Archive for April, 2010

Infantcare was closed, so I took the day off and brought Asher out.  Thought it might be fun to check out The Helix and Marina Bay Sands since they were both recently opened. 
I must say though, I was very disappointed with the experience.  I felt that the bridge wasn’t as impressive as all the hype made it out to be.  It looks better from the outside.  From the inside it’s a mass of metal and glass that blocks the view of the bay, and doesn’t provide much shade too.  Being a really hot day, I almost felt like it was hotter under the bridge cos of all the heat absorbed by the metal.  I was looking forward to the air-conditioning of the IR.
But when we got there, although it felt cooler at the casino side, I remember there was a distinct difference in temperature once at the shopping area.  And, I felt like I was choking on sand.  No wonder it’s called Marina Bay SANDS.  Imagine, it’s indoors, but you can feel yourself breathing in sandy air.  I felt like I had to take Asher out o there soon!  Surely can’t be good for the little boy. 
The place doesn’t look like it’a ready to be opened, many of the stores were still boarded up, and their so-called food court was just a few stalls located in a large multi-purpose hall.  Feels like they just opened the space to meet the minimum requirement.  Given all the poor reviews I’ve heard since my visit (I’ve not heard a single positive review, except for the occasional positive spin in the media), I really hope they get their act together for their phase 2 opening. 
I probably won’t be going back there any time soon – no reason to! 
Looks better in photos.  Ignores all the construction going on.

Walking The Helix

Some stilt walkers to provide a photo op for tourists, and to make the utterly dull shopping area a little, little bit more lively.  Even then, they were just standing around, not really engaging the crowd. 

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Saw Asher standing by the window the other day, and was just struck by how much he has grown.  And I had a sentimental flutter run through me as I remembered a similar moment about one year ago.  How quickly time passes, and how quickly he grows :)

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It was Asher’s first theme party.  Jo Claire turned one, and Jo and Joe threw an animal themed party.  So Asher turned up as a penguin (well, just the picture of one on his romper.  I had no time to go do anything elaborate), and Jon and I wore the Esso tiger tails :)  Yes, that was our uncoordinated family.  A pair of tigers gave birth to a penguin!?!  I had grand plans for coordinating a penguin outfit for each of us, but it remained as just that – a plan. 
But I guess most families formed strange animal sets.  Joe was a cow (complete with udders! His greeting to everyone, “milk?”), Claire was a pink leopard, while Joanne was…a human, heh :) 
There were lots of kids who all made themselves at home in Claire’s play area, Asher included.  He ran to show me a pillow around his neck, disappeared, came back with rings on his arms, disappeared again, came back with some rattle thing, and the process repeated itself over and over. 
Even the cake was animal themed!  The children clustered around Joanne as she cut the cake, and they were saying which animal they wanted to have. 
The Moks
Asher and the birthday girl
Eyeing the animal cupcakes (and wine?)
Rissy and Asher
It’s always nice catching up with old friends, and I remember the food was yummy (gimme sambal prawns any day!).  I also made the interesting discovery that Asher is ok with mildly spicy food.  He shared some of my mee siam goreng and was able to take it, almost oblivious to its spiciness!  Maybe it’s cos I eat so much spicy food, he got used to it in the womb, and maybe even my breastmilk was spicy?  I have no idea. 
Anyway, happy birthday Claire!

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Coco Loco

Another afternoon by the beach digging, and this time, burying! 

Found a coconut and he decided to bury it (well, cover it with sand)
Putting the finishing touches
Tada!  “Where??” (With arms up in a questioning way)

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Viva la Vivo

Went to Vivo to run some errands, and in the end Asher had a splashing good time at the outdoor play area on the second floor!  It’s a lovely place, and though it’s not super big, and some of the equipment is too advanced for Asher, the water fountain was enough to provide him lots of amusement! 
It was completely unplanned, but I decided, “what the heck, he really looks like he wants to play, I have a small face towel which should do to dry him up, and I have an extra set of clothes plus diapers.”  So…off he went, happily getting himself soaking wet!
I’m definitely going to bring him there again, but this time, I’m bringing a proper towel!
He didn’t realise at first that the fountain changes the height it spurts out at, and at one point it splashed right into chest :)  He just sputtered a bit, then continued splashing around.
There’s a more tame side where the water flows gently, and a wilder side where the water spurts out higher and faster.  Asher seems to prefer to live on the wild side of things, and that’s when he really started getting soaked as he tried to run under the jets, but kept bumping into the lower ones :)

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Random Photos

Some random pictures from the last few weeks.
Bringing all his soft toys for a car ride.  It started with one, then two, then he decided to not leave anyone out and piled them all onto his ride and brought them for a spin around the living room :)
 Trying to start a trend with his very strange hat :)

‘Splashing’ water on grandpa!

Me and my Meiji.  He loves it!
And I love these small bottles.  They’re super handy when we’re out! 

Aidan sharing his stroller with Asher, but reminding Asher that he has the good front seat by kicking him every now and then :)  I’d probably do the same if I were him!  And Asher was oblivious to the action.  Maybe he thought that’s how these strollers work.  Free massage? :)

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Tony Romas always satisfies.  Coming on the heels of a bad dinner at Applebees, we appreciated the good food all the more.  It’s still number one on the HungryGoWhere list for ribs, and I heartily agree! 
We were there to celebrate my mum’s birthday.  Tony Romas featured new items on their menu, and we just had to try the Spinach Artichoke dip to compare with Applebees, and my, it won hands down!  It was much more flavourful, creamy and addictive.  The Bourbon BBQ and Chiptle Beer were very interesting new sauces for their Ribs.  I liked them both, though I think I prefer the Bourbon BBQ a little more. 
The two cousins also had a yummy feast there!  They shared a ribs & fish main course – and finished it!  Asher particularly enjoyed munching on the corn-on-the-cob – his latest favourite food. 

After dinner action was great fun!  The two little boys had a great time playing together – if their laughter and squeals of delight are anything to go by :)  One of the funny moments was when Aidan was at one end of a pond, and Asher at another.  They were staring through the glass to look at the water when they saw each other, laughed, then both started to try and make their way to each other.  There was a pillar at the corner, and when they rounded the corner, the both burst out laughing and started to run away, thinking the other was playing peekaboo with him :O) 

At the Orchard Hotel lobby, it was adorable to watch them follow the lines on the ground and go “choo choo” as if they were trains :)  Round and round and round they went – was tiring for us parents having to keep up with them!  It was great to see them really playing with each other.  For the longest time they were mostly playing alongside one another, but now they learn funny ‘words’ from one another, and follow each other’s actions. 

Asher didn’t want to stop, and as you can see from this series of pictures, he kept trying to escape to run around some more :)

“I want to break free!”
Ok, ok, one photo

Alright, that’s enough now, time for me to go!
See Asher’s cheeky smile as he slides off my lap

More photos???

I’m outta here!

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Got Juice?

 Asher stole a sip of orange juice from my cup, and ended up paying homage to the ‘got milk?’ campaign! :)  Showed him his reflection in the mirror and he was so tickled!  After I wiped off his first moustache, he pointed to the cup for a another sip, then pointed to the mirror to look at himself again!  Hilarious! 
Then when I got the orange juice moustache as well he leaned back and gave me this adorably funny grin :)  Here’s the two of us with juice uppers.  Somehow, his just turned out so much better!

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It was date night for us!  My parents took care of Asher, so we had a night out in town!  We decided on something we’ve always enjoyed, but don’t get to do much of nowadays – dinner and a movie.

Our show was at Cineleisure, and Jon noticed that there was an Applebee’s nearby.  Applebee’s is special to us cos it was where we dined together the first night I was in New York when I visited Jon during our exchange.  We remember fondly the great food and the excellent signature dessert Apple Chimi Cheesecake.  I still remember that we sat by a window and watched the snow fall as we ate. 

BUT.  The Singapore Applebees is such a poor imitation of the real thing.  It was an absolute disappointment.  First, they don’t even have that famous Chimi Cheesecake.  Jon asked the waiter about it, and he just gave us this blur look.  Then the service was really not up to scratch.  We asked for two glasses of warm water as we began our meal, but they only came near our final bites and after many reminders, plus a beverage mix-up.  They somehow thought we meant two bottles of Hoegaarden?!?!  Twice!

Then the food.  Oh.  Gosh.  A classic case of misrepresentation.  I didn’t have a camera with me, but it’s probably not worth taking pictures of anyway.  I ordered the ribeye with parmesan shrimp.  In the picture it showed a steak an inch thick with a lovely yellow cheesy sauce drizzled over succulent prawns.  I know one shouldn’t trust the pictures in the menu.  But really.  At least try to live up to it.  The steak that came was hardly even 1cm thick!!  I had asked for medium-rare.  How can you possibly medium-rare a 1cm steak??  It came rare.  Bloodly and uncooked.  I told the waiter I wanted it cooked a little more, and reminded I prefered medium-rare.  They took it away to cook some more, but Jon and I gave each other looks which communicated that we knew they were probably gonna just cook it right through.  Seriously, but the time you sear the meat enough, the insides would be all cooked!  And as we predicted, it came out well done.  In terms of taste, I honestly prefer the steak the Western stall at Redhill market sells.  It’s probably the same, or thicker, than the Applebee’s steak too.  And it only costs $6.  The Applebee’s dish was $39++!  If it came out as it looked in the menu, and tasted better than it did, it would probably have been a fair price.  But for that, it’s wayyy expensive! 

And I haven’t even talked about the quite uncheesy sauce, the small and over-cooked shrimp, the over-singed vegetables, and the overly big serving but underwhelming mashed potatoes.  I had just made a some mash the night before at home, and I think even that tasted better! 

Jon’s starter trio was a lot smaller than expected.  And to compensate, they gave a huge serving of much too salty tortilla chips.  Thing is, the tortilla chips were meant for dipping into their spinach and artichoke sauce.  But then…there just wasn’t enough sauce for all that tortilla. 

Then there’s the image mismatch.  Applebee’s calls itself a ‘neighbourhood grill and bar’, but they served up the steak and starters on dainty rectangular plates.  I guess it’s a difference of opinion, but I think that a more appropriate way to serve everything would have been on thick heavy round plates, diner style.  Plus, the big plate just served to accentuate how small the starter trio was. 

The bill came up to $89, and for what we had, it was definitely overpriced. 

As we walked around 313 Orchard, we found ourselves repeating as we passed each cafe/bistro/restaurant, “the food is probably better and cheaper in here!”

Anyway, the night certainly took a turn for the better with the movie Date Night (how appropriate huh?).  Maybe it’s cos the issues are salient, we had SUCH a good laugh in the theatre.  I absolutely loved the show :)  Haven’t laughed so hard for a long time.  Perfect for a relaxing and light-hearted night out!  I shan’t spoil the plot.  I shall just say that if you have kids and have been married for a while, this is a good show to watch.  And by the volume of the laughter from the rest of the audience, and looking at the demographic, I don’t even think being married or being parents is a prerequisite to enjoying the show.  So I thoroughly disagree with the review in the Business Times that the show was a dud.  Perhaps the guy is a real grouch.  So there.

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Home & Decor

We’ve started doing some art at home occasionally for the last month, and Asher seems to enjoy himself most of the time.  He’s ok with drawing and painting, but he showed a marked dislike for dough play.  Tried to use homemade ‘recipes’ for these things cos I wanted to make sure that he’ll be fine if he ate the stuff.  Thanks, A, for the inspiration!   
The dough playing session started out fine enough.  He was intrigued with the lightness of the flour and interested in the way it changed texture when water was added.  Initially he didn’t mind getting his hands into the stuff, but then he decided it was much too sticky for his liking (think I had added too much water), and started trying to flick all of it off, with the fine result of coating the floor (and me) with dough bits.  Thank goodness I have tiled flooring!  Will definitely try this again, but gotta make sure the dough doesn’t get too sticky for his liking! 
Get it off me!!
Painting went much better.  He enjoyed using his hands to spread the coffee paint (essentially coffee without sugar for a brown colour) and blueberry paint (crushed blueberries and some corn starch with water for a pink/purple colour) on paper, and attempting to make hand prints.  He eventually decided to use the spoon I had used to mix the paints up as a brush, before reverting to the use of his hands.  In the midst of all this he had also found amusement in mixing the colours together, which resulted in everything turning brown!  But at least there was no mess on the floor :)
Drawing with crayons was the easiest logistically (thank goodness for washable crayons!), and had the prettiest results.  He got to chose from many colours and it’s easy to scribble clearly. 
I’ve now put up his artwork at the corner where his play area is.  Had read somewhere that they deserve the satisfaction of seeing their work being displayed.  Don’t know how true that is, but it sure gives me satisfaction hahaha :) It’s probably true that the mummies appreciate their children’s art the most.  To me, they really are masterpieces for keeps!  (Though for the coffee painting…I’m not sure…will it grow moudly??)

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