Family Vacation Faux Pas'

We're Back! We had a great time on our trip, and returned with some extremely valuable lessons for future endeavors. Heed our advice for your next trip with kids... we sure will!

Pony Up! You get what you pay for... In our instance it was free, so we didn't get much. If you're going to use frequent hotel points to book your vacation, spend the extra money. Two rooms, and separate beds for the kids, are definitely better than one.

Less is More!
When traveling with young kids, five days is the max at any one location before boredom sets in. By this time you've swam in every conceivable pool, eaten at every restaurant at the hotel, met or annoyed all the hotel staff, and touched, moved, or broken everything not nailed down in that one hotel room you've booked.

Share the Joy ~ Travel with friends! After the first two or three days, your kids will constantly tell you they're bored with your company, and will seek alternate means of amusement.

Toddlers are Vampires! Traveling at ultra early morning hours when you "think" the kids are going to sleep, never quite works that way. They will find any distraction to keep them from their (and your) much needed sleep.

Like a Boy Scout, Come Prepared! Make sure that you stock up on every conceivable children's medicine. You never know when you will need Pepto Bismol, Dulcolax, or Benadryl ... like in our case ... all within twenty-four hours.

FBI Warning! Just because the hotel website states that all rooms come equipped with DVD players, it doesn't necessarily mean that yours will work. American purchased DVD's do not work in ALL countries' DVD players. And now you have 15 DVD's that do you absolutely no good... Did you remember to bring the video iPod?

No Need to State The Obvious! When traveling to a tropical beach... bring sand toys.

Utilize the Kids Club! And Often!! Especially when you choose it as one of the main reasons you're going to stay at a particular hotel. Don't let the overly-sweet sentiment of always wanting to be together as a family get in your way... like we did. It was FREE too!

Reality's a Bitch! Prepare your kids for the return home and the reality that breakfast no longer consists of chocolate croissants, sticky buns, or Starbucks chocolate muffins, and ice cream is not a healthy lunch substitute. I should have prepared myself too...


Elephant Trekking

It has been an amazingly relaxing week here in Phuket with a majority of our time spent at the 5 different swimming pools. Matt ventured out on Monday and went scuba diving all day with the scuba instructor here at the hotel. They did three dives... a wreck, a reef, and a wall dive, and returned to the hotel as exhausted as the girls and I were from lounging around and eating ice cream all afternoon. Oh we just love vacations....

Yesterday we took the girls elephant trekking at the Siam Safari, about fifteen minutes from the hotel. A van picked us up and took us to the meeting point, where we then climbed into these rugged jeeps that took us 4-wheeling up into the mountains. We watched a baby elephant show, the girls fed the elephants, and then we hopped onto our elephants for a thirty minute ride around the mountain top. Riley, who had been freaked out about riding the elephants, had a great time... until our elephant roared quite loudly, scared the daylights out of her, and she cried and whimpered the rest of the way until we got off. Sheridan on the other hand, LOVED the elephants, and more importantly, enjoyed pointing out all of the elephant poop. It was the highlight of her ride.

We're finally going to the beach today. It's been so hot that we hadn't wanted to chance anyone getting too burned (which has happened despite the SPF 50 sunblock that I lather, slather, and re-apply on the girls every 1.5 hours).

It's our last night tonight. Hopefully we'll get a decent family photo tonight... wish us luck!

Riding in the jeep up to the top of the mountain

A photo of the jeep... and the tour sign

Posing with the baby elephants ... "Follow that poop" is what I heard the girls say


Hello From Phuket!

It wouldn't be a Perlman family vacation without a little last-minute stress, a lot of vomit, sleep deprivation, and interesting destinations.

We left our house at 9:45 pm for our midnight flight and were of course greeted Sheridan's proverbial pre-departure vomit. However, this time she gave us about a 25 seconds warning, which gave us enough time to pull the car over and yank her onto the sidewalk. For the first time ever, she didn't vomit on her clothes or car seat, but rather in a plastic bag we found in the back seat of the car. Matt showed signs of "going native" as he actually suggested that she puke directly on the sidewalk, thereby preserving our only plastic bag for later use... which we indeed needed mere minutes before we pulled into the airport.

After our usual pre-departure chaos at the airport, the Thai Airways flight took off surprisingly on time. Matt was impressed with the unusually roomy economy class seats and the full meal served. I was just happy to try and catch a few zzzzz's. Less than three hours later, our flight landed in Bangkok and we were whisked into one of the cleanest airports we've ever seen. Our two hour layover went by quite quickly as we lounged on the couches in Starbucks. Oh caramel macchiatto, how I missed thee...

Our flight to Phuket was quick and comfortable, and thankfully all 4 bags made it here safe and sound. The car hotel car service met us at the airport, and drove us the hour long ride to the Hilton resort. This place is HUGE ~ with several pools (one of which has a 100-foot water slide that the girls LOVED), large grounds, a beautiful gym, and the best of all, the kids club!

We spent the day eating, napping, swimming, and eating some more before it was time to retire to our room, get caught up on the time change, and plan out our week. There's so much to do, so much to see, and lots of relaxing to be had.

Here are a few random photos from our day. We'll check back in periodically to send photos and updates from our trip.

A little slice of heaven...

The girlies... one of about a fifty times going down the water slide

We really do need to take an entire family photo...


Let The Games Begin

With a little nudging (and a lot of giggling) from my end, Matt reluctantly agreed to participate in the Consulate's annual "Grow an Indian Moustache" competition. If you know Matt, I'm sure you'll all insert a major belly laugh here...

The contest started on Tuesday, and the guys had to come in to work clean shaven, face free from ALL hair (some guys had goatees and beards that they had to shave off in order to participate). From what I understand, the contest lasts about a month, and the only rules are .... no grooming (obviously), and the guys CAN grow either a beard or goatee during the month long period, but MUST shave everything off except their bushy moustaches on "judgement day".

I forgot to take a photo of Matt on Tuesday, so here he is on day-3. This ought to be a funny month. Just look at that baby face... he'll be lucky if it doesn't come in patchy!

Oh yeah, and here's a photo of me that Riley took a few days ago. 26 weeks and counting!


Name That Rash - Round 2!

As if Round 1 with Sheridan wasn't bad enough, Riley decided to go all out and top her with Round 2... just two days before our big vacation!!

She woke up complaining about her feet this morning... crying through breakfast and whining when she put on her shoes. She kept saying that they hurt, though I couldn't find anything wrong with them.

As I was making dinner tonight she came into the kitchen telling me that I HAD to stop what I was doing and look at her back. Holy Moly... THAT got my attention. I had her immediately strip naked so I could inspect her body. This bright red raised rash covered her back and stomach, and was slowly making its way up her neck and onto her face.

Yeah, I kinda freaked out. Why? Because there's no real doctor around here who can correctly diagnose a rash of any kind... and the last thing I need at 26ish weeks pregnant is to get an unidentifiable rash in a place I probably where I can't find anything to treat it (though that's not saying I want it on my daughter any less than on me...).

One thing is for certain. It isn't the same rash as Sheridan's... it looks entirely different AND it itches terribly. Lucky for us, daddy returned home mere minutes after I stripped her down, and he quickly diagnosed her rash as hives. And after taking a good look at her swollen ear ... and seeing photos on google images (I love that site), it sure does look like that's what she has. For the next ten minutes we quizzed her on every single solitary thing she did during her day today... what she ate, who she played with, what she touched, what her class did... the poor thing was obviously upset about her rash, yet she gave very detailed answers to all of our questions. She was quick to point out that she didn't even like the cake at the birthday party in her class, and she swears she didn't eat any shellfish (as we don't know if she's allergic to it like her father).

Two Benadryl tablets did the trick and within twenty minutes her ear was almost back to its normal size and color, and her itching had subsided. What's the culprit? Who knows... Remember, this IS India.


You Say It's Your Birthday....

While yesterday was the big day, today was the classroom party. Sheridan and I showed up right before school ended, we brought THE cake, we sang happy birthday, we passed out goody bags, and we're now done for another year. Woo hoo...

So here it is. The much anticipated, never-to-be-let-down birthday cake. In the shape of an auto rickshaw, or tuk tuk as the kids like to call it. That took almost half a day to bake, design, and frost - give or take a few hours. Now I thought last year's cupcakes were my piece de resistance. But I'm having second thoughts after seeing the end results here. Riley's reaction? Pure and utter joy. She thought it was great that she was driving the rickshaw AND in the passengers seat. Only in India ... where anything is possible in a tuk tuk.


What A Difference A Day Makes

On Wednesday she was 5.

Today she's 6.

And her favorite thing about turning 6? She needs to use two hands to show how old she is. Riley was so excited about her birthday that she woke up at the butt crack of dawn and intended to spend every waking minute enjoying her special day. And that she sure did!

The American School held it's annual Sports Day today, so she felt like the belle of the ball doing something "different" on her birthday. After lunch the kindergarten - second graders spent the entire afternoon playing sports and competing against the other classes. They held ten different events including... potato sack races, dribbling the basketball, a mini obstacle course, balloon breaking, parachute bouncing, relay races, and my favorite, tug of war. Each class had different colored t-shirts with the name of their mascot on the back... (her class chose "Little Simbas").

Sheridan and I had a picnic lunch at the school and watched Riley compete in the afternoon's events... well at least some of them. The weather is getting rather hot, and with my added weight, I was not as willing to stand in the boiling sun for 3 hours. But I did take photos and cheer her on when the events were near the shaded area...

We then came home, waited for daddy, and opened up the many gifts that we bought her and her grandparents had sent. Her favorites? The backpack from Bubbie & Zadie, and the gift certificate from Grandma and Poppa that lets her buy whatever she wants. Our gifts? The new bathing suits and animal cover ups that we bought for both of them to bring to Thailand next week. Ummm, they were good, but they apparently didn't compare.

Dinner out was a great idea in theory, but a horrible idea in execution. We got to the restaurant too late, the girls were tired and cranky from the long day in the sun, and they didn't sing Happy Birthday when they brought out her two scoops of ice cream. Bugger!

Her school party is tomorrow. The party bags are all stuffed with useless Oriental Trader kitchy crap, and ready to pass out to all the kindergartners. And the cake? Oh it's done... and it's awesome. I took photos, but I'm going to wait to send those out.

Come share in our birthday party tomorrow. We'll all be on a sugar high!


It's An India Week!

Apparently we're all having one here... though Riley's was a bit more literal than mine.

This past week the American School had their annual "India Week" where the kids spent the entire week delving into the Indian culture. They had musicians play at the school, did tons of arts & crafts, had in depth discussions during Indian Studies, brought in a traditional Indian lunch, and the elementary school held a performance on Friday that included songs, dances, and skits about India.

We then spent the weekend back down at Fisherman's Cove, the beach about an hour south of our house, where we basked in the sun, got burnt at the beach, and ate our weight in yummy treats. The girls were so tired from swimming, swimming, and more swimming, that they crashed out hard both Saturday night and tonight right after we got home. Obviously a sign that they had a great time.

This week will be spent preparing for and celebrating Riley's 6th birthday. Stay tuned for a peek at her cake... her special request that already has me scratching my head, wondering how I can pull it off.

Oh, but I will... I sure will. I think.

Singing on Stage

Riley's Kindergarten Class

At The Beach

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