Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

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Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

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Countdown to Jaide's Birthday

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Countdown to Joram's 4th Birthday

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Outings Galore!

This June holidays, I went utterly crazy with scheduling outings for the kids. Given my reduced energy levels, deteriorating health condition and my increased workload in terms of household chores, I gave up cooking entirely for almost 4 weeks. I concentrated my efforts in bringing the kids out, which I'm very sure they appreciate far more than mere home-cooked food. (Sad but nonetheless true) 

With the help of my husband who took quite a few days of leave, we actually clocked about 3 outings per week! That meant that we stayed home only for 2 weekdays each week. That is the most often the kids went out during the holidays. There were, of course, less significant visits to the various malls with their playgrounds and libraries. Here are some of the more notable outings:

The kids specially requested for this. With Joram much more agile and daring now than the previous time we went, he could thoroughly enjoy himself and thus I had a more rigorous workout than before. 

Vacation Bible School
Previously, only Joash qualified for the camp. This time, the three older ones could participate. Transport was thankfully provided. I went with them for the first day dragging Joram along because it was an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. While the camp was going on, I went City Square Mall to hang out with the little brother and took the transport home together after they are done for the day. 

I thought that it would be a good opportunity for the older two to learn how to give back to the community by distributing food to the home-bound elderly. Thus, Joshua went with them while I stayed home to take care of the younger ones.

I promised my elder girl that she'd have the chance to go ice-skating when she reaches P1, so I fulfilled my promise and brought the older two to The Rink. It was Joshua's turn to take care of the younger two instead for this trip. 

Movie Outing
For the first time, the younger ones are old enough to appreciate the silver screen and we went to watch Finding Dory together as a family. 

Kids Stop
Another special request from the kids. Things are really so different as the children grow older and become more independent. Joshua and I could have some nice couple time while the kids all went exploring the place by themselves. No more infant in arms/carrier or watching over the toddling and fearful ones. Yay!!!

ArtScience Museum
The kids really loved the Future World. They almost didn't want to leave despite starting to feel hungry as it was way past their normal lunch time. It was mostly dark however so I had very few pictures of them inside. 

Brought home jewel crafts as souvenirs

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bento Lesson

Dinner is served!

My elder girl asked me to teach her how to make bentos. Thus, even though we did not intend to have a picnic outside due to the weather conditions, we made a bento-ish dinner. It took me twice as long teaching her to do it as opposed to doing it on my own, especially since it is a far more delicate process than normal cooking. The panda bear ended up not looking as nice as I wanted because we had to rush towards the end. As it was, dinner started half an hour late. Despite the difficulty level, I'm glad to teach my little apprentice something she enjoys doing and eating. *grin*

Peeling the carrot

Punching out the stars & flowers

Cutting up the sausage

Poking the raw spaghetti
through the sausage

Making the Hello Kitty ham

Boiled and cooked

Her favourite part of the bento

Big brother's "sleeping" panda bear

Apple ladybugs for the rest

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Belated Mothers' Day

Since the Mothers' Day weekend was reserved for the grandmas on both sides of the family, my own celebration was postponed to the following Saturday. I did briefly have some fun on the actual day itself doing paddle boats with the older three kids though. Joram was too afraid to try, so he stayed on the shore. Poor boy... If only the weather were not so blazing hot. 

Receiving cards from my children becomes increasingly meaningful as they grow older and are able to write more interesting and thoughtful things. I look forward to better expressions of their love in the future. *wink*

Black Pepper Crab

Chili Crab

Blueberry Bingsu

Red Bean Bingsu

Joshua took me out on a date in the effort to make up for my sacrifice but I simply can't take a break from being a homemaker. My idea of fun these days is actually leisurely purchasing household things and stuff for my kids at Daiso! (As opposed to going through my shopping list at supersonic speed while being torn in 5 different directions.) At least, I got to eat my favourite food (crabs) and try something new (bingsu). The best part was that the Long Beach Restaurant offer the option of de-shelling the crabs for their customers. This was the first time I ate crabs without soiling my own fingers! Yippee!

Another item on our agenda was going for a couple's massage but the slots were fully booked for today. I look forward to the appointment we made for two weeks later. *beam*

I can't believe that a few years ago, I would have taken the opportunity of such special occasions to try the reverse bungee G-Max or the Wild Wild Wet. However, the thought of such things now simply makes me tired. Alas, parenting has truly aged me beyond belief. :P

My prayers as a mother are that by this time next year:
1) Kid no. 1 will learn the value of diligence
2) Kid no. 2 will be totally healed of her eczema
3) Jaide will mature exponentially
4) Joram will be toilet trained and drop his afternoon nap
5) Most importantly, for the older three to have deep personal encounters with God and for Joram to finally accept Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Joram Turns Three

When I asked my littlest one whether he preferred to go somewhere special or to buy a toy for his birthday, he wanted a toy without hesitation. And thus, we set off to Kiddy Palace to get his present and replace his broken shoes by the way. But first, we needed to settle our lunch where Joram had his favourite smiley-face potato from Yoshinoya.

Smiley boy with smiley potato

Joram was really picky when it came to buying his shoes. He wanted green ones but they did not carry his small size for those. Then, he wanted one with blinking lights, but he found them too uncomfortable. After that, he was interested the squeaky shoes but the largest available were too tight for him. Finally, he decided upon the minions crocs. It was far easier getting his present, thankfully. It took him all but 5 minutes to zoom in on the Leapfrog educational laptop. He had all along been eyeing on his older brother's blue one which has spoilt recently. Great timing!

Eh? R is for rabbit?

New Minions shoes!

We went Baskin Robbins for his birthday cake and he chose the one with the soccer ball theme, very likely because it had his favourite colour green and, of course, the soccer ball. However, he realised he didn't like the taste of the green "grass" (icing) in the end! Haha... Like his older brother, he loves the vanilla flavour. And what birthday celebration in our family is complete without a helium balloon? :P 

The candles are lit!

Hello, balloon.

We chanced upon these cute old-school TV keychains which light up with static sound effects when you press the channel buttons. Might as well buy one for each kiddo. Hee... Couldn't find a green one for Joram though, so he had to make do with the black one. Poor boy. But he quickly forgot about his disappointment as he kept pressing the buttons all the way home. LOL Blessed birthday, Joram! May God continue to help you be the most obedient and mild-mannered child in the family.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Crucible

Battle scars

I have a very high tolerance for pain. It is no stranger to me to continue functioning while enduring severe pain. However, I can never stand itch. I'm the kind who would purposely scratch a mosquito bite till it bleeds so that it becomes painful rather than itchy.

So, it was a special kind of hell for me when I started having puritus (extreme itch) all over my body 6 weeks ago. It began with my calves, then my thighs, followed by my arms. It spread to my face so that even my eyelids, ears and scalp were unbearably tingling with the overwhelming urge to be scratched. I tried not to give in to the instinct, just like I advised my daughter with eczema all these years. However, I kept waking up subconsciously clawing all over my body the moment I fell asleep. Needless to say, I tore through my skin and stained my bedsheets with my blood.

I hardly slept at night and my days were pure torture because my homemaking work is mostly very physical and sweaty. Each drop of perspiration stung my irritated skin like a needle piercing me. The sunlight was like fire to me and the unprecedented heat wave of March increased the itch manifold. Even the wind felt like sandpaper. Cooking is no longer enjoyable because the oil fumes and the heat totally exacerbate my condition.

My children, being young and immature, could not extend much sympathy towards me regarding my condition, especially when I still forced myself to be functional and continued caring for them as well as I could. But the number of breakdowns in front of them I had over the past month rivalled the number I had in a normal year. It was so painful for me to see the fear in their eyes when they witnessed the wretchedness of their suffering mother. 

As much as my wonderful and self-sacrificing husband bent over backwards to help me through it, this valley of darkness was mine alone. Only God was with me in the middle of the night when I cried out to Him in agony and sheer exhaustion. Multiple trips to the doctor and all sorts of medication did not work. Friends rallied in prayer and I simply collapsed helpless before the Lord in a mess of tears, snot and shredded skin day in, day out. I hardly stepped out of the house apart from buying groceries. I wailed to Him all alone. God was the only One who stood between me and dangerous suicidal thoughts.

As I study the book of Revelations this year with BSF, I am comforted by the promise of the victor's crown at the end. The precious intimacy of the new name on the white stone known only to me, given by my Saviour. Though I am of little strength, God would not burden me with more and exhorts me only to hold on to what I already have. That I could do. I clung on to my Lord who has already forgiven me all the hurt I caused in my loved ones while I lashed out in frustration in my suffering. God did not promise to remove us from trials and tribulation but He promised His presence. It was His love and mercy at work even during the times when I turned my anger and yelling towards Him. He simply lifted me up from my miry clay.

Through a divine appointment, I went to see a doctor who is a fellow believer and he gave me a different type of medication.. I took his advice and changed the laundry detergent. After doing countless loads of laundry with a new organic washing powder, my condition improved by 80%. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! For the first time in a long while, I could sleep through the night. The dark clouds of sleep deprivation slowly parted. The fog of depression has lifted. There is finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Even though I am not yet fully recovered, I am grateful to Jesus for being with me through it all. I had never felt more alone and misunderstood before. Even when I was incapacitated in my pregnancies, people still somewhat understood my misery. But this? Those experienced with eczema kept telling me that my condition is not really serious because the itch did not come with visible rashes. No one could tell the extent of my suffering because I didn't look as bad as I feel. My family doctor actually said there was nothing he could do for me. Even my own mother asked me not to visit her because she thought I had the measles! 

As I trust God to eventually heal me completely, I will rest in Him. Even if I do not recover 100%, I will still praise my Lord! Amen.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Girls' Dresses

As the girls grow taller, they wear longer dresses. Their wardrobe used to be divided between the top and the bottom halves but the dresses are going way beyond the boundaries. In fact, I had to start folding the longest ones over their hangers. There were also many articles of clothing that were outgrown by Jaide or garments which neither of them desire to wear for whatever reason. 

I figured I have had enough and it was time for a revamp. I decluttered the unwanted pieces, took out the middle bar and divided the wardrobe between left and right halves. I hung the dresses but folded the skirts, pants and other accessories to be placed at the bottom instead. Now, that's better!

As I peruse many handiwork, I am struck by the epiphany of that one marvellously satisfying thought: How have my girls grown!



Friday, March 18, 2016

March Holiday Outing

Jaide: "The world is my oyster!!!"

This holiday, we decided to try something different. Joshua and I divided and conquered!!! Bwahahaha... :P

Since there's a 2.5 years of age difference between the older two and the younger two, some places that are good for no. 3 and no. 4 would be too boring for the no. 1 and no. 2 while the little ones will find it hard to fully appreciate places where the big brother and sister are interested in.

Joshua brought the big boy and girl to Jurong Bird Park while I took Jaide and Joram to Kiddy Fun, an indoor playground safe and suitable for little kiddos.

Drawn to their fav
colour as usual

Having fun together

A wefie before we left

It was sooo tough to take a combined shot because the two of them were bouncing from one installation to the next. They were hardly at one place for more than a few seconds! LOL After we left, we went to Giant to get some toys as mementos of the trip since the older kids will be buying their souvenirs from the park's gift shop. Just to be fair, you know? Then, we had ice-cream for tea break at the Treehouse Cafe to their great delight. When they adjourned to the play area at the cafe to play with toys, that was when I finally had the time to eat the first meal of the day! *famished*

Yay! Rollercoaster ride!

Easy to tell which is whose. Haha...

Meanwhile at the park, the big kiddos were having a field day exploring the different portions of the place. Joshua became a tour guide facing their inquisitive minds and a barrage of questions. They went to the penguin and owl enclosures, the dome about all sorts of bird eggs and the eldest even had the chance to feed a bird some water. *nice* They brought back little bird plushies for keepsake. So glad they enjoyed the trip!