Ten on Ten: May | Personal Photos

This month, I brought my camera along with me for some rare visits by family and friends from the US, as we toured around in Singapore and in Phuket, Thailand. These photos are from a recent visit by a friend from work, here on business; she had a chance to tour Chinatown and the famous Sentosa aquarium with some other colleagues, so I took her to two other uniquely Singaporean spots.

The first set were all taken at the National Orchid Garden, at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. I probably went a little crazy with bokeh, but I couldn’t resist! The garden is basically nothing but orchids, bromeliads, and other lush tropical greenery, like ginger and aloe vera. It was beautiful.

After so much natural beauty, I took my friend to what is probably the most bizarre spot I’ve visited in Asia so far. It’s a “theme park” from the 1930’s called Haw Par Villa, and it’s basically a collection of painted statues and figurines depicting scenes from Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism. The most famous section of the park is one that shows the ten levels of hell, illustrating the various torments awaiting those who commit specific sins. It was a pretty hilarious trip.

Thanks for looking! Now you can click through to Felicia’s blog to see her ten.

Ten on Ten: April | Personal Photos

My ten photos this month were taken at the Singapore Zoo. This was our third trip to the zoo in the last month, as we just got our membership, and have enjoyed our improved mobility (with the car that we got last month). Taken on April 6th — all with a 35mm lens, for scale. Often at zoos, I see people with really long lenses, which makes sense if you want to capture the animals for themselves.. but as I am generally looking to remember our experience, I like the 35mm perspective!

1. Monkeys, eating peanuts. Just inside the entrance — ‘free range’ and I could have reached up and touched them. The Singapore Zoo is so unlike most zoos in the US; instead of fences and glass cages, in general there is much more interaction with the animals, and separation is by pits and minimal distance instead.

2. Lily pads.

3. A bat! This is in the “fragile forest” attraction, which is an area that you enter and in which you are free to interact with free roaming bats, butterflies, mousedeer (the craziest looking animals ever), lemurs, birds, sloths… there is even a pond with sting rays. Again, taking into account that I was using a 35mm lens, you can imagine how close I was to this guy.

4. A butterfly at a feeding station in the “fragile forest”

5. These birds made the craziest sounds — like a thumping bass instead of a squawk.

6. Some ring-tailed lemurs, crawling above us.

7. This experience gave me the creeps… good thing Elodie is fearless.

8. This is a monkey called a gibbon. They are the most laidback, fun little monkeys — they look like they have on white gloves, and they just swing along the trees.

9. On our way out, after eating lunch, Ben fell asleep in the stroller. This is Elodie trying to wake him up.

10. Finally, when we got home, I baked some chocolate chip cookies. It’s so funny, but you really don’t see chocolate chip cookies here, ever. It’s not really in the southeast Asian style to have sweet cookies for desserts or tea, as they snack on fruit and sometimes sweet sticky rice and things. Then, the only cookies you find in stores are “digestives”, biscuits in the British style, which are harder, crunchy cookies. Mine ended up spreading out a little bit too much, so I wish they were thicker and chewier, but they hit the spot.

Now you can click through to the next blog in the circle to read Davina’s 10 on 10.

March Letters to my Son | Personal Photos

Dear Ben,

This is my twelfth letter to you, as we are coming to the end of your first year. You have come into yourself in so many ways, for a baby anyway, and your personality is just precious to me. I love your crazy, shrieking laugh. I love your clunky movements with your big hands, and your face when you concentrate, mouth slightly open.

I am happy that you’re growing up — I’m especially happy to see you feeding yourself, and playing with Elodie, and finding ways to explore and entertain yourself. But I am starting to feel that twinge of sadness and fear about you growing older — that your babyhood is slipping away from me at a speed entirely out of my control, and that I haven’t savored it enough while it’s lasted. I think that to myself, and then, then — you curl up with your bottle, or you get that sleepy heaviness that comes on when babies think they can skip their morning nap and just keep going through lunch. And then I can savor it, and look forward to the fun details about what comes next. The walking! (you’re really almost there now, taking a couple of steps on your own here and there, without really doing it just yet) The waving! (you’re occasionally waving bye to me in the mornings) The sippy cup drinking! (you’re doing great with the moderated flow ones, but the free-flow sippy cups leave you a soaked mess)

You’re Elodie’s best friend, she tells us so, and you love her so much. You ‘get’ her and she ‘gets’ you. She can make you laugh in ways that I can’t understand, from taps on your belly or games of peek-a-boo. I can’t wait to see you grow up together.

Next week, you will actually turn one year old. I just need to keep reminding myself. And, I need to bake you a cake. And, I need to get in a few more of those sleepy snuggles in.

love, Mom

Ten on Ten: March | Personal Photos

I’m participating in a blog circle with several other woman photographers this year, in which we post ten photos on the tenth of each month. These ten photos are meant to tell the story of a day.

My ten this month were taken on Saturday, March 8th. This was our first full day with our new (long term rental) car, so we could explore more of Singapore with (and without) the kids.

First, we spent the morning relaxing at home, and watched some Mickey.

And here’s that car. Our first station wagon.

We drove over to the Singapore Flyer, one of the most tourist-trap locations in the entire city, but something we hadn’t managed to do together pre-car. Ben and Elodie scrambled around within the little cab as we went around the big wheel and saw the city. It was a bit hazy, so I don’t have any ‘wow’ photos from the top, but we’re all glad that we checked that box.

Afterwards, we walked down to the youth olympic field and Helix Bridge to take a look at the bay, but got way too hot and returned home.

At home, we had nap time, and Elodie read some of her favorite books (she loves this one, Meg and Mog).

That evening, after the kids had dinner, my husband and I went back out to the Marina Bay area to finally see it together at night. We ate dinner at a restaurant in the top level of a building just off the water, so we had a great view of the resort. It was a delicious (and swanky) meal. The only unfortunate thing about the evening was the haze — Indonesia has already started its annual burning, so the past few days have been smoky.

Now you can click through to the next blog in the circle, and see Sherri’s ten photos at this link.

February Letters to My Son | Personal Photos

The 2013 “letters to our children” blog circle is over, but since Ben was only born in April 2013, I wanted to continue through a full year of letters to my son. 

Dear Ben,

Oh, I love you! I’m afraid I’ve butchered your poor hair over the last thirty days. Your first haircut, at my hands, was a hilarious endeavor, one that resulted in a very funny little line across your forehead, and chunks missing all over your head. But, you’re lighter, and it isn’t wisping all over the place now, so it can’t be all bad.

You are up to 7 teeth that have broken through (four on top, three on bottom), and you’re suddenly a little man — eating lots of table food, feeding yourself with your fingers, drinking cow’s milk (we started you a month early when it occurred to us that your diet looks a lot more like Elodie’s did when she was around 13-14 months old). We have started to switch you over to sippy cups vs bottles, slowly, and you are doing great with the transition. You love to eat, you are impatient for your meals, and you are fast.

You’re fast on the ground, too, whether you’re speed-crawling after Elodie, or just jetting off to a corner to make mischief with the boxes we’re unpacking. In the last month, we’ve had our life properly delivered to us (with the sea freight shipment), so our house has been busy for the last two weeks. A whole world of toys has opened up to you now, and you are loving it. It’s a joy to see you play with Elodie’s old toys, with your Christmas presents, to read books. And yes, you investigate all of the empty cardboard boxes, and you gnaw on just about everything. Your poor wooden crib has stood defenseless (without teething rails) for so long, and in about two nights’ time you left your literal marks all over it. It’s wonderful to have all of our things again, though one of your favorite games is still to play peek-a-boo behind the curtain of our sliding glass door.

Our family is still figuring out its rhythm with this move, with my new job and your dad’s, and we are probably not spending enough time together on weeknights to satisfy any of us. I even left you for a whole week, for a trip to Sydney. To make up for things a bit, and to get you some semblance of non-Elodie socialization (you two will be weirdos together, since she’s teaching you everything she knows), we’ve started taking you to classes at a Gymboree nearby on weekends. I’ve accompanied you at the two we’ve been to so far, and your favorite parts are (1) walking with and slapping the air log; (2) shaking the noisemaker toys; (3) picking up wiffle balls; (4) staring at bubbles; (5) waiting for the clown to pop up. I don’t think you’re too into our attempts to get you walking, but I think you’re only one or two months away from it.

You’re smart, physical, and big compared to where I recall Elodie being at this time, ten-to-eleven months old. I wonder how much of that is our own recognition that you are capable, learned from being an experienced parent this time around, compared with actual superiority as a super baby. Maybe it can be both.

Love, Mom