14 April 2008

We made it!

Three airplanes and 26 hours later, we made it! Travel went great and now we're facing the challenge of jet-lag with a 2 year old. Wish us luck!

09 April 2008

Koh Samet

We returned Monday from Koh Samed, an island just off the gulf of Thailand. You might remember me writing about my friend, Kathrine, who's stayed with us a couple of times. She lives on this island and travels up at least once a month with her two children for church and different functions. What a trek it was, and the whole time I kept thinking, how does she do this so often, with two children, and by herself? Although the traveling went really easy for us, I can't imagine doing it without Jeff!

So, you'd think since we went down to the island, we'd hook up with Katherine and her family, right? I called her from the beach hoping we could get together only to find out that she was in Bangkok for the weekend! Not great planning! But, hopefully, we can work it out to go down again when she's actually there! The reason we went this weekend was because a big group of Jeff's coworkers were planning it all, so we thought this would be a good way to go for our first time. Kae had it all planned out, so we were pretty much just along for the ride. Unfortunately, we didn't really end up spending a LOT of time with everyone because we were running on "kid time" which doesn't coincide with young, single, vacation mode time too well!

But, overall, we had a great trip. Jack kept reminding us of the travel sequences while we were coming and going. From home: taxi (15 min.), Bus (3-4 hours), boat (30-40 min.), truck (10 min.). He pretty much loved every bit of it. Like I said, the traveling was great. Jane even slept for 2 hours of the return bus trip, so we were all happy!

Jeff and Jack walking on the pier to the boat. These planks were all about 2 inches apart. Anywhere else, I think it would be condemned, but here it was sturdy and sufficient. I noticed Jeff walking on the reinforced parts... shortly after I noticed that I was doing the same thing.

Jack loved watching the water.

We stayed at Jep's Bungalow. We had a very cozy little room that we fit in just right. I thought it was hilarious when they brought the extra "bed" for the kids. It was basically a mat with a blanket and pillow. Not what I was expecting, but it worked just fine!

The kids were in heaven when they found this little swing set at our place. And, it was little. Like, this was it. That's all. Just a slide off the side that was as tall as Jane. And the swing felt like it was going to tip over when Jack was in it. They still thought it was the best. Simple pleasures, I guess!

We were about a 2 min. walk from the beach. VERY convenient. In fact, it was SO convenient that we were always able to bring a LOT of the beach home with us each time. (I have to say, this sand was unlike any I've ever seen before. So fine and white!) We got used to sand everywhere, no matter how much we showered, swept, and brushed it away. I kind of started to like that grindy feeling in my bed each night. Who wouldn't?

Jep's has a restaurant, grill and bar all right there on their beach. So, you could order drinks, use their beach chairs and what not, all right by our place. You can see the stars that hang from the trees over the dining area, and these big lamps they bring out. All to the beat of unique arrangements of 80's pop songs. Very nice. It was nice that the kids could climb trees and play in the sand while we waited for our food. And waited, and waited, and waited, and still didn't ever get the sticky rice!

We showered, and showered, and showered pretty much every time we came home. The kids usually showered for as long as we'd let them. They loved that this shower was so huge because it was the entire bathroom! I wish that I would have gotten a video of just their voices and laughter during these showers. They would laugh and laugh and Jack would come and give us the play by play of the hilarious things Jane was doing about every 2 minutes.

The second night, we decided not to eat at the Bungalow restaurant because we weren't too keen on waiting and waiting and waiting... and still no sticky rice. We decided to walk down the beach a ways and we found some great rocks to climb on and a whole bunch of other places to dine, right on the beach.

Jack's friend introduced him to Diego recently, and now Jack is a super explorer. This island was a PERFECT place for my curious little boy to explore. He loved climbing on the rocks, looking for interesting shells, and we found several hermit crabs and snails by the rocks. I think Jack could live on this island and never get bored.

My favorite thing about going to the island was that I got to see the sun set behind a horizon that wasn't a 30 story building. I loved remembering how BIG the sky is, and actually seeing the stars at night, instead of just guaranteeing my children that they exist. You just can't see these things in the city. This beautiful rainbow topped it all off.

As soon as we found a place we wanted to eat, the kids were off to do some more exploring on the rocks. I love when they hold hands. Unfortunately, this was the ugliest beach we saw the whole time we were there! Very dirty for some reason.

We topped off our delicious dinner with some Roti, an Indian dessert we've grown to love. It is not exactly a health food, so it was a good vacation treat! It's dough fried and topped with sugar and sweetened and condensed milk, or pretty much whatever else you could think of. I think someone in front of us got dried pork on hers. Tempting... but no, we didn't try it.

Jeff and Jane sharing the rolled up kind. Delicious! I think this girl selling them was making a killing with her business. In the time that we stood there to order, she had made more money than a days work at minimum wage in Bangkok. She was still going strong as we walked away. Who would have guessed being a beach vendor with the right product in the right location could be SO lucrative?

Someone else ahead of us get one with bananas inside and covered with chocolate and I knew we had to have one. It really did taste as good as it looks!

Jane started doing this face recently. But it's so similar to what she used to do as a baby, it cracks me up. I can't get enough of her wrinkly nose.

Jane saw this frog on the path to our bungalow. Jeff said when a passer-by noticed how much she was enjoying it, he kicked it a little to stop it from hopping away from her. She was SO worried about if the frog was OK, that's all she talked about when I got to her. This little girl loves bugs, lizards, snakes, the works.

We rented a tube a few times and Jack loved every minute of it. Last time we were at the beach, he was pretty intimidated by the water. Two terms of swimming lessons later, we couldn't get him out! He was swimming, jumping the waves, and crawling all over this tube. He couldn't get enough! My whole goal with swim lessons was so he could have fun in the water like he used to. Mission: accomplished!

Although the waves were a whole new adventure for Jane, she saw how much fun Jack was having and joined right in! Although, when Daddy was around, she only wanted to be with him.
She must get that from me.

I loved this one of Jack in the waves. Our last morning there was extremely overcast, and even drizzled a bit. But, we had to at least let the kids in for a few minutes. So, they swam right before we rushed back to clean up before starting our trip home.

By the time we got back to the mainland, but before catching our bus, it was SO HOT once again. We got lunch in the only indoor restaurant we could find and let the kids get some ice cream for the trek home. This was about 10 minutes before she dropped off for her 2 hour nap. What a blessing!

I only brought a few books with us on our trip. I'm sure we read each one of them at least 10 times. And why not? What else are we going to do on the bus? It was a great thing to have nothing to do but play with the kids. No distractions, no phone calls, and no excuses of things I should be doing. It was a good time. Look how into Sleeping Beauty she was! She loves her princess stuff, although more recently she's really just wanted to be Buzz Lightyear more than anyone else. We don't have much Buzz stuff, and I looked at the store yesterday and it is SO expensive! So, we'll just have to enjoy the movie about him for now!

Koh Samed was a whole new adventure, and if you know me, I love almost anything I haven't done before. My favorite part of the whole trip, by far, was watching how much Jack and Jane enjoyed the water. Jack kept saying, "can't we just stay ONE more day?". Then, I reminded him that as soon as we get home, we will begin packing for our Utah trip. That got him excited. He's been confirming the countdown to Utah many, many times a day. Counting down in several different ways. He can't wait to see his grandparents and cousins. Who wouldn't be excited about more people to love? Jane, on the other hand, doesn't really know what to be excited for, so we're just hoping for the best on the LONG trip over. We leave home at 4am for a 6:50 flight (Saturday) and arrive around 4pm the same day, but that's actually 6am (Sunday) in Bangkok. Yes, that is 24 hours of air travel folks, not including to and from the airport! It's a little rough on Jane, but we are confident this will be our easiest trip yet, and honestly, I'm looking forward to more time where there's nothing to do except read Cinderella over and over and over... with cute kids on my lap.

Utah, here we come!

04 April 2008

We're off...

If you need us, we'll be here...