Friday, April 1, 2011

Trip#2 Tips: edited to add....

I still have this changing pad from when Davis was a baby. I have the denim one and you can just throw it in the washer. So glad I kept it. No need for a changing table with this boy because he'd roll off it in a flash. I may not even need this changing pad for long because I seem to be acquiring the ability to diaper him as he is running away. Boys.

Also forgot to mention these Happy Baby Melts. Bek loves them and so does Davis. They are really yummy and have probiotics in them, good for tummy problems. He's eating this oatmeal for the same reasons. Plus DHA which is good for the brain and eyes. For you first time mamas, cereal/oatmeal etc can sometimes constipate, so I always add some fruit to the meal he has cereal. Plum Organic even has prunes that Bek seems to think are tasty!

We bought these Playtex spoons and they work great with the food packs since the handle is long.

Rolyn reminded me we wished for more money on this trip because we bought art at Makush and 2 suitcases of coffee beans. Just thought I should clarify my previous $$ comment.

***Please note, anyone who may have received an email from me saying Rolyn and I are trapped in the UK. We are not. Do not even answer this evil person. My "book of face" account was hacked and I am no longer in control of it. Unfortunately there is no way to contact FB to get answers or figure it out. I spent all day yesterday trying to regain control and in the process Rolyn is now locked out of HIS FB account. It makes me so sad that people will go to such great lengths to rip people off. If only they worked so hard to do something good...this world would be amazing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trip #2 Tips.

I have a post in my head about both our trip for court and our trip to bring Bekalu home...but I'm feeling the urge to post these tips for traveling families first. I'm thinking positively that this week brings great news and there will be 20+ Gladney families traveling for embassy dates and 24+ children will soon with be with their forever families, forever.

Ok, trip TWO! woohooo! We had about 48 hours to get packed. Some of these things I had on my list, some were tips from other Gladney moms and some were just pure luck. Oh, and some, some were huge misses on my part, hopefully this list will keep you from making my mistakes. :)

A sling of some sort. I took two and used them both. I used this one for the plane as it was the easiest to pack and the quickiest to get Bek in and out. This one is the most comfy for carrying babes for longer. I bought the organic one because the fabric is much softer...they are kind of spendy but you can check around for places that are offering % off, a resale shop or even craigs list. They are built to last and seem to hold up for more than one kid.

I took Playtex dropins for bottles. They were passed along to me by another amazing Gladney mama, and man they sure made keeping clean bottles easy. I took 4 10oz bottles and 2 4oz bottles. Don't bother taking the slower nipples. I took both medium and fast flow and the medium flow just made Bek mad. ha! All that really needs to be cleaned up is the nipple and the ring, easy peasy. On the plane we made sure to have at least 2 bottles full of water and ready to go. Much easier than waiting until you need a bottle...and then hunting down a flight attendant or digging for your bottle of water. We also just rinsed the nipples out with bottled water to clean them on the plane. We did not bother with any other food for the flight and Bek seems just fine with bottles only. We bought formula in ET and then brought home a can with us...over the course of a few days we slowly mixed the ET formula with what he's drinking now. I am planning on keeping him on formula for a bit just for the nutrition factor and bottles for the bonding factor.

One of these formula dispensers. MUCH easier than dealing with the can on an airplane. Even now I find it's helpful. Being tired is an understatement and just counting to 3 or 4 seems to be difficult. ha! I'm constantly asking myself, was that scoop 2 or 3? Did you say 2 while you were scooping and 3 while dumping it in the bottle....hmmm? Exhaustion-proof to just dump in pre-measured amounts. ;)

For clothes, I took layers for Bek. Some long sleeve stuff and some short sleeve. It was unseasonably cool and wet when we were there, so I was happy to have a sweater for him and even a hat. He never wore any of the short sleeved things. Extra socks (most of the ones I brought he had already grown out of!) I wished for more with the sticky bottoms since Bek started walking our second day in ET. Footie PJs, it got cool in the night and forget about covering this boy with a blanket.

Diapers. I planned for 10 a day plus 4 days extra. Didn't come near to the end of the stash. But I've been stuck in an airport before without diapers. The terminal I was in was also sold out of diapers. That will never ever happen to me again. (I hope)

3 packs of wipes. Again I didn't come near to using all of them, but I didn't want to run out mid-trip either.

Burp Cloths. These are pretty thin and gauzy but seem to do the trick just fine. I took all 12 to ET and was happy to have them. I also ended up using them to wipe Bek's face rather than the baby wipes. Even though I brought the "free and clear sensitive" wipes, they made his face break out. Travis mentioned that even the soap you wash your clothes with can irritate their skin since they are not used to it. I've now learned the best way to wash Bek's face is to take him to the sink and douse him with water. He loves it! It's how the nannies did it in ET and he does not fight me. But try to get a tissue next to that nose, oh man forget about it.

California Baby shampoo and Aveeno Baby lotion (tip from another awesome mama) This shampoo we've used since Davis was a smells soooooooo good. I have been using the lotion in Bek's hair too. So far so good.

Puffs! They babies don't get the chance to feed themselves at the care center. Bek LOVES to sit and feed himself. Even in ET I could put him in the highchair and he would keep himself busy eating puffs long enough for me to eat breakfast. :) Since we've been home he's had Mum-Mum and is now eating cantaloupe and apples too.

I took the packaged food from Happy Baby, Baby Sprout and Plum Organics. So far Bek has liked everything except the Turkey dinner and the Salmon. Both are pretty chunky and I think it was a texture thing. They all smell reallllly good. Something I don't remember happening with Davis' baby food. ha! Some of the faves are this one, this one, this one, this one and this one. And of course, all of the fruits are a hit. No surprise there.

Age appropriate toys. We took several different things that were great to have. Bek loved his Hotwheels the most, but I think that is because that was his favorite toy in the foster center.

I packed 12 plain white onesies and packaged each with a diaper in a ziploc bag for the plane ride home. Just in case Bek had tummy issues it would be easy to do a quick change in the bathroom with just grabbing one bag and some wipes. We thankfully did not have to deal with that, but we were ready for it. I also packed two extra shirts for both myself and Rolyn in our carry-on bags, just in case we needed them.

I brought bibs but didn't use them in ET. Now that Bek is feeding himself jucier foods and also letting me know when he's full by blowing raspberries we are def using them here.

A flashlight...and I took this lantern on our first trip but forgot it on the second. I was def wishing for it while we were there since the flashlight was not bright enough and the overhead light was too bright to use while Bek was asleep.

Any and all medicine you take regularly or even rarely. Rolyn's back went out the first morning in ET. Right before our embassy appointment, fun! He hasn't had an episode like this in 3.5 years. UGH. Thankfully he brought all his meds plus a steroid pack. The steroids saved us and he was upright in a day and half and able to make the flight just fine. I brought Pedialyte for Bek and powdered gatorade packs for us (again planning for tummy issues).

My misses were things for the adults. Bek had everything he needed plus more! We did not bring ANY food for us. Not that there aren't plenty of amazing options for eating in ET, but when you wake up at're a bit peckish. No, you're starving. The m&ms we bought in Dubai did not fill the hole. ;) So don't forget the snack food for yourself.

I didn't bring many clothing items for the cooler weather for myself... I think planning to layer is probably the best idea. It did get warmish during the day, but I was always on the cool side.

We didn't think we'd need as much cash on this trip as last, but we were wishing for a few hundred dollars more by the end of the trip. You will have a driver again every day...not sure why, but I didn't think we would on the second trip. It was great to have someone to get us food/formula etc. etc. and who doesn't adore those drivers they are all so great! :)

We stayed at Bjoe and loved loved loved it. My only complaint was we were in the downstairs bedroom and it was kind of hard with the separation from the living room. I was wishing for a baby monitor. Would have been helpful both for when Rolyn was in bed and when Bek was napping/sleeping. We pretty much went to bed on the early side, but not quite as early as Mr. Bekalu. I would suggest requesting a bedroom on the mainfloor or at least knowing if you are downstairs so you can bring a monitor. It was nice a private though. The Bjoe staff rocks. And Genet is the best of the best.

Oh one big thing to think about or be aware of...We flew Emirates and requested a bassinet for Bek on both legs of our flight. From Addis to Dubai we were fine, but they almost did not let us have one on the long flight from Dubai to NYC. They said he was too big. I think the cut off is 10 kilos and he is 9.something. I couldn't remember his weight in kilos, and the man sitting next to us did the math but then it seemed they didn't believe me. We waited while the attendant asked her supervisor and then she stood there watching when we put Bek in the bassinet like he was going to hang over the edges. In the end it worked out, but just be sure to know where you are weight wise. If we hadn't had the bassinet it would not have been fun. We definitely would have purchased him a seat if we known it was not an option.

If you have any questions at all, just leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. Or if you have any tips to add PLEASE do. :)

p.s. Before buying bottles and stuff on Amazon check the prices compared to your target or walmart even babys r us...I have found that on some things amazon is higher. BUT for the diapers, food and formula it's great! If you sign up for a subscription (I did an order every six months, and you can cancel it at any time) the food is cheaper even down to under a dollar each and being that it's all organic produce that's a pretty good deal. It's also free 2day shipping.