Monday, 28 February 2011

homesick and birthdays

Editor's Note - I was on the verge of complete breakdown due to a variety of international factors this afternoon when I stopped by the Consulate to pick up our mail. Jackpot! A "just because" note from J from September (!!!) to say hi and send her love. You see? I am so lucky to have you J.

two of my beloveds celebrate birthdays this week - one of my oldest and dearest sisters, J, turns 30ish and her spunky, sassy, first born, A, turns 5!! How i wish i could teleport to the States to love on the both of them for a while - you two just wait until this summer - lots of birthday love being sent from afar - i adore you both to pieces - xoxoxo, auntie queenie

A sister is a gift to the heart,

A friend to the spirit,

A golden thread to the meaning of life.

- Isadora James

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

11 months going on 4.

Originally uploaded by meredith w page

Took Amelia to drop-off this morning and she is AAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL about any activity that involves her big sister. She particularly loves Alli's school - the teachers, the friends, the pencils - I am hoping she will love it as much as Alli does when her time finally comes.

And P.S., can we please talk about the inner thigh rolls? Truly one of my most favorite things in the world. She is utterly edible.


We are rapidly approaching our 1/2 way mark here in Vietnam. Can you believe that? I can't. While the girls and I didn't join Erik until late May of last year, our two-year tour began when Erik touched down in March 2010.

I have spent the last week pouring over research as we prepare our "bid list" for our next tour. We should know the location of our next home sometime in March. To say the research is overwhelming is to put it mildly. This has been a stressful process, and I will be glad when it is over and we can go back to focusing on "today".

This is a bittersweet time for me. If it is not obvious from our blog, we adore our life in Saigon. Erik loves his work and his colleagues. Our daughters are THRIVING. I am happy and settled. This post, our first, has been a dream come true for us. I know that two years have and will continue to fly by, and I will always wish we could have stayed longer.

But don't get me wrong. We knew what we signed up for, and part of the allure of this life is to be able to experience so much of this vast world. I remain optimistic about our next home and the next stage in this journey.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twain

As she sees it....

This is Alli's family. Here is Daddy, wearing his tie....

and Mommy with her "pony"(tail)...
and Amelia with her smile and hair...

and the artist herself. Prepare yourself for some major cuteness......

Friday, 18 February 2011

Smart that Amelia is...

She is always in such a hurry, and here she is demonstrating her latest trick. She puts her toy, bottle, etc. in her mouth and makes a run for it. She is a funny one, that Amelia.

Watch out Martha

Right before the Christmas holiday, Alli came home from school with close to 100 sheets of her "art". Now, don't get me wrong. I am sentimental and I love seeing her creations, but I am not going to store and SHIP every single piece of her "art" across the world. I left the stack on our dining room table for about 2 months because I didn't know what to do with it and I certainly didn't just want to toss it. I teased Alli's teacher about it and she told me she knew of a mom who used it as wrapping paper - genius!!!
Isn't that such a great idea? It adds such a nice personal touch, especially until she can write a note herself.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Proud Mama

Tuesday - Wednesday -
Thursday -
It is so thrilling as a parent to watch Alli grown and learn. I could not be more pleased with her school, and feel very grateful she will be in the same homeroom with the same teacher (whom we all love) for our entire 2 year tour in Vietnam. I know this amazing environment will challenge our bright first-born, but also foster her enthusiasm for learning and hopefully, set her on the right path. And yes, I totally cried when I saw this at pick up. I am becoming THAT mom.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Homemade Love

Turns out, a love for glitter may in fact be hereditary.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Dinner Date - Adult Version

We ate dinner at Com Nieu this week as part of the Consulate's monthly supper club, and I have to say it was the best Vietnamese food I have eaten so far. It was so delicious, I had to take pictures. Good thing I did, because we DEVOURED all of it.

The restaurant is famous for its clay-pot rice. The rice is baked in clay pots which are then shattered open. After that, the rice is thrown across the room to a waiter. I wish I had pictures of that, but let's just say that I got all excited and put my camera on some crazy setting, so all I got was this:

If you want to see the rice-throwing action, check out this video from Anthony Bourdain who visited the restaurant on one of his shows. Since he visited, the beloved owner passed away and the restaurant has changed location, but I still can't WAIT to go back.

Dinner Date - Kid Version

Alli and Amelia had a little dinner date last night - I swoon at their cuteness together. Um, Alli, what happened to your face? I can't even eat I am so distracted....well, not really


Alli + markers + 4 minutes alone + a mirror =

A Few of my Favorite Things...

hope you are having a lovey-dovey week

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Bring on Cupid

My heart is all aflutter over her blue eyes ...

Glitter and Pink and Hearts, Oh My!

Alli calls it Valentime's Day, which is , of course, adorable.

And as much fun as we had during Tet, I am glad it is coming to an end. The entire country basically shuts down for the entire week (or longer) which makes every day last a tad too long and eventually makes entertaining ourselves seem like work. So, instead of dwelling through the end of this holiday, I am moving on.....

into the land of candy hearts and pink markers and red glitter and a nice reminder to take a minute or 100 and tell those that you love how you feel....

my girls are very good at doing that each day in their own, secret language - see for yourself.

Luck be a Lady

Luck is a big thing to consider during Tet. On the first day of Tet, your luck for the year will be determined based on what you eat, who comes to your house and a whole slew of other variables.

Apparently, it is also lucky to see/touch/have your picture taken with our family because all during the flower festival we were stopped by numerous folks wanting to do this:

We always try to be gracious, as most Vietnamese are to us. And thankfully, Amelia loves the attention. Occassionally, folks can get "grabby" which irks me, but overall, they are respectful.

One older gentlemen told Erik that he felt lucky to have just seen Amelia in person which I thought was sweet. And got me thinking....perhaps next year I can set up a booth and charge for photos.......

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Nguyen Hue Street

During Tet, Nguyen Hue Street, which is one of the main thoroughfares in downtown Saigon, closes to car/motorbike traffic and is transformed into a flower festival. It was amazing to see how quickly they were able to construct such elaborate displays, including a ginormous flower mountain. It is also impressive because these displays will only be up for a week and then torn down. It was incredibly crowded, and there were entire families there in formal attire having portraits taken. It was a wonderful way to stroll through downtown, which we don't normally get to do because of the traffic.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Chuc Mung Nam Moi

Today is New Year's Day in Vietnam - so as we kick of the year of the cat, from our family to yours, best wishes for the important things in life like happiness and ice cream.