Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's YOUR Favorite Food?

I took the boys for their yearly check-ups yesterday. I love our doctor in Houston, and no one will ever compare to the care we received there; our doctor was really special. But our pediatrician here is a good one. He checked Caleb first. He asked Caleb to write his name, which he did pretty well. The letters weren't very close to each other, but they were in the right order! When the doctor said, "Can you write the final letter?", Caleb said, "No, the B is hard." Good enough. He said Caleb is very coordinated, which we knew. ;-)

He also asked Caleb lots of questions about various things in his life. The one that made me cringe and want to crawl in a hole was, "What's your favorite food?" Caleb's answer?

Candy.

I glared at him and made some comment about him eating other foods, but Caleb looked at me and said, "I like candy." Yes, I'm aware. We'll just blame it on the fact that Halloween is just around the corner, right?

Levi also had a good check-up. The doctor asked him how old he was and he told him. He asked me if he was starting to feed himself with a spoon, and I told him he's been doing that for a long time now. I can't remember the last time we actually fed Levi anything ourselves; he's been a self-feeder for over a year now with the exception of yogurt. But even that he's been feeding himself for a while. I cringe every time he eats it because he gets it everywhere.

I kept having to translate for Levi, though. Our doctor here was trained in Australia and his accent is pretty thick sometimes (kind of an Asian meets Australian accent), so Levi had a hard time understanding which body parts the doctor was asking him to point to. :-)

The thing Levi had a problem with was colors. The doctor held up several different objects of different colors. Levi said everything was green. I know this is pretty normal, but I'm always paranoid about it because color-blindness runs in the family. I quizzed Caleb on his colors a lot until he finally learned all the right ones and I knew he wasn't color-blind. I just like to be prepared. :-)

Caleb weighed 15.9kg (35.1 lbs) and was 103cm tall (42.1 inches).
Levi weighed 12.9kg (28.4 lbs) and was 90cm tall (35.4 inches).

They are both around the 50%, so the doctor was pleased with their progress.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The USS Nimitz (and I Miss My Dad)

Andrea and I were invited to tour the USS Nimitz when it was in port last month, and we both jumped at the opportunity. It was amazing. One of our tour guides was the pilot of one of the radar scrambler planes. We had a great time learning about what it's like to live and work on an aircraft carrier and the risk involved in being on the flight deck. If we had been able to see the ship when it was docked in the States, the airplanes would not have been on board because they are part of a separate unit and get dispersed around the country for maintenance. We were really grateful for the unique opportunity!

The ship from ground level. It was huge, and I only got about half of it in this picture:


One of our guides and the pilot of a radar scrambler plane:


The flight deck from above. All the colors of the stripes mean different things.

A memorial to a helicopter crew the USS Nimitz lost on their last deployment:


One of the planes inside the ship, on the hanger deck. They move the planes from here to the flight deck via HUGE elevators.

One of the 4 elevators (those people are walking across it). It also serves as the sailors exit/entrance when in port:
This is how they steer ships now. :-)

A submarine was docked across from the Nimitz. The sailors said the sub comes and goes and only a handful of people ever know where it is. They all like it that way.



The tour made me really miss my dad. He would have loved touring the ship!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

Since the Christmas decorations are already up here, I decided to list a few of my favorite things..


Caleb's eyelashes. Everyone comments on them. Friends, doctors, strangers, everyone. Since he was a tiny baby that is the first thing people notice about him. :-)



Since I am left-handed, I have pen issues. I can't do gel or fountain pens usually because they end up all over my hand. And some pens I can't even write with because of the angle. It's weird. This is my current favorite pen. (I have an office supply "issue," too, as in I buy way too many. It's hereditary. My mom passed on that gene to me.)


Mmmm. Dr. Pepper. Until recently I was a Coke drinker, but Dr. Pepper is much easier on my stomach issues.



Strawberry and Satsuma Home Fragrance Oil from The Body Shop. Mix a few drops of each and a little water. Makes the place smell yummy!

My sweet Levi napping in his crib. He's such a good sleeper now, and we are so thankful!




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More Pictures from West Coast Park

Where are Levi's feet?
There they are!


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Quiet Time and West Coast Park

It's quiet time in our house. Levi is napping, and I've instituted (as of today) quiet time for Caleb and myself. He hasn't napped since he was 2 1/2, and mommy needs an hour of quiet in the afternoons to do her Bible study. So, thanks to my friend, Camille, I've started a reward chart with Caleb. If he has a quiet time, which means he does not come out of his room to ask me questions or for the 1 million other reasons he can find to come out of his room, he will get a sticker on his chart. After 5 stickers, he will get a little prize. We're starting with 5 for now and will move up after he grasps the concept. I hung the chart on the bathroom door in his room so he can see it. Right now he's working for a yo-yo, which he's wanted for a long time. :-)

Even though it's quiet time in our house, it isn't quiet. They are doing some major remodeling of the apartments 2 and 3 floors above us. Apparently there are lots of men up there with hammers and drills. With concrete walls and marble floors, they might as well be remodeling our apartment for as loud as it is in here. This is supposed to go on for 2 weeks, so I'm not sure Levi will be napping very soundly during that time.

This past weekend we took the kids to West Coast Park. It was really hot, but they had fun playing for a while.

The shipyard on the West Coast:

Caleb burying his legs in the sand:

Levi walking across the bridge on the playground:

The boys:

Caleb and Daddy on the playground:






Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Fog Rolls In






I've only had a handful of mosquito bites since we've lived in Singapore, and that is because of all the fogging that goes on. I walked past the condo behind us on my way home this morning, and was inside just in time to not get caught when they came to our complex.


We live on the 4th floor, so you can see how intense the fog is, even up here. Some guy walks around with a fogger attached to him like a backpack. That's definitely not how they did it in Houston. :-)









Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Storm Is Brewing

Metaphorical Storm: Caleb woke up this morning with a slight fever and a cough. We leave for Thailand tomorrow morning, and with those symptoms we will surely not be allowed to board an airplane with all the H1N1 fears. (And, yes, they will check his temp!)

And now? He's napping. This is the child who hasn't taken a nap since he was 2 1/2 unless he's sick. Aargh. His fever is down, but the cough is persistent. He's not congested; it's just the tickly, shallow cough. I tried the asthma inhaler, but it doesn't seem to have made a difference.

Justin is prepared to stay home with him and let me go to Thailand with Levi if we need to, but I really don't want that to happen!

Actual Storm: I took these pictures from our dining room window. I LOVE when it rains here because it's cools things down tremendously. Even though I forgot my umbrella when I went to meet a friend for lunch, it was glorious because I wasn't sweating!






Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Shopping

Today I went shopping. I don't enjoy shopping so much; I'm more of a "run in and grab the first thing that looks like it'll work and run to my car" kind of shopper. But that kind of shopping doesn't exist here in Singapore, so I dropped the kids off at school and headed to Holland Village. I needed to go to the bank, but they weren't open yet, so I stopped at Starbucks, which is just two doors down.

After Starbucks (where I saw Gillian and Camille and asked their advice on where to buy earrings), I headed to some little shops to find a birthday present for a friend. Neither shop was open yet, so I walked around a bit. It started raining, and I wasn't sure when the shops would open since there were no posted hours, so I decided to head to Orchard Road to find a purse and look for some shirts. The bus I needed to take had just left the bus stop, so I grabbed a taxi. It was actually the first time I've had trouble getting a taxi driver to understand me. I couldn't remember the name of the shopping centre that "Isetan" department store is in, so I was trying to explain and he wasn't understanding. And I wasn't understanding him. We eventually figured it out.

I didn't have any luck there. The only purses that were the size I was looking for were $300, so I moved on. :-) (Justin, you're welcome.)

I walked to another shopping centre and still no luck. I walked some more and some more and some more and finally found a purse that was only S$40. I also found a pair of pajamas for Caleb, and in the process found out that almost all of the kids pajamas here right now are long-sleeved with pants. I found one short-sleeved pair for $12.90, so I grabbed it! I tried on about 20 shirts and none of them worked, which was quite frustrating.

After walking some more and some more and some more, I bought a journal at Borders, walked to the bus stop and headed back to Holland Village (3 hours later) to see if the shops were open. I was happy to sit down on the bus for a while. Once there I bought a pair of earrings and a bracelet for a certain soon-to-be-16-year-old we'll be seeing on Friday (her birthday).

At this point it was 2:30, so I decided to go ahead and pick up the kids since they got up at 6:30 and I knew Levi would be exhausted. He's decided that eating dinner isn't really something he wants to do, so he wakes up hungry every morning. It's getting old.

And I'm tired.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Levi & Mommy @ The Tanglin Tree

Tuesday is "Levi and Mommy day" because Caleb is at school. Today we went to The Tanglin Tree restaurant with other moms from MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). It was super hot, but Levi enjoyed playing on the tree house and in the sand. My baby is getting so big!





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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Things Caleb Says, The British Version

Caleb's teacher is British. We love Ms. Val and love listening to Caleb tell us what they did at school in his British accent. (This has come full-circle for me because my kindergarten teacher was from India and I used to come home saying stuff my mom couldn't even figure out. It took her forever to figure out what we were doing at school was "arithmetic.") :-)

I picked Caleb up one day from school and he told me they had made "lahn-tuns." If he hadn't pointed to them, I might not have figured out that they had made lanterns.

When I asked Caleb what he had for lunch one day last week, he said, "plain paster, no sauce." (pasta)

"Mom, tidying up is the same thing as cleaning up."

And one day he had "pasketti" (that one doesn't look like it would sound British, but say it with your best British accent and you'll get it just right.)

Even I've started using the word "holiday" instead of "vacation" because everyone in the world except Americans use "holiday."

No one will be able to understand Caleb when we get back to the States. Justin is a little excited that Caleb lost his Texas twang, though. ;-) I've definitely learned how kids pick up other languages easier than adults...they can mimic sounds much more quickly.

Stay tuned...I'm sure there more to come on "TTCS, The British Version." And maybe even a "Singlish" version if the kid starts saying, "lah" at the end of his sentences. ;-)

I'm So Fond of Lists

because my brain isn't firing on all cylinders. Levi got up at 6:15 this morning, and by 7:30 both of my boys were in time-out for fighting/bickering/stealing each other's toys/being mean. *deep breath*

Here are my thoughts for the day, otherwise known as "this week's version of totally unrelated thoughts":

1) My friend, Euvah, who I only know on Facebook because we haven't had the pleasure of meeting in person yet (she's from Louisiana but lives here in Singapore now) said the funniest thing today that I could totally relate to: "Anyone know where I can get some me sized clothes on the barbie sized island?" So true. I've gone down a size in clothing since we moved here (yippeee!), but sizes here are UK sizes, so on the tag it looks like I actually went up 2 sizes. Mind games, I tell ya.

2) I am giddy-excited about going to Thailand on Friday. (Have I said that yet??) Seeing old friends, eating authentic Thai food, being in a place I love so much...can't wait.

3) Levi has started to give "real" kisses on the cheek. He presses his lips to your cheek, then clicks his tongue to make the "kissing noise." It's so cute, and I try to get him to do it as often as possible.

4) I would really like to write more. My friend (in real life!), Dana, is going to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I would love to participate, but I'm not sure I have a novel in me. I love to write and want to do more of it, but I just don't have the creativity for novel-writing. I tried to think of some ideas and do a little research, but I just can't seem to come up with anything interesting. I really enjoy reading novels, but I don't think I'm a novel writer. We'll see.

5) I've been trying to find Caleb some pajamas and haven't had much luck. Even when I ask people who've lived here for a while they can't seem to tell me where I can buy affordable pajamas. I looked at some in Levi's size the other day and they were S$50. I'm not paying that for pajamas. My mom looked at Target back home but they don't have summertime pajamas anymore.

6) The stores here actually change their wardrobes for seasons, even though we don't have seasons. Right now you can buy a sweater. It will be in the high 80s here today with about 187% humidity, and well, pretty much every day forever. Maybe the low 90s, too, if we're lucky. It does dip into the 70s at night, though. Might need a light jacket for that.

7) I'm trying to think of a cold place to visit that isn't too far from here. We won't be going back to the States until next June and it will be HOT in Texas and New Mexico then. It's bizarre for it to be the middle of October and the weather has not changed much. I'll be reporting the same thing at Thanksgiving and Christmas, by the way. Suggestions for cooler weather locations are welcome.

8) I'm pretty sure this list proves why I can't write a novel. I apparently don't do prose well. I don't think anyone wants to read a 175-page list.

Friday, October 09, 2009

When Will It Go Away

My kids and I are sick again. This time with a stomach bug. Caleb's still running a fever, but Levi seems much better today. I'm so tired of being sick and my kids being sick. We can't seem to shake it around here lately. On the upside, Justin was home today to take care of all of us. We watched lots of movies and just laid around all day. I'm hoping we're all well soon and that Justin doesn't get sick. For some reason being sick makes me much more homesick. I'm not sure why.

In other, more exciting news, we're heading to Thailand on Friday! I've resisted the urge to put a countdown on here every day, but we are SO excited!! It's been almost 8 years since I was in Chiang Mai--a life-changing 6 months for me. Justin and I were dating then (it gives new meaning to the term "long distance relationship"), so I'm ready to show him places I frequented and introduce the boys to our friends there. We love, love, love the Thai people and can't wait to be among them again. Great Thai food is just the cherry on top. We're praying against any sickness next weekend!

Here are some recent pictures. Caleb hardly ever is fully dressed when we're at home. Not sure why, but he refuses to have both a shirt and shorts on at the same time. Maybe it's the heat?
I made a little reading nook out of our bathtub one day. Really, I was just trying to keep the boys out of the way. ;-)
Caleb's sticker creation. That one, he keeps us in stitches.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Things Caleb Says, Continued

"When Darth Vader comes, he can borrow my light saber."



Daddy: "Tonight's a no-TV night."

Caleb: "I like yes-TV nights."



I have been singing the song "I Love You, Lord" to Caleb since he was a baby, mostly at naptime and bedtime. He's recently wanted to learn the words himself and was really proud when he could sing the whole thing. One night in the car he started "singing" it at the TOP of his lungs. Kind of loses its sentiment when it's sung at top volume.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

For My Nana - A Map

My grandmother has been concerned that the tsunami in Samoa would affect us. I just want to reassure her (and everyone else) that we are nowhere near there. Singapore is as close to Samoa as Houston is to the western coast of Africa. (Now, we are close to Indonesia where the earthquakes have been hitting the last couple of days and parts of Singapore have felt the tremors, but our little family has not. One of the benefits of living on the 4th floor as opposed to the 24th floor...you don't feel buildings swaying as much!) :-)

You can find Singapore on the following map on the middle-left side, just south of Kuala Lumpur, right above the equator. I could not even get Singapore and Samoa on the same map where you could read any of the country names. Samoa is south and very far east of Singapore...east of Australia and Papua New Guinea. (click the map to enlarge.)

In case you weren't sure where Singapore was located, here is my very inadequate geography lesson. :-)


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