Wednesday, September 29, 2010 ;
9:34 PM

ds1's school had their Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations. There was a carnival in school, so we all turned up for lots of fun!

There were many stalls. These craft and calligraphy and cultural stuff were all free. Food and games stalls required coupons.

ds2 enjoyed the paper cutting immensely and he was "stuck"at this booth for ages!

The clay craft booth was so attractive because all the creations looked so yummy. ds2 initially thought it was a food stall and asked me to buy some for him to eat! That was how realistic the creations were!

Many different nationalities spotted. Students come from at least these countries that I observed: Sg of course, Philippines, Myanmar, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Korea, USA. There were a couple of ethnic groups I couldn't place at all, perhaps they are Eurasians.

There was a chess booth too and ds1 met his friends there.

Both learnt how to write a "chun lian" at the calligraphy booth. The school is strong in calligraphy as well. Thinking of letting ds2 join this CCA next yr, haha. Capitalise on 2 of the school's niche areas (chess and calligraphy). They are also strong in Chinese and Malay dance. Maybe for dd in future. :)

Towards the later part, there were performances by parents and students, and then a magician. The entertainer/ magician was very talented. I enjoyed the segment where he drew a face and then the face could move and talk. Very funny. As he erased parts of the face, it was hilarious to hear the protests from the parts of the face still remaining.

My parents walked over to the school to join in part of the festivities since they lived across the street. This pic was taken at the Butterfly Garden.

ds2 apparently had a knack for playing games at the games booth. Many older kids could not get any prizes cos it was difficult to get the cars zooming into the correct holes (the board was kind of tilted at a weird angle). But ds2 managed to get 8 prizes!! (each prize consisted of a glow-in-the-dark rod, which the students pieced together to make flowers/ rings/ necklaces/ spheres, very fun).

At night, in bed, he insisted on hanging them above him because I told him they only lasted the night. He was sad to see them no longer glowing in the morning, but it was a good lesson in being thankful for the good stuff while it lasted!

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 ;
9:04 PM
8am - 5pm

ds1's 1st chess competition this yr. He was the youngest fielded. Cos usually none of the P1s would join CCAs. Even if they join chess club in P2, they usually go to the non-competitive chess club where they are taught the basics. Thanks to the teacher-in-charge (TIC), he switched ds1 from the non-competitive club early on last yr. ds1 was feeling very bored re-learning all the basics then, but I encouraged him just to continue and see whether he could learn something new.

After he started with the competitive club, he enjoyed himself tremendously, naming Tues and Thurs the best days in the whole school week, cos he gets to stay back for chess. Even though chess is from 4-5.30pm!

Also, P1s have class till 3pm only, so that meant he had to stay back in school from 3-4pm alone, having nothing to do. For a P1 kid, I think it is tough. Initially, after the 1st week, he did cry and asked for company, said no one to talk to, and every minute was like an hour. My mom lived right across the street at that time, so she'd walk over to accompany him for that hour. Thankfully, after several months, he finally was able to spend that hour alone in school.

The problem was that none of his classmates had CCA, and the P2s and above have supplementary classes from 3-4pm, which is why CCA starts at 4pm. Fortunately that problem has been solved now that he is in P2. I used to worry at home, even while nursing dd, whether he would be in the canteen or running amok in school or worse, running out of school during that time.

After chess, the school's CCA bus will bring him back, so he reaches home at 6pm. From morning 7.45am till 6pm, I'd imagine he'd be very tired, but he was never so, always re-energized by the CCA session. I guess that's why it is very important for the kids themselves to choose an activity they love, then they'd have lots of energy for it! After he returned home, he'd want to eagerly share with me all the new strategies he learnt.

He usually spends the entire session pitting his skills against the rest of the chess club members, and the TIC will walk around coaching them. He thus learns from his opponents/ seniors and the TIC.

Finally, in Sept, his TIC felt he was ready for his 1st competition. The TIC did caution me that with his many years of experience, he had many young ones go for competitions and then drop out of chess club after that because they were demoralised. He said kids at a younger age would be disadvantaged at most of these competitions, because the category is just Primary, open to all 6 levels. the P5-6 would have an obvious edge due to experience and age.

So I did tell ds1 just to go play for fun, gain experience, losing is ok.

This is the pic I took when we went to pick him up at the end of the day.

His inexperience showed. He was too focused on the matches and forgot to eat his lunch!!! From 8am till 6pm, he had nothing to eat! All the things I packed for him in his bag was untouched. He fell sick the next day in school- bad headache. I think it was cos of the entire day without water/ food? Dehydration?

As for results, he did alright. His ranking was 40+ out of 57, if I remember correctly. Most of the kids were in upper primary, so I think it was a good showing.

Mid-autumn festival:
Mooncakes, lanterns, pomelos...

And having dd, now our youngest, wear the pomelo cap. Her hair smelt so nice after that! Citrusy...

Time for weaning:
What were the first foods she ate?

1st stage (4-6mth): I boil brown rice, then push all the soft brown rice porridge through a sieve. She loved it. Just plain.
I introduced non-citrus fruits like banana too. Just for taste, not a lot.

2nd stage (7-9mth): I wash the rice grains, dry them, then grind the grains. Then I boil like I was making porridge. At this stage she appreciated having the outer layer of the brown rice to chew on. Since it was ground, it is still soft and in small bits, but chewy.

As she grew older, I reduced the grinding time more and more, so the bits became bigger and coarser.

Now she doesn't like porridge anymore! So I save myself the hassle. She just eats off us now. Whatever we happen to be having, I will give her some. But on the days when it is just her and me having lunch (boys at school, hubby at work) then I'll cook porridge or boil some pasta. However, being used to our food, she is becoming more and more picky about bland food now. I guess I'll just move on from here, no point looking back.

L's bday

On the morning of L's birthday, we sat dd in the walker my sis passed to us, so she could wait for us to get ready.

She was very happy that day, perhaps she knew it was her L kor kor's birthday!

At L's house, see how dd was straining to get at the cake?

So funny, the way L closed his eyelids with his fingers, to make a wish.

Same day evening, we went rollerblading/ kite flying together with L and Ch at the park.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

Monday, September 27, 2010 ;
6:08 PM
Hari Raya Puasa hol

Decided to wake bright and early and go for a morning walk at the Southern ridges. Started from Kent Ridge and walked several trails including the forest and canopy trails and ended the walk at Hort Park, having worked up a sweat and feeling happy and recharged.

Saw many different species of flora and fauna too, and pointed them out to the kids. Dd slept half the time.

Kids enjoyed playing at the Hort Park playground too. Hope to make more trips in future.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

Sunday, September 26, 2010 ;
3:26 PM
Sep 7

We celebrated for him on the day we returned from Malaysia.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

2:29 PM
3 Sep Fri

Took ds1 out of school that day to leave for Msia earlier. Fortunately we did, because we heard the traffic was really bad on Sat (start of school hols in Sg, school hols in Msia and also in prep for Hari Raya, Muslims will start travelling home).

Reached Kota Kemuning in the early afternoon. Barely had time to put our bags down in our host's home, unpack a little, had a late lunch and then had to leave for Klang.

But we had a great time at Richard Lim's home and then at a restaurant for a rare Bak Kut Teh dinner (most Bak Kut Teh places open for breakfast till lunch only). It was so delicious that Dh cannot stop talking about it.

Then we went for their Singspiration session.

Amazingly it lasted 3hrs and after that there was still a food potluck session. During that time, Dh and a few key leaders had to meet to discuss their roles in the next day's workshop.

By the time everything ended it was 11pm and by the time we went back to Kota Kemuning it was midnight. We still had to shower and settle all 3 kids in bed.

I need to state that ds1 did not nap in the car or anywhere else that day. He was definitely exhausted. I was too, because in the car journey, dd didn't like her car seat much and cried a lot. And then, the host's place was unfamiliar to her, and then all the travelling to and fro here and there, from house to house and restaurant to church building, was overstimulating for her.

The church members all loved and adored her to bits too, and everyone wanted to carry her or cuddle or coo at her, so she was very difficult to settle that night.

In addition to that, the Klang and KK church buildings did not have a room linked to the main auditorium for moms and babes to be within yet still join in whatever's going on.

So I stayed in the main auditorium throughout the Singspiration, trying to get dd to cooperate and not fidget too much. Also, they don't have long pews like in Jurong. They've individual chairs, so I had to carry dd on my lap all the time, since she can't sit on her own yet.

My arm muscles were definitely very well trained during that trip.

Here's a pic and there are the comfy chairs (for adults), but not for dd, who was very squirmy.

Thankfully, out of 3 kids, I needed to pacify only one. So thankful that the boys are much older than her. Cannot imagine trying to keep 3 young kids quiet for 3 hrs and without much movement nor sound. The boys did very well, flipping to each hymn that was announced, and sang when they were supposed to, and did vocal exercises when they were required to.

4 Sep
9am to 7pm

The next morning, we had to wake up bright and early. Very tough on the boys. Cos we had to quickly have breakfast and then travel from KK to Subang Jaya. That's where the Singing workshop was held. Dh was conducting the workshop and he didn't want to be late, so we rushed a fair bit.

We tried to follow the course for sometime, but then the kids and dd were very tired and dd became cranky. Again, thankfully a kind sister who loves kids and teaches the Sunday school there brought me upstairs to the kids room.

Although it is not connected to the main auditorium downstairs, it was good enough for me to nurse dd, sling her and "force" her to sleep. (She was too distracted downstairs to even doze off). And the boys could sit at a small table, read their books, do their writing/ drawing and play their silly games.

Occasionally we'd hear loud laughter coming from below and the boys would rush downstairs to see what Dh was doing with the 100+ participants. They'd sometimes join in as well, if they find it fun. This is a pic of one of the exercises. There are Dalcroze and Orff components.

The kind lady also provided me with a small mattress for dd to crawl on. She was happy for that period of time.

This was just before lunchtime, so the boys were already with their bags packed. But then they saw this fun clapping rhythm exercise, so they joined in with glee. In fact, they were close to hysteria. I have the video on FB but didn't focus on them. If the vid did, it'd show them stomping around wildly.

Lunch was at a nearby restaurant. The whole restaurant was jam packed with the 100+ of us. After lunch, I found out that our host in KK was driving her dd back cos her dd had tuition and it was impt cos it's her O level year. I at once asked if I could hitch a ride and bring the kids back for a nap. They certainly were very in need of rest.

So they did! Napped for 3 hrs. I got my much needed rest too.

(btw, Dh, I and dd squeezed into the lower bunk bed while ds1 ad ds2 slept together on the upper bunk. We adults can make do with anything but the boys were initially unhappy at sharing a tiny single bed. After I threatened them with "it's either you sleep here together or outside on the pavement beside the road" that they reluctantly agreed. After that 1st night, they had no further issues.

dd didn't sleep that well cos our bed back home was a king-sized one and the mattress is very firm. Thus, even if Dh tossed and turned, she would remain undisturbed. But here, she was easily awoken whenever Dh touched her or moved in his sleep. That's why I was very tired. But we were so thankful for free lodging already. Seldom would you find a host with space for a family of 5!)

Also it was very convenient that every room in our host's house has an attached bathroom. That was essential since I had to change diapers, and wash our hands often, even during the night. We were glad to have that convenience.

At night, Dh returned at about 7.30pm and we went out for dinner at a nearby seafood restaurant. Our host treated and it was very sumptuous, very yummy. Food seemed to be great everywhere in Msia! And the prices are always very reasonable. They are so lucky to live there!

5 Sep

We rose early again. Then we made our way to KK COC for Sunday worship and Bible class. Both lessons were shared by Roger Campbell. I first met him at least 20yrs ago when I followed my parents around whenever my dad had to preach at the Asian Bible lectureships. They still remembered me!

It was a smaller congregation that met here at KK, compared to Klang or Subang. So their Sunday school class consisted of only a few kids, and they had only 1 class for a larger age range.

It was very nice and cosy and somehow my boys and Sam's girls got along very well. Look at how cute the girls are:

Sam's wife is preggy with their 3rd kid.

Throughout the bible class and worship service, I had dd with me on the individual chairs too. Fortunately I was able to nurse her to sleep for a while this time. Beats having to control a squirmy baby anytime, even though it means being stuck in a particular position for a long time and having arm cramps.

Lunch was at the same seafood restaurant. Apparently this restaurant is very good, everyone in KK will bring guests there.

After lunch, we met up with our dear friend from Tianjin. Our neighbour in Tianjin is Malaysian, but we didn't know she lived in KK, right where our host is. Such a lovely coincidence!

And just when we are due to travel there for dh's workshop, she recently moved back to Msia from Tianjin too!

It was quite an emotional "reunion" for me and the boys. She was the one whom I met almost everyday during my stay in Tianjin!

Spent an afternoon chatting with her in her house, and then going for dinner together. Dh napped in her living room while the boys played with almost everything! They ran around at the playground, played soccer, played with sand, played with cards, Nintendo DS etc etc.

H treated us to dinner. Initially she wanted to bring us to that same seafood restaurant! But when she heard we had dined there twice already, she brought us to try another one, which was also very very good.

We adjourned for desserts after that and Dh took care of that. We had gelato.

Look at the boys, so lovey dovey. The way they played and talked and laughed, it was as if they never had a year's separation!

Dd was very good at most meals with so many different people over these few days. I'd let her chomp or chew on anything we get our hands on - straws, spoons, wet tissue packets, and in this pic below, the table edge/ table cloth.

The boys played UNO happily during dessert time, when us adults were still not done catching up with each other.

H told me that after we said our farewells, her son cried. We were sad too, but now that she is back in Msia, it'd be much easier to meet up! In late Nov she'd be in Sg to visit her relatives and we can meet again! yay!

6 Sep

We woke up even earlier at 6am! We wanted to leave at 7.30am for a hike in the rainforests of KL. Richard Lee was our guide for the day. He drove us to FRIM through the heavy KL traffic. It took quite a bit of time.

We chose a moderately easy trail to hike. It was partly dirt road, and then bashing through some rainforest.

Stopping for lunch at Ampang, for Ampang Yong Tau Foo. Yums. They didn't have a high chair, and was super crowded, so dd had to remain in her backpack stand.

Then we headed to Richard's mountain top home for a view of the whole city. This is his dd who adores our dd. :)

Full day huh? At night we met with another family for a Western meal at a restaurant and adjourned to his place for delicious cake and coffee. His house is a huge mansion. This is his dd, entertaining my sons while we adults chatted in the living room. The boys had a blast playing with all of her old toys.

Next day, we started on the journey home. By noon, we reached Tangkak in Johor state and stopped there to have the famous beef noodles. Really lived up to its fame!

Somehow, back here, we miss all the food there. Hard to beat the prices there too. Next May, I think, Dh has another invitation to teach another workshop, so we'd be on another road trip and I look forward to it!

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

about us ;
-{dear-hubby}- dh
-{dear-son}-ds1 T
-{dear-son}-ds2 J
-{dear-daughter}-dd E
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