Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Day 2013

Day 7:

A few days ago, Kees asked me, "Momma is it yeasterday yet?"  I thought he was trying to say "yesterday" and he was confused.  Later I realized he was asking if it was Easter day. So cute.

I was up until around 3 am, then woke up at 4:45 to get ready for our sunrise service.  Our kids were not wanting to get up, even when we told them the Easter Bunny had come.  Kora was a little confused and trying to figure out what was going on.
It was so early.

We drove to a nearby park and met with our church and two of our sister churches from here in Chiang Mai.  We brought our cakes, you know, the cake-splosion cakes.  When we arrived they were singing beautifully next to a fountain.  Everyone was sitting on mats.  They pulled up a bench for us to sit on, since we are foreigners or falongs as they call us.  But I sat down with the kids on a mat anyway.  Sometimes I'm stubborn. I just don't like getting special treatment...except from Doug and then I quite graciously accept chocolate, cheese, and iced coffee.  (P.S. Today, I got two out of three: a snickers and coffee).  Anyway, it was still dark, then it got lighter,  but I never really saw the sunrise.  WHAT?! How did I get up to go to a sunrise service and NOT see the sunrise. Well, I'll tell you, the haze/smog is still here and causing quite a lot of trouble. 
Looks like no rain in sight, I'll take rain as my April Fool's joke, pretty please.

Poor Kees has a cough, and after being at the service for around 30 minutes I realized he was starting to get a fever and not acting like himself. 
Sick baby, he's doing alright.  We've been giving him tylenol and trying to keep him indoors since the air adds to the respiratory problems.
On a regular day I would have tried to ride it out, but with the air being so yucky and him getting so little sleep, I figured it was best if we just went home.  So I tracked Doug down, he had followed Kora to another part of the park and was watching her.  Doug took me and the kids home and we all went back to bed, but Doug went back for the rest of the service, but despite my demands, he didn't take very many pictures, but he did get a few.

Finally saw the sun rising when we got back to our place around 7.  It was so red and gorgeous, this picture is a very poor representation.

One of the pictures Doug took later in the day.  I think I see cake in one of those bowls!
My favorite part of the service, the part I was there for was this older gentlemen that was singing with all his heart. It was so beautiful, it made me cry.  I know I say it all the time, but these Thai believers are such a minority here and it's magnificent to see these believers worshiping.  That made my day!  Another brother in Christ, who will worship our Savior in heaven one day! Thankful for missionaries who came before us and paved the way.  We have a support system of believers here in Chiang Mai because believers before us were faithful to leave their own families, before Facebook, Voxer, and even before flights.  They left everything behind in a way we will never comprehend, but the fruit, of even this one, simply breathtaking!

The man I'm talking about is on the bench to the right and behind the pastor standing.

The rest of our day was pretty boring.  The kids and I took another nap later in the day, we inspected our eggs, had dinner, and now we're off to bed.  Oh, and I got a pretty funny picture of Kees NOT eating dinner.  Every day I understand my mother more and scary! I was a picky eater so I more than deserve this.  Love that little guy anyway, but would take suggestions for picky eaters if you have any. :)
Checking out what is in all those eggs!

Eating candy!

Pretty sure she likes the eggs more than the candy.

Dinner, needle beans, cheesy eggs, yogurt, and rice.

He did eventually eat, but he was at the table for an hour and a half!  But while he was eating...he was fighting with Kora about toys, and I was able to clean with one less kid getting into stuff, so I guess if that's what it takes...

And finally, my good word of the day is from a picture I saw on facebook, so here it is:
Love this, Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Cake-splosion 2013

Day 6:

Saturday is supposed to be a day off, right?  Apparently, we never got the memo.  Just teasing, it was a day off,  just really busy.  In fact, I did sleep in, and that always makes for a good Saturday.  Doug went to bed sick last night, flu like symptoms. Anyway, this morning he felt some better, but still not great.  But he powered through like a champ.  Our friends, the Fullers were in town to do their visa stuff and wanted to meet us for lunch.  So we met them at 39 baht steak, one of our favorite places.  They have amazing Cha Manao, which is a really sweet red tea with fresh lime in it. 

It's pretty amazing to see little details work themselves out and see how God has such intricate plans for us.  We were going to meet them at 12, we were running somewhat on time, we were gonna be there at 12, but I was going to show up with soaking wet hair and no make-up.  I had just thought to myself, man I wish we'd planned for 12:30, when Dan called and said if we hadn't left yet, they'd rather meet at 12:30. So I got to take my new curling iron out for another spin.  It still heats up, but the indicator light doesn't work and it doesn't fit tightly into the outlet so if it jiggles loose you have no way of knowing that it's not getting power until your hair stops curling.  Yeah, that happened about 3 times.  About 5 minutes after 12, our friend Jam showed up, and I was so thankful we were home.  We had just told his grandma when we had lunch there the other day that we would love to have him over to play at our house any time. He had ridden his bike over and if we'd gone to lunch at 12, we would have missed him!  So we were able to take him with us to lunch and Kees and Kora got to play with him before that.

At lunch, Kees wouldn't smile, so Pi Jam had to make him laugh.

After we ate lunch, I needed to stop by the big plastic shop on the way home because in a fabulous turn of events I ran out of laundry detergent and softener at the same cool is that??? I know it seems like nothing to most of you, but I thought it was great that I had just enough of each to start a load of laundry as we were leaving and then I could just pick up more on my way back home.  The timing was perfect.  I love it when that happens! Laurie said she would like to check out the plastic shop, so Doug and all the kids got ice cream, while Laurie and I shopped. 

At the Plastic Shop

Doug with the kids, they were hyped up after their sugar.  I can totally tell Doug is not feeling well in this picture, poor guy!
I found these awesome Panda sleeping masks at the plastic shop, fun!
When we came back home Laurie and I were able to visit all afternoon, her husband Dan and their daughter Hannah went to the mall and she stayed behind. Doug took a nap.  About 5 minutes after Laurie left we loaded up to head to English class.  I was feeling a bit scattered and wouldn't you know more people showed up and it was teenage girls and a woman.  I'm teaching the kids class, so I kind of had a mini panic attack.  I do a lot of very silly things, dancing, singing, jumping, running, exaggerating everything when I teach and there ended up being 3 adult ladies that sat in. Talk about embarrassing, but they didn't roll their eyes or make me feel stupid, so that's good.  I survived and actually had a lot of fun.

Dan, Hannah, and Laurie, coming back to our place. This bike used to be Laurie's like 15 years ago.  It's changed owners a few times and ended up with us!

I love to read, I can't help it.

While I was teaching, Kora was getting the royal treatment.  She got carried around and catered to by 3 different adults, and none of them was Doug. :)  It's funny how, I sometimes wish we had grandparents and babysitters because it's hard to have to take your kids with you EVERYWHERE you go.  But, the nice thing about Thailand is they love kids and they look out for them. 
Kora getting her picture taken by some of the new girls that came to my class. 

The second hour, while Doug was teaching, I went over to the pastor's house that's on the same property and watched this crazy show called, Dance Your Fat Off. It's basically overweight Thai people in a dancing/weight loss competition.  I was cracking up, because the grandma lady that was watching it with us kept asking, "Is that a man or a woman or a cross dresser?"  There are a lot of cross dressers here, so it makes sense that she would wonder.  For some reason it reminded me of the time my own grandma, Moma T, was sitting inside a lake house looking out at the lake and couldn't not tell any of the people apart. She kept saying, "Now is that Randee, no, no, now I believe that's Chris."  (P.S. Randee is female and Chris is male)  We laughed and laughed!
While Doug was doing this...
I was watching this! :)

When Doug's hour was finished, we stayed and ate Pat Gra Paow.  Another funny detail: Doug has been in search of Pat Gra Paow all week.  He had an amazing batch of it at this roadside stand a week or so ago and keeps trying to go back there, but the guy is never open.  And tonight, he got some, and it was good!  It's sort of like scrambled meat, it can either be pork or chicken, and the flavorings are kind of comparable to taco meat, but definitely Thai flavors.  It's usually served over rice and with a fried egg on top.  Yum, yum, in my tum!

Pat Gra Paow

Whew! So that all wrapped up around 7:30 pm.  I still needed to make the cakes for our Easter sunrise service and as far as I could remember I had everything I needed except the coke, for the coca-cola frosting.  We were going to stop by 7-11 for a coke, as we were pulling out from the church I remembered I needed powdered sugar as well, so we had to run to a 24 hour import type store that I KNEW carried powdered sugar. Poor Doug was exhausted, but so nice about the whole thing.  He drove me to the place I bought the powdered sugar and the coke, we were half way home and I realized I had forgotten that I didn't have enough cocoa.  Doug took me right back to the same store, Tops, and they didn't carry cocoa, so we had to drive even further to get the cocoa. Luckily the kids were asleep in the back, so I was just running in and out of all these places and they were virtually unphased by all of it. 
The first store, the one we went to TWICE!

We finally got home around 9, and Doug was D.O.N.E.  Unfortunately the kids had napped quite a bit and wouldn't wind down.  So we ended up sending Daddy to bed and the kids stayed up with me.

And now, for the promised details from Easter cake-splosion 2013.  If you'll recall, not even a week ago, I made and served a cake-tastrophe to the pastors group that Doug goes to on Tuesdays.  Apparently, despite the disastrousness of the cake, which was over done and chewy on the outside and mushy battery on the inside, the worst of both worlds, the cake was requested for our Easter service tomorrow morning.  Can't say I'm overly surprised they enjoyed the cake, because the frosting is highly addictive.  And there's a lot of sugar in cake and in frosting.  Thai people usually eat fruit for dessert, but not too much...cause that'll make you fat.  So of course, after the exorbitant amount of sugar they had just consumed, they weren't thinking properly, they were just wanting another sugar high.  I was so excited, to get it right this time and really show off my baking skills.  Biggest joke of all time.  Worst idea ever.  Why am I such an idiot?  And now the Taylor Swift song pops into my head, "You should have said no, you should stayed home, you should have thought twice for you baked that cake again..." and so on. (Now I'm going to be obsessed with changing the lyrics to the rest of the song and I'll probably be up all night and go straight to the sunrise service with zero sleep.)

Anyway, the issue when I baked the cake last time was that the broiler was on, so the top of the cake cooked way too fast, etc, etc, why am SUCH an idiot? Easy fix, right.  So I made a list of past idiot baking mistakes and checked it twice.  But let me tell ya, this Momma can always come up with new idiot mistakes.  In the past, when I have successfully made this cake, which I'm starting to believe was only in my dreams, I made it in a bundt pan and it was yummy.  But I wanted to make two round cakes and do a filling.  The recipe actually CALLS for you to bake the cake like that.  Well, they overflowed, like in an epically huge volcanic way.  I almost had a break down.  But instead I woke Doug up, gave myself a pep talk and forced him to listen and nod.  My pep talk went a little something like this, "It's fine, right? So the cakes overflowed, it's smoky in the kitchen, it reaks of burnt cake, but the actual cakes are cooking just fine, we'll clean the mess tomorrow, no biggie, right, Doug, right?"  (Keep in mind Doug is sick and tired of being sick and tired, he was a trooper and said, "I love you, I hope it all works out.")
The cake-splosion, in all its glory!

So I re-grouped, I turned on some Easter music on youtube, and danced while licking the frosting pan.  I even let Kees take pictures of me doing it, because why not?  It's a spectacular Easter memory.
The pictures Kees took, they're not too incriminating.

I live in a strange place, my kitchen is strange, so I don't have room on the counter for dirty dishes.  So I put them in a big bucket on the floor.  Kora found the frosting.  She likes frosting, she stuck her whole face in the pan.  I saw as soon as she found it, but I figured, why not?  It's 10, she should be sleeping, why not give her sugar and chocolate. Huge mess? No problem. I'm already gonna have to deal with cake-splosion tomorrow, what's a little frosting.
The best part was when she stuck her whole face in the pan and licked it!

She actually only got her hands and face dirty.  I was a little disappointed that she wasn't dirtier, so I put her in the big bucket with the leftover cake batter...(I made the second cake in the bundt pan with just the bottom burner on, and even though I've made it just like that before, I was still over cautious and left some of the batter out so I didn't get MORE cake batter all over the oven.  As far as I know the second cake turned out fine, but I haven't tried to remove it from the cake pan or frost it yet, so we'll see.) I ended up having Kees push Kora, bucket and all, into the bathroom, and I let them use the cake batter to paint the walls of the bathroom, then I sprayed them both down and got them nice and clean for Easter.
Kees is such a helper!
"My mom is the coolest!"

My little Picasso!

And, since we had to go to that second store to get cocoa, I remembered I needed to get a few things for the Easter bunny.  He'll be making a delivery soon and he even picked up something nice for the sick Daddy in our house.
The Easter Bunny CAME!!! Can't wait till morning...just 3 hours till we leave...I should go to bed now.
I had a nice chat with my friend Laurie today.  We were discussing about how almost all women if not all women, have such negative thoughts about themselves and so many insecurities.  And sometimes, that can even turn into blaming others and taking things out on your family, but the root issue is really self-doubt.  I know I've dealt with this a lot, feeling inadequate and down on myself.  Isn't it ironic that no matter how confident someone may seem, underneath, they often have so many insecurities.  There's a song by Mandisa called, "The Truth About Me" (you can listen to it here or read the lyrics in full here.), that talks about how our skewed view of ourselves holds us back and that when we see ourselves the way God does, we are free to live out our purpose.  My favorite part of the song is towards the end, it says, "...I would sleep better at night, wake up with hope for another day, I would love even if it cost me, take a chance and know I'm gonna be okay, I would dare to give my life away..."  Here's some real honesty for you.  I've had many sleepless nights here and hopeless mornings.  Mornings when I'd cry in the shower and beg God to make it just a little easier or make me stronger and smarter.  I kept trying to convince God that I can't do this. Studying Thai has been one of the most gut-wrenching experiences for me.  It's not just "hard", there's no way to describe getting up every day and doing the same thing over and over and feeling like you are making no progress, you are never going to get it, and eventually everyone will realize that you are a big fat failure.  It's gotten significantly better, but I still have those days, just not nearly as often.  That's why this song means so much to me.  It's like God reminding me that I can face each day boldly, knowing that I can "love even if it costs me", that even if I throw myself out there and take a huge risk, and fall flat on my face..."I know I'm gonna be okay".   Because the truth is, God put us here, he's kept us here, and little by little progress has been made.  I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but my prayer tonight is that I would love without ever considering the cost.  As I pray this for myself, I am reminded of Christ's example on the cross and God's love in putting him there, his extravagant love for me.  What a risk!  God put it all out there, everything on the line, for me. As a parent, my heart aches, to think of how difficult it would be to see your son suffer, for others who may or may not choose to love you back.  That's the risk with loving, not knowing if it will be reciprocated and putting yourself in a position to be vulnerable and hurt by those you are trying desperately to love.  Let's follow God's example, let's recklessly love, let's put it ALL out there with holds barred.  That's how people will see God, through our ability to love them at their worst, because in our flesh it's an impossible task, but with God it's possible.  Love someone today, who doesn't deserve it and can do nothing to pay you back.  Love the way God loves!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Quit Yer Belly Achin'!

Day 5:

Not much happened today. We studied Thai in the morning, had a family lunch together, and took the afternoon off.  Our weekend is jam packed with English class on Saturday and an Easter Sunrise service, that I have been requested to bring cake to. ;)
Family lunch, Thai food, of course. The cost of this meal for all four of us was around $2.  Doug had cashew chicken, top left and I had Kaow Soy, a soupy noodle dish with chicken and crunchy noodles on top, bottom left.
Yikes, I can't believe it's Easter again!  Last year at this time we hadn't been back from America very long and we didn't do anything as a family.  This year, somehow it's all just snuck up on me. But I think I can at least do a small egg hunt in our yard tomorrow and discuss the meaning of Easter with Kees.  Maybe later this week if we are feeling better we will make egg shaped cake balls or something fun like that.  Honestly, I'm not feeling motivated for any of it.  I've had a headache the last few days, I'm guessing from the smog/haze.  I have sinus issues anyway and this yuckiness is getting us all down. We even ran the air conditioner last night and this afternoon.  Kind of weird.  I'm just not ready for hot season.  But it's here.

This evening Doug kept the kiddos home and let me splurge on American food with my friend Alicia.  It was so nice to sit in the air conditioning and chat.  The food was great too.
Vegetable Dagwood Sandwich, I ate half and brought the rest home to Doug.  Not as cheap as our Thai lunch, but it was around $5 and fed two people, so not terrible.  Sorry, I know I'm always posting prices of stuff, but it's a Thai thing.  Maybe that'll be my next catch phrase, "Oh excuse me, it's just a Thai thing." :)

After we got home we ate chocolate and watched a movie, it was about grandparents and made me home sick on top of my headache. That's no bueno or my dee. (Not good in Spanish and then in Thai, sometimes I still think Spanish phrases before I think of Thai...)  I only cried a little, not like when I read "Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs to Kees.  It's a sad book about Grandparents where a little boy loves his Grandma and Great Grandma and they both (uh, spoiler alert) die.  The saddness of this book reminds me of a lot of the terrible sad movies my dad is famous for making us watch.  So when Kees requires I read the Nana book, it's mostly because he likes to hear me cry.  Thus proving, that he has Grampa's qualities in his DNA.  I'd love so much for him to get more influence from ALL his grandparents in person, but I am thankful for those little reminders that some things are just in our blood. :)

If you feel like crying, this book is for you.

All in all our week has been busy and productive, I'm glad we took the afternoon off because now Doug is feeling sick and Kees is congested on top of Kora already having respiratory stuff the last week or so.  Hopefully, some Saturday morning R & R tomorrow will get us back into shape in time for our English class and then EASTER!!!

My good word of the day is about parenting.  I've been realizing more and more that the things I want to teach my kids are the things I need to learn myself.  Like, the other day, Kees was helping me clean and got a little grumpy about it.  I turned to him and said, "Kees, we all have to do our part to keep our house clean and we can choose to gripe and complain or have a good attitude.  When we have a good attitude it makes the work easier and more fun for everyone."  Oh how often I am the one complaining.  One of my favorite verses that I've ever heard in the form of song is: "Do everything with out complaining, do everything without arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God..." (Philippians 2:14)  And that's something I struggle with a lot.  I get the "oh poor mes" especially when it's so hot and I don't feel well, but God is reminding me, as I train my kids, that we should continue to do the work unto the Lord. It's easy to focus on the negative, but I need to re-direct myself just like I do with my kids.  My attitude affects our whole family.  So that's it, let's find joy in our work today and be thankful for all our many blessings.   I hope I don't sound preachy, these good words are 100% stuff I need to hear and be reminded of and I like to share it, so I feel held accountable.  So thanks for going through this journey with me. :)

And now I am off to bathe the babies and put them nigh nigh, and hopefully sleep myself.  Praying for rain and good health.  (Ha ha, for some reason as I was typing this I accidentally typed "shave the babies", uh, that would NOT be good)

Sorry for the short post and lack of humor, just really not feeling well tonight.  Love you all, hope you're having a great FRIDAY!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm on a roll, Day 4!

Day 4:

It's Thursday night, and here we go again.  Our day in review!  We started the day off with our language study time with Kruu Jeab.  Doug usually does two hours and then I do an hour.  During my hour with Kruu Jeab, Doug took the kids outside to play.  He is also the one that makes sure the fish get fed.  I am a terrible pet owner, despite my Momma's best efforts.  It's a miracle my children get fed, honestly, but they are extremely hard to ignore, so their needs get met. And as we all know, I never skip a meal, so it only follows that I would feed the little people as well.
Kees and Kora feeding the fish.  Kruu Jeab is on the far right, she's awesome! (P.S. Kruu means teacher)

When I came outside, I was planning to shower the kids since they'd been outside for an hour, but instead, one of the neighbor ladies from our old place dropped by.  She said we should go back with her and visit Pi Noi and Pi Uan.  So we hopped in the truck and drove over to visit them.  Remember how I mentioned yesterday that I was learning about flexibility. It's still not easy for me, but today, I was so glad I went.  I was close to staying at home and just sending Doug with the kids, since I had housework to do.  But my lesson with Kruu Jeab this morning was a video of Kees when he was younger playing with all his friends.  And I was missing our neighbors!  Pi Uan invited us to go with their family on a trip for Songkran next month, and we're pretty excited to be included.  Our quick visit, turned into lunch! 
Pi Tang Moo is in the upper left corner visiting at our house and the rest of the pictures were taken at Pi Noi's place.
Pi Noi made a Thai omelet, an egg soup, and laap.  She told us this meal just cost her 20 baht to make that's around 65 cents.  Discussing prices of things is very common in Thailand, which I love!  I've always enjoyed getting a good deal, and Thai people are always very willing to share about the price of things.
When we came home from visiting our friends, our landlord, his wife and daughter were at our place doing some yard work and checking our septic system.  Kees had such a good time playing with their daughter, Pi Deer.  Kora had to take a nap and missed out on the fun. She cried and cried when she woke up and Pi Deer left soon after.  Hopefully next time she'll get to play more!
Our landlord had these large potato things, he dug them out from somewhere in our yard.  I had no idea they were here, so weird.
Kees playing with Pi Deer.

One thing that has not been enjoyable about today is the HEAT and the crazy smog.  Around this time every year the air quality worsens dramatically due to burning.  Last year it rained right before we came back so we missed the worst of it.  Today, I have a headache and my eyes feel like they are coated in about two layers of dust and yuck. Kora has had congestion and coughing for over a week now.  I will be so glad when it finally rains! (If you would like to read more about the situation, I've attached an article here.)

Since it was ridiculously hot and I was getting crankier by the minute, I convinced Doug to turn on the AC.  I wasn't going to, but I checked the temperature online and it's 100 degrees, so I think that fact combined with the poor air quality is as good a reason as any to splurge on some aircon...and maybe a Dr. Pepper!  Doug found Dr. Pepper at the import store the other day, and I've been trying to wait to drink mine, but the heat from today got to me!  I even put it over ice and added cherry juice, let me tell ya, Sonic ain't got nothin' on the Dr. Pepper I drank today.  I'm sure it was so amazing because it's been so long.
Can you see the cherry juice?  This went by way too fast!
And now for a good word for today.  I've been doing a daily reading plan and last night I was reading in Judges.  Isn't it crazy, how God kept giving the people judges and they would do okay for a little while, but then they would forget about God again and again.  I think we do that too!  There really is "nothing new under the sun".  Even though their ancestors had seen God work in mighty ways, the people kept forgetting!  I'm hoping this blog will be a good way for me to continue to see God in my life and not forget the ways he has worked on my behalf.  Hope you all are having a blessed Thursday!

HA! I totally forgot to mention that the cake failure from earlier this week has been requested for our Easter service Sunday.  Can you say, hilarious?  Our Easter service will be held at a park and we are getting up crazy early since it's a sunrise service.  So get excited, I should have some great pictures to share!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

God's To-Do list for YOU!

Day 3:

Today, we finally got some good time in our school room to read books.  Our day started with language tutoring (when I read this back to myself I thought I had written "language torturing" and almost had a cat), then lunch, then Doug went to pick up food for bible study tonight.

Lunch at 39 Baht Steak, we eat here a lot.  The food is about $1 a plate. Doug's food is pictured, it's Pat Prick Paow.
While Doug was gone and the kids and I were doing school work, I discovered a fabulous thing!  I recorded myself reading a few of Kees's favorite stories on the Voxer app and included a picture from each one, so Kees could select the one he wanted.  This is one of the better ideas I've had, especially when I have two kids who would very much like to have ALL my time and attention.  So, I'd read Kees a book (and record it), then he'd listen to it again, while I read Kora one of her books.  I was even able to run into the house to put my bread in the oven (Here is the recipe) and got some clothes hung out to dry.  It's a whole new world!  Of course, I'd never stop reading to my kids live and in person, no matter how much Kees loves using the ipod for story time, because that's when Momma gets her snuggles!

I even mixed up the dry ingredients for the next few times I want to make bread!

In our school room, Kees was hot from playing outside and said, "I'm gonna read in front of this fan!"
After school time was over (Kora needed a nap and Kees was starving), we came back over to the house.  Kora took a short nap, then woke up and we had another snack.  We eat a lot at our house.  I have an ever present panic brewing beneath the surface that if I don't eat soon I will starve.  I'm convinced I'm Super Mom and my kryptonite is not eating often enough. So, every couple hours, we're snacking.  The second snack we had was pineapple and watermelon.  Another awesome feature about Thailand, cheap fruit.  We pay about 10 baht (around 35 cents) for a bag of fruit already cut up and it usually lasts a couple of snack breaks for the whole family.

Kees was excited about the fruit, Kora shoveled that fruit in so fast, it makes me think I've passed on my fear of impending starvation.
As the kids were finishing up their snack, I decided to make some "Malt Ball" since we ran out this morning.  "Malt Ball" is an institution in our house.  If there is no "Malt Ball" for breakfast, the people will riot, and the world might come to an end.  "Malt Ball" is how Kees used to say "Oat Balls" which was the shortened version of "Oatmeal Powerballs", the original name of the recipe.  It's 4 ingredients: peanut butter, honey, oats, and chocolate.  Kees eats it every morning for breakfast and so do I.  It's amazing to eat with plain yogurt.  You can find the recipe here. (P.S. I cut the chocolate in half, and I've even used the unsweetened cocoa mass in place of chocolate chips to make it sugar-free).
Making "Malt Balls", Kees usually helps make it, while Kora helps by "re-arranging" the kitchen. She found some jello mix today and started gnawing the corners.  Mark my words, next week I'll be blogging saying there is a mouse gnawing on stuff in our kitchen cause I'll forget it was actually Kora.  If and when that happens, please, someone, correct me! Oh and technically I think you are supposed to spoon out the "malt ball" stuff and eat it like balls, but we're lazy and just keep it in a giant jar and spoon it out as needed.  So there you go!

Tonight we were able to host cell group at our place.  We started off with songs.  Kora, of course, loved the music and danced for all of us. We sang Easter songs, so I recognized the tunes.
Singing AND Dancing!
Doug shared his testimony IN THAI, and guess what, I can understand his Thai so much better than actual Thai people (too bad that's not the goal).  And if you know Doug, you know he's not very chatty.  I was so proud of him for talking so long, it was at least 10 minutes.    I am so incredibly blessed by his example.  Hoping and praying that someday I will be able to share as well as he did. 

Doug sharing his testimony, I took this picture right after the really good part, where he CRIED...Doug never cries, he started laughing when he realized I had the camera out.  I love this picture because you can see the tear and that smile is worth a million bucks!
After singing and Doug's testimony, we had a time of prayer.  I snuck into the kitchen to warm up the hot dog thingys that go with the Vietnamese food, and I didn't even blow a fuse this time. (Last time we hosted, the electricity went out because I can't run too many appliances at once.)  When the meeting was over, we sat on the floor and ate yummy food.  It was around 9 pm by the time we ate.  I mentioned earlier that we eat a lot around here, and I was NOT exaggerating (although I've been told I'm prone to doing that, so you gotta watch me).  Earlier, around 5, Doug came into the dining room, where the kids and I were already eating a snack and said, "So, you weren't planning on eating anything else between now and cell group tonight, were you?"  He acts like we had an arranged marriage and just met yesterday, of course I'm planning to eat between now and then, are you kidding me?  I think I said, "Yeah, I'm gonna eat!"  So I made cheesy eggs, rice, and cucumber with a side of fresh salsa.  Doug didn't eat, he's so anti-social, or dieting or some nonsense like that.  After dinner I went ahead and got the kids showered and jammied, so they'd be ready for nigh-nigh when everyone left.  Sometimes I'm so smart, it's scary.
Eating Vietnamese food.
Which brings me to my good word of the day.  Since we ate around 7 times today, I felt like I swept the dining room and wiped the table about 49 times.  Which made me think of how a mother's work is never done.  I have the tendency to get a little over the top or slightly obsessive when it comes to certain things, like the laundry.  It drives me bananas to have dirty clothes in the hamper, I blame my dad.  He was always swooping up dirty clothes and returning them to you folded neatly before you even realized you'd changed clothes.  He probably blames the military...but that's another story, for another day.  So, even when I just have two white shirts, it KILLS me to wait for a load.  I just want it all to be done, like RIGHT NOW!  As I was washing dishes for the 73rd time, it struck me that our Christian life is like that too.  It's never done, until you're dead.  God has something for us to do, every single day.  And there are no excuses or days off.  As believers, we absolutely have an impact on people, good or bad, and we can't just take a day off either.  Not gonna lie, that makes me a little cranky.  I'm already so obsessive about housework and my kids being clean, now my brain has added being a super Christian all the time. That's a lot of stinkin' pressure. Sometimes, I just want a whole day to myself to watch tv, read a book, eat a pile of chocolate frosting stashed from a grossified cake, and maybe be really opinionated on facebook and bless everyone with my REAL opinions on things.  But my outlook is wrong, isn't it?  When I start thinking about what I should have, and how I want things to be, I neglect to seek the holy spirit and what he'd have me do.  And I will say, when we walk in the spirit and truly seek God's plan for our day, the rewards are far greater than "letting loose".  Those things would be so rewarding in the moment, but the consequences wouldn't be as great.  Let's face it, I've already got about 3 chins, and if I eat much more frosting this week, that number may double.  So, it takes self-discipline, but it also takes a little bit of resting in Christ.  Because it's not all about checking things off the list or having a completely empty hamper or acting a certain way to appear holy.  It's more about nurturing our relationship with Jesus, so he can show us what he wants from us today, not tomorrow, today.  So there it is, what would God have you do today, what would he have you say? Where has your focus been this morning (or evening), does it honor our father in heaven?  Will it draw others to HIM?  The bible says, "they will know we are Christians by our love".  And that's what I strive for.  Not to love people in my limited understanding of the word, but to allow Christ to reign freely, so his love will also rain freely.  (Did you like that, reign/rain?  I think my sister will enjoy that one!)  I guess what I'm trying to say, somewhat unsuccessfully, is that, "Whether it's housework or God's work, it's never done, so don't rush it!  Do what's right in front of you and rest in Christ.  Those details really aren't as important as we make them out to be.  Sometimes what we think is so urgent, doesn't even rank on God's "to-do" list for our day, so let's trust him, with ALL of it!" (Probably should block this blog, because Doug's gonna quote me tomorrow when I get all over the top about something...)
Okay, this is a random picture from today, Kees came into the house and said, "Momma, Kora's on the table!"  So, now I moved the chairs and bench away from the table, so she can't do this anymore.

Just remembered this, earlier today, I had just sent my kids out to play and kicked my feet up to do my Thai listening collection, and wouldn't you know, our neighbor lady showed up.  That's right, I'm the fat falong sittin' in my house ignoring my kids, listening to who knows what (at least Kora wasn't sitting on top of the table when she showed up).  I was kind of annoyed, but for once, I actually just got up, did my best to talk to her and reminded myself, that I am in fact a good mother most of the time.  I didn't let it get to me.  It meant I only got about 5 minutes of language listening, but I got to practice my Thai with her, and guess what, I listened to Thai later in the day (like right now while I'm blogging) and I still got plenty of study time.  So, flexibility is something I'm still learning, even at the OLD age of 30.  I'm thankful God keeps allowing interruptions to my well thought out plans because it reminds me that my plans should always be in line with HIS.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thai Tea Party

Day 2:

See, I'm really blogging everyday. Bet you thought I wouldn't.

Today started off like a regular Tuesday.  Doug has his pastor meeting with local Thai pastors and he did INDEED take the cake monstrosity I mentioned yesterday.  Which, I still say was pretty awful.  Apparently it got RAVE reviews by all the pastors and our pastor was very excited that I will be sharing the recipe next month at our baking class. Doug came home with an empty container...SCORE.  And, yes, I ate the frosting I stashed.

With Doug gone, our routine is a little different, normally he is able to study Thai in his office and still put Kora down for naps or monitor while I do school work with Kees.  Since he was gone and I was a little behind on housework, I let the kids play outside quite a bit, even though the air quality has gotten terrible here...pray for rain, pretty please. (Oh and for those interested, I listened to 3 1/2 hours worth of Thai lessons on my ipod and I'm pretty sure that is gonna be my max for one day because I was getting cranky by the end).

I decided to wear make-up today and fix my hair with my new curling iron. I bought the curling iron for 119 baht yesterday when I was out (that's about $4).  Well, you get what you pay for. It started smoking as soon as I plugged it in, then the cord got tangled beyond recognition after curling just 3 sections of hair. I unplugged it to right the situation and heard a rather shocking pop when I plugged it back in.  I curled half of my hair, it stayed curled about 37 seconds.  You'll notice there are no pictures of me from today...
This photo pretty much sums up the first half of my day (and almost every day):  Kora climbing on things and making messes.

While we were doing this, Daddy was doing this...

Doug got home around 2:30 and by 4:30 we were all starving and ready to get out of the house.  So we drove about 20 minutes to visit one of Doug's pastor friends who just opened a Pad Thai restaurant about 3 weeks ago.

Pulling up to the restaurant.
Kees had to go to the bathroom 3 times while we were out tonight.  On one of the visits to the bathroom we discovered this giant whisk.  I hope some day to have cause for using one of these babies.  I sure do love me a whisk!
Kees and the Giant Whisk (I should write a children's book with that title)
Kees is hilarious when it comes to restroom breaks and today was no exception. Doug had taken him the first time and the second time I took him. He was so slow and careful and climbed on top of the squatty potty like he was going to squat the way you are supposed to, but after all the work to climb up there, he just sat on it like it was a toilet.  I would not call myself a germ-a-phobe by any means, but even I cringed a little when he sat right on the squatty.  Now you will all understand why my kids get bathed 2 times a day, and sometimes 3.  After Kees got done using the potty, he said, "Momma we should buy a squatty potty so I can stand on it or sit on it or whatever I want." In my mind, I responded with, "You know Kees, I knew my life was missing a very important piece, and that MUST be it!"  But I didn't, I just smiled and said, "That would be nice wouldn't!?!"  And my motherly self thought, "How sweet, my son really appreciates Thailand in all of its glory."  Then Kees said, "Momma, that place is yucky, I don't want to go back in there."  Sigh, well at least no one could understand what he was saying..

While Kees and I were discovering squatty potties and giant whisks, Doug was visiting with his friend and his friend's wife was making our fabulous dinner.  It was so yummy!
Making our food.
Udom entertaining Kora.

Yummy Pad Thai
This was right after Doug asked me if I wanted to go sample some teas at Udom's house and he said they usually put salt in it!  He thinks he's so funny!

After we finished up our dinner, we went back to Udom's place so we could sample some of the teas he sells. We tried 5 different types and sat on the floor with a little table.  It felt just like a tea party!  Both of the kids really enjoyed it!
Udom was getting everything set up and Doug was explaining to the kids about tea parties.

Kees liked the tea
Kees had a blast seeing how he made the tea.
Kora found fish at Udom's house.
Tonight, at bath time, Kees pretended to make and serve tea!  So cute!

Kees told me the flavor of this tea was "candy tea with blue mints and red cherries"
As we were driving into Udom's neighborhood I saw a cluster of 4 spirit houses all together and thought I'd take a picture to share with you all.  The vast majority of Thai homes and businesses have spirit houses.  People offer food and drinks to the spirits and place them on these little houses.  They believe it brings good luck.
Spirit houses.
Udom's family is one of the very few, less than one percent of Thailand, that professes Jesus Christ.  They do not have a spirit house at their home or business, but guess what I saw on the door frame at their restaurant, this:
Roughly translated it says, "Look to God"
So that's my good word for the day.  I am often impressed by our Thai brothers and sisters and the stand they take for Christ.  So, "In small and large ways, we should all be taking a stand for Christ, our homes and lives should be just a little different. When people have a conversation with us, or come to visit in our homes, I hope the love of Christ shines."  So that's my challenge for myself, to be a little weird and different, all in the name of Jesus! :)