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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Monday, September 29, 2014

Jaide's First Performance

Jaide's nursery class staged a performance for us parents and guardians to see. Thank God for teachers who put in so much effort to teach the child confidence and stage presence. Although Jaide did not do the actions very well, I'm very glad that she has an exposure to the performing arts at such a tender age. She was, after all, a year-end baby so she would naturally be slower in her development than her peers. Her two older siblings didn't want to join the children choir in church. Perhaps she'll be interested to join in the future? Hee hee... We shall see.

Watch her perform one of the songs.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blessed Birthday, Bear Bear!

Enjoying lychee and grape yogurt

With all the kids under the capable care of my mum-in-law and sis-in-law, I took Joshua out to celebrate his natal day. First stop was at one of his fav dessert outlet Sogurt. We normally have the kids with us when we visit this shop so we hardly get to enjoy the flavours and the toppings that we like and eat in peace. 

My favourite red velvet flavour. Yumz!

Next stop was a nice relaxing massage at Refresh Bodyworks. It was so comfortable that Joshua fell asleep on the massage chair! LOL I'm glad he had a good rest.

Feeling refreshed after the massage

I am so glad to successfully surprise my husband by secretly inviting our good old friends to join us for the birthday lunch. As an extrovert, he really misses chatting with his buddies. It is really hard getting free time to meet up with friends as a parent with four kids and trying to cope with a demanding job at the same time. I was delighted to see the broad grin which spread over his face when he saw our guests. One of them got Joshua a cute birthday balloon and everyone even treated us to the meal! Thank God for great and generous friends!

Birthday balloon. Yay!

The reason I chose the Lavastone Steak House was the special cut wagyu beef steak which they serve as the birthday "cake". The conventional cake would have compromised his low-carb diet. I have made a cake out of fruits for his past birthdays so it is made out of meat this time round! LOL

The legendary birthday "cake"

Thank you all for making my Bear Bear so so happy!

On such a special occasion, we all urged Joshua to be more adventurous than he normally would be. We got him to try two new things he had never tried before. One was Adstrapple Cider which was complimentary for the birthday boy. (I couldn't believe his first choice of a free beverage was actually the conventional orange juice! *faintz*) The other was raw oysters. He looked like he had fun trying them. Hee hee...

Raw oyster
with a dash of tabasco sauce

The staff did the grilling for us.
How nice of them!

To end the beautiful day, we packed the famous East Coast Road fried prawn mee opposite the restaurant on our friends' recommendations. Unfortunately, it was pretty soggy by the time we ate them but the taste was still awesome. *beam*

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chewing Better

2 days ago, Joram could actually eat some fried rice! Yippee! I later realised the reason: He has sprouted yet another 2 teeth and the position of his new chompers makes it easier for him to chew. Hopefully, with more teeth coming up, he will be more willing to transit to normal table food instead of the blended porridge he has been eating...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

His First Steps

Need to start getting him shoes...

At 16 and a half months old, Joram has started to walk! *applause* 

He has a very cautious personality and so, despite being able to stand unassisted without falling for quite long, he was reluctant to take his first step of faith. Last week, he wanted me to carry him and so he let go of the wall he was holding onto and took one step towards me before falling into my arms. That was probably the moment he gained confidence and had the sudden realisation that he might just be able to do it after all. Delighted with his newfound skill, he kept practising. Within the day, he could take up to four steps on his own! 

Bravo, my little one! You may be the slowest to achieve this milestone among the siblings but I did tell you not to grow up too quickly, didn't I? *wiping tears from my eyes*

Previously he didn't dare use this toy I bought since my firstborn's era. But now, it has finally become a good tool to help him practise walking. It was a great investment getting this walker toy. It has seen 4 children grow up using it! 

Watch the below video to see Joram happily walking with it.

Now, for a clip of Joram's first steps!

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Letter to my Grown-up Children

Dear beloved children,

I am not sure if I will live long enough to develop dementia or fall victim to any number of debilitating diseases and require constant caregiving but I would like to let you know beforehand how I truly feel. 

First of all, if it is within my ability, I would not want to place a burden upon you be it in terms of time, effort or money. I desire to release you to pursue your God-given destiny and ultimately complete wholeheartedly the work that God has prepared for you. So if I do become an invalid, please forgive me and understand that it is not my wish to ask you to take care of me if I can help it.

If I grow increasingly long-winded and keep asking you the same question over and over again because I can't remember very well, please pardon me. Hear me out and give me the same answer each time. Just like how I used to answer your questions for the millionth time, teach you the same thing more than I care to count and remind you of the your own things day in, day out. 

If I make a mess with my food or my bowel movements, please remember all the cleaning I did for you during the formative years of your lives. Just as you didn't mean to give me more work, so it is for me. 

If I become unreasonable and throw tantrums, or hurt you emotionally and physically despite you simply wanting to help me, please bear with me for I know not what I'm doing. Just like the many times I endured abuse from you when you had major meltdowns concerning things which did not make any sense, try your best not to hold it against me. You may restrain me or manhandle me for I know deep down inside, you only want to help me and have my best interests at heart. 

If I ever complain to you that I am lonely and wish you have more time for me, I can only say I am very sorry for putting you on a guilt trip unfairly. I am sure you are busy fulfilling your responsibilities and don't mean to neglect me. Just as in your younger days, I really wished I had more energy and time to spend playing with you but I was really too busy fulfilling my responsibilities. There were always chores to do, meals to cook, bellies to fill, noses/mouth/bottoms to wipe, medicine to feed, skin to moisturise, wounds to tend to, bodies to wash, lessons/life skill to teach, discipline to enforce... basically needs to be met. If I could help it, I would have loved to hug and cuddle you all day long.

And if you yell at me or lose your patience with me because I am simply so frustrating to take care of, I totally understand and would like you to know that I forgive you in advance. I know what it feels like to do your best and it seems like your best is never enough. I get how infuriating it can be when your love and concern is not reciprocated and you are constantly taken for granted. 

I know how difficult it is to sacrifice your sleep and the right to eat, drink and even go to the toilet in order to meet my needs and protect me from harm. Thus, I will not ask that of you. I will not expect you to sacrifice for me the way I sacrificed for you. Please take care of yourself first. 

When I become too great a financial, emotional or physical burden, I give you the permission to leave me be. I will not blame you for abandoning me. Let someone else take care of me if that is the only way to keep your sanity. Let me die naturally and please do not feel guilty for I would have already lived a full life and given my all to the work that had been given to me. I will be going to a better place. 

I apologise for the many ways I have failed you and that I was not as good a mother as I wish I was. I'm sorry for giving you unpleasant memories or any childhood trauma. I regret the wrong decisions I made regarding you and the bad examples I set for you. If nothing else, I at least hope that I have shown you how much we need God in our lives and demonstrated to you the mercy and grace that the Lord grants us each day despite our mistakes. 

All I ask is for you to love God with all your heart and be faithful in doing His work. Then, I will rest assured that I will get to see you again in heaven when the time comes for all of us to leave this weary world.

Your Mom

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sensorium 360

Their favourite exhibit

Ok, I know I swore off bringing the kids to the museum on my own till Joram can walk steadily. However, I simply couldn't resist after reading a friend's blog about it. It looked like something even Joram could enjoy. What's more, with the new Bras Basah MRT station right in front of the museum, we can take the train all the way there! The 3 train transfers actually worked in my favour because it kept us on the move and the kids did not have enough time to start getting bored and act up during the entire trip. What a blessing!

This time, I didn't manage to get any of the CG mates to join us for the trip so it was totally "own-time-own-target". God is so gracious to provide a nice quiet corner for us right next to our favourite Japanese stall at the nearby Kopitiam where the kids, high chair and the pram did not get in anybody's way. We managed to beat the lunch crowd too, by getting there early.

The most incredible thing was that Joram actually started nodding off in the middle of eating. Sensing the perfect moment, I transferred him to the stroller and continued feeding him till he completely fell asleep! LOL I'm so glad I didn't have to put him in the baby carrier for his nap like the last time... Phew!

And the rest was history. The kids had a few favourite sections and they actually asked to revisit them before we left. As commented by my friend, it was fairly deserted so the kids could really enjoy having the place to themselves most of the time.

Learning from past mistakes, I allowed Jaide to sit in the pram as we left and I timed our departure to coincide with her nap. She KO-ed minutes into the train ride to our tea break destination. By the time she woke, I could straight away present her with the tea break, immediately cutting short her usual after-nap fussiness. Praise the Lord!

It was a wonderful and worthwhile trip. Thank God for His small mercies along the way which made a lot of difference to my physical energy and emotional health. 

Shaking their bon bons...

The boys especially loved this!

Spent a lot of time here.

Watch Joram have great fun with the curtain of strings!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Joram @ Fidgets

Taking advantage of the Teachers' Day school holiday, I brought the kids to Fidgets to have some fun with a few of our CG mates. This is Joram's first opportunity at having a meaningful time there because he was too young to appreciate the playground our previous two trips there. Decked out in the grey family T-shirts and yellow bottoms, the kids totally had a ball. 

Joram really loved being pushed around in the little red vehicle and we spent quite a lot of time doing that. Perhaps influenced by the noisy, stimulating environment and boisterous kids all around, Joram was uncharacteristically daring. He actually climbed benches and structures only to slide down on his butt. He even laughed when he nearly fell flat on his face! *shocking*

However, now with 4 of them, it becomes really expensive to visit such indoor playgrounds. We spent $67 for this one afternoon of fun. Furthermore, 8 months down the road, we will have to pay the full entrance fee for Joram, which means adding another $9 to the total! *faintz* I suppose we will not go there anymore unless it is for a really special occasion. 

Watch Joram being the daredevil!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Perils of Making Bak Chor Mee

My husband is supposed to be on a low carb diet. Thus, he cannot indulge in most hawker fare which major in noodles and rice. I made a low-carb version of one of his favourite dish Bak Chor Mee three years ago but decided against doing it again due to the young children. However, emboldened by the successful prawn noodle experience, I decided to oblige Joshua when he requested for this dish. After all, he hardly asks for a specific menu. 

What a terrible mistake! I should have known that the children's good behaviour is not to be taken for granted. While making all the different components of this complex food item, I was constantly interrupted by my eldest regarding his work despite him being largely independent most of the time. Jaide kept crying to be carried and wanted to watch what I was cooking, her face inches from the stove. Jayna later on decided that she wanted to play a certain game and refused to prepare for school on her own when she, too, has been very self-motivated all these while. The timing couldn't have been worse. 

In the end, I had no choice but to cut short the simmering of the stock and the stewing of the mushrooms. It felt as if I went through hell and high waters preparing this dish! As a few of my friends were commenting, I probably should resign myself to cooking simple meals at home and go out to eat the ones which need complicated preparation. I'll just have to say sorry to my poor husband who may not get to enjoy the taste of such local favourites until the children are older... much, much older. 

Thankfully, my Bear Bear
appreciates my efforts very much.

Kids' portion with the original egg
noodle, instead of bean vermicelli,
with ketchup, instead of sambal chilli

At least, 
the girls enjoyed this dish too, because they love noodles. 
Not so my son who is an absolute rice fanatic...