Wordless Wednesday

Mentioning offhand we had a pastor (i.e. that we – well, especially me – go to church) raised some curiosity and I realised I had some newer readers… As someone whose mum in particular is a staunch Buddhist and I remain in contact (and forever wanting to have reunion with) my Sec School best friend who is Muslim, here’s an old post about the church we attend here please: “The English-Speaking Church in Hong Kong” 

This curry prawn meal, Rockstar decided his outfit needed a little something extra

This curry prawn meal, Rockstar decided

A tad much? Nahh

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A Story Of Matt And Heath (Or, Oh So You Thought You Couldn’t Be Cool)

This Father’s Day, Kings and I happened to have the pleasure of hearing Hank Fortener who runs Adopt Together speak for the first time, and when he got to the part about his adopted brother from China (our pastor btw adopted two kids, now teenagers, from China as well as two other kids from the States who I think are now attending university) I wanted to share the story.

Hank Fortener (pic from hankfortener.com)

Hank Fortener (pic from hankfortener.com)

Hank describes his trepidation when his brother Matt, who has Asperger’s (in a podcast interview I then found, it appears Matt also had 9 facial surgeries to correct a double cleft lip and palate) wants to throw a big high school graduation party before going off to college to study Accounting. (Matt btw is now also Dean’s list)).

Worried his younger brother will get a no-show at his party and be terribly disappointed, Hank initially starts pulling people – anyone he knows, the pizza guy, anyone – to come to his brother’s party. As the party progresses, Hank’s pointing out all the other people who came, even as his little bro is mumbling “No one’s coming,” and at 2pm there’s like one kid who shows up and Hank’s making a big deal of it………

At 2.15pm, there’s this car that pulls up and it’s full of kids. Cool kids, Hank observes, kids who dress nicely, who look good, like they get invited to other parties a lot….. And then the next car pulls up. And the next, and the next after that…..

5 cars of kids later, there’s this kid bringing up the rear – Heath – who’s engineered the whole thing, and Hank gives us the visual: “fastest kid in Ohio,” “has muscles in his jaw that I’m never gonna have in my whole body”….. Basically, Alpha Kid has engineered for all the cool kids to come over, and as Hank is trying to thank him profusely for saving his brother Matt’s party (or rather, “life”), Heath looks over to Matt, standing next to him, looks him right in the eye, and says “(We’re late, because) We always save the best for last – and Matt – you’re the best.” Matt would turn to his older brother Hank and beam, “This is the happiest day of my life.

This is the post that never made Mother’s Day (couldn’t finish), and well, hearing about Matt and Heath kinda helped me say it just after Father’s Day. My parents initially wanted me to have 3 or 4 kids (not anymore haha), the people I’ve dated seriously always wanted several kids…… But I famously preferred animals, not well, humans.

(Rockstar would snark along the lines of Well, We Could Tr-y…. to which Her Highness, his Partner in Crime in this respect, would then vigorously meow her head off 😀 (This btw is their response to my explanation why they get disciplined and the dog doesn’t really – you can mostly spoil pets and you will not be too negligent of your responsibilities towards society. But for another thing, the dog doesn’t say all these annoying little snarky things :D))

Animals will not grow up to hold jobs/possibly also nuclear weapon launch codes/get married/have families/ raise kids of their own…….. Raising another human who has the capacity to someday cause a great deal of pain to other people is probably the biggest responsibility you usually don’t think about.

Oh yeah, also, like the evil wizard Jaafar, your heart will no longer beat within you but will instead tell you not to follow too closely behind (yes this is Queen E’s latest antic when she goes to art class “which has naughty boys that (she) fight(s) with”).

Think about it. Are those not absolutely terrifying reasons to not have kids? (I have actually a good friend several years older than me who, after dithering it over with her other half for years recently told me n-ope, we weighed the pros and cons and we’ve Decided Not To. Our 6-figure monthly salaried job and trading portfolio shall be our “babies”. They will take care of us in our old age hahaha. I have also friends who struggled with infertility for many years. This makes me look at Mother’s Day and Father’s Day differently as well.) Choice is truly a great privilege.

Dis is the Giant Hand that protects Evil Jaafar's heart, encased in a glass tower or something (pic from monsterkidclassicforum.yuku.com)

Dis is the Giant Hand that protects Evil Jaafar’s heart, encased in a glass tower in the old Captain Sinbad movie (pic from monsterkidclassicforum.yuku.com)

(And where can we get Giant Hand especially for Queen E, right? :D)

But back to Matt and Heath. Suddenly, something like parties, which during your own teenage years you never cared about, will make you oh-so-incredibly vulnerable.

What if you had a Matt?

What if you went pulling the pizza guy and all your friends to a high school party, even as you knew that any effort you made would always be second best to Alpha Kid showing up with all the other cool kids?

What if you had a Heath? 

Then it would be in your ability to “make” one of the most important days in another person’s life. You could be Giant Spikey Hand for someone else’s kid. How Could You Not? 

So maybe you grew up being Matt. Maybe now you’re a parent and your kid is Heath to your former Matt. Well here’s the thing – when someone has been mean, you may not be able to choose the kind of day you’re having (realistically, right? Even if you have a will of steel, you might have a bad day for like, 5 minutes, before you pick yourself up) but you can totally choose what kind of person you want to be. 

Being “nice” is an active choice, not to perpetuate behaviour you do not respect. You might look at it as a difficult, much harder option… but choosing Nice is also the biggest celebration of the fact you had a choice. One of my former mentors (who constantly reminded me is not always a nice guy) describes Choice Nice: Those things you feel when someone is mean to you – do you like them, why would you ever want to be like them?

“Doing the right thing” may not always seem cool, but hey, if you’ve got a Heath then your kid is already cool enough for both of you :)

Have a good week ahead, dears…

ps: almost forgot – pic of the kids, before I get umm, complaints 😀



(Yes, she is the youngest and smallest and her feet can barely reach the stretching bar. Her very experienced instructor – can’t believe he coaches both national teams and little kids haha – regularly checks that her little foot is planted firmly on the floor while stretching)

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The Rockstar, The Queen, And The 4ft Inflatable Swan

The best things in life are the cardboard boxes. Y’know, that old adage about how the best toys for kids are cardboard boxes…. and their imaginations. (Some cheek, me saying that – Rockstar is a huge technology nerd and Her Highness will flood you with requests to join interest classes (art, sports, music – just not phonics or <snort> math) because she wants to meet new kids (usually “naughty” older boys who need a telling off. Seriously). Well anyway.)

Here's one.

Here’s one.

The kids are eating crackers and cheese (in Rockstar’s case make that extra stinky blue) in an inflatable swan on the bed. Queen E umm, saw the swan one evening when I was scouring “cardboard box” sales for ideas to entertain the kids and wanted it. One thing led to another and well lemme just say after this the characters “4-f-t” shalt always leap out of the page at me. (For real, though – WHO makes 4ft pool swans?! I thought this was one of those inflatable swim rings for one child, it was HKD 100-something…)

Oh yeah they decided to eat by camp-light

They decided to also try eating supper by camp-light

At 11.40pm (hope this wasn’t on a school night) Rockstar decides to have a parade. So dis issa 4ft inflatable swan being forced through the door.

<squishing rubber sounds>

IMG_7379-2  IMG_7380

IMG_7377-2 IMG_7381 IMG_7382

(Yeah they've got a slide attached to one of the beds too; but they just jump over the side a lot)

(And yes we have the Redundant Slide too – as in, they could slide out of bed, but sometimes just jump over the side too – I…fairly recently eyed a friend’s twin mid-bunk beds and couldn’t get the image of my kids hurling themselves from one to the other on occasion)

You might think this is nuts but then you might agree having little kids is nuts. Little kids push you to find all kinds of ways to use your erroneously purchased inflatable swan (and stripped bedroom because workmen had to come look at the faulty air-conditioning unit) and think Now, How Can I Keep Stuff From Breaking The Kids From Breaking Myself Sane These Two Busy For Awhile More?

I have visited friends on playdates where there are: 1) huge (I mean huge – like, a whole squatter extended family can live there) tent facilities crowding out the tv and filling the entire living room. Bonus: No tv! 2) bed frames turned into ball pools 3) sheets over the dining tables and chairs… and I once received 4) a video clip of Rockstar’s friends and  siblings learning to heelie (the shoes with the wheels in the heels) inna cleared out living room, clutching at giant wheeled luggage as they rolled – then whizzed- along.

Necessity is the mother of invention when you and your laptop need to be alone.

Swan ate-a Rockstar

Swan ate-a Rockstar or two (and yes we have a crazy-loud disco dance mat too; brought it to playdate, and for some reason the kids were not invited to bring the thing back haha)

I smell a Halloween Costume in the making.

But Icelandic pop star eat us to it by like, a decade

(But Icelandic pop star beat us to it by like, a decade) – pic from zimbio.com

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