Monday, June 20, 2011

Adventures in Thailand: Food, Family, Fun

We had lots of good food and family fun during our time in Thailand. My mouth is just watering for more good Thai food. We had such a fun time playing, swimming, eating, talking, touring around Phayao and just being together. We'll start with a recap of some of our food experiences. Soooo good!

This was our favorite restaurant in Phayao. It sits looking out over Lake Phayao and has great food. We feasted on lime slushes (my fave, Sonic's got nothing on these! They are awesome!) passion fruit slushes, lightly battered morning glory, rice, chicken wrapped in banana leaves, stir-fryed vegetables, some soup Derran ordered that had fresh shrimp with the eyes, legs and tails still on them. I did not partake of this one. I'm not a seafood girl and the last time I tried something that Rick told me was "not fishy at all" I started dry-heaving in the restaurant. Awkward. So I passed on the soup because I didn't want a repeat dry-heaving experience and I just don't eat things that have eyes staring back at me out of a bowl.

This was our other favorite little place to get food. It's just a roadside stall set up outside of Lotus, which is the Thai version of our Wal-mart store. They make the best smoked chicken, sticky rice and som-tham which is a salad type dish made from thinly sliced papaya with lots of added spices. Delicious!!

Who needs a grill when all you really need is a metal barrel or trash can cut in half, something to put it on and some hot coals. Walah! You've got the best smoked chicken in town. I wish this guy was set up outside my Walmart, I would go there every week!

Making the som-tham. Yummy!

Ann ordering our food

While we were there we got to be a part of their team's taste-testing their brick oven pizza. Hallelujah! The Carders loooove pizza so we were more than happy to test out some different kinds of pizza. Ann and Derran and their team are opening up a pizza restaurant in Phayao this summer as part of their ministry and work there. You can read more about their ministry and vision for the restaurant by clicking here. So amazing!

Derran and Rick manning the brick oven ( their team built this oven themselves, very impressive!)

Ann helping measure out the cheeses

Chris making a pizza

Eva and Ella loved the pizza!! Delicious!

One night we were there we had a fun gender reveal party for Ann and Derran's baby number 3. We were so happy to be able to be in Thailand when they found out what they were having and we celebrated with a fun party and lots of yummy food...brisket made in the brick oven, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, corn and lots of cupcakes! Click here to read about the party and to see a short, fun video of the big reveal!

The girls favorite place to eat was KFC. Why would you eat here when you've got all this great food around?? Every so often when they kids had just had enough peanut butter and jelly (which is all Eva ate the entire time we were there, I don't think she tried Thai food once) we would take the kids to KFC which is inside Lotus, their Wal-mart store. Let the stare-fest and rubbernecking begin. Oh my goodness! It was just too much for 4 little blonde and blue-eyed girls to be walking around when there are really just a handful of foreigners in all of Phayao. People would stand at the window in crowds to stare and take pictures of the girls while they ate their lunch. Hilarious! Either the girls didn't seem to notice or they are experts at ignoring people. The drew lots of attention on our many trips to Lotus!

At the end of our trip we spent two days in Chiang Mai before we left and had lots of fun there. More to come about that. But we also ate at some great places, one being a Mexican food restaurant of all things. It really was so good!

Mexican food in northern Thailand...who knew?

Of course it wouldn't be a trip to Chiang Mai without stopping at Dunkin' Donuts a few times! Mmmm. Love it!

Our other favorite place was a restaurant called Lemon Tree. I was in heaven with my lime slush and stir-fryed vegetables. Yumm-o!

This picture makes my heart swell! Can you believe it?? Here is little Ella Hope Carder across the world in Thailand eating Thai food! Is this the same child that almost 3 years ago was laying in a bed in the NICU waiting for her stomach to be put back in her body? Is this the same child who had a feeding tube for most of her short life so far? Is this the same child who didn't eat anything and vomited everything for the first year of her life? Is it?? I'm in awe and a big lump is in my throat just thinking about it all and thanking God for what He's done in Ella's life. I could never have imagined that Ella would be able to sit at a table in another country, feeding tube free, no safety nets and eat Thai food. God is so good! Let this be a testimony to the goodness of our Lord. Wow!

On to family and fun! We played alot at Derran and Ann's house and the girls just had a great time building pillow forts, playing baby dolls, having tea parties and swimming. Lots of good cousin time, that will have to be another post.

Swimming and playing in the water in the front yard. Pretty much consisted of Eva hogging the water hose to wash her bike, Brynn and Ella just having a great time and Meg sulking in her tub of water. Hilarious!

When we weren't swimming we went to the market, walked around the aquarium and of course took many trips to Lotus. :) I guess if you don't have a Target to stroll around then Lotus is the next best option.

Eva checking out the goods at the Phayao market

Rick checking out the dried fish. Shooooey! I love Thai markets because you've got the umbrella stall right next to the fresh shrimp or you can pick up a new watch and at the same time get yourself some dried squid or fish at the vendor right next to it. Love it! I don't love the smell though. They've got anything and these fabulous shoes!

Are these not the greatest?? If you can't tell they have like big toes with claws on them. I spotted these on a grown woman at Lotus and told Ann I needed to know asap where we could buy some. I think the lady at the market probably thought I was crazy since I bought 10 pairs in different colors. Guess what friends and family got for souvenirs from Thailand? That's right, "Dragon shoes" as the girls called them for everyone! It's so funny because you will see grown men at the mall, on their motorcycles, at the construction site and they will be wearing pink "dragon shoes." Awesome!

Here's the circus all walking in to Lotus for a little KFC. So cute and what a sight!

I love this one of Ella! Precious with her little umbrella and heels!

And here we are at the aquarium. Fun and interesting...

Aren't the fish beautiful?? Wait, can you not see them? Is this not hilarious? Ann took us down to this outdoor underwater tunnel part of the aquarium to look at some dirty water and maybe catch some shadows of a fish as they swam by. Oh man, so great. You cannot see the fish at all. You might get lucky to catch a glimpse of a shadow of one if they swim close enough to the glass every once and while. I'm telling you if you're ever in Phayao, the outdoor section of the aquarium is a must-see! :)

Oh, such good times! We are missing Thailand so much everyday. The girls talk about Brynn and Meg and how they miss them everyday! So thankful for such great memories together.

You better not be tired of Thailand stories because we've got elephant rides and more cousin time still to document!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Adventures in Thailand: Transportation-Safe or Not Safe?

Yes, transportation in Thailand gets a post all it's own. Now, you know us Carders and how we are known for apparently being safe as evidenced by our numerous safety plates that we own. Do I need to remind everyone about our safety plates?? Well, getting around in Thailand I would say that safety is out the window on many occasions. I don't know, you decide safe or not safe?

1. Side-saddle to the Salon
Safety Precautions: none besides my kung-fu grip on Derran's shoulder and an extra tuck in or two for my skirt so it doesn't fly up over my head
Safety status: semi safe but did not feel so safe

So, this is the second day we are in Phayao. We are a little jet-lagged and I'm needing to wash my hair. I had been putting it off because frankly folks, I've got a lot of hair and it just takes a lot of energy sometimes to wash, dry and style it. And, it has some natural curl and can be very big...Rick lovingly calls me Tina Turner. I'll come out of the bathroom after blowdrying it at night and he'll say, "Whoa, hey Tina, nice hair." Thanks Rick. Anyway, so I didn't feel like doing my hair so Ann tells me I should go to their little beauty salon and the lady there will wash my hair, give me a head massage, dry and style it for me. She had me at head massage...that sounds like a fabulous plan! Especially since Ann's adapter wasn't working and the hair-dryer and flat-iron wouldn't work anyway since the voltage is different. Rick couldn't understand why I would go and pay for someone to wash my hair for me when it's something I could do myself but I kindly ignored him. :) I was focused on the head massage. Anyway, so then Ann kindly volunteered Derran to take me on the motorcycle. This is funny because I later found out that Ann hasn't been on the motorcycle in over a year but she sure was Johnny-on-the-spot ready for me to take a ride on it the second day I was there AND in a skirt! Thank you, Ann. Thanks.

Aaannnd these are the children's faces as they are watching me leave on the motorcycle. Utter confusion. If that doesn't say it all I don't know what does.

So, Derran takes me to the salon with a little stop off at 7-11 for a coke...which he held in his hand WHILE driving the motorcycle. This adds to the safety concerns already in place. I am just thinking while we're going: don't fall off, try not to lose a flip-flop, Dear Lord please don't let my skirt fly up, ease up your grip on Derran's shoulder, don't fall off, I really hope no one hits us, why didn't I think to wear a helmet?, don't fall off. Derran is a great driver by the way! We made it to the salon in one piece and I got my hair washed with a great head massage, dried and styled for oh...around $3 including tip!! So great! However, before you think I am that vain and care this much about my hair I will tell you that the rest of the trip I did my hair myself and just went with my Tina Turner do for two weeks thanks to no hair-dryer or flat-iron. I must say that it was kind of refreshing not to fix my hair everyday, maybe not so refreshing to look at but it was great with me!

2. Best Friends Forever
Safety Precautions: helmets...good job boys!
Safety status: Who cares because this is an AWESOME story!

This is how Rick and Derran cruised around town on most days. They would take the motorcycle to the office, to run errands, to rescue Ann's misplaced and stolen iphone! Ok, this story is great. This is the third day we are in Phayao and Ann misplaces her iphone that she has only had for two months. By the time she remembers it is too late. We searched for it close to their house but did not find it so thanks to Find My iphone App we pull up the GPS on their computer. We see her phone icon and it's MOVING!! Someone has it and it has now become a stolen iphone! Rick and Derran jump on the Hog and take off to go track down the perp. Ann and I stay at home with the girls and keep our eyes glued to the computer. For you 24 fans out there it was totally like 24. :) Ann and I felt like Chloe back at CTU watching the satellite feed and giving the boys instruction while Derran and Rick aka Jack Bauer and friends were driving like bats all around town trying to find the target. Anyway, so the perp and Ann's stolen iphone show up on the GPS at 7-11, BAM! Derran and Rick are there and start questioning bystanders, searching the bathroom, searching trash cans. No one's giving any info but they know it's there! Well, so the GPS shows that it hasn't moved from 7-11 for 40 minutes or so which made us all think someone is either standing there with it in their pocket or it's stashed on a shelf somewhere. Come to find out if the phone is moving too much or too fast or something the GPS wouldn't update until the phone stopped moving enough so it made it look like it was at 7-11 the whole time but in fact it wasn't. Very confusing but we learned quickly what was going on, don't you worry!

All of a sudden, finally Ann and I see that the satellite updated and the phone is on the move again and it is now in another part of town! So Derran and Rick jump on the motorcycle again and chase it down to a business school and of course no one there seems to know anything about a missing phone which is weird because as they are talking to people at the business school three guys take off on motorcycles and all go in different directions. Very suspicious! The phone then shows up in a neighborhood somewhere but the boys can't track it. So, they come home and we're all feeling a little deflated but still watching the computer screen for any satellite updates and hoping that maybe, just maybe this isn't over. We're sitting around talking for awhile when wouldn't you know the satellite refreshes and the perp with the phone is on the move AGAIN! This time it was headed into the market area in Phayao which could only mean that they were headed for the cell phone store in the market to sell it. Aaaah! Here we go again, we're shouting for the boys to Go!Go!Go! and they hop back on the motorcycle and drive like crazy down to the market and cell phone store. Will they get there in time to stop the perp from selling it??

No! They don't but don't despair my friends, this isn't over. Not with Derran's mad interrogating-Thai-speaking skills. First, Rick tries to scope out the scene so he walks into the cell phone store first trying to act like a clueless American and asks, "Iphone 4?" to which the lady replies that they have a second-hand iphone 4. So now Derran walks in and asks the same question and the lady tells him no, they don't have one. Oh, tell me lies tell me sweet little lies! Meanwhile the owner of the store is basically hiding in the back trying to buy his time so he doesn't have to talk to Derran but finally decides to come out after sweet-little-lying girl can't keep up their lies about the fact that they've said they did not just buy an iphone 4 when it fact the GPS shows it's in their store. Anyway, long story short, after police and jail time are thrown into the conversation, xeroxed pictures of the perp's drivers license are suspiciously passed across the counter to Derran from the store owner and he's told multiple times to just "Go find her" to get his phone back Derran doesn't cave. He stands his ground and doesn't buy into the lies meanwhile doing all of this in Thai. The owner finally admits to having bought the phone for several hundred dollars from a girl claiming her aunt gave it to her and that he has the phone. After much more conversation Derran gets the phone back which has already been wiped, puts it in his pocket and walks out the door without having to pay a thing to get it back.

This whole drama story began around 1:30 pm and Rick and Derran didn't get home until 7:30pm but they had the phone in hand! Unbelievable. All day this went on, motorcycle chase around town, interrogating multiple people, the lies, the deceit, police and jail threats. I'm telling you it was one crazy day. We thought they would be exhausted when they got home and they were to an extent but Rick's face and response when they walked in the door was hilarious. With wide eyes and a huge smile he says, "This is what I'm talking about! This kind of stuff never happens in the States!" Hilarious. Then we all re-hashed the story and got all the juicy details from what really went down at the cell phone store. It was awesome and will not be forgotten! Thanks for losing your phone Ann, it made for some great memories! :)

3. Get in where you fit in
Safety Precautions: seatbelts...sort of
Safety Status: safe...sort of considering the circumstances

So this is pretty much the set up for getting places when we were in Thailand except with the four girls in the back just squeeze Ann and I back there too and we're golden. Ann and Derran have a four door truck so most of the time it was 6 people in the back sharing seatbelts and kids on laps and the other two people in the front seat. I mean, just look at this picture and how seatbelts are all funky behind the seats so as not to strangle the little ones and are pulled as far as they can go to strap across two people in the middle. Who needs a carseat? This works great!

At least they all have a Coke Slurpee from 7-11 to make them happy. That always helps when you're squished, hot and sticky in a car full of people right? Rrrriiiight.

4. Night Time Vespa Ride
Safety Precautions: helmets
Safety Status: double not safe

Just when you thought it couldn't get any weirder right? Don't be fooled, this is Thailand, you never know what you might see or ride in. One of Ann and Derran's team mates, Chris and Tonya Fikes have a Vespa with a side-car, which is hilarious and fantastic. Well, I was dying to take a ride in it so Chris drove us home one night so we could take a spin in it.

As if Rick and I squished in there together isn't bad enough, let's add Eva to the mix shall we? Just when you thought things weren't so safe to begin with why don't we up the anty by carrying a small child on our lap. I mean hello, what were we thinking? My ridiculous leg is hanging out because it can't even fit in the side car but let's take Eva with us, this will be fun! Good night in the morning! The first two minutes of the ride I thought, yeah, this is fun and then soon after that I was just thinking, this is just plain irresponsible! Ella was riding with Ann and Derran in the truck and the three of us were riding in the side car at night on the main road/highway that runs through town to get back to Ann and Derran's house. Eva was having a blast laughing and flapping her arms like a bird and I was just praying that we wouldn't fall out and that no one would hit us. People were passing us and laughing which is interesting to me considering the things Thai people do and put on their motorcycles. It is very common to see a family of 4 or 5 people on one small motorcycle. The dad may be driving with a toddler in his lap while the mom is holding a small infant and another toddler...none of them will be wearing helmets. Not kidding. You will see dogs on the motorcycle or maybe a woman leaving the market with bags of vegetables hanging from the handle bars and crates piled high behind her with food. It is beyond belief! So the fact that they were laughing at us is funny to me, I mean, I know we look ridiculous but still. It was another fun memory!

5. Two's company Three's a crowd
Safety Precautions: helmets
Safety Status: safe?

Three is definitely not a crowd if the third person is sweet little Meg Reese with her cute ladybug motorcycle helmet! Is she not the most precious thing? And probably the bravest one out of all of us. She loves to ride the motorcyle with her Daddy!

6. Who needs a carseat anyway?
Safety precautions: must stay seated at all times
Safety status: I'm thinking not so safe

At the end of our trip we spent 2 days in Chiang Mai which is about 2 1/2 hours away from Phayao. One of our dear friends that lives there, Robert Reagan graciously let us stay at their house and borrow his car to cruise around town. It is a pick up that has a covered back with bench seating. Fabulous! The girls loved riding around town in it. We did make Ella and Meg sit in the front in the carseats for some of the time but they got to ride around with the big girls in the back too. Umm, so probably not very safe considering it's basically letting your small children ride around in the bed of a pick up truck all day while you cruise around town, go out on the highway and drive up a mountain for 45 minutes but hey it's a different country so there are different rules. :)

We all loved it and it was a nice break from being squished on top of each other in Ann and Derran's truck.

7. If you like Pina Colada's and getting caught in the rain
Safety precautions: none
Safety Status: not safe

Well, there were definitely no pina coladas but there was rain on these two poor boys stuck in the back of the truck. On our way to Chiang Mai from Phayao we only had one car for all of us plus all of our luggage. We were flying out of Chiang Mai to go back home so it was tricky figuring out how to fit all of us in Derran and Ann's truck and all the luggage. Well, Derran and Rick drew the short straws so they sat back in the back with all the luggage for the 2 1/2-3 hour drive on a small, very curvy highway through the mountains from Phayao to Chiang Mai. Lots of bonding time! And lots of prayers on my part for their safety. It rained for a lot of the time but they were good sports. They look happy right? I mean, what were our options? Eva was already on my lap in the front seat, Brynn was in the back between Meg and Ella in carseats for once so there really wasn't anything else we could do. All I can say is it's just making memories!

8. Take me on a Tuk-Tuk Ride
Safety precautions: none except holding on tight
Safety status: I don't know, depends on how you feel about riding around in a car that only has 3 wheels, no doors and has motorcycle handle bars for a steering wheel

If you are ever in Thailand or another Asian country you must take a ride in a Tuk-Tuk! No doors, no seatbelts, open air which is great when you're sitting in hot traffic at a standstill. I mean Tuk-Tuks would make Chinese fire drills SO much easier wouldn't they? You wouldn't have to mess with the whole door thing. Anyway, we took a ride around town in Chiang Mai just so the girls could experience it. It was so fun.

Such fun memories! Glad we are all safe and no one fell off a motorcycle or out of a car. Can't wait for more fun times with you Reese family!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Adventures in Thailand: The Journey

Well, I've decided to do my posts about Thailand in parts because I want to document our trip there. I'm starting from the very beginning, beginning with our long plane ride all the way to Phayao. I feel like that is just as much part of the memory as well so here we go. If you could care less about this than feel free to exit out now but since my brain and abilities can't handle scrapbooking and I rarely print pictures this is how I want to document our fun times. :)

Rick and I have been saving our air miles for oh...the past eight years! I'm not kidding. So, all four of our tickets were bought with air miles so all we had to pay for were the processing fees! Unbelievable, we were so excited that after eight years of saving it actually worked to redeem them because there was a small fear that it might not work. So great! Alright, so we left for DFW airport on May 6th, veeerrrry early in the morning. We somehow made it from remote parking onto the shuttle to our terminal with just Rick and I, the girls and all seven of our bags. Ridiculous. Now, Rick and I both admit neither one of us are known to be light packers but don't think that all of these bags were just for us. We only had two bags for our family and the other 5 and every little space, pocket and crevice was jammed packed with goodies for The Reese's and their team. I'm telling you we had everything from Ranch dressing, Dr. Peppers and Cheetos to cooking utensils, ipod speakers, homeschool curriculum and a carseat base. You name it we had it tucked into a suitcase somewhere. We were packed to the gills and just hoping the nice people at the American Airlines counter were in a good mood early in the morning to let a couple of L-beez slide on the scale. Each bag by the way weighed around 50 pounds and a few were a little over the weight limit. So that's what? Around 350 pounds we were taking? Yeah, so our luggage pretty much took up most of the shuttle getting us to the terminal but there were some nice people on the shuttle who helped us with our luggage. Really I think they just felt sorry for us struggling with two small children, carry-ons and 7 huge pieces of luggage at 5 am. They jokingly at one point offered to pray for us. Really? Did we look that wheels off?

Anyway, we got checked in and they even let us go to the front of the line to go through security which was awesome because the line was a mile long! We had plenty of time to get to our gate, eat some breakfast and just let the girls play.

Waiting at our gate at DFW to head to San Francisco

Watching for our plane

Awww, sweet Rick entertaining the troops. Mom is not so fun early in the morning so Rick gets to be the one fun one. For the record, I am not a morning person. I really want to be and I thought that once I became an adult I would automatically like coffee and getting up early but that has yet to happen. I am better though than I used to be and I can say that I don't have quite the foul attitude I used to have when having to get up early but I am still sllooow to wake up.

So, we had a 3 1/2 hour flight to San Francisco then a 3 hour lay over there. Enough time to once again eat and play. And, Rick got us some fabulous neck pillows that saved our life on our 14 hour flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong. He looked like a pack mule walking around the airport with his backpack, carrying Eva's backpack and the two neck pillows clipped to his pants. Hysterical, he has no shame. Why didn't I get a picture?? Oh, yeah, probably because I was still trying to wake up.

I mean, look at my eyes...hello, am I sleep walking? Tired eyes!

Eva and Ella waiting to board our HUGE Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. I'm telling you this plane was enormous, one of those ones with an upstairs!

Yeah, in case you glossed over that gem of info back there, 14 HOURS! Wow, it was long folks. BUT, I have to say that the girls did exceptionally well! Eva and Ella are very laid back and flexible anyway but this is just the ultimate test and they did great! I cannot complain at all. They watched movies, colored, took several trips back and forth to the bathroom to play in the sink and Ella played with her seatbelt for a good 45 minutes so that helped. :) Plus, our sweet, thoughtful and amazing friend Suzanne packed the girls a super fun bag FULL of crafts, stickers, books, magnetic stuff, finger puppets, etc. She tried to think of 28 things for our 28 hour flight! Is that the best or what?? The girls loved their goodies and it helped to pass the time, thank you Suzanne!! And really, they also slept alot. I slept alot. I didn't watch one movie or read one book. I don't know, it's like when I get on an airplane I suddenly feel very tired. I don't know if they were blowing something through the air vents into the cabin to make me sleepy but all I wanted to do was sleep. Good thing I had my incredible neck pillow eh? Thanks babe!

Here we are on our own row at the VERY back of the plane ready for a fun 14 hour journey!

Finally, we arrived in Hong Kong and had annnoother 3 hour lay over there. I did not get any pictures there for some reason. Oh yeah, I was pretty much asleep for most of that time. Ok, I know it sounds like I'm sleeping alot and you're probably wondering if poor Rick was left alone to watch the girls. It does sound like that! Ha! I WAS very helpful and was taking care of my children but I also was able to sleep. Anyway, so quick random and funny Hong Kong airport story for you besides the one where as soon as we deplaned in Hong Kong a security agent wearing a mask pointed her thermometer gun at Ella's head to take her temperature before letting us to our gate. Besides that, here's the other funny story and again, I wish I would've taken a picture of our "friends" we made but I was not functional. Ok, so picture this. I am layed out on a bench, I mean LAYED out, with my trusty neck pillow, Eva's blanket, shoes off asleep. ASLEEP. Next thing I know Rick is waking me up with this weird smile on his face and is saying, "We're going to take a picture." I could not figure out what he was saying or doing but he was helping me sit up and telling me we were going to take a picture. What in the world? I'm doing the whole one-eye-open-half-asleep thing still and out of my open eye I see two little chinese ladies, one is holding Ella and the other is ready with her camera and is nodding and smiling at me. I was soooo confused! Rick is still looking at me with his weird smile that says "I have no idea what's going on" while I am literally rubbing my eyes and trying to smooth my hair for a picture with our "friends." Oh man, hilarious! These two sweet ladies did not speak English and of course we do not speak Chinese but apparently they both had daughters around Eva and Ella's ages and they wanted a picture of us to show their families. They wanted to video tape the girls speaking in English but after being held, pinched and having their tummies rubbed(not kidding) by two strangers speaking a different language I think a video was just too much to ask. So, somewhere floating around Hong Kong are pictures of the Carder family with me doing my one-eye-open-half-asleep bit and two nice little Chinese ladies. Love it! Sorry I don't have a picture to show you, I'm kicking myself, the whole scenario was hilarious.

From there we got on our flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok which was I think maybe an hour and half to two hours. We arrived in Bangkok at around 10:30 pm or so I think, went through immigration, got all our bags and went to find our shuttle to the hotel.

Happy to be off the plane and finally be in Thailand!

Heading to go find our other 7 bags

We stayed at The Grand Convenience Hotel in Bangkok, don't you love that name? I think it's so funny especially because it's not like it's super convenient to the airport. It was a 20 minute shuttle ride away. Love it! But, I will say that other than that it was great, the hotel was nice and the shuttle service was on time and it was a great place to just spend the night if you're needing to get up the next morning to catch a flight.

All of our bags at The Grand Convenience...after they smashed them in the elevator a few times trying to get them all in. Only a few things broke on the suitcases but hey, at least they got them all to our room in one trip right? Good grief.

We all slept great and got up the next morning, headed back to the airport and got on our flight to Chiang Rai where Ann and Derran would pick us up.

Mother's Day picture with my girls in the Bangkok airport waiting to board our last flight

We made it to Chiang Rai and after days of traveling finally got to see our sweet Brynn and Meg!

The girls were so excited to see their cousins! They held hands all the way to the car.

Derran loading our bags into their truck and covering them with a tarp for the hour long trip to Phayao

We stopped for lunch in Chiang Rai and then drove an hour to Phayao to Ann and Derran's house. It was so fun to FINALLY be in Phayao in person and see where they live.

Ann and Derran's house

Ann and I's Mother's Day flowers waiting at their house for us when we got there. Sooo sweet!!
That night we went to their house church at the Fikes house (one of their teammates) where they did a lesson for the kids, shared a meal together and then had a lesson for the adults. It was all in Thai and it was so neat to even see the kids singing and reading the Bible in Thai. They are doing such an amazing job!

This is just the beginning and I'm impressed if you made it to the end. I have lots more to share so get ready!