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 26, 2014

2014 Reflections

A rare treat I gave myself
after clearing our debts!

As the year comes to an end, I am filled to the brim with thanksgiving. 

Running an impossible schedule at the mercy of school bus timings during term time was exhausting to say the least. On top of that, I made good my word to bring the kids on an outing by myself twice a week during school holidays. Although meaningful and worthwhile, it had nonetheless been severely taxing physically and emotionally. 

For the first half of the year, I could not get used to winging it all alone; the chores, the cooking, the care-giving of 4 young children; and struggled to find time to eat. Watching the numbers going down each time I went on the weighing scale got me worried. The necklines of my t-shirts became too loose and my face looked like I aged 5 years all of a sudden. My lips were perpetually pale.

It took me quite a while to learn how to put my needs first. God has truly stretched me like a rubber-band and thankfully, I am now quite accustomed to the routine without sacrificing my own sustenance. Having so little time to eat, I have to make sure every morsel count by choosing healthy options. I inculcated in myself the habit of taking supplements and drinking 3 litres of filtered water everyday to maintain my health. In short, I grew in my ability to take care of myself appropriately. By the grace of God, I am now maintaining my ideal weight. 

There were so many challenges just this year: my back problems, husband's promotion and subsequent marked increase in workload, the baby's hypersensitivity gag, the eldest's adjustments to formal education's rigours and demands, multiple eczema recurrences in the children, the battle against Jaide's phlegm and mucus for half a year, Jaide's toilet training and water-drinking struggles, persistent toddler meltdowns, my sudden onset of terrible PMS, ovarian cysts, severe ovulation pain, our financial difficulties... And these are just the more significant ones. 

Yet, time and time again, I see how God works miracles through the trials. I had God's reassurance that He is indeed in control. No suffering is unnecessary. For without the tough times, I would not have seen how in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. I would not be able to treasure the wonderful life I now enjoy.

Without the helplessness in handling Jaide's wilfulness using human strength and wisdom, I would not have experienced the victory in allowing God to be Lord over my daughter's life. Ever since Jaide accepted Christ, she has become so much more obedient and cheerful. For someone who woke up crying inconsolably every morning, it was truly a miracle when she started walking into our bedroom, greeting us 'Good morning' with a smile. The budding growth in her faith becomes more and more evident with each passing day. Life is now so much easier when she realises how to draw upon the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Oh, what joy we see in her when she knows that Jesus now lives in her heart!

Without the pain I suffer in my body and the desperate ways I sought to help my children become healthy, I would never understand the relief which comes after God's miraculous healing with very simple solutions. A mere doubling of water-intake for the children and enforcing water parades before each meal cleared all the phlegm, ulcers and sore throats. The FOC physiotherapy  exercises recommended by the polyclinic doctor resolved my back pain when expensive and torturous chiropractic session could not. By consuming the prescribed pills for my hormonal imbalance, not only were my cysts, ovulation pain and PMS resolved, even pre-existing problems regarding my monthly cycle have ceased to be. My hair stopped dropping excessively too!

Joram overcame his food problem. My back completely healed. My husband made it through many storms at his workplace. A tuition job, to help make ends meet, dropped into my lap at the perfect time. Despite being the most difficult year in my home-making journey, this is the year when I see most how God makes all things beautiful in His time. If someone had suggested to me in the beginning of the year to spend some time giving myself creative outlets, I would have thought him utterly mad. Yet, in the recent months, I've hosted themed events, made pretty bentos and crafted accessories in abundance. How could I have done it without God's empowerment and provision?

I look forward to another year of journeying with the Lord. May the works of my hands and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to Him. To God be the glory!

At a wedding dinner

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wrapping Christmas Up

Blessed Christmas to one and all! 

Most years, we would avoid Christmas service because there would be no Sunday school or child-minding for the kids. This means that we would have to keep all four of them quiet and engaged throughout the service in the sanctuary. *sweat* 

But today, the older three said they wanted to empty out their heavy coin banks as their offering to God! Thus, it would be far more meaningful if the children could put their offering into the bag themselves. Frankly, I was expecting them to give a small token when I asked them but I was blown away by their generous hearts and love for Jesus. They even sang the birthday song to Jesus!

Here's what they learnt during the month of advent. I'm quite glad that they can remember most of them. *beam*

Lesson 1: 
Promised through the seed of Abraham.
OT Prophecy - Gen 22:18
NT Fulfilment - Matt 1:1

- Make tree ornaments
Love (Romans 8:35)
Joy (Luke 2:10)
Peace (Isaiah 9:6)

Lesson 2: 

Promised through Isaac.
OT Prophecy - Gen 21:12
NT Fulfilment - Luke 3:34

- Dramatise the origin story 
- Make a poinsettia ornament

Lesson 3: 

Out of the tribe of Judah 
OT Prophecy - Micah 5:2
NT Fulfilment - Luke 3:33

- Make spiral icicle

Lesson 4: 

Born in the family of Jesse 
OT Prophecy - Isaiah 11:1
NT Fulfilment - Luke 3:32

- Make genealogy Christmas balls

Lesson 5: 

Born in the house of King David.
OT Prophecy - Jeremiah 23:5-6
NT Fulfilment - Luke 3:31

- Make crown ornaments.

Lesson 6: 

Born in Bethlehem 
OT Prophecy - Micah 5:2
NT Fulfilment - Luke 2:4-7

- Make the Bethlehem star with play dough and cookie cutters

Lesson 7: 

Born of a virgin (As announced by an angel)
OT Prophecy - Isaiah 7:14
NT Fulfilment - Matt 1:18

- Make an angel ornament

Lesson 8: 

Worshipped and Presented gifts by Kings 
OT Prophecy - Psalm 72:10
NT Fulfilment - Mat 2:11

- Explain the meaning behind the gifts
- Make the 3 gifts (gold, incense and myrrh)

Lesson 9: 

Worshipped by Shepherds
OT Prophecy - Psalm 72:9
NT Fulfilment - Luke 2:9

- Explain the meaning behind the candy cane
- Make candy cane ornament using pipe cleaners
- Eat candy canes

Lesson 10: 
Weeping for the children
OT Prophecy - Jeremiah 31:15
NT Fulfilment - Matt 2:16

- Make Baby-Jesus-in-a-manger craft

Lesson 11: 
Flight to Egypt 
OT Prophecy - Hosea 11:1
NT Fulfilment - Matt 2:13-14

- Explain how Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12)
- Light a candle in the dark storeroom 
- Make candle craft

Lesson 12: 
He is the Son of God
OT Prophecy - Psalm 2:7
NT Fulfilment - Luke 3:22

- Make dove craft

Christmas tree filled with
Advent crafts and ornaments

Lesson 13: 

He will be called Lord
OT Prophecy - Psalm 110:1
NT Fulfilment - Luke 2:11

- Read the Christmas story
- Partake in Holy Communion

The completed Thanksgiving board

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Lights

Ever since we had kids, walking down Orchard Road during Christmas had ceased to be an enjoyable event. We did try to do it once while I was preggy with Jayna and we had Joash in tow but it was really very difficult. (Click HERE for the post) Another year, we thought it would be easier if we drove down the road in a borrowed car but the traffic jam was so terrible, we were mostly very trapped and harassed with a tired and screaming baby and a bored toddler. We finally gave up the idea altogether! Sigh...

This year, having found it easier to travel with the kids during the holidays and survived multiple wedding dinners and night engagements, I decided it was worth a shot. God was simply so awesome to have held back the rain enough to let us enjoy the night without getting too wet.

We started the evening off with dinner at Coco Ichibanya and yogurt desserts at IIaoIIao. I was surprised that out of the many eateries and restaurants, the kids actually chose to eat curry! Thankfully, there were non-spicy versions for the younger ones. Yumz!

All enjoying their curry rice.

After filling up our tummies, we set off to enjoy the lights under feathery light drizzle which made the night breezy cool and somewhat romantic. It warmed my heart to see that the decorations were not simply for looks. There were murals and installations which told of the true meaning of Christmas. Praise God for that!

The older two were the most excited about the lights and kept asking me to take pictures of them with their favourite decorations. Joram fell asleep halfway through and Jaide, although not as enthusiastic, was extremely well-behaved. 

All loved this star

So many of these colourful
stars hanging on the trees!

I really liked the blue snowflakes

Admiring the lights

They were enthralled
by the colour-changing 
lights at the stairs

She wanted to pose
under the big star!


Can you spot the older two
already at the entrance 
of the Christmas tree?

They were dancing
around inside! LOL

Paragon is supposed
to be the
best dressed building

I saw this winter coat from one of the retail shops and couldn't resist letting our Princess Jayna try it on, and take a picture. Doesn't this give you the Winter Sonata feel? ;P

We ended off the night with a rest stop at Paragon's playground because we were too tired to walk the complete stretch after getting ourselves lost underground for half an hour at ION. That place has expanded by so much since the last time we came! It looks like it will get even bigger looking at the construction going on.

Other than the maze-like experience, we found the night rather enjoyable. We shall include this in our repertoire of family traditions from now on. *beam*

Monday, December 15, 2014

Forever Friends Live Show

We have not really actively participated in a cartoon character live show performed at a shopping mall before. There were only a few occasions when we just happened to chance upon a performance halfway. Since there was one today about Forever Friends at the right timing after our lunch, I decided to let the girls have a go at it, sitting from the beginning to the end of the show. (The eldest claimed to have outgrown such things. LOL) 

Jayna was very excited and even bothered to follow the dance steps. You can check out the video below for that. *wink* Jaide was far more reserved and kept wanting me to carry her throughout the show. It seems like she is still a little afraid of those human-sized character costumes! Jayna also tried to win the prize at the end of the show by raising her hands to answer the questions but she could not be as fast as the older kids around her. Poor dear... she looked about to cry from disappointment. *sobz* 

At least, we have a photo during the meet-and-greet session later on to remember by.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Great Travellers

This is my fleet:
Joram sits in the stroller,
the girls hold the sides of the stroller,
and Joash walks beside me

Without the luxury of a car, our family is very well-versed in going all over Singapore via the public transport. We also avoid taking the cab unless we are running late (which does not happen often because I buffer a lot of time for unforeseen circumstances) or that the destination is inaccessible by train or bus. 

However, when I am going around during the weekdays alone with the kids, I avoid pushing the children's limit by selecting places nearer home. Yesterday, I decided to test out taking a 1 hour train ride to visit a friend. This was the first time I went on such a long journey without my husband around to help in case of fussy kids. 

To my surprise, they behaved extremely well after all that training with shorter trips. They either played games with one another or simply enjoyed the scenery. At one point, all of them even dozed off together! Of course it helped that we had seats on the way there. But they merely complained a little about being tired from standing too long when we hit peak hour traffic coming home. All in all, it was a good experience. Thank God for such great travellers!!!

The usual formation is rather wide so when the path is narrow, I will say "quack quack" and the children will follow behind me in a single file with the oldest being the rear guard. Just like goslings waddling behind the mother goose, hence the code words. LOL When the coast is clear, I will pause in my walking and wait for them to fall back into the original fleet formation.

The "quack quack" formation

There will come a day when all these will become unnecessary because Joram will one day outgrow the stroller and the younger two will eventually not need to hold my hands to cross roads safely. In the meantime, I shall enjoy traveling all over the country with my darling children sticking close to me. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Joram the Overcomer

Enjoying his baby biscuits

It is hard for people to understand my euphoria at the fact that Joram is finally able to eat table food and self-feed biscuits at 19 months old. For the longest time, due to his hypersensitivity gag reflex, he could not tolerate the slightest texture in his food. Even during the Frozen party a few weeks ago, he actually vomited his entire lunch after gagging on a little piece of raisin which he was so eager to try. 

I had been blending his porridge and feeding him baby cereal and jar food despite his age. Imagine my tears of joy when I retired my hand blender for good and put the thermal flask, which I used to bring out his blended porridge, into cold storage the other day. Eating out with him is now so much easier as we can order normal porridge or mix soup into rice with very cut-up vegetables and meat for him. 

I thank God that despite his aversion to texture, he had been rather willing to try new stuff while I attempted to get him used to eating different things. He cooperated with me even as I gradually pushed the boundary of the viscosity and coarseness of food he could take without emptying the contents of his stomach. Of course, there were many times when I didn't observe him closely enough and had tons of cleaning up to do after he gagged one time too many. 

The days of massive cleaning up and huge laundry loads are finally over. Joram has indeed overcome! Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Joram on Trampoline

On the way to Amped Trampoline with backpacks!

Joram got to try the trampoline for the first time! Unfortunately, he refused to nap at his regular time slot and became overtired and cranky for the most part of the hour there. Thankfully, he did seem to enjoy the first 15 min there before exhaustion got the better of him.

What a new feeling this is!

Can I just jump down from here?

Let me try running on this...

Joram did not get the hang of bouncing so I did the bouncing for him. Watch his delight at the new sensation. Heh heh...

This was also the first time I tried the trampoline. In the few minutes I had to myself, I managed to do some star jumps and somersaulting into the foam pit three times. Here's a video of my newbie efforts.

Frozen Tea Party

Previously, I hosted an Elsa tea party for the girls. This time, my friend hosted a Frozen tea party for everyone! Yay!!! It was so much fun... *double grin*

Queen Elsa

Princess Anna

Olaf the snowman

Sven the Reindeer

Lovely house decor

Delicious food

Snowflake craftwork

There was even a pinata!

Hunting for numbers to
exchange for presents.

What a lovely Frozen corner!