Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Father's Disneyland Adventure

I thought that this week I would share my look at our time in Hong Kong (Disneyland).  It was a blast!  What follows are a few of my highlights:

The Buzz Lightyear ride was my favorite.  It was basically a big video game!  Each car had to laser guns and a joystick to rotate the car.  Betsy would hold Aaron so that he could control the spin of the car while I got to shoot the evil emporer Zurg and his minions!  I think I rode this ride about seven times (including by myself a couple of times while Aaron was napping or riding a different ride with Mommy.)


Thankfully, on both Tuesday and Wednesday, some of the other ICS staff members were also at Disneyland, so we were able to pass Aaron off to a babysitter so we could ride Space Mountain.  (Incidentally, this was the only ride that Aaron could not ride.)  The best part about this ride was the line.  Note in the picture how many people were in front of us.  There were none behind us!  We typically had a five-minute wait!

Of course, I also had a lot of fun with Aaron, I loved watching him watch and study things.  Here he is watching the clock on the "It's a Small World" ride.  He loved watched the face tick-tock back and forth.
 We also enjoyed Tarzan's treehouse.
And of course, the train.  I was able to ride next to Donald (he is my favorite) for 7 of my 8 rides on the train!

Of course, the trip wasn't all fun and games (for me).  It also included the conference.  I really enjoyed the chance to connect with other Christian math teachers from around Asia and share ideas about curriculum, computer aids, and Biblical integration.  Plus, I enjoy the puzzle of figuring new things out, so the 6 train, hour and a half commute each direction wasn't really that bad!  It meant I got to see some of Hong Kong, I got to people watch, and I got to spend a lot of time reading from the Scriptures.

OK, here is one last picture.  On our last night in Hong Kong the three of us went to a nearby area and road these cable cars over the water and into the hills (I almost called them mountains).  It was wonderful to actually see mountains and hills unlike anything we have seen for a long time.  (I'm pretty sure that the highest elevation in Singapore is one of the banking buildings.)

Now we are back into normal life with 8 more days of school until Christmas vacation!  Love you all!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Trip to Hong Kong

Danny needed to attend a teaching conference in Hong Kong last week. So, we just had to stay at the Disneyland Hollywood Hotel so Betsy and Aaron could visit Disneyland 4 days. Yeah, we got to go to Disneyland 4 days in a row! Danny joined us for the first two days. Then he commuted into the city for his conference. Here is our hotel!

This fountain was just outside the entry into Disneyland. According to the math-brained husband, the fountain did a little show every 12 minutes. What a fun "Hello" from Mickey!

So, what was Aaron's favorite ride? Well it was a toss up, but the carousel won by a nose (no pun intended). He spent most of the rides on the carousel alternating between talking about how fast it was going and watching the mechanics and attempting to figure out how it worked.

After the carousel, Aaron asked, "Can we ride the elephants?" Danny was happy to oblige. We told Aaron that the Elephant's name was Dumbo. He would ask to ride Dumbo from then on. He discovered the joy of being able to control his ride. "Go up and down!" Yeah, that was tons of fun!

Next ride? Teacups please. Mommy said, "If you want to ride the teacups, you better do it today and tomorrow with Daddy. Mommy doesn't ride the teacups. Ever!" So Aaron got to ride with Daddy a couple of times! Mommy happily stood outside and snapped pictures!

The last ride of the first day: The Carousel.

The Small World ride was a cacophony of all things mechanical. Aaron had to study them every time we rode. Smiles and excitement outside the ride quickly faded as he tried to take in all the mechanical dolls and scenery. You can just see his little brain working, usually going on overload.

This Disneyland was perfect for Aaron. All the lands were very close together which made it easier for Aaron to get around. Most of the rides were geared for his age, so he could enjoy them repeatedly! This picture is of Main Street. We enjoyed all the various, spontaneous events. For example: The Disneyland Band, and even some Christmas shows.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Danny commuted into the main part of Hong Kong for a teacher's conference. The public train system there is very similar to the trains we use in Singapore. But the first leg of the trip was on a train that only serviced Disneyland. Boy was it a nice train! It made him spoiled to the rest of the packed commuter trains. The windows were Mickey shapes, and statues of the various characters were stationed periodically throughout the cars! Danny's favorite is Donald Duck!

Stay tuned for the next set of pictures. We have many more to share with you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Aaron made some new friends at the zoo last week.  A family of lemurs gathered right by us in the butterfly exhibit.  They were calm and quiet.  So Aaron gently touched the closest one.  He just looked at Aaron like, "So what?  I'm just hanging out!"

This little guy even helped Aaron with an early bath.  Aaron turned around and said, "Mommy, he eating me!"  I checked for tooth marks at warp speed!  No, just a friendly little lick.  Aaron giggled at that.  He talked about that one for the rest of the day!
Boredom set in amongst the lemur group.  So they decided to go raid the butterfly sugar water.  Aaron thought it would be a good idea to go try to corral this "unruly mob".  Not a chance!  Instead, Mommy found a "Kodak Moment".
The new area for children has some great landscaping!  Aaron really wanted to ride the "grass train" as he called it.  Mommy had to break the sad news that this train did not take passengers.
Mommy's favorite moment of the day was Aaron's first pony ride.  This is Rosie.  She was kind enough to do a lap around the pony trail toting Aaron, plodding beside her wrangler.  Aaron was excited to try this new form of transportation.  Mommy wasn't sure if he would be brave enough to get on Rosie.  But, he reached out to the man leading Rosie. ready to hop on and see the world.  Rosie's leader said Aaron was so clever as they traveled.  He was busy pointing out all the sights along the way.  Mommy even convinced Aaron to touch Rosie's soft nose.  Brave little guy!!
Here a a few pics of the Elephant show.  It is called "Elephants at Work and Play".
(knocking logs into the water, a logging task)
"Hey, wake up!  No sleeping on the job!!"
As evening approached the other day,  so did a thunder storm.  Betsy grabbed the camera and started shooting.  As luck (AKA God) would have it, she captured this strike!
Sometimes, the evening lights remind me of Christmas.  This is one of my favorite skyline shots!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A New Website

We have long been Veggie Tales fans and today we want to share with you a new website that we've just been introduced to: www.jellytelly.com.  This is the newest creation of Phil Vischer, the founder of Big Idea and Veggie Tales.  It is not connected to Big Idea in any way (in case you don't know, Phil Vischer had to sell Big Idea).  It is an amazing site with a great vision for reaching children with the message of God.

You do have to register for the site and after a one month trial, have to pay a small subscription fee, but that fee will go to helping this ministry to grow.  Check it out!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

OSIM Corporate Triathlon 2008

Last Saturday Danny and Betsy took part in the 2008 Corporate Triathlon.  One of Danny's co-workers has been involved in many triathlons in the past and introduced the idea to the school.  In all there were ten of us that competed.  Thankfully it was set up in such a way that we could sign up to run the race as a relay.  We had three relay teams (a swimmer, a biker, and a runner).  Betsy did the swim leg for one of the teams (the mini relay: 200 meter swim, 10 km (6 mi) bike, 2km (1.2 mi) run).  Danny did the bike leg for one of the sprint teams (750 meter swim, 20 km bike, 5 km run).  It was a fun day.  
Here is a photo of the transition area, each runner or team had a spot to park his bike.
Here is Betsy after her swim.  She had fun, but felt the 200 meters was too short!  She plans to swim the 750 meter length next year.
Betsy's team:
Notice on the number bib: RX100, but if you zoom in you will see the team name: 1.6868055555555556.  We're not sure what happened there, the team name was supposed to be 40:29 (from Isaiah).  Apparently the computer took that to be a time and converted it to days (40 hours and 29 minutes is 1.6868055555555556 days)!
Here is another look at the transition area as some of the men's individual triathloners are getting ready to go out for the bike leg.  Tim (in blue) is the one who introduced us to the triathlon.
 Here is Tim on his bike.
 There was also a handicapped category, it was neat to see a few riders biking this way (he is pedaling with his hands).
 Here goes Danny, not quite as nice of a bike, or as good of form.  But very happy with his final time of 46:06 (average of 16 mph).
 The triathlon was run at East Coast Park, nearby was the beach with this section dedicated to sand castles.
Upon returning home and a shower, Danny received one more souvenir.  Note the sunburn line!
If you follow the link at the beginning of the post you can see our results:  Betsy was in the Mini Relay Non-Profit Mixed.  Danny was in the Sprint Relay Non-Profit Mixed.  As a warning, the biker on Betsy's team didn't realize he was supposed to ride two laps, so he only road one lap and the team was thus disqualified.
This is from a couple of weeks ago, but thought we would throw in one picture of Aaron as well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Four-Day Weekend!

Living in Singapore is a lot of fun.  Singapore has a vast cultural diversity and the government works hard to be very tolerant of the different cultures and religions.  For this reason, it seems like every other week we are celebrating some holiday or festival.  Monday we "celebrated" Deepavali (Indian New Year).  Basically this meant that we got a four-day weekend!  It was wonderful, though not quite as fun as we were planning.  Betsy was sick the whole weekend and is only now beginning to recover.  As a result, Danny and Aaron got to spend a lot of father-son time while Betsy rested.  Danny really enjoyed all the time with Aaron.

Some of our activities:
Walk to the store
Watch Horton Hears a Who
Play baseball

Play in the ball pit

It is amazing how fast he is growing up!  I loved getting to see his growth up close.  Tonight we had a couple of funny moments as it neared bedtime:

After Aaron's bath, as I was getting ready to dry him off, I pointed to the ceiling and said, "Aaron, what is that?"  (I was just trying to get him to look up so that I could tickle his neck.)  As I pulled the towel away, he continued to look up and said, "I don't know what it is."  I tried to tell him I was just teasing him, but he wouldn't give up.  He finally concluded that I must have been pointing at a gecko and declared, "The gecko is all gone."  When we finished drying him off he ran to Betsy to tell her that the (non-existent) gecko ran off!

Later, I was working with Aaron trying to get him to quote Deuteronomy 6:5. (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.)  I had showed him hand motions for heart, soul, and mind.  As he quoted he said, "Love God with your soul, heart". Then he stopped, so I pointed at his head to get him to say mind, but no, he says, "and ear."

Racing fever
Some of you may have heard about the big F1 race here in Singapore a couple of weeks ago.  If you didn't, it was a big deal here and was the first night race in F1 history.  Because of this great excitement in the city there have been many different things emphasizing the race.  One of these was an exhibit at the science center.  Betsy took Aaron to see the displays that were set up.  Here is one of the cars in the display (no, it is not an F1 car).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Seeing the Sights

It is the rainy season here.  We find this to be a mixed blessing.  With the rain comes all the blossoms on all the plants.  The island is a riot of colors!  The rain also brings somewhat cooler weather (30 degrees C instead of 32 degrees!!)  Ok, so I never thought I'd notice a 1 or 2 degree change in temperature.  Sometimes I wish for a sweatshirt in the windy rain.  (I know, I can't believe it either!)
Unfortunately, rainy weather also keeps away the sun.  It has been several days since we had a bright, sunny day all day.  When Aaron and Betsy went to the zoo the other day, we had to sit under shelter for about 45 minutes while the rain pelted all the trails.  But we can't complain because of all the other great things about rain.
So, enjoy the rainy season with us!
Danny got a great idea using the computer program to alter this picture using another picture Betsy took of a flower.  Betsy worked to bring out this unusual art.  I call it "The Flowering Butterfly".
The orchids are blooming all over the place.  Betsy really likes this one.
Aaron is having a great time despite the rain.  There is a new children's area at the zoo with a huge, shallow pool.  It is dotted with all sorts of fun fountains!  Aaron discovered the fun of pushing his hands down on the spouts on this fountain then jump up and watch the water splash!

The white tigers enjoy the cooler weather too!
Even the shy tapir went for a quick dip in his pool!
At a restaurant recently, the waiter offered a booster seat instead of a "baby chair" as they call high chairs here.  Yes, Aaron has graduated.  However, it took him some time to decide that the booster seat was a good thing.  So, first he crawled out and sat beside it.
Ok, he finally felt ready to try this new contraption.  He enjoyed it by the end of the meal.
The bonsai trees in the Chinese Gardens here are beautiful.  Aaron just enjoyed running around all the displays and following Daddy's lead.  Daddy said, "Raise your arms up high, like this!"  Aaron did just that.
A rare picture with Mommy.  Usually Mommy stays behind the camera.  Oh yea, he really likes this froggy hat!
Remember that great Disney cartoon, Mulan?  This is a statue of Mulan.  Doesn't look exactly like the cartoon, but it is a great statue.  Yea, it had been raining here too!