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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

This is so overdue.

A day before Alyssa was born I went for high-tea with Del and Sharon at 10 Scotts at Hyatt Hotel Singapore.  Actually I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to make tea at first because the week before the gynae thought that baby might come early.  But in the end baby decided to stay inside a bit longer, so tea it was!

And what good tea it was!

At $43 it’s not the cheapest, but it’s good value for what you get.  Included in the price are a tiered tea set filled with delectable finger-food like prawn canapes, beef sandwiches, tarts and other yummy hor d’oeuvres. You can ask for refills for items you like (the whole tier, even, if you wanted). There’s also a buffet spread of sweet treats and some savoury options that you can pick from. Plus, you get a choice of two drinks, which at regular a-la-carte prices would add up to almost $30 already. So it’s quite worth it. (But I’ll add that I didn’t pay that day because I was given a surprise treat by Del and Sha :) )

Teatime treats tier.  T-t-terrific!

Teatime treats tier. T-t-terrific!

The prawn cocktail crostini on the right is super!

The prawn cocktail crostini on the right is super!

More treats at the buffet line

More treats at the buffet table

Sorbet in jars

Sorbet  & ice cream in jars

My favourite item would definitely be the very creative and delicious brownie and ice-cream combination that is presented like a flower pot. I’ve never seen anything like it! And it’s definitely a nice idea to re-create at home for a party. Topped with oreo crumbs and a real flower as a garnish, it really looks like you are eating soil, but very tasty soil at that. With a dash of rum, it was a decadent treat.  I was tempted to have another, but after eating everything else was quite full, plus I wasn’t technically supposed to be having rum since I was preggers :)

Our plant food

Our plant food

Decorated with a mint spring, flower and blackberries

Decorated with a mint spring, flower and blackberries

The place doesn’t get very packed, is peaceful, and welcomes children – there were quite a few mummies with babies around.  Nice place for a ladies & babies afternoon.

David getting into the tea time groove :)

David getting into the tea time groove :)

10 Scotts is located at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.
Afternoon tea is served from Monday to Sunday, 12-5pm. There are two restaurant seatings for afternoon tea:
1st seating: 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm
2nd seating: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

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Leah Sim

Went to visit my infant cousin Leah on May Day.  The little girl was born an aunt to 5 nephews and 2 (now 3!) nieces :)  The boys were very eager to go see ‘baby Aunty Leah’.  It’s quite normal for them to call her that since they’ve been calling her brother ‘Uncle Lincoln’ though he’s only 2 years old :) Had a really nice time catching up with Chye & Celia while the kids played.  Too bad we got there too late so they couldn’t play with Lincoln who had gone for his nap.  Next time!

Princess Leah

Princess Leah

Meeting their aunt

Meeting their aunt

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She’s arrived!

Little Alyssa-Jean Nair :)

On 8 May 2014, after keeping us waiting for hours, she finally greeted the world at 5.17am.  All my kids kept me up, Asher came at 4.52am, Ellery at 1.57am, and then there’s Alyssa.

She also is the shortest of the three, but the heaviest at 48cm and 3.26kg.
Asher was 50cm and 2.87kg, Ellery was 52cm and 3.1kg.

Her due date was strangely given as a range rather than a specific date this time around, 7 to 12th May.  During my check-up at the end of April, the gynae had said that it was likely baby would come early the following week (i.e., aroung 5th May).  I hurriedly tried to settle all the remaining loose ends I needed tie up.  Then on 5th May I had another appointment and the gynae said that actually baby wasn’t coming so soon and may even be late, before adding that later in the week was still possible.  In the end I was admitted in the middle of the week on Wed, 7th May, and Alyssa arrived on the 8th.  Full of surprises, this one.

Alyssa.  It means “great happiness”.  I’ve always liked that name, and I had actually found it when searching for Asher’s name 6 years ago.  We were again looking for ‘happy’ names, and there really aren’t that many.  We did consider other options, but the name Alyssa won quite easily.  There are some alternate meanings like “noble” and “rational”, which are positive and things which I don’t mind seeing in her too.

Jean.  This was a bit trickier.  The boys all have a middle name with ‘J’.  Asher-James. Ellery-Jude.  James and Jude being books of the Bible.  But there are no books of the Bible named after females that start with ‘J’.  I like the idea of the kids having a book of the Bible to reference for themselves, and maybe even share about with one another.  It was settled that we’d pick a female variant of John.  I was thinking more along the lines of the book 1 John, rather than the Gospel of John.  1 John speaks of the importance of discerning true followers and teachers of the Word from the false, and also of how to be assured in Christ.  I think these are important things.  Also, it was in line with the short(ish) books of James and Jude.

There are many variations of John, but we landed on Jean as there is a further significance to it.  Before Jon was born, his parents didn’t know whether he was going to be a boy or a girl.  His late mother chose the names Jon if it was a boy baby, and Jean-natalie if it was a girl.  So Jean is a nod to his late mother’s selection.  Meaningful, I think, as she would surely have loved to meet little Alyssa-Jean and her brothers.

Sweet little Alyssa

Sweet little Alyssa

She’s been a really good girl.  And she is so different from the boys that I can hardly believe it myself.

She hardly cries.  My father has yet to hear her cry at all.  When she wants milk she just makes a short ‘eh!” sound.  The only time she wails and wails is during bath time.  This is the same reaction the boys had to bath time as babies too.  I guess that’s one thing in common.

She is sooooo sleepy.  Like seriously.  I can barely keep her awake for feeds, let alone play with her.  Asher and Ellery were soooo awake.  I could barely keep them asleep!  It’s so vastly different that I’m now worried she’s too sleepy.  I can’t believe babies can sleep so much!  And then I think to myself, “See lah, don’t sleep you worry, sleep, you also worry!”  She easily sleeps 3 hours or more between feeds, which I fear affects my milk supply since I’m exclusively breastfeeding her.  But wake her any earlier and she simply won’t wake to nurse.  At night, she’s ever gone 6 hours without waking for a feed, though that was in the initial days.  Now it’s about 3-4 hours, which is still amazing considering Asher woke every 1-1.5hours, and Ellery every 45min to 1 hour.  I’m not complaining, but I’m also a bit concerned.

The boys have taken very very well to her.  The day she was born, Ellery ran through his school loudly announcing to everyone, “I’m a Kor Kor today!” :)  The kids ask to carry her, they play with her on the rare times she’s awake.  There is some strain on the boys as they spend less time with me, but they are handling it very well.  It’s more than I could have asked for.

So, yes.  It’s been good to far.  Praying it stays that way!

Freshly off the press

Fresh from the press

Daddy's little girl

Daddy’s little girl

Siblings three

Nair siblings three

Snuggling up.  Babies smell so nice!

Snuggling up. Babies smell so nice!

Super happy with the Star Wars Lego figures from Alyssa

Super happy with the Star Wars Lego figures from Alyssa

R2D2, Yoda, Darth Maul, & Darth Sidious

R2D2, Yoda, Darth Maul, & Darth Sidious

Was given this hamper for being a 'loyal customer' of Thomson Medical Centre :)

Was given this hamper for being a ‘loyal customer’ of Thomson Medical Centre :)

Little girls' clothes are so cute.

Little girls’ clothes are so cute.

Asher fascinated by her tiny tiny hands.  Ellery decided he was a King that day.

Asher fascinated by her tiny tiny hands. Ellery decided he was a King that day.

Asher playing peekaboo!

Asher playing peekaboo!

So happy to be carrying his sister

So happy to be carrying his sister

Ellery asked to carry Alyssa too, and she tried to eat him!

Ellery asked to carry Alyssa too, and she tried to eat him!

Strreettccchhh

Strreettccchhh!  I’ve always loved how baby’s arms only reach to the tops of their heads no matter how much they try to stretch themselves :)

Sweet dreams

Sweet dreams

Sleeping again

Sleeping again

One of the rare times she's awake to enjoy the mobile

One of the rare times she’s awake to enjoy the mobile

Sigh...why is my head so heavy?

What you looking at?  Haven’t you felt heavy headed before?

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I booked my Mum and Dad one month before for lunch on the actual day of Mummy’s birthday.  Ever since she announced that she loved the S.E.A. Aquarium and could go there over and over, and could spend a long time just looking at the fish at the big tank, I decided that the perfect place to bring her for her 60th birthday would be the Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora at Resorts World Sentosa.

I never told them where I was bringing them, and Papa spent the entire night after our big dinner at Crystal Jade Golden Palace thinking about where I was bringing them for lunch.  When I picked them up he was convinced I was bringing them to eat nasi briyani.  From the time we left their house until we reached, they kept guessing where we were going with the locations changing as we went past them.

Mummy and I were very amused with Papa when I told him that we were going somewhere special, and he guessed several different  hawker centres, Westmall, Lot1, Vivocity and the like.  So I told him I know where to bring him for his 70th birthday :)  And when we turned into RWS and there was a big sign saying, “Welcome to Resorts World Sentosa”, Papa said, “Oh!! I know where we are going!!  Resorts World!” :O)

They eventually guessed when we were in the carpark because there were signs pointing to the Ocean Restaurant.  Papa then jokingly told me not to keep them in suspense like that again because it’s so stressful :)  He was also now so hungry from expending all that energy thinking about where we were going haha.

We got a seat by the window, and I was initially disappointed that the windows were not floor-to-ceiling.  I had the impression from pictures that it’d be like sitting right next to the glass.  In actual fact, there an almost 1m ledge at the glass.  But it was nice to see the fishes swimming past, and the stingrays were particularly curious.  Several of them kept stopping at our table to look at us.  And as always, the manta ray is so beautiful.

The food was very good though!  I read mixed reviews about the place, but our three mains were really very good, especially Papa’s Boneless Wagyu Shortrib.  It was like heaven in a mouthful.  Soooo good.  Mummy’s lamb was tender and not overpowering, while my layer pork was juicy and very tasty.  I had read that the Sous Vide 45 C King Salmon dish was good, so we ordered that as a starter to share.  It may have been good, but I wouldn’t be raving about it.  I guess I had set up my expectations high given the reviews.  Plus, the serving is soooo tiny!  But I would definitely have the Wagyu Shortribs if I ever go there again.

Mummy bday 1

Mummy bday 2Mummy ended her day with a shopping trip to claim her Samsung S5 present with JJSB.  She happily sent us a picture of herself with her new toy before the day was up :)

Happy birthday!

A happy birthday girl

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To celebrate Mummy’s special day, we organised a dinner at Crystal Jade Golden Palace at Paragon.  I remember celebrating my grandfather’s birthday there once many years ago and had very good memories of the place.  They staff arranged for us to have a private room, which was a good thing since we had four kids running around.

Mummy didn’t realise that besides the immediate family, we had also invited her old friends Aunty Wendy and Aunty Dorothy.  She’s known them since she was around 20 years old.  That’s a good long friendship!

So when she stepped into the room and saw them she was very surprised, and very very happy :)

Dinner was excellent.  I somehow forgot to take pictures of any of the food, probably because all of it was so mouthwateringly good we all just tucked right in.  Even my other aunt who normally takes pictures of food didn’t take a single picture of any of the dishes that night.  It was a real treat.  Not only was the menu quite feng guang (lavish, in other words), but it was all executed perfectly!  I apologise that I don’t have the names of the dishes, but we ordered one of the 10 person set menus.

The soup we had was absolutely heavenly.  Clearly boiled with the best quality ingredients, the clear soup was smooth and silky, and bursting with goodness.  There were also generous amounts of pork rib, wintermelon, scallops, and abalone inside to pick at.

The soon hock (Moby fish, apparently) was so fresh they steamed it to show off the quality of the fish.  Normally soon hock is deep fried and drizzled with sauce, so this was very interesting, and very tasty.

Even a simple dish of cabbage and other vegetables was brought to a whole other level by cooking it with a wonderful orange, pumpkin-like sauce.  I’ve never had anything like it.

And to wrap it all up, about the best orh nee (yam paste dessert) I’ve had anywhere.  It was incredibly smooth, so delicate and rich.  Mmmm…If I wasn’t so full I would have eaten bowls and bowls of the stuff.

The place is not cheap though, but you really get top notch food.  An apt place to celebrate a special occasion like Mummy’s 60th :)

One of the funny things that happened that night was when Ellery and I secretly went to get the cake to put the candles on.  Ellery loudly announced over and over to everyone who would hear, “My Por Por is 60!”  He also innocently asked (loudly), “Mummy, Por Por is 60 years old, why are there only 6 candles?”  We all had a good laugh about it :)

Mummy even had the surprise of receiving an IOU birthday present from JJSB for a Samsung S5!  It would be her first smartphone ever.  She was so happy, she kept saying that since at 60 she gets surprises and presents, she’ll be 60 again next year!

Mummy & Papa

Mummy & Papa

The cake!

The cake!

Mummy & her surprise guests

Mummy & her surprise guests

Everyone!

Everyone!

Mummy & the grandkids

Mummy & the grandkids

With sweet Heather

With sweet Heather

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Chubby Cousin

Ellery has taken an interest in his baby cousin David, and has been saying things like, “He’s so cute!” and “He’s so chubby!”.  Since then ‘chubby’ has become his new favourite adjective.  He describes animals as chubby, softtoys as chubby, and anything vaguely poofy he says they are chubby :)

Anyway the other day Ellery asked to carry David, and I thought it was a good chance for him to interact with a little baby.  Del agreed, so he sat on a sofa and I put David on his lap.  David at first was a bit surprised and just looked around, but after a moment he decided he didn’t think much of Ellery’s skill in baby-carrying, and starting wailing :)

Carrying his cousin

Carrying his cousin

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We had gone for the 2012 iLight festival held at Marina Bay, and I remember the kids had a great time interacting with some of the light exhibits.  So I was very keen to take them down for this year’s iLight festival.

I managed to coax my parents to come along, and we started by fueling up at Glutton’s Bay at Esplanade, ordering wayyy too much food but somehow managing to stuff it all in.  Whenever I’m there I can’t stop myself from ordering the hokkien mee and the or-luat (oyster omelette).  The hokkien mee is cooked with a punchy stock, giving the final product a wonderful flavour.  The or-luat also beautifully balances the chewy texture of the starch with the crispiness of the fried eggs, topping it off with fat, juicy oysters.  Yum!

After stuffing ourselves, we very much needed a good walk to work off our dinner.  And boy, did we have a good walk.

We started by checking out the performance by Tribal Tide at the Esplanade’s outdoor theatre.  They were performing as part of the Mosaic Music Festival.  We were drawn there by their irresistible beats, created using a variety of drums from Africa,  India, South America and other parts of the world.  It’s the kind of music that just makes you want to move.  I could have stayed there all night if I didn’t already have other plans to see the iLight exhibits.  Plus the kids were in need of some physical activity – they took to climbing all over Papa during the performance, and I was getting worried about his back :)

Tribal

Tribal Tide performing as part of the Mosaic Festival

(clockwise from left) Shooting Kung Kung the minute they saw him, climbing all over him, attempting to sit on the funny curved bench

(clockwise from left) Shooting Kung Kung the minute they saw him, climbing all over him, attempting to sit on the funny curved bench

We decided to walk across the Esplanade Bridge, past Fullerton to go see The Pool exhibit at the Promontory.  The idea was that from there we could walk the rest of way around the bay area and catch the rest of the exhibits without having to double back at any point.  That plan worked out well, though it took much longer than expected!  We took a grand total of 4 hours to complete the round!

We walked at a leisurely pace, stopping to see the various sights and exhibits, even catching the Marina Bay Sand’s laser light show at 8pm from the Fullerton side (which I think is nicer than watching it from the MBS side). Because there was always something new to see, plus the fairly breezy (though slightly hazy) weather, the time passed really quickly.  It was only during the last one hour that we started to feel our feet ache and checked the watch.  We were surprised to see that we had spent so much time there!  The boys really impressed me too.  Asher walked the entire way, while Ellery walked almost all of the way – I carried him for a few 5 minute stretches during the last 30min of our outing.

I thought this year’s line up of exhibits was more interesting as a whole than the one two years ago.  The kids, in particular, loved playing at The Pool.  It’s an exhibit made up of giant concentric circles created from interactive circular pads.  You can jump onto the various pads, and when you do the pad changes colour.  At different times the colour scheme of the pads would change.  For example, all pads start blue and change into rainbow colours when stepped on, or all pink changing to blue when stepped on.  It was pretty to see a path of coloured lights where people had stepped on.

The kids pretended they were Elsa from the cartoon Frozen.  They stomped on the pads and imagined ice forming under their feet :)  I could only coax them away from The Pool by telling them there were other exhibits ahead that we could pretend were made of ice.

At Floating Hearts, a wall of illuminated hearts that passers-by could switch on and off, the kids tried to turn off all the lights.  The iLight guide attempted to convince them that it was prettier with the lights on and proceeded to switch the hearts back on, but this only spurred all the children around to try and switch all the lights off even faster!  It was quite funny seeing half the exhibit darkened, and realising that the upper part was still illuminated only because the children were too short to reach the hearts above!

Ellery liked Joujou-ours, a bunch of teddy bear heads in different colours – and one looking like it had chicken pox.  He happily ran from one bear to another giving them a big hug.

The other exhibits the kids liked were The Wishing Tree, which they pretended was an ice tree (had to stop them from stomping on it!), Happy Croco, more because of the funny sign that said “Please do not enter or Croco will bite”, and Cloud where they could pull chains to turn on and off the lights.

At Flash, Ellery on his own decided he wanted to lie down and rest, and he chose to lie down in the exhibit much to the amusement of everyone around :)  He really looked so comfortable.

iLight Festival 2014 1   iLight Festival 2014 3 iLight Festival 2014 2

If there’s anything that could be improved, it would be signs pointing to where the nearest toilets are – important when you are with little kids.  The map they provide does not give that information too.  FYI, you can duck into the Fullerton Hotel, some portable toilets at the Promontory where Savour (the food festival) is being held, Marina Bay Link Mall (there’s a lift along the Promontory), and MBS.

Also, be prepared to pay through your nose for any drinks.  We brought some of our own, but along the 4 hour hike we drained all the bottles and needed refilling.

The iLight Festival is on everyday from 730-11pm until 30 March.  Check it out if you can!

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I woke up thinking of a bowl of noodles that I used to eat when I was a teenager.  Reminiscent of the Hong Kong habit of eating instant noodles in the mornings, there is a little coffeeshop stall selling instant noodles Singapore style.  Ke Kou Mian, it’s called.  Hai Xian Zhu Zhou (literally translated as ‘seafood cook porridge’) used to only serve it for breakfast, but they now appear to sell it all day long.  It’s one of their best sellers, and I can totally see why.  I think it’s the best instant noodle dish in Singapore!  Walk through the coffeeshop and you can see that most of the patrons there order that dish.  It’s like a little instant noodle loving corner of Singapore.

Spicy Ke Kou Mian

Spicy Ke Kou Mian

Signboard of Hai Xian Zhu Zhou

Signboard of Hai Xian Zhu Zhou

Close up of the ke kou mian variations

Close up of the ke kou mian variations

I managed to convince my family to head there after church for lunch, and we all tucked in hungrily.  It is still as good after all these years.  Unlike the Hong Kong version which has very few ingredients, this one is stuffed with ingredients like sliced pork, minced pork, liver, vegetables, and an egg (optional), it is warming, familiar, comforting, and hearty.  They also make their own broth which is robust and flavourful.

Chomp, slump, munch

Chomp, slump, munch

There are now three flavours.  There’s the regular meat one, a seafood version, and a spicy version (which was what I tried that day).  Be prepared to wait because it’s extremely popular!  In fact, we wanted to order the large serving, but in the end they ran out of large bowls and we had to be content with the small instead.  But it was still very satisfying!

Hai Xian Zhu Zhou is found at the coffeeshop attached to the multi-story carpark at 163A Gangsa Road.

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Anya celebrated her 5th birthday with a princess mini golf session at Lilliputt.  I was very happy to hear her party was being held there because I’ve been wanting to bring the boys there but we just never got around to going.

I had heard from Del how each hole was done up to show a place of interest in Singapore.  There was the zoo, the airport, the Botanic Gardens, a hawker centre, the port, among others.  The boys agreed that their favourite was definitely the military one where they had to putt the ball through a loop-the-loop, and through the barrel of the tank.

As there were quite a lot of children, they had to break up into groups.  The four Quah and Nair cousins automatically formed one group.  They huddled together very quickly, and Del and I commented on how the in-crowd, out-crowd thing starts quite early.  But it was nice that they had each other :)

The cousin group

The cousin group

The staff there made sure to brief the children properly, and told them the rules – if you take more than 8 strokes you are considered to not have passed that hole.  Well…I think the kids failed every single one of them, but who cares!  I stopped filling in the card after the first hole because there really was no point.  The kids had so much fun trying to get the golf balls through the various obstacles.  It was especially challenging for Ellery, and I had to guide him quite a bit.

At the end of the session, we still didn’t manage to try all the holes.  The boys want to go back again, so I guess we’ll have to make a trip there soon.  Definitely on my list of go-to places if the haze comes back.

Anya looked like she had a wonderful time, and she was a very good host to her guests too!  She made sure everyone had cake, and everyone lined up to get their goodie bags.  Princess manners indeed!

Colouring before the party started

Colouring before the party started

Briefing the kids before they ran off

Briefing the kids before they ran off

The military themed hole

The military themed hole

At the bird park

At the bird park

At Suntec City

At Suntec City

PSA

PSA

Pretty princess

Pretty princess

All the Wees!

All the Wees!

My best attempt at capturing a cousin photo

My best attempt at capturing a cousin photo

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We had been anticipating this wedding for a while, and Josh & Elaine certainly celebrated in a way that showed off their personalities, unique style and humour.

The day started with a tea ceremony, and it was the first time Jon and I were on the receiving end of the tea.  It was also probably Joe’s first and last time giving Josh an ang pao (red packet) :)

Their wedding photos were very interesting, and apparently they were the ones who had come up with the vision and directed the photographer to fulfil what they imagined.  There were three sets of pictures. The first was done in a modern, broody style, depicting the search for love in an urban landscape.  The second was a fun, colourful, and light-hearted magazine with them styled in retro gear.  The third set was a whimsical, magical set of pictures mounted onto a lampshade.  What a nice piece of decor for their new house.  Some pictures below that I took from them :)

one of pictures from the modern set

one of pictures from the modern set

and another

and another

fun & happy

fun & happy

my favourite picture of the lot!

my favourite picture of the lot!

Elaine looked stunning in her gown, and I found out that she had designed it herself.  Pity I didn’t really get a chance to take that many pictures!

Her artistic side extended into the evening event as well.  As a door gift she gave out jewellery that she designed herself (more on that in another post), and also took to the stage with Josh and another friend to sing an entire set!  It was a lovely, casual event, and the two of them definitely looked very happy.

Praying for a blissful, contented marriage for the two of them :)

Big gentleman, little gentleman

Big gentleman, little gentleman

Getting a snack before lunch

Getting a snack before lunch

With my parents

With my parents

With parti, their great-grandma

With parti, their great-grandma

Their cute mama shop display...

Their cute mama shop display…

...complete with a selection of toys and snacks!

…complete with a selection of toys and snacks!

The happy couple and their ride

The happy couple and their ride

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