Choo choo!

Nava gets her first Amtrak ride tonight. It's not her first train ride though-she traveled first class in Thailand at one month and five months. Somehow I doubt our seats tonight will be quite as nice.

See you tomorrow Portland!


idaho playdate

N: Great Ball. B: Hey, thanks, I think so too
...really? me too!...
Through the magic of old friends and facebook, we got a chance to meet strangers friends on our recent trip to the far north. Nava got to meet Banyan, a younger man, only 9 months old (and his super great older bro, Linden).

Banyan was a great host and Nava decided to show him a few tricks as a way to say thanks.

First up, How to Clap (she neglected to mention she only mastered this a few days ago):

you gotta focus real hard and get your fingers out of the way and...
Then, How to Remove Socks (Banyan tried to tell her he had this under control but, well, Nava was feeling extra helpful):

one down! you didn't want that did you?

And most importantly, How to sit up and give them a grin they can't say no to:

pay no attention to the boy with more hair than me!

Thanks for letting us come play!!


soft fuzzy wet kisses

So we knew not to expect sunshine and sweaty sun in north Idaho in April. We knew really. We even picked up a baby fleece suit on our first shopping foray this trip just for the eventuality it was a little too cold for onsies (at $5 for shocking pink warmth, it was a good fuzzy insurance policy).

It was snowing when we woke up this morning but it wasn't sticking, the flakes were tiny and it was only enough to be able to say "we saw snow fall!". But after breakfast we headed north, even more north. Not quite Canada, but you know, close.

Over lunch we saw rain, sun, snow, hail, clear sky...you name it. Yay for fleece. So we decided to head up to the local ski resort to see if we might get lucky and see the view during a clear spell. We didn't succeed.

Instead, we got a chance for Nava to have her first snow experience. Way, WAY better!


She really REALLY liked the stuff. It was soft and wet and cold and tickling. Oh what joy spread across her face. Unfortunately, she was the only one of us with the appropriate clothes for this activity so the adults all wussed out and hurried back to the car before she got her fill. Like my Lao snow shoes??!?

...no, the air con back home doesn't make this stuff...

But the joke was on us when we drove all the way back home only to be met by a snowstorm and the backyard quickly going all white. Turns out its the coldest April in like 60 years or something here. And Sout wonders why no one was up at the ski resort!

Nava was a little confused as to how the white stuff followed us home:

uhm, mom?
mom, this is not what this backyard is supposed to look like!

You mean they have this stuff in lots of places? Cool!!

family photos - with a one year old!




 And there was more...


there was an invisible hand, I promise

my monkey

my other monkey ;)

small beauties


coming 'home' - updated

We've touched down on US soil. For tonight America is an airport hotel in Oakland. Tomorrow we're off to GMa's house!

Nava was fantastic the whole trip. She liked the in-flight meals, complementary bib and diaper service. Only one cry and that was due to pain. She slept the vast majority of it, including the entire transfer in Taiwan. She also slept most of the BART ride from SFO, only to wake up in the taxi 500m from the hotel.

It's 10:45pm here, mid-day Lao time.Girlfriend thinks it's time to party.
Oh boy, it's gonna be a long night.

Mommy has such little faith! We snuggled down and nursed and we slept through the night (leaving aside the aggressive snuggling into mommy's side whenever I rolled over). It's 6am and time to rise, shine, and check in. Wooo wwwweeeeee!


car seat yoga

This was on the way home from babygroup last night (with a major detour by Poppy's (my favorite pharmacy) so I could load up on drugs. We are still sick. We've had it since just after the birthday party. Dad is responsible (and will be kicked out to go sleep with the turtle next time he brings home a cold). I think Nava is actually ahead of me and mostly done but we'll see. 

I was sitting in the back while Grandpa drove because driving anywhere after 5 pm is usually a recipe for an unhappy Nava but this time it was all smiles. I fed her a cheerio every 2 minutes or so and was rewarded with a gymnastic-yoga routine as we wove through town (the super pink color in some is from the color of sunset here). 

That's her birthday bling from Daddy by the way...


the inner librarian

Nava has really been getting into books this past month. She's lways been super interested in having people read to her (since eye surgery) but now she wants to help. At first helping consisted of closing the book. Which I had the feeling was not what she really wanted to so since she was obviously enjoying it.

She got very grabby which is hard when its a lift the flap book and the flaps are just paper. Then I stumbled upon Baby Loves Peekaboo (DK Publishers) in our 2nd hand book box (not sure who gave it to us actually). She LOVED it. It reminded that I'd read back when she was first diagnosed that kids with Down syndrome often respond better to photographs then drawings (abstract representations versus...). And the thing with this book is the flaps are page-sized and the same thickness as the board book pages. I began telling Nava she could do it and after a week or two she did. As of last week she was the official flap opener. Then she started trying to help with other non-flap board books and again ended up closing them mostly. This time I understood better so I helped her guide her hand to flip the page instead. Success! She was so happy to have done it and I was so proud. She's the page turner AND flap flipper now.

She is really into reading! She kisses the babies, talks when reading, clearly follows the pictures, get excited by new images all on top of page turning and flap opening.

YAYAYAYAY! Now to go buy the DK catalouge over on amazon...anyone got 5.99?


Nava has a lot of clothes. Or at least, had. 

Wait, let me back up. 

When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy I let it be known about town that I was into to second-hand stuff. I quickly got deluged. Two steamer trunks worth (2.5?) of clothes from one of my bosses. Multiple car trips of clothes and gear from a friend. Facebook invites to come over and go through people's collections. It was great. I have no photos of the insanity of supplies so just imagine a dining room table that seats twelve covered it is entirety a few layers thick.  I decided to only keep things up until age two and handed the remaining clothes on to two other friends in town with toddlers. What they didn't take went to the charity box at work. Like I said, a LOT of clothes.

And then my godmother decided to hold a baby shower from afar for me. The theme was Think Pink and Nava got an entire wardrobe for 0-2 years. Most of it pink and frilly...maybe I should say more like an entire fancy dress wardrobe. Here's Sout modeling the windfall:
the man looks good in pink
Add to all this the fact that no mama I know can avoid buying a little something for their bub when they see something cute, even if the kid doesn't actually need more, and you'll have a basic idea of what we had amassed. Some of it got well used. Nava didn't grow much between 2-7 months so that size was well loved. But then she started packing on the pounds, putting on a kilo and month for four months and I just couldn't keep up. Twice, by the time I went to grab the pack of next size up clothes for her, some were already too small. 

So Nava's one year birthday seemed like a good milestone to go back through everything. I separated out our favorite outfits and the ones with sentimental value and these I put away for Future Kidlet #2 (no ETA available at this time) and made a massive box of everything else. Luckily a cousin of ours just had a baby girl 2 weeks ago so I already knew where everything was going (and it was fun to be able to give her a years worth of baby clothes for her new girl!). 

Nava now has one very well stocked closet and one pack of clothes for around the 18-24 mo mark awaiting her. And by closet , I mean our closet. The whole family shares 1 (ONE!) closet. In a country without built-in closets, one has to get a little creative. To whit:

The Closet (from LtoR: fancy clothes, Nava's, dad's, mom's. Dresser: mine, Shelves:his)

Here's the details on Nava's section. Until this weekend, she only had the yellow unit but it was getting out of hand so I finally caved and increased her section by 50%. Yes, the cubbies are organized. If I told you how exactly you might be tempted to think unkind thoughts, so I'm not sharing! 
Cubbies for clothes, diapers, and accessories. Shelf for cloth diapers and blankies. Hangers for dresses.

 So there it is, the linen closet, changing table, and closet of one very well dressed one year old in the tropics.

playroom in progress

I have a thing for arranging furniture. I've had it since...college? high school? Not sure. Its like meditation to me.

So when I realized that Nava's stuff is just getting a bit too much for just the corner of the living room, I started dreaming about making her a playroom. This is also probably the first step for me start preparing myself for the day when she will have her own room (not ready yet. me, I mean).

When we bought our house it had 3 bedrooms but in the process of remodeling, the walls of bedroom #3 were left off since we didn't have a need yet and we liked the open feel it gave the 2nd floor. We have never really used this space in the house so I began moving things from all over the house to here. And slowly built up the beginings of a playroom. 

Lots still to go but now come the big catch. There's a reason we never used this part of the house. It's too hot. So if I'm really gonna do this, it may (who am I kidding? will!) be necessary to pull the bamboo wall covering down, put insulation against the (wood) wall and then close it back up again.

Thank goodness labor is cheap here! And by labor I mean my husband's neighborhood drinking buddies...


the matters at hand

The last few weeks have been pretty carefree.

I am in love with this girl

I've been enjoying Grandpa being here. Enjoying not working hard (long story). Enjoying realizing Nava is one year old. I'm a year older than when this journey started. And I've really enjoyed reveled in the fact that I'm happy with how we are, where we are, how Nava is.

I no longer note how it's been since I woke up before the term Down syndrome pops into my head. When a stranger asked me last night, "How are services here?" as a segway into discussing having a kid with special needs, I didn't brace or put on a fake face.I honestly feel like I can take deep breath and exhale slowly without holding something back.

It's great.

But there's a problem. A catch. A storm cloud. Pick your metaphor. Because while I'm off exhaling and enjoying, the list of to-dos hasn't gone away. The issues I need to chase down haven't sorted themselves out. The needs are still there. Yes, I successfully shut the door on them for a few weeks but now I've gotta put on my big girl/super woman panties and pull myself up super tall, puff my chest out and open that door again.

But now I'm going to go slay those dragons from the position of having had a few weeks of feeling OK, all right, in control even. I'm going to try to do it mindfully. Try to not let the dragon slaying trigger my anxiety. Try to keep the upper hand this time.

Wish me luck.
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