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....