YeXian Pagoda hike

A friend invited me to join her on a hike and I said yes! We traveled with about 20 fellow international school parents to hike the mountains near the YeXian pagoda in Miyun District, Beijing. In Beijing, one can travel quite a long time and still be within Beijing’s borders! Since we can’t really travel outside of Beijing right now, I’m thankful we can head up into the hills (or into the city) to explore!

About 1.5 hours from home, we arrived at the visitor’s entrance gate to the mountain/site. Near the entrance, there were religious/cultural statues, beautiful gates, and temples. I’m not sure what religions were represented, possibly Hinduism. There was an altar for those who wanted to burn incense and pray. We trekked up the steps of the mountain, chatting most of the way. Some rested on the switchbacks while others continued hiking to the top. When we got to the pagoda, I chose to hike all the way to the top where there were a few more architectural pieces–a few more pagodas, arches, and a big marble bridge at the tippy top. The uppermost walkway was a recreated Great Wall, which made us chuckle! After having lunch and time to explore the top of the mountain, we gathered up, strapped on protective gear (helmets + elbow/knee pads) and go-carted (gravity powered) down! It was quite a fun and bumpy ride down!

Our friend: Janel

Janel has been taking care of Liam and Clara this summer and they have really grown to love her. Liam gets excited when he wakes up when we tell him he gets to go to play with Janel and Clara gets a big smile on her face when she sees Janel. We did a session with Janel yesterday, and Liam joined in the fun! He enjoys being with Janel–playing dominoes, reading books, making crafts with pom-poms and pipe cleaners, and watching “Finding Nemo.” She will be at camp next week and the kids are going to miss her when they don’t get to see her on Monday. School is starting in a couple weeks, which means this summertime fun is coming to a close. We have been blessed to have her this summer and are thankful she was willing to jump into life at the studio with our kids.

Liam’s Big Boy Bed

Liam got a new big boy bed from Auntie Lois. He has done pretty well for the two nights he’s been sleeping in it. The first night, it had the mattress from Auntie Lois and I wanted to put his, more sturdy, mattress on it instead. He cried and cried when we took the Auntie Lois mattress out and put his in, so we made the switch. I proceeded to put a mattress pad and sheet on the A.L. mattress and still he cried. I think we went to read and get his mind off of the mattress situation and came back a little later. He fell asleep on his “new” A.L. mattress and I have yet to switch it out for his crib mattress. Let’s all hope he doesn’t notice! He’s growing up so fast!

Liam's new bed

Liam's new bed

What a cute boy!

Liam 18 month update

This is about a month late, but I think it’s better late than never to get this up!

On our drive to the coast a couple of weeks ago, we brainstormed all of the words Liam knows and some of the skills he has up to this point. He amazes us at how fast he learns and picks up on the little things we do. He’s a joy to have around and we’re enjoying him each more every day, especially the days he gets to come to the studio with us. We hope you enjoy the accomplishments of little Liam!

Verbal Words:
up-down = on/off, up/down, in/out
milka milk = milk
num a nums = yummy food
duck a duck = motorcycle
yallow = yellow
bus (He usually says, “Yallow bus,” as a phrase)
Ma = Maggie
Maa (drawn out /a/)= Max
ow = ouchie
/b/a or /p/a = pacifer (It’s sorta a sound between /b/ and /p/.)
Papa = Grandpa
dadow = Shadow (G’pa & G’ma Fast’s dog)
apple = banana or any fruit really
a da = all done (usually voiced with the sign)
aya = water
pul = pool
nano nano= no
Nel = Janel and Breann
Aeya = Aaron
de ta = Greta
at = hat
hot dog
dap = Thank you (Voiced with the sign.)
purple – He knows the word but hasn’t connected it to the color yet.
no = nose
mou = mouth

A couple phrases we’ve noticed:
“Uncle Aeya”
“More please”

thank you
all done
change (as in his diaper)

Things Liam can do (some of which he really enjoys doing):
-help take pictures
-follows simple 1 or 2 step directions
-identifies features on self and others: mouth, eyes, ears, hand, nose, arm, teeth
-get his swim diaper if he knows we’re going swimming
-read (He loves to read by himself or with an adult!)
-play with Maggie and all over Maggie
-points to nose in response to, “Where is Liam?”
-blows on food when it’s hot
-will put his face in the water in the swimming pool

At the moment, he’s learning so many new words each day we can’t tell what they are. We’ll get some current pictures of him up soon! Be on the lookout for some simple videos as well!

Liam’s tests are negative

Our doctor’s appointment went well this afternoon. We found out the results of the Cystic Fibrosis test + blood work that was done on Monday at Children’s Hospital. The CF test came back negative, which we are thankful for. The blood work was in the normal range, so the doctor wasn’t worried about that either. It is now concluded that Liam is just small and gains weight slowly. I think he has his daddy to thank for that! Liam has gained 7 ounces since last week, so we are thrilled about that. We’ll keep offering yummy food and anticipate him being a healthy little toddler. Thank you for your love, support, and prayers through these last few weeks. We appreciate you!

Liam is 15 months old!

We are so proud of our little 15 month old!  I’d like to take just a moment to catalog all he is able to do.

Liam is getting more and more mobile on his two feet.  These days, he might be found walking from the kitchen into the dining room to find Maggie or his truck.  He still walks on his knees, but he’s gaining the confidence he needs to take off on two feet and walk!  Because he can’t quite reach the floor as he’s riding his truck, he will propel himself using one leg.  The other leg is tucked up under him bum on the seat of the truck.  What a sight!

He is a climber!  He tries to climb a lot of objects, but especially likes Maggie.  He likes to climb on Maggie when she’s laying down.  Usually she is pretty patient with him and will let him climb up and over her.  I’m thankful she is so good with him.

Language, Language, Language… Liam has been learning sign language since before he turned one.  We got a little discouraged because he wasn’t responding with signs as we continued to use them.  He’s using them now and we need to learn more so we can continue to build his vocabulary.  He knows: Please, Thank You, dog, more, eat, and all done.  He waves for Hi and Bye and also blows kisses.  He uses the sound /bo/ for bath and bottle.  When he signs, “Thank You,” he also makes a distinct sound.  He can say “apple” and understands a few phrases.  The chicky says /bok/.  “Put it in your mouth, Liam,” and “Put your head down,” both solicit the correct behaviors.  He understands what a truck is and will go to it if asked to.

Liam likes to do a lot of things, but here are just a few that rise to the top of his list.  He fancies the kitchen cupboard and any drawer he can get open to empty its contents.  Putting objects in containers can occupy him for quite a long time!  He is always a happy camper outside.  If he’s fussing and is brought outside, the crying stops.  It’s amazing, and I’m sure we will have a lot of fun outside this spring and summer.  He likes to play in Maggie’s bowl (water and food) and is willing to help clean up when asked.

Liam is not huge eater, but he will eat almost anything if it is combined with apples.  For example: apples and sweet potatoes, apples and pear, apples with chicken, apples with yogurt.  We will continue to find combinations!  If you’d like to pass along your apple combination, please do!

We are so amazed at how much growth happens in such a short amount of time!

Liam’s first steps

We celebrated Nick McIntyre’s birthday on Monday evening and Liam surprised us all with his first steps! We were sitting around watching him entertain us, and Margie’s sister picked him up to help him walk. Andrew was close by and (all of the sudden) Liam let go of her hands and wobbled to Andrew. It was AMAZING. What a surprise! We are so proud of him, and I think he’s proud of himself too. Since Monday, he hasn’t been as courageous to venture out on his own, but we can tell he is gaining confidence in his walking ability. He’s been wobbling around on his knees like he’s walking–it’s pretty funny!

Hooray for Mommy’s first post! Hopefully there will be many more to follow.