Christmas in Bangkok

From our far away home to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Celebrating in Bangkok was surprisingly no different than celebrating back in the great US of A. Of course, we missed our family and friends so much, but once the Christmas cards started arriving we felt very loved and not forgotten.

My hun labored for weeks to decorate the house in a way that would delight the kids and get us into the spirit of the holidays. Luckily, several of our neighbors did as well, and the effect at night was really cheerful and festive. I LOVE our neighborhood and our neighbors, I can't say that enough. All of us do our own thing most of the time, but we still have a little time and consideration for each other. It appears that, for the second time, we have fallen into a great place with some great people.

A few days before Christmas we had a lot of preparations to do; parties to attend, gifts to buy or prepare, donations to be made, and a wonderful houseguest to keep us company. So to create gifts baskets for our neighborhood guards, we hopped the klong shuttle down to my favorite basket shop over by Wat Saket. For 15baht it drops you right by the Wat and my shop is a mere five minute walk from that. plus, as long as you don't mind the smell, the boats are a fun ride for the kids. Just remember to shower and change when you get home. That water is pee-yew!

Christmas Eve we ate cookies, watched The Grinch, and read "The Night Before Christmas" from a book given to me as a child from my dear Aunt Priscilla and her family. We still read it every Christmas Eve as a tradition. Then the cookies, milk and a carrot were set out..

And I might have snuck down to see what Santa did. This is what I saw:

Or I should say, this is what Nate saw, because he went into full-body joy mode at exactly 6:25 the next morning. Behold, this is what ecstasy looks like on a two-year-old:


 You might want to take a closer look to get the full effect of what happened here:

Yup, that is what happens when Santa comes to town. Full body shock, sudden intake of breath, and frozen look of joy and surprise. You can't fake this folks. This is why I love a child's second or third Christmas. Its priceless.
There were a LOT of great surprises on that morning. Street hockey set, Legos, clothes, and action figures. Our supply of Red Sox hats and Patriots shirts was replenished. Gorgeous clothes, accessories and cosmetics, and gifts for our fantastic nanny and houseguest. (Santa doesn't leave anyone out, dontcha know?)

The best part was that it was gorgeous weather, so we could take the fun outside and play with most of it already.  Which is totally necessary after you pump your kids with bacon and baked french toast with syrup and put them in a room full of brand new toys and noisemakers.
 What is also pleasant about living in Bangkok during Christmas is how Thais embrace all holidays with welcoming arms. No one gets offended by religious differences-if it involves eating and partying and celebrating, they love it. Why not? So we also went out with our Santa hats on a few nights earlier to check out the spectacular holiday lights on our own little independent foot tour.

Taking the BTS to Rachdamri, we walked up to Central World and along the skywalk to see the gorgeous lights and giant Christmas trees. And to get little P into the spirit, we brought a ton of candy canes with us and told him to give them out to any kids we saw.

My little man loved doing that, running up to kids, wishing them a Merry Christmas, and handing them a candy. He's sweet like that.

So now we head into the next batch of fun; New Years Eve, then Little P's sixth birthday, and at last an anniversary escape to Krabi for the whole family. I can't wait to see what January brings. The birthday party is just two weeks away, and I am full of plans and projects to make it the best "Little Artists" party ever! (Not to mention someone goes back to school in just a week!)

Krabi is going to be incredible too-its a remote, picturesque island with very few drivable roads and some of the most spectacular beaches. The kind I used to dream we would spend our honeymoon on. Hey, its only 12 years later, better late than never! And I know someone who got his first set of fins and a snorkel and is ready to use them.

This Happened

I see that we have a lot to catch up on. I wanted to. Buut. The events in Connecticut hit all of us hard, and I wasn't feeling chatty. Each day since the shooting I am so much more aware of how beautiful my boys' smiles are, how amazing their little hands feel when they are holding mine as we walk down the street, and what an amazing gift each little life is to all of us. All children. Mine, yours, strangers, it is no difference to me right now. There is just such a feeling of loss, and sorrow for those people who will never laugh with theirs again.

So I'll keep it simple and plain. This is what happened.

Twice a year the Embassy holds an award ceremony.
We all went.

This happened.
At last.

Someone met Santa. And liked him.

Someone brought this tasty snack over our house.
We thought it only fitting to share it with others.

And then this happened.
This too.
Yes it did.

We also went for a walk around town to see the Christmas lights. And came upon a rock concert.
So, of course, this happened.

Spontaneous dancing, like only kids can do.

Thankful Thursday; Dharma Drop Edition Part 2

I'm getting better about sending these out now-for a few months I was getting a bit lazy. Or I wanted to keep the goods for myself. But that's not the point of the Dharma Drop, is it.
This one goes out to some good friends of ours, and it includes a silkscreen print on thai silk that is supposed to bring the bearer wealth and prosperity. And a whole bunch of thai snacks guaranteed to delight and surprise them. Because it may say "Extra Barbeque Flavor", but it still tastes like seaweed and fish to me! haha.
I would have something interesting to say right now, except I just spent the past two hours painting props for my son's sixth birthday party, and talking out loud to myself. Does anyone else do that?
So instead, I leave you with this adorable shot of Natester last night at the celebration of the King's Birthday at Benjakiti Park. We had a wonderful, but quiet time. There was a candlelight ceremony, music and dance, and lots of fireworks.
And dese wabbits.

A Perfect Day

Some days just turn out to be perfect. Some days you might just wake up and say "lets go to a park." And on a day like that you might take a taxi to Rotfi Park, somewhere out by Chatuchak Market. When you get there, you might spend 80 baht to rent a few bikes for the day, because if you follow the trail of people when you arrive, you might discover them all at a bike rental stand.
On a perfect sort of day, you might find yourself doing something you hadn't expected. Like riding bicycles through a gorgeous park where you are the only farang family around. You might spend less than three dollars to pedal around and enjoy a slight breeze. And your toddler might grin from ear to ear at the sensation of such speed.
There might be dozens of teenagers riding around you in groups, smiling and calling "hey boy!" to your five year old when he rushes ahead. And try as you might to get him to slow down, he may not want to.
He may want to ride around the park three or four times, in fact. Now that would be a perfect day.

On a perfect day, you might be delighted to discover a butterfly sanctuary in that park. Free. How perfect would that be? You might watch your boys marvel at the bright butterflies swooping around them. You might have so much fun without hardly spending a dime. And you didn't even plan any of this at all. It just turned out to be totally perfect.