Saturday, March 19, 2011

Long Bar

Paul's wife, A, and Morgan have gone back to Thailand to settle some domestic issues so after some sofa-shopping today, we headed over to Long Bar at Raffles Hotel to meet Paul for a fix.

The boys had Singapore Sling while I had my favourite...


We were probably the only Asians in the entire bar. Talk about minority group in our own country.

The culture here is, you stuff yourself with peanuts and wash down with booze... and then throw the peanut shells on the floor. Initially I was hesitant to dirty the floor, but Paul chided me and said "Go on! Because this' the only place in SG you wont get fined for littering!"

my organised mess.

If this image is blur, you are drunk!!!

Black halter blouse: from a shop in Chinatown
Black corporate shorts: Zara
Bag: Balenciaga Anthracite Part-time
Belt: Hermes epsom leather (this color is) Gold belt with gold buckle.
*** edit to add: The belt costs SGD$1050, correct at time of posting. But Gold is currently OOS as it was the last piece at time of purchase in both Liat Towers and Ngee Ann City. Left colors like Bleu Jean and black.

Hope you are having a great weekend, because we certainly are.
For a couple who's getting the keys to their new home in a week, we're super slack, because we havent even decided on a sofa set yet!
Either the head-rest is too short, making your neck strain just to sit the couch, or the shape/size is not right. ARGH.. Hubby says I'm too fussy.... but no choice lah, for the $$ you spend on purchases like this, better be fussy and satisfied instead of shoddy and regretful right?

Have a great one!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Steamboat dinner with my Family

Went for steamboat dinner tonight with my Aunt LY, Grandma, brother JJ and his gf Liping.... and of course, my boys.
It's a rooftop steamboat at AMK central. The spread is decent with my favourite shelled cockles and prawns.
Unlike most steamboats I've been to, due to its outdoor rooftop concept and a huge industrial fan, the venue is actually very airy and well-ventilated. We enjoyed ourselves eating and laughing and didn't sweat one bit!

Kai and his favourite person in the world

The contrast between young and old is compelling

The it couple

After dinner at the playground

I absolutely adore my family!
This weekend, we'll be busy sourcing/confirming our sofa, refrigerator, etc etc... and we have not one but TWO baby functions to attend - my niece's 1st birthday and Andy's distant nephew's full month shower.
It's gonna be a busy weekend.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Kai came home from school not feeling tired, so instead of napping, he asked me to take out his paint materials, and I obliged.

Our beloved Border collie is supervising his baby brother :D

Saturday, March 12, 2011

End of School term

It's the end of Term 1, and Kai's teachers gave me a compilation of the art & craft he did in class.

A surge of happiness overwhelmed me and I feel so proud of my boy for being all grown up.
It's been a whole term of him sitting through 4 hours of school without me around and he actually even enjoys school. It's not easy for a child less than 2 and thank goodness we don't have to deal with clingy issues and seperation anxiety.

Great job Kai!

Mischief-maker 1 with his trademark MM2.

Thank you, God, for bestowing on me a wonderful and doting husband, and for giving us a happy and beautiful child. We hope that Adam will grow up to be a beautiful person, both inside and out.

I ♥ my boys.

Friday, March 11, 2011


These days, Kai is often raising his hand (always his right hand, don't ask me why) in a threaten-to-beat action and saying "Beat" in Mandarin. My apologies but I am not in the mood to look for a translated Mandarin substitute for the word.

And everytime, I would ask him (in Mandarin) "Who beat Kaikai?"
Kai: Teacher. *short pause* Beat.
Me: Teacher beat Kaikai??
Kai: *usually smiles sheepishly or smacks me lightly, or both actions simultaneously*

Last night, he did it again. When asked, he said it was Teacher at first. When asked again, he said "Daddy" and he grinned. The Daddy in question was of course, just beside us so I turned and asked "Daddy did you beat Kaikai?" Andy gave me a blank stare trying not to laugh and Kai grinned sheepishly.

This action has been going on for quite a few days now, so I asked one of the teachers at his playschool this morning. The teacher explained to me that every teacher adores Kaikai because he is lively and happy in class. After I got home, his teacher-in-charge called me and explained to me rather anxiously that the school has a no-hitting policy and nobody has ever smacked him before and that she has to clarify with me.

Ok, to make things a little clearer - in our family (including my in-laws), we do not practice corporal punishment. We do not even have a cane in the house and we have never laid hands on Kai. So if he was really smacked by anyone at all in school, I would at the very least like to know the situation preceeding the beating and be given an explanation.
I won't do drastic measures like sue or write to the press of course and his teacher really needn't be so anxious because I know how difficult it is to look after pre-schoolers and I won't complain to MOE and cause her to lose her job or anything. But surely I had the right to be informed?
But seems that my son is not beaten afterall.

What's up with the words & actions?

Life as a SAHM: Insight

If you think the job of a SAHM equals that of a Tai-tai, then I urge you to think again.
Envious of being a SAHM? Here's an insight of one:

- Not having to wake up to alarms anymore? Think again.
My new alarm is none other than my son. He wakes up earlier than all of us, so no matter what time I sleep the night before (I'm not working now right? I can go out for late night movies or supper with Hubby right?? Right.) I still have to wake up at 7am to prepare Kai's milk, and pack his school bag (if it's not done the night before due to waiting for towel or uniform to dry)
When everything's rushedly done, I send him to school so that he is in time for breakfast.

- I am mostly in glasses and T-shirts/shorts now, because what's the point of dressing up when there is nobody at home to appreciate it except my MIL and dog. So out goes well-groomed and well-heeled working-class adult. This is where Frumpy Housewife comes in.

- The obvious: Doing the roles of a mother, a wife, a cook, a maid, a teacher, a nurse... ALL without being paid and efforts not recognised by society. A Mom is not a job just because she doesnt draw a salary??? On top of that, no leave, no MC, no medical benefits, no bonuses. But Moms still do it. Round of applause please.

- It gets lonely. Why? If you are under the impression that SAHMs do nothing but hang out with other SAHMs and form a Tai-tai clan, it's a myth. Because when I drop my son off at school and fetch him back, the other carers I see are not fellow Tai-tais, but really maids and Grandmothers! Maids form their own cliques. Grandmothers cannot be bothered. The SAHM is the odd one out.

Sure, when Kai is at school I get some down time doing things I want like reading newspapers in peace, sipping hot Milo/coffee.
But other times I'm mostly busy with Kai, especially when he's at home and not napping, I need to keep him adequately stimulated most of the time - read him a book, do flash cards with him, play with him. Even when he is playing on his own, he often looks up to me to make sure I'm seeing his progress (at whatever he's doing : riding his vehicle, doodling etc) Therefore I NEED to be within his sight.
And this, can get really tiring because don't forget I get to bed late the nights before and it takes alot of energy just to get through a seemingly simple task of keeping a toddler occupied.

Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful that I am lucky enough to get the freedom to choose - whether to work or stay at home has entirely been my idea. My family is very supportive of whatever decision I make. And I do enjoy my time with my toddler because I'm well aware that one fine day, my baby is going to leave me for real school, go to the army, go to work, and I will miss him being a baby.
However, being a SAHM is nothing to be envious about, because many SAHMs are dying to get back into society. It's totally cliche I know, but the grass is greener on the other side eh.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Afternoon snacks & sample menu for Toddler

I have been asked by my sec-school cum Mommy friend about my sample menus for Kai so I thought maybe I can do a post on afternoon snacks for kids.

Today's menu is:
- Boiled organic apples with almonds
- Korean strawberries

The apples have been sliced and boiled with skin intact. Nothing perculiar, except that I wanted the almond-flavoured apple juice. Otherwise, just freshly diced apples will do just as well.
Normally when parents hear the word "SNACK", biscuits and chips come to mind. I usually serve fruits or cheese/yogurt as snacks. I do not give my child sweets/tidbits, though the occasional break in rule is inevitable, because I do not see the nutritional value and need of tidbits.

My MIL has been "well-trained" by yours truly. She now knows how to look for the right labels when she goes grocery-shopping.

For me, I'm "lazy". I try to prepare one-dish meals as much as possible so it's easier to feed a young child, plus it's packed with all the nutrients and goodies.

My sample menus:
- Organic oats with finely chopped fruits and cheese chunks.
Be sure to buy block cheese instead of cheese slices because the slices are what's leftover from the crafted blocks and further processed, therefore cheese slices will be higher in salt content than say, the same Cheddar cheese in block.
Cheese is good for calcium and a milk substitute especially for toddlers who've moved on to try more solids and drinking lesser milk.

- Wholemeal / Multi-grain / Rye bread with butter and organic jam
I try to buy bread fresh from the baker whenever possible, because those from the baker's are much lower in preservatives than the same type of bread off-the-shelf from supermarts.
Do note that freshly baked bread will have shorter shelf-life than brands like Gardenia or Sunshine, but they are also available in half-loaves. Price is slightly more expensive.

- Soft rice or porridge with greens/yellow underground veg and a fish/ meat/ tofu.
I use Organic brown rice grains and I am careful not to overwash the rice, just lightly rinse with water is enough to preserve as much nutrients as possible.
When the rice or porridge is cooked and ready to serve, I sprinkle a pinch of blended Ikan Billis powder.
** Ikan Billis is high in calcium and iron.
I buy one packet from the Chinese grocer's, soak in water to remove as much brine as possible (used to preserve the ikan billis). After that, I roast them lightly over a dry frying pan to remove moisture so they become crisp.
When they are crisp, I blend in a handheld blender. This may be a tedious process but one batch can last you a long long time if you keep in air-tight containers.

These are the sample menus I shared with my friend and she was very thankful and inspired by the convenience of one-dish meals.
They are also easier to feed because children have shorter attention spans and cannot sit through a long & complicated meal.
Of course, I cannot cover every food item available in such a short post, but in general, I follow the Food Pyramid as my guide, and Everything in moderation.

Finally, I'm only sharing my experience as a mother and as an ex-nurse. The onus is still on the parents to find out what suits their child because different people have different taste buds, even our little ones! What works for my child may not work for yours, vice versa.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

(more) Splashing good times

A great way to wind up our week - spending a lazy Sunday noon lazing around in the waddling pool with my Baby while Daddy went to sweat it out at the tennis court with Paul.
The weather was terrific - cloudy and not insanely hot. I just lay submerged in the shallow waters enjoying a quick tan while Kai played with his Mickey beach ball.

My life is on slow-motion now, and I'm lovin' every bit of it!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kai goes to Uni

My mom-in-law has taken the day off today and left me alone "on the job" to take care of Kai.
I had to pay my school fees and the only next best person I can trust, Aunt LY, has agreed to go with us to uni and take care of Kai while I ran my errand.

Aunt LY and Kai at the school koi pond where she taught Kai about fishes, water, and plants.

I am eternally indebted to my Aunt LY for her selfless help, I am forever grateful.
She is truly godsend.

For a toddler who isn't even 2 yet, Kai can speak alot. In fact, he started articulating since he was around 12 months old, in simple double-syllables then.
Now, he can form simple sentences to articulate his intentions, like "Kai Kai 走走 (going out), Bye bye"; and he can converse bilingually eg "开, open"; "机机, Airplane" ; "ant, 蚂蚁" etc

I started him on board books and fabric books since he was a baby, talking to him, reading to him, and everything we see, use flash cards to match objects for him, like these below:

Now that he is attending half-day school, learning becomes a two-way process and is further enhanced.
In my opinion, there is no point packing your kids off to the most expensive or top-notch schools and let them come home to a helper or someone who isn't going to reinforce their learning at home.
I didn't have a child to let some stranger bring him up.

I am a very hands-on parent and I believe in doing as much as I can, myself.
And that's not because I'm a SAHM now, I did all those when I was still working Full-time and studying Part-time!! So working Moms should not be disheartened - nothing is impossible!
Learning is about the planned and unplanned. Even when we go for walks in the park with our dog, or to the supermart to grab groceries, chances for learning is aplenty.
Even when Kai is playing in the bath, I use a toy pail to teach him what is full/empty, what is clean/dirty, dry/wet.

I am very fortunate to have able help from my MIL and Aunt LY, so that I don't have to worry about the chores and it also frees up quality time for me to engage Kai in meaningful activities.

Teaching is not just about the classroom. In fact, learning starts from home.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Drove home with an(other) orange box today

"Good things come in small packages, and they don't always have to be pink" - Veron

I went back to the ward today to settle the nitty gritty of my resignation, ie. Hand over staff pass, locker key etc.

After which, I received a timely SMS from Hermès saying they have some new arrivals of Twillys so I hopped over to NAC to get a piece for my new bag.

I was attended by a nice SA who helped to tie it on for me.

I love orange boxes :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I am officially unemployed: my story as a Nurse.

As of today, I am officially a stay-home Mommy (SHM).
I tendered my resignation with immediate effect. For those of you who are familiar with Nursing in Singapore, you'll know that most nurses are bonded with a hospital who sponsors the nurse's studies, right down to course fees, allowances, salary etc.
In return, the sponsored student upon graduation has to be bonded with that respective hospital for 3 years.
In the event that the nurse decides to terminate her employment before her bond period is up, he/she is liable to pay the remaining of the bond monies (depending on different hospital policy whether in full or pro-rated).

For my case, I still have 5.5 months of bond to fulfill but because I decided to terminate my employment prematurely, and with immediate effect, I need to pay a total of SGD$10,000 + compensation of 1 month's salary.
A whooping $10k+!!!! Which could well go into the renovation of our new pad, or buy me a Birkin bag.

But to me, money is not important. Family is. My son is.
It is necessary to put food on the table and pay the bills, but other than that, to me, money is not important.
If I have to spend $10k in exchange for my freedom to be with my son & family, so be it.
If I have to buy one bag less, so be it.
I am lucky I have the support of my family, an understanding husband, and supportive in-laws as well. I never thought my in-laws would be supportive of my decision (esp my father-in-law, who's always deadpan serious, but he was supportive and did not object to my having to pay so much $$).

So yeap!! The freedom is liberating! It feels terrific not having to wake up to alarms, and not having to work shifts.
The patients' families demand more attention than the patients.
You get interrupted at work ALL the time - to talk to the social worker, to answer the phone calls, or the doctor needs something, this patient needs to go to the toilet, etc etc etc!
EVERYTHING and EVERYONE is upon the nurse if something goes wrong.
If the dietetics send the wrong food, it is the nurse's problem to rectify it.
If the housekeeping doesn't make up the bed fast enough, the nurse has to do it.
If the blood specimen is not despatched on time, it is our fault again.

Nurses work long hours and we work 3 shifts.
I work 6 days a week in my hospital, including weekends and public holidays - That means I get only ONE day off. I dont get off work on time, and my job is stressful like hell.
Weekends are for play and rest, no??
And shiftwork screws up your body clock.
Even when you knock off and get back home, your mind is not in peace in case you missed out anything at work because God forbid.

I'm sick of sacrificing my weekends and precious time with my family just to watch over demented people and be berated by their families and a [insert profanities] supervisor.
I feel horrid that my son has to miss his school excursions while his friends get to go with their parents, all because Mommy is working on a weekend!

So there, Goodbye R**** !!!!!!! You will not be missed!
It's been an extremely trying 2.5 years with ups and downs in this job.
I need to close this chapter in my life in order for more doors to open as well as to give myself time to reflect on my future direction.
It's high time for me to embark on a new journey in life - a journey which is led by my heart.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hong Kong Feb 2011: my Birthday weekend

Hubby went to see us off at the airport.

Hello Hong Kong!

in the hotel room....

At their local markets. My Dad & I love their beef tripe noodles so much we ate it everyday.

The first night at Women's Street

Met up with my relatives for yum cha and dim sum at their cha chan tengs in the noons

and some home-cooked goodness at the comfort of their home

We feel so at home! The weather was freezing outside and it's great to hide in the cozy indoors.

Like what you see in the typical HK movies, their homes are all tiny flats with the CCTVs and mailboxes at the lobby.

my cheeky bubs.

Chanced upon this MUFC restaurant bar & merchandise store.
My mum bought MUFC merchandise for a happy Kai.

the entire street behind our hotel were rows and rows of petshops selling cute puppies and kitties. I brought Kai there everyday. Those were the only times he was free to run around and be happy.

Poor kid was strapped into his stroller most of the time, which was fine when he was a younger little bundle, but not anymore it seems.
Now, he's all for running and exploring. Our future trips need to be more carefully planned, with kid-friendly activities.

Wokie dokies! That's about all from our HK trip.

I had a blast on my Birthday celebrations this year, I truly did.
I'm counting my lucky stars for being blessed with wonderful people in my life, whom I'll never trade for the world.
Thanks all once again for making everything special for me.

With a busy but very happy February behind me, I am now going to concentrate fully on Kai's 2nd birthday preparations. Stay tuned for more! :)