Friday, November 28, 2014

A Gift For Our Jubilee Baby
























The SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift is a community initiative led by the National Population and Talent Division. Every Singaporean baby born in 2015 will be given an SG50 Baby Jubilee Gift set to commemorate their birth during Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. They will also receive a commemorative birth certificate placed in a golden SG50 folder.

We are thankful that God has blessed us with another baby... and it's extra special that he's going to be born in 2015, during Singapore's Golden Jubilee. Grow well, Golden Jubilee Baby! We can't wait to meet you. :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

KidsSTOP

KidsSTOP is an edutainment facility designed for kids 3 to 7 years old. It offers a range of hands-on activities for young children, where they get to learn about the four seasons, energy conversion, parts of the human body, gravity... in a fun way. Children also get to role play as pilots, construction workers, doctors and nurses. 

KidsSTOP operates two sessions per day for the general public. On weekdays, session 1 runs from 12pm to 3pm and session 2 runs from 4 to 7pm. On weekends, session 1 runs from 10 to 2pm and session 2 runs from 3 to 7pm. Tickets are valid for only one session. What this meant was that the place was not overly crowded, and the children did not have to wait for more than 5 minutes at each station. 


The boys enjoyed working with blocks, balls and a make-believe crane at the build zone.

Bob the Builder

Operating a "crane"

Bob at his work bench

Then they pretended to be pilots at the flight zone. The boys had a glimpse of what a cockpit looks like, though it probably doesn't look as complicated as an actual airplane's. 

Pilots wannabes

Pretending to fly a plane

Next we tried our hand at converting kinetic energy to light and sound energy. The children could either pedal with their legs or work a hand-crank wheel. 

I can generate wind and light energy!

Through shopping at a supermarket, the boys learnt about the different food groups, and the importance of eating healthily. They had fun filling their shopping baskets and couldn't resist "buying" their favorite chocolates.

Basketful!

Beep! Beep!

At the human body section, we got to measure our weight. Nathan, who weighs about 16kg, is as heavy as a bag containing 2,540 $1 coins.

As heavy as 2,540 $1 coins

We also saw the various part of the human body and understand the functions of some of our organs.

Dr Nathan at work

Nathan also experienced free falling and the effects of gravity. I was surprised he agreed to try, but he refused to go more than once. After being suited up, he was told to lie on a slide and hold on to a handlebar. The handlebar was raised to a height of 4 meters, and he was supposed to let go! Wheee!

Suited up an ready to go...

Hold on tight!

Higher!


All in all, it was an afternoon well spent. Recommended for families with kids aged 3 to 7 years old.

See you there!



For details on tickets, opening hours and latest maintenance schedules, check out KidsSTOP's official website.

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