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!