Toby: 1 Month Old

We made it through the first month! Yay!

IMG_9469At his one month check-up Toby weighed in at 5.3kgs (11.7lbs) and 56cm (22 in) long! Clearly, a very good eater!

IMG_9755When he was not eating, Toby slept a lot this month. He would drop off to sleep pretty easily- especially after a big meal or bath.

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IMG_8715He still loves his sleep but is starting to need more work from Mom and Dad to be put down. So begins the swaddling, rocking, breastfeed, burp, diaper check dance (repeat, repeat, repeat). This is not an easy task with a toddler running around!

IMG_9365And then when I get him down, the aim is to make sure Jude doesn’t wake him up!

IMG_9231We’re in the process of rearranging furniture so Toby has somewhere quiet, dark, and safe to sleep during the day. During the night, him and I are bed buddies. I bought a co-sleeper that attaches onto the side of the bed but we don’t use it. I like having him all cuddled up next to me.

IMG_9539I especially love watching Toby drift off to sleep –  the funny faces and sleepy smiles are too cute!

IMG_9388At just over a week old we started him on the bottle. I was keen to get him used to it early on so I could get out and about with Jude while someone else watched Toby. He took it with no problem which was a relief.

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IMG_8987Like Jude his first few month, Toby is usually crying because of a gassy tummy. My milk comes out very fast so he swallows a lot of air as he struggles to keep up. Grandpa was a big help in this department – an expert baby belly massager.

IMG_5793After my parents left and Luke went back to work, I had my first week alone with two kiddos. We have a babysitter that comes four times a week for four hours at a time to help me out. This means I have four half days and one whole day with the boys.

IMG_9457Things can get pretty nutty. Lunch one day:

IMG_9357Keeping Jude entertained through a big cry session:

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Our first day alone we made a short trip out to the park for some dirt play. Jude was really good but I usually always end up carrying him home – not easy with a sleeping baby strapped to my chest.

IMG_9348The second day I managed to lure Jude into the stroller and so we picked up some groceries.

IMG_9450Timing and a bit of good luck have made my trips out with two good ones so far.I am anxiously awaiting my first two child public explosion where both are crying uncontrollably at once.

My goal is to get some one-on-on time with either boy each week. Toby and I made our first trip out together to 7-11 for a coffee. It was short but nice just to peek into the baby carrier and see his sweet little face snoozing away. 
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A newborn sleeping on you has to be one of the sweetest things in life.

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Over the month Toby has grown to really like the bath. He still isn’t a fan of getting dressed and undressed or having his diaper changed.

IMG_9289He doesn’t cry much but when he does it is earth-shattering. No whimpering, no slow ascent – just straight into, “pick me up/feed me/ stop what you’re doing right now!!!!!”. Yikes.

IMG_9363Despite our best attempts, he’s still learning to love the pacifier.

IMG_9376One month in and this little guy has really grown on us all.

IMG_9699I still can’t believe just over a month ago he was in my tummy.

IMG_8868The newborn craziness will soon pass,

IMG_8726And before we know it, these two will be playing Legos together.

 

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IMG_8782We love you sweet Toby and are so happy to have you as part of our family.

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Our Big Helpers

My  parents plane touched down in Taipei ten minutes after Toby was born on October 3rd! Luke called them not long after landing and told them the news – it was a pretty epic arrival. Thankfully we were able to organize a someone to pick them up from the airport. We were also lucky that our babysitter was able to cancel her other work and stay and look after Jude while I delivered. She put Jude to sleep and then stayed on until my parents arrived. I was really hoping to have a few days with them before baby to show them the ropes – ins and outs of Jude’s routine and how to get around the neighborhood. But it didn’t work out that way and so when Jude woke up in the morning he got quite the surprise!

IMG_2395Thankfully Luke was able to leave the hospital and show them around a bit.

IMG_5609It was great when Toby and I were finally discharged from the hospital and we were all back home together.

IMG_8775I was keen to capture Jude and his new little brother so one of the first things we did was have my friend take photos of us. It was an added bonus that Grandma and Grandpa were here for a few shots too.

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IMG_8727So happy we were able to capture the special occasion.

IMG_8722The rest of the three weeks they were here was busy – they helped out with EVERYTHING, especially keeping Jude busy so I could rest.

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IMG_9186There were lots of time where we just chilled out, too.

IMG_8882Jude especially loved watching Sesame Street on Grandma’s iPad.

IMG_8733And Toby loved getting his gassy belly rubbed by Grandpa, known in our family as the ‘Baby Whisperer’.

IMG_9151He has the magic touch.

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IMG_9293We managed a few meals out – Din Tai Fung,

IMG_8860And the Diner. Both were successful thanks to lots of toddler distraction devices!

IMG_8792Mom and Dad took a few mornings ‘off’ to hike up Elephant mountain and go up Taipei 101.

IMG_5767And  after getting Toby started on the bottle, Luke and I were able to sneak off for our first date night. We saw the awesome  flick ‘Gone Girl’.

IMG_5886Before we knew it, it was the night before Grandma’s and Grandpa’s flight back to America. They helped with bath and bedtime one last time.

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IMG_9270And in the morning we took one last group photo.

IMG_9298Jude and I dropped them off at the airport.

IMG_9302It was a very, very sad occasion.

IMG_9310We got back home and Jude ran right into their room. Grandma thinks he was just looking for her iPad but I think he was looking for them.

IMG_9318I can hardly even begin to thank my parents for all their generous support during these three weeks. They helped out so much, not only with the boys, but also with day-to-day chores. We were all very lucky to have them here and miss them tremendously! Hopefully we will see them again in Taipei in the not too far distant future.

Toby

IMG_8445Tobias George made his grand entrance four days early on Friday 3 October at 6:14pm, weighing 8.2lbs and 20.5in.

IMG_2327It was a whirlwind birth taking just 5 hours from the start of my contractions to his arrival. The date has been particularly significant as he was born at pretty much the exact same time my parents’ plane arrived in Taipei. October 3rd is also the anniversary of my Grandma’s passing last year.

IMG_2330We’re all happy, healthy and enjoying this special time with our second son.

IMG_2474More photos to follow in the coming days.

 

 

Pregnancy #2 Almost Over!

I’m two days away from being 39 weeks pregnant! When did that happen?

IMG_6852This pregnancy has just flown by. Second time around has been a completely different experience than the first. With a toddler running around, I just haven’t had the time to think about being pregnant.

IMG_6842My days are busy caring for Jude  and it’s only been in the past few weeks that I have turned my mind to preparing for this baby. There hasn’t been to much to do since we have all the gear already, including a ridiculous amount of baby clothes. It was just a matter of washing, folding and finding places for everything.

IMG_8237Having the experience of a giving birth and caring for newborn under our belts certainly makes us a lot more confident. I’m not nervous about giving birth like I was with Jude. Having been through it, I know it’s totally doable (especially with the help of an epidural). It’s still going to be painful as all heck  – especially contractions and the days following birth. But I’m not really nervous about things like breastfeeding or settling the baby. Of course, there is always the unknown – I could end up with an emergency c-section or a baby with colic!

What we are nervous about it when exactly this baby is going to come. My due date is 7 Oct and my parents will be arriving on the 3rd. I just cross my fingers that baby boy stays put until then. It would be really tough if he decides to come early and we don’t have them here to take care of Jude.

IMG_7174This time round, I have had two showers! I really didn’t want one for the 2nd as we didn’t want any gifts but our friends insisted. The first shower was a joint one, shared with two other pregnant ladies, all of us due within a few weeks of each other.

IMG_6912We played a few games, ate a lot of food and were all given a ton of diapers (including in the above diaper cakes).

IMG_6909My second baby shower was thrown by my other mommy friends.

IMG_7928We attempted a few games but soon realized it was pretty impossible with all the toddler chaos!

IMG_7942Everyone brought a dish so we spent the afternoon snaking and playing.

IMG_7931My other pregnant friend (with her first), came around and we chatted about pregnancy and birth stuff.

IMG_8097I asked for no gifts but was given more diapers! The most useful presents to give expectant  an Mom!

IMG_7950Apart from showers fun, Jude and I have continued getting out and about several times a week to play. I know that once baby arrives it will be awhile before I can take him to play so have been keen to do this with him, even though it’s been pretty exhausting for me.

IMG_8096Because of all this daytime activity, I have pretty much stopped doing dedicated workouts. The last time I went to the gym was three weeks ago. I swam once since then but have otherwise just been too physically exhausted at the end of the day to do anything but put my feet up. I feel like I am going into birth not nearly as in shape as I was with Jude. At 39 weeks with him I was climbing 18 flights of stairs, now I huff and puff up one! I know it will take sometime after birth to regain my normal fitness level  – especially as it will be even harder to find time. I am hopeful though that I can start training for a half marathon or some other sporting event to motivate me once I’ve been cleared for exercise.

IMG_7410I’ve managed to get a little bit of ‘me’ time thanks to our nanny. One day when she came to help out with Jude I decided to go out for a big breakfast. It was so nice and relaxing as usually I scarf down my breakfast while helping Jude with his. It was especially nice not to have to share with anyone!

IMG_7641I decided to order a slice of banana pie and just about licked the plate clean!

IMG_7644Once again I have had a rough end of my pregnancy. With Jude I got horribly itchy skin in the last week before giving birth. This time round, I got it again, only earlier. It gets especially bad at night and so has really affected my sleep. I’ve bee averaging 3-4 hours a night. It’s really, really awful. My doctor has given me some medication to help reduce it but it won’t go away completely until after I’ve had birth. I suppose I won’t be sleeping much anyhow once the baby is here so what’s a few extra weeks?

IMG_8227So far I haven’t had any labor signs apart from Braxton Hicks contractions which I get all day long. They were measured at my last appointment but still not regular enough to count as early labor. My cervix is also still shut tight. I was happy about this as it sounds like he will stay put until my parents get here.

IMG_8213I still can’t believe sometime in the next week or so we will have another baby. We will be a family of FOUR. It sounds so big! We are all so excited to meet baby brother.

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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.

 

 

 

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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Eleven Months Old

I can’t believe I am writing eleven months. We have had such a busy month and he has been a trooper throughout. We moved house and then headed to New Zealand where we currently are. I’ll update on all of these things at some point but for now, Jude’s eleven month update.

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I’ve been really impressed with his ability to cope with all the change and chaos. He has continued to pretty much stick to his routine and transition pretty well between different rooms to sleep in.

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At eleven months, he’s cruising around everywhere. He crawls as fast as I can walk and he stands up and furniture walks around everywhere. His balance is awesome and can stand without holding on  – but still doesn’t seem all that interested in taking a step.

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He communicating with us so much. It is really cool. In addition to ‘mama’, ‘dada’, he also says ‘nana’ (for banana), and ‘gee-y-gee’ (kitty cats). He also just in the last week started singing along with us – ‘la la la la’ over and over when we sing ‘Elmo’s Song’. The cutest thing!

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He still loves to share his food with us and most of the time we do the same. He is a little beggar and tries to snatch a bite of whatever we put in out mouths. He still loves bread but if I had to pick a favorite food group of the moment, fruit would be it. It’s been so convenient with always moving around to have an apple, banana, or pear in my purse.

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He also this month started trying to feed the cats more. He loves dropping or throwing food – mostly for the cause and effect. In NZ, he’s been loving throwing bits of food to birds and watching them flock around him!

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We have been taking him out to eat a lot more and discovered there are some really great, kid-friendly places, that are perfect for him. TGIFridays is awesome – they do amazing, super cheap and delicious kids meals.

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A big first this month was him figuring out how to use a straw. I often buy fresh fruit smoothies when we are out and about and have previously tried to share with Jude but he would pull the straw out and fling smoothie all over. After some practice sucking, he finally gets it.

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He is still loving his books and we miss not having more with us while traveling. I have been reading the same 3 books over and over and over to him the past week and a half!

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Paper is also a favorite toy. We let him go crazy on an old Economist magazine.

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He looooved it.

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But it always ends up doubling as a snack.

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Toilet paper too. I have had to take them off the roll as he loves unravelling it and than eating it. I don’t understand as he certainly has enough fiber in his diet!!

IMG_1399We play a lot of peek-a-boo too. He giggles like crazy every time a face reemerges. He also loves when the cats sleep under the covers and he finds them – we do ‘peek-a-boo gee-y-gee’!

IMG_1398Our new apartment if right across from a playground – so perfect as he is just figuring out what fun these giant, colorful structures are.

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Perhaps my most favorite milestone this month is hugging. Out of nowhere he just started hugging us like crazy. He comes up to me and wraps and arm around me and lays his head on my shoulder, or knee, or wherever and cuddles. I adore it!

IMG_2174Sleeping is still going really well. I realized he wasn’t ready to cut down his naps so he is still getting (and needing) two a day. On vacation we have pushed his bedtime back a little to 7pm and miraculously he has managed to accept the change and sleep till 7am.

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He’s always the cutest when he just wakes up and sees us for the first time.

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IMG_1492He’s had a lot of naps in the Ergo this month too. On the long flight over it was the only place I could get him to sleep – as it cut out all stimulation around him. It meant that my sleep wasn’t so comfortable.

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A funny new thing this month was his discovery of his nostril. He often sticks his finger in there now!

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In NZ both places we’ve stayed have had stairs, he loves going up them but didn’t really know how to go down them. We spent the first day constantly showing him how to go down backwards and by the second day he had mastered it!

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Proud Mom.

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Oh, Jude, you continue to steal our hearts. We love all game playing, the giggles, and the cuddles.

Photo on 16-03-14 at 5.12 PM #4