Sunday, March 6, 2016

Happy Birthday Kelsey!

On Monday, February 29th Kelsey turned 4 years old! Because it was a leap year (obviously) it was her first real birthday. ;) We were excited to celebrate this sweet girl. She made things pretty easy for me, food-wise. She wanted cold cereal for breakfast, Mac n' cheese and hot dogs for lunch, and pizza for dinner. She got to watch some TV while I did school with the older kids, which made her feel pretty cool. :) We also painted, and she helped me make her birthday cake. Back in January we had gone bowling as a family, and Kelsey saw some other kids there having birthday parties. Ever since that day she had it in her head that she really wanted to have a birthday party at the bowling alley! So as soon as Kenny got off work we headed over there (I called ahead to make sure it was okay I bring a cake in) and we brought her presents too. We had a fun time bowling together, and then had cake and presents right there! 

Everything about that day was pink! Pink streamers, pink balloons, she wanted a pink cake with pink frosting, etc. etc. In the picture below you can see she's wearing a bracelet. We were in the check-out line at the grocery store when she saw this bracelet and really wanted it because it was pink! She had no idea it was a breast cancer bracelet, but since it was only $1 I let her get it on her b-day. :) She sure got spoiled and looked so cute in her new outfit from Grandma A. 

Kelsey is such a sweetheart. She can be pretty bi-polar sometimes, but when she's being nice she is the sweetest girl around. She love all things princess and is a really good sister and friend. She loves to make silly faces and make people happy. She loves to look pretty with her hair, or do nail polish, jewelry, make up, etc. anything sparkly or fancy is a favorite. She has such a caring heart, and we're so glad she's part of our family. We love you Kelsey boo!

Madi was quite a little booty-shaker that night! :) She kept doing a dance every time she bowled.

Yay for birthday cake!!

Layover in Seoul

We flew out of Cambodia around midnight and landed 5 hours later in Seoul. I was dying to get back home and hold my babies. Kelsey and Briggs had gotten pretty sick while we were gone and it kills me to be away and not be able to help them, especially when they're sick. The problem is there's only one flight that goes out of Seoul to Seattle every day and it wasn't until 7;00 that night. So we had a LOT of time to kill. We found out that the airport did free transit tours for people with long layovers and so we quickly signed up for a 5 hour tour, lunch included. (We actually had to pay $10 a person because of the lunch, but I still think it was worth it!) It took quite a while to get through all the checkpoints and security/customs, etc. to get out of the dang airport. It was a great opportunity for us to see a little bit of the city. I'd certainly never been to South Korea before. We saw 2 different palaces, and walked around the streets for a while, too. We were all SO tired though. Every time we sat down on a bus, or in the airport, all of us would fall asleep (see below). Pure exhaustion that whole trip home. Felt like the trip would never end. 

Cambodia! Day 10 Last Day in Phnom Penh

I couldn't believe how fast this trip went by! Our last day in Cambodia was so much fun. We didn't really have anything planned the day before, but we figured it out and ended up packing in quite a lot. Kim and I got up and played tennis together at 6 a.m. It was so much fun! I love tennis but I haven't played in years. There aren't any courts here in Alaska, so it was really fun to be able to play. Then she made us a yummy breakfast and we all got ready for the day. We went to a super packed market, just to soak up the (stinky) atmosphere. I love people watching there. Our lives are so very different. I try to think about what it would be like to come to the market day after day after day chopping up stinky fish guts all day and bartering with every customer to get the best price. Those ladies are tough! Then we drove to Independence Monument, and then to the Royal Palace where the kids got to feed the birds. SO many pigeons. We bought some corn kernels from a lady there and they loved feeding all the birds. We barely missed a tour of the palace, which was a total bummer. Literally by 5 or 10 minutes we missed it. Then we went to central market where Ty and Bryn each got a few bucks to pick out whatever they wanted to buy. I also got a cute little church suit for Briggs. Can't wait till he grows into it.

Then we went to lunch at Joma Cafe, and dropped Sam off at his French school that he had missed for like 3 weeks because of all their visitors! Then Kim and the other kids went to a fun indoor playground place called Monkey Business. Meanwhile, Samnang drove Kenny and I out to the Killing Fields. It was quite graphic and a very sobering experience. We could see pieces of bone and cloth from the victims still coming up out of the ground. More are revealed each year, especially after the rainy season. We tried to get through it quickly, and only took about an hour. Then went back and made the rounds picking everyone back up.

They dropped Kenny and I off to get a massage (for $8 each!!!!) while Kim took all the kids home. The massage place was a little sketchy, as a cockroach ran across the floor, and spiderwebs were in all the corners, and I really wasn't sure when the last time (if ever) they washed the sheets on the bed haha. But I tried to ignore all that and just enjoy it. It did feel really good. We took a tuk tuk home and Kim had a delicious dinner made for us.

After dinner we all went down (kids and all) to the tennis courts. Tyler had been really wanting to play since Kim and I did. It was a fun night just playing around and teaching them how to hit it. We got some ice cream afterwards and went back upstairs to pack and get ready to go. Of course we finished that day, along with every other day, with family scriptures and prayers. Then we had to say goodbye to everyone and Caleb took us to the airport. 

I just really love Kim and Caleb and their cute kids. They are such a great family and I want to be a better person and mother when I'm around her. I'm so grateful she's my sister and I can learn from her. Overall it was quite an incredible trip and I'm so glad for the memories we made and the neat experiences we had. 

Again, pictures are out of order sometimes but you get the idea.

Cambodia! Days 7-9 Siem Reap

Day 7: Mon. Feb. 21st: We left the house around 8:30 a.m. to drive the 5.5 hours to Siem Reap! Boy those road trips are something else! Not exactly nice paved roads with appropriate speed limits and everyone abiding by the law. OH no. It's sort of a free for all and you just zoom around whoever you can whenever you can. Kenny described it well, sort of like being in a video game haha. Only it wasn't as fun being in the back and I felt nauseated quite a bit. We stopped a couple times on the side of the road to try some local things like lotus and this rice/bean/coconut oil mixture stuffed inside bamboo. I don't know what it's called but Kenny ate it and enjoyed it a lot. The lotus was fun to pry out of there, and didn't have a strong taste one way or the other so they were fun to eat. The shells that were empty you would pop on your head to hear a fun "popping" noise. Brynlee enjoyed that especially.
 It's always nice to have a pool to cool off and relax in once we get to the hotel. Then we showered and ate dinner at the hotel. Then we went to the CIRCUS! haha. I never thought of Cambodians having a circus, and it's not nearly what you'd think of in America. But it was still really fun to see. The kids especially loved it. We even got them popcorn and cotton candy so it was an extra fun night. 

Our hotel bed! We brought an air mattress to both hotels and Ty and Bryn slept on the air mattress on the floor.

Tuesday Feb. 22nd: Even after a late night, we had to rouse the kids out of bed around 5 a.m., and we left by 5:30. Samnang drove us to get tickets, and then to Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise behind the temple. It was beautiful! And very crowded. We went back to the hotel around 7:30 and had breakfast. Kim and her kids joined us and we all went to ride elephants! This was most definitely the highlight of the trip for Brynlee, and usually the first thing she brings up if someone asks her about the trip. It was pretty neat being up so close to those ginormous animals, and feel their rough trunks. We enjoyed a super bumpy ride around the Bayon temple. We had picked up a tour guide for the day, but I'm not sure it was worth it. He didn't seem very knowledgeable to me, but it could also have been that it was SO hard to understand his english. But the tour included 3 different temples. All of the temples have gone back and forth throughout history from being Hindu or Buddhist temples, depending on the the leader. Whatever the King believed, the whole country had to go with that. Lots of really cool ruins and it was so neat to see. I should have studied a lot more than I did about the two religions. I ignorantly thought I only needed to know about Buddhism, but their history is also really prominently Hindu.

Kim and her two little girls went back to the hotel after the first temple. They've already seen all of them, and little kids really don't like touring around in the heat haha. But we were happy that Samuel wanted to stay with us for the day. He is unlike any 5 year old I've ever known. So mature and intelligent!! The second temple we saw was like a jungle. It had so many HUGE, old trees grown up through all the rocks. Very cool. Then we took a break for lunch, then went back to Angkor Wat for our final temple. (We hadn't gone inside in the morning, it was only outside shots.) It was really hot, and we are really not used to all that heat. We were pretty sweaty and tired when we got back to the hotel but so glad we had seen all that we did. It was a really good day and I was grateful we hadn't brought any of our younger kids that day :).

We went back and swam to cool off for a while, then got ready for dinner. Kim had made reservations at this awesome restaurant called Genevieve's. It was rated #1 on Trip Advisor I think, and for good reason! They were SO family friendly and really catered to children. They took their orders first and brought out their food well before the adults. But just when we were worried that it wasn't such a good idea after all because now they were all done eating and we weren't, they then brought the kids out free ice cream with chocolate syrup! It was a great place I'd recommend to anyone!

After dinner we walked around the night market and bought a few things before going back to the hotel and totally crashed.
A lot of these pictures are out of order...but that's alright.

This is a picture of everyone else that was there for the sunrise too! Including a hot air balloon in the back!

Eliza, Kim, and Zoe

The Bayon Temple

Tyler, Kenny, and Sam

Me and Brynlee

Our tour guide, and Kenny

My yummy fresh fruit shake at dinner!

A few things about that hotel. I didn't love it. They must have done the plumbing wrong in our bathroom because after the first night, we woke up and opened the bathroom door, and tried not to pass out at the awful stench. It wreaked of sewage the whole time we were there. I then realized why they burned incense for a while before they let you in the room! :) Anyway it smelled really bad the whole time. Not only that but we had a hard time keeping the mosquitoes and bugs out. During the night, I got bitten or stung by something. I'm not sure what. But part of my right lip swelled up, and then the top of my face. You can kind of make out a large circle, extending into my eyes. It was a super long, uncomfortable night. I woke up and showed Kenny and the kids and they just stared open-mouthed at my freaky looking face. It was pretty funny. As long as I kept my sunglasses on it hid it really well. My lip went down mostly by morning. We bought some benadryl before leaving that day. Kim went up with me and I asked if they had some benadryl for swelling. She asked me what it was for and Kim says, "Show her your face." So I took off my sunglasses and she immediately goes "Aaahhh!!" And quickly goes to get my medicine hahaha. It was pretty funny and we've had some good laughs about it. It went away completely after 2-3 days.

We drove back to Kim's house that day. We went swimming (of course haha) and then went to Aeon mall. Caleb met us there after work. We ate some yummy dinner there, and walked around a bit. We got some frozen yogurt (which is actually quite sour as yogurt should be, but it caught me off guard when we first took a bite). We also bought some fried crickets there and Kenny and Tyler both ate some!! I was a big wuss and had no desire to try that. I didn't want to gag or throw up in public and I didn't feel like I had anything to prove to anyone, so I chickened out. It revolts me to think about eating crickets. They all got wings and legs stuck in their teeth and that's just disgusting!! Pretty funny to watch though.