Universal STudio Mugs..

We didn't go to Universal Studio but Daddy did! His company retreat! Our little ones were wowed by these cute little mugs that Daddy got them.

Build it up...

Abel, the little engineer, is always taking things apart and putting them together...

Keziah, the adventurous one, is always game for new things. This mosiac puzzle was dug out from the store as Mommy kept it for a good long time as she bought it when Keziah was still too young to manage at a steal of $5. Keziah was definitely interested to try but she still has to work on her perception skills. Not an easy activity.

Old toys..

We have shelved off some toys for some time and today, we took it out and guess what, the kids loved playing with them!

Giant floor puzzle from Shu Shu when K turned 2. This time she put the puzzle together herself.

Abel is just simply a boy who's into trains and of course, cars! This was a hand-me-down car runway together with some petrol station passed on from our church friends some time back. Abel enjoyed putting them together, fixing up the trees along the roads and gantry and running the cars.

Children are a Heritage from the Lord

This verse is ever so familiar with all Christian parents and I was once again reminded when a fellow blogging mom shared it just recently.

Psalm 127:3
“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him.”
(New International Version)
Indeed, kids are entrusted into our hands. It's us who are bestowed this gift and given the stewardship to tend to them. God has been gracious to bless us with 2 kids with great ease but parenting comes with challenge.
To me, it means spending time actively involved with the kids doing things together, playing together. Being a working mom, time with the kids is so limited and I want ever minute to be constructive. Now, with Abel wanting to do everything that Keziah does and Keziah wanting to do what Abel does, it becomes rather difficult to plan different activities and run activities parallel side by side together. Yes, some are common so it's not an issue but some need to be age appropriate. It's already exhausting after a day's work, housework (can't complain on this as lovely hubby does a great deal) and spending time in evenings to prepare a plan for activities to do together be it flashcards, singing, reading, art, phonics/writing and piano for Keziah, motor and creativity activities (play dough, lego, make believe play, rolling, scissor cutting, scooping, weaving, lacing and so many more) and number sense manipulatives for Abel (Of course not everyday since there's still school stuff to complete before bed). LEARN THROUGH PLAY. The worse is, however, to get them to focus. I tried to do activities in the room after dinner at in laws as we have to wait for Daddy to return but still the two would be tussling with one another. It got so bad yesterday that I banished Keziah out of the room, leaving her crying. As a result, everything got migrated back downstairs to the living room. Seriously all these got Mommy really impatient and ended up raising her voice, grumpy and irritated when expectations were not met [Occupational hazard 1: high expectations] almost every other day. That really shouldn't be the way in bringing up Godly children. What a bad role model!
How Mommy wished she could just split the hour she has with the kids after dinner to do just some simple stuff, 30 min each! Support please when both kids want attention! Someone ever asked me why am I trying to still do all those with them since they are already in and for piano, Keziah is already in a music class. Did my parents do all these with me when I was young and so I managed to do well in studies? No. In constrast, I still remembered catching catepillars and red ants with neighbours in the field in pre-school and neither did I attend any enrichment lessons at all (ok, I'm music illiterate, no talent in art, only good in academics and craft). Am I a kiasu parent? Probably but things have changed [Occupational hazard 2: evolution of education landscape - Teach Less Learn More (TLLM) or TLLL?]. I didn't remember learning addition in pre-school which they now do. In fact, I heard kids in K2 learn simple multiplication near the end of their course even in PCF. If my kids have been gifted, I wouldn't have to worry or I should say there are other stuff to worry about for gifted kids. I was asked of recent over the hols by my stunned father-in-law who realised my dear Keziah of 4 couldn't write her numbers. Well, the simple thing is that I haven't been writing with her and no one does until last year when I was on no pay leave that I started her on letters. With such penmanship, it's about consistency which lacks. Of course, this year Ah Ma also does some writing with her now that she's under her care and me being quite insistent. Afterall, she's my mom and I can try to get her buy in more easily (haha!). One thing from being in the education industry is that you realise school alone is not sufficient and parent involvement is important. Tuition and enrichment are big now in Singapore but nothing will draw the best of it all without parent involvement. 
Some say I'm a control freak! Why don't I prepare the materials and leave to the grandpas and grandmas to help out since they are with them most of the day and educated? Anyway, Abel sleeps for 3 hours every afternoon so 30 min of activities won't be very much then it's simply engaging in play. Yupz, I did but I can't impose as much as suggest and can't expect others to do everything for me. [Occupational hazard 3: SOW. Writing lesson plans but not fulfilled. Hey teachers, don't they sound familiar?] They are already doing their part to provide basic care and ferrying them around where necessary. Then why don't I get a maid? Fillipinos are quite good with kids and more educated. All you have to do is instruct them. Maybe it's just a personal belief that maids are to do housework and not to accompany the kids if we ever employ one. The truth is also that I don't know how to live with a stranger.
Anyway, was so thankful yesterday when my BIL actually was home early and read to Abel, giving me time to focus on Keziah. Then again, it wasn't just yesterday, he's also plays with them if he's home early. That's why he's their favourite playmate. Kids are smart, aren't they? Probably one thing Mommy failed so far is to get them to play independently. This would have really relief the problem of the two distracting each other. Guess this is one disadvantage when you don't take care of them yourself and that tells in their discipline as well! Will have to start working on it [Occupational hazard 4: AFI]!
Frankly, I am also abit concern (not sure if paranoid) that Keziah seems to be writing the wrong way round. Circles are usually drawn in an anticlockwise direction but K has been doing it conversely. This impacts her writing in that her 'C', 'S' and such can be written wrong way round in mirror image form. She also doesn't seem to recognise the phonic sounds when it's in a simple 3-letter word with short vowel 'a' albeit us having done different activities involving them and she knowing the sounds of all the letters. Hopefully it's not a learning disability.[Occupational hazard 5: Severity of learning disabilities]
Sometimes, Mommy just wished she could CLONE herself! Maybe 4 clones would be good: 1 to work, 1 to do housework, 1 to accompany Abel and the last for Keziah. Dream on! Wake up!
There's really only so much I could do. God will be the one to give grace and strength sufficient for us to go through all the ups and downs of parenting. Don't compare!

Do you know?

Do you know the elephants and chimps are out of action?

Craft time again…fingerpainting

We've been doing quite a number of colouring and cutting the parts out to make out the pictures like the mouse and flower craft we last did. This time round to add on, we fingerpainted with the paint pads that Mommy bought some time back! It was a little messy as the kids got the colours mixed and as usual Mommy got a little irritated but nonetheless we had fun!

Our living room

We found some really cute wall sticker during our Ikea trip. Look at the kids enthusiastically putting them up.

The end product!

Shopping to get organised..

Our place and Ta Ta's place are getting really cluttered with the kids' toys. Time to get organised! Having been inspired by Aunt Pauline's workbox system, we got out today to ikea to get some storage boxes and bits and pieces to make our play cum learning environment at both houses more welcoming. Nowhere else but to Ikea we trotted where there were loads of ideas to draw from. Not to mention the kids can get their fill of food and play.

We ordered our usual fare of chicken wings, meat balls and spaghetti to fill the hungry tummies.

Then we headed straight for the children's section. The kids were busy jumping around on the bed and messing about the mockup playarea. However, being weekend, there were many kids and some were rather rowdy. 

Returning home with a cart full of goodies. Look at the happy faces! Who were they waving to? None else but daddy dearest to bring their loot home.

Despite being a one-stop furniture store, we still couldn't find a suitable shelf (trying to strike a balance of economy of cost) and children chairs (out of stock till end April).

Ariel Puzzle

Keziah loves Ariel the Mermaid and we bought this 60 pc puzzle a few weeks back. Mommy didn't expect her to be able to fit them together on her own as so far she could only manage up to 30 pcs or so. She surprised Mommy tonight when she put it together after her bedtime shower. She had tried it a previous time but with Ta Ta's help. This time Mommy noticed she only had difficulty when she came to the parts with seaweeds and rocks where the colour tones were similar. After a few pointers she did it!

Just interesting how kids assemble puzzle. It's not forming the frame first but the big objects they see and are familar with.

Completed in about 20 min or so.

Times are bad...

What do you do when you can't go out? Get dressed and start playing your toys in the playroom. Abel seemed to grown to like Keziah's leappad alphabet book more than his sister.

Even if you get a drink, you have to share...haha coz Mommy didn't want to buy more as she didn't like the idea of kids drinking bottled sweetened drinks. She gave in as Daddy was the one thirsty. But how can you expect the kids not to want it if they see it?

Haircut Ordeal #2

It has been 2 months since Abel last cut his hair. Abel has been scratching his hair frequently and that is an indication that he needs another hair cut. Since the barber near our place did a good job the last time, we decided to go back.

All smiles before the ordeal... Keziah was there to give moral support.

Start of Ordeal... even the iPod touch with his favourrite show didn't help much...

The cut... nice??

What is a hair cut without the before and after shots.. :)

Kitty Crystal Creation

Keziah received this Hello Kitty Cyrystal Creation Kit from her friend for her birthday. Today after her nap while Abel was still sleeping, we attempted to try out making one craft.

It was actually more difficult than what Mommy thought. It took Keziah a lot of patience to pick those tiny rhinestones up with the sticky pen and assemble them on the template. Certainly, it took her a lot of fine motor skills too trying to manipulate those stones into place. We worked on it for at least half an hour or so before we saw the output!

Shopping and eating @ Vivo

Seriously, we hardly go out on weekends to shop. However, this Saturday, Daddy wanted to change Keziah's shoes that were given to her during her Birthday Celebrations to a larger size and so we trotted down to Vivo City after their nap. However, Crocs@Vivo has ran out of the design and we got her another design instead. Her new shoes....
We splurged on dinner tonight at Mommy's favourite Japanese restaurant, Shin Kushiya. The food was ever so good!

One thing about this place, their cold noodles are not the usual buckwheat green noodles but white ones with a firm bite yet silky. Daddy ordered on with accompanying duck broth dip. It tasted a little like miso sauce but nonetheless yummy.

We ordered the usual beef noodles for the kids and kushiyaki while Mommy had her sashimi rice bowl.

We also ordered Yakimono, charcoal grilled speciality. This kimchi stuff charcoal-grilled squid was fantastic! Despite it being spicy, our girl loved it, eating one piece after another eventhough she had to down water after every mouthful.

For the first time, we indulged in dessert here - black sesame icecream and plum wine tiramisu. What a glorious wrap up of the meal!

How our kids enjoyed the food. You will never go wrong with noodles with them.

K's Art - Elephant and Turtle

This was the elephant that Mommy was talking about the week before. Can you believe it was done by Keziah? Her teacher helped her with all the outlining and she did the colouring herself.
This week, our little girl and her teacher (Xinyi Jie Jie) drew a family of turtles. Mommy was told she had improved in her colouring tremendously, colouring all within the area drawn, selecting her colours with some guide.
The final product...apparently, the green shell one was Daddy, the purple shell one was Mommy, the little yellow one was Abel and finally, the pink one, her!


Few days back, Keziah pulled out some of the printed craft sheets that Mommy had left in her activity folder after dinner and asked to do this. Of course, we can't leave Abel out. Keziah did the colouring, cutting and pasting all by herself while our little Abel was a little playful today, not wanting to colour much. Mommy cut out his pieces and he put them together to form this mouse. Not too bad in terms of spatial sense of where those ears were supposed to be. They both got to choose their colours for the base paper.  Since Keziah's more interested now to write, Mommy simply spelled the words and she wrote the letters for both Abel and herself.

Birthday Celebration with Classmates

Today Keziah had her celebration in school with her friends. For the first time, Mommy saw all her classmates as Keziah's on schoolbus and Daddy is the one who drops her off. Interesting to hear how the school celebrates the kids' birthday. The birthday kid is invited up on stage to a dummy birthday cake and the whole assembly will sing a birthday song to him/her. Afterwhich, they can celebrate their birthdays in class with the REAL cake. How sweet!

We had some fun at Fidgets again! This time, Abel was more than eager to run around on his own to explore the place compared to when we went with him in March hols. Then he needed some warm-up time. Now the place is his world!

Our little girl requested for McDonald's for dinner and since it was her birthday, we allowed. Somehow McDonald just has a draw on the kids.

Our little Abel wanted nothing else aside from a few mouthful of corn and nothing else but fries! Yes, fries dipped in tomato sauce.