Thursday, 31 December 2015

Merry Christmas from Singapore

It's a little belated, but we wanted to wish all our friends and family all over the world Merry Christmas!

This Christmas season was went by to fast. December was a really busy month. We moved in to our new apartment at the end of November and I spent most of December unpacking and Lyndon at the office. Plus, being in a new country and learning the ropes of Christmas in Singapore made the whole month go by in the blink of an eye.

I missed NYC a lot. Christmas time is the best time to be in the city. NYC knows how to do Christmas, and I was not sure if Singapore would do the holiday justice since Christianity is not the main religion. There was not a lot of religious symbolism, although surprisingly Tangs on Orchard had a big sign with John 8:12 (I think that's the right scripture) on it. That made it difficult to make Christ the center of our holiday. We tried and Cosette will tell you that we celebrate Christmas because it is Jesus' birthday. So something sunk in.

Singapore did not disappoint us. Christmas here was pretty spectacular. The lights on Orchard Road were awesome. It's not 5th Ave, but the displays were fun! A lot more inviting and interactive for the kids. Gardens by the Bay was incredible and I wish we had gone every week and done something different at their winter wonderland. There were plenty of Santas to visit. And our ward Christmas party was the best. We kept up with our family Christmas traditions. The kids really enjoyed all the cookie decorating and gingerbread house making. Our Christmas tree it the most beautifully decorated tree we have ever had. The kids decorated and undecorated it every day. All of my Christmas decorations have a lot of wear on them from the kids messing with them. I probably should not have gotten them all out (not that I have a lot) but I wanted it to feel like Christmas. It did make a difference and the kids loved it. Grateful for my hot glue gun which has salvaged a lot of them, best purchase ever. Christmas morning was the best. The kids had such a blast opening presents and love all of their gifts. It was Christmas we will always remember, because we could go swimming everyday in December. Bonus of living in a tropical climate.

I made a little film of all our Christmas outings and activities. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Halloween (that's from the kids). And a Happy New Year!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Christmas Eve Baby

Christmas Eve was a big day, because our little Rafa Roo turned five months old! My mind is blown. He has said goodbye to the infant stage a long time ago and he is becoming a big boy. And I am crying because he is not my tiny baby anymore. Every experience I have had with each kid is different. With Raphael I don't want him to grow up at all. I am loving having this sweet little boy baby in our house. He is my buddy and we go everywhere together with him strapped to me. We are literally bonded together.
Cosette said the other day that when Raphael grows up she wants to marry him. She is the best big sister to baby Ralphie, except when she puts him on the couch where he can roll off. It's not happened yet, and we have had many discussions about what will happen to him if that happens, so I think he is safe.

Things Raphael is doing at five months:

Rolling over like a champ. The hair on the back of his head has grown back because he loves being on his tummy.

Sleeping like a champ. He has basically sleep trained himself. He gets pretty fussy when he is tired and we put a passy in his mouth, lay him down, and he goes to sleep most of the time. It is so nice. I attribute it to him being the third child and sometimes Momma has to take care of the other two kids and go to the bathroom. All three kids are in the same room and it is working out great.

He has become very aware and curious of his surroundings. He is out of the "baby fog" we will call it and is really interested in what is going on around him.

Grabbing everything. He has found his hands and is using them to pull and grab what he is interested in. As a parent it is such a great joy to see your child reaching the developmental mile stones. It is really amazing to see them grow. I think I get just as excited as they do when they learn how to do something new.

Touching his toes!

Sucking on his fingers. He is my only baby who has taken well to a passy. When he is not using it his fingers and hands are in his mouth.

He is still cooing or gooing because that is what he does. We have some great gooing conversations.

I'm so happy he is ours. I love you Raphael!
xoxo, Mom

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Force is Strong in Singapore

Like everyone else in the world, we were really excited for the new Star Wars movie. Like so excited. We tried to watch the first six before number seven came out. We got through one and two. Lyndon's work keeps hims busy so it was not possible to finish them all. We will watch the rest. We have added it to our list of new year's resolution.

I remember that one of the first things that I learned about Lyndon when we were dating is that Star Wars is his favorite movie. The second one is his favorite. We have watched that one so many times I cannot even count. 

Vivo City mall had a massive Star Wars display up. It was pretty incredible. Lyndon was running around in looking at everything. It was a mini Star Wars expo really. There were all sorts of different Star Wars paraphernalia and it was a Star Wars lover paradise. Seeing Han Solo in carbonate was pretty cool. It was all cool.
This display was made entirely of Legos. Lyndon's two favorite things, Legos and Star Wars.

The funniest picture of my girl trying to copy the storm trooper pose. She keeps getting funnier and funnier. 

We have Star Wars cookie cutters so we had to use them. We invited some friends over and had a lot of fun decorating Darth Vader's face.

Sprinkles galore!
Shameless selfie. I've never done one before, but I wanted to document the effort I made for going to see this movie. Princess Leia buns, and Boba Fett shirt. And I grabbed one of the kid's light sabers and put it in my purse because I was not nerdy enough. 

Lyndon made it to the movie in the nick of time. We went to the late show because we thought it would work out better with his work schedule. We went to the ten o'clock showing, but it did not start till 10:20 and that is when Lyndon plopped next to me in the theatre. I don't think anything was going to stop him. Have I mentioned he loves Star Wars? We were both kind of skeptical, but Disney did not disappoint us. BB-8 cutest robot. Not sure if that is what they were intending that. May the force be with you all and go see the movie pronto!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Super Christmas Saturday

Over the weekend we checked a couple of traditions off our Christmas list. The big one was our making our gingerbread house. Cosette was especially excited about it and was my sous chef in the kitchen this week. She helped measure, pour, mix all of our ingredients to make gingerbread. She even created a flour storm and made it "snow" in our kitchen. Singapore's first snow, if you will. Instead of cooking she calls it making. She loves to help me make things in the kitchen. And instead of calling a bakery a bakery it is makery according to her. I love my little maker. It does make the process go slower, but she is learning and getting good life skills. It's pretty awesome that she likes to do things like this with me. I hope that she continues to enjoy making in the kitchen. I know I did with my mom as a kid.
.We had our dear friend Marissa over to make gingerbread houses with us. She served her mission in our ward in NYC and while she was there we had her and her companion over to make gingerbread houses. They loved making it and we had such a good time doing it with her that we decided to make it a tradition and have her over to make them again.

Cosette was the official gingerbread house decorator. I built it with the frosting then she took over for the decorating. She is getting quite good. She took the icing bag away from me at one point and was doing it all by herself. I was super proud at that moment. She is a chip off the old block. It is wonderful seeing her learn and her ability to do things grow. She is really amazing.
Making these things is a science almost. I say that because you have to cook the gingerbread long enough that it is harder (not crispy) but hard enough to stand up on its own. I am still learning how to use my oven over here. It is weird and I know I am not doing it right, but things are getting cooked so it is kind of working. Anyway, the houses this year were not as sturdy as years past. We didn't build it on the "sand" or on the "rock" but somewhere in between (the sock? or rand?). And getting the royal icing the right consistency is a little tricky. It's a learning process every year. Our houses stood firm so it all worked out well enough.

The kids with their masterpiece.
The finished product. Cosette insisted on taking off all the foil wrappers on the chocolate candies. 
Unfortunately for Henry, he was asleep pretty much the whole time we did them. When that kid falls asleep you do not wake him up because if he has fallen asleep that means he needs it because he does not sleep well. He woke up at the end and decorated the back wall of the house.

Henry's handiwork. 
That night we attended our ward Christmas party. Guys, it was so well done. It was not anything spectacular, but it was fantastic. The primary and any children who wanted to participate put on the Nativity story. Cosette was so excited about it. She wanted to be an angel, and because I am my mother's daughter I made her an angel costume. She was so excited to go to the party in her costume. Henry decided he was going to be a dinosaur. The kids could come dressed as a angel, shepherd, or animal, any animal. I asked if dinosaur was okay and they said "yes!". They said that there is at least one kid every year who dresses as a dinosaur. We were just keeping with tradition.

Henry kind of stole the show. He got up there and ran around. It was pretty funny and I am grateful that everyone else thought it was funny.

My favorite part of the program was watching all the angels sing Silent Night. Seeing Cosette singing it brought tears to my eyes. I'm such a mom.

The program continued with one family singing the Twelve days of Singapore Christmas. It was great, five durians! I will have to track down the words and share them on here. Then we sang more carols and then Santa Claus came to visit! Our Santa crawl is off to a decent start.
That was our super Christmas Saturday, and now I need a really long nap. I am exhausted from doing it all.

Monday, 14 December 2015

The Zoo is our Happy Place

When doing all my research for Singapore everything I looked said that the zoo was a must. I was excited about it because I am a zoo person and have trained my children to love the zoo as well. Really they just love going to the zoo. Who doesn't? Getting close to exotic animals is thrilling. It will always be a different experience when ever you go because the animals are always changing and doing different things.
You know when you walk into a zoo and the first exhibit is a free range monkey exhibit with the monkeys running around and you can walk up right next to them it's going to be cool. My favorite zoo I think we have ever been too. It is the world's best rain forest zoo. We saw a lot of animals we had never seen before. A lot of them native to Malaysia which is only a bus ride away. It's so cool! 

The first Friday we were here we made the long trek up to the zoo. You think it would be more accessible since it is such a destination stop, but it's not. We took a long train ride and then could either take two buses, walk four miles, or take a taxi. We took a taxi. We went ahead and got a membership to the Zoo and River Safari which is right next door to the zoo along with the Night Safari.

There are a ton of animal feedings through out the day. We made plans to go to the white tiger feeding because hello! White tiger feeding! When are you ever going to get to see that in your life ever? It was amazing. The tigers got into the water and were swimming around right in front of us. The enclosures here are fantastic. There are so many free range exhibits. You can get up close with all the animals. The enclosures also have several viewing points so you have lots of opportunity to spot the animals and get a good look at them in ways you never thought possible.

Since getting our membership we have been up to the zoo five times in three weeks (I wrote this post a while back so we have been since first writing this). Two trips to the zoo, two trips to the River Safari, and one trip to the Night Safari. We got a membership there as well because if you go more than once it pays for itself and it is worth going more than once. And I want to make our membership worth it so I have been trying to get up there every week. The kids love it a lot. Henry asks to go to the zoo just about every day. On our way up there we will talk about the animals we want to see.
Henry's favorite are the elephants, otters, monkeys, tigers, polar bear, crocodiles, etc. He is an animal lover. He gets up to an exhibit and says "where is it? I can't see it. Where is it Mommy?". I will point it out to him and he gets excited and will start laughing or saying "I see it!". He is very inquisitive and will ask what's it doing, why is it doing that, or laugh and say "it's so silly". And who knew there were Asian otters?

The orangutan are in a free range exhibit. We are walking underneath them right here. They are native to Borneo which is a short plane ride from Singapore. I really want to go see one in the wild. 

Bad picture of the cheetah, but I haven't seen one in such a long time so here ya go. Did you know that they can only run at high speeds for a minute because their body temperature will get to high and they will die? Learned that tid bit on National Geographic Wild channel. Nerd alert!
The first wildebeest my eyes have ever seen in rl!
Snarling lion! These exhibits put you right in the action!
You guys, I am so excited that the zoo has a tortoise statue!!!!!!! The tradition can continue in Singapore!

Cosette's favorite to are the Koalas. The first time we went she saw that they had them before we even got into the zoo and she would not let us stop and look at anything else until we saw the Koalas. She was shepherding us the the whole way there. It was pretty funny because the rest of us are looking at all the other animals and she is yelling at us to hurry up because we have to go see the Koalas. Our second trip there Henry had fallen asleep and we were headed out. I asked her if she wanted to see any other animals and she said she wanted to see the Koalas. Lucky for us that we went because a couple of them were awake and one was chowing down on some eucalyptus leaves. They sleep something like 14-18 hours a day, so seeing them awake is kind of a big deal, at least for us. 

While there we saw two giant lizards that looked like they should be a part of the zoo, but they are not. They were just roaming around the zoo like they owned the place. It was kind of freaky because these lizards are pretty large. this one was smaller than the first one we saw. I was kind of in shock when we saw the first one. I was like is it wild? Did it escape from the zoo? What do we do? We kept our distance. Later I found out that they were Monitor lizards, are native to Singapore. I hope see some more when we go again.  
There is a fantastic kids area with carousel, pony rides, and the coolest splash pad I have ever seen outside a water park. We go to the zoo just for that. The kids are obsessed and we spend at least an hour of our time there. We will even go there after and outing at the River Safari. It's awesome and necessary to cool down after walking around in the heat. The last time we went, after we got home I had to take a shower and change clothes because I was soaked from walking around in the heat and wet kids climbing all over me. It was a really fun outing
Here is a little clip of Henry going down one of the water slides. He did not go down by himself at first and when he started going down on his own he was so proud of himself. He would say "I did it!", as you will see.

Gift shop shenanigans. 

We love the zoo. We will take you there if you come visit. Just don't take any food around the free ranging monkeys. They have noses better than fox hounds and police dogs. Voice of experience here.
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