Maddie Rae Gotcha Day

Thursday, January 31, 2008

How Small is She?

She fits in a shoe box...with toys!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

He's off the couch!

Barely...but still it's progress. The antibiotics are working their magic, and school may be on the horizon for tomorrow.

Now if only it would WARM up around here!

Playground Night

I'm not sure if it's because we don't have to drive home, or because we live in an international community, or simply because people in Hong Kong just seem to know how to have a good time, but it is an interesting fact that no matter what the event, there will be wine. Birthday parties, teacher conferences, parent nights, school shows: the wine flows freely. In fact, last Saturday I went to pick up Jack from a birthday party. 5 bottles of wine, a cheese and pate platter, and 3 hours later, we made it home.
Tonight was no different. We started out Jack's "Playground Night" by relaxing for 30 minutes next to the open bar where the teachers sufficiently liquored the parents up so that we could better enjoy constructing playgrounds with our 6 year olds for the next hour. After we were sufficiently hydrated, we headed back to the classroom where we had to follow Jack's design and playground plan by constructing his playground. Jack being Jack, he had the whole thing mapped out and knew exactly how he was going to proceed. Much to his dismay, however, his engineer father was stuck spending the night up in Shenzhen, so he was left with his rather artistically challenged mother to help him make his playground. We did a pretty good job, I think, and his teacher even exclaimed, "See Jack, you were able to do it even though your dad couldn't be here!" What?! I get no respect...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Freezing in Hong Kong

It's not often that you get to say, "I'm freezing!" in Hong Kong, but it seems like those two words have been coming out of our mouths a lot this week. There are some major storms moving through China causing ice, snow, power outages, and people stranded all over 8 provinces. Thus the cold snap in Hong Kong. We don't have snow or ice, but I could see my breath this morning. When you don't have heat in any of the buildings, that makes for afternoons huddled in front of our little electric fan heater and snuggled under blankets. I carted home all of my sweaters last summer after thinking I must have been the dumbest person to ever move to a tropical place and bring my wool sweaters. Oh, how I wish for those warm fuzzies now!

Jonah has been really sick this week and has barely gotten off of the couch for 5 days now. He seemed even sicker today and was fighting a high fever, so I carted him over to the doctor. He is now on antibiotics and a host of other drugs, so hopefully he will be feeling well enough for his Chinese New Year party and Dragon Dance on Friday. All the decorations are up for next week, and the New Year buzz is in the air. Jack is counting down the days until no school, Maddie Rae is anxiously awaiting her Chinese New Year tutu outfit, and Jonah is just hoping to be able to lift his head off the couch!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Crash Heard 'Round the World

Today started off with a bang. Raegan and I were making last minute preparations for our highly anticipated day at Disneyland when we heard "the crash." Mallaney tripped on the rug and went crashing down into the corner of the coffee table, unfortunately breaking the fall with her eye. We quickly hustled her over to the local doctor's office. When they saw the gash and the placement of it, they recommended a plastic surgeon stitch it up to reduce scarring. So now Mallaney and Maddie Rae share another thing in common: the same plastic surgeon. We hopped on the ferry over to Central and went straight to Dr. Lam's office. He wanted to admit her to the hospital and put her under general anesthetic because the wound was on her eye and he was afraid that she would not lie still enough for him to sew it up without her losing an eye. We shared his concern, however, we begged him to please try to do it in the office. Thus began the major trauma which at this point we care to not remember. The good news was that he was able to do it, and when we were all done, we headed over to Disneyland where her tears were dried quickly as she got to see Mickey and Minnie. She even got a Minnie Mouse doll in a Chinese New Year outfit for being so brave. So, all is well, and she is sleeping peacefully now. We are soon following because with all this trauma and fun, we are exhausted!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Family Fun

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"I go to China to the playground"

Last night, the most highly anticipated event of 2008 so far occurred: my sister, Raegan, and niece, Mallaney, arrived in Hong Kong (and ready for the playground). They arrived in one piece, although quite battered and worn due to no sleep for the entire 15 hour flight. Maddie Rae didn't quite know what to think of this new little girl invading the toys and was quite "fragile" and edgy for the first night and morning. In fact, she decided a few times that she was going to save the toy by pushing Mallaney away. Maddie Rae, who only comes up to Mallaney's shoulder blades, apparently thinks she's bigger than she is! After both little girls had naps today, they woke up much happier with each other, and Maddie Rae was offering toys to Mallaney. Mallaney is enamored with big cousin Jack. She keeps asking him to play with her and to "Hold you, Jack" (translation: "Hold me, Jack"). She thinks Jonah is pretty funny and laughs at all his crazy antics, and when she got on the bus to come to our house last night she declared, "OH! This is beautiful!"

The kids all opened their Christmas presents last night, and Maddie Rae got a Barbie primping kit complete with make-up, hair brush, and blow-dryer. Tonight she pulled the fake nail polish out and started "painting" her toenails. I have never painted my nails in front of her, so this must be something she learned in the orphanage. Michelle, do you think those ayis had time to be painting their nails? If so, I need their secret!

Photos of all the cousin fun coming soon...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

'Lil Sprout

I decided today to "play" with Maddie Rae's hair. I thought her little sprout do was cute. It's not pigtails yet, but it's progress. After our beauty session, we headed into the city for her 8 week post-op check-up with the surgeon. He was very pleased with how well her palate has healed, which was a relief. Sometimes fistulas, or small holes, can open back up in the palate, but thankfully everything is intact and looking very good. He also said that the part of her lip that is pulled up at the scar mark will start to relax and move down over the next year. The redness will continue to fade over time as well. We have to see an ENT between now and March so that they can test to see if she needs tubes put in her ears. If she does, the ENT will do that at her next palate surgery. The surgeon wants to do her final palate surgery in May. Our last appointment with the surgeon was filled with screaming and wailing. This one was all smiles and charm. Either she's forgotten who he is and what he did to her, or she's feeling more safe and comfortable. Maybe a combination of the two!

Bedtime Snack

It was a known fact among my brother and sisters that our mom had the best food around. Other kids, who were subjected to non-sugar cereal and organic carob chip cookies, loved coming over to our house, where there was a smorgasbord of Doritos, Chips Ahoy, and Coke. Perhaps the most honored culinary tradition in our house was the "bedtime snack." Every single night, we would all sit down in front of the tv and eat a big bowl of ice cream. Jon's family had a similar tradition, although they were a bit healthier than us and opted for a bowl of cereal every night. It seems that this is the tradition my kids have followed. Somehow I gave birth to a child who doesn't really like desserts, so Jack has set the tone for our bedtime snack. This is where you can find my three most nights: sitting at the coffee table, movie running, and cereal in hand.

Nala's First Bath

It became apparent that after being drug through several planes, trains, and golf carts, the beloved Nala needed a wash. We had to time it just right since our washing machine takes 2 hours to do one load, and thankfully Nala was clean and smelling much better by bedtime. I couldn't resist posting this photo of the event. Maddie Rae sat in front of the washing machine watching Nala spin round and round for a while, and Jack was there to offer up moral support.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008!

We made it home from beautiful Hawaii late Friday night, and first thing Saturday morning the kids were all ready to open their presents from Nana and Pappaw, Mammy and Grandude, and Gramma Great. Thank you to all the grandparents! We can't wait for next Christmas when you will actually get to see them open their gifts.
Today is New Year's Day, and 2008 promises to be a busy year for us. We will be finishing out our time in Hong Kong and moving back to the States in July. The boys will start a new school in the US, and Maddie Rae will go to her first "school" with her cousin, Mallaney. Maddie Rae will have one more surgery in May, and we will hopefully have some visitors coming in the next few months. We will at last be moving into our "phantom house" that we've owned for 4 years but never lived in, and I will finally be able to renovate and decorate after a 6 year hiatus. Maddie Rae will get to meet all of her extended family, and I will be able to walk into a grocery store and spend a mere $3 for a gallon of milk.