Monday, January 28, 2008

Status Report

We have a status report of sorts. Island Boy was checking out Daddy's luggage this morning, so we can use the luggage as a gauge of how much our little guy has grown - not very official, but much more fun. Besides, those measurements at the doctor's offices are a bit suspect anyway, aren't they? Wiggly babies just don't make for easy or accurate measurements, so we'll go with the suitcase status report.

Just how big is he?? THIS big, according to a new Party Trick he picked up over the holidays at Grandpa's house. It goes something like what you see in this photo (although this isn't the full version of the "trick" - I'll try and post a better photo of it if I can capture one!).

Island Boy is becoming a bit like a vampire in that he is increasingly difficult to photograph. As soon as the camera (or really any electronic device) comes out, he heads for it and he is shockingly fast.

I haven't posted photos in a little while, so here are a few more random shots of our little sweetie having fun. As you can see, he loves to get into the luggage - literally!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obesity Training

I've been going to the gym again and man, it feels good!! Fortunately, my gym has a decent childcare program. Well, at least it seemed like a decent childcare program, until this last time.

First, I need to say that the "Kids Club" consists of a great little play area complete with lots of toys and typically, a friendly staff member. Often when we go, Island Boy is the only child there, and the staff members have always enjoyed spending time with him.

This past Friday, I was happy to see that there were a few other children at the Kids Club when we arrived, so we signed in and I headed off to work out. Before I even got started with my workout I was summoned back to the Kids Club. My heart raced! What could have happened so quickly? He must have fallen and hit his head. On what?! I couldn't imagine. There weren't any sharp corners for him to hit his head on, were there? By the time I had time to think all of these thoughts I was back at the Kids Club and guess what the problem was?

The two children that were in there with him were sitting in chairs up against the wall. Each had his own bag of Pirate's Booty. (Note: the Pirate's Booty was supplied by the children's parents, not by the facility.) Naturally, Island Boy was curious to see what these two were up to (not surprising since this particular staff member didn't seem very interested in actually having to interact with any of the children) and, what a surprise, these two little children didn't like it that a baby was interested in what they were doing. They didn't want to share a single bite of their giant bags of booty and I am so thankful for that.

How many things are wrong with this picture? I probably don't need to point them all out, so let me just say that I solved the "problem" by giving Island Boy a bite of banana (fresh fruit! ever heard of it??!), introducing him to a nice little girl who had just arrived and showing them both some interesting toys to play with. Island Boy had fun playing. I had a great workout and someone's kids got to eat an entire bag of Pirate's Booty each.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Remembering a Friend

A friend of ours passed away in October, but we just learned of his passing yesterday. He was a young man and his death came as a shock. Our relationship isn't one that I would describe as particularly close, although I always enjoyed talking to him. He was one of those people that you just felt good talking to every now and then, especially when the world was misbehaving in a certain way.

I remember thinking about him in November and thinking that I should call him, but I didn't get around to it. I thought about calling him again yesterday and was looking up his phone number when I found his obituary instead.

I am surprised at how much his death has affected me. I'm very sad to know that he won't be there to make me feel better in his unique way when the world is misbehaving in its. He left behind a wife and two young children and that is also very hard to think about.

Whenever someone you know dies, particularly when their death is untimely as our friend's was, you're reminded of the relationships you find precious. The death of our friend has me thinking about the people in my life that I haven't talked to for a while. Although I think of them often, I don't always do anything about it. I'm going to try to do a better job of that.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Customs and Immigration

There are a whole slew of families traveling to Taiwan to bring their children home within the next few weeks, so I wanted to share some additional travel experiences, including the all-important topic what to expect when you reach the United States.

Although we flew non-stop from Taipei to LAX, experiences entering the US via San Francisco International should be similar.

Customs was, for a change, a very smooth and welcome end to our long journey. We were actually a bit nervous, having tromped all over Vietnam and Cambodia after leaving the US for Taiwan, so we braced ourselves.

We were near the front of the new immigrant stampede, so I think the folks guiding people to the various lines identified us as parents of a newly adopted baby right away (perhaps from the "deer in the headlights" looks on our faces). We were whisked right through to the front of the line and let me tell you, it felt gooood to be whisked, especially as we looked back at the poor, tired new immigrants piling up in line behind us.

The gentleman manning our line smiled(!) at us and asked us for our paperwork. We handed over the mysterious sealed envelope that we had been given back at the American Institute in Taiwan (Note: Remember to have that thing handy! Do NOT check it in your luggage!!) and were told to go get our luggage and come back.

I held Island Boy (in the Baby Bjorn) off to the side of the luggage carousel while hubby dove in to the crowd to grab the bags. There was the part where I almost got arrested for taking a photo. Yes, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to snap a photo of hubby grabbing the bags - such a critical part of the journey as it was. The minute the camera came out, a very burly federal agent appeared and stood very, VERY close to me and ordered me to delete the photo. Yes, Sir! Consider it done, Sir! Yikes!!!

Once we had our bags, we went back to the very nice gentleman that had our paperwork. Although there were plenty of people waiting in his line and he was helping someone else at that moment, he handed us our papers, smiled and said "Welcome to the United States!". I got a chill when he said those words. It was such a thrill to be reminded how much I love this country and what a terror it was to think that the journey had just begun!

Overall, customs was really smooth and easy. If for some reason no one shows up to whisk you to the front of the line, seek out someone official looking and tell them that you have a new baby and you would like to know where the expedited line for that is. Insist on being whisked! It's one of the few opportunities for you to do that in life, so carpe diem!

p.s. Don't forget to "go" before you land! You may not have access to facilities until you make it through immigration and customs!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Chistmas Story

I have a special Christmas story I'd like to share. (I do realize it's January, but indulge me...)

One day just before Christmas, while hubby was out of the country and Island Boy and I had just returned from the emergency room, we received a package. I didn't recognize the return address, so I set it aside to open upon hubby's return.

Hubby didn't recognize the return address either, so we once again checked to be sure it was addressed to us, then eagerly opened the package, having no idea what to expect. It turns out the package was from someone whom we've never met! Although our gift giving angel is extended family of a sort, the gift was far from expected and really made our day (and possibly our entire month).

The contents of the package were as special as the idea of the gift itself. You see, our gift giving angel is a children's librarian who clearly loves her work so much that she is passionate about sharing, even outside her workplace. She shared with us a variety of books that will feed Island Boy's curiosity and development. We were thrilled to have some guidance in wading through the incredible number of children's book offerings out there (some are good, some less so and it's not easy to tell without spending hours and hours researching the darn things).

We are as grateful as can be and figure that one of the best things we can do to demonstrate our gratitude is to pass along the message:

Read to your babies and children! Visit your local library and talk to your librarians! They can open the world up for your children (and possibly even for you!).

p.s. And go send a gift to someone who isn't expecting it! :-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Suiteless in Columbus

Another "highlight" of our holiday trip was that we got a spectacular deal on a hotel through Priceline. Really, it was an unbelievable deal for a very nice hotel for our two nights in Ohio's capital city.

Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me that we might want - nay, NEED to have a suite. An easy enough mistake to make I suppose since we have never needed one before (other than for those few nights in Taiwan and that particular detail slipped my mind completely as I scored the sweet (not suite) deal). We quickly learned that a suite will now be essential for any future travel lest we all want an 8:30 bedtime complete with lights out. It's either that or lights on, normal bedtime, grumpy baby.

In the future, we'll take the suite, thanks!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Like many Americans, we spent New Year's Day in bed. However, we weren't nursing a hangover. No, we are busy battling a bug picked up as a reward for holiday travel. (It continues to amaze me that we can travel the world for weeks or even months at a time in good health, but take a domestic trip over the holidays and, in the words of Emeril, "BAM!")

In any case, we're finally well along on the road to recovery and we have some catching up to do! Island Boy had a great time in the Midwest over the holidays, playing with his cousins and spending time with his family there. It's difficult to choose just a few highlights from the trip, but I'll give it a shot.

Island Boy loved meeting his cousins. It was so sweet to see them giving each other a hug! He was also delighted with the flying pig ornament. Who wouldn't be?

Island Boy learned to navigate stairs in both directions (his previous practical experience was limited to the upward direction) since Grandma has 2 very nice easy carpeted steps separating the giant Bucket O' Toys (which doubles as a drum) from the remainder of the house. Early attempts involved a logical, yet slightly alarming head first maneuver. Since most stairs are not so head first friendly, we were pleased to see his technique evolve into a feet first method by the end of our visit.

Island Boy picked up a new part trick! I don't actually have a shot of that particular maneuver in the Christmas collection, but I promise to post one soon.

We were a little sad that we didn't have snow on Christmas Day (I LOVE a white Christmas and we almost always have one), but the weather was beautiful (although cold).

Cows!! Oh, my goodness, we saw cows!! Island Boy was SOOOO excited to see cows! He also loved crawling through the leaves (don't worry, these were not within the bovine zone).

So, there you have it...a few highlights from our holidays and Island Boy's very first Christmas.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Strangest Stranger

How weird is this?

Today hubby and I took Island Boy to the local Farmer's Market, as we often do (shockingly, our first outing of this year!). After a pleasant visit with our local farmers, we paused to enjoy the adjacent park. We all sat on the grass for a bit, Island Boy crawled around and we generally had a good time.

Until...a stranger approached. There we were sitting quietly: I, relaxing near the stroller; Island Boy not far away sitting peacefully on the grass while Daddy stood next to him. Odd Lady approached, knelt down next to Island Boy and made some little playing with baby gestures to see if she could get him to smile at her (she could not), then she reached out and...PICKED HIM UP!!! WHAT?!! What on earth could she have been thinking?! A perfect demonstration of the fact that not everyone's head works the same as mine. Daddy rapidly intervened and made it very clear that was NOT OK. Odd Lady walked away without saying a word.

We were floored. Simply floored. I mean I really cannot think of a time when anyone approached our DOGS without saying something to us and people would typically ask if they could pet our dogs. How could you possibly think it was ok to even TOUCH someone else's baby, let along PICK THEM UP?!

You just never know what to expect, do you?

Monday, January 07, 2008


If it seems like things have been a little quieter than usual over here at Island Boy, that's because we've been very very sick. Fear not, Island Boy is somehow managing far better than Mommy and Daddy. Hopefully, we'll be back to our normal chatty selves soon.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

All I Want for Christmas...

Have you heard the tune "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth"? Apparently, Island Boy had been singing it, because seemingly overnight, we noticed two adorable little crunchers popping through under his upper lip!

Oh, how thrilled we are to see him doubling his dental count yet we are simultaneously painfully aware of how quickly time passes. Before we know it, he'll have a mouth full of pearly whites and not long after that, he'll be asking for the car keys. We're trying to savor every moment.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

We're back from a holiday trip to the Midwest to introduce Island Boy to his family there. Island Boy had a great time playing with his cousins, aunts, uncles, Grandma and Grandpa and extended family. (more on that later...)

Although we're not big on resolutions, the New Year is always a time of reflection. Thoughts often turn to the kinds of things we hope for in the coming year with family and friends always foremost on our minds and a variety of thoughts around fitness, fun and finance always in the mix. This year, I am humbled by knowing that the way I choose to spend my time will help to shape the life and future of this small child.

As intimidating as that is, we'll do our best with our choices as all parents do.

More than anything this year, we hope for good health for our families and friends including you dear readers whom we've never met. Happy New Year!