December 26, 2008

The Grandparents are Here!

The Grandparents are here!
We’ve been having a great time with my (Sharon) parents. We’ve hung out a lot at home, but have gone out a couple of times.
Here’s some pics…
Granddaddy, Isaac, and RonaldAbout to get on a boat in a mall… a canal runs right through it!

Grandddaddy and Isaac eating breakfast
My mom helped me clean out our backyard (it’s still not finished yet…we want to put some grass down and maybe plant a couple of pretty plants)

Here’s before,
Here’s after the before, but not after-after… we made a spot to burn stuff. People here burn their trash sometimes, but its never in the same place…so I figured if I made a place for burning maybe it would encourage burning in that spot…who knows!

And here is Isaac before opening his presents on Christmas morning. We don’t really have any of him actually opening them because, well, he’s 10 months old and doesn’t really understand it yet….but he loved his new toys once we opened them for him!Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

December 07, 2008

Christmas 2008 Family Pics

We took some pics together as a family to mark our first year as a family of 3! We still have more to take of Isaac and of course some with Granddaddy and Grandmama when they get here... but we thought we'd share a few.

December 01, 2008

3rd Annual Highland's Thanksgiving

We went to the Highlands for the third time for Thanksgiving. Twice is fun, but 3 times makes it an official tradition in our book. We did a lot of the same things we always do...enjoy cool weather, waterfalls, food, butterfly gardens, flowers, tea, and just the quiet relaxing atmosphere of the Highlands. This time an American family came with us who had never been there it was fun letting them take-in the Highlands.

The waterfall on the mountain road...

Kumars Restaurant... They know us there. "Auntie" (I don't know her name, but she's like the lady-shop-owner) took Isaac for a few minutes and when he came back he had a gigantic chocolate bar. So funny! (no, he didn't eat any)
At Kumars, our friend had a butterfly land on his head...On Thanksgiving Day of course there was turkey...Isaac DID eat some of that...
...and Dr. Pepper...a truly American holiday!
We made gingerbread cookies...
...but this was about the only football Cowboys or Lions...just a cute little boy.
We held a snake (and other various creepy creatures) at the Butterfly Gardens...
and enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere of the tea plantation.
What a great Thanksgiving!!

November 18, 2008

Today in Language Class...

It's impossible to learn a language without learning the context the language applies to (Imagine learning the basics of Spanish but only hearing a description of an "enchilada" or "salsa"...ya just miss out).

So today we learned, "jeruk" which basically means (I think) "pickled" or, "to pickle"...

November 11, 2008

Drivers' Ed

At this light all the colors were lit up…so you could technically...

Not turn right.
Slow down/yield while turning right.
Turn right.
All at the same time.

But does any of it count if you’re driving a backhoe?

November 08, 2008

All's Well that Ends Well...

To follow up on the post below...

1. Our camera's flash is now fixed. We decided to get it repaired. A plus with the trip to the Sony repair center was that it was supposedly near the largest Mac Store in the country. We couldn't find the Mac Store, but the camera did get fixed. All before our trip to we didn't miss one drop of all the rain that fell!

2.. We now watch DVD's on our TV. Not the same one. When we went to get it fixed the guy said it was a weird brand and that he couldn't fix it. It's now sitting outside our house next to our neighbors' old TV that we think was hit in the same lightning storm. There's is much bigger than ours. The new one is a floor model and was cheap...but it's a Samsung (a good Japanese? Korean?) brand. Hopefully it'll hold out. Since getting our new TV, we can tell you that we think Tropic Thunder wasn't that great.

3. The bed. After the 2nd unsuccessful trip to IKEA the customer service guy there leans over and real hush hush like says, "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but what you can do is measure the board that broke, go to Ace Hardware and buy a piece of wood. It's like (the equivalent to) $2.00. We'll never get this part in probably, so just go there."

So instead of going home to measure, I just went upstairs and got my friends to help me move the mattress off the display model and measured it. It worked great. Anthony used our handy-dandy saw from our IKEA tool kit to cut the board to the correct length.

4. The Mac. It's doing well, with a few "stars" still on the screen, but it works just fine.

So all is well and functioning again in our house. We'll let you know when the air conditioners FINALLY get installed.

October 19, 2008

4... Maybe a 5ish...

A friend of ours has a saying: “Bad things always seem to come in threes.” Apparently Southeast Asia didn’t get the memo, because we’ve recently had 4 things (plus a 5ish) go wrong on us in the past several weeks.

Number One

We are NOT good with cameras. We’re on our fourth camera in four years. Camera #1 was left at church and never found again, camera #2 was viciously but unintentionally attacked by a flying coconut (true story) and camera #3 was trampled on while flying kites. Keeping with the tradition, camera #4 up and decided that we could no longer use the flash to take pictures. We’re not sure why, but the flash refuses to flash.

“But what about the warranty?”

Good question.

The camera is still under warranty… under an American warranty… meaning we would have to pay to have it shipped back to the US… and pay to have it shipped back to us. Not to mention the fact that we would go weeks without a camera, which might as well be decades for parents with a growing baby that does something new everyday. We can still take pictures without the flash, so we’re making do…although there is a mommy who thinks “Month 7” in the baby book just won’t look as good as the others.

Number Two

Our TV. We turned it on one night to watch a movie, only to find this:

Continuing with the half-broken/half-working theme, the TV still has sound and one little thin line of pixels going across the middle, but that’s it. Honestly, this isn’t a big deal for us TV-wise. We don’t have satellite; we’re not missing much. We download all the TV shows we want to watch from the internet because they’re all a season behind here.

What’s the deal with Sylar being a good guy all of the sudden? Also, Sharon squealed when Jim proposed to Pam… but I digress.

It IS a big deal for us movie-wise. We watch a ton of them on our DVD player. Now we’re forced to watch them on our smaller laptop screen (I know, boo hoo), but because of the, ahem, “not quite original nature” of the DVDs, they don’t always work on the laptop like they do in the DVD player.

Number Three

We got a package from Sharon’s mom last week. Along with twizzlers, kool-aid, and hair ties for Sharon who now has short hair, she sent us some bed risers. We recently moved into a much smaller house and needed to store some things under our bed. We get pretty excited about packages and we immediately put the bed risers underneath the bed. But there’s something we didn’t think about. Besides the four legs on the corners, our bed also has two additional legs in the middle to support the queen mattress. We remembered once I sat on the bed… and the middle beam snapped in half. Aduh! (the local equivalent to doh!). Now our mattress is conveniently located on the floor where we can’t put anything underneath. Nice.

Number Four

Facing a weekend of sleeping on the floor and trying IKEA for a spare bed-beam, we decided to go to a friend’s house who is out of town for a while. They live in the city (we’re about 30-45 minutes outside the city) about 10 minutes from IKEA and left us the keys so we could spend the night whenever we wished. They have satellite, air conditioning and several pools in their apartment complex so we were looking forward to a nice, relaxing, sun-soaked, pool-drenched weekend.

And then.

Our Mac.

Yes, our Mac.

It all happened so quickly. One minute talking on Skype to Sharon’s sister. The next minute desperately trying to wipe off the Raspberry Red Crystal Light seeping underneath all the keys and screen.

We thought she died.

The battery wouldn’t charge. We couldn’t open files. It looked like the Blob was taking over the screen.

The Mac guy thought the motherboard and graphics chip were damaged.

After two worrisome nights in the ICU, and a newly-cleaned interior, she pulled through with nothing more than several bright star-like dots on the edges of the screen and a non-functioning key to the right of the 0 key (the “-“ key… we’ve thankfully discovered a different way to make a -).

Number 5ish

I say “5ish” because it was just the cherry on top of the whole deal…not another broken appliance.

So after we left the MacBook at the store to get treated, we decided to put on a brave face and make the most of the rest of the weekend. We got out to the pool and spent about 15 minutes in it before a huge thunderstorm rolled through. Typical.

But not before Isaac’s Mama managed to take a few pictures (SOMETHING has to go in the babybook for this month right?)So…

That’s it.

Good story, huh?

We figure things can only get better from here.

We’ll letcha know.

October 08, 2008

Durian Donut

I’m not sure who is more crazy - Big Apple Donut Company for making a durian donut or my husband for buying said durian donut (by the way, Big Apple Donut Co. is from Jakarta, Indonesia, not NYC as they would have you believe).
The donut is shaped like the spikes on the outside of a durian. Clever.

When you order one the attendant says, “You must eat in 3 hours.”

The first time I heard this (when I asked what type of donut it was and then didn't order it when I found out) I had no clue what the lady was talking about. 3 hours? I’m sure it would take me that long to try and put one down my throat. But what? 3 hours? She answered, “The filling is made fresh and it goes bad if you don’t eat it within 3 hours.”

So the other night, my husband got a crazy hair and ordered one. After clarifying that he WOULD NOT get one of my 3 delicious chocolate donuts if the durian one was awful we proceeded. They called to the back (I’m sure where all the nasty donuts are kept) and filled one up with the pungent filling. I wonder if Krispy Kreme ever made a durian donut if they’d have a big yellow neon light, “Stinky and Fresh NOW.”

Here he is eating it. Which he did within about 20 minutes…ensuring “freshness.”Flattering. He said it was strong. He ate the whole thing, but the rest of the night if he burped he’d say, “Oh man, that tastes like that durian donut.” To which I would give a half-hearted, “Well that’s what you get.” type of merciless response.

October 05, 2008

2008 Hari Raya

This past week the month of fasting ended and the month of feasting began. The first day of celebration is the most important. For the 3rd year, we celebrated with Abang and Kakak's family. On the first day family members apologize to one another for all they've done against them in the year past and "wipe the slate clean." This year Abang and his oldest son, Mohommad, had an extra special moment when Mohommad approached his dad. 3 weeks ago Mohommad was hit by a car leaving school. He came away with just a broken arm and some pretty incredible road rash on his head, but that's about it. The whole ordeal gave them a big scare and you could tell as Abang embraced Mohommad that he knew what incredible gift he had been given in the life of his son. Instead of the usual 2 or 3 kisses on the cheek (side to side...think "Latin American") Abang gave him at least 6 or 7.
Everyone dresses up in their new coordinating outfits. It was really fun this year for Anthony and Isaac to match. Instead of getting taylor made outfits this year, we just bought ready made ones (which usually mean my, Sharon, sleeves are too short:). Isaac's outfit was the smallest we could find and we still had to get it hemmed. What a great Raya as a family of three!

September 19, 2008

Two cicaks suffer horrible deaths, expensive imported Pop Tart wasted

ASI PRESS – Two middle-aged cicaks were found dead yesterday in a toaster in Southeast Asia in what officials are labeling a “gruesome, crispy accident.”

The discovery was made after the owner of the toaster, Anthony, an American who works and resides in Southeast Asia, was unable to retrieve a Pop Tarts brand apple strudel he was preparing for breakfast. “I knew something was wrong when the Pop Tart on the left side popped up with no problem at all, but the one on the right just stayed in there. I assumed it was a normal case of the Pop Tart sliding off the poppy-uppy metal bar on the bottom. Boy, was I wrong.”

Anthony made several failed attempts to retrieve the Pop Tart using two plastic spatulas. After being made fun of by his wife, he proceeded to turn the toaster up side down over a paper towel placed in the sink. “There were more raisins in there than I realized,” remembers Anthony, “and then finally my Pop Tart plopped out into the sink. Everything was fine until I causally looked into the toaster slot. That’s when my morning changed forever.”

What he discovered were the charred remains of two cicaks. Officials have yet to identify the bodies. “We tried to check the victims’ sticky pads against files in our database. Problem is, there is currently no database of cicak prints,” commented Captain Nick Batista of the Species Victims Unit. “Rest assured, the creation of a cicak database has now become priority number one in my department.”

The incident has left Anthony with more questions than answers. “Why didn’t I look before I stuck my Pop Tart in there? My hunger blinded me. You know what the saddest part is? Had my wife been making the Pop Tarts this morning, maybe the little guy would still be alive. She doesn’t toast her Pop Tarts; she eats them right out of the package. I know, crazy, right? Look, I understand if you’re on a trip or something. That’s fine. It’s hard to find toasters in the Smokey Mountains. Our toaster at home is like 2 steps from the cabinet! But God help me I love that woman.”

Cheek Pinkerton, a cicak who lives two drawers over from the toaster, had this to say about the accident: “Terrible. Simply heartbreaking. You hear incredible tales of survival all the time – my Uncle Stan has gone through 3 tails… three! Same kid every time. But this… you don’t drop tail and run from something like that. Poor guys had no chance, what with that huge monstrosity of a pastry on their heads and those torturous death coils all around. Oh well, circle of life I suppose.”

September 09, 2008

It's the tastiest time of the year...

Every year during the month of Ramadan, “Ramadan Markets” spring up everywhere.
Ramadan is the month when Muslims worldwide fast from sun-up to sun-down.
The markets are there so folks can go and get food that’s ready to eat when the “bell” goes off at sunset. The normal dinnertime here is around 8:30 or 9pm which is after the last of the 5 prayers of the day. But during Ramadan people eat before the 4th prayer of the day around 7:20…so they’re schedules are a bit different. It’s much easier to just buy food…added to that is you don’t have to smell or be tempted by the food you’re cooking! So as soon as the time is marked you dig in. The food at the Ramadan Markets is good, there’s a big variety, and best of all it’s cheap.
It smells soooo good! Like a wonderful mix of barbeque and the fried food section at a county fair.
You can get sweets, barbequed meats (no pork!), drinks, fried breads, kebabs, and noodle dishes.This is a local thing… the sweet juice is squeezed right out of the sugar cane. We tried it…waaaay too sweet!Isaac has had a fun time looking at all the people and just taking it all in... after he woke up that is...

September 01, 2008

Our Florasian

Oh how we miss America sometimes!
Fall and football season just aren’t the same here in Southeast Asia!

Even though Isaac has never been to America, and probably won’t watch any American football games until next fall, we as his parents can do some of those “little things” that make US feel more like we’re back in the US. Like, dress up our kid in football paraphernalia and take pictures. It looks like he's trying to get into a 3-point stance in this pic.He looks soooo American in these pics don’t ya think?And no, the tears are not because he doesn’t like the University of Florida.
The tears are because, well, when I went to change him into the t-shirt he was already a bit cranky from the Miami part of the photo shoot. Then the t-shirt got stuck on his head. I’m soooo not kidding when I say stuck.He was crying.
I was giggling.
While trying to get his head through, I was thinking back to last week when we took him to the doctor. The pediatrician had to re-measure his head because he thought his assistant had gotten it wrong. Nope. It’s just that big, Doc.
“Big head, big brains.” Is what we say.

Anyway, after I got his 6 month old head through the 12 month-sized shirt, I managed to get at least one semi-happy pic!
But then, even a couple hours after the pictures, our American-looking baby continued to cry. He was just cranky all day.
So our neighbor came to the rescue with her “buaian” (bwoy-I-ahn)
Yolanda watches Isaac while we go to language class and last week she told us he slept so peacefully in it.Yesterday, she offered to let us borrow it (except when we’re in class and then she’ll use it on him) because we told her he had been crying all day. We had hesistated in buying a buaian back when he was born because he hated nearly every single man-made thing known to babies; pacifiers, bouncy chairs, baby bjorn, carseats, bumbo chair, and even his stroller at times. So we didn’t want to buy something else and waste our money.
Oh goodness have we been missing out! We stopped right before we struck gold!
Isaac goes from crying to, well, sleeping like he’s supposed to, like a baby, within 3 or 4 bounces of this thing. Maybe he resisted all the other stuff because they were so western!? Maybe he’s more Asian than he looks! Whatever the case we’re buying one of these for us…er…for Isaac, real soon!And just for good measure, here's one last pic of Isaac showing his Florida side. Anthony gave him an orange and he LOVED it!