February 2013 Archives

Hair Cuts

These are the stamps that went on Anna's birthday invitations; I thought they were cute and that she'd want to see them.

Look at all of that gorgeous hair!

Since there was no wait at the barbers we decided to get Henry's hair cut, too. Here's his "before."


Really cool origami at the salon where Sarah got her hair cut.

I guess they love their new cuts!

Sarah decided that she was just too hot with her hair as long as it was and she wanted it cut as short as mine. I convinced her to take baby steps toward a super-short length. We'll see if she wants to go shorter in another month. I really just can't get over how convenient it is to live directly behind a little shopping center. The only things it is lacking are a bagel shop and a movie theatre. Now, these are definitely "nice" little shops by a different standard than I might have at home, but, honestly I can get just about any thing I need there (there is even a bike shop for Craig!).

Our New Pet/Assistant

This is the door between the kitchen & play room (kitchen-side).

I'm just glad our new lizard friend is on the smaller side. We have another larger one that we see on the porch outside the playroom every afternoon.

Nap vs. Ice Skating

Craig took the girls ice skating but Henry was acting worn out from the zoo so I stayed home with him; turns out he has a bit of a stomach bug so it was good we stayed home! Anna & Sarah loved ice skating and Craig said they did pretty well (Sarah used a penguin "aid" but Anna went without).

Zoo Day

It's the Year of the Snake!

We took the boat from one end of the zoo to the other end.

He really did actually enjoy the boat-ride; I'm not sure why he's giving me this look.

Probiscus monkeys. I just can't get past their noses...


I had a hard time getting a photo of the "flying foxes" in this exhibit.

I was concerned that we were just left to our own devices with these animals! There were no zoo employees within this exhibit and these ring-tailed lemurs kind of creeped my out with their comfort-level.

You can see one of the flying foxes flying here.

We spotted this deer-mouse sleeping in the corner after we exited.

They wanted a picture once it was confirmed that this was not a real giant tortoise.

Sarah has decided she loves zebras. I think it's interesting that they are sponsored by KFC. I also spotted the lizard on the sign after I took the picture.

These orangutans are just hanging out directly above us. I find this simultaneously intriguing and unsettling.

We have finally seen all of the animals (we think!) at the zoo. Next time we finally will hit the water park.

"Our Song"

When "Into Action" by Tim Armstrong came on the car stereo tonight, Henry proclaimed excitedly: "It's our song!!!"

Play Room

The play room is mostly finished and one of the only rooms with something on the walls. I'm having a hard time with the concrete walls... this room and the kitchen will accept "blue tack" for hanging paper art but we are using the 3M Strips for the framed stuff and it's taking a while to figure out where everything should go. I'll post more pictures as we finish more rooms.


I went for a run at MacRitchie again today and saw some monkeys (I had to run under them twice--eek!) and another large monitor lizard. This monitor lizard & I met up on a narrower part of the path than the one I encountered last time and this one kept walking toward me with its tongue flicking out and wouldn't move when I politely asked it to move off the path, stomped my feet, clapped my hands, etc. Finally I started running and it moseyed off the path just enough to let me pass. Call me a mega-dork if you want, but I don't really want to run at MacRitchie any more. Even though I love the trail and the shade. I just can't deal with those monitor lizards!

Morning with the Chameleons

"rocket ship"

Sunbirds made a nest near the entryway to the school.

Henry & I had fun during the "morning with the Chameleons" today at his school. This was the first time he seemed upset when I left him though.

Kindergarten Volunteer / Helper

I finally had a chance to volunteer in Sarah's class today. It was really fun to get to meet all of her little friends. She is in love with a little boy named David. I get the feeling that he also loves her. Nearly every kid who came to my table (I was doing a math center) commented how Sarah & David are always together and they're such good friends. At home Sarah never stops talking about how she is going to marry David and how wonderful he is. I'm not totally sure how to handle the situation, actually! Anyway, I am signed up to come again in a month and I am really looking forward to it. I finally feel like things are settling down and we can get back to living our lives.

Also, I posted a message to the Woodlands area group asking about babysitters and got several leads on high schoolers in the area (some on our street, even)! We are leaning away from getting a helper now (I feel overwhelmed by the process, I think) but I was approached by someone else's helper this morning as I put our recycling out... she wanted to know if I was interested in a part-time, live-out helper as her friend was looking for more work. That, I think I coud possibly do. We'll see how it works out.

Lunch & Pewter Workshop

I was the master of inefficiency this morning! I dropped Henry at school, drove to Chinatown for some coffee beans (lucked out and there was another coffee shop that roasts their own beans a few doors down from the one I wanted to check out so I bought a bag from both places), then drove back to Henry's school for the lion dance, then drove back to Clarke Quay (right at Chinatown again) for lunch with some of my new neighborhood ladies and then to a pewter workshop.

The lunch was fantastic (Thai food) and one of the ladies at lunch used to be neighbors in Texas with a family that we were neighbors with in Korea! The ladies all seemed nice and they meet regularly for lunches and activities so I'm feeling good about our location again (I hadn't really met anyone at the apartment!).

The pewter workshop was fun. We were given a pewter disc and we pounded it with a mallet on a wooden block with moulds for the bowl. My bowl doesn't sit flat and I initially thought it would have more "character" but it is a fun little dish that will be a good memory of Singapore for me.

After the workshop I had to zip back up to Bukit Timah to get Henry from school and then zip back home to get Anna & Sarah from school. This part I don't like so much. I feel like I'm driving a LOT (probably really not more than I was in Texas, but I didn't like it there, either!). Also, our neighborhood isn't so very different than what we left in Texas. I'm going to focus on how awesome the school is and now that we're getting more & more settled in the house (the rugs and furniture we bought on Sunday really helped to pull things together), I think we'll make a bucket list for things we want to do in Singapore and take action so we don't miss out on some great experiences!

Blue House Lion Dance

Henry's class before they came up to the parking lot.

We see these trucks driving all over right now.

He didn't want his picture with the lion head.

Henry's class.

The lion throws the lettuce out of his mouth.

Eating the oranges (the guys inside are peeling some and then they also roll out some whole ones).

Like at Sembawang, people just started getting in front of other people for the best picture... Who stands in front of a group of 3-year-olds?

He's trying to get one of the kids to come take the orange out of his mouth.

Opening his red packet.

Henry was so excited about the lion dance at school today! He was also really concerned that I was going to be there. I got there a little before his class came up to the parking lot and was watching the group assemble and he gave me the best smile when he saw that I really came to meet him for the lion dance.

He did not, however, want to touch the lion costume or high-five the God of Fortune again! This dance was not as intense as the one we saw at Sembawang mall (which was perfect for a group of 2-6 year-olds!). There were just two lions and only one drum. The kids all thoroughly enjoyed it though. Henry's teachers gave him a red packet with a gold coin at the end, too, which was particularly fun for him.

Mr. Sweet Stuff

Henry went back to school today and when I came to pick him up, he wrapped his arms around my neck to give me a big hug, kissed me, and said, "I love you!" I could tell he was having fun and I walked in on him telling his teacher a story (so cute!).

Adele Was Here?

Spotted on my run: my mother's initials!

I went for my first run in a week. My dizziness is gone but my hearing isn't 100% back yet. Still, I have a half-marathon in April & a full-marathon in June to train for! I found a nice route and it's funny that I saw the sign with my mom's initials and was thinking of her because Craig & the kids were doing FaceTime with my parents while I was out!

We all went to IKEA after I got back so that Craig could help me with some larger decisions (rugs, mostly, but also our shoe cabinet issue and a desk for the office). I think I've gotten overwhelmed by how much we needed to get so I got indecisive. It was good to have Craig help me out on a few items I was feeling uncertain about. Now, if we can just avoid going there again for a long time I'll really be happy!

Public Pool

I took the kids to the public pool this morning while Craig was cycling with his group (they went into Malaysia today). It was $1 for me and $0.70 each for the kids to get in. We just stayed in the shallower pool with the slide & fountains today; next time we'll check out the other pool. It's not as nice or convenient (obviously!) as Orchard Scotts but it will do! I really wish we had been able to get a house with a pool but that's just not the way it worked out!

Kiddy Fun Playdate

Henry & I met up with some of his friends at Kiddy Fun today. He wasn't too big into actually playing with his friends and wanted me to explore with him, but I could tell he was happy to have his friends there. I enjoyed chatting with some of the moms from his class, too.

Valentine's Day & Lion Dance

Henry was so excited about Valentine's Day today. Anna had already given him her card and he put it on his night stand last night. This morning when I woke him to take the girls to school, he sat straight up, grabbed his valentine and opened it. He has been singing songs about how Valentine's Day is such a special day and I was worried he'd be disappointed that all he was getting was cards (he mentioned in one of his songs that Valentine's Day is special like Christmas).

It turned out that he did get a pretty special treat but it was a Chinese New Year treat instead of Valentine's Day. I decided to attack the art supplies today and wanted to go to DAISO for storage containers. The nearest one to us is in Sembawang so I thought we'd check it out although I had very low hopes for the mall. We got there and I was pleasantly surprised! It is a small mall but has several decent stores in it and is very new inside. What the best surprise was though was that we arrived just in time for a Lion Dance!

We happened to stand next to another foreigner woman (she is from Boston) and she set me up on an email list for SAS/Woodlands people and gave me some good tips about Singapore.

Anyway, this Lion Dance was really great. There were tons of drummers & cymbal players (SO LOUD!!) and there were five lions. These lions were so cool that the ones we saw on Tuesday were pretty lame in comparison! The lion costumes were fancier and the guys jumped up on posts and did some pretty cool tricks (that would be hard to do without lion costumes on, I should think!). Henry still wouldn't interact with the God of Fortune (but did take his candy again). He also declined going up to the lion to retrieve an orange out of its mouth.

At the end of this dance, the locals pretty much started mobbing the lions. We were in the front row but we left when we were suddenly in the 6th row without moving! People were pretty greedy for their good luck! Henry just loved this and was doing his own lion dancing all afternoon (I played the cymbals or drums to accompany his dancing). He is now super excited about the lion dance at his school next week (although he is very insistent that I be there with him).

The girls both exchanged Valentines with their classes and they pooled the candy they received so that Henry could have some, too. He didn't seem too bummed about not getting to do a Valentine party at school which I was kind of worried he would be.

Errand Boy

Henry & I went back to IKEA today (our house is quickly becoming an IKEA showroom!) and we also had to go to the "hardware store" so I let him ride one of of these cars (I only put money in one). He has the rest of this week off, but the girls went back to school today.

Doctor, Lion Dance, & $2 Trash Cans

The "God of Fortune" really tried to get Henry to shake his hand or give him a high-five but Henry wasn't buying it. He gave the kids each some candy then came back to give Henry another one in another attempt to win his favor but Henry did not give in! He later told me that there was really a person at the mall and it was just a costume (I think he just wanted confirmation!).

When I woke this morning I was so dizzy from the ear ache I had to have Craig help me down the stairs! Thankfully I was able to get in to the doctor right away. Unfortunately, the doctor is all the way on Orchard Road. We all drove down. The doctor's visits here are done right: you get there, wait a couple of minutes, see the doctor, and then he gives you your medicine and you're on your way! (Of course this is probably only true for certain medicines--Sarah & I both got ours for ear infections right there in the office.)

Craig had taken the kids over to ION to wait for me and when I met up with them, a Lion Dance troupe had assembled to bring good luck to one of the grocery stores in the mall. The drums & cymbals were super loud but we all thought it was cool (even though we were behind the dance--apparently since they were bringing luck to the store, they face the store & go through the store, etc.). Still very cool! I feel less sad about missing out on the Chinese New year celebrations now. (Still feel bad, but with the move & being sick it just didn't work out!)

[Also, Sarah told me this day, but because I was deaf from the ear infection I didn't really hear the story until several days later: she got to wear the lion costume at school before their break started and do a lion dance. She says they weren't any good though! She also said she was in the back part of the lion. Anna got to see a lion dance at school but Sarah said she didn't. Anna's class didn't get to wear the costumes.]

I've been shopping for trash cans for the bathrooms (four of them) and everywhere I look they are huge and cost at least $40 each. It finally occurred to me to go to DAISO where everything is $2! Sure enough, they had the right size & they were $2 each. Thank goodness!

Park Playdate & Walking Tour (of our neighborhood)

I took the kids for a meet-up with one of Sarah's friends from school today. The park was really nice but I wasn't feeling up to exploring all of it (need to head to the doctor tomorrow!). We just went to the water feature part of it but we plan to go back another time to go to the regular playground part as well. This would also be a good place to bring our scooters to get more practice (for Sarah & Henry) to make our scooting commute easier.

This afternoon, Anna & I scoped out the shopping center behind us a bit more and then walked to find our nearest post office box where we can mail letters. We also walked over to the market area but most of the shops were closed so that was a bit of a bust.

We all went over to the hawker center behind our house to eat dinner and it was a success even though a few of the stalls weren't open. This hawker center is different than the Newton hawker center we lived near while at the apartments. Someone comes to take your order, the food is delivered to your table, and their is a central cashier. Surely this will be a weekly meal for us!

Valentine Makers

I went for my first run from the new house today! I discovered that there is a 7-Eleven, Guardian Pharmacy, and a Fair Price Grocery store right behind our house! I knew there was a shopping center & hawker center there, but I don't drive by the side with the list of stores on it when we go to our house. I was actually suspicious of the Fair Price because I saw "Fair Price" way up hight on the top of the building, but thought it might be offices since it was up so high and the shopping center is so small (I figured there would be a bigger sign if there was an actual store there!). We will go on a "field trip" to check it out tomorrow when, hopefully, things will start opening back up. (The run itself was good, especially considering I've been sick--I now think I have an ear infection as well!)

Henry has this coming week off of school, but the girls go back on Wednesday and their classes are doing Valentines exchanges (no parties and the Valentines are optional). I haven't seen pre-made cards here and just suggested that they start making their cards (I assumed they'd do a few today, a few Monday, and the rest on Tuesday). They worked on these all day long! Henry made a few random ones but didn't stay interested very long (he was only really interested in cutting with scissors).

We also had nice video chats with Craig's parents & my parents: something we have not been good about doing since we've been here! What a shame!! The kids loved it.

Alternate Dress (Chinese New Year)

SAS is great about giving the kids an alternate dress day every couple of weeks and also letting them wear something different for special holidays, etc. I was really glad I made it to Chinatown on Wednesday and that the outfits I picked for the kids actually fit! They all loved wearing their fancy duds to school, too.

I took Sarah & Henry to the doctor this afternoon: Sarah does have an ear infection and Henry just needed some decongestant to help break up the junk that has been in his chest for the past two weeks. Hopefully we'll see improvements right away so we can enjoy our long weekend!

CNY Decorations

Note how large this sculpture is at the entrance to 111 Somerset. (See the security guard standing near the other one toward the back of the photo.)

I got my hair cut today (possibly too short--she got it just as a curl starts so it sticks straight out to the sides!) and am feeling slightly better.

Walking Tour of Chinatown

Not much is happening here in getting settled into the house as I am just feeling sick. Yesterday I did feel worse (no voice, achy, feverish). I had to miss out on a coffee morning with the moms from Sarah's class and I feel bad/disappointed because I really wanted to meet some SAS people!

I did decide to go to the walking tour of Chinatown with the ANZA group with the idea that I'd drop out of it if it got to be too much. I can mostly talk I'm feeling less achy. I learned a few interesting things about offerings at Chinese New Year and some of the different foods. I got the kids each an outfit for Chinese New Year. I'm wasn't sure if Henry would wear his or not (I was looking for a blue one with a dragon but could not find one so I went with blue) but the girls are allowed to wear their's to school on Friday so I thought he might want one, too. All the kids loved them. Henry was mad at me when I made him take it off so that we could take a proper picture on Friday with the kids in them.

The girls both get to go on field trips to Chinatown tomorrow. (I can't go with either one because of timing with Henry's school day.) I would like to get down to Chinatown in the evening with the family to see the lights and maybe a performance but I don't know if it's going to happen with all of this move stuff! I'm under the impression all of the fun ends on Saturday (New Year's Eve) but then again I haven't been reading the paper this week so I should probably look into that a bit further.

Oh, the kids decided to scoot to school today (they wanted to earlier but it was raining so I made them wait). Anna was a natural; Sarah & Henry keep getting distracted by flowers to pick up. We'll see if they can keep up with their big sister tomorrow.

Commute Times

Anna & Sarah went from a 40-45 minute bus ride to a 10 minute walk.

Henry went from a 20 minute car ride to a 50 minute car ride?! I do think this was because it was raining today but it sure was frustrating! The ride home in the afternoon was only 20 minutes so I have hope. This morning was the first time I drove in really heavy commuter traffic and it might take me a while to get use to all of the motorcycles driving in between lanes. I also witnessed one motorcycle fall over. I think it was rain/reaction time (I don't think he got hit). I was behind him (but a good distance off) and maybe 15-20 motorcyclists all swarmed around him until he jumped up and grabbed his bike and brought it off to the side. Another guy stayed with him (not sure if he knew him) and that's when I passed the scene.

I did get to IKEA to scope some things out in person and get a few odds & ends (or is it bits & bobs?). However, I feel miserable... I don't think it's strep throat but I'm a little paranoid after last fall! Also, Sarah has stuffy ears and thinks she might have an ear infection.

Checked Out

Craig got the last of the things out of the apartment (we hope!) today and checked out as well. I admit I'm a little sad that we left but maybe it's because I just have so much work ahead of me here at the house.

Henry has a bit of a cough and I'm getting a sore throat. I don't feel totally ready to jump into a regular school/work week, but I don't have much choice! The kids are all excited about walking to school in the morning (even Henry).

Art Exhibit

The kids did these napkin & marker art pieces a while ago in the apartment (maybe November!) and they had "art galleries" in their rooms and explained each piece to us. I couldn't get them down off of the windows without destroying them, unfortunately, so I took pictures to remember them. I love this kind of stuff!

First Saturday

We were excited but exhausted as we started our day today. I could not fall asleep thinking of all that needed to be done today. Also, Henry was spinning around, kicking me, and hooking his foot on my head for most of the night. I don't know how he'll handle sleeping in his toddler bed tomorrow night with as much as he moved around in the king bed tonight!

Anyway, Craig came back mid-morning and we were all happy to see him after a very long week! He & Anna went out right away to IKEA to get Sarah's bed and then Craig & I took turns going back to the apartment to get more of that stuff. We are surrounded by piles of STUFF. I am determined to leave Singapore with less, however. Surely the move would be easier!!

It was another long day but I'm glad we have another weekend day to get more done before we get back to school on Monday.

Move-In Day

Henry & I got to work loading up the car with as much as we could (mostly the kitchen) so we could drive up to the house and meet the movers with our sea shipment. I could tell fairly early on that these were, without a doubt, the worst group of movers we've ever had. They took a lot of long breaks, put boxes in the wrong rooms, etc. I unpacked the entire kitchen. Henry was okay with this as soon as I unpacked the play kitchen. The movers assembled five beds and one desk, also. Really, they did much better than I would have done on my own but, well, let's just leave it at that.

The girls were super excited to walk home from school! Sarah said, "this is so nice! To just have our little family together after school." I thought that was so sweet and proved my intuition right that these little girls didn't need to commute that long each day on the bus.

I wanted to go back to the apartment to sleep, but the kids really wanted to stay at the house. Sarah & Anna shared Anna's bed and Henry slept with me in my room. (We'll have to go get Sarah a new small bed at IKEA tomorrow; and I didn't find Henry's sheets for his bed yet.)

The movers come back in the morning so we have another long day ahead of us. Thankfully, Craig will come home mid-morning as well so that will be a big help!

July 2013

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