Friends move to our city!!

One of my favorite friends just recently moved to MY (I guess I can share?!) city. How sweet that a friend from HOME is here too?! We knew each other back in high school, and even got married the same summer of 2001. We had babies together, and now share even more in common! I never could have imagined living in the same city – 5000 miles from our shared hometown. The kids are SO excited too!! They are staying with us until they find a suitable apartment – so it’s been somewhat of a circus here, but we love it!! Here are some picts of the kids enjoying life!! Welcome friends – we are so glad you are here!!


Valentines day 2010

We made it home!! We are back in our beloved city after a month of travels! It does feel great to be back, even though it can be a shock to your system! It is freezing cold outside, and the girls still want to wear sundresses and swimsuits. We got back late on February 13th – just in time for the celebration of Chinese New Year!! Firecrackers were exploding through the night, but we slept great! We almost forgot Valentines day too! Our neighbors made beautiful cookies for the girls, which were enjoyed immediately! We hope you had a fun V-day too!! (look at these three sun-kissed beauties!)


medical tourism.

My tonsillectomy

I have had chronic sore throats for years. I had them checked by a doctor in Thailand 2 years ago, and he said the only thing he would recommend was having my tonsils out. After the past 2 years of chronic pain and inflammation – I decided to make plans for my tonsils to be removed.

These plans consisted of me emailing the hospital (across the globe) and asking to have the surgery scheduled. They agreed, without even seeing me! The first time I saw my doctor was when I was dressed in blue scrubs, strapped to the gurney in the operation room, with the anesthesiologist ready to put me under. He looked at my throat – and agreed with my diagnosis! He answered my questions…and then I woke up in the recovery room!

The entire operation only lasted 1 hour (or less) but I stayed in the hospital 3 nights. The hospital staff were amazingly helpful & kind, and I felt very cared for. I was always being checked for BP and vitals around the clock. It was uncomfortable to be hooked up to an IV (my first time!) – but I think it was better to have my pain meds given thru my IV rather than swallowing a pill. Because - DANG - it HURT to swallow anything.

I was really drowsy the first day, but I knew that I needed to keep drinking water if I wanted my throat to heal faster. The anesthesia made me extremely nauseous, which made it hard to keep my water down the first day. I was able to talk, and sit up with the girls. My first pain medication was given almost 10 hours later thru my IV….which I took religiously for the next 13 days. Most of all, I kept taking sips of water…as often as I could. The doctor told me I was healing well, and could go “home” anytime. I chose to stay an extra night to make sure I could keep food down, and have fluids thru the IV.

I checked out on day 3 – and paid my medical bill. It was amazingly cheap for 3 nights in the hospital, surgery & general anesthesia! I highly recommend medical tourism if you have the time. It might just be cheaper to fly to Thailand and have it done. I am serious!!

The recovery continued for the next 2+ weeks. Both sides of my throat were covered in a large white patches, where my throat was cauterized by the laser. There are also reddish patches behind the white areas, where you can tell it is trying to heal. My throat is so much wider – now that my tonsils are gone. I feel like my throat is BIG!! I was only able to eat soft, liquidy foods – like applesauce, yogurt, or hummus. If I ate anything that scratched the back of my throat – it was very painful!! I also couldn’t pick up the girls, because I could feel my throat pulsate. So I took it easy. There were times that I couldn't talk without pain. I was very hungry those first three days! The pain was there, but manageable.

Days 4-9 were HORRIBLE!! It hurt SO bad that I cried. I could hardly eat or swallow without cringing or making painful, contorted faces. Sometimes it felt like my throat was being torn with each swallow. It got worse if I didn’t continue to drink water. Drinking water hurt too, but I knew it would help. Some of the worst pain was stemming from my throat into my jaw and ear canal. My entire face was hurting. Everything I tried to eat was too acidic or cold or citrusy or milky. I was still taking Tylenol with Codeine (one tablet each 3 hrs) so I needed to have some food in my system. I had read that the healing took awhile, and got worse before it got better – but it felt like FOREVER!! I was so sad that I couldn’t eat much, especially in Thailand!!

Day 10 was better….not the horrible burning in my throat when I ate. I had to chew everything extra well….and even with that, it hurt to swallow. I didn’t eat a ton of ice cream like you hear everyone else does – ice cream hurt too. But I am slowly getting back to normal. I weaned myself from the Tylenol on Day 13, since the pain was more manageable, and Justin said I was pretty grumpy on meds. I can’t say the pain was gone, but I could handle it.

Day 11-18: We are traveling again, and I still have a slight sore throat. The scabs are completely gone, but it’s still sore. It hurts to yawn. I am definitely glad to have this behind me, but I would like to feel 100% soon! I am very glad to be able to eat whatever I want now.

There you have it. The best thing about being done with my surgery & recovery is that I can sing again! That is what I missed the most!

Coral Island paradise

Our final week in Thailand was probably the most relaxed I have been in years. Actually, I can't remember the last time I felt so relaxed. My tonsils were almost healed, we had ZERO plans or people to see. The views were so peaceful and the weather was perfect. We took a small boat to a tiny island surrounded by coral reefs…to just BE. We basically spent the entire day near the pool (since the beach has sand), with breaks to eat food (only out of necessity) or reapply sunscreen. We have seen amazing butterflies and even a gibbon up in the tree!! Justin went snorkeling once – and got to see beautiful fish out near the coral reef. The girls are so happy, and we all feel rested. We all need this kind of recharging – a chance to get perspective, decompress, and be encouraged. I am definitely refueled by being out in nature – so this has been perfect for me!! (if only I could see my nieces & nephew, life might be perfect)
Back to reality....

learning to swim!!!

One of our main goals this trip, was to get the girls in the water as often as possible! It definitely helped, and they each grew more confident and aware of their abilities. It really helps to be in a warm, sunny place – so the girls can LIVE in the water! They are getting braver each day! Asia has begun to swim in the deeper water, putting her face under and using her arms like a frog. Eden loves to float about in an inner tube, kicking around the pool and showing off her kicking skills. She is our little pollywog – wiggling about the pool with her bright smile. Sydney is taking her time with the water, staying close to the edge, or snuggling in her towel. She loves to hug our backs and paddle around with us. Overall, our goal was accomplished!! I feel more at peace around large bodies of water, since I know Asia & Eden can swim and keep their heads above water. I am so glad that they LOVE water too, since we have very little exposure where we live. AND it’s amazing to see the girls with TAN-LINES!! (don’t worry mom: we used SPF30 every day!)


Auntie Jenny! (my precious sister!)

What a GIFT. If you know this gal, you know the feeling of refreshment and joy that she brings! Our family is so in love with her, and we always long for these reunions! She has the ability to encourage you AND challenge your socks off. We crave this kind of counsel – and loving rebuke at times too…while laughing through it all! Thank you Aaron for sharing your bride with us for a week! Maybe you can come next trip!! Auntie Jenny, we love you SO!!


Dental visits

Here’s some cute picts of the girls visiting the dentist in Thailand. This is their 2nd visit to a dentist in their lives, and they were surprisingly calm. Kids amaze you sometimes! Asia went first, Sydney second…and Eden was our timid one. The dentist was so gentle with the girls, and took time to tell them what she was doing, and let them feel like they were helping. All three cleanings cost less than $40!! We are big fans of medical tourism. Plus – they got raving reviews!!!


Last day…

I have ONE full day in Chiang Mai before I am admitted into the hospital for my tonsillectomy. I pretty much know the recovery will be painful and that I won’t get to eat much of the delicious food around me….so….I have one last day!! This morning we had a yummy buffet breakfast, and later found a Songthaew outside to hire for the afternoon. The kids love riding in the back of these brightly colored “trucks” with the window flap up while hanging from the handrail/bar. Our idea of safety might be different than yours. Hehehe.

Our driver took us to lunch at a yummy Taqueria for Thai-burritos! Then we drove about 30 minutes up the mountain to MaeSa Elephant Camp!! Sydney rode an elephant on a short jungle tour (with mom & dad) and we all watched the elephant show! The elephants are trained to play soccer, paint pictures, and entertain the crowd. It was really incredible!! There were HUGE elephants, and even a few little babies that followed their trainer’s commands so well. Nana was brave to let an elephant give her a hug with its trunk!!

The elephant ride through the jungle was amazing. Being on top of this massive animal, trusting their strength and trainers to lead us along the narrow, steep jungle paths takes courage! We walked into the river, and our elephant decided to take a small bath, drenching our legs & shoes too. It was quite exciting!! Sydney loved riding atop the big elephant and getting splashed too. She is a brave gal. (side note: doesn’t our elephant look kinda prego?)

What a great DAY! After that, I checked myself into the hospital for my tonsillectomy. I had to stay overnight before surgery...for observation!



Thai - Nana!!!

Justin’s mom flew from America to spend 3 weeks with us on our travels in SE Asia. It has been ONE YEAR since the girls have seen her, and they were SO excited!! We met up in the Bangkok airport – with huge smiles and hugs. She is full of energy and loves these girls so much!

We squished 2 twin beds together – and Nana sleeps next to A&E in their own room. We spend our days playing at the pool, making picnic lunches, eating popsicles, taking walks and swimming more. Then we read books!!

It has been warm and windy here near the beach. Justin & I got a horrible flu bug, which kept us in bed for the first 4+ days. If Nana weren’t here, I’m not sure how we would have survived. She kept the girls busy, read lots of books and helped them get over their fears of the grass/ants/sand (see below).

Enjoy the sweet picts of our adventures with Nana!!

Mom!! Thanks for coming and being such a JOY to our family! These girls cherish every moment spent with you! Thank you for loving them with all your heart! (we missed you Poppa Joe!)


Lost some teeth!!

In the last 4 weeks Asia has lost some teeth – something she has been longing for ever since her friend Emma lost one last year! She kept asking, “Mom, when will I lose a tooth??” Finally, her big day came!! The first tooth came out while eating an apple, and Asia yanked on it herself. The 2nd one came out on a carrot, with big smiles too. I never knew she could handle yanking them on her own…she loves the holes in her mouth, and sticking out her tongue. She is growing up so fast! Now she keeps wiggling the other ones...