Cha-am | First Family Vacation

Our first family vacation was something we definitely needed — school had been underway for about a month and we were ready to have time to just the three of us. I booked us a hotel stay through Agoda and am so glad that the pictures on the website matched up to our real life view! We had a nice room on the 11th floor that gave us a great view of the Gulf of Thailand. Because Cha-am is more of a beach getaway place for the everyday Thai, there wasn’t the usual tourist traps in the area.

There was a lot of napping, walking around and lounging — only not in our apartment in the city! And that alone was refreshing. There was so much greenery and blue around us with a steady salty breeze. Our first family vacation was beautiful. We even got to see a couple of beautiful sunrises because of our beautiful son who does not understand the beauty of sleeping in quite yet 🙂

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Cha-am | Grand Pacific Sovereign Resort

We had a four day weekend in July and took our first family vacation to Cha-am, which is a non-touristy beach a bit north of Hua Hin. It’s a town where typically only Thais go on holiday and have few farangs there. Leslie used her Agoda skills and found us a good deal at the Grand Pacific Sovereign Resort which was right across from the waters. Really glad we went because Christmas time was the last time we had been outside of the city. It was a great time for us to reconnect and just get away from our usual everyday busyness.

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Letter to Louis | Three Months

Dear Louis,

You are growing so much. Yes, obviously, you’re gaining weight and lengthening — 16.5 lbs and a tad over 24 inches long — but you’re growing so much in other ways. Your eyes follow movements with more attentiveness. You try to sit up on your own, even though it looks like you’re in an exhausted hunch. It’s cute. You move your legs and arms with more purpose. You like pushing off surfaces with your feet to stand up on your sturdy little legs. You’ve discovered your thumb.

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You can also hold your head up for longer periods of time! But you do kind of remind me of Grover from Sesame Street: even though your neck is stronger, there’s still moments where your head looks like it’s going to fall off. I’m sure the wobbliness won’t last much longer, because you have been working hard at it!

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You have been going through a biiiiig brain growth spurt and things have been overloading your senses, but we have all made it through those napless mornings and cranky afternoons to the land of smiles and coos and quiet playing. We like it here.

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I feel so bad for you when you go through these physical and mental leaps, because there’s not much I can do for you. You have to go through them. You need to go through these hard times because it really is a brighter, clearer world on the other side. And it’s awesome for me and your dad to see your eyes take in things with a new light of understanding.

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Gah! We are in love with you, Lou. We got to go away as a family for a 4-day beach weekend to Cha-am, and it was a wonderful time for your quality-time-lovin’ parents. It was just the three of us tucked away in a nice sea view resort in a sleepy town. I’m so glad we went. There were many first-time memories during that weekend, and they are tucked away in my heart. I am hopeful that we will make it a priority to go on family vacations so that we can keep tucking away memories.

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I’ve been trying to be more intentional in the time I spend with you during the day. Your dad has been a big influence in that. It took me this long because I’m rather thick-headed and think I can do all the things on my own power. Foolish, I know. And I’m sorry that you’ve had to feel the after effects of such prideful selfishness.

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Abba is teaching me, dear child, and I am growing right alongside you these days. I don’t doubt we will be growing and learning together through the years. And you will hear my whispered “I’m so sorry” more than I would like, Louis. But I hope those sorries will be moments you learn and understand the powerful gifts of grace and forgiveness.


Harris Family Adventures | Basilico Pizzeria

After sipping on drinks at the Porcupine Cafe, we were definitely peckish and ready to eat. So off we went! We walked down the street in search of a restaurant to try out. It was hot, so we didn’t walk very far. Is that a pretty lame reason for choosing Basilico Pizzeria for lunch? Yes, it is. But it was hot. And any place with a bathroom and AC or a fan would’ve met our criterion for a “good eats” place at that point. (Really, it was hot. And humid.)

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Since we got there closer to 2pm things were quiet at the restaurant, which would typically make us a bit more on edge because that means more of the waitstaff attention would be turned on us. (Relevant aside: customer service is a big deal in Thailand, especially in the food industry. Upon being seated by the host or hostess, a waiter or waitress will immediately hand you a menu and just stand there…ready to take your order…whenever you’re ready…just standing there…waiting. It can be awkward or overwhelming, sometimes both.) But the crew there had obviously had their fair share of farangs come in, so they gave us a comfy amount of space and time to get things settled with Louis before coming to take our order.

Thumbs up, Basilico, thumbs up.

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Apparently the obvious — and internet recommended — choice would have been to order pizza. We did not do so because (1) we did not research the place ahead of time and (2) we had cold pizza waiting at home in our fridge.We went the typical route with a bread basket and caprese salad. Oh mozzarella…you can never go wrong with mozzarella.

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And then ordered fish for our entrees. I got the lemon sole, and Dan went for the sea bass; each dish had a tasty sauce but also an odd looking green side. Not so aesthetically or taste bud pleasing. Our meals were okay, not the most delicious Italian food, but satisfying enough. It was a neat find in our wanderings, but we weren’t very impressed. Next time (if there is one) we go, we will heed the call of the internet and try a pizza instead.




Harris Family Adventures | Porcupine Cafe

So we’ve decided to carve out a family outing at least twice a month to do the kind of eating and exploring we wanted to last year but maybe couldn’t because one of us was all tired and sick and pregnant. Excuses! Anyway, baby boy is out and now must endure being Baby Bjourn-ed around the streets of Bangkok and plopped onto any bench seating available. He loves it.

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The first targeted neighborhood on our food tour is Ari. It’s a wonderful little area that reminds us so much of Seattle in its decor and vibe that it feels like just a bit at home, which makes these expats happy when a case of the “I miss…” strikes. We had gone to Soi 4 before to eat at Salt, try out Fat Bird and have a few drinks at Aree (all places that will be visited again but with camera in hand) and kept seeing other places tucked away that screamed TRY ME! as we walked or drove by. The obvious first stop was next to Salt and had the most inviting storefront. Plus, the name! Porcupine Cafe.

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We herald from the Pacific Northwest so anything woodsy and green gets an automatic thumbs up from us. Heck, our wedding decor was all about wood rounds, succulents, twigs and burlap with splashes of color — so you know that we would feel at ease in a place that had mismatched chairs and exposed stone surfaces with rustic charm.

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They had a straight forward menu of typical cafe beverages — americano, latte, cappuccino, mocha and so forth — with fresh fruit smoothies and sweet pastries. I think they plan on adding savory dishes? Since we had gone during brunch time, we just ordered caffeinated brews and enjoyed the ambience while trying to keep an almost 3-month old calm in a chill environment. The drinks were strong and not too sweet (just how we like ’em) and I loved the detail of the yarn pom tree at our table.

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I’m going to make a few for our home. Too clever, too cute.