Saturday, April 30, 2011

Singapore, Jakarta and easter

Be forewarned that this is going to be a loooong post :) There is lots to catch up on! A few weeks ago Liam and I took a trip to Singapore! Liam needed to see a pediatric gastrointestinal specialist to figure out just why he isn't growing and well, frequenting the bathroom more often then the normal child :) I got to see the OBGYN and sneak a peak at the baby! We were there for a week and had a blast just the two of us. After almost two years now going every where with three kiddos it was bizarre to be able to give all my attention to one child, and boy did he take advantage of it. I have NEVER heard Liam talk so much. I am pretty sure if he wasn't sleeping he was talking. Since Singapore is incredibly expensive it also helped having only 2 people to pay admission for. While we were at doctors getting poked and prodded we tried to get in most of what this gorgeous city had to offer. One morning we headed out bright and early to Snow City. It was a bit out of town so it took a while to get there. Then there was the rental of every piece of winter clothing and I suddenly acutely remembered why I DON'T miss getting kids ready to play in the snow ha!

(they do not allow cameras inside. I had to totally sneak that picture of Liam as I put my picture in the locker. Instead they have someone follow you around with their camera and then try to sell you the pictures) Once we were all ready you had to wait in a holding room to acclimate to the cold temperature. In the room there were 3 huge animatronic polar bears that let our horrible and load roars ever few seconds. Liam was terrified. After we got into the "snow city" and I tried to distract him he just clung to me crying that the bears were going to get him. I finally talked him into sledding down the hill once and that was it, all he wanted to do was leave. Luckily right next door was the science museum that we had planned on going to after lunch.
This museum was amazing and Liam and I spent hours playing with the hundreds of exhibits. What was so great is that everything was made for kids to touch, play with or experiment with. Not once did I have to say "oh don't touch that!" Liam's favorite part was the robot display. He and Sam are NUTS over Star wars right now so he was pretty excited to see R2D2. He posed for a great picture in front of a poster of him.
Liam got a much needed haircut the next day. The lady put it in a Mohawk, sprayed it with green hair paint and added gold glitter. Liam was in heaven. And totally bummed when I made him wash it before hoping into the pristine bedsheets.
The next night we headed to the famous Singapore zoo night Safari.
You get to ride around on trams through special trails that passed by all the nocturnal animals. It was amazing to see the animals so close and so active. A few days later we headed back during the day to see the rest of the zoo. To be honest we spent the majority of the time at the fabulous water park in the kids area of the zoo.
Liam played for hours while I chilled in the stroller eating Ben and Jerry's (wise zoo planners put it right next to where all the parents sit)
Liam became friends with a set of Aussie brothers just a bit older then him. They were so cute and kind to him. I think he enjoyed having a friend his age to talk to, after all he mentioned several times during the trip that he missed his brother.
As far as the animals go, his favorite were the giant bunnies. These bunnies were crazy huge and would totally let you pet them and they hoped really high.
On the way out they had a station where you could take your picture with tropical birds. They were being so loud I thought there was no way he would do it, but he dashed up and gave a tiny smile.
We then spent a day just relaxing at the hotel pool.
Liam had a thing for winking and giving me thumbs up the entire trip, I thought it was pretty funny
The embassy takes care of hotel bills when you have to leave your post for a medical reason and I will just say that we stayed at a hotel we never would be able to stay at otherwise, especially in Singapore. Liam LOVED that the pool had pillars of water shooting up to play with
I was worried at first he was going to be told he couldn't play with them but all the workers would giggle and joke with him when they passed by. He refused to take off the flippers we found for him at a store next to the hotel
When I got him a matching mask and snorkel he was dying to try them out, but it was raining. So into the ginormous tub he went
The last day of adventuring we headed out to the island built for tourists, Sentosa. It is filled with different theme parks. First we hit up Insect world. The butterfly sanctuary was incredible. I was terrified one of us was going to step on one, they were everywhere.
While I was trying to get a picture of a butterfly that was way bigger then my hand Liam kept yelling for me. He seemed totally distressed
When I came over he kept saying something about a turtle eating lunch. I looked down and sure enough a butterfly had drowned (?) and the turtle was enjoying it. Just a little disturbing.
After we got our fill of creepy crawlies we headed to Underwater world. I wanted to get there before the dolphin show and we got there RIGHT as it started. Everyone else was sitting in the nice shaded spots but Lemers and I had to sit in the blazing sun, but it was totally worth it. They asked for some volunteers to come do tricks with the dolphins. I waved Liam's hand like crazy and he got picked!
I was worried he might not want to get his shorts wet (totally unprepared on that front) but he went right in!
After they gave him a printed out picture of him and the dolphins and he just stared at it forever ;) We went through the aquarium, petting sting rays and the shark tunnel. This is when it dawned on me why Chris and I so prefer Aquariums over zoos. At zoo's half the time you can't even see the animals, the enclosures (thankfully) are too large. At aquariums you can squish your nose right up next to a massive dungeonous crab. The flight home with just one cutie was a breeze. Which was nice since we only had one week before our flight as a whole family to Jakarta! Chris had two days off work for Easter so we decided to go visit our friends the Nielsen's up in Indonesia. The boys were so excited to see their buddies Clark and Andrew. I was horrible about taking pictures but we did have such a great time. One of the days the Nielsens sent us with their car and driver to Timan Safari, the zoo outside of Jakarta. What makes this zoo special is that you drive through it and feed the animals. On the road leading up to the zoo there is stand after stand selling carrots, bananas etc. You stock up and then head in. It is hilarious that you don't have to sign any waiver, or read any warning signs etc. Abby absolutely adores Curious George so when we gave her bananas to feed the monkeys I thought she was going to fall out of the car
When she wasn't feeding them carrots, she was trying to kiss the camels through the window
Liam loved the elephants who were reading their trunks over to us.
I loved that the hippos just laid there with their mouths open
The zebras weren't shy about getting close and more then once I was afraid we were going to roll their lips up in the window ha!
At first the kiddos were a bit apprehensive about sticking the food out.
I was sort of afraid when a few of these guys surrounded the car
We ran out of carrots but the boys still had fun hanging out the window looking at the animals.
We rolled the windows up when we headed into the lions den and Lala our driver kinda booked it through :) After we got even closer to the elephants.
the boys were both really brave feeding them
Chris got them a bucket of carrots that went in less then a minute:
Abby was terrified when the elephant got to close
To finish up we took a ride on the train, which Sam of course LOVED. Half way through it started LASHING down rain. The kids crawled into the back sit with Chris while I hovered in the front trying to keep the camera from getting drenched. We then hoped in the car and headed home. On the way home we got to experience the natorious Jakarta traffic. It took us over three hours to get home, which since we had a DVD player wouldn't have been so bad, except the air conditioning went out. By the time we got home the kids were basically in their undies and I was rubbing them down with ice from the cooler. Still totally worth it though! We then took all the kids to Snow Bay, a fun water park. I decided against bringing the camera :) The kids played like crazy until they were so tired Liam and Abby had some pretty fantastic melt downs. That night we got Cherylyn had called the ice skating rink and they told her they were open until nine. We got the kids all dressed in warm clothes (they all wanted to wear their coats, hats and gloves in the car). When we got there the kids were soooo excited. This is the kids waiting patiently, with Tanner in the background finding out that the rink in fact closed in ten minutes for hockey practice.
Yeah, it was a bummer. The boys were pretty good about it. We got them ice cream and they watched the zambonie and then the hockey players. I had to take a picture of this though. Clark was having a rough night and at one point refused to use his legs.
I just thought it was so hilarious because seriously, what parent hasn't been there at some point? Of course I had to go to Mayestic (the fabric market) several times and Chris had 3 suits made out of gorgeous designer fabrics for 1/3 the cost you would ever find them anywhere else. Looking back we probably should have had more made since he will have to wear a suit every day in Paris. It was such a relaxing and yummy vacation (think fresh milk, cheese, yogurt and french butter) The highlight for me (aside from being with such wonderful friends) was going to a new resturant called Tin Pan Alley. We had two nannys stay will the six cuties while just us adults went out to dinner. Oh my gosh it was AMAZING. I loved everything about it, the black and white checked floors and subway art to the jam jars the strawberry lemonaide was delivered in (which had huge straws so you could actually enjoy the large chunks of strawberry). I of course went crazy and ordered an appatizer, a main course salad a steak with potatoes and verggies and a desert. I literally thought I was going to be sick after ha! Oh my goodness was it delicious though. There was a super cute poster on the wall that said "good food all depends on the company" and I couldn't agree more. The conversation was as good as the food :) We were sad to leave, especially since it meant getting up at 3:30am to make our 6am flight but we had to get back since I was in charge of the Embassy Easter egg hunt. While at the airport in Bali I grabbed four dozen doughnuts from Dunken doughnuts to bring with me and serve at the hunt (there is nothing like that in Timor). I had already bought several blueberry muffin mixes and cinnamon strussel crumb cake mixes to make and serve. We had over 80 people RSVP and I was a ball of nerves. I headed over early in the morning to hide the one thousand eggs (yes, 1,000 eggs). In the end I literally was just flinging them everywhere. Chris was great about getting the kids all dressed and ready with their baskets.
I LOVED Abby's Easter dress that my mom sent.
Everyone kept asking me if I made it and I kept saying "Nope, it was all Granny!"
We broke the hunt up into 3 and under in one area and over 3 in another. After finding a few eggs Abby was happy and just wanted to sit down and open them.
Sam and Liam on the other hand were nuts about it and wanted to find as many eggs as they could, especially the ones that had little starwars spaceships in them.
We order the eggs prefilled with toys from a great company that employees those with mental disabilities. it is so nice not to have to worry about candy melting on cute clothes or the kids getting all wired. When it was all said and done with had over 80 people, the Ambassadors house was still standing and I was EXHAUSTED. After clean up I came home and literally passed out asleep. While I was asleep Chris made lunch for the kids and thank heavens he took off Abby's dress because by the end she was wearing most of her lunch:
We are not on count down to Sammy's birthday party, Disneyland and the cruise. With only five weeks left in Timor you can imagine we are crazy busy and enjoying our last few weeks of almost constant pool, park and beach time!