Jude’s Room

We’ve got a lot going on the next few weeks. Luke’s two years of Chinese is coming to an end and we will be moving into a new apartment closer to his office where he will start work. I’ve been getting a little bit sad about leaving the apartment we are in. I really love the apartment and location plus we’ve had a lot happen while we’ve lived here – so many great memories. So I thought I would take some time to try and capture where we live, mostly so Jude can see one day where he spent the first year of his life.

I’ll start with the most important place, Jude’s room. We didn’t do a theme or color scheme, we decided just to keep it pretty simple and practical.

IMG_1255Our friends gave us their old Ikea changing table which we changed Jude on for the first 4 months (until he started rolling over).  Now we just use it for storage – diapers, wipes, sleep sacks, shoes, and the monitor.

IMG_1232The crib and mattress are also from Ikea. It’s the Gulliver and it converts into a toddler bed by removing the side. We love this crib – it was cheap and a nice, simple design. Inside the crib we keep it simple. Jude is a big mover in his sleep so blankets are useless. He sleeps every night in a sleep sack. If it’s wintertime, we turn the heat on low. He has a few friends that he sleeps with – his seahorse and Mr. Bunny both gifts from my Mom. He usually cuddles one of them to sleep.

Above the crib and changing table we put up some wall stickers, which were a gift from Aunt Natalie. They certainly make the room a lot cuter. The blanket draped over the crib was a gift from Luke’s Mom. She also got Jude the matching hot water bottle on the changing table. It’s a great way to warm up the bed before Jude gets in on a cold night.

IMG_1235In front of the bed we leave a chair. After Jude has had his bottle and has read books, I turn off the lights and sit on the chair with him. He usually rests his head on my shoulder while I rub his back and after our cuddle, I lay him down in the crib, turn on his seahorse, hand him his bunny, and kiss him goodnight.

The rug under the chair is also from Ikea.

IMG_1255Jude’s room doubles as our guest room. We just move his crib into our room when we have visitors. So we’ve always had a queen-sized bed in the room. It’s so, so handy. For the first 6 weeks of Jude’s life, we would sleep most nights together in the bed. It’s the most comfortable place (and way) to breastfeed. It’s been a long time since I’ve slept in it but we use it everyday – for changing Jude on as well as reading books and feeding him his bottle.


He has his furry friends lined up on the bed and he loves exploring their faces and having chats with them.

IMG_1238Next to the bed we have a little bookshelf and a touch lamp. The touch lamp has been amazing. It was so nice to have something I could tap on and off for middle of the night diaper changes when Jude was younger.


We didn’t have room for drawers in the room so we decided to stick a set inside the closet. We found the perfect fit at Ikea. On top of the drawers and on the shelf we store other bits and pieces, like medical things, the diaper bag, and books for when Jude is older.

IMG_1228The top drawer has socks, bibs, and hats, the second drawer has all his clothes, and the third has crib bedding and other odds and ends.

IMG_1226It’s been the perfect little space for Jude. I’m sure it’s going to take him a bit of time to adjust to a new bedroom in our new apartment. It’s going to be a bit different as it won’t have the bed but we will try our best to make it look as close to possible as what he is used to.


First Halloween



We decided to go out all for Jude’s First Halloween and host a party for my Mom’s group and all the babies.

IMG_9537So I transformed our apartment into a haunted house and prepared lots of ‘spooky’ snacks,

IMG_9538including caramel corn and pumpkin cupcakes.

IMG_9539Then Jude and I put our costumes on (mine, a homemade Cat in the Hat and Jude, a skeleton onesie – thanks Aunt Natalie!)


And our guests arrived!

IMG_9541Halfway through the party Jude did an outfit change. Voila! A monkey!


We tried hard to line all the babies up to capture the occasion but it is near impossible now that most of them are on the move.

IMG_9557Jude’s monkey suit was pretty hot and fluffy so he was pretty happy to just lay still.

IMG_9567We snuck in another photo.

IMG_9653And soon things were winding down. After two hours of partying the babes and moms were tired so we said our bye-byes,


And Dad came home!


We released Jude from his monkey suit and let him crawl around with the balloons while we cleaned up.

IMG_9622Even though he didn’t get to eat any candy, I would say It was a pretty cool first Halloween for Jude.

One Month Post-Op, Inside Our Fridge, and a Birthday

It’s been one month since my knee anthroscopy. I have been amazed at how quickly I have been recovering. Aesthetically my knee looks pretty good. Just a few small holes where the scope went in.

I still don’t have full mobility and experience pain from time to time, when I attempt something I’m not ready to (like a front crawl when swimming, or a speed walk). The worst pain actually comes when I squat. A lot of the women’s toilets around Taiwan are squat-style, so if I really, really have to go I’ll squat down but then have a hard time getting up and am in agonizing pain.

But on the up-side: two weeks after surgery I was back on my bike (at a very slow pace), back in the pool (doing a very cautious one-legged frog stroke), walking pretty normally (without a cane, minor limp,  struggled with stairs and could only use my good leg to get up/down them).

Now, four weeks later, I can bike much faster (still not normal speed), swim (two-legged frog, experimented with front crawl today but still have pain), walk fine and can use both legs going down stairs but I am still struggling going up stairs.

Last night I attempted a few yoga moves but the deep knee bends were quite sore so I eased off.  Part of this might be that I have lost a lot of muscle in my left thigh. It is noticeably smaller that the right. I am going to have to work on rebuilding that strength so I don’t continue favoring my right leg.

To celebrate my one month post-op I took a trip to Costco as our fridge was in dire need of restocking.

Best Costco buy and my favorite thing in our fridge right now? Hands down, this massive jar of artichoke hearts:

My second favorite fridge item (although not from Costco) are these lychees:

Our freezer is equally stuffed full of goodies.

My favorite thing in here? Wild blueberries:

If the last three things I ate were blueberries, lychees and artichoke hearts, I’d die a happy woman.

In more exciting news today is a very special someone’s birthday, my second cousin, Josie.

Like me, Josie is a big cat lover, so I did my best to have Fern and Goose pose in a special birthday photo for Josie. This was the best I could do:

Happy Birthday Jos! We hope you have an amazing day!

Love, Mel, Luke, Fern, and Goose

A Quiet One

We’ve had a fairly quiet weekend over here. We kicked off our weekend with a monster beer and fries.

The brewery actually had larger sizes but we didn’t want to get too silly.

The rest of our weekend has been pretty low-key. We’ve been hanging with the cats, getting to know Goose a bit better.

One thing we’ve certainly noticed is that she is really into the computer. She especially likes watching Hot Chip music videos

and The Matrix

Fern has also been getting to know Goose better.

There’s still a lot of full on brawls but mixed in with these cat fights are nice scenes like these:

Besides playing with cats I also managed to make a trip to the grocery store to pick up a few things and spotted these gnarly looking things:

I know they are considered a sort of delicacy but I just wouldn’t ever be able to bring myself to do it. It’s the thought of their nails they have been scratching with and all the little bones…uuuuhhhh

To contrast those feet here is a photo of the beautiful sunsets we have been seeing lately.

This scene is from the patio off our kitchen so it’s nice cooking dinner with a view like this.


We’ve both had our heads down buried in text books this week. Our language school doesn’t mess around. Being apart of a University, they go through all the usual University motions: copious amounts of homework, pop quizzes, mid-terms, presentations, etc. This week we had mid-terms.

I had three tests in total – one oral and two written. They were hard but I studied a lot and think overall I did really well. For me, the hardest thing about learning Mandarin is getting the tones right. Since there are 4 different tones (plus neutral tone) you have to remember which tone goes with what combination of letters to create which word. It’s very difficult coming from a language that has more classifications – more words for things, and no tones.

Despite being difficult I am really enjoying the process of learning a language full-time. We are both slowly improving. Every week we build our vocabularies and get a chance to test out what we’ve learned on locals over the weekends.

This weekend we have a number of errands to run as we continue to make our apartment feel more like home. One thing we will be doing is going to get some of our photographs and art prints framed. Professional framing is dirt cheap in Taipei. The only problem is that most don’t speak English. It will be the perfect opportunity to practice our Mandarin. And failing that, our exaggerated body language.

Our relatively boring week was made a bit more interesting by a little ball of fur. Fern is no longer the shy, quiet kitten we brought home last week. She runs the place now. She has explored just about every inch of the apartment. Her favorite thing at the moment (apart from long afternoon naps and attacking Luke’s plants) is water. She is obsessed. Whenever we turn on a tap she is there. She can watch it run for hours (not that we leave our tap on that long). I shouldn’t say that she just watches it because she actually plays with it. She’ll get right into the sink, getting her paws all wet, and will stick her face in the stream of water.

She’s stinking cute.

Last night we had a post exam celebration. Pizza and then out to the night market.

We stopped in at a bar near the market for a drink.

After our drink we came home and played with Fern a bit more before calling it a night.

Settling In

We spent the weekend getting more settled into our new apartment. We have pretty well organized all the stuff that arrived last Friday from our seafreight.

We still have a lot to do to make our new place feel like home but giving all these thing a place has been a good start.

Fern has also been settling in.

She definitely has found her favorite spots to sleep.

And her favorite places to play.

We managed to get out of the house to make a trip to Costco.

We found a yummy Thai restaurant a few blocks from us and had a tasty meal.

Sunday was beautiful out but since mid-terms are this week we spent most of the day inside studying.

And baking/cooking.

(Thanks Nat for the cornbread recipe – it went great with my black bean soup!)