July was an awesome month, filled with travels and day camps, but it was also filled with lots of smaller moments. There wasn’t a lot of stress – it was summertime, remember? – but there was a lot of fun. Here’s some of it.
One Sunday evening, we went to the Singapore Botanic Gardens for a free concert by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. There was a picnic, there was cotton candy, there was music. Nice.
Another evening, we went to our neighborhood trattoria, where they know and love Nyan. The pizza chef invited him back to make his own pizza!
Some random pics:
When Nyan was in utero, and when he was a baby, Daddy would read him the Dr Seuss book, “Oh Baby the Places You’ll Go” nearly every night. (It was a pre-birth gift from his cousin Mia.) Now that he’s a big boy, he reads it himself.
Telling a story in the midst of doing abacus homework:
And more photos:
One day, Nyan decided he would draw up some instructions to remind Mommy how to play. We’re not entirely sure what he means here, but the sentiment is nice.
Robotic rattlesnake in progress:
The same snake a week later, with a little technical issue too (plus a display of one of Nyan’s most annoying habits, to be frank – always blaming other people for problems that sometimes aren’t anyone’s fault.)
One last batch of photos:
Goofball showing us what he was calling the “fart dance.” Have we mentioned that Nyan is a seven year old boy?
July – a.k.a. the peak of summer – is the perfect time to play outside. (Okay, we live in Singapore, so every month is the right time to play outside. But still.)
Check out Nyan’s ever-improving swimming (and jumping) skills:
And his being-thrown skills:
Fun on the soccer field:
July 2018 was, of course, World Cup time, so Nyan and some of the other kids from around the condo complex started playing “World Cup” each evening. Basically three-on-three soccer. It was a little chaotic.
Here are the kids, waiting for the others to show up.
I know we said this post was about outdoor fun, but let’s look at a little taekwondo while we’re here.
Stretching at the start of class:
And taking part in one of the occasional ball-throwing games:
Nyan turned seven years old on July 26. Every birthday in the past, we’d been able to have a cake-filled birthday party with all his chums at school. But this year was his first year to have a true summer break, which meant no school on his birthday. That meant Mommy and Daddy were on their own when it came time to celebrate.
Not to worry! Though it may not have matched 2017’s celebrations — which included the circus and Universal Studios as well as cake at school — 2018’s were still pretty decent, we think. The main event: a trip across the border to Malaysia for a day at Legoland!
We had done a daytrip to Legoland back in 2016 for his fifth birthday, so we pretty much knew what to expect: some rides, a lot of Legos, and some heat. Happily, as in 2016, we didn’t run into many crowds or long lines.
One of his favorite rides — this year like last time — was riding the jousting horse. A little mellow, maybe, but he enjoyed it:
We enjoyed riding the Lego train around the park:
At the center of the park is a large area of Lego creations, showing sites from around Asia. There’s the skyline of Kuala Lumpur, the Taj Mahal, some Thai temples, various other Malaysian sites… as well as downtown Singapore and some Burmese buildings, too.
The same Star Wars exhibit was there, and it was just as cool. The same Lego stormtrooper too.
A highlight of the day was the time we spent inside an (air-conditioned) room where we built Lego racecars and zoomed them down a sloped track. Even Mommy got into it!
And what’s a birthday without sweets? Gotta have a chocolate ice cream bar.
All in all, to be honest, Legoland was a little disappointing this time around: the general maintenance seemed to be lacking, and a surprising number of the rides were closed down for undisclosed reasons.
But whatever: our boy got to spend the day playing with Legos, and Mommy and Daddy got to spend the day with their boy. Win win!
You’ll recall that Nyan spent a fair bit of time in June attending various day-camps.That continued in the month of July, with the lad attending several week-long day camps covering a range of topics. There was computer coding, there was math, there was “multi-activity” which ranged from swimming and basketball to drama and arts & crafts.
We don’t have any pictures or video from the camp itself, but we took many shots from the bus pick-up each morning and drop-off each afternoon. Here’s some:
Here’s the boy walking to our apartment through the parking garage after a fun-filled day. Also eating a cupcake that he made at camp.
His computer programming week focused on the programming language called Scratch, which uses simple text phrases and loops to teach basic computer concepts and skills. He liked to show off his new knowledge at home on Daddy’s computer:
Okay, maybe not the most exciting video ever. But he’s learning about computers! Pretty cool.
Remember all of Nyan’s pals from his MMI preschool days? We do too. A really fantastic group of kids. Everyone goes to different schools now, and as we feared, we rarely get to see anyone, though we do manage to run into random classmates and their parents around the neighborhood.
In July, the MMI parents decided to make the effort to get the kids — and the parents — back together, so one Sunday afternoon a bunch of us got together at Kyra and Chrysa’s place for a pool party.
Nyan, Adriana, Kyra and sister Chrysa, Valentina and sister Gabriella, Ming Xuan… did we forget anyone? A lot of kids were on vacation or whatnot, so turnout wasn’t what it could have been. But still, a fantastic time was had by all.
They spent a lot of time in the water.
Oh, and yes, there was a hamster. (A new pet of Kyra and Chrysa; they brought the little critter down to show off to their friends.)
The parents had a good time too, catching up and snacking.
We considered lots of places for our mid-summer family vacation. New Zealand was an option until we remembered July is the dead of winter down there. Bhutan would be amazing, and remains on our short list, but it’s breathtakingly expensive to go there, so we’ll save up and try to get there maybe next year.
In the end, Mommy said she would be happy to go someplace where Daddy could dive a lot and she and Nyan could chillax on the sand and in the pool. So we wound up picking a dive resort on a tiny island in the Celebes Sea, off the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi. It’s called Siladen, and I don’t think we could have chosen a better place.
Getting there was pretty easy, all things considered: a flight to the city of Manado, Indonesia; a 45-minute ride to the coast; and an hour’s ride on a small boat to Siladen island. Some photos from our journeys:
Siladen is a small resort, right on the shore, with a pool, spa, a handful of little chalets, and a nice stretch of beach with some pretty epic views.
The area around the island — which we got to see on multiple boat tours and dive trips — wasn’t bad either.
We had a lot of fun just hanging out at the resort — lounging in a hammock or beach chair; digging in the sand; eating really, really good food; swimming in the pool or the shallow sea; reading.
Also just being silly while sitting at the resort’s little bar area as a tropical downpour hissed in the background:
Did we mention the resort had a pool table? Nyan spent a good amount of time trying to play. One rainy evening, Mommy decided to play too.
It wasn’t all just fun and games though. There was serious business to be done: diving!
Daddy got a new GoPro underwater camera before this trip and spent a good amount of time underwater learning how to use it. Some of his shots weren’t too bad:
This Nemo-esque fish wasn’t too happy that Daddy was encroaching on his anemone.
So Daddy was out on (and under) the water every single day of the trip. One day, Mommy and Nyan decided to join in. They would stay topside and snorkel while Daddy went 60 feet down.
We had a short ride to the dive/snorkel site — another thing to love about this resort: it’s in the midst of a marine park, and there are dozens of amazing dive sites within about a 10 or 15 minute boat trip. Here’s the fam, enjoying the ride.
And here’s Nyan getting his snorkeling gear on. He used a full-face mask rather than a traditional mask-and-snorkel.
In the end, though, the snorkeling wasn’t quite a success. Mommy enjoyed it, but young Nyan was a little freaked out by the waves (it was a little choppy and windy that day), and by being so far from shore, and by not being able to see any coral when he looked down — just sea grass. So he pulled the plug and hung out on the boat while Mommy snorkeled and Daddy dove.
But he still enjoyed himself, he says. And it wound up being a fun family day out on the water.
It was a pretty epic trip all-around, we’d say. Definitely a place we’d recommend, and a place we may very well return one day.
Long-time readers know Nyan’s bff Jayden and his younger brother Jonnie. They’re great kids, and Nyan and Jayden have been thick as thieves since the day they met down by the swimming pool back in late 2015.
Earlier this year, we learned the sad news that the family would be moving to the other side of the island. We had several months’ notice, which I guess made it a little easier. To be sure, we relished every moment. Here are some recent moments, like Nyan hanging out at Jayden’s house, often with Jonnie in tow.
Here’s Jayden wrapping a birthday present for Nyan:
One afternoon at our place, the boys were playing Jurassic World (we think) and Daddy took a surreptitious video.
We had lots of sleepovers all summer long, at both Jayden’s place and our place. (Sleepovers generally involve a lot of goofing around, some video-watching, some playing-in-the-tub, and lots of reading by both boys.)
You’ll be seeing more of Jayden and Jonnie in these blog pages, fear not.