Mother’s Day Weekend 2014

The Thursday before Mother’s Day Ellie had her first over night field trip to the Dairy Farm Adventure Center here in Singapore. It was only about 20 min from their school but they went on a bus and had to have everything for camping out overnight.  There were dorms for them to sleep in but no cots or beds just wooden floors.  Lots of “risk taking” adventures were had and she made it home Friday afternoon full of stories.  The only down point was the rain and thunderstorms caused a few activities to be cut short so instead of doing four things Ellie was only able to do one.

While Ellie was risk taking I was at Sadie’s school for a Mother’s Day celebration.  The kiddos sung to us in Chinese and in English presented us with a paper rose, a necklace they made and a picture they drew of us.

Saturday was spent with Ellie at a birthday party at Snow CIty sledding and Ken, Sadie and I enjoying the Chinese Gardens and the Live Turtle Museum.

Sunday was a beautiful day in every sense of the word.  It started with me sleeping in until 7:45 and then getting up and going to breakfast. Ken found a very neat French bakery and cafe not far from us.  We had a lovely breakfast at Choupinette complete with French toast and chocolate donuts.

After breakfast we went to Sentosa to Palawan Beach.  We hung out at the Bora Bora Beach Club, laid on beach chairs, had frosty tropical drinks, played in the sand and surf and just enjoyed being together.

Late afternoon,  sun kissed and high on vitamin D,  we went to friends for Mother’s Day drinks and socializing.

It was pretty much a prefect Mother’s Day.  I’m a very lucky lady and I couldn’t have asked for more from my two girls and husband.

Easter in Asia

The holidays that are made a big deal are a wee bit different when you live in Asia.  For example, Valentines Day not a big deal, Chinese New Year off the hook.  Easter falls in between.

You get good Friday off of work and can find a few things for Easter baskets.  There was an Easter egg hunt in our complex and many places did special Easter brunches.

The girls awoke to baskets from the Easter bunny (at 5:15 a.m.) and went to the Easter egg hunts.  We had a birthday party in the middle of the day but we did watch a video on Easter and why we celebrate it.  I think our first Asian Easter wasn’t too shabby.

Neko Case

Ken and I were given tickets to the Singapore Symphony a few months back.  We were so impressed with them as well as the space where they performed in the Esplanade.  In true Singapore fashion it is amazing. On the way out of the hall,  we saw a poster for the Mosaic Music Festival that would be there in March.  We glanced at who would be there and quickly did a double take, the headliner was Neko Case.

You might recognize the name as a member of the group the New Pornographers but in the past few years she has made a name for herself as an amazing solo artist as well. We have all of her solo albums and they are on heavy rotation around here.  Ellie loves everything about her.  Loves her voice and her whole look and style.  Ellie’s favorite song by her is hard to say but I know Deep Red Bells is right at the top of her list.

As soon as we got home that night, we were getting tickets for us all to see the show.  The girls were so excited, especially Ellie, to see her in concert.

She didn’t disappoint playing a full set and even some requests she sounded amazing!  I’m so glad the girls love music and going to concerts as much as their Dad and I do.

IMG_4973 IMG_4974 IMG_4976Ellie even scored her guitar pick!  It was such a great night with amazing music.  Thank you Neko Case for really delivering!

It happened one Saturday

We woke up to me with a very sore throat and Ellie with a crick in her neck.  It was decided that I would take Ellie to the doctors with me to have it checked out because she wasn’t having the normal pain of sleeping wrong and I clearly needed something to help get rid of my sore throat.

I took her to the local clinic I was given drugs to cure a throat infection and the doctor looked at Ellie.  He informed us her neck was very hot and having spasms and we need to take her straight to A & E ( the ER to all of my Americans out there).

We bundled into a taxi and went straight to National University Hospital to have it checked out.  They were concerned because she couldn’t straighten her neck the whole way and was in a lot of pain.  There were x-rays to make sure there wasn’t infection because the area was very hot and pain medicine and a neck brace for support were given.  After 7 hours they weren’t sure what it was but they knew it wasn’t an infection.

IMG_4767 IMG_4771We were referred to a specialist who wanted a Cat Scan done to make sure it wasn’t a spinal problem.

IMG_4785 IMG_4783After all of that showed everything was ok we were told she had a wry neck.  Some kids get it and no one is really sure why and what causes it.  It can take a week to a month to correct itself.  In the mean time, it can be very uncomfortable and painful even causing spasms.  We were told that she was to take pain medicine when needed and to wear the brace for a few weeks until it was corrected itself.

We did creative things to decorate and make the brace a little less brace like and more fun.

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It’s been almost a month since it stared and we are due back at the doctors next week.  She is mostly straight and having random pain now and then.  Hopefully she will be totally back to normal again soon.

Chinese New Year part 2 – Ellie’s school

Like at Sadie’s school, Ellie’s school had a Chinese New Year celebration as well. It was an all day celebration full of fun.

There was lion dances:

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They also did the Dragon Dance which we hadn’t seen and was very fun to watch.  There was a huge paper dragon that was on sticks.  The dancers controlled the movement via the sticks almost like a puppet.  The movement was so fast and so real. It made it very exciting to watch.

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IMG_4634IMG_0082Ellie also was chosen from her year to do one of the traditional Chinese dances.  We were so proud of her and all that she learned.

IMG_4654 IMG_4653The costumes were awesome and having never seen the dances before it was very interesting to see.

 

Sports Day

The second week back at school this term was Sports Day at Ellie’s school.  Think field day but with actual events that mirror Olympic events.

Ellie's house shirt

Ellie’s house shirt

Ellie is in API house which means Fire in Malaysian

Ellie is in API house which means Fire in Malaysian

There was a high jump (not over a pole just up to see who could jump highest), long jump, discus throw with tennis balls, and long and short runs.

Long Jump

Long Jump

Discus

Discus

I have to admit the long run was the one I was a bit nervous about.  It was a bit of a distance and it was very hot outside.  I wasn’t totally sure how Ellie was going to do. I told her just do your best.

Long Run

Long Run

Of course she ran her heart out and was by far the last across the line.  When I made it to where she finished I wasn’t sure what she would say.  She looked at me and said “Mom, I don’t care if I’m the last one as long as I gave it my best try.  That’s all that matters.”  Sometimes it takes a 8 year old to remind us all what is really important.

Diwali / Holiday Monday

Diwali is the five day Hindu festival of lights. Little India has a huge month long celebration and festival but we didn’t make it down there for it this year. One of the really amazing things about Singapore is how very open and accepting of all religions it is and there are many public holidays around religious events.

The actual national holiday for Dwali was on Saturday November 2 but Ellie was out of school on November 4th.  It’s a bit confusing but if a holiday falls on a Saturday and the business is open on Saturdays (like Sadie’s school) you get that day off.  If your business isn’t open on Saturdays (like Ken and Ellie) you get an extra day off whenever you want it for that year.  Ellie’s school decided to take the Monday after.

It was just Ellie and I so we went to Sentosa and Palawan Beach for a fun off day. I have always said to Ken keep me close to water- especially salt water- and I’ll be a happy girl.  Looks like Ellie is just like me in that respect because the child would spend all day everyday on the beach and in the water playing.  Palawan Beach is only about a 20 min  ride in a cab or 40 min if you take the shuttle from the island and then the bus or MRT back home.  The beach there is nice and not too crowded especially on a week day.  We had fun playing in the sand and in the water and had fish and chips and fancy drinks on the beach at a cafe.

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a centipede came to play with us

a centipede came to play with us

Even the crazy Singapore sideways raining thunderstorm we got caught in without an umbrella or hope of a taxi on the way to get Sadie from school couldn’t put a damper on our day!

No umbrella, no problem

No umbrella, no problem

I can’t think of a better way to spend a holiday Monday, can you?

Heart Day 2013

It’s been seven years.  Seven long, yet short years since Ken and I sat in a waiting room in Boston Children’s Hospital first waiting to hear what surgery they were going to perform and that it was complete.  It seems like yesterday, at the same time a lifetime ago.

Every year Ken and I go back and reread my blog entries and all of the comments from that days and weeks following surgery.  It means so much to us the support we got and continue to get from all of you.  Some years Ellie asks to see pictures. Hopefully one of these years she will go back and read the entries and know how much she was, and still is, supported and loved.

I wanted to link you all back to those entries in case you would like to reread and revisit again with us this year.  Start at the bottom and work your way up.

This year, like every year, it is celebrated in our house like a holiday.  We figure if she hadn’t had the new life that the surgery afforded her, we wouldn’t have her – so it should be a holiday.

The day started with a bus ride to school and then back in the afternoon.

photo(1)The girls and I met Ken back at home and headed out for our traditional Heart Day fare, chicken wings.  I know – not the most heart healthy, but it’s what she always wants so…  This year we were scared we wouldn’t be able to find her the buffalo wings that she really likes but with a little internet search on Ken’s part we found the perfect spot, Smokey’s BBQ and American Smoke House.  It’s actually really close to us, only a short bus or taxi ride away.

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We were not disappointed.  The wings were big and spicy and very good.  Ken and I partook in a green beer called the Monster Green lager by Red Dot brew house here in Singapore.  It is green because it is actually made with algae called spirulina.  Believe me, it doesn’t taste like algae at all.  It’s a very good beer.

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We sat at an outside table on a deck surrounded by tables full of Americans. There are not a lot of Americans living here in Singapore and there were more Americans at Smokey’s last night than I have seen anywhere together at one time except for at Ken’s college. Almost like if we were at home at a wings place. We stuck up a conversion with the table of 8 Americans sitting beside us. They asked what we were celebrating and Ellie said Heart Day.

The lady beside me spoke up and said really?  My son across the table had open heart surgery 16 years ago.  He had Tetralogy of Fallot and had surgery when he was 7 months old. It’s amazing that there would be another American at the next table with a child with a congenital heart defect and that we would meet them on Heart Day. She told me the doctors they like and trust and numbers and email addresses were exchanged.

I firmly believe everything happens for a reason.  I believe we got the gift of Ellie for a reason, she was born in Leeds so she could have Dr. Thomson who pushed for the best surgery, we went to Boston so they could do a repair that no one in all of England or parts of America would attempt, and now I know deep down that we sat by that woman and her son at a buffalo wing place on Heart Day in Singapore for a reason.

What an amazing end to Heart Day.

Botanic Garden

One of the things I’m still getting used to is how small Singapore really is.  There are so many amazing things to see here on the island and even on the bus most take only 30- 1 hr to get there.

Ellie and I were out and about today and I knew on our way to pick up Sadie on the bus we would be passing the Singapore Botanic Gardens. So I asked if she wanted to stop in and check it out since we had a few hours to kill before getting Sadie.

It was awesome.  So much to see and the Orchid Gardens were so beautiful.  The main gardens are free and open to the public everyday to wander and enjoy the Orchid Gardens are only $5 a person for those over the age of 12.  It was so worth the price to get in to see the over 1000 kinds and 2000 hybrids of orchids on display.

Everywhere you looked it something interesting to see.  I know we will now be making the 30 min. bus  journey (15 in a cab) back to the gardens for picnics and just to enjoy the beauty on a regular basis.

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The turtle park, Part 2

I had taken Sadie shortly after we arrived here to the Chinese garden and Live Turtle Museum.  This week is the first week of Ellie’s Fall break (they get two weeks in the Fall).  When I asked her what she would like to do the first thing she said was go to the turtle museum.  So off we went on Monday to the Chinese garden to explore.

Ellie L-O-V-E-D it.  I knew she would think it was cool but she really enjoyed seeing all the different turtles and luring them all in to have a snack.

We hung around the gardens after we left the museum, explored and had a snack of our own.  I’m so glad I got to take her on her own and it was a great start to her holiday week.

Museum bound

Museum bound

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This snake turtle still freaks me out

This snake turtle still freaks me out

Ellie's favorite- the largest fresh water turtle

Ellie’s favorite- the largest fresh water turtle

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Lure them in for their snack

Lure them in for their snack

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My own little budda

My own little budda

The coy circling after their feeding

The coy circling after their feeding

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