March 2013 Archives

Adele Day 4: Easter & Double-Decker Bus Tour

Adele Day 3: Melaka/Malacca--Malaysia!

Adele Day 2: Easter Eggs, Al-Ameen Eating Corner

Adele Day 1: Botanic Gardens

The Wait Begins

This is Rachel, Mat, Jake, Sam, & Grandpa in Colorado.

This is LAX.

This is Narita.

This is Changi and all of us with our blue car waiting for Grandma.

Look! Grandma's plane is almost at Narita!

The art welcome wall for Grandma when she arrives.

Drawn by Anna, colored by Sarah.

The kids are having a really hard time waiting for Grandma to arrive tonight (they won't get to see her until tomorrow morning).

Music Class

Henry just loves his music teacher and he wanted to show her his guitar today. All the way to school today he sang a song about how much he loves Ms. Angela.

Sir Henry, Lady Sarah, & Lady Anna of Singapore

We ran out of tin foil so we had to pop over to FairPrice and get another container.

The girls wanted their own swords & shields when they saw Henry's but I didn't dare make them without their design approval so we finally had a bit of time to work on them today. They are pleased and my hand it tired from cutting cardboard!

Back to Singapore

The sunrise from our hotel room.

We went to the beach one more time this morning before packing up and heading home. The drive seemed longer (possibly due to the traumatic experience of the squatter-only bathroom at our first rest-stop) but there was less traffic going through immigrations on the way home. We're all so glad we went to the beach--I think we all needed the break. I wish I had taken more pictures but it's hard to do that when you're playing in the sand...

Craig heads to Indonesia early tomorrow morning for a two-day trip and the kids & I are going to get the guest room ready for my mom's arrival on Wednesday night (technically early Thursday morning). Henry actually has school Tuesday & Wednesday and I've decided to send him so I can have some girls-time with Anna & Sarah as Henry has a two-and-a-half week break and I'll get plenty of Henry-time then.

Firefly Tour

Waiting for the van to the tour.

Apparently he was too sleepy to stand up for the picture.

Once I realized I wouldn't be taking pictures on the boat, I thought I had better get this shot to commemorate our tour!

I couldn't take pictures during the firefly tour because, as our guide explained, any light from the camera might confuse the fireflies (also, it would be pretty hard to focus!). The tour group split up among 4 boats with 8 people per boat and headed down the river in the dark. I will admit I was terrified the entire time. We were sailing past mangrove trees and all I could think about was that I had just read at the Singapore zoo about some horrible snakes that live in mangrove trees. Nevermind that I don't know what kind of snake it was, but that and Sarah's obsession that we might fall overboard was not reassuring! Anyway... the fireflies were really cool and the particularly liked Henry. They landed in his hair, on his eyebrow, on his life jacket, hovered in front of him & next to him, etc. We all enjoyed the experience--I just wish I had a photograph! The guide flashed his light in a certain pattern and the fireflies all flew over to the boats, then he flashed his light another way and they all flew back to the trees. It was really cool! It's too bad I'm such a dork and was scared the whole time!

Clown, Beach, Beach

This clown happily made Henry & Sarah some swords so they could have a duel after breakfast. (Yes, Henry brought his crown on vacation and wore it to breakfast.) Anna decided she needed to get in on the action, too, after she saw how much fun Sarah & Henry were having.

The pool was OK--actually just a too hot. The beach is so nice we spent very little time at the pool yesterday and today.

We went to the beach after breakfast, then the pool, then hit the beach again after some rest-time in the room. We're staying up late tonight to go on the firefly tour--it doesn't start until after Henry's bedtime so it could be interesting! Henry played "sea turtle" at the beach today. He actually hadn't seemed that interested in the turtles last night, but he was clearly obsessed with them today!

Sea Turtle Release

I didn't get any great close-up pictures of the turtles since we didn't have our own and I could tell the kids were a bit disappointed that they didn't get to release any, but we all know I wouldn't have wanted to hold on to the turtle anyway--it would have been Craig's job--so I was content to watch the others. The turtle guy said these two-week old turtles have about a 1-5% chance of survival. If they do survive then they will return to this beach in fifteen years to lay their eggs. Poor little turtles!

Malaysia (the resort)

The resort is great. The room needs a little TLC, but we're just sleeping in there so whatever. There is a couch for Sarah, a window-seat bed for Anna, and we brought a mat for Henry to sleep on so the size is perfect for us. We have a gorgeous view of the South China Sea and the ocean is just beautiful! The sand is great and it's not crowded at all. The food at the restaurant is less than stellar for this particular crowd, but not at all bad if we are honest.

Two of the things I had wanted to do this weekend but didn't read anything about on the web site was a sea- turtle release and a firefly tour. The hotel has its own sea-turtle release tonight but we were too late to sign up for our own turtles so we'll go watch instead. I figure we can come to Malaysia again if we "have" to and visit a turtle sanctuary and do it another time so all is not lost. We have decided to go on a firefly tour tomorrow night (off of the resort).

Malaysia (the drive)

We got out the door around 7:45 for Malaysia (might be better to aim for 7 next time as the line through immigration was a bit long). We headed up to Cherating, about a six hour drive from our house in Singapore. There were closer beaches to go to but this resort was the right price and looked nice/got good reviews on tripadvisor so we went for it.

Driving in Malaysia is just a bit different than Singapore. The speed limit is 110 instead of 90 but the range or actual speeds is much greater than in Singapore and people tailgate like crazy. I appreciate the "please be considerate and signal early" or "be courteous and do not tailgate" signs in Singapore just a little more now. Holy smokes! I'm just glad I had already mastered driving on the left in Singapore where it is much more civilized.

We ended up traveling mostly on a two-lane road which meant a lot of passing (hate that) but the scenery was gorgeous. So many palm plantations I just couldn't get over it (and didn't really get a good picture, unfortunately!). We saw a couple of large monitor lizards trying to cross the roads, stray dogs, cows, goats, etc. There were billboards (although not a lot) and someone needs to get out there and put a fresh coat of paint on some of the lane markers! Overall, it was a good drive although next time we need to pack more food as we didn't pass many real towns save for one or two after Jahor Bahru (too soon to stop).

The Knights Party at the Chameleon Castle

Henry was so unbelievably excited about the party this morning, I don't know how he waited until the 10:30 start time!

Two of Henry's teachers.

Our food contribution to the Feast. Henry liked to point out to me that "knights eat ANIMALS!" but was super happy to bring strawberries & blueberries--two of his favorite foods!

He got a bit overwhelmed when all of the moms & dads came in and it started getting very noisy & busy. Poor kid!

I felt bad for him as he couldn't give me a smile. Maybe he was just hungry.

Here he is being knighted with a real sword.

"Sir Henry."

New TV

Our old TV stopped working last week so Craig got us fancy new TV and he & the kids had to give the 3D movie (Spiderman--they only watched parts of it) a try. Henry just thought this was the best thing ever. It's hard to say if it was the movie or the 3D aspect, but he was a giggling fool tonight! I didn't stay to watch as I had to run out to DAISO to put a few finishing touches on Henry's knight costume for tomorrow.

Knights & Super Heros

Henry & I worked on a sword & shield for his knights party at school tomorrow; his class has been alternately (& simultaneously) interested in medieval times and super heros. It has been interesting to watch Henry go through this with them. He is also interested in "transformers" as in he'll stand by his dress-up box and "transform" into a skunk and then "transform" into a fire-fighter, etc. Anyway, he was super excited to go online and research just the right shield design and then was very patient while I crafted it (I went all fancy with my vacuum cleaner box (I knew I saved it for a reason!), aluminum foil, & packing tape--ha!).

Mr. Clean

Henry was beyond thrilled when I brought home a new little vacuum cleaner for him today. It's a canister like mine so that was particularly exciting. (Ours are now parked next to each other in the maid's room.)


Anna, Shruti, & I went to see the Singapore Dance Theatre's production of Coppelia this afternoon. It was at the Esplanade ("the durian"). Both girls enjoyed the performance (I had just run 14.5 miles earlier in the morning so my legs weren't very happy with me, however!). This was a smaller theatre than where the Houston Ballet performs and there wasn't a live orchestra, but it was a good production nonetheless.

Goldilocks & The Three Bears

We went to Henry's first live performance this morning (just a 45-minute show) and he has a tendency to not blink when he sees something for the first time so I was constantly wiping tears off of his face during the performance! The kids all seemed to enjoy it so we'll try to head back to another performance from this group.


The kids & I walked to a really nice playground this morning and then did a little shoe-shopping for the girls at Causeway Point. Of course the walk there was nicer than the walk back as it heated up quite a bit for the walk home!

Art & Conferences

One of the resident artists was working with the kids in Henry's class this morning at drop-off. This is the artist that I want to buy a painting from before we leave Blue House at the end of the semester.

Sarah wanted a picture of herself in the gym--her favorite special.

The finished art when I picked up Henry at noon.

Craig & I went to Anna & Sarah's student-led conferences this morning. The girls really loved showing off all of the thing things they do and have learned at school.

It's Great to be Eight!

Waiting for the train to take us to Jurong East to go ice skating!

She still looks so much like Craig to me.

Even Henry was excited for his first time to ice skate!

Okay, maybe he's not so excited any more. But he & I were both glad that we could rent this penguin to help him balance. I still had to hold on to Henry, but he got better and better each time we went around the rink.

For Sam!

She wanted to go to Chili's for lunch (it is right next to the ice rink).

Sarah made two very detailed cards for Anna and it was really cute watching her explain them to Anna.


Yes, it is hard to believe my baby girl is EIGHT YEARS old! Anna is gaining confidence and is standing up for herself more and more. She is also my biggest helper and the calmest person in our family. I love her enthusiasm for learning new things at school, trying new foods, and going on new adventures. As always, I look forward to another year of growth and learning with my little Anna-kuchen.


"What animal will we experience next?"

I just loved this art that Sarah made but the beads aren't sticking to the paper so I had to take a picture before it was totally destroyed. Her class recently studied the differences between Guppies & Goldfish.


Let's just say we've been to IKEA a lot and we've assembled a lot of furniture in the past month. Henry loves to help me when we bring something new home.

This particular piece is going in "the maid's room" as we have given up the idea of getting a live-in maid and want to use this space to store a few things (like the oven we don't plan to use since we're getting along fine with the smaller convection oven, the tools, the vacuum cleaner, etc.).

Birthday Party

You can see that Henry threw a paper towel tube at the pinata (toward the lower left of the picture)--he was too nervous to use the pinata stick (I think the big kids overwhelmed him).

Anna wrote all of the place-cards.

The kids all wanted to dance to Gangnam Style.

Everyone on Anna's guest list was able to make it to her birthday party this afternoon. I believe & hope a fun time was had by all (including the birthday girl). It was fun to see Anna playing with her friends. It was also fun to see Sarah & Henry so excited for the party (Henry insisted on wearing his tie!) and getting in on the action.

School "County Fair"

Anna & Sarah's school put on a pretty intense "County Fair" today. Fun was had by all! I went back for more to volunteer at the bouncy house after our family was all County Fair-ed out.

Playdate for Anna

Anna finally had a playdate tonight (I feel awful about this, but I have truly felt overwhelmed since before we left Texas last year). Her friend was someone she had never spoken to at school before but after a while and with Sarah to help boost her confidence, we soon heard all three girls giggling and having a great time in the play room. Sarah was thrilled that I let her stay up "super late" and hang out with Anna & her friend.

Coconut Juice

Sarah ordered Coconut Juice tonight at the Eating Corner.

Wow! We were all surprised when it came out in a large coconut!

I didn't get the best reaction shot here, but she hated it. No one liked it (although Henry probably would have if only he had been willing to try it.


Living Museum

Anna's class had a living museum exhibit today. Each kid chose a country and wrote a report. During the exhibit, the museum-goers pressed "button" on the statue and it came to life and read/recited their report on the country they studied. Anna chose Russia (she has been interested in Russia since she was four and I know she was particularly excited that she was able to mention Anna Pavlova, a famous Russian ballerina, in her report). Since Anna was unable to read her report aloud to the parents who came through the exhibit, we recorded it and she showed the video on the iPad. Apparently, all of the kids in her class were really excited to get to watch her report and made a big deal about hearing her voice which she didn't like. (She does speak softly/whisper to her teachers and a handful of friends at school.) Henry was a good little brother and went around to each exhibit but he was particularly excited when Anna's teacher announced that it was time for "tea" and that this consisted of a delicious cookie and some punch. Henry guzzled his punch and bargained with Anna for some of hers, too.

Monkey on the Gate

I was standing with Henry as he raked through the sand to find treasure at the school gate and I heard a noise behind us. It was a monkey eating a packet of crackers! There is a dumpster just to the left of the gate and the monkey apparently found some treasure of his own! After a short while other children started to arrive and after about ten had gathered around, the monkey took one last cracker, tossed the rest of the packet to the ground, and climbed up high in a tree to safety. I honestly hadn't realized monkeys would come that close to the school (it's a fairly populated area there). That, and I heard someone say they saw a tree snake in the parking lot the day before. Can you say "immersion therapy?"

Football (Soccer) Wednesdays

I told Henry that I would come to watch his class go to football (soccer) today since I can't come to the "community walk" this coming Friday (I had already set up a meeting with Anna's teacher before I found out about the walk). He was pretty cute but also fairly clueless (sorry, Henry!)--he was always the last one to get started with each activity the coach asked the kids to do. He admits he doesn't care for soccer at school and he had never participated until today "because [mommy] isn't there."

Birthday Party

Sarah went to a birthday party at the American Club today. It was fun to see her thoroughly enjoying the clown and being with her friends.


Sarah wanted to repeat a bubble science experiment that she did at school this week so this is what I came home to after my run. Thankfully they were able to contain the bubbles fairly well and I'm sure this will be repeated again.

Saturday Adventure

I wanted to check out a furniture store with Craig today after I had checked out some others earlier this week. Naturally, the kids wanted to go by subway and I really should have insisted we go by car but I figured this way we could make a day out of it. Once we got to the furniture store (the pieces I saw earlier in the week were better), it started POURING. Fortunately we had our umbrellas because no taxis were available to come get us from the store to take us to the shop where I've been getting our coffee beans (it was a 10-15 minute walk and it was really raining hard for a good while). When the rain finally started slowing down, we did walk to Stranger's Reunion and, by this time, it was time for a meal as well. We got pretty wet, but we have a better memory now than if we had driven.

Waiting for School to Start

Henry likes to dig for the treasure in the sand if we get to school a little early and the gate isn't open yet.

July 2013

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