Tuesday, September 3, 2013

weekly (ish) letter

so, i am going to start writing my letters on the blog, as sort of a journal entry, too.

this week........

mostly uneventful.  hmmm. that might be the first time i've been able to say that since we've moved here!

well, i DID get epically and utterly and dismally lost last sunday when i tried to go to a church presidency meeting at another church building.  my gps got me to within a couple of blocks of the church, but then it became stubbornly unhelpful, and left me all on my own.  this is the thing i have realized about malaysia.  if you do not already know where you are going, nothing will help you get there.  i drove around and around and around and called loren (who had driven there once, and gotten lost also, but had found it eventually) and maybe got a bit frustrated with him that he couldn't help me out......not his fault......SO, i finally stumbled upon the church, which is not a church building at all, but a building stuck onto the edge of a bunch of other buildings in a strip mall.  i was 30 minutes late, but thought that would be okay (just missing the opening prayer and spiritual thoughts and such), BUT the door was locked, and the intercom/doorbell wasn't working.  the church is like 3 stories high, and nobody was on the ground floor to hear me pounding away at the door.  after standing outside for maybe 20 minutes, trying all sorts of ways to get inside, i decided it probably wasn't safe to be hanging around a scary-ish part of town all alone early on a sunday morning in a dress, looking like i was lost.  so, i got back into the car and drove home (only getting mildly lost twice).  i should be fired from my church calling, for sure.  but now i know where TWO churches are (mine, and this other one).  too bad that for my calling i have to visit/find six other ones.  when this guy at church found out that i had to find a church in the charas area of kuala lumpur, he laughed, said "ha--good luck", and told me that he'd driven around for 3 hours the first time he'd tried to go there, and had finally driven home without ever finding it.  so if you never hear from me again, i am probably trying to find some church somewhere.

also, speaking of church, somebody swore during their testimony, which was exciting and a bit tense for the rest of us.  good times.

in other news, wellsy learned how to say "hi, my name is wells"!!!!!!!! this is huge, even though it might not seem like it is.  we have been practicing this for, oh, like a year.  he has never, ever, ever said his name.  he would get close, and say "my name is................truck" or something random like that.  all of sudden this week, he made a break-through and said it.  now he says it to everyone we see, and then says "yeah!  high five!"  because he is very pleased with himself.  the kids say that now he has at least 5 little mice running on their wheels in his head, helping him to be smart.

he still does not know that he is "two".  he never knew he was "one", either.  and he is almost "three".  sigh.  someday, someday.

oh, one kind of exciting thing happened yesterday.  loren had the day off work, but the kids still had to go to school, (that is not the exciting thing, but it was kind of exciting, actually, to have just me, wells, and loren all day......)........so we went to the bird park here.  it has lots of birds of all sorts and that was fun, but that is not the exciting thing, either.  the exciting part is that i was bending down helping wells in the stroller, and suddenly, i got landed upon by a green parrot.  but i couldn't tell it was a green parrot, because it was right on my back behind my head, walking all over the place where i couldn't see it.  i gave a little shriek from surprise, but i was not super alarmed because i thought it would fly away, BUT it did not, so then i gave another little shriek from surprise/alarm/uneasiness because it was climbing all around and pecking and sort of digging into my back.  loren was laughing so hard, and i was like "help me! help me!" and other people saw and were laughing, too.  loren eventually got the bird shooed away, but it was very funny.  then i was all hot and very sweaty from all the excitement.

also yesterday, we had an open house at gretchen's school for fourth grade (last week was high school's, tonight is pace's, and thursday is madeline's..........good heavens!).  anyway, gretchen had made us promise that we would go to the gym to see the "mission impossible" course that is set up there.  it this really fun course with all sorts of different "missions" that you have to complete to pass it.  balancing, climbing, ladders, rope swings, rock walls, etc.....all done without setting of the "bombs" (stepping on the line, dropping the ball, and so forth).  loren and i did the whole course (well, loren did--i opted out of one climbing-through-a-tunnel one, and one rope swing one)......it was very fun, actually, and very hot and sweaty again.  it was very much an i-am-feeling-the-heat-in-malaysia sort of a day.  most days, i am inside or at the pool, so it is not too bad.

today i walked to hok choon for groceries again.  i was much more controlled about what i bought this time (no watermelons), and did not nearly collapse on the way home.  we might be buying a second car soon, though, so my days of walking out for groceries are nearly over!  actually, it is not something i mind, it's just that i have to go several times a week, because i can't carry enough home to last for more than a couple of days.

the kids are enjoying school, i think.  liesel, gwyneth, and madeline are all taking a rock-climbing class. that is fun.  gretchen will be taking gymnastics (starting next week) and pace will be doing soccer, i think, but now i can't remember for sure what i signed him up for.  hmmm.  better figure that one out.  the schools here offer all sorts of after-school programs, which is fun, but i only had the kids sign up for one each (except for madeline, who for some reason got to sign up for rock climbing and arts & crafts.....i guess i am not a fair mother?).

that is all for now.  the school bus is coming soon, and i have to go out to the guard house to meet it.

love, laura

Thursday, August 29, 2013

fancy suit

the documentation of my life would not be complete if i didn't write about the fancy suit.  it was the result of desperation on my part about several things:  wells not walking until he was 26 months; wells falling down constantly for the next six months after he learned to walk; living in WET, RAINY, COLD washington state; wells desperately wanting to get out of his stroller and explore; me walking pace to and from kindergarten and stopping at a park (nearly) every afternoon on the way home---wet, rainy, cold state of washington and all................

SO, i did some research on how i could solve the problem of a wet, dirty, cold baby every day.  enter the fancy suit.  he wore this thing every day from the day i got it until the day we moved.  it was like his hazmat suit.  i loved it.  he loved it.  an extra bonus was that i could spot him at the park when he would try to escape from me----i just looked for the little yellow hazmat suit bobbing along.  

i am so sad that i didn't take a picture of him wearing it in real life.  ( i was not in picture-taking mode in washington.  i have to be in the sun to be in that mode, i've discovered.)  so, when i was in utah, and was packing away the fancy suit (that's what wells and i called it), my mom said i should for sure take a picture of him in it.  it looks kind of akward out in the sun and all, but use your imagination and picture it in the rain and the mud.  (i reinforced the knees with tape.  it was very classy.)  maybe the best 30 bucks i've ever spent.

(jen, this makes me actually miss our wet, rainy, cold days at the park:)  

seven peaks

 we got season passes to seven peaks for super cheap and used them while we were in utah before the move.  all the kids were super brave.  i think (?) madeline and gretchen went on every single ride.  i went on one......with wells on my lap.  next time, i won't have a toddler and i can go on all the rides!  (i hope i will be as brave as my children are!).

loren took these pictures of madeline and gretchen going down a ride--i think it's called the "boomerang".  loren went on it a few years back, and vowed never to go on it again (and he has stuck to his word!).  i just LOVE the girls' faces as they progress through this ride.  good job, girls!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

so, malaysia. and a quick catch-up from the summer

well, so here i am.  took me about 5 minutes to remember to how post a new post.  not a particularly good sign.

since i just downloaded 707 pictures, (all from june, july, and august), which is more than i'd taken in the last, like, 2 years, i am trying to decide where to start.

we had a truly GREAT summer.  i am such a summer mom.  just let it be summer all year long, okay?  i love having all the kids home with me.  and the lack of schedules, except for MY schedule.  my rules, my way.........(maybe i shouldn't admit that?)

anyway, the day after school got out (and after sadly, sadly, sadly) saying good bye to friends (and not sadly) the weather, we drove to utah for a two-week visit.  much fun was had---we kicked off the summer by going swimming almost every day at amy's pool, going to 7-peaks, and celebrating the 4th of july (early--since we were actually on the plane to malaysia on the 4th.  actually, we missed the 4th of july day entirely--we left utah on the 3rd, and landed in malaysia on the 5th.  it was weird.)

so, malaysia.  it's great. and different.  and mostly good.  mixed in with frustrating bits and pieces.  like not getting our air shipment for 7 weeks (instead of two), and then having 9 of the boxes be missing.  stuff like that.  and getting lost on a regular basis while driving.  we just plan in an extra 30 minutes for getting lost.  but here's a list of the things i like:

1) meeting all sorts of new people from every country possible---in our apt complex, there are australians, austrians, russians, iranians, norweigans, chinese, phillipinos, indians, brazilians, belgians.......when we moved in, there was only one other american person in the whole complex (and she is married to a french man, so it only half-way counts).  now there are three other american families.     i put on my outgoing (usually hidden) personality and talk to them all.

2) most people speak english.  hallelujah!!!!!!!!!  no, seriously, it's life-saving.

3) the motorcycle riders wearing their jackets backwards.  it makes me smile.  i like seeing funny things.

4)  walking to the grocery store.  even though it's a pain.  it feels industrious.

5) SWIMMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i should have put this first.  and second.  and third.  i love the pool.  love.  love.  love.  i have been doing little swim lessons with wells since the other kids started school.  it is the highlight of my day.  and i get to do a swim workout every morning.  heaven.

6) driving on the wrong side of the road. it's a rush.  and scary.  driving is just always a gamble here.  but any time i make it somewhere safely, i feel like i accomplished something great.  it's not, just like, "oh, i went to ikea today."  it's like "WHOA,  I DROVE TO IKEA TODAY AND I ONLY GOT LOST ONCE, AND I DIDN'T CRASH, AND I UNDERSTOOD THE CRAZY SIGNS TELLING ME WHERE TO PARK!!!!!!!"  see how much more fun that is?

7)  the bum washers.  but NOT the squat toilets.  those are a mystery to be avoided.  but the bum washers come in handy for all sorts of things.  you can hose down the whole bathroom and your toddler all at once!  (when wells has a dirty diaper at the pool, which he does seem to sort of plan on, he says "better go spray my bottom off").  anyway, they are fun.

8) doing laundry and yoga outside on a balcony.

9) the view from my windows.  trees, the pool, and downtown kuala lumpur.  we have huge windows/sliding glass doors in every room.

okay, that is enough for now.  i will try to add some pictures on now......it ended up being totally random pictures.  707 is too many to go through, it seems.  i will do some smaller, less general posts next.
                                            (at my mom's house in the backyard)

                                           (at amy's pool.  i made them tread water forever, trying to get a good picture, until we realized there was a bench right behind them.....see below.  ha!)

                                           (my grandma and grandpa........jody-ray, as my kids call them)

                                           (this is how i walk to church if i want to wear heels once i'm actually there.  the sidewalks and streets are far too hazardous for anything but sandals.)

                                           (at klcc by the petronas towers.  and the splash park)

(we left back-to-school pictures until it was a little too late.......this is the kids getting into the elevator to go down to the bus--there are 2 elevators and 2 apartments on each floor in our building)

Thursday, June 14, 2012


 8 ('cause she's 8) facts about gretchen:

1.  she loves to be fancy.  she would for sure ditch me and go live with fancy nancy's family if that was an option.  she is always looking for ways to add some fanciness to her life.  she even added ribbon bows along the sides of her bunkbed to fancy things up a bit.

2.  she is a great friend to pace.  he pretty much waits all day for her to get home from school and then attacks her with his enthusiasm the second she walks in the door.  she is usually a good sport about it.

3.  she is a super good helper with wells.  i am so lucky!

4.  she LOVES reading and is really, really fast and good at it.  she has read all the harry potter books, the percy jackson books, fable haven, etc........

5.  she likes to play with her american girl dolls and gets them all fancy (of course) and set up.  she makes "beds" and "rooms" for them out of cardboard boxes.

6.  she bears her testimony at church almost every month.  she is way braver than i am!

7.  she likes to wear her hair in pigtails.

8.  she made (all by herself and with no prompting from me) a poster about being vegan and took it to school to show her class.  this was not an assignment.  she is very enthusiastic about sharing what she thinks with other people!

love you, gretchy!

Monday, June 4, 2012


(with a bit of loren and the kids thrown in for good measure).  so, here's a rundown of my life since moving to washington:  six children.  whooee!!! doesn't that look like a lot of kids? i'm still waiting to feel grown up enough to have them.  (and, total side note, washington state redeemed itself a bit weather/beauty wise by providing us with this great backdrop for family pictures this weekend--this was taken just outside my backyard.)
between and around and in amongst taking care of children, i had lots of fun setting up our house here. i think i would rearrange my house every two years even if i didn't move.  i just really, really enjoy finding places for everything and making things work in new ways.  and since most of my family and friends have never seen my house, and this is pretty much where i spend all my time and energy (besides in the car and at costco), i'm going to grace you all with some house pictures so you can picture where i be! (it's 'am', i know--it just sounded fun to say 'be').

this is a picture of liesel-and-gwyneth's (yes, they are one word) room.  we started redoing it in florida and then finished it up here.  

 for christmas i got them a chandelier for their walk-in closet and made them a little hang-out spot in there.
 my main push in this house has been to become super organized.  (i've maybe discovered it's a secret passion of mine.)  i actually think i want to become (in a far-off scarcely imagined time years from now) a professional organizer.  it's just too fun to label and sort and throw things away, i tell you!  here's our craft/sewing/piano practice room (the piano's on the other side of the room, not pictured, obviously).  i just got to teach a mini relief society thing about organization and i had way too much fun.
 and here's the "extra food storage" cupboards, which are actually in our laundry room, which is just off the kitchen.  you can't really tell here, but everything's sort of labeled and in its own spot.  liesel and gwyneth gave me a labeler for valentine's day, and nothing in my house is safe now.

this is our front room--view from the door

view from the kitchen  (that balcony up there goes to l-and-g's room)

 this is from the upstairs hall--the front room is open to the 2nd story all the way across
 this is my room--mostly this picture is to show that i finally hung the curtains behind my bed (something i've been talking about doing since we moved here)

so there's pretty much the house.  when it's not raining (ha!) i will go outside and take a picture of the outside and show you that, too.

other than housey/organizing stuff, i've been doing a lot of yoga again.  a studio opened up less than 5 minutes from my house, which has been super fun for me.  i also go running sometimes--mostly in a walk-up-the-hills-run-down-them fashion.  i have not gotten on my bike since my bike crash last year (except once when loren made me and i rode so slowly i was worthless, and even got off the bike to walk down some of the hills).  i am a big chicken now!!!  i FINALLY got my tooth that was knocked loose fixed last week, so maybe now i will start to regain some of my biking skills?  i really want to do another triathlon, but we'll see how it goes........
i also got to go to virginia a couple of weeks ago for the annual cabin retreat with my virginia friends.  it was SO much fun.  i love being with people who've known me for a long time (and still say i can come visit them!).  i fully took advantage of the sun there and came home a bit fried, but i say it was totally worth it!!!! rain, rain, go away.

and here's a bit about loren:  he likes his job here a lot better than he did in florida, so that's super nice.  he (and i) love the commute--it's the shortest commute we've ever had.  he's much better than me at actually running up hills, so he's been doing some races and having fun with that.  saturday he did a mud run and had a lot of fun.  and as always, he's the best husband i could hope for!

so, i guess that's it!  life as i know it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

my little super hero

i guess the pictures are insisting on coming before the post, even though that's not what i said i wanted. also, it took me five tries to type 'insisting'.  i should have just picked a new word.  anyway, this post is about my pace boy.  

 this is pace dressed up as joseph for our family christmas nativity.  most of the pictures of joseph/pace show him doing ninja moves.  in fact, mary (gretchen) and baby jesus (wells) had to stay far away from joseph during most of the nativity.
 pace loved the snow days.  he loved them so much that i tried hard to (tolerate) love them,  too.  this picture is of him during a snow ball fight with loren.

 pace loves to wink, which i happen to think is super cute and funny.
 one of the other moms at preschool took this picture of pace winking as he handed out cookies to everyone.
 pace and gretchen make their own superhero gear quite often.

 pace is 5!!!! holy cow, where did the years go?  and, it was actually sunny (sunny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) on his birthday, so he got to play with his new iron man and captain america guys outside.

other things about him:

so, pace is totally convinced that he's a super hero.  (he's also fully believes that wells has super powers, also--if something strange happens in our house, he says that wells used his super powers to make it happen.  i could ask why he isn't using his powers to make himself walk.....) but anyway, back to pace's super hero-ness.  he's not just one super hero, either--he can harness whichever power he might need at the moment:  if he's putting away the silverware, he's wolverine, with knives between each finger; when he wants to ride his bike outside alone, and i say "no", he says "but mom, i will just use my ninja powers and knock the bad guys down"; the other day we were outside working in the yard and the handle of a shovel slid down the wall and tapped him lightly on his chest, and he looked up in amazement and said "whoa, my chest totally blocked that hit".  i LOVE how he is so impressed with the things he does that he is convinced he has super powers.

it's just so much fun having this boy around.  so totally different from my girls, and i love it all!