake. Thank goodness they don't mind that Jack brings his little sister everywhere! She loved to be there and definitely got plenty of attention. I was talking to one of the other moms, only to turn around and see one of the nannies sitting by Jane, feeding her her cake! Is she pampered, or what?

Jack and Shonah showing off their face paints. Jack loved being a tiger, and consequently, I learned how to say 'tiger' in Thai! It was hard to convince Jack to clean this off before bed. I had to promise Jack we could show Jeff pictures the next day!

I feel like my posts are getting more and more boring with each week. Yet, I continue to blog hoping somewhere down the line, we will enjoy looking back on these very ho hum weeks. We sure love all of you, and are so grateful for every email, blog entry, phone call, instant message, or voicemail that we get. And, remember, you are ALL welcome to come and stay, anytime... really!

07 October 2007

This week's top ten

Top TEN of our week, in no particular order:

10. Did I ever tell you Janie LOVES spaghetti? This was her 3rd bowl, and I think 4th piece of garlic toast. She gets it all over, and just can't seem to get enough. Anutra was eating with us this night, and grabbed the camera. She gets such a kick out of the kids. Why I gave Jane her bath before dinner, I don't know.

9. Saturday morning, we had NO food in the house, so I ran downstairs to get some things from 7-11. Power was out. Very nice. I ended up taking a motorbike to the store and got back in record time with a weeks worth of groceries. It's amazing how fast things go when you don't have kids in tow! Later in the day, with the power still out on that side of the street, we wondered if wiring like THIS could perhaps be the reason for power outages here. This is not an unusual sight. Actually, we've seen much worse.

8. We pulled out some costume stuff to evaluate our Halloween situation. Jane found this little bonnet that I'm pretty sure my mom made for me when I was little. She loved it! Also note her cute little "Tinkerbell" nightgown. I have to admit, I'm a good shopper. This was about $1.50! She snuggled with it the entire way home. She has taken to kissing anything soft, lacy, or pretty. One taxi ride, she was entertained by kissing my earrings over and over (still in my ears!). Whatever keeps her happy!

7. Jack started swim lessons this week. He was SO apprehensive about it because he knew he couldn't use his water wings, but he LOVED it! There were two other boys in his class, Paul and Paul. Neither of them said a word the whole time, and Jack didn't stop talking the whole time! "What's this? Can we play with that? I want to try this! When are we going to do that? Are you going to do that too? Can we go over there?" This was all asked in about the first 5 minutes. His teacher was darling and distracted him with all sorts of fantasy and imagination scenarios to the point where he was actually jumping in and going under and loving it! As a mother, it was hilarious to watch Jack in this setting and seeing how a teacher focuses his energy. I sat on the side and giggled to myself the whole time. Both of us can hardly wait for next week!

6. Yay for playdates! We met Mary Jane at Jeanette's home this week and let the kids play! It was fun to visit, and the kids really got along well. It's fun to have a good age range of kids there, because Jeanette homeschools her children, so the older kids were so helpful and fun to chat with. Starting on the left: Narissa, Kambren, Abriel (one of Jack's favorite friends from church), Reese, Jane, and Ambrien. This picture was missing Alina, Narissa's sister, and Jack, who was at school. Thanks, Jeanette, for a fun morning!

5. So, Jane is almost potty trained. But, not quite. Our week has been filled with lots of stink. She can't quite get #2 down, which is often a challenge, as I'm sure other parents can understand. She's a champ with everything else, so we are staying positive, and know it is just a matter of time. In the meantime, she's had an upset stomach, so really, the reason I'm mentioning this is because it's been a BIG part of our week. We currently have 2 sets of sheets bleaching in the wash. I'm hoping by admitting we have a problem, I will be granted some mercy in this department. I'm sure every parent can relate to this, and if you are not a parent, you have probably stopped reading by now. I know, I lead an interesting life. I know.

4. We met some of Jeff's coworkers at a Japanese restaurant for dinner on Wednesday. It was fun to visit, and to finally meet Tony who I've heard about, but never met because he's based in Australia. It was a fun night, except I made the mistake of letting Jack watch Ninja Turtles right before we left to meet everyone, which bumped his adrenaline to full throttle until about an hour after dinner. We were just a bit short of starting a pillow on fire and dumping boiling hot broth into Jeff's lap. We got out unscathed, but I wanted to throw that movie out the window when we got home.

3. Friday night, it rained. I love the rain, but it makes things a bit complicated as far as getting from one place to another. The plan was for Khun Luck to come over and watch the kids, while Jeff and I met at 8:30pm to watch our friend, Jim, play with his band. Jeff called me at about 8:20 to say that he had just gotten to the restaurant with everyone, and it was clear across town. So here we were, both out and about with no kids, and we weren't even together. On the up side, we both had a great evening, just not together. I got to meet Heather at a little place to watch Jim play... way fun (he's on the left). And, Jeff had fun with his coworkers.

I know I've talked about Heather a bit, but mostly just because we have her and Scarlett over all the time, because Scarlett and Jack are so close. But, really, Heather has been such a blessing to me, and not just for playdates. She is fantastic. She is so positive and upbeat. I laugh and laugh with her, and I always feel so good after spending time with her. It was fun to be out with her, without the kids, and just be friends. I don't know if I would have chosen a pub, but I did learn that they don't kick you out if you just order orange juice! It was a fun night out, and it was fun to hear Jim do his thing, and meet a dear friend of theirs who was visiting from London.

2. Are girls ever sweeter than on a Sunday morning? Anyone with daughters will admit, they are SO much fun.

1. Jack is a little prankster now. Last week, Jeff and I were standing in the kitchen talking about something. Jack comes over and says, "Hey Mom, move back a bit". So, I step back, only to knock right into our huge water bottle he's strategically placed there, sending it rolling all over the floor with a huge hollow bang. He could hardly stop laughing. Neither could Jeff and I. I have also exited Jane's room after putting her down for a nap to find bubble wrap right outside the door, just waiting to be stepped on. He also has lined up cornflakes in strategic places hoping I will step on the and be surprised. I think it's pretty hilarious. And, he's getting pretty good at cleaning up crushed cornflakes.

Okay, so maybe this is our top 11 of the week. Our big news is that we bought tickets to Hong Kong this week! We've been wanting to go since we found out we'd be living here, and I can hardly believe it is happening. I am such a dreamer, and I'm used to my wishes not all happening right away, but this one IS! We leave just a few days after Christmas, and will stay for about a week. Our main reason for going is to visit the Hong Kong Temple. In Utah, there are many temples, and we can get to one in about 20 minutes. The Hong Kong Temple is the closest temple for the members of our church in Thailand. Isn't it gorgeous?

We can hardly wait to have this time together as a family, to see a new city, and see this beautiful temple. Wish us luck as we get the plans rolling!

So, are you feeling like this post was kind of thrown together? Well, you are right. I love doing my blog, and am so grateful for anyone who cares to read it, but this week, I just wanted to be fast. Jeff and Harry Potter are waiting.