0

Yosemite August 2013

Last year August we made a trip to Yosemite with some other Singaporean families. It was a really fun trip as the children enjoyed each other’s company. And it too a good break for me as RE basically sticked herself to the rest of the kids and I “didn’t have to do much”. It was summer time when we went there, although there isn’t any waterfall and the creeks were dried out, it was still scenic nonetheless. The drive up to Yosemite was about 4 hours and speaking of which; a 4 hours drive is nothing compared to our drive up to L.A which was about 7 hours. (we will be doing another super long –  16 hours road trip in a couple  of months!)

Here are some pictures:

Since there were 4 families, we booked a cozy lodge and this is how it looked like.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

and after exploring our awesome abode, we drove out to the legendary yosemite national park.

Image

Wonders of mother earth.

Image

Image

This one is fearless. It is soooo near us!

Image

Ee fann is going to “dislike” this picture. (He has since lost ALOT of weight) awww… my ZE looked so little then.

Image

We packed a couple of picnic baskets and here is ZE, clearly enjoying her tomato.

Image

Image

If you had tried putting more than 5 children together to attempt a group picture, you will also agree that is is mission impossible.

Image

Image

Image

Image

spot the animal!

Image

My happy RE. and yeap, definitely “daddy’s sweetheart”.

Image

We actually made a mental note to revisit Yosemite in winter for the wintry scene but alas we didn’t. We made other plans instead. It’s almost Spring now, maybe it’s still a good idea to revisit?

0

Updates!

Hi there! Im back and recharged.

For the last 2 few months I took up online courses, one after another. I even did 2 classes concurrently and in the end it backfired. I over committed and got burned out. It took me a long while to get myself back on track again. I didn’t like how I have been ending my nights, feeling really sluggish. Yikes! So I did some exercises at home and felt much better. I have lots to update. Are you ready?

Okay, so I’ve learnt to do ONE thing at a time.

Will take about halloween here in the U.S.

Over here, they are BIG on halloween. Everywhere is beautifully decorated. I mean everywhere. Shopping malls, houses, basically every turn and every corner are highly decorated. It’s an awesome sight. Back at home, we didn’t do very much for our place except for some simple pumpkin decorations.

On the day of halloween, all the children living in our community are out and about, decked in their costumes going door to door for trick or treating. Rou Ern couldn’t wait for the magic hour (starts here at 5pm) and who can blame her? It’s the only day she gets to collect all her sweets and eat them. So before we left the house, we left a basket full of sugar treats for the other children for trick or treating. Zi Ern didn’t know what to expect and so she follows wherever Rou Ern goes and after some time, she gets it and helps herself to the buffet of treats each time she hears Rou ern calling out “trick or treat!” It’s really fun to just chaperone them around, watching in amusement.

My neighbour's deco

My neighbour’s deco

RE helping herself to the treats! Happy time!

RE helping herself to the treats! Happy time!

She took ALOT of sweets for her little sister too.

She took ALOT of sweets for her little sister too.

Checking out the weird looking pumpkin.

Checking out the weird looking pumpkin.

is that a dog? or a sheep?

is that a dog? or a sheep?

my little mermaid

my little mermaid

"What? a skeleton?! Who cares!"

“What? a skeleton?! Who cares!”

IMG_1251

Let's go! To the next coutyard!

Let’s go! To the next coutyard!

The following pictures were taken at another halloween event.

IMG_1113

Our family

Our family

IMG_1117

Rou Ern

Rou Ern

pony rides!

pony rides!

Sweets, sweets, more sweets and pony rides. Childhood should be like this shouldn’t it? Ha!

Okay! That’s it for now. Hope your halloween was just as splendid!

0

Zi Ern at 15 months

Zi Ern is now 15 months, very cheeky now and getting more and more assertive. She is known to the people who got to know or acquainted with her as “a very happy baby” mostly because she is so smiley and she laughs at her own silliness too; which tickles me all the time. She is also surprisingly okay with most people that carries her. She doesn’t fuss much unless she is sleepy or hungry.

image (2)

She is talking so much. Mostly baby talk but she surely understands more than I think she does! I think being a second time mum, I would like to think that I am more “experienced” and I do make an effort to speak to her more. She understands simple requests like “please drink some water.” (she will then reach for her water bottle that’s on the table) “We are going now, go get your shoes.” (and she will walk to the shoe rack and fiddle with the shoes) “mummy is going to change your diaper now.” (and she ignores and walks away.HA!) Her favourite activities when we are out are looking for aeroplanes when she hears them and she points and goes “ba ba!”, birds “beh!”, dogs “ba!” and cats “ka!”

image (1)

As for her appetite… despite her cute chubby self, she does not eat much. She is still pretty much on breast milk more than solids. She skips breakfast and eats very little for lunch and takes her dinner and I’m okay with that. Despite her not eating much I still enjoy taking her out for meals with me as she is quite well behaved. Except for the times she starts throwing food on the floor, testing the law of gravity, and banging her utensils on the table. Otherwise she sits with us, play with the crayons provided by the restaurants (most of the restaurants here have these crayon supplies to keep the little ones occupied.) The only thing about taking her out is timing. I do avoid taking her out when it’s nearing her nap time as all mothers would know, it’s best to be avoided.

image (3)

When she is at home with me, we read books together. She favors books that has animal pictures. This one is also going to be an animal lover. Maybe curiosity got the better of her; she has no fear with animals much bigger than her like cows, goats, sheep. She tried to touch them at the zoo or at the farm when we visit. She chases after the geese with her cute charlie Chaplin walking style which is ultra cute but I got to hold her tight as she is going to charge right into the water together with the geese!

image

The picture above shows her putting the handkerchief in her mouth and thereafter chuckling to herself. I find it so funny that I laugh along with her. She is at the stage where she loves to imitate what we do (No, i do not put handkerchief in my mouth!) for instance, she uses the kitchen towel to wipe the table and floor, pretends to read a book (babbling to herself while leafing through the pages), she too, insist on having a spoon or a fork during her meals. She will point at the utensils and ‘demand for it’ in her ultra cute baby talk till I pass it to her. She sings into the microphone and dance. Oh this girl LOVES to sing. She will sing together with me and she tries to follow my pitch. Its super adorable.

As for walking, she only really started walking recently! When she first started learning how to walk, with me holding both her hands up, she loves to walk on anything but proper paths. Like grass, sand, gravel road, water puddles, dried leaves – she loves stepping on them and hear them crackle. I let her and I take my time with her, reminding myself that THIS is life.

Till the next update!

0

Back to school

Just a quick update on Rou Ern.

She started her 2.5 hours thrice weekly mandarin enrichment class yesterday and it seems to me that she is loving it. When I picked her up, she looked so happy and told me “mummy I had a great day today.” Teachers said she did fantastic in school, ate her snack and did everything by herself. When we reached home she proudly showed this to me:

happy cookie

happy cookie

A week prior to school term we attended an ice cream social organized by the school. It was to familiarize and get us acquainted with the respective teachers. Rou Ern didn’t care much about the school and the teachers as her main objective that day was to get her ice cream. Somehow it became “popsicle social” instead because of allergy issues but she Rou Ern wasn’t bothered. Something sweet and cold in the hot summer sounds like a plan to her.

popsicle time!

popsicle time!

Rou Ern will be attending another school come September! That will be really exciting. It’s an outdoor school which is every Tuesday and Thursday for 3 hours. Basically just drop her off at her “school” and they will take the school van and go for field trips! I must say we were really lucky to get a place for her as the communication via MANY emails started in April, with the waitlist and so on… finally we managed to get a space and it fits nicely into her school schedule. How lucky!

That’s it for now!

0

Announcement

We are really excited to finally announce that we have a new baby! I am really excited as this mean so much to me and even more so for Rou Ern. I have been telling her about it and she can’t wait for that day! … Which is tomorrow!

Leona came up with the idea of a joint effort with the three of us (leona, alicia and me) to set up a whole new blog to document what the kiddos have been up to. Brilliant!

The idea behind it is really to connect the kiddos since we are currently in California and Rou Ern misses her good old pals dearly. She made lots of new friends here and are on very good terms with them BUT she still will miss her friends back in Singapore every now and then. So… This is going to be really exciting for us.

If you would like to share our excitement or just to get some activity ideas, do check out happyplaywonder

Happy National Day and have a wonderful long weekend!

0

Make and take – Andy Warhol inspired art piece

A month has passed since the day I volunteered to lead the play dates group. I have been itching to do something and decided to gather all those who are keen to a “make and take” arts session!

Preparation work is tedious but no less fun! I lost sleep many nights thinking about it mainly because I cant decide on an appropriate theme for all the various age groups and was googling for more ideas. Lots of thought process went into organizing it from deciding on the actual activity, getting all the necessary items, preparing all the materials (lots of paper trimming), really thinking through the execution process, getting more materials, (at the very last minute) and contingency planning.

The fun began with playing some games with their hands, admiring them, investigating some uses with their hands, celebrating their useful hands with a handprint, talked about colours, giving a demonstration of high contrast versus low contrast etc.. There were a lot of participation from the children especially ern who was so eager to answer all my questions! It was really very encouraging witnessing the enthusiasm and focus of the children. The whole activity took about 2.5 hours and when we were done, the results were nothing short of awesome! The process and experience for me and the children were even more amazing. Each time after leaving the children with a simple set of instructions, I went around savoring every moment by taking pictures.

Along the way I met an 8 years old girl who were a little upset that she had “accidentally” used both her right a d left hand for the print. (All the rest used the same hand for the print) in fact, she was so upset that she didn’t want to carry on with it. I was glad I had the chance to assure her that art has no rules and in fact her “mistake” had turned her art piece unique like no one else’s and that in itself is art. She smiled, nodded her head and continued with it. It’s interesting how as a child grows older, they tend to seek perfection , the desire to produce what they had conceptualized and accept nothing else and that’s when they get frustrated and want to give up. It happens to adults all the time too right? But today, I saw the younger children, even though they knew they made a “mistake” they couldn’t care less! I could see it in their eyes that they loved that mistake. Maybe we can take a leaf from them.

This is where my inspiration came from:http://artolazzi.blogspot.com/2011/04/handy-andy.html

My initial plan was for the children to use paint for the different layers. I even ordered luminous acrylic and luminous tempera paint for special effect. After much deliberation I decided to scrap the idea as we needed it to be dry and complete the project in one sitting. So, here’s our version:

getting ready

getting ready

IMG_9083IMG_9085IMG_9086IMG_9090IMG_9093 IMG_9094 IMG_9097 IMG_9099 IMG_9102 IMG_9104 IMG_9109 IMG_9110 IMG_9112 IMG_9114 IMG_9118 IMG_9120 IMG_9124 IMG_9125 IMG_9126 IMG_9131 IMG_9137

Look amazing doesn’t it? : )

0

Joanie’s Cafe

YELP.

I depend on yelp when it comes to stepping out of the house. (where to go)

This time it’s for breakfast. 7 minutes drive; we reached the cafe at 9am sharp and it was crowded! (like why?) So the first thought was the food MUST BE GOOD! And indeed it didnt disappoint us. We ordered egg benedict (for myself) and some parisian french toast (rou ern) and it was soooo good… am still thinking about it. But the portion is too much (as usual) and I keep forgetting that its American portion here. So we had to doggy bag the rest – which is a very common practice here.

There was an evening when we were out eating in a restaurant, the food was oh so good but we were sure that we had enough to call it a day. There were leftovers and the server suggested for us to take away the rest which we declined and she went “Oh why? was the food not to your liking?” “Oh you can microwave it the next day.” (we dont have a microwave….) “Oh the next time when you come again you may request for a half portion…”

As I have observed, Americans usually take their time with the food, wine and usually finish their food. They take it slow and easy. I want to… but not easy with kiddos around. These days Zi Ern can be really cheeky. Even when she is strapped onto her high chair, the next moment you will see her standing on it with a big grin on her face that says “I did it AGAIN!” So sometimes taking the girls out on my own is like having my very own acrobat show, with one hand feeding myself, another hand feeding zi ern and another hand (??) holding her when she stands up. With my mouth chomping on the food and “another mouth” reminding ern not to play with her food… ok it’s not the most glamorous scene here. Relax, take it easy with the food and chill? Ha! But it STILL IS enjoyable nonetheless, in a more exciting kinda way.

Some pictures taken this morning:

Joanie’s Cafe

405 California Ave, Palo ALto, CA 94306

20130801-231627.jpg

20130801-231657.jpg

20130801-231712.jpg

20130801-231742.jpg

20130801-231755.jpg