Saturday, December 26, 2009

Some photos taken over the Christmas weekend

(Warning: photo-heavy post)

Christmas eve dinner at Chongqing Hotpot Restaurant, Tanglin Shopping Centre


Ryan and his Aunty Margaret


Christmas service on Christmas morning


Richard and his father


Ryan and his Uncle Jimmy, cousins Jerica and Justin


Ryan and his Aunty Margaret at Christmas dinner, Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant, Paragon


Ryan opening his present from Uncle Jimmy and Aunty Margaret


Boxing Day dim sum breakfast at Red Star Restaurant



Justin and me


Boxing Day lunch at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, Dempsey Hill


Ryan and his cousins at Jones the Grocer, Dempsey Hill


Ryan and his Aunty Mary at Clarke Quay

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day


On Christmas Day, giving thanks is easy - thank you Lord for giving your only Son to save us!

Now that I am a parent, I better understand the depth and the power of that sacrifice - it is so utterly unselfish that it could only have been motivated by the greatest of love. That, to me, is the foundation of Christmas, a love so great and so deep for our fellow man that it transcends age, borders, barriers and even religions. If only it can be Christmas Day everyday!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas eve


Richard's eldest sister and her family drove down to Singapore today, together with Richard's parents. Thank you for all that they brought with them - cupcakes, gifts, three kids plus lots of goodwill and cheer. Richard's second sister will be flying in tomorrow.

Whatever rituals or traditions are observed or discarded throughout the years, to me, the most important is simply being together at Christmas. Wherever we choose to spend it, however we choose to spend it, it should always be with the people we love.

When Ryan grows up and has his own family, I hope he will still want to spend Christmas with me and Richard. I know there'll always be a stocking hanging for him in my house.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just the two of us

Today I decided to take off early from work and so did Richard. Ryan was at the nanny's so Richard and I had some couple-time alone. We had lunch, did some shopping at the supermarket and came home to play mahjong with some friends. I'm grateful for little moments like these, when we can take a breath, slow down, talk to each other properly and truly appreciate each other's company.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eleven months


One of Richard's favourite meals is Kentucky Fried Chicken. So it was to his absolute pride and delight that he discovered that Ryan finds it quite palatable (we gave him a little of the meat to try).

I suppose that would be something Richard is very thankful for!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Final countdown to Christmas





Four days to Christmas, yabba dabba doo!

The next few days will be spent wrapping and delivering gifts, stocking the fridge, tidying up the house for our Christmas houseguests and issuing season's greetings. We will also be preparing Ryan's Christmas gift. Richard came up with a fabulous idea for it (I'll disclose what it is only after it's done, just in case it doesn't work out).

I was reading the newspaper yesterday and there was a report on The Boys' Brigade Sharity Gift Box 2009 . This programme aims to help the less fortunate by collecting food items for them and fulfilling their Christmas wishes. While monetary donations are always welcome, the main focus of the programme is to encourage donors to go beyond purely financial giving. Instead they are challenged to make the extra effort to buy gifts for the less privileged. The intended beneficiary will write his wish down on a tag and these tags are placed at "Wish Trees" at specified locations. The donors pick up a tag and shop for the item wished for. The donors can also buy basic food and household items and deposit these with the Boys' Brigade. The programme has been running for 21 years now and I think it is a wonderful way to help others and to promote community spirit.

Reading the report, what struck me most deeply was that several of the elderly beneficiaries had wished for a saucepan. Can you imagine that? A saucepan. Hopefully with a lid. To cook their noodles or their porridge or their curries. A saucepan for Christmas! When other people are dreaming of luxuries, these people are wishing for saucepans. I felt like carting all my pots and pans, all under-utilised, down to the Boys' Brigade.

These are doses of reality that put things in perspective for me. Whatever I may want for Christmas, ultimately I have all that I need and I'm grateful for that.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ready for Christmas!

Today we went to "Baby Spa" at Northpoint. This is run by the same people who run Hwa Xia (the place where Ryan goes for his tubbing) and everything there is the same as Hwa Xia except that there is an additional tub for up to 4 babies to 'spa' in at the same time. Ryan had a go in this big tub and he enjoyed it very much - he got to move around much more and he didn't feel so restrained.


After lunch at Northpoint, Ryan went for his Shichida class (his last class for this term, the next term starts in January 2010). He got his term report which says, "Ryan was able to concentrate during flash cards especially the concentration cards. He was able to do his ESP games and he showed positive reaction whenever he was prompted by his instructor. Good focus during linking memory and 'which one' activity." Well done baby!

Richard got assessed too, haha! Richard has been accompanying Ryan for his classes since the fourth one and this is what the term report says: "Daddy was really a patient man who could handle Ryan well in class. Daddy was able to minimise Ryan's crying whenever he felt uneasy." Well done, Daddy!

In the evening, we checked out the newly-renovated Mandarin Gallery. Bought a lovely pair of pants for Ryan from there. Then we joined the crowd on the pedestrian walkway outside Ngee Ann City. They were snapping photos with these guys:

The Three Wise Men

The Roman guards (when a Roman guard wishes you Merry Christmas, that's something!)

It's back to work tomorrow... what a lovely five days I've had with Ryan. Can't wait for the Christmas weekend! On that note, I'm thankful to say that the weekend was very productive - we managed to get all our Christmas gifts ready. Phew!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Party!


Today we celebrated a birthday of a friend's daughter. She turns 4 today - Happy Birthday Melanie!

It was a small and cozy gathering of old university (Raffles Hall) mates and it was good to catch up with everyone. I'm grateful for old and familiar friends, it's always a nice feeling to know that you are still welcome in other people's lives!

The party was held at The Tanglin Tree. I thought it was a lovely place for kids - there is a small playground outside and the place was not crowded. The service was excellent as well.

Here are some of the shots from the party.



Friday, December 18, 2009

Work it baby!


Yesterday, after the Ducktour outing, Ryan fell asleep on the way home and slept all the way till the morning, about 16 hours. He woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, all ready for his next adventure.

Today, I had to go into the office to attend to a matter so he tagged along. Everyone at the office loved him, he was thoroughly hugged and kissed and stroked and tickled and fondled. He was carried off by numerous people to be shown off to more people and he virtually got to tour the whole floor. I think he enjoyed himself, interacting with all the people and discovering all the treasures in my room (the stapler! the hole puncher! the mouse!). He didn't even want to take his afternoon nap. It was only on the way home in his car seat that he succumbed to slumber.

Anyway, the 'gratitude' part of this post is that I'm thankful that everyone loved him so much and that he was so well-behaved that I was able to take care of my work matter!






PS: Comparing yesterday's photographs against today's photographs, can see that Ryan was very tired yesterday!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tour of Marina Bay




Today we joined an outing organised by one of the Jan 2009 SMH mummies. 6 of us (mummies and babies) went on the Ducktour around Marina Bay. Basically, it is a bus/boat tour where they take you for a short trip around the Suntec City area and the civic district, then the bus/boat goes into the Marina Bay for a short trip around the bay and back. Thankfully, the weather was not hot (although very humid) and it didn't rain while we were out (a light rain started up on our way back).

Ryan had a rough night last night, he only slept about 3 hours from 2 to 5 am, so he was pretty zombie-fied today. He managed to catch a short nap just before we got on the Duck so I think he did manage to enjoy himself during the 1-hour long ride. After the Ducktour, we went to have some food and drinks with the mummies and Ryan started to get quite tired - he was fussy and cranky, rubbing his eyes and whining. We soon left, and he quickly dozed off in his car seat on the way home. That was about 4 plus pm. It's 11 pm now and he's still asleep!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

At home with Ryan



As mentioned in yesterday's post, Ryan's nanny is on holiday for a few days so I have Ryan all to myself for the rest of the week.

After his morning milk feed, we had a mini photoshoot, hence the shots above. I'm really grateful for the chance to shoot him like this, in the morning sun and in natural light. I don't often get to as mornings are usually a rush to get off to work and by the time we get home, it's already dark. On weekends we usually just head out of the house and shoot when we're out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A series of goodbyes?

Had a very busy day at work today, trying to squeeze the rest of the week's work into the day. I'm going to be taking the rest of the week off to look after Ryan because Ryan's nanny is going on holiday and Richard can't get away from work.

I'm not complaining at all, in fact I'm looking forward to spending lots of quality time with Ryan. I'm really grateful for this opportunity as it comes at a time when Ryan is shedding his babyhood and growing into a toddler. I want to milk every drop of these last few months before I have to say goodbye to all the delicious babyness.

I was reading "The Film Club" by David Gilmour the other night. At one part, he recounted his last interview with David Cronenberg when he observed that raising children is a series of goodbyes, one after the other, to nappies and then snowsuits and then finally to the child itself. "They spend their young lives leaving you, " he observed.

I felt a little depressed reading that. It does feel like that sometimes. Already the toothless gummy smile is gone, the newborn clothing packed away, the little mittens and booties no longer needed. I cheered up when I read that David Cronenberg's reply was, "Yes, but do they ever really leave?"

Monday, December 14, 2009

High chair entertainment

We got this Bruin toy last night. I think it's fantastic! You just stick it onto the high chair tray (or wherever) and you get instant entertainment for the little one! I'm going to keep it in the diaper bag and take it on our outings so I can whip it out whenever Ryan is restless. Whoever invented this really put some thought into it - thank you!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A new baby

Nope, not me!

After dim sum breakfast at Thomson this morning, we went to Mount Alvernia Hospital to visit a friend who had just delivered a baby. This is her second child. We didn't get to see the baby however. He had been sent to NICU as he has a lung infection (Strep B). Thankfully, he is responding to treatment and should be discharged after about a week. Luckily, the lung infection was caught early (only a few hours after his birth, his lungs were already 55% shut down) and that therefore treatment could be administered straightaway. If they had gone home before the infection set in, it would have been dangerous as the infection can spread to the blood and then to the brain. His mother, our friend, was herself having a problem because her uterus didn't contract and she was bleeding quite a lot as a result. Her situation is better now and, with some treatment and the onset of breastfeeding, this should resolve soon.

These unexpected medical upsets always make me so so so thankful and grateful that things went smoothly for us. It is so easy for me to take things for granted when they go according to plan. The plan here being: carry the baby to term, deliver him and recover. As things happened according to plan for me, I don't think about it, precisely because it happened as it should. But there are really so many ways that issues and complications can arise, unexpected or otherwise and things don't always happen "as they should". I assume that my body works and will work. And it does work. Still, as demonstrated by incidents like these, this is not something that I should be taking for granted.

Anyway, this post is not about me giving thanks for my smooth delivery (which I do, of course but that's a separate matter). It's about giving thanks for a new baby! It is always such wonderful news to hear.

While we were at the hospital, we went to peek at the newborn babies in the nursery. I marvelled at their small heads, their tiny hands and feet covered in teeny weeny mittens and booties - so hard to believe I held one in my arms in January! I do miss those days.

The strange thing is that this baby and Ryan will be starting school in the same year, despite being almost 11 months apart. Ryan is a Jan 2009 baby and he is a Dec 2009 baby, so they will be treated simply as being born in 2009. It sounds crazy now, as Ryan is already cruising on his feet whereas this baby is barely a day old. Just goes to show - they grow up too quickly!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Keppel Bay

This morning we went to Keppel Bay. It's a lovely place for a short walkabout and a cup of tea/coffee. We went with Kenny, Belinda and their son, Matthias.

The first time Richard and I were at Keppel Bay, it was at night and the place was beautifully lit with the lights from the restaurants and the lights from the boats/yachts at the marina. Being there in the morning is also quite nice, there is a nice breeze and I can imagine Ryan running up and down the marina when he's older.

Richard just got some new Diana lenses and he tried them out on my camera. Here are some of the (unedited) shots - dreamy looking with intense colour.




Gotta give thanks that the weather held out today and it didn't rain. After Keppel Bay, we went to see an exhibition of underwater photography called "Gifts from the Sea" at L2 Space. Great stuff. Then, bak kut teh lunch at PSA Tanjong Pagar Complex. Yums.

I went for a facial while the boys went home for a short rest, then there was Gymboree for Ryan (his last class in the package), chilli crab dinner at KEK Seafood, and we were off to see Orchard Road in its glitzy Christmas glory.



Friday, December 11, 2009

TGIF!

Ok, I know some might say this is cheating on my "25 days of gratitude" programme, but heck, Thank God It's Friday! I'm definitely in the year-end, Christmas, adios-to-2009, frame of mind and work is not the first thing on my mind.

Hello, weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A little R&R

Today I took the day off work on account of a toothache and went to see the dentist. I sent Ryan to the nanny as usual and so I had the day all to myself. After the dentist, I strolled along Orchard Road, came home and did some housework, did some reading, took a short nap, played some mahjong with friends. All done very leisurely. Felt almost decadent.

All thanks to my toothache. God works in mysterious ways.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Free and easy

Whoever invented these rides for children, you are a genius, thank you. Ryan is so enchanted and entertained by them, and we haven't even had to put any money into them (yet!).


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Staying connected

I'm one week into my "25 days of gratitude" lead up to Christmas! This little project isn't as easy as I thought.

I consider myself quite an easygoing person. I don't get upset too easily and I don't sweat the small stuff (most of the time). I don't like to dwell on the negative but that doesn't mean that I focus on the positive all the time. I just don't do that negative-positive balancing exercise. It's irrelevant to me. Most of the time, I just get on with my life. But that doesn't make me much better than somebody who focuses on the negative, because I end up taking a lot of things for granted, which is a big no-no, right?

So it takes a while (sometimes more than a while) for me to focus on the positive and to appreciate what is good in my life. Sad, but true. Being thankful for my family and friends is easy, but what comes next?

Well, today I'm thankful for the internet (and a fast connection) and the telephone (the mobile phone, to be specific). They seem like simple things, but I do feel a little out-of-sorts when I'm without my mobile phone or when I'm not able to get on the internet. They keep me connected to my loved ones, to other people, to the world and I can't do without them.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Enjoying what I do

The weekend zoomed past so quickly, I'm back in the office again as if I'd never left. Monday blues? Not really. I can't say that I don't enjoy working, I actually enjoy what I do. I guess I'm fortunate to have ended up in a job and career that I like and I'm grateful for that.

Once a fortune teller read my palm and told me that I am able to pick up things easily, "especially things that men are good at". At the time, I assume he meant things like driving, assembling IKEA furniture and playing electronic games (stereotypical but not far wrong). I passed my driver's exam the first time without fuss, I find DIY quite simple (because I actually READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS... *hint to the men out there*) and I generally have good hand-eye coordination. But the fact that is most supportive of his analysis is the fact that there are a lot more men than women in my chosen line of work. I guess whatever the women find unattractive about my line of work doesn't bother me (as much).

I'm not adverse to coming into the office on the weekend or staying late to finish up some work to meet a deadline. I never travel without my blackberry and my laptop, even if it's just for the weekend. I enjoy dealing with the difficult issues that crop up. I enjoy meeting all the different people whom I come across. I enjoy the thrill and the satisfaction of a good result achieved for the client.

Of course there are days when I can't wait to leave the office or when the weekend can't come soon enough. I have to deal with the deadlines, the targets, the clients, the opponents, the upper management, the juniors, etc., all of which can be stressful and taxing. Still, despite all that, I love what I do.

I'm also very lucky to have found this career path because outside work, I don't have specialised skill in anything. I'm a real jack of all trades - I can cook, sew, knit, crochet, bake, draw, handle a camera, play musical instruments, use some IT, play some sports, do some gardening, do some design, etc. etc. ... but I am master of none of these things and I certainly would not be able to rely on any of these things to make a living.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friends


Today, I want to give thanks for my friends.

I've been living on my own since I was 18. Even though I'm not an only child, the fact that I live in a different country from the rest of my family means that I don't get to share my day-to-day life with my family. It was the same for Richard too.

So in many ways, my friends, both old and new, were my family. My old friends kept me feeling loved and secure while my new friends helped me to experience new things and broaden my outlook. Now that I am married with a baby, I still need my friends and thankfully, they're still there for me.

I hope that Ryan will have many good and dear friends who will support him, encourage him, motivate him, keep him company and basically, look after him. This is quite important to both Richard and me. In fact, one reason why we put him in Gymboree was to encourage him to socialise with other babies his age.

Today Ryan got to spend some time hanging out with some other babies (Victoria, Brayden and Matthias) from the Jan 2009 SMH forum group. He was a little shy at first but I think he had a good time, because by the end, he started to get very chatty and after we left, he started singing at the top of his voice!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Just the two of you


It's the weekend!

I had a company lunch today so Richard had Ryan all to himself for a few hours in the afternoon. I'm grateful for the fact that Richard can actually fly solo quite well. Yes, I know many dads out there can and do handle their babies quite well on their own, but that doesn't detract from my gratefulness.

The only tricky part about Ryan being apart from me is his milk feeds. He is on total breastmilk and there's not a drop of formula in our house. So I have to watch the clock when I go out and make sure that I'm back in time for his next milk feed. If I can't plan to be back in time, then I have to express some milk before I leave for Richard to do a bottle-feed.

I'm also grateful that Ryan doesn't seem to suffer from separation anxiety, which seems to strike many other babies around his age. He does make a little fuss when he sees me go off, but it doesn't last and he's quite happy with his father's company.

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