Monday, February 20, 2012

Belated Valentine's Day outing

On Saturday, we had a meet up with Shann and Alicia and their respective families for a belated Valentine's Day children's celebration.

We were in charge of snacks so, after we dragged ourselves out of bed, it was off to the market!

Breakfast was noodles from this Teochew Noodle stall in Marine Parade. There's always a long queue, it took us 30 minutes to get our food that day.

Back home, we lazed about for a bit before I started preparing the snacks at about 2pm. Each child got two mini hotdogs (no oil), roasted heart-shaped potatoes and hard boiled heart-shaped quail eggs, a cherry tomato and mini marshmallows.

This was the adult's serving - a grilled cheese sandwich, the roasted potatoes again (including the non-heart-shaped bits), quail eggs, cherry tomatoes and bacon-wrapped cocktail sausages baked with brown sugar.

Richard helped to pack the bento boxes. 

A note to myself: the roasted potatoes were way too salty! I used my usual marinade but overlooked the fact that my usual marinade is for WHOLE potatoes. These sliced potatoes absorbed the salt way faster and easier and tasted really sharp. They were ok if you ate them with the bread, but not on their own.

Shann brought fruits and Alicia brought drinks; each family brought a mat and there was a ball to kick about. We brought some bubble-blowers. We were all set for the picnic!

I asked Richard to make these as Valentine's Day cards from Ryan for Brayden and Rou Ern. The sticks are glow sticks slotted into the photographs.

Cute eh? The idea is not mine - I got it from the internet. It's definitely an idea that we will be recycling from time to time.

Shann and Ern baked cookies for the children, and Ryan wasted no time in digging in. He had three in quick succession!

The outing was fantastic! The weather was really kind - no sun, no rain, hardly felt any humidity, just perfect. Chris found us a private spot (I think we'll always camp there from now on).

The children were amazing together, they warmed up almost instantly, stuck together and played so well together. It was heartwarming to watch. Here are some shots from Richard's iPhone.

Ryan giving Brayden a hug. This started out as a group hug.
Ern was the first to let go (no longer in the picture) and Ryan was the last.

Shann had a friend come by to snap some photos of the families. Here's a sneak preview of her work - I lifted this off her facebook this morning. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the shots!

We had 7.30 pm dinner reservations at House at Dempsey, so we left about 7.15 pm. On the way out, we came across this lovely dog. He was huge and breathtakingly beautiful. The children couldn't get enough of him and his owner was more than happy to let them give him some love, even inviting them to sit on him like a horse (we didn't!).

Dinner was great, although not so much because of the food, which was a little patchy - as in not all, although most, of the dishes were good.  The star dish was the truffles fries - we had three servings! Other than that, everything was fantastic, especially the ambience. The place was fully booked but we were in a semi-private corner right at the end of the restaurant, which was perfect for us.

Alicia and Shann prepared pre-dinner activities for the children so the children were well occupied while waiting for their food.

Alicia printed some blank faces and the children had fun pasting the facial features (and spectacles) on. These are Ryan's creations.

Shann made some paper animals for the children to paste heart-shaped features on. These are Ryan's - an owl, a raccoon and a dinosaur. Fun!

Here are the three families - hard at work to earn their dinner! (These two photos were taken by Chris)

After that, the children did some doodling and writing while the food trickled onto the table, bit by bit. Upon seeing the soup being served to the others (we didn't order soup), Ryan started to fuss a little. I guessed that he was starting to feel hungry at that point as he didn't eat the snacks that we prepared. He only had three cookies and some mini-marshmallows. Normally he doesn't fuss out of hunger, but lack of sleep makes him edgy and irritable, so I was not surprised as he skipped his nap that day (discounting a 5-minute shuteye in the car on the way to the park). We took him away for a little while to let him vent his feelings as much as he needed to and he regained his good spirits when his food came (specifically, when the truffle fries came!).

After dinner, the ladies sat around and gossiped while the husbands followed the children around. The children went round to the back of the restaurant where there was a pond with fish/turtles, they jumped around in one of the empty private function rooms next to our table, and they trotted around the restaurant in a line pretending they were a train, "choo-choo" included. They were really good and they didn't disturb the other diners, the only loud sounds that could be heard above the dinner hum were their giggles and laughter. Most adorable was when Ern stumbled and fell in the restaurant which led to the other two falling (Ern was the train engine, Ryan was the kaboose at the end and Brayden was in the middle). They all started giggling because it was so comical. Coincidentally, they were right in front of a huge mirror at that point, and seeing themselves in the mirror amused them even more, sending them into more giggling fits.

I knew Ryan was suffering from a lack of sleep and, in that state, there was always a risk that something will irritate or annoy him, but nothing did. Well, actually there was one thing - the children would occasionally come back to the dining table to drink water and to check in with the mummies (no doubt, these were time-outs initiated by the weary fathers). Ern had done her check-in and was already off to the back of the restaurant. Ryan eagerly followed but suddenly stopped and started fussing, stretching his hand out towards the table. At first I thought, oh he wants me to go with him, but no ... he was upset that Brayden was not coming along! (Brayden was still at the dining table). Once Brayden was done and joined up, Ryan happily went off. That was really funny!

About 10.30 pm, the children finally let the parents call it a night. When they parted outside the restaurant, the three of them gave each other a huge group hug and refused to let go despite nearly toppling over. The parents had to tear them apart. Simply adorable.

We got home about 11 pm and Ryan fell asleep just before midnight, tired but extremely happy. It had been a fabulous day for him.


Anonymous said...

you summed up our lovely weekend with the kiddos nicely. :-)

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