Jude: 49 Months Old

Jude is loving being 4. In fact, he tells almost everyone he meets! He has to have 4 shots this month to come up to speed with the NZ vaccination schedule and it was a piece of cake. So much easier with a 4 year old.

IMG_5628Earlier in May we spent time a beach with Aunt Abby, Uncle Brad, and Cousin Harriet. Jude loved being at the beach but not as much as he loved being with Harriet! Here she is helping turn Jude into a beached mermaid.IMG_5648Jude loves to run and NZ is never short of wide, open spaces for him to just run. IMG_5597He has been working really hard on figuring out relationships. He wants to know all about Luke and I being married, who our parents and siblings are and how we all relate to one another. IMG_5713Jude is always so keen to make friends. He often talks about how much he misses his cousins and so it has been great to get to catch up with old friends with kids of a similar age.

IMG_5920It’s been awesome for Jude to have a new city to explore. Wellington is a fabulous city for kids. There is so much to do. IMG_6120Jude very bravely rode on a flying fox for the first time ever. IMG_6115The playgrounds here are so fun- much more challenging than the ones in Taipei.IMG_5831We’ve been taking the city bus to get around places and Jude just loves it. He will look out the window the whole time without saying a peep.

IMG_6458We spend a lot of time at Te Papa museum. Jude is crazy about the Giant Squid and loves watching the video about how the fishermen caught the squid and how the scientists examined it. There is a great cafe in the museum where we often meet up with friends or just hang out and build with the blocks there.IMG_6486Both boys love coming back in from the cold and having hot chocolates with marshmallows.IMG_6527We borrowed a bike and scooter from our friends for the boys to use. It was Jude’s first time on training wheels and he got it straight away. IMG_5700Jude had his face painted for the first time ever a few weeks back.IMG_6417Another favourite thing of Jude’s is looking at the fish at the supermarket. He’s been eating a lot of fish here so we talk a lot about how the fish ends up on his plate.IMG_5820Every day we take a ‘secret path’ down to the waterfront to feed the ducks and seagulls. Jude just loves when they walk over his feet to try to get a piece.

IMG_6478Both boys had a ball at the trampoline park. They give you green socks with grips on the bottom to wear and Jude wears them even when we don’t go. He calls them his frog socks.IMG_5842Just like in Taiwan the boys love hiding when Dad comes home and then surprising him. It so cute to watch them scramble when we hear the door open.

IMG_5853We get asked all the time if the boys are twins. I thought that maybe this would change when we left Taiwan.

IMG_6619Just like in Taiwan the boys love hiding when Dad comes home and then surprising him. It so cute to watch them scramble when we hear the door open. IMG_5853It’s been a super fun month for Jude in Wellington!IMG_6097

 

 

Toby: 31 Months Old

This little cheeky monkey stopped napping way back in March. IMG_8670It just became too much work to get him to nap. In a way, it has been nice having the extra hours to go out with the boys and get things done. We could go out to lunch, have playdates at anytime and no longer had to worry about trying to fit a nap in.

IMG_4349However, it was a bit challenging during the weeks before the move as I had two busy toddlers to entertain at the same time as organising and packing. Jude is pretty good at entertaining himself and being helpful but Toby is still a bit young and would often just try to shift my attention to playing with him when I was busy.

IMG_4526The move hasn’t been as rough on Toby as I thought it would be. He had absolutely zero clue that we were moving despite asking me a million questions about what I was doing everyday and me telling him that we were moving. He was really pretty great about watching our stuff get boxed up and taken from our apartment, moving to the hotel, transiting through the airport, and finally arriving in Wellington. He has a very stubborn side which comes out when he doesn’t want to do something and thankfully we didn’t have any major moments of defiance/meltdowns.

The first day in Wellington he was so funny. He fell asleep at the dining table while waiting for his dinner.IMG_4597We’ve moved around quite a bit since we’ve been in New Zealand, especially at the start of our trip. Both boys have been so awesome at sleeping in different, unfamiliar places. I brought their bedding which I know helps with Toby as he loves his sunshine pillow so much.

IMG_5111Toby hasn’t asked about Taiwan at all since we left. Jude will often say how much he misses home, his friends and teachers in Taiwan. Not a peep from Toby.

IMG_4706Toby hasn’t been as shy as I expected around all the family we’ve been around. He’s been pretty  good with everyone, especially his Aunties. Here he is with Aunt Minnie at the beach. IMG_5272Most people who meet Toby comment on how hilariously comical he is with his facial expressions and mannerisms. He has this overly exaggerated and expressive way about him but is loaded with sweetness. IMG_5629Toby does like to set the record straight. If him and Jude have a game going and someone else swoops in and grabs a toy he will confront them by waving a finger ‘no, no, no, that’s not your toy. Give it back’. If he doesn’t get a response then he will go to grab it. Our wee sweet friend, Charlotte, got to experience this firsthand a few times. IMG_4630A highlight of the trip for both boys was getting to ride on Uncle Brad and Aunt Abby’s farm bikes. We thought Toby wouldn’t go for it but he loved it. IMG_5478We did a lot of driving up North and sometimes Toby would pass out. On occasion we would turn around and both boys would be asleep. It was wonderful!

IMG_5442Toby has grown up so much since his last trip to NZ. It’s been great to see him more independent of us and enjoying life as the awesome 2.5 year old that he is!

IMG_5638Big kisses to our Toby xx

IMG_5107

 

 

 

 

Toby: 30 Months Old

Toby changed a lot this month. IMG_3745His vocabulary is growing and he is speaking so clearly. Previously he used to stutter a bit as he tried to get a sentence out but now he just spits it out. This has especially helped when he wants something. No hesitation now, he just demands. I’ve also noticed that he is more confident when it comes to playing with Jude. He stands up for himself if thinks Jude is being unfair. They played so well together this month – they really are best buddies and hate being separated.

IMG_3934

IMG_4007

IMG_4005This particular trip to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial was a funny one. The boys saw these little dogs running around and wanted to go pet them. One dog was quite hyper and kept jumping up on the boys and then when they would run away the dog would chase them. Toby screamed louder than I have heard before. The crazy thing was that he kept coming back for more. IMG_4010Toby said goodbye to his teachers and friends from school this month. Lucky we got this great photo as a keepsake. I will always remember the struggle we had to get Toby dressed on picture day. He was not in the mood and especially not keen to wear what we wanted him too. We managed to  reach a compromise with the outfit below.

IMG_3748Toby was also not keen on school sports day. No way was he going to march around a track singing some lame song about school spirit.IMG_3843So instead we sat on the sidelines eating snacks. IMG_3854I had Toby’s parent-teacher conference and his teacher confirmed that even at school he doesn’t like to follow the herd. Toby does what Toby wants.

But when he does he’s all in. I love to see this kid dance.IMG_4111Ms Kitty said she is really going to miss Toby’s quirky ways and the outrageous looks he gives her.IMG_4130Toby and Jude got some special 1-on-1 time with Dad this month. Luke took them to this super cool Lego exhibition. IMG_8640

IMG_8646

IMG_8650We also went to this  indoor play room with a huge ball bit. Toby went loopy for it. He loves ball pits.IMG_4023Toby, you are such a personality. We can’t get over the funny things you come up with.

IMG_3900

IMG_3991

IMG_4093Toby, we love you just the way you are.

IMG_4080

Jude: 47 Months Old

Jude had a fantastic month. IMG_3912It was his last month at school and he made a lot of great memories.IMG_3914He had school picture day which he was all about (Toby not so much).

IMG_3726His class photos turned out great.

IMG_3749Such a cute group of kids.

IMG_3750We had parent-teacher conferences this month and Jude’s teacher talked about all the new skills Jude has been working hard on.

Here’s some of his work from the month.

IMG_3909The boys had school sports day this month and Jude’s class did this great choreographed dance.IMG_3850Jude did a few of the activities with Dad.IMG_3873These two are a couple of clowns together.IMG_4107They come up with some pretty hilarious role play games together. Like below, where Jude is blow drying his pet dog.

IMG_3885Taipei summer is fast approaching so the boys and I did a lot of bike riding around town in the afternoons.

IMG_3950I took the boys to Florida Bakery and let them pick out one of these fancy cookies each. IMG_3952I was totally not expecting them to both pick out a bling ring.IMG_3953It depends on his mood but Jude is sometimes really into helping guide Toby in the right direction. If Toby isn’t doing what I have asked them to do; Jude will back me up. Other times they both gang up on me and neither one will listen to me.IMG_3543Here Jude was telling Toby not to touch the robot even though they could.

IMG_3540It’s been great to watch Jude grow into such a loving big brother.IMG_3784IMG_3537Jude is getting super good at his chores (again, only if he is in the mood). IMG_4114I introduced him to the cruel chore of cleaning the toilet this month and he loved it!IMG_4293A happy last month in Taipei for big boy Jude!

IMG_3519

 

Toby: 29 Months Old

Toby is fast catching up to Jude. He’s already the exact same weight (17kg/37.5lbs) and only a little bit shorter measuring 92cm/36inches.

IMG_2733Toby had an okay month. He doesn’t deal very well with life moving fast and so Grandma and Grandpa coming and then leaving as well as our trip to Cebu was all a bit overwhelming for him at times.

IMG_2694He had his moments where he was totally into Grandma and Grandpa but then other moments where he wanted nothing to do with them.

IMG_2753He loved giving them a hard time especially when it came to picking him up out of his crib. They weren’t offended though as this is one of Toby’s signature plays. If I go to pick Toby out of bed; he refuses and cries for Luke and vice versa.

IMG_3247Toby was pretty good on holiday.

IMG_2882It sometimes took a bit of effort to get him to get into things.

IMG_2986But once he was in the water or doing whatever activity, he wouldn’t want to get out or stop.

IMG_3082But man this kid has such a strong will. When he doesn’t want to do something there is no bribe that can tempt him.

IMG_2957I especially love these photos from one of his field trips this month. The photos capture Toby so well. This is Toby not in the mood.

IMG_3313

IMG_3314Toby is really into Batman at the moment. He loves parading around in this mask talking in a low, authoritative voice. He also loves the Lego Batman movie soundtrack, especially the heavy metal tracks.

IMG_3472Toby has started calling Jude ‘Judah’. This is what everyone at school calls Jude as in Chinese, using Pinyin, the ‘de’ is pronounced ‘dah’.

IMG_3259Toby always wants Jude with him. He doesn’t want to go anywhere without him.

IMG_3364

IMG_3489

IMG_3457    The boys are so good at adding little rituals to our day. At night time they love things in a certain order: tucked in, story, kiss and hug, and then a song. Luke made up this cute little jingle for them that Toby just loves.

(To the tune of ‘Rock a Bye Baby’) Rock a bye baby, your cradle is green, Daddy’s a Nobleman, Mommy’s a Queen, Jude is a Captain who sails his own ship, and Toby’s a drummer who drums for the King.IMG_2695Toby, you are one tough (but very sweet) cookie. IMG_3430

Jude: 46 Months Old

Jude got measured and weighed at school recently. He is 101 cm (39.8 in) tall and weighs 17kgs (37.5lbs).

IMG_3244I love seeing Jude’s photos from school as he always has a smile ready for the camera.

IMG_2645

IMG_2647

IMG_2777

IMG_2779

IMG_2778This was an extra special month for Jude thanks to having Grandma and Grandpa around. He didn’t let Grandpa out of his sight. Grandpa had to put him to bed and wake him up in the morning. He wouldn’t let anyone else.

IMG_8415Jude loved being on holiday. He was really well behaved for the most part. There were certainly meltdowns along the way – most of which occurred when Jude was overtired but wanted to keep playing when it was time to head back to the room.

IMG_3087

IMG_2938

IMG_2993

IMG_3144On the way over to Cebu as we had to wait in a long  immigration line and Jude and Toby were antsy so I gave Jude my phone to look through our photos and instead he started taking photos of other people in line. Most people were good sports about it like this lady who we now have 1/2 a dozen photos of!

IMG_2816Toby was not so keen on having his photo taken.

IMG_2830Jude is really into posing like a superhero or ninja. This is one of his signature moves:

IMG_8377I love when he starts these elaborate role-play games with Toby and they get so into it they forget I am there.

IMG_3428IMG_3427I love taking the boys out to play but the playground closest to us is quite close to a busy road and so I get really nervous as there are two sections and you can’t see the one section from the other. So if Toby is on the playground and Jude is on the other side, I wouldn’t be able to see him. It really sucks as its so close but I have decided not to take them there anymore as Jude naturally just wants to run when we go to the park and I am constantly having to yell at him to get back to wherever Toby and I are as I’m worried. It just means we have to travel a little further for a safer space to play in.

IMG_3432Our lovely friends (Sia and Sivi) gifted their old All Blacks jerseys to the boys. We love them and will certainly put them to good use.

336DD53C-C890-4E11-B8F1-BBA38276E45FWe had a few days off school during the month for a national holiday and so invited them  over to bake a cake and make pizza. They are obsessed with Moana too so we all sang the album together.

IMG_3379We have a mere 25 days left in Taiwan so I took the boys for our final Costco trip. They were so well behaved, even in the toy aisle, it was really great.

IMG_3439

IMG_3440The boys are always hungry. Jude especially asks me for something to eat what seems like every 5 minutes. He will scarf down a big meal and then want more and more and more. It’s incredible that this time last year we were struggling to get him to eat well. He is very adventurous too, he is open to trying pretty much anything. The exception so far being lentils.

IMG_3363Silly, sweet boy. It was a really fun month with you.

IMG_2646

 

 

 

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.

img_2110img_2105

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.

img_2084

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.

img_8114

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.

15724822_1838076383103996_2886203901175703741_o15724741_1838076723103962_2857512214566614000_o15732618_1837638416481126_7552490581449373212_oHere’s some of Toby’s most recent work from school.

img_0818Our littlest Leonard is sure growing up fast.

img_1603img_1755img_0871

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.

img_0795

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.

img_0945

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.

img_1477

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!

img_2047

 

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!

img_0594