Another birthday post full of pictures for family and friends to see how we celebrated Talia turning 6 and Elise turning 4.
We happened to be in Thailand for Talia’s birthday doing our last trip out to finalize some paperwork, so we thought we could have fun celebrating there.
We went out for a special birthday breakfast and let her choose whatever she wanted from the menu. She chose waffles and a smoothie.We bought a couple gifts and a few balloons. I’m so glad it doesn’t take much to make something special for our girls! Trying on her new hat. She requested lemon meringue pie, after hearing it was one of Mommy’s frequently requested birthday desserts and we were actually able to find it by googling local bakeries! Instead of parties, we often like to do a birthday outing. So we gave her the choice of going to the zoo or going ice skating. Ice skating it was! They were pretty excited to try it out for the first time… Talia did end up a bit disappointed that she couldn’t twirl and spin like a figure skater. Ha! With Pingu’s help, Talia was able to make some progress and started moving on her own.In the end the girls got tired of the skates and Ryan ended the hour by pushing them around as they stood on the back of Pingu’s skis, until their socks were soaked through.
A couple months later and it was Elise’s turn. We had an idea to set up a surprise tea party after the girls went to bed. The girls often come down early in the morning to use the bathroom and Elise has been known to go scavenging for something to eat. So, this time we made it easy. Something the girls had been looking forward to for MONTHS was having a second attempt at a sister sleepover when Elise turned 4 (as it didn’t go so well when she was 3 years old). This time… Success! For Elise’s birthday outing we decided to take a picnic and go swimming at the waterfalls, but the weather dropped by 10-15 degrees that weekend, so we changed the “swimming” to “hiking.” The water ended up being a bit high anyways and may have been tough to swim in. It was pretty cozy to get to wear sweatshirts for the first time this season. The hike ended up being a big adventure and loads of fun. The girls did great! We even hiked straight up one of the waterfalls! We didn’t even know this path existed, which made this birthday hike all the more exciting and memorable. We started a new tradition with this colorful “birthday” hat from the night market. Elise loved it! Daddy entertained us with his own version of the Lao candle dance. Elise thoroughly enjoyed the show! We forgot to buy wrapping paper, so made do with some construction paper. Guess which one was from us.
If you missed Isla’s 1st birthday, you can see that here.
This post is primarily for family and other Isla lovers to see pics (a little bit late) of the birthday girl.
We kept the day pretty simple. The night before we all picked out some handmade gifts at the night market, and the rest was done during her morning nap, the day of: hanging up a few decorations, making a quick DIY birthday crown and a special birthday meal/”cake” all in one. Honestly, one year olds don’t know what’s going on and we joked that if we did something that Isla would love, all we’d have to do is just lie down on the rug and spend the morning playing with her. But, we had to do something “birthday-ish” especially now the the big girls are older, and of course to have some pictures to show Isla when she grows up. 🙂 Mixing up the coconut pancakes
And setting out the gifts on a perch.Getting Isla up from her nap. She wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about, so big sisters helped her get started. A little party entertainment by The Dancing Reflector. Talia and Isla modeling their night market clothes.
It was a great simple birthday party – the only complicated part was trying to take pictures/video and get food on the table with only two adults in the house!
Happy birthday to our sweet, affectionate, happy little girl. You’ll always be our baby.
After some bouts with poor internet, we’re back to posting again! I have a lot to post from the past few months, so hopefully I’ll have time to share them with you.
Talia recently performed her first traditional Lao dance that she learned at school! We were all invited to come to the Teacher’s Day celebrations and watch her perform. After rounding up the appropriate traditional dress and doing her hair and makeup, which she was pretty excited about, we headed out in a Tuk-Tuk.I’m not sure why, but after over 5 years of living in Southeast Asia, we still arrive to events on time. Amateurs. Once others showed up and things got rolling, Talia had help putting on her sash and a special crown. At first Elise followed Talia around everywhere, including right onto the “dance floor”, so I had to remind her that she wouldn’t be performing with her big sister. Some of the younger kids recited some poems and did small performances first. Then Talia and her classmates were called up to get their flowers and get ready to perform. Initially, she had been unsure she’d be able to learn it since the other girls mostly knew the dance already. But, after a few pep talks she took it very seriously, and did a great job.
Here is a short video:
Next the 3-4th grade girls performed their dance which included candles. Talia can’t wait to do that in a few years! Another poem recitation..
Followed by snacks and lunch. Here is Talia with her friends. Can’t wait for our girls to learn more dances!
I have a minor obsession with elephants, and up until now have never been on one for more than 5 minutes, so I was super excited that we were planning on taking our guests to an elephant camp! We figured with two more adults helping out, we could manage our three children for the event.
We found a great deal for a new elephant camp outside of town and decided to give it a try. They took us out in their van, and after an introductory speech about elephants and a welcome drink, we went over to meet and feed the elephants. We then loaded up and trundled off for our 30 minute ride. We took three elephants – one kid on each. Our particular guide, was very happy to take some pictures of us. He ended up hopping down off the elephant and taking dozens of pictures, to my surprise later when I looked back through them. Good thing it’s a digital camera!To his credit, he got some great shots, like this one. And some “creatively framed” ones, as well (above). At one point we got a little nervous, because he wandered so far away taking pictures of scenery and everyone else, that we ended up alone on our elephant, and our elephant got to doing her own thing.The ride was fun, although rather short. But, that actually turned out to be a good thing, because it was blazing hot out that day! After the ride, we spent a little more time with the elephants at the feeding post, and one of the elephants was pretty interested in Isla and ended up slobbering snot all over her baby carrier! By far the best part of the day was bathing the elephants. I guess they got pretty dirty on our little walk.I think the elephants enjoyed cooling off as much as we did. Riding mine in the water, was like riding a bucking bronco! Of course, I have no experience on a bucking bronco, so I may be being a little dramatic. The mahouts (“elephant wrangler” to the layperson) said that only one person could go at a time, so the girls waited on shore. I again got ditched by my mahout and ended up riding solo. A little adrenaline makes the experience that much more exciting! We explained to the mahouts that our girls don’t know how to swim yet, but they still wanted to have a turn bathing, and they reassured us that they’d take good care of them. Getting sprayed! And again. Ryan’s brother and Elise were the last to go in.
Nothing better than a clean elephant! Elise got her turn washing her elephant.She also got a good soaking. The girls absolutely LOVED it, and wanted to get back in right away. We got to say one last goodbye to the elephants before heading out. Elise left in tears, because she hadn’t had enough time with the elephants. I’m sure we’ll be back sometime in the future, because Mommy’s as fond of these massive creatures as the kids are!
What’s your favorite animal?
Another item on our list as tour guides, was to take Ryan’s brother and sister in law to enjoy the beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls.It’s always fun to watch the bears in the sanctuary on the way in. First, we walked to the top to see the all the different pools and the big waterfall, and took the chance to scout out our options for swimming holes. Tip: get there early to beat the crowds and you can have a pool to yourself! The water is always pretty chilly, but a hot sunny day made it quite refreshing. It’s perfect for kids, even if they can’t swim yet, because there are lots of shallow areas to play and enjoy the slippery banks. An added bonus of these waterfalls is that this is the native habitat for the famous “fish spa” fish, so the dead skin from your feet gets cleaned up while you wade around. Nibble, nibble, yum, yum! Ryan enjoys watching unsuspecting newbies get nibbled for first time. Wait for it…!The water has minerals in it making the water a turquoise color and forming a rough buildup on rocks and logs, making climbing and exploring super fun and easy. We enjoyed a couple hours of swimming, then packed up to get some lunch near the entrance of the park before heading back home.
What is your favorite waterfall to visit? Could your feet use a fish spa?