Tuesday, July 27, 2010

night before

It's the night before we leave. We are going down to my parents' house tomorrow after work. I'm hoping that after I stop to get myself some dinner and feed Nate, he'll sleep the rest of the trip. Last time we went down there, I had to get in the backseat with him for the last 45 minutes or so because he was DONE. But I can't do that so much when I'm the one driving.

I loaded up the car tonight. I'm kind of worried that I'm forgetting something. I made the lists, adjusted them, packed by them, added a few things, and checked everything off. We would appear to be ready.

I will see you all again when we return from our whirlwind vacation!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nate and socks

Nate loves playing with his socks, whether on or off. If he sees one on the floor, he gets excited, scoots over to it, grabs it, and shoves it in his mouth. He also chews on them while they are on his feet:

This afternoon, he was carrying a sock in his mouth as he was scooting around on the floor. I failed to get a good, in-focus picture, so I give you: The Film Strip.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

41 lbs

Our suitcase weighs 41 lbs. We have a 50 lb limit! All I have to add to it is 3 empty bottles and a few of Nate's medicines. It is a marvel.

Months ago (a year+?), I got these lovely packing cubes from Avon. I'm kind of a packing nerd, so I knew I'd use them as soon as I saw them. They're great! You can squish a lot of soft stuff in them, zip them up, and it takes up less space.

The boxes are a gift for Mama Esther. We sent her a Christmas gift, but it was stolen by postal workers. Before we sent it, I asked Rodgers if we should use FedEx, but he said no because it's so expensive. But what a waste to use the postal service when you're 85% sure your stuff will be stolen. Anyway, these are photo mugs, with pictures of us.

That's what's under the big packing cubes. Nothing is under the diapers.

And on top, the travel bed. The lid has some depth to it, so even though it looks too full...

...it closes!

The carryon in progress. It's less than half full, despite how it looks in the picture. There are several things to add to this, but we're still using them in Nate's diaper bag.

Front pocket with passports (in a beautiful passport cover made by my father - big enough for Nate's and mine both), liquids (Mylicon and Tylenol), and some "no jet lag" homeopathic remedy recommended by our good friend Trish.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I like a clean house. I've been more of an "as needed" type than one who cleans on a schedule. I would clean everything on the same day, when it seemed like it had been a while or the place was starting to look like it wasn't clean. Then, I'd collapse in my chair with a glass of iced tea and smell the lovely aroma of my clean home.

After getting married, Rodgers would join in the cleaning when I cleaned. If he saw me doing the bathrooms, he'd bust out the vacuum. He's awesome like that. Then I got pregnant and would collapse in my chair with a glass of iced tea at the mere thought of cleaning anything at all. Rodgers graciously took over cleaning duties while I was busy being an incubator. The whole apartment would be cleaned over a course of a month or two, though, rather than a week or two. I was dissatisfied, but not enough to do anything about it.

After Nate was born, cleaning became not a priority at all. I was looking through pictures one day and saw a picture of our living room a week or so after we moved in. It was beautiful. Then, I looked at is as it was that day. Gross. It was then that I decided our willy-nilly cleaning style needed to change.

I like having everything clean on the same day, but, short of hiring a cleaning service, that just can't happen when Rodgers and I are both working full time and have a baby at home. Ideally, everything would be cleaned every two weeks, but laundry needs to be done weekly. I drew up a Cleaning Calendar (CC) (I alluded to this a few posts back):

Every Wed: Nate's laundry
Every Thu: Our laundry

Mon A: toilets, bathroom countertops, mirrors
Tue A: scrub showers/tubs, sweep/mop tile floors (bathrooms, kitchen, dining nook)
Fri A: kitchen (clean out fridge, scrub microwave, wash stove drip pans and rings, scrub oven [if needed], run coffee pot cleaning)

Mon B: tidy living room and dining room (this used to be a daily task, but no more)
Tue B: vacuum all carpet
Fri B: laundry (towels and sheets)

Daily/as needed: cook, dishes, take out trash, buy groceries (usually on the weekend)

Chores are generally done after Nate's in bed. We don't have to do anything besides groceries on the weekends. There have been weeks when we needed laundry earlier in the week, so we swapped days. We are halfway through our fourth rotation (this is our seventh week under the CC) and still going strong! Rodgers likes to clean, but doesn't always know what I want to be cleaned. I don't like to always be telling him what I want cleaned because then I feel controlling or like I'm nagging him. One of the biggest benefits of the CC is that Rodgers knows what I want to be done without me asking him to to do a chore every day. Some days the chores are split evenly between us, some days he does it all, some days I do it all. It's a good 50/50 split. It may not work this way forever, but for now, I'm happy with it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Some new Nate videos.

His favorite games are Peekaboo and Extreme Closeup. Here's a video of us playing the latter:

Usually we make Nate bottles as needed, but I'd needed a bit of formula to mix with his cereal earlier one day, so I went ahead and made his whole next bottle, used a tiny bit for the cereal, and put the rest in the fridge. Then, I had to warm it up. While I was warming it, he got impatient, so here's Rodgers singing a lullaby of sorts:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

cross-continental travel with a 6 month old, part 2

Rodgers is allowed more checked baggage than I am. Also, he won't have Nate with him. So, he's taking some of Nate's stuff that we won't need in England. We will need most of it, though. Sigh.

carseat: Cat found us a carseat to use in England so we don't have to fly with ours!

clothes: 1 outfit per day, a couple of pjs, and socks for each outfit, lots of bibs and burp cloths. I'm taking all the cute outfits to England, and Rodgers has a handful of onesies. I'm taking travel packets of laundry detergent so that we can wash because I'm sure we'll go through more than 1 outfit some days. I am also taking his swimsuit and a few swim diapers, just in case we have use for them. We have 2 extra-cute outfits for wedding day, just in case one gets covered in spitup or poo.

diapers: Rodgers will buy diapers at Nakumat when he gets to Kenya, but I'll take a whole package (48) with me. I guess we could buy diapers in England as well, hmm... I'm taking 1 full package of wipes. I think it will last the whole time. If not, we'll make another trip to Nakumat.

food: We are each packing 1 can of formula, 1 tub of baby food per day (me the England days, Rod the Kenya days), and a ziploc with 1 Tbsp of cereal per day. I'm taking 3 bottles in my checked bag, bottle brush, and a small bottle of dish soap (though maybe Rod should take that since we'll likely only need it at the hotel in Kenya), and mesh feeder. In my carryon will be 1 Playtex Drop-in bottle with 2 nipples and plenty of sleeves (so I won't have to wash bottles, just nipples), in addition to enough formula for the flights and layovers.

sleeping: On roadtrips, we take the Pack-n-Play. For this trip, Cat is going to attempt to find something for Nate in England. For Kenya, we're taking a travel bed/bag/changing pad combo dealy, and we'll use it in Englad if we need to. I will take one of our flannel feeling waterproof pads, a quilt, and a couple of thermal blankets. Nate will have one pacifier on him when we get on the plane, I'll have one in my carryon, and a third in my checked bag. We tend to lose them (we have 6 NB pacis and currently know where 4 of them are, but yesterday I could only find 2), so maybe Rodgers should take one, too.

baths/toiletries: Shampoo, body wash, lotion, plus a few washcloths and a towel, Desitin, sunblock (Neutrogena Pure & something), Tylenol, Mylicon, teething tablets, gripe water, saline spray, bulb syringe, clippers, and thermometer. The teething tablets, at lesat, will be carried on; the rest may be checked. I'm going to talk with the doctor on Thursday about bug spray. I have some California Baby bug spray, but we'll see if doc's ok with that, and if it actually does any good. I may buy one of those clip on bug repellant deallies and wear it myself, keeping Nate within the circle of protection.

toys: He's not a big toy guy yet. He enjoys playing with a towel as much as anything. We'll have his razzberry teether in my carryon (which is his teether of choice currently), his lovey and elephant in my checked bag (they're noisy), and his stuffed lamb in my carryon.

various items to carry on: A 4 compartment formula dispenser and his stacking food storage thing. In the airports, Nate will be in the Baby Bjorn. I may also pack our sling, but don't think it will be in the carryon. From London to Nairobi Nate should eat some solids, but not from Houston to London. It would be easier to have him all on formula during the flights, which is what I'm considering doing. I'll carryon our diaper wallet, because that will be easy to grab and go to the airplane restroom for changes. The quilt I'm taking will be in the carryon so that, even with our minimal layovers on the way out, if there is any time in the airport for Nate to get down on the floor, he can. I should have a full change of clothes for myself in the carryon as well. As close quarters as Nate and I will be in, it's likely I will either be covered in spit up or become the victim of a poosplosion. Also in my carryon will be Nate's and my passports, as well as my camera. Rodgers is taking the camcorder so that he can shoot some video of the mission trip.

So that's Nate. And...I still have to pack for myself, too!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

cross-continental travel with a 6 month old, part 1

We leave 2 weeks from tomorrow. I'm excited about our destinations but the transit part is intimidating. Packing is the most complex, brain teasing puzzle ever. What do we need? What do we need in the carryon? What do we want to take with us if it will fit? What can we pick up when we get there? Once we get all that figured out, all that's left is enduring the flights.

Trip 1: Nate and I travel from Houston to London. It's 2 flights (a long one and a short one), a layover in between, and a total flight time of 10:22; about 11:22 from departure to arrival. We leave in the afternoon and arrive at 10 am. Nate's a good nighttime sleeper, so he should sleep from DC to London. If he doesn't, Lord, help me.

Trip 2: Nate and I travel from London to Mombasa. Two flights again. The long flight is longer than the first trip, but the short flight should be less than an hour. It's a daytime trip, so there will be much eating, playing, and diaper changing, and hopefully much napping as well. Our total flight time is 9:30, less than 10:30 from departure to arrival.

Trip 3: Rodgers, Nate and I travel from Mombasa to Houston. It's four flights, but bonus: I will have been through it all with Nate by myself, and now Rodgers will be with me to help. Our total flight time is almost 22 hours, with a total of 13 hours of layovers. That's an hour short of a day and a half between departure and arrival at our final destination. I want to puke just thinking about it. I love flying. I really do. But that is a long trip!

I think the biggest struggle will be that Nate loves to lay on the floor, roll around, attempt to crawl, and basically spend some time on his own. I see him being held or sitting in my lap for the majority of the flight times. I am afraid he will get frustrated from being so confined. We'll worry about that when we get to it. We will endure it. For now, I need to focus on packing. I have lists, many lists.

to be continued...


When I started this blog, I had labels for my posts. Since it was generally a place for me to gather ideas for wedding plans, I used them a lot. I could easily go back and see, for instance, the bridesmaid dress options in various posts. After the wedding, I stopped that. Then, I imported my old blog (justrachet.blogspot.com), which I probably will delete, if I haven't already. I kept two blogs up for a while, but I'm consolidating. And now there are a whoooooole lot more posts here about many, many different things. So, in a burst of organizational energy, I reinstated labels for my posts. And I relabeled all the wedding-related posts to simply "wedding," rather than "dresses," "venue," etc. The labels are all displayed <-- over there. And I'm going to try to keep them up. FYI: Most of the imported posts are labeled "doulos" or "life."

Monday, July 12, 2010

where is it?

Rodgers has a habit of falling asleep in our chair-and-a-half. It's so comfy with the ottoman, after dinner, he just can't keep his eyes open. Usually, when I go to take a shower, he'll fall asleep in the chair. I make him get up and come to bed once I'm done. Whether he falls asleep before or after I go to shower, I tell him, "I'm going to shower now." That way he knows I'm not around for baby duty, if Nate happens to wake up, which he doesn't.

Monday night, I went to take a shower. Rodgers was already partially napping, but I told him I was going.

I got out of the shower, got ready for bed, and was sitting in bed updating my chart (for FAM - info here if you don't know what that is), when a car alarm started going off in the parking lot. It wasn't one of those siren types, it was just a repetitive blaring of the horn. It went off for a long time.

After a few minutes, Rodgers stumbled into the bedroom, looked at me, pointed his finger, and said, "Where is it?"


"Your thingy!"

"...what thing?"

"beep! beep! beep!"

"That's a car alarm. Are you still asleep?"

He went back to the chair and laid down again. He does remember the conversation, so he wasn't totally sleep walking/talking. He swears I told him to listen for my alarm while I was in the shower because I wouldn't be able to hear it go off.

Ok, so maybe it's not funny to you. We cracked up. Sleep does funny things to the brain.

Friday, July 9, 2010

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


the freaking toilet

Our lease ends in August. If we're moving out, our time to notify the apartments was last week. We don't plan to move, but Rodgers said, "If they don't fix the freaking toilet, we're outta here!"

A long time ago, when I was pregnant, I got home from work, and there was a note from maintenance on the door that they had come to fix our toilet, since it was leaking into our downstairs neighbors' bathroom. No biggie. But ever after, we've had issues with that toilet.

It went through a phase where the water would randomly run for a few seconds, then stop, and repeat a few minutes later. The hall toilet was doing the same thing. So we got maintenance to come out and fix both toilets. Great.

Then, the master bathroom toilet started doing it again. We reported it, but no one ever came out. This was around the time that Nate was born. I just didn't care enough to pester them, and since I didn't care, Rodgers didn't. I really only cared about having a baby, and when that was done, I only cared about moving around as little as possible. Rodgers looked at the toilet, and realized that this little screwy thing could be screwed in or out or something, and it helped.

That worked for a few months, actually, but then it started acting up again. The day that we got the notice about our lease ending soon, the toilet ran ALL NIGHT LONG. Seriously. It just wouldn't quit. I looked in the tank and saw that the floaty thing no longer floated. It was a Sunday. No one's in the office on Sundays, and we can call for emergencies, but I didn't feel it was. (Actually, maybe we got the notice Saturday...but the toilet ran all night Saturday night/Sunday morning.)

Rodgers turned the water supply to the toilet off, but it drips on the floor when you do that, so that wasn't a good solution.

I found some shoe laces. (This is genius.) Our hand towel hook is right above the toilet. So I took the lid off the tank and rigged the shoe laces up to the hook and tied them to the floaty thing so that it would have no choice but to float. The water still ran a bit, like a trickle, but it was much better and not as loud. To use the toilet, we could unloop the shoelace from the towel hook, flush, then reloop it when the tank was full. (Dang! I should have taken a picture to send to "There, I fixed it.")

Monday, Rodgers and I both went to the office and reported it. We had a busy week, and didn't have another chance to go by or call or anything. By Friday, no one had come to fix it. (Fixing things has been slow since we got this new manager, but it's not bad enough that we want to go to the trouble of finding somewhere else to live and move.) Rodgers went into the office Friday morning and said, "Send someone to fix this NOW. Our toilet has been broken for A WEEK!" That was just the motivation they needed.

The guy was at our apartment before Rodgers made it back there from the office. Our toilet is fixed again. For now, at least.