Monday, June 27, 2011

Baby Stuff

So in this post I'm sharing what I've found AND also asking "Can I get YOUR feedback please?" for baby products. I've been updating my baby registries for like the millionth time and trying to figure out what I'd really like to have for the new baby. My registries are at Babies R' US, Target and Amazon. They are really bare-bone lists. We still have some stuff from when we had Terryn, like clothes, boppy pillow, breast pump and such, but I'm really looking for items that will make my life easier over here in Vietnam.

I've found a few things that I've seen other parents use and they have RAVED about them. I have to admit these are some of the products I'm really excited about. Some of these I've already purchased for myself and others I'm waiting to see if people might indulge me and baby.

One of the items is a nursing cover. The one I had for Terryn SUCKED. It was WAY too small and not long enough. This one from Bebe au Lait had good reviews and looks like it will be big enough. I really need a cover since I have a housekeeper and we're having a friend (a guy) from church living with us for a few months. I need to keep my modesty around the house and if I go out on the town with baby in tow.

This is one I actually just purchased because I found it for like 50% off. It's just about the coolest diaper bag I have ever seen from Go Gaga. One of the best features is the unique shoulder strap that distributes the weight of the bag across your shoulder and your back. I've heard that it's super comfortable. It also fits a TON of stuff inside. The bottle holders on the side are insulated and your bottles will actually stay inside because of the shape of the pocket. There are also stroller straps (in the picture the lady is using it to hold a yoga mat). I watched a couple youtube videos about the bag and just fell in love with it. Hopefully I will love the bag when I actually get it and use it. In fact, I will probably use the bag for myself after I don't need a diaper bag anymore.

This one I also purchased for myself. These strollers are AWESOME. They are from Phil & Teds  and they are about the most innovative strollers on the market. The really cool thing about these strollers is that they keep their retail value really well. Don't believe me? Go look on eBay or Craigslist and see how much people are selling the used strollers for. I needed a tandem stroller and a side by side model is definitely NOT an option here in Vietnam. I needed a really compact, robust stroller that I could take around a city with small doorways and rough sidewalk. A lot of ex-pats here have this stroller and I was able to talk to them about it and ask lots of questions. I also love the fact that you can kind of "hide" your infant when you have it in the reclined position. People are too touchy here and I'd rather them not put their hands all over my young baby. The other thing about this stroller is that you can customize it for your needs. You can buy the second or tandem seat only if you need it. You can purchase other accessories for it too like a storm cover, travel bag, food tray, stroller caddy, etc. The items that compliment my stroller like the food tray, travel bag, sun shade and saddle bags are items I'm really coveting. I'm hoping someone will get me the travel bag because I HAVE to have it. I'll probably end up having to buy it myself before we fly back home. The stroller also has a travel system for car seat adaptability.

These are innovative and "green" little products. This particular snack bag is by Itzy Ritzy but can also be found at Target. I love the fact that these snack bags are washable and reusable. For me in Vietnam, we can't always find the right size zip-lock bags... and they aren't always very good quality. Something like this is a good option for someone like me. Itzy Ritzy also features other items like wet bags that would also be awesome to have.
This product is by Innobaby, but there are other similar products. I have to say I'm a fan of the stackable snack containers. How many times how you been digging through your bag for your kids snacks? This way they are all together and will end up taking less room in the diaper bag... in fact you could probably just put it in the bottle pocket on the side of the bag. You can also store formula (dry) in here if you want.

These bibs are by Dex Products. My cousin used them for his kids and they rock! They are huge and the snap out bottom pocket catches everything. I really hate the bibs designed for babies because they are generally WAY too small. These bibs really save your kid's clothes from getting stained. The kiddo can also look down and go for seconds from the pocket that caught all their dropped food.

This will be the first time that I will probably be exclusively breast-feeding AND making my own baby food. Baby food here in Vietnam is EXPENSIVE. It's imported and frankly... I'm not willing to spend $3-$6 a bottle for baby food when I can just make it myself. Something like this will help me make baby-sized portions (any lidded ice cube tray would do) and the cookbook will give me baby food recipe ideas (which I could also find online). 

So now the question to all of you is what was your FAVORITE baby product or item that made your life so much easier when the new arrival came? Please let me know because I am very interested to hear your ideas.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Packing Terryn's Backpack

Recently we bought a roller backpack for Terryn. Chelsey had let me borrow one of her boys' roller backpacks so I could take it on the airplane with me when we leave. Terryn loved it so much that he would drag it all over the house. I decided I needed to buy one for him. I would have hated for Terryn to break a backpack that didn't belong to him. 

I searched all over town and eventually found one. I was hoping to find one that had a character on it that I recognized or that Terryn would think was cool. I didn't really, but whatever... he LOVES his backpack. He wants to take it to school with him in the mornings and he has a fit if we don't take it. It wasn't a big deal. Other kids bring bags to school so I think maybe Terryn wants to be like everyone else. When I pick him up from school, he loves to remember to haul his backpack out to the car. When we arrive home he loves to haul it into the house. I think having this backpack is going to be great for when we're at the airport.

I've been trying to figure out what to pack in it when it's time to head to the airport. I can't pack anything too heavy... but today it looks like Terryn made up my mind for me.
Apparently Terryn would prefer to pack himself in the bag. Hahahahaha!
I was laughing so hard. I HAD to grab my camera and snap pics of him packing himself into the bag.
He got stuck a few times when the bag would fall over, but he would just pack himself into the bag again.
What a silly little boy.
We only have 5 more days to finish up our packing and then we'll be headed to good ol' Seattle. It's going to be a long flight and a long stay in the US, but hopefully we'll have lots of fun. Hopefully we won't drive my parents too crazy by staying in their house so long. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

34 Weeks

Okay, so these are my 34 week pregnancy pictures. I actually looked half-way decent yesterday so I made Sean take a few pictures.
I mean, I know my belly is big, but I don't feel like it's one-more-month-to-go big. I feel like I'm carrying this baby pretty in and low.
In fact, the little stinker insists on sitting right on top of my bladder so I feel like I have to pee all the time. When he kicks or wiggles it can be pretty painful. I guess he's just tired of being squished and in the dark. Only one more month to go little guy!

Terryn's End of Year School Party

Yesterday was Terryn's end of the year school party. The parents were invited to come in the morning and spend some outdoor time with their kids. Then they were invited inside for a snack and afterwards the children gathered in a circle and sang songs.
 Terryn is still quite the loner. He usually plays by himself. He loved playing in the sand pit with the different excavators, tractors and shovels.
Then he was off to drive around the wheeled contained that held the balls. Some kids decided he need help and at one point there were four kids all pushing this container around. When they got tired of that, they resorted to diving inside of it and getting pushed around while inside.
They had a man come and make little figures for the kids. I'm not sure what the dough was made out of, but when Terryn picked one out he stuck it in his mouth and bit the head off. Nice. Then he spit out the head. I guess it didn't taste very good. The guy was pretty talented though. He made flowers, cartoon character, dragons, fish, people, etc. They were pretty interesting.
Then Terryn took time to go swinging... again... such a little loner.

Then it was time to go up for treats. We ate for quite awhile. I was glad to be back inside in the air conditioning. I was dying outside. In fact I was getting so hot that I couldn't follow Terryn around anymore. I had to sit down and drink some water. I got a little too overheated and it affected me for the rest of the day. For the snacks they had popcorn, fruit, cupcakes, little hot dogs and coconut dessert. Terryn loved the popcorn. I had to keep getting him more. He actually really liked the fruit too. I ate everything. I was starving. When I get overheated I think it makes my blood sugar levels drop. So I ate a bunch and had two cupcakes (I know I'm a pig), but it did help me feel better.
After snack it was song time. The kids gathered in a circle and sang songs and made hand motions. Terryn stayed sitting for about 3 songs and then he got up and started playing with toys. I swear the kid is ADD sometimes. I least I could tell that he actually can sing songs. It was cute. I was glad I went. I know Terryn will miss school, but he'll be happy to be back next October when we're back in Vietnam.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What is Sean Teaching our Child?

A few weeks ago Sean took Terryn swimming. He was in the process of changing him back into his clothes when Terryn decided to swing around the umbrella pole.
Ummmm... is it just me or is 2 too young to teach your child to pole dance? At least this picture showcases Terryn's nice farmer's tan.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Sake Tree

We have a sake tree in front of our house. It's quite a large tree that produces fruit in June and July and has some of the biggest leaves I've ever seen.
I'm constantly having to pick them up out of our yard.
 Here I am posing with a medium-sized leaf. They can get a lot bigger than this. What's interesting is that the Vietnamese people will dry these leaves and make a tea that's supposed to help high blood pressure.
 Right now there's a lot of fruit on our tree. Well... I guess technically it's not "our" tree. The security guard for our compound will harvest the fruit and give some to each house. Random people walking by will also help themselves to the spoils. 
 The size of the fruit is about the size of a Nerf football. Maybe just a little smaller. It also has a really sticky sap when you pick the fruit or a leaf. It's really liquidy and like glue. You definitely do not want to get any on you. It makes a little bit of a mess when you cut up the fruit too.

The other day my housekeeper was picking some of the fruit and she asked me if I wanted her to cook some up for me. I of course agreed. She made me some last year when Julie was visiting. Julie can vouch at the ultimate yumminess of the sake fruit. It's tastes kind of like a potato. It's a little sweeter and has a slightly different consistency, but when she fries it up in this special powder stuff... it is delicious.
We eat it kind of like french fries, but with chili sauce instead of ketchup. It's way good.

My housekeeper and the security guard were planning on giving me some to take back to America so I could give one to Julie. When she told me I laughed. I told her I would LOVE to take one back with me, but that customs would take it away. I had to explain how the US is very strict when it comes to stuff like agriculture and meat coming into the country. Oh well Julie. You can pretend that I brought one home for you.

Dinner with the Szvobodas

On Sunday we had dinner at the Szvobodas house. I was a little sad. It's probably the last time I'll be at their house before they move. We're going to miss them so much. They move in July, but I'm leaving next week so it's Sayonara unless we go visit them in Hungary (which I TOTALLY would LOVE to do).

We are having them over for dinner at our house next Sunday, so Sibylle can show me how to make her delicious Beef Wellington. That will probably be that last time I see them in a long while. :(

Anywayz, dinner at their house was fabulous, of course, and there were lots of people there. It was a grand ol' party. We had a lot of fun. Even though Terryn never took a proper nap, he wasn't too bad either. He had fun being tossed around by Daddy and Josh.
 Our friend Matt was there with his family. It was nice to meet them all. I had been in email contact with his wife for almost a year, answering various questions she had for when they would move out there. They have 5 kids ranging in age from 15 years - 10 months. They seem like a really great family and we're having them over for lunch next Saturday. I may end up taking the wife out into the city to give her the brief information-overload tour of where to go for stuff.

At one point during the dinner Terryn decided he needed to follow Lily and Andrea home. He started running after Andrea. Sean was a little hard-pressed to catch up with him because he was already tired out and super sweaty from the heat.

By the time we left everyone was pretty tired. Terryn fell asleep in the car again, but this time he was able to make it to his bed and basically slept until morning.

Filip's Party

On Saturday we went to a birthday party for Filip. It was at a place called Noah's Club that has a bunch of places for kid's to play. It's kind of like a daycare center where the kid's can run around playing with whatever toys they want. Wioletta had tons of food there. It was nice to meet some new people and to socialize with people we already knew.
This picture is from when we first arrived. You can tell how ecstatic Terryn was to get a balloon.
And here's a picture of Wioletta looking all cute and me looking all preggers and sweaty.
Terryn had fun. He's kind of a loner though. He's usually off somewhere playing with toys by himself. 
He liked the buffet style food though. He kept going up to the table and helping himself to food and juice.
Sean's going to kill me for putting this picture up, but it makes me crack up. I think Sean is scratching his nose, but it kinda looks like he's picking his nose. I love Juan's expression... it looks like he's going, "Eww. Sean, what are you doing?"
Then the classic, candid I-caught-you-on-camera-eating picture.
When I know someone is taking a picture I always try to smile. I hate pictures of me eating or talking because I look ridiculous. At least in this pic you can see my big belly.

At the party they had this awesome balloon guy. He had a book of different things you could choose from. The balloons were quite amazing.
This cartoon character that I see everywhere here.
Pink Panther.
Andrea with her Hello Kitty and the Balloon Guy.
Terryn ended up getting a Winnie the Pooh. He thought that was pretty cool.
He took it outside and took it for a little ride.
Daddy helped a little.
Then it started to sprinkle so it was back inside.
Nathan ended up getting a super cute Tigger to match his shirt.
One of my favorite moments was when it was time to do the cake. Filip was turning one and he has an older brother Nathan that's the same age as Terryn. We all sang Happy Birthday and then Nathan blew out the candles. Hahahahaha. So then Tomek (the Dad) lit the candles again so Filip could blow them out. Nathan started singing Happy Birthday again. It was super cute.
Here's Nathan blowing out the candles.
The party pretty much tired Terryn out. He fell asleep in the car on the way home, which isn't usually a big deal, but he woke up when Sean tried to pull him out. Then he wouldn't go back to sleep. Oh well... he actually wasn't too whiny or horrible the rest of the night so that was good. I think Terryn really enjoyed the party.

Random gifts from Vietnam

So I had to do my Christmas shopping a little early... like try May. Living here in Vietnam though, I get the unique opportunity to go to the open market and just have a blast searching all the random items and see what sparks my interest. I get the chance to get some really different item for family and friends. I usually do ask though what people might like. Some of the gifts are the same as I gave other people last year.
 For Brent and Thyra I did the photo to painting idea again. I think it turned out really well. This way they have have a larger portrait of the two of them. I'm having my Dad make a custom frame for them since right now the painting is on a rolled up piece of canvas without any framing at all.
 Another gift I'm giving a few people are these laquerware place settings. I think they are beautiful. In the market they have ones with designs on them, but I'm more of a fan of the plain, solid color ones. They come in red, silver, gold and I found a lime greenish one that so screamed my Mom's name that I had to get it for her. It's a place setting for 8 that comes with a beautiful box, place mats, coasters and napkin rings. In the picture is featured items from both the red and silver set.
A fun item that my friend lead me on to were these awesome coconut shell bowls. The outside is smooth natural coconut shell and the inside is laquerware with egg shell. I think they are kinda fun. They are about 6" in diameter. We use one for our key bowl by the door.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Baby Shower

Last Saturday I had a little baby shower. It was just a few of us, but it was really nice. Betsye made some yummy chicken salad and Lily made these really cute cupcakes. It kinda reminded me of an old-fashioned ladies luncheon. We basically just talked and ate food. It was so nice though. I feel like I'm not around adults enough, so when I am I just talk and talk and talk.
It's kinda sad in a way. I feel like I'm getting to know some more people here a little better just as I'm about to leave. Hopefully when I come back we can all get together and hang out again.
Thanks Betsye for planning the baby shower. It was great!