Food & Fun · Friends & Neverland · Game & Gadget · Marriage & Parenting · Travel & Staycation

[Neverland] Countless Good Things in 2017

Time flies, the first quarter of the year is already coming to an end. I have to admit that this is the first time I actually hope time will fly faster, so that I can faster finish my studies.

Year 2017 had been a hectic and very busy year. But it was also a very fruitful year to me. I managed to juggle so many things/roles, which I thought I am unable to, but had proven myself otherwise.

I think the best part of a New Year, is when we recollect what we have done for the previous year. Most of the time we are so absorbed and focus on doing what we are doing, and forget why we do it in the first place.

Life is short, we should make the best of it and not waste any moment away. We never know if we can wake up to another tomorrow.

Back to School

I am back to school since Aug 2017 and I am looking forward to graduating this August! As it is an intensive 12-month Diploma course, the pace of the lessons and the demands of the assignments are beyond words.

Apart from having to finish a full day work load in half a day, I study 3 hours every day from Monday to Friday and have to submit an assignment every two weeks. My assignments range from individual essays to project group work, and from reflective journals, observation & assessment reports to drafting lesson plans, implementing them & evaluating them. So amidst my office work I still need to go down to one of our preschools to teach, build rapport with children & evaluate the lessons conducted.

Frankly, being a mother of two young children and having so many portfolios at work (not forgetting my additional responsibilities as a spouse, daughter and daughter-in-law), studying so intensively is really an impossible mission.

Many a times I really want to give up. There were days I sat in my car before I start work or before I go for class, and cry to myself. Those were usually my peak period at work with so many things on my mind and I did not know where to start, simply because I was so tired. Sometimes I sacrificed food for sleep because sleep is what I need the most now. I sleep less than 4 hours almost everyday. So much so I love public holidays and weekends as much as my kids now. Haha!

After all these ranting, I am still glad I took up this course and I did not give up halfway. There are both personal and work reasons for taking up this course. Apart from hoping to “upgrade” my profile and credentials for work purposes, I have always wanted to find out more about how else I can help my two children in their journey to adulthood. This course really changed my parenting style and I hope it will indirectly benefit my children in the long run too.

I am thankful to have supporting family members, who help me to manage my children on my super busy days. I could not coach my kids on their work though I wish to. But I will force myself to at least put aside one day on weekends to spend time with my kids. They are growing up too fast.

Nowadays, Public holidays and Weekends are so precious to me, so that I can catch up on my Sleep, Me-time and Family-Time. I feel my daughter totally these days, as I many a time also don’t want to go to school! Haha! But the fun part is, we can “study together” these days!

4 more months to go before my practicum! My close friends will know that I am extremely afraid of exams, due to my high self-expectations. I may not be the best in my cohort but I must be able to answer to my own conscience that I have done “my best”. I know it sounds tiring but that is my principle in life. Coz to expect the best from others, I must first be able to do my best.

I am blessed with great support and encouragement from my “mentor” and I hope to do her proud too! Although she will definitely knock my head and ask me not to stress myself out unnecessarily 😛 Heehee…

I am looking forward to finishing the course soon! I will survive! I will survive!

Happy 2nd Anniversary

1 November 2017 marks the second year with Sunflower Childcare Group. So far I am still enjoying myself and learning new things everyday.

I am thankful to have very understanding bosses who allow me to take leaves to do my assignments and to clear my head, when “my brain gets too cluttered” due to the numerous multi-tasking.

There are still a lot of things to look forward and learn in this career, as I have more to improve on my soft skills. I also believe that the new portfolios, events & work groups on my plate for Year 2018, will expand my horizons and allow me to learn more things about this sector.

Jamie is a Girl Brigade

Jamie is already in Primary 3 and had went through one round of streaming. Not sure about how other kids cope about streaming and losing some close friends, but I have to say I am really proud of my Jamie these days. I still remember how she would cry and had issues making new friends in a new environment. I always felt guilty whenever I recall how I had to pull her out from her group of close friends from school and transfer her to a new school due to my job change. But these days, I would say all those changes had made Jamie more resilient to changes. She has also evolved into someone more sociable and don’t mind making the first moves to know someone new.

However, I do see her growing up “a little too fast”. Maybe it is my fault for encouraging her to be more independent and firm with her stand. These days I do see her becoming a bit more assertive and occasionally retaliate against her brother whenever she encounters friendship issues in school.

Thus despite my very busy schedule, I still introduced the “blanket time” or “secret talk time” to Jamie where she is free to share with me her woes and anything in her mind “under the blanket” where both her Baba and brother cannot hear. So whenever she needs to share with me, she just have to say “lets have a blanket time” and I will put down all my work or assignment and snuggle into the blanket with her to hear her out.

I also let her know I will empower her to manage her own homework and will not check on her as long as I see she does her own things with initiatives. Nobody likes to hear their mothers nagging especially more so at her age. But I also reminded her that I empower and don’t check on her because I trust her. But if I ever see her not being initiative or responsible for her own school work, I will step in and take away her privileges. I had to do something nasty last weekends (ie. cancel a play date between her and her bff classmate) when she forgot to finish her assignment before the play date. We need to let the kids know that we are serious and not “say only”. It is when they bear the consequences, they can feel the pinch.

But we do a lot of hug times too and I always thank her for being so understanding when I have not much time with her. I make promises too but only those I know I can keep.

I was a bit surprised when Jamie chose to be a girl brigade. As she doesn’t really like schooling and always want the easier way out, I thought she will choose an “easier” CCA. I am proud of her that she doesn’t mind challenging herself to this uniformed CCA which involves strict discipline and “tough work”. But I am also pleased to know that she did inherit Laogong and my “love camping” DNA! Hahaha..

James is five years old

I have two very different children which makes parenthood fun and challenging at the same time. The same management style may not suit both children but there is still a need to manage the children “differently” yet they still feel there is no double standard. Because children will compare. This is really something very tough as we need to say “no” in two seemingly different ways yet the expected outcome is the same. I am still learning and believe I can always do better in my parenting style.

James is a very sweet and caring boy, who always remember to buy something for everyone when we go shopping. He loves his sister but he doesn’t know she is someone who needs a systematic approach when comes to inviting her to play with him. Hence, he often gets into trouble with her until they found their common love, ie minecraft.

Multiplayer Minecraft allows them to learn to plan and execute their plans together, each play a part in building something that makes up the bigger picture. It is where they can play in ample space amidst the messy small bedroom. It is where they expand their imagination and creativity, and do the “impossible” within boundaries. It also helps James to learn to communicate positively to his sister instead of her thinking he is just shoving her around to get his way.

Nope, my parenting style is “no iPad limit” as long as you finish your homework. They were in their Minecraft play space for hours yesterday. But of coz if you “break my trust”, your privileges get taken away and you need to win my trust back again. It’s working so far and I hope it will continue to work well.

James is not self aware nor good in communicating his intentions of doing certain things. He often says he knows it is wrong but he doesn’t know why he still does it. But I am happy he is now at least able to detect when someone is upset with him. It was difficult when he was unable to read facial expressions and tone of voice. I am glad he made a vast improvement since last year. He has grown more logical too.

At K1, he has done us proud to be able to read pretty well. I am not a mother who care about academic results but having struggle through with Jamie’s initial reading difficulties, we are very relieved to know that James may have less academic concerns. Lets hope he will have no discipline issue when he goes to P1.

Last year was his first concert as a Sunflower Kid and we were really proud to hear him speak Mandarin on stage. There is so much blissfulness and joy to watch this “not easy” child at pregnancy and at birth, grow up into such an independent and caring child. Good Job James! Mummy is proud of you! We are also happy to know that he is someone who has expectations of himself. Coz this means he will continuously push himself to be better.

Love and Support from Laogong

Just as I thought starting school means not much time to pak tor and travel, Laogong surprised me by the many outings, staycations and short trips during my term break and on weekends. Really grateful to Laogong for being so understanding and supportive all these while. Without him, I may not have emotionally and mentally survived so long.

January: Laogong’s Birthday Staycation

My very loving Laogong always made his own birthday like mine. Haha.. I was meant to give him a birthday treat but it became his treat for me!

March: iLight @ Marina Waterfront

When iLight first came to Singapore, we went on the first day. I think Silent Disco was really a good idea! Can switch between 3 DJs and you can play music as loud as you want and not disturbing others.

April: Artbox @ Marina Waterfront

Artbox was another big hype last year, with good music and good food! How can we not be there if there is good food?

April: Surprise Cake on my Birthday

While Laogong birthday is like my birthday, My birthday had always been like my kids’ birthday. Once again, I brought them to KidStop for play-day on my birthday. And was gatecrashed by Laogong who surprised me by bringing along an ice cream cake! Feeling Loved!

April: Family Legoland and KSL Staycation The next morning after my birthday, we zoomed into JB for a Family Legoland cum KSL Staycation.

June: Melbourne Couple Road Trip

Though we went on Road Trips before in Msia and with a couple friend in Taiwan, but it was never alone in a foreign country far away from home. Moreover, it was years since we go on holidays there lasts more than 5 days. It is really a wonderful and exciting experience that I will always remember. It is when we go on such long couple trips then we remember how we once braved the foreign countries together as two fearless youths. It is then we remember we are not only parents but also husband and wife.

The most lovely sunset I had seen is every sunset I watched with Laogong.

Our first experience with snow. We look forward to more snowy experiences together.

September: Family Sunway and Cameron Highland Getaway

Seeing how stressed I was since the start of my Diploma course, Laogong suggested to go on a short family trip during September school holidays. It was a last minute decision and I was happy Laogong noticed I need this break because I was “grasping for air”. He never stop noticing when I need a hand. Even when he is busy, he will take care of me and the family first. This is also our first time in Sunway Lagoon and Cameron Highlands. But this may also be the last time we drive to Cameron Highlands because we both feel Cameron Highlands is not worth our 12 hours drive. Haha! But we really love the cold air.

November: JB Staycation & Massage

My sweet Laogong once again noticed I needed a break and brought me for a weekend JB Staycation and Massage!

December: Family Bangkok Trip

What I was really touched was though it was meant to be a family trip but Laogong’s focus was actually on making sure I enjoyed the trip. Laogong was ever ready to take over the care of the kids to let me and mil to do our shopping. I bought home a luggage of loots and a full heart of love.

December: Christmas Wonderland and IndoChine Rooftop Bar at Gardens by the Bay

We were at the Christmas Wonderland when we decided to check out this Rooftop Bar. The entrance was not cheap but Laogong said this is a once in a lifetime experience which we must do it together. The scenery is really pretty and windy

December: Christmas Countdown at Genting and Bukit Tinggi

The December holidays did not stop at the family trip. Laogong knew it was hard for us to have time to pak tor like usual coz of my studies and assignments, so he suggested going on a couple trip to Melaka and Bukit Tinggi, where we spent our Xmas.

December: New Year Countdown at Siloso Beach

Friends will know the significance of the Siloso Beach Countdown Party to us. It is where we first fell in love with each other.

Siloso Beach New Year Countdown is a yearly affair and last year we countdown together for the 18th year. And we promised each other to continue to countdown till as long as we can together.

Love Loots from Laogong

Apart from the many Rest & Relax activities, Laogong is never stingy in showering me with loads of gadgets in order to encourage me for my efforts and also to provide me with the avenues for destressing amidst my busy schedule.

V-Day Present – iWatch

Knowing that I had been eyeing the iWatch for a while, Laogong surprised me with this air-flown lovely gift on Vday! He is even thoughtful enough to get me two straps knowing I will always worry I dirty the strap and end up not wearing the watch, if I only have one strap. No one knows me better than my Laogong!

Xmas Day Present: Apple Air Pod

I think in this world, only my Laogong is actually “listening” to me. Even a causal remark means so much to him. I was unable to find my ear phone and was grumbling as I searched. Even after getting me a good Xiaomi earpiece, he still bought me the Apple Air Pod because he said he wants to get me the best that he can afford.

Many First Times and New Adventures

I am really amazed by how much “Wonder” I can do, amidst my busy schedule. But without my family and friends understanding and love, it will be quite impossible to achieve too.

I am happy that though I was so busy, but I still managed to experience many first times and new adventures.

Mummies’ Zoo Safari Run

The two mummies first achievement together with the two kiddos! Hope there are more mummies run together!

Chef Laogong’s Virgin V-Day Cooking

Last year’s Vday was a very special one because it is the first time Laogong cooked for me. I seriously think he is very talented. It seems that as long as he puts his heart to learn anything new, he can master the skill within a very short time. He told me he learnt how to cook the steak via YouTube! And it really tasted so awesome that I cannot find another steak as good as what he cooked so far! Steak tasting is never going to be the same again

First Time Airbnb

We were still hesitating whether Airbnb is really reliable when we could not find any hotel in JB on the May Day long weekends for our family Legoland and KSL Staycation. Legoland Hotel was way above our budget and KSL/Puteri Harbour/Double Tree Hilton etc were all full.

We decided to give Airbnb a try and booked a landed property in Leisure Farm in Puteri Iskandar district. All was good and since then we gained faith in Airbnb. Our Melbourne Trip Airbnbs were great and Sunway Airbnb was ok. Think we will continue to book Airbnb for our future family trips because it is really much cheaper than booking two hotel rooms.

Jamie’s YouTube Channel

Jamie started her own YouTube Channel as her biggest 8th birthday present. Since then she posted a number of videos after our vetting. We are currently thinking if we should let her fully decide what she wants to post, but we need to think it through properly in case we open a can of worms.

Yearly Kids’ Enrichment

It was not easy to decide between giving the kids more exposure and balancing our budget. So we came to a conclusion, we focus on one enrichment a year which both kids can participate together. Not academic related but more motor skills and character development related because Jamie is poorer in gross motor skills while James poorer in fine motor skills. Both of them are impatient and has “anger management” issue lately.

So last year the kids had a year of Art Lesson together where they trained on their creativity, fine motor skills, social skills and patience. Coz they have a big age gap aka skills gap, but they must learn to share the paint and crayons I bought for them. It is also a good opportunity for Jamie to learn to take care and assist James in preparing the paint and water to share. They had so much fun together and the kids became closer.

This year, they learnt swimming together which is not only an essential survival skill but also trained their gross motor/locomotor and stability skills. It also trained their patience and alertness to take care of each other during lesson.

As James always complains I treat him like a baby and don’t let him do what Jamie does, and Jamie always thinks we compares she cannot and James can (academically), I think letting them positively “compete” in the same enrichment will actually push Jamie to be “less relaxed and more competitive” and remind James not to think “he is good in everything and become complacent.” I always feel no matter how good we think we already are, we should never be complacent and stop improving ourselves. And positive competition is actually good motivation for those who are “too chilled”.

We played RO as a family

Laogong and I were once upon a time crazy about Ragnorak Online. When it was relaunched in Singapore, it was definitely not to be missed. Though we did not last very long playing this game (coz of all my assignments), what makes the short stint special was this round Jamie was able to join us in playing it for the few weeks! We even took a family photo together in the game!

Our first family dressed-up Halloween

Last year we were at ACM once again and it was as scary as ever! Haha! Yes, I was totally freaked out by those chinese zombies. But we had fun doing the realistic face painting. Looking forward to it again this year!

The Bestie who is always there

I think our friendship is really interesting. We don’t speak much when we meet. When we are busy, we are okay that either party MIA for a period of time. But when we have something to share, we will always think of each other. I guess real friendship is when she may not be physically there but you know you can always rely on her. And even when I jio her out last minute , she seldom rejected me. This is something I am really touched about. Thank you!

I was really surprised when she lugged “what I told her I want” all the way from home to give me for Xmas! Love you lots!

I think last year was a tough year for both of us. It somehow overflown to this year. I hope things will get better for both of us in months to come. Zhen, Hope your wish will come true this year! Jiayou!

With so much Love and Support from the important people in my life, I cannot say anything else but 2017 was a tough but a good year! Cheers!

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