Saturday, December 29, 2007

God's way of ......

..... saying:

"Have a nice day!"

Have a great weekend, and be ready for the New Year!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 in Review

2007 has been a very busy and blessed year for us.

The year started with Little D starting Nursery 1. What a tumultous first term for me when she cried every day of that 10 weeks, except Day 1. However, she eventually got used to the idea of going to school, and has loved it since. Thanks a great deal to her wonderful teacher, Mrs Geeta Singh.

This year also saw my son changing schools to be in the same school as his older sister. This change resulted in me having a chance to sleep in late while hubby sent both kids to school. It also meant that hubby could enjoy his lunch hour whilst I did the duty of picking the kids home from school. (Previously, both of us would leave together in the mornings, each going in a different direction, sending a child to school. Dismissal time meant both of us waiting at their respective schools to pick them home.)

January also saw the birth of my new baby, this blog. It has made me new friends and kept me busy and occupied. It also gave me a chance to destress via a different means.

This year also saw us holidaying in Malaysia. We had not done it for more than 8 years. We spent a week in Penang during the June hols, where we enjoyed the sun, sand and sea! We made another trip in December, but it was for a more serious matter - chess.

We did not entertain as much at home this year, due to the children's school and chess workload getting increasingly heavy. However, what we did do for ourselves and the kids was to have many, many Bar-be-ques at home. The children really enjoy the BBQs, the best part being the toasted marshmallows at the end!

Hubby and I tried our best to have "our own" time during the year. This mainly comprised some wonderful meals with good friends, good food and good wine. Maybe next year, we can try to holiday without the kids!! (Wishful thinking, I think!)

There was a wake-up call for me health-wise when my health review showed that my cholesterol level was high. After keeping a close watch on my diet, and changing it towards a heathier one, with more vegetables and fruits, I am glad that I am now able to enjoy my little food indulgences without much worry!

I was fortunate that I was able to meet up a couple of times with my friends, both from school and work, during the year. All this was made possible, courtesy of my very gracious mother-in-law, who took care of the baby-sitting each time I went for a girls night out!

Towards the end of the academic school year, our children rewarded us with good grades. It made us please to know that all the effort that we put in to help them during the year did not go to waste, including all that home-made chicken essence Grandma made for them!

The year-end saw us holidaying in Perth, where the kids had a good time catching up with their cousin who moved there in January this year. It also saw the first time Little D had a sleep-over, without needing me to be lurking around near-by!

The children also joined in hubby's office christmas party for the 1st time. I thought it was such a wonderful gesture to invite the families. The kids have been by hubby's office, but never really going in. So they were thrilled when they could swivel in his chair, enjoy the view of the CBD from his window, and the best part for them was seeing the number of computer screens on his desk, an unbelievable 8 in total!! They were like - wow! can play 8 different computer games at the same time!

How time flies, and how fast the children grow. Another year is almost over. We thank God for all his blessings on us and the family during the past year. We look forward to another God-Blessed year in 2008.

May you be filled with God's Blessings in the coming New Year!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

On Christmas Morning ....

This was the scene at my home early on Christmas morning. And, Boy! Were they up early. This was despite the late night we had at our annual Christmas Eve Dinner Party.

(Sing to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Dashing down the stairs,
Still in their pyjamas
Wondering what they got
For Chrismas Presents

Ripping Wrappers
Opening Boxes
What fun it is to find out
What they got this time

Oh! Open here, Open there
Open all the gifts
Oh what fun, it is to find
What presents they got!

I usually restrict the children's opening of Christmas (and even birthday) presents to just one or two a day. That way, I thought, they would appreciate all the thought and effort that went into the buying of the specially selected gifts. And, every gift would get a fair chance of being enjoyed. Also, it prolonged the fun of the celebration and the opening of presents. I felt that by opening all the presents at once, the kids would just zoom in on the one that they really liked, and all the rest would be "neglected" or just chucked aside. People call me a killjoy for doing that. Well, this year, it was no holds barred. Guess what? All the presents were opened in less than half an hour, and now, there are piles of "less favoured" gifts just sitting around. Maybe, I should go back to my "old" rules. What do you think?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Have a Blessed Christmas!

Hope all your shoppings done,
Presents bought,
House cleaned,
Christmas Decorations are up,
And you are ready for all the



That come your way.

May the true meaning of Christmas remain the central theme for all your Christmas celebrations.

And May you and your Loved ones have a meaningful and Blessed Christmas!

My other half...

...celebrates his birthday today! Yes, so many celebrations here in December.

I told Little D this morning that it was Papa's birthday today, and she was to give him a big hug when he came home from work. (yes, the poor dear has to work on his birthday, as the auditors want a meeting!). And she said: I will say Happy Birthday then I will give him a big Kiss.

Awww... how sweet of her.

My son N, bought his dad ... no, I shouldn't post it now, coz hubby reads my blog too! Will post a photo of it after he opens his present.

As for daughter S, I am not sure what she has for her Papi. For being the apple of her Papi's eye, I sure hope she has something nice for him!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

'Tis the season to go shopping

The weather was beautiful this morning. The sun was up, and I was feeling a bit better, so we went down to town. The queue to go into the car park was already there, and it was just 10.05am. Looks like lots of others have decided to do the same, to start shopping early. As for me, I have no choice, coz Little D needs to take a nap, and if I dont start off early, I will not be able to get any shopping done.

Our 1st stop was the bookstore. Oooh! I love visiting bookstores - Kino, Borders, MPH. I like them in that order. Sent MIL to the cookbook section to look for her / my favourite cookbooks. Look at what we ended up with.

Dont tell her, but this will be her christmas present.

Meanwhile, I went with the kids to the Childrens section. I found quite a few books, by Little D's favourite author, which we did not have. So into the basket it went. That takes care of Little D's christmas present.

I also found something for S, but I am not posting it here, coz I know she reads my blog. Ssshhh.

Then it was off to get some lunch, and then we headed home. Three down, and many more to go. Hope I have enough days to shop before Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And my son said...

... to me this morning:

"Mum I am glad you are sick. Maybe you are pregnant. This time please have twins. I want 2 brothers!"

Me:" No way!"

Daughter, S interjected: Yes, no way.


Daughter S: "We dont want any more boys. 2 more girls would be fun!"


Monday, December 17, 2007

After the adrenalin rush ....

...I am down with a bad cold.

Yes, after all those travelling and chess tournaments, when I am free from all the stress and hectic days, I am down. Looks like my body cannot take down time. It happens every time. Just when I thought I would have time on my hands to do some shopping, maybe a visit to the spa, and have some "ME" time, my body decides to play tricks on my. My throat is sore, my head is heavy and my nose drips like a leaky faucet.

There goes all my plans for christmas shopping too! Tried the panadol remedy for colds and flus but it is not working. Tried sleeping it off, but it is not working either. Doesnt help when you have bored kids at home irritating each other every 10 minutes - sure doesnt help my throat at all!!

Hmmm, maybe I will try traditional chinese medicine (TCM). Hope it works! Anyone has suggestions on what will work?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our Christmas Tree is finally up!!

Yes, our christmas tree is finally up.

The last two years, we only had a small singing christmas tree put up. Did not want the hassle of putting up and taking down the Christmas tree. Not with three kids to look after. Now that little D is a little older, we decided that we will put up a regular sized christmas tree.

After all those chess competitions, we finally managed to find the time to go down to the nursery to look for a tree, last Thursday. We were deciding between buying one of those Norwegian Fir trees or to buy a real pine tree (to plant it in the garden and to string outdoor lights on it). That would be environmentally friendly decision - or to put up a fake tree. My son claims to be allergic to the fir trees as he does not like the smell. But that was the lure for me, having had real trees in our apartment for Christmas when we lived in New York.

So we went home, without getting a tree as we could not agree on what to get. The Norwegian firs that were unsold, were either lob-sided or a little bald (the good ones having already been sold). There were also very few real pine trees for sale. Looks like we have no choice, but to buy one of those fake ones, having thrown away our previous one when we moved house some 3 years ago.

The children were all excited - they wanted one of those fiber optic ones which glowed. But, I thought there were other types that were nicer. Again, we could not agree. People tell me to only let the kids make the decision when they are paying. With only 10 days to christmas, time was running short. If we want to put up one, it had to be this weekend, or not at all, I thought.

Guess what! A christmas tree was delivered to our door step this afternoon. No more decisions to make as to the type, size or height. It was from a delivery company and the best part was that it came with all the decorations on it, and it was FREE!

The kids are happy with the tree, and so am I. Looks like we can delay our decision on the tree to buy to next year. Hopefully by then the children will be more agreeable to my taste.

To love and to cherish....

"... to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do us part."

Yes, those were the words that formed part of my wedding vows. It was 17 years ago on this day, that I took those vows, and I still live by them.

On this road through life,
Hubby and I have been caught in many traffic jams,
We have also sped through road bumps and hit many a potholes.
There were a few punctures and breakdowns.
But nothing we could not fix.
Uncle Sam was also waiting to catch us when we were speeding.
We managed to see many sunrises and sunsets,
and beautiful scenery along the way,
We even went on auto-pilot on some roads,
We have come so far together on this journey
May we be blessed with a long smooth ride for the rest of the journey!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ear Piercing

Little D had been bugging me to let her get her ears pierced. So this morning, we trotted off to the shop for her to get it done.

First, the lady applied some gel on her ears. This was meant to numb the ears. She told us to go take a walk and be back in 10 minutes. Little D was so excited she did not want to leave the shop. Instead we spent the 10 minutes browsing through the shop, and selecting her ear-rings. After that, the lady marked Little D's ears with a marker - to indicate the spot where the ear piercing would be. The ear-rings came in a sterile pre-pack, and were affixed to a device that looked like a stapler to me.

The lady then used the device and "stapled" little D's ears. Little D cried aloud for like 2 seconds and then stopped. Her brother and sister ran away when it happened. Then the lady did the other ear, and Little D gave another short shout.

And, Little D went home proudly wearing her new ear-rings.

My older Daughter S, refused to have her ears pierced.

National Age Groups

The National Age groups concluded yesterday.

My daughter did fairly well by finishing 3rd. She started off as being the 5th highest ranked in her age group. She drew her game with a WFM (woman fide master) and even beat one of the "big guns" but unfortunately fumbled against a weaker opponent in the 2nd last game. If not, she would have finished joint 1st for her age group. Well, nevertheless, we are still proud of her.

My son did well too by finishing 5th. He started off ranked 7th, and in a field of 62very competitive boys, he managed to hold off some really tough opponents. Finishing within the top 5 is quite an achievement, considering he played many opponents who were almost 2 years older than him.

Now, it is 2 rest days before the Singapore-Malaysia games - an annual event between Singapore and Malaysia. This year the games will be played in Singapore. It will also mark the last of this year's chess competitions for my children - no, they are not playing in the 4th Singapore International Chess Convention 2007 Masters/Challengers Open. They need a break from Chess - and I do too!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Missing Bloggers

Many bloggers have gone missing
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
I believe they've gone shopping
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Why dont they update their blogs
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
They must be so busy now
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Dont forget to buy my present
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
I will be happy, if you remember
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
(Sing to the tune of Deck the Halls)

Chocolates Galore

Grandpa kindly helped his friend design his garden, and he was rewarded with this.

100 pieces of chocolates from one of the top hotels in Singapore

Like all Grandpas, he generously shared them with the kids, much to their delight.

Anyone else needs a landscape designer??

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Tradition has it that wedding anniversary gifts should follow a certain format according to the number of years of marriage.

Traditional Anniversary Gifts by Year
1st - Paper
2nd - Cotton
3rd - Leather
4th - Fruit/Flowers
5th - Wood
6th - Candy or Iron
7th - Wool or Copper
8th - Bronze or Pottery
9th - Pottery
10th - Tin

There are also modern equivalents.
1st - Clocks
2nd - China
3rd - Crystal/ Glass
4th - Appliances
5th - Silver ware
6th - Wood
7th - Desk sets
8th - Leather
9th - Lace / linen
10th - Diamond

Looks like the modern is more generous, huh?

According to the modern equivalent, I should be receiving furniture/watch this year. Imagine, receiving furniture from my hubby as a wedding anniversary present?!? Where would I put it? Too much clutter around the house already.

If I could choose, what piece of furniture would I want? Hmmm, maybe one of those massage chairs, since I do not have much time to go to the spa for a massage. But - ditch the furniture, and give me *bling*. Anytime. Needs little space, and I can always find some place to put it. (No, this post is not a hint to my hubby!)

Coincidentally, hubby got me a watch just last week. And it was not an anniversary gift. Or at least I dont think it was meant to be or he would have kept it until the day to give it to me.

So, what would you be getting (or did you get) this year?

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Gift from God (part 3)

Many questions kept swirling round the wife’s mind. Will her precious daughter be able to accept her physical disability when she grows up? How will she look after herself in old age, should she suffer from a severe form of OI? How much will she need to pay for her medical care in future? Will her siblings be willing to take care of her when her parents leave this world? Will she be ridiculed by her friends when she starts school? Will she be able to even start school? All these questions could not be answered at that time.

Fortunately, the baby did not suffer any fractures during that fall (mentioned in the previous post). The mother observed that this baby had a very high tolerance level for pain. (The baby never cried after each vaccination.) But, she also noticed that this baby hardly smiled. She wondered why? Was her poor baby in so much pain that she could not even smile? No one knew.

At about one year of age, they noticed that the child had very bow legs and was pigeon toed. A visit to the specialist indicated that her left leg was shorter than the right by about one to two cm. They were told that the child could end up walking with a limb if this difference increased significantly. If it was a small difference, special shoes could correct the difference. With this, the Mum started a series of leg massages for the child every day. Not certain that it would work, but praying that whatever little they did could help the bow in her legs straighten out.

They tried to introduce the child to a diet high in calcium - lots of fish bone soup. However, this child, with highly sophisticated taste buds, refused a common baby diet - no porridge, no rice cereals, no same food for two consecutive meals!! She wanted what everyone else was eating or she would not open her mouth. And, at 9 months!! The parents knew they had a difficult child on hand, even without the medical problems!

At 2 years, the child went for a bone mineral (BM) density test. Whilst there are no data on what the BM level of a two year old should be, the test indicated that the child's BM was not alarming low. Phew! It was a relief for the parents.

Whilst they are not able to buy any insurance for this child, you would be pleased to know, that the doctors have now concluded that she probably suffers from a mild form of OI. And, they are really relieved, coz this little girl, simply loves doing all things dangerous - jumping from stairs, sliding down from sofas, jumping on beds, etc.(just like her brother). She does not demonstrate any other symptoms of OI and goes to school and is disciplined like the other children. And, her femur has since straightened out, and her two legs are now of the same length! Now, she even goes on the slide!! You will be happy to know that she now smiles a lot!

She has brought lots of joy and laughter to her home with her constant singing, incessant talking and laughter. She has taught the family how to be thankful for all the simple joys in life, and to count their blessings.

However, the parents are still constantly monitoring the child, and on the look out for any signs that may indicate that life has handed them another screw ball.

After 3 years, her mother is now able to talk about it a little, without getting too emotional. However, there is one BIG question that is still constantly on her mind: Could it have been a wrong diagnosis?? No one knows. But the poor child will be branded for life as suffering from OI, and will always live with the uncertainty of when OI will rear its ugly head again.

This Gift from God turns 3 today! May God continue to pour his Blessings on her!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Asean + Youth Team championships

Just got back from the above tournament in Shah Alam Malaysia, yesterday.

It was a tiring 7 days for the kids and the parents too!

We got off to s shaky start. The malaysian tour bus driver that brought us from Singapore to Malaysia told us that he had never heard of Concorde Hotel, Shah alam - the venue of the tournament. We landed up at Concorde KL, and were told we were at the wrong place, but the bus had already left after dropping us!! So it took us another hour to get him back (the traffic jam was bad!!). By the time we got to Concorde Shah Alam, it was 5.30pm, which meant that the children had been on the road for a good 9 hours, all in high spirits but really tired.

The next day, when the tournament was starting, the parents found out that they had to be team captains. Originally each child from a team was appointed as captain, but we discovered that all the Malaysian teams had a parent / teacher to captain their team. Not wanting our kids to be disadvantaged, we quickly assigned duties to the few parents there, as the teachers had other responsibilities.

After 5 days of competing, our Under 12 team A, came in overall 2nd, and our Under 9 team also took silver. A total of 6 of our players won individual prizes. My son N, was one of those who won an individual medal. He did not loose a single game, until the last. He played really well as he was playing either Board 1 or 2 during the whole tournament - where teams field their best players. My daughter, too played well, losing only one game. She even drew her game with the player from the Malaysian U12 National team. However, she lost her game to her fellow team-mate from her schools team A. She was a little disappointed that she did not get any medals, but we are proud of her nonetheless!!

So, its a day of rest for the kids (and us) today, and its back to more chess games,as the National Age groups start tomorrow!!.