Happy Chinese New Year to all!

We will be celebrating our CNY at our lovely kampung

As usual, we will be travelling back to our home town, a small village somewhere between Ipoh and Taiping, Perak, Malaysia, for our Chinese New Year celebration, a season when we get to meet with families and friends, some we only get to meet once a year.

[If you haven't known already, both me and hubby came from the same village, we grew up together since young. It saves us lots of travelling time to run between 2 places. His parents and my parents are just opposite each other :-)]

To travel in the early morning is our plan, in order to avoid any possible traffic jam, and that it's easier on the kids, as they would usually (and hopefully) continue sleeping throughout the car ride. By the time they wake up, we should be almost reaching our destination already, we don't have to worry on how to entertain them and keep them happy if we travel during the day time. Hope our plan works well (it worked very well last year!).

Back in our kampung, there will be no Internet access. So no blogging, no surfing net, no FB-ing, no need to check personal and work e-mails, and oh, don't even have handphone as I have just terminated the roaming function :-)

We hope to enjoy the good food, great companies, fresh air, abundance of space, and lots of greenery. Just perfect for people like us who stuck in a concrete jungle all year long. And especially wonderful for the kids to experience the real nature. I think they are going to like it.

And oh, we might be spending one night at Cameron Highland. That's so much we are looking forward to.

Till we come back to this little island the week after.

Wishing you all a Happy, Prosperous, Wonderful Chinese Year Year!

恭祝大家: 新年快乐, 万事胜意!
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The sweetest, most loving big brother

When we were in the car yesterday evening, Hao Re told me he wanted to earn more stars for his good boy chart.

HR: 妈吗, 我要做good boy, 要拿很多很多stars!
Me: 喔, 你要拿多少个star 哩?

HR: 我要拿eleven, twelve, thirteen, fifteen, seventy (his counting a bit messy)...... twenty stars!

Me: 你要怎么样才可以拿那么多star?

HR: 我要吃多多饭, 还有面面, 菜菜, 肉肉, 还有要good boy, 要sayang妹妹, 不可以欺负妹妹.

Me: 嗯..... 你拿了十个star就可以买一份礼物了. 你这次要买什么哩?

HR: 我有十个star, 我就要买一辆pink colour的bicycle给妹妹!


HR: 应该是妹妹没有good girl, 他没有吃多多饭, 他没有很多star, 不可以买bicycle, 我有good boy, 我有很多star, 可以买bicycle给妹妹咯!

Me: 哇! 皓皓, 你真的是很good boy叻! 那你自己哩? 你自己要买什么礼物?

HR: NO, 不是买给皓皓, 是买给妹妹, 皓皓有了blue colour的bicycle了, 我们要买pink colour 的bicycle给妹妹!

Me: 好的. 那你叻? 皓皓要叫爸爸买什么给你? (just to double confirm......)

HR: NO, 不是皓皓, 是买pink colour 的bicycle给妹妹! (getting a bit angry thinking I couldn't understand him).

Me: OK, OK, 是买pink colour 的bicycle给妹妹.

HR: 嗯!

Oh, such a loving gorgor! We couldn't be happier knowing him have a such kind heart.

(Note: Xi Yu only has 2 stars till now, as she doesn't eat at home during weekdays and doesn't eat very well during weekends at home due to all the distraction. Probably we have to think of other ways so that she can get more stars, and that her gorgor doesn't have to "pity" her :-))


Last night, we brought the kids to visit one of Hao Re's ex-teachers (in his previous cc), 拜早年. This teacher was very kind to help us taking care of Hao Re when I was admitted to the hospital to deliver Xi Yu. She knew we don't have help here, so she kindly offered to help. She is such a kind soul. She adores Hao Re a lot, and Hao Re likes her too (he used to be very sticky with this teacher when he was in the infant care). We are forever grateful for her kind gesture 得人恩惠万年记! Hubby and I hope to be able to visit this kind lady at least once a year, to keep the relationship going and who knows, one day, we can be of help to them, or she might be able to help us once again :-)

Hao Re can remember this teacher, it seems. He called her teacher xx, let her carry, let her feed him dinner (by the way, she made a delicious dumpling and sour-spicy soup for us!), talked to her, seemed really comfortable in the house. I think he remembers her.


Today, we are the proudest parents as we witnessed our boy showing us the value of
仁 (Kindness)
恩 (Grace)

Well done, boy, keep it up!
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Late post of Xi Yu @ 17 months

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Ops, I thought I would have time to post on Friday night, 21 Jan 2011, the day when Xi Yu turned 17 months. But because I brought the kids to the library and then the roof top playground at Lot 1, I was totally exhausted and the kids were over-stimulated, especially Xi Yu. So ended up I have a bad headache before I went to bed. When I just managed to fall asleep, Xi Yu fussed big time and made my headache so bad that I lost my temper on her. Ended up hubby was angry that I lost temper and behaved like that, made my headache worse. At the end, Xi Yu only managed to go back sleep after 1 hour or so.

After so many months, the only "problem" I have with her is still on her sleeping habit, sigh. It's not a problem to put her to bed nowadays, which I am very grateful of. It's the night waking, for don't know what reasons - tried changing diaper, giving her water, giving her milk, applying moisturiser (seen her scratching), doing a bit of massaging, singing to her, patting her, carrying her (she hates to be carried at night time though), checking the temperature (we don't sleep in air-con, just touch her legs and face to see if the fan is too strong since it's quite cool at night nowadays), etc, etc. I still haven't gotten a clue what she is not comfortable with - tummy pain (wind), teething? I just hope I don't lose my temper on her again :-(

Other than the night time, she is a wonderful toddler to be with. Very cute actually. She is independent, she learns things fast, she eats well, she is very active, walking/running/jumping, climbing up and down all around the house. She is a very happy kid, I love her laughter (she can do fake laugh and fake cry, very very cute).

She is speaking more and more words, able to repeat some sounds/words after us. I can say she starts to speak already at 16+ months. She called Baba (her first word) before she turned 1 year old. She continues to babble. The cutest thing is when she tries to read a book :-) Oh, and she starts to sing already, before starting to talk!! I told you she is going to be a very talkative girl.

She eats very well and sleeps well at the nanny. That made her a sumo - she is nearing 13kg at 17 months!!! Some of Hao Re's friends at 3 years old weigh the same as our sumo :-) And she is tall too! Don't know how tall exactly, but I am guessing she is over 85cm already. Can only measure her height during her next jab at Dr Keoy's clinic.

She is getting better at self feeding. If we don't bother how big the mess she makes and how much food actually does go into her stomach, then we can consider she can self feed already :-) But if that matters, which it does, then she is not quite ready for self feeding, keke. No complain as I didn't spend much time on her to teach/guide her on self feeding.

Not sure what else to update. Till the next month bah.

Still the same wish - please grow up happily and healthily, my dear girl :-) And please forgive Mama for losing temper on you, okay, tell your Baba that you have never got angry with me because of all the scolding you got from me, it's all for your own good, right :-)
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Update on the good boy chart

Hao Re earned his first 10 stars and being rewarded with a bicycle!

We started using a good boy chart in late December 2011, hoping to help Hao Re building up good habits. In about 3 weeks time, he has earned 10 stars by being a good boy.

Hao Re earned his first 10 stars for his good boy chart

He earned his stars mainly by finishing his dinner, don't bully meimei, going to bed without fuss when I ask him to. We took it easy this time round as this is his first chart. Slowly we are going to make it a little bit more difficult, like he has to fulfill all "requirements" before he gets a star, than one star for fulfilling each requirement.

The most important thing is it works! He understands how it works and he tries to be a good boy. Not only he does those we have listed out, over the past few weeks, he even helped me to keep the toys without me asking him! He sincerely wants to be a good boy. He is very proud of himself being a good boy, and he enjoys the praises from us :-) With him eating more and less picky, and sleeping well at night, he is happier and he hasn't thrown a tantrum in the past few weeks.

So, as his parents, we bought him a bicycle as we promised (we wanted to buy him a bicycle even without this chart). Brought him to Kiddy Palace last Friday and he chose this one. We bought this 18" one rather than the 16" one that the sales said is suitable for his age. Since he is tall enough to pedal, buying a bigger one means he can use it for longer :)

Here, we present to you, our good boy with his brand new bicycle!

(Note: Thanks to Jane who shares this brilliant idea on using a good boy chart. Greatly appreciated!)

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A day of shopping and a day of park hopping

Saturday was a very rare shopping day for our family.

Hubby left for work after breakfast and I spent a great day with the kids at home. Both were behaving so well that I really enjoyed the day. We left the house at about 3pm. I wanted to bring them to the Jacobs Ballas Children Garden for a quick round before meeting up with hubby. As soon as we arrived at the garden, it started to pour! Guess we were really lucky, else we would be soaking wet. We went straight to pick up hubby instead since Hao Re was sleeping (he fell asleep all of a sudden as a few minutes before we arrived at the garden, he was still chatting with me).

We headed to Ion Orchard. Felt so strange to be there, felt like we were aliens. We just chop chop went to buy shoes for the kids and for hubby, then went off already, think we were only there for less than an hour.

Wanted to have dinner at the Holland Village. But it's the same thing. As soon as we arrived, the rain started to pour. So we dined at the Bukit Timah Plaza instead, went for the Taiwanese food.

Shopping continued at Courts at Bukit Timah, as I wanted to get an oven to start my baking adventure. They are having relocation sales, I got an 28 litres electric oven (Cornell) at $99 only. Hope the kids and I would be able to enjoy baking soon :-) I have zero knowledge and experience in baking, so everything has to start from skretch.

Sunday was the usual park hopping day.

First we went to the Lower Seletar Reservior Park. I heard from a fellow mummy that the park was newly renovated with new waterplay area fitted. Hao Re was excited as this was the first time he brought his own bicycle to a park (more on this in the next post).

When we arrived, Xi Yu has just fallen asleep and she continued to sleep in my arms for the next one hour. Think she must have felt so comfortable to sleep in my arms as that hasn't happened for a long time already. Hao Re went off to play at the waterplay area with Baba. I didn't get to see them play as I was hiding under the shade. But I can tell from the photos, he enjoyed it a lot!

Hao Re at the Lower Seletar Reservior Park.

He got all soaking wet! From the photos, it does look like it is suitable for young toddler as the water is quite shallow and the floor is non-slippery.

When Xi Yu finally woke up (it's a very nice day with lots of breeze), Hao Re has stopped playing in the waterplay area. So Xi Yu didn't get to try out the waterplay (good for us, as that means doesn't have to change her :-)). Hao Re's friend, Shaun joined in, as they live nearby. Hao Re and Shaun went off for cycling while Xi Yu has her lunch.

Just woke up from her morning nap and having lunch. Look a bit blur-ish :-)

When Hao Re and Shaun has enough of cycling, they moved on to sand play. Xi Yu joined in. They played for quite a long while until passed noon and it's time for lunch.

This is not really an area for sand play. There is no playground at this park. Somehow the kids are able to entertain themselves and as happy :-)

This video shows how the kids are enjoying themselves. Hao Re used this as a platform to dance to his own music and he didn't forget Xi Yu, dragged her to join in too :-)

We really hope they grow up loving each other and be best friend for each other for the rest of their life (if we are not going to have another kid)!

We then moved on to the Bottle Tree Park for lunch. It's very nearby. Just one turn. The Japanese restaurant there is not too bad. Initially we thought we would let Hao Re try the longkang fishing. But to our dismay, it smelled so bad and looked dirty. We didn't manage to just close our eyes and let Hao Re go ahead with it. He was very eager to go in. Since we were going to drive pass the Zoo, we told him we were going to see fishes and other animals at the Zoo instead. He was reluctant to leave but at least he didn't throw a tantrum. Just a bit grumpy when we left :-P

We spent about 2 hours at the Zoo. Watched the Rainforest Fight Back show. Hao Re didn't like it when the "bad guy" was at work and he wanted to leave. We managed to get him watch the entire show and when the show ended, he didn't want to leave :-)

Both kids were so energetic today. Despite all these activities, both didn't knock out after the Zoo trip though it's almost 4pm already. We just let them be. Dinner was home cooked.
Captured these photos at home. I love when they dress in the matching shirt (the only set they have). I asked Xi Yu kissed Hao Re, and she did!

We have a peaceful night as Hao Re eventually knocked out at 7pm, while doing a jigsaw puzzles and skipped his dinner. Xi Yu mangaged to hang on to 8pm and knocked out totally :-)

Look forward to the next weekend!
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Our super active and talkative girl

Being active............
At the age at 15-16 months, she already knows how to jump with 2 feet by holding onto the cot railing. Sometimes she jumps without holding onto anything, though only able to move a few centimetres off the ground. One of her favourite activities is to jump and run around on our bed and her cot bed. There was one night, she was doing the same, and a small accident happened. She knocked her forehead onto the bed frame (I think as I didn't see it happen). She cried for a short 10 seconds or so. Then she started running and jumping about. I only realised how bad was the knock when I saw the "baluku" on her forehead! Our hot chili padi is so tough, everyone sees this photo would say "ouch!" but she only cried for that short while and continued playing like nothing happened!

The little monkey jumping on the bed. She fell down and knocked her head. Out came a baluku and she continued to play!

As soon as her feet steps on the ground in the outdoor environment, she RUNS away so quickly, she seldom walks. She runs so fast that we literally have to run to catch her! She climbs up chairs, sofa and other heights effortlessly. When she can't reach a certain thing, she takes a stool and stand on it (learned from her gorgor) trying to reach out for the particular thing, often a toy. But she doesn't know how or not confident enough to get down from a small stool when she has a toy in her hand, and would stand there and cry for help:-)

At the age of 16 months, she knows and more importantly, she dares to walk up and walk down stairs WITHOUT holding on to the handle/wall for support! Even Hao Re, who is an early walker (at 10 months) and an excellent explorer (very daring to explore new things) didn't master this skill till he was a lot older, probably pass 2 years old. This little girl is just amazing!

Being talkative............
She is also very talkative. When people asked has she started talking, I would say no. Then they would say, huh, so big already still doesn't how to call Mama or Baba? For some people, the definitely of  a baby starts to speak is when she starts to utter the first meaningful and understandable word and use it correctly, for example, call Mama to the right person. By that definition, Xi Yu started to talk at 13-14 months, when she can call Mama, Baba, Gorgor and some other words. While for my own definition, a baby is considered started speaking when she is able to repeat simple words after us quite well. She is learning more and more words in the last 2 months. And she is starting to repeat after us. Probably another month or two, she can speak a lot better.

Well, you may ask, how talkative can she be at 16 months? Watch the video below.

This video shows how eager she is to speak to me in the first part of the video. The second part of it shows how well she can take our instructions asking her to do different thing.

She is turning 17 months this Friday. She is growing up so much and so fast now, so I think there will be other updates to be done coming Friday.

Stay tune to see more of her photos and videos :-)
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A non-picky eater

Make our life so much easier!

Hao Re was excellent in terms of food intake was he was a baby/young toddler. He would eat everything happily - green leafy vegetable, all sort of vegetables, all sort of fruits, meats, noodle, rice, mushrooms, toufu etc, I couldn't think of anything that he rejected during that period, that was when since he started solid about 6 months old till he was 2+ years old. I had a very easy life, not having to worry what to cook for him. He ate his meals together with us on the dining table. He was such a good eater, that every mum dreams for. I was secretly very proud of myself, made myself think that this was the results of my hard work, of feeding him home made puree and be strict on his diet.

But not for long. It all went downhill when we went back for Chinese New Year last year, soon after he turned 2 years old. He was not eating when we were back at our hometown, but we thought that could be because of the strange environment and unfamiliar with porpor's cooking. After we came back from our 2 weeks long holiday, he lost interest in food. Also around the same time, we were less strict about his diet and let him snack on candy, chocolate, yakurt/vitagen drinks etc. He started to become fussy and picky on his food. But come to think of it, who to blame?!! Who brought him to holiday for 2 weeks and who gave him the snack?

Luckily he still ate pretty well at his childcare, not sure if it's peer pressure. But we were just happy that he ate. He would still eat when he was not in the childcare, but in very small portion and was very picky on the food. Then he went a further step to banning all sort of vegetables for almost half a year. He only ate meat, else he wouldn't eat at all. Didn't like fruits too. Though mushroom and toufu continued to be his favourites. This picky eater really got on my nerve and it's such a hard time for me, worrying he didn't have enough food. Only then I understand the anxiety of those mums who have picky eaters since they were young. Must have been even tougher for them.

But I kept telling myself to be cool. At least he ate his lunch well at his childcare. At least he still drinks quite a reasonable good amount of milk every day. He still maintains a relatively good weight. He is growing well. Just didn't like to food. No matter it's home cooked or restaurant or food court. We managed to keep the cool and managed not to force feeding. And we also didn't use sweets as a reward to entice him. We just let him be. Offered him the same healthy food. If he ate, he ate. If he didn't, he didn't. I tried very hard (pretending) not to be bothered with it.

And finally. Finally. After a long half a year or so, he started to like his green vegetables again! When a kid starts to eat vegetables, it means he starts to eat almost everything again! He is so much better now. Not (too) picky and not (too) fussy. Though still not as good as when he was young, but I am not complaining. And it's understandable that toddlers this age would be a lot picky than before. So yes, I am so happy!

Since August, he no longer had his dinner at the childcare. Ordering tingkat food didn't work for us. So ended up I have to rush and cook dinner for him (and myself) everyday. Cooking for a picky eater is no fun. But that was history, phew! Starting a couple of months ago, he eats most dinner happily and maybe 2-3 out of the 5 weekdays, he would finish the whole bowl of rice. With the introduction of the Good Boy Chart a few weeks ago, he is even more willing to finish up his dinner.

Just last night, I was so tired after work (think I stared at the computer too much and didn't have enough breaks in between). I was thinking of to prepare a very simple meal when I was driving to fetch the kids. Ended up, I defrosted a piece of cod fish, washed and cut a medium piece of broccoli, put broccoli on top of the fish, placed them onto a plate, and steamed them in the rice cooker while the rice was being cooked. And ta la, a dinner is done. The simplest preparation needed and literally no cooking was involved. Just added a few drops of soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil.

End results - Hao Re finished to entire bowl of rice + cod fish + broccoli. I couldn't be happier :-) Way to go, my dear boy! My life (of being a full time working mum) is just going to be easier, I hope......

Steamed cod fish and broccoli served with steamed rice.

But, but, but..... there is one thing that I still have to work hard one - that he has his meal in front of the TV! Yes, yes, yes, it's a bad habit that we cultivate, we did that when we were in desperation getting him to eat. Probably it's just as bad as using sweets to entice him? Oh well, we have already done that. I am hoping that I can help him take off from the TV soon. Will have to do it slowly, when he gets more and more interested in food. The good thing though is he is watching tv less and less, and he hasn't touched iPhone for a long time, I take this as a very good sign.

I would try to take as much photos as possible for the simple dinner that I prepare for Hao Re to share. You are what you eat, eating healthily is definitely a good way to boast their health.
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Our budding artist!

Our little girl did a abstract painting all by herself!

I was busy attending to Hao Re, who was doing some craft. Xi Yu wanted to get involved. So I gave her a paint brush and the small tubs of paint. She refused to be buckled up on her high chair, wanted to stand on the dining chair just like her gorgor. She did it all freestyle without any guidance or assistance, dipped in the paint and painted on the paper.

When I checked on her a few minutes later, she got paint all over, her face (she wanted to taste the paint/brush), her romper, her hands and her legs. But she was very focused and enjoyed doing it. So I put up with the messiness and let her continue. About 10 minutes later, ta-la, see the painting that she has done, what a wonderful masterpiece - clear and clean strokes, nice mixtures of colours with black being the dominant!!

Our little artist at work! Don't play-play, she is so serious about it and the outcome is just so nice!
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Outdoor activities resumed!!!

Just do it!

Hubby was so busy at work that he is not only working late, but also have to work on weekends as well. And it's become more and more often that he is requested to work on weekends. Sigh, when would the locals be more aware of work-life balance? Guess working for a small local company, with the boss is a married woman with no children, isn't really a good idea? That she would never think that knocking off work on time is necessary, and that weekends should be reserved for the family?

On one hand, I kinda try to be understanding and try to be a supportive wife, but on the other hand, I just can't let go of the great family time we have on weekends, and how much the kids miss their daddy. It's not a wise idea for hubby to change his job now, so I guess we have to deal with the situation. It took me sometime to accept it and to change my expectation. I hope I am on the right track.

It's not so much about handling the kids at home alone, as Xi Yu has grown up a lot now and she is pretty independent (though still likes to whine). But it's more of that we have been bringing the kids out for fun for almost every weekend, and so it's very hard to stay at home the whole day, without breathing in some fresh air and seeing some greenery.

I had a few bad weekends whereby I lost my patience with the kids. I was so tired at the end of the day that I became very grumpy and I showed black face to the kids. It's all no good. It all has to be changed. But I was not confident to bring them out on my own.

Then on the 2nd January 2011, I stopped worrying. I told myself just to try it out, maybe it's not as bad as I would have thought. On that Sunday, Hao Re was starting to fuss when I refused to switch on the TV. Then he said "Mama, it's not raining, let's go to the Zoo!". I thought for a minute and decided to just bite the bullet and try it out. So off we went to the Zoo, me and the two kids.

And it turned out all right! We spent 2 hours in the Zoo, the kids were managable and we have a pretty fun afternoon. Though we missed Baba a lot, really missed him. Both kids knocked out on the way home and they both continued to sleep for 2 hours. I have a "free" Sunday all to myself! It worked out so well that there was no shouting, no fussing kids and no unhappy mum. It's all PEACE!

In our record book - 1st time to the Zoo with just mummy and the 2 kids (02 Jan 2011)

For the last weekend, with a bit of planning, the kids even got to spend some time with daddy, who had to report to work.

On Saturday, we sent hubby to work after breakfast. Then we went to the Singapore Arts Museum, as it's near to hubby's office. We explored the museum for about 2 hours. I realised both Hao Re and Xi Yu don't like to be confined within the 4 walls, they wanted to go outside. Luckily we first went to the 吴冠中's exhibit and there was a big painting on panda and it's got the kids all excited when I added in some stories/descriptions. That's the exhibit we enjoyed the most. Ironically, what Hao Re enjoyed the most was when he saw some uncles doing some renovation work near to the staircase, he stood there and watched them using different tools for like 10-15 minutes, and he admired them so much! Then hubby came to look for us for lunch. We have our lunch at the Japanese restaurnat at the musuem at Queens Street. We have the entire restaurant to ourselves, and the food was not too bad, which made it quite an enjoyable lunch. I was happy, hubby was happy and the kids were very happy to see thier daddy after the museum tour. And the best thing for me was, both kids knocked out during the car ride and both continued to sleep till almost 6pm (when reached home at about 2.30pm). What a nice day!

Inside the Arts Museum. See the photo on the right, that's the panda painting that saved my day!

Having fun with the huge spectacle. The kids definitely like outdoor a lot more than indoor :-)

By the way, it's a great disappointment with what it has to offer, and have to pay $10. It's not only 5% of what the musuems in Europe, particularly in England, have to offer, plus it's all free! I certainly think they can do better job than this, at least to make it free so to encourage more people visiting the musuems (or rather, name it gallery than a museum so more local contemporary arts work, as Singapore is a very young conntry, can be displayed and to encourage more young artists?). It's so desserted that we only bumped into a few people throughout the 2 hours. And the people working there (those guarding the paintings/exhibits) are so unfriendly, they only said one word "Don't touch!" with a grumpy face and nothing else. Not sure if we would go back. If we do, it's because of its location.

Since Saturday was headed off so well, we did it again on Sunday (yes, hubby has to work even on Sunday!). Hubby dropped us off at the Botanical Garden at the Tangling Gate. Initially wanted to bring them to the Jacobs Ballas Children Garden, but Hao Re chose feeding fishes than the waterplay, showing how much fun he had on his birthday feeding the fishes. We spent about 2 hours at the Botanical Garden, feeding fishes, running on the grass, climbing the tree, chasing a dog, spotting insects, etc. It's a cloudy day so it wasn't hot at all though we were there near noon. It's drizzling a little but didn't get us wet.

Starting off with feeding fishes and watching the pigeons fight for the food (not allowed to feed them).

Put the little girl onto the tree, she was not scared at all. Hao Re didn't want to try :-)

Hao Re spotted the insect while I didn't! He was so protective of it that he stood there for a long time saying "不可以欺负它, 叫它快快回家找妈妈!"

They just love the great outdoor! They started to play with each other and appreciate each other accompany. Oh sibling love!

Two hours later, hubby came to pick us up and we went to the Tangling Tree for lunch. Both of them have already have their lunch (I cooked and brought along as they both ate better with homecook food). So they went off to play at the playground at the restaurtant while hubby and I having our lunch and a good nice chat :-) No better way than this to enjoy a (kinda) quiet meal (if you ignore noise made by all the children there). Hao Re enjoyed scooping the sand, playing with the tractors, etc. Xi Yu as usual, just touched and played with everything she can get hold of. It started to drizzle and we have to leave the place, else we would stay a little longer to at least finish off a nice cup of coffee without disturbance. I sure will go back to this child friendly restaurant.

Hao Re slept till 9.30am (which was very rare) and so he was full of energy and didn't want to nap. Xi Yu only took a short nap during the car ride and woke up immediately when I stopped the engine. I didn't force them to take nap. Hao Re was in such a good mood today that he even asked me to switch off the TV! He said "妈妈,不要看电视啦,看电视不好的,我们关掉啦。我们很久没有colouring咯,我们去玩colouring啦!". So we switched off the TV and we did almost 2 hours of colouring, cutting, pasting, and puzzles.

Best of all, both of them knocked out at 8pm! First time in the history! I have the whole Sunday night to my own, it's been almost 1.5 years since I last enjoyed one. Oh, it's a nice Sunday!

With the success of the "trial runs", I am sure bringing the kids out to the outdoor than to keep them at home for the whole day. But of course, the best thing would be hubby doesn't have to work on the weekends and we can continue enjoy our family time.

No matter what it is, I keep to my philosophy - stay positive and be happy! Look forward to the next weekend.
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Happy birthday, my dear 老公!

Ops, I was late to post this :-)

Hubby's birthday was on the 8th Jan, but he has to work though it's on a Saturday, so we had the mini celebration on the 7th night instead. We went to the Casa Verde Restaurant at the Botanical Garden. They serve pretty nice Italian food, their pizza and pasta are very nice. Nothing fancy, just a nice dinner, for the daddy to spend some quality time with his precious :-)

The proud daddy with his two precious!

Dear hubby, hope this coming year would be a better year for you. Though you have to endure with the long working hours for the coming months, it sure will get better. No present for you except that I promise to take good care of the kids, with minimal/no shouting/yelling/scolding from now on :-)  Wish you good health and be happy. Hao Re, Xi Yu and me love you very, very much!
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Arty crafty #10

Be stripy and holey :-)

This is one of the simplest, easiest and fun crafts to do. Suitable for toddlers of Hao Re's age (3 years old).

Materials:1. Two A4 colour paper (Hao Re chose yellow and blue).
2. One A4 colour card (Hao Re chose orange).
3. A hole puncher
4. Glue.
5. A pair of scissors (optional)

1. Make the 2 A4 colour papers into stripes of different size (you can either tear it or cut it using a pair of scissor).
2. Use the hole puncher to punch holes onto the stripes randomly.
3. When you are happy with the holes, glue those holey stripes onto the A4 card, alternating the 2 colours.
4. You are free to glue it to any patterns that you want to.
5. DONE!

This is a nice craft to do. Good for the development of fine motor skills of toddler (cutting, punching and gluing). And for the creativity.
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The Good Boy Chart

Inspired by one of my fellow blogger mums, Jane, we have started the "Good Boy Chart" with Hao Re, in particular, though we also prepared one for Xi Yu, so that Hao Re won't question us why meimei doesn't have one.

I googled for the printable chart and managed to find a simple and good looking one. There was one night, a couple of weeks ago, when all of us were in good mood, no one was throwing tantrum, so that's the great opportunity for us to explain to Hao Re about the chart.

We told him that he is a good boy. But he can do even better. We asked him question on how to become a good boy, and we helped him along with the answers. We decided that, for now, these following few things would get him a good boy star - finish all the food on his bowl, don't bully meimei the whole day, go to bed on time, take shower without making a fuss, and be diaperless the entire day without any accident.

Then we continued on to explain once he does either of this, he would be given a star to be pasted on the chart. Once he has got 10 stars, we would give him a reward. He seemed to understand it, but not entirely. But never mind that. We kept on talking about what's the first reward he wants to have. And we decided that it would be a bicycle!

So there we go! Over the past 2 weeks, Hao Re has got himself 5 stars so far, mainly by finishing up his food (which is the easiest to quantify and actually that's our main purpose to put up this chart, hoping he can eat better).

Over the past 2 weeks, whenever he earned himself a star, we would praise him lots, make it a big thing. Now I think he does fully understand about this chart. He said he want to be a good boy, to earns enough stars so that he can ask Baba to buy him a bicycle. I sincerely hope this works out well for him and we can make use of this to instill good behaviour in him!

Well done, son!

While for Xi Yu, the only way she can earn a star is to finish her food without much fussing. So far she only got one star since she only gets to eat at home during weekends. And we haven't decided what to get for her when she has earned all the 10 stars. Will do that when she starts to earn more stars :-)

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Celebrating Hao Re's birthday

"Your children need your presence more than your presents." ~Jesse Jackson - This is one of the meaningful quotes I read on Facebook.

Keeping that in mind, plus that we don't have the habit of buying birthday presents and that we don't want to have a birthday party since we don't have families here, I have decided to take one day off work to bring Hao Re out for the whole day of fun! Hubby was busy at work so didn't manage to take the day off. My little man was very happy to have mummy to himself for a full 12 hours!

The day started off as usual, dropping off Xi Yu to her nanny. We have breakfast with hubby then we dropped him off at the train station. We then drove to his childcare centre. We don't want him to think why everyone has a birthday celebration except him, so we bought a cake and let him do the usual birthday song and cake cutting thingy with his classmates.

It's the second day since the school started, so there were a few new comers who cried non-stopping and very loud. The teachers have their hands full with these newbies. They have to carry the toddlers while setting up the cake for us. It's way too noisy. So I decided not to stay long, and also because Hao Re was very grumpy and sticky to me as he was scared that I would leave him at school. We were only there for about 10 minutes, didn't even stay to taste the cake.

Talking about the cake, I have totally forgotten about this. So I just bought the cake from the nearest cake shop near our house. I bought 2 cakes as they don't have big one and one small one may not be enough for all of them.
No nice customised cake for Hao Re.

Cake cutting at his childcare.

His teacher has prepared a birthday present for him. That got him happy. Started to smile. And when we said bye-bye to the teachers, he knew I was not leaving him there. So his mood started to lift up :-) He was happily making faces for the camera in front of his childcare.

I love the way he laughs like the photo at the top left. The bottom right is also one of my favourites as whenever he does this, meaning I am going to get a kiss from him :-)

Then we headed off for the fun! Initially I was planning to bring him to the Jacobs Ballas Children Garden. But I made a wrong turning as I was too busy talking to my mum on the phone :-) So we ended up at the main side of the Botanical Garden, at the Tangling Gate. It's a nice mistake. Instead of him going crazy on the waterplay or the slides at the tree house, we have a nice walk at the beautiful morning garden (actually he was pushed on the stroller, he said he was too tired to walk :-)). We saw some nice plants, spotted some insects and some beautiful butterflies.

Taking a break as he needed to clean off the sand that those into his sandal (he is a clean freak!)

He got a bottle of orange juice from the vending machine. He placed the bottle on the bench and it's dirtied. He was super unhappy to touch the dirt and asked me to clean his hand (photo on the right).

It started to get hot as it's a very sunny morning. So we went back to the carpark. It's another nice surprise came by. We walked pass the information counter and saw there was a small vending machine for fish food. Meaning we can feed the fishes in the pond. We got a small pack of fish food for $1. Hao Re was having so much fun feeding the fishes. The exciting part was that those fishes would jump and catch the food, and splash some water onto Hao Re. He was laughing non-stop :-)

Having a great fun feeding fishes at Botanical Garden.

After finishing one pack of fish food, he asked for another pack. Since it's his birthday, and we were not rushing, I let him get another pack. He continued the fun.

Kids can be happy with very simple thing. Life is simple, simple is the most beautiful thing in life! It's us adults who usually think too much and something overdo it :-P

He asked for another pack as he saw fishes at another section of the pond and he said he hasn't fed those fishes and they were still hungry. I didn't let him this time. We moved on to our next destination. The Plaza Singapura, where we would meet up with Baba for lunch.

Since we still have a bit of time, we walked around the mall. I asked him if he wanted a birthday present. He said yes. So we walked in to a toy shop, walked out empty handed after 10 minutes or so. He said he wanted a nice new shirt. But when we walked pass a clothes shop, he refused to go in. Then we walked pass the "Build a Bear" shop, and he said he wanted a bear. I asked him again, and he said he was very sure!

There we went! Guided him to choose the least expensive one :-) And he chose the brown puppy. Went to pick a sound for the puppy and he picked "I love you". Then went to stuff the puppy with cotton. The staff slipped her hands and the cotton flew all over and landed on me and Hao Re. She kept apologising. I told her it's okay, it's actually made it a lot more fun for Hao Re. Then we went to give him a "bath". Then keyed in the details in the PC. And we decided to name it "Brownie" :-)

Hao Re chose this birthday present - his little puppy, Brownie :-)

We then had lunch at Swensens. Nothing special. It's not a nice lunch. Hubby arrived late as he was stuck at work, and the birthday boy started to get cranky. He merely ate a small sausage, then koala-ed onto me and dozed off. He took about 2 hours nap. When he woke up, we were already at Polliwogs at the East Coast Park!
Polliwogs is not a new place to him. He has been here for maybe the 3rd or the 4th time. Since it was a working day and the school has just resumed, it's not too crowded. He enjoyed running around. The playyard at Polliwogs is kind of simple and minimal, but I think it's just enough to keep kids at this age happy.

Hao Re at the Polliwogs indoor playground area.

It's a hot day. He saw a couple of kids went out to try on the bouncing castle, so he followed suit. It's actually pretty nice, but just that it's simple too hot! He had three rounds before we gave up on the glaring sun.

Hao Re is very good with climbing up and sliding down the bouncing castle, regardless of its size.

Went back in to have more fun indoor. He was very happy jumping in and out of the ball pits. Sleeping on the balls, throwing the balls, collecting balls of a particular colour (red) and putting them at a corner he spotted.

My handsome little man enjoys the play.

There is only one small swing at the playground. Strange enough, not many kids are interested in this. Hao Re had a go at it, and he was happy with it! The best thing for me today was to see so many smiles on his face and hear so much laughter of him, priceless!

Swing, swing, swing!

He told me he was hungry. Got him pack of chocolate milk. Half way drinking the milk, he said he wanted some noodle. He hasn't been eating much the whole day so I thought he was really hungry, after all the running around. Ordered the spaghetti for him, and he only took 3 small mouths. Okay, can't blame him, won't expect the food would be nice there right. He just continued drinking the milk and then went off the play again.

Taking a break.

Then the pretty C arrived to join in the fun! Both of them shared the same birthday year/month/day! And see they put on matching colour clothes! See the photo at the top middle, it looks like Hao Re was asking C out for a date :-) The both of them enjoyed each other accompany and they kind of "clicked" :-)

Two birthday toddlers - the pretty C and the handsome HR :-)

After about 2.5 hours at Polliwogs, I decided it's time to go. When he saw the bicycles, he insisted to get on a bike before leaving the park. So I let him cycle for about 20-30 minutes. He asked me to rent a bicycle and cycled together with him when he saw a family doing that. I have to say no to him as I was too tired already. Luckily he was willing to leave by then.

Cycling at the East Coast Park.

Fetched Xi Yu on our way home. When we finally arrived home, it's 7.45pm! We left the house for exactly 12 hours! I was so tired that I couldn't move my butt to wipe out a dinner for Hao Re. So I just offered him some biscuits after showered him.

The last program of the day was reserved for Baba. Hao Re spent some quality time with daddy building this 3D wooden puzzle car. Okay, it's daddy who did the work mostly, and it's not the nicest car, but it's the process that counts, that Hao Re got to spend some special time with Baba on his birthday :-)

The 3D car Baba made for Hao Re.

And then it's the milk feed and then lala land!

The rewards for me, is that, he hugged me tight and said "Mama, thank you, I love you!" before he dozed off. What can be better than this?

Dear Hao Re, Mama and Baba love you too!
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Happy 3rd birthday my dear boy!






妈妈爱你很多很多,爸爸也爱你很多很多, 妹妹也一样!愿你这一年过得快乐,健康成长!


I am having really mixed feeling now. Glad that Hao Re has grown up so well, being a really good boy, sensible, loving, never got us worry on anything, and most importantly (for us) is that he is really a very happy and healthy boy. On the other hand, I feel that he is growing up so fast that I can hardly catch up with his development, what he knows or doesn't know, I certainly don't have enough time to spend among the two of them. Just hope that Hao Re has never felt that he is neglected in any way.

He learns things so fast that I think he actually is bored at times. I often chat with him about school during our car ride home after I fetch him from his childcare centre. Not much, just to find out what he has done on that day, and sometimes he would tell me a little story or sing me a new song. We are very relax with his "academics" so we have never bothered to ask what's the teachers teach in class. Through our conversation with him, we know that he is on track with the usual ABC, 123, etc, and his teachers told us he has no problem at all in class, so we take that it's all good. At home, it's purely play time for him. He initiates the play or whatever he wants to do. It has been all good.

Major things that happened to Hao Re in the past year was that he left the previous childcare in August and started the existing one. He had settled down well, and indeed we can feel that he is happier in this existing one, it works for him. We couldn't be happier.

He has also stopped being picky on his food, which he had rejected vegetables for almost 6 months. Now he likes greens and I sincerely hope this is going to last a long time!

No major illness this year (touch wood!). Been ill 2-3 times, the usual flu and cough. He has not been taking any medicine for almost half a year now. It has been very encouraging and I hope he can continue to build up a stronger and stronger immunity.

His weight is still hovering around 15kg. Last year was between 14-15kg, this year it will be around 15-16kg. It is so hard to add one extra kilo, with him sometimes rejecting food, is always active, etc. But I am not complaining as long as he is healthy. And he is about 98cm now.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAO RE! (it's 12 midnight now).

I am taking leave to bring him out for a full day of celebration! Will write again and post photos of my handsome at the end of today or the next day. Gonna head to the bed now and hug the birthday boy to my dreamland. Good night :-)
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