Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Christmas Day

It always takes me so long to get my pictures posted that by the time I get them up, it feels as though it's been months since the event actually took place! It's only been one month since Christmas, but it feels as if it's been much longer. My brother just got home from Thailand this week, but we're four weeks into second semester already.

This week Eric's mom bought her ticket to Seoul for spring break, and we bought our tickets back to the States for the summer. We're all ready for another vacation, I guess!

Christmas morning the kids were excited to get up and open their presents, of course. Cade was still not feeling great, but he managed just fine.

Grandpa spoiled them and brought presents from the States, so they were very excited for all of their new Legos!

And, the adults managed to make it through before heading out to breakfast and that first cup of coffee!

We spent the day lounging, relaxing, and spending some quality Lego-building time since my dad, brother, and Gretchen were taking off the next day.

Kennedy and I took a walk down the beach.

We had Christmas dinner at an Indian restaurant down the road which was really good. Cade fell asleep before we'd even ordered, so he got passed around the table as we ate. I forgot to bring my camera, though, so no pictures.

Last year we ate Korean food in Korea on Christmas. This year we ate Indian food in Thailand on Christmas. I wonder where we'll be and what we'll be eating next year on Christmas day!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Christmas Eve at Dolphin Bay

Somehow I have managed to get an amazing out of work done today, so I'm rewarding myself by spending time doing less-than-important things. I had dinner made before 10 am this morning--I love the crock pot!--I've started dinner for tomorrow night, I've planned my lessons and written my rubrics for next week, and graded and entered the assignments I had...it must be about time for bed, right?

Christmas Eve was the big day at the resort. We had to make reservations for our table, and they had spent the last several days decorating and setting up for a big dinner in the evening.

As it turned out, Cade never really recovered from this nap he took in the afternoon. We quickly discovered, even without a thermometer, that he had a temperature and I headed to the little store at the resort to find some ibuprofen (or fever syrup as it turned out).

The kid was in bed for the night by about 5:30, I think. Obviously he wasn't going to dinner.

Gretchen offered to give up her evening and stay behind with him, which was really sweet. Eventually everyone took their turn...well, everyone except for me. Guilty Mom Award. Again.

Dinner was a buffet of all types of imported favorites: turkey, gravy, dressing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, even cranberry sauce. It was pretty good!

After dinner began, a group of students from a nearby school came to sing Christmas carols. It was really sweet! It was difficult to understand, but it sounded pretty good for a bunch of Thai students that had probably only heard the songs in order to learn them!

Kennedy enjoyed listening to the carolers. While they were singing, Dad headed back to the room. We assumed that he since he had already brought Gretchen a plate of food, that he was probably going back to hang out with her for awhile. We headed back to the table to finish eating after the carolers were done.

Soon, we heard the announcement that Santa was on his way. Eric took Kennedy up to watch while Travis and I sat and chatted. Not long after, we heard the "ho, ho, ho" of Santa's arrival. Travis and I joked for a second about how it kind of sounded like Dad. It seemed so unlikely, that we sat back and continued to eat.

It wasn't long before he actually started talking, though. Now we knew it was Dad. There was no mistaking it this time. So, we jumped out of our chairs to go and watch...and try to get a picture!

Travis headed back to the room, so that Gretchen could see Dad play his part. She told us that they had just asked him that morning...apparently, after keeping their eyes out for a good candidate for Santa all week. I'm sure the decision wasn't too difficult since Dad was one of the few grandpas with young grandkids there.

Needless to say, Kennedy figured it out immediately, and she was very excited that her grandpa was Santa Claus!

As it turned out, the room where Dad changed was right above our room, so he was able to sneak in to see Cade in bed before he changed out of the suit. Even in his fever-induced state, Cade still said, "That's not Santa. That's Grandpa!" It made for a special Christmas Eve for these little kids!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Sinkhole Cave

On the first day that we rented motorbikes, I told you that we rode into the nearby national park and the boys and the kids hiked over and up to a sinkhole cave.

This was their view of the little huts where Gretchen and I were sitting while we waited for them. One of the guys working down there told us that it was going to take them about three hours round trip, but the boys said "no way!" "he doesn't know how fast we hike!" "not for such a short distance!". Turns out they were wrong...

First they had to hike across the park to the base of the trail.

A couple of days later when we took the boat after Monkey Island, this beach is where we landed. This beach is also where the trailhead is. Ironically, we ran into fellow teachers from YISS here at this beach--even more strange is that they're from Burlington, Washington!

Since I didn't take most of these pictures because I didn't go on this hike, I've enlisted Eric's help for this post.

This first set of shots is the first time they went to the cave, and then you'll notice they start over...that was the second trip to the cave.

Kennedy was NOT happy to learn that they hadn't even officially begun the hike by the time they reached this point: the trailhead at the beach.

Monkeys in the trees at the trailhead.

The picture on the left was taken from the bottom of the sinkhole looking up. The other is the sides of the cave.

Standing in front of the temple at the bottom of the sinkhole.

This shot is from our second trip: the boat ride to the trail head. Dad and Travis really wanted to snorkel around this island, but the water was pretty rough by the time we headed back to the resort, so they missed out.

Dad decided that he would stay behind with the kids rather than hike up for round two in his flip flops, so the rest of us headed off while they enjoyed ice cream on the beach down below.

A monkey at the trailhead. Again.

I decided that as sore as my foot was by the time I'd gotten to the top, I probably shouldn't hike down into it. It took me so long to get back down, that I didn't beat the rest of the group by much!

So, after hiking all they way up, I still didn't get to see the cave! But Eric documented it well for me.

The temple.

Apparently, the king of Thailand has made it down here twice, but I couldn't even do it once!

Eric got some good shots while on Auto, but clearly the camera didn't know he was supposed to be taking a picture of Gretchen and our new Thai friend, Didi.

By the time everyone had made it back out, the waves had picked up quite a bit. Our boat is out there past Eric in the picture below. He brought it in a bit closer, but we all got soaked walking out to jump on the boat!

It was a bit of a rough ride back, but we managed to evade motion sickness and the kids both got in a nap!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Walk Along Dolphin Bay

One lazy afternoon Cade and I went for a little walk down the road in front of the resort just to see what we could see. Here is what we saw...

one of many Thai massage huts along the beach...each of us took an hour of an afternoon (or two) to get a one hour massage for about $10!

dresses sold on the beach for anywhere from $3-$6...big spenders!


 more flowers...

this little miniature temple is also in the background of the pink flower picture above...

the large community pools in the center of the resort...we actually didn't spend much time here...which was nice because they were not normally this empty.

a beached boat...

an advertisement in one of the nearby "shops"

one of the nearby shops where we picked up drinks, snacks, and fruit...

fruit is ridiculously fresh, delicious, and cheap in Thailand!

one of the restaurants down the road that was always busy...

I love capturing the little (or big) details of a place that I travel to and that give some perspective on how it feels to be there!
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