Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Weird When...

...you have to take the elevator to go home.
...on the elevator your ears pop every time you ride up or down because you live on the 30th story of your building.
...it rains and you are essentially parallel to the cloud level.  It's an interesting perspective to watch the rain fall down that far.
...you look out your window and notice you can actually see the ocean from your window.
...you do your laundry on the side porch.
...you stand by the window with your kids and instead of watching squirrels run around the yard you now watch the cars go in and out of "the tunnel" (underground parking garage for the mall next door).
...you can see skyscrapers as far as the eye can see in all directions.
...someone loans you their umbrella and you covet the thing realizing your cheap US one will simply not do for this kind of weather.
...you watch your maid clean and realize you suck at cleaning.  The amazing attention to detail and precision she has puts me to shame.
...the school bus is no longer yellow but is a fancy pants charter bus.
...your six year old seems to have mostly overcome his anxiety issues and hops on the school bus in a foreign country not knowing a soul without any hesitation.
...there is someone employed to do every single job under the moon.  We saw a man sweeping an underground car park today that probaby held about 200 cars with a hand brooom.  That could take a while and it's not the first time we've seen something like that.
...you realize it could literally be cheaper to eat out than take the time to make a home cooked meal.
And finally you realize it's nuts when you think you'll be okay if you just take a small bite of a fish ball and you magically won't be allergic just this once because you're curious what it tastes like.  I don't know why it's making me nuts, but it is. I know it will taste weird and rubbery but I really, really want one.  I haven't caved yet.  Maybe someday when I know I'll be home within 30 minutes to handle the consequences of my actions.

House Hunting

Today we looked ofr housese for about 5 1/2 hours.  It was interesting for sure.  Ben was at school so we had Maddie and Jacob touring with us.  By the middle of the day Jacob had learned a little about the houses.  He'd walk around and point to all the bedrooms and say, "That maid's room. That maid's room.  That one maid's room."  It made everyone laugh, including the agents.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What Do You Mean "The Clown"?

We are so culturally inept in my family.  I wish that I could remember the exact words of the conversation, but two days later the bulk of it is lost from my memory.  All that I do know is that Ben was trying to say something about religion and asking Kathi if other people know about Jesus or do all the people in Singapore like "that clown." 
Took a minute, but we clued into the fact that he was refering to Buddha.  Cringe.  We're going to have to teach him a few things so he doesn't offend anyone here, but it sure was cute in his purity to ask such a question.  If anyone here knows where I can sign up a six year old for cultural awareness classes, let me know.  And if they take 32 year olds, I will sign myself up as well.

Joke of the Day

Just a little background on this picture. It's a screen shot of the weather forecast for yesterday. Notice the weather will be quite similar in all parts of the entire country. Now can I mention that the entire country is only approximately 270 square miles or by rough thumb estimate on a crude map, about 30 miles from East to West and 15 miles North to South. It makes me chuckle just a little bit. I think I'll keep an eye out and see if there is ever any differentiation in the forecasts of the different zones. I suppose it's possible. It can be raining in DC and not in Fairfax, I concede that point. I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that in one afternoon we toured the entire island and I saw a few streets multiple times as we rode around with our guide. The whole country. Wow. **NOTE from Brian** Notice all weather options are variations on either sun or rain with one option for windy. Snow is not an option here. Some of those Fairfax moms who have had kids home for seven straight days because of snow and teacher work days may be jealous that we won't have snow days here.

My Friend Kathi

We’re making progress.  I slept from 8:30pm to 5:55am.  Only once have I made it into the 4am hour without waking up.  My typical night I’m up between 1am and 2am either on my own or usually because one of the kids is up.  Tonight they are all resting soundly and it’s after 6:30.  It will be good for all of us to be finally and totally on Singapore time.  Everyone will be much more pleasant, including mommy and daddy. While they sleep I have the rare chance to blog with a clear head and not being pulled to fix a toy or get a snack for anyone.


We met Kathi and Kurt for dinner at McDonalds last night and let the kids run wild.  We really shouldn’t have, but I just needed to not care.  They have no play place.  The McDonalds is in the mall and we had a table by the corridor which has those coin operated ride things.  They ran and ran and ran and ran around and around and climbed all over them despite my hard stance that I will not pay $1 for a ride.  I’m sure they were obnoxious to everyone that passed but Brian kept a loose eye on them so no one got hurt.  On a typical day I keep my children close in line and out of others way. I bend over backwards not to be a hassle or annoyance to anyone anywhere, so much so that I can be oppressive to my sweet children and I know sometimes it makes Brian nuts that I’m so anal.  It’s just one difference in our deeply rooted personalities and comes out in our parenting, but we’ve managed to find our tolerance level for each other.


So last night, they ran.  And I talked and talked and talked. Likely I was a rotten dinner companion being so self-absorbed, but it’s okay. I haven’t had a real grown up conversation in almost two weeks and I am a social being that needs, no craves, social connection.  Kathi has always and I mean always been there for me to talk with.  She helped me through the hard times of having my first child and mourning the loss of my job and the person I was and encouraged me to find my new identity.  It was a very dark time in life for me making that adjustment and I had only a few places to find support (you are one of them too Laura and I’m glad we’re still connected). 


One of my favorite days was when Kathi had a day off of work and Ben was all of two or three months old.  Kids were in school, normal people were working and I had nothing in my life to do but sit and nurse a baby.  That defined depression for me, feeling I had no purpose.  She suggested it and we drove down to Galveston Island and spent the entire day sitting on the beach watching the waves and floating in the water with Ben.  I don’t know if I had ever felt so irresponsible. This from the girl who used to be teased by an old boyfriend about praying to have a good and “productive” day.  It was the perfect thing for me to do that day and will always be at the top of my book of good days in my life.


Kathi is the perfect friend and knowing she would be here to support me, but more to just love me as I am here in Singapore has made the anticipation of our arrival more bearable.  We met for ice cream on Thursday afternoon then walked back to our apartment so the kids could play while we talked.  It was so good to connect again and hear about what is going on in her life and where her kids are (I taught her youngest, Bryce, in Sunday School in Houston now he’s married and they are expecting their first baby this summer).  Jacob is in love with Kathi.  I say her name and he gets the worlds cutest smile from ear to ear and says “Cat-e?”  She watched Ben do a magic show in our living room and cheered him on making him feel amazing inside, I could tell by his smile.  She even said she’ll hang out with me and my kids when we move out of the city after our household good arrive.  She has an angel heart and I’m grateful she’s my friend.  We love her.  All five of us.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


This morning I commented to Brian in total amazement that this is the best thing we’ve ever done if moving across the world means that Maddie Mae will continue to be this nice, patient, kind and helpful.  From the time we boarded the flight leaving LAX she’s been a joy.  This is not the same girl we left with and we don’t know what happened.  She has often asked what she can do to help out, what chores need to be done, if there is any laundry to fold or floor to sweep.  She has mostly obeyed and been generally more pleasant than she has been in the last two years.  I’m a realist, this won’t last, but it’s been such a blessing to have her so calm and happy during this stressful time. Ben overheard our conversation and decided to change Maddie’s name to Help-apore since she is a helper when we live in Singapore.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Embrace the Differences

Pedestrian traffic tends to pass on the other side from the US custom.


You must “top up” things instead of “upgrade” your rental car or “add more funds” to your accounts.


If you have a question about something you must “query Mr. X” for more information rather than ask him.


“On the stove” is to turn the stove on.


Want to quickly jump in the shower to clean up and run out?  Well give yourself an extra 15 minutes if you want it to be a warm shower.  Same thing for washing the dishes.  You must flip a switch to warm your water so planning ahead is key.  It’s all about saving energy and money.


Special K cereal, a staple in our home, is available at about $10/box but they definitely use a different formula to make it.  The strawberries are more grey than red but softer than back home.


Food portions at the store are half the size and twice the price, even after the currency conversion.


The fridge here leaves much to be desired.  It’s small and I mean really small.  I’m a Costco girl at heart and require a deep freeze to be truly content.


Tampons must be a novelty item.  7-11 didn’t have any at all, the grocery had a huge section of maxi pads but only one box of tampons for sale.


Nightlights are not required.  There is enough ambient light from living in the city that unless I want to read a book, I can see just fine with all the lights off.


Using a grocery cart is like at Aldi in Virginia.  You must insert a coin to use it and get it back upon return.

Embrace the Differences

Observations about things so far…


Apparently this is a push not pull country when it comes to entering buildings.  All doors go opposite from what we are used to doing. Three days in and I’m starting to get it right at least some of the time.  On Monday the kids couldn’t get into the play place here at the hotel.  Ben pulled with all his strength but couldn’t make that stubborn door budge.  It was kind of funny actually as I stood on the playground motioning for him to push and giggling to myself.  Funny that even a six year old has that written in his subconscious brain already.


Same thing about the light switches.  Down is no longer off.  Up is off.  This one could drive me batty.  I’m a little neurotic when it comes to having all the light switches lined up in my home (see this story if you don’t believe me).


Our driver picked us up from the airport and took us to the van/bus thing.  He said to leave the luggage at the back and come sit down while he loaded it up.  He went around to the driver side and we herded the kids to the passenger side to load them in.  Only there was no door.  Oh yeah.  We looked at each other.  It won’t be the last time we make that mistake.  The driver had gone to the passenger side to open our door for us.   Lucky for us, slow moving kids masked our mistake and I don’t think he noticed our flub up.


Driving home from the airport began thinking about how we sure had been on a lot of expressways or divided/one way roads.  Then I finally realized there were no cars on the other side of the road, because they drive on the other side of the road.  Turning my head to the other side I found all the other traffic.


We walk to the grocery store for everything.  It’s not a bad walk, but we have to carry everything we buy plus our kids.  The stroller didn’t fit in the air freight box so I just gave it away before we moved.  Probably should have kept it and checked it on the airplane.  In the moment though it was one more thing to carry and I was trying to minimize.  By the time our other stroller arrives in sea freight we’ll live in the suburbs and won’t need it quite so badly.  I knew.  I just didn’t think.  Oh well.


My frustration level is really high right now.  Don’t really want to talk to anyone and certainly not about “how do you feel about” this and that.  The answer is crappy and like I want to cry all the time.  It’s better to just leave it be for now.  I need a few weeks to normalize to my new life.  And even then, in about six weeks, right when I start to figure out my life, we will move again and start all over.  We knew exactly what we were getting into when we agreed to this assignment and in the long run it’s going to be amazing and something I will never regret doing.  It’s the here and now that is hard.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Time Zone Changes

It's 4:30am in Singapore. Flights went well. Kids did AMAZING. So grateful for that! goal for yesterday was to keep the kids awake. We tried so hard. Alas, even Brian and I couldn't pry our eyelids open anymore after 3pm. We all crashed.


I flipped over on the couch around 6:30pm and noticed the time on the clock. I realized we had to make them wake up or we'd be up all night long thinking it was daytime. Yeah. That did NOT go well. By 7pm we called it a night, Ben and Maddie haven't eaten basically anything for over 24 hours.


All three kids got up at 12:30am. Successfully got them all back to sleep after a drink of water. I think everyone will be up soon and be starved to death. But, while they are sleeping again, I think I'll try to catch a tiny bit more shut eye. Today is all on me because Brian has to go to work already. Let real life begin! I really do think we're going to love this.


We Have Arrived in Singapore

We are in our new place and getting settled.  The goal today is to keep the kids up for the majority of the day.  We have got to convert our bodies to this time zone.  The sooner the better.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Here we are. At the airport two hours early and having some quiet time

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's not fun about that?

Two boys. One big ball. one foam sword. A totally empty house. bliss.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How much joy would this bring you?

It's 1:30 and i'm hungry. You cannot imagine the excitement i felt when i was digging through the trash trying to find a razor blade to scrape the caulk in the shower. No blades but i did fine one plastic spoon. Now i can nuke a frozen pot pie and won't have to eat it with my fingers. Other good news for the day is that a couple angels came by today and netted six hours of cleaning for me. Thank you ladies! It was a huge help.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Proof. . . Finally

I found my high school diploma today! Now i guess i can go to singapore.


It is 3:27 AM. We admit defeat tonight. Up again at 7am. We're almost ready. Good night, or rather, good morning.

Happy Birthday Brian!!

Because there isn't enough going on in our lives, Brian decided to have a birthday. We (he) decided to reschedule the birthday. It's nothing unprecidented in our home. In fact, it might be unprecidented to celebrate something on the actual date it "should" be celebrated. So he took two seconds today amidst washing dishes to be packed and sorting items into piles to open his cards. This one from my mom made us both laugh. "Hope it's a good day - maybe we should have sent a sympathy card - for all you're going through." Thanks for the spirit lifter today.
Happy Birthday to my best friend. You make everything possible with your can do attitude and your never ending willingness to keep on going. You amaze me. I love you. Now lets get back to work.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Still Here and Working

We're still hanging on...barely. Movers come Monday morning. Lots and lots to do. Everywhere I turn there is another pile of stuff to decide on and then the kids undo what I've done. Tomorrow after church we have lunch, nap and then drop off the kids at a Lucinda's place. Hopefully that means we'll conquer the house and be ready right on time.
We were up late tonight working on the basement and have it almost done. I had been working for a solid month to get it organized, sorted and dejunked.  I've pretty much handled the main floor and one bedroom upstairs. I did a zillion and one doctor appointments of all varieties and got all our medical records. We're going to make it I think. Honestly, if feels amazing to have rid my life of so much stuff.
Brian has been in charge of the endless paperwork for everything under the moon. I honestly believe it has consumed entire work days for him.  Poor guy.  He also spearheaded the effort to paint the kitchen in a generic, neutral, extremely boring off white.  I really did like my bold red kitchen, but this will sell better and we need this house to sell fast.  Brian has also fixed, well, everything in the house that needed fixing and it's a lot of stuff.
The brand hardwood floors are in the kitchen, entry and bathroom.  It was hard with the front door wide open for the better part of three days, it was cold and the kids had to be kept out of the way of the work crew. There was no space to move between the table and 6 chairs in the basement, table and 6 chairs in the living room, queen bed in the living room, 3 beds in the kids room and Jacob's room full of storage stuff so it's unusable.  The kids were troopers and we found enough fun things to play to pass the time over the three days. 
People keep saying how sad it is to have them and not stay to enjoy them.  I did want to replace my floors, but with cheap vinyl instead of hardwoods.  That's my style.  Hardwoods are beautiful.  AND WAY TOO STRESSFUL.  They scratch and I always knew I'd feel stressed and be grouchy having them in my house so never wanted them.  I was right.  The kids move a chair in the kitchen and I want to shout from the other room, "STOP!!!  Don't touch anything or you'll scratch the floors!!!"  I've had restraint so far.  One more week and scratching the floors will no longer be a worry.
That's the update for now.  Time to flip the bed down again on living room floor and hit the sack.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blast from the Past

Jenna Baker posted this picture on Facebook today.  Brought back some fun memories of working with the youth at church in the stake.  I loved this year of Youth Conference.  It was fantastic and these are all my "kids" for the weekend.  They were so amazing!!
Wanna hear a funny story about that day?
It was the year of the clothing drive and I was 7 months pregnant.  I had the morning devotional one day and I had to drop off a camp form on my way over to the stake center.  I left the form on the doorstep and getting back into my car...my pants pocket caught on the door latch thingy.  RIIIIIIPPPPPP!!!  It ripped my pants from my belt loops to my knee.  And I was already late. 
Rushing to figure out what to do I reasoned that, hey, we have an entire POD plus a couple of classrooms of clothes just sitting there, all for the taking.  Surely I could find something quickly. I started driving.  Oh yeah...I'm pregnant and getting pretty darn BIG.  It could take a month to find maternity clothes in that thing.  So I turned the car around and went home, threw my pants in the trash, got a new pair and headed back to the car (being careful not to tear my pants again).
There was no devotional that morning.  Sorry if you all felt spiritually let down. I know it probably ruined your lives.  My sincerest apologies, but I thought it was hilarious.  Just couldn't tell anyone why I was late back then.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Do you know what a 'shalmeno' is?  Neither did I.  For a very long time, I sung that line of a favorite song blindly.  That's what the lady taught me in primary so that's what I sang.  I have no idea when I figured it out, but I'm guessing around 9 or 10 years old.  I was playing the song on the piano when I read the words as I played.  "As I have loved you, love one another.  This new commandment: Love one another.  By this SHALL MEN KNOW ye are my disciples, if ye have love, one to another."  Boy did I feel stupid.  I couldn't sing that song for about ten more years without thinking about it.
Maddie Mae has made her own blunder this Christmas.  "Oh, come let us IGNORE him; Oh, come let us ignore him; Oh, come, let us ignore him, Christ, the Lord." she sings over and over.  She can't remember any other lines and can't seem to get this one right.  On the up side, she genuinely didn't know what ignore OR adore meant when Brian asked about it.  He explained, now she thinks it's hilarious to sing it wrong.  I hoped it would pass, but no luck yet.  It's been over a month.

Curses On Alene!!!

I've been getting J.U.N.K. mail from JCPenney for MONTHS now.  Again, not wanting to verify my address and get swamped with spammer and phishing stuff, I've quietly deleted all the emails.  One by one, almost daily. Today I searched my inbox for "JCPenney" to yet again purge it and guess what!!  There was one, just one, but one, addressed to Alene Zufelt.  Curses on you Alene.  I hate what you do to my inbox.  Did you ever think to check if the email address existed?  I bet she has in her head that she uses that dummy email address as a login for junk accounts she doesn't really want to get mail from.  UGH!!
At least now I think I can go ahead and unsubscribe her/ME from the list.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm Melting! I'm Melting!!

That's what we're all going to be saying on January 24th.  I just checked the weather here to see what we've got to look forward to before we move.  I was vainly hoping for one single serious snow storm.  It would be the prefect send off.  Fine if we don't get it I guess, but there better not be any good storms the rest of the winter or I'll be totally depressed.
Just out of curiosity, I checked Singapore weather.  Today (Sunday) the Real Feel temperature is/was 100 degrees!!!  The entire 2 weeks we have left here we will have one day that might squeak up to 51 degrees, every other day we can be grateful to see the needle push us up to a whopping 38.  I think we may all die.  On the positive side, Brian grabbed a couple extra bars of deoderant when he was out the other day.  I'm gonna need it since the lowest Real Feel temp in the next 7 days was only 91.  Yikes.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Not a Fan of Santa

My friend Nancy just sent me this picture from the Cub Scout Holiday Pack Meeting.  Poor kid, but isn't that totally hilarious?  I guess Jacob isn't a fan of Santa yet.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'd Call That Kristie Spelling

I was playing hangman with Ben this afternoon while Maddie was at a playdate and Jacob was napping.  We played for a long, long time until my eyelids wouldn't stay open anymore.  In order to help him win, I gave him the valuable hint that all english words have a vowel in them.  As we ended the game he commented to me, "Okay.  If I ever do sound spelling at school and write a word and then I see it doesn't have a vowel, I will just add an "e" on the end of it."
Reminds me of when a certain sister of mine had a college professor tell her she needed to use more commas in her sentences.  For the next paper, she used them all right.  About every three words, need it or not, that paper had a comma.  It was surprising how obnoxious it really was to read and it made me laugh so hard I wanted to cry. If I recall correctly, she turned that paper in though I can't remember what grade she got. Kristie cracks me up, so I dedicate this new way of spelling to her.  Here is my shout out to the extra commas and letter e's at the end of all words.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I think the timing could be better for this.

Jakey is so excited about potty training. The last two days he just wanted to sit and sit and sit. this morning i was in his room and figured from the smell he must have a stinky diaper. When he woke up i tried to change him but he was clean and kept protesting that he needed to go potty. I took him in and after a while he tinkled four times. "I did it pee pee mama!" he says. Not sure if this will stick or not. I'm guessing no. To be truthful it would be much better for me not to be potty training on a 26 hour plane flight and while we stand in a two hour line at customs. I'm hoping he wants to try again about two weeks after arrival. Then he can pee his accidents all over someone elses house and i can move out a week or two after he's got it down. Of course i still have to clean it up though. That's a terrible thing to say but it's a parents dream. Time will tell what we do. He is
only a month past two years old so i'm not pushing it any time soon.

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Christmas fun catches up to ben.

Tired boy.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Resolutions Begin in March

I can't help but smirk at the adds that keep coming across my homepage.  It's New Years season and everyone is joining gyms, eating less, eating healthier and doing grand and amazing things.  Not me.  I see a headline teaser today that reads, "Simple Ways to Cut 500 Calories A Day" as I lick the artificial cheese flavor from my fingers.  I make no apologies.  My mother raised me to not waste any food.  Clean your plate.  And thus, I am simply cleaning my cupboards.  They are stocked with all sorts of amazingly delicious treats.  Today it is Doritos and a nice cup of hot chocolate.  Tomorrow maybe I'll attack the Fritos and Hershey kisses.  Maybe in March I'll have time to get healthy.  For now, I have a double chocolate cheesecake in the freezer that needs some attention.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gum on Sunday Again

Just wanted to say that I got my two front teeth installed a few days before Christmas.  I haven't been able to chew gum since my tooth was removed in March. My life doesn't involve a lot of close contact these days with other people like it used to.  Back in school people, including me, used to carry gum all the time.  When you take a piece, you offer one to everyone else nearby and gum is everywhere.  Thus you ensure your breath does not offend anyone. 
These days I only have gum on a random Sunday when I sit next to someone in a class and am feeling self concious.  I'm excited to say I get to have gum today!!  And my flipper won't get stuck to it or fall out or get tweaked slightly to the side and pinch or poke a hole in the roof of my mouth.  And just to kick off the reunion on the right foot?  I'm doing the Strawberry Bubbilicious today instead of the boring adult spearmint variety.  Oh it feels great!
NOTE: I don't usually have such crazy bug eyes.  Ben was taking the picture and he wouldn't/couldn't push the button and the bubble sprung a leak and I was gesturing wildly to take it NOW because I had to keep blowing so it wouldn't collapse and I was beyond out of breath.  Such great memories.  From now I, I think I'll keep the teeth I've got.

Meet My New Family!!

Amanda, You didn't leave an email, so maybe you'll check back and see that your photo was deleted. I was genuine in saying you have a cute family. So sorry for posting and I hope you aren't too upset. Having the email address I do I get flooded with junk from other people that I assume use me as a dummy address. I got two messages just yesterday from Ron Zufelt and someone else Zufelt that think I am in their family. I have asked four times for them to remove me from their family distribution list as they send 10 MB of pictures every few weeks of people I've never met. Their response? "Your email address is just too close to my daughter-in-laws" so they can't promise it won't happen again. Sorry I get frusterated by it all. I totally understand your feelings. Many people prefer not to be public online. The photo has been removed. As a kindness in return, please be careful not to use my email in the future. Thanks. No hard feelings.

***Picture deleted at request of the real Amanda.***

Aren't we cute?? So I've been meaning to tell everyone. I changed my name to Amanda Zufelt and then went blonde. Oh yeah. And got a new husband and two kids instead of three. Here's what happens when people type in the wrong email address.

I'm sure it was an accident since the account actually does exist and it wasn't a scam email. Costco sent me the note today saying my online account would be deleted in January 8 due to inactivity. Interesting. First, my name is not Amanda. Second, I'm becoming more and more a believer that everyone is out to get me (via email). Just for kicks, I decided it might be fun to see if I could get into the Costco account. Sure enough they sent me a new password to the email address she signed up (mine) and I got to check out sweet Amanda's family pics. Love them by the way. Cute family.

One more thing. Big shout out to Alene Zufelt from your buddy Duane Domagalski (you know, the service manager at Andrew Toyota in Wisconsin). He just wrote to say Happy Birthday on the 24th of this month. He sends me notes for you from time to time. He also informed me that you are over due for an oil change a few months ago. Sorry for not delivering the message sooner. Peter Klein sent a coupon to you. Let me know if you want to use it.

My mother-in-law sometimes teases me about me always stealing the login/screen name "azufelt." She says I'm always too fast (her name is Anne). Hopefully this makes her feel just a little bit better. Having an email so generic is beginning to cause problems afterall.