Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Where are we today???

It's been a crazy busy couple of weeks. We knew it was going to be even before we got here, but Thursday it caught up with us. I am a list maker, a planner. I function best when there is structure and routine....2 weeks in to our month long visit to the States and I have done pretty well with the craziness.  But Thursday we were in Texas and one of the major reasons Zane and I made that part of the trip was to see his pediatrician and get the second half of his Hep A vaccine.  Thursday afternoon John was supposed to join us, he had been at an off site meeting with some colleagues.  Zane and I were planning to run some errands and then go to the doctor in the afternoon.  Rain changed John's plans and he joined us earlier than planned...that threw my whole day off.  We were driving to join some friends for dinner when I realized we had missed the doctor's appointment!  Seriously?  It never even crossed my mind until we drove past her office. Luckily they were able to work us in on Friday.  I feel grateful that everything has gone smoothly up to this point.  We have packed ALOT into a short time.  

The first week we really just hung out at KPT and enjoyed the quiet.  The birds and the bugs and the sound of the wind and the river are things we miss a lot. Zane loved getting to just run and play and get dirty!  We enjoyed having some quality time with Taylor and Tucker. 

We celebrated Tucker's graduation with a weekend in Southwest Missouri.  We are so proud of Tucker and the young man he has become.  It was fun to hang out with my whole family.  Zane spent some quality time with Uncle Chip during graduation and also got to hang out with his cousins. The weather was so nice while we were in Missouri, so we got to have the party outside.

The day after graduation Taylor, Zane and I loaded up in Taylor's truck and drove to Kentucky where Taylor will do a summer internship at Loveland Research Farm.  Taylor drives a big truck that is jacked up and on big tires.  It is loud and bumpy.  He loves it!  A few minutes into our 6 hour drive I realized he didn't have air conditioning.  Zane loved the bouncing and the wind in his face and we made it in one piece, one sweaty piece! We got Taylor settled into his apartment and stocked his shelves with food and his fridge with gatorade.  Owensboro is a beautiful little town with a sweet little downtown and the most amazing public park and playground I have ever seen.  Smother's park is right on the riverfront downtown.  If you ever find yourself in Owensboro and have a little one with you, or not, check it out!  We spent some time there both of the evenings we were in town.

John had driven to Texas the day that we left for Kentucky and after getting Taylor settled Z and I flew to Texas to meet him.  This was my first flight with Z alone since he has been walking.  The logistics of it all made me a tiny bit nervous.  I knew how much I had to carry and I knew I only have 2 hands....it was all good.  He is such a good sport and slept most of the way to Texas.

Z and I hit the outlet mall and Target when we arrived.   I'm not a huge shopper but I don't really get to do much of any shopping in Taiwan so it was nice to look around and get a few new things for us both. 

After our rescheduled doctor visit we drove back to KPT together.  It has rained so much here....the lakes and rivers are so full and running out of their banks.  We got home Friday evening and Chris and the girls arrived sometime after we went to bed.  We enjoyed a quiet Saturday morning catching up on the porch.  John's mom and Kate drove down on Saturday morning and Mark Brown joined us by dinner time.  It was a houseful!  We visited and took walks between rain showers.  Having the covered porch has made this visit really nice, because even though it is rainy we can all still sit outside.  Sunday we just watched the river rise and wondered how far out of the banks it would come.

It's quiet today.  The rain has stopped for now.  Everyone has gone home.  John is gone having lunch with an old friend.  Z is sleeping and I am enjoying the sound of the river and the woodpecker that is nearby.  We are so blessed to call this beautiful place home.  When we are gone we miss it so much.  I think all of us that call KPT home have different things that we carry with us when we leave, that we pull from our memory when we need a boost.  For me it is the sounds and the smells.  I love the smell of the grass in the Spring, the honeysuckle that grows wild and thick here.  I love the smell of the yellow dial soap in the summer...Mrs. Pickle swore it was the best for chiggers.  The sound of the river when it is high, the birds. the sound of a screen door on the cabins, the sound of the wind blowing through the trees when everything else is quiet.  On the tough days, the days when I ask myself why we are doing this, or where are we today,  I pull out the box that I have tucked away in that hidden place in my brain and I can hear the wind in the trees and I can smell the ball field just after David has cut the grass. 

Today I am refueling.  Restocking my box with the sounds and smells that I love. Making lists so I don't forget anything next week.  Tomorrow our life will get busy again.  Our schedule is full until we leave for Taiwan in a few weeks.  We have friends and family that we can't wait to reconnect with and a wedding to celebrate!  But for now, for today, you can find me sitting on the porch enjoying the view.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Old Doors

Recently we visited Lukang.  It's one of the oldest cities in Taiwan and I really enjoyed it.  There were beautiful old temples, fun little shops, and little alley ways that wound around the city.  Right away I was drawn to the doors on the businesses and houses.  The paint was chipping off a lot of them and they  were just beautiful.  I enjoyed  seeing the different colors and designs.  I am not sure if the colors represent anything or if they just picked what they like.  Here are a few of my favorites.

This one wasn't actually old, just really cool.  It was on a newer temple.

I loved the lion door knocker.

This was on the gate of a very old temple.

Besides the old temple door, this is probably my favorite.

Seychelles Mama

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I do not really know where he learned to love puddles.  It's like it is just one of those "files" that little boys are born with. This was the first time he had really been around muddy puddles and knew exactly what to do.  Stomp, Splash and not worry about the mud. What a lucky little boy to have the perfect place to explore and enjoy, even  on a rainy day.

See a puddle.  Change your course and walk right through it.

Stomp your feet and move as much water as you can.

Throw sticks and rocks into the puddle, or fish them out with your bare hands!

Be sure and splash that guy who is looking up at your from the puddle!

Try not to get stuck in the mud.

Live on the edge....

Enjoy every minute!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Magic Boots

He is a happy boy.  We have never really had any issues with him being a big problem with tantrums or acting out.  I don't mean he has never had a tantrum, he went through a short phase just before we moved that continued for a few weeks after we got here where he would occasionally throw himself into a full body tantrum...kicking legs, pounding fists, the whole nine yards. It was awesome....NOT!  The thing is, it wasn't really in response to anything, he just seemed to like doing it.  We ignored it and it quickly passed. He has of course had some fits here and there and we handle it the way we think is appropriate for the setting. But as a general rule he is easy going and really just goes with the flow, adapts to whatever situation we put him in. Until the last few weeks.

I know he is getting some new teeth, he is a slobbery mess.  I believe he is growing, pants that were just a few weeks ago too long now fit perfectly.  He is napping a lot longer than usual so maybe he is having growing pains.  But our normally agreeable toddler is not very agreeable!  It's not like I expect for it to always be easy, I know better than that, I've done this before.  But the other boys were not like this one....he will be fine one second and then out of his tiny little body comes the most demanding, impatient request.  Trying to decide on a tv program turns into a meltdown when I put on the show he requested, but should have known he wanted a different one. And let's not even mention what happens if he has less than 2 binkies, 3 would be better, in his possession at any given moment. Plus he doesn't say yes, only no, which sometimes means yes but it's anybody's guess when that rule applies. He doesn't seem to understand when we don't respond appropriately when he says no but clearly means yes!

I know that we are lucky.  A lot of parents put up with daily tantrums and grumpy toddlers everyday, ours fortunately is in short spurts.  Most of the time our happy, agreeable toddler is the one who shows up.  But on the days when he is not I have discovered that these boots will usually fix whatever is causing the problem. He has had them for several months and never been overly attached to them, he prefers to be barefoot.  But a couple of weeks ago he wanted to put them on and everyday since he has had them on.  The past few days he has worn them ALL day.  We do not usually wear shoes in the house but he has been allowed to wear his boots wherever he wants, they make him happy! I sent John a picture of him laying  on our bed with his boots on the other day and when he asked me why, I said because they are magic...they take the grumpy and make him happy.

Some parents might think that we are creating a monster by giving in to his demand of wearing the boots.  Maybe.  But I look at it a little differently.  I am an adult and I can express what is bothering me (usually), but I still want what I want when I don't feel 100%.  That might be my favorite PJ's, or my cozy napping blanket. Somedays I wish I had magic boots. I wouldn't want John telling me that I couldn't have them.  Tiny can't really express to us how he is feeling any way but how he is, and if those boots make the difference than why should it matter if he wears them. And before anyone points out that we can't always have what we want, I am already aware of that.  I think there is a balance between giving them everything they want, giving into their demands AND teaching them that you don't get everything you want. By letting him wear his rubber dinosaur boots when he is 18 months old because they make him happy, am I setting him up for disappointment later because we won't buy him a car because it will make him happy?  I hope not. I hope the lesson that comes from this, and from many more, is that we love him very much.  His feelings have value.  Not all rules, like no shoes in the house, are set in stone. I hope that he learns that he can tell us, in whatever way he can, how he is feeling and we will do our best to make him feel better.  Right now his grumpiness is his way of telling us he isn't 100% and me letting him wear his boots inside is my way of saying, I hear you.  Plus they are super cute on him!

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Monday, May 04, 2015


The night before we left to move to Taiwan
In a few days we will head to the States.  Just 4 months ago we packed up all of our stuff and flew 8,000 miles to our new home.  They say time flies and sometimes that is true.  Like when my mom was visiting, 2 weeks flew by.  I remember shortly after we arrived here and John made a  comment about how long we had been here, he made it sound like we had been here for months, it hadn't even been 3 weeks yet. Those first few weeks and month dragged along. But now we are in a steady routine and we know our way around.  We have done a lot of fun things and seen a lot of beautiful places since moving here.

Four months ago I was nervous about how we would make this work, would we be happy without our family and friends close by.....we ARE making it.  We have adjusted nicely to our new life.  We miss the boys a lot.  We miss our families a lot.  But we are enjoying our adventure.  It's not easy everyday, but it's not hard everyday either.  I have realized that together we can do anything. We are blessed.  

I have been worried about our trip to the States. Not about the travel, we are experienced with that, we do it a lot.  We know our "jobs" and both do them well.  The Tiny American just goes with the flow.  The jet lag will be awful.  It's bad for John and I but for Tiny is just terrible, his little body is so confused.  But that isn't what has been worrying me either, it's the not knowing anymore where we fit there. The planner in me, the one that likes consistency, wants to know what it will feel like to not feel at home in my own house.  Someone else lives in our house in Texas, our things are boxed up.  KPT always feels like home and we will use that as our base for this visit.  We will be super busy while we are in the States and running around trying to see everyone.  John has lots of meetings and will be traveling around. We have a graduation and a wedding while we are there. But where is our home? Are we going home or are we going on vacation and this is our home? The conclusion i have  come to is that our "home" isn't a place. It's cliche, but home is where the heart is....My home is where John and Zane are.  My home is where Taylor and Tucker are.  Home is being with the ones you love, your safe place to fall.  I live in several places.  For the next month I will sleep in different beds.  But if we are together we are home no matter where we are sleeping. I am so happy that my home is filled with love, patience and trust and of course  LOTS of adventure.

Please pray for us as we start our trip in the next few days.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Friday, May 01, 2015

We went walking....

It has been awhile since I shared a walking post.  We have been super busy with a visit from my mom and then trying to recover from that visit.  It has gotten VERY warm in Taiwan over the last few weeks.  The temperature isn't all that high, upper 80's mostly, but the humidity is crazy.  If you are in the shade it isn't bad at all, add a breeze and it's almost pleasant but in the sun it is awful!  We try and get around and out the door early for a little while and then usually try and go out again just as the sun is going down.  We are settling into a nice new routine....just in time for our visit to the States. 

So here are some glimpses of what we have seen the last few weeks while we were walking. We actually saw these bright sculptures when we were in the airport waiting on my mom to arrive.

Windmills and Fishing boats on the coast near John's office.

Koi at the aboriginal village....Zane loved feeding them.

I love this shot of Z and his daddy watching the fish.

My little farmer.

This is kind of a creepy shot from the aboriginal village, in an actual village they would have put the heads of their conquests on display.

And Z and my mom.