First Day of 2016

So we started out the first day of the New Year pretty normally. Caitlyn was quarantined to her room, hoping that she could use enough essential oils to rid her of her sickness. We could smell the oils oozing out from underneath her door to the rest of the house. I had stumbled upon a bag of black eyed peas at our import store 2 weeks earlier, so about mid-morning I set about making black eyed peas and cornbread to celebrate the new year in typical [American] southern fashion. We all sat down to lunch and were about half-way finished when Caitlyn stumbled downstairs and said she thought that I needed to take her to the hospital. She looked like death. So I took her to the hospital.

We were getting her checked in and they immediately brought her a wheelchair. It didn’t take too long before we were being wheeled back to the ER.

A doctor came in and asked some questions, they ran tests and scans, we received paperwork to read through. Our favorite part of the paperwork said, “The staff will ask you about the area of pain. For example: Where is your pain?” Yes, even when facing death’s door, Caitlyn and I still giggled away our time in the ER.

They determined that she had an infection in her intestine. (Read: Giardia. When you live in a country that doesn’t have a clean water system, it’s best to avoid activities where water gets tossed into your face. That advice is free. Well, it’s the cost of a hospital visit…) They wanted to move her to a room for her to stay overnight. They came and took her food order for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. “You can have soft rice and soup, but nothing deeeeelicious.” Forget essential oils, rice is the cure all in this country.

The room was nice and comfortable, but what made the entire hospital visit worth it (for me… I’m sure the meds that kept Caitlyn from having to rush to the bathroom every 45 minutes was the best part for her) was that they had a tv station playing FOX NEWS… IN ENGLISH!!! I was so giddy! It was almost like being at a fancy resort. We both got sufficiently terrified at all of the crazy things happening in the US and it just felt so normal.

We slept okay that night, Caitlyn in her hospital bed and me on a leather couch, except for that frame of time when Cait pulled her IV out and sent every machine in the room to beeping. The next morning we had breakfast (she had more rice, I had a chocolate croissant and a latte from the food stand downstairs) and then set about the day reading books and enjoying the quiet. Scott texted me at some point during the day and said, “If y’all had wanted some time to yourselves, I could think of a better way to go about it than checking in at the hospital.” He had been home watching the girls by himself for almost 24 hours at that time and I think he had just about reached his breaking point. Caitlyn saw a few different doctors throughout the day and they each checked on her pee pee and poo poo (those were the official terms used by every single person that checked on her), and in the early afternoon a nurse came and took food orders for that night and the next morning. We told her at that point that we didn’t really want to stay another night so they set about discharging her. We were finally sent home with plenty of meds and rehydration solution about 5pm.

At some point during the day I told Caitlyn that no matter how we spent the last day of 2016, it had to be better than how we spent the first day of 2016. We went back a few days later for a followup and they released her to head back to her country. The little girls came with us for this visit so they played in the well-child clinic while Caitlyn met with her doctor.

We loved spending Christmas with Caitlyn and her family even if we had to end on a hospital visit!! And we are so thankful that she is healthy and back to normal, working in her country, now. Thanks for following along on our journey!

Sawadee Pii Maay

Sawadee Pii Maay, or Happy New Year, from Southeast Asia! We spent New Year’s Eve with friends, eating delicious American snacks, and shooting fireworks. It looked a lot like how we would celebrate in the States except that it was a regular hot day in Asia!! And you can buy massive fireworks on the side of the road for pennies and shoot them from wherever you want!

I won’t mention any names, but someone 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻really got into the fun.

Lighting fireworks from our front porch.

These two loved that their daddy bought them fireworks!

Sparklers!!! Lillian was afraid that if she held one she would catch on fire.

The reason Caitlyn looks like death in these photos is because, well… she was dying.

The required Asian peace sign ✌🏻️photo.

Scott bought a big box looking firework and we weren’t quite sure what it was. We were somewhat scared that it was going to blow up a car (or house??). In this video you can tell that I was stunned by how large the firework ended up being!

 

I feel like we probably should have had this in an open field instead of the street in front of our house. Hollyn absolutely hated the fireworks, as you can tell from the screaming in the background.

Once we finished with fireworks, we ate more food and watched videos of the 2014 New Years Eve in Times Square on youtube. And we ate jello. With two spoons.

And worked puzzles. And destroyed the house.

At 10pm, we counted down the New Year with the 2014 ball drop. I really am capable of counting to 16 (on good days), but I couldn’t seem to keep up with the video!!

 

After the kids went to bed, we didn’t have nearly as much fun. But we did see the actual New Year at midnight!

Thanks for following along on our journey!!

 

A mentor of sorts.

I’d really like to think of myself as a mentor (of sorts) to Caitlyn, but you should know that her list of mentors is extensive and renowned. Realistically, I don’t think I’ve arrived at that point just yet, but I’m always striving.

However, there is one area that I have taught her well in, and that is how to give a bath to three kids. Anytime she is visiting she always says that my bath skills are the most efficient she has seen. This is a conversation that took place when Caitlyn’s mom offered to give the girls a bath one night and Caitlyn went up to supervise (her mom. Who also raised 3 kids into adulthood).

Caitlyn: “Mom, why did you put the stopper in the bathtub? They are going to splash.”

LouLyn: “They like to splash. It’s fun.”

Caitlyn: “NO. A bath is not about having fun. It’s about getting them clean and to bed as quickly and efficiently as you can.”

LouLyn: …

Another fun conversation that we had with LouLyn regarding bedtimes:

LouLyn: “Have y’all been to the Night Safari? We went last time we were here and it was fun.”

Caitlyn: “You can’t take your kids to the Night Safari when they go to bed before it gets dark outside.”

LouLyn: “When we had young kids we just didn’t know that was a thing. Our kids went to bed when we did. We didn’t realize that you could put your kids to bed and then have time to spend together without them! We wasted so many years.”

In the car home after picking up Caitlyn from the airport she looked at Lillian and said, “Lillian, when is the last time you’ve had a bath?” Because Lillian truly is Ramona Quimby. About 5 minutes after waking she is a mess. I love the line in the Ramona and Beezus movie where Ramona’s father gets home from work and looks at her covered in dirt from head to toe and says, “I don’t think you got dirty enough today, Ramona,” and her mom leans in the room and says, “There’s always tomorrow.” Scott and I use these lines regularly when discussing our Lillian. She is a mess… in every sense of the word!!!

Thanks for following along on our journey!

 

The Fish Spa

I made my opinion of the fish spa very well known when I posted these pictures. It is not something that I ever want to do again. As soon as Meggie Meg saw my pictures she commented that this was at the top of her list of things to do while they were in Asia. I think it’s safe to say that she changed her mind once her feet were positioned above those fish!!

 

They finally talked her into putting her feet in the water! But I don’t think any of them enjoyed the experience.

My favorite line from the above video is when LouLyn turns around and says, “Megan it is so horrible, you just gotta try it.”

And then there was this insanity.

 

There were probably 30 people stopped in front of this crazy lady watching the madness! It was so funny!! The Turners definitely draw attention wherever they go!!

If you come visit we will also let you experience the fish spa! I’m sure it looks appealing after watching these fun videos! Thanks for following along on our journey!

 

Taking on Asia

After Christmas was over, we made out a schedule and set to crossing everything off of the list that the Turners wanted to do while here.

We ate Asian food. And more Asian food.

We went to markets. Every market. Every single market in our city.

G’Doug spent HOURS of his life in markets during their vacation. He loved it immensely.

We ate food on sticks and food in bags. Our girls taught them how to do it.

We made fun out of everything we did!

We went to some malls. And they saw a 4Dx movie!

And ate Asian food.

We ate ice cream!!

And captured memories wherever possible!

We fed giraffes.

And got licked by giraffes!

We rode ponies.

The girls fully did not understand when I would say, “no, let the Turners take a family picture,” because they are under the assumption that they are part of the family. So we would take one non-kid photo.

And one kid-filled photo.

We got all dolled up!

They went to ride/bathe elephants. We didn’t go because we don’t like giardia.

And apparently, some of them got giardia. It’s what happens when elephants spray dirty water in your face, folks.

And most of all just enjoyed spending time together! It is always fun showing new friends and family the sites that we have grown so accustomed to here!

I love the way they love us and our girls! We had such a special time with this special family. They really are crazy… but in their own special way. We couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas with this crew. I have a few fun posts left from their time with us. Thanks for following along on our journey!

Wrapping up Christmas Day

Here are a few more pictures from the Turner present mania of 2015.

G’Doug and Hollyn working on a puzzle together. Most of the Turner’s presents for the girls were farm themed. They have a farm back in America and wanted the girls to remember them after they had returned home. However, now Lillian has decided that G’Doug needs to buy her two ponies to keep at their farm!!

This is my very favorite picture from their entire visit! Hollyn LOVED DJ A!! One night when I was putting her down for bed, she kept crying out, “I want DJ A! I want DJ A!”

So. Much. Stuff.

Hollyn modeling her beautiful dress for everyone!

The girls opening a present from Mama and Daddy! It was a paper chain counting down the days to…

DISNEYLAND HONG KONG!!!!!

The girls loved their makeup from the Turners.

Taelyn showing off her dress and shoes from Miss Cait!

Taelyn, showing off her makeup!

DJ A helping Lillian with her makeup.

The Turners made it their mission to work a massage into the schedule every single day that they were here. Christmas Day was no exception! This was their favorite place.

Of course, the lady who ran the shop loved this crew. One night she came and picked them up in her personal vehicle, at 9pm, so that they could get their massages. I told you… insane.

Nid’s kids had school on Christmas Day because our country doesn’t recognize Christmas. But she brought them over that evening so that they could open their presents from us and the Turners!

I think this was my very favorite part of Christmas! They had the best time opening their presents!

Lemon was over the moon for her Elsa dress!

Nid made me this beautiful purse! She said it took her a full month to make! It’s hard to tell from the picture, but that fabric is gold. It is so beautiful and she is one of the most talented people I have ever known!

Our little overseas family!! Loved celebrating the birth of Jesus with this crew!

More Turner insanity coming. Thanks for following along on our journey!

Turner Tuminello Christmas 2015

The Turners packed everything in their house in order to make this Christmas spent overseas the same as it would be spent in the States, albeit about 50 degrees hotter. They brought all of the supplies necessary to continue with their favorite traditions, including Jello Jigglers (I know… it was weird to me, too) and the most ridiculous 1,000 piece puzzle I’ve ever worked, which turns out has never been a Christmas tradition in their house at all. Apparently each of their bags were only about 10 lbs over the weight limit so G’Lou figured it would be a nice addition to Christmas in Asia. G’Doug hated loved the puzzle so much that I have no doubt that it will become a lifelong Christmas tradition from this point on. Complete with the large amount of grumbling that came with it every night that it was brought out. She also managed to bring a bottle of Christmas tree scent that she felt was necessary to add so that I could spray my green plastic tree. When they had to unpack and repack all of their bags in the floor of the airport on the way here, none of these things were thrown into the trash, which is a success in itself.

As soon as they arrived, G’Lou broke it to Caitlyn not so gently that they didn’t really bring her many Christmas presents because they had to have room for the important Christmas tradition items that couldn’t be left at home, and presents and activities for my girls. My girl’s presents under the tree went from 1 each to an insane amount. Sorry Cait.

The girls aren’t that into material things, so they weren’t excited at all about the new additions under the tree. They especially didn’t ask hourly if they could open a present.

The Turners willingly admitted that they were out to buy the girl’s love, so the activities were endless. Anytime we had 5 minutes of downtime, something fun was brought out. This included gingerbread houses.

We only ate as much candy as we put on the houses.

Hollyn is just a naturally, happy child. Moms, don’t be jealous.

And we ate a lot of chocolate.

Like I said… some kids are just born joyful. Don’t hate.

We put fun Christmas window clings in this windows (which are still there in mid-January).

We wore crazy hats. #joyful

And we dressed in matching and monogrammed pajamas.

On Christmas morning, the Turners spent a little time together as a family, as did the Tuminellos.

The Turners apparently spent their morning opening presents, while the Tuminellos chose to spend our morning reading from the Bible about the greatest gift that has ever been given to us.

And then they made their way to our house and demanded that we join in on their materialism.

I’m not sure how it’s possible, but I managed to capture a picture of Hollyn… HAPPY!!

All joking aside, we truly had such an amazing Christmas spent with this awesome family. The laughing doubled, the joy doubled, and the loudness doubled (if that’s even possible from our normal level of loud). We are so grateful for the Turners and for all the work and planning that went into making it overseas for Christmas and bringing everything necessary to make it such a special Christmas! I have plenty more posts to reveal how insane the Turners are, so stay tuned!! Thanks for following along on our journey!

 

Christmas with the crazies.

Y’all. We spent Christmas with crazy people. Caitlyn, who you’ve met many times on this blog, came to our country to spend Christmas with us this year. And her entire family decided to come from America to join in on the fun as well. And they are insane. The next couple blog posts should be fun.

Caitlyn got here the day before her family. We spent the evening wrapping presents and catching up. And we let Cait open a gift that we brought back with us from America.

When you live in Asia, gifts come easy. This was a giant box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And I had to fight the Tuminellos (including Scott) off of this box every single morning of the month between us getting back here and Caitlyn coming for Christmas.

The next day we were headed to the airport to pick up the rest of the Turner Crew.

It felt like we waited forever for them to get through customs. But finally they made it through. Without their luggage… which was stuck in Singapore. But they still had smiles on their faces – as much as you can after traveling for that long on a plane! Hollyn was the only super grumpy one in this photo.

And with their arrival, Asia would never be the same.

My girls names for the crew:

Doug: G’Doug;  Loulyn: G’Lou;  Megan: Meggie Meg;  Austin: DJ A; and Caitlyn is always Miss Caitlyn, Cait Cait, Miss Cait, the worst babysitter ever, and so on. You get the picture.

As soon as we made it back to the house we made Austin open up his Christmas present. Caitlyn got him a hoverboard and we could not wait for him to try it out. She had gotten it about a month earlier… before they started exploding. I was in the middle of finals for my seminary class and she started sending me these videos. I’ve watched each of them about 200 times. They got me through finals. And life. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Caitlyn:

 

Hilary:

 

And their roommate, Jenny:

 

The night that Caitlyn arrived, Scott and I had to try it ourselves. I was just praying that I didn’t get seriously injured.

 

Scott, of course, hopped right on with no trouble at all.

 

Overall, we were just impressed that we, being 35, showed up the 23 year olds. And that no hospital visits were necessary.

As soon as we got back to the house, we made Austin open his present. The girls were excited to help!

The first thing Austin said was, “I am going to look so cool on this thing.”

And he did. He was bomb. He picked it up as quickly as you would expect a 19 year old to. And made it all look so easy!

 

I’ll stop there for now. But I have many more posts documenting the crazy visit! Thanks for following along on our journey!!

Bible Study Christmas Party

For our end of year Christmas party, we had our Bible study group over to our house. We celebrated the holiday with Pizza and Fried Rice. Scott went through the Christmas story and we had a sweet time of fellowship with these friends! It has been such a joy to get to know these friends and teaching them the Word. We are so grateful to their faithfulness in coming to study with us!

We have already started our studying in the New Year! We are looking forward to growing with these friends throughout the remainder of our time here and we are praying (and would appreciate you praying with us) for God to raise up a national leader for this group so that they can continue to study and grow in the Lord once we are no longer living here. Thanks for following along on our journey!!

Christmas Pageant

The kids in our church practiced hard for weeks for their Christmas pageant at church! The big day finally came and they did a beautiful job reenacting the Christmas story for the church.

Check out that cute little sheep peering in on baby Jesus!

After the play, they sang some beautiful songs in our national language.

The whole crew!

What a wonderful sounding choir!!

These videos give you a taste of what our language sounds like!

 

After the performance was over, we headed back upstairs to play some games and do some Christmas crafts! We had a lot of visitors that morning, including Pii Nid’s children, Ton Glaa and Lemon, and Pii Yo’s little girl, Ice. We loved that Pii Nid and Pii Yo wanted to come to church with us to see our girls perform in their Christmas play!

Nong Lemon and Nong Ice working on their craft.

After the service was over we had a fun gift exchange! This is our pastor, Ajaan Ogaat, and his wife, Khruu Taay, helping with the gift exchange!

Hollyn found a friend to sit with and give her candy!

We had a great time celebrating Christmas with our overseas church family. Thanks for following along on our journey!!