Science Museum!

March 2016

Visiting museums is one of our favourite wet/cold weather activity. We went to Science Museum last Saturday and I thought the activities at the place were pretty child-centric. Both Ryan and Gillian loved it so much that they asked to return!

We got to Science Museum around 11-ish in the morning via public transport. The children love to be on buses and tubes. Ryan always get motion-sickness in the car but never on public transport. *sigh* We started the  day by browsing through some exhibitions. The children enjoyed playing on those interactive touch-screens. That Saturday, the museum also had some hands-on activities going on. Ryan and Gillian spent a good half hour with E making their paper telescopes.

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It wasn’t long before the kids got hungry. We left the museum to grab lunch at Comptoir Libanais. It was one of those recommended places to eat near the Science Museum and I am glad that we went there. Food was fantastic. It was my first time trying out Lebanese cuisine and yes, I am a fan now. Very interesting and refreshing flavours. My favourite would be the baklava dessert. In fact, I have stocked up my kitchen with boxes of baklava from Waitrose. So decadent!

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After lunch, we returned to the Science Museum for the second part of play. We went to the basement, which is also known as The Garden. The entire basement is a  dedicated floor just for children, aged 3-6. As you can see from the pictures, Ryan and Gillian were very occupied with water-play. In that same space, there are also a few others interactive areas that explore the concept of light, sound and construction. The children were all so engaged in their play.

They also went for a 30 minutes bubble show with E. I have to admit that when we head out, E is a much more dedicated and involved father than when we stay indoors. He is the one who takes them to toilets, sits with them during activities. I would usually be sitting somewhere, breastfeeding Baby Megan. So, 10 points for Lao Gong!

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We went for a coffee break at Pret before we headed home. Children were so worn out on the way home. Thankfully, not much fuss. That night, everyone slept really well.

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*****

Father Christmas’ Grotto @ Greenwich Market

December 2015

This Christmas, we are pretty much stuck in London since Megan’s passport is still not done and E is very busy with his new job. Ryan has been asking me about Santa and meeting him. Initially, I planned to bring the kids to the Santa’s Grotto at Canary Wharf but for the two times when we were there, there was a long queue of children, along with their parents. I highly doubt the little ones would have the patience to wait.

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In the end, Kimberly and I brought the kids to Father Christmas’ Grotto at the Greenwich Market. Each child’s ticket to see Santa is £4. It includes like probably 1-2 minutes of interaction with Santa, photo-taking as well as a small gift for the child.

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It was a short wait before we could meet Santa. The kids were entertained with some paper and colour pencils at the corner of the room. Ryan and Gillian were busy drawing pictures of Santa.

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*****

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Ryan and Gillian did have their first encounter with Santa. While Ryan warmed up to the man in red pretty quickly, Gillian was much more reserved. They liked the small gifts(1 ginger reindeer biscuit and two small novelty toy) that Santa gave them at the end of the session.

*****

Updates on Pregnancy Journey!

June 2015

As I am writing this, I am already past the first trimester and am in my 22nd week of pregnancy. With each pregnancy, one can no longer deny that age is taking a toll on me. I feel more tired easily and am no longer as active as I was before in my first two pregnancies. Well, the lethargy could be also due to me having to manage my two little darlings in the day- doing the school run, playgroups, lunch and household chores. Getting heavier is also a problem for my mobility. Every morning, I need to do the school run on the double buggy with Ryan and Gillian. School run will take me 30-40 minutes per way. Thankfully, summer is here and we do not need to handle all the layering of clothes and heavy coats.

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Here’s Gillian and me, on one of those mornings when we lull time together while waiting for Ryan to finish his nursery. Spending time alone with her is really a joy. She is very communicative and we always have a good laugh together.

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Food Cravings!

This pregnancy constantly have me craving for Singaporean cuisine and the usual suspects like sashimi and seafood. For Singaporean food, we will just make do with Roti King. In fact, we have Roti King every time we head off to town or for the hospital checkups. (Maybe when I do get less tired, I will blog about my pregnancy journey so far in London, as in my experience with NHS and all.)

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This Roti King meal with drinks easily cost us £18. Madness right! Just for roti prata and nasi lemak! Ohwells. What to do?

I also have this thing for lobsters. No kidding. I mean. When I was pregnant with Ryan and Gillian in Singapore, the cravings used to be chilli and pepper crabs. Baby Number Three apparently likes lobsters. On the day we went for the baby’s first scan, we celebrated by having Lobster and Burger. E also treated me to cheese lobster yeemien for Mother’s Day. I was definitely very sated on those occasions. In fact, I am craving for lobsters now and hoping that if I do finish this blog before E returns home from work(assuming that he read the post), I would be in for some surprise! Tricky tricky!

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I do try to cook to satisfy my cravings as well. It is okay. Edible. Seriously, spending 2ish hours in the kitchen to whip up something like mee siam, chwee kueh is really too much effort. Not very worth the work to feed just me and E. E is of course very appreciative when I do make time to cook these dishes. With my weight increasing so much(especially these few weeks), I find that even standing in the kitchen on 1ish hour for food preparation is killing me. I am quite unhealthy right?

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*****

Mood Swings

Yes. I have very bad mood swings which E gets the brunt of it. This is very much so because we have no family support here and also because of my health and back conditions. I tend to be very sensitive to what he says. Something that he probably says in passing in the heat of argument will easily set me bawling into tears. I think after talking out a couple of times, both of us have backed off quite a bit. Basically, I just need to nitpick less and he will help out more. In fact, he has been taking the kids off my hands for at least a hour or two per week while I get to just vegetate at home. The precious personal time keeps me sane. The thing is that marriage is hard work. Much harder with young children in a foreign land. This period of time is both challenging to us as well as fulfilling when we get over the obstacles. So, thank you, Mister E.

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Gillian and I meet up with E at least once a week for lunch near his workplace.

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E and the kids went for a failed kite expedition. The kite got stuck to a tree.

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They went to pedoboat without me.

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Ryan/Gillian

The kids also have to be more sensible. Surprisingly, both of them are really good helpers now. Yes, they do make a mess when they play or eat. But on a whole, they are very loving towards each other, me and the new sibling. Ryan and Gillian are the ones who give me a good calf massage. For the past week, the kids have allowed me an hour of nap while the play in the living room. Honestly, I am very thankful to God. For despite all the issues we face, there is always a way out.

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*****

Okay, I will need to handle the kids now. Break time’s over! Will try to update as much as possible about this third(and possibly my last) pregnancy!

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Update as of 12 June 2015, 8ish pm.

I got my lobster roll as my treat! The blog post worked! E bought me this yummilicious lobster brioche roll for dinner! Yay! Baby and I are loved!

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*****

Norfolk Cottage Weekend

May 2015

Day 1: The long 4 hour drive.

And so the big weekend for the cottage came. The initial plan for the cottage weekend was to be in March. Unfortunately, Baby Emily and Edward were consecutively down with chicken pox. We had to shift the dates then. Fortunately, we did so as the weather was much more suitable in May. Less cold and definitely more enjoyable for everyone then.

The cottage of seven rooms was to house four families- 7 children and 11 adults for 4 days, 3 nights. Erhm… Unlike E, I am not a fan of communal living. So, days before the big trip, I had my apprehensions and worries(because we had to cook for everyone for one of the two dinners). I was whining to E about the packing and anything that could be complained about. I supposed he took it in good stride or he is able to tune off very successfully these days. Anyways, it turned out to be quite okay and I am so happy to see the children- all seven of them enjoying themselves so much over the weekend. The thing about being a parent, one can no longer live for ourselves. Sometimes, happiness is about seeing someone’s smile.

Days prior to the big weekend, we told the children about our cottage plans and they were sure excited. Ryan, who is older and understandably more sensible started packing the toys that he thought he needed for the trip. Being the very lazy mother that I am, I only packed and bought everything the day before the trip. I am always surprised by how laid back I am these days. Gosh…

On the day of the trip, we set off at 2ish in the afternoon and only got to the cottage by 6pm, after taking one pit stop where we met Ken and Yiling’s family. So, it was almost a good 4 hours on the road. Thank God that Ryan and Gillian were quite cooperative throughout the road trip. Being the worrier that I am, I keep having possible horror scenes of either of them screaming/fighting/puking. Puking being the worst scenario because it is just gross, we have to clean it and it will smell for the entire trip!

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Ryan, Edward and Gillian chilling out at Starbucks during the pit stop.

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The Suffolk Cottage!

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Okay, this is the back of the cottage. I don’t think I took a picture of the front. According to the owner, this cottage is like 400ish years old. That is like super old. Even the locks for the toilets and doors were like ancient trickery. To me, at least. Hot water for the toilets on the second floor had to be heated using the fireplace on the first floor. No kidding. That is like something so unbelievable.

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This room was shared by Gillian and me!

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This room is shared between Ryan and E.

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This is the bathroom that is thankfully next to our room. Ryan and Gillian did some some time playing in the bath tub. They just love their bathtub time. Heehee.

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Dinner was just store bought pizzas by Ken and Yiling. Kids and pizzas pretty much go hand in hand!

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After the bath, dinner and some running about, it was almost bed time for all the younger ones. In fact, E and I turned in early as well. It was a crazy 4 hour drive from London, the longest that we have driven so far. Exhausting but so much to look forward to in the next few days!

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Day 2: Park/Playground. Lunch at Castle Carvery. More playtime at Castle Carvery.

The second morning was relatively lazy. Everyone woke up and the wives started preparing breakfast for their families. Erhm… everyone’s breakfast looked very fancy. Eggs, hams, sausages, toast. Between my family members, we shared one loaf of garlic bread. *sigh* Long story. No kidding.

Anyways, soon after breakfast, we brought the kids outside the cottage for some play! They definitely enjoyed the free play on the field! Those play stations in the backyard are actually meant for the cottage owner to train her dog. Well… the kids apparently had fun at the stations as well!

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With kids, parks and playgrounds are always on the itinerary.

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Lunch was at Castle Carvery. It was the typical English spread- roast, fish and chips and whatnots. The special thing about Castle Carvery was that it had an indoor and outdoor play area. So you can imagine that the place was very kids-friendly. After lunch, two families took off on their own while we stayed back with Peizhen’s family to just pass time at the play area. It was pretty much a lazy, catch-up-on-energy day.

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I have started putting pens and colour pencils in the kids’ backpacks. They are very useful to entertain them while waiting for the food to come. And if you are wondering, I do allow the kids to watch videos after they have eaten as well. And yes, if you are judging, I also think I am a bad and irresponsible parent. Totally trying to cut this aspect out. Hard. And we are trying to be better parents everyday. Hard.

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We returned to the cottage in the late afternoon because Yee Yin and I had to prepare dinner for everyone. The plan was to have two families each to prepare dinner for Day 2 and Day 3. I intended to cook chicken rice…and it was quite disastrous. Because my rice cooker was not working to put it simply. It was a tough evening but thankfully some of the ladies helped out and the rice eventually was cooked. I was really happy when everyone got their dinner in the end and when bed time arrived.

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Day 3- Indoor Adventure Centre Adventure Island Play Park. Lunch at The Thatch. Playtime by the seaside at Southwold Pier.

The day started off looking rather gloomy, followed by light rain. Initially, we intended to head to Africa Alive but the rain got heavier and we decided to go for an indoor play park instead. Adventure Island Play Park it was then! Ryan and Gillian had a ball at the play park.

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Here’s Daddy with his princess. Gillian woke up with a sore eye. It was quite nasty as it lasted for at least 3 days and went off after we seen a doctor in London for antibiotic eye drops.

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Ryan and his latest new friend, Charlotte. She is 5 and he is 4. A rather good age for them to understand each other.

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The kids had a wild time for an hour-ish before we went for lunch near Southwold Pier. Lunch was at The Thatch.

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I had salmon pasta, E had his steak while the children shared toad-in-hole.

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Here’s two pictures of my children looking very earnest in making their wishes. I love how they are always very serious about making wishes and praying to God(for requests!).

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Here’s a picture of me and the love of my life.

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The evening for Day 3 was much more relaxed since I did not have to cook. Just hung out with the kids in the living room. E took the kids out with Tawei and attempted to fly a kite. But they failed. Had a nice dinner prepared by the other two families and then I concussed with the kids. E even managed to stay up and play cards with the rest of the parents. Amazing!

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Day 4- Africa Alive and then back to London!

It was the last day of our trip and weather was fabulous! The four families decided to go to Africa Alive since we all know the kids would love looking at the animals. It was a good decision as it seemed that we all enjoyed our time there. However, some of us had to leave earlier as the dads/mums had to work the next day. Boohoo!

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Here’s Gillian on our double stroller that I bought second hand on a Facebook group! 80 quid!

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Poor sweetheart still with her sore eye.

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We checked out a few animal shows, went on a zoo train ride around the compounds, played in the playground, played mini golf, had our lunch and treat. Basically, we squeezed in whatever activity that we could in those 3-4 hours before returning to the cottage, did some mad packing and drove all the way back to London. No pit stop as the kids were whining too much in the car. This time round, we managed to get back home under 3 hours. That is a feat. Thank you, Mister E for keeping all of us safe while you were driving!

*****

This basically sums up our first cottage trip in London. There were not many pictures taken. Not as many as I would like anyways as I was feeling quite sick throughout the trip. In fact, whilst the kids had much fun at the cottage, I think everyone was glad to be in the comforts of home. Nothing really beats home. I spent the next few days doing the laundry, and trying to care for the two little ones as they fell sick after the trip. Boohoo but overall, we did enjoyed ourselves and would like to be much better prepared the next time!

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Baby Gillian – 11 months

March 2014

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1. Baby Gillian is still being breastfed. Just madness because she refuses the bottle and and she is fully latching. I have to wait for my mom to come in December to help me in weaning her off.

2. She is able to walk a few steps on her own. She crawls really fast though. She hardly used the walker as compared to Ryan.

3. She is not as demure as she was before. While she may not be as loud as her brother, she can be quite feisty at times as well.

4. She is able to call, “Mama” in her 8th month and “Da da” in her 10th month. My mom thinks that I am not spending enough time teaching Baby Gillian and hence Baby Gillian’s vocabulary is much smaller than Ryan’s at 11th month. She is able to understand instructions when I ask her to clap her hands and give me a hi-5.

5. She likes to pretend feed me with a toy spoon.

6. She is no weakling as she is able to fight with Ryan quite well by pulling his hair. In fact, both kids are able to play together and it is really cute. 🙂

7. Baby Gillian is quite an actress as well. She always pretend to cry whenever she sees me or whenever she thinks she misses me. Which is pretty much all the time. Once I scoop her up in my arms, she will break into a laugh.

8. Most of her clothes are hand-me-downs. The first batch was from Charmaine, followed by my new found friends in London like Helena and Zouna. Baby Gillian is blessed to have these generous aunts in her life.

9. Most people will tell me that she is beautiful whenever they meet her. I suppose her best feature is her eyes. It is so mesmerizing that she usually gets away with many things that Ryan can’t. Hahahaha.

10. She is just an perfect addition to our family.

*****

Dr Henry H Cheng

May 2013

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Went back for a review with Dr Henry H Cheng last weekend and happy to know that everything is okay. I am so glad that Ryan and Baby Gillian are delivered by two very trusted and capable gynecologists respectively.

As many of you know, Ryan was delivered by Dr Tan Han Yang. When I realised that I was pregnant last year and he retired, I was lost. E and I started our mad search(went to see 2-3 gynecologists but found them to be unsuitable) for a gynecologist and ended up at Dr Cheng’s clinic via  Aunt Heidi’s recommendation. Dr Cheng’s style of working is pretty much similar to Dr Tan. I like how he is very detailed and takes time in explaining to us about the progress of the baby’s development. He is also pretty cool- he allowed me to have my sashimi during my pregnancy, he is also quite pro-epidural as he does not see the point mothers going through the delivery pain and he is pretty chill about breastfeeding(as in, he does not force or insist that mothers MUST breastfeed) and just told me to take it easy.

Towards the end of my pregnancy with all the intestinal issues(possibly need to see a specialist after my confinement…bah), he was very reassuring and we are really grateful for that. Also, he encouraged me to carry Baby Gillian to full term even though I was getting very uncomfortable and was considering to induce earlier. He was also the one who gave us advice on choosing which bank to store Baby Gillian’s cord blood in.

During delivery, he was very calm and composed-this in turn made me less anxious. In fact, he was joking quite a bit after Gillian was out and while he was sewing up my wound. The stitching was done well because I did not feel much pain and could walk around easily from the second day onwards.

One of the best things about getting Dr Cheng as my gynecologist would be the short waiting time at his clinic despite him being high in demand. This is because he has really capable nurses who are great at time management and give extremely clear instructions for everything(e.g. medications, type of tests to be taken and why, payments…) I have been to clinics whereby they do not keep to appointment timing- like after being punctual for my appointment, I have to still wait for a ridiculous 1-2 hours before seeing the doctor!

Package wise, I think Dr Cheng’s is pretty competitive in the market considering how his years of experience. The only drawback is possibly be that his scanning machine is not the most advanced in technology- I had to use quite a bit of imagination as he was showing to me Baby Gillian during the scans. But of course, that was not the priority we were looking for in a gynecologist.

Overall, I must say that it was a good 9 months with Dr Cheng and if, E and I really do have a #3, we will definitely be back with Dr Cheng.

*****