Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Countdown to Jaide's 4th Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Fourth Birthday tickers

Countdown to Joram's 3rd Birthday

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Third Birthday tickers

Monday, October 5, 2015

Self-feeding... Finally!

Grouchy, very grouchy...

My older three kids learnt how to drink from a straw cup and self-feed at around one and a half years old. However, Joram refused to do so despite having the motor skills at two and a half years of age. Since he is the baby of the family, I could afford to let him take his time. For months, I've been coaxing him gently to try his hand at drinking from a straw cup or eat from the bowl by himself without any success. Yet, I was still willing to feed him food and water spoon by spoon every meal.

Some time ago, we managed to "force" him to wear his own shoes by having the entire family wait for him at the door, refusing to help him. It was a long wait and there was a lot of crying from our boy but when he realised that he did not have a choice, he did it by himself eventually. That was when I figured that his high 'S' personality causes him to prefer to stay within his comfort zone till he is backed into a corner. 

As I prayed over the the past 2 months, I decided that I might have to also take the hard approach with regards to self-feeding. This is especially so since he will turn 3 next year and enter nursery. I don't think the teachers will have the patience to spoon-feed him food and water during lunchtime! My CG sisters rallied behind me in prayer too as I entered into a battle of wills today with my youngest son. 

At breakfast, I placed a Mag Mag straw cup, a sippy cup, a narrow-mouth water bottle and a regular cup on the table for him to choose which to drink from. He screamed and cried for 2 hours, and kept asking me to feed him the water using the spoon as I'd always done so. I simply reiterated that he is already a big boy now and is definitely able to drink water by himself. 

I was feeling very disheartened when the Holy Spirit prompted me to remember his introvert and shy nature. I thought that he might be upset with all the attention he was getting. Thus, I dismissed his sisters to their room to play and went into my bedroom, leaving Joram alone in the dining room with the 4 choices. 15 min later, I went out to find him drinking from the Mag Mag cup, the one which is the most familiar to him! (The older three used this very cup when they first learnt to drink on their own.) Hallelujah! 

Happy boy now!

At lunch, Joram resisted self-feeding again. I tried persuading him by praising him for his earlier achievements but he was still upset. Yet again, the Holy Spirit inspired me to take out photos of the older three children when they first started self feeding. I told him I would like to take some photos of him eating by himself too. Amazingly, he actually obliged after that, all the while asking me to take more pictures of him while he ate! The rest is history. He could even use a fork to eat apples during tea break. Thank God for answering our prayers! 

Catch him in action!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Journey of Moving House

Reno progress as of last weekend

Two years ago, due to the ailing health of my in-laws, we contemplated moving in with them to provide care and support since theirs is a 5-room flat, definitely bigger than our small 3-room flat. However, my father-in-law was reluctant to renovate their place and we didn't feel safe living at 16th floor with 4 little ones without window grilles! So, that idea was rejected. 

Next, we considered BTO (Built-to-order). After one failed attempt, we got a slot this year. But because we were one of the last in the queue, the good flats were all taken up. Plus, the location was very far from ideal. 

As the day to choose our flat approached, we felt no peace about the decision. So when Joshua suddenly came up with the idea of buying a bigger resale flat instead, I went to ask a property agent friend whether there was any available flats for sale at the block in our neighbourhood which Joshua and I thought to be at the best location. We were amazed that there was one! All these years, we had been thinking that it would have been nice if someone were selling their place at THAT particular block when we were looking for our marital home 8 years ago. 

Emboldened by the miraculous coincidence, we asked our in-laws' opinions and to our surprise, they were agreeable! All the requirements that my father-in-law had at that time were met despite the odds. God must have been the one orchestrating the whole thing. From the time we made the decision of buying a resale flat to the moment when we confirmed with the seller the price and got a buyer for our own flat was a mere 11 days!!! 

At one point, I had almost given up hope when the seller wanted to raise the price. The incredible thing was that the buyer of our flat actually increased the price he was willing to pay by the same amount too... We were simply bowled over by the dramatic turn of events.

It was all the more difficult for this to happen since we needed to do contra: to sell our place and buy the new place at the SAME time. The buyer also had to agree to let us stay an extra month after the paperwork is done so that we can renovate our new place and move before handing the keys over to him. The amazing thing is, he agreed to let us do so rent-free! Praise God!

Ever since then, I was met with many disappointments. Some of the items I had wanted to get for the new place were out of stock. But it was amazing how God turned it into a good thing because in the end, I found cheaper and better options for each and every one of them. Getting a loan was also an adventure in itself. It was a truly faith-stretching experience. 

There were many other challenges that I had to face.

As an introvert, it has been very draining for me to suddenly meet and interact with so many strangers: agents, sellers and buyers of flats, vendors, retailers, contractors etc. God had to be my emotional strength to restore me after each and every encounter. The worse was to liaise with people when selling or giving away furniture and other items we don't need anymore. So many questions to answer repeatedly. So many people who backed out over time and I had to find new owners for the affected pieces. *shake head*

There were also many occasions when I made decisions which were vetoed by God as he gently steered me in the right direction through the advice of good friends and arising circumstances. It was a lesson in submission and obedience to God's wisdom as opposed to listening to my own personal preferences.

With an already full and hectic schedule of caring for 4 children, doing household chores and cooking, I was hard pressed to find time to also research for good furnishings, get multiple quotations to find the cheapest options, put my in-laws' opinions into careful consideration, declutter our place little bit by little bit, liaise with contractors/movers, budget the whole project and coordinate everything with regards to fitting 8 individuals into a single house almost entirely on my own. I can only say that God is my only and true sustainer in all that crazy, heavy workload.

Not just that. I knew that having so much to do, I might be tempted to make this whole house-moving process an idol and neglect my obligations to my family and church ministry. However, God has been faithful to keep me focused. Life for my children had gone on as per normal. I could still devote the same attention to their physical, emotional and academic needs. In fact, I have kept this whole thing a secret from them. They still have yet to know that we are moving house in two weeks' time!!! I made sure to do all the extra work during their school and sleeping hours so as to minimise any interruption to the regular routine. I look forward to announcing to them the news during the last week of our stay in the current home. Then, I can bring them over to the mostly-renovated new place as a beautiful surprise. 

All in all, I can see God's hand in the entire journey and I have learnt that He is indeed the master planner and is truly in control of everything. All I had to do was to trust in His sovereign plan and rest in Him. Now that there are only 16 days to the actual move, I am incredibly excited. I shall soon see how God brings to fruition all that effort and time that I have put in for the past 5 months. I pray that this new home will be a blessing to my in-laws and many others I welcome in hospitality.

Romans 8:28
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bear Bear's B'Day

It was hilarious that the birthday boy did not know what he wanted to do for his birthday despite given two weeks in advance to think about it. In the end, I had to suggest a lunch place to eat his favourite assam fish-head on the day itself. Imagine my glee when Joshua said that was exactly what he was thinking about! That is how well we know each other... *beam*

With the kids looked after by MIL, SIL and her hubby, we could slowly savour our meal in peace. What a luxury! We then headed back home to watch Tomorrowland from iTunes movies on our new 43" TV in air-conditioned comfort since there was nothing which interested Joshua in the theatres. 

Later on, we returned to his parents' place to have dinner and celebrate with a heart-shaped konnyaku cake made with love by his dear sister. Mum also got him a small cake to express her well wishes. May God bless my dearest husband with efficiency and effectiveness at his workplace!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mid-Autumn 2015

As with previous years, we celebrated Mid-Autumn festival with ice-cream mooncake, lantern strolling, sparklers, moon viewing and some playground fun. Due to the recent haze at hazardous levels, I was concerned that we couldn't celebrate this occasion outdoors. My children and I prayed for good air-quality and God deemed it fit to answer our humble prayers. Hallelujah!

There were many passers-by who commented that our led-lighted paper lanterns were both practical and in-keeping with the traditional feel at the same time. One even asked us where we bought them. However, they were given to us last year so I really had no idea where to get this type of lanterns now. 

The TNT sparklers we bought this years were obviously of very poor quality. They extinguished very quickly and produced sooooo much smoke that we thought we were creating our very own haze conditions! 

All-in-all, we had fun. I'm so glad that Joram is old enough this year to thoroughly enjoy in full the activities with the rest of us.

The kids prefer these from Haagen Dazs
than the Swenson's ones from last year.

Night-strolling with the lit lanterns

The harvest moon above our block

Sunday, September 13, 2015

MBS Outing

Polling day was a wonderful occasion for Joshua to join us for a promised visit to the Superheros Cafe at MBS. We had plenty of time to admire the decor of the place since we arrived half an hour before operations began. We sat at the Supergirl booth and we were all impressed by the design of the plates and other tableware. The food were pretty nice except for the aglio olio linguine which tasted so blah that we left it almost untouched in the end despite our aversion to food wastage. 

Adorable figurines!

Batman and Cat Woman

Totally dig the plates!

We had time to pose
with Superman!

Our food


Superman Rainbow Cake

Since we were at MBS, we also let the our athletic boy try skating all by himself. He did pretty well even though this was only his second attempt at skating. (The first one was accompanied by a CG aunty at JCube.) 

Afterwards, the three older ones had a sampan boat ride along the Mall canal. They were absolutely thrilled. They even had the chance to try their hand at steering under the boat uncle's supervision! This is definitely a trip that the kids will remember for a long time...

All set and ready to go!

Very quickly, he could skate
without holding onto the side.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Art Science Museum

I was ecstatic when I realised that every Friday, the Art Science Museum has a promotion of letting up to 4 children tag along for free with every paying adult. What's more, today just happens to be a school holiday which falls on a Friday! I have been very interested in going there since my friend's enthusiastic recommendations. Thus, despite the fact that I was under the weather, I valiantly brought the kids there.

Surprisingly, the kids were pretty interested in the Singapore Story portion and spent quite a long time there listening to the video explanations, especially the ones about the SG50 short clips and the army training. They also sat through the short movie about inventors inside the dark theatre. We had the whole place to ourselves! Yay!

It was followed by The Deep exhibition. That didn't quite go very well. Due to the darkness, simulating the true condition at the bottom of the sea, the younger ones were pretty fussy. Joram was rather frightened and kept wanting to be carried. My eldest got himself lost for 15 min too. 

Then, it was time for a lunch break at the food court. We passed by this Superheros Cafe. How suitable our family outfit was for the pose! LOL I promised the kids that we will go back there one day to dine in when Daddy is available to come with us.

The Dreamworks exhibition was really fantastic. I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of the old and new Peabody animations. The kids got to try their hands at drawing and editing animations at the various stations. Our favourite was the Dragon Flight. Although a short 3 minutes, the animation was rather exhilarating.

There were many craft stations around, to the delight of the children. However, the lighting inside the exhibition hall was very dim and I didn't want to handle helping the kids do craftwork in the chaos so I brought the materials back to do at home with them when we have the time. 

The new...

... and the old.

Finally, we had a sumptuous tea break at a luxurious cafe called High Society to end off the outing. I thought to indulge the kids on such a rare occasion, so I gave them free rein to choose whatever they wanted to eat. They actually consumed a total of $68 worth of macaroons, cupcakes and ice-cream!!! *horror* Well, I did say that they could eat whatever they wanted...

Our loot from the exhibition

Sunday, August 2, 2015

My Birthday Feast

Joshua received an $80 voucher to Marriott Cafe so we took the opportunity of my birthday to go there for a buffet feast. The food was delicious and the ambience was great. I positively stuffed my face and tried almost everything they had!

All Ready!!!

The meats: lamb, veal, beef,
pork, chicken, tripe and ham.

Laksa with fragrant thick gravy

Lobster and crayfish

Sashimi, top shell and oyster

Smoked salmon salad

Succulent prawns

Chicken rice with ginseng soup

Chicken curry with thick gravy

It's desserts time!
Bread pudding


Assorted pastries

Guess what this is:
Vanilla ice-cream in breakfast tea!!!
Thought to experiment...
and it really tasted great!

Going back in style
in a limo cab... Shiok!

My birthday presents:
1) Drawing from Jayna
2) Hand-drawn $ from Joash
3) Red packets from MIL
4) Tea from my BFF