Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Little Expedition To City Square Mall

We popped by the City Square Mall over the weekend to check out their Mother’s Day flea market, as well as to support our blogger friend, Mint.

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The flea market was not big, but I always enjoy walking around flea markets in an air-conditioned place. And of course, nice to have a short catch-up with Mint. =)

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Then we spent the rest of our stay at the outdoor playground just outside the mall. It was a small playground, but the girls had loads of fun as usual. Playgrounds work for them anytime. Now that they are old enough to play on their own, and I don’t really need to watch over them as they play, I’ve fallen in love with playground time too.

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Joey spent 99% of the whole time on this one wheel. When I finally buy a big house with a backyard, I’m going to plant a big tree and hang a wheel like that too in my backyard.

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The entirety of the playground. Extremely small as you can see. Yet, it took much effort for us to pull the kids away from it to go for dinner.

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That was how we spent our Saturday. =)

Friday, April 27, 2012

From Daddy’s Era

One fine day, my mother-in-law was clearing out the storeroom and brought out a toy from the ancient of days. Apparently, it was a game that entertained Papa Isaiah and his brother during their childhood days, and they would spend hours playing the game with their dad. I’m sure some of you know this game called Carrom, or have even played it before. But I haven’t played it before. This game is totally not my era. Remember I’m only 18 years old.

The girls however got very excited when they saw the carrom board. It was something new and refreshing to them. They are not familiar with antiques, you see. And not everyone appreciates vintage. But my girls – They totally see it as some treasure dug out from the depths of our…. storeroom.

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And thus begun an hour of bonding between the Papa and the girls. I can imagine Papa Isaiah must be quite an expert at the game, seeing how confidently he positioned the carrom pieces, and how he did his shots. The girls were completely won over by his charm all over again.

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Ahem, pardon the random mixture of chinese chess in this container of carrom pieces. I bet it was another of those games Papa Isaiah played as a kid. I have to commend my mother-in-law’s special talent at keeping things safe for YEARS. It’s been 30 years, and everything was still intact.

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The girls all tried playing the game to the best of their abilities. Joey, being the elder one, obviously had more developed motor skills, and could send some of the carrom pieces into the goal pockets after a while. Jayne didn’t bother trying very hard. She would take the carrom pieces and put them directly into the goal pockets and proudly declared herself the winner many times over. Not playing fair of course, but who cares when everyone’s having fun?? =P

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Though carrom may not become the girls’ favourite game, but this passing-on of childhood games from generation to generation is so precious and meaningful. I should teach them zero-point sometime soon. Quite sure they would fall in love with it just like I did as a kid. =D

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Family Time In Asia’s Context

The culture of eating is so deeply ingrained in the culture of Asia that it’s even become the way we greet one another when we meet. “Have you eaten?” is a commonly-used rhetorical question that does not require an answer. In fact, I don’t even think when I’m asked such a question. I just blurt out ‘Yes, thanks!’ auto-mode.

I remember feeling very touched by my dad’s gesture when I was pregnant. Whenever I went back to visit my parents, he would ask me what I felt like eating that day and that he would bring me anywhere to eat the food I wanted to eat even if it meant a long drive away. To my dad, a traditional Asian family man, his way of showing his love for me is to make sure I got to eat my favourite food. It was a simple and most direct expression of his love for me.

So now on a (almost) weekly basis, I would bring the kids to visit my parents, and we would always go for a nice meal somewhere. Dinnertime with my parents is always heart-warming, relaxing and very happy. I don’t like talking on the phone, so I don’t call my parents much. It’s usually during such dinners when we update each other about happenings in our lives.

Recently, we had dinner at one of our all-time favourite dim sum restaurants – Swee Choon. Everyone in the family loves the food there. Even my kids would eat super a lot every time we dine there. If you are a lover of dim sum and you have not tried this restaurant, I strongly urge you to go try. It’s second to none.

Swee Choon operates from 6pm to 10am everyday (Open till 12 noon on public holidays).

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Meal times with my parents around are always easier. I wish I have my mum’s patience in getting the girls to eat. The girls love hanging out with their grandma and would bug her all throughout dinner, which I totally don’t mind. =P

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Always glad to have my younger brother around. He’s an air steward, so he’s not around on some weekends. Love chatting with him about anything and everything under the sun. You start to appreciate your sibling when you are all grown up. That is really so true. Me and my brother used to fight a lot when we were small. I’ve always suspected that he hates my guts. Haha. Thankfully, now we are best of friends. I miss our late night chats before I got married.

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Swee Choon is always packed, and the best is to go at 6pm when it opens for the day. If you go any later, you might have to queue outside the restaurant for a bit.

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Our table of yummy goodness! They serve very fast, so once you are seated, you don’t need to wait long at all. That is just perfect, because once you see the photographs of the dishes on the menu, your mouth starts salivating automatically.

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Drunken wine chicken (cold dish)

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Deep-fried beancurd with pork floss

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The shop’s specialty dish: Xiao Long Bao! [That’s basically dumpling with soup trapped inside. Extremely addictive & satisfying]

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Chee Cheong Fun. Smooth & slightly chewy. They serve this soaked in soya sauce, and provide dipping dishes of sweet sauce & chilli sauce.

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Braised chicken feet. Nobody does it better!!

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Bean Paste Pancake. Extremely, supremely good. I am not a fan of such a dish, but whenever I visit Swee Choon, I coo and woo at how awesome it is.

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Pork dumplings. Very, very, very, very juicy. You have to try it to know.

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Chicken soup for my girls to eat with their rice. My mum told me that she could tell from the taste that no MSG was added and it was pure chicken goodness. I have to agree it tastes very good.

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Usually, we would order a dish of green veggies to make it a more complete meal. =)

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Swee Choon is located at 185/ 187/ 189/ 191 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208882. Average spending per pax is $15-20.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jayne Can Read! (& A Video to Prove It!)

A girl is at her cutest when she starts to talk. That’s totally my personal opinion, but I say it because I’ve been wowed by my girls’ cuteness when they started out reading. We adults may not think it’s such a big deal now that we’ve been talking non stop for years. But to a kid, a baby who used to only communicate by crying, screaming, shouting & making alien sounds, this is BIG. I may be a little over the top on Mummy’s pride, but that’s one huge step, I tell ya.

This is so huge that I have to show you a video clip. Baby Jayne’s voice is so incredibly cute I cannot stop giggling.

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She recited bits and pieces of that story from what she heard her sister read before. It’s not perfect, but definitely commendable. Somehow, with a sister she can pattern and copycat after, she’s been improving rather quickly in her speech and reading. In fact, I talk to her almost everyday on the phone when I’m working in office, and sometimes, I cannot even differentiate whether it was Joey or Jayne! I feel so proud of my little baby. =)

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Loving to read is always a good thing to have. =)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Mummy’s Revelation

It’s funny how encouragements come our way sometimes. More often than not, they come when we least expect it.

One of the many reasons why I’ve kept my blog alive all these years is because I needed encouragement and motivation to stay a happy mum. The blog is pretty much a happy one – 95% of the contents are happy and fun. As I write about the happy stuffs I’ve done with my kids and the hilarious things they’ve said, the happiness factor is doubled. Having a blog is also a way of speaking to myself. Everyone can do with positive self-talk.

That of course does not mean that my journey as a mum is a smooth-sailing one without any hiccups, disappointments or frustrations. Quite on the contrary, I face a dosage of a little of each almost on a daily basis. Coupled with some happy, fun and enjoyable moments in between, of course. Motherhood in itself is contradictory and very complicated. Just like any human being, a mum goes through emotional roller-coasters and experience extreme feelings of ecstasy, intense frustrations and guilt all rolled into one. I would be utterly honest to say that on some really bad days, I wish I don’t have kids and am back to my swinging happily-married-with-no-kids days. Those days are rare, but they do exist, sorry to burst your bubble.

Just as I was having one of my not-so-good days, trying my darnest best to be a good mum yet feeling angry & frustrated at how bad my best is, I read a tweet posted by a colleague. It says, “….. on days like these, I am reminded that for this season, I am here for my kids.”

Out of the blue, that tweet spoke to me in such a deep way.

I’ve never really seen my situation that way before. I’ve complained silently in my heart and to my hubby before that very often, I feel like I have to sacrifice many things simply because I needed to stay home with my kids and take care of them. I cannot stay out late with my friends, sit inside the main hall for Sunday services, serve more in my church ministries or go all the way in my job. While I do love my kids and enjoy spending time with them, I lament that I have to forgo certain things in life simply because I am a mother of two young kids and I needed to take care of them. I sometimes feel like a naggy old hag, nagging at myself and knowing nothing’s gonna change.

But the truth is, motherhood is a calling. I am called to be a mum to my two kids at a time like this, to care for them, to nurture them, to coach them, to guide them and simply, to be there for them. FOR THIS SEASON, I AM HERE FOR MY KIDS.

It is amazing how God works. He used one tweet to open up my heart to see the simple truth. Just a click, and my mind set was completely changed. I felt like my whole thinking had been transformed, and instantaneously, I felt liberated. From that moment on, I embraced every moment I spent with my kids and there was no more dread or negative feelings if I have forgo something just to accommodate my kids’ schedule. It all made perfect sense to me now. Only I, and no one else, can perform that role as The J Babies’ Mummy. And even if it meant I had no time to do anything else, that’s okay.

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Photo taken godzillion years ago

I just love it when God uses a human method to send me a timely divine message. It reminds me of how much God loves me. He wants me to become a better person, a better woman, a better mum. And he wants me to be happy.

Now, I dare say God approves of social media. =P

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekly Family Breakfast Mornings

Not too long ago, we have designated Saturday mornings as our weekly family breakfast morning. Everyone wakes up early to go for breakfast together and usually at different locations just for the fun of it.

The Saturday that just passed, we had breakfast at one of the coffee shops nearby to where we live, and used to be where Papa Isaiah lived as a kid. And what a great time we had together. Saturday mornings have become our new favourite part of the week.

It was a wet morning, as most mornings are now. But the rain was not able to deter us. We had our favorite Bak Kut Teh for breakfast. Super heavy breakfast, I know. But super fulfilling.

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My girl doesn’t look too pleased because she had wanted to eat Mc’Donalds breakfast instead. LOL.

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I’ve always been a lover of traditional coffee shop Kopi-O. I’m not exactly a Starbucks fan.

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Our beautiful breakfast. This is easily the best BKT in Singapore, in my opinion.

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After breakfast, we took a quick walk into the wet market to get something. I actually like ‘window-shopping’ at such stalls. So many things to see! And I guess, as we become more and more commercialised, such old-school wet markets are going to disappear in time to come.

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Then we spotted an Uncle cutting up a dried salted fish. That fish was huge! The nice Uncle even offered to let my kids try, and that was when I quickly shoved them away, laughing nervously. Nice to watch, but no thanks, Uncle.

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Kids love kiddy rides, whether they look new or old. I particularly like this one too, because it costs only 20 cents per ride. Some ridiculous kiddy rides in shopping mall cost $2 each! That’s like 10 times more expensive for the same kind of experience? Wait, what experience??

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That basically wrapped up our Saturday breakfast time. Awesome, isn’t it? Joey says it should be Mc’Donalds’ turn next Saturday. We’ll see. =P

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In other news, I’ve got a new post up on www.whiteasmilk.com. :)http://www.whiteasmilk.com/2012/04/23/capturing-the-old/

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