Tuesday, July 30, 2013

14 Months Old

Our baby is 14 months old. 
She is very strong willed.
If she wants something, she screams for it.  She doesn't want to use sign language and she doesn't want to use her words.  She wants to scream and point.  Strong lungs and vocal cords.
'Mama! Mama! can mean many things, one of which is `I want that!'
She is bald.  It actually bothers me a bit, I know, so vain.  I was bald until I was two though so I'm expecting she will be the same.  People on our trip were asking why she had no hair as really all asian babies have so much!  Has anyone ever shaved their kids hair?  Does it really grow back more?  That was their suggestion:)
She loves to be rough. Wrestling, pushing, shouting, climbing, punching people in the belly button...possibly even biting me.  She is so tiny...look at her thin legs!  She is our only child to actually wear her proper size at this age.
She is quick to smile and wave hello or goodbye.  She was comfortable whenever someone would pick her up and hold her...total strangers on our trip.
She loves to run outside and does not like to be told which way to go.  She can now run up and down hills and go down slides on her own.  I love that she now understands things like `Get your hat!' or `Get your shoes!'.
She is happiest in water and running around outside.  Or climbing stairs.  She loves stairs.  She also loved the moving sidewalks in the airport.
She doesn't love food like her brothers but she does love ice cream.  And fruit.  And milk.  Loves her milk.  She will take a bottle/sippy of homo milk but loves breastfeeding most.   I'm just trying to get her back to our time zone and through this one molar and then hopefully she'll be up less at night?
She is seriously up every 3 hours at night still.  Does anyone else have a toddler that does/did this?  Any advice?  Her cry at night is actually one of pain from her tooth so I feel bad trying to ignore it.  We do give her advil and teething tablets....I just wouldn't mind a full nights sleep.  In 14 months, I have slept through the night less than 10 times.
We love our Ms. Nya Pya Cutie Pants.  
She will keep us humble.  
She has added a lot of `zest' to our family.  
She is sweet and loud.  
She is loved.

Love, Louise

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sick Kai Bear

Lazy blogging from my iPhone. The best part about being home? Having a bedroom to ourselves. Loooooove our bed. The bad part? Kai has some really bad food poisoning and is on day 4 of fever and major stomach pains (vomiting has passed). I feel so guilty that we should've made some better parenting decisions in regards to what we ate. How the heck did I allow him to eat sushi in Thailand??? What was I thinking??? We will also be testing him for parasites. Poor guy has lost a lot of weight and has been miserable.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Final Days In Chiang Mai, Thailand

{**We are now home safely!  I will blog more about how ridiculously terrible we are all doing thanks to tummy bugs and jet lag and a teething toddler.  The good news is that the flights went almost as well as they could.  The other good news I guess is that I finally lost all my Nya weight thanks to this Thailand tummy bug.  Now to keep it off....**}

We took a nice taxi to the Elephant Conservation Center.  We each had our own seat!  Nya lasted like this for just two minutes...then she would just rotate between our seats.  I know my shirt looks wonky but I just wanted to show the ideal outfit for feeding your baby wherever you go...tank top under, large light shirt over...The best part of no car seats was that I could feed her whenever she wanted.  The bad part? Nya would have done much better contained.  Looking back, I think a travel sized car seat would've been ideal for her. 

We chose to go here because based on my limited research it looked like the most elephant friendly place.  After talking to an English couple who were travelling the world for a year, I found out there was a much better place where you can't ride them and there is no show and you can bathe them.  That would've been ideal.  I did feel comfortable with how the elephants were treated here though, and their conditions etc. So that is good.

The second we showed up, the boys were ecstatic!  They could not wait to touch them and ride them.  Gary and Koen went first and just did a 10 minute ride.  This place was an hour away and we didn't want to be gone for more than 4 hours as our little monster needs her naps in her bed.  

While they were on their elephant ride, Kai fed the other elephants some sugar cane.  For just less than a dollar, he got a whole stack of sugar cane.  In Canada, they would charge you like $20 to do that:) 

{You can see Koen loved his chance to feed them too!}
{Watching them bathe was fun and they sprayed us a bunch!}

Then it was time for Kai and I to go while Gary held Nya.  I just didn't want her on the elephant twisting and turning.  If she gets in a mood, it's not pretty.  We also just did a 10 minute ride, more than enough.  It wasn't scary at all.  I was imagining the ones in Kenya that were much larger.

We then visited the elephant hospital and baby nursery there.  Interesting to see an elephant size IV hanging from the ceiling!   This little guy is 6 months old.  We watched him playing with a soccer ball and I felt like he was just like Koen :)  The difficult thing is that I normally ask so many questions to learn and it was very difficult for us to understand eachother so we didn't get to learn as much as I had hoped.

That afternoon we took a tuk tuk to the Lotus Hotel nearby.  They have a huge rooftop pool which was perfect!  The weather was warm and humid the whole time so it was nice to cool off.  Kai has really improved in the water and can now swim and do summersaults etc. I have a bunch of photos of food vendors and different foods that we ate but I can't even look at them and can't even talk about it as we are still just eating bread right now....

{Gary went and took a bunch of photos of the temples.  I'm not into history or architecture, ya ya, boo me, but he is so here are a few for him....}

And then.  The day before we left...we awoke at 5 am (which is normal, we awoke every day at 5am due to the kids) to Gary vomiting.  I knew immediately that it was from the food we had the night before.  I was so afraid we'd all wake up sick.  My stomach felt like it was in knots, it still does days later.  Usually Gary would take Nya at 5 so I could sleep for an hour but instead, I took all three kids out for four hours so he could rest. Finally, at Nya's nap time, I put her down and took the boys on a little adventure.

We took one of the red trucks, Songthaew, which is sort of like a public bus.  Gary had really wanted to go to this one temple; Doi Suthep, so we went in his place. It took about half an hour to get there.

{These are all iPhone photos as I had zero energy.  We climbed the 300 steps to the top.}

I had promised them ice cream.  It was a bit tricky up top because it was so slippery from all the rain and Koen had on flip flops which had him sliding everywhere.  I had to hold his hand the whole time which is not ideal.  We also had a few emergency stops to the bathroom so it was not very relaxing but it kept the boys busy while Gary rested.

{Looking out over Chiang Mai}
{Vendors along to the steps.  I bought Nya a traditional Thai dress.}

Once we got home, Nya had woken up and Gary was still really sick.  He stayed in bed and I went next door to the doctor and got him some medication.  I also went and cancelled my one hour Thai massage:( Boo.  The boys played a lot of `restaurant' while we were there. Not a lot of space to run around freely but there was this  deck below our room.  So hard to keep our kids quiet when they are up at 5 am every day and people are sleeping until 10am!

I don't know if I've said this but I was up with Nya every 2 hours at this point in our trip.  She was teething and out of sorts.  We did give her rice cereal every morning and tried to just feed her food that was as normal to her as could be, like fruit, but wow, she was out of sorts.  She also has about 30 large bites which I'm sure weren't making her feel well. At midnight, on the day we were to leave, I woke up to Nya vomiting.  It was terrible.  Gary took a shower with her while I cleaned everything up and then after about 2 hours, I got her back to sleep.  Fortunately she did not vomit again but she did struggle with diarrhea.  I was so nervous that the whole family would wake up vomiting and we would have to change all of our flights or something.  Fortunately, we were all in decent shape that morning.

{Goodbye room 87!  Nya lost our room key by the way, what a punk.}
I had asked for prayer for the flight home and it was truly answered.  It was a long 24 hours but we made all of our flights and there was no vomiting on the plane.  Other digestive issues but no vomiting.  The two long flights were in the seats with more leg room for the kids to lay out and for the 12 hour flight, we even tried Nya in the bassinet that they attach to the wall and IT WORKED!!! She slept in it for at least 5 hours (not in a row but still).  It allowed me to sleep at least 4 hours or so.  We had some Thai Bhat ($) left over that were were planning to spend at the airport but none of us had an appetite so now we just have money leftover.

It is so good to be home and sleep in our own bed and have our own bedrooms and just let Nya roam the house.  We are going to reflect on our trip a bit more over the next few days and I'll have highlights from everyone.  Right now, we are just really struggling with jet lag (14 hour time change).  We've all been up since 3 am...it's going to take a good week I think to feel healthy and normal  again.  And wow, Nya is still getting up every 2-3 hours.  She is in pain which I"m assuming is teething pain, so I don't let her cry long.  Hard to get over jet lag when you can't sleep for more than 2 hours at a time!  I am going to start giving her whole milk now and not sure if we'll stop breastfeeding all together.  If I could even just get it down to once a day, that would be awesome.  10 times a day is a bit much for a 14 month old!!!  Crazy monkey!!

Thanks for following along.  It was a big trip with so many highlights and overall, we are thankful for the opportunity and soooo happy to be home!

Love, Team Chapman back in Surrey

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Last Night In Chiang Mai

I won't be able to blog the rest of our trip right now..that will have to wait until we get home.  I can tell you that Gary got food poisoning and we all awoke to it early, early this morning.  He spent the day in bed/bathroom while I entertained and took care of the kids.  I went to a doctor and got some meds for him, we'll see what they do!  Right now Koen is feeling sick and I'm not feeling hot either.  Please no pukey-up-all-night-last-night-in-Thailand.   Gary has finally eaten a piece of toast and has left the room to buy some water.  So, I would say that tomorrow will be a rough, rough day for Gary but he should be okay.

My prayer?
That we all have amazing health tomorrow.  Oh, and can I throw in a request for sleep for the 12 hour flight from Taipei to Vancouver? Would be lovely.

I have to say that we are REALLY looking forward to our own beds again!!

Love, Team Sore Tummy Chapmans in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chiang Mai, Thailand. Part One

Internet has been in and out so will make this quick.  We are staying at the Mountain View Guest House in Chiang Mai.  It's right in the old city where everything is and we have a deluxe room with AC for about $35/night.  The people are very friendly here.
Thailand is different than the Philippines in a few ways.  Thailand has more of a unique culture, very Buddhist, many tourists, amazing food, less English.
Geckos everywhere.
There are temples everywhere.  Within a five minute walk from our guesthouse, you can visit at least 4.
We have been loving Thai food.  Our first meal was at the guesthouse but we have quickly realized that the best food is in the night markets and on the street!  A great meal costs just $1-$2.  The boys are starting to miss their regular food from home.  Gary and I are loving discovering new foods every day.  Last night when the kids went to bed, Gary ran across the street and spent $3 on an assortment of fun foods we haven't tried yet and we ate them on the patio:)
Koen talks to everyone he meets.  They have no idea what he's saying and he doesn't even realize that they don't understand.  We are loving our mango smoothies.  Love them.  Just $1 each for fresh fresh mango smoothies.
Outside of the city is a moat and wall.  Here we are just walking outside of it.  I believe rule #7 of travelling with kids is to take transportation instead of encouraging them to walk km's in 30+C heat :)  

Nya trying on a traditional hat.  Everyone loves her.  Everyone touches our kids all the time and the boys are getting sick of it.  Nya loves the attention.
This is what downtime looks like for our family.  I cannot wait for us each to have our own bedroom.  Three weeks is all I can take hanging out with my family 24/7.  Nya has become even more tiring.  She wakes up every 2-3 hours to feed and I have to because otherwise she will wake everyone else up with her screaming.  She is up by 4:30am for the day so Gary usually takes her for a walk from 5-6am so I can sleep.
You can see kai's name everywhere because it means `egg' in Thai.

Thai Ronald McDonald.  Just one McDonalds here.  There are a LOT of 7 11's.
We went to the Night Bazaar for shopping and food.  It's a little hectic with three kids and not my favourite.
We took a tuk tuk there and Gary loved how wild he drove.  It wasnt' my favourite as I just held on to the kids as tightly as I could!
A sort of date night.  Half hour to drink a beer just downstairs.
I had a traditional Thai massage at Fah Lanna Spa just a 5 minute walk away.  It is highly recommended on Trip Advisor and totally worth the $7 for a half hour Traditional massage:)  She was crawling on me and stretching me in ways I've never stretched.  It was amazing.  I booked an hour long one for Gary too ($14).  I think I may need one more before we go after carrying Nya around so much.    The boardwalk leads to all of the massage rooms.  There are some amazing deals for 3 hour treatments but it's not fair to leave one of us with the kids that long!
I would say that if you come to Chiang Mai, get a traditional massage and eat at all the food stalls!
One of our favourite things was the Sunday Night Market.  We could walk there in 15 minutes.  The kids loved their smoothies, we had more amazing food and bought some great souvenirs.  It's very touristy but great finds.  It is not fun doing that in 30+C with the kids so Gary went again in the evening and then when he came back, i went again too.
All of Nya's bug bites have turned into welts.  You can see how small they start and then how big they get.  They are all over her head and arms.
Gary tried to organize what restaurant we went to and we took a tuk tuk all the way across the city to realize it was a 2 minute walk from our guest house.
I bought fisherman pants at the market...one size fits all!
We had a lot of good food! Gyoza, sushi, pad thai, Khai Soi etc...
The Sunday Night market is above...
Kai wanted sushi so badly.  They had it all laid out and you could just pick whatever pieces you wanted instead of ordering a whole roll. Just 5 bhat per piece. 
Kai ordering a mango smoothie.  He likes being Mr. independent now.  He is doing really well on this trip...besides some moments of really weird behaviour (dances, sounds etc that maybe a 6 year old would find funny?).
Probably my favourite thing I've eaten....chocolate roti. So amazing.  Deep fried roti, fresh and warm, drizzled in chocolate sauce.
And a sneak peek of what's ahead....we visited the Elephant Conservation Center 1 hour south of Chiang Mai yesterday.  I'm very hesitant about these things because I don't want to support something that is mean to animals in any way...looking into it, this seemed like the best option.  Above is Koen feeding sugar cane to an elephant and then we each got a ride (not Nya, couldn't be trusted on there!). 
I'm dreading the 24 hour trip home.  Four flights.  It's not the boys, it's Nya.  I wish I could give her something to sleep but gravol does not work on her.  I might try Benadryl.  Seriously, the plane rides are brutal.  I come up with lists of all the things that I'd rather do than go through another ride with her and then I come up with things that are actually worse to try to make it better.  In the end I just end up praying out loud looking like a crazy woman.  If you ever see a parent of three kids, one being a toddler, on a plane, tell them they are awesome, okay?  

Today is pretty low key as we will be going to a local pool and then eating at two amazing places:)  Tough life.  The boys were playing soccer in the parking lot in a thunderstorm yesterday, pretty cute.  Oh yes, that is one huge thing about where we've been...there are no places to play for the kids!!   Tough for our high energy bunch, hence the swimming today....

Have a great night.
Love, Team Chapman in Chiang Mai.