Baby Gadgets

Here are some baby gadgets that I have used with my daughter.

Sleeping / Lounging
Fisher Price Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper
[Walmart – find it here]

Newborn until about 5 months
I bought this while I was in the US before my daughter was born. She took naps in it frequently as a newborn and should would lounge in it here and there until she was about 5 months.

Graco Travel Lite Crib with Stages
[Amazon – find it here]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
My mom and gram bought this for us as a gift at Centrepoint when there were  here visiting in Saudi. It honestly didn’t get much use until my daughter was about 10 months old and I sent it with her to be used by the babysitter while I am at work. At this point it is a bit snug for her to totally stretch out, but it still works for us just fine.

Ingenuity SmartBounce Automatic Bouncer
[ToysRUs – find it here]

Newborn until 7 months
I bought this at Centrepoint when my daughter was about 3 months and was interested in looking at things around her while lounging. I got her to fall asleep in this while bouncing a handful of times. She also sat in this in the bathroom while I would take a shower.

Playing
Bright Starts 4-in-1 Discovery Activity Gym
[Walmart – find it here]
52275_hr

Newborn until 6 months
This was a baby shower gift from my mom’s best friend. It is great because it is quite small and was easy for me to fit in my luggage to come back to Saudi from the US. My daughter used it from the time she was a newborn until she was about 6 months and wanted to sit upright.

Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Activity Center
[Amazon – find it here]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
This was a gift from a group of my colleagues from work. This actually has 3 stages: a play mat like the previous item, a jumper as shown in the photo and a “s” shaped activity table. We didn’t use the play mat too much because we already had one, but we did use the jumper for a few months and then when my daughter turned 1 year I converted it to the activity table, which she is still currently using.

Little Tikes Wide Tracker Activity Walker
[Amazon – find it here]
walker
We bought this when my daughter turned 1 year. We should have gotten her one a couple of months before when she started standing and walking along the furniture. She used it and shortly after she started walking on her own. She still plays with it though and likes to put her toys in the little doors.

Travel
Graco Modes Click Connect Travel System
[souq.com – not available]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
I bought this travel system from a website here in Saudi before my daughter was born. It is nice because it is a multi-position set. The seats can be interchanged and the baby can face you or face out. We still use the stroller, but stopped using the car seat when my daughter was about 10 or 11 months old. She can still  use it as her weight is under the limit, but I actually purchased a new seat for her that can be rear and forward facing.

Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat
[Walmart – find it here]
coscoscerene
10 months until (still in use at 14 months)
I bought this Car Seat while I was in the US this past summer. I wanted something that seemed a bit more comfortable than the infant seat that came with our travel system. I also wanted to plan a bit ahead knowing that at some point we would need a forward facing seat. I would have paid a lot more for a seat like this here in Saudi.

Ergo Baby Adapt
[Amazon – find it here]

Newborn until (still in use at 14 months)
I bought this carrier on amazon and had it shipped to Saudi when my daughter was 2 months old. My husband had a business trip to California and because I was on maternity leave I decided to take baby and go with him. We actually left the stroller at home and only took this carrier. It was fantastic and totally worth the money.

I might update this post a bit later if there is something that I have forgotten. This has been in my drafts section for so long that I figured I should just try to clean it up and get it posted :).

Let me know if you used any of the gadgets and if you liked them or not. Also, tell me about any gadgets that you used that are not on my list!

 

الحمدلله

S

 

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Home?


I’m American. I grew up in the Adirondacks of northern NY state. I went to university in VT about an hour away from my hometown. The first time that I really moved away from home was August 2012. My husband was accepted to study his masters at a university in IA and since I had finished my masters, I went with him. From August 2012 until December 2013 I lived 17 hours away from my dad and 10 hours away from my mom (by car). Then at the very end of December 2013 I decided to take a job and move to Saudi Arabia…

Now I find myself calling two places “home”. The little town I grew up in is “home” because it’s what I know and most of my family live there. Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia is “home” because it is where I live and work. It’s where my apartment and my things are. It’s where my husband and I stay together. It’s the place where we started our own family. 

When I’m in Saudi and I say “home”, I mean NY. When I’m in NY and I say “home”, I mean Riyadh. That one word has different meanings for me. It hold different emotions based on which place I’m talking about. 

My home in the US is full of old memories — summers spent playing ball, harsh winters spent in front of the wood fire. There are places so vivid in my mind – this path leading up to a small waterfall near the top of the river that runs through town, noises I can hear if I close my eyes — rain on the roof of my bedroom, things I can imagine feeling — my feet stepping on the grass of our lawn, smells that I can sense when they are nowhere near — crisp autumn leaves, and tastes that still seem so fresh — cool water straight from the tap. The nostalgia  I get when I’m away is so real.

On the other hand, there is a quote that describes my feelings for Riyadh perfectly – “You know that you’re in love when home becomes a person, not a place.” My husband makes Riyadh “home” for me. Riyadh is nothing like where I grew up. Its the opposite of what I know. It’s a crowded city. It’s a desert with hot, dusty summers and mild winters. But somehow I feel at home there. I feel my place there and I miss it when I go away. It’s a place where I feel safe. It’s the “home” where I start to make new memories.

The beautiful thing about this is that I’m almost always “home”. 

الحمدلله

S

Eid, 25th Birthday, Life

Tea on the plane to Ha’il
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A surprise cake during Eid festivities
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Birthday cake and balloons from Yasser & his sisters
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Dinner with the neighbors to celebrate all the recent marriages.
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Beautiful mountains of Ha’il
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Surprise from a friend
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Baby duck at the farm
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Tiny coffee
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Y’s camping trip
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Stopping to pray on the way back to Ha’il.
The ground had dried after recent rain.
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الحمدلله


S
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More Travel – USA

A few pictures from my trip to the USA for our wedding celebration with my family.

I flew from Riyadh, KSA to Doha, Qatar and then Doha to Washington DC. I spent a few days with Y in Arlington before traveling to Burlington, VT. On the way back to KSA, Y and I took a bus from VT to Montreal, Canada. We spent a night there and then flew to Qatar then to Riyadh and finally to Ha’il for the Eid holiday.

IMG_7354The night’s sky – Arlington, VA
IMG_7331The night’s sky II – Arlington, VA
IMG_7476The comfort of home – The Adirondacks, NY
IMG_7527A breathtaking view – The Adirondacks, NY
IMG_7607The best breakfast – Montreal, Canada

الحمدلله


S
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Istanbul, Turkey – 1 year later…

Last October Y and I took a trip to Turkey. We visited Istanbul. I can relive the moments of that trip by seeing the different pictures of coffee and tea that we drank daily. I can still taste the bitter and dark sips of coffee and the smooth and sweet sips of tea. Istanbul is a beautiful city with a rich history. I enjoyed exploring its streets, but my heart broke as children came up to me asking for money or food. The children were Syrians who had fled the war. The eyes of the children who approached me are burned in my mind and I think that is why it has taken me so long to finally sit and write about this trip.

I remember a small boy who came up to us asking for change. His eyes were light, his skin weathered and his clothes dirty. Y told him that if he took us to the train station to buy tickets that he would give him some money. We followed him as he weaved through the crowded streets down and below the Grand Bazaar. We reached the booth for tickets and he took bills from Y to put in the machine. Y let him keep the change. As we walked away the police began yelling at him to leave. One kicked him as he started to run away. My heart broke.

Another evening we were walking after having dinner. It was cold. I was wearing a heavy wool shawl over my shoulders, but I could feel the chill on my nose and cheeks. As we turned a corner there was a small girl sitting at the base of a statue. She was shivering and had goosebumps on her arms. Y asked her if she was hungry, but she just looked at us without answering. He bent down and opened the take-away box that we had in hand. I took off my shawl and covered her with it. My heart broke.

While I am not sure that I would like to visit Istanbul again in the near future because of this situation, it was still a great trip and I will cherish the beautiful things that I experienced.

الحمدلله


S
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Mississippi – 2015

The last place that I visited during my trip was Mississippi. My mother lives in a tiny town with her husband. It’s pretty and quiet.

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There is always a thunderstorm when I visit and every night as the sunsets the sky is completely and spectacularly different.

Grilling, s’mores, fourth of july sparklers, sewing, shopping sprees and funny mud masks.

It’s a beautiful thing how its possible to visit the same place and even do some of the same things, but have them feel so different.

الحمدلله


S
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Delaware – 2015

At the beginning of June I finished my work at KSU and left Saudi Arabia to visit my family in the United States. My first stop was in Delaware to visit my grandparents.

After being away for a year the first thing that I really noticed upon landing in DC was the green. When we collected our bags and made our way outside the airport to the curb to catch a bus the cool air felt so fresh.

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I woke up in the morning and sat with my grandfather to have coffee and chat while we waited for my grandmother to come home from work. Somedays we went out and some days we relaxed at home. We went antique shopping, we visited the beach, we took rides in the car, we watched movies on TV and most importantly, we enjoyed each others company.

I cherish these moments and while you make look at the pictures above and see raindrops on leaves, a cloudy sky, a tiny ladybug on rope or the texture of a cantaloupe, I see a lot more than that. I see, smell, taste and feel moments.

For me, pictures don’t need to be of people or specific places or events. I can remember just as much about a moment from an image of woodgrain or the foam on top of a hot coffee.

الحمدلله


S
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