Saturday, March 31, 2012

To the park

The apartment Krista and I lived in last year was located near a soon-to-be-developed area. From our 8th story windows, we could see the grid like shape of a future neighborhood. The nice thing for us is that a practice that I have observed several times in Taiwan took place; before the new buildings are constructed the greenways are put in. This left us with a nice park to visit without hordes of people living in the area. Since the end of last school year, construction has picked up with a frenzy. Driving through the area is increasingly different as tall housing complexes are put in. Concrete trucks line the roads waiting their turn to pour foundation. But, the park is still a nice place and we took advantage of a recent sunny day to get the girls out in the grass.

Getting a little snack on the park bench.

Looking for critters

um, what happened?

The last 12 hours have been surreal. Last night, the girls put up a joint protest of going to sleep. Immediately after their baths they both exploded into a chorus of screams and yells. The energy expenditure of their protests must have been quite high because both fell asleep. By 7:00 Krista and I were enjoying dinner together, followed by some down time and we went to bed. Sweet, sweet sleep followed. Sage did not stir until 2:30 and Xian slept her first night through (all the way until 5:00!).

This morning, I took Xian and Audrey out for a quick walk, Krista gave Sage a 5:30 feed and by 7:00 am both girls were back asleep and we were sitting together drinking a cup of coffee. Amazing.

ps - the rest of the day was like being in the middle of a panic zone. Can't win 'em all.

Friday, March 30, 2012

to the beach (Jhunan)

Weather-wise, Spring Break has felt like a slice of summer. Blue skies have allowed the sun to bake quite warm each today so we decided to take our first outing to the beach with both girls. Living on the west side of Taiwan, the beach options are not that great. Unless at the extreme north or south, the option is Taiwanese Strait or Taiwanese Strait. Compared to sandy North Carolina or rugged Pacific Northwest beaches, swimming in the strait has a lot to be desired. But, with it being the only option, we headed north for an hour or so to the beach of Jhunan.

Freeway driving is awesome - both girls fall asleep to the sweet hum of the engine (driving in traffic is another story - do all babies hate red lights?). When we got to our destination the girls were still asleep so we gathered up everything and waited. Jhunan has a nice feel to it. The access point we go to has a small windsurfing/kiting store and there is typically a lot of activity. Today was a sunny, calm day and almost empty of other people.

This guy is always here...

The girls finally woke up so we headed towards the beach. A trail, which is shaded, runs parallel to the ocean.
a tiny temple on the way to the beach
Feeding time was on us - with two girls on different eating routines it seems like we are always getting ready to feed someone - so Krista fed Xian while Sage and I attempted to identify some of the coastal trees. She seemed to be more interesting in grasping leaves and holding tight (yep, she is in the grab hold of everything phase).

Sage is sporting the new bonnet Krista made for her. 
Walking along the coastal trail was oddly satisfying in that there was barely a foot of elevation change. Our daily walk has some short but steep ones. Our destination was a butterfly garden and as we approached the air filled with several but the actual garden was closed. Finally, the big event - putting toes into the water. Would it be a success or not? We didn't want to have the girls out in the sun for more than a few moments so it was truly a dash to the beach to see the water, let Audrey get some swimming in and test out the waters. Halfway down the dune, Sage's feeding time struck with her "I'm hungry" cough so Krista began juggling formula as I handled the stroller (not designed for sand), Xian and Audrey with her awful choice of stick.

The day was of the type that gives surfers nightmares. Flat, flat, flat with barely a breaker in sight. Perfect for tiny little toes. At first, Xian seemed ok with the water but as some of the water ran up her leg she quickly changed her mind.

Back across the sand flats, up the dune and into the shade we returned. Little tester-trips like this are important to figure out what works and what does not. We left with a solid list of to-do-better-next-time items.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Downtown Park outing

Downtown Taichung has some nice green spaces. The National Science Museum in Taichung is linked to the Art Museum by a long green way with a few larger parks in between. On a sunny day, all sorts of people can be found riding bikes, doing yoga in the park (typically Westerners), walking dogs and exploring with small children. I am always astounded by the number of families out and about. Taiwan gripes about its low birthrate but I have never been in a place where I see so many families and small children outside. Is it the warmer weather? A general sense of security? Who knows, but outside spaces always seem to be teeming with wee ones. We profited from one of our sunny spring break days to go outside and join the throngs.

Xian loving the park.
Sage (not too fond of wind) & Krista

Goodbye Mom & Dad

For the first time in three months, Krista and I are home alone with Xian and Sage. Audrey helps to direct us but otherwise we are completely in charge. The past three months have had wonderful visits from Krista's mom (just as Sage was born through her first month) and then my parents visited for the last two months. It was as if we had magic elves in the house. Laundry? Poof- there it was all nice and clean. Food - let's gain back some of the pounds and pounds that we've lost over the last month. Baby care - sure. So - next time you all toast, raise your glasses to amazing family help everywhere. Thanks!

Ole Far reads with Xian

Grandmere avec Sage

Pomelo Blossoms

Spring is quickly taking hold of our local area as birds become more active and the many fruit trees spring to life. On a recent walk, the overwhelming aroma of pomelo blossoms took us on a different path than normal.

At the top of the hill on this path, a Buddhist temple overlooks the river valley. Sage, in one of her first stroller rides, hangs out in the precious shade after the warm walk.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

March 24, 2012
Happy Anniversary to my sweet heart. Two years ago we profited from the loveliness known as Spring Break by dashing to Las Vegas and getting married. Thanks Elvis!
After our wedding, we meandered down into a side branch of the Grand Canyon for an amazing week.
Havasu Falls

Since then, we've left our home in Portland - missing all of you back there! - and moved to Taichung, Taiwan. Side trips to Thailand, 
and Europe (Kos, Greece) seemed to keep us plenty busy.

But Year two ended with lots of extra excitement. 10.4.11 - Xian Odile

1.3.12 - Sage Lynn

So, dare I ask, "What's next?"

Monday, March 12, 2012

2+3+4+5= 4

Over the weekend, a friend from the states arrived with her angelic 3 month old. Seizing the opportunity, we invited another friend, her husband, and their darling 4 month old to join us for lunch. So it came to be-the picture below-a two month old, three month old, four month old and five month old all in a row.

pictured from left to right:
Frank and baby Sage
Ole Far and baby Marie
Jeremiah and baby Tegan
Krista and baby Xian