Tuesday, January 27, 2009


So, besides going to the chiropractor and inverting in strange ways, moxibustion is listed as a way to try to turn a breech baby. There is a Chinese MD with a little shop who practices accupuncture near my house (even in this small city). I stopped by to see her and she said she doesn't normally use moxa* because Americans think it is marijuana and she doesn't want to get in trouble, but since my problem could not be addressed with the heat lamp and really required moxa she would show me how and then give me some to do at home.

You apply the heat to the outside of the little toes. It felt good until it got too hot and she just kept switching sides. Afterwards, she had me on my knees with my chest on the floor for 20 minutes. I did notice a lot of movement afterwards, but the baby didn't fully turn. You are supposed to keep doing it until it happens.

Unfortunately, moxa stinks! It smells like smudging your house with sage or going to a Phish show. It gets all in your clothes and hair and everywhere. I tried to do it in the garage today to spare my parents, but it was too cold so I moved to an upstairs bathroom, opened the window and turned on the fan. The bathroom still smells. Moxa in winter is not going to work. I may try to do it at my friend's house a few more times but I won't be able to do it regularly.

The other thing I worry able is the amount of smoke. It is like smoking a hooka, but not clean like the Arabic fruit-flavored tobacco. I can feel it in my throat afterwards. It is relaxing, but not that healthy.

Back to leaning off the couch and visiting the chiropractor!

*For my friends in Korea, moxa is dried, rolled mugwort which I am sure you have eaten in rice cakes and in other culinary preparations. It should not be eaten while pregnant.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ian Helps

Pictures from the beginning of January:

Ian helps Daddy:

Ian helps Grandma make rolls:

Ian also likes to do the dishes. I've been told that I liked to do the dishes until I became old enough to actually be helpful. I have no memory of ever liking to do the dishes.

Today Ian helped Grandma wash potatoes. He has even said he wants to eat them. We shall see. White potatoes are one of the few foods he doesn't eat (unless, of course they are potato chipped or french fried).

Sick and Sick of Winter

Ian and I got colds mid-December. They seemed to be getting better when last weekend we got fluish symptoms. He got diarrhea and had a slight fever and was generally weak; I threw up a few times (may have been because of coughing, though) and felt weak. This is the third time Ian has been sick since his flu shot. Now, these illnesses might now have been the flu, but I am really wondering whether it is worth it all. Now, my mom has a cold and our cold is back.

I also have heartburn.

Heartburn and coughing = gross. I did not have heartburn with Ian. The nurses kept asking me because he was born with a full head of hair, but I didn't. This is gross.

Also, I do not like winter. It is nice to visit, but living in it is rough. I hate being cold and I need sunlight. I can never get warm. I need to go buy some warmer clothes so I can get out of my husband's sweatshirts. The ground has been covered with snow the whole time we've been here except for a few days after Christmas.

I need to venture out today to copy my records for the two midwives I will be meeting with next week. I don't want to. There is a hint of sunshine and the roads are clear so it is better than it has been, but more snow is coming!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I need to find a new care provider for the birth. The options in Erie are pretty limited so I am looking to Pittsburgh, Cleveland and just across the state line into New York. I have some good leads, but nothing set in stone. I haven't had a full appointment since 28 weeks so I need to get something set up this week. I am working with a chiropractor, but the baby is still breech so I need to find someone to do an external version if necessary. I didn't try this last time, but I will this time. I will keep working with the chiropractor until the the end, even if the baby turns before the end.

Obama won and the Steelers are going to the Super Bowl so I still have hope.

As far as other preparations go, I washed the baby's diapers today (small Fuzzi Bunz) as well as Ian's new large Fuzzi Bunz. I've got to get my cloth diapering operation up and running again because size 6 diapers are too expensive to buy even conventional disposable diapers, the environmentally-friendly ones are even more than that. So I want to get the cloth going again. I hate seeing all the waste from the disposables.

I need to wash the baby's clothes as well. I mostly have Ian's things since we aren't sure of the gender (but they think it is a girl). I figure I may get a nice newborn girl outfit for after the birth and then if the baby pulls a surprise on us and turns out to be a boy, I will give it as a gift. I'll get more girl pieces after the birth when gender is confirmed.

I want to do some more knitting as well. I hope to knit a baby dress, but it involves doing a lot of things I don't know how to do so I think I will do it like my friend, Kara, and just start and see what I end up with. I have to use stitch markers and circular needles and do all sorts o things. I bought the stitch markers and stitch holders, so that is the first step. The second step is swatching to determine needle size. What a pain, but I suppose I should do it.

I bought new BPA-free bottles: two Adiri natural nursers and I have 1 Medela bottle that I got for free. I plan to breastfeed primarily so I don't need many bottles. I had 6 Dr. Brown's bottles for Ian and would have been fine with three or less-they now have BPA-free versions of their product, but of course, the ones I have contain BPA. He almost never had more than 1 bottle a day because I was almost always with him.

As far as gear goes, I need to get some sort of small travel bed to use downstairs for naps and am considering a double stroller or another single stroller with a toddler board attachment. The selection at the PX is horrible and to buy on the Korean economy is expensive and I have spent more than enough time on this blog agonizing about the difficulties of having a stroller shipped over here. If I do attempt to ship again it will be through a large company like Amazon or Right Start instead of a small business. I like to support small businesses, but for large items or really expensive items, I think a large company is often easier to deal with on a customer service level for getting replacemet/reimbursement. Of course, that isn't always the case, but you need to have a personal endorsement from someone you know. I will probably wait until after the baby is born on that issue. I picked up an infant carseat from a friend to use while we are in Erie. I left Ian's infant carseat in Korea because I didn't want to carry it or ship it. I was so glad my friend Michelle, still had her son's infant carseat and was willing to lend it to me. Her son was tall so they didn't even use it much and she takes very good care of things so it is in really good shape. It is only 2 years old, too, so that is great. I will probably take Ian's convertible carseat on the plane with us to put the baby in. Ian won;t sit in a carseat for a 14 hour flight, but it will be good to have a place to put the baby sometimes. I just need to remind Curt to bring the Go Go Babyz Travelmate attachment so we can pull it through the airport.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Welcome Nicholas!

Nicholas was born to my friends Kristy and Jeff on Monday in Maryland!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sean McArdle On a Starbucks Compilation!

It was very snowy today so I decided to stay around the mall after dropping Ian off at preschool. After buying some beads for the birth bead swap for my online due date club, I picked up a decaf mocha at Starbucks. As I waiting, I picked up a compilation CD and scanned the list. The last track was by Sean McArdle, my former roommate. I e-mailed him to ask if it really was him and he said yes. He will have his own CD out in a few months.

Check him out on his website or at your local Starbucks.

Welcome Grace!

Sarah's Quest for Cuteness has been accomplished!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Welcome Reo!

Another expat mom had her baby boy! Congratulations to R!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Luggage for Frequent Travelers

The airlines are brutal on luggage. If you are a frequent international traveler like I am, it is really disheartening to see what just one trip can do to your luggage. With the stricter weight limits, you need to have light weight luggage, but it would be nice to have something durable as well.

Two years ago, we got up early on Black Friday to go to Kohls to get a really cheap luggage set. Not only was this a colossal mistake because Black Friday brings out the worst in humanity, but the luggage was trashed after one flight. We've continued to use it, but every trip brings new holes and shattered plastic on the inside. We have to wonder if the bag is going to hold together every time we take a trip.

You can buy luggage in a variety of price ranges but it all tends to look the same. The PX has a very limited selection and it is not that cheap, so we wanted to get some new bags for Curt to take back to Korea tomorrow. He already has two long trips scheduled for January so he needs some more reliable bags. I did some research online to see the best reviewed suitcases and a few recurring comments came up:

1. Avoid the 5-piece cheap luggage sets available at discount stores unless you will primarily be using the bags for car trips and only a few airline trips.

2. Choose bags made from ballistic nylon instead of polyester. I have a bag from college that is one its last legs but it has lasted at least 10 years. I think it is made of nylon instead of polyester. One review used a butter knife to stab luggage and it went through on some bags. The ones we got at Kohls would have definitely failed the butter knife test.

3. Avoid bags with designer names on them because they are usually poorly made and can also attract thieves.

4. Spinner bags did not get good reviews.

5. It is worth spending more on luggage if you are a frequent traveler. Briggs and Riley was mentioned as long lasting luggage with a great warranty and customer service. Travelpro was mentioned as a decent lower-end luggage.

We went to Macy's today because they carry Travelpro. They also had Samsonite and a few other brands. We found some Pathfinder bags on clearance which ended up being cheaper than the Travelpro. The original price of each bag was $460. Crazy. It might be worth it if they really do last, but I don't have $920 to spend on luggage. They were marked down to about $80 a bag and we had a coupon for 15% off on top of that. It was more expensive than the 5-piece cheapo sets we've been buying, but affordable enough for our experiment. If they work out, we will keep an eye out for more sales to get more bags. Luggage tends to be put on sale periodically.

Anyone have any favorite luggage brands?

*Update: The Pathfinder bags are awesome! High quality. Great compartments and divisions. Smooth gliding as you pull them. Easy touch one finger expansion feature.They have been on 7 international trips (Curt's return to Korea after Chistmas and then 3 roundtrips after that) and are holding up very well.

I bought one hard-sided Heys and several Delsey Helium Breeze bags. I bought them at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. It is hard to tell what you are getting because not all the tags are on and not all tags say all the information you need. I didn;t buy any Samsonite because no Samonsite bag said what material they were made of. There are several quality levels in each luggage line and they look and the names sound very similar, so you have to be careful. The Heys and Delsey bags have done well on this first trip, but there aren't as nice as the Pathfinders. I still don't think you should ever pay $460 for a suitcase, but if you are rolling in money or you find them on sale for under $200 a bag, I would highly recommend them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Busy Board

Curt and my grandfather made a busy board for Ian yesterday. It even has a light switch and a buzzer. Hopes this keeps him busy for awhile!


We might be able to borrow one of my mother-in-law's cars for while I am in the US. It would be great if we could, but if we can't, I can share my parents' cars. They work t the same school so they carpool anyway, but if I have my own car, they will have more freedom.

My mom bought us a Maclaren Volo (on sale at Target). I left my Inglesina Zippy in Korea because we had too much stuff to bring back and I didn't think I would use it enough in Erie to justify. Plus, if I buy a new stroller or a double stroller, I will need to get that one back. It is really nice to have a stroller to use, though. The Maclaren Volo is very lightweight, but has enough features that it will be comfortable to use. Some of the really cheap umbrella strollers are hard to push, too short and not very comfortable for the kid. If I do get another stroller I can leave this one here to use when we come to visit since it didn't cost a fortune. My mom had a Maclaren for me and pushed me all over Europe in it.

Ian and the Dogs

My sister's dog (the nephew of my dog) is visiting for the holidays and Ian is in dog heaven. Teddy is very tolerant, though Ian did reach his limit by jumping on his back and giving him a choke hold hug. But, as you can see they made up.