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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!


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!


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!


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!

Our Weekend

This weekend we experienced a nice balance of relaxation and productivity. Saturday morning began with a delicious crepes breakfast.  It was grey and drizzly outside, so most of the day was spent snuggled up on the couch, playing with Isla, skyping with family, and editing photos.

March08Isla_0001March08Isla_0002March08Isla_0004Oh my goodness, she looks like such a big girl here!

March08Isla_0003Love these silly faces!

March08Isla_0005March08Isla_0006Skyping with cousin Waverly, Uncle Chris and Auntie Cheryl.March08Isla_0010March08Isla_0008March08Isla_0007March08Isla_0009March08Isla_0012Spending a little QT with Sophie the GiraffeMarch08Isla_0013March08Isla_0011March08Isla_0014Now we’re ready for a little play mat time…March08Isla_0015March08Isla_0016And now, a little siesta!

March08Isla_0017March08Isla_0018Rejuvenated from her nap, and ready for more Sophie!March08Isla_0019Isla is really starting to master some of her motor skills and was able to pick Sophie up and hold onto her all by herself while she gave her gums a good workout.March08Isla_0020March08Isla_0021

In the afternoon the weather cleared up, so we enjoyed a long walk around our neighborhood. Oh, I am SO excited for warmer weather so we can take more walks! That evening we snuggled up in bed and watched The Dallas Buyer’s Club. Wow, what a powerful movie!

On Sunday we had a family photo shoot with our friends, Dan, Katie, and Ellie. Isla, our wonderful little assistant, came along and she had so much fun playing with Ellie and all her cool toys. I foresee a bouncer somewhere in our near future.


I was introduced to cheese-stuffed naan (where have you been all my life?!) during our delicious Indian lunch down at the Cool Docks, and then we made our way down to The Bund for a few final photos. Within moments of arriving, people swarmed around us, excitedly shouting “Piàoliang bǎobèi” (beautiful baby) as they pulled out their phones and to snap photos of Isla. It was absolutely unreal! At times there were so many people around Isaac and Isla that I couldn’t see them! Isla handled the crowds really well, staring back with wide-eyed fascination and even offered up a few smiles, which as you can probably guess, elicited more giddy squeals from her admirers.

March09Isla_0003March09Isla_0004March09Isla_0005March09Isla_0006March09Isla_0007March09Isla_0008March09Isla_0009March09Isla_0010I couldn’t resist getting a shot of this little cutie!

Claire Bear - March 10, 2014 - 7:12 am


Jan Crocker LaRocca - March 10, 2014 - 11:57 am

Loved sharing your weekend in photos ….and the Skype too :) xoxo

Jan Crocker LaRocca - March 10, 2014 - 11:58 am

The large black and white on the play mat just wipes me out :)

Giane Atallah Lamb - March 10, 2014 - 1:32 pm

Oh my goodness, she’s edible! ADORABLE!!

Louise Fisk - March 11, 2014 - 2:55 am

beautiful photo’s of Isla x

Karen Minton - March 11, 2014 - 5:18 am

You can call me Aunt Karen too ! You can call me Mom, I like that a lot !
Thank you for all the pictures, they are super !

Sandy Marshall - March 15, 2014 - 3:14 pm

So precious seeing Isla and Waverly having some baby talk time!! Can’t wait for beach time with all the girls….some precious time with the cousins! <3

Weeks 10-19

Isla turned 20 weeks on Thursday. 20 weeks! How is that even possible?! Our sweet little pumpkin has been growing and changing like crazy. New skills and behaviors seem to develop overnight, and it is so much fun to witness her sweet personality evolve. I’ve been making sure to take notes of all of her weekly changes…


Week 10

- Our strong girl is trying to sit up by herself

- Isla has discovered how to make raspberries, and thinks that “thpppt” sound is hilarious

- Drooling and hand-chewing has begun


Week 11

- Isla is now wearing 6 MONTH jammies! While she still fits in 3 month clothes, her long legs and feet require more room in the “footed” variety.


Week 12

- Isla wants to be standing a lot

- Bubbles, drool, and raspberries are happening CONSTANTLY

- Our sweet girl is big enough to sit up in her bumbo seat now, and is also enjoying regular exercise time on her play mat


Week 13

- Isla had her first big belly laugh while playing with Daddy. It was amazing!!! I cannot wait for more of these.

- Baby Girl is starting to appreciate songs and rhymes. She squeals in anticipation when the “itsy bitsy spider” gets close to her neck. She also giggles when we play patty cake and sing, If You’re Happy and You Know it- the stomp your feet bit is her favorite!

- The increase in drool now requires Isla to wear a bib so that the front of her onesies aren’t always soaked… ew.


Week 14

- Little Muscles can now hold onto my fingers and pull herself into seated and standing positions!

- Isla began reaching out for toys on her play mat this week.


Week 15

- Isla has started responding to her name.

- She is starting to reach out and try to touch things a bit with her hands, such as the cats, but luckily she hasn’t become too grabby yet.

- We have a little book worm! YES! Isla loves to look at her I Love You book, and squeals excitedly when we read it to her.

- While playing on her blanket, Isla has started experiment with the idea of rolling over. She keeps getting stuck on her arm, but she’s making a definite effort!

- This week (February 2nd, 2014) Isla’s tootsies took their first dip in the Ocean, on Takapuna Beach in New Zealand. The water was pretty chilly, but Isla was completely mesmerized by the waves washing onto the shore.


Week 16- Lots of big changes this week!

- Happy Baby has arrived… our little yogi has begun grabbing her feet and is perfecting the pose. She is so obsessed with the foot-grabbing that she even does it while nursing!

- Isla’s sounds have started to change, and instead of agoo’s she has begun stringing together all sorts of sounds

- The hand chewing is even more intense now, and Isla has now graduated to gnawing on Mommy’s fingers. She attacks them like a ravenous dog- hilarious! I can’t feel any teeth yet, but she is clearly preparing herself for them.

- Isla is very interested in her books and enjoys reading with us. She has started to reach out and touch the pages of her books.

- While I think Isla has known who we are for quite some time, there is no doubt now. She sees us, her face lights up, and then we melt.


Week 17

- Our little animal lover has taken a special interest in the cats this week, especially Safa. She watches them with wide-eyed fascination, and reaches out to touch them (she’s only pulled one or two fistfuls of fur). Needless to say, the boys are a little more weary of her now.

- Our little talker continues to babble and come up with all new sounds. Her volume has started to increase as well!

- Isla still isn’t grabbing at things much, but she is definitely becoming more tactile. In addition to cat fur, she has found an interest in touching fabrics, like her blankets and burp rags. She runs her hands over them, and then snuggles them up against her face when she is tired. SO sweet!


Week 18

- Isla’s little abs are getting stronger, as she continues to try and sit up by pulling her head forward

- Isla dramatically drapes her arms over her face now while nursing. I think she may do it to help tune out the surrounding stimuli, as she is starting to become distracted by talking, the television, etc. while she eats.

- Isla now greets Mom and Dad with giant gummy smiles (my favorite!) and sometimes even happy squeals. It is amazing!

- Isla has been developing more of a routine and is definitely ready for bed by 7:30pm each night

Our tall girl had her 4 month check up this week. She is 25 inches long (63.5 cm) and is in the 75th percentile for height. She weighs 14.3lbs (6.5 kg) and is in the 50th percentile for weight.


Week 19

- Baby girl is definitely having a growth spurt this week! She is now drinking 6.5 oz bottles during the day, and is spending a lot of time sleeping. However, when she is awake, she is very active and is much stronger during her tummy time. It won’t be long now before this kiddo rolls over on her own.

- Isla’s grip and gross motor skills are improving, and she loves to hold on to her pacifier strap. She is also beginning to grip teething rings on her own while she chews on them. She seems to pull everything (fingers, teething rings, burp clothes) into her mouth these days.

- Isla now has 3 little rolls on each thigh- adorable doesn’t even begin to describe those legs!

Carla Stokes - March 8, 2014 - 4:42 am

Love the updates . She is SUCH a sweetie.

Baby Bear

I first saw this insanely cute knit bear hat at H&M in Shanghai, but did not purchase it. I then experienced a major case of non-buyer’s remorse. So, you can imagine my delight upon finding the same sweet hat when we were doing some last minute Christmas shopping at home in Oregon! Isla has pretty much worn this hat every day since. I absolutely love her in it! Isla is growing fast and warmer weather is coming, so we won’t get to enjoy this baby bear look much longer…

BabyBear_0001BabyBear_0002BabyBear_0003BabyBear_0004And with that, tummy time is over.

BabyBear_0005Snuggled up with Daddy and all is right with the world again.


BabyBear_0007BabyBear_0008BabyBear_0009Oh, this girl.

My heart turns to mush every time I look at this…BabyBear_0010

Michele Martin - March 6, 2014 - 3:32 am

Adorable doesn’t cover it. We need a new word for how darn cute she is.

Terri McKee - March 6, 2014 - 3:37 am

I would not call her cute…she is strikingly precious….how’s that one!

Claire Bear - March 6, 2014 - 4:19 am

OMG!!!!! I am in love with this photo sequence!! SUCH talent in the Marshall family (phenomenal photographers and darn good genes)! <3

Tamara Conneely - March 6, 2014 - 6:08 am

Too much cuteness!!! She is adorable! As always, amazing job capturing all emotions!!

Jan Crocker LaRocca - March 6, 2014 - 9:27 am

Love, love, love.

Kelli Griffin - March 6, 2014 - 1:26 pm

Love these pics! She is such a cutie pie!!!! You guys do a great job capturing these moments!!

Kelli Griffin - March 6, 2014 - 1:26 pm

Love these pics! She is such a cutie pie!!!! You guys do a great job capturing these moments!!

Ronnie Schechter - March 6, 2014 - 2:40 pm

Beautiful adorable enjoyed so muchxo

Rich Longley - March 6, 2014 - 4:16 pm

What a cutie

Linda Tucker - March 8, 2014 - 1:36 am

It is the baby that makes the hat look cute not the other way around! What a beauty is Isla!