Life Keeps Moving

This is one of those weeks when I’m acutely aware of the things I miss by living on the other side of the world. Take my “little” brother Daniel, for instance. (I say “little” because he towers over me, has shoulders the size of boulders, and a neck that looks like a tree-trunk.)  A sophomore in high school, he’s a kicker on the football team and just an all-around great kid. I haven’t seen him play football, but I did get this picture of him kicking. I hope I get to watch him play at least once before he graduates!  And, I’m missing my 10-year HS reunion this weekend.  If I were home, I’d be able to see people I haven’t seen since graduation and watch my little brother play — all at the same time!  

I think it is cute that he chose the same football jersey number as my other brother, William. He probably doesn’t want me to say that’s “cute,” though. However, I don’t think he reads my blog, so it doesn’t matter. Speaking of William, he and his wife, Jessica, arrive in China TONIGHT! They are spending 10 days with us, and I’m excited to show them around. I haven’t seen Will in over a year, so I’m super-excited to hug him and Jessica in person.

Another big event I’ve just missed is the birth of my nephew, Greyson Dean McKean. Jenny, who many of you know as Scarlet Threads’ distribution manager, gave birth to this precious little bundle just a couple of days ago! Mom and baby are doing well, and I’m sure that Jenny is especially glad to have him in her arms now… Aren’t they both beautiful?

In other baby-baking news, we are just a few days from officially entering the 6th month. Before I can blink my eyes, we’re going to have a picture like the one above. It’s still hard to believe, but made slightly easier by the increasing amount of movement. (I actually saw the baby kick me last night. It was a little Alien-esque, to be perfectly honest. And it made me laugh. I think it just freaked Jacob out.)

Random question.  Jacob and I are really trying to keep our life as simple as possible when it comes to the baby, and not amassing tons of trinkets and toys.  But, we know there are a few things that would probably be invaluable, some of which might be hard to find in China.  We have a few people who have offered to serve as couriers on their trips to China in the next couple of months and bring us things we need.  For you mommas out there, if you had to choose one or two items from your days with a newborn, what would they be?  We’re gathering ideas and putting together a list so that we have ample time to get the true essentials ordered and sent to these kind folks. 

At the foster home’s adorable-beyond-description triathlon this week.

We are doing well. I have finally entered the no-barfing stage of pregnancy. And, my energy level is mostly back up to normal. And, this is the best time of year in Beijing weather-wise. In fact, last weekend Jacob and I went on a scooter ride through a neighboring village, and it was one of those moments I wanted to freeze in time, for the day when I no longer see everything as being so commonplace…

a little boy harvesting onions with his grandpa. a smile as big as the great wall plastered across his face.  a toothless man with a bright smile selling peaches on the side of the road. a hunched-over little old lady who came by while i was buying some. he gave her all the ones with bad spots.  the sheep grazing beside the canal; their shepherd reclining on the grass hill.  a village with flowers planted along the road’s edge. someone wanted the area beautiful, which honestly isn’t something that gets thought about much in most villages.  a group of old men playing mah jong in front of their homes. grandmas with babies in the park.  an actual sunset.  the sky was clear and the sun was orange. laughing and pointing children calling out laowai (foreigner) and shouting hello.  riding on a narrow road through corn fields, almost ready for harvest.  farmers with their bikes parked beside the road, bending over in the fields. 

 It is the side of China I love.  It is the side of China I wish I could show you.    

18 thoughts on “Life Keeps Moving

  1. I so relate to missing things at home. The hardest part for me being in Tokyo is missing the birth of friends' babies. As for a baby toys or trinkets – I would definitely get a bouncy seat if you can. Miyako was not crazy about her swing but she did like the bouncy seat. Also, make sure you have a good comfy rocking chair. The only piece of furniture I shipped to TOkyo was our glider. We still snuggle on it every night.


  2. The item we used more than anything in Savannah's earliest weeks was the newborn boppy. ( We called it her “display pillow.” It's a safe, cozy place to put baby down for whatever reason. We used it until just recently because she's more mobile and a little too long for it. Plus, our neighbors just had their baby so we loaned it to them cause it's more useful for, as the name suggests, newborns. It stayed in the living room since our bedroom had the bassinet we could set her in. Hope this helps! We're very excited for you guys!! Parenthood is FANTASTIC!


  3. So good to hear an update! It is hard being away from home, but I'm thankful that you've got some pictures to enjoy!

    And you look ADORABLE!!! I love the “baby bump” you've got going on…only a few more months until that precious little one arrives! Oh, I can't wait for YOUR Mommy/Baby picture to be plastered all over your blog!

    As far as baby items go, I recommend the Bumbo seat. I didn't discover them until Eva was born, but they are great for those early months before baby is sitting on her own. With Eli and Chloe I did use the Boppy pillow for that purpose, and it worked well too! So why not get both?!?! 🙂


  4. It depends on the kid. With my first born, we couldn't have lived without the bouncy seat. With the second one, it was a swing. Also, a friend gave me the book, So That's What They're For, about breastfeeding. Very funny and helpful.


  5. If you've got milk boobs and some kind of diaper, the only thing we really could NOT live without with our newborns was a vibrating bouncy seat. Easy to take from room to room, a fast place to set the little one down while I…. did dishes, went pee, put on shoes, made dinner, etc.


  6. Some sort of baby wearing device, like an Ergo, moby wrap or mei tai makes life so much easier. It frees up your hands while still holding the baby. LOVED using ours. Bumbos are pretty handy, too.


  7. A baby carrier of some sort! I didn't know about such things with our first one, but discovered the Ergo with our child that we adopted from China. INVALUABLE!!! You might want a different type w/ a small baby, like the sleepy wrap or others… ???


  8. You two are going to be wonderful parents! The number #1 thing you will probably find that you need all the time are batteries! The investment in rechargeables and a charger are soooo worth it! After all, they are what keeps all of those vibrating, swinging, music playing things going. That aside, our portable swing saved us many times! I also agree with “volscats” about a comfy glider/rocking chair. They even make ones that will recline! Many hours will be well spent rocking, feeding, snuggling, and reading stories. Its usefullness will last for years, not just months like so much of the other baby stuff!


  9. So glad to see baby is growing. 🙂 That alien feeling is pretty surreal. I vote for a baby carrier and a bouncy seat. A swing is awesome, but you can manage that same feeling (or Jacob) by wearing baby too. A rocker and then a glider were my fav.s Our babies ans even our older adopted kids love snuggleing with Mom or Dad in them. You can't go wrong with one in lieu of a swing and for a baby who prefers you to walk and sway, then the baby carrier. I wish I could send you a science fiction type device that would let you or your loved ones be able to blink and really be there. Happy that your bro is coming for a visit.


  10. Hi Carrie,
    I've been reading for almost a year but never commented. I lived in China for a couple of years, and the way you described the view from your ride last weekend made me miss it. You described it perfectly. I now live in Haiti and found your website through the Livesay's blog.

    As for newborn “stuff” you are right that most of it is just extra, but my husband and I both loved our baby bjorn with our two boys. It was comfy for both my husband and I to wear them and snuggle with them, and it gave us our hands back to do things around the house. Congratulations!


  11. You've spurred me to finally write that baby items list that's been swirling around in my head for a year! My list is a bit extended … but enjoy the full post dedicated to you and my other Expectant friends on my blog today!

    By the way you are SO cute with your lil' bump! Enjoy those crazy baby movements … it is kinda spooky–but what a joy! And take LOTS of photos … that bump DOES go away … eventually.



  12. Well, I personally used my bouncy seat a TON……I'm not sure how else I'd have ever taken a shower!!! You definitely just need a good place to put the baby down when there are no sets of hands available- like shower time! 🙂 Plus, often, when my kids wouldn't lay down to sleep, the WOULD sleep in the bouncy seat. God bless the bouncy seat- some nights it was the only way we slept!!!!! After the baby-baby stage, it was the exersaucer I couldn't live without, but I don't think that will fit in my suitcase!!!! 🙂

    I never used one, but I know most of my mom friends swear by a baby carrier! If you'll be on-the-go with baby, you will probably want one!!!


  13. Okay – I normally stalk your site and don't comment (shy), but I don't see where anyone has recommended a swaddler, or 2. I didn't think my daughter liked hers, but I received the best piece of advice from a nurse-friend who told me “Make her wear it anyway.” She slept much better through the night, and therefore, so did we! You can use a receiving blanket to accomplish the same trick, but having something pre-made with velcro is EASY. They don't take up a lot of space, either, and they're inexpensive.

    Congratulations on your little bundle! You are going to be SO in love!



  14. Carrie, I am going to tell you something that others may or may not agree with: We can all tell you stuff that worked for our babies, but they are all different and what worked for mine might not work for yours. For example, Lily hated being wrapped in any kind of blanket. She wanted her arms and legs free. So, a lot of it is learning how to read your baby and doing what is best for him/her. And be confident in that decision. Anyhoo…I was really glad that we invested in a McClaren stroller because it is light weight and folds up really well. It takes a beating on the cobblestone here and so far has held up great. I have a baby carrier, but I have a bad back and after three or four months I couldn't carry Lily in it any more. But it was good for those first few months. It is good to have a variety of toys. We don't have too many but we do have a variety of stuff. I am a big advocate for toys that do not require batteries because we have spent so much money on batteries! But we have used a lot of things that they have here. I'd ask your Chinese friends what they do. It will be a way to connect with them and other moms.


  15. There's nothing you need more than just diapers, wipes, onesies and blankets. Although I wonder if Scarlet Threads could sew you a pretty baby wearing sling for the first few months. Other than that, if you really think you “need” it, the bouncy seat is probably the most valuable item that doesn't take up too much space and it gives you a place to “park” the baby with seat belt on. But if you have one of those infant carrier/carseats you could just use that.


  16. There's nothing you need more than just diapers, wipes, onesies and blankets. Although I wonder if Scarlet Threads could sew you a pretty baby wearing sling for the first few months. Other than that, if you really think you “need” it, the bouncy seat is probably the most valuable item that doesn't take up too much space and it gives you a place to “park” the baby with seat belt on. But if you have one of those infant carrier/carseats you could just use that.


  17. Vibrating bouncy seat, as others have said, and a lightweight stroller with storage. The seat will allow you to get things done. The stroller will save your back! I agree with the previous commenter, though, that every baby is different. You will find out what you need most AFTER baby comes! For example, I know my brother would tell you that a noise machine is a must have. They always put their kids to bed with static. Haha! Best wishes and congrats.


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