Sunday, March 4, 2012

18 Hong Kong that is!

Once again it has been 2 months since my last post. I suppose that is a sure sign that I am busy! Leah turned 4 almost a month ago. Will will be 22 months tomorrow. And the end of March will be our 18 month anniversary of moving to Hong Kong. There is no doubt that we are fully settled in at this point. I know my way around, where to shop for most of what I need/want, good restaurants to go to.

We have made friends, although part of the expat life is also the revolving door. Our good friends the Korns left to return to Chicago a couple weeks ago. Kristin and I saw each other regularly and our kids were the same age. Leah definitely misses Finley, one of her best friends. Although Will probably doesn't miss Nolan much...they fought constantly when together!

Our helper Nilda had a birthday last month too - the big 40! We are so lucky to have found such a great helper. She makes my life so much easier - helping with the kids, grocery shopping, cooking almost all of our meals (deliciously!), keeping the apartment clean and keeping up with the laundry. I have not used my washer/dryer once since moving into this apartment!

Shafi and I have been getting out on the town quite a lot lately. We have had some great meals - Yardbird, TBLS, Din Tai Fung, Zuma, Saigon, Sijie Szechuan Dishes, American Peking, Heirloom, Wagyu, Le Souk. We have also been to two black tie charity balls in the last couple of weeks. It's always fun to play dress up and go drinking and dancing with friends.

Leah was incredibly excited to turn 4. She and Finley had an excellent joint birthday party with about 35 kids, a great magician, and a Rapunzel birthday cake (homemade!). She got lots of great birthday presents, including art kits, books, and a Barbie house, jet and car. She still loves school and is doing really well with learning to read. She has over 20 sight words that she knows well now, and she can write almost all of her letters and numbers.

Will has been talking more and more, putting several words together. It is just amazing how quickly his vocabulary is expanding. He also walks around singing quite a bit. He is every bit as outgoing as Leah - talking to strangers on the street, as well as always saying hello and goodbye to everyone he knows. He's gotten very good at being polite - almost always saying please, thank you, and excuse me, as appropriate. He still loves soccer and playing outside. He has gotten to really like school, as well. He still does Mother Goose playgroup with me or Nilda 2 days a week, but I think he may move up to the drop-off class when he turns 2. Will has 15 teeth now - one more incisor is still working its way in and no sign of the 2 year molars yet. He hasn't been weighed or measured lately but he's definitely been growing - and eating and sleeping a lot - a sure sign that next doctor's visit will show a lot of growth!

The dragon boat season has started back up. The Globe Paddlers are looking pretty good! Unfortunately I broke a rib (10th rib on the back right) a couple weeks ago and am off the boat for about 6 weeks. I will return to physio next week in hopes of gradually working my way back up to paddling. Not only has it been quite painful, but it's a real disappointment to be missing so much of the season. Hopefully I can get back in shape by the time we start racing in late May.

Friday, January 6, 2012

20 Months!

Since my last post was 2 months ago...I'm not even sure where to begin to catch up. Will turned 20 months yesterday. He got his top canine teeth right around 19 months. We've just finished winter break and an almost 2 week visit from my parents.

Otherwise, life has been fairly busy but uneventful. Will's vocabulary is rapidly growing. He says many foods, body parts, toys, animals, people's well as important verbs like walk, eat, and jump. He's definitely getting pretty good at making his wishes known. Although we have had some amusing miscommunications.

I made the kids peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for a light dinner one day last week (we had been out to a posh "brunch" at 1:30 and they didn't need much). I told Will I was getting peanut butter & jelly for Leah and asked if he wanted some. He said, "Some. Some. Some." So I made him a sandwich too. When they sat at the table he had a fit - crying, pushing the plate away, batting at my hands when I tried to feed it to him. And he kept yelling "Some. Some. Some." Yesterday the kids had a mix of cut grapes and strawberries after dinner. I asked Will whether he preferred the grapes or strawberries. And he said, "some." I asked him if he could says strawberries..."no." After discussing with him that those were strawberries and some could be some grapes or some clothes or some milk...he finally said "strawberries" (really more "stawbies"). Mystery solved!

And a similar one...he's been asking for cereal in the morning. He really pronounces it quite well. But then he doesn't want cereal when you serve it to him. He'll gladly eat yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, pancakes, etc. Not so interested in cereal. Pretty sure he thinks cereal means breakfast...we'll have to work on that one.

I'm sure his number of words is over 100 now. And I'm often amazed when he blurts out a word that I didn't expect him to know. Although I'm not sure why, as I can tell he understands the majority of what we say to him. And not to be the bragging mom...but I do think he's a bit advanced in a lot of things verbal...not as advanced as Leah was...but pretty darn good for a 20 month old boy. He's been correcting pronunciation on calling me "Mommy" instead of "Mama," "Needa" has replaced "Da" for Nilda, "Puppy" has replaced "Puhpuh." And he is very good at understanding categories of things. If you ask him what fruit he had for dessert, he will list fruits (although not necessarily answering which one he had) - apple, oranges, grapes, kiwi, mango. My Uncle Howard asked him on the phone the other day whether he was going to play soccer that afternoon. Will said, "Yes. Ball." He's also getting very good at answering yes and no - rather than the way he previously would say no but nod yes.

He's also gaining some new skills. He has gotten pretty good at feeding himself with a spoon. And he's looking like he could be my soccer star - loves kicking the ball and is getting pretty good at it. We had our first class of the new term yesterday and he's now one of the older ones - several of the moms of the newbies commented on how good he is - much like I felt watching the older kids back in September.

Leah is making strides in her reading from school. She has 12 sight words now - those are common words that you should know by sight in order to be able to read. She struggles a little bit between of and to, as well as in, is and it. But she gets the others most of the time - said is still a bit of a struggle - but I can't really blame her there. She does know all her letters now - and can write most of them both in upper and lower case. She proudly drew pictures for Grandma and Grandpa and labeled them with their names.

I've been having her help make cards for birthdays and such...but she only writes her name (and sometime's Will's also). But I think now I can start having her write the whole card.

We did some fun sightseeing with my parents. We visited the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Gardens, which we all loved. It is beautiful and serene even though it's in the center of Diamond Hill in Kowloon. We also went up to Shatin in the New Territories to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery and then headed out to Sai Kung for a seafood lunch on the waterfront.

We also had a nice Hanukkah. I bought way too much for the we have a house full of new toys and books. I admit that it's as much for me as for them. I get tired of the same old toys too. Leah has lots of new Barbies and My Little Ponies - time to start a Barbie / Pony Village. And Will is loving his many new cars and the big garage to play with them on.

Check out my Picasa site for hundreds of pictures of our holiday concerts, performances, toys, sightseeing, etc.