Gagabber

Adventures living as expats.

Monday, June 26, 2017

8 Months

You started crawling this month and there is no stopping you now.  We're in the process of moving back to Portland, so we haven't put up baby gates yet which keeps me very busy chasing you around.  You have started pulling yourself up on furniture but often can't remember how to sit back down when you get tired.   We had a few rough days and nights when your second tooth popped through but overall this month has been smooth sailing.  Our last few weeks in Taichung have been full of goodbyes to friends at playgroup, a few last trips to the play area of the art museum, and missing Oolong who is settled and safe back in Oregon.  We have so much to look forward to but it is really hard to bid farewell to our wonderful life and friends in Taiwan.  
  • Size: As expected your growth has slowed down quite a bit, perfect timing since you have the best wardrobe in the family by far.  You weigh 22 pounds.
  • Eating: Once you started crawling your big appetite got even bigger and you now eat 3 meals per day and nurse 6 or 7 times.  You're starting to get the hang of the mesh feeder and love it filled with sweet potatoes as an appetizer before dinner.
  • Sleep: You are back to your great sleep habits and almost always sleep through the night.  You do seem to be waking up earlier lately so we're hoping that moving you into your own room once we're settled in Portland will help you to sleep in a bit more.  
  • Play: You love crawling around, exploring everyday objects, finding things to pull yourself up on, and testing out our baby proofing.  Your favorite toy right now is a battery operated baby computer that makes all kinds of noises and plays songs.  
  • Bath:  You really want to stand up in your bathtub so I sit next to you and try to keep you distracted from crawling out.  We've decided to give your baby tub to a close friend who is expecting in a few months so big boy tub here we come.  
Dad is so good at capturing our happy Hux
One of your first crawls
Cuter by the day
You can't beat baby plumber crack
How long will these last?
Showing off your new shoes
Bath time is always a favorite part of your morning routine
Saying bye to all Dad's work friends
Final picnic at our favorite park in Taichung

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Alishan

We recently received the bittersweet news that we'll be moving home soon.   We've always known this day would come, but our initial reaction was that it felt just a bit too soon for us.  For the past 5 years we've lived the life of expats where we've travelled the world, experienced countless wonderful cultures, met lifelong friends, learned and forgotten 2 languages, enjoyed a multitude of new tastes and flavors, and most importantly grown from a couple to a family of 4.  Throughout the numerous trials and tribulations of settling into our new homes away from Oregon, we've become a stronger family since we needed to rely on each other for our support system.  After taking a step back we're both happy to admit that we've had a extraordinary go of it and can move home with only a single regret - that we didn't forgo our cheap ways and spring for a few nights in a 5 star ritzy resort in Bali while we lived in Indonesia.

I was so glad we booked a trip to Alishan a few weeks back because this was one sight I really wanted to see before we left.  We weren't enthusiastic enough to wake up at 4am to take the train up the mountain for the famous Alishan sunrise, so we settled for a more baby friendly after breakfast departure time.  After a near sleepless night with Hux likely keeping our entire floor awake, we made it out the door before 9am while trying to pretend we didn't notice the looks from other families at the breakfast buffet.  Despite the holiday weekend crowds, we managed to secure parking and find our way to the train station with very few hiccups.   The scenery was pretty fogged in so we missed the famous views but were able to enjoy a walk through the ancient red cypress forest.   We ended up heading home a night early as we all needed a good night sleep, but regardless had a wonderful time getting out of the city for a few days.

Alishan Forest Train in the background
Unclear if this was the Elephant Trunk tree or if we needed to keep hiking further
Hux is clearly catching up on all the missed sleep
Hux is very happy to be snug in the carrier
Alishan Temple
Really going to miss Taiwanese hot pot

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

7 months

You have a bottom front tooth!  This month you've also started getting into crawling position but haven't quite figured out how to propel yourself.  You rock back and forth trying to scoot forward so likely it won't be long before we need to figure out how to install the baby gates.  You often push your chest up while you're on your belly and slide backwards.  You get further and further from your toys and sometimes end up stuck in the corner of your play area which ends in grunts and howls of frustration.   This month you've really started protesting diaper changes or being left alone while I'm changing over the laundry or running to the restroom.  
  • Size: You weigh 21 pounds and can barely fit into medium diapers which breaks my heart just a little bit.  
  • Eating: We've started giving you much thicker purees with soft chunks and you are getting the hang of chewing or maybe I should say gumming.  We've tried a mesh feeder which you enjoy but don't seem interested in holding it yourself so we'll try again in a few weeks.  
  • Sleep: You are fully transitioned to your flat crib which wasn't nearly as hard as we'd dreaded it would be.  With all the travel, teething, and new skills you've been learning we've gone through a bit of a sleep regression where about half the time you sleep through the night and half the time you wake to nurse at some point.  Luckily you usually go back to sleep on your own after these feeds.
  • Play: You are very into active play and have started rocking around in your new (to you) Jumparoo and love "walking" around while we hold your hands.  Between our apartment pool opening and our Cebu vacation, you have really gotten a lot of time in the water and enjoy kicking around and playing shark with Mom and Dad. 
  • Bath:  You take a bath while Mom takes a shower in the morning.  I put your little tub right next to me so you can play and chat while I'm watching you.  


Loads of enthusiasm for your first cart ride
All smiles despite the chilly water
Beware shark spotted
Your favorite activity at the Art Museum Children's area - knocking down the foam blocks
Painting with your good pals Ralphie and Lizzie
Clearly proud of your work
Highchair painting at home
Almost ready to crawl
You saw the big kids playing on this rocker and really wanted to give it a whirl

Monday, May 29, 2017

Cebu

With Jeff's contract in Taiwan expiring in early July, we finally pulled the trigger on a trip to the Philippines which we've always wanted to visit but the timing just never seemed to work out.  Traveling with a baby has been a learning process for us thus far and we opted to try staying put in a resort and avoiding the hassle of installing the car seat in taxis or doing stroller diaper changes on the go.  We booked 5 nights at a beautiful resort with several restaurants, pools, lagoons, a beach, and a kids play area.   We were undoubtedly nervous that we would get bored, but on the contrary found that playing in the water with Hux was quite entertaining.   I fully admit though that I absolutely looked forward to our sunset wine each evening so we could have a little adult focussed time.
Sunset over the lagoon as we tried to keep the mozzies at bay
Waterfall antics 
Clearly we're not bored 
Hux is almost ready for the 400 IM
We're working on drinking from a cup
Dad cut him off at 1 bottle
Hux's first dip in the ocean
I predict a LOT of this in the near future
Hawaiian luau in the Philippines?  Why not?  
These ladies wanted to devour little Hux 
Hammock naps for the boys
Wine time, my favorite part of the day
On our final morning, Jeff offered to take some photos of Hux and I.   I couldn't have been happier with the results and especially his bargain rates.   Hux is in such a cuddly stage right now and I want to remember him as my snuggly little boy forever.




Ready for some scuba!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road covers a ~150 mile stretch of road that hugs the coast just a few hours southwest of Melbourne and offers amazing views and cute beach towns.  A few of our friends claimed that you can see it in 1 day so considering our 6 month passenger, we opted to make it into a 3 day road trip.  This ended up feeling pretty rushed and a bit too much driving each day for our restless boy and we wished for more time in several of the towns that we passed through.

On our first day we drove to Port Fairy and checked into a well loved and historical B&B that reminded us how wonderful it is to stay in small boutique hotels.  The room, common areas, staff, and especially breakfast surpassed all expectations and our 1 night stay felt very restful and pampering.  It was ANZAC day so dinner options were a bit limited and we ended up at a fine dining restaurant with a cranky baby.  The staff was so kind and eased our embarrassment by telling a story of their 4 year old son coming down from the upstairs apartment in his underwear to help himself to the drinks cooler during dinner service.
Hux is happiest when he's standing and has Dad's attention
Stretching our legs and soaking in the incredibly fresh air
Such a yummy breakfast spread with homemade jams, bread, granola, fresh squeezed juice, and made to order omelettes
The following day we started our drive along the GOR and took in the stunning views while Hux slept through all the excitement.  We arrived to Apollo Bay, settled into our AirBnB, and discovered that there was no wifi and wow what a blessing in disguise!  We had to talk to each other, and play with the baby, and had to choose restaurants without reading reviews!  Seriously unplugging for 2 days was such a great finish to the trip.
Bay of Islands
Twelve Apostles
Postcard views
The next day we backtracked a short distance from Apollo Bay and visited the Cape Otway lighthouse which is the oldest working lighthouse in Australia and claims to be the most important.  We got stuck in a sudden rain storm and dropped into the cafe for some tea while the storm passed by as quickly as it came.  We rounded out the day with some wine tasting and a delicious and casual seafood dinner.
Little man sleeping through the action again!
Brings back memories of our first trip to Australia where we stayed for a few nights in the Hunter Valley wine region
Our final day started a bit rough as we had no plan and were all coming down with a cold.  It certainly improved once we got to Lorne and had a coffee, bought some adorable clothes and swimmers for Hux, grabbed a top notch burger, and relaxed on a knoll overlooking the ocean.  Not too bad ehh?  We capped off the trip with dinner at Mountain Goat Brewery in Melbourne and a frenzied search for a gas station by the airport as I refused to pay the exorbitant gas prices charged by the rental car company.   
Already missing the Land Down Undah