Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 29 and 30...

Brynn enjoyed getting three pink braids in her hair on the beach.

Brynn showing how still she can sit.

Brynn was crowned royalty at Burger King in Phuket Town.

1. Our last two days in Thailand were fun and relaxing. We enjoyed our favorite restaurants and dishes for the final time. I will be sorely missing Deep Fried Lemongrass Chicken!
2. We said our goodbyes to the people that we befriended on the trip. If the future for the Perdues holds another overseas stint, Thailand is definitely on the top of our list. The people are extremely kind and easy for relationship building.
3. The Perdues also had a final run-in with our Russians. On our last night in the pool, the Russian and two buddies joined us for a nightly swim. Other than being extremely intoxicated, singing to the top of their lungs, doing repeated cannonballs and belching, they were some swell guys!
4. It was mixed emotions to leave Thailand. For our girls, it will be nice to return to China and get into a routine. On the other hand, we do not look forward to cold weather, gray skies and other Chinese difficulties.
5. Be on the lookout for one more blog about our vacation. I have an immigration story and some comparison pictures.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 27 and 28...

1.  Brynn has overcome her fear of public potties. We went back-to-back yesterday in public settings. Her swimming, however, has regressed. Her fearlessness of the water is no more. It is funny how quickly things can change for young children. We are leaving some of her toys in Thailand that we do not wish to return to China. These are toys that we purposefully brought in order to leave, as in a way to clean out some clutter. This is not going over well with Brynn. Many of the toys keep miraculously finding their way into suitcases and backpacks.
2. Aubrey is absolutely wearing Sarah and I out. Along with her poor nighttime sleeping habits (that girl can nap), she is non-stop movement. We can't wait to see her get to crawling on our rug in China. I am going to have to build a fence around our living room.
3. We visited a new location on Tuesday. We went to Phuket Town. Along with a visit to immigration (long story that I will get into in another blog), we also drove around the town and visited a nice mall. We spurned all the fancy restaurants for Whoppers at Burger King and ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Luckily, it was Pink Tuesday which meant that if you are wearing pink, it is buy-one, get-one free. If you know Brynn, you can bet that she is going to be wearing pink somewhere. We enjoyed some extremely cheap treats!
4. Brynn also got three braids put into her on Wednesday. We have some pictures that will be on the blog tomorrow. What color were the braids? Pink, of course. She loves them and sat very still while the lady did her thing.
5. Family pictures were somewhat of a success. Aubrey was a perfect angel and posed on call. We have been working on our "not-so" photogenic daughter Brynn. She is good on candid shots, but not those that involve a pose. After your typical father-daughter meltdown, we actually got a few decent shots, as seen above.
6. Sarah and I made friends with a new lady and her children on Tuesday. She is Taiwanese and her husband is Finnish. She has two boys and they are spread out exactly like our girls, just two months younger. The oldest boy can swim like a fish. He is just about Brynn's size but can dive and swim the length of the pool. He is amazing. He also speaks/understands four languages... English, Chinese, Thai and Finnish. This kid has a bright future.

We also made friends with another Finnish couple on Tuesday. They live here for about six months and then go to Finland for six months. The husband is the manager of a popular nightclub. Sarah and I are looking into our Bibles to see if nightclub managers/owners is a sin because it might be our way to not leave paradise.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 25 and 26...

The greatest rolling cart in Thailand!

Pick your flavor!

The final product... Banana, Nutella and Cinnamon.

The proof of their deliciousness is written all over Brynn's face!

Sarah and I avoided the back of this truck... Just barely!

1. We are on the final week of our vacation. We are revisiting some of our favorite restaurants and spending extra time in the sun and water.
2. Tonight is the last night of the festival. We have gone for two straight nights, but might skip tonight due to the mosquitoes. Aubrey's bald head was attacked last night by those mean critters!
3. I had a Russian woman tell Brynn and I to be quiet at the pool because her baby was trying to take a nap. Note to Russian woman, my wife and youngest daughter were not at pool with us because they were inside taking a nap. Not outside at pool so Sarah could sunbathe while Aubrey roasts in the sun asleep. I am beginning to see where the Anti-Russian sentiment comes from in Kamala.
4. Brynn is officially potty trained except she refuses to use public toilets. Sarah and I are amazed at how well she can hold it. We are trying to encourage her that public potties are not scary, but so far it is a no go.
5. Aubrey's sleeping habits still stink. Once we get back to China, our neighbors better be prepared with ear plugs because we are letting her cry/scream it out. With Brynn, it only took about 3 days and she was sleeping great. We hope the same holds true for Aubrey.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kamala Festival...

Kamala Beach is holding their annual festival this weekend. It is a time of good food, folk music and games. Along with the festival their has been a female volleyball tournament, fishing tournament and bike race.

Day 23 and 24...

Our vacation is hitting the home stretch. We return to reality (China) on Friday. Going on a vacation in Thailand for this length of time has been an amazing experience.

Bandits is our favorite restaurant on the beach.

These Thai wings are one of my favorite dishes.

Homemade potato chips with sea salt are a must at Bandits!

How to keep Brynn entertained while we eat? Crayons and a coloring book

The Perdue girls getting to work on a sand castle.

Mommy and Aubrey enjoying time in the beach chair.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 22

Here is some footage of Brynn swimming tonight. She has gone two straight days without water wings. She is really getting the hang of swimming. She still does not know how to tread water, but she can swim from the middle of the pool to the side. She even knows how to raise her head out of the water to catch her breath. She has also gotten over her fear of jumping off the side without her wings in the "big" pool.

1. I set off the fire alarm in our condo yesterday morning. The router for the internet is outside our condo and below it is a button. The internet was not working and I tried to fix the situation. The button did not reset the router, but set off the fire alarm at 7:30AM. We hid out in our condo for a while until it finally cut off.
2. Aubrey can officially crawl. It is a good and bad thing. I love that my daughter has reached a milestone, but I also know the ramifications of a daughter that is mobile!
3. Now that peak season has ended in Thailand, our condo has cleared out. Our final week in paradise should be nice and calm. I went to the pool today while the girls were napping at 2PM and both of our pools were empty .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 20 & 21

Here are some pictures of our vacation over the past couple of days. I also got a couple of pictures of our two most frequented restaurants.

This has become our favorite restaurant in Kamala. Our typical meal consist of spring rolls, mixed vegetables with oyster sauce, Thai salad with deep fried chicken in lemon grass, lemon juice and chili and steamed rice.

This is the restaurant right outside of our complex. We eat at the Coffee Corner at least every other day. My favorite meal is Chicken with Cashews, Shrimp Fried Rice (Spicy) and a bottled Coke.

Popeye's also comes with toys for Brynn to play with while we wait for our food.

Aubrey enjoying some green beans at Popeye's Thai Restaurant.

We had to get creative in bathing Aubrey in our giant bath tub. Her new princess float has come in handy!

This is the birthday girl. Her name is Kafe (not sure of spelling).

Brynn and the birthday girl enjoying her new coloring book.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 19...

No pictures today, but I thought that I might share some things about the Kamala Beach area.

- About 50 meters up the road from our condo is a Muslim Mosque. Along the road that our condo is located is also speakers on the power poles. These speakers broadcast the call to prayer everyday. It is fascinating to be walking home from dinner with the family and hear this broadcast. Growing up in Alabama and living in the south for all but the last two years, it is fascinating being around such a different culture/religion. On a funny note... during the call to prayers one day last week, the man that was speaking got a tickle in his throat. It brought out a chuckle from Sarah and I.

- Our condo is about 50 meters from the main road. When you get to the main road, on the immediate right is a restaurant called the Coffee Corner Shop. We eat at this restaurant at least every other day and often times we stop everyday for at least dessert or a drink (Sarah loves the Banana Coffee Shake). Some of our favorites are the Pad Thai, Shrimp Fried Rice and Club Sandwich. We have become quite close with the owners. It is owned by a Swedish man and Thai lady. They are a little bit older than us and have a daughter who will be two tomorrow. Brynn was actually invited to her birthday party tomorrow. The female owner does all of the cooking, while the man does all of the baking (I love his chocolate brownies). She is actually going to give Sarah Thai cooking lessons this week. We are extremely excited for Sarah to add Thai food to her expanding repertoire!

- Sarah and I barely possess enough clothes to wear something different for a week, much less a month. On top of that, Sarah and I did not check luggage for this trip and only brought three carry-ons. Needless to say, we have visited the laundromat on a frequent occasion. Laundromats in Thailand are relatively cheap and your clothes smell about 100-times better than in China. We have made friends with the owner of our laundromat. She actually likes Sarah and I, but adores our children. Similar to China, she likes to take our children and show them off to other people. Also like China, she will inform Sarah if Aubrey is not covered well enough from the sun. She is also very trusting, as on a couple of occasions she did not have the correct change and told me to just pay her later.

- We have also noticed that many of the European families at our complex have a nanny. These nannies are Thai, so we are infer they must get hired upon arrival. Sarah and I are intrigued by this idea. If we come back to Thailand in the near future, we will be hiring a nanny to help with the children.

- Our banana pancake love got even better last night. Instead of Nutella, I went with crunchy peanut butter. Oh my goodness... it rocked!!!! Sarah will be learning this recipe in cooking classes.

- Tomorrow, Brynn begins her time in the big pool without water wings. I have convinced her that she must give them to Aubrey. We will see how it goes. I am not expecting her to become a swimmer, but I want her to not fear the big pool without her water wings.

- Aubrey has reached a monumental milestone in her life. In my opinion, it is much more important than her two bottom teeth, her ability to sit up and pull up to a standing position and even her basic crawling. She can now GROWL!! Starting this morning when we put her in the pool, she started to make a growling noise and it has not stopped. When you talk to her, she just looks at you and smiles, followed by a cute growl. We went to the clinic and she does not have rabies!

- Sarah and I just laugh at our lives. At this current moment, Sarah and I are laying in a bed with Aubrey who is in a crawl position constantly growling. Brynn is jumping from our bed onto the mattress in the floor (2 foot drop) where Aubrey sleeps. In the last 10 minutes, Brynn has bounced into the wall which led to tears, while also having Aubrey yank out large junks of her hair. It is only 7PM, the night is young!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 18

We actually got a decent picture of Brynn on the beach last night. Sarah says please ignore the strawberry ice cream stain in the middle of her dress.

Brynn has to wear her wings in the big pool, but can go wing free in the kiddie pool. If things keep progressing, swimming lessons will not be needed this summer.

Aubrey's new princess float. She was a little nervous when she took it for a test drive, but now has the hang of the float.

Brynn loved guiding her sister around the kiddie pool, but Mommy always had a secure hand on the float in case Brynn decided to do something crazy!

1. Potty training is close to being dubbed a success. We have not had any accidents in a few days. She goes to the potty on her own, but we have to lift her up onto the toilet. Once we get back to China, we have a stool where she will be able to handle it all on her own.
2. Sarah and I have started watching the show Pan Am. We have watched the first six episodes and deemed it a keeper!
3. I watched the movie Moneyball with Sarah one day this week. It is a great movie especially if you are a baseball fan who enjoys the inner workings of an organization. Even if you do not care about that part of baseball, but just want to watch a good movie, I highly recommend this selection. Sarah agrees!
4. Banana pancakes with Nutella and cinnammon are going to be the death of Sarah and I. For the first couple of weeks, we just shared one pancake as a family. As of last night, we are splitting two pancakes amongst the three of us.
5. One of the Thai TV stations shows live NBA games almost everyday. I have really enjoyed getting to watch basketball with a clear picture and not on my Mac.
6. We have some video of Brynn's swimming exploits. I hope to find my cord, so I can add them to a future blog.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 16 & 17

Again, our vacation can get a little busy and I do not blog for a couple of days. Here is two days rolled into one.

Aubrey played in the sand for about an hour on Friday.

The result of playtime equaled some gritty poo poo!

These views from our lunch table are rough!

Two of my girls working on a sand castle.

After a long day at the beach, my two girls enjoy their computers.

1. On Thursday, the Perdue family ate at our new, favorite Italian restaurant. It is funny that a small place on Kamala Beach in Thailand has some of the best Italian food that we have ever eaten. I went with a chili and garlic pasta while Sarah enjoyed Lasagna. We made friends with the chef and he is going to make me a pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes on our next visit.
2. We did a family swim night on Thursday, as well. Aubrey was hesitant with the water at first, but has really taken to the pool. We have bought her a new float and will have pictures on the blog tomorrow.
3. On Friday, we visited another beach in Phuket. This time we went to Surin Beach. It is known for big waves, strong currents and surfing. While surfing was not present, the big waves and currents were as advertised. Brynn was a little scared, so she and the girls played in the sand. I braved the waves for a good while with some Russian families. 
4. Wedding ring #2 was lost at Surin Beach. So now, I have lost a wedding ring at Shelton State Community College while shredding with Trae and now a wedding ring is at the bottom of Surin Beach. Brynn has promised to buy me a new ring with all her money.
5. I enjoyed the best cheeseburger and onion rings of the trip so far last night. Brynn absolutely destroyed my onion rings. We made friends with an Australian couple and they told me to go with the burger. They were correct! This place has a great Western menu and we plan to return next week.
6. I have downloaded a white noise app for my Iphone. I believe Jeff said that it worked to help Kate sleep. We tried it with Aubrey last night for the first time and Sarah said she did better. With her poor sleeping habits, I am willing to try anything (Sarah has said no to Benadryl ).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 14 and Day 15...

I fell behind on the blog due to the football game, homework and vacation adventures. Here is a two-day update on the Perdue vacation to Thailand!

Now that Aubrey is mobile, we are devising creative ways to keep her contained. This is our makeshift playpen on the couch.

This is the second giant jellyfish to come up on shore within 20 meters of our beach chair. I had the camera on hand for this experience. The people did not speak English who found the jellyfish but kept telling me that it was "bad".

Brynn made a 1/2 Russian, 1/2 Italian friend on the beach. It was pretty impressive watching them share and play without communicating verbally!

1. We MIGHT have won a victory with Brynn this week. Potty training has been a major success. We are not ready to claim victory but accidents are not occurring. She also is telling us when she needs to use the potty. This morning we had  No. 1 and No. 2 back-to-back!
2. Aubrey's sleeping habits still stink. She is an extremely light sleeper. She does good at night from about 8PM to 1 or 2 AM, but then she can be off and on until about 6AM. Lack of sleep stinks, but Sarah keeps pushing through!
3. Funny things from Brynn...
     - When you ask about the location of China or Alabama, Brynn points to the sky.
     - When we are at pool or beach, Brynn always says "that boy" or "that girl" followed by some random comment about their appearance or what they are doing in an extremely loud voice. If we were in America this would be awkward, but luckily everyone here speaks Russian.
     - Brynn has informed us that she wants a big girl bicycle, roller skates, barbie doll and watering can (what?) for her birthday.
      - We stopped by the 7-11 as we left the beach to pick up some snacks and drinks. I took off my shirt because it was extremely hot. When we get inside, Brynn realizes that I am shirtless and informs the 7-11 cashier that "my daddy is naked".
      - Brynn kept staring at our waitress at the restaurant on Tuesday. We did not know why, but kept telling her to stop because it was rude. Finally, we figured it out, as Brynn told her "I like your teeth". The lady had braces and Brynn has never seen them before this trip.
4. My children are 2/2 in their birth years for Alabama national championships. Aubrey continued the streaks of Perdue girls being born in title years. Hopefully, the streak will continue in 2013 without Perdue No. 3.
The game was everything that I expected and wanted. Alabama was the better team in November and proved it without a doubt in January. This was a special football team. The defense will go down in history as one of the best ever while the offense was blessed to have one of the most truly gifted running backs to ever play the game in Richardson. Next year, Alabama will have a lot of new faces on the field, but I do not think expectations for the team will be anything less than a trip to Miami.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 13

January 9 (National Championship Eve in Thailand)

Aubrey has learned to pull herself up. She can get into full crawl or standing position.

It does not get much better than watching your daughters play ball!

Brynn has turned into quite the big sister on this trip. She is getting better at sharing with Aubrey, but not with other kids. Brynn and this girl at the pool have a brewing rivalry over territory. It is extremely amusing!

Russian Party Update: If you remember from a previous blog, the Perdues have had trouble with some Russian partiers in a condo near ours. About a week ago, they kept us up all night with loud music and shouting. Eventually, I talked the guard into getting them to turn their music down. Sarah would not let me go to their room, but promised I could if it happened again. 

Fast forward to last night... About 9PM the partying starts. Sarah and I both agree to finish watching our show before deciding how to handle the situation. When the show is complete, the party is wide open. If the people would just close their balcony door, it would not cause such a problem. I am pretty frustrated at this point and go out to get the guard once more. He is NO help! He tells me that I must talk to reception which closed about four hours ago. At this point, I am actually fired up with the adrenaline pumping (where is Robert and Scott when I need you? Oh yeah, in New Orleans!!!) I storm up to their room. In my mind, I am playing all the scenarios in my head of what is going to happen. From our balcony, I can see everyone. It is four girls and one extremely large, drunk Russian. The number of shoes in the hallway match the number of expected people. I knock, no one comes. I knock louder, no one comes. I basically kick on the door and finally a drunk or drugged out Russian girl answers the door. I inform her that the music is way too loud. She says OK and promises to turn it down. I also tell her that I have two small children and this needs to stop. By the time I get to my room, the music has been turned down. About an hour later, however, it is turned back up. Luckily for me, I remember that I have earplugs. 

Today, I went to the main office and complained. I was not the only complaint. The Russians are getting warned and will be kicked out if it happens again!

Russian Hate: Sarah and I have picked up on some anti-Russian feelings in Thailand. Our first clue came in our cab ride from the airport. The cab driver told us that the place we were staying was full of Russians. Just from his tone, you could tell the man did not like Russians. Also, one of the restaurants on Kamala Beach has a clear sign that says "Russians Prohibited". Finally, from talking with a man today about the party people, he made it seem like Russians are known for this sort of behavior.