Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The story of THE breakfast

You know how they say that after you get married, things get dull?

Ok, to be fair, things don't get dull. They get .... repetitive. And when you have kids, things get routine.

Now that the kids are 3.5 years and almost 2 years, hubby and I have sorta settled into a very well-adjusted family life of 4. It's a very comfortable feeling.

But then again, you read news of people doing special things for other people on Facebook. Like on Mother's Day. Or Father's Day. Or birthdays. Or anniversaries.

And you think, "Oh, that's so nice and sweet..."

And you try to stop yourself in mid-thought before you go into the, "I wish my husband ..... " Cos you know you shouldn't compare.

And Facebook is so crazily distorted anyways. Nobody is going to post a photo of the laundry done. Or the cleaning of the house. Or the regular "my hubby came home from work today after working 10 hours to provide for our family".

But that's real life! But who cares about real life right? It's mundane and usual.

People care about the extraordinary. The crazy. The out of this world. The "WOW!!!" factor.

Hubby and I don't really celebrate special days like Mother's or Father's Day. We don't even buy presents for each other on Christmas. Or birthdays for that matter.

I think we're more practical people. We buy what we need / want whenever we need / want to, so we don't usually need / want anything by the time our birthdays come. Makes sense? And why spend money on something just because it's a birthday right? We'd rather go for a massage or a nice dinner together.

So anyways, that's why I was sooo surprised and even somewhat shocked when hubby gave me a huge surprise over the weekend!

He made this!

My own hotel-styled breakfast served in bed! Notice the yakult?

To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement!

I was over the moon! It was so romantic! And totally what you see in the movies! 

The omelette tasted perfect! There were bits of mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and cheese inside! So yummy I refused to share it with any of kids clamoring for my food (they had already eaten).

It was his way of commemorating Mother's Day - one week later.

Thing is, hubby is one of those special babies who was born on Mother's Day. Great Mother's Day gift but that also meant that my Mother-in-law has spent most Mother's Days celebrating the birthday of her son instead of getting pampered by her children and/or husband.

And now that I'm a Mom myself, I'm also in the same "predicament".

So when I saw this breakfast made with love, it totally touched my heart!

To be honest, it wasn't a real surprise because truth be told, a postman had to ring on our door on a Saturday morning! I was still lying in bed and wondering why my hubby had not opened the door. When the bell kept ringing, I realized that hubby was probably not at home so I jumped out of bed in my PJs, ran straight to the door and pressed the button to get  my parcel.

Totally puzzled at my hubby's absence, I asked Sammy where Daddy was. He replied, "Daddy went to the car to get you something nice to eat!"

I was like, "Car? What car?"

And Sammy was like, "I told you! Daddy went to the car to get you something nice to eat!"

2 minutes later, hubby comes back through the main door carrying some groceries. Turns out, he had gone to "Ede-ka" (therefore the word "car") to get some groceries to prepare me my breakfast! Edeka is the name of a supermarket just downstairs from our house.

The hub was so upset that his surprise was ruined! So he told me to just go back to bed and pretend to sleep! hahaha. I sat in bed and played on my phone while waiting for my surprise breakfast to be made.

It was totally worth the wait! It was sooo good! He totally exceeded my expectations! And you know how they said home-cooked food is the best? It really is! It felt sooo good being on the receiving end of great service!

The "sad" thing is that I had to rush through my breakfast, because:-

My kids couldn't wait to help me to eat it! My yakult was gone in seconds (but hubby brought me another one), my grapes were devoured by the baby, Sammy kept asking me for the yoghurt so he ended up eating it and best of all......

I was SOOO worried the kids would end up dropping food all over MY bed!

In short, I REALLY, totally enjoyed the experience of having breakfast in bed. But in reality, I realized it would have been MUCH better had the kids been locked out of my room so that I could have my breakfast in peace.

Love you hubby! And so you know, I could get used to having breakfast in bed sans kids every weekend!!!! Hahah.

Breakfast in reality - sharing it with kids (in the background)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dear Gabriel - 22 months

Dear Gabriel

You're 2 months shy of your 2nd birthday and Mummy is too many months shy of your monthly updates!

You are one rambunctious, über sweet, super loud and altogether too cute little darling!

As a second child, you've had to learn to make yourself heard. Your 哥哥 (older brother) is always complaining about how you "scream in his ears" and bite him.

To be fair, you don't scream in his ears but you scream so loudly that your brother thinks that you're screaming in his ears.

And sadly enough, biting, hitting and other forms of pain infliction are included in your extensive list of self-defense mechanisms. Or shall I also say "scaring people off" techniques.

You do respond very well to time outs though. You would readily gesture "Sorry" which involves a clapping together of your fists. Thereafter you would proceed to hug your brother.

But before Mummy can relax and enjoy a few moments of peace, more often than not, I would hear

"Oh Mummy, Gabe Gabe bit me... AGAIN!"

That's the glamorous life of being a Mom!

But Gabriel you can be sooo sweet too! You would hardly ever kiss on demand. So whenever you take the initiative to kiss us on the lips, it would completely take us by surprise and our hearts would melt in that instant!

You're still not speaking much but you have no problem making yourself understood.

Whenever Mummy asks you if you want "milk" or anything for that matter, you would raise your hand up in the air! Just like a little schoolboy! Have no idea where you learnt that from, but it's too cute!

Whenever you know that we're heading out the door, you would open the shoe cupboard, take out your shoes and pass them to me.

One thing I really must commend you about is that you are very often the first person at the dining table waiting for your food. Warms my heart to see that someone in the family takes his food business seriously!

When the food comes, you'll devour your food at lightning speed and your appetite at 22 months is voracious! I'm pretty sure you eat as much as, if not more than your brother who's 2 years older than you!

You're still very much Mummy's little boy. In the mornings when your brother goes to Kindy, you'll wake up together with me and we'll have a leisurely breakfast together. Thereafter, you'll either go play with your toys while Mummy tackles some housework or we'll go cycling together (with you sitting behind me) whenever the weather is good.

Once a week, we take the train down to town to run some errands and grab some lunch before heading home to pick your brother up by 1.30pm. I really treasure those one-on-one times with you because it's less stressful with one kid! hee. No really, I really enjoy looking at the world through your eyes! You're always observing and pointing at things and going "Da! Da!" And I would be saying, "Train!" "Bus!" "Plane! and repeat 100 times!

In the trains, you would always be on the lookout for people who would give you their attention and you would play "peek-a-boo" with them. Mummy would warn them that you could carry on with your game for hours! 

Your words these days are "Papa" "Mama", "Ge Ge", "ball". Not much I know! But oh so cute!

You love to wave at people and at things! Whenever we need to leave, you would wave at your toys or at your surroundings before you do so.

You continue to have a fiery streak in you. You've thrown your toys on the floor umpteen times such that I've had to give you time outs because you've created dents in the floor because of the impact!

It's such a joy watching you and your brother bond together. He's ever so protective over you and you're always watching him, sometimes in a very admiring and "I wish I could do what he does" kinna way.

You love nature and would wander off in the grass / woods all by yourself with no regards for how long the grass is or how much underbrush there is. On one hand, its very interesting to observe this adventurous side of you (since your older brother was never one who liked getting himself stuck in the bushes), but on the other, you've given Mummy a couple of scares cos you would just disappear within seconds!

You simply adore the swing. The slide comes at a distant second. You would always head straight for the baby swing the second you spot one. That said, you're able to sit on the regular swing as well because you're very cautious and would hold on pretty tightly.

Oh and one last thing. You simply LOVE to sing. You'll sing everywhere we go such that people have often looked at us with curious and adoring smiles. I wish I could capture you singing on a video at some point in time!

We love you little one and pray that God will continue to mold you to be a strong man of GOD!

Lots of hugs and kisses
Mum and Dad

Baby of all faces

One of my fave shots! Baby in boots! Too adorable!

His size in relation to a life-size tractor
Sheer joy at getting a mini Magnum
That's so typical Gabe - Alone and contented on a swing

He even looks like he's whistling here!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Ludwigsburg Castle

We had some visitors from Singapore recently.

My best friend's sister, Jamie and her husband, K. visited us over a period of 2 days!

We love having guests over and now that we have a 3rd bedroom, we actually have more space to do so!

I must say that I was quite impressed by my two young men. You could tell that they were very overjoyed to have visitors! They were so hospitable and always looked forward to playing with Jamie and K. and showing them their toys.

Either that or they are so deprived of visitors, that they go crazy on those who stay overnight at our place! LOL. 

Sammy even went to their bedroom when he first woke up before realizing that they were still sleeping!

The poor hub was down with a terrible virus during their visit, so I brought the kids out with me and we spent the day at the castle in Ludwigsburg and on the garden grounds.

The kids were pretty good troopers and even though they didn't nap much, they were pretty well-behaved during the 1.5-hour tour of the castle.

Ahem, by "well-behaved" I mean they didn't break any of the artefacts or do anything forbidden. For the most part of the first hour, they walked through the castle just like anybody else. But for the last 30 minutes, they were running up and down the hallways like boys litted up.

The Ludwigsburg garden grounds is beautiful! There's a fairytale - themed park with interactive figurines of Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel and other characters from the Grimm brothers' stories. Sammy absolutely loves pressing the buttons and listening to the figurines "talk".

It's a pity that the stories are in German with no English language option, otherwise this garden would be very suitable for international visitors too.

There's even a little boat ride which is safe enough for kids to go onboard with their parents. Very relaxing! We went on a mini steam train which costs extra. But was an absolute hit with the kids.

The children were so mesmerized by all the things they could do! And as we parents would know,

Happy kids = Happy parents 

There's cafés aplenty so we stopped for some french fries and German sausages. The weather was superb on that day. Perfect summer temperatures in April! It was simply the perfect day to be out and about.

I asked my friends if they felt weird surrounded by so many kids in the park and was relieved when they said that they themselves have gone to Legoland in Malaysia so they are quite used to be surrounded by kids.

It was such a pleasant visit! Thanks for blessing us with goodies from Singapore! Please come back and visit us again! :)

Sam took this shot all by himself! My little budding photographer!

He took this shot too, but I had to photoshop it

Playing in the haystack

A mini scarecrow
Gabe couldn't be bothered to pose for the camera!

There are various exhibitions throughout the year and this was a farm exhibition. All made from straw!

Funny babies!

On the mini boat ride!

Look at how they loved hanging out with Jamie and K!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bali 2015 - Our hotel (The Courtyard by Marriott in Seminyak)

Looks like a postcard right?
Closer view of the pool from our room

The check-in area

Love the open spaces

We had the most amazing stay at Marriott.

This was our first visit to Bali with 2 kids, the last time being in 2009 without kids.

I knew that our kids are too young to do the crazy stuff we did the last time, so we simply had to have a children-friendly hotel. Preferably one with a kid's club. And definitely in Seminyak, so we had easy access to restaurants and massage parlors.

I was so tempted to get a water villa because Bali is the place where one can afford a water villa without having to burn a hole in one's pocket. BUT with 2 toddlers, we couldn't foresee ourselves lounging around in our villa without having to worry that our kid(s) would fall into the pool! (Both of them can't swim yet). And of course with a villa, one would have to contend with the issue of mosquitoes. Hmmm.... eh, no thank you!

So, a hotel it would be!

After spending hours researching online, I was convinced that Courtyard by Marriott was the right one for us. It's a very new hotel, only built in end 2014 and everybody raved about the breakfast on Tripadvisor.

True enough, the breakfast was the best that we've had at a hotel!

HUGE selection of food!

Asian selection

Fresh juice and fruits in the fridge on the left

Where's my food?

All that fish / chicken / rice / noodles. I was stuffed!

Breakfast was one of our daily highlights. We always looked forward to waking up for breakfast which was available until 11am - another plus for us! There was a huge selection of pastries, bread, pancakes and even ice-cream and waffles!!! Winner! It was hard negotiating with Sammy about why he couldn't just have ice-cream for brekky!

Housekeeping came by twice a day. It was so lovely to come back from our day trips / pool visits to a brand-new room! Staff was awesomely friendly! I don't know if it's just the Balinese friendliness, but we were always greeted with very warm smiles and "Hello Madam. Good morning!"

The kid's club was great. BUT it's a bit of a bummer because our kids were 3.5 years and 1.5 years back then. Hotel guests get 2 hours of free babysitting at the kid's club for children 4 years old and above.

I tried to bargain with the staff that my boy turns 4 this year and he's actually pretty tall for his age, but they kept to their guns. If we wanted to use the kid's club, we would have had to stay with our kids.

And of course we'd rather do other things with them than to be stuck indoors playing with toys in Bali right?

We managed to find a great way to circumvent this though! - Will blog about it later.

We stayed in a family suite so the kids had more space to run around the room. We had 2 TVs! One for the bedroom and one for the adjoining room. Our hotel room was located on a higher floor because we read the reviews that it can get pretty loud on the lower floors.

See the adjoining bedroom and dining area

Comfy beds!

Sleepwise, we got a complimentary travel cot from the hotel. Sammy still fits (barely) into the travel cot, so that was his bed, while Gabriel shared the master bed with us. Obviously Sammy loved our bed too much, so very often he would climb into our bed at night and the four of us would be somewhat squashed come morning.

The kids LOVEEEEED the pool! And so did we. The kids' pools were shallow enough for Gabriel to walk around with his floaties and yet deep enough for Sammy to swim around in his goggles.

Water was nice and warm. Sometimes even too warm. But I ain't complaining here, since I'm used to much colder waters in outdoor swimming pools.

Morning swims were enough to tire out the kids (and us) so we often napped together - As I said, it was a very relaxing trip! 

The pool bar had SUPERB cocktails and finger food. There was live music on certain days, so we were also pretty happy we stayed on a higher floor so that it wasn't too loud for us.

Pool bar

 Caesar's salad and one-for-one cocktails at the pool bar!

Gabriel's expression says it all!

Lounging at the pool area

 Lounging in the hotel room / on the balcony

All in all, a SUPERB stay! If it weren't for the fact that by the time we go to Bali again, our boys would probably be too big to stay in one room with us, we would love to go back there again! Highly-recommended for anybody who is looking for a place to stay in Seminyak, Bali!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Missing Earring

It all started with a missing earring.

I had removed my earrings and placed it on my bedside table before I put both boys down for their naps. I usually don't put my jewellery within reach of the kids, but I was sooo tired that I figured that if I did fall asleep with the kids, chances are I should wake up with them.


I fell asleep with the boys and woke up to Gabriel playing with my earrings. He had climbed over me in my sleep and was fascinated by my pearlies.

The last thing I remember is him giving one of the earrings back to me. I don't recall if he had the other one in his hands, or if the other one was still lying on the table.

When hubby tried to put Gabriel to bed at night, he was puzzled to find one earring lying on the floor. He then asked me where the other one was, to which I was equally as puzzled as him!

We searched the floor, lifted up the mattresses and basically swept through the bedroom but it was nowhere to be found.

I didn't think too much about it, because it was a cheap earring and could be easily replaced.

Hubby, on the other hand, got quite concerned because he didn't want Gabriel finding it by accident and putting it in his mouth.

We teach our kids not to put things in their mouths, but while Sammy was never the type to taste what he had in his hands, Gabriel is a different ball game altogether. As a baby, he would taste everything he could get his hands on. Now at 21 months, he no longer does that often, but he's still not 100% safe yet.

It was then I thought, "Wait a minute. What if the missing earring has been swallowed by Gabriel?!!!" All my alarm bells went off in my head!

I went to Dr Google to see if its possible for a toddler to swallow an object and not display any symptoms of discomfort.

And yes. It is possible. *gasp*

The comforting thing though, is that in almost all the cases, the kid usually passes out the object within 24-48 hours.

Well, I decided to head to the A&E the very next day. I decided that if I knew that Gabriel had definitely swallowed the earring, I couldn't do anything but to wait it out. BUT if there was a 50% chance of him not swallowing the earring, I didn't want to worry myself crazy over it!

Our kids are covered by private insurance and we do pay through the roof for it. So it made cents (sense) to me to be just a bit more cautious.

Thing was, it was SUPER stormy that day! Germany stood right in the path of a hurricane and wind speeds were incredible! Our balcony furniture was thrown about and one of our chairs was spoilt cos of the wind!

While driving, I found myself praying out loud for safety! I even prayed and commanded the storm to calm down, the way Jesus calmed the storm down when the disciples were in the boat.

The next thing that went wrong was that I drove to the wrong hospital!

I had already parked the car, got Gabriel out, got the stroller out and walked all the way to the entrance before realizing that it was the wrong hospital.

Hub had called the emergency hotline at Bad Caanstatt. He was then forwarded to a doctor who advised him what to do. Needless to say, we both assumed that the doctor was from Bad Caanstatt.

But it turned out that the emergency hotline redirected my hub to a completely different Children's hospital (Olga hospital) and he didn't know that! There were 4 different A&E hotlines pertaining to 4 different areas, so one would think that each hotline was meant for a particular area.

But no, the 4 different numbers go straight to a central hotline. In that case, why don't they just have 1 A&E number with many different lines?

Argh. It was so frustrating for me. I had to go back to the car, pack Gabriel back in and drive the correct Children's hospital. All this while trying to make sure the wind didn't blow us away!

When I arrived at the correct Children's hospital, of course I couldn't find the entrance to the carpark! There were NO signs whatsoever. I ended up parking at the carpark of the hospital next to the children's hospital and had to walk.

By the time I got to the admission of Olga hospital, it was 2 hours after I had left home!

The great thing is, everything worked out really well after that. We got an X-ray for Gabriel and there was barely any waiting time. Maybe only 15 minutes?

I was hoping and praying that they wouldn't find anything inside him and HALLELUJAH!

All I saw was a very healthy respiratory system with no menacing foreign object lodged anywhere. And it looked like Gabriel was smiling on the X-ray! I almost laughed!

The funny thing after that was that I was asked to wait to see the doctor. I was quite puzzled because obviously there's nothing left to talk about right?

I waited another 15 mins before the doc saw me and all she said was,

"Well I got good news for you, which you'd already knew, there's nothing stuck in him!....  (Pause)

I don't really know what else to say! I guess you can go home now!"

"Thanks Doc!"

And off we went.

I was sooo relieved, felt a load fall off my shoulders and felt sooo happy all at once! All that adrenalin just disappearing after being so anxious the whole morning!

I had felt sooo guilt-ridden! All morning, my mind was racing through the "what ifs" and the "if only I hadn't..." scenarios.

In my desperation, I had tried searching for the earring in Gabriel's poo that morning and seriously, even though I'm HIS Mom and you know how they say "Moms can do everything?" Nope. Not true! This is one thing that I had to summon all my self-control to prevent myself from puking! It was that bad! I couldn't imagine having to do that for the next 7 days!

I was just so relieved to be spared of the waiting game and having to go through the "treasure" hunt!

And of course it was a wake-up call for me to be mindful of tiny objects around the kids!

(Post note: Sammy did find the earring in the end. Somewhere hidden in his room.)

Taken at the children's hospital.
My cheery little sweetie who probably thought it was such an interesting trip to the hospital!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Singapore 2015 - Flying 13 hours with 2 toddlers alone

On the flight to Singapore when hub was still with us

I flew back from Singapore to Germany with my kids. Sam was 3.5 years old and Gabriel was 19 months old.

Till today, I can't believe that I did it!

Actually I think that Moms who fly long-haul with their toddlers deserve a medal of their own!

To be honest, I never thought that I would attempt this feat! The only reason that made me attempt it was that I wanted the kids to experience Chinese New Year.

CNY is a huge festival in Singapore. It has even more public holidays (2 days) allocated to it compared to Christmas (1 day).

My childhood memories were filled with many CNYs when I filled up my pockets with lots of red packets that were filled with money! And somehow after having lived in Germany for almost 9 years and having missed all but 1 CNY, I felt that it would be a waste if we left 2 weeks short of CNY.

Well, 4 weeks after my "feat", I would say that it was worth it! The extra 2 weeks in Singapore and CNY experience for the boys (and myself) was definitely worth flying alone!

I thought that I should document my experience as a keepsake for myself as well as to encourage any of you Moms out there, who at some point in time might consider doing just the same thing!

Some little tips that helped me!

My cheeky monkeys just before our maiden flight with 2 kids to Singapore

1. Tell yourself that YOU can do it! 

Mind before matter right?

There's nothing more scary (or maybe there is) than to be stuck in a confined space and be outnumbered by your kids.

But if kids and long-haul flights are so incompatible, then airline companies would have banned kids from travelling before a certain age.

So, since there isn't an age-restriction, I figured "It can't be THAT bad!"

Read up on the flight experiences of others Moms who have done it and tell yourself, "If they can do it, so can I!"

I also meditated on the verse, "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me" Phil 4:13.

2. NO stress even if you're doing it for the first time

While I was reading up on the flight experiences of a frequent flyer Mom, one thing she said struck a cord in me.

There is NO correlation between frequent flyer kids and well-behaved kids.

She said that sometimes a first-time flyer can be an angel on board while her frequent flyer kids can be total xxxxxx .... or shall we say "just the opposite".

And even if the outbound flight was a nightmare, there's hope that the return flight would be a breeze!

So since the only predictable about kids is their unpredictability, just relax and go with the flow - or at least try. :)

3. Throw away your expectations

We took an afternoon flight from 2pm to about 3.30am (Singapore time), 8.30pm (German time).

Both kids napped like angels around 5pm for 2 hours. When they woke up, we had some small snacks and I continued to walk the aisles with Gabriel.

Ahhh.... 2 hours of peace!

Close to midnight, I started getting stressed that Gabriel didn't show ANY signs of wanting to sleep.

And I was getting tired of keeping him entertained after almost 10 hours onboard.

I did the next best thing I could think of.

I held him in an iron-grip in my arms and tried to put him to sleep.

It was SOOO bad!

He screamed like a madman! I swear, people probably thought I was torturing my baby.

The whole ordeal lasted only about 15mins (I think) but it felt more like half an hour.

And to make matters worse, a lovely old man stood up from his window seat, stood at the aisle and stared at me THE ENTIRE TIME!

I was THAT close to tell him to just mind his own business!

I have thickened my skin with regards to busybody onlookers when it comes to dealing with a cranky kid, but I was getting MORE stressed at having somebody stare at me over my shoulder than I was stressed about having a screaming kid in my arms!

It was quite hard to tell if he was really staring at me cos the cabin lights were off, but what else could he have been doing? He certainly wasn't talking to anybody!


Back to my story, my dear Gabriel didn't fall asleep and I decided to sit him on my lap and watch my movie with me.

It was then that he fell asleep within the next 5 mins! - After I stopped trying!

So Mommies, if your kid doesn't want to sleep, don't stress about it. They will sleep when they are too tired to keep awake. 

4. DON'T, I repeat DON'T feel so apologetic whenever your kid cries. 

I read this from a fellow Mom's flight experience. 

I paid full price for Sammy's ticket and Gabriel's ticket albeit cheaper, still costs us money.

We're not free-riders. Our kids are paying passengers, just like everyone else.

As much as the cries from a kid is a nuisance, that is life. It's normal. Every baby / kid cries - more so in confined space on a flight.

So, hold your head high, take a deep breath and take care of your kids the way you always do.

5. Have a back-up just in case

What do I mean?

Ok, at the risk of people judging me, I hand-carried a child medication meant for nausea / headache that causes mild drowsiness.

I figured, if all things fail, I would literally give my kid some help to fall asleep.

I've travelled alone with Sammy when he was barely 5 months old. He was still a baby and could sleep anywhere and everywhere.

This time, my 2 kids were toddlers and as much as I was prepping myself that all will be fine, I just wasn't so sure if everything would be fine.

The flight could be filled to the last seat, both my kids could have been screaming for entire 13 hours (highly-unlikely but not impossible), and I could have been at my wits' ends before arriving at our destination.

Every Mom should make a judgment call for herself, but personally, the medication was more a psychological thing for me than anything else. I knew that I would only use it as a last resort.

The only reason why I didn't use it when Gabriel screamed blood murder was because I didn't know how potent the drug was and if he would be totally knocked out for the next few hours such that I would have had to carry a sleeping baby, my hand luggage as well as bring my older kid out of the plane. That would be too cumbersome compared to having both kids awake and walking.

I had already survived 10 hours of flight time, so 3 hours would be manageable. It could very much have been a different story if Gabriel was screaming constantly for hours!

6. Find something to pass the time... For yourself. 

I managed to watch 3 full movies during our 13-hour flight!

I kept my earphones in, while my eyes were glued to both Gabriel and the screen. It worked out pretty well overall because Gabriel played with his cars quite often.

I couldn't always watch all the scenes but since I kept the earphones in, I could still follow the story line.

Another idea would be to read those magazines they have onboard. While walking up and down the aisle with Gabe a million times, I was glad to have something to hold and read. I read while he played with other passengers, or made his pit stop at the air-stewardesses "kitchen".

Breaking up the flight into pockets of movie time / walking time / toilet breaks helped to break the monotony of a flight.

7. Bring extra change of clothes for yourself

I was so diligent in packing a lot of change of clothes for the kids. Gabriel went through almost 6 / 7 diapers in 13 hours!!! That is mega unusual of him, but he seemed to have a very active disgestive system at higher altitudes!

Sammy didn't need any change of clothes.

But I totally forgot to pack something for myself. Once I was drinking a soft drink and Gabriel climbed onto my lap and started jumping on me.

Needless to say, I had coke spilled ALL over my jeans! That was the only time I got a flight personnel to take BOTH kids from me, so I could somewhat try to save myself from being an ant-magnet (not that there are ants up there).

My jeans couldn't dry completely so I had to sit uncomfortably for the rest of the flight. Lesson learnt!

8. Don't choose the baby seats just behind business class

I'm not sure if this only applies to Singapore Airlines, but my experience was that my kid was not allowed to take a step into Business Class.

It was quite impossible to stop him though! There was this curtain that separated Economy and Business class and that curtain is THE most fun playtoy for a kid!

He would walk through the curtain and play with his toy car on one of those cushy sofa seats. The flight was extremely empty, so the nearest business class passenger was 3-4 seats in front of the seat that Gabriel was playing at.

But I was told numerous times to take him out because of "company policy".

Bottom line, if you need a basinette seat, choose the ones further back in the plane, since business class is usually in the front.

9. Decide for yourself at what age do you want to travel with your kid

All this time, I've been talking about my younger one. Why?

Because my 3.5 year was a breeze!

Sam absolutely loved being on a plane! He loved it! He loved his movies!

Or should I say "movie".

What movie does a kid watch when he's on a plane?

"Planes" of course!

That boy watched that movie 4 times I believe! He only took breaks when he had to go to the toilet.

He never once screamed and when I told him, "Ok Sam, once you're done with this movie, you nap ok? Gabriel is already napping.", he went down like clockwork!

What I wanted to say is, the age of a kid plays a big role!

0-1: Great for travelling because the baby sleeps and eat. I'm speaking of the typical case of course.

1-2: The age that is hard hard hard! No pattern, kid is uninterested in media and requires constant   movement and attention.

2-3: Similar to 1-2 but a bit easier (I think). Sam was 1.5 years old when we flew once but I can't remember much of the flight.

Above 3: A breeze. Child understands what it means to watch a movie.

I think that about surmises my thoughts of flying alone!

If you have any more tips, do let me know!


And because this week has been such a sad week for Singaporeans, I'll leave you with some goofy pictures of the boys.

I was reflecting today and thought to myself, "Man, if LKY didn't exist, there could be a high chance that I wouldn't have met my hubby, since my parents might not have had enough money to send me abroad and my kids might not even have been born!"

So here's to LIFE - May we make each day count and labor in the strength that God enables us to. 

To LEADERS - May we continue to pray for them that they would continue to be incorruptible, visionary, humble and not afraid to do what's right.

To the GOD who blesses us with EVERY good and PERFECT gift - May we continue to seek Him first before all things.

Best part of being home? To be reunited with my hubby again!

Goofing around

All serious

Peek a boo!

There I am again!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

I'm Singaporean. Born and bred.

Although I've lived for almost 9 years overseas, I've never once considered exchanging my passport for a European one.

I can't describe what it means for me to be Singaporean.

Ask any overseas Singaporean and they'd probably tell you it's the Singlish or the local food that you miss no matter how long you've lived abroad.

It didn't matter if you're Chinese, Malay or Indian. You'd inherently feel a sense of patriotism of being Singaporean. Singapore is a multi-cultural, multilingual and multi-religious society so intrically-woven together that every person, regardless of race or heritage is proud to be a Singaporean.

I've always felt proud of being Singaporean.

It's safe, the food is the BEST in the world, everything is efficient and it was home to me for the first 23 years of my life.

Once, I had to renew my Singaporean passport in Germany and seriously, it was as easy as an online application and voilà! I got it within a couple of weeks! I was mega impressed!

I enjoy hassle-free visa-free travel to so many countries in the world. The last time I went to Bali with my family, everybody had to pay a visa-upon-arrival fee of about US$30 per person, while I could happily go through for free.

When I first relocated to Germany, I could conveniently convert my Singaporean driver's licence for the German one because Singapore fell under the list of "exception" countries that Germany recognized had high enough standards of driving requirements, such that I didn't have to fork out another 1,000€ to re-do my driver's licence here.

These are real conveniences of being Singaporean. 

When I got the news that LKY died, I felt so upset.

It felt like my own grandfather had passed away.

I didn't know LKY as a person, but without him, the Singapore I know wouldn't be in existence today.

I've been reading all the articles and videos of LKY that have inundated my FB the past 2 days. And each read only made me feel so deeply appreciative, grateful and thankful for all this man has done.

He was truly a gift to Singapore.

One thing that struck me was that when LKY became PM of Singapore, he had to take care of 2 million Singaporeans - create jobs for them, housing, schools, root out corruption, ensure the security of the country....

2 million! That's 2,000,000 people!

My hubby is boss to a medium-sized company with 35 employees and I know the type of issues and level of decision-making he has to deal with on a regular basis.

I have a family with 2 kids. And taking care of these 2 kids is enough to tire me out at the end of everyday! 

LKY took it upon himself to take care of the welfare of 2,000,000 citizens!

One only does that when one truly has a heart and a vision for this people. He literally lived and breathed Singapore.

Due to the government's policies of meritocracy, Singapore has one of the most rigorous education systems in the world.

I say this from experience. I had my first exams in English, Maths and Chinese when I completed kindergarten. Can you imagine my pleasant surprise when I found that in Germany, children do not have any tests / exams in kindergarten?

One is not required to know how to read / write properly before grade 1. I think you only need to know how to write your name?

Sammy, in comparison to his Singaporean friends, is most definitely trailing behind when it comes to academics even at this age!

I graduated from university almost 10 years ago (ah-hm) but I still recall having nightmares of Chinese exams years after I graduated! That's how terrified I was of exams, especially Chinese exams!!!

I do appreciate the fact that children are allowed to have more of a childhood in a laid-back environment in Germany. And Germany's economy is still prospering, (despite) its lack of a rigorous early education environment.

My point is, growing up in Singapore, I know that the government's policies may not have been the easiest for everybody. For myself, my entire childhood was made up of studying, exams and more exams.

BUT at the end of the day, this education system brought forth a lot of fruit for the economy and produced a people who are known worldwide for their efficiency and high standards of work ethics.

I was whatsapping a fellow Singaporean of mine and we both felt that, when LKY was around, there was this sense that Singapore would do just fine.

Economic crisis. That old man knew what to do to turn Singapore around.

Terrorism. SARS. Whatever you name, it felt that as long as LKY was around, Singapore was in safe hands.

I'm so thankful that LKY stayed on in cabinet even after he stepped down as Prime Minister. He was in cabinet for 52 years (!!!) and was the longest-serving PM in the world when he finally stepped down in 2011.

He could have easily chosen the easy path of retirement but instead he stayed on to mentor the next generation of leaders.

I realize that my opinions of him might not be shared by every person. To each his own. 

LKY's works speak for itself.

He may not have been perfect but nobody is. (Except Jesus. And even he had enemies who wanted him dead). 

To me, LKY was the best gift that Singapore could ever have.

Lee Kuan Yew truly is Singapore.

-- A truly grateful Singaporean

#remembering LKY


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