09 December 2007

Dear Santa...

Wednesday was the King's 80th birthday, which also means that it was Father's Day here in Thailand! Yay, no work or school in the middle of the week! This certainly threw our week a bit, but we LOVED having Jeff and Jack home for a random Wednesday to do next to nothing. Days like that are necessary occasionally. Wednesday is also Jane's swim day, and since her swim school doesn't take Thai holidays off (there are just too many), Jeff got to get in with her this time.

Jane loves all the toys they use during her class. These little Gingerbread men have weights tied to the bottom with strings. She LOVES to dive down and get as many as she can. Her teacher purposely throws extras out because she knows that Jane can't come back with just one!
Jane was especially excited that Jack was there to watch, and in this picture she was showing Jack that she got the yellow one. (On a side note: It turned out to be SO good to have Jack there to watch. He saw how Jane just jumped right in and used her arms, went down the slide, etc., and that made him want to try it! Jane's teacher, knowing how hesitant Jack is in the water, invited him to strip down to his underpants and try the slide with Jane. He did, and he LOVED it! He was more brave in the water than we've ever seen! He was SO excited to show his own teacher in his class the next day how brave he was. It was a breakthrough for him because the next day, he was using his arms and legs enough to doggy paddle his way to the side all by himself! Yay for sibling peer pressure!)

Jane has loved her teacher this term, Cayla. She is from Vermont (which surprised me because I think all the other teachers are Australian), and has been great for Jane. She switches up the songs, games, and activities just right, and is fun to celebrate little successes with each time.

Jack was an inventor this week. He called me into his room to show me "the machine". He had strung up his super long tubing that Mimi brought him from the top of his bunk bed, to the doorknob and basketball hoop. I asked him what his machine was for. He said, "it's not for anything, but it does stuff!". He proceeded to tell me that if you move the beads on the abacus just right, and then pull on the tubing in the right spot, you can make just about anything happen! He was also smart enough to tie the abacus to the bed, so while I was having a heart attack as he knocked it off the rail the first of many times, he was completely calm as the tubing made it dangle at just the right height not to hit anything, and he quickly reeled it back in for another go. By the way, Jack's not growing a little beard, that's chocolate from a cookie or something. Lovely, I know. He also decorated his bed this week with decor from our Christmas tree. He keeps describing these fabulous scenarios of what Santa will say and do when he sees Jack's beautifully decorated bedroom.

Here's Jack's other invention this week. He chose to do his "project" instead of me singing him songs before bed tonight. I was shocked, but what can you do? After 5 minutes, he came in to show us his amazing gadget that makes it very convenient to eat (the fork), have good manners (the napkin), and fight the bad guys (the string with heavy item attached), all at once! Isn't he amazing?

We attended a special Christmas party at our library yesterday, which was crazy (it's a very small library) but very fun. They had the most fantastic reader for story time, can't beat those British accents!

Santa made his appearance near the end, bringing little bags of goodies for all the children. I knew that Jane wouldn't been too keen on sitting with him, but I wasn't sure what to expect with Jack. After the crowd of kids thinned some, Jack marched right up there to get his picture taken. He thought it was great! I'm anxious to see what Jack has to say when he sees a few other Santas this season and they all look different. As if I didn't have enough questions to answer!

I love our sweet little library. It's built in this really old building with all kinds of character. A good portion of the books are not just on shelves, but in wooden cupboards with glass panels. The flooring is all wood, there's a small art gallery inside (and I mean small!), and the children's section is darling. One of my favorite things about this library is that there are always loads of shoes on the front steps. I never really thought anything of it, because that's how a lot of places are here. We take our shoes off all the time. This particular day, we were going in and out of the building, and on my last time in, Jack automatically slides his crocs off (like he does everywhere), but Jane needed a reminder. As I was helping her with hers, one of the librarians said, "oh, you don't have to do that!". I thought, "WHAT? Go in with my shoes ON?". She explained that there is no reason to take our shoes off for the library, it's a very public place. She never does, but for some reason, day after day, the shoes pile up outside as the library gets busier. I thought this was hilarious. My kids see shoes on the doorstep, and off theirs come as well. We are completely conditioned, with no thought to questioning individual situations. Anyway, we do like this custom and have completely adopted it in our home. It does get a bit embarrassing though when my kids very loudly point out when a visitor has forgotten to leave his shoes at the door!

Jane making a snow man after Santa's visit. She thought the glue with a paintbrush was pretty cool. I was peeling it off my fingers hours later because of it!

I've actually had a pretty rough week for one reason or another, but THIS letter I received stapled, taped, and hidden in Jack's Contact book from school, absolutely made my day! Jack has been saying that he wrote a letter to Santa. Mostly in this context, "Mom, I'd really love Santa to bring me a .... but it's too late. I already wrote my letter!". It's actually been great because he accepts that he's written it, and that's that!

If you can't read it, he's written in, "a bow and arrow with thirteen arrows". Then, he's drawn a bow with thirteen arrows. Count 'em, they're all there! I have no idea where he got the magical number "thirteen" but, that's a LOT of arrows. A few of you might recall that he asked for a bow and arrow last year too, and has bought at least one set since with his own money. They just don't last long, I guess! Maybe that's why he felt he needed to ask for THIRTEEN this time!

Jack gave his very first talk in Primary today. I even got to go in and see him, and I was such a beaming mother! He was SO excited to get up and share his pictures and talk about Jesus. Jeff sat behind him to hand him the pictures, and Jack took care of the rest! Jane's been pretending to give a "talk" all afternoon. I love my children.

I attended the First Presidency fireside tonight, thanks to Jeff who stayed home with the kids. It was absolutely fantastic, my favorite fireside of the year, every year. Another wonderful event of this season. As much as my heart hurt to see the choir and orchestra playing without me (I always cry), it certainly brought a wonderful sense of "home", something I really needed today. Fay and Carol, thanks for singing your hearts out, I felt like it was just for me. You are wonderful!

Here's a very short video of my Jane at her swim class with Daddy. It doesn't really do her justice, but it does show how she is starting to really use her legs and arms to propel herself, which has been really fun to watch her discover! She also loves to push herself off of the walls, go down the slide, and jump in from the side. She's starting to blow bubbles as she's under, and her new favorite is to turn her whole body around and around under the water. Do I sound like a proud mom? I am. She's already surpassed my own swimming skills!

A happy Christmas memory I recalled tonight: My mom always lit tons and tons of candles in our living room at Christmas time that gave it a very magical feel. I love my parent's home at Christmas. My mom always went overboard, and I always loved it. I remember roasting marshmallows on forks over those beautifully lit candles in the living room, I'm sure it was exactly what she had in mind when she put them out each year. She wanted us to roast in style.


Jennifer said...

I love Jack's inventions. Boys and their imaginations. So much of what they do is bounce off the walls and make sound effects. I love when they explain how their contraptions that make look like nothing or something VERY dangerous show an insight to their thought process. It all makes perfect sense when they explain it.

Jane is quite the swimmer! She really is a sweetie. I hope she loves all the princess things on her Disney trip.

I LOVE that Jack wants a bow with THIRTEEN arrows. It's hilarious. That really is a large number for a little guy. I hope Santa can find that many.

Kami said...

Mindy, i just LOVE reading your blog! You guys are awesome! Jane is a great swimmer--wow! I love that Jack is always hanging out in his underwear! What a kid! He is writing so well, too! Did someone tell him what letters to write? I am VERY impressed!

Malia said...

Jack's invention is ingenious! It's only 8:30 in the morning and my day has been made...he is so fun!

Jane can most definitely swim better than me. Maybe your kids can give me some lessons! Wow!

I thought about you while we were watching the Christmas Devotional and wondered if you'd get to see it or if seeing it would make you sad. Every time we listen to our Mormon Tab Choir & Orchestra CDs we think of you. You're so talented in so many ways...

karalynstrings said...

Oh Mindy! Your kids are so cute! I just love to see what your family is doing. We miss you and think of you often.

Anonymous said...

Cyrus continues to ask us when we are going back to Thailand. Yesterday, he slept through the night with no diaper on and was so proud he said "even Jack doesn't sleep through the night with no diaper, does he dad?" So, I thought I would check :) Glad to see you continue to find adventures in Thailand everyday. I often wish we were back there - if only they had a good (high-paying) university in the country! Maybe one day. I'm sure by then you will be gone. Well, I haven't been half as diligent as you Mindy in my blog keeping. I guess Ann Arbor just isn't as fun! Take care and our love from all of us to all of you.


Mindy said...

Yay for Cyrus! That's a huge accomplishment! You can tell Cyrus, that he's going all night without a diaper, just LIKE Jack! Two peas in a pod!