Tuesday, May 31, 2011

HKG092: Kicked in the A$$

as of today, this month's been kicked in the arse. my dad usually tells me something to this effect whenever i talk to him at the end of a month. personally, i cannot believe that 2011 is nearly half over. time is flying.

today was a pretty fun day. the kids and i walked over to the playground that's on the zoo premises - we had a great time there for a while before i walked us over to the YWCA to get a booklet on classes that are available this summer. we also went to a really large international grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner, and we had a ball checking out all the tasty foods...many are familiar favorites from home that are not available in the regular grocery store...like sour cream. YAY! i found sour cream...for pretty cheap, too!

this afternoon was reasonably low key. we played at the playground, met a potential helper that might take care of the kids for a few hours each saturday so that josh and i can get out and see hong kong on an adult level (the SOHO area is full of restaurants, bars, and pubs that we'd love to check out), and then we ran a couple quick errands before it was time to come home for brinner. we broke out the aunt jemima tonight and had a delicious dinner of french toast sticks, jimmy dean sausage, and eggs. YUM!

after dinner, the kids had a ball pretending to be super heroes with blanket capes and daddy's reflective swim goggles.

super spidey q in our super messy living room

super sissy in tights. and not much else. ;-0

Monday, May 30, 2011

HKG091: Waffle - Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

today was a busy, random day...so how about a top 10 format...
  1. la fu's new nickname is waffle, courtesy of quinn. this is how quinn says la fu, and i think it's going to stick.
  2. diet dr. pepper tastes REALLY stinkin' good when you haven't had it for 91 days.
  3. you can do many things with empanada dough. one batch of made-by-me empanada dough got us shepherd's pie empanadas, empanada cheese pizza, and empanada-style sopapilla thingamabobs.
  4. it is much easier to find things without the "help" of the kids. tonight, i went on a little recon to find the YWCA i couldn't find a week or so ago. i found it. it's awesome.
  5. taking the kids to the vet with me is painful. for me. and the vets. and everyone else waiting to have their pet seen.
  6. the vets still wouldn't agree to kennel or tranquilize my kids.
  7. it is VERY embarrassing to swat little bottoms in public. it was necessary, though, after quinn ran away from me to turn off the gigantic freezer full of natural dog food while we were at the vet...and refused to listen when i asked him repeatedly to calm down (he ran off every time i let go of his arm after the freezer incident).
  8. i think we may have found a natural bug repellent that works and doesn't make anyone want to run away screaming or feeling like they need to vomit.
  9. though his energy and appetite have improved greatly in this last week and he can breathe far more easily, our sweet little waffle kitty is still very, very sick. he sneezed blood all over me today. today's trip to the vet won us another two-week round of antibiotics. the next step is having to put waffle under so that they can shove a camera up his nose to see what's going on and why. in addition to his two-week course of antibiotics, he will also take kitty mucinex for a few days in an effort to unplug him.
  10. i love this little kitty very, very much and want him to be healthy. i guess i have taken getting him healthy a little too seriously though, since i got busted today for him having gained too much weight since we adopted him. in my defense, he is still a pretty tiny little guy...i guess the consensus is that he's just a little bit not tiny enough (cats here are very small compared to cats in the u.s.)

look what gateway delivered today!

my two smallest boys kickin' back with a cuddle and a snack this afternoon

quinn mildly protested his nap today, but i ignored him because it was another day of him stumbling around half asleep for most of the morning. he also skipped his nap all weekend. well, when i went to wake him so we could get ready to get livie and take the kitty to the vet, this is what i found. this IKEA bed we bought second hand seems to have come with the wrong size slat system. the bed collapses pretty much anytime josh or i put too much weight on it. it has been pretty stable with quinn's weight....until today. the top of it collapsed, as you can see. the protest i heard was very minor, and actually sounded like it was in his sleep (quinn talks in his sleep very often)...i was very surprised to find this and for there not to have been a much more serious protest.

waffle was exhausted after his trip to the vet

he perked up for some snuggles from olivia

Sunday, May 29, 2011

HKG090: The Gateway to Heaven in Hong Kong...

is paved in cans of diet dr. pepper :-) ohh, dr. pepper, i have missed you so!

today was a suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper sunday (use your very best car sales announcer voice for that). we headed down into central to check out a store called gateway. it's like a mini sams or costco and is filled with bulk sizes of all sorts of american goodies. it's crazy expensive on some stuff, and a really good deal on other stuff. we had an absolute ball. we found pancake syrup, diet dr. pepper, swim diapers (q's cloth swim diaper ripped), all sorts of snacks, applesauce (can't tell you how much the kids have missed applesauce), fruit treats, salsa, canned chilis, and more. thankfully, the store delivers, so we were not faced with getting all the loot home. the items will arrive in three to four business days, and i cannot wait!

after visiting gateway, we were off in search of kings park. it took us a looooonnnnggg time to find it, but it was pretty fun once we got there. the area was very quiet and beautiful...there was literally a jungle just above the park. there was so little traffic or construction noise near the park that i could hear the cicadas singing.

this evening, josh held down the fort while i got out for a nice dinner with a friend. we went to a spanish place and had some very delicious food and a great time catching up.

the kids got a kick out of this mural inside the MTR station and asked to have their pic taken in front of it.

the kids are inside of a pretend dinosaur skeleton at kings park.

i was so happy to see a dr. pepper product that i had to get a picture...i also almost decided to buy the real stuff before i found the diet. it's a good thing i found the diet because as much as i love this stuff, i'd gain 20 pounds in a week ;-p

Saturday, May 28, 2011

HKG089: Sweet Memories

this morning, i volunteered at the wanchai SPCA again. this time, i worked in the dog area rather than in the cattery. i am a major dog person. i did not know that i was a dog person until a cute, fuzzy little chow-chow mix puppy wormed her way into my heart sixteen years ago. i also love cats and was originally a cat person, but since i like to be active and be outside, dogs fit my personality very well. i guess you could say that i straddle the fence :-)

so, this morning's duties were just the basic scoop-some-poop-and-clean-some-kennels, but i also got to love on some of the dogs, and i got a chance to chat with la fu's foster mommy who works at the SPCA full time. it was a pretty great way to burn a few hours (and calories) this morning. i fell in love with a couple of the dogs, and it's a good thing we live in a no-dog building, b/c i might have brought a few of them home.

first, i fell in love with this gigantic, lovable great swiss mountain dog. she is the variety with long hair, and she was enormous. she also had been very well trained and was very sweet. i could have spent hours burying my hands in her soft fur. next, i fell head over heels in love with an aloof little chow-chow mix. if i hadn't been surrounded by strangers, i could have burst into tears at the sight and sound of this dog. she looked soooo much like my beloved poopy dog that it was downright eerie. she seemed to have a typical chow-chow personality in that she wasn't super thrilled with me loving on her, so i mostly just sat with her and talked to her quietly. she is in the process of getting her forever home, which makes me both sad and very glad...glad because she will have a loving family, but sad because i won't get to see her the next time i am at the SPCA. the last little pup i fell in love with is another chow-chow/shepherd mix who reminded me a little bit of my poopy dog...the biggest difference being that this pup did not have the typical aloof chow-chow personality. he hopped right up into my lap and started gnawing on me like i was a gigantic rawhide. i had a great time rubbing his ears and tummy and wrestling with him a bit.

other than this morning's adventures, today's been a pretty quiet day. q boycotted his nap again, so his "punishment" was having to go on errands with mommy. this did not deter him one bit as he and sissy found a way to yuk it up and have some fun on a mundane errand. actually, the errand was not totally mundane...we were sending freshly minted/decorated post cards to friends...the fun part was decorating and addressing them...the mundane part was getting through the post office ordeal without having a heart attack from the stress of keeping the kids in line or falling into a coma from the lack of stimulation (gov't building's here are very, very quiet and are an icky gray color inside).

this beautiful girl looks soooo much like my beautiful ippy dog that i could have cried at the sight of her.

this afternoon, while livie and i were working on post cards, la fu helped himself to the computer. when he wasn't curled up on it, he was plucking keys off of it. what is it with my cats and my keyboard?! baby kitty left her mark on this keyboard, too!

this morning, q was following me around while i got ready to leave, and when he got quiet, this is what i found. i asked him what he was doing, and he said "i go seep!" the monkey woke up at o'dark thirty this morning, so i have no doubt he was actually thinking about going to sleep. plus, it's fun to play in the big bed and bring all your toys with you.

Friday, May 27, 2011

HKG088: Roughin' It

not much to report today...we got a passport photo for olivia, went to school, and played at the playground. we will be traveling to guangzho with josh week after next, and we need visas to do so...thus the passport photo (we had to use livie's extra photo for her bus pass). livie managed to take three different pics that look like mug shots. i picked the best of the three, which still gave josh a good laugh and elicited an "oh, gawd."

quinn tried to boycott his nap again today, but since he asked me to hold him every three minutes all morning, tried to go to sleep on the shuttle at 11:30 a.m., and had to be dragged 3 blocks to the photo place, i ignored his protests and calls of "mommy, wayah aaah yoooo?!" it took him an hour, but he finally fell asleep. on the floor.with his light blazing (new bulb...it's so bright in there, that it makes me squint). half under his bed. that's taking protest to the highest level...the soft, comfy mattress is less than six inches away, but instead he falls asleep on the floor. weirdo.

this looks so comfy, doesn't it?

this is right before the third time i tried to wake him up...he had curled into a defensive little ball...i guess trying to ward off mommy's interruptions. la fu decided to get in on the wake-up-the-baby action...he wasn't successful, either. the only thing that worked was really loud construction noise in the apartment above us...it actually was so loud that it caused quinn to finally wake up...crying.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

HKG087: Interactive Play Kitty Style

la fu is feeling much better. in fact, as of about 1 o'clock this morning, he's been almost fully recovered. he announced his recovery early this morning by bringing me his squeaky mouse and tossing it and then pouncing on it all over the bed for an hour or so. he also pounced on me every time i moved. i am loving that he's feeling better, but i am a little sleepy today :-)

la fu showed us other ways in which he's feeling better. he ran to the door to greet olivia when we walked in after school. no one else in the family gets that greeting; the bug is at the top of la fu's list of favorite people. once livie finished her snack and the kids settled in to play this afternoon, la fu got right in the middle of the action. livie was more than thrilled to share her hannah montana wig with la fu and allow him to help her tie the laces on one of josh's pair of shoes, but quinn was far more reluctant to let la fu play trains with him. i kept hearing "no, no bad kitty! mah train!" from quinn.

la fu's got a couple more days of his meds and of mommy locking him in the bathroom with the shower running full blast, and then he will see the vet for a follow-up. i sincerely hope that this is la fu's last battle with the kitty flu. i have started him on a kitty chewable vitamin that he thinks is delicious...i am hoping to boost him up and get him strong enough to not succumb to another flare up of this illness.
la fu observing from afar after being scolded by q for trying to play trains (he was very interested in reaching into the shed to bat at a toy spencer that q had pushed in there. q was having NONE of that!)

livie and la fu are digging out the hannah montana wig

la fu thinks the wig is a nice, soft kitty bed

livie loves to rock this wig. she told me today that she wished her hair was blonde. then she demanded i color q's hair brown because she does not want it to be red...she wants it to be brown like hers (the thinking being that if she's "saddled" with brown hair, then q should be, too. no amount of telling her how beautiful and shiny her brown hair is appeased her.)

unrelated to interactive kitty play time, here is q this afternoon. after a strange period of quiet, i looked up to find him nearly naked. he was very close to getting that diaper off, and when i asked him if it contained a specific content, he verified that it did. i whisked him off for a wardrobe update before he got a chance to show me the contents of the diaper. i am both looking forward to and dreading potty training. livie was never so interested in output...i fear what it means that q is.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

HKG086: Taking Repellent to a New Level

today was another low key day. we mostly hung around the house and playground until after school when it was time to get ready to take livie to her dance class. i sprayed us all down with a natural insect repellent, and well, it stinks. badly. we had been using a patch from the same company (but different company from the first set of patches we used), and the patches have not worked. so, i tried the spray. we didn't get bitten. but we stink. badly.

when we came back to the house after dance class, we found that the house stinks super badly of the spray. quinn informed me, as i was serving him his dinner, "mommy, you tink!" ahhh, out of the mouths of babes.

i don't know if it's related or not, but after doing really well all day today, la fu once again sounds terribly congested. he's eating better and playing more than he was 36 hours ago, but doesn't sound as good as he did 12 hours ago. i bet he thinks we stink, too, and his sinuses have closed up in protest. i am planning to get rid of that bottle of bug spray and begin our search for natural, non-stinky bug repellents once again. in the mean time, i will go back to the patch that works. the patch is not cost-effective on a daily, long-term basis, but it'll work until we find a non-stinky and reasonably priced option.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

HKG085: The Caucasian Exhibit

today was mostly low-key. we somehow missed livie's school bus going to school today, so we took a taxi, which gave us the opportunity to play at the school playground for a bit. the school has recently gotten some new play equipment including a play house much like the one the kids had in texas. they had a ball playing in it, and it was a fight to get quinn out of it so we could take sissy to her class.

today also is the start of josh's work week in GZ, so to change things up this evening, i decided to take the kids back to happy valley to see if we could find some old friends to play with.

it started raining shortly after we left the mid-levels, so no one was on the playground when we got to happy valley. this did not prevent the kids from having an absolute ball. they were thrilled to see their old stomping grounds and were far more playful and happy than they ever are on the playground here in our building (when it's empty).

after a long time playing, we went to a pet store to get something for la fu (he is getting spoiled!), and then to a favorite happy valley restaurant called cheung sing. livie is the one that requested we go there for this dish we all like...rice with bbq pork and an over-easy egg on top. well, the dinner was very tasty, but quite uncomfortable. we were the exhibit dus jour.

i think that maybe not many westerners go in there, and probably zero western women toting two kids. whatev. i hope we provided their entertainment for the evening. they certainly provided some of ours. we had a group of three young men standing less than a foot from us watching us eat. one young man kept coming closer to ask us questions...how old is livie, are we american, have we ever been to this restaurant before, and why do we have yellow stickers on our backs (he tried to pull one off). it is hard to explain that the sticker is to ward off mosquitoes when you don't speak the language.

beautiful bug showing off her hair...she requested i do her hair like this (four small braids around her head) because one of her school friends wears her hair like this. she reported that her friend loved her hair today. wow does the girl-y peer acceptance crap start early.

chef q peaking out of the house. he's standing next to a play kitchen inside the house. he made me several breakfasts and lunches and was thrilled each time i pretended to eat them...even more thrilled when i pretended to throw them up ;-p

q on one of his favorite things at the happy valley park. he spent about 20 minutes on this little car ride or a red one just like it.

bug enjoying the playscape in happy valley

Monday, May 23, 2011

HKG084: Cog...Not the Kind in a Gear

hotel la fu...this is his new soft-sided kitty carrier...the one he spent a good two hours in today between getting to the vet, waiting our turn at the vet, and then traipsing all over wanchai trying to find a taxi home. la fu is a very, very patient kitty.

la fu is a cog...a cat dog. he comes when you call him. he fetches (but does not return whatever he fetched), greets new people enthusiastically, and chews...on everything. we got him a pack of rawhide this weekend. he loves it.

in other la fu news, he landed himself back at the SPCA vet today. his kitty flu is back with a vengeance. he's on a new course of antibiotics...two of them actually, is being subjected to breathing treatments (ask me how well that went), and has a date to see the doc again next week. i just want my fur baby to feel well. he sounds horrible...much worse than yesterday.

hangin' out at the SPCA vet office was actually quite fun...it was fun to watch all the dogs and cats that were there; there was a big smooshy-faced puffball cat just sitting calmly in a bag...an open bag. after watching him and his parents for a bit, it became apparent that he was quite ill...i imagine that this is why he was so quiet. the kids mostly behaved while we were there, but there were a few times i wanted to request tranquilizers for them...not la fu :-)

i spent much of this evening hunting down the nebulizer i need to treat la fu. i managed to find what i needed and not get too terribly lost...i think i might finally be getting my bearings here!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

HKG083: Red Storm Warning

today dawned wet and dark, and our building management posted a red storm warning on the entrance. considering there was an official red storm warning, i found the storm to be far milder than what i pictured a red storm would be like. we were scheduled to have a meetup with a co-worker of josh's and her family, and the plan was to take all of the kids to the playground and pool here in our building, but it quickly became apparent that was going to be a no-go, so we canceled and will reschedule.

quinn stomping in a puddle on the slide

we hung around the apartment all morning, and then finally went down for some wet play time and then out for lunch and errands before heading back home for a nap. both kids were up right around 6 this morning, so a nap was a MUST.

after nap, we hung around some more while livie played with the wii...this is the first time she's been able to use it since we moved b/c we were lacking a power adapter. josh got the adapter last week, and it was a sweet reunion for olivia.

we had a very relaxed brinner, and then josh took the kids to the pool for a quick evening swim. it is now lightning and thundering outside, so the swim was well-timed. the forecast for this entire week is 60% or greater chances of thunderstorms.

tomorrow, the kids and i need to head out to get a new carrier for la fu...we need to get him back to the vet. he's always had this sorta gentle snort/snore, but it's gotten progressively worse. we can now hear him breathing from any part of the apartment. he also seems to be struggling to breathe at times, so i am going to try to get him in tomorrow afternoon as soon as sissy gets home from school. his cardboard carrier broke a week ago when i took him in for being feverish and lethargic. i really wish it hadn't because i would like to get him in sooner rather than later, but considering the herculean effort it takes to get him to the vet (traffic, taxi rides, crazy place to get lost), we just cannot take the chance of trying to transport him in something makeshift. he is currently laying on my lap snoring, which is kinda cute, but the cute is far outweighed by worry.

la fu the snorting/snoring kitty

Saturday, May 21, 2011

HKG082: Ocean Park

today, we headed out to stanley bay to visit ocean park, hong kong's version of sea world. this amusement park came super highly recommended to us, but honestly, we came away with a resounding "meh."

we're kinda 0 for 2 on the amusement park thing. i think that some of this is just plain culture shock. trying to get through an amusement park here is a totally different ball game than at home. there is soooo much shoving, pushing, trampling, and constant need to be first in line...it takes a lot of the joy out of the experience. we were most interested in shows/exhibits today, and we did see some pretty cool stuff though the exhibits were small and it was difficult to view the animals (because of the pushing/shoving/crowding). we got to see giant pandas, red pandas, alligators, a pretty huge aquarium, and a pretty fantastic gymnastics/dance show. the kids seemed just as happy as could be; it's mostly me and josh that notice the pushing and shoving. livie did point out that no one was waiting their turn, though, but she was very patient and mostly just wondering out loud when she brought it up. this is kinda cute and kinda sad.

when we finally decided to give up after walking in circles for a half hour trying to figure out how to get down to a section full of rides (to see if there were any kiddie rides), we got caught in a deluge and had to wait for a taxi in it. we were soaked to the skin by the time we got a taxi, but the kids took it in stride.

i am sure we will visit ocean park again, and next time, we will probably skip a few of those exhibits and concentrate on how to get to the rides. we also will bring food in next time since this is allowed and trying to find food was a bit of a challenge.

sea world, fiesta texas, and six flags, we miss you!
picture of the bay with storms rolling in

starfish in the hands-on display...neither kid wanted to pet the starfish!

another view of stanley bay

spider crab

sleepy panda

relaxed panda

you gotta click to see it, but this is master shifu and a friend

this is an exhibit full of monica, chandler, rachel, and ross' relatives

chandler and ross are moors. i did not know this before i saw this exhibit. the street market where i have bought our fish friends has no signs or other information on the fish...we pick them simply because they are cute.

hard-won view of the aquarium. this section of the park was hardest to navigate...it was a tight space to begin with, and people were shoving, pushing, and ramming everyone with empty strollers. it was a miserable experience except for getting to see these beautiful fish.

Friday, May 20, 2011

HKG081: Taking the War on Drugs to a New Level

well, actually, i don't know if hong kong is waging a war on drugs like the u.s. was during bush's presidency, but if they aren't yet, they can start with our (new) hideous comforter...the one covered in pastel marijaunna leaves. ?!?!? why?!?! whose idea was this? who thought this was pretty, tasteful, or even remotely attractive?!!

why did i purchase such hideousness? well, i had three hideous choices at japan home today, and this was the least hideous...i did not look closely at it until i had it on the bed. where's our regular comforter, you ask? it's at the laundry until tomorrow evening. i have a duvet cover and despite previous duvet failure, i shall be working hard to cover those hideous little leaves this evening lest we wake up craving doritos ;-p

other than the acquisition of the hideous comforter, today was mostly low key. the kids gave me a really hard time in the pool today, which really soured the day. we were in there less than 10 minutes when behavior reached epic unacceptable-ness and the only logical consequence was to go back upstairs.

i am running into one of two scenarios regularly here, and today i had the fortune to run into both. i either run into helpers and parents who shove toys and treats at my kids in order to placate them (despite my polite refusals), or they look at my kids like they have three heads. today, when quinn started his shenanigans, which include screeching at the top of his lungs because someone else has a toy he wants, a young french woman nearby stared at me and quinn in open-mouthed horror. after a few minutes of this, i called a 2-minute warning to livie that we had to leave, and she promptly threw a tantrum of epic proportions herself...so i yanked both of them out of the pool and prepared to haul their sassy little butts back upstairs amid looks of horror at my harshness. i can't win for losing. it's a good thing i don't give a crap what anyone outside my family and good friends think of my parenting skills (or lack thereof) :-)

the highlight of the last 24 hours has been watching la fu adopt one of the kids' toys as his very own lovey/toy/object of torture. he discovered their IKEA bat puppet and has been either carrying it around the house, snuggling with it, or rolling around on the ground attacking it since. he's even gone as far as to carry it through the tunnel only to stop half way to attack it.

though he brings his own brand of "badness" to our mix, la fu's brand of bad is usually much easier to laugh at than the kids' badness. i think this is one of the things i love best about my role as mama to a fur baby...they give love unconditionally (with a side of exfoliation in la fu's case), and their inappropriate antics are usually pretty tolerable :-) oh, and they don't sass, give hair flips, or ask "why?!?!" while giving me angry eyebrows and folded arms. (p.s. i love you mom and dad. when i realize that i did to you what my kids are now doing to me, i feel pretty rotten :-)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

HKG080: The Wheels on the Bus

today was the first day that livie got to ride the school bus! q and i have been taking her to and from school using taxis, which adds up over time and can be stressful when it's 10 minutes until school starts or finishes and you can't find an empty on-duty taxi ANYWHERE. i, for one, am glad to be done with the taxi era.

the bug loved the bus ride but did report feeling pretty scared and lonely until the bus picked up someone she knew from her class.

quinn and i enjoyed having a little bit more time to pal around...we ran a quick errand and then to the playground to blow bubbles until it was time for nap. nap was a no-go. after 45 minutes of playing around in his room, quinn started banging on his door and shouting "open dat door!!" instead of nap, q and i kicked back with Shrek until it was time to go get sissy off the bus. once we got sissy, we headed down to ol'mcdonnell or doneels (mcdonald's...the first is how livie says it and the second is how q says it) for a celebratory first-bus-ride ice cream cone before heading out for a couple quick errands. livie felt tired, so we headed back to the apartment for a wee bit of rest before going down to the playground.

all-in-all, today was a good day...it flew by in a fury of activities, which is usually a measure of success. tomorrow, i plan to take the kids on another hoofin' it adventure...let's just hope i don't get us lost again ;-p

enjoying their ice cream cones

trying to share the hannah montana microphone

q and his bubbles

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

HKG079: Snunch

today, i got another wild hair and decided we needed to walk to a YWCA that is near our home. i got lost. again. surprising, yes? the kids were super patient and did a great job of following along with nary a complaint. we saw some pretty sights along the way, and we stopped for a very quick snacky type of lunch...a snunch.

our wanderings ended up with us at the central MTR station, and in that station is a few places to get said snunch, so we stopped by a favorite bakery for sausage buns, lemon tea, and chocolate milk. i detest tea. hate it. deplore it. it makes me want to vomit. the lemon tea here, though? delish. i love it, as does the bug. quinn prefers any drink that has a picture of a cow on the front...preferably chocolate. he points and says cow, peez!

after our goal-unattained adventure, we had just enough time to join a long taxi queue and make it to school with less than 2 minutes to spare until start time. whew!

after school, we had some playtime at the playground, ran an errand, and then took sissy to flamenco class while quinn and i had big adventures. we took a couple canvases to be stretched...they are beautiful black and white paintings of hong kong...and then off to pick up several other random items before getting sissy and heading home for dinner. while we were at the frame shop, quinn was the star of the show with several senior local men gushing over him and miming pinching his cheeks. he doesn't get as into this as sissy does, but he was patient enough.

today was a beautiful sunny day, and this is the stunning view from our vantage point on a pedestrian walkway this morning.

kids finishing up their snunch

patient kiddos with goofy faces agreed to sit and let me capture a shot of them in the middle of our fruitless wanderings.

the beginning of our journey...hoofin' it on the pedestrian bridge.

just a bit of livie's flamenco class...she's the 2nd to last dancer on the right. i kinda got busted for taking this video...not supposed to be in there during class. i promise to get better video when she has a recital.

this video is for jeanette...i tell her all the time the many ways in which we butcher the good-bye song she taught us in her music class...this is the latest...the la fu song. we sing this to la fu so often, that he perks up when he hears us begin to sing it to him.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

HKG078: Rainy Season Has Begun

quinn climbed with a stuffed woody doll in one hand and a plastic buzz doll in the other. grammie, i just want you to know how much of a hit the woody/buzz dolls and blankets were last year. i would say that both kids have gotten really attached to them, but that would be a lie because quinn has hogged both to himself, so livie has not had a chance to get attached.

bug at the top of the climber looking adorable in her school smock

rainy season has begun in hong kong, and while the last couple days have been a little damp and it's been difficult to do our usual stuff, this is NOTHING compared to what it could be. in light of that, i threw caution (and the umbrella) to the wind today, and took the kids on a little adventure to check out a park i had seen sorta close to livie's school. in addition to the past couple of days being a little wet, they've also been a lot cooler, so it was perfectly pleasant to walk to this park...it was probably less than a mile from livie's school. the kids had a great time checking it out for a bit before we had to head home to handle grocery delivery. we will definitely check this park out again simply because it's a nice walk from school, and it's a change of scenery from our usual "haunts."

check out this link about rain storm categories...i need to brush up on these and constantly be aware of the weather forecast these next couple months that livie is in school because different classifications of rain storms can severely impact school schedules and travel to/from school.

Monday, May 16, 2011

HKG078: Friends in Wet Places

livie playing pat-a-cake with la fu

la fu looking adorable

monica, chandler, ross, and rachel

today was a nice, mellow monday. livie woke up still a bit sniffly and sounding stuffy, so i decided to keep her home from school, which opened up our day with no time constraints. i got to skype with a dear friend this morning, and then we headed out to the wet market to get a new air pump for monica and chandler.

the kids briefly asked if they could have another fish, and it took me less than 30 seconds to agree. monica and chandler now have been joined by ross and rachel. the air pump errand turned out to be a comedy of errors. i neglected to purchase new tubing or an air stone, so when i got home, i had the distinct privilege of digging our household trash out of the communal trash to rescue the tubing i threw away last night. the fish had endure an air tube held down by one of livie's clips until this evening because the tube can't stay down without the weight of the stone. josh stopped at a pet store in wanchai to get another stone, but it is too small to maintain the tank, so we will head back down the hill to get another stone or two tomorrow morning.

ross and rachel seem a little shy. i do not understand fish politics, but they seem to spend more time at the bottom of the tank while monica and chandler stay at the top making cute fish faces at me in an attempt to get more food. i am hoping that they will all be social soon.

other than this quick trip into the wet markets, we hung around the house. the weather got a little stormy this afternoon, which provided the perfect excuse to stay in and cook and bake while trying to persuade the kids to play with their toys (why is this such a chore?!?). i had some fun telling my friend about the difference in costs here vs. in texas, and i thought it might be interesting to make a little spreadsheet to show the differences. some are astounding! check out the cost comparison tab above for a table and some pics of typical grocery prices (and the conversions).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

HKG077: Slow Sunday

today was a nice slow day. i got out for a nice brunch with a friend and to round up some craft supplies for me and the kids while josh and the kids had some fun at the pool. we also headed out to the closest city playground for a change of pace, and livie had a ball playing with a little boy who befriended her. quinn had a fantastic time having daddy all to himself and getting into his own brand of trouble. we rounded out the day with a tasty dinner and a bit of fish drama.

my little poopers, monica and chandler, can't keep their tank clean for more than five minutes. despite cleaning their filter 3x this week and emptying 50% of their water 1x this week, i once again could not see them this evening. so, it was onto 100% fresh water. trouble is, their air pump was no longer working when i finished the cleanup and plugged it back in. right now, they are in extremely cramped quarters where i can be sure that their filter, which also pumps some air (but not enough to maintain their big tank), will keep them sufficiently aerated until i can get a new air pump tomorrow. i think i will buy two so that we don't run into this situation again.

today is a day that i really, really, really miss the convenience of target, walmart, and petsmart. everything closes early here...especially on sunday. there is no way i could go out right now and find an air pump, but if i were in texas, it would be a 15-minute errand. this is frustrating...right up until i remind myself how much fun we are going to have in the wet markets tomorrow when we head down to get the new air pump.

look closely at monica's mouth...looks like she's saying "ooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuut!"

q with his snack of chocolate butter bread, which he rejected! on the days that q naps, i have realized that if we do not get him up after 1.5 hours of napping, he's going to fight sleep come bedtime. here, he's looking really sleepy b/c i just woke him up.

la fu looking cute...he's 100% back to himself today.

dessert tonight was a small piece of banana laffy taffy...q decided it was for decoration rather than eating.

my new 'do

pals...la fu loves him some sissy. he seeks her out and very patiently tolerates her attentions when they get to be too intense. he is suuuuuch a good kitty. livie has recently begun to tell us that la fu is better than baby kitty, and while i can understand where she's coming from (baby kitty wouldn't let the kids near her without swiping at them or nipping at them), i feel horrible when she says this, and i have to remind her how special baby kitty is, too.