Sunday, October 30, 2011

HKG244: Llama Llama, Red Pajama

okay, i've got nothing about the adorable children's book, but i couldn't resist the title.

we went to lamma island (yung shue wan village) today and had a fabulous time. we had a fabulous lunch of pad thai, spaghetti, and steamed clams before we headed down to the beach. while we were at the beach, we met a fellow american who is in hong kong for just a few days before continuing on for a hiking adventure in nepal. we had a great time chatting with her and learning all about her upcoming trip as well as sharing a few tips about things to do in hong kong.

one of our favorite things about lamma is the many dogs we get to see and pet. today was no exception. we petted stray dogs, pampered pooches, and everything in between. we also went into an animal rescue organization that had many items for sale for fundraising purposes as well as a few dogs on the property. we also met several kitty cats ... all well-cared-for strays. we saw a whole litter of baby kitty cats...all plush, white marshmallow kitties. we had a ball loving on all of these animals. we found what i would think is possibly the most zen cat i have ever met. he never even opened his eyes while the kids and i were petting him. you can't get more relaxed than that!

it was a great day!

beach babes

q buried. olivia was buried as well, but i was too busy chasing q to get a pic :-( the kids also buried josh, but again, i was too busy keeping q out of too-deep water to get a pic.

kinda blurry, but a funny sign in a restroom at lamma

before we left for lamma, q insisted on closing himself into waffle's soft-sided carrier. i swear this kid is a contortionist.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

HKG243: Sad Saturday

olivia very patiently waited in a long line to get her face painted, and this is the result. she literally stopped traffic when we returned to central this evening. josh told me that a woman made her husband pull the car over so that she could lean out the window and blow kisses to livie. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

q was thrilled to be spider man and even endured his mask for a long time. once it was snack time, though, the mask had to go. josh taught him how to "throw" webs yesterday, and he now does it with proficiency. i am looking forward to this one getting a lot of repeat usage once it's added to the toy bin.

today started out nice and slow. we skyped with family this morning, and then josh took the kids out to run some errands while i went out to run some other errands and do some birthday shopping for q...his 3rd birthday is next week!

this afternoon, we headed out to the bradbury school to attend their halloween carnival. the kids were super excited to wear their costumes and proudly brought along their buckets hoping to trick-or-treat. the carnival was just was pretty well organized, but a couple of the attractions were just too small, and due to the VERY LARGE crowds, lines were long. blah-blah-blah. we also never found a place for the kids to trick-or-treat, which was a pretty big downer for them.

what really put a damper on the day, though, was that we lost our brand new, shiny, awesome camera. so, we are back to crappy cell phone camera pics. josh put a call in to the taxi dispatch office to report the camera lost, but i am guessing that our chances of getting it back are slim to none. what is it with us andersons?! first i leave my cell phone in a taxi and now this. bleh!

Friday, October 28, 2011

HKG242: Fun Friday

today was a pretty good day. quinn enjoyed his lego class and was happy and agreeable at the end of it (doesn't always happen), so we were able to get a couple errands done on the way home. luckily for us, one of the errands gave us the opportunity to pet a siberian husky puppy...he was GORGEOUS and incredibly soft. i could have buried my hands in his fur for hours. he was sweet and playful and had a great time licking quinn.

this afternoon, we got quinn's hair cut and got a couple move-related things done before we headed out for our usual evening playground outing. the kids had a great time making friends, and then we got a surprise meet up and dinner out with josh, who returned from china this afternoon.
quinn's lego class made an obstacle course today.

waffle decided to cuddle up in his soft carrier's always good to know he's not too traumatized by his vet visits and/or afraid of the transport method that gets him there.

we have hit a bit of a snag with potty training in the last two days with q throwing fits about going on the potty (but being successful any time we force the issue and put him on the toilet). once we were in the apartment and planned to be there for a few hours today, i stripped him down and left him nude in hopes that he'd feel more prompted to go on the toilet. he did pretty well with the naked time though he did get creative with reassembling his outfit (that's a shirt he has on his legs) and he did make a "deposit" on the floor, but realized what was going on and got himself to the bathroom. have i mentioned how glad i will be when we reach the successful end of this particular journey?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

HKG241: Out and About

today, i FORCED q to get out of the house. okay, i lured him out with the promise of feeding kitties. we headed over to the king george memorial park where there is a whole herd of feral cats...that we're not supposed to feed :-) this park is pretty amazing. it has a soccer pitch, a nice walking/jogging path, and a nice two-level playground.

q started out playing around with his soccer ball on the soccer pitch. he attracted the attention of an older gentleman who spent about 15 minutes playing with quinn, coaxing him into kicking the ball into the net, and cheering him on. q got one of his feet trapped in the net and wiped out pretty hard, so that ended their game and led to lunch.

i think q's in a growth spurt b/c he keeps telling me he's hungry every hour on the hour, and he keeps devouring whatever food i prepare for him. he inhaled his picnic lunch and then started telling me he was ready to go home for lunch :-)

after his picnic lunch, we played on the playground, fed a feral cat, took a restroom break (nothing like changing a poopy pullup while the pooper is standing (while q is doing great with staying dry, he is not yet staying clean)), and then walked to a nearby grocery store for some necessary provisions.

we had a great time, and q took a great nap after our outing. this afternoon wasn't quite so full of rainbows and unicorns, though. i needed to finally get some boxes to the post office, and i told the kids if they behaved, we'd go to jumpin' gym afterward. they did not behave. at all. livie, sassy pants that she is, kept asking me "did we lose our privilege yet?" i don't think i've been this eager for bed time in a while :-) they are now tucked in and it is blissfully quiet in the apartment!

oh, and a random thought about kitties. i think waffle knew we were paying attention to other kitties. the treats we took to feed the feral cats are some crunchies that my mom sent for waffle and that he turned his nose up at. as soon as we came home from our adventure, he dived into my bag and started nosing the bag of treats he had previously rejected! he then inhaled a handful of the crunchies like he'd been craving them his whole life.

q asked me to take this picture of him

i am fascinated by the root structures on a lot of the trees here. that hairy mess above q's right shoulder is part of the root system of the tree behind him as is the mess on the wall.

the text is very tiny, but i put some text to show which of the high rises is our building. i stopped to get a shot of the church and noticed our building was visible.

q asked me to take this picture, too. i was trying to snap pics of him climbing the twirly thing, but he got down and asked me to take a pic once he was at the bottom.

q enjoying his picnic lunch

fun shot of q's soccer ball in mid air

sporty q

this picture doesn't do her justice, but i couldn't get her to turn around. this little kitty had the most stunning turquoise eyes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

HKG240: Waiting Around Wednesday

q thought it prudent to perform some quality assurance on waffle's airport house. this kid definitely does not have my clausterphobia issues.

today was an odd seems this is a theme for the week, eh. we started off great, skyped with my dad and got some boxes loaded up/addressed and ready to go to the post office...and then i got a call from our real estate agent telling me that they wanted to show the apartment at 2:30. it was about 10:45 at this point. q was also telling me he was hungry. so, i got a few things done, made lunch for q, got a few more things done, made lunch for me, got a few more things done, took q down to play at the playground for a while, got q down for a nap, sat down to terrorize pigs for a while, got a few more things done, woke up q, went down to get sissy from the bus, and then came back and waited. and waited. and scolded the kids away from their toys. and waited. and waited some more. no one ever showed up for this fictional showing. the apartment looks pretty darn great, though. :-) the kids start twitching when they approach the toy box, but i am not sure that's really a bad thing >:-)

late this afternoon, we headed out for sissy's flamenco class and wet market adventures, and then we met up with josh for dinner. after dinner, josh took the kids out for frozen yogurt while i got down to toys r us to get a halloween costume for q. he's going to be spiderman, and sissy's going to be a lady bug.

here's hoping tomorrow is not a repeat of today. i realize that the apartment has to be shown to be leased, but i am not a fan of being held hostage to the showings. at this point, the real estate agents do not have keys to the apartment...i hope to remedy that issue tomorrow!

oh, yeah...i promised a review of our chocolate cake from awfully chocolate...IT WAS AWESOME! it definitely wasn't as rich or sweet as cakes in the u.s., and the frosting was this delightfully light/moussey consistency, but it was scrumptious. other cakes we have gotten here taste VERY strange...they have little to no sugar in them, and the cake part tastes very different...i think maybe it's made with rice flour or something besides wheat flour. it's hard to describe.

this is the type of cake we got, chocolate-chocolate. ours does not look nearly this pretty looks a little bit more like it's been mauled by a bear...or four.

Monday, October 24, 2011

HKG239: Totally Random Tuesday

today has been an odd day. it started out with josh having to dismantle quinn's bed. the long story is this...when i was moving q's bed into sissy's room for jeanette's visit, i broke the bed a little bit. when josh moved the bed back into q's room after jeanette's visit, he broke the bed a little bit more. last night, while cuddling quinn and getting him tucked in for bed, josh broke the bed completely. it was safe enough to let q sleep there for the night, but needed to be dismantled before nap today. i told q he was going to have a camping adventure for his nap...he protested a bit with "wha you do to mah bed, mommy?!" complete with angry eyebrows, but he settled down quickly.

before nap, we had a pretty quiet morning with a small side of adventure. i had a hell of a time convincing my homeboy (as in never wants to leave home) quinn to get out of the house. i had to lure him out with the promise of a hot dog bun (this is a bun baked around a hotdog...local cheap delicacy) and a chocolate milk. we needed to get to the pet store to pick up what we are calling waffle's airport house...his travel carrier.

speaking of waffle, we learn something new about our sweet kitty every day. the latest revelation is that he loathes a child-free house. in the wake of our recent vacation, he has decided that when there are no kids visible, he must cry at the top of his lungs while pacing the house. he does this for at least 10 minutes after i put q down for his nap. he also cries at the top of his lungs when we leave the apartment...we can hear him from the elevator lobby. another random thing we've recently learned about waffle is that he looks a LOT like a japanese bobtail. after some wikipedia-ing, we've come to the conclusion that waffle must have a good bit of this breed in him as his features and disposition match the description of this breed very well...all except one point. waffle does NOT have a soft, tonal voice. the only tone he knows is LOUD AS HELL :-) he does talk constantly, though, which is typical of the japanese bobtail. and, of course, he has his very special tail that has intrigued us from the moment we met him.

waffle's not-so-distant relative, the japanese bobtail

okay, back to the adventure of getting out of the house...we did finally get out and accomplish all of our missions. along the way, we also acquired a ben 10 toy and a chocolate cake. random, yes? we keep walking by this place called awfully chocolate. it has bars on the window, and the interior is stark white. it looks like jail for chocolate. it just begs to be explored. due to language barrier, i ended up with an entire small cake rather than a single serving of cake, but it was still fun to explore. cake here is, i will have to repost about our adventures in eating it tomorrow since we are saving it for dessert after dinner tonight.

waffle checking out his airport house with help from the kids. they crammed every single last one of his toys in there with him, and he thought that was pretty awesome. he tolerated this game for a good 10 minutes before he decided to get the heck out of dodge.

the last BIG adventure from today is livie's first loose tooth and my surprise reaction to it. as i have mentioned before, livie has been OBSESSED with losing the point of crying when she hears her friends have lost teeth. she's been less focused on this lately. today, she gets off the bus and tells me a little about her day, calmly moseys on into the building, cheerfully shares elevator button duties with quinn, and THEN announces to me that she has a loose tooth. she tells us this all the time, so i blithely stick my finger in her mouth to feel this "loose" tooth, and then i nearly vomit. it turns out that loose teeth make me queasy. she, in fact, has a very loose tooth. i bet it will be out in a few weeks. livie told me she accidentally hit her tooth really hard with her cup at school, and that's how it became so loose.

late this afternoon, we are off to the post office to mail the first of a series of boxes home to texas as well as some postcards to friends back home. the post office always brings out the absolute worst in my kids, and i am seriously contemplating lollipop bribery...then again, we will be there right before dinner, so prolly not.

HKG238: Addictions

today was a pretty slow day with the kids... gymnastics class, school, gymnastics class, store, park, home, playground, done. it was a good day, just not a super exciting one.

what's exciting to me today? my new addiction to angry birds. it's bad. it's very, very bad. i had not played this game until last week when i downloaded it onto my nook for our trip to beijing. actually, i didn't even play it then...the kids had the nook during our trip, so i actually didn't start playing the game until a few days ago. wow. i am REALLY bad at video games, and this one is no exception, but i am addicted nonetheless.

my other addiction right now is seaweed. really. seaweed. i am trying a low carb diet right now, and i needed another alternative for the typical snack. i have been loosely following the diabetic diet i was on at the end of my pregnancy with quinn, and i remember that my snacks were typically nuts, cheese, fresh raw veggies, nutbutter, olives, or small amounts of fruit. i also remember craving salty, chip-like snacks, and that's what the seaweed replaces for me now. it is delicious...if i am not careful about portioning out a serving, i can easily eat an entire package. YUM.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

HKG237: Slow Sunday

not that it's at all related to this post, but here's a picture of waffle being waffle. computer work is just not complete without an invasion by hong kong's most nosey cat. random but related, i think waffle is trying to fry my computer. he likes the warm air that comes out of the fans on the back of my laptop, so he curls up right up against it. i keep having to move him when i start smelling overheated electrical components.

today was a nice slow day. we didn't do anything huge, which meant there was plenty of time to work on move-related stuff and finally get the pics from beijing up as well as the pics from our trip to the hong kong wetland park on saturday.

josh and the kids ran out to play and run errands in the early afternoon, which gave me some time to start clearing out the kids' toys and pack about 75% of them. we have so greatly reduced the number of toys that the kids have since we moved here...we moved here with at least five bins of toys. we are now down to two not-quite-full bins, and they include bulky items like games/puzzles in boxes and stuffed animals. i am pretty proud of us for paring down the insane collection. our goal, when we move home, is to keep all toys upstairs in a designated game more of this house-looks-like-toys-r-us-threw-up-in-it crap. it helps that both kids are way beyond the bulky baby toy phase now and can manage stairs without any issues. it used to be that we kept a lot of toys downstairs in our house b/c the kids couldn't be upstairs by themselves...they were too young.

since our apartment is not very big, we are already about 3/4 packed. it doesn't take much to pack a compact space. the big issue for this move is going to be getting rid of our furniture. we bought almost everything second hand using local discussion forums (similar to craigslist), and we hope to sell/give away the furniture the same way. the trouble is that it's SUPER hard to transport large items here if you do not have your own vehicle. you have to hire a mover, which is what we did. hiring a mover is not super expensive, but it takes some coordination and's just a PITA. large items, like the beds and entertainment center, have to be disassembled to be moved...big pain in the tuckus.

tomorrow, life returns to normal. livie is back in school this week, and josh will be back to his GZ schedule, though on different days this week due to canton fair, which is going on in china this week.

Beijing Photos

i finally made it through all the photos from our trip to beijing...woooo hoooo! just to reiterate, we had a WONDERFUL time in beijing! the kids did awesome. i can't say that the trip was really that fun for them because we did not do kid stuff, but they were troopers and found ways to make their own fun. we had lots of adventures...some planned, and some not so planned. q is doing super duper well with potty training and has mastered the public potty thing. while in china, he had to learn to use the hole-in-the ground and did great. olivia had a little trouble...ended up wetting her pants and sneaker trying to use the hole-in-the ground. we all learned something about modesty in many of the restrooms, the doors on the stalls did not lock...we all walked in on a lot of people trying to find empty stalls. ooops.

we also encountered lots of interesting people on our trip. when we were at the great wall, we ran into several north americans including a couple from northwest austin. we got lots of compliments on how well the kids were handling the hike on the wall. we also got a lot of attention...people taking pics of us and with us. we had a group of five or six women take turns snapping pictures of themselves with olivia when we were taking a rest at the forbidden city. it was funny, but also a little tiring :-) most of our strange encounters were just plain funny, but we did have two instances that were semi scary.

in the eight months we've been in asia, we have noticed that olivia gets a ton of attention...much of it from men, and a lot of that attention is the wrong kind. this is something we are hyper vigilant about at all times (of course). at the beijing airport, there was an incident in the men's restroom where a male employee walked in on livie, seemingly on purpose. that gave us the heebie jeebies. livie's fast-approaching the age where it's no longer okay for her to go into the restroom with josh, and that incident sealed the deal. we also had another interesting incident at the beijing airport where a young man basically leaned across our table at lunch to strike up a conversation with olivia. it was uncomfortable to say the least.

all in all, the trip was an amazing adventure that we will treasure. we are looking forward to printing and framing many of our pictures from this trip; we will revisit the memories we made on this trip often!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

HKG236: Hong Kong Wetland Park

on saturday, we spent the morning working on move-related stuff, and then we headed out to check out the HK wetland park in an area called tuen mun. tuen mun is in what's called the new's not on HK's much further north...just a little south of the border with mainland china.

it took us a crazy amount of transpo to get there...we switched trains three times after riding the apt. shuttle into central. once we got out there though, it was pretty magical. tuen mun is considered rural, which made us laugh because while there's not much commercial stuff in the area, it's still full of umpteen high-rise apartment buildings and lots of schools.

the area around the wetland park is pretty much a jungle. it was gorgeous. there's a very large indoor education center with a store and restaurant as well as an indoor playscape. beyond that is a nice nature path that wanders through the wetland park. since we are still recovering from our beijing trip, we didn't go all the way to the end of the park, but we did go through a good ways before calling it quits and heading home. it was a long, but fun day!

Friday, October 21, 2011

HKG235: Fun Friday and a REVEAL

q and a friend at lego class this morning

q playing in waffle's soft-sided carrier. i am still not sure how my gigantic kid fit into this carrier with only his head sticking out!

hilarious video of livie running laps/exercising. i almost fell off my bench laughing at the look on her little face while she was running.

well, my big plans for going to the wetland park were kinda bust today. i forgot about q's lego class. since it's a class we paid a good bit for, it just didn't make sense to blow it off, and it ends late enough that getting out to the wetland park afterward (and avoiding meltdowns/other issues) would be a challenge. instead, we will head to the wetland park sometime this weekend.

while q was having fun in his lego class, livie and i had a bit of a mommy-daughter date. we checked out another pet store...this is probably the fifth pet store we've been to in the last couple weeks. why, you ask? because we're trying to find an approved travel carrier for waffle. why, you ask?
BECAUSE WE'RE COMING HOME!!!! it's a long story that deserves its own tab, really, but the lowdown is this: we will be back in pville in less than sixty days. and, oh holy hell do i have a lot of stuff to do in the mean time. despite the fact that our apartment is about a third the size of our house in pville, it is turning out to be much more of a big-fat-hairy deal to move from here back to texas than it was to move from texas to here.

so, livie and i did find the correct carrier for waffle and ordered it before we headed over to the spinny park for some playtime before it was time to pick up q from his class. livie had a ball entertaining me at the spinny park. it was really nice to be able to focus on her without any extra drama or competition. so much of the time, she ramps up the silly/obnoxious to try to get attention on her instead of q, and it's exhausting. since she's in school, i don't get the 1-on-1 time with her, so i rarely get to appreciate her silliness without there being some kind of spin on it. it was very nice to just enjoy her today.

q had a great time at lego class. we tried to stop at the flying pan for lunch, but it was packed, so we just headed home for lunch and nap. this afternoon, the kids monkeyed around while i did some move-related stuff, and then we headed out to the shake-shake bridge playground for some late-afternoon play time. it was a great day!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

HKG234: Monkey Business

kiddos walking to the zoo this morning. q is all about holding sissy's hand lately...i am barely able to deal with the rejection, but at least it provides cute photo ops :-)

today was a busy day, but it was OUR busy day...back in our familiar surroundings doing what we it was easy(er).

this morning, i got waffle kitty off to the vet for his yearly vaccinations. he wasn't super happy to be there, but being the guy that he is, he just went with it and exuded nothing but budha-like calm and acceptance. i think i aspire to be more like my cat ;-p

once waffle and i got home, i tossed the kids some snacks, hustled them off for potty time, snapped on some shoes, and marched us out the door for a zoo adventure. livie's off school this entire week, and so we're ramping up the adventurous spirit while we have her home. we were off to find scorpions. for some reason, quinn is very fixated on scorpions right now, so we went to see if the reptile section of our zoo might have some. it does not. the zoo is mostly a rescue organization, so it doesn't have the typical list of exhibits. we still had a ton of fun playing at the zoo park, checking out the animals, and especially listening to this pair of primates serenade one another (check the video below).

this afternoon, we headed out to our favorite pet store to do a quick errand and then to the building playground for some playtime. the kids are now tucked into their own beds and recharging for more adventures tomorrow. i think we are going to go check out the hong kong wetland park. it'll be a long ride on my least favorite mode of transportation, the MTR, but i think it will be fun. this is an activity i had hoped for us to do during the summer, but i just couldn't talk myself into the long mtr ride :-)

these primates were the highlight of our zoo visit today. i ESPECIALLY enjoyed the encore by quinn :-)

HKG230 thru HKG233: Beijing Teaser

i'm still avoiding going through 650 pictures. check back.

to recap, we had an absolutely wonderful time. we stayed in the corporate apartment owned by the company that josh works for, and it was spacious and beautiful. the weather was perfect...sunny and in the low 70s. we didn't do any adventurous eating, which is sad, but it was necessary considering that we had two small children to keep fed/satisfied.

we toured the mutianyu portion of the great wall, tienanmen square, the forbidden city, and beijing two days. we are exhausted, but it is well worth it. this trip alone makes this move to hong kong make sense. this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and one that we would most likely never have done from the u.s. my only regret, and it's a small one, is that the kids are so very young that they most likely won't remember this trip. we look forward to telling them about it and showing them pictures to remind them.

speaking of pictures....i will post some soon...check back in a week or so...seriously, it's going to take me that long to go through them.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

HKG229: Beijing, Baby!

we are all headed to beijing tomorrow! we have scheduled tours of the great wall, the forbidden city, and tiananmen square, and we hope to work in some other adventures, too. livie is on mid-term break this entire week, so we are taking advantage of her time off and getting out to see more of china. facebook and blogger are both blocked in china, so it will be a few days before i can upload photos and updates from our trip!

we are looking forward to our trip...especially to the MUCH cooler weather. i am hoping to see fall colors, too! just for fun, here's a widget with beijing's current forecast.

HKG220 thru HKG228 : Minette

last friday night, i headed out around 7 to collect our friend, jeanette, from the hong kong airport. i was giddy with excitement at seeing her and sharing all sorts of hong kong adventures with her. jeanette's flight got in with only a slight delay, and the fun was off to a great start.

the kids were THRILLED to wake up and find miss jeanette there to greet them at breakfast time on saturday. both kids have taken music classes with jeanette, and our families have been friends for a few years now. since we've been in hong kong, we have enjoyed skyping with jeanette and her family a couple times a week. the kids were THRILLED to see the real, live miss jeanette in our much more fun than on the computer screen :-)

perhaps because he is a boy, quinn is usually the least active in our skyping sessions. he'll pop over to show off a toy or make funny faces with his friends, but he generally doesn't make a big fuss out of skyping. we knew he had been taking note of all our skype time with jeanette, though, when we realized he'd developed his own version of her name.

quinn's language has absolutely exploded in the 7 months we have been here, and most of what he says is understood well and is very close to the correct pronunciation....except that he calls miss jeanette "minette," and he calls our friend, lan, "milan" :-) both of these nicknames are just too cute to put a stop to. we still refer to our friends by their correct names, but we do not correct quinn when he addresses them in his own way.

i could ramble on for HOURS about our week of fun with minette, but it'd be more fun and less painful to give a quick recap and LOTS of pictures.

saturday : the kids had a birthday party at a playground at the peak late on saturday morning, so while josh was off supervising the partygoers, jeanette and i did some shopping, sight seeing, and eating at the mall that is at the peak. after our fun at the peak, we got quinn and minette down for a nap. in the evening, jeanette and i headed out to check out the wet markets and to get some toiletries. we ended up staying out and grabbing some dinner...we had a fantastic meal at a country italian restaurant near the escalators.

sunday : we kept sunday a little bit quiet during the day...our big adventure was a trip to our beloved O cafe and then back into the wet markets to get flowers for livie's hair for her flamenco performance. we also made a stop at our favorite frozen yogurt place. after a quiet afternoon, we headed out to the flamenco turned out to be very poorly organized and very, very short (and not displayed well). livie still had a good time, though. after the performance, we headed over to the flying pan to have a brinner.

monday : josh had worked on chung ming (public holiday) so that he could take a day with us while jeanette was here, so on monday, we kept livie out of school, and we all hopped on the MTR and headed out to visit the giant budha. unfortunately, a tropical storm was whipping up in the china sea, and the weather was pretty terrible. we still had a really good time, though. there is a ton of shopping and activities around the giant budha, so there was lots to see and do in between rain storms. the adventures made for a super long day, so we all crashed pretty early after a delicious and nutritious dinner of grilled cheese and tomatoe soup. do i know how to roll out the red carpet or what?

tuesday : on tuesday, livie went to school like usual, and q, jeanette, and i had some small adventures in the morning. we rode the shuttle into central to check out a couple stores, and then we took jeanette to our favorite burger place for lunch. tuesday afternoon, we headed out to some really cool jewelry shops in central and then met up with josh for dinner at a very popular japanese chain restaurant. after dinner, josh got the kids home while jeanette and i looked around some more.

wednesday : on wednesday, jetlag started catching up with jeanette, so q and i mostly kept to ourselves and did stuff in the house for the morning. in the early afternoon, we took jeanette to check out a nearby stationary store. in the late afternoon, we took livie to flamenco class and then headed out for a delicious dinner at a thai place. after dinner, we headed to the temple street markets. the weather was still really, really bad, but this worked in our favor since the markets were virtually empty.

thursday : on thursday, we took quinn to the playtown candyland and then out to lunch in the morning/early afternoon. after nap, jeanette, olivia, and i all got out for a girls' night while josh and q had some male bonding time. we started off with a foot massage and then moved on to some shopping and then we finished with another delicious brinner at the flying pan (livie's choice). when we got home, i got surprise birthday cupcakes and singing before bed time.

friday : on friday, we got q to his lego class in the morning, and then did some shopping and had a nice lunch at pizza express. after nap, the kids and i made a chocolate cake and mocha frosting so that we could have a little birthday party for q while his beloved minette was here. to say that the kids enjoyed jeanette's visit would be a GROSS understatement. q, especially, enjoyed having jeanette here. livie was pretty sad to have to go to school all week and miss out on adventures, but she enjoyed the time she got with jeanette.

this morning, jeanette and i headed out to the airport by taxi and dealt with the look-a-shiny-new-expat tax (in the form of a GIGANTIC and probably illegal upcharge by our taxi driver). other than that little adventure, getting jeanette checked in and settled was a breeze, and we even had time for a coffee and chat before she needed to board. we did lots of people watching while we chatted, and the most interesting thing we saw was guards armed with machine guns. yes. machine guns. the hong kong airport is much more relaxed when it comes to security if you are going through the don't have to disrobe or be scrutinized like you have a shady past, but the armed guards kinda remove that feeling of less security. we saw at least a half dozen guards, and the ones that weren't holding machine guns had hand guns strapped to their belts. YIKES!

we so thoroughly enjoyed having jeanette visit us. unfortunately, the weather was truly atrocious, so there were several things i had planned for us to do that we simply could not do without getting soaked to the skin. i wish we'd had another couple weeks with her, but we were thrilled to get the time with her that we did!

just for fun, here's the rundown of food we consumed this week...surprisingly, we had NO chinese food. in china. heh.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

HKG219: Enjoy the Silence

oh. if i only could. i would. so. enjoy. the. silence.

today was an extreme apartment makeover day. the apartment above us is under some kind of renovation. it sounded like the renovation was in our kitchen. q and i were out for a good bit of the morning, but the part of the morning we were here was spent shouting WHAT at each other. i couldn't even hear the annoying wash machine buzzer. fortunately, the kids' rooms are very sound proof with the doors shut, and we use noisemakers in their rooms, so q was able to rest this afternoon without his ears bleeding from the racket.

i still have the headache.

other than the noise, today was a pretty good day. q and i ran some errands in central before lunch. after nap and snack, the kids and i headed over to the shake shake bridge for some fun play and kitty watching before finishing a couple other errands and heading home for dinner.

we are all looking very forward to our friend, jeanette, arriving tomorrow evening! we are going to have a ton of fun showing her around hong kong.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

HKG218: Chung Yeung Festival

today was a public holiday, chung yeung festival. while we did not do anything to specifically celebrate the holiday, we did enjoy a break from the normal schedule.

the kids and i kept it pretty low key at home with a jaunt to the building playground. this afternoon, we got out to live's flamenco rehearsal (she has a performance on sunday), and then we went out to dinner at dan ryan's. it was a pretty nice, quiet day!

q is starting to master his scooter. steering is still an issue, but he now knows to keep one foot on it and the other foot pushing. previously, he would stand on it with both feet and get frustrated that it wasn't moving :-)

beautiful bug

beautiful flower in our building playground area

not only did q begin learning to ride his scooter, he suddenly has mastred climbing up the whirly thing and onto the playscape!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

HKG217: Say What?!

today was a pretty low key day. school was back in session, so sissy was off doing her thing. q and i just stayed home and played legos and trains. in the process, he popped off with a couple of gems that i need to record for posterity's sake.

today's potty success wasn't as good as yesterday's, but this afternoon, quinn did announce to me "i need to go pee" clear as day and very sure of what he meant. i really never thought i'd get all swoony over someone stating their bathroom needs, but i did :-)

on the way out for adventures this afternoon, the kids and i were in the elevator when it stopped to allow another person to board. quinn was all about conversing with this guy, and started introducing himself and olivia. when he introduced olivia, he said "dis mah fend, sissy!" i love it. i can only hope he actually feels that way for the rest of their lives.

while playing at the park tonight, quinn noticed a group of three older boys kicking a ball around, and he ran off to join them. at one point, they ran out of the park, and q tried to run after them. i stopped q and told him to stay in the park. he looked at me with his angry eyebrows and said "but i wanna play soccer ball!"

livie was not without her gems today...she sang for a good bit of the afternoon, and this included serenading the cat, serenading me, and reading a story to both me and waffle after she commanded us to lay down in bed :-) later in the evening, as we were eating dinner, she turns to me and, in her most serious voice and facial expression, explains to me that i need to make sure i cook big enough dinners to feed us and our friend, jeanette, when she comes to visit later this week.

bawahahahahaha...these two crack me up!

while i didn't snap any pics today, i do have these gems to share. quinn's lego class teacher sent me these.

q in the process of helping build a lego version of the eiffel tower

more with the eiffel tower

q's very first class...they built roads and vehicles to go on them

Monday, October 3, 2011

HKG216: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse

today, q showed how green he is by keeping his pull-up dry the entire morning and going potty when he needed to/was asked. we were able to reuse his dry pull-up. WOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!

other than the big potty news, today was pretty low key. another typhoon is moving through the area, so livie did not have school today b/c a T3 warning had been hoisted. we took q to gymnastics this morning, went to one park near the YWCA, and then caught a bus to another park. after much outdoor fun (in the breezy, low-80's weather), we went home for lunch and to get q down for a nap. our entire schedule was pushed back by about an hour, which was no big deal until i forgot to take sissy to HER gymnastics class b/c i thought it was an hour earlier than it actually was.

so, i tried to make it up to her with lots of art projects and some painted toenails. honestly, she's not feeling 100% today anyway (q's little cold is now moving through the family), so it wasn't a huge loss, but i still feel terrible that i didn't remember on time!

josh took this shot last night. i love it. it reminds me of pics of me and my siblings when we were little.

josh also caught this adorable shot of q last night.

with the nikon, we can get far better action shots. check out livie's mid-air prowess :-)

two cuties goofing off this afternoon

rainy day pedicure. though this morning was very pleasant, the weather's been kinda craptastic since early afternoon, so we didn't get out to play this evening.

livie being a total goofball with this eyeball she found in her craft supplies :-)

random sidenote about recycling in hong rocks. there are recycling containers EVERYWHERE, and the facilities here recycle far more types of plastic than the facilities in austin. the only issue with recycling here is that there is no recycling for glass.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

HKG215: Kowloon Walled City Park

two cuties checking out a fish pond at the kowloon walled city park

josh caught somewhat unawares

cutie on an incredibly detailed and seemingly hand crafted foot path

pretty lilypad

me & super q

lanterns in a beautiful pavillion

stone monument at one of the park entrances

remnants of the south gate of the actual walled city

livie playing around on a playground we found on our way to the kowloon walled city park

today, we braved the crowded MTR and one transfer to head over to kowloon to check out the kowloon walled city park. our friends, the b family, had visited this park and told us how beautiful it is. it is stunning. the weather didn't really cooperate with us today...or should i say we didn't look hard enough at the it was a damp adventure, but it was fun nonetheless.

other than our big adventure, the day was very nice and low key. this week will zoom by with regular stuff, and then on thursday, my dear friend, jeanette, will arrive from texas to visit with us for a week. i cannot wait!!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

HKG214: Guest Post - Josh Has a New Toy

fireworks for national day

beautiful view of central from the top of our building

handsome kitty

livie curled up on the bus into wanchai

q looking handsome on the bus ride into wanchai

josh testing the zoom feature on our cute little kitty...he's definitely ready for his closeup!

Ni hao-dy. (booo- hissss, I know.) So, Lori asked me to guest publish to the blog tonight. Of course, I said yes, but wasn’t really sure what I would write about. Seemed to me that I should write something profound or exciting as my first post to Texpat 365, but in reality we had a fairly low-key day. The big event of the morning was we got a new toy, a Nikon P7100 digital camera. We have been shooting almost exclusively with our mobiles since we got here, and the quality of our pictures shows it.

I did my research and decided the Canon G12 was the camera for us. I checked it out at the computer mall in Wanchai near where I work. Then talked it over with Lori last night and went in with the kids this morning to buy it. The computer mall is a pretty insane shopping experience. There are 3 floors of 8X8 shops set in a labyrinth pattern with narrow hallways packed floor to ceiling with every high-tech gadget on the market. Sounds awesome, but I get a bit of sensory overload in there, but can find some really good deals. Luckily we went early enough and it was not too crowded yet. For those that follow the blog regularly, you can imagine the damage Quinn could do in a place like this. That thought did not escape me, but figured we I had already done the shopping part and we could get in and out fast enough the destruction could be kept to a minimum. All went fine pretty much until I had paid for it. The sales guy very smoothly asked why I was so determined to go with this model when I came in. I very proudly told him of the research I had done and threw out some stats about frames per second I can’t honestly say I understand. He knew. They always know! He asked how was it I had not come across the *NEW* Nikon camera? NEW?!?!? OOOOOOOHHHHH! NEW GOOD! ME LIKE NEW!!!! Why me buy 6 month old camera with great reviews and recommendations? This one new!!!

The genius to this salesman was to wait until I had already paid and had two kids running amuck. A high risk move, as I could have walked out with my camera I had purchased, but he knew. They always know. The price difference was not dramatic, so I don’t feel too bad about it and so far I am very pleased with the shots. Check them out below. I still have not got all the setting down, but beats the hell out of my iphone camera.