Saturday, December 31, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
I guess we’ve been here long enough to make a few things permanent. We have two credit cards we can’t use here without international fees and even when we visit home we have another card available. I called today to cancel those two credit cards but had delayed the call for weeks and weeks because I hate the typical high pressure script they read to try to get you to stay a member, offer new cards, entice you with junk.
Today I had the perfect get out of the call fast and efficient solution. I began the call by simply explaining I have been living overseas for a year and can no longer use the card. I also do not get paid in US currency so I won’t be using the card. Only question she asked is if we were returning soon to the US. I told her not for many years. Done. Over. No pressure. No “let me just let you talk to my manager about this decision” excuses or delays. She just cancelled the accounts and I was off the phone! I may be using this excuse the rest of my life no matter where I live!!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Ben: "Mom Jake is trying to stand up potty!"
Maddie: "That's okay. He has a p____ so he can."
Jake: "Yep. Sure do! I go like this."
Maddie then interupts him running in the bathroom and proceeds to try and teach him how to do it. At this point I had to intervene. From what deep well of knowledge and experience is she drawing in order to qualify her as the teacher?
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
When we got back to Ben and Maddie in the theatre I tried hiding the drink from Jacob. He searched. So I swapped his for an empty cup. He popped the lid off and ate ice for a few minutes before he wiggled down off his seat and went to trade Maddie for her drink, which was nearly full. All told he had a super successful potty training day!
I was heading on the BKE to the PIE when the GPS said take the SLE to the CTE. Of course there was more heavy rain and a big accident at the SLE-CTE-TPE interchange. Finally we got past the CTE onto the AYE and on to Plaza Singapura but instead of having time to shop we went strait to the movie. This is the first sit down movie for Jake and we are potty training. No success before we went into the theatre. We'll just have to see how this goes.
This overseas stuff throws a wrench into everything “normal” I try to do. I thought I was doing great. Got our family pictures in October. My friend who took the picture designed a custom card in November. Check out her website – she’ll be here for another year, then back in Utah. Then I had to write the letter with updates on everyone in the family.
Finally I tried to print our holiday cards here in Singapore first of December, but that cost plus international stamps gave me heartburn. I considered. I waited. I found a cheaper option (stamps go on sale here). I patiently waited for the stamp sale to start. Then I find out people who used sale stamps the last few years have the cards arrive in the US in February. Plus delivering the cards to me IN Singapore FROM Singapore cost nearly $50 and took 3 weeks! Seriously? How big is this island? Or a “rush” delivery still takes 5 days but costs $100.
So I shopped online in the USA to have things automatically stamped and mailed. Headache. I have a custom card ready to upload and no one will take it without adding their own border/holly berry/snowman/ribbon/text on top of my already designed card. Eventually I went into denial mode. If I wait a day or two things will get simpler/cheaper/easier/better, right? And here we are…Christmas in a week. Nothing ordered. Leaving tomorrow on a short trip tomorrow while our kids are out of school for holiday break.
I finally ordered the cards this morning for bulk delivery on Saturday. Then I sent off an email seeking slave labor from my nephew and maybe his siblings to stuff the envelopes. Not really slave labor I guess, since I’ll pay them. He’s trying to earn money to go to Washington DC on a school trip. Of course we lived there six years and he goes after we leave…but still, he’s going to go see a pretty cool place and I’m all about helping that happen! Don’t worry, Brian’s mom will do it if the kids won’t. She’s great like that. So they may be late (my fault), but they will arrive, hopefully by New Years. For now, here’s the preview of the card.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
It is genuine surprise over what a boring adult would call a highly predictable bell? Is it excitement over who they will stand by in line? Who will be the line leader today? Is it joy knowing they are off to another fun lesson inside? Or is it just releasing one last voluminous yelp because in the building they know they can't run around like the wild monkeys that they are? They are so free to express themselves. When does the desire to be cool supersede the natural instinct to be loud and wild and crazy?
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I’m having a rough day. You see, Brian found a corn dog on July 2nd at the Navy Base Independence Day celebration. I wanted one so bad, but I’d already gorged myself on an incredible heaping plate of Pilipino food and just couldn’t eat another bite. I’ve been on a hunt ever since.
Saturday night we were at Tanglin Mall and after we got on the escalator going up the little snack stand on the side had two sitting right there. We were heading to Chili’s for a fun family dinner, but I was so excited I turned around really fast and exclaimed while pointing, “LOOK!! A corndog!” Unfortunately for the woman who chose to insert herself in the middle of my family got whacked in the face by my hand. I was a bit embarrassed, but still, A CORNDOG!! I almost chose to forego the amazing Chili’s quesadilla for a cheap corndog.
So any expat can now understand why I’m having such a hard day. I need a corndog! Today I’m half way wishing I had the corndog on Saturday night. It might be time to swing past Tanglin Mall today for a quick errand.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Maddie spends hours creating and has a great imagination. Her skill is really developing and some days I think she is better at art than Ben despite him being two years older. It's probably also because she tries so hard to make things perfect and he rushes through to be done with it and do something else as fast as he can. The other day she used up almost an entire ream of colored paper making gigantic flowers with full sheets of paper glued in circular shape. They were all about fifteen sheets big and she was so proud. Her life is just like those flowers. Colorful. She loves spice in her life. Variety. Change. Mostly she loves beauty.
She has told me lots of times lately that I'm the best mom is the entire world. When I ask why she always says its because my clothes are so pretty that day. I think she is a big fan of my maternity wardrobe. I admit it's a nice step up from the old, worn T-shirt selection I am otherwise found wearing. Maddie loves pretty clothes, dishes, jewelry, art, toys, shoes and everything else. It's fun to have someone notice and appreciate when I do put extra work into making something special. We love her in our family.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Brian’s been gone all week working in Malaysia. Phone woke me up at 4am this morning after I was up doing cub scouts until 12:30am. I’m tired so it’s pizza night. I logged onto Pizza Hut to get delivery and saw a new pizza option for the holiday season, “Jolly Glee” pizza. Curious what this holiday offering was I clicked. Tell me if you are salivating…
With a cheese-stuffed crust sprinkled with parmesean cheese, the Jolly Glee Pizza is baked on a bed of mashed potato and cranberry sauce. Topped with turkey bacon, roasted chicken, capsicums, pineapple and onions, it comes with cheesy pastry strips and juicy cherry on top.
Yikes! I’ll stick with a the Hawaiian or maybe a supreme. Even supreme has some interesting additions (and a few sad subtractions – we miss American pepperoni). Actually, those are the only two pizza flavors I will order here. Makes selection pretty quick when you don’t want Chicken Curry Pizza, Ocean Catch Pizza or Chicken Supreme (chicken ham and spicy chicken chunks with onion, capsicums and mushrooms).
Oh yeah, we tried the stuffed crust pizza last weekend in Malyasia. Imagine a tube of velveta off the shelf. Open packet, squeeze the rubbery wanna-be cheese around the pizza and fold over the crust. Don’t need to try that again!
Fourth time around but it still gets me. Just how long is pregnancy? And how far along am I?
Pregnancy = 40 weeks
Month = 4 weeks
Therefore pregnancy is 10 months, right? I know, the 29th, 30th and 31st ‘s of the months throw off that simple calculation. Plus you’re not actually pregnant the first two weeks and I’m delivering two weeks early this time, so this time really is 9 months. Still, here is where I have trouble.
I just finished my 24th week. I’m showing. People are asking, “How far along are you?” And, “How much longer do you have?” Well if I’m 24 weeks then I’m six months, right? But if I’m supposed to answer how much longer then I have to say 16 weeks and that’s four months. And it’s depressing to have four months left.
I noticed three days ago, Dec 6, that I’m three months from my scheduled delivery date of March 6 (two weeks early because it’s the fourth c-section). Boy did that ever make my day! There will be an end and it’s in sight.
I thought, for the kids sake, that I wanted this baby to move like Ben did so the kids could feel him/her and get excited. Maddie was turned wrong so she kicked my pelvic wall and bladder. Jacob jabbed sharply at my rib cage and upper body for months on end.
Well, he/she is properly aligned to entertain the siblings. And sometimes it’s a bit obnoxious. I’d forgotten that part after eight years. My laptop gets kicked (effectively pinching my skin between the baby and the keyboard) and I see my belly move out of the corner of my eye sometimes and it catches me by surprise.
What a wiggly baby! I sure got what I asked for so far. The kids are totally connected to this baby. They hug and snuggle and kiss my belly and talk about how to make it happy when it “comes out.” Ben is still quiet and reserved when talking about it. Maddie plans things for the baby. Jacob tells me all the things he will to “to make my baby happy.” I didn’t realize how excited they would really be and it makes me happy.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Maybe I need to cross stitch the rules and hang them on display.
1. Lift the seat.
2. Flush the mess.
3. Wash your hands.
4. Wash them again because we both know you didn't use soap, you little punk. Love you.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Today we were reading Chris Patch's blog about their family adventures in Nepal and showing the kids who we will be spending a few days with in Cambodia in two weeks. We were noticing all the things that are different there and I thought to ask the question of Maddie what she is enjoying about Singapore. She couldn't immediately think of what she likes (as opposed to the USA) so I began suggesting things.
This is the face I got, accompanied with a dramatic eye roll, when I asked if she likes the squatters.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
There are several places tithing is mentioned. We are to pay a tithe, or a tenth, of our increase annually to the Lord. Not because he needs our money, frankly he'll be just fine without it, but because I need to learn to give it and recognize what is mine is really the Lords anyway.
When all the lemonade stand sales were done and the pitchers were empty Ben brought in the dishes and was off to play. Now comes the hard lesson. Sunday morning he reminded me that in the craziness of the day I hadn't paid his allowance on Saturday. True. We handled that and as he put his "Fun Money" into his piggy bank after paying his bills (tithing and savings) I remarked how he sure had a lot more money than I remembered him having last week. He is saving for a Nintendo DS and is keeping meticulous track of his progress and reports it proudly to me each week. He had about $22 last week. This week, after allowance he had about $32. I asked where it came from. The lemonade stand. Of course. I forgot. He had made $7.50 selling lemonade.
Now what? Yuck. Parenting can be rough. I mentioned that he hadn't yet payed his bills on that money yet. He was dumbstruck. What bills? Tithing. Of course he had to pay on the money I give him. I guess it's just part of the deal in his mind. I pay him and then I take his money back. He hadn't ever thought about it before that you had to pay tithing on other money. Luckily this time Brian was around. I asked, "Dad, what happens to your money when you get paid from work?" Sensing exactly where I was going, he gave an appropriate response about tithing first, then taxes, then bills, then fun. I explained that the Bible says we play on our "increase" and increase means what more we have than we had before. Did he have more on Sunday than he had on Friday? Yep. So the Lord expected that he would need to pay a tithe on that money.
Life lessons are hard, especially when you are seven years old. He took it well, after the shock wore off. He still came out ahead. The piggy bank flashes a bigger number today than it did on Friday. And hopefully it won't be a surprise next time he does a lemonade stand. I think he'll be happy to honor the Lord next time, you know, when he's mentally budgeted for the expense. Hopefully by learning the importance of tithing now will make it easier to be faithful and diligent when times are tough in college or later in his life. Those are the times that the blessings of obedience are really seen. This much I know to be true: the windows of heaven shower down blessings on those who consistently, deliberatly obey Gods laws, even when it's hard to do.
First thing Saturday morning (I was up at 4am thawing the turkey, they came down about 6:45) they wanted to get started. It wasn't a good time and we had limited supply of ice because I had party plans for most of it. I suggested that most people would probably want to eat breakfast and get dressed before they wanted lemonade. We formally scheduled the big event for 10am. They quickly polished off a bowl of cereal each and bounded up the stairs to the craft area to make the signs they would need. By 7:30 they were ready, but the crowds, I assumed, were still in bed on a lazy Saturday morning in the middle of a four day weekend. Maddie asked about every 30 minutes if it was 10 o'clock yet and Ben asked about each thing to make sure we were ready.
As the clock ticked the minutes away, Brian peeled potatoes, I washed green beans and we both realized we needed to pick up the deep fryer to make absolutely certain our monsterous turkey would fit because going strictly by weight, it was oversized for the pot. If this plan wasn't going to work, we needed to get that bird in the oven immediately or there would be no dinner! We took the family and the wagon to get it at about 9:45. We verified it would indeed fit and headed to the grocery store to get lemonade stand cups and a couple other random groceries for the afternoon.
Beep, beep, beep went the scanner at the checkout counter and as we looked out the window into the courtyard my heart sunk. It was a downpour the likes of which are hard to explain to a Utahn. We got home from the store and unloaded the car. Ben knew it wasn't a good time so started to play and do random clean up tasks to get ready for our guests. Somewhere along the line the rain stopped but it was soon approaching 1:30 and that meant turkey time. I snagged the three little people to come and see just what we were going to eat. Everyone needed stools and it took a minute to get all situated so everyone could see the show. It was totally entertaining for me to snap photos as Brian explained the anatomy of the headless, footless bird to three wide eyed kids. Then he pulled out the neck and the innards and showed them what they were and explained the jobs of the parts.
Then it was into the pot for Mr. Turkey and within minutes the rain returned full force. Knowing my patient Ben had had enough of the months of waiting only to have to keep waiting today I suggested we make up the lemonade and have it all ready to add ice when the rain stopped. He was keen on that idea so he picked two flavors, I threw in the sugar and he happily mixed them up. Then he got a toy bin and his signs and tape and got ready to wait.
About 2:30 he'd had enough waiting. He set up shop in our driveway under the cover and waited. And waited. And waited. See, we live on a quiet, dead end circle of a road at the extreme most back corner. And it was RAINING! No one was going to be walking around. He had made signs for the main road, but didn't want the rain to ruin them so he hadn't posted them up on the light poles and trees. Finally the rain slowed to a medium sprinkle instead of a full on downpour. He opened the door and yelled, "I'm going to know tell people I'm selling lemonade!" And off he went to knock the doors of the neighbors.
Soon enough he had his first three customers and made $1.50. In a while he got two more kids to come over and at S$0.50 (US$0.38) he felt like he was getting rich quick. That was of course his last customer other than all our dinner guests who began arriving at 2:30. John and Jenna, the British couple, only had a $50 bill, which Ben couldn't break, so I loaned them $2.50 and they and their three kids all had a delicious warm cup. The ice melted instantly in the Singapore heat so nothing was cold. They thought it was such fun to buy lemonade from a real lemonade stand. It's something they had literally only seen in the movies. That made me chuckle. Silly Brits. Really though, Silly Americans, sitting in the driveway with juice and cups on an old cardboard box.
8 Remember the asabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it
If we aren't to work on the Sabbath and we shouldn't cause other people to work either then I can't justify shopping on Sunday or sports events or amusement parks or the like. That much we've been firm on. The keep it holy is a lot more subjective and I genuinly struggle with what is in the spirit of keeping the Sabbath a holy day. We give the green light to family dinners and inviting friends over to dine with us but keep it low key and only if it's a full family event for both us and our guests or inviting someone over in need. We try not to go to parties and such where, though it may be loads of good pool party/laser tag/moon bouncing fun, we won't be drawn closer to the Lord through our attendance. See what I mean? Hard line to draw.
Now that the kids are getting older we are having to deal with this commandment more and more with our kids. Ben just accepts as a given that we won't join a sports team that has Sunday practice and games, we left the cub scout campout as soon as we woke up instead of staying for the days events, so we could get packed up, showered and to church on time (and even that attendance was debated before we decided to go). We don't have playdates with neighbor kids on Sunday unless it is a small family event where their entire family is invited to enjoy time with us our entire family.
The kicker at our house these days is the birthday party invites. He knows from the time he sees that invitation come home in back pack mail that if it says "Sunday" it's the kiss of death for him. Ben has not yet ever complained, but that doesn't mean his sweet, innocent heart isn't broken and that we haven't had tears.
We said no to a birthday pool party this week because it was on Sunday but he held onto the anticipation of another party on the calendar. Two weeks ago he brought home an invite to a party for one of his very favorite classmates. It was a Laser Tag party and it was on SATURDAY!! I was about as happy as he was that he could go. He has been anxiously waiting for the big day this weekend. Early this week my heart felt like it was being ripped in two pieces as I read my email. The mother of the friend sent a note out that went something like this..."Oops! We are so sorry, but we put the wrong date on the invite. The party is actually on Sunday, Dec 4. We hope the schedule change doesn't mean you'll miss the party." What am I supposed to do? I know what I have to do, but I'm chicken. I waited two whole days to tell Ben. Finally I knew I had no choice but to break the news. He cried and threw himself on the couch. Not a single word of protest emerged though. He knows it's God's law, not mom's rule. And he is an obedient child.
I wish so much that other Christians felt the same as I do. I wish I didn't stand alone so often. I wish that more Christians chose not to do things on the Sabbath so that when I'm questioned and I explain my religious belief is based on the 10 Commandments my friends of other faiths didn't question me saying their (fill in the blank other Christian) friends do things on Sunday. I know. I know they do. But I don't. I wish so much that there were more people that remembered. It would make for so many less birthday party heart breaks in my home. For now I accept that we are peculiar. I know someday Ben (and Maddie and Jacob and #4) will hate me for our stand. But I feel like it's the right thing to teach them. I pray I have the faith and stamina to stay true. Because it's hard to make your little boy cry. His broken heart in turn breaks mine.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
I started laughing and Ben looked relieved from the akward position in which I had placed him when I said, "It doesn't really look that great, does it?"
"Mom, why rescue pack is singing all the time?"
"I'm not sure. Do you like it?"
"No. He is just singing TOO much every day he does sing."
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Scout campout was this weekend. It rained. The mud was so bad I lost my shoes in the suction cup action more than once. Literally used a scrub brush to clean my legs in the shower because it would not come off my shins. Clean up has been a long and slow process because I spent so many hours at the school Monday and Tuesday. Everything had to be hosed off, scrubbed down and dried out. Then packed and stored.
When Mary and Auntie arrived this morning to clean we still had leaves in the living and dining room despite vacuuming twice as we dried and folded the tent inside. The tarp was a quarter clean and a pile of nasty mud caked croc sandals lay by the hose awaiting round two scrub downs. I wanted to cry tears of gratitude when I glanced out the window and saw Auntie, who in America would be nearing retirement age, squatting and scrubbing a pile of crocs. Then I noticed she had finished and folded up the muddy tarp. They are angels to me. Life is good. I am blessed.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
When she saw the flower shop she first wanted to buy flowers for me. She picked chrysanthemums that were dyed nearly neon green because, she reasoned, I like the color green.
Looking around I showed her what I thought looked like my moms favorite flower that she always has in the front flower boxes in the front yard. Then she decided I didn't need flowers but Ms. Kiran did and chose what I had pointed out as grandma's favorite. Two other girls joined in picking to buy the teacher flowers too. One cute girl has a tendency to boss Maddie around and either make her choices for her or copy whatever Maddie does so they are always exactly the same (from walking exactly next to each other to coloring a butterfly the same on every single stripe and polka dot).
After a bit of time with her friend at the flower shop she finally whispered in my ear that she was changing her plan and giving them to Ms. Fitzah. I was proud she was thinking on her own and being so selfless in her thoughts because most days she would have only wanted flowers for herself.
Jake of course isn't quite there yet. We now have chrysanthemums dyed neon blue in the middle of our dinner table. The kids all love them and I'd say they were totally worth $0.80.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Maybe I've taken too much creative license with my translation/interpretation thinking he automatically switched into French, a language he absolutely does know. But the timing was fantastic and I started laughing.
By the way, Maddie and Ben remembered their parts and did great.
Friday, November 18, 2011
dead bolt unlocked and went to bed. He came in about 4am and was as quiet as
humanly possible...but I'm pregnant so even the slightest noise makes me
wake and then have to get up to use the bathroom. He went to sleep and I
surfed the web on my phone laying in bed. Finally it was time to get up and
shower. As I walked out the bedroom door to face the day I saw his suitcase,
unzipped but still closed, with just a touch of pink plaid like fabric.
Immediatly I was puzzled.
I knew his subwoofer went out (a certifiable male emergency) so he had been
shopping two nights in Tokyo. Japan runs off 100V power which is close
enough to the US 110V to make it workable. He didn't want to buy a 220V one
if we will only be here two more years. Since he had been out shopping were
my eyes playing tricks on me? Was it a salmon colored plaid work shirt he
had picked up? I opened his bag and was giddy with excitement!
THANK YOU HEATHER GILLESPIE!! (And whomever Brian knows from Fairfax that
was traveling to Tokyo the same week!) No, Brian did not buy himself pink or
even salmon colored attire. Heather sent us a boat load of hand me downs
previously destined for Dani's Duds. I love you. I love you! So cute. You
are the best, and she got it all together with a adorable four week old baby
keeping her up at night. You rock. Shopping here is either beyond expensive
or Chinatown quality. This is a real blessing. Thanks a million!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
I had the best of intentions today. Jake was going to watch an hour to hour and a half of kid shows on cable while I caught up on finances. What did I actually do this morning? Got sidetracked on facebook after seeing a note about the Patches visiting us in Singapore. Then I talked with the Patches in Nepal about meeting up with his family on their US State Dept R&R leave. They are doing a tour of S.E. Asia and all the sites are close to us. I’m thinking Angkor Wat the day after the kids get out of school for break. I’ve always thought if there would be anyone to travel with it would be the Patches. They are always ready for adventure and ALWAYS know about cool things I would have never found out about. I can’t wait!!
Then I got messaged by some of my old church youth girls who are away at college and another new Singapore friend called to plan out our Thanksgiving plans so we searched online for all the required dishes and planned who is bringing what.
Jake? He got two good hours of Diego/Dora/Bubble Guppies/Little Bill/Max and Ruby and whatever else came on. I tried to get him to go on a walk together, ride bikes outside with me, play games but he has no interest and I wasn’t overly motivated since I had made no progress on my own tasks so I let him be. I still only put in five receipts put into Quicken for the day. Guess he gets twenty more minutes of tube time and then we’ll go pick up Maddie – officially ending the so called productive part of my day. What a laugh that is today. Productive. Ha.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Jacob is weepy. He needs a nap. We have friends over for the day while their parents are away on holiday and Jacob just came downstairs crying. I asked what the trouble was and he told me, “Maddie says Micah is this many,” showing me three fingers.
I replied that he WAS that many.
“NOPE!” He’s this many!” showing me two fingers again.
This went on for a bit and I tried to remind him how we had blue cupcakes at Micah’s house last week and now he was three. All to no avail. He finally ended by telling me Micah was NOT Ben and Maddie’s age and left the room. I think I lost the argument.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
On the way home Ben and Corbin switched places and Tia and Maddie did too. The girls switched as much as they possibly could switch on a car ride - hair bows, clips, sweaters, shoes and glasses. Funny part was that neither Tia nor Corbin could keep the glasses on. I'm sure they gave them headaches after two minutes or less. Of course my kids didn't understand what the problem was. I can't wait for the day they have contact lenses and then try glasses. Then they will totally get it.
Friday, November 4, 2011
tail and bow in it at Shon's house. Today I noticed how when I do cut it
he's going to really darken up. All the blond must be baby hair because his
roots are much, much darker than the bleached blond hair he used to have.
That makes me sad. Not only do kids look much older once they get their
first cut but he'll no longer be my solo blond kid. Maybe he'll actually
look like my kid now.
Just for kicks I'm waiting to cut it until his birthday in a few weeks.
Seriously, who hits the three year mark and has never had a cut yet? That's
just plain nuts.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I decided it was better to scrap everything but get dressed, eat and brush teeth and let them rest. We got up twenty minutes later yesterday and no one had reading time because they were dragging too much. They did wake naturally though. I was going to give them thirty minutes but someone got up to use the toilet. They are all sooooo tired still from our trip and to put Halloween on top adds up to a risk situation of potential tears and tantrums at every turn.
It that weird of me to say "use the toilet" instead of "go to the bathroom"? It's one Singapore thing I've picked up on. Makes lift easier here to be sure. What the heck is a restroom anyway? I don't nap and rest there. And bathrooms at the mall? Aren't any bathtubs there to be seen.
In Australia, and I'm pretty sure British people too after having my friend Jenna over last night to trick or treat, say wee or wee-wee instead of pee or tinkle. Translate that for the poor people at South Bend Park in Brisbane. We had eight kids and a merry go round late on a Friday night at the boardwalk park along the river. As they spun round and round and round they would all squeal at the to of their lungs "Wee! Wee! Wee!" over and over and over. The Aussies probably think there were a bunch of crass American kids at the past last weekend. I think it's funny.
Then there were the young twenty something's on their way out clubbing. Dressed to impress this group of six or seven were saying f-this and f-that and f-her and lots more of the same in fine Aussie accents as Maddie and I crossed paths with them along the boardwalk. After they had passed us up Maddie, holding my hand as we walk, looks up in my eyes and says, "Funny how grown ups in Australia always talk in another language here, right?"
I smiled and simply agreed. Between the curse words she had never heard and the accent she had no idea what they were even saying. How can I capture that innocence and hold it forever. Maddie who began as an angel then grew into my biggest challenge for three long years has become one of my sweetest delights again in the last six months. I love being friends again with my sweet girl. She is beautiful. Her smile contagious and freely gives. She is spontaneous and oozing with love to give away. She is wonderful.
And now it's time to wake the beasts.
Monday, October 31, 2011
In Brisbane Australia the sun was up and it was bright as noon by at least 5am. Problem. Add to that the time zone is two hours ahead of Singapore and my kids were up and wide awake before their cousins ever were and it was only 4am by their body clocks. Jake had three, maybe four naps the entire trip because he was having too much fun to slow down and bedtime was always at least an hour later than it would have been at home. All told they behaved incredibly well for the massive amount of sleep deprivation they were suffering.
Our eight hour return flight left at 2:30am and landed at 8:00am. Maddie and Jake both had a solid six hour sleep. Ben said he didn't sleep at all though I think he got three hours. I got one hour which followed my four hour night the day before. Not cool.
When we got home I took Maddie to gymnastics only to discover it was closed for fall break. Bummer we rushed. We came home and Brian was getting everyone showered. I was too tired to use my nice words so he took them all downstairs so I could nap. Maddie fell asleep at the tv and was down more than 4 hours. Jake slept only about an hour but was one hundred percent lethargic in front if the tv for over six hours. Brian took Ben to a birthday party and he fell asleep on the drive home then slept eleven and a half hours that night.
Looks like Jake needed just a little bit more. Isn't he cute?
Sunday, October 30, 2011
My big ultrasound is this Friday (or maybe Thursday). We’ll be able to tell if it’s a boy or a girl. But I’m hoping to have baby number four be surprise number one. What do you think? We packed all our baby girl and boy clothes, so it really doesn’t matter one single bit to me which we have. Okay - my obsession with fair does make me tend to want a girl, plus Maddie really, really, really wants a sister and I think everyone ought to have a sister. Other than that though it doesn’t matter and thus far the boys have been loads easier to figure out than our little girl so maybe, just maybe all boys are easier than girls.
When we were having Ben, we decided to have a surprise. We discussed. We decided. We were totally on the same page. Plus, I hated the color pink and it would prevent a Pepto Bismol colored baby shower with pink, pink, pink gifts everywhere to be seen. We show up at the ultrasound and I’m laying on the table when the tech asks, “Do you want to know the sex?” And in that instant I changed my mind. I HAD TO FIND OUT. This lady knew the answer and I needed to PLAN!! Of course we (I) want to know. I am fairly sure that when I looked at poor Brian sitting in the chair beside me I shot evil, fire daggers out of my eyes at him threatening him to even dare to go against me. He just said, “Okay.” When they said it was a boy, we were both excited. It’s what we had both wanted to start off with.
With Maddie we decided it would be nice to know if we needed to get anything different for clothes than what I had stowed away in bins of Ben’s old clothes. We thought it would be cool to have a girl so the pressure would be off if it was a girl and we chose to have any more then it wouldn’t matter. We both wanted to know this time. They told us it was a girl. We left the holding hands but were both pretty quiet. Brian was driving out of the parking lot when I finally couldn’t take it anymore, “Are you disappointed too?” “Yep.” “Okay. I was feeling bad about being sad it was a girl.” In my head I was thinking, “What are we going to do with a girl? I’m not fancy or pretty. I don’t even wear makeup. How will I raise a GIRL?? And what if she is artsy and likes pink and lace and dolls, not building with blocks and trains and science and math? I can’t do GIRLS!” We talked again the next day or maybe two days later and all our stupid fears about having a girl were gone. We were both REALLY excited to have a beautiful little girl.
Jacob was supposed to be my first surprise baby. The big ultrasound comes at 20 weeks and it’s supposed to be hard to tell before that, right? I had a regular appointment at about 15, maybe 16 weeks. My doctor was a fun older guy and did a quick ultrasound every visit in the beginning just because he had the machine in the room. So without Brian there he asks, “Do you want to know the sex?” “Isn’t it too early to tell?” “Yeah, usually it is, but I think it’s fun to take a look and guess, then see if I’m right, either next month or when the baby is born.” Thinking it sounded fun and like it would be a totally shot in the dark guess, I agreed. My answer came faster than I had expected, “Well, usually it’s a guess at this stage in pregnancy, but this baby is DEFINITELY a boy. Not shy AT ALL.” My first thought was, “OOPS!! Brian was supposed to be here for this! Stupid, stupid me! Why can’t I resist the temptation to know!?!? Dang it. Do I say nothing and act surprised? No. I can’t keep my own secret that long, besides, that’s wrong to not tell him.” Probing for more info and assurances of exactly how sure he was I came out with a 90-95% chance it was a boy. So I called Brian when I got home from the appointment, apologized and announced it was a boy. We double checked at the 20 week and sure enough. Jacob was still a boy.
Right now my resolve is strong. Very strong. This baby is a surprise. I totally realize it’s a surprise either way, we find out the surprise on November 4th or March 6th. Maddie is disappointed that I’m planning to wait. So is Ben. Jacob doesn’t care. He already knows it’s going to be a doggie and he’s even getting really sweet and likes to hug and kiss the “fluffy yittle doggie” in my tummy which melts my heart. Check back next week and see if more fire daggers shoot out of my eyes this week at poor Brian as I cave under pressure of the chance to find out. I think I can do it this time. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
Is it bad to carve pumpkins a week after Halloween? Does it take away from the fun of doing it? Will my kids still enjoy it in the same way? Because we bought the darn expensive imported things before we left for Australia before they sold out. We had about twelve total to choose from in the store – no pumpkin patch fun for us this year. Then we didn’t carve them but preserved them in the fridge so they wouldn’t be moldy when we returned. But on the drive to the airport for our flight to Brisbane, Daddy was booking a flight to Tokyo for the day after we returned. Bummer. Now daddy is gone and all our friends carved theirs tonight. But mommy didn’t have the energy to take on that project solo. Plus it didn’t sound like fun without dad. Just chaos and asking, begging, needy children all needing something hard and time consuming to get it to look just right and all at the same time.
I think they’ll have lots more fun doing it as a whole family and who cares if we set them on the porch after the fact? It probably just means that all the mischievous kids that go around smashing pumpkins will have had their fun and won’t think to come and get ours. Or I could save them all for my amazing pumpkin stew. Yum. Maybe we’ll just color them with sharpies and skip the carving. Hurry home daddy. We miss you. Trick-or-Treating won’t be the same without you this year.
The baby in my belly has been wiggly for a while, but while we were on the boat in the Great Barrier Reef things seemed to change a whole bunch. I began feeling the baby move all the time, and with all that laying around time started to notice that I could start to feel it from the outside too. A few weeks ago I kept trying to have Brian feel but I don’t think he ever really felt anything at all. Not wanting to be pushy I quit trying, knowing full well that the time would come soon enough.
Well, today the baby has been wildly busy. Enough so that I even gave it a shot to have Maddie and Ben feel it. Sure enough, they both felt it within two minutes. It was so cool to share it with them. I feel rotten that Brian wasn’t the first one, but how exciting to let the kids share in the baby with me! They though it was cool and weird. In time the movements will get bigger and more obvious and I hope this baby cooperates with us. This time it matters to me. A lot.
Ben was positioned right so that we could feel him move all the time and see his entire body move inside of me as my belly would lift up and a hand or foot would visually move across my belly from far right to far left. It was mind boggling to watch for the first time in my life. Maddie spent basically the entire pregnancy with her back laid across my belly and feet in the floor of my pelvis. I could feel her kicking just as much as Ben but we literally saw nothing. We were sad. We hoped to share Jacob moving around with the kids like we had seen Ben moving but he was also a bit of a stinker like Maddie was. His back stayed most the time near the front bottom of my belly with his feet and hands using my inner rib cage as a punching bag. Boy that kid could cause some major discomfort when he pushed and stretched and pushed and stretched right into the bones on my left side.
So I’m asking this little one to please cooperate. We want the kids to see you wiggle and move and know how real you are. Plus, if memory serves correct, it’s a whole lot more comfortable to have you kick my belly button instead of my rib cage or pelvic floor.