Monday, December 9, 2013

Family Fall Pics: Janine Uy Photography

Okay, I saw "fall" pics and here I was putting my hot natured boys in sweaters and jeans when it was still 85 degrees out! Whoops! But you know what- that's the look I wanted and regardless of the moaning and sweating we got some great pics! :) This made Mommy happy!

I just thought I would share a few. I actually found this photographer on Hong Kong Facebook Moms and took a chance but she ended up being absolutely wonderful. She was great with the boys, really relaxed and did a fantastic job. The price was fabulous too. It's nice to have a shoot and not pay hundreds of dollars for the shoot, then more for the prints. She was a dream! She's actually not living in Hong Kong (she's from Manilla) but travels here quite often- SO we will be using her again! (in fact, my sis in law wants to use her next year when she comes in!)

Here is her website (I have put it on my blog before): Janine Uy Photography

Anywho- here are some of my favorite pics:

These were fun for me because we've never done this type of announcement! Bboy #3 on the way!


My friend Molly said this is a perfect picture for his first novel! Hilarious! 

Just love this sweet precious boy! 

And Bosco is included as one of my boys as well! 

My BOYS! 

They couldn't have my heart anymore than they do...


...and that includes this big Papa bear too! 




So book Janine the next time she's in Hong Kong- or any other Asian country she may go visit! :) Thanks again Janine for capturing our family with such special and sweet photos!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

On My Heart: "Do the Word"

I was going through a devotional book that I have, "Walk with God", the One Year Devotional, by Chris Tiegreen and found something that struck my heart. There was a passage and I wanted to share it, especially in light of the holidays.

I know how easy it is to to get wrapped up in the holiday spirits- baking, parties, shopping and planning trips, etc., We tend to loose the real idea and meaning behind Christmas- especially for those of us as Christians. When it's hardest to do is speak our words of what we know, but to follow through and show action is another.

We are quick to judge and easily condemn those for not doing exactly what we think they should do- or how we think they should live their lives. When in fact, God teaches us to "not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. DO what it says." - James 1:22

When we have those that are in needs (loved friends and family members, or strangers we may come across), it's not merely just a kind word or reminder that God is there for them, but it's our actions that they need- a VISIBLE ILLUSTRATION. I think of my boys and how that's the very thing they more likely respond to- other than a word or lecture from me- but it is in my actions that I teach the most to them. How are we to think that there are others out there (wounded and still childlike) who do not still respond the same way?

"FAITH WITHOUT WORKS CANNOT PLEASE, NOR CAN GOOD WORKS WITHOUT FAITH." - The Venerable Bede

Furthermore, I believe we are called as Christians (and not just at Christmas, but 365 days a year) to continue to work towards SHOWING Christ's love, not just preaching.

As mentioned in the passage, "an unbelieving world watches too. It does not care about the intricacies of our theology...unbelievers want to see what faith looks like, and the only way to speak on those terms is to ACT."

"The Word is only ours when we have acted on it. It is only effective when we've allowed God to move it from our minds into our hearts, and then outward int our actions. Anything else will lull us into a false sense of security."

I think this passage is now more important than every- especially living in the "techno" bound world that we are encompassed in. It's too easy for us to write a kind word on facebook, or send a text in email- but it's more effective and more time to get up and go to that person that is grieving or hurting and show love. To give other's our time, our presence and our help.

We are here as Christian's to do HIS work- to be his disciples- is there anyone you know that is hurting? That needs a visit? That needs your time? Can you combine the good works with the faith that we have?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend

Yes, a full on Thanksgiving weekend as it's kind of difficult for us to celebrate during the week. MOST have to be reminded that Yes, Thanksgiving, is ONLY an American holiday and we don't get days off to celebrate here! (We used to in Shanghai because Jason's company was based out of the States, but not anymore!).

So we celebrated Friday evening with some good American friends! Every year we seem to do something different and my table has seen friends from all over! It's quite entertaining and very special for us. After all- Thanksgiving is all about sharing food and being thankful for those friends and family you love!

Friday was a bit crazy. Not only were we hosting Thanksgiving but it was also Year 2's (Jack's year) turn for the bake sale- so more baking! Baking Baking Baking! And it was picnic lunch at the school- so we didn't want to miss that!
Here's Henry helping- don't you know he ate more than he helped!  And sprinkles got EVERYWHERE!

My orange and greens didn't turn out right- and we had a mixture of Christmas and Thanksgiving!


Friday night we had all the goodness that goes with- although we didn't have a full turkey. The problem is here is that you only have 1 oven and it's not that big. So what and how do you cook your other stuff? You can buy them here- and already cooked- but your'e looking at spending about $150 for a cooked one! Geesh! 

So I got a turkey breast roll- that was filled with stuffing. It was actually pretty yummy and only took about an hour to cook- so that way I could cook all the other traditional food! Our friends brought some homemade cranberry sauce, yummy green beans, brownies, a delicious lemon tart and some drinks! I made pumpkin and apple pies, the stuffing, sweet potato casserole and creamed corn! Oh- the creamed corn was divine- here is the RECIPE It's definitely not the "best" for you, but that's what I told Tina (our nanny)- good thing it's only once a year! 

Here are some pics from our night:

Mini apple & pumpkin pies- along with the boys Thanksgiving craft- their hands and feet turkeys!

Mini pumpkin pies- these were the 2nd batch I had made for the week! 

My two turkeys!

My Thanksgiving table! 

Jason and Craig! And so mad- forgot to get a picture of Shauna and I! 

The lil' boys table- Henry with Liam and Grayson! 

And Jack at the big boy table! 

A great shot of Jack and I! Thanks Shauna! 

WE had a great night celebrating with our friends- and I LOVED sharing the food with Tina. She's never had a Thanksgiving meal- so creamed corn, pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole (with yummy marshmallows!) was all new to her! I love getting to share our traditions with our friends and family from abroad. :) 

Then our Sunday we went over to our old neighbor's house (they just moved! :( ) for lunch. I, of course, brought over a pumpkin pie. :) They are from New Zealand so aren't in on Thanksgiving as well, but it was nice to share with them. A big hit too! 

We had a great lunch and just reminds us of how very thankful we are for great friends that God blesses us with here in Hong Kong (and all over the world). Even though we are far from family, HE provides for us in every way we need. :) 

One last pic from Sunday- (Jordan photo bombing as usual)- and this was right before Henry busted his lip on the trampoline so then the pictures stopped! :)

AND ANOTHER HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL! :) 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thanksgiving Blessing!




Yep, this is true! A third lil' Wiltshire will be blessing this family in May....and it's another fun and energetic BOY! We couldn't be more thrilled. 

We found out a few months ago- a bit of a shock- but I've convinced that God is always trying to keep us on our toes and just when we feel a bit settled, he rocks our boat! 

So we are forming a mini football team- or rugby or "futbol" (soccer) and Mommy is destined to forever remain the Queen of this household. I know I have enough sass to handle these little fellas, and honestly, they are too much fun.

This puts me at about 15 weeks and I'm feeling wonderful and baby boy is doing absolutely great. All or our tests so far are perfect and we'll keep praying for another healthy and beautiful baby boy!

We're so thrilled to share this news Thanksgiving week- we do have so very much to be thankful for!

Little photo shoot of the soon to be family of 5! 


Big brothers and goofy ones at that! 
*Photography credit to Janine Yu! Here's her facebook page here - she travels all around Asia! She was great with the boys!

And here is little squirmy- I don't think he knows what's in store for him!


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! :) 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hong Lok Yuen School Fair

What a fun day! Could also be because we absolutely LOVE and adore Jack's school, but this was such a well run event it made for an excellent day!

The school fair is one of the biggest in Hong Kong- it does help that it's one of the first and the school does an outstanding job. I met quite a few vendors that have been coming to the school fair since the 1980's- so you know it's a good one!

I volunteered to help with the fair so was on the committee. I can't say that I had too much to do as this was my first year and being unaware of how things were ran, I just gave my opinion here and there and did what I was told on Friday (for set up) and Saturday. It was extremely well organized, thanks to Mrs. Chris Curtain (deputy principle, who finished here last week at the school a few weeks ago) and there were volunteers from all over the school.

The theme every year is a "Fiesta of Cultures" and what a perfect way to use the diversity and mixed cultures of an international school.

There was a:
Book stall (used books),
A tombola (ever heard of this?- it's donated items then you pick a number from a box and do a draw (all the items are numbered)
Newly donated goods- all sorts of stuff
Phillips- everything from headphones to blenders!
Cake stall- all the parents donated baked goods
International Food hall- again- parents brought in food from their country
Teachers games- for the kids
Bouncy castles
And loads of vendors from christmas items, clothes, photography, jewelry, etc.,!

Not to mention the fabulous entertainment- a few of the kids were chosen to do the talent show. (Jack actually tried out but didn't make it- we didn't even know he was trying out!- dancing, of course!) They also had a jazz band, an auction and raffle prizes.

It was a full on day- but you know what, most people arrived at about 10:30/11 and didn't leave until after 4. That's how much fun they had! Oh- did I mention there was a wine stand and beer- yes, unheard of in America to have that at a kid's school event- but hey, were not in America!

I'm sure I missed a bunch of stuff, but check out some more pictures from their facebook page here: Hong Lok Yuen School Fair

Maybe the boys favorite part, but fun for us- ALL candy from the US! Stuff we NEVER see here! 

Gotta have some cotton candy! (or fairy floss as they call it here!)

Jack and his teacher, Miss Saunter

Opening with the Chinese dragon dancing

My boys visiting me at the book stall! 

A shot of Henry from the school- teacher's games! 
So if you're out and about next year- come visit- promise to be a fun day!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines- How to Help!

Tacloban residents walk past debris after Typhoon Haiyan

The wake of Typhoon Haiyan

Haiyan could cost Philippines $14 billion

Ongoing help is, of course, needed after such a disaster and now more than ever the people of the Philippines need assistance. I know it's hard for some to imagine, but this is a cause that is dear to us because of how close we are and because of our nanny, Tina, that is from there.

There are so many Philippino helpers that are here working in Hong Kong- and why do they come here, because working here they get more money than they would in their home towns. So they leave their families- only seeing them maybe once or twice a year (some less). So you can imagine what kind of state parts of their country is in, even without the typhoon that hit a month ago.

Here is the latest news from BBC News:


The UN says more than 11 million people are believed to have been affected and some 673,000 displaced.
The relief operation is being stepped up, but many are still without aid. On Wednesday, eight people died as a rice warehouse was looted, officials said.

And more here
Jack's school, Hong Lok Yuen, has been collecting donations, just as I know MANY other schools, communities, charities, and organizations across Hong Kong have. Raising money and collecting goods. It's obviously easier for us to collect goods here and send them over, but for those of you far away- giving a bit of money is the best way. 
And I can't help but be reminded of why we should give and how in the week of Thanksgiving we can think and be reminded of how very much we have to be thankful for. 
Here are a few organizations that have more information as well as ways to donate: 
1. Alabang Ladies International Group, Inc., (this is actually a group that one of my friends from Shanghai belongs to- she is currently living in the Philippines)
2. UNICEF
These are just a few but here is a good site that i found through USA TODAY, click here. Loads of different websites that have further information on how to help.
We have been collecting goods for the last two weeks and it's been important to me to also explain to Jack what we are doing. He doesn't grasp the full extent of this disaster but the first question he did ask was, "Is Tina's family okay", which I thought was sweet and showed his heart. 
Here are some of the goods that we went and bought at the store- everyday items that are taken for granted. 

Not to mention the 7 or 8 bags of clothing that we brought in- I kept looking at things saying, "we have not worn this in at least a year and I know someone else will find better use out of it". But it is important to remember that this is a tropical country and they certainly don't need "winter" clothes. My nanny, Tina, mentioned that some items had been sent as such (that she had heard from friends).
Here are a few articles that I found really interesting about the typhoon and the aftermath- and how there is so much more that is effected than the loss of life, the loss of homes, etc.,

Please continue to pray for this country, their people, the families, children and loved ones that are effected all over the world. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jack's 7th Birthday- Lego SUPERhero's


Well, those are the themes you know- Lego this and Lego that. That's what my life is with Jack. He so loves them!

We actually celebrated Jack's birthday on his real birthday- a nice day at home (after our big day at Ocean Park). I made his favorite- chicken lasagna and a homemade chocolate cake with cream cheese icing! We had our neighbors over to have cake. Jack was quite content running in and outside, working on his legos and "having a chill day".


Lego's from Zsa Zsa and PaPa- superheroes! 

Our neighbors from New Zealand- Caelan and Jordan

We actually had his "birthday party" planned for the next weekend. We were ending on our fall break so alot of people were out of town.

It wasn't too bad planning, although I had some issues with finding a spot for a bouncy castle. We don't have a yard big enough and I didn't really want to go inside, but it worked out nicely nonetheless. Theme: LEGO SUPERHERO! Always a task finding exactly what you want though....

But here in Hong Kong, it's so hard to find party supplies, especially without going to 18 different stores. Ugh. SO, what I've done the last two years is order almost everything from ETSY! http://www.etsy.com/ There are a few different vendors that I've used, but what makes it wonderful is that they can send you the jpeg files (customized too!) then you print out all your decor- from invitations (print on photo paper), cupcake toppings, banners, etc., All super cute! Then I just buy plain color napkins, plates, etc., All works out brilliantly!

Here are some of the decorations that I used: (Jack's invitation is up above- that was just printed on photo paper at Kinko's- or whatever photo companies are here!)

I found these cute gift bags then posted the prints on the front and back- kinda hard to see. 

Then again, printed off my cupcake toppers and glued them to toothpicks

My neighbor and I did the signs- I drew them and then glued them to straws.

There was ONE big drawback to our party- Daddy was missing! :( As mentioned in an earlier post, http://therenditionsofrenoir.blogspot.hk/2013/10/saying-goodbye-is-never-easyrip-carl.html , Jason's grandfather had passed away earlier that week, so he was back in the US (well on his way!). Jack was pretty upset at first, but soon got over it! 

WOOOO- kids always seem to amaze me with their relentless energy! Can we bottle it up and sell it? We would be millionaires! 

A bouncy castle, snacks, cupcakes, drinks and balloons is all these kids needed! Oh- and I LOVED the company we got the bouncy castle- not only did they have tons of great options, they were adaptable with changes, arrived on time and it was the easiest part of the party! The company is Hong Kong Toy Club here in HK- HK Toy Club . I will definitely be using them again! 

Here are a few pics to wrap up the party- I didn't actually take many of the pics as I was organizing the games and making sure no one killed themselves! My neighbor, Caelan took them (and did a fab job for a 12 year old!)

Henry got in on the fun! :) 

Jack and his good friend Mathew! 

Tina (our helper and wonderful lady!) and I at the party! 

Friends and gifts! 

My birthday boy and I! :) 



A few of our lil' superheroes at the party!! 

This is my superhero- always is and always will be!