Saturday, October 31, 2009 ;
I check on our reno about 3x a week..
Wed and Fri cos the kids have swimming nearby, and Sunday cos we go to church in the vicinity too.
This past week's update would be that the tiling works have commenced in the kitchen and 2 bathrooms.
I have pictures and paintings and an assortment of furniture (from in laws' place, mom's and from Utah/ Tianjin), so I decided to keep floor/ wall colour neutral. No false ceilings or wall features that are bold or too funky, cos then it'd be tough to match our different stuff with the background colour.
This is the master bedroom bathroom wall tiling (work in progress). But the common bathroom is similar and the kitchen wall is also off-white. We chose larger and longer tiles though, because our apartment is small, and larger longer tiles would make the rooms look more spacious.
The kids liked walking in and out the hacked out part between the study room and living room. I think it's refreshing for them to see such a large hole in the wall. :-) The workers had to remove our window grill to carry out some works. So that's one of the window grills you see.
Huge piles of sand to mix the cement. I caught ds1 in time just before he started using that broom to sweep and mix both piles together!
This is totally unrelated, but I only have this photo to show for the visit I made to my friend who had triplets.
Mary and I went to visit her cos she's due back to teach on Friday (so we had our gathering on Thursday!). She'd taken most of the year off.
She's hired 2 full-time helpers. One to cook and clean the big house, and the other to solely take care of her 5 kids. But even so, she says it is too much work, and she might have to hire yet another helper. Her mom comes once a week, and is unable to help any more than that because her mom helps take care of her sister's kids.
I watched as the helper fed one baby porridge, then the other, and then the third. By then, the 1st one needed some attention so he could fall asleep, then not all would sleep at the same time, and so she was busy all the time. Then one would need a diaper change, and so on and so forth. Really, it is triple the work and more!
Cos they can't sleep together, they would tend to knock each other's heads as they roll about, and they don't wake or sleep or eat at the same time. So it's really tough to get even a minute's rest. Then the helper still has to do the kids' laundry, etc. And the older kids were asking her to get Playdoh and other toys out.
Fortunately, they don't seem to fuss or cry a lot. If they were like my niece or my boys, then that'd be triple the noise as well. They seem to be happy, contented and smily babies. Here are 2 of them. The 3rd one was having his porridge at that time.
They don't look too alike because they're fraternal triplets, not identical. But of course they share similar features just like siblings do.
My friend looks like she has adjusted to a suddenly bigger household pretty well! I take my hat off to her! She's all set to return to work now.
It was such a good chat and great to catch up with each other. Her other helper cooks very well too, so we enjoyed some goodies she whipped up and a slice of the apple strudel that I brought.
We were joking that the next time we meet up, we could do so with all the rest of our families (I only brought ds2 that day and Mary went alone). We won't be able to dine in a normal restaurant for sure! For our 3 families alone, there'd be 6 adults and 10 kids.
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
Thursday, October 29, 2009 ;
Dh had a lot of wood and supplies to bring in to work that day. Since we don't intend to get a car now that we will live right beside a huge and fully air-conditioned bus interchange, and MRT station, Dh has been taking the fast trains to work.
In fact, he has tried driving to work using his mom's car before and incurred ERP charges, parking charges totalling more than S$30 in a day. He was horrified. This is not inclusive of the fuel costs and his time spent in the traffic jams along the way. It takes less time if he goes by train since it is just one train journey right to his office in town, without need to switch to buses or other modes of transport.
Car-driving in Singapore definitely is only about convenience, like if you don't like to walk, or have lots of things to carry around, or if you have babies and many kids to lug around.
So anyway, that day he had stuff to bring in, yet he was reluctant to pay the costly parking fees in town, so he got me to drive him there. Since it was a Saturday, I brought the kids along.
When he got to the office, the kids went in to take a look since they've not been to his Sg workplace yet.
There're many sharp or dangerous tools, so I told them to just look, and not touch anything. They were very curious about everything, but I was unable to identify most of the tools! Dh was busy at that time. Too bad.
Then we drove off to nearby Plaza Singapura. It was very early, around 9+am but there were so many shoppers there already! I found out why very soon.
Spotlight was having a grand opening sale. There were long queues for the free sculptured balloons, hand and face painting for kids, and long queues for the curtains and other craft material that Spotlight has big discounts on.
The kids initially wanted the fancy balloons, and this artist can indeed make very elaborate stuff. Unfortunately, because each creation was so elaborate, the queue was hardly moving, and we waited for about 30min with no sign of progress. I asked them if we wanted to go explore other things instead and they were ok with that. So we left the queue, and then I met an old friend!
He was our junior in NIE, and now I bumped into him with his 2 kids, a boy and a girl! Wow, it's funny how you realise a lot of time has flown by only when you meet old friends. I still remember the times when we all went hiking in Pulau Ubin during our college days, and we even stayed in this dilapidated dormitory resort there.
And then the days we spent in the Biology Labs, doing all kinds of weird things. He was a Bio and PE student. So now he is teaching PE instead. (We can be posted out to schools to teach either or both of our trained subjects). Teaching PE must have done him a lot of good cos he still looks fit and young as ever.
We just chatted for a while and exchanged contacts. His wife was shopping somewhere around Plaza Sing so I didn't get to meet her. He was taking care of both kids and had just gotten the balloons for them.
I brought the kids to Carrefour next and we just browsed everywhere aisle for fun. After that, we had lunch at Manhattan Fish Market and Dh joined us later. Dh enjoyed his flaming prawns, while the boys enjoyed mainly the flaming. Ds1 even asked the waitress if he could do the flaming himself.
After lunch, Dh headed back to work and kids and I walked through the entire Spotlight store. It's really fun to examine all the various tablecloths, or party supplies and exclaim how pretty each and every scrapbooking material is. The boys gamely browsed with me because there were enough items to keep their imagination running wild. There were many Halloween dress-up ideas too.
It was 2pm, we still had time to kill. Dh wanted to knock off only at 5pm. So I drove over to the nearest museum, The Singapore Philatelic Museum. It was so empty. The few other people were all tourists. The boys were the only kids, and we're probably the only crazy locals to spend money exploring this museum.
But surprisingly, we had a lot of fun! And we all learnt a lot. The curator or I/C was a very kind lady who saw how appreciative we were that she waived ds2's ticket fees. That saved me S$4.
The kids collected stamps into their notebooks, did wood block shadings, took silly pictures, and tried out every interactive exhibit.
That's the old mail carrier scooter. Nostalgic indeed.
They also learnt how stamps can be collected as a hobby, how educational stamps can be, and how mail is delivered - the entire process. Here they are, putting in mail, seeing how it is air couriered now, to reach the destination. There was also an exhibit to show the kids how mail was delivered by foot, bicycle, then horse, then ship/ train/ truck and then air. They were shown how much faster each mode could be.
Some silly pics...
Then there were cultural exhibits too. This was old Singapore, the historical past, I think. There were drums to play and clogs to wear. You can put on the lion's head and do lion dances.
Post office in Chinatown in the past?
Stereoscopes to view rare and old stamps in more detail.
A room dedicated to F1 Grand Prix races. The history, all the stamps involved and all the little die-cast model cars. ds2 was taking notes in his spiral bound notebook. He mostly drew his notes in, although he will sometimes copy what he sees on the board or exhibits. I gave them free reign, and did not dictate what they should write, draw or take down.
Hence their notes don't look very impressive, but they have a great sense of ownership in their learning and maybe it is a good start to a healthy note-taking habit?
I liked this exhibit cos it showed all the different postboxes countries around the world use. The actual replicas of the mailboxes are mounted onto the respective country on a big colourful map of the world.
They have many of the mailboxes for sale too, and I bought a modern Sg one and the old orange Sg one. We already have the USPS one that we bought as a toy and souvenir in USA, so now they can play air mail from Sg to USA at home, haha. We have the USPS mail truck toy also, and we have JAL and SIA airplanes, so somehow, they can string all these together.
I learn a lot more about how stamps are printed and made, things I never knew before. It was 4.30pm when we were done, just nice.
All in all, a great day spent downtown... :-)
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
Monday, October 26, 2009 ;
We've moved out of our apartment to my in laws' place. My parents have moved to their new rental flat as well. The renovation work on our apartment thus started.
It was such a hectic past week. We were moving and packing with my parents from Mon-Thurs. Thurs was the start of the hacking for our apartment. So it was very rushed for us indeed. My dad had way too much stuff. That happens when you are a teacher, I think.
He has so many books we had not enough boxes to contain all of them. We dumped so many into the bomb shelter, it is full to the brim such that if you open the door, you can only see a mountain and you cannot reach any thing at the back.
On Friday (2nd day of hacking), I brought the boys swimming, then we took a bus to Jurong Point and had lunch at Burger King (of course, the crown in the photo would have told you that). I was really curious as to the progress of the flat reno, so I dragged both boys over to have a look. Initially they were lazy and reluctant to leave Jurong Point (air con comfort and all) to walk to the apt.
But once we reached, and they saw all the debris, and the war zone the flat looked like, they were so excited, they wanted to try everything.
They loved the wheel barrow so much, I had to keep reminding them not to topple all the cement and tiles onto the ground and waste the workers' efforts.
For me, it was weird to see the kitchen so bare and so lifeless. The kids were thrilled though. Kept asking to step around, but it was so dusty. Then they wanted to help the workers to sweep and clear stuff. I had to stop them cos they were creating a cloud of dust. The kids were angry that I didn't let them see the actual "explosion". They thought there were blasts to cause all the tiles to fall dramatically to the ground.
What was the previous common bathroom/ toilet: so funny to have such a large doorway after the entire door was removed as well. The kids laughed at the uprooted WC/ toilet bowl.
The kids wanted to play with the drill, with all the tools... That's the master bedroom bathroom.
This is the only room that minor works would be done only, so we were told to place all our furniture and stuff into this room. I just opened the door to double check that everything was fine.
At the void deck of that block, I realised that all these junk was from my unit!!! It is so shocking to see our unwanted shelving, cabinetry and built-in wardrobe in pieces and heaped together. I felt a bit nostalgic for my parents. Some of these bookcases were with my dad for years and years but he has decided he didn't want them anymore, and neither did we. So... with each move, you always have to discard lots of things... Somehow, the kids enjoyed surveying the pile, so we stood there for a long time.
ds2 even loudly pointed out every single item, sometimes to my embarrassment because there are other people walking around the void deck, going to the lifts/ elevators and so on. He saw my dad's unwanted exercise equipment here, and the bathroom mat my mom used so my niece wouldn't slip on the wet floor... etc, and went "Grandpa's XXX!", "Waipo's YYY", "Why throw here??"
The workers kept going up and down to get more debris to fill up the dump truck carrier, and the kids discovered the fun of walking up and down the planks. Again, we had to linger for another 15min or so, just for them to pretend they were working very hard.
Now both boys will happily announce to anyone willing to hear, that they want to be construction workers in future. They want to specifically be those that demolish buildings and walls!
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
Sunday, October 25, 2009 ;
All through my childhood and then during my schooling years and beyond, MAF has always been memorable.
When we were young, we walked around with lanterns with our neighbours, or we visit the Chinese Garden with the splendid lights and many lanterns hanging everywhere.
After entering HC, MAF celebration was taken to yet another level with her large-scale over-the-top festivities. I enjoyed everything from the street market, mass singing, mass dancing, lanterns, mooncakes, and of course the giant light-up. That lasted many many years after I graduated because we always went back even when we were in Uni. It was one big reunion for all my classmates.
It was even sweeter when I went back to teach there. Now MAF would be celebrations with students, ex-students, colleagues, ex-classmates, family, kids and kids of friends'. Even as a teacher, I sang the songs heartily, danced for a couple of years until I was either pregnant or stuck with a baby... Fortunately some songs and dances never changed over the years. Even Dh, who was in HC 2 yrs before me, knew almost the same songs and dances, so it was great.
We hope our kids will have wonderful memories too.
Here's how we celebrated MAF this year:
Dinner with the Goh clan.
Watching the Singapore Chinese Orchestra perform at the Kranji Turf Club.
Then back to in laws' house to light up the lanterns. And no electricity-powered lanterns for my kids, I like them to use the traditional candle-lit ones.
Then ds1 wanted to go to spooky places with the lantern, so we kind of combined it with some Halloween spirit and went to the back of the hill (Bt Timah Hill, or part thereof), where there were absolutely no lights. And lotsa climbing in the midst of trees and bushes. And yup, lots of insects making weird noises.
They had a lot of fun.
We bought mooncakes from Goodwood Park Hotel, and tried the new soursop filling. Dh didn't like it, but I did. We also had the traditional oven-baked ones. And pomelo. And tea.
Then, my nephew Elias arrived on 10th of Oct. What an easy date to remember.
I visited him in hospital then at my sis' home too. This was taken at her place.
I have an idea of how the boys will take to their new sister. ds1 is more mature already, and he's very ready to welcome a baby into our family. He is very good with Eva, my niece, and he took to Elias at once. ds2 on the other hand, has a more hands-off approach. When asked to hug Elias, he would. But all other times, he was not interested in the baby. Look at him playing with the toys.
ds1 would cuddle, coo and be concerned about the baby. When asked to pose, he did this naturally.
When ds2 was asked to pose with baby, he was like, hmm, what is this sleepy red-faced creature?
And ds1 loves his cousin sister Eva to death. Till even she was not that keen to keep doing the huggy thing.. haha Look at her expression. She's like, "Not again??!?"
But then she did kiss him.... And ds1 was over the moon.
I think this 3rd baby will be easier to manage. or rather this 3rd pregnancy and experience. for me. Cos the 2 boys are older, can help out, and are more independent. And Dh can fully manage them on his own.
When ds1 was a toddler of 2yo, and ds2 was born, it was such a tough time for me. Thinking back, I really wonder how I survived that period of time, juggling work, home, living together with in laws, 2 young ones and a hubby who was constantly at work.
Life is much better now. Dh has spent enough time at home to know the boys well and is thus able to manage them. Being a SAHM means I can focus on just the home. Having a smaller apartment to ourselves means I have less housework and more leeway/ freedom in managing my tasks, disciplining the kids without grandparent influence.
We also have less stress when the kids cry, because in the past, whenever the baby or the toddler threw a tantrum, the grandparents would question us. They can't help it, we know, but it just stresses us to no end.
This was taken when we spent a leisurely afternoon at the Botanic Gardens, me, the kids, Dh and mil. We wanted to catch the New York Phil and SCO in concert there (open air concert that was free, and hey, Dh and I love the New York Phil), but we got the day wrong. I thought it was 6pm Sat, but it was 6pm Sun. And there I was, wondering why at 5.50pm, the orchestra was still not on the Symphony Stage tuning their instruments. haha. Big boo boo.
So we just walked around aimlessly, which was really good for the kids. They were thoroughly delighted, cos usually we adults tell them where they need to go, what they need to do. Now suddenly there was no goal or objective in sight. So they ran around reading the signs, telling us about the different trees...
Of course, I had to educate them on the native tree of Singapore, with such important cultural and historical value- the Tembusu. Look how old it is. How grand and beautiful.
The boys only saw the millions of ants crawling around the roots of the trees, despite me pointing out the beautiful roots and the lovely epiphytes (bird nest ferns and all) sitting on the tree. They only looked up long enough for me to take this pic.
Can't blame them I guess. I myself was an animal person right up till Uni days. We hated plants so much in JC cos the A level syllabus was so dry on everything botany-related... Plant physio, anat... Animal units were so much more interesting. And to kids, things that move are definitely more exciting than things that don't.
And my dear ex-colleague gave me 2 tix to the STOMP concert at Esplanade! We happen to love this sort of thing. And Dh seldom tolerates any music apart from classical, but he appreciates STOMP a lot cos of the recycled materials and how Dh firmly believes that music can be made out of anything, even trash.
And the tix were good ones. But since they only allowed kids above 6yo, we decided Dh and ds1 should go, while ds2 and I stayed outside the theatre. It was ok for me cos there are always free concerts outside. ds2 was a little upset initially and kept asking to follow them into the theatre, but I managed to distract him with the concerts that day, which happened to be celebrating Hari Raya Puasa, so there were a series of Malay dances, drumming, singing and so on.
It's easy to distract a 4-yr old. I just had to clap loudly, cheer and exclaim at everything on stage, that got him interested enough.
We should treasure all these outings more. Soon, our lives will be different... I wonder how much different...
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
Saturday, October 24, 2009 ;
After the Bintan trip, we had a lot of gatherings and meet-ups with old friends.
With D and her newborn ds2. With church friend LM at her new 5-storey mansion. With ex- and current HC teachers and their families at M's house. With Angeling and Mary and their kids, with me and my kids.
Climbing with Mx and Ml at a rope-only playground.
I treated Mx, Ml and Ch to a cake-decorating session each at Icing Room. I hadn't the chance to celebrate their bdays with them this year, and thought I should make up by having us all do something fun together. I myself loved the idea of playing with cakes, but doing it with my boys alone didn't seem worth it or that much fun (they do it very messily at home when I bake with them, so I kinda guess it would be more of a waste of money if I specially brought them to do this kind of thing).
So the 5 kids stood side by side and decorated their cakes together. So sweet.
Now, I've got several hilarious video clips of the boys having such a different approach to cake-decorating than girls. Really, their brains are so differently wired.
That's ds1 with his final product. His idea of beauty and high yummy-factor was to pile the choc fudge in a heap in the center to make a mud heap, then dump the sugar flowers on top of the "soil". The rest of the cream was squeezed on in a random manner. He did have a lot of fun.
ds2 also had lots of fun. His idea of a pretty cake was choc fudge dripping here, there and everywhere. He spun the cake stand wildly with one hand, and held the cream with the other hand and squirted cream and fudge anywhere he liked. Not just on the top of the cake or at the sides, but onto the cake stand as well.
Then, it would be a waste to leave any of the sugar stuff behind, so he proceeded to dump everything he was provided with right on top of the cake. Voila, done!
Now let's take a look at how the girls did theirs. And mind you, they are not older than my kids, they are the same age or younger. So it's really a difference in how they think.
Mx is doing lovely cream patterns joining her regularly spaced out sugar flowers on the side of her cake. She already had some border and words and patterns on the top of the cake.
Ch is dotting the top of the cake with pink cream. She also obviously has an idea of how cakes normally turn out in cake shop displays. She was very meticulous and detailed in her decorations.
Naturally, my boys were the first to finish, since their work didn't need that much skill. They happily got their cakes packed and boxed. At home that night, after dinner, they both ate up HALF of the whole cake for dessert and proclaimed their respective cakes the best they ever tasted.
The next morning, they promptly finished up the other half of their cakes. Thankfully for them, none of the rest of the family (grandparents and aunt included) wanted to snatch any portion from them. haha.
On Sunday, my first induction back to the Cradle Roll Sunday School class was a big surprise. The class size kind of tripled in the 3 yrs I was away. When it was ds1's time, it was just him, Mx and Clara. Later Celeste joined and it was just them for a long long time.
Now there is this huge group, plus my sis, Amy and Angelia's, all birthed in Oct itself. My, it is getting to be a really overcrowded class. I am slated to start teaching my first class there Nov 1st. I need some baby-class-management skills now... never handled so many babies at one go before...
Where else? Ikea is the only place that tolerates kids trying their every single fixture. My boys were never interested in the beds before. They usually go for the toys, the swings, ladders, wagons... Mx has introduced them to trying out the beds and acting more domestic. Angeling and I heard them pretending to be husband and wife lying in the same bed.
I was a little alarmed when I heard that, but as I stole a glance at Angeling, I noticed she didn't seem to mind, so I was a little more relaxed after that. If the girl's side didn't care, I guess I don't have to worry, haha.
Then, I suddenly was horrified at the thought that ds1 might act out whatever he sees real couples doing in bed (i.e. his parents), so I kept a very close watch on him after that, getting ready to stop him in his tracks should he try anything funny.
In the end, all they did was a lot of snoring and pretending to be asleep.
Then they included their younger siblings. But in typical older sibling fashion, they made Ml the MAID and ds2 the BABY. ds2 was forced to act as an irritating baby that kept crying in the middle of the night. And it was so funny to hear Mx say to ds1, "I'm very tired, it's your turn to carry the baby!".
Hmmm, I think they do observe us parents a lot!
At other times, I would bring the kids to the library near our house. We frequented the library a lot during the first weeks (like 3x per week), cos the kids had no toys, no books, nothing much to do. Now, as they start to find toys, get toys as gifts, and uncover their old books, as well as meet up with many more friends, we go less frequently.
We also unexpectedly got a treat from our American friend at Chilis. It used to be Spagheddies last time, before we left for Utah. Now it's Chilis. We took our friend there cos he loves eating Tex-Mex, but he ended up pulling the "go-to-restroom-and-settle-the-bill-first" stunt on us. It was such a delicious and fun meal, and we went for a night walk at the Botanic Gdns after that to get our stuffed stomachs to settle better.
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
Thursday, October 15, 2009 ;
Forgot some pics, because I used 2 different SD cards!
Kids wading and playing in the sea. Now I can watch from the beach, unlike in the past when I had to be with them, holding ds1's hand and kind of carrying ds2. It's so nice to have them growing up.
Trying to get the golf ball into the hole on the putting green. I'm not good at this.
Circus school for ds1: walking the tight rope. He wanted to try the flying trapeze too, but they said he was too young for that and he could try it a year later!
I think this was the 3rd day of Kids' club, and ds2 enjoyed his archery sessions a lot. He's always liked these sort of thing. I guess he imagines himself as one of those knights or something in the past.
Dh being silly at the top of the rock hill, so I quickly snapped a shot. The kids are climbing their own little rocks at the foot of the "hill".
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
We went for a short trip to Bintan after we arrived in Sg from Tianjin.
It was a long-awaited vacation because before that we were frantically packing up in Tianjin and had no time for the boys. We told them to wait patiently. So they had to occupy themselves throughout the time we were packing - about 3 weeks at least.
For me, it was a wonderful break... Because back in Sg, I had to unpack and had to set up home too.
We were back in Sg on the 2nd of Sept. We left for Bintan on the 9th. We stayed at the Club Med resort, mainly cos we wanted couple time. We needed some romance and some alone time, before the baby arrives next year to bring our family life to a whole new level of what "hectic" means. Knowing and being mentally prepared for what lies ahead, we wanted to enjoy time between just the 2 of us, and also as a family of 4, before it becomes 5. The boys will have significantly less attention from me too, once baby arrives.
You might think if we wanted couple time, we could've just left the kids with our parents for some babysitting since we're back in Sg. But the feeling is very different. With my parents or in laws, there'd be this nagging worry that they cannot cope with the energy and hyperactivity of my kids. Because we know they might be tired out, we become more rushed in planning our events in our day. We are also just a phone call away from the kids and our parents. Their calls to us can be very disruptive if we wanted a romantic mood. Thus, it often ends up with our date being not a very relaxed and ideal one.
At Club Med, the GOs (genteel organisers, in French, can't rem how to spell) in charge of the kids are well-trained and full of energy. They lead the kids in so many activities throughout the day. With them having so much fun, there is no worry or guilt left in us parents and we can have all the quiet, peace, fun and romance we want. How lovely. Best of all, it is free, or rather included in the package price if the kids are between 4 and 11 years old. And mine fall nicely in this range now (before this year, they were still too young to be independent and happy on their own). For kids below 4, they have infant care and a petit club, but you have to pay extra for that.
And it's just a short 45min ferry ride away:
A giant chess board.
Learning how to make ketupats with coconut leaves from the Indonesian staff there:
Pinata time. ds2 got an unproportionately large portion of the loot because he was lucky enough to hit it when it was already kind of weakened by the older kids. haha. He's seen in this pic on a GO's lap. He's like that, always liking to be cuddled by others, which is why he always gets the most hugs from others, even strangers.
At lunch time, we went to peek at them and see what they were eating. They were enjoying themselves so much with their friends and GOs.
In one day, they get 2 swim sessions. One in the mini pool beside the Kids Club, and one in the main pool within Club Med. This is the main pool and they were playing Marco Polo when we chanced upon them with our mocktails. Both ds love pool time, they were shrieking with laughter the whole time in the pool! This was in the afternoon.
This mini pool has some fun slides. This is in the morning. They also have scheduled beach time where they play games on the beach and build sandcastles. ds1 had archery lessons but ds2 was too young for that (6 yrs and above for archery). He had ball games instead.
I don't know how, but the GOs also packed in story time, art and craft and a quieter Movie time in the period right after lunch. The kids said they watched Ant Bully. Several times when I met them around the Village, I would ask if they wanted me to sign them out (parents can sign them in at 9am in the morning and sign them out anytime. Programmes are held from 9am to 9pm). They always said NO! Wow...
Then at night, after dinner, they were sooooo tired out, they just lay on the bed, sipped their mocktails and watched Cartoon Network. I'd be frantically washing their swim wear and using the hair dryer to dry those (and their hats, which they also soaked up, I wonder why!) so they can use those again for the next day's kids' club activities. Dh had the privilege of enjoying all the Ben 10 shows with them.
And this is the first time the kids had a room to themselves. Previously, they always shared the same room and we'd add a bed or have 2 double beds in one room cos they were younger, and ds2 was still nursing.
So this time, Dh and I had our own room! Such a comfortable and spacious arrangement. And the kids were surprisingly receptive to that, sleeping soundly throughout the night.
I watched Korean dramas on the Korean cable channel at night. :-)
Food was very very good at Club Med. The 3 main meals had all kinds of cuisine (international buffet) and in between, there was all-day snacking at various snack bars and drinks at even more bars/ huts throughout the resort. The kids love samosa, that was something new we found out.
Of course, they enjoyed trying to order different mocktails everyday for the 5 days. Sipping drinks from a tall glass with a piece of cut fruit just made them feel very grown-up, I guess. I always went for Coke with lemon, after trying a few mocktails. Ironically, I find the mocktails too sweet, when I know Coke has the same or more amount of sugar. Maybe I just like the fizz.
And oh man, it was so sinful for the kids. After every heavy main meal, they would choose to have ice cream for their dessert. That meant they had about 10 ice creams by the end of the trip (fortunately they don't serve ice cream at breakfast!). I was secretly amazed that they didn't fall sick with all the sugar and junk food they consumed.
Dh on the other hand, wacked all the seafood. As you know, we had been starved of fresh seafood in Tianjin for a year. Upon seeing the large clams, mussels, crayfish, fish, crabs at every meal, Dh had many many helpings of whatever he liked. I think this plate showed the 3rd crayfish serving he had, and a huge and by-now-empty clam shell.
After 2 days of Kids' Club, the kids missed us and us them. So I actually had them for the 3rd day which was kind of rainy. And I was tired from golfing, archery and walking so much with Dh (either I was very unfit, or I conveniently blamed my pregnancy). So I offered to have the kids with me while Dh went windsurfing and snorkelling. (by the way, all such activities were free, and included in the package, a terrific deal, in our opinion)
We walked along the beach, played in the sea waves, pretended to sail....
This shows Dh going out with the group of snorkellers. They went to a coral reef area further out from the northern part of Bintan Island. Dh enjoyed the snorkelling and saw many creatures, but he got sick on the boat itself. It was the rocking motion of the boat, right after being in the water that caught him unawares. I was glad I didn't go cos I hate to be sick in front of others (ie strangers). Dh said he threw up over the edge of the boat as they were nearing shore already, and he at once saw all the fish swim to whatever he threw out!!!
In the afternoon, we went wading in the tide pools that formed as the tide went out. There were literally millions and millions of fish! There were coral fish, those colourful banded ones, and normal rock-coloured fish. Long ones, thin ones, fat ones, rounded ones. So many types. It was lovely to wade amongst the fish. Here's Dh admiring the fish/ crabs/ seaweed, even though his berms were soaked through.
On the first day, I didn't dress appropriately for wading and I only had this pair of loose (kind of maternity) berms. So I sat on the rocks with my lemon coke glass and sipped, while enjoying the breeze and watching to see what else Dh can find.
The 2nd day onwards, I wore my maternity swimwear, and it was so much fun. We saw such a diversity of flora and fauna! Some slug, sea cucumber and brittle star.
On the 2nd day, it was really nice and romantic, just me and Dh strolling along the beach, wading in the pools. After that, we included the kids in our evenings forays cos there was just so much we wanted to show them. We discovered so much and just had to share everything with them! The first time, initially ds2 was very disgusted with the slimy seaweed. He hated the feeling on his feet. Yet we cannot let him walk with his sandals because all the rocks were very slippery and sandals do not have the same good grip as our own feet.
It was so funny that I had to snap this pic. He sulked and sat on a rock and refused to budge at first, whining about the seaweed and how disgusting and yuckky it felt. Even his hands, he refused to touch anything, in case he accidentally touched some seaweed. haha.
After some time, after hearing our delightful exclaiming when we continuously found beautiful fish, crabs, prawns or saw different colourful sea stars, he was sufficiently intrigued to venture out with us. But note how he still perpetually checked his feet to see if he would step on more seaweed? It was so funny. ds1 doesn't care about such things, thankfully. If I had 2 whiny sons, it would be tougher to get them to join in. Only one, and he would feel left out soon enough and want to join us.
Beautiful limpets on the rocks.
Teaching the kids to be very very still while waiting for the crabs to emerge from their burrows. Because I wanted them to see how the crabs filter feed through the sand. I told them how amazing it was to see the crabs pick through the nutrients from the sand and "spit" out the sand in little balls. Which is why there are so many cute balls of sand around all the tiny holes where the crabs live in.
They are so active it took a long time before they really learnt what it meant to be really still. Finally we were able to see many many many crabs crawling all around us and feeding happily. But every little slight movement from the kids would send all the hundreds scuttling right back into the holes. Dh and I sometimes yelled in frustration at the kids. However, it was a good start. They'd grow better at this, and then we can go to Pulau Hantu with Mary and gang, and look at the beautiful fiddler crabs there.
We were so fortunate that during our stay, a batch of baby turtles were hatching from their eggs at the beach! The Club Med turtle sanctuary staff had built a protective hut over the turtle laying sites they found, so that the eggs won't be preyed upon or harmed before they hatched.
After they hatched, the staff placed the baby turtles all in pails and brought them much nearer the shore (huh, playing cheat??) to ensure as many of the baby turtles survived their journey back to the sea as possible.
Of course we had to be part of the crowd to observe this special moment.
Some babies were the fittest survivors. Once out of the pail, they instinctively turned around (the pail was lain down with the exit pointing away from the shore) and waddled towards the sea. They are so smart.
And so cute!!
The person in charge, guarding over the weakest ones who were kind of lost in their direction sense at first. My kids preferred to encourage the underdogs as well, instead of cheering those who reached the sea first. So they stayed behind with these last few babies, who were still floundering around.
Hopefully these turtles who eventually found their way, will be able to survive their odds in the big open sea as well!
In order not to affect the turtles' journey, the crowd of curious human onlookers had to stay out of their "zone". So everyone was obediently watching from the sides.
It was a wonderful vacation!
This could be our last Club Med outing for some time. Because I tend towards extended nursing, I think baby would be kind of stuck to me till she's at least 2-3yrs old? If so, it would defeat the purpose of couple time that Club Med offers for us. We'd just take our normal family vacations.
This Dec would be another family trip as we drive up to Malaysia's Desaru to attend the church camp, and perhaps extend the trip to elsewhere in Malaysia.
After that, it'd depend on how the kids settle into their new schools, how the baby is, before we plan our next vacation. :-)
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow