Adventures living as expats.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

4 Months

This month was full of many firsts - first plane ride, first time to see America, first passport stamp, first time meeting all your relatives, first jet lag, first cold, and first snow sighting.  You traveled like a champ and we are super excited to take a few more trips in the upcoming months.  You've been slowly losing your hair and are almost completely bald on top with another bald spot starting to appear in the back.  Your eyes are still baby blue and this is often the first thing that strangers comment on, especially here in Taiwan.  I love taking you to the park because there are so many people that want to say hi to you and you seem to adore all the attention.  

  • Size: You weigh 16 ½ pounds and are about 25 ½" tall.  Your 3-6 month clothes are getting really snug and I can't help being a little sad about retiring these adorable outfits.
  • Eating: You are so much faster now but becoming more and more easily distracted while nursing.  You often look up at me to get my attention for an extra smile and chat.  You are also mesmerized with anything I'm eating or drinking and can't take your eyes off it.  Our pediatrician gave you the green light to slowly start on the solids which we've been really excited for!
  • Sleep: We all struggled big time with the sleep this month likely caused by a combination of jet lag, teething, a cold, and being overstimulated by all the new activities.  Your nap and bedtime schedule were all over the map during our 3 weeks in America so its not surprising that most nights you woke 2-4 times and also had trouble getting a good nap.   
  • Play: You've begun getting tired of the same toys day in and day out and are sure to let me know when you need to mix things up a bit.  You've also taken a much bigger interest in feeling and exploring different textures and have a few books that are great for this.  We've been going to play group for a few weeks and you love charming the other moms in the group or sleeping through all of the commotion.  
  • Bath:  We've mostly stopped using the baby bath tub and now use your float ring and put you in the big bath tub.  You love to kick around somedays and other days just enjoy relaxing and floating.  

Dad is working hard on the walking practice

First snow sighting!
One of my favorite outfits
First time in a high chair at Grandma and PapPap's house
Happy Hux!
Story time with Elmo and Dad
I LOVE this sleepy face
Baby jet lag is so sad.  We had to try to keep you up during the day so you would be able to sleep at night.
A little bit of Mt Hood love from Tav and Jenny
Stylish outfit for Maya's birthday party
Goof ball

Friday, March 3, 2017

Huxley Meets the Family

Our first trip home to introduce Huxley to the family surpassed all expectations.  Jeff and I hadn't been home in over a year and a half so we were excited for a dose of America and of course overjoyed to show off our amazing baby.  We knew that the 20+ hours of travel with a baby would be tough so we buckled up for anything that would come our way and had bags and bags of diapers, wipes, burp bibs, toys, extra outfits, etc.  Before our flight from Taipei to SFO, we didn't even think to buy extra waters and wow breastfeeding on an airplane for 12 hours can really dehydrate a rookie mom.  Jeff and I took turns sneaking back to the kitchen area to grab the extra 8 oz water bottles.  We won't make that mistake again!  We focused so much on the flights that we didn't think much about baby jet lag and how big of a challenge that would be.  Luckily all of Hux's lost sleep was made up for in extra love and cuddles from family.

Leaving Taichung
Gone are the days of traveling with just a carry on.  On the way back we had 2 additional bags!
Hux is ready for his first plane ride
He managed to sleep a few hours in the bassinet, seems miraculous that he didn't feel claustrophobic
Hux was excited to meet everyone and managed to push past his exhaustion in order to charm his new admirers.  We recruited my parents to baby sit one night and Jeff and I hit the town for our first date in several months.  We arrived home in time to witness the little man polish off the last of 15 ounces of breast milk that we left with Grandma and Pap Pap.  This number doesn't mean much to most people, but it is a LOT for a 3 month baby to eat in just 2 hours.  We were hoping it would translate to a full nights sleep but the jet lag still got the better of us.  While we were in Carson, we also managed to take a trip up to Lake Tahoe and didn't take even a single picture.  I give you my word that it was beautiful.
Meeting Desta and the cousins
Nap time with Cousin Morgan
Cuddles with Great Grandma
Bundled up for the snowy weather
Snow strollin'
First time facing forward in the carrier, Hux was thrilled to take in the view
For our short time in Portland, Jeff found us a great BnB with 2 bedrooms so we could stay together with Grandma G.  She checked out every single children's library book in Salem and took on story time.  He's going to be reading in no time!  We caught up with our friends one night at the delicious Mexican restaurant Xico - yummmm.  We also made it to the employee store where Grammy bought Hux his first pair of air maxes.   They are adorable but getting shoes on a baby requires a lot of patience and is often followed by one falling off within the first 10 minutes.  Jeff also took us all on an outing to eat at some food carts and walk around the park under St. John's bridge.  What a beautiful neighborhood and such a nice ending to our 3 week trip that flew by.  We arrived home exhausted but so glad we made the trip and very happy to be reunited with Oolong.
Reading with Grandma G
Showing off his new kicks
Family outing to St John's bridge
Exhausted but having a blast
Sunrise on our flight out of PDX

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

3 Months

This month was a huge transition for us as Dad returned to work after 10 weeks of paternity leave.  The first week was tough and there were a few times that I stepped out from the shower and you were screaming at being left alone in your crib.   Luckily we've both gotten the hang of it, but always look forward to Dad coming home every night.   Your personality is really starting to show and wow are you a happy boy!  You have a huge smile that often goes hand in hand with a coo of joy.   You like to meet new people and are happy to be held by anyone willing to snuggle.   We also took you "swimming" at the baby spa for the first time this month and you LOVED it (pics at bottom).  Both Dad and I were very skeptical at first, but you had so much fun we decided to buy a neck floatie for home.
  • Size: You weigh 14 ½ pounds and are about 24 ½" tall.  You doubled your birth weight at about 12 weeks!
  • Eating: You are still a great eater and would sleep / eat for hours if I let you.  Luckily for you we have a long flight back to America coming up and I won't have any chores to do so it just might be the happiest 12 hours for you.
  • Diapers: We finally conquered the diaper rash after I eliminated several possible allergens from my diet including dairy, wheat, eggs, and peanuts.  We have a lot fewer dirty diapers now too as the new diet seems to be more agreeable to your tummy.   The plan is to try reintroducing these foods back in one at a time to see if one in particular is causing the issue.  
  • Sleep: You are finally taking a consistent nap in the morning!  I now shut the curtains, swaddle you up, turn on your lullabies, and lock the dog out of the bedroom so you can sleep more easily.  I typically put you down around 11am and you sleep for around 2 hours.  You also take several cat naps throughout the day.  Your bedtime is 8pm and most nights you wake up 1 time for a feed.  Generally you are up around 5 or 6am and love to have a snuggle with Dad before he gets up to get ready for work.  
  • Play: You are becoming a champ at independent play which is so helpful for Mom.  I like to do some yoga while you play in your jungle gym and work on belly time.  You love gazing at yourself in your mirror and also still love hitting and kicking your toys.  Surprisingly you have a lot of fun during diaper changes now (whereas you used to despise them) and often talk to Mom or Dad and have learned how to grab your feet "happy baby yoga" style.  
  • Bath:  You graduated to a new setting on your bath tub and no longer need the newborn hammock.   You seems to enjoy bath time even more now that more of your lower body is in the warm water.  
    We can't get enough of your smiles and giggles
    Buddha belly
    IWAT luncheon where you charmed all the ladies and got to celebrate Chinese New Year.
    Exhausted after your first play date.
    Dad is a great multitasker!
    Super into story time these days
    We love taking you out to dinner with us.
    Happy boy!
    Very relaxed.  The neck floatie looks a bit strange but you were completely comfortable when they put it on so that eased our minds a lot.
    We were a bit uncomfortable with the crowd of gawkers that you attracted, but we decided to try to relax and enjoy how watching you kick around.  

    Thursday, January 5, 2017

    Fun in Wufeng

    Wanting to make the most of Jeff's last week of paternity leave, we headed out on a day trip to Wufeng.  It was so nice to forget about the laundry and chores list and enjoy a day with the family.  Our first stop was the Taiwan Provincial Memorial Park where we walked around and had a picnic lunch while Oolong rooted around in the park and returned with several ants stuck in her fur biting her.
    Family photo at the Memorial Park
    View from the pagoda
    Behind this were several nice walking paths leading up the hill
    Next stop was the "Flying Goblet Drunken Moon Pavilion" which according to our guide was built during the Japanese colonial era.

    We also visited the beautiful and well maintained Lin Family Mansion but opted not to stay for the tour as we prefer to wander around on our own.
    Lin Family Mansion From the outside
    Detailed painting inside a courtyard
    Hux and Dad exploring a back alley
    Yes we're new parents and looks like we haven't slept in days
    Another view from outside the mansion
    Our final stop of the day was at the 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan which is dedicated to the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck on Sep 21, 1999.  We had to rush through most of the displays because Oolong was waiting for us outside the museum and not happy about being left by herself.   The museum stands where a high school used to be and they brilliantly left the collapsed buildings as is and built large tent structures over the top to protect them from the elements.  
    The remains of the school track
    High school main building where entire floors collapsed
    What used to be the school restrooms

    Tuesday, January 3, 2017

    Baby's First Christmas

    Christmas truly is more magical with kids and we loved celebrating with little Huxley although we really missed family back home.  Taiwan definitely gets into the Holiday spirit with lots of great decorations and lights throughout the city and in our apartment building.   We all received fantastic gifts thanks to a few of Santa's helpers carrying goods from America.

    We started the season out with Huxley's first party and first time meeting Santa.  Even though he slept through the "awwwws" from the crowd, Santa still knew exactly what he wanted - a Seahawks outfit so he could match daddy.

    Hux meets Santa and his helper
    Go Hawks!
    Cute Christmas display close to our apartment
    Family photo inside the Santa Express
    Our Christmas card this year displaying the best gift we could ever receive
    Dad's little reindeer
    Oolong is always ready to celebrate
    Opening presents was so much fun considering most of Huxley's gifts were really presents for ourselves.  Why wouldn't a 2 month old baby want a set of 10 of my favorite Dr. Seuss books?
    All dressed up and ready for gifts
    Happy Hippy toy from Grandma - Hux's personal favorite
    Christmas is exhausting!