Thursday, January 31, 2013

roses are red, violets are...




Call me a proud aunt!

Over the edge

Silas has reached climber status. If he can get on top of something, he does. If he could dive off the edge of the world, he would. He is frighteningly fearless.

The other day, David ran into the bedroom in response to my screams. Silas was dangling with his head an inch from the marble. I barely caught him by one ankle just as he dove off. The kid was laughing.

I know, I know, this too shall pass. In the meantime, I guess I'll just enjoy that rush that comes when I walk in and find him atop a table.






Wednesday, January 30, 2013

a new fav

My very literary saavy friend, Stacey P, dropped Same,Same but Different by Kostecki-Shaw in the mail to us recently. We love it!

A brightly illustrated tale about two little boys, one in America, one in India, who are picture pen pals.

Definitely a keeper in this international house!!! Check it out!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Asian Fashion Chronicles, vol. 1

When I was in Thailand with this fun friend, I asked for blogging advice.  The confession is, I've been having a bit of bloggers block lately and I admit that I've considered taking some time off for a while. Energy and creativity aren't at my door in spades these days.  But I think I would miss it too much.  So instead, I asked for advice, some fresh ideas.  Quick, simple, and fun ideas. As a result, you can thank Stacey for this little fashion addition to my blog routine, I'm hoping to make it a regular!

Local women love fashion.  In fact, prior to our move to this fair land, the only thing I really thought I would like about the culture - the fashion. Thankfully, I've acquired a taste for more than just sarees and bangles. But the ever changing fashion world of asia definitely helps.

My latest purchase shocked even me.

A decade ago, I wouldn't have believed you if you'd shown me a future-predictive picture.  But styles change, and I'm all about some bling these days.


For our 5th anniversary, hubs let me pick out a ring to celebrate.  I found this crushed ruby jewel at an antique shop on the other end of the city and fell in love.  It's a nod to the old Nizam era style that is still prominent in a lot of fashion here.


I admit I had to have it sized 2x because I didn't take into consideration what a weight like that would do on my finger.  Definitely not an every day piece for me and my wild banshees, but I love it for a night out!

So there you have it.  Volume 1 of the Fashion Chronicles. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

snips & snails, & puppy dog tails









Jude: (With a massive mound of ketchup already on his plate) Mom, can I have some more ketchup please?

Laura: Sure. But you need to dip your chicken into it, not just eat the ketchup.

David: Wow. Jude. You really love ketchup, huh?

Jude: I love it. I do.

Laura: You know, I don't really like ketchup.

Jude: Why, mom? Why? (Yes, we're full steam ahead in the whys.)

Laura: I don't know. I just don't like it. I'm more of a mustard girl myself.

David: I'm with you, Jude. I like ketchup. Why do you think Mom doesn't like it?

Jude: Um. Probably because she's a girl.

And there you have it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Five




1. I'm running low on sleep today. Sweet Silas spent vacation sleeping in his awesome tent that we found on the side of the road a few month ago. (We'll be looking for a Jude-sized one next.  Goodbye bulky pack and play!) But I confess that he usually moved into our bed around 2am.  No crying it out in a backpackers guesthouse, right? We paid for it last night.  Poor guy was ready to climb in with us around midnight.  Agh.  Another round of baby sleep boot camp:)


2.  We spent the morning at a buffalo market with one of David's colleagues. All the cattle were lathered in coconut oil and garlands in hopes of going to a dairy farm.  Call my crazy, but this little guy's smile totally looks like the calf version of sweet Silas and his baby bottom teeth these days. 


3. Post Vacation Depression hasn't set in fully quite yet.  I think it was all that fantastic vitamin D.  It's helping. 

4. I don't think I mentioned it last week..but hubs actually took a scuba diving trip one day while Stacey and Brek helped me with the little men. It's been 8 years since he got his certification.  Thankfully, they offered a refresher course. It may not become an annual event, but let's hope he can get back in before another 8 years passes! 


 5.  Next week, here's hoping I can introduce you to another little niece.  My sister is waiting for sweet Violet! This little cutie is going to be a big sister.  And I can assure you I'll be sticking close to the computer for some serious skype action.



Happy Friday to you! 




Thursday, January 24, 2013

home


We pulled into our little house around 2am this morning.  By the time Silas and I woke up this morning, hubs and Jude had unpacked most of the bags and started the laundry.  I married a good man.  We've been unpacking more than just suitcases today though.  It's time to enter back into this world we live in now.  And to do that well, I've been in need of a little vacation debrief.

We had such a fantastic time.  I really can't put into words how much refreshment it brought to my soul to have old friends around.  There are just some conversations that are only possible in the company of people who know you well.  People who know you from a broader context than the one you are in in this season.  I knew that it would be fun to see them.  I didn't realize how deeply it would give fresh courage to my soul though. I am thankful.

One aspect of the trip that caught me off guard a bit though was my response to Thai culture.  The other westerners in our city talk about Thailand like it's the promised land.  You can buy all sorts of western goods and conveniences there that are hard to come by here.  It's more orderly.  It's cleaner.  The people don't stare quite as much or push in line nearly as hard.  It's milder.  But it's still asia.

Somehow, my unspoken expectation was that I would get off the plane and be in a country so close to America that it would, by comparison, feel like home.  But it didn't.  It felt like another asian city, with another language it's difficult to decipher and another set of cultural norms that I don't quite get.

Culture shock hit me like an unexpected blow those first few days.  I realized how deeply I miss the familiarity of America. And these years of straddling the globe that are stretching before me felt overwhelming.  Because the terrible reality of international living is that by choosing to live amid a multitude of cultures you exclude yourself, to some extent, from familiarity in every culture, including your own.

As I spent some time reflecting on these thoughts this week, I took such comfort from these old verses I've read often.

"All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.  And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:13-16 nasb

Heaven, the city whose architect and builder is God, is the home I wait for.  These are sojourn days.  And any semblance of settledness that I feel, here or in my hometown, is a shadowed reality. It should wake me to the deeper longing, for that promised city.  May it be so of me.

I am bound, I am bound.  I am bound for the promised land. 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

farewells



Time together was a gift. We are giving thanks. Goodbyes are hard. Pray for us today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

girls only

Hubs packed me off on a day trip with the girls yesterday to Raya Island. It was fantastic.




These girls have just been plain good for my soul!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Coral Island




















We spent the day on a little island called Coral Island.  The boys played in the turquoise water.  We took turns snorkeling over the coral reefs with painted fish and sea urchins.

We see why they call it paradise.

The pictures can't do it justice.  It really was beautiful.

Praise the Lord from the earth 
 you great sea creatures 
and all ocean depths





Thursday, January 17, 2013

from afar



We live in asia.  We travel in crazy traffic, on wild streets, with two wild little banshees of our own in tow.  Our life is just plain overwhelming sometimes.  To be honest, some days, we'd take a break from our own life if we could:) That's why we feel so, so honored when people actually choose to enter into our little world for a visit.

Rebekah and Stacey flew into Bangkok in the middle of the night and are tagging along on our family vacation to the beach.  They're manhandling babies in the airport and watching Jude run into the ocean this week.  A not so fancy hostel, lots of thai food, some wild car rides, and much more to come.

That's faithful friendship, folks, in the deepest sense.

Thankfully, Silas has some sweet blue eyes and Jude is a stinkin' good "Zacheus Was a Wee Little Man" singer.  And we're hoping to throw in some snorkeling in crystal waters, plenty of Scrabble and Bananagrams after the kids are in bed, delicious Pad Thai and maybe even a few episodes of Downton Abbey.

I couldn't be happier to have their sweet faces around for a few days. Old friendships do the heart good.     Welcome, friends! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

hello bangkok


In the wee hours of the morning, we flew into the bustling Bangkok airport. First impression, Thai people really are as beautiful and lovely as every says.  We're hanging out here for a little while, picking up friends from home, enjoying big city amenities and plenty of thai noodles.  We're heading off to blue waters and white sands soon.

Today was a recovery day. We flew out at 1 am.  Friends, don't ever do that if you can help it.  We couldn't really help it. Jude took a late nap and then stayed up all night.  He really did. Finally fell asleep at 5am.   However you may feel about the blue beaches that await, I know you don't envy me this one:)


We are staying at a hotel with a tiny rooftop pool.  Jude basically thinks we took him to Disneyland.  The kid loves to swim.  As for Silas, he's just plain obsessed with the new and plenteous electrical outlets in the hotel room. Agh.

Farewell for now.

More to come!

Monday, January 14, 2013

sankranti



Today is Sankranti, a hindu festival dedicated to the worship of the sun-god.

Among the first sounds this morning was a driver bringing his decorated cow to every building in our complex. After playing for a few minutes, a few dedicated neighbors would rush to meet him, food and old clothes in hand

. video

Yesterday our community held a rangoli contest.  Rangoli is a beautiful form of folk art, and in hindu festivals is intended to be a sort of invitation to the deities.  There is a design by every building entrance in our complex.

This afternoon, streets and lakes will be filled with children flying kites to honor the holiday.  It's a colorful place in our land today.  Just thought I'd give you a peek!



Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Five


1. I think I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating.  I love little boys in overalls. 


2. We've been getting some fantastic packages lately.  We're definitely feeling the love. Silas...he just likes boxes:)

3.  Yesterday I had a little language evaluation. I can have an asian baby, drive on wild asian streets, stock my pantry in foreign groceries, but 10 years after college, I still can't take a decent test.  I threw up on two asian street corners over a 10 minute conversation...before and after.  Anxiety is not a friend. Whew. I'm glad it's over. David's is tomorrow...and he's cool as a cucumber.


4. A Yogabon opened in our city.  Oh.  It's like the taste of America.  Good thing it's 45 minutes across town or I'd be breaking the budget on french vanilla bliss.

5.  Big things are on the calendar for next week, friends.  More later...but it includes midnight plane rides, friends from afar, and sparkling blue waters. We can hardly wait! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

always room for one more


I know you probably can't tell from this little camera phone shot from my window, but there were five people on this motorcycle. A wee toddler was hanging his legs out the front, another kid was standing up in the middle. At the stoplight they were rearranging so the older son wouldn't fall off the back.

I love living in a country where anything is possible;)