Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bird Bread & Dresses

While I was growing up, Easter Sunday involved an early wake up to catch the sun as it rose out of the Atlantic Ocean over Wrightsville Beach. Some years were glorious while others merely hinted at the big ball of fire hidden behind the clouds. Regardless, I enjoyed the time on the beach as the day dawned. On the way home, we stopped by Krispy Kreme (way, way before their doughnuts spread across the US) to pick up a few treats that would accompany the Colombe de Paques (known as the Bird Bread) for breakfast.  

In Taichung, we are on the wrong side of the mountains and Krispy Kreme has not yet invaded so the girls cannot have the full tradition but they did sit down to devour the bird bread. Yep, Uncle Jeremie would be proud in the amounts of bread each girl tucked away.

The girls also modeled dresses over the weekend...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Break begins

Hello Spring Break! Krista and I are in the middle of a two-week break from school. This first week zoomed by as we began preparations for our move to Beijing. While the girls continued to go to school, we sorted through stuff and decided what would travel to the States for the summer, get stored and then shipped to Beijing or stay in Taiwan. We've also had some welcome relaxation and fun times with the girls.

A trip to the park...

Shopping - Next week we leave for the Philippines for a short week of fun in the sun. Both girls were in need of sunglasses and shoes for the trip. Here, Xian modeled her new look as she strutted down the aisles of a store. (Note that the shoes were attached. This didn't bother her as she took off. Aah, the look on the faces of other shoppers was amazing.)

Sage realized that the phone can be a lot of fun and tries to get one anytime she can. I guess she is a busy girl!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another year flashes by...

March 24, 2013

Though the photo was taken only three years ago, it is amazing what has happened over the past few years. Last year, our Anniversary post gave a quick recap of past events and this year has also enjoyed its share of good times. The big push in the early part of our year was finalizing the adoption of the girls. The days were a bit stressful as the clock ticked closer to our summer trip and the girls remained passport-less. Finally, the adoptions came through and we quickly processed their Taiwanese passports and visas (Xian  and Sage - both stories are slightly different...). The final toast was made in early June and we soon boarded a plane for Portland!

Summer was great. We sat in fields

visited favorite places

learned how to crawl and sit-up

and were lucky to visit lots of friends and family. Then, it was back to Taiwan for another school year. Time began flashing by as Xian turned 1 years old.

Halloween was fun. We dressed up for school and the girls went to a park.

At the same time, a big change was looming in our minds. Days in Taiwan were numbered but we didn't know what was the next step. Our resignations were turned in without future jobs. Heading into winter break, hopes were high that we would return with good news.

But first, the Winter Concert for the girls (due to our trip, we watched the dress rehearsal)

The holidays get started once we arrived in Thailand. Going south to the islands, we spent time on the beach, visited an aquarium, went swimming and watched gibbons. Who knew that vacations could be so tiring :)

Ole Far and Mamie-O joined us in Bangkok to help out with the job fair. Fortunately, we received the best news possible before the fair started. We're moving to Beijing! 

Once back in Taichung, we celebrated that Sage's birthday bell struck one.

A trip to the Taipei Zoo was a lot of fun and wrapped up the visit of Mamie-O and Ole Far.

Recently, the girls have been everywhere. Their #1 job is to explore and that is what they do. All.the.time. 

The year has been a good one and we are super excited to see what the next one will bring. Right now, the Beijing-transition is in fully operation though we are again eager for a summer trip to Portland!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Paddy's Day

Living overseas, we knew our girls would be TCK’s or Third Culture Kids. TCK’s are kiddos who live outside of their culture, or in the girls’ case, our American culture. TCK children are presented with an alternative lifestyle rich in culture and diversity, but can be lacking in a strong sense of home culture that can lead to questions of where they belong in society as they get older. In order to establish a strong home culture, we make a concerted effort to create family traditions anchored in our culture(s). 

Today was a day to celebrate Frank’s Irish roots. We dressed the girls in green with rainbow leg warmers and had a full day menu surrounding St. Patrick’s Day. I’m a sucker for anything pink and sparkly but I put all that aside today for all things green. The morning started with a snack of Lucky Charms and was rounded out with rainbow pancakes.

Lunch consisted of green pasta with bok choi. Green milk was served to the girls while Mom and Dad got green Irish adult beverages.

Dinner completed the day with individual pot pies with shamrocks gracing the top. 

The planned green m&m rainbow cookies will be cooked next weekend as the girls crashed big time in the afternoon and weren’t up for baking. 

Next up: Easter. . .

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Week in Review

The week passed without bells or whistles. The girls were generally healthy and happy so what else could we ask for. A package from GiGi (great grandmom) arrived which brought excitement. (Have we mentioned how nice it is to receive packages in the mail? :-) )

A few photos...

Xian is finally growing into her school bag but  it can be a bit heavy.

 In the States, I always had the impression of orchids being timid, fragile plants. Not so here. Though they are not parasitic, the orchids clamp on tightly to trees as they flourish in Taiwan.

Matching outfits from Gigi

Though you can't tell in this photo, Audrey got her first shave of the season this weekend. The tip of her tail is a nice tuft that immediately drew Sage's attention. Sage, who has never once pulled Audrey's tail, now attacks it trying to get the tuft.

Getting older by the day

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gone Cruising

The girls' eyes often wander over to the sweet, red ride parked across the street. They know that the cute boy with blond curls is the driver of the convertible that always has its top down. When outside, one girl will often quickly dash over for a closer look. But, will they ever get a ride?

Over the weekend, their hopes turned to reality. Asa was hanging out and invited the girls for a ride. Sage was the first one to hop in and she sported big grins as he drove her around the block.

She was so excited that when he jumped out, she made a quick get-away! Left wondering if she would get a ride, Xian started the chase to reel her sister back in.

Eventually all three piled in...

before the girls tried to make a team hijack. Unfortunately for them, their driving skills are not quite up to par and they wound up wrapped around a tree.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Surprise trip to see Family Wang

A message awaited us as we got home from the AST Cross Country Meet: Come to Puli today! Krista and I participated in the annual running event -a beautiful and challenging course - so we missed the Saturday trip to Puli to see Family Wang. A few online messages later planned out our Sunday. Waking up with Sage before the sun got our day started and we grabbed breakfast on our way out of town.  This time all five of Sage's birth siblings were present as well as her birth parents and grandmother. A few photos from the reunion (unfortunately the camera was forgotten at home so the cell phone had to do...).

Grandmother Wang and 5 of her grandchildren
Xian showing two of the sisters how to double fist
Sage doing what no one dares with her...
Puli Lake

Trying out an amusement park ride
Time to go

Until next time!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dr Seuss Day!

The bakers returned to the kitchen for another celebration! Other than being Sage's 14 month old birthday, today is Dr Seuss' birthday. The chefs rolled, sampled and pressed the base of a cat hat.

Yep, it was a long morning in our pjs!

While the cookies baked and the girls napped, Krista whipped up a batch of green deviled eggs. Little did she know that Audrey had her eye on the Seuss Day "green eggs". I heard a strange sound as I was working upstairs but by the time I realized what was happening and made it down she slurped up a half dozen eggs. Aargh! Lunch was set for the girls and now the batch of green eggs was missing. Krista zoomed out of the house to the nearest egg seller to remake the essential dish.

Green Eggs & Ham + Cat in the Hat Cookies

In honor of Seuss, the girls decided to dig into the "Cat in the Hat" cookies first but eventually made their way to the "Green Eggs and Ham".

A fistful of green eggs

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Culture Mish-mash

In Taiwan, Thursday was a national holiday so Krista and I also got Friday off. However, the girls are on the Taiwanese system so they had school on Friday (side note: the Thursday "holiday" was not really a holiday for most folks here. The day is a remembrance day but workers have to make it up on Saturday. What a rotten deal!) For the first time, we decided to drop the girls off at school so that we could have a day together.

Kids? Where?
It was our first full day alone together in almost a year and a half. It was wonderful! The High Speed Rail whisked us up to Taipei and we quickly navigated the metro system to get to the National Palace Museum.

The hectic beginning of our visit almost resulted in a u-turn to the exit. Thinking that we would not have enough time to tour the whole museum we went directly to the third floor. Whoops, tour group central and cordoned off areas made this fairly miserable. I just don't understand why people have to walk through other people. Fortunately, the floor soon opened up and we enjoyed walking through the rest of the exhibits. (No photos allowed.)

Beautiful gardens surround the museum and we spent some time wandering through them.

Noon slipped by and our stomachs began grumbling but we couldn't just stop at any little restaurant. Nope, Krista's mind was set on the newly opened Barbie Cafe. So, it was back to the metro for a few short rides.

Mural at Shilin Metro Station (for the museum)
The previous week, Krista made numerous attempts to contact the restaurant for reservations because she heard of long waits. The phone (02-27528311) buzzed the angry busy signal each time so we hoped for the best and made our way to the Sogo Department Store area of Taipei. Her directions seemed a bit odd but as we walked the pink suddenly appeared in the distance. Like a homing device, it called Krista in its direction.

Made it!

Reception - fortunately there were no long lines