Sunday, May 25, 2008

last couple of weeks in Taiwan

Sadie blowing raspberries:

Sadie, 7 months, blowing raspberries

My family took me on a hike for Mother's Day. Jonas found a friendly walking stick:

Mother's Day Hike 2008

Big mossy stone walls make me happy.

Mother's Day Hike 2008

So do Banyan tree roots taking over walls:

Mother's Day Hike 2008

It was really pretty.

Mother's Day Hike 2008

Even the chemically altered PVC pipes had a certain beauty:

Mother's Day Hike 2008

Large boulders demand that you jump across them:

Mother's Day Hike 2008

Cute babies demand that you say, "ah boo!":

Mother's Day Hike 2008

Lots more photos at my Flickr page, click on the photos above to get there.

I will have to post another time about our upcoming move (next week). I'm still a little stunned and can barely think of all the things about Taiwan that I will miss - the singing garbage trucks, the bad english signs, all the friendly people.... I think it will take some time to process. But we will soon see most of you stateside!

Oh, and here is some video of Jonas playing with M and Luo Szi Shiang. I love it. They are doing what 6 year olds everywhere do: negotiating the rules of the game. You'll also get a glimpse of our gardener, because god forbid we actually do our own gardening of our 1/10 acre yard. There's another, shorter video at my dropshots page (right here)


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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

spring

Lots of happenings around here. In early March, we moved from #25 to #15. It's a wonderfully bright and airy house, with enough space for everybody, and Peter's office, as well.

We also have a very charming front yard. Here's the banyan tree at sunset (if you could walk up to the little wall behind it, you'd look 25 feet straight down to the alley below):

Banyan tree in our front yard

This is what it must be like to be 3:

Ada, 3 1/2

Little miss happy and little miss calm on the new couch we had made:

Ada, 3 1/2, and Sadie, 5 months

Taiwan gothic:

Taiwan gothic

Jonas is so amazing with Sadie!

Jonas and Sadie love each other

The kids' school had a sports day, where Jonas ran in the relay for his class. He comes by it honestly.

Jonas' sports day relay

Ada had a ballet recital. Here she is waiting to go on. This is all the audience saw of her, too, because she refused to dance and only wanted to look at me backstage the whole time!

Ada's ballet recital

Sadie has a neck ring that she got as a gift. These things are kind of popular here...it's kind of neat.

Sadie, Ada and Jonas

Sadie is already turning 7 months old this week! She's been sitting up for a good month now. I like to call this "puppy dog phase":

Sadie, 6 months, puppy-dog phase

She's such a dear!

Sadie, 6 months

There are lots more pictures of Sadie, as well as some shots of our weekend at Camp Taiwan at Flickr - just click on any of the pictures above to go to my page there.

Here's Jonas on the zip wire at Camp Taiwan - it took him 2 days to work up the nerve, but when he finally wanted to, he REALLY wanted to! This is his 3rd time:


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And here it is, your moment of zen. Welcome to life as a student in Taiwan! These are the hired 'sports' coordinators for the kids' sports day.


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(there are a couple of other new videos up here, at Dropshots)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Alishan

Over Chinese New Year, we decided to make a little trip down to Mt. Alishan and enjoy for the first time the new high-speed train that runs down the west side of Taiwan. Peter's mom was visiting and came along.

Here we are on the train:

Judy, Ada, me, Sadie, Jonas

And voila, a several-hour car trip turned into a one-hour train trip. We decided to stay the night at the foot of the mountain, in Chiayi. Oops, I screwed up the hotel reservations and got us 2 rooms at a remote love motel instead of a normal hotel in town. Fortunately, they didn't give us the hourly rate. Here we are, happy love motel occupants (the garage doors are for privacy, you just drive straight into your room and close the door, basically, and nobody can see what mistress you are with today. Your room number flashes as you drive up to it):

Happy Love Motel occupants.

This proved to me what a good sport my mother-in-law is. The next morning, we took the train up the mountain. This train is one of only three steep-grade alpine trains in the world. It goes very slowly and takes over 3 hours. At the top, when it gets very steep, the train has to keep stopping and changing tracks as it switchbacks up the mountain.

The back of the alpine train upward to Alishan.

The kids did very well on the long train ride, although none of us properly anticipated the quick change in temperature.

Things to do on the alpine train, part 1. Listen to audiobooks with Yaya:

Things to do on the alpine train 1

Things to do on the alpine train, part 2. Read your Highlights magazine:

Things to do on the alpine train 2

Things to do on the alpine train, part 3. Play with the baby:

Things to do on the alpine train 3

Things to do on the alpine train, part 4. Meditate:

Things to do on the alpine train 4

Things to do on the alpine train, parts 5 and 6. Draw. Look out the window:

Things to do on the alpine train 5,6

What you see at little stops on the mountain:

At a little stop on Alishan.

Other tourists (everybody pick up your chopsticks on the count of three...):

Bento lunches

At the top, we stayed in a nice, normal hotel and went for a little hike into the sacred tree forest, where there are several trees over 1,000 years old. We saw one that was 2,000 years old. They are spectacular and do, indeed, feel very sacred. We didn't take our camera in, so we will just have to remember it as it was - misty, fresh, green and wise.

Here are some kid photos for the grandparents:

Sadie in the best baby invention ever, the Bumbo chair. It's dipped down in the middle, so she's kind of stuck in there.

Sadie, 4 months

Sadie absolutely adores Jonas. He can make her smile in the most dire of circumstances.

Sadie, 4 months, Jonas, 6

Ada and Sadie. This gives the impression that all we ever do is put Sadie in the Bumbo chair.

Sadie, 4 months, and Ada, 3

More photos at my Flickr page, just click on any of these photos to get there.

Monday, February 25, 2008

simply sadie at 4 months

We still can't find the cable for the camera, but we bought a nifty little memory stick reader that does the trick. I'm starting to sort through our (by now) 400 photos of the last couple of months. It's a little mind-numbing, so I'll just start with something simple and post some more later. Several more photos like this are at my Flickr page.

Sadie 4 months

Here is what you get at 4 months. Peaceful fun.

Video of Sadie at 4 months.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

no photos yet

We've lost the cable to our camera, so the 394 photos that are currently on the memory card will have to wait to be uploaded. It's too bad, because there are some pretty cute ones of big old Sadie, who is so tubby and solid now. Her wrists are so fat that they overflow onto her dainty little hands. She sits right up (and promptly falls right over) with such a straight back, grabbing at anything in sight. She is only 4 months old but is feeling so much older to me. She honestly seems to be ready to eat solid food, something I never would have done with the other two kids. But she's just so . . . hungry. I fed her some mashed banana twice this week and she devoured it.

My favorite thing about Sadie is that she is deeply interested in absolutely everything. She loves to be carried around the house on my left hip as I try to get things done, and she very intently observes every detail. If I look at her, or we pass by a mirror, she smiles with her whole body, kicking her legs and flailing her arms.

My other favorite thing about Sadie is how she watches the kids. They run, dance, wrestle around her while she sits up and watches them with a surprised smile on her face, seemingly saying, "well, now this is turning out to be fun after all!"

Meanwhile, the other two provide their own forms of entertainment. One day we were standing in the kitchen and I announced that we had to get ready to go to gymnastics. Ada, in her typical exuberant, hard-of-hearing way, bounced up and down and shouted, "YAY!!!! WE GO TO GYMNASTICS!!!! JONAS, WE GO TO GYMNASTICS!!!!"

Jonas, who was standing 3 inches from her and who has amazingly sensitive hearing, slouched over with a grumpy look and said, "I know, Ada. And anyways, you must like exclamation points or something." He's a little sensitive, but he's so literate about it.

Another day, I was sitting on the couch with Sadie while Jonas was playing with his yo-yo next to us. As he casually tossed his yo-yo up and down, he said, "Do you know what country I want to go to the most?"

I couldn't imagine.

"Brazil. Mom, to get to Brazil from Taiwan, all you have to do is first go to Russia, then over to Pompeii, then down to Africa, then across the ocean to Brazil."

That's all you have to do.

Ada wants what Jonas is getting. Jonas got it in his head that he had to have a pair of Puma's. So he used his red envelope money from Chinese New Year on a pair of white and gold (!) Puma's. (which are great because now he is forced to tie his shoes everyday) Ada had to have the same thing, so now she has (velcro-closure) Puma's in pink.

And tonight, I asked him where he wants to spend his 150NT (US$5) that he got from Grandma and Grandpa for Valentine's Day. Without missing a beat, he said he wanted to buy some of those swimming gloves that are webbed like a duck's foot. Okay, we haven't been seriously swimming in 6 months and I have no idea where he ever saw those or even how they popped into his head, but...okay. Then I asked Ada what she wants to buy with her money. She said, "a duck!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

December in our house

Sadie is 10 weeks old and she is a big smiler!

Sadie 10 weeks.

Sadie 10 weeks.

She's gaining a lot of weight, but I think most of it is in her cheeks.

Sadie 10 weeks.

In other news, Jonas found a beetle by the garden up the alley. He brought it home and it ate some spinach. It got cuddled a lot. Then we let it go in the yard.

Jonas and beetle

We also went to the beach on a balmy December day.

Ada at JinShan beach

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Grandma and Grandpa G's visit

We had a fun visit here with my parents for the last 2 weeks. We all miss Grandma and Grandpa G very much! Here are a few shots from their time here (as usual, there are more photos at my Flickr account, just click on any of these photos to get there):

Jonas doing magic tricks after dinner:
Jonas doing magic tricks after dinner

Sadie smiling with Grandma G:
Sadie smiling with Grandma G

Grandpa G enjoying Ada and Sadie:
Grandpa G, Ada and Sadie

A lot of books were read these 2 weeks:
Books with Grandpa and Grandma G

Sadie snuggled up in Grandma G's arms at the park:
Sadie snuggled up with Grandma G

Jonas and Ada cracking each other up at the park:
Jonas and Ada

Jonas drinking Aquarius after soccer practice:
Jonas and Aquarius

Sadie at Jonas' soccer practice:
Sadie, 6 weeks

Sadie at 7 weeks:
Sadie, 7 weeks

The only family photo we've ever managed where everybody is at least looking at the camera happened to be taken in the food court at Taipei 101:
Our family at Taipei 101 food court