16 December 2007

fun, fun, fun

This week has been fun-filled, but it's amazing how so much fun just wears you right out!

Monday was a holiday, so we enjoyed having Jeff and Jack home once again, and went to see "Bee Movie" at the mall. This is the 2nd movie we have taken Jane to, and she loved it even more than last time. This one wasn't quite as loud, and the advertisements at the first were not evil, like they have been in the other movies we've been to. For some reason, they don't cater the previews at the first to the expected audience of the feature film, so when I took Jack to Charlotte's Web, I had to cover his eyes and sing songs to him so he couldn't hear the evil shrieks in the horror film adverts. Anyway, we were pleasantly surprised that they were hilarious, quirky, Asian commercials that we all got a kick out of. It's pretty impressive marketing when we are giggling at the commercials even when we can't understand 90% of what they are saying! All in all, "Bee movie", not our favorite, but it was a fun kid movie and Jane shrieked with excitement during the flying scenes. This picture in front of some of the decorations outside the Paragon. They certainly know how to do up Christmas here! I just kept thinking, "my mom would LOVE this!".

It was a BIG week for Jack, because this was the end of his term in swimming AND school. He had two recent make ups he needed to do, so he got to swim 3 times this week! It definitely helped move things along since his big breakthrough last week. He now has learned that he really can keep himself above water on his own, "tiger arms" really does make him move farther, and he can move much faster if he puts his face down! He's making loads of progress, and we are excited to see what next term brings!

For school, Jack had his big Nativity play and Christmas concert on Friday, something he's been anticipating for over a month! He's come home MANY days with paint all over because of helping with the backdrop, props, and decorating his classroom. He's loved every minute of it, and was SO excited for us to finally see all he'd done. This school really has done an incredible job, we have felt extremely blessed that we chose this one!

Here's "wise man" Jack waiting to go on stage with his classmates. He was so excited to get on stage and THRILLED that Daddy could be there to watch.

I decided instead of paying all the money to buy the professionally made video, I could just record the nativity with my own camera. How long could a nativity of 4/5 year olds last, right? Well, this one went for almost 20 minutes! I'm not complaining, it was great! But, that took up my ENTIRE memory card, so I ended up paying the money anyway so I could take some snapshots on my own. The result? No pictures of the nativity play. But, when we get the video, we'll be sure to share the highlights, because it was awesome. I still can't believe we live in an almost completely Buddhist country, and my son did a nativity play at his school. I'm pretty sure he won't be doing this in any school he attends in the States, so that makes it even more of a treasure!

Jack's K2 class also sang a "Have a Lovely Christmas" song, and he and Oliver were so cute sitting there together. On Jack's left is his friend, Daisy, who he also adores.

After the performances, Jack got to go to his classroom "hallway" and find his present under the tree. I loved his smile in this one. Is he cute, or what?

Jane and Daddy on the swings. This is Jane's FAVORITE place to play when we take Jack to school each morning. She will usually run ahead of me and one of the nannies will get her going before I can even get to her!

Jack and his friends (Kazuya and Ollie) were thrilled to see a balloon making clown, so they made their usual order for a sword. This clown got creative and even made Jack a belt to put his TWO swords in. He was in heaven! Aren't they just so fierce?

We had a great visit in Santa's grotto, where Santa presented Jack with a book all about Bats! Jack kept saying, "that's so cool that Santa brought me a book about bats! He knows I like bats!". It was great. I know this picture isn't great, but Arjun was just a bit too excited to stay seated!

Jane also got to say hello to Santa. She was perfectly content to give him a high five and say "Merry Christmas", and I was just fine with that!

Jane enjoying the stage after everything was dying down. I LOVE this toothy grin of hers. Heather commented this day about how suddenly grown up she seemed. I have to agree! She's getting BIG!

So, if you didn't think that all of these celebrations were enough, after nap time, we had a party to attend! It was an overload of a day, but luckily, this party was the most low-key party we've been to here, and it was very nice. It was held in a garden area at this friend's building. It almost felt like a back yard! Oh, how we miss that!

Jane and this little boy LOVED this swan; she was completely fascinated. Both Jack and Jane were loving the grass to run on, and one of the nannies even brought down a ball to kick around. Janie particularly thought this was GREAT!

This is Paul, Jack's friend from swim class. Paul is such a sweet kid, and they have a blast together. It was so fun to see Jack run into a situation where everyone knew each other, but him (because all the other kids knew Paul from school). Jack didn't let it stop him one bit, he found Paul and off they went. Within a few minutes, all the kids were mixing and mingling and it would have been hard for an outsider to pick out which kid was the new one! Aren't kids great that way?

Paul's mom, Air, is so great. I always look forward to visiting with her during the boy's class, and it was fun to meet her American husband and visit with him a bit as well.

Along with the other food, there was a big castle made out of Jello that Jane couldn't take her eyes off of. She sat and ate Jello forever. Don't let her fool you with that spoon, for some reason, she found it easier to use her hands this day... after playing on the play equipment...very nice. That girl is going to have one strong immune system.

Jack led the kids in using some of the drooping decorations for ropes on the slide (you can't see , but he's fixed it to his belt loops). Do other people's kids do stuff like this? I'm always surprised when other parents act like their child's never done this before. Jack does it everywhere. It always makes me laugh.

We were exhausted after this day, and hit traffic, so the kids emptied their goody bags in the taxi on the way home, concluding with "nerds" candy spilled everywhere. Thank goodness Thais love kids so much.

Saturday was a nice, easy day. We went to the mall so Jeff could buy some shoes, visited a toy store and let the kids browse, and then in the evening our building had a HUGE party for the tenants. We started seeing advertisements for "Forest Mythology Party" in the elevators, then received the official invitation, and wondered what on earth this could be. I love our office staff and didn't want to offend them by asking what it actually was. I was afraid they would feel bad because they understood it to be an American celebration or something. Kind of like the whole "American Fried Rice" thing. Anybody in America eat Fried rice with beans and raisins, topped with a fried egg and smothered in Ketchup? Well, it's been a shock for some people here to realize that we, as Americans, don't eat this on a regular basis. So, I've been self-conscious about making people self-conscious, so I didn't ever get my question answered about the "Forest Mythology Party". BUT, I can say, that whatever this was, it was a lot of fun. We had no idea to what extent they were going to take this, but it was MUCH bigger than expected.

This was one of the many ores devours and dessert tables set up on the grounds. They had several other tables with different Thai dishes being made up on demand. Notice the stage in the background, wow! There were games for the kids, prizes like crazy, lots of people to visit with, and I'm pretty sure the adults were all thrilled with the free "drinks". We enjoyed our orange juice very much!

Jane's getting pretty good at this face painting stuff. She knows she likes it on her hand, and she almost always gets a butterfly. This woman was the BEST painter we've seen, it was actual art, not the cartoony kind of butterfly we are used to. Totally unnecessary, but it was fun, nonetheless.

Anybody seen enough clowns? I have. We saw 3 in two days, but my kids didn't seem to mind. Jack again asked for a sword, and he "fought" with this Ninja Turtle for about 30 minutes straight. Whatever they were paying that guy, it wasn't enough.

I had to leave about 1 1/2 hours into the party to go to Enrichment night, but Jeff stayed with the kids at the party for a while longer. This was Jack when all was said and done. He was covered in paint from painting his elephant, but his sword and smile were still attached so I think it was a successful night!

After a weekend like this, it seems like all we do is play! But, I'm realizing that "play" here is so different than what we had in Utah. We don't have a yard to play in, neighbors to meet outside, a place to ride bikes, etc. We can't just walk to the school playground or get to a friend's house in 30 seconds. My kids are experiencing things SO differently than I always imagined them. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I think it's great. BUT, I have had to consciously adjust my expectations for the two years while we are away. My kids don't know how to sit in seatbelts, because there aren't any. Jack probably won't learn to ride a bike until we move back. BUT, they are awesome at riding the train with me, keeping their cool in overwhelming crowds, staying right with me when it really matters, and Jack can walk farther than any 4 year old I know! Such a different life for us, I am constantly reminding myself not to compare this to our other life. It's apples and oranges!

Another aspect of our life here is that we say a LOT of goodbyes. We have been here for just over a year, and have already seen so many people come and go. Not fun to say goodbye, but we do feel so blessed to have met these people even just for a short time.

This is me with Rachel Howell and Nancy Sivilai. They are my helpers in nursery and they are incredible! Rachel and her husband, Jordan (also a helper, but taking a final exam today), were here just for one semester, and are now off for a break in Utah before heading to Belgium for an internship. We had them over for dinner the first week they were here, so we were attached to them from the get go! Luckily, Nancy is from Bangkok, so she's here for a while. She returned from a semester at BYU shortly after we arrived, so it's been fun to have her with me for a while! The quality of this picture is terrible, I think my hand was covering up the flash. Genius. We'll miss you Rachel and Jordan!

This is my sweet nursery class. MOST of the kids were here today, with a few gone for the holidays. This was one of the calmer moments of the day. Thank goodness for play dough! Can you see how SMALL this classroom is? It's a bit of a challenge to keep everyone contained and happy in such a small space, but it's been fun for me!

So, I've been recalling more and more Christmas memories lately. One from today was of performing with my family. At Christmas time, we always had a LOT of shows all over town. Temple Square was always one of our favorites, am I right guys? I loved getting all dressed up in whatever matching dresses my mom had for us (I loved looking like my beautiful big sisters!), getting on stage, and playing gorgeous Christmas music. There's nothing that brings in the spirit of Christmas like music. I also remember coming home from performing late at night and seeing many packages on our doorstep that neighbors had left. Always a fun sight for kids, no matter how drowsy and exhausted we were!

We watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas today. LOTS of memories with that one.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Jennifer said...

Your Jack & my Jacob seem to come out of the same mold. I think it is a specialized setting. He has always created wands, swords, lightsabers, ninja weapons, etc from common items. He loves to use his church belt to harness them across himself. As a little boy he often used his underpants as face masks (though he probably won't admit it now). He loves figuring out how things work and is patient when working with his hands. ALWAYS full of surprises and very creative. I love it.

Another fun week for you guys. I love that the school did the nativity. Your kids are going to have SO MUCH fun this Christmas. You are having such great experiences together.

Your Jane is looking SO much like you Mindy - an angel with a perfect smile. I'll miss seeing you, but I"ll read from you again next week.

Bettie said...

I think it is great that Jack's school did a nativity! I wish I could find a good school for Eva. I am glad that you are finding lots of fun things even though they are not what you are used to - I'm trying to follow that advise:)
And Jane looks SO grown up. It's amazing how time flies - I think it was just a few months ago that I realized how grown up Eva is now. Thanks for the posts - I love to hear how you are doing and about your fun adventures!

Andrew & Vanessa and kids said...

Yes, Temple Square was always a highlight. As I look back at our family performances, but this time from a Mother's perspective, I am AGAIN amazed at all that Mom did.

She had all our outfits clean and pressed, dinner on the table, instruments ready, 3 heads of hair beautifully tied up with bows and a smile on her face!

How did she do it?
I still cry in Mr. Krueger's Christmas - it's so touching.

Love you Mindy - just so you know, I updated my blog and there's LOTS about Thailand.

Oh, the "Welcome" on your front door is adorable. Where did you get it?