An Impromptu Diversion

I invited my parents for coffee. We ended up in Lampang.

Lampang is a small historic town about an hour’s drive away from Chiang Mai. It’s a funky little river town, with old colonial style buildings, horse-drawn carriages, and rooster-adorned lampposts.

Sukothai style noodle soup

Sukothai style noodle soup

Me & the curry pots

Me & the curry pots

Wall decor

Wall decor

Apothecary, complete with abacus!

Apothecary, complete with abacus!

Old floors

Old floors

Cafe & curios

Cafe & curios

Colonial style architecture

Colonial style architecture

Sometimes a little get-together just isn’t enough. One thing turns into another and suddenly you find yourself riding a cow in a different city. Sometimes the best laid plans are the ones you never made.

moo cow::

So I kind of went of the grid there for a little while. What with moving to a new house, the holidays, taking care of bureaucratic chores, and what not, there just weren’t enough hours in the day. But I have lots to tell you and I can’t wait to show you our new neighborhood and home! Stay tuned for more…

In the meantime, check out some fun glimpses from around the world and other fun little things!

 

Little by Little



My 2014 In Review

Maybe I’m a few days late doing a year in review, but I really liked reading Kim at Little by Little’s review and thought it might be nice to do my own. Hope you’ll enjoy a few flashbacks with me!

January 

In January, we read together and learned to grab our toes.

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February

We gathered with friends and explored new sights.

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March

We traveled a lot in March, to mountains of Chiang Dao and to the island Koh Samui. We found beautiful sights – and a tigger too!

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April

April saw a lot of growth at home.

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May

Self care and bubbles!

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June

A visit home … and Grandma!

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July

Recuperating after a month of intensive international travel.

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August

Music played and messes made.

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September

Enjoying cooler weather and a special someone’s birthday

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Oh yeah…and I released my book.

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October

A runaway escape trip to Bangkok.

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November

A trip to the mountains and a festive Thanksgiving

doimonjam ginger pumpkin pie

December

We found a frog bathing in our tub…and we said good-bye to our old neighborhood. Our new home will be ready soon(ish)!

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So much change a year brings! Sometimes I feel like my life is consumed with a little man at home, but a quick look back shows me we didn’t sit still at all. Thanks for joining us on this ride. Hope your 2014 was all you wanted it to be and that 2015 brings even more love, joy, fun, inspiration, and triumphs!

Super Secret Sale!

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Happy mid-winter celebrations! Hope your festivities have been cheerful and warm and that you got the best gifts ever!

In case you’re looking for a great read to cozy up to in the quiet and lull before New Year’s, I’m letting you in on a little secret: for my blog & photo fans only, I’m putting my book The Yellow Suitcase: A Novel on sale for .99 cents! That’s right. Less than a dollar. Because I love you. (Honestly, I would have given it away for free, as a holiday gift to my readers, but Amazon won’t let me.)

The Yellow Suitcase by Jade Keller

A Novel by Jade Keller

Because you’re amazing and I am totally grateful for all your support and encouragement, I’m keeping the book up at this low, low price from now until New Year’s. So grab your copy now, give it to friends who are into social justice or travel and exotic locales, or pass it on to anyone who loves Thai food.

Get the book here, by clicking on this link: The Yellow Suitcase: A Novel

Happy Holidays and I’ll see you in twenty-fifteen!

Kisses,
Jade

In a Pickle: How Not to Pick a Fight With a Toddler

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And then he hit me.

In the midst of moving and bureaucracy and holiday madness, I had been carrying Cy around until my arms were about to drop off. I sat down for half a second and he started crying, wanting to be picked up and carried some more.

“No Cy, Mama wants to sit for a minute. Can you go play? How about those rocks? Want to play with those rocks.”

More crying.

“No Cy.” The crying only made me want to dig in my heels. He’s not wrong for wanting more connection when I’ve been so busy and distracted, even if it means I’m also more tired and less patient. And he’s not wrong for being frustrated that I’m not connecting with him as much as usual. However, I didn’t want him to learn that crying would get him what he wanted when I’d already said no.

He got so angry he hit me. Twice. In the face.

“NO, Cy. You do NOT hit Mama. I don’t care how angry you get, you do not hit Mama.” I turned my back on him and walked a few feet away. He cried harder and followed me. I told him to stop it; crying wasn’t going to help.

And then I realized he needed an out. He was in a pickle. He knew he had done wrong but I had not shown him what to do instead. He didn’t know how to do right and he didn’t know how to say sorry.

I was in a pickle too. I didn’t know how to teach him to say “I’m sorry.” So I said to him, “If you stop crying, I will pick you up.” He cried fiercely, but I repeated myself and, bit by bit, he stopped the tide of tears. When he was close enough to having stopped crying, I picked him up, all the while realizing how ridiculous the whole thing was as I was now doing what he wanted in the first place. We could have just skipped the whole drama.

But then again, if we had skipped the whole drama, I might not have learned that if you’re going to tell a child no, you need to have a back up plan. You need to give him an alternative. And if he does wrong, you have to find a way to show him how to make it right.

Thing I Love About Cy Today: He has been remarkably patient and well-mannered considering the crazy upheaval going on his life tonight. I love him AND I really appreciate him right now.

Through Another’s Eyes I See

_1050417We’ve lived in this house for four years, and for four years, I’ve waged battles in this kitchen, trying to make it a space I love to look at and be in. This kitchen, with its red walls and odd nooks and tendency to attract mold, has at times convinced me it’s a livable space and other times driven me mad with desire to tear it down and build anew.

_1050412I’ve added plants, installed pretty fabrics to hide the sordid details, and tried my best to make things look like they belong where they are, rather than sticking out like so many odd thumbs.

The motorcycle helmets are still there though.

But after four years my battle is done. We’re moving to a new home, in a much better location in the city, where I will have a new battle with a new rental kitchen! (more on that one later – that deserves its own story).

And then a friend comes to visit. Just as I’m giving up on this kitchen, she mentions she would like to do a tour of my kitchen for a major home & garden website (more on that in a few months) because it has such pretty morning light. She takes a photo from an angle I’ve never considered before, and suddenly I see my kitchen differently.

I'm totally ripping off the photo she took and copying the angle. Sorry L!

I’m totally ripping off the photo she took and copying the angle. Sorry L!

I see it through her eyes and, finally, suddenly, just before I’m about to move away, I learn to appreciate my kitchen.

Little by Little

Sticky Pants

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Cy has started trying to feed himself. He’s slow and careful about it, meticulously getting food on his spoon and bringing it up to his mouth.

There it is...

There it is…

But his new favorite thing is to try to feed me too. I’m usually sitting with him in my lap, so inevitably, the yogurt, the milk, the rice…whatever it is, ends up in my lap and on the floor while my OCD neat-freak side cringes and shudders.

I know it’s super sweet that he wants to feed me, and really it’s no big deal to toss pants in the laundry, and that I have a choice to encourage him in his sweetness and to meet him on his level and engage with him where he is.

...someone inserting himself in the shot.

…someone inserting himself in the shot.

I know I should conclude this by saying something about how the sweetness matters more than sticky pants, because pants can always be washed, but sweetness can be lost.

And it does matter. It does.

And there it goes.

And there it goes.

But I still can’t help bemoaning the sticky pants.

I tell him what a wonderful boy he is, and I mean it. And secretly I sigh as I take a tissue and blot ineffectively at my pants.



Flying Solo

I’ve been parenting solo this week as T is on a business trip back in the U.S.
The first day T was gone, I told Cy, “Papa went on an airplane.” I don’t think he believed me.
Then when we were doing our bedtime routine, Cy turned to where T normally sits on the bed, wanting to give the goodnight moon book to his papa, who normally reads the story, but he got confused when T wasn’t there, and he didn’t know where to go.
I said, “Papa went on an airplane. A big bye-bye. But mama can read your story. Can mama read your story?”
He chucked the book back in the crib (where it’s kept) and lay down to sleep.
No papa, no goodnight story, I guess.
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December 4 is the last day to get my book on sale, for $1.99!!
Make it a gift to yourself, or a loved one this holiday season!
Get The Yellow Suitcase: A Novel on Amazon today!
::
Little by Little

Seen this week….

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The intrepid tomato  explorer…

He loves trucking through his grandmother’s garden. He especially loves pulling out her flowers.

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From my book, “The Yellow Suitcase”

For THREE DAYS ONLY (December 2, 3, & 4) my book goes on sale for $1.99! That’s 60% savings for you, so if you’ve been on the fence about giving it a shot, or would like to get it as a gift for someone else for the holidays, there’s no better time to buy!

Get The Yellow Suitcase: A Novel here.

The Yellow Suitcase by Jade Keller

A Novel by Jade Keller



Wishbone

ginger pumpkin pieThanksgiving has come to a close, the lamb eaten, the pie demolished. Even the dishes have all been put away.

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We eat lamb here because turkey isn’t easy to find in Thailand, but really we could get it if we want, but we don’t because we’re fans of lamb. In four years away from home, I haven’t once missed turkey.

Except this time I remembered there’s something I do miss: the wishbone tradition. Every year, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, my dad would carve up the turkey and he would offer to break the wishbone with me. Whoever got the longer part of the forked bone would get their wish. I always loved this tradition, and as I got older I also got smarter about surreptitiously sneaking a look at which side of the bone was longer because I was a sore loser. (And I kept on doing it even when I was old enough to tell my dad wasn’t blind to my trick but let me do it anyway.)

I miss that tradition. So this year I’m going to extend that tradition and pretend I got the long end of the wishbone to say that my one wish is for all of you to have an inspired year next year. I hope 2015 is a year in which you get to grow, unfold, stretch, expand, see more of yourself than you knew was there before, and I hope it’s among the best of things ever.

And I just want to say I’m so grateful to you, my readers. You’ve supported and encouraged me so much the past few years. It’s because of you I had the courage to put out my book this year, and it has been one of my bucket list things. I know I haven’t been up to my usual standard about getting around to responding to comments and commenting on other blogs. I promise I do read them all (and think responses in my head), but I still haven’t managed to balance this life with parenthood–it’s something I’m working on, and hope to be better about in 2015. This community has been a wellspring of support and inspiration, and for that, I thank you, and wish I might return the favor.

Happy Holidays!

 

Friends to Inspire You

Do you have friends that ever inspire you to grow as a person, whether creatively, or as a moral character, or in some other dimension?

I have several such friends (I like to keep inspiring people around me) – and two of them recently came to visit.

_1070835Dave and Leela are such a fun and generous couple. They’re so expressive and are just bursting with artistic energy.

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They make me want to go out and do, and to try, to experiment, and to unfold more and more of myself where I didn’t even realize I was keeping in bud. And they do it simply by being just who they are.

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There’s kind of a trend I’ve noticed, where people jokingly confess how inadequate they feel when they see someone else doing something awesome. When I see someone doing something awesome, it just make me want to go out and do something awesome too.

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Do you have people in your life who make you want to do awesome things? They’re good people to share tea and scones with. If you have them, keep them around.

Little by Little



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