Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend report

After our getaway in Chiangmai, it was business as usual this weekend.  Ryan had his classes and in-between we visited some furniture and lighting shops to see what we could find for our new home. We also managed to squeeze in some time with friends, so it was a well-rounded weekend.

Ryan's JG Bilingual Playclub class on Saturday was the first for Term 4 2010. The theme for the term is "Animals, Animals, Animals". Ryan was warmly welcomed back at Playclub by all his teachers, and seeing how they fussed and fawned over him, I'm so glad that we stuck to this class and that we did not switch to another timeslot.

After Playclub, we met up with some friends at Ophelia's place to celebrate Mooncake Festival. There were 6 children, including Ryan, all around the same age, and they had lots of fun. It was a slow and relaxed evening.

Ryan enjoying himself on the playground equipment.
Ever since he stepped up to 10 kg, he has been able to slide down the slides and he just can't get enough of them!
We used Ryan's lantern from last year, with new batteries.
Serene brought this quirky bubble blower - it's Ultraman!
Sunday morning was spent in the pool as usual and in the afternoon, Ryan went for his Shichida class, which is the last for this term. There is no class next week, and the week after that, Ryan will start a new term. Ryan has been on the Shichida programme for a year now and we are very happy with his progress. For his report for this term, his sensei wrote:

"Wow! You're amazing! You really have grown up and I could see that you really enjoyed your class! I'm proud of you dear!"

We're proud of you too, son!

After Shichida class, it was time for a short nap and then we went out for dinner with friends at The Cathay, followed by a stroll along Clarke Quay to check out the lanterns. There was a lot of people there, probably due to the big football match going on (Man United vs. Liverpool) but Ryan seemed to enjoy the outing nevertheless.

The beautiful lanterns along the bridge
Happy Mooncake Festival!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chiangmai - 11 to 14 September 2010

As mentioned in the previous post, we stayed on in Chiangmai after Richard's family left. I was feeling much better, having recovered from food poisoning, so we decided to go up Doi Suthep mountain to visit the temple there, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. This is perhaps the most famous of all the temples in Chiangmai.

The chedi right at the top
There are lots of bells placed around the plaza, some donated by worshippers.

Although we came up by the tram, Ryan insisted on climbing down the 309 steps
so Richard and I held his hand on each side and we all climbed down.
After Doi Suthep, we went to Wat Chedi Luang, which is in the city.

The impressive chedi which is closed to visitors - much of it has been destroyed.

After that, we went for lunch in the city where we also got a little bit of shopping done - picked up some items for our new home: some cushion covers, a vase, etc.  Then, we were all pretty tired so we went back to the hotel and refreshed ourselves with a swim in the hotel pool.  Ryan was so delighted and had tons of fun in the water. After that, it was time for a nap, and then it was out for dinner near the hotel. We called it an early night, taking the opportunity to enjoy the luxury of being able to rest and relax.

The next day, we went back out to the city for a good brunch and some last minute shopping. We took a tuk-tuk, Ryan seemed to enjoy it!

After that, it was back to the hotel, checked out at 2 pm, went for lunch and then it was off to the airport to catch our flight home. Ryan was a darling on the flight home, no problem at all.  Reached home about midnight.
Back in Singapore!

We enjoyed our four days in Chiangmai. The weather was agreeable, the people were nice and things were cheap. It was great to spend some time with the extended family too. 

As mentioned in the previous post, the family cobbled together a last minute getaway to Chiangmai last weekend. We originally wanted to leave on Friday but was impossible to find tickets at such short notice. After much effort (by Richard) but no success, we decided to fly on Saturday (instead of Friday) and managed to get a flight via Bangkok on Thai Airways. The rest of our group (Richard's parents, two sisters,  niece and nephews) flew from KL, also via Bangkok.

We woke up early and got to the airport at 5.30 am for our 7.40 am flight. We had breakfast as the sun was rising through the misty drizzle.

The last time Ryan (and we) were on a flight was when we went to Sydney in September last year. I was wondering how Ryan would behave on the flight now that he is a year older, more vocal and more mobile. As it turned out, he had no problems. He slept peacefully through the flight to Bangkok and on the short flight from Bangkok to Chiangmai, he was happy and fuss-free.
The bag is a gift from Ryan's nanny's daughter.
We packed it with some books and toys.
We arrived safely and checked into our hotel, the Le Meridien Chiangmai, at about 1 pm. We went for lunch and explored the surrounding area. It was pretty dead, apparently everything comes to life during the night when the night market/bazaar gets going. At that time, there were just a lot of empty stalls lining the streets. Apart from the local shops, there are lots of 7-11 stores and places that serve coffee, a Starbucks, a Burger King, a Haagen Daz, a Baskin Robbins. Here we are outside a McDonald's.
After our short foray, we went back to the hotel and caught up on our sleep while waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. When they got into the hotel, it was already dark and so all of us went out to the night market/bazaar for dinner and some shopping.

The next day, we rented a van and a driver to ferry the whole group around. We started at the Mae Tang Elephant Camp where we got up close to lots of elephants. There are elephant rides and ox-cart rides on offer. You can also watch the elephants taking their bath in the river. The elephants put on a short performance for the visitors, they play musical instruments, play football and paint pictures. A buffet lunch is served which apparently is pretty good (I didn't have any because I was suffering from food poisoning from something I ate the day before).

This is the clinic where the elephant calves are kept with their mothers (there is a calf hidden behind the column)
Feeding the elephant a banana
After that, the driver ferried us around to a few factory outlets - gems, silk, leather, umbrella and lacquer,  etc. Picked up some nice souvenirs and gifts. Then it was back to the hotel where the kids had a swim while I concussed in the room with Ryan. The family went for a traditional Khantok dinner while Richard, Ryan and I stayed in the hotel to let me shake off the rest of the food poisoning. When the family got back, we had an advance mini birthday celebration for Richard. Just a simple birthday song and cake, but it was great to have the family together for the occasion. 

Happy Birthday Richard!
Richard's family left early the next morning while we stayed on for another night. We went to visit some temples and we did some more shopping. I'll continue the report in the next post!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Integrated Resorts

Richard's father flew down to Singapore on Monday, 30 August for his medical check-up (a follow-up from his spine surgery). Richard's sister, Mary, accompanied him and they stayed one night with us.

All went well, Richard's dad was pronounced fit and well and told to come back in October for another follow-up. After the check-up, we took them sight-seeing.  They had two targets - the two integrated resorts! So on Monday, we took them to Marina Bay Sands and on Tuesday, we took them to Resorts World Sentosa.

We went up to the SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands (57th floor) to check out the view and we were not disappointed - the view is simply stunning. I'm not sure how business at the nearby Singapore Flyer is going to survive! The restaurants were not open yet but there was still lots of people hanging about. There was another highlight apart from the view - the 150 metre infinity pool. It's just ... wow.

Unfortunately, I don't have many photos, just some random shots on my phone (by the way, no professional photography equipment and no tripods are allowed). But there are lots of beautiful shots on the internet, so go have a look!

After we left the SkyPark, Richard's father and sister went to the casino for about an hour, while we walked around the shops (or, as the resort calls them, "the shoppes"). The only shop that Ryan was interested in was Dunhill - good taste, my boy!

The next day, we dropped them off at the casino at Resorts World Sentosa while we went to the Wavehouse for some fries and cold drinks. We joined up again after an hour, walked around Resorts World and had some lunch.

Ryan saw the water sprays and promptly made a beeline for them.

Ryan got thoroughly drenched and he was so happy! He was not satisfied though - we had to drag him away from the sprays. He fell asleep in the car on the way to Change Alley where we bought mooncakes and then it was off to the airport for them to catch their flight home.

The specialist said Richard's father can go travelling now (to nearby places), so the family decided to go ahead with the proposed family trip to Chiangmai, Thailand. That's in the next post!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Little Octopus

Last Saturday's JG Bilingual Playclub session was the last class of the term.  We were asked to contribute some food/drink for snack time and we were also told to dress up according to the theme for the term, which was "Out at Sea".

After much consideration, we decided to make an octopus costume for Ryan. Basically, Richard stuffed batting into some baby tights, I sewed on some large buttons and we pinned the tights over a belt. I sewed some felt onto a romper for the head and stuck on some eyes.  Here's the end result!

Turned out that Ryan was the only one who turned up in full costume and I was the only parent who turned up in anything remotely connected to the theme (I wore a pirate hat and a waistband). Ryan got all the oohs and the aahs and everyone couldn't get enough of him and his tentacles.  We received lots of requests for photographs!

Ryan kept his costume on the entire time. He sat down on the floor, sat down on a chair, walked and danced around, ran around and climbed up and down the playground equipment. It didn't seem to bother him at all. He was a natural octopus.

Running off to the playground!
Going for a slamdunk!
Playing on the slides and other playground equipment

I hope that the costume helped to give the last class of the term a special touch for Ryan. It certainly was a lot of fun for Richard and me, both in making the costume and in watching Ryan parade around in it!

Ryan receiving his "certificate" from Safina
There is a one week break before the start of the next term on 18 September. We'll be back soon!

On 29 August, after JG class, we joined some SMH families at The Botanic Gardens for a fun picnic. Here are some photos taken by Kenny.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A yippee-yappee yay-oh!

Ryan turned 19 months on Sunday, 22 August. Coincidentally, that morning his swimming coach decided that it was time for Ryan's class to get upgraded to the next level, meaning that at the end of the lesson, the little swimmers would get out of the pool, stand in a row, and collect two stickers each.

Previously, at the end of the lesson the parents would sing this song while swishing the little ones in the water:

A yippee-yappee yay-oh! We're finished for the day-oh!
A swish! a swish! and we all say Bye-Bye!

Ryan loves this song and actually, so do I. We sing it all the time (with the hand actions), even when we're not at swimming class. Actually, I think all the children are familiar with the routine and they all love this song.

That Sunday, at the end of the class, Coach Dave said, "Everyone go over to the wall and stand there and I'll give you stickers". The little ones were so confused and just stood around not really knowing what to do. Eventually, however, with a little prodding, they understood and everyone lined up and got their stickers. I guess this is the prelude to the next level, where the children are more independent and can listen to and carry out instructions.

Ryan collecting his stickers from Coach Dave
After that, the children went off and the next class (for older children) started. Ryan still hung around the side of the pool though, and Coach was wondering why. I told him that Ryan was waiting for his "Bye Bye" song, so Coach quickly sang it for him and after that, Ryan was willing to go.

The following week, Ryan was a pro. He even tried to follow Coach into his office when Coach went to get the stickers. No more hanging around the pool after that either. I think I missed singing the Bye-Bye song more than Ryan did.

Wow, two posts in one day, I'm on a roll here!

21 August was Daddies' Week at Julia Gabriel Bilingual Playclub, meaning that the daddy was the accompanying parent for that day's class. We were told to "dress alike" and, as you can see from the photos, that's exactly what we did. Father and son wore matching adult and toddler shirts which we bought from Guess/Guess Kids many months ago. The shirts are exact duplicates of each other, except for size of course. The toddler version was too large for Ryan at the time we bought it, so it went into storage until he was big enough. Daddies' Week was the perfect time and opportunity for Ryan (and Richard) to put the shirts on!

I know the photos don't show anyone else in matching outfits, but this is a true story!

I'm still here! Yes, there has been an extended silence around these parts, I know. Time for those updates I promised. This is the first one - we completed the purchase of our penthouse and collected our keys on the 18th! Here are some photos of the place!

Living room with double volume space. 
The door on the left is the main door into the penthouse. 
The sliding door on the right leads to the kitchen.

Living room and dining space. 
The corridor on the left leads to the guest bathroom, 
two bedrooms and a small roof terrace.

The view from the small roof terrace on the lower floor.

Up to the next floor where we have the master bedroom and ensuite.

At the top of the stairs, the master bedroom is on the right. 
It has a double volume space and balconies on two sides.
The door on the left at the top of the stairs leads out to a large roof terrace.

The large roof terrace.  
The view includes the Singapore Flyer and the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort.

We have been busy discussing ideas for renovating and decorating the new place. This is the second home we are furnishing this year, after our condo in KL, so we're still "in the groove".  It's going to be a long and slow process but we both really love good design and aesthetics, so it's going to be a labour of love.

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