Thursday, October 10, 2013


Oh my dear Chase, over the past 12 days you have eaten so much white rice.

You see, when we moved to Singapore your tummy went all funny.  It may have been going funny for some time, but now that you are older I don't check the toilet so much as I used to.  Long story short, just after moving here it became very obvious that you tummy (actually your digestive track) was having some challenges.

And so I took you to see a doctor, who ran some tests to see if you had, perhaps, caught a bug.  But they came back negative.  And then, after it continued another two weeks, I took you to see a specialist.  Who told me you needed an endoscopy to help us understand what was going on up there ... but she wasn't available to do it, so she referred us to another doctor.  And after we left the office I decided to put you on a very strict, anti-allergen diet, just to see what would happen.  And would you believe, that in 24 hours, everything returned to normal?  After six weeks of not normal, it all went back to normal in 24 hours.

And so I shared this information with the specialist, who was amazed at the results.  She told me to continue on and come back in a week, to see if we could maintain it.  And you did.  You are such a trooper.  Such an amazing little girl.  You only ate what I fed you, even when other kids were eating cookies, and never complained.  And 8 days later, your tummy was doing just fine.

And then the specialist referred us to an allergist, who took some blood and ran some tests - as well as put pieces of tape on your back, which will be removed tomorrow.  I hope they give us some indication of what is going on.  I do find relief in that our paediatrician wants to see us in a month - that's good news... and that the "diagnosis" on our receipts has changed to "food allergy."  With luck we will find the things that are triggering your upset, eliminate them and help your gut heal quickly.

You are such a superstar, Chase my dear.  You have no idea how much we love and appreciate all that you do, all that you are.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Grandpa Mark

Girls, I hope you always remember Grandpa Mark like this ... He is such a great adventurer and explorer, and he loves the outdoors - and mountains - just like your own father.  There is so much to see out there; I hope that you will both become great adventurers and explorers, too.

Settling In

And here they are, my beautiful girls!  This shot caught Madoc in between smiles and splashing.  

Our new house in Singapore comes with a bomb shelter, and the girls now have their own little jacuzzi.  Way too cute.

They are getting so big!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Madoc Field Trip

Today I went with Madoc to the Jacob Ballas children's garden.  It was her first field trip with her class.  The garden was lovely, with so much to see and do.  The children spent the majority of their time at the "Tree House," but Madoc and I decided to have a little adventure.

We found a wonderful man-made waterfall, which happens to be on the way to the toilets.  Nothing like running water to make you pick up the pace!

They had a wonderful pond with fish and turtles, a tree trunk children could climb into, a vegetable garden with a wonderful bean trellace, seats made from old wood, trails that wound around inside the garden - and a maze.  All in all, it was a really nice day.

Madoc even got to roll down a hill for the first time!  She loved it and was covered in grass.  The sun was blazing hot, so by 11:30, the children were all hot, exhausted and ready to go home.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


My darling girls, I'm sorry I have not written in so long.  I've let so much slip by unrecorded.  Only after watching Chase spend hours scrolling through previous posts did I remember why I initially created it - to be able to provide a cherished keepsake for my children - so they can look back on their childhood and actually get a sense of what was going on during that time in their lives.

So much has happened.... 

We relocated to Singapore about 6 weeks ago.  The pollution in Hong Kong was so bad that you can see it hanging in the air.  I swear I could see particles (yes, I hear Hubs laughing and saying "yah, right.") - but yes, really I could.  It made me sick every day to look outside and think there was absolutely nothing I could do to protect my children from it.  I wanted them to grow up running around outside, but instead we stayed inside as much as possible.

Singapore is such a breath of fresh air.  It is amazing.  Glorious blue skies.  White puffy clouds.  The air actually smells - fresh.  I was thinking the other day how nice it was to be able to walk around and not smell the stench of sewage, which wafts from the grates in Hong Kong.  How nice it is not to smell diesel from the boats on the Sai Kung waterfront.  That said, I truly miss Hong Kong, I miss my friends,  and I really, really miss Sai Kung, which had to be one of the most glorious places on earth (on a clear day).

I also realize that for the girls, Hong Kong was home.  The homiest home they ever knew was there, and I'm sure they will continue to remember and treasure the time we spent there - as I know we all will.

And so on to Singapore.  New house. New helper. New life?  Chapter 6.  As it is the sixth country we've lived in.  Goodness we move a lot.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


It's official.  We are moving to Singapore on 31 July.  It has been a long time in coming.  For the past three years I feel like I've been holding my breath, just trying to get through each day.  Hoping, wishing for news of our relocation - and we are so close now.  I am trying not to get too excited, not yet.  I'm not there yet.  But I am really, really looking forward to seeing Hong Kong fade from sight from the plane window.  Really looking forward to this move, more so than any move I've ever made.  

It is at this point, where I also have to say that I love Hong Kong, and more specifically, Sai Kung.  I love it with all my heart.  I love the people, the community, my friends.  We have had a lovely time here, the girls have had a remarkable opportunity to live an incredibly international (although also incredibly sheltered) life.

My biggest hope is this move will significantly improve our family's overall health.  Madoc's cough, is at the forefront, followed closely by Chase's recently developed cough, followed by the fact that in the past two years I have also developed a cough that I could only clear with the use of inhalers - and I have never had coughs or used inhalers before in my life.  Brian was lucky enough to just remove the parts that couldn't stand the pollution (after four bouts of tonsillitis in six months).

I am also hoping this move will help broaden our children's minds.  Living in a new culture is always interesting and exciting.  And I hope this move will both help my relationship with Hubs to continue to grow and thrive.  And on a personal note, I'm excited about the possibility of opening my own business... more details to come.

So far the girls are handling the transition very well.  They didn't panic or freak out when the movers came.  They haven't freaked out about losing friends.  They are happy to live in their friends houses while we wait for access to our place in Singapore.  And they are just going with the flow - I'm really proud of them.

I hope the transition to their new school will go smoothly.  Chase had such a hard time last time - I'm sure she'll be a star.  I anticipate challenges with Madoc, naturally, because she's younger and also because she is a bit of a home-body.

And while we have a lot to look forward to, I know we will miss so much.  The joys of living abroad are many.  And the world just seems to get smaller every day.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Life & Love

The last month has been especially hard - filled with physical and emotional uncertainty.  The physical uncertainty is will we be moving? (signs point to yes) But we are in a tight spot having to commit to schools in both locations and working out general rental issues (do we renew our lease?).  The good news is, we should get some closure on the move in the next month (fingers crossed) and we are both very clear in our love and commitment to each other.  If anything, I think we are closer now then we have been since we moved here.

The second is emotional ... after 14 years, Hubs and I have really had to take a close look at our relationship and decide what we want, as it significantly changes your relationship when you live abroad, have two children and your spouse travels every week.  

I mostly wanted to make a note of this time for my girls, because I think Chase will always remember when Mommy and Daddy were having a hard time.  But I also wanted her to know that if you keep a clear head, and open your heart, that love is an amazing, powerful, healing thing.  Love isn't a prince and princess riding off into a sunset, but that love can make "happily ever after" a possibility.  I believe this with all my heart, and I hope that my girls will open their hearts to others without fear, for this brings grace, mercy, forgiveness and understanding - but most of all, even more love.

Monday, April 15, 2013

So What's New?

I'm not sure why I find updating this is so difficult these days.  I know I am going to regret that three years have gone by and I have made so few entries.  So here comes another vow that I will write more, so that my girls can take their memories with them.

Big news! Mads slept without a guardrail for two nights, has put herself to bed for 2 weeks and is now using grown-up toothpaste.  Four is a wonderful age, full of excitement and discovery.  I am loving what a big girl she has become!

Chase is a super speller and exceptional reader!  Not to mention extremely good at math and anything she puts her mind to.  I am so proud of her for all of the effort and energy she puts into everything she does.  I love when she doesn't get something right, but tries again until she finally does.  It's hard to learn and teach perseverance.  Her school report came back without any problems - her teacher said he really wants to see her lead the other students, and do something other than academic (I told him she plays tennis and dances).  I just wish I had a little more time with her, and I need to make that happen soon.

I sure do love these girls and I am so very proud of them.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cantonese Opera

Chase and Madoc had their first Cantonese Opera experience about two years ago.  They have been hooked ever since.  The challenge has always been that the show starts at 7:30 pm in our town square, which is when our kids are usually in bed, with their heads on pillows, listening to stories.

This year they begged us to stay up late to see the show.  So we let them.  I hope this will be one of those childhood memories that sticks with them, that they will always have and cherish.

The best part had to be the fresh Dragon's Beard candy... wow, amazing to watch this man .... he was like Willy Wonka (note: he had a small dragon's beard of his own).

 All in all a wonderful evening.  Kids loved it.  We loved it.  And then we got home and Madoc fell apart.  Both girls were asleep within 5 minutes of their heads hitting the pillow, dreaming of Cantonese opera I'm sure...

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Sibling Rivalry: Lesson 2

I read somewhere that the best way to create friendships between siblings is to create opportunities to work together.  This is one of my new years resolutions.  I will give one girl the pizza dough and the other the toppings.  I will give one girl hats and the other girl socks and tell them to dress each other.

Sibling Rivalry

I grew up an only child.  Only after age 11 did I have step-siblings (for the next 10 years).  And then they were gone (long story).  And so, while I had a brief experience with brothers and a sister, I was always, really, an "only" child.

And for this reason, I do not understand and strongly dislike sibling rivalry.  I do not understand why my children must have competitions to find out (1) who is faster, (2) who is smarter, and (3) who is better at whatever.  These competitions started out few and far between, but they seem to be picking up the pace - now that Chase is so firmly putting her foot down about growing up (see definition of 6 going on 16).  I find myself yelling (slow down! don't race!) as the girls wiz by on their scooters (for good reason, I might add, because scooters are so unstable at high speeds).  I actually took their scooters away for a short time, as a result of them racing each other after I had told them not to.

Now I know sibling rivalry is supposed to be "healthy" (yah, whatever), and "natural" (really?), but I can't stand it.  So I have, unknowingly, embarked on my own quest to decrease sibling rivalry, and increase sibling teamwork.

Lesson 1 - Don't Make Your Sister Feel Dumb (Take this opportunity to educate her!) - So Chase has been asking Madoc questions, that there is no way Madoc can answer.  I know this makes Chase feel really smart, like she knows so much, and putting down her sister for not knowing these things automatically, somehow, makes her feel better.  So I'm not sure where she got this idea (school, anyone?) but I told her today - STOP making your sister feel silly for not knowing things.  Take this opportunity to educate her!  She will think you know EVERYTHING and are the smartest sister in town.  She will always ask you her tough questions, and you will most likely always know the answer.  What's better than that?