Tuesday, we had the Olesons, a family from Seattle we met at church on Sunday. They are on holiday here and other parts of Asia for a short time, and we thought it would be fun to have them over. They are from Seattle, but they are actually in the process of moving to Australia soon, so it was fun to hear about their travels and their anticipation of an overseas move. We're all for living abroad, if you haven't noticed. It's been nothing short of a life changing experience for us.
Jack and Scott loved playing their "instruments" to the CARS soundtrack, Jack's very favorite. They put on quite a show.
Another one of Jack's inventions. He loves to talk about working out and going to the gym, because he sees Jeff and I come and go, talk about our runs, etc. all the time. I'm sure he'll get quite a workout with these dumbbells!
Jack received a model airplane as a gift from his friend when she returned from her summer trip back home to Indonesia. He and Jeff jumped right on it and worked on it several nights during the week. Jack was always SO excited to sit with Jeff and work on it and talk about cool boy stuff. I loved watching them too. Thank goodness for a husband who has the patience for stuff like this! Jack was extremely proud afterward, and loved that it was his, so he could take care of it all on his own.
We were glad we took this picture when we did because about two minutes afterward, the rear wheel broke off, one of the the decals ripped, and the propeller fell off and Jack stepped on it. Oops. Good thing it was Jack's responsibility, and not mine, or I never would have heard the end of it! He was a good sport; he just laughed because he knows that "daddy can fix anything", a common phrase in our home.
A big part of our week was Jack starting school! It's been fun to read this week about a lot of children starting school all over. For some reason, this wasn't that big of a deal for us. In the States, Jack would be starting Kindergarten, which would be HUGE, but since he's already been going for a year, it just seemed like another year! We do have several changes though. He changed schools to another small one that is close by, and of course, he has a new teacher with all new friends. He now attends from 8:45am-2pm. Believe it or not, this is the shortest day for a five-year-old in Bangkok that I've ever heard of. Going from this to a half day when we move back will be a little weird, but like always, I'm sure he'll adjust like a champ.
Jack's been very excited to get to his new school, and I've been excited to get back into a routine! We're still easing back into Jack getting all his "stuff" done in the morning, but he's done really well so far, so we're right on track.
This is Jack's pose of choice. He's a little too cute to be all that frightening to me.
Jack was ready to go, lining up with no hesitation whatsoever. We met his new teacher a few weeks back and now that I've had more time to visit with him, I see this will be an adjustment for not only Jack, but me too! Jack's teacher last year was completely different than his this year. It's like this: Thai vs. British, Woman vs. Man, very formal vs. casual, and the biggest one, sugar coated vs. telling it how it is. I loved his teacher last year, but my biggest frustration was that I could never get out of her exactly what I needed to work on with Jack. She'd always say, "oh, he's doing great, don't worry about him", etc. I know Jack's bright, but also knew that he was the youngest in his class, had the least school experience, and didn't have private tutoring like others (besides me, of course!). Anyway, having Teacher Bill just tell me outright what Jack's strengths and weaknesses were was something new to me! It was nice to hear a realistic evaluation of where Jack stands, and nice to reaffirm I don't have anything to worry about, but as with all of us, there's always something to work on too! Jack's loved school so far and is quickly making lots of new friends!
Jane loves picking up/dropping off Jack at school because she gets to play on the playground each time. It's like going to a park twice a day; what kid wouldn't like that? She and I have enjoyed some time together, just the two of us, this week. One thing I didn't do enough of this summer was set aside one on one time with each of my kids. We were always all together, and by the end, I think Jack and Jane had had their fill of each other. Since Jack's started back to school, they've enjoyed playing together in the afternoons as much as they used to.
Jane's been extremely attached to Jeff lately. A couple days this week she'd wake up after he'd already gone and just cry for him. It breaks my heart, but I'm also so happy with how much she loves her daddy. During our "home" day yesterday, she and Jeff were enjoying the couch together. I'm telling you, a Daddy/Daughter bond is irreplacable!
Jane was being silly, so I told her to pretend she was asleep. This is the best she could do. I especially love her little hand. Did I say that she's kind of girly?
We were out to dinner the other night at Mos Burger, a Japanese burger place. We thought this was a fantastic display of how so many places are completely overstaffed in Thailand. It's hilarious. How many people in green aprons can YOU count? And if you can't tell, this place is not that busy.
Yesterday, Saturday, we were home almost all day. We rarely stay at home on a Saturday, or any day of the week for that matter, and I quickly realized, the way to a clean house is NOT by staying home! I was cleaning out closets, organizing outgrown clothes, and my favorite, getting rid of stuff all together! While all this was going on, the kids were playing all over the apartment. After Jane went down for her nap, I started tidying up, and, like I usually do when she's sleeping, I put all her stuff by her door.
I loved this shot because it shows so quickly a lot about my little girl right now. Here's what she had gotten out (that I hadn't had a chance to put away yet) in just one morning. Her dress from Grandma Hillman (her best twirly dress), her dress from Dipu and Napa (her frilliest, and she put this one on at least two different times), her Tinkerbell dress (her sparkliest), one pink crown, one Hello Kitty backpack filled with books, one Hello Kitty handbag with toy hairdryer inside, Elmer the Elephant book, one basket handbag with Hello Kitty amazingly fitting inside, one princess nightgown, one pink hanger, one pink leotard, one too-big pair of ballet slippers, one broken set of butterfly wings, one butterfly wand, and one used underwater camera that the lady at the photo shop gave her. Is my Jane a GIRL, or what? She changes from "pretty dress" to "pretty dress" several times within a day, but usually comes back to the yellow one, although with all the wear, it's falling apart! She's much more girly than I am, but I am loving watching her little personality develop. Two-year-olds are so fun!
On a side note to the moms: What kind of organizational tips do you have for things like this? Is this what you do when you clean up when your kids are sleeping? Do you have an alternative place to put stuff away? Or, do your homes just not get messy like mine?
So, after being home all day Saturday, we went for a swim, then decided to finally satisfy Jeff's craving for thin crust pizza he's had for a while (weird, I know, we're usually total "pan pizza" people). We walked down to an Italian place on our soi that we'd always seen the signs for, but because it was tucked back in, we'd never seen the actual place. As we were checking the menu outside, the greeter opened the door and welcomed the kids inside without us. Hmmmm... what are we supposed to do? So, after seeing the prices were normal, we decided we'd just eat there. They took us upstairs to this NICE area with candle lit tables, beautiful table settings, live music, and wine glasses (which thankfully, they quickly removed). So, a place like this would be great, but not with two kids. Looking back, I can't believe they even let us in! We looked like such slobs, still wet from swimming and such, and we have TWO CHILDREN! I wished they wouldn't have let us in! The kids immediately started a game of "hide and seek" under the tables until I thought I was going to have a heart attack imagining the dinnerware all crashing to the ground from Jane pulling on the table cloth. Anyway, to make a long story short, we ended up getting our pizzas "take away", and we decided to eat them on the roof garden of our building. It ended up being a nice meal in a quiet, non-breakable setting. Much better! And the view was fantastic (I wish I would have taken a picture of it)!
I mentioned last week that we had Dipu make us a few things this week, one of which was a new suit for Jeff. Can I just say that a custom suit is a whole new experience? I think this is the first suit that has really FIT him! Jeff was looking extra SHARP today (which you may or may not be able to tell in this picture because Jeff has never been one to do a serious pose!), and turned into a walking advertisement for Dipu after getting so many compliments. Who knew people would notice so much? We've been extremely happy with Dipu's business and we are feeling like he has a bright future!
Our Sundays are pretty busy here. People in our ward travel from quite far every Sunday to get to our church, so generally, everything is done on Sundays. At least the regular stuff. We left for church this morning at 8am and got home at 4pm. It makes for a long day, especially for the kids! Usually, an hour before church starts (11am), there are a lot of families in the building, so while Alice and I are usually setting up the Primary room stuff, the kids are helping me, or just playing. I was loving this scene of these kids reading all together while I was getting things organized. This is Patrick, Emily, Jack, Abbie and Midu. You may remember that I went to the airport a few months back to see off my dear friends, George and Mery, who were moving to Holland. I met Abbie and Midu's family that evening and was so happy to see them at church today! Abbie and Jack especially hit it off and five minutes after meeting, they were inseparable. Literally. I don't think Jack took his arm off her shoulders, or his hand away from hers until they absolutely had to for Sacrament meeting. Then, in Primary, Jack has never sat so reverently! Abbie had an amazing calming influence on him, and I was so pleased about it. What a darling pair they were, and I'm really hoping they'll be back next week!
I said earlier that Monday we had the missionaries and Susi over for dinner. This was actually the first time I'd met Susi, but Jeff has been teaching him with the missionaries for several weeks now. They usually meet in the park near Jeff's work, but on Monday, they wanted to watch the Restoration movie, so they came to our house. We had a nice dinner and a nice Family Home Evening where we discussed the restoration of the gospel and watched the video. We always love having these sweet Elders over (and love how they listen as Jack unloads all sorts of random animal and volcano trivia on his new audience), and we all fell quickly in love with Susi from Sri Lanka. We were thrilled to learn that Susi had decided to be baptized on Sunday. The next night, the Elders called and said that Susi had chosen Jeff to baptize him.
This turned out to be a memorable day for all of us. Jeff was honored that Susi would choose him to be a part of his special day, and I loved that Jack, Jane, and I could witness Susi make such an important decision in his life. He bore his testimony afterward and we were so touched to hear about his realization of how important Jesus Christ is in his life. What a wonderful example he is to all of us. We're really looking forward to getting to know Susi better in the months to come!
So ends another long, tiring, and wonderful Sabbath day. Sunday is always my most exhausting day of the week, but always such a nice way to start/end the week! Hope you had an equally exciting and fun-filled week. Lots of love from Bangkok.