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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Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas @ ECP


The last time we went ECP was when we had two kids. Now with four, we once again brave the long journey to the happening place. Only this time, we decided that it's more worthwhile for us to rent the big vehicle for safety and practical reasons. The kids really enjoyed the ride with us parents doing all the leg work! *pant pant* 

Enjoying a nap on big bro's shoulders. Aww...

Showed the kids the fungus growing on the logs

The sad part is, the very person who has been harping about going to the beach was too unwell to enjoy the sand! Jayna kept whining about being dizzy despite having drunk lots of fluids. The beach play was cut short and we headed home asap. I had to carry her most of the time and listen to her go on and on about her headache or dizziness. It might have been simply the heat cos the moment we got home and bathed her, she miraculously recovered. Then, she started complaining about not having the chance to build sandcastles... Sigh. What a way to end our Christmas day!

Lying down to rest

Happy with his teether

Taking her afternoon nap

Father and son having all the fun

Monday, December 16, 2013

Last post about Joash

When I first started this blog, I knew that I was taking a risk in exposing too much about my family, especially my children, to the whole wide world. Yet, it is a wonderful way for friends and family who have little opportunity to catch up face-to-face to know what's going on in our lives. And when we do get to meet up, we actually don't need to catch up from scratch, helping our precious time together to get into deeper stuff because of the existence of my blog. 

This blog has also been my main way of keeping my brains alive, sorting out my thoughts and preventing me from forgetting many important things. There were many moments when I read back on my previous posts and gained a new perspective on things. It helped remind me of lessons learnt and made me count my blessings and see how God has led me over the years of my homemaking journey. There were even times when other people, strangers and friends alike, found what I shared online helpful to them.

The children love looking at the blog posts whenever I show them to my mum each time we visit her. She is not used to accessing the internet by herself so I have to do it for her. It also helps my kids to talk about their experiences with my mum while we go through the posts, enhancing their relationships.

However, I'm not so sure if the children will appreciate having their private life made public this way beyond their preschool years. With that in mind, I've decided to stop blogging about my children once they reach P1. I figured that they might not want their friends in school to read about what their mother thinks of them currently. They will also not need me to remember things about themselves by age 7 anymore for they can do so on their own. There is also the danger of people with ill intentions to make use of what I share here for their own evil purposes.

With Joash entering Primary school, he has not only graduated from preschool, but from this blog too. I will no longer mention about him unless in passing. The moment Joram also reaches this same stage, will also be the time I will upload my last post on this blog. By then, I will most likely keep a journal offline instead.

It has been such a joy parenting my firstborn. I pray that he will continue to use the gifts God has granted him to benefit others and eventually be a blessing to the nations.

The Tree and I

Eh??? What's that, Mummy?

Do you think I can reach it?

Arrrgghhh.... *straining*

Ok, I get it. I'm not supposed to touch it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hot Air Balloon Lanterns


When I saw these lanterns from my friend's Facebook page Most Wonderfully Made, I immediately thought that they would go well with my children's room. Without further ado, I purchased them and hung them up. The kids were delighted with them too! With the rainbow design, the lanterns remind us of God's loving covenant with us. Aren't they simply lovely?

The blue side of the room

The pink side of the room

The lanterns

Close-up

Close-up

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Diaperless


Jayna has achieved nighttime dryness! *applause* 

Joash could do it at 4 years old without much fanfare. I simply noticed that he had not been wetting his bedtime diaper for quite some time and asked him if he wanted to wear his underpants to sleep instead. Apart from an accident or two, his transition was almost seamless. 

Jayna, however, needed more motivation. I used the sticker system: 10 consecutive dry diapers in order to proceed to wearing panties. Any leak meant that she had to start all over. It took a few months, but when she finally reached the 10th stickers, to stay dry for another 10 consecutive nights to earn the new set of stickers was a piece of cake for her. (Note the 20 stickers on the sticker board to chart her progress.)

At 4 years 4 months old, Jayna can now say goodbye to diapers for good. 

Joram is sitting up!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Joash's Graduation Concert

Dressed up with make-up
On our way to the venue
Stage costumes
Jayna dancing

Joash dancing

Joash acting as David the shepherd boy

Graduation Ceremony

My heart was swelling with so much emotion that I thought that it could burst. My firstborn son was performing on stage for the first time and graduating from preschool!

I'm so proud of him for doing so well up there. There was absolutely no trace of stage fright. He did his best to smile most of the time and his actions were very timely and confident. He hardly made any mistakes. What a natural! Let's not forget Jayna whose dance steps were gentle and graceful. I'm honestly surprised as I've not really seen them practice their stuff at home. Perhaps a snippet or two which I didn't know to be part of the concert at all. I would have shed tears of joy at the concert if I were not responsible for videography.

Here's a 10 min condensed version of the concert. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Flowers of comfort

Baby's Breaths & Sweet Williams

Recently, my stress level has increased significantly.

Joash is entering primary school while Jayna is going to a new kindergarten, with Jaide joining her at nursery level. Preparing for a new school year is already pretty daunting. Adding on the worry over my father-in-law's ailing health and the struggle to strike a balance between making sure he is taken care of and respecting his wishes, my emotional reserves are being drained beyond empty. I lose sleep mulling over logistical and financial concerns that come with moving in with the in-laws should the need arise.

All these have to coincide with Joshua's peak work period so I have to hold the fort without his help. It also happens to be the time of toilet training for Jaide and Jayna's progress toward being diaper-less at night. It doesn’t help at all that our strong-willed 2 year old is still not speaking properly enough to communicate her needs and wants, resulting in numerous exhausting tantrums to deal with daily. The wrestling with her regarding water drinking is especially tiring. She barely finishes a bottle in three days! I’m far busier now because Joram is getting dangerously mobile and I wonder how long more before his reflux will be outgrown or cured. Not to mention that I am responsible for many things with regards to a Christmas outreach next month.

Even though I really love flowers and I used to buy them for myself whenever I felt distressed before marriage, I have been consciously refraining from indulging in them due to our tight budgeting constrains. I only allowed myself the occasional admiring glances whenever I pass by the flower shop on my way to buy the groceries.

This morning, I felt that it was time to bring out the big guns. Yet, I could not rid myself of the guilt over the frivolous expense, I agonized over what to get, much to the amusement of the shop attendant. In the end, I settled on small flowers without all the trimmings at $7.80. They will last a few days at best so it’s not worth splurging so much.

I am so glad to have made the purchase. I took my vase of flowers everywhere I went in the house, from the bedroom table while I played with the kids to the kitchen where I did the laundry. It reminded me of the God’s beautiful creation and that He would take care of me the way He takes such great care to design insignificant flowers which will be here today and gone tomorrow. I can indeed trust in my loving and almighty God.

Or course, ideally, it would have been wonderful to have a garden or even simply a pot of flowers, which can last much longer. However, those take plenty of work and money. I’m hard-pressed finding the time to rest and take care of myself, let alone sparing any effort for gardening. For now, I take immense pleasure in the simple arrangement of white and purple on my table.

For most part of my life, I’ve lived from hand to mouth. I had very few toys as a child and could only afford 4 sets of new clothes each year. I put myself through tertiary education and did not take money from my family since Junior college. I’ve worked almost every conceivable part-time job there existed for an undergrad and whatever money I saved during the years as a teacher went into repaying my tuition fee loan. I survived on support-raising as a Christian worker. Then, I got married on a shoe-string budget, because my fiancĂ© did not have any savings of his own, and bought a 3-roomed flat which required minimal renovations using CPF. After marriage, whatever we saved went into helping my husband repay his leftover tuition fee loan and our wedding debt. Now, I manage a household of 6 on a single income and we’re hardly getting by.

It would really be nice to have savings for a change sometime in the future and stop living the hand to mouth existence. It would be nice not to constantly worry about whether we have enough money for necessities. However, I have been greatly blessed by the Maker of these gorgeous flowers I so adore. No matter how hard life is, I have never starved and been homeless before. I have learnt to be grateful for what I have: the insurmountable riches in Christ Jesus.

Bought the flowers
while getting grocery

While playing with the kids

While feeding the children

While doing laundry

Matt. 6:28-34

  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sisters




I got down to doing up the girls' hair the same way this Sunday. However, Jaide's hairdo did not last beyond reaching church... LOL 

It is such a blessing to have the two girls so close in age. My heart is warmed whenever I see Jayna taking good care of her little sister. Because Jaide emulates Jayna in many ways, both the good and the bad, I have to remind my older girl that she has the added responsibility of setting a good example for Jaide to follow. It's really uncanny to hear them scream the same way. It's also ironic the way they argue over who gets to sleep on the mattress on the floor rather than the pretty pink bed which they both adored when it first arrived!

It's wonderful fun to watch them have company to play the girlie stuff which Joash cannot appreciate. But it's also hard to settle the disagreements that very often escalate into fierce cat fights. I guess it's all part and parcel of being sisters, something I've always wished I had the chance to experience. I've also wanted an elder brother to dote on me and I'm glad the girls have that too in their loving big bro Joash. Very often, he actually helps me to break up their quarrels and I don't even have to step in at all. 

I'm thankful that Jayna and Jaide will have someone at home to confide in about their crushes and share or exchange clothes with as they grow up. I can imagine them chatting with each other till late at night. They may exercise, hang out, go shopping or travel together. They can consult each other regarding their ambitions and career paths. Perhaps they'll have someone to accompany them in their dating experience or even motherhood journey. They won't be lonely even if they choose to remain single. That is, of course, not forgetting the possibility of door-slamming or cold war episodes that only girls do best. *sweat*

I pray that they will truly cherish their sisterhood and learn how to nurture that uniquely precious relationship that can potentially last a lifetime. 

Primary One Orientation


It was such a surreal feeling, entering a school structure very much like my own primary school which no longer exists. It brought me back to my childhood days to step into the assembly hall holding hands, only this time, I'm the adult instead of the child. 

Many would call me foolish, for I knew next to nothing about the school which I had enrolled my eldest in. It was a no-brainer for me since we live within 1km and it was my husband's alma mater. Yet, in God's sovereignty, the school's philosophy matches my own: Character is of upmost importance and that we should seek to nurture the whole child. I heard the very words I told an MOE interviewer just a few days ago regarding my views on education echo in the principal's speech. I found myself nodding in agreement at many points of the talk. Now, all that's left is the practical outworking of that philosophy and the teachability of my son.

I was extremely surprised that Joash seemed to love the school surroundings very much. He looked as if he was at a theme park. He dragged me all over the place exploring, from the computer kiosks to the display microscope and stopping for the longest time admiring the tiny snails in the aquarium outside the general office. He couldn't bear to go back home despite my numerous attempts to call it a day. He asked a thousand and one questions about everything he saw. We were literally the LAST to leave!

I'm not sure if his curiosity and passion to learn will continue to be nurtured in this school but I think Joash is off to a great start if he is so excited about the whole experience. I will watch over his progress and if I observe anything that is of concern, at least I still have the very viable option of homeschooling him. 

Thus, with my eldest beginning primary one, a new era of parenting has begun for me. May the Lord continue to tutor me to be a good steward and shepherd for my children.

At the garden

Turning the cogs

Moving giant chess pieces

Joash: "Hello!"

Peek-a-boo!

Favourite seat

Recognising many places

English corner

He managed to find the switch!!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Kung Fu Fighter 2


Looks like Joash is not the only "martial artist" in the family! LOL Catch Joram practice his Bruce Lee moves. Be sure to listen for his vocalisations and check out his hands and legs...


Monday, November 18, 2013

Brothers



Can you tell who's who?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Jaide Dance

Jaide loves to dance but it is next to impossible to take a video of her doing it. I finally managed to get a few clips but her dancing was not as animated and enthusiastic as when she is not filmed. But it'll have to do. Just wanna remember this aspect of her even after she has grown up and my memory fails me...


The Train


Joram enjoys watching Joash's train chug around on the tracks. In fact, he will lean forward for a closer look! He is simply adorable!

Jaide is 2 Years Old!


The last time we went to the Singapore Science Centre, Jaide was not even conceived yet. So taking the opportunity of the free entrance, I decided to take the kids there to celebrate Jaide's birthday. Too bad Joshua had to work so he could not join us. 

Wearing waterproof shoes for the water-play!

While waiting for the cab to arrive...

At the Science Centre

Intrigued by the "moving" Photo

Pressing buttons to her heart's content

Usually, Jaide will lose out to her older siblings when it comes to playing due to her small stature and age. However, I reminded Joash and Jayna that we were celebrating Jaide's birthday and thus they should help her enjoy herself as much as possible. I'm happy that they did respond to my urging and allowed their little sister to have her turn first at most of the stations. 



Amazed by the robot

I'm so thankful to have a friend's help during the lunch time. It was so crowded!!! She was also there with her three kids and could celebrate with us part of the way. At least we were able to take turns watching the kids at the table while the other queue and order the food. It would have been so much harder to handle the meal all by myself.

Ice-cream waffle as "cake"

Blessed 2nd Birthday!

The older kids singing the birthday song for her.

The most challenging part of the day was bringing them to the Water Works. I had to handle the changing of their clothes while having Joram in the baby carrier. Definitely back-breaking work! And to my disappointment, Jaide was afraid to play with all the boisterous kids around. Well, at least she seemed fine watching her brother and sister have their fun.

Refusing to let go of my hand

Having a whale of a time!

A short clip of the scenario

I wanted a simple dinner before we headed home but Joash requested to go Sakae Sushi. Since it was a birthday celebration after all, I obliged. Thankfully, Jaide, as the birthday girl, ate the most expensive stuff (Fried salmon skin and teriyaki cod fish) and totally enjoyed herself munching away. Thus, it was worth the expense in the end. Of course, I had to explain to Joash why we don't go to restaurants as often as he liked and teach him regarding spending money wisely.


Spoils from the excursion

Jaide came home with an ink stamp on her hand which she kept talking to me about for the next few days it remained visible. She totally loved her gravity stick too and since there wasn't any yellow ones, she chose her second favourite colour purple.

Joash was so eager to assemble the Lego police car that he requested my help to do it before bedtime. However, I was already dead tired by then that my hands were trembling from sheer exhaustion and could not handle the small pieces well. I had to almost beg him to let us call it a day and assemble the car the another time. Sigh...

I pray that God will grant me the opportunity to see Jaide come to know Jesus personally soon and give me the patience to mould her stubborn independence into dependence upon the Lord. I shall keep sowing the seeds of the gospel in the meantime and wait upon the Holy Spirit to prepare her heart...