Our first family Moon Walk {Hello Kitty Run 2019}

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 17, 2019

We were all excited to join in our first Hello Kitty Run and best of all, it was going to be a night walk that would take place in one of our favourite places in Singapore - Gardens by the Bay!

The girls and I love Hello Kitty because this Japanese bobtail cat is just too kawaii and over the years, we've acquired Hello Kitty stuffed toys, dresses, shirts, bags, stationery, accessories and more. We also had a blast when we visited Hello Kitty Town a few years ago and even went for a tour in her house too. This was going to be our first time taking part in the Hello Kitty Run, which is the 4th edition in Singapore, and the kids and I were stoked to receive the pretty purple race tees before the event. Definitely one of my favourite tees so far!

The Hello Kitty Run: Moon Walk Edition was slated to take place on 7 Sept at 7pm. However, it seemed that the sun loved us a little too much that day because it refused to set and therefore the flag off was delayed in wanting for it to truly be a night walk.

That was good news for us because guess what? For the first time, we forgot to bring along our race bibs! 怎么会这样?

I had made sure that I packed everything in our bag the night before, including ironing our shirts, charging my camera battery and packing the Hello Kitty LED lanterns and race bibs into our backpack. So what happened? Well, I conveniently left the bag at our shoe rack area thinking that the hubby, who was the last to step out, would take it along with him. On the other hand, he assumed that I had brought it out with me already. Somehow, we didn't realise what happened UNTIL we reached The Meadows at Gardens by the Bay and had found a nice parking lot.

I went to the information counter to ask if we could reprint the bibs and they said yes, at $14 per bib. As for the lanterns, we could get one for $18. Uh oh, not cheap. So we decided that the hubby would rush home to retrieve our bag while I took the kids to jalan jalan and check out the booths at the event square.

Look! There were so many Hello Kitties all around for phototaking and you could spend a long time just queuing up at each of them. This topiary of Hello Kitty was too cute and creative and was immensely popular with the run participants.

The kids were quick to spot the huge balloons floating in the air and the giant inflatables of Hello Kitty. If you ever have to meet your friends and choose a point to gather, I think these make pretty good and obvious spots.

One of my favourite backdrops was the tunnel formed by over a hundred lanterns, so beautiful! I am so thankful that the kids are quite cooperative when it comes to phototaking, even the boy who was probably more interested to come down and roll on the grass or do something more fun.

We heard that the Ribena booth was giving out free Ribena but a look at the queue made us decide that we would just go for the plain water instead. Haha. That came in at the perfect time because whaddaya know, our water bottles were all left behind in the bag too. So my thirsty kids were only too happy to drink cups and cups of water.

After we had checked out most of the Instagrammable spots, we took a walk and realised that the J'Kids Amusement was just beside and there were a few fun rides for the kids. So yup, thankfully I had my wallet and our fun card with us and the kids were too happy to go on a ride as we waited for the flag off and for Papa to return.

It's the little brother's first time on the pirate ship and he couldn't stop laughing throughout! So funny or so fun? Anyway, it was a good way to get them warmed up and into the happy mood because they were going to walk a total of 5km later! Yes, it was going to be a long walk under the moonlit sky!

There were thousands of participants that evening and I was impressed by how many people came to join in the race. Look at that queue! That was only a small part of the crowd for the first flag off - we had a total of three flag offs!

Finally, the sky darkened and the race was going to begin! But........ the hubby was nowhere in sight yet because there was apparently a jam so we decided to wait for the last flag off in the hope that he could join us. In the meantime, we managed to see a little of the LED performances at the starting point, which even included a dragon and lion dance too. Of course, Hello Kitty made her appearance to welcome the race participants too and the kids, and many of the adults too, were delighted to see her on stage.

Just before the third and last flag off, the hubby called to say that he was nearing but wasn't able to park as the carpark was full. So he passed us the bag, drove off to park somewhere else and told me to start the race with the kids and he would join us after. Sure, I thought, no big deal for someone who solo parents on weekdays, right? Or so I thought.

We set up our lanterns, dropped our lucky draw coupons and queued up for the final flag off. I loved how pretty our lanterns looked and was reminded that this night walk was such a great way for us to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival as a family.

Let the race, or rather walk, begin! Things started off well and we were excited that the route was going to bring us past the beautiful lanterns light up at Gardens by the Bay. The good thing about this being a non-competitive, leisure family walk was that we were free to stop anytime to take a photo or just catch our breaths.

It turned out that less than 10 minutes into the walk, the littlest was starting to feel overwhelmed by the crowd, the darkness and the I-don't-know-what-else and started wailing and demanding to be carried. I tried bargaining with him and even bribing him but all failed and after a while, I was quite sure that my arms were breaking and couldn't go much further. 老公,你到底在哪里?

The good thing was the girls were sweet to spring to my rescue and offered to help me carry my bag and all the barang barang so I could focus on carrying their baby brother. Awwww, thanks my dears.

We decided to take a break at the field opposite Marina Bay Sands because the hubby told us he was walking over from there and I reckoned I needed his arm power. It didn't matter that as a result, we were almost the last ones in the race because all I hoped for us to do was to complete it as a family.

Thanks to the organisers, we had a couple of water breaks in between and to the kids' delight, we were told that we could have a yoghurt drink to replenish ourselves. Yay!

I have to say that walking 5km at night feels different from walking 5km in the day and after quite a long time, we realised that we only finished 2km! Haha. It's probably because we were all feeling famished as we were unable to rush for dinner before the race.

Thankfully, the kids have a smart Papa who somehow knew that they would be feeling hungry and he had bought food along the way! So the kids managed to get a boost of energy by eating sushis and gyozas - we even stopped for a toilet break and had a few quick mouths of Udon soup - and I think we were the envy of many along the way.

The route also brought us to some parts of the gardens where we had never been before and it was a realisation that we still had much to explore in this place.

After nearly two hours, we finally made it to the finishing line! Hip hip hooray! Yup, I was so glad we did it together despite the few hiccups at the start.

The kids were thrilled to receive a mooncake each and a very beautiful medal with a Hello Kitty symbol on it. You deserve everything for all your hard work, dear kids!

This was our only family photo of the night but it was too dark to capture a decent shot, haha. Better than none, right?

So while we had a picnic and finished the rest of our dinner, we got to enjoy the performances on stage too. The kids wanted to stay till the end because of their high hopes for the lucky draw, haha. I love their sense of wonder and innocence, and hope that they will never lose it. Even though we didn't win anything in the end, we took home loads of precious memories and a sense of achievement for completing our first moon walk.

The good thing about staying till the very end was that we managed to get to the front of the stage and get up close with Hello Kitty and enjoy the lion dance before we called it a night.

This was surely a night to remember and I hope it will be the start of many more night walks for our family! A family that walks together stays together, yeah?

Disclosure: We received a media invite to join Hello Kitty Run 2019: Moon Walk Edition. All photos and opinions are my own.

Happiness is... stepping out of your comfort zone

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 11, 2019
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I like to think that I am a risk-taker who doesn't mind doing something crazy every once in a while. Let's see, I've tried to chase the Aurora with a one-year-old baby in tow, I've done skiing and fell countless time, I've gone on a 3D2N fishing trip as the only female on board, I went jet-skiing when I was six months pregnant, I've done things that I didn't imagine I would or could do.

Now, as a mum, it is my wish to encourage my kids to find opportunities to venture into the unknown, to scale greater heights and to never let anyone tell them that anything is impossible. I want them to believe that they are more capable than they think and to realise that many a time, all it takes is an undying faith, determined spirit and lots of grit.

In August's "Happiness is...", it's about learning to step out of our comfort zones, believing in ourselves and going beyond our limits.


My biggest achievement last month, or perhaps the whole of this year, would be completing my first ever Spartan race! Right, it was just a 5km sprint that took us over two hours to finish because of the many obstacles along the journey, including the low walls, rope climb, ditch crawl, weight lifting and so on. The hubby was feeling certain that I couldn't make it and out of worry for me, he even told me to drop out of the race at the last minute because I "haven't been practising for it and will not make it". Fwah. I tell you, the more anyone tells me I can't, the more I WILL do it. Yup, I'm stubborn and headstrong in that way, so I told him I was going forth with it and nothing ain't gonna stop me.

Well, I even accompanied the girls on their 800m and 1.6km runs in the morning so that already got me panting under the sun. I wanted to do it because I wanted to be the one to encourage them, cheer them on and also capture some precious memories for keepsake. After their runs,  I realised my left shoe sole had fallen off entirely lor. Uh oh. How to run my own race later ah?

"Don't let it stop you, don't let it stop you" was what I kept telling myself that day so eventually, I managed to change shoes with the hubby - he had spare in the car - even though it was three sizes up and off we went! Woohoo. Were there times when I wanted to give up? Yup, it was absolutely exhausting and I had to stop to catch my breath so many times. Did I injure myself? All limbs intact but I did suffer from dozens of bruises because I really gave it my all. Will I do it again? Yes, I definitely will.

The medal means more to me than others because it's something I never thought I would earn. It's a reminder that maybe I'm strong than I think I am and I can do more if I set my heart to it. Kudos to the girls too for being real awesome in their races and can even tell me "Mummy, this time one like quite easy" and "I don't think I perspired much". Yup, they are well on their way to their Trifecta medals liao.

May we continue to push ourselves and achieve great heights together. AROO!

Weekends are precious to me as you know because we like to spend time together as a family. Without a doubt, we will always choose to go outdoors for some sports, play or exploration rather than going indoors or staying home the whole time.

In thinking that the girls had not cycled for a long time, we decided to go and rent some bikes and just have a family cycling trip! It turned out that we felt one hour was too short so we wanted to rent for two hours but the staff at the shop told us we could get a buy-2-hours-get-1-hour free deal. And so we did. The girls cycled the two-wheel bikes on their own while I ferried the boy on our cute 亲子车 which even had a mini handle and footholds for him, much to his delight. Oh, there was also a basket which was perfect for us to carry our barang barang lar. But, one look at the bike and you can tell it's not a mountain bike or what so was I going to survive three hours on it with my over 15kg load?

It turned out I did and the hubby was most impressed that I made it UP all the steep slopes without having to dismount and push. Fwah, it's really 用尽全力 okay, such a good workout for me, haha. We only stopped for a short while to explore Coney Island and take some photos too, other than that, we were cycling, singing and listening to music all the way. Fun!

The girls amazed me by not complaining of fatigue or asking to stop for more breaks too. In fact, they were happy to just keep going and going. Once, Ariel lost control of her bike and veered off the path down slope and almost knocked into a tree! Thankfully, she reacted swiftly and held onto the tree to balance herself while letting the bike fall. Phew! That was a close shave but guess what, she immediately picked up the bike and hopped on again.

Dear Asher, I hope you will be as determined and brave as your sisters when you grow up too! They love roller coasters (越刺激越好咯), creepy crawlies and are not afraid of the dark too. May they inspire you to conquer fears and find the courage in your heart too!

August also marked our nation's birthday and we were very thankful to be able to attend the NE show this year. Yes yes, that's one of the good things about having a naval officer as a spouse and we are grateful for the chance to witness the National Day Parade year after year. He also gives his all for the nation, including sacrificing family time, precious sleep and I don't know how many meals a day because of his erratic, busy schedule. I don't even think there is a comfort zone for him because every day, he is stretched to the max, presented with new challenges and going way out to do what's best for our country. All I can say is, let's never take our peace, safety and harmony for granted just because we don't see what goes on behind the scene day in day out.

We don't often try out new food or restaurants because we tend to stick to the ones that we are familiar with - and don't cost a bomb. That said, I've been wanting to let the kids try out Slappy Cakes for a long time because it just seemed so fun and so we did last month! Woohoo! We ordered two types of pancakes and let ourselves be creative by making drawings, doodling, doing handlettering, signing our names or just making an edible mess.

It wasn't a cheap meal and I don't think we will be returning anytime soon but hey, we've been there and done that, right?

Meeting up with grandparents is also something we do on almost every weekend or fornightly. We like to bring them out for a meal, let them play with the grandchildren and just spend time together as a family. Without these people in our lives, who will we be? The hubby came across this Hotpot place called Shi Li Fang in Eastpoint and my parents were so pleasantly surprised by how yummy and relatively cheap it is that they have declared they find it better than Hai Di Lao (which the hubby and I still have not gone together or brought the kids because it's so ex). Haha.

At the end of the day, nothing beats a simple homecooked meal. I might not be able to cook every meal every day but I still make sure that the kids get to eat my homecooked dishes regularly. I don't have any 拿手好菜 to show off, but I think I have the most important ingredient - LOVE. Oh, can I add another "Happiness is..." statement?

"Happiness is..." when the kids finish everything in their bowls and say "Thank you, Mama, cooking for me!"

On the subject of food, we've also been dining out at the hawker centres more often nowadays, especially after their enrichment classes. These kids are now used to it and they know they should not complain about the place being hot and stuffy, no air con, lots of people, tables not clean etc, but to instead be thankful for the food that is placed in front of them. Yup, I hope they don't take it for granted that we can always go to restaurants or even food courts when we are out, but to make it a point to save money and go for the cheapest option available. Money is truly hard earned, yeah? Every cent counts. After all, to us, it's not so much about what we eat but who we are with.

I haven't had much time to craft with the kids this year and that's something I really need to work on. Nonetheless, we still try to do whatever we can in our free pockets of time and I truly love to see where their creativity takes them. Last month, we learnt about making clay slabs and were able to design and paint our own.

We've also been making presents for Teacher's Day this year and the kids have been writing and writing in order to show their sincerity to their teachers. Bookmarks might be a simple gift but I still believe that it's the effort behind that makes all the difference. So, ours are done from scratch using nothing else but paper, pens and markers. Oh, and a lot of heart.

The kids have also been enjoying their art lessons at heART Studio and one particular incident that struck me was how Ariel chose to include a toothless her in her clay portrait. Many of the kids were pointing and laughing about how there is a black hole in her teeth, but her teacher told me that she was okay with it and in fact, she was the one who said she wanted it to be like that because it depicted the real her. Awww. My pretty, little bo-gei. I wish you will always be able to smile your best smile, show the world who you truly are and not have to worry about what others think of you. Mama thinks you are an awesome girl and you have the sweetest smile!

Actually, I think we did craft a little more than usual last month as the little girl and I were tasked to come with a DIY costume made out of recycled materials for one of her school projects. She was supposed to choose a book character and after much deliberation, she settled for a pink butterfly. Using felt, newspapers, pipe cleaners, cardboard and ribbons, we put this look together for her. You should have been how happy she was and couldn't keep fluttering when she wore it.

It hasn't been easy finding inspiration and time to write my column in Zaobao but I am determined not to give it up. It's amazing how much motivation I get when I see the comments or messages from you all so that really makes me wanna keep going. Dreams are not easy to come true so I'm definitely holding onto this passion of mine. That said, it still is and will always be a challenge for me every month. I wouldn't say it is my comfort zone even though I love writing a lot, and every article is a proof of my hard work and the many hours of thought and effort that went behind. Nothing ever falls from the sky, right?

We took a venture into the unknown at Gardens by the Bay when we armed ourselves with nothing but flashlights, our curiosity and determination to explore. Yup, for hours, we walked around trying to find any sign of life. The big girl, whom I talk about in my column this month and how she aspires to be an entomologist, was determined to take photos of any bugs she saw so she could do a scrapbook later on. Much as I am not a fan of creepy crawlies, I did what I could to support her and let her know that we are always rooting for her. It was definitely a fun, adventurous and memorable night for all of us and I hope there will be more to come!

Talking about stepping, we definitely took lots and lots of steps in our 4km Skechers Friendship Walk this year. Read about our experience here. Yes, we take part in a lot of walks because I find it a good way for us to bond, make memories and keep fit together. This walk also brought us on a scenic route and it was such a great way to remind ourselves to be thankful as Singaporeans as we marched across all the iconic landmarks in our nation's birthday month.

Last but not least, we've also been watching shows, musicals and movies too just because we love to! It's never easy for me to let go of one kid but I'm trying to work on that so I can have one-on-one or one-on-two time which I can tell you feels vastly different. The girls and I went on a girly afternoon date when we were at the martinee of Aladdin and I think I ended up being the one who enjoyed it most.

We also caught Dora and the Lost City, PlayMobil: The Movie and Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw too, in addition to a couple of Netflix movies we watched together at home. Haha. Yup, definitely movie lovers! The key point is still doing things together as a family and I'm glad we are finding every chance to do that no matter how busy life gets.

Oh, and Asher probably also stepped out of his comfort zone too when he was willing to watch Walking with Dinosaurs - The Live Experience with us! Haha. This boy is afraid of loud noises, doesn't like thrills and doesn't like mascots, not to mention that these prehistoric creatures look amazingly real and he was finding it hard to believe it when I told him they were fake. So kudos to you, my boy, for braving it throughout and putting on your best roar when T-Rex came close to us too!

I guess that's about it for the month of August. It's still hard to believe that we are nearing the end of 2019 already but I'm excited to see what the year end will bring. Till the next month, people!

P.S. Have you stepped out of your comfort zone lately too? Let's do it together and live life to the max because life doesn't stop after parenthood, yeah?

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