31 for 21: Halloween

 Hi everybody! Nava here with your Monday morning cuteness-Halloween Edition! I went out to a party last night as a Ladybug. Or Ladybird if you come from a country that speaks English funny.

how's my ladybug impersonation?

pretty good huh?

best tutu-leggings-boots combo ever

celery sticks rock! strange that mommy chose a cupcake instead...

and even better-a brand new hairstyle to boot!


31 for 21: daddy's home, let the giggles begin

We got all dressed up on our new (to us) party frock this morning (despite a fleeting fever) and just before putting Nava in her car seat I spied spots. Spots on her head. All over.


We still went to the shindig (a baby bacii, a ceremony to welcome and bless a new little guy into the world) and we kept our distance from the other little people present. After a little dancing, we hurried over to the one international standard clinic open on Saturdays (AM only) as after Saturday noon, the only way to see medical care is to cross the border and go to a Thai hospital and I don't like rashes. I can deal with colds and coughs put spots put me on edge.

[This is where I'd love to insert a super cute pic of Nava in a long red and white dress from the Gap that coordinated beautifully with her glasses and shoes. Only we were both feeling kinda poopy so no such picture was taken. Imagination. Use it.]

So we headed to the French Clinic and waited about 20 min to see the French doctor. Its first come, first served only which generally sucks with a tot in tow but Nava was in good spirits despite the spots and played quietly while we waited.

We got in, he stripped her down, looked at the spots closely, checked her throat (red), ears (nothing) and pronounced it some sort of viral fever+spot thing. Not one of the biggies. Nothing to worry about.


$27 dollars later and we were on our way home to play with Daddy who just got back home. Daddy proceeded to make funny noises and faces that left Nava hyperventilating with laughter for the better part of an hour. All's well that ends well.

There you go: a Saturday without a trip to the pool! It does happen. Occasionally.


31 for 21: sickies

We both pulled a sickie today. I woke up tired and with a sore throat. Nava woke up teething and with a fever. Quite the duo.

Seems appropriate then that this was the only photo snapped all day. Lots of other 31 for 21 bloggers wrote on the prompt "what I wish people would get about Down syndrome" today. I haven't really been feeling the urge to write to prompts at all this month but today's developments illustrates pretty well one thing people sometimes fail to 'get': we are more alike than different. Sick days, good days, happy days, grumpy days. We get em all. Everybody does.

Cheers to health!


31 for 21: crashed and burned

No, not Nava.
This being my second major gap in the 31 for 21 challenge, I think its official, I didn't make it all the way through. 
It was a respectable showing though, and I'll be taking advantage of the blogger time machine to retroactively make myself look dedicated.


31 for 21: almost wordless wednesday

Nava would NEVER take a pacifier. Then one day she spied a playmates and decided...well, what the hell, lets give it a go...


31 for 21: filler

1. Highlight of day: biking to baby group (about 1hr)
2. Lowlight of day: Nava's first bite of a playmate who displeased her.
3. Annoyance of day: due to the incredible flooding in Bangkok, Nava will not be getting her new glasses for at least a month. Boo.

Tomorrow, I will do a real post. promise. pinky swear. You get the idea.


31 for 21: These boots were made for...

 They have arrived.
 Behold: Nava's custom made red leather boots!
 Dude. They are Fiendishly Cute.
And going to be totally scufed beyond recognition in a week since she crawls in them.
Oh vell...

I'm curious, for those of you with bubs in Sure Steps who are still mostly crawling-how much does your little one wear them? All the time? Only for walk time? Only half day? Our instructions were for all the time but I'm just curious if that's typical or....


31 for 21: Silent Sunday

[actually its been a silent few days. But as Blogger allows us to bend time I'll be fixing that real quick here...watch this space ;)]


31 for 21: Pool weekend

Now, brace yourselves for a shock.


Guess what...we went to the pool(s) this weekend! Surprise!

No? You're not surprised?

Geesh, tough crowd.


31 for 21: Quadraped, where are you?

Nava is still a belly crawler. We're up to 160m per day and she's getting very fast and she moves her knees a lot more but up on the knees and belly off the floor is still a no-go. But we are making some progress. or I'm taking it as progress. Witness, the first recorded picture of Nava on  hands and knees of her own free will (albeit heavily coaxed free will) in existance in this universe.

This is huge. She hates this position with a passion most reserve for politicians.
We continue to use every trick we know to work on it. Now that she's up to a good number of meters a day we are working more on crawling of soft surfaces that are harder to do on belly but more comfortable than the hard floor on knees.


31 for 21: when mommy's not around

When mommy is off being boring at work I get up to all sorts of silliness with my cousins. For example, last Thursday we thought we'd try out a new hairstyle and then we played trains and went on an indoor bike ride.
this reminds me a grandma at the market trying to get you to buy something. I can't explain why.
 That face in the the pic above? Apparently that happened after thay told her "smile!"

Oh dear.

 We got this bike for $5 used when Nava was 2 months old. She can almost reach the pedals now :)


31 for 21: Pretending to be a Cooking Blog

I love to cook but it took me awhile cooking for a kiddo to find my mojo. It's so different than cooking for myself or Soutchai. Same time every night? Veggies every time? Few teeth to chew with? That stuff is hardcore.

We don't really have packaged food here (in the way you do in the US) and generally I think its a great thing because I don't have to deal with being tempted to buy crap. But it also means you really have to cook when you cook. I thought I'd share how that goes down at Chez Nava.

Now here's where full disclosure is necessary. I have a nanny-housekeeper. Don't hate me. It's only cause I live where I live (otherwise known as a kickass place to be a new mom). Here it's very normal for a  life saving angel from above housekeeper to do some of your shopping and your cooking for you. And we LOVE Noi, our nanny. She is The Best. However, we happened to get the one nanny in Laos who can't cook. Like REALLY can't cook. Her brother? Works as a personal chef. Noi? Asks how to stir fry.

So, my role in keeping Nava fed is making sure there is some prepared food and some very easily cooked foods available at all times for her lunch when I'm not there. Breakfast is covered my the both of us depending on when she gets to ours, how early I wake up, whether I'm cycling to work, and if I actually have to be on time. (::cough::). Most mornings, Nava gets oatmeal and green veg and sometimes an egg. Every so often, oatmeal gets switched out for rice soup made by Dad, which covers the need for greens as well. Noi started with us able to do basic Oatmeal 101. I have slowly introduced the concept of adding coconut milk, raisins, flax seeds, dried apricot, and/or cinnamon until now she makes it pretty yummy without any intervention.

At some point during breakfast I try to remember to check the fridge for obvious lunch fixings. Cooked rice ready to reheat? Veggies? Eggs? Leftovers? Occasionally this highly professional system results in me having a momentary panic attack of realizing I haven't grocery shopped for days but most of the time I'm golden.

Every work day I get home from work about 5:15ish and after quick hug and cuddle, I head into the kitchen to see what Nava's getting for dinner (served 5:45-6:15pm). Almost every dinner includes some sort of quickly stir-fried green vegetable, so that usually the first thing to address (assuming we're not out. ::cough::). Then its the main. And my favorite weeknights are when I realize (only after checking the fridge, yes, it's mom brain) the main is already done and I just have to scoop some of it out and warm it. Because that means her dinner takes me less than 10 minutes flat and get to go play with her some more. I also make things up fresh when I'm inspired and/or have no choice, but after being gone all day its nice when dinner is nearly automatic.

And thus, I have a special place in my heart for my slow cooker. I'm a bit evangelical about it even as some friends here have not neccessarily even heard of them much less experienced their awesomeness.

Case in point:

Yesterday morning I did the quick fridge check before heading out he door and was staring at a very clean, bright, and airy fridge. An empty fridge, save for supplements, a bag of greens, and a full door of sauces. Whoops. I mumbled something about "I'll make curry tonight..." before I realized actually that wouldn't provide lunch or dinner TODAY. 

Slow cooking was the solution. Out of freezer came a pack of chicken in rock solid block form. I removed the cling film and Styrofoam and threw it in (it comes USA style if you buy it at the minimart. from the local market, not so much). Note: At this point my husband helpfully pointed out it was still frozen and questioned whether I should cook it that way. He didn't run away quickly enough after offering the comment so he got a physical reminder not to screw with me before coffee. 

There were sweet potatoes on the counter so I peeled two and chuncked 'em up and threw those in next. Then onion and garlic because, I had some and they go in everything. It was still looking kind of boring so I decided to add a can of tomatoes. The I remembered we had a green pepper so chopped it and dumped it in with Italian seasoning and pepper, and my creativity was exhausted and I was running late to work so I quit "cooking".

And then I ran out the door and forgot all about it. Until I came home to see the cooker on the counter and opened it up to find this...

...and nearly squealed with delight. It smelled amazing and tasted even better. I think I ate about 4 pieces of sweet potato and few whole cloves before I could stop myself.

Nava loved it too. Everybody happy.


31 for 21: Birthdays Lao Expat Style

I've never been only been to one baby or toddler birthday in the US but I suspect it varies a bit from a birthday party here. This weekend we went to our pal Barney's party and all the classical local features were present. Just like they were at Nava's party and all of those of her friends in the past year ;)

Rule #1: Alcoholic drinks will be served to guests (hey its the parents call whether to share them with their little one right? ;) And I don't just mean the hostess will offer you a small glass of something. I mean there will be a fully stocked bar table set up with choices of wine, beer, and in some cases, liquor.

Rule #2: There will be a paddling pool (actually Nava broke this rule). Its the tropics. A paddling pool is always welcome.
paddling pool-like feature at Nava's

Rule #3: Kids of all ages and sexes will get naked and in the pool, even when they've just arrived in their party frocks.

Rule #4: There will be nannies around. Parents can enjoy rule #1 more.

Rule #5: Someone will sing Happy Birthday slightly different than you. Mutliple countries, multiple ways to do it.

Rule #6: The creation of the cake will be of major discussion as
              a) good ovens are hard to come by and baking is always an adventure
              b) cake tins are expensive, cake decor is only minimally available
              c) supermarkets don't have cake departments, if you want to buy one rather than bake your choices are from the Hotel (fancy), from the Cake Shop (local), or from one of the ladies in town who bakes at home for sale.

Barney and Nava share the chocolate-chocolate cake philosophy

Technical Note: The above refers to parties of expats in Lao. True Lao parties will strongly follow rule #1, not so much rule #2-3, will substitute cousins for Rule #4, rule #5 is definitely on, and Rule #6 morphs into where cake is purchased as a home oven is a very foreign thing. Rule #7 is that children will be running around with a knife and/or a lighter at some point in the evening.


31 for 21: kickin' back with a cold one

Nava rocks straws. This is the #2 talktools straw which is easy for her now so she's moved on to a straw that's twice as high and has two loops in it!


31 for 21: Mekong sunset photshoot

(a little behind in the 31 for 21 challenge because we just had a 2 day holiday followed by a weekend here..ahhh, that was nice....)
iBert rocks!

The weather is really changing here in Laos. While its still raining, its noticeably cooler too (YAY!) and the rainy season grey is slipping away. We've been enjoying it by getting out on the bicycle more and more. In honor of the end of lent we went to the Mekong at sunset as tradition on that night is to launch a small 'boat' with candles, incense, flowers, and whatnot for good luck. It was a beautiful sunset.

And as usual, Daddy decided a photoshoot was in order, so behold!

no photoshopping: the sunset just got amazing if we used the flash...lol, Navagating is SOO not a photography blog!

By for now everybody!


31 for 21: Boat Racing!

the boats are beautiful and very impressive looking when zooming by under the power of 45 men or women!

the other side is Thailand!

daddy, why is there a napkin on my head?!

it's so embarrassing!

this is better than a dirty napkin! Hmpf!

oh the paparazzi..

he doesn't do it as good as me, clearly.

time to go home!

With the end of lent comes the annual national boat racing festival which completely shuts down downtown Vientiane for about a week. Races are only one day but its a huge street festival with stalls, games, food, you name it, with a Lao flavor. Like next to the stalls of ballon dart games there are pseudo roulette wheels and lottery games and while you can buy commemorative T-shirts, you can also buy dish soap and toilet brushes!!

It's a hot and messy day (its kosher to drink again now that lent is over) and generally overwhelming so with a kidlet we parred festivities down to just soaking it in from a fixed location, a friendly restaurant. Maybe next year I won't hide behind Nava and get back in the boat!
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