Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nine Months Old in India!


It's hard to believe but my baby boy turned 9 months old this past Sunday! And this was a very special month birthday since he celebrated in India! Turns out that taking his month pictures waseven a greater challenge this month because not only did he want to play with the paper still....

Who me?
But we also just didn't have a really great location where he would sit still and I could prop up the sign. We tried some above the head shots...


But that didn't last long.

I still want that paper!
Then I tried giving him a snack to get him to smile and cooperate. 


But that worked even less as he was only interested in eating.


Oh well. Maybe by the time his 10 month birthday rolls around I'll have figured out a better India picture taking location.

But my big 9 month old boy is doing all sorts of new things! Although he still isn't crawling up on his hands and knees with his tummy off the floor, he can drag/scoot himself wherever he wants to go. In this case, to the Puffs.

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But he gets up on his hands and knees quite a bit before lunging forward, so I have a feeling that legit crawling is soon to come.

He has also learned how to push himself up to a sitting position! One day I walked in our room to check on him while he was taking a nap, and this is what I found:


Who knows how long he had been awake sitting in there. He was just happily playing with his two pacifiers and little puppy. Now pretty much every time he wakes up from a nap this is how I find him. Or when I put him in his bed he sits up and plays for awhile before going to sleep. Sometimes he'll do it when he is out playing, but if I'm sitting there playing with him he is usually too lazy and just whines until I sit him up.

However, he has not been very content sitting much because of his other new skill - learning to pull up on things!

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Now anytime we're on the floor playing, he'll only sit & play for awhile before he grabs onto my arm or legs or whatever he can to try to stand up. He's just so happy standing up! But he's still not quite perfect at it yet.

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(don't worry, he was fine.)

In addition to all these new skills, I think he's also getting something else new - a tooth! It hasn't started breaking through his gums yet, but he's been chewing much more (and much harder) on things recently, been generally a little more crabby, and his bottom gums look a little different. Then again, I've never watched a child grow a tooth before, so I could be wrong. Hopefully we'll find out soon!

Landon still loves to eat; he eats 3 or 4 jars of baby food, a bowl of rice cereal for breakfast and before bed, and several snacks throughout the day. I think he is happiest when he is eating! (Then again, who isn't?!) He's still saying "DaDa" like crazy and has also added "YaYa" to his babbling syllables. When oh when will it be "MaMa?" 

So there you have the Landon update! Happy 9 Months my precious boy!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Traffic and Team

Namaste everyone! (Hindi greeting - basically means hello or good day, etc.) 


We're still loving India and all the new experiences. We frequently find ourselves just laughing at funny circumstances or the "Indian way" of doing things that is so different from America. One major one is the traffic!

Basically, there are no traffic rules! I think technically there are traffic laws, but they neither obeyed nor enforced. The streets are crowded with cars, Auto Rickshaws ( like a three wheeled overly glorified golf car), motorcycles and mopeds, and brave pedestrians weaving through traffic crossing the roads. Everyone just goes wherever they want, turning from any lane, doing U turns anywhere, and constantly honking their horns not out of rudeness but more as a way of saying "I'm over here, don't hit me!" You pretty much just nudge out in front of traffic and people stop to let you in. Traffic doesn't go faster than 30 mph or so, but it still seems crazy and dangerous! But although it appears out of control, somehow, it works!
Our main mode of transportation for going to appts during the day is the autos. You just flag one down like a taxi, tell the driver where you are going, and then barter a price for him to take you there. If you can't agree on a price, you just flag down the next one and start over. Rule #1 is don't get into the auto until you've agreed on a price! The drivers of the autos are hilarious sometimes, and we always have funny auto stories to share at the end of the day. Here is a video that one of the guys on our team put together of riding around in the autos. Some of you may have seen it in Kyle's email already, but if not it's definitely worth watching! Don't worry, we do NOT take Landon along with us in the autos. He only rides in the long term team's cars in a car seat :)

The ever adventurous autos

Some of our team darting across the road!

Speaking of our team, we love them!! The five guys and five girls here with us are all such a blast. We've had a great time bonding as a team over both funny and serious things. We've had some intense games of scattegories in the evenings, lots of meals together as well as doing some sight-seeing on Sundays. 

One great bonus is that all ten of our team members LOVE Landon, and he loves them too! As  if he didn't already receive enough attention in our normal life back home, he's being *spoiled* by attention this summer! Here are all of the girls with Landon after everyone got back one evening:



Somehow playing with him on the playmat turned into them creating Landon "beat raps" where they all chimed in with different Landon sounds. So funny, but he was just confused the whole time.

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We love having our team with us everywhere we go because not only do we have extra hands to help with holding and carrying him, but we also have ten extra pairs of eyes watching over him! When we go out in public Indian people are always wanting to come up and talk to him, take pictures with him, pinch his cheeks, and many even try to take him and hold him. Sometimes I'm ok with it, but other times when he's cranky or overwhelmed I don't like passing him off to random strangers (go figure). But as if having one set of overprotective parents wasn't enough, Landon has ten extra people! All ten of our students are very protective of him and they aren't afraid to push people away when needed! Such great teamwork!

Coming soon....pictures of a certain little boy who just turned nine months old in India!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Plane & Our Summer Home!

Ok, sorry for the long wait; we're still waiting for our internet to be connected (welcome to India where things never are done on time!)

Here are a few pictures of the beginning of our adventure! First for the flights. Checking into the airport was CRAZY. 12 Adults + 1 Infant + 25 full sized checked bags = long wait to get checked in.

Our team with our millions of bags to check

Outside the airport, getting ready to say Goodbye to America!
But check in we did, and made it in time to board our first plane. Thankfully we had a short 1 hour flight to Chicago first to ease Landon into this whole flying thing before our flight across the ocean. He did great on flight #1 and fell asleep on my lap for about 35 minutes of it. Perfect!

We had a short layover in Chicago and then boarded our plane for London! The plane ride was made much easier for Landon by this wonderful contraption: 


They called it a cot, but essentially it was like a little carseat almost that strapped onto the table that hung down from the wall. You had to have special bulkhead seats to be in the place where the baby cots could attach. A special seat that we paid $500 for in addition to our 2 tickets. And a special seat that our airline did NOT reserve for us on either of our long flights, even though we paid $500 for it. Apparently they don't reserve the seats out when you buy the tickets, they're given on a first come first serve basis as people check in. So the guy who wants more leg room can take the seat that we paid $500 for. Um, flaw in the system?? Thankfully on both flights the attendants were kind enough to ask people sitting in the special seats to switch with us (I'm sure the whole plane full of people was glad that Landon did not have to sit on our laps for 7 and then 10 hours). Kyle filled out a comment card to our airline (*coughBritishAirwayscough*)

All that being said, Landon did *AMAZING* on our flights. Of the 17 hours, he probably slept approximately 12 of them in his little cot. Here he is on our flight to London with his little French baby friend.


For part of the time he was awake on our flight to India we put a blanket on the floor and let him play at our feet for a little bit. He loved it.


Then the flight attendant told us that wasn't allowed. Oopsie. 

After all the crazy long flights, we finally arrived in India at 5:00 a.m.! (10 and a half hours ahead of our time in America!) Amazingly, ALL of the luggage we had checked made it to India! We were just glad that Landon's bag full of food wasn't lost. Oh my.

The long term team here came and picked us all up at the airport and brought us to the guesthouse we are renting for the summer, which is just a few minute walk down the street from where all of them live. There are 5 bedrooms in the house, so Kyle & I share one with Landon, and then the 5 guys have two rooms and the 5 girls have two rooms. There's a living room, dining area, and kitchen on the first floor and another living room area on our floor along with a wonderful balcony that has turned into our nightly gathering spot when everyone gets home at the end of the day.

Landon receives plenty of attention from our team!
Our room is big enough that we were able to put Landon's pack & play in the corner with a chair in front of it to kind of give him his own space.


Every time he wakes up he scoots himself over to the side of the bed where he can look out and see us and just lays there on his stomach watching till we come get him up. We bought a mosquito net made specially for pack & plays (they call them cots here) to keep him from getting bit at night and catching malaria!

Unfortunately the first few days Landon had a hard time figuring out when was night and when was daytime, aka when to sleep and when to be awake. Anytime I would get frustrated with him he would give me this look like, "Um, your fault for bringing me to a different country." Here he is at 4 in the morning the 3rd day we were here wide awake ready to play. I brought him to our bed & let him play with toys for awhile, then he went back to sleep after I fed him.


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Sorry it's a dark video, but it was night time, and I didn't want to turn the light on because I wanted Landon to believe it was night!

There is no such thing as carpet in India, because it's just too dusty. Our floors are all white marble, and obviously very hard, so I didn't want Landon playing on the floor since he has the tendency to tip over. So for the first several days I just set a blanket up on our bed (which is a double bed pushed next to a twin bed. Does that make it a California king bed???)


That worked fine for awhile, but I was always worried about him falling off the bed onto the hard floor, even though the bed was so big. Then, thankfully, one of the long term couples let us borrow a big floor mat that they have to sit on the floor & watch movies when they have people over.



Much better arrangement! So now Landon has been better able to work on his crawling/dragging skills.

The funniest part about our room is the bathroom (every room has a bathroom attached, how great is that?) This is our bathroom:


You might notice that there is no separate shower. The "shower" is just simply a showerhead in the middle of the room. So the entire bathroom gets wet whenever you take a shower. It's hilarious. But that's how they do bathrooms in India. At least you don't have to worry about the shower curtain sticking to you.

Since there's also no bathtub, that presented a dilemma as to how to bathe Landon. Thankfully one of the long term couples has a 2 year old here so they let us borrow a little mini bathtub they had for Maddie. 


We heat up some of the filtered water on the stove and pour it in the tub. Landon LOVES it. He can sit up without me holding onto him and splash in the water. He's so cute at bathtime (which is now every night instead of every 3 days). 

So there are the beginnings of our time in India! For now I'll end the world's longest post with a couple pictures of our little Punkin' that one of our guys on our team took, and a promise to post some funny stories soon!



Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hello India!!

Just a quick post to let you know that we made it safely to India! Landon did absolutely incredible on the flights; of the 18 hours we were on the plane, he only cried for about 5 minutes!
We're getting settled in and figuring out our life and schedule here. I'll be back soon to post some pictures of our home and life in India! We're having a great time so far. More soon!


Friday, June 3, 2011

SO much

Oh Wow. There's just so much! So much to update about Landon, so much packing left to do, so much house still needing to be cleaned, SO much and no time, because we leave tomorrow!!! (Well, we leave our house tomorrow to go to KC. We actually board the plane on Sunday).
Well, we officially got almost all of Landon's stuff packed. And yes, we wound up really only having 1 1/2 suitcases for Kyle & my stuff. Good thing we're both Kyle is a light packer. Actually, I'm pretty proud of my packing job too. We're gonna make it!

Just in time for our 17 hour plane flight, Landon is starting to "crawl" across the floor. Not crawling in the sense of on hands and knees, more like dragging himself across the floor. But sorry Landon, no dragging yourself along the floors of the airplane. Sick.
Video to come! I haven't been able to catch it on video yet. Here's some evidence of his scooting though:

I assure you I did not lay him down to play underneath his jumperoo. For some reason he has decided it's a fun place to play, so he ends up there frequently. First fort perhaps? Watch out couch cushions!

As all of his clothes that he normally wears are packed for the trip, including his jammies, I've been letting him sleep in just a onesie the past few nights. He seems to like it just fine. Makes me wonder why he needs jammies at all! Oh right, because they're cute and I like to dress him up in them. Clever baby clothes makers.

How funny is that?!
In other exciting news, my prize that I won in a blog giveaway arrived! Thanks to the lovely Tatiana and her little cutie Giada, Landon & I won a set of 4 glass baby food jars from Wean Green!

They arrived a couple of days ago, and they're so fun and cute!! I'm excited to put them to use after we get back from India!


Thanks Tatiana!!

Well, I best be off to finish cleaning and packing. Kyle took Landon to go visit a friend and is bringing home pizza for dinner and hopefully we'll have some fun family time on our last night at home! 


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