Wednesday, May 28, 2008


It's nice to be back in Bangkok with Rocky again. He'll be blogging about his past week on our other blog. Even though I was looking forward to being on the beach. It just wasn't the same without Rocky. I missed him alot, and it was alot harder to do anything. It was nice to have another family and my dad around so they could help occasionally. It's also nice to be in a country where people love kids, especially blonde kids. Because she's a magnet for Thais, I got alot of help from random people.

Well the trip did not get off to a good start. We loaded up in a taxi with all our suitcases, stroller, children, and bags. When we got to the airport I started unloading immediately and tried to do so one handed because it was too busy to set Adelaide down. In the midst of all the craziness I somehow left my wallet in the taxi. Of course I realized this just in time for the guy to be gone. Dang. Luckily I didn't have alot of stuff in there-- about 30 dollars or so, my driver's license, and a few random replaceable cards. My dad called the taxi company immediately but these taxis were independent owned so basically I was out of luck. I called Rocky and had him cancel all of my credit cards which was pretty easy. It really wasn't that big of a deal but I beat myself up about it for the rest of the day. I hate it when I do stuff like that.

So we head inside the airport to check in for our Air Asia flight, and I guess I've been to Thailand so many times now I'm starting to bump into people I know when I go places. (Just this afternoon we ran into someone we knew at the grocery store.) Anyway, the Air Asia employee was P'Eddie, a former CCC Thailand staff. It was so funny that of all people someone I knew would check us in. It was nice to see a familiar face when I'd just lost my wallet.

The flight and van right weren't too bad though Adelaide said "get down" I don't know how many times. She also started saying the sentence, "I want to get down." Her vocab has expanded even more I'll have to fill everyone in on that later.

The beach in Krabi was great. Adelaide LOVED it. She's not the biggest fan of being in her floatie in the pool (she can climb out of it now) but was totally content chillin' in it in the sea. The water wasn't as clear as I would have liked but it was still beautiful. Adelaide also loved playing in the sand. It was "low season" so there were never more than a dozen people on the beach at a time which was nice. Restaurants weren't crowded and it was generally quiet. Everything was within walking distance. Perfect for 2 moms with 3 kids and my dad and his girlfriend.

Here's some pictures from our first evening in Krabi:

Our hotel was only a five minute walk from the beach. A breakfast buffet was included and everything was great except for ants. There were always ants in our rooms with all the crumbs and juice boxes around. It wasn't really a big deal though and for the price was paid, I was totally satisfied. Below is a picture of what I think is a lemur outside of our room:

We hung out alot on the balcony of our room. Adelaide loved our place because she could climb on every piece of furniture in it.

While we were in Krabi, we typically ate breakfast then headed to the beach for a couple of hours. Then we'd come back to the pool to shower and play. After that was lunch followed by naps. In the afternoons either Liza or I would watch the kids while the other had some alone time. We also traded off in the evenings after the kids were asleep. It was nice to be able to get a coffee and read or go get a massage. While I was there I got a 1 hour massage, a pedicure, and a foot scrub all for $20 (and that's at a touristy place). I love Thailand!

Like I said earlier, Adelaide is a Thai magnet. She gets so much attention all the time. I feel like a celebrity or something. Here she is below surrounded by people. Someone even put their baby in the stroller to "be her friend."

There was lots of great food to be had in Krabi-- german, indian, italian, irish, american, thai, etc. We usually ate Thai food which could be found right on the beach for just a couple of dollars a plate, but we occasionally ate some Western food as well. One night we went out for pizza. Adelaide and I both thought it was tasty but didn't make us happy for long. That night we both started feeling sick.

Adelaide began throwing up in her sleep. She felt so bad she wouldn't even move out of her vomit. I moved her to change her clothes and clean the sheets and she didn't even move. I was worried she was getting extremely dehydrated so I made her wake up and drink some water. She drank some but then began vomiting that. After that she was dry heaving over and over. I think all in all she vomited about 8 times. It was so hard to watch especially as I was sick as well. I never vomited but I did have diarrhea all that night and the next day. It was pretty miserable. The next morning Adelaide seemed as good as new but I definitely wasn't. I took a 3 hour nap with her and took it easy.

Here's some pictures of our last day at the beach, a perfect day by the way. It was absolutely gorgeous.

The flight home was uneventful. Adelaide slept the entire way on my lap and the taxi ride home was smooth. I only had to wait about 2.5 hours before Rocky was home. We were so excited to eat dinner together as a family.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A week offline?

Well, tomorrow the guys head down to the islands to film the documentary about what happened after the tsunami. They've been training the Thai team here the past few days. Rocky taught this morning about lighting. While they are gone to the remote islands which really aren't child friendly-- long rides on small boats, no electricity, no running water, etc.-- the other family with be joining Adelaide and I in Krabi, Thailand for 5 days on the beach. My dad and his girlfriend will also be joining us. I have not met her before so I hope it goes well. I'm looking forward to some time on the beach with Adelaide. This will be her first trip since she could really get around.

I'm not bringing my computer with me there so I'm not sure I'll have internet access for awhile. I'm hoping it will be a restful experience and that I'd actually be able to sleep. Adelaide slept 10.5 hours last night; she's getting almost back on schedule (though she's pretty much like a zombie half the day). I'm the one that's having trouble now. I woke up at 4:45 this morning and could not go back to sleep. I've really never had this problem before.

Oh, dang was going to post more but it sounds like a jackhammer is about to come through the floor of our room and Adelaide woke up crying obviously. They are doing construction downstairs. I hope it will be done when we get back from Krabi. It would be nice for a overly tired baby (and an overly tired mom) to be able to nap in the afternoons.

Here's some pictures from yesterday. We went to the mall and played in the play area just to get out of our room. Needless to say Adelaide loved it (and the chicken nuggets from McDonald's for lunch). I couldn't enter the play area so a Thai girl took it upon herself to take care of Adelaide for me. She helped her up and down the slides.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Words and Favorites

Before I say anything else: yes, I am posting a ton but I'm pretty much confined to my room while Adelaide naps so consider yourself well informed.

Well, I feel like I'm always saying this but Adelaide's vocabulary is growing daily. I'm so amazed. I'm sure I'll leave off things but here's some of the new things that I remember her saying over the past month.

dog, ball, hi, bye, eye, mama, dada are some of the old words she's been saying (I don't know how many times I hear "ball" spoken in a day). Below are some of her new words:
uh-oh: her new favorite thing to say especially when she drops something on purpose :)
milk: pronounced "mil" along with the sign.
what's that?: this is her first sentence. i guess she's been saying it for nearly a month now.
yes: usually done while nodding.
no: usually she'll do the sign for no also. She repeats it over and over when I tell her no sometimes.
wawa: water. can mean either milk or water at times. i think she likes the word better than milk because it's easier.
thank you: she can't really say this but will sign it now. usually when she gets something or does something she really likes. yesterday she said thank you when we got in the pool.
get down: this is her second phrase. she says this alot. she has exchanged this for "all done" alot of the time.
more: she kinda leaves off the "re" part of the word but it's quite distinct.
She's been repeating up a storm. Recent repeats are "tuk tuk" (a Thai 3 wheeled motorcycle taxi) and "fan."

It's pretty funny that I can understand alot of her needs/ desires these days and that even other random people are starting to understand her too. It's weird understanding her because sometimes if I don't respond she'll just keep repeating herself over and over and over. I find myself saying often, "Adelaide, I understand what you are saying but you cannot _____."

Her new favorite things to do are:
climb onto things, anything really-- chairs, beds, strollers, boxes, suitcases, people, whatever.
put lids and caps on and off things. she's actually got the twisting technique down now.
put things "back" where they go (a habit adopted from her neat freak parents I'm sure)
singing "if you're happy and you know it." she claps and stomps her feet.
"talk" on the phone
"read" books to me. This is super cute. She will turn the pages and point to things. She sounds alot like the teacher from Charlie Brown (is that what I sound like to her?)

Not exactly Engrish but just as Funny

I love the website so I'm trying to find my own Engrish signs will I'm here. These things maybe don't exactly qualify but hey, still awesome.

This is the washing detergent I bought at the store. It's was either "baby touch" or "naughty touch." Not exactly sure what that means but of course we had to purchase the "naughty" one.

This is the saying on our bedspread-- "charm, luxury and elegance amidst the sky." Yes, that's what I always hoped for.

The sign in my taxi this morning on the way back from the store.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Getting to Know the Neighborhood

Well, last night was our best night here thus far. I hope they get better and better. Adelaide was in bed at 8pm and then slept until 4:45. Not too bad. That’s nearly 9 hours. It really wasn’t too bad at all considering Rocky and I were up at 3:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. Really, this is the worst jet lag we’ve ever had. Come on, blaming it on the kid is one thing but we couldn’t blame her for that.

We knew she wasn’t going to back to sleep for sure this morning. She woke up happily talking to herself so we got up with her and played with the flashlight ‘til the sun came up. Since we were all up so early we got dressed and headed out the door by 7 and took a long walk to figure out our neighborhood.

Our neighborhood, Horkarnka, is so different from our neighborhood when we lived here. There are similarities-- It is a very busy area with lots to do. It’s near a university, but there’s something about it I don’t like as much. Maybe it’s just the familiarity I miss, but some old friends of ours that have moved here as well agree with me. I think one thing that I don’t like is that the area is very confusing. There are tons of one way streets and dead ends; I feel like I’m stuck in a casino or something.

Anyway, our morning started with a trip to the 7-Eleven to get some drinks. Outside the 7-Eleven is the moo bing stand (the pork on a stick and sticky rice that I mentioned we had on our first day to Thailand). We picked that up and sat down on some stairs to eat it. Once again, Adelaide loved it.

Along our walk we found saw some interesting restaurants, a temple where people were bringing monks morning offerings, lots of people that wanted to see Adelaide, lots of dogs (once again, Adelaide’s dog radar was working well), and about a million 7-Elevens. I’m exaggerating but not by much. Seriously. I saw two about 50 feet apart. See the picture below. it's a bit hard to see but there is another 7-Eleven in the background.

The entire time we were walking around Rocky was wearing Adelaide in our nearly purchased Beco carrier. It was expensive but thanks to a sweet new friend we didn’t have to fork over all the cash on our own. I’ve got to say it’s already been worth it’s weight in gold especially for walks in our neighborhood. I love it. It is by far the most comfortable carrier I’ve tried and I’ve tried several—the Baby Bjorn, the Ergo, and several slings.

This morning the Beco served a purpose I never thought it would, not for my little curious girl. It served as her bed. She feel asleep about ¾ of the way along our walk and she stayed that way even though there were horns honking and people talking. She even slept through us getting into a taxi, driving over speed bumps, and then getting out and going inside the house. It’s crazy to see her so exhausted (and this was at 8:30am)!

After this we went to the pool across the street for a swim. It was a good time. Something we’ll probably do often. The pool also has a restaurant and a gym attached as well. As you try to envision this place and you think of something like Lifetime Fitness in Austin, I’ll tell you right now, you’re wrong. :)

The afternoon was spent preparing materials to orient the rest of the team to Thailand’s language, food, and culture. Hopefully we’ll have a time to do that soon. The guys have been super busy with preparing to go to the islands and teaching film.

Mahapawn, Church of Great Blessing

On the way to church with our great friend, P'Tik, and her daugher, Hymn. Notice the lack of carseat. That still stresses me out! Adelaide had a great time looking out the window at all the interesting traffic.

Sunday came quick and we headed off to our old church with friends. We were so excited to get reacquainted with people and to see the new church building. It was pretty amazing how much it's changed since we went there 2 years ago. Before it was a 2 story church. The first floor was 1 room that served as the sanctuary. It was always hot and cramped inside. The second floor which was also one room served as everything else-- english classes, nursery, etc.

Now the church is gigantic. It's four floors with rooms for visiting missionaries, multiple sunday school classes, child care rooms, a fellowship hall, a kitchen, and 2 sanctuaries. It's got a great design. It's super modern and cool which we loved.

There were tons of people at church that I didn't recognize and the number probably tripled or quadrupled in size. Adelaide enjoyed her time in the nursery for the most part despite being so tired she could fall over asleep at any moment. All the Thais are absolutely in love with her. She gets "petted" by random people all the time and is awed over everywhere we go.

We stayed for lunch for a little while after church and Adelaide ate up a whole bowl of the rice soup that was being offered, not a kid's bowl either, the entire adult serving. I was impressed.

Below are alot of the pictures of the church. Alot of the pictures in the post will probably not be very interesting to many people, but I'm posting them anyway. I figured a few people (like you former STINTers) would be interested in how our old church has grown.

The temporary sanctuary while they are finishing up the real one.

The fellowship hall.

The new sanctuary. It will be absolutely beautiful with windows lining one side of it, shiny white tiles, and dark wood lining the front.

The sanctuary from the stage. It even has a sound booth and a balcony!

This is the view from the windows lining the sanctuary. It's the next door neighbor's yard. It's super nice that she agreed to let the church look into it.

This is one side of the entry way outside the sanctuary. It's going to be a coffee shop like area for people to hang out in before and after church.

Here are the kiddos trying to get a dog's attention outside of the church gate. Adelaide has a serious dog radar these days. Sometimes she'll be saying dog and we think she's just rambling but then we'll spot one along an alley or sidewalk or something. Poor girl has already got heat rash on her neck and behind one of her ears. She got it running around outside after church. Any tips anyone on how to deal with that?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 17, First Day in Thailand

After a whopping 3 hours of sleep Adelaide was ready to start our day. I mean it was 5:15pm to her, right? Why were we sleeping anyway? We failed miserably at getting her to go back to sleep so at about 6:30 or so Rocky took Adelaide for a walk. (He quickly learned our stroller was pretty useless around our neighborhood BTW. The sidewalks are too broken). He came back with moo ping and cow neow (pork on a stick and sticky rice) for breakfast which is one of our absolute favorite breakfasts in Thailand. Above Adelaide's getting her first taste of Thai food and it was a winner. She LOVES sticky rice. Don't judge me on my state in the picture please; put yourself in my shoes and think about how hot you'd look. :)

We unpacked a little bit before our team had a meeting at 10:00am. Adelaide "helped" us out of course.
She quickly found her toys and her favorite place to play in our room, the bathroom. It's gross and we've been trying to break her of the habit, but she loves it so much I'm giving her a little grace as we transition. She's really been a trooper considering everything. She's pushed through alot of exhaustion with minimal complaints.

After our meeting and a nap, we had our first shopping excursion to Carrefour. It's like a Super WalMart but in a mall. We got most of the goods to make our selves at home-- milk, yogurt, hangers, toilet paper, water, shampoo, detergent, etc. We helped ourselves to dinner in the Thai food court. My stomach was already turning from one day in Thailand (even with my probiotics) so I didn't really eat much. The kids all began crashing around 6:45. Rocky took Adelaide home with the other family on our team while I did some more shopping with the rest of the group. Rocky said Adelaide fell asleep on his lap in the taxi and didn't even wake as he unloaded the car and put her in her pajamas. Talk about tired. Poor girl.

Well we didn't stay up more later than she did which I was super thankful for because she woke up at 12:30 and didn't go back to sleep until 3. Remember, Thailand is exactly 12 hours difference from Austin so it really throws our bodies a curve ball. Once again, sleep didn't last nearly long enough 'cause we were up again at 6am. I hate you jet lag.

It's been really weird being here. Rocky and I were talking about how it's almost like a second home to us. We never really went through "culture shock" entering Thailand the first time. It was more like culture enchantment or something. Things that used to make us grab our cameras are things we don't even think about or notice now unless someone on the team asks us about it. I'm going to try and be aware of that and actually talk a little about the uniqueness of the country and culture this time. I think Adelaide will probably remind me of all the differences because I've never been here with a kid before.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The flights

The Sierra Nevadas out the window of the plane.

Anyone that says traveling with a toddler is easy must either drug their kid heavily or take a sedative themselves 'cause I've gotta say that as gung-ho as we are about travel, flying internationally with Adelaide was a nightmare at times.

We went from Austin to San Fransisco. From there to Tokyo and then on to Bangkok. Total flying time equaled about 20 hours with layovers/ time going through customs equaling about 7 hours. The United agent in Austin hooked us up with Economy Plus seating for the first couple of flights which was super awesome; an extra 3 inches of legroom makes a huge difference.

The first flight to San Fransisco wasn't too bad. It was only 3.5 hours or so and Adelaide slept about an hour of it. She was pretty whinny at times but it's to be expected after being awakened at 4:30 am. The layover was great. We ate our last Mexican food for the next 6 weeks or so and Adelaide ran around like crazy.

The next flight was the one that made me want to jump off of the plane. It was the crazy long 11 hour flight that I always dreaded before Adelaide was in the picture. I decided I'd go ahead and dope up both Adelaide and I so we could sleep well. I took Tylenol PM and Adelaide took Benadryl. Adelaide was super tired so she did fall asleep fairly easily but she didn't stay that way very long. She woke up groggy and fussy after about an hour and half. And she stayed that way for a really long time. That was super hard for me to deal with because I was groggy myself from the Tylenol.

She wouldn't eat anything much and once when we tried she swatted at the spoon and food went flying everywhere. The flight attendant graciously got us a new seat cushion and lots of washcloths from first class which was great because we needed every one of them.

About 15 minutes after the food swatting incident, Rocky was holding Adelaide and she vomited. And vomited. And vomited. And vomited some more. Seriously we thought it would never stop. Rocky awkwardly held Adelaide and the pool of vomit in his shirt as I very carefully tried to undress both him and her with a minimum amount of spillage. So here we are on a crowded plane, Rocky and Adelaide both half naked and me holding a bag of vomit. Dehydrated apples look alot like french fries once partially digested BTW.

Unfortunately we were also in the middle of our row. On a 777 there are 2 seats on one side, 5 in the middle and 2 on the other. We were in the section of 5 with the 3 in the middle. You'd think that after all the food being thrown, the diapers being changed, and the vomit that one of the Japanese neighbors would have switched with us but no. I wanted to cry at times.

The Narita airport was awesome. Adelaide and I made friends with a Thai mom and daughter and we hung around with them the entire layover. Adelaide and the little girl, DeeTa, played and me and Ta, the mom, talked. She was really cool and we hit it off right away. I got her number so we can hang out together sometime.

The smoothest flight by far was the flight to Bangkok. It was nearly 7 hours but Adelaide slept about 5.5 of it and we actually slept too. Awesome. We made it into the new Bangkok airport a little after 11pm and fully expected to be going through customs and immigration for an hour or more but the new airport is super fast. We were through in about 20 minutes with baggage claim and everything.

Some Thai staff met us and we headed to our guesthouse. I've got to admit, I had very low expectations for our place but was pleasantly surprised. We are all in one room but there's a dark corner for Adelaide's pack n play and there's an attached bathroom with a western style toilet and tub. We did have 2 twin beds but we pushed those together, stuffed pillows in the middle and made a king out of it. There's sufficient storage. Outside on the landing there are 2 chairs and a table so we can hang out there while Adelaide goes to sleep (there is no AC outside of bedrooms however which is common in Thailand) They are doing construction downstairs which can be loud at times, but the guesthouse is attached to the office so Rocky's commute takes about a minute. All in all I'm happy. Getting used to sharing a room with Adelaide and not having a kitchen will be the hardest adjustments I think.

We unpacked the necessary stuff for the first night and then went to bed around 1:30 or 2. We were up at 5:15am though so that wasn't so great. Man, it really helps the transition to be able to sleep in when you want. More on our adjustment later.

Adelaide with Libby, a teammate on the 1st flight.

Rocky and Adelaide on the first flight.

We're here

I of course will post more of an update on travels along with pictures soon, but I just wanted everyone to know that we are in Thailand! (27 hours, 3 planes, 4 airports, and just one pile of vomit later) We made it safely and are only mildly delusional from lack of sleep. Jet lag without a kid is way easier to get over. Jet lag with a kid that's sleeping in the same room with you is killer. More later.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

O What a Night

Well, it wasn't crazy enough that last Wednesday we were packing our last minute stuff in preparation for our trip to Thailand. It also happened to be a crazy night for other reasons.

Every Wednesday night is Guys and Girls Night for us. We didn't let a looming 27 hours of travel keep us away from tradition. So Rocky headed to Guys night, and the girls came to my house for Girls night. As Rocky pulled away he said something about the tornado that was on the way. Rocky being Rocky I didn't think much of it. Why would I especially since he was in fact pulling away.

Well, I should have thought more of it. It was about 9:15 when the storm hit. It happened so fast. We turned on the TV to watch the news and when we saw that a hailstorm was about to hit we went to move a car into our garage but we were too late. It began hailing like I've never heard it hail before. I thought it might come through the roof or break windows it was so loud.

As we continued to watch the news and look outside, we saw strong winds and heard about funnel clouds nearby. We were all a little shaken and I kept wondering whether it was worth waking Adelaide up to bring her into the closet under the stairs. Luckily my Louisiana bad weather background came in handy. I decided to wait until I heard the tornado which is supposedly like the sound of a train. Well, we never heard that sound, just the sound of thunder, rain, wind and hail which went on for about 30 minutes.

Then just as quickly as it started, it ended and my friends decided to pack it up before the next storm began. The news had 3 storms on radar. As we walked outside to inspect for hail damage, a guy in an SUV sped past us. He was going so fast we were all a little weirded out, but didn't really think much about it. Then we all went back inside to get the kids ready to go home.

As we were loading up the cars we saw a cop parked down the street and walking toward us. It was really dark so we could only see his silhouette in the street light. However when he turned to the side we saw that he had out a rifle. I hurried back inside and my friends quickly drove away. They called me once they got out of my neighborhood to report that there were other cops barricading streets and packing heat as well so I should probably lock my doors and get Rocky home.

So I called Rocky and he began to head home. Luckily the storm has just passed so he could do so safely. He called the Cedar Park PD on the way home but they weren't very helpful so we're still unsure about what was going on.

We crashed at around 1 am only to be awakened shortly after by yet another storm. I got up and watched the news to make sure we weren't in the path of a tornado or something. I was so nervous after the first storm. Well, this storm died down sooner than the first one had and things were calm again but I couldn't sleep after so much excitement. So I just laid in bed waiting for the clock to alarm 4:15am, the time we needed to get up and get ready to go to the airport.

We headed to a friend's house right around 5am (it's super awesome to have friends that are willing to wake up at 5am to bring us to the airport BTW). On the way we saw the havoc the storms had caused-- downed trees, flooding, power outages, etc. We were fortunate for sure. Not exactly the restful night I was hoping for going into 2 days of travel.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

She's gonna be a Soccer Player

We went to Kate's first birthday party this weekend. Adelaide had a blast. I can't wait to post pictures. She slid down the slide over and over. She jumped around in the blow up pool. She, with Rocky's help, climbed to the top of the treehouse. But the thing that made me the most proud were her "soccer" skills. All on her own initiative, she began kicking a ball all around the Benefield's back yard, and she was good at it. I was sad to not have my camera with me to catch it on video. She continues to blow my mind with what she can do.

Prayer Request

Well, we leave for Thailand one week from tomorrow and our little girl has a cold. She's snotty, a little grumpy, not eating very well, and not sleeping that great. I think it's just a normal cold, but I'm hoping she'll be able to kick it before we get on the plane next week. The long flight seems hard enough to think about with a well child; it seems crazy to think about with a sick kiddo. Anyway, if you think of us this week, we'd appreciate your prayers for our family.