Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Cha-am here we come :)

It was a bit of a rush arrangement really, but with hindsight I think out of all of our trips to Cha-am, you two probably enjoyed this one the most.

Cha Am here we come-01070We were only here for two short nights, but what multiplied the fun factor were your friends, who all promised to meet up (well the parents did), and as a result I have solved the world’s energy problem. Put 5 children in the same room, actually generates enough energy equivalent to at least 7 nuclear power stations.

We stayed at our usual hotel, we arrived after lunch around 14:00, and of course the first thing you two wanted was to jump in the pool, but the weather was cold, and I mean cold but what could we do, Matt was already running ‘commando style’ around the room looking for his swimming suit, Mar was trying her hardest to go commando too, haa haa haa haa haa.

The pool was freezing... luckily the water in the small pool was only as high as my thigh (and that was bad enough), the both of you jumped in totally unconcern. Of course your mother was sitting looking cosy on the deck chair trying to splash me the best she could... :)

The wind picked up quite bad, and the sun was not doing it’s job in keeping us warm, Matt was visibly shaking, Mar was also looking very cold, but the both of you still refused to leave the pool, that was until we promised you a nice long warm bath...

Cha Am here we come-01107Cha Am here we come-01173

After the bath you two settled down in the warm room to watch some TV, that was when Ada’s mother called, Ada and her family was also staying at the same hotel, naturally the place to meet was on the beach, it was sand castle time...

That night we took dinner in the hotel, too much hassle to go out and you two were pretty much tired out by then anyway. The following day was going to be a very interesting day indeed, five school friends all together for the whole day... haa haa haa.

After breakfast we took a quick walk along the beach, which was a mistake, convincing you two not to jump into the sea fully clothed was a nightmare, but we managed it somehow, by about eleven-ish it was time to go to Nondth’s house.

Nondth’s parents has a house in Huahin (about 20 minutes drive), along the way we stopped to get Matt’s milk (ran out once again) and some lunch, so by the time we arrived, Ada and Nondth was already playing on the beach, Ada’s brothers and sister were also there building their sand castle.

Getting you two into swimming suit had never been easier, haa haa haa, about half an hour later Otto arrived to join the gang :) I think altogether there must have been around 15 of us running around, lol. While Matt was busy with his friends, your mother took Mar on her first horse ride along the beach. She said Mar was singing all the way up and down the long beach :)

Cha Am here we come-01335

Cha Am here we come-01292

The beach was beautiful, but we had to go back to Nondth’s house for a late lunch, now imagine all the children in one living room... haa haa haa.

After showering, lunch and play, two hours went by what felt like ten seconds, then it was time once again to move the troops to Carter’s house, his parents (and brother and sister) lives at Kao Ta-keab, another 20 minutes drive away.

Carter’s house was beautiful and very large, you and your friends had a wonderful time, the parents were of course extremely happy too, mostly because of the delicious wine, haa haa haa.

The beach at Kao Ta-keab was again very beautiful and very different, the sand was slightly denser and darker, but the the backdrop of the beach was this wonderful mountain, wow. Carter’s mum was brilliant, she’d organised a horse ride on the beach for all the children, accept for Mar, she was too small to ride on her own and I don’t think your mother fancied another horse ride.

Cha Am here we come-01390Cha Am here we come-01403

Matt totally enjoyed himself, I was hoping he wouldn’t ask for a horse for Christmas :) In a flash of an eye it was time for dinner, Carter’s mum again did all the hard work, and thus the barbecue was delicious :)

By the time the moon arrived, we all took a short walk back to the beach, but now it was all quiet and very dark, Carter’s mum bought some paper lantern (these are huge paper lantern, at least 2 to 3 feet tall and a foot wide), these paper lantern had wire at the bottom, and to that we attached a circular disc which burns brightly, the heat from the disc would then provide lift for the lantern.

Cha Am here we come-01479

Getting the first one up was a bit of a challenge, but it was a wonderful, wonderful sight to see a bright lantern soaring through the deep dark sky, soon the second, third and more followed, each one was cheered on by our gang :) Some tourists came by and wanted to buy them from Carter’s mum, she was kind enough to let them have for free :) the more the merrier, haa haa haa.

After all that excitement, saying goodbye was a bit tough, of course none of the children wanted to go home, especially the older ones, but all parties must come to an end, and it certainly ended on a high note. We couldn’t say thank enough to Carter’s mum and to Nondth’s parents too for being today’s hosts, it was a fantastic day.

Right on queue, both of you felt to sleep in the van, the traffic was absolutely horrendous, the half an hour drive turned out to be more than an hour, apparently there was a firework event in Huahin, and it seemed like all the people in surrounding provinces came to see the show, lol.

The original plan for Sunday morning was to check out early then head to Santorini, a fun / water park not too far from the hotel, but your mother and I was pretty much running dry, haa haa haa, no energy left. So we took it easy with another play on the beach, while walking to the beach Mar and I had crossed the road first, while Matt was waiting on the other side with the hotel security guard, of course Matt decided to cross the road by himself and caught up with me just as I was arriving on the other side, and out of the blue this cyclist came out from the right side and missed Mar and I by about an inch and by about a centimeter with Matt.

Of course your mother arrived just in time to see all those close misses... I was not in her good book for the remaining of the day...

Cha Am here we come-01520

Cha Am here we come-01528

Driving home was a bit of a nightmare too, the traffic was long and very slow, it was due to an accident about 60 kms from Bangkok. Instead of arriving at four-ish, it was almost six when we got home. The day doesn’t end here, your mother had really wanted to go to the protest that was not too far from home, so all of us quickly unpacked and jumped into a taxi to Silom intersection, blowing whistle was a thing with this protest, I think it was a mistake to give you two a whistle each, a really bad mistake, haa haa haa.

Cha Am here we come-01533_stitch

I was out of it by then, so we decided to have something quick to eat at Burger King, Mar was in a terrible mood, her bed time had way passed, so she was being a bit difficult, eating only fries and not even considering anything else. I took some fish and quickly put it in her mouth, now that was a huge mistake, especially when she was cranky. Mar turned and looked at me like I was a piece of poop at the bottom of her right shoes (which is by far her favourite side, lol), then she threw my mobile phone across the restaurant... :) I would like to suggest a career in discus event for sure :)

Of course the way back was a bit of a problem, finding a taxi was slightly less difficult than putting a man on Mars, but your mother did manage to find a Tuk-Tuk. Riding in one of those on a cold night was great fun, especially when there was no traffic, while the driver was going full pelt, you both were totally silent on the way home, probably thinking will we make it home in one piece... We did... and it was fun... haa haa haa.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Back to Phutthamonthon, it’s four of us now :)

pageDear Matt and Mar,

Before moving into the city, Putthamonthon was one of our favourite places to visit, absolutely huge open spaces, full of trees with well kept grounds, and because it is a Buddhist park people tends to be on their best (well, better) behaviour, best of all it was less than 20 minutes from our home, feeding the fishes was also always mandatory :)

But at that time there were only 3 of us, and Matt never wanted to come home each time we visited the park. A few weeks ago, with time on our hands your mother decided to take a trip to the park, of course I took the route with the most traffic, so by the time we arrived it was about five-ish.

To see you two running, jumping and laughing for an hour, was well worth pushing through the traffic for an hour (like I said, if we’d gone a different way it would have taken around 35 minutes, lol).

Personally I think we may have to find another spot for next time :), I think we were too loud in place where there were supposed to be tranquility… (sorry)…

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nim’s Birthday Party :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

This past Sunday Matt was invited to Nim’s sixth birthday party, Nim is in the same class as Matt and Matt was very much looking forward to the party, it turned out to be more than fun, as Matt would put it, it was ‘super fun Papa’, especially with the bouncy castle, clowns, face paint and a Magic show, the food were fantastic too. (I have just realised I had not written a post on when you two went to Liam’s birthday party... wow, how could I have forgotten that... we went bowling and you two and Liam got on the karaoke machine..., haa haa haa).

Party 1 Beta

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Most of Matt’s classmates also went to the party, and that made it even more fun for all of you two. By the way since Matt took part in the school play, none of his friends call him Matt anymore, the first greeting I’d heard was, ‘Hey, here comes Humpty Dumpty’, haa haa haa haa haa.

It was a fantastic afternoon, everyone had a great time, Marcella ate a whole minion by herself and joined in as many activities as she could, when together Matt would announce to everyone that ‘this is my baby’… haa haa haa. The best thing was that Matt and his friends ran non stop for around 3 hours... haa haa haa, it was not hard to get the both of you to bed that night :) your batteries were very low by the time we got home lol. (by the way, again I didn’t post any photos of your friends and you together, I feel the right thing to do is to obtain permission from their parents before I could put their photos on the net).

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mar’s new hat :)

Mar s new hat-00807-EditDear Mar,

I think this picture captures all the things you currently love to do, almost to an obsession level, lol.

Job 1, put on a hat, especially this new one that my mother had just got for you. Job 2, things do not belong in a bag, nor in a drawer, nor in a box, nor in a cupboard, everything should be on the floor so that your mother, Matt and I have to dance around the stuff. Job 3, sit in front of a mirror while doing job 1 and job 2, haa haa haa, and you really, really love the new orange hat… and so do we :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mar’s first performance :)

Dear Mar :)

At Noddy on the ninth of December, there wasn’t a parent that weren’t excited. Christmas Concert was on the card that morning, more like a sing along :) When we entered the room, behind the curtains we could hear some frantic shuffling of tiny feet, haa haa haa, and when the curtains drew back, I was like the Terminator scanning the gorgeous little faces until I’d found yours on the left of the stage, sitting on the front row… by the way love your Santa hat :)

Mar's concert-00352Mar’s class was first up, there were only 6 of you, I think the youngest was a year and eight months and the eldest was two and a bit, so it was a pretty ‘old’ group, haa haa haa. I would love to post a picture of the whole gang here, but I haven’t asked for permission from the other parents, so there was no way I am going to post up the group photo on the (wild wild) Internet, lol.

A couple of days before the show, your class teacher mentioned to all the parents in her class that, on the day of the show all of us should move out of sight of the children because there are sure to cry… Of course I did the complete opposite. As soon as the door was opened I was first in and sat right at the front and center :) Your mother and I had a spontaneous discussion on whether we should move out of sight, so we did the next logical thing… your mother moved out of sight and I just sat there front and center :)

There was one particular song, ‘I’d like to be a Christmas tree’, wow you took to it so well :) and I am now trying to learn the song so that I can sing to you :) By the way I don’t think you sang a word through out the whole show, but action wise you were quite brilliant :) haa haa haa.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Barnaby Bear :)

Dear Matt,

Here is another one of those post that have been fermenting in Google Drive for months :) …This was a school assignment, where each week you and your friends took turn to take Barnaby Bear home, the assignment is to write a few sentences on what interesting things you did with Barnaby, then take a few pictures and stick them in Barnaby’s book.

Barneby Bear PageLooking at the book it looks like you were the fourth person to have taken Barnaby home. You really surprised me on this one, as you seemed to have everything completely planned out in your head.

Straight away you wrote down that you’d played games, watched TV and finally Barnaby helped you to do your homework. You were so excited and rushed through the writing part in no time, unfortunately your mother didn’t think much of your handwriting, all the letters were uneven and different in size.

There was no way your mother was going to let you submit that to Ms. Granger, so true to her commitment to quality, she made you rub out the whole lot and start again. Wow, you made such a fuss, actually more than just a fuss, tears were flowing... but at the end, like as always, your mother won, haa haa haa, welcome to my world baby, eei eei eei :)

Then came the fun part, you and I discussed the photos and how we were going to do it. For ‘game’ you wanted to have a photo of Barnaby and you playing Bingo, but after looking around your room it was going to be more interesting to set up the chess board scenario instead, I think you went along with this idea because you are now learning how to play chess at school.

For the second photo, watching TV was simple, a couple of chairs in front of the TV was pretty much it. The third was a little bit more challenging, how to set up Barnaby Bear so that he is helping you to do your homework?

At the end it was just you holding him while both of you looked at the camera, with your homework book laying open on your little table.

Of course we took more than just three photos, it was more like 30 photos, from various position, angle and height :) You chose the final three photos for me to do some ‘lightroom’ work on them. You were ever so excited when the printer was printing, oh, the smile on your face when you saw the final photos was better than getting royal straight flush while everyone got four of a kind :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Humpty Dumpty, haa haa haa :)

Dear Matt,

We were not expecting this, you were chosen as one of the main lead in your end of year play, there are four classes doing four separate plays, but each story was linked through a set of ‘postman’ characters (running and joining each story, woven them into one (kind of)).

HD haa haa haa-00694Everything ended with Father Christmas (well, no twist here, it’s being Christmas time now)… haa haa haa. Anyway, your class did an alternative version of Humpty Dumpty, and here is a quick synopsis. Humpty Dumpty (‘HD’) was in a hospital surrounded by handsome King’s horses and King’s men (it was reveled that he had just been put back together). While recovering, HD receives a present (from the Postman), opens is up and there was a Jigsaw in side (here is a play between the ‘Jigsaw’ and HD, as HD was also broken into little pieces), HD was so excited he felt off his chair and broke into little pieces again!

This time Doctors, Nurses and Shrewsbury’s Ladies with the Gucci purses were called to heal him (Shrewsbury’s Ladies with the Gucci purses were the best (of course)) haa haa haa. HD then got up and wrote a letter to Santa, after which all of your went into a musical number (absolutely beautiful).

You were Humpty Dumpty, and you have no idea how worried your mother had been for the past couple of weeks… I think she knew the script better than you, all of your friends and your teachers put together… haa haa haa haa haa. Let just say we practiced a lot, at first I never thought you would have remembered all your lines… and you have say them while acting as well… wow, we were and are very proud of you Matt :)

Joining 1-00630_stitch crop

Must also give special mention to the wardrobe department, absolutely gorgeous… You look like an egg with two chop sticks for legs, haa haa haa, perfect. I didn’t take any photo during you and your friends’ performance but had opted for a video instead, luckily all the parents were given opportunities to take photos of their child / children after the show, just as well because if they were not allowed a small riot would have been started right there and then and I don’t think even the police with tear gas could have stopped us :)

Lovely tea-00783We had also decided to let Mar play truant, luckily your auntie was there to help out, by the way Mar was also loving it, especially the cakes after the show, hee hee hee.

I am sorry for not being able to post any pictures of you together with your friends, as I don’t think it would be right without their parents permission.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Swimming in the Fog :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Well, not really swimming in the fog, the lens got steamed up coming from the cold and into the searing heat. Many months ago your mother used the mileage points that were going to be expired to redeem a couple of nights in a hotel, knowing fully how you two enjoy exploring new environment, and she decided to use it this past weekend.

We ended up at Novotel (Ploenchit), which is literally 10 minutes drive from our house, haa haa haa, but for you two the excitement level was like we were going to the moon, haa haa haa.

Anyway, we’d checked in late on a Saturday afternoon, and you two decided not to leave the hotel ever... haa haa haa, dragging you two out for dinner was like pulling chewing gum from someone’s flowing locks :) you two couldn’t wait to get back.

Novotel 2013Getting you two into sleeping mode was most challenging, but eventually time took toll on your energy bar, and soon after nine you were soundly asleep. I’d then popped back home to get my ID which was needed during check in but I’d forgotten the whole wallet at home (your mother was not amused).

Sunday started with a quick breakfast then swimming in, what seems to me, the coldest swimming pool in the world... haa haa haa. Mar spent most of the time with her head under water, struggling for a few un-coordinated strokes then pop up for air, and she did this for the whole hour :)

In the mean time Matt was jumping left and right into the pool, when Gio told him there was no jumping and for Matt to read the sign, he quietly disappeared to come back a second later, saying he did nothing wrong because the sign said ‘no diving’ and he wasn’t diving but jumping... haa haa haa, one - nil to Matt… :)

In about an hour Matt was visibly shaking and Mar’s lips were turning blue :) it was obvious that it was time to leave the pool, by the time we got back to the room Mar’s hands were turning green, so we wrapped her up in about 10 blankets and gave her some milk, not long after she felt asleep :)

Novotel 2013 2A couple of hours later the two of you wanted to have lunch in the hotel, but the choices were just a little bit limited, so we’d decided to take a short ride on the Skytrain to Terminal 21, it was fun to see you two all excited on the train... nice people gave up their seats for you two :) but of course we had to decline because you two were not in a sitting mood.

After our extended lunch we once again took the train back to the hotel to hang out for a while. When it was time to check out, Matt was not a happy chappy, tears were welling up, after we’d promised to come back, Matt was back to his old self, while at the same time Mar just didn’t give a to## :) After checking out around five, and on our drive home, your mother decided to visit a temple to ‘Loy Kratong’ (which obviously was happening on that very Sunday).

We decided to go to the temple not too far from home, and most importantly it was next to the Chao Phraya river, we had to pretty much rushed through the whole thing, as my parents were waiting at home. It was really fun although our ‘floating the Kratong’ skills were very much lacking… lol, Matt’s Kratong toppled over and my turtle Kratong was just going no where fast :) We promised ourselves next time we are going to spend at least a couple or hours here. Loy Kratong festival is not just about floating the Kratong, it is about a very old Thai tradition with the local market and the Thai style funfair… and we didn’t have time to enjoy any of those… I think your mother and I were more disappointed than you two.

That weekend turned out to be quite exciting for all of us, and to see you two so excited was worth all the trouble, we are definitely going to do this again. (This post had been sitting in my Google Drive for ages… so the timing may feel a little off).

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tremendous Two :)

Dear Mar,

I have written this post and a few others for weeks (probably even months) now, but they have been sitting in my Google Drive waiting to be posted :), anyway I have already said my HBD to you (few weeks ago), people have said to us be careful of ‘Terrible Two’, haa haa haa, well, to us you and Matt were ‘Awesome One’, and ‘Tremendous Two’, haa haa haa.

Mar 2nd BD-00914-EditWhen Matt turned two, he decided to stop eating, I mean literally stopped eating, obviously it was only for a while, but it was long enough to give me and your mother many sleepless nights.

You are now being more picky with food whereas before you were just like a little pac-man :) But this is just a part of growing up, knowing what you like and don’t like. For the past few months you have been suffering from some kind of allergy with tiny bumps on one of your elbow and knee, but from our last visit to the Dr. things are looking better now.

I’ve decided not to play the strong hand card with you anymore, favouring for a more softer and creative approach :) what am I talking about? When you are not in the mood, getting you to have a shower and brush your teeth was almost impossible. I have tried the stronghand card a couple of times, but that just left me feeling totally rubbish :)

At this moment, two thing are true about you… Firstly, never give you something to put on your head because you’ll never take it off, and I mean never take it off… haa haa haa, a few weeks ago you went to the Underwater world, and they gave you a hat, that hat must have stayed on your head for three days… and then you ‘Brain School’ decided to let you make a crown, do you know how long that stayed on your head? haa haa haa haa haa.

Secondly, once you have something in your hands, anything in your hands you tend to hold on to it like a vise until you are bored with it, I still don’t know what you find fascinating about a compact disc, that was in your hands for a good 4 hours (on and off)… haa haa haa.

HBD 2013-00888-EditMar new hat-01194-Edit

Every evening when I come home from work, the best thing of the day is to have you and Matt running to me for the mandatory hug and kisses... haa haa haaa, I wonder how long that will last, in a blink of an eye Matt will soon be six and you’ll be three :) and soon after that you two would be way too ‘cool’ for hugs and kisses :) HBD again my precious.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Made the jump :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

I was going back and forth on when to get it, then you mother said something to me that pushed me over the edge :) Mar will be singing in her first concert this coming Monday, and Matt will be the lead for his class/school play on the 12th... haa haa haa, great reasoning for getting it now ehh :)

I'd only put my name down last Friday, and wasn't expecting to be picking up one so soon, the staff at the Sony shop did say there was a long queue, now with hindsight he was just doing the sales pitch on me, haa haa haa, totally hook, line and sinker.

Looking forward to be learning the camera over the weekend :) A friend (Mr. R.), have just also bought this same camera a few days earlier and he is a somewhat an expert, and he was very happy with the results... That too made me made the jump too, haa haa haa. Unfortunately the SD card I'd bought may be too slow to handle the raw files, we'll just have to wait and see :)

Can't wait to take a billion photo of the two of you  and of your mother too :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First Hangout

Dear Matt and Mar,

When I was studying overseas many, many years ago, just imagine me being a boy at the age of 10 :) there were only 2 ways to communicate with your grandparents, normal 'paper' mail and fixed line phone, both of them were pretty inconvenience.

I still have a pile of mail that my mother had sent me, as for the telephone, in our boarding house the main phone was in our Housemaster's quarters, so each time they call (which was very rarely, probably 3 times a year) our Housemaster (Mr. Bradnock, probably the best housemaster in the Universe) will have to find someone to come and find me and that could take hours... haa haa haa, we were always playing (and probably getting into trouble) outside, so more than often I would have to call back (the phone wasn't even digital :).

Anyway, I am always in the Google-verse (as soon as the OS loads) even at work, so last evening I was at work (working... obviously) and suddenly there was a short text message on Google Hangout, now I have never used Hangout simply because no one I know was on it.

The short message was from a very close University friend, whom I have not seen in over 16 years. Probably 5 seconds after the short text message I realised with one click of a mouse we could be on Google Hangout chatting face to face, and that was exactly what I did, only to be directed to download a plugin. Well that was harmless enough, the plugin took about 10 seconds to load and another 5 sec to install.

With the next try we were on, and as they all say, he hasn't changed a bit... haa haa haa, it was a great way to end a Tuesday... haa haa haa, looking forward to see him again soon :)


Swimsuit issue :)

Dear Matt,

When I say swimsuit issue, I don't mean bikini clad girls, I do literally mean issue with your swimsuit, haa haa haa.

A couple of days ago it was discovered that you have, by some forces of the Universe, lost your school swimsuit. After some effort by your mother and Miss Jo, it was still missing, you were of course very upset but we'd told you it was nothing to cry over about, just don't loose it again (at 1,700 a piece you'd better not loose it again :).

So, today is your swimming day, and everything went according to plan... well not really. Yesterday's afternoon after school, you and your mother went to the school shop to get a new swimsuit, unfortunately she'd forgotten her purse so she told the lady to put the swimsuit aside and I would come to pick it up tomorrow (which is today).

This morning everything went like clockwork, got to the school just as your friends were settling in the classroom, that meant I had to walk with you, right up to your class instead of dropping you off on the ground floor (tell you the truth I like walking you to your class :))

The plan was for me to then rush quickly to the shop, pay and drop off the swimsuit back to you in your class. Being totally on the ball, I'd even have a permanent marker on me to write your name on the new suit :)

So after all that I'd run (wobble) back to you just as the classroom door was closing... You were at the back of the class and as I was arriving at the door, you looked up at me with a grin, I immediately knew something was up... The grin slowly turned into a huge smile and you were skipping instead of walking... and that worried me even more... haa haa haa.

"Papa, look I've found my swimsuit"... I could only manage a "Oh great... and now you have two swimsuits to loose" haa haa haa. If I'd only waited for 2 seconds when I'd drop you off... haa haa haa. Of course there was no way to return the new swimsuit, now that there is a huge 'Matt - Panop' written in permanent black ink inside the collar... At least your mother was cleaver enough to buy the new swimsuit a size bigger, so this one should last you a while... haa haa haa, unless you manage to loose it again :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

So far away :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Here is the new family car, your mother and I decided to get rid of the Yaris (a whole lot of not so pleasant back story here), and replaced it with the H1. We have talked for a while about getting a van with more seats, the Fortuner (we are still holding on to this one) is great for 4 of us with lots of stuff, but when we needed less carrying space and more seats Fortuner just didn't fit the bill.

So it was a no brainer which brand and model to get, to me it is by far the most value for money right now for this category, ok, no more boring stuff. Yesterday, I drove it from the dealer straight to Matt's school because that was where you two were hanging out (at around four in the afternoon).

As expected you two were captivated by the dvd player, it will certainly keep you two entertain on long trips :) Matt decided his seat was the furthest one from the front, haa haa haa, somehow I was not surprised. Mar was running around like a headless chicken, keeping her still on long trips would be challenging :) but I think your mother has it under control.

From SHB back home, Mar went with your mother and Matt and I drove in the van, and of course Matt sat at the back. While at the red light I took a quick snap and realised he was really very far away :) with no seat belt... I'll definitely needed to be tougher on you with the seat belt from now on :)

I am not the best driver in the world, and going forward I was doing pretty well, but backing it... I was doing as well as a monkey trying to fry an egg using its left hand (assuming he was right handed). But I am having fun and the most important thing of all, your mother likes it :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Singing and Dancing

Dear Matt and Mar,

I haven’t got a clue what this was, at first I’d expected the usual, you know, Matt and his friends on the stage singing their heart out. But it wasn’t… we were in fact invited to watch Matt, watching a performance of this group from the UK. Well, it wasn’t a performance as such, because it was obvious all the kids have been taught the songs and the steps (dance) that accompanied each song.

It was fun to see all the children dancing and singing along to the performance, Matt kept looking back at us, waving and telling all his friends where his parents were :) it was worth skiving the morning off just to see him smile knowing that we were not far behind him.

Mar also skived off that morning, and in a way had more fun than the whole room added together :) like a nerdy girl at a party, dancing all alone at the back of the hall, haa haa haa.

 

DSC00656_stitch the hall-Edit

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2 today :)

Dearest Mar,

Happy Birthday to youuuu, Happy Birthday too youuuu, Happy Birthday dear Marcella, Happy Birthday tooooo yooouuuuuu :).

I don’t have time to download the pics I’ve taken today, will try to post it within next week :) it will be mostly of you eating cakes… haa haa haa.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shower Time :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Through Google+'s feed, I’d come across a two minute video called “Dear Mr. Watterson”, a documentary on the comic strip ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and their creator (Mr. Watterson).

There are two comic strips that I can not recommend to you two enough, ‘Calvin & Hobbes’ and ‘The Far Side’, these two will definitely still be around (as in not forgotten) when you are old enough to appreciate them, and I hope you’ll like them as much as I do (the Far Side: Inconvenience Stores is one of my personal favourite :) Anyway, can not wait to see the documentary.

Calvin-hobbesOf course, reading Calvin & Hobbes is just like eating salt & vinegar crisps, one is never enough, in fact one hundred is not even enough and only a heart attack could stop you :) So after seeing the trailer of ‘Dear Mr. Watterson’, I must have spent the next 20 minutes jumping from strip to strip, then I came across this one.

This is literally how we are with Mar when she is in one of her ‘no shower’ mood, haa haa haa. You would have thought getting a shirt off an almost 2 year old little girl would be easy… as easy as kicking a heroine addiction.

Honestly sometimes I think I was wrestling with the mini Incredible Hulk :) her grip would put The Terminator’s to shame, lol. And the scream… wow… the scream was earth shattering, but the most painful thing of all was her stare… sad enough to melt the Snow Queen’s heart. Your mother have devised a couple of cunning plans… plan A was to entice you into having a shower using a small carton of orange juice… so I now have many pictures of you all soapy in the shower, holding and drinking a small carton or orange juice with a straw (don’t forget to come and ask me to show them to you two).

Plan B was simply to fill up a baby bath and let you play with it in the shower, but this doesn’t always work, it was only effective when Matt was just about to have a shower too.

So please go out and look for these two classic comic strip, and while you are there don’t forget to search for ‘Doraemon’ and ‘Cobra’ too (these are Japanese comics, may be you should wait until you are about 18 to read ‘Cobra’, haa haa haa), I promise they will grip you harder than Mar’s grip on her tiny t-shirt when she didn’t want the shower :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My brother the chair :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Have just found this photo in the camera, and I just wanted to let you know that you two and I will be doing this pose again in 18 years, because I’ll be exactly 60, Matt will be around 23-ish and Mar will be a few days away from being 20.

Can’t wait to see you then :) then again I don’t really want you two to grow up… lol, love you mak mak.

Papa.

Another Engineer :)

Dear Mar,

I am not kidding here, but you did manage to pick and gave me the right parts and more importantly at the right time enough for it to be very frightening, I am assuming it was through sheer luck rather than you knowing which part I needed.

SONY DSCThe first time you gave me one of the part, I was laughing because it was exactly what I had needed at that time, when you did it again the second time I’d laughed even louder. The third consecutive time, my laugh became a little awkward… the forth time, it was just a smirk on my face. Fifth time, I was hearing “The Twilight Zone’s” theme in my head… and there wasn’t a sixth time because I’d sent you to bother your mother instead… :) I didn’t really, I think you got bored and left :)

By the way, you and I were building a shelf and a cupboard to sit over the washing machine :) and judging by your skills and hard work, I feel you’ll have no problem applying to become Santa’s little helper at the North Pole, you certainly are of the correct height (for now) haa haa haa haa haa :)

Sony Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R pricing released in Thailand :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Looks like Christmas has come early this year, the pricing for both cameras were as expected, when converted back to USD we are talking about 1,930 USD for the Alpha 7 with kit lens, I think that is about inline with global pricing (of course that should be the case, otherwise if it was cheaper in Thaiand everyone will be buying it from here. Unlike cars which for luxury brands could be as high as 3 times the European prices due to added tax).

I am trying to keep my ‘greed’ level down (unfortunately there isn’t a pill nor app for that)... haa haa haa. So far the world’s attention has gone on the 7R which is more expensive due to “Better” specs, however my interest lies totally on the 7 (supposedly with faster focusing speed), I don’t want the high megapixels but do need fast/accurate focusing.

In the poster they are asking for pre-bookings, with the added bonus of receiving a free battery and charger (about 4,000 THB) and also a 30% discount voucher for either the Battery grip or the LA-EA4 adapter.

Well, that still isn’t enticing enough for me to make the jump like I did with the NEX 5, mostly because at that time my camera was stolen and needed something quickly (Matt was growing up fast).

I am hoping they’ll do really well with the 7R but not so well with the 7, then perhaps the 0% 10 months will be on the card, or they could do the A99’s campaign (free vertical grip, free SD, free house and a dog too :) but I am not holding my breath for that one. Any special campaign will be several months away and that is just enough time for either DPReview or CameraLabs to do their review.

I am getting the hots for the vertical grip though... haa haa haa, I am hoping hell will freezes over soon otherwise I wouldn’t have a chance with your mother on this one, lol.

World War Z

Dear Matt and Mar,

Just finished 'The Essential Max Brooks' (World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide), I'd got this through the Kindle (Android), and I am beginning to feel comfortable reading books on phones (the screens are quite large now) so I am sad to say, e-books will be my first choice from now on :) But for now will have to focus on a whole bunch of paperbacks that need to be read, haa haa haa.

Zombies are fascinating, and to have the author putting it into the real world context as our actual history (told through first person experience) and survival guide was mind blowing. I have certainly found myself mentally preparing for a zombie attack, and how to get you two to safety was actually quite fun, especially preparing our weapons to scramble their brains, haa haa haa.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

So early :)

SONY DSC

Dear Matt and Mar,

There are so many questions regarding raising a child (or children) that no one has yet to answer, and the will of all the Dads in the world are slowly wilting away, like the last few candle’s flicker before the end, and forever gazing into darkness.

One of the question is, I feel, quite universal. Why the h%$#, you can be up at six (or even earlier) during the holiday and yet when during school days you are still fast asleep at seven (and we were supposed to have left ten minutes ago)?

I’ll just add that question along side the ‘how can a tiny lego brick causes more pain more than taking a sledgehammer to the groin’.

In the picture, I do believe Mar was just about to come down those stairs :), and I think the time was around 05:57, now that would have been perfect if it was during school day :) haa haa haa.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fun time in Cha Am :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Half term break again, and as we have promised the both of you, we headed back to Cha Am once again because Matt wanted to try to kill me on one of those death defying slides, they might as well rename ‘The Speed’, ‘The Wave’, and ‘The Screw’ to something more truthful like, ‘The oohhhh Sh$########’, actually they can just call it ‘The oohhhh Sh$######## 1, 2 and 3’ respectively :)

This time you mother decided to go with the Duplex, living room downstairs and the bed upstairs, wow,  I now have legs like Hercules’. 

Matt and his work in progress ‘The 1001 ways on how to annoy dad with just one deck of cards’ is going well, I think he had just found the 997th way during this trip, haa haa haa.

It was a really enjoyable time again this time, despite the first full day that was literally filled with rain, but we did manage to keep Matt and Mar entertained through an indoor playground.

Black Mountain Water Park was as brilliant as ever, this time we (me) got the courage to try the ‘Screw, Wave and Speed’ (3 different slides), Matt just did it like it was something he’d done everyday. Matt was also joined by one of his close friend from school, Otto… it was just like adding a huge chunk of Sodium (Na) to water… fun, fun, fun :) haa haa haa.

Mar is now golden, literally golden, the sun looks good on her, lol. I think my mother will definitely be having a quiet word with me once she sees Mar, haa haa haa.

The only difficult thing on this break was getting Mar to come out of the water (sea, pool, and even the bath), screaming from the beach right through to our room was an achievement in itself, haa haa haa. Considering she was having high fever the night before we’d left for Cha Am, she was lucky we’d let her in the water at all.

There is another water park that have just opened, Santorini Water Park. I believe this is just an extension of the Santorini Park, and from what I have seen it should be as fun as Black Mountain Water Park (I hope), will need to spend more time with Google to see if it will be worth visiting next time we are in Cha Am, lol.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Can’t wait :)

Sony A7 and A7r

Dear Matt and Mar,

The last time I was this excited was when I saw the original Nex 5, according to www.sonyalpharumors.com this is the real photo of the up coming A7, a 24megapixel fullframe mirrorless, with phase detection AF, so I am hoping AF on moving objects would be vastly improved against my ancient Nex5 :)

The spec. on the site hit every point on my list, lets hope it performs well in the real world :)

I have already got a pre-approval from your mother, at 2,000 USD (around 62,000 THB) that isn’t bad, better save up now then :) I have no idea on when it will be available, then again it will be a couple more months before the reviews come out so I’ll have plenty of time to put something aside each month :)

Bad Word

Dear Matt,

Last week I was told by your mother that you used the f-word while you were overly excited and in a heated play with your friend on the first floor by the pool. We fully understand with today's environment, you are being influenced by things that we can not control nor matter how hard we try.

It isn't the worst thing in the world, and let me be very transparent here, I have used it on some rare occasion or during high spirited time, but it hasn't become a habit, and I'll see to it that it doesn't become a habit with you too.

The punishment (time out) was given, and you've promised not to do it again (which I don't believe, haa haa haa).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Little Thai Boxer :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Yesterday morning when we were in a rush to leave for School, Matt suddenly asked for his vest (not the best of timing in the world). Matt has never liked wearing a vest full stop, let alone under his school shirt. But yesterday was different, it was Thai Boxing Tuesday, and he had his heart set on wearing a white vest with his boxing shorts, Gio told me this was because some older boys were wearing the same thing.

Late last night I’d managed to pull the photos out from your mother’s phone :) Wow what a laugh, lol. From what your mother had told me, you are enjoying this quite a bit, Thai Boxing Tuesday and Taekwondo Thursday seems to be your highlight of the week.

Just look at the face :) as thin as a rake, as determined as a fire-ant, haa haa haa.

Monday, October 7, 2013

‘You Time’ for you :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

'You Time', when I was young they just call it 'after school activities', lol. At the end of last term all parents were given a list of things to choose for 'You Time', and the list was almost endless, from Chess, Tennis, Football, Clay works and so on.

SONY DSCThe task of choosing 'You Time' sounds simpler than you two may think, lol, judging by the amount of time spent on this, you'd thought I was choosing options for the Space Shuttle. Of course one had to choose more than two, just in case the activity was full, so being a logical person I'd chosen an extremely well balanced list of activities, based on physical and mental development... and you know what you got? Haa haa haa haa haa.

Well, Matt has been saying he wanted to become a Ninja Turtle, and I feel that Matt's 'You Time' fitted his needs perfectly. Somehow, by the force of the Universe Matt's 'You Time' were... (drum roll)... Thai Boxing Tuesday and Taekwondo Thursday, lol.

I'd thought I was going to get a real smack down by your mother for somehow arriving at these two for Matt, but just the opposite, she was quite happy with the choices, and recently due to some changes, Matt was also accepted on to the Chess club Monday as well :)

So his week is pretty full now, Chess Monday, Thai Boxing Tuesday, Golf Wednesday, Taekwondo Thursday, Thai Friday, Piano Saturday and Chinese Sunday :) admittedly these are all at the most an hour each, something fun to keep him busy :) All I had as a child was TV Monday, TV Tuesday, TV Wednesday, VHS Thursday, TV Friday, TV Saturday and of course TV Sunday :)

I would like to see him play more sport, like Rugby, Rugby or even Rugby :) but I don’t think they have it, looking at the sport fields I just don’t see the posts anywhere.

Sony A7 and A7r… sweeeeettttt

Dear Matt and Mar,

I’d almost jumped on the Nex 6, then almost felt off the wagon with the a99 :) but the jigsaw just didn’t quite fit, Nex 6 being a mirror-less camera meant the autofocus (especially when things were moving towards the camera) weren’t really up to par (yet), the a99’s pixels were just a little too much and it was physically large enough to warrant the use of a tow truck to move it from point A to point B.

A7 A7rFF with 16m pixels is my sweet spot, but I’d guess the masses want more than that. I’ve purposely shy away from the 2 giants (Canon and Nikon) because my experience with the Nex 5 was/is absolutely brilliant, as reliable as a the sun and small enough to be a permanent part of my anatomy, so Sony was always going to be the brand for the next cam :) I’ve kept my eye on ‘www.sonyalpharumors.com’ religiously for the past year (haa haa haa), waiting and waiting for the next jigsaw that would fit, and it looks like that piece is coming :)

First thing first, the photo above isn’t it, more like a fan mashing together several recent Sony’s cameras using PS :) but after reading the site today, it looks like the A7 could fit my bill, the rumour site wasn’t sure if it will be 1,600 – 1,700 USD or EUR. If it was USD we are talking about 50,000 – 53,000 THB, now that isn’t bad, but if it was EUR it will be 68,000 – 72,000 THB, quite a gap :)

I believe I was in one of the first group in Thailand to put my name down for the original Nex 5 when it came out many moons ago, without even reading a single review, the camera was too interesting to pass up at that time, and I think to have a FF at around 50,000 THB, wow another game changer, but this time I am going to wait for the review though, need to find out how the AF performs before making the jump.

The information from the site said, A7 will have less pixels but will have PDAF on sensor while A7r will have more pixels but without PDAF and no anti aliasing. A7 sounds pretty sweeeeetttt, well at least for now.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Experimenting :)

Dear Matt,

Every Friday you were given a chance to bring in your favourite toy, to play and share with your friends at school, and for the past couple of times you have taken your jigsaw puzzle, however for last Friday I’d asked that you take your camera instead, of which you were than willing to comply.

I have just taken out your SD card and downloaded everything into Lightroom, surprisingly there were quite a few photos to say the least, I believe the oldest photo was from mid August :)

Experimenting-01293Anyway, I’d decided just to concentrate on the set that you took last Friday, most of them were of your friends playing around, of course I can’t post any of them without their parents’ permission. But this one caught my eye.

Your handing of the camera is now much better, considering I’d bought this for you at the age of two and a bit (or a just a little later), it may be was just a little too early, but at least I got you to familiarise yourself with a camera (although then, your tiny index finger could not reach the shutter button, but you did improvise by using the middle finger).

I think for this one, you were trying to photograph the water droplets on the glass :) experimenting and having fun is what it’s all about :) lol. Can’t wait to show you, your collection :) Perhaps it is time to introduce you how to use Lightroom and the joy of raw files… haa haa haa haa haa.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I made it Mar :)

Made it to school-20130919082523903Dear Mar,

Everything just felt into place, firstly, I was called to a meeting near our home at 10:00 so it made no logical sense to firstly go into the office. Secondly, the traffic was amazingly light so I made it back home (after dropping Matt off) just a little before eight, but looking at the car park, you and your mother had already left for Noddy.

Got back to the apartment as soon as I could, grabbed the rucksack and rushed downstairs then outside, where luckily a motorcycle taxi was sitting and waiting for its next customer (me). By this time the traffic had already picked up, but it made no difference to me.

I knew I would catch you and your mother up half way to Noddy, as the motorcycle shot by, I turned and gave a huge wave to the front windscreen, having no idea if you mother saw me or not as all I could see was the reflection of the sky, and it was a beautiful day.

You were all smiles at school, what a brilliant start to a fun filled day, and the meeting went well too :)

I think it was a couple of weeks ago, your mother sent me these photos, you and one of your friends were chosen to raised the flag and lead in the ‘Good Morning’ song, I am still wondering could that have been the least successful ‘Good Morning’ rendition ever :) considering that all you can say was, Na (No), Top (Stop) and Toe (Go), let alone ‘good morning’, haa haa haa (kidding baby).

Made it to school-1379382755570Made it to school-1379383190716

By the way, you have started to call yourself “Mar”, and so it will be baby :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

You are old Papa :)

Out of the blue...

Matt:   "I am young Papa, I am only five years old"
Me:     "Yes you are baby, you are very young"
Matt:   "You are old Papa, you are 28"
Me:     lol...

How I wish I was 28, haa haa haa haa haa.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Little Project :)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Now that 18% of the fridge is now covered, I think I am getting the hang of this printing thing.

Physical photos will always have a place, and for us, they are on the fridge, lol. Certainly a highlight for my parents when they visit :) Just like a bulleting board of the past, haa haa haa.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Nothing but Smiles :)

Dear Mar,

I am sorry for not being there for your first day at school, but it was impossible to drive across from SHB to Noddy and to be in time for your assembly :) perhaps a small investment in a two person helicopter should be made, lol.

SONY DSC

Your mother had complied with my request of taking as many photos as she can (there must be one good one in that lot, lol, let hopes she doesn’t read this post), and as it turned out many of the photos she took were absolutely priceless :)

She suggested that we swap role, where she will drop Matt off and I take you to school, wow can’t wait for that.

Your teacher’s (that your mother and I was already familiar, she was the same one who looked after Matt about three years ago) feedback was encouraging, not too many tears in your first week :) and that you have settled in smoothly.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Changes…

Dear Matt and Mar,

Just a quick word to let you know that P’Pui had decided to leave to explore other opportunities, she had been helping us out since Matt was born (that was why we hired her in the first place), your mother met her while she was working at Nok Air :)

I am sure things will be a little difficult at first, but soon everything will be back in place, :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Myanmar is indeed Mystical :)

Dear Matt and March,

I’ve just got back from Myanmar today (it will probably be ‘yesterday’ by the time this is posted), Yangon was beautiful and extremely charming, and best of all the people were super nice. This was another business trip, it was only for one night, and the first meeting took place literally 30 minutes after we had stepped off the plane, haa haa haa.

The only free time we had was the morning of the second day (to be more precise, very early morning, in fact it was so early the moon was still visible when I got up), and that still only gave us an hour before our first meeting. There was only one place that could get me up that early (no, not the breakfast room, lol), Shwedagon Zedi Daw, as a Buddhist this was pretty special.

An hour was just barely enough, even Lara Croft would have found it difficult the explore this fantastic place in a hour (and she will have to cover up her arms and legs too :). We could have easily spent a couple of hours here, but an hour was all we had, so we did the important stuff, and will leave the exploring for next time.

As both of you were born on a Monday, I’d stopped by the Monday Angle (not sure what type of a divine being that was), and a Buddha’s image (not sure here either, lol). I’d simply followed the others Myanmaese (or is it still Burmese, or is it just ‘people of Myanmar’, lol), anyway, the ritual was to use a small bowl to pour water from the basin that sat at the front, on to a small golden stone Chinese style lion, then onto the Buddha image, then onto the Angle, then finally onto the post behind. Of course I’d picked up 2 small tin bowl at the same time, one for Matt and one for Mar :) as there was quite a queue and I didn’t want to hold up the traffic :)

To me what made it really special was the people with unquestionable devotion, something I have not seen in quite a long time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stitch-09563_stitch full-Edit png

 

I hate to crop this type of panorama stitch photo, somehow the cropped version always leave me unsatisfied, lol. Anyway, so it was a pretty fantastic start to the morning :) and totally worth it.