Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Monday, October 31, 2011

Still Recovering

Jacob appears to be still recovering from vacation mode. At our house in Singapore we have a rule you can't get up before the sun. Being so near the equator it works out well. It gets light about 6:45 every day of the year.

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

Baby Boy or Baby Girl?

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.

Pumpkin Carving

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.

Monster #4 Has the Wiggles

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.

Dancing Lessons from the Pros

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Candy Overload

There weren't many kids in our immediate Virginia neighborhood so we went out with the Arveseths and Miles families in their neighborhood one year when Ben was 3 1/2 and Maddie had just turned 1 year old.  We got a serious load of sweets over there and then came home. Ben had promised all the neighbors that he would show them his costume so we did a quick trick-or-treat on our little street. Not many kids had come at all that year, in fact one neighbor said she had only had four people knock the entire night, so everyone completely UNLOADED their stash of candy onto cute little Ben.

All together I think we came up with the equivalent of three and a half gallon ice cream buckets full to the brim with candy. I put it all in the pantry cupboard in the kitchen not knowing what else to do with it all.  We have never been on empty since. I tend to ration it out so tightly that even four years later my two year old Jacob doesn't ask me for "candy," he asks for a "Trick-or-Treat" in the middle of July.  Of course the bucket doesn't still have Halloween candy from 2007. It holds Halloween, then we add in Christmas, then Easter candy, repeat...

It's about time to reload our stash.  Happy Halloween everybody!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Decorating

We’ve had some fun the last two weeks showing our American roots. Halloween didn’t use to be celebrated in Singapore but is sure catching on. We are expecting a massive crowd in our neighborhood this year. Last year a family on our street gave out over 4000 pieces of candy and ran out before the kids stopped coming. This year the American trick-or-treating tradition was featured on the front page of the Sunday paper with a three page article and full color photos.  It’s going to be a madhouse.  We've all contributed money to hire police to properly close the roads and security guards to monitor the mayhem. People come from all over the island to enjoy the excitement and collect some free candy.

I knew about this so I bought candy for about 750 kids. Good, yummy things.  Somewhere between our move in January and when I checked the bags in September the bags burst their air tight seal letting the humidity in. We didn't realize the candy mix had Jolly Ranchers and they effectively melted all over EVERYTHING.  I tried in vain to wash the candy but we probably had more casulties lost to the water than I had hoped. The kids had a fun afternoon eating a massive bucket full of soggy candy. I figured it was a free for all for two hours and then it all went in the trash.  They loved their early Halloween even if it was soggy.

I then bought enough candy for 2000 kids to get the equivalent of 5 Jolly Ranchers each individually sealed to be air tight.  Looks like I’ll need to reduce my offering by a lot so we don’t run out in the first half hour.  On the up side (if you can call it that) Brian will be out of town on Halloween night and I can’t take the kids out and hand out candy at the same time. I’ll only have half the time to hand out if I take my kids out.  We won’t want to stay out too long I hear.  The roads are so jammed with people that you have to keep a hand on your kids so they don’t get swept away in a moving crowd.  I’m stressed already about keeping three kids together.

All around the streets by the American school there are decorations popping up thanks to all the American kids that are excited.  We pulled out our preschool pumpkin garland and hung it in the house. We taught our fun Aussie friends, the Pitmans, how to make paper plate skeletons while Brian made rice krispie treats for them to try for their first time (they are fans).  Then Kristi and I went to the market to buy more paper plates, other Halloween craft supplies and boxes of rice krispie cereal while the kids played at the house with Brian. Later that night I stumbled across something that jogged my memory about how to color and shape the rice krispie treats into pumpkins. They tried it that weekend and they looked delicious.  The Pitman house is definitely spooky these days.

I scoured the internet looking for waterproof décor for the yard.  We ended up buying some pumpkin sparkle garland for the fence and the kids made ghosts and a giant tarantula for the front gate out of white and black trash bags.  Jacob was beyond proud to help me tie the spider to the gate. At first I thought it looked funny but he's growing on me.  The kids of course love being all decorated and ready for Halloween and trick-or-treating.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

God Bless the USA

There are days that I am reminded of how great it is to be an American. Sometimes in very profound ways as I think of our freedoms. Today because we were just told "No problem. Just come back in thirty minutes." at the check in desk at the airport ten minutes ago. We are off to see my brother and sister in laws family in Brisbane today and I forgot to apply for visas to enter the country. Blast! How did that slip my mind? I'm grateful that the USA is good buddies with our friends down under so the visa application is super quick. Otherwise this could have been a major disaster! Only down side is it would have been cheaper if I had done it. Now it's my $250 mistake. Half that cost is for the express service fee for my mess up. Oops. I'll take it over canceling the trip though. Just better not forget again because next time I may not be so lucky.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2nd Grade Spelling Sentences

Each week Ben gets fifteen words to study for his spelling test.  He writes sentences and alphabetizes them.  Here are the sentences he came up with this week. They have me cracking up and totally embarrassed.


1.       I wrapped the balloon around and poked it so it popped.

2.       I needed to fix the toilet so it would not overflow.

3.       My frend is little so he wanted to walk.

4.       I like isc cream so I licked it even more!

5.       my dad wanted a baby so he made one.

6.       my Mom seemed to walked to the school to ger hr bran sukt out.


I’m just shaking my head knowing he’s going to turn this in to his teacher.  How embarrassing.  This on top of him telling the entire cub scout den that his little brother keeps getting pinworms a lot and that it comes from our poop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mr. Lim

I’m pretty darn sure that everyone that does anything in this country is named Mr. Lim.  Mr. Lim services air con systems, sells school uniforms, teaches gymnastics classes, is a swim coach, drives a taxi, delivers dry cleaning and is an electrician.  Are there any other last names in this country?  Makes me laugh when you ask a friend for a referral and they say, “I use Mr. Lim.”


Just for kicks I searched our neighborhood yahoo group just to see what Mr. Lim can do.  Here is the list of the most recent posts:

Teaches gymnastics
Dry cleaning (delivered to your door)
Sells oriental rugs
Jewelry repair
Blackberry repair and spare parts sales
Pest control
Beginner calligraphy classes
Owner of a fantastic air conditioned dog kennel


Now I’m off to call someone to service my air con. This time I only have a phone number. What do you want to bet his name is going to be Mr. Lim?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Driving Test

Here is one of my favorite road signs in Singapore from day one. Most days I don’t notice them anymore but every time they catch my eye on the expressway I have to smile all over again. Did it make you smile too? What exactly does it mean? Umbrellas this way?  Umbrella store to the left?  Didn’t take too many downpours to realize it is signage basically saying “Shelter from Rain”. It is telling the poor motorcycle riders where to go for shelter in the rain, either to wait it out when it’s really bad (there could be 50-100 men just waiting under cover of the bridge) or to suit up in their rain gear and keep going.


I’m studying for my driving test today.  Here is my favorite actual question to date:

When you approach a “zebra crossing”, (that means a marked crosswalk with stripes painted on the ground)

A)     Always stop before the stop line before proceeding.

B)      Slow down and be prepared to stop.

C)      Slow down and let the zebra cross the road safely.


I’m going with C. What do you think?  Will I pass the test?  I figure it’s always best to err on the side of caution when a zebra’s life is at stake. For heaven sakes who wrote that question? We live in the tropics sure, but not in a wildlife refuge!


Other questions that actually could flub me up would be things like “How many expressways are there in Singapore?” Does that actually need to be knowledge I internalize to be a safe driver here? And what is the legal limit for the blood alcohol and breathalyzer tests? I don’t care. I’ve never had a drink in my life. It doesn’t affect me.  Except for on test day when I do need to know.  So I will study up and make sure I know it all. Most things are totally reasonable and need to be learned so I’ll just take the zebra question and smile as I click the box for my answer – protect the zebra at all costs!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hey! I Know Dat One!

General Conference weekend comes a week late for us here in Singapore but it's still just as good. We are currently watching session one of four. The big kids have been coloring and crafting on the living room floor. Jake has surprisingly wandered the house without complaint (usually he hangs right by me all day long, rarely even leaving the room I am in). He has been loving the Flip Flop Faces today and matching the colors to the beanbags. After nearly half an hour solo he meandered downstairs to join the other four of us. When the Tabernacle Choir sang "I Am A Child of God" he eventually stopped to listen and enjoy and let me know he knew "that one" and then sing along with the chorus. "Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do, to live with Him someday." What a charge to two average, everyday parents from a two year old of pure faith.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


The last two days Singapore has smelled like the stinky trash that sits on the back of the houseboat at Lake Powell in the heat for five days until you can dump at the marina. Yuck!