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.