Our First Christmas As Three

Since this Christmas was the first as a family of three, we were keen to start some of our own holiday traditions. The one I came up with was making our tree rather than buying one. My parents had sent Jude a rather large box of Christmas presents which I was keen to utilize. After a google search I found a tutorial.

IMG_0020It was surprisingly easy to do and it only cost $2 for the paint.

IMG_0024Then I started trimming the tree using old bits of wrapping paper I had saved and ribbons. I made a star out of doilies for the top.

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The rest of the ornaments had been given to us as presents in the past. After arranging the presents around it really start to look and feel like Christmas.

IMG_0521I thought one of the benefits of the cardboard tree would be that the cats wouldn’t eat it, like they would for a real one. Instead they thought it was fun to climb up it and knock it over.

IMG_9931Another tradition we started, which we always did in my family growing up, was make Christmas cookies.

IMG_9888I used a basic sugar cookie recipe and a buttercream frosting. Rather than eating them ourselves we gave them away to our friends and Luke’s colleagues.

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Since it was Jude’s first Christmas, and we are in Taiwan, I thought it would be fun to take him to get photos with a Taiwanese Santa.

IMG_0064He was really confused about what going on. When I put Jude up on his lap, the people waiting behind us in line all went crazy snapping photos of Jude. I guess it’s not everyday you see a Western baby sitting on a Taiwanese Santa’s lap! Jude was a good sport and only started letting out a cry at the end!

IMG_0068On Christmas morning Jude woke up an hour earlier than usual and so at 5:30am we started our morning routine. First bottle,

IMG_9932then breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast),

IMG_9933and then we let him loose on the presents.

IMG_9936We Skyped with my parents and Nat while we opened everything so they could see his reaction.

IMG_9947Jude clearly did not know what was going on,

IMG_0094But he really didn’t mind as he had all these cool new gadgets to discover.

IMG_0099Funny though, the best part for him didn’t exactly seem to be  the toys but the wrapping that they came in!

IMG_9951So he continued to play in the garbage pile until nap time.

IMG_9954After his nap, we got our things together and drove 3 hours south to Nantou where we were staying the night with some friends.

IMG_9972We were booked in these nice cabins at a hot spring resort.

IMG_9969We spent the first afternoon hanging around in the hot springs – which Jude looooved!

IMG_9971Our friends all had kids too, five between us. And in fact three of them were born this year! So it was pretty special having three babies’ have their first Christmases together.

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After the kids and babies were all put to bed, the adults hung outside the cabins and had a Christmas BBQ feast. We had ham, sausage, chicken, roast veggies, salads, and amazing desserts. After we hit up the hot springs and drank wine until there was no more left!

IMG_9970The next day we awoke to more clouds but they soon disappeared and the sun was out! So we lounged around in the grass letting the kids play,

IMG_9978while the adults drank coffee and chatted.

IMG_9982And after morning naps we went for a group hike up a grueling hill.

IMG_9981But it usually is always worth climbing as you’re bound to get a good view. It was a wonderful and speciall first Christmas as a family of three.

IMG_9983It is still so hard for me to believe last year at this time we were like this:

IMG_7814We are very much looking forward to all the Christmases to come and continuing with our little traditions and making new ones.

Jude’s First Trip to NZ: Week 3

Our third week in NZ was the most exciting one as it was the week of Abby and Brad’s wedding. Early in the week Jude and I hung out at home crawling around,

IMG_0201and making big messes,

IMG_0203Aunt Faith was home with us most days.

IMG_0240So Jude practiced climbing up the big stairs with her (he made it all the way up!),

IMG_0244and made more messes.

IMG_0220Abby came over one afternoon and we chatted about the wedding and let Jude roll around in the dried flowers that would be thrown at her and Brad after they said their vows.

IMG_0274Brad also came round and gave us a preview of his speech.

IMG_0270We watched some beautiful sunsets from the house,

IMG_0194and before we knew it, it was Thursday and Dad was back.

IMG_0336The day before the wedding was the rehearsal and set-up. So we went along to watch/help-out.

IMG_9941Jude slept through the rehearsal,

IMG_9935But woke up in time to help with set-up.

IMG_9946The morning of the wedding Jude finally met Aunt Pearl and her boyfriend Brad. 

IMG_0304He got two new outfits from them – an ‘ABCD’ (modeled on ACDC) shirt and a batman onesie – so cute!

IMG_0309And then it all started  – Abby and her bridesmaids arrived and they began getting ready.

IMG_9948We sat back and watched.

IMG_9963The wedding was amazing. Abby looked so beautiful and Brad so handsome. I didn’t bring my camera so will have to wait to post more on it until once I get my hands on some photos.

The next morning we were predictably all pretty tired.

IMG_0333So after a leisurely brunch we decided to let Jude entertain us by playing a game Taiwanese play with their babies once they start crawling. The game is placing a bunch of different objects around the room in a circle. Each object is meant to represent a different occupation and you place the baby in the middle and whichever object he crawls to is meant to be his future occupation.

IMG_0339so what did Jude crawl to? The pirate doll! We are so proud.

IMG_0342We took advantage of having all 5 NZ Aunties in one place (+ Grandma) and took some photos.

IMG_0365And then sadly it was time to say goodbye.

IMG_0371We sure do miss everyone. Thank you for a wonderful three weeks!

Jude’s First Trip to NZ: Week 2

Our second week in New Zealand was without Dad but we were plenty busy as we had more people to visit including Jude’s Great-Grandma Oma.

IMG_9897Dominica and Faith accompanied us there.

IMG_9884We also visited an old friend of mine from Smith and met her husband and daughter. They have moved to NZ for a few years as her husband is the rabbi at a synagogue in Auckland.

IMG_0112The kids played piano together,

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and then ate pancakes.

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We also visited a very special lady from Luke’s childhood, his old neighbor, Thelma, who has been like another Grandma to Luke. Jude loved her necklaces, he was especially keen to try and grab the one with a little red button on, to be pushed in an emergency…

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In between all these visits Jude worked on perfecting his technique to get up the stairs,

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He also hung out with Aunt Faith a lot while I went for a run or a swim.

IMG_9906They had a lot of fun together, singing, bouncing, and playing the guitar.

IMG_9910Aunt Abby and Uncle Brad came round with presents for Jude – a new tiger rattle and wooden teething ring.

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They sure know the fastest way to this guy’s heart!

IMG_9913One special night Jude got to get up close and personal with some cows thanks to Elizabeth. They were on there way out to her other property and made a pit stop on the way to meet Jude. On the weekend we went out there and Jude got to see them grazing and pat the other cows!

IMG_9934And of course we chatted with Dad everyday and couldn’t wait for him to come back. IMG_0146To be continued…

Jude’s First Trip to NZ: Week 1

We started our trip to New Zealand at Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport with lunch. I had a hotpot and Luke had Burger King. We decided to let Jude try his first french fry and he looooved it.

IMG_9686The 12-hour journey to NZ was pretty tiring. It is certainly harder traveling with Jude now that he is mobile and a stomach sleeper. Thankfully he is not a big cryer but to get him down to sleep took a lot of work. A big annoyance we found was that the bassinets on Air NZ are quite high up and also right under the no-smoking lights (which are incredibly bright) so we found it super duper hard to block out all light.

IMG_9705For the first few days in NZ we were based in Auckland. The weather was beautiful when we arrived so we hit the streets and reacquainted ourselves with the NZ lifestyle.

IMG_9752Jude  was exhausted and kept falling asleep at random times the first day!

IMG_9757Jude has only met his Grandma (Luke’s Mum) so we were excited for him to meet the rest of the family. Our first night we had Aunt Dominica over to meet Jude and have dinner.

IMG_9718Our second day in Auckland we were up early and ready to do some more walking.

IMG_9766We made our way to the Domain and enjoyed looking at all the beautiful flowers, 

IMG_9772and views of Auckland Harbor.

IMG_9779That evening Jude met his Grandpa for the first time and after we dined on fish and chips.

IMG_9761Our last day in Auckland we met up with Dominica for a sushi lunch in the park.

IMG_9756It was Jude’s first time crawling on grass!

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IMG_9765That evening Jude met Aunt Abby and Uncle Brad.

IMG_9774Then we made our way to Grandma’s house in Thames.

IMG_9799We Skype with Elizabeth all the time so Jude was already used to her.

IMG_9866Jude also met Aunt Faith,

IMG_9874Aunt Renee and Uncle Ash,

IMG_9824hung out with Abby more,

IMG_9818as well as Dominica.

IMG_9857We were especially excited to introduce Jude to his Great-Grandfather and his partner, Daphne.

IMG_9840Jude was one very happy little boy after Daphne gave him milk arrowroot cookies to munch on!

IMG_9836To be continued…

Seven Months Old

We took a trip to Jude’s other home, New Zealand, for three weeks and while we were there Jude turned seven months. At seven months he weighs almost 18 lbs (8.07 kgs) and is 32 inches long (81cm).

IMG_9727He is full of personality. It really seems like we are starting to see ‘toddler Jude’ emerge.

IMG_9696He is babbling non-stop, still a big smiler, but also starting to whine when he wants something (especially when he wants to be picked up!).

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He has been shuffling/scooting around for a while now but while in NZ he perfected the classic crawl.

IMG_9855He also mastered the stairs at Luke’s family home. He practiced them over and over and over again, with several big falls along the way.

IMG_0016By the end of the trip he was able to get up them in a matter of seconds. His determination is impressive.

IMG_0127He can also pull himself up on things from his stomach into standing position. Now that we are back home we have dropped the crib mattress height down as he is starting to stand up in it.

IMG_0175A lot of people have commented on Jude’s extraordinarily high level of activity for a baby. He is always, always on the move. Changing his diaper or getting him dressed is tough. If I’m lucky someone else will be around to give me a hand (ie. hold Jude down) while I try my best to clean up and change the little wiggly worm.

IMG_0140So moments like the one below are very rare. We love his enthusiasm for everything but it certainly makes for two tired parents!

IMG_9743About the same time Jude perfected his crawl he started sitting up on his own really well. Before he could only do a tripod sit (with his hands in front) or sit and then topple over. But now he can sit straight up and play with toys without Mom and Dad worrying about him falling backwards.

IMG_0313Just before we left for NZ his two front teeth appeared (Best viewed when he’s crying).

IMG_0259He has also really gotten into feeding himself. He’s been holding his own bottle  a while now,

IMG_0214But just recently started refusing us spoon feeding him from time-to-time. So some mealtimes are very, very messy.

IMG_0225Food wise we are letting him try just about anything (sans chocolate and other forbidden baby foods – honey, peanut butter, etc). He loves toast with a bit of butter or avocado, beef or chicken stews, pasta, baked beans, lentils soup, apple with anything, cheerios, and cookies. He also loves water (thankfully) and goes absolutely nuts anytime he sees his sippy cup.

IMG_0012He’s still a stomach sleeper and moves a lot in his sleep. We almost never find him in the position we put him down in.

IMG_0200Another great month gone by with so many big developmental milestones. It’s  been so much fun watching Jude as he slowly conquered each one. Now, it’s time to get serious about baby-proofing!

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