01 March 2013

A Day in the Life

As we wrap up things here in Bangkok and head back to the US for a bit, I thought it was a rather appropriate time to share another day in our life. Last time I shared about our day we had just moved to Bangkok and Asher was 17 months old, now it's three years later and we are heading back to the US with a 4 year old and a 2 year old.

Asher gets up early, but he's pretty good about playing in his room until his "green light" comes on. Once the light turns green he turns off his AC and comes running into our room demanding breakfast. At this point his typical breakfast includes 2 pieces of toast, oatmeal and yogurt. The boy loves to eat.

Mornings are hectic as we get breakfast, a little play time, get bags packed and wrestle Asher into his school uniform. Depending on the day either Roger or I and maybe Jack take Asher to school. Before I leave the house I try to throw in the first load of laundry.
The drive to school is somewhere between 20 - 60 minutes long depending on the day of the week and the time of year. We spend a while playing on the playground with Asher and his friends before the morning assembly starts. After we get Asher settled in at school we either head home or, since we are already downtown, go visit some friends.
Usually we just head home and while Jack plays I hang up the laundry and do the first round of dishes. If Jack is doing good I can go ahead and get the house straightened up or work on packing up and cleaning out different areas. Did I mention we are moving out of this house in 16 days? Everything has to either go into storage or into a suitcase bound for America.
Sometimes in the mornings Jack and I join the other househelpers and grandparents around the neighborhood for a morning stroll, but usually we stay indoors where it's somewhat cooler. If we have to we head to the grocery store or up to the mall to run errands, but most days we just stay home and play.
Closer to lunch time Jack and I walk up to the top of our street and order lunch. His current favorite is fried basil pork with no pork. He just really likes the rice and green beans. Jack has all of his favorite routines and pretty much has the cook at the restaurant wrapped around his finger. He points and squeals and she gets him his rice as fast as possible. Right before we leave he always makes all the ladies swoon when he speaks his little bit of Thai, wais and then gives her kisses.
After lunch Jack gets a quick spray down in the shower and heads off for his nap. I try to do absolutely nothing while he sleeps, but sometimes I am forced to get off the couch to do more laundry, wash more dishes or cook dinner.

Most afternoons Roger can work at home while Jack naps and I head back down to the city by myself to pick up Asher. I repeat the morning commute (although it is usually a bit faster in the afternoons) and wait outside with all of the other parents for Asher to appear. We almost always make a pit stop for milk before heading to the playground and then heading home.
After school we tend to just hang out at home. Lots of afternoons are spent on the couch eating a snack, watching a show and reading books. After a little time to unwind both boys usually head right out the front door and spend the rest of the evening playing outside, only taking a short break for dinner.

After it cools off we go for bike rides, run up and down the street pretending to be airplanes or play soccer in the middle of the road with the neighbors. There's also a healthy dose of cat chasing, knee scraping and sibling fighting. Once it gets dark the garbage truck comes by and we head inside for baths.
Just a side note about awesome Thai people can be: one night I had bubbles out in the street and most of the neighborhood preschoolers were chasing me around. We saw the garbage truck coming and as usual my boys started cheering and waving and, this night, blowing bubbles. All of the other kids were whisked inside away from the dirty garbage men. Evidently our fascination with the garbage truck is very American. The very next night the garbage men all came back with bubbles and they stopped the truck in front of our house and blew bubbles for Asher and Jack to chase. Of course, now the neighbors think we are even stranger than before.

It's also worth mentioning that Jack has a rather small vocabulary for a 2 year old, but he can say garbage truck and Gangnam Style.

Bath time is rather unexciting at our house. No bathtub means quick showers for everyone and then off to bed. We don't mess around at bedtime. I'm too close to the finish line and have them well trained to brush teeth, put on pajamas and get in the bed.
The rest of the evening is for relaxing, exercising and occasionally heading out for a massage or a coffee with some girlfriends.

I can only imagine how much our day is getting ready to change. In 19 days we will be back in America (at least for a while), settling into a new house and new routines. While I know I will miss Asher's school, being able to play outside every day and our garbage men, I am very much looking forward to dropping the boys off with Mimi, reconnecting with old friends and (at least for a while) not being the weird neighbors.

15 February 2013

Asher and the Alphabet

Asher will finish Kindergarten 1 at the end of the month. This year they have learned all of the consonants in the Thai alphabet as well as the English alphabet. Here's a video of Asher saying the Thai alphabet.

11 February 2013

Jack's Great Fall

Let me paint a picture for you:

Every night after baths, Asher and Jack spend a few (ok, exactly 5 because they are little and need very specific limits) minutes bouncing around on our bed. When the timer goes off it's time to brush teeth and head to bed. Jack loves his tooth brush. He also says about 5 words, one of which is teeth.

So, every night the timer goes off and Jack throws himself off the bed and takes off running as fast as his miniature legs will go, running towards the bathroom screaming, "TEETH!!!" We all giggle at him and he giggles at himself and then we hold him down and force him to let us brush his teeth.

This sets the stage for our latest adventure.

Three weeks ago we were plowing through our normal bath and bed routine. Jack heard the timer and took off only to hit a puddle of water when he went into the bathroom. Down he went and we all braced for the scream. Oddly enough there wasn't much of a scream, just a heap of Jack sort of crying and looking confused. I scooped him up, dried him off, looked him over for big bumps and put him to bed.

He whimpered for a few minutes and then drifted off to sleep. A few hours later he started crying and since that is pretty unusual I ran up to see what was wrong. He looked fine, but he wouldn't go back to sleep. I figured his belly hurt (I think we had something really healthy like chocolate chip pancakes for dinner) and the thought even crossed my mind that maybe he hurt himself and needed some Tylenol. Then the thought of him throwing up bright red Tylenol all over his crib crossed my mind. I rocked him, Roger rocked him and finally he just went back to sleep.

The next morning I found him sort of floundering in his crib. His arms were hanging onto the edge, but his feet appeared to not be working. I got him breakfast and when he was done I plopped him down on the floor and realized that the boy couldn't stand up.
Jack, the one-legged wonder

Off to the doctor we went, got some x-rays, watched the doctor search Google for "toddler hip pain" and left without knowing anything more than he didn't appear to have broken anything. We went back three days later (three non-walking Jack days later) to see a pediatric orthopedic doctor. More x-rays, thankfully no more Google and no more answers. Just a two year old that couldn't walk.
Hanging out with Daddy during one of many trips to the hospital.

We waited a week (another non-walking week) and went back again. I tried almost every day to get Jack to at least stand up, but he would always just perch on his one good leg and then fall down and crawl away. Of course, at the doctor's office he stood up, and while holding onto my hand, walked down the hall. Fantastic. The doctor told us all would be well and sent us home. Jack refused to stand or walk for two more days before finally waking up one morning and deciding he was ready to go.

We watched him limp around for another week before we decided that maybe we should go back to the doctor even though the doctor told us he was fine.
We found some fun ways to have fun without using our legs

The doctors we had already seen were out of the country, so we ended up at another international hospital seeing another new doctor (I think this was number 4). This guy was on top of things. Instead of telling Jack to walk, he threw some toys across the room and let Asher and Jack run after them. Once he saw how he was limping (and confirmed that I was not imagining it) he told us his plan for figuring out what was wrong. Once again we needed x-rays and I have to say I'm getting pretty good at holding Jack's leg in the correct positions.

We headed back to the doctor's office and then we finally had our answer: Jack had a toddler fracture and now that almost three weeks had passed we could see his bone starting to heal. Since Jack was already walking the doctor decided no cast for now and we all headed home happy to finally have some answers. Other than a few more follow up appointments it looks like we finally figured out the ending to Jack's Great Fall.
Back to normal: running wild in the streets of Bangkok with his big brother

27 January 2013

Coming Up Next...

...it's our trip to America!  In approximately 51 days and 9 hours we are heading back to Kentucky for our Stateside Assignment. Basically, every couple of years we get to go to America and reconnect with everyone. I'm dreading the trip and anticipating the destination. Being locked in airplanes with Jack Hampton for 29 hours sounds like a nightmare. It also makes me thankful that we are only 29 hours from the US and it's a much easier journey than the trip home from Indonesia. We will be living in Paducah until December and hopefully doing a bit of traveling around the area as well.

In other news, Jack maybe has a broken leg. He fell a week ago and hasn't walked since. The doctors can't find anything on the x-rays, so we are just waiting...I think. Either way, it's not a lot of fun to carry around a 2 year old in the Bangkok heat, but at least he doesn't have to wear shoes and that saves me a few minutes every time we leave the house.

We are keeping busy getting all of stuff ready to go into storage. It's a great time to get rid of stuff, so I have been cleaning out closets and throwing away as much as I can. One benefit of moving so often is getting rid of stuff I don't really need, but moving is a lot of work. I consider myself an expert 50 pound suitcase packer at this point and I will soon be testing my skills again.

20 January 2013

Things That Probably Don't Happen At Your Preschool (Part 2)

Last week was traffic and bicycle safety day at Asher's school. I'm not really sure what all they talked about because Asher said that he had a hard time understanding the policemen.

I think they learned a little about road signs and maybe how the policemen direct traffic. During the busiest parts of the day in Bangkok policemen will be at most intersections stopping traffic during green lights and generally adding to the chaos in the streets. Maybe now the preschoolers understand why?

After the safety lecture they all headed outside to practice what they had learned. Asher evidently had fun waiting for his turn to ride the bikes.

They practiced safely crossing the road (or maybe they let the bike riders get an early start on scaring pedestrians dumb enough to try and cross the road).

There were also stoplights and different traffic signs set up around the courtyard, so I think they had to follow directions and try to not break any of the rules. Asher was unclear as to whether or not traffic violations resulted in needing to pay a bribe.

Overall it seemed to be a fun day and Asher really liked it because there was very little time spend learning to write Thai letters that day.

The odd part of the day came out later on when he kept talking to me about the policemen and their bags. I finally asked him what he was talking about and this is what he says: "Well, Khruu Wen (his teacher) told us that if we stood up or talked while the policemen were talking they would hit us with their stick and put us in their bag and take us away."

Asher sort of scoffs at this sort of thing and doesn't fall for it, but it's a pretty normal for people here to tell their kids things like this. We have a friend in a different part of the country that finally realized one day that all of the children in her church were scared of her because their parents had been telling them that foreigners bite kids.

Just another day at school, living in fear of policemen sticking you in a bag for standing up when you are supposed to be sitting down.

18 January 2013

Things That Probably Don't Happen At Your Preschool

There are a few things that are different in a Thai preschool. Let's look back to the end of July and see what happened on Fire Drill Day 1, Year 2555.

In order to make it more realistic they actually started a small fire inside the school.

And then they rolled the fire through the hallways.

Of course, there is the obligatory group picture.

Like all good events there was a special sign made just for that day.

Okay, I admit, the sign is a little creepy looking.

Asher seemed unmoved by the whole experience. He was unimpressed by the fire in the hallways, but he was quite taken with the small flags that the teachers carried. For some reason he calls the flags castles and for months talked about seeing castles all around the city. We didn't know what he was talking about for the longest time. I still haven't figured out why he thinks flags are called castles.

So, what do you think? Are we likely to run into these types of fire drills when we are in the US?

01 January 2013

Project 365: 358 - 366

Day 358

Roger played tour guide and took everyone to Ayutthaya to see the old temples and ride elephants. Asher had a blast, Jack and I stayed at home and Roger posed on an old temple.

Day 359

Happy Birthday Baby Jack!

Day 360

Merry Christmas! And let's mention how these four could not sit still for a picture. Every single picture has Asher frozen in this pose, Jack running away, Ellie being held in place by Asher and Aedan looking he's just fed up it.

Day 361

We followed up an exciting Christmas with two sick boys and lots of laundry.

Day 362

Daddy and Asher relaxing in the glow of the iPad. More than likely it was Asher showing off how great he is at Fruit Ninja.

Day 363

Roger and I went out for the evening and I had the opportunity to model my Christmas present.

Day 364

I took Roger's mom out for a foot massage, it's the best way to end a day of walking around the city.

Day 365

Jack had Asher's sunglasses and Asher's bike. You can imagine how well Asher took that.

Day 366

Asher got a guitar for Christmas and he loves to sit on the couch strumming some chords and making up songs.

And that's it. An entire year in pictures. I'm glad that I did it and I'm glad to be done.