Friday, June 22, 2018
At long last, my youngest boy is officially bathing by himself! *fanfare* After intensive training for 2-3 months by his Daddy, Joram has graduated to brushing his own teeth and showering on his own in the children's toilet. His elder brother has graciously relinquished the front towel bar for his little sibling to hang his bath towel with ease.
Apart from that, Joram has been practicing folding his own clothes under my supervision since the beginning of the year. Now, he is ready to be fully in charge of his own laundry bucket too. I'm so proud of him! I'm truly trying to work myself out of my homemaking job by training the children to be independent and equipped with life skills. Bwahahaha...
Here are the links to the posts about his older siblings achieving this milestone:
Greater Independence 2
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
|The gorgeous beach of Gold Coast|
The children have never stayed away from us parents except for our 8th wedding anniversary staycation and when we moved house. Even then, it was just overnight. With them being more independent, I took up my cell group mate's offer to babysit our kids while Joshua and I go overseas on our own. Of course, with so many kids, we have to divide and conquer. We parked our 2 boys at this friend's place while I found two other CG ladies to take over a girl each for 4 days and 3 nights.
We chose to go back to Gold Coast, the place where we had our first honeymoon a decade ago. As it happened, my best friend and her husband relocated there last year, so we also took the opportunity to visit them. It was indeed divine providence.
I actually brought the children out for a family outing the afternoon before we flew off at night but the kids seemed to have bombarded us with 4 days’ worth of nonsense all at one shot! I had hoped that it meant they were depleted of all their whining, tantrums, sulking, fussing, quarrelling and complaining for the next few days so that their caregivers would not have too hard a time managing them.
On the flight there, we were blessed with a beautiful view of the sunrise from above the clouds. Thank you, God, for a wonderful start to our vacation!
I was so glad to have brought along my hat and made Joshua borrow a cap from Joram. The glaring sunlight was terribly bright because there were hardly any clouds to cover the sun. Just look at the powerful rays in the below picture!
Instead of renting a car, we bought the Go Explore card at the airport so that we could travel via their public transport. This was because it would be a hassle trying to find parking space and remember to refuel the tank. I definitely did not want to feel stressed about my husband making a wrong turn due to his bad sense of direction. Neither was I looking forward to worrying about him falling asleep at the wheel with his sleep apnea problem. Anyway, getting around was made so effortless with the availability of the Google Maps app. Plus, the G-link city tram was also recently built which allowed us to zip up and down the coastline with ease.
On the bus
The first thing we did was to fuel up on quinoa salad and hot roast chicken from the supermarket. Then, we went around Surfers Paradise to recapture our fond memories from the past. I re-created photos from our honeymoon 11.5 years ago. Much has changed. Our favourite kebab place had been renamed, the hotel we stayed in had a major facelift and so did Q1, the highest residential building in GC.
|The hotel was taken over|
by the Mantra corporation
The stone directory was also
updated with a digital one!
|This particular pair of couple tees |
(the grey 12 “I am a disciple maker”)
bit the dust a long time ago...
|I still have the SAJC Saints t-shirt. |
It has become a keepsake.
The back says:
"Saints never hang up their halo"
After that, it was time to check into our serviced apartment. We selected this option instead of the usual hotel room because we wanted to save on food by cooking our meals and save on our luggage space by doing our own laundry. We basically just went "down under" with a backpack each!
I was really happy with the space in the apartment and the kitchen was well equipped. The only problem was with the bathroom: there were no hanging bars for towels; the bathtub had no working plug; the shower head was damaged and worst of all, the toilet bowl area stank horribly. Even after washing it twice, the smell was pretty pungent and revolting. In the end, I bought the cheapest air freshener I could find and repeatedly doused the area with lavender fragrance. At least, it was more tolerable afterwards. *sweat*
We took a short nap before heading out to Paradise Point to enjoy the starry night sky. Sadly, there were a few hiccups along the way. I originally wanted us to ride a bike there so we took the tram down to Labrador's Cheap As Bike Rentals. However, I accidentally keyed into the phone app 22 instead of 220 for the address and we went to the wrong place! I also forgot that the shop closes at 4pm and thus by the time we reached the place, they were done for the day.
In the end, we had to take a bus to the location and walked around on foot. We trekked for a very looooong time in order to get to the darkest and remotest part. Our labor was paid off when we found a nice boardwalk where the street lights were turned off. The view of the celestials was truly mesmerising. I had never seen so many stars in my life! A pity we stayed there for a mere 15 minutes because we were terribly exhausted by then, all the while thankful that the children were not with us on this physically challenging outing. We finally succumbed to taking an Uber car back to our apartment.
On a happier note, midway to our destination, we discovered this really lovely Japanese restaurant with romantic ambience, friendly staff and delicious food at very affordable prices. We could replenish our energies with a sumptuous dinner there before we resumed the super tiring journey. I would describe this place as an establishment with a lot of heart and pride in their profession. Even their toilet was up to typical Japanese standard. LOL
|Enjoying my favourite|
Mos Burger iced milk tea
|At TetsuAki restaurant|
The next day we slept in and I made brunch. It was such a joy to cook for someone (i.e. my hubby) who totally appreciates my culinary skills. No more hearing complaints from my children about what they don't like to eat. The best thing is, he does the washing up too. Heh heh...
Since we did not have the chance to ride the night before, we went to rent these adorable vintage bicycles and explored the coastal areas cycling. We totally loved the cool weather and gorgeous scenery. It was so much better than riding around in the humid heat back in Singapore. 2 hours later, we packed some kebabs and Gong Cha drinks back to our apartment for our meal.
One of the main reasons I chose Mantra Crown Towers' apartment was because of their heated indoor swimming pool. It was perfect for the cold and windy climate there. While everyone else was at dinner, we had the whole place to ourselves for half an hour! There was even a jacuzzi there... How marvellous!
I could not get to sleep that night despite the exercise during the day because I was too excited about meeting my best friend the next morning. Eventually, we woke up early to watch the sunrise by the beach, just as we did during our first honeymoon. The sand and water were freezing cold though because this time we went during winter while it was summer time previously. When we got back, I prepared our breakfast while waiting for our friends to come over and pick us up in their car.
Our dear friends arrived and brought us to The Spit to admire the sea there. It was followed by a treat of fish and chips from them. Next, we strolled around at the Carrara Markets where we purchased some souvenirs. We stopped by their rented house for a short rest before going back to our apartment where I whipped up a meal for our beloved guests. I also put together some food art just for them. What a fantastic time we had catching up and feasting! I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken curry my friend cooked and brought over. We ate till we were stuffed. Hahaha...
We had an early flight the next day and with reluctant hearts, we left our friends and the great weather in Gold Coast and travelled home.
My children adored the seashells I picked for them as mementos. Since Joram is still too young to take good care of the shells, I selected a nice stone in his favourite colour for him instead. We also got a pair of cute kangaroo plushies for my twin nephews. As for the three kind ladies who looked after our children while we were gone, we bought raw honey and collected limes harvested fresh from my friend's backyard for them to make delicious honey lemon drinks for their families.
|Photo credit: Grace Tan|
I am so grateful to have this break from the mundane. It was a logistical nightmare making sure that everything fell into place. There was simply so much coordination to be done. Thank the Lord for the extended family of God who generously stepped in to make all this possible! Praise God, too, for granting all of us good health and journey mercies.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
This June hols, I noticed something different: I don't need to hold my children's hands anymore when I bring them out. *teary eyes*
Joram has learnt how to climb up and down the stairs without any help and is able to use the escalators confidently on his own. I can finally walk hands-free! I only need to glance backwards once in a while to make sure that they are all still following me. I am more relaxed crossing the road with them because they are all tall enough for drivers to see them even if they walk alone.
This is definitely a far cry from those difficult days when I had to move around with a baby in the carrier, pushing a toddler in a stroller with two preschoolers holding onto its side bars, one kid on my left and the other on my right. In the past, there was even this horrible rule which did not allow us poor mothers to push the stroller up the bus. I had to take Joram out of the pram, put him in a sling, carry the diaper bag on one shoulder and the folded up stroller on the other, use one hand to tap all our cards, hold the toddler with the other hand and give the older two preschoolers verbal instructions to be careful to hold onto the grab poles or find a seat. This ridiculous regulation was strangely only implemented when my eldest was 9 months old and they finally rescinded it AFTER my kids don’t need to use the stroller anymore! It was indeed immense agony for me for so many years. I’m just glad the authorities are more enlightened now and future mothers with young children who cannot afford a car will never have to suffer the way I did.
Getting back to what I was saying, even though my kids have always been great travellers, this new development has put the ease and leisure into my outings with the kids. I definitely treasure this stage before they become old enough to loathe running errands, buying groceries and going out with me.
|... and coming down.|
Friday, June 8, 2018
|Off we went|
for our first "overseas" trip
as a family of six
|The coach seats were|
After the traumatising experience in the one and only church camp we attended as a family with 3 kids at that time, I had been fearful to attempt another trip afterwards. However, since things have become easier with the children lately, I wanted to overcome my phobia this year. As it happened, three of our CG families also decided to go for the camp too. There is indeed no better company than this!
I'm simply so glad that God prompted me to take this step of faith. It was truly a blessed trip with much joy and laughter. The children could go off to their respective programs while Joshua and I attended the main sessions, although we had to take turns missing a night session each to put Joram to bed early because he got rather cranky with the lack of his accustomed amount of sleep. I even served on the worship team twice and Joshua did his parent-helper duty, something we weren't able to manage the previous time.
The only glitch was our sleeping/rooming arrangement. At first, it seemed logical for us to split into boys' and girls' rooms. But my dear princesses were so sensitive to the air-conditioning that they took turns to wake up at night with stuffy noses. I had to give them medication and adjusted the temperature to 28 degrees, which was way too warm for me to sleep properly. We later discovered that the boys were actually complaining that their room was too hot despite having the cooling unit function at the lowest possible temperature because the blower was not facing the beds.
In the end, we switched the kids over. The boys and I had wonderful rest in the comfortably cold room while the girls finally slept through the night without blocked noses in Joshua's hotel room. Hallelujah! Sadly, by the time we figured it out, it was time for us to go home. Sigh... I had to overdose myself on caffeine and sugar with the hotel's teh tarik in order to keep alert for the first two days!
|He was so eager to go in|
that he was unhappy
I stopped him for a pic!
During one of our free and easy afternoons, we revisited the complimentary indoor playground on the hotel premises. It was a very nostalgic place for us and I even snapped two photos resembling the ones I took in the past! The kids were largely able to play by themselves while Joshua and I chillaxed at one of the cushy resting booths.
|On the very same cushions|
|The piano sofa is still there.|
Look how much she has grown!
In this camp, I was poignantly reminded by God that I am entering a different stage of parenting. I can no longer walk in front of the children, leading them the way. Instead, I should start going alongside them as they discover the paths which the Lord has planned for them. I must gradually let go as their parent and seek to become their friend and adviser. 6 years ago, none of the kids had known the Lord yet, but now, they have all begun their spiritual journey with their Saviour. I shall be their most dedicated prayer warrior as I support them behind the scenes. May the children learn to grow in love for Jesus as their best friend in life!