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Showing posts from December, 2005

Santa's pit stop

There were times these past few weeks when we weren't certain if Santa was going to make a stop at our house, but after some better behavior and some conversations with Jimmy (if you care to know who he is just ask), the kids pulled through and Santa dropped of a few things, or should I say a few hundred things.

The big Santa gift for the kids this year was bikes. They all got the exact bikes they asked Santa for and we hit the road today for the first time on them. They are all showing signs as future cyclists, though Elizabeth did look a bit like Kermit the Frog.

My Mom and Dad were here from Pennsylvania, despite some huge guilt trips from my brother. Beth's parents, sister and Memaw came over from Athens, GA and two co-workers of mine from Vietnam, Dang and Hien, were here as well. I think Dang and Hien were surprised by the amount of gifts that are given at Christmas, but I'm also happy that they got to experience an American Christmas. They will have lots of stories to…

Chocolate Milk Mustache

Spaghetti and chocolate milk (also know as rabbit milk in our house since it's Nestle Quick). Not the greatest combination, but hey, the kids will eat it. Elizabeth had the funniest mustache so I had to get a picture. What makes it even funnier is the piece of spaghetti hanging from her mouth.

To top the night off, the kids insisted on giving themselves showers. Showers, not baths. They did great, helping wash each others hair and sharing the hot water. They are getting too big too fast.

Christmas with The Burkes

Brian & Fran came to visit the kids yesterday. This was Brian's first visit to the new house. They brought along Christmas gifts for the kids. We asked the kids if they wanted to wait or open them right away...I bet you can't guess which they chose.

They gave Elizabeth a princess bean bag chair, Oscar a remote control truck (he broke his last one), and Michael a Batman costume. Michael didn't take it off all day, even taking a nap in the cape and belt.

Christmas @ Memaw's

This was the first time in several years that almost all of Beth's family was able to get together at Christmas. Click here for the pictures.

A great time was had by all.

The Dam

I have been taking the kids on adventures to find trains for the past couple of years. We found Emerson, GA last year and shortly after we found the Etowah River which leads to Allatoona Dam.

There are roads on either side of the river that get kind of close to the Dam, but you really can't see it well from either side. I decided this morning to look on Google Maps for a way to get closer to the Dam. We had to park about a 1/2 mile away from the visitor's center since it was closed and walk up the hill to the overlook. We were so excited to finally get a good look at Allatoona Dam. Michael was really excited since he watches a Rescue Heroes story about a dam breaking. There are some pictures here.

Unfortunately, you can no longer drive across the Dam; a result of 9/11 security measures I imagine. We plan to go up again on a nice day and walk some of the surrounding trails. The best part was that Beth got to sleep in as late as she wanted.

Mulan

Arrived in Atlanta at 3 PM, 28 hrs after leaving Vietnam. The flight was completely packed, so no chance for an upgrade. I did sleep several hours, so I'm not feeling too awful.

The kids were waiting for me at the door when I got home. It was so cute to see their little heads looking out the window. They all gave me huge hugs then said "where are our presents?" So funny...

We're going to get a picture of all 3 kids in their traditional Vietnamese clothes, but only Elizabeth was willing to pose for a quick picture. She absolutely loves it and it fits her perfect. I had no idea what size to get since sizes over there are different, so I tried to buy a bit big. Good thing I did.

The long layover begins

You'd think an 11:55 PM flight would give you the chance to sleep, but noooooo. They woke us up at 4 AM to serve us breakfast because it was 6 AM in Tokyo. What's that all about? So, working on 3 hrs of sleep and have a 8 1/2 hr layover before heading to Atlanta. Overall, it's 26 hrs of travel. Yuck!

Next time I'm going to try to connect through Seoul or Hong Kong since the flights are shorter. I'm going to try to come back to Vietnam every 6 months to see the team. Already looking forward to the next visit. I think I'll even try dance classes, that is if I can find a woman at PSV that won't mind me stepping all over her feet.

The Vietnam Team

Today is the last day. We had a nice team lunch. Anyone that knows me will not be shocked that I started to get emotional when I was saying goodbye. I blame it all on my Dad who you can get upset just by saying "it's okay."

I can't wait to come back. I really want Beth to come with me next time.

Mekong Delta Tour

Isn't this girl just the cutest thing ever? We met her at the very end of our tour of the Mekong Delta. I'm going to keep this short since it's 12:30 AM and I need to pack.

The tour was fantastic. We had a 2 hr drive to the Mekong River, took a water taxi across the river, then took an all day tour of the jungle. It was very interesting to learn all of the Vietnamese history and culture that our great tour guide provided to us.

The pictures can be found here.

10 things to remember:

1. I still hate snakes, especially 15-20 foot long pythons.
2. The food continues to amaze me. I know I talk about it a lot (according to my mother-in-law), but it's really, really good. I'm going to find a Vietnamese restaurant in Atlanta to take Beth to.
3. Somehow I think the people living in the jungle knew we were coming since there were shops shattered throughout the tour. It's kind of like going to Lancaster, PA to see the Amish and running into the outlet stores (but to a mu…

Saigon Walking Tour

I was going to put the picture of me with the two Thai twins here, but I thought that'd probably not be the best idea.

David, Jeff, Scott & I went on a walking tour of Saigon Saturday. Our goal was to hit as many of the historical places as possible. This will probably come as no shock to most of you, but I was the tour organizer. The pictures from our tour can be see here.

- Hotel Continental: Built in the French colonial days, this was a common meeting place for journals and diplomats during the Vietnam War.

- Nha Hat Thanh Pho (Municipal Theatre): Built in 1899 as Saigon's Opera House, it later served as the National Assembly (Congress) of South Vietnam until 1975 when it became a theatre again.

- Nha Tho Duc Ba (Notre Dame Cathedral): Built in 1880 by the French on the site of an old fort, this is still an active Catholic church.

- The Virgin Mary: This is the statue of that was reportedly seen crying.

- Buu Dien Trung Tam (Central Post Office): Built by the French in 189…

I don't think I've ever laughed harder

I know I'm a bit behind on my blog, but relax, it's worth the wait. Friday night was the dinner and party with the team here in Vietnam. I'm not sure I could have had any more fun. The night started at Hoa Vien Brauhaus and ended after several hours of ear splitting karaoke. The blackmail can be found here.

We had 32 or so people at the dinner. Somehow it was less than $300 for everyone. It just doesn't seem right for everyone to drink and eat as much as they can and it be less than $300, but I certainly was not going to complain. I think we ate just about everything on the menu and the beer was flowing just as fast. To top it off, Vietnam was playing in the football semi-finals of the SEA Games. They won 2-1 and it was complete pandemonium. The cheers was so loud and literally lasted for hours. The streets were jammed with people and you couldn't go anywhere. It was a sight to see.

We somehow made it through the crowds (where I experienced riding on a m…

Jackie or Dang

Jackie Chan
Dang Nguyen

Match the picture and the name and you win a prize...

I met the Monkey

I promised you a picture of the monkey and here it is. He (or maybe she) was just sitting there on his perch. So different and so interesting at the same time. I took this picture on our way to a team lunch at Nam Pho Restaurant. This was the same place we ate yesterday. I tried everything on the table and it was all pretty good, including the octopus. Yes, you read that right, octopus.

I was invited to dinner by the team and they took Scott and I to a very authentic Vietnamese restaurant. The place was so local it didn't even have a name. I had a noodle soup with several different meats. The restaurant was down the street from the office, then down a narrow alley, then down another narrow alley. I can't believe anyone can find the place. We were literally eating in their 1 bedroom house, right next to their bed. You can see the pictures of my day here.

After dinner, I headed back to the markets with Kevin, but most of the shops were closed again. They must close at 7 PM. I did …