Monday, February 18, 2013

Family Photos

We decided it was time to take family photos (and Jon's one-year-old photos while we were at it) about three months ago... and now I've decided it's time to post them. One of our favorite friends, Nicole, took them for us and they turned out beautiful! Of course, we are not surprised because she is very talented and Jonathan is very cute. What is impressive is that she managed to catch all three of us looking at the camera at the same time.

I really wanted a few pictures of Jon with his favorite things. I'm so thrilled with how they turned out. She managed to capture him so completely!

That book has gone with him to eight countries!

It's hard to believe how fast he is growing up--and that he's already grown out of the shoes he's wearing in these pictures. I am so crazy about this little guy. He is so dear and brings us so much joy.

And that picture pretty much sums up our crew.
Thanks again, Nicole!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Penang, Malaysia

Living in Southeast Asia does have it's perks... like weekday flights to Penang for crazy cheap. So Jonathan and I went with two of our favorite friends on a two-night "moms and babes" trip while the dads worked. 

We had a great time squeezing our two not-Asian bottoms into a tri-shaw, while our six-fingered driver pedaled us around colonial Georgetown singing "Gangnam Style" to the babies, as well as his own original song that went, "I am black man! You are white boy! White girl! Happy Baby One! Happy Baby Two!"

Our little side-kicks could not have been better sports.

And the town had such an understated beauty about it.

He took us to a little fishing jetty...


... where naturally, we bought some "Penang Famous" nutmeg balm.

Then we rode a really steep train (I learned the technical term is "funicular") to the top of the highest peak of the island...

Where these two found their fan club. The picture taking and total adoration was only compounded by the fact that they were together. Everyone really wanted them to be twins. J and S are only four months apart and pretty close little friends, plus I'm told all white people look the same, so I guess I can see it. They are both so sweet, they would make the easiest set of twins ever!

The view at the top was stunning but the train ride was definitely the highlight. We waited until we were first in line so we could sit at the first car with the full window looking straight down. 

It was possibly the happiest seven minutes of Jonathan's life (the little thrill-seeker) and we could have gone up and down for an entire day if we didn't have such a beautiful beach waiting for us back at the hotel.

Still not-so-big on sand these days...

Such cute little buddies!
They even synced their naps so the mamas could have a couple nice long chats.

We stayed at the Hard Rock because the location was great and they had an amazing pool with perfect J&S-sized water slides. Plus, of course, we are super-hard-core moms!  The slides were a big hit and Jessica and I heard a lot of "a-geh" (S's again) and "moh moh moh" (J's more more more) from the littles every one of the 230 times we went down.

On our way out we went to a butterfly farm/sanctuary where a butterfly landed on Jonathan's hand for a long time! I thought it was so magical until he tried to eat it, then the butterfly (wisely) flew away.

It was a really fun trip with great friends, and a good reminder of everything I love about this phase of our lives.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jonathan's Tricks

Jonathan had his 15-month check-up last week, and all is well with our little man.

Because of a series of events (some in my control, some not) I have a complex about my pediatrician thinking I'm a clueless mom. She is a great doctor--really cute with Jonathan, very thorough, completely willing to spend as much time as we need to for appointments. I just feel really self-conscious and nervous at his check-ups (maybe it's my need for approval, or being a first-time mom, or something else entirely) which makes it so I forget what he's doing and his progress when she asks.

For example, this check-up went something like this:
"Is he talking?"
"Oh yeah... more and more every day. He's really starting to learn fast."
"What does he say?"
"What? Oh, um... well, he says 'mama' and 'dada' and, um... 'ball!' yes, he says ball."
"Hmm... well, he really should be saying more words than that by now."
"Oh, he is."
"Great. What else does he say?"
"Umm..." And my mind goes blank. Then I start to worry about being a clueless mom, which then, cruelly, makes me a clueless mom and I can't remember any of the dozens of words, signs, or animals sounds this little guy fills my days with.
Then she lovingly tells me different ways that I can help him "catch up" in his speech... all of which I already do, and all of which he absorbs like a sponge, learning new words and tricks every day.

So then I stared to think, if I can't remember his words and tricks now, when I'm nervous at a doctor's appointment, how am I going to remember thirty years from now when he asks what he was doing at his kid's age? So I'm writing it down. Right now.

Jonathan's Words:

"Non Non" (Jon Jon)
"Moh" (More)
"Nannna" (Banana)
"Seesus" (Jesus)
"Nay-Nay" (Grandma Renee)
"Dampa" (Grandpa Jan)
Vovo (Grandpa in Portuguese)
Vova (Grandma in Portuguese... I spelled it wrong but blogger doesn't have the accent I need)
"Sehg" (Sage, one of his little friends)
"Baba" Bottle
"Ehmo" (Elmo)
"Meemo" (Nemo)
"Shhoosss" (Shoes)
"Peess" (Please)
"Men" (Amen)
"Zeewo" (Zero)
"Unn" (One)
"Siss" (Six)
"No" (always with a head-shake)
"Yss" (Yes)
"Juss" (Juice)
"Cah" (Car"
"Buh" (Book)
"Uh oh!"
"Bah" (Ball)
"Besss" (Bus)

Jonathan's Animal Sounds:

"Woof" (dog)
"Wee wee wee" (pig)
"Moo" (cow)
"Roaaar!" (lion and dinosaur)
"Hoo Hoo" (owl)

Jonathan's Signs (we use American Sign Language):
More, All Done
Eat, Drink, Water, Milk, Banana, Cracker,
Ball, Friend, Bus, Book, Car, Airplane,
Fish, Dog, Bird, Horse, Frog, Cat, Duck, Sheep, Bear
Please, Thank you,
Sleep, Hot, Cold, Brush Teeth, Potty
1, 2, and 5

Other Tricks:
Blows on his soup to cool it off
Blows kisses
Kisses his mom and dad on the cheek
Correctly recognize and choose the foam 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 when I say the number
Peek-a-boo and Hide-and-seek
Folds his arms when it's time to pray
Does the actions for Book of Mormon Stories
Throw webs from his wrist when you ask him what Spider Man says
Point out Jesus in paintings
Point out Mama, Dada, Nay Nay, Grandpa, Vovo, Vova, himself, and Sage in pictures
Show you how old he is
Points to the elevator and signs "1" if he wants to go to the playground (it's on the first floor), and signs "2" if he wants to go for a drive (that's where the parking lot is), and says "Siss" if we're coming back home (we live on the 6th floor)
Brings me his shoes when he's bored inside
Throw and kick a ball with (some) direction
Feeds himself with a spoon (when the stars align properly)
Dances to his favorite songs
Climbs on stools, couches, ladders, chairs... anything that makes him more likely to have a head injury
Opens anything--the fridge, zippers, cupboards, boxes, paper cassettes on printers, etc...

(As a side-note to myself thirty years from now: he'll only do these things when Fabio and you are around; if anyone else is watching the list gets dramatically smaller... you know, to make Dr.'s appointments more stressful for his poor mom.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Maldives

In the middle of the Indian Ocean, there is a cluster of tiny atoll islands called the Maldives. Fabio's wanted to go ever since he heard of them, but Jonathan is not so big on sand these days so it was hard to imagine a trip to an isolated beach destination 600 meters across being fun for our little guy.

So we've saved this trip for a special occasion... like say, a fourth anniversary perhaps?

We flew my Mom in back from the States to stay with Jonathan (which was plenty of vacation for him), and we took off to our island second honeymoon.

It was beyond romantic.

After arriving in the capital city, Male, this little seaplane took us on another half-hour flight to our hotel, on it's own (even more remote) little island.

Where we swam here...

Read books there...

Ate here...

And slept in one of these.

Then when we felt adventurous, we took a speed boat from here...

To snorkle with this 5.5 meter long whale shark.

In short, I am pretty sure I know what heaven looks like now... and it's in the middle of the Indian Ocean with water so clear you can still see everything on the bottom when it's 20 feet deep, and so warm you can run straight in without wincing, and with perfect white sand so soft it's like walking on carpet...

And there's a tall, dark, handsome, wonderful, loving, supportive, sweet, funny man there with you (well, maybe that part's just my heaven).

Happy Anniversary, Fabio!

You're the best everyday, and I've love spending my life with you. And you're even better than the best when you take me to remote island paradises, but somehow I love you just as much when we're in hot, sweaty concrete jungles. 

(But please, still take me to remote island paradises from time to time, because that was really fun.)

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Fabio and I were stuck on Christmas gifts this year... neither of us could think of something to ask for, or to give. So we agreed to give each other a quick trip to Bangkok instead. We threw out the wrapping paper, packed our bags, and headed for adventure December 26.

Whether it was the huge Grand Palace complex filled with ornate statues and delicate detailing...

Or the lush, natural beauty of the fresh flower market...

Or the delicious treats we found along the way...

(fancy Blue Elephant lunch... J was not impressed)

(freshly squeezed pomegranate juice... I was very impressed)

(coconut ice cream covered in sweet and condensed milk at the JJ Market... 
who wouldn't be impressed? It took all our self control to only have one serving.)

Bangkok certainly lived up to her reputation. Our time there was always exciting, always colorful, always surprising... and usually a little crazy.

Just when we thought we had the place figured out we would find ourselves crammed nose to nose on a public ferry boat with 150 other people, having only a vague idea of where it was taking us. 

Right before we got to the ferry dock... so blissfully naive!
Except Jonathan. Look at that face--he definitely felt something coming. 

We were especially surprised to learn that none of the pick-pockets in Bangkok are Thai... only non-Thai.

The contrasts were striking. We would leave an enormous golden-leafed reclining Buddha,

You were skeptical when I said "enormous," weren't you?

to see people of all walks and wealth humbly laying simple lotus flowers on an outdoor altar.

We ran for our lives across crazy crowed streets, taking in incredible vistas while we dashed...

We wondered who is putting up all the random large pictures of the King everywhere.

And of course we posed for Jonathan's adoring public, as always.

But most of all we enjoyed yet another adventure together. And we were really glad we'd been struck with a serious case of "gift-lock" the month before.

Because three nights in Bangkok was the perfect present.