the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Filtering by Tag: babies

Introducing Izabel

On October 13th at 6:55 am we welcomed Izabel Ruth into our family. She was born weighing 3.9 kilograms (8 lbs. 10 ounces) after about 2.5 hours of natural labor and childbirth. Both Izi and Lori are doing great. Thus far (she's only 5 days old as I write this) she's been a wonderful baby; she sleeps well, she eats well, and we've never seen her cry for more than 15 seconds. She's already using the toilet a couple of times a day as we are continuing with our EC practices. Abigail loves her little sister and making the life adjustment well. Our family has been staying in our city home in Chiangrai for all of October and we will probably remain here until the month is over as we adjust as a family to our new addition. We're excited to get back into our normal ministry pace, but have really enjoyed this time in the city preparing for Izi, spending time as a family, and working on our city-side projects.

We have been tumbl'ing images of Izabel over on her own blog - Our Izi Ruth - rather than fill up this blog with tons of kid pictures (actually we all have Tumblr blogs if you would like to follow our lighter and more personal posts: Izi Abi Lori Paul) but wanted to share a few pictures here as well:

Just Born Izabel RuthHappy Mommy and DaddySweet SleeperCalling our Parents in America with the Happy NewsIzi AngelI'm getting hungry!Sister KissesIzabel, Abigail, Paul and Lori VernonFirst time Abi held IziSister SnugglesTen Ticklish ToesSistersIzi going potty : 5 days oldYou can see a little bit of Izi's eyes as she works the potty

Introducing Abigail Hope...

That's right,everyone - as of this morning Abigail Hope Vernon has been officially welcomed into the family. Lori did amazing and things progressed pretty quickly: we left for the hospital at 6:00 am and were holding our baby girl at 10:30. I will let her share all the details with you over the next week, but here are the vitals: Date: August 10th, 2007 - 10:30 am Weight: 3,550 grams :: 7lbs 13ounces Length: 55 cm :: 21.5 inches Everything Else: PERFECT

We are overjoyed, ecstatic, awestruck and amazed. Praise God for this beautiful baby girl!

Here are a couple of pictures to hold you all over until we are back home with a camera and computer (sorry, no thumbnails and I didn't resize them so they are pretty big. If you want easy pictures wait for our next posts)

Feral Cats and Fake Markers

I think the nesting bug has set in, as we have been frantically scraping, spraying, scrubbing and situating our home in Chiang Rai. Things that we were previously oblivious too are now glaring testimonies of how much life will have to change when we have a child. OK, so we're really not that panicked, but we are working hard on projects that should get done before the baby comes.

The only thing I'm currently concerned about is teaching our child to drive. I love Thailand and the people here, but I constantly switch between fearing them and fearing for them when driving.

An Evil Feral Cat nesting on our roof In this time in the city, while working in the house, we have been hearing strange noises coming from our "attic". The other day while climbing onto the flat roof above our porch to unclog our drains, I saw three adult cats and five kittens scrambling away - the adults over the roof and the kittens into it.

Suffice it to say we are unhappy with the idea of Feral Cats nesting in our roof, but there is not much you can do to get rid of them, I tried to shoo them off but was met with the response in the picture on the right. Out of ideas, I have asked Lori to get me a high-powered pellet gun. We'll let you know how that turns out.

Just because it looks like a Sharpie does not mean it writes like one Amidst the shopping for furniture, organizational supplies, and tools, we stumbled upon a hidden treasure. A five-pack of Sharpie Markers for only 25 baht (about US$0.80)!?! These are impossible to find here, and are wonderful for labeling CDs. However, after closer inspection (click on the image to view) we realized that it was not a pack of Sharpie Markers, but rather a pack of Skerple Markers. But hey, they should write the same, right?

Guess what? They don't. They bleed all over paper and I've yet to try them on a CD. Foiled again.

I think we should have about two more good weeks of work here in the city getting everything ready before Lori hits that "I'm too uncomfortable to do anything" point. That is plenty of time to finish the errands on her list, then it's down to finalizing my honey-dos (crib, rehang two doors, repair all the leaking sinks, child-proof the tool room, put the fear of God into those darn cats...)

Really this has been a great time, preparing for our little newcomer, spending time together and with Esther and doing many of those projects we have been "too busy" to do for the last 2 years.

Lastly, and this word is important, there is wonderful and exciting news hidden within this post. I'm not allowed to officially say anything yet, but with very little mental effort you should be able to figure it out!

A Million Butts Can't Be Wrong

Recently, many of our friends and supporters have been asking us whether the Akha use diapers. Of course this question is inevitably followed by the other pressing question on people's minds, "What will you do for diapers when the baby comes?" If you had asked me this question two years ago, I would have said "Disposables!" with out hesitation, but two years on the mission field has significantly changed my answer!

Akha toddler without diapers

To answer the original question, the Akha, in general, do not use diapers at all. When I first arrived in the village I was somewhat disgusted at the thought of babies without diapers. However, after living in the village for several months I began to realize that I never saw the horribly messy situations that I had envisioned when I thought of a world without diapers. For some time, this was a great mystery to me. Then, one day, I saw it. Right after feeding her son, one of the young mothers in our village, stepped aside to a nearby bush, pulled down the baby's pants, held him in a bit of a squat and made a "shushing" sound. Magically, as if on cue, the baby, who was just a few months old, peed.

Over time, I continued to observe this phenomenon with awe. I even began to notice that it not only applied to "number one", but "twosies" as well. While impressed and amazed, I was also baffled. How did that mom know her baby needed to go just then? How did the baby know to hold it until mom got his pants off? When I asked the mothers these questions, they were even more baffled at my ignorance in the matter. Unfortunately, they usually couldn't come up with an answer to my questions; often saying things like "I just knew that she needed to go".

As the reality of having a child set in, I began to toy with the idea of trying to mimic this diaperless style with our own children. After all, it does seem almost cruel to put diapers on a baby in this heat; I'm certain we would be constantly battling diaper and heat rash! However, the whole concept seemed pretty "out there" to my American mind, and I doubted that I could actually pull it off.

Naked Baby

Recently, however, I ran across a small community of westerners who have embraced a similar diaperless method, which they've cleverly dubbed "Elimination Communication" or "Natural Infant Hygiene." I began to read up and found that most of China and India (and many parts of Africa) use similar diaperless techniques! Seriously, that's a LOT of undiapered bottoms out there!!

I also found that these western mothers were able to put into words things that my Akha friends could not. This method of caring for babies is so much a part of Akha culture, that Akha moms don't need to discuss all the ins and outs of when, where and how to allow their children to pee on cue. However, for westerners this information is vital.

I know that by now many of you are feeling intrigued, but skeptical. This post is already getting quite long, so I'll try to quickly sum up how this whole diaperless thing actually works! There are three main techniques that facilitate the process:

Rhythm and Timing: This is as simple as recognizing certain times when the baby usually pees and offering an opportunity to "go" (in a toilet, bucket or bush) at that time.

Infant Signs: This involves watching the baby for subtle signs (body language) that usually precede urination or a bowel movement... often, a facial expression. This allows mom or dad to give the baby a potty opportunity whenever he/she notices those signs.

Parental Cuing: When the parent notices the baby "going", (either in the toilet or otherwise) he makes a particular sound like "pssss" or "shhhh". The baby learns to associate this sound with the release of the muscles that control urination. Then, when "potty opportunities" are given the parent can make this sound and if the baby has to go, she will!

So, there you have it folks! The Vernons are going diaperless... or at least they're going to try!

Pregnancy Cravings

Everyone always wants to know what pregnant women crave. I think this is because it makes for great conversations at parties! Someone says "Listen to this, I once knew a woman who craved jalapenos stuffed into chocolate cake while she was pregnant!" and the crowd responds with exclamations of disgust or amazement! Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately) I haven't had many exciting cravings thus far.

Double Cheeseburger

Since my appetite has returned in the second trimester, I've been craving fruit (mostly mangoes and watermelon since they are in season right now), dairy (milk, yogurt and ice cream), smoothies (which are, of course a combination of the fruit and dairy), eggs and cheeseburgers. Luckily, all of these things are pretty readily available here in Thailand. Even the hamburgers are not too hard to find, as there are a couple restaurants here in Chiang Rai that serve a decent burger. However, what really satisfies my burger-craving is a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger... which can be obtained with a mere 3 hour drive to Chiang Mai! We had to go to Chiang Mai a few weeks ago and the Micky-D cheeseburgers almost made me cry, they were so good!

I've always been a "chicken girl". So much so, in fact, that my husband teases me about how every recipe I make calls for boneless-skinless chicken breast! But lately, I've really had an aversion to chicken. While I can eat it, I don't really enjoy it and can't usually finish a full serving. So, my standard lunch meal of Khao Mun Gai has been replaced by the tofu, eggs and bean sprouts of the famous Pad Thai. In the past, Pad Thai was never my really one of my favorites, but today's lunch was the third day in a row where nothing but Pad Thai would do!

All in all, I'm really enjoying food lately (that is, aside from spending last week in the hospital with an over-glorified stomach bug; I was not enjoying food last week!) And Little George seems to enjoy food too! After almost every meal the kicking and punching starts up with vigor. I'm know it really has to do with increased blood sugar levels giving him that extra energy to move about, but it's so much more fun to say things like "Oooh, George must really like mangoes!" Anyway, it seems like there's something about pregnancy that brings a whole new meaning to the word "satisfied"! After some meals, I just sit and bask in the glory of a happy mouth, a full tummy and a kicking baby!

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