Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

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Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

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Countdown to Jaide's Birthday

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Countdown to Joram's Birthday

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Joram Learnt To Ride A Bike!

My elder girl had been complaining that she preferred to ride her big brother's bicycle because hers was getting too small but my eldest boy was unwilling to let her use it for more than a few minutes since he also wanted to keep riding. I got very fed up with all the squabbling every cycling session so I thought it was high time to do a systematic upgrade. We bought the biggest child bike we could find for my no. 1 kid. To convert his old one into something more girlish, I used red acrylic paint to go over the green decals on the bicycle. Instead of green and yellow, the brother's bike became red and yellow for his younger sister to use. 

I also unscrewed and threw away the dented basket at the handle bar of the pink bike my no. 2 used to ride and lowered its seat because it was a tad too heavy and tall for my younger girl to inherit. Thankfully, Joram was rather happy with the purple bike which I bought less than a year ago for his second sister. After I tore away the stickers which said "bella", it looked pretty decent for a little boy to use. 

At first, I kinda expected Joram to take quite a few sessions to get used to the heavier vehicle he just took over before he'd be ready to transit from "striding" it to actual pedalling. The good old strider was nearly half the bicycle's weight after all. To my great surprise and delight, he started cycling half an hour later after I gave him a few pointers. Wow! This makes him the earliest to learn how to ride a bike among all of my kids at 4 years and 11 months old. I'm so absolutely proud of him!

We can finally say farewell to the trusty blue strider which had been a crucial part of teaching all 4 of my children to balance and eventually ride a bicycle. It has served its purpose in my family and I will be passing it on to my brother's son. 

Check out a clip of one of 
Joram's first successful attempts

Gor Gor's new bike

4 kids' bicycles
in the shed now

By the time my oldest kid outgrows this new big kid bike, he would be tall enough to ride an adult sized one. I can now look forward to cycling trips around the neighbourhood with all my children in tow. But first, I need to get my old bike from my parents' place... :P

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Joram is turning 5

The moment I came across the promotional video of Art Zoo, I knew that Joram would love to go. Even though Joram's actual birthday is in April, I decided to celebrate his 5th natal day there yesterday because the whole thing is going to be around only for 3 weeks. And since it's the March holidays and Joshua could take half-day leave, there was no reason to delay.

My darling youngest boy was absolutely thrilled with the place. It was such a joy to see him hopping from one bouncy castle to another with an eager grin on his face. Sadly, I had to permanently park myself under the shade of the ladybug installation after a while due to the sweltering heat. I have always been extremely susceptible to heat exhaustion. Thank God Joshua was available to be dragged around by the kids for the rest of the time on my behalf.  :P

Crossing the Helix Bridge

The place is huge!

Here we are!!!

Before the kids run off

The girls came up with this pose


Reaching for the sky?

Grinning from ear to ear

Big balls galore

Boy in action

Hide and seek

I'm gonna punch!

Ball pit

Joram was calling out the colours 
while he changed it by hitting the ball

When the kids started to get hungry, we went to the Super Heroes Cafe for a sumptuous dinner. Joram totally loved their crispy chicken drumlets. For his birthday cake, he chose the rainbow cake. The restaurant staff even gave the children free lollipops and a Flash apron FOC for the birthday boy. How nice of them!

Daddy praying over the
birthday boy

Trying to act innocent

We purchased the tickets to Art Zoo online using Klook and they gave us complimentary credits to the carnival and that was where we headed to afterwards. It was apparently a special deal given only to certain customers much like a lucky draw. What a perfect birthday present from God! There was enough for each kid to choose two rides. Joram obviously wanted the car rides. Out of the two types, Joram definitely enjoyed the bouncing one more because he kept laughing throughout the ride. 

The apron is too big for him
so it became a decor instead.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Steamboat Reunion

For as long as I could remember, my family always had steamboat reunion dinners. My mum would painstakingly make the soup base from scratch, cut and slice up all the raw ingredients and gather all of us around the dining table for a feast. I fondly remember the kick I got out of cooking my own food. The highlight of the whole meal was the delicious soup which had absorbed all the "unami" flavours of the ingredients at the end. That taste is etched into my long-term memory.

However, ever since my parents turned vegetarian 8 years ago, we stopped having steamboat for reunion lunch at my mum's place. Instead, we'd all go to a vegetarian buffet restaurant for our reunion meal. I missed the steamboat so much that I decided to continue the family tradition myself this year with the kids finally getting old enough to appreciate the culture. Last year, I actually bought the stainless steel old-school kind of rice cooker just so that it could double up as a steamboat pot!

My MIL got some unprocessed sea cucumber and fish maw from a relative which were incredibly tedious to prepare and cook. The process, in fact, took days! I decided that I would very much rather buy the processed versions for future reunion meals.

Here's the menu for our CNY Reunion Lunch

Cooked food: 
Braised mushroom and sea cucumber with carrots, fish maw, roast meat, char siew, pepper duck, white rice, glass noodles and steam boat soup stock.
Steamboat raw ingredients:
Sliced fish, shabu shabu pork collar, chicken thigh cubes, marinated prawns, abalone, pacific clams, scallop, cuttlefish balls, prawn balls, egg tofu, fresh eggs, tang oh and xiao bai cai.
Paisley, chives, red cut chili, chicken rice chili, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, char siew sauce

There was not enough space at the main table with 5 adults and 4 children. Thus, I placed the older two kids at the balcony to have their very own mini steamboat. 

There was so much leftover ingredients from the reunion lunch that I had enough to cook dinner and the next day's meals too!!! Because the kids refused to eat the same thing twice, I had to find creative ways to cook them differently. LOL I totally felt like a master chef this CNY. I must remind my husband and MIL not to over-cater next year. I pray that we can enjoy this precious family tradition for many more years to come. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Long Story

So many people have been asking me about my Facebook status updates regarding my health, but it is so difficult to explain the entire turbulent journey in a few sentences. This is why I decided to tell the whole story here in the hope that my loved ones can understand what I go through.

It all started a few years back when there was a sudden marked decrease in my energy level. I thought that it was simply a matter of ageing, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was more than that since it wasn't a gradual change. I even went to the clinic to check my thyroid, just in case, but the test came back fine.

Then, I found out that I was pregnant. I was very shocked because the vision God had given me showed only 4 children. Already utterly exhausted with caring for the existing kids, I was simply too busy to do anything about my discovery. I didn't even have the chance to tell anyone about it or go to the gynaecologist. Two weeks later, I started spotting. Since I spotted before in my previous pregnancies, I did not think of it as a big deal and continued to run the crazy daily schedule. After a couple of days, I miscarried. 

I was devastated. I thought that I had lost the little one because I didn't take care of myself. Worse still, I feared that I had wished him away with my state of denial. The guilt was so heavy that I couldn't talk about it at all to anyone else.

Half a year later, a CG mate noticed that I seemed to be having an emotional meltdown about once a month. I had initially thought that I was simply burnt out and losing patience dealing with all the stress. However, the regularity of the occurrences seemed like too much of a coincidence. She suggested that I might have been having PMS. I was taken aback because all along I was only plagued with severe cramps during the first 2-3 days of heavy periods but I have never been especially irritable or emotionally affected before the time of the month. 

Another change brought the matter to a head. I began having ovulation pain too. It was a foreign concept to me until I researched online and found out that it was actually a thing. My CG mates encouraged me to go to see the doctor. After a few trips with scans and tests, one doctor suggested that I was probably suffering from hormonal imbalance. She prescribed hormonal pills and all the symptoms disappeared! This proved that her diagnosis was accurate. That was when I plucked up my courage to ask whether that had anything to do with my miscarriage at the beginning of the year and she said yes. Apparently, hormonal imbalance causes infertility and miscarriages. After hearing that, I finally felt relieved of the burden in thinking that it was my fault losing that child. Thus, I continued with the hormone therapy for almost two years which kept my health stable for a while.

The next thing I knew, I fell into depression. To combat it, I made many lifestyle changes which included doing away with the hormone pills. Sadly, after my depression got better, the symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance came back with a vengeance. I tried to put myself back on the pills but it triggered a massive depression episode. I realised then that it was the hormone therapy which made me susceptible to depression in the first place. 

Hoping to find an alternative solution, last year was spent making multiple expensive hospital trips to see if the doctors could help me. After scans, tests and procedures, the verdict was this: there was nothing more they could do for me. The next step they suggested was exploratory surgery which has no guarantee of improving my condition. The risks outweigh the possible benefits. I stopped going back to the hospital.

Currently, during every ovulation, I'll experience lower abdominal pain and emotional upheaval for about a week. I will have PMS a few days before my menstruation and have cramps for about yet another week. This means I am basically enduring pain and feeling weepy half the time. On top of that, my ailment also causes chronic fatigue. No amount of sleep and rest can recharge my battery. I can't even properly enjoy myself doing fun stuff because I tire too easily. 

At the moment, I am coming to terms with my health condition while trying out supplements recommended by friends. There's not much improvement so far but it might help after long term use. Who knows?

All I know is that God is there for me. He does not condemn me for my reduced capacity even though my children find it hard to understand my limitations. I thank God for a loving husband who has been faithful to pick up the slack and took over some of the household responsibilities and the care of the children whenever I get incapacitated. I'm learning to be a human being, instead of a human 'doing'. I am slowing down my pace of life and I no longer feel guilty taking care of my needs first. At least, the children are older and more independent now. I want to truly appreciate this season of my life despite all these physical challenges. I am counting my blessings.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The SCO Experience

I have never dared to bring the 4 kiddos to the theatre for an artistic performance because of the sheer cost of paying for so many tickets and I am not confident I'd be able to enforce proper etiquette in such a sophisticated environment. Therefore, my children have not heard or seen a professional full concert band, Chinese Orchestra, ballet or musical performance before. 

As we were heading home for dinner from West Mall, I realised that the SCO was doing sound check for their evening gig under the tentage. The seats were obviously empty since there was still 2 hours to go before the actual thing started. I quickly asked the kids to sit down at the first row behind the VIP seats. We had just been to the library so the older three were very much self-entertained reading books. I left Joshua to look after them while I took Joram (who is still too young to be contented to read for an extended period of time) home with me to bake the sweet potato chips the children requested. Thankfully, they had a heavy tea break so the chips would be enough as dinner for them.

Joram and I came back just in time for the performance. The weather was pretty cooling since it was drizzling slightly. It was a luxury to be comfortably seated with the best view, listening to the orchestra music while munching on baked chips. You sure can't do that in the theatre! The best thing is, it was all free and there was no need to travel all the way to town to do it. What a delightful evening!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

What's in the purse?

Recently, I have been made aware by different friends on separate occasions that despite the deceptively small size of my bag, I actually have A LOT of stuff in it. Out of curiosity, I decided to do an inventory check of what I have in it. 

Size of bag in relation to me

My bag can also be classified as the bona fide Mummy's purse, since most of the stuff are children-related. For example, I would hardly have any need for first aid if I don't have accident-prone children with me.

I have a stash of first-aid / emergency items:
1) Plasters of all sizes for different types of wounds
2) Eye-drops
3) Lozenges 
4) Lip balm
5) Small container of moisturiser cum antiseptic cream
6) Medicated oil
7) Sewing kit

Next, mealtime and grooming equipment purely for the kids:
1) Wet wipes
2) Food scissors
3) Hair clip
4) Comb

And then there are things to do with kids' entertainment:
1) Mini colour pencil set complete with eraser and sharpener
2) Tiny toy vehicle
3) Note pad for drawing
4) Candles and lighter for birthday cakes

The following are necessities with regards to what I do very often as a homemaker: bringing the kids to the library and grocery shopping. Although we can now use the phone app to borrow books, I prefer to let the children do their own borrowing with their library cards to cultivate independence. The foldable recyclable shopping bag is a must to reduce the use of plastic bags. However, when it comes to cooked food or wet items, there's still a need for plastic bags. That explains the existence of the two blue handles which make it easier to carry multiple plastic bags without them cutting into my palms.

Finally, here are my personal belongings:
1) Wallet
2) Handphone
3) EZ Link card
4) Hair-tie
5) Dental floss
6) House keys
7) My own medicated lip balm
8) Spectacle cloth

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Last post about Jaide

Yet another child has graduated from my blog! With Jaide entering primary school today, I am now officially left with only one preschooler: Joram. I am approaching the last lap of my homemaking journey and hoping to return to the workforce part-time 2 years down the road when Joram goes P1. I look forward to that day with eager anticipation. 

Thank God that Jaide has learnt how to read and write adequately enough, in time for this new stage of her education. Physically, she has grown much. In fact, she couldn't fit into the new school skirt I bought two months ago! In the end, she had to borrow her older sister's skirt to wear to her first day of school. *facepalm* As for her maturity, she has much to improve on, especially with regards to listening to instructions and obedience. Still, I harbour hope that God will continue to mould her character in time to come. 

I pray that Jaide will be able to demonstrate well her leadership skills in school and learn how to be less reckless and wilful. May God watch over her as she explores her various capabilities!

Here were the last posts about Joash and Jayna.