Friday, May 27, 2011

Sammy Turns Five!

I cannot believe how the time flies, Sammy is already five! (of course as I type this Chris and I are celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary so I really feel like I am in super speed mode or something). He originally wanted a star wars party, suprise suprise. But I decided this year we would only invite the kids in his class and one other special friend, which meant there would be more girls then boys and as much as I think girls would LOVE running around getting the storm troopers, well needless to say I asked Sammy if there was any other thing he loved as much as Star Wars he replied, "Creations!" Which is true, he is nuts about making stuff out of trash. I decided to class it up a bit and go with painting party. This year I didn't want to go to the effort of making an entirely new fabric birthday bunting so I made one in photoshop instead in fun bright colors, then sewed it to some striped fabric.

We ordered lots of paints
and brushes
and everyone got their own canvas, crown, whistle and mask to decorate
When I ordered the puff balls they only sold them in 5 lb bags. Since I had no concept of puff ball weight I didn't realize the enormous amount that would be. This bowl was maybe 1/4 the bag. I have no idea what we are going to do with the rest ha!
We borrowed the tables and Chairs from Liam's little school and had everything set up on our deck to keep the kids cool, in the shade and if by some randomness it rained dry.
When the kids arrived they could pick an apron color (these were soooo easy to make, at first I thought I was nuts but after a dozen you get a rhythm goin') pick up their party bag, which had some very special art supplies they could use or save for later (yes they are pink and purple and the only gift bags I could find on the island. I thought Sam would mention it but he never did! Phew!)
Then they could check out the chalkboard to decide what to do first.
Some how Abby got hold of one of the giant suckers and I swear every time I turned around she had a different one.
Sam (who refused to cover up his Star Wars shirt) had a blast "creating" with all his friends.
Briggs and Carmen, possibly Sammy's two favorite people in Timor at the same table!!
Ava is the youngest in his class and such a sweet heart. She was unusually shy at the party, I think she was a bit overwhelmed.
Raf is Sammy's buddy from Portugal and thankfully also likes Star Wars.
I got a chance to try out the amazing face paint my friend Rachel brought me back from Aus and her cool step by step instruction book.
Then the kids left their creations to dry and it was water play and snack time! (I thought it was pretty funny how one person painted a rainbow on their canvas and suddenly there were a bunch of rainbows ha!)
Sammy's one food request was "iceblocks". I think this is an Australian thing? You basically take all different flavored cordials, water them down, pour them into plastic cups and freeze them. They then literally become flavored ice blocks. They sell them at the school as a fundraiser for the orphanage every Tuesday and Thursday and the kids go nuts about them.
Sylvia and Vivian in the baby pool enjoying their blocks. I think Sylvia spent the majority of her time just chillin in that pool.
Oscar tried out the slip n slide
If they got cold in the water they could take a break and go get all sweaty on the bounce house.
Shiyon is from Korea and I swear she and her mom are the most stylish people I know I would die for some hand me downs.
After lunch it was cake time! Okay so I worked pretty hard on this cake, despite the fact that it looks so plain.
I have been following THIS blog for a while and she did THIS cake that I thought would be perfect.
I have got to learn how to ice a cake well.
I even bought one of those special paddle tools and it didn't help much ha!
Liam was pretty excited himself.
We got to hear "Happy Birthday" the Aussie way, Italian way and Portuguese way.
Sammy was able to blow out the one candle in one blow.
The kids were pretty excited when they saw the cake cut, even when the icing started melting and the cake was sliding apart ha!
I warned the parents that the amount of food coloring may send them to the hospital
Abby enjoyed the cake... oh wait no she was working on her fifth lollipop probably at that point. This one she didn't even bother having someone take off the wrapper she just muscled through it.
Sammy seemed to have a great time and got some really fun presents to remind him of Timor.
The next day on his actual birthday I made our traditional train shaped cake and we gave him the presents from us. He just about died when he opened the remote control R2D2 and do you know who else loves him? Abby.
Abby is so crazy about R2D2 that even if she is playing with another toy she will lock her legs around R2 so you can't get him. And if you try, she WILL bite you.
Luckily Sammy is a pretty darn good sharer so he doesn't get bitten too often ha!
In other news we have less then 3 weeks here in Timor! We cannot believe how fast it has gone. We are all packed for our big family vacation with the Crawford's (Chris and I are retracing the last half of our honeymoon, Disneyland then Mexico... yup I said last half, our honeymoon was legendary ha!) then we have my little sisters wedding to get ready for! Once again I will be the super preggy one hiding in the back of all the photos. I don't know if I will blog again from Timor, now that is a weird feeling. Hopefully I will gather enough energy (the stomach flu has ripped through our house hold this week) to get a goodbye party together so we can say good bye to all our friends. Just thinking about it makes me kinda tired though ha! As does thinking about the 13 hour flight we will take from Sydney to LA ahhhhhh! Prayers for that are welcome :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sailing for Mothers Day

To celebrate Mothers day my friend Jeanne organized a sailing trip! I was really excited because this was something I had wanted to do for a while but you have to do it in a big group otherwise it is insanely expensive. The fun group of us from over 8 countries (always love how diverse the group is) set sail at 3:30 in the afternoon.

I wish I had gotten a pic of our sail boat, it was gorgeous. But being panicky about having my camera I double freezer ziplock bagged it in my carry on and couldn't get it out fast enough. I figured the ziplock bags would give me the five seconds necessary to throw myself overboard after my bag if it went in. But here I am pushing my belly out as a joke at the front of the boat (Aft? Stern?), my friend Krista told me I needed to look pregnant, check.
We sailed through Dili harbor and out around the Christ statue
They served little Hors d'oeuvre (spelled the French way-- I gotta learn sometime!) along the way and we brought lots of yummy drinks and the conversation was fantastic! Plus I had fun listening in on some of my friends speaking French. Didn't understand a word but it made my ears excited for Paris.
krista, steve, jeanne, toby
Once we got to back beach we stopped so we could snorkel. This is a great spot, but unfortunately the sight on land was pretty sad.
We have no idea why but they were slashing and burning the mountain side.
Usually they only do this in areas they are going to farm and Back Beach is definitely not that place, so we don't really know what was up. But it was cool watching the "Bombedaros" fight it.
Some people stayed and relaxed on the boat but Chris and I jumped in. The water was gorgeous and so clear but to be honest I spent the majority of my time trying to tell myself not to think about crocs.
I tried to stay close to Jeanne's hubby Silas since he had a spear gun ha! I was a bit worried about how we were going to get back on the ship since we had simply flung ourselves over the side, but when it was time to go a ladder magically appeared :)
This was the little "dingy" that was pulled behind us and used in case any of us were taken off by the current while snorkeling, which was actually very strong. I was tempted to ask if I could sit back in it on the way back in, it sounded fun to be tugged.
But I am glad I didn't though because I would have missed the most amazing sunset. It started out just sort of getting dark
and I was a little bummed thinking we weren't going to get any color. So for a while I took some other random pictures since I didn't think I would get a good sunset shot. You know of totally weird things like a pile of rope
and lots and lots of the sails
None of which turned out all that great. Then my friends hubby said "Kelly do you not want any of the sunset?" I sat up and BAM! This was what I saw:
So of course I nearly killed myself running to the front of the boat to get a better shot
These are straight out of the camera (I have no clue how to edit a sunset anyway). The colors were amazing!!! After enjoying the sunset we sailed slowly back to port in the dark. It was soooo relaxing sitting back and talking while the boat swayed. I told Chris I think we should retire to a yacht. He told me that there is an old saying that the two happiest days of a boat owners life are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it. I guess that is a no :) It was a lovely mothers day gift though.... even if it didn't involve the munchkins, just us two.

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!