Sunday, January 26, 2014

Learning from the Locals

We’ve been enjoying some fun cultural experiences the last couple weeks. It has been a joy and honor to better understand this culture and enter into the Lunar New Year festivities. 

My neighbor Connie has been taking a Thai cooking class so she taught me how to make green chicken curry (my favorite!!), satay (Jason’s favorite) and Tum Yum soup (even Annette will eat it and it is spicy!). It was so delicious although it took about 4 hours of prepare, so I may have to stick with buying curry paste (: Annette especially enjoyed her Thai cooking lesson. 

Then our neighbor Daisy taught us how to make a beautiful lantern out of traditional red envelopes. 

Our landlord has been storing these New Years orange trees (that will soon sell) around the perimeter of our house. We’ve been enjoying the great backdrop they make for photos. 

Another neighbor Pauline gave us several Chinese paper cuttings she made all by hand , like this.
And on Friday we went to a neighborhood traditional hot pot party. We tried several new foods, but mostly just enjoyed the company and experience. And Annabelle decided that she now likes rice (good thing!)

The kids just have three days of school this week and then they have a 10 day holiday. We are looking forward to a visit from Jason’s parents. It really is a happy, fun time of year- so long as you don’t have to go to the grocery store (but that is a whole other blog!)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hello January

Hello snuggles before bed

 Hello smiles after a good nap

 Hello laundry helpers (fyi- the iron isn't plugged in)

Hello cupboard explorer

Hello wearable school projects

 Hello Daddy's Birthday 

 Hello tricks on bikes

Friday, January 10, 2014

Better Late Than Never

Hong Kong only has two seasons, wet/hot and dry/cool. So fall isn't really much of an event here. BUT there is a grove of beautiful maple trees that someone years ago planted along a ridge up near the China boarder. They bloomed the last couple weeks and became a destination for people all over the city. We drove out to see them and then also visited the Lychee Farm where our kids got a horse ride. I was so proud of Annette (usually nervous around animals) for getting on the horse!

 Josiah, Malcolm and Gavin

Have a good weekend friends! Hope you can enjoy some nature wherever you are. . . whatever the "season"

Friday, January 3, 2014

9 Months

 Oh Annabelle, what to say?! We have been brought to our knees by this cute little bundle of energy. In case I ever said she was an easy baby you can now strike that from the record. Since she started crawling at 6 months has been into ev- re- thing. She gets what you think she couldn't, swallow what she shouldn’t and stealthily live on the edge every second of the day. Annabelle can stand for a couple seconds unsupported and is all to eager to walk.

Then there is the whole matter of sleep.  This girl just doesn’t need much. Some days she survives on 2, 20 minute naps all day. She will stand and cling to her crib screaming even in the tiredest of states. Don’t ask me how many times she wakes up at night (seriously don’t) or how often she bites me while nursing (seriously really don’t).  Some nights she just wants to party at 3 am. But Jason makes me amazing lattes in the morning. 

Lest I fail to mention some of the other quirks of our sweet Annabelle, here is a little more on our 9 month old. She. . .
  • seems understands her name, mama, dada, up, no, clap, more and all done
  • bites when she’s tired
  • isn’t crazy about pureed food, but loves to feed herself
  • is no whimp- we’ve been surprised at some little bumps she taken without even crying
  • has developed some stranger anxiety and usually wants mama
  • loves to crawl around the house carrying things in her mouth like a little puppy dog

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Years Ramblings

Happy New Year! I love new starts and I love the potentiality of January. I got too much pleasure today vacuuming up the pine needles and dusting off the post- Christmas shelves. 

We realized that this was out first New Years Eve ever spent here. In recap this is where we’ve been celebrating
2006- Thailand
2007- Philippines
2008- America
2009- Vietnam
2010- America
2011- South Africa
2012- Cambodia
2013- Hong Kong

Since we had no traditions to follow we began our own by dipping goodies into our chocolate fountain and playing a family game of charades. It was fun and simple and we   would love to make it a tradition, although it is unlikely based on our track record. 

Josiah and Annette have entered a “sweet spot” of childhood. This break we have enjoyed watching some of the things they can now do. . . 
  • both bike (Annette finally overcame her phobia of pushing the pedal all around) We love taking them to parks and watching them ride together
  • One of our Christmas projects was to turn a small patch of cement where Jason previously parked his motorcycle into an area where the kids can play. Not many people in Hong Kong can say to their kids “go play outside!”- but we do now! It took a lot of creativity but we painted one wall with chalkboard paint, bought a workbench for Josiah, built a planter box and got a chair for starters. It is ghetto by American standards, but 5 star to our kids. This evening Annette played bubbles while Josiah and Jason built a “double decker bus” out there. 
  • they also now quote movies (ok, only one movie, Elf) much to our amusement, “does someone need a hug?” . . . “you’re not a cotton headed ninny muggins” love it. 
  • and they have discovered the joy of “entertaining” an audience. We had a friend over to dinner last night and they put on a 30 minute show involving many costume, instrument and lighting changes. Josiah loves to make up songs while drumming and Annette is a prima ballerina. 

On the challenging end of the spectrum, we are living in a stage called “what about me?”  When I praise one child or give them something, the other is quick to chime in with “what about me?” Just to bring their awareness to the frequency of this question I kept a tally mark one morning every time I heard it. I stopped at 8:30 am when we already had 15. Ai- ya! A close second to “what about me” is the “how come ____?” I have been trying to  assure them of my unconditional love and remind them that they each get what they need. Of course the funny thing about training children in maters of the heart, is that it has a way of working back to your own. In so many ways I am right there with them, demanding the “what about me?!” and the “how come__?!” Parenting seems to be getting more fun and more complex, yet never fails to challenge, convict and hopefully sharpen us. 

 Here's a couple photos just for fun
 Do you see Josiah? Hong Kong people- take your kids to see the new Dinosaur exhibit!
Don't worry- just riding around the parking lot and looking cute