Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happee (Sun)day

We had a packed Sunday. Richard brought Ryan for his swimming class while I brought the pets to the vet for a check-up. Everything is fine - our cat, Tiger, is doing really well, he's eating and drinking and in high spirits. Max the dog had an episode of ticks and mites but it looks like he's free of them now so he's happy. A little overweight, but happy.

After that, we rushed over to Hort Park for Happee Day, which was a charity event benefiting the Children's Cancer Foundation, spearheaded by Mother, Inc. The event started at 9 am so we were really late but we managed to catch Jimmy the Juggler's performance, which was superb. Ryan seemed to be quite interested in watching him juggle his machetes (!) and other stuff.

The event was strongly supported by lots of volunteers and I think there was something to interest everyone - bouncy castle for the older children, lawn activities for the outdoorsy types, balloon sculpting, facepainting and caricatures for the indoorsy types, food for the hungry, performances for the bored, arts and crafts and cake decorating for the creative, PS3 and Wii consoles for the tech-y types, mascots and superheroes to entertain the children, phototaking and printing for the families and fantastic goodie bags for everyone else.

Seeing the Happee smiles on the CCF children's faces was amazing and all kudos goes to Daphne of Mother, Inc. and her husband, Kelvin, and of course the army of volunteers and sponsors. I didn't do anything to help out with the event (but got so much in return) so if you're like me or if you couldn't make it and would still like to assist the Children's Cancer Foundation, please consider making a cash donation. Just click the button at Mother, Inc.

After the event wound down, we went for a quiet lunch at Blooie's with the gang - Shann's family, Alicia's family and Florinda's family. Then it was off to Shichida. We missed last week's class because Ryan fell asleep. This week, we made it to class but that was the only difference - Ryan still slept through it and he woke up just before it ended, in time to wave his hands along to the Sayonara song. His sensei was very amused. We went home and I spent some time playing and reading with Ryan while Richard took a short nap.

In the evening, we met up with Shann's family and Belinda's family for dinner at Casa Verde at The Botanic Gardens. The weather was nice and cool and the children were delighted to be outdoors. Ryan was a little tired by then but couldn't sleep until he had expended all his energy so he wanted to hop, skip and run about. When he was done, he fell asleep in my arms, while we continued chatting at the table. He woke up as we were leaving, which was close to 10 pm. His routine went completely out the window today but I think he had a great day.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hanging out with family

Ryan in the hotel room at Swissotel The Stamford
We had a busy Saturday with guests in town. Richard's dad had a medical check-up and Richard's sister (Margaret) needed to have something done at the bank, so they drove in and arrived just after midnight on Friday. We had supper at Boon Tong Kee Little Gourmet. Although the restaurant is within walking distance of our house, the only times Richard and I go there are when we have guests. It's quite good actually.

After supper, we checked them into the Swissotel The Stamford and everyone had a good time catching up. By the time we got home, it was almost 3 am.

On Saturday morning, everyone split up to do their own thing - Margaret's family had breakfast at the hotel while Richard took his parents for breakfast at the market. Ryan and I stayed in slumberland at home. After breakfast, the adults split up to go to the doctor and to the bank. I went to the hotel with Ryan to babysit Margaret's three children, which was really easy because all I had to do was whip out the iPad.

Ryan in the hotel room at Swissotel The Stamford, showing off his eyelashes
We met back at the hotel for checkout and had lunch at Szechuan Court. Then, there was some casino time at MBS for Richard's parents. Margaret's family went shopping for their own iPad.

Ryan went for Playclub as usual in the afternoon. Safina had a chat with me about Ryan's progress (a follow-up from the feedback I gave for Parent's Chats) and we agreed that Ryan is doing well in Playclub and that he's enjoying himself. I do notice that he is a little slow to warm up to the Mandarin teachers. They really love him so much and keep trying to catch him for a hug. I might think about getting him more exposure to Mandarin next year.
Ryan at the playground during outdoor play at Playclub
Everyone met up again in the evening for dinner at Ah Yat Seafood Restaurant in Mohamed Sultan Road. Richard's parents footed the bill, courtesy of their big win at the casino. Maybe I should say the casino footed the bill, hahaha!

Anyway, after a good meal, it was goodbye and see you again!

Friday, October 29, 2010

On the street where you live

When I was a little girl, one of my favourite films was "My Fair Lady" starring Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so she can pass as a proper lady. It has been described as the "perfect musical". I watched it over and over again. I knew the lyrics to all the songs and I even knew the lines for all the scenes. I still sing the songs to myself sometimes. One day, I hope to watch the original Broadway musical.

Anyway, I was reminded of it last night. We went out for a walk down our street. Richard and Ryan were walking ahead of me and it struck me that this would be one of the last few times that we would stroll along our street. There were many things about our street which I have grown accustomed to. The peacefulness. The cars parked along the side. The trees. The dogs, including a huge brown one which we thought was a bear and the crazy labrador who barks at everyone who passes by (don't believe all you hear about friendly labradors - this one actually tried to maul my dog once). The grumpy old lady who tells us to steer our dog clear of her front gate because our dog was "dirty". The kids who bounce on their trampoline in their garden. The old man at the top of the row who washes the part of the public road in front of his house and scolds the road workers for messing the road up. The old couple living next door -they planted shrubs on the pedestrian sidewalk on the other side of the street because they just had too many plants in their garden and when they walk out of their house, the husband walks twenty paces ahead of the wife. The security guards at the neighbouring condominium who recognised our dog and helped us to find him when he went missing.

I was reminded of the song "On the street where you live" where Freddy sings about how he loves Eliza and that he will wait for her on the street where she lives. He sings,

I have often walked down this street before;
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.
All at once am I Several stories high.
Knowing I'm on the street where you live.
Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour Out of ev'ry door?
No, it's just on the street where you live!

Of course it's a song about love, not about the street. It just comes to my mind everytime I have good feeling about a street! Hahaha!

Anyway, here they were last night, father and son walking up the street. This was really late - around midnight. Sigh, one of the little things I will miss. Hopefully we will have a similar routine at our new neighbourhood.

By the way, there's some buzz that there will be a remake of the movie My Fair Lady, written by Emma Thompson with Carey Mulligan in the starring role, although it looks like it won't happen so soon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Project N - furniture and lights

As promised, here are some images of some of the furniture and lights we bought for the living and dining areas.

The first items we bought (in early September) were our dining table and chairs. As I mentioned in my last post, we were still in our Scandinavian phase then. We knew we wanted a round table so the natural choice was the iconic Tulip table by Eero Saarinen. We bought the chairs from his Tulip range as well. I have loved this table for so long, and now we have it!

The table and chairs are taking three months to arrive in Singapore, they will be here end November/early December. Here's a photo of what they look like, except that we chose candy-colours for the chairs (two blue and two green). We chose white marble for the table top.

These are the lights we bought for the living room - the Kartell FL/Y designed by Ferruccio Laviani.

Not so many of course! They are gorgeous but they are huge! We bought three in three different colours and let me just say that it was a nightmare picking the colours.  They will be hung in the double height space in the living room.

For the dining area, we need a strong big light because we foresee that the dining table will frequently become a workzone. We decided on the Neutra light, also designed by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell. Although there are only two colours (black and white), we still agonised over which one to pick! Eventually we chose the white.

I mentioned in my last post that the Kartell lights are also taking their time to come home to us, but we hope that they'll be home in time for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Project N

When we bought our first apartment in KL many years ago, we had it done up as a luxe bachelor pad. We didn't do any renovations but we went crazy with the loose furniture and bought some iconic designer pieces which we had always lusted for. The place was a yuppie haven - dim lighting, heavy curtains and the only things in the living room were a very large and deep sofa, a Le Corbusier chaise lounge, a Noguchi coffee table, an Arco floor lamp and all the electronics a guy could ask for (TV, stereo system, home theatre system, game consoles, internet, etc.). There was not a single family photo in sight, no ornaments, no bookshelves.

In contrast, in Singapore, our previous homes have always been done up very simply. There were just Richard and I at home, so the emphasis was on low maintenance and high practicality. We keep rather long hours at work and by the time we get home, housework is not a priority. Things have to be fuss-free. Keeping pets also influenced our choice of furniture, we try not to buy anything that would cause us heartache if damaged by them.

Things changed when Ryan came along and our latest apartment in PJ is the opposite of our first, it's more of a family home. We collected our keys earlier this year and did some moderate renovations, keeping the place bright and spacious. Lots of photos, books, trinkets and travel souvenirs are on display. Now for our new unit in Singapore, we also want to it to have a family-feel. We want it to be bright and cheerful, with lots of areas for children to run and play. We want feet to be put up, pets to lounge about, children to make messes and adults to relax. Again, nothing too precious that would cause us a heart-attack if damaged by children or by pets.

We spent quite a lot of time dreaming about what we wanted the place to look like. Initially we were very keen on the Scandinavian style - open- plan, light-filled layouts, clean lines and natural materials. We thought of a white space, with pops of bright colour. You can check out the house visits at Dos Family for what I mean. There are more pictures at Emma's blog. Just lovely. And so child-friendly too.

We bought our dining table and chairs while we were still in our Scandinavian phase. We chose a Tulip table by Eero Saarinen with a white marble top. The matching Tulip chairs are candy-coloured. We bought lights from Kartell for the living and dining areas. I'll show you in the next post.

Since then, we have moved on from the Scandinavian look. We realised that it was all bright, pale and light in Scandinavia homes because of the long dreary winters and the lack of natural light there. They used all that white to reflect whatever light was available. In Singapore where the sun shines all year long, all the white walls and furniture would just give the place a harsh feel. Nevertheless, we still want the place to be bright so we don't want walls or furniture that is too dark. We did consider putting up wallpaper and even went through reams and reams of samples at the wallpaper store but in the end, we decided to keep the white walls but tone the effect down by getting some furniture custom-built in medium dark wood.

There is not a lot of custom-built furniture but all of the custom-built furniture that we do have, we designed ourselves with some inspiration from Italian furniture brands. There will be wall-hung bookshelves and a wall-hung TV console in the living room, a simple buffet table/sideboard in the dining area, wall-mounted storage along the passageway to the rooms and a working desk and floor to ceiling bookshelf/TV stand in the study. All this carpentry will be done by our contractor at the factory and will be installed at the unit in about two weeks' time, after the walls are re-painted and the floors touched up.

In the meantime, we are trying to sort out the smaller details. As I mentioned in a previous post, we had the covered pergolas installed on the terraces. Yesterday we put in new ceiling fans to replace the existing ones. We also bought some additional lights last week, which the contractor will pick up from the shop and install for us when she installs the furniture. The contractor will have to come again in December to install all the Kartell lights, because they are only arriving in late December (takes three months to be shipped into Singapore). Hopefully we can have them in time for Christmas.

We plan to move in November because after that, there just won't be time. Richard has promised his present company that he won't go on leave for the remainder of his time with them so we are left with weekends to pack up and shift. Weekends in December will be filled with Christmas lunches/Christmas dinners/Christmas shopping so it is not realistic for us to expect to get much done if we wait till then. After that, it will be the run-up to New Year's Day (Richard's family are planning to visit during that time). Richard starts at his new firm in January so it will be a little stressful and definitely not a good time for packing and moving. Then, Ryan has his birthday in late January, quickly followed by Chinese New Year in early February 2011 and we'd prefer to move before rather than after Chinese New Year.
So we've got just a couple of weeks left to sort out a whole list of things. We still need to buy some furniture (we have yet to find beds and living room seating) and electrical appliances (kettle, fridge, washing machine). We still have to buy curtains/blinds. There are still some decorating issues to resolve - we haven't planned our bedroom or Ryan's playroom yet. We need to sort out our stuff - what to pack, what not to pack. We need to change our mailing addresses, decide when to terminate the water/gas/electricity supply, get the internet and cable connected at the new unit and book a professional mover.

Ok, so lots and lots of things on our to-do list, which I've termed "Project N". The letter "N" is related to our new address, but I suppose it can also stand for "New Nest". Good stuff, whichever way you look at it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A child of his generation

Ryan gets lots of clothes, toys, music and other goodies all the time from his nanny and her daughter, Caroline. The latest gift was a tricycle!

Sometimes, Caroline also introduces Ryan to characters like Spongebob Squarepants and the puppets on Sesame Street (apparently Elmo is Ryan's favourite). The latest was Barney the Purple Dinosaur.
A Spongebob Squarepants lantern that Ryan's nanny got for him
for the recent mooncake festival 
Although there is educational value in the TV programmes starring these characters, Richard and I have not introduced Ryan to any of them, mainly because we don't have any children's TV programmes on our cable subscription (actually, we only watch TV for football). That also means that Ryan doesn't get any time with these characters when he is with us. We also don't buy any merchandise featuring these characters so he doesn't have any stuff at home reminding him of them. I guess that keeps things in balance.

Having said that, I'm glad that Ryan is being kept "socially connected" and he is in tune with what children are into nowadays. Of course, it's not an issue at this stage but in time to come, he will need to build his own social circle and, while he doesn't need to have every toy/gadget on the planet, he should at least know a little about what the other children are interested in. I certainly don't want him to be a social outcast among his peers. He should be a child of his time and generation, not a child of mine.

I guess one fear that parents have is that their children will become fanatical about these characters but, in my opinion, shielding them isn't the answer, and shielding could lead to more undesirable outcomes. I would rather introduce my children to these things and teach them how to apply restraint and moderation. That would surely be a more valuable and practical life lesson and skill.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Musing on Monday

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about change. There are going to be a lot of changes for our little family in the upcoming months.  A new home next month, a new job for Richard in January, a new routine for Tiger, and some lifestyle changes that come with the new home, the new job and the new routine for the pets.

Judging by the massive number of self-help books that teach you how to change your life for the better, I suppose there are lots of people out there looking for change. Me? Change is the last thing I want sometimes. Still, change is unstoppable, however unwelcome it is. So, our approach is to go with the flow and trust that everything will work out, and it always does.

The most painful change that we've suffered was a miscarriage a few years ago. We were devastated and we mourned and cried for our loss. After some time, we healed and we continued to open our hearts to the idea of having a family. Now we have Ryan, our gift and our blessing.

It is not always easy but I like to think that Richard and I are people who see the glass as "half-full" and not "half-empty". So when change hits us, we don't spend a lot of time complaining or whining. We don't continue to cling on to what has been lost, instead we are optimistic about what lies in store for us. It's like playing poker. When you are dealt a bad hand, you do the best you can with it and after that, you forget it and move on to the next hand and stay focused on a winning outcome.

Then there are times when, instead of change being forced upon us, we are lucky enough to be given a choice whether to make a change or not. It can be a hard decision because we may have to forgo things which we enjoy or leave behind things which we love. I think that many people, including me on occasion, reject the opportunity to make changes, no matter what the self-help books say. Those were the times when I felt that my life was perfect, I had everything I wanted and I didn't need anything else. I didn't want to step out of my comfort zone, I didn't want to leave what was familiar.

For example, when we moved out from our Cairnhill apartment, we thought that we'd miss being able to stroll down to Orchard Road for shopping or to Newton Circus for supper. We definitely enjoyed living there and it was appropriate for our lifestyle at the time - working ourselves to the bone during the day, clubbing and pubbing late into the night, shopping at all the designer labels, being close to the "hip and the happening". We wouldn't have changed a thing, we were so happy.

After we moved, we realised that, ironically, we had handicapped ourselves when we were living in Cairnhill. Living in such a convenient location, we never felt the need to venture very far and we didn't feel the need to try new things because everything was just a few minutes away or just a short walk down the road. We thought that we had everything we needed nearby but we were just short-sighted. In reality, we had made our world very small and limited and prevented ourselves from gaining new insights and experiences.

Once we moved away to a "less convenient" location, we made more effort to explore new places and do new activities. We started spending more time in parks and at the beach. We also spent more time at home, reading, cooking, crafting, gardening, tending to our hobbies and hanging out with our pets. We had lots of new and different experiences and lots more fun.

That's why sometimes when I'm faced with a choice, I like to think that it's God's way of telling me that there're some goodies waiting for me, but I have to let go of what I'm holding before I can grab onto and receive His blessings.

Apart from expanding our world, our relocation and our resulting change in lifestyle also prepared us mentally for parenthood. So when Ryan eventually came along, we didn't feel like we had to "give up" our old life because we had already outgrown it. There was no point being within walking distance to the malls along Orchard Road or being able to walk out for a midnight movie or for a late night supper or being able to walk home from Zouk because we weren't interested in those things anymore. Instead, we wanted to spend the time cuddling with Ryan in bed, reading books to him at home, cycling along the beach, having a homecooked meal and chasing bubbles in the park.

So it's true that, when we move out of River Valley and out of our landed home, our pets won't be able to just walk in and out of the house and we won't be able to park our cars right outside our front door. We will miss those little conveniences. But there's little else that we will miss. There're so many more goodies waiting for us. We're going to have a swimming pool. We're going to be close to the beach. New restaurants to try, new places to explore. It's going to be wonderful and we can hardly wait.

The tree outside our house changing its leaves for the season
(the building in the background is the condominium opposite our house
which was recently constructed)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tiger Boy update - some great news

Richard took Ryan for his swimming class today while I brought Tiger to the vet for his check-up. The amazing news is that Tiger's creatinin levels are now normal at 2.1! That is so wonderful and we are so happy! Looks like the fluid therapy at home is working so we will continue with it until we are certain that Tiger has stabilised. We are to bring him back in a week for another check-up. Really great news, we are so relieved and overjoyed. Of course he isn't cured, but at least we know that we can keep the condition under control.

Ryan skipped Shichida today because he fell asleep round about the time we were due to leave the house. Actually so did Richard. So I followed suit and we all had a nice afternoon snooze. Heh heh. In the evening, we went for dinner at Asia Grand Restaurant with Kenny, Belinda and Matthias and Joey and her two lovely daughters, Ginelle and Ginette. We had a nice time chatting and catching up.

As is our usual routine on Sunday night, we took our cars to the petrol station to top up for the week. Then we went for a late supper. As Ryan was still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, there was some loitering along Orchard Road. Actually, it was more like circuit-training.

Up the stairs!
And down the ramp! Ryan went up and down this "circuit" at least 20 times!

I was excited to see the beginnings of the annual Orchard Road Christmas decorations. It's such a great feeling to know that Christmas will be here soon.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ryan at play

After a late night, we woke up really late today. We went to our new unit to meet up with the contractor to discuss the proposed work and after that, it was a quick lunch before we were off to Playclub. It's Week 6 of the term which means having Parent's Chats and taking the class photo! Also, outdoor play this week is swimming so it was not a class to be missed!

Ryan was exhausted after Playclub, he went down for a good three hours. When he woke up, we had a late dinner at Aston's and popped into Richard's office for a bit. Ryan was so funny there. He climbed up onto one of the chairs, jabbed at the keyboard, picked up the telephone and said, "Hello?" I think there was a recorded message playing and so he wouldn't let go of the phone. He just continued "chatting" and "typing". 
Ryan at work
That's some good pretend play, son!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some shopping and a quiet Friday

The yearly haze is here again. The haze started this week and is caused by fires in neighbouring Sumatra, lit to clear land for palm oil plantations. Yesterday the haze reached unhealthy levels (Pollutant Standards Index reading of 108) and today it dropped down to moderate levels. Nothing much we can do except to stay indoors and hope that it goes away soon.

The haze over Singapore
Last night after fetching Ryan from the nanny's, we went to Paragon to buy some shoes and jeans for him. Ryan fell asleep in his car seat on the way there. I had posted previously that, when we changed the car seat to a forward-facing one, Ryan didn't like it and fussed and cried the first time he sat in it. Well, I spoke too soon. He was fine the very next trip. The second trip started out with crying and fussing but halfway through, he calmed down and started enjoying the fact that he could see much more of his surroundings and much more out of the window compared to when he was in the backward-facing seat. Now when we go out and we walk out to the car, he heads for the back and actually asks to get into his car seat. Of course there are still days when he wants some company but generally he's cool with the car seat.

Ryan was still sleeping when we got to Paragon so Richard had to carry him while we shopped. We managed to pick up a pair of See Kai Run shoes, although I think I might buy his next pair online and direct from USA since the exchange rate is quite favourable now.  After we were done shopping, we had dinner at Crystal Jade Golden Palace Restaurant. Ryan slept through most of it so Richard had to eat with one arm carrying him. After dinner, we let Ryan have some fun in the indoor playground outside the restaurant until closing time. 

Ryan turns 21 months today but we didn't do much today. Some friends came over to our house in the evening and stayed till late. Looking forward to the weekend.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Setting up our new home

Today is a significant day because we finally settled on a contractor to carry out the renovation for our penthouse. We got two different contractors to give us a quotation for the work and, due to several reasons, we went with the one with the higher quote.

Feels good to finally get going.

Apart from being busy with Ryan, being busy at the office and being busy with a host of other things, one of the reasons for the delay is that we have too many different ideas. It would have been much faster if we had only one idea, one colour and one visual in mind, but both Richard and I are inspired by so many different and varied images that it is so difficult to commit to one. Everything, any which way, can be beautiful, and we sway from one end to the other end of the design spectrum all the time.

The most significant decision was to keep the renovation very simple for now. We foresee that there will be a lot of big changes over the next five years in terms of how we live in the space so it will be better for us to do a full renovation in five years, when our family grows out of its toddler years. The unit is presently in good condition and we can live there quite comfortably without doing a lot of work. So that means no need to replace the wardrobes or the flooring, we aren't knocking down any walls or putting up false ceilings and we aren't changing anything in the kitchen or in the bathrooms. We aren't even doing any work in the rooms, except for painting the walls and polishing up the floors.

Having said that, the design process was not very much simplified. It took us many weeks to decide where to put the TV and how the TV console should look like. We went back and forth on which of the rooms should be the study room and whether we should have a guestroom. We took forever just to decide that the walls should be painted white.

What really helped was that Richard was able to digitally sketch a 3-D scale model of each room (one of the advantages of having my personal architect, heh heh). This helped us to visualise whether our ideas worked in the space or not. Everytime we had a new idea or suggestion - put the console here/there, make it higher/lower/bigger/smaller, make the wall green/purple/blue - he could sketch it up and click a few buttons on the computer and hey presto! we had a picture of it. Once we finalised the design, Richard was also able to do the technical drawings for all the carpentry.

So the contractor will come to the unit with her staff on Saturday to go through the proposed work and to do some site markings. The carpentry work will be done off-site (some bookshelves, TV console, etc.) and the actual work at the unit (painting, polishing, installing carpentry, etc.) will take only a few days. The estimate is that everything will be done by the second week of November.

In the meantime, we have been slowly buying furniture and also some lights and ceiling fans to replace the lights and fans in the unit. Some of the items will only be arriving in December (it takes about three months for the manufacture and shipping) but hopefully everything will be in place by Christmas. We still have to buy electrical appliances (washing machine, fridge) and some more furniture, which we will probably do after the contractor is done with the work in the unit.

So it looks like we will be moving house in November! We'd better start packing!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tiger Boy comes home!

Dr Yeoh called up today and said that Tiger's creatinin level actually went up a little (from 8 to 9). Funny thing is that he checked in on Tiger last night and told Tiger that he'd better eat something or else he won't let him go home. Then, today he saw Tiger eating a little bit! Amazing.

Dr Yeoh said Tiger is probably not eating because he is in the hospital and that Tiger will probably eat better if he is at home. So he will discharge Tiger and we will do the fluid therapy at home. We were so very happy to hear the news - actually not great news in terms of recovery, but just having Tiger home is already a cause to celebrate. We were given two bags full of medicine and fluids and told to bring Tiger back in three days for a check-up. We were also shown how to do the fluid therapy. Essentially we have to set up an IV drip so one of us has to hold him still while the other pokes the IV needle into the back of his neck. Then we hold him in the same position for about 15 to 20 minutes while the fluids drip into his system to hydrate him.

When we got home, Tiger had a lot to say, probably complaining and scolding us for sending him to the hospital. But I think he was happy to be home, just as we are happy to have him back with us. Of course his treatment is ongoing and he is not really stable yet, so we will have to monitor him closely.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tiger Boy update and some "me-time"

Today I was excited to see Tiger, having received the encouraging news last night that Tiger was responding to the fluids. I went to visit around lunch time. He certainly seemed more alert today so his hangover fog must have lifted a little. Dr Yeoh was around, he popped by and chatted with me a little about Tiger. I asked him whether we can continue to let Tiger out of the house and Dr Yeoh said it's better to keep him indoors to monitor that he is eating well. So it looks like shifting to our new unit may be a good thing for Tiger after all. I was worried that he'd be miserable at being cooped up in an apartment but if it's better for him, then he's just going to have to get used to it!

Dr Yeoh also said that he may discharge Tiger tomorrow if things continue to go well. I was very happy and relieved to hear that. Dr Yeoh also said that if Tiger starts eating then he will consider discharging him even with high creatinin levels. We will just have to do the fluid therapy at home to try to bring the levels down.

While I was there, I met a lovely lady whose was also visiting her cat in the hospital. Tiger's cage was next to her cat's cage so we were sitting next to each other and we started chatting. Her cat got into a fight and injured her eye and has to stay in the hospital for three weeks while the eye heals. I could tell that she really loves her cat - she was pampering her and hand-feeding her and talking gently to her.  I do hope that things go smoothly for them.

I planned to visit Tiger again in the evening, so I decided not to go back to the office. Instead, I went to the hair salon for a couple of hours and had some "me-time". It has been quite some time since I had that luxury. After that, I went to fetch Ryan and then it was back to the hospital to see Tiger.  Richard also dropped by to see him and after that, we all went for a good Indian dinner at Muthu's Flavours at Dempsey Hill. Ryan was quite adventurous, he tried a little of each dish.

Ryan trying Indian food
Looking forward to having our Tiger Boy back home so am keeping my fingers crossed that the levels continue to go down and that he will start eating some food.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tiger Boy update - some encouraging news

I had lined up some other posts for this week but, with our cat Tiger still in the hospital, I think an update on his condition is more appropriate. 

We went to see the vet this morning, Dr Eric Yeoh at Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital in Whitley Road.  Dr Yeoh explained Tiger's condition to us and reassured us that he expects Tiger to stabilise soon. He is looking for the protein levels to come down and for Tiger to start eating again. Once that happens, we can bring Tiger home. Dr Yeoh is administering antibiotics for a respiratory infection but apart from that he is not giving Tiger any drugs or medication for the renal failure, just some fluids for hydration.

We went to visit Tiger and sat with him for a while. I think he was very stressed. Being in an unfamiliar environment, stuck in a small cage, listening to unfamiliar sounds and voices, being jabbed for various blood tests, having an IV drip in his leg and wearing a lampshade collar around his neck, it's no wonder he's not responding to the treatment. He looked quite out of it actually. Apparently, he is not feeling any pain although he is probably feeling like he's having a massive hangover. It almost broke my heart to see him like that, my dear strong Tiger Boy. He has always been so tough.

We stroked his head, rubbed his ears and scratched his chin and told him to stop fooling around and get well enough to come home! I left the hospital with a heavy heart and prayed hard that Tiger would be able to come home soon. We went to visit him again in the evening after work. We sat with him and talked to him until he fell asleep purring.

I read up on the internet and was shocked to discover that, in cats, symptoms of chronic renal failure only appear when the kidneys have already lost 70% of their function (because cats only need their kidneys to function at 30%). Apparently, cats with chronic renal failure can often manage quite well on limited kidney function - for some cats, things only become critical when they have lost as much as 90% of function, and there are some cats who cope astonishingly well with even less function.

Later in the night, Dr Yeoh called to tell us that Tiger's protein levels had come down, although they are still very high. Actually, Dr Yeoh was surprised because the levels had dropped quite fast. Dr Yeoh said the levels should be about 2.3 but when Tiger was admitted, his creatinin was at 13.6 (!). Now Dr Yeoh says it is at about 8, so that's a huge improvement, although there is a long way to go yet. Tiger is not eating yet and Dr Yeoh says that he does not expect Tiger to feel like eating until the creatinin level drops to about 4, but different cats behave differently, some do eat before then.

So, good news. Hopefully, Tiger continues to respond, he gets his appetite going, and we can bring him home soon.

This weekend, my company held its annual firm-wide retreat in Hong Kong. I opted not to go this year. When we are in Hong Kong, Richard and I spend most of the time shopping. I didn't want to be dragging poor Ryan all over the malls while we checked in on our favourite labels and I think Ryan is not ready for Disneyland yet, so we all stayed home this time.

I remember there was one time Richard and I went on a company retreat to Shanghai. One of our cats, Snowy, had a fit at the boarders and after a night at the vet, she passed away. I don't know if it would have made a difference if we had been there to tide her through the night, but I wish I had been there nevertheless.

Yesterday, our cat Tiger was hospitalised. Tiger had been looking quite poorly and refusing food and peeing very frequently so I asked Richard to take him to the vet while I took Ryan for Playclub. After class, Richard told me that the vet had diagnosed Tiger with chronic renal failure - essentially kidney failure.  According to the vet, it happens to most cats when they get old. The vet said that average life expectancy for a cat is normally about 14 years. It was then that I realised that Tiger is coming to 12 years now. 12 years old! I almost can't believe it. We always call him "Tiger Boy". Guess he's not really a boy anymore.

The vet said that his protein levels are very high, he is quite dehydrated and his bladder was full - all symptoms of kidney failure. The vet was actually quite surprised that Tiger still seems quite strong and active because his readings indicate otherwise. They will keep him until Monday and try to adjust his levels and hydrate him.  The vet said that, with proper management, it is possible for Tiger to continue enjoying a good life. The important thing now is to get him over this hump in the road. The vet seemed quite confident so we are (cautiously) optimistic.

So, I'm very glad that I did not go on the retreat this year.

This morning, we skipped swimming (again) and went to Casa Verde at the Botanic Gardens for brunch, after which we took a short stroll through the gardens. It was right in the middle of the day (noon) so it was surprising that the weather was quite cool, perhaps the yearly haze helped.

Strolling through the Botanic Gardens
There was Shichida class in the afternoon and, after Ryan's nap, we went over to Ee Fann's and Shann's house for dinner. Kenny, Belinda and Matthias and Chris, Alicia and Brayden were there too.

Shann had prepared a feast fit for a king - smoked salmon rolls, roasted chicken, beef stew and spaghetti carbonara! Whew! Sorry I don't have photos of the spread - we were more interested in getting all that yummy food into our tummies! Suffice to say that, it was so good that we made a "reservation" at Shann's place for a Christmas meal! Hahaha!

After dinner, as usual, we lounged around with some ice-cream and chatted while the kids entertained themselves.
Matthias and Ryan posing for me
On the way home from Shann's place, Richard told me that the vet had called during dinner. The vet told him that Tiger's protein levels aren't coming down so it is unlikely that he can be discharged tomorrow. We are very worried now so we are going to go to the vet in the morning and get a better understanding of what's happening.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sprinkle and Splash

Today, the contractors finished erecting the covered pergolas on the terraces at our new unit. There are three - one downstairs and two upstairs. The terraces are pretty generous (by Singapore standards) so we want to make sure that we can make full use of them. The covered pergolas achieve that result - they let in the light but keep the rain off. We went to check them out after Ryan's Playclub and we are very happy with the finished product.

One of the two pergolas on the upper terrace
We decided not to place timber decking on the terraces because we wanted them to be "dirty" play spaces for Ryan and the pets. The tiled floors can be cleaned more easily and, if there are any "accidents" (eg. pee/poo), they can be easily taken care of. We have visions of Ryan playing on the terraces with his little cars while we read the newspaper and can already imagine Ryan splashing around in his wading pool while our pets lounge about ... happy times await!

Well, as it turned out, we couldn't wait! Once the contractors left, we brought out the water play mat, hooked up the hose and let Ryan loose. He had a whale of a time! Here's a video that we put together.

Music for the video is "Toes" by The Zac Brown Band. If you are interested in the play mat, it's the Fisher-Price Deluxe Sprinkle 'N Splash Play Mat.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just for fun

I've been shooting some pretty boring photographs lately (don't worry, I won't post them here!). There have even been days when I don't shoot at all. I'm going to try to spend this weekend remedying that. 

In the meantime, enjoy these shots taken some months ago!

If you haven't realised it by now, Ryan is actually standing in front of a massive Panasonic HD Plasma TV.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Morning routine

Ryan's morning routine depends on whether he is woken up by Richard/me or he wakes up on his own. Generally, we let Ryan sleep as much as he wants. If we have an appointment to get to, we will leave him sleeping in bed while we get ourselves ready. He will wake up (crying and searching for the breast) if I'm gone too long from bed, so I try to be as speedy as possible. Once Richard and I are ready to leave the house, we simply scoop him out of bed and it's out the door we all go. Sometimes Ryan continues sleeping in his car seat, sometimes not.

If we are not supposed to be off somewhere then I will stay in bed with Ryan until he wakes up. If I'm not sleepy, I will read a book or get on the internet.

When Ryan is about to wake, he will try to cling on to sleep, fussing and searching for the breast. He will latch on but sleep will ultimately escape him and he will finally open his eyes. Then comes my reward - when he sees me, he gives me an incredible smile. I can't get enough of that smile, it's pure joy and contentment. Beautiful.

After lots of kisses, Richard takes him to brush his teeth. This is what they look like in the bathroom.

Ryan brushing his teeth with Richard
(Ryan is standing on an overturned pail, while Richard stands behind him and holds the pail in place with his legs.)

After that, a change of clothes and the day begins.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Underwater Maternity Photoshoot

I recently read an article in the local newspaper about couples having their wedding photographs taken underwater - some of the photos shown were pretty fantastic. I personally love the water very much (can't wait to move to our new unit where there is a pool!) and I do miss my scuba diving days. It would have been so cool to have had our wedding photographs done underwater! Oh well, that stage of our life has passed.

Still, all is not lost! I was so amazed to see these stunning underwater maternity shots by Mark Holladay Lee.

I didn't do a maternity photoshoot when I was having Ryan. I think having these photos is a great reason to have another child, don't you agree? So beautiful, so weightless, so serene.

This photo is also by Mark - see more on his website

Actually, Richard and I do want to have more children, it has always been our dream to have three and lately we have been talking more about it. Coincidentally, lately also, I have been surrounded by news of pregnancies and of new additions to the family. On Monday, I posted about Ophelia's waterbag bursting just after our dinner together. Today, I had dinner with Terri and Sook Meng at East Coast Seafood Centre - Sook Meng is also ready to pop (nothing happened at the dinner!). My secretary is on maternity leave, resting at home with her second son. A few of my friends are pregnant and, funnily enough, some bloggers whose blogs I follow are also reporting their pregnancies. It's everywhere!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blogtoberfest 2010

You may have noticed that the posts on the blog have recently been more frequent. That's because of Blogtoberfest!

In October last year, I signed up for Blogtoberfest and asked some blogger friends to join in. The concept of Blogtoberfest is simple - post on your blog everyday for the month of October.  There is no penalty if you don't complete the mission, just play along and have fun. You also get an introduction to lots of other blogs out there and you get to participate in (including host your own) blog giveaways.

This year, I was reminded by Ophelia and Florinda about this year's Blogtoberfest and so here we are again, playing along in this posting frenzy. Ophelia gets full kudos for her participation and commitment - last year she played while she was away on holiday and this year, she just delivered her second baby (on 12 October!).

The festival was started in 2008 by Cathy over at tinniegirl as some fun for her blog readers and friends, who are mainly people interested in art and crafts. Although that's how it started out, there have never been any restrictions on the type of blog which is participating. Anyone and everyone is welcome to play along. You just need a blog, any blog. You can sign up anytime, never mind if you've only now learned about it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dinner with a surprise ending

Earlier this evening, I went for the monthly SMH mummies' dinner. This round was a cozy affair - there were just five of us, and I quite enjoyed the intimacy of the small group. We went to Peperoni Pizzeria at Greenwood Avenue and shared a manhole pizza, some appetizers and dessert. Food was excellent.

The manhole pizza. Yum yum!
Conversation was easy as the five of us have much in common and before we knew it, two hours had zipped by. We were sitting around contemplating our empty plates when Ophelia, who is pregnant and ready to pop, announced that her waterbag may have broken. She went to the ladies' and confirmed it and we all got so excited! It brought back all the good memories of our own birth stories!

Of course, we had to take a photo to document the exciting moment! I don't usually post photos of other people on my blog but this was such a significant photo so here it is!
Top row (L-R): Me, Serene
Bottom row (L-R): Florinda, Ophelia and Angeline
After that, Ophelia was quickly whisked home by Angeline, with all our good wishes for a safe and smooth delivery. See you soon, baby!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Well, of course the post title is 10.10.10, what else would it be?

Our 10.10.10 was very pleasant. We slept in and skipped swimming class, then we went to Raffles Hotel Arcade for some shopping and had lunch at Empire Cafe. Popped into the new Leica store there, there was some cool stuff there for photography and Leica buffs.  After that, Ryan went for his Shichida class.

We picked Terri up at the airport at 6 pm (she's in Singapore on business) and we went straight for dinner and some catching up. I had asked her if she could bring Ryan some books and she managed to get the titles which I asked for, plus an extra book for Ryan with incredible pop-ups - thanks so much Terri!  After dinner, we popped by our new place and gave Terri the tour of the unit.

I wanted to take some photos today, to document the perfect "10" day, but sad to say, I didn't manage to. Ryan was particularly sticky today and wanted to be carried around. Probably because he didn't take his usual nap in the afternoon, he was feeling tired and easily irritated.  Anyway, here's a photo from a few weeks back of my two men, pausing in their play to check out the football score.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

Tonight we went out for a late dinner/supper at McDonald's in Orchard Road (yes I know I'm a bad mummy for feeding him fast food). This was around half-past nine at night. I was searching for something in my bag and so I emptied its contents, including Ryan's sunglasses, onto the table. He normally shows very little interest in his shades so I was surprised when he put them on.  Even more surprisingly, he kept them on throughout his meal!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Eating and loitering

It's Friday and the weekend is almost here! I still remember last weekend - it was a series of meals strung together by Ryan's classes. It started on Friday evening, when we met up with some of Richard's colleagues and ex-colleagues for a steamboat dinner at 7th Storey Restaurant at Wilkie Edge. We thought that we might have to leave a little earlier but Ryan was really well-behaved and towards the end, he just fell asleep in my arms, so we managed to last till the end, when everyone parted ways.

The next day before Ryan's Playclub, we met up with Kenny, Belinda and their son, Matthias, for lunch at Lao Beijing in Tiong Bahru Plaza. We ordered the set lunch from the tasting menu. It was for four but the portions were so generous that we had to ask for two of the courses to be doggy-bagged. Great value for money, haha! Dinner was Chinese fare at Taste Paradise in Ion Orchard. Ryan polished off a bowl of fried rice, so I think it's safe to say that he approved of the food there.

On Sunday after Ryan's swimming class, we had brunch at Beach Road Prawn Noodle at East Coast Road. I had the prawn noodle and Richard (and Ryan) had the pork rib noodle plus we ordered some ngoh hiang and other fried stuff. Yum. After Shichida class, dinner was a simple affair at Crystal Jade Kitchen at Great World City. Again, we met up with Kenny, Belinda and their son, Matthias and again, we ordered the set menu for four. This time, the portions were just nice.

Lately on weekends, we have adopted a new practice - we have been loitering! Late at night, after the shops have closed, the three of us will loiter along Orchard Road. There is no target destination or aim, we simply meander along, stroll up and down, enjoying the cool night air. It started when late one night, Ryan was still full of energy and so we decided to let him burn it off - we took him out to Borders (Borders closes at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays) and after Borders closed, we let him walk up and down the street until he was ready to go home.

It's almost like going to a park. The area is quite brightly lit. The pedestrian streets are wide and spacious and there are lots of plants and trees (not as many as in a park of course). There were also quite a lot of people milling about, some loitering like us and others on their way somewhere. I like it. In the day, people are rushing from one mall to the next and Orchard Road is all business. At night, the people are different, they don't have things to do, places to be, they just want to chill and relax. Somehow, it's more personal.

Here's a video of Ryan outside Far East Shopping Centre (next to Borders), burning off his calories by going up and down the stairs, and up and down the stairs, and up and down the stairs (he claps his hands after each rotation). We have to accompany him on his stair climbing (we take turns) and it was not funny because he did it more than 20 times!

More calorie-busting activity for the boys!

Here are some photos taken on a different night. This time we were loitering outside Ion Orchard after it had closed.

More stairs!

There was a large crowd gathered on the steps outside Ion Orchard, they were listening to two Filipino buskers - the lady was singing and the man was playing the keyboard. Some people even got up to dance. It was so wonderful - it didn't matter whether a businessman sat next to a domestic helper, whether an old retiree was dancing with a young teenager or whether a Filipino and the Chinese man next to her were humming the same lyrics. When everyone came together just to listen to the music, there was, for that brief space in time, no differences, no pretenses, no prejudices, just a real sense of community. Just wonderful.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Julia Gabriel Bilingual Playclub

Last Saturday, Ryan had his usual Playclub session at Evans Road. The lesson was about the colour green and we were all asked to come in green outfits. Quite a number of parents and children did turn up in green, which was fantastic. If my son sees 15 parents and 15 children in the same colour, it makes a powerful image and when he is told that the colour is green, he gets a deeper impression. However, if 15 parents and 15 children are in different colours and Ryan is told that one of them is in green, he is probably not going to remember anything after that one person in green leaves his line of sight. Same principle applies to singing songs, doing the song actions, saying good morning/good afternoon, sitting down for storytime/magic box/snack time, acting out the appropriate expressions/feelings during dramatime, etc.

I believe that each and every parent in the classroom is also a teacher because there is always a chance that, at anytime, a child is looking at him/her and absorbing what he/she is doing. Perhaps because most of the time the parent is sitting or standing behind his/her own child, the parent may think that his/her child is not going to notice him/her so they don't bother to go through the motions. I prefer to analyse it this way - if Ryan is looking at some other parent across the room who is saying "Good afternoon" or a parent who is helping to act out the story during dramatime, then he is learning from that parent and I would return the gesture for his/her child. When you get an involved set of parents who understand that parent participation is not just for their own child's benefit but for the class as a whole, then it becomes a great learning environment. That's the power of a parent-accompanied class like Playclub.

Anyway, back to last week's class. For arts and crafts, Ryan surprised me because he showed a lot of enthusiasm for the painting activity. The activity was to make a turtle - paint the turtle shell green, stick on some green crepe paper squares, stick on legs and eyes and sprinkle some glitter on top. Normally Ryan hates to get paint on his fingers and just skips ahead to the sticking and the sprinkling. This time he was really gungho and paint was going everywhere. He took two paintbrushes, one in each hand, and he was painting everything that he could reach - the turtle shell (actually a folded paper plate), the newspaper lining the table, even the turtle of the child next to him! After there was nothing left on the table to paint, he tried to leave the table together with his paintbrushes to find something else to paint. I had to give him a second turtle to paint to keep him (and his paintbrushes) at the table.

For outdoor play, Ryan's class was supposed to go on the playground slides and little cars. Ryan went out ahead of me, while I tidied up our bags. When I got outside, the other class was still having their outdoor play and for them, it was waterplay. I thought to myself, "Ryan will be there" and sure enough, he was! He had crammed himself in among the other children and he was right up against the water trough, splashing the water around, playing with the water toys! Hahaha! Nobody seemed to notice, or perhaps nobody minded, so I let him be.

Ryan gatecrashing another class for the waterplay

Right at home
They soon started to pack up and all the children left to go back to their classroom. Ryan was, as always, reluctant to leave, but he had no choice as the teachers started pouring away the water and covering up the troughs. Still, he was happy that he had managed to steal a few minutes of waterplay and he was grinning from ear to ear as he ran off to the playground to join his actual classmates.

By the way, Julia Gabriel's holiday programme for November/December 2010 is now open for sign-ups, so if you're interested, go for it!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fun at eXplorer Kid and Check-up at the PD

Two weekends ago, we met up with some friends (Kenny, Belinda, Matthias and Chris, Alicia and Brayden) at E!Hub at Downtown East for some fun at eXplorer kid's indoor children's playground followed by lunch. Ryan was especially interested in the ball pits and the Mega Play at the indoor playground. The Mega Play is a large 3-level obstacle course - Ryan slid down the tubes, climbed up the nets and crawled through the tunnels and Richard and I took turns to slide, climb and crawl along with him. It was quite tiring for the adults because we had to crouch down and kneel/squat to fit in the spaces, but it was fun. Here are some iphone photos of Richard and Ryan in the ball pit with the changing lights. I didn't manage to take photos while we were in the Mega Play, it's tough enough keeping up with the children in there!

I think Ryan enjoyed himself a lot. We picked up a membership for him so we'll be back!

In other news, I brought Ryan to the PD two Mondays ago. Nothing to worry about, just his routine check-up and vaccinations.

Ryan's PD is Dr Ngiam Thye Eng at International Child and Adolescent Clinic at Gleneagles. Dr Ngiam is quite a popular doctor, so we usually have a bit of a wait for our turn. While we waited, we got Ryan weighed and measured (he is 10.22 kg and 80 cm tall) and I ticked off the developmental checklist in the health booklet. The checklist was for children up to 18 months - Ryan is 20 months - the check-up was way overdue!

When we got into the consultation room, Dr Ngiam asked me if I wanted Ryan to take the vaccination for MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) together with the varicella vaccination, or if I preferred to have the vaccinations done in separate jabs instead. Of course, I don't want Ryan to be jabbed again, so I said we'll take the MMR plus varicella in one shot. So, Dr Ngiam administered the jab on Ryan's arm and Ryan was so good - he sat so still and was so calm, he didn't cry at all. Dr Ngiam was so amazed. I am thankful that Ryan is normally very good with jabs and that he is also one of the lucky children who do not suffer a fever after a jab.

Dr Ngiam checked Ryan's senses and responses (sight, hearing, etc.) and we chatted a little about Ryan's development and wellbeing. Dr Ngiam assured me Ryan is of good weight and everything looks good. He asked if Ryan was speaking any words yet and I told him, yes, Ryan does know and speak quite a number of words. Dr Ngiam said, "That's fast".

Nothing much else, we were in and out in under ten minutes and we then went for tea with Sheri and Jousy. We are due to go back in 6 weeks for the next routine vaccination.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Swimming and The Rabbit Hero

Ryan is doing really well with his swimming lessons. He has been taking weekly half-hourly lessons with Aquaducks since January this year and he enjoys every session. He's always happy to be in the water, always confident, always eager.

Here he is swimming in the pool (last Sunday).

An interesting thing happened the other day after class. The pool is at Dempsey Hill, in the same compound as St. James Church Kindergarten and the kindergarten has a generous outdoor compound where there is a rabbit run (and some fish tanks). After Ryan's swimming class, we usually stop by and watch the rabbits for a while.

Two Sundays ago, we were watching the rabbits when we noticed some kits (baby rabbits) with their eyes still closed, crawling about on the ground. A rabbit must have just given birth. It was fascinating to watch the kits (although they really weren't doing much). We couldn't tell which rabbit was the mother - all the adult rabbits in the area weren't being at all motherly. One was cleaning itself and the others were just lying about.

We were about to leave when I noticed that there was a little kit which was still in a small hole in the ground at one corner of the rabbit run. I suppose the mother rabbit had transported the other kits to safety but forgot the last one. What worried me was that the little fella was attracting large red ants and the ants were all over it. The poor thing was writhing around in the hole. The kindergarten office was closed so we couldn't alert them or get them to unlock the gate. I was so angry that the kindergarten staff had not ensured that there would be someone around when the pregnant doe gave birth.

I couldn't very well leave the kit like that - the red ants would have devoured it - so I told Richard that I would climb over the fence into the compound. We looked around and tried to figure out how to get in. The rabbit run didn't seem to have an entry/exit, so even if I got into the kindergarten compound, I wasn't sure how to get into the rabbit run and if I climbed into the rabbit run, I wasn't sure if I could climb out. Church service had just ended and people were coming out from the nearby building. I didn't want to be stuck in the run with people thinking I'm stealing the rabbits and calling the cops on me. It had to be a quick job.

After about five minutes of scrutinising the perimeter, by which time more and more red ants had advanced onto the poor kit, Richard took matters into his own hands. He heaved himself over the fence into the compound and then he heaved himself over the fence into the rabbit run. He dusted off the red ants from the kit, picked it up and brought it over to join the other kits under safe cover. The adult rabbit which had been cleaning itself, stopped and gave Richard a hard look - I suppose that must have been the mother doe. Richard then checked the rest of the run for any more stray kits and after ensuring all was well, he climbed back out over the two fences. Two minutes flat.

My hero.

Actually, I should say The Rabbit Hero.

The next Sunday, we walked past the rabbit run as usual but the kits were all gone. Hopefully, the kindergarten staff have put them in a safe place and they are being well cared for.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Larger than life

Once in a while, I have to work on a weekend or I have to attend a corporate function after work on a weekday. On these occasions, Richard has to take care of Ryan by himself, which he does very well.

Last Thursday after work, I attended the SSA 25th anniversary gala dinner at the Marina Bay Sands. Despite there being nearly 200 tables and nearly 2000 guests, the food and the service were good and I had a good time. The dinner ended at nearly 11 pm and I wondered how Richard was getting along at home with Ryan.

When I got home, I found this on our living room wall.

While I was at the dinner, Richard had enlarged a photo of Ryan, printed it on our home printer and put it up on our wall! It's almost floor to ceiling!

This photo of Ryan was taken a few months ago, when I was at work on a Saturday and Richard was babysitting solo. His strategy was to provide Ryan with a variety of activities to keep him entertained, one of which was riding up and down our street in Ryan's little red car. Unfortunately, Richard ran out of activities and had to repeat the car ride. This photo was taken on the repeat ride and you can see that Ryan was not so enthusiastic about it!

Anyway, the larger than life poster is still on the wall. I think we'll keep it there for a while.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jacob Ballas Children's Garden

Last Sunday, we visited the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  We went there in the middle of the day when the sun was at its highest but that didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves.  Ryan got to touch and smell lots of plants and herbs, flowers and fruits and explore the many play structures there, including a suspension bridge, a treehouse and his favourite - a water play area.

On the suspension bridge
One of the little things (actually not so little mushrooms) that make it fun for the children
Frangipani trees casting fantastic shadow patterns on the ground
We saved the best part for last - the water play area! Ryan absolutely loved it! We let him loose without any clothes on and he didn't give a hoot. He couldn't get enough of the fountains and he danced and pranced about in the sprays, squealing and laughing under the hot noon sun. It was the highlight of the outing for him.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Richard!

Richard had a birthday last week. We had planned the usual - a quiet dinner with just the three of us - but  I decided to surprise him with a dinner with some friends.

Fortunately, he was running late from a meeting so the rest of us managed to gather at the restaurant before his arrival. Except for one of our friends who, as luck would have it, crossed paths with Richard just outside the restaurant! Chris is a terrible liar, so when Richard asked, "What are you doing here?", her "Err..." gave it all away! He walked into the restaurant smiling from ear to ear, fully expecting to see everyone there. Hahaha! Oh well, we had a good time and a good dinner, so it was a good evening.

Happy Birthday Richard!
Happy Birthday Richard! We love you!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happee Day

Hello October!

When October rolls around, I can feel the end of the year coming. At work, there are performance evaluations to do, bonuses to decide, next year's budgets to put together, marketing plans to consolidate, leave to clear, all the little signals that we've done what we can for this year. At the same time, there are more thoughts of family activities and year-end holidays. I can almost smell Christmas, the wait for it begins now!

Having said that, there's still a lot of stuff to be done before Christmas. The main thing we are busy with right now is getting our new place ready. Well, I shouldn't say that we're "busy" because we haven't actually done much and the place is still empty. I'll just say that it's top priority? Er... perhaps I should just say that we're working on it. At the rate we're moving (a couple of hours of conversation every two days), it's almost like a hobby rather than a life-changing shake-up.


I do have some updates from last week (including an update on how we celebrated Richard's birthday) but let me put the photos together first. For today, I want to let you know about an event that is happening on 31 October 2010. Yes, it's Halloween, but that's not what I'm talking about. It's a mini-carnival at Hort Park from 9 am till noon - there will be mascots, balloon sculptors, face painting, magic shows, a truckload of balloons and tons of more cool stuff.  The event, called "HAPPEE DAY", is organised by Daphne of Mother, Inc. with the Children's Cancer Foundation and it's essentially a morning out with 30 children suffering from childhood cancer.

As Daphne put it, "I know the carnival is just one day of fun for these kids who have to be brave and go through years of jabs and treatment. Thing is, we can’t be there through it all, but one day is a start. To let them know that they’re not facing this alone. That there are people who care and are proud of them for fighting and are cheering them on. It’s a day we get to meet them and spend a morning together."

So, if you are free on the morning of 31 October 2010 (which is a Sunday), do consider dropping by. Bring some friends, bring your children and have some fun. Hop on over to Mother, Inc. to find out more.

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