Archive for October, 2011

We went for a family holiday to Australia along with Jon’s Dad for 10 days.  The plan was to spend most of our time in Sydney and a couple of days driving out to the Blue Mountains area.

The flight there was tiring.  We had hoped that by taking a night flight the boys would sleep on the way there.  Asher was still pretty alright, though he slept much later than usual and woke once.  But Ellery woke often, refused to be put down in the bassinet, and Jon and I had to take turns carrying him the entire flight.  In contrast we took the evening flight home, and it was much better.  We settled their dinner on board and basically ran through the night routine on the plane.  So by the time the lights go out it’s about time for them to sleep too.  Ellery was also much easier to handle and allowed us to put him in the bassinet for quite a large part of the flight such that I actually got to watch the rest of Transformers: Dark of the Moon (I watched the first half on the way up), Friends with Benefits, a few random episodes of kids cartoons, and still managed to get a little sleep.

Sydney was fun!  We checked out several kid-friendly sights like the Sydney Aquarium and Australian Museum, did the harbour cruise, checked out a couple of street markets, walked the Rocks and the Royal Botanic Gardens, played at the relatively new Darling Quarter playground twice, and took a trip to Manly beach.  We only had half-a-day each day because of the jetlag.  By the time the kids were up it was about 11am Australian time, but we didn’t really want to push them to adjust.  We were prepared for a slow, relaxing pace, and let the kids adjust in their own time.

Our roadtrip was hit by bad weather which prevented us from catching the views of the various Blue Mountain features.  The first day was bright and sunny when we were at the Featherdale Wildlife Park.  We thought the next few days would be equally sunny since the previous 4 days in Sydney were blessed with beautiful weather too.  But we found the next two days in the mountains utterly dreary.  It rained non-stop, the temperature dropped to a low of 7 degrees celcius (it had been 27-28 degrees in Sydney!), and there was even sleet at one point!  Piled clothes onto the kids to keep them warm, though I was less worried about Ellery since he’s normally a sweaty monster in Singapore.

Instead of waiting out the rain (which would have been futile anyway), we went to explore the Jenolan Caves – apparently the best in the Southern Hemisphere.  Perfect.  Temperature moderated place that’s unaffected by the rain :)  On the last day we also went to the ZigZag Railway for a ride on real steam engines a la Thomas!  It was freezing that day, and we could even see the mist on our breathe.  But we huddled in the carriage and munched on snacks to keep warm.

Overall it was a good trip. Very relaxing and enjoyable.

There was one horrific experience we went through though. Ellery had a little cold that he’d caught from Asher before the trip and the phlegm was difficult to blow out.  On the first night at our Blue Mountain cabin (where we were in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by darkness), I was feeding Ellery when I suddenly noticed he was looking at the wall behind us.  Then I asked what he was looking at and realised he was not responding.  I picked him up and found he was absolutely limp!!!  Rushed out to find Jon and we saw he was turning blue.  I tried very hard not to panic but I was very scared.  Then he started to have fits!  We prayed and prayed, and pat and pat, hoping the phlegm would come out – we assessed that it was probably that which was blocking his breathing.  After I don’t know how long, the Ellery suddenly coughed up the phlegm.  His eyes started to move but could not focus for a good many minutes more, and he still did not respond.  He’d be looking at me but not registering anything!  Prayed and prayed some more.  Thank God that he eventually started to mumble something, and regained his colour, and started to be responsive again.  What a fright!!!  What a horrific experience!!!  It was only after the kids were settled into bed later that I felt the stress of it all and cried to release the tension.

We concluded that he’d had a blocked nose, but at the same time was very hungry and wanted to nurse and couldn’t stop drinking.  As a result all his airways got blocked.  It was especially shocking because just a few minutes before he was perfectly fine!

We were just so thankful he was ok.

So yes, it was an eventful holiday.  One good thing that came from the trip was that when we got back to Singapore the kids were kind of on Australian time so they slept much earlier, giving me more time in the evening :)

Ok, think I’ll share more on the individual aspects in a few posts over the next few days.  This was just an overview.

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Too Much Love?

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Nessie’s wedding was a cosy affair held at Raffles Hotel – a place with has special significance for the couple.  I loved her dress, and thought she looked really beautiful in it :)  The garden setting was also lovely!  The weather was hot but not humid, so it was nice to be in the sun.  At least, that was my opinion.  Everyone else was in the shade :)

Lunch was kept small, and Jon and I accomplished one of the difficult feats of parenting – keeping 2 kids at a table for 3hours with no electronics.  But it was a good thing we sat at the corner, then Asher could move around our chairs and indulge in some pretend play.  At one point he was a porcupine (the napkin was his coat of quills!) and he was ‘poking’ Mingli with it, and she gamely played along.

After lunch my parents and aunts very kindly helped to bring the boys home so that Jon and I could attend the wedding tea by ourselves.  I had booked them months in advance to make sure they’d be available.  It’s not that the kids were not invited, but we, I in particular, really just wanted to enjoy some very rare adult time and have the chance to chat with my friends properly.  At all the previous weddings I usually end up being tied up with the kids and don’t get to catch up with my friends.  I feel that I’m quite out of touch with some of their lives.  I was thankful that Asher was cooperative and did not protest that he had to go home before me.  Ellery too was well behaved.

I had such a good time with Jon, and with my friends.  I can’t even remember the last time I went to an adult event like that…the last time I went to an event with no kids.  Hmm…I really can’t remember.

I enjoyed myself so much that when we walked back to the car, a long-lost instinct in me was awakened and I walked to the passenger seat.  It was only when I opened the door did reality hit me – there was the children’s car seat in the passenger side.  I had to walk back around and sit at the back : /

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Saw the Muffinry sign as I drove past one day and thought it looked interesting.  Googled and found some good reviews, so headed down with Del to try it.  In the end I was more taken by their sandwich than by the muffins though.  I felt the muffins were quite pricey, and they felt a little too homemade for the price.  I’m not sure that really makes sense.  I mean, it’s nice…it’s tasty…it’s not too sweet…there are some intersting flavours…but I somehow think I’m not going to be getting more muffins from them anytime soon.

Their signature flavour

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Caitlin Woo

Little Caitlin Woo was born on 11 Oct 2011.  It was an unexpectedly early arrival and it’s been busy for Dawn.  But am happy that Caitlin’s out healthy and contented!

Asher peering at Caitlin

Playing with Austin

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Brought the boys to Botanic Gardens for a walk today and ventured into the rainforest section of the gardens.  I’ve never been inside before, and was happy to find that it’s quite wild and had interesting features easily visible (stranger figs, giant ratans, etc.).  It’s actually more fun for a kid than the main path of Bukit Timah Hill because there’s more to see.  It also wins on these points – it’s so much more convenient to get to, and there’s no worry of clumsy me tumbling down the steep hill while carrying Ellery.  If Asher ever wants a forest fix, I’ll head to the Botanic Gardens!

We also explored the desert plants and came across an interesting plant I’d never seen before, the pencil cactus.  Turns out it can be quite poisonous though.  Read of some people having severe allergic reactions to the sap and ending up in the emergency room.  Beware if you bring you kids to see the plant!

Our forest walk

Pencil Cactus

Passing of Knowledge. I thought this was a beautiful and evocative sculpture.

At the bandstand


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As you know, I love dance.  So even though I’ve got two boys, that’s not going to stop me from bringing them to watch dance.  Actually it’s my dream that one day Asher (or Ellery) will learn ballroom or some other partner dance with me, and dance together with me (Jon’s not too keen on dance, so it falls to the boys :) ).  I remember on a cruise with my family when I was little we had seen a young man (maybe around 18) dancing beautifully with his mother.  It was lovely to watch!

But a full length performance run the risk of being too heavy for Asher at this age, so when Esplanade offered a kid’s Nutcracker production (basically exerpts), I was very keen to bring Asher.  On the way there I told him the story of the Nutcracker and he was looking forward to seeing the mouse king.

We got into the theatre early and ended up taking a bunch of silly pics while waiting :)  I really enjoyed spending that time with him alone.

Anyway it surprised me that he really enjoyed the performance!  He sat forward throughout, and was quite riveted by the dancing.  It was also amusing hearing him ask during the pas de deux where the man went, then where the lady went.  Then, “Eh! The man is back again!”

Interestingly, he said his favourite part was when the mouse king ran away.  The mouse king actually only did a cameo, making a short appearance when the narrator was telling the story.  The actual dance of the battle between the Nutcracker and the mouse king was not shown.  I guess it’s a boy thing :)

And speaking of boy things.   The girls who attended the performance we sooo girly (this is, of course, a sweeping statement).  But really, there were soooo many girls dressed as ballerinas, as princesses, and even one as Snow White.  I don’t remember getting all geared up like that when my Mum brought me to watch dance.  And neither did I want to be!  Times have changed, and I was left with the thought that “wow, it’s hard to have a girl nowadays”.

But back to boy things.  Asher’s boy genes definitely kicked in that day.  At the end of the show Asher said he wanted to see the Sugar Plum fairy (cos he heard the announcement of the meet-and-greet).  On the way to queue he said he wanted to see her, to sit on her lap, to tell her she danced nicely and that he liked her.  Then after queueing for a while, and when we were only 10 people away, he said that actually, he wanted to go home and build a stage for the dinosaurs and ballerinas to dance!  Haha, what a combination!  But we still stayed in the queue.  Then 2 people from our turn, he said, he didn’t want to say hi to the Sugar Plum Fairy anymore and really wanted to go home and build a stage.  Of course I won’t force him to meet her, and actually I was laughing in my head at how in the end the boy genes won.  On the way to the carpark he saw the pond outside and wanted to go run around it and hop from flagstone to flagstone – very boy behaviour.  Daddy was very pleased with the report that day – “Good!” he declared :)

As for the performance itself, I didn’t think the dancing was all that great.  The Sugar Plum Fairy, in particular, was really stiff.  I felt quite uptight just watching her.  But again…as with other times I’ve criticised dancers…they can quite surely dance better than me so I should just keep quiet.  I did feel that Sylvia McCully’s production of Nutcracker back when I was in Primary 2 (and I was a berry in the Fruit Cake dance!) was a lot more inspired, and a lot more beautiful.  I shall go find the old video and try to convert it to DVD!

He gave a scrunched up smile, which led to a series of goofy pics :)


Puffed up cheeks

Rubbing noses



Ouchy! He had accidentally bumped his head, so I copied him for fun and by then he was erupting in an endless stream of giggles


Girls all dressed up in ballerina gear

Some of the cast

Doing more 'boy' stuff like running across flagstones, etc.

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