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 Birthday

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Zoo Again

"Why have we never gone to the zoo before?" Joash asked one fine afternoon.

We did go to the zoo once but he must have completely forgotten his first experience. He was absolutely apathetic towards the animals and thus we decided not to go back. (You can read about that HERE.) Since he seemed to have a sudden interest, I promised him to bring him there one of these days. 

Thankfully, we have a CG mate who frequent the zoo with her kids so I thought it wise to ask her along for company and benefit from her wealth of experience and expertise. After all, I would be handling the 3 kids alone without my husband's help for the trip. 

All ready to set off to the zoo.

Here we are to re-conquer
the territory!

First off, we watched the
Splash Safari

After a quick lunch, we took the tram
to our first animal stop.

Looking at the rhinos

Watching the cheetah
lazing around

The girls admire the animals
from their strollers

Looking out for the scampering moles

Yay! Che Che finally
relinquished the stroller to me!

Up close and personal
with the white-faced monkey

Great fun chasing after ducks

Joash and Jayna were terribly
afraid of the butterflies. :(

After a toilet break
Where should we go next?"

The waterplay area at KidzWorld
Joash & Jayna were kinda overwhelmed at first

Warming up to it

Full steam ahead for Joash

My friend graciously brought Joash along with her daughter to play while her son ran off alone to sun-bathe in the water. Since Jayna got frightened by the huge bucket at the top which emptied out water onto the playground at regular intervals and Jaide fell asleep in the pram, I had to stay behind to look after them and our stuff.

Watching over my girls

The boys chatting while at play

After our fun pre-maturely ended with my friend accidentally getting drenched by the giant water bucket, we took the boat ride back to the entrance of the zoo. Joash was so excited about the boat trip the previous time but it was such a pity that he fell asleep before we got onto it. This time round, he could finally enjoy the long-awaited water journey with the rest of us.

My friend must have magic fingers since she could take a picture of us with ALL the kids smiling! *applause* No one, apart from me, has ever done that before!

Love this shot!

Self-taken photo of me
and my HOT babe
(We were both drenched in
our combined perspiration!) 

Joash: "Mei mei, look there!"

We ended our zoo expedition with a stop to look at the terrapins. The sun was falling upon the waters at an angle and thus created a beautiful rainbow display of rippling lights and colors. That was an awesome finale for our trip. 

Despite the sweltering heat, we had a great time and I deemed the outing fairly successful, thanks to my friend and her lovely children. We are already planning another trip for the next school holidays! *grin*

Following the turtle

Here's a clip of the rainbow display

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

To the father of my children

This year's Father's Day was a 'working' one for Joshua since my worship duty fell on that day. Thankfully, it was at the Woodlands centre and thus he only had to take care of Jaide for 2 services as the Sunday School allowed Joash and Jayna to stay with them for both services. 

When the speaker asked the fathers to come forward to receive prayers, I noticed from my vantage point on stage that Joshua was the only one with a baby with him. My heart swelled with pride and admiration.

People often marveled at my husband's ability to carry the children using the sling. To me, the fact that he knows how to do it is beside the point. More importantly to me, the frequency in which he was seen doing that serves to demonstrate how involved a father he has always been.

I hear many a wives who lament about the hands-off approach of their husbands and every time I hear that, I grieve with them and at the same time feel tremendously blessed to have Joshua as my spouse. When I was still single, one of the major criteria in looking for a partner was not simply for myself. I was looking for a good father to my children (I wanted many kids so this is all the more important.) I also prayed for one who would be secure enough in God's provision to allow me to be a homemaker and would seek to be a part the children's lives in every way possible. 

I got much more than I asked for. Joshua is not only a good father, he's a wonderful husband. After listening to the sermon, I'm even more convinced that his affection and devotion to me have set a great foundation of security for our precious children.

My dearest Bear Bear,

I cannot thank you enough for supporting me with every effort in my desire to be a homemaker. You have made my job so much easier by trying to come home early for dinner, bathing the children at night and helping out with the chores on weekends. I appreciate the many times when you took leave so that you could help out with the kids when I was ill or simply to give me some time off. 

Your learning curve was extremely steep but your teachability was incredible. Your heart was in the right place. I remember how you knew absolutely nothing about caring for a baby when Joash was born. I'm amazed that you've grown to the point of being able to handle all 3 kids by yourself now in merely 4 years. God has molded you beautifully to become more and more the spiritual and physical leader in our family. You impress me with your willingness to do the night and early morning duty before you go to work so as to give me uninterrupted sleep. It warms my heart whenever you read the bible and explain the stories to the older children.

I thank God that I married you, my best friend and lover on earth. May the Lord continue to bless you as you give sacrificially to your family.

Loving you soooo much,
Your Meow Meow

Jayna made matching ties
to wear with Daddy

A close-up of the tie

Joash's masterpiece for Daddy

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Revive Us, Lord!

"What revival? I feel like I've completely died coming to this camp!"

That was my cry on the second day of our church camp. 

It was a horrendous time of testing 2 weeks leading up to the camp. For the first time, my ENTIRE family was down with a terrible bout of flu. Even the baby was not spared and experienced the first illness in her life and it must have been a frightening ordeal for her. All of us had fever that simply refused to go away and was down with severe blocked/running nose and deep phlegmy cough. 

I knew immediately that it was the work of the evil one who desperately wanted to thwart God's wonderful plan for us at the camp. I was on my knees most of the time, praying against the spiritual warfare that threatened to consume my loved ones. I laid hands upon my children beseeching God to release divine healing upon them. My husband also had to take many days of MC and leave to recover and later to help take care of the kids while I battled my own painful symptoms and raging fever. It was really trying to care for the family while I was very ill myself. 

As the day of departure approached, I also had the daunting task of packing the luggage for everyone. With the little sleep I was getting due to Jaide's blocked nose which caused her inability to sleep unless carried, the job was far more difficult than normal.

However, I refused to back down from the challenge and pressed on purely by the grace of God. I trusted that we would all recover by the time we got to camp. True enough, God granted us a peaceful coach ride all the way to Putrajaya with the kids sleeping most of the way. By the time we reached, most of us have recovered enough to be functional. I was looking forward to a great time listening to the preaching during the sessions.

Alas! I discovered that Jayna was one and a half months short of the minimum age for the children's camp which means we'll have BOTH the girls with us during the sessions! Despite my great disappointment, I tried to make it work.

Sadly, we were so busy taking care of an active, demanding toddler and a cranky sick baby that we could hardly hear any of the sermon. Desperate, I sought the camp committee's understanding and appealed for them to allow Jayna to go for the children's camp. I was hopeful of a better tomorrow. 

It was the straw that broke the camel's back when they told me that they could not make any exceptions. I simply broke down and wailed. I no longer cared that I was creating a scene as I was completely exhausted physically and depleted emotionally. All the stress that accumulated over the last 2 weeks just came crashing down on me. I couldn't stop sobbing.

I thank God for the body of Christ that rallied behind me to restore me to my senses. My wonderful fellow brothers and sisters came to comfort me and offered to take care of the girls. I was ministered to as a lady listened to my ranting about the whole saga that brought me low and encouraged me without condemnation. I was reminded of God's mighty strength and His everlasting arms beneath me. I was spurred on to abandon myself to the loving mercy of God and receive his healing and love. The camp committee released Joshua from serving as parent helper and I was exempted from serving in the worship ministry.

I got an answer to my question. How could there be revival without death? How was God going to refresh me without me dying to my self-sufficiency? I had been relying on my own strength to care for my family. I pushed myself as if it all depended on me. I wanted everything to go according to my plan. I had to die to my need for control. Only then, can God restore my dependency upon Him and carry my burden for me.

I was encouraged to let go of the care of my children and tend to my own physical need for rest first. With fear and trembling, I had to trust that my husband could look after the kids with the help of our CG mates. I surrendered control and managed to take a 4-hours long blissfully uninterrupted nap in the hotel room after finally having the chance to take my own medication. I had been shelving my own needs in order to serve my family for far too long...

I woke up to a brand-new world. My husband even offered to be with the 2 girls while I focused on one of the session of beautiful worship and listening to the Word of God sitting together with the other ladies in my CG. It was a precious time as God renewed His vision for my children to be His missionaries and reinforced the importance of my task in training them in righteousness and preparing them for the mission field. My heart and spirit were uplifted. God's will prevailed.

It had been a roller-coaster ride going for this church camp but it was all worth it. Here are some memorable photos of the camp.

Having some milk while
waiting for the coach

At the destination.
He almost looked
like he was praying.

The hall where we had our sessions

I thought that it was pretty cool that we had designated eating areas so that we could dine with our CG mates every meal. There was a little gap between 2 huge sofa seats and the children, especially the boys, had a whale of a time running through it like some kind of tunnel.

Squeezing through and...

... emerging at the other end!

While the girls preferred to chat at the table.

Our hotel room

Joash and Jayna actually fought over
who got to sleep on the couch. LOL

Jaide slept in the pram at a corner of the room.

She loved to roll around on our King-sized bed.

Holding hands with her "twin"
(They are only half a year apart.)

After being 'revived' on the third day, it was my turn to look after the girls while Joshua listened to the sermon. Two other friends parked their girls with me too for that session. I had fun playing with them. I spent most part of the time pretending to be the big bad wolf huffing and puffing at the little house where all the children (a.k.a. 'piglets') lived. Other kids we don't know actually joined in the fun too. Haha... For a moment, I felt like I was running a nursery!

My four charges

Joash made this at Children's Camp

One of the best things at the hotel was a huge indoor playground FOC for stay-in guests to bring their children. Joash loved it so much that he kept asking to go back. We went there 4 times in total!

Lazing around among the bean bags

Sitting on a cute kiddy couch

So busy sorting out the toys

One interesting thing I noticed was that Joash seemed to like Jayna's "twin" very much and they hit it off pretty well. They were often caught playing catching with each other. One of the evening, Joash actually gave her his name tag to wear. Was that a 定情之物??? :P 

Romeo, Romeo,
Wherefore art thou Romeo?

No paparazzi please!

On the last night, Joshua and I decided to have some couple time after the kids were in bed. We had some supper together and roamed the hotel, taking pictures of the places we frequented during our stay. There was a live performance and after some prompting from a new friend, Joshua made a dedication with the song "Eternal Flame", a song which held precious memories for us back in our days of friendship.

Rare couple shot at the hotel bar

Eventually, it's time to go home!

Bye bye church camp!
We had fun!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ball Romance

What's that?

Ooo... A red ball.

Looks so captivating!

But the small green one seems nice too...

Let me have a go at it.

Perhaps the red one is still better.

Oops! Now where's the ball?
And how did I end up on my back?