One More Week in NZ

After Rarotonga Jude and I still had one more week in New Zealand with family. We were reunited with Luke, but only for a few days as he had to get back to Taipei for work. One of our first stops was over to Abby and Brad’s for lunch. They had an interesting assortment of toys for Jude to play with including a severed arm and pirate sword.

IMG_2828Jude loved the toys but was more excited to play with their very sweet dog, Willy.

IMG_2836While Jude played, Abby and Brad worked away on lunch – fresh pasta. What a treat!

IMG_2825After lunch we took Jude out to meet their cows – a huge benefit of having farmers in the family is Jude gets to up close and personal with these amazing animals when we visit.

IMG_2868His favorite book, ‘Moo’ came to life.

IMG_2884And more playtime with Willy.

IMG_2897We took a photo capture the occasion.

IMG_2913We said bye to Luke on Monday and Jude and I had a few days hanging out in Thames before all of Luke’s sisters arrived for the long Easter weekend. It was raining on and off so we took advantage of when the weather was fine and hung out at the park.

IMG_2955Jude chased and chased the seagulls in circles.

IMG_2968I kept throwing them bits of bread so they would flock around Jude – he loved it.

IMG_2972And then everyone arrived! It was a very special weekend as on Saturday we were having a baby shower for Renee. Her and Ash are expecting their first baby (a boy!) in June.

IMG_2982We all pitched in and made food for the shower.

IMG_3062And of course there were gifts.

IMG_3069and games.

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IMG_3119It was a great afternoon.

IMG_3067We even got to do another group shot – Jude, Grandma, and Aunties.

IMG_3114I jumped in for a Polaroid photo of us.

IMG_3161The rest of our time there Jude got to spend a lot of quality time with his Aunts – lots of ball throwing and vacuuming,

IMG_2986Kisses and cuddles,

IMG_3004A trip to the park,

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IMG_3017And yummy treats.

IMG_3040On Easter we went to Elizabeth and Dean’s for an Easter egg hunt.

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IMG_3200Jude was clearly on the winning team – Pearl and Faith found those eggs fast. 

IMG_3199Jude wasn’t a big help with the search but he was fun to cuddle in between finds.

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IMG_3213And finally, back inside he figured out what all the fuss was about – chocolate goodness. Mind-blowing…

IMG_3204And then it was our last day in Thames. That night Pearl and Faith helped out with Jude’s bedtime routine.

IMG_3228In the morning we said goodbye.

IMG_3265Grandma drove us to the airport, and after a hot drink, we said goodbye for now.

IMG_3287The flight back was rough. Jude was not keen to sleep – he just wanted to bounce around – exploring, throwing things at our neighbors, and eating whatever he could get his little fingers on.

IMG_3298Moments like the one below (where he was still for a few moments) were rare.

IMG_3294But the light at the end of the tunnel was coming home to Daddy.

 

Rarotonga – Week Two

Week two we stayed at a different place on the island- a resort, on a very nice lagoon. The resort had something the first place we stayed didn’t – Happy Hour!

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The beach there was perfect for kids – really shallow and nice, soft sand.

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There was also a little night food market a short walk down the road from us. We checked it out on the first night.

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During the days we hung out at either the pool or the beach. Jude had lots and lots of Grandma and Grandpa time. They weren’t always the best influences on him – here’s Grandma teaching him how to spit water.

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And the smile on Jude’s face in this one is no doubt because he is peeing in the pool!

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So the rest of the week went like this – more beaches, swimming, good food (pizza and ice cream!), cuddles, playtime, and of course, Happy Hour:

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I love this photo, buddha on the beach:

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And then a not so fun time came and we had to say goodbye. Jude actually was asleep when we boarded the plane so he didn’t get to give a proper goodbye. He woke up on the airplane and was totally confused as to where his best buddies had gone.

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We had such a special two weeks on the island and can’t wait to bring Jude and his brother back one day! Of course, we hope Grandma and Grandpa can join us again too! We sure do miss them.

Rarotonga – Week One

After Wellington we flew to Rarotonga for an island getaway. The last time we were there was for our honeymoon three years ago so we were excited to return and this time with Jude.

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We have friends there so they picked us up from the airport and we stayed with them the first few nights. They live right on the beach so one of the first things we did was jump in.

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Their backyard is pretty spectacular!

IMG_2253They have two kids so it was a lot of fun for Jude to have buddies to play with.

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After two nights with them we moved into this place, where we would be staying for the rest of the week.

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We needed more space as these two were on their way over from the US to join us in Rarotonga.

IMG_2266We spent the day before their arrival breaking in the hammock.

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And in the morning they arrived and we were all on the beach together!

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Jude has changed so much since the last time we were in the States so it was neat for them to see all the things he could do now.

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There were lots of cuddles and kisses all week long,

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as well as playtime at the beach,

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And in the pool,

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We lounged around and ate lots of good food too.

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But smack dab in the middle of the week Jude started acting a little out of sorts.

IMG_2362The first sign something was a bit ‘off’ was when he fell asleep on Grandpa while we were driving in the car. He’s never just fallen asleep like this!

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Turns out he had contracted an island bug called ‘zika virus’. It meant a day of high fever, chills, and several days of a rash. No fun! So naturally we tried to do everything to get him better – like ice cream,

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oatmeal,

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and cuddles.

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IMG_2411Grandma and Grandpa helped out so much with taking care of Jude, it was really wonderful.

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Thanks to having them with us, Luke and I were able to have a date night one evening. We went to a place we went to on our honeymoon for wine, mocktails and tapas.

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Next we went to a bar with a nice sea views for beer and french fries.

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And finished up the night with wood fired pizza.

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One afternoon we went back over our friends’ place for lunch and more playtime.

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It was Luke’s second to last day on the island as he needed to fly back to New Zealand for work. So we took a group photo as who knows when and where we will see them again!

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And one of us.

IMG_2452On Luke’s last day we went out for lunch,

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And said goodbye. ;(

IMG_2485Jude and I still had a whole other week of fun in Rarotonga with Grandma and Grandpa.

 

 

 

Thames and Wellington

Going all the way back to March…

We only had a few nights in our new apartment in Taipei before we headed off on our big trip to New Zealand and Rarotonga.

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We flew from Taipei – >Hong Kong -> Auckland. Trying our best to rest and refuel at the lounges in between. Noodles in Taipei:

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Dim sum in Hong Kong:

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We had a lot of space on the long flight from Hong Kong to Auckland.

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But Jude still did not want to sleep.

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We took turns throughout the 11-hour journey keeping him occupied.

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And then finally we made it to Auckland, rented a car, and drove 1.5 hours to Thames. The first stop for us was the supermarket to get some supplies.

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We had five days there and the weather was great so we made the most of it.

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Jude had his first real fish and chips experience.

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Although he preferred to feed the seagulls his chips instead of eating them.

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We spent a lot of time with family – Grandma, Aunt Abby, Uncle Brad, Aunt Renee, Uncle Ashley, and Aunt Dominica all came round for visits.

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And helped out heaps with meals, playtime and bath time.

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Grandma worked on Jude’s musical talents.

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We all ate a lot of delicious NZ apples (we really miss these in Taipei!).

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Jude spent hours vacuuming,

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And cuddling with Dad:

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After Thames, we flew to Wellington where Luke had a week of work stuff to attend to. So Jude and I hit the streets – it was fun taking him around to all the places Luke and I used to go to – like Parliament, which we walked by everyday for two years on our way to/from work.

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Also in Wellington are two aunties! Pearl and Faith are both at Uni there and so we got to spend a lot of quality time together!

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In between our walks around town, we met up with my old work colleagues and contacts for coffees and lunches.

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It was busy, busy.

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But not so busy that we didn’t have time for gelato! Oh, how we’ve missed Kaffee Eis! I got to introduce Jude to my favorite flavor – ginger nut.

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Ohhh sooo good!

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Dad joined us too,

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And we all enjoyed our delicious snack in the sun.

IMG_2141It was awesome to be back in Wellington and only wished we had more time there!

Jude’s 1st Birthday

I spent the evening of April 27th getting messy with red food coloring.

IMG_3401Because on the 28th it was time for Jude’s 1st Birthday and of course he needed an Elmo cake!

IMG_3424He was pretty excited when he saw it but would have to wait until the end of the day to devour his Sesame Street buddy.

IMG_3436So instead we started the day with his favorite – scrambled eggs.

IMG_3433With his adorable Birthday onesie on (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!) he got to work vacuuming.

IMG_3444And then was serenaded ‘Happy Birthday’ over Skype.

IMG_3449Grandpa blew bubbles to celebrate,

IMG_3451And Grandma baked a cake.

IMG_3453We walked Luke to work and did a mini-photoshoot after we parted ways with him. Taipei 101:

IMG_3469And the Love sculpture:

IMG_3463‘No more photos, Mom’:

IMG_3468So we hit the first playground of the day – the indoor one at the Xinyi Sports Center.

IMG_3470After morning nap and close to lunchtime, we biked over the Luke’s work (you can see how thrilled Jude is about his pink helmet).

IMG_3474For lunch we went to this place with an indoor play area. Jude was right into it.

IMG_3483He took a break to eat,

IMG_3489and then got right back in.

IMG_3488After afternoon nap we had more playground time.

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IMG_3507And even made a new friend.

IMG_3518Back home I tried to get a few more photos in his cute birthday outfit.

IMG_3527We even attempted a selfie.

IMG_3537Jude was getting tired fast.

IMG_3533Dad got home and re-injected a bit of energy into the Birthday Boy. We Skyped with Grandma Elizabeth and Faith- he was loving all the attention!

IMG_3542And finally, it was time for cake.

IMG_3547We sang,

IMG_3550and sang,

IMG_3553Took one last photo,

IMG_3555And then dug in to Elmo’s eyeballs.

IMG_3557Yum.

IMG_3560Belly full of cake:

IMG_3578Jude had a few bday gifts to open from Aunt Jen and Uncle Rob.

IMG_3591He loved the books – especially the Elmo peek-a-boo one!

IMG_3587What a great day it was!

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Spending Time Together

We’ve been getting out and about a lot exploring our new neighborhood. Perhaps one of the coolest features of our new neighborhood is that there are mountains right next to us. The closest is 象山 (Elephant Mountain) and last weekend we hit the trail and climbed to the top.

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The top has great views of the city,

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And Taipei 101.

IMG_3375It’s been really nice spending time together as a family of three because in October,

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We’ll become a family of FOUR!

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And it’s another BOY!

 

One Years Old

A year ago on April 28th we held our sweet baby boy for the first time.

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He was such a baby then – such a small, helpless being. We could never have imagined the huge changes that would take place over the year. It has been the most incredible journey and the exciting part is it is only just beginning.

IMG_3178At 1 years old Jude weighs 22.7lbs (10.3 kgs) and is 29.7in (75.5 cm) tall.

IMG_3666 It’s been such a busy month for us – with a big trip back to New Zealand and Rarotonga. I will be catching up on all of that over the next month as we have so many photos.

IMG_2511Once again the changes we’ve seen in Jude have been big. He communicates with us on a whole new level. Sometime while in New Zealand he started pointing. He points at dogs, his toys, us – just about anything. We make sure to tell him what it is he is pointing at and take him to it.

IMG_2959His vocabulary is also growing. Mama, Dada, and Banana are old favorites but he now has words for Elmo, doggy, and has just started ‘bye bye’. He waves ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’, blows kisses, and especially likes to hit his hand over his open mouth and make noise.

IMG_3605The toys of the month have been these squishy balls my parents gave him in Rarotonga. He is obsessed. He also loves his blocks and books, too. Toward the end of our stay in New Zealand Auntie Dominica gave him a little toy vacuum. It makes noise and looks just like the real thing. He’s been pretty much attached to it ever since. Super cute.

IMG_3154While in Rarotonga he became even more fascinated with dogs. He gets really excited when he sees one or whenever we see one and say ‘look doggie!’.

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IMG_2839He knows and understands the different words for his favorite toys, food, milk, water, etc. I love watching the look on his face as his brain works away processing and figuring out what we’ve said to him.

IMG_3343He’s still not yet walking but getting closer. He is starting to take steps without holding on in between pieces of furniture. We spend a lot of time practicing walking with him.

IMG_2675He loves to walk with us and kick a ball as he goes. He also started standing up from a squat position – so his balance is super good.

IMG_2927Tantrums are coming a lot more frequently these days. Mostly he wants us to pick him up or play with him and so complains until we do. I blame all the attention he received from all the relatives over the past month – someone was always hanging out with him. I have been a bit tough and letting him cry. Sometimes it works – he will wander off and play with his toys but mostly it ends in me picking him up.

IMG_3352Discipline is also something we are starting to get tough on. He gets a stern ‘No’ when he throws food, or his toys (which he does pretty hard), or tries to pull the cats fur out. But he just thinks it’s funny and points his finger up and down and says ‘no, no, no’ (mocking us). We can start to see the tough toddler days ahead…

IMG_3312After we got back from our trip I swapped formula for whole milk and stopped giving him a morning bottle and milk at set times during the day.

Last morning bottle:

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I increased his solids at the same time and it all went pretty smoothly. At 1-year his daily schedule, since we’ve been at home, looks something like this:

Between 6:30-7am: We hear him stirring in bed and one of us goes and grabs him, brings him into our bed for a cuddle (I hope this cuddly stage lasts a long time).

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7am: Luke gets Jude dressed and diapered while I make breakfast, usually scrambled eggs and toast, or oatmeal. I also give Jude a sippy cup with milk.

7:30am: Jude follows Luke around the house wanting to be picked up or played with as he tries to get ready for work.

8am: Luke leaves, Jude cries and cries (he is going through a BIG ‘I want my Daddy stage’.).

8:30am: I take Jude out to the playground. He climbs up and down the steps, over a bridge and goes down the slide, over and over and over. He loves watching the big kids play.

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9:30am: Morning nap (I rush around the house doing chores, prepping his snack, etc).

10:15am: Jude is up and hungry. He gobbles down half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and cheese stick.

11am-Noon: We either play at home or go for a walk. (The other day while out for a walk we met a little 2-year old girl and Jude and her sat and held hands – so sweet!)

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12:30pm: We have lunch. Everyday it’s something different. Today he is having couscous with soy, mango chicken (leftover from lettuce wraps I made for dinner) with peas. He’ll have some milk or water with lunch.

1pm: If we haven’t met for lunch, and he’s not busy, we go visit Luke at work. He meets us outside for a play in the grass or we go to the department store next door which has a playground outside.

2:30pm: Afternoon nap (I usually finish up the laundry I started in the morning and start on dinner).

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3:15pm: Jude is up and hungry. I stick him in the high chair and he has a snack of banana bread and apples while I finish up dinner.

4pm: We do one more outing – usually to the grocery store and then playground. Most kids are out of school and so the playground is packed and a lot of fun.

5pm: We head home and play a little more before dinner.

5:45pm: Jude has dinner, something like tofu and noodles, dumplings, or mac and cheese and veggies.

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6pm: Luke comes home and Jude immediately wants to be picked up by him. They play together while I clean up from dinner.

6:30pm: Bathtime – probably one of Jude’s favorite times of the day. He just loves his bath.

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6:45pm: We get him dressed and diapered (two person job), Luke takes him into his room, reads him books and gives him a bottle of milk (150ml milk and some hot water).

7pm: He’s asleep! We take turns exercising after he’s in bed and then have dinner and crash.

What a great year it’s been.

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We love you to bits and pieces, Jude.

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