21 August, 2014

I don't wanna...talk about it

A line from ABBA which sums up my week at work.  However, after having a day from hell which left me feeling like I was going to burst into tears, I came home and, accidentally while working, found a really interesting and inspirational teaching blog which led me to this video clip which I feel COMPELLED to share.  I could not agree more with the sentiment of this speaker:

16 August, 2014

keeping busy

I've no photos to share.  It's been a crazy busy week, and I have been utterly exhausted the last few days.  The school had orientation for parents and students over the last 3 days and we were required to do long shifts of meeting and greeting and seating families (something I find tiring and draining beyond belief).  Neither of my class rooms are ready (I've still not seen the one in the new building as we only got signed off on the building on Friday and poor classroom teachers have had to spend the whole weekend moving in for school to start on Monday).  I took today off and went and had a one and a half hour deep tissue massage which was brilliant, but I am in quite a bit of pain from it right now.  I've spent the evening printing and laminating and I'll head over to school tomorrow and hopefully get into my second room to set it up a bit. If not, I still have things to do in my first room. It may be somewhat quiet around here over the next week or so as I settle into the routine.  

10 August, 2014

Birthday celebrations

****all photos screen shotted from our various instagram accounts****

So Kit is fortunate enough to share his birthday with the nation of Singapore.  15 years ago he was born on Singapore National Day.  Actually, it made deciding what to do on his birthday a bit of a pain.  As a public holiday, everything is more expensive and more crowded.
However, last week Matt short term hired a car.  Which means we basically pay month by month (not cheap here, but cheaper than buying).  And while I'm too scared yet to brave getting out on the roads here (they drive like lunatics) it's good at least in making it easier for us to get out an do things.  

So yesterday, for Kit's birthday we decided to go to Sentosa for the day. 

We took the kids to The Wave House which has flowriding.  This is the same "beach club" where Matt and I went to see Pete Murray in concert a few months ago.  All along the beaches in Sentosa they have these various beach houses and yesterday (and maybe every day) they have ridiculously loud music pumping out of massive sub woofers and speakers (a little unpleasant for my aging ears).
We ate some lunch and then Matt and the kids got up to have a go (we'd booked a 2 pm time slot).

I was in charge of taking photos of everyone with their various phones and itouches.  For the first 40 minutes that meant no photos at all as the moment they got on they were off and shooting up the back as shown in this photo of Kit heading up after falling off. (He did stand up, but I didn't get a photo).
It got to the point where I was scared to jinx them.
Towards the end of their time, though the staff changed over and these guys were really good at getting in and positioning them and showing them how to do it.
Remi got it first.  he's still holding the rope here, but did manage to stay up on his own (once again, I was too busy watching and too scared to jinx them by getting the camera out)

 Poor Ella looked so miserable the whole time.  But I actually think she did enjoy it.
Even Matt got up and going for a bit.
Kit and Remi are keen to go back again, and we may even do another family session there.  The verdict was , though, that it was a lot harder than it looked which justified my decision not to even try.

After that, we moved next door to another club for some drinks in the pool.
We were hoping for somewhere a bit more relaxed, but here they had a dj pumping out some overly loud beats, so it wasn't quite as idyllic as it looks.

By about 4 we were ready to head off, which is probably just as well as everyone (except me!) caught a bit too much sun.

 We went out to dinner at our local place which had TVs set up so everyone could watch the national day parade and celebrations, and picked up a couple of pieces of cake from a bakery as we were walking home.

I think Kit was pretty happy.


So our neighbours sent us this video yesterday.  SO EXCITING.  Maybe a little more grass and gravel than I'd requested (I'm trying to limit any mowing, and I want to make gardens) but hopefully (fingers crossed) at least I won't be having to pull out all the Bishop's weed next year.  I can't believe how quickly they've done this.  It's doubled the size of the side patio, and prepared the land perfectly for when we have a deck built off the back of the house.

08 August, 2014


So Ive nearly completed one week back at work.  It's been a bit frustrating with the new building not yet finished, a camp group in our other class rooms and lots of presentations that we've all heard before.  Typical school stuff really and we should have expected it all.  As far as I know, I've gone from no class room last year to TWO class rooms this year in two different buildings.  It's actually not so bad because I really do 3 days in the Early Years/Lower Elementary side and then 2 days in the Upper Elementary side. It will be a bit like having 2 part time jobs.  But that's two class rooms that I need to set up and it looks like it will all have to be done RIGHT before school starts in just over a week.

Meanwhile:  Our neighbours have been sending us photos of the work on our yard.  Remember how I left the yard a total mess?  Well. on Tuesday, Heather sent me this photo:
And then yesterday we got these photos from Steve:

 Very exciting!  I can't get over how quickly they built those walls!  It will open up that area on that side of the house so much more.  It's LOVELY out there in autumn and winter as that's the side that gets the evening sun (the house is almost directly south facing).  I'm not sure how much we will see of it when we go back in Winter (and by then the back roof may be finished too?), but I suspect this summer I will be spending a lot of time at the garden centre.

03 August, 2014

on the other side

We're Baaack!  We arrived safe and sound; although with aching backs, knees, necks (except me who has decided that from now on I'm doing long halls with a proper neck brace, rather than those stupid plane pillows. It was brilliant: best sleep I've ever had on a plane) and feeling a little jet lagged. 

We got in early in the morning and it was weird to have the whole day in front of us.  As we had no coffee pods for the machine, Ella and I went out to get some and had an early lunch out.  I had a hankering for one of my favourite dishes here, Yong Tau Foo which is an assortment of tofu based dumpling things and other bits and pieces (that you choose and I really never have any idea what any of it is) and it's served with a soup and noodles.
 Ella and I spent a lot of time trying to Loki to come out from under the bed.  He was so nervous around us to begin with, although much better now.  He's still super jumpy when he comes out of his compound (Ella's bedroom, my study and the connecting bathroom) as he is still being totally terrorised by the evil cat Waffle who saunters around like she owns the place.
 After crashing at about 7 pm on Friday night and having a really good night's sleep, Ella went off to dance and I crossed the road from the mall where she does it and took myself off for a power walk around Fort Canning.  I remember well the first time I went there when we first came to Singapore and I was pregnant with Kit and we had to push Oscar and Remi in prams up the hill and carry them up the stairs.  I hated it; it was hot and there were bugs and it was not something I thought I'd ever willingly repeat.  I have to say though that I loved it yesterday morning.  It's been developed a lot, so there's heaps to see, and toilets and water fountains, there's signs everywhere and it's the place of choice for lots of fitness groups to work out: yoga, boot camp, teams doing preseason training.
 And the views are quite amazing.
 Part of the draw for exercising people are all the stairs.  So much easier without little kids in prams!

And while I was off doing that, Matt was off getting a car.  It's a short term rental as in we just renew it monthly for as long as we want it.  I desperately wanted a hatch back as all cars have to be reversed parked here and it's not something I've really ever had to do before or am very good at (hello, I learned to drive in the US where the car parking spaces are massive), and certainly never in a sedan!  We went out for a drive yesterday, with Matt driving, and I was so stressed by the end of it that I don't know how long we will actually have the car for.  Getting used to Singapore driving is going to be a tough one.  Saturday is probably the worst day to drive anywhere here though.

Today is officially my last day of summer holiday and tomorrow I'm back at work and all that entails.  Funnily enough I'm a bit nervous, which I didn't think I would be.  It just feels so different to everything I've been doing for the last 6 weeks.

30 July, 2014

last day

Here we are at the end of our summer vacation.  Tonight we fly out.  We've spent the last two nights staying with our wonderful friends in Connecticut across the road from our old house, and last night we had dinner with Oscar's girlfriend's family.  A nice little stop between the heartbreak of leaving Vermont and going home.

So before we get caught back up in life in Singapore, I thought I'd share some last photos from the summer...taken with my actual camera, not my iphone.
 We spent a morning out at the Dorset Marble quarry which the kids LOVED.  It was a pretty mild day and we went early, mid week, so it wasn't too crazy.  When we drove past on a sunny Saturday, it was like a public swimming pool on a hot day in a small town!
 The water is DEEP here (and breathtakingly cold) so all the kids jump off the cliffs.  I had fun watching them build up the courage to finally jump.

Ella (finally!)
 Remi even put his monkey blood to use and scaled this tree to help some other kids make a rope swing after they spent half an hour trying to lasso the tree.

Unfortunately we didn't make it back there as it's a good 40 minute drive from our house and the snow making pond is closer and not so crowded.

As for my annual "leaving the house pictures":
 The Shut up and Dance banner made by my friend from work has found a place in the music room.  It seemed only right.
 Up above the piano, with my growing collection of birds.
 Matt's guitar collection is growing pretty well too.  Only the guitar in the corner and the ukelele on the shelf aren't his.  His amp collection is in the cupboard.  But don't worry about him not having any guitars to play back in Singapore, as he has a collection there too.
 And while we are in the music room, this is the print by a local artist (Martha Stevenson) that I bought last year and didn't post any photos of.  It's of our town, South Londonderry, although our house isn't in it...it's about another 9 houses to the right.
 Definitely a cosy little room, even with the uneven floor which makes the book case look like it's falling over.
 The window seat isn't quite so cosy right now as I cleared everything off ready for our new windows that we are getting put in...Fancy that, windows that OPEN!
 In the green room, my curio collection is growing...
 The new green plate there with the frog is called a "road kill" piece by a local artist who finds road kill (mostly frogs) and presses them into plates.  I got it at an estate sale.  I'd love to have some of these things in my art room for the kids to draw, but for now they need to stay here.
 Another purchase this year.  Brooklyn artists, bought in one of my favourite little galleries in Brattleboro, Gallery in the Woods.  It's machine embroidered.
 He's sitting up there by the rooster throne chair.

And as for outside:  Well, it's a bit of a mess.  We have had the drainage problem by the side of the house fixed with a new french drain.  I put weed felt over it before I left to keep out dirt and stuff.  We will have to put either soil and grass or something on it next year.  I still have dreams of a stone patio out this side of the house at some point.
 There's that little bit of red roof that was missed over the door...hopefully soon to be remedied.

 My garden is starting to look good.  All that work I've done over the last 2 summers taking out weeds and making planting beds has made SUCH a difference.  And I'm loving the plants that my neighbour and realtor put in for me last autumn.  The day before I left I was out doing a bit more weeding out there and saw 3 garter snakes living in that wall.  The year for snakes this year...we have another 3 or so living around the back of the barn as well as a few bigger ones up the back.
 The new roof colour is definitely better.
 Out the other side of the house is a big mess!  But hopefully we'll see stone walls and terraces there next summer.

 Another drain to hopefully cut down on the amount of water in our basement.  And weedcloth at the back of the barn there to prevent me from having to do a massive weeding session again next year.
 I did manage to finish painting the back of the barn, and once the landscaping is done, we can look at putting in a deck there and putting a better door on the back too (and once the deck goes in the gas tank won't be so ugly as the plan is for the deck to be raised above the tank
 Looking over towards our neighbours' barn (airBnB)
 Yep, it's a big mess.  But I can't wait to do before and after photos with this.
 Looking down onto the side garden.  It's a pain having to mow this grass all the time which is why I'd like to make it a patio with some garden beds around it.  That grey is the french drain.  The work I've done with the red slate everywhere has made SUCH a difference in keeping it nice and clean around the house.
 Looking down at what used to be a pond...
 Now filled with gravel.  Seriously we had a frog living in there.

 This summer we also cleared all around the shed, ripping out plants and putting down more gravel.
 Looking back up towards the back of the land.  The pile of stones is what the digger pulled out and what will be used to make a stone wall...
 dirt and soil.

 From here you can kind of start to visualise what it will look like when we have a deck and some terraces stepping down to the house.
 And while we had the digger here we had him rip out a big pile of old trees and yard cuttings etc that were here in a fenced off garden area.  It's opened up the back of the land so much, and it's a big flat area up there....we have plans....although much longer term ones.
 This is up by the shed, looking across the driveway that goes up to another house to our neighbours' lovely big back yard.  It's really pretty up here.
 And this is walking down the driveway back to our house.  The back barn roof is the next one to be done.  Also exciting.

 It looks so different with all the plants pulled out and cut back.
 And along this side is where I managed to paint the upper dormer windows and top trim this year.  They don't look very finished because I didn't bother painting the storm windows.  The new windows we are having put in are white anyway, so they will contrast against the dark blue.
 And there's Dave, my little hire Yaris for the summer.
 I can't wait until this view looking back up to the shed looks like a real garden!
So much to look forward to when we next see the house!  Farewell (and Fair Well) my lovely home.