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Nana and Papa’s Asian Adventure Part 1: Bangkok, Thailand

Rewinding the clock a bit to this past March and April… During the first few days of our Spring Break we attended the EARCOS Educators conference in Bangkok. Nana Sandy and Papa Rich decided to join us, so they hopped over the Pacific for a little Asian adventure. Hooray! We spent just over a week in Thailand together before heading back to Shanghai to share a little of our life in China with them.

Unfortunately, our Thailand trip started off a little rocky for Isla and Mommy, as we both had Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Boooooooo! Isla worked through the worst of her illness a few days before our trip, but a 101F fever and miserable sore throat took hold of me just before boarding the plane. Not fun at all. We were incredibly thankful to Nana and Papa for taking such excellent care of Isla for those first few days while I rested and Daddy attended the conference. Luckily, I was beginning to feel better in time to attend the back half of the conference. We didn’t do as much exploring around Bangkok as we’d hoped to, but we were still able to enjoy some foot massages and share a few of  our favorite little spots with Rich, Sandy and Isla. Watching them experience the smell, the heat, the grit that is Bangkok was absolutely priceless… man, we love that city!

140329Bangkok001One afternoon we girls hung near the hotel and enjoyed a relaxing lunch, while Rich and Isaac took a boat trip up the Chao Phraya River. They visited several temples and a floating market. Rich experienced his first persistent Asian hawker chasing him down the road in an attempt to sell him some golden trinket, and Isaac was all smiles recounting the story to us later that evening.

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Happy Birthday, Isaac!

Oh, once again life has been busy and blogging has taken a back seat… so much to catch up on! But, today I want to wish my incredible, loving, talented, handsome, sweet, thoughtful, and downright amazing hubby a very happy 34th birthday!!! Isaac, you are truly the most wonderful person I know. Your loving heart and thoughtfulness never cease to amaze and inspire me. What an incredible example you are to everyone around you, including our beautiful Isla. My eyes well with tears just thinking about how fortunate she is to have you for a father… talk about the luckiest girl in the world, well, maybe second luckiest behind her momma, who gets the opportunity to love and spend each day with you both!!! Happy birthday, sweetie! It’s amazing to think that this is the 15th birthday I’ve celebrated with you! Where does the time go?! I can’t wait to celebrate many, many more by your side.

This year, Isla and I went with an art theme for Isaac’s birthday gifts. I whipped up some baby safe paint and Isla created her first painting. I photographed her entire creative process, which included not only painting the paper, but herself and the floor… and once she was satisfied with her masterpiece, she decided to sample the paint. I framed a photo of Isla creating the painting along with the painting (thank you Pinterest for that gem of an idea!). I then put the rest of the images together in a book for Isaac. I have been dying to share these images with him, and with you! Here are some favorites…

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Megan O'Kelley - May 27, 2014 - 11:18 pm

Great idea! Your daughter is such a cutie!

Jan Crocker LaRocca - May 28, 2014 - 4:57 am

Love it – just burst out laughing at a few of the photos. xoxox

Donna Jean McDaniel - May 28, 2014 - 6:18 pm

Now that is free style at its best. Happy Happy to you all

Sunshine All Around

Shanghai has been treated to brilliant blue skies and lots of sunshine the past two weekends. For this, we are thankful, and also hopeful that the dreary grey of winter is behind us for the year.

We have enjoyed several leisurely afternoons in our backyard, and Isla loves being outside! She listens intently to the chatter of birds, and has explored the budding branches of our cherry tree from atop her daddy’s shoulders.

March16Isla_0002March16Isla_0003March16Isla_0004March16Isla_0005Isla is fascinated with her daddy’s hair. The minute he puts her on his shoulders she clamps her hands into his hair, just like a little monkey!March16Isla_0006March16Isla_0008March16Isla_0007March16Isla_0009March16Isla_0010March16Isla_0011March16Isla_0012March16Isla_0013March16Isla_0014March16Isla_0015March16Isla_0016I sure do hope we’ll have plenty more opportunities to spend outside in our backyard before the humidity spikes and the mosquitoes return.

Speaking of humidity and mosquitoes, we’re heading to Thailand this evening for our Spring Break! And while both humidity and mosquitoes exist in Thailand, it remains one of our favorite countries. In fact, this will be our 7th visit! We are attending the EARCOS teaching conference in Bangkok, and then spending five days relaxing poolside at our favorite little oasis in Phuket. Isaac’s parents will be joining us, and we are very excited to share this adventure with them. This will be Isla’s first tropical vacation, and we cannot wait to introduce her to our beloved Thailand… I suspect we’ll share many happy adventures there together in the years to come. In anticipation of our trip, I’ve tried all of Isla’s swimsuits on her, as well as purchased baby sunglasses, sun hats, and a swim floaty for the pool! We are counting the minutes. Bring on Spring Break!

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Susan Wagoner - March 26, 2014 - 6:39 am

Wonderful pics – I don’t know who is more lucky – that darling little girl or her proud parents! You’re enjoying every moment!

Tonhya Wysong - April 10, 2014 - 9:52 pm

Goodness she is SOOOO stinkin’ cute!!! And by the way, these photos look amazing! :)

Hitting the 5 Month Mark: Weeks 20-21

Isla turned 5 months on St. Patrick’s Day, and our little lucky charm is full of great new tricks!

Week 20 saw Isla’s motor skill development take off, as she is now becoming much more aware of her hands and their ability to do things. We often catch her holding a hand out in front of her eyes, scowling in deep contemplation, as she slowly turns the hand back and forth. It’s a hoot! Isla is grasping items with greater control and accuracy, and I think I’ve even caught a little twinkle of pride in her eyes each time she successfully picks up her pacifier and maneuvers it into her mouth. While she doesn’t always get the pacifier in correctly on the first try, she is definitely mastering the “picking it up and moving it to her mouth” movement- Sophie the giraffe, the teething rings, and Isla’s burp cloths can also attest to her proficiency in this skill!

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Sometimes, however, no toy or teether will do the trick, and Isla simply wants to suck on her hands. She seems to favor her thumb or index finger, and she bends her wrist backwards, so that the finger points upwards. It’s so cute I can hardly stand it!

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Isla also discovered her volume dial this week, and figured out how to crank it up! She has enjoyed experimenting with a range of new volumes and pitches, and she seems especially proud of startling her mom and dad with her big squawks. Cheeky little monkey…

Week 21 saw Isla perfecting many of her newly acquired skills, and she is really sucking on her thumb now. I just haven’t managed to capture a photo of it yet. Additionally, she has found that if she leans forward onto her thighs, she can balance herself in a seated position for a few seconds at a time.

This week we were gifted a new exersaucer (thanks, Anne!) and Isla is loving it. She has carefully explored and tested each of the spinning and squeaking mechanisms, but is most entertained with the little mirror. I didn’t realize the mirror was there at first, but noticed that she kept smiling, babbling and leaning her face way forward towards one specific spot on the tray. Can’t blame Baby Girl though, she’s my favorite thing to look at too!