Saturday 31 October 2009

Birthday Bash!

Ethan & Talia turned 3 & 1 ! Their birthdays are just 2 weeks apart so we had a combined birthday party for them on Children's Day. The kids loved the cake that was lovingly baked by Ah Mah, and Ethan helpfully blew Talia's candle out for her!
We had a simple Ice Cream party and with help from Aunty Sharon & Aunty Cheryl, it was quite a bit of fun for the kids.
The Birthday Boy certainly had a great time at his own party. Aunty Sharon lent him her camera and he had a great time snapping away!
But the highlight of the party was probably when all their friends came along bringing their favourite bikes, cars and scooters and the ensuing excitement of running, driving, chasing and screaming that followed!

Even little Talia got her fair share of happy driving before retiring for her morning nap....

Daddy's party-blowers were quite a hit too! The kids loved them and discovered the new skill of multi-tasking -- cycling while blowing them and using them to flick passing kids!
It was quite hilarious to watch the kids having a crazy time with each other and thanks to Aunty Sharon who captured these moments on her camera. Although it was exhausting preparing for the party it was also very heartwarming seeing the kids having such a memorable time together. I'm really grateful for the warm support of our families and feel very blessed for the friendships that we and our kids have here.
Happy Birthday Ethan & Talia! May you always be surrounded in the warm knowledge that you are deeply loved!

Monday 19 October 2009

Playtime Buddies

Mom: Ethan and Talia are enjoying their playtimes together much more with Talia becoming more mobile, expressive and capable of playing with her brother, whom she really looks up to with expressions of rapt admiration!

Dad: Really is nice to see them get along so well. Talia will allow Ethan to play with her toys and he will (usually) teach her how to use them rather than take them away to a corner. "Talia, this is blocks Talia!"
Mom: Her generous big brother has taught her how to appreciate blocks, balls......

Mom: ...and of course his treasured car!! I must say he has been very good in sharing with her (and others) and clearly enjoys taking her on rides and even trying to teach her how to drive!

Mom: His lessons on the joys of sharing have only just begun, but we are quite proud to see our two kids get along so well and even passers by have to break into smiles when they see these two cackling with delight!
Dad: See his protective arm around his sister. Look in the video and see how he grabs her hand and places it on the steering wheel to teach her.... then laughs in delight! We sure hope they continue to appreciate one another as they get older!

Sunday 18 October 2009


Ethan's just got his first chopsticks from Por Por and has been eager to try them out! Here he is trying them out on his donut peach at lunch. Its a surprisingly simple and easy idea -- 3 simple rings for toddlers to slip their fingers through and learn how to use chopsticks in under 5 minutes! (2 mins if you are a gadgety guy like Ethan!)
Of course, after tiring of the donut peach (and after it has disappeared into his tummy), Ethan decides to try picking up his little sister with his newfound gadget....

Friday 16 October 2009


Ethan's cycling! Daddy is so excited but I'm not there to see it! He's had a tricycle for a while but just got the hang of moving his feet is circles. Ohhhh... he likes the speed. Here he is maneuvering quite expertly through the obstacle course of our corridors, looking quite pleased with himself at his new found capabilities.

Thursday 8 October 2009

My Son, Ethan

I had to write a descriptive piece about something to think about improving our powers of imagery. So I decided to write "My Son, Ethan." Of course this pic shows two of my favourite cute animals but this particular piece is about the one on the left. Enjoy!

It is funny how a name sticks with you. Your parents leafed through pages of books and consulted wise family members to choose a good one for you (now we surf the Internet) and voila! Slapped on the back, you clear your airways and enter the world with a voracious yell. Your name is bestowed. It becomes distinctly you and you are that name. My son was given a name – Ethan. Now, despite the infinite choices that bombarded us and some which nearly stuck, it is clear that he could have never been any other thing – Ethan was the only possibility.

“Windows into the soul” is what they call them… eyes that is. He sports two magnificent specimens. They’re wonderfully formed into almonds – that’s what people constantly say. I’ve never thought much of almonds before, but now I think they’re beautiful. His eyes are topped with a double serving of eyelids and long lashes that would make any mascara masquerading teenager green with envy.

Before he could talk he would speak volumes with those eyes. They could wrench your heart from the cavity of your chest, and just as easily melt it while you crumbled to the floor. They were his voice, but they were also his weapons – wielded as skilfully as any stone that flew from sling to a giant’s head. Yes, whole armies of our frustration and anger were felled with those eyes. Yet weapons also reveal weakness, and his too opened wide marvellous gateways into the fortress of his soul. He didn’t mind you see, for this young boy instinctively trusted the two giants who named him. When he could talk he would scamper energetically around the living room loudly declaring which toys he would conquer next. “I’m not sleepy!” announced the trumpeted cry, but his eyes gave him away. Those windows into his soul were wide as ever, but they became ever so lightly cloudy and moved imperceptibly slower. They were his downfall, telegraphing state of affairs more true than even he knew. Bundling him up amidst frequent protests we would ship him off to be imprisoned in the wooden cage that frames his bed.

There he sits. Defeat rapidly turns to delight as he takes in familiar surroundings. Mr. Turtle and Twinkle Star beckon in a restful routine of bedtime congeniality. “Daddy, come inside?” This request combines the power of his inviting voice and those irresistible eyes pulling me to leave my realm and enter his world – his cot. I can rarely resist this cosmic pull, and why should I want to? No, I abandon myself to this futility, stepping over the rails and curling up beside my bundle of laughter and happy giggles. We lie down nose to nose and our eyes meet. This is love.

The next morning he greets me far too early with energy exceeding my sleepy state. Those eyes are bright and full of expectant glee for what the day will bring. “Ethan, I have a surprise for you!” The almonds grow wide and glassy. Like pools of ink they brim with words describing all that a young boy could ever want. It could be a car ride, a new toy, or a visit to grandma’s house – these are all wonderful things but most of all he’s happiest to have special times with Daddy. It’s funny how the ordinary things are most remembered and requested. A broad smile frames expectant eyes when he senses the possibility of washing Daddy’s car or having that picnic with Daddy’s fire cooking bacon for Ethan.

His eyes look a little sadder recently. I am on the opposite side of the world and we cannot share the special things that only Daddy does. Pixels substitute play-time and digitized voices just don’t replace those universe-shattering bed times. “Jesus, thank you for Daddy in America” he prays. “I miss Daddy because only Daddy comes inside.” His bed is there and I am here. I stare in the mirror and subtract three decades of puffy bags and surrounding lines. There they are. At least I have his eyes.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Daddy's Classmates

Daddy is away from home at Asbury Theological Seminary. Here is the new international family for these few weeks while Mummy, Ethan and Talia are far away.

From left to right is Sitali (Zambia), Isaac (Liberia), Daddy, John (kinda famous guy who started the whole of Methodism stuff!), Sorin (Romania), Rob (Canada), Meeli (Estonia), Juan (Colombia), and Rodney (Mauritius). They're a great bunch of pastors, district superintendents, and seminary presidents! Beeson International Leaders class of 2009.