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Archive for May, 2012

We brought the boys to the Army Open House on a Saturday that was slightly overcast, which was a good thing, because as it was, it was already scortching!  However, that didn’t affect our enjoyment of the event.  It was well-planned, and I was very impressed with the entire set up.  I instantly found myself comparing the Army Open House with the RSAF Open House.

While we had tons of fun at the RSAF event, the Army event won on some counts.  There were covered walkways leading to the main area, the queues were much much shorter (e.g., waiting to get onto the apache was about a 10min wait as opposed to 2 hours!), the canteen was much more spacious and cooling, and this event had an indoor exhibition space which was quite interesting and served the extra purpose of being an escape from the heat.  And even though we don’t need it anymore, I noted that the army event provided proper diaper changing stations in the female toilets.  Very considerate I thought.  Of course, I recognise that the army organisers had the benefit of the spacious venue to plan their event around instead of having to fit everything into their base.  Still, we couldn’t help joking that it’s no wonder the army event felt more comfortable, they should afterall be really good at logistics :)

With a Leopard 2 SG tank

Asher had great time climbing in and out of the various vehicles.  As the queues were fairly short he managed to board quite a number of them.  Ellery hasn’t started loving all such vehicles as much yet, so was quite happy to just see helicopters and tanks for real.  Whenever Asher looked like he was totally thrilled though, Ellery would want a piece of the action.

On the Apache!

Shooting me with one of the guns…

I was impressed with how kid-friendly all the army dudes were.  Seriously, they really seemed very happy to see and talk to the kids.  And clearly they were briefed on it (and they certainly followed through with lots of sincerity!), because every single one of them was armed with stickers, tatoos, badges or pins for the little ones.  Upon seeing the kids they’d ask, “Want a _____ (fill in the blank with whatever goody they had)?”  The kids loved it!  I loved it!  Asher now has a small collection of badges with pictures of different army vehicles on it.  And I love, love, love, the pin with the apache.  Thnk I shall swipe it…heh heh.

The historical exhibition space was well done.  I thought that somebody must have been inspired by Factum at last year’s Biennale exhibit.  The initial room you entered into had screens framed up and videos shown in parallel.  I also felt that the entire place had an aesthetic quality to it.  Someone thought about more than just displaying information, they thought about the experience.

Screens side by side

Police and thief

Asher loved this piece of equipment!

It was clear that there was a big effort put in towards making all parts of the open house hands-on and appealing to children.  At the section where different divisions set up booths, there were lots for the kids to fiddle around with.  I thought some of the more interesting activities included trying the metal detector, and fiddling with the UAV controls.

Asher pointing to the spot where he had heard the detector beep

He was deliberately trying to crash the thing. Just look at the angle of the image! I don’t think he’ll be asked to work there anytime soon.

Future army intel officer?  He was certainly very diligent about clicking and clacking away at the keyboard.

Trying on the bomb squad helmet. They said it’s heavy, about 9kg. I said, “no problem! I’ve got kids!”

I liked that they had a specially designated kids area.  Asher, and definitely Ellery, was still too short rather for a lot of the activities (minimum height 120cm), but he did enjoy having a go at the electric cars.  It will be a while before we let him on the road.  While queueing he said that a lousy driver will crash into the side and into other people.  Then he proceeded to drive straight into the fence the minute he got into the car!  He eventually just drove around, but I could see that cheeky spark in his eyes…  He came out and laughed gleefully when I declared, “You’re a lousy driver!”  He seemed deliberately want to do things wrongly that day (like the UAV thing above, and several other stations).  But as long as it didn’t harm anyone, and I could see it was all in good fun, I was okay with it.

First off the block

It was a pity we didn’t get to take any of the vehicle rides though.  We didn’t realise that we needed to have covered shoes to take the rides (they should have put that on the website!), and anyway many of them also enforced a minimum height of 120cm.  Not having covered shoes also meant I couldn’t try the rock wall or the flying fox.  Asher seemed keen, but alas, still too small.  Maybe next year!

Overall, it was a very fun outing and totally worth the time!  I thought it was excellent!

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Kyle Cheam

This is an overdue post.  Kyle Cheam made his appearance earlier than expected, and just a day after I had met Shan.  Maybe he heard us discussing all the toys in Toys R Us and he was keen to come out and take a look.

We were only able to visit him the next day, and what a dear :)  The parents said everyone will be polite and say that he’s good looking, but I think he really is good looking!

Be good, little Kyle!

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Ellery has been picking up many many new words, and it is always so exciting and amusing to hear what he says.

His most recent addition is ‘much’.  Nothing much you say?  Well, it’s really cute when it is always prefaced with ‘thank you’!  So he’ll go, “Thank you! *pause* Much!”

Tonight Asher was given a treat of Kinder Surprise, and Ellery dragged a stool over to sit opposite him.

E: “Pease” [please]

A: (scoop out a little to feed Ellery) “What must you say?”

E: “Tang gew!  Much!”

Ellery would then quickly follow up with: “Mum mum!  More!”

Ellery waiting for his treat

This is a video grab so it’s not very clear, but can u see Ellery’s very satisfied smile? :)

Squeeeezing onto Asher’s stool. Getting closer to the food.

Asher’s been very amused with Ellery’s speech.  He often tries to immitate the baby talk even though he can pronounce the words correctly.  I’m encouraging him to speak properly with Ellery so that Ellery learns the right words, but can’t help laughing every time Asher immitates his brother’s mispronounced words :)  Ellery’s antics also seem to have gotten cuter (in my biased opinion, though Asher seems to agree), and every now and then Asher will say, “My brother is so funny!”

Big smiles all around before bed :D

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Sophia had a Spot themed birthday party.  There was an adorable Spot cake, and cute doggie balloons for the kids to bring home.

Cute spot cake

Spot Banner

There was even a body paint artist at the party and the kids had their first body art ever, yes even for Asher!  Asher asked for a dinosaur, and Ellery asked for a whale (I prompted him with a choice of elephant, giraffe, whale, dinosaur, etc).  I was surprised that Ellery could sit so still while his whale was being painted.  I had expected him to fidget and squirm all over the place, but he sat patiently and watched while the artist painted his arm.  I think he really knew what was going on, especially after watching Asher.

With the artist

Ellery sitting still while she painted

Showing off their body art

Asher playing the part of the dinosaur

Ellery also discovered another fun part of parties – junk food!  He happily plonked himself next to a big bowl of (apparently healthy) chips and munched away.  Try as I might to limit the amount he ate by carrying him away to some other part of the room, he always wandered back and grabbed some more.  Hmm…I think my mother will say he’s like me when I was little.  Apparently I’d do nothing but eat throughout many of the kid parties I went for :O)

Reaching in…

…and munch munch munch

Ellery was elated to be given a dog balloon!

2 little dinos

 

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We started the day with a breakfast surprise from McDonalds delivery.  I was really surprised (and you know how hard it is to surprise females) because I thought I was up before Jon, but apparently he had got up to order the treat and promptly went back to bed.  Not sure if it was meant for his pleasure or mine, but I shall take it that it was my treat :)

The cheery flowers that Asher had chosen for me the day before were sitting in our dining area, and definitely lifted my mood!

Flowers for me! Colours chosen by Asher

It was quite a busy Sunday.  We went to church, then headed to a birthday party, then home for a rest (sort of…more on that later), and then to picnic at Botanic Gardens.

We might have a tradition in the making.  Last year we attended the SSO Mother’s Day concert in the park and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  So this year we made it a point to go again.  Initially we were going to go as just our family unit, but it became a big picnic outing for the whole family, which was fun too :)

The place was crazy crowded, just like it was last year.  Thankfully we made sure to reach earlier and got a pretty good spot – big enough to accomodate all 8 adults and 4 kids plus stuff.  Perhaps it was because we were sitting further away this year, I felt that the music was less exciting than last year.  There were a few pieces that were very quiet, and as a result we could hardly hear it.  And I guess we were just preoccupied with entertaining the kids.

For next year, I’m eyeing the spot nearer the stage, on the flat part of the hill…gotta reach even earlier!!

Daddy being much more hands on than usual

My Mum and Ellery

My grantaunt & aunt

I did say crazy crowded right?

SSO on stage

Our little corner of the field

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A Mess, A Nap

Seeing as it was the Mother’s Day weekend, Jon kindly volunteered to get the boys to nap.  This is a very very rare occurance by the way, so I gratefully accepted his offfer!

2 hours later, the boys were no closer to a nap and instead made their room into a scene from a disaster.  Jon, on the other hand, had his nap.  Hmm…good intentions so I didn’t make any noise and proceeded to play a clearing up game.  Somewhere in the back of my head I heard a little voice saying, “this is what happens when Mummy is not around”.

War zone!

Pillows thrown off the bed and books all pulled off from the shelves

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Several weeks back Asher’s school had a project for parents and children to do together to promote bonding.  The aim was to use recycled cardboard to make something, and then there would be an exhibition of all the art work at the end of the month.

So as I thought about what to make, I saw the work from other parents slowly trickling into school.  The most common were cars, houses and castles.  I had made houses for Ellery’s birthday party so wasn’t keen on doing that again.  Something interactive was what I was going for, and one day while talking to Asher about Transformers it dawned on me – Transformers armour!  He was very excited by that idea!

In my blurness I forgot which pictures I had downloaded from my camera and which I hadn’t, and accidentally deleted a whole bunch of pictures showing him doing sticking and painting.  The irony is that I hadn’t deleted pictures from my camera for weeks prior to that!  But as I’m the kind who like to keep some pictures of precious or fun memories in my camera, I still have a few photos :)

We used cardboard that came from the packaging of the kid’s IKEA chairs.  I had kept that for almost a year thinking it might come in handy someday (see, it pays to keep some junk!).  I also used rafia string which was used to tie some boxes of I-can’t-remember-what.  Had to use masking tape to piece some parts together, and it was all decorated with acrylic paint.  And for reference of what the characters looked like, I used his Transformers waterbottle.  Asher chose to make Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee.

Then, because he said girls cannot use the armour (though I tried to convince him otherwise), we decided to make something for the girls too – a hobbyhorse.  For that we used more IKEA cardboard and the inside cardboard of a roll of wrapping paper.  As for the horse hair, I saw the newspapers that we had painted the armour on and thought they’d make lovely hair since there were paint marks all over!  We cut it into strips and stuck those on.

As cutting of the cardboard required a lot of use of the penknife, I did that on my own and attached the pieces together with the rafia.  I also cut out the horse head, but left the sticking for Asher to do.

Optimus Prime before

Optimus Prime (back) before

Bumble Bee before

Bumble Bee (back) before

Hobbyhorse before

So the next day after school we painted the armour and decorated the horse.  Asher did most of the work, except some stylistics that I helped with.

I think the end results are really quite nice :)  The shoulder straps were a bit too far apart and kept falling off, but he didn’t seem to mind.  I was thinking of his bigger sized classmates, but in the end it was too wide for them too.  The kids were really excited when they saw it though, and Asher’s teacher had to talk about Transformers for a while in class and everyone had a turn to battle with one another :)

Bumble Bee after

Optimus Prime after

The horse didn’t receive much attention from the big kids, but Ellery liked ‘riding’ around on it as he’s into horses now.

Hobbyhorse all adorned.

So overall, a fun project, and we’ve new dress-up toys!  I hang the armour on hangers on the back of our armchair in the livingroom for Asher to play with whenever he wants.  Aidan has come by for a fight against the Decepticons (read: Jon) too :)

Asher dressed Ellery as Bumble Bee

Little Bee

A quiet moment for Optimus

Sword fight with Popo

Autobots sparring

Heather playing with the horse

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