…heck is it 2015 already? Every year I am surprised at how fast the whole year flies by, but especially the holiday period. It is my favourite part of the year and it seems to be over sooner every year! Now that the kids are aware of Christmas (especially our four year old who has lived and breathed Christmas since mid-November) there is much more to do with gifts, decorations, teacher presents, Christmas Concerts, Santa visits, etc. And we need to be smart about the Christmas shopping and gift-hiding!
Backing up a little, I know I have not posted since November, which is terrible blogging protocol! But I will recap a bit of November and December- just the highlights- and you will see why I haven’t had time to do any projects the past two months!
In November we took a much needed vacation to Phuket. It was wonderful to be out of Hong Kong – fresh air, fresh food, quality family time. I can honestly say it was one of the best vacations I have ever had and one day of it especially stands out as one of the best days I have ever had. Starting with a yoga class and going for a massage while the kids were at the Kids Club for the hotel, then having a yummy lunch together before I took our two year old back to the room for a nap and had an hour or two to relax on my own. Then a swim at the pool for all of us and dinner for the kids. Lastly, a babysitter for the boys meant Fritz and I went out to have a wonderful seafood meal together to end the day. It really doesn’t get better than that.
We mostly just relaxed at the hotel, but we did go to Tiger Kingdom one day and Fritz and I did take a morning on our own to go in to the old part of Phuket town to explore.
After we got back from Phuket I had two days in HK then I went to Australia. On my own. For nine nights. No kids. Sounds awesome, right?! Well… while it was fantastic to be home and see family and friends, after a few days, I really missed the boys and Fritz. Thank God for FaceTime! But again, the clean air was welcome. A visit to the supermarket had me almost drop to my knees and kiss the floor I was so amazed at the freshness of everything and the number of options for everything from gluten free products to face wash to rice. Yes, rice. Australia has more rice options than HK. Go figure.
Before we went to Phuket, a visit to the GP for our youngest was scheduled as I thought he had a build up of wax in his ears and was struggling to hear properly due to his speech articulation, or lack thereof. Turns out I was right about the ear blockage but unfortunately it was not an ear wax build up (which a simple procedure that the GP could fix), but “glue ear”. So after an audiological assessment and a visit to the specialist, some medication was given to him to try for two weeks (which was when I was away) to see if it could be cleared up. A further audiological assessment showed no change so back to the specialist and three days later he was booked in for surgery to have his adenoids removed, his ears cleaned out and grommets put into his ears. I had to hold him while they used the gas to make him go to sleep. I managed to keep it together and the operation went smoothly with no issues. Here is the little guy in recovery:
In the middle of all this, the Christmas build up was happening. Our oldest had his preschool Christmas Concert. Again, I managed to keep it together (barely) as the cuteness was almost overwhelming. He was so excited to be Frosty the Snowman in one song. I, of course, had to source a costume for this. After considering being crafty and Pinterest-y I went the lazy route and ordered the costume from EBay! They sang a song in Mandarin at the concert, too, which was adorable.
We want to Ocean Park to visit Santa, and thoroughly enjoyed not sweating our butts off as we have done the previous visits during the Summer heat!
And then my parents arrived! And then it was Christmas! The boys had an amazing day (we all did actually)! We ate amazing food (Fritz did roasted goose, chocolate lava cakes), we drank delicious wine, played with all the new toys and games the boys got and just generally had a lovely, lovely day.
And yes, those are matching Santa pj’s that the boys are in!
On Boxing Day, Fritz and I were off super early for a flight to Beijing. Three days (two nights) to ourselves and my first visit to mainland China. By far the most amazing part of our visit was the Great Wall of China, but we also saw the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. We went to a section of the wall called Mutianyu. We went up to the wall via cable car, walked about 2km along it and then came down on a toboggan! An awesome and really fun way to do the Wall.
We had one of the best restaurant experiences I have ever had at a place called Temple in Beijing. It is built inside the structure of a 600 year old Buddhist Temple. Fantastic French food and the best service I think we have ever had at a restaurant. Everyone, from the table staff to the sommelier, were friendly, solicitous and just generally lovely. Add in the delicious food and it was one of my top three meals in my life. Although, I don’t recommend the Beijing cheese. There is a reason Beijing is not known for its cheese. Stick to the French cheese!
When we got back, it was off to Disneyland HK! This was supposed to be for the boys, but we all had a fantastic time and loved it! The rides were great, with a good selection available for the boys to go on (even for two year olds!) And even though it was a busy day (New Years Eve), we managed to get through a lot of the park. The light show parade in the evening was a big highlight.
So now we are back home and my folks leave today (boo hoo!) and there are two very tired little boys who will have to get used to normal life again – no holidays, no presents, no grandparents, no Disneyland. Actually, there are two parents who will too! Sad days, indeed.
And I need to drum up new clients and get back to work! And maybe try a few new small DIY projects.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday period and are ready to tackle 2015! And in the spirit of Disney, I hope this year is magical for you all.