It was my 56th Birthday today (LVI). Although it was a normal working day, I had some treats along the way including a steak lunch, lots of texts and e-mails, a parcel of goodies from the UK and another "ride" on the exercise bike - my main present from Jiajia. Cake on Saturday.
Mother-in-law celebrated her birthday this week - her 79th or 80th depending on who asked her. We think she doesn't know.
Ma was her usual "cheery" self on receiving her gifts; a jumper ("Too tight. I don't like the colour"), flowers ("I can't take them home - you look after them") and a home-made gift from JD ("My birthday was two days ago - it's late"). She did manage to fake a quick smile for the camera in front of her birthday cake before declaring, "It's too sweet for me. I don't want any."
My wonderful Mum turned 80 today. Isn't she looking good? I was able to join her, my Dad and two brothers (and sis-in-law) by Zoom to see Mum watching the video greetings we had put together for her. So many friends and family had contributed to that and the kind words expressed by all were well-deserved. Lovely to (almost) be a part of the day's celebrations. What a woman! Here's to the next 80 years!
We took a trip to the Bird and Flower market the other day to fulfill a Birthday promise to JD to buy a couple of gerbils. Unfortunately Kunming doesn't seem to know about gerbils, but we were able to get a two dwarf hamsters instead and JD is delighted with them. "Mr White" was tame from the beginning, but "Goldie" is a biter and needs more gradual human contact! I also bought a Venus Fly Trap while there which I'm hoping will help keep the flying insects to a minimum in Jiajia's balcony garden!
JD had his birthday party today. We had to rearrange the restaurant's balloons on arrival as they spelled "Happy Baithdry"! Ten of JD's best friends came along with their parents. Then, after lunch we headed upstairs to the cinema and watched the live-action "Dumbo" film (3D in Chinese). Everything went really smoothly and JD had a blast!
JD has attended two birthday parties in the last two weeks, and his mind is now racing ahead to his own birthday celebrations in a couple of week's time. A typical Chinese kid's Birthday party is a large meal (mostly aimed at the parents!) and then some opportunities for the kids to run around, either in the restaurant or nearby outside. In contrast, we are hoping to invite JD's friends to ten-pin bowling with a mid-bowl pizza delivery. We'll see!
Jiajia's birthday was a few days ago, preceded by my sister-in-law's, while tomorrow is my other sister-in-law's. JD was invited to a mountain picnic party last Saturday [see photos] and today got another invite to a schoolmate's party this Saturday. And then his own birthday is the week after. I can't keep up with the cards, gifts and outings!
It was my birthday today. Once JD realised, he gave me a big hug and a kiss, and a "surprise" homemade card (which I'd helped him to make last week). It took the wife an hour after getting up to recall that this was my special day, but she is a bit poorly. We think she gave me an early present a few months in advance, but neither of us can remember what it was! Ma-in-law bought a cake. We all enjoyed a nice meal at a buffet hotpot midday and got the candles out in the evening. Add in a swim in the morning with JD and a bedroom den built in the afternoon and it was quite a fun day overall.
JD's Birthday Party has been put back again and again, due to illnesses, bad weather and conflicting events. But, last weekend, he finally got his party with his preferred guests (American friends, Kaiya and Zaden) with a trip to the Waterfall Park to do various activities and share a picnic. Together the kids did boating, fishing, robot driving, a car ride, trampolining and ice-creams. We got there by e-bike, subway and tuk-tuk, and returned by open-topped bus and e-bike. The weather stayed dry, the picnic was enjoyed and great fun was had by all.
JD turns five today. He's had a large pile of presies taunting and tempting him since last weekend! We've allowed him to open one gift each day this week as long as there was no crying on arrival at school that morning - a relapse he's been struggling with for a couple of weeks. Happy Birthday, Son!
Jiajia's birthday celebrations this year were largely hijacked by JD, who wanted to wear the crown, open the cards and presents, blow out the candles etc.
Jiajia has been gradually getting used to celebrating birthdays. She never really had her birthday acknowledged as a child. She recalls once when her Mum went out to buy her a birthday cake. But, after inviting her school friends round to share it, her Mum returned and said it was too expensive and she should just send her friends home. Ma seems to be trying to make up for it, to some extent, these days. She bought the cake this year and also gave Jiajia some birthday money - more than all previous birthday presents combined! Thankfully my wife is a much, much better Mum.
A rather odd birthday today, with Jiajia away on business, Ma-in-law in bed "sick" demanding attention and JD coming off a night of waking, screaming and shouting. We made what we could of it - JD and I shopping for, and then cooking up, a home-made shepherd's pie, followed by a weak rendition of "Happy Birthday" as two wrongly-placed candles on birthday cake slices burned down my age. I opened my one card and scoured social media for anyone who might have remembered my birthday! I've had better days.
It was Ma-in-law's birthday the other day. We celebrated it along with our UK friends, Peter and Judy, who are visiting Kunming once again.
JD thoroughly enjoyed the event, having chosen a present for his WaiPo from a shop, drawn her a card and gleefully tucked into her special Mahjong cake that Ava had ordered. We think Ma-in-law probably enjoyed it too, though a lack of smiles or thank yous always leaves one guessing!
My amazing Dad turned 80 this week and, as well as a celebratory get-together with his church friends last weekend and 60+ cards on his actual birthday, my brothers and I had also arranged a trip up the Shard for afternoon tea with the family. The Shard is Europe's tallest building and quite an imposing sight in the London skyline. They had a great time, by all accounts, and I was really sorry I couldn't be there in person. We even failed to get a Skype connection up. Dad also received a book of 100+ comments, compliments and anecdotes from relatives, friends and ex-work colleagues. A small momento of a life of service to others, good humour and great respect from all who have known him. Happy Birthday, Dad. We're all very proud of you. I have wonderful parents.
JD had lots of fun at his friend Kaiya's birthday party yesterday. He took great delight in trying to smash the piñata open and was very disciplined about not using his hands to eat the crisps-on-a-string! He left with his pass-the-parcel prize safely tucked in his pocket - an eraser! He's not see a real one before, although he regularly uses the eraser icon on the iPad, so he made the connection quite quickly.
JD had a busy, but thoroughly enjoyable, day yesterday. He spent the morning running wildly around the play centre with his two friends, Kaiya and Zayden, while I chatted with their mum Nancy, a university colleague of mine who I get on very well with. Then lunch at "Old MacDonald's" (as JD calls it) and home for a nap. After waking, we were off to Summer's birthday meal. Summer [centre in photo] is the one year old daughter of Kelly [left in photo], with whom I run the Lattitude training. JD was the most enthusiastic singer of "Happy Brithday" once the cake arrived and is already getting very excited about his own birthday in a couple of weeks. First is Jiajia's birthday tomorrow, though. She's in Shenzhen!
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