Sunday, July 31, 2011

HKG150-152: Random Weekend Roundup

i have been a slacker blogger these past couple of days, but we have been relatively busy. friday was livie's half birthday, and i'm big into half birthdays, so we got out for some light celebrating with a small park adventure and some special lunch and snacks. we also made some special strawberry cupcakes that afternoon. that night, josh and i got out for a date and had some terrific english/irish food and did some light shopping in kowloon.

on saturday, josh took the kids to see mr. popper's penguins while i got some stuff done around the house, and then we all met up for lunch. we also went into causeway bay in the evening to try to find a navy blue skort for olivia. school starts in 3.5 weeks, and her new uniform includes a navy blue skort. we perused no less than five kids' clothes stores in causeway bay, but did not find what we need. it looks like we will have to order from amazon and hope it gets here in time.

today was a big day in that josh and livie got a date day while q and i chilled out mostly at home. livie's big date with daddy included getting her ears pierced!!! she's been wanting to do this for a long time, and she is thrilled. as much as she was worried about the pain, the report is that she barely flinched. q was in a really low-key mood today, so he and i mostly just chilled with a side of ice cream and small toy adventures. this evening, we all went over to kennedy town pool and then out for a western-style dinner at the mo-mo cafe that we went to with our chicago friends.

it was a great weekend!

my big girl with her pierced ears!

mmm, strawberry cake batter. THANK YOU, grammie!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

HKG149: The U.S. Consulate

mini-pat (josh's mom) working on her brand new coloring book. she waited less than 30 seconds from opening the box to get started in this book, and then spent less than 5 minutes in the book because she wanted to start on the friendship bracelets that our friends sent supplies for. livie developed a case of crafting ADD :-)

q was THRILLED with his new train set. his friend, c, had one just like this, and q loved to play with it.

we took a snack break in the aviary this morning. i am constantly surprised when i see pics of the kids next to one another and it looks like q is taller than the bug. the thing is that most of his height is in his torso, which is why he looks like he's the same size as or bigger than his sister that is 3 years older than he is!

q had to make the sand a full-body experience. we had to wash up in a park restroom before continuing on our adventures, and there was a mandatory bath as soon as we got home.

livie tracing her foot in the sand. she later also made the sand a full-body experience and had to wash up in the park restroom.

today, we started the day off with an early-ish appointment at the u.s. consulate to get a document notarized. it turns out that doing a change of address between countries is a big, fat, hairy deal...and a pain in the rear. we found a digital mail service we wanted to use, and then we had to get a document authorizing the use of this company notarized. NOW we can submit a change of address form from our old house to a physical mailing address for this digital mail service. see? PITA! my dad has very graciously been sending us our mail, but i don't feel fair/right asking him to do that for two years.

after our appointment with the consulate, the kids and i headed over to hong kong park. we had not been to that park since we first moved to the mid-levels. we had a pretty good time playing and checking out the aviaries. the rest of the day was mostly low key until we got a box! our chicago friends sent us a box of goodies, and we had soooo much fun opening it and playing with all the goodies!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

HKG148: Milkshake Madness

today was a pretty good day. the highlight of the day was meeting up with josh for lunch at the flying pan. at the end of our lunch, we ordered a peanut butter milkshake for all of us to share. i think this was the very best milkshake i have ever had. it is possible that i feel this way b/c i haven't had a milkshake in many months, but either way, it was suuuuuuuuuuuuper good!

other than our meetup with josh, our day was pretty chill. before we met up, the kids and i headed to southorn playground to get some energies out before lunch. my kids were the only kids there for about 20 minutes. all of the benches were occupied by seniors or young women (there were approximately 10 adults in the playground). one senior and one young woman (not together) took an interest in the kids. both adults tried to persuade quinn to get up off the ground (telling him how dirty it was). the senior gentleman also went up to livie to tell her how good she was doing on the monkey bars. i am still not sure how i feel about interactions like this. i cannot put myself in the same place...i cannot imagine spending my time sitting in a playground watching kids if i was not with my own kids, and i cannot imagine walking up to someone else's kid to interact with them unsolicited (unless there was a safety issue). i am still waiting to get used to this "fishbowl" experience.

two cuties sharing a milkshake

the boys sharing a milkshake

random photo from dinner preparations. reheating leftovers is a big, fat hairy deal when you have only 3 burners, 3 pans, and no microwave. we had a strange collection of leftovers tonight, so it took all three burners/pans AND our mini oven to get it all reheated.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

HKG147: Quinnado

today was a rather strange day. the kids were a little off their A game this morning...lots of grumping and attitude, but they also played independently for a long time. it was sunny and gorgeous today, so after some playtime in the apartment, we decided to go down to the playground to get some fresh air and have some fun. fun was no where to be found. we did find varying levels of meltdown, though...ranging from minor electrical short to nuclear level meltdowns...courtesy of the quinnado. ahh, two....such an awesome age. gee, i can't wait for three :-)

this afternoon, we kept it low key again, but did have better success with happy playtime at the playground.

here's hoping there's enough energy and goodwill for an outing tomorrow...i can't take a whole lot of time locked in this apartment. i need SPACE and fresh air (okay, fresh is relative considering the amount of smog and particulate pollution we are exposed to here. there is just NOTHING like a mouth/face full of the nasty, gritty, oily smoke that blows out of the back of a truck. random....did you know that when you are standing next to a truck, that tail pipe is right at face level for a young child?).

josh and the kids at the playground

this is what our playground adventure looked like this morning...the adventures that lasted less than 10 minutes. these tears were for his trains. when we were getting ready to go downstairs, i gave him the choice of bringing two trains or his scooter to the playground. he chose his scooter. and then threw a wall-eyed fit for the trains after about five minutes of playing with his scooter at the playground. *sigh*

two cute boys. i am constantly amazed by our waffle kitty. what kitty lays on the floor next to a two year old?! q has been playing trains with waffle a lot...as in running the trains under and over waffle's belly. waffle couldn't care less...i think he might even like it.

silly-faced bug at the playground this morning

Monday, July 25, 2011

HKG146: Reduction Frustrations

i pretty desperately need to get back into some kind of gym routine and reduce the amount of me i'm carrying around :-) my metabolism has adjusted to all the walking and hills and stairs, so the fact that we walk several miles most days is no longer providing me with the eat-anything-i-want free pass.

i had high hopes for the YWCA...the yearly family membership is very reasonable, and there are lots of great classes for kids. i looked at the YWCA's gym today. it's tiny. it also has rather limited hours and you have to pay $5 USD each time you work out (on top of the membership fee). i also looked at a curves location tonight, and it also is very small and has limited hours. i found some information about a pretty interesting outdoor bootcamp class that offers several different times and locations, and i am leaning heavily in this direction. my only issue with this one is that with josh's travel schedule, i would end up paying for classes i could not take.

later this week, i will look at some of the bigger gym franchises around the central area to see if i can come up with some other options to weigh. i have a feeling, though, that until q is in preschool, it's going to be me and the dvd player/computer working out together. i am not a huge fan of this setup and really need a gym time-out just for ME so i can kinda regroup and feel human (versus trying to work out in the apartment with two kids and one cat under foot).

the kids, of course, were forced to be on the gym hunt with me. i tried to make it at least a little fun by stopping off at the zoo playground, which is very near the ywca. we also saw some very interesting/fun markets while looking for the curves location tonight...we will be headed back down there tomorrow to do some more looking around. there are several stalls FULL of dressup clothes...i am sure we will have a ball looking around over there!

video

here are two silly kids yukking it up after dinner. i love watching these guys play together...they are pretty hilarious!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

HKG144 & HKG145: Weekend Roundup

on saturday, josh and i took the kids over to the kennedy town pool. we had a ball. cameras are not allowed there, so there are no pics of all our fun, but trust me, it was a blast. after the pool, we had lunch at CafeO. the food was delicious, and we all ate everything put in front of us. strangely, the restaurant's logo looks very much like target's, which seems coincidental until you notice that their packaging on their house-brand snacks looks just like target's packaging for their archer farm's products. strange!

saturday night, i got out with a friend to check out a french restaurant. it was delicious, and we had a great time catching up.

today, livie and i got out for a mommy-daughter date day. we had soooo much fun! first, i took her for a hair cut (her request). then we went and got a foot massage...we both loved it! next, we headed over to this wonder called art jam...a walk-in studio where you can purchase a canvas and then get access to all sorts of paints to create your own masterpiece. this was the biggest highlight of our time together...i loved watching olivia enjoy this. lastly, we got a delicious snack at a local italian cafe before we headed home. it was awesome...it's been a long, long time since i had one-on-one time with livie, and i've missed it. i can't wait to do that again!

we stopped for a snack while having our mother-daughter date day, and my portion of the snack included a delicious and "pretty" latte.

my date looking adorable

artist at work

the nearly-finished product. after finishing this part, livie did some fun stuff with stacks of paint and hand prints. pictures of the final product will be posted late this week.

Friday, July 22, 2011

HKG143: Nekkid

today was an odd day in terms of sights. first, on the way to catch the star ferry into TST, the kids and i passed by a woman and child begging. we see many physically disabled pan handlers here, and we almost always give money. today, we were in a bit of a hurry, and we did not stop. the woman sorta flagged us, though, pointing out my kids to her kid. when i glanced over, i noticed that the baby was wearing what i can only describe as ass-less chaps. yes. you read that correctly. the baby was wearing pants that had no crotch. i am sure this has something to do with toileting, but it still shocked me.

this afternoon, i headed out to run some errands. the first errand was taking two of my three mops back to the store to get a refund. no one could understand what i was asking, so i had a lot of time to spend in the store while employees tried to round up someone who speaks english to help me. while i was waiting, i had to keep moving out of the way of some young men who were bringing merchandise into the store. a grocery store. they were shirtless. i see shirtless men ALL the time here...mostly on construction sites. i was a little (okay, a lot) shocked to see shirtless people in the grocery store.

while finishing up my errands, i ended up walking behind a gentleman who was dressed in hot pink pants that were in the skinny style, a black sleeveless shirt covered in small, colorful flowers, and with a hot pink scarf wrapped around his neck. he had on day-glo orange tennis shoes.

other than random (and funny/shocking) observations of dress and undress, our day was a little quiet and a little crazy. the other day, i somehow stumbled upon a youtube video that showed a pretty spectacular playground at the top of a pretty spectacular mall called elements. this mall is near TST, so we hopped onto the star ferry and headed over. we found the mall after a few small issues with my sense of direction, but we never found the playground. we ended up just looking around and then having a quick lunch at mcdonald's before hopping on the mtr to come home. i sent a message to the owner of the youtube video to see if they can direct me to that playground :-)


this is the playground we tried to get to today.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

HKG142: User Error

sleepy bug after swim time

sleepy q after swim time

the kids found a snail on a table at the pool. we dubbed him gary (of course...from sponge bob), and spent some time harassing him. poor snail. i tried to enforce gentle touches, but considering he was the size of a thumb nail, i am sure those gentle touches felt like an earthquake to the poor snail.

today was a pretty low-key but fun day. we putzed around the house most of the morning, and then got out to get q's hair cut and to do some grocery shopping. i had ordered most of our groceries online and was expecting them to be delivered this afternoon, but the store i ordered from was out of our favorite sandwich bread, so we ran out to get that.

after errands, we decided to delay lunch a little so we could get in a swim beforehand. today was the first sunny day in about 10 days, so we wanted to take advantage of it. the kids had a ball swimming, ate their lunches well, and settled in well for quiet time/nap (both were up earlier than usual this morning).

just as nap was ending, our groceries were delivered. i had a hard time focusing on the delivery guy and on signing the receipt...because i was laughing too hard. i had accidentally ordered THREE mops! i thought i had ordered one...i had had some trouble with the web site during that part of my ordering, and it took three clicks before i got confirmation that i bought a mop. i guess those two unconfirmed clicks went through because i now have three mops. next time i will be sure to check quantities closely ;-p here is another caveat to online grocery shopping...one i did not think about before today.

late this afternoon, we had some fun at the playground. it's seriously been a while since we have seen anyone at the playgrounds. hong kong is very quiet during the summer b/c most expats go on holiday. it was great for the kids to have others to play with, and it was actually hard to get them to come back upstairs. lately, they've been the ones to ask to go home...repeatedly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

HKG141: Jumpin' Gym, Part Deux

way back when...when we still lived in happy valley, i took the kids to a jumpin' gym location (there are 55 of these around hong kong) in the new territories. we got lost. very, very lost. we found a cool park while we were lost, and we still got to the jumpin' gym, but we were very disappointed. there was nothing jumpy about it and all the games were expensive (and most did not work)...no one around us spoke english, so we couldn't get any help. i swore then and there we wouldn't go to another one of these things.

the other day, i found the list.com.hk, and on it is a link to another jumpin' gym location in TST. the picture of this one looked brighter/cleaner, and there were amusement-park rides! i threw caution to the wind and took the kids over there today.

first, we rode the star ferry to get to TST, and we love the ferry, so this started the journey out on a very high note. we found a subway restaurant, with seating, in the piers building, so we got a good lunch and were able to sit for it (and not be shooed away or stared at). from the piers, it was an easy taxi ride to the jumpin' gym...it's in the bottom of a mall and is HUGE. it was full of bright lights and sounds to attract the kids, and they were THRILLED when they saw it.

we had a pretty good time. again, no one spoke any english, so it took a while to figure out where to get tokens, but once we got that figured out, we were golden.

the kids loved the little coin-operated rides, which worked this time, and they had a ball with some games. the only hard part was that most of the amusement-park-like rides wouldn't let anyone under 40.5 inches on (q is 40 inches tall). also, for the one or two rides q did qualify for, they wouldn't let us on because i was one adult with two kids. i will NEVER understand this. i am finally coming to terms with the fact that it's just part of the culture here to outsource most if not all childcare responsibilities and to run man-on-man defense (families sometimes have a helper for each child or if a parent is out with the kids, they often have a helper with them, too), but it still pisses me off when we are "punished" for our DIY lifestyle. i do not think it's unreasonable for one adult to handle their own kids!

after having a ball at jumpin' gym, we got some frozen yogurt, stopped at toys r us, which is right next to the amusement park, and headed home. i think we will probably do that again...we had enough fun with the rides we could get on, and this particular location is easy to get to. the place is expensive when compared with something like chuck e. cheese, but it's not too bad to do once a month or so.

the first thing the kids wanted to play was one of those slot machines where you waste a token to see if you can get some tickets. surprisingly, livie hit the jackpot! random aside...there were several old ladies gathered around one of these machines smack in the middle of the amusement park. they were there only to play those coin gambling machines...they weren't there with kids. how funny is that?!?

q loved this police motorcycle and played on it several times.

the kids got a kick out of this helicopter ride.

kids on the ferry going back to central. two random thoughts : q somehow looks older than olivia here. other random thought : we moved seats after a group of locals chose a row near us and changed the orientation of their row to face us...and then sat there and stared at the kids while laughing and talking. i have no idea what they were saying and even if they were talking about us, but i am soooooo over being a side show here....so i moved us across the aisle.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HKG140: Lazy Tuesday

today was another rainy day in hong kong. we took it very easy today...just hung out at the apartment the whole day. we skyped with a friend this morning, and the kids played very nicely inside...with their toys...without arguing...all day! it was pretty relaxing. we did make it out to the playground for a while this afternoon. the kids got wet and had fun...i think that counts as a success in their books!

this pic epitomizes our day

q and i had fun hanging his rocky crane (from thomas the tank engine) from various metal parts of the playground.

q dressed himself in his pit crew cahboom (costume), and then proceeded to dress up la fu as well.

la fu looks a little stunned at his own fashion statement.

bug has mastered the rings...even when they are wet!

cutie q climbing up to get to rocky, the toy i hung from part of the playscape.

livie's dressup ensemble for today

the boys playing trains. la fu loves this train set almost as much as q does. anytime q gets it out and sets it up, waffle la fu plunks himself down in the middle of it all. he loves to shove his favorite mousey toy into the shed and then paw at it until q gets pissed and hurls it across the room.

Monday, July 18, 2011

HKG139: Transpo and Mackies

today was a pretty quiet day, but we still managed to use four different transportation systems today : bus, train, ferry, and taxi.

this morning, we headed over to TST to pick up a pink squeaker dolphin toy to send to our friends in chicago. one of the girls lost hers in a taxi after our day out on the Hong Kong Dolphin Watch. of course, it was imperative that we get new babies, too, so the kids got another small pink dolphin each. after that, we headed to macdonald's (mackies as some austrailians say) and had the BEST macdonald's experience we've had since we moved here. this one was not crowded, the service was fast, and the food was good! since the dolphin watch office was right next to the star ferry terminal, we returned to central by ferry. i think that the slow ferries are my absolute favorite way to travel around here. it can be so relaxing. the star ferry, in particular, is a favorite because it's open air (the speed ferries have closed-in lower decks that are freezing cold with a/c), slow, and very relaxing.

this afternoon, we headed out to the post office to mail some goodies to our friends in chicago and to mail a gift to the sweet, sweet lady who adopted our baby kitty.

kids at mackies. q was in a low-blood-sugar funk by this point, and thus the grumpy face.

quinn very quickly elevated his new toy, "dolphy," to the same status as his beloved trains.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

HKG138: THE List


we started out the day nice and slow today. in the late morning, josh and the kids headed over to kennedy town to check out the playtown candyland play place while i did some shopping. i had a ball shopping around in the wet markets for a bit before heading over to H&M. i had heard from another expat that H&M carries clothing in u.s. sizes, and i was badly in need of some shorts. all of the shorts i brought are jean cutoffs...very uncomfortable in the humidity.

i found the shorts i need and got some other stuff too before heading home for a late lunch and chill time with the fam. late this afternoon, josh took the kids to the pool and playground for short stints while i did some grocery shopping and made dinner. it was a nice, relaxing day!

my big event for today was stumbling upon an incredible web resource for hong kong. wow, i could have used this about five months ago, but i am still excited to have found it now. this list includes information/resources for sooooo many things in and around hong kong. i have been playing around with the list for just a little while, and i have found many, many things for us to do in the coming weekends as well as information i have just plain needed to get around in hong kong.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

HKG137: Rainy Day

today dawned wet and dreary. after some behavior challenges presented in the past two days, we determined that the fun privilege of going to the kennedy town pool or playtown candyland was off the table. we will reconsider those options tomorrow if behavior and weather are going in the right direction.

so, instead of kid fun today, we had grown-up fun...we went shopping for american goodies at the gateway store, and then we had lunch at subway. at gateway, we had a ball again, but we also did a better job of reigning in the spending. our goodies will be delivered in a couple days, and we can't wait.

i also got out to mail some fun stuff to a few friends. this time, i chose to use the air mail option (it took SIX weeks for round one to arrive in the u.s. with the ground mail option). this time, mailing went so much more easily that i am ready to send more packages on monday. i have this gigantic box of goodies in the living room...i add to it pretty often, and when i get up enough of a collection for each family, i send it along. this is sooooo much fun!

me n' the kiddos near one of the fountains.


this star is in a plaza area between queens road central and des vroux road central (two main thoroughfares in the central area of hong kong). it reminds me of the star in the plaza on the movie "tangled." livie agreed.

off-center pic of a cool fountain. my photography skills are severely lacking.

another off-center pic of another cool fountain

Friday, July 15, 2011

HKG136: The Flying Pan Part Deux

we met up with josh for lunch today. we headed over to another location of the flying pan that is closer to josh's office. our chicago friends had highly recommended this location b/c it has buckets of toys and unique seating (big cushy couches). it was awesome. not only were our sandwhiches hot, delicious, and served quickly, but the ambiance was just perfect for our family. we will definitely do that again.

the rest of our day was mostly quiet. i caught up with friends and family on skype this morning, and the we had a friend join us for dinner tonight. i tried out a new recipe, mushroom chicken tetrazinni (i added spinach and lots of garlic to our version), and it was delicious. it was nice to share a meal with a friend and just kick back with some adult conversation while the kids busied themselves with their dinners and a movie.

tomorrow, we hope to take josh either to the kennedy town pool or playtown candyland...two adventures we have greatly enjoyed but that he has not yet experienced.

q taking a break from building lego sky scrapers to hoover up some apple juice while daddy holds the glass still. we have found that very few restaurants here have kid-friendly cups, and today, i forgot the sippy. ooops.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

HKG135: The Flying Pan

today dawned cloudy with a high probability for rain (or tears). as soon as we were up and at 'em, the kids and i headed out to the flying pan for breakfast. it turns out that i was right that my navigation system does not know where this place is. while standing less than 50 yards from it, my navigation system was giving me directions to walk the opposite direction for about 2 miles when all i actually had to do was walk a few feet to my right, turn right, and go straight up a hill. bleh. since we started out the trip "listening" to my navigator, it took us a bit, but we found the restaurant, and we had a yummy, if somber, breakfast.

after our break-the-routine breakfast, we came back to the apartment to chill a bit. both kids sprawled across the couch looking super sad while they watched finding nemo. we chose to watch finding nemo because our friend, c, has this way of speaking that is much like nigel, the pelican in the movie. *sniff*

after moping for a while, i gathered the kids up to go to the pool for a bit, but that turned out to be a bust b/c it started raining soon after we got there. despite it being hot here, our pool is not very warm b/c it is mostly shaded. the combination of being in cold water while cold water splashed down on us from above caused two of us to have blue lips. livie, our little polar bear, could have stayed in the pool for another hour or so without showing the least bit of discomfort.

this afternoon, josh came home early so we could head over to a travel agent near us to see about booking a cruise this summer. we are looking at a cruise to vietnam and should hear by tomorrow whether we're able to get space on it. i sure hope we are, because it sounds awesome!

silly bug....she wanted to listen to music while she also was having her ears cleaned/treated after swimming :-)

q workin' on his OJ at the flying pan

blurry bug workin' on her OJ at the flying pan

my personal coffee thermos...the coffee was not as strong/good as it was when josh and i had a late dinner at this same restaurant, but it was still enough to do the trick.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

HKG134:Saaaaaaaaaad Goodbye

today, we had our last playdate with our chicago friends; they are heading back home tomorrow. we had an awesome day of play and shared meals today, but we andersons are now feeling pretty down in the dumps at the prospect of them going home. we have had soooo much fun exploring hong kong together and just hanging out. we look forward to talking to our friends on skype and to staying in touch via snail mail.

i am planning some special treats for the rest of this week to help get us out of the funk of missing our friends. i hope the tricks i have up my sleeve work! first off, we will head out for a special breakfast tomorrow, and then we will probably head over to kennedy town to check out playtown candyland again.

q helped himself to c's car seat tonight...just plopped himself i it as if it was his very own baby lounge chair. bah! i know that as soon as i try to sit his wiggly little butt in one of these things for real when we come home to visit, that he's going to lose his doo-doo. the irony that he CHOSE to sit in one tonight!

waffle decided to camp out on one of the girls. i love this cat. i love that he has no boundaries or social graces ;-p

q is a messy, messy boy. he's taken the mess-making to a new level these past few days...purposely spilling his drinks onto toys/furniture, spitting out mouthfuls of his drink, and this latest trick of crushing cookies/crackers to a powder that takes me many, many swipes with the vacuum cleaner to get up. i have begun insisting that he help clean up these messes, and he does a great job cleaning up, but i would far prefer he not make the mess to begin with.

video

waffle "helps" the girls play wii, and then gets a little fetch playdate of his own.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

HKG133: Central Library and Victoria Park

kids inspecting the rising water levels around their feet. it rained HARD and the puddles were fierce. the kids, of course, thought this was pretty awesome. me? notsomuch.

we met up with our friends this morning. at victoria park. about 7 minutes after it started raining sideways in sheets. we were all soaked despite ponchos and umbrellas. we regrouped and decided to head to the central library to play for a while and see if the weather would clear.

the central library has a toy library/playroom, and that's what we were most interested in. it's a popular place. there was an hour wait, a reservation required, and a rule about no more than two kids per adult. there are three kids in our friends' family. there were two adults between us today. after kinda standing in front of the reservation desk open-mouthed in wonder at this ridiculous stipulation, we decided to move on. we went to a bookstore downstairs to look around before deciding to head to our friends' apartment for some play time and lunch.

we had a great time hanging out, had a delicious lunch, and then headed back to our house to get q down for his nap. this afternoon/evening's been very quiet. we look forward to another fun day with our friends tomorrow!

Monday, July 11, 2011

HKG132: The Return of Rainy Season

we had soooo much fun this past weekend that we are completely worn out from all of it. we started off really slow this morning and decided to meet up with our friends in late morning. victoria park and the train park/indoor play area were on the table. the train park won out, and boy am i glad it did. less than five minutes before it was time to get downstairs to flag a taxi, the skies opened up and the rain fell in sheets. surprisingly, we were able to catch a cab quickly, though the driver took a scenic route, and it took almost as long to get to the sports centre as it does when we walk. i think that as a shiny new expat, i have a sign on my forehead that says "bilk me for a couple extra dollars."

we finally got to the sports centre and headed in to the indoor play area. it was nearly empty, which was nice after last week's run-in with the hour-long wait for another sports centre play area close by. we had a ball playing with our friends, and after an hour or so, the rain stopped and we headed outside to have a picnic lunch and play on the outdoor playground. it was a great time...nice and low key, but still very fun.

this afternoon, we kept it pretty quiet except that we headed out to get some stinky fish treats for waffle falafel la fu. yes, the poor cat is going to have an identity crisis if his name does not stop morphing. this little kitty is HOOKED on these incredibly stinky dried fish treats, and i'm a sucker for a cute face, so he has more.

we went to our favorite pet store that is also a boarding facility. there were two poms and one yorkie on site today. we know the yorkie well and know to leave her alone. she was abused by children and as such is very scared of them. if i can get the kids occupied on something else, i can love on her, but she gets skittish and snappy as soon as the kids pay any attention to her. the two poms that were there were having a mild pom throw down over olivia, yapping and growling at one another in competition for more pets from her. it was funny, yet alarming...i had to keep asking her to move away from them. my favorite thing about these poms, besides burying my hands in their fur to scratch them, is that one was caramel colored and the other was dark red. i have never really noticed that pom colors can vary so widely!

practicing head stand form together after watching miss m do a perfect tripod and head stand in the middle of the floor!

bug doing a head stand with a little help from her friend, the wall.

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waffle helping olivia make a mii. i swear that about half the time livie spends playing the wii is spent creating new miis. she has a collection of about 20 of them now.

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olivia is getting really good at her reading skills. here, she's reading to q before bedtime. we are reading in the hall. why, you ask? because josh had to disable q's light to keep him from turning it on all night long. q is in a "monster" phase right now. we put a night light in his room to give him some comfort, but we had to disable his main light b/c he'd have it blazing at 3 in the morning. anyhoo, i digress.

the other day, we were in a grocery store checking out, and i was distracted with paying and keeping q from his typical mommy-is-not-100-percent-focused-on-me-mutiny when all of a sudden, i heard her say something to the effect of "that says..."...she was reading a sign on the wall to me. she got all of the words except one on her own. ironically, the only word she was stuck on was the word "shopping." despite many hours spent with duck and sahark on word world, the "sh" sound still gives livie some trouble. if you've not seen countless hours of word world, this statement will make NO sense to you ;-p