Archive for June, 2011

Dress Up Partner

Look who Asher got involved in his dress up antics!  And look how happy that someone is to be part of Asher’s games! 

I’ve noticed that Ellery really likes to be part of whatever Asher is doing.  You know how there’s (usually?) a phase where the younger sibling likes to follow the older sibling?  I think it might be showing up a little already.  Wonder how long it’ll last for :)


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Managed to convince the hubby that LTA’s Land Transport Gallery would interest Asher since he’s into vehicles of all kinds.  So after church we trotted over there to check out the Children’s Season event they had on.

It was better than I had expected.  There was a stationary vintage Ford that Asher totally loved, the gallery itself had several mock-ups of the interiors of old vehicles (and of course Asher had to try every single one of them, some a few times over), there were craft sections where we made magnets and badges, and there were trishaw and electric vehicle rides!  There was actually a ride on a red porche too, but we skipped that one cos the queue was much too long and it was time to head back for Asher’s nap already.

I was really glad we made the trip, and even Jon said he was impressed with the gallery :)  Think when Ellery’s older we’ll head back there again.  In all likelihood he’ll go be into the cars, buses and trains as well, so he’ll enjoy this place.  Plus, admission is free!

In the vintage Ford car


Electric bike

An exhibit in the gallery showing how traffic was controlled previously.  Instead of traffic lights, men wearing these ‘wings’ would direct traffic.

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Been wanting to bring the boys to the bird park for eons, and finally, we made it!  I haven’t been there since…secondary school?  Maybe even primary school.  So I was interested to see the birds myself.

Most of the place seemed unfamiliar, except for the sculpture of a decomposing buffalo in the Kings of the Skies show.  Has it been there since I was a kid?

Some of the more interesting birds were the shoebill stork, cassowary, and the striking scarlet ibises.  The lory loft is what the bird park is well known for, but I think I was not awed for two reasons.  I had already seen wild lories flying around during our Melbourne trip last year and was awed then by their colourful plumage.  Was it me?  They seemed bigger and more colourful over there.  The other reason was cos the loft didn’t feel as intimate as the Fragile Forest enclosure at the Singapore Zoo, which I really really love.  Yes, the lories come quite close to you, and even sit on your shoulder when you have food for them.  But at the Fragile Forest, flying foxes and other colourful birds swoop close past your head, lemurs playfully prance around, mousedeer cross your path, and the foliage is much more lush.

Shoebill Stork

Scarlet Ibises like bright flowers in the trees

One of many lories

Enjoying a walk on one of several suspension bridges

We actually explored the Bird Park in two parts.  The first was before lunch, then we head off to my in-law’s place for lunch as usual, naps for everyone, then back to the Bird Park again before it closed for the day.  It was fun to do it that way.  Felt like we were on holiday returning to the hotel room for a rest before doing more sightseeing.

Anyway, given the size of the place (not big), and the range of animals (all birds), I do think that it’s much more worthwhile to get a zoo membership than a bird park one.  We might visit the bird park again, but probably not anytime soon.

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We had been trying to get train tickets to Malaysia for quite a while.  Jon wasn’t able to take some leave, so we just wanted to do a day trip to somewhere nearby, maybe to Kluang or just JB.  But the problem was, tickets for short-distance rides could not be booked in advance and would only be sold 24 hours before departure.

I had already gone down twice but left empty handed.  I decided to try again.  Went down around 1030am to try and get tickets for the next day’s 8am or 1pm train.  When I got there the 8am train was already sold out, and sales for the 1pm train hadn’t started.  It was still 2 hours to 1pm, and I wasn’t sure whether I should wait or not.  I decided to think about it over lunch.  Jon and I often go to the train station for dinner/supper, so each of the times I came to try and get tickets I made sure to eat there too.

Yummy Mee Goreng!

It was 1130am.  To wait or not to wait?  By then a separate queue for people wanting to buy 1pm tickets had formed, but no one was sure whether it was a queue that would be recognised later.  There was a lot of confusion.  Then suddenly, at 1150am, I heard someone offering to sell his extra ticket.  1150.01am, I realised I knew that person!!  It was Jon’s friend, Tim!  11.55am, we found out under 3s don’t need tickets. 11.57am, I was off running to the car with Ellery in my arms.  In my head I kept thinking, “bird in hand better than two in a bush!”   

If I managed to get tickets I was supposed to get 3, one each for me, Jon and his Dad.  But since the aim was to let Asher ride on the ‘real’ train, and there were only 30 tickets for the next day’s 1pm train and I wasn’t at the front of the queue, and here was one ticket for me, and I could bring them myself, and there was Jon’s friend with me so I’d have some help if necessary so Jon doesn’t worry, I jumped at the opportunity.  Wheeeee!! 

On the way home I hatched my plan.  Getting back to the train station in 1 hour would be a challenge.  I was literally running everywhere.  Ran home, quickly gave Ellery his feed cos he was starving.  Ran back to the car, zoomed to Asher’s school.  When I told Asher we were going to take a real train, he was soooo excited he was literally jumping around.  It was particularly funny because his teacher was about to shower him so he was stark naked and I had to remind him to put on clothes!!  We can’t take a train naked!! :)

He was especially happy cos we took a cab to the station.  I figured it’d be faster to take a cab since I won’t have to look for a parking lot.  Left his school bag and the car at this school.  The taxi driver helped by really being very speedy.  Then, horrors, a jam had formed at the Keppel exit of AYE!  We inched forward.  1245pm.  1247pm.  Called Tim, maybe will be late.  Maybe you go first.  Was thinking what a waste if we can’t make it cos we can see the train tracks and the platform! 1252pm I hopped out of the cab at the bus stop, carried both boys, and raaaaannn!!  Thank goodness Tim had kindly come out to try and meet me halfway, so he carried Asher and we ran to the platform.  Went through customs just in time.  The whistles were blowing, the passengers were running, we got on…safe!  We made it!!!

This must be the closest thing to backpacking I’ll be doing in the next few years.  It was sooo fun :)  I love impromptu adventures!!

Managed to squeeze in a quick shot before boarding

Passing by my old school!  I remember sitting on the track with my track & field teammates watching the train go by in the dark.  If you stare at just one spot in the trees it almost feels like you are in the train watching the lit houses go by. 

Sharing a seat

Crossing the bridge over Bukit Timah road.  Brings back memories of when my friend and I on a spontaneous (andin hindsight, dangerous) desire for adventure, we ran across the bridge :)  Thrilling!  But of course now I’m the responsible parent, I might scold my kid for being so impulsive.  Or will I join them?  Hmmmm…. ;)

We got off at Woodlands station, took a bus to Marsling, an MRT back to Redhill, changing train once at Jurong East.  I think we took every available form of public transport that day!

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Swimming at Changi

This week Asher’s school had pure child care with no programmes on, so I thought it’d be a good chance to bring the boys swimming.  My parents had mentioned that Changi SAFRA had a nice pool, and since they were free we all went together.  This is one activity that I think needs more hands.  Usually I can manage our outings by myself, but swimming is a bit tricky.  Del came along with Anya, and Adrian coincidentally was playing golf in the club that day too.

The weather held up long enough for the kids to enjoy the pool before the clouds burst and let out a torrent of brief but heavy rain.  After that we filled our tummies with dim sum!  I can never say no to that!

I’m chillin

Being cheeky

Difficult to get a pic of the three of them!

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“Gobble up delicious doses of reinvented fairy tales! Enter the life-size story kingdom where children can play and pretend to be fairy tale characters. Why not let your children’s imagination run free? It’s a feast that only gets ‘curiouser and curiouser’.”

That’s what the ad for the exhibit said.  So having seen the Children’s Season programmes at the National Museum, SAM and Peranakan Museum, plus generally having a high respect for NLB, I imagined decorated sets, dress up costumes, and well, lots of fun exciting actitivies!!

Unfortunately the only thing that was curiouser and curiouser was that actual exhibition couldn’t be further from what I imagined.  I guess I let my imagination run free ; /   But with what they put up, I can’t imagine any kid’s imagination running free… Surely they ought to know that panels and panels of boards with lots of words will hardly appeal to kids.  It’s no wonder to me that the place was empty.

I was so disappointed!  Had to feign some excitement though because I had got Asher all excited already.  On the way there I was telling him that he can pretend to be characters, and maybe there’d be dress up, Mummy wasn’t sure.   Yes, I used ‘maybe’ because I wasn’t sure there’d be any, but thought that even without dress up, there ought to be something more!

He ended up asking me where the dress up was, so had to remind him I was not sure about that, and quickly moved on to find something else that was interesting.  I didn’t even bother with the boards.  A couple of glances to see what they were about and I just decided to ignore them.  With Ellery’s milk time and Asher’s dinner time looming ahead, plus the possibility of a need for Asher to go to the toilet (or maybe a clean up if there’s an accident), I had to just pick and chose.

In the end we found the CSI section more engaging.  We assembled a puzzle of a crime scene and played several rounds of a matching game.  But you know what, I think the most interesting part was then going down to the kids section and borrowing books.  At least in the books you really can let your imagination go free.

Fixing the puzzle

Matching pieces of evidence

Did a spot of colouring, but it was no great shakes

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We did all our Father’s Day eating in one day.  Lunch with Jon’s family and my parents at Warren Country Club, and dinner BBQ with the cousins, aunts, grandma, uncle and my parents again.

Asher had quite a good lunch, but at dinner he refused to eat anything even though on the way there he kept saying he’d eat Uncle Simon’s food.  Zilch.  Nada.  Zero.  Not even a taste.  Just cheerios.  What a waste!  The burgers were yummy, as were the sausages and the pork!  And the cake that Del brought back from KL!  Thank goodness I had brought the cereal from my Mum’s place, otherwise he’d having nothing at all for dinner!

Instead of sitting down properly to eat, he was more interested in looking at all the seal statues around the pool.  He brought me, Jon and my Dad separately for countless walks.  Oh well, at least he ate something!

Today’s message in church talked about treasuring every single interaction, because you never know when it would be the last.  It may be tiring to carry the kids now, but one day they will not need you to carry them anymore.  The preacher asked the fathers whether they remembered the last time they carried their children.  I can’t remember the last time my Dad carried me.  Must have been when I was in secondary school?  Perhaps when I had a hairline fracture after a basketball match in Sec4?  I’m not sure.

That message did sit with me.  So I enjoyed my walks around the pool with Asher, making stories about the seals and pretending to throw him into the pool.  Who knows when will be the last time he wants to bring me for a walk?

Cuddling up with my Mum at lunch.  Look at him clinging to my Mum’s shirt.  That’s one of the things that makes Ellery very nice to carry, he clings back and sometimes hugs you around the neck tightly.  It’s a cosy feeling.

Dinner BBQ

The hosts!

The food!  We were ordered not to bring any food.  And just as well, there was lots left over.  Could enjoy the lamb burgers again the next day – yum yum yum

Simon trying in vain to convince Asher to try some of the BBQ

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Sarah and Wilfred put in a lot of effort to organise Victor’s Barney themed party.  Wilfred even put on the Barney costume!  At first I thought they hired someone, then when I heard Barney speak the voice sounded very familiar :)  How sweet huh?  The things fathers do for their children :))

We all had a turn taking photos with Barney before a 3D Barney cake was brought out for cutting.  I thought this was a practical choice for a cake.  Most 3D cakes are made with fondant, which looks really pretty, but the outside can’t be eaten (or more accurately, it’s not very nice to eat the fondant and people usually leave it aside).  This entire cake was edible and yummy!  It was a challenge to cut though, and it was funny to see the debate about which part of Barney should go first (“Shall we behead him?”).

We’re a happy family

Not!  We’re going to eat you Barney!! Muahahahaha!!

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Invisible Grilles

I don’t like window grilles.  I love having my windows unobstructed.  When I open them they must be opened fully, otherwise I’d feel uncomfortable and a little penned in.  So before Asher arrived, Jon and I debated long and hard about having grilles.  We compromised and just installed one set in Asher’s bedroom.  Then when we moved Asher to a different room for a while, we installed one set in that room.  Then now that Asher’s bigger and often jumps around on our bed, which is less than half a metre from the windows, I do get worried he’ll just bounce right out.  But I hate grilles…and my bedroom is like my haven.

So it was wonderful to stumble upon ‘invisible grilles’ in the newspaper.  It seemed like the best compromise…safety with the least possible obstruction.  I think the end result is pretty good, as grilles go.  Sometimes, especially at night, it really seems as if there aren’t any grilles at all.  It works well for our dining windows too, because that’s the first thing you see when you walk into the house.  So it preserves our view, and limits the penned in feeling.

As a highly anti-grille person, but with a need to ensure safety cos of kids, I think the invisible grilles are a good compromise.

Without grilles

With invisible grilles

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Our other family outing for the week was to go on the Singapore Duck Tour.  We figured the boys would enjoy experiencing a ride on the DUKW amphibious vehicle, plus, none of us had ever been on the tour ourselves.  Tourists in Singapore!

Asher was super excited cos he had seen the DUKW vehicles on the roads many times.  Had to hurry him when I picked him around 330pm because we were catching the 4pm tour.  We piled on, all 9 of us, and off we went!  The ride in the water was surprising smooth.  I had expected it to be quite rocky, but it was in fact smoother than when driving on land.  The land tour was really just a glorified u-turn.  The Ducks needed to return to Suntec, and so a u-turn involved going around the Padang and seeing the historic part of Singapore.

The whole jin gang

With the boys

View of Marina Bay Sands

Heather & my parents

Some decor for NDP

Don’t usually see the Flyer from this angle

A simple dinner at the Suntec City food court, and it was time to go see Bob the Builder!  I guessed that the same costumes and vehicles would be used, and true enough, there were Muck and Roley, just as we had seen at West Coast Plaza previously.  But the session at Millenia was much better than the one at West Coast Plaza, which was just a meet-and-greet.  At Millenia there was a short performance where not just Bob, but Wendy and Spud also made an appearance.

Climbing all over Muck

With his Ko Po on Roley

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