Thursday, June 23, 2011

Walking Man

Well, walking 13 1/2 month old anyway. Will has been taking a few steps here and there since mid-April. But all of a sudden in the last few days he has started to up the distance. Yesterday he got up and walked around quite a few times without prompting. He's a bit of a control freak...doesn't like to perform on command.

At the American Club yesterday afternoon he walked the length of the Eagle's Nest (which is actually pretty big). He was definitely very proud of his accomplishment. And at home last night he walked all over the living room. He still gets down to crawl quite a bit, but I would say there is no doubt that Will is now officially walking. It's a month earlier than his sister did it...but I can't say that I'm disappointed that he ended up not being an early walker!

Unfortunately he is also quite the climber now. He can get onto the couch (which has meant several falls off of the couch...luckily onto the carpet and usually not hitting his head). He can get onto various chairs and from there onto tables - the ones in the arts & crafts corner at the Eagle's Nest are a particular favorite. And at the playgrounds at The Manhattan and Pacific View (2 large apartment buildings nearby) he has been climbing ladders and doubt he will be keeping me quite busy at the playgrounds of New York City in a couple of weeks!

No other major events or milestones to report lately. We've been quite busy on the birthday party circuit - both 1st and 3rd/4th birthdays lately. Good thing my kids are normally good eaters, as they have had more than their fair share of cake and other sweets, not to mention chicken nuggets and french fries, lately.

Leah's gymnastics and ballet classes have ended for the term, and both kids will have their last swim classes next week. Leah's last day of school for the term is the 30th, so we will then have a week of playing and packing before we head out for our 6 week trip to the US on July 9. July 1 is a holiday here - HK SAR Establishment Day. And since Shafi is not joining us for the US trip, he may take a couple days off the following week to get some extra quality time with the kids before we go.

We did have our first experience of a T3 signal this week. The typhoon warning system here is T1, T3, T8. At T8 everything shuts down and everyone is supposed to go straight home and stay indoors. At T3 most things remain open but there are bouts of high winds (60km/hr) and squally rain. And as a precaution since T3 means that it's possible that the T8 signal will be hoisted, the preschools are closed. Unfortunately that meant that Leah did not have school the last 2 days. We didn't have too much trouble keeping busy, but she does love school and was none too happy about it being canceled. As an aside, I looked up typhoons yesterday in order to better understand what the fuss was all about...they are basically the same as a hurricane...they just call them typhoons in the Eastern hemisphere. They are particularly common from May to November and require a combination of warm surface temperatures and various other atmospheric conditions, which the South China Sea provides. But luckily for us, Hong Kong is fairly protected by other chains of islands, like the Philippines, so we rarely get a direct hit. This last storm moved past us to the south and west and never got closer than about 200km.

Leah demonstrating her "big arms" at swim class:
Blowing kisses to Mommy during a neighbor's birthday party:
Elizabeth came over to play yesterday morning:
The girls made flower necklaces...Leah did it 95% by herself and was very proud:
Walking and waving...Will is becoming a multi-tasker:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

AWA Globe Paddlers - Dragon Boat Champions!

I have been very lax in posting lately...but it's because I've been very busy. The 2011 dragon boat season has just ended (for my team anyway). I joined the American Women's Association (AWA) Globe Paddlers. We participated in 4 race events. We started practicing in the off-season (October/November 2010) and got serious beginning January with an hour on the water on Tuesdays and 2 hours on the water on Saturdays. After a grueling 5 months of serious workouts, muscle pain, exhaustion, and lots of fun - we reaped our rewards. We started with the 500m races in Deep Water Bay in early May. We came in 2nd in our first 2 heats, qualifying us for the ladies cup finals - but we ended in 5th overall (out of 10 teams). Then a few days later we competed in the 250m Stanley Warm-Up Races, where we came in 1st in all 3 of our races (out of 6 teams). And just a few days after that we went out to Lamma Island for the 500m races there, where we again placed 2nd in our first 2 heats and qualified for the ladies cup finals - but we ended in 4th overall (out of 8 teams).

This past Monday was Dragon Boat Festival (a public holiday here in Hong Kong). We participated in the 270m Stanley International Dragon Boat Championship. There were 8 ladies teams, including 1 who came in from Australia to compete. We won all 3 of our races by about one and a half seconds. And we are officially the Stanley International Dragon Boat Ladies Champions!

For now I think it will be nice to have my Tuesday and Saturday mornings back...but I am looking forward to getting back in the boat in October!

There's really not much else new. Leah is in school until the end of June - and then the kids and I will be spending 6 weeks in the US this summer (July 9 - August 20).

Will just had a little check-up at 13 months, in order to get his MMR vaccination. He now weighs 12.2 kg (26.9 lbs) and measures 83.5 cm (32.9 in). Still topping the growth charts...but happy and healthy and no concerns from the doctor.

We're spending lots of time at the pool since the weather has been quite hot and humid. But the kids have become great swimmers. Leah was moved up from the Guppies 1 class to Guppies 2 (most kids are ages 4-5). She is pretty capable of getting around the pool - jumping in, swimming around (a rudimentary front crawl and also a doggie paddle), and even a little combo of floating and treading water that allows her to get her head up out of the water. Will loves the pool and is pretty self sufficient in the baby pool with floaties (arm bands) on - hasn't quite figured out how to locomote in water too deep to stand in though.

Our Winnie the Pooh at a friend's birthday party:
Along with Sleeping Beauty:
Swim time:
Stanley International Dragon Boat Races - I'm 3rd from the back on the near side:
My team celebrating after our big victory: