We spent our last couple days in Colorful Colorado going fishing and spending time with friends. It was an incredible vacation, and I can't wait to see everyone again next year!
We got back to Saigon a couple of days ago and are starting to look at what we will be doing throughout our next year. I started by unpacking all of our luggage for our trip to the States. We did a lot better this year with what we brought over thanks mostly in part to experiential knowledge. Unpacking and organizing our goods only took a day because I had help from our nanny and Derek kept the boys occupied.
After everything was put away, I started to look at the calendar for the school year. I need to put together a very detailed syllabus for the Syracuse Calculus class I am teaching, so I sat down and mapped out the entire year. I got a rough plan together (the units in the right places with breaks taken into account), and then I started thinking about where we will be going for all those breaks this year.
There are still so many places we want to see! Our list of potential places for this year includes: Nagoya, Japan; Bali, Indonesia; Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, Vietnam; Vientiane, Laos; Dalat, Vietnam; Cebu, Philippines; and Singapore. There are more places on our list than we have breaks, so we are going to have to choose carefully. We still want to go to Thailand too but are waiting out the military coup situation.
At this point, here's what I'm thinking*:
LongWeekend in September: Mui Ne, Vung Tau, or Phuc Quoc
October Break: Nagoya, Japan
Christmas Break: Bali, Indonesia
Tet Break: Vientiane, Laos
Long Weekend in March: Singapore
April Break: Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
*All plans are subject to change.
Should the situation in Thailand improve, we may replace the Tet break in Laos with a few days in Chiang Mai and a few days on a Thai beach. Or maybe we'll do Thailand instead of Bali. There are just so many choices!!!
On Saturday, our family had the wonderful opportunity to be part of the ceremony that joined Uncle Stephen to an amazing woman who we are thrilled to have as part of the Swanson Family. Thank you so much, Steve and Melissa, for having us be part of your big day! Derek was so happy to be Steve's best-man, and I was honored to be one of Melissa's bridesmaid. The boys both had important roles too, and they both performed them perfectly. Owen was the ring-barer, and Oliver walked down the isle right before Melissa holding a sign reading "Here Comes the Bride" with a huge grin on his face. It was such a beautiful ceremony, and I can't imagine that the reception could have been any more fun!
The wedding was held at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo here in Colorado Springs. It was the best wedding location I have ever seen. I was a little skeptical at first, but it was beyond beautiful! The ceremony was held at the new Africa exhibit, overlooking all of Colorado Springs. After the ceremony, guests were invited to feed the giraffes an endless supply of lettuce. Owen and Oliver had the time of their lives!!! The reception was in the pavilion up by the carrousel which remained open all evening. The evening was incredible! I can't wait to see the photographer's pictures!!!
Congratulations, Steve and Melissa! We love you guys!
Our sweet boy Owen turned five and a half while we were in Syracuse, New York. We have always done a little celebration for half birthdays because both boys have winter birthdays during busy times in the school year. We usually just go out for dinner and ice cream. Since we were away, that treat fell to Oma and Opa this year. They were joined by Grandma and Uncle Steve as well for pizza and ice cream.
Owen continues to amaze us every single day. He is growing up far too quickly for my liking. He's wearing a Size 7 clothing now and already fits into a Size 1 shoe. I can no longer shop for him in the baby section at stores which makes me a little sad. It feel like it happened fast because I haven't been able to really shop for him in about a year. No wonder his shorts were looking a little too short. Owen was the tallest kid in his class last year, and he is excited to see if anyone is taller than him in Kindergarten.
Derek and I were very fortunate to be accepted as adjunct instructors for Syracuse University's Project Advance program this year. Essentially, we will be teaching Syracuse classes to our students in our classrooms back in Vietnam. This is great new for our students, because they can earn actual college credits (at a very reduced rate) instead of gambling on some test they take in May. For us, it means a very full week of work in Syracuse, New York in the middle of our all-too-short trip home. It also means we had to leave our kids in Colorado while we ventured to New York. Not being close to my little ones is the most difficult part for me. I know they are having fun with Oma and Opa, but I miss them terribly.