Monday, July 31, 2006

Presents for Meadow

Auntie Heather hosted a shower for Meadow yesterday and she got lots of wonderful presents! She is quite spoiled, I think. She has so many cute outfits and cuddly -lankets. It's just so easy to shop for little ones!!

This picture shows her with Uncle Tyler (Mel's DH) in the evening. She loves to have people hold her so she was very content at the shower, as she was passed around. She has developed more of her own looks in the last 3 weeks and her face has changed. She weighed 7'9" at her 3 week checkup so she's doing great. I am so surprised at how strong she is - her little head is always moving and checking out things. Sometimes she gets going too much and then she crashes into your shoulder. She seems to not need much sleep, especially at night, much to her mom's dismay! Catnaps of 15 minutes to an hour are her preferred sleeping times. I am so looking forward to seeing her every day in the month ahead!!

And in a side note, DH split coffee on the key-oard over the weekend so we are una-le to type 3 letters on the -ottom row - can you guess what they are?? I guess shopping for a -rand new -ery up-to-date -ippy new key-oard is on the agenda tomorrow.

I promise to share trip pictures tomorrow. I'm still trying to download all the cards today!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

We are Home!!!

It was another 28 hour day but we are safely home!! Thank you, Lord, for amazing mechanical inventions and airline crews that do an amazing job!!

I'm off to replenish the fridge - there is nothing to eat around here! - but I will post some pictures and tell you more later. Our girls and their families are all coming for a barbecue tonight. We were lucky to see everyone last night - some in Calgary and then Meadow, Na and Jerry at their house. Everyone is fine - and I was SOOOOO happy to see them all!!

More later -----

Sunday, July 23, 2006

5 Hours, 7 km, 500 m Up ....

We are in Taroko Gorge on the east side of the island of Taiwan for a couple of days. Today we hiked up to Lotus Pond - 7 kilometres with a rise of 500 metres. It took 5 hours and was quite challenging! Jonathan - I think you should be proud of me!!! Tyler found a bamboo stick for me to walk with and I trudged up step after step but I perservered! It was harder coming down because the steps were uneven heights and widths. But it was all worth it because the gorge is breathtakingly beautiful - steep sides, sweeping vistas, jungle vegetation. Bob and I agree that we are getting rather tired of seeing steps - we've done tons of walking and climbing it seems. That's a good thing with all the delicious food we've been having!

We had supper at the Grand Formosa Hotel down the street from the youth hostel that we are staying at. Last night we had dessert too in honour of our son-in-law Tyler's 25th birthday. Desserts from the coffee bar were as much as the supper in the dining room!! But they were too die for - cherry cheesecake, banana caramel tart, mango mousse, black forest cake - you get the picture?! Very unusual desserts for Taiwan but scrumptious. I also had apple fruit tea that had a whole diced green apple in it and came in the cutest glass teapot - it was wonderful. Good thing we hiked so much today!

Tomorrow we are heading back to Taipei so Mel and Tyler can finish packing and pay their bills before flying home to Canada on Tuesday. They are getting excited to be able to speak unlimited English and be understood - and to see family and friends. Sorry I don't have any pictures but I'm in the hotel using their computer so hopefully I'll have some to post tomorrow.

((( HUGS )))

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Great Wall and other Highlights from China

We've had the most amazing time in China!! Some of our highlights and impressions include:

1. The Great Wall at Si Ma Tai - engineering, history, the views, climbing, the guides - definitely the #1 thing we wanted to experience - we would go back in a heartbeat!! Bob, Mel and Tyler climbed as far as they could from Tower 3 to Tower 13. Beyond this the trail is too narrow and broken down for hikers but they are planning to make repairs so it can be reopened. I will definitely share more about this adventure when we get home.

2. The Forbidden City - incredible buildings, temples, gardens, relics, history and culture. The Emperors and their many dynasties are a huge part of the Chinese culture. The site is 250 acres in the heart of the city - we only took about 150 pictures, I think!

3. People and traffic everywhere in the city of Beijing!

4. Watching the city prepare for the 2008 Olympics. We saw some of the construction being done on The Birds Nest - the stadium being prepared for the opening and closing ceremonies.

5. Pandas at the Beijing Zoo - we couldn't be in China and not see these guys!!!

We are back in Taiwan helping Mel and Tyler pack up the last of their things in preparation for their departure to Canada next week. Tyler closed the bank account today! Later today we are going to pick up a rental van, have a late Father's Day supper at a German restaurant here in Taipei and then tomorrow head to the mountains and Taroko Gorge, one of the most beautiful spots in Taiwan.

Of course, I am missing everyone back home! And I am wondering about little Meadow - I have had a chance to do some shopping for her!!! Hopefully I'll be able to post once more before we head home next week. Meanwhile ((( HUGS ))) to all - and thanks for staying in touch!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hong Kong Today!!

We're on the road again, after 3 very busy days in Taiwan! I have not walked this much in many years! Mel and Tyler are great hosts and have shown us amazing sites including:

- Taipei 101 - the tallest building in the world - great observation deck and views of the city

- hiking to Jiowu Mountain - a 2.5 km trek through rainforest up a bazillion steps - I made it! (after I lost my breakfast from the heat, humidity and hard work!!)

- the tea buffet (including squid salad and red bean with silver fungus cold dessert soup!) at the Grand Hotel, built under Madame Chiang Kai-Shek's guidance - how elegant and very traditionally Chinese

- night market shopping - crazy busy with stuff and people EVERYWHERE!!

- the school they taught at

This morning we were up at 4:30 to catch a flight to Hong Kong. If we thought Taipei was crowded and busy, this is insane! Nearly 7000 people per square mile with tall, tall buildings everywhere you look. We toured Aberdeen Harbour on a sampan, check the view from Victoria Peak, visited a jewellery manufacturing site (where I got a gorgeous anniversary present!!), shopped a street market and then hit the Women's Market (3 blocks chock full of electronics, sportswear, women's clothing, shoes and jewellery). I think Bob's about shopped out and we need to find more suitcase space too!!

Sorry I can't upload pictures tonight - I wish I'd know our hotel here had internet access but I really didn't want to drag the laptop to China. So hopefully next week I can do share some pictures. I am snapping like crazy!

Love you all - wish you could be here to experience this! And I miss ALL of you!!! (((Hugs)))

Sunday, July 09, 2006

4 Countries and 28 Hours Later!

We have arrived in Taiwan - safe and sound after passing through 4 countries. It was a LONG day (up at 5:15 in Vancouver for a flight to San Francisco, then 17 hours from SF via Nagoya, Japan) but there weren't any major problems along the way (other than losing my New Zealand apples at US Customs!). We slept a bit, we read, we watched movies, we ate alot, and then Mel and Tyler met us at the Taipei Airport. It's hard to believe that we haven't seen them for just about a whole year - it was nice to put our arms around them and exchange hugs again!

So far jet lag hasn't affected us. Today we went to church this morning, had a Chinese picnic with treats from a little bakery, checked out a huge mall, and then had the tea buffet at the Grand Hotel - the only Chinese palace style hotel in the world. Madame Chiang Kai-Shek had this hotel built after they came to Taiwan in the 50's and it's beautiful with traditional carvings, artwork, fountains and furnishings. Red and gold, marble and exotic woods are used throughout.

Riding the rapid transit is an experience in itself - thank goodness Mel and Tyler know it well. We did successfully figure out how to load our yo-yo cards(you use them for paying for the transit rides). The whole transit system is definitely much more advanced than what Edmonton has!

A walk through the park across from Mel and Tyler's apartment brought us back home - to the air conditioning - yeah!! Mel has lots planned for us, including an early morning hike tomorrow. It's amazing how many different things you can experience in just 1 day!! Check out the view from their apartment - here's waving at you!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

All Our Bags Are Packed...

Just doing some last minute cleaning stuff before we head to Calgary to begin our Asian adventure tonight. We are having supper with Heather & Jonathan, Darrin & Kelsey and then catching an evening flight to Vancouver. Tomorrow we fly to San Francisco, where we'll meet Audrey & Aime' again, and on to Taipei. Melinda said this morning that it's now only 46 hours until we arrive there!

I'm hoping to stay in touch with lots of pictures and updates on our activities. I know there will be lots to share and I don't want to wait for 3 weeks to begin. I won't know where to start!! I've got the camera with 3 sets of batteries and 3 memory cards packed so I should be good for about 800 pictures. I'm so looking forward to the photographic opportunities in these countries. Architecture, flowers, people, markets, water, traffic, farming, mountains - there will be so much to capture!

But now I better tie up the loose ends - Bob's just putting a couple of loads of silage in the last bag and then he needs a haircut. I have to vacuum and take the dog to Kendra and Yvonne's house. And then we are stopping to see Meadow, Naomi and Jerry on our way out. Gotta give that babe one last hug and try to memorize her every detail to last me for 3 long weeks!

Sayonara - or whatever it is in Mandarin! I think culture shock may be part of my experience too!!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It's Hot!!!

The temperature just keeps rising here in Alberta! +32 today and they say warmer tomorrow! We desperately need some rain - the yards and gardens are powder dry. Much of the hay is put up, way earlier than normal in these parts. When the rain starts, it won't know when to stop, I'm afraid. Extreme weather is coming our way, I'm sure.

I had to do some shopping for our trip today. I got runners, sandals, new suitcases and some stuff for Meadow including a foldup stroller, a Snugli (so she can go for walks in the morning with her dad!), sleepers (she has such long feet that her little toes are curled up in the ones she has!), a little denim dress and pink baby sunglasses!! It was FUN shopping for a baby - I see this could become a habit!!

When we went to visit Naomi and Jerry tonight, Meadow had just finished her bath, which went much better tonight. The first day she screamed through the whole thing. We sat outside on the front lawn and she slept happily in Grampa's arms the whole time. This is her favorite position with her hand up beside her ear! She has such an expressive face - she's forever raising her eyebrows or twisting her mouth. I could just watch her for hours! (sigh)

Off to finish some laundry and get piles into the suitcases. We leave on our Asian adventure in 2 sleeps - or 82 hours, as Mel wrote today!!!

Stay cool and enjoy some ice cream - I had key lime with fresh raspberries from the Marble Slab Creamery today!! I highly recommend this ice cream shoppe - check if there's one near you.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Heather!!

It's our beautiful daughter's birthday today! Happy 28th Birthday, Heather! You have filled our lives with energy, humour, caring and love. Independence and creativity have shaped you to be a strong, courageous and adventurous woman. You have been a risk taker since the beginning and you have been willing to try many things, from track to travel to new foods. May you be blessed, especially today and in the year ahead as you enter motherhood.

We were lucky to see Heather when they came to visit Meadow today. Good thing Gramma Lange baked this cake for her!!

Baby Week

I am declaring it baby week on my blog! I will only get to see Meadow for a few days before we go on our Asian adventure so I want to share lots of photos right now. She will be a month old when we return and I can only imagine a fragment of how much she will have changed. So you will have to bear with me for the next 4 days while I share photos of her. My mom and I took supper over to Naomi & Jerry's tonight so Mom got to meet her greatgranddaughter. Meadow had her supper at the same time as we ate - Naomi's doing awesome - nursing and eating supper at the same time! When we left (far too soon for my liking!), Meadow and Naomi were cuddling in a chair on the dock while Jerry worked on the retaining wall and beachfront.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

She Came Home Today!!

Little Meadow is at home with her mom and dad today! They stayed overnight at the hospital and then came home to their house at the lake. For supper, they went to Gramma Judy's. Naomi says she definitely knows how to suck - Mom's feeling a little sore today!! And she loves to sleep on her Daddy's chest! These pictures show her with Uncle Darrin and her dad, Jerry, last night at the hospital. I am in love and I am going over there to stake a claim tomorrow!!!

She's Here!!!

Our beautiful new granddaughter, Meadow Hope, arrived today at 2:18 p.m.!!!!! She is so precious and beautiful! She weighed 6 lbs. 9 ozs. and was 20" long. There really are no words to describe how perfect she is. We think she has her mom's nose but her dad's dark hair and complexion. I'll only share a few pictures tonight - more to come soon!!!