If We Were Having Coffee: Embracing October

weekendcoffeeshareSuch a fun way to recap the week with friends. Sometimes, when things get busy and I can’t find time to post, this medium is absolutely perfect for getting reconnected. Thanks to Diana at Part-Time Monster for hosting.

If we were having coffee,

GeniusI’d tell you that Jack (my new grandson) is now a month old! It seems like only yesterday that I was holding the day-old angel. It’s so cliche to talk about how time flies, but I swear this little guy will be in school before I know it.

Which is why I’d also tell you that last night I did some work on the quilt I’m making for Jack, and I plan to do more on it tonight. I’d love to show you pictures of what’s going on with it, but I gave Jack’s mother the option, and she prefers to be surprised, so I’ll post pictures AFTER it’s completed. Have no fear: I’m taking photos along the way.

I’d also tell you (or remind you) that Jack’s mother, Megan has an awesome blog featuring recipes, restaurant reviews, and lots of other amazing things at MegGoesNomNom. 

And finally (when it comes to Jack), I’d tell you that I need to get back to see that guy again!

If we were having coffee,

loganhatdayI’d tell you that I did see my other grandson, Logan, on Friday. He is four and a half and  is enjoying preschool, especially the bus ride on the way there. He even learned his bus driver’s name before his teacher’s name. He goes four days a week, so Friday was a good day to go visiting.

Logan likes wearing the days of the week socks that his paternal grandfather got for him. Not that Kate needs help keeping up to date on laundry, but Logan now has a vested interest since he wants to make sure that the socks are reading for the rotation when Monday morning rolls around.

I’d tell you how much fun Logan had with spirit week at school. On Monday, it was Sports Day, and Tuesday was Beach Day. The picture here is from Wednesday or Hat Day. On Thursday, it was Mismatch Day. Kate, who blogs at Sincerely Kate, took pictures each day before he caught the bus.

If we were having coffee,

enggment_photoI’d tell you that three weeks from today, I’ll be returning from Orlando and my eldest son’s wedding. He and Jessica are so happy. Doug waited a long time for this moment, and I’m glad he found someone who brings joy to his life. I think she’s pretty happy with him, too.  🙂

I’d also mention that it will be the first time in ten years that all four of my children will be in the same place at the same time. The last time was when we celebrated my 50th birthday (and my college graduation and acceptance to grad school). For the wedding in October, Jack and his mother won’t make the trip, but Jack’s father (son #3) will come down for a couple days, as he and his brother are both standing in the wedding. So family pictures are definitely in the plans during all these festivities.

I’d tell you that Jessica, my daughter-in-law to be, has worked at Disney for several years, and that after the ceremony at church, we will celebrate the reception at Disney. It will be my first visit to Disney.

Although my parents would like to go to the wedding, the trip from Michigan to Florida is just too much right now, so they will cheer from the sidelines, and we will make sure to bring lots of pictures back for them.

If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that I spent some time yesterday with my mother going through the loose recipes she has. We started organizing them into categories and selected a few that looked especially inviting for the near future. I also did a lot of cooking yesterday: a pasta salad that will last a few days, a spaghetti squash, a tomato spaghetti sauce to go along with said squash, and some apple crisp. It’s actually kind of fun. It’s been so long since I’ve done much cooking that I enjoy it. I don’t think my parents mind either. I do take requests.  🙂 And I’m already thinking about what I’ll make next time.

If we were having coffee,

I’d wish you a great week and tell you how much I look forward to catching up again next week.

Join in the fun at: http://parttimemonster.com/2015/10/03/weekendcoffeeshare-first-week-of-october-edition/

So Amazing to HEAR: Stream of Conscious Saturday (Part 2)

Linda’s Friday prompt for Saturday’s Stream of Consciousness post is “hear/here.” Part 1 was about the “HERE” part of this prompt. Now, I’m going to do one for “HEAR.”

logan 23 monthsThis little guy is Logan when he was 23 months old in late 2012. Logan was born during my second year in Taiwan. So during January of 2011, while I was recovering from knee replacement surgery in Taiwan, my daughter Kate gave birth to this sweet little guy back in Michigan. Had I known Logan was going to come along in 2011, my time in Taiwan might have played out differently, but this is the story of how it had played out and how hear has become an important part of that story.

Logan is now 3 1/2, and I love the stories I hear my daughter about all of Logan’s milestones and the events of his life. My direct involvement can be summed up (unfortunately) in the few paragraphs below.

2011

The first time I got to hold Logan was in the summer of 2011, when he was five months old. It was such a delight. The summer went quickly, but I had lots of chances to spend time with him during those two months. When it was time for me to go back to Taiwan, he was seven months old. When I left him that summer, I had no idea that I would ultimately be in Taiwan for six years — I just completed my fifth.

2012

In the summer of 2012, Logan was very mobile when I visited. He was 17 months old when I arrived that summer. It was a delight to see him moving around. He had become quite a “dancer,” and he was quite entertaining. I brought a quilt I made for him, and he did some posing with it. You can see him (and the quilt) in the upper right section of my blog. That summer, it didn’t take Logan long to warm up to me.

family

2013

It took Logan a little time to warm up to me again, but it was a lovely summer. I had to be patient as he was very much his own person. The 2 1/2 year old Logan had a mind of his own, but he was such a delight. When my oldest son was visiting Michigan that summer (from Florida), he and I went with Kate and Logan to see Despicable Me 2 at the theater. Logan was so much fun! And by the end of the summer, he would hug me. He was saying a few words, and it was so much fun to watch him learning and trying things.

2014

For a variety of reasons, I am not in the US this summer. This is the first summer since Logan has been around (and since I’ve lived in Taiwan) that I haven’t gone for a summer visit. The thing that makes this tolerable is that my family is totally behind me 100 percent. If I stay in Taiwan this summer and focus on the tasks I need to finish, I will be able to move back to the US next summer — a goal my husband and I are ready to tackle.

Of course, Logan talks a LOT now. He picks up things that are funny as heck, and it’s fun to hear about them, even if I can’t hear them from him. See explanation below.

Logan as Captain Hook, Halloween 2013 (33 months)

Logan as Captain Hook, Halloween 2013 (33 months)

When Technology Fails

One of the things that has made it possible for me to be in Taiwan for this long (including the first two years without my husband) is that technology allows us to stay connected on opposite sides of the world. As recently as 2004 when I visited Asia for the first time, it was difficult to maintain contact through email and internet connections for those 2 1/2 weeks. What a difference 5 years made. When I came here to live (in 2009), Skype was well established, and I was able to communicate regularly (sometimes daily) with my parents and my husband. My mother joked during my first year here that she talked to me more with me in Taiwan than she did when I was in the States.

My children are all pretty tech savvy, but when it comes to Kate, we could not get her microphone to work. So when we Skyped (which had its own challenges), she and Logan could hear me, but she would have to type messages to me. I know about the cute things Logan says because Kate tells me (either in Skype texting or in Facebook messages). Don’t get me wrong! I love those messages from her, but especially this summer with no in-person visit, it’s rough not to be able to “hear” him when I can see him and see his mouth moving.

Good News

So this is my long-winded way of telling you that after all this time, I can finally hear Logan. My oldest son came up with a plan and enlisted my help so that he could surprise his sister with a new laptop computer while he visited this last month. Now when my daughter Skypes, I can hear them. It’s awesome. Our schedules haven’t allowed for very much contact yet, but hearing him is no longer limited to the summer visits. So even though I am not in the US this summer, I can still hear the little guy from time to time and see his world through his eyes.

This post is part of SoCS: http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-214/ 

Grandma/Grandson Halloween Photos

Halloween in Taiwan!

Halloween!!

(Photo credit: cafeconlecheporfavor)

Halloween arrives 12 hours earlier on my side of the world. So as my grandson was going to bed on the eve of Halloween, I was headed to my 8:10 class, treats in hand. My costume was simple. The big flowing gown I usually wear for this costume is back in the U.S. But I made do as a rather well-dressed witch headed out for a social obligation, with just a touch of black lace to go with the ensemble.

I had told my students that I’d be dressing up, and one of my students also came in costume, and I think she outdid me,as you can see in the photo. I heard from another student that Dante got up at 5 this morning to start doing the make-up for this amazing costume. And Dante told me that she used pieces of artificial nails to look like teeth. It was almost too realistic, if you know what I mean.

But as you can see in the photo below, we had lots of fun. And we still got lots of work done in class, talking about essay structure and how to make our introductory paragraphs more effective and interesting. It wasn’t ALL fun and games!

captain hook's grandma

Halloween in Michigan!

This is Logan’s (my grandson’s) third Halloween. He went from a cow on his first Halloween to a cowboy for his second. Now that he’s 2 1/2, he was able (thankfully) to choose his own costume, and he chose Captain Hook! I don’t know if it’s because his father is a volunteer fire fighter, but my sister, Laurie, got Logan a fire department toy set as a gift. Logan likes playing with the dispatch gizmo that came with it. Apparently, Logan and “Captain Hook” have been having fairly regular exchanges over this dispatch toy. Here is a little snipped from a Facebook chat between me and my daughter, in which it is clear that Logan has Captain Hook on the brain.

Kate:  “Three minutes! Okay, goodbye” and after he hangs it up it starts again.

Me:      LOL  three minutes to what?  😉

Kate:  “Hi Captain Hook, How are you? Oh. Three minutes. Okay, goodbye”

Kate:    I have no idea, but that’s the general conversation.

Me:      That’s hysterical!

Kate:    They always end with “Okay, goodbye”

We will never know what was going through Logan’s mind, but here he is, as his current alter ego, Captain Hook!

captain hook

And for those of you who missed it, this post of Halloween music assembled by Kate and me is offered for your viewing and listening pleasure!.

Happy Halloween, everyone!  🙂

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Exploring Containers (Compliments of My Grandson)

Meet Mr. Logan. He will be two later this month.

logan 23 months

Even as an infant, he was interested in exploring non-conventional containers. Who cares about cribs and car seats and bassinets when you have Daddy’s firefighter helmet?

fireman logan

At 5 months old, Logan discovered that a discarded box could be a makeshift car . . . . . .

205974_2249162869545_2861465_n

. . . . .  or a music lounge.

music lounge

By the time he was 13 months old, Mr. Logan was still finding more than one purpose for containers. Why just keep your toys in one, when you could also use it for a reading and music center?

logan multitasking

At 22 months, he finds that containers are good for exploring different possibilities. Perhaps a new vantage point. “If it’s good enough for the blocks, maybe I’ll check it out, too,” Logan says.

containerized logan

At Christmas time, Mr. Logan discovered that gifts can double as containers. This wagon doesn’t have to just hold toys.  It can be a nice resting place.

Logan in Wagon

It’s nice that Logan is showing an interest in containers. Another place where he can bond with Grandmother. And of course, let’s not forget how happy he was to explore his John Deer quilt that I gave him when he was 17 months. You can’t tell, but even his quilt has a container in it. He’s standing right in front on the barn block I included.

I love this little guy!

logan's quilt

A big shout out to my Kate and Gabe (daughter and son-in-law) for providing such a great home for Logan. Check out Kate’s penpalling blog at SincerelyKaterz.

family