Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Say Cheese!

First times: 1) Voluntarily left the shower cap on (we haven't been able to do it since), 2) Said Cheese on Demand, 3) Took his own shower (just kidding). The thing on his shoulder is remnants of eczema he had when he was "younger"...as soon as it starts to heal and disappear, he scratches it in his sleep, and it gets bad again. "So why don't you put a bandage on," you ask?? Bandages make it worse, dummy.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It was HFMD...

So what I had while in Taiwan was Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). What is it, you ask? According to the Center for Disease Control, HFMD "is a common illness of infants and children. [and 27 year olds and their 23 year old sisters] It is characterized by fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters. [I did have some funky zits on my hands] HFMD begins with a mild fever [Evan had the fever, not me though], poor appetite [hmm, I wanted to eat, but couldn't], malaise ("feeling sick") [just from the pain], and frequently a sore throat [nope, Mr. Huang had that]. [So maybe we had a group HFMD incident] One or 2 days after the fever begins, painful sores develop in the mouth. [Yep] They begin as small red spots that blister and then often become ulcers. [Thought they were cold sores] They are usually located on the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks. [the ones on the tongue suck] The skin rash develops over 1 to 2 days with flat or raised red spots, some with blisters. The rash does not itch, and it is usually located on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It may also appear on the buttocks. [Um, none on mine, but I didn't really check myself out...Bev?] A person with HFMD may have only the rash or the mouth ulcers. [That's me]" So I guess HFMD is pretty common in Taiwan, it's similar to chickenpox: once you've had it, you're good for life. So Rose and I are good. We're thinking of ganging up on D. Heheheh.

I'm all better now. Actually, all I needed was Anbesol. And couldn't find it anywhere in Taiwan. The day I got home, I put it on, and could instantly eat afterwards with relative comfort (it couldn't get any worse!). I should have brought that stuff with me to Taiwan...oh well. I guess it did prevent me from eating the whole country. Plus, Turkey Day's coming up.

More about HFMD

Serious? No.

Contagious? Yes. Ask Rose :) [Sorry!] "Infection is spread from person to person by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected persons. A person is most contagious during the first week of the illness. HFMD is not transmitted to or from pets or other animals." Rose, I won't fling poo at you ever again. Can't guarantee that Evan won't though.

Who gets sick? "HFMD occurs mainly in children under 10 years old, but may also occur in adults too. Everyone is at risk of infection, but not everyone who is infected becomes ill. Infants, children, and adolescents are more likely to be susceptible to infection and illness from these viruses, because they are less likely than adults to have antibodies and be immune from previous exposures to them. Infection results in immunity to the specific virus, but a second episode may occur following infection with a different member of the enterovirus group."

Where is it prevalent? "Individual cases and outbreaks of HFMD occur worldwide, more frequently in summer and early autumn. In the recent past, major outbreaks of HFMD attributable to enterovirus 71 have been reported in some South East Asian countries (Malaysia, 1997; Taiwan, 1998)." I think one person died in Taiwan from it.

How do you know you have it? "HFMD is one of many infections that result in mouth sores. Another common cause is oral herpes virus infection, which produces an inflammation of the mouth and gums (sometimes called stomatitis). Usually, the physician can distinguish between HFMD and other causes of mouth sores based on the age of the patient, the pattern of symptoms reported by the patient or parent, and the appearance of the rash and sores on examination. A throat swab or stool specimen may be sent to a laboratory to determine which enterovirus caused the illness. Since the testing often takes 2 to 4 weeks to obtain a final answer, the physician usually does not order these tests."

Can HFMD be prevented? "Specific prevention for HFMD or other non-polio enterovirus infections is not available, but the risk of infection can be lowered by good hygienic practices. Preventive measures include frequent handwashing, especially after diaper changes, cleaning of contaminated surfaces and soiled items first with soap and water, and then disinfecting them by diluted solution of chlorine-containing bleach."

So maybe I should listen to Bev and actually clean my hands after changing diapers. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Still Awake at 3am

Andrew: Yeah I think I'll be posting pics in Picasa Web Album from now on. It's nice to do quick edits and upload them or blog them straight from Picasa. I just wished it allowed to edit pics more like Photoshop does. What I LOVE even better about Picasa is that with all the edits you make, it never changes the original file. It some how remembers everything you've done to that photo, but if you look at the photo from it's folder in explorer it's untouched. amazing!
We have a huge jar of steroid cream for Evan too. I actualy have a presciption for another cream with even more steriod content. So while Neo will have big muscles, Evan will be the incredible hulk.
Jerin: Yeah I spend a lot of time looking at pics too. Surprisingly, traveling with Evan was easier than I thought and it was fun too. Naps were the hardest part on the go. But surprisingly Evan got used to sleeping with all the city noises. A cheap umbrella stroller was definitely a good thing in the city.
Another reason why taking Evan along was easier than I thought is that since he's at just a good age that I don't have to breastfeed, he walks on his own, doesn't pick everything up and put it in his mouth, I don't have to carry bottles of formula around, and he'll eat what we eat at restaurants so I don't have to haul around so many jars of babyfood. But he still could careless where we go or see, so I do have to bring toys/books/dvd player/snacks around to keep him entertained.
You know I don't know why I didn't take more food pics... we practically ate ALL the time. It could be that I was too busy trying to eat with one hand and hold Evan down with the other at the restaurants and street vendors.
Lynn: Sorry I guess I didn't make it clear that Mark was the one with the sores. I lucked out this time. Last time we went, I was 3 mos. pregnant and all the smells in the city of food and garbage and pollution made me SO nauseous. I caught a cold and was eaten alive by mosquitoes. So, it was so nice to go this time and actually enjoy myself.
I hope that scar Tim's got heals well, 'cause Mark had a sore on his lip from the last time we went to Taiwan (about a yr ago), and there's still a faint scar where it was.

So Evan and I basically slept the day off. Kind of a waste 'cause we do have quite a few things to get done before Wednesday. Why Wednesday? Cause Evan and I are flying out to Seattle early for Thanksgiving. I pretty much emptied our suitcases into the washing machine when we got home last night.
Well I guess I'd better try to get some sleep now. It's 12 midnight in Seattle now so I guess I'm already adjusted to Pacific time!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Jerin: Proof we really were in Taiwan

Here's an updated photobook of all our pics.

There's still lots more pics that Brian took that we're anxiously awaiting to see ourselves. I'll post them post-haste as soon as I get my hands on them.

Jet-lag sucks... Evan was awake all night and I pretty much stayed up all night with him. I haven't done that since freshman year in college, and that was by choice! I think I've had a total of 10 hours of sleep in 2 days. argh.

This is my new wallpaper. I caught Evan in the shower and snapped a pic of him saying "cheeeeese!" Evan just started actaully saying words that we can understand. He had his own language before. But it's like a light turned on and he says cheese and bus and up please and help please and fish. Basically anyword with S's in it are good for him. hehehe. I think Brian was a good influence on him, since Brian is the one that catches him saying these words. We think he may have said "Brian" too, but Evan is a one-time-only kid.

Oh, and that thing on his arm is eczema. Don't worry its fine. It heals and then he scratches it up again and it looks raw.

Ok, I'm going to attempt to nap before Evan wakes from his nap.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

cold sores

And just so I don't sound like a wuss, I wanted to explain the sores in my mouth so you can get an idea of the pain I am (still) in. One of the two main sores is just off the tip of my tongue, starting on the side and going to the bottom, and the other sore is on the bottom side of the tongue on the other side. There are a few more sores located on the roof, the side, and just in front of my front teeth. Doctor said it's some kind of virus, and I should have sought treatment as soon as it started. But who knew that a typical-looking cold sore would turn into something so massive?! I can't talk (and when I do I sound like Sloth), I can't eat unless the pieces are small and I shove it to the back corner of my mouth to avoid any pain. Hard to sleep too. I'd take a picture if you're interested in seeing it, but I think after you see it, you may not visit this blog again. So I'll just leave it at that. Hopefully these sores will go away soon. I feel like the sidekick dog, like Muttley, or Scooby Doo, or one that holds up signs to say something.
It'll definitely be an interesting last day of work tomorrow!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Leaving Formosa

We're ready and packed to head back home to DC. Funny thing is,
Brian's coming too! He's lives in San Francisco, but he's got a meeting out
in DC. And then we'll see him again Thanksgiving time back in Seattle!
November is National Brian Month, where you hang out with your
friendly neighborhood Brian every day all day! I have to say that it's
been great having Brian with us on our trip. One, Evan has pretty much
bonded with Brian and he loves to play with Brian. Two, its nice to
have someone that doesn't speak Chinese either on this trip, then I
have someone to chat with when I don't know what's going on. Bonus,
Brian takes LOTS of great pics of our little boy and trip for us!
Evan's got his own paparazzi.
Yesterday we drove out to HuaLien and spent the night there and drove
back this afternoon. Its a 3 hour drive, but with Mr. Huang at the
wheel it'll take you 2.5 hours. It's one crazy drive out there. You're
on the cliffs edge on winding roads. It was scary, not because you're
on a cliffs edge, but because Mr. Huang and everyone on the road are
NUTS! I had to 'sleep' just to not give myself an anxiety attack from
watching the road. People were passing on blind curves, and big trucks
or buses that make wide turn on tight curves; we'd have some near
misses as these huge vehicles rounded the tight bends! And I can't
even begin describe how people drive in the city! If you've never
been, you have to see it for yourself! Its like traffic rules are just
words of advice or recommendations.
HuaLien was fun. I always enjoy being at the ocean, but it's never
enough time. We also went to Taroko park to see waterfalls and walk
through the huge gorges. I remembered the rock to be a lot bluer last
time I went; perhaps it was just the time of day and the cloud cover
that made it seem blue. And it wouldn't be complete without trying
some local mochi. yummy.
well that's all I have time for now. We're just waiting around in the
lounge. I'll post more about it and pics from Ottawa when we get home.
Its been a great trip. I feel bad that Mark didn't get to enjoy it
more because of the massive sores in his mouth. Thanks to Ben and CC
for housing us and cute little Evelyn for making us laugh so hard! And
Rose for organizing time for us to meet with the relatives and
spending time with us especially. And a HUGE thank you for Mr. Huang,
cause he was pretty much our personal guide, chauffer, and babysitter!
He knew all the best places to eat. We never ate so much!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Nate & Maggie - Taipei 101 is filled with stores. It's funny 'cause the higher up in floors you go in the shopping area, the more upscale the stores are. so there's really a 'bargain basement'. Oh, and we had a chance to try out the iGallop, that new crazy workout equipment that's really more like a mechanical bull.
We didn't get seafood in Danshui. Actully we've been a little cautious of seafood, since the last time we were here Mark got food poisoning and was out for half our trip.
Poor Mark, it seems he can't catch a break in Taiwan. Everytime he comes something happens that keeps him from enjoying what he loves best in Taiwan, the food. This time around, he's got some major sores in his mouth and tongue. And talking is pain as well. Its too bad we can't find western medications like ambesol to relieve some of the pain.

Alexis - The protest was kind of wimpy actually. When we drove past it on Sunday there was a lot more yelling and chanting and protesting. When we went the next day, it was like watching a variety show. There were performers and a tenor singer and there were video presentations playing on the big screen. The only action we saw was when the cops showed up to chase the illegal vendors away.

We went to an amazing Japanese buffet yesterday. It was only $15 USD and a lot better than buffets we've been to in the States. And SO much variety in food too! It was like everywhere you looked there was more food! The buffet was spread out all over the space. The best thing I had there was the tempura fried sandwiches and Japanese styled crab salad. And the fruit smoothie machines where so cool! Evan loved their cream puffs too! "Mum mum mum mum mum!"

We took Evan to a park yesterday that was having a fall flower festival. But Evan can't be bothered with things like beautiful flower displays. No, he was busy handing out pieces of bark from the garden and digging holes to China, well I guess more like to the US. Of all the great things we can see and do playing in the dirt will be his highlight of our trip.

I'm really surprised at how consistently Evan has gone to bed every night. No matter where we are or what we're doing, he'll fall asleep at around 8-9 every night and sleep all the way home and till the morning! It's made putting him to bed SO easy, but then I can't give him a bath, get him in pjs, or brush his teeth. I think because I can't brush his teeth, I've noticed that he's got bad breath too. I'll have to do that first thing in the morning.

Today was a more relaxed travel day. We first went to the doctor for them to check out Mark's sores in his mouth. He said that it was viral and that we should have gone in sooner cause it was going to get worse without meds. He give Mark some antibiotics and oral pain relievers. I hope it helps Mark to at least enjoy some food and to be able to speak.
We went over to Rose's (Mark's sister) apartment for lunch of really good potstickers. She's living at a really nice apartment in a great part of town. She's teaching English and taking Chinese classes. What a great life!
We took Evan to the zoo. He's usually pretty excited about seeing animals, but this time he was just ok at seeing them. I think because when we're in the car and he starts to get fussy I tell him to look at dogs/cats/birds/giraffes/bears/etc. outside the window to get him to quiet down whether they are really there or not. Maybe I've worn out that trick.
We met up with Mark's relatives for dinner at a nice restaurant. We had planned for Evan to take a nap before because we wanted him to be happy and well behaved at dinner, but he had other plans. He never did take a nap. Surprisingly Evan was the perfect little boy! He was all smiles and played with the relatives, ate well, sat well in his high chair (as resonably long as a little 1 yr old can be expected to sit still), hardly any crying or fussing, gave gifts to relatives, and even gave a round of kisses to anyone what wanted one! I was so surprised that he'd give kisses so willingly! Even I have to pursuade him to give me kisses and time it just right! What a cutie! I can't wait to see how the pictures Brian took turned out.

Well, got to go to bed. We've got to get up early to drive to HuaLien tomorrow. I hope Evan will do well on the 3 hour drive.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Day #3

Leroy: Yellow watermellon has a more mellow melon flavor and mostly same sweetness. I think I like red better, though. Yes, its not only hot here, it's SO humid! It drives me crazy that things don't get dry and when you get in bed the sheets feel like Evan's been drooling all over it.
I forgot to mention yesterday that we went to a government protest outside the train station. I forgot to take pictures. But its a bunch of people protesting the current president wanting him to resign because of allegations that he's been embezzling money from the government. Well, we were there for the t-shirts. hehehe. They were selling some creative shirts and Mark and Brian wanted to get a few as souvenirs. As we were walking around, a guy walked up to Evan and handed him a glow stick. I thought he was trying to push his wares on Evan for me to buy but he handed it to him and walked away. It's funny how even at a protest, everyone's there trying to make a buck selling anything from shirts to light up thumbs down necklaces. While Mark and Brian were looking at shirts, I saw people scattering in the distance. I saw that it was the Taiwan police and told Mark and Brian to wait on the shrits. The venders quickly cleared out of the area. So funny to see that even though the cops were right there, people were still coming up to us trying to sell us stuff without the cops seeing them. Its like Mark says, Taiwan is like a adhoc country, its like anything goes. Nothing goes to waste, and people will do anything to make money.
Today, we went to Taipei 101. One of the tallest building in the world and has the worlds fastest elevators. It's supposed to have pressurized elevators to minimize change in air pressure as you ride up, but my ears still popped. Perhaps not as bad as it could have been. There's a screen in the elevator that tells you stats of your trip up to the top. And it lookes like we maxed out at 700 meters per min. Not it's fastest as Brian tells me. We were ripped off! I want my money back. It's quite the view at the top. Oh, and not only do you have to pay to go to the top, you have to pay again to walk up the stairs to the open air deck! Oh well, it was good for the price.
We went to Danshui too. There's a carnival boardwalk where you play games for prizes and they sell ice cream cones almost 2 feet tall. I thought Mark was exaggerating before, but I found out that it's true. We walked around and watched the sunset. And we had sweet tofu with red beans from the same restaurant we went to last to last time.
more to come...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Day 2

Yesterday was fun. Mark's dad's friend took us around the northern coastline. And we visited with Evan's greatgrandma and  Mark's aunts and uncles. Evan didn't put on the best impression, I think because of a combination of things. Probably jet lag, being in the car a lot, and he's teething a molar. I'm sure that's gotta hurt. We hadn't seen anything in his gums till last night while he was in a crying fit. You can see in the back of his mouth a little white thing pokeing through. The tylenol didn't seem to do anything for him and I couldn't find the oragel I thought I packed. So the poor kid just had to deal with it. He fell asleep really easily, but kept waking up in the middle of the night. At 2am i heard him moving around in his peapod bed and the next thing I knew he was on our bed and did a belly flop on me. With his jet lag he was awake at 5am fussing and rolling all over the bed and us. Mark and I both got pleasent wake up kicks and punches from his flinging limbs.
We've been eating non-stop it seems. Just as we think we've recovered from the last food coma, we're fed again. We went to a wholesale fruit market yesterday, and now we have a few crates of papaya, yellow watermelon, and something that Mark calls an apple shaped like a pear that tastes like a sweet celery?
Well, we're on our way to church. And I think I heard something about going to a Japanese buffet today.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oh the Humidity!

24 hours ago we were enjoying unsually beautiful 75 degree fall weather. Bright fall leaves and not a jacket in sight.
Now, we're in what feels like 100% humidity on a warm evening! The kind were you don't ever feel like you've dried off after a shower. The kind you experiance in Taiwan. Where we find ourselves today, with our friend Brian, who met up with us at the San Fransico leg of the trip.
I'm surprised at how wonderfully Evan has been over the 24 hour flight plan. He woke up with a bit of a fever and as the day went on it felt like he was a little baked potato. I'm glad I took the time to search out the baby tylenol and pack it. So, Evan slept for a lot of the flights.
Mark had 3 seat upgrades and we all got to enjoy business class treatment for the long flight from San Fran, to Nagoya, Japan, to Taipei Taiwan. We were even fortunate enough to get an empty seat between Mark and myself, so Evan enjoyed his own huge seat in business class! That probably added to his good behavior, since he had a huge seat to sit, play, eat, and sleep in. He was so cute sitting in his princely throne watching his own tv screen with headphones on! Too bad he wasn't feeling well. The flight attendents would keep coming by to see how wonderfully this little boy in business class was sitting so well.
What a HUGE difference it is to get business class service. And even more, business class service in Japan! The Japanese lady at the ticket counter came up to us to help us out even before we got near to the podium! In the States you'd expect to stand in long lines at the gate just to get a stroller tag. So, when she approched us I thought we were in trouble or something! While we were waiting, I took Evan to a little play area for kids. THAT was so nice to have next to the gate! Then Brian came up and said, we gotta go we're being summoned.... I thought, summoned? What did we do? Did we bring something in the country we shouldn't have? I walked back to where we were waiting, and the same lady that helped us at the ticket counter was waiting with Mark. I asked what's going on? Mark said we were personally being assisted to the plane before anyone else. Wow what service! She carried some of our stuff and walked us through the gate with our tickets, and took our stroller as we boarded. Now that I think of it... should we have tipped her?
We left DC at 8am and arrived in Taipei at 11am our time. What a day. When you walk to baggage claim in Taipei airport, there's a part where you walk pass their Center of Diesease counter. They have a heat detector on you as you walked by, and you see yourself in heat images on the screen. I didn't know what it was when we came before. I thought they were looking for weapons. But this time they stopped me and asked to take Evan's tempreture. Now I get it. It's to see if there are sick people coming in the country! Then I was worried that if Evan shows to be warmer than usual on their screen and they find out he's got a fever would they put us in quarenteen? Maybe that wouldn't be so bad... like free babysitting? jk. They took his temp, and he checked out ok by their standards. I guess that last dose of tylenol kicked in just in time!
We're staying with our friends from BYU, Ben and CC and their little girl Evelynn. And we're moching off someone's unsecure wireless connection.
On the agenda today: Breakfast, Taiwan National Place Museum, Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, and "food, food, food" as Mark tries to be a backseat blogger.