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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Mui Ne - final full day

It is our final full day at the Mia resort in Mui Ne. It has been a wonderful 5 days so far. The resort is beautiful, the food is wonderful and the staff are sooooooo very attentive. If you don't finish a meal, they ask what is wrong....yesterday the men and boys went on a sand dunes excursion and they scrambled to get them breakfast, etc,etc. the only annoyance is the Mosquitos. Despite my efforts to usethenatursl bug spray, we are getting eaten alive. We have decided to call our son Ethan, and I figure this will be easier than calling him baby E all the time :). Our nights with Ethan have been soooooo rough. We almost cut our trip to Mui Ne and contemplated hiring a driver to take us backed to Ho Chi Minh city, and to a doctor. He is wonderful during the day, and happy most of the time, butat night it's a different story and we're atour wits end as to what to do. I have rotated him on children's Advil and Tylenol for almost two weeks, plus used homeopathics for teething and grief/loss, but nothing seems to help. He usually sleeps the first half of the night but then from 12 or 1am on, he is up, down, up, down. He is still congested, and I know this doesn't help. Instead of leaving today, we have decided to move out of the room we are in, and have booked two smaller rooms. This way, our older son can get a better night sleep, and one of us can too. If tonight is rough again, then the adult who is with him can switch in the middle of the night for some respite. We have greatness with respect to our Vietnamese passport and temporary Canadian one. It sounds like the are ready for pick up so, unless we hear otherwise, we are good to come home on Friday. We are soooo ready! None of us are looking forward to going back to the noise, hustle and bustle and food of Ho Chi Minh, but for us, it will only be for two nights. We have bought a few little souvenirs, but not much. We hope to go back to the mall called the tax center (Somerset has a wonderful city map that shows where all these places are), and to Binh Than market. Hopefully, we can pick up a few more things, but we want to avoid buying another suitcase as, already, we are coming home with a stroller. Advise re baby gear: don't bother bringing diapers or formula. I would suggest only some prunes and at least two containers of graduates, some Cheerios and some baby mum mums. I forgot the cheerios and only brought one box of graduates and mum mums. I want some for the plane ride home and we are running very low now. In all the supermarkets we have been to, they don't have any of these 4 items. We brought formula with the intention of transitioning here, but now I think we will leave that here and buy some that he is used to to bring home and will transition himation home. Well, baby calls again! Ta ta for now!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Mui Ne, Vietnam

Oh my goodness, we have seriously found paradise!! But allow me to digress a bit. We woke up with baby E at 4:20am in the morning, that wasn't the first time, but after he drank his bottle, he was pretty much awake and wouldn't go back to sleep. This worked out all right, as we had to be up by 5am to check out, meet up with the other family and head to the train station. Both families managed to get all their things in to one suitcase, plus a backpack and a stroller. We were all quite proud of ourselves. Off we headed in two cabs..the train station entrance was quite chaotic, but once inside the station, not so bad. I decided to use the washroom before we got on the train. Well, two problems..one, you have to pay for toilet paper and two, the bathrooms smelled like outhouses. Okay, I decided to wait and use the washroom on the train. Once we found the right platform and train, withou too much difficulty, we boarded and settled in. We realized that our one large suitcase was a bit of an issue. Thankfully, the men managed to get them up but really, two smaller suitcases would have been better. The strollers had to be kept by the door..luckily there was room for both. Okay, once settled, and the train was on its way, our older son had to use the washroom, so off we headed to checkit out. There's no other way to say this, but OMG...yuck! I'm sorry, but it was full of urine, wouldn't flush and there was feces on the seat. Thankfully, he only had to go number 1 (pee) and I decided to hold it until we got to the resort. While on the train, we came across a funny little Vietnamese boy. He copied everything people were saying, helped himself to people's food and drinks (even the iced coffee) and enjoyed helping himself to people's electronic equipment too. I must admit, it was starting to get anti annoying, but it was funny, in hindsight. The trip was about 4 1/2 hours, we grabbed two cabs right away and then were off to the resort. Our cab was a maniac, and I was sure we were going to get in to a fender bender, but we arrived in one piece, thankfully. As soon as we stepped into the resort (Mia Resort Mui Ne), we were in paradise! The front desk informed us our rooms weren't quite ready, but would we please seat down and enjoy some tea. Let me say we were not by this point! We sat down, I could smell the incense burning and there, in front of us, was a plat with tea, a cold facecloth that smaller of lemon and strawberry and mango ice cream in frozen passion fruit cups. It was so refreshing. Again, our older son needed to use the bathroom and what a difference! We washed our hands in what appeared to be a large copper bowl with lovely scented soap. Then our rooms were ready. From the outside it is a lovely grass roof bungalow. I immediately thought of my sister and how she would love it. Inside is a large bed with mosquito netting and the bathroom is set up so that the shower is actually outside, but with a wall for privacy. After a wonderful meal, with the best milk shakes and Mai tai's I've had, baby E and I had a nap. When we woke up, we headed out to the salt water pool and white sandy beach. For anyone planning to come to Vietnam...Mui Ne is a must!!! I am so glad we will spend the remainder of our time here. The last wo nights will be back in Ho Chi Minh to pick up paperwork and then fly out, but we will happily stay here until then. After all the buildup and adoption process, this will be some much needed R&R for all of us. We will post pics soon. Sorry, we have been too busy to download anymore!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Tuesday-Thursday July 10-12

Well, this has been a busy week, and a tiring one too. For starters, we aren't sleeping well. Baby E has a cold still and is cutting teeth so he has a fever too. Last night wasn't too bad, we managed to get 8pm - 4am...that's the best we've had in awhile. Tuesday - we had hoped to apply for the Vietnamese passport for baby E today, however, our rep was waiting for paperwork to arrive from Ba Ria. The judge wasn't available to stamp our documents on Monday so it had to get bussed to us on Tuesday. So, we enjoyed a day of R&R by the pool. We thought we might go out for dinner with the other family tonight, but our rep had to come and do paperwork with all of us, so it was too late by the time we finished up and the babies were getting tired and cranky. For some reason, I felt really nauscious, so had a gravel, and that helped quite quickly. Wednesday, the men took the two babies, along with our adoption rep and headed to apply for the Vietnamese passport. We anticipated they would be gone two hours, and it was exactly that. The Mom's stayed back with the three older boys and enjoyed some more relaxing pool time. After the babies napped in the afternoon, the two families decided to head out by taxi to the Diamond Shopping centre and then the tax centre. The first stop was a beautiful, high end mall. We actually ate at pizza hut first, which was a welcome comfort from home. Then we headed in to the mall. It has the store called the pet shop. This is a nice place to get pillows, blankets, purses, etc. all kid related. We also found the baby Gap and bought a cute outfit for baby E. Near the food court, there is a wonderful bakery full of pastries, donuts, pizza bread, french bread, etc. Then we headed to the tax centre. This mall had a section full of toys, strollers, baby gear etc. the older boys each picked out a Pokemon figure. On one of the floors, we found about 5 or more small shops side by side, where we were able to purchase ceremonial outfits for our babies. I'm sure we could find somewhere to make them much cheaper, but I am happy to have at least two outfits now for Tet. Thursday - today we met our representative and headed to the Canadian Consulate to do the paperwork for the temporary Canadian passport. We were a little slow to get going at 9:30am, and our rep asked us to hurry as the office closed soon. This surprised us, but we figured it was because they were on Canadian time! Right beside the Canadian consulate, is the HSBC...the only place, we learned, that we can exchange our travelers cheques. Ray had exchanged his on Wednesday, so I was able to exchange mine today. Afterwards, the other family headed to the coop for some more groceries, and we walked to the Diamond plaza for more pizza, and to purchase some items from the bakery. Okay, for those traveling soon...here are my thoughts... 1) I wouldn't bother bringing formula. We have decided to keep E on what he is used to and will slowly convert when back home. 2) Thankfully, E likes the cereal recommended by our rep...he does not like any of the baby food I brought for him. I managed to get some prunes into him, but that's it so far. The other family struggled more as their daughter doesn't like most of the cereal. But luckily she loves the beef congee the hotel makes for breakfast, and yogurt. Our guy doesn't like the yogurt. 3). Baby Mum Mums, graduates and Cheerios have been a hit for our son. 4). I wish I had brought instant oatmeal and granola bars. I very quickly am tired of the hotel breakfasts, and most of the cereals you can buy here are all sugar cereals. In fact, most things are sweet, I think that's why my stomach feels off...that and the heat, I'm sure. 5). I am happy we brought a box of borax and lavender oil and tea tree oil to wash our clothes in after visiting the orphanage. 6). All the adult and baby cough and cold mess/homeopathics have come in handy, especially the eucalyptus oil. 7). I am also happy to have brought two boxes of Aveeno bath powder. I have bathed him in that every morning and used calendula cream on his itchy spots, as well as Benadryl cream when really needed in the beginning. His skin is looking much better and he rarely itches anymore. 8). Some spare batteries for our older sons toys would have been good. That's all for now. We are all up very early tomorrow morning to head to the train station to take us to Mui Ne. We are very happy to have been invited by the other couple to share in this beach excursion. We willbe there for 5 night. When we get back, our passports should be ready nd then we can fly home! Vietnam has been great, but really looking forward to coming home :). We miss our family and friends, and very much miss our dog! Not much longer now.

Monday, 9 July 2012

It's Official!!!

We were up at 5:30am for a 6:30am departure. After a bit of a delay in getting started, due to students writing exams to get in to the local University (thus the streets were packed), we were off. We travelled from Ho Chi Minh city to Bau Ria (sp?) to the department of justice to get paperwork for the adoption, then travelled to Vung Tau to have the Director sign, then had lunch, then back to Bau Ria tO sign the official paperwork, take pictures and that was it. Around 2:30pm today, baby E officially became our son. We then headed back to Ho Chi Minh ci. It is just after 6pm and we just got back to the hotel. We are all exhausted as we spent the majority of the day in the car. We will post pictures soon, I promise!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The honeymoon is over!

Well, of course, we are stil in love with our little guy, but day 2 overnight was definitely NOT like day 1. Day 1 baby E slept from 6pm-4am and from 5:15am-6:15am. Last night, on the other hand, he went to bed beautifully, at 7pm...no crying, I just put him in the crib and he zonked right out. This gave us some time alone with M before he went to bed around 8 pm. Baby E slept until 1am, then was up again at 2am and multiple times after 4am. Ray was wonderful and was up with him most of the time. I got up around 4am and finally realized, he couldn't sleep or drink his bottle because of his cold. So we sprayed his nose with saline and suctioned his nose (for all of you who have done this before, you will know how much babies hate that!). Then we gave him some infant Tylenol and put him back to bed. Finally, he had another good stretch of sleep, and woke up around 7:15am. Oh, we gave him his treatment for scabies last night too, so finally we can relax a bit with the laundry, and not worry so much about bagging everything. We haven't had time to do much else, other than eat, sleep, take care of baby and swim in the pool. I have been thrilled to find some Canadian type food...even just spaghetti, cereal, bread, jam and peanut butter and bananas are welcome. I have been starving but getting tired of rice and noodles. I think I had sweet and sour chicken 3 or 4 lunch/dinner meals in a row. Tonight, I had peanut butter and banana sandwich. I know, sad but true. It was delicious!!! For those traveling after us...DO NOT bring travelers cheques. There's no point as no one will cash them. We brought a bunch and it's a total waste. The only way we can cash them is to open a bank account, turn in our cheques, wait a few days and then go back for the money. Not so convenient!!! Cash and ATM's are the way to go and you can use credit cards at the hotel and in certain stores. But mostly, cash is the way to go. Well, cross our fingers...one more day until the new ceremony date, scheduled now for Monday, July 9th (or for those in Canada...July 8th). As our new friends sharing our adoption journey said, a small part of you holds back from loving this child completely, for fear he might be taken away still. We will all breathe easier on Monday, once the ceremony is complete. Baby is has adapted so well...he loves his big brother, M, and laughs at his funny faces. M is so good with him, and even said he wanted to change his poopy diaper, as he felt that was his responsibility. We decided not to let him do that one, but will let him try just a pee diaper. As often as he can, M asks to hold or carry baby E. We are so happy to see both boys bonding already. That was my biggest concern, but I needn't have worried!!! No plans for tomorrow yet...I would love to find someone to make a special Vietnamese outfit for the adoption ceremony on Monday, however, that might be pushing it. I haven't seen anywhere to get that done. Maybe we will ask the front desk in the morning, and see if it will be possible. Baby E is soooo small...lucily some of the outfits we brought fit him, but others are too big. From the coop today, we bought some pants and tops for him that are a really light weight cotton. When ordering lunch today, the young lady asked if he was Vietnamese, we nodded and said yes. She even said he is very small for his age. But he is eating really well...he had two bowls of cereal this afternoon and is starting to drink more of his milk. He loves to eat food with his hands and enjoyed some watermelon and toast crust at breakfast. I tried feeding him a bit of yogurt and mashed banana but he wasn't too impressed with that. I forgot to mention, the first day we had him, he had some rice for dinner, and of course, loved it (they feed them rice congee at the orphanage)...but he had to get his hands in there. It was sticky rice and, well, you can imagine the mess he made! He also loves Cheerios (kindly donated by our friends) and sweet potato graduates. I hadn't planned on giving him so much new food just yet, but he seems really hungry for it. So, we are going with the flow. Everything they get from the orphanage is warm...the formula, rice conger and even the water. And by warm, I mean really hot! So, he hasn't been impressed with the baby food we brought for him. But who know, maybe he will eat it eventually. It's 7:30pm now...I'm thinking it's getting close to bed time, especially if we are going to get woken up again. Let's hope the Tylenol kicks in and he gets a good nights sleep. Oh, at leat we know M is not bothered by the noise. E cried alot last night, and M barely stirred!! Good night all!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

It's feeding time

While we are trying to follow the schedule given to us by the nannies, and had planned to also treat him for scabies before bed time, baby E fell asleep at 6pm, missed a feeding and didn't wake up until 4am!! Ray is feeding him his bottle right now and finally, he is drinking it hungrily. Normally, he just pushes it away. Now that he is almost done, he is grunting at Ray...it's very cute. I wonder, after 10 hours of sleep in a row, will he go back to sleep? The schedule says wake up time is 6 am...we will see!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Good news, bad news

Well, we received good news and bad news today. The good news is, we and the other family get to take our babies back to the hotel with us today. The bad news is, our adoption ceremony has been delayed until Monday. We are frustrated with this, but try to focus on the happiness of bringing our babies "home" today. After the call from our adoption rep to verify this is what we want, it is a short amount of time before the nou nou's hand us a bag each with formula, diapers, a bottle of milk, a bottle of water, a face cloth, a toy and a cloth in the shape of an animal with his name stitched into it. The other mother and I cried..it was an emotional moment to be allowed to leave with our babies, but it was emotional also as we think of the nounou's, and the bonds they have formed. It is sad for them and for our babies to say goodbye. Back at the hotel, we tried to extend our stay at the hotel, with some difficulty with a language barrier. So, we called our rep to help us out. For now, we wait until the hotel sees what rooms are available for us to stay now until Monday. We also requested a cot/crib for the room and headed back for his afternoon snack and milk. After some crying, we settled him down. I managed to get him to have some sweet potato graduate stars, some yogurt, a little baby fruit, a nite of a baby rice cracker and a sip of milk. Luckily, he had rice congee before we left the orphanage so hopefully his tummy is full. Ray rocked him to sleep and successfully transferred him to the crib. We will treat him for scabies tonight and then, thankfully, will be free from having to bag and wash all of our clothes. Ray and M have headed off to the pool while baby E sleeps to some Vietnamese music we bought for him yesterday. Now, time for some reading for me! Wish us luck with sleep for tonight!