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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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Superman Stunt





Friday, August 23, 2013

Shoes Frenzy

Our doorsteps seemed like such an ideal place for children to put on or take off their shoes. When we had one child, the space was just nice. Two became a little crowded. But then, you know, we kinda got used to it after a while. But now with three scrambling for their shoes, inevitably blocking each others' way and preventing us parents from getting out and settling the baby brother into the pram? Sigh... Whenever we go out or come back home, things will eventually converge into a noisy quarrel about who is in who's way, who should go first and who should simply hurry up and get going. I can't imagine how messy it will become when Joram joins in the fray in the future. There HAS to be a better way. 

After much brainstorming, I settled for the above arrangement. A new problem arose though. Jaide dislikes how the mat feels on her bare feet so she insists on sitting back on the doorsteps. Let's hope that she'll outgrow this little peeve by the time Joram learns how to walk...

God is Exalted!

Joram is such a wonderful blessing! Now that his reflux is under control, he is a very happy and easy-going baby. He is reeeeeally patient. Even when he is hungry, he will try to self-soothe by sucking on his arm and he makes unhappy (but adorable) sounds periodically to let us know that he needs to be fed. He only cries when the situation becomes desperate so I try not to take advantage of his pleasant nature by attending to him as soon as I can. He is able to entertain himself very well and loves to play in the baby gym. Despite having reflux problems in the early months, he could actually sleep through the night by the time he was 2.5 months old (the earliest among our kids)! God has indeed answered all my prayers regarding Joram. He truly lives up to his name. All glory be to God!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Reading Sisters

Perhaps it really is true that girls are far more linguistically inclined than boys because Jayna is definitely reading and writing far better than Joash at the same age. Check out her reading to little sister in Chinese...

Self-soothing Tactics

The most common self-soothing method babies use is sucking the thumb. However, our kids are rather unique in the way they soothe themselves to sleep. The first two simply sucked on their mittens, then fist for Joash and fingers for Jayna. 

However, the younger two are pretty interesting. Jaide will use her right hand to stroke her own left elbow. Joram will do this upper-lip sucking motion. Can't really picture that? Watch the video and see for yourself.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cooking in Peace

I love cooking. In my teens, I would go over to my friends' homes to cook because my mother didn't allow me to step into her kitchen except to cook instant noodles or porridge. My favourite lesson in school was home economics and I even took the opportunity to cook a meal for my family on Mothers' Day when I was only 14 years old. Perhaps my cooking was partly why my husband married me cos he was one of the many friends whom I had cooked for! LOL They did say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach... 

I had looked forward to cooking for my family one day and my wish was granted when I got married and have kids. What I didn't expect is having to cook in such a manner that resembles fighting a war. Ever since I had my first kid, I learnt that cooking leisurely is a luxury I cannot afford as a mother. I am interrupted countless times during the process as I have to attend to my child/children's needs. What takes normally a half an hour or 45 min, can potentially drag on to 2 hours! Housework can be put on hold but cooking is another matter altogether as it concerns hygiene and food can get burnt if one is not careful. Hands will have to be washed each time I leave my cooking station and before I resume touching the food. 

I had learnt to chop vegetables with a screaming toddler hugging my knee like a koala bear. I got used to washing my dishes in record time because someone pooped in the diaper, knocked his/her head or screamed the house down because he/she wanted to be nursed. I'd put a baby in a sling piggyback style while stir-frying minced meat and had my pants pulled down by a toddler wanting to play as I was bringing boiling hot soup to the table. When a kid climbed onto the dining table and jumped on it, I could only pray very hard for God's protection because I was in the middle of grilling beef patty.

The older kids' presence is not so bad as they know what not to touch. I only had to answer their hundred and one questions while I cook and I treat it as a form of teaching precious life skills to them. The young ones are not as easy. I have to have tricks up my sleeves to keep them entertained/occupied, keep them out of trouble and keep a constant lookout for their whereabouts in case I knock into or step on them.

I seriously look forward to the day when the children are old enough to help me in the kitchen instead of being a hazard. Or at least, leave me alone in the kitchen to cook in peace. Please. Somebody please tell me that I'm not the only one who has such experiences and feels this way...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Matching Tees

This is our first matching t-shirt which includes one for Joram as well. Yay! Apart from being my personal OCD, (hee hee...) the matching clothes have a very useful and practical function: it helps strangers to recognise at a glance that we are part of the same family. 

You have no idea how many times passers-by have helped us locate our missing child/children in record time under crowded conditions at a shopping mall or while traveling via public transport. A couple of times, kind people had also warned us when one of them was about to do something potentially dangerous without needing to ask us if he/she was our kid. It is especially helpful when I bring the kids out alone. There is only so much a pair of eyes and two hands can do. 

After the children are all grown, Joshua and I can go back to wearing couple tees. After all, which teenager (or tween for that matter) wants to wear the same thing as his/her parents? O_o

Fidgets Reloaded

We eventually got down to taking all 4 kids to the renovated Fidgets. The older two could actually tell me the changes that were made to the place! As you can see from the above picture, getting there early has its advantages. For a long time, we had the whole place to ourselves! We also could choose the best place to station ourselves: somewhere next to the toddlers' play area, with cushioned seats for the younger two to nap on, enough table space to let everyone eat at lunch time plus plenty of room for Joshua to do his marking. 

Joash quickly found friends to play with when the crowd started to come in. The three boys had a blast playing bumper cars, with Jaide being caught in the middle. Don't you think the below picture reminds you of the typical yakuza scenario whereby the victim is surrounded by circling vehicles ridden by gangsters? LOL The boys were actually very considerate of Jaide while they played and made sure not to knock into her. I was suitably impressed. Do check out the video for a glimpse of their fun.

Learning from the previous experience of not being able to bring in the pram, I went prepared with a comforter for Joram to sleep on. So nice and cosy for him. Zzzz.... As for Joshua, he made pretty good progress with his work that day.

Joram was too used to having toys hanging over him to play with at home and so he seemed rather discontent with simply lying on his back when he wasn't sleeping. I thank God for the idea of using the keychains from the kids' bags as a substitute. Joram was then happily batting away at the dangling ornaments.

Jaide took quite a long time to settle down for her nap as the place was so fun that she couldn't bear to sleep. However, I'm utterly grateful for a quiet corner where I could put her to bed successfully in the end. Look at her totally-knocked-out sleeping posture. Hilarious!

Friday, August 9, 2013

National Day Tradition

It has now become an established tradition for our kids to go swimming in the early afternoon and watch the celebrations on TV in the evening on National Day. In fact, the older kids could even remember down to last detail what we did last two years! I'm so glad we made it a point to make this yearly event meaningful for the children.

Flag made by Joash

Orchid buntings made by Jayna

The kids dressed in the national colours

Joram: "Me too!!!"

This year's sweet treat is pineapple seaweed jelly! The older 3 kids watched the entire process of its making the previous day. They were incredibly excited. With their endless questions, I felt like I was hosting a cooking demonstration show! Unfortunately, the heart-shaped jellies didn't turn out well since the concoction was not thick enough. 

Finally got to eat it!

Close up

Heart shaped jellies... kind of.

Taking 4 children to the swimming pool with only two adults was a great challenge. Joshua remained dry while I was the one taking the children to the pool. The kids took turns. First, I brought the older two into the water. 

Then, seeing how Jaide was raring to go, I let the Joash and Jayna have a water break so that I could take her in. However, she was extremely conflicted. The moment we went near the water, she started exclaiming 'no' emphatically. Yet, when I took her away from the pool, she kept pointing to the water. So back and forth we went till I finally decided to give up and let her remain sulking on the bench. 

Next, I tried to introduce Joram to his first dip in the pool. I'd already suspected his aversion to cold since he likes his bath water warmer than the other kids. My suspicions were confirmed when the moment his feet touched the water, he let out an ear-piercing scream. The other 3 children were pretty okay as long as I held them in my arms during their first experience in the pool and they could even enjoy themselves somewhat after getting used to the water's temperature, using the neck float. As for Joram, I had no choice but to bring him back to the bench after a few deafening attempts.

Back and forth....

We had fun!

The evening concluded with the usual grand finale: the National Day Parade. We ordered in Pizza Hut and ate in front of the TV as per tradition. It was a little tough with Jaide going all over the place. Thankfully, the older two were pretty engaged with what's happening on TV while Joram has always been a easy baby as long as he is not plagued by reflux. 

Joram: "This is how I watch the NDP."

Joram: "Here's how my older siblings watch with me!"


One thing that pleasantly surprised me was Jayna's ability to memorise the national pledge. She is indeed much more suited to the Singapore education system than Joash. (However, I'm glad that even though Joash can't remember much regarding school work, he can memorise verses from the bible pretty well.) Here's a video of her reciting it. Towards the end, she forgot the words but it was hilarious how she could recall eventually by lip-reading me while I mouthed the words for her. LOL

Monday, August 5, 2013

Super Stroller

A kind CG mate passed us a hand-me-down light-weight Combi stroller. It is strong and sturdy and yet very compact and easy to carry around, slung over the shoulders, when folded. Due to reflux, Joram finds it more comfortable to be upright and thus we can even let him use the stroller (which cannot be put to a lying down position unlike a pram). All we need are a neck pillow as a back brace and the sling as a neck cushion and... Voila! It is even comfortable enough for him to fall asleep in while we travel!

My husband was already pretty impressed that I could pack so many things onto our big old pram but to do so onto a light-weight stroller??? Let me prove that it can still be done!

1) Using 4 heavy duty S hooks, I hung the groceries at the 4 'corners' of the stroller to stabilise it. 

2) Next, I put all 7 big board books from the library in the bottom basket and placed our huge diaper bag onto velcro hooks at the handle bar. The stroller should not be at risk of toppling backwards due to the bag's weight by now.

3) Finally, our 3 older children's umbrellas were securely hung on the handle bar behind the bag so that they wouldn't jut out at all.

So that's how I work my packing magic! LOL The stroller is really well-built to withstand the amount of weight it has to carry from time to time despite being already so well-used. 

P/S: The above pic shows how I dry the umbrellas effectively in a way that does not take up floor space and is out of the way. *grin*

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Absolute Contentment

As I hit 34 year of age, I find myself feeling contented with all the blessings that the Lord has given me. I have never been happier in my life than right now!

During my birthday lunch, Joshua asked me if I could imagine my life would be like this by this age. Thanks to the vision in the past, I had an inkling that it'd be like this: Living in a 3-room flat organised and furnished the way I like, having a hands-on-Daddy for a husband, being a homemaker, taking care of 4 children (all 2 academic years apart in the exact gender and birth order I prayed for), cooking for the family and running the household etc. 

The only thing that is different from what I expected is that I had wanted to homeschool the kids entirely but my plans were thwarted by my horrendous pregnancy experiences. However, I'm really glad that I'm not doing it after all, because it frees me up to enjoy my children more and fully focus on what is far more important than academics; their character building, life skills training and spiritual growth.

Leaving our children in the trusty and capable hands of my mum-in-law plus her 2 church mates, we went for a Shabu-shabu lunch at IMM Hoshi once again. Only this time, I'm no longer plagued by the pregnancy symptoms and can totally savour the meal without physical discomforts. There is only one word to describe the experience: SHIOK!

Joshua and I are parents through and through. After the meal, instead of shopping for ourselves or looking for suitable entertainment, we both gravitated to getting things for the house and the kids. I can't believe that we actually find such a mundane thing enjoyable! 我们已经是名副其实的Uncle and Auntie! 

My birthday prayer is that I will continue to trust God to help me raise 4 ambassadors for the kingdom of heaven. May I also be a blessing to others in my life as much as I have been blessed by God!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Of Dance and Giggles

Joram started laughing earlier than his siblings at 2.5 months old. It was fun to see him so tickled by his own reflection! What a smart boy! Click HERE for his siblings' laughter.

Jaide dances really well for her age. However, it is next to impossible to capture a video of her doing it. The short clip below is all I can manage after months of trying! Imagine that...