Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A Day In A Life

As mentioned in an earlier post, I've been trying to find a routine that works for us since moving to Seattle. I haven't got it down pat yet, but this is what it is for now.

6:50 am - 7:45 am - Wakey, Wakey!
Although the alarm is set at 7am, Mr Cuppa and I wake up between 6:50 am and 7:10 am, depending on how tired we are. We then get ourselves and the kids ready for the day. Waking the children usually involves changing them while they're still slumbering away, because they don't respond to/ignore calls to wake up.

Once awake and dressed, its off to brush their teeth, followed by breakfast. For Little Man, always two soft-boiled eggs, whites only, served with soya sauce and pepper. Little Lady varies between one hard boiled egg, peanut butter sandwich or banana. Mr Milo usually has bread with kaya, cream cheese or peanut butter. I get Little Man's rejected egg yolks. Sometimes I also have a banana, or my own egg. And a cup of Milo.

Then it is time to get everyone out of the house.

8:00 am - 9:00 am - Drop Off
I'll then drive the kids to school. We get there at around 8:10am most days and the kiddos are often the first few there.

Usually, I drop Mr Cuppa off at the Park-and-Ride on the way to school, but this week, the van pool driver is out of town, so Mr Cuppa has been driving himself into town. I then take over the wheel and drive back home. It was pretty stressful the first two times I drove in the city, but I'm now a little more familiar with the route, I almost don't need directions from the GPS anymore. Almost. I get back between 9 and 9:30am, depending on the traffic.

9:30 am - 11:15 am - Chores
Depending on what needs to be done, I'll either go to the supermarket, or do some housework. I'll also start preparing lunch at this time. Usually I'll only do the prep work - start the rice, chop whatever needs chopping, and only do the cooking when I'm back after picking the children up. If it's a nice day I'll pack a picnic lunch.

11:30 am - 1:30 pm - School's Out and Lunch
The kiddos are only on half day school at the moment, so I pick them up at 11:30am. They would usually have just got in from their playtime in the outdoor play area. They usually have a little snack, and if they're up to it, we'll go for a short walk. (Love the weather here! I would never contemplate taking them for a walk after picking them up back in Singapore.)

Sometimes, I'll bring them out to a playground or park for some fun and a picnic.

2:00 pm - 5:30 pm - Playtime / Nap / Unpacking
After lunch, the children would be playing with their newfound old toys while I wash up and unpack. The sea shipment (all 108 boxes!!!) arrived just the previous week and so there's still lots to unpack. The children go between rediscovering their old toys, to helping me unpack, to playing with the boxes and packing paper. Because I am still a little jetlagged from my quick trip back to Singapore, I've also been taking a short afternoon nap when Little Lady has her nap. Little Man would sometimes join us, or do something quiet on his own.

The children usually request an afternoon snack at around 4pm. I think it's the cold.

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm - Preparing Dinner
I start prepping for dinner. As portions available are usually too large for our family to consume in one meal, and I generally dislike eating leftovers, I usually prep ahead and freeze the extra. I usually use these when I don't have enough time or energy to go the whole hog in meal preparation.

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm - Dinner and Daddy Time
Mr Cuppa usually gets back by 6:30pm and we have dinner together. (Another reason I love it here, Mr Cuppa has a much better work-life balance!)

After dinner, he spends time playing with them and giving them a bath while I take a rest. I usually have a shower while he reads to them. Then it is bedtime with me. How long they take to sleep varies between immediately to 2 (!!!) hours later. Little Man usually falls asleep much more quickly than Little Lady does.

Depending on how zonked out I am, I either sleep when they do, or get up and do some writing / blogging / reading / WhatsApping with my brother before turning in.

And that is a typical day in my life at this point.

Little Man: 4 years 10 months
Little Lady: 2 years 9 months

This post is part of the Day in a Life blog train hosted by Mum in the Making. Click on the button to take a 24 hour peek into the lives of different mummies, or link up with your own post!

Next on the train is Angie Yeow.
Angie is an educator at heart and by profession. She blogs at A Hands On Mum, take a peek into her kids' daily lessons, playtime and routine of an early bedtime in her family tomorrow.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Trying to Find a Routine

I'm trying to find a routine that works.

Since the kids started school, after I dropped them off, I'd come home, catch up on my social media and then tackle the some housework. On days I go to the supermarket, I'd go straight after dropping them off, bring the stuff back, pack them then go pick them up. I pick them up at 11.30am, right after playtime. We have a snack at one of the tables outside school. They have some time either at the Pea-Patch (community garden) or the play structure (playground) before heading home. Once home, the kiddos play while I prepare lunch. Unfortunately, that usually means that lunch is pretty late, at 1+pm, sometimes 2pm. Then they play some more while I clean up. Then it is time for a nap while I start on dinner. However, they had been waking up cranky and wanting me. While I'm still in the midst of prepping, which is unpleasant all round. After dinner, they have a shower, spend some time with Daddy, and then it is time for bed.

I find this routine lacking, because they eat so late and don't get enough rest. I can't prepare dinner properly when Little Lady is crying beside me insisting I carry her. Come bedtime, because of the nap, they take ages to fall asleep.

Today, I tried something different. When I came back home after dropping everyone off, I started prepping for lunch (no housework today as I returned later than normal due to dropping the hubs off as well). I marinated the meat, chopped the vegetables and got the rice started. When we came back, I only needed to cook up the food and lunch was ready much earlier.

As we had an earlier lunch, we also had an earlier dinner. The kids were prepped for bed much earlier too, as I didn't get them to nap in the afternoon. Dinner prep was much smoother without the just woke up crankiness.

However, the children, Little Man, especially, were resistant to the idea of going to bed while the sun was still up (7.45pm). However, he was too tired to protest too much, and was asleep by 8pm. Little Lady, who normally tosses and turns up to two (2!) hours was asleep by 8.10pm. Fingers crossed that they'll sleep peacefully till morning, and wake up fully rested.

I'll try this routine out for a few more days and see how it goes. Hopefully we'll settle into something that works soon.

What kind of routine does your household / do you and your children have?

Little Man: 4 years 10 months
Little Lady: 2 years 9 months

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Singapore To Seattle

The trip from Singapore to Seattle took a total of 23 hours and 30 minutes, including layovers (but excluding checking-in in Singapore and collecting the luggage in Seattle). That's only because we insisted on flying SQ, and the day we flew, the combination we wanted, Singapore-Seoul-Seattle (2nd leg code share with Asiana) was not available. Thus we had to fly the Singapore-Seoul-San Francisco-Seattle route.

We had a little bit of trouble checking in, because some of the luggage were severely overweight by US standards. Flying to the US, luggage is based on a piece concept. Each person can travel with 2 pieces of luggage, each 23 kg. However, that means that the maximum weight for *each* piece of luggage is 23kg. Unlike flying to Australia, for example, where a person is allowed 30kg, this weight cannot be combined. This means that while there are four of us travelling, we are not allowed 184kg (8*23kg) in total. So while we were under the total weight overall, we had some trouble because some of our pieces were way more than 23kg. They were kind enough to up our allowance to business class limit, but that still meant that our 2 largest pieces were still over the limit. While some of our smaller pieces were light enough, they didnt have any available space, so we could not actually transfer things over. In the end, my BIL went down to NTUC to buy another piece of luggage to hold the stuff we had to take out.

With all that reshuffling, we barely made it to the plane on time. They were *not* paging for us, but the plane was already boarding, and we had missed the 'travelling with young children' advantage.

The kids were brilliant on the first leg from Singapore to Seoul. Little Lady slept through most of it. Little Man got a little angtsy around the 5 hour mark and wanted off the plane. However, he was able to keep his cool and was very, very well behaved until we landed in Seoul. The Seoul layover was supposed to be 1 hour and 5 minutes, but after disembarking, going through security and early boarding with young children, I think we effectively had 5 minutes at Incheon. But I think the kids managed to stretch their legs and were more settled for the next leg.

The kids were once again brilliant on the second, 10 hour 45 minute leg to San Francisco. After the meal, Little Man again wanted out, but after a bit of convincing, he agreed to sleep. He slept through breakfast, and by the time he woke up, it was almost time to land in San Francisco.

At SFO, we passed through immigration, picked up out luggage, checked the luggage in at the transfer area, and then went to check in for our final leg. Mr Milo was able to change his flight to the same one as the rest of us were on.

We had some time to kill (maybe half an hour to 45 minutes left of our 3+ hours layover), so we had a quick bite (since Little Man missed his meal on board) and watched baggage get off-loaded from an A380.

The kids slept through most of the final leg. They even slept through the landing!

We were met in Seattle by Mr Milo's friends, S and TC. They were very kind to drive all the way to the airport to pick us up. TC even drove to our apartment here in Seattle to pick up our car first! They helped us to load up our numerous luggage, drove us home and then help us unload!

After unloading, we rested a little to recover, and then had dinner at a nice Thai restaurant in the neighbourhood.

Little Man slept peacefully, but Little Lady woke at 2am and stayed awake till about 5am.

On-board Entertainment
How did I keep a 2.5 year old and a 4.5 year old entertained on such a long flight? Did I stock up on toys and snacks and busy bags? Well, no. I did pack their favourite snacks and drinks, a book and a couple of small toys (that reside permanently in my handbag). They had their biscuits and drinks at take-offs and landings. Little Lady needed a little distraction on the first leg, so I gave her one of the small toys, Rex from Toy Story. Other than that, I didn't have to take anything else out.

Singapore Airlines did have some complementary items for the kids. Which they played with.

Of course, they were also entertained by KrisWorld. Little Man watched a movie on the first leg. Little Lady only on and off. But she wanted nothing to do with the headset. Mostly they chatted and slept.

On the final leg, we were on Alaska Airlines. One of the first things they noticed almost straight away was the lack of an entertainment system.
"Mummy, where's the screen?"

Little Man spent the first half of the flight looking out the window, and the second half sleeping, while Little Lady fell asleep almost immediately.

Ultimately, I think it was a combination of many factors - both children have travelled enough on planes to know what to expect, as well as what is expected. They were both tired from having to wake up too early and had already had their meltdowns in the airport. And, of course, luck/fortune/divine intervention.

This is the longest flight the kids have taken, and I'm so glad they rose to the occassion, especially since I was woefully underprepared for it.


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