30 March 2008

Cake day

We celebrated Jeff's birthday this week. I always have mixed feelings about birthdays. I never like my own, but I do like other people's. BUT, Jeff is a tough one. He is either the hardest person to spoil, or the easiest. He is one of those people who is extremely hard to buy or do stuff for because he really just has all he needs or wants. It's not like he has a lot of things, or has done everything, he really is just one simple guy. He's happy with what he has, and that's a really wonderful quality. It just makes it hard when I want to do something special for him! So, we filled his birthday with family time, which is what I'm pleased to say, he values more than any thing.

I thought because last year I posted some of the "personality" pictures I had of him, this year, I could take us all on a short trip down memory lane. It's about time I record a few things from our early years together.

For those of you who don't know, Jeff and I met at Ricks College where we were both playing in the Symphony, and it just so happens we were also in the Bluegrass band which toured Spain and Europe that following summer. We dated a bit before tour, but my goodness, Europe was the clincher. If you really want someone to fall in love with you (or alternatively, hate your guts) spend one month together in Europe. You can guess which it did for us.

Here's our band! We all got to be pretty close during our tour preparations and rehearsals, which enabled Jeff and I to spend a lot of time together, even before we were dating! I LOVE this group! From the left: Russ, Bevany, Taylor, Valora, Jeff, and me. This was at an outdoor festival in Spain and I remember the group from Austria doing their leather slapping dance where they kept kicking each others behinds. I guess you had to be there. Gotta love those American Flag vests! Jo and Vaness, did you guys wear these too?

Probably the most significant moment of the whole tour was shortly before this picture was taken. Jeff and I left our hostel to go for a walk down by this beautiful river. We sat and talked for hours and hours, and eventually we talked about marriage. It was this day, on this spot, where we decided we were going to be married.

If you're wondering why we are dressed alike, the entire team dressed the same every single day for a month! Everyone was jealous of our stylish outfits.

Who took this picture, you ask? Well, after such an amazing, life changing conversation, we decided we should document it, so Jeff ran up to ask a passing woman if she would take our picture. We were in Spain, and apparently, Jeff's Spanish repertoire of sprinkler parts and Joseph Smith wasn't enough to help this woman know how to take our picture. We were motioning, counting, demonstrating... you name it. This sweet old woman was just not understanding how to push down the button correctly. It was hilarious. This picture was taken while Jeff was demonstrating how to properly hold it down for the right length of time. I love that he got a picture of this woman in the process. You just can't beat that pink lipstick! Funny thing is, she finally just stopped some young ladies as they were passing by and let them do it. SO, this sweet woman didn't even take this picture, but I will never forget her!

Another one of my random memories (why don't I ever remember things that really matter?): We stayed in this school/hostel for 2-3 days, and ate in their cafeteria. They served us soup and bread one day for lunch. When I dipped the ladle in, it was full of clams, shrimp with everything attached (which, at that point, I'd never even thought about!), snails that I was sure were still alive, and some weird fishy stuff. And, if you scraped the bottom with the ladle, you'd get soupy sand. SAND! I think the only person on our team who ate it was Russ who had served his mission in Zimbabwe. He thought it was delicious, but the rest of us filled up on bread and ice cream. I was such a wimp!

We stayed in another school for almost the entire 2 weeks we were in Portugal. Jeff picked his bunk because it was next to some bookshelves where he could put all his stuff. This guy is tidy. Big bonus. Unfortunately, he got eaten alive for the entire two weeks we were there. He would wake up in the morning and fresh find spider webs connecting his bed to these shelves. He would clean them all up, then it would start all over the next morning. This is him with one of his spider-bitten legs. There was nothing he could do, there were no other beds or places to sleep, so he just laughed and made the best of it. Is he a trooper or what?

So, 4 days after this European adventure, we were properly engaged. 5 months later, we were married in the Salt Lake Temple. It was an incredible day!

7 years and 3 months later, I realize he's an even BETTER catch than I even realized when I said "yes!". Here are some of the pictures we were given from the big wedding a few weeks ago. I love this one of him while he was giving his speech. What a handsome devil! And I know our moms are just loving this beard, am I right?

And, earlier in the evening, when he was in the parade around the buildings, eventually to follow Don through the 3 "doors", one of which was a gold chain that Jack and Jane were holding. This was a much better picture than I had.

I said it before, Jeff is simple. So, we had a nice, simple birthday celebration for him. I kept Jack home from school so we could meet Jeff for lunch, which we discovered we'd never done on a Wednesday before. I realized this because Wednesdays are a special day... it's cake day! This means that at lunch time, a woman comes with loads of cakes, of many varieties, and sells them for 12 baht/piece at the cafeteria. If this is exciting for Jeff, you can imagine how excited Jack and Jane were to be able to pick their very own piece of cake! This is everyone eating (or in the kid's case, licking the frosting off of) their cake. I opted for mango and sticky rice, my favorite!

Doesn't the old saying go, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach"? If this is true, than it's an even bigger miracle that Jeff wanted to marry me. I'm not a cook, but it was fun to try and spoil Jeff with some of his favorites on his day. We had breakfast cake in the morning, and Lemon Fried Chicken for dinner. I think this was the first time he's even gotten all the chicken he wanted because he didn't have to fight the other Hillman brothers for it! It was a nice night at home, and the kids were thrilled to decorate the house with balloons, signs, and reasons why Daddy is so super! Not to mention, we finished with Jeff's favorite kind of cake, ice cream cake. If you're paying attention, you'll notice that is THREE cakes in one day. Wow. Thank goodness his birthday comes just once a year!

I also wanted to renew Jeff's pictures of the children on his desk. I was happy that he was pleased with how these turned out. Who wouldn't want to see these glowing faces all day?

Like I mentioned before, it was hard to get the kids to stop wrestling and smile for the camera! But, they do love to dance together, so this one worked out pretty well.

This one of Jane was my favorite of the whole shoot. It captures her perfect little smile and twinkling eyes just right.

Jack was having the hardest time giving a genuine smile because they kept adjusting his chin, or moving his hands, etc. He was so NOT into it. When we had him stand up and be Spiderman, that's when he really started having fun. This picture is so him.

Living in Bangkok, we meet so many incredible people, but we also have to say a lot of goodbyes. Today, we had to say goodbye to Elder Mortensen. He has served his two years and is heading back to Logan, UT on Friday. It's interesting to be on this side of things. I've only been on the receiving end of a missionary finishing. Having Jesse and Scott return home after their two years was so exciting! And, I always loved to hear all about their families and friends from Russia and Mexico. But, in this case, we've been able to see Elder Mortensen while he's actually been serving his mission. It's been amazing to watch the work he's done first hand, as opposed to hearing about it in the past tense. It really makes me feel like I understand the whole mission experiences of my brothers a little better. He's been in the ward the entire time we've been here, so it will be weird to not see him every Sunday, but when I think of him returning to his family, I get so excited for him! Life moves on, and it will be fun to see what lies ahead for him! Good luck, Elder!

One more... Jack's been full of inventions lately. He constructed a time machine, crane, and tonight, roller skates. He later went on to make a skateboard out of these same "skates" and his kick board.

We've been getting more requests for Jack playing his violin. This isn't showing off Jack's violin as much as it is just a very typical moment in our family. Jack has a lot of distractions when it comes to his practicing, and I am amazed some days that we get anything done! He's such a good sport, and boy, does he love his sister! Nothing makes me happier than watching my kids laugh together. Best sound in the world. Keep your eye on the lower left corner of the screen.

So, we end another great week. It was especially fun for us to celebrate Jeff. He does so much to keep our family functioning and happy and never gets nearly enough credit. I realize more and more how blessed I am to have a husband who has been able to find a balance between the many directions he is pulled. I am so grateful to be married to a man who values what really matters. I couldn't ask for anything more.

29 March 2008


Jeff: I thought everyone would be interested in seeing how well I did on the test. As you can see from my results below, I know how to edit HTML:

128 wordsSpeedtest

Happily in the shadows...

Several people have had this on their blogs and I finally tried it after seeing what my sisters incredible results were! I thought they were perfect even before I saw their type-test results! Joanna and Vanessa, I couldn't be happier to be in my older sister's shadows once again! Love you!

92 wordsSpeedtest

23 March 2008

Why this was a good week...

Really, all weeks are good, but there were a few things I really noticed and enjoyed this week. Here it goes:

1. We had really fun play dates this week. We had less planned, so were able to do more last minute things, and had Scarlett and Heather over, Dylan, and Anna, who's moving to Mexico while we're away in Utah. Anna has been in Jack's class, and has ridden the bus with him this year. It was sad for Jack to have to say goodbye, but honestly, I think we're all just accepting that it's part of the deal. Lots of goodbyes. Aren't they cute together? And no, Jack was not bending his knees!

2. Last Sunday night, part of the reason I was exhausted was because I got to speak at New Beginnings for our Young Women. I was so happy to be asked, and it reminded me of all my beautiful girls in Utah!

3. I've been noticing how different Jack and Jane are lately. Jane has recently been extremely independent and started to dress herself. She will NOT put things on backwards, inside out, or on the wrong feet. Jack STILL wears his pants and underpants backwards some days, and after Primary today went all the way home with his sandals on the wrong feet. Jane asks for a bandaid for most bumps. When I asked Jack if he was OK after getting rammed into a wall the other day, he said, "I'm always OK, Mom". Another typical response is, "I'm tough as nails!". Jack likes to listen to me sing, Jane likes to sing with me. Jane twirls around in front of a mirror with each outfit she tries on, Jack would be happiest if I let him wear underpants 24/7. I love watching their little personalities develop.

4. Jack and Jane love to dance together. They just figured out how to twirl Jane into Jack's arms. This caused about 15 minutes of non-stop laughter in our house. It was great.

5. I visited 2/3 of my Visiting Teaching sisters this week.

6. Jack is fascinated with animals. We found a cheap DVD about Dinosaurs on Saturday and he was completely enthralled. He didn't want to even look away, except to turn around and give Jeff the thumbs up each time they introduced a new predator. Jane sat with him a while and was getting a little nervous. Could there be a better big brother?

7. We had company over after church. We met the Pacini family at Church in Hong Kong, and then ran into them again at Disneyland a few days later. Crazy, eh? They were planning a trip to Thailand, and we're sure glad they did! Jack had a BLAST playing with Joshua and William, and it was fun to visit, eat, and have Easter egg hunts together! We also picked up Tyson and Ashley, a couple from Utah who've been traveling around Asia for the last several months. It was fun to hear more of their story and visit a bit before they head back to the States!

8. I like Easter. We broke out our special eggs that teach the story of the resurrection. Last week at our Primary Easter party, we had each family make one. After doing all the preparations for everyone else, it was nice to sit down with our own little kit and talk about each item together as a family. I always struggle with good Easter traditions, so if you've got any, please share! And, if anyone wants a copy of the story/items for the special resurrection eggs, let me know. It really has turned into a great way to discuss why we celebrate.

We had a fun little Easter basket for the kids on Saturday and found that water guns are a really good way to give the kids a nice, long, entertaining bath!

9. I think this week just started out with a bang. Jeff did his "I love you" day and bought us tickets to go see Harry Connick, Jr. It was so fun! We've seen him before, but I think this was our favorite. Since it was just the two of us, I requested that we choose a restaurant that we couldn't take the kids to. We loved this little Japanese barbecue place once we figured out what to order!

Harry was pretty subdued in the beginning and we wondered if he would talk much at all. He seemed to loosen up a lot and shared his experiences of the past 24 hours exploring the city with his daughters. It was hilarious to hear his take on grilled bananas, fresh squeezed orange juice, the spicy food, and his Thai massage. I think all the expats could relate, and I'm sure all the locals had heard it all before! He invited us to all come up at the end, and Jeff and I rushed up and were right up next to the stage. This picture was not zoomed in.

Forgive me for reminiscing a bit. While I was at this concert, I was remembering the first Harry concert we attended. I had just found out I was miscarrying (this was before Jack), and needless to say, I was a little tender. Jeff and I were at his parents visiting for the weekend when his parents decided to give me my birthday gift about three weeks early. I was surprised, and opened up the envelope and the first thing I saw was that it was in the Delta Center. I thought, "Jazz game, okay. That will be fun.". Then, I realized it was Harry Connick coming in concert, which I didn't even know about. I think I just burst into tears. I know, sounds kind of dumb. Okay, I'm sure it was really dumb. But, honestly, at that moment, I was so grateful for such a thoughtful gift. I didn't even know they knew I liked Harry! Even right now, thinking of what was happening at the time and how I really just needed something, it brings tears to my eyes. So, thanks to Mom and Dad Hillman for the pick me up that I really needed at that time, and turns out, Jeff actually really likes Harry's concerts now!

We're nerds, I know, but we really did have a GREAT time. The whole evening was fun-filled, and it was fun to be out, just the two of us!

10. Overall, I think THE reason our week was really nice was that we did not over schedule ourselves. Some people thrive on being crazy busy. I don't. I had time to be organize cupboards, rotate the kid's too small/growing into clothing, and many more household things I haven't had time for. Jeff and I really value our time that is NOT scheduled, which we just haven't had much of lately. This weekend, we both had our long runs, were out of the house for a few hours, then just played at home. It was so nice. I also discovered this weekend that Jack is getting to be quite the little UNO player!

That SLC half-marathon is coming right up, and can I just say that I'm really excited for it! It's SO hot here right now, we've both surrendered to running on the treadmill now. Even at 6am, the air is just too thick to go far. It's frustrating, but overall, I think we'll be able to train enough that we can at least enjoy the run. I know several of you are running one of the SLC races that day. How's your training coming?

I hope you enjoy your week as much as we've enjoyed ours!

18 March 2008

Our busy week.

Basically, all last week was spent preparing for our Easter Primary activity on Saturday. It was QUITE the event, and we all had a really great time! Our President, Alice, is fearless. She dares to try things I wouldn't even attempt, so it was above and beyond what anyone expected! Needless to say, I learn a LOT from working with the women I do. They are all wonderful!

This is Jane with Ashley, after she decorated her Easter egg bag. Jane isn't officially in Primary, but really enjoyed the festivities with the other younger siblings. I remember going to things before I was actually "official" and feeling SO BIG! Ashley was such a big help, as always!

We held our activity in the backyard of the Griffiths' home. There are few places that would have worked as well as this one. It was right in the heart of the city, yet had all this yard and these amazing trees for shade! I wish I would have had a better picture of the yard, this was just the back patio (after almost everyone was gone) where we decorated bags, sugar cookies, and had lunch.

Jane loved this portion of the relay games, although she was playing by her own set of rules. No one was complaining! Notice Ashley laughing in the background!

This is our youngest member of the primary, Hyrum. I was SO glad he came, and he had a good time participating in the relays, decorating cookies, and finding eggs! I've gotten to know his family really well in the last several months and I have really grown to love each one of them.

I couldn't find Jack during a part of the relays, then I looked over and found him doing this. It is getting SO HOT here. Being out in midday now is no fun at all. I sweat as soon as I step out of the door, so we try to plan our outings for early morning, and later afternoon.

It was fun to include a lot of ward members in this activity. We had several young, single adults that came to supervise, set up, clean up, and play with the kids. We also people like Sister Janice Tea (below) who came to read stories during our activity rotation. This was just a silly book before everything got started, but I was shocked how many of the children immediately quieted down and paid close attention.

Jack loved the silly games, and I loved that even though there were teams, everyone was cheering everyone on, and in the end, no one even noticed that there were no winners or losers. It was great!

Alice and Sally had a fun station where they taught the children an Easter song by playing musical chairs around the room with pictures, although I'm not exactly sure how it all worked. BUT, every time I walked past, the kids were smiling and singing!

I love this picture of my friend, Mary Jane and two of her girls. Little Anna is only a couple of months old, and what a sweet baby!

We were so happy that Sukma and the kids came to celebrate Easter with us too. Unfortunately, their Daddy had to work that morning. Maybe next time! I wish we would have thought to invite more friends! What were we thinking?

These are two of the women I get to work with in the Primary (Jeannette, where were YOU?). I think I talk to Alice at least 5 times/day (for her sake, I wish I was exaggerating!), and I always feel completely inspired to be organized and on top of things every time we are together! We're also Visiting Teaching companions, doing musical numbers together, and she was awesome and visited the Immigration Detention Center with me last week too. I don't know how she does all that she does, but I know some days she's gotten up at 3am. That might help a little, although I don't know how she's still happy and functioning in the afternoon. She said to me the other day, "I think I'm just manic, not ever depressive... just manic!". I agree.

Crisse, I've talked about before. She's healthy now, and looking beautiful, isn't she? They stayed with us again this weekend, which was great! We love the visits, laughs, kids playtime, and Neil's breakfasts! We're planning a trip to the beach together in May!

These are our hosts, Jeannie and Robert Griffiths. They opened up their home to over 100 people without hesitation. They lived in Thailand some time ago and have just recently moved back for another few years. They've been an awesome addition to the ward, and a great example to all of us! I think they'll hate me for catching them in the middle of lunch!

We had 9 baptisms on Sunday. Two different families from Sri Lanka. I haven't had a chance to get to know them very well yet, but the little boy asleep in his mother's arms, Johanne, has been with us in nursery for the last few months. This was a big day for the ward. I've never seen so many attend the baptisms. Elder Mortensen is heading back to Logan, Utah in just a couple of weeks, so I kept thinking what a great day this must be for him. We're really going to miss him!

We had a fun playdate with Narissa this week, which was long overdue. She had just gotten a new bike, and of course, Jack had to try it out! Luckily, there was a sweet Thai girl there who was willing to share her bike, so they could ride together for a bit. I really miss letting Jack ride his bike, like normal American kids. I've promised him that will be the first purchase we make after we return to Utah and the weather is good.

A few other favorites from the week...

I went to tell Jack he was done with quiet time one day and he yelled out the door, "Mom! There's an elephant in my room!". This is what I found. I said recently that Legos were the best toys. I might have to say that boxes are even better! My kids have played in, on, around, and under this one for days!

I took my kids to get their pictures taken this week. This photo place had the coolest play area. Jack said he wanted to go back just to play, NOT take pictures. I'm sure most kids would sit in this car, but not Jack. He has to push it over to "fix it". Much more fun.

Getting the pictures taken was an adventure in and of itself. I wouldn't say that this place was particularly skilled with photography, but I would say they had the best facilities around, and they certainly were happy and didn't give up! There were FOUR people taking the photos and working on the kids. Unfortunately, when they would really get Jack to smile, they'd take 5 extra seconds trying to get his face angle just right so then the smile would be unnatural. In the end, it was fairly successful on the individual photos. Jack and Jane together was tough. Every time we put them together, they'd start wrestling, tickling each other, messing up Jane's already messy hair, and turning away from the camera! They were having too much fun! Guess I can't complain too much about that one!

Jane was loving being "spider girl" this weekend. I don't know why, but she pretended to be sleeping in this one. Little does she know, I have several of her Daddy doing the exact same thing! Is she sweet or what?

Well, there you have it. LOTS of primary stuff! Life is good, we're happy and enjoying life, even in this blasted heat! Enjoy that cool, crisp, morning air for me, please!

16 March 2008

I'm tired...

Greetings and apologies to all my usual Sunday readers! We've had one heck of a weekend, and I'm pooped. So, here's a little something to hold you over, (because I know our lives just leave you on the edge of your seat!) until I get on the ball and post about our week.

We took these videos a few weeks ago and just haven't gotten around to posting them. We've both been LOVING watching Jack progress with his violin. And more than ever, he really ENJOYS IT! He got it out all by himself a couple of times last week, just for a little extra practice. He's really excited to put on a concert for his Grandparents next month!

09 March 2008

A big brother

When Jack was a toddler, I started to notice that everywhere we went (parks, museums, and especially the grocery store), he would always wander off with whatever family was toting around a load of kids. He would find that mom that had 5 kids under 7 attached to her grocery cart, and join right in! I've wished many times that I could somehow give him an older sibling, since he always gets along with older children so well. This does prove to be a bit tougher than adding a younger one. We came pretty close this week though!

Remember my friend I mentioned last week who was in the hospital? (They discovered it was just a severe case of food poisoning). We got to bring her son, Curt, home with us on Monday night. I was super excited, because we all love Curt, and especially love that we could help his family out in a small way. Jack was especially excited he got to have a friend sleep over, which hardly ever happens!

Since I got to keep Curt until Tuesday afternoon, I thought this was a good occasion for Jack to play hooky and play at home with all of us. When Curt's parents came to pick him up, I even talked them into staying the night here instead of making the hour long trek home, which consists of taxi, train, bus, and motorbike. Crisse was doing much better, although still quite weak, but in very good spirits. I thought another night of rest would make the journey a bit easier.

I took the kids out for a bit, and got a lot of funny looks and questions about if Curt was mine. I wanted to just say, "YES!". We were in the truck on the way home, and this tuk-tuk driver was loving that the kids were waving to him. I also liked that you could see a motorcycle taxi to the side in this one. Too bad he doesn't have a family of 4 on the back!

The first time Jack met Curt, they were instant friends. It's fun to watch Jack have a friend who is just as silly, crazy, and also affectionate. They will wrestle one minute, then be hugging and have their arms around each other the next. They kissed each other goodbye today.

Jack thinks these lame games we have on our cell phones are so cool. Can you tell how video-game-deprived our child is compared to most kids now days? I feel just fine about it! I think Curt is Mr. Handsome in this one. What a heart breaker he's going to be!

Jack's never looked SO white until he's next to a kid like Curt. Seeing those two in the bathtub together was hilarious! Not to mention all the laughing, yelling, and splashing! We had to get out the mop afterward. Thank goodness for built in drains in the floor here. They think of everything!

Crisse and Neil just stayed one night as a family, but because of all our primary meetings this weekend, they came back Friday to spend the weekend. They were AWESOME house guests! I woke up Saturday and Sunday morning to the smell of crepes, French toast, and eggs. That was a new sensation for me! Neil is quite a cook and learned how to make American breakfasts from his American companions on his mission. This family just made themselves at home, and we felt like they were just part of the family too! Jack and Curt played and played and hardly wanted to stop to eat they were having so much fun. Jack and his "brother" didn't get sick of each other for a minute!

While Crisse and I were at a meeting, Jeff and Neil took the kids to story time at the library, then brought home grilled chicken for everyone. Jane loves this kind of lunch and dug right in! This girl is generally a picky eater, but this week, she tried ham and an olive all on her own! We're making progress!

While Jeff and Neil found a billiards hall, Crisse and I took the kids down for a swim. I took a bunch of water-friendly toys down in a sack. Jack immediately dumped everything out and what did he want to play with? The sack! He thought this was the best water toy ever! Who would have guessed?

Jane, on the other hand was so entranced by the cups, bowls, and spoons I brought down, she hardly got in the water at all! Just poured things from one container to another. Kids just don't need fancy toys!

So, a HUGE part of our week was focused on the fun De Jesus family. Honestly, since we met them, I have just thought they were incredible, but couldn't really figure out what made them unique in my mind. I don't know exactly was it is. I've met some really incredible people here. But, whatever it is, it was only enhanced by having them in our home for several days this week! We ate together, played together, watched The Office together, prayed together, cleaned together, and had some great dinner conversation! Some things I learned about them that were amazing to me, were all of Neil's jobs. He's been anything from a fisherman to a tricycle driver (a motorbike with a sidecar), and now he's a math teacher. They also built their own home on government land in the Philippines with help from the missionaries on their "community service" days. His education was made possible because of the program that preceded the continuing education program organized by the church. (You hear about people benefiting from the church's programs, but it was awesome to talk with them about how it's affected their lives directly!) Crisse originally came to Thailand to teach because her dad came here and said he wanted her to come too. She didn't ask questions, but did as her dad asked, now it's working out in a really good way for her whole family. Their plan is to be here for another 3-5 years and save enough to buy their own taxi when they get home, which will present all kinds of opportunities! We're so excited for them! Curt speaks almost flawless English, Tagalog, one other Philippine dialect, and attends school in Thai. He was teaching Jack and I how to count in Tagalog during taxi rides. This is just one amazing family that we feel SO lucky to have spent time with! We've got another busy Primary weekend next week, so we're happy that they will stay with us again so Jack can have his "big brother" back!

Amidst everything else, we did do a few random things that we enjoyed. Monday morning, Jane's friend, Brandon, came over for a play date. Brandon is kind of Jane's "Curt". They get along really well, and when they haven't seen each other for a while (like during mid-term break), they go running to each other shouting out each other's names. It's quite a sight!

I've been spending a lot of time with Brandon's mom this week. We walked over to the Thursday market together again this week, although Brandon was at home sick on his Daddy's day off, so Sukma was nice enough to help me navigate this crazy market while I found the things I needed. I love the Thursday market. It's nuts, but it's so diverse and changes quite regularly. This day, I bought broccoli, carrots, mangoes, several shirts for the kids, popcorn, sticky rice, a Bingo game, and earrings. Nice to have a place I can easily get to for things we need, and some things we don't, for a really cheap price! I love Thursdays.

I've talked about Sukma a lot, and I finally got a picture of her! This woman is one of my favorites! I mentioned earlier that she watches a lot of American series and movies. Guess why Brandon's name is Brandon? Ever seen Beverly Hills 90210? I couldn't stop laughing.

We also spent a really fun evening with Anutra, Bird, and Koong. We met them at a restaurant in a small hotel that is owned by a friend of Anutra's. The whole hotel is decorated in traditional Thai style, with many originals. We took a tour afterwards, and it felt like a museum! The food at the restaurant was awesome. They even had my favorite, Masaman curry. One funny thing about restaurants here, is that they have huge TVs in them. When they saw us come in, they immediately changed the channel to Cartoon Network for the kids. I actually hate this channel. We took it off our TV completely, so we were grateful that they were playing some classic Tom and Jerry episodes. I didn't realize how violent those old cartoons are that we all grew up with, but it certainly didn't seem to effect the kids that way! They were laughing OUT LOUD, along with a really old lady on the next table, all the wait staff and.... Jeff. He was loving it! It certainly doesn't make for good conversation at dinner, but it was good fun to all be laughing together at these classic cartoons!

It was easy to get the kids to look at the "camera" because Jeff was standing right in front of the HUGE plasma screen!

We all walked to the train afterwards, and Anutra made Jeff pose for this picture next to his look-alike. These huge signs are up all over the city. Maybe that's why he started to grow the beard, so people would stop asking him for autographs!

Jane loves going for walks through the city, and is good to stay in her stroller. Jack was never content to sit in a stroller, so I've really enjoyed this about Jane. Especially in this city where she's much safer when she's contained. This day, we ended up at the park where we fed the birds some crackers, played on the toys, and ate some pineapple and som tam. I love the parks here. Although the playground equipment is anything but well-maintained, the grounds are exceptionally beautiful. It makes for a happy morning for both of us. This picture reminds me of one of Faith at a park in New Jersey. Vanessa, do you know which one I'm talking about? She was a bit older than Jane.

Jane's been super independent this week. We've been hearing a lot of "Janie's turn, okay?", or tonight when Jeff was trying to help Jane with her nightgown, "STOP! Go away! Janie's turn!". She also has been starting to tell Jack what to do. She ordered him to time out this week, "Time out! Okay?", which of course, Jack and I both thought was hilarious. I should point out that Jane says all these things with a sweet (but slightly stern) voice, which makes it just that much funnier. Also, she's been talking about her "armpips" (I remember this being a Clark term too, am I right?), and I love that whenever she looks down to see her big, round tummy, she laughs and says, "punkin!".

Here we go with another full week. I'm in the final stages of preparing for the Ultimate Easter Activity for the Primary kids. We're really excited for our first one, and if we can just get everyone into the city on a Saturday morning, we'll be in really good shape!

Love you all, and have a GREAT week!