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Back in Shanghai

It’s hard to believe we have begun our FOURTH year in Shanghai… how is that even possible?! Each year we find it easier and easier to adjust back to life in China, and I can say, without a doubt, that this has been the easiest transition yet. Isla is such an amazing traveler, and other than a little extra afternoon napping, made the timezone jump without any major jet lag.

140805Isla_0001Isaac received the gift of art for his birthday this past year, and a few weeks after returning to Shanghai he got his first tattoo. ATao, from Shanghai Tattoo, did a fabulous job with all of the detailed line work.140816IsaacTattoo_0001140816IsaacTattoo_0002140816IsaacTattoo_0003140816IsaacTattoo_0004140816IsaacTattoo_0005140816IsaacTattoo_0006140816IsaacTattoo_0007140816IsaacTattoo_0008140816IsaacTattoo_0009140816IsaacTattoo_0010Our friends, Mark and Rachelle, came along as part of the cheering section.

140816IsaacTattoo_0011140816IsaacTattoo_0012140816IsaacTattoo_0013140816IsaacTattoo_0014140816IsaacTattoo_0015140816IsaacTattoo_0016140816IsaacTattoo_0017Of course Isla was there to cheer Daddy on too.

140816IsaacTattoo_0018140816IsaacTattoo_0019140816IsaacTattoo_0020140816IsaacTattoo_0021140830Isla&Lucas_0001Isla quickly adapted to her weekend skype routine. She gets so excited the minute she hears the program opening, and instantly starts to wave at the screen. Nana J has enjoyed entertaining Isla with her favorite Sesame Street guitar during their chats.140830Isla&Lucas_0002140830Isla&Lucas_0003We’ve had so much fun playing with Uncle Cal, Auntie Sherry and Lucas!


140830Isla&Lucas_0008140831IslaOSUgame_0001Football season is upon us and our little Beaver Believer has been dressed in orange and black and ready to cheer for OSU!

140831IslaOSUgame_0002140831IslaOSUgame_0003140831IslaOSUgame_0004140831IslaOSUgame_0005Most games come on just as we’re waking up, so we’ve been moving Isla’s high-chair out into the living room so that she can eat her breakfast and cheer on her beavs at the same time.140831IslaOSUgame_0006140831IslaOSUgame_0007140831IslaOSUgame_0008140831IslaOSUgame_0009140831IslaOSUgame_0010We had a fair amount of rain in August, but September was very mild and we enjoyed many walks around our neighborhood.


140831IslaOSUgame_0015140831IslaOSUgame_0016140831IslaOSUgame_0017I love how Isla is so alert when we walk. She leans forward in her stroller, gripping the little tray so she can see everything going on around her.

140831IslaOSUgame_0018Isla is finally big enough to begin enjoying the little park near our house.

140831IslaOSUgame_0020She absolutely LOVES the slide!

140831IslaOSUgame_0021140831IslaOSUgame_0022140831IslaOSUgame_0023Playing peek-a-boo through the little windows in the tunnel with Daddy is another of her favorite park activities.

140831IslaOSUgame_0024A little cross-fitter in the making. Isla blew us away with her ability to hang from the bar all by herself!

140831IslaOSUgame_0025140831Isla_0001Eating with chopsticks has become one of Isla’s favorite ways to consume dinner.

140901Isla_0001More park fun!

140901Isla_0002140901Isla_0003140901Isla_0004140907Isla_0001140907Isla_0002OOOOOO…SSSSSS…UUUUU… Oregon State! Fight! Fight! Fight!

140907Isla_0003Enjoying our final summer-like days swimming with our friends, Dan, Katie and Ellie.


140908Isla_0001Isla and Mei Mei (little sister), her doll from her ayi, Sue.

140908Isla_0002140908Isla_0003Peek-a-boo!140908Isla_0004140908Isla_0005It seems like every single day Isla is learning or doing something new. She is constantly growing, changing and becoming more independent. I cannot believe our little girl is nearly one!140908Isla_0006140908Isla_0007Success!

140920Isla_0001Isla loves eating blueberries and scrambled eggs for breakfast.

140920Isla_0002140920Isla_0003140920Isla_0004She also loves washing her hands after she eats. We say to her, “Isla xǐshǒu,” (Mandarin for “Isla wash hands”) and she just lights up! After we turn off the tap she giggles and shakes her hands over the sink to start drying them off. We love these little routines with our sweet girl!

140920Isla_0005Weekend naps usually take place in her stroller. She tries to put her leg up on the table like that when she eats too!

140920Isla_0006140920Isla_0007140920Isla_0008140920Isla_0009140920Isla_0010Isla is becoming increasingly curious about our phones and it is getting a little trickier to keep them away from her. If she gets her hands on them, she holds them up to hear ear… such an observant little pumpkin!140920Isla_0011Islabear_0001Isla had so much fun playing with all the little kiddos and dressing up at Lucas’ 2nd birthday. We are so in love with our baby bear. These pictures just melt my heart!!!

140908Isla_0008Isla continues to love her books and we read several times every day. Our new favorite book is called Sophie’s Squash. It is seriously one of the cutest books I’ve ever seen, and perfect for fall! The story that is so charming and simply brilliant that I am both in awe and kicking myself for not thinking of it. Someday I hope we’ll be writing children’s books like this… the kind that are cozily familiar, wonderfully whimsical and cleverly quirky.  Sophie’s Squash is still a bit long for Isla most days (although she has happily sat through it on more than one occasion), but she loves looking through the pictures. And, like with all of her other books, she loves to kiss the kitty on each page. I hope she never grows out of that darling habit!

Our First Family Portraits

For our 8th anniversary, Isaac surprised me with a family portrait session- our first family portraits!- with the incredibly talented Tonhya Kae. To say I was thrilled was an understatement! We first met Tonhya when she flew all the way from Seattle to Shanghai to take our amazing maternity portraits, and over the past year we are so happy to have formed a friendship with this wonderful lady! Our schedule was full this summer, her schedule was full this summer, but she still managed to make the long round trip drive from Seattle to the Central Oregon Coast so she could take our portraits. Between flat tire fiascoes and road work delays I think the poor girl spent nearly as much time in her car as she did with us. Thank you SO MUCH, Tonhya!!! Isla, the world’s happiest baby, decided that she would try “cranky” on for size on portrait day (argh!), but you’d never know looking at Tonhya’s images. She captured so many sweet moments, darling expressions, and the sweeping landscape we love so much. We are absolutely thrilled with our portraits! We will treasure them, and the many silly memories accompanying some of them, for years to come!

140721FamilyPhotos001140721FamilyPhotos002140721FamilyPhotos003See, there is Tonyha going above and beyond again! Little known fact: she is also a skilled ninja/contortionist who can fit through teeny tiny elevated windows! Seriously. I forgot my curling iron and Isaac’s aunt offered to let me use her flat iron. She was staying at the family cabin up the hill, but had gone out for the day and the key was not in the lock box, so we had to get a little creative!140721FamilyPhotos004140721FamilyPhotos005140721FamilyPhotos006140721FamilyPhotos007140721FamilyPhotos008Sweetest little rolls ever!


140721FamilyPhotos020140721FamilyPhotos021140721FamilyPhotos022140721FamilyPhotos023140721FamilyPhotos024^^^Giant canvas material, right here!^^^

140721FamilyPhotos025140721FamilyPhotos026140721FamilyPhotos027140721FamilyPhotos028140721FamilyPhotos029140721FamilyPhotos030140721FamilyPhotos031140721FamilyPhotos032140721FamilyPhotos033140721FamilyPhotos034140721FamilyPhotos035What better way to wrap up our portraits than with sweet, syrupy pancake finger kisses?!

Thank you a million times over, Tonhya!!! My mind is already busy, dreaming and planning next year’s shoot!

Summer in Oregon: Part 4 » Wayfarer Family - October 10, 2014 - 11:19 pm

[…] bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, enjoying delicious meals at our favorite restaurants, our first family portraits, taking in a traveling Broadway Show (not sure I’ve ever laughed as hard as I did watching […]

Summer in Oregon: Part 4

The remainder of our summer was very busy, but the good kind of busy. Days filled visiting family and friends, berry picking, shopping, a bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette parties, enjoying delicious meals at our favorite restaurants, our first family portraits, taking in a traveling Broadway Show (not sure I’ve ever laughed as hard as I did watching The Book of Mormon!), photo shoots, and we capped off our stay by celebrating the beautiful wedding of Isaac’s youngest sister! Luckily, despite all of our running around, we still found some time to slip away to our wonderful little beach cottage for a some rest and relaxation…

140714Isla_0001140714Isla_0002140721Winema_0001I could not get enough of these two together!

140721Winema_0002140722Winema_0001140722Winema_0002140722Winema_0003140722Winema_0004140722Winema_0005140722Winema_0006140722Winema_0007During one of our beach stays we celebrated our wedding anniversary. It was perfect to spend the day at the very spot we said “I do” 8 years earlier. We enjoyed a leisurely beach walk with our girls, some bubbly, and a cozy evening snuggled up together… perfection!140722Winema_0008140722Winema_0009140722Winema_0010140722Winema_0011140722Winema_0012140722Winema_0013140722Winema_0014140722Winema_0015140722Winema_0016140722Winema_0017140722Winema_0018140722Winema_0019140722Winema_0020140722Winema_0021140722Winema_0022Cutest. buns.ever.

140722Winema_0023140722Winema_0025140722Winema_0024140722Winema_0026140722Winema_0027140727Winema_0001I was so sad when she outgrew this outfit. Makes me want another little girl, just so I can dress her in it!

140727Winema_0002140728Winema_0001The beach was shrouded in mist and the tide was really low on our last day on the coast, making our final walk of the season almost otherworldly.140728Winema_0002140728Winema_0003A giant sandbar emerged near the mouth of the river and we were able to walk clear out into the ocean. In all the years we’ve traveled to Winema, we’ve never seen anything like it!140728Winema_0004140728Winema_0005140728Winema_0007140728Winema_0008140728Winema_0009140728Winema_0010Our little bug SO enjoyed her time at the beach, and we are already counting the days until we are back at the cottage with her!


Susanne Schmidt Herrington - October 10, 2014 - 12:36 pm

Sounds and looks like wonderful vacation. Thanks for sharing your photos. <3

Sandy Marshall - October 10, 2014 - 3:05 pm

Sweet pictures of your beach trip…you need to add a few pictures of Leah and Moises wedding to close the chapter!

Claire Bear - October 11, 2014 - 3:13 am

Oh gawd!! Those little buns!!! <3 <3 <3

Rich Longley - October 11, 2014 - 7:05 am

Jen/Issac these pics are amazing.

Summer in Oregon: Part 3

Well, not all of our summer was spent in Oregon… In July, we introduced Isla to her Texas roots and spent a week with family and friends in Houston and Austin.  It was a wonderful trip, filled with great people, copious amounts of queso, and singing round upon round of  “zippity do da” with Papa Sam.

140706Houston_0001140706Houston_0002Baby Girl loves her BBQ. She mowed down on brisket, smoked turkey, and turkey sausage. I couldn’t cut it up fast enough for her!140706Houston_0003140707Austin001We spent the middle of the week in Austin. Our first stop was to see our softball friends, JC and Christy, from Dubai. They are now settled in Austin in the most gorgeous old home, with the two cutest kiddos! Neither of us had children the last time we saw each other, so it was so much fun to introduce our little ones. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any photos of our time with them… mommy-brain fail. We enjoyed such a lovely afternoon catching up with this sweet family, reminiscing about our lives in The Sandbox and discussing plans for the future.

For the next few days we reunited with some of our other dear friends from the Middle East, Mike and Erin. They are also living in Austin now, and just bought their first home, which is just as cute as can be! Mike and Erin are so wonderful and the most gracious hosts. Every moment with them was filled with goodness… and queso… so much queso…

140707Austin002140708Austin_0001Before moving into their house, the son of the previous owners gave Mike and Erin a picture of his parents in the home. Later, as they began renovations and  removed the old wall-mounted phone from the wall, Mike and Erin discovered the original wall paper (as seen in the photograph) underneath. As a sweet nod to the home’s history they decided to leave it as is, and hung the photo next to it. Love it!

140708Austin_0002140708Austin_0003140708Austin_0004Mike, Erin and Isaac first met as art teachers in the Middle East, and Mike is now a full time artist! In addition to commissioned work, he creates incredible murals and street art all around the city of Austin. He even designed the Austin City Limits commemorative poster this year! We got to watch the master at work during our stay…


140709Austin002140709Austin003140709Austin004140709Austin005140709Austin006140709Austin007140709Austin008140709Austin009140709Austin010140709Austin011140709Austin012140709Austin013140709Austin014140709Austin015140709Austin016140709Austin017We wrapped up the back half of our week in Houston, spending time with my dad, sisters, and nephews. It was so wonderful introducing Isla to more of her family, and I loved watching her interactions with everyone! We also reconnected with another Dubai softball friend, Koryn, and her darling daughter Tinsley for lunch… yes, more queso!140710Houston001140710Houston002140711Houston_0001140711Houston_0002140711Houston_0003Isla thought Papa’s Donald Duck sounds were particularly amusing!

140711Houston_0004140711Houston_0005140711Houston_0006140711Houston_0007140711Houston_0008Isla had lots of fun playing with her Auntie Mary!

Summer in Oregon: Part 2

Our first week at the beach this summer was filled with sunshine, great food, and lots of time on the beach with our family. Isla had so much fun playing with her cousins!

140629Winema_0001140629Winema_0002140629Winema_0003140629Winema_0004140629Winema_0005140629Winema_0006140629Winema_0007140629Winema_0008140629Winema_0009140629Winema_0010140629Winema_0011140629Winema_0012140630Winema_0001Bella, ever hopeful…

140630Winema_0002140630Winema_0003I love how the girls have the same expression here!

140630Winema_0004We took a family hike to Cape Lookout. Isla was such a good girl in her hiking pack!140630Winema_0005140630Winema_0006140630Winema_0007140630Winema_0008140630Winema_0009140630Winema_0010140630Winema_0011140630Winema_0012140630Winema_0013140630Winema_0014140630Winema_0015140630Winema_0017140630Winema_0018140630Winema_0019We saw four juvenile bald eagles.

140630Winema_0020140630Winema_0021140630Winema_0023140630Winema_0024140630Winema_0025140630Winema_0026140630Winema_0027That afternoon we set up camp down the beach along a little creek, where Isla happily splashed and played to her heart’s content.

140630Winema_0028140630Winema_0029140630Winema_0030140630Winema_0031140630Winema_0032140630Winema_0033140630Winema_0034140630Winema_0035140630Winema_0036140630Winema_0037140630Winema_0038140630Winema_0039140630Winema_0040140701Winema001We figured the beach was the perfect place for Isla to try her first popsicle. I blended up some peach, banana, and a little orange juice to fill these great baby popsicle molds, and they were a huge hit! Isla enjoyed MANY more popsicles throughout the summer, and even into this fall, as they are a great soother for teething. These popsicle molds are just the right size and SO perfect for little baby hands, and we’ve given a bunch as gifts to our other baby friends. Also, if you don’t have time to blend up your own fruit and veggies, one of those squeezable baby food packs fills all four molds perfectly. Not sure if that was by design or a happy accident, but I was sure excited to discover that little gem of information!

140701Winema002Sharing her popsicle with Daddy… such a sweetie!

140701Winema003140701Winema004140701Winema005140701Winema006140701Winema007140701Winema008140701Winema009140701Winema010140701Winema011On this particular sunny afternoon, Isaac enjoyed some skim boarding, while Isla indulged in a little sand sampling…140701Winema012140701Winema013140701Winema014140701Winema015140701Winema016140701Winema017140701Winema018Oh, this girl…140701Winema019140701Winema020140701Winema021140701Winema022140701Winema023140701Winema024140701Winema025140701Winema026140701Winema027140701Winema028Cutest sandy mug I ever did see!

140701Winema029140701Winema030140701Winema031140701Winema032140701Winema033140701Winema034140701Winema035Isla and Wavy in their darling matching rompers from Nana.

140701Winema036140701Winema037140701Winema038140701Winema039140701Winema040140701Winema041140701Winema042140701Winema043We rotate dinner duties each night during our family beach trips, and Isaac and I decided to try our first shrimp boil. It was a great success and we are definitely going to make it an annual tradition.140702Winema_0001140702Winema_0002140702Winema_0003Our summer drink of choice, beergaritas! 1 can of limeade, 2 bottles of corona, about 1.5 cups of tequila… stir, add lots of ice, and serve in a salt-rimmed glass. Yum!140702Winema_0004140702Winema_0005140702Winema_0006140702Winema_0007140702Winema_0008140702Winema_0009140702Winema_0010140702Winema_0011140702Winema_0012140702Winema_0013140703Winema_0001140703Winema_0002140703Winema_0003140703Winema_0004140703Winema_0005140703Winema_0006140703Winema_0007140703Winema_0009140703Winema_0008140703Winema_0010140703Winema_0011140703Winema_0012140703Winema_0013140703Winema_0014140703Winema_0015We celebrated our 4th of July and John’s birthday a little early.140703Winema_0016140703Winema_0017140703Winema_0018140703Winema_0019140703Winema_0020140703Winema_0021140703Winema_0022Cousin snuggles.

140703Winema_0023Isla’s 4th of July outfit… red, white and cute indeed!140703Winema_0024140703Winema_0026140703Winema_0027140703Winema_0028Your challenge: get all 4 cousins to look at (or anywhere near) the camera.

140703Winema_0030140703Winema_0031Dedicated mommies doing anything they could think of to catch the girls’ attention.


140703Winema_0032140703Winema_0033140703vBFam026We enjoyed a beautiful evening on the beach taking photos for our sister’s family and then enjoyed s’mores up at the cabin.140703s140703sMy hubby is the s’mores master.140703s140703sIsla’s first taste of graham cracker… num, num!140703s140703s140703s140703s140703sThe evening wrapped up with a breathtaking sunset!140703s140704Winema_0001On the actual 4th of July we went to the Neskowin parade in the morning. Isla and Waverly enjoyed a few popsicles before we packed up and headed back to Portland.140704Winema_0002140704Winema_0003140704Winema_0004140704Winema_0005140704Winema_0006140704Winema_0007140704Winema_0008140704Winema_0009140704Winema_0010

Claire Bear - October 4, 2014 - 4:58 am

Love all of these!!! What special times <3

Jan Crocker LaRocca - October 5, 2014 - 3:10 am


Sandy Marshall - October 6, 2014 - 6:22 pm

Fabulous memories captured Jennifer…..Papa and Nana will cherish these for a lifetime!! Love family times….looking forward to our babies enjoying Christmas together!!! <3 Thank you so much!!

Michele Martin - October 6, 2014 - 11:33 pm

Such a sweet summer for you all. Thanks for sharing John’s b-day with us