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Wednesday
Jul302014

Puppy Day

This weekend we drove into rural Michigan to pick up a puppy. We drove along winding roads, under tunnels of deciduous green, passed big red barns, and fields of cattle to meet our new puppy friend.

Ms. Perriwinkle was waiting for us in what was, perhaps, the most adorable rural michigan kitchen ever ever. I mean jakalope antlers. That's all you need to know about that. 

(A note on the name. Our former dog, Chloe, who succumbed to kidney failure early this year, was christened Perry by my then three-year-old. And so, my mum, whom it must be noted, is the actual owner of the dog, decided that this pup should actually be called Perry. Of course, Stella immediately started calling the dog Rudy, because duh.) 

Not everyone in our camp was excited about the dog. My mum and I, both card carrying dog people, were thrilledto bring this guy home. Stella spent a good amount of time hiding in the car, and she kept shrieking whenever the pup came close to her. My dad drove us with a face so long, I was unsure of whether or not he were leading a caravan towards his own execution. The two of those puppy poopers spent a good deal of time bonding over their shared scene of misfortune and woe. 

(Stella has since come around to the idea of the dog. Although she can regularly be heard uttering, "I want Perry to be died," she does enjoy running around the lawn with the dog and laughing at her puppy antics. My dad, on the other hand, remains certain that puppy = doom.)

Perry is a pretty great little pup. She likes to play tag, chanse after toys, go on walks, and take long naps in Hugo's car seat. Although there was that one time where we were looking for the house phone only to discover that she had hidden it in the garden, so maybe she's downgraded to a pretty good pup? 

Anyway, pictures here! Enjoy!



 Joining up for let's have an adventure

Monday
Jul282014

Kid Life 365 {Week Twenty-three}

::One hundred and sixty-six::

I love that baby chub. That big tummy bursting through his shirt, already too small even though I just bought it like, yesterday.

 

::One hundred and sixty-seven::

There's nothing spectacular about this picture, except I just liked it? The tones and that patch of light (I do love a patch of light). This particular Tuesday we celebrated my friend's daughter's second birthday. There were pancakes and cupcakes. It was pretty great. 

 

::One hundred and sixty-eight::

Wednesdays are playgroup days and the highlight of the week as far as Stella is concerned. She gets to see her special friend and they are inseparable for the whole afternoon.

 

::One hundredn and sixty-nine:: 

Stella loves to mug for the camera. Until I actually ask her to then she gets silly shy. Anyway, she did agree to pose with her Wuggy Bunny for this photoshoot.

 

::One hundred and seventy:: 

Fridays are always pool days. We stay outside from 12:30 until 6 pm basically every Friday without fail. Hugo is determined DETERMINED to get in that water.

 

::One hundred and seventy-one::

Is there a more photogenic baby than this guy? Nope.

 

::One hundred and seventy-two::

Sunday at the pool. We ate lunch together. Stella swam and swam and swam with her papi. 

Sunday
Jul272014

30/52

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Stella: Laughing in the lanium. This kid! She's traveled across the equator, 12 time zones, so many hours, and she's doing great. She's sleeping in her own bed! For the first time! Ever! Which isn't to say it's all been smooth sailing, but the seas have been significantly calmer than I had predicted. So, land ho! etc.

Hugo: Totally not sure about this grass business. He, on the other hand, has not been adjusting as easily. Poor boy has been introduced to car seats (verdict: they blow), and he has decided to decline my offer of a lovely, comfortable, and totally rad portacot, in favour of my bed. And I ended up sleeping on the floor. So. Okay?

We're enjoying the good surburban life here in Michigan. It's such a novilty for us to be able to go out the front door and see grass and trees and flowers. We're spending lots of time sitting on the front step, running barefoot through the grass, and chasing balls around the golf course. The days have been sunny and warm, the evenings cool. We've had foggy mornings and refreshing breezes, and I'd like to say, high five, Michigan, high five. 

No favourites this week because jet lag has has ment all my free time has been spent in the pursuit of zzzzz's. Next week though!

Linking up with Jodi and Living Arrows.

 

Saturday
Jul262014

We flew alone all the way around the world. And we were fine.

So, we’ve officially been in the US for a week. We’re settled, we’ve unpacked our suitcases. We’ve visited Target and eaten more tacos than you can shake a stick at. 

 

With a week behind us, I’m sure you’re dying to hear the gory and sordid details of my heroic trip across the world with two children in my sole and solitary care, right? Every tantrum, every diaper blowout, every eye-stinging hour of exhaustion.

 

Well, actually the trip was fine. Totally fine. No big deal (okay, sort of a big deal, but still completely okay.)

 

Stella and Hugo and I flew together with Mr. Chef to Singapore the day before our big flight. We were looking at a 6 hour layover in Changi, a prospect that filled me with all sorts of nope. So we decided to go a day ahead and make a little mini pre-vacation vacation out of it. 

 

We enjoyed an extraordinarily over-priced but nonetheless delicious dinner (Singapore, why do you eat all my dollars??) I had a sleep-in in a gigantic hotel bed (my last for months!) and we went down to Gardens by The Bay for some pre-flight splash pad fun.  

 

Mr. Chef headed back to the airport to catch his flight home, and the three of us gulped some big gulps omg are we gonna be okay alone? 

 

I was mildly terrified at the prospect of flying alone with two kids. I wondered how I’d stay awake and functioning for 36+ hours. How I’d handle Hugo’s morning all over everything diaper bomb. How I’d manage Stella’s need for constant motion, unending pretend play, and never never never sleeping.

 

It turns out we were totally fine. More than fine. Just great.

 

Both of our long flights (12 hours and 8 hours) more or less corresponded with our body clock night time which meant the kids slept. The long layover in Frankfurt airport meant that we could stretch our legs, play a bit, and eat a pizza. 

 

It turns out that you actually CAN carry a diaper bag, a backpack, pull a carry on suitcase, and your child’s carry on suitcase, while wearing a baby and pushing a four year old in a stroller. It’s a little hot and sweaty, but totally doable. 

 

Also, babies who actually sleep also sleep on the airplane which is a major win in my books.  

 

And, lo, with the passage of time kids grow up and become more capable of sitting in a seat for an extended period of time. A four-year-old traveling companion is so much more relaxed than a three-year-old, which again is infinitely easier than traveling together with a two year old.

 

And so, as is almost always the case, a lot of worry for naught. We were totally okay. And everything worked out. (Expect for day two jet lag which was a total and utter shit show, the likes of which I never want to relive. Ever. More on that later. Maybe?) 

Wednesday
Jul232014

29/52

 

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

It feels pretty incongruous to be posting pictures of my tropical life, while we're here in Michigan. The high contrast late afternoon light, the palm trees, the steamy heavy air are so different from this light dappled corner of the world.

Anyway, we're here, in America for a little while, living the good suburban life. 

I must have been pretty anxious and distracted thinking about this trip, because looking back at my pictures for the last week, I had a hard time coming up with anything that was any smidgen of good at all. I should have fuuuuun when I get around to compiling this week's 365 photos. 

Stella: She has a new game called bapak-bapak, where she pretends to be the bapak (the man) pool attendant. She offers towels, and asks for room numbers. A hotel kid through and through.

Hugo: He has just discovered balls. And he's in love. 

 

Thursday
Jul172014

Annnnnd, We're OFF!

 

We're embarking on our grand summer adventure first thing this morning. We've been looking forward to this trip for months (slash, I'm also terrified because jet lag and solo parenting and did I mention six countries, three continents, and so many airports?)

Anyway, I really want to be a good blogger and document this trip for my own memory keeping purposes, buuuut, generally I'm terrible at keeping up with the internet while I'm away from home. I will likely, however, do a slightly better job at Instagramming (okay, bragstagramming) my adventures in trying not to lose my mind on negative 18 hours sleep in airport number four, while carrying twice my weight in children and luggage. So you can find me there @expatriababy if you're into that sort of thing.  

Next stop, SINGAPORE! (Wish us luck.)

 

Monday
Jul142014

The Pre-Trip Jitters

 

Summer is here. School is out. And, in expat circles, it’s that season again. Time to make the yearly pilgrimage home. It’s that trip to reconnect with family and friends, visit beloved childhood landscapes, eat all those familiar delicacies unavailable in your home across the ocean, and give our children a taste of what life in their passport country is all about.

We’re about to depart on our own Odysseus journey. But this is no mere jaunt across the Pacific. No, we’ll be gone on a two-month, three-continent, six-country adventure. And, PS, I’ll be doing the majority of this trip as a solo traveling parent.

 

To say that I’m thrilled and excited and totally thankful is somewhat of an understatement. But to say that I’m also not crapping my pasts would be a total and utter boldface lie. 

 

I’m not particularly worried about the flights. This is not our first time at the long-haul trans-continental rodeo. I know flights are generally long, boring, uncomfortable, and sleepless. But there are good parts. But they end.  

 

I am worried about jet lag, but I’m not ready to talk about that because holy crapballs, I just can’t even think about the weight of two jet lagged children at three am when all I want to do is zzzzzz. 

 

I’m going to focus my anxieties on the logistics and the practicalities. Like, exactly how many shirts are enough shirts? I want to avoid having to stretch that baby-barf covered, ice-cream-smeared, snot-stained tee just ooooooone more day until we reach laundry facilities while not bringing everything everything everything because I’m a little worried about how I’m going to manoeuvre everything everything everything through an airport along with two exhausted but nonetheless adorable ratbags.

 

And how, exactly, do I pack for three different climates? Especially since a certain baby I know owns nothing warm and the polar vortex is descending on the great lakes region, and hi, that’s where I’m headed.

 

And what will I need in the overnight bag / carry-on bag? What if my milk peaces out mid-flight (I’ve been having supply issues after food poisoning round deux)? And why do bottles take up so much room? Do you have to sterilise bottles when your baby is five months old? How do you transport formula?

 

I’m finding myself up at night fretting about such critical issues as, “Um, how do I carry one baby, a diaper bag, a backpack, the carry-on suitcase containing all the diapers, and my child’s carry-on (of which she will no doubt tire of pulling) my camera, my computer, annnnnnd a stroller through Frankfurt airport when it's like, five AM body clock time? By my self? Anyone?

 

So, obviously I’m channeling all of my anxiety and nervous energy into online shopping. Because buying ALL THE THINGS will obviously solve my packing problems, right? RIGHT? (Don’t argue with me.)

 

PS, if you have any great tips about packing and traveling with bottles and what is critical inside the airplane and what can go in the hold, I’d love to hear them.