Jude: 45 Months Old

Jude is getting closer and closer to 4 and he is as sassy as ever. We sometimes can’t believe the things that come out of his mouth. He knows how to tell fibs, he knows how to very eloquently give someone a compliment (knowing it will make them feel good) and he can remember lyrics of songs he’s only heard once. It’s all happening too fast.

img_7948January was an unusual month as we had Chinese New Year so the boys had two weeks of school and then two weeks off. At school they did a lot a lot of activities to prepare for the New Year.

They painted Chinese characters decorations for good luck.img_2275Made paper mache roosters (it’s the year of the rooster)

img_2268Went to a farm where they picked radishes to make turnip cake which is commonly eaten during Chinese New Year as in Chinese radish (萊菔) is a homophone for good fortune (好彩頭).

And the cake!

img_2274On the last day before the CNY break the whole school had a big celebration. They walked around the neighbourhood singing songs and were given treats.

img_2272Here is Jude’s school work from the past month. It was cool to see a monster/person drawing in there.

img_1871The boys had two weeks off from school. We kept busy by riding bikes, playing at playrooms and going out to eat.

img_2340One day we stopped in at Krispie Kreme to find these cool CNY-themed donuts.

img_2368We went to Leo’s Playland another day, which completely exhausted me as the boys had me climbing through tunnels,  up and down ladders and then would attack me with foam balls.

img_2250Jude made friends with this little girl at the Xinyi Parent-Child Center.

img_2291On one of Luke’s days off work he took Jude out to check out a new Lego exhibition.

img_8138Jude has completely stopped napping during the day. We now keep him in the playroom where he quietly plays while Toby naps. Somedays if I am doing something like baking, I will get him to come out and help me. We celebrated my 33rd birthday on the 19th, so Jude helped me make a cake and pizza during nap time.

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img_2119Jude got to go to the movies one morning with Luke to see ‘Moana’ with a bunch of our friends. Toby and I joined for the photo (he’s hidden in front of Luke’s legs). The movie was a big hit with Jude and he is loving listening to the soundtrack everyday on repeat since.

16299271_10154940266433245_4876660975678744689_nJude’s month wasn’t all smiles. He was quite difficult at times and I found myself totally exhausted from dealing with him. He has a very strong will and when he fights us on something it can quickly escalate into a big drama. Not to mention he is physically very strong so if he is flinging his body around he can be hard to pick up and move. Somedays at home with the boys felt like I was continually rotating them in and out of time-out. Jude by far gets the most from how he will pick-on Toby. He sometimes gets into a mood where his sole focus is upsetting Toby. But then we have brilliant times during the day where Jude is 100% into being best friends with Toby and they are happily playing some made up game. I suppose it’s just the way with siblings.

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img_2256img_2221A trying month at times for Mom and Dad but a good one for for Jude.

img_8155I must admit it felt pretty good to get Jude back at school after the two weeks. Even if it’s only 3.5 hours a day, it makes a big difference in my sanity and ability to cope them the rest of the day! My dear, sweet Jude, lets hope as you get older, you will begin to see things more from Mom’s point of view.

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Our Last Christmas and NYE in Taipei

We stayed home for the holidays and enjoyed a low-key Christmas and New Years; our last in Taipei. This year instead of painting a cardboard tree we picked up a small fake one from Carrefour for $20. Decorating it provided a whole afternoon of entertainment for the boys.

img_0775We painted popsicle sticks and used the glue gun to make some ornaments as well as a star for the top of the tree.

img_0779Jude was all about presents. Anytime I would take him to a store he would ask me to take a photo of the item he wanted to send to Santa.

Even thought Christmas isn’t an official holiday here, the Taiwanese still like to celebrate it. The boys school spent the week before Christmas making ornaments and decorating their own classroom trees.

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img_1821The Friday before Christmas the school had a big Christmas concert where each class performed to songs they had been practicing. Jude totally nailed his song and dance and adorable Toby started of great when he heard the music and then when he looked out at the audience froze and then finally decided to exit stage left!

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img_1524We didn’t do anything special Christmas Eve. We had hotdogs for dinner and then Luke ran out to the toy store to buy the boys a present each.

img_1552They opened their gifts in the morning and were pretty happy with their new superheroes.

img_1565We had a lazy Christmas Day hanging around home. The highlight for the boys was getting to Skype with Santa Claus.

img_1575A few days later Christmas came again when we received a big package from Grandma and Grandpa.

img_1590The boys both got a remote control car- what a hit!

img_1612They also got loads of adorable PJs and some new books. So spoiled.

We had a low key New Years Eve as well. Luke and I put the boys to bed and drank some bubbly. At Midnight we ran outside and watched the Taipei 101 fireworks. They were amazing.

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And on New Years Day we celebrated by going out to brunch at The Diner. A very special treat for the boys as we hardly ever eat out!

img_1760img_1759Now its the New Year and we have a mere 3 months left in Taiwan. It’s going to be very sad to say goodbye to this place we’ve called home for the past 5 years.

Toby: 27 Months Old

Our poor Toby started the month with a high fever.img_1352He was quite sick for about 3 days and so for 3 nights we both slept poorly.

img_1367He was so lethargic and would just pass out on me during the day.

img_1382On his 4th day he started to recover and on his 5th day home he was well enough to go out again and we were able to make a quick trip to Costco. He finally had his appetite back too.

img_1392We were all happy when Toby was well enough to return to school again.

img_0930Thankfully kids bounce back pretty quickly from illnesses and getting sick just seems to be part of the package when kids start at school. The teachers have assured me the first year is usually the worst as they are exposed to so many new bugs and over time it will get better. I sure hope so.

img_0911Otherwise Toby had a great month. He continues to make us laugh all the time with his funny little mannerisms. He sometimes likes to talk in a really stern, deep voice and boss us around and will end his sentence with a big ‘Hmph!’. He is into telling stories and role play. He morphs into different characters and I can hear him making up conversations between the different characters in his crib before nap time.

img_0842Toby is obsessed with scary things. He loves all things Halloween – monsters, skeletons, witches and ghouls. It was actually hard to get Toby in the Christmas spirit because he just wasn’t interested -he wanted Halloween again. img_1431Toby is Mr. DIY. He loves to do things by himself or at least have a good go at it. There have been a few occasions when I have accidentally done something for him as we were in a hurry and he threw a huge tantrum. Toby is really good at pouting and humongous 1/2 hour long tantrums. There is not much in between.

img_0828Toby always has Jude’s back. If I put Jude in time-out, Toby will try to rescue Jude and then also end up in time-out.

IMG_1483They are great at making up games in which I am the ‘bad guy’. I will be in the kitchen and suddenly will get attacked with pillows or they will stand and roar at me.

img_1485School is still a delight for Toby. His classroom has a communal snack table and Ms Kitty told me she has had to remind Toby several times that the snacks are for sharing. That’s our Toby.

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img_0818Our littlest Leonard is sure growing up fast.

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Jude: 44 Months Old

We had a strange month. Jude’s class was cancelled for a whole week as 3 kids in the class were sick. That week he was fine but later caught the nasty bug and had more time off school. It was nice hanging out solo with Jude. We would go for coffee and cake, check out all the Christmas decorations, and hang out at playgrounds.

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img_0832He missed Toby a lot though as kept asking if it was time to pick him up from school. It was great when he was finally back at school again.

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img_0926Not long after Jude was back at school Toby got sick and then three days later Jude got it too. Fever and a bad cough.

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img_1400We had been gearing up for Christmas but Jude totally lost his enthusiasm for it. We had some friends over to bake cookies and he sat up and watched for a bit and then had to go lay down. Poor thing.

img_1434Thankfully Jude recovered in time to enjoy Christmas. A few days beforehand, Luke and Jude went on a tour of all the Christmas decorations around our neighbourhood. Taipei really does a great job with all the trees and lights.

 

Naps are still hit or miss with Jude. It takes a lot of work to get Jude calm so it usually means if I want to get him to nap I have to lay in bed with him and give up my lunch break. Even then he doesn’t always nap. Sometimes I snooze and he stays up reading. One day he must have been very tired as I left the room to get him milk and when I came back in I found him under a pillow. I thought he was hiding but he was fast asleep.

img_0957Jude has been getting really good at paying for things on his own. We will to 7-11 or the market and I let him grab whatever we agree on for his snack and then he will go up on his own and pay for it. I sometimes get sideways glances but people are mostly supportive of me encouraging his independence and understanding of how money works. We still have a lot to do on the earning it bit.

img_1762Jude also had his annual eye checkup for the condition he has called Browns Syndrome. Thankfully his vision is still perfect so no treatment is required at the moment. He won over all the nurses by using head nods to indicate left, right, up and down. He was doing it to make them laugh and sure enough he has a swarm of nurses around him.

img_1679Jude is certainly our little performer!

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Toby: 26 Months Old

Toby is all about seizing the day.

img_0512He gets up and is ready to go. He is excited to go to school, or on any outing we pose to him.

img_0269Toby seems to fit right in with his classmates and I have even caught him speaking a little Chinese at home this month.

img_0265When I come to pick Toby up at Noon, his friends all call out in Chinese, “Toby! Your Momma is here!”. It’s so cute.

img_0264Toby has a patient nature and loves trying new things. He doesn’t get upset easily.

img_0270And he is all about doing things on his own. He often has his shoes on the wrong feet but we don’t care as he put them on himself. Undies are a little different as he usually ends up with two legs in one hole!

img_0276Toby has lovely brown eyes, very piercing when he looks at you.

img_0272Toby loves routine and is usually so good about following it (unless Jude and him are up to something). For example, as soon as he will finish his breakfast he will put his plate in the sink and run to the lounge as he knows it’s playtime. Puzzles are still hot on their radars.

img_0610Toby got out a lot on his bike this month. He is getting really fast and good at coasting.

img_0218He flys past Jude (who is slightly more hesitant on the bike) but we always wait for him up ahead.

img_0763It’s been fun taking them out for rides around the city. Crosswalks are scary so I try to minimise the number on our route if possible. This is a great loop near our house that includes an underground tunnel.

img_0767Our nap time issues were resolved once we started putting Jude in a seperate bedroom for nap time. He was keeping Toby awake, talking or singing and so we had many days where neither napped. Jude now has the option to nap if he wants but most days he just stays awake and reads on the guest room bed while Toby snoozes.

img_0171Toby has been starting to try vegetables a bit more which has been awesome. If we really encourage him he will very slowly chew through a piece of cucumber or broccoli. We will persevere.

img_0577Another great month for this superstar kid!

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Jude: 43 Months Old

Jude is officially a cover boy. He did this shoot last winter and I just received the catalog, very cute to see.

img_0398He was asked back to model their Summer 2017 line.

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img_0381It’s obvious he is very into taking pictures. In fact whenever he gets the chance he asks to borrow my phone and starts snapping away.

img_0634We’re continually amazed at just how outgoing he is. Jude managed to impress this poor kid’s parents and then they insisted 弟弟 let Jude ride with him.

img_0120Jude fights us most morning about going to school. It’s a long battle getting him dressed and out the door.

img_0277But when I pick him up he is all smiles and going about about all the fun he had. We put it down to three-year-old defiance.

img_0279The bad thing about school is how often kids are sick. I’m starting to lose track of all the days Jude has missed from being sick. Here he is after a trip to the Doctor’s for an ear infection.

img_0552Jude is just go,go,go until he crashes and when he crashes, he crashes hard.

img_0563And because these two are so good at sharing it means that when one gets something the other will usually get some version of it.

img_0044Every month gets better between these two. Jude has been getting really good at creating games and involving Toby in them.

img_0336Jude often instigates a situation. For example, in the photo below they raided the cooked pasta that was meant for their dinner on Jude’s suggestion.

img_0547Here’s another where Jude decided him and Toby should break into my folder of important documents and then wrestle on top of them.

img_0182We play with a lot of other kids at the playground and I’ve noticed that Jude will automatically gravitate to the oldest boy, leaving Toby behind. These boys are around 9 or so and can really kick a ball. Jude welcomes the challenge while Toby mopes around watching Jude until I engage him in our own soccer game.

img_0623Jude does seem to embrace being a big brother.img_0619

img_0158It’s been a hot summer here in Taipei and most days when we go out I find myself wishing I had a spare t-shirts to put on them. It was a hot, sweaty day at Jude’s friend’s 4th bday party last month. They’ve been friends since they were itty bitty babies so it has been cool to see them grow.

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img_0710Jude is all about Christmas. Taipei has an impressive array of trees and decorations so we have been enjoying going for afternoon strolls to see it all.

img_0639You are so much work dear Jude but always so much fun.

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Aunty Faith in Taipei

Look who came to Taiwan last month.img_0189Aunty Faith travelled all the way from NZ and stayed with us for almost two weeks. The boys hadn’t seen her since last Christmas but they that din’t matter, and they were both instantly all over her. She brought so many awesome presents for the boys. They were always asking if she had any more.img_0211Faith was a trooper. Right off her long flight and ready for action. We started with danbing at our local breakfast shop.

img_0192Then toured our local wet market (and dodged scooters).img_0195Feeling like a treat we got $6 manicures

img_0199And finally went to check out the coolest building in Taipei.

img_0200Everyday was a new exploration. One beautiful morning we went out to CKS Memorial. img_0224On the weekend we hung out at Huashan Creative Park.img_0341And Longshan Temple.img_0318

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img_0358Faith and I escaped for a very relaxing 2.5 hour Thai spa treatment. Ahhh….img_0367We also did some nightmarketeering. img_0242The boys were so fascinated watching Aunty Faith apply her make up. img_0307On Faith’s last night in town Luke had a work function so we went out for girls night. Dinner at Dozo.img_0464And the most amazing cocktails ever at Fourplay.img_0468Here’s Faith’s cocktail in a conch shell complete with dry ice!

img_0473Luke joined us after his function for a nightcap.img_0478We were all sad to say goodbye to Aunty Faith. A month later and the boys are still asking when they will see her again. Thank you Faith for everything, we had such a fun time with you. xxximg_0496

 

Toby: 25 Months Old

This little cutie had a great month.
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He continues to love going to school everyday. It’s been such an easy adjustment. Toby loves Wednesdays the most when him and his classmates get on a school bus and go somewhere for an outing.

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They go to different parks and even once to the grocery store where they had to find different fruits and vegetables.

img_9905The whole school plus the parents went to a ecological farm together. Luke and I both went and really enjoyed getting to meet the boys’ friends and their parents.

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img_9634Toby is always super proud of his work, he will carry it around the house until nap or bedtime.

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img_9423At home the big obsession is puzzles. Before and after school, they are puzzle crazy.

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We celebrated Halloween with a big party with friends. Jude was really sick then so Toby and I went along. He insisted on his PJ mask ‘Catboy’ costume. Jude would have gone as Gecko, and so I dressed up as Owlette.

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img_9773We brought some goodies back for Jude and did a little trick or treat in the house for him.

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Toby is really into moving his body. He loves music, singing and dancing. I love taking him down to the gym and letting him go wild in front of the big mirrors. So much cuteness.

img_9456He is still crazy about drawing and will happily (and very helpfully) sit at the table and draw while I prepare dinner.

img_9980The boys are getting bigger and stronger and can be quite rough with each other. They don’t stop, even after one gets hurt. They will be laughing so hard and shrieking chasing each other around until one tackles the other. I suggested pillow fighting as a potentially safer alternative. They loved it. I’ll have to reassess once one of them gets hurt.

 

img_9865Speaking of getting hurt, poor Toby had his face smashed up after my bike tipped over and fell into another bike. Poor Fella. Thankfully just a few scrapes but it was certainly a scary moment for the boys and I.

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Toby, you are such a big kid now. We love all your funny little sayings, your big smile and how incredibly patient and sweet you are.

img_9664So far Two has started off great!

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Jude: 42 Months Old

Hey Jude, you are 3 and a half!

img_9567Jude is such a cool little guy.

img_9755He’s a big bright spot in everyone’s day (except sometimes Toby’s…)

img_9677Whenever someone asks him how he is, he enthusiastically responds, “just great!”.

img_9597He remembers so much of what we tell him now. Even quite specific details. One of the best parts of this age is how he can actually be quite helpful. He can fetch things for me, bring laundry inside, fill up water bottles, cut food up, water plants and dry dishes. Both the boys are awesome at setting the table and clearing it.

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img_9445At school he has been learning how to sew buttons onto things and has been busy making these little felt bracelets.

img_9900He is always so proud of whatever he makes.

img_9438His work at school is getting more sophisticated. I can see his lines are getting straighter, and circles rounder. He’s got the letter ‘J’ down pat and has been working on ‘u’.

img_9585He is always asking questions. How to do something, or what a word means.

img_9901He’s so great at following directions and Toby will take his lead. I can take them out pretty easily on my own now – to lunch or shopping. One day off school we went to the mall and out to lunch complete with ice cream after.

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img_9403They were so good, I was kind of shocked. I don’t think it’s quite the new norm for them to be this well behaved but hopefully it’s the direction we are heading in.

img_9669At home, it’s a different story. The boys are so physical. They are always rolling around on the floor wrestling, chasing one another, or climbing on one of us. At the end of the day I am exhausted.

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It’s been an extended summer here so one morning we packed up and drove to the beach.

img_9524The boys loved it.

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img_9537Jude got quite sick at the end of the month. The poor thing had several days of very high fever.

img_9720He stayed home from school for 9 days. There was lots of cartoon and movie watching.

img_9835It was so great when he finally recovered and was back at school with his friends.

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Toby: 2 Years Old (HBD!)

Toby turned 2 years old on 3 October.

img_9346He started school the same day.

img_9314Starting school has been a breeze thanks to having big brother there by his side.

img_6865Everyday Jude walks Toby up to his classroom. No tears or clinging to Mom. They hug and kiss me and are off. It’s a wonderful feeling to leave happy kids.

img_6866Toby’s teacher, Miss Kitty, says that the first thing Toby does everyday is paint.

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She sends us a weekly email with photos and info on what he’s been up to.

p1440235They go on field trips once a week, which she said Toby just loves.

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They also bake bread or some kind of of snack almost everyday.p1440850Toby tells me about all his friends. Miss Kitty said he is very chatty with them even though they are speaking different languages.

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It seems like the right thing for Toby at the right time. I pick them up at Noon everyday and they are excited to share all the things they did.

img_9328Apart from school, Toby is all about his bike and scooter. He has mastered the scooter and now is really mastering the balance bike. He’s going down hills and getting quite fast. When we run errands, he insists on riding his bike while Jude and I walk.

img_9091At 2 years old Toby is an awesome sleeper. He doesn’t always get to bed on time as him and Jude are so chatty. He loves his cloud pillow from Ikea (which he calls his ‘sunshine’). He loves lots of blankets and things to cuddle with.

img_9229He is a fantastic eater. We haven’t had any mealtime battles with him yet. The only issue is that he won’t eat a green veggie when it is out in the open on its own. So I dice them up and add them to rice or pasta and they go down just fine. img_8970He loves to draw and paint. He will happily sit for an hour working on a picture.

img_8925He loves water – bath time and swimming. I took the boys swimming earlier this month and Toby was a total independent little fish. He has his little wings on and was happily floating around and dunking under without a worry.

img_9020Toby is really into his things. He likes to have hats on this head or sunglasses and keep them on. He carries his sunshine pillow around all morning and then slowly piles more things into his arms. He inevitably starts dropping things and then cries because he get it back into his grip. So I have started giving him a little bag to put his things in. I know its normal at this age. He is not interested in sharing with Jude and feels comforted by his possessions.

img_9046Toby can still throw great fits. He is so much better than before but he can still really make it rain. We get a lot of crocodile tears from him and it’s usually something Jude has done to upset him.

img_8977But Toby has matured a lot, even things like haircuts (which used to be unbearable) are no problem now.

img_9365Toby  can be shy around people but he is outgoing when it comes to trying new things. He’s fearless on the playground. He loves climbing high and going down big slides.

img_8687Toby loves being helpful, and since school has started he has been refusing to let me help him do things for him, like put on or take off his shoes. It’s been awesome. He’s getting better and better at pulling his pants up after the potty.

img_8733At 2, Jude is still the center of Toby’s universe. He loves his brother so much. I hope this bond never changes between them. They are always looking out for one another. If I give Toby a snack he will immediately ask where Jude’s snack is. If Toby falls down Jude will cry out for him as he is so upset by Toby being in pain.

img_9072Toby’s actual birthday was a bit crazy this year as I was in hospital due to a burst ovarian cyst. Despite the drama, we still managed to celebrate his bday spread out over the week.  img_9277Once I was recovered, I baked this. Toby is our little dinosaur. He loves to ‘roarrrrr’.

img_9342We invited best buddy Jessica over to celebrate with us and we all had a great time.

img_9376Happy Birthday, Toby! We love you!

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