Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas crafts

This is the crafting that kept me so busy during the Christmas season.
(Now that they've all been given out, I can finally show them here.)
Toaster covers/Tissue box covers.
Cookie Monster/Owl/Polar bears/Penguin/ and Toothless! :)
Now Shiloh wants me to make clothes for the Lalaloopsy doll she received for Christmas.
She also requested little booties/slippers for the doll.
Um, she thinks I am more talented than reality.
Lol, we were watching a Barbie movie and I commented about liking a gold-rimmed green ball gown and she asked me to make one, but in pink.
Uh. From making a toaster cover to a ballgown is quite a leap.
Especially when I'm not even sure where to begin on making the doll's clothes.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oh, the weather outside...

Christmas morning. :)
The girls were so calm.
They woke up at their usual time, got dressed and were doing puzzles in their room.
They were excited...but not in any hurry.
We had Gingerbread waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for our Christmas morning breakfast. yum!
Going through their stockings.
Playing Twister at Grandma's house.
Our tree on Christmas night.
I ran out to pick up some grocery staples early this morning in preparation for the snow storm (that we're currently in the midst of).
Then I had to run to the store to pick up a sled for the girls.
 I had decided that there was no sense in buying a sled for Christmas because then the girls would be very impatient for snow (and asking me every day if it's going to snow today), and then we might have weather where they couldn't really use it.
(It's happened before...surprisingly!)
So ironically enough, I end up having to get one the day after Christmas for our storm. haha!
They only had a few sleds left too.
I guess other people were were including sleds on their storm prep lists too. :)
Did you notice that they're now naming winter storms?
Apparently naming them helps
" better communicate the threat and the timing of the significant impacts that accompany these events. The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation." - per the Weather Channel
Okay, but seriously...."Winter Storm Euclid" just sounds like a nerd with a snow globe.
"Oh, the weather outside is...nerdy.
But I'm feeling kind of....flirty.
So after my husband gets home...
Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow..."
Yeah, that works.
Artists will be knocking on my door any second, asking me to write songs for them. ;-)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

'Twas the night before...

The stockings are stuffed and the presents wrapped and under the tree.
The girls are bathed and sleeping peacefully in their beds.
I'm actually surprised at how quickly they fell asleep, it seems like it used to take me forever to fall asleep on Christmas eve. :)
We had a few people drop off presents throughout the day so I tucked those around the tree.
Then I asked the girls if they thought there were enough gifts under the tree.
Vivian was happy but Shiloh said "I think we need just one more present."
"For who?"
"For, and for me."
"So I need to run out to the store and get one more present?"
"Daddy can watch us and you can go to the store."
Vivian piped up "But what if I wake up and you're not here!"
Shiloh: "Maybe you can send Dada instead."
"Shi, it's really cold outside. Do you really need one more present?"
"Well, I really love presents."
Apparently, she quickly forgot all the stuff I bought for Christmas.
I had both girls with me while I was shopping and I was a little worried about them losing the surprise part of Christmas morning....No worries there. :)
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve...eve

We took the girls around last week to look at the Christmas lights.
No snow and not too chilly, and both girls can see out of the truck really well.
The girls were so noisy in their glee and excitement though!
Non-stop chattering and squeals!
Next year Mommy and Daddy might need some earplugs. ;-)
I spent a good part of the weekend making cookies.
Rugelach, Peanut Butter Reindeer, Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, and Snickerdoodles.
The girls helped put some of the "antlers" on the reindeer cookies before they baked.
But they were much more interested in eating the pretzels instead! :)
We've given out some presents and the girls have received some. They've eaten an ample amount of candy canes. It's snowed and melted, and snowed again...maybe we'll have a white Christmas after all?
Just a few last minute touches and Christmas will be here!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Like Daughter, like Father

Remember when I mentioned that Shiloh was a bit like "Dennis the Menace" in the way things happen around her?
Well, her Daddy super glued my hand this morning.
I'm not sure how Vivian and I get through each day in one piece, sometimes. ;-)
The girls found a broken pair of Barbie sunglasses this morning.
DH volunteered to glue them together and (unknown to me) he did so on top of the Sunday newspaper, upon which he dripped lots of super glue. See where this is going?
Then I started to read the paper, at least until my fingers stuck together.
I've washed my hands and done a lot of dishes and you can still see the glue on my hands, but at least I'm not sticking to things any more.
Some days....
Not to be upstaged, Shiloh then tripped over Rory's bin tipping the whole thing completely over.
Thankfully the lid stayed on and Rory is fine and so is Shiloh.
We've had the bin in the corner of the dining room for about a month now. It sets on/near a heating vent to keep Rory warmer. She's older now and we noticed she wasn't handling colder temperatures very well so we moved her there.
I guess if she can handle Hurricane Shiloh though, she'll stick around a bit longer. ;-)
Spent a long time making a meat pie this now I'm going to enjoy it.:)
And hopefully tackle some gift wrapping later.
Just need to keep DH and Shiloh away from the ribbon and scissors!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Happy Toesday!

It has been crazy around here.
The weather has been crazy, snowing one day and 60's the next.
Shiloh drew a Christmas tree on our driveway with chalk.
Drawing with sidewalk chalk in December...that's a first!
Christmas shopping has been crazy, but that's always harried anyways.
I've made a small dent, no make that a scratch in my Christmas shopping.
I thought I had made a dent, then I realized I needed to add someone to my list. Oops.
I was so happy to find several things that the girls wanted on sale. When I went up to the register the cashier refused one of my coupons for a box of crackers.
It wasn't a big deal so I didn't make a fuss (It was just his mistake, but he was obviously new and nervous about his job) but when I went to put the coupon back with my other coupons, I found a $5 off coupon that I had forgotten about.
I wasn't sure if I could use it or not with the items I had, but for $5 I thought it was worth checking out.
So actually the cashier ended up saving me money by refusing my coupon.
When does that ever happen? lol
Then when I was buckling up the girls into their car seats, Shiloh asked if she could spit out her gum.
I stretched out my hand and started to climb toward her and she actually "spits" the gum.
Up in the air....and down between the seat cushions.
Seriously, sometimes I think she is the girl-version of Dennis The Menace!
She is so innocent in it, but these things happen all the time!
So I had to unhook and haul out her carseat, shove paper between the cushions and pull the seat forward until I could get the piece of gum out.
Thankfully it didn't stick to anything!
I hear "Oopsie" way too often! lol
Schoolwork has been silly lately. ;-)
I was checking Shiloh's schoolwork and I noticed that her "u" in "Tuesday" looked more like an "o".
So I remarked that I didn't know it was "Toes-day". Are we supposed to paint our toes?
Wear funky socks? How do we celebrate Toesday?
So now any time they make a silly mistake in their schoolwork we say it must be "Toesday". ;-)
Like when Vivian misspells her name.
Sometimes she gets carried away with the "V-I's" in her name...and it becomes VIVIVIAN.
Though lately her mistake has been reversing the A and N in her name...then she becomes Vivina, and we know it has snuck up on us, it's Toesday.
Toesday affects me too. lol
Shiloh will say something like "Mom, I'm going to tell you what 12 + 12 is!"
Me: "24!!"
Shiloh: "MOM! I'm supposed to tell you!"
Me: "Oops, sorry. Okay you tell me it's 24."
Shiloh giggling: "Mom!"
Me: "Okay now I'm ready. You tell me what 24, er what was the question?"
By that point we're laughing too hard anyways...but it's sad because I was really confused.
Poor kids.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Happy Holidays

We've been busy with the holidays.
We put the tree up and decorated least the lower half. ;-)
Gave ourselves a few days to get the house fully decorated and that worked well.
Then lights started going out so we had to get some new ones...despite the fact that we usually get stuff on holiday clearance, we didn't have quite the right ones.
Target had good prices though so I also picked up a small strand of lights for the girls room to replace a nightlight.
I'm not sure yet if I want to keep them just for the holidays or for longer.
This is the first year that I've let Shiloh stay up later and watch some of the holiday cartoons.
She's been able to see some of "Frosty the Snowman", "The Grinch", and "Charlie Brown".
Vivian is long asleep by the time these shows come on but she has gotten to see a few thanks to the Internet. :)
I haven't seen any new Christmas shows but I'm thoroughly enjoying the classics.
"It's a Wonderful Life" is on now...but I hear Vivi calling me!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Mouse

The first night we came back home from our trip, Vivian suddenly screamed and said she saw a mouse.
It was dark and she was sitting at the table and I was doing laundry nearby.
She said it ran under the loveseat, so I called DH and we moved the loveseat, then we moved the couch.
We looked around all the floorboards for *evidence* that a mouse had been in the house.
DH went to the basement to check for evidence down there.
Vivian said that the mouse looked like Rory (our hamster) and then she started going on about how she missed Rory and how cute Rory is. (My Mom was watching our pets for us at that point).
So DH and I chalked it up to her exhaustion and jet lag.
Until last night.
I was sitting on the couch trying to watch a show on my laptop but it was too glitchy.
Suddenly a little gray mouse shoots out from under the loveseat, heads for the table then (probably reacting to some movement I made) quickly darted back under the loveseat.
I did not scream.
At least not out loud, the girls were sleeping after all, but I was screaming inside.
I wasn't sure if it managed to squeeze down the heating vent or was still under the couch.
The vent there has only about 1/2 inch gaps and I know it took our dwarf hamster a while to squeeze through that small a gap so it didn't seem like a likely escape place.
I pulled out the loveseat and the mouse darted past my feet and hid behind the bookshelf.
At this point DH was supposed to be home any minute so I decided to wait for him.
Some people,(normal people?) might just shove a trap back there and wait for it to catch the mouse...but I'm not sure I could fall asleep like that.
We armed ourselves with buckets and flashlights, brooms and gloves.
I emptied the bookshelf, tipped it (it's only three shelf) and the mouse darted out and DH pounced.
Wow, the mouse was fast...but DH has some mighty quick reflexes.
He had trapped half of the mouse though and he's shouting at me to spray it with something!
So I grab bug spray and Lysol and I'm spraying the mouse.
Then we're both coughing and I'm trying to poke the mouse fully under the container.
Finally we get the mouse captured and DH disposed of it in the backyard.
Then this morning we look out and there is no mouse anymore.
Just our neighbor's cat looking very plump and pleased sitting in front of our garage....waiting for his next "manna from heaven" meal.

*It's embarrassing to share that we had a mouse in the house. But how could I keep such a story to myself?!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Home at last!

It is absolutely wonderful to be home again.
I love it all. :)
Even just cleaning the dust bunnies from under my oven and fridge, it's my oven and fridge so I don't mind.
I took Shi to the Doctor for her long running cough/sore throat and they found she has a double ear infection so she's on antibiotics for that.
Her cough still sounds rough at times though and it bothers me that they didn't give me anything for that.
I mean when you're at the store and your child coughs and three random strangers turn to look at know she has a bad cough!
So I've got the vaporizer running every night, and Vicks, OTC cough syrup and vitamins and I'm just hoping to boost her immunity enough that she can kick this.
On a random side note, she lost her fourth tooth tonight. It's her top front tooth and the other one is close behind it so the way its going, Shiloh will be singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" this year.
Well, except for the fact that she has more than that on her Christmas list. ;-)
So cute!
The girls are still getting over their jet lag. It hits them hard.
They crash at random times (Shi has fallen asleep with her head on her schoolbook and Vivi took at nap at noon today) and then fall sleep early and wake early.
Actually I've loved waking early with them, it's been nice to see the sun rise and watching the snow fall yesterday morning was so pretty!
I'm feeling much better now and finally getting over my illness and starting to gain back some of the weight I lost.
Hmm, an excuse to indulge in Hostess cupcakes and ice cream?
Yes, I think so! ;-)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Don't drink the water!

I haven't even turned on the laptop these past couple days.
I woke up on Sunday very sick.
DH took me to the Doctor after a few hours and I was diagnosed with Traveler's diarrhea.
I received a slow and painful shot in the arm, which also made me feel ridiculously tired.
But at least I wasn't getting sick every minute, I would have taken five if that was what was needed!
DH and Vivi weren't feeling great either and they were diagnosed with Laryngitis and a cold.
Vivian has been running a low grade fever, but she has been even more lethargic than I could attribute to the fever.
I just went and checked out her prescribed medicines on Google, and all three of them have a side effect of drowsiness. Poor kiddo!
I think I'm dropping all except the antibiotics for her, she looks so dazed!
Shi has been fine except for a cough. I think it pays sometimes to be a fussy kid who won't eat much that she isn't familiar with! ;-)
We were trying to be so cautious with what we ate or drank while in Malaysia.
Seriously at one restaurant, my family refused to eat or drink a thing because it was a road-side stand that did not seem sanitary at all.
But I think sometimes it's nearly impossible to avoid when it could be a little piece of lettuce on your cooked meal or the water isn't sanitary when they rinse your plate before serving. (A common practice here because of the ants and geckos everywhere.)
Did I mention that we saw tons and tons of red ants in Malaysia?
Eek, long trails of them!
So glad we didn't get bit by those!
So mostly we've been sleeping and packing and trying to get well for our trip home tomorrow!


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Last day in Malaysia

Finally some decent pictures of the monkeys, :)
This mischievous one grabbed a piece of fruit from a woman's blanket at the beach, then scampered up the tree to enjoy his spoil.

His buddy thought that was awesome and joined him in the tree looking for anything unattended that they thought they could grab. You couldn't set anything down!
Shiloh and DH in the ocean.
It was the girls' first time in salt water. That tide was strong, wow!
It scared me with the girls!
The sun was hot on the beach too, but thankfully the sunscreen worked well and we seem to have come away without a burn...found some nice shells too.

One of two waterfalls we visited today.
Both visits involved a lot of climbing.
Sheer rocks, and little kids is not fun.
DH cut his heel on the climb and he had to carry Vivian as it was pretty impossible for her little legs to climb.
It wouldn't be bad if you had proper shoes but it was definitely not a place for kids...or my platform sandals.
Gotta say though, they were well worth the money. They've gone from malls to climbing sheer rock faces and they didn't slip once on me and still look nice. :)
My arm ached from holding Shiloh's arm so tightly so she didn't slip on the climb.
I wish I had a picture of the climb because it was just crazy but I was too busy making sure Shi didn't fall to grab my camera.
Anyways we made it through, and she really loved the waterfall.
BUT if someone mentions visiting another waterfall, they're going to find my platform sandal flying at their head! Just a warning. ;-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Malaysia

More Malaysia...
Today we had a late lunch at the highest restaurant in Langkawi.
Quite possibly the slowest restaurant too. They served two people at a time with a good 15-20 minutes before the next two people were served and so on.
We had a total of 10 people with us! You do the math!
I had to tear apart a cardboard gum wrapper for Shi to write on to keep her busy. (She made me a card, how sweet! ;-)
Thankfully I had a mini etch-a-sketch that entertained Vivian.
The view from the restaurant. It rained off and on but we still had a decent view.
Then someone had the brilliant *ahem* idea to take a photo of the four kids on top of the vehicle. (what?!)
This is about two seconds before Shiloh started crying.
Poor kiddo, she has my family's grounded in, we like our feet on the ground.
BTW: I did not take this photo, I was standing just out of frame trying to keep Shi calm.

We saw lots of monkeys today.
Also tons of wild and tame cows all over the roads today.
This bull was tied to a branch....which he decided to take with him as he sauntered down the road, with two calves following him.
He was huge!
We found a Kenny Roger's restaurant here. In Malaysia!
Kind of crazy.
They had spaghetti, and salad with 1000 Islands dressing, and pasta salad.
The girls were pretty happy! ;-)
We were supposed to go to the beach today, but it ended up being overcast and rainy most of the day.
On the up side though, it was the first day we didn't sweat ourselves into a headache!
Anyways, hopefully we'll be able to do the beach tomorrow...although I think it will be mostly sand play since it's the salty ocean water and all those sea creatures. eek!
If there is one jellyfish around here, Miss Shiloh would be the one to find it!
Poor kiddo had these little bruises on her upper arm and I couldn't figure out where they came from.
The only thing I can think of is that they've come from the many times she's slipped in the bathrooms and I've grabbed her arm to catch her!
Ugh, at least they aren't bruises on her head or worse if I had missed her!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Visiting Malaysia

We're currently on a little vacation within our vacation.
Flying to Malaysia...
This was a little commuter flight and the girls were disappointed to not have pillows, blankets, video monitors and footrests. They've been spoiled by the big planes, I think! :)
Malaysia has a lot of beautiful scenery.
And if you looked below the dock (not the one pictured above)
Huge Sea Urchins!
So neat.
We've also seen wild monkeys (a little scary when they come running at you looking for food!).
Wild Buffalo (not like American Buffalo, more like steer), wild dogs, wild cow herds.
You ever see a cow jump backwards?
Well, they do when they are almost hit by a minivan.
The cows, buffalo, monkeys, and dogs are all over the roads.
The monkeys get into the trash too, makes the pesky squirrels back home not seem nearly so bad.
We walked past giant on National Geographic or something.
A huge black and white spotted bug that I have no idea how to identify.
We also heard the unbelievable loudness of a tree full of bats.
I really don't want to know what variety of bat either...especially around Halloween.
The roads are also covered with motorcyles and mopeds...Kids riding them, and parents with a couple kids. People carrying all their groceries...and not a helmet in sight.
It actually seems hotter here than in Singapore and I didn't think that was possible but adding to that is the fact that some of the stores have no air conditioning at all so there is not the usual reprieve from the heat.
Today we took the Langkawi Cable Car.
Such a hot day too.
Vivian gets really flushed and quiet when she is too hot, so then I take her to the bathrooms and drench her and she perks's nice to at least have an over-heating warning with her.
At the top of the cable car ride. The sign reads 700 meters above sea level.
Your ears pop on the cable car ride!
Cooler up there too.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Musings on Singapore...

Some tips I have learned from our travels to this tropical rain forest, Singapore.
  • If you are a warm person, or from a cooler place than the tropics. Cut the makeup down to a minimum. Clear mascara...waterproof won't cut it. Lots of antiperspirants, bring extras because I've had some melt before. Yes, melt! (FYI: Just about everything melts!) Forget the lipstick and stick with chapstick which holds together better, and make sure you take lipstick out of your purse as it will melt the instant you leave the airport.
  • Buy good sandals. I purchase a new pair for every member of my family. A few weeks in Singapore equals about a whole summer's worth of wear back home.
  • Buy shoes at home and bring with you. I am about a size US 8 and that is like Sasquatch here. They have to go to the back to find shoes for me...a little embarrassing. Though I must say, that some shoes here are so cute that they're worth the embarrassment of sitting next to little size 4 footed women.
  • Standard US bra sizes are also  big here...and they also have to go to the back for those bras. But if you are any larger than maybe a C? You probably won't find a bra.
  • As soon as you get here, run to one of the many little bakery/bread shops and pick up a pork floss bun or a croissant, even a donut. Put in a fridge if possible and then when you wake at 2am with jet lag, you will be able to eat something.
  • Mosquitoes, geckos, and cockroaches happen. Bring bug spray, and not that wimpy stuff. I'm talking DEET! The geckos like to chirp all night, and if you get one in your room...well, bring ear plugs and try not to think about it.
  • The lighter the clothes the better, but beware of strapless bras. Even the best-fitting one is likely to slide down your sweat-slicked body and end up as a belt. Not a great look.
  • Do not leave the flat/hotel whatever without: A bottle of water, lots of tissues (there are no napkins in the food courts...and sometimes no toilet paper in the bathrooms), wet wipes, gum (it's illegal here so be discreet!), sunglasses, camera, and a plastic bag. Don't ask about the plastic bag...just bring it.
  • Another note on the gum. Bring the kind with the hard shell, regular gum melts into a gooey puddle in your purse. ick.
  • Another word about the toilets. If there is a long-line (and there often is) sometimes your kids will get you ahead in the line...sometimes they won't. Either way, even if your bladder is the size of a soccer ball, don't try the squatting toilet. Just don't, it's not worth it, it takes skills we haven't honed this side of the equator. Your shoes will thank you.
  • Watch out for swinging doors, elevator doors that shut whether or not someone is in between them, and escalators that want to eat your shoes. (Shi lost a chunk off the sole of hers)
  • The traffic comes from the opposite direction here, so be careful when crossing the streets. I look both ways because I still can't be sure where the cars are coming from.
  • Watch out for bicyclists. They have bells, they don't always use them. I have been run into before.
  • For foods, Exotic and tropical fruits are cheap here, but most everything else is expensive.
  • You can travel by taxi, train, bus, or walking. The best way is probably a taxi. The train is very crowded though it's neat to get an elevated view of the city. The bus is very lurchy and makes too many stops. Walking is hot!
  • Follow the natives. From seeing which food stalls have long lines and which are avoided to following their paths to avoid the sun...whcih might involve walking under the MRT (train) or through the grass.
  • Umbrellas are nicer than a hat at keeping the sun off you.
  • Don't try the durian, or do. I'll leave that up to you. I can eat it if I plug my nose, but then I can't stand my breath afterwards so it's not worth it!
Just some things I have been thinking about. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More Singapore

Last night we visited "Henderson Waves" an 899ft. long pedestrian bridge.
The views of the city lit up at night, was pretty neat though you don't quite get the "wave effect" of the bridge when you're seeing it at night.
Looking between the floorboards and seeing the traffic whizzing far below me was a little unnerving.
Also unnerving, the "Beware of Wild Monkeys" sign.
 And the fact that the warning also said to not take photos of the monkeys or carry plastic bags with you.
Um...I can't carry a plastic bag?
Really? 'Cause I'm thinking a plastic bag isn't going to be much monkey protection anyways...
Can I carry a bat? mace?
The girls thought the walk to the bridge...up a steep incline through the woods with jungle sounds all around you...was pretty creepy and scary.
I concur. :)
We also took the four oldest cousins to a kids play area.

They enjoyed that! :)
Then to Toys 'R Us where they had the National symbol of Singapore...made out of Legos!
Now toys are very expensive here, you'd pay at least double what you pay in the U.S. for any toy and the exchange rate really doesn't change that, so that is really a pretty pricey Lego Lion!
Shi was really emotional yesterday. Most everything made her cry but today she's come down with a cold or something. She's had a sore throat for a few days but there is always a burning smell around so that's what I thought caused it, but last night the cough and runny nose started.
She is also homesick as is evidenced by what she wrote in her journal work for today.
"I love my home in our state."
"I love my Mom."
I love Vivian."
She had to make sure she pointed out that she loved our home in the U.S. because when we leave a mall here and head back to their Grandma's house, there is a tendency to call that "home".
Ahem, she's making it clear that it's not.
Of course when you don't feel well, everything is worse and you want your home.
Thankfully I brought some cold medicine from home, so she's been able to at least have some relief from her cough and get to sleep at night.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hawkers' Market

We went out shopping for the day.
A mall or two, a bit of an outside market, and also a hawkers' market where they sell mostly herbs, and dried things like fish and fruit.
The hawkers' market is on an open 2nd or 3rd floor, and it's just dead-air hot, there are a few fans but those just seem to circulate the hot air around.
Added to the heat is tons of pungent aromas from the herbs, dried fish, dried octopus, dried apricots and nuts, dried flower blossoms and incense just to name a few.
It's rather overwhelming and unless you're very tolerant of heat and odors it's not a place you can stay for too long without feeling rather ill.
The girls didn't fair much better than I ever have at the market.
Soon Shiloh had decided that the heat was unbearable and she wanted to leave, not only the market but head back to our Country. ;-)
Vivian just drooped, from walking to being carried to finally laying her flushed cheeks on her Daddy's that point I told them we had to find some A/C pretty quickly.
If it wasn't for the oven-like heat, the aromas wouldn't be too bad and the market would be quite interesting to browse around.
They had lots of samples and you could try both dried American apricots and dried Japanese ones side-by-side for example.
They are both nice and sweet but the Japanese apricots seem to be a little more tender.
There were also dried mushrooms in every shape and size, and a lot more dried things that I didn't have a clue what they were. lol
Somehow they manage to keep the flies away which you would think would be everywhere.
But maybe that has something to do with the underlying smell of the Country...which is mothballs.
Most of the markets and streets have the odor, strong or faint, of mothballs.
They even sell them in the stores in rainbow colors.
The small markets kiosks use mothballs around their clothes to preserve them, and the city puts mothballs in its drains and ditches to keep away mice and other pests.
Though probably the geckos take a big chunk out of the fly population too? ;-)
We also saw a bicycle rickshaw business.
Didn't seem to be too busy and I think I would feel too awful having someone pull me around in this heat and sun!
We ended up just taking a taxi home. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vacation and Cousin photos

Finally able to upload a few photos.
On the layover in Germany (yay for no people eating knockwurst this time!) 
I brought out new coloring books and crayons for the girls.
That empty container on the table is the way they give you water with your meals.
(They also will pour a cup for you when the drink cart comes through, we like to save these sealed cups for the layovers. The airports are just as dry as the planes and they overcharge for everything)
The girls and their cousin Reina. She is a little older than Vivian.
The girls and another cousin, Reina's sister Clara who is just turning two.
They have had a lot of fun playing with their cousins.
I've been constantly surprised at how easy-going the girls have been too.
If one of their cousins disagrees with them they've just been saying "Okay, lets not fight. Let's play nicely."
So proud! :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Steamy days...

We took the girls out shopping today.
Whew! Steamy hot day! It started to rain just as we came back and those raindrops felt so nice and cool. :)
We exhausted the girls, not to mention the fact that they're still getting over jet lag.
They both just collapsed tonight and are both sound asleep now, and it's just 6pm.
It seems like they/we are having a harder time getting over the jet lag this time.
The only difference I can think of is the fact that the girls don't normally take naps anymore.
I think those naps must have helped them and us regulate faster before.
We took the girls on the MRT train, mostly just because the girls really wanted to ride it. ;-)
Vivian was concerned though because she didn't know who was driving it and because she couldn't see anybody she really wasn't content with our answer that there was an actual Driver.
The girls have been eating pretty well this time.
Vivian loves food any way so she's usually pretty easy.
Shiloh wants a detailed description of what it tastes like, why it is the color that it is, what the temperature is, whether it was grown locally....well, you get the idea. ;-)
The girls have been having a lot of fun with their cousins.
The oldest two tend to fight and bicker a lot, and it interesting to see my girls becoming the moderators.
Shiloh pulling one back and saying "Let's just play nice! Let's share! Let's all play together nicely!"
and Vivian right there copying her words and actions. :)
I rather thought they would just stay out of it or come and get me and not jump in to fix it themselves.
They have been great with the two babies as well.
One is about 16 mos and the other is about 23 mos.
When we came home from shopping, Vivi was upset because she couldn't find Rui Rui (Ray Ray) and she was concerned about where she was.
She's also always watching them and letting me know if they're doing something that they shouldn't.
Shiloh's also been really good about watching where she's going and not rushing in her usual way, so she doesn't bowl anyone over. ;-)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Watching Oz in Sg

The Internet connection has been spotty at best, it comes and goes and even varies depending on the laptop's location so I haven't been posting nearly as much as I expected too.
We took the girls out to breakfast this morning and found some "moving grass" along the way.
I don't know the real name and this connection can't handle me opening another page to search, but the fine leaves of this plant close up as soon as you touch it.
I remembered it from last time so I had to try to find some to show the girls again. :)
*I finally got a chance to look it up and it's called  Mimosa or shy grass.
You can see videos of it too. :)
We also found a huge snail with a beautiful coiled shell that was just on the sidewalk.
There are also other things to contend with in this tropical climate.
Like waking to a giant foreign bug on the bed, having a gecko run across your feet on a midnight potty trip.
Hearing geckos chirping all night or weird jungle bird sounds shouting at you from a tree over your head.
The general rudeness of the people is something I haven't missed.
Yeah, you don't miss people swinging their bags or purses into your childrens' heads or running their carts into you without so much as an apology...rather a dirty look for being in their way!
I realized I was the only in the entire Mall (so it seemed) that ever said "Excuse me."
Also rather surprised that the kids aren't more...I'm not sure what the word is, maybe focused on as much as in the US. At least in this house.
There are six little girls in this house this weekend, all ages 1-6 years old.
(It gets a bit overwhelming!")
So I would expect there to be more toys available and probably a running cartoon or kids movie on.
Toys are brought down one at a time (even for ALL these kids) then picked up promptly and the adults watch whatever they want on the TV.
I think maybe these are DH's brother's "Rules" but I can't be sure.

Anyways I have four little girls (including my own) in our room now watching "The Wizard of Oz" and playing a fishing game. :)
Also LOATHE, the bathrooms here.
Squatting toilets are really ewie...and I would never even think of taking the girls to one of those. :-S
But my main problem is the slipperiness! My goodness I'm surprised half the population hasn't died in the bathrooms.
Shiloh fell during her her first shower, and our almost 2yr. old niece fell last night and badly gashed her gum when she hit the toilet on the way down..
They don't have the medicines or anything that I would use to treat this injury on my girls either.
We couldn't even find her popsicles! :(
Constantly wet tile floors are just the worst design ever.
Anyways I think she'll be okay, but really it could have been so much worse!
She's a sweet baby too. Randomly singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" all day long and she was very concerned when the lion was crying on the "Wizard of Oz." :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012


We started our travels with a ride to NYC to catch a plane.
We went over the George Washington bridge (costs $12!)
Then Shiloh wanted to know if they had a bridge for every President and could we go over the "Obama bridge" next? lol
We rode in a Sienna Minivan, of which we saw quite a few on the road, and I was trying to tout its many features to DH.
I don't think I was able to convince him any though. ;-)
There were carseats for the girls and they fell asleep pretty quickly...that was great because it was quite a long drive with lots of heavy traffic made worse by the odd widespread power outtages and emergency vehicles.

We only had to go through security one through our flights, which was a first for us.
Usually we've had to go through security at the layover as well which is a pain with kids...and DH. ;-)
There were lots of movies for the kids and they were at a much easier age for traveling than previously.
I had some concerns about Vivian and the airplane potty and also with her possibly waking inconsolable because that has happened...especially if she's eaten something that bothered her stomach.
But she did great!
I brought new coloring books and those kept the girls happy during our layover. Plus some new books for Shi to read and their favorite treat of lollipops and they were really good travelers.

It has been stormy lately which actually is nice because it keeps it cooler.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Gingerbread hats

I did manage to finish the girls hats.
I worked last night and this morning and got them done.
It's already getting chilly enough to wear a hat, so I thought it was best to push and get them done.
Gingerbread hats!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kids say....

The girls were so cute today.
Vivian asked me "Mama, do you have any more of that delicious Tornado soup?"
Shi comes running over "What's Tornado soup?"
"She means Tomato."
Vivian: "I want some more Tornado soup!"
Shiloh was complaining to me and Vivi ran over.
"No I didn't, Mama! Shiloh is lining!"
Shiloh: "No, I'm not....What? I'm lining?!?! Do you mean lying or lining, Vivian?"
Vivian: "Yes Shiloh! You're lining about me!"
Shiloh: "Mom, I can't line about her. I don't even know what that is!"
Then later on I was explaining to Shiloh what an "addiction" was.
She suddenly yelled "I know about that! It's like me and Lick-a-sticks! Once I have one, I can't stop and I want another one!"
So funny! Kind of odd that she picked Lick-a-stick as her candy example though since I haven't bought those in a long time!
After much trial and error...I completed two crochet hats.
I still need to decorate them, but I don't think I'm going to get a chance to get to them for awhile yet...(though I really want to finish maybe!)
Anyways Ta da! Here they are so far.

Girls are cute, but the hats aren't much to look at...yet.
I think they'll be nice when I'm done though.
Plus I learned a lot about crocheting and became much faster and confident at it.
Just what I need...another hobby. haha!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mission Impossible: Turtle Escapade

We had to leave the house early this morning, since Vivian had an early dentist appointment and her Dentist is about an hour away.
We were rushing this morning because we woke a little late and we had to leave pretty early.
We had a busy day with a lot of errands and when we got home early this afternoon I was running around washing the kids hands, taking off their coats and shoes, and putting groceries away.
We had picked up some fast food, so I was going to feed the girls but I decided I would take a second to feed the turtles and turn on their basking light first.
I brought the food over to their tank and...there's only one turtle.
Um, there's supposed to be two.
I start moving the stones around in the tank.
Still just one turtle.
I take all the plants out, rinse them out in the sink carefully.
Still just one turtle.
It seems utterly impossible that one escaped so we keep looking under the rocks but the second turtle never appears.
So then we launch the big search.
DH asks which turtle is missing.
Well, when the turtles are together, one is dark green and one is lighter green.
But when you're looking at just one turtle it's a little harder to tell.
 I said "Well, Katie just hides and Pillow Featherbed is more active so I think it's Pillow Featherbed that's missing."
Ugh, we never should have named her after Pillow Featherbed.
I mean there's a whole movie on the search for Pillow!
We shine flashlights under the TV stand.
DH and I pull out both of the couches.
We check all the heating vents.
 Pull out a bookcase to look behind it.
DH goes to the basement and bangs on the air intake pipe to hopefully scare the turtle towards the entrance if she fell in there. (That leads to the furnace so there's no way to get anything out really)
We call for her, after all she's a pretty friendly turtle...and what does it hurt?
Actually it's kind of fun to call for a turtle like Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street call for fish.
"HERE! turtle,turtle,turtle,turtle,turtle!" ;-)
I pull out everything in the playroom and look behind everything.
Then I go take a closer look at the turtle we still have.
"Wait! THIS is Pillow Featherbed!"
Pillow Featherbed has a little white mark on her shell where it was scraped. It's hard to see when her shell is wet but it's there if you look closely.
"Oh No..that means Katie is the missing one." (((GROAN)))
Katie is much more shy.
She swims away from us frantically, she tries to hide under stones in her tank.
So she will be hiding and probably under something.
We move the dining room table so we can look under the rug.
Shine flashlights under the stove and refrigerator and washing machine.
Move my super heavy piano.
DH get mondo points for diving head-first into this all out search for a little baby turtle...not many guys I know would go this far.
We pull off the front vent off the fridge.
Dig through the shoe rack.
Inspect my printer, which happens to sitting on the floor since I'm working on a print job.
Go through every bag and box at floor level that she might have crawled into.
We've found one green block, one orange crayon, one spider, and three monkeys from the Barrel of Monkey's game...but no turtle.
We're starting to get really concerned because we've looked everywhere, and how long can she go without water?
Then I said "I'm going to go through the feather dusters (they are tucked next to our washing machine) and then use them to clean under the appliances." hoping to find her under one of those.
I paused to look under all the kitchen rugs and Shiloh went ahead and pulled out the feather dusters because she wanted to help me dust....and there sitting on the floor was Katie.
She had hidden herself in the feather dusters and she was just laying there with her eyes closed.
I nervously poked her and she moved but she was quite cold and covered with fuzz.
I rinsed her off in warm water and put her back in the tank, and she seems fine.
We added warm water to the tank and took out the plants that she must have used for her impossible escape.
Now the turtles just have a little island in the center.
(Below: Katie back in her tank...finally!)
Whew! Never think of turtles as a boring pet!
Drama, drama, drama!
I mean how in the world did this tiny turtle climb out of her tank (assuming she climbed the plants), then fall off the little table their tank is on...thankfully the floor is carpeted.
Then she scrambled across our living room, dining room, kitchen, and into the laundry room to nestle herself into the feather dusters?!?!
What in the world!
I need a nap.
Just to share, The girls made these turtles out of paper plates the other day for a craft project.
They came out so cute. Shiloh painted nailpolish and jewelry on hers.
Hmm, maybe that was my first clue that her turtle would turn out to be the Drama Queen? ;-)

Friday, September 28, 2012

New classroom pets

They're not teens, they're not mutants, and (as far as I know) they aren't ninjas!
But...they are turtles!
The newest pet members of our family were gifted to the girls this week.
We weren't expecting them, so they had to spend a couple of days under a desk lamp until we could get to the pet store for a proper basking lamp and bulb.
This is Shiloh's turtle. She's more green colored and her name is "Katie".
Shiloh named her after the kids book "Katie did it"...where everything gets blamed on the little girl named Katie.
I don't think there's much she can blame a turtle for though..?
This is Vivian's turtle. She's more darker colored.
Vivian named her turtle after her favorite Lalaloopsy.
Introducing...."Pillow Featherbed"!!!
Both turtles just started eating today. It took them a few days to adjust.
Pillow Featherbed must have been quite hungry as she's been eating a lot!
And she loves the basking light...
Now that's a happy turtle.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Singing the praises of....

Vivian slept through the night!!
I know that laugh was a bit maniacal, but I got sleep, she got sleep, and most importantly she's not itchy and scratching herself raw.
The medicine lasts 24 hours and I notice she's not scratching herself nearly as much today as she has been, and really she hadn't slept through the night since her eczema started up this Fall.
I'm hoping it keeps working! :)
On the crafting front.
I had a coupon for Michael's so the girls and I stopped over there and were browsing their aisles.
Michael's is pretty new to us, we're more familiar with Joann's Fabrics.
I am interested in trying my hand in a lot of different crafts and hobbies, but I don't want to end up with a room full of craft supplies so I really have to reign myself in and stick to what I think is useful, and crafts that I'll truly invest in and enjoy doing.
So I went for supplies for crafts that I already dabble in. Michael's had a good supply of yarns, but a lot of small skeins of the fancy stuff (super fluffy, fake fur yarn, silky pom pom strands etc.) which I don't really use much.
So I opted to use my coupon on a new rotary cutter for fabrics (and other stuff).
I was cutting some slippery fabric with scissors the other day and it was nearly impossible so hopefully this cutter will help with that.
Plus my scissors always end up with stuff like Elmer's glue on it, which makes them even less usable for fabrics so I'm kind of excited to see how the cutter works.
Unlike Joann's, which carries a wide variety, Michael's doesn't carry any fabrics at all nor all sewing supplies like buttons, machines and notions. I'm actually surprised they even had the cutter there!
They've invested more in frames, beading, and scrapbooking supplies. They had a nice selection of Wilton and baking supplies too.
But overall Joann's caters more to my sewing and knitting hobbies.
I have a couple of crochet items that I want to make.
I started out one project and realized the color of the yarn I was using, was not what I wanted so I bought the right color and I just need to start again.
The nice thing though is that my pattern was coming out right!
Crochet is pretty new to me so I was really happy that I was following this correctly on my first try.
I need to have the basic instructions right next to the pattern to help me through...and I have to stay motivated.
I can see how simple this pattern and stitches are, but still I have to concentrate and focus on each stitch since it's new to me and that is a bit frustrating.
It's tempting to just convert it to knitting and be be done with it, I could do it quickly while watching a show instead of stitch by stitch.
But I like the look the crochet lends to this project and it's good for my brain to try out new things, right?
Probably good for my patience level too. ;-)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Eczema routine

Dealing with Vivian's eczema-plagued skin is an on-going, day-by-day thing. :(
I did not give her Benadryl before bed last night.
Going to sleep is not a problem for her but she wakes in the middle of the night scratching and that's when she's most itchy (well that and after a bath).
She was still waking when she was on Benadryl anyway so it really wasn't helping with that issue.
So she woke up about 3 1/2 hours after she went to bed, that's pretty much on cue.
She's scratching and complaining about being itchy, but when I feel her belly in the dark it's really bumpy feeling.
I bring her downstairs and her belly is covered in hives! A few on her legs and other places as well.
Vivi does tend to break out in random hives, but seriously at this time she could use a break!
(She still has the stuffy nose going on too...)
I gave her Benadryl...and she ate a little and fell back asleep.
I went out today and found two different 24-hr. allergy medicines for her age group.
They both had different active ingredients, one Claritin and one Zyrtec and I didn't have a clue which one to choose.
Thankfully they had pharmacists working on a Sunday!
The pharmacist was very helpful and explained either one might help her. We just don't know which one her body would react best to.
So he advised trying the Zyrtec first as he sees that working more often.
So then I went to get her the Cetaphil bar/soap and I thought about what the pharmacist said, and really the Cetaphil hasn't "helped" just doesn't make her skin worse.
So I found this Basis sensitive skin bar and decided to try that instead.
I'm also trying to wash her mostly with just water and using the soap just for parts that need more cleaning, then our usual routine of baby oil and vaseline on the itchy places.
Hopefully this is a eczema-kicking...or at least eczema-controlling routine!
I guess I'll see what the night brings!
Driving home from shopping, I mentioned to the girls how nice it is to have all these stores just a short drive from home.
I told them when I was a kid we had to drive pretty far to go shopping and we didn't even a Wal-Mart for a long time (I'm so old! lol).
Shiloh looked at me seriously "You couldn't even get liverwurst?!?!"
That was the worst thing that came to her mind, being far from liverwurst.
That's my daughter. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hello Fall!

What better way to ring in the Autumn Season than by visiting a Cider Mill and Craft show? :)
The weather was cooperating, it really didn't look like it was going to but it turned out to be a lovely morning.
I wish I had brought my camera because there were more photo ops than I expected, but then again I had my hands full with pushing the stroller on sand and gravel, keeping my eyes on the girls, and balloon animals that kept blowing away.
It was crowded but fun.
I should have made the girls wear sneakers though, they kept getting sand and pebbles in their sandals and they hate that.
I hadn't been there before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was quite nice.
They didn't have a petting zoo though, and I was looking forward to that.
I finally asked a staff member and he said they used to have a few goats, but not anymore.
Shiloh's eyes lit up at the sight of the candy apple stand, so we had to grab a couple!
The girls very first ones!
They licked them a bit and then we put them in the fridge, I think they'll last awhile and Mommy and Daddy will probably end up eating most of the apple! :)
The only downside was that Vivian wasn't feeling too great.
She's sneezy and stuffy.
I'm not sure if it's an allergy or she's coming down with a cold.
I gave her Benadryl last night for her skin and it seemed to work because she woke up itching & scratching 5 1/2 hours after I gave it to her.
It's supposed to last 4-6 hours.
I gave her another dose then and she slept through until morning.
I may have to look and see if I can find a longer-lasting allergy medicine for her age so she can actually sleep through the night though.
There was also a sluice, water mill, and covered bridge and those were really neat to see.
Then we saw a board showing different precious stones so I was having Shiloh try to read the names to me.
When she got to Pyrite and I asked her if she knew another name for it.
She thought for a moment and said "Yes, I do! It's Fool's Gold!"
I was agape "How did you know that?"
"I read it in a book!"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Last day of Summer

It was a beautiful day! :)
The girls and I spent a good couple hours outside today playing and doing yardwork.
I washed a load of rugs and hung them out to dry.
I had three bushes that needed trimming. One bush is supposed to be pruned this time of year, one in the spring, and the other I didn't bother looking up.
I had the time now so I did them all. I find that works best.
The garden is mostly empty now so the girls had a lot of fun digging there.
Shiloh was very busy "planting stones" while Vivian "gave the plants some dirt." :)
We also briefly tried Shi's bike without the training wheels, but that didn't last too long.
She's not that great at balancing on her feet so it might be a stretch to try it now. lol.
She was also eating an apple the other day and loosened up another one of her teeth pretty good...Stop growing little girl! :)
The girls have been a bit chilled sometimes with the changing temperatures so I grabbed a couple of little crib quilts for them and put them in the living room so they can grab those instead of the big crocheted afghans.
 They have loved it so much and now they're constantly camping out somewhere with pillows and the quilts, reading or watching a movie, or tucking in their dolls and so on. :)
It's those simple little things!
Unfortunately the changing temps and humidity affects Vivian badly.
I always think/hope that she'll outgrow it but every spring and fall we go through a flare up of her eczema.
She's so itchy after her bath that I'm really thinking of switching her to showers this time of year....even though she really doesn't like those.
But worse is her waking up in the middle of the night just inconsolably itchy.
She scratches herself so bad and it's just awful.
I gave her Benadryl before bed tonight and I'm hoping that does the trick because she's been so tired and a bit irritable from the lack of sleep.
She really needs to get a good night's sleep...and it wouldn't her Mama either!
(I just realized I've been using her snake soap for her baths, so I need to switch her to Cetaphil now that her skin is acting up.)
Poor kiddo.
It's easier to be sympathetic now, it's much harder at 2am.
We took the girls to the playground the other day and I thought to bring my camera.
This playground even has a porta-potty.
I've got to say, all playgrounds should have some type of potty available. ;-)

Some little boys were on the playground, they were smaller than Shiloh but boy were they daring.
I guess that's the difference with boys.
Anyways they were blocking Shiloh's way with their play, so she politely backed up so they could pass. But they didn't.
So then Vivian came up and the two of them started to go forward together like a little plow. lol.
Just reminded me of myself and my sister. :)
Then the boys' Dad noticed and told the boys to get out of the way, but DH was coming right behind the girls so I knew they were going to move either way.