Our American Family

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November 22

  We are in trouble the baby can open doors!! I kept him out of the kitchen by shutting the door. The bathrooms by shutting the door. In the bedroom by shutting the door. Out of the bedroom and bathroom areas by shutting the door. The baby having access to everywhere is not a good thing, unless you like chasing him so he doesn't play in toilets, or shower stalls. It is not a good thing unless you want him to have access to everything in the fridge and the door left open. Oh the fun times ahead.

  We have real tags on our van now, hopefully that means no one will stop us when we are coming up the mountain. On the weekends and holidays only those with stickers are allowed up the mountain road. Thankfully Matt has always been with one because he speaks Mandarin and two he has his ID card. To get the tags the van needed to be dropped off and then picked up from AIT. So I got to drive down on Monday and Tuesday, the Garmin is a great thing or I might have spent Monday driving around trying to find AIT. It is really nice that it can recalculate! Coming home was a much easier drive.

  Matt's class had a Thanksgiving dinner for the teachers, mmmm our house smelled so yummy Thursday with the turkey cooking and then Matt took it all away. We have ours to cook this week mmmm. I am a bit sad that we will not have any family to have our dinner with but at least we do have our family all together.

 This weekend we learned what happens when septic tanks get full and that the septic tank is right outside our bedroom window. Of course it happened at bedtime on Friday night. We also learned and our thankful that the maid's bathroom is not on the same line as the other three. So although 3 bathrooms were not usable for almost a full day we did have one working.

  We have a huge bump in our living room floor, it was small when I came.  You could tell it was there if you walked over it but now it is a small hill. I am curious as to how much they will have to tear up the floor to fix it.  They are coming this morning so I guess I will now soon enough and at least I have someone to call who comes promptly.

 One comment about Atticus before I go wake and dress the boys. He has taken to using big words he loves using precise, alliance...I am drawing a blank but will write them down when he says them. He is adorable, but don't say that to him, he really doesn't want to hear it.


November 14

 First a Thank You to all who have served in the military. Our family greatly appreciates all that you do for us and our country.


  Due to the Veterans Matt got to enjoy a beautiful day on the golf course. He hasn't done that since last summer before he started learning Mandarin. He played on the other side of the mountain near the coast.  Since he got to drive to the top of "our" mountain and over and I have been wanting to he took us on Friday. We found lots of areas to explore but due to the weather,  it was windy,chilly and started to rain and I had only planned on a drive so I had no carrier and the boys were in shorts, we just saw what was near the car.  We did see a few areas where the sulfur was escaping the mountains. MMMM what a lovely smell, next time we will be prepared to walk closer to them.  We went over the mountain and we could see the valley down below and ocean. What a view!  I think maybe growing up in farmland makes seeing these mountains daily a bit more interesting.  There are so many trails here that I am sure we will never do them all but we will get a few in.


Today was off to find Turkey's, Matt needs one for Wednesday. We went to one Costco that was a bit further away and we hadn't been to, but no Turkey's. We did get a few things there that we hadn't seen at the other Costco, like cream cheese. Then back towards home but first a stop at the other Costco. There was so much traffic that there were cops directing it. Sunday is not a good time to go to Costco and to go to two...but they had Turkey's so we will have Turkey for Thanksgiving and Matt will have one to take into his Class.



November 8


  A bit about Halloween that was over a week ago. Friday night AIT had a Halloween party for the kids. Abby, AJ and Matt were in the haunted house. Abby was a dead lady with guts hanging out and a doctor working on her. Matt and AJ were just there to jump out and scare people and keep them from falling off a ledge that was close by.  Aiden went through it on his own, but Atticus opted out. Aiden choose to wear a Werewolf mask that he had gotten from my brother, Atticus was a vampire and Abraham was Batman.Which was fine as it started outside and it was drizzley and I didn't need him freaked out for the night. They had games set up inside which the kids seemed to enjoy. There were lots of families which was great but crowed. Then we had trick or treating on Sat., since it isn't a local holiday and no worries about kids going to school the next morning. The boys choose different costumes for trick or treating, Aiden was a zombie with no face, Atticus was a masked man but Abraham was still Batman.  AIT does a candy donations and then the houses up here are where the all the AIT kids can come and trick or treat. For Atticus it was just right about 20 houses and not but a couple blocks of walking. The kids got enough candy for them without tons lasting for days and days which is nice. Then came halloween night and guess what more trick or treaters. I had heard that the locals know where to go to trick or treat and I guess that is right. A neighbor who was keeping track estimated 450 trick or treaters came to her door. I am happy AIT did the collection because we would never have had enough candy otherwise.


Saturday we took the boys for swimming lessons at the YMCA. Taipei has about a dozen YMCA's, who knew. The one we went to was just down the mountain and a easy to find.  It was a bit interesting getting them signed up for lessons, first they had just paid to swim which we didn't find out until we were up at the pool so Matt had to go back down.  Aiden was fine and ready to go. Atticus was crying and crying and didn't want to leave me and I couldn't go through the boys room. Thankfully his teacher showed up and took him and spoke a bit of English. Aiden said his teacher didn't but a boy in his class did a bit of translating for him. Aiden never wants to go back, Atticus does. Will see. Matt said the college up here on the mountain has a pool but we will need to see if they do lessons.


Yesterday I had hoped to go explore Yangmingshan Park a bit but it was rainy as it is just about everyday here. However I did get Matt to drive me around a bit. We found a main park visitor center with paths right there. We bought a nice map so hopefully we can find the way to all the areas to explore over the next few years. We even checked out the bathrooms to see if they have commodes, turns out they have a family bathroom with a big commode and a kiddy commode. I think this spot has the azaleas, there was a sign anyhoo. Hopefully we can check those out next spring. 


Today it wasn't raining...I think it has been a week or so since we had a day with no rain. So with a new map off we go to check out something in Yangmingshan Park. AJ opted for the suspension bridge and then Jyuansih waterfall instead of the part that Matt and I went to.  It looked like an easy drive, but we took the scenic route. It was a nice big circle we drove in, we did get to see a bunch of huge satellites and more of life on the mountain. Once on the right road they had plenty of signs to place I had seen on the map and it was easy to tell we were going in the right direction and it didn't take long either. Once to the Lengshuikeng visitor center it was just a hop, skip and jump to the bridge. Aiden wasn't so sure he was going to go on it, actually he had pretty much said he would never go on it as he didn't wish to die. However once there he was fine, in fact he had no issues with AJ jumping on it and making it bounce. Atticus didn't not feel the same and he didn't spend any time on it looking around at the mountains in the distance or the grass and water below.  The path itself was laid out with rocks, that must have taken a loooong time to do.  It wasn't far to the first set of stairs and OH MY they did a number on my thighs. I did have Abraham on my back and they really went up up up.  We went up and down and up down for a 2.5. There were lots and lots of stairs. There was a brook running along next to us most of the way that was nice to listen to and to see the little waterfalls. We did walk through a grassland on the way to the waterfall. The waterfall was soooo pretty, to bad pictures don't seem to do it justice. Also we only had our camera phones with us. The waterfall is much closer to another vistor center so we can go back again a bit easier. We did need to make it a short stop as it was getting late and we didn't really need to be in the woods in the dark. We made it back just in the nick of time, the last little bit was getting dark in the denser parts.  It wasn't an easy walk for Atticus which made it not easy for me but AJ and Aiden enjoyed it.  Hopefully there are many more in our future.