We were in Malaysia over the weekend to celebrate Rachel's 2nd birthday with her grandparents and extended family. We arranged a lunch at Strato at Troika Sky Dining. Margaret brought the birthday cake. 

The restaurant is an Italian casual dining experience. You enter Troika at Level 28A and walk up the spiral staircase to the restaurant. The view from up there was spectacular - I think it would have been even better at night (in the day, the construction sites show up).

Here's my mother and my brother, with babydoll and me.

These lovely people are from Richard's side of the family.

Happy birthday Rachel!

Her brother, always the model.

If you find babydoll's outfit a little strange, you would be justified. She is wearing half of a hanbok. Her nanny bought her a hanbok from South Korea and she is wearing the skirt (chima). She refused to put on the jacket (jeogori). I've read that, in Korea, the children wear hanbok on their first birthday, so we are one year late!

And that concludes the birthday celebrations for Rachel this year! Happy birthday little babydoll, we love you always and forever, to the moon and back. 

Oh love. You are the crazy, the fun, and the mischievous in our otherwise serious family. You are determined and stubborn, and loving and tender. You hug fiercely, kiss joyfully, and dance freely. You shoot first, ask questions later, and always, always give your wholehearted all.

You love your girly dresses and your ladylike shoes, and when you're all dressed up, you get your handbag and hop on your brother's scooter to head straight for the playground. You know exactly how to annoy your brother, deriving immense joy from watching his reaction. You also know exactly how to get away with your misdeeds - consoling your brother with a hug and a few pats on his back while melting other people with pure charm.

You are super smart, always confident, and you always find your own way of doing things. While everyone counts, "1, 2, 3!", you choose "8, 9, 10!". You showed me that it is perfectly possible to wear your brother's long-sleeved T-shirt as a pair of pants (with an attached sleeveless top) and that it is perfectly acceptable to carry three handbags at the same time. You add your brand of sparkle to everything.

You are everything we didn't know we needed, and so much more. We love you, babydoll. Happy 2nd birthday.

[Rachel turned two years old last week.]

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Birthday celebrations for Rachel

On Rachel's birthday last week, Richard and I took the day off from work. Actually, Rachel wasn't feeling well - she was running a fever - so we canned our initial plan to take her to Universal Studios to watch Elmo in the Sesame Street show. Instead, we took her out for a quiet lunch at Blue Potato. We had the restaurant all to ourselves, probably because it was a super hot day. It was a nice, relaxing meal and we had a very dedicated server who offered to take this photo for us.

Babydoll chooses what to wear every morning and I was pleased as punch that, on her birthday, she chose this dress that I'd sewn for her. I made it slightly larger than her current size and hung it up in her wardrobe, not expecting her to wear it for a while, so it was a nice surprise that she picked it out. I felt really happy to have contributed to her special day. This pattern is the Ice Cream Dress from Oliver + S.

After lunch, we headed over to Ryan's preschool as they were having a big party for all the K1 classes. Babydoll enjoys hanging out at Ryan's preschool so, apart from the heat, it was all good.

Given the unhappy and untimely circumstances of the actual day, we arranged a little staycation at The Fairmont over the weekend. After all, a babydoll's birthday must be celebrated properly! Babydoll had recovered from her fever by that time, so she was more than ready for a getaway and, of course, the rest of us were too.

Richard and babydoll checked into the hotel after lunch on Saturday and babydoll napped while I took Ryan to his friend Harry's birthday party. Richard told me that, when babydoll woke up from her nap, she searched the whole room for Ryan and me, eventually picking up the telephone in the hotel room asking, "Hello, mama? Hello kor kor?"

Of course, we soon reunited and all was well.

After a sumptuous dinner at Szechuan Court Restaurant, we blew out the candles and wished babydoll all the goodness in the world. Happy birthday darling!

We had the most amazing view of the Singapore city skyline from our room.

This was the view in the morning, complete with two mischievous munchkins. The four of us slept together in the king-sized bed. We slept really well - when we woke up the next day, it was nearly 10 am. At home, we normally get up around 7-8 am.

As with all staycations, swimming in the pool is mandatory, followed by a good hot bath back in the room. Our room didn't have a bathtub so babydoll improvised with the sink.

Here we are, checking out the next day. Babydoll is wearing another dress sewn by me about two weeks ago. This is the Persimmon Dress from Willow & Co, designed by Mouse House Creations. I think the dress can't be well appreciated from these photos - I'll show you a better photo tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Father's Day 2014

We celebrated Father's Day with a quiet dinner at Cotton at Big Splash. It was nice, calm and quiet. The weather was perfect for lounging about on the couches next to the beach and we stayed for quite a while.

Ryan came home from school the Friday before that with cookies that he'd baked in school for Richard. Ryan was pleased as punch to present the chocolate chip goodies to his father. He was very clear that the cookies were not meant for me or his sister.

Babydoll did her part - they both made a card for Richard by decorating a folded piece of paper with stickers. As simple as could be and full of old-fashioned charm. I think it looks like something an old grandfather pulls out from his memory chest, the quintessential representation of innocence and simple childhood pleasures.

From my perspective, Richard has matured as a father in the last two years since babydoll arrived. He has always been a good father, but there's a real confidence now. Long gone are the days when he'd decline to bathe the baby because he was too nervous; these days he's the one who jumps into the pool with them while I watch alongside. I don't have him asking me things like, "Shall I change the diaper?" He knows what's the deal with that now. He used to be clueless when it came to putting the baby to bed. Now he tells me that babydoll needs a cardigan, or that she needs a little soothing. He discusses our children's future with me, without me prompting him. He stocks up on the Yakult and the chocolate milk without me reminding him. He remembers to bring Ryan's goggles when we go swimming. He arranges tickets for us to watch Hi5 and Dora! because he knows the children's interests and preferences.

Perhaps it's experience giving rise to confidence; perhaps it's the settling-in of a mindset; perhaps it's just babydoll's magic.

Whatever it is, I appreciate it all and we are thankful for him and his presence in our family. We love you, Richard! Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hello summer!

It has been "go, go, go" ever since summer began! Since the last time I posted here, we've been so busy - four birthday parties, a farewell party, a family staycation, Father's Day, and babydoll's birthday! There have also been a few significant developments on the personal and family front, so it's been an incredibly eventful period.

Our nanny took a week off to visit South Korea so I stayed home with the littles for a week and had lots of fun with them. Babydoll was frowning when I sent her to the nanny this morning - oh dear - although she did not protest. Ryan is also on holiday from school so he went to the nanny with babydoll. I think babydoll was soothed *a little* by his presence.

Ryan, on the other hand, messaged me from his iPad, a couple of hours after I dropped him off, asking, "Please will you miss me". Oh my heart.

I'm only back at work for two days - we are off to Malaysia on Thursday to celebrate babydoll's birthday (again!) and to meet up with my mother who has flown in from abroad. Ryan is very much looking forward to the trip.

I'll write more in separate posts about what we've been up to. For today, I just wanted to let you know that we are doing well, we are happy, and we are enjoying every bit of summer. I'll have lots to tell you when we're done!

These photos were taken at the last birthday party we attended. It was a dinosaur-themed party! The birthday boy (the blond boy in the next photo) is Harry, one of Ryan's best friends from school. Isn't the pool at his house gorgeous? It was the perfect start to the holidays - a classic summer pool party!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Some sweetness for the weekend

Something different for your weekend but, I think, still sweet. I asked Ryan to write a poem the other day. He wrote a couple and this was the first one. It's called "Ryan". He refused to let me see until he'd finished it.

Yes, it looks like a grammatically incorrect sentence. After all, it's poetry - just go with the feeling, aye? Heh heh. Well, actually it's three different sentences mashed up together without the punctuation: "I love doing things that I love. I love everything. Everything, I love."

Right after that, he wrote his second poem titled, "Magic Tricks", so I guess that was the inspiration for the first poem? Anyway, the second poem was much less tricky. It went like this,

Magic tricks
Magic tricks are fun.
By: Ryan


Hope you find poetry and beauty this weekend. Ryan and I are going to watch Dora the Explorer live on stage tonight. He is very much looking forward to it!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bring it on

Babydoll has been unwell. She had a high fever (39.9 C) and some breathing difficulties on Monday night (wheezing, cough with phlegm). Strangely, the fever broke as fast as it came. After just one dose of paracetamol and one dose of Neurofen (about two hours apart), she was rid of the fever. In the morning, we brought her to see Dr Ngiam as she was still breathing heavily and wheezing. Dr Ngiam immediately got her to take one round of the nebulizer and after that, her oxygen levels were still low but, thankfully, high enough for him to let us take her home instead of admitting her. He said her body was reacting to a flu virus but he found the speed of her body's reaction to be alarming.

Well, that's our babydoll, huh? She goes all out! Richard has a T-shirt that says "I'm all in" - that's what I'm gonna put on the next t-shirt that I make for babydoll.

Dr Ngiam cautioned that the fever might return. He said this initial stage normally lasts about 3-5 days and the phlegmy cough about two weeks. Well, you know, we're talking about babydoll here - she took a good nap when we got home and that night, there was no return fever and she slept really well. As instructed by Dr Ngiam, we went back to see him the next morning and he was pleased and relieved to see her walking in on her own (with Bear Bear). After the consult, he chuckled at her sauntering out of his room, waving bye bye as she left.

That's my girl. She put everything on fast forward and beat the virus to a pulp. Bring.It.On. Life's too short to waste 5 days on a virus.

Dr Ngiam advised us to buy a nebulizer as due to the rapid onset (oxygen levels dropping fast, difficulty in breathing), it would be much safer to have a set at home. So we will definitely be looking into getting one.

Here she was with us after the follow-up consultation on Wednesday. She seated Bear Bear on the seat next to her; you can just see a bit of his purpleness on the right in the photo above.

Here she was playing with the medication, asking me if I would open it for her to explore. That's her innocent, sweet expression - hard to resist. Of course, she doesn't know that it is her medication! If she did, it would be, "Mama, no tanks!"

She's still on antibiotics but she's started eating again, and is well on the way to full recovery. As Dr Ngiam advised, she still has a phlegmy cough but she's definitely looking a lot better than how she looked on Tuesday morning at the PD.

Babydoll is back at her nanny's today, after two days at home with me. Her nanny is overjoyed to have her back. As for us, we are thankful for all blessings!

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