Monday, January 31, 2011


i am reading the book, The Element, by Ken Robinson at the moment.  it was a suggestion from my husband after he saw Ken's TED talk online and insisted that i watch it.  he knows that i love all things about education reform, creativity, and rethinking how we are teaching and loving on students.  anyhow, i bought the book.  i am reading it and cannot put it down.  i am reading two books and loving both, so i have to share the love and keep up with both.  i find myself carrying around both and deciding which to read and then taking turns the next time i have a chance to read.  ok, back to the point.....

books like these have me thinking and reflecting all the time.  i think about my own life, my interests, my desires, things i am passionate about.......and then i ask myself questions such as, "do i love what i do?  do i love it so much that nine hours feels like twenty minutes?"  last week, i was thinking more along the lines of teaching is not really my "element" as Ken puts it.  although today i am thinking it is.  it seems that i could change my mind daily for the rest of my life.  i am a nerd.  i think more than anything i love to see kids learn and LOVE it.  i love to read about kids who are passionate about a topic and learn all they can.  i love to see learning "click" in their heads.  it is an amazing thing to witness and be a part of.

just now, i was catching up on reading blogs in google reader and i come across this post written by Kristen.  her son is a third grader and has just learned about money, entrepreneurship and getting out of debt.  her writing is real and it makes me laugh.  i read her post and i am reminded that i love watching, hearing and learning of kids loving learning.  he may not get his multiplication tables done in less than a minute, read independently b/c he loves it, but he does GET the economics system his teacher has going.  that is awesome!  that is a huge deal!  so much more than grades on a report card or standardized testing.  i don't know these folks personally, but i know that her son is awesome and if i were his teacher i would be so proud and energized by her son's passion for starting his own business.  stories like this make it all worth it--the crazy parents, the days when you just want to go back to bed, behaviors that test patience forever, being judge judy---stories like this one encourage me.

i am passionate about learning.  i am passionate about helping kids finding their passion for learning.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

turning over a new leaf....

this week i began doing to the "couch to 5K" running program. basically, one goes from being a couch potato to being able to run a 5K over the course of training slowly in nine weeks time.  for nine weeks, i am exercising three times per week.  this week i ran/walked three times--monday, wednesday and friday.  monday was brutal, wednesday was rough, but friday was good.  i am excited to start working on becoming more fit over the next eight weeks.  a friend that i teach with, K, is exercising with me which makes it much more tolerable and the time goes by faster when we work out together.  fun times!

i am also trying to keep an eye on what i am eating.  i am trying to keep it to healthy choices as much as possible.    i feel that i am pretty good at portion control, but i need to make sure i am keeping track of what is going in and making sure it is a healthy choice.  i also have given up alcohol since it's all empty calories.  i am reserving glasses of wine for once in a while and special occasions.  for instance, tonight at dinner i had a glass of white wine.  i felt like i needed to reward myself for the great job i did exercising all week.  i only had one glass and drank lots of water in between.  it felt great!

here's to continuing to make great choices to treat my body like a temple and not a trash can....


  • i slept in until 10:30am
  • i made breakfast for myself
  • i caught up on blog reading all the blogs i follow
  • we went to lunch at a new cafe called la pitou on street 19
  • we went to bayon supermarket for a grocery run
  • we came home
  • we watched episodes of the sopranos
  • we decided to go to dinner at yumi, one of our absolute favorites
  • we stopped so paul could get a latte at brown on street 51
  • we came home
  • we watched the newest episode of portlandia

Thursday, January 20, 2011

love this....

a blogger i follow posted this on her blog lately and i was inspired and encouraged....

Jeremiah 29:13
“When you seek Me you will find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart.” --NIV

“When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me. Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” --The Message

love it because i never get this far--- one of my favorite life verses, Jeremiah 29:11, about hope--is where i usually stop, but i love this verse too.

good stuff for my heart and head.  :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Summer Dates for Travel

We have purchased tickets---YEAH!

We arrive in Seattle on June 20th, leave for cruise to Alaska on June 25th, and get back to Seattle on July 2nd.
We will arrive in Houston in the evening on July 2nd and leave Houston early in the morning on July 19th.

Mark your calendars!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

my cool new pens

first 11 of '11: 1.8.11

oh, saturday how i love thee...this is the one day of the week that paul and i have this incredible ability to sleep past noon until almost one or two o'clock.  it's awesome and something we kind of cherish.  it's sounds silly, but it's something we do almost every saturday.

we ate lunch at lone star saloon (#30 on street 23) which is always fun and guaranteed to be satisfying.  paul ordered his favorite migas and i had eggs on toast smothered in cream sausage gravy (tastes like my momma's).  it was divine and wonderful.  whenever we eat here it's a reminder of being back in texas and eating home food. the staff is super nice and friendly.  the owner is from fort worth which you might already know from other posts.

after lunch we had some errands to run.  our first stop was gloria jean's for a coffee fix for paul.  then off to peace book center to check out flatbed scanners.  we have never been to this shop either, so i had to take inventory of all the lovely office/school supply items they offer.  it makes me happy.  i bought four new colored pens and a whole set of staedtler colored pens too that came with a nifty zip pouch.  yes, i am obsessed with all things school supply related especially pens, markers, crayons, etc.

next stop russian market to pick up the lamp shade and two new lamps i ordered.  the exciting part of the trip for me was that i knew exactly what entrance to go in and walked right to the shop without having to figure out where i was.  this may sound mundane but is a huge accomplishment when making one's way around the markets here.  unfortunately, the lamps and lampshade aren't ready.  :(  i have to go back on monday.

back at home, i am trying out all my new pens i got at the book center and planning to scan some receipts for health insurance claims.  super exciting stuff here at the falgouts.  i did blog about our summer plans and receive news that one of my cousins, marc, and his wife, casey, gave birth to their first child on the 7th.  i know that my aunt is beside herself excited to be a grandma for the first time and have a grandson to spoil and love on.

a quite productive evening here--scanned all the receipts, organized and cleaned off the desk, and had some creative ideas for home decor.  woo hoo!  we went off to dinner at k'nyay which is always a treat.  i had chicken amok and paul had prawn amok.  amok is a traditional khmer dish that is curry like and served with rice.  so good and full of flavors.  we had ice cream for dessert which is vegan--coconut milk instead of cow milk---and it's amazing.  paul loves the cherry & almond and my choice is usually the chocolate & orange.  wow.

last stop before coming home was another coffee fix for paul.  instead of gloria jean's we stopped at a new place near GJs called bread is ready, coffee is done--BRCD for short.  it's a great space with lots of local art up on the walls.  fast wifi, power plugs, and lots of seating to choose from.  we also learned that the owner is korean and we met his sister who is here in PP on holiday from uni in australia.  super nice and i even got to speak korean.  yeah!  the coffee is decent and i will report about the pastries in the morning after i eat them for breakfast.  i got two scones and a blueberry muffin.

now for some tv or a movie to top off the evening here at the falgout casa.  it's a toss up about whether we watch more big bang or a movie.

summer plans announcement

excited to share that we are traveling to the states this summer for the holiday.  some of the tickets have been purchased and plans are being made which makes it all pretty official.  we aren't sure on the dates of arrival and departure as we have not purchased the plane ticket from cambodia to america yet.  paul is working on that part.

the only plans we know of right now are that we will be on a cruise leaving seattle from june 25th-july 2nd to ALASKA.  we will be traveling with paul's parents and we are thrilled.  i have been on one cruise before and paul has never been.  i told him that to get me to go again we had to go somewhere that i think is cool---such as the mediterranean, around the southern part of south america or alaska.  so here we are....going on a cruise to alaska.  i have a few activities i hope to take part of while on this trip--my wish list--1) to hang out/see/participate in dog mushing and 2) to see bears and other animals in the wild.  paul has been doing lots of research on how to best make this happen for me which makes me love him so.

the unofficial plan is to arrive in seattle from PP a few days before the cruise and play in the city.  it's one of our favorite american cities.  then after cruise we will fly to houston to see family and friends for about two and a half weeks or so.  i have started the "to do list" for houston, the "shopping" list, and the "must visit these stores" list.  i am weirdo, i know.  i also have the "friends i must see/visit with" list.  i am list making queen, as many people can affirm.  it works for me.

mark your calendars, peeps!  we are coming to america!

first 11 of '11: 1.7.11

we slept in this morning and it was great.  we got up about 11am and the house was crazy quiet since our friends left last night.  it was almost freaky.  we went to fatboy subs again for lunch.  it was fantastic and yes, i had the same thing---filly cheese steak sandwich.  paul walked me home and then went off to work at gloria jean's.

i washed up some dishes, tried to work on our ant problem (seems futile), had some ice cream with fanta soda (flavor not sure b/c i cannot read khmer, but it tastes like root beer) and caught up on all my blogs that i read in google reader.  i also was able to check one item off the weekend to do list too which is always nice--skype with my close friend K in seoul.  we have not caught up at all this break, so it was fabulous to do so today.  i miss her and her family dreadfully and always love that we can connect via technology.  i attempted to clean/organize our desk, but that did not get too far.  it does look better, but not great.  we are in desperate need of some sort of drawers/shelves for that space for all the paperwork/extra office like stuff one has.

i read a blog today that has me thinking about our "stuff".  the author mentions a book that i quickly added to my eBook wish list at barnes & noble.  it's called the 100 thing challenge: how i got rid of almost everything, remade my life, and regained my soul by dave bruno.  the idea intrigues me.  i might download soon and give it a browse to see what it is about.  although i am thinking we might not be able to do it since we have collectibles from our travels.  who knows?  anyone read it?

the book i am currently reading i am still unsure about.  i picked it up based on a colleague's suggestion and found it in the free pile in the staff room, so i figured why not.  i am just over half way and cannot decide if i like it, want to keep reading it, or just abandon it.  part of me keeps hoping that it will change and get better, but i am not so sure.  i have never read a book that bothers me in a way that i cannot really put words to.  it's the oddest feeling.  it's called a fine balance by rohinton mistry.

a short afternoon nap once paul got home, then we were off to dinner.  we decided to give magnolia (vietnamese) a try again because many people keep saying how much they like it and such.  so off we has a nice ambiance for sure.  we chose to sit outside and unfortunately were disappointed to learn that they only serve pho at breakfast.  what?!?!  come on.  strike #1.  we finally decided what to order--spring rolls with steamed crab (off a specials menu), i ordered the grilled beef with garlic and paul ordered a beef salad cambodian style.  the spring rolls were not so wonderful.  strike #2.  my beef was ordinary, but not mind blowing or anything.  then paul's meal arrived and he began to check it out and discovered onions after ordering specifically no onions.  strike #3.  we were done.  it took us a while to track down a server who spoke english well enough to communicate he ordered no onions and indeed there were onions in the salad.  ugh.  we asked them to remake and off they went.  shortly we thought we would just be done, so again i attempted to wave down an english speaking server to explain that we wanted to cancel the salad remake and would like the bill.  confused he walked away, but brought the bill later.  magnolia is not on the nnot so great list of our food choices here in PP.  we don't get it b/c many people we know have raved over it, but we just cannot make the magic happen here.  the great thing is that there are a million other choices that we enjoy and want to try, so it's not a big loss.

we walked across the street to a place called fortune pho or pho fortune.  we are not sure to be honest.  it's a small, simple pho shop.  no frills, but has all the good pho.  the menu has mostly pho choices so paul was thrilled.  the staff is friendly and tries there best to make the most of communication with us.  a nice change from magnolia.  paul ordered beef pho and i ordered fried spring rolls.  both were quite good and we will go back.  simple and right on.  this place gets two thumbs up from us.

after dinner, we made one more stop at fresco on the riverfront for a dessert.  i got a scoop of hokey pokey ice cream (butterscotch flavor with small bits of butterscotch) and paul got some special banana, coconut smoothie.  got home and watched more episodes of big bang theory.  the current tv choice since many of our shows have been on a break for the holidays.  i think many of them start back up this week.

Friday, January 7, 2011

first 11 of '11: 1.6.11

today was an overall great day!  it all began just before 10:40am when i roused myself awake just before the alarm went off.  i got to sleep a bit more since paul claimed the shower first.  yeah, i love when he does that for me.  the girls went to lunch at the living room cafe down in bkk and it was fabulous.  the younger girls played in the kids playroom while the older girls chatted and reflected on the holiday here.  it was a fabulous time and all of thoroughly enjoyed being together.  we had lunch and then made three stops before coming back to the house for the afternoon--the frame shop, monument toys, and the pharmacie.  i got the cool indigo dyed fabric i bought in laos sorted out for framing as well as the piece of art that our favorite cafe owner in seoul, jenny, made for us when we were there in october.  big check off the list of the last bits for now of the home decorating.  monument books/toys was to get a birthday present for the smallest girl of the bunch and both of them spent a bit of their christmas cash on crafty items too.  last stop was the pharmacie, my friend needed to stock up on some basic meds that they can get here and not get in seoul.

afternoon tea at the house with our housekeeper, ming, and her entire family.  stu made scones and they were awesome!  we visited, took pictures, and played video games.  the afternoon breezed by and soon it was time for round one of goodbyes.  ugh....they are hard no matter what the circumstance i think.  the girls were really sad to say goodbye to sreyleak.  they have had such a great time being together for the last few weeks.

we kept dinner simple by ordering in pizza.  we shared one last meal together before starting round two of goodbyes which were more gut wrenching than the first.  ming did not want to leave the girls and they surely did not want to leave her.  it was hard to watch and totally a heart breaker.  soon after the girls laid down for a nap before having to leave for the airport.  the adults sat down stairs doing one last bit of chatting before the tuk tuk crew arrive to carry our friends and all their luggage to the airport.  it was sad, hard, tough, and tearful.

paul and i again closed the night with some episodes of big bang theory to cheer up our moods and topped it off with the latest modern family.  no big plans for the weekend at this point......we just want to rest and i am sure that won't be an issue since we seem to have genetic gifts of sleeping and resting.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

first 11 of '11: 1.5.11

word of the day: REST!

i did lots of it and it was awesome.  paul and i had lunch together which is always a treat since we don't get to when i am working.  we went to fatboy subs around the corner from our house.  they are super good.  simliar to subway, but SOOO much better.  subway on steroids is the description we often use.  i had a filly cheesesteak and it was so yummy.  we shared a cookie (paul got it free with his frequent buyer card) and then he walked me home.  he was off to gloria jeans to work and i had no plans for the afternoon.

i spent much of the afternoon in bed---sleeping and/or cuddling with our cat, India.  she loves to cuddle and just have attention since Sam passed away.  it's been a nice change since she usually can be quite the independent kitty.

last night we took our friends and their friends to Yumi which is easily one of our favorites here in PP.  it's a fusion Japanese place and has an unique menu.  the Yumi pork ribs are the best i have ever had.  it was fun to go with more people as we tried much more of the menu than we usually would/could.  it was such a smattering of this and that and the best part was that everything we tried was amazing.  i cannot wait until our next visit there.  such a gem in our city.

paul and i finished off the evening watching somce big bang theory after our friends went to bed.  we really have grown to love the show and always have a good laugh which is therapeutic.

another great day of holiday.........three more days before i go back to work.........

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

first 11 of '11: 1.4.11

today was a whirlwind of a shopping day, but not for me.  my friends spent much of the day at a local designer's shop, ambre, trying on lots and lots of clothes.  i sat by and watched the madness which was interesting, thought provoking, and filled with lots of artsy like thoughts.  i learned i am not really into being fashionable, but i prefer being comfortable.  i do like certain things, but prefer a much more casual look than my friends.  some are made for fashion, some are made for comfort.

dinner was simple....paul and i went to our local little indian place around the corner.  it was quite tasty and good.  always a nice meal!  we came home and watched more big bang theory which is always guaranteed to provide a good laugh.  paul and i are tv junkies.  this is one of the ways that we spend quality time together even though i wished we watched less, but it is what it is.  i am not going to punish and berate myself for the facts of life.  it's not going to kill us.

Monday, January 3, 2011

first 11 of '11: 1.3.11

today i slept in until 11am which was glorious.  india has been quite the snuggly cat since the beginning of the holidays.  when i woke up this morning she was sitting near my head, curled up and asleep.  so nice!  got up, gathered my clothes and took a shower.  then sheree and i made our way out the door for another trip to russian market.  i was armed with a list--lamp lady, silk lady, and mirror lady.  i bought some orange silk for cushion covers and a runner for our bedroom.  i also some to cover the new lamps.  i am so excited about the new look for our bedroom.  after the silk lady, we went to the lamp lady to give her the orange silk to cover the new lamps and give her my sketch of the korean lamp that is still in need of a lamp shade six months later.  :)  thrilled about this too.  last stop was to purchase the big mirror i had found a few days ago.  we bargained her down and i was thrilled with the final price.  i had asked her for the measurements so i could come home and make sure it would fit and look proportionate.  she wrapped it up and added hangers while sheree did some clothes shopping here and there.

the last stop before coming home was at the frame shop, but again they were closed.  not sure where they are or what the deal is, but they possibly might be on holiday.  who knows?!?!  we will try again tomorrow.  i bought some beautiful indigo blue fabric in laos that we cut into 5 one meter strips to be framed separately.  then i also have a piece of art made for us by our favorite cafe owner in seoul, jenny.

now back at home, we had lunch of cheese toasty sandwiches, fresh mango and bananas, and some leftover roasted veg from last night's dinner.  so good.  i think it might be time for a nap and some reading.  i love the holidays.

paul and i had dinner out together at tell restaurant.  we chose the cheese fondue and beef fondue.  it was quite tasty and we were happy with our selection.  it was nice to have dinner with him and be able to catch up and just be together.  we ordered vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert.  yum!

made a short stop at bayon for beverages and other needs before coming home to watch some tv.  we chose to watch some more big bang theory which is hilarious.  we have decided that season 2 episode 11 is the BEST show to date.  we laughed until we were crying.......great fun!

first 11 of '11

had this genius idea today while running errands around town in the tuk tuk.....

going to reflect at the end of each day for the first 11 days of '11.  first two down, nine more to go....

Sunday, January 2, 2011

first 11 of '11: 1.2.11

slept in a bit more today as the first stir and conscious moment was about 9am.  it feels so nice to sleep until i want to get up instead of being jolted awake by an alarm clock.  today was a low key laid back day which i wanted.  i ate some breakfast amongst the madness that is our home at the moment.  i love the people and hustle & bustle.  it's so nice to have so much going on in one small place.  i made a hair appointment for myself as i needed to redeem the hair-gone-wrong situation that i was living with.  walked down to sokun's place hoping and praying for some redemption and good style for my hair.  a few hours later i walked out pleased and happy. it is truly a huge difference---color and cut.  i am so much happier this go round.  came home to an empty house which was nice, surprisingly.  i caught up on blogs and just sat in the quiet.  i ended up laying on the couch for a bit too which was lovely.

everyone came home about the same time and we all shared about our day and adventures.  the girls had been to the pool, gotten ice cream, and played in the sandy area at the cafe.  they had lots to share.  i planned and drew some of my ideas for the guest room and accenting our room while everyone busily did their own thing.  stu made dinner, paul worked, the girls played and did this and that.  sheree managed to make the rounds to see what everyone was up to and doing.

dinner was amazing.  roasted chicken with roasted veggies, a super yummy gravy, broccoli and cauliflower bake, and yummy honey drizzled baked carrots.  wow!  it is nice sharing meals with others.  i love that our table has been full of folks when we sit down for dinner.  all six of us piled around, passing plates, talking, sharing.....makes my heart happy.  the adults do some tag team washing up while the girls wait patiently for the desserts to make appearance.  after dinner, grace teaches her dad a thing or two about the new super mario on the wii while sophie and sheree sit and watch.  i sit back and take it all in and paul is back at his computer working.

another great day here at the falgout abode.  off to read before bed.

first 11 of '11: 1.1.11

paul and i went to lunch at java cafe.  it was nice.  we sat upstairs outside on the balcony.  the weather was perfect and there was a gentle breeze that made sitting there heavenly.  i ordered a christmas coffee sans the orange peel and iced with a breakfast sandwich.  yum!  paul had a beef fajita wrap.  after we went to gloria jean's where we spent much of the afternoon hanging out.  i read some, attempted to start a new crochet project, and people watched.  paul worked and plugged away at learning new action script.

later i went to russian market with sheree to hunt for things for the house.  she had a list too.  i found some new fabric that i am going to use in our guest room, a mirror for our room, ordered a lamp shade, and eyed some new lamps for our room too.  it was a fun trip and i am feeling much more confident shopping in russian market.

we made our way home via the frame shop, but she was closed for the holiday.  for another day it seems!

we had dinner out with all four of the adults and left the littles at home with ming.  we went to ocean for dinner and it was fantastic per usual.  i chose the beef fillet a la ocean.  yum!  we had some great conversation over amazing food.  so nice to connect with friends and talk about all sorts of things.


this year:

  • spent the holidays in Houston with family and friends
  • mandy accepted a new teaching job in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • visited Boston
  • visited Nashville
  • mandy got her first tattoo in Nashville
  • cleaned out the closets in preparation for the move
  • visited Phnom Penh, Cambodia for spring break to see our new home
  • mandy designed another set for the 4th grade play, 1,000 Cranes
  • packed up all our stuff to be shipped to Phnom Penh
  • mandy got 2nd tattoo in Seoul
  • said goodbye to our good friends in Seoul
  • moved the family (cats and all) to Phnom Penh
  • mandy's mom came to visit us (our first visitor)
  • went to Siem Reap and visited Angkor Wat
  • mandy started a new school year 
  • leslie came to visit us in Phnom Penh
  • spent a week in Seoul visiting friends and places we missed
  • took the bus to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to visit a friend
  • watched and prayed as Cambodians experienced tragedy 
  • celebrated paul's 30th birthday in Kep, Cambodia (surprise!)
  • watch our dear Sam, the cat, decline in health and be put down
  • welcomed friends from Seoul for the Christmas holidays
  • traveled to Luang Prabang, Laos for five days
  • rang in the new year at home--mandy asleep and paul working