Thailand and the Comforts of Home

We spent this past week  on a beach in Phuket, Thailand and it was really an amazing IMG_7730holiday. We spent early mornings by the beach in awe of the incredible power of the waves hitting the shore. We then went to the hotel’s buffet breakfast and then to the pool for the rest of the morning. In the afternoons, we ordered room service lunch, enjoyed some quiet time inside and then hit the beach for the rest of the day and early evening. Then, back to the room for room service dinner.

Four days on a beautiful beach, enjoying warm ocean water, without need for cooking, cleaning or washing dishes was incredible. And yes, there were obviously arguments! While the kids would whine for screen time and complain about not wanting to wear shoes (this was an easy one – then don’t!), it was still much more peaceful than the everyday.

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But, the unexpected surprise of the trip was the bed! It was incredible – so comfortable, so many pillows and such a soft, warm comforter. Alan even remarked that he had to take away some of the cushiness of the pillows! The kids commented on how amazing their bed was – even Everlys crib was amazingly comfortable!

By comparison, it should be noted how very terrible our beds are in Singapore. Our condo  is beautiful and was essentially fully furnished, but the beds and pillows are seriously lacking. The comforter does not even reach the sides of the bed – and when you cling to the sides of the bed because the kids crawl in during the night, it is really important that the comforter fits the bed! Ours does not.

Reflecting on this shortcoming, led me to missing my pots, pans and stoneware dishes. In Singapore, I have several pots but only one lid – it is hard to cook a meal with just one lid, I never realized how much I used the lids. I also miss my electric toothbrush, I am tired of brushing my teeth. I realize these are trivial things and, sure, I probably should have bought these items 9 months ago – but it was only temporary and we thought we would get by! Then, when we realized we should have bought pillows, it was too late.

All this to say that I am missing some of the comforts of my home, even amongst all of the incredible adventures that we have been on.

Also, last week a cock roach ran over my bare foot. I think I have been traumatized. I thought the neighbours would come running with my screams of horror, but apparently cock roaches are not a big deal to them. I now only wear shoes in the house and tip toe in my kitchen. There are not many cock roaches, but the odd one – and that really is just too many.

As our trip is winding down, we are beginning to look forward to returning home. Sure, we will miss the innumerable things to do in this city and the abundance of possibilities for nearby travel in South East Asia. But it will be nice to return home and find our new normal.

We have been able to look at our home from a completely new perspective since being away for so long. So many rooms / areas in our home are being wasted without meeting our needs. So, in my mind, I have revamped our main floor to start meeting the needs of our family and I am very excited to make these changes.

Until then, we will enjoy every last minute that we are here in Singapore.

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Lindsay’s Book List

Since the new year, I have had a renewed interest in reading. At first it was to help encourage Ewan to read more often, by seeing me reading for pleasure. But very quickly my book list has grown and I have fallen back in love with reading. It has actually been so long since I have read several books back to back. Usually it takes 6 months to finally finish a book.

I have been focusing more on self care and I feel like reading really helps to renew my energy. Since having kids and running a business, if I was not reading something ‘educational’ it felt like it wasn’t worthy of my time or that I was wasting my time when I should be doing something productive. But, reality is, I will never have my to do lists complete. And the list of books that I wish I could read, will never get read if I do not start making self care a priority in my own life.

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So, here is a run down of the books that I have read so far this year as well as a few on my list.

Lindsays 2016 Reads

Hands Free Mama and Hands Free Life, by Rachel Macy Stafford-

I really enjoy the Hands Free Mama blog and both of her books are full of inspiring stories to help you focus on the important things in life – slowing down and focusing on the people in your life and the things that bring you joy. My preference is the Hands Free Life book as it is a smoother read and so many inspiring quotes that I now have posted everywhere. Hands Free Mama is broken into monthly goals – more of a step by step guide, still great, but I felt guilty reading it all at once!

Notes from a Blue Bicycle, by Tsh Oxenreider

This book is about a family who moves overseas to live / work as expats and how they learn to simplify their lives as a result of this experience. Obviously I could relate to this!!! I really loved this story and although, I have not had the culture shock as this family did, there were still many parallels that I could draw between our experiences. It was also very interesting to see the challenges this family had adapting back to their North American lifestyle. This was an easy and enjoyable read, I would probably even read this book a second time – lots of great ideas on making priorities and living intentionally.

The Shopaholic to the Rescue, by Sophie Kinsella

I have read almost all of the previous books in this series and they are fun, easy reads. I enjoy the characters and the humour. It was a page turner and I finished this one within a week. My dad was also in town, so I had more time to spend reading as he was playing with the kids! I felt really great when I finished this book. The first fiction book of the year, it was so satisfying to read a story that really would not improve my life in any way except offering some entertainment. I must find more fiction books – let me know your favourite series – I am open to any genre, I haven’t read fiction in so long that I am out of the loop!

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is also an interesting read on how she lets creativity enter her life and also how she celebrates others creativity around her as opposed to feeling envious. I like the idea of finding your own strengths and passions and pursing creativity for the sake of creativity not for an end goal.

Illustrations School – lets draw plants and small creatures

This is a book that I picked up from our last visit to the art gallery. The kids have been interested in drawing and I also really enjoyed drawing as a child. It is a really cute step by step guide for little doodles and easy pictures. The kids now think I am an artist!

Meditation, by Christina Rodenbeck

This was a birthday gift from Alan along with some yoga classes – apparently he thinks I need to relax! I am kidding, he is trying to help with my goals to remain calm, focused and fun while surviving with three young children. And he says this is the thing that the most successful people in the world all have in common. I am still not convinced that I will find the moments I need to meditate, but it has many good suggestions.

Read aloud novels for the kids for the month of March-

We are able to read quite a few novels a month with the kids for several reasons. The first, we have a fair amount of time on our hands since we homeschool – and a world of learning is opened with every book. Second, we rely on public transit and we always have a book to enjoy while we are on the go. Third, the kids could listen to stories ALL DAY LONG!! This is a list of our novels, not all of the early readers books, story books, poetry books, art books, etc that we read – I will save that for another blog post .

Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls

Ewan and Isla cannot get enough of the the Little House series! They found Farmer Boy a little harder to get into, we started it in the Fall, but then stopped as it didn’t hook them like the previous books. So we tried it again after the plum creek book and they did really enjoy Almanzo’s story.

The House at Pooh Corner, by, A.A. Milne

We have the big collection of Winnie the Pooh stories, but we had not read this chapter book before. It was lovely as all of the Winnie the Pooh stories always are. The poems, the language and humour used is loved by all ages. It also made us cry at the end as it is the last story written about Winnie the Pooh as Christopher Robin is transitioning to going to school. So very sad that it is eluded that he will no longer have the time to spend in his imagination.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary

The kids are loving this book and we have finished it within a week. It is a nice short read and the kids loved Ralph! Ewan also loved that this book was my book (I kept all of the Beverly Cleary books from when I was a child). He likes all the sentimental stuff!

Book list –

Other books on my list to get to over April include –

The Gifts of Imperfection : Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, by Brene Brown

Shopaholic to the Stars, by Sophie Kinsella

For the kids-

By the Shores of Silver Lake (Little House-the Laura Years), by Laura Ingalls (for the kids)

Charlottes Web, by E.B. White (We have read it to Ewan, but it is so great we want Isla to hear at this age too)

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Please let me know what your favourite books are right now – I am on the search for new series and not sure where to begin!