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

 

Jude: 43 Months Old

Jude is officially a cover boy. He did this shoot last winter and I just received the catalog, very cute to see.

img_0398He was asked back to model their Summer 2017 line.

img_0394

img_0399

img_0414

img_0392

img_0381It’s obvious he is very into taking pictures. In fact whenever he gets the chance he asks to borrow my phone and starts snapping away.

img_0634We’re continually amazed at just how outgoing he is. Jude managed to impress this poor kid’s parents and then they insisted 弟弟 let Jude ride with him.

img_0120Jude fights us most morning about going to school. It’s a long battle getting him dressed and out the door.

img_0277But when I pick him up he is all smiles and going about about all the fun he had. We put it down to three-year-old defiance.

img_0279The bad thing about school is how often kids are sick. I’m starting to lose track of all the days Jude has missed from being sick. Here he is after a trip to the Doctor’s for an ear infection.

img_0552Jude is just go,go,go until he crashes and when he crashes, he crashes hard.

img_0563And because these two are so good at sharing it means that when one gets something the other will usually get some version of it.

img_0044Every month gets better between these two. Jude has been getting really good at creating games and involving Toby in them.

img_0336Jude often instigates a situation. For example, in the photo below they raided the cooked pasta that was meant for their dinner on Jude’s suggestion.

img_0547Here’s another where Jude decided him and Toby should break into my folder of important documents and then wrestle on top of them.

img_0182We play with a lot of other kids at the playground and I’ve noticed that Jude will automatically gravitate to the oldest boy, leaving Toby behind. These boys are around 9 or so and can really kick a ball. Jude welcomes the challenge while Toby mopes around watching Jude until I engage him in our own soccer game.

img_0623Jude does seem to embrace being a big brother.img_0619

img_0158It’s been a hot summer here in Taipei and most days when we go out I find myself wishing I had a spare t-shirts to put on them. It was a hot, sweaty day at Jude’s friend’s 4th bday party last month. They’ve been friends since they were itty bitty babies so it has been cool to see them grow.

img_0676

img_0710Jude is all about Christmas. Taipei has an impressive array of trees and decorations so we have been enjoying going for afternoon strolls to see it all.

img_0639You are so much work dear Jude but always so much fun.

img_0087

 

Jude: 41 Months Old

Jude was measured and weighed at school this month. He is 16kg (35lbs) and 97cm (38in).

img_9197He is changing a lot. He can relay such complex thoughts and sentence patterns now. He watches our mannerisms and copies them. And he is so hungry to understand how things work. I must get at least 500 questions a day from him. We are always talking.

img_9310At school he has been getting to do some awesome things, like cutting with knives and scissors, and so at home I have been letting him do the same.

img_9299

img_9298Here is his work from school this month:

img_9090Jude is so keen to help me out with everything I do. I’m having a lot of trouble getting him to nap at the moment because he knows I do housework while they nap. So quite a few days this month he stayed up with me and baked, did dishes or laundry. One day I was really tired and I told him I needed a nap but he said he didn’t and wanted to play instead. After I woke up I found him in the playroom like this:

img_9221Jude is so curious about where we live, and where our extended family lives. He understands now that we have family in America and New Zealand and that we live in Taiwan for Luke’s job. He loves to ask me questions like, ‘What is daddy’s work’, or ‘why doesn’t our house have stairs like Grandma and Grandpa’s?’. He also always asks me to what a word means if he hears one he doesn’t understand.

img_9347

img_9348Another thing Jude is getting the hang of is drawing. Here is his first drawing that resembled something! So proud!

img_9320Running is still one of Jude’s favourite things to do. He always wants to be the fastest.

img_8736We did a few swimming lessons this month and then Jude got sick so we had to take a break. But I was impressed how totally fearless he was sticking his head under water! Way too many mouthfuls of water!

img_8908Being sick was no fun but they both developed a deep love for the Minions.

img_9026These two are so thick. They fight a lot but are usually both to blame. I know its just a normal part of sibling hood. More and more I am leaving them to work out their own conflicts as a lot of it becomes about who can get Mom’s attention.

img_8694At the end of the day though, Jude can also make Toby laugh harder than anyone else. It’s pretty special.

img_8871We are so proud of our soon to be 3 and a half year old!

img_8740

Toby: 23 Months Old

At the start of September Toby turned 23 Months Old.

img_8173Toby took a bit longer to warm up to being in Ohio. He’s more cautious by nature and so his instinct is always to cling to me in new situations. It was pretty exhausting at times as Toby really can throw a good fit.

img_7255I think it took a good week or so until he really started to go to Grandma or Grandpa for something. It took even longer for him to let them pick him up (rather than constantly demanding me). My parents encouraged me to get a little tougher with Toby and to stop always giving into his demands. Once I stopped always picking him up, or giving into his cries, I felt more in control and over time Toby began to accept things. It can be very hard not to baby the baby of the family.

img_8251So it wasn’t the easiest trip with Toby but I think we made progress and it was still a lot easier than when he was a baby. Despite these bumps in the road, Toby still managed to have a great time. Like Jude he loved being outside.

img_7852I tried to teach him how to roll down a hill but he didn’t quite get how to maneuver the roll. It was really funny to watch his attempts.

img_8199Toby is always getting up to something funny. He makes people laugh all the time even if he is not trying to.

img_7989His mannerisms, the way he moves his body, how he talks are all so unique. As I’ve mentioned many times before, Toby has to be experienced for people to understand.

img_7534Toby also enjoyed all the great food we had in America, especially the ice cream.

He impressed everyone with his strength when he pulled Jude around in the wagon for quite long distances.

img_8362He was pretty good at getting back on routine sleepwise. He’s happy as long as he has a pillow to cuddle.

img_8018He is so inquisitive. He’s always asking, ‘whats that? what’s that?’ and then resonding with ‘oh’.

img_8554He gave me so much trouble on both the flights but especially on the one back. Our flight on the way back was made particularly bad because of the time it left (1:45am). We were all so happy to finally land and see Dad. Toby loved returning to the familiarity and comfort of home.

img_8687Him and Jude are so close to one another but have such different personalities. I am always reminding myself that I the things that work with Jude won’t necessarily work with Toby. img_8643Toby has a tough shell but underneath he is so kind and gentle.

img_8458

Toby: 14 Months Old

At 14 months old Toby is running everywhere.

IMG_1153Like Jude, he had an awesome month with Grandma and Bampa.

IMG_0742He wasn’t smiles all month long as he had a ginormous top molar come through causing lots of drool and tears.

IMG_1142And the tantrums! He throws some pretty amazing ones already and thy just seem so cute compared to the ones Jude throws.

IMG_1341Toby has been really digging ride-on toys,

IMG_1262And dogs. He goes nutty whenever he sees one, shouting ‘DOG!’ over and over.

IMG_1275His vocabulary has been growing by the day. Here’s what he can say: mom, dada, moo, blue (for blueberries), Elmo, Jude, more, shoes, this, cheese, juice, banana, poo, baa, fish, Kate, is hot, and up. He also can nod his head really well for ‘yes’.

IMG_1295He is still our great eater and has even become more accepting of eggs, broccoli and cauliflower.

IMG_1301He is so good at telling us when he wants more of something.

IMG_1222Toby hasn’t been hitting Jude as much this month as previous ones. Still, most fighting occurs over wanting the same toy.

IMG_0544Toby is still breastfeeding three times a day – in the morning, before his nap and before bedtime. He sometimes asks for it more but I will give him cow’s milk instead.

IMG_0773Toby has a great big smile.

IMG_0884It was near impossible to get him to do that same smile at his modeling job this month but all the shots still turned out great.

IMG_0920

IMG_0918

IMG_0964

IMG_0944Toby loves to hide under a blanket with Jude. Someone yells, ‘dinosaur’ and Toby will let out a big shriek and we will all hide under a blanket.

IMG_0561He also still loves to stand on his head,

IMG_1145And make us laugh all the time.

IMG_1143Dancing also remains at the top of his favorite things list.

IMG_1216As does doing whatever Jude is.

IMG_1229Toby continues to have an extremely stubborn personality but we love how he knows exactly what he wants.

IMG_1344Our little Toby has really blossomed this month.

IMG_1336

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.

IMG_9185

IMG_9339

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.

IMG_9349

IMG_9413

IMG_5846

IMG_8978

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!

IMG_5863

Recovering From Our Busy Weekend

We had a really busy weekend over here and are in need of another weekend to recover!

We’ve been trying to go out at least one night every week on a date and so on Friday night we started with a drink and appetizer at a bar and then headed to a Szechuan place for dinner.

IMG_4037

At the restaurant we chose the two person set menu and asked our waiter to recommend which dishes to have for each course. The menu was all in Chinese as was everything our waiter said  and we weren’t familiar with some of the dishes he recommended. The first dish that came out we knew was going to be pork based but neither of us were quite sure what exactly it was.

IMG_4041

I tried it but wasn’t a fan. The sauce was nice and the texture was chewy but I couldn’t help but think that it might possibly be pig intestines. The remaining dishes were thankfully all familiar to us.

IMG_4048

We slowly scoffed them down in between big gulps of water as Szechuan food is mouth-numbingly spicy!

Saturday I was up early cleaning the house and making carmel corn. My friends were throwing me a baby shower, held at my house, and the carmel corn was to put in favors for the guests.

IMG_4054

We had a great time and I will post about it as soon as I get the photos my friend took of it.

Then on Sunday we had our first birth class. We’ll be doing four in total over the next few weeks. The first class in the series covered the ins and outs of going into labor. We both found the class really informative and are glad to have signed-up. It certainly makes us feel as though we are a bit better prepared for the big day. After class I was ready to collapse from exhaustion but couldn’t as we still had one more engagement plus a night of Chinese study ahead.

Our Taiwanese friends wanted to take us out to a hot pot lunch to celebrate the Chinese New Year and  the pending arrival or our new addition. They both can speak pretty darn good English but Luke and I are always keen to practice our Chinese so I spent the lunch exhausting myself even more as I searched for the right words and grammar patterns to use.

The food at the hot pot restaurant was excellent. We’re both big fans of this style of interactive eating.

IMG_0773

IMG_0776

IMG_0774

IMG_4093This week I plan to take it easy. I’m 31 weeks pregnant and feeling the effects of carrying around the extra 20 pounds. ‘Pregnancy brain’ is also starting to kick in (I think mostly due  to being so tired!).

IMG_3981