Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On a Happier Note

So, since my last several posts have been full of negatives, I decided I should write on some good things. The vomiting has stopped, which is fantastic, obviously! Sleeping could still be better, but we're headed in the right direction! :)
We had a very nice morning. After skyping with Isaiah's two best buddies back home, we headed out with Alana to the Summit Hotel where they hold a farmer's market every Sunday and Wednesday morning. Mainly, it is on Sundays, but we haven't been able to go the past several times we've tried, so I thought we would check it out today. It was noted that it is not very big on Wednesdays, and that is quite an understatement, but it was such an enjoyable morning. The grounds at the Summit are just lovely! And, it is set back a bit, so it is blissfully quiet! Isaiah was running around barefoot on the grass. There are a bunch of lounge chairs surrounding a nice pool. Isaiah made particular note of the older gentleman sunbathing in his Speedo! :)
There is this small bakery nearby there that people call the "Secret Bakery" because it is completely tucked away with no signage, but he had his items there at the market today, so we sat and savored delightful treats and enjoyed all the flowers and green. Isaiah and I shared a calzone, and he also ate a cinnamon roll, a chocolate croissant, and some bites of a piece of spinach quiche. And, he kept pointing at the table, wanting to eat more. No way he was still hungry, but it all just looked so good--that's my boy! :) We also bought some homemade ravioli and two wonderful fresh loaves of bread to bring home to use for dinner. What a treat!
Then, on the walk home, we found a perfect chair for Isaiah. We don't really have dining chairs or table, so it's been hard for him to stay sitting and focused at meals, but we found him a toddler-sized plastic green chair with Mickey Mouse on it, so he was thrilled!

We've been using the stroller more lately, which has been nice on several levels. Makes us more inclined to walk, and the weather is quite nice right now, so walking is pleasant. It's also easier than carrying him, though it definitely still presents some challenges without sidewalks. But, I have gotten to the point that I don't really care if we look odd or if people have to drive out around us, so we have been enjoying using that.

While I'm on happier notes, I know I've mentioned it many times before, but Muna Tamang is a huge blessing in our lives!!! Daily tasks, like laundry and cleaning and cooking and cooking prep and even shopping for food and household items, just take so much longer here, so it is a huge relief and help to have Muna working for us to help with these things. Beside just the help with the tasks, she is such a sweet woman who is very kind to all of us and whom Isaiah enjoys very much. He talks about Muna Didi quite often. She is such an incredibly hard worker! She gets five times the amount of work done that I would in the time she has. And, she's a really good cook! Dal bhat (the basic lentil meal that everyone eats here every single day) can get a little monotonous, so it would be painful if she didn't make it well, and she tries to throw in some variety with what she makes for it. It is always rice and lentils and a side dish or two, usually vegetables or beans or potatoes or something. She always does a nice job making stuff for us, and she also bakes some tasty treats. I've gotten more comfortable cooking and baking here and am learning what is available and how to use stuff well, so I've been doing more of the cooking for dinners, but it is awfully nice to have her wash and chop things in the afternoon to prepare and to know that I don't have to worry about much clean up afterward! That is what I call a nice cooking experience! :)

Tonight is my "introvert night" when I have the house to myself after Isaiah goes to bed, so I'm looking forward to a little relaxing time tonight. I think I'm going to make brownies, make a game I've been wanting to make for Isaiah, and watch some silly TV shows online. A nice end to a good day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

If Only It Had Ended There...

Add another night to our stretch of ickiness! Last night was awful!
Isaiah woke up in the middle of the night crying again (only about 45 minutes after John had come to bed after trying to deal with bank stuff), and this time, the vomiting was serious business. Lots of vomit. He was understandably so upset and just kept crying as he was heaving. Went through probably four rounds of clothes for him, stripped his bed, and went through a couple sets of clothes for me as well.
The first set of clothes got spoiled when, I kid you not, I slipped on and fell IN the vomit! That pretty much was the low point of the last few days. It probably is actually quite funny when you think about it, but I am not so much connecting to the humor of it. I actually hurt my arm quite badly because there was nothing at all to catch myself on, so I just fell hard to the floor, which is basically a cement floor with some sort of weird thick plastic sheet on top made to look like tile. I could hardly move my arm this morning, but thankfully, it is feeling better tonight and is mostly just really sore.
So, to summarize...another night with very little sleep for any of us, Pukefest part 2--back with a vengeance, and falling IN vomit. It can only go up from here, right?!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


It has felt like a long stretch the past few days! It triggers many thoughts and feelings for me with mothering that have been on my mind since we came, and I've been meaning to write about them...and someday I will, but not tonight! :) I must wait until I have energy for actual coherent communication of deeper thoughts. For now, suffice it to say that I think parenting takes trust, faith, and reliance on God to a whole new level of challenge...and parenting in Nepal is yet another level! More on that soon, but for now, just a recap of the last few days.

Thursday, when we were at this little singing group that some friends we have made here have at a home, we started to do "Ring around the Rosie." Isaiah did not want to put down the purple matchbox plane he had in his hands, and with wanting to join the group quickly and not cause a big distraction, I let him hold on to it. As we went around the circle and came to a part where we scooped up the little ones, I scooped up Isaiah, which he wasn't expecting, and the plane jabbed right into his eye. He screamed so much, and I felt completely sick. He wouldn't open his eye at all, and there was blood in his tears, and nothing outside his eye was bleeding, so I knew it was coming from inside. I honestly thought for a second that I had actually poked a big hole in his eyeball or something. He's a pretty cautious kid and hasn't had a ton of typical toddler boy incidents, but this one really scared me. I was trying to keep all my horrible worst-case scenario thought trains in the station, but they kept flooding, like what if he loses an eye or can no longer see! And, despite the logic of knowing that accidents happen, I couldn't help feeling like it was completely my fault! A long story made shorter, he did open his eyes after about 10 minutes, and he seemed to have no major injuries. I think somehow, miraculously, it scratched the inside of his eyelid without actually scratching his eye itself. I seriously believe God was protecting him in a BIG way! By evening, we were fairly sure he was ok but not wanting to take chances with his little eyes and trying to sort through decisions of what to do to follow up in a place where we have no idea HOW to do that.
I took him to a local clinic on Friday since we couldn't figure out how to connect with an opthalmalagist. A huge blessing was that, while we were there, our friend who is a pediatrician here but who we were trying not to bother with this since he recently had surgery walked past the clinic and came to talk to us, and his opinion of the situation was really reassuring. The clinic is not a fun experience; it's fairly chaotic. The appointment didn't seem all that worthwhile, but it made the pharmacy experience a ton easier than it normally is, and we got eyedrops for Isaiah, which started a whole new battle of actually getting them in his eye several times a day! Thankfully, a couple days was all that was recommended, and as long as all looks ok in the morning, I think we are DONE with those! Thank goodness for the mini M&M's my parents sent that we could use as "incentive."

So, that in and of itself, was an exhausting couple of days, but then last night, in the middle of the night, Isaiah woke up crying. It seemed like he was going to throw up, but it was just a bit of gagging and spitting up. He was having a really hard time going back to sleep, though, and after nearly an hour of praying for him and singing to him, he started to actually throw up. So, then, in the middle of the night, I found myself hand washing clothes and sheets and trying to deal with the mess on the bed. Then we realized he had bad diarrhea! We were sort of waiting to see if more was coming, and we thought we had entered the safe zone, so we took him into bed with us (because his bed had a big spot of baking soda attempting to soak up the moisture and smell). He had just started to drift off finally when I heard him start to gag. John scooped him up and hit the bathroom. Minimal actual vomit but more washing and more crying, and all of us were back to wide awake. That, thankfully, ended that stretch for the night after 2 hours of being up. I struggled to go back to sleep with him there in the bed with us. He fell asleep for a couple hours. In spite of a very short night, it seemed he woke up pretty happy, and we thought the day might get off to an ok start...until we realized that our sheets were covered in diarrhea! So, up again, rinsing, soaking, washing sheets by hand in the bathroom, running all of his stuffed animals through our laundry machine (don't bother thinking regular washing machine). And, a full blown sinus headache for the second day in a row with very few options of things to take to curb it because of being pregnant! And, those hormones don't do much for the emotional state in times like this! Poor Isaiah looked at me with a bit of shock this morning when I burst into tears after he dumped out a bin of toys on the floor!
Oh, and I was scheduled to take a meal this evening to some friends here who just went through a rough time. Could not have pulled that one off without my sweet husband's help in a big way!

It would seem that the little man's eye is healing up well, we think we have wrapped up the eyedrops, whatever intestinal drama there was seems to have been short-lived, but I find myself bracing a bit before believing that things are going to all be smooth again! And, as I finally sit down tonight, I feel the drain of the past few days. Hoping for a really good night of sleep and a low-key week ahead!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Miracle Oven Victories

So, I'm getting the hang of this Miracle Oven and, in spite of my initial feelings of mistrust, I am cranking out some stuff in this thing!
Victories to date: 3 cakes (first one a partial victory), peanut butter cookies, a couple dinner casseroles, egg casserole, cornbread, coffee cake, brownies, and currently in there--baked oatmeal.
Last week, I made the coffee cake when I hosted the prayer group that I've been going to of mostly moms of toddlers. (Side note: It was a bit short-sided of me to offer to host this particular time since it was in the middle of a stretch of our didi being on vacation and, while my Miracle Oven confidence is quite high, my competence and confidence with the weird short little wicker/straw brooms we have here, especially on carpet, is quite low!) Anyway, as we were in the kitchen, one of the girls commented on how nice it is that we have a 4-burner stove, which I forget is quite a treat, actually. I commented that I do wish we had an oven, though. One of the girls asked how I made the cake then. Well, my friend, it was a "miracle." :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Top Ten Things I Miss

So, now that I am enjoying life, I can acknowledge some things I miss from home and not just be grumbling. We certainly have access here to many nice treats and are making life work in the midst of the challenges, but there are definitely still things I miss from home. The most significant are not the "things" at all but our family and friends who are so dear to us. We are so blessed and miss them very much! We are meeting some wonderful people, but it is not the same as those we have shared life with and know as well.
That aside, these are just the "things" I miss. These are not deep thoughts. I will eventually find the mental energy to blog on some of those things, but for now, I'm choosing the top ten things I miss from home:

10. An Oven
So, I could blog just about my adventures with the Miracle Oven. I am getting the hang of it and pretty excited to have successfully completed quite a variety of food in it, but there are just times it would be nice to bake a large quantity of something in a shape other than a ring!

9. Good Popcorn
If you know me, you know how much I love my popcorn. They have popcorn here, and it doesn't taste bad, but it doesn't pop well at all. A large percentage of the kernels never pop, and the ones that do don't get that nice open fluffy popped state, so they are all a bit on the crunchy side. Oh, Orville, where are you?

8. A Variety of Fruits and Vegetables
There is a very limited range of fruits and vegetables available here. There are some new ones we've tried, such as Japanese persimmons and custard apples, but I have gotten very spoiled by the year-round abundance of fresh produce available in a place like Los Angeles! I am particularly missing blueberries lately, for some reason. Oh, and peaches--I missed peach season! And, being able to eat fresh greens! I enjoy our food here, but variety is not its strength!

7. Fitted Sheets
It's weird, but they honestly don't exist here. They always just use flat sheets and wrap them around the mattresses. They don't stay in place, especially for a toddler who rolls around all over the place in bed. Thanks to Mom and Dad for sending him a fitted sheet!

6. Vehicle Smog Inspection
It always seems so inconvenient to deal with in California, especially when you know your car is fine, but I have a new-found appreciation for the benefits of having such restrictions imposed! Oh, the clouds of black smoke puffing out of vehicles here and the nauseating smells of terrible exhaust! Bleh! :( Now that the rains have stopped (which really is convenient to not be soaked and wading through mud all the time), all the dust and grime fills the air, and riding through traffic makes me choke a bit.

5. Appliances
I'm lumping these into one category because, on any particular day, I either don't even notice that we don't have one particular item or am completely homesick for one. For example, our didi does a fantastic job cleaning our floors, but on the day that Isaiah got into the cupboard and emptied an entire box of corn flakes and crumbs onto his weirdly thin but ridged carpet, I was pretty frustrated (understatement) to not have any sort of vaccuum!
I certainly had gotten rather addicted to my crockpot, but let's be honest, even if we had one, it would do very little good with long stretches of electricity outages!
I often miss my blender, though usually I realize that it's workable without it.
A handmixer is one I often miss. I felt like my arm was going to fall off last night trying to stir up some frosting! It's not one I might use as often as others, but I realize the elbow grease necessary to compensate for its loss!

4. Sidewalks
There are some sidewalks in some places, but they often end abruptly or are very rough and broken up or have random things blocking them, and they are rather rare altogether. I wouldn't mind so much, but I have a toddler who is scared to walk on the streets (and really, who can blame him? Who likes to have motorcycles and cars whizzing right past your side and honking right as they come up to you?). That makes for some challenges getting places.

3. A Toilet That Consistently Flushes and Has a Seat That Stays in Place
I would imagine it would seem obvious why this is something I miss. They don't seem to understand the purpose of toilet seats here. They are flimsy and loosely attached, and given that plumbing and water pressure leave a lot to be desired, the whole toilet experience is less than ideal. But, at least we have more than a hole in the ground.

2. Personal Space Boundaries
I like my personal space. I have grown to be quite comfortable with physical affection with friends, but I am not so fond of way too many people crammed into very small spaces and overlapping random body parts with total strangers. It is really more of the intentional personal space invasions, though, that stretch me. It is actually most notable with poor Isaiah. Complete strangers on the street reach out and grab children, squeeze their cheeks, and move them against their will. The most awkward one was when we were at the zoo last week, and another visitor to the zoo who was getting his picture taken by friends reached over and grabbed Isaiah and pulled him over to have his picture taken with him. I have to say that, as much as I know it to be a cultural thing, there is a bit of an instinct as a mother from the US to clock the guy because it seems creepy. The one occasion that people in the US seem to feel license to pay no attention to our usual personal space boundaries is with pregnant women's stomachs. Thankfully, I can't imagine that to be true here, at least with men, or else it could get interesting and be the straw that breaks the pregant mother's hormonal back. I would feel badly (mostly) for taking out some innocent Nepali man for touching my kid.

1. Dairy Products!!!
Seriously. Water buffalo stuff is just not even the same, and even that has a pretty narrow spectrum of what's available! If they consider cows sacred, why on earth would they not want to soak up as much of their glorious milk as possible?! Got milk? No. :(