From one island to another

24 Aug

Hard to believe that just 3 weeks ago we made the decision to leave Penang for New York. So much has happened since then, it feels like it was months ago. We packed up our lives in Malaysia – selling, donating or packing everything we own – in record time. From start to finish we were out of Penang in just under 2 weeks. A task no one thought possible. Nothing moves that fast in Malaysia but low and behold…it happened! And somehow in the middle of those 2 weeks we started a new school year, had visitors from the US, a girls trip to Bali, and goodbye parties with friends and colleagues. Good grief, I don’t know how we did it all.

Addi, as usual, was a big hit with the locals. Here she is being loved on by the moving team in Penang as they were packing up our house.

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Fast forward to now. We are settled on Long Island, New York . Justin will be working out of two offices…one in Melville, New York and the other in Manhattan. So we are temporarily in corporate housing until we find a place of our own. We are looking for houses on Long Island, since it’s convenient to the Melville office. And depending on which neighborhood we decide on, it will be a 35-55 minute commute to NYC by train. Until now, it’s just been Justin and I looking around at houses on our own but next week we spend 3 days with the realtor so we’re hoping to find something quickly, but we are willing to wait until we find a home we love. Meanwhile, we are buying new phones and new cars. Justin already found his car, but I hope to get one this week or next. It’s like we are hemorrhaging money around here :)

Long Island is beautiful right now, so green and lush. The weather is ridiculously awesome. Cool temps and sunny skies. Perfect convertible weather (yes, I was surprised to see so many of those here). I’ve only been here less than a week, due to a quick trip to Austin to supervise the move out of our storage unit, but things have been really great and we are happy with our choice to come here.

Pierce and Addi are adjusting nicely. Pierce is excited about starting a new school (as soon as we find one. We’re on the wait lists at a few different schools) and he is especially looking forward to Thursday when our air shipment arrives from Penang with some of his toys. Here he is below, riding the train with dad.

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Addi has been a trooper…and this international move hasn’t slowed her down one bit. She is still on the go, crawling everywhere and keeping us busy. Here she is at our corporate apartment doing what she loves the most right now. Pulling up (what?).  I swear this child will be walking at 8 months.

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I am looking forward to this last week with Justin, before he starts work on Sept 2. We have been so busy and still have so much to do, but it’s been fun. We’re hoping to get a chance to go into the city sometime next week. It’s hard being so close and not being able to go there! But we’ll get there eventually…

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Changes are a comin

3 Aug

I’m only slightly freaking out right now, knowing that in just a few short weeks…a few crazy hectic weeks…our life will be so completely different than what it is today. Ok, so here goes. Justin accepted a new job with a terrific company in New York, and he starts September 2nd.  Eeeeeeeek! Can you believe it?!? I can hardly contain myself. We are super excited about our next big family adventure and this great opportunity for Justin. I am, however, admittedly nervous about everything that needs to be done between now and then to get us there. Sad to be leaving such a great place, and the amazing people we’ve met in Penang and I’ve definitely experienced a mixture of emotions over the last few days. But it’s mostly excitement. And gratitude. Grateful this is happening now, not the middle of winter because I’m hoping to have a couple months to ease into the bitter cold (and to buy a whole new wardrobe). Stay tuned…here we go!!

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Half a year, in a blink of an eye

1 Aug

What an exciting summer for our baby girl. We had a lot of firsts and memorable events while back in the US. Starting with her first two teeth. They came in together right as we were fighting jet lag. Ugh, long nights for momma. But yay for teeth!!

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Along with teeth come solids, woot woot!

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Sitting like a big girl, at just 5 months

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And although she’s been army crawling since 4 months, she’s now on hands and knees. And faster than ever!

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A preview of her 6 month photos

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And probably the most special milestone to me, was her baptism last month. I felt so fortunate to do this with Justin’s family, as guests in a Catholic Church in Birmingham. Addison has the same godparents as Pierce, but of course neither Brent nor Melanie could be present so the grandparents happily stood in.

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Father Jaya, who performed the ceremony, is from Bangalore India and was so welcoming and understanding of the urgency to do her baptism in the States. He was so nice to us, and said Addi was the happiest baby he’s ever had the pleasure of baptizing. She giggled and coo’d through the whole thing. Our little princess…

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Home visit 2014

1 Aug

I usually don’t blog about home visits, I think mostly because I’m too exhausted by the time we get back to Penang. This trip back to the States proved to be no different, but it was such a big one…I’m feeling like it’s blog worthy. For starters, it was Addison’s first trip to America. And it harbored a lot of firsts for her too…meeting family members and hitting major milestones in her short life. Secondly, this visit was LOOOOOONG. In the past we usually do a fast and furious 3 week home visit which goes by in a blur, but this year because I’m not working, the kids and I were allowed the luxury of staying a bit longer and spending more time with family. Somehow 6 weeks still went by in a blur.

We started in Amarillo, Texas at my parents house. This is where jet lag hit us hard.

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It’s never easy, but wowza this time it was way worse than ever (thanks to an infant who doesn’t understand flipping night and day). There are all sorts of tips about dealing with jet lag and small kids. None of them work. Just accept it, and survive until it’s gone. I should mention it’s 4 am local time right now….we’re fighting jet lag again now on the return, and it’s just as bad as it was going out.

However, once over the jet lag Amarillo was great. Addi was able to meet her Great Aunt Peggy, her uncle Thomas, her Great Aunt Dolores, Great Aunt and Uncle JoEllen and Ron and their kids and grandkids, cousins like Cindy, Nicki and their families, Addi’s great Grandmother Mildred, my dad’s cousins, etc etc etc. The list goes on and on, and we have too many adorable pictures of it all.

Pierce was able to join his first t-ball team and play with other kids age 3-6. This age in sports is ADORABLE. Pierce had little interest in the game itself and mostly could be found picking weeds in the outfield and piling rocks in his glove. But they had such a fun time, and it was so cute to watch these little guys.

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After Amarillo, we stopped in Austin, Texas to meet up with my husband. We visited with friends and did all the annual doctor visits. It was so great to catch up with everyone and introduce Addi to some important people in my life, but as usual…it went by way too quickly.

Then it was off to Birmingham, Alabama to spend time with my in-laws. We usually show up at their house sick and tired (literally) but this time around everyone was healthy and adjusted to the time zone, and we had a blast! Addi met her grandfather and a bunch of new friends. She even drove her first car ;) Dance parties and milkshakes were the highlight for Pierce.

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After a week and a half in Birmingham we set out on a family vacation to Clearwater, Florida. Uncle Brent joined us from Chicago so we had the whole family together. Addi and Pierce met their great Aunt and Uncle Janet and Glenn, and second cousins Stephanie and Jayden who live in Florida. So much fun! But man, Florida is hot. Even for us who are used to tropical Malaysia!

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Here we are heading home, after a stop-over in Hong Kong. We call this the art of packing light :) This is what happens when you have to cram an entire year’s worth of shopping into one US visit. I can’t even count how many times I asked a family member to take me to Target. Thanks for putting up with me!

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Mother’s Day 2014

11 May

What a fun, busy weekend we had. On Friday morning we were so excited to see the Preschool classes from Dalat perform at chapel. These kids were so adorable and did such a great job. Pierce has been signing these songs and practicing the motions for weeks. Proud parents, we are!

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That evening we had a “Ladies Night Out” on a luxury catamaran, cruising the Straits of Malacca. Such a fun and beautiful night with great friends. Will definitely book this again.

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Saturday morning we woke up and got on another boat to Monkey Beach, which is part of the National Park here in Penang. Two other families went with us, and everyone had a blast. The kids loved the boat ride.

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The little ones played on the beach while the captain and crew prepared a delicious lunch with chicken, pork, fish, prawn, and veggies. YUM!

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And of course there are a lot of monkeys on Monkey Beach!

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The captain took the kids on a fishing trip where they caught a few puffer fish, an octopus and other small tropical fish. Highlight of the day for Pierce! He’s been asking to go fishing for weeks.

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And then at the end of the day, a storm rolled in and everyone played in the rain. First time (ever?) that we’ve been cold in Penang. Goosebumps and all. It was so much fun. Cold rain, warm ocean? Yes please. Couldn’t ask for a better day on Monkey Beach.

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Last year on Mother’s Day I ran a half marathon (pregnant – before I knew). So keeping with the theme, this year I decided to get back into the scene with my first duathlon of the “season” and since having Addi. Feels good to be back!

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At home, Justin and Pierce cooked my favorite meal – breakfast tacos – and then sent me on my way to the spa. Pedi and ice cream, what a treat!

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Sunday night we visited the neighborhood Hindu temple to enjoy the festival (not sure the name of it?) and watch the firewalkers. Amazing, although I didn’t get to capture a good pic of it.

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And finally, a night cap with good friends for a toast to motherhood! My last kid-free moment for a while since Justin is traveling back to the US Monday for 10+ days. Seriously, could the weekend have been any better? I don’t think so.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. Hope it was filled with love.

Kota Kinabalu – a wooden anniversary

4 May

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When Justin and I started thinking about how to spend our anniversary, we knew we wanted to take a family vacation somewhere. But we struggled to nail down where to go. Had to be somewhere quick and convenient to travel to, and an infant-friendly location. And to make it extra challenging, I had the requirement it had to be a place we hadn’t visited before. This ruled out the tried and true Thailand spots of Koh Samui and Phuket, and the convenient Malaysian islands of Langkawi and Pangkor. We eventually settled on Kota Kinabalu – or “KK” as its called – in eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo (which BTW is the 3rd largest island in the world – behind Greenland and New Guinea). KK is only 2.5 hours away from Penang, with a direct flight, and juuuuust far enough away from the recent kidnappings to be “captain safety approved”. Captain safety is Justin…if you didn’t know.

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When looking into where to stay, everyone recommended the Shangri-La Hotels. Soooo very happy with our choice. The Tanjung Aru resort was so kid-friendly, had a great pool with huge water slides, a nice little beach (with amazing sunsets), lots of restaurants to chose from with great food, an awesome kids club, it goes on and on.

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Just like her brother, Addi loves the water and was happy splashing around all day.

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We LOVED this vacation. And even tho there was the Borneo marathon the same weekend AND Mount Kinabalo to hike up, I didn’t drag Justin to either of these things. We relaxed at the resort the entire week – only leaving twice. Once to visit the sister Shangri-La property to see the orangutans, and the second time for a trip to town for some shopping. Borneo is known for it’s wood carvings. And since this is our 5th anniversary (wood) we had previously planned to buy anniversary gifts in town. One of my favorite souvenirs/gifts is this wooden map of Borneo. All the others are still sitting in my suitcase, but we got a lot of cool things.

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And Justin had this gift waiting for him at home. He’s been oooohing and awwwing over this massage chair for months. I pulled off the ultimate surprise! He is so happy (and relaxed).

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Another blissful year, celebrated with another fabulous vacation!

Easter weekend

20 Apr

Pierce pretending that his carrot snack was Jesus, and showing me how He died on the cross. And then he asked for another carrot – a big one – for the tomb and stone. Love this kid!

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The kids before heading out to the Easter Egg hunt Saturday morning.

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We enjoyed an Easter potluck brunch and egg hunt with the other expat families.

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After the egg hunt and pool party we came upstairs to go thru the eggs. I laid Addi down on her back to play while I helped Pierce go thru his candy. I couldn’t believe it when I saw her on her side. And then as soon as I snapped the picture she completely rolled to her belly. She had dropped her book and really wanted to get it back. She even scooted her way to the other side of her mat for it. She does the same thing in her crib. Uh oh…this girl is going to be trouble!

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Easter morning we had brunch with some close friends at the Rasa Sayang Shangri-La.

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Happy Easter everyone!!

 

 

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