Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Friday, September 30, 2011

Getting Ahead of Schedule

Who doesn’t want to get ahead in life and do more than they had set out to do?  I’m so excited to report I am making significant progress in one area of my life which has suffered severely in the last fifteen years.

When I was a kid I read all the time.  I first loved Boxcar Children, then The Witch of Blackberry Pond, Hatchet and everything by Gary Paulsen, any Jack Weyland book I could get my hands on and the list went on and on. I don’t think I really stopped enjoying reading for a long time by I always took a very rigorous class schedule with several honors, CC and AP classes each year.  There just wasn’t time to read.

Eventually I finished high school but the homework load didn’t let up in college by any stretch of the imagination. My recollection is that I read the Children of the Promise series in those years and that is it.  By the time I finished my degree I had completely stopped reading all together.  The thought of opening a book made me want to roll my eyes and fall over to take a nap.

I remember we got four books for our wedding, halfway through our college years. I never read a single one.  Finally I donated them to the good will after about six years, with the thoughtful notes of those well-wishers thoughtfully inscribed in the cover. Each one had been about how to raise good Christian families or have a healthy marriage.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want those things but I sure wasn’t going to read about it. I would rather have wed the garden in the hot Texas sun without mosquito spray.

I once had a friend loan me Harry Potter. I hadn’t asked for it, but she insisted that if I would just read this book I’d be hooked on reading again.  I warned her of my history and promised to return it but made no promise on timelines. Harry Potter #1 sat on my night stand for a year and a half.  After a year of me having it her husband was home and was organizing their bookshelf on his Christmas break.  He asked where the book was. She made him call me.  I was mortified to admit I’d had it over a year.  He said he’d just buy a new one.  I said I’d just return it. She intervened and told me to keep it another month and for heavens sakes, READ IT!!  I tried. That’s probably when I made it to page 100.  When they moved six months later I crammed to finish the book but really didn’t enjoy it one bit.  Her husband just shook his head when I returned it so they could pack it in their boxes.

My time in Fairfax exposed me to some brilliant people that I truly stood in awe to watch them live their lives.  They were so smart. So cultured. So well spoken.  So perfect. (Catherine comes to mind.) I luckily by this point was well grounded in my personal worth and knew I had unique and special gifts to share with the world but still I wanted to be more.  Over time I came to conclude that basically everyone that fit that Super Woman Mold I was aspiring too went to book club and read on their own to learn, to grow and to expand themselves.  I determined to go to book club. Maybe that could expand me and stretch me in a way I would be pleased with myself.

For four years I wrote down the title of the monthly book. For four years, almost every month, I would look up which library had the book on the shelves.  For four years I would even occasionally make it to the library and check the book out.  For four years the books set on my counter/bookshelf/passenger seat of the car/nightstand.  For four years they went unread an I stayed the same old little me.
One New Years I set a resolution.  Read ONE book a year.  Most years I failed.  Not even one measly book a year could I churn out. I failed and I felt like a failure.

Finally, with our impending move upon us, I determined that I would NOT move without attending book club a single time in four years.  I was busy preparing for the move so looked at reading the December book.  It was supposed to be Little Women.  Gag me.  I can barely watch the movie.  I’m not reading a 1,000 page book.  Again, I choose weeding in Texas. Despite my schedule I determined I would have to do this in November. 

The book for the month of November was A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute and it was available, unabridged, on CD.  I got the CD and listened in the kitchen everyday as I made breakfast, lunch and dinner, washed dishes and cleaned kitchen counters.  I hand sewed on all of Ben’s cub scout patches the a needle, thread and thimble (it would have taken thirty minutes on the sewing machine but I swear I spent six hours by hand).  In the end, I finished the book and though I hadn’t actually read the book, I had finished it.  I was ready for book club.

I felt a little foolish coming to book club. I felt such an amazing sense of “I DID IT!!!!” I wanted to shout as I entered the door to the Proctor home, “I RULE THE WORLD!! I READ A BOOK!” Of course I didn’t do that.  I socialized like a normal educated and cultured woman here to discuss a great book.  When it came time for the group discussion I didn’t know what to expect.  It was a good “read” (listen) but what is there to talk about?  I had no idea.  Within twenty minutes I was ready to sneak out the door.  Seriously?  Who cares what so and so said to that person and how it would have been written differently if the book was written through Mr. X’s eyes instead of Mr. Y.  Question like this seemed to really perplex the women and they had serious, deep, thought provoking discussion. Only the only thought I could provoke out of my pea sized brain seemed to be, “Why the heck to I care????”

My conclusion?  I’m me. And that’s okay. I will never write a novel, but I can change the oil in your car.  I may not be able to recall and recite verses from the Bible but God has blessed me with a strong, strong faith in Jesus Christ. I don’t have to read books to have value as person.

Crazy thing is, I’ve read five books already in 2011.  Not much for the average adult but a total miracle for me.  I read The Help, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, Children of the Killing Fields of Cambodia, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea and one more something I can’t recall.  Five books.  So I’m proud of me even if they aren’t classic literature or adding to my value in any way.

By my reckoning, I don’t have to read another book until 2016 if I don’t want and I’m on target for my one book a year.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cub Scouts at the Naval Base

We got to take the Wolfs to the naval base this week to do their flag achievement. It was pretty cool and despite how wild and unruly they can be in my living room they were perfectly behaved when the big tough men in uniforms with big voices taught them about flag ceremonies and how to fold a flag and other things like that.  Maybe I need to invest in some camo duds to get some respect around here.


After the sunset retiring of the colors we took them all over to the Terror Club for ice cream. Who named it that?  Who knows.  But when ships pull into port here I hear they can have upwards of 400 people relaxing and swimming at the pool side restaurant and bar.  Luckily that night there were only about three tables occupied.  I felt bad for those people who probably came for a nice relaxing beer at the pool to relax after work…then in walk twelve wild seven year olds playing freeze tag poolside and practicing for a pack meeting skit. 


I ordered Ben two scoops of ice cream.  They brought a massive bowl.  I was a bit surprised. Then another mom asked where her order was. She only ordered one scoop and it was a large bowl too that was WAY too much to possibly be hers.  Finally what we came to understand that we expected Singapore portions of ice cream and ordered accordingly but we were in mini-America with real American portion sizes.  Ben couldn’t even finish his treat it was so much.  I got a REAL cheesecake. It tasted great even if it was plain because they forgot the strawberry topping. Life is good.


The check for our treats came in US dollars.  Uh….I ran out of US bills a long, long time ago. Though I admit when we finally caved and just ordered new keys to open our fire proof safe last month we found a couple bucks stashed in the bottom.  But I wasn’t about to run home to get it.  I just gave them more Sing than it should have cost when converted and they brought back more change than expected.  Sweet deal. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jacob Can Be a Challenge


The kids hadn’t cleaned up the toys very well despite being told to do it last night and basically messing around instead of working. Mary was coming to clean the whole house today so the floors needed to be picked up at a minimum.  After they finished their breakfast cereal I sent the big kids up to do a five minute job in the play room.  After fifteen minutes I told them to come brush their teeth and finish their regular morning chores.  Whatever wasn’t cleaned was lost for the week.

Since that is how the morning began it should have come as no real surprise when I sent Ben to wake up Jacob with two minutes left before we had to walk out the door to get Maddie to her shuttle bus on time.  Ben quickly returned and reported that Jacob had climbed up to the top of the loft bed and was hiding in the back corner where I couldn’t reach him and was refusing to come down.  Stinker.  I ended up making Ben walk Maddie to her bus stop and then texting the other parents I knew would be there to make sure she had made it onto the bus.

Jacob finally came down and was upset that the big kids had left without him seeing them off or getting his morning stroller ride to the school and back. He wouldn’t eat breakfast. At least not more than two bites of cereal. Just claimed he was too full and could only eat candy or marshmallows.  Um, that’s a big fat NO from the mom. Offers for toast, eggs and bananas were also turned down.  He wants to watch TV.  Not until he eats breakfast.  Finally he wanders off to play games and invites me to join.

Brian left us the car so we could get out today and go to the museum with playgroup.  When it was time to go to playgroup he wouldn’t budge. I totally gave up. I turned on Diego on cable knowing full well that it could be trouble to begin the tv “game” with him.  The last two weeks when I try to turn off the tv he grabs the remote and runs away from me screaming, “I will turn it on all by myself already!”  I’ve had to resort to putting remotes on the top shelf where he can’t reach them at the far end of the room. Then poor Brian can’t ever find it when he gets home in the evening.

I resigned myself to staying home instead of seeing the museum I really had wanted to go to, instead I tried to start the laundry. Of course the washing machine wouldn’t turn on.  Called Brian to see if he changed anything since he did all our laundry last week. (I know.  He’s the best husband ever and he is NOT for sale or even rent.) He didn’t do anything. Checked the breakers. Everything was fine.  Reset all the breakers and plugged the rice cooker into the outdoor outlets to check them.  Neither washer or dryer plugs are getting any power to the rice cooker. I let the dishwasher finish running its load and ran the laundry washing machine cord in the kitchen window and started a load of laundry.

At some point we had our quota of cable for the day and I turned off the shows and immediately put the remotes up high.  “I get a stool, mom!” comes the reply.  Having already tried to reach them before Jacob knew he couldn’t reach but he’s a smart kid. “I need TWO stools, mom.” At first I was worried he’d break his neck.  He brought two Ikea stools to the shelf and I figured he would stack them sideways from each other to gain the height he needed.  Fortunately for me he stacked them so they nested nicely inside each other gaining him all of two centimeters of height.  I happily watched with a smirk and then took some pictures until he got mad at me for the photo shoot in which he had no interest in taking part.

An hour later I went to rotate the loads and it was still full of water.  In my monkeying with the buttons I had left the “do not drain” button engaged.  Who the heck doesn’t drain their laundry?? Worthless button. I fix the switch and set a timer for thirty more minutes when Jacob shows up and says, “Look. I’m going to lock you out.” I warn him but it’s too late. He’s standing, proudly I might add, looking at me locked out of the house through the sliding glass door.

I ask, then tell him he better unlock it or he is in trouble.  It’s not the first time we’ve had this issue with him.  He happily refuses to unlock it.  I start the countdown to the promised “time out” on the steps. Three. Two. One. Nothing. I climb my pregnant body on top of the washing machine, step through the kitchen window onto the dishwasher and over to the sink and counter, down onto the stool and am secretly grateful I had to open the window to run the power cord through it for the washing machine. I grab my rotten two year old in my not so happy state and deliver him to time out on the steps.  He shrieks and wails and screams at me.  I’m tempted to return the sentiment but leave the room and set a time out timer instead.

Jacob runs off the steps and I force his little body back in position where he screams and cries but doesn’t budge, probably because he fought me and now has bashed his back on the step and is too scared to fight anymore.

It’s only 1:30 in the afternoon and Brian won’t be home until 9:30.  Jacob is for sale today if anyone is interested.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Want to sleeeeeeep.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ward Splits are the Pits

Nobody likes a ward split but sometimes it just has to happen.  Our church building was bursting at the seams. Bens age group born in 2004 had 24+/- children, mostly rambunctious boys, making two classes of twelve which really should have been three classes of eight but there aren’t any ROOMS for them to meet in.  The hallways have so many people I just pray Jacob doesn’t sneak off between the legs of the adults because I may never see him again.  Parking was a mess and we tried to arrive at least 20 minutes early just to get a spot so we didn’t have to walk from a neighboring shopping center on the busy road with little children.  Everything here in Singapore is small, including the space in buildings and parking.


The time finally came and the ward was split three weeks ago. Yesterday was our last week meeting together before we actually separate and it is sad.  There are now two English speaking Expatriate congregations on the island. We get the new chapel which should have its perks but logistically it’s harder to get to – it takes three trains and two transfers to get there instead of direct from our neighborhood to the building.  Sort of a bummer.  I’m grateful we have a car in our package but not everyone has that luxury and when I say luxury I mean it because the cost is more than a mortgage in many places in the states.


Mostly I hate to say goodbye to good friends and the kids don’t want to lose their friends either. Not that we can’t be friends still, but the truth remains that those people you cross paths with often tend to be your inner circle of support and those you don’t see in your regular path of life often fall out of close contact because logistics and busy schedules keep you apart.  This morning I downloaded the updated roster onto my iphone and was sad to see I had been moved to the Singapore 4th Ward and the Singapore 1st Ward is planning to carry on without all of us Woodlands folks and everyone else on the East side of the island.


In the end the split will be just fine.  What it really means is that more people are hearing the message of Jesus Christ and accepting Him.  So is there really anything to complain about? No.  It’s a happy day to see Christ’s church grow in Singapore and we can always make new close friends who believe the same things we know to be true and share the love of God with others in their everyday lives.

Best Week Ever and It's Only Monday!

Yesterday we went to church and were surprised when someone grabbed Brian’s hand from the side to shake it and it was Fred from our days in Houston!  They carpooled for several years to work at ExxonMobil in Baytown and I had his daughters in Young Womens.  We had our regular primary teaching obligations during the meeting yesterday but jumped at the chance to have him come to dinner and catch up. It gave me some much needed ambition to get together a nice home cooked meal beyond leftovers.  Brian made pandan chicken and grilled it on the barbeque, Ben wanted to help and peeled ten potatoes and three carrots ny himself so he got mashed potatoes, I made home made dinner rolls and chopped a fresh and delicious watermelon.  So much better than the original plan of ikea frozen meatballs (which is probably what we’ll have tonight).   Fred came bearing gifts of gorgeous Asian deserts he picked up at the bakery by his hotel.


We had a great time finding out what everyone in Houston is doing and Fred told us that Trevan, another great Houston friend was flying in that very day too.  Looks like Trevan will make a quick stop by our house on Wednesday night.  He has a few more stops to make though as his family actually lived here on our street just three doors down from our home a couple years ago so he has lots of old friends to visit in Singapore and one night to do it in.  Can’t wait for Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Front Yard On An Average Afternoon

I LOVE that my front yard is W.I.L.D. after school. The theme is usually race cars and they draw the track with sidewalk chalk complete with pit stop area and parking lots. Today it's swimming without water and scooter races to win the title "Princess of the World".

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Picture Day!!

Remember school picture day?  Everyone gets all fancy.  I always had to wear a nice Sunday dress and lights and cool slippery shoes that make neat clip clop noises in the hallways.  Except for maybe fifth grade when I must have begged and begged because I am wearing a pastel blue sweatshirt with an embroidered duck or goose or something.  I bet I fought hard, but now twenty five years later I wish I had lost that fight. I have no shame. If it wasn’t in storage somewhere in DC I’d post it for you.  It’s awesome. Sorry.


Yesterday was picture day for Maddie Mae and she woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  This girl is froo froo to the max and loves fluffy dresses and fancy everything.   But not yesterday.  Brian pulled about every dress in the closet out for her and we have a TON thanks to having five girl cousins supplying us with hand me downs. In the end she was finally persuaded to wear something that wasn’t my favorite but certainly acceptable.


Then her hair. She almost never lets me fix her hair.  Brushing it out is mandatory and beyond that she can choose what she wants.  Nineteen times out of twenty it’s, “Nothing today mom.  Just down.”  That can look just fine, but right now she is growing out her bangs.  She asked for braids.  Wincing I replied that I would do my best.  I ended up with a half pony tail then braided as best I could approximately three quarters of an inch and threw another elastic in her hair at the back of her head hoping nothing would actually show.


Next we sat down to do her morning reading on the couch.  She is every bit of five years old this kid.  She wriggled and twisted, twitched and wormed her way around on the couch as she read me the story.  In the end she succeeded in rubbing all the nicely secured hair on the sides into a nice mess.  Realizing I could fix it now but in two hours she’d look exactly the same…I just let it go.


In the end she revealed to me that her entire goal was to make herself “look like someone not in our family.”  How am I supposed to take that?  She reassured me that it was okay though because her teacher Ms. Kiran would be able to find her on the playground because she has glasses and she’s the only kid with glasses so she could be tricky and everything would still be fine if no one else knew who she was because of the braid in her hair.


Ben’s picture day is today.  Or not. Or yes.  Wait. Let me check the email from his teacher.  Yep.  Today. Nope. The other one says sorry for the mistake it’s Thursday.  Hey, the next email says the first one was wrong.  And this one says the other two emails were in error.  Hey, there is another email sent today after most his students are on the bus already – it says yes it IS today.  Then after my kid left on his scooter for school the new email says on Thursday.  School has begun.  One last email.  Oops again. It is TODAY…but only half the kids sitting in the classroom are dressed for it….hold on…he’ll talk to the administration and see if the whole class can be redone on the Friday makeup day.  Poor, poor man.  He’s just trying to do his job but what a mess. Frankly I’m glad I have a boy.  No fancy shoes, tights to get runs on the playground and nice dresses to prepare and making the hair just right.  Just slap a collared shirt on the kid and his hair should mostly stay put since he has a fresh new haircut.  Heaven help the moms of the girls. And bless the poor teacher. I think he needs a weekend break. At least in the teacher stuff that matters, Ben thinks he is doing a pretty great job and that is way more important than picture day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Maddie Quote of the Day

The kids are all playing upstairs in the play room.  Maddie rushed downstairs to get a paper out of the printer drawer. “Mommy, I really have to rush this art. I have to rush this art because Jacob’s giraffe is really cold and I’m making it a blanket.” And off she went to the office to find scissors where she cut out a 3”x5” piece of paper to wrap the plastic giraffe.  “Oh.  Thanks,” says Jake. 


Phew.  Another crisis averted.

Power Tools for Primary

Two more weeks of teaching primary before the ward split goes into full effect. Brian hasn't technically been called to a teaching position with me but he helps me every week. I affectionately call him the bouncer. With a guaranteed capes size of ten and last week hitting a record of eighteen kids I can teach a lesson just fine but for heavens sakes I need a little help with crowd control. Mostly it's the twelve rowdy seven year old boys stuffed into long pants, button up shirts and fancy shoes. That recipe just screams trouble. Mostly though we have a great time. We learn about Jesus and God and the scriptures each week and when they are listening they are sweet kids.

After being together for six months now I asked Brian if he were the teacher would he,as a man, he delivering lessons straight from the manual or adding crafts and games and atttention getting object lessons from all the online sources noting that www.sugardoodle.net is my favorite. He though only just a second before he replied, "Nope. That's not manly at all. I would defiantly go to Power Tools for Primary though." he said the border of the page would have to be decorated with cool power tools and man stuff. He cracks me up.

Friday, September 16, 2011

All Dressed Up to See the Doctor

Maddie got a Little Mermaid costume for her birthday yesterday and was pretty sure it was appropriate to wear to her eye doctor appointment today. I made her put on pants and a short underneath but why fight the creative soul God sent my way. A mermaid it is. She couldn't feel more pretty and confident in her outfit and that is all a girl wants out of life anyway-to feel pretty.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pregnant Tired Isn't Over Yet

Those energy filled days are amazing after you’ve wanted to sleep for months on end.  It felt great to have washed, hung, dried, folded AND delivered ALL of the laundry to closets, wardrobes and drawers last week.  I was so excited to have a burst of energy and to know that my poor husband didn’t have to go to the backyard to get his clean clothes every morning before he showered.


As nice as those days are, sometimes they feel like a slap in the face when you get three days in a row when all you want to do is crawl in bed again.  Frustrating.  Today is Maddie’s birthday and all I want to do is spoil her and make cool stuff and have a great day…but all of that after a three hour nap, okay?  Jake is watching Word World on cable while I answered emails.  It is Dog’s birthday and Pig pulled out his cookbook to make a cake.  I had to laugh.  All he needed was a “C”, “A”, “K” and an “E”.  Then you push them together and magically a CAKE appears.  Where can I get those ingredients? 


I already got up at 4am (because I’m pregnant not because I’m a fantastic mom).  Put her presents together all cute because presentation matters more to this kid than to anyone else in the family.  Baked brownies to take to school before we walked to school at 7:30am.  She wants cupcakes for dinner because I’m not making a castle cake until her birthday party…which doesn’t fit into our calendar for the next three weekends.  Poor girl. At least she doesn’t seem to mind waiting for a party and castle cake.


Right now I think I’ll shut off the computer, settle Jake in for another 30 minutes with his Red Rocketship buddies and close my eyes because we have an appointment tonight at 8pm so I know I can’t crash early. Is it Saturday yet?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jakey Learns His Numbers?

Seriously? I worked with Maddie, who turns five on Thursday, almost every single day the entire summer to help her recognize her numbers. We played this game tons of times. It's called Zingo and you match the number of objects in the picture to the proper numeral.
Jake, 2 1/2 years old, hung out next to us and I thought he was just enjoying the slide action of the number dispenser. It's been four or five weeks since we last had it out and today he asked to play. That kid knows 1, 2, 8, 0 and 10. Maybe next summer he can tutor Maddie for me. There are advantages of being he oldest because your parents have more time and energy to teach and do things with you. Looks like we are starting to see the benefits to being younger. You learn stuff just by random exposure.

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Doctor Visit

What You’ll Care About:

Baby looks great. Delivery date of March 6 +/- four days depending on if I’m superstitious of different numbers. I love this country. Stuff like that cracks me up! I never would have thought of it unless the date was 666 or something like that. Two weeks early since this is c-section number four. **Funny story about 666 below.

My Ramblings of Medical Care and Family Planning Here in Singapore:

I think of myself as low key in a lot of respects (I admit that I do get high strung over the stupidest things). That, combined with my exhaustion level, not having anyone to swap babysitting with over the summer for all three kids caused me to delay calling any OBGYN to schedule the first visit. Oh yeah, and even though I have a zillion doctor referrals I had a heck of a time getting a referral from women that have had a c-section. It’s a totally different ball game than the regular method and I wanted a good surgeon.

Yesterday I called up the one I had ultimately decided to try. The two ladies who used her referred her as being a good match to my blunt and open personality. Perfect I figured. I called up and she had a five week wait to see her for first time patients. She asked how far I was in the pregnancy and wasn’t pleased when I said at least twelve weeks. She couldn’t see me the first time until I was about 17 weeks along. Even relaxed me knows that’s waiting a bit long. She referred me to another doctor and I was feeling totally defeated to be shot down after finally making a commitment when I had been procrastinating for so long.

Not having any better ideas of what to do I called Brian to see what he thought. No help there. So I called the doctor referral. They could fit me in in an hour. Umm…I don’t have a car and have to pick my kid up at school in two hours and you’re all the way downtown. They suggest tomorrow and I just say fine. Arrange a babysitter for Jacob.

Today I went down to my appointment. I knew parking at the hospital would be messy so I left twenty minutes early just in case. Most of that time got swallowed up in road construction on the PIE on the way downtown. I arrived at the hospital and missed the little access road for the parking lot. I ended up in a dead end along with twenty other delivery trucks trying to do seventeen point turns on a tiny residential street. All of a sudden I’m glad to be in a little car. Then the curb is higher than it was supposed to be and I hear CRUNCH!! Suck. I’m already late. No point in checking it. Seeing it won’t change anything now. I finish my turn and backtrack to the hospital parking lot. It’s full.

I creep back in tight traffic onto Orchard Road to attempt parking at Paragon Mall. Nope. Lot is full. Try Cairnhill Place. As I finally back into a parking spot the doctor office is calling my mobile phone to see if I’m still coming. Honestly, I’m only six minutes late by my clock and think I’m actually doing great all things considered. I tell them I’m parking and rush to the parking garage elevator and down to the street. Now where? I’m two blocks away but not sure how to get there from here. I cut through the mall and make it to the doctor about fifteen minutes late.

Sign in. New patient sheet. Pee in a cup. Blood pressure. Medical history.

Nurse: “This is your first pregnancy?”

Me: “No. Fourth.”

WIDE EYES! “Oh. Wow. You very fertile!”

Umm…thanks? What am I supposed to say to that?

“I think four could be enough. I’m getting tired.” I smile.

“You got to close that factory!!”

This lady is seriously cracking me up.

Later when she draws my blood I ask if she has children.

“Oh no! And I’m NOT planning to either. They make too much noise. I like my nieces and nephews. I play with them for a little bit and send them back to my sister. I like that much better!”

Doctor was great. Just my style too. Open and frank about what is medically going on and what my choices will be. He advises delivering two weeks early because of the uterus scarring on a person who is having the fourth c-section. He’s my new favorite person on the planet. Who doesn’t want their pregnancy cut short by two weeks and the most miserable uncomfortable weeks at that.

I ask about tubal ligation if I were to opt for that. He looks excited and supportive. Tells me frankly he recommends it for anyone who has had four surgeries. Explains risks fully of having more children in my medical case. Then tells me it’s my choice and he’ll address it a few weeks before delivery and will ask the same questions of me as anyone else and the four c-sections doesn’t mean I have to do it. In fact after he reconsiders my age he says if I was two years younger, even with four kids, he’d support not doing it quite yet. Now I know he’s my kind of doctor.

He’ll tell me my options. Not let me do anything stupid but give me my choices beyond that. That was why I loved Dr. Knudsen in Virginia.

Oh yeah. For those worried about me having a baby overseas get this. He quickly read my post-operative report and asked me specifically about a particular part of the stitching up procedure. He wants to know if I know anything about it and do they REALLY still use THAT? It’s so old they haven’t used that in years. Of course it didn’t hit me until after I left that my last doctor has been delivering for over 30 years and could have just have preferred the old stuff.

I’m going to be just fine here. Medical care is great, expensive, but great. My bill was S$ 830.15 today, about US$ 625. I brought S$ 500 cash just in case…glad I had a credit card on me!! Delivery alone estimate is S$ 13,000 if everything is easy and simple but will only go up from there. Tying my tubes is sounding like a better idea all the time. Babies are way too expensive. All three of my first cost less than US$100 each from start to finish. Thank you for great insurance plans.

***Did I write this story down already? I spent the summer between my junior and senior year working for Packard Bell Computers on the customer service line. After tech support finished trouble shooting the problem they got transferred to me. I set up home service, service center delivery service, ordered CDs to fix problems, etc. One day a poor guy had been on hold for hours, worked with tech support for hours and was convinced his computer was possessed by the devil. Seriously convinced of this. He gets transferred to me. I input all his info, name, address, machine serial number, etc. After the poor man has been on the phone call for almost four hours we are about done. The entire time he is telling me over and over that the devil is possessing the darn thing. Literally the last part of the call is giving them their problem ID number. It is something-something-something-6-6-6. As bad as he wants off the phone he demands a new number. I didn’t pick the number. It’s chronologically assigned. I CAN’T change it. He is convinced that number MUST be changed and there is nothing I can do. He remains adamant and trying not to laugh I tell him the ONLY thing he can do is to call back and start again. Then he’ll get a new number assigned. He concedes the fight, not having another four hours to waste today. He writes down the devil computer ID number and we end the call so I can laugh my head off.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lantern Festival at the Chinese Gardens

It is Mid-Autumn Festival here in Singapore. We met up with friends we met at Great World while we were living in interium housing and spent the evening walking through the light displays.
The kids had lots of fun running around the pathways looking at the oversized creatures.
Brian had fun trying to figure out the night settings on the camera, especially trying to get cool pictures.
It's been a long, long time since either of us actually tried to use the full functionality of the fancy pants camera. Most days it's full "auto" mode for us.
There were several full lighted scenes.
Of course nothing in Asia would be complete without the chinese birth year symbols.
The light was so low we couldn't get the camera to focus and get a good shot of the kids with their real candle lit lanterns.
They were so excited and antsy to run with their friends.
Of course as soon as we let them go the camera worked again. But no pictures of Ben.
Maddie liked this butterfly scene and had to be photographed.
Ben and Maddie with twins Grace and Georgia pointing at the HIGH VOLTAGE sign.

Sharing Taken to the Extreme

Do you ever grab the camera and download the pictures then look through them later? Sometimes I find surprises that make me laugh right out loud. Apparently Brian caught this one on film while I wasn’t around. This takes the concept of sharing to a whole new level. I’m thinking future wedding video shots here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Maddie forgot her class book today so I had to walk over and deliver it to her class. I decided to go eat lunch with her.  I respected preschool/pre-kindergarten teachers before but seeing two women get the proper lunch for sixteen children.  Choose the right vegetable for each one, right drink, fruit all according to the parents marked order sheet each week was fantastic.  Plus they have to open water bottles, Tupperware bins, Ziploc baggies.  Rip open those little straw packages and put them in drink boxes, open those little milk cartons, deliver napkins.  Remind children to eat instead of giggle, talk and play. Then help the “home lunch” kids pack up their gear and clear the table of all the littered wrappers and trash.  Line the kids up and head back to class to wash hands.  I was exhausted just watching the show. Oh yeah.  The teachers eat too.  There did seem to be about a two minute lull in which the poor women dash off and grab a plate of food.  Then they eat, standing, as they continue to manage the short people.  Amazing I tell you.   Simply amazing.


Ben walks home, or rather rides his scooter home, each day. I’m typically somewhere in the vicinity that I hear the gate creak open and see him  come through.  He is all smiles every day. He holds his scooter with one hand and pushes the other hand to the sky in triumph as he proclaims, “HELLO!!”  He is loving his new found independence and is home within three minutes of when class lets out.


Jacob gets a nap because I don’t have to pick up Ben at school anymore. And we had one fantastic success this morning sparing me the fullest diaper that would have been.  And all I had to do was flush.  Happiness can be simple in my book these days.


Other Stuff  Not a highlight of my kids but I got a chuckle out of this one. By the looks of things at the high school it is time for the student body elections. Signs litter the cafeteria and several key places on campus.  The one that got me was a simple neon yellow post-it note on the hallway water fountain.  “Free Water. Provided by Michael.”  I’m voting for him now for sure.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Come On, Follow Me

Jacob just woke up from his nap on the third floor and came all the way downstairs to the kitchen.  “Come on, follow me. I going to show you where Ben and the two Nickys are playing Wii.”  Ben plays with at least one of his best two friends Allen and Nicky almost daily.  Poor Allen. He comes over all the time but Jake just thinks there are two Nickys.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Jacob and the Clock

Jacob pulled Maddie by the wrist over to the couch this afternoon and pointed to the clock. “See that wock?  It say six eight. Dat mean it gonna be your dinner time.”

He’s so random and yet wanting so much to be a big kid.  I love having him around. He makes me smile everyday.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Today - A Day in the Life of Mom

It’s just about noon.  So far today I have:

·         Packed snacks

·         Packed lunches

·         Reading drills with Maddie Mae

·         Potty training

·         Walked to the school (okay, ran to school pushing a stroller we didn’t miss the shuttle – when I say get your teeth brushed I mean NOW not in twenty minutes)

·         Delivered kids to class and shuttle bus

·         Took Jacob to a play date

·         Watched Jacob and his play date buddy here after they finished there

·         Registered for my driving test to convert my license (stress!! – took me over fifteen minutes to find the stinking button to register – have I ever mentioned that Singapore is not an internet friendly place?)

·         Studied for the test for about an hour

·         Researched the math program at school to know if I should buy any supplemental materials for our summer homeschooling routine (mostly I found hate mail variety youtube posts about the program our school uses, I mostly like what I see, it’s mostly parents angry they teach different than they learned so it MUST therefore be the wrong way – still no resolution on if/what to buy)

·         Gathered dental records and sent off to new dentist here ( how exactly did I forget that I had a bit of a complex situation going on in my mouth and the poor doc might just need to see that kinda stuff? Hello, McFly!)

·         Emailed the new owner of the house in Virginia answering questions about “stuff”

·         Made lunch

·         Negotiated with Jake to eat lunch

·         Packed up to return uniforms that will fit Brian not Maddie (hello?  XXS please, you know, like the rest of the shirts in the bag, not XXL for the petite four year old standing next to me who just tried on those same shirts in the dressing room while you waited on us)


Realistically that’s not that much for six hours but I’m exhausted.  Now we’re off to return those darn uniforms and maybe buy some socks for Maddie.


Just asked Jacob to get his pants on.  He accidentally grabbed a navy blue uniform skirt out of the clean laundry pile to return to Maddie’s drawer upstairs instead of his navy blue shorts.  Too funny. I’m gonna let him wear it and see if Maddie notices.