Thursday, April 10, 2014

Party at Gallop Stables, Horse City

We're back from our holiday, tanned and tired, happy and contented. We went to Club Med Bintan and it was a great choice for the kids - swimming in the day and dancing in the night! Ryan declared that he wanted to stay "forever".

I'll share photos from our trip another day. For today, I'll share some photos from a birthday party that Ryan attended a couple of weekends ago. The party was a cowboy themed party held at Roundhouse Pizza Bar and Grill at Gallop Stables in Horse City (the one at Turf Club Road).

Here's Ryan having a ride on the pony. It was a very short one, just one round around the paddock, and the pony was with the kids for just a short while. Ryan went twice.

I asked him afterwards if he was scared and he said, not at all. "There's no need to be scared, mummy. Horses are not going to eat you. They eat hay!"

But of course.

There was a rabbit enclosure where the kids could buy food for the rabbits and feed them. Ryan sees rabbits very often so he wasn't that impressed and stayed for just a while.

Here he is, waiting for his food. The boy next to him is Harry, one of his good friends from school. They all had cowboy hats in either blue and red trim, as well as Sheriff star badges. The goodie bags were also cowboy themed.

Pinata time! When the pinata finally gave way and released its goodies, all the children rushed in to grab what they could. Ryan managed to nab some good stuff - mainly rubber animals - but he gave them all away afterwards because those of his friends who didn't manage to grab anything saw his loot and took them from him, and Ryan just said, "Ok, sure!"

Richard and babydoll came to join us a little later, after babydoll's class at Julia Gabriel Bilingual Playclub.

It was one of the more interesting parties that Ryan has been to and he had a lot of fun.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Some sweetness for the weekend

Here are some photos which I took about a month ago (2 March 2014, to be exact). It was babydoll's first visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Richard took Ryan for his swimming lesson so babydoll and I spent about an hour at the park.

Babydoll enjoyed the visit (although she wanted to be carried most of the time!). She kept going "wah...!" at various things in the park and stopped at many points to inspect and pick up stuff. She especially loved seeing the fish, turtles and swans at the lake and we spent quite a while there.

Hope you have exciting plans for the weekend! We are going away for a short holiday - Ryan is very excited about it and Richard and I are looking forward to a good break. Hope your weekend is looking good too.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Life of a model

Have you been watching Channel 8? Ryan's latest project for MamaLemon started airing a few days ago! Have a look here!

If you're not familiar with Chinese, this is a trailer for a cooking programme sponsored by MamaLemon for Mother's Day. If you have a child who is 7 to 12 years old, sign up by 8 April 2014 and he/she can stand a chance to make a delicious gourmet meal for you under the guidance of celebrity chef Eric Teo and MediaCorp artiste Pornsak. Selected participants will also win $1,000 in cash and a $100 Lion gift set. You can also watch the trailer at the Lion website. There are some other promotional activities going on for Mother's Day as well, which you can read about on the website.

What do you think? He did a great job, yah? He is in all the scenes, save for the one where Pornsak is washing the dish, so he has the job of carrying the trailer and I think he did very well.

The shoot was done by MediaCorp. It took half a day and it went very smoothly, with minimum takes for each scene. Ryan had a lot of fun on the set and everyone had a smile for him.

Here are some photos from the shoot that day.

The trend of the day, inspired by Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars - selfies!

Ryan's arm wasn't long enough to get everyone in his selfie, so I took the shot for them. These were the Lion people from Japan.

This is Chef Eric Teo. He was really good with Ryan. They struck up a good rapport.

This is Pornsak. He played a trick on Ryan - he was getting his hair and make up done and Ryan went up to him and asked him if he was Pornsak. He said "No, I'm James!" And so Ryan called him James for the rest of the day, even chiding me when I mentioned Pornsak, saying, No, that's James!

Some more photos with the clients.

These ladies from Lion absolutely adore Ryan. This is their third project with Ryan and everytime they meet they take lots of photos of him. Ryan was surrounded with so much love and positivity!

Heartfelt thanks to Lion and MamaLemon for having Ryan! He had such a happy shoot and loved every minute!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Our very tiny pool

I've mentioned our *very tiny* swimming pool before, so I thought I'd show you some photos of it today.

A couple of months back, Richard had the brilliant idea of converting this small space into a water play area for the kids so that's what we did. We do have a decent-sized swimming pool as well as a kid-sized swimming/wading pool in our condo so this is really an extra, although it serves a slightly different function.

I said that it's tiny, but to be fair, it is a little bigger than it looks in the photos! It is big enough to fit four of us quite comfortably and if we fill it up deep enough, Ryan can even swim in it. Usually we fill it up to the level of babydoll's shoulders when she's sitting down in it. We drain it out after every use after using some of the water to water the plants.

It is long enough to fit both Richard and I sitting stretched out, one at each end, with plenty of space leftover between and beside us for the kids to romp around. Of course, it's not meant for adults to swim - if we wanted to do that, we would go down to the proper swimming pool at the condo. For us adults, this is meant to be a chill-out place where the kids can also have fun. Richard and I usually have long and meaningful conversations in the pool, even with the kids splashing about around us, because we are so relaxed and comfortable.

It is surrounded by walls and very private, which means that we can get into the pool wearing just a t-shirt and underwear/shorts. Richard and I have imagined sitting in our tiny pool late at night, when the kids are asleep - just the two of us, with candles burning on the ledge and drinks in our hands. I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon though!

We've been using it once a week, almost every week, and usually, it's the four of us in the pool at the same time. The kids absolutely love it.

A side note on babydoll's water skills. Babydoll is not doing any swimming lessons yet, but she does have a lot of water time. She goes swimming in the public pool with her nanny's family once every fortnight (one of her nanny's daughters is a swimming instructor) and she has lots of water play at home. As you can see from the photos, she has a lot of water confidence and, although not a swimmer, she is independent in this pool.

We made some inquiries last year with Aquaducks to enrol her in a time slot near Ryan's lesson time, but didn't have any luck. Our plans for the family's routine this year are still a little uncertain, so we are holding off for now. We do still hold the view that swimming is a critical life skill to have, so that is definitely on the cards for babydoll in the near future.

If you're wondering, Ryan started lessons when he was one year old, mainly because we did not have access to a swimming pool at that time. I didn't expect him to learn to swim at that age; I simply wanted to ensure that he retained his water confidence. Now, four years later, he can swim pretty well. I am forever grateful that we did expose him to the water at a young age because there's been so many occasions where he's been able to go into the water independently - birthday parties at swimming pools, trips to water parks like Waterbom Bali, holidays with swimming at the beach or in the hotel pools, etc. Quite apart from the fact that I don't worry (too much) about him, he also gets to enjoy himself and have fun, instead of stressing about being in the water.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Some sweetness for the weekend

We are going horse riding tomorrow! Ryan's been invited to a birthday party at Gallop Stables. Sounds fun, yeah? Babydoll is starting a new term at Julia Gabriel's Bilingual Playclub, so she's going to have her bit of fun too.

Be good, be happy, have a great weekend. See you back here on Monday.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Life of a model

A quick post today about a party that Ryan attended last week. He's been attending so many birthday parties this month but this one was not a birthday party. It was a catwalk workshop for child models. I dropped him off at 10 am and he spent the day playing games, doing some art/craft, posing for photos, etc. The highlight of the party was, of course, the catwalk show performed by all the child models at the end of the day. All the parents were told to come at 5 pm to see the show. 

It was such a great feeling to see Ryan walk out on to the catwalk and pose. Once he came out onto the stage, he scanned the audience and when he saw Richard and me, his grin was so wide! He was so happy to see us and he was really happy to show us what he could do.

I styled him for the party but only in terms of his outfit. His spiky hair with red highlights was done at the party. I think he looks like Dragonball, huh?

After the party, we took Ryan to Poulet at Great World City for an early dinner, before fetching babydoll from her nanny. Here he is - High 5!

Ryan enjoyed himself thoroughly and is very much looking forward to the next party!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Babydoll at the beach

A couple of weeks ago, we joined a group of parents and children from Ryan's preschool for a few hours at the beach. Each family brought a mat and a plate of food and whatever their children would want to play with. The kids had a grand time playing in the sea, building sandcastles, kicking the ball around, and just running about enjoying the evening. The adults mainly sat around and chatted with each other. It was a very casual and relaxed outing.

Babydoll had a whale of a time as well. If there is one characteristic about this little girl that I would name, it would be that she goes all out. She explored the sand, and by that I mean that she was, at times, fully prone on the beach with sand all over her, including in her hair and in her diaper. She picked up and investigated stuff like shells, sticks, leaves and seeds. She gleefully ran down to the water's edge and laughed out loud when the waves chased her back up the beach. She participated in everything wholeheartedly - from eating the watermelon with gusto (even though it had a fine layer of sand on it) to helping another kid fill up her bucket with sand to chasing after the football right along with the best footballers in the group. 

Apart from holding her hand when she played in the sea, I left her to her own devices and, on the whole, she was happy to play on her own or with the other children. It was glorious to watch her so uninhibited and free. Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed watching her that day!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Before I had children, I thought that playdough was such a great toy. It looked like so much fun, there was so much scope for creativity, you could make your own, you could give them away as gifts, there were so many tools that you could buy for it, it was so colourful and so versatile.

When Ryan came along and we had our first playdough set, I confess that I wasn't that fond of it. I guess it was a case of "the grass is greener on the other side". When I didn't have the chance to play with it, I thought it was such a great thing. Once I had it, I found it ... not so great. 

One of the first sets of playdough we had came with a plastic fridge and all sorts of tools to shape the playdough. Ryan enjoyed that and we played with it regularly. It was a nightmare to clean though. All the little bits that were stuck in the crevices of the fridge and in the various tools drove me nuts. The perfectionist in me would be cleaning and scraping and saving every last bit of it. There would also be little bits everywhere on the floor or on the table or wherever. Let me repeat - it was a nightmare to clean up.

We only played with two small tubs because I refused to open any more than that. I also disliked mixing the colours up because that would mean that I would have to get new playdough for the next session. So we never made all those wonderful replicas of hamburgers and sandwiches and whatever with all the different colours in one creation. I prefered to keep things open-ended so our creations were usually some shapes and whatever fantastical things we imagined up on our own. I wish that I could say that they looked pretty but they were all mono-coloured and boring, heh heh.

Despite my efforts, we accumulated more and more playdough sets. Even as I thought that we were finally going to finish up a tub of playdough (yay!), I got saddled with five more tubs (!). I just couldn't keep up. It seemed as though everyone we knew gifted Ryan a set. We even ended up with a second plastic fridge which was identical to the one we had. As much as we appreciated the gesture behind the gifts, we couldn't feel excited every time the gift wrap revealed yet another plastic playdough contraption. My anti-excess mentality kicked in and I got quite turned off - how much playdough do you need right?

Then there were all those bright plastic toys that came with the playdough - the more there were, the less I wanted Ryan to play with them. We opened up the Sesame Street themed sets, like the Elmo that you see in these photos and, I think, one dinosaur themed one, but left the rest unopened (till today). I still restricted the actual playdough to two or three tubs and by that, I mean the original two or three tubs that we started out with.

When Ryan started preschool (at 3.5 years old), one of the things that greeted him on his first day was a table of playdough. I was so happy to see it because it meant that I could pack away the playdough at home!  There were tubs and tubs of playdough at home, most of them unopened, and several plastic playdough sets. I happily packed them all away.

Of course, I was in denial. Because the container wasn't going to vanish overnight and I couldn't just throw it away.

So when babydoll was old enough (ie. not mouthing everything in sight), I dragged out the container and opened it up for her. This time I had no problem opening up more tubs and mixing colours and in fact I fully encouraged it, because that's the way to use it up the darn thing, right? It's still a nightmare to clean, but I'm good with that because now I throw away the little pesky bits instead of stressing about making sure I collect all of the bits to keep for the next session. We still have a long, long way to go before we get through all our tubs of playdough, though. A long, long way.

And yes, it is still a great experience for the children. I remember Ryan taking some time to get used to it; now he handles it with no fuss at all. Babydoll also had an uneasy first session with it, but took to it much faster than her brother.

At the moment, I keep a tub of playdough out at all times, within the children's reach, so they have access to it at all times, together with a tray of shape cutters, rollers, and things like popsicle sticks, googly eyes, straws, feathers, chenille sticks, lego blocks, etc. Once in a while, I will drag out the big container with all the plastic equipment for them to have a go but I find that I'm much happier and more willing to initiate a playdough session if we don't have the plastic equipment around. I prefer having the children go back to basics, creating without boundaries, and working with other "non-playdough" equipment. I feel that I can really see the benefits of playdough this way.

So you see, sometimes it's not the children who need time to adjust and to learn. Sometimes the parent needs time too, hah!

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