November 2013 Archives

Thanksgiving Celebration

We had Mr. Hoe cater our Thanksgiving again this year; our kitchen is just not ideal for this situation with no air conditioning and the tiny convection oven. Plus, Mr. Hoe makes some authentic-tasting stuff and this seems quintessentially Singaporean to get the holiday meal catered (although I did pick up this year since it's just at the school!).

Legoland + Follow-Up at the ENT

We spent half of the day at Legoland (I'm glad we bought the season passes!) and then met Minsue at the Paragon for a snack before we went to yet another follow-up for Anna & Henry's surgeries.

Anna & Sarah are in the last car; Henry didn't want to ride the roller coasters today.

The kids love these restroom signs.

A not-great shot of the big tree outside Paragon.

Packet Pickup

The kids & I went to pick up our packets for the Standard Chartered Marathon (me) and the Kids Run (them). I hope I can make it through this run as my body hasn't cooperated with me much since that awesome 20-miler in October (I had that bad half-marathon earlier this month after our trip to Cambodia and the last few runs I've gone on, my IT-band has been bothering me). Anyway, I'm looking forward to this race since it's the "big" one in Singapore and then I will relax and enjoy December without a formal training plan for a few weeks!

Sarah: Way to freak me out!

I decided to go upstairs to bed and there was a body on the stairs! Sarah's body. I don't know how she decided that this was the best place to sleep, but there you have it.

Thanksgiving Celebrations

"A scientist is a person who loves science. I am a scientist because I draw what I see and I mix solids!"

My littlest turkey!

Henry may know his numbers but no one mentioned that he knew how to write in a mirror image!

"I am thankful for my toys at home, my whole big family, my horse, and turkeys." He must have been thinking of his other family. The other family he has that has a horse.

Henry: Market Field Trip

Henry's class had a field trip to the local wet market (we can walk there from school) today to buy ingredients for the Friendship Soup they are making for their Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow. Henry was instructed to buy potatoes but I think the iced Milo was the highlight of the trip for him. Today was also my VIP day so I stayed after the trip to help with centres and have lunch with Henry.



Turkey Trot + Ballet + Birthday Celebration

We participated in the American Association of Singapore's Turkey Trot (we did the family fun-run). We left too early though because I later found out that I won a turkey! Oh well--we've already arranged for Mr. Hoe to make our Thanksgiving meal again this year.

Anna & Craig went to Swan Lake performed by the Bolshoi Ballet mid-day.

We all met at the Hard Rock Cafe for my birthday dinner (a few days early because Craig is always traveling, isn't he?!).

Poor Henry is still getting used to loud sounds with those tubes in his ears.

Spiderman has adjusted to the noise level.


Henry is intrigued by this ship-shaped teapot.

Donating money to help the Phillippines after Typhoon Haiyan.

Anna, my environmental activist.

Okay, I know I've posted enough of these, but Henry made these pants out of my FACE!

Friends & Reminders

Henry & his friend Jacob on the walk to school today. Aren't they sweet? Jacob is Henry's first friendship that is mutual.

I saw this wine at the store today and thought of Anita & Brian; it's too bad I didn't spot this when they were here earlier this year!

Ice Cream

These workers (perhaps moving someone in/out of the neighbourhood got some ice cream from the ice-cream-guy, too.

Anna & Henry are tired of cold & lukewarm things so they finally tried some warm/hot stuff at Al Ameen tonight (accompanied by frozen drinks, of course).

Anna's & Henry's recoveries have gone pretty well, and better than I had imagined but I didn't anticipate their food issues being what they turned out to be. They were instructed to drink lots of shakes and chew lots of chewy candy. They hated this the whole time and only wanted real food (of course I'm happy that that's what they wanted but it was difficult to convince them to do as they were instructed for the sake of proper healing! They have eaten a lot of bread with butter & jam but they crave toast (too harsh) or orange juice (too acidic). I guess it just proves the point that when you tend to want what you aren't allowed to have. And who would really think that a 4 & 8 year-old would complain about being told to eat candy and ice cream? I know one of Craig's strong memories from childhood was the orange sherbet he got to eat after he got his tonsils out (and he loves it to this day!).

Boredom Has Struck

Anna spent a long time today making videos of this bird flying in the playroom.

Anna & Henry have to stay home from school until tomorrow but they're both pretty bored of being home!

Frog & Toad All Year

We decided to go ahead and use our tickets to Frog & Toad that we had purchased a long time ago; Anna & Henry were totally cool with wearing their masks to the show. The show was good and it was also really nice to get out of the house for a while!

FaceTime & Father-Daughter Dance

FaceTime with Grandma & Grandpa for a post-op follow-up conversation.

Sarah & Craig went the Girl Scouts father-daughter dance without Anna since she wasn't quite ready to be out and about today. The dance was a sports theme called "Take Me Out the Ballgame" and they were encouraged to wear their favourite team jerseys.


Henry was entertained when Anna's nose lit up like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the follow-up appointment (Anna got to see when it was Henry's turn). They are both reluctantly eating but a (caffeine-free) frappuccino from Starbucks seemed to encourage quite a bit of swallowing & healing on the way home from this appointment.

Operation Day

Oh how I was dreading this day! Henry's surgery was scheduled for a couple of hours ahead of Anna's and we also had to get Sarah to a friend's house so she could go to school (and not have to hang out at the hospital all day). I took Henry early in the morning and Craig & Anna dropped Sarah off at her friend's house on their way downtown for Anna's appointment. Henry was amazing: he didn't know to be nervous about his operation so that was the good news. I hated the wait after I said goodbye to him (after he drifted off in the operating room) but I had the arrival of Anna & Craig to distract me a bit.

Anna was calm but I think she picked up on my nervousness about the day over the past few weeks where Henry did not. Henry came out and I went off to be by his side when he woke up and Craig got Anna into the operating room. Henry cried a bit when he woke up but went back to sleep after not too long. I kept waiting for a really horrible fight from him but I think he handled coming out of anaesthesia really well. Once he finally woke up, he was easily coaxed into eating and drinking enough to let him check out.

Anna woke up from the anaesthesia and was very angry and did not want to be told to eat and drink: she just wanted to GO HOME. Finally she accepted that she had to eat & drink before she could leave (and I suspect that the anaesthesia wore off a bit) and she did what she needed to do. Henry & I left first so we could be home when Sarah came home from school (the same friend & mom walked her home).

Recovering at home, one of the first things Henry did was ask to have the volume turned down on the game he was playing on his phone. He acted like he was totally comfortable but did have to be coaxed into eating & drinking to help his throat heal. Once Anna was home she seemed to "get" that she really did need to eat & drink a lot in order to promote healing.

I think Sarah was torn between being relieved that she didn't have to go through any of this personally and feeling a little slighted by the lack of doting and attention required to take care of a kid that didn't have surgery that morning.


Note that Sarah's Toca Tailor person is wearing the same pattern dress as Sarah's skirt.

Imperial Ballet

Also today: Anna had her audition for the Intermediate School talent show: she tried out with a self-choreographed ballet to the Imperial March (Darth Vader's theme song).


I could have sworn I had a picture of me & Jaynie together but when you go about blogging your November 2013 entries in June 2014 you have to work with what you've got, I guess. Today Jaynie went with me & Henry to the hearing centre to pick up his custom ear-plugs for swimming (for after he gets his tubes in his ears) and we met up with Minsue for lunch downtown.

Jaynie is attempting to perfect "The Henry."


I ended our trip to Cambodia with a major sinus infection, got up early the morning after we got back to Singapore to run a half-marathon with Minsue & Jaynie, and then today Minsue handed Jaynie over to me. I feel bad because I wasn't feeling great and I'm super stressed about Anna's & Henry's upcoming surgeries so I don't feel that I did my best hostessing. It was really great to see Jaynie but I wish everything else that was going on hadn't been!

All of our visitors get treated to Al-Ameen Eating House!

Cambodia: Day 8 (and back to Singapore)

Today was our last day in Cambodia; Craig & the kids wanted to stay and swim at the hotel and I wanted to see just a bit more of Phnom Penh so we decided to meet up for lunch in town before we left for the airport.

Wat Phnom; locals are free. This one wasn't very impressive but maybe I'm just templed-out.

We did this in Thailand; you pay the lady to "release" a bird (I think you make a wish or you're supposed to have good luck). Later the bird comes back to the lady so she can do it again!

I always love the look of these calendars.

Don't steal national treasures!

Fancy post office building.

My dining companions!

Goodbye and thanks for the memories, Cambodia!

"Henry, how much fun did you have in Cambodia?"

Hello, Singapore!

Cambodia: Day 7 (Back to Phnom Penh)

The van our guide arranged for us from Kratie to Phnom Penh was nice (on par with the first day's van; to be fair, he had had a friend in Siem Reap arrange that lame van for us so I don't blame our guide!). The route from Kratie to Phnom Penh had been advertised as another 7 hour drive but it was only 5 hours (apparently a new road was put in: it was very smooth, too!). We were able to eat in Phnom Penh for lunch.

Our hotel had lime drinks ready for us this time.

We at at the Foreign Correspondant's Club which was a bit of a disappointment (too much hype built up our expectations) but I'm still glad we went.

Photo of a panda on a sign for Henry.

We went to the opera at the National Museum tonight.

Riding in the tuk-tuk at night is always fun!

Cambodia: Day 6 (Kratie)

Today we had a tour guide that I booked specifically so we could see the Irawaddy River Dolphins in the Mekong River. Our day included some other stops and I'm really glad we booked this tour. We rode in a tuk-tuk through some rural areas and made some interesting stops that we never would have done on our own. (Our guide followed us in his motorcycle.)

Our view of the market at breakfast. We ate at a restaurant run by a European expat and it was a good start to our day.

Bread flower.

Even tuk-tuks need to stop and get gas.

Sticky rice in bamboo sticks; a traditional Khmer snack. These were really tasty and since they're sealed off with coconut, you can bring them with you and eat them later. Henry wanted to keep his intact and hoard the bamboo to send to the pandas in China. It was very difficult to reason with him on this topic.

Climbing the steps to Phnom Sambok.

Back on the road heading toward our next stop.

Helmets for the kids!

Making palm sugar.

Lunch with a view of the Mekong. Our lunch was great since we could explain to our guide what we were interested in and he could tell us what was in each of the dishes.

100 Pillars Pagoda.

Mekong Turtle Conservation Centre.

Soft-shelled turtles.

Our boat for the Irawaddy River Dolphin tour.

I didn't get any good shots of the dolphins (you can see one in this photo).

Sarah was pleased with our dolphin-sightings and as the resident dolphin-lover, that's all I could ask for!

That's our tour guide answering some of our questions and he was asking us some things about the USA.

Almost all of the houses had the year it was built on the rooftop (sometimes this decoration was terribly ornate while the house was barely hanging together.

Cambodia: Day 5 (drive to Kratie)

This is the part of our trip with things got a little sketchy. Back in Singapore planning the trip, it wasn't clear how we could get to Kratie from Siem Reap without going back through Phnom Penh and taking multiple buses. So, I arranged with our tour guide in Kratie to get us a driver from Siem Reap to Kratie. In hindsight we could have just asked the hotel in Siem Reap to arrange one for us and that would have been better. The tour guide in Kratie seemed to be a genuinely nice guy online (and he was in person). He was disappointed in the van we ended up with (as were we: it was old, not clean, it didn't have seat belts, and the driver was less professional than the one we had from Phnom Penh. BUT we got there safe & sound so in the end that's all that matters!). This was another 7-hour drive on bumpy roads with similar sights as the first drive.

A shoe-flower to start our morning.

Our driver did know a good restaurant to stop for lunch though! Once he was brave enough to try it, Henry devoured that chicken.

The view from our hotel in Kratie; this is not a typical tourist town which was fine. It gets enough through-traffic though that we were able to find good meal options for even the pickiest members of our group (everyone except Craig is picky!).

The Mekong River.

This is a clever & attractive way to re-use tires. (trash can)

The market.

I wonder what this restaurant & dance hall were like in its heyday.

The bank seems to be doing well.

The back of a school.

One of our rooms.

Bathroom; notice the shower is just part of the room.

Self-entertaining during some down-time in our room.

On the walk to dinner.

My Mekong Cocktail was pretty tasty! Everything here is US Dollars.

Cambodia: Day 4 (Siem Reap / The Temples of Angkor)

We got up early to get our day started at the temples. I didn't feel like I "had" to go super early for the sunrise. For us, one day was enough; I can see how with older kids or just adults it would be nice to break it up over several days and do the sunrise/sunset stuff, but this was good. We thought we were getting a guide but didn't realise we had to pre-book that through the front desk so we went with our the tuk-tuk guy provided from the hotel. In a way this might have been better since we moved at our own pace more but Craig & I missed out on some of the stories (later we saw we could have downloaded an app for a self-guided tour). Anyway, I had already decided which temples were my must-sees so that is how we went about our day. Again, Anna & Sarah were much more interested in everything because they were taking pictures, too. Henry is great and just goes with the flow (for the most part!).

Time to wake up! See that Henry is sleeping upside down on the bed and somehow his panda is in the bed with Sarah.

Driving toward the temples.

We got out to walk through the gate.

Restoration in progress.

These monkeys got a little aggressive with the driver in the group behind us!

Approaching Bayon; construction in progress.

Notice the faces in the temple.

Some heads of Buddhas are missing because people thought that there were treasure stored here (there were not).

We all love tuk-tuks.

Approaching Baphuan Temple.

Phimeanakas Temple on our way to Terrace of the Elephants & Terrace of the Leper King.

Time for a bathroom break!

Either East or Victory Gate Angkor Thom; making our way to Ta Prohm.

Entering Ta Prohm.

Henry is starting to get a little templed-out.

Echo Tower.

Here the kids are singing a song they made up (I'm sure I made a video and it's called "Watch Out for the Dangers.")

I like this lady's colourful outfit.

We're finally approaching Angkor Wat (and the sun is starting to make us hot... and a little grumpy. It's a good thing our tuk-tuk driver has a cooler with cold water for us!).

Sweet sisters sharing an umbrella for sun & heat-protection.

There were more mobs of tourists here.

The Temples of Angkor are not handicap accessible: go while you're young and limber!

That guy is a bit bigger than I'm comfortable hanging around (with snacks in my purse no less!).

The obligatory Angkor Wat shot. Yes, it would have been more amazing at dawn or sunset but I'm good with this one!

Ready to get back to Siem Reap for lunch!

(Some shots from the phone that I'm apparently too lazy to move up into the rest of the photos; this happens when you put off updating the blog for 8 months, unfortunately.)

This crew went back to the hotel for a rest and a swim in the pool while I stayed in town to do a little shopping.

Cambodia: Day 3 (Drive to Siem Reap)

Today we drove from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. It is a seven-hour drive or a one-hour flight but the drive was much less expensive. There were also some bus options we could have taken but we felt like we'd be happier with a private van which the hotel in Phnom Penh easily arranged for us. I think we were able to see the countryside better and we were able to stop at a local/small restaurant on the way for lunch instead of the one the tour buses stop at. The driving time was probably similar but I'm sure our smaller van was able to drive faster (crazier) than the large bus was able to.

One of the things I noticed was that there are a few gorgeous temples (they look beautiful, new, & well-kept) and a lot of really run-down housing. We saw some kids biking to school, water buffalo, beautiful landscapes, interesting driving techniques (and vehicles!).

Cambodia is the craziest place I've been driving-wise. There is very little rule-following and "space makes lanes" is definitely the motto. I'm glad I was just a passenger!

Our hotel breakfast was good (dinner was good last night, too); we'll stay here again when we return to Phnom Penh at the end of our trip. We really liked this hotel!

This cat seemed to be after some affection (probably some of my breakfast, too).

Some kind of protest in Phnom Penh.

A mosque.

A school.

We are exactly in the middle of the road here; it was kind of like a big game of chicken.

Dead chickens hanging off the back of the bikes.

Sarah at our lunch stop.

No smorking.

I noticed a lot very nice/new stairways attached to houses that looked like they might fall over with one sneeze.

Walking to our hotel room.

This one had two full-sized beds + a twin.

Henry's shoe-flower.

Heading into town with our tuk-tuk driver (included with our hotel since we chose to stay about 10-minutes away by tuk-tuk).

Looking for treasures in the market.


Anna made a video of riding in the tuk-tuk at night.

Cambodia: Day 2 (Phnom Penh)

Views from the tuk-tuk.

Wires are a theme of many photographs for this trip.

The National Museum of Cambodia.

Anna specifically ordered this so she could use chopsticks.

My vegetarian amok was delicious; this was probably one of the best things I ate during the trip.

Walking to the Royal Palace.

This guy really wanted to give Sarah a flower for her hair.

Everyone taking pictures of the monkeys.

The Silver Pagoda was not as amazing inside (no pictures allowed inside) as I thought it would be based on the description in the book.

This structure did mesmerise me, however.

Mini Angkor Wat.

Sarah really enjoyed sharing a camera with Craig.

I forgot to zoom out my lens for the lady I asked to take our picture.

Anna & Sarah took turns on the bunk; there were two full-sized beds on the other side of the room for me, Craig, & Henry to use.

Cambodia: Day 1 (Phnom Penh)

Our lovely hotel gave us watermelon juice when we arrived: the kids were excited because Grandpa is always talking about watermelons. The fact that it was cool & refreshing was also really nice.

June 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          



Powered by Movable Type 5.14-en