Saturday, November 30, 2013

Jon is 2

Dear Jonathan,

I can't believe you are already two. You have been telling people who ask your age that you are "ahmost two" for months now, but now you are a different age. You are just "two." I have to admit that I'm going to miss the "almost two" comment since it is so cute, and so reflective of just how smart you are--we never taught you to say that, you just heard us telling people and decided you could speak for yourself. But I have no doubt you will come up with something else to wow us. You always do.

You are so. stinking. smart. Before you were born, your dad and I read a research article that said you shouldn't tell your kids they are smart, but to tell them that they worked really hard for whatever they accomplish because then they will be better adjusted for hard things. But you make that hard to apply because you are so smart! I'll gush now, assuming you won't read this until you are already well-adjusted and then you can find out that we knew you were smart all along! You know every capital letter of the alphabet, and most of the lower-case letters. You know every letter's sound. You count to 25 like nobody's business, and you can actually count things--you tell us how many airplanes, or turtles, or fingers there are. You can add 1+1, 2+1, and 1+2 using your fingers. You can change the show, adjust the volume, and turn off the subtitles (Dad needs them) on Netflix on my laptop without any help at all (I think we can thank the baby for that skill, since you've had much more time to develop it lately!). Speaking of the laptop, you can also open I-photo to pull up pictures of yourself and our old family vacations, which you then scroll through using the arrow keys. You put together 6-7 word sentences all day long, which is great except for the fact that you are now sophisticated enough to express what you want but not old enough to understand that sometimes people don't get what they want. You surprise every day with new words you know and the way you express yourself.

"Mommy, come sit wight heewa to pway animahs."
"Oh, sowwy buddy." (When you bump into anyone or anything.)
"I'm coughing. I fink I'm sick."
"Daddy, I want to watch Pooh on the pooter, okay?" (the "pooter" is the computer, don't worry)
"Dap, do you want some pizza and some appoh juice in a sippy?" (your passive-aggressive way of getting your Grandpa to ask you if you want to some pizza and apple juice)
(When getting ready for bed) "Oh, I need one piyyow. I be wight back, okay?"
(After getting the pillow) "Oh, I need my gween bwanket. It's in mommy's room. I be wight back."
(And then you lay down on the pillow, and I pull the blanket up around you and you try your darnedest to fall asleep... even if you're not tired at all, because you are awesome and such a sweet heart.)

You will eat almost anything, and I am pretty sure I am the luckiest mom alive. You ask for carrots more often than you ask for "ice cream" (which, by the way, is actually jello). You can pound down a whole can of vegetable soup by yourself. You'll drink spinach smoothies with me for breakfast. You ask the guy at Subway for "more 'matoes" and "more peppers" because you don't think he put enough on your sandwich. You think you've gone to heaven when sample lady at Costco is giving away pineapple or strawberries. You'll happily munch on a celery stick with your dad, have a handful of almonds while you watch a show, or share a vegetable enchilada with your mom. And by the look on your face, you were genuinely upset that I hadn't introduced you to olives before last week. Sure, you love a piece of candy as much as the next kid, but you love your carrot stick just as much. Which blows my mind--because, Jonathan, chocolate is way better... but you're never going to hear it from me.

You like most of the things little boys your age seem to like. You ride your bike around the kitchen island like a race course. You throw and kick any ball you can get your hand on. You love trains, and airplanes, and dump trucks, and helicopters. But you love airplanes the very most. You make airplanes out of your blocks, you ask random people at church to draw airplanes for you, you talk about them, watch them fly by our window, and often choose to sleep with one of your plastic airplanes. You throw rocks, pick up sticks and examine them carefully. You also love your stuffed monkey, and sometimes I catch you feeding him, putting him in time-out, or changing his diapers (which you had obviously done several times before I got to your room because there were diapers and wipes everywhere); this is the same monkey that is launched from the arm of the couch at light-speed and swung like a lasso over your head, so he's earned some love. It's sweet to play with your rough-and-tumble side all day, and then to sometimes (just sometimes) stumble on a tender, caring side of you as well.

You still love, love, love music. You heard Fun.'s hit song, Carry On, on the radio and fell in love. It is without contest, your favorite song. From hearing that one time, you asked to "Wisten to Tarry On, Mommy?" I pulled it up on YouTube, and you picked up your ukelele to play along. You wander the house singing "Paff be the sound... feet on gwound. Tarry Ohh-oh-oh-oh-on. Tarry on, tarry on!" and "OOOOOOH head is on fi-uh. Wegs ah fine... they ah mine." You do this as you play your little piano, or strum your ukelele (which looks like a guitar on you), pausing to tell us that you are "working." We aren't really sure where you got the idea that playing the guitar and singing is "working," but we hope you aren't too disappointed when you actually start going to work.

Other favorite songs we hear from:
"Head, shoulders, knees, and toes" (usually sung and acted out from the hearth on the fire place)
"When you feel so mad that you want to roar. Take a deep breath, and count to four. One, two, three, four." (Thank you, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.)
"Wing awound the Wosy"
"When we do something new, let's talk about what we'll do!" (More from Daniel Tiger)
"Hello Song" (from nursery)
And the list goes on. You are our little Juke Box.

And speaking of Daniel Tiger, you have a general aversion to changing clothes. Whatever you are wearing is your FAVORITE CLOTHES OF ALL TIME and you simply CANNOT take them off. Sometimes, I can convince you that they are dirty and then we take them off and put them right in the washer to wash them (now that you can read, I can tell you that I don't turn on the washer--I just let your clothes build up until there's enough to do a load, because now that you aren't wearing them they aren't your favorite clothes anymore and really I could throw them away and you wouldn't care.) EXCEPT for your red jacket. Daniel Tiger always wears a red jacket, and I think this is where your love of your red zip-up hoodie comes from. But wherever it's from, it is one intense love. You wear it to bed, you wear it to swimming lessons, you wear it to church, you wear it to play with your friends--and wash day is usually a hard day because I have to hold you down to take it off, and you are really sad for a long time. But, hygiene is hygiene and we watch an acoustic cover of Carry On on YouTube to try to forget our woes. And it so cute to see how excited you are when that little jacket comes out of the dryer. You really are two--you love big, you cry big, you get mad big, and you celebrate big.

And I love it.

For your birthday this year, we put up a set of banners we picked up in Cambodia. We strung them over the stairs for you to walk under when you woke up. You were so excited when you saw it! You said, "Mommy, wook at our bwidge!" I told you it was your birthday bridge and you loved it even more. Then we sang "Happy Birthday" to you, you beamed, and then asked for birthday cake. (My birthday is a week before yours, and you are a fast learner.)

Then you came downstairs to the Thomas train track set you picked out at the toy store the day before and were so thrilled that it was actually yours! We opened it, set it up, and you happily sat in the middle of the track with Thomas circling around you for basically the rest of the day. You shared marshmallows with your nursery friends, and they sang. That night we pulled you away from your train just long enough to enjoy some birthday cake and to open a few more presents. You are such a grateful little boy--once again, something you do big. With every present we handed you, you exclaimed, "Oh thank you SO much!"

I love you, little boy. I could go on forever and ever about this stage of your little life, but just know that you are perfect, and smart, and kind, and happy. This morning you put down your toys, looked up at me and asked, "Mommy, you want to snuggle?" I said yes, and you ran to me, threw your arms around me, rested your little head on my shoulder, and we snuggled for a few minutes until you decided your monkey needed to be thrown down the stairs. Thanks for loving me big, buddy.

No matter how big or grown up you become, you will always be my Baby Bear. And I will always insist that your red jacket be washed at least once a week, even if it means holding you down to get it off.

Lots of love,

Friday, November 15, 2013


We've recently learned that Jonathan is decidedly anti-costume. I took him to a couple stores where he tried on the cute little fleece zebra, monster, dinosaur, and lion costumes--all of which ended with Jon on the floor in heart-broken cries of, "No! No! No pwease!!! No fun cwothes! No!!! OFF! Off pweeeeease!!!" (You can see how I tried to sell it with promises of "fun clothes"... Which didn't work the way I hoped.)

So I was pretty much ready to throw in the towel on trick-or-treating in festive attire since I'm not that committed to Halloween as a holiday anyway... And it was supposed to be fun for him, right? But then I stumbled across a little UW football jersey in Target's clearance bin--in Jonathan's size! I realized that this was a costume I could sell to J, since it was really just a shirt. It was perfect!

So we trundled off to trunk-or-treats and Halloween parties in costume with Jonathan thinking he was in pajamas, not--heaven forbid--"fun clothes".

Our little neighborhood has a fun tradition to have a pizza party for the kids Halloween night and then they all go trick-or-treating together. Jonathan loved it! He's the littlest kid in the neighborhood so all the older kids doted on him and helped him. By the end of the night (which, when you only trick-or-treat one neighborhood and all the kids go together is 7:30) he was saying "twick oh teet" with the best of them and grabbing candy from the bowl to put in his "happy punkin" like he'd done it for years. And by the time I could get my shoes off coming through the door, Jonathan was slumped over asleep on the couch with his little hand still clutching his "happy punkin." So rather than not having a costume at all, he slept in it that night!

And now anytime he sees a bowl of candy, at the bank or doctor's desk or his own happy pumpkin on my desk, he smiles and says "twick oh teet!!" No grass grows under this guy...

At the party, before the real fun started. 
Poor Daddy teaches Thursday nights so he missed out on the fun this year. 

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Best News There Is

We are one step closer to world peace, to curing cancer, to ending world hunger, and to reversing human-induced climate change. Why, you may ask? What single event or announcement could bring so much joy to all the earth?

More Gaertners, obviously!

Coming June 8 (or sometime around there), 2014. We could not be happier, except for big brother who is kind of bored with Mommy spending so much time on the couch and the bathroom floor. But that is the price you pay for the very best news there is.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Katie's Paradise

Every time living in a foreign land far from family and all things familiar would begin to wear on me, I would visualize every aspect of the ideal future that I believed we were "paying it forward" to have someday... some far, far away day. Knowing that of course, it would probably be different than I imagined, but it still helped. In that distant future life, I would live in a beautiful house with a walk-in closet, a window at the kitchen sink facing our backyard, complete with a swing set, a vegetable garden, and deciduous trees to tell me when my birthday was coming. In this fantasy world, I would buckle my kids into my cute SUV and we would run to Costco, Target, farmer's markets, and an occasional thrift store or craft store to get the supplies for some adorable Pinterest-worthy home decor project. I would have friendly neighbors, who had children Jonathan's age that were respectful, moral, and kind. It was place full of good drivers, friendly cashiers, very little traffic, and plenty of wide open spaces.

I had no idea that this fantasy actually had a name: Middleton, Wisconsin. I'm serious. This place is perfect. The drivers are courteous, the traffic is light, the trees are big and beautiful, there are parks and lakes everywhere, and everyone is SO NICE!

We joined Fabio in Wisconsin at the Extended Stay America the first week of July for a marathon one week house-hunt. If we didn't find a house we loved that week, we'd have to sign a lease agreement and start the hunt again in 9 months. So we prayed, jumped in our realtor's car, and searched, and searched, and searched. We found ourselves comparing every one of the 20+ houses we saw to the third house from our first day. So we scheduled a second showing and knew it was our house. It was the place where we would raise our family for the foreseeable future. Once they accepted the offer, Jonathan and I went back to Utah to live with Nay Nay and Dap while Fabio slept in a colleague's basement for a month. We finally reunited in mid-August to sign the papers and on August 16, 2013 the house was ours. We drove up, opened the garage door (with a remote opener!!), and ran through every room in complete disbelief that we actually found (and now owned) our perfect home!

With 0.64 acres, five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a dishwasher, and cornfields for neighbors in three different directions, it could not be a bigger change from our little concrete-jungle-high-rise slice of heaven in Singapore. We even have our own well and septic. We are such city-slickers that we didn't even know that was a thing! The water is really yummy, though.

It is my perfect paradise, everything I had envisioned and hope for. I get dressed in our walk-in closet, and go down stairs to empty my dishwasher that has magical powers to wash off baked cheese and caked-on chili with the push of a button. Then I stand at my window at the kitchen sink--in a kitchen so beautiful I wouldn't have even dared to dream for--to see rolling hills of cornfields speckled with red barns and silos as the backdrop of Jonathan's treehouse and swing set. In August we enjoyed the tomatoes and peppers the last owners planted in our vegetable garden, and in September we watched our maple and oak trees tell us fall was coming in red, orange, and yellow. The ceilings are tall for Fabio, even in the basement, the carpet is soft, the water is hot in every faucet, the windows are big, the grass is soft, the neighborhood is quiet, the hallways are wide, and a family of bunnies lives under our deck.

I answer our front door to find three sweet little neighbor boys (10, 9, and 7) asking to play with Jonathan (almost every day). They teach him how to pedal on his "bike," how to throw and kick the ball, and most importantly, how to be a good sport. He loves his new friends, his bright-blue room, the sweet old golden retriever that lives across the street, and having plenty of space to run and run and run (inside or out, rain or shine). He calls the house "Mommy's house."

So while my dishes and laundry wash and dry themselves, Jon and I climb into our little SUV (it's own story for another day) to pick up a couple things at Costco (3 minutes away), then a few more at Target (5 minutes away), and then we grab some groceries at Metcalfe's (6 minutes away) that cost a fourth of what I'm used to paying and drive on home with the rest of the day ahead of us to play and unpack. And as we pull up to "Mommy's house," I can't help but feel the urge to pinch myself--because this is just way, way, way too close to what I've always dreamed of.

I am one blessed little girl.

Friday, September 6, 2013

19 Things I Hope to Never Forget About Singapore

As we get settled in the Dairyland, and beaches and curries fade into cheese curds and cornfields, I thought I should record all the things I'll miss about the little island we called home for almost two years. And then I thought, lest I get too nostalgic, I should write down all the things I will most definitely NOT miss about Singapore, too. Some of them, strangely, belong to both categories ... as seems to often be the case with really hard yet really worthwhile experiences. So instead of a "will miss"/ "won't miss" list, I just made a list of what I hope to never forget... some for better, some for worse, and some for both. So here goes.

1. All the great expat friends we're leaving here. Singapore has this funny way of making friendships really deep really quickly. I think it's because none of us have family around here, we spend holidays together, celebrate birthdays with each other, go on trips together, share each other's heart-breaks, close-calls, and triumphs... They have really grown to be our family, and we are so sad to go a separate way. The E's, the L's, the G's, the M's, B's, H's, P's, and so many others. You know who you are.

2. The parking system. Whoever designed it is a genius. All parking garages and structures are connected to a central system. Every car is equipped with a card holder on the front window. You put cash on your card and 7-11 or the kiosks all around town, and then when you drive through the toll roads, they charge your card. When you go into the parking lot, it time-stamps your sensor and then when you leave, the parking lot charges your card. No stopping, no losing tickets, no fumbling around for exact change, no kicking yourself for not bringing enough $1 bills. It's just all on one card. (Oh, and in most parking garages, they have a motion sensor at each parking spot that turns red when it's taken, and when you first enter there's a sign telling you exactly how many spots are available on each level so you don't waste your life away looking for the closest spot.)

3. The total adoration and fandom of Jonathan. This really bugs a lot of my friends with western babies, but Fabio and I usually love it. Occasionally someone pushes too far by picking him up from behind and scaring the living daylights out of him, but usually it's just fun. We get a kick out of people "sneakily" taking pictures of him with their phones while pretending to text, and groups of grown men lining up to have their picture taken with J. I'm genuinely going to miss the random exclamations in the grocery store, "OMG!!! BLUE EYES!" followed by a small crowd and a buzz of Chinese chatter. Jonathan is pretty much used to it by now. He knows the drill: "pretend I'm shy, bury my head in Mom's shoulder, look up sweetly, cautiously smile... that way they won't ask to hold me." On a related note, I'm also going to miss everyone letting Jon get away with anything and still thinking he's cute. Tantrum in a fancy restaurant? Blocking a doorway and therefore dozens of people's exit? Mom's taking forever to decide what to buy? The baby is blonde, so that family can do ANYTHING. "Here Sir, why don't you go to the front of the line?" "Ma'am, the doctor will see you and your baby right away." "Oh, no need for a reservation. Here let us get you a baby chair." It's not fair, but it's kind of fun to be on the winning side of not fair from time to time... I'm going to miss that.

4. The travel. In the 22 months that we will have lived here, we will have traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Grampians, Sydney, Xi'an, Chengdu, Leshan, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Batam, Siem Reap, Khao Lak (twice), Bangkok, the Maldives, Penang, Colombo, Welligama, Yala, Bali, Ho Chi Minh, Beijing, and Tokyo. Our passports will have been stamped by 13 countries. We are so, so, so blessed to have had such amazing places at our fingertips. We will still travel, of course, but I am really going to miss the (sometimes frenetic) pace we've been able to keep here of going somewhere new almost every month. I will miss the new people we meet, the new foods that we try, the new-to-me histories I grow to appreciate. Oh yeah, and the beaches. I will miss those, too... In fact,

5. The beach. Singapore doesn't have the best beach in Southeast Asia by any means, but it's clean, the sand is nice, and the water is warm. There are lots of activities in the shade if you need a break, and if you go in the morning (which we do) it's not crowded at all. I am really going to miss our beach days, especially with our buddies who live by there.

6. The smells. Oooh the smells! What do you get when you combine a tropical climate with a fish- and seafood-loving culture and then add on top the world's most repulsive fruit that smells like a men's locker room? That's right! Nausea! I will never forget moving here seven months pregnant with my pregnant-lady-super-smeller, during a local holiday which the traditional foods include eel and durian (the aforementioned locker-room-fruit). I walked into the grocery store, was hit by the savory combination of fish and durian, turned my head to see a tank full (and when I say full I mean full... think almost no water, just flesh) of live eels squirming over each other. My eyes filled with tears, I heaved, and left. Fabio brought the groceries out to me.

Since then I've toughened up a lot... a lot. I don't shudder at the duck bodies hanging in shop windows heads still attached. I don't pull faces when I walk past the seafood stall at the food court where they boast all sorts of "fish head" dishes, laid out for you to see so you can't resist the temptation. I've even had DURIAN ICECREAM (which, I might add, is awful... what's more awful are the ice cream parlors that serve durian icecream side-by-side with poor innocent chocolate and salted carmel who stand no chance to keep their flavor in that freezer and just absorb the body-odor awfulness and bring it right to your unsuspecting lips). I don't even grumble anymore when the wafts of someone's fish ball soup in our building make it through the air conditioner into my bedroom. But there are still some times, when I'm stuck in traffic behind an open-air truck filled (and overflowing) with Durians, or when I share a tiny elevator in Chinatown with a hawker stall owner and his bag full of fish guts from the day, that I can't stop the little dry heave so I just think happy thoughts about a place as far away as possible. A place like Wisconsin, for example.

Men's locker room fruit: also called Durian.
Seriously, it smells so bad it's not allowed on the train and bus system or even in taxis.

7. The medical care. It's efficient, affordable (by U.S. Standards), and saved my life twice. I can't say enough about the incredible doctors and nurses I've had the privilege of meeting while here in Singapore. Some of them, I now consider life-long friends. Whether it was midnight pediatric clinic visits, labor and delivery, routine immunizations, or terrifying ICU stays... they have always been professional, compassionate, skilled, thoughtful, and very patient-oriented.

Dr. T.C. Chang: officially the world's greatest OBGYN.
This was our 1 year reunion (some people call them appointments, I guess).

Dr. Felicia Tan (the surgeon who saved my life) and I at my final recovery appointment.
She is such an amazing and good person, and after seeing her twice a week for three months, we became really good friends, too.

8. People telling me what I'm doing wrong. It's always well meaning, and usually I can just roll my internal eyes and walk away. But seriously, there is no need to tell me that I should cut my kid's nails more often, or that he shouldn't suck his thumb, or that the garbage bag should be on the other door knob, or that I should have planned more time for traffic, or that I shouldn't come so early, or that I shouldn't eat so much cheese, or that I shouldn't turn on the air conditioning because it will make my kid deaf, or whatever. Chances are, I either already know what you're telling me and I'm doing my best, or I don't care what you think. In some cases, both are true. I hope I never forget the limitless outpouring of unsolicited advice.

9. The sticky, humid, oppressive heat. The kind where 90 degrees with 100% humidity feels like a glorious, beautiful, merciful break. The 40-miles-from-the-equator kind. The kind where you have no hope of looking put-together no matter what amount of time, effort, or money you sink into the attempt.

On the bright side, we went to the splash pad in February... and December, and January, and July, and... That was nice.

10. Cockroaches. Giant ones. Everywhere. On my makeup remover. In the fridge. And the low point: crawling up my arm and across my chest in the middle of night. I jumped out of bed, grabbed Jonathan and instructed Fabio (who had been up late in the other room with a paper) to not come out of the bedroom "without a body." I was serious, too. Gross, gross, gross!

11. The need for signs like these. Enough said.

12. The crowds. On Saturday night at the grocery store. In the bus or train during rush hour. On the escalator, crammed into the elevator. Suffocating, thronging, pushing. So many people on that little island!

13. Downtown. There's no question, Singapore's skyline is breathtaking. The city boasts examples almost every architecture out there--pagodas, next to skyscrapers, next to Indian temples, next to giant fountains and ferris wheels, next to sweeping parks and gardens.


14. Learning about new cultures. We loved discovering and experiencing festivals we'd never heard of, celebrating new (to us) holidays, and trying to understand the quirks several different 5,000-year-old societies. We discovered new foods we didn't know we loved (almost all of them Indian), made new friends as they came to the rescue of the completely lost-looking Western family, and grew to appreciate just how much good there is in the world. There were also times when we had to just observe because understanding was not going to happen, even after several attempts at explanation.

Tangerines are the greatest.  No explanation necessary. Or possible, apparently.
Lions are the embodiment of all that is desirable, even though they can't be found in Asia.
Feeding tangerines to stone lions: obviously good luck.

On the other hand, living in another culture can be overwhelming. It impacts every aspect of life, and so many things you just take for granted. Culture organizes the flow of the grocery store, it dictates how you drive and park, it determines what time stores open and close, when you can get a taxi, what to wear to functions, how to board the bus... it rules the ebb and flow of life. And when your ebb and flow is almost always wrong, trying to adapt can be exhausting.

I never did adapt to the grocery store lay-out, although I was delighted to find the Pepperidge Farm cookies in the Healthy Snacks Section. Finally!

15. A corollary to the last point, but I think it deserves it's own mention is the complete and utter respect for religion and culture. Singapore is a melting pot of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Free-Thinkers, and Taoists; Chinese, Malay, Indian, Indonesian, Phillipino, and "Westerners" comprised of Aussies, Americans, and Europeans. Somehow, they manage to co-exist in almost perfect peace. There are food courts designed to accommodate religious dietary restrictions. Prayer rooms are provided in most public places so people can worship privately. The major religious holidays of the five major religions observed in Singapore are official public holidays. I think their approach to tolerance is brilliant: to be all-inclusive rather than all-exclusive as I have often observed Western cultures trying. There is an general attitude of cultural embrace which I hope I always remember.

16. The food. This is definitely a "for better and for worse" point. I never want to forget the amazing dim sum at Din Tai Fung, the samosas on top of Mustafa Centre, the roti prata man, or the waffle lady (fresh waffles for $1 right next to our apartment building? yes!).

The McDonald's promotional meal for Chinese New Year is perhaps the most delicious thing ever:
Curly fries with chili sauce and the Prosperity Drink (OJ and Sprite).
I'll miss that this January.

On the other hand, a lot of the food in Singapore was well... not our thing. Fish Head Curries, Seaweed Pringles, Golden Prawn everything. The Kangaroo dog food was unsettling the first time, too. And then there is that whole category of foods that you stare and wonder and never know what it really is. And usually, when you show someone some package without any English writing and ask them what it is, they will tell you what it is in Chinese or Malay. I guess not a lot of people (at least in our grocery stores) know the English words for food items. So you either go without or buy blind. Both options are exciting.

At one point an old lady at the store told me the package on the right was "mayonnaise."
I'm still not sure I actually understood her, or that she was using the right word, because... Really?

17. The expense. A pint of Ben and Jerry's for $16, Cheerios for $10.50 (that's right just one small box), petrol for $2.80 a LITER (that translates to $10.60 a gallon), a standard yoga ball for $60, a half gallon of milk for $5, dinner for two and a half at Chili's for $90, $6,000 a month for a three bedroom flat in a decent location, and a 2005 Hyundai Tucson for $26,000. There's no question it cost a lot to live in Singapore. I hope I never forget the shock and thrill of my first trip to the store each time back in the States. Everything is so CHEAP here! And I hope I never forget how "rich" we really are, no matter where we live, to be able to eat Cheerios for breakfast and drive a car to a store where we can buy anything we need.

18. My kitchen. Bright blue tile floors, gray slate counter tops, birch veneer cabinets, dusty blue tile walls, and of course a salmon-pink door. What our kitchen didn't have was: hot water, an oven, a dishwasher, or a stove. I hope I never forget how I made do for two years with two hot plates and an over-sized toaster oven that burned everything. I hope I never forget that despite all that, we were so happy, we didn't hesitate to have people over for dinner, and we still ate like kings.

19. Our favorite souvenir. I know I don't really need to write this down to remember, but no Singapore memorial list would be complete without making mention of our very favorite thing there: the one, the only, Jonathan Paul.

He rocked our (already pretty rocked by moving to Asia) world in every good way. He brought such a new dimension of joy to our life together that we can't even remember what we used to do without him. His first smile, his first steps, his first laugh, his first word, the smile and look in his eyes when he woke up in the morning and we were both still in bed... more than anything, that is what I hope I never forget about our time in Singapore.

There are so many more things (Singapore friends, comment if you think of any!) that I feel like I could go on forever... but these are at least the first that come to mind. What a beautiful, hot, crazy, dynamic place that I will miss like crazy and never want to go back to at the same time. I'm so grateful for my brilliant, brave, adventuresome Fabio that convinced me to move to a country we'd never been to on a Spiritually-guided whim!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime?

Do you get your first proper hair cut?

Admire old airplanes with Dap?

Do you mow your grandparent's lawn?

Or do you laugh at jokes with your Nay Nay?

Compare muscles with Dap?

Do you go to Bear Lake?

To reacquaint with your "buzzins" (i.e. cousins)?

Or swim with your mom all the time?

Do you have lunch with old friends?

Do you drink "fizzy" with Dap?

Eat snow cones with Nay?

Ride a $1 carousel?

Or see a goat for the very first time?

Is that what you do?

So do we!