Gloria Highlights, Week 32

At the end of week 31, we took Gloria south of the border to get her second passport stamp. Kenny’s Aunt Barbara and Uncle Barry had generously offered to share their timeshare in Puerto Vallarta and they were dying to meet their grand niece. Eager for some sunshine and relaxation, we took them up on their offer. Our experience on the flight to PV was a stark reminder of how much Gloria has changed since our Thailand trip, as Kenny outlined in last week’s highlights post.

Gloria was great in PV, however. We decided to keep her on PST rather than adjusting her by two hours, and that was a great decision – it meant she slept in every morning and was able to stay up until 9 PM each night – perfect for a lazy vacation. However, we quickly learned that Gloria can no longer nap just anywhere, like she could during her newborn days, and our fantasy of poolside naps was quickly dashed. We ended up spending quite a bit of time in the hotel room each day while the munchkin got her beauty rest, but we were able to get her out and about between naps and in the late afternoon and early evening. Her later schedule also meant that we got to take her out for dinner almost every night. She also seems to be transitioning from three down to two naps, which made her nap schedule fairly unpredictable some days, as we were never certain whether to plan around a third nap or not.

By day two or so of our PV stay, we noticed that something seemed a bit off with Gloria. For one thing, our enthusiastic eater abruptly lost interest in solid foods. We initially suspected teething, but by Wednesday the verdict was clear: she had caught my cold. The poor kiddo had a few very rough nights, waking several times with a very stuffed up nose that clearly made her extremely uncomfortable. Fortunately we had remembered to travel with a bulb syringe this time around, and Gloria was very agreeable about letting us use it – I think she was pretty quick to catch onto the idea that it would provide some relief (note to self: bring the NoseFrida next time).

In spite of her cold, Gloria was an agreeable munchkin for most of the trip, and she really enjoyed the company of her great aunt and uncle. In particular, she would light up whenever Barbara walked into the room, and always had huge smiles for her. The fact that Barbara has a high-pitched voice and loves to sing may have had something to do with it. Barbara also discovered a few of Gloria’s ticklish spots, and Gloria rewarded her with uncontrollable giggling. Gloria took her first couple of dips in a swimming pool, an experience she was skeptical about at first, but she warmed up to it quickly (I took note of this and signed her up for swim lessons in Seattle). I even took her on a few waterslides, the latter of which seemed to be a rather harrowing experience for her and probably one I will not live down for some time.

The flight home on Friday was an unhappy experience for everyone. The flight timing worked out such that Gloria’s afternoon nap didn’t happen, and she was unable to get any real rest on the plane. This resulted in one unhappy baby, and we found ourselves resorting to all kinds of techniques to distract her from her fatigue, like singing, bouncing, nursing, singing again, walking the aisle, more nursing, and bouncing her until we felt like our arms would fall off. Eventually, she was so overtired and unhappy that we took to pacing the aisle for the final hour of the flight, taking shifts as our strength gave out (she has gotten very, very heavy). Other passengers on the flight gave us sympathetic looks, and a few made comments like, “hang in there, we’ve all been there before.” One positive thing I can say about the ordeal is that it’s finally over.

We were so harried and out of sorts by the time we got to SeaTac and picked up our bags, that we were on the road home before we realized that we had forgotten Gloria’s car seat (an extra one, not the one she was strapped into!) back at customs. So we had to turn around and head back to the airport. It was an unfortunate end to an already demoralizing day, and poor Kenny was stuck in the car trying to comfort a crying baby while I waited impatiently in a long line of passengers with various travel issues to get an Alaska Airlines supervisor to help me track down the missing car seat. Fortunately the detour only cost us about 30 minutes, but it was already past poor Gloria’s bedtime. She passed out immediately when we arrived at home.

The Mexico trip was a blast, but it’s also quite nice to be settling back in at home. We had a quiet weekend, and Gloria snapped back onto her normal schedule pretty easily. This morning, while Gloria and I were playing in her nursery, Gloria demonstrated a new skill for the first time: sitting unassisted! She’s a bit wobbly and can’t sit for long periods yet, but she can definitely hold herself up for short stints. I even caught a short video.

With Great-Aunt Barbara
Enjoying dinner with her Great-Aunt Barbara

DSC_5945DSC_5992

Tummy time
Playing on her tummy in a pretty dress from Grandma Lynn

Gloria's ear

In her two-pieceLounging by the pool
Lounging by the pool

Taking a dip
Taking a dip

Family portrait
Family portrait

Buckled up
Settling in for the flight home


Back in Seattle, showing off her new skill: sitting!

Gloria Highlights, Week 20

Our final week in Thailand was filled with excitement. We made sure to finish up our stay in MHS with the requisite photo shoot at Jongkham Lake and we spent more time volunteering with our Burmese sisters – we even taught them a last-minute crash course in basic accounting. On Thursday evening, we shared some emotional goodbyes. Then we boarded the 30-minute puddle jumper to Chiang Mai on Friday morning – Gloria was a bit fussy on the flight but fortunately it was over in the blink of an eye (if only Gloria knew, she’d be thankful not to be on the MHS->CM bus). Gloria seemed to have mostly recovered from her cold by the time we left Mae Hong Son.

Back in Chiang Mai, we took Gloria to see the sights. We checked out several wats, the famous Chiang Mai Walking Street, the produce market, and a few favorite eating spots. The city was all lit up for the king’s birthday, which made for some fun evening walks and people watching. We took G to visit one of our Burmese friends who is now working in Chiang Mai. Because we couldn’t convince any songthaew drivers to take us to the part of town where she lives, we hailed a tuk-tuk, and Gloria enjoyed the view out the side from her perch in the baby carrier. We rode a songthaew back to the city center, checking off another new transportation experience for Baby G.

We departed Chiang Mai on a red-eye, and had a day-long layover in Seoul. We’ll provide more details about our sojourn into the city in another post. As for Gloria, she was (understandably) super sleepy, and she spent the better part of the day asleep in the baby carrier. We hadn’t planned for the harsh cold of Seoul in December, so to keep Gloria warm we dressed her in two layers of clothing plus her sleep sack before we nestled her into the carrier. It was unorthodox but it worked great. We took the train back to the airport in the afternoon, caught a quick nap in the airport, and then boarded the long-haul flight back to Seattle.

My angel
At the office, shortly before bidding adieu to our Burmese family

Bath time!
Bath time fun in our MHS guest house (we were grateful that they loaned us a basin)

Jongkham Lake
Photo shoot at Jongkham Lake

Riding a tuk-tuk in Chiang Mai
Checking out the view from a tuk-tuk, on the way to visit a friend in Chiang Mai

Naga
Posing with a naga at Wat Chedi Luang

Reclining Buddha What wat?
Touring the wats with mommy and daddy

Breakfast Breakfast
Breakfast at our guest house, on our final day in Chiang Mai

Napping at dinner
Catching a few ZZZs during dinner at Aum Vegetarian before heading to the airport

Sleepy in Seoul
Sleepy in Seoul

16 Hours in 40H and J

We are over the White Sea near Petrozavodsk and have 4454 miles to go until we reach Chicago en route to Seattle. Some thoughts from the middle of the night:

  • Silicone earplugs are critical for any travel, though sometimes even they have their limits (in this case a 5 year old who is acting half his age and screaming his head off). They also don’t work well with long hair – Lauren does not look happy right now. :(
  • Earbuds + MP3s are up the the challenge when silicone earplugs fail.
  • American Airlines is reminding me that we are no longer in India:
    • All the stations on the entertainment system are American
    • There are mostly white people on the plane
    • They ran out of the non-vegetarian option first
    • Our Indian meal was served with a dinner roll
    • Lauren’s club soda wasn’t simply carbonated water, but had a bunch of other additives, so much that it needed to be noted that it was “Low Sodium” club soda
  • I have been doing a sad job on power planning lately. Yesterday I brought an extra battery for our SLR but neglected to check if it was charged (it wasn’t). For our flight, I had the foresight to choose a seat with power available, but left our DC adapter in our checked luggage.

Mile-High Curry

We’re halfway to Delhi from Shanghai and just finished dinner service. They served a spinach curry with rotis, chutney, and dal. It was possibly they best airline food I’ve ever had (Cathay Pacific is the only other contender), and tastier than most Indian restaurants in Seattle. The businessman sitting next to Lauren said that even though they are often delayed, he always flies Air India because it’s the best meal he’ll get on his way to Delhi.

If the Indians can do this much with an Airbus kitchen, I can only imagine what awaits on the ground over the next few months! :)

Thoughts from 35,000 ft

We are currently about 3 hours away from our layover in Seoul, above the Sea of Okhotsk according to the little TV screen on the back of the seat in front of me. Kenny is asleep (of course), but I’m not so good at sleeping on planes. So instead, some random observations from me:

  • Asiana is definitely a no-frills airline, but the flight has been fine so far, and the staff are friendly.
  • The guy next to me sounds like he is going to hack up a lung. I am terrified that I’m going to catch whatever he has and then get quarantined for suspected swine flu when we arrive in Shanghai.
  • Our new laptop rocks. I’ve been using it for about 3 hours so far on this flight, and the battery still has over 6 hours remaining.
  • For some reason I get super impatient on short flights (e.g. SEA->LAX) but can mentally prepare myself to sit still for longer hauls, even if I don’t sleep at all. Ten hours from Seattle to Seoul? No problem.