Thaddeus Aaron at 5.5 years old

And so the little boy is about five and a half years old now.

If he has a choice, he would rather be home playing all day rather than to go to school, which he exclaims to me that “it’s boring!” *sweat*

There is nothing he likes more than mentally challenging games like Rush Hour and he can be at it for hours!

or IQ gaming, which he is now at erm level 103?

He also enjoys craft like his sister and we sewed some really nifty dolls for ourselves that time!

We switched him to another kindergarten in K1 just for distance’s sake and visited the open house end-2013 for some of the art projects he did!

Another favourite hobby of his is reading! and most favourite books? The comics The Young Scientist and Science adventures! He has read up all the Level 2s and I think I would have to buy Level 3s for him soon! Just got him hooked to Geronimo Stilton recently! Yeah!

I finally got them a swimming coach and hopefully can pick up swimming again and the other sports he really likes is blading! I just wish we have more time to do it though!

He is at a point where he seems to have info overload in his head and dying to spill everything he knows to me the minute he sees me! and the way he explains things in his logic right now is interesting yet hilarious! I am just so enjoying him right now!

Wavehouse birthday party

This was a birthday party that the little girl was invited to I think way back in May 2013? Ooops! A really unusual place I must say too…at wavehouse at Sentosa. But then again the birthday girl is really into swimming, so it didn’t come as a surprise as well! And not really sure what to expect except we were told to bring a swim suit, we made our way there! What was really coincidental also was that church service was at RWS that Sunday morning as well!

The three girls from her class! Birthday girl in the middle.

The rest of the guests were friends from the swimming club I guess. Essentially, I found out you play riding the waves on a surfboard on a huge slide-like structure with water rushing at you! The little girl waiting for her turn! Pardon her white face! It was blazing hot and I was too liberal when I was applying sunblock on her face! *Grins*

Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone and I doubt the kids can do it alone too! The instructor helps the little ones to balance and on their second or third try, many even attempted standing up on the surfboards!

Even the little guy was game enough to try! and their verdicts were that it was great fun!

After the go at the waves, we have the usual candles-blowing and cake cutting ceremony and the girls were then free to roam around on their own! I was told very politely that I should just leave them alone while they have their little private gathering.

We were amongst the last few to leave and the little girl spent some time playing with the birthday girl!

It won’t be long that silly little games like this may not be as fun as it is now but I am enjoying all these moments for as long as I can have them!

Can’t wait for 2014 to come!

The last 12 months have been a fairly difficult one for me. Just 2 weeks ago, a friend whom I considered fairly close, whom I have lost contact for 2 years, broke my heart. I finally managed to locate her husband on the net and when I tried to contact her, was told very politely but coldly by her that she is purposely cutting off all contact from everyone she knows from Singapore. She has been living overseas for many years now but we have always kept in contact. The last time we emailed each other was 2 years ago and we have always been able to talk about almost everything personal. From her email, I know she must have had her reasons and I respect her decision and I tried not to take it personally but still it was a blow to me.

10 months ago, my father passed on after an excruciatingly painful episode of 8 months in the ICU and another 6 months of complete bed-bound home stay. Although we were prepared and even somewhat relieved that he has gone on to a better place, the realization of that loss is only slowly being felt now, even though we had a very traditional “Chinese-family” relationship with him. And just about 2 months before my father passed on, I had another whammy of being cut-off from another person’s life whom I have always considered a friend, I even thought there were many similarities in how we think. It took me many months to piece together the “puzzle” of why it happened but eventually the realization was that she had always disliked me! I had absolutely no idea! That was the most painful part to swallow.

But through it all, there were many blessings for me to count as well! I have 2 sisters who rallied around one another to go through the difficult period of my father’s illness! I don’t know how I would have been able to survive through it all without them! And I have friends who rallied around me to comfort me too when I was crying and not understanding it all! You know who you are! And through the upheavals, I have 2 angelic faces who still tell me every night “I love you, mummy!” regardless of how impatient I have been with them throughout the day because I have been having a rough day! They truly are angels sent by God to someone as undeserving as me! I thank God for them every day!

As I draw near to the end of the year, I am looking forward to a brand new year! And I resolve to do better, to treasure my family more, to spend more time with friends who truly care for me, to spend more time on things that goes toward the eternity than toward the transient. I am feeling particularly melancholic today but getting this off my chest has been great! December I know is going to be a wonderful month of getting off work and spending lots of time with the family going on trips, at least 3 trips, mind you! And I know 2014 is just going to get better!

Star Cruise

I, for one, have never been on a cruise. So in June, for the first time for me and the kids, we went for a 4D3N cruise to Penang and Phuket on the Star Virgo. It was a very last minute decision to escape the haze. Remember the PSI 400+ week?

Erm, some very tackily-clad people waiting to receive us…

and since we decided to go so last minute, we paid good money for lousy rooms, but those were the last 2 rooms available, not much of a choice but big lessons to learn from! STOP going on impromptu holidays!!!

Went around the ship to explore and it is HUGE inside! The little man doing his boogie-ing in the cabaret room.

The little girl with the model of the ship she is on.

and pretending she is having a go at all these games machines!

The best part of the cruise, as I was later told by them, was the little (and I mean TINY) playgym at the kids’ club. With the money I paid, I could have send them to fidgets for erm like 50 times! grrrrr..!

Monkey at work!

There were group activities as well. Bunch of people doing the “horse-gallop” ala PSY on the decks!

More tacky décor!

We reached Penang and dashed around the Island looking for good food – Penang Cha Kueh Tiao and chendol!

The ship really looked pretty in the dusk!

The next day we reached Phuket. The boy loved this robot and no I told him we can’t buy it home!

The little girl went shopping again, whaddya expect? *grins*

To escape the heat, we chose to shop in aircon comfort!

The last night on board was actually a gala dinner and we had to pack dresses and shirts! It was all very silly actually because the dinner was like any other dinner apart from getting 2 staff to do a little mc-ing at the beginning of the dinner and the staff putting up a rather tacky walk-in with the first dish!

For me, the best part was enjoying the sea breeze on the deck and looking out at the limitless horizon! Therapeutic!

Cons of going during school hols (and I have been told it’s the Indian school hols as well) was that it’s really very crowded! Did not even bother to get into the pool! *sweat*

It was a quick getaway for my sisters and my mum and since my mum enjoys a little casino now and then, it’s great in that sense. It was good also that we get to land in Penang and Phuket, if not it would have been soooo boring! It would also have been better if we did not go during the school holidays too!

A really busy June holidays 2013!

It was a busy busy month of June for the kids. The first June holidays for the girl and I wanted to just keep a snapshot of what we did.

The bunch did a trip to LEGOLAND. It doesn’t matter how many times they have been there, the kids would always exclaim with delight as though it was the first time they have seen Miniland! Oh, the eyes of the world through a child’s eyes!

We spend a great deal (and I meant a GREAT deal) of time hiding away in the air-con comfort of the lego-building room! Not that the children are complaining, they were all happily building their own little masterpieces of art!

We also inviting the bunch for a swim date at our place. We have already shifted in for about 4 months but still nothing beats the school hols where there are no bedtime curfews to keep and homework to be completed!

We also headed to Kidzania, our second time! This is the boy trying out his hand at being a magician!

…CSI investigators,

…burger joint chefs,

…getting a college degree.

As part of College education, dabble in IT,

and project work! (They were training to be architects!)

The boy tried his hand at being a producer,

…a surgeon,

…a courier boy,

…a pump attendant,

and the girl gave it a shot at being a radio deejay!

We also went to try the food at this Forest Gump franchise,

…played in these gigantic balls afloat in water,

…ate lotsa food,

…did lotsa shopping,

…admired beautiful fountains,

and made momentos for the trip!

Sand art in a bottle!

The last week of June we hopped onto Star Cruise for a 4D3N trip to Penang and Phuket, another post on that perhaps! and what do ya know! It’s going to be the Dec hols soon! Stay tuned to where we would be heading tooooooooo again!

Eatplaylove Cafe

Couple of months ago, together with Trix, we brought the kids to Eatplaylove Café. It’s a little café around Arab Street where kids can have a free hand in making crafts while parents can chomp down on delectable delights peacefully. Even the concept alone was highly appealing, without even first tasting the food!

We made reservations for a Saturday afternoon and as expected, the place was pretty crowded and buzzling. Guess word goes around fast for a idea as ingenious as this!

There were crafting tables on both ends of the café, one side with a slightly larger table. And that side has a pretty wall decorated with many crafting ideas and materials, even crafting books!

The adults plonked ourselves at the tables after ordering food and paying a nominal fee for the kids to craft and the kids wasted no time to get their hands all dirty, literally!

The little girl with the hand-made ice cream and spaghetti necklace!

Both trying to make a caterpillar!

The girls cutting and pasting and decorating! Don’t ask me where the boys were!

We spent a happy 3-4 hrs there! Bellies full of yummy food and a big bag of crafts to show for when we were leaving. Definitely a place we will visit again!

Thaddeus’ 5th pirate birthday party!

The little guy turned 5 on 15 July 2013! From originally not intending to having a party for him to a full-blown affair with magician thrown in completely baffled me as well! 😛 But when I took over the planning, I guess things just took on a life on its own!

It was a pirate theme party and for the sole piece of décor that evening, this poster was hand-made by me!

Presenting Captain Thaddeus! The birthday boy!

I even hand-made eye patches and swords! The birthday boy was holding on to the sword his dad bought for him at LEGOLAND though! As you can imagine, boys and swords put together make a rowdy combination! and what a ruckus they made!

So scary that the girls had to run away and hide somewhere!

Ahh I forgot, the other piece of décor was a blow-up Diego the pirate! and if you consider the 3D pirate ship cake part of the décor, then there! 3 items of decorations! haha!

The magician was Sherman Tang from The Magic Empire. He really was hilarious! Even had all the adults guffawing away! The birthday boy was teased to the max by Mr Pirate!

The kids, needless to say were laughing so hard!

Mr Pirate went on to produce gold coins from the birthday boy’s ears, armpits and even backside! Just see how tickled the little guy was!

Then a talking toucan appeared to tell more corny jokes which were downright entertaining!

Then it was balloon sculpting for every kid and everybody dutifully queued for their turn!

Sword fights continued on at every corner! Boys will be boys!

And then it was time for the cake cutting! I chose the 3D pirate ship cake in buttercream rather than fondant because buttercream cakes are actually nicer to eat. But being buttercream, it’s very delicate. See the leaning pirate? The poor guy nearly fell over due to the multiple humps I have to drive over to get home! He is being supported at the back by a satay stick! Hahaha!

Happily gathering around the cake!

Lighting the candles…

and getting ready to blow them out!

One group pic of the kids for the album pls!

Thank you everyone for turning up and making his 5th birthday an unforgettable one! and thank you again for all the lovely gifts!

Round up of first semester

And so, the first semester went off rather uneventfully, at least for the girl I guess. She is really enjoying school and I am glad of that!

I had a little bit of a scare when hanyu pinyin came charging at us as soon as school started. She has been going to Berries and I was hoping that would help and I think it did. Still, the fact that I didn’t persisted in trying to speak to her in Mandarin came back to haunt me! She speaks with an accent and has very limited vocabulary. Promised myself that I will work harder at speaking Mandarin with her.

The Parents-Teacher-Meeting was uneventful as well, except that her Maths’ score came back not as ideal because the Topical Review that had the highest weightage was also the one she had the most careless mistakes ever. I think the idea of checking hasn’t quite sunk in yet. The more surprising thing is that she did ok for her Mandarin, English was ok as well, both in band 1.

I thought that the form teacher’s approach was rather holistic as well and I was not told to go buck up on her Maths and all that as well. She was completely aware that it was careless mistakes and not that she did not understand the concepts. She also said she would give a bunch a girls in the class more worksheets to stretch them, Talia Ann included. Not sure if I like the “more worksheets” bit but I like how she communicated that to me.

She also spent a lot of time talking about how the little girl behaved in class, how she got along with her classmates, which areas she’s great at and which areas she need to work on.  I like that she did not just focused on academics!

So far I have been pleased with the school, the homework seriously has been very manageable, in fact I think less than some of my friends with kids in other schools, branded or neighbourhood, which is a great way to go! I hope this keeps up for the rest of the year as well!

 

 

 

 

 

Bangkok – what’s that smell?

Geez! It’s going to be June and I have yet to put up my post for Bangkok which we did as one of those impromptu trips during the March school holidays. This time we decided we shall have one of those eat till you drop, shop till you drop and massage till you drop kinda trip. Yes, you heard it right! The first time a trip that isn’t centred around the kids. But even as I said that, we slotted in a day at a theme park so the children wouldn’t get too bored.

Bangkok. The last time I was here was 2 years ago with my besties! And the children who are very used to a very sanitised Singapore were overwhelmed at the smell, the traffic, the rubbish that greeted them when they got off the cab! Not a very good sign and I made a mental note to myself that more efforts should be made to expose them!

This time we checked into a 3-month old hotel called the Glow Hotel diagonally across from the Platinum Mall

Platinum Mall. I have realised that the prices there are really the best so far, even compared to Chatuchat Market. And what’s best, you get to shop in air-con comfort! Unbeatable in my opinion! *grins*

Breakfast’s not bad at the hotel!

Kids tucking in!

And then we are off shopping!

The husband looking at ties and little girl twirling amongst them!

Did not agree to buy the toy tiger for him so at least he gets a shot with it!

The shopaholic coming out of the little girl as she browse through all sorts of  knickknacks!

The great thing about staying so close to Platinum mall was that we took a short stroll back and put the kids down for a nap! The kids woke about 1 plus hour later and we were off to Asiatique, the more atas night market by the river!

There is even a free short cruise that brings you to that night market!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and we saw little houses by the river

We arrived at Asiatique and thought it was quite a nicely done up tourist attraction!

It has the godowns that reminiscse of older days when river banks were full of activities, men carrying cargos, bumboats anchored by the river bank…

Couldn’t resist taking a pic of this gigantic anchor!

Interesting graffiti on the wall that the children just had to pose with!

So gleeful that they can straddle the Chao Phraya River!

I spotted a few boutiques catering to the kiddy fashionistas!

and tasteful knickknacks!

Cutest bike spotted outside one of the shops!

There were many F&B outlets and we were spoilt for choice! Really buzzling by the night!

There was also the “Bangkok Wheel” which I took the kids on. That became one of the highlights of the whole Bangkok trip, surprisingly!

The boy watching with awe as the wheel goes round and round!

The next day we headed to Dream World, Bangkok’s answer to Disneyland, not quite! Still the children were really enjoying every thing, down to the stationary pink train!

There was water cycling to be had too!

and this time, trains that moves, that goes round the park!

Mini miniland! Great wall of China too, I kid you not!

Simple joy on a simple swing!

Stepping into fairytale land!

See the shoe? Ring a bell? The old woman who lived in a shoe I think…

Cinderella’s carriage!

They even had a live animal show with dogs and birds and little lamps to feed at the end of it all!

Rides galore follow after!

Row row row your boat, gently down the stream!

And yes, they even had a snow world! And tada, we get to experience freezing temperatures all over again! Minus 2 degrees, mind you! and they had slopes for sledding down as well!

Eskimo igloos as well!

and finally the giant’s house in Jack and the beanstalk!

We spent the next day at Chatuchat market! We reached the place at about 9am and it was such an eye-opener for the kids. The shopper in Talia arose and she really enjoyed browsing through all the shops. The little boy was just as enthusiastic but by 2pm, he was hanging on my arm like a wet, limp rag that we decided it was time to get home! We showered, put the kids down for a short nap and went out to have dinner with Talia’s classmate who incidentally was also in Bangkok at the same time!

I forgot to mention that the kids had their foot massage alongside us every night as well and it was a highlight of the trip for them as well!

We left Bangkok shopped, massaged, fed and very happy and when I asked the children who wants to come back to Bangkok again! Both raised their hands immediately! Nobody said anything about the smell!

 

 

Blading at Gardens by the Bay East

Parents with primary school going children would know PAL – Programne for Active Learning. Essentially it is to introduce non-academic focus curriculum into the schools. and Talia Ann was getting inline skating lessons in school that got her so hooked that we went ahead to get her her own gear and linked up with friends who were into this as well.

A mummy friend suggested Gardens by the Bay East as a great spot and we all decided on a Sunday evening for our first try-out. The little guy who doesn’t yet has his own gear, came a-scooting!

Megan arrived earlier. The kids hung around waiting for Madeleine to arrive

Full troops!

All raring to go!

I last bladed maybe 8-10 years ago! Wasn’t quite sure if i still remembered how to actually! It was also perhaps Talia’s second or third time on her blades but she was really enjoying herself so much trying to catch up with Megan. The place really is great! Fantastic scenery, very little people, very little cyclists, very flat grounds! There is really no better spot for beginner bladers!

The one that everyone was trying to catch up with!

And dinner was at the Marina Bay Golf Course which still offer the same fantastic views!

When it turned dark, the view was even more captivating!

Since that first tryout, we have been out blading 2 more times already! Time for me to dust out my old blades to join the children soon as the little guy also got his gears already!