Monday, February 18, 2013

8 Months

 The passage of time is something I think about a lot these days. Some moments I am so ready for this baby to stop tap dancing on my bladder and come out and other moments I think she should stay in there a few more months. As if my my opinions carry any weight at all. . .
It looks like our daughter has inherited my sense of direction as she is positioned head- up. The doctor said at my appointment today that she may flip herself around or he can manually flip her (no thank you). We are going to pray this girl into position! He also said that she looks to be on the smaller side, which comes as no surprise to us.
I'm getting used to driving, but need to remain fully engaged to remember details like which side of the steering wheel the turn signal is on, what round- abouts are all about, and how to squeeze into small parking spaces. I figure I should get in all the practice I can now as adding sleep deprivation and a screaming infant will probably not improve my skills. 

I've had some doubts as to how I will juggle all the demands of the months ahead but God has been encouraging me through one of my favorite worship songs that says,"the riches of your love will always be enough." I'm not enough, but He is. In my weakness He is strong and through Him there will be enough!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

CNY Staycation

It was really nice to not be traveling over the break and just enjoy some fun times together around Hong Kong. The car made it easy to go on several outings and we also enjoyed reconnecting with old friends. 

 This was Josiah's second time ice skating and he loves it! He is not easily discouraged and picks himself back up (often). He would like to skip to an advanced level and doesn't understand why he couldn't glide and spin like the pros.
 We braved the crowds to watch the Chinese New Year firework show over the harbor. They are always so impressive.

Josiah stole the hearts of these people next to him who seemed to enjoy taking pictures and holding him more than the fireworks. Such a ham!
 The next morning the kids asked me to beat the drum while they did the "lion dance" around our living room.
 We went for a great family- friendly hike not to far from our house. It brought us to a huge grassy field where we picnicked, "flew" kites (they didn't get too far off the ground) played soccer, baseball and even golf. Oh, and I took a nap in the shade- perfect day!

 Josiah running with his kite

 Annette getting in the swing of things

Monday, February 11, 2013

Think You are Having a Bad Day?

         On days where I am tempted to pout, sulk or simply feel worn down by the monotony of training little people I have a built in reminder to be thankful. You see, most days as I gaze over my dishes- filled sink out the kitchen window I look down at my friend Sunethra in the parking lot below. Sunethra is a domestic helper from Shri Lanka, recently hired by our neighbors to care for their eight dogs (yes, you heard right, they have eight dogs all living inside a house our size, and some of them are big!)  I have enjoyed the many opportunities I’ve had to get to know Sunethra as she is often outside walking dogs. She always greets me with a bright smile and inquires how the children and I are doing. 
Like me, Sunethra is a mom. She has two daughters, exactly Josiah and Annette’s ages and a 17 year old. After her husband was killed last year she pursued the chance to be an overseas worker to help provide for the kids’ basic needs. While her mother now takes care of her kids, Sunethra takes care of dogs here in Hong Kong. She knew when she signed up to come that it would be two long years before she hugged her kids again. 
Sunethra has no breaks as her time belongs fully to her employer. I have tried to have her over for tea, but she insists that she is not allowed to ever leave and begged me not to ask her “Madam”. Her world is as big as perimeter of our village in which the dogs walk and as far as I can tell she doesn’t know a soul in the city. She is in debt to the recruitment company that helped bring her Hong Kong, so she is forced to work on Sundays (what should be her day off) until her loan is repaid in 5 months time. Often domestic helpers are not treated with basic human rights, like a few weeks ago when her employer forced her to cut her beautiful long hair to chin length. 
I often see her smiling longingly as she watches me blow bubbles to the kids, push them on their bikes and snap their photos. I like to remind Sunethra what a good mom she is, for sacrificing so much to provide for her kids.  Sometimes when I see her pass I feel angry, not so much at my neighbors, but at the injustice of our fallen world. That a mama has to be a world away from her babes to scoop up someone else's dog poop. Sometimes I feel sad, imagining the loneliness of her situation. But mostly, I try to respond in gratitude. Thankful that I have the joy of sending my kids to time out, washing their clothes, making their food, wiping their noses and kissing their foreheads goodnight.  There is nowhere else I’d rather be. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Chinese New Year Cuties

Hong Kong is in full swing welcoming the year of the snake! I love the vibrant flowers, festive music and spirit of generosity this time of year. I also love an excuse to annually put our kids in cute Chinese clothes. Annette looks so grown up to me in these photos!

 Our landlord Mr. Lee has been growing flowers all year to sell at his market in our village. Because space is so precious he has greenhouses on rooftops of 5 houses! You can tell by Annette's sundress what an unseasonably warm winter we are having.

 Off to school for the Chinese New Year party! Josiah's class spent the whole week learning about the holiday including art projects, cleaning the classroom, making dumplings and practicing their Mandarin songs.
 Alysha and Josiah have been friends since they were born.
We now have a week break from school and will going on some day trips, meeting up with friends and getting some things ready for baby. Gung Hei Fat Choi!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Around the Village

 The weather was awesome in Hong Kong this January. Typically a gloomy, chilly time of year has surprised us with lots of blue skies, warm sunshine and pleasant temperatures.  Here are a few everyday shots I snapped right around our house and at "our" beach.

Orange trees are everywhere in preparation for Chinese New Year- this row is lining the outside of our house

 Ma On Shan Mountain


Saturday, February 2, 2013

And We're Off!

 Introducing the first ever Paine family Hong Kong car!!! 
After 6 years we made the purchase we never thought we would- a car! It is a Mazda Premacy, pretty basic, with low miles, 7 seats, fuel efficient and entirely luxurious to us because it is "private transportation".  This last week both Jason and I did a lot of running around to get registration, insurance, car seats, my drivers license etc. And today we took our first family outing in the car.
Annette is loving it and it put Josiah right to sleep
Intense Hong Kong driver, he actually looks more intense when I'm the one driving!
 We drove to a friend's birthday party on Lantau Island. To get there we went through two long tunnels and two huge bridges.
 It was a beautiful day in Discovery Bay and the kids wore themselves out at the party playing in the sand and the playground. Here they are about to dig for buried treasure. It was so nice to know at the end of a busy birthday party that the trip home would take 25 minutes instead of 1 1/2 hours.  Hopefully this will be one step towards maintaining our sanity after baby #3 arrives!