Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Trip to HCMC

It's been a week since we left for our Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) trip and sure doesn't feel like it.

It was a really eventful trip, to say the least. It started off when one of our business associates who was supposed to join us called at the last minute to inform us that she would not be going due to some family issues. Fifteen minutes later, she called to say she would join us again!

At the airport when checking in, we realised that we forgot to pack my sister's baggage with us to the airport!! A mad rush ensued to go back home to bring the said baggage to the airport for a quick check in! By then, I had enough drama to last me a week (Or so I thought).

It was a rather uneventful flight on Vietnam Air, thankfully! The kids were well behaved with only complaints of slight earache upon our descent into the city. More surprises awaited us upon arrival at the airport. Mr H. who only had a travel document (not a passport) needed a visa to enter Vietnam and he did not have one! After half an hour of fruitless talking with the customs officer (whose face I really want to box!) it was agreed that Mr H would have to stay back in a nearby hotel while the customs officer arranged for a visa for him which would be ready by noon the next day. THe cost? US$200.

The fun started the next day, when we visited the CuChi Tunnels. A 2-hour bus ride from the city, the tunnels are a testament to the Vietnamese tenacity and genius during the Vietnam War. The heat was horrendous, but it was really interesting to see the many booby traps and weapons they used, and experience the claustrophobia of the tunnels. The kids were really spooked by the gigantic milipedes we saw too. Haha. We also got to try their food during the war (tapioca) and bought ourselves some Vietcong hats. :)

THis was followed by lunch at the touristy Indochine, then we headed back for some R&R (rest & retail therapy, that is haha!!) Lucky Plaza was small and rather nice, and it has always been impossible for me to resist buying anything while on holiday (even copy stuff) even though I told myself not to!! Also ventured to Tax Centre for some supermarket shopping with C! We then had dinner with Mr P. at Ngoc Suong, a nice French-styled Vietnamese restaurant. It was a long dinner though, and the kids got rather impatient and J fell asleep.

THe next day, we had the customary city tour where we visited the Presidential Palace (super hot again!) and Central Post Office. We then had lunch at Le Dong Du - mediocre tour-style food! That's when our friend , I., told us she had to go back to Singapore due to the urgent family matter. We split up after lunch, some to Ben Thanh, and me and the kids and mum back to hotel to arrange for I's ticket back, and get some (more) R&R. Dinner was at the super yummy Crystal Jade Restaurant at Legend Hotel . We went there on cyclos - small trishaw-styled vehicles! IT was a wonderful experience, weaving through the signature Vietnamese traffic! :)

Before we knew it, it was our final day there. We spent the morning packing and making a quick trip to Saigon Square and Lucky Plaza, then headed to the airport for our journey back. After more altercations with the checkin staff (we had excess baggage!!) and US$192 poorer, it was home sweet home!!

HCMC, we will see you again !

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Up at night.

How surprising that I'm up at this time. Had a power nap while putting J to bed now am bright-eyed at 1045pm. I wish I could stay up really late tonite, with a great book, nice music, and nobody to bother me :) I could, I guess, except that I've still got to wake up at 6.30 am tomorrow and get ready for weekday madness. (It could be worse - if C had school I'd be up at 545 am)

So here I am, trying to do some blogging. (I'm also trying hard to eliminate exclamation marks from my posts.) Could Jamie's first meaningful words be "no more"? She has this cute action, raising both hands and moving her fingers, saying "no more" when something she is doing/watching disappears (e.g. end of her favourite Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show). So cute! (Other vocab words - mum-mum, geii, tei-tei-tei..but they don't mean much I think)

We're headed to Japan in 9 days and I'm so excited! (I think an exclamation mark is justified here.) It's been a while since we really went anywhere really different and new, and i've invested hours (if not days) on research about Tokyo.... but that said, think I'll relax and go with the flow! Holidays are meant to be fun, not stressful right?

Other exciting things - R's final K2 concert is also in 9 days and i'm feeling both sad and excited. AK puts up the most amazing concerts and it'll be the last time for me seeing any of my kids in such a big-scale production. (The plan is for J to attend nearby schools, rather than AK when the time comes). Then it'll be his graduation on 18th Nov, and then P1 orientation on 21st Nov!

Chelsea did quite well for her exams this year, considering how much (little) effort we put in this year. There'll be streaming at her school and my only requirement is that she make it into the top 3 classes (out of total of 6 classes in P3) I think she'll be fine! We'll never really find out I guess, as the school has a policy of not revealing the order of classes.

That's all for now. Time for more mindless surfing until I feel sleepy again....

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time to remember.

I just thought it was time to come back to this blog, to remember in more detail, what has been happening since May when I last blogged.

As 16th sept draws closer, I can't help but reflect on how my life has changed the past year. I've become adept at packing a diaper bag when I go out (everything is done in 5 mins tops), any stretch of sleep of at last 5 hours is good enough for me, and I'm eating faster than ever before. Lest this all sounds too negative, the joy that Jolly Jamie (as she's nicknamed by her siblings) has brought into our life is immeasurable. Her cute antics ("funny face!") and reactions are so fun to look at, and her smile brings happiness to me even at moments when I feel so down. Watching her sleep is the best way to end my day, and hearing her happy yelps over the phone monitor when she wakes up each morning is a definite highlight too. I love watching my three kids play together, be it crawling around the yard, or pulling down and putting up luminous stickers on the wall (J pulls them down and C & R put them up). It may be a cliche, but I can't imagine life without her.

Ryan is growing up super fast too. His spidey pajamas is finally getting short (those long pants are now more 3/4 pants!) and he has just started wearing glasses. I noticed him squinting at the TV a couple of weeks back, and brought him to an opthalmologist to have his eyes checked. True enough, his degree was 175/225 with some astigmatism! Quite bad for a 6 year old. So we got him fitted with a pair of spectacles and he seems happy to be wearing them. At least most of the time. Lifestyle changes have to be made - less 'near work' (reading, nintendo, TV at close range) and more 'far work' (running, cycling, outdoor activities.) As primary 1 draws nearer for him, I can't help but feel anxious about how he will cope with his new school, new friends, etc. I just hope and pray that he will have the ability to meet any challenges he faces , and that I will have the wisdom, patience and strength to guide him.

Chelsea, my first born. She's already 8. It seems just yesterday she was in kindergarten, and now she's going to be sitting for her first streaming exam. I should feel some stress, but the truth is, I hardly prepared her for the coming exam. I hope I don't regret it. Somehow, I trust that she will be able to do what's needed for her studies, this studious and hardworking girl. I worry more about her social and character development. How can I make her tougher, to fight for the right things, and not get upset if she doesn't get them? How do I show her what is important in life? I fear that I may have missed some of these important lessons along the way, sidetracked by the 'need' to complete this or that worksheet, rush for this or that event, etc. For her, I hope that the coming year will lead to more maturity, to the ability to deal with things that don't go her way, and for her to grow in confidence and leadership.

Hey...i'm blabbering. haha. I can hear the three of them shrieking downstairs! Time for me to get off this computer!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ma-y already?

I have definitely fallen off the blogging bandwagon. I don't really know what I have been up to - probably the mundane day to day stuff that makes up life. (These include work, child care, planning for company trip, obsessing with designer bags -for now it's Balenciaga, makeup (Clea De Peau makeup base) and car shopping..)

We just got back from our 3N2D cruise to nowhere on Star Cruise Superstar Virgo and the kids had a whale of a time. In fact, upon return, C & R slept for 4 hours straight! Only J was unaffected, still keeping to her half-hour naps. Thankfully, she wakes up for at most once a night nowadays.

C's exams start tomorrow, and I have just been informed that R's excursion tomorrow to Mediacorp is cancelled due to the swine flu 'epidemic'. Poor R, he was so disappointed as he was really looking forward to it (and the fact that I would be fetching him back after the excursion.)

J is starting to babble (just today, she started with ma-ma-ma-ma and pa-pa-pa) and move (she tends to move in a circle, not really crawling yet.) Her hair is curlier than ever, and it is a mystery how it got that way. That is what most people comment on about her. :)

I am looking forward to our Melbourne trip next month, although I'm not sure if our plans will eventually fall through with the swine flu and what not! *Cross fingers & toes*.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

An eventful March (so far)

I'm seldom compelled to blog about something so badly, but events of the past couple of days are eventful enough for me to want to blog them!

Let's start with 2nd March, R's 6th birthday. We didn't have a party this year, but we did go to the zoo, Sentosa, and Vivocity all within the span of 3 days at the request of the birthday boy. His 6th came and went rather quietly, with just the family celebrating for him. I guess what is most important is that he enjoyed himself. Things I want to remember about him at six:

1) His happy-go-lucky nature. He is generally a good natured kid, and nothing seems to faze him (more on this later).
2) His prone-ness to accidents. My dear son perpetually has many bruises on his shins and of all the kids, is most likely to fall or hurt himself. I attribute this to his over-adventurous nature and fearlessness.
3) He rode a 2-wheel bike before six.
4) He has a bright mind, and can achieve a lot once he puts his mind to it. (The problem is really how to get him to put his mind to it.)
5) He really loves me. :)

Soon after, J's first tooth sprouted! C & R's first teeth only came when they were one year old, so I was really surprised to see/feel her first tooth so early! As they say, every child is different, I guess that explains her great desire to chew all stuff (her most loved being paper.)

OK, now on the the main part of the eventful March story. We planned for a March holiday to Bintan (again) as we chanced upon a great promotion for our favourite Angsoka villa. On the way there, I realised I had forgotten to pack part of my breast pump to pump milk for Jamie. I really dreaded the thought of hand-expressing (J has not latched onfor a long while!) but since I planned to stop, I thought this was a good opportunity. Of course, at that point I had no idea how tough hand-expressing was.

Upon arrival at the ferry terminal, while waiting for the last of the bags to be checked out, I turned around and suddenly saw blood streaming out of R's nose (see what I mean by accident prone). I think I was more frantic than him (he's unfazed at this point!). Turns out he was playing with a trolley that hit him resulting in the nose bleed. Fortunately, the blood flow stemmed after a while and he carried on as usual.

The first night, Jamie came down with a fever. I'm not sure what caused it..maybe it was the flu bug carried around by her siblings, or her first foray into the pool- but she had a restless sleep and had to be given medicine. Her crankiness carried on, and I decided to cut short our trip to come back early as I really wasn't in topform to deal with it and wanted easy access to medical advice and all other stuff in case of an emergency.

Hence, here I am now at home, writing this down while she is in her cot. I'm just glad to be back although I miss my C & R! But, they dont miss me...they're already asking when they can go back again!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I want to ride my bicycle.

Well, thats what the kids have been saying this entire weekend, ever since a very generous Grandma bought each of them a top-of-the-line (based on price , I think it is at least :P) bicycle! C got a Trek Mystic 20, while R got a spider-themed (he's really into spidey-stuff) Specialized Hotrock 16".

After 1 day, and countless rounds around the house, along the path outside and around the park, I'm glad to report that R can already ditch his training wheels! After some training on 2 wheels, R put back his training wheels, only to realize he could not balance properly. The solution was clear - remove the training wheels which were heavy and impeding his speed and balance. And voila! Off he went! C still needs a bit of coaxing and I'm hoping to wean her off the wheels by the March hols.

I formally started J on solid food yesterday.She's been waking up twice a night and finishing entire 4-oz bottles, so I gathered she's ready for some solid food. Starting off with organic brown rice cereal, she seems to be taking it well. Already last night she only woke up once! Informally, she's already been fed scraped apple, scraped prune, scraped chinese pear and today, tiny pieces of sweet potato :P I can't wait to include more stuff into her diet!

Well, if anything, these only go to show how fast time flies. At 16 wks, J was 7.4 kg. She's due for her 2nd round of vaccinations next week, so we'll see how much she's grown again!

Till the next update, Happy Birthday everyone! (Today is Ren2 Ri4!)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Growing up.

Time flies, it's mid-Jan and soon it'll be CNY! The clearest sign of it to me is Jamie's development. From a helpless, skinny new born just 16 weeks ago, she's bloomed into a chatty, happy, responsive, chubby girl who's learning to turn and lift up her head! She can also show excitement when she see a toy she likes (like things which make noise and with flashing lights). I also brought her to the pool this week just to touch the water and see her reaction. Some pictures:

Jamie staring at her mobile:Lifting her head so I can take her pic today:

Not liking the cold water at the pool:

And just so this post is not so Jamie-heavy, here's a pic of her siblings and cousins taken on the last day of 2008:
Chelsea is settling in well to P2 - I can sense the increased workload already (and it's onlyweek 2). Ryan is doing well in K2 - I don't think he gets that he'll be P1 next year! But well, I guess I've still got 11.5 more months to do it!