Saturday 5 November 2011


Had to do some supermarketing for a big dinner after picking Ethan from school one day..... but the poor fella was so tired he fell asleep while in the shopping trolley!

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Ethan & Talia are 5 & 3!

It's Birthday Season for our kids! As with all kids they loved getting presents from family and friends. This year the theme seems to be "Trains"! Here they are putting together the first of 3 (!) train sets that they recieved from us, Gu Ma and Yeh Yeh & Ah Mah! Interestingly the 3 train sets can also be joined together for quite an amazing effect!
Talia enjoys the trains but she REALLY enjoyed her "Cashier" toy from Gu Ma (especially after watching Ethan get all the presents before this!).....

But it was the amazing series of cakes (& Barney & Thomas the Train cupcakes) that thrilled them! Or rather the candles on the cakes that they loved to blow out! And what a lot of cake we had this year! We had a yummy ice cream cake from Uncle Roy & A Jas.....
a home cooked Pavlova from Grandma (which Ethan helped to decorate!).....
And a Baby Chiffon cake that Daddy found for Talia's Birthday breakfast! What an amazing birthday season its been for us this year!

Thursday 15 September 2011

The 2-Child Brompton

We just got a second seat for our Brompton! This one is much larger and excellent quality with 5 point harness, reclining seat, and head rest with space for helmet.

I picked up the seat second hand, brand new, from someone who couldn't fit it onto his Dahon. It's tough with foldies, but a few modifications (mainly to the setback distance to the seatpost) and we were in business out riding in East Coast Park that very same evening!

This video is the very first time that Ethan and Talia rode on the Brompton at the same time. Listen for squeals of joy! It makes it all worthwhile...

All three of us loved the experience of being together. Ethan and Talia are quite attached to one another, so this new experience of being with one another and with Daddy is quite a thrill. Of course the speed makes it all the much better, though needless to say since I was carrying an additional 35kg load it was slower than usual.

More recently, I took both of them out on a more adventurous urban outing. We did some short distances on roads from Pinnacle to Lau Pa Sat for a satay dinner, then on to Marina Bay Sands for the evening light show. It was a great success, especially since I had tweaked the setup and the tire pressure so we were much faster. It's just amazing how well the Brompton handled this load. As someone once wrote, "A folding bike with small wheels like this shouldn't be able to carry loads this well!" But it does... As we were eating satay, Talia looked over at our folded Brompton with two child seats contorted around it and proudly said, "That's our bike Dad!"

Tech note: Total weight < 110kg, front bracket = 15kg, rear seat 20kg with mounting point < 5cm to seat clamp minimizing moment loading. I wouldn't ride the bike daily like this, but for the occasional outing it seems well within Brompton tolerances.

Sunday 28 August 2011

Darling Daughter's Daddy Day

It was our first extended Daddy Daughter Day outing. We had been out alone for a couple of goes before but this was to be a longer outing at the beach in Sentosa making use of our new Islander family membership.

The great thing about the Sentosa train is it's just one stop away from our home on the NE Line and we can bring daddy's Brompton in, complete with Talia's child seat attached.

First we played on the beach. It was great as it is 1 min walk from the foodcourt, showers and toilets. Talia could play in the sand me I could drink my morning "teh" and rest on a beach mat both under the shade of a tree on the beach!

After playing in the sand and splashing in the waves, Talia got a bit bored cos there were no other kids around. Unfortunately the water feature was closed for cleaning so we went off cycling and stopped to see the birds at Animal Encounters.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Caring brother

Talia had another minor conk on her head in a wobbly moment and I decided to give her an ice pack for her head. Caring and concerned brother immediately came along and lovingly looked at the bumped head. Very sweet when he pulled back her hair for her and spoke very soothingly to her. Eventually I let him feel more involved by letting him hold the ice pack on her....a responsibility which he took quite seriously-- see pics below!

She- of course-- was revelling in all the love n attention and lapping up the attention by being a good patient.... See the face!

Needless to say the recovery was a speedy and happy one after all that TLC!!

Friday 22 July 2011

Tanglin Tales

An afternoon outing with Yeh Yeh and Ah Ma began with tea, continued with swimming and ended with dinner. It was a great day! It seems that Ethan was eyeing the Corona on the table, but in the end both kids were enamoured with the crisp bread which thy munched all the way home!

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Bought and Paid For

While the kids were in the supermarket trolley I playfully said, "I want to buy these children. How much are they?" Ethan promptly replied, "No, don't buy me! Jesus has already bought me!" We congratulated him on his good theology and began debating whether this was to be credited to WEFC PowerKids or BRMC Sunday School...

Friday 15 July 2011

How to Relax and Fly Kites

We got a new kite! A very easy to fly $12 angel easy in fact that Ethan figured he could sit, then lie down while holding the kite string! We had a great time and I really liked Ethan's way of kite flying cos you can look up and have a great view of all the fluttering dancing kites above you.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Pretty Girl

Talia looks so pretty today she has her daddy smitten! We are on our way to fly kites at Marina Barrage and have stopped at this neighborhood playground to buy some food for dinner. Talia is fearlessly "balancing" on this rolling bar which you can't see in this photo. Pretty, athletic, and fearless, like one of Charlie's Angels!

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Motorcycle Recycle

We are the masters of recycled toys! Somehow we often manage to find good stuff that people throw out cos they don't know how or can't be bothered to fix them. We got 2 cars previously, one if which is still with us, and look what showed up downstairs yesterday! The toddlers motorbike was in great condition but not operating. Some electrical work, soldering, and a battery upgrade and voilà! It is now charging the high capacity battery to welcome Talia to her first motorbike. Yes, it is Talia's cos it is a little small for Ethan but somehow I think Brother will get a few rides in...

Friday 8 July 2011

Flying Kites

It was our first time ever flying kites and we had great fun trying! A beautiful hand-made and painted bird kite from Bali was high up in the air over Marina Barrage! Needless to say, the kids loved it! Ethan said his favourite part was holding the "red wheel" (the kite line) and wants to go again.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Baby Burgers

I had the grand idea of making "mini burgers" for the kids the other day. They can't eat burgers like we usually do cos their mouths are too small! So I bought soft dinner rolls for buns and made home-made mini beef patties with rosemary, grilled with melted cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and topped with Daddy's special home-made tomato sauce.

"Wow!" said Ethan when he first saw his dinner waiting him. He promptly stacked the lettuce and mushrooms into his burger and took a big bite. When I gave him his second burger an audible "Ooooh!" and a clap of hands was all the appreciation a chef ever needed. Talia was less verbal about the food but I think that was because she was concentrating very hard as she was enthusiastically eating her baby burger. She has announcing her love for Daddy several times a day recently...which makes it very hard to leave the house to go to work! :)

Sunday 3 July 2011

Epic Adventure

We did it! Another Father and Son trip and this time... an epic adventure. Daddy gave Ethan a huge surprise by taking him on an overnight train from Singapore to Kelantan then back again on the next day to arrive at 10pm 30 June 2011... the LAST train to arrive at Tanjong Pagar Railway Staiton before closing and ending it's long history.

I was a bit worried that only upper bunks were available for our trip. It made eating dinner a little more difficult but we still had a very happy and full meal of nasi lemak and Ethan absolutely loved his top bunk. I asked him if he needed me to cuddle him to sleep but he said, "No daddy, you go into your bed over there!" and he promptly closed the curtains and figured out the velcro closures for himself. He slept all the way through the night while I read my Kindle, and woke up several times worrying whether we would miss our 6.20am stop in a tiny town called Dabong in Kelantan, just south of the Thai border.

The next morning saw a sleepy Ethan and Daddy get off the train in the dark in Dabong. Ethan wondered why we were getting off when it was still "night time." Soon the day brightened up and we got ourselves tea-tarik, roti cenai, iced milo and fried eggs.

Daddy chose this stop because it gave us 3 hours to "hang around" before we got on the return train to Singapore at 9.30am. We had considered bringing our Brompton with child seat, but the unfamiliarities and chance of rain dissuaded us so we went simple instead and walked around the town seeing the school, the different looking houses, and Daddy teaching Ethan little by little what it means that things are "different but still nice" and why we sometimes go to different places to tell others that Jesus loves them! There were still some smells that Ethan didn't like though!

We made friends with Wan, the Gemas station master who invited us back to stay with him next time (no need hotel!) and visit the waterfall. His wife works at the coffeeshop next to the train station from whom we ordered more delicious nasi lemak to eat for lunch on the way home.

Wan showed Ethan and I the antique token machines that were still functioning. He operates them using morse code and removes the giant keys to exchange them with the train driver. This gives the train the "license" to run on a certain part of the track.

Where and how else would Ethan have gotten to play with 100+ year old token machines at a real train station! Amazing...

It was a 13 hour journey on the way back. Some may think it's a crazy thing to do with a toddler! We spent 13 hours overnight going up, then immediately came back 13 hours again. But it's totally different on a train than in a car or aeroplane. Ethan loved the whole experience. He did colouring activities, jumped off when train stopped to buy drinks and snacks, and of course played "Angry Birds" but Daddy tried to keep this to a minimum

One moment he was colouring, and the next I felt a little head slumped onto my shoulder. The colouring pencil was still clutched in his left hand. I laid him down flat on the chairs and took an empty seat behind him. With children, 2nd Class is better than first class cos there is no armrest in between the seats! He had a glorious 2 hour snooze while Daddy had his own quiet time, Kindle time, thinking time, and thankfulness time.

By the time we pulled into Singapore it was dark and things were getting festive on the train. Another carriage was a standing party while ours was quiet with various people chatting. An elderly Sri Lankan gentleman was telling a photo-journalist about how when he first took the KTM trains it was a luxury experience and there was a carriage with a bar and a restaurant which cooked whatever you wanted! We were witnessing the end of an era with the closing of Tanjong Pagar. As the train whizzed by, we could see people standing in their apartments watching the last train go by and waving to us! We stopped at Bukit Timah station and there was another train waiting for us to say "farewell" as they were heading up to Malaysia. Throngs of people were at the normally deserted station taking pictures. We got off the station and Ethan had his hand at "changing tracks!"

Mummy waited for us to congratulate the boys on our highly succesful epic adventure. Daddy's pocket was very pleased because the whole trip including food cost us only $90! It was certainly the most memorable, historic, cheapest, and intensive Father-Son trip ever!

Thursday 30 June 2011

Swimming Class

Ethan is following in his sister's (brave) footsteps and has started swimming classes as well! We were not sure how he would fit in as the other kids in the class have been there for quite a long time and he is a little more cautious than his sister...... but he surprised us all by giving it his best shot even overcoming his aversion to getting his face in the water! He is now even able to do an assisted dive into the water and pick up little toys at the bottom of the pool! We think having positive peer influence and a good teacher really helped. ("I love Teacher Sam", he tells us quite often)

Here is the happy boy waiting for his swimming class to start. The classes continue even after we get home, when he then takes over Teacher Sam's role and patiently teaches his sister and bath toys the same excercises he learnt in the pool earlier!

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Family Train Holiday

The impending closure of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station motivated us to do what we had been talking about for a long time... take a family train ride into Malaysia! We booked a 5 hour ride into the small town of Gemas and had a great time with the kids who absolutely loved the whole experience.

Hotel Tropicana is a small, simple, and very clean hotel just 3 minutes walk from the train station. It's the perfect place to stay a night while you eat local food (oooh...the prata was so good!). There is even an air-conditioned KFC near the train station if you really need something kid friendly and safe. Ethan and Talia are great travellers and have fun doing and seeing new things. In the morning, Talia wanted to be in Ethan's bed so we tucked them in like the loving brother and sister they are.

The train ride back was neither too short nor too long. They watched TV, coloured books, looked at the window, and enjoyed eating snacks. "Mmmmm.... train food is yummy!" is something we kept hearing over and over again.

The train is a great place for kids and a bonding holiday cos you slow down and spend lots of time talking with each other. There were times when even Mummy and Daddy got time "alone" as Ethan and Talia happily played together on their own two seats. Other times it was Mummy-Daughter cuddle time... this was certainly how our nap time went.
All in all, it was such a great (and cheap) trip that Daddy thought perhaps he should even do it next week with Ethan just one more time before Tanjong Pagar closes...

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Night Toilet Training

We are proud that Ethan is pretty much in control of his toileting in the day time (that Good Boy chart was pretty good!) and we have recently started trying to train him to go to the toilet at night. He is quite a heavy sleeper so we are not sure how this will go but so far we have been waking him at around midnight before we go to sleep and take him to the toilet then. He's usually quite sleepy but cooperative enough to stand and pee at the appropriate time. We have also been trying to reduce his bedtime milk drink to only upon request. In the morning we have been telling him to make sure he pees in the toilet and not in the diaper!

So far we have been pleasantly surprised with quite a few dry diapers and only a couple of 'spillovers'! Well done son!

Saturday 18 June 2011

Festive Recollections

We were so busy and tired out during Chinese New Year this year that we didnt get a chance to post these cute pics of Ethan & Talia doing the Tea Ceremony on the first morning of CNY. This was their first time at offering tea (cold Chrysanthemum tea) to their parents & elders and they did really well without spilling anything! Ethan, of course, was the Master of the tea pot while Talia looked attentively on....

They then took turns carefully offering us the tea....

......before finally being rewarded with their ang pows -- comprising of 2 golden chocolate coins for the joy of instant gratification!

They did great at Yeh Yeh & Ah Mah's place as well.....and seemed to enjoy the visiting of relatives as well! Here they are enjoying their first lollipop ever!

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Singapore Art Museum (Part 2)

More interesting exibits at the Art Museum -- here they are appreciating the solar powered "flowers" on the wall.....

You may just be able to make out a happy Talia dashing around these "trees" and scribbling on them with the markers provided.....

Happiness is decorating a giant cake for Mummy!

This one must have been Talia's favourite!

Ethan, on the other hand, had a great time building train tracks and watching them run and eventually collide into each other around him.....

They even had a tiny stage where he proudly sang to the rest of the gallery at the top of his voice and did a little joy jig for his Mummy Dearest! They are now big fans of the Museum!