Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

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Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

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Countdown to Jaide's 3rd Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Third Birthday tickers

Countdown to Joram's 1st Birthday

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Friday, September 19, 2014

A Letter to my Grown-up Children

Dear beloved children,

I am not sure if I will live long enough to develop dementia or fall victim to any number of debilitating diseases and require constant caregiving but I would like to let you know beforehand how I truly feel. 

First of all, if it is within my ability, I would not want to place a burden upon you be it in terms of time, effort or money. I desire to release you to pursue your God-given destiny and ultimately complete wholeheartedly the work that God has prepared for you. So if I do become an invalid, please forgive me and understand that it is not my wish to ask you to take care of me if I can help it.

If I grow increasingly long-winded and keep asking you the same question over and over again because I can't remember very well, please pardon me. Hear me out and give me the same answer each time. Just like how I used to answer your questions for the millionth time, teach you the same thing more than I care to count and remind you of the your own things day in, day out. 

If I make a mess with my food or my bowel movements, please remember all the cleaning I did for you during the formative years of your lives. Just as you didn't mean to give me more work, so it is for me. 

If I become unreasonable and throw tantrums, or hurt you emotionally and physically despite you simply wanting to help me, please bear with me for I know not what I'm doing. Just like the many times I endured abuse from you when you had major meltdowns concerning things which did not make any sense, try your best not to hold it against me. You may restrain me or manhandle me for I know deep down inside, you only want to help me and have my best interests at heart. 

If I ever complain to you that I am lonely and wish you have more time for me, I can only say I am very sorry for putting you on a guilt trip unfairly. I am sure you are busy fulfilling your responsibilities and don't mean to neglect me. Just as in your younger days, I really wished I had more energy and time to spend playing with you but I was really too busy fulfilling my responsibilities. There were always chores to do, meals to cook, bellies to fill, noses/mouth/bottoms to wipe, medicine to feed, skin to moisturise, wounds to tend to, bodies to wash, lessons/life skill to teach, discipline to enforce... basically needs to be met. If I could help it, I would have loved to hug and cuddle you all day long.

And if you yell at me or lose your patience with me because I am simply so frustrating to take care of, I totally understand and would like you to know that I forgive you in advance. I know what it feels like to do your best and it seems like your best is never enough. I get how infuriating it can be when your love and concern is not reciprocated and you are constantly taken for granted. 

I know how difficult it is to sacrifice your sleep and the right to eat, drink and even go to the toilet in order to meet my needs and protect me from harm. Thus, I will not ask that of you. I will not expect you to sacrifice for me the way I sacrificed for you. Please take care of yourself first. 

When I become too great a financial, emotional or physical burden, I give you the permission to leave me be. I will not blame you for abandoning me. Let someone else take care of me if that is the only way to keep your sanity. Let me die naturally and please do not feel guilty for I would have already lived a full life and given my all to the work that had been given to me. I will be going to a better place. 

I apologise for the many ways I have failed you and that I was not as good a mother as I wish I was. I'm sorry for giving you unpleasant memories or any childhood trauma. I regret the wrong decisions I made regarding you and the bad examples I set for you. If nothing else, I at least hope that I have shown you how much we need God in our lives and demonstrated to you the mercy and grace that the Lord grants us each day despite our mistakes. 

All I ask is for you to love God with all your heart and be faithful in doing His work. Then, I will rest assured that I will get to see you again in heaven when the time comes for all of us to leave this weary world.

Your Mom

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sensorium 360

Their favourite exhibit

Ok, I know I swore off bringing the kids to the museum on my own till Joram can walk steadily. However, I simply couldn't resist after reading a friend's blog about it. It looked like something even Joram could enjoy. What's more, with the new Bras Basah MRT station right in front of the museum, we can take the train all the way there! The 3 train transfers actually worked in my favour because it kept us on the move and the kids did not have enough time to start getting bored and act up during the entire trip. What a blessing!

This time, I didn't manage to get any of the CG mates to join us for the trip so it was totally "own-time-own-target". God is so gracious to provide a nice quiet corner for us right next to our favourite Japanese stall at the nearby Kopitiam where the kids, high chair and the pram did not get in anybody's way. We managed to beat the lunch crowd too, by getting there early.

The most incredible thing was that Joram actually started nodding off in the middle of eating. Sensing the perfect moment, I transferred him to the stroller and continued feeding him till he completely fell asleep! LOL I'm so glad I didn't have to put him in the baby carrier for his nap like the last time... Phew!

And the rest was history. The kids had a few favourite sections and they actually asked to revisit them before we left. As commented by my friend, it was fairly deserted so the kids could really enjoy having the place to themselves most of the time.

Learning from past mistakes, I allowed Jaide to sit in the pram as we left and I timed our departure to coincide with her nap. She KO-ed minutes into the train ride to our tea break destination. By the time she woke, I could straight away present her with the tea break, immediately cutting short her usual after-nap fussiness. Praise the Lord!

It was a wonderful and worthwhile trip. Thank God for His small mercies along the way which made a lot of difference to my physical energy and emotional health. 

Shaking their bon bons...

The boys especially loved this!

Spent a lot of time here.

Watch Joram have great fun with the curtain of strings!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Joram @ Fidgets

Taking advantage of the Teachers' Day school holiday, I brought the kids to Fidgets to have some fun with a few of our CG mates. This is Joram's first opportunity at having a meaningful time there because he was too young to appreciate the playground our previous two trips there. Decked out in the grey family T-shirts and yellow bottoms, the kids totally had a ball. 

Joram really loved being pushed around in the little red vehicle and we spent quite a lot of time doing that. Perhaps influenced by the noisy, stimulating environment and boisterous kids all around, Joram was uncharacteristically daring. He actually climbed benches and structures only to slide down on his butt. He even laughed when he nearly fell flat on his face! *shocking*

However, now with 4 of them, it becomes really expensive to visit such indoor playgrounds. We spent $67 for this one afternoon of fun. Furthermore, 8 months down the road, we will have to pay the full entrance fee for Joram, which means adding another $9 to the total! *faintz* I suppose we will not go there anymore unless it is for a really special occasion. 

Watch Joram being the daredevil!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Perils of Making Bak Chor Mee

My husband is supposed to be on a low carb diet. Thus, he cannot indulge in most hawker fare which major in noodles and rice. I made a low-carb version of one of his favourite dish Bak Chor Mee three years ago but decided against doing it again due to the young children. However, emboldened by the successful prawn noodle experience, I decided to oblige Joshua when he requested for this dish. After all, he hardly asks for a specific menu. 

What a terrible mistake! I should have known that the children's good behaviour is not to be taken for granted. While making all the different components of this complex food item, I was constantly interrupted by my eldest regarding his work despite him being largely independent most of the time. Jaide kept crying to be carried and wanted to watch what I was cooking, her face inches from the stove. Jayna later on decided that she wanted to play a certain game and refused to prepare for school on her own when she, too, has been very self-motivated all these while. The timing couldn't have been worse. 

In the end, I had no choice but to cut short the simmering of the stock and the stewing of the mushrooms. It felt as if I went through hell and high waters preparing this dish! As a few of my friends were commenting, I probably should resign myself to cooking simple meals at home and go out to eat the ones which need complicated preparation. I'll just have to say sorry to my poor husband who may not get to enjoy the taste of such local favourites until the children are older... much, much older. 

Thankfully, my Bear Bear
appreciates my efforts very much.

Kids' portion with the original egg
noodle, instead of bean vermicelli,
with ketchup, instead of sambal chilli

At least, 
the girls enjoyed this dish too, because they love noodles. 
Not so my son who is an absolute rice fanatic...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Boys' Toys

This is just half of what they have!

All along, my firstborn son has been crazy about vehicles. In fact, he never fails to borrow books on vehicles every library trip. What I didn't expect is that Joram would turn out to be as obsessed about them as his older brother!

Having two sisters in the house, Joram has his pick of girly toys to play with if he so desires. However, ever since he started showing interest in toys, he zeroed in on the cars, trucks, trains and planes; basically anything which has wheels on it. Before long, the two brothers were fighting over who got to play with them! 

Eventually, I invested some money into buying durable and baby-friendly vehicle toys for the both of them. Thus, there's finally more than enough to go around. I also bought a dinosaur with wheels specially for Joram because, being the 4th child, there isn't any toy which belongs solely to him. Everything has been hand-me-down from his siblings. 

What a lovely sight to behold: my two boys playing happily together with their beloved vehicles.

The boys with their toys

Grandma's gift to the older boy

My gift to the younger boy

Mid-autumn Celebration

Since a friend decided to let her daughter drop by our place yesterday evening, I brought forward our Mid-autumn celebration. I put up some simple decor and bought ice-cream moon cakes; rice-dumplings; herbal tea and cooked some butter corn for the kids. I also prepared some sparklers, lanterns and candles for the night walk around the neighbourhood. The highlight of the evening were the moon cakes and sparklers. I'm just glad that the kids had fun!

The centerpiece

The star at the dining table

The kids didn't quite fancy
the rice dumplings despite
asking me to buy them.

The table is all set.

For the night walk

Here we go!

Hiding underneath the playground
in an attempt to make the lanterns
look brighter. LOL

This is so fun!!!

The leisurely walk home

Friday, August 29, 2014

Home-grown Spinach

A month ago, Jaide brought home the baby spinach which the school gave her to grow so as to teach her about plants. I saw how excited she was about watering her plant, so I didn't have the heart to harvest them pre-maturely. Instead, I dug out the cute watering can from the store room and allowed her to water them daily. Then, I took over the watering when her interest started to wane after a few days. 

Recently, it seemed like the spinach were never going to grow any taller. In fact, they started to look like they'd wither if I didn't harvest them quickly. Today, I took the opportunity of cooking Teochew porridge to include sauteed spinach as one of the dishes to go with the porridge. 

A pity that Jaide herself didn't quite fancy the taste. It was her older sister who ate up most of it. I sure hope that Jaide can at least appreciate the effort I put in to let her have the full experience of growing her own food.

One tiny stalk of spinach (So cute!)

Stir-fry baby spinach in olive oil and salt