Inside Playtime in Taipei

The summers in Taipei are brutal. High temps plus high humidity make it very uncomfortable to be outside (especially when pregnant!). But we can’t stay inside all the time either – apartment living with a toddler isn’t easy! Thankfully Taipei has an abundance of indoor play spaces – many of which are right in our neighborhood or a short MRT ride away. Here’s where we’ve been playing:

Playspace

We love this place!

IMG_6988It’s a montessori-based playroom, only two stops away on the MRT.

IMG_6991Nothing is off-limits, your child can just roam free exploring what he or she wants. It’s super low-key, clean, and just has a really nice atmosphere. The cost is also very reasonable. I bought a 10-hour pass for $1000NT, so every hour only costs us $100NT, or just over $3USD! Great value.

IMG_6990Outside they have an enclosed sandpit with a slide and bubble wands!

IMG_5315This is by far our favorite place to go – either by ourselves or on a play date.

Xinyi Sports Center 

Taipei has a bunch of community sports centers scattered throughout the city. Each one has a free indoor playroom. The Xinyi one happens to be a 5 minute walk from our apartment. So we go here a lot.

IMG_7046The room has a small jungle gym, it isn’t huge but Jude loves it and we can happily fill an hour here. A bonus is that there is also a 7-11 right next door so we can grab a snack after.

IMG_6425Daan Sports Center 

Daan has a bigger and better playroom than Xinyi. It’s a short 10 minute drive away but worth it for a change of scenery. Plus, the jungle gym at Daan is way more suited to Jude’s playground ability. At Xinyi, the structure is a bit taller and has some areas Jude could fall off if not careful, but at Daan it’s closer to the ground and more enclosed so he can pretty much navigate it without my help.

IMG_7006

IMG_7016Ho!d Juice Bar

There is awesome juice bar in the same building as the Daan Sports Center called Ho!d Juice Bar. It is designed to bring kids there. Half the cafe is filled with toys, books, a pretend kitchen, workbench, and kids’ tables. 

IMG_7021The perfect place to stop after a good session on the jungle gym for a juice and a snack. They have a very reasonable minimum spend of $80NT per person (approx. $2.70 USD).

Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Xinyi (A8)

This is a chain of department stores around Taipei. In Xinyi, where we live, there is a huge one and it has various buildings full of lots and lots of shopping. In A8, there are two floors of things to buy for babies and children. On both floors, there are play areas. On the 4th floor, there is an outdoor playground and train! Inside, there is a family-friendly restaurant called, ‘Gailey’ which has a great little childrens’ play area. The catch is that if you come here to play, you have to spend at least $250 NT (approx. $8.30USD) on food or drink.

IMG_4717On the 5th floor, there is a play center, which costs $220NT  (approx. $7.30USD) for the whole day. It crams a lot into a small space.

IMG_4941

IMG_4923The 5th floor also has a lot of free options. Most of the stores around the floor have little areas set up where kids can trial the toys for sale.

IMG_4711There are also little random spaces near the customer service desk for playing.

IMG_4713And near the elevators there is a cool interactive egg cartoon mural which  kids can place soft balls into.

IMG_6532Jude loves this spot!

Taipei Fine Arts Museum (Cosi O Cosi)

In the basement of the Taipei Fine Art Museum is an Italian restaurant with an awesome playroom for kids. It’s about a 20 minute ride on the MRT from our house but totally worth it for a good coffee, gelato, and playtime.

IMG_5078

IMG_5079McDonald’s

Our local McDonalds has a very small but sufficient playroom.

IMG_3380Plus, Jude LOVES their hotcakes.

IMG_5271IKEA

Ikea’s interactive shopping experience is great. Jude gets pretty antsy in the shopping cart so it’s great to let him stretch his legs and play in their play area.

IMG_6791Our closest Ikea is about a 10-15 minute drive. It certainly makes shopping for home goods a lot of fun.

IMG_6792Other Play spaces

There are a few other play spaces close by we have yet to try – Leo’s Play land and Kidsburgh. Leo’s is only one street over from us – it’s hard to believe we haven’t been but the cost is around the $400 NT mark, the same goes for Kidsburgh. I’ve been inside and scoped out both and they do look pretty amazing. Both have big ball pits as well a place you can eat. So maybe for a special treat we’ll check them out.

Summer in Ohio: Week 3

Our last few days in Ohio flew by. We had a lot to do including, shopping,

IMG_6180Catching up with old friends,

IMG_6207(I used to babysit for this guy below and his brother when he was Jude’s age!)

IMG_6172Bugging Grandpa at work,

IMG_6224And watching Sesame Street,

IMG_6220Our last night we all went out to dinner at our favorite pizza spot.

IMG_6230Jude was more interested in the desserts than the pizza.

IMG_6226We took the opportunity to take a pregnant sisters pic.

IMG_6232And one with all three sisters plus Mom.

IMG_6244Natalie helped out with Jude’s last bath,

IMG_6246And very early in the morning we said goodbye to Natalie at the airport as she made her way back to Seattle.

IMG_6260Mom, Dad, Jude and I got on a plane headed to San Francisco. Mom and Dad kindly decided to help me fly there with Jude, and also stay the weekend in San Fran (since it happened to be there wedding anniversary anyhow).

IMG_6261At SFO we tried to keep Jude from straying too far away by strapping on his monkey backpack (complete with a monkey tail leash).

IMG_6266

IMG_6272He was a little out of control on the leash so we opted for the stroller instead.

IMG_6276Jude and I had several hours before our next flight and Mom and Dad stayed with us and kept us company. SFO is a blessing to parents traveling with children. There are several play spaces throughout the airport. The one below called ‘Spirogyate’ had these cool black and white disks that would spin around and light up in different colors. Kids were going crazy over these things!

IMG_6285Another one we found had a cool caterpillar tunnel and other fun weather-related exhibitions.

IMG_6291Lightning!

IMG_6294Jude also enjoyed watching the planes,

IMG_6301And just hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa.

IMG_6297Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye. As always, time goes way too fast!

IMG_6263Jude and I boarded our 13 hour flight to Taipei. With our flight over fresh in my mind, I was very, very nervous about this one!

IMG_6262This one turned out to be way better! It still wasn’t great, Jude definitely had a lot of crazy toddler moments, but this time he actually got more than one hour of sleep  – in fact, he got close to 6 hours! The big difference this flight was having an empty seat next to us and sitting in a row, rather than in the bulkhead seats. Jude could not get out and race up and down the aisles so easily.

IMG_6303We were also extremely lucky to have a nice woman next to us who was happy to let Jude sit on her lap and look out the window.

IMG_6304I get tired just thinking about flying with a toddler – it’s not easy! We had a great time away, back in the States with family, but it is great to be home again with Dada.

Summer in Ohio: Week 1

Just over a week ago, Jude and I packed our bags,

IMG_5650And said bye bye to Dada.

IMG_5684We flew together 11 hours from Taipei to San Francisco.

IMG_5686It was a long, exhausting journey but I knew it was the last time before baby #2 that I could fly solo with Jude. Thankfully my Mom met us in San Fran and helped us fly the rest of the way to Ohio. I could dedicate a whole post to flying along, with a toddler, 27 weeks pregnant.  It wasn’t easy but we survived.

IMG_5687Touching down in Ohio and seeing Grandpa was a great feeling. We made it. No more flying (until we return to Taipei on the 25th).

IMG_5721We spent the first few days hanging out around the house,

IMG_5748Catching up on all the sleep we missed out on.

IMG_5767We hit a local playground,

IMG_5785And ate custard ice cream.

IMG_5801Jude loves helping Grandma in the kitchen.

IMG_5806And with the clean-up after.

IMG_5929And watching cartoons on Grandpa’s giant TV.

IMG_5822We made a trip to Target for diapers and ran into Scout there.

IMG_5807And then in Grandma’s office we ran into St. Jude.

IMG_5834Jude’s not a big fan of shopping so thankfully a lot of the malls also have a kids play area.

IMG_5851

IMG_5943And a frozen yogurt store is never far away.

IMG_5855Grandma and Grandpa have been helping with mealtimes, diaper changes, and his nightly routine – which has been a nice break for me.

IMG_5919

IMG_5960We headed over to Aunt Jen’s and Uncle Rob’s one hot afternoon for a pool party.

IMG_5892They have a perfect little area in the pool where Jude could stand up and play in the fountains.

IMG_5894He got to venture out into the deep end in his float.

IMG_5881We had to lure him out of the pool with snacks.

IMG_5883Breakfast with Grandpa has been one of Jude’s favorite times of the day. Grandpa shares his fruit and cheerios.

IMG_5859We took a ride with Grandma one afternoon out to Fairport Harbor beach and played in the sand.

IMG_5912And a little bit in the surf.

IMG_5916He’s had lots of treats like McDonald’s,

IMG_5901Donuts,

IMG_5922And pretzels.

IMG_5946One of the best things has just been being outside in comfortable weather, running around in the grass – something he doesn’t get to do in Taipei.

IMG_5951It’s been a real treat for both of us.

IMG_5958To be continued…

 

 

 

14 Months Old

Jude is 14 months. I stuck him on a luggage scale last week when we dropped Luke at the airport  for a business trip to Korea and it read a hefty 10.9kgs (24 lbs).

IMG_4902Jude didn’t spend long walking and now he is running everywhere.

IMG_4704He is a tornado and whips through our house tearing through drawers, shelves, etc.

IMG_4694He has also started climbing, which is way scary. Thankfully we don’t have too many shelves but he gets the idea of the step stool and so I have caught him trying to use it to reach things or climb into the empty bathtub.

IMG_5282These faces are coming more and more frequently:

IMG_4693Tantrums are tough. I don’t mind at home but when we are out and I pick him up or take him away from something he shouldn’t be playing with – man, oh man, he kicks and screams and is very hard to calm down.

IMG_4760But thankfully there are still more of these faces throughout the day.

IMG_4654He’s just being a toddler trying to make sense of the world and doesn’t quite understand why he can’t play in the trash can at the park with the cigarette disposal on top…

IMG_4800He’s adjusted to his new schedule of one nap a day pretty well. He usually wakes up after 40 mins and lets out a big tired cry and after 5 or so minutes will fall back asleep. He usually manages around 1.5 hours but on a really lucky day 2 hours.

IMG_5239By 5pm he is pretty crabby and it is hard for me to make dinner as he just wants to be picked up or doing something with me. So I have started sticking him onto a shower curtain on the floor with a bowl of flour.

IMG_4958So messy but so worth it. It can keep him entertained for a whole hour.

IMG_4977The messes he makes are big but he is still very big on the whole clean up process.

IMG_4832He understands when I ask him to help me with a certain chore and he will go and find the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, washing machine, etc. For the washing, I like to stick him in the basket of dirty clothes and drag him in it over to the machine.

IMG_5149He loves watching the clothes spin around and round. Thank goodness our machine has a control lock as he also likes twisting the knob and pushing the buttons.

IMG_4990He is really into the toilets lately – opening and closing the lids, flushing them and of course, cleaning them. He knows that Mommy gets pretty angry when he tries to stick something down it.

IMG_4905Jude’s gotten so much better at giving kisses. He used to give us these big sloppy, wet, open mouthed ones and now he closes his lips and we get a sweet little peck. He also loves kissing Fern and his peek-a-boo Elmo book from Aunt Jen and Uncle Rob.

IMG_4910He’s getting more cuddly with his soft toys, like his gorgeous lamb from Grandma Elizabeth. He will walk around the house hugging it.

IMG_5293Of course his favorite cuddly toy is still Dad. He has quite a few words but ‘Dada’ is what he likes to say on repeat all day. It is certainly his happy word.

IMG_4914He uses sounds a lot too. ‘Moo’ for cow (and his favorite book), ‘Na na’ for Elmo (from ‘la la la, Elmo’s Song’), ‘na’ for nose, ‘vroom vroom’ for cars, ‘brrrr’ for vacuum and ‘mmm, mmm’ for food he likes.

IMG_5191His favorite toys this month are ones that have an open/close function. He also is really fascinated with fitting things into one another, like in the photo below where he put a ball in a cup then took it out, over and over again. He still gravitates to balls, cars, blocks, and books. Thankfully he has decided we can can read him different stories this month, but he still loves his old favorites. He is also really into finding an object in a book and going back to it over and over – like the apples in ‘Moo’.

IMG_4782

I’ve noticed that while he is still super active for the majority of the day, he has begun to have these quiet, relaxed moments where he will lie down in bed or on the ground. It really freaked me out when he first did it as he is usually ‘go, go, go’ until we pop him in his crib. It’s nice though to see him communicating with us when he is tired.

IMG_4871Now that he running around he is demanding a lot more food. I can’t leave the house without a purse full of snacks or else. He stands alongside me while I make him food and begs for a taste. He has also started standing under the fridge and pointing up – especially when he wants a drink of milk.

IMG_4513His hair was getting in eyes quite badly and so we decided it was time to give him his first haircut.

IMG_5097It was not an easy job but I managed to clip the back and his bangs while he brushed his teeth with my electric toothbrush (one of his favorite things).

IMG_5098 We both tried durian for the first time this month and both promptly spit it out. Yuck.

IMG_5111On the teeth count he is up to 12! His top molars have appeared. So we’ve had lots and lots of drool.

IMG_4917Our darling little boy is growing up so fast.

IMG_4755

 

 

First Stitches

Jude can ‘tick’ first stitches off his list.

IMG_4582

A few weeks back (Monday June 2nd, to be exact), Jude and I were chatting with my sister, Jen, when the accident occurred. Jude was sitting next to me playing with one of Luke’s triathlon medals. He likes to put it on, turn it over in his hands, etc. It’s made out of a very, very hard plastic, so I didn’t think it could be potentially dangerous to him.  But as Jen and I were chatting away, Jude let out a big cry. I looked over at him and saw his finger was covered in blood and he was holding the medal, which had been snapped in half!

I quickly hung up with Jen and quickly began dealing with the situation. I picked Jude up, ran him over to the sink and stuck his finger under cold water to try and get a good look at the wound. He was screaming and the blood kept coming so the next step was to try and stop the blood, so I grabbed a dry washcloth and wrapped it around his finger and secured it using a hairband. After a while I was able to calm Jude down a bit but I could see that the washcloth was already soaked in blood!

It was a public holiday so Luke was home from work but before it happened he had stepped out to run an errand. I was calling and texting him but no answer. I started gathering stuff for a trip to the emergency room (hoping Luke would come home in the meantime and help me assess the situation). And just like that, he walked in. At this point it had been more than 10 minutes since the accident and still bleeding. He had a look at the cut, and agreed we should go in. So we grabbed a cab a made our way to the nearest hospital (3 mins away!).

The whole process in the ER was relatively smooth. Jude laid on the hospital bed with Luke and watched Elmo videos while the Doctor gave him a shot of anesthetic and then stitched him up. He recovered from the whole ordeal relatively quickly – we both seemed to feel way worse! After the ER we stopped for ice cream and then returned home.

IMG_4518After a much needed nap for Jude, we went out for a family walk. The Doctor warned that when the anesthetic wore off he would probably experience a bit of pain, so we were keen to distract him. Since he had just started walking we decided it was a good opportunity to go shoe shopping.

Jude’s first official shoes:

IMG_4520After shopping we stopped in at a bookstore and browsed.

IMG_4519It was interesting to see how quickly he stopped using his right hand to do things and started using his left.

IMG_4526Over the course of the week as his finger healed he switched back to using his right hand. (Like while posing eating a chocolate bar at the store as the shop assistants took photos of him).

IMG_4629We had a ten day wait for the stitches to be removed during which he was unable to get his finger wet. So no swimming or baths. We consumed lots of cold treats to keep cool and kept him clean with sponge baths.

IMG_4575

IMG_4618And finally, it was time to have the stitches out.

IMG_4733The wound has healed nicely and he may not even be left with a scar.

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.

IMG_4056

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.

IMG_4127

 

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!

IMG_4552