Friday, December 11, 2009

Saying goodbye

On November 30th, around 7:20pm Singapore time, Mum phoned to tell me that Dad had passed away that night, around 3 hours earlier. Dad had Alzheimer's diagnosed in 1998 and for the past 5 years, he had been living in a nursing home. In some ways it wasn't a shock - we had expected the news for years, but the reality was that it still did rock me a bit. That Monday night was spent planning our trip back to Adelaide. At first, I suggested to Gary that I go out on Thursday night with the 2 kids and that he join me on the weekend. Gary then suggested that I go with just Tara and he come along 2 days later with Alex. This is what we did in the end. It was actually a really good way to go and although it was quite expensive to fly out for a short time, I'm really glad we did all go. In a really short time we managed to catch up with lots of family and friends.

The funeral service was a really fitting tribute to Dad. There were a lot of people there and all of the family were able to be there. I know that Dad would have been very happy with it. The burial was at the cemetery and Alex enjoyed throwing rose petals on to Poppa's coffin and saying "Bye Bye Poppa". Tara enjoyed struggling with me continuously trying to yank her hat off. Alex then had a blast chasing his cousins around at the rooms after the burial where we had a light lunch.

My brother John did the eulogy for Dad. It was really lovely and I asked him if I could post a copy of it here. Here's a link to it:

Here's the last photo I have of Dad. It was taken on July 5th, a week before we left Adelaide.

On the Friday before Dad's funeral, Mum had arranged for me to go to see Dad. In his coffin, he looked really peaceful, and a lot better than he does in the image above. I'm really grateful that he is finally at peace. He was a wonderful father to me and I am privileged to have had such a great Dad.

Dad, I love you and will miss you but am very glad you are now at rest. xx

Friday, November 27, 2009


As yesterday was the US Thanksgiving day and I have a very close connection to the US through my year as an exchange student there (22 years ago!!), I wanted to write about being thankful. As I write this, it is 6:51am and I have my 2 beautiful cherubs on the lounge room floor, playing together. For some reason, they are both waking earlier these days. I fear our 7am sleep in days are over. Ho hum, we will just have to get to bed earlier. I am so thankful to have Alex and Tara in our lives. They light up my world and I cannot imagine life without them.

Tara is on the verge of walking and talking. She stands independently (very wobbly) and walks with the aid of a finger, a trouser leg, pretty much anything. She says "Dada" and "Mama" a lot and is at a beautiful stage of life. So much will change very soon. She is just 5 weeks away from her first birthday. She recently weaned herself. Yes, I did think this was supposed to be my decision, but I am very grateful that I was able to nurse both my babies and I guess that by 10 months, she had received the goodness from it.

I receive a weekly email every Wednesday telling me how old Tara is and what she is up to this week in terms of behaviour etc. This week said "Your baby is 47 weeks old and all of a sudden is showing fussiness where she would previously eat foods without any bother, she is now showing her opinions". Yes, Tara had obviously read this one before - she is definitely acting this way. She is a very opinionated 47 week old!

Alex is starting potty training. I had initially thought we would leave it till after Christmas and we haven't started it fully, but are trying it out. He has a sticker chart which he currently has 7 stickers on. He does really well at telling us when he needs to go, but it is often at the time of going, rather than waiting till we make it to the bathroom. However, we are making progress. I think it will be a slow process though. Yesterday at the zoo, we had 4 visits to the toilet - the first 3 produced nothing and the 4th one (when Gary was on duty) produced the business on the way to the toilet in the nappy. Oh well!! :) He is also quite funny with his announcements - seems like we are always in a taxi when he announces very loudly "I'm doing a poo". I usually say something like "It's ok, you have a nappy on" or "See if you can wait". The other day we caught a taxi and the guy had quite long hair. As we were climbing in Alex announces very loudly "It's a LADY!" I quickly said "No Alex - say hello to Uncle" to which he obligingly said "Hello Uncle".

The past 2 weeks Gary has been on holiday. We have had a really nice time - had a few outings - went to the Bird Park and to the Zoo. We had our first barbie last Sunday - it was a success (lamb chops and sausages). Life will return to 'normal' next week when Gary goes back to work. Gary's Mum will arrive in Singapore next Friday and she will be with us for 3 weeks before heading off to Thailand to spend a couple of weeks with her brother.

I am thankful for my family and friends - I really am very lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.

I am also thankful for my wonderful husband who is currently making me a cup of coffee. I love you Gary.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The past month

As I write this, Gary is lying on the couch with a book covering his eyes sleeping. I think I shouldn't have to convince him too much that it's a hard gig looking after the kids! But also a very rewarding one. Gary is on holidays this week and next and we have just got both kids down for a nap. I'm going to go to the gym shortly.....

We have done a lot in the past month, I really must update this more often.

Mum came to stay for 10 days on November 1st. It was lovely to see her and for her to spend time with Alex and Tara but it was also challenging. Mum's mobility is pretty limited and I really felt the strain of not having a car, so we were completely reliant on taxis. Our condo is reasonably accessible but does have a small hill at both the front and the back so it was difficult for Mum to get out and get in the taxis. She walks with a walker but very slowly and it is tricky trying to deal with 2 small children and help Mum out as well. The taxi at the airport dropped us off at the wrong place and I had a really hard time pushing Mum on her walker and pushing her suitcase along too. We did manage to get out and about a bit though.

Our next visitor is Gary's Mum - she arrives in 2 weeks time. We are looking forward to seeing Ann again - it's been 11 months since we saw her last. Ann will be with us for around 3 weeks then will be off to Thailand to see her brother Neville for a couple of weeks and then back with us for a couple of weeks.

We left Singapore for the first time in 4 months (for the kids and I) last weekend. We took a ferry over to Batam which is an Indonesian Island only a 35 minute ferry ride from Singapore. We had originally intended to stay for 4 nights but as both of the kids were not feeling well - especially Alex, we decided to cut our trip short by a day and came home yesterday. We did have fun and I wish I had more time to go shopping at the mall, but things like naps for the kids cut that trip short! It is interesting going away and I think I know now a lot more about what to pack etc when we are going away for a few days. It was also hard work being out of the familiar environment and needing to ensure everything is safe and kid friendly. We forgot things like Alex's potty seat - he is showing some interest in potty training so I sat him on the toilet and was holding him there, then Tara crawls up, stands up and pushes the lid down, thereby cracking her brother in the back of the head. Oh dear! Anyway, it was a learning experience and we will be better prepared for travelling next time!! It doesn't help packing at the last minute when Gary and I had been out on Saturday night.

We did a fun thing for kids last weekend - we went for a visit to the fire station. All of the Singapore fire stations are open on a Saturday morning for open house and so we were shown around by the firemen who were very enthusiastic and gave the kids loads of attention. A fun trip out - we will definitely go again.

For the rest of Gary's holidays, we are planning a day trip to Malaysia, a trip to the zoo, maybe a farm visit and a few other fun things for the kids to do.

Oh yeah, I turned 40 last Sunday. That was the day we left for holidays. In hindsight, a travel day is not the best day for a birthday - it wasn't exactly stress free but we did enjoy some champagne and wine on the Saturday night followed by a visit to a comedy club here - that was a fun night out. Turning 40, I don't feel any older, it just sounds older than being in your 30's!! In some ways, I still feel like I'm mid 20's!!

Now, I really must get to the gym before one or both wake up!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Friends coming to visit!

It's been a while since I last wrote, we have had a couple of good weeks. Life with Anelen in our house is going well. The kids are both very used to having her with us now which is great - they really seem to have adjusted very well to having a new person living with us. My life has got so much easier! Just having an extra pair of hands to do the cleaning, help out with the kid's meals etc is fantastic. And Anelen is also a great cook. So, when the kids go down at 7pm, Gary and I get served a lovely dinner and we then feel like we have so much more time together. Gary and I have enjoyed having a few nights out together. Also given the fact that Tara is now consistently sleeping through the night, we have been making the most of been able to go out.

Last Friday night, we had our first visitors come to stay with us. Karen and Tom flew in from Brisbane and stayed with us just for the Friday night, decamping to the Holiday Inn on Saturday. It was lovely to see them (we last saw them in Adelaide last October) and so the 4 of us caught up on Friday night. During the day on Saturday, we went for a walk through Chinatown. Unfortunately, due to Saturday been a public holiday for Deepavali, a lot of stuff was shut, but we still managed to find a couple of things of interest.

Gary and Alex in Chinatown...

On Saturday night, Gary flew to Santiago - leaving us around 6:30pm. I got the kids put to bed, and went into town to meet Karen & Tom at their hotel. They had a deal where they got access to the Executive Lounge and free bar between 6 and 8pm. I arrived around 7:30 but still managed to have a couple of glasses of red wine - very nice. We then decided to go to Clarke Quay and had a wander before finding a restaurant to eat at by the river. Then a bit more of a wander around, and another stop before finishing the night just after midnight. It was the first time I've had to pay the 50% surcharge in a cab!! (If you catch a cab after midnight, there's a late night surcharge). It was a shame that Gary couldn't be with us to share in the fun.

Karen & I at Clarke Quay....

On Sunday, we went to the Botanic Gardens which was really nice.

I have been to the Children's Garden but not to the main gardens since we've been living here (been there once before as a tourist). On Monday, Karen and I had the very asian experience of going for a "fish spa".

This is where you put your feet in the water and fish of varying sizes, will come to eat the dead skin off of your feet. It is a freaky experience - I liked it and think it definitely has to be on the itinerary for all of our visitors from now on!! On Monday night, Karen, Tom and I went for a meal in Little India - love the curry!

Yesterday, Karen and I went down to our local shopping centre whilst the kids were napping and had laksa at the food court (yum) and then a pedicure. Oh what a luxury. We said goodbye to Karen last night - it was great to see you Kaz and I look forward to meeting up again soon - wherever in the world that may be!

I have also been spoilt over the last few days with birthday presents (I'm still in my 30's for another 3.5 weeks though!!) Karen and Tom bought some lovely wine, a Jamie Oliver cookbook (America), a book and some other goodies - I was very spoilt. I also received in the post yesterday a DVD set of "The Cook and The Chef" from Allisa. Thanks everyone - I feel very spoilt.

Gary has been doing well in Santiago and in less than 48 hours, he will be back home with us. He seems to have done quite well with jetlag - he managed to stay awake till Auckland on the flight over to Santiago but I am sure he will be shattered by the time he arrives home on Friday.

Anyway, I'd better sign off now as I'm sure I'm on borrowed time - Alex has been down for just over 2 hours and Tara for 1 hr 15 so I think I will get called very soon. Today whilst they have napped, I have made a caramelised pistachio and lemon slice! It is a great recipe I got from Gary's aunt in New Zealand - thanks Carol. But you can't get caramelised condensed milk here (I don't think) so we did have to do it from scratch! I think it will taste fab though!! It's to take along tonight to girl's night out - yum!

Finally, here's a short video of Tara using our thai cushions. She is quite a keen climber - probably more so than her brother!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Help has arrived

Well, when I last wrote, I talked about the fact that we were getting a live in helper starting on the weekend. That has now happened, and after 1 day, things are going well. Anelen arrived yesterday. She has worked in Singapore for the past 5 years, with 2 Australian families. She is very relaxed with both of the kids without being too over the top and in their faces. Alex seems to have taken very well to her. Tara is doing well - a little clingy but she is going through the "I want my Mummy" stage at the moment so is quite clingy to me most of the time in any case. It will take some getting used to having someone else live in the apartment. However, I think we will hopefully find that our relationship is harmonious and works well. I feel pretty positive about it. Today it has just been so nice having someone else around to help with the kids.

Unfortunately Tara had a short afternoon sleep so I didn't manage to get to the gym or go for a swim, but there is plenty of time for that. One of the things I have to get used to is having someone clean my space, whilst I am in the house. We had a cleaner come once every 2 weeks in Adelaide and I always tried to go out whilst she was there, partly to give her space, but also I felt guilty when someone else was cleaning up my mess and I felt I should have been doing it. Obviously this is not the way to go when you have a person live with you - you can't really go out all of the time.

I think overall it's going to be really nice having someone to help us out. I suspect that Gary and I will spend a lot more quality time together. Remember the time before we had kids when we had all of this time together? I remember when I was pregnant with Alex and people used to say to us "appreciate the time you have together now as it will all change when the baby comes along". Yes they were right, but it changed in a great way. However, it will also be really nice now to be able to spend more time together in the evenings doing things like going for a swim together or popping out for a quick bite or whatever, stuff that we wouldn't necessarily have got a babysitter in for but that we can do if we have someone in the house, listening out in case either of the kids has an issue.

We had a nice weekend, especially given that Gary was working really late on both Thursday and Friday so he was pretty jaded by Saturday.

I was disappointed to miss our Mid Autumn festival on Saturday night. The babysitter we had booked was supposed to be at our place at 7 but didn't get there till around 7:40. This was really annoying as I was really looking forward to the lantern parade, but there's always next year - we'll probably keep Alex up late next year to enjoy it too. We ended up going out to dinner instead which was nice, just no mooncakes!

On Sunday, we decided to go to the West Coast Park where they had "Children's Day Carnival" on. Firstly, it was stinking hot here yesterday. I think this was because of the humidity. Seriously, I normally love the heat but I really felt like yesterday was so hot! There were some fun rides at the carnival and we decided that Alex should experience some of them. Rides were $3 each, but you had to buy a $12 coupon so it was a 4 ride minimum. Firstly, Alex went on the helicopter.

He looked slightly worried, but assured us when he got off that he had a good time. Next was the train.

Then we had 2 tickets left. We asked him if he wanted to go on the carousel or the pirate ship. He was adamant that he wanted to go on the pirate ship, so Gary went on with him.

He seemed to really like it. I discovered yesterday that my little Panasonic point and shoot camera does take video so I took a couple of video shots too. Here's the results.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An update on sleep

When I last wrote on this blog, I was saying that I was going to wait till Gary goes away to do the 'sleep training' with Tara. Hmmm, obviously just writing about it gave me the incentive I needed - I didn't wait and I did get through it. I am happy to report that our darling daughter is one of the 80% mentioned in the book that will sleep through the night after 3 nights. The first night was hard - the second a bit easier and the 3rd, she only cried for around 10 minutes if that. Since then, she has slept through from 7 or 7:30 till around 5 or 6. Then she has a feed and then generally goes back down for an hour or so. It is bliss! Compared to waking 3 times a night, I am so much happier with how things are going now. This morning we made it till 5:55!

Life here is going pretty well. I think things do take a while to sort themselves out. I still have days when I am homesick but in general, I am feeling much more positive on most days.

My life is going to change dramatically this weekend. This weekend, we have a live in domestic worker starting with us. Anelen is from the Philipines and has worked as a domestic helper here in Singapore for the past 5 years. She seems very nice. I have had loads of advice from people here who have had helpers and I have heard a number of horror stories. Despite all of this, I feel really positive. Anelen is 49 - her birthday is actually next weekend so she will be 50 then (we are giving her her birthday weekend off!) So, she is much older than a lot of the helpers (you can actually only get a work permit if the maid is under 50 so we just scraped in!) She seems very level headed - good with the children but not over the top (1 girl we interviewed just was all over Tara but I wasn't comfortable). She'll be helping out a lot with general household tasks and babysitting mainly when the kids are in bed and sleeping - Gary and I can go on dates again!! I am a little nervous - having a new person living under our roof but also excited. I really think my life is going to change immensely. The really hard times at the moment are meal times (trying to manage both kids- what a mess!) Even if Gary is not working late, he will get home at 6:45 and this helps with the going to bed routine but it's the time before this that I really struggle with - so this will be a real help with Anelen starting. Fingers crossed it will go well but I am feeling good about it.

Gary is at work tonight for month end. Thankfully this month end has a weekend in it - he is crazy busy for 4 days generally and the last one was right around our moving time!! But this one is better - 2 days then a weekend and then the final 2 days. I have been doing some admin work here at home, feeling rather productive really.

Saturday night is mid-autumn festival night. We are heading off to a lantern festival - I will try to take photos! (and eat moon-cakes).

Well, given the time, I think I'd better hit the sack. Till next time......

This was our Sunday morning walk to Ikea....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Baby Sleep

As many of my friends will already know, Tara has never been the best of sleepers. On Monday, we went to a talk put on by the NMSG here in Singapore. They have a 'library' for members and so whilst we were there on Monday, I borrowed 2 books, both on sleeping. The first one which I have read snippets of on Monday and Tuesday night basically suggests 2 methods - 1 called the rapid method and 1 called the slow method. The rapid method suggests putting the baby to bed at their appropriate bedtime and then when they cry ignore it till morning. Apparently, in 80% of cases, this will take 3 nights to work and then they will be sleeping through the night. However, it does say that they may cry for an hour or 2 straight the first night. I just really don't think I can do that!

Alex was a better sleeper at night than Tara - Tara has always woken for her rollover feed if I don't wake her and I think she is in the habit of getting room service when she hollers. I'm still not completely sure what to do. I have stopped going in to give her the rollover feed at 10:30 or so. Last night, she made it till 1am and then I fed her, then she slept till 4 and then till around 20 past 7. This was actually progress for Tara as since we have been in our new place, she has been waking around 10ish and then every 3 hours thereafter - sometimes more often!! I really want her to get there on her own but I think I may have to do some controlled crying soon. I have decided to give her a little more time. She has just cut her first teeth and also I think she has been quite unsettled with all of the moving etc. Gary is due to go away for around a week in a month's time so I thought this could be a good time to try to get her a bit more settled if we are still having issues in a month's time. The thing is that at Great World, she was making real progress - 1 night - she actually slept from 11pm till 8am!! And it was on a weekend! Thankfully, once Alex goes to sleep, he is pretty good and doesn't seem to wake up with Tara's hollers which is really good.

I have been feeling a bit homesick over the last week. We have been here 2 months now and I guess I still feel a little unsettled. Some things have really helped - getting the apartment set up is real progress. This is coming together well. It has been frustrating at times. Small things like we didn't get blackout blinds to start with. I asked the guy who installed them and he said we didn't order blackout ones (I thought they were going to be made with a backing - silly me to assume this). So, I then asked to get blackout blinds made for the kid's rooms as I wasn't going to live without blackout curtains for 2 years - this has a big effect on daytime sleeps. So, he told me the price, and said it would take maybe 2 days, maybe 4. 11 days later, he came back to install them and installed them to our master bedroom as well. Then tonight the agent rings me to say that we have to pay the extra for the master bedroom and that because this guy is Singaporean, I should have let her deal with him as he didn't understand me. I think this is complete rubbish and I told the agent this. I think someone has stuffed up and is trying to make up for this by charging us. It's just small frustrations, but frustrations none the less!

On the bright side, I have met some great people here and it is always so nice to meet people who are in a similar situation - makes life easier. We had a lovely 'ladies lunch' yesterday with friends and this was a really nice break in the middle of the day. We came home and both kids slept for 2 hours at the same time!! Woo hoo!

On Friday, we have an orientation of our local area. This will take us around and show us where all of the closest things are - markets, supermarkets, post office, bank etc. I'm looking forward to this as I haven't found everything yet and it will be great to have it shown to us. I found out that there is a great wet market not too far away from us here (a short bus ride) so I will discover that with the kids probably 1 day next week. Gary has Friday off work to do our orientation and then we just found out yesterday that Monday is a public holiday so we have a 4 day weekend which will be great.

I must take some more photos! I have been carrying the camera in my bag. Here are a couple of the kids that I took recently.

Alex with his 'serious' look! He often won't sit still for a photo as he wants to see the other side of the camera.

Tara chewing on her fingers.

Poised and ready for action!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Peace at last....

Both the kids are sleeping. We still don't have blackout curtains.This was a bit of a shambles in terms of getting it organised when we moved in. We got to choose curtain material. We made our choice and then the curtain man came to install them the day after we got the keys. They weren't blackout! Our contract had said blackout but I didn't realise that only some of the fabrics were actually blackout, so the curtains don't particularly darken the rooms. However, we are due to get blackout material installed on Monday. I am looking forward to this as it will mean the bedrooms will be darker and make it easier (hopefully) for Alex and Tara to get to sleep.

I hear the sound of one of them waking up......

So, our move was incredibly stressful. They say that moving is one of the most stressful things you do in life, and yes, I can agree with this. Part of the issue was ferrying back and forth between our serviced apartment and the new place and dealing with 2 kids who needed some routine and daytime sleeps. Alex didn't actually sleep during the day for 3 days last week - he coped very well with this all things considered. Thankfully he has gone back to having a decent afternoon nap. We had a babysitter for Tuesday and Wednesday which did allow me to get a bit more done. Poor Gary had the week from hell at work - working till 2am on Wednesday and till 1am on Thursday. On Friday night he got home around 7:30 and then we ended up unpacking and trying to get organised, going to bed at 1:30am.

The other stressful thing was that when I walked into the apartment on Tuesday I felt like it was much smaller than I remembered. It's all going to be ok though! I had that moment of thinking - oh my goodness we have a 2 year lease. But the good news is that our bed does fit in and we will get rid of a few things that we packed in Adelaide but probably didn't need to. So, we are either selling or giving away a few things and that will make space less limited.

So, we have been living at our new place a week now. I have found the closest supermarkets - we have a small Fairprice very close. There is a larger fairprice around a 10 minute walk away. There is also a Cold Storage around a 10 minute walk in the other direction. Hopefully next week we will get the orientation that is provided by our relocation company and this should help with finding out what else is close by and worth a visit.

This morning the kids and I went to Jacob Ballas Children's Garden which is part of the Botanic Gardens. It's a lovely area with loads of different things for the kids to run around and explore. Met up with a friend there and Alex had a ball running around with her son who is a year older than Alex. This helped my synchronised sleeping this afternoon. We will have to go back again soon to do some more exploring.

Anyway, it's about time to go to the supermarket and then let Alex have a play downstairs at the playground. I keep looking out the window at the threatening clouds, but I think we just need to bite the bullet and go!

Wishing all and sundry a good weekend.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Moving - Day 1

Well, it's been a while since I last wrote, and it's been a bit of a roller coaster of a week. Firstly, Tara had her first fever on the weekend. Although I didn't think it was too bad, it was still quite stressful and she was a bit beside herself. She was really struggling to settle and on Saturday night, I ended up sleeping in the single bed in her room, with her beside me. Gary came in in the middle of the night to make sure we were both ok. We both have colds now and Alex was a bit croaky today, so I really hope that he doesn't come down with something too. Will have to wait and see. I spoke to a doctor on Sunday and he advised me to increase the panadol I was giving Tara by 3 times (I was giving .6 ml - he suggested 2ml and assured me "It's quite safe"). We ended up giving her 1ml and increasing the frequency to every 4 hours. Her fever did pass and she has been quite well the past 2 days but still unsettled at night. Will see how tonight goes. Add to this, Tara seems to be going through a stage of needing someone with her all the time - as soon as I leave the room, there are loud cries. I sometimes feel like it would be such a luxury to go to the loo in peace!

Anyway, today being September 1st, was the day we got the keys to our new apartment. The estate agent picked us up this morning and off we went. We met the agent and the landlord's parents as the landlord himself is currently living in the US. Then the moving men arrived soon after that to make delivery of all of our stuff. It was a bit of a crazy day. We had a babysitter helping out to look after the kids at varying intervals. This helped a lot.

My first thoughts when I walked into the apartment were "It's smaller than I remember", "Oh my goodness, nothing is going to fit in here!" Then the Allied Pickfords guy comes in and says we have 113 items to be delivered. Holy cow - 113!! They then set up a temporary chair and desk (of boxes) and I had to tick off the boxes that they brought in. The bedrooms are not as big as I remember them to be. One of the biggest issues has been whether our Australian queen size bed will fit into the master bedroom. Australian queen size beds are not the same size as Asian queen size beds. Darn! The thing is if we had a fairly standard bed size, it would fit, but our bed itself is quite large, so I'm sure we could get something to fit with our mattress, but the dilemma then is that we need to buy a new bed to fit an Australian queen size mattress. However, tomorrow will tell whether this is necessary or not!

So, in came the boxes, and they kept on coming.... Then the rain set in. It was actually really nice as this meant they had to stop bringing boxes in. They then unpacked a lot so this cleared up a lot of space - less boxes - more stuff. However, no cots - they were in the other part of the truck that wasn't unloaded. So, I wasn't able to get the kids to sleep in the new place this afternoon. Which was probably just as well as there were no curtains - apparently the new curtains are coming tomorrow. Tara slept around an hour in the baby bjorn. Alex just rolled with it - I probably would have struggled to get him to go down for a nap anyway. In the taxi on the way back to our serviced apartments this afternoon he told me he wasn't tired! He then nearly dropped off to sleep, but he assured me he was "All good".

One of the biggest stresses I have with the new place is the windows. They don't have locks! When we viewed the place, the agent assured me that there were childproof locks that would be installed. On inspection today, they are a flimsy piece of metal (which Alex would be able to pull out) and with the piece of metal in place, the window can still be opened around 20cm or so, which is big enough for a small child to fall out. So I have emailed the agents tonight requesting window grilles or locks be installed. Alex is a climber and I really don't want to be worrying about this as well! Hopefully we will get this organised very soon.

On a positive note, the grounds and facilities at the condo are lovely. The pool is really nice - huge (but I guess it needs to be with 700+ apartments in the complex). There is a lovely playground and outside workout stations, an air-conditioned gym and apparently a basketball court which I haven't seen yet. So, lots to explore. I am really excited about the area too and discovering what there is to see and do around there. I will be very relieved when all of our stuff has been delivered and unpacked and we can actually feel at home! It is very nice though to have the moving men unpack and take away all of the excess packaging materials - there was such a lot!

Well it's past 10 and Gary is just on his way home from work now, so I will sign off now. Hopefully I will be able to update the blog with positive news in the next day or so - all of our stuff fitting in and finally feeling "At Home"!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tara's Standing

Tara has been going great guns of late - crawling like a seasoned pro and getting around very quickly. To add something new to the mix, she has decided she should try standing up. Now, instead of just crawling as soon as she reaches an object that she can pull herself up against, she is trying that. I guess it must be interesting seeing things from a different angle. In the cot we have here at our serviced apartment, it was on the high setting, but when she started to stand up, I was worried about her leaning over and falling out - fairly unlikely, but I still didn't want it to happen! So, I asked them to lower the cot. Here are some shots of before and after. Both of them are when she has woken up and is demanding attention and actually kneeling rather than standing - when she was standing she was leaning even more....



I'm sure she'll get used to it though! I feel much happier with the cot lowered now. I don't think she was very impressed with Mummy running to get the camera before she was collected!

The other day, Alex was eating an oreo cookie. I gave Tara the tiniest part of one as she was complaining. Here are the results:

Now that I've found out how to properly insert photos into the blog, there'll be no stopping me! Must try video next.

Happy weekend to all. We don't have a lot on, a birthday party tomorrow morning (Alex is very excited) and we thought we'd go to the zoo on Sunday. Gary and I are heading out for dinner or a movie on Sunday night or maybe both. What a luxury - prior to coming to Singapore, we had been out twice in 6 months, since being here, we have been out 4 times in 4 weeks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Do Not Disturb....

I've got both of the kids in bed at the moment - Alex is due to wake up in probably 10 minutes or so and Tara - well who knows - she's been a bit erratic the last 2 days so we'll just wait and see. I hung out the "Do Not Disturb" sign on our door for the first time since we have been here in the apartment as the cleaner is due today and hasn't been yet (it's 3:15pm) so the last thing I wanted was a loud doorbell to wake my 2 sleepers! We had this on Sunday. Alex was really difficult to get to nap, he eventually went down and Gary and I were laying down chatting away and then 'ding dong'. Not only did he ring it loudly, he rung it 3 times in quick succession! It was Gary's birthday cake from the apartment people being delivered. A lovely gesture, made even more lovely by the fact that they didn't actually wake either of our babies.

So the weekend just gone was Gary's 40th birthday weekend. We started our celebrations on Friday night with dinner at The Fullarton hotel. Gary sent me a text at 6:50 saying he was still at work and wouldn't be out any time soon. Oh no, I had both kids to get to bed - the babysitter to let in, I had to get ready and work out what plan b was. It all came together though - Alex went down very well, I was feeding Tara and sent a message to the babysitter that I would be down to meet her 10 minutes later (thank goodness for sms!) Both kids went to sleep very well, so I let Lorena in, had a chat to her, got myself ready to go and went to get a taxi to collect Gary on the way to the hotel.

In my opinion 99% of the taxi drivers in Singapore are lovely and friendly. I scored one of the ones in the other percentage point. I got in the taxi and told him we were going to The Fullarton but that I needed to pick up my husband at International Plaza along the way. He told me "He'd better be ready as I can't really pull up there". I phoned Gary and we organised that he would walk to a different building where the taxi driver could pull up. We got there and Gary was still coming. The taxi driver says "Where is your husband?" in this very gruff tone. As Gary said, he was getting paid to wait - what was the issue? Anyway, we ended up getting to our dinner reservation on time and both heaved a sigh of relief. We started off with a glass of Taittinger champagne. That was very nice. We had the "Peking Duck Extravaganza" which was 7 courses. I meant to keep the menu but forgot! It was sublime though. The first course was the best duck pancakes I have ever had. There was another course with truffles and a fois gras course. It was superb. On about course 6, we were eating the rice with prawns and commenting that there was no duck to be seen. A waiter came up and apologised - we had been served the wrong thing. They whisked it away and brought back our moneybags with duck and rice. Funny thing was we were halfway through and really enjoying the prawns also! At the end of the night, one waitress asked us if we thought it was too much food as she said a lot of people don't get through the dessert course. No such problem for us!! We adjourned to the hotel bar for a nightcap before returning home. It was a lovely night and just perfect to celebrate Gary's birthday.

A funny thing happened last Friday. I was shopping at Cold Storage and went to the deli counter to buy some ham. Groceries in general are very expensive in Singapore, especially meat. I asked for 100 grams of ham, and noticed that the scales already had a weight on them and the price (with no ham) was 27 cents. I pointed out to the lady that she hadn't zeroed the scales for the weight of the tissue paper. She didn't seem to understand what I was talking about. I told her that the scales had a tare function that she should be using as I didn't want to pay $30 per kilo for tissue paper. Anyway, after a discussion with 2 of the deli counter staff, I got nowhere, so I walked away. I sent cold storage an email later that day, to say that I didn't believe it was right for them to be charging for packaging materials and that in Australia, they would incur a fine for such a practice. Within an hour, I got a phonecall to apologise. They explained that staff training does include this and that I shouldn't have been charged for the paper. They then offered a refund - I said no, don't worry I don't have the receipt anyway, it's just the principal of the matter and I just wanted to let you know. She then said, no, I'd really like to offer you something - how about chocolates or a bottle of wine. Hmm, I'll take the wine please! So, on Sunday, I went down there and got a store manager come up to me and personally apologise for the misunderstanding and I was presented with a bottle of kiwi Sauv blanc. So there you go. We haven't had it yet, but it is in the fridge chilling.

So, both of the kids are still asleep and the do not disturb sign is working. In saying that, I'd better sign off and get some jobs done - the dishes from lunch are still on the table and the laundry needs sorting and hanging.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A new home

Well, we have been apartment hunting and we have found a place to live. Yay, I'm really happy about it. The condo is called Queens and it is right next to a MRT station which is great for me as the MRT is very easy to get on with a pusher. At the moment, we have been staying very close to buses which are great, but the problem is that I often go out with Tara in the baby bjorn and Alex with his monkey backpack (which is a harness). Then 50 metres along the road, Alex says "Mummy pick up?" and so I end up carrying both of them for some of the way, which is quite tiring. I will be very grateful to be near the MRT.
Here is a link to our condo:

We have a 3 +1 apartment which means 3 bedrooms + room for a live in helper. A lot of the places we looked at had very dodgy places for the helper to live in, but this one is actually quite nice. It is still small (they all were) but it has a window (a lof of them didn't) and it is quite private - off the kitchen with a separate bathroom.

Our kitchen has an oven (not common in Singapore) and what seemed to be good storage space. The apartment is 1194 square feet (111 square metres) so it is not at all big and we will have to get used to living in a smaller space, but we have done so for the past month and it will be nice to do so with our own furniture. Alex is very excited to get his cot and toys back - he keeps on saying "Alex cot Singapore". The bedrooms are all OK in size - I hope that our bed fits into the master bedroom though - otherwise we will be buying a new one. It's just a bit of a funny configuration but hopefully it will be fine.

The apartment search has been dominating my thoughts this week. It will be great to have this behind us - it feels like the final step in our move here. The lease will begin on September 1st which is Gary's very busy time at work but hopefully we will get a lot of it sorted out during the week and be ready to move properly by the weekend of Sept 5th.

Yesterday, we went for a playdate for Alex. Lance is a month younger than Alex and I was delighted when I saw the smile on his face - he and Lance seem to play very well together and they were happy running around and having a great time. It's something I'm very conscious of - making sure Alex has new friends to play with. He mentions his Adelaide friends a lot and sometimes says "playgroup, kindergym". When we move, I will look into some other activities for him as I think sometimes when we are housebound due to Tara's sleeping, he gets a bit antsy so it will be good to have other things to look forward to.

Tonight, Gary and I are off to dinner at the Fullerton hotel. We are going to "A Peking Duck Extravaganza". It's 7 courses of duck prepared in a number of different ways. Yum! I'm so looking forward to it - but my biggest issue - what to wear? I don't have anything dressy but will venture out of shorts as a concession to the evening. It's Gary's 40th birthday on Sunday. I have a couple of presents for him - this afternoon the kids and I need to go searching for a card and also wrapping paper. As the apartments here provide a cake on birthdays (great result - given we have 2 birthdays in our time here!) this is covered, so I just need to work out what we are doing for the weekend to celebrate too. We are considering going on the Singapore Flyer which is the big observation wheel that goes around Singapore. Apparently great views - but we will get a great view every day in our new home - the agent pointed out that we could see Malaysia on a clear day (our apartment is on the 22nd floor).

Tara is fully crawling and getting into lots of mischief now. I smile everytime I hear Alex say "No Tara, that's Mummy's" or "No Tara, no touching 'puter" We will have to ensure everything is childproofed in our new abode. Tara's eating is also phenomenal now. She is so into food - she protests if her brother is eating and she's not. She is on 3 meals a day now plus snacks and I think the quantity she is eating is around what Alex was eating when he was at least a month older. Hopefully it will continue and she will be a good eater going forward.

Must sign off now as I expect Alex will be waking soon from his sleep. I have put some new photos on facebook but also on this post is a photo taken in the airport courtesy of my brother being there to bid us farewell and a photo taken at Queens Condo when we went to take a look last weekend. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bring on the weekend.

It's Thursday night and right at the moment, I just wish Gary would be out of work. He has had a dire week - working till past 10 on Monday and Tuesday. Last night was around 9 and tonight looks similar. Thank goodness for having a long weekend this weekend.

The kids and I have had a good week. We have had a few activities on and been getting out and about. Today was our second day of viewing apartments (the first one was back in late May when we were here on our orientation). Alex stayed at our apartment here, we had a babysitter in for a couple of hours. I took Tara along with me. We saw some apartments that are definitely a possibility. Unfortunately, my favorite was the one at the beginning of the day that Gary missed seeing, but hopefully he will be able to see it on the weekend.

It will be strange living in a high rise apartment rather than a house, but for some of them the facilities are amazing. Beautiful swimming pools, gym, wading pool, playground. Just staying here at Great World for 3 weeks, I have met so many people - mainly in the playground. I think condo living will also provide for lots of socialising and meeting new people. Tonight in the playground, there were 2 little boys around 18 months old. They were Japanese but Alex just happily joined in playing with them and had a blast. I suspect our boy will be coming out with Mandarin phrases before we know it, especially if he goes to pre-school next year as Mandarin is taught at pretty much all of them from my understanding.

Now for something that seems quite 'Singaporean'. I was in the chemist the other day looking for some sunscreen for the kids. I was wondering around with both kids in the stroller and I saw a lady who worked there. She was stacking honey and she greeted me with "Would you like some honey madam?" I said, "No thanks - do you know where the sunscreen is?" She then came over to look for it, and directed me to the correct aisle. Then as I was standing there perusing the options, she was oohing and ahhing at Alex and Tara. Then she started to sing "Twinkle Twinkle" with full actions as well. I was encouraging Alex to join in but I think he was just a bit stunned! She then went into some detail about the kids noses - something about the shape of your nose indicating whether money is coming in or out. I didn't quite get it but I think she was saying that they had good shaped noses??! So, I made my choice of sunscreen, and then she said to me "Would you like some honey, it is very good for babies, put it in their bottles, a few drops and it stops constipation". I again politely declined and she was absolutely fine with this. It was just so funny. She was so lovely and chatty. I have been in the supermarket a few times and people will try to sell you something quite random. Like walking past the butter and they will say "This butter madam, unsalted, very good for your family". It is really quite strange but not in a bad way at all!

Last weekend, we went to the zoo on Sunday and became members. It is a wonderful zoo and Alex had a brilliant time. He is still talking about it and will be delighted to go back time and again so I suspect we will get good value out of our membership.

Tara is crawling pretty much properly now and gets around quite well. Alex is very funny telling her what not to do. For example if she picks up my mobile phone, he will say "No Tara" and run over and give it to me. The funny thing is he tells her off for things I tell him off for! Alex is generally doing very well with sharing with Tara, and is very cute when he says "Here you go Tara" giving her a block or toy to play with.

And finally a word on Tara's sleeping. She had her best night ever last night!! She slept till 5:30, woke up and fed, then went back down, woke again around 20 minutes later, I changed her nappy and she went back down again till 8:45. It was unreal - I don't expect a repeat performance tonight but it would be nice!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Alex's birthday

Yesterday was Alex's second birthday. Wow, I can't believe 2 years has passed already. When I look at him, walking and talking and being cheeky, I find it hard to believe that Tara will be like that in 17 months. We had a lovely day. It started with a trip to the government office that will process Gary's employment pass and mine and the kid's dependent passes. Well, that was quite an experience in Singapore efficiency. We had to get passport photos taken of everyone (we did have some with us but they didn't meet the criteria so we got new ones done). They were really well set up - even for Taras - they had her sitting in a bumbo and me with a squeaky toy calling her name - it was excellent. Also, because we were a family rather than having to approach a counter, we had a desk on the side which had children's furniture set up with a jigsaw and other toys. It was really very good. Our appointment was at 8:30 and we were seen at ..... 8:30. Fantastic. Our passes will be available for collection on Monday so I will pick them up and then we will be able to get a SGD bank account. Yippee!

In the afternoon yesterday, we had our sea freight delivered. Alex was so excited to get some toys back and was kept occupied taking his cement mixer for a drive around the room and building with his duplo blocks. We then went out to a friend's condo down the road for a swimming playdate. Alex really enjoyed himself and didn't want to leave or get out of his swimmers. When we got back to the apartment, we had a cake in the fridge courtesy of the apartment complex. That was so nice, and the cake is yummy! It is covered in white chocolate, yum, my favourite! We spent some time on skype talking to Uncle John, Aunty Jenny, Beth, Angela and Nanna. Alex had happy birthday sung to him again and then we had dinner. Gary got home in time for us all to have a piece of cake (well not Tara) and then it was bath and bed. So, overall, a good day. We are going to go to the zoo on the weekend which Alex keeps on talking about. I expect he will have a ball - he loved it last time we went. We will go for "Breakfast with wildlife" which includes free roaming orangutans from what I understand.

Next week, we will have our first day looking at apartments. I am looking forward to moving into our own place so I won't have to worry about the kids putting dirty hands on fabric furniture etc. It will be great to have our belongings back and will make it feel much more like home. However, this apartment that we are in at the moment is really very nice and the kids seem to be coping well with it.

Time is up, both of my babies have woken from their afternoon naps - more later!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

One week in Singapore

Well, here we are - we have been here just over a week and we are feeling reasonably settled. I do think things are going to be good for us here. Alex and Tara have both settled in really well - in fact I was telling Alex before he went to bed last night that Sunday mornings are for sleeping in, we were saying that when he wakes up, he should consider it's Sunday and roll over and go back to sleep. Well he did, and he woke up at 7:50. Woo hoo - fantastic!! Tara is doing pretty well, still most nights only waking once, which is tremendous progress compared to how things were in Adelaide.

I had a night out last night with some girlfriends - there were 4 of us - a Singaporean, an American, a German and me. What amazes me is that the conversation is still the same as a girl's night out in Adelaide - just different city and different nationalities! We went to a bar on Orchard Road. Wow, the whole place was so busy. I can't get over how many people were out. When I left the bar at 10:30 to find a taxi, walking down Orchard Road I was moving quicker than the traffic. It was fun to go out and the babies were very well behaved for Daddy so that was good news too.

On Friday night, I cooked for what seems like the first time in ages. With the last couple of months being taken up by moving etc, my cooking has extended to using things from the freezer, cooking some pasta etc. So, Friday night was a mushroom risotto. It was pretty good and we both enjoyed it. It will be good to get into our own place and I will be able to do some more cooking.

It has been lovely to have the weekend with Gary off work. We had a lovely relaxing day yesterday, going to the pool a couple of times (Tara even had a dip and enjoyed it!) Alex went for a couple of trips to the playground and generally enjoyed having Daddy time.

I found out that we have a public holiday coming up in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to that too.

Tara is starting to crawl pretty well now. Thankfully there are no stairs in our apartment so a little less treacherous than our house in Adelaide.

We have a good week planned. It's Alex's 2nd birthday on Wednesday. Hard to believe that it's 2 years already. In some ways, the time has flown by but in other ways it seems like forever (What was our life like before kids?) In any case, we are looking forward to his birthday. His present is an easel - it is in our sea shipment so he won't get it till we move to our permanent accommodation but I'm sure that will be fine with him. We will also take him to the zoo - he has been there once and loved it so I think he will enjoy this as a special treat for his birthday.

Must sign off as we are off to the local hawker centre for lunch. Hmmm, all the local delights - I'm loving it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sleep, glorious sleep

Well, here we are on day 5 in Singapore and I have got both babies in bed - yippee!! Fingers crossed for both of them having a good nap. It seems a little less humid here today as it has rained all morning so it's much more fresh.

Our first few days have been good, getting to know the place and exploring. I must say I still feel like I'm on holiday at the moment but I guess eventually that feeling will change - probably especially when we move into our permanent accommodation. We haven't started to look as yet but will probably do so in a week or so.

The one fantastic thing which has made my life so much better is that for the past 4 nights, Tara has only woken once. She has pretty consistently been a twice a night girl (as a minimum) and I have been concerned about how I was going to improve her sleep. But she seems to have settled down really well and is now going for much longer stretches. I feel so much better for the improved sleep. Who knows if this is the warmer weather, getting more solids, or just feeling that Mum & Dad are less stressed. However, it is not for me to second guess it - I will just accept it!

Gary and I are off out to dinner tonight. This will be the 3rd time in the past 7 months that we have gone out together. I am so looking forward to it. We have a babysitter coming in at 6:45 so she can meet the kids before they go to bed. Then we will head out to a restaurant - we don't have a booking but are thinking we will head to Clarke Quay and see what takes our fancy.

The kids and I are slowly getting into a bit of a Singapore routine. Alex goes a bit stir crazy in the morning when Tara is sleeping - I think he would like to get out a bit earlier but he is coping. On Monday morning, we went for a walk to find the NTUC supermarket. Alex was in danger of falling asleep in the pusher so I got him out to walk a bit and then thankfully outside the supermarket there was a playground so we played there for a while. On the way home, he stayed awake with our spotting of cement mixers, motor bikes, trucks, buses and taxis. On Monday afternoon, we went for a playdate to JP's house. It was lovely to meet some new people and chat whilst Alex ran around and had a play.

On Tuesday morning, we went to an inside kindergym type arrangement - it was very good at $5 for an hour. There is a gym next door in the shopping centre for kids, but you have to sign up for a 10 week term and it is $425 for the term. (This is for 1 hour once a week). Alex had fun at the Delta gym and it is nice and small - great for his age. I suspect we will go back there a bit. Met some more new people there as this was another event organised by the Singapore Active Toddler meetup group.

Today we don't have a lot on. We went to the playground downstairs (thankfully they have an indoor one so it's great for rainy days). This afternoon, I think we will venture into Orchard Road. There is a free shuttle bus from the shopping centre next door so we will see how we go - Alex with his monkey (a monkey backpack with a leash!) and Tara in the baby bjorn. Hopefully both kids will have slept well and be up for an adventure.....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Our flight

Well, it's Saturday night and I can now say we survived the flight and our first day in Singapore. The flight was reasonable - could have been better and could have been worse. But it was ok - Alex lost it a few times - when he did I would take him to the bathrooms or for a trip around the plane - diversion seems to work best in these situations. Alex didn't sleep at all, Tara slept for around 2 half hour sleeps - both times with me holding her - she wasn't keen on the basinette. However, we made it here in 1 piece. We had so much luggage - it was comical as Alex had a very bad nappy just after the seat belt sign went on. So, after we got off the plane and went through customs, he and I trotted off to the toilets. There was no baby change room so it was a bench that had to do. Alex was lying down proudly announcing "No poos" which is a common phrase for him at nappy change time. Aagghhh, it was so messy! However, we managed to get it cleaned up, a new outfit was needed and then by the time we got back to the luggage belt, Gary had all of the bags and Tara in the trolley (she fit quite well in the top part).

Our shuttle to Great World apartments was really good, the driver was very informative and it was so good to finally be here. Alex fell asleep around 5 minutes from arriving with no sleep on the plane.

We got both kids down by 8:30. Tara had a good sleep till 1:30 when she woke and was awake till 3:30 crying most of that time (and feeding a bit). That was exhausting but fingers crossed tonight will be better. Alex woke at 5:30 local time (7am Adelaide time) - again - fingers crossed for a better result tomorrow morning.

Today we spent the day recovering (everyone went for an afternoon sleep). It's so good to finally be here and I do feel that the stress of the last couple of weeks is largely behind us now.

Am cutting this short as Gary is just back from swimming and I am off to the pool for a quick swim before bed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's very nearly Friday - woo hoo

Aaahhhh, this is me sighing a big sigh of relief - we are nearly there, things are falling into place and at the moment, both babies are sleeping. Phew. What a week we have had. Actually, going back to the weekend, we had some issues with our neighbour. She was not happy with our suggestion of putting a fence up. Well, maybe not a suggestion, maybe more of a request. She wanted something to 'blend' in with the hedge. How do you blend with an ugly hedge anyway? So, this was a conversation on Saturday. We then had the said hedge trimmed on Saturday. Hmm, quite a substantial haircut. She came to our place on Sunday with one of her sons with her to talk about the fence and told us our tenants would not be able to move in as she wasn't going to agree on a fence. With a bit of negotiation, we agreed but she wanted to see a colour chart etc etc. She also accused me of lying when I said I had been to their place 5 times to contact her. We let that go to the keeper. Alex could have backed me up "Go see lady next door Mummy". However, not to labour the point, we finally on Sunday afternoon agreed on a fence colour, got in touch with our fencing man and managed to change everything so that she would be happy. Haven't seen her since and the fence is now in!

Our other stress on the weekend was that the removalists had packed on Friday and the couple of boxes of books etc that we had already packed being stuff for Singapore rather than storage - well they had labelled all boxes storage. So, we had to open about 10 boxes to find the boxes that should have been going to Singapore. We did find them, so that was good.

Aside from this, we had a fabulous social weekend with dinner Friday night - Mum came to look after the babies and ended up with a screaming Tara - however, we had finished our meal by then so were able to make a hasty retreat from the restaurant. Saturday night was pizza and wine with friends, ended up with shooters as we were talking about all of the grog we were leaving / giving away. I only had 1 - they were strong but yummy - kahlua, butterscotch shnapps and vodka. Mim is a cocktail mixer from way back. Sunday night was takeaway Indian with John & Jenny. So, a great weekend all in all.

Monday saw the return of the movers. Thankfully Alex was in daycare all day and Tara slept well in her cot so Gary and I were able to do a lot of organising. We moved into an apartment in the city on Monday night and Tuesday morning we were back at the house trying to direct traffic. We had removalists, painter, fence men, plumber etc all at once. Someone was complaining that we should have organised it better but I thought it all worked very well given the time limits we have dealt with.

The house got cleaned yesterday and things are looking spic and span. Gary and I had a night in last night (Who are you again?) and it was lovely to chat and catch up. This morning we had medicals / vaccinations etc. Then a visit to Mum's to catch up with John, Jenny, Beth and Angela. Back her in time for afternoon sleeps. Alex is just waking up.... My next post will be from Singapore!! Yippee!

Friday, July 10, 2009

This time next week

Ahhhh, this time next week, I will be on a plane - hopefully with a sleeping 6 month old in front of me in the basinette, but no matter what, on a plane with my husband and children and all of this packing / house stuff / organisation will be behind me.

This morning has been a bit of a nightmare. All things considered, Alex has actually been really good and I guess I should be thankful that he is not more of a handful, but he was a handful this morning. However, I think this is forgivable, given that there is so much change going on in his life. We had the moving men arrive at 8:30. Alex was running around like a madman, so we put ourselves in his room with the door shut. He was unimpressed - he wanted to go and see what the men were doing. Thankfully we met up with some of the girls from pram class at 10, so this was a bit of respite from the chaos of home. Alex was set loose after a bit and got told off for being in the pokies area of the cafe! As Natania said, he wasn't putting Kevin's money in the machines!!

When we got home (thanks for the lift Nat), he didn't want to eat lunch, we had a couple of bites of a vegemite sandwich and some fruit. Trying to get him down for a sleep, he eventually went down by crying himself to sleep. Breaks my heart, but there wasn't any other solution I could see. So, at the moment I have 2 sleepers and a house full of boxes. So much stuff!

We should get a lot done on the weekend and hopefully be organised for moving into the hotel on Monday. Thankfully Alex is in daycare all day on Monday so this will make the moving situation much easier as I will be able to direct things with just Tara to look after.

Yesterday, Gary became an Aussie. I was very proud to be at the ceremony with him. It was a nice ceremony with great grub served up afterwards! So, today we will get his passport application underway, get it lodged on Monday with priority processing service and we will all leave the country next Friday as Australians. Just as well as his British passport has only 1 page left in it.

What a ramble - things will be more sane this time next week (I hope!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One more day till Gary gets home

Ah, here it is Tuesday night and I keep on wavering between feeling completely on top of things and oh my goodness there is so much to get done. Today was actually a really productive day. This morning had a slow start after a bit of a rough night - Tara was awake at 2, 4 and 6 after I got to bed at 11:50. That was harsh! At 6, I brought her into bed with me and we had a lovely cuddle and doze together. There is something very special about these times - the gorgeous young baby who just needs your love and is content to lie in your arms. Alex slept in (yay) so we had a bit of a late start to the day. We talked to Gary on skype and then Allisa and her boys came over for a visit. The house descended into more chaos with toys everywhere. Alex loved playing with the big boys so that was fun. He also loved the new lego that Allisa brought over - he was enthralled by it tonight when I was getting dinner ready.

I had an appointment at the doc's for both kids at lunchtime as they both have had bad runny noses. The doc confirmed they are fine - just a bit of a virus that will run it's course. In any case, Alex in particular is very happy so I'm not too worried. Even Tara seems to be on the improve - it's much harder for her as at 6 months, she can only breathe through her nose. After the doctors, we caught the bus into town and did a load of jobs. Went to feed Tara at the Myer centre parent's room. Alex was running around like a madman. Thankfully we were the only ones there at the time.

Had a funny experience after that. We were in the lift and there were 3 schoolkids - around 10 or 11 in the lift. They were being really obnoxious to each other but very loud too. They then started swearing so I had to say something as Alex is such a parrot at this stage and I don't want him coming out with these choice phrases. But I hate confrontation so much, I was actually really polite, just saying "Boys, please don't use that language - I have a 2 year old here" but I was a bit shaken afterwards. I am such a wuss! I was glad I had said something though.

We walked home from town to give Alex the opportunity to sleep - he fell asleep around 10 minutes from home!! Oh well, it doesn't always go to plan.

Tonight, I have got a few jobs done and am feeling quietly positive about everything. I just can't wait to see Gary on Thursday morning. We have been apart for 30 nights of the last 47. That is the most time we have ever been apart. Roll on Thursday morning.....

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday night

I can't find the insurance forms. I have spent a lot of the last hour searching through emails and can't find them. Add this to the fact that I don't think we will be insured anyway as they tell us that you must submit the insurance forms a week before packing begins - yep, that was last Friday then - that didn't happen (I don't seem to have the forms!!)

Today has been a good day - we sold the car - yay - Cathy came to pick it up at midday just before I went to pick up Alex from childcare. It's kind of strange not having a car - feels a bit weird and will be strange when I think, I'll just go and grab this and then remember that I have to walk or bus it to get anywhere. However, it's not for long. Oh yeah, and some guy nearly hit me this morning - freaked me out completely - about 200 metres from home, he was turning right and nearly turned into us. He was very apologetic (by hand signals) and I was very relieved that it was a near miss rather than a hit.

Stan is doing well with the painting and Alex is quite interested in what he is doing.

Theo and Carmel came for a visit this afternoon. Alex was excited - running around in circles and just delighted to have company. Alex surprised me this afternoon when I picked him up from childcare, he was turning to the other kids and saying "Bye bye Daniel, bye bye Lachlin, bye bye Matthew". These days he surprises me nearly every day with the things he comes out with.

Anyway, better get a bit more packing done before retiring tonight. Tara is still very unsettled with her blocked nose and took ages to settle tonight. Not sure how long she will sleep for before needing a feed and hopefully settling down again. I am exhausted from the last couple of nights of getting up multiple times.....

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I should be packing.....

I have just got both kids to bed. The house is quiet (for once). Things I should be doing right now. Unpacking the dishwasher. Reloading the dishwasher. Sorting out the baby clothes into: too small, too winter ish, too big, take to Singapore, give to friends etc. Cleaning up the mess from lunch.

However, I have been caught out by the laptop and creation of a blog. Kind of cool though - a bit of an online diary. Will give me something else to do in all of my spare time that I have now and will have going forward.

Anyway, I will leave it for now and will continue this later (when I don't have so much else on and therefore don't feel so guilty). It's kind of like being back at uni, when you have an assignment due or an exam to study for and you know you should be doing that but you are skiving off. Yes, that's how I feel. I will feel better when I get some packing / clearing up done.