Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mommy-Terryn Date

I decided that last Wednesday, Terryn and I should go on a Mother-Son date out in the city. We'd been sick and cooped up in the house for about a week and we needed to get out.

First we went to Carl's Jr and had as close to an American-style hamburger as you can get here. Terryn ate pretty well and enjoyed the french fries. Then I took him to the Children's Garden in Vincom Center.

It's a place that has lots of foam blocks, swings and a huge playground. It's all indoors too so it's not too hot. Terryn had fun running around through all the tunnels, ramps and foam obstacles. He played for about an hour or so. I just sorta picked a spot where I could see him and sat down. I don't have much energy these days, but Heaven knows that Terryn does. It was good for him to burn off some energy.

After the Kid's Garden we wandered around the other games in the Center. Terryn really wanted to ride the helicopters... so I indulged him. I think it cost like 75 cents or something HUGELY extravagant. Hahahaha...
He had fun on the helicopters. After that he pretended to play a lot of video games. He kept motioning for me to come sit on the stool next to him. Then he'd move on to another game and have me sit by him again.
Once we left the game area I thought we'd finish off our night by sharing some frozen yogurt. He was getting a little cranky at this point. While we were waiting for our order to come to our table, Terryn had a total melt down. I was like, "Why did I even think he would be good the whole time?" He was being awful. Then when our dessert came he wouldn't even try it. I thought he might throw it or something so I was cautious.

I finally put a little bit on my finger and forced a little in his mouth. He continued his tantrum for about another 5 minutes. Then he magically calmed down and started eating the yogurt. He was fine after that. Go figure. Overall it was a good outing, but man those tantrums are hard on a tired, pregnant lady!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Needed Shower

So I was talking to Sean on the phone in computer room and Terryn was watching a movie. Suddenly, Terryn bursts into the room with only a shirt on and then he pees on the floor in front of me. What?!

I grabbed a towel and cleaned up the pool of pee. (Thank goodness our floors are all tile.) Then I take him to the potty where I see a scene of smeared poop. Luckily it wasn't that bad, but this is what I figure had happened.

Terryn pooped in his diaper and instead of coming to get me, he went to the bathroom and removed his diaper. Then he dumped the contents of his diaper into the toilet and put his diaper on the floor. In the process of trying to clean himself up he got some diaper nastiness on the toilet seat and a very small amount on the floor. Really, the mess wasn't that bad. I wiped everything up and then decided he needed a shower.
I think for Christmas, Grandma Tina had given Terryn a Lightning McQueen hooded towel.
He loves it.
It actually makes it easier for us to get him to take a bath or shower because then he knows he gets to wear it.
I let him lounge around in it for awhile before we put on his real clothes.
I decided I should at least snap a few pics of him in it. The picture quality is not that great because I took them with my phone. Until Sean comes back form the States, I have a hard time uploading photos without his laptop.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cupcake Creations

Sibylle wanted to make some of the cupcakes found in the book "Hello Cupcake", so we tried for three different ones. We had to use some different ingredients than they called for in the book because we can't always find everything here in Vietnam, but I think it worked out.
My favorite one was the sunflowers.
I think they are really fun to make and always turn out really great.
They next one we did was the pandas. We had some trouble with them because the kitchen was too hot and so the heads would fall off sometimes. Once we put them in the fridge that helped out with that.
I think you can tell it's a panda, but I wouldn't say that the cupcake looks very professional though. I think we would have had to spend a lot more time being careful when we did the faces for them to look nicer.
The third one we made were the owls. You might remember these cutie pies from Terryn's first birthday party. They are fun to make also and usually turn out really good too. Besides that the chocolate frosting and the chocolate cupcake taste great. We had a lot of fun making these. It made me start thinking of Easter and if I should be ambitious and do Easter cupcakes. I guess we'll wait and see.


Everyone at Terryn's school was sick and so of course Terryn got sick too. Gotta love it when parents don't keep their kids home from school when they are sick. Literally every child is sick and they are all still going to school. I kept Terryn home for three days until I learned they were all sick and still going to school.

The three days Terryn was home we did a lot of sleeping, drinking juice and watching movies. Terryn was pretty miserable and very cuddly. I caught him chewing on his thumb while we were watching Tangled.
I thought he looked a lot like someone else we all know when they were little. I haven't seen Terryn do this at all since he's been binky-free though. I think it was just because he was sick.
So after about a week of being sick, Terryn is getting a little better. He still has a cough, but it's not as nasty as it was before. The only thing is now I'm sick. Great. Hopefully Sean won't get sick while he's on his trip.

Sean is Famous

A few weeks ago both Terryn and Sean went to modeling sessions to be in different advertisements. Last week Sean showed up to work and a newspaper was sitting at his desk. It was opened up to an ad for baby formula and his face was circled with a note asking, "Is this you Sean?"
Hahahahaha.... someone at his work found the ad and everyone was talking about it.
The funniest part about it is that Sean's face is actually featured in the crowd about 8 or so times. See if you can spot them all in the picture.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Life is certainly an interesting thing. I feel like I have experienced a lifetime of emotions and experiences over the last few months. I have witnessed miracles taking place and seen tragedies hit the world and families I love.

I've felt utter sadness at the hearing of friends’ struggling with cancer, kidney failure and financial distress. I've felt grief at the passing of my grandfather. I’ve been shocked and saddened by the suffering of the people in the world hit by natural disasters, calamities and war. I've felt loneliness from the ocean that separates me from much of my family and friends.

But I've also felt gratitude and joy at the sudden recovery of my mother from mental illness. I’ve felt relief and happiness at feeling the little baby inside me kicking away at my insides. I feel excited hearing about my soon-to-be nephew and the prospect of being able to meet him in October. Terryn gives me joy and comfort with his snuggles, kisses and sweetness when I’m feeling sad or lonely. Phone conversations with friends and family make me grateful of the relationships I have that oceans cannot break.

Overall, I just feel gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for. Yes, sad and terrible things happen sometimes, but life isn't fair. The troubling times make us stronger in the end and I know that life doesn't end when we die. I’m thankful for family and friends that love me. I’m grateful for the baby that will join our family and for my nephew that will be born. (I’m excited for Terryn to have a cousin!) I’m also thankful that I will be able to spend some time back in Washington in a few months and that I will be able to have my baby with my family there to support me and help welcome him into the world.

To those that are going through hard times now, be patient. Pain doesn’t last forever. Turn to those you love and rally your strength. My heart goes out to you though I may be an ocean away.

So again I just want to say, thank you life. Thank you God. Thank you for being unexpected and giving me opportunities to grow and make choices. Life will continue to be interesting and I look forward to seeing what you have in store for me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hanging out with the Boys

Yesterday Terryn got to hang out with Jayden and Landyn. They were all so cute together.
Before we left they all played outside on the swing set. Terryn didn't want to be left out on the see-saw so he climbed up in the middle. Kids can be so funny.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dalat- The Dalat Palace

Before we left Dalat we had to get a picture in front of our hotel. I guess this hotel is pretty famous. I think it was built in 1922 or something and it was renovated about 15 - 20 years ago. This place is EXPENSIVE to stay. There's no way we would ever stay here if we had to pay for it ourselves. We're too cheap.Everything inside was very period 1920s. Even the fixtures in the bathroom seemed antique.
We even had a skeleton room key.

We had a pretty nice stay. The beds were comfortable and they had excellent service. The only down side was that the last night we stayed, the people in the next room were chain smokers and the smell kept bleeding into our room, making my asthma act up. We got a fan from housekeeping and that seemed to do the trick.
They call Dalat the Paris of Vietnam. Some of the radio towers were made to look a little like the Eiffel Tower. How funny.
On the way to dinner one night, as we were walking down the stairs of our hotel, we had a chance encounter with a toad. Sean kept wanting me to get closer to it, but I was like, "Nope." I didn't want it jumping on my head. Hahahaha... that would have been pretty funny though.

All in all our stay was great. It was nice having some time away from Terryn with just the two of us. We did miss him though. I think Dalat is a place we'd go again and maybe spend some more time here. Thanks Am Cham for the free trip!

Dalat- Rice Wine and The Crazy House

After Elephant Falls we had lunch across the street. It was in the little town of Nam Ban. Lunch was pretty good. It was Vietnamese food and our guide kept ordering more food. I kept thinking, "You know there is only four people right?" Oh well. We had lots of selection.We went to a little place where they make rice wine. Our guide was telling us that after the war there was no food, so they didn't make stuff like this. Now there is an abundance so it's okay.

At one part of our tour, one of the guide was telling us what happened to his family when the North took over the South. He said they took his father and he was in a re-education camp for 8 years. After the 8 years he came back to live with their family again, only to die a year later from the affects of the camp. He said that his sister's husband was a high officer in the Southern Army and so they sought asylum in the United States. He was in school at the time and I don't know if he was allowed to finish or not. Many times any association with the Southern Army made your life miserable after the North took over. Our guide told us that he doesn't like the Communist Government, but he doesn't have a choice.
The last stop of our tour was something called "The Crazy House." I kept thinking to myself... hmmm... I really don't want to visit an insane asylum in a 3rd world country on my vacation. Luckily that is not at all what it was.
The 2nd President of Vietnam's daughter went to architecture school in Russia and decided to build this really... well.... crazy-looking house.
The premises is huge. There are rooms and pathways everywhere. Not all of them are very safe either. The bridge that Sean is crossing barely has hand rails and is pretty narrow. You could totally fall about two-stories.
The house was pretty interesting. Everyone has to pay an entrance fee to see it and that money goes to continue building the house. It's like a never-ending construction project. It almost reminds me of something you might see in Disneyland... except for the safety concerns. Hahahaha.

Dalat- Elephant Falls

After viewing the various farms in the area, we stopped at Elephant Falls.
We took a short little hike down to the waterfall, but not without taking a few wrong turns. The path was not marked at all and it goes partly over rocks, with other random dead-end trails that lead away from the real trail.
There were some pretty interesting rock formations and I think Sean was getting a hankering to rock-climb.
The falls were pretty, but really not very large.
We never really figured out why it was called elephant falls.
There was a little path through this cave-looking pathway that led to behind the falls.
We decided to check out the view. I would have taken more pictures here, but mist was flying everywhere and I didn't want to get my lens wet. Sean probably could have gone directly behind the falls, but I was being a pansy and he stayed with me. The rocks were really slippery here and the path behind the falls was narrow and had a drop-off.
I think anyone who had a severe fear of height would have a problem with the trail down to the falls. There were narrow make-shift stairs, but nothing really to hold on to. You had to have good balance to make it.
Again, we have no idea why they call it Elephant Falls. Maybe someone put these statues here and that's where the name came from. We decided to pose in front... or in Sean's case... on the decrepit elephants.
Sean kept wanting me to sit on the elephants.... I was like... ummmm.... I don't think so, but you can. I'll take your picture.

Dalat- Farms

Our tour continued as we passed through more of the Dalat area. We came to the flower farms. We stopped off and saw how they bundle the roses for market and saw greenhouses full of Gerber daisies, roses, lilies and many other flowers.
Then our guides showed us some of the coffee fields.
Vietnam is quite new at the coffee trade and they told us that there are three major types of coffee that they grow. The most popular is the Robusta coffee. Our guides brought us up to the white coffee flowers and they smell AMAZING! If they sold a coffee flower perfume, I would so be all over that. It has to be one of the most fragrant and lovely flowers I have ever smelled.
They showed us where the bean grows on the plant, but it's a little too early right now to see them ripe on the tree.
We did get to see the remnants of last year's crop. It was interesting to see how the shell that covers the beans. The beans are really wet and almost white before they are roasted. They do not acquire the "coffee" smell until they are roasted either.
On our way to the next farm, I managed to snap a picture of Sean on the motorbike. We each had our own guide and rode on different bikes.
Our next destination was the silk farm. It was a smallish building, but inside they do everything with silk. They begin with the cocoons and go all the way to finished dyed fabric. The cocoons are what contain the silk. The larvae or worm wraps itself up in a silk blanket... so to speak. When it emerges, it becomes a white moth.
Most of the worms never get to this point. Many are taken before they emerge and the cocoon is taken to make the silk thread. The ones not taken are left to mate and make more silk worms.
The cocoons taken for silk are brought over and boiled. The worker finds a thread and loops it into the machine that gathers and makes the thicker thread. About 20 cocoons go into making a strand of the thicker silk thread. What's interesting is that the boiled worms are taken to market and sold for eating. Our guide told us they were good. I'll just take his word for it.
After the silk thread is gathered on a spool, it is threaded on another spool on a machine that pumps in hot air. This dries the thread. The thread is then taken to a machine where it is woven into cloth. This machine was pretty awesome. It has some sort of punch guide up top that creates the pattern in the cloth. Very cool. The cloth is then dyed and sold.

Sean really liked visiting this factory. I think it ended up being one of his favorite parts of our trip. It was really interesting to see how they make silk fabric.
This is a video of the silk threads being taken from the cocoons and wound on a spool.

Dalat- Van Hanh Pagoda & 6 Hill Hiking

The next morning we were off on another bike adventure. Our tour started off at the Van Hanh Pagoda where there a sat a very Catholic-looking Buddha. We just thought it was strange how much of the Buddhist art depicts their holy people with halos around their head, much like that of typical Catholic art.The Pagoda grounds were not very big, but I think some monks lived on the premises.
We at least managed to get a group shot of us there.
One of the first things we did we got to the pagoda was buy Sean a sweater. He was a little cold and forgot to bring his jacket to Dalat. He'll be sporting his $7 sweater in most of the pictures from here on out. We were lucky that they had a little shop there full of sweaters.
We didn't really spend much time at this pagoda. We've been to a LOT of pagodas and unless there is something really impressive, we tend to get a little bored with them.
When we were done looking around at the pagoda and met back up with our guides, they showed us the view from the hill. Dalat has a lot of farm land. I took a picture of the view from the hill where the pagoda was and you can see many, many greenhouses. Dalat, in fact, grows most of the produce for Ho Chi Minh City. Our fruits and veggies either come from Dalat or the Mekong Delta.
We continued on our tour and took a quick stop to look at a terraced valley.
Up on the hillside was a huge cemetery. It almost looks like a city.
We drove a little further and took another stop where you could see tons of farm land.
In the background is lady mountain. The locals believe it looks like a lady lying down. It's hard to tell because the top of the mountain is covered over. We joked around saying she has clothes on now.
Our next stop was 6 mountain. It was a little strange. We just stopped in the middle of nowhere and our guides said to follow the trail up the hill. It was slow going for me because I am WAY out of shape... on top of being pregnant.
Sean was patient with me and we eventually made it to the top. The view was pretty.
It was so refreshing to be in nature. That's something I miss living in Ho Chi Minh City because it is literally city everywhere. There are very few peaceful places surrounded by nature in the city.