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.