Showered with love/diapers

2 weeks ago, several of our lovely friends from school (Beth, Keeley, and Kim) organized a baby shower for me and my friend Therese. Therese is a high school English teacher at the school, and the students’ prototype for what a normal pregnant woman should look like. I blame her for all the confused looks the students give me when they witness my massiveness (the fact that I am due in November and she is due in February doesn’t seem to register – these children have grown up without health class).

1379797_10151998665019903_898244337_n

Therese is very happy to be of service.

I wasn’t totally sure what to expect before I got to the shower – most of the baby showers I’ve attended in Canada have been laid-back, men-welcome affairs – and I was totally blown away with what the hostesses had prepared. For starters, the venue was awesome. Agaligo is a Victorian-style mansion with a variety of different party appropriate spaces. I was so excited to discover that the room we were in was decorated in perfect, delicate taste, EXCEPT for the dead fox in a glass case on the wall. Oh Thailand. You make me so happy.

994348_10151998666739903_2011093002_n

Jessika and I discuss the decor: “What kind of stupid fox gets itself caught in Bangkok?” “I know, right?!?”

Once I managed to heave myself back into an upright position, it was time for the party games to start. I had never even conceived (haha) of most of the games the hostesses had planned, and their attention to detail was mind-boggling. As someone who struggles with details on a daily basis (ie: remembering to wear shoes), it would never occur to me to create an anatomically correct paper uterus and a bunch of sperm with faces for a game of “pin the sperm on the uterus.” Well, maybe the idea would occur to me, but the execution would be sadly lacking, and I definitely would not have remembered to offer appropriate prizes.

1374768_10151998675239903_1305487470_n

First, all the guests placed their “sperm” in the uterus…

1377336_10151998676059903_2146919067_n

Then, Therese and I were spun around, and had to place our “egg” in the uterus (or was this the point where Kim was guiding me through contractions? I forget…)

1004984_10151998676244903_1455636668_n

And voila! Leah and I had a baby together! She won a vase of fresh flowers, and I won… a baby.

1393822_10151998680444903_1913457281_n

The female anatomy is still very confusing to Ellen.

But the games didn’t stop there: attendees also got to create collages of what my and Therese’s babies will look like, using headshots of us and our respective husbands.

1386008_10151998667119903_2115352438_n

Lisa came up with a real gem.

1375686_10151998676374903_1117611944_n

Oh well. At least she’s in head down position.

And then it was time to guess how big Therese and I measured around the middle. I tried not to be too offended when some guesses were off by a foot or more (and not in my favour).

1375906_10151998668994903_1214828697_n

Rina is also very pregnant, though, so she took pity on me.

We also got to partake in a baby bottle chugging competition. It was fun until I realized that a little creature is going to be chugging on a certain part of my anatomy in a few weeks. Not so amusing after that…

1385756_10151998671714903_1920038460_n

Rina and Sarah demonstrate their best latching faces.

1385517_10151998674369903_782704746_n

And Sarah’s competitive spirit and perfect latch win the prize. Ellen is still finding the female anatomy quite confusing.

A bunch of us lived in an apartment building last year called “Big Tree,” and until we delivered the goods, both Therese and I fielded many, many requests for a “Big Tree Baby.” So the hostesses thought it would be appropriate to create a piece of nursery art for each of us that included a “big tree.” No offence to the building, but the artwork is much, much cuter than that sewage-scented apartment ever was.

1381210_10151998677074903_507350270_n (1)

First, she’s the perfect pregnant prototype, and now, she has a cute piece of baby art. Therese is one happy, happy camper.

Our friends also wrote messages on a bunch of diapers for those wonderful, highly-anticipated, middle-of-the-night diaper-changing sessions. Hopefully, having a little light reading material in the wee hours will wake me up enough that I don’t drop Bannock.

1374143_10151998677374903_1380472593_n

Adorable Vera and dirty diapers are such a visual oxymoron.

Our friends gave us a bunch of really thoughtful gifts. I’m not going to showcase them all here, but I had to share this li’l number: crocodiles’n’ babies might be my new favourite combination.

1391891_10151998679524903_548093084_n

I did not know such epicness existed, but Katherine managed to find it.

A huge thank-you to Beth, Kim, and Keeley for planning such a great celebration. Having a baby in a different country can feel a bit crazy at times, and feeling so much support from our Bangkok community was huge for both me and Therese.

1003242_10151998678469903_567003876_n

The love in our hearts for you three is even bigger than our bellies.

And one last photo to conclude: I love a prego line-up, and this was the first time that all 5 of my pregnant friends in Bangkok were in the same room as me. Asia is severely under-populated, so we all decided to do our bit…

1377460_10151998674829903_869728105_n

Nicole – 37 weeks, Rina – 36.5 weeks, Ruth – 35 weeks, Kelley – 27 weeks, Therese – 23 weeks, Lip – 23 weeks (please don’t give me any prego rage if I got your due date wrong!!)

Foodie Friday: Big Tree Restaurant

Today’s Foodie Friday post focuses on a hidden but simultaneously not-so-hidden gem: I am referring to the restaurant located on the grounds of our apartment building. If you drove past on the main road, the massive walls that the apartment owners have erected totally obscure it from view, but if you’re a resident of the apartment, you can basically spit on it from your balcony.

It is nestled amidst a veritable forest of Big Trees.

IMG_0526[1]

Perfectly situated for an afternoon at the pool!

And from a more flattering angle.

The restaurant is the brain child of my l’il buddy, the Lovely Lip.
25550921-135902.jpg

(Dear Lovely Lip: please do not hurt me for posting the photo of you trying on the cupcake skirt)

She loves home decor and entrepreneurial adventures, and she has made the restaurant a darling getaway for hungry teachers, football geeks (who inexplicably want to get up at all hours to watch college ball) and a random assortment of neighbourhood workers. It opened several weeks ago, and since that time, it has been luring us and our neighbours with the promise of food at our very doorstep. I mean, some days, it is just a little too difficult to walk the 10 metres to the street.

And an additional 10 meters to the pork noodle place.

The restaurant serves a variety of Western and Thai food. It clearly understands its main audience – teachers can get yer basic heart-attack-on-a-plate Western foods, move on to coconut milk and Pad Thai, and then abruptly switch to green salad and chicken when they start feeling the guilt.

IMG_0522

Nope. Not feeling guilty yet.

I’m not naming names, but a few of the teachers have become permanent fixtures.

And it’s Cute Patriotic Texas Beth for the win!

Todd and I usually visit several times per week. Even though I basically know the menu by heart, it takes me forever to make up my mind. Thankfully, Lip and her waiters do not subscribe to the hover school.

Just the Looking Cute and Perky school

They do, however, enjoy taking pictures of their customers eating. Such as this gem that showed up on their website. I’m sure it’s helped increase their sales.

The sad part is that I wasn’t even trying to pose for this one.

Although my arteries may disagree, I am pleased to have a convenient venue in which to eat tasty food and inflict my abominable Thai on unsuspecting waiters.

The Wives Club hits the mall

I’ve found myself visiting a lot of malls lately. No, this is not because I’m some kind of fashion plate. Even my best friends would acknowledge that my style tends to be more “discount day at the thrift store” than haute couture. In fact, I noticed today that my outfit was eerily similar to what the (male) construction workers at my apartment complex were wearing. It made me feel like I’ve missed my life’s calling.

I didn’t notice the toothpaste stain on my shorts until I saw this picture…

No, I find myself visiting malls lately because they’re an air conditioned refuge from my (still, sometimes) sewage-scented apartment. My life is going to get busier – it looks like I’ll be subbing at Todd’s school – but until the rest of my documents come in, I’m as free as one of Todd’s feathered friends (hence the apartment/mall time). The “open” schedule was cool at first – there are tons of tourist-y things to do in Bangkok – but now it’s crossing the line into lame-o territory. As I wait for work to start, I am strangely drawn to shopping malls – perhaps something about the utter vapidity of the experience dulls the stress of transition.

Today, mall-time was less vapid than usual, because I had the other members of The Wives Club with me. First, I met up with Cute Texas Beth. We are basically the same person: She’s a wife, I’m a wife. She’s waiting to sub, I’m waiting to sub. She looks like Audrey Hepburn, I look like Au… a Thai construction worker. But you get the point. We’re twins except that she says “Y’all” and I say “eh.”

Beth likes to show her love for her country by wearing patriotic clothing

On our way out, we picked up the Lovely Lip. She is also a wife, but she can’t be our twin because she actually has a job.

Lucky for me she’s willing to be seen with a construction-worker-wannabe

And we headed to a mall. Saying that Bangkok has shopping options is like saying that Todd digs numbers and birds: it’s a total understatement. Bangkok is essentially one big mall with some palaces and temples sprinkled in for variety. There are indoor options, outdoor options, and indoor’n’outdoor options. If I was a better planner, I would have included photos of a variety of malls, but who am I kidding? Planning is my kryptonite. Therefore, you get to see one mall, and one mall only.

But what a mall. Mega Bangna rises like a beacon of hope from a mire of crazy highways and intense humidity. Plus, its name is really fun to say.

Mega-Bangna-173925

It has a skating rink, a bowling alley, a cineplex, an Ikea, playgrounds, and a million donut shops.

So whether you’re simply a conspicuous consumer…

IMG_0218

And who doesn’t want to consume an Angry Bird?

A general binge eater…

IMG_0213

For some reason, I decided to eat porridge here

.

Or an Ikea connoisseur…

IMG_0005

45 Baht = $1.50 cdn

Mega’s got you covered. Lip’s taste in restaurants runs more towards “cute bistro” than “Ikea feeding trough,” and so we ended up at Cafe Marmalade for lunch.

I can’t make fun of this picture. They’re too cute.

Ahhh. Yellow curry with deep-fried bread. Just what the doctor ordered

I ended up having a way better, way less vacuous time than I usually do at Mega Bangna (try saying it with a hearty emphasis on the BANG). I’m really grateful for the other members of The Wives Club – they are a bright spot in this time of transition.

And just because I can’t bring myself to end on a serious note, here is one more photo. This alien-lady-thing lives outside of the mall.

Her body is covered in inane quotes about fashion, but the quote on her leg is one that I personally live by: “You don’t learn style watching people on a runway. Fashion happens every morning when you wake up.”

Yeah baby. Construction chic is happening now.