Celebrating Tom!

We are the luckiest wife and kids and we know it! We had fun celebrating Tom this week in the middle of a lot of chaos as our Reach teams finished up their time in Bangkok. Happy birthday, babe! You are so patient with math homework and my IT issues and paper jams, do huge piles of laundry, serve our Thai and Lao friends and our team so well, mop kitchen floods, take the kids to school every morning and a ton of other things. You make us so happy! We love you! ❤️ 

After REACH debriefing, we snuck away for a birthday lunch. Tom was pretty happy with his giant burger and freakshake…

At the Reach goodbye party that night, we had chocolate pb cake and lots of team mates gave him 42 things…pens, pencils, shells, mouthwash…

The next night we had a little family party. Balsamic chicken and kale, presents, and cheesecake. Our collective favorite gift is his new Echo Dot. We’re having fun having Alexa play music and weather forecasts and play 20 questions with us. 

Little things: Spring 

Some small things from the past month or two that we’d like to remember…

Some team friend dinners… ceviche with Jonathan and Anna (+Black 23 with two decks) and a patio picnic with the Angie and Karly and Jacob and two cuties.

Swimming at the Parkland pool helped a lot with hot season blues. Thank you Grandaddy and Grandmom!!!


A special Korean lunch with students and friends.

Si and Sam on a field trip to the wax museum. The girls both enjoyed a trip to the skating rink as a reward from school and also on SALT trips, which hopefully they will post about soon!

Si doing homework a bird on his head. Represents our bird love and many afternoons filled with heat and homework.


Ramen at a cute new place near us. We need to get used to lunch dates again now that the Reachers are leaving!


Claire made this beautiful pottery mug in art class!

Si came up with this explorer outfit. 😊
Ju came for another sleepover and we made soft pretzels.


We played with these lovable guys a lot and our lotus finally bloomed. It was spectacular for two days and then all the petals fell.


Si got to meet Benson from Kenya! This was especially cool because he is studying the Maasai tribe in school and Benson is from a similar tribe. Tom and I were a little awed to have him at our house too after hearing his amazing church planting story many years ago. Fun to introduce the kids to a real life hero! We also enjoyed the time with Ernesto from our Reach days in Ecuador (both here in Thailand for a Global Disciples Conference).


The kids received a sweet scrapbook of memories from our Reach team.


The Littles and I enjoyed a restful weekend while Tom and Claire traveled to Mae Sot to visit Dan.


Travelogue coming soon!

We are thankful for the first two rains of the rainy season and hope for the end of blistering heat before long!

Sweet girl turns 12!

Eliza Grace is 12! We had a two part birthday celebration this year since her birthday was on a Wednesday and she was in school for most of the day. On her actual birthday, she got donuts for breakfast and a big wall of love from our families (so special! Thank you!). It’s a gift that keeps giving because we’re left the pictures up and are enjoying looking at your faces every day!

Her friends spoiled her at school and she had a GREAT school day. Kris made her lots of things out of candy and Rani gave her the cutest light up E. After school and homework, I took her to the hair salon for a fun head massage and curly hair. We had a little photo shoot to remember 12 (although she’s not a big fan of having her picture taken!) and then headed to Mega to meet the rest of the family for Mexican at Sunrise Tacos. Yum! Then back home for presents and cake (pound cake with mango). Special day for a very special girl.

On Sunday we got to go on the birthday outing to a waterpark on top of nearby Central Mall. It was a super hot day, so perfect for lots of trips down water slides and around the river. Back at home, the REACH team surprised the kids with an awesome taco salad supper. They had it all set up like a restaurant with cute decor and a waiter! Yummy and super thoughtful and fun. They had some cute gifts for Eliza too and just made the day perfect.

Happy birthday, sweet Eliza! You are kind, thoughtful, a great helper, obedient, a great friend, fun to be with, pretty, a great cook, funny, and super smart. We are soooooo lucky you are in our family!

 

Yay for this exciting box from Grandpa and Grandma! And for the fun card and money from Grandaddy and Grandmom! 

This outfit was Eliza’s gift from Si.

Happy Easter Morning

This year, as our team met together at the park for our Easter celebrations, what stood out to me from the story was a little detail. I noticed the way Jesus folded his burial clothes and left them neatly behind. It seems like a quiet little message to his disciples- I left here freely, intentionally, and I’m coming back. I don’t think a grave robber would leave neatly folded clothes behind. It seems he was saying they didn’t need to worry that he’d been taken. I loved that and the reminder for me too that he’s coming back. We are so thankful for his resurrection power! He’s alive!

We tried to keep our Easter traditions this year, like dying eggs, making hot cross buns and doing an egg hunt, in addition to preparing with some Lent devotionals and exercises (example: clean a dirty corner of your house and clean hidden sins from your life. Cover all the mirrors and take a break from vanity for the day, etc).  We only got through a few, so we hope to pick up this exercise again next year. I like the idea of preparing for Easter through Lent like we do for Christmas with Advent. It seems to give more meaning to the whole season.

Big hugs to all our faraway loved ones! We miss you, Easter and always! Special thanks to Anita for bunny glasses and Peeps and to Ewings for egg decals!

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More spring break adventures 

After our beach time, we had some nice, quiet time back at home in the BKK for the rest of spring break vacation. Many people travel to homes in the country for Songkran (Thai New Year) so it really feels like a different city- much more relaxed and lots of food shops closed up. Traffic is so much better! We also had fun joining in the annual water fights to celebrate the new year (which makes Songkran the kids favorite Thai holiday)!

Si and I had a super fun date day in the city, birthday shopping for Eliza and eating big salads for lunch. He was a perfect gentleman all day!

Sushi picnic and Amazing Race as a family.

Another picnic of hotdogs and potato salad. Tom is reading Huckleberry Finn to the kids while the hot dogs are grilling.

Si made this awesome robot out of his recycled box of trash that he is constantly collecting.

And with mangos in season and super cheap, we eat them daily- in smoothies, on cereal, diced up, etc. The birdies love the pits! 

And of course, lots of fun water fights…. (Tom took us out on the motorcycle one at a time and we got hosed, sprayed, iced, and powdered!)

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Songkran

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Spring Breaking at Hua Hin

The first part of our Spring break we spent at the beach! Yay for a refreshing break from school and work and Bangkok!

It was a super relaxing vacation with just short walk from the hotel to the beach and a cute little pool at the hotel to enjoy too. We stayed within an itty bitty radius and just enjoyed the beach and breezes, gentle waves,  and great Thai seafood.  In the room, we watched Just for Laughs Gags, read lots of books, and played Black 13. Having big kids made for a much  more relaxing trip than our last time in Hua Hin when Si was four months old. But they have a lot more opinions about how we spend our time now too! Oh, we also enjoyed a train ride down there. The pictures are flipped newest to oldest, so see the train at the end. Our kids can never get enough of train rides!

Eliza’s highlights:

Laying in the wastebasket playing Almanzo

Wave jumping

Ferris wheel and ice cream

Eating burgers at Bon Appetit


 

Ups and Downs

Every time I revisit our blog, I have the same thought: time is flying! Unoriginal I know but it feels truer than ever. We are loving this stage right now and all it’s ups and downs. Recent ups: playing with our birds! We love having them sit on our shoulders, fluffing up for snuggles or nibbling our faces. They are so cute hiding under furniture, squeaking like rubber ducks, eating corn, taking baths, and being besties. Downs: Eliza, Tom and Si all being sick in and off with headaches, fevers, sore throats and eye infections. Here are some other ups and downs…Poor Claire fractured her arm slightly while playing soccer at the park. She has to spend three weeks in a cast . We’re thankful it’s her left arm and she’s handling it great.

Si has loved running track and field this season, despite sweltering heat! He loved his first two track meets. The girls were gracious to stay after school for many practices.

Tom and I flew away to Laos for a few days while the Reachers looked after the kids. We met up with our old friend Pon and spent time with our Reach team there and with Greg and Michelle and Lukas. Pon took us to the church where he’s involved and to the college where he works. We loved hanging out with Naam and Non too! The Reachers gamely rode around in the back of the truck in scorching heat!Those red dirt roads!! So fun watching Megan play volleyball on a team of Lao guys!BoondocksAmazing dinner of duck and prom from the rotisserie!Fun with Lukas who is cuter than ever!

Claire has been buried in homework and feeling the stress  in algebra class. Child has discipline! Didn’t get it from me!

 

Cambodia 

🇰🇭I was very happy I got to finally spend some time in Cambodia after doing border runs there many times for a visa! I went for the South East Asia Anabaptist Retreat. Tom and the kids weren’t able to go because of. School. It was great to catch up with lots of old friends from other agencies working in our region. I especially enjoyed the session on listening prayer and the stretching times of prophetic prayer as well as updates and prayer time focused on each region. There was a market trip, Cambodian dancing, pool time, and lots of good conversations. 


My favorite peaceful spot for quiet times with God.

Some of us went to visit the Killing Fields and I learned a lot more about the genocide that happened there in the 70s. It was one of the most heartbreaking places I’ve ever been.


A stupa filled with skulls of the victims. Mass graves.


It was very hard to comprehend both how many people actually died during the Khmer Rouge (1-3 million), and that it happened so recently, during my lifetime. I was shocked to learn later that my Thai high school students have never studied or even heard of the genocide there. Praying for Cambodia now; its hard to imagine how a country rebuilds after losing a quarter of its population.

So thankful I had the chance to go for a week and learn and also so glad to be back home with my family! Missed them!

February Little Things

Another month blew by and here are some random things we did besides working and teaching and studying! (A few of these were back in January too, oops)

Tom bought Nixons motorcycle, got a Thailand drivers lisence and has been enjoying the freedom ever since. He does lots of market runs and kid pickups as well as dropping me off to teach. It’s been great! Don’t worry, he is safe and we wear helmets! 


David and Lisa and family were here for a few months on a research trip and we loved hanging out, going to Wat Po, having them at team church and eating at Twinkle Lights. Our boys really hit it off!


Our team had a great weeeknd retreat at Bangkok Christian Guesthouse with Steve and Phyllis Swartz as our presenters! We felt so lucky to have them here and learned a lot from their teaching on Journey.


We had a great time at international day at school and had fun manning one of the American carnival game booths.


Si did this fun dance with his class at Field day.

Started making homemade peanut butter. The parents like it a lot more than the kids do.
Had an awesome night out for sushi with my sis Ju!


Team church again, studying Joshua and now Judges. Fun to squeeze into Rhonda and Nixons tiny new condo. That’s the view from their floor.


Si dressed like a ninja and also made valentine cards for his class.

For Valentine’s we had a fun family date thanks to kind friends and Tom and I enjoyed a day date for a massage and a movie.❤️

Si’s class put on a really cute little play called The Crowded House. He was wise old Bartholemew and got to wear a beard.


We had a team girls night at Lumpini Park to have a picnic and hear the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Ju came too!

Si and Sam had some fun play dates for rock climbing with dad and swimming with mom.
Reachers came over for a nighttime fish picnic on our patio.

Others stuff too, but those are some of the little things I want to remember!

Claire’s Bird Day

Our sweet Claire turned 14!! We had a fun waffle breakfast and she received her big presents, a bean bag chair and a bird! She got to go straight to the market with Dad to pick him out. She found a sweet little guy, picked up a friend for him and named them Oswald and Pernod (some favorite book characters). She was in loooooove and couldn’t stop cooing and cuddling with them. 


They are conures, just a few weeks old. She is feeding them mush through a tube.


In the afternoon us girls had a foot massage. Both girls loved it, despite the faces.


For supper, delicious Bon Chon, Korean fried chicken.

Then a night swim, some more presents (mostly books), and a giant sugar cookie cake.


Claire, we are so lucky you are in our family! You are so smart and work so hard in school. You are mature, responsible, kind and funny! We love your bookishness and your creativity. Love you sooooooooo much!