I've been pretty busy. I finished all the curtains I had procrastinated on. I finished Ana's stocking. Although you can't see them it has lots of beads and sequins. She goes over to it once or twice a day, ooohhs and aahhs, and says pretty. I painted two mirrors. They were orginally a very tacky, bright gold (they were only 32 Sing dollars each). I like them much better this way. We went to the faculty christmas party at the American Club. The food was great--lots of bacon! The people in the picture with us are the Bridgemans. He is the middle school principal and Geetha stays at home with her three year old daughter. Geetha and her daughter Thalia also came over to bake their Christmas cookies in my new, BIG oven. I also taught her how to make pizza crust--We had cheese and taco pizza. I made my own cookies--6 different kinds. I just learned how to mix food coloring with an egg yolk. It forms a colored glaze on the cookie which means I don't have to ice them. Singaporeans think icing is too sweet. We'll give out the great majority of the cookies tomorrow at school, but we'll also bake some more for church and cell groups.
Here's Ana sporting her new back pack and shoes, but missing pants--she's funny!
The secretaries at school let Ana play with their phones--it's fun at the time, but trouble at home! Sometimes they dial people up and let her talk. She doesn't mind talking to her imaginary "da."
On Saturday I wanted to pick up a few things for the upcoming holiday season. Trouble is there are only certain stores that carry pumpkin, cranberries, coolwhip, and marsmallow creme. So, we went out to one of the stores on Orchard (the main shopping road). We had hoped to stay long enough for the lights to be lit up, but it was so busy we just went home. Near the end of our walk the national marching band came out of the presidential driveway. Ana loved it. Therefore, we decided to take her to hear some drummers on Sunday. She liked those too. We had Monday off, but played that pretty low key--it being Hari Raya Haji--everyone was out. Sometimes it's great living in the city--at other times I'd like to move to a small village on some remote island for some peace and quiet!
One thing about Analia is that she doesn't mind posing with complete strangers for photos. It's amazing how many people took their picture with her (this happened in India a lot too). Anyway she just smiles and lets them take her photo--don't know how this will affect her ego!
The skyline in Hong Kong is amazing. I want to stitch together my photos--just so you can see how it goes on and on, skyscraper after skyscraper.
We enjoyed all the Christmas decorations. I was surprised at how decorated it was--I suppose this is the British influence. Singapore also decorates a lot. It will be interesting to see how fast they take down the decorations this year. Chinese new year (the MUCH bigger holiday here) is only a month after Christmas.
We took a picture of the three girl's shoes since they all ended up buying pink of varying shades. I never thought Analia would wear this much pink!
And finally dad where he should be--in the back seat! Too bad Ana won't probably get her license until she's much older. International students sometimes have to wait longer!
We had a great time in Hong Kong. There was lots to do and see--mostly shopping! It was amazing how many people live, work, and play on top of one another. Singapore is a small village compared to this country!!
Day 1-We got our new (to us) oven delivered to our house. (It can fit 2 9x13s, but not my large baking stone ;( ). Soon afterwards we left for the airport. We were the only ones on this flight. Everyone else had taken the earlier flight. We got the first row thanks to a nice ticketing agent. We also ended up having an extra seat in our row--which made the flight over very nice!! We just barely made the hotel shuttle--had to practically run to get it. We arrived at the hotel after a 45 minute ride. Hong Kong at night is amazing. It really is the city of lights! We also crossed a huge bridge that connects the islands. (The new airport is on an outlying island along with Disneyland.) We were able to get a crib for Analia--and went to bed!!
Day 2-Matt was free today and many people went to Disneyland--so we hung out with a younger couple. We went to a nearby museum, a great park, as well as the ladies market. It had everything from ties, to shoes, to jewelry. The museum had some neat exhibits and was free on Wednesdays. I especially liked looking at the Asian jewelry. The park was very useful to me throughout the week. It had playgrounds, coi ponds, waterfalls, and lots of places for Analia to walk. All the aunties liked talking to her too! As the hotel room was pretty small, it was nice to be able to get out and let Ana be "free." We went to the market in the afternoon--the best time to go. It gets so busy at night that you can barely move!! We got Analia a fake pair of pink Converse shoes. They're cute! We took public transportation back--it's very similar to Singapore and quite easy to get around. We walked around the mall--gigantic--7 floors and very spread out. I think you could spend a week in there and never see it all. It was really nice because things were decorated for Christmas and Christmas music was playing all the time. It was colder too--in the 50's and 60's!
Day 3- Matt started his conference--so I took my friend Geetha and her girls back to the ladies market so that they could get some shoes. It was much harder to do this without Matt to help. Analia is about a fifth of my body weight without the stroller and diaper bag, BUT we made it! Analia took a nap as soon as we got back and so did I! When Matt got back we walked around the mall some more. Hong Kong has no hawkers that we saw and the food around us was pretty pricy. We had brought some noodles which Analia likes eating too. We were surprised that there were no small restaurants--guess we were just in the wrong part of town.
Day4-I took Thalia Bridgeman and Analia to the park. Thalia is 3. Analia had fun climbing down the slide and then Thalia would come down and take her to the bottom. They would both laugh. They also played in the car and ran up and down the tunnel. After that we went to three grocery stores to see what we could get cheaper in Hong Kong. I was hoping to get some gum--didn't see any, BUT I did bag some Fritos and baby wipes--Yeah!! When Matt came back we went down to the harbor area. We ate at Outback. The waiters loved Analia and gave her a cup of orange juice which she loved--she drank the whole thing!! We then walked around the bay area filled with amazing buildings lit up for Christmas. It was pretty nippy, but we still stayed for the lazer show in which whole buildings light up. What a lot of light bulbs!! Matt ended up buying Analia a two dollar light up two although the auntie really wanted him to buy the 10 dollar version. She chewed on it and we had to scramble around to find the batteries!
Day 5-Analia and I went to the park and to the grocery to buy some last minute things. Matt left the conference early and we went to Hong Kong island. We went to the Stanley Market. It reminded me of Mackinaw. It is in the wealthy part of the island which is not as crowded and near the ocean. They had some amazing deals on children's clothes--most of them were for winter though. We bought a Chinese statue and a picture that is very Asian. I probably would have bought more stuff except it is hard with Analia. I saw a fat Chinese horse I like, but Matt said it was too big :( We stopped back by the ladies market on the way back to pick up a couple more pairs of shoes--it was so busy you could hardly breathe--it was Saturday though. When we came back we had some visitors--some teachers and students that had previously been at our school. It was nice to catch up and Analia enjoyed the company--the center of attention of course.
I went to school thinking it would just be an ordinary day of doing misc. things. I started out going through photo orders, cut out Christmas decoration for the front office, moved on to laminating, and ended up decorating the library. It only had this pathetic little tree and a few ornaments (the PTF stole the rest because this librarian wasn't too into decorating). We did our best! We found a little nativity set and set out some other Christmas items in the children's section. Analia enjoyed pulling books off of shelves and talking to people coming into the library--she was a huge distraction! THEN we went to a pep rally. Our older team's basketball season was over--so they had a little session to celebrate. Analia who usually loves all the students was very clingy--she wouldn't let them hold her and when one of the Korean boys put Mickey Mouse ears on her head she froze, stared at them, and started crying. There was quite a crowd around her! The pep session started off with a little relay race and then moved into a spam eating contest. Matt participated, but wasn't much help. He kept gagging. Then the teams talked. Then was the grand finale--a wrestling match. Now I knew Matt was partcipating. He and his teammate had been quietly laughing all day. They wore these tiny shorts and kids shirts that barely covered their bellies. They also bought high socks and Matt wore a mask. These two who are almost 40 took on two younger staff in their early 20s. I was sure we were going to have to go to the chiropracter that night! But, Matt didn't tell them that he had really wrestled and surprised the young ones. Several of the staff noted a shocked look on the wrestlers as Matt flipped them over. After this momentous event we went back and cleaned up the library. As this was our anniversary we tried a kebob place. The only had chicken left, but I would like to try their beef. It usually sells out at lunch. Then we walked home--it ended up taking us about 25 minutes--a nice walk! Fred and Betsy you should be proud of you son--he's putting his wrestling skills to good use--entertaining high schoolers.
Sorry the pictures are so blurry--I didn't take them!! He's the one witht he long hair!
If you don't watch Analia closely, she'll find something to occupy her time. This is what she drug out of the Christmas stuff the other day. She especially liked the tree topper and ended up getting half the glitter off of it!
Michael and Puah Meng saw that it was our anniversary soon and invited us out for dinner. The took us to an American style Deli in Raffles Hotel--a historic hotel that is always beautifully decorated. We had a BLT and nachos. It was so good with tons of bacon!! Michael is a dessert fan and ordered a scoop of chocolate ice cream and chocolate decadence cake. The ice cream was the best I've had in Singapore, but at 4.50 a scoop it's not a bargain! The cake was amazing and more than enought for four people. Because we were at a hotel, the presentation of the cake was beautiful. The chef took about 5 minutes to do it! This would be a good place to visit if you need an American fix.
We had to walk back to the car and there was a bakery that sells things for half price after 8:00. Michael wanted to try to get some bread. He ended up getting scones because the man in front of him bought the last of the bread. While he was waiting we took some pictures of the christmas decorations. The picture in the white building is at Raffles hotel. The decorations are very elegant--We'll go back and take some more pictures there! The big tree is at Raffles mall. It has patterns and plays traditional Christmas music--very pretty!
It was a really nice evening. Analia was really well behaved for it being about 2 hours after her bed time!!
We had another scrapbooking day last Thursday. I got accomplished what I wanted and Analia spent the whole day climbing stairs. As there are three floors in the house there are plenty to climb. It made me nervous, but there was no way to keep her off of them. She wasn't interested in any of the toys and didn't even want to play with Thalia!!
Also the other day I heard Analia crying. I went out to see what was wrong and found her with my shorts on her head! She has been getting into cabinets and drawers more frequently--all I do all day is pick up after her. She is getting better at putting at least a couple of things back. So, it is nice to have funny moments like these (she didn't think it was funny!)
We decorated Analia's tree today. It turned out really cute. She wanted to touch everything. It was great fun to put the garland around her neck and walk around. She also loved digging through the ornament box with me. Every time she gets excited her mouth hangs open. She especially seemed to like the Veggie Tale ornaments (of which I have several). I decided to do her tree first because it's in her room and our neighbors won't think we're crazy for putting up our decorations so soon!
You never know what will float Anlia's boat. Lately it has been playdough (the homemade kind) and a backpack. She asks to play with the playdough every time she is in her high chair. She really does nothing with it except squish it through her fingers, rub it in her hair, and drop it on the floor. It must be loads of fun to her! She also likes to have this backpack put on her back. The first couple of times she fell over, but she has the hang of it now. We're hoping to find a smaller one in Hong Kong--it's very common for small children to carry their own backpack in Asia.
My friend Lori invited Geetha and I over to scrapbook at her house. She took us over after she dropped her kids off at school. Her maid had made monkey bread with cream cheese icing for snack. We continued to try to get some work done even though there were three kids and a lot of stairs (the house is three stories). We stopped for a lunch of meatball sandwiches and pumpkin cake. After getting Analia to sleep I actually got two layouts almost finished! Anlia had lots of fun because there were stairs and lots of toys. She got into Lori's scrapbooking cabinet and unrolled a whole ball of fuzzy yarn--what a mess!! It was a nice day for Ana and me!
OK--It's supposed to be a holiday weekend. I pictured a relaxing few days watching a couple of DVDs and maybe doing some extra things around the house, BUT NO... we had the busiest weekend ever!!
Friday-Matt brings a babysitter home with him from school. I get ready and we go to the Mariott Cafe for a buffet dinner. Wow! Lobster, shrimp, sushi, sashimi, beautiful salads, Roast beef, plus many Asian Dishes--and bread and soup! Then of course we hit the dessert bar--fantastic stuff. Also there were fresh juices. I had pink Guava. Matt had coke! We waddled out and back home .This was a gift from one of the parents last year at Christmas--we're just now using it. It was a nice experience--but wouldn't pay that much for it (dinner was 57 dollars each). When we got home Analia was already asleep and we crashed also.
Saturday-We went for lunch at our friend's house and then stayed for cell group. We had briyani rice with mutton and chicken--YUMM! Cell group was so interesting because there is 2,7, 12, 13, 14, and 19 month olds all together. It's rather hard to carry on a conversation. Analia really started walking her--she was going all the way across the room. She also had fun pushing people around on a little car. They have two small couches. She liked sitting on themwith Joshua, but he wouldn't sit on the same couch as her--he would always get up and move. Following this we went over to the Wong's house for dinner. We had curry, char siew (braised pork), bread, tea, and truffles--so full. They drive us home and Michael mentioned going out for dinner the next day.
Sunday-Church--I am always in the cry room (nursery) with Analia. She had a good time playing with the boys her age. Then we went to the Cricket Club for Lunch. WOW! Fresh oysters, lamb, roast beef, salads, breads, and the desserts were to die for! (I'm going on a diet starting Wednesday :)) Analia was pretty good, but she does like everyone to notice her--she did screech a couple of times. It's such a nice place that it is a little bit embarassing, BUT their other two grandkids were there too--we weren't the only ones. They also have a children's room--where they can walk around and be a little bit noisier. I wish we had had our camera--it's such a neat old building. It's the oldest club in Singapore-built in the late 1800s. We've been there 3 times now and NO photos! Then, Matt invited a friend of a friend over for dinner. So I went home, cleaned, and prepared a mexican dinner (which I wasn't even interested in eating)! I made enchiladeas, dip, and brownies and ice cream. He is here just for a semester studying business. He was a nice guy and thankful to get a home cooked meal--I think! He also played the piano quite well!
Monday-ICS had sponsored the Glenn Miller Band for a concert, but the concert was cancelled last minute--it would have been fun. It was supposed to be very dressy andhave ballroom dancers and everything--Oh well. It was nice to stay home!
Tuesday- We went over to the Goode's house and had sandwiches, chips, caramel apples (I made the caramel), and s'mores. It was a yummy treat and our longest standing tradition (six years). I'd never been to their new apartment--it was nice to see it. It took us about an hour to get there (by bus) Thankfully, Analia slept on the way back. The other kids had totally wore her out--playing with her and carrying her around! Then we went to the grocery and had things delivered as well as going out to eat chicken rice. A good end to a much needed vacation! Only 3 1/2 weeks until we go to Hong Kong!