Sunday, December 30, 2012

Family day out: Part Two

After a morning out in the sun, we strolled across the East Coast Parkway to the Singapore Marina Bay Sand ArtScience Museum to the second part of our day out. We have driven past this architectural work of art many times and decided that a Lego art exhibition is the perfect reason for us to make our way there.

The Art of the Brick exhibition by New York-based artist Nathan Sawaya was truly inspiring. Using merely standard Lego pieces, he built 52 awesome sculptures including a 6-meter long T-rex dinosaur skeleton which was C's highlight. We loved the sculptures and the fact that there was a play area with Lego for visitors to play with at the end of the exhibition. Most parts of the exhibition were children-friendly except one which C would tell you that it's spooky as they had strobe lights, smoke and scary displays.

What a happy day it was!
I'm thankful these are not strewn around our apartment!
Clowning with the strobe light feature
Shadow play
Looking for the tiny red dot called Singapore
Inspired play

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Family day out: Part One

Though we live in a city where many travel from around the world to visit, we don't do enough in this beautiful cosmopolitan that has so much to offer. Last Friday we decided to change that and be tourists for a day. Craig's school was closed for the day and that was the perfect excuse.

After fueling up on a hearty breakfast at home, we made our way to our first stop - Singapore's Gardens by the Bay. We have heard so much about this new hotspot in town but it was only two weeks ago that I finally I visited this new city-attraction with my mom and aunt when they were here for their sisters getaway. My first reaction was that it should be on our regular family outing list.

What's there not to love - lots of space for C to run and expand his boundless amount of energy, educational (lots to learn about global flora and the ecosystem) and it's free (if you choose not to visit the two indoor conservatories). Our first activity was a stroll on the OCBC Skyway which connects two environmentally sustainable SuperTrees. At 25-metre high, it offered an impressive view of the park and of the city.
We took our time to explore the various regions within the Park and concluded our visit with lunch at the Supertree Dining foodcourt. We decided to skip the conservatories as we reckoned we would be returning in February when Nana's visiting. (Yes, Nana - we can't wait!) Check out more pixs here. There's a second part to our outing - watch this space!
Ouch! Petrified - wooden sculpture of a lion.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Loving the lessons

As our little man turns three and a half, and as it's almost always summer here, anytime is a good time for him to start his swimming lessons. It's such a bonus that we live right behind a swimming complex where we can walk right over on our Saturday mornings for his lesson with Mr Wayne.
C was quick to come to a verdict after the first (also a trial) lesson - a BIG yes! We love the fact that his class is a relatively small group - usually five or so of little ones around C's age. Hence an alteration to our Saturday morning ritual: it's now swimming lesson before C's Happy Meal breakfast treat. And so far, we're all lovin' it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's The Cat!

Ever since Craig was a few months' old, we had started reading him Dr Seuss's books - from One Fish, Two Fish to the more advanced Horton Hears A Who and, the classic, The Cat in The Hat. Needless to say, when we saw the made-for-television Cat in The Hat science series when we visited the US, it became an instant favorite. Back in Singapore we watch them on DVD as they're not screened on local channels.

A few Fridays ago, Craig's school was closed for the day for staff training. And in planning for the day, I came across the fact that a play adapted from the Cat in The Hat was premiering in town. We decided to surprise the little one. When we finally arrived at the theatre we told him what we were there for. He was at first pleased but then went on to say that he wants a movie of The Cat instead of a play. Of course he had no idea what a play was. Guess what? Whining turned into face-wide smiles and giggly laughter three seconds into the play. The production received overwhelming favor from the young happy audience. To top off a wonderful family day out, we lunched at the 3.5 year-old's favorite ramen joint - Ramen Play. Everything was evidently a thumbs up!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Clogging fun

I love it when I can have Craig travel with me on my work trips. One such opportunity came when I was to be in Ipoh two weeks ago. What topped that was the fact that there's where my parents are. We stayed for a week there so C could catch up with GungGung while I got to nestle in the comfort of my mom's cooking. While B was home alone in Singapore, it was good time for him to make substantial progress on his doctorate thesis.

One of things we decided for C was that we would attempt to expose him to as many childhood experiences as possible from both our cultures. From strolling with a dragon lantern on Autumn Festival to turkey and green bean casserole on Thanksgiving, we want to make sure that he experiences and appreciates the richness of cultural diversity. 

While at a provision store stocking up on Ipoh's famous soy sauce, we came across some handmade Chinese clogs for kids. There was no way I was going to let this pass. So we got the 3.5-year old a pair and taught him how to walk in them. Here's a video of the boy entertaining us with his silly antics. 

*Note on the dialogue: As we were watching a lot of the badminton games during the Olympics, he thought that all the events at the Games were called badminton!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Turkey - revisited

It seems like I'm making up for lost time as I had just returned from my second trip to Turkey in six months. This time my visit started off in Izmir (ancient Smyrna) for a conference followed by few days of stay in Bursa where I caught up with M and her family.

The conference in Izmir was held at a coastal resort just minutes away from ancient Ephesus. The environs were picturesque. But alas, I was there for work and was not at my leisure. Post conference I spent a night with A and her mom. I knew A from way back when I lived in Bursa. She has since migrated to Toronto and now moved back to Turkey.
View from my hotel room in Izmir
I then took a coach bus up to Bursa. I remembered how comfortable Turkish inter-city coach buses were and hence was not reluctant at all to ride on one even for my 5-hour journey. Imagine my joy when I found out that they even have free wi-fi on them now! It was great as I FaceTimed with Brian back in Singapore and showed him the beautiful landscape we were driving past.

Arriving in Bursa's bus terminal brought back much memories of my days there. But my reminiscing was short-lived as I saw M arriving to pick me up.  When I first met M 11 years ago, she and her two younger sisters were single (the youngest was in high school) and now all three of them are married and with a child each (H the youngest will be a mom in July). As you can imagine, we had lots to catch up on. I was introduced to her husband, M, and her 4-year-old son, K. As they speak little English, it was almost a full week in Turkish for me. 
Making Turkish dumplings: M and her mom
Bursa's bazaar 
In addition to delighting in M's family's Turkish hospitality, M and I talked, cooked, exchanged recipes and shopped at the traditional bazaars and at the various new malls that have sprung up in Bursa the past few years. My visit to Bursa ended with my talk on evil and suffering at the Bursa Protestant Church. Always a joy to connect with my Turkish brothers and sisters.
M and her son , K, seeing me off: Always hard to say Goodbye.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Three already???

We have been quiet on this front as I have not been in the state of mind to blog with so many aspects of our life up in the air. Nonetheless, I'd like to report a major milestone of a certain someone - turning 3!
This year Craig got to celebrate his big day with his friends at his school as his past two birthdays coincided with the Chinese New Year and school was closed. Even days before his birthday, he had already his day planned: Buzz LightYear cake with his friends at school all wearing Buzz Lightyear party hats! (Little did he know that that was exactly what we had planned!)

So on February 10, Brian and I turned up at his school with his cake and birthday paraphernalia after naptime to surprise him. We doubt he was surprised as he was already aware that it was his birthday that day. In fact, the teacher said, in the morning he asked her if she remembered that it was his birthday!

Two days later, he got to blow some candles again when our church group got together for our regular meeting. Then again when his Godmother came by with his present and some cakes. So, here we are, our three year-old who got to blow birthday candles on three occasions. Happy 3rd birthday Craig!
Party 1:
Party 2:
Party 3:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A "self-reading" book

The long New Year's weekend was only too opportune for C to enjoy his Xmas presents - one of which was a "self-reading" book from Nana. Click the video for an instance of the fun he's having.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Long holiday weekends

We have been enjoying our two long weekends, courtesy of Christmas and the New Year's, quietly at home. The week preceding Christmas was challenging with Craig getting the flu which worsened into bronchitis. Thankfully he speedily recovered and was able to enjoy the company of Yiyi and two other dear friends, P and AK, when they visited from Malaysia. Despite the madness and sleep deprivation following a week of overnight sponging, we all had a wonderful few days of Christmas celebration full of good feasting and fellowship at home.

Christmas morning present-unwrapping was slow going with a certain someone sleeping in till almost 10 am. Trains, train character-related paraphernalia, shirts, pants and books made up most of C's reaping this year. Nana and PopPop also "joined" us for the gift unwrapping over Skype from MD.

It is already the second day of 2012 as we post this and here's wishing all of you and yours a wonderful hopeful year ahead!