Louis Taawanh Harris

This post is coming out on Louis’ one week birthday.  Last Friday, April 18, Louis was born.  Leslie checked into the hospital at about 1:30am.  Our friend, Panya, drove Leslie, her mom and sister, and me to the hospital.  Things progressed pretty quickly from there.  We were admitted, rushed up to the Labor and Delivery room, met with our doctor, and started pushing.  Leslie labored very hard, but Louis was not going to come out that easy.  His large head and neck were wrapped in the umbilical cord.  At around 5:30am, we had to change plans and move to the OR for an emergency C-section.  Louis’ heart-rate kept dropping too low and our greatest concern was to deliver him as safely as possible.  So the doctors took Leslie off to prep for surgery and I got changed into scrubs.  We all reconvened in a few minutes in the OR and at 6:09am we heard his voice for the first time as he cried nice and loud for us all to hear.  Like I said before, Louis (Lew-wis) is fine, Leslie is fine, and we couldn’t be happier.

Official stats:  3.468 kg / 7 lb 10 oz     51cm / 20 inches

And of course what you have all been waiting for:

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage_DSC2952 _DSC2959 _DSC2977 _DSC2984 _DSC3019 _DSC3033 photo 1

Stay tuned for many more to come!


Somebody Turned 31…

March was Dan’s birthday month and it was a fun one to navigate here. Gracious as ever, he didn’t expect anything to really happen in the midst of end of school year busyness or month 9 of pregnancy. What a silly goose. Of course he was going to be celebrated and loved on as much as possible!

bday month1

Birthday dinner right along Chao Praya

We went out to eat at The River Treehouse and got quite the spread of food to nibble on while live music was played. It was such a nice outing after a week of work for him. He got to eat and drink his fill for sure!

bday month2

Further adventures in homemade food for the mister

Because I started working from home in March, that meant I had more at-home time to try out more recipes for this and that. Dan definitely has a sweet tooth but is also a fan of anything homemade. As he likes to say, “The sweat and resentment makes it taste better.” Haha. During this time, he would come home for lunch and one of our meals was tortillas from scratch, cheesy beef filling and a tart cabbage slaw. We’re going to be making our own tortillas for sure now.

bday month3

Another BKK staycation for the books

He also got whisked away to Bangkok — hey, traveling is hard in the third trimester — for a weekend getaway at a swanky hotel where room service was definitely used and we lounged in a comfortable king sized bed while watching (laughing at) Thai soap operas!

bday month4

That’s definitely a gorilla. And maybe a witch doctor poacher? We’re not entirely sure of the series plot…but we do know the storyline involves battling flying wizards, hordes of jungle zombies, an indestructible robot vampire and hypnotized chicks being saved by a wannabe Indiana Jones. ‘Twas the life.

Graduation Day


The graduating class of 2014!

There were actually 16, but one student was missing on graduation day for a university interview.  I had 11 of these students in my class twice a day for the entire year.  I’m not sure who learned more this year, but I know that this group taught me a lot about teaching, patience, and that I am not as cool as I thought I was.  It was great fun spending my days with this group and I look forward to seeing where this class goes in the future.  Congratulations students!  Great job.

Last Month of First Year

March was a whirlwind of work responsibilities. The end of the school year saw Dan giving finals, putting together report cards, planning class parties, writing student case files and compiling grade level/curriculum binders for the Ministry of Education. Since I will be transitioning into a part time position next school year, my days were taken up with organizing and writing materials for programs I had headed up this past year so that folks who would be absorbing those duties would know what to do!

last month1

Pictures from the year with SGA kids from various school events

last month3

Dan hosted a game night with his homeroom class

last month2

We made mac & cheese, chicken wings & cookies for them AND they ordered food from BBQ Plaza in addition. Hungry teens!

last month4

I had a end-of-year Reading Club party and this little miss wanted to leave this sweet note 🙂

last month5

Due to pregnancy aches & pains, I had to start working from home mid-month…BUT these 8th graders went into cahoots with one of our administrators and came up to my apartment for a surprise visit that made my day!

last month6

Taking a class pictures of his first homeroom class on their last day of school together.

Happy Valentines Day, Indeed

For Valentines Day this year, we broke tradition of homemade cards and corn dogs. Instead, we took our dear friend Poy to a local orphanage we have visited before to love on the kids there. It is safe to say that all our love tanks were wonderfully filled that morning (and then our bellies were filled after a delicious lunch at BBQ Plaza before we headed out for another one of our BKK staycation adventures).

Look at her sweet precious face! She was about 9 months old and had the most tender of personalities…and, yes, we were feeding her chocolate cake. Don’t judge!

valentines day_0001 valentines day_0002 valentines day_0003 valentines day_0004 valentines day_0005 valentines day_0006 valentines day_0007 valentines day_0008 valentines day_0009 valentines day_0010 valentines day_0011

Protest by the Nonthaburi Pier

So there have been protests in Thailand since November, with most of the rally sites being in key intersections in Bangkok. We live and work in the outer skirts of the capital in a mostly suburban area and our everyday life has barely been affected by any of them. We, like most folks, have kept tabs on things from the articles on BBC News, NY Times or Bangkok Times. But we got a slight taste of one of the protests in January, when the opposition party was marching outside our school and towards Chang Wattana for their main rally point.

In anticipation of this march, the administration of our school cancelled school because of the traffic build up and likely student absences anyway. Because of this, the teachers got a in-school work day and we got to go street side to catch a bit of the protest:

protest parade_0001 protest parade_0002 protest parade_0003 protest parade_0004 protest parade_0005 protest parade_0006 protest parade_0007 protest parade_0008 protest parade_0009 protest parade_0010 protest parade_0011 protest parade_0012

Harris’ Go Home | Flurry of Activities

For our memories, which are respectively getting hazier and more jumbled, this post will just be the straight details for our sake.

Day 1 – We touch down at SeaTac and then after another hour or so, waiting in lines through immigration and customs and international baggage claim where Dan may have inadvertently opposed an air marshal (No, really, he did…in his defense, the man didn’t identify himself as one when he first asked to see our passports. All turned out fine, though, and the authorities got a laugh out of it.), and get smothered by flying kid arms encased by puffy pink and green winter jackets. What a welcome! TJ “helped” Uncle Dan pull our luggage while Leslie gripped my hand the whole time we followed Walter and Olay back to their car in the parking garage. After another hour through Seattle traffic, we make it to my parents’ home where a feast of homemade pho is waiting for our empty bellies. YES! Exhausted from traveling for over a day, we ate more than our bodies could handle then stumbled up the stairs to shower and crash into dreamland.

Day 2 – Luckily, we specifically planned for this day to involve nothing so that we could acclimate as much as possible to the time zone without a list of to-do’s looming over our heads. Fortunately for Dan, though he cannot sleep well while traveling, he has an unnatural ability to kick jet lag in the crotch and sleep through the entire night. And, of course, I woke up at 3am alert and feeling sick to my stomach. As my mom jokingly asked at 6am, “What? My food too clean for you, not like your street food?” She may have been right. I spent the better part of Day 2 in my pajamas between the bedroom, living room and bathroom. But Dan got in good hang out time with my parents and rummaging through storage to get cool weather clothes for us.

Day 3 – Christmas Eve! We spent the morning holed up in different rooms wrapping up gifts for family, friends and each other. Then spent the rest of the day helping prep for dinner. (My family typically celebrates Christmas on its Eve, so it worked out well since Dan’s family celebrates the day of.) My dad had dinner all ready for us to eat by 4:30pm (he’s a time stickler) which gave us just enough time to get full, digest and regroup to head out to a candlelight service at their church down the road. After a time of worship and scripture readings, we went back to my parents to have dessert and then open up gifts! Huzzah! The kids were pretty pumped 🙂 Then after much pleading, we packed an overnight bag to have a sleepover with the kids at their house. We went to their house after cleaning up at my parents and opened up stockings and gifts over there as well. Busy! And extra exciting because the little pipsqueaks were gifted with a Christmas chihuahua…oh dear.

Day 4 – Christmas Day had me eating leftover ham, mashed potatoes and salad at 4am while my sister watched and took pictures while laughing. What?!? Pregnant. When Danny Boy emerged from his beauty sleep around the same time the kids came stumbling down the stairs with their dad 😉 a round of waffles was made before they headed out to celebrate with my brother-in-law’s family; we still had a few hours to just rest and nap before we headed over to Danny’s uncle’s house to celebrate with his family. After gathering and labeling our gifts for family, we headed out to Redmond from Lake Stevens — my goodness, it was so nice to be driving again and not being at the complete mercy of a taxi driver. The weather was cool and crisp (brrrr) when we got there but it was wonderful getting to walk up those familiar steps and see family! Dinner was already underway, appetizers were out and catch up time around the table started right away. We also got to see cousin Abel in all his cuddly glory and do the traditional white elephant gift exchange after dinner. On our way back up north, we stopped by to see our good friends Eddie and Maggie; we were in for a special treat because there were already more friends there to get hugs and catch up time.

Day 5 – Our friend Steve and Jackie had flown up from California to visit their families and our paths were able to cross that morning, which was especially exciting because we finally got to meet their newish born daughter! We spent the better part of the morning visiting and just being together while Jackie and I got to coo over sweet Addison. We then did a bit of errands, getting little trinkets and things to take back with us for my office coworkers, and got some good play time in with the niece and nephew. Then we were packing up more Christmas goodies from Thailand and back in our car (it felt so good to drive!) and on our way to Kirkland for a Day After Christmas celebration with more family! Appetizers, drinks and three dogs greeted us along with a bevy of people. We spent the evening visiting, meeting new people, eating a delicious dinner and opening even more gifts with dear ones.

Day 6 – Breakfast out with my sister and her family where we randomly ran into Jackie and Steve (more play time with Addison) and his parents. Boy howdy did we indulge in sausages and hash browns — in case you couldn’t deduce this, but those are hard to come by in Thailand — and felt filled to the gills by the food. (Note: American portion sizes are ridiculously heaping in comparison to what we had grown accustomed to while overseas.) And then we were off to have lunch with Dan’s dad and sister in Mill Creek. I could barely breathe at this point so stuck with salad to hopefully counteract all the carbs inhaled only 3 hours earlier. Dan went man-t0-man with his dad and they ordered all sorts of goodies at the tapas restaurant (a favorite of ours). After visiting for a bit, we all said our goodbyes to each other. And then (!) we met up with dear friends to have dinner at their house where we found out at that they, too, were going to be welcoming a child into their home. Dah!

Day 7 – This was baby shower marathon day. My sister and mom went beeeeeyooooond any expectations and had quite the spread for two parties in one day. It was relaxed and wonderful and sweet; I loved it. We got to see many people we had seen briefly the week before during the morning shower and then the evening shower was jam-packed with all my extended family who we were seeing for the first time. Dan was in social bee mode and in party heaven 🙂 I love when he gets all pumped for people. I’m pretty sure I took at least one nap that day. Little Mister Harris was thoroughly spoiled in all the well wishes and gift giving from the generous community of loved ones we have between the two of us! At the end of the night, there was quite the pile of bags and boxes that still needed opening and sorting for our trip back!

Day 8 – We slept in. There were all these great plans of church hopping and visiting here and there…but we slept. Our bodies demanded us to stay in bed until past 8am. Well, my body demanded that but my mind woke up rather early again — so I just soaked in a bath for a bit and quietly read while the rest of the house snoozed. We had spent the night at my sister’s home which meant that Dan got woken up when I sent our nephew into the room to breathe his little 5 year old dragon breath on him. This was one of my favorite things of the trip: to hear the two of them talking and laughing. It hinted at mornings we would be having sooner than later with our own son…heart fuzzies. After much lounging and playing with Christmas toys and drinking of coffee/tea…the two of us headed back out to Kenmore to visit with friends who were having a get together for the last season game for the Seahawks. This was a special day for Dan…we are very American football deprived back in Thailand, so having this time of finger foods and friendly banter and pig skin fun was something he was looking forward to greatly.

Days 9 thru 11 – I don’t remember…we don’t remember…so much stuff, so many people. If possible, these days were made up of a lot of laziness and busyness. Does that make any sense? We were packing things up for our flight back, but also having dinners with friends, and then shopping for gifts to take back with us, but also binging on TV and red meat and good ole beer (well, Dan got to indulge in the latter). It was whirlwind and harder to leave then we anticipated. The flight back to Bangkok wasn’t nearly as exciting or awesome as our flight to Seattle, but we were happy nonetheless to get back to our new home in Nonthaburi.