Thursday 30 December 2010

Chocolate that Reduces Fever

Ethan had a very high fever today. For the past 2 days he has been taking his fever liquid medicine with screams, tears, and yells. Today he went up to 38.6 degrees so I held him and force fed him while he cried and begged me not to do it. It was awful and I felt terrible doing it.

Later in the evening I decided to try something different. I crushed some of my adult ibuprofen and slipped it in my home made mushroom soup. It worked! He lapped up all his soup and his fever went down. When he went to bed, I began my own drug lab to make palatable medicine that he would gladly take at any time. Here is my recipe...

Melt 6 pieces of chocolate in a small bowl. I used Toblerone in my Sharp Supersteam oven. Crush 3 Ibuprofen tablets in a small plastic bag using a mallet or hammer. Mix powder into melted chocolate. Line 6 slots in an ice cube tray with squares of aluminum foil. Spoon chocolate-Ibuprofen mixture into the 6 molds. This provides half an adult dose per chocolate, suitable for children. Set in fridge. When it becomes hard, wrap up the foil and store in labelled container. Serve to feverish children as a lovely treat!

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Father and Son: Journeying and Learning

Article I wrote with picture selected for church bulletin:

I learn a lot from my relationship with my now four-year old son. Insights don't usually come automatically, but are the rewards of a change of pace and activity, some slowing down and some reflection.

One insight I had early this year was how my relationship with Ethan made a difference to things deep in my own heart that are there due to my non-existent relationship with my biological father. I wrote these things down to show Ethan one day... to tell him how in some amazing God-orchestrated way, I found healing in giving him the kind of love that I yearned for but never had in my relationship with my Dad. I'm sure this does some good for my relationship with my heavenly Father, but I can't put that in words just yet. I'm just very thankful for God's amazing healing ways, and that we can start new fresh legacies in our families because we have been made new in Christ.

As I write this, I am sitting in Changi Airport with Ethan. He just fell asleep in the stroller as we wait to get on the airplane to Bali. It's a special trip for two reasons. First, it's a reunion of my university Christian fellowship. This was where I first came to know Christ some 18 years ago. Second, I'm taking this 5 days 4 night trip with just Ethan so it's a "Father-Son Trip" as well. Intentionally building relationships, even with our own children, feels like risky business sometimes. Now is one of those times. I have lots of nervous anticipation and excitement about the days ahead without mummy whom we both depend upon so much, often without realizing it or appreciating her. I'm hopeful and prayerful for indelible memories and a deeper bond that will be a cornerstone of the foundation of our father-son relationship in the year ahead. I'm also looking for more learning about myself and Ethan. The kind that comes from thinking about things and reflecting. Writing these words is part of that hopeful and prayerful process that God would teach me, and you reading this, how to be a good father and a good son.

Monday 27 December 2010

Bali: A Father and Son Travelogue

We are beginning our Bali father and son trip. Goo Ma took us to the airport and here we are enjoying Ya Kun before checking in. Ethan is very much looking forward to it, and Daddy is filled with nervous anticipation.

Blankies are the best! Ethan had a short nap before we got on the plane and is now rearing to go. We are taking off now...

Ethan saw me completing the immigration forms and asked for his passport he could work on things too!

Padmore Resort is a really nice and very big resort! Here is Ethan enjoying the great room. He already said that the bathtub was really nice and while we were walking around looking for dinner gushed, "This is the best hotel ever!"

We had a great day which included a quick swim, snacks by the pool and a late dinner with old friends. Ethan loosened up with the older kids after a while and all were having a whale of a time. It was great to see so much warmth and fun and we've only been here half a day!

One year ago Ethan and I did a one night father-son trip in JB. That time the bedtime was hardest. What a difference now! He was such a good boy and listened to everything daddy said. Upon seeing the welcome fruit platter he asked, "Apple! Can I have some apple daddy?" I offered to cut it for him but he likes to munch on it whole. "Do you think it will be nice with the milk we bought today daddy?" I assured him that I thought it would be great, so here he is just before story time and nap time! That's "bear bear" whom he tucked in beside himself by the way...

We chartered a big bus today for almost 20 of us including kids. Ethan had a great view of happenings up front and there was even a microphone he could use to make his announcements. He pretended it was a train and that he was the conductor. He kept saying "All aboard!" and "People, we are arriving at Terminal 3!" I'm sure his favorite part of the whole excursion today is the bus itself!

Today was a bit hard on daddy because we travelled a lot with a schedule not tailored to young kids and it rained quite a bit. Overall though, Ethan was well behaved and he slept in my lap while we were on the road taking 2 short naps today.

Like I said, yesterday was a bit tough with the rain and a little boy who doesn't like getting one grain of sand in his crocs. He wasn't too enthused with this particular outing but overall loved the bus trip and all the friends.

Our room and the standalone bath is really great! Last night we had a bubble bath which Ethan really enjoyed as you can see!

It was a great way to clean up after a long bus outing during which he played conductor, made announcements, and sold ice cream to everyone who would pay "91 cents" for the flavor of their choice. He stopped at one point in the bath, smiled with a look of remembrance and said, "Everyone says I'm a good conductor Daddy!" I truthfully assured him this was so. Though I offered him a swimming day with Daddy the day after, he eagerly wanted to be on the bus with everyone!

Just before the bath I scolded Ethan rather fiercely for not wanting to brush his teeth. The blood drained from his face and he started crying, "I want mummy!" This was enough to terrify any grown man. So I hugged him until he calmed down. Later he said in a very calm way, "I want mummy and Talia." I reminded him that this was a special boys holiday and he sweetly said in a non-complaining voice, "I like my family with everyone." He is very happy with Daddy and j thunk he will go back loving Mummy and Talia even more. I think this is a great thing about trips like this.

The next morning we did something totally new... Jetskiing! Here we are pictures in our jetski togs. After Ethan complained about sand and diet yesterday, I was a bit worried today especially as it was drizzling and not the sunny day we had hoped for! But Ethan ran on the beak into the water ad hopped onto the "water motorcycle" which is what I told him it was. When we took off he literally screamed with joy and laughter that could be heard over the waves! The overpriced $15 ride for 10 min was worth every rupiah!

After cleaning up we ate home made kueh lapis and Korean strawberry ice-cream. I didn't mind the long traffic jam afterwards as Ethan napped for 1 hour in my arms on the way to a late lunch.

Having dried off from jet-skiing the gang went shopping. Since we have Indonesians in our reunion group we get to go to local places so here we are. We bought 2 big beautiful kites and 2 tiny oil paintings of a cat and dog. Ethan and Talia each get one for play and to decorate their bedroom. Ethan thinks about his sister very often and loves to get things for her. Here he is after the shopping trip superbly entertaining himself with drawing while we waited for the ladies to finish their shopping.

Ethan and I had great fun today. It was the first non-rainy day since we got here so it was a great day for the pool. We met an Australian who went to the same high school as Daddy and Ethan played with their 2 pretty girls. They were both jumping off the ledge into the pool which Ethan tried, but this new feat was trickier than anticipated cos the poor fella jumped straight up instead of forward, landed square on his rump then slid into the water! Howls of "Daddy, my bum bum!" were mixed with my comfort and laughter at this unfortunate accident!

We did some coloring after that and the 2 Aussie girls eagerly joined in. Three year old Hannah was really cute and chatty. I think she took more of a liking to me than to Ethan, and asked me to sit next to her at breakfast tomorrow!

After I checked out of the hotel, I gave Ethan his colouring book to entertain himself. He asked me how to spell "Talia" and after I said the letters he wrote out his sisters name and proudly showed it to me. I was impressed with his writing ability and told him so, but I loved him loving and missing his sister which I told him so! I think this Father-Son trip is good for their sibling relationship too!

We left the hotel and went on a driving excursion with friends before I had to go to the airport. On the way, the adults were having a lively discussion and Ethan was the only child in our car. He started putting his hand over my mouth and saying "Shhh Daddy!" After a few rounds of this interruption I asked, "Ethan, we're talking. Why don't you want Daddy to speak?" He looked up at me with large round eyes and patiently explained, "Because I want you to talk to me Daddy."

After a long flight we have finally arrived. I was exhausted cos when Ethan sleeps, I keep an eye to make sure he is safe. On the plane when I try to sleep I get prying fingers on my eyelids and a a cute voice saying, "Wake up Daddy! Don't sleep!"

On the way back from Bali it was really sweet to hear Ethan talk a lot about his sister whom he said he missed. In fact he was rather disappointed to learn that she would be asleep when he got home and he could only talk to her in the morning. Peals of laughter could be heard the next morning and both of them raced into our room and climbed into our bed early in the morning in celebration of this joyous reunion!BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Girls' Holiday

While the Boys are off having their holiday, the Girls have been having some cuddly & fun bonding time as well. Talia loves animals and often pretends to be one at home, so we went to the Zoo for our Girls outing. When I asked her what animals she wanted to see she said "Giraffe and snails"! But she seemed most thrilled to see the Zebras! Here she is enjoying the sight of the stripey Zebras having their breakfast.
She tends to tire quite easily especially now that she is having a cold, but we managed to get in a great time at the Kid's Water playground and some lunch before she fell asleep in my arms on the tram ride back. I'm enjoying the special time with her and since I am also clearing leave, it's nice that its quite unrushed and I can go at her pace (rather than have to make sure she fits into our hectic one!) It's been wonderful bonding time but she often remembers her Daddy and Brother and I think we all appreciate each other a lot more after this!

Monday 20 December 2010

Girls Outing

Ethan said that the girls were having their own holiday while us boys were enjoying ours. Indeed they are! Well, an outing at least if not a holiday.

Talia has been eagerly watching her brother zip around expertly on his Kettler balance bike and has been wanting to try. After some research and hunting I got her a Strider balance bike using soon her forth-coming Christmas ang-pows from grandparents! That's the logic anyway. Here she is on day 2 with her lovely helmet from Goo Ma. Mummy took her cycling. She can now put on her own helmet! But was quite busy with this new skill so she kept stopping to put it on and take it off! Quite posey even at 2 years old eh?

Saturday 18 December 2010

Kids by the Bay

We had a little family walk by the recently and Ethan and Talia now don't mind posing for photos! It's so sweet when they love and take care of one another... makes mummy and daddy's hearts glow with joy.

Tomorrow Ethan will fly to Bali with Daddy for a 4D3N trip which is Daddy's university Christian fellowship reunion. Father and son will have a grand time but it will be longest we've been without mummy and Talia by far. The last one was 2 years ago when we went to JB for one night. That had such great memories so we are hopeful of weaving great new ones on this trip.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Loving It

Ethan loves typing away on Mummy's new iPhone. So far the notepad application is his favourite. We're hoping it stays that way as long as possible. Ethan knows his alphabet, can write almost all of the letters ("S" is still quite tough), but is of course still slow to find them on a keyboard. What was really cool in this photo was that Daddy was also lying next to Ethan wearing exactly the same shorts and playing with his iPhone...but we could not show that of course!

Friday 10 December 2010

Ready for School

Talia is all excited about going to school with her brother next year. Here she is kitted out in her brand new uniform. The dress looks almost ankle length but it's actually the smallest size and supposed to be knee-length. Talia is just a bit small though she is strong and is talking so well. She looks so grown up in this picture and speaks full sentences now. We remember when Ethan first went to school he only grunted and pointed energetically to get his needs communicated to the world.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Best of Friends

After a nice breakfast and playing on the bed together, Ethan and Talia moved to playing "baby." Funny thing is Ethan is the baby and Talia gets him milk, tells him not to cry and pats him. He crawls, kisses her and says than you. Here they are enjoying each others company on the sofa after Daddy suggested that Talia read a book for her baby!

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Playing at Marche, 313 Somerset

After the most harrowing and horrendously tiring Christmas shopping at Robinsons, Ethan and I are having a nice pit stop at Marche.

Mummy is sick so just us boys went out. Lunch was at a jam packed food in Centrepoint after which we went back to Robinsons where Ethan slept all the way through the 30 min queue to pay the cashier and was a good boy all day. We found a great lunch set at Marche. This is a much needed respite after all my emotional energy was taken up battling crowds, watching Ethan, and gawking at high prices! This Marche has a great play area and being right at Somerset MRT with great $7.90 meal and drink, I think I will come back here...

Monday 6 December 2010

Ethan "Armstrong" Liew

Ethan is really getting into cycling and is thus becoming more and more like Daddy! It's funny how he is scared to climb high things in the playground but he is undaunted by speed, balance, and steering. He's taken to his balance bike really well so much so that 2 year old Talia is really keen to have a go even though she's too short! Daddy is looking on eBay for a good quality 16" bicycle (pedals this time) preferably with pedal brakes. Trek Mystic 16 anyone?

Saturday 4 December 2010

Mr Preppy

Ethan looks ready for some British prep school with this shirt and his studious look! He had just finished writing DADDY and is now drawing a daddy.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Goo with Gumption

Cousin Josie is in town and the kids are having the greatest fun with home made "play-dough." It really is true that the cheapest home made stuff is the most precious and memorable which makes the extra effort required most worth it!

Sunday 21 November 2010

Good Boy & Good Girl Chart

Here's the latest addition to our efforts at Toilet training! Been tired of washing pee-filled pants (& socks & shoes) so we have put up a Good Boy & Good girl chart to reward Good boys & girls who pee & poo in the right place! They get a star for each successful pee & after 5 stars they can get a little snack reward! Fortunately they love it and we have already had 15 stars for Ethan in 3 days! Big change from the horrible tantrums some pple threw when it was time to go toilet.... only to pee in his pants minutes later......
Hopefully this will be the beginning of a wonderful new chapter ofless diapers & happier toilet experiences! Thanks to Roy for helpingto print the nice colour photos of what Good Boys & Girls do!

Sunday 10 October 2010

Gong Gong's 70th Birthday

Gong Gong is 70! We celebrated with the family with Auntie Ruth & Josie, (Grand) Uncle Donald & Auntie Junie, travelling from Sydney for the birthday dinner.
Then we took a week off in Phuket for our own celebration time together! This was one of the nice dinners we had on a (steep!) cliff overlooking the sea & sunset.
The cousins had a nice time together too. Ethan took this photo of the girls while they were engrossed in picking leaves.
They loved the nice beach just in front of our hotel and spent half a morning building sandcastles in the sand. Ethan particularly enjoyed the building and made an "Octopus Castle" with his favourite octopus sand mould.
The girls enjoyed it too although it took a little warming up for them to get into it.....
Fortunately grandparents are very patient people and helped the little ones to explore the beach.....
.....but the pool was the main highlight of the holiday! EVERYONE enjoyed splashing, jumping, playing and even swimming! Here is Ethan as he catches her sister in the "Crocodile Game" where she jumps into the water and into one of our arms (without her floaties). It was great to see Talia's fearlessness, Ethan's confidence in catching his sister and the sisterly trust she had in him. We were also amazed to see the fruits of Talia's swimming lessons as she paddled effortlessly around the small pool with her floats & occasional face in the water! Was nice to see her love of water & fearlessness rub off on Ethan and a little on Josie as they decided they could do it too! (well, without the face in the water bit!)
All in all, it was a great week of family bonding and catching up with family & cousins we don't often get the chance to spend time with. What a great way to celebrate Gong Gong's Birthday!

Friday 1 October 2010

Kid's Birthdays

Ethan and Talia are now 4 and 2! This year, Ethan articulated that he wanted to celebrate his birthday with his classmates "with a cake, and then everyone will stand near me!" So we had a simple celebration in his class and he clearly enjoyed the princely treatment for the day! All his friends crowded around him to admire his cake and wish him a happy wonder he is looking forward to his 5th birthday already!
We decided to celebrate both their birthdays together as they are only 2 weeks apart, and share mostly the same friends at this stage. Here is the birthday Boy & Girl looking very focused on their birthday cake lovingly and freshly baked by Ah Mah (it was still warm when it came!) It's in the shape of a horseshoe so both got their own corners to blow out their own candles!
Daddy was away on Talia's actual birthday so we celebrated simply at home with some candles on birthday muffins followed by a fun-filled outing to West Coast Park. Sometimes the simple things are often the best and the kids had a great time playing with the sand and each other there. After playing out in the hot afternoon sun, they got a special ice-cream treat to cool off! Daddy happened to call us from the US while we were having ice-creams and Ethan was so excited he called him "Ice-Cream Daddy"!

Friday 27 August 2010

Discovering Our Backyard

We've been exploring our new neighbourhood and found that One Fullerton & the Marina Bay area is a short 5 min bus ride from our home! It's a really nice place to stroll around with the kids or just sit and have a nice coffee or brunch.
We didn't think we would be living this close to such iconic symbols of Singapore!
Talia's a little more appreciative of the scenery than her brother is. He looked quite unimpressed -- until we found some amazing automatic doors in the underpass that open & close once you step into the range of its sensor...... You should have seen the glee on their faces when they realised the power they now unleashed on the auto doors! Best backyard in the World!

Thursday 26 August 2010

Little Tiger

We have a little Tiger in our lush jungle. She is small but can roar quite sweetly.

Tigers have been quite popular among our critters of late. They had a great time watching the tigers at the zoo some weeks ago and Talia 'chatted' with them by roaring cheerfully back at them! She seemed to be amazed with how big the real ones were and said "Big!" with outstreched arms to emphasize her point!

We also took Tiger Airways for our recent family trip to Phuket and the kids were thrilled to be in an airplane with a tiger on it! Now every plane they see is "Tiger Aeroplane!".......They probably think that Tiger is the best airline in the world!!!

Monday 26 July 2010

Swim Classes

Most kids enjoy the great fun of splashing around in pools but when I saw the sparkle in Talia's eyes when we brought her swimming, I just knew she was a natural water baby! Here she is splashing around in Goo Ma's nice pool......

So we signed her up for Swimming classes at Jane Marsden's Swim School and she's really taken to it very well. In fact, the lessons are the highlight of her week and she loves going swimming every Monday! I was quite amazed she was hardly fussed about getting her face wet or even going "under" the water. (although we had to remind her to close her mouth!) Even her swim teacher is quite amazed at how fearless she is with water and its really a joy to see her in the water. Here she is happily "lying down" on the water (which is not easy to get most kids to do!)

I'm really glad we brought her for these lessons..... will have to work out some time to do the same for Ethan soon. He enjoys the water but is a tad more cautious about water than his sister!

Sunday 18 July 2010

Sausages and Rosti

We had a surprisingly nice evening out recently when Ethan accompanied me to the office in the evening. We visited a friend in the evening and I asked him whether he wanted sausages for dinner. "Yeah sausages!" came the enthusiastically affirmative reply. So off we headed to a small stall in Woodlands that serves great sausages and rosti. We had french fries for an appertizer and a great father-son time for both of us!

Sunday 4 July 2010

First Time at the Dentist

It has been quite some time since we've been to the dentist...about one year overdue. It was also due to the fact that we were looking to change our dentist as our previous one wasn't very child friendly and we wanted Ethan to have a good visit. At just the right time, we found out about one of Renata's church members so off we went...

Mister Dentist was really good! First, he met Ethan in the waiting room where the little fella was playing with all the cool toys. There Mr. Dentist "counted" his teeth using the familiar 1 to 10 that toddlers know so well. Of course he wasn't really counting, but making Ethan feel comfortable with something familiar. After this was done, he brought Ethan and sat him in the dental chair. It was a fascinating world for Ethan with the myriad of gadgets, lights and various computer screens around. He was allowed to press the buttons to lower the chair and down he went into the lying down position. Ethan got kids sunglasses to protect his eyes. "Hands up," Mr. Dentist said. Ethan stretched his hands above his head which were promptly held and used to pull him up to the right position. He looked so funny in that big chair we were stifling our laughter.

The firm yet sensitive-to-toddler instructions continued and we were amazed at how readily Ethan opened his mouth and let Mr. Dentist examine all his teeth. When it came time to polishing, he let Ethan press the button so that he could "control" the sound and not let it frighten him. He allowed Ethan to choose which toothpaste he would use. "Cars" was the final selection after which Mr. Dentist used it to polish Ethan's fingernail so he could feel what it was like before it went into this mouth. "Taste it now" he said, and Ethan did. "Does it taste good?" A quick nod was sufficient affirmation and the dental visit continued!

So it was a superb visit overall and so much better than we imagined! We can certainly recommend this dentist for your kids. He was gentle yet also firm at times so there was no nonsense from Ethan throughout! Ethan even left with a toy. "That really was fun Ethan!" I said. "Do you want to come back again?" A grin and a nod signified that was indeed an unqualified success!