Monday, April 20, 2015

Packing a carry-on for infants and toddlers

The bigger they get the more they can help you carry all their stuff!

This list is assuming you are also checking luggage.  Our method for long flights (I'm talking 25-30 hours travel time with 16 hour legs) is to have 2 diaper bags.  One bag goes at our feet and one up in the overhead bins.  Each is complete with some of all the items, and the bag at our feet can be re-stocked during layovers or mid-flight when depleted.  Here is my list of must-haves for our two little ones:

  • Diapers: more than you think you will need at least to get you through the flight and the first day at your destination.  In a pinch some airlines have them, and some airports, but don't count on it.
  • Wipes: great for more than just diaper changes
  • Clothes: a few changes of clothes for the plane; think comfy/cozy and something that will make diaper changes in those tiny bathrooms easy; some for the grown ups too if you have space, but really, who has space?
  • Entertainment: toys (quiet ones that won't roll down the aisle if dropped), books, coloring/drawing supplies, ipad (toddler headphones - amazing!), etc.  New items are a bonus.
  • Meals and snacks: like diapers - more than you think you'll need (what if they hate the in-flight meal, what if there is no in-flight meal?); snack trap
  • Milk/water bottle: (watch the pressure changes; our camelbak kid's water bottle [which, by the way, is the best we've come across in terms of leaking in non-pressurized settings] become geysers mid-flight, it's pretty embarrassing when you spray the surrounding 5 rows)
  • Medicine: tylenol, diaper cream, aquaphor - whatever your go-tos are.  Travel-size it if you can, otherwise I've had good luck getting things through security since they are baby items.
  • Plastic bags or wetbag: lots of uses, when you need them you need them
  • Blanket for domestic or budget airlines: use it as a blanket, pillow, mop up spills, play peek-a-boo
Other things you may need: formula, pump, special blankets/stuffed animals, prescriptions, and pacifiers.

With each person getting a carry-on + personal item, and lap seats getting an additional carry-on we haven't had a problem with airline allowances when also checking luggage.  It does get to be challenging to carry all that around the airport plus the kids though!

Good luck!

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Tongba is a millet-based traditional alcoholic drink, sometimes also called hot beer.  

I took a sip and called it quits, some enjoyed it more than I did though.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring break: Part 1 - Kiev, Ukraine

We split our spring break between 2 places - Kiev and Stockholm.  Probably sounds a bit random, but we have friends in both places we were visiting.

Kiev was much nicer than I was expecting. It definitely had what you would think of as a Russian feel to it (though we've never been to Russia so who knows). We found it had good food, transportation, parks, enough shopping but not crazy shopping, and was incredibly inexpensive (has obviously fluctuated a lot in the last year).

With an absence of playgrounds in Kathmandu, this was one of our first stops

Watching the kids play at the playground

Independence Square, or Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the central square in Kiev; 
site of massive protests in 2013

Candles at Independence Square

Coffee from a pink snail?  Yes please.

Another park

Andreevskaya, or Saint Andrew, Church on Andreevsky Spusk street


Love the gold roofs

We spent 4 days in Kiev and could have spent more, but having a friend/tour guide certainly helped!  Next up: Spring break Part 2 - Stockholm!  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

Village welcome

Part of my trek a few weeks ago was visiting small villages who shared their space with us, letting us set up our tents to stay overnight.  These villages are remote and not on a typical trekker's path so they don't often see expats.  Twice we were welcomed by a full ceremony complete with flowers, tikkas, speeches, thank yous, singing, and dancing.  It was fun and awkward and humbling.  With no way to communicate with many of the villagers I put all my effort into the most expressive thank you face I could deliver, brought my hands together, and bowed.  It's something, putting all your energy into that simple gesture.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sari shopping

I've been itching to get a sari since I got here, but what with babies and all I didn't get around to it until now.  With a fundraising event to go to I decided it was a good time to wear one.

Walking into the shop was quite overwhelming but luckily I had a few friends with me who had done it before.  We took our shoes off, hopped up on the platform and started running our hands through the stacks and stacks of sari fabric.  As we narrowed it down to a few different options we asked the ladies working to wrap us up.  A few absolute no's and a few thrown into the maybe pile.  After decisions were made we bargained on the price with the shop owner.

Finally, the tailor came in to take our measurements since we wanted saris made for expats - with a zipper up the side!  Sari's without such modifications rely on expert folding and tucking yards and yards of fabric.  I wasn't bold enough to trust a few folds to hold up all that fabric, it's risky enough baring your stomach!

It was fun to wear and I'm already planning to get another.  (Not sure how many times I will be able to pull-off a hot pink sari, that, yes, matches my hair!)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Holi rescheduled

Holi fell on a work day this year so we rescheduled ours to a convenient Sunday, in our yard.  Water guns + holi powder + toddler = a good time.  Same equation sub the toddler for a 1 year old = a terrible time.  Oh well, maybe next year it'll be his thing.