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Archive for December, 2011

Replay

We had a playdate with the Sngs, Cais, Esther and Roy three days after Ellery’s birthday.  This bunch of friends hadn’t been able to make it for Ellery’s birthday celebration a few days earlier since most of them were overseas, so it was a good chance to catch up with one another.

To keep prep to a minimum we just got tons of breakfast hawker fare from our trusty Redhill Market.  Everything from waffles, to pao, to chai tau kueh, to prata.  It was a bit of a deja vu feeling when the house got completely messed up with toys and filled with the chatter and laughter of children.  But I like it :)  Our cardboard mansion was much better utilised at this playdate too.  Ironically, the roof collapsed not because of the kids though, but because of an adult haha :)  The children brought in toys, more crayons and colouring sheets, and had a blast hiding in there.

The 3-roomer was well utilised too, to the point the doorways were starting to cave in.  Good.  That was the point of it all.  Build, use, throw.  The garang guni man was more than happy to take our stuff the next day.

A huge milestone took place that day too.  Ellery started walking!  He suddenly got up and did 5 steps at one go.  This was witnessed by all the Uncles and Aunties, and the little kids, so he got lots of applause for his efforts :)  But more on his walking in another post.

It was good fun to see the kids gettings along and playing well with one another.  We’re planning a trip out to Bandung to visit Joce and family in June.  Hopefully the holiday plans all work out!

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Ellery spent his first birthday shuttling from place to place.  First church, then Aunty Evelyn’s house, then to Orchard to pick up a pink logcake that JC had requested for, and then off to Woodlands for a Christmas party.

Lots of playing and lots of attention.  You can’t go wrong with that combination on your birthday :)

Birthday hug

New shoes from Por Por & Kung Kung that they didn't realise made squeaking sounds until Ellery wore them :) Ellery was very amused and happily stomped his feet all the more.

Playing at the kids room in church

Asher happy with his balloon he got in church. Actually the balloon man had finished his shift, so I just asked for a long balloon and twisted it into a 'fish' myself. That's about the only thing I could think of making that might pass off as the actual animal!

At Aunty Evelyn's house. Getting some balloons of his own :)

Loving Jo Claire's ball pit tent

Like really loving it. Ellery couldn't stop crawling in and out of it. "Boh! Boh!"

JC and Asher learning how to pop champagne from Joe

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This is SUCH an overdue post!

Yes, I’m backdating it to the actual day as is my usual practice (I’m a bit OCD that way, I like knowing exactly which day things happened).  But this is one month overdue!!!

Gosh.

But moving on…

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On top of celebrating Ellery’s birthday we thought it’d be a great opportunity catch up with friends and relatives, so many of which we hardly get a chance to meet with on a day-to-day basis. Afterall, Christmas is a time for such things isn’t it?  So the party ended up being quite big, and our house was filled to capacity.  Every space was occupied, and I think it got a little cramp at one point because the caterer arrived more than an hour late so our guests were lumped together!  We had organised it such that the kids party was in the morning and the relatives would arrive in the afternoon.  But as lunch came late, the morning and afternoon crowd were crowded together for a good hour or more!  Everyone was very polite and kind though.

Homemade Christmas mobile

Thankfully the food was good – we catered from Samy’s Curry – although a little too salty and spicy for some.  Maybe next year we’ll cater Northern Indian since that tends to be less spicy.  It was a toss-up between Samy’s and Curry Garden, and this year Samy’s fish cutlet edged out :)

Indian food for Christmas

The kids seemed happy enough and didn’t seem to mind the crowd.  I had prepared several play areas to entertain the little ones.  In the living room the kids could help themselves to Asher and Ellery’s toys.  I had also made two cardboard playhouses for the kids.  The first was a 3-room playhouse which I put in the boy’s bedroom.  I had intended for their room to be the role-playing area (dress up clothes, masak-masak, pretend food were left there).

The 3-room cardboard house

Kids playing in the house

The other was like a cardboard mansion, complete with chimney, flowerbox and shingles, which I placed in the common area outside our house.  I had planned for the kids to decorate the house as they pleased, but here I discovered an interesting thing.  When the house was just unadorned cardboard, children are happy to draw all over it (as Asher and my neighbours kids showed), but once I pasted white paper all over (the intention was for their scribblings to be more obvious), not a single kid drew on the house!  That was something totally unexpected.  I guess they are all too well trained – no drawing on walls!  The white paper made the house have white walls, and made the house look too ‘made-up’ to draw on.  Inside though they were happy to draw on the walls since no paper was pasted there!  That phenomenon was so interesting to me.

Ellery was quite happy to play alongside the other kids, and I think he knew something special was going on because that night before he went to sleep he kept sitting up and clapping with a HUGE smile on his face :)  I don’t know whether he was remembering people singing his birthday song, or he was just happy.  I’d like to think he felt it was a special day :)

"Ball" was his word of the day

He really liked the rocking horse we rented from the Toy Rental Club

To mark the uniqueness of his birthday, we got log cakes instead of regular cakes as his birthday cake.  One for the morning kid’s session, and one for the relatives.  We thought it’d be fun for the kids to eat log cake too :)

Chocolate log cake for the kid's party

Hazelnut log for the adults

Thinking back on Ellery’s birthday, though, there are several things I would have done differently.  First, I would have given more thought to what he was wearing!  It was only on the day itself that I picked out something, and it was fairly random at that.  For some reason I thought he should wear something new that day, something not handed down, and had on hand just 2 t-shirt choices.  I let him pick, and he chose the t-shirt with colourful pictures of ice-cream.  I think I should have dressed him better since he was the birthday boy, something with a collar :)  Now everytime I put something on him that I like I keep thinking, shucks, I should have let him wear that on his birthday.  Not that I didn’t like his t-shirt, but it wasn’t dressed up enough I think :)  I guess with him I don’t dress him up as much as I did Asher.  Partly cos he’s usually doing casual things with me so hand-me-downs and casual t-shirts are more comfortable.  I don’t know, for some reason I really didn’t give it much thought.  I think I was more preoccupied with preparing the cardboard houses, doing up the handmade decor, etc.

I would also have asked someone to help take photos!  My camera, the Nikon Coolpix S9100 is really horrid.  Half the pictures are blurry.  We had bought it on the spur of the moment cos our previous camera was spoilt.  But I think I should have looked harder.  Beside the quality of pictures, I also simply didn’t have the capacity to take nice pics.  I was quite busy entertaining guests, checking on the arrival of food, getting other food prepared in the meantime for the kids, playing with the kids, etc.  But I’ve no regrets on that too since I was enjoying the moment.  I really liked catching up with friends, and watching the kids play.  I guess photos are really secondary, when it comes down to it.  That said, anyone with nice pics from that day please send to me! :O)

The last thing, though unlikely to change, is to have a bigger house haha!  I liked having the house be so bustling with people but it really would be more comfortable with more space!

All in all, I think it went well though :)

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Ellery, my dear boy, Mummy loves you no end!  I think there hasn’t been a day since you were born that I don’t say, “You are so cute!!  I cannot take it!!”  Of course, parents are intrinsically biased.  I love looking into your big eyes, I love when you give your megawatt smile that looks like it’s going to burst from your face, I love how chubby you are, how you like to pat people on the shoulder when they carry you as if you are saying “good job!”.  You are so nice to carry cos you’re filled out :)  But you are mighty heavy!  From quite early on I could not bring you out without using the Ergo.  When you choose to be wiggly you can be quite hard to hang on to because you are so strong.  You may be chubby but it’s not flabby at all!  You’re one tough little boy.

The two words I hear the most when people talk about you is “cheerful” and “big” :)  You have really turned out to be a cheerful boy, living up to your name!  You do have a temper though, which you showed towards the end of your first year.  If your toy gets snatched or you don’t get your way you can really cry.  Yes, you are macho and you have big lungs.

You are fearless, which can be quite alarming for me.  But it’s also refreshing since your brother can be quite cautious.  I hope the two of you will influence each other positively :)

Besides our house, the other place you see all the time is Asher’s school.  All the teachers and his classmates know you.  When we arrive in the morning it’s, “Hello Asher!  Hello Ellery!”.  You have a big fan club in his class, and your biggest fans are the girls.  Oh, how they pat you and kiss you and hug you!  Sometimes you trigger funny questions from his classmates like, “Aunty, how come Ellery doesn’t want to talk to me?” :)))  Now, you are so comfortable with them you’re as good as part of his class.  Asher’s teacher, Ms F, also adores you since you and her son are just 3 days apart.  You like her very much and often ask her to carry you.

You’ve been saying quite a few words like “ball”, “bir” (bird), “mama”, “deh” (daddy), “tar” (star), among others.  You moo when you hear the word cow or see a cow, you go baa when you see a sheep or hear the word sheep, and you say woof to the dog as well :)  It’s very cute :)

As for toys, you really like cars.  You’ll take cars and zoom around the living room making a ‘vroom’ sound.  Actually any toy with wheels you’ll do that.  And you’ve taken to dinosaurs too.  Yes, that’s one of the first words you said, “di!” for dinosaur, now progressing to “di-nor-nor”.  You “rah!!” like Asher, complete with the pretend claws.  Will I end up with two dino maniacs?

In the playground your absolute favorite part is the slide.  You’d go up and down all day long if I didn’t drag you away.  The other thing you enjoy is the steering wheel.

Contrary to everyone’s expectation you didn’t walk by your first birthday.  But I suspect you were trying to prove you independence and prove everyone wrong huh? :)

You and Asher play really well together and I’m so happy I have you two boys.  The instant you see Asher in the morning you light up and give the hugest grin, which Asher immediately reciprocates :)  What a nice way to wake up :)

You may be my second boy, and a lot of people ask me if I wish I had a girl (and there was even someone who said it would be nice if you had been a girl), or ask if I will be trying for a girl, but Ellery, always know that Mummy loves you so very much.  You are special, you are unique, you are irreplaceable.  Mummy and Daddy love you lots, but more than that, God loves you!  *muak*

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I’ve brought Ellery to the playground many times but I usually carry him.  When he starting cruising I let him walk around with my assistance.  Recently I started to let him crawl around as he pleases, something I used to do with Asher before he could walk.  Ellery is really very happy to roam freely and excitedly crawls all over.  Was surprised to see that he’s tall enough to reach one of the bars too (granted it’s the lowest of the lot, but still).

Happy to explore the playground

Through the tunnel

He really loves driving!

Making a friend

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Twilight Time

I finally watched my first movie since Ellery was born.  It’s such a milestone for me, and I was quite deliriously happy to be free from childcare duties, even if just for a few hours.
I know some of you may roll your eyes, but I really wanted to watch Breaking Dawn, and booked my cousins a couple of months before for a movie date.  It’s been such a long time since we watched a movie together, and I thought it’d be nice for an old-times-sake feeling, for me at least.  Another reason for going with them was that I thought we could spare the partners the agony of sitting through the movie, though I think they’d all grudgingly agree to do it if they really had to :)  There were certainly no complaints from the men.
Although I thought the previous 3 movies left much to be desired and did not quite stick to the feel of the book, I thought Breaking Dawn Part I was pretty good (as these things go).  The connection between the on-screen Bella and Edward was much more believeable, the wedding was beautiful, I thought they managed to show the shyness and awkwardness of their honeymoon, and the rest of it was pretty alright too (save for one scene when the wolves were talking which was a bit strange).  I quite liked the soundtrack too, especially Christina Perri’s ‘A Thousand Years’.  So sweet and moving.
Can’t wait for the last installation!  Del, Debs, I book you again!

Girls only affair

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Disney’s For Grown Ups

Ellery and I attended a Disney launch for a portal to help parents with planning a Disney character themed party for their kids.  So there are templates for everything from table centre pieces, head pieces, to other paraphenalia.  At the event they had done a Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme to show what content was available on the site, and the stuff was quite nice.  With just a printer you could have all the decor settled for your party.

Just prior to the event Del had commented that it was difficult to find Mickey related things for Anya’s upcoming party, so this could be useful for her, and I could see how it could be useful for parents of other kids who like Disney characters too.

If you’re one of them, you should check it out.

Anyway, Asher and Ellery definitely had fun with their pirate hats and (very limp) paper swords.

Very happy to be wearing his pirate hat

A full Jake and the Neverland Pirates set up

Captain Asher Sparrow!

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Brunetti

After my cousin raved about the place, I thought I had to go down and try it.  So I went down once with my aunts to try their dessert, and again today to try their breakfast.

On the previous occasion we were already quite stuffed from lunch at Nandos, so we only tried their gelato (thick and creamy, I liked it a lot), cannoli (the pastry was light and flakey and the filling was not too sweet, but the cannoli was a little empty in the middle), and a cheesecake (rich, not too sweet).  These were just a small selection of their wide range of desserts on offer.  We actually spent quite long deciding which items to order.

Today I ordered the Sicilian Eggs Benedict (poached eggs on Sicilian ham, served with bacon rashers, mushrooms and a side salad).  At $12.50 I thought it was quite reasonably priced given the price of eggs ben elsewhere, and the slice of ham they served up was a nice big piece that covered a long piece of toast large enough to sit both eggs on top with bacon in the middle.  I liked the mushrooms very much.  They had an earthy taste which I enjoy, and it felt like they had just picked the mushrooms from the forest and tossed them into a buttered pan there and then.  As for the eggs ben, I think the eggs were just a little bit overdone such that the whites were a little rubbery and tasteless.  But the ham and bacon were good.  I mean, how often does bacon go wrong?

My verdict, I think the Prive Cafe eggs ben still edges out!

As for the desserts, I eyed the Baci Rings greedily (imagine a biscuit base in the shape of a ring entirely topped with whole hazelnuts touching one another and coated in chocolate!), but didn’t get any in the end cos I was quite stuffed already and Ellery was getting antsy.  Next time!

He was sleeping for half of my meal

Then he woke up and was happily tapping his head to a song

A little sam seng

 

Sam seng on mobile phone - "HAR-LOW???"

 

Over worked sam seng

 

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