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Hong Kong

For the first time since moving to Shanghai we decided to travel during the October holiday break, and took the short flight down to Hong Kong. Our timing was certainly exciting, as we arrived just as the protests, known as the Umbrella Revolution, began to gain some momentum. Though the main roadways directly behind our hotel were blocked, and the art school next door seemed to act as a sort of rest and refueling stop for the protesters, our visit was not impacted by the protests… other than finding it difficult to get taxis at times. Everyone we came into contact with was very calm and peaceful, although their saran-wrapped arms indicated their preparedness for the tear gas used by the police previously. It has been several weeks since our visit and the protests continue…

140928HongKong_0001140928HongKong_0002On our first evening in Hong Kong, we met up with friends we had worked with in Dubai for a lovely dinner. The restaurant boasted beautiful views, and it was wonderful to introduce Isla to Mark and Lori, and catch up over the past 3 years. Unfortunately, we were so caught up in conversation that we didn’t take any photos.140928HongKong_0003140928HongKong_0004Isla’s latest obsession: carrying around tubes of our toothpaste. Too funny!140928HongKong_0005140929HongKong_0001No taxis? No problem! We just headed underground, so that Isla could experience her first subway ride. Hong Kong is so amazingly clean and organized. Navigating the subway system was easy peasy.140929HongKong_0002Look what we found! Nana J and Nana S, we’re always thinking of you!

140929HongKong_0003We spent our first full day at Victoria Peak. After navigating our way through the city to the Sky Tram station, we rode the charming little tram up the steep mountainside so that we could enjoy some of the most beautiful views in Hong Kong.

140929HongKong_0004It’s so hard to tell, but in the above left picture, we are moving almost vertically up the mountain. Hong Kong’s geography is very mountainous, and how the city has been developed and built into the steep inclines of the terrain is absolutely fascinating… and exhausting! Stairs, escalators, and lots of uphill paths made the trip with a baby stroller tricky, to say the least!140929HongKong_0005The Peak, a large mall with a viewing platform offered gorgeous, sweeping views of the city!

140929HongKong_0006140929HongKong_0007140929HongKong_0008140929HongKong_0009Isla made friends wherever we went… here she is waving to her adoring fans.140929HongKong_0010140929HongKong_0012140929HongKong_0011140929HongKong_0013140929HongKong_0014We were LOVING all the beautiful greenery and nature! Less than 25% of Hong Kong’s landmass is developed, and much of the natural land is protected, as parks and reserves.140929HongKong_0015140929HongKong_0016A short walk (uphill!) from The Peak is Mount Austin Park. The grounds are meticulously manicured, and the park is absolutely charming. Though it was hot and humid, Isla enjoyed swinging and clambering around on the play equipment.140929HongKong_0017140929HongKong_0018140929HongKong_0019This girl is full of silly faces these days!

140929HongKong_0020140929HongKong_0022I cannot get enough of this pose- arms flung up into the air as if she is queen of the world!

140929HongKong_0024Miss Observant showing Daddy the birds in the sky.

140929HongKong_0025As fun as the park was, the heat and humidity won out after about a half an hour, so we headed back down the hill a bit in search of shadier surroundings. We found the Pok Fu Lam Tree Walk, right next to The Peak, and decided to take a little stroll. This leisurely walk circled the top of Victoria Peak in just over 2km, and unlike many other trails in Hong Kong, was very stroller friendly!140929HongKong_0026140929HongKong_0027140929HongKong_0028140929HongKong_0029140929HongKong_0030140929HongKong_0031140929HongKong_0032140929HongKong_0033Approaching The Peak at the end of our walk.

140929HongKong_0034Back down the Sky Tram.

140929HongKong_0035Protesters and pedestrians walking along the major roadways behind our hotel.

140929HongKong_0036140929HongKong_0037Little Popeye!

140929HongKong_0038Isaac went out in search of a little street food for dinner, and Isla could not get enough of these noodles!

140929HongKong_0039140929HongKong_0040Snuggles before bed time… pure bliss!

140929HongKong_0041140930HongKong_0001The next morning Isla decided to take her first steps… unfortunately they took her right off the edge of the bed! Still, that didn’t dampen her spirit and we were able to catch her second steps on camera!

Our friends Cal, Sherry, and Lucas joined us later that day and were with us for the remainder of our stay in Hong Kong! We stopped by a little hole in the wall restaurant to pick up some lunch on our way to their hotel.140930HongKong_0002140930HongKong_0003140930HongKong_0004140930HongKong_0005140930HongKong_0006That afternoon we enjoyed swimming together in the Grand Hyatt’s gorgeous swimming pool!

140930HongKong_0007140930HongKong_0008140930HongKong_0009140930HongKong_0010140930HongKong_0011LOVE this photo of the daddies with their kiddos!

140930HongKong_0012140930HongKong_0013140930HongKong_0014140930HongKong_0015140930HongKong_0016140930HongKong_0017140930HongKong_0018That evening we went to an AMAZING yakitori restaurant called Yard Bird. We enjoyed several bottles of saki and dined on one delicious item after another. I swear we ordered nearly everything on the menu and devoured it all. So, so good!140930HongKong_0019140930HongKong_0020140930HongKong_0021Isla sampled just about everything we had as well…

140930HongKong_0022but decided sucking on lemon slices was the most fun.

140930HongKong_0023140930HongKong_0024Day 2 of the Marshall/Wong family adventures included a subway ride out to Ngong Ping to see the Big Buddha. Upon arriving to the cable car station we were met with a massively long line. The idea of standing out in the heat and humidity for hours with two little ones was not appealing in the least. After questioning a few employees, we found out there was an option to buy a tour ticket, which included a visit to a local fishing village for slightly more money and were fast-tracked to the front of the veeeeery long line. Money well spent!141001HongKong_0001141001HongKong_0002141001HongKong_0003Isla absolutely loved the cable car ride, and she watched out the window so intently! Much of the ride took us directly over hiking paths, and Isla enthusiastically waved to all of the hikers below.141001HongKong_0004141001HongKong_0005141001HongKong_0006141001HongKong_0007141001HongKong_0009141001HongKong_0008141001HongKong_0010See the Big Buddha towards the top left of the photo?

141001HongKong_0011141001HongKong_0012The first part of the tour took us to a nearby fishing village, Tai O, whose main export was dried fish… and yes, it smelled just as glorious as you’d imagine. Shortly after we arrived and were preparing to board a little boat for a tour, the skies opened up and it began pouring! We decided to forgo the boat trip and waited out the rain undercover. Once it stopped we still had a few minutes to wander through the town before returning to our tour.

141001HongKong_0013141001HongKong_0014141001HongKong_0015141001HongKong_0016141001HongKong_0017We decided to skip out on the rest of the tour and walked up the 268 steps to the Buddha on our own.141001HongKong_0018141001HongKong_0019141001HongKong_0020141001HongKong_0021141001HongKong_0022After a long day of sight-seeing we returned to the city and decided to check out Ozone, the world’s highest bar. From the 108th floor we sipped on outrageously-priced, but yummy, beverages and enjoyed the gorgeous view.141001HongKong_0023141001HongKong_0024These two just make me melt!141001HongKong_0025141001HongKong_0026141001HongKong_0027141001HongKong_0028141002HongKong_0001Before flying back to Shanghai we were able to enjoy a little more pool time. Unfortuanately we had already checked our bags into the airport using the Airport Express (seriously, why doesn’t every city have this?! Amazing!), so we didn’t have Isla’s swim gear, but Baby Girl didn’t mind… even when her regular diaper swelled to like 5 times its normal size!141002HongKong_0002141002HongKong_0003When she’d had enough swimming practice, Isla decided to perfect her new walking skills around the pool…141002HongKong_0004and we caught a quick glimpse of the pool-side streaker!141002HongKong_0005

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!