Friday, October 29, 2010

It's not me...well maybe

Vivian, when referring to my mother-in-law, has started saying "Gri-mom-mom".
This is her combo of "Grandma" and the Chinese word for Grandma which is similar to "Mama" and always confuses my girls.

Shiloh was asking me for something the other day so I said "What's the magic word?" meaning "please".
Shi thought for a moment then said "um...chicken?"
LOL! Now DH is saying "chicken" for "please" too. :)

My mother-in-law cuts up papaya for everyone on an almost daily basis. My girls have been rather disappointed though because when she says "papaya" they keep hearing "apple pie"...and there is quite a difference! At least Vivi will still eat the papaya..Shi on the other hand has her heart set on apple pie!
She asked me the other day if I could make apple pie, every single day when we are back home.
 I couldn't figure out why she kept asking me for apple pie until I heard Vivian getting excited and saying "apple pie! apple pie!" when she was offered papaya. Ah ha!
Poor confused kiddos!

I commented to DH that the girls still keep getting looks when we are out. I thought being in an Asian country they would blend in more...
Then he pointed out that it might be me that they are looking at.
Ahh, I sorta forgot that my blue eyes and pale freckled skin might make a stir here! Especially when Vivian is glued to my neck, kinda draws stares when someone has a child choke-holding their neck...makes them wonder how I can breathe. yep.
Though I was also right about the girls drawing looks because DH took Shi into a store while I waited outside wearing Vivian tighter than a boa around my neck (and I mean constrictor).
The saleslady there noticed Shi and asked DH right away if Shiloh's mother was not Chinese, so he pointed out me and Vivian...which then drew attention to us as well...which then made Vivi grip me even tighter and then I was the purple (ie:non-breathing) lady drawing attention. lol.

Zoo visit

Yesterday was our trip to the Singapore Zoo. (yes, our third visit to a Zoo this year!)

 We had a lot of fun, though at times it was almost unbearably hot. We watched a Sea lion show, an Elephant show, a Langur monkey feeding (amazing that they were down to only about 100 in the world and the Singapore Zoo has successfully had 22 babies born there!) and also a Giant Arapaima (fish) feeding.
I was a little nervous about the girls falling in with the Arapaima, they have no fence or wall there. This Zoo has a very open arrangement, there are monkeys swinging overhead and a lot of places where you can feed various animals (for a fee).

The sea lion show was amazing, but the girls weren't really into it. They were just too hot!
Hot tropical day and a stadium full of people and it was pretty steamy!
They were so flushed and even though the show was very entertaining, the girls were pretty listless so DH and I were concerned and left the show a little early and made them drink and went to a hand-washing sink and wet their heads and necks etc.
Thankfully after that, the day started to cool off a bit.

These are the White Tigers, very neat to see in real life. :)
The elephant show, one of our favorites. The elephants were Shiloh's favorite part of the Zoo.
Shiloh, myself, DH, and DH's mom also rode an elephant while we were there! It was neat and both DH and I hadn't rode an elephant since we were about Shiloh's age so it was nice to get a chance to do it again.

The elephants with their mahouts.
The only thing that seemed to scare Shiloh was when I took this picture of the lions.
They had a glass (air conditioned) room where you could see the lions very closely through just a pane of glass...that unnerved Shi and she ready to leave about the second she saw the lions and the male was looking right at us too!

I showed Vivian the huge crocodile they had at the zoo, and she said "i wanna eat crocodile. eat crocodile"
Okay Vivi...they tend to frown on that kind of talk at the zoo!
She was also big on waving bye to the monkeys "Bye monkey! Bye!"

After riding on the elephant, Shiloh decided that riding a giraffe would be nice as her next venture. She was quite that they would let ride a giraffe too...until the giraffe walked right next to us and I showed her how hard it would be for us to push her way up high on its back. ;-)

We also saw a snake, and a large red centipede were not an "attraction" at the zoo...just random creatures that happened into the zoo.
Then a lizard ran out in front of me and the girls and we all jumped back so abruptly that people ran into us.
Then we this huge komodo dragon just crawling off into the bushes, and we weren't sure if he was a part of the zoo or just random also.

We put double mosquito patches on all of us, and hooray...we made it through without bites!

I've been carrying Vivian up and down Singapore, and up and down the zoo yesterday.
But I finally (and unfortunately) pinched my sciatic nerve today....while lifting Vivian to the sink so she could wash her hands.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

At least the puppet is potty-trained...

...that is always good to know. :)

Singapore has been shrouded in haze this week. Thankfully now that the weekend and rain are here, the haze should be lifting.
The haze was from Indonesia, where farmers burn down entire forests so they can then plant on the land. The smoke from these forest fires just covers Malaysia and Singapore and is not an easily resolved situation as it is international.
I think it was Thursday morning that Shiloh woke up with a scratchy throat and a runny nose, then a nagging dry cough. Yesterday Vivian started with a runny nose but today (and with rain today) they both seem much better.
Shiloh's cough is lingering but she's not coughing nearly as much.
I think most everyone has had a bit of sore/scratchy throat these past couple days too.

We went to a Daiso Japanese store the other day, everything (or most everything) is $2 in the store. I picked up some children's food picks(like a fancy toothpick) they had there for bento boxes.
I've been interested in kyaraben lately as it does seem like a great way to get children to eat foods that they would not normally try and I just know how excited Shiloh gets if I simply arrange her pancakes in a Mickey Mouse shape! :)
So if I can get her to eat more fruit etc. with a cute little animal-shaped pick, then that would be awesome...if not, they will look adorable decorating some cupcakes or peeking from a plant. Whatever, they are cute!
I would take a pic, but I think DH has packed them already.

Yesterday we went to a larger mall. The girls weren't feeling great so they weren't really into it (ie: there was a moment where they were both crying because they both wanted their Mama and only their Mama to carry them)
But we found an "Elmo" puppet for Vivi...and with a funny voice, he soon cheered Vivian up and she carried him around the mall.
Vivian loves to walk on the escalators and travelators and elevators and whatever other "ators" there might be around... ;-)
Then when she came into the restroom with me, she made me hold the Elmo puppet...because Elmo had to potty. ahem.
I'm just hoping maybe Elmo will help Vivian to use the potty when we get back home! :)

We've been getting the girls some apple juice when we go to the food courts here. The apple juice that they serve is foamy and yellow, and tastes like an in between of cider and juice...it does taste good and the girls like it. (probably especially since I don't give them juice at home!) lol.

I'm happy today that I found Shiloh's tiny Carebear. She was given this tiny bear and then we left in our room here when we went  to the Chalet and when we got back, we couldn't find it anywhere!
I've tore the room apart a few times because she kept asking for it. I've been looking for it since Tuesday evening and finally found it today, Sunday morning!
It had just been picked up and tucked in a corner with a pile of stuff around it so I'm just glad I even thought to look there for it.
We wrote Shiloh's name on the tag now, so hopefully it doesn't get put somewhere again.

Man, so much stuff to keep track of with little kids. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sometimes a picture is worth...

...a blog post.

Vivian fell asleep while eating cereal and oranges.
But it was so hard to take the bib off here even when she was sleeping she kept waking just enough to put it back on...the girl likes her food!

Flying kites in Singapore

DH and Shiloh net fishing for goldfish...shortly before they fell in.

Love this picture and the expressions! DH and Shiloh caught this fish, with a pole and some stinky, stinky, chum stuff.
The fish got them back with some frantic splashing (DH's brother is holding Shi)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chalet

On Sunday afternoon we went to stay at a Chalet for a few days.
Our first night there, Vivi slept so good! It was really great. :)

Then we took the girls, along with their 3 year old cousin to a children's play place. We took them last year as well. The girls liked the ball pit, even though they had just finished washing the balls so the girls' socks were quite soaked when they came out of the pit.
They have a big play area for climbing and sliding etc.
 I was so not thrilled with other rude kids, and I stopped one tall gangly girl who was about 10yrs old? I sternly told her "NO PUSHING!" when she was shoving past Vivi and Shiloh, then I made the girl wait while Shi and Vivi climbed ahead.
It was just unacceptable for a girl that age to be shoving children less than half her size! DH was ahead of me otherwise I would have made him translate as well...though I'm sure she got the message. ;-)

 DH and I each took one of our girls down this big tube slide they had there. I took Vivian because I wasn't sure I could keep Shiloh tucked in well enough that she didn't bang into the sides. Oh man, glad I did! I banged my knee in a couple places and scraped my elbow on whatever bolty fastener that use to hold the tube together.
Ouch! My knee is still rather gross today. Shi was so sweet though, she offered me her "Disney Princess" bandaids for it. :)
At least those type bandaids might pretty up my legs, they're looking rough!

They had a barbecue at the Chalet the next night and that was nice. The girls didn't eat much and then they were ready for bed, but everyone saved some barbecue for me and grilled it up after I got both girls to sleep so that was nice.
Vivian has been soo extremely clingy to me here that it even just relaxing to eat a meal without her on my lap.
I had already gotten bitten by mosquitoes a few times in our time here so I used mosquito patches and sprayed my legs with bug spray and they even lit mosquito coils....despite all that I still was bitten a few times during the barbecue!
Those are determined bugs...or I am just very tasty!

The next day on our way back to my Mother-in-Law's house, we stopped at a kids "Petting zoo". Shiloh went fishing for goldfish with a little net and bucket and they only let one parent in the fishing area with the child so DH went with Shi...and they both fell in!
It was very shallow though, (as it is meant for kids fishing and I'm sure they're not the first to fall in) so they only got their feet wet. Shiloh told me later "I tried Mom, but the fish kept running away from me!" lol, the frustration of fishing!

Vivian and I watched a mother hen and her two chicks and then we went on to the koi fish feeding area.
The koi are just waiting and they swarm toward you if you walk anywhere near the pond!
It was crazy. Vivi was funny, she'd pick out one little food pellet then choose which fish to feed and ping it right at its head!
Needless to say, feeding the fish took a long time. I was brave enough to even feed them from my hand...slimy.
The koi also soaked us quite good with all their splashing and fighting over the prime spots and food pellets.
I hopped me and the girls into the shower right away after all that. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fast Food and malls

When you are 2, 3, and 4...you can make your own Playground.
This is Shiloh and Vivian, along with their cousin Yaya playing on some exercise equipment outside of my Mother-in-Law's building complex. They turned the steps into little swings.
At a mall the other day, Shiloh and Yaya did "rubber painting" at a little shop in the mall.
You pick out this rubber outline, they were between $5-$8 so not too bad. They give you a bunch of paints and you sit at a little kiddie table with stools around it. When you're finished painting, they bake it or something and then it is a bit sticky and will adhere to a mirror or window.
Shiloh did a butterfly, which is very cute but it's wrapped in plastic and waiting until we get home so this picture is of the ones that Yaya has already done and has displayed in her room.


This is one of our favorite stores at the malls. "Four Leaves" bakes fresh croissants, donuts, brownies, and various chinese buns. They are really delicious and Shiloh loves to pick out what she'd like from their shelves.

This is another picture of another part of this particular Mall.  Note the Subway in the background, lol. But the prices are more expensive for most American restaurants here than at home...probably because here that food is all imported from the U.S. :)
No five dollar foot-long Subs here.
No ten dollar pizzas from Pizzahut...would you like curry rice with that instead? (yes, available at Pizzahut!)
Maybe some hot sauce for your french fries and hamburger?
Would you like your bag of coffee for here or to go?
:)

Oh bell boy!

It actually hasn't rained all that much while we've been here. Brief sprinkles here and there, and sadly the rainstorms really don't cool off the temps for very long.
The other day though they had a brief storm but wow, it was like looking out the window and seeing images of the hurricanes hitting Florida or something!
The trees bending in the wind, the wind whipping (but still not really cool), and such a heavy downpour! Lots of thunder too, the picture doesn't really do it justice, but these windows normally can be left open all the time if you wanted...but they had to be shut as the rain started pouring in.
The other day we went out and saw the Marina Bay Sands Hotel/Casino...pictured below. This is a web image, DH took some pictures but with his camcorder so I'm not sure how those will turn out.
This building is really amazing to look at though, looks like a cruise ship perched on top of three tall buildings. I'm not sure if you can tell very well from this picture but if you research it there are a lot of other images.
BTW: On the taxi ride there, my niece got carsick! We're not doing so good with motion on this trip! I was worried about Vivi on this cab ride even before her cousin started getting sick so I tried to distract her with pointing out things out the window and that seemed to work...at least she didn't get sick. Mental note to make sure I bring a spare plastic bag on our next outing though!
Later that same day...Ugh, it was 7pm and we were just sitting down to eat so I was really anxious how the girls would do especially since they went to bed at 7pm the night before, but thankfully they were really well-behaved. Vivian was so tired though that she barely ate anything and refused to let me put her down for more than a moment. (She fell asleep the moment we got into the taxi to head home).
Anyways we dined at "The Line" in the Shangri-La Hotel.
See the nice white chairs with the cut-out in the back? I didn't know about the cut-out part until the girls water bottle filled with lemonade rolled across the floor and a waiter had to retrieve it for me (since Vivi was in my lap).
Ahem! So refined am I... :)

So this restaurant was a high-end buffet, with different stations where they offered seafood or made you a crepe or ice kachang to order and more. Very nice place.
Any place with a chocolate fountain is aces in my book!
I was excited to try the crepes since I've been wanting to make them at home, but I wasn't sure if it was going to be worth the effort or really how I wanted to serve them or even if the girls were going to be begging me to make pancakes instead. Their crepes were quite delicious so I definitely want to give it a go. :)


When I first saw this guy at the entrance to the hotel, I thought he was a foreign dignitary.
Ahem, he is the door man.
He opens the car door for you when you pull up.
He wears this costume every day in 90 degree humid heat. It made me perspire just watching him!

Vivian has been rather miserable at night and bedtimes. :(
She wakes up just screaming and inconsolable.
I can feel that the gum is swollen on one side of her mouth, and I think that the combo of heat (and heat rash), teething, and being away from home has just pushed her to the brink.
I've been at my wits end, just hoping and praying she adjusts or her teething can hold off until we get home. Those teeth do tend to irritate in spurts so maybe...
Of course I also worry if it's her stomach bothering her with her lactose intolerance and difficulty of reading labels here...or her ears...or maybe it's just her temper.
Ugh with Vivi, it's so hard to figure out!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My girls

Shiloh made this horrible knotty mess of my camera strap and the strap from the camera case. I was trying to get it untied and she said "but Mama, I knitted that for you!" ;-)

After listening to her Daddy and Grandmother chatting back and forth to each other in Mandarin, she said some gibberish sounds and said "Did you hear me, Mom? I speakin' Chinese!" lol

Then today she was going on and on about some dream she had, and it was really confusing and I told her "You are a different child there, Shiloh".
She thought about that seriously for a moment, then said "I not a boy, Mom. I a girl!"

Vivian has been super clingy to me. She was in a clingy stage before we left the U.S...but now she won't even go to her Daddy, she's just glued to me.
Last year we had a difficult time dealing with her budding independence and trying to teach her to hold hands while we walked anywhere was a struggle, so I guess I really can't complain too much if this time I can't take two steps without her grabbing for my hand in a panic!

She was quite excited to see all the cars and trees and buildings on our drive today. Shiloh keeps saying all the trees are coconut trees because we're in a jungle...and Vivi just interjects "me too! me too!" constantly to every comment that Shi makes. ;-)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Cuttlefish Quiz

"When in Asia"- Etiquette 101 - The Cuttlefish Quiz

The Question: You're standing in front of a fish tank at your In-laws when your Mother-in-law offers you an open bag. The writing on the bag reads "Dried Cuttlefish" and a strong fishy odor is wafting from the bag.

Option 1. Take "Dried Cuttlefish" and assume that she meant for you to feed the fish with it and drop it in the fish tank.
But, if you were supposed to eat the dried cuttlefish...well, that would be embarrassing, and you'd have to clean out the fish tank...

Option 2. Take "Dried Cuttlefish" and assume that she meant for you to eat it.
But, if you find out that you just ingested fish food...well, that would be even more embarrassing and potentially nauseating...

Option 3. (say it with me together now) "No, thank you" with appropriate hand gestures to indicate you are avoiding the bag and all the potential embarrassment crisises it carries.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Trippin'

We took a taxi ride to the airport. An awful taxi ride. The backseat smelled like exhaust and the driver was used to city driving so it was just constant jerking from his stepping on the gas, then let off, then step on the gas again. It was he was playing piano with the gas pedal!
I noticed that Vivian's hands were awful blotchy and clammy, then she started tooting gas...which was odd.
Then the vomiting started. This cab ride made the poor child sooo carsick! She'd throw up, fall asleep, wake up, vomit some more...poor baby threw up 5x on the car ride and at least two more times she managed to fight it back enough not to actually get sick.
I put her plastic bib on her, though by that time she had already thrown up all over both of us, but that really helped with the subsequent sickness.
The driver must have had some type of steel headrest because his head didn't explode with the death rays shooting from my eyes.

In the airport restroom I was able to change her pants and socks. Unfortunately I didn't bring a change of clothing for myself, but I thought I could use some restroom paper towels and soap and water and get myself decent.
Not one single paper towel in there!
I ended up wetting some toilet seat protectors and scrubbing at my clothes with that...not very helpful, just made me linty.
Vivian was fine as soon as she was able to exit the cab. She was hungry and thirsty. I was nervous about giving anything but she was fine (I started with just plain Cheerios and water) and she perked right up. :)

It was my and the girls first time driving through NYC. We drove over the Washington bridge (which has been in so many movies) and took a few pictures here and there. Shiloh was so cute! She saw all the tall buildings and thought they were all castles. She said "Wow Mama, who built all these castles? Each one has a Princess!"
Too cute.

The plane rides went pretty smoothly...literally, not much turbulence at all. The flight attendants were very nice and gave me a child belt once so Vivi could sit on my lap during a landing.
When I took Vivi on walks through the plane, one attendant gave me a couple chocolates for her...trying to get her to smile.:)
The meals worked out well for the girls, it was good that Vivian had the low-lactose meal as the children's meal did include milk and cheesecake and even the potatoes tasted a little cheesy. Vivi's dessert was a fruit cup instead which she loved, in fact we gave her all our fruit cups after that...I think she mostly ate fruit, bread, cereal, and a little rice on all the flights.

Then DH bought some makeup for his Mom while on the plane with their airline shopping. We went through security to pick up our connecting flight and they wouldn't let the makeup through, they said the airline had to secure it and put in checked baggage. So DH left me and the girls and our two carry-on bags and went back to take care of the make-up.

Forty minutes later and now about thirty minutes until our flight was to depart and I was just about to take the girls to find the gate by myself because I didn't know how far we'd have to walk or how long it might take tiny legs to get there.
Just then the security guards came over to me and told me that DH had gone through security at a different part of the airport so he couldn't come back to us and we'd need to make our way over to the gate by ourselves.
Fortunately they had an elevator we could take instead of the escalator, and thankfully one of our carry-on bags was a backpack...even though it was quite heavy and seriously threatened to topple me over backwards.
Our other bag was on wheels and both girls wanted to help pull it so that helped me keep them close as we made our slow awkward way through the crowded airport to our gate...where DH was waiting...and we ended up with plenty of time because our plane was delayed.
But we made it, and we're through it now...never a dull moment.

Shiloh basically greeted everyone here with a "Hi, I'm ready to go to the Zoo now." lol

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

But then it lived!

Late night phone call from techy support guy...and he apparently was able to revive our dead laptop.
Some type of clash of programs it seems that froze up everything, which is weird since we haven't put in any new software/downloads at all. I didn't even shut it down the other night...
But whatever, I'm happy and relieved!

He's supposed to drop it off sometime today, he trying to get it cleaned up and set so it doesn't crash systems again.

I'm typing this from the new laptop. It's an adjustment. The mouse seems a bit slower we need to find the right mouse pad for it and that might make a difference.
Also most every time I try to push the "A" button...I hit CAPS lock. argh!
We might still take this one on our trip though, it is lighter, less expensive, and carries less precious data than my other laptop so much better for traveling...in my opinion.

It's quite chilly and dreary today, we needed to run the heater a bit today and yesterday. Yesterday I was trying to dry the last load of clothes more quickly...I really didn't want to come home to laundry hanging up. :)
The little heater worked great though, so I was able to get everything dried and put away.

The girls are walking around this morning with baby links draped over their ears and calling them their earrings. :)

Monday, October 04, 2010

The day the laptop died...

Writing this post from my old desktop computer as my laptop died sometime this morning. :(
I was up late on the laptop last night too, but then this morning when I turned it on the screen remained black.
We took it to our techy support guy (aka: DH's uncle) but the hard drive has died.
It stinks because we lost pictures, videos, and my (long, long, long) lists of websites that I like to frequent or keep the link to...including my own blog!

Thankfully, I was able to run out a get a simple laptop so once the battery is charged hopefully I can get that up and running and still have my Internet communication while I am away. Shiloh is already vying for the new laptop, she wants to do her letter games on it. :)

I had to change up some of our traveling outfits as the forecast is even colder and wetter now for our trip. I wanted the girls to at least have hoods if they're going to be in the rain at all.

Then I called the airline and set up the special meals for the girls (That took about a century of waiting and listening to glitchy tinny music). A child's meal for Shiloh and unfortunately they don't do a lactose-free child's meal, just one or the other, so I opted for the Lactose-Free meal for her.
I have found when eating out at restaurants that a majority of children's meals are covered in cheese or served with milk so I think this is the better option.
I'm bringing some Lactaid chewables for her too, but I don't know if they help her or not yet.
Twice when I've given them to her before something dairy, she's then decided that she didn't want to eat much of what was offered.