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! 


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Catching Up: Ocean Park

Okay, so a must do for a visit to Hong Kong with kids is OCEAN PARK! A ridiculously huge and fun amusement park- that has just about everything you can think of. An aquarium, ice/polar exhibits, asian animal exhibits, kid and adult rides, fair games, old Hong Kong town, tons of places to eat, a beautiful gondola ride up the mountain, etc., etc., Really we didn't cover half of the park and we were there for about 5 hours.

Here is a link to the site: http://www.oceanpark.com.hk/html/en/home/ This is their home page- it's a little hectic on the site, so this one has a good run down of what they have as well: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/see-do/highlight-attractions/top-10/ocean-park-hong-kong.jsp

We decided it was time to go- so we took Jack for a treat for his Birthday. We went the day before actually, which was perfect weather! The sun was a little out, but not too hot. Really I don't think we would have survived if we would have gone any earlier- it's just been too hot!

We arrived at about 11 a.m.- which was a good time. We had a bit of traffic along the way, but parking is easy (we drove) and the lines for tickets were not too bad.

We did the aquarium first- it wasn't a bad aquarium. I mean, we've seen ALOT over the Asian cities so it wasn't my favorite, but they did have some neat exhibits. AND they had hammerhead sharks- which the boys loved!


Usually Jason doesn't make the aquariums with us, so I think he was just as excited as the boys! 




Of course- not complete without a random photo op- including 4 extra phones as extra lighting! 

gift shop fun! 
Then we moved along to the gondola ride. It takes you through the old Hong Kong town, which is pretty neat. If you've never been to any of the old Chinese streets, then this is fun. Of course right along with all the Chinese street food! The gondola ride was really amazing- right up the side of the mountain looking over Repulse Bay. Beautiful view!

OF course right after our first stop, we had to have some snacks! Dumplings!

And a sno cone- even though they only had one flavor! :( 

Old Hong Kong row

Waiting in line for the gondola ride

And we're up...and my eyes are closed!

Woo- very high up! 

Beautiful view! although a little smoggy

Al the way up at the top- Daddy and the Birthday boy! 
 After we got to the top, we did a bit of a survey to see what rides we could do. Out of all honesty, Jack could do most of them (he's 7 and pretty tall), but there were only a few that Henry could do. The lines are VERY long as well- some 45 minutes. (You can buy a ticket that gives you access to front of the line- IF you want to- and more expensive!)

We did some rides, had lunch, went through the polar exhibit and took a journey down to Thrill Mountain. We were exhausted after that, so took the train back (no line) down the mountain and took our journey home!

A fun but quite exhausting day! Here are some pictures to wrap up:

Month of October- so some super fun and cute Halloween decorations!
(And they have some killer and fun Halloween parties at night!)

Jack's 1st big ride- the raging river! He loved it! 



Our version of the fair- some fun games! 

Jack chose 1 toy to take with him! 


And we say goodbye! 


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Catching Up: School Trip to the Botanical Gardens

Well, I have been hiding under a rug it seems. I feel like my head has not stopped spinning since school started the beginning of September.

I was sick most of September with bronchitis, plus the start of the school year activities and such. Then most of October was spent working on the fair committee for school- such a fun event by the way!

Anyway- back to somewhat normal-although still busy and hectic!

I did take a school class trip with Jack's class. We took an outing to the Botanical Gardens the end of September. It was a great little outing. I was so happy to get to go with Jack and he was just as pleased. He's still at the age where he's happy to have me along, so I'm more than happy to go!

We actually have been to the Botanical Gardens here in Hong Kong before- once when we first moved. It's really a gorgeous place. Ironically, it's right smack in the middle of the city- in fact, right behind SOHO and Lan Kwai Fung (so at the slope of the Peak). Just tucked away in the midst of tall buildings and a bustling city life.

There's a few little kiosks/refreshment stands, some animal life (monkeys, birds, a few reptiles, etc.,) plant life, a children's playground and just a great place to go for a timeout or picnic to escape the madness of the city.

Interesting enough, I read, it's one of the oldest zoological and botanical centres in the world. Here is a site to read a bit more: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/parks/hkzbg/en/index.php

And to follow up, here are some pictures from our fun day out:

All the kiddos- enjoying their "morning tea" snack

Love the details of some of the park benches!

Yep- my cute big boy! :) 

Jack and Joris- an entry into the park

Am I right- nestled right into the midst of the big city!


Of course we can't forget our fun furry monkey friends! 

Little time out at the children's park- 





Of course no outing in China is complete without a dozing Chinaman- shoes off and all! 

Attempt of a class photo before leaving!