Check out the table full of board games!!
After some deliberating, we decided to try out a new game that our friend had acquired only just within the week, called Space Alert.
Space Alert is a cooperative type of team survival game. Players are crew members of a spaceship scanning dangerous sectors of galaxy. The task is to protect the ship. After appointing a captain and a communications officer, players have to work out who will move where on the ship, fire weapons, set up shields, replenish energy resources, etc etc. A CD with ten minute long soundtracks gives out these central computer announcements that alert the crew to threats varying from space battleships, interstellar monsters, malfunctions, and intruders who can directly appear on the ship just like that and basically all of the bad news that you can think of hitting your way in the ten most depressingly stressful minutes of your life.
We had such a laugh! It was just crazy from the word go! And here we were only doing the trial run and first mission. We didn’t even get round to attempting the more complex missions yet and already the ten minute soundtrack was driving us nuts going, “Incoming data download…intruder T+4 on white deck something something…data transfer…20 seconds to end of data transfer…teh teh teh…end of data transfer…intruder T+1…” Gaaaah. Everytime we started the timer for a new round, the atmosphere was like that of a futures trading pit in the old SIMEX!
After the ten minutes is over, and you finish setting down all your action cards on your deck in all that frenzy, it’s time to sit down, check the phase tracker to see how the team performed, and what’s the damage at the end of the day, and if you managed to hyperjump back to your space station with your team intact. We barely made it back, our dignity hanging in threads the first time around. We did improve on the subsequent rounds – fired a lot less empty gun salutes to wave hopeless fists at the enemy, lesser instances of replenishing energy guns with resources that weren’t there, hung around less at the pantry, and learnt to set up shields to block the attacks!
Phew. 😛 So stressful! But so fun! I wanna play it again! 😉
DH said that DD has been telling him that she wants to see an owl for the past couple of days. I don’t know of anywhere we can find owls for her to see around here (maybe Jurong Bird Park, but wouldn’t they be sleeping in the day?), but at least we can attempt to make one! 🙂
After we completed the craft today, DD happily declared “This is my owl!” Ah, satisfaction! 😉
To make your very own owl, you will need the following materials: An artblock sheet, marker, some old magazines, scissors, glue, crayons or colour pencils.
1. On the artblock sheet, draw out an O.
2. From the old magazines, cut out the shapes you will need to make the owl’s eyes, beak, tufts of feathers, wings and claws. I took this opportunity to also try to introduce an additional concept of O is for Oval, so you will see except for the beak and feather tufts, the rest of the pieces are oval-shaped.
3. Have your child colour the O. DD decided that Brown would like to colour as well. “Good job, Brown!” 🙂 [Yes, she really said that!]
4. After she was done colouring, I wrote O W L in capital letters at the top. If you look closely to the left of the word on the completed picture, you will see DD’s first try at writing the letter O. And at the top right hand corner, you will see a little scribble of all three letters O W L attempted by DD of her own accord. *grin* *beam* *puff with parental pride* 😀
5. Apply the glue and let your child stick on the various parts of the owl.
DD found a leftover circle cutout in the art bureau from a previous project, so she stuck it on as well – explaining that it was like an O because of the silver circled lines around the purple centre.
We didn’t get round to the oval concept because the clock was ticking close to bedtime but nevertheless, I am very very proud of the connections she made and the skills development she demonstrated in completing this project! 😀
After 3 hours of back-to-back conference calls, a half hour of digging sand in the park is super therapeutic. ‘Course, the company makes all the difference too! (my daughter, not my workplace ;-))
When I was pregnant with DS, a lot of people I talked to said that I needed to work in the reality that we might end up doing less for our second child than the first, just on account that there would be less time and less of me distributed between the two of them. Because the first one would have had the benefit of having her parents all to herself, whereas subsequent children would have to live with divided attention and maybe even the lesser portion of the pie of that attention, because the older child naturally commands more by virtue of requiring more active disciplining.
I figured, okay I’ll work in the reality (to numerous cynical snorts from DH), but if I could help it I’m also going to work in invincibility (to numerous resigned sighs from DH).
I made up my mind that I would be as fair as much as I could manage to do it. That whatever I did for DD, I would also do for DS. And improve on it. Beat the previous goals. Reach for the stars, the moon and Mars. After all, that’s what second time rounds are all about, right? 😉 [A familiar mantra DH’s already gotten used to everytime I embark on something!]
Where that’s gotten us to, a year on? Two really tired parents. But also two really happy ones. Over the moon and trying not to eat too many Mars bars such that we’d end up with ulcers from overheatiness. Heh!
I don’t know how long we’ll continue to operate fuelled on this “adrenaline”. But the sense that it can be done, and the high we get from pulling it off each time is so much fun, I don’t think I’ll ever stop. No sir-ree, no rest for the crazy weary.
This morning I sailed into office, plonked my handbag on the desk and fired up my computer. Then I reached into my bag in a well-rehearsed routine move…only to find that there was no ice pack to put into the office refrigerator’s freezer, and no funnels and bottles to put into the pump bag.
Hm. Feels funny.
Not having to pump the afternoon session anymore is liberating.
I know I looked forward to this day, and rejoiced that I could soon resume our favourite chill out wine-and-cheese sessions with DH again after a long long while since I had to forego a beautiful bottle of Moscato we’d bought two days before finding out I was pregnant with DD. (Yes, it has been that long!!)
And my favourite kopitiam “teh peng kau” *
And that I wouldn’t have to be glued to the pump for a twenty-minute forever when I’d rather be with DH and the kids playing in the living room, or having some fun in the park.
Or have to duck out midway through cell group bible study, leaving DH to lead the study and manage two kids at the same time.
Go shopping in the afternoon without needing to worry about rushing home or finding a room to express.
But there’s also a little sadness accompanied with each pump session I cut down.
I’ve gotten so used to my pumping routine and everything associated with it.
Sigh. Nursing. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
Who’s up for commiserating with me over a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and brie? 😉
* “teh peng kau” – local coffee shop brewed iced milk tea
Can’t let August go past without doing something National Day themed now can we? 😉
Since flag fever is all the rage at the moment, I thought it’d be fun to do S is for Singapore in all patriotic red and white. 😀
You will need the following materials: Marker, artblock sheet, scissors, red paint, sponge or paintbrush, paint dish.
1. With the marker, draw an S on the artblock sheet. Make it wide so that it can accommodate the crescent moon and stars.
2. Cut out a crescent moon and five stars from another white sheet of paper. Set aside.
3. Mix the red paint and hand the sponge/paintbrush to your toddler to paint away!
4. When dry, paste the crescent moon and stars on the top of the S.
5. Cut out and paste up on the wall!
Stars and Crescent shine on me
Make us more than what we can be
All our dreams come true
As we all grow stronger
Stars and Crescent shine on me
Turning our hopes into reality
For we will always be
Shining as one
7:00am Hey everybody, wake up already! The sun is bright, the birds are chirping, the fish are swimming, I need to get on the move, I have a full schedule ahead. I’ve got things to see, toys to play, people to talk to, furniture to climb, places to walk…wake up Mummy, wake up Daddy!
7:30am What?? Breakfast? Milk? No, there’s got to be a mistake. According to my schedule, the first item on the agenda is walking!
7:50am Okay I’m done. I’m outta this chair. Pao pao, please!
8:00am I don’t want to sit anymore…These feet are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do…
8:10am Ah, grandparents, a godsend. Bye mummy, bye daddy…you can stay at the breakfast table, I’m off to explore the great big unknown with grandma 😀 Walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk…
9:30am Bath time. Yay, it’s splashing time! 😎
11:30am What?? Lunch? But I wanna walk…
11:50am Byeeeee…my pedometer counter is waiting…I have a goal to meet, a target to accomplish, and miles to go, miles to go before I sleep. 🙂
2:30pm *grumble* These frequent meal breaks are cramping my style. Oh well, fine fine, I’m pretty much ready to crash out for the afternoon anyway…
5:30pm Didn’t I just sit in this high chair like not that long ago?
6:00pm Yay, dinner’s over!! Walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk…oh, bath time? Okay, I can make an exception for that.
6:30pm Walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk… 🙂
8:30pm Bedtime? Already?
After today I’ll be slowly winding down the number of pump sessions to eventually pack my faithful and trusty Medela pump back into its box. It has served me well. Helped me provide milk for two children for 12.75 months each. It’s high time for it (and me!) to get a good rest. 🙂
Some time ago, I wrote about DS’s nursing strike and how I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to the one-year mark on exclusive pumping alone. Some of you wrote and texted me with encouraging words to persevere as much as I could and to trust God for all the other things. I want to say a big Thank You.
Your encouragement was a wonderful source of strength at a difficult and emotionally-draining period.
At the time, I thought to myself “Look at all these articles on the net talking about nursing strikes ending within a few days or a week or a month, or 40 days. And here is mine with no end in sight. Ever. Despite trying everything recommended by La Leche, Kellymom and the books and talking to countless counsellors. Bleah!”
Well, 110 days have passed since then and I have freezer stock to last him on total breastmilk for another three weeks. Granted it’s not the biggest achievement in life and I’m sure there are tons of mums out there who have done much more. But it’s big enough to me. 🙂
I guess God gives each of us different experiences so that collectively there’s always a story and testimony out there to bless a person in need. And here’s my story to contribute to the dearth of stories on the world wide web about nursing strikes that never ended. Yes it can happen. No, you don’t have to give up. Yes, you can find a way to overcome the circumstances. Yes, so long as God gives grace and you set your mind and body to the task, you can hit your personal target. And maybe more. 😀
..and we’re out the door to the zoo for DS’s birthday outing treat! My dad and mum had just arrived from Malaysia half an hour earlier and after a quick chat with DH’s mum over a quick cuppa, we all pile into the car at 9:23am. Meeting our friend, DM and her kids at the entrance at 10:07am, we went on in to enjoy quite a really fun day. The weather was humid but thankfully remained dry so we really got to cover a lot more ground this time than any previous trips to the zoo. Click here to follow our route! 🙂
We visited the otters, white tigers, and pygmy hippo exhibits, and went on to see the banded mongoose, hamadryas baboons and Nubian ibex.
We then wandered round the Primate Kingdom area a little before making our way down to the Splash Amphitheatre for the 11am Splash Safari show. DH and DD were in the splash zone so they got sprayed with some water from Philip the sealion. 🙂
Then it was on to KFC to grab lunch before the bulk of the lunch crowd got in. What a difference it makes going on a Friday and at 11:40am!
After lunch for everyone, DD and DM’s son enjoyed pony rides and a round on the carousel at Kidzworld before we made our way back out to see the chimpanzees, and mandrills. Next stop: The critters longhouse where we were overwhelmed by two large groups of schoolchildren on field trips! We also saw the Estuarine Crocodile and the False Ghavial. They were massive creatures!
On to the snakes and into Cat Country where DM’s son really really really wanted to see the cheetahs. But not before making a stop at the lions who we overheard roaring when we were at the jaguar exhibit trying to spot the missing jaguars!
By this time it was about 1:30pm so we had to really make a dash for home. A couple of quick stops at the giraffes as it was feeding time, the zebras and ostriches, eland and rhinoceros enclosures brought us back to the exit.
Three, four, Knock at the door
Home at 2:30pm. Feeding time for the kids!
Five, six, Pick up sticks
I grab all my baking tools and start sifting and mixing the eggless sponge for DS’s birthday cake. 🙂 Into the oven goes the tray with me praying really hard that it turns out right! I need two rounds of this to make a two tier cake!
Seven, eight, Lay them straight
While the cake is baking, I keep all the packs of baking goods back into the cupboards and clean up the kitchen counter. At 25 minutes, I remove the hot tray from the oven and leave it to cool. Time check. 3:45pm. Just in time for my pump session!
Nine, ten, A big fat hen
Hurray, the cake looks pretty good and the texture is just about right! I am so beat but I need to wash bottles and pump funnels to put into the steriliser. Mum-in-law brings DS into the bedroom for his nap and my dad brings DD to the playground. Which gives DH and me a nice half hour respite to enjoy some tea and curry puffs. Nice! 😀
Eleven, twelve, Dig and delve
At 7:30pm S, our friend who kindly agreed to frost DS’s cake, arrives! In between bites of my dinner, we discuss how best to decorate the cake, and how I’d like to do the tiering.
So fun! S has all these sketches of various fishes and sea creatures, and she takes out assorted Wilton tools from her bag. The table is full of tools and colouring pastes. It’s all so exciting! 😀
We start sifting icing sugar and creaming butter to make the buttercream. It’s hard work because the sieve is fine! Next we mix up three different shades of blue for the sea – this I found extremely fun! S and I spread the uncoloured buttercream on the first layer. She then slices two-thirds of the second layer, and we carefully turn it over on top of the first layer. We then spread the blue buttercream all over the cake.
There was a second round of sifting icing sugar needed for the royal icing! *Groan*
While I sift, S separates three eggs to get the whites for the royal icing. After a lot of whirring and creaming we get ourselves a nice batch of white royal icing which is divided into 5 bowls. Now the real decorating work starts!
Oh.my.word. I’ve developed a new respect for cake decorators. It really isn’t easy. I am so thankful for S. She is so patient and given to excellence, even though the clock is ticking really close to 11:45pm. Here’s our finished cake! Doesn’t it look so cool? [Sorry, in keeping with this blog’s no-names practice, I blurred out the top portion 😉 ]
Thirteen, fourteen, Maids a-courting
D comes to pick up his wife, S who is still busy adding the finishing touches to the cake. We were going to send S back to save them the trouble but he insisted and I shan’t stand in the way of a newlywed husband 🙂
After D and S leave, DH and I put up DS’s birthday “banner” and I fill the party favour bags. I am so proud of my goodie bags. They are all healthy goodness! An activity book, fish stickers, a box of Sun-Maid raisins, a pack of oat digestives biscuits and a small kaleidoscope. I’d been obsessing over packing healthy goodie bags with NO candy so that moms would not have to negotiate with their kids over the contents. DH said I really shouldn’t burn so many calories over it but I’m glad I did. Heheh! *wonderbee gives herself a pat on the back*
Fifteen, sixteen, Maids in the kitchen
It’s Saturday morning! There’s a busy busy bustle in the kitchen as both grandmas work hard to get the food ready for lunch, amidst us ducking in and out to crowd the stove some more to prepare the kids’ lunch, chicken wings roasting in the oven, and people bringing crockery and cutlery in and out. Half way through there was the delivery of the popiah skins and kueh pie tee cups…you get the general idea.
DH puts up balloons! I stick on my hand-drawn food labels at the serving table! I was really pleased with how they turned out – cute hey? 😉
Seventeen, eighteen, Maids a-waiting
DD and DS finish their lunch and we each bring one to the bathroom to bathe and change into their nice clothing. The family guests start arriving! Jiak!
At 2:30pm we finally sing the birthday song and cut the cake. I say “finally” because it seemed to take forever (although it must have just been two minutes?) for DH to get the matches to light the candle during which time I had to keep six pairs of curious hands off the cake so it could stay picture perfect at least until after the song is sung! (and yes, that included Mr Cannot-Stay-Still DS). I should have done a separate smash cake for DS.
Nineteen, twenty, My plate’s empty
Phew, what a busy two days it has been. It’s been totally crazy and we are so tired out but it’s all worth it.
DD had so much fun running around the living room with cousins and friends. Everyone was very impressed with the home made food by both grandmas. The combination of the light eggless sponge with buttercream and royal icing was a hit with both kids and adults. AND it really made my day to see DS get all excited over his fish-themed birthday banner, and the balloons, and the cake, and after his nap, his presents.
This has been such a long post. Goodnight world. I better go catch the zzz’s…else I’ll need toothpicks to survive Sunday service tomorrow morning!
National Day fervour is still going strong in our household.
DD has been asking me to sing her the “flag song” (Majulah Singapura) at various mealtimes and car trips. At this point, she can only remember the phrase “Majulah Singapura” and “semua kita berseru”. She and DS each have a flag that they wave enthusiastically as they walk around the room singing the only phrases she knows and making up the rest as they go. I’ve never sung the national anthem so many times in the last week. I think this has got to be the most patriotic I’ve ever been. 😉
And this evening, as we drove the car in to park, there stood the two little kiddos, waving their flags, DS grinning from ear to ear, and DD rushing up to me as soon as I opened the car door, with THREE flags in her hands, exclaiming “Majulah Singapura! Mummy, Majulah Singapura!”
I suppose this is as close as we can get to feeling like the President at the National Day Parade. Or the President’s stand-in during NDP rehearsals!! 😀