Adventures living as expats.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

10 Months

We've been making the most of the beautiful Oregon summer and getting outside as much as possible which seems to be the best antidote for the seemingly endless teething and recent cold you had.  One of the highlights of this month was going down to Salem to celebrate Grandma's birthday, watch a baseball game, and see the solar eclipse.  You slept through the eclipse but sure enjoyed playing with Grandma's kitty toys and exploring the big parks close to her apartment.  You've been mimicking a lot more noises this month including (we think) the elephant noise your jumparoo makes.   Your love for the water continues to grow and we usually get to a splash pad, pool, or beach once or twice a week to keep you happy.  You always go to sleep so easily after a day splashing around.   Hopefully we'll find a good indoor pool for the long Oregon winter.
  • Size: We met our new pediatrician this month and you were 29 ½" tall and 23 lbs, still a very big boy for your age.  We've been living in temp housing much longer than expected so I've been hoping that you don't hit another big growth spurt before we move into our house in late September.  All your bigger clothes are packed in the shipment.  
  • Eating: You still highly prefer to be fed but will grasp blueberries, bananas, and grapes and let us guide them to your mouth.  You drink out of a straw and can mostly feed yourself a pouch.  You like almost everything but have started protesting anything with a little bit of spiciness in it like Mexican rice.  
  • Sleep: We had a few rough nights where we had to hold you throughout the night when you were sick.  You were so uncomfortable and tired it just broke our hearts.  Trying to give you Motrin is the absolute worst part of parenting and elicits the most dramatic fit I've ever seen from you - violent back arching, high pitched screaming, and arms flailing wildly.  Grandma says you get this from Dada and that she is scarred for life from trying to give him medicine.  
  • Play: You really love to turn the pages in your favorite books.  Since we're living in a temporary apartment, we've avoided buying new toys for you but its becoming clear you're done with the "baby" stuff and ready for some more challenging toys.  Luckily its summer and super easy to entertain you by taking you to the park, playground, or splash pad nearby.  Your favorite activity seems to be looking for doors to close, cabinets to open, and drawers to slam.  Mom has to be on constant patrol.
Still feeling a little under the weather for this month's photo.  
Cruisin around our favorite playground

Gymnastics practice with Dada

Splash pad at Orenco station
He's quick on the grab so we have to clear the perimeter
So sad you've outgrown these awesome Nikes
Zoo day with the ladies
Fun at the pool
Keepin' an eye on the girls
Jamison square fountain with your friend Cedar in the background
Play hard, nap hard
Proud zoo members!
Perfecting those modeling poses
Sauvie Island beach day 

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

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