Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cinema and more!

B has gotten out to two movies in two days with some new friends! A friend of a friend is here on vacation (she was an au pair in New York for two years) visiting her boyfriend (hoping to move here). There is another friend of a friend who was an au pair in Texas for some teenagers who decided they were too old for an au pair (duh!) and so she was transferred to Minnesota to care for twins around little t's age. B spent Christmas day the day after with these friends. They went to Minnehaha Falls, Como Zoo, a Chinese/Korean buffet and then to see a movie. She informed me that the popcorn in Thailand is sweet, very different than the popcorn here in America. And she ended up with a very large bottle of water! She was surprised by how expensive the movie was and also that there were not assigned seats in the theater as there are in Thailand. Monday afternoon she went out to the movies again and then to a Thai restaurant in downtown Minneapolis called Kindee which means "It's good" although she said it wasn't very good - her cooking is better! - and there were all American workers there. She also went to see Santa and ran into a couple and their young baby from Laos. She got so excited she started speaking Laos and they mistook her for a girl from Laos. She had to explain that she is from Thailand but very near Laos which is why she knows some of the language. We are very happy she is getting out with some people her own age, in addition to the au pair meetings that she attends once a month. She might spend New Year's Eve with them as well at a party which would be a lot more fun than just sitting around home with us! Who knows, maybe she'll meet a cute American boy to kiss at midnight. :-)

Christmas in America

We had fun exposing B to Christmas in America this year. She got spoiled with all kinds of goodies - nut rolls (her favorite), Minnesota shirt, sweatshirt and ornament, Vikings shirt, Victoria Secret "Love Pink" sweatshirt, snow globe, lottery tickets and more. She was even able to surprise us all with photo collages she made for us. Each of the boys got one which we hung in their rooms and T and I got a framed one that we put on a shelf in the living room. She is so sweet and thoughtful, we just love her! I think she had fun coming to our respective families' homes for the holiday. I know our nephew C is totally smitten with her. He just smiles and lights up and runs to her for hugs. It is the cutest thing. Little t is the same way when he sees her - always a smile on his face.

Snow globe

Minnesota shirt in her favorite color

With little man and the bear in underwear

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mall of America

Everyone keeps asking me if we've brought our au pair to the Mall of America yet. We hadn't for the longest time (something you usually want to avoid this time of year) but on Saturday night I decided to make a quick run there so I could buy some new clothes for myself. I wanted it to be a quick trip since it was late and stores would be closing - I figured I had about an hour to make my rounds - so I was going to go alone. However, J found out I was going and begged to come along because he just "loves the Mall of America!" so I asked B if she wanted to come along so they could just wander around and have fun while I did my shopping. After quickly making some apple fritters (I had promised J) we were in the car and on the way by 8pm. I had some success and they had fun. We didn't get home until almost 11pm and then it was time for bed. This momma was wiped out from her power shopping!

We have a winner!

We were playing Rainbow Foods' scratch-off Vikings game last week. You could only scratch three spots and if the symbols all matched you won whatever prize was featured on that ticket. T, B and I took turns scratching. On the very last one B got three matching symbols! None of us has ever won. We were laughing so hard she had tears coming out of her eyes. She told us she never wins anything except for she once won a bike in Thailand that was worth $100 and only spent 33 cents! She scratched off to see what prize she won...two new tickets. What a let down. I'll get the additional tickets next time I'm there and we'll see if we can win something better.

Holiday Au Pair Party

Last Sunday B attended her monthly au pair meeting with her group. It was a holiday party. I think the group was smaller than normal because a couple girls have gone back to their home countries. January will bring two new girls to their group, from Mexico and Switzerland. The au pairs (I can't exclusively say girls as they have one boy in their group) we asked to bring a wrapped present for a gift exchange game. B brought a cute gray with white polka dots skirt and a brown belt, both from Thailand. They got to open the gifts and you could steal from one another. Two girls fought over the gift she brought! The au pairs also brought food or treats from their home countries to share and B ended up bringing a bunch home to share with us. Yum.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The holidays are here!

Saturday night we brought B out with my family for our annual holiday tradition: dinner and a musical. We had a lot of time to kill in between dinner and the show so we stopped by Macy's 8th floor holiday exhibit. It wasn't as big or as cool as I remember it being when I was a child. I was there maybe eight or nine years ago when my niece E was a little one and I think it was even better back then! J said it was the same this year as the last three years so he was not into it at all. I think B enjoyed looking at the display. I wish we could've caught the holidazzle parade but it was just ending as we were going into the exhibit. We'll have to try to get down there another time. A time when I'm dressed warm enough and wearing more comfortable shoes than I was on Saturday!

Friday, November 25, 2011

1st Thanksgiving

B got to experience her first Thanksgiving in America yesterday. We brought her to my in-laws for lunch and football (watching, not playing). She seemed to enjoy the day. We did find out that in Thailand people keep turkeys as pets like cats and dogs and that worried us a little but she was a trooper and ate some anyway! She took photos of all the food so she could show her family and friends and document her trip. I also enjoy taking photos of food sometimes so that's not weird to me at all! Our littlest nephew C warmed up to her right away which is not at all like him to do so that was cute. We drank too much coke and ate too much pie and cake but it's a holiday so it's okay, right?

Monday, November 21, 2011


B had her monthly au pair meeting with her group and another group. They all met to go bowling. J got to go along and play on B's team. They both seemed to have a great time and B met some new friends which we are happy about. J doesn't know how good he got it - hanging out with a bunch of cute international older girls! Future J would be so jealous. After everyone left B and J bowled another game and B won. J claims the game wasn't over (it was on a timer so it cut them off) but he bowled one frame more than she did and she still had a higher score so she definitely won. He's so competitive and doesn't like to lose. I guess he gets that from his stepmom!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Host Family

B has been talking to me about some of her au pair friends that she met at school in New York her first week here. Two of them are not in a good match with their host families and are pretty miserable. It sounds like one of the girls might have to go back to Germany because she wasn't able to find a rematch. Another girl, B's roommate at school who is also placed in Minnesota, has a couple weeks to find a rematch. It's quite sad for B to hear this from her friends. Especially since she has had a good experience and really likes us (and we really like her as well!) so it's harder to understand what they are going through. We realize how important it is to really get a feel for your future au pair through lots of contact prior to the selection process. A phone call, video chat (which is what we did - very helpful especially when there is a language barrier), instant messaging and lots of emails will do wonders when finding a match.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Busy days...and nights!

B has been busy these last couple days. The little man keeps her busy all day long and then we've had things going on in the evenings as well. She went with T to watch J play basketball Monday night. Of course she took a photo of J doing the "I'm good looking" hand gesture he learned from photos of B's younger brother and his friends (in Thailand) who are the same age as J.

Then last night T went alone to watch him play basketball while B and I bundled up the little man and went downtown to MCTC's open house to see about classes/credits she needs to complete the education component of her cultural exchange. Unfortunately, she missed the deadline for the semester starting in January but the first woman we talked to was very informed about international students and was able to get away from the open house and talk to us in her office about enrollment and other options from Hennepin Tech - weekend courses that would fulfill everything. So we came away informed. I was excited to get home earlier than expected and get on with the night but of course I took a wrong turn and ended up going the opposite direction on the freeway in the special lane for carpoolers and couldn't exit and when I did exit I couldn't get back on in the other direction. Then when I finally got turned around it happened all over again only then I was going in another direction. It took about a half hour to finally get back to where we needed to go to get home. Oh well, live and learn! I think we're all looking forward to a night at home doing absolutely nothing.

But days will stay busier than normal for B because now instead of just taking care of little t, she will be watching J too. He will be with us through the weekend since he doesn't have school and his mom and stepdad are on a trip.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday morning hugs

This is what I see when I leave in the morning...happy t and happy B!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bald Eagles in Thailand!

We were showing B photos of all the animals we see at the cabin in the summer and when we showed her a photo of a bald eagle she said, "We have at our home in Thailand!" How cool is this?

Fun times at home

B does not like the cold weather very much so she's perfectly content to stay at home with t all day long. They spend their days playing and singing and exercising with bottles, food and naps in between. B also has some time to squeeze in photo opportunities!


B and J have been playing basketball at the school down the street despite the cold. They've gone down a couple times and have had a great time. He just started playing for his 5th grade team at school and so we all went to see him play at his first game Thursday. They came from behind at the end to close a big gap and ended up winning by one point after a three-pointer and a free throw in the last seconds.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Since B is from Thailand she didn't come to Minnesota well prepared for the cold weather that is here...and the much, much colder weather that is to come! We told her we'd make sure she had all she needed to stay warm for the winter. I took her shopping and we found some sweatpants, a long sleeve shirt, winter jacket, boots, hat, scarf and mittens. She was so appreciative. As a host family we do not have to provide that for her but we wanted to. She's so wonderful to all of us and we are lucky to have her and it's just a token of our appreciation. She wanted to take some photos so she could show her friends and family.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Poor B...little man had a total poop accident today and she had to deal with it all alone. It's hard enough to manage with two people. But she did great. She just loves him and is so wonderful with him. We couldn't have gotten any luckier than finding her. She fits in very well with our family and we all love her. She has nicknamed him her "king". Cute.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

First time trick-or-treating

We had fun going out trick-or-treating with B and shoaling her how people give away candy if you are dressed up in costume. (Sadly also for those who aren't and a couple kids with a bucket for their "younger brother".) she had fun going door-to-door with J and she was happy with all her loot. Her favorite was Minnesota-made Pearson's Nut Roll!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Hopefully little man won't be a little monster today! B is looking forward to some American trick-or-treating tonight with J. She's excited to see all the costumes and the candy!

Au Pair Halloween Party

Yesterday we brought B to a Halloween party for the local au pairs. Her group and another group had a joint party. We went through all of our Halloween costumes and she ended up going as Rocky. Everyone there was thinking Thai boxer. She looked so cute. I even gave her a black eye for the occasion. (with makeup of course!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday night at the dome

We took B down to the dome with us on Wednesday night to watch J play in his football playoff game. Because the dome was mostly empty it was pretty cold in there and we didn't dress appropriately. Alright for us but B was definitely not used to the cold and could've been dressed a lot warmer. But we had fun watching J's team beat their opponent in overtime, 13-12. Overall they took third place and were very excited!

Thai food

Tonight we sampled a couple Thai dishes. One had chicken and shrimp with bean thread noodles and the other had pork with tomatoes, garlic, cabbage, onions and peppers. Hot peppers. Really hot. I bit into one thinking it was something else and my mouth started on fire. I was trying to find something to take the heat away and couldn't get into our bag of bread and actually tore a hole into the bag so I could get a piece! It didn't help much but the. Urn finally went away by the end of the meal. The flavor was really good, I just regret biting into that pepper! T and J both enjoyed the food too. Good and good for us! We look forward to trying a lot more over the course of the year.

Jack O Lanterns

Tonight we carved pumpkins with B. She was a little confused at first and we found out that she thought we had to put them on our heads and wear like a mask! She couldn't figure out how hers was going to fit and thought she should have the bigger pumpkin J was carving. We had a lot of fun and she even turned her lights out while video chatting a friend in Thailand so she could see her lit up pumpkin.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trip to the Social Security Office

We went to the Social Security Office this morning so B could apply for her Social Security number. I think we got the crabbiest and meanest guy there. She told him she was having a hard time understanding him but he would not speak any slower (even though she asked) and if he did he did so rudely. We were so relieved to get out of there and she told me her heart was beating so fast the whole time. Mine was too. I almost wanted to ask him of we could talk to someone else or if he woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Glad that is over!

First day on the job

Monday was B's first official day on the job although I was home with her. She did great! Little man has not been feeling the best so that made him a fussy baby but she did awesome with him.

Monday, October 24, 2011