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.


Garrett, Kellie, and Amaya said...

Wow! What an exciting week, Amaya is out of school this week for holiday and we are looking forward to doing some fun things. I love the story and pics from the school, so neat! What an amazing place to live!

Team Hanni said...

I'm so glad I have your blog to look forward to each week. What a fun wee you've had! Powder on your face keeps you cool??? I never knew that. Those little children are just beautiful!

Team Hanni said...

wee = week at my house..... ha ha ha