Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pachelbel Bedtime

This song is making the rounds, but if you have kids and have not watched it then definitely take the time.

I actually figured out YouTube for the first time just so I can post this!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Quick Update about Nothing

Thanks to everyone checking on us! I don't seem to be home long enough to respond to email so I wanted to let you know we still know nothing and it will probably be 3-4 weeks before we hear anything. That 3-4 week timeline is here to stay, too. Consistently assuming it is that far out may help keep me from being disappointed (in 3-4 weeks.) I don't think Jason is able to hoist a flag anywhere around work to see which way the wind is blowing either.

The good news is that we are crashing into the end of summer with one fun activity after another. How the kids are going to be able to get up at 6:30 in a little over a week after their parents keep running them ragged is a mystery I need to set about solving soon, but I'm heading off again!

The fact that I am still suffering from jet lag acquired on a ruse of a trip is a bit frustrating. To take four kids on a journey to the other side of the world because you might be moving there is okay. For it to be in vain is still a bit hard to swallow. I try to roll with the punches, but I'm in charge of the details of our life and I don't know if I need to be signing the kids up for activities here or there. All those decisions about boy scouts, girl scouts, music and sports lessons are coming up and it takes a lot of energy to formulate our extracurricular life. I had already ventured out and bought what school supplies the kids would need for a month and a half of school, but now I am in limbo about what else to purchase. I also signed up for services we now might not need so I'm reluctant to add more things that may/may not be cancelled.

I'm on the go so much right now I think I'll just continue to take things one trip at a time - now that doesn't sound so bad!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Boom to Bust

Yep. The new guy wants to review everything -- hard to go from having your assignment approved back to review by an unknown quantity. I guess we will stop mentioning Singapore to the kids and hope they can just enjoy life and the start of school. I'm sorry they have to have this hanging over their heads. I'm not good at living my life in limbo so I'll also try to focus on living day to day and enjoy each extra moment we have to spend with friends and family. I certainly hope we get to live out our overseas adventure though. Jeez, this is like the adoption wait all over again!

Better go grab the winter clothes I was about to donate!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Adoption Do's and Don'ts

Transracial adoption opens your heart and mind to another part of the world, but it also creates a new parenting path we have to walk down. I think our personalities have a lot to do with how we cope with life's hardships and blessings, but I believe parents who educate themselves and follow through can help their children become the best they can be. I HAVE to believe this.

Children adopted from China will most likely know nothing about where and who they came from on the other side of the world. This can leave an empty space that love alone can't fill. Also, the majority of the girls and boys from China are raised by white parents who have never experienced racism. I feel like I owe it to my sweet little girl to try and educate myself. I love when lists come along like this one that give some insights into complex issues I forget about for the moment, but loom in our future as Lyvi grows and matures.

All the adopting parents should set those sweet pumpkins down for a few minutes and chew on this article from the anti-racist parent.

Road Block

Oh heavens, the higher ups want to review our expat assignment -- now I really can't breathe. Hopefully this agony won't be drawn out too long and tonight we will be updated. I like to think that everything works out for a reason, but losing this would mighty tough. The only sunny side is that I could stop practicing my parking. In Singapore, everyone backs into their parking space. In America, at least my section, everyone pulls straight in to the parking area. Why it is easier to drive backward in between the narrow spot between two cars worth at least 80,000 sing dollars is beyond me. When you pull into the lane to leave, it seems there is a lot less to hit.

So, disappointment would abound if the new exec decides to do things differently. Hopefully in a day this post will be deleated and it was just another forgotten bump along the road.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Not sure how I'll find time to actually breathe these next two months. The to-do list is astronomical!

We spent two hours on the phone talking to the relocation rep so she could explain all the details of the move. We will be working with movers, security reps, furniture renters, cultural training, tax advisers, mail services, banks, cars, new pet owners, home maintenance, home sitter, etc. The list really does go on! That doesn't even include Lyvia's post placement visit with the social worker and everything we need to complete on the ranch house. Whew!

The saddest thing we discovered during the phone call was that there is no help with the pets. We already knew we didn't want to put either of them through a move to a new country and the relo people cautioned against it as well.

Guess I better stop staring at the computer in a stupor and start working through one thing at a time!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Way to Fly!!

Thank goodness for company policies that keep travelers as happy and comfy as possible. I'm pretty sure air travel doesn't get much better than this for a family of six. You can't even see Jason's legs!

Not Bad


Even Lyvi could be controlled a bit with the power of those mesmerizing Dora the Explorer turns.

Though not for too long!

We made it home safe and sound. We did already find out that the house we decided on aka Home Sweet Home has an offer on it. I guess we will either go for the condo or Jason and I fly back and look some more or we move and house hunt once we are there. I think I'd rather pack knowing what homey things I can use to decorate (our Turkish rug would have looked fabulous on the wall in that house!)

Thanks for following along. The kids start school in a couple of weeks so time is going to fly by between now and October. The trip was a success since the kids can't wait to go back. That statement from them is always followed by a reminder that they are going to miss their friends. We better start socializing since we are going to miss all our friends, too!

One Year Ago on July 31st

We FINALLY got to see our sweet ShiShi for the first time! I loved finally knowing where in China we would be traveling (Nanchang, Jiangxi) and when she was born (January 3, 2006) and what her name was and meant (XinShi -- New Poem.) That day was a rush of excitement and celebration. We still had a lot of unknowns ahead of us since we next had to wait for weeks before learning when we could travel. Of course we were also given just a little bit of information on her personality and even that needed time to blossom after we got home.

One year later and SOOOO thankful that China let this little girl join our family!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

So High

My uncle emailed me about his apartment experience. He said that after living on the 13th floor awhile he felt ungrounded -- I think these pictures show how that could certainly be the case!

I took the bottom picture to illustrate something I mentioned earlier. When you get off the elevator (even here at around the 19th floor) it is open to the outside. I took this picture just leaning over the opening (really not even a "window".) I'm not sure what would possess a child to crawl up and look over this, but I don't think I could truly relax living here even though I've never heard anyone have a problem.


Here is a picture of the fogging they do in Singapore to keep mosquitoes at bay. We always had to rush back into the car any time people were fogging near us. If we rent a house we will have to hire a company to fog regularly. At the condos they provide the "service" for you. It is a bit nerve-wracking to actually see what it being sprayed, but because Singapore is in the tropics, illnesses like Dengue Fever are carried by those pests. Our realtor said not to get one house I really liked because he thought the mosquitoes would be impossible to control. Lyvi looks like a mosquito buffet in Texas so I guess controlling the bugs is a good idea. You can also get fined if you allow mosquitoes to breed in your home. Singapore does work hard to prevent epidemics from occuring and they supposedly worked hard during the SARS epidemic as well.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Where to Live

This is were we should live. Of course it was the least exciting place and no nice views out the windows. All the neighbors have these beautiful gardens, but this place had nothing. There is a park down the street and it is close to shops. After Lindsay slept all afternoon, we took Jason back over to look at it and we both agree it was a bit dreary.

I love a nice bathroom and these just make me cringe.

So, our real estate agent Owen was nice enough to drive us around the areas we have narrowed our search to. Imagine a single guy with a family of six in the car -- should give you at least a bit of a chuckle!

We have that place, the fabulous condo with the views and porches and the house next to the park. The last one is down in the neighborhood so a bit more of a drive and not walking distance to shops (maybe walking distance to them and taxi home when I'm acclimated.) The park next door is nice, but that is where all the maids and people's dogs hang out (think poo) so it isn't a very private home. It is also really narrow so it feels a bit tight.

Decisions, decisions. Jason and I could fly back again to see what else comes available, but that really isn't practical because right now is the surge of newcomers and only fewer and fewer things will be offered.

I'm kind of sad that we probably won't be living the condo life -- the views from the one in the city are amazing and we'll never have this chance again. I envisioned it as our only option so I was going to suck up and deal with the tight quarters. I didn't realize Singapore had all the other kinds of places available. While I'm happy to be able to send them outside without me (or the maid), I'm still in a bit of a mourning phase about the big city life.

More Living Options

ALL this would be ours -- I loved it! I guess there are a few drawbacks - the mosquitoes, which you can't have because of Dengue fever and the lack of neighborhood feel and possibly neighbors. There is a small pool that we might have to enclose.

Lots of windows like these in the master bedroom. Two walls of them in the living room that completely open.

There is a pool, lots of room to park the car and a children's park around the corner. You would think that I could meet neighbors at the park, but this area is so exclusive that only maids take the children to the park. I love all the room though how would I furnish it? The idea was to simplify life a bit for two years.

After seeing the first property, Lindsay got sick so Jason took three of the kids to the hotel and Jonathan and I continued on. We saw a 6000 sqaure foot home. Again, I thought I was only going to need to furnish an apartment!

The place with an elevator/lift was really big, too. However, Jason and I decided that neighborhood feel should be the #1 priority. Another place was like a home with a yard, but it was too far out.

One last look at a fun impractical place though! This was was beautifully modern and the lap pool ran along the side of the house. Jonathan is standing where the kitchen table would go. Really lovely how all the windows open big.

Really it was only impractical because it was located SOO far from the city. There were a number of places we saw that would be great, but we just need to pick them up and move them somewhere else in the city.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Up TOO Early for a House Hunting Day

Well, the whole family was awake by 5 am this morning -- should make for a fab day.

This is the sort of list we get for viewing places. Today it is all homes since there are not a lot of large apartments in the city. One VERY interesting note on here!!! See number 5...

Number 1
-This is an older house and in terms of condition, it may not be spick and span because the Tenant that just left has been living in there for the past 6 years. Obviously restoration works need to be carried out before anyone takes over the place.
- Location-wise, it is walking distance to the grocery shopping and some little food outlets. The closet MRT station is NEWTON and that would be about 10 to 15 mins walk.

Number 2
- I have not seen this house before but it should be between 5 to 10 years old.
- The plus points of this house would be its location with easy access to supermarkets, restaurants and deli outlets.

Number 3
- This is somewhat similar to *** except that it does not have the basement and not close to an MRT station.
- However, its in a cul de-sac and a short walking distance to the children's playground and small park.
- Again it is close walking distance to supermarket, deli outlets, the other side of the Botanical Gardens.

Number 4
- This is still a work in progress but it is a newly re-built 3 storey semi-detached that comes with a lap pool. Basically, all the fittings and fixtures are brand new.
- Location-wise its slightly further out along the Upper Bukit Timah area.
- Its a short drive to the Railway Mall where there is a Cold Storage supermarket, local restaurants and pizzeria.

Number 5
- This is quite a spacious house and according to the agent the condition is very well-maintained by the previous tenant who just vacated on Sunday.
- It is in a very private and exclusive area technically at the back of Teneriffe which we visited today.
- I do not know the exact location but I do suspect that you could walk to amenitiies at Sixth Avenue where we had lunch today.
- There is also supposed to be a life within the house.

Number 6
- This is a huge spacious property further up and round the corner from no. 4 (the Chestnut house).
- It is worth having a look simply for the space that you will get inside the house for the kids to play and run around.

Did you catch it? There is supposed to be A life within the house??? What in the world??? Can't wait to ask Owen about that one!
Update -- even Vicky our orientation gal raised her eyebrows at that comment. Turns out Owen meant to write "lift" instead of "life". So, no spirits but an elevator!

So, the problem with most all of these will be transportation access. We kind of want to tell them to not show us anything in these areas, but after seeing this Balinese style house yesterday I think house hunting should be part of siteseeing trips!

That is a koi pond on the second floor and the Master bedroom behind it. The roof is open above the koi pond so rain falls into it. Jason was IN LOVE with this place and the people on the other side had it decorated gorgeous.

Tonight (my night) I'll post pics of the place for Jason's dad should he ever decide to move to Singapore!

Home Sweet Condo??

LOVE the porches -- LOVE the views!

This is the view from the balcony (the picture doesn't show the city well), but it also shows you what the condo we would be in is like. That is just another condo in the development.

This is what you see from inside the condo when you head to your unit.

ONE of the porches -- I can't even remember if there are two or three.

So, totally smitten with the porches and views. The living areas are so large that we could use the dining room, which has a screen that closes, for a playroom. This is a condo so it has all the great facilities available to tennets. The #1 drawback, and it is important, is that there is no MRT or bus service. Jason would have to take a taxi to work each day. Grrrr. Do we let this pass because of that? We REALLY love the place though.

Home Sweet Home???

I'll have to come back and add more pictures later, but this is the current front runner! This is called a semi-detached house. The side on the left would be ours. The best thing going for it is that the park is right next door. Most of the windows in the house even look out over it! It is also on a cul-de-sac and bike trail. There are supposed to be a number of kids in the neighborhood. The MRT is within walking distance so Jason would have an easy time getting to work. He would have to change lines a couple of times, but at least the process wouldn't be so hard.

The drawback is that it is three levels high. I guess four really because it also has a basement.

Below -- basement
1st floor -- living, up a few steps is the dining and kitchen
2nd floor -- landing (maybe for a few toys and tv?), two bedrooms
3rd floor -- two bedrooms

Also, there is more work with a house including hiring your own pest control and foggers (I'll explain the later one day.) You also don't get the condo amenities like a gym, pool, courts, etc.

The people we ate dinner with have the same floorplan. Someone really upgraded theirs with wood, built-ins and rich curtains though. This one feels a bit dumpy at the moment so I think if we rented it we would need to double check and see if any work needs to be done or if it just needs to be furnished.

Next I'll show you the other front runner!

Great Views

This is a great picture from one of the apartments of the school location. Just down the road and to the left is the location of the kid's school -- I love all the green around the school!

House Hunting -- Maids Quarters

Every house and condo was set up for a maid. Most often the kitchen would be closed off to the rest of the house and next to that was the laundry area and maid's quarters. They had room for a bed and a small bathroom. Not an easy job or life I imagine.

House Hunting -- condos/apartments

What a crazy day -- the kids did very good considering we saw 10 properties. I think the highest floor was the 22nd. I couldn't believe some of the unprotected drops to the ground far, far below. Some apartments I just had to completely pass on because heaven forbid a child look over too far. This wasn't always the balcony either. One place was on either the 17th or 22nd floor. When you got off the elevator it was open to the outside. There was this square "window" that in my active imagination a child could crawl to and fall like 22 stories! I was just dizzy up there. The one pictured below had two sets of windows that open and the apartment wasn't fabulous enough for me to handle the nagging thought that the lower set could accidentally be left opened.

While the city views were amazing, I didn't feel comfortable living in all the hub bub. It would be exciting for a little while, but I'm worried I would feel trapped once the novelty wore off. Also, none of the first three had an area for the kids to play in the apartment. I could make two kids work, but I'm not so sure about four. A friend currently living in something like these said I should probably get a house. A couple of them might have had a large enough hallway for a tv sitting room, but that was about it. They do all have great common facilities that sometimes include indoor playrooms, squash courts, gyms, tennis courts, swimming pool, playgrounds, etc.

One Year Ago Today

We FINALLY got to see our sweet ShiShi for the first time! I loved finally knowing where in China we would be traveling (Nanchang, Jiangxi) and when she was born (January 3, 2006) and what her name was and meant (XinShi -- New Poem.) That day was a rush of excitement and celebration. We still had a lot of unknowns ahead of us since we next had to wait for weeks before learning when we could travel. Of course we were also given just a little bit of information on her personality and even that needed time to blossom after we got home.

One year later and SOOOO thankful that China let this little girl join our family!