Monday Montage: Magical Time of the Year

Wednesday being Christmas and all I am keeping it short with my posts this week. I figure you are probably running around, getting your gifts ready to be ripped opened, doing some last-minute grocery shopping and food preparations, and most likely spending time with your friends and family. I have been doing many of these things myself, but with much less pressure than I did last year. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to be spending time with my family and friends this week, but I am so very thankful to be here in Thailand and partaking in this wonderful journey that is our life right now.

For every fantastic uplifting thing in life there can (and usually will) be something that can bring you crashing back down. I have always been the person that spent most of my time focusing on this aspect of life. I have always lived my life as if “hope for the best but expect the worst” was my personal motto. I still struggle with those feelings, even as we are on this trip that is a real dream come true. I have been working on focusing more on the positive and letting the “what-if’s” fall far behind me. I feel like I finally broke the barrier of negativity a couple of days ago. I was sitting and listening to Chad read Zoë her bedtime stories and it just hit me how amazing life is. Whether I am traveling or living in some tract home back in Santa Rosa, California, I am truly thankful and blessed to be alive in this fascinating and gorgeous world. God has been so good to me, even in my negativity and lack of faithfulness that the best will come to pass.

So on that note, I am praying and hoping that your Christmas week makes you feel the same way. Life, family, friends, good food, and everything this season represents is truly a blessing. So quickly scroll through my pictures from this week and then go hug someone you love, eat some delicious home cooked food, drink some delicious wine (oh, how I miss wine here in Thailand), and be merry! ❤

1-IMG_9480

Chad and Zoë fishing at Khao Tao Lake

1-IMG_9482

Sunset over Khao Tao Lake

1-IMG_9510

Market Village Christmas Tree

1-IMG_9513

One of the main roads going west through Hua Hin

1-IMG_9530

Our “stockings” are hung and ready for Santa to fill on Christmas Eve (the socks are clean, I promise!)

1-IMG_9534

This electric pole is held in place by the wires above and below it. Thought my dad would get a kick out of seeing the level of safety the electric company here adheres to.

1-IMG_9536Last week, a fellow blogger, The Homeschooling Doctor, asked about where we go shopping for groceries here. So here is a picture of the Tesco, one of the stores that we shop in for food and such.

Happy Holidays!

Pranburi Forest Park

This past Monday we decided to head out and do something a bit different. We didn’t feel like treading to the beach, we definitely didn’t feel like going to the mall (blech!), we felt like being outdoors and partaking in some physical activity.

If you know me, you already know that I hate most physical activity in nature. In fact even though I love to take long walks (3 or 4 miles a day if I could), I usually prefer to walk city streets with nice wide sidewalks. I know it isn’t rugged or anything, but, hey, its still exercise, am I right?

We felt the need to be outdoorsy that day so we took the trek (okay drove) over to Pranburi Forest Park. It is about a 10 minute drive from our house in Khao Tao, and only about a half hour drive from Hua Hin city center.

17-IMG_6794

Pranburi Forest Park reminded us of the beach/forest national parks back in Northern California. Sandwiched between the mangrove forest and the beach are tall evergreens which shade the flat landscape split into campsites. There are proper park ranger offices, community gathering areas, picnic areas, cabins for rent, and clean looking bathrooms and showers. The whole park has clear signage telling about the types of plants and tree’s (albeit most of them were in Thai, with just the names of in English). There is ample and easy parking throughout the park if you drive yourself. If you do not have your own transportation, most taxis or song-taews can easily drive you.

01-IMG_9429

The Mangrove Nature Trail is a raised wooden walkway through the heart of the mangrove forest. I have never seen a more gorgeous part of nature in my whole life, I was truly made speechless by the quiet, shady trees that grow in salt water pools. I will let the pictures show you as I really cannot describe it except to say that it made me thankful to be alive and incredibly blessed to be surrounded by such beauty.

The walkway through the mangroves

The walkway through the mangroves

Along the walkway, there is signage describing the wildlife, plant life, and landscape surrounding you. There are also blue little crabs that run along the tree roots. Make sure to keep your eyes open for them, they move fast.

Can you see the little crab on the root?

Can you see the little crab on the root?

The walkway is normally a full circle (about 1 km long), but half of it is currently blocked off. The trail now ends at a little dock where the river meets the mangroves. You can grab a taxi boat for 500 baht here. We decided to try it out, so we loaded up the stroller (which by the way, we were able to use the stroller easily the whole way through the trail), and hopped in ready for an adventure.

Getting on the taxi boat

Getting on the taxi boat

The taxi boat was covered and had 6 seats. Our taxi boat driver was a lovely woman who spoke no english but made sure that we saw all the sights along the way. We made our way down the shallow river, through the nearby fishing town, down to the ocean inlet. There were numerous large fishing boats manned with both men and women hanging their nets, selling their wares, and cleaning their boats. It is a wonderful place to take pictures and see how Thai fishermen (fisherpeople?) go about their daily work. Our driver also stopped along the way a couple of times to show us Water Monitors in the trees and water. She got really close to them and I may have squealed in fright a couple of times. EEK!

There's a Water Monitor in that brush...EEEE!

There’s a Water Monitor in that brush…EEEE!

At the end of our boat ride, she gave us the choice (using hand gestures mostly) to either go back to the mangrove forest trail or venture out into the ocean a bit and be dropped off at the beach. We chose the beach as it was closer to our car and Z was close to a nap. The ocean was calm and the view from the boat was just amazing, you can see all the way to Hua Hin along the coast.

The coastline (I believe those buildings are in the village of Pranburi)

The coastline (I believe those buildings are in the village of Pranburi)

As we jumped into the surf and made our way to the beach at the end of our trip, Chad and I both felt elated and thankful.

Walking ashore

Walking ashore

Our outing at Pranburi Forest Park reminded us why we are traveling. We are traveling to see all of God’s lovely creation, different cultures, yes, even Water Monitors in the wild up close and personal. I would highly recommend you check out Pranburi Forest Park if you are in the area.

Have you ever been in a mangrove forest? What did you think?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wednesday Write-up: MY FIRST AWARD!!!!!!!

Image

This week I had the incredible excitement and honor of being nominated for a Liebster Award by  The Blackberry Boys. This fun and crafty blogger writes about her two boys (Blackberry #1 and Blackberry #20) and their lives in Hungary. It is wonderful… Make sure you go check it out!

So, there is a ton of information on the internet about what the Liebster Award is, and what supposed to do when nominated. First, the Liebster Award is an award given from blogger to blogger. You have the option to accept it or gracefully refuse it as it is kind of like a chain letter. You answer a set of questions and then pass on the nomination to other bloggers (with under 200 followers) and then give them questions to answer about themselves. I honestly feel that this is less like a chain letter and more like Amish Friendship Bread, something that you actually get something out of. This is an opportunity for others to learn more about me, and for me to learn more about other bloggers. Not only that, but maybe all of us can find new blogs that we love.  I guess all of this is to say… I ACCEPT!

So here we go….

My Questions To Answer:

1. What’s your daily motivation? 

Being a loving, kind, and thoughtful wife, mother, family member, and friend. That is my goal always. But most often it is making it through the day without being negative and being a good example to my daughter.

2. Do you have a particular song that makes your day?

Any Beatles song that was written by John or George… Sorry, I cannot pick just one. 🙂

3. Name five items that you always carry with you.

Sunglasses, my iPhone, extra underwear for Z (she is still newly potty-trained), first aid kit (I was not a girl scout, but truly feel it’s best to be prepared), and tissues (lots of them, as many bathrooms here in Asia do not provide them for you).

4.What was the best movie you have seen recently?

Prisoner, although it was a disturbing subject it was the best made movie I have seen in a while. Also it was the most recent movie I have watched so it’s the first that came to mind.

5. Full breakfast or on the go?

Always a full breakfast and always immediately when I wake up, otherwise I turn into the Incredible She-Hulk and start throwing things… okay not that bad (but don’t ask Chad).

6. What do you first notice on another person?

Their hair.

7.Do you agree “Less is More”?

Yes, but only in material things, you can never have too much love, laughter, fun, etc.

8. You can’t live without…

My husband, daughter, family, friends, internet to stay connected, and delicious food (you know it had to be in here somewhere).

9. First love is unforgettable but second love is lovelier. Do you agree?

I am not sure about the first love being unforgettable part, I think I did not realize what true love was until I met Chad. Everything before that was more like strong infatuation and unhealthy attachment.  So I guess I don’t agree…?

10. Last but not least: Have you already bought your Christmas gifts or at least made a list?

This year since we are in Asia, we are just buying small things for Z and nothing for anyone else, so yes my shopping is pretty much completed.

The blogs I am nominating for the Liebster Award:

Scenes From Abroad- Teaching in Taiwan and Korea A great blog written by a gentleman living and teaching English in Korea (previously Taiwan) and how he embraces the culture, language, and life of wherever he is.

The Places We Go A blog written by fellow long-term travelers who have children. I always enjoy reading about their adventures on the road.

Facts and Fables A blog that grabs my mind and thoughts with posts about historical figures and cultures. I love it!

EncyclopediaPearl A travel blog that has amazing pictures and tons of fun stories and information about many places, most recently Thailand.

The Homeschooling Doctor A blog written by a mom who teaches her children at home, who also happens to be a doctor. Her posts are very interesting and I love how she supports a whole foods diet.

A Note From Abroad A blog written by a couple that have sold their belongings and decided to travel the world. Their posts have taught me new things and I love their pictures.

There were a couple of other blogs that I wanted to nominate but they were already nominated! 🙂 So honorable mention to Free but fun! and Kids “R” Simple.

If you wonderful bloggers choose to accept the award, here are 10 Questions I have for you:

1. What made you want to start a blog?

2. Where would you live if you could choose anywhere?

3. What do you look for while traveling… museums, nature, culture, arts, or something else?

4. What is the most recent book you have read?

5. Snow or Sun? Which do you prefer?

6. What’s your favorite food/dish?

7. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

8. If you could be any character from a movie, who would you be?

9.  What is your favorite Christmas meal?

10. If you could change one physical feature about yourself , what would you change?

I cannot wait to see the answers from all the blogs I have nominated and get to know everyone better and hopefully find some new blogs.  Thanks again to The Blackberry Boys for the nomination!