Archive for October, 2008

An Early Halloween Celebration

With four days left in the Bay Area, Noah and I are finally on West Coast time. Oh sweet relief. I need to remember to never do a 10-day trip back home again…unless we all agree to meet somewhere halfway next time. Like Hawaii (hint hint). With our time here running short, we made our usual trip to Costco to stock up on things otherwise unavailable (or else, ridiculously expensive) in Hong Kong. Of course, with it already being October and therefore nearly Christmas, all of the Christmas stuff was already up at Costco. Which means…


…lots of toys! (And yes, I did bring my camera with me to Costco. So what?)

Afterwards, we went home to rest up in preparation for the local Halloween Carnival in the park down the street. Yesterday we went to Toys R Us to buy Noah a toy and ended up picking up a Halloween costume as well. Being so near Halloween already, all the costumes were half-off. But being so near Halloween, it also meant that the pickings were slim. We did manage to find this for him:

(And yes, I’m aware that Nevan was also Buzz Lightyear for Halloween last year, but this was the only decent costume they had available in Noah’s size.)

We hit the carnival later that afternoon. It was HOT and I felt bad for Noah in a full body costume but he had a good time regardless. He spent some time at the jumphouse:

Jumped off every rock he could find:

Rearranged the pumpkin patch:

And ate his first funnel cake:

It was a small carnival but we had a good time:

It was the first time Noah has really gotten a chance to celebrate Halloween. Previously he’s been either too young or too scared of costumes to take part in the festivities so it was fun to see him enjoying himself. When we went home later that evening, Noah tested out his newly learned phrase, “Trick or Treat!” and we tried (unsuccessfully) to teach him about sharing:

Whoever said taking candy from a baby was easy never met a 3-year-old with an M&M obsession.

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October 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm 7 comments

California Academy of Sciences

If I had one non-shopping-related thing on my agenda for our trip back to the States, it was a visit to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. At first I was a little bummed out at the thought of going because the Academy looks so awesome and I knew that with Noah in tow, I’d probably only get to see the toddler explorer cave at the most, but my parents and my sister ended up coming with us and with their help we were all able to keep Noah focused on the good stuff.

The Academy isn’t just a museum. After 10 years and $500 million, the Academy opened up in its new location in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park just last month. Not only is it the world’s greenest building — with each element of its construction designed to limit its carbon footprint — but it’s also the only museum in the world that contains an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and a rainforest all under one roof. On top of all the cool science, the food options inside the Academy are managed by Charles Phan — chef of The Slanted Door in SF, which is consistently named one of the top Vietnamese restaurants in the U.S. — and Loretta Keller, of Bizou and Coco500 fame. Like I said, it’s completely awesome.

From CA Academy of Science

(more…)

October 25, 2008 at 9:40 am 6 comments

Jet Lag Hell

Noah and I have been in the Bay Area now for four days and we are still suffering from crazy jet lag. Or more accurately, Noah’s on an insane sleep schedule and since we’re roomies, I’m on his sleep schedule as well. The first couple of days was somewhat predictable. He went to to bed at 9 pm and woke up at 2 am, then went down for a nap at 9 am and woke up again at 2 pm. Predictable, but completely impractical for trying to get things done during the day. Not to mention that I hate waking up before the sun rises. Like…waaaaaaaaay before the sun rises. The first night he woke me up by repeatedly poking my face while saying, “Poke”. The second night he woke me up by placing his hands on my face and whispering “I love you very much” and “I love you so much all the time”, which was an improvement over the poking wake up call but still way too early. The last couple of nights we’ve resorted to just arguing at 4 am in the morning — him, constantly pushing me and asking “Is it time to get up now?” and me, grumpily insisting that he isn’t allowed to talk to me unless the sun is up. As you can imagine, this doesn’t work very well either and only results in him ratting me out to my mom the following morning, announcing to her, “My mommy made me sad.”

However, I have managed to cross a few must-visit places off of my list. Of course, seeing as how lame I am, these places are Trader Joe’s (where I picked up, among other things, soy chorizo — surprisingly really yummy — and chocolate covered edamame — weird, but chocolatey and hence automatically edible), Target and Barnes & Noble. And more importantly I was able to hit my local yarn store and pick up a ridiculous amount of yarn. Which will probably only last me until December.

But most of the time, when we aren’t trying to adjust to a 16-hour time difference, Noah and my mom have just been hanging out and playing together. It may not be the most exciting thing to do, but I just love seeing how these two absolutely adore each other:

October 23, 2008 at 5:09 pm 6 comments

Daddy’s Boy

Noah and I are in CA for the rest of the month visiting my family. It was kind of a last minute trip — a consequence of talking to myself way too much when Mark was out of town for about three weeks in September. Mark, in the meantime, is in Tokyo followed by Singapore the following week. So in light of all of our away time, we tried to make sure that we had a good family day on Saturday. It was mostly just going out to breakfast at our favorite breakfast joint in HK, going to the park and doing some shopping but Noah was just a sweet boy all day. Here are my favorite father-son pictures from that day.

Walking down Old Bailey Street after breakfast:

Jumping down steps:

Mark, starting to get annoyed (I think) by my incessant picture taking:

Noah copying Mark as he lays on the ledge of the Model Boat pool in Victoria Park:

October 20, 2008 at 9:15 pm 7 comments

Doctor Noah

Mark and I were out furniture shopping this afternoon and we stopped by a toy store as well (naturally).  The store we went to had a decent supply of children’s dress up costumes — like pirate, fireman, and chef costumes, etc. — but when Mark saw the doctor costume, he had to pick it up for Noah.  Lately Noah likes to pretend to be Doctor Noah to his “injured” toys so we thought he’d get a kick out of the costume.

Noah insisted on putting it on as soon as we showed it to him and after we demonstrated what the stethoscope was for, he was off.  For the next half hour, he went around the house asking, “Who’s hurt?  Mommy?  Daddy?  Dinosaur?”  Then he’d listen to our various ailing body parts with his stethoscope, tell us we were ok and then offer us candy.  Nice.  I guess he did pick up a few things from his doctor’s appointments after all.

October 19, 2008 at 12:14 am 5 comments

School Stuff

Today was Noah’s last day of preschool as he currently knows it.  He’s been going to preschool for about four months now — three hours (one of which is lunch and recess) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons — which is separate from the pre-preschool classes he’d attended for a year before that.  Late last month, his school hosted a Meet the Teachers night and Mark and I got to chat with Noah’s teacher, Ms. Kiri, and she told us that Noah was doing really well in class.  That got Mark and I thinking that Noah was ready for more.  And since I’d just sent in his preschool applications for next year to three different schools — all of which would put him on a more rigorous schedule — we thought he could use a ramped up schedule to help him adjust better next year.

At this point, I’m sure some people are shaking their heads at me and thinking, “What?!  Hello?!  He’s three!  You’re so mean!”  To which I would say, yes, but…the education culture here in Hong Kong is very high pressure and Noah’s actually got it easy compared to his other classmates and his friends on the playground.  And we figure we need to take advantage of the fact that we have this opportunity to provide him a good education while we still can.  Besides, it’s not like they sit down and take tests all day at school.

Anyway, I digress.

This week I talked to the school administrator and we’ve decided to put Noah in the morning class five days a week beginning in November.  The thing that makes me both excited and apprehensive at the same time is that we’ve signed him up for school bus service.  It’s exciting to think that I no longer have to sit around and drink coffee for three hours while waiting for Noah to get out of classes, but on the other hand, it’s my baby boy!  On a bus!  By himself!  Ok, well, not really by himself.  His bus will have 5 other kids on it.  The bus pick up/drop off location is our tower, so we only need to take the elevator downstairs and voila! there it will be.  Plus each bus had a “bus mother” responsible for them and Noah’s already familiar with his bus mother, Ms. Bobo — another teacher at the school.  And all the buses have seatbelts which is a huge relief to me and Mark.

It’s weird to think that I’ll have so much free time during the week now.  I’m sure I’ll enjoy it at first, but free time can get pretty old.  Especially when the house is so quiet in the mornings.

October 18, 2008 at 1:06 am 5 comments

Absentee Voter

I got my general election ballot in the mail today.  I was worried that it would arrive while I was back in CA and I wouldn’t get to vote, so I was super excited when I checked the mail today to see it waiting for me.  I went upstairs, tore my envelope open, read the instructions really quickly (because I’m anal like that) and immediately filled out these two on the ballot:

For anyone who knows me, or anyone who happened to notice the Obama badge on the front of my blog, my vote for president has got to be pretty obvious.  I know this is going to sound cheesy, but I really did feel a rush of excitement when I filled in that little circle on my ballot.  Not only is Obama the first African-American presidential candidate of a major political party, there is a pretty good chance that he will be the first African-American president in the history of the U.S.  That’s exciting stuff to feel like you’re part of.  And as crappy of a time it is now — what with the current financial meltdown and war in Iraq — I really do feel a sense of hope and optimism when I think of an Obama administration.  That he will fight for the middle and lower classes — not just for rich, corporate donors; that he will appoint Supreme Court justices that are fair in their application of the law; that his will be an open administration — none of the oppressive secrecy that’s been rampant in this current administration; that he will advocate civil rights for everyone — not just for a particular religion; and that he will raise the U.S.’s standing and reputation in the world again — by rejecting torture as an interrogation tactic and pulling our troops out of Iraq — so that I can hold my head high as an expat and not have to qualify the statement “I’m American” with “but I didn’t vote for Bush.”

That second vote is a No on California Prop. 8 — which eliminates marriage for same-sex couples.  From what I’ve read Prop. 8 looks like it’s going to pass by about 4 points right now which is so disheartening to me.  To think of the gains that same-sex couples have made in the area of civil rights recently, for Prop. 8 to pass it would be a major blow to marriage equality for years.  Of course, I’d hate to presume to tell you how to vote on this issue, but from what I read, the Yes on 8 side has put out a lot of misleading commercials.  It’s one thing to win based on the merits of your cause, it’s another thing to win based on lies and scare tactics.  So on that note, I would refer you to the No on 8 website, and more specifically their Fact vs. Fiction page in the hope that you vote based on facts.

Anyway, politicking aside, I plan on doing some more research on the rest of the ballot and later filling it out with Noah in the hopes of getting him started early on the political process.  He may not know what on earth I’m doing, but it can’t hurt to try.

October 13, 2008 at 5:09 pm 9 comments

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