Itsara

August 15, 2013

Family Vacation to Mae Ping National Park

Filed under: Our Work,Personal,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 3:10 PM

It was actually almost a month ago that we took our family on vacation. But hey, it’s hard to upload a whole bunch of pictures, pick some for you to look at, and then write something about it! Sorry about that. But I do have like 50 pictures for you to look at, if you want.

We actually knew very little about where we were going. Cindy managed to find the number of a “resort” (really just a couple of houses and rooms rented out by the German-Thai couple who own them). We’d heard there was a lake and a waterfall and houseboats. We figured at the very least, so long as we had a place to sleep (and a swimming pool, they said) most of our kids would be happy.

I can’t call it a failure, because it was so much fun. But it was nothing like what we expected.

So, there was a lake, but when we got there, it looked like this:

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I drove “near” the bridge and Cindy started screaming at me not to drive over it (I wasn’t going to, but it was fun freaking Cindy out). We walked over it and found a bunch of day-trippers having a tailgate/swim party in what was left of the lake (they had, apparently, driven over the bridge).

Ten minutes later it started pouring rain.

I saw it coming, but there wasn’t much I could do, and some of my kids had run down to the “lake,” so I couldn’t leave them anyway. We got soaked, then one of the day-trippers loaded us in their truck bed and drove us back to our truck.

The next stop (we figured) was a waterfall we’d seen signs for. It sounded cool, so we followed the signs. It took a while to get to where the road ended. In front of a dirt track through the jungle was a sign that said the waterfall was only 12 km ahead.

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“Really? Is this the way?”

“There’s nowhere else it could be. Anyway, maybe the road’s paved farther on.”

It was not. It took us nearly an hour to drive those 12 km, going up and down steep ditches, across more rickety bridges, nearly getting stuck a couple of times, praying it wouldn’t rain again (which would for sure get us stuck), wrecking our truck’s bumper, and trying hard not to think about how isolated we were and what would happen if we did get stuck.

And what do you know, we made it.

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Of course there was no waterfall, but the pool where it used to be was super pretty, and the kids had a great time swimming. I even got a rare picture of Lu actually doing something.

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Then we did some other stuff (went home, got dinner, swam in the pool, slept, etc), and in the morning we checked out and went to a cave.

The cave was actually what we expected (well, what I expected at least). Caves here aren’t like they are in the States. In the States, caves are kind of sacred. You don’t touch them. You only go in with a certified tour guide. You never go off the path. You are never unattended or alone.

Caves in Thailand are sacred, too, but in a different way. They fill the thing with shrines and stairs and lights. And because it’s Thailand, nobody cares if you go in alone or what.

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So there’s the short version of our trip. Thanks for reading.

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May 14, 2013

First Day of School

Filed under: Parenting,Personal,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 7:36 AM

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In Thailand, school starts in May. So today is the first day of school for all but our oldest girls.

And for the three youngest boys — Josiah, Nathan, and Isaac — it’s the first day of school EVER. Since Cindy teaches English at their school two days a week, that means it’s just me with Anica and Asia a lot more now.

What’s weighing on my mind the most is Isaac. We’ve sent lots of kids to school, but Isaac is our firstborn. One of us has always been with him for nearly all of his life. We had planned to homeschool him. Really, we had planned to homeschool all of them, but Thailand’s Ministry of Education won’t let us homeschool foster kids. And as Isaac saw his brothers going to school, he smiled at us and said, “I get to go next year with Nathan and Josiah, right!”

What am I supposed to say to that?

It’s a good decision. I know it is. But whereas you see six ridiculously cute kids in school uniform, I see my worst fears come to life.

At least I still got Anica, right? RIGHT?

February 12, 2013

Family Pictures

Filed under: Our Work,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 4:29 PM

You might have seen a couple of these on Facebook. These pictures were taken with the skill and epic patience of our friend Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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January 31, 2013

Gamers, We Make Them Too

Filed under: Geekery,Personal,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 2:56 PM

Lutiya, Cindy, and Adam playing Settlers.

Isaac tries to beat Uncle Matt at Khet.

Josiah watches Cindy, Joel, and Isaac play Dominion.

Josiah hustles Uncle Matt at chess.

January 22, 2013

Geniuses, We Make Them

Filed under: Pictures — Adam Heine @ 8:13 PM

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Yup, that’s Anica and Sam playing chess. The boys all know how to play, and a couple of them are actually pretty good at it. Anica knows you start with 16 pieces on the first two rows, but otherwise she kinda makes up her own rules.

Aw, but look how cute she is when she does it.

I bet she’ll be able to beat them by the time she’s four, though.

December 4, 2012

Painting

Filed under: Our Work,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 2:29 PM

We do it sometimes.

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Clockwise: Me, Anica (with a skirt on her head), Sam, Abigail, Sarah, Eli, Isaac, Joel, Rachel, and Josiah.

November 27, 2012

Mountain Village Pictures

Filed under: Our Work,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 8:46 AM

Sorry for slacking on the posts lately. Life has been ridiculously busy here. I’ll try to make up for it with pictures. These are from our recent trip to Prang’s village.

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See more (with some basic captions) here.

October 11, 2012

Boys

Filed under: Our Work,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 2:14 PM

Nathan, Josiah, and Isaac. Submitted without comment.

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October 4, 2012

Our Helper

Filed under: Our Work,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 2:42 PM

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This is Da (and Asia and Pan), and ever since the four kids moved in from Ban Suk Jai, Da has been our helper Monday through Friday. We are often asked how we handle all these kids without going crazy. Da is a large part of our answer.

She was one of the house parents at Ban Suk Jai before it closed, so having her here made the transition much easier for Sarah, Joel, Sam, and Josiah when they came. She made the transition easier for us too, as she took care of tasks we suddenly had no time for (like laundry and cooking lunch). Our house has calmed down a lot since then, and there are times we think we could actually do this without her, but personally I don’t want to even try.

She’s a blessing to us, and we try to be a blessing to her. The kids love her. Anica, in particular, looks forward to her coming everyday (and Anica’s amazing Thai is largely due to Da’s influence).

She’s incredibly thankful just to have a job, but she also loves the kids. She’s ridiculously patient, hard working, and grateful to be here. She recently told me she was really happy to have two bosses as kind and thoughtful as we are, which is weird cuz I don’t think of her as my employee.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know about this member of our family and how awesome she is.

September 27, 2012

Anica is Kung Fu Fighting

Filed under: Geekery,Personal,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 5:05 PM

Don’t blame me if your head explodes from cuteness.

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