Thursday, December 25, 2014

Starting our first family Christmas tradition

This year, we decided that we would spend Christmas in Singapore. More importantly, we decided that it is time to start our own family traditions.  In years passed, we usually spend Christmas in France with my in laws.  However, we feel that maybe it would make better sense for us to travel back to France when we do have longer breaks like in summer. 

So this year, we planned for a Christmas at home! To be honest, I am really looking forward to it! 

As part of our Christmas, we decided to do a little family mission trip (I will post about this separately) which we did last weekend. 

For the actual Christmas event, for the French, Christmas Eve is really a family bonding time.  So planning for Christmas Eve was exciting as it is the significant celebration. Following the years of what we had enjoyed, I planned a whole list food items which I thought would be great but the husband reminded me that it was too much for our little family. I finally scaled it down to these main items for our aperitif. 

There were foie gras on toaste with walnut, smoked salmon on jalapeño hummus, saucisson and comte cheese. On the sides were some cheesy sticks and crackers.  We served the kids sparkling juice and champagne for the adults. This is very much what we would eat in France too. 

Dinner was a simple roast chicken with potatoes and a side of buttered asparagus with baby corn. We finished the meal with a log cake and chocolate fondue for the little ones. 

After dinner, we commence a new tradition for the family whereby we all cozy up and watched a Christmas movie. For our inaugural family Christmas movie, we chose ELF after watching the trailers of a few options.  It was a nice movie to finish off the night. And since it was such a feel good movie, the boy was all eager to prep for Santa's visit!

So we worked to put aside some cookies (which I happened to baked just this afternoon) and milk. He wrote a note to let Santa know those were for him. 


Finally we managed to put the kids to bed and realized that Santa came by, ate some cookies and left presents for the kids! 



So excited to see my two darling when they woke up on Christmas morning! 


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Jingle Bell Rock by the little boy!

We are definitely getting into the spirit of Christmas.

The little boy just finished his school's Christmas Choral Concert last week and came home singing and singing. Since he was in such a good spirit, I got him to sing a song for everyone!



Sorry about the whooshing sounds made by the fan.... I didn't even realise it until it was up!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Baking baking and more baking!

In an effort to make healthier snacks for the children, I finally attempted bread making! I do not have a bread maker but I do have a Kitchen Aid mixer.  After someone on a particular facebook group I'm in posted a picture of the bread she made, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try.  I was recommended recipes from http://en.christinesrecipes.com/2010/03/japanese-style-bacon-and-cheese-bread.html?m=1 using the tangzhong method.

The recipe seems easy enough so after buying all the necessary ingredients, I set off to work! 


And that was when I learnt how long it takes to make bread! The finished product was ready only FOUR hours after I started!!!  But what a sense of achievement taking the bread come out of the oven.

This was the end result, three loaves of ham and cheese bread for the children's tea time. All ready for them when they got home from school. 


I'll admit that break making is not as easy as cake making.  It took a lot of time and yielded very little.  I only had three small loaves of the above bread and two small little brioche to show after all that effort. 

Thankfully, while I was waiting for the bread to proof (about 40 minutes), I decided to make a chocolate chocolate chip sponge cake at the same time! 


However as I was juggling between two different things, my sponge cake ended up being a little flat.  It tasted great though and my little ones loved it, especially the boy. 


So, it was considered a rather productive day in The Across 2 Cultures bakery ! :) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ballet Barre Exercises at Singapore Ballet Academy

The girl has been attending the Junior Youth Performing Group (JYPG) classes at Singapore Ballet Academy for the entire year and finally the parents are allowed into one of the classes (the last class of the year) to see what the girls are up to week after week.  It was the last class of 2014 and we caught a glimpse of the hard work the girls go through week after week.

The JYPG class is different from the twice weekly RAD grade classes where the students learn fixed exercises and character dances in preparation for the yearly exam.  In the JYPG sessions, the girls get exposed to more types of exercises and steps that would increase their knowledge of ballet moves and stage presence. 

Most of the 90 mins lesson is spent at the barre doing exercises, some totally new to them.


Here's a short clip of one of the exercises. 


I am really impressed with all the young girls.  They had worked very hard during the year to bring themselves to a higher standard.  Looking forward to the girl's involvement with the JYPG next year and seeing her take her passion to greater heights!  I just have to remind her to relax and smile a little more when she is dancing.  :)


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Drums Lessons at Thunder Rock School

As previously posted, the little boy is currently learning piano from Forte Musicademy.  He had also been asking about drums lesson and finally after procrastinating for almost half a year, I finally took him to Thunder Rock School at East Coast for a trial lesson and the boy just loved it!  He had such a great time and we signed up for lessons immediately.

The school is located at 43 East Coast Road and is on the second floor.  It is run by a group of extremely talented young musicians, in fact, a number of the teachers in the school are part of the local band DEON.  They are passionate about music and the school "is a place where fun is injected into music lessons, learning and creation. By placing a strong emphasis on music creativity and infusing that with the latest and proper music techniques, students are guided and provided with the skill that will enable them to forge out a hobby beyond the confines of the bedroom or a possible musical career.".

This is a small set up but they have lessons for piano, keyboard, guitar, song writing, vocals and even dj'ing on top of drums!  Here's a link on all the different classes offered in the school.

The boy's drum teacher is a great guy who loves kids too.  What seals it for us is that he is also passionate about God.  So, the boy is going to learn to groove to contemporary praise and worship music! What an awesome combination!

The boy had his first lesson yesterday after attending the trial session last week and he basically ran into the classroom and got himself ready.  He had been waiting impatiently for the whole week to go for his drums class.

Here's the boy and the teacher grooving to some praise and worship music.


The school works with the students' choice of music to help encourage and cultivate the continuous interest.  In the case of our family, as we do not listen to much secular music, it is wonderful that we have been blessed with a musician/teacher who is also into Christian pop.

So, if you are keen on drums or piano, keyboard, song writing etc for your kids, do check out Thunder Rock School.  They have two branches, one in East Coast and another in Thomson.

The girl also tried out the non classical piano class yesterday.  I will post more about it after she has her first lesson.




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family Holiday to Krabi, Thailand Part 2

We recently went to Krabi, Thailand and I wrote about the first half of our holiday here.  I had broken up our holiday into two parts with stays in two different hotels.

After 5 days in our first hotel, we moved on to Holiday Inn Resort Krabi which was along Ao Nang Beach.

We had a wonderful time in the first five days and on hindsight, I have to admit that moving from an awesome five star hotel to a good four star hotel is not sometime I would do in future.  Maybe a move from four to five would be a better way to manage the holiday.  The hotel itself is not bad, in fact, I have to compliment the staff who were amazing!  The kids club was a real treat!  It was definitely more engaging and exciting for the kids.  The swimming pools were great as well with four different slides.  On top of that, kids eat and stay for free!  That meant that when we ate at the main restaurant for dinner, which we did on the first night, it was free for the kids.  So I would say that Holiday Inn Resort Krabi is a terrific value for money option.  It is a great four star hotel.  The downside is that being a family oriented hotel, it can be a bit noisy and crowded.

Here we are, enjoying the pool and the boy is having his mango smoothie while the girl pretends to make a face!

The beautiful grounds featuring the swimming pool.  This is taken from the hotel's restaurant where we had our breakfast. 

Kids having a fabulous time with the staff of the kids club for Halloween.

Getting ready to explore a little of Ao Nang on a tuk tuk.  The kids loved going on the tuk tuk.

Along the road, we noticed that one could even rent a tuk tuk and drive around by ourselves.

On of the favourite part of the trip for the girl was getting her hair braids done.  It took an awfully long time though.  All in all, about 90 mins for 30-40 braids.  And during this 90 mins, the girl was chatting non-stop!  

And that takes us to the end of our trip.  We took the budget airline, Tigerair,  back to Singapore as they had a flight that leaves Krabi in the afternoon.  It works out perfectly as we could check out at 12pm and arrange for a taxi to pick us up from the hotel and send us to the airport at around 1pm.

Would I recommend going to Krabi?  Definitely!  Depending on what your preference is, I would say that both hotels are wonderful in their own ways.  If you like nature and more peaceful, chill and relax type of a holiday, I would recommend Centara Grand Resort and Villas Krabi.  It is a little pricey but worth the money.  If you like to be in the bustle of activities, visit the town itself and walk around exploring the area, then Holiday Inn Resort Krabi would be a great option.  It is easier on the pocket, in a great location and easily accessible.   

Monday, November 10, 2014

Family Holiday to Krabi, Thailand Part 1

The kids had their mid term school holidays during the last two weeks of October and we decided to take them to Krabi.  They had a very good time the previous year when we went off to Phuket to escape the haze in Singapore and so we thought another beach holiday would be nice.

We decided on Krabi since it is not too far away and we could easily get cheap budget flights there.  We took AirAsia there as the timing was good, we departed on a Saturday at 3pm and arrived there at 3:30pm due to the time difference of an hour.

The flight was uneventful and quick, just 90 mins to get to our destination.  It was bearable and within expectations of a budget airline.  I would compare it pretty much to taking a standard public transport ride.

Just before landing!

I had booked a taxi service on Krabitaxi before leaving Singapore and there was a lady holding a sign with my name as we exited the arrival hall.  As we were four, I had booked a "private luxury sedan" which was a simple car that would take the four of us comfortably.  Nothing fancy but sufficient.  We waited about 10 mins after being received before the driver arrived.  The lady had some problems calling the driver but once he was there, everything went smoothly.  He sent us to the pier where we had to get a speed boat to our hotel, Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Krabi.  I had researched on the hotels in Krabi and decided on Centrara Grand because it was private, the only way in was through the speed boat or walking about 20mins on a Monkey Trail (which was said to be a little daunting for little ones or when it rains/storms).  I kindly of like the idea that we are isolated, but I also booked another hotel for the second part of the holiday where they seemed more kids focused and along the main Ao Nang stretch for the children.

Here, we are, approaching the hotel in the speed boat!  It looked like a nice little paradise!


We checked in very quickly and were shown to our room.  It was better than I expected.  Very tastefully done.




For the first evening, we rested and then went to check out the restaurant for dinner.  The hotel had four restaurants and we tried three of them and they were quite good.  We skipped the Japanese since in Singapore, we have much better options for Japanese food with the prices that they were charging.  For Krabi's standard, the prices at the resort are quite steep, but it is in accordance with what one would pay at a normal five star hotel.  On average, we would spend around S$70-$90 per meal for the four of us.  Thankfully breakfast was included in our stay! :)

On the second day, we decided to spend most of the time by the pool.  It was just SO RELAXING!


And we ate by the pool as well! 


The children had a fun time playing.

The kids club was also a blessing. Almost all the time that we brought the little ones, they were the only children.  So they had the attention of the carers and was able to participate in the craft activities with undivided attention from the staff.  During our five days, they managed to make a piggy bank and a photo frame as well as learn how to speak Thai!

One of the mornings, hubby took the girl and the boy on an excursion trip to visit the Four Islands for snorkeling as I needed some quiet time to complete an assignment I had due.  They came back with amazing photos!  The water was so clear!  They totally enjoyed themselves and said that this is definitely a highlight of the trip for them.



This is just beautiful!  Crystal clear water.

And hubby and I enjoyed some romantic moments when the children were in the kids' club.  We were able to have drinks by the beach, had some couple time and relaxed.


All in all, We all had a great time at Centara Grand and there was enough activities or space to do things as a family, as a couple and even individually as well (Both hubby and I went for our 90mins massages separately too).  Centara hotel group has a cash bonanza promotion where if you deposit a minimum of 10,000 baht, they would give an additional 30% (or more) bahts in the account.  Which meant that you would enjoy some discount off the food and spa bill at the end of the stay making it a bit more affordable to spend within the hotel.

After four nights in Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Krabi, we moved to on to our next hotel.  The post will continue in Part 2.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dealing with a new diagnosis, Asthma

My little boy had been complaining a month back that he cannot breath very well at night.  At first, I attributed it to the stuffy nose he had.  To help him breath better, I used some nasal stripes on him and it seemed to work.  Then the husband started commenting that the boy would take deep and long breath during bedtime reading.  Finally, after procrastinating for many weeks, I got my act together and tried to book the little one an appointment with a respiratory specialist.

It was not straight forward getting an appointment.  I called KK Women's and Children's Hospital initially and was told that the earliest appoint they had was almost two months away in late November!  Yes, they are the best paediatric hospital in Singapore but errr, no thanks.  I spent a couple of moments googling and found Dr. Jenny Tang of SBCC.  She seemed to be highly recognised in the field of paediatric respiratory health having held the position of Head and Senior Consultant of Respiratory Medicine Service in KK previously.   Being in private practice meant that the wait could be shorter and since I had delayed for about a month and the little boy did not seem to get better, I thought I had better get him checked out sooner rather than later.  I was fortunate that the next available appointment was only 3 business days later, in less than a week.  The only thing was that I had to take the boy out of school.  Oh well, health is definitely more important.  And I am glad I made that choice.

We waited for some time before managing to see Dr. Jenny on the appointment day as the clinic was busy.  However, she was very patient and efficient in taking in the details and asking the important questions.  After verifying our family medical history, she decided to send the boy for some test.  He was required to take a Standard Panel Allergy Test and two Respiratory Function Test.


The Allergy Prick Test

The lab to do the test is within the clinic itself. For the Standard Allergy Test, instead of the arm which is the commonly pricked location (which Laetitia had once in Paris and once in Singapore), they do it on the back.  They explained that the back is actually more accurate.

Here's the boy right after the 10 different pricks, before the reaction started.  The boy was very brave and calm, he did not even flinch once when he was pricked 10 times.


After that, we had to wait about 15 mins for the reaction to show up.

Going through the Lungs Function Test

The boy also went through two different lung function tests, namely a Exhaled Nitric Oxide Test to see if the airway is inflammed and a Impulse Oscillometry test


Diagnosed with Asthma

Unfortunately, the test did not come back very well.  Although there was no inflammation in his airways, his breathing capacity with and without medication was indicative of asthma.  The difference was significant enough to indicated that his airway is not fully opened up.  And so, he was prescribed with various medication including Ventolin.  Thankfully, the Ventolin does not need to be used unless he was a wheezing spell.  It was more a medication for emergency.  However, he would need Singular that is supposed to help open up the airways and was given some medication for his allergy rhinitis as well.  


Moving forward, I am working on reducing the dustmites in our house, especially in his bedroom and also increasing the use of Essential oil and TCM to help build up his respiratory health.  I would like to decrease the use of pharmaceutical drugs and go more natural for his body but I also want to make sure I do it without risking his health.

I will share more on our journey to deal with this diagnosis naturally.

I would also be interested to hear from other parents who have dealt with asthma naturally.  It would be great to share information.  :-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Looming for Club Rainbow - Charity Drive

The children (and on some occasions, mummy too) have been going through a rainbow looming craze for many months now.  Recently a good friend who is also blogs on www.mummyweeblog.com, joined a group of blogging mums in a charity drive to Looming for Club Rainbow and I thought it is a wonderful opportunity to do something good with all those rainbow looms bands and bracelets that we have!

I spoke to the children about it and they were quite excited.  The girl was initially unwilling to part with some of the more difficult pieces, especially the hamster however, after some explanation about how giving those up could help the children beneficiaries of Club Rainbow, she opened up her heart and told us she would like to give those to be sold for the charity but also would like to make more for the charity drive.

Here's what Club Rainbow is about, taken from their website.

"Established in 1992, Club Rainbow (Singapore) is a registered charity committed to helping children and youths suffering from a range of chronic and potentially life-threatening illnesses.
The charity currently supports more than 600 children, youths and their families"

And so, it looks like we are set to participate!  And to make sure that the bands are safe, I am making sure that all the bands used are original Rainbow Loom bands.    

The girl looming away at a fun class for kids some time back.


The boy all excited to start looming for Club Rainbow! 

And so, after sorting through the bands, these are what we would make for sale.  For all designs, it  will be custom made orders whereby we would create the bracelets according to the colours you prefer. 

My personal favourites are the starburst (which I noticed we did not have any samples as I had given those away!), triple link chain (which is below in the assorted bracelet in the last photo) and the tidal wave.  You can make request for specific types of bracelets too.  I will of course check with the children if they are able to make it. :)

Rainbow Loom Bracelets and Charms for sale.  


All proceeds will go to Club Rainbow.  Material cost will be entirely sponsored by us too.






To order, comment here directly on the blog or on our facebook post. We could either mail it to you (free postage) or I might even be able to drop it off.  Do support the children and also do a little part for Club Rainbow.

Here are some other mummy bloggers supporting this drive.  Do visit their blogs to see what they have available too!

1) Mummy Wee
2) Sakura Haruka
3) A Juggling Mum
4) Lil Blue Bottle

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Performing in Gardens by the Bay with Singapore Ballet Academy

This children's day was exceptionally important for the girl as she was performing at the Gardens by the Bay together with the Singapore Ballet Academy (SBA).  The ballet school was invited to perform a piece at the Gardens by the Bay Children's Garden for children's day and being part of the the Junior Youth Performing Group (YPG), she was one of the young dancers involved in the dance piece.

The girl has been training with SBA for just about a year now.  She started sometime in September last year after I switched her from another ballet school.  Since then, I have been very happy with her progress and although we spend three days a week at the school, I can see how her passion is being developed and enriched.

She is currently in grade 2 and at the same time, is part of the YPG.  SBA started the specialized group sometime at the start of 2014 and it "is a newly added initiative aimed at refining and nurturing potential young talents into fine artists of Contemporary and Ballet genres. The program forms an intensive training ground for aspiring dancers to cultivate their body, mind and soul towards a capacity that expresses top-notch performance quality. As the dancers progress further along the program from Junior group (Grade 1) to Senior group (Intermediate to Advance), future opportunities will be in the form of exchange programs with overseas academies and dance schools, introduction to Classical Ballet techniques, Contemporary and Classical Pas de Deux, Classical repertoires and newly created works that can be featured in local and overseas performance, as well as participation in dance competitions."

This is the first performance for the Junior YPG group and it is supported by some of the older girls from the Senior Group who were dancing the roles of the mermaids.  The little dancers trained very hard over the last three months for the performance.  They were personally taught by the principal of the school, Mr. Jeffrey Tan, "one of Singapore's most prolific and established dancer, choreographer and educator". 

The group performed first in the morning for the VIPs and then in the afternoon, they danced a second time in the late afternoon for the public and of course, the parents of the dancers came out in full force.  We quickly put together a video of the performance to share how proud we are of our little girl.  She is one of the fish in the red and blue costume.



In addition, they were mentioned in the local media too!

Picture from Today Online

Picture from Channel News Asia

Such an awesome experience for my little ballerina.   I am sure she is looking forward to more possibilities and exposure.  And as a parent, I am fully supporting her in the realization of her dream. 






Friday, October 3, 2014

Therapeutic hugs in the morning

The little boy recently learnt this French children's song, "Des Câlins", meaning "The Hugs" in school.  He had been singing it a lot and it soon became a huge part of his life.

The song talks about how much he would like hugs in the morning, lots and lots of it.  It goes on to say that when he has lots of hugs in the morning, his day would start well, he would laugh and have fun.  And if he doesn't get hugs in the morning, he would not want anything and would ache everywhere.

The song "Des Calins"



The lyrics goes like this:-
Des câlins, le matin
J'en veux plein, plein, plein, plein, plein
Des câlins, le matin
J'en veux plein, plein, plein.

Quand j'ai plein de câlins
La journée commence bien
Je cours dans la cuisine
J'avale trois quatre tartines

Refrain

Quand j'ai plein de câlins
Je rigole pour un rien
J'invente un' p'tite chanson
J'suis gai comme un pinson

Refrain

Mais si j' n'ai pas de câlins
Moi j'ai envie de rien
J'ai mal un peu partout
Au ventre puis au cou.

Refrain
(taken from http://comptines.tv/des_calins)

The importance of hugs

Last Sunday night, while I was putting him to bed, he suddenly said that he had a bad day.  I was rather defensive and felt upset because I thought we had such great fun that day.  I explained that we did many things together from church in the morning to a yummy gourmet burger lunch followed by some activities at home and we finished off the day with some enjoyable moments at the swimming pool, doing silly things like making human bombs (jumping into the pool making as big a splash as possible).  However, he reminded me about the song and sort of complained that we did not hug him that morning!  Opps!

Every weekday morning, hubby makes it a point to give both kids big hugs before sending them off on the school bus (while I snooze away).  On Saturday, it happened that I was the one leaving home for classes so I gave the kids a good squeeze before I stepped out.  The sad thing was, on Sunday we were all together and though we kissed the kids before they went for their respective Sunday School class, we missed out on the hugs.  And I did not realise how significant that one hug in the morning was to setting the pace for the rest of the day!   

Giving a good hug at the start of the day meant a lot to the little boy.  And for the girl as well.  

Research has shown that what the song states is true.  A good hug releases oxytocins, the commonly called "feel good hormones" or the bonding/love hormones.  More oxytocins in the body will help to reduce stress and anxiety.  There are many benefits to having oxytocins in the body.  Medically, it is supposed to decrease risk of heart disease and depression, increase immunity, fight fatigue and infections and many more.  

Starting the day with a good hug

More importantly, we learnt as well that physical touch and in this case, a nice cuddle, is going to start the day well for our children.  It not only gives them the warm and fuzzy feeling, but it also imply that we love them, that they are important to us and we are here for them.  There are many challenges that our little ones face when we send them out to the world, to school.  There could be bullies in school, mean classmates, teachers who may unintentionally hurt their self esteem or adults who are overwhelmed with other the other children around and become less kind with words.   We cannot shelter them forever and we should not either.  However, we can and we definitely should send them out confident and secured in our love.  We can send them out as loving beings who will be ready to give another kid a hug when needed too.  We can send them out as empathetic little angels who are able to give others some love because they are full of it and it overflows.

In the last couple of weeks, whenever I come home tired or stressed, the first thing the boy does when I slump into the sofa was to run over to put his arms around me.  He sometimes add a good few pats on my back as if to tell me, "it is okay mama, you are home and we love you!".  You have no idea how much better I usually feel right after that.  That, is the amazing healing power of a good hug.  Do try it, make it a part of your morning ritual with the family, and I'm sure the entire family will benefit from it. 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Singapore F1 Thursday Rev Up Pit Lane Experience

The highlight of last week in Singapore was the Singapore Airline Formula One Night Race Event.  The entire city was buzzing with all things related to the F1.

The little boy, being not so little anymore at the age of five, had been very excited about the race because his friends in school were talking about it.  Some of them were going to be watching the race.  He had asked about going last year but thinking that he was too young to really enjoy it, we were quite hesitant to spend the money getting the tickets since neither of his parents are keen.  This year, being the doting mum, I was still thinking that maybe one of us could just bring him for one of the nights.  The husband, however, disagreed.  So, one afternoon I was surfing on the Singapore GP website and came across the Thursday Pit Lane Experience page.  Now, one of our concerns with bringing the boy to the race is that the noise is really loud and that it could cause permanent damage to the ears.  It does not help that the organisers make parents sign a disclaimer that states they are not responsible for hearing damage etc.  So, the Thursday Pit Lane Experience sounds like an awesome idea and there was a ballot on the page for two of the tickets to the event.  I quickly submitted hubby and my name for the ballot.  Lo and behold, we both won the tickets!  What are the chances?!

With that, even though normally the children's bed time is at 8pm, we decided that we should make an exception for this special experience!  The Pit Lane walk was going to start only at 9:20pm but what an awesome fun it would be for the kids.

The Singapore F1 Pit Lane Experience

On Thursday (18 Sept), I made sure that the boy had a nap after coming back home from school.  We left home around 7:30pm and parked the car at the stadium and took the mrt for one stop to Nicoll Highway station and walked for about 10 minutes to the Marina Bay Circuit Gate 1.   There were some food stands in the village but they were not exactly interesting nor yummy.  Oh well, we were not there for the food.  There were also some activities.  The boy managed to try changing the wheels of a F1 car! 


After hanging around for an hour, we noticed that a queue was forming to get into the circuit.  By the time we managed to walk to the queue, it had stretch to possibly 400m long!  After waiting for another 30 minutes, we finally managed to get onto the pit lane and that was when the real fun started!

The kids on the Pit Lane




The highlight of going onto the Pit Lane experience was visiting the various teams garages to see the race cars.  All the garages had simple temporary barricades to prevent the visitors from getting too near.  We were, however, very blessed in that at the Caterham Team garage, a very nice gentleman saw how the little boy was looking intensely at what the mechanics were doing and opened the barricade to allow us in!  The closest we got to a racing F1 car!

Inside the Caterham F1 Team garage


Checking out the Ferrari Garage of Fernando Alonso!


A closer shot of the Ferrari mechanics working on Alonso's car


A funny thing happened just as we were at the Ferrari garage, a young man standing next to me commented, "If you can get in here as well, I would be your son too!  I can be 5 years old!"  Hahahah.  Guess he saw us at the Caterham garage.  That really showed how privileged we were to have the chance to get so close inside.

And after a long walk past all the various teams, we finally got to the end and were going to walk back out when we kept hearing loud noises which I did not know what made it.  I am really quite clueless when it comes to the Formula One race.  We then saw a crowd watching one of the teams and realized that it was the sound of wheels being changed.  The team from Scuderia Toro Rosso was practising their wheels changing sequence.  The papa took the boy on his shoulders so that he could look at what was happening.  The boy really enjoyed watching how the wheels would be changed in a split second and it was a wonderful finale for him.  


By then, at almost 10.30pm, we can finally start to head home! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I love my husband more than my kids

Yes, you read that right. I love my husband more than my kids!

Recently I read an article, "Why I put my Husband before my kids" discussing about the very same thing and that resounds with me.  It sets me thinking about how this comes about and that is the starting point for this post.

The baby was the Priority


I do want to state that I agree with the writer however, initially it was not like that.  It was the opposite when I had my first child.  After my daughter was born, she was the main focus of my life.  During the first six months of her life, everything I was doing pretty much revolve around her and her schedule.  I was breastfeeding exclusively and focusing almost all my attention on making sure that all her needs are met and more.  I stopped going to Church because the timing was not suitable for her naps and it was hard to breastfeed her as we were in a small church without a separate room or area for me to nurse her.  And that period was also the hardest for my husband.  He was definitely neglected.

Up till today, I thank God for for my husband's patience and immense love for me.  And aside from my husband who was being neglected, someone else was being pushed aside as well, and that person was ME.  I was slowly ignoring my personal needs and desires.

Biblical Hierarchy of Relationships


However, as I mature as a parent, I realized how important God's truth is.  In the biblical hierarchy of relationship, God is first, followed by the spouse and then the children.  The rest of the family is next.  I learnt the personal truth of how allowing God's will into our family helps to preserve and unite us.

Putting my husband first is not about neglecting my children.  It is about making parenting a joint effort.  Allowing my husband to take his role as the head of the household means letting him take responsibility for the coverage of our family.  When my husband takes on his role, it means that he will also become involved in the children's life in more ways than I can imagine.  When I make him a priority, it makes us a team, we become parents who are both involved in our children's lives.  I'm not the only one following our children's growth or development, he is 100% involved too.  For example, when it came time to sleep train our children and night wean them, he was in it with me.  As I could not bear the cries of the little ones, he would be the one to carry them for two to three hours in the night to help them get back to sleep.  And I empowered him to manage the kids and not undermine his capabilities as a father and as the head of the household.  I know many mums who would not think their husband capable nor willing to do that.  Sometimes, i figured it is also because as mothers, we always feel that we can do it better but we need to let that go and empower the fathers so that they can also be more involved in the process.

More importantly, when my spouse realises that he is the most important person to me, after God, it strengthens our relationship.   With a strong marriage and love between us, we become better a example of what a happy and united family looks like to our children.  We also support each other when parenting gets tough.  We have each others back.  It is much easier to face challenges in life when we have someone who is on our side.

As children, my little ones would sometimes ask who do I love the most, hoping the answer would be them.  However, whenever that question comes up, I would gently tell them that in our (the parents) lives, we love God first, then papa/mummy, then them followed by our larger family and then friends.  Initially our elder girl found it hard to come to terms that she is not the most important or most loved in our lives.  We had to explain to her why and also that even for them, the little ones, they have to love God before us, their parents.  And for us, their parents, how we love each other and treat each other with respect is how the children will learn a marriage is supposed to be.

My children has no doubts in their hearts that we (the parents) love them immensely.  I consider myself a very hands-on and involved parent but I believe maintaining a good balance. Now, I would rather be 100% focused on each activity then try to multi-task on numerous.  Being involved in my children's lives does not mean being there 24/7.  It means knowing when to be a 100% there and when to let go.  It also means knowing when to take the time off for the other things in life.

Taking time for myself


In all that, I have also learnt not to lose myself into my roles as a mother or a wife but to take time off to care for my unique person.  I recently shared about this too in my post "Mummy personal time off"

Ready to be Relegated!


We believe that it is an essential part of our household to teach the children that God should take first place in our lives, our individual lives.  I know one day, both my little darlings would probably find their own partners and form their own families.  Maybe it would become hard for us at that time to become displaced from second place to some lower importance but I firmly believe that it is the way it would be.  When I become an in-law, I pray that I would be a kind and understand mum and mum-in-law to my children and their spouses respectively.  And for now, I will start to pray to God that He would bless them with a Godly, loving, caring person.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Human Body Experience at Singapore Science Centre

Last Tuesday was the last day of school for the children and so I decided maybe we should take a little field trip to the Singapore Science Centre.  A few months ago they opened a new exhibition called The Human Body Experience.  This exhibit will be housed in hall 2 of the Science Centre for about two years.  A friend went with her children and quite enjoyed in and I thought it would be an interesting learning experience especially since both my kids are of the age to better understand how the human body works .

And after about a thirty minutes drive from home, we live in the east and the Science Centre is in the western part of Singapore, we finally arrived.  We were greeted by the dinosaurs at the entrance!  


I paid for the tickets, which were $20 per adult and $15 per child (3-12 years old) and we happily went in.

The Human Body Experience

Hall B where the Human Body Experience is located is easy to find using the map that was provided at the cashier.

Once we got to Hall B, you can hardly miss the larger than life entrance of the human body.  Yes, you get into the body from the mouth.  It was a little daunting at first as it looks dark inside and the steps up the tongue is not smooth.  Even the older girl was telling me she was scared.  The little boy obviously wanted me to keep close and hold his hands! 


Once we enter into the mouth, there's a little slide down to the larynx or more commonly known as the voice box.  We could push along the vocal chords which will make noises.


There are many different parts of the body that we would go through including the ribcage which protects the lungs, the cardiovascular system where we see the heart and be bombarded with loud pumping music/sounds that mimics the heart, the stomach which has soft and unstable walls/floors to replicate how ours would feel like.  And the fun part of the exit?  Coming out of the butt! It made the little ones laugh.




With the tickets, you could enter into the Human Body twice.

After we finished the Human Body Experience, we went on to discover the rest of the Science Centre.  It was then that I realised I had never been here with the children!  And it was full of fun things to learn and discover.

The kids stop at one of the activities stations to learn how to build a stable structure.


They also had fun inside the Sound Exhibition in Hall C.  They tried out the Echo Tube, played a ringing sound game to test the accuracy of their sense of hearing and checked out all the various exhibit stations.


We definitely enjoyed ourselves especially since we were there on a rather quiet weekday.  Towards the later part of the afternoon, there were groups of school children who swarmed the place.  The Human Body Exhibition had a long line of more than 30 children in school uniforms!  I guess there were some school field trips being organised on that day as well.  Thankfully, we missed the crowd as we had arrived earlier.   Would we recommend going?  YEAH!