Adventures living as expats.

Monday, July 31, 2017

9 Months

This month we moved out of our apartment in Taiwan and have been staying in a temporary apartment in Hillsboro, Oregon where you've been excitedly practicing your crawling, standing, cruising, and falling.  You've been saying "dada dada" for a few months now and to my joy started saying "mama mama" too!  We're not sure that you know what it means yet, but absolutely love hearing it none the less.  

Grandma G is delighted to have you near and has babysat several times now while Mom and Dad enjoy a few dates.  You love all the attention and snuggles and have really turned on the charm to get her laughing.  

  • Size: We haven't had a scale this month so we'll have to wait for a weigh in when we meet your new pediatrician next month.  You look to have grown in height quite a bit and slimmed down with all the activity.
  • Eating: You still love eating and we've started giving you more table foods cut into small pieces rather than purees or mashes.  Your favorites have been blueberries, peaches, cherries, raspberries, pasta, cheese, and pb&fruit sandwiches.  You often say "mumumumum" when you really like your food.  You are growing less interested in the pouches of food, but still eat them on occasion when we go out to eat and there aren't good options for babies.  
  • Sleep: You were a jet lag champ and adjusted to Oregon time in just 3 days, which was much faster than Mom and Dad.  You've been going to bed at around 8pm and waking up between 6 and 7am.  You take two naps and they've been quite long lately as you've been going through a growth stage.
  • Play: You've figured out how to "play" with Oolong by grabbing her baby or bone and swinging it wildly around while squealing with enthusiasm.   Oolong doesn't quite know what to make of it but is very ready for the day that you learn to throw her toys for her.   You've spent many, many hours playing with your stroller while you stand up - exploring the straps, wheels, and levers while making various grunts and blowing loud raspberries.  You also love to push your highchair around, swing doors, pull on drawers, open your books, and unlace our shoes.  
  • Bath:  Dad gives you a bath in the regular tub after dinner every night and you love to relax and play with your cups while he scrubs you down and squirts water on your belly.  
Looking slim and trim this month, please don't lose those leg rolls yet Hux!
Turn up the volume for Huxley's giggles

Who's that handsome baby?
Last visit to the Art Museum in Taichung
Making friends
View from our hotel room in Taichung
First crawl through the grass in America
First playground swing
Always enthusiastic about dinner, we're enjoying it while it lasts! 
Jeff has this exact facial expression!  
Cheeky boy!
Exploring the Portland Children's Museum
Games at the park, sadly Hux couldn't enter the eating competition
Stroller time is serious business

Friday, July 28, 2017

Oregon Summer

Since we moved to Asia 5 years ago, our trips back to America have felt like a whirlwind of activity and reunions.  While we needed to pack the schedule so that we could spend as much time as possible with our loved ones, we also missed the leisurely summer days in Oregon.  We've been so lucky to travel the world the last 5 years, but we haven't yet found a place that can compete with Oregon during the summer (February in Oregon is a whole different story though).  Since our move back on July 2, we've spent our days soaking in as much of Portland's beauty as possible.

Our travel back to Oregon couldn't have gone any smoother which is really saying something when you're traveling with baby who just learned to crawl.   Since we weren't flying on our dime, Hux got his own business class seat which still seems a bit hilarious and ridiculous to me.  We were able to build a little blockaded area in our row where he could crawl around and explore all the features of the plane.  He is so active now and can't sit still for longer than a few minutes so this made the trip very close to pleasant.
We will miss you Taiwan
Hux and I clearly livin' it up in business class
We arrived back just in time for the Smith's 4th of July party and the festivities did not disappoint - homemade burgers, bubbles, wine, sparklers, a table full of desserts, and this wonderful group of ladies.
Celebrating 4th of July with old and new friends
We've spent an enormous amount of time exploring all the parks in the area around Orenco Station where we're staying temporarily until our shipment arrives from Taiwan.  Our apartment is very hot so getting outside in the evenings for picnics and play time for Hux and Oolong has kept us all happy.
No shirt, no problem for Hux
Who me proud? Dad says Hux is ready for lawn mowing duties.
Movie in the park with a special appearance by Santa and the Easter Bunny
Jeff sporting Hux's new backpack on our way to a concert at Shute Park
Waterfront park while visiting Grandma during her lunch break
Wow have we missed Oregon wines!  Luckily tasting and opportunities are readily had and much easier to manage with the help of Grandma G to babysit.  We LOVED the break from parenting, thank you Grammy!
White Rose winery with the Smith's
Going solo at a few wineries in Forest Grove 
Trying to stay cool at the Hillsboro Hops game
Stick statues at Orenco Woods park
Cuddles and botany lessons with Grandma G 
Blueberry picking with a great group of Moms and their kiddos
Sweating it up in the carrier!

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


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