Archive | February 2011

Moving melancholy

We moved house on the weekend. It was a massive affair. And now I’m sitting on our bed, surrounded by boxes stacked almost to the ceiling in our room, surrounded by even more boxes outside, in our new home. 

The past few days have been long and weary. There hasn’t been much time to think, just barely enough to keep on packing and moving, and collapsing exhausted at the start of the next day (when you realise it’s 2am).

I don’t like moving. I always feel melancholy because it forces one to make difficult decisions and say goodbye to possessions that one would need to leave behind and not bring to the new place.

Like our beloved and trusty nine-year-old white Ikea changing table and chest of drawers. That chest has been a wonderful companion, seeing our friend through two children, seeing us through two children, becoming more than just a changing table and a storage for clothes, it also became a place to store our children’s art supplies and completed artwork as well. And now, it’s returning to our friend again to serve as a clothing cupboard for her third child.

And the children’s wooden crib. DS had outgrown it without us realising until just recently. I’d become over reliant on it to keep him contained for naps, but he has started climbing out of it on his own accord, and that’s made it become more hazard than safety measure.

And a whopping twenty-six milk storage and feeding bottles, and two electric Medela pumps. Reminding me of those crazy working and expressing days in the office. I can’t believe I’d ever get attached to an electrical piece of equipment, but quite seriously, I can’t bear to part with them. So they’ve gone into a box labelled “FRAGILE” highlighted in bold and large font and in more times than I could count all over the box. When the boxes with my kitchen crockery have only had the same word written across it once.

These are just a few of the many instances where I paused as I packed, wishing I really didn’t have to.

It’s now 10:56pm, thirty minutes since I first sat down and powered up my computer to type.

And I need to get back to the other day-to-day stuff that doesn’t allow us a break, moving house or not.

Keeping the folded laundry. Sorting through the mail and bills. Sending out the last of the urgent email replies and shutting down the office computer. Washing the remaining dishes and clearing the children’s bath.

Time to snap out of the melancholy and get moving. Again.

In my world: Chugga-chugga

Spotted out of the corner of my eye when I was clearing the laundry bag in the bathroom. Built by the boys, this only lasted a few minutes before it was torn down to make something else.

DS wanted to build train tracks so DH built the circular track and our little guy added the buildings around the track.

Sometimes in the middle of cleaning the rooms, I discover little gems left behind by the children. This Friday series was started with the intention of celebrating the imagination and creativity in a young child’s world…and hoping that it’ll bring a little ray of inspiration and joy to your day, as it does mine.

Preschooler Art: Squiggle turtles

There’s nothing DS loves more than imitating his sister’s actions.  So when she gets the crayons out to draw, he too wants in on the action. 

It’s still pretty much squiggles and circles for him, although there is a certainly a story and a definitive intent behind every squiggle as he describes each to me when he completes it. 

Can you spot the squiggle turtles? 🙂

Wordcraft: D for Door

You will need the following materials: Artblock sheet, scissors, coloured paper, glue, crayons.

1. Fold the artblock sheet in two.
2. Using the scissors, cut out a door frame and windows.

3. Decorate your house any way you like, using coloured paper and crayon to add details.

4. Lastly, cut out the letters d, o, o, r and paste them over the door.  Carry on decorating if you wish. 🙂

In my world: Footprints

Bare feet.

Water puddles.


Our two-and-a-half year old son.

At any other time, I wouldn’t have blinked an eye.
But in his Sunday clothes, seven minutes after we were due to leave home for Sunday church service…!

Preschooler Art: Native American Inspired

We borrowed a book the other day from the library, titled “The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses” by Paul Goble.


DD has been poring over the book every opportunity she gets, as it is about her favourite animal.  It has some really beautiful artwork and received the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 1979.

The other day, in a moment of inspiration, she drew this.  

I love the way she coloured the sun. And I love how it is all about her favourite things – horses, family, and a playground slide and seesaw.

Weeding my garden

This evening, when I brought the kids out to play in Grandpa’s garden, we noticed patches of weeds all across the grass. Imagine, it’s only been two weeks that the garden has been left alone, and all this has sprung up.

As I sat there, a thought struck me about how some of the weeds with flowers and interesting leaves actually looked quite pretty and added an interesting dimension to otherwise plain ol’ crab grass.
And what a shame it would be to uproot them.

But then the parable of the sower in Matthew 13: 1 – 9 came to mind.

While it’s not an immediate word-for-word match, I thought about how the thorns, representations of the “worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things” choked the seeds, and how in a somewhat similar fashion, a garden full of weeds, pretty or otherwise, will eventually become an eyesore, and hinder the healthy growth of the grass.

A timely thought indeed, in the middle of the first quarter of the year when new goals and objectives are still fresh.

To stop me in my tracks and challenge me to consider if I have any “weeds” in my own garden that need pulling up – anything deceptively pretty, that appears to offer me a difference from the ordinary but is actually seeking to undermine – so that my spiritual garden can flourish in the new spring, unchoked by the weeds of this world.

Have you weeded your garden lately? 🙂

Preschooler Art: Magna Doodles

Magnetic doodle boards have got to be the greatest invention ever, for long driving trips.

I actually took these pics to show my parents because they would have been erased from the board minutes after.  But I never got round to it (heheh…yeah I admit it, I was too busy eating…) so, Dad and Mum, a tad late but better than never  😉

DS's flamingo

DD's tortoise

Preschool Counting with the Eight Treasure Box

It’s a bit of a break from routine this week, so I don’t have a Wordcraft post…but I do have a suggestion on simple math and counting activity for preschoolers with the Chinese New Year eight treasure box.

(Okay for starters, let’s ignore the fact that the one in our home has technically got seven compartments, not eight…analysis paralysis is so not a convenient state to get embedded into…) 😉

Again, as with our counting activities, it didn’t start out purposefully as one.  But since the children had curiously opened the Eight Treasure Box to explore its contents, the idea just quite literally popped into my head when I popped a  milk chocolate bar into my mouth.

1. Simple visual addition and subtraction – for example: if I have four chocolate bars and I gave one away to you, how many would I have left? What if I gave one more away to your little brother?  How many more would I need if I wanted to give one to Grandpa, Grandma, Daddy and have one for myself?

2. Melon seeds planting – for example: if one seed can be used to plant a new tree, how many trees can I plant with these eight seeds?

Make it as simple or as complicated as you like. And bring your dinosaur to play along too! The possibilities are endless as many more different variations of questions can be thought up, and when you’re tired of it all, why, the subjects can just be eaten up!  😛

Some cultural history trivia for those who might be interested:

The Eight Treasure Box originated in the sixteenth to early nineteenth centuries during the Qing Dynasty, and was used by royalty to store small precious items.  Today, during Chinese New Year, it is typically filled with an assortment of sweetmeats, like candy, chocolate, dried fruits, nuts and melon seeds. The content in ours is pretty untraditional already, as historically the following items would be found in a traditional box:-

  • Peanuts – to symbolize longevity.
  • Melon seeds – dyed red in colour to signify joy, these also symbolize a long line of descendants since a melon has lots of seeds.
  • Pistachio – the direct translation of its name in Mandarin is kaixinguo, which means “a happy fruit” because its half cracked shell resembles a smile, and symbolizes a joyous new year.
  • Candied kumquats – to symbolize a sweet, prosperous and lucky year ahead as the translation in Mandarin is jingua, which means “gold melon”.
  • Dried red dates – to symbolize early realization of goals.
  • Chocolates shaped like gold ingots – to symbolize great wealth.
  • Candied lotus root – to symbolize family unity and harmony.
  • Milk candy – to symbolize a sweet and abundant year ahead. 


Sorry it’s been quiet with not many Chinese New Year themed posts this time round. Things have been busy around the household this year particularly, in addition to the usual Chinese New Year bustle, so I’ve really only started logging on to the computer today.

Being “unplugged” has been good though. 

I took two days of leave from work, in addition to the two public holidays we get in Singapore for Chinese New Year. 

We drove home to visit my parents.  The kids played with my brother’s toy car set (positively vintage by now!) and we ate a lot of good food. 

I went to pick up DD from kindergarten today. Knowing she loves surprises, I didn’t tell her about it and just appeared at going-home time. Which made seeing her face light up, totally priceless.

I grabbed the chance for a five-minute chat with the teacher to ask about DD’s adjustment to school. 

We took the public bus together and chatted about all sorts of things, including the kind of house she wants to buy me when she grows up (one with a big playground and a swing lonGERRR {emphasis hers 😉 } than the one in my parents’ home).

DS proudly showed me his newly learned ability to write the letters “e”, “s” and numbers “1”, “2” and “7”. 

The kids and I went to the playground and had it all to ourselves for one leisurely hour of fun on the slides and climbing frames.

And this evening, when DH gets home from work, we are joining the extended family for a yummy “lo hei” and seafood dinner.

If I was asked right at this moment, to describe “contentment”, I think this would come pretty close. 🙂