Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Puzzle Solved

From 2010Sept

Finally, I have figured out how to share pictures...turns out, the pics were too big for the proxy to handle. And now I have two solutions. The first is simply to shrink every picture individually. Pain in the rear end! But when I was searching Picasa's options for a mass shrink all, I thought, hm, what would happen if I loaded them directly from the Picasa program to Picasa web...boom, instant success. Picasa automatically shrinks them to a manageable size and within thirty seconds they're up. Awesome.

And now, finally, for some pics...

Our friends finally received their Chinese daughter after a five year wait! She is four months older than Lizbeth. This is the proud big sister.
From 2010Sept

Lizbeth in her activity chair helping me cook dinner.
From 2010Sept

Naked time!
From 2010Sept

Pretty girl :-)
From 2010Sept

Favorite Toys
From 2010Sept

Look at me I rolled off my blanket!
From 2010Sept

Kissy face (actually she's sucking on her bottom lip-a teething thing)
From 2010Sept

Finger Sucker
From 2010Sept

From 2010Sept

Playing with Daddy
From 2010September

From 2010September

From 2010September

Pretty Presents
From 2010September

Day at the Park
From 2010September

From 2010September

From 2010September

Monday, September 20, 2010

Exploding Water

Last night I exploded water. Luckily my burns were VERY insignificant, but it was scary/interesting just the same.

Last night I was heating water to warm Lizbeth's milk in. After heating it for two minutes (which looking back was way too much), I took out the mug and set the bag of milk into the mug. Instantly the water exploded, shooting up my arms and across my face. Luckily I was wearing my glasses (covered with water droplets) and not holding Lizbeth. The exploded water covered at least a three foot diameter. So weird!

Apparently, there is an interesting phenomenon when you microwave water. If the mug/glass you microwave it in is very new and has no imperfections, the surface tension is so perfect that it can get way above boiling temperature without beginning to boil. So when something does finally interrupt the perfect balance, the pressure is so high that it "explodes".

Of course my husband, after finding that I was okay and making me splash cold water on my face for awhile, stated he wished he had been in the kitchen to observe this strange occurrence!

He then looked up the science on snopes. Click on the link to learn more if you're interested.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Doctor Doctor

So I have decided I really dislike going to the doctor in China.

1st of all, there's the translation issues.

My conversation on Friday (by phone, in English)
Me: "Hi, I need to make an appointment for my baby's four month check up and vaccinations."
Them: "Okay, do you have her vaccination record?"
Me: "Yes"
Them: "Okay, be sure to bring it to your appointment on Sunday at 2" (another reason I dislike them, appointments on Sundays?)

Me: "Hi, I'm here for my daughter's appointment"
Them: "Hi Ruth! So you're doing her vaccinations by yourself at the municipal hospital?"
Me: "What? No, that's why I'm here."
Them: "Oh, we can't do them here."
Me: "What? Then why am I here?"
Them: "To see the pediatrician. But if you want, we can take you to have them done on Tuesday at the hospital."

So now I have to head back on Tuesday, to have them take me to the hospital, to get her vaccinations...which I could do by myself, if I think I can speak enough Chinese. I'm going to go with them this time and see how it goes, and probably skip out the middle man next time.

Reason number two: Scare tactics

Since she was not getting her vaccinations, all she had done yesterday was weighed, measured, and the doctor looked at her stuffy nose (which I had already had looked at by a different doctor on Friday, but that doctor can't do the vaccinations-of course, neither apparently can this one.)

After being weighed, the doctor informed me she is way too small, and wants me to supplement with formula (which I'm not about to do after the Chinese melamine issue and babies died). I went home and looked at her stats, and she's still in the 45-55 percentile range, while she was born at 55%. If she weighed as much as they wanted she would be in the 82% range! (according to some websites) But Chinese doctors are formula crazy (much like the states a few years ago) and the doctor is going off the old adage that a baby should double her weight by three months (and Lizbeth is already four months). Never mind that my baby is active, chubby, alert, and super strong (rolling over from back to front already!)

What makes me really mad is for all the poor women who don't have access to good information or wise friends to encourage them, and therefore stress out needlessly about their perfectly healthy baby's weight. I do have these things, and still scoured the internet and books for hours last night comparing charts and websites, stressing myself into a tizzy.

She also said that her height is only "barely" enough (also maintaining her 55-60%), that she should have medicine for her runny nose (which the other doctor said was no problem) and that her losing her long baby hair is early "rickets". Everything online says that losing any baby hair before 6 months is no problem, and nothing mentions it having to do with rickets. Now I don't know what to think.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Not As Good As I'd Hoped

So looks like that one pic will have to hold you over for awhile, or you can head over to Facebook where I've been able to upload a few. Last night I spent 20 minutes writing a post only to find out the pictures wouldn't upload. I've been trying again this morning with no success. Bummer.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Beautiful Daughter with the Asian Eyes

From July and August 2010

(And yes, this means my computer-internet connection is now working for pictures again!)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Internet Hates Me

Please accept my apologies for going off grid for so long. It's not that I haven't tried, it's just that every attempt has been thwarted.

I've tried many strategies for facing my lack of blogger and facebook access. One of them involved continuing to write, with the intent of uploading at a later date. Well after eight blognotes and three attempts to upload them, I lost momentum. I even hesitate to post them, they are so out of date! But, after all, I did write them, so I might as well put them out there (see below).

We are now considering other options, mainly paid ones, so that we can stay in touch with all of you. I'm also working to create a newsletter to send out once a month to at least give a few regular updates and pictures. If you would like to make sure you are on my mailing list, please send an e-mail to me at girltravelor@gmail.com.

Also feel free to find us on skype and see little Lizzy and me there. We are listed under Nathan's name. (You may also find my account, but I don't remember the password and never use it!)

Of course, e-mail is also a great way to contact us. Please know we haven't forgotten you all.

On a happier note, we are doing quite well. Nathan seems to finally be over his 2+ week illness, Lizbeth only had it for two days, and I think I am in the clear! Lizbeth surprised us all this week with proving the bazillion mothers across the world correct in popping out a tooth with another one on the way! This has led to a rough week of slight fevers and some fussiness, but overall she is a trooper.

I am adjusting into motherhood quite well. I'm busy already, attending a wives' meeting on Mondays and traveling to school twice a week for Chinese lessons. Amazing how a 45 min lesson requires three to four hours! But it's good for me to get out of the house several times a week. The other two weekdays I get shopping, some cleaning and some cooking done. I'm also trying to survive on 11 cloth diapers and washing, drying, and folding them nearly every day. I miss working with Nathan and seeing him so much, but it is always fun in the evenings when he does finally walk through that door :-)

It is great to be in a small community of several other families. I've taken a few walks with another young mother about to have her first baby this month. Jacquelyn and I have been able to do our shopping together a few times, and it's fun to see who I will run in to every time I leave the apartment.

Being home all day has also given me the opportunity to speak more Chinese and meet more locals. The vegetable lady at our gate and I are on a first name basis, and I'm starting to master any vocabulary relating to a baby! Everywhere I go people stop to look, smile, and "click" at my baby, giving me plenty of opportunity to practice my Chinese.

Well, as promised, I will try and to continue to blog and post as I can. Be prepared for several posts all at once as I store them up for the rare access I do get to blogger. For your first mass upload, see below :-)

Miss you all friends!

(After several more attempts to add pictures, I'm posting this picture less as every attempt has been blocked. Please know I will post pics asap)

A Whole Slew of Notes
August 12, 2010 (Note, this was my first attempt at loading a bunch all together, and it failed.)

So, I have not been able to access my blog or Facebook since returning to China through my computer, and yet have had more time to blog than ever before. So to keep my mind occupied, I decided to continue blogging anyways and post them when I got the chance. So, here you go...don't worry, if you get bored before the end I promise not to be offended :-)

Thursday, August 12th

We had heard horror stories of returning to China after an extended time away from your apartment and finding all sorts of things. Mold covering entire walls and furniture, water knee high from a broken pipe. With the company doing construction on our apartment, I was a bit scared to see what we would find. They were putting in a bathtub in our master bath, painting all our walls, and removing some of the landlord furniture.

Well, I was quite relieved to walk in the door and find things relatively in order. In fact, due to our fantastic Chinese helper, even our furniture and belongings had been returned to their previous places! We did find several splatters of paint, and I don't particularly care for the color in our living room (my fault, not theirs), but overall, no horrors.

And then I noticed the moths. One here, two there, a few more over there.

To put a long story short, I had to get rid of 90% of our American candy. I also had to throw out 7 pounds of chocolate chips :-(, a small thing of gluten free flour, and a few other miscellaneous things. All of this took about three hours (split over two mornings) to sort through and clean up after. The small thing of gluten free flour was so ridden with a moth nest, I considered taking a picture to post, but then decided I never wanted to see it again, even in picture form. It turns my stomach just thinking about it.

We still spot a moth or two here and there, but I haven't figured out where they are coming from. Regardless, I am now spending my time purchasing, cleaning, and filling glass and tupperware like containers to store EVERYTHING in. Which leads me to my next discovery.

Tiny, black beetles. Not sure what these are, but they apparently like corn kernals and maybe wheat flour (the wheat flour container had been emptied and washed so I think our chinese helper had thrown it out over the summer).

yuck. Did I mention I hate bugs?

On a happier note, for some reason they had not discovered my MEGA stash of gluten free mixes, which are now my first priority for storing in bug proof tins and the freezer to prevent future infestations. For this I am forever grateful! While it killed me to throw out the candy and chocolate chips, fifty pounds (or thereabouts) of gluten free is a much worse sacrifice!

I'm also glad our apartment is not filled with mold or water.

Wednesday, August 11th

It is really hot here. I have no idea what the temperature is, but combined with incredible humidity, I went through four shirts today!

Thankfully we have an airconditioning unit. Actually, two, but one is in the guest bedroom, not sure what good it does there (but if you want to come visit us, it's yours!). Nathan has set up a fan to try and blow the cool air back into our bedroom (a full "U" turn from the living room airconditioning unit). Everytime I get crabby about the heat, I remember there are so many people here who don't have any airconditioning! I honestly don't know how they do it.

Meanwhile, we're in as little clothing as possible and drinking lots of fluids.

Tuesday, August 10

With traveling so much and switching time zones repeatedly on our little one, it has been impossible to tell if she has any real schedule. Although I will tell you, in every time zone she was in for the first 9 weeks of her life she would settle on a 1:00AM bedtime-way later than I liked! Finally, the last week we were home she started going down for the night around 10:00 PM, a very welcome change. And then we flipped her days and nights again, poor thing.

So far this is what it has looked like (note: inconsequential night feedings have been omitted-she does not sleep through the night :-) )

2:00 PM fall asleep hard as we land in Qingdao
5:30 PM mom and dad wake her up so maybe she'll sleep that night
7:30 PM fall back asleep hard for the night

1:45 AM wake up hungry but happy. Would love to be up to play after eating but mom puts her back down
4:30 AM awake for the day
naps throughout the rest of the day
7:00 fall asleep for the night on the way back from our all staff dinner

2:30 AM wake up cheerful, mom puts her back down after eating
5:30 AM AWAKE!
7:00 AM down for a LONG nap. Mom naps with her until 11:00, she gets up at almost noon
cat naps throughout the day
7:30 PM down for the night

5:30 AM AWAKE!
7:30 AM, down for a long nap
cat naps throughout the day, very fussy for daddy in the afternoon
7:30 PM down for the night

5:30 AM AWAKE!
10:00 AM falls asleep on the way to fellowship
10:45 wake back up
12:00 goes down for a long nap as we go out to lunch
cat naps throughout the rest of the day
8:00 PM down for the night

3:30 AM AWAKE! (and diaper falling off- ah!! -blast buying used bum genius!)
in and out of small naps since mommy is ignoring her and put her down in her own room
6:00 AM AWAKE!
7:30 AM down for a long nap
sleeps all afternoon (12:30-4:30?)
7:15 PM falls asleep in her stroller
8:00 PM wakes up!
Doesn't go down for the night until 9:45 PM!

Tuesday (today)
Doesn't really wake up until mommy changes her diaper at 7:00 AM
Falls back asleep at 7:45 AM

If you're still reading and I haven't bored you to death yet, the point is I was really starting to enjoy this new schedule of hers. Go to bed early, get up with Daddy for work (not so thrilled with the 3:30 AM stuff, but otherwise), then take a long nap so I can get stuff done in the morning. But now she's changing it on me again...I guess we'll just have to wait and see. It has, after all, only been a week. Poor thing.

As an aside, she has in general been really happy the times she has been awake, and even self entertains with her baby einsteins arches and music some of the time. Her fussy times she just wants to be held. Probably missing the bazillion relatives and friends in the States who held her all the time!

Toys and Laughs
Tuesday, August 10

Lizbeth laughed last night! A full chuckle, several times! Her daddy had just gotten home from work and was playing with her in the air, and all of a sudden, out came a laugh! She continued doing it for a little while, but of course by the time I found the camera, she was over it :-(

She seems to be a very smart cookie. When first learning to "talk" she would watch my mouth very closely to see how I move my tongue. Then she would start moving her tongue and a few seconds later would add sound! The same has been true with laughing. I had noticed she had been watching my mouth very closely when I laughed for the past few days. I was wondering if she was trying to figure out how to do it, and then she did! Study, and then apply!

On another note, we purchased a wonderful Baby Einsteins floor mat with some of the money people gave us for her. It has all sorts of dangly things and she loves it. Well, we've recently added the music component to it, a sound box thing with lights that go along with the songs. It has a function that only turns on the music when she kicks it, or changes the song if one already is playing. She seems to really be getting it down, though sometimes if she can't quite coordinate her feet well enough, she scolds it for not talking to her.

Over all she is growing like crazy and a joy to be around! (most of the time... :-) )

Back in China
Monday, August 9

It's been great to be back in our home here in China. While it was wonderful to see everyone in the states, eight beds in seven weeks is a bit much! I had also missed my friends a lot.

Some things I missed about China:
my own kitchen!
walking everywhere
cheap taxis
the beach outside my window
my friends
familiar places
friendly strangers always wanting to talk to you
My Chinese helper (Ayi)

Some things I did NOT miss about China
smelly garbage everywhere
walking everywhere :-)
people parking on the sidewalk so I have to step into the road with my infant in the stroller
friendly strangers ALWAYS wanting to talk to you
missing family back home

Overall it is great to be back. We're still trying to get over jetlag and figuring out baby's schedule, but it hasn't been too terrible, especially since I'm not going back to work!

Friday, August 6th

Today I did not go to work. Not because I am sick, or have an appointment, but because I am no longer a teacher at QMIS. And that reality hit hard today.

Of course any mom will tell you that you trade working at the office for working at home, and this is very true. But right now I'm trying to figure out what exactly that looks like, and right now I miss my familiar office and people and responsibilities.

Of course my two hour nap this morning with baby was definitely a perk of my new job. :-)

She Loves Her Feet
Saturday, July 31st

Little Lizzy An has recently become fixated on her feet. She touches everything with them, and if she can't find something to touch, she touches them together.

Well, tonight, she discovered she could see them. At dinner after we landed in LA, I looked over and she was very quiet, just staring directly at her feet! Barely moving, just thinking, and looking. What a big world it is out here!