Knowing we were not going to be home again this Christmas, we booked a trip to Koh Samui Thailand back in August to avoid the inevitable holiday blues we get every year while far away from friends and family. Of course, back in August, we were still a family of 3 with a bun in the oven. Which is quite different than a family of 4 when it comes to traveling...especially when 2 of the 4 are still in diapers. That being said, we managed our trip with very few tears (and none from Regis and I), problems, or lost items. Christmas day was celebrated with mass (in english!) in an open air church in the pouring rain, followed by a 6-course Thai style lunch, and afternoon family naptime. All in all, it was a pretty good Christmas; not very traditional, but fun nonetheless. We did end up with one unfortunately-placed bug bite on Adrienne's eyelid. She looked like she had a black eye for most of the trip. We were telling everyone that it was from Thai boxing....you should have seen the other guy! This swollen eye lid didn't hamper Adrienne's ability to charm everyone within a 5 km radius and, as usual, she left the trip with way more friends than we did. Overall, I would say that it was a success. We managed to do most of the things necessary for a proper Thai island vacation: playing at the beach, lounging at the pool, consuming hot curries and cold beers, eating sketchy hawker street food, and enjoying a bit of nudity. Well, that last one was pretty much limited to Adrienne. Here are a few pictures from the trip. Enjoy!
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Remember how I told you we needed to keep Adrienne away from Nate for a ridiculous 2 weeks to avoid spreading RSV to our little one? Well, we pretty much managed to keep them apart. We made our bedroom the 'isolation room', a safe place where we could put Nate that was free from Adrienne's germ-y hands and virus-spreading cough. So between the isolation room and the fact that 2-yr olds are super easily distracted, Adrienne basically didn't touch Nate for 2 weeks. She has taken this all pretty well and remained in good spirits despite the being sick, feeling lousy, banishment from our room, hiatus on our daily park trips, and cancellation of all play dates with friends. It is a bummer to get sick and feel like you are being punished on top of it. Well, you know what they say: you harbor the enemy and you become the enemy. Anyway, last week I decided Adrienne was likely beyond contagious and frankly I was tired of keeping the kiddos apart, so I welcomed Adrienne back into our room and reunited the babes. She was so thrilled! She wanted to hold 'Baby Nate' and kiss 'Baby Nate' and give all her toys to 'Baby Nate'. It was very sweet, really. Then she licked his forehead and landed on his legs while jumping up and down so I started distracting her with toys again.
I had almost-immediate regret over the above event since the next day Adrienne had a fever and spent the day vomiting. How could Nate not get sick?? But by evening she was looking better and managed to keep down some dinner. So I thought/hoped it was a short-lived flu bug or a bad tuna sandwich or something. But then these little blisters started popping up on her hands and feet. We first thought they were ant bites, but then more and more of them popped up and, really, our place doesn't have THAT many ants. So I did what every good mother does and went to web MD to diagnose her. Hand, Foot and Mouth, I'm pretty sure... Seriously, I would like to know where she got HFM considering she only left our apartment for about 45 min the last 2 weeks.
So now it's isolation and banishment, distraction and sanitation, in the Covey household again. It's going to be a true Christmas miracle if Nate manages to stave off all of these viruses! Speaking of Nate, yesterday was his 2 month birthday. I took him to the pediatrician's office for his check-up and vaccinations. I'm starting to feel like this office is our home away from home. I practically consider the receptionists to be my friends. We talk about the kids and shoes and our holiday plans...When I walked in yesterday, they greeted me by name. Then she informed me that the "lady doctor was in" and "was I OK with that?" I gave her a serious and concerned face and said, "Oooohhh, I don't know...a lady doctor?!". Obviously we are not that good of friends because she missed my sarcasm totally. You should have seen the look she gave me. Now she just thinks I am a sexist jerk. The good news is that our 'lady doctor' said that Nate is perfect, and I have to agree wholeheartedly. Look how handsome he is! And he is starting to smile, which I love. I really can't help thinking every time he gives me that smile: Aw, he likes me! (I take my affirmation everywhere I can get it).
Sunday, 18 December 2011
Did I tell you our good news? I have something for you to look forward to in the post-holiday blues: The Covey family biennial trip home! That's right, we are packing up our 2 small babies and boarding a 24-hr flight from the temperate tropics to frosty North America this January. Crazy, you might think? I suspect you are right. Which is why I am trying not to put too much thought on the getting there and the jetlag and the freezing, short days, but rather trying to focus on seeing family and eating delicious food and introducing the kids to some winter activities. We are grossly unprepared for winter weather, by the way, having been in Singapore the past 4.5 years. The last time I saw snow must have been sometime early 2007. I have been thinking about the coldest temperatures we have experienced since leaving for Singapore in Aug 2007. It might have been in Stockholm in Oct 2010 or in Berlin this May 2011 (Brrrr! Don't I look cold in the pictures!?) or any of the times we went to the movie theater in Singapore. Because of this and some naturally poor circulation, my body thinks it's cold when it's in the 70s. I wonder what poor Adrienne and Nate will think of the weather...especially given that the warmest things in their collective closets are a long sleeve onsie and a puffy vest. (BTW, if you happen to be in the Chicago or Twin Falls areas and have winter clothes that would fit a small 2-yr old or a big 2-month old, we are gratefully accepting donations for the duration of our stay).
Speaking of going home, Regis tells me we need to get in shape for our trip back. I'm not really sure what he means by 'we', since one of us has spent the past year training for and completing triathlons while the other one of us has been eating chocolate covered almonds and ice-blended coffee milkshakes under the (legitimate) excuse of growing another human being. However, taking this (not so) subtle hint and also feeling the need to try to chase away the blues, I pulled out my running shoes and participated in our local, monthly 5K hosted by the US Navy this past Saturday. I am happy to report that 1. I finished 2. In a not-so-shabby-if-I-do-say-so-myself time of 33 minutes 3. and I didn't pee my pants. You laugh at that last one but that is what happened to me in my first run after giving birth to Adrienne. I came home in tears, sure that I needed to give up running or invest in Depends.
The best part of the race (besides the bladder success) was that following it the Navy had hired a Santa for all the kids. This was very fortuitous since we, as neglectful scrooges, have not ventured to a mall to introduce Adrienne to Santa. Mostly because the malls are so crowded here and I lose all semblance of a Christmas spirit in these situations. But in this case, we just had to wait in a small room with a handful of other candy-craving children to see Santa. This was enhanced by the fact that I got to hear what the other kids were asking for, which was exactly: I don't know, I don't know, a basketball, I don't know, long hair, and I don't know. ('Long hair', how cute is that?!) Given Adrienne's history of performances, I thought she would definitely forget her line under pressure like so many of the other kids apparently had. But no, she warily sat with Santa but loudly proclaimed that she would like a "Racing Car!" when asked what she would like for Christmas. She was given 2 suckers (candy canes are a tad expensive in Singapore) and returned to us. I asked her how it was and she replied, "Scary". I think she actually meant "Merry'.
I hope you and yours have a very merry Christmas week and we are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possibly in January!
Saturday, 17 December 2011
Friday, 16 December 2011
I have been a bit melancholy as of late. Maybe it is the weather (rainy) or our general health (viral central), but I've been a bit in the dumps. Or maybe dumps isn't the right descriptor...sadly reflective? A lingering malaise? Either way, it's not been conducive for keeping up with this blog. Yesterday I was going to write but Adrienne ate the internet. OK, maybe she didn't technically 'eat' the internet, but she did somehow manage to destroy the wireless cord to our place. I discovered this while comfortably nursing Nate on the couch. So rather than investigate the internet problem (which would necessitate getting my butt off the couch), I decide to browse through old pictures on the computer (a sedentary solution). I wouldn't recommend doing this while in a melancholy mood because, for me, the walk down memory road seemed so bittersweet. I sort of relived Adrienne's 2 years in 45 minute. It left me wondering how it is that she has turned into this small person so quickly. It went so fast...And if it went quickly with Adrienne, it will likely go even faster with Nate. I went to bed with that intense feeling of how fast life goes, you know where you futilely pray for time to slow down just a little, that your kids won't grow up quite so fast, that life has a pause button. I know the answer to this feeling is to live in the present, to be aware of the moment, to have no regrets about missing things. I do this, I think. I really try, anyway, but find I still regret that time goes so fast. I had one of these live-in-the-moment moments a few nights ago when we were getting the kids ready for bed. Regis was reading Adrienne poetry aloud on the bed, his solution to his wanting to read poetry and Adrienne needing a bedtime story. Adrienne, not terribly interested in the picture-less poems, did headstands and somersaults and cannonballs all around him. Meanwhile, I was sitting in the rocking chair next to the bed holding Nate, listening to poetry, and enjoying the whole scene. At that moment, all I could think was that in 20 years from now we will think back fondly on nights like tonight. I am not sure of the exact poem from Czeslaw Milosz Selected Poems, but I then heard Regis reading aloud "One life is not enough. I’d like to live twice on this sad planet....". Although out of context from the poem, it is a sentiment I can relate to.
|Storm rolling in from our balcony|
Monday, 12 December 2011
Sorry we have been MIA the past week. Between Adrienne's bronchitis, then my bronchitis, keeping the babies quarantined and sanitized, there hasn't been much time for keeping up with this blog. The good news is that (knock on wood) Nate has remained healthy despite all odds of him catching this virus from either Adrienne or myself. Adrienne seems to be back on her game and I am hoping to follow suit soon. All this time at home has made me realize that it is already the 13th of Dec (!!!). How can that be? So I forced us to pull out some Christmas music and put up the decorations that we have. I normally don't think of myself as a Christmas scrooge, but it really does seem to sneak up on us every year that we have been in Singapore. My excuse is that it's the product of no change of seasons--I seem to constantly be stopping and asking myself, now what month is it? We were reminded that this will be our 5th Christmas abroad. While we really want to be home with family for a more traditional Christmas next year, it did bring up some funny stories. Like the first year we were traveling in Cambodia over Christmas. We went to Christmas mass in a dressed-up wooden shack and my shoes were stolen by the time that it was over. I had to leave the church in one of the nun's shoes, which were 3 times too small for me. Or the next year few years celebrating with friends while grilling steaks on our patio, a much more 4th-of-July feeling than Christmas. And decorating our palm tree with Christmas lights and ornaments. Finally this Christmas will be spent with our little family of 4 in Thailand. It's funny that I get the feeling that we keep missing Christmas while we are abroad, yet all the while it seems to find us anyway. Here's hoping the Christmas spirit catches up to you as well!
Monday, 5 December 2011
Seeing as my last post left you in the hospital, I thought I should update you on Adrienne's release yesterday evening, a long 5 days after she checked in. I'm not going to lie, I honestly thought it was a bit of a formality when we checked her in on Wednesday. Like they might just watch her overnight and she could come home the next day. But then they determined that she had RSV bronchitis and this warranted a longer stay. If you look on the bright side, this was 5 easy days that we could keep her away from Nate to avoid cross-contamination of our babies. Especially since RSV bronchitis can be very bad for little ones. She did, however, manage to successfully pass the virus to me. Not that I should be surprised, seeing as over the past couple of days she barfed phlegm on me, coughed in my face, and rubbed her snotty nose across my shirt--which may disgust the average person but I consider to be true badges of motherhood. So congrats to me for standing strong in the face of new levels of YUCK. I don't think Adrienne thought the whole thing was too terrible (except for the getting medicine part). She got to eat garbage for 5 days, watched a million episodes of Dora and Peppa, and got unlimited access to this sweet purple car (shown below). Once we were giving the green light to go home, Adrienne promptly buckled herself into the car and refused to budge. So much so that one of the nurses had to drive her down to the taxi stand in it before we could convince her that I was leaving with or without her.
We are obviously happy to have her back home again. It really wasn't the same without her sweet face and funny antics. The challenge now is to keep Nate and Adrienne apart for the next 2 weeks, which is apparently how long she will likely still be contagious. Oh, and remember how I mentioned that we are becoming THOSE parents?! Well, its never been as obvious as right now. We are bathing in sanitizer and switching clothes between holding kiddos. I am tempted to spray Adrienne from head to toe with Lysol, especially her snot-dripping nose and dirty little hands. We are scrutinizing Nate's every move for sign of infection. And we almost went all Velveteen Rabbit on Bear-Bear after his stay in the hospital (but that would break Adrienne's heart; she called for him all night last night even though I told her over and over that he was just in the bath).
So here's to hoping for a healthy and hospital-free week!
So here's to hoping for a healthy and hospital-free week!
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Remember how Nate got to stay 11 days in the hospital? Well, never one to be left out of the action (unless it involves stage performances), here is Adrienne enjoying her first stay in the hospital with bronchitis. It is a terrible picture but she is running on something like 8 non-consequetive hours sleep over the last 2 days and isn't in much of a mood for cooperating. Mad props are going out to the hubby for taking the night shift at the hospital with Adrienne. Seeing as the doctors are giving her medicines every 2-3 hours, neither of them are getting any sleep. I am pretty grateful for breastfeeding right now because it gives me a legitimate excuse to skip the night shift at the hospital. Granted I also have to work every 2-3 hours on the feeding night shift, but at least I can do it from the comfort of my own bed and it involves a happily suckling baby instead of a furiously screaming toddler. Never a dull moment, I tell ya! Some people believe in charity work, community volunteering, or other philanthropic organizations, but we are proud supporters of our local hospitals. In this way, we can stimulate the local healthcare economy and add value and feedback to the care-giving community. We are generous like that. What can I say, it's just how we roll.