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Archive for June, 2014

Smeyes to Smiles

Alyssa smiled for real !

It started with her eyes. There was suddenly a little twinkle, then she squinted ever so slightly and smiled with her eyes – smeyesed as Tyra Banks would say – then she gave the cutest smile!

I tried to make her smile for the camera but she only frowned at the strange device in front of her face. But I did manage to catch this pic showing a small smile :) precious!

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First real smile!

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Tonight we played a game that Ellery previously didn’t like to play because he didn’t like to lose.  The first time, he threw a tantrum when he lost. The second time we gave him “vouchers” to use if he made the wrong move. Tonight, he played by the rules and even laughed when he made a wrong move. He wasn’t upset when Asher won. And I was so proud of him.

Contrast to earlier today. We agreed to send the boys for a soccer camp with the kids of some friends. Ellery in the last few days has not been listening and following instructions, often completely lost in his own world. I found myself grumbling inwardly about why he was like that, how fantastic my friend’s kids are, how he always doesn’t listen, and other such negative thoughts.

But tonight I am reminded, I often overlook the times he is so good and listens. How for certain things he more often than not will obey. How he has such a cheerful disposition he generally doesn’t stay moody long. How he says the funniest things. How being lost in his own world was really something not unexpected, and he is just being him! In the context of the camp he still should learn to listen and follow. But in my heart I have prayed for forgiveness for all the negative things I felt and thought about him earlier in the day.

I love him for him.

I must learn to stop these dreadful comparisons. I do it more than I care to admit,  but I must try harder because it is not fair to the kids. Plus it robs me of the enjoyment of the moment. He says he enjoys the camp and is excited each day. I should enjoy it with him too.

Dear God, please help me to love my children as you love them, and always, always see how wonderful a blessing they are no matter what the situation. Guide my thoughts, my actions and my behaviours. Be in the centre of all our plans and activities. And most of all, be the centre of our home. Amen.

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We wanna go on holiday but Alyssa doesn’t have a passport yet.  So we’ll make the best of it and holiday on Sentosa :)

Since the boys keep playing ‘war’, we thought we’d go check out Fort Siloso on Sentosa.  The last time I went there was when I was in secondary school, and I remember being a bit freaked out by the wax sculptures because prior to going for that excursion I had watched the horror flick Wax Museum with my family. Not a good idea. I was so sure some of the figures could move. Very creepy.

Anyway, the information was all a bit too much for the kids and went over their head, but we adults had a good time reading about the interesting exhibits.  It would have been nicer if there were more interactive elements rather than just information boards, but I guess this place is geared to adults. That said, I do think the whole Fort Siloso could do with some sprucing up and revamping. It’s also a pity that one of the tunnels has been converted to a lazer tag place because the only way to explore it is to go play lazer tag.

Oh the irony...

Oh the irony…

In the tunnel

In the tunnel

Despite being a little bored by the exhibits, the boys liked seeing the big canons on Fort Siloso.  That was what they remembered most about the trip.

Funnily enough, when I got home and looked at the pictures I had taken, I noticed that this picture of Ellery and Asher on the blue canon looked a little bit like an illusion.  It looks a little like Ellery is enormous and Asher is tiny.  Had I realised when I took the picture, I would have aligned their feet to make it look more convincing.  I was wondering how that happened, then I realised the barrel of the canon actually widens as it reaches the body of the canon, but from where I stood it looked the same width.  Funny!

Giant Ellery, Tiny Asher

Giant Ellery, Tiny Asher

The barrel is not the same width throughout!

The barrel is not the same width throughout!

Thank goodness for my new baby carrier.  It made it so easy to move around with Alyssa and the boys.  More on that next time!

Our first family of 5 photo!

Our first family of 5 photo!

On the bus leaving the Fort

On the bus leaving the Fort

More about our holidaying on Sentosa in the next post!

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I was determined to get back to bringing the boys to the park as I used to. The boys have been in some serious need of sunshine and outdoor activity!

For our first outing as Mummy with three kids, I chose the new part of the botanic gardens because parking is easy, it’s fairly flat so the boys can ride quite easily without me worrying about them tumbling, and it’s easy to push a stroller there.

It turned out pretty well!  We weren’t out for long, just about an hour, but the boys and I had a nice time together.  When I had to nurse Alyssa they were free to ride around within sight.  I think they enjoyed the freedom.  But being fairly cautious boys, they never even thought to venture that far away from me anyway.

Definitely something we can do again!

I love this picture of the kids on their first outing together :)

The three musketeers!

The three musketeers!

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It was the aBsoLutEly BesTesT way to spend our Sunday afternoon!

We trotted off to watch Charlie and Lola’s Extremely NEW play at the DBS Arts Centre on day 2 of my freedom from confinement.  It’s a ReaLLy WoNderFully charming play that warms your insides.

Charlie & Lola's Extremely New Play

Journeying through the four seasons, the ever patient and gentle Charlie helps Lola to see things from a different perspective and lifts her spirits at the same time. It’s always sweet to see how much he cares for her and wants to make her happy, whether it’s ensuring she creates a wonderful piece of autumn art, making her happy with her role in the school play, or playing with her when she thought Lotta didn’t like her anymore. Charlie is the older brother every sister wishes she had!

I tRuLy and coMplEteLy loved the cleverly designed set.  Deceptively simple looking, it incorporated little hideaways for all kinds of props to transform the stage from one season to the next, and even brought you into the imaginations of Charlie and Lola – just like in the stories.  The boys were amazed when the backdrop became the hulls of Charlie and Marv’s pirate ship, and I particularly liked seeing Sizzles the dog do all kinds of crazy things just because in Lola’s mind he can do anything!

The toTaLly maRveLously nice props stayed true to the style of the books too, which was a real plus for me. The only thing that made the boys a little confused was why they could hear the characters talking when the puppet’s and puppeteer’s mouths were not moving :) (The play used recordings of the same voices you hear on the TV series.)

(Photo taken from Honeykids)

Coming on the back of exTremEly A Lot of squabbles between the boys, I took the chance to point out how Charlie and Lola cared for each other, spoke nicely to one another, and tried to make each other happy. I also milked it further by telling the boys they can be good older brothers to Alyssa too, just like how Charlie was with Lola. They took the bait and started rattling off all kinds of things they will do for Alyssa.  Score! (Of course it’ll be a while before we see it in practice…)

A sweet play that touches on themes of friendship, unexpected changes, disappointments, and love,  I’m VeRy coMpLetELy sure you and your kids will enjoy it too!

The show runs until 15 Jun and tickets are available from SISTIC.

Tata, I’m off for some pink milk!

A cute picture of Charlie and Lola doing the tourist bit in Singapore (Photo taken from the Charlie & Lola Facebook page)

 

*We received complementary tickets for the show. All opinions are my own.

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As part of my ‘freedom day’ activities, I brought Asher to watch Dotty the Dragon which was brought in by iTheatre as part of the Ace! Festival 2014.

Dotty the dragon is presented by the Blunderbus Theatre Company, and is a delightful tale about a baby fire dragon who makes friends with villagers who used to think all dragons eat children.  Dotty, barely ten days old, is tired of being cooped up in a castle on a hill.  So despite the objections of her grumpy dad, Mr Dragon, Dotty flies down to the village below to make some friends.  But all the villagers were initially afraid of her.  Well, all except for one little boy.  He gives her an idea on how to make friends and show the villagers she truly is a friendly dragon – by being helpful to everyone!

An easy to follow story, it unfolded nicely with each scene adding a different element to the tale.  It was all played out in an intricate set depicting a charming little village with a gloomy castle on the mountain in the distance, and the songs were splendid with good tunes and good lyrics.  I particularly liked the theme song “Do You Believe in Dragons”.

The lovely set

The lovely set

The actor playing Dotty really brought her to life.  His movements made her seem like the baby dragon she was – a little clumsy but utterly adorable.  She was just so cute!

He and the other two actors had very good chemistry, and together they managed to bring across the different personalities of the numerous characters they played using simple costume additions, puppets, and wonderful idiosyncratic changes of voice and movement.  After the show Asher commented, “Only three actors but they can do so many characters!”

Hello Dotty!

Hello Dotty!

A very friendly dragon

A very friendly dragon

There was also just the right amount of audience engagement.  Among other things, we were given the important task of sounding the alarm when we saw a dragon, and through many rousing rounds of yelling, “DRAGON!  DRAAAGGGOOONNN!!” Alyssa didn’t wake up at all – shocking.  The audience was also roped in to help with drying some laundry in the most hilarious way!  Let’s just say we did it from behind… :)  I liked that the actors had also gone around before the start of the show to get to know the names of different audience members, and they used the names during the show.  It’s a nice touch, and perhaps it is a Blunderbus trademark as they did that in How to Catch a Star as well.

Asher, me and Alyssa's head haha

Asher, me and Alyssa’s head haha

Dotty is a good example for children on how to make friends – be brave to make the first move, be friendly, and be kind and helpful.  It’s an accessible and fun fairytale, and I’m a fan of Dotty.

Do you believe in dragons? I do!

 

Dotty the Dragon ends it’s run today, 8 June.  It’s held at the Drama Centre Theatre at the Central Library  and there are still tickets available from SISTIC.

 

*We received complementary tickets for the show. All opinions are my own.

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Today was my ‘freedom day’!  I’m officially out of confinement.  YAY!  We went for kid’s shows and had lunch and dinner out.

The boys have been asking me repeatedly when I can go out with them again.  They’ve really been very deprived this past month.  I think they had almost no outings at all!  I’m the one who usually brings them to the park or for other types of outings.

So it’s nice that the end of confinement coincides with the June holidays.  There are lots of activities on. First up, we went for Peter and Blue’s Forest Adventure by the Singapore Dance Theatre with the Cais and Sngs.  They had planned this is before Alyssa was born and the plan was for Jon to attend with the boys.  In the end I went in with Alyssa and Jon went for a coffee.  Ah well.  I enjoy watching dance way more than he does anyway. The story opens on a sunny midsummer morning, when Peter, his dog, Blue, and his cat, Calico, venture into the enchanted forest to search of treats to surprise his mother on her birthday. The inquisitive trio meet many new friends on their adventure including the Mr and Mrs Strawberry, the Apple Blossom Girls, the trouble-making trio Thistle, Thorn, and Acorn, and the charming flowers Lilac, Rose, and Snapdragon.

I thought it was a good performance, and appreciated that there was a storytelling element so that the children would understand what they were watching.  I didn’t expect such a large cast and was happy to see that SDT really put effort into making this a good show for the kids.

Unfortunately while the boys were initially interested, they got a bit distracted as the show wore on.  Ellery in particular started looking around and under his chair (?).  I guess it would have been better if I sat next to him, but Asher was in between us (there was a mini seat scuffle, so I wasn’t going to shift them again).  Asher, who has been having a neck crick these last 2 days and is in a manja and mellow mood, leaned on me almost the whole time.  I think they started spacing out during one of the longer pas de deux between the Orchid and her boyfriend the Sunflower.  I guess their attention span for dance just isn’t that long yet.  Or at least, this theme was less exciting to them than Romeo & Juliet, which they loved because there were swords and fighting.  Such boy boys, sigh.

Anyway on a really random note, I thought it was amusing the Orchid’s boyfriend was Sunflower.  I suppose if you are a flower you don’t really have much choice of who your boyfriend/girlfriend is huh?  It just depends on who is growing next to you?

The full cast (Photo taken from SDT website)

Anyway, I’ll just keep bringing them for these things in the hope that they’ll grow to enjoy watching dance :) Am also scheming to bring Alyssa for ballet classes next time already heh heh heh.

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I used to say that the boys play very well together and only sometimes fight over toys. Lately it seems they mainly fight and sometimes there is peaceful play.  I find myself being amazed and grateful when they go a long while playing together without fighting.

The fights can be about anything.

“I don’t want my plane to die!!!!” when Asher says he shot down Ellery’s plane.

“Ellery’s plane is still flying even though I shot it down!!!!”

“I want to sit in the middle!!!!!”

“That is MY cup!!!!”

“I want to choose the snack!!!!!”

“No, I am Darth Vadar!!!!”

Arghhh. Kill me now!

Today’s squabble is right up there as one of the most inane squabbles.

The boys were doing some (what I hoped was going to be quiet) painting. There were 2 bowls of water to dip their brushes into. 2 bowls so that if one got too mucky they could use the other – and I told the boys that. Somehow Ellery thought of it as a bowl for him and a bowl for Asher. When Asher dipped his brush into ‘Ellery’s bowl’, Ellery got upset, started crying and saying he wanted to take back the water from Asher’s brush. He then proceeded to chase Asher around the house to try and take back the water from the brush!!!

Sigh. A day in the life…

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The day before Alyssa was born I attended the launch of the new Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier We.  It was a thoroughly Swedish affair, held at the Swedish ambassador’s residence and complete with a Swedish buffet lunch (which was excellent, by the way!).

We were treated to a ‘catwalk’ that showed the evolution of the Baby Bjorn carriers over the years.  I thought it was an interesting insight into the thinking behind the products.  In the 70s and 80s, the carriers were given colours that were thought to be attractive to the child, but from the 90s onwards the carriers were made to appeal to the parents wearing them – which makes sense.

Carriers from the 70s (far left) to the present (right)

Carriers from the 70s (far left) to the present (right)

Interestingly, Baby Bjorn was the first to come up with black coloured baby carriers and it began quite by accident.  Their navy coloured carrier was featured in a black and white photo in Harper’s Bazaar. Readers thought it was black and called the magazine to ask where they could get it from.  It was then that Baby Bjorn realised black was what consumers wanted.

Their new Baby Carrier We is a simplified version of the Baby Carrier One. Like the One, We can be used from newborn to three years and allows for back carrying. We were also showed a snazzy move to let you shift your baby from front to back without taking them out of the carrier nor compromising their safety.

However, you are not able to carry your baby in the forward facing position with the We. And instead of two front safety buckles, We has only one. The other side is securely sewed to the body of the carrier. This makes sense to me though, because when I used the Baby Carrier Synergy when Ellery was a baby I usually only opened the buckles on one side as that was more convenient for slipping baby in.

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The new Baby Bjorn We carrier

The We retains most of the features of the One carrier, but is a leaner, more simplified version. This is reflected in the price as the We carrier is pegged at a lower price point than the One carrier.

If you are looking for a structured baby carrier and can do without the forward facing function, the Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier We could be something to consider. It will be available in Mothercare stores from August 2014.

Meanwhile, the Baby Bjorn bouncer has found favor with Alyssa. After I saw how my neighbour’s kid loved her Baby Bjorn bouncer and how quickly she settled by boucing herself I knew I wanted one. I had given away my previous bouncer after Ellery outgrew it, so was happy to replace it with this. There were a couple of days where I couldn’t put Alyssa down for a nap anywhere else except on the bouncer. Was so glad we had it at home, and I wish I had it from when Asher was a baby!

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Zzzzz

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Back in Singapore after a successful run in 2013, this run of Le Noir brings with it several new acts, including one of the most complex circus stunts in the world – The Wheel of Death.

LN horizontal A4 keyart Lockup(V2)FA

Le Noir promises an evening of intimate cirque-style entertainment with a cast of world-class acrobats, musicians, specialty acts, and comedians, many of whom were formerly from Cirque du Soleil.  And it really will be an intimate affair.  Le Noir has seats for audience members right next to the stage – near enough to touch.  It doesn’t get more intimate than that.  The audience will also be ‘enclosed’ within a canopy of curtains designed from LED lights, adding to the atmosphere.

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The cast*

The Wheel of Dealth is an amazing circus act, guaranteed to make your jaw will drop. Colombians Angelo Lyerzkysky Rodriguez and Carlos Mayorga perform their act on a pair of spinning wheels.  Described as “certifiably crazy”, they leap and do tricks in the wheels as they spin.  And as if that weren’t crazy enough, Carlos climbs onto the outside of the wheel and performs a series of daredevils acts like skipping with a rope and doing a triple under. You’ll gasp, you’ll hold your breathe, you’ll love it. You have to see it for yourself.

Wheel of Death (Photo courtesy of BASE Entertainment)

Wheel of Death*

With no safety harness or crash mats, the possibility of a serious accident is very real. Angelo stressed that when they perform, nothing else goes through their minds.  “We need to be completely focused on what we are doing.  We pray, focus, and take care of each other,” he says.  Still, when asked why he does this he said the speed of the spinning wheels is what attracts him.  And it is clear from their expressions the passion they have for their art.

Angelo & Carlos

Angelo (left) & Carlos (right)*

 

The aerial lyra act performed by Thomas Worrell is another highlight to look out for. It is breathtakingly beautiful. A perfect juxtaposition of grace and strength.  His movements are as graceful and fluid as a ballet dancer’s.  And as it turns out, he started his career as a dancer before pursuing circus arts.  

Thomas shared that he choreographed the act himself and that it took only about two-and-a-half weeks to put together.  He added that this was possible because of the repertoire of moves he has mastered in his eight years of training.  Still, it wasn’t always easy for him.  At the climax of his performance, Thomas does an endless series of extremely fast, tight spins.  “When I first started I used to feel sick all day, but not anymore,” he shared. Thomas makes the aerial lyra look like child’s play.  His expression remains serene throughout, and you get no sense that he is under any physical strain or exertion.

xxx

Aerial Lyra*

An extremely flexible Thomas on the lyra

An extremely flexible Thomas on the lyra

 

These are just two of the many thrilling acts featured in Le Noir.  Others include a hand balance act by American Two-time World Champion in Acrobatic Gymnastics, Shenea Booth, who also appeared on the historic first season of America’s Got Talent; and the duo trapeze act by identical twins Sarah and Karine Steben who were highlighted as the principal act in the celebrated Cirque du Soleil “O” at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Le Noir promises to be a spell-binding theatrical experience that engages every sense and has been designed to be enjoyed by audiences young and old.  Expect to be enthralled!

Le Noir runs at the Mastercard Theatre at the Marina Bay Sands from 7 June.  Tickets are available through SISTIC.

*All photographs courtesy of BASE Entertainment.

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