Monthly Archives: December 2015

Conclusion of another year 

It was rather odd to be penning this down, as early as in November.

I had 54 scheduled posts as of the point of writing this. Once again, it reiterated how much I favoured early preparation which extended to a large part of my life and personal philosophy. Hence, do not be exceptionally surprised if you were still reading about our 2015 days in 2016.

Only time sensitive factors such as the turn of a year would make me insert a time sensitive post. In the past year, I had written more, I had the opportunity of capturing more family moments and we were blessed with quality family time. Since 2014, I had been in a position where I was able to enjoy work life balance, or some could say work life blend.

We had started the year by going on a Royal Caribbean Cruise to Penang in Jan, Bali in February, Japan in May, Staycation at RWS in Oct/Dec as well as Japan again in Dec. I was pleased that I got to visit the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route and to have brought the boys for skiing. Apart from the occasional travel, the boys were treated to frequent visits to places of interest such as SEA Aquarium, Universal Studios Singapore, Gardens By the Bay, Zoo, Bird Park, East Coast Park & more.

Z learned rollerblading this year while X took on cycling on his hand-me-down training bicycle. Z also picked up more swimming strokes and was now on the verge of conquering his butterfly strokes. X gained water confidence and was learning how to blow bubbles from Z.

Z was well acquainted with learning spelling on his own at his preschool, X was getting along well with his Bambino Luk. Z  spent the year learning to read well while X was learning to speak. From mere words, X could string a sentence together. He had an iconic and hilarious look when he went, “I think…” We could literally see the light bulb appearing next to his head.

For the later half of the year, it was very much about supporting Z for his rehearsals and preparing him for primary one. Sometimes, we were so busy with Z that we seemingly spent less time with X. X was very involved in the entire adventure of preparing his brother for primary school and even acted as his mock ‘new classmate’.

In the same breath, we spent more 1:1 time with X when we dropped Z off for his martial arts classes, art lessons and more. I guessed everything added up. The boys started to fight more these days and we were training them to negotiate and to think win-win.

With regards to marriage, Mr H & I were pretty much same old, same old. Preparing Z for P1 had been such a mega family project that we spent time working on that together, and we had so many activities that it was really unbelievable that the year had zoomed past. A life partner had to be a life’s project partner. In fact, for the later half of the year, we were working on our holiday itineraries and catching up on so many missed movies that we both enjoyed in the past.

Edited:

There was a bit of trouble towards the end of the year, which was a lesson, a really expensive lesson. We learned to be sincere but yet discerning to people around us, we learned to be careful in helping people and we learned that trusting people was an art which had to be continually reviewed. Otherwise, 2015 was mostly happy and good.

2016 promised to be bigger, better and I hoped everyone around us would enjoy health, peace and happiness. Happy New Year to my dear friends!

Z’s Graduation Concert

We received the tickets to the concert a week prior to the concert. I had been most curious to know our allocated seats. 
  

The day before the concert – Z gave me a full run down on the dialogue in the musical from all roles. He knew what everyone’s lines were. It turned out that the whole class knew the lines too.

The morning of the concert – Z told me about what each of them was wearing, discussed with me if he would cry at the concert, if friendship was really like water and would keep flowing, if friendship presisted through death and he continued to talk about what they would be doing in the night. I bought him a Forever Friends’ Graduation Bear. He was mightily pleased with it but was very confused by the association with “Forever Friends” on his program sheet. Me too!

Preparing & heading out for the concert

  

  

The kids had to report by 6pm. We were 10 minutes’ late. I walked Z up to his makeup room and hanged out at the reception area. I discovered we had photos to buy. 5R cost $4 per piece and 8R onwards was $10 per piece.

At the reception

The wall of photos to choose

I was very impressed with the graduation kit which included a  graduation ring!!

There were also studio shots which we didn’t even know was part of the package. What a pleasant surprise!

On the Graduation concert – It was as professional as what you would expect of a musical. They started with the children filing into the hall. They sang a song, received their graduation rings and had to get ready for their performances. It comprised of 6 classes of K2, so there were 90+ kids.

The first half was a musical called Annie & Oliver. It was split over 6 acts. Z’s class was Act 3. There was a 15min intermission where we had tea reception. The second half was a Chinese musical called “Forever Friends”.

I thought the entire performance was executed really well. I liked how Z’s teachers tried to split one lead role to a few persons so that more people can have exposure. Z played a supporting role but he was so good at it that I felt proud of him. It seemed that his teachers balanced out by giving him a bigger role for the Chinese musical. I guessed it must have been quite tough for the teachers to plan. Whatever it was, I told Z that I liked how well he articulated his lines. He had several moments of ‘exclusive’ attention on stage and I asked if he was nervous. He said he was pretty scared but he sure did not show an ounce of it on stage.

The preliminary studio recording complemented the musicals very well.  The efforts and elaborateness of the show were hallmarks of the school’s concert style. It took the Jubilee hall by storm.

Waiting for the show to begin 

Boys having fun

My little policeman 

The awesome finale   

Post-performance photo taking 

Loot of the day

After the concert – Z was so overwhelmed by the conclusion of the concert that he cried. He cried because he knew he would miss his friends and he would miss the times they spent rehearsing.

His Graduation Night would always be a night for nostalgia, a night for remembering his finest moments in preschool and a night where his friends and him were captured in their confident, animated ways. It was a night when the best of childhood memories were consolidated and presented in a beautiful musical.

I was glad that Z had loved his preschool days so much, that he had the best childhood memories made possible by his friends, teachers & school. 4 years of preschool had gone by and it was just the beginning of a new chapter.

I wished Z would grow up and continue to be confident and happy, just as he was on his K2 Graduation night.

 

 

Wedding + Zoological weekend 

This was X’s first church wedding. 

En route to the church wedding   

X had been really excited about going out with me. However, his excitement sizzled when the quietness and solemn environment of the church overwhelmed him. He was also uncomfortable with the attention levied on him. 

X actually said he was scared and wanted to go home. When he got very restless, I brought him for a walk.

He saw the cake and wanted to eat it.
  

“Mummy, I want to eat this.”  

I had to persuade him that he was to attend the full version wedding party before he could eat the cake. He reluctantly headed back to the ceremony. He was so restless that he played with the wedding favor, dropped and broke it! 😱

In the end, I had to sponsor him 15 minutes of YouTube to get through the last stretch. 

Lesson learned: Never bring my toddler to a church wedding 

We watched “Tomorrowland” in the afternoon and headed to town for dinner. The boys had to sleep early for their near-quarterly zoo visit.

Spotted a crocodile 

  

And the white tiger doing its morning exercise again   

We were posing with the otters which had long left the scene
  

At the koala sanctuary   

Waiting for the Splash Safari show to start, and also hiding from the heavy downpour 
  

Sleeping lions which had newly moved to our zoo  

We got to see a baby giraffe!
  

Which really wasn’t that much of a baby size  

The entourage with the giraffes 
  

There were 3 adult giraffes and 1 baby giraffe. The kids said the 3 adults represented the mom, the dad and the helper. 👀

Being fascinated with the moving stripes   

We chanced upon a new exhibit – African Painted Dogs 
  

We also saw the polar bear nap 
We left the zoo by 1pm and headed to Italian Osteria  
  

We also swung by East Coast Park again for the boys to scoot before returning home for them to swim.  

We had to thank our blessing of good weather and friends for an awesome weekend. #nohaze

Z’s Graduation Party – Time to Fly

We celebrated Z’s class farewell party on 20th November. It coincided with the last day of school for MOE schools but it was not the last day of school at this preschool. After the graduation concert (scheduled on 27 Nov), some of the classmates would be away, so this was the best day amidst their hectic rehearsal schedules to hold the party.

My first thought in the morning was to compare how Z looked when he first started school and now that he was going to leave the school.

Always my baby, my sweetheart
We had 2-3 working days to put together a farewell party program for the kids.

I prepared a simple program booklet outlining what they were supposed to do for the day, blank pages for them to paste instax prints, a farewell song and a contact list.

The parents met at 9am to set up the party room (the school’s music room). To facilitate one of the games, we actually folded the paper aeroplanes in advance for the kids.

When the kids were done with their music practice, they came to the music room at 10am. I started them on a treasure hunt with pictorial clues. It started from the music room, to their cycling track, to the sand pit, to the school fence, to their new playground and eventually Z found the treasure loot under their grand staircase.

Getting a clue from treasure hunt 

 
Amongst the loot were the nicely folded paper planes. They got to compete on who flew the plane the furthest. Z came in second for his session.

Plane flying contest   

 Thereafter, they stayed in their teams and had a trivia session. 

  
Before we knew it, it was 11am and they got to their ‘food bazaar’. Each kid had to bring food to sell and $2 to spend. It was very cute to see them dress up in their handmade aprons & chef’s hats.

Z & his merchandise  

 
Making a sale

 
After that, they got to play more games, took instax, more photos & sang some songs. Memories were made of special moments like these. The past 4 years had been special and it was thanks to his nice teachers, awesome classmates and equally wonderful parents.

Gift exchange  

Instax memories  

 
Preschool was a great beginning, I hope these kids would grow up to remember each other and stay as friends through the test of time. May they always looked back on their preschool years and friends with great fondness.

Stay friends forever, kiddos!  

On a side note, Z told me that he had such a fun time and he loved every part of the party. He thanked me for helping at the party. Awww… 

Getting ready for school 

Both Z & X would be starting new school on the same day. 

For Z, the learning curve of primary school was mitigated by his independence such as using toilets (since 2.5 years’ old), his awareness on managing money, his ability to read both English & Chinese comfortably and to have friends in the class. P1 was introduced in such a gradual manner that I did not think he would suffer culture shock.

I was only concerned by his eating speed. Seriously concerned. 

For X, the learning curve of preschool was made easier since it was a transition from one playgroup to another playgroup. Though it was to a different school, it was after all Z’s preschool and X was familiar with the environment. The teachers were also familiar with X. Furthermore, X was a Jan baby and that meant he was 3 when he joined the school. 

He was able to talk and would be able to communicate with his new teachers, as compared to Z who had been only 2 years and 1 week old, and was unable to communicate his needs.

If I had a concern, it would be if he missed his diaper friend in the old school or missed Z. I was not sure if he expected to see Z at the preschool though we had been telling him Kor kor was going to primary school. 

Leading up to school opening

In early Nov, I received my labels and went ahead to wrap Z’s books. We had purchased the books partially on 26 Oct and the balance by 6 Nov.

We had ready plastic covers for most and had to wrap a few manually due to their odd sizes.

Part of the stash (and loving the 50pc for $2.90 labels from Qoo10 very much)  
It took us an hour to settle all book-related items and pack the necessary items for the first 3 days of school. I also sharpened the pencils, checked on the stationery and ensured everything was in working order.

Bag tags from MUAKids  
We had also washed the uniforms.

All we had left to do were:

1. Iron cloth labels on uniforms, socks & tie (done)

  
2. Label shoes (done)

  
3. Buy a school bag (yes, after all that shopping, we had yet to decide)

4. Buy new hangers for uniforms – 3 for $2 from Daiso  (done)

5. Iron the uniforms (done)

6. Complete the P1 activity book

7. Play dates with classmates-to-be (done)

8. Complete the ice cream stick 

9. Buy the daily pill box and use as allowance dispenser (done)

10. Add in a box of colour pencils (done)

 

Zach’s birthday dinner with Family

We let the birthday boy decide the dinner venue. He told us he wanted Xiaolongbao and in particular, the crab version. I asked if he wanted to eat crabs instead but he insisted on having Xiaolongbao before we flew off for our holidays. This boy was really cute.

He also asked for a chocolate truffle cake – so thankful that he didn’t ask for a fancy fondant one which would be too expensive and sweet to eat.   

That was us at one of the family’s favorite haunt – Paradise Dynasty Restaurant at Vivo City 

All of us

Both boys gifted their cousin with a Xmas present each

To sweetened the evening, we were given a visual treat of a 5-second fireworks at USS from where we were. It sure seemed like rehearsal fireworks for their next day’s display. 

#dated 11th Dec 2015, exactly 2 weeks to his actual day!