Thursday, 30 December 2010



Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Christmas Traditions

matching pajamas & helping our sister open her presents

Baby Jesus?

Is that you?

A la the USA, Saigon begins decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving and they take it very seriously. The entire town is lit up like Vegas. As you can see, the lights range from subtle church outlines to a neon pink halo for the Savior.
Erik and I drove the girls around downtown Saigon on Christmas Eve for a lights tour, not realizing that every other family in Saigon had the same exact plan. It was insanity! But loads of fun to see all of the decorations, as well as all of the families out celebrating.

No one told me.....

that you can get so, amazingly, overwhelmingly excited over seeing regular Cheerios in your neighborhood store that you will grab two boxes, let out a little "Wahoo!!" and then come home and rip off the price tags so your husband doesn't have you committed.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

for tb.

tb - i hope this makes you smile. xo, tr

Friday, 17 December 2010

Don't Feed the Reindeer

Not Quite

Apparently, someone needs to get this girl to Sunday School:

(Dear Santa, Happy Birthday.

I am 3. May I please have big girl dolls, more undies & Tinkerbell backpack for school.

Please bring blocks for Amelia. Love, Allison)

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Sometimes I need to write things down. To see them in writing. To believe.

It is 6:40 p.m. on the 14th of December 2010 and I am sitting on the bathroom floor with a well-earned, delicious glass of red wine, listening to Christmas carols while Amelia splashes about happily in a warm bathtub. Allison is on her weekly Tuesday night ice cream date with Erik. We are all healthy, happy and safe.

I just want the universe to know that it has not gone unnoticed tonight, so thank you.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Next stop, Wimbledon.

I have started taking tennis lessons after a very, very, very long absence from the courts. Like, say, 10 years? I was gifted with a new racket, shoes and lessons for my birthday and have loved getting back on the courts.

My coach, Ms. Lan, is a cross between these two:

Bela Karolyi


Miss Vietnam World 2010

hard to picture, right? Ms. Lan is equal parts Vietnamese femininity and old-school Soviet "fight-to-the-death and then keep fighting" sports mentality.

My tennis style is a bit of a mix as well - one part sweaty Andre Agassi, one part foul-mouthed John McEnroe, one part grunting Monica Seles - pretty, right?

We play twice a week - once on Monday nights and once on Friday afternoons. It is an hour of hard core exercise. And it is wonderful! It is also quite funny because Ms. Lan and I don't communicate much or very well, but she does yell out after each shot, "Good!", "No!" or "Lucky!".

On Monday nights, the court next to mine is occupied by two very nice Japanese men, and I don't speak any Japanese, but I am fairly certain that one of them tried to pick me up last night when he said, "You strong for woman, yes?". Yes sir, I am. Anyone out there who has played tennis or golf (Hi Dad!) with me knows that while I have some really stellar shots, I mainly have seriously insane, WAY too long/out of bounds/high shots. I really think that I may have missed my calling to play women's softball in college. Maybe next time.

I have done some preliminary research on the senior tour for Wimbledon and I know it is a long shot, but it helps to have a goal. And who doesn't love to root for the underdog, right? I figure with sponsorships from diaper companies and vineyards, I will be the player to watch.

I fully intend on asking the Williams Sisters to dress me. I am thinking something along these lines.....
but a little less conservative. Because when it comes to fashion and tennis - there is no substitute for the Williams Sisters.

Book your tickets to London now baby.

Amelia's Theme Song

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Loreto Fest 2010

Loreto VietNam is a wonderful organization that provides educational opportunities to underprivileged and disabled children throughout Vietnam. It is run by a group of Australian expats, many of whom are employed at Alli's school. Every year, they host a festival with kids' activities, games, food, drinks and amazing live music. We left Amelia at home, and took Alli this past Saturday and she loved the concert! Turns out she is just like her Daddy and Uncle Phil and adores a good musical performance. She would have stayed all night!

Consulate Christmas Party (aka No pics with Santa)

The Consulate hosted a lovely Christmas party on Friday evening for the entire community and it was quite a lot of fun. I didn't take that many pictures, and the ones I took are horrible, but I still wanted to share a few. Alli's Nana made her dress and she loved wearing it, and she also sent the fabric for Amelia's dress which I had made here, so that was very special. And just like the last two years, we have no pictures with Santa because Alli wouldn't go near him. Aside from that, it was a wonderful night!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Christmas Traditions

eating holiday treats off the floor when you think no one is watching....

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Grinch and Rites of Passage

Alli loves Christmas - the stories, the cookies, the lights - all of it. She sings carols and watches Christmas movies all year long. She has been rehearsing all week for her little holiday show today at school, but can you take one guess as to who could not be bothered to perform this morning? That's right!

See video proof below. Things to note in the video - that is red PAINT, not blood all over her uniform. Please also pay special attention to her ridiculous facial expressions and the dramatic rolling of the eyes - ha!

Thankfully, the Grinch disappeared as soon as the show was over because cookies were served.

This was our first Christmas program with Allison and I am looking forward to many more years of joyous non-participation! Never a dull moment with our sweet, funny girl.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Christmas Traditions

Elf on the Shelf

Christmas Traditions

holiday sprinkle cookies*
*this recipe was ridiculously simple and these cookies are delicious - best part? you can easily make them with a toddler sous chef with little to no mess - this is going to become a regular in our house to celebrate ANY holiday - find the recipe here - now off to online shop for sprinkles.....

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Christmas Traditions

advent calendar (or as darling Alli calls it "the bird house")

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Christmas Traditions

handmade ornaments for my girlies
from my mother and grandmother

Monday, 29 November 2010

Christmas Traditions

licking the spatula

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Giving thanks

for my husband, our daughters, our families, my girlfriends, our health, our home -
an overwhelming abudance this and every year.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Gobble, gobble!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

No one told me.....

that when you join the FS, your sense of what warrants a strange medical diagnosis completely becomes dependent on worst case scenario - parasites in my intestines?? no big thang!!

today the Doc at the Consulate told me I most likely have a parasite and then proceeded to describe all that it involves, as well as what may come - she then handed me super-strength antibiotics and told me to check back in with her a week.

in the States, a parasite would seem like a big deal - but here, I would say a parasite is pretty mild when compared to dengue fever or TB, which are other options, so in the spirit of welcoming everyone to the proverbial Thanksgiving table, I throw open my arms to this parasite.....wait.......what do you mean I can't drink alcohol with one of the medications?

Parasite - you are totally sitting at the kids table on Thursday.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Bia Hoi

Hanoi enjoys almost four seasons, so we enjoyed the fall-ish temperatures and the wonderful "Bia Hoi" culture - Bia Hoi means fresh beer in Vietnamese, and it is served, ice-cold, at sidewalk cafes. The beer is fresh-brewed every day and the light lager costs around 50 cents for a glass. Sitting for as long as you like, people come to catch up with one another, enjoy some pre-dinner snacks and literally, watch the world go by.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Faces of Vietnam

I really enjoy taking photographs of the beautiful faces and people of Vietnam and thought I would begin to share some of them.

Postcards from Hanoi

Erik and I travelled to Hanoi for the weekend, sans children, and enjoyed exploring the capital city together - cooler temperatures, wonderful people, beautiful streets designed for roaming. It was a chance to visit with friends, reconnect and explore more of this amazing country. Below are scenes from our walks - Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, changing of the guard at Ho Chi Minh's tomb, colonial homes.