Friday, October 26, 2012

Batu Batu, Tengah Island

Beautiful Sunsets (didn't get around to editing these pictures yet, but still gorgeous!)

A short 2-hour drive from the Woodlands checkpoint on the north side of Singapore and a quick 20-minute boat transfer from Mersing to arrive on this pristine private island in Malaysia.  The beaches are gorgeous, plentiful snorkeling, swimming and kayaking; the food called us back for every meal and the spacious villas were lovely, until the third night when we were moved to a villa unsafe for the children to stay.  Diminishing their claim to be a "family friendly boutique resort" in our minds.

Beautiful Private Beaches

After nightfall, the mosquitoes were out in full force and the Ocean Villa we were moved to was not built to keep the little pests out.  Even securing the mosquito netting around the beds all day long, the little pests found their way in to eat us alive all night.

It was too hot and humid to stay covered throughout the night, but with the bugs biting outside the sheets, we were left with no choice.  If the villa was designed to keep the air-conditioned air inside the villa, instead of letting it all escape through the huge gaps where the wall and roof come together, it would improve the experience quite drastically.  The staff had placed additional table fans in the villa, but they blew the bug netting open to give the little guys a place to enter for their feast.  So, we suffered through a night in an unfinished, not ready for guests, villa and PAID FOR IT!

Island Jetty

I can't say that we hated our entire stay on the island.  The first 2-nights we stayed in a wonderful Beach Villa that did not have the same issues.  The Beach Villa with child sleeping area was amazing!  We had restful sleeps and woke-up to the beautiful beach and relaxing porch.  The only thing missing in this villa was breakfast in bed.

The island itself is an environmentalist dream.  Migrating birds and sea eagles, corals, fish, Sea turtles, crabs - just to name a few of the sea creatures spotted on the island.  We were able to hike around the entire island, as it is quite small and it was amazing (although Little Miss M thought the long hike was something she would never want to do again...Ever!).  Some of the fish spotted, crabs and coral that are all especially visible during low tide are a rare sight for most city dwellers and I was so happy that the children were able to experience the magic of the ocean and spot Sea Urchins, as well. 

Makayla particularly found the little ghost crabs pretty cool when mommy almost stepped on one and it scurried away to hide under a rock.

The nightmare started after the 2nd night, when we were told there was some kind of miscommunication, or computer glitch and we had to shift villas.  It was never clear what happened with our reservation, as different staff including the owner, told us conflicting reports.  We ended up shifting, not thinking too much of it besides the inconvenience, to an Ocean Villa with no child area.  The Ocean view Villa was more of a tree view with a big palm tree blocking the ocean view, but if we looked through the tree, there it was - the beautiful blue-green water of the South China Sea.

Bummer ~ Tree blocking view from Ocean Villa.

This particular Ocean Villa should NEVER have children assigned to it!  Upon entering the villa on stilts built into a cliff side, the stairs are open and there is no landing to enter the villa.  When the doors are opened, the handrail is not accessible and the children had to use the stairs on their bums, very carefully. 

Just a little stressful for parents of toddlers.
The other child disaster waiting to happen was the opposite side door.  The door through the bathroom opens to an outside balcony/deck with no safety side rails.  The flooring is there, but there is nothing around the sides of this high deck.  The door leading out to the area has a wooden latch like the one seen in the above picture to hold the door closed, but easily accessible by toddlers.  There is no additional lock on this door leading to an unfinished deck.  Makes no sense at all to place two small children in this villa.
We asked for a change of villas, but we were told there was nothing else available.  After staying for one very stressful night in this villa, we decided the next morning to leave a day early.  We approached the staff to book a seat on the transfer boat and let them know we wished to leave early, they suddenly came up with 1 or 2 other optional villas!? 
Sorry, too late. Our experience of enjoying the tropical, quiet island has been ruined by this unfinished, unsuitable villa that was irresponsibly assigned to a family with small children.
It is really too bad, because we were truly enjoying the relaxing experience the first 2-nights staying in the lovely Beach Villa that was ready for guests to enjoy and safe for the children.
Playing on beach outside villa the 1st morning.

Lovely porch for morning coffee on the Beach Villa.

Didn't need this mosquito netting, because the beach villa was built correctly and finished for guests.  Still a nice touch :-)

Enormous bathrooms!

Relaxing in the infinity pool.

Riley enjoyed finding cool shells and reef that had washed up.
Wish I would have taken some pictures of the various wildlife on this eco-resort island.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dancing Bear

Our little dancing bear, didn't do much dancing...

She did enjoy the preparations of getting her hair done, makeup on and snack time.

Getting her baby fine hair put up requires lots of hairspray.

Bear ears and bear nose with glitter eyes.

Where is Kayla and when will this be over?!?!

There she is hiding with her fingers in her mouth as soon as the curtains open.

The other dancing bears and dolls didn't want the curtains to close!  So cute!

The Dancing Bear had streaked makeup from her tears by the end :-( 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

1st Day of School

It was the kids' first day at their new International school ~ Stamford American School in Singapore!  They both really enjoyed.  Have a look:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tiong Bahru Park

One of Singapore's many National Parks worth a visit for the kiddos. 

Foot Reflexology path.

Fun with the camera :-)

Riley gives this park thumbs up!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Singapore

~ Singapore National Day 9 August 2012 ~

Celebrating Singapore's 47th birthday!

Singapore flag flying through the city.

Fighter jets making an appearance.

Fireworks at Marina Bay

Friday, July 20, 2012

Gardens By The Bay

Cloud Forest

We were invited to check out the new and quite impressive Gardens by the Bay yesterday.  To my surprise, they are still building it.  This construction seems to be never ending.  The kids area has only just started, so it will be awhile before the toddlers have any interest in the gardens.

The Supertrees that make up the brochure cover are really unique to see and two of the biosphere domes are completed to view as well.  It is all quite impressive and definitely worth the experience.  Since it is indoors and pleasantly cool, it is a great activity for a really hot day or a rainy day.

The Supertrees give a nightly sound and light show that would also be fun to go back for.

Cloud Forest

A view of the bay from Cloud Forest

The Supertrees from the Cloud Forest.

Cloud Forest

Inside the Flower Dome.  Kids were over the flowers before we walked in the door. Thank goodness for portable technology to keep them entertained!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jacob Ballas Children Garden

Rope bridge.

The kids never seem to get bored with this park.  Referred to as the "Tree House Park" by Little Miss M, she would go once a week, if she could get someone to take her.

Happy girl coming down the tunnel slide.

Riley tumbling down the slide.

Makayla and her friend B playing in the water area.

Another fun day at the Singapore Botanic Gardens Children's ~ Jacob Ballas.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thankful for Acts of Kindness

It is so nice to know there are still kind people living in this hectic, greedy world!  This morning Riley truly lost his Ipod Touch for the second time and it has been recovered.

Little Sh!t, but so hard to be mad at this goof. 

The first loss was at the Sky Lounge at the Tokyo-Narita International Airport.  For those of you that have not been through this airport ~ it is complete chaos.  He must have left it on a chair, but some kind person left it with reception and we were able to collect it a few weeks later when we were passing through again.  THANK YOU nice person!

This morning was a different situation.  Riley must have been finished with it and tossed it over the side of the stroller, along with everything else he no longer wanted near him ~ his shoes, his precious nuker and his juice.  I'll just call it....a long morning. 

By the time I noticed the ipod missing, we were beyond going back to actually find it.  We did turn back anyway, just so I felt I did everything I could to recover it.  No luck.

Quite angry by now, I double back heading home and he continues to throw his shoes out.  By the time we reach the lobby door, my phone starts ringing.  I think it is our traveling business man calling to let us know he has arrived at his next destination.  However, it turns out to be the super market customer service informing me they have recovered an iphone/ipod and would like to know if I want to pick it up.  Yes please.

THANK YOU SO MUCH to the kind person that turned it in and for Meidi Ya Super Market at Liang Court for returning it to us!! 

I am grateful for such kind people still around in the world!  Riley will not be using his toy for a long while...

Thank goodness I had entered my contact information in the Ipod Contacts folder. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Little Miss M turns 4

It's hard to believe that Makayla has only been in our lives for 4 years.  It seems like yesterday that she reluctantly entered the world, yet I can't remember life without her.  She has changed our lives in so many ways with her laugh and smile.  She is a very determined little princess, always questioning why or how everything came to be.

These questions continue to get harder to answer, as she now remembers EVERYTHING we say.

 Her birthday party over the weekend at The Port of the Lost Wonder water park in Sentosa.

The Port of the Lost Wonder water park, Sentosa.

For her actual birthDAY, we had a girls night out.  Her friend and mom, myself and Makayla had tickets to see the Broadway show Annie at Marina Bay Sands.  The show was spectacular.

Makayla and her friend at dinner before the show.

Makayla and her friend at the Broadway show Annie.

Life wouldn't be complete without you princess!  Thanks for bringing so much joy into our lives each and every single day.  We are so grateful to have you as our daughter.

Love you with all my heart!


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