Sunday, April 30, 2017

April (with a Little Bit of March)

So tomorrow is May 1. Which means time to catch up on April (and a little of March in between Singapore and moving). The month of April has been gorgeous and we've spent sooo much time outside playing and exploring. Here's all the fun!

  1. A little green polish to prepare for St Patrick's Day right before our Singapore holiday.
  2. A sweet welcome gift from our neighbor Anna.
  3. Evy conquered climbing those stairs completely by herself mid-March and Liv not long after.
  4. Our dear nanny Meri surprised us with a delicious salad the day we returned from holiday.
  5. I caved and finally bought a new pair of sunglasses in Dubai after ten years wearing the old pair (and not a scratch on them!)
  6. A beautiful bowl form Turkey along with cookies for helping out a new neighbor.
  7. Exploring the neighborhood on an early evening walk.
  8. Hanging out in the yard after church.
  9. Madi modeling her first LulaRoe dress. 
We watched the movie Trolls for the first time this month... needless to say it's been watched a couple more times because these girls love to dance!

  1. One spoon and bowl is for amateurs. 
  2. Liv loves the sandbox at the playground in our new compound.
  3. We've been allowing the cats to explore the front yard while we are outside playing and needless to say they've enjoyed it.
  4. Because why would they want to ride in the wagon [eye roll].
  5. My view for like 90% of April. The front porch of our house with the girls playing.
  6. Evy walking in my flip flops.
  7. Wheelbarrow races down the hills on our street.
  8. Caught red-handed with the paci bag. 
  9. Daddy tackle.
Because living rooms are for running laps, right?!

  1. We took the girls to a park downtown one Saturday morning and they loved running around. 
  2. Madi ran into a school-mate and enjoyed playing with him.
  3. Enjoying the caterpillar swing.
  4. Safety first. Even at the playground, haha.
  5. Madi and Coops - goofballs.
  6. Wrong. Disgusting. A terrible terrible mistake. 
  7. Liv cruising up the street.
  8. Evy off roading.
  9. A cat amongst Jason's accomplishments. ;-)

Towards the end of the month we had our dear friends Bret and Elizabeth visit us in Baku for a few days. I got to do some additional sight-seeing with them and the girls loved having the extra company to play with in the evenings. We kept Madi home one day during their visit and she got to explore the museum with them and take a ride on the ferris wheel.

A new game the girls have discovered is playing peek-a-boo in the closets. However, as there have (predictably) been two finger pinches now to-date, this game might get vetoed pretty soon... :-/

  1. This girl's laugh is one of those deep belly laughs using her whole body and it's incredibly contagious. :-)
  2. Evy loves to smile and I'm glad at least one of these girls is easy to capture on camera. 
  3. A makeup kiss and hug after accidentally slamming the fridge door into her sister's head (the victim and attacker will remain anonymous to protect those involved).
  4. A delicious spread for hosting playgroup this month.
  5. Those clouds. Like I said we've had amazing weather this month and with that came some of the most gorgeous skylines that I've seen in Baku.
  6. Pressure cooker roast to the rescue when I procrastinated dinner prep.
  7. A good portion of my free time this month was spent helping prepare for our Women's Retreat this weekend and I'm so excited for the mini getaway!
  8. A gorgeous piece of carpet I purchased while sightseeing with our company this month. I took it to my fav frame shop and love how it turned out!
  9. A late evening walk in the mall after dinner with friends. 
And lastly, because isn't this how everyone's children behave when they hear that magical phrase "it's bedtime..."


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter 2017

One of the strangest things about living overseas is when holidays come up that aren't celebrated where you are living. It's just hard for it to feel like a holiday when to the majority of people around you it's a regular day. We felt that way at Christmas and also for Easter, but we were blessed with a wonderful church service and celebration with friends. 

The week leading up to Easter the twins did an Easter craft in playgroup, but I didn't get a picture of their final products. They enjoyed the painting portion to say the least!

On Easter morning the girls opened their obnoxious singing cards from Grandma and Grandpa along with a few small treats we picked up for them. They spent the morning doing the chicken dance and playing with their princess fans. :-)

Since family photos are basically impossible at this stage, we settled for this shot with all three girls at least looking in the same direction. 

After church the littles napped and Madi played while I prepared a cake and some other food to bring to our friends' potluck. I love how the cake turned out and all of the food was a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

We also had an Easter egg hunt for the littles and it was so adorable!

We felt so fortunate to spend the holiday with like-minded friends and their wonderful families!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Evelyn and Olivia: 21 Months

I feel like time flew faster than usual between 20 months and 21 months thanks to having guests, moving houses, celebrating Jason's birthday and local holiday Novruz, and then jetting away to Singapore for two weeks!

There was a definite transition from 20 to 21, but I'm having trouble pinpointing how to describe it. You are both expressing yourselves more and understanding so much more. You are answering yes, no, okay (verbally and with head shakes). You are throwing tantrums when you don't get your way (fun) and playing independently extremely well. You can now both slide and climb most everything on the playground and are begging to go outside daily. You love to go for walks and play with sand and water. I guess it just seems like you are both so grown-up and understanding of your surroundings - which is fun, but also makes me a bit teary-eyed pulling out your 2T clothes. :-/

Happy 21 months sweet girls!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Stingerie Family in Singapore

We'd heard amazing things from friends who had travelled to Singapore and they were right! It was a wonderful holiday and I'm honestly not even sure where to begin with the trip recap. (But get ready for picture overload - ha!)

We arrived early Sunday morning and headed to our Air BNB apartment. We unpacked, all took a three hour nap, and then headed to the pool just outside our pad. We ventured to the grocery store as well for supplies and visited a park en route. Our apartment was located near Chinatown and close to the intersection of two MRT lines. We found it refreshing how stroller and family-friendly the city was regardless of where we went!

Science Center

We took the MRT to the Science Center midday on Monday and spent the rest of the day exploring. There were activities for all the girls and they had a blast. As we walked back towards the MRT we found a couple great parks and enjoyed playing before heading back to the apartment for a quiet dinner at home.

Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari

Everyone mentioned visiting the Night Safari during our visit. Fortunately thanks to jet lag we were all sleeping until around 10 am and staying up until 10 pm so perfect timing for the girls! We spent the majority of the day walking around the zoo, playing in the water activity area, visiting the pandas, and then going on the tram at night for the safari. It was a pretty hot day, but the girls still saw loads of animals and enjoyed cooling off in the water!

Running to get back on the water slide!

Madi decided on this trip to volunteer for everything and you can bet those red curls got her the job. It started with this volunteer job holding the hula hoop for a dog to jump through.

Fort Canning, The City, Clarke Quay

We spent the first part of the day walking the city and seeing the view from the highest point in the city at Fort Canning (and failed to take any pictures). Afterwards we all needed to cool off and so headed to an indoor play area called The City. It served its purpose in providing an air conditioned distraction for our girls, but wasn't anything to write home about. The girls enjoyed playing with the grocery store and we enjoyed Starbucks and AC, haha.

Next we made our way to Clarke Quay where we hopped on a river tour bus that gave a fun glimpse of the city, including the famous Merlion. Afterwards we walked around and the girls found the fountains. They spent the next couple hours getting soaked (because why wait for your parents to put on your bathing suits) and we snagged an outdoor seat at Prive so we could enjoy dinner and keep an eye on the girls. We tried the famous chili crab and enjoyed the entertainment. ;-)

Botanic Gardens

On Thursday we headed to the Botanic Gardens. We walked around the main area trying to find our way to the Children's section (there was construction and detours). Part of the playground was closed off as a result of the construction, but the girls enjoyed playing in the water (noticing a theme here?) and exploring the bridges and shaded paths through the gardens. We grabbed lunch at Gastronomia in a nearby mall before heading back to the apartment for more swimming. We ventured out for dinner to try Din Tao Fung and loved the pork dumplings and lemon grass juice that our friend recommended trying.

Woods in the Books, East Coast Park

We met our friend Vicki at our apartment and walked together to an adorable bookstore she'd found called Woods in the Books. She kindly bought each girl a book and we headed to lunch back near our apartment at Potato Head. It was close to the twins' nap time and Vicki insisted Jason and I go have a couple hours to ourselves. We were surprised and really appreciated having a coffee together sans kids where we could chat. :-) That evening we headed over to the East Coast Park area and enjoyed a delicious meal at Long Beach UMC with Vicki and her husband Keith. The girls played at the beach before sunset and then enjoyed running around outside next to the restaurant.

Gardens by the Bay

We forgot it was Saturday and quickly discovered it was the weekend when we arrived at Gardens by the Bay. It was a bit crowded at the famous Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, but they were the best hiding spots during the massive thunderstorms that we got caught in a couple times. Evy obv didn't mind and danced in the rain. ;-) There was a dinosaur event and scavenger hunt going on that Madi enjoyed doing. We were pretty exhausted after the long day and headed back to our apartment to get ready for a side trip to Malaysia.

"Sniffing" all the flowers around them -hahaha!

Malaysia - Hello Kitty  / Thomas Tank Engine Town

We woke up painfully early Sunday morning (given our routine 10 am wake ups) and headed to catch a bus up to Johor Bahru, Malaysia. It was a short bus ride and more time was spent getting on/off and waiting in Customs lines than actually driving. After dropping our bags at the hotel we headed over to the Hello Kitty / Thomas Tank Engine Town. It sounded a bit hit-or-miss based on the limited research I did and actually ended up being one of our favorite things of the entire trip. They had constant shows throughout the afternoon, special events, rides that Madi could go on, activities that were age-appropriate, play areas, and my favorite part - it was all indoors. We spent the entire afternoon here and if you have children under seven then I would say it's a must-do to escape the heat and entertain everyone.

And once again Madi was all over volunteering during the shows...

Then just when we thought we were in the clear to leave, the girls decided that running laps around the cardboard cutouts was a necessity.

Malaysia - Legoland

We picked up our tickets for both the Legoland Water and Park portions. They suggested heading to the Water Park first due to weather concerns so we started there. No surprise, the girls loved the water slides, lazy river, and building lego towers in the water. We spent most of the day there before drying off to head to the Legoland park side. Honestly - in retrospect I wish we had stayed on the water side. We needed to purchase a ticket for Madi at age three, but then there were only four rides she could go on (including a train). They requirements are age four and 110 cm for most everything else so it was kind of a bust. There were a couple shows and playgrounds we were able to visit, but we were all pretty hot and exhausted and ready to get back to the apartment.


We needed a lighter day after the previous day and spent the morning in the apartment until our children were basically pushing us out the door. The twins started saying "ready to go" on this trip and would be sitting by the door attempting to put their own shoes on while Jason and I were standing in our pajamas trying to pack the day's lunches. We headed to another indoor play area that had good reviews and we were very happy with it. They had good toddler and kid portions as well as an obstacle course that Madi tried in the afternoon.

Sentosa Island

It was a good idea to have the easier day because Wednesday was another long day. We headed over to catch the cable car to Sentosa Island. We grabbed Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks for fuel (breakfast of champions) and headed to the aquarium. We spent a decent bit of time there before running into some friends from Baku that were also on holiday. We had lunch with them before going separate ways for the afternoon. We made our way to a Pirate Ship water play area on the beach and cooled off for a few hours. Then we walked to the southernmost point of continental Asia. We grabbed dinner and took the tram back to our apartment.

Our last full day in Singapore we relaxed at the apartment and started packing our bags. We met a friend from Norway for lunch and a chance to meet her precious new baby. It was lovely to get a chance to relax and chat with her and we appreciated her taking time with a newborn to host our hot mess of five.

Friday morning we headed to the airport to fly back to Dubai where we spent a few days. We got a chance to shop at Ikea, meet up with friends who were departing on a cruise, and visit the doctor with Olivia to get new epi pens. It also helped to break up our trip and beat jetlag before heading back to Baku.

It was a lovely trip and we had a wonderful time relaxing, exploring, and playing in Singapore!

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