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"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. 



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.)



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.



Kid Life 365 {Week Twenty-two}

::one hundred and fifty-nine:: Is it any secret that I really love the way the afternoon light plays though our big living-room windows?

::one hundred and sixty:: Stella has this game. She says, "wet's pway sweeping!" And then closes the curtains. X infinity / per day. I have this thing. I hate a dark room during the day. It's a constant source of conflict between the two of us. 

::one hundred and sixty-one:: Hugo always has his fingers in his mouth. For a while I thought that he was teething, but now I think it's just his thing.

::one hundred and sixty-two:: Example 3563927 of how Hugo wants to be one of the big kids.

::one hundred and sixty-three:: Stella is four. And strong willed. And dramatic. And semi-logical in the way that only a four-year-old can be. But I will always think of her in this stage of our lives as the most tender and kind-hearted little thing. She spends a good portion of each day hugging her brother, and always, always, wants to cuddle him first thing in the morning.

::one hundred and sixty-four:: We were on our own this particular Saturday, the kids and me, so we made the most of it an headed out to Kemang for a play. 

::one hundred and sixty-five:: She really loves her papi. We went out to brunch with our friends to celebrate Father's Day.

I'm hopign to be caught up pretty soon on this project. Wish me luck! 

Linking up for weekly stills and The Beetle Shack



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

Stella: Wishing that the weather were better so we could go swimming. When it comes to the weather we're totally Indonesian: 28 degrees C is too "cold" to swim. She asks to go to the pool every day. She wants to know when we're leaving on our holiday. She loves to go into the hallway to "see cars" and watch the traffic in the roundabout. She loves her brother and will watch him attentively while I'm in the shower, singing him songs and replacing his dummy when it falls out. She thinks she can speak Japanese (she can not). She ends just about every sentence with, "right, mummy?" And she's about the sweetest girl ever ever ever. 

Hugo: He can now officially, totally, completly sit up. He loves playing with his sister, and lights up so bright when he sees her. He gets the giggles when he's tired. He laughs when you throw him in the air. Whenever we're near water, he wants to be in it. He blows out his diaper every single morning. Without fail. And he's about the sweetest baby you ever did know.

From last week, I loved the dramatic light in this picture of Eve; the little knit cap on baby Saxon; and the sweetest sibling moment between Lucas and his sister

Linking up with Jodi. 


Four Months

Well, well, well. Mister Hugo M. Bear turned four months old. One month and eight days ago. So, time for that four month update? (Oh geeze. I’m the worst at this stuff. Maybe one day I’ll get to this in a timely manner, but don’t hold your breath. Odds are not that good.)




Hugo weighed 7.8 KG at his four-month check up. Towards the end of his third month I had experienced some supply issues after catching a nasty case of Indo-belly, and because i am a professional neurotic, I asked the doctor, should I be concerned about his weight gain? Is his growth all right? And then the doctor laughed and laughed and laughed because hello, gigantic baby, 90+ percentile in everything, and, PS, have you gotten a look at those elastic band wrists and triple thigh rolls? 




I think Hugo might be learning his name. Is that possible? I mean, four months seems a bit early, and maybe I have my pride glasses on pretty tight, but I think so? He looks (sometimes!) when I call out Huuuuuugo. Aaaaaaannnd, our neighbour happens to share the same name, so when his mum is scolding him for being an adorably rambunctious three-year-old running down the hallway, baby Hugo’s like, what, what did I do, WHAT?????




So, guess who can sit independently for about 30 seconds?? In the last week of being a four-month-old, Hugo figured out how to be an upright baby. And boy-oh-boy was he ever proud. His achievement was marked by a 24 karat smile and gleeful giggles because SITTING! I’M A OFFICIALLY ON MY WAY TO BEING A LEGIT BIG HUMAN PERSON NOW!!!  Also, this is my favourite millstone, because sitting babies playing with toys are the cutest, and also it opens up the possibility of the back carry on the Ergo which is a major improvement to my standard of living.




Hugo is not really rolling over He can get to his side, and sort of pivot using his head as an axis and his feet to move around. But rolling? Not really. He’s probably just too rotund. I mean, 7.8 KG! That’s a lot of weight to move around. Come to think of it, Stella who was also gigantic (even more gigantic than Hugo, believe it or not) and she didn’t roll till like seven months or something. So. Yeah.




Hugo continues to be a skilful consumer of breastmilk. He easily and (usually) happily takes a bottle, which frees me up for such per suits as spending hours in traffic going to CrossFit and doing the groceries. I’ve taken to pumping a bottle for him in the morning, and feeding it to him in the evening as a little top up. This has worked wonders for curbing that 5 PM arsenic hour. 




Okay. So. Ummmm, I hate to complain because SOMEONE was a whole lot worse *sideye first-born child*, but four months was not the greatest stage for sleep. Night wakings became frequent, about every couple of hours. He’s not waking to eat, really, just to coo a bit, and ask for his soother to be replaced. 


But still, Hugo Bear, when the clock strikes midnight and  mama has already awoken three times, you can be sure that the fairy godmother will transform her into a dragon come three o’clock the next day. 


But. BUT! Guess who’s got two thumbs and is sleeping in his own crib the whole night through (usually, that is, unless his mother falls asleep feeding him.) THIS GUY!!! 


Like most things with this child, the transition was totally drama free on his end. I, on the other hand, started freaking out about “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WHEN WE’RE ON HOLIDAY AND STELLA NEEDS TO SLEEP IN BED WITH ME AND I ALSO HAVE HUGO IN THERE AND OMG MY PARENTS ONLY HAVE THE TINIEST OF GUEST BEDS I’LL NEVER SLEEP AND BE SUFFOCATED BY CHILDREN FOREVER  AND SEE ABOVE RE. DRAGON!!!” and so then one night, I jus said, “That’s it! You’re graduating to the crib.” And he was like, yeah, sure, okay, no problem, zzzzzzzz. And that was that. 


While night sleeps were not ideal, I can still count on three solid naps of 45-60 minutes. These naps require nothing more than a soother in the mouth and a soft place to sleep, be it a bed, a crib, a stroller, a loving pair of arms. All are equally acceptable. And you guys, do you know how life changing this is? Seriously!




His sister. Still. Obviously. When she’s around smiles are brighter, laughs are louder, and things are pretty great.


Hugo is turning into quite the water baby, which is a good thing as we basically live by the pool. Now that he’s requiring less assistance in maintaining an upright sitting position, an whole new world of bath time fun has opened up. He loves splashing and kicking his legs in the bath (and by bath I mean bathroom sink because I’m not about to invest 50 dollars in a baby bath thankyouverymuch Indonesia where everything is like a million times more expensive than it needs to be.)


I’ve taken him into the pool a few times, and boy did that ever go over like gangbusters. He actually gets angry when he sees his sister swimming and he’s stuck on dry land with his mother who is all like, meh, don’t want to wash my hair so no swimming for me today, sorry baby boy. 




Dirty diapers. Four month injections (ohhhhh boy, was he ever miserable. Poor boy seems pretty sensitive to these shots.) Not being allowed to splash in the water. Being hungry. Being tired. Sitting in one place for too long.




Four months is a great time. We’ve got a nice rhythm to our days, but are able to still be flexible, miss a nap or stay up late without the world falling apart. I like that. 

Hugo is still baby enough for me to take him along on our adventures easily, but he’s developing a real personality, a sense of humour, a love for his people, and a sense of fun. He’s just a really great little guy to get to hang out with. 


Four months! Four months is pretty great! 


Kid Life 365 {Week Twenty-one}


::One hundred and fifty-two:: Mondays are slow, with no school, no apointments, and no pladyates. We usually pass the afternoon at the pool.

::One hundred and fifty-three:: Playing dressup in the hallway with a school friend. 

::One hundred and fifty-four:: Hugo M. Bear, the most portable of babies, naps where he is, wherever he is, despite the blazing sun, the thick humidity, and the screaming kids. Here he is napping at the playgorund, because it's naptime, and what else would you do??

::One hundred and fifty-five:: The neighbour boy loves dinosaurs. In fact, the first thing he ever said to me was "Dinosaur! Roar!" The neighbour boy is two, and is therefore Hugo's best friend. The neighbour boy is trying to indoctrinate my boy in his love of all things Cretaceous.

::One hundred and fifty-six:: In late afternoons when she's bored, she comes out to the hallway, and sulks around a little more loudly than necessary. But we all know that she's just waiting for the neighbour kids to be up from their nap.

::One hundred and fifty-seven:: The last time I cut her hair she was a one-year-old. 

::One hundred and fifty-eight:: Stella got her wish for her birthday: a robot party, swimming with her friends, and a pink cake. 

Linking up for Weekly Stills.