Almost Double Digits

Friday, October 4, 2013
Thank you “Crafty European” for sending Britain a surprise to
dress up the school uniform for her birthday!

Recapping our favorite 9 year-olds birthday festivities today in photos…

Evie helped me take cake and games to Britain’s class for the last period of school.
“One of these things is not like the other”
My tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed bebes totally stick out like sore-thumbs among all their beautiful dark haired Asian classmates!
We then squeezed 10 people in a tuk-tuk (new personal record) to come back home for a small “BEACH” themed pool party at our apartment.  Britain has been blessed with some super sweet girls for friends this year and we are so grateful for how that has helped her adapt and begin to feel more at home here.

Britain, we are so proud of the decisions you are making….your leadership (she was just voted in as Elementary School Vice-President)…..your compassionate spirit….your quirky sense of humor and how you make us laugh…..your ‘not-easily-ruffled’ personality……your teachability and humility….your spunk and charm….your devotion and loyalty….and the perfect place smack-dab in the middle of the family that you fill so beautifully!  More than anything, your daddy and I are grateful that your heart is seeking God’s and you are growing in your knowledge of and relationship with Him.  May you never tire of that life-long pursuit!  Happy Birthday to our beautiful Britain Aliyah.  We love you to bits Boo!!

Monkey On My Back

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Hey you two!  
You’re by far the coolest eleven-year-olds I know!  Ive never been prouder of you than in the past 5 months.  It has been hard.  
Really hard!  
And to the best of your ability, you have trusted us.  And more importantly, trusted God!  
You’ve been stretched and asked to leave the security and relationships that are of uttermost importance in 4th grade.  You’ve left a house with abundant acreage and freedom to roam, and adapted to city living in the confines of an apartment.  You’ve said goodbye to grandparents and cousins that are your best friends.
There have been tears.  And heartache.  You have grieved.  
But you get up each morning and keep going and keep trying to embrace the new and foreign things in this place.
I know right now its fresh and still hard, but someday I hope you can look back with fondness at the unique opportunities that were yours.  How many 11 year olds have celebrated birthdays over the years with high tea in London….. piñatas with orphans in Kiev…. feeding monkeys on rugged beaches in Thailand…?
You continue to teach me so much as I have to learn to hold you with open hands and trust God to meet needs in your life that I know I cant “fix”.   My prayer for you in these next months of continued transition is that you cling to Him when all else feels shaky and insecure.  I love seeing you grow in grace and understanding that His can meet those needs!  Hold fast!  Its going to be a bumpy ride, but full of adventure.  He’s preparing you so uniquely to be the man and woman He has made you to be.  And the glimpses that I see are amazing!
I love seeing who you are becoming.
I love you!!
Coming up a little short on friends being somewhat new here, it didnt seem like the year for a big party.  A little get away seemed like a perfect alternative.  One of those times a traveling husband with accumulated points has its perks!!  We got a free weekend in a little fishing community along the beach about 3 hours from Bangkok.
Fresh air and freedom were therapy for this boy.  Happy to be left alone with his rod and thoughts to watch the tide roll in at sunset.
How I love this man-child!
Our little $15 excursion was the highlight of our weekend.
Here’s our fancy transportation to a deserted island inhabited by monkeys….
Complete with creepy dismembered voodoo dolls…
My main squeeze
Upon our approach to the island, monkeys began bounding down the rocky ledges and scampering across the beach to meet us.
So Lion-King-ish!
We were tossing bananas to the monkeys.
And then….this happened….
The kids thought monkeys perched on their shoulders was the coolest thing ever!
Ok, Ill be honest…..I did too!!
Got to say….that has got to be one of the coolest things we’ve ever done as a family!

One Last Hurrah!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Sweet Evie turned 5 the day before we left.
This momma had a bit of a meltdown when the tickets were booked and the realization set in that I would not have the capacity to throw one last party with all of our worldly possessions packed away in a POD.
Plan B…
Turn it over to someone highly more qualified…my mother!
I knew two things:
1) she is infinitely more creative and I could rest assured that Evie would have an over-the-top celebration in spite of our transient predicament
2) Mother would need a project.
A diversion and party to plan would keep her chin up and be a distraction from the looming reality that we’d be departing the next day.
I told her I didnt want this to be a goodbye party.  No tears that night.  I wanted a celebration.
All about Evie.
….And she did!!
The theme was “Snow”.  We’re quite certain with temps 75 and above year-round here in Bangkok, that we wont see the likes of snow for a very….long….time.
Get this….the meteorologist was calling for snow flurries all day:)!!!  Mother pulled off a glittering winter-wonderland!
A soup supper for some extended family was perfect for the chilly January night.  My crafty sisters got on board with creating winter magic.  Josie filled cupcakes with custard and piped on icing with glitter sprinkles and white chocolate snow flakes.
And Diana made delicate no-one-like-another crystalized snow flake cookies with intricate cut outs and royal icing decorations.  Ah-mazing!
And, my sweet friend Helen (yep, the genius behind the airplane cookies!!) surprised us with a shipment of cake-pops all decorated in theme.
So “Narnia-ish”!!
So perfect!
Putting Evie in “blue” for her birthday party kinda made me chuckle.
As my nurse friend Judy says, it was so NOT a becoming color on her when she was born.  That was one SICK smurf baby!!
She totally rocked it for her party tho!

So fun to have one last celebration to rally around and another chance to hug the necks of those dearest to us.
Oh how we’ll miss these cousins!

Grandmoni pulled off such a special 5th birthday celebration.  10 years ago, she threw the twins FIRST birthday as we were en-route to Ukraine.  Now Evie celebrates her 5th with bags packed for Bangkok. What an unusual childhood.
But what stories they’ll have to tell!!
Here’s to our beautiful snow queen…..with happy anticipation of warmer days ahead!