Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hanoi 12-15 June . First trip on our own

First post in a year. Have not blogged at all since I started work in November last year. Very rare to have undisturbed me time- takes a trip out of Singapore to find time to write. 

And as it turns out this post is just going to be a list of things of what we ate,  saw and did in our very first trip in 8 years without the kids. 

Accommodation: Hotel de l'opera, 29 trang tien st. We got a great deal- 3 nights for the price of 2. One of the top hotels here. Luxurious boutique hotel, loccitane toiletries, spacious suite, centrally located in the French Quarter. 

Day 1: 12 June 
We explore the old quarter- a labyrinth of merchant streets with a 1000 year history. Each selling wares according to street name. Buy hand carved stamps for the girls and get our family name personally engraved, then a foot massage for $20.  Dinner at Little Hanoi, disappointing recommendation by Lonely Planet. Basic local stir- fried dishes. Not a great introduction to the authentic Vietnamese food I was hoping to find. 

Day 2: 13 June 
3.5 hour drive to Halong Bay and back again. 7 hours in the bus for a cruise through limestone outcrops in the sea. Beautiful scenery. Lunch in our cruise boat (Lotus Cruises) , unexpected kayaking into lagoons, a walk through a limestone cave. Our guide recommends an over night stay next time. 

Day 3: 14 June
We explore the French Quarter, wowed by the lovely French architecture and town houses left behind by not so lovely French colonialists , walk to St Joseph's Church, another massage. Lunch at Madam Hien's - delicious Vietnamese food in an old colonial house. Wander through more streets, taxi to the Ho Chi Minh Museum and Mausoleum complex. A brutalist 1970s shrine to the ex president whom the Vietnamese regard as a godlike figure. The most well-maintained part of Vietnam with it's trimmed lawns and manicured landscaping. Ironically, Ho's mausoleum now looks into a new mall development directly opposite. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baby days

These days, the weeks just whiz by. Ellie is seven and although she started Primary 1 just half a year ago it seems as if she has been in Primary school for longer than that. Caitlin is five going on six. When all three girls play in their room together ask that they be left alone,  I realise my babies are not babies anymore. Of course there is Kristen, two and a half going on thirteen, who thinks she is a big girl, acts like a big girl and is going through a particularly wilful, I-want-to-do-things-my-way stage of her life.

So while it seems like it is pure madness most days (mostly when I am trying to get the older girls to do their work for the day while Kristen whines for attention), other days seem surprisingly easy (when they all decide to play on their own and not want mama).

Sometimes I look at the older girls in Ellie's school when I pick her up and it hits me that in a very short time MY girls will be these older girls. All independent, all grown up, self assured. When I am chasing Kristen to get her clothes on,  thinking of ways to cajole her into brushing her teeth, getting up to get one more thing from the fridge I wish the girls would grow up a little bit quicker. But I know that one day I will look back a realise that the baby days are what I miss most. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kristen starts school

Kristen, two and a half, started school on Monday. My baby has grown up! After almost seven years with a child or children in tow I was really looking forward to some me time everyday.

Finally, some time to get long overdue tasks off my to-do list and maybe some time for a little bit of pampering- a weekly massage, shopping, an hour of Pilates? As it turned out, I now have barely an hour to myself in between all the chauffeuring on most days, and maybe slightly more on the days Ellie gets off school later. Even though Kristen settled really well into school. ( I left her half an hour after getting to school on the first day, without her crying), having to do the school runs meant that I probably only had enough time to do one small task off my list, in between getting the groceries and running errands.

So it definitely was wishful thinking to have imagined that I could start getting my foot back into some form of work when Kristen started school. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Kristen finishes her pasta- a big deal

We've always had a fussy eater in the family. Some families have to stop their kids from wolfing down their meals but my problem has always been getting them to eat up whatever it is on their plate. Of course there are the favorite dishes-chicken rice, chicken noodles, french fries. The not so healthy sorts of food which we replicate at home with a healther, less oily version.  But mealtimes at our home have always long drawn affairs.

The latest to join our hall of fame of fussy eaters is Kristen, the milk guzzler who picks at her food at mealtimes and spits out whatever doesn't catch her fancy. It is always difficult to catch her at the point where she is hungry but not hungry enough to start yelling for milk. All the books say that a child at her age (almost 2) should be having regular meals and with their milk as a beverage. With Kristen, it's milk and more milk in between the snack-portioned mealtimes. 

So when, all of a sudden, (literally overnight) Kristen suddenly decides not to drink her milk and decides instead to open her mouth to receive spoon after spoon of pasta, I am stumped. I do recall praying about this but probably in passing rather than in earnest.  I believe God does listen to the smallest of prayers so I certainly hope ths is the beginning of a new dawn- a phase of eating rather than rejecting food. And so it was with great happiness that I spooned out the last spoonful of pasta and stew today at lunchtime and stared at the empty bowl in disbelief. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Kristen learns to talk

Kristen's word-log at 22 months

early June 2012: "no more chips papa" (one of her earliest sentences)

mid June 2012: "close door now! One two three four five......"(she's learning to count from because I count to get the older ones to do there chores)

29 June 2012: "Mummy look! ant climbing bunny's ear!" (there really was an ant on Bunbun's ear)

05 July 2012: Kristen tells everyone "Tammy gave me this" (her new kitty cat)

05 July 2012:  "Mama, wat you doing in the toilet??" (this is the shocker! I wasn't expecting so many words so soon!)

Monday, March 12, 2012

twinker tweenker leetle tar

Its already March ?!! And this is my second post for the year! Just a few notes before the moment passes.

Kristen (18 Months), is starting to speak in couplets.
Drin(k)....Tater (Water)

And sings "twinker tweenker leetle tar, howI wunder hmmm hmm hmm".

The third child does get the fewest posts, but really she such a good humored, funny little cheeky one and a half year old. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bible reading Ellie

Ellie is reading the NIV Bible. We gave her a bible for christmas. She wanted a "princess" bible, the one that her cousin Erika has. The princess bible is a regular bible with a pink shiny cover and a diamante clasp, and with absolutely tiny print, something I couldn't read it without hurting my eyes. There are so many bibles for children with a 6 or 7 font size! So I got her the Young Woman of Faith Bible. She's now at Genesis 9, underlining the words she doesn't yet understand.  I'm pretty amazed she's gotten so far-she's five going on six.