Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mamaw and Papaw

Well, Mamaw and Papaw got here on Monday afternoon and the kids have been loving it! They have been enjoying showing them off to all their friends and taking them around to different places. Regan asked if she could take them for show and tell. :)
We went to eat at McDonald's and the workers there saw Mamaw using a napkin to hold her sandwich, so they quickly ran over to give her some gloves to eat with. I thought it was funny. We have been given the gloves before for pizza, but this was a first at McD's. We typically just use our hands.

When I go pick Katherine up from her school, I have to show her ID card at the gate and they bring her to me. This is the man that normally brings her to me. He always carries Katherine and she loves it. Also, I was told this week that I needed to buy the winter uniform and send her to school in long sleeves and pants because she was cold (it's in the 70's) Even if I send her to school in shorts and a T-shirt, she comes home in something "warmer"

Every Wednesday, we have two little friends that come and play for a couple of hours. It has really been a great situation. The twins learn English from my kids (and vice versus), and we get to practice what we are learning with the mom and aunt. It's been a lot of fun and the twins are starting to feel more at home in our place.

Here's two of our kiddos hailing the taxi. It's really cute seeing them all lined up on the street and waiving a taxi driver down. You can see Katherine's clothes/hair. They changed her shirt after nap time because she was so sweaty. It made for an intersting outfit. We are always interested to see what hairdo she comes home with. Her teachers love fixing her hair in different ways.

Since Mamaw and Papaw are here, Jonathan and I got to go on a date. We decided to try this all you can eat Japanese restaurant. We wee there for 2 hours as they kept bringing different things for us to try. It was a lot of fun and I got to try many things that I would not have ordered it I was paying for them individually. This was our desert...fried icecream. It was yummy! It was vanilla icecream covered in marshmellow then fried, so it was hot and cold at the same time.

This is my favorite little baby in our complex. Don't you love those cheeks? She just smiled and kicks every time I talk to her.

This is Regan playing with one of her good friends. Whne they are outside at the same time, they are side by side the entire time. It's fun to watch them play because this little girl knows no English.
Here is a close up of her little friend. The other day, I was walking to the playground and I heard all these little voices calling Regan's name. It was really cute.

This si a typical day for Lauren at the playground. It's a good thing that she doesn't mind the attention. The security guard is really good with the kids. He decided to feed Lauren some bread.

Here is a beautiful picture of the night sky. It has been so long since we have seen the moon, that none of us could believe it. Lauren kept pointing to it over and over again. The other kids just couldn't believe how clear and bright it was. We are very thankful that the typhoon took a sudden turn and missed us completely, but we sure have enjoyed the clear skies and cooler weather it has brought our way!

Monday, October 18, 2010


The kids went to their first local birthday party this week. I'm sure you recognize this game. There were about 15 kids in this apartment all with balloons tied to their ankles. Everything is tile and concrete here, so when the balloons started popping, it was loud. Lauren was so scared that she was shaking. I had to leave for a bit and take her home. For the most part, the party was much like a American party. The kids played all kinds of games inside and outside. They ate a small piece of cake and snacks whenever they wanted and the gifts were opened near the end of the party.

So, I'm sure you are wondering why "chop" for the title. Well, because our visas only allow us to stay in country for 90 days at a time. They call the stamp in our passport a "chop" (Jonathan knew this, but it was new to me) So, our entire family went to Hong Kong for the weekend for our Visa Chop. The kids were very excited and a little confused. They thought we were moving there and I think a little disappointed when we didn't stay :)
This was the view from our room that we stayed in. It is wall to wall buildings! It's still amazing to think how many people fit into such a small space.

The mass transit is no different. If there is 1/2 an inch between you and the next person, there is room to sqeeze one more in. And yes, we sqeezed with the best of them (see picture below) If you look closely, you can see Regan, Benjamin, and Katherine all in the bottom of the picture. Even in such close quarters, people still found room to text and talk on the phone...not us, though. I was too preoccuppied with making sure I got all 4 kids out before the doors closed :)

Just in case the tall wall wasn't enough....don't try to break into this Kindergarten!!!

This was the kids' favorite. They finally got to ride on the top of the double decker bus.

Katherine kept trying to figure out who was driving the bus.

Since we were in Hong Kong, we took advantage of the toy store. We let the kids get one thing each. The two younger ones picked legos.

Regan bought a fuzzy pink phone.

And Benjamin bought a nerf gun. It was a lot of fun watching him and his daddy shoot each other :) He couldn't stop laughing.

We wanted to visit a place on the other side of the water called Stanley Market. We had heard it had good clothes for a good price. Between the choppy water and the winding roads up the mountain on a two story bus on the side of a cliff, Benjamin felt a little queezy once we got there. So, the first thing we did was get a bite to eat and then looked around.

Once we got there, it had a fun place for the kids to climb on rocks and be right by the ocean.

I really love pictures like this :) So, after a week of school, a trip to Hong Kong (including a doctor's visit for the kids' immunizations) and a trip back home, we are a bit tired. I will try not to be late on the next entry! :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

National Holiday

This week was National Holiday here. The kids were out of school from Friday until Thursday. Our city was strangely quiet. All of the factories, schools, and government offices were closed so that people could travel to see their families. Many people work in a city that is not their hometown and do not get to see their children/parents/other relatives except for this holiday and one other earlier in the year. The kids took advantage of this time to build a train tract in Benjamin's room. I was very impressed that they all worked together and made their masterpiece.

Last week was the last day of work for our househelper/babysitter for Lauren. We thought we had a new one coming to work for us, but it did not work out. So, we are still waiting to find the right person.
The kids bought lolipops and Lauren was a mess. She decided this week that she wanted me to fix her hair. She would bring me the brush and hairbows and back up to me. So, she was sporting the pigtails this day. It keeps her hair out of her eyes, but it makes me laugh because she reminds me of the little sister on Phineas and Ferb :)

We also went shoe shopping for Lauren this week. She had waaaay outgrown her old shoes. She now has comfy ones that don't hurt her little feet. Also this week, my bike got stolen. We were told that our bikes would probably get stolen while we lived here, but I was still surprised when it was missing. I even brought the kids back down the elevator to look for me just in case I'm losing my eyesight. They said, "Your bike is gone!" I was a little relieved that my eyes are ok, but a little dissappointed that the bike had a new home :)

This is our Sunday tradition....McDonald's! When we were in the States, we ate at "the rice place" (as the kids call it) every Sunday. We were going to the same one every week, but now we are on the hunt for all the different McD's we can find :) I think this has got to be my favorite so far. It was a free standing (unheard of) 2 story building, open 24hrs, serves breakfast (really!), has a drive thru (also the 1st I have seen...but we don't have a car so it doesn't really matter) and has an indoor playground.

I think the kids really like to go there for the icecream. We ate our icecream outside this time. The kids spotted two kittens asleep in the bushes. They kept the kids attention. Benjamin made sure that we were clear that he wants a dog and not a cat :)

And the half eaten icecream cone....
After we ate, we were very adventurous and crossed the 7 lanes of traffic to explore the other side of the street. I only thought that was the dangerous part. We were walking along the sidewalk and there was a huge hole in the ground! I'm really glad we saw it because ouch, that would have hurt!

Just to give you the full effect....not a small hole. I really hope they find a bright orange cone to put nearby soon. You could lose a whole family in there :)

This is a little girl in our complex. If you look carefully, she is holding a dragonfly. The kids here catch them like we catch lightning bugs back in the States. I think it is much harder to catch dragonflies though. Regan has held one. It was actually an accident that she did. A lady picked it up and handed it to her. Regan (and the rest of us) thought it was dead. She brought it over and showed me. When she decided to put it down, it started flying around and scared us all :) We couldn't stop laughing!

A little altar outside a store. They will burn incense here. This is a familiar smell to us beacuse one of our neighbors has a similar thing outside of their apt door. We typically smell it when we are taking the kids to school, but do not smell it within our own apt.
So, that was our week. Lots of family time and time exploring the community.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Mommy Trip

I want to start by thanking everyone back home who sent packages, cards, made phone calls, etc to Katherine on her birthday. You truly made it a special day (actually a special few days because the packages and cards all came on different days)
This week. I went with some friends to Hong Kong for a few days. It was a real treat in every way! The kids had school, so I talked to them on Skype at night. At times, I felt like I was back in America. Hong Kong is such a tourist city that everyone can speak English and there were many commodoties available that I have not seen in a long while.

It is, however, closer to New York City than my hometown of Knoxville :) People are everywhere! A picture cannot capture it adaquately. I really enjoyed it. I even got some Christmas shopping done while I was there. I know, it's a little early, but I have to think far in advance these days.

This was another HUGE treat...hamburger and fries!! It was even USDA meat. haha. Does that mean they shipped it over? Hmmm. It was excellent though. I thought of Regan while I was eating it because she would always want my pickle. I told her that we might try to go back to the restraunt sometime. I ate waaay too much :)

Anther thing that we found was a great toy store. It was great to see. They had many lego creations on display that were neat to look at. I bought each of the kids a "surprise" to take home with me. I got a mind/puzzle game for Regan, an icecream game for Katherine, a remote contolled matchbox car for Benjamin, and a shape sorter for Lauren. We have had hours of fun with all of it.

Just about every bus in the city is a double decker bus. It was my first time to ride in one. Truthfully, it was not that much different than a regular bus, but it was fun to say that I have ridden on one now. If you sit in the front of the top deck, it does have a nice view. Another British influence is that they drive on the left side of the road and the driver seat is on the right side of the car.

Just a random picture. I had just not seen a fire hydrant quite so big before. It is the same size as this man! I guess with all the really tall buildings all so close together, they needed a really tall fire hydrant.

One night we had to walk down an alley (not like in the movies...it was safe...don't worry...we were one of hundreds of people walking through) On the walls, there were all of these mosaic pictures. I was told that they do that all over the city to prevent graffiti. It appeared to work.

So, not everything seemed like America. Hong Kong still has it's Asian flare. These are some octopus tenticles. I tried the squid. It was alright, but the plum sauce with it was a little over the top for me. I think more than anything, I just didn't hang around this stall very long because of the smell. It was famous for it's stinky tofu. And yes, it lives up to it's name. It really does stink. I did not try it, so I cannot speak to how it tastes, but many people here really like it.

Duck anyone? It's good, but I have never bought it myself :)

While I was there, I took this picture for Benjamin's good friend, Nathan Moore. We hope you like it! You have your very own road in Hong Kong! (this portion was typed by the lovely Regan S. her blogging debut) mommy is so crazey