Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Preparing for Blake’s First School Excursion

Blake came home from school one day, with a form tucked away in his school bag. When I took it out and read it, I became super excited! It was a school excursion to Jurong Bird Park! J

I had thought of bringing Blake to the bird park, but after our trips to the Singapore Zoo and Sentosa's Underwater World and Dolphin Lagoon earlier this year (will post about these soon-ish. Hehe.), Sean and I decided to hold off such outings till Blake was older.

Earlier this year, when we went to the zoo

In short, the trip to the zoo – long travelling time (we stay in the East), tons of things to pack (he was still using the stroller back then), and most importantly, Blake was afraid of all the animal shows they had (sound effects were too loud). Sigh.

As for the trip to Sentosa's Underwater World and Dolphin Lagoon, Blake threw such terrible tantrums that we did not even get to see the dolphin show (major bummer for me!). It was one of the few frustrating family outings we have had.

I decided to take this school excursion as an opportunity to see if Blake was ready for more such outings. Besides, with transport, itinerary, and meals all planned by the school, all I have to do is to show up with Blake in school! Hehe. I signed up immediately! J

But being heavily pregnant, and having to deal with a toddler who knows how to throw violent tantrums on my own, meant I had to pack super light without leaving out the important items. Sean could not take the day off as it was his school’s graduation day. I then went about making a list of things to pack, based on the brief itinerary the school provided.

On my list of must-pack were Tiger Balm’s Mosquito Repellent Patch (highly recommended by friends who work in pre-schools), Sunplay Water Kids SPF 60+, extra diapers, raincoat for Blake (disposable poncho for myself), umbrella, his swimming necessities (swim diaper, extra change of clothes, towel), my trusty outdoor camera Canon D20 (waterproof, freeze proof and shock proof!), wet wipes, water, and milk.

I also packed along some snacks and cupcakes, in case Blake or I got hungry before it was time to eat. Being our first school excursion, I had absolutely no idea how meals were settled, and what would be provided. I had originally thought we had to buy our own meals. Haha.

I think I only left my big fat wallet behind, bringing only cash, my debit cards, and identification card. I stuffed it all into a slim pouch, along with my two mobile phones.

Checking back on my list, I had everything, except the raincoat, and mosquito repellent patch.

The mosquito repellent patch was easy to get, seeing how it’s available at all major children’s stores and supermarkets. The raincoat, however, was a little tricky. I’m quite the fussy buyer when it comes to things like that – material, design etc. It did not help that most of the raincoats did not come in Blake’s size – they were all so huge! – I had limited choices to choose from.

I finally settled (yes, settled, cos it was not my top choice) on a Mickey Mouse raincoat that I got from Kiddy Palace.

He seemed to like it though. Haha. Whatever makes my boy happy!

I had wanted to get him a mostly yellow-coloured raincoat, cos it’s the easiest colour to spot in a crowd. But either none of the yellow ones warranted my attention (some of the material used to make the raincoats make me wonder if they were really waterproof!), or there were none in Blake’s size. Sigh.

In any case, I managed to get everything on my list, a few days before the excursion. And, I was extremely happy that I never had to use the raincoat during the excursion! J

Will blog about the actual trip in the next post. Hehe.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sean’s Birthday and the Huggies Surprise!

The hubs is a year older. Sean never really placed much emphasis on his own birthday (it’s just another day to him), but I try to make it special for him yearly.

Last year, I got him Mango Munch from O’ Coffee Club. We had walked past the place about a week ago before his birthday, and he mentioned that it looked really nice and delicious (it is!). Haha. It was the perfect size for our little family as well. Hehe.

This year, I had thought I’d meet Sean for lunch after my appointment with Dr. Lim, give him a treat or something. But lunch was out, because he had the school’s graduation concert rehearsals to attend, from lunch till end of the work day.

So, I thought we could celebrate over dinner, after Blake’s weekly evening swim at the club. But that was cancelled too! We reached the club only to discover that the kiddy pool was closed for cleaning L

It would be another hour or so before dinner time, and we did not really have other plans for the next hour. We decided to pack dinner from the restaurant back to my parents’ place – seeing how my dad and younger sister needed dinner too, and neither of them cooks.

When we reached my parents’ place, we saw that my dad had picked up the Little Tikes 2-in-1 Garden Cart & Wheelbarrow on our behalf! Hehe. I had taken part in the Huggies Cold Storage promotion for it. Purchase $150 worth of Huggies products, and submit the receipt to claim it! But it’s a ‘while stocks last, first come first serve’ type of promotion. So happy we managed to get it J

So anyway, after dinner, we brought it home, and Blake was beyond excited to have it opened!

Daddy’s little helper got into action, from ripping the box apart to taking all the parts out of their plastic packaging, he was “wowing” most of time! He even attempted to imitate Sean hammering the wheels together. Haha. It was pretty funny. Blake picked up the hammer, and started knocking at various parts of the wheelbarrow.

After it was done, Blake attempted to climb into the wheelbarrow like his fire truck (also got it from a Huggies promotion!).

We did not have the chance to show him how to play it properly cos by the time it was done, it was close to his bedtime. And there was still one more surprise to go!

I had packed a brownie (Sean’s favourite) back from the club’s restaurant, and managed to keep it out of his sight. I went into the kitchen to prepare.


After letting Blake have some brownie, we prepared him for bedtime (the standard: milk, brushing of teeth, and a quick shower), and whisked him off to bed.

Overall, it was not that bad, I think. I only forgot to take a family photo! Haha. Oops.

To end this post, here is a video of Blake in the midst of putting the Little Tikes 2-in-1 Garden Cart & Wheelbarrow together:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Taking Passport Photos

When Sean had to travel overseas for work earlier this year, we toyed with the idea of taking it as a chance to go on a family vacation, even though Blake and I will be mostly on our own – it is after all, a work trip for Sean. We didn’t make it in the end cos my passport expired, and Blake didn’t have one. He didn’t even have a photo for his passport. Haha.

During this period of separation, I took it upon myself to be better prepared for similar situations in future. I want to be able to up and go with my boy whenever the hubs needed to travel for work, which isn’t very frequent actually. Haha!

The first baby steps towards that? To take a passport size photo, of cos!

I contemplated bringing him to a professional to get it done, but why should I? I have been taking passport size photos for Sean and myself since we were together. No point paying that kind of money to have flash in my boy’s eyes at such a young age too, right?

So I set up our DIY mini studio on Blake’s new bed, complete with awesome lighting Sean installed to the bed! No photos of that though, cos Blake kept disturbing me. Haha. He was actually getting ready to have his bath. Hence, clad only in his diapers. But in the spur of the moment, I decided to take passport size photos there and then. Haha. He wouldn’t stop rolling around the bed, and playing with his toys. He was getting rather impatient cos he loves his bath time!

Once everything was in place, I sat Blake in front of the white backdrop, which was made up of two sheets of mahjong paper (so not professional at all!). Had to use two sheets cos of the super green wall. Hehe.

When Blake finally sat still in front of the backdrop for a long enough time for me to snap a photo, he just wouldn't look at the camera! He kept looking at his toys. Haha. So I decided to bribe him into looking at the camera. Well, at least in the direction of it.

I took my mobile phone, played a video, and like magic, Blake’s eyes focused straight onto the video. Then came the trial and error part; where to best place the video so that Blake will look like he’s looking straight into the camera.

I tried to the side of the camera, on top of the camera and below the camera. Here are some of the shots taken:

I know, super cute, right? Hehe.

Must be something in the video that's making him laugh. Hehe.

Honestly, after taking these photos, I was majorly happy with one of them. Here it is, after I’ve edited it to the required passport photo size:

After my very proud moment of achieving this feat, I uploaded the photos onto my Facebook. Then a friend of mine asked, “Why isn’t Blake wearing any t-shirt?”

At first I thought, must he wear a t-shirt? He’s just a baby/toddler after all. Then I went around asking and it seems like, he does have to. Sigh. So, although I did get a good shot, Blake was considered “naked”. I had to re-do this whole passport photo-taking thing. And, it took me a couple of days to finally get around to doing it again.

This time round, we took the photos in the living room, on our sofa. Blake was sitting very still, smiling from time to time during his afternoon TV time. Perfect timing, right? So, without disturbing his TV time much, I put up the white backdrop behind him. Once everything was up, I grabbed my camera and placed myself in front of him to snap away!

I was obviously blocking his view of the television, but he obliged for as long as he could. Here are some of the better shots that I like:

By about this point, where I must’ve taken tons of shots already, Blake was getting a little annoyed with me – I was blocking his view, after all – and he tried to move so that he can continue watching his cartoon. Haha. I had to hold him down.

Holding him down was a little ticklish for him. Haha.

“I give up! I surrender! Take all you want!” :P

Still kind of unsure whether any of the shots I took was passable, I emailed a couple of the shots to my aunt, who works at the S.I.R. building, and she checked with her colleagues if the photos (after I edited them) met the requirements for making a passport.

And we have a winner!!! J

And just for fun, I bought photo paper and printed out a couple of these “passport photos” of Blake. Hehe.

I even went as far as buying a passport photo puncher, so that I don’t have to use pen knife ruler to cut out the photos. Haha. Also, with the passport photo puncher, I won’t go wrong with the size! Hehe.

This whole experience was pretty exciting for me actually. Haha. And I can say, for sure now, that I don't need to go anywhere to pay $8-$10 to get instant shots taken at photo shops. I can do it all at home! I can even edit the photos until I'm satisfied. Haha!

Oh ya, I still haven’t had my passport renewed or Blake’s passport done. Talk about procrastinating! Haha!

* * *

And a big shout out to my hubs, Sean.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Flashback Friday #15

20 June 2011: Cam-whoring strikes again!! Playtime with my baby boy in his playroom (now his bedroom). Seeing how his room used to look makes me wonder how we ever managed to keep all his toys away! And isn't he just OH SO CUTE in these photos? Hehe.

Dance, baby, dance!

* * *

Mini-update: Been up to my neck with a couple of things at home, and I must admit, I have been pretty lazy during this period (not just with posting entries, but with the housework too... ). Absolutely no motivation to do anything! I have so many entries all done halfway, all cos I'm waiting for the juice to start flowing again. Yes, I'm procrastinating. Sigh. Let me get my momentum back. I'm sure I will. Soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blake’s 2nd Birthday Celebration at Home

After Blake’s celebration in school, and a trip to the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery, it was time to get down to working on his birthday celebration at home.

I made these little octopus party favors, in line with his party theme – Octonauts – a cartoon about the marine life. It’s relatively easy to make, but boy oh boy, it was really painful on the fingers! But it was all worth it, seeing how it all turned out J

The initial plan for Blake’s party this year was to have both BBQ and buffet. We were lucky to have my uncle book a BBQ pit within the condominium he’s staying at for the celebration, on the actual date of Blake’s birthday! It’s also my mom’s birthday (same date, different year!), so we combined the birthday celebrations and made it a big party! J

Unfortunately, it rained that evening, so all plans to use the BBQ pit were abandoned. Everything, including the buffet, from the BBQ pit was shifted into my uncle’s home before the rain poured. PHEW! And thankfully, there was still quite a good buffet spread to feed all the hungry guests.

The birthday boy spent most of the time in my uncle’s entertainment room with Sean. He was either shy, or it was cooler to be in the room (with aircon switched on and all).

Regardless, when it was time to sing the birthday song and cut the cake, my boy made his grand entrance, after a change of clothes.

And once again, when he saw his birthday cake, he just stood there and went, “Wow!” Haha, this boy is so cute J

Then it was birthday song singing, making a wish and cutting the cake – the standard tradition for all birthdays.

After which, my boy was eager to leave. Haha. He wanted to go to the playground to play, and so he said, “Bye! See you!” to all the guests, while receiving presents and red packets along the way.

But it wasn’t over yet! It was now my mom’s turn! J

The eager beaver could no longer wait, and started to pout. He became a little grouchy when we kept stalling his time to get to the playground. We had to make sure the rain had stopped completely before bringing him to the playground.

At last, Sean took off with him, and he was a happy boy!

After playing for a while, and realizing that the playground was really wet, Blake decided it was time to head back. When he reached, he was pleased to see the cakes all distributed, with his share still on the table, waiting for him.

He also became a little more adventurous with the cake, and decided to “knight” the leader of the Octonauts. Haha.

After finishing his cake, Blake opened one of his presents! My aunt had wanted to see his expression. Haha.


Yes, he was mighty please with his Lego Duplo gift (he received two that evening! J), and in a timely manner too! Sean and I were planning to get him some of these blocks to play with, but were deciding between Lego Duplo and Mega Bloks. We couldn’t make up our minds! Now, it’s been decided for us. Hehe.

The night ended early, as the party was held on a Sunday evening, and everyone either had to work or head to school the next day.

Such a blessed long weekend Blake and us had. Truly amazing.

Once again, I would like to thank Bryan from BLJH Photography for taking such beautiful photos. These memories will go a long way thanks to you J

I would also like to thank Lucille from Lea Vanilla Rosettes for baking one of the most amazing cakes I’ve ever had, and for being such an awesome baker, accommodating to my requests to have all the characters up for both of Blake’s cakes J

Thank you both so much!

And to all who attended Blake’s birthday parties, and showered him with gifts and red packets, thank you so, so much! Just to let you know, all the money collected from red packets were all deposited into Blake’s education account. Yup, we set up an account especially for Blake’s education! J

Ahh, another wonderful year has gone past, but not all parties are over! The next party to plan is my baby girl’s first month celebrations. Hehe.

P.S. Blake was so high that night, that he couldn't sleep. He kept both Sean and me up the whole night. I think he slept wayyy past midnight! And the very next day, when he had to return to school........


Related posts:
Blake’s 2nd Birthday – Preparations
Blake’s 2nd Birthday Celebrations in School