Sunday, September 28, 2008

Here it is....the "Thomas" dance!

This is the dance that Ryan does to the "Thomas and Friends" theme song.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Here's a preview of Ryan's "Thomas the Train" dance, which consists primarily of arm movements. We're working on the video.

At one point, Ryan decided to get down from the couch and continue the dance on the floor. In the upper right corner of the picture below, you can see Rob's hand as he tries to follow Ryan's moves.

Dragon Boat Festival

On Saturday we went to the local Dragon Boat Festival. Ryan was very moody that day, but seemed to enjoy watching the dance and martial arts performances for a while. Rob and I had very tasty Chinese chicken and bubble tea, but the only food Ryan showed any interest in was the potato chips that he saw one of the vendors eating.

There was a calligrapher who would write any name in Chinese characters on a bookmark, so we had Ryan's birth name done:

We didn't get to see any of the boat races since we had to get Ryan home for his nap, but this is what the boats look like:

This is the legend behind the Dragon Boat Festival:

The Dragon Boat Festival traditionally falls on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

The Races are held to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, the legendary Chinese poet and patriot who lived during the Chou Dynasty almost 2000 years ago. He held a high position in the court of one of the major states of the time, but was eventually exiled by corrupt government officials. Qu Yuen wrote many poems expressing his great love for his country and his people, lamenting his own fate.

As a final protest against the government, Qu Yuen cast himself into the Mi Lo River.

The local fishermen were so moved by his gesture that they raced in their boat to try and recover his body, beating the water with paddles to prevent the fish from devouring him. They also threw rice dumplings into-the water to succour his spirit. To prevent the sea serpents from eating the rice offerings, the dumplings were wrapped in silk bound with five threads in the colours of the emperor.

As this tradition developed boats took the form of dragons to appease the controller of the waters, and ensure a safe and swift journey.

Today..., Dragon Boat Races re-enact this historic scene.


This is another link explaining the history and modern-day celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival:

The man at the TECO (Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office) booth gave Ryan a Taiwanese headdress, which looks like the ones the men wore at the aboriginal dance performance we saw at Wulai in Taiwan. It was too big for Ryan's head, so we put it on his tiger in the "Asian animal corner" of his bedroom.

Apparently Ryan didn't want the panda to feel left out -- he ran across the room to get his sun hat for the panda to wear after I put the headdress on the tiger.

Today I taped the band down to a smaller size, and Ryan has been wearing it around the house all morning.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ryan LOVES chocolate graham crackers -- can you tell?

He suddenly decided one day that he wanted to wear his bib, after not wearing one for almost a year. One day he wore it all afternoon, even while playing with his blocks and puzzles. Must be part of the same dress-up phase where he likes to put on hats and shoes.

He also banned his high chair and graduated to a "big boy" booster seat this week.

Sometimes he tucks in his stuffed panda, who he calls Mama. The other day he laid her down on the windowsill, covered her with his napkin, patted her back, and said "night-night, Mama."

Time to get up!

Ryan also likes to color. (We got him the giant floor pad after he colored on the living room walls last weekend.)

Red is his favorite:

Reading with Daddy:

Ryan's language skills have taken off explosively within the last 1-2 months. He talks all the time, and (finally!) uses words to tell us what he wants. I've lost track of all the words he knows, but one of his current favorites is "mine!", although he usually says it in a cheerful least for now. He often says it when he finds the cat laying on one of his books.

He has recently become obsessed with Thomas the Train, and does this awesome dance to the theme song. We finally captured it on video this afternoon, so we'll try to post a clip in the next few days.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Summer Vacation

Ryan and I spent the first week of September vacationing with my family at the Outer Banks. I'm finally getting around to posting pictures....

Ryan danced (in his car seat) to Grandma's "Mamma Mia" soundtrack on the drive down:

Ryan's first view of the ocean, with his new best buddy, Grandpa (currently pronounced "Geppa"):

He refused to stand on the sand, but he liked to watch the waves and let me dip his feet in the ocean.

His cousins (who are 4 1/2 and almost 3) loved playing in the water.

Ryan enjoyed all the ungated stairs at the beach house and took advantage of being able to go up and down whenever he pleased.

Running up the boardwalk to watch the sunset.

He also enjoyed pushing the stroller around -- maybe he's practicing for when he has a baby brother or sister.

Sunset over the sound:

Ryan hung out with Grandma while we climbed the giant sand dunes. His cousin Dylan was the first to reach the top, then he and his big brother Elliot rolled down.

Going down the big slide at the playground:

Ryan and his cousins discovered that they like Old Bay chips.

Ryan has been wearing his sunglasses on his head lately.

There was also lots of ice cream, of course, and donuts for breakfast on the morning of my 35th birthday. Judging by his expression here, I think he enjoyed them:

On the last night, we went down to the beach to take pictures (it was very windy, as you can see from my hair), then went out for ice cream at sunset. Ryan and I both wore our crab shirts :-)

It makes me nervous when I see these two conspiring!

We left a day early to avoid Hurricane Hanna. You can see the effect it had on the weather the day before it hit.

Ryan loves looking at this last picture. He points to each thing and say the word for it -- "nain" for rain, "cack cack" (quack quack) for the duck on his hat, "ba-ba" (his pacifier), "choo choo" for Thomas the Train on his shirt, and "mama" for his panda.

We're already looking forward to our next vacation (just the three of us), a trip to the Caribbean after Christmas.