Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter photos

Alex's first Easter egg hunt. This one was organized by one of our neighbors and took place in the school yard behind our house.
Opening up the eggs.
Swinging! Wheeee!

March Birthday Photos

Alex helping Mama grate lemon peel for his birthday cake.Blowing out the candles.Birthday boy on Ong Noi's lap. Out to brunch for Grandpa's birthday. Aunt Tricia let Alex wear her sunglasses!
Sitting on Grandma's lap.

Pictures from February

Eating out.

First haircut since coming home to the US. Alex was quiet, but he kept turning his head to see what the woman was doing. She had to move quickly and at one point Hung had to hold his head still.
Helping Mama water the houseplants.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Update & New Year's photos

It's been a long time since I've posted. We've all had many colds this winter (people with kids tell me this is normal and we should accept and expect it) and we've been tired and busy with learning how to parent a toddler. Now it actually feels normal to have a little kid underfoot all the time. We're starting to get the hang of it.

Alex loves to talk on the phone and listen to music. Both the phone and the stereo have buttons to push!

In January Alex's English vocabulary consisted of Mama, Daddy, Baby, Kitty, Hi, Down, Bye, Um (I'm hungry or give me another bite), and No. Down was spoken in a sharp voice and accompanied by a sharp clap, just like when Mama scolds the cat for getting on the table. He loves to scold the cat whether she's on the table or the floor. Slowly and gradually he and the cat are getting closer. They've touched noses on occasion and Alex now knows how to pet her gently on the back of her neck.

At the end of January Alex and Mama started Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes together. Alex loves to play with all the toys they have there. I love the opportunity to get out of the house and interact with other people on a regular basis. It's added more routine to our lives and I'm finding that routines make life much easier for all of us.

Life is so much easier than it was two months ago. Alex understands me now when I speak to him. I can give him directions and he loves to do what is asked of him so that he can get praised for it. In December he really didn't know what I was saying or what I wanted from him most of the time. He was exploring and getting into everything and I could do very little to control him other than physically intervene.

In February Alex's vocabulary has been expanding rapidly. Down now means he wants to go down instead of just scolding the cat. He really understands how to use No rather than just saying it because it's a fun word to say. Other recent favorite words are Bubble, Clock, and Peekaboo. He uses sign language for Milk, Water, More, and All Done. Recently he says All Done along with signing it. Hung & I are delighted with each new communication that he gets across to us without crying. He usually still cries when he wakes up and wants someone to come get him out of his crib, but this morning he yelled "Hello!" :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Transition to Home

Here's a photo of Alex on our couch on one of his first days home. He's wearing a cute new outfit he received as a gift.

Here's a series of photos taken at breakfast after we got his new booster seat. Alex loves to make faces.

We've been home for one month now already. It's amazing. Coming home was harder than I imagined. We had fallen into a nice pattern of sleeping well and waking up happy by end of our stay in Vietnam. Upon returning home we quickly felt sleep deprived. Alex woke up 3-4 times per night. Hung's cough got better, but I started coughing and losing my voice. When my voice returned, Hung started coughing again - this time with a fever. Between the jetlag and the illnesses and Alex's adjustment to a new place, new climate, new time zone, new everything and our adjustment to being parents while living everyday lives at home, we were all exhausted. Week three was much better for sleeping. After we got Alex a Baby In a Bag sleeping sack he started sleeping through the night. We suspect he was kicking off the blankets in his sleep and waking up cold. Once we were getting a solid night's sleep, I felt like I could get a few things done during nap time. I've slowly been catching up on all kinds of little tasks and today is the day to post some more photos and blog notes. Week four Alex was waking up at night again and fighting nap time. We suspect teething pain was the main cause. This week we've started off sleeping pretty well.

When he's well-rested and getting what he wants, Alex is a very happy kid. Smiles and laughter regularly fill our house. When one of us has been gone for a while, whether out of the house or just downstairs, he shrieks with glee and his face lights up in a huge grin as he dashes to greet the returned parent. It's very sweet to come home to that greeting. I've always appreciated the cat's greeting at the door, but this is way better.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We're Coming Home!

Friday, November 7th
We're coming home early. Our travel agent woke us last night with news that some seats opened up on Friday night's flight. We had asked a few days ago and at that time it was sold out. Hung has been feeling under the weather and we are ready to get settled in at home with a new routine. We have very much enjoyed our time in Vietnam, and now we are excited to go home and introduce Alex to our world in Minnesota.

Today we're having a low-key day napping and packing. We leave tonight at 11:50pm on a red-eye flight to Korea. We'll arrive in Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon around 1:30pm on a NW flight from Chicago. Mom & Dad, will you be home this weekend?

Here are some photos from last night's pre-bedtime playfulness. In the first photo we caught him the middle of saying "Ba" (Dad in Vietnamese). He added "di" (?sp?, pronounced 'Dee'), meaning "go" in Vietnamese, to his vocabulary last night. This morning he's been practicing "hi" quite a bit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday in Hanoi

Wednesday, November 5th.
We woke up excited to check on the election results, but the polls were still open at home.

This morning we (Hung, Siiri, Karin, Rosemary & kiddos) decided to explore on foot in a new direction. We walked to the West Lake and along the shore for a little bit. Then we headed south past the presidential palace and the Ho Chi Minh Memorial and Mausoleum. What a contrast from the Old Quarter where we explored on Monday! The streets are very broad, the sidewalks are wide and empty of motorbikes and vendors. Everything looks so vast and open. We wanted to sit at a cafe to rest, but couldn't see anyplace in view so we asked a guard for directions. We walked three blocks to a cafe, then retraced our steps to visit the One Pillar Pagoda (pictured). Hung is still feeling under the weather so took a cab back to the hotel.

The cab dropped us at the corner where we procured bread and sandwich meat and Rosemary picked up a kohlrabi. We all ate together in our room while the kids played on the floor. How much easier and happier a mealtime than last night! We checked the election results together. Hung and I are very pleased and relieved that our school district's operating referendum passed by a healthy margin this time around. That's good news for Alex's school.

We retired to nap the afternoon away again. We planned to rendezvous with Karin & Co. to go to the water puppet show after naptime. Alex was playful and reluctant to nap, but he did eventually. After naptime we fed him instant porridge. He happily ate it. Maybe this is what we should be doing every night. By the time we took a taxi to the water puppet theater, all but the late show was sold out. We opted to buy early matinee tickets for tomorrow instead. So we walked through the Old Quarter back in the direction of our hotel again. The streets really are alive at night in Vietnam. It's as though everyone's living room is the sidewalk in front of their shop. Lots of kids and babies were out, most of them wanting to wave and chat with our kids. We ate dinner at Little Hanoi since we'd enjoyed our lunch there on Monday. Little Hanoi even had a fan on. (Most restaurants have been stuffy - I guess the locals find the weather cold so they aren't using fans or airconditioning now). Alex wasn't hungry since we'd already fed him, but I managed to keep him pretty well entertained through constant interaction. It was a successful dinner out!