A Holiday of Firsts

One of our goals this holiday season was to expose Logan and Katelyn to as many “firsts” as possible. It was busy, but it was awesome! We present to you the first . . .

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas from Grand Rapids, Michigan!

IMG_8455 IMG_8499There may have only been a dusting of snow, but we managed to sled, snowmobile, and skip rocks on the ice this holiday season!  Happy to be enjoying time with family, but looking forward to returning home to Bangkok soon.  Happy Holidays to all!

Holidays the American Way

We are beyond happy and excited to be home visiting family and enjoying the delights of the USA this holiday season.  What’s not to love about visiting DC’s most awesome Smithsonian museums – dinosaurs, planes, space shuttles, model trains and all – or heading out to a farm with good friends, enjoying festive toddler-sized dinners with cousins, running wild through the National Zoo, visiting fire stations, watching parades, eating mounds of sweets, frolicking in the snow, choosing and cutting down our very own Christmas tree?  Yes folks, we are doing it all, and it is wonderful.

That being said, there are a few things we have had to adjust to when it comes to spending time at home this winter:

1. Instead of getting out the door with shorts, t-shirt and crocs for Logan and a onesie for Kate we have to bundle up.  I’m talking warm socks, real shoes (!), two long-sleeve t-shirts, a sweater, fleece-lined pants, jacket, gloves, and maybe a hat.  And that’s just Logan.  The same routine goes for Kate, but with a more feminine flare.  Then I attempt to put on pants, a sweater, socks, tennis shoes, and a jacket.  Then Kate spits up.  Start again.  Then Logan has a dirty diaper.  Start again.  Finally, we are ready to walk out the door 45 minutes after we started getting dressed and both kids are crying because they hate winter attire.  Geesh.  How does anyone ever make it out of the house with kids in cold weather? #sothankfulforBangkokweather

2. Driving, driving and more driving.  From my parents’ house to DC – about 40 minutes each way.  From my parents’ house to one of my best friend’s house – about one hour each way.  From Walter’s mom’s house to his sister’s house – about 20 minutes each way.  Yes, the kids are sick of driving, but they are being good sports about it.  In Bangkok, I strap Kate in the ergo, Logan in the stroller, head down the elevator, and within 10-15 minutes we are at:  a) the pediatrician, or b) the grocery store, or c) a shopping mall, or d) the embassy (aka daddy’s work), or e) Logan’s school, or f) lots and lots of restaurants, or g) the skytrain.  You get the point.  Also, I get many weird looks for wearing Kate in a carrier instead of using a stroller in the suburbs.  #sohappytoliveinabigcity

3. Two hours early for our domestic flights and we still almost miss them!  Yikes.  We totally forgot how difficult air travel was in the USA!  Shoes – off, belts – off, baby carriers -off.  An airport train at Dulles that doesn’t get you anywhere near your gate.  Three gigantic suitcases, two car seats, and a stroller are probably not adding to the ease and efficiency of our travel.  Thankfully, we have managed to make all of our flights just as the are boarding.  Guess I can’t complain too much.  #wemissyouThaiAirwaysandAirAsia

4. The size . . . of everything!  Portions and grocery stores, especially.  I walked into Meijer two days ago and was completely overwhelmed.  They just don’t have mac n cheese, they have an ENTIRE SECTION dedicated to mac n cheese.  The same goes for animal crackers.  A half-aisle just for ice cream made from candy bars.  People, this is what makes America great . . . but it is totally insane.  You can get anything and everything.  All in one store and for affordable prices.  I forgot how easy it was to do one-stop shopping in the USA.  I also realize how Americans are getting fat fast compared to the rest of the world . . . #ohVillaMarketyouhavegrownonme

We miss you, Thailand, but not enough to come back just yet.  Two more weeks and we still have carriage rides in the snow, a trip to see even more cousins in Laguna Niguel, CA’s Legoland,  oh right – and a little something called Christmas, left to enjoy.  More from us in 2013.  Until then, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

What Not to Miss During the Holidays

Although we are headed back home to celebrate the holidays this year, I felt it obligatory to share with my readers what not to miss in Bangkok over the next month or two.  After all, Christmas trees are already going up all around town and the weather is starting to cool off.

Logan last Christmas

1.  In search of Christmas toys?  Plan Toys has their unbeatable semi-annual sale throughout the month of December.  Make a morning out of visiting their factory store on Sathorn Soi 10 and you will find discounts from 50-70 percent on some of their finest toys, from doll houses to pull toys to wooden firetrucks, tractors, and more.   There is a crazy awesome train table set up in the front of the store, as well as toy kitchens, cars, trucks, etc.  Bring your little ones along and they will be so busy playing they won’t even know you are buying for them.  Seriously, this is the sale.  Buy for Christmas and stock up for birthdays (both your child’s birthday and his friends birthdays).  You will be happy that you did so.  More about Plan Toys in one of my previous posts – The Land of Wooden Toys.

2. Do not miss the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra’s “Concerts in the Park” at Lumpini every Sunday evening at 5:30pm from December-February.  This is an awesome opportunity to let the little ones roam free with their friends while you nosh on bread and cheese (and maybe – gasp- bring a little wine) and listen to the Orchestra’s renditions of famous tunes from the Indiana Jones to the Phantom of the Opera to Christmas music and more.  The concert dates for 2012-3 as listed on the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra’s FB page:

Sunday 16, December 2012
Sunday 23, December 2012
Sunday 6, January 2013
Sunday 13, January 2013
Sunday 20, January 2013
Sunday 27, January 2013
Sunday 3, February 2013
Sunday 10, February 2013

Concerts are free of charge.  Bring your tots, some food and drink (they sell popcorn, soft drinks and a few other snacks), friends, bikes and trikes, rent a mat or two to sit on, and enjoy.  This is a beautiful time of year to be outside.

3.  Hit up an enjoyable and delicious Christmas buffet.  There are only a gazillion options in Bangkok – so choose a location that seems family-friendly, is reasonably priced, and will make your tummy happy.  Our favorite is the Sukothai Chocolate Buffet.  While the Chocolate Buffet is offered year-round, the Sukothai is decorated so beautifully at Christmas that we venture to the buffet once a year during the holidays.  Don’t worry, there is a savoury table to match the sweet one.  In the event of a sweet headache, just start altering between the two (my husband has the method down)!  The buffet runs about 1200 baht/person (and half that for children) over the holidays.

Sukothai Chocolate Buffet last Christmas

Logan loved it!

Oh, there is so much more to do in Bangkok during the holidays.  If you have suggestions, please share them in the comments.  We’re all looking for new ways to explore a city that offers so much, and the holidays are a great time to explore.