Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wow - I've been so lax.....


Well, I just looked and it's been 3 months since I posted on here. How slack of me. What can I say - we've been busy!! Life is good, can't complain. I won't try to go in to all we've been up to over the past 3 months as that would send everyone to sleep.

Our life in general. My babies are growing up so quickly. Alex will be 3 in 6 weeks time and Tara is 17 months now. They are generally getting on pretty well together with the normal sibling stuff. It's lovely to see them playing and laughing together. They both light up my life. If I call Alex my baby, he says "I'm not a baby, I'm a boy". And to "Little Alex" he says, "no Mummy, I'm big Alex".

We have had some fun outings of late. Tomorrow we are going to see the Wiggles in concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. That should be great fun - Alex has been a fan of the Wiggles for a while now and Tara loves to dance around to the music.

Gary and I are both dragon boating now. We joined the British team and it's a lot of fun. Gary has done a couple of races. Tomorrow (after the Wiggles), Gary is participating in the Queens Commonwealth Games Baton run or something like that where the British team accompany the Singapore national team in taking the baton between the Merlion and the Singapore Flyer. I hope they don't drop it!!

We had a great family holiday in Bali in April. 10 days of relaxation. Learnt a few more things about travelling with kids too. It's always a learning experience.

We spent a weekend in Bangkok with Neville & Ann in late March. It was lovely to see them again. We also had friends from Adelaide (Nat, Colm, Orla and Niamh) come to visit for a weekend in April. Fun times and a lovely dinner out at the Fullerton hotel.

I have been working for a couple of months now and love some parts of it, others aren't so great. I wish I could find more of a balance with time in the office vs time with the kids, but hopefully that will come. The good thing is that the kids seem to be coping really well with everything. Our weekends were always family time and fun time with the kids but now they are even more so!

I went to the cinema on Monday night to see "Sex and the City 2". Lame movie, but the cinema was great - we went to Gold Class which is lounge seats and waiter service. Awesome!!! I will take Gary to experience this sometime soon too.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Where did the last month go?

Wow, it's been a month since I last posted here. So much seems to have happened - life is busy but good fun.



Today, I did my first ever 'fun run' in Singapore. It was only 5km but wow, it felt like longer. I have been running at the gym generally 3 times a week for the last few months and I am feeling relatively fit, but the thing that I didn't take into consideration was how much the elements when running outside affect you. However, I managed to do it in around 29 minutes, I was hoping to be under 30 so felt good about the achievement. I have signed up to do a 10km run in May - but it is at 4pm on a Saturday!! Not sure if this is a sensible time to run in May. Oh well, I think I will concede that if I am tired, it's ok to stop for a bit and walk.



Alex has finished his first term at nursery and is on 'school' holidays this coming week. We have planned a few fun things - catching up with friends, going to the zoo and maybe the science centre too. He seems to be really enjoying his time at nursery and I am very grateful for that. It is incredibly handy as it is just across the road from us.



My big news is that this coming week, I will return to work after a nearly 15 month break. I had started to look for some part time work at the beginning of the year. Part time work is very hard to come by in Singapore - it's not really something that people do in my field anyway. I had talked to a few people and 2 weeks ago, a recruitment agent called me to talk about a contract role for maternity leave cover. It is however full time (but for a 6 month period). I had a phone interview the following day and this seemed to go pretty well. The next day they arranged to have a face to face interview last Monday. This also went well and on Tuesday morning I was offered the contract. I am excited and nervous about it. I will miss the kids loads, but they are both in great routines at the moment. Tara has good morning and afternoon sleeps and Alex has 3 hours at nursery in the morning followed by an afternoon sleep when he comes home. I suspect the person who will have the most adjustment is me - the kids will probably take it in their stride as they do most things. I have explained to Alex about Mummy going back to work and he seems fine with this - although he did suggest that Daddy could then stay home with him. Did Gary put him up to this?



I think (just depending on the paperwork) that I will start work on Thursday. It will be a relatively soft start as we have a long weekend in Bangkok next weekend (pending the protests being safe!) and then from Easter, I am off for 3 weeks due to Anelen going on home leave and our family holiday in Bali. So, it should hopefully be an easy transition. I am really looking forward to going back to work - I hope it lives up to my expectations!



I am trying to think of what else we have been up to over the past few weeks. 2 weeks ago, we had our friend Roger (from London) come to visit from Malaysia. Roger was spending some time in KL and decided to pop over to Singapore for a couple of nights. It was lovely to catch up - the last time we all saw each other was around 6.5 years ago at a bbq we had at our house in Walton on Thames!



We have moved Alex into Tara's bedroom at night. This seems to work really well - Tara loves the company and Alex loves the audience. Alex still naps during the day in his own bedroom (in the big bed) and this setup seems to be working.



We went to the zoo a few weeks ago. This was the first time we have been in a while and we ended up at Kidzworld (as we inevitably do). Normally Gary will go in the water with Alex and Tara and I will play a little on the side. I decided I should probably get wet and let Tara embrace it a little more. She loved it. She was so excited going down the slide, she was racing around all over the place. Alex now loves the big bucket of water that dumps down on top every few minutes - he used to be quite scared by it. How things move on! We think for Gary's next family day, we will go to have breakfast with the Orangutans again - we did this for Alex's birthday last year and it was fabulous, but I suspect both the kids will get a lot out of it now.



Last weekend, we re-visited Queenstown fire station with our friends Francesca, Lilah & Isaac (from our condo) and Rachel & Sennen. It was a great time. Alex loves the fire station - they have open house on a Saturday morning and it is such an adventure with the kids. Alex and I got to drive around the yard in the fire truck and Alex got to hold the fireman's hose. He was also delighted with the coming down the pole! A fun time!







So, our last month has been full of more Singapore adventures. The kids are both growing up quickly - but at wonderful stages. They make me smile every day (which helps to make up for the other times when they make me crazy!!)


I will definitely try to keep up my blog with my return to work - just need to make time for it like everything else. Just to finish, a short video showing our baby girl in her glory - she loves meal time and was rather cross when I told her it wasn't dinner time yet......


video

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chinese New Year





This past weekend, we have celebrated our first Chinese New Year in Asia. The best thing about it has been a 4 day weekend, it has been great having 4 days of family time. Alex had a celebration of Chinese New Year at kindy on Friday. Instead of his normal sports uniform they all dressed up in special clothes which were either their countries National dress or Chinese outfits. We decided against the National outfit and went for the simple red outfit that had a Chinese flavour thanks to our friend Mona. Actually the photo above of Tara is not in CNY dress - just a fun outfit we picked up for Tara.


These are some of the other kids in Alex's class. Ji Wong is in traditional Korean dress.



On Sunday we went to Sentosa for the first time. I can't believe we haven't been there before now. Actually we did attempt to go there one weekend, but the queue was ridiculous so we canned that idea then. We went with Alex's friend Lilah and her family. Alex was very excited to be spending the day with Lilah and they had a fun time together. We went to Underwater World which is the Singapore Aquarium. Firstly we went to see the Dolphin Show and then went around looking at various fish etc. You know the day's a hit when your 2 year old walks around saying "WOW". He had a fun time.




Yesterday we went to discover a new playground just down the road for us. It is an 'adventure' playground, probably better for older kids, but Alex had a ball exploring and running around. Tara enjoyed it too - she flaked out on our journey home.

Alex has decided - with no parental consultation :) that he is giving up his afternoon nap. For the past week, he hasn't napped at all, except for when he is taken out in his stroller after nap time. I don't know if this is a conscious decision on his part but it does seem to be. I am not ready for him to give this up so we are persevering with it a little longer. If he does give it up, we will have quiet time every day. Tara on the other hand seems to have turned a corner with her daytime sleeps. We can now put her in her cot and close the door and she takes herself off to sleep. What a result. Hard to believe that a few weeks ago, Gary and I were taking it in turns to walk her around the carpark here to get her to sleep.

Alex is doing pretty well with his potty training. Accidents are reasonably few now and he seems to have embraced this new phase which I am grateful for! He does like being a 'big boy' and I wonder if this has something to do with the refusal to nap.

We have booked a long weekend to Bangkok to go to visit Gary's uncle and aunt who live there. We are excited about going to see Neville & Ann as we haven't seem them for 3 years - I was 15 weeks pregnant with Alex last time we were there. It seems like an eternity ago! We will just have 2 nights in Bangkok so a short visit but hopefully the kids will do well with this.

Now, the ironic thing about this is that as I've been writing this, Alex has been in his bedroom and for the first time in more than a week, has actually gone to sleep in his bed in the afternoon. That is good news!! Tara woke after 45 minutes, cried a little, didn't get any attention so gave up and went back to sleep. Ah, loving the serenity.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone - here's to the year of the Tiger.....

Sunday, January 31, 2010

January

I am sitting here in a very peaceful apartment. It's 10 to 11 on Sunday morning. Tara has gone for her morning nap. Alex and Gary have gone to the airport to take Ann to her flight home to the UK. I feel I should be tidying up a bit, but that will wait!! We have had a really nice January. When I last wrote, Ann was just coming back from Bangkok. She arrived back in Singapore on Saturday Jan 16th, 2 days after her birthday. For Ann's birthday, we bought her tickets to the musical "Merchants of Bollywood". It was a fabulous show - we went on the Saturday night and we all loved it.



This is Alex helping to blow out the candle on Ann's birthday cake (icing was melting a bit!!)

A couple of nights prior to that, Gary and I went to the Indoor Stadium to see Green Day. It was an excellent concert - we weren't the oldest ones in the crowd and the stadium was a fabulous venue. I have just subscribed to Time Out and look forward to knowing what else is on in town so we can go along!

In the past 2 weeks, Alex has been enjoying his school days. His potty training has come along very well (thank goodness) and we even venture out in taxis now. Yesterday, we went to the zoo. On the way home, around 10 minutes from home, he announced he needed to go to the potty. Aaagggghhhh, Gary and I kept him occupied, and also used bribery (if you do hold on, you'll get a treat when you get home). Thankfully, we made it!! I'm sure the day will come when there will be an accident in a taxi - I hope we have an understanding driver.

Tara is doing really well - developing so quickly. She understands so much, she is very co-operative and will try to get me a tissue or something off the bookshelf when asked. It's lovely to see her understanding as well.



One of Tara's favorite things to do is to climb in the stroller when it's not in use!

Our house has had a little sickness over the last couple of weeks. Gary caught a very bad cold and hasn't yet recovered 100%. Alex is also coughing and sneezing and I have had a sore throat that I can't seem to shake over the last couple of weeks. Fingers crossed, we will all feel much better soon.

We have had a lovely time with Ann whilst she's been here. The kids have loved having their Granny here - Alex has been sharing his room with Ann and has jumped into her bed on most mornings before coming to visit Mummy & Daddy.





Ann and I went to Johor Bahru - just across the water to Malaysia last week for a morning's shopping. Fabulous shopping over there, I managed to get a pair of shoes, a handbag, shorts and a dress! It is a fun day out - especially as this time we didn't take either of the children with us.



We had a lovely dinner at home last night for Ann's last night. Anelen cooked a rack of lamb and we had a 1998 Mildara Cab Sauv. Then I cooked a lemon delicious pudding and we had a glass of sticky with this. Yummm!!

I have managed to fit in 2 climbing courses in the past few weeks. I did the Level 1 toprope system course, and also a course on basic climbing techniques. Loads of fun -I'm really looking forward to going climbing with Gary now. Gary has started to go dragon boat racing with the British team. He has enjoyed it, but says it's pretty physical. I'm looking forward to going out too, but not too sure whether I might be a better spectator rather than participant! I have gradually got back into jogging. I need to find a 10km run to do now so that I have something to work towards. So far, I have run 8km and that felt pretty good - it's great to finally have a base back as I used to love jogging but then didn't do a lot of it in the past 3 years with pregnancy etc. It's great to get back into it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

School Days

We are only 2 weeks into the new year, but it feels like ages. We have had a really good 2 weeks and been very busy! 'School' started on January 4th here in Singapore. We were trying to get Alex enrolled into the local nursery which is just across the road from our condo as a friend of his from the building was going to be attending there. On day 1, they told me they were full but that we could probably get a space, they just needed to wait to see if they had any places that weren't taken by people who enrolled but then decided for one reason or another not to send their kids there. On Thursday I went over to enquire again and found out that Alex could get in, so that was very exciting as he really wanted to go to school with Lilah - his little friend from the condo. So, on Friday, he got dressed in his brand new sports uniform (which is for Fridays and excursion days) and Gary and I took him across to school. As Gary and I were checking to see he was ok, he was firmly engrossed in a project with ice cream sticks, so I'm sure he was fine. He seemed to have a lot of
fun.



This week has been his first full week there. He goes at 8:30 in the morning for 3 hours. Every day when I pick Alex up, he is very happy and seems to really like it. I say, "What did you do today Alex?" "I played". "Good, did you learn Chinese?" "Yes" "What did you learn?" "Chinese". OK - he is having fun and likes his class and his teacher - he informed me on Monday that he needed to go to school to see 'all of my friends' so it is really nice that he seems to enjoy it. They do learn Chinese every day as well as English. There is a mix of nationalities in his class, a few of them also live in our building so that is really nice for him.



Tara has gone from crawling a lot of the time and walking some of the time to walking pretty much all of the time. I am still surprised to see her walking - she however is delighted with herself and is learning to move quite quickly. She delights in her brother and yesterday when Alex was asleep and Tara should have been asleep, she went and banged on his door. She has taken to nodding and shaking her head, in answer to all sorts of questions. She has an opinion on everything. I was having a joke with Alex telling him he had to eat vegemite as he's Australian. Now if we ask Tara if she's British - she will shake her head and nod vigourously when asked is she's Australian.



Ann is due back from Bangkok tomorrow - she will be back with us for 2 weeks before heading back to England. Alex and Tara are looking forward to seeing Granny Ann and especially to helping her eat her birthday cake.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's 2010 - Happy New Year



It's Saturday morning - 7:20am - I am sitting here with both kids playing on the lounge room floor. It's been a good new year so far. It was Tara's first birthday on Thursday. She enjoyed the cake and us singing to her. She also enjoyed seeing friends and family on skype - she is quite good at waving and blowing kisses now. Gary had a half day on Thursday so got home around 2pm which was nice.


Sometimes, I find it hard to believe Tara is 1 already. It is a beautiful age, learning to walk and talk. She is very happily walking around 50% of the time now. When Alex started walking within a week, he was walking pretty much all of the time, but I guess as Tara is an earlier walker, she still alternates between crawling and walking. She is very much into climbing now too - she can make it onto the couch which can be an issue and kind of means someone needs to keep an eye on her all the time. When Alex was this age, we had a playpen! She is also learning to talk. She says 'ba' repeatedly (ball) and 'ma' pretty much means food or milk.


Since Monday, we have been attempting potty training with Alex. I have to say it's going better than I expected. He has been happy to hop on his potty for the last few days and gets excited about what goes in to it! Our biggest challenge now is timing. He gives about 2 seconds notice of needing to go. To deal with this, he has been running around naked at home and this works quite well. But as soon as we put pants on, we seem to get accidents again. I'm sure it will work itself out though.


Alex is very into Bob The Builder at the moment. He knows all of the characters and loves putting on the DVD's which we use to help him to sit still when we want him to sit on the potty especially. So, yesterday we were watching a DVD and he says "FARK saves the plane". I said "Pardon?" "Yes Mummy, Fark". "Really?" Hmmm, I am trying to supress my laughter and saying to Gary, have you heard this? "Alex, who saves the plane" "Fark". Very earnestly. Hmmm, not Muck? "No Mummy, Fark". I have to watch this DVD again and work out what he is trying to say and then correct him!! We are very careful with language in front of the kids and I'm pretty sure he is trying to say something else but has got a little confused and struggling with the pronounciation!


New Years for us was a pretty quiet affair. We hung out at home and had a bit of an Indian feast. Anelen and I cooked a couple of things from our "Taste of India" cookbook. We had a glass of champagne (Mumm '99) to toast the New Year, but we were asleep before midnight!!


I love watching the kids interact these days. This morning, Alex and I were up in the lounge room around 6:45. Then Alex heard Tara make a noise and he says very excitedly "That's Tara". We were in the middle of using the potty for the first time today so thankfully Tara was patient and didn't require immediate attention. We then went to get Tara up and Alex says to her, "Sorry Tara, I haven't got your milk yet, I'll just go and get it" and he trots off to the fridge to get Tara's bottle for her. They are just starting to chat and interact a lot more which is just beautiful to watch. As I currently have Tara climbing up on the couch beside me, I think I'd better sign off now. Here's a couple of photos of Granny Ann (Gary's Mum) with the kids. Ann has been visiting for the past few weeks and on Monday went off to Bangkok to see her brother Neville. She is back with us in 2 weeks time for another 2 weeks.