Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mommy's Big Day Out

It's been a while since I went out at night, baby-free. So when the first opportunity presented itself on 11 January 2013, to head out with my sisters, I took it, and we had an awesome time! The only thing that was missing to make it even better was my brother, who's in UK studying. Definitely going to have a siblings' night out when he's back during the holidays!

Anyway, that night was a simple sisters' night out of ice cream at Ice Cream Chef, and later, snacks at a bistro that my brother-in-law was performing at, and home after. We headed out only after 8.30pm, and we stayed out pretty late. I remember only getting home between 1am-2am that day. We managed to catch up on a lot of things, and we decided to do it again - ice cream then snack/dinner at the bistro. But this time, we will have ice cream at Vivocity's Ben & Jerry's, since the bistro was nearby, and I had Ben & Jerry's vouchers which can only be used at that outlet. So it was set. We would have another sisters' night two weeks after, on 25 January!

In the days leading up to the next sisters' night out, I made arrangements to meet up with Wendy for lunch. Wendy and I became friends through a parenthood facebook page, The New Age Parents. She had loaned me her breast pumps when she knew mine had to be sent for servicing, and I wanted to return them after mine was all fixed. She's a major lifesaver! Thank you, Wendy! :D

The day before I was supposed to meet up with Wendy, I was chatting online with Ruby. We, too, became friends on The New Age Parents. I was telling Ruby that I'll be meeting Wendy for lunch, and invited her to join us. The more, the merrier! We then re-scheduled our lunch date to Friday, 25 January!

Boy oh boy! Was I excited for 25 January or what? Hehe.

So the day came, and after my parents picked Blake up for school, I got ready to head out. We had planned to meet at United Square to have lunch at Swensen's, but Wendy's daughter, Ashlyn, was not feeling too well that day so we moved the meeting place to AMK Hub, where it's nearer for her. She had said earlier that she would just pick the breast pumps up, and not stay for lunch! But Ruby and I did not let it happen. Hehe. Ruby was talking to Ashlyn, while I was persuading Wendy to stay for lunch, and it worked! Hehe. We're so sneaky :P

Needless to say, lunch was awesome! And after our meet up, we talked about the things we could do together when all our children are in school! Hehe. I cannot wait! I'm so psyched! Hehe.

Thanks for the photos, Ruby!

From L to R: Me carrying Nakayla, Wendy carrying Ambrose, Ruby, Ashlyn, and Daryl (Ruby's boy! Same age as Blake. Hehe.)

After lunch and walking around NTUC with Wendy, I headed home to rest and get ready for the night out with my sisters!

The moment Sean reached home, I called my younger sister, Sonia, and we were off to Vivocity! My elder sister, Clara, couldn't join us as she was working late that day. So it was just the two of us enjoying yummilicious ice cream!

Mine was Toffee-do (can't remember the full name), and Sonia had Clusterfluff (on the right)

Just when we finished our ice cream and were queuing up to buy some water, my elder sis called to say she was on her way to pick us up. We rushed like mad from one end of Vivocity to the other. Haha. Quite a funny sight actually. Haha. Reached there with seconds to spare before her car pulled up. Phew! Daddy always said, "the person can wait for the car, but the car cannot wait for the person!" Hehe.

When we reached the bistro, the first thing all of us wanted (besides drinks) was food! To our dismay, a lot of the bistro's food were out of stock. Each time we placed our order, the waiter will return to tell us it was sold out. Shocking or what? So anyway, somehow my elder sis managed to get us a complimentary plate of Chilli Crab with French loaf! It was not much, but luckily, she was having a mini gathering of her own so she had her friend bring down more food for us later. Hehe.

My elder sis

My Shirley Temple

Chilli Crab with French Loaf

It was definitely different from the last sisters' night out cos we had food that night, the bistro was less crowded, and it was just us sisters. But it was still a good night out, and Sonia and I met new people. Haha. And, I think we got home even later that night! Oops. Hehe. So thankful to have such an understanding husband! :D

Now, if only my brother is back in Singapore, then we can have a siblings' night out! Yay!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flashback Friday #28

9 August 2011: It's Singapore's birthday! We spent most of the day at home cos we kind of guessed that most places will be really crowded, and we were not in the mood to be squeezing our way through to anywhere. Hehe.

'Show mommy your cute little tooth!'

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My 41 Days of Confinement

** long post ahead

After reading the title, I know some of you might be thinking, why 41 days of confinement? Well, I don’t plan on having anymore children, and I want to get this confinement right so that I won’t have a worse health than what I began with (before Blake). It’s also good to have an extra pair of helping hands for a longer period whenever possible! Hehe.

If you’re wondering why we’re stopping at two, it’s partially because Sean and I don’t want to be outnumbered, and honestly, taking care of one toddler and a baby at the same time is more than we can handle. And I really don't want to go through the whole newborn stage again. It's really tiring! On top of that, our place only has two other bedrooms, and we intend to let them each have their own rooms after they hit puberty. Also, since we don't have our own car anymore, taking the taxi will be just nice with the four of us!

Besides all that, the rising cost of living here in Singapore is also a major factor to consider. For a family surviving on a single full-time income, having one child is comfortable with some excess, while two could make things a little tight at times (imagine buying all the milk powder and diapers at a go!). If we were to have any more than that, I got a feeling I’ll be a really grumpy mother, constantly worrying about the finances. And that’s not good at all cos I still want to shop for myself too!

I must say, the ‘Stop at 2’ campaign from the 70’s really got me thinking a lot about this. Great campaign, if you ask me!

Taken from Wikipedia

So anyway, back to the topic.

As some of you might know by now, my confinement is kind of a part-time thing. I opted for a day confinement nanny (CN) because I’m not used to having strangers stay overnight at my place. I feel really uncomfortable at that thought. In fact, I was actually against this whole hiring of CN idea, and I had planned to do confinement on my own (gung-ho or outright silly?), but my mom insisted and after thinking over what she said, and talking to a couple of mommy friends, I went to look for an agency to hire one. Boy! Am I glad to have listened to mom or what?! Mothers do know what’s best for their children! J

I didn’t go with the live-in CN like my mother had hoped, but all the help I needed was really just in the day when Sean’s at work. Besides extra help when it comes to looking after Nakayla, I also have someone to cook all my meals, wash the dishes, do the laundry, sweep and mop the floor for me! I even get to rest and sleep in the day, but I seldom do, cos I was either fussing around the planning of Nakayla’s full month celebration, or I’ll be catching up on my tv series. Oops! Sometimes, I wonder how my CN is able work non-stop, doing everything all in the day. Perhaps a good night’s sleep really does wonders to a person. Overall, she is really pretty good. Trained by a local private hospital too! She has also been making sure that I take all my herbal soups and drinks. That’s another plus. Haha. But I gave up on the Longan Red Dates drink after two weeks of it.  Haha. The food she cooks is very often to what me and my husband likes, and she cooks really well, especially her fried beehoon!

Just look at how much Blake enjoys the fried beehoon!

Through this period, my confinement nanny had been really understanding. When I told her I wanted to head out for all sorts of reasons, she told me to go ahead. She only asked that, if I do head out, to stay out of the rain, to avoid eating food I cannot take but really want (read: ice cream!), and to be back home before Blake returns from school. I had forgotten all about the time once, and I was stuck in a place rather far away from home due to heavy rain and terrible traffic. I got home so late that day!

She also told me to be careful as my body has yet to recover fully (it was about a week and a half after confinement started when I began complaining. Haha!). When Sean was on leave in the middle of the confinement, she also encouraged us to go out and spend some time with each other while she was still around to help out. Most of the time, we went out only to do grocery shopping. Haha. What awesome life we have. Haha. So thankful to have her around and giving Sean and me this private time to spend together.

I had opt to have all the herbal soups and tonics for the first 28 days of confinement, even though I never liked any of this Chinese herb stuff, but I thought it would be good for me. From the first day, my CN asked me what I like and dislike to eat, how I like my dishes (salty or sweet) etc. So every time after she boils these herbal soups, she will have a taste of it first, warning me if it's bitter. She even made some of them sweet to mask the taste. Hehe. And, she made sure that I finish them all! And every time I did, she will praise me like I'm a little child. Haha.

41 days of having someone around to talk to, to have meals with at home and to help with a newborn (major plus for me when I have to run errands!), things were so different after she left. On the bright side, Blake spends most parts of the day at school now, so I can concentrate on Nakayla and the household chores fully when I'm on my own - just like when Blake was younger. Only difference is, if I were to bring Nakayla out, I have to be home before Blake returns home from school.

Another person I had the pleasure to meet during my confinement days was my Jamu massage masseuse, Eja. I never had Jamu massage after I delivered Blake cos I was taken care of by my mom and grandma, and we didn’t go looking for a masseuse. I was pretty excited about this honestly! Hehe.

I had eight sessions of Jamu massage altogether, all concentrating on my tummy area. I must say, after the first session, my tummy reduced greatly. I was so happy! I have no photographic evidence though. I totally forgot all about it until all 8 sessions were all over. I didn’t even get a photo with my awesome masseuse! Sigh.

I can tell you this though, after eight sessions, I am able to wear at least half of all my pre-pregnancy clothes now. After I had Blake, two years back, it took me at least 6 months to get to the size my tummy is currently at now. Eja told me to continue with the binding (traditionally, tummies are to be bind for at least 40 days), else the whole thing would be a complete waste. She also taught me methods on how to reduce the saggy skin (that’s the bulk of my bulge)! Awesome or what? Hehe. We got along so well that she even invited me to her daughter’s wedding! J

I really have to thank my lucky stars for meeting two very amazing persons during my confinement. Prior to meeting them, I had read about bad experiences some mommies had during their confinement. That got me truly worried! So it was a big sigh of relief for me! Phew!

And because I'm so pleased with both my confinement nanny, and Jamu massage masseuse, I'm going to share their contact details with you!

My confinement nanny's name is Sun Mei Ying 孙媚瑛. If you're looking for a confinement nanny, do contact her at 8446 7815. Tell her you got her number from Mabel, the lady with the baby girl who's umbilical cord didn't drop off till 5 weeks or so later. Haha.

As for my masseuse, Eja, you can contact her at 8439 4351. I'm not sure if she will be able to remember me, cos the time we spent together was really short. But you could try telling her my name, and that she invited me to her daughter's wedding. Hehe.

I must say, this confinement was definitely better than the last. I made new friends, felt more relaxed in my own home, and the best plus plus ever - expressing milk in the middle of the living room, anytime I want! Haha. I guess it also helped that it was year end, the weather was cooler, and Sean was clearing his leave. I was also prepared for the worse. Blake wasn't an easy baby to care for back then, so this time round, I'm a little more prepared - mentally, emotionally and physically.

41 days of confinement... a blink of an eye and it's over. Another blink of an eye, and Blake will be three years old, and Nakayla will be one. Time, it passes so fast when you least expect it to!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flashback Friday #27

8 August 2011: In the month of August, in honor of our nation’s birthday, most museums in Singapore offered free entry to all Singaporeans. We took this opportunity to bring Blake out on a little excursion! :) And, the first museum we went to is the National Museum!

Blake was asleep when we arrived, and only woke up when we were on our way down this spiral slope, just before we started the tour around the museum. He was grouchy and really hungry - he cried real loud for his milk! Fortunately for us, there wasn't anyone but us in that area then. We quickly made milk for Blake and gave it to him. With his belly filled, he was a happy baby again!

Playing with the equipment they provided at the entrance

At the pre-world war II era, Blake was particularly drawn to a couple of paintings. It was of those with natural landscape. He kept wanting Sean to go back to the same set of paintings, just for him to look at them. Pretty amazing! Hehe.

Blake had a lot of fun there, but he got really scared and freaked out when we entered the World War II area. I’m guessing it’s either the vibes there, or babies can really sense things.

After the WWII area, we moved on to the happier days of Singapore, and Blake was back to his happy self again! We ended the day with a delicious meal at Raffles City, before heading home :)

Museum Opening Hours:

Singapore History Gallery
10am to 6pm, Daily
Last admission at 5.30pm

Singapore Living Galleries
10am to 8pm, Daily
Free admission from 6pm to 8pm
Last admission at 7.30pm

For more information, visit http://www.nationalmuseum.sg

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nakayla's Full Month Celebration

Before I start on that day's events, the day before Nakayla's full month celebrations, was the day she turned a month old. Traditionally, we were supposed to cut or shave her hair, trim her finger nails and toe nails. But we did none of that. Very different from when Blake turned a month old. When Blake turned a month old, we trimmed a little of his hair (he had so little to begin with!), one of his finger nails and one of his toe nails as a significance.

On the day of Nakayla's full month celebration, things were a little rush as we were holding a luncheon at Roland Restaurant, instead of dinner at home, which was the case for Blake.

I would just like to say how lucky I had been to have made a couple of new mommy friends in 2012, one of whom was Regina! It actually came as a surprised to me when I discovered later on that her father was none other than Roland of Roland Restaurant! My dad and her father used to play badminton together, and we frequent the restaurant on special occasions. My parents also held their wedding dinner there! Can I just say that it completely slipped my mind to consider the restaurant for the celebrations?

It only dawned onto me after I told Regina what a headache it was for me to find a location to hold the celebration as I needed a bigger place than my home for it, and my two original choices were out because of some circumstances considered - weather being the biggest factor. That was when she suggested Roland Restaurant, and within weeks, everything fell into place nicely. Headache gone!

Ok, back to the day's events, I'm going to let the photos do the talking. Haha.

Arrived a little before 12 noon to pack the red eggs the restaurant
very kindly provided into the gift boxes I put together

Timothy dropped by with gifts and left before eating! He brought me a mad awesome gift!

Booties from my mom

Crazy mommy removing the blanket to show off baby girl's pretty clothes

With my confinement nanny

Salad prawns! Sean and my favourite!

And the feasting begins!

My boy eating on his own

Yum yums!

Uncle Roland (carrying baby Renae) came by a while after Regina arrived and was shocked when he saw my dad (in brighter red polo tee) :)

With my grandma

Nakayla with grandaunt (二姑婆) Lanyang

With Yang Ming and Carol, both of whom are my sister's friends, but have treated me like I'm their little sister! If you're looking for wedding emcees, look for them! They make one awesome husband-wife team on stage! Hehe.

Nakayla with grandaunt (姨婆) Gim Keng

Father and son enjoying private moments together

This little girl is my cousin Olicia, making her Blake and Nakayla's second youngest aunt!
She's only nine months older than Blake! They are born in different years though.
Their youngest aunt, Ella, was not born yet. Hehe.

And it was meal time for Nakayla before the whole event wrapped up and everyone headed home.

But first...

Family photos!

Got home after the awesome meal at Roland Restaurant, and I started to unwrap all the gifts. Hehe.

Remember I mentioned earlier that Timothy had one awesome gift for me (among the many others he brought for Blake and Nakayla)? THIS WAS IT!

Ben & Jerry's Vouchers!!!!

But that wasn't the only awesome gift I received. Look what owners of Tree & Bee gave me!

So beautifully wrapped!

And my favourite cupcake flavors from Twelve Cupcakes!

I want to thank all who came down bearing gifts and red packets for the celebration, all who were unable to attend but still sent well wishes and gifts, and all who helped me make this full month celebration an awesome one! :D

And a big thanks to Bryan from BLJH Photography for the beautiful photos!