Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Ski Weekend...

We went in on a condo with some friends again this year and the weekend after Thanksgiving was our first time to check it out. It is close to where we were last year, but we don't have to drive as far up the hill to get there. (Still located close to the outlet mall!)

Sam checking the place out
one of the bathrooms
one of the bedrooms
the livingroom
and the kitchen...all in all it will be a great place for this season! We didn't ski the first day we went up because Sam had some work to do, so instead I read and watched some movies and was GREAT!! Then Dan came and we played some games...going to be a fun ski season!!
We headed out Sunday for our first day and had some great snow since it had snowed quite a bit the night before. Breck seems to always be our top choice, so that's where we went.
Me and Sam on the can see the snow still coming down!
After our half day (taking it easy to make sure Sam's knee that he hurt last year is ok) my face was purple...especially my chin...but it didn't show up too well in the photos. Little did we know at the time of this photo that the weekend was going to turn into a little bit longer of a weekend. When we hit 70 from Breck it was so backed up it took us almost 2 hours to get from Breck to Silverthorne, so we decided we'd head back to the condo and hang out there for a while until the roads cleared. Well that they did not do...they got worse. They closed 70 down so we were stuck in the mountains...darn. Dan was too, so we had another fun night of games/tv/football, etc. A great way to start the season!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Snow!!

We had a fun night of games and food with some friends the day after Thanksgiving and as they went to leave we realized it had snowed for the first time! I am always excited for the first is so pretty...but as always ask me again in a few months!!
views from our deck
and another one

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving at our place with the Russell crew.
Sam...not loving seasoning the turkey (check out the face)
The table
Jen (Lin and Kate's roomie) and Lindsey
Kate and mom
the dude (Scott) and Sam
me and dad
the perfect plate
we played some bingo for fun prizes mom brought along
like Boones! :) haaaaaa
But...the point of Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks so here are a few things I am thankful for:
1. Family
2. Friends
3. Having had a friend like Bridget in my life
4. baby Chloe's health
5. Small Group/Supper Club
6. Friend's new babies
7. OBAMA...and the upcoming inauguration trip to DC with Brea and Joy
8. time to travel
9. jobs/health/home
10. living in DENVER and a beautiful winter on the way!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Meeting Griffin!!

Our friends Josh and Brittni Fudge had a healthy baby boy while we were away in Thailand. We got to meet him the night we got home.

Brittni, Josh and GRIFFIN!!!

Welcome Griffin!!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Get ready for what will for sure be the longest post EVER!! Sam and I made use of some frequent flyer miles we'd been saving up to head to Thailand...a different type of trip than anything either of us had ever done.
After a flight from Denver to LA and LA to Seoul and Seoul to Bangkok it was time to collect our baggage and according to the red sign "For passengers who are: Be uncertain about the status of your belongings" CRYSTAL CLEAR!! Woo to a good start!
Then it was wait time in the Bangkok airport...and a good thing it was a few weeks ago and not now!!Still waiting at the airport, this is after about 22 hours of travel so far...
and then we finally get on our flight to Koh Samui and each seat has a "Flyer Bonus" (also known as a barf bag)
The airport in Koh Samui is AMAZING!!
We checked into our cute little hotel...
which had an amazing view of the beach.
However, it happened to still be quite the rainy season

as you can see in the video.
This is how wet Sam got after going outside for about 2 minutes.
So luckily the green tent looking structure at the back of the picture was how far we walked from our room to eat...
and the clear tent in the back of this picture is where we walked to get massaged.We had a tough time getting on the right sleep schedule so this was our EARLY morning walk on the beach once it was light enough to take some pictures. We needed head lamps to start out with.
It was so rainy the beach literally washed away...these two sides used to connect, our first day there we walked the full length of the beach, then it washed away.
Early morning footstepsour little villa
our massage place
Sam marking the beach so we could see how much washed away, his first two lines were already gone.
Part of our island tour brought us to this lovely Buddha
One of MANY temples (Wats) we would see
and the inside
Sam...with the weird many armed one
This is Big Buddha
This is hard to see but it is out the window of our van on the tour we went on...the thing in the picture is a scooter with someone riding it through a puddle that went up past the wheeles...NUTS!!
A picture of us...soaking the view point
This is one of the stops along the sightseeing is called Grandfather (pronounced grandfadder) rock...go figure! There was also Grandmother rock but it was down by the water and the waves were coming in too high and the rocks were slippery from the sorry no pics of it, just use your imaginations.
Some more rocks in the water, the colors were so cool
Our beach where we were staying was just to the right of these rocks and down the coast a little bit.
Then it was time to watch the monkey yank the coconuts from the tree.
And to view it yourself here is the video
and the monkey with the coconut
Drinking the juice from inside (which we learned is NOT coconut milk...who knew?!)
mmmmmmmmmm...ok not really
random water buffalo
and then we went to see the mummified monk
who they put sunglasses on??!! if you're starting to think we are on the strangest tour ever you are not alone!! :)another temple (which the monk video makes it look like where the mummified monk is at...but he is not...he is in a smaller side building)
us getting a blessing from a live monk...which includes getting whacked on the head many times (If you watched the mummified monk link video this is the same monk in the video!)
and receiving a friendship looking bracelet
Then we went to the waterfall and we got to ride the elephants!! This what I was waiting for!!
The guide let me climb down on front, the elephant kind of wraps her ears around my legs, they are amazingly strong. Most went well until she decided she wanted to take down a tree...we thought she was going to pull it down with us on top.
Here we are walking up the river toward the waterfall.
Look at how close Sam is to the elephant trunk!! For those of you that know Sam you may be aware that he does not usually get close to animals (here are a few pics to show you what I mean)
Sam running as fast as he can under the trees of bats in Sydney
scary bird in New Zealand
And back to our is a baby elephant, so cute.
Then it was back to Bangkok to head north, this is at the Bangkok airport where we had some horrible food and had to kill more time.
We arrived in Chaing Mai for night two of the YeePeng Festival which is as Sam says like arriving somewhere on New Years Eve not knowing it was New Years Eve, it was crazy!
This is at Tha Phae Gate right by where we were staying and one of the main areas of the festival...which we didn't find out until later that night.
We spent the day walking around the city and seeing many of the Wats and other sites (see below)
This was one of the largest ones in the city, it was beautiful!
Some of the young monks getting ready for the festival, we're still not quite sure if they are truly monks yet??
The nightly chants...

just turn your head sideways for this video of the chants
Time for the festivities
all the lanterns are lit
all of the dots in the sky around the moon are lanterns that have floated first we thought it was stars that looked red
here are some people preparing a lantern to let go
sorry another sideways video!!
and what it looks like in the sky
here we are by the main gate

then the parade got underway
we were finally so tired we headed back to our hotel, our pool looked really cool at night
and a view of the lanterns and fireworks in the night sky from the balcony at our hotel
then came day two of sightseeing
I found this humorous
and the final night of the festival...we got our own lantern and the monks helped us light it
here it is sailing away
and the moon again with all of the lanterns in the sky
the streets were nuts with vendors and people
and then we came upon this!!!

you must watch to get the full experience
a lantern caught on the streelight
random fish/meats on sticks
the main bridge, there was so much smoke in the air from the fireworks everyone was letting off

a video from the bridge
a favorite...shadow pics!
mmmmmm...dragon fruit smoothie!
and a walk through the park by the university...look how green the water is
random street vendor, they are EVERYWHERE!!
Sam's breakfast...just look closely at the randomness on the plate!!
We took a Thai cooking class and went to the market in the morning to get the supplies. I thought this basket of limes and peppers looked really cool.
One of the instructors at the market telling us about the different fruits/vegetables
fish oil (Which we determined is what makes Sam sick...which is too bad since they make EVERYTHING with it! It is used instead of salt)
coconut press, press one is coconut milk, press two is coconut cream
I had no idea there were so many types of rice...the instructor said a lot of it has to do with how old the rice is and how long it was cultured on the farms.
cleaning the fish
and the poultry...which just all sits out...which means their stomachs are much much stronger than ours!
still not sure what is in these buckets
more meat
time for cooking class
making some fish soup
the main instructor and owner of the school
my fish cakes
my green (or brown as the case may be) curry...but it is all about the presentation!!
Sam's green curry
Sam with his green curry
the classroom

all about presentation

Sam making Pad Thai dessertour hotelon our last night we went to the night market...Sam HATES the marketand on the way home got some banana pancakes with chocolate...mmmmmmThen we were off to Bangkok for our last two days. Our first day there everything was still shut down for the funeral of the Thai princess (who we later found out died in January??) so we went to one of the many many malls and Sam just wanted some pizza since his stomach was revolting. This is a shot of the pizza crust...the pizza was more like Ragu sauce on a Matzo cracker with hot dogs (sausage) on top...mmmmmmmThis pic was taken in honor of my friend Megan who works for CSI Miami...she had told me the show was HUGE in Asia...I wanted to give her proof. :) we sat down outside the mall to warm up since it was sooooo cold inside...we had so much time to kill we even went to see a movie, where before the movie everyone stands for the national anthem (or what we assume is the anthem) and then at the end it says "we love the king" and they all bow...glad I had read about it in one of our travel books so I had a heads up! last day in Thailand... few more temples and LOTS of memorials for the princess

must be a monk cat...sleeping on the windowsill of one of the temples
and another memorial
in front of the main Wat across from the palace (both of which were closed because of the funeral)
a the wat...with his cell phone...taking pictures??? they ALL have cell phones!
a picture of one of the thousands of monuments to the king...we tried to think what would happen if we had monuments to GW all over the states??!!
still outside of the main Wat
and our final memorial to the princess
time to head home...Sam at the airport...on his phone before leg 1 Bangkok to Taipei
us in Taipei...where they made us get off the plane only to reboard like 20 minutes later for leg 2 Taipei to Seoul
note: do NOT traffic drugs into Taipei!!
our final leg...after Seoul to San Fran we were stateside and headed back to Denver
back at DIA waiting for our bus!!
It was fun to get away together as usual...but we sure are having a hard time readjusting to the time. Sam was again WIDE awake at 3am this morning...good thing he has his beer to keep an eye on (homebrew for those that have no idea what I am talking about) so most mornings he goes into our spare bedroom bathroom, turns on the heater, checks out his beer and reads...someday we'll get it reset!!