Thursday, October 25, 2007

Will the REAL Josephine Mai please stand up?

Oh my! Josie has been so much fun the last week or so. The reason? No teething, cold or lack of sleep! We've been swimming, played for hours at a cool coffeeshop that caters to families, went through a maze at the pumpkin patch, destroyed a video store (note to self: put Josie in a stroller next time!), and have officially instituted the waffle and bacon breakfast on Saturday mornings. She is just freaking adorable!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

6 months 15 days . . .

Happy birthday, my little monkey! Today you turn 16 months old. And you have officially been in my life for 6 1/2 months. Hard to believe. I can't imagine life without you.

Above-this is the way you give mama kisses-big wet, open-mouth ones. Cute, but sloppy!

You are a good eater-everyone comments on how much and what you like to eat. Your faves? Anything green, really. Green beans, broccoli, edamame, grapes. You love french fries. You're not a big meat eater-with the exception of bacon. And really? Who can fault you for that? Everything's better with bacon . . . But the usual kid foods-hamburger, hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches? You rarely eat this stuff.

Speaking of eating-here's some pics of your first ice cream cone. It took you awhile to figure it out and you threw a fit if we tried to help you. DON'T TOUCH MY CONE PEOPLE!

Hmm, what's this?

This doesn't seem right . . .

Oh yeah-that's much better!

There's a game we like to play-called "Mean Face". A couple of months ago-your grandma and I noticed that at random times, like when you were eating, you would just start making faces-raising your eyebrows, looking mad, gritting your teeth. You wouldn't be making them at anyone and then you would stop so you could chew something. Anyway-now we like to make mean faces at each other on purpose and it cracks both of us up! I finally managed to get one on film.

You've been in daycare three days a week for over 3 months now and you LOVE it! You particularly like Bernaditte who is there in the morning and feeds you breakfast. You always have a big smile for her and will even reach for her. This doesn't bother me-it's so much better than crying when I leave like you did for the first couple of weeks. You started out in the infant room but have worked your way up to the Wobbler room now that you're walking. Yes-walking! You still fall over for no apparent reason-but you're getting the hang of it.

It may seem hard to believe-but I tried to comb your hair right before I took these last several pics.

This is in the play structure at the doctor's office-way to spread your contagious snot to every kid in the place! I would have cleaned it off-but I couldn't reach it-and I certainly wouldn't have fit in there!

You are the best thing that ever happened to me! I never realized how much joy I could get out of singing Pat-a-Cake over and over again, or from just walking around outside while you collect pinecones and rocks and hand them to me, or even from playing the "put any random thing thing on my head" game to make you laugh. I could do without the fits over diaper-changing that you seem to only do for me (and sometimes grandma), the whining, the apple juice and milk dribbled ALL over my floor and furniture. But hey-it's all good.

We have so much fun ahead of us-can't wait! Actually, yes I can . . . .I want to savor every moment with you.

Love, Mama

Saturday, July 14, 2007

More pics . . .

As you may have noticed I've done the last few posts all at once and I'm tired, so I'll just leave you with a few more pictures.

My baby elephant . . .

Josie at first resisted walking on grass-she would always head for the sidewalk and the result never failed to crack me up. She also does this whenever I put her in a dress.

A Pic Post.

Coming after the camera . . .

Sleeping baby.
Helping papa (see that gigantic bandage on her arm-this was after her first doctor visit where they decided they need a vat of blood out of my child!)

Cute in the park.

Itty bitty pool.

The pussycats . . .

A lot of people have asked how the cats are doing with Josie-and the answer is: pretty good. They are fascinated with each other-Josie watches where they are and follows them-but gets really excited when she gets close and starts flapping her hands around, which scares the cats of course. So-we've been working on petting the cats and she's getting better.

Roxie is interested in Josie but scared so she keeps a bit of a distance. Toby, however, is quite funny. He hates it when she cries and both cats come running if she wakes up in the middle of the nite or something. He meows to her and even jumps in the crib and gets in her face as if to comfort her. This, of course, completely ticks off the girl and I inevitably have to scoop him up and throw him out of the room to calm her down.

Toby also loves bedtime. As soon as I sit in the glider with a bottle and a book (with Josie of course), he jumps on my lap, puts his paws on Josie's lap and gets comfy. Josie will only sit through one book at best after her bottle unfortunately and then I have to disturb him to get up and put her down in the crib. He'll love it when she wants to read and read . . .

The funniest thing, however, is bathtime. Toby has never really been afraid of water. He always jumps in the tub after my shower. He used to get in the shower with me and sit at the back of the tub-but he got nailed with the shower spray one too many times. I never take baths and now I find out I've been depriving him of the experience for years. He even once got in with Josie instead of waiting until she got out-but she gets a bit crazed in the tub and he didn't last long.

Please to enjoy (ever watch The Soup?):

The adjustment period.

The first couple of weeks were really rough-I must say. Josie was sick, teething and jet-lagged. She didn't sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time. So we were both exhausted. She wouldn't let me out of her sight and whined all the time. Unless there were other people around of course. She was always quite charming around visitors and at other people's houses. She's very social.

I finally had to take charge of the sleeping situation because we were both miserable. I was in tears one night at midnite surfing online for sleeping strategies while she screamed in the next room. I finally decided on one and stuck to it and after a week or so-she became a pretty darn good sleeper. Goes to bed about 8ish and up between 5:30 and 6am. She usually takes 2 naps a day too-for 90-120 minutes each. Couldn't ask for much better.

So-now that we've settled into a routine for the most part-she a pretty happy kid. But she's very stubborn and strong-willed. Not a mellow child by any means. And a total ham too. She cracks me up. She does want to be held a lot-actually now she wants to walk holding your hands-which is great, but hard on the back!

Sampling of the mood changes the first couple of weeks:

Happy Josie:

Mad Josie ( I see this face a lot-mainly between the hours of 6 and 7pm):

Yeah, yeah-I'm a slacker . . .

Okay-for those of you that have dial-up service can probably understand why I haven't updated my blog since I've been home-just too frustrating to do much other than check email every couple of days. Oh yeah-and there's a little someone who doesn't like it when I'm on the computer-or actually-SHE wants to play with the computer. So-there you go.

However-I'm at my parent's house this week and after banging my head against the wall and finally giving up on IE and downloading Firefox-I have been successful in logging in to Blogger.

Wow-where to start?

I suppose with the trip home. Gee-that was fun. Can't wait to do it again! Ha! Seriously-over 30 hours of traveling-including an 8 hour layover in Seoul. I didn't sleep for over 50 hours. All in all-Josie did great. Slept the entire flight from Hanoi to Seoul (thanks to a little Benadryl and the fact that the flight was a red-eye.) We kept her up all day in Seoul and did the Benadryl thing again for the flight to San Fran. She slept for the first 4 hours of the flight. Long enough for Mom and I to enjoy the perks of business class. Drinks, dinner, dessert, coffee and a movie. Then came the middle 4 hours of the flight-or Absolute Hell as I remember it. It could have been so much worse. Josie's crying really didn't bother too many people thanks to headphones and the white noise of the air system. But I was so tired at that point that I could hardly function. And mom had taken something to help with the aches and pains and it made her drowsy. She kept offering to take a shift (meaning walk the girl or watch her while she slept so she didn't roll off the seat, etc). So I would close my eyes and try to sleep and hear or feel something and open my eyes to Josie squirming off the seat or attacking the computer as it played a Baby Einstein video or something and poor mom sitting asleep upright. Of course, I didn't have a lot of sympathy at the time. Didn't have much patience for anything really. Shocking, i know! Really, it didn't matter though. Couldn't fall asleep anyway.

Our San Fran to Portland flight was delayed a bit-so we sat on the tarmac in coach with Josie on my lap. I was in a middle seat with her and of course the person in front of me just HAD to recline her seat. Josie's face was about 2 inches from the back of the seat. She was a wiggle worm and I was so annoyed (yes, yes I know-shocking again!) at that person I didn't try too hard to keep her from kicking the seat. She fell asleep right after takeoff and woke up when we landed. Perfect.

Some pics:

Cute kids in the Seoul airport on their way to Detroit for a "creativity competition".

Josie in her very own business class seat-all for the price of a lap ticket! WooHoo!

On our way-I think we look pretty darn good for being awake for about 30 hours at this point . . .

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Wonderful World of Baby Food . . .

Okay, before someone says "What did you expect to happen if you bought and fed Josie Lentils and Vegetables?"

Here's a list of some of the baby food offerings . . .

1. Lentils and Vegetables (obviously)
2. Potatoes with Leeks and Rabbit
3. Vegetables and Veal
4. Pumpkin and Couscous (a favorite of Josie's, by the way . .)
5. Morrocan Lamb
6. Tuna ratatouille ( I'm totally serious!)
7.Tuna Mornay
8. Chicken and vegetable risotto

So-you can see why I bought the lentils right? I'm not feeding my daughter rabbit until she's old enough to order it herself. Same with veal and lamb. However-I have no problem with risotto, couscous, and until recently, lentils. The tuna ratatouille-well, if you can't figure that out-there's something wrong with you.

On that note (and I'd like to mention I'm a big fan of tuna-steaks, sushi, sandwiches)-they put it on all sorts of strange things here-there's Tuna Spaghetti and Tuna pizza.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Couple of things I've been wondering about . . . .

1. How on earth will I use the bathroom once I'm alone with Josie-I'm guessing holding her on my lap isn't a good idea.

2. Who decided that Lentils and Vegetables would be a good flavor for baby food? Josie totally smoked me out of the room.

3. Why do my hands still smell after changing the "lentil" diaper even after scrubbing my hands with soap and scalding water? Please don't tell me I'll get used to it. Who wants to get used to that?

4. Am I going to Hell for planning to dose up the child with Benadryl for the flight home? Before anyone answers in the affirmative-you must first try to get Josie down for a nap. Then-I'll hear your input.

5. Why do "they" insist on playing God knows what kind of music (patriotic?opera?karaoke?) at 110 decibals over a loudspeaker at 8am?

6. If sleep deprivation is a form of torture, is motherhood a form of terrorism?

7. I'm going to need a lot more clothing as Josie LOVES to do raspberries while she's eating. A pair of black pants lasts about 30minutes around her.

8. If nothing I typed here makes any sense, see #6.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Well-we had our second interview at the embassy today and will get Josie's visa tomorrow. We've changed our flight out of here (again!) and are leaving the 21st-arriving in Portland on the 22nd.

Mom and I are starting to get better-we feel better when we go out-so we think the air conditioning is making us sick. Then again-a cold or something is not inconcievable with the lack of sleep and stress going on right now.

Josie's doing great-slept 10.5 hours straight the other nite, and 8.5 last nite. And the last couple of nites I've put her in the crib awake and she cries a little of and on-but gets herself to sleep. Cool! Still doesn't really want to nap in the room-she keeps falling asleep in weird places-the highchair in the restaurant, in the snugli, the lounge chair by the pool . . .

We did some shopping today and hope to hit the museum of ethnology tomorrow.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cute pics . . .

Well-first Mom had the crud, now I've got it. The only thing either of us really wants to do is sleep. And the only thing Josie wants NOT to do is sleep. So-all you get is some pictures.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Trip to the orphanage . . .

On Monday, about 9am as we were about to head out of the room-we got a call from Cherie that we were going to the orphanage at 10am. Okay . . . I was caught off guard and forgot to change Josie into a cute dress the nannies could fuss over. Not that she didn't look cute of course! I also almost forgot the bag of gifts for the nannies.

Cau Giay (pronounced Ko Zay-long vowels) was only a 15 min cab ride away. There was a gate at the entrance and there we were. The orphange is tiny-one really long room divided up into three rooms. One for very little babies (I didn't go in that room), one for older infants, and another for the older children.

One of the nannies saw Josie and came running out of the room to see her. She's the one in some of the referral photos holding Josie. It was sweet. She took Josie-and Josie let her, but she was very serious. Maybe concerned.

I got to see Josie's room which held maybe 6 children-they all had there own cribs. We also saw the room with the older children. Very beautiful children. But it was so sad-it looked a couple of queen size beds pushed together and they were all sitting on the bed. If I'd known-I would've brought toys and candy for them. They were cute-smiling for the camera. It didn't look like the kids got to go outside much, if at all. The orphanage was clean though-which makes it likely that the cause of Josie's skin issues was mosquito bites.

Some pics:

I've been having trouble embedding my video today-clink on the link to view one of the 10 short videos from Cau Giay . . . .if you click on the "more by this user" link-you can see all my videos. I apologize in advance for the quality . . . .i won't quit my day job. Also-i tried to keep them short so that they wouldn't be too big to upload to youtube.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Silk Village

Okay-here's a pic for all of you clamoring for a photo of Grandma and Josie . . . .
it took some doing.

On Saturday-we took a trip to the Silk Village with some other PLAN families along with Cherie (our in-country liason), her son Brian, and Cong (who does a lot of the driving). The Silk Village is comprised of at least one silk factory and a street full of shops. We ended up buying a bunch of beautiful Ao Dais for Josie. I think we have at least one for every year until she's four.

Josie liked the Snugli . . .she fell asleep on the bus and woke up halfway throught the trip.
Silkworms . . . .

More silkworms . . . .
After shopping we went to lunch with everyone at Wild Rice-where mom and I shared some spring rolls and she had some fried rice and I got noodles and seafood. Josie wanted our food-or maybe she just wanted the chopsticks. Not sure. So far-none of the waitresses at any of the restaurants have taken Josie during the meal. This was a time that would've been nice as she got quite squirmy.
Sorry for the lack of updates . . . .Josie got 2 more teeth over the weekend . . . . she was very cranky, didn't sleep much, and had a few bouts of inconsolable crying that almost sent me over the edge. However, it's getting better and hopefully I can post and put up pics and video of our trip yesterday to Josie's orphanage in Cau Giay.