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Archive for November, 2011

Raaahh! Christmas is Coming!

We brought out our little tree since Christmas is fast approaching.  Actually Asher was the one who kept asking us to take it out cos he wanted to decorate it.  Besides the pegs that we decorated it with last year, guess what he decorated it with?  See the pics below…

My Christmas Baby :)

Decorating the tree with....

Dinosaurs!!!

Yep...it's a dino Christmas around here

Two fossil dinos admiring Asher's work

It’s dynamic deco though.  He takes them out everyday, plays with them, then puts them back to sleep on the tree.  So everyday our tree looks a little different.  Then one day it went eco.  He took small empty boxes lying around the house and put them in the tree.  So yeah…who knows what is going to be on the tree tomorrow?

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Shareen & Aaren’s Wedding

The weather was beautiful for Shareen and Aaren’s big day.  It’s been raining lots, but it was perfectly sunny that morning.  The boys went in matching outfits, and spent most of the ceremony playing in the cry room with the other kids.  It was great catching up with Rissy and my other old church friends too cos haven’t seen them in a long time.

The hand-crafted guest book

Asher received a set of t-shirts for him and Ellery for his birthday. I think they look cute matching!

Jo Claire doing a little dance

Asher with Rissy

The bride all excited before walking down the aisle :)

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We had a small celebration in school for Asher.  The group was quite small cos many of his friends were away that week.  Still, he enjoyed his little cake cutting session.  No prizes for guessing what picture the cake was….He selected it almost a month before!  Like last year we ordered an agar-agar cake cos it’s tasty and his friends who can’t take dairy can eat it too.  In the end the children were divvying up the dinosaurs among themselves, some asking for the head, some the legs, some the body.  One child who’s vegetarian asked for a tree though :)

Look who's happy

Before

After

 

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Dino Art

Del gave Asher a book on dinosaur-related art and craft and he was excited to try it out.  The night before he said he wanted to paint a triceretops and make dinosaur eggs, so that’s what we did the next day :)

Doing dino art from one of his new books

 

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Asher stayed home on his birthday and he really enjoyed himself cos of all the presents he got to open and treats he got to enjoy.

Waking up Happy

Ellery: "For the record, I'm only tolerating this because it's Asher's birthday"

Playing with balloons from his party

He had actually started to receive presents about a week before, but we kept them in a corner until the actual day.  Unsurprisingly, given the theme for his party, a lot of his presents were dino related.  I only realised that that would happen several weeks after sending out the e-vites.  I was then hoping that people would go easy on the dinosaur thing.  I was quite relieved to see that most bought him dinosaur books.  Books, I never have any objections to.  I was also happy to see a few non-dinosuar related gifts.  They were refreshing in their deliberate non-dino-ness.

Time to open presents!

Pouring over his new dino book

Love this snakes and ladders beach mat

His haul

Ellery quite happy to play with the wrapping

Asher also got to try some of the chocolates I had made for his party, and I gave him a set of dinosaur toys, stamps and tattoos too.  His friends had received a pack at his party, but I had deliberately saved his for his birthday.

Very happy with this chocolate treat

He couldn't stop playing with his dinosaurs and stamps. Some of them have mysteriously disappeared though. Can't imagine where they've gone. Truly extinct.

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Asher, how time flies.  It really doesn’t seem so long ago that we celebrated your 2nd birthday.  So much has happened since.

You’re now a big brother, and in my opinion, a model big brother!  You are loving, caring and protective of Ellery.  Yes, occasionally you complain that he breaks your block structures, but you are more often than not happy to share with him.  You like to show Ellery things, tell him lovingly that certain things he can only do when he’s a big boy too (like eat ice cream or drink chocolate milk), and you always firmly say ‘NO!’ whenever anyone jokes that they’ll bring Ellery home.  You are also incredibly tolerant of his baby behaviour.  When he was in the grabby stage you were oblivious to his hair and ear pulling.  Ellery really loved to pull your hair, and I know it’s really painful cos he’s pulled mine before, but you’d say, “it’s ok for Ellery to pull my hair.  It’s not painful!”  When Ellery accomplishes certain milestones, like drinking from a cup on his own, or standing momentarily on his own, you applaud him and say “WOW!”

You’ve become chattier this year, and I love to hear what you are thinking.  Your imagination is wonderful!  I love how you create all kinds of scenarios, characters and storylines when you play.  I also love how you can totally stay in character during pretend play.  You are very focused that way.

You know what you want, you can make decisions, and when you have decided on something, you stick to it.  I remember at one of the birthday parties, you said you wanted to walk one of our friend’s dogs.  Two other kids said they wanted to too.  But before ten minutes was up they had come running back.  You on-the-other-hand, stuck to it and had a great time walking the dog for a good 20-30min.  Our friend commented that you’re very dedicated.  When as a treat we let you choose a toy car to buy when we were on holiday, you took the time to browse and seemed to really be thinking about which one you like.  When you chose your red monster truck, you really appreciated it, liked it, and kept saying it was your favourite of the lot.  Likewise with the softtoy we let you choose at the end of our Australia trip, you browsed and chose, and were happy with what you chose.  I like that you are content with your decisions, and you treasure your gifts.

You are one little cheeky monster too.  Very often you’re playing some kind of trick or other on me, and you in particular love to tekan your Kung Kung.  The funny little things you say really warm his heart, I believe :)  Often Kung Kung says playfully that he’s got a score to settle with you :)  Most recently you rubbed Ellery’s belly and declared that his belly was soft and cushy like Kung Kung’s.  When we told Por Por she collapsed laughing, and Kung Kung gave you a good cher-kek for your cheekiness :)   I love to see Kung Kung’s face light up when you banter with him.

You have also settled well into school.  You like your friends and teachers very much, and they like you too.  When you arrive in school your classmates will start exclaiming, “Asher’s here!”  And you started to peddle this year!  I was quite happy to see that.  For many many months you’d sit on the tricycle and tiptoe around, while your friends zipped past you :)

This year was the year of the dinosaur.  Honestly, there was not a single day that went by that you did not mention the word ‘dinosaur’.  We have learned so much about those creatures that I have come to be fascinated by them too!  You draw dinos, talk dinos, pretend to be dinos, eat like a dino (like a plant-eating dino to be specific.  if you say you’re a t-rex and I ask you to eat meat, you’ll suddenly became a stegasaurus), and dream dinos!  Really!  One night I heard you talking in your sleep and you were mumbling about dinosaurs :)  Daddy and I were so amused!

About eating, you still aren’t so hot about eating.  And you can really be quite the vegetarian.  Whereas most parents have problems making their kids eat veggies, I have a problem making you eat meat.  You’ll happily eat corn on the cob, munch your carrots, eat up an entire avocado, chew on broccoli, eat leafy greens when they are cut up in your soup and in fried rice/noodles, and you love the peas-frenchbean-corn-carrot mixed veg.  As for meat, you tend to only take it in two forms – chicken nuggets and tomato beef sauce (like in spaghetti bolognaise, lasagna or shepherd’s pie).  The argument that since you eat chicken nuggets you’ll like chicken totally doesn’t work on you.  But you eat seafood.  For fish you will eat salmon and white fish when they are in your rice or soup, but your favourite are sea bass and golden pomfret.  Those two you will happily eat entire chunks of fish up.  And you like prawns and, surprisingly, you love squid!

Even in your play you show your preference for veg.  When Ko Po asked what stall you were manning at the playground in church you said “fruit stall”.  At your birthday you had a juice stall.  Hmm… The funniest example of your love of veg was when we were in Australia though.  At a cafe there was a counter filled with the most enticing pasta and pies.  I asked what you wanted, and you pointed at the whole yellow, green and red capsicums they used for decoration.  And on one of the mornings you asked for carrots (raw and cooked) and avocado for breakfast!

I really wonder when you’ll ask me for a hamburger or hot dog.  I suppose you might pick up on that eventually.  I know other parents say it’s a good problem, and yes, I guess I agree, but I can’t help thinking, you are a very strange boy :O)

There are, of course, things you do that really irritate me sometimes.  But they aren’t many.  You are the king of “can I have one more book, please” at bedtime.  You are impossible to rush out of the house quickly.  The eating thing sometimes irritates me.  And I can’t stand it when you refuse to nap even though you are obviously tired.  Hmm…can’t think of anymore!

Asher, you are such a lovable boy!  Mummy loves you no end.  You bring so much laughter and joy into my life, and you teach me so much about myself and how I can be better.  You are very loved by many people, but most of all, you are loved by God!

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Asher’s birthday was preceeded by a lot of activity, in particular a lot of baking.  We baked cookies for the gift pack, made chocolates, and baked a cake too.  A couple of weeks before I was chatting with my cousin, Del, over coffee about Asher’s birthday and she mentioned a cake she read about where someone had buried toy dinosaurs inside, and I thought that was a great idea!  A dino dig cake!  Asher would love that!  I spent the next few weeks dreaming up the ideal cake.  I love baking, so it was a lot of fun for me to think about what kind of cake would be yummy and then to go find recipes to try.

Initially I thought of making meringue dinosaurs fossils to dig up, since those would be edible.  But my meringues got so soft and sticky in our hot and humid weather they simply would not do.  So decided to just stuff dinosaur toys inside, nevermind that they weren’t fossil toys (since you can only dig up fossils, right? Not dinosaurs all fleshed out.  It’s a technicality I think most people will overlook heh).  In the end I settled on a 2-layer chocolate sponge cake (each layer made with slightly different ingredients, like adding crushed biscuits, and altering the type of sugar used), and chocolate-oreo icing, topped with crushed oreo biscuit ‘soil’, and baked some stegasaurous cookie ‘fossils’ and a number 3 for decoration.

Helping to stuff dinosaurs into the cake

Grid pattern so I remember where to cut!

Besides the baking, the lead up to the birthday was actually quite uncertain.  Asher suddenly fell quite ill two days before his party and we found out it was a stomach flu bug.  We contemplated cancelling his party.  On Thursday, the first day of his illness, his condition was quite severe and we brought him to the doctor who said he’d probably be well in two days and would be ok for the event.  On Friday his condition had greatly improved and were thankful he was better.  He was still a little lethargic at times, and he himself knew he needed to rest more, so he took extra naps and slept earlier at night.

He was ok for the party on Saturday and we assessed he was well enough to be with his friends since Ellery, who was in close proximity with him throughout, was still fine.  We certainly didn’t want him passing anything on!  He has good memories of his party (he talks about his cake and about playing with his friends), though I think he would have enjoyed it even more had he been in tip top condition.  He was still a little lethargic that morning, and took a nap during his party!  But think that nap was what he needed, because after that he was more lively.  A week later when we went to Turf City again, he remembered his party, talked about it and wanted to play at the playground again :)

I was telling Jon how unfortunate it was that he caught a bad bug so close to his birthday.  He hasn’t been so ill in more than a year!

Anyway about his party proper.

We decided to hold it at Sol Playground Cafe at Turf City since there was a sheltered outdoor playground as well as an indoor play area for younger kids.  Many of our guests have two kids now, so the facilities at Sol suited us well.  Plus, there’s free parking!  Jon was mighty pleased when it started to drizzle because it vindicated his insistence on the venue as it allowed the children to play even in wet weather.  I duly gave him all the necessary praise on his foresight ;)

The indoor play area

We also decided to go with a dinosaur theme because Asher is in love with them.  Really.  Totally in love with them.  If he could, he would be at dinosaur.  His ambition used to be a paleontologist.  Now, if you ask him what his ambition is, he’ll say its to be a dinosaur – “I actually want to be a dinosaur” (emphasis all his).  So dino we went.  Everything was dino related – from the party packs to the decor to the cake.  And he couldn’t be more pleased!

Christmas and dinosaurs

Dino pack - cookies, chocolates, stamps, tattoos and toys

Diving into his unwrapped present from Del, and telling us about one of the sauropods

Happy birthday Asher! Several days before his birthday I asked which was his favourite dinosaur, and he said stegasaurus, so I decided to go with that for the fossil :) But I realise that his favourite dino actually changes from day to day!

Asher! Whenever he plays with his blocks he always says this is him because he has a red hat too.

Eating up the fossils!

He used the toy shovel to eat the cake!

I must say that the staff there were very attentive and accomodating.  They allowed our guests flexible ordering, meaning they could mix-and-match items on the menu, order other things not on the menu, or make special requests for whatever reason (dietary or taste preferences).  The food was quite good and apparently, according to one of my friends who had been there before, the standard has improved a lot.  It was actually our first time eating there!

Kaizer and Titus stamping away on the colouring sheets

Adrian, Adam, Del & Anya

Joanne & Jo Claire

Hello?

The kids, even the older ones, enjoyed the indoor play area, and after finishing their food everyone ventured outside to play at the playground.  For a while the boys hogged the playhouse, and we dubbed it the boys club.  They didn’t allow any girls to go in at all.  Later on it morphed into a juice stall, and eventually that business closed down and the girls could go inside again :)

Standing guard at the boys club

No girls! Poor JC left outside

Playing with the windows - open, close, open, close...

Roof Party with Josiah

I was happy to see the kids getting along, refering to each other their friends.  Some of them see each other only once a year at Asher’s birthday.  I’m grateful that there’s a bunch of close friends and family who have kids around the same age as us.  It’s really nice to have people in the same life stage as you.  And in particular, some of them have a very similar outlook on parenting so we’re quite on the same wavelength.  I hope that this bunch will continue to be close, and that our kids will be close as they grow up!

Ellery likes slides!

Peeking in with Joanie

Heather scooting about

Family huddle

My cheeky dinosaur

After the party, we headed home and Asher thoroughly enjoyed his treat of being allowed to watch and entire DVD worth of Tractor Tom!  We came to know of this series when Asher received the video as a gift from his Aunts from UK.  Aunty Radha, Sheela – he loves it!

Being a couch potato at home

To end on a funny note, when I about to bathe Ellery in the evening I was surprised to see he had a dino tattoo on his arm!  I had no idea it was there at all because it had been hiding under this sleeves the entire afternoon.  I felt like a mother discovering her son’s little secret :)  Wonder who put it on him?

Joined a dino gang and didn't tell Mummy

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How could we not go for this?

When I saw the advertisement for Dinosaurs Live I knew I had to bring Asher.  He’s absolutely in love with dinosaurs!

Unfortunately I think the exhibition is a little overhyped.  It was much less interactive than I thought, and the dinosaurs are quite stilted.  I guess it also comes on the back of our Australia trip where we got to see real dinosaur fossils, so this pales in comparison.  This was clearly fake so it lacked that authenticity factor.  Nevertheless, Asher was happy enough to see the dinosaurs fleshed out, even if they were fake-ly spongey.  He enjoyed the dinosaur dig best I think, and spent quite some time digging around in there.

Parasaurolophus - one of the dinosaurs he likes

Because he was the right height for eating, when the T-Rex opened its jaws wide Asher was a little scared and asked to move on :)

Making a clay dinosaur

Just thought this was quite sweet

Scary shadows

Dig site

Rawrr

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