Friday, October 3, 2014

Nathan's First Violin Exam

Nathan took his first ABRSM violin exam last month and got a distinction. :) I'm so proud of him. This is the first of many exams he'll take and I'm glad that I was with him each step of the way.



About 4 months before the exams, I still wasn't sure if he'd be ready in time. Although he was able to play the exam songs pretty well, he was still struggling with the sight reading component. We persevered and I'm so glad he made it.

He had no idea what an exam was, this being his very first... I kept reminding him that he only had one chance to get each component right, so he can't make careless mistakes... He had worked so hard the entire year, I really didn't want carelessness to take away the results he so deserved. His teacher even rehearsed the entire sequence with him, from walking into the exam room with him, tuning his instrument, to her leaving the room before the exam started, so he wouldn't be surprised when he's left in the exam room by himself.

His reward for good effort and a job well done? A pair of Captain America shoes that light up when he walks. It was something that he wanted when he saw a friend with something similar last December. We made a deal - practice diligently and your hard work will be rewarded. He was all smiles when he put on this pair of shoes for the first time, and I was one proud mommy. Good job, Nathan! (And yes... I made him wait 9 whole months before he actually got it!)


There'll be many more exams that he'll be taking as he starts formal schooling in a year's time. I want him to know that working hard and giving his best is what matters to me. Dear Nathan, know that mommy and daddy will always be behind you in all your endeavours.

Videos taken two months before the actual exams...

Mattachins

 Daisy Bell

 Russia - Gopak

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Noah's First Prayer

We've always started and ended the day with prayer, ever since the boys were babies. Dean and I would get the boys to bow their heads, close their eyes, and we'd pray as a family. We thanked God for our food, we asked Him to keep dark clouds away, and we asked Him to help us with our difficulties...

A few days ago, as we were going about our bedtime routine, Noah (who's 3 years old) said he wanted to pray... And then he said...

Dear God, 
Thank you for protecting me and helping me not to do bad things so that I can go to Heaven.
In Jesus Name I pray,
Amen.

And there... at the end of a long tiring day, with Dean travelling the entire week, my heart was filled with so much thankfulness. The tiredness I felt wore away, and I knew we were doing something right. I hope that Noah will always remember that God hears our prayers.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fish @ Big Splash

Nathan has read books and seen pictures of people fishing and he asked if we could go fishing together. The first and only time I went fishing was some 15 years back... I remembered that we boarded a boat off changi jetty and spent many hours under the hot sun. After a long day, we caught a few cat fish. I didn't think he'd enjoy such an experience. As such, I said we'd go when he is older.

Sometime later, he told me, "mommy, do you know that if we bought a fishing rod, we'd never have to buy fish ever again?" I was quite tickled by that statement, but I knew exactly what was going on in his head.

I chanced upon Fish @ Big Splash on the web, and thought it'd be a good idea to check it out. We went last week, and had a great time.

For $22, we were provided with a fishing rod and bait, and taught how to cast our line in the salt water pond. Nathan was thrilled. It was his first attempt at fishing. 


Within 5 minutes, he caught his very first fish! According to Gordan (the person who runs the place), $22 guarantees that you'd be able to bring a fish home. If you fail to catch one that day, you can return to try again the next day... and the next... Until you catch a fish. But he's sure that you won't return empty handed the first time round. Since Nathan's maiden attempt at fishing ended in last then 5 minutes, Gordon was so nice to let him have another go at no additional charge, provided we threw the second fish that we caught back into the pond. It took us a while longer to catch the second fish and Nathan was getting rather bored. I suppose we didn't give him an accurate experience of how fishing was actually like, but at least, he got to use a fishing rod. :P


Noah wasn't too interested in fishing and asked to feed the rabbits instead. It was his first time feeding rabbits and it was nice having the rabbits chomp down eagerly on the greens that he was holding.



Next, we proceeded to feed fish. As we approached the pond, the fish started swimming near the edge as if they knew that breakfast was about to be served. What a sight!


Fish @ Big Splash also offers prawning, fish spa and longkang fishing.

We saw a good number of people catching prawns when we were there. I heard that there are lobsters in the same pond, and you'd get to bring the lobsters home if you manage to catch them!

Longkang fishing is popular with kids and adults who want to relive their childhood days. You are allowed to take off your shoes and wade in the ankle deep water to catch your fish. For $12, you'd get a net and given an hour to fish. It looks so much fun and we'll probably be back to try this out.

We had a great time at Fish @ Big Splash and recommend that you check it out someday! As we prepared to leave, Gordan packed the two fish that Nathan caught for dinner that night. It was a pleasant surprise that he decided to gift us the second fish as well. :)




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fantastic Five

Dear Nathan,

You have been looking forward to your fifth birthday eversince you turned 4. It has been yet another great year as we saw you grow in independence and maturity. Being the first born, you will always have a special place in mommy's heart. You were the very first baby I cradled in my arms, the very first baby I nursed, the very first baby I kissed and the very first baby to call me "mommy". When you entered our lives this day five years ago, daddy and I were thrown into the world of parenthood. No amount of preparation prepared us for what was ahead, and yet, with lots of prayer, determination and perseverance, we made it thru your first month, your first year... and now you are five.

You are learning the piano and violin and are progressing well with your consistent practice. Remember that diligence and hard work is needed to reap good results. You enjoy story times with mommy, and I look forward to having you read more independently so that we can snuggle up with our own books on a rainy afternoon. You enjoy puzzles but dislike colouring. You have devised clever shortcuts to complete your 习字, to my dismay.

You are generally shy and tend to clam up in a setting with new people. Mommy hopes that you'd be more comfortable meeting new people and making new friends.

This is the first year that you and your brother Noah got to spend extended periods of time together on weekdays now that you are attending the same school. It is heart warming to see you two playing together, laughing at each other's silly antics, and enjoying each other's company. Thank you for never hitting back when Noah hits you, for loving your brother even when he can be unreasonable at times, for being the big brother that you are. Even though he doesn't say it, I think Noah probably thinks that you are the best big brother that he can have. He saves his last sweet for you and is quick to ask about you when he doesn't see you around. He loves you very much.

Because caring for you wasn't all that difficult, it made our decision to add to our family easy. You were generally easy to feed and your current favourite food is pasta with Japanese sesame sauce and thinly sliced pork. You enjoy your nap/sleep and have never resisted bedtime, making it easy for mommy when it is time for bed. Since birth, you have been sleeping with your favorite soft toy, Colin, and sucking your thumb to fall asleep. I am glad that you no longer need to hold Colin to sleep, and have kicked the habit of sucking your thumb. Credits to daddy.

It is our prayer that you'll continue to grow in the knowledge and love of our God, be the good son and brother that you are, and always find joy as you navigate the roads of life. Remember that you will always have a special place in my heart.

Lots of love, hugs and kisses,
Mommy


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Making a Parachute

After watching the red lions at this year's national day parade, my boys have been rather fascinated with parachutes. Yesterday, Nathan was trying to convince me to make a parachute for him.

Nathan: If I have a parachute, I can use it just like the red lions... Can you make one for me? Mommy?

He went on to list materials that he thinks we might need. String. Scotch tape. Plastic cling wrap. He probably has a rough idea of how he's going to assemble it, but not quite. Hence, needing to convince me to help him.

Me: I don't know how to make a parachute... And seriously, the parachute you make will not work like the red lions'.

Nathan: Mommy, just take you phone and type in... "How to make a parachute"... Then a video will appear with instructions.


Did my 4 year old son just ask me to use google? Google didn't exist when I was 14... Much less, when I was 4. I miss those pre-google days.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Happy 49th Birthday Singapore!

About a year ago, we watched the National Day Parade from Benjamin Sheares bridge. We had a good view of the fireworks from where we were, but the boys weren't too happy about not having a seat.

Nathan: Can we go nearer, and sit with the people over there?
Me: Only people with tickets can get a seat.
Nathan: Can we buy tickets?
Me: The national day parade tickets are not for sale. We have to ballot...

A conversation about what balloting means, and why it's hard getting tickets ensued. Finally, I said... maybe we can pray and ask God to give us tickets next year. Then we can all watch the parade from the floating platform.

This year, we submitted our names for the ballot, prayed hard and were blessed with 4 tickets to the preview last week. The boys were thrilled!

Yay! We got tickets!
We packed a picnic dinner and made our way to the floating platform. The coloured sector that we were allocated is indicated on our tickets, and there are clear instructions on the entry point allocated to us to facilitate crowd control. We followed the directions given and it was a breeze getting to our seats.

Walking towards the floating platform via the helix bridge
The NDP fun packs were filled with a wide array of items... button badges, visors, banner clappers, mini flag, LED bracelets, Singapore scarf, biscuits, packet drinks... The boys had fun just rummaging thru their goody bags.



The parade started off with the red lions making their descend. This was followed by the fighter jets and the state flag fly past.

Red Lion

Looking at the fighter jets
F15 jets flying in formation
Majulah Singapura!

I enjoyed the parade segment, where various contingents marched to the beat of familiar national songs. Singing along with fellow Singaporeans, I once again felt thankful for this place that we call home.


The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display...



This song pretty much sums up my feelings about Singapore... This is home, truly! Happy birthday Singapore!

Home
Whenever I am feeling low
I look around me and I know
There's a place that will stay within me
Wherever I may choose to go
I will always recall the city
Know every street and shore
Sail down the river which brings us life
Winding through my Singapore 

 Chorus: 
This is home truly, where I know I must be
Where my dreams wait for me, where the river always flows
This is home surely, as my senses tell me
This is where I won't be alone, for this is where I know it's home

When there are troubles to go through

We'll find a way to start anew
There is comfort in the knowledge
That home's about its people too
So we'll build our dreams together
Just like we've done before
Just like the river which brings us life
There'll always be Singapore


Friday, August 1, 2014

Sentosa Skyline Luge

I won some tickets to the Sentosa Skyline Luge and decided to take the boys there during the Hari Raya holiday. Nathan was thrilled. He remembered going on the ride sometime back, and was really excited about getting on it again. Noah had gone on it once, but doesn't quite remember it. When he first saw the sky ride and the luge, he wasn't quite sure if he wanted to go on it.



It was only after I told him that we'll all get to ride together, that he decided that he wants to go, since he'll get to hold my hand.

And hold my hand he did. The moment the man plonked him on the sky ride, he held on to my hand for dear life... "Mommy, hold my hand! If not, I will fall down". We enjoyed the scenic ride and I was glad that the boys are finally old enough for us to do this together.



Then came the luge... As the boys weren't old enough to ride by themselves, Dean rode tandem with Nathan, while I rode tandem with Noah.



Noah was ever so cautious, and kept asking me to slow down. "Slow down, mommy!" And when I kept at the same pace, he raised his voice, thinking I didn't hear him earlier... "Slow down! Mommy!"



We went on the sky ride and luge twice, and I was just thinking about how the first time we came, Nathan wasn't tall enough to ride. When we came back some time later, Nathan was tall enough, but not Noah. So we took turns riding with Nathan. And now... they are both tall enough. I am not looking forward to having them tall enough to ride on the luge alone just yet. Babies, don't grow up so quick!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Seven Years...

It has been seven years since we said our wedding vows on 7 July 2007.

I give you this ring as a sign of my vow, 
and with all that I am and all that I have, I honour you
 in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 
Amen.



We have shared much joy, borne each other's burdens, celebrated victories and worked thru difficulties... And God has been faithful. 




Let us continue to seek God in all that we do, to trust that He'll provide in ways beyond our imagination, and be faithful stewards of all that He's entrusted to us.

Love you always.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Drink Your Coffee While Its Hot

A few weekends ago, my boys and I were at the airport, sending daddy off for a work trip. It was a Sunday evening and the boys were sad that daddy wasn't going to be at home the coming week. After sending daddy off, I took them to the playground at Changi Airport T3, just to cheer them up a little before making our way home. When we finally got to the car at the airport carpark...

Nathan: Why does daddy have to go to work?

Me: We discussed this before. Do you remember why?

Nathan thinks for a moment...

Nathan: Mommy, does all your money come from daddy?

That question tugged at my heart strings... As much as I had made the choice to be a SAHM, I do miss the corporate world. I miss being a part of project teams, I miss earning my own keep, I miss the satisfaction that comes with doing a job well... I miss lunches with colleagues and the occasional trip abroad...

After tucking them in bed, I picked up this book to read before turning in. As I read, my spirits were lifted.



I found morsels of truths and practical advice in this easy to read book... In fact, I finished the entire book that night. I could identify with many of the experiences cited in the book and found Joyce's practical tips helpful.

"You are irreplaceable. You are the only mum your children will have. And, every mum is the best one there is for her child, by divine appointment.

Just as coffee is best drunk while it's hot, we should savour the experiences we have with our children at each stage of their lives. You can always brew another cup of coffee if that first cup has turned cold because you were too busy to drink it when it was hot. But with a child, once you miss the window of opportunity to love and cherish him, that moment is forever lost".

- Foreword by Felicia Soo

I was reminded once again that motherhood is a gift from God above. God has blessed me with two adorable boys, and I am priviledged to have this responsibility of nurturing them. 

Do you get discouraged in your journey as a mother? How about taking some time out... enjoy a cuppa and read this book by Joyce Ewing-Chow. Armour Publishing is giving two copies of this book to my blog readers. To win a copy for yourself, follow the directions below.

Drink Your Coffee While It's Hot can be purchased from Armour Publishing through their online store.
Alternatively you can drop by their showroom:
Block 1003 Bukit Merah Central #02-07
Singapore 159836
(opens from Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm)


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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Nathan's 2nd Violin Concert

It has been almost a year since Nathan's first violin concert. Today, he was wearing the exact same outfit from a year back. The pants are getting a little too short and the vest is also slightly too small... outfit aside, I'd like to think that he's improved. :) He played two songs today - Mattachins and Daisy Bell. The first piece was a duet with a friend (who happens to be the daughter of my secondary school mate) and the second, a solo piece. Both songs are ABRSM Grade 1 exam pieces; he'll be taking his very first exam in September.





To celebrate a job well done, Nathan got to decide where to go for dinner. His choice... Omakase Burger for the cheese fries!



It has been a joy learning the violin with him and I hope he'll always enjoy making beautiful music.