Toby: 28 Months Old

I love seeing this face and his crazy hair every morning.

img_1912Some mornings he is not as happy to see us as we are him.

img_2465Toby is still so good about going to school. He seems to have a lot of friends as when I drop him off in the morning kids are always shouting out, “Toby, 來了!” (Toby’s here!)

img_1804He is always happiest on the days they bake something in class and on the days they go to the playground.

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img_1799Like Jude, Toby also got to visit the farm and harvest a turnip for the New Year.

img_1937And turn it into a cake.

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img_2102His class made these cute beanbag roosters.

img_2168And painted lucky signs.

img_2103Over the Chinese New Year we did a lot of scooter and bike riding.

img_2352They love riding to 7-11 for ice cream. I love when they eat ice cream too as it’s usually the only 5 minutes of quiet I get all day.

img_1840Toby is a very physical kid, he loves running, jumping and climbing. He has great balance and confidence so I no longer need to shadow the boys on the playground. We have entered a new phase.

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Toby’s skeleton/ghost/monster obsession continues. Every morning I ask him what he dreamt about. His answer almost always is, “bing, bang, wiggle, waggle, shake in the bones” and then sings, “all the skeletons keep marching on“. Funny kid.

img_2208Toby is so serious around other people. He does not suffer fools gladly. If someone if smiling and waving at him saying something like “cute boy”. He will simply lower his gaze and shoot them a scolding glare. He doesn’t run and hide behind us but instead will stand his ground until they back down.

img_2376Toby has big emotions and when he blows its like a volcano exploding. He is very difficult to calm down.

img_2299The boys are back on a Lego kick. This time with the smaller pieces. Aunty Faith bought the boys a couple of cool new sets and they are constantly tinkering. There was a great Lego Batman exhibitions at one of the malls near us and we went quite a few times to play.

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img_2514We also managed a trip to the zoo and gondola over the New Year break. Super cool.img_2399

img_2404Toby was totally relaxed on the gondola whereas Jude was gripping us pretty tight. After they both wanted to ride it again.

img_2415One of the funniest things about Toby is how he is always changing his voice. Sometimes he will speak in a deep, commanding tone and other times light and sweet. He will change his mannerisms too depending on which character he is. He also has this cute little thing where he is always placing his left hand curled up under his armpit. He will do it when he is pleased with himself or when he is saying something authoritative to someone. It’s just so Toby. img_2378Toby loves his friend Jessica but recently he has been blaming all of his injuries on her. None of which she has been involved in. If he falls down and later has a bruise and I ask him what happened he will respond, “Jessica did this to me”. Not sure where this came from!

img_2104Our Toby, what a character!

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Toby: 3 Months Old

Toby is 3 months old already! I won’t have him weighed until next month but I know for sure he’s big! He fits pretty comfortably into 6 month clothing!

IMG_1846A happy, easy-going, smiley baby has replaced our red-faced, crying newborn.

IMG_2041He is such a sweetheart.

IMG_1313We are all addicted to kissing his adorable cheeks.

IMG_1073He marked his 3 month bday by rolling from his tummy to his back! It surprised us all.

IMG_2071Toby is still sleeping in bed with me at night and waking 2-3 times to eat. Fun for him but not for me.

IMG_2006He does his first big sleep of the night (6:30-10pm) in his crib but lately he’s been ending up on one of us around 9pm.

IMG_1972He takes 3 naps during the day, 2 of which are usually in his crib, ergo or the stroller.

IMG_1515The last nap is always the hardest so I usually try to take him out for a walk for it. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. (This is my ‘go to sleep now please’ face).

IMG_1834The thing about naps is that they are super important as they often determine how baby will sleep at night. Have a bad day napping? Nap too long, or too short and the night will be hell. Another milestone this month (which I suspect is affecting his sleep) is teething. No signs of a tooth yet but loads and loads of drool. He started grabbing things at the end of the month, which is handy so I don’t have to sit next to him holding a teether in his mouth.

IMG_1955Lots of people ask us what the similarities are between him and Jude. I see a lot of similarity in their faces – Toby’s facial expressions have brought back so many memories of Jude as a wee one. However, Toby is a lot more relaxed as a baby – he doesn’t move around and wiggle nearly as much as Jude. Jude was a total bam bam, limbs were always flying. Toby is much more of a little buddha.

IMG_1187Toby has been quite happy to chill out when he’s awake on his play mat,

IMG_1920or in his bouncy chair.

IMG_2005He especially loves watching Jude and I when we do crazy dance moves to Sesame Street songs.

IMG_0989His neck control is super good. He holds it in line with his body when pulled to standing. An exciting milestone for parents as it makes holding him a lot easier.

IMG_1024Toby was invited to a baby play date this month with a few of his friends. It’s so fun getting babies of a similar age together and talking with other Moms about the stage. These three are all within a few months of each other.

IMG_1539We love to play this game where we blow on Toby’s cheeks and his belly. He goes wild – shrieking like crazy.

IMG_2012He has also started the adorable cooing and babbling with us and his toys.

IMG_2025Toby is such a cool little dude and it’s exciting for all of us to start to see his personality emerge.

IMG_1343At the same time I’m in no hurry for either of these guys to grow up too quickly.

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18 Months Old

Jude is a year and a half!

IMG_9522And a month into being a big brother.

IMG_8997It’s been a challenging month for all of us as we adjust to a new status quo.

IMG_8612We weren’t really sure how Jude was going to react to his new baby brother. He certainly seems to really like the ‘bay bee’ and is always asking to see him or talking about him. But at the same time he seems to dealing with a lot of emotions – jealousy, confusion, anger, sadness (I think) towards me. We’ve seen this come through in many different behaviors throughout the month. In response we have been showering Jude with lots of love and extra special attention as well as explaining everything – talking about his feelings, talking about what we are doing with the baby (for example, when Toby needs a diaper change), and reading the books on new baby. He actually asks to read those books at bed time, which is a good sign that he is wanting to make sense of things too.

IMG_9532I am pretty confident Jude is going to adapt in no time.

IMG_9605Besides Toby, the other big excitement for Jude was of course my parents’ visit.

IMG_8974They were out doing stuff pretty much every day. Luke and I tagged along for a few outings too, like to the mall, with a little outdoor train:

IMG_8646Mango ice at Ice Monster :

IMG_8960And to the outdoor fountains, where Jude was a super star, and put on quite the show for all the Mainland tourists!

IMG_9169My parents were amazed at just what a social butterfly he is – always waving and smiling at people and posing for photos. They said on one occasion they were out and he was throwing a tantrum but as soon as he saw someone stopped and waved and smiled!

IMG_5944At home, he acts up more – the past month has been a whiny one. But usually engaging Jude in a game, with a toy, a snack, or (last resort) the iPad can usually make the tantrum pass. We just love how much fun he is when he plays with us – a total goof.

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IMG_9187This month I’d have to say he has two favorite things – dancing with Dad and playing in the dirt. He jumps  right up in Luke’s arms as soon as he gets home and asks for the music to be turned on. And when we are outside, he goes right past the playground now and heads for the dirt. He is always searching around for sticks to dig with and rocks to collect.

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IMG_9421The biggest change developmentally this month is hand down language ability. I am floored by how many words he knows now. He can also understand all my instructions (but often ignores!), and can even grasp an instruction like ‘wash your hands first, then sit in your chair and then we will read a book’.

IMG_9259I was really worried that when Toby came along, it would affect Jude’s sleep – maybe he’d hear Toby crying and wake up or he would just regress. But thankfully, sleep wise, we’ve hadn’t had any changes. However, we’ve seen a change in his eating. When my parents were here he started refusing breakfast in the morning. Maybe a little protest or maybe he is genuinely not that hungry first thing in the morning. Who knows. The rest of the day he eats great so we’re not too worried.

IMG_9433We are still having trouble with the stroller- this was a before Toby thing. He does not want to go in it and we often have to hold him down, strap him in and give him lots and lots of Mentos (he’s obsessed with these ‘mints’). It’s really tricky as I need him or Toby in the stroller when we go out and the other in the baby carrier. Right now, it’s easiest to have Toby in the carrier as I can breastfeed him quickly. I love that Jude wants to walk by himself but this always ends badly – him running into the street or just going in an opposite direction. I am hoping this is just a passing thing and he will come to love the stroller again.

IMG_9247It’s been a big month, so many changes.

IMG_9333We’re so proud of what a big boy Jude is getting to be!

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17 Months Old

This month flew by. I remember when we found out we were pregnant and calculated how old Jude would be – 17 months – it sounded so big and so far away! And now here we are, Jude’s 17 months and a big brother!

IMG_7746Our blue-eyed little man has had a pretty good month.

IMG_7286We played and played for most of it.

IMG_7433Jude has continued to want to be involved in everything we are doing.

IMG_7482Doing the dishes were a big hit this month,

IMG_7889And anytime I have a bowl out mixing or something on the stove he has to be alongside me watching.

IMG_8217His curiosity and enthusiasm for cooking prompted me to get him his own kitchen. I was lucky enough to find this great Ikea one second hand.

IMG_7756It’s been his go to toy. He will get his toy pot out, throw plastic food in and mix away! He’s been really into feeding all stuffed animals and little people figurines. He will place them on the counter and offer them a drink or a pretend food and even makes a noise like they are drinking or eating and says ‘mmm’ after. Cute!

IMG_7790Our friends with older toddlers say the play kitchen and play food in their homes continue to be big hits so its a great addition to our collection.

IMG_7527Jude had  a lot of solo time with Dad on the weekends this month as I have needed the breaks.

IMG_7302These two can be quite the comedy act – always playing some kind of game. If not chasing each other around the living room, they are most likely dancing together. Jude will demand that Luke picks him up and points to the stereo for him to turn on music. It’s adorable to watch him imitate Luke’s dance moves!

IMG_7355The cooler weather has made bike rides possible again.

IMG_7568Luke took Jude all around one afternoon, which included a stop at the sandpit.

IMG_1952During the week Luke coming home is always a big event. Jude will hang out by the door in anticipation of his arrival. He runs up to him and sweeps his arms around his neck. Often Luke ends up engaged in some kind of game before he can even get his tie off!

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IMG_7917We managed to check out a few new playspaces this month. The one below is the newest free government funded playroom right in our neighborhood.

IMG_7720Jude loved the pretend BBQ area,

IMG_7741Disco sticker room,

IMG_7734And prism mirror.

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IMG_7728We visited another government playroom a little further away one morning.

IMG_8106This one had great puzzles.

IMG_8116We had a few friend play dates, too.

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IMG_7961And if I can’t think of anything else, and we just need to get out, I would take him down the street to the Xinyi Sports Center for some playtime and a snack. We usually hang out in this little reading area to eat our snack. Jude loves all the attention (and especially food) he gets from the seniors.

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IMG_7787We have had a lot of battles around controlling media consumption lately. TVs, iPhones, and iPads are everywhere and of course any toddler would want to play with these incredible light shows. We don’t have normal TV, just Roku, linked through to Youtube. So I will let him watch a Sesame Street episode here and there. I use an egg time to keep track of time (although he usually loses interest before it goes off). Also, my friend told me about guided access for Apple devices. It is amazing and also allows me to have some control over what he accesses on the screen and for how long! I have had to take him to a few pregnancy check-ups and there is no way I could have made it through those appointments with out such a handy distraction!

IMG_7320His fine motor skills are pretty incredible – he continues to surprise me with how well he can manipulate objects. He can turn the water taps on and off now too! This, combined with his discovery that the step stool can by moved around is dangerous!

IMG_7444Because of his fancy finger skills I thought it was a good time to try out playing trains. He can make them go ‘vroom vroom’ around but doesn’t quite yet get the concept of the track. So we push them around on the furniture or floor. He absolutly loves when I trail the trains over his body!

IMG_7667Besides the kitchen he also got another fun toy this month – a water/sand table. It’s amazing how something as simple as pouring water can provide so much entertainment!

IMG_7404The non-stop ‘talking’ has continued. I love it! It is such a cute stage. Our conversations are starting to become more fluid, I can ask a question and he will give me an answer. A few weeks back I started asked him how he was and he said ‘good!’ with such enthusiasm.

IMG_8279The three of us play this fun game where we make a fort under a big blanket. Jude goes nuts for it – we sit under it and he babbles away to us, waving is arms around and giggling.

IMG_8334Two more teeth (bottom canines) making their way through his mouth. Not long until he has his full set of baby teeth!

IMG_8031Towards the end of the month he got a bit sick with a cough and a cold.

IMG_7974I can always tell when he is starting to get sick as he is grumpy,  super tired,

IMG_7864And wants heaps of cuddles.

IMG_7285We had some special treats to make him feel better – like McDonalds and lots of popsicles.

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IMG_7827It took a wee while to recover but he did so just in time to meet his brother.

IMG_7924 I’m so excited to watch as Jude and Toby get to know each other. It’s going to be a big adjustment for all of us but I think Jude will embrace his new role as big brother.

16 Months Old

Another exciting month of toddlerhood!

IMG_7134Jude had a check-up this month and weighed in at 11.65kgs (25.6lbs) and 81cm (31.8in) tall.

photo-9It’s been another month of exploration and testing boundaries!

IMG_6956He has been talking like crazy – he can go on and on and on and gets really enthusitatic about whatever story he is telling us. He spends a lot of time talking in his crib at night before going to sleep. It’s much better than crying!

IMG_6710Early in August he had his first professional haircut.

IMG_6566This place rocks! He got to sit in a BMW convertible, watch cartoons and play with toys. It helps that the hairdressers there are totally used to squirmy kids so they have A+ scissor skills.

IMG_6573I’ve been drilling in the ‘big boy’ stuff with Jude in preparation for him becoming a big brother. We got a big boy step stool from Ikea and now he can be right up next to me as I cook or wash the dishes. He also uses it to reach the sink and brush his teeth.

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IMG_6925This was the last month of using the highchair as towards the end of the month he started protesting being in it and then climbing out.

IMG_6845Here’s his last few meals in it before moving to a booster seat.

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IMG_6960He had quite a few ‘off’ days this month – could be teething or other funky toddler stuff going on – sometimes you just don’t know what the problem is.

IMG_6835It breaks my heart when he cries like this but also know it’s just apart of growing up.

IMG_6974This month we had a lot of times when he really did not want to be in the stroller-  he wanted to be out of it running around or pushing it. Most of the time I am really tough on this as I know that when I am also carting around a little newborn, Jude is going to have to sit in the stroller – at least until he is old enough to walk alongside me and not just run off in a random direction.

IMG_6992Despite all the tantrums, communication has gotten so much better. He still can’t put words together but he understands mostly everything I say to him. I was impressed to discover he knows where home is and our local playground, as he will point to either when asked. He also has started going to the fridge and pointing up when hungry, and he gives us a very clear head shake and a ‘no’ when he doesn’t want something. We have been working a lot on ‘yes’, ‘please’, and ‘thank you’.

IMG_6931Because of the hot summer days we’ve been playing inside more, experimenting with new play things (like daddy’s shaving cream) below.

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IMG_7062He is really digging music and especially dancing. Scout, below, plays music and Jude loves to press his paw and then dance with him.

IMG_7025We got out  a lot this month and played with other toddlers. It’s so cute seeing them all together and gives me an opportunity to chat with other Moms about crazy toddler antics!

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IMG_7200Jude and I do lots of solo outings, too – like going swimming, a new playground, to a cafe, or driving to the supermarket.

IMG_7023He’s been great in the car, very interested in looking out the window or singing songs with me. I took a risk one day and stopped at Starbucks before going to the store and he impressed me with how patient he was while I drank my coffee. Of course, the woman sitting behind us with the bird helped too!

IMG_7143A favorite and very messy activity is the sandpit. The clean-up is a serious effort!

IMG_7118His vacuum obsession continues. Hours and hours and hours…

IMG_7026He’s been figuring things out – like how to try and manipulate situations to delay something from happening. Like when I say ‘it’s time to go’ and he runs away! Or at bedtime when we are reading books and I say ‘Ok, one more book then bedtime’, he will keep throwing books at me to try to delay.

IMG_6844He plays lots of games now with us and initiates them – peek-a-boo, silly faces, hide and seek, etc.

IMG_6856His fine motor skills are getting impressive. He’s starting to figure out how to screw lids on and off – his new dexterity caused a little incident with nail polish remover.

IMG_7220I’ve noticed this new curiosity when it comes to reading books – he has mastered the main point of the page, or the main image and now wants to know about the background images. So he will point at a leaf, or a bird, or cup in the background and want to know what it is. It’s added a totally new dimension to story time.

IMG_6586A toddlers’ day is certainly a busy one. It’s been a big effort keeping up with this busy little body while so pregnant and sometimes I can’t keep up and he gets into something he shouldn’t (like the plant).

IMG_7096Eventually this little toddler stops spinning and we get a cuddle.

IMG_6921It’s hard to believe he will be a big brother is no time!

IMG_7059We love you, sweet pea!

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13 Months Old

And he’s walking!

IMG_4553After weeks and weeks of practice,

IMG_3792He is finally walking  (preferring it over crawling).

IMG_3848We are so excited.

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Not only is it the cutest thing ever to watch this little person waddle around, but it also opens up a whole new world to him – like the playground. So we have been spending a lot of time there lately.

IMG_3724The playground is also great as Jude is a very social boy- he does not have a shy bone in his body and loves, loves new people. He will go right up to them, wave hello, blow kisses, reach for their belongings, etc.

IMG_3720Thankfully Taiwanese adults and children have been super receptive to Jude’s outgoing personality and are often delighted to engage him.

IMG_3722We’ve been getting him out with some of his old buddies too.

IMG_3821Fun for the kids and parents.

IMG_3839Swinging with Dad is great, but swinging solo is even better.

IMG_4246This particular playground also has a huge sandpit – perfect way to spend a morning.

IMG_4257Jude made a new friend at our local playground this month  – she’s his age and very cute.

IMG_4136They had a great time telling jokes,

IMG_4135Scratching each other’s backs,

IMG_4138Jude even attempted a first kiss! So cute…

IMG_4134This past month we celebrated Daddy’s 30th. There was cake, of course.

IMG_4088We also finally bought Jude a new big boy carseat.

IMG_4200And a swim cap, which everyone  (including babies and toddlers) are required to wear in Taiwan, so have been going to the pool at least once a week.

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Being a toddler now, Jude is super interested in everything we do. He loves helping us with chores- watering the plants, putting the groceries away, doing dishes. I always try to get him to help me – even if sometimes the mess he makes is bigger than the one we set out to clean.

IMG_4488Pretend play is also big on a toddler’s list. He loves pretending to clean (his toy vacuum and anything that resembles a rag), pushing his toy cars around the living room making a ‘vroom, vroom’ noise, and of course, talking on the phone. I have seen him starting to talk with his dolls too! It’s really cute.

IMG_3733He is so interested in how we use various items. After watching us several times he usually has the hang of it. And when he wants to know how to use something, he will bring it to us to show him. This past month we’ve made a big deal about him putting on his shoes to go out and taking them off when we get home, so now when I say, ‘We’re going for a walk, go get your shoes on’, he will go and get them and try to put them on. He can also anticipate things, like handing me the house keys when we are in the elevator coming back home.

IMG_4043He has been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to put things back together – like putting my cards back in my wallet, screwing a lid on a bottle, or building blocks.

IMG_4308He’s also spending a lot of time figuring out eating with forks and spoons. He gets so excited when food actually lands in his mouth via utensil! Just recently he’s mastered the art of holding a popsicle.

IMG_4214We’ve also entered the repetition phase, not only wanting to be shown things over and over, but also wanting to have the same books read over and over. He has two favorites at the moment and we can’t read anything but. He refuses to pay attention to others and goes and grabs, or points to his favorites.

IMG_4271He has sprouted a few new teeth this month – bottom molars. Making for 10 teeth in total!

IMG_4033Sleep wise we’ve had a big change. He’s dropped his morning nap and so we have put him on a new nap schedule – one nap a day from 12-2pm. There is definitely an adjustment period as he was so used to two naps a day at certain times. So by 11:45am he has been practically nodding off before I put him in his crib, and by 6pm, he gets pretty grizzly.

IMG_3983Hopefully another week and he will be used to the new schedule.

IMG_4363His ‘Dada’ obsession is also growing stronger. All day long ‘Dada this, dada that’. He walks around the house pointing at photos of Luke. It is so sweet. He just loves when Luke walks in the door after work and refuses to let Luke out of his sight until he is put to bed by him.

IMG_4208They certainly have a very special relationship.

IMG_4497Of course, we have one too! And even though I’m not as big of a celebrity in Jude’s eyes (I don’t get nearly as many ‘mamas’), I have been getting a lot more hugs, cuddles, and kisses recently.

IMG_4477This little toddler continues to rock our world every, single day!

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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…

Milestones in Malaysia

Last week we were in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. We scored a cheap flight + hotel deal (thanks to KK only being 3 hours from Taipei), packed our bags, and boarded our flight. Little did we know the week was going to be a doozy.

IMG_9016Our first night Jude started rolling from his back to his tummy (over and over and over again) and when he woke up the next morning we discovered that his first tooth had arrived! These new milestones coinciding with our vacation meant a bit less sleep than we were hoping for but we were both very proud.

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To help keep Jude’s mind off of the pain we spent a lot of time at the pool.

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IMG_9145We discovered he loves to try and grab the stroller fan when it is turned on! (Thankfully it is made out of foam but we still got quite a few sideways glances from other guests wondering why we were letting our son stick his hand into the blades of a fan…).

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IMG_9271Next to our hotel was an Orangutang reserve. It was pretty cool to watch them get to do their thing in the wild.

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We also spent a bit of time at the beach.  Jude’s did some wave jumping.

IMG_9306Followed by a big nap.

IMG_9165Jude made a lot of friends at the hotel.

IMG_9294He was charming everyone in sight with this adorable smile.

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Despite all the changes, he was so well behaved and a lot of fun to travel with.

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But at the end of the week we were all pretty pooped.

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