Monday, September 26, 2011

Phuket Family Fun!

Eight full days of pure fun and relaxation with my kids:

Ethan has always had a "thing" for nice hotels and resorts, 
he thinks it's cool to put the code in the lock, to wear the bathrobe, and order room service.  
He even notices that the bedsheets are a great thread count.

We fell in love with all the baked goods at Siam
 Cafe that our friends all raved about.

Highlight of the week was Jambu the 
elephant - we saw him every day and fed him bananas.
In all the kids' journals for school, they all wrote and drew pictures of our friendly elephant friend.
Niko has not stopped talking how 
Jambu had a bath in the ocean!

My creative Ella did not tire of all the crafts and activities.  In fact, every day w/ out asking me, she'd sign herself up with her brothers for all sorts of classes, painting, cooking, towel animal making, etc. She is definitely Sharon's grand-daughter!

The kids loved the free popsicles they made daily by the pool, the old-fashioned Thai way in silver containers in a bucket of salt water and ice.  It only took 45 minutes to freeze up.

The kids thought it was the coolest thing to get to our room by golf cart.  Brought back a lot of Hong Kong memories for me when we lived in the golf-cart community of Discovery Bay.

Pool fun was the BEST!  
This is the first year in my mothering that I could actually sit back and just watch the kids.  Not that Niko can fully swim, but he's close, and the kids do a great job watching him.

The beach was gorgeous, but the waves a little too rough to watch four young kids, so I was grateful when Mateo joined us mid-week and we could have a better parent-to-kid ratio.

When this little boy grows up, I'm sure going to miss his sweet little bear hugs!

My most favorite thing to do: watching the kids at play.

Oh Zadian my love, you are so easy to please!

I was hoping for a nice family photo shoot on the beach, but we were having too much fun.
How about a family photo with Jambu instead?

We loved the Marriott JW, it's perfect for families.
Lots of pools, beach nearby, great food, and a place with a washer/dryer and 
plenty of beds for us all AND we can have some meals at home.

And one photo from my iphone I want to keep, is the kids
crashed every night so easily after a full day of playing in the water:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Mekong Delta

Our day trip to the Mekong Delta was the 
highlight of our weekend in Saigon.

The floating market was delightful:

I loved the bright red of the lychees on sale.

Enjoying the boat ride to the various islands, 
our first stop was Unicorn island for lunch:

Very unique meal of puffed glutinous rice ball, 
crunchy on the outside, gooey and sweet inside.
Elephant fish was gorgeous, our server cut it all 
up and rolled them into fresh spring rolls.

Now we know why the rice paper has a pattern on it - 
they are dried on braided palm trees.
We love A-ha moments when we travel!

Our boat was too large to enter the canals 
and waterways of the Mekong Delta,
so we continued by canoe to see local 
village life and more rice paddies.

Saigon Energy

Saigon surprised us.
We had heard it was a sprawling, dirty, gritty city.
We found an exciting, vibrant, youthful place full of ENERGY!
Mateo was there for work so the hotel was great.
Right in the middle of the 1st district with this amazing view:

We couldn't help but appreciate the 
FRENCH influence in the city.
Notre Dame Cathedral:

The Opera House may as well have been in Europe. 

Tree-lined boulevards reminiscent of Paris.

Strolling around the Ban Tanh market 
was one of my favorite things to do:

Mooncakes were selling like crazy:

One of our fav foodie experience - Vietnamese BBQ!  
After grilling our meats, we rolled it up in rice paper with veggies and noodles.

I love these images of Saigon:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Foodie Celebrations....

I love having friends who love to eat good food.
Here we are with Mark Oshida, AYoung Kim,
and the Soug Family.  We call it our Asian Club.
So of course we had Japanese Noodles....

We had a ladies lunch with our city peeps at the new Italian place by my house.
We love it there.  Rochelle made some beautiful cupcakes to celebrate my birthday with Jessie.

I love this Jessie girl.  Pure hearted and sweet.  Loved celebrating my birthday with hers.
If you think there is something wrong with this photo, there is.
We both miss Cheryl terribly.  (Trying to write short sentences Jessie style).

Another reason to gather for good food?
Mason's special blessing day.
I love this Mama and Babe photo.
Mason's a real sweetheart.
Will be sad to see this trio go home to Brizzy in Oz.

A lovely gathering at Rochelle's house...with Astrid, Mona, Kate and our families.
I love these JOYFUL women!

This gathering with my empty-nester peeps was very special!
Mary B has just entered the club with the departure of her 6th baby Michelle to college.
We had raclette lunch and chatted about life experiences, saying good bye to children,
and we just enjoyed our sisterhood.  Mary didn't want to be fussed over so we called it the
NON-MARY LUNCHEON....but it is nonetheless a very big milestone in a woman's life.

We did celebrate Kathi's summer birthday AND Skylar's summer 1st birthday!
Kathi returns to Texas  in Dec....again, another sad good bye.  
But when empty nesters go home it's a celebration.  
They are reunited with all their grandbabies they leave behind and miss so much.