Stay With You - Ansel is 1!

Posted by ~Summer~ on March 28, 2023

This has been a long time in the making but I've finally completed Ansel's 1st year video, woohoo! I know, it is wayyyyy overdue but better late than never, right? At the very least, I am determined to keep making these growing up videos for my kids so that they can hold onto these fond, happy and precious memories.

This was done on my phone, which is my new way of making videos, because my laptop has come of age and is unable to run high res videos smoothly despite going for upgrades in the last few months. Since I am not willing to spend money to get a new one, I shall just hang in there for now and do what I can. I am just happy that I finished this at last and Ansel has been very excited to watch it time and again. My apologies for the wait but I hope it was worth it, my dear!

So, here's a letter for my baby Prince who has brought an abundance of joy and smiles into our lives every day since he was born. We love you so, so much!


Dearest Ansel,

Happy turning the BIG one! We had such a cosy and fun-filled Baby Shark party to celebrate your big day, didn't we? We set up this huge tub in our balcony, filled it with water, enjoyed a good soak and had so much fun with your Korkor and Jiejies who were excited to play games with you.

Time flies and it's so hard for me to believe that you are a year old already! A year ago, you burst my water bag at 35 weeks and I went through 40 hours without sleep before pushing you out with every ounce of strength I had. It all still feels so vivid in my mind, you know that? All the pain, all the joy, all the relief, all the magic - I still feel it. Seeing your cute, charming face made me know that it was all worthwhile and you have been a gem to us and we all adore you so, so much.

Let's see. You are crawling around the house swiftly on all fours these days and can pull yourself to stand. You love going gai gai with us and is able to sleep peacefully in your pram when you are tired. Many strangers think that you are a girl and call you Xiao Mei Mei because of your thick, beautiful hair but we all love your hairstyle and since I am your hairstylist, I am letting it stay. Hee.

We celebrated Christmas and Chinese New Year with the family and you looked so cute in your oufits. We are blessed to have a closely knitted family and having you with us just makes everything better. The Lo Hei was so fun, right? Well, since I love to eat it and you still drink my milk, that means you got a taste of it too, haha. Yummy!

Your smile is infectious and you are such a smiley, happy baby. It's like even if I am having a rough day, just looking at your smile helps to turn the upside down world back up again. Yes, you have a superpower even though you don't know it! Oh, and you look so cute with your two front teeth! No more toothless grin but still so adorable nonetheless. Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve a precious little one like you and I can only count my blessings and be so very grateful.

You are a good eater and you love the porridge that I cook for you each day. I would too! There's so much yummy flavours and nutritious food inside and seeing your satisfied look is my motivation to keep cooking for you - we even bring out your porridge when we go out as it is so much healthier than outside food.

Your siblings love you to the moon and back and I think you know that, don't you? They think you are the cutest baby in the world and every day, they would play with you, hug you, kiss you, love you and help me make sure you are well taken care of. Yes, you brighten up all of our days just by being you. They let you join in their dancing too and it's not easy because you need to be carried all the time. Still, it is always great fun being with them, right?

It pained my heart so much when you fell ill and we subsequently realised that you had contracted Covid-19. I know, doing the ART test is such an unpleasant task but you were a trooper throughout the ordeal. Guess what? Your siblings had Covid too, haha, I guess that is how united you are, one for all, all for one! So the four of you spent a week in isolation with me but I must say it wasn't that bad after all cos' we played and did fun activities together. Still, it was a relief when you recovered and were back to your usual smiling self, phew!

I promise to keep these videos of you coming, okay? Pinky promise! You just have to be patient and give me more time because being a mum of four can be really exhausting. Nonetheless, no matter how tired I am, I will always love sitting by your side and watching our videos - these are the moments that remind me how fleeting time is and how lucky I am to be able to stay here with you, witness your every milestone and spend every day with you. 

Seeing your sweet face beside me when I wake up every morning, snuggling in bed with you, feeding you and seeing how much you love Mama's milk, feeling your small hand in mine and planting a thousand kisses on you every day makes me sooo happy. Being your mum is a huge blessing and this has been an absolutely amazing journey - and I know it will only get better, right?

Thank you for being you and for making our lives complete. You brought so much laughter and joy to us in the last 365 days and I can't wait to see what life has in store for you as you grow up. Just do it slowly so that I can savour each and every of these moments with you, yeah? 

I love you more than you will ever, ever know. Happy 1st birthday, my love!


Happiness is... enjoying a jam-packed holiday

Posted by ~Summer~ on March 10, 2023
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We always look forward to the long year end school holidays because of all the exciting activities we can do as a family.

It's the time when I can turn off the numerous alarms I have on my phone, when we can sleep beyond sunrise and not have to rush in the mornings, when we can sleep late at night and not have to keep chasing everyone to go to bed, when we can be spontaneous and go anywhere we want to, when the kids and I spend so much quality time together on our mum-and-kids outings that I wish it would never end.

Of course, having all the kids at home also means less peace, more bickers and non-stop nagging. Some days are really tough and take away every bit of sanity and patience I thought I had. Yet, given a choice, I'd still much prefer the holidays to school days and wish the duration of both could be swapped. How about you?

In this post of "Happiness is...", I share about what we did in November last year and that was within less than a fortnight of school holidays, woohoo. Let's go!


We love camping overnight in the airport and this is the second time we joined the "A Night at The Airport" and got to stay over in Changi Experience Studio. Every stayover feels like a vacation to the kids and though we slept on inflatable mattresses placed inside tents, they were very thrilled with the idea and I was just glad that unlike me, they could sleep well through the night. Our tents were right facing the Rain Vortex, how majestic and cool is that, right?

Since it was nearing Christmas, we also did a craft workshop and built a DIY christmas tree out of cardboard rolls, pom poms, decorative tape, pipe cleaners, cotton wool, sequins and more. It was really a fun and creative way to bond with the older kids and we enjoyed that afternoon very much.

The kids love playing and learning in Changi Experience Studio so even though we've been here over half a dozen times already, they still enjoy our time here. Some of their favourite activities including The Amazing Runway where they get to pedal and race and the Smile Challenge where we would flash our pearlies and hope to get a high score.

The Underground Carnival in Terminal 3 was one of our highlights for this month and we visited not once but twice because the kids had so much fun! We loved most of the games across the three worlds - Great World, Modern World and Future World - and our favourites were the viking, choo choo train, darts, fishing, shooting and bumper cars. Carnival games are always so much fun and we are so thankful we got to play so much of them this year - our Halloween party had a carnival theme too, remember?

We love hanging out at Jewel and it's a place we frequent. There are so many eateries, sightseeing spots as well as kid-friendly activities here. I truly enjoy our mum-and-kids outings and seeing how fast the kids are growing up, I know this won't last forever and while they are still young, I'd better cherish my time with them and make use of every day we spend together.

Knowing how they love animals, especially dogs, I surprised them by bringing them to visit a dog cafe called Chow Cute Cafe. While the food wasn't worth the hefty price tag, we enjoyed the patting session with the dogs and spent a good time with them and some other animals like chinchillas and parrots too. Our favourite is Barkley, the gorgeous, fluffy and absolutely friendly Samoyed and I think we were very lucky to be able to meet him.

Playground visits are always enjoyable for the kids so I made sure we visited some neighbourhood playgrounds during the holidays. It's nice to explore new playgrounds too so I'm always trying to think of where to bring them next. How blessed are we to have some so many fun and free playgrounds in our heartlands, right? 

The only annual pass we own now is the Friends of Wildlife membership and that is because the kids really like visiting the Zoo, Bird Park, River Wonders and Night Safari. We checked out the Festive Wild-erland celebration in the Zoo and the kids made some cute aquariums and learnt a fact or two about monochromatic animals. With a stroke of luck, we came up close with many ring-tailed lemurs that day too and that was pretty awesome!

Movie outings continue to be a part of our life and my family generally enjoys watching movies and appreciate every chance we get to go to the cinema. We had a mum-and-kids outing to Orchard to catch Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and that was one of the best shows we watched in 2022. The cute choreography, the catchy songs, the inspirational story all combined to make this show a fond one for us and the kids loved it a lot.

We were lucky to be able to bring home a couple of inflatable crocodiles too and guess what, even though it was late at night already, the kids and I still went for supper at McDonalds before we headed home on the public transport with our crocs. The funny thing was it started to pour heavily and we had to walk in the rain on our way home. So the crocs came into good use because we used them to shelter our heads, haha. That was a fun memory that I hope the kids would remember when they grow up.

I like to bring the kids for new experiences and it's hard to say no to a chance to know more about the Jurassic era and learn more about extinct creatures like dinosaurs. This wasn't a sponsored trip but I thought it was be worthwhile to pay and bring the kids, so we did on a weekday afternoon, just the five of us.

It was a fun and memorable experience and they enjoyed most of the activities, including having to cross a river, dig for fossils and sit in a minecart. A hilarious incident was that we had a play date with our friend prior to this outing and she told me that I somehow had a big hole in my pants, right at the butt area. It probably ripped when I was bending over and I guess that is the problem of wearing a pair of pant - what's more, a maternity one - for too many years. We laughed our heads off and I borrowed a shawl to tie around my waist so as to cover it up. 

We went on with the rest of our day as usual, including travelling to Yishun SAFRA for our Dinoland adventure. We even explored further after that by finding our way in the rain to a bus stop, taking the bus to Northpoint, having Pastamania for dinner followed by playing in the arcade for a couple more hours. Yup, it was a fun-filled day from morning to night and I finally said byebye to my pants at the end of it.

On the last day of school, it was dress up day for Ariel and Asher and they had to be characters from one of the storybooks. So off Ariel went in a simple DIY ladybird getup - we pasted black dots on a red shirt and cape and made her feelers out of pipe cleaners and milk carton caps - while Asher was my Prince Charming in the gold crown had a personalised cape.

Navy Family Day is always an event we look forward to because it presents a rare chance for the kids to experience and understand more about Papa's work. They don't see him around that much and this is a time when they can bond with him and find out what keeps him busy as he does his part to protect our seas. Kudos to the event organisers for doing this year after year, we truly appreciated how we got to on board the ships, take part in family-friendly carnival games and visit the newly revamped Navy Museum this year.

To the hubby, thank you for working so hard to support our family and for keeping our country safe. You are the reason why I can continue this dream of being a stay-at-home mum and be there with our kids as they grow up each day. We appreciate you more than we say it out loud and I hope you know that deep down. 

Of course, we also had a fabulous 3D2N stay in D'Resort to celebrate Angel's 13th birthday and I've dedicated a separate post on that, you can read about it here. The year end is always a busy period for me because three of my babies' birthdays fall during Nov and December. I shall share more about the rest of our celebrations soon, yeah?

We also went to the arcade and every time I do so, I remind the kids that it's a blessing that they get to play such games which are not cheap in my view. I always look for good deals before I top up our cards and it must be at least a $1 for $2 credit bundle deal before I am wiling to do so. We had saved up our tickets from our previous visits so this time round, we finally used them to exchange for some games and toys since it was the start of the school holidays after all. Woohoo!

Congratulations to Ariel for achieving the Gold Award in swimming! This girl is a fish in the water and she amazes me by how fast and comfortable she is when it comes to swimming. She got her Silver Award not long ago only so it was a surprise when her coach told me she could go for Gold and she even outswam the other boys who took the test with her. So well done to you, Ariel, please know that you are an exceptional girl and I am very proud of you in all you do!

To celebrate her passing her test, I took the kids for supper after that. Yeap, we took the MRT to explore the surroundings and found ourselves in a McDonalds' outlet in Khatib. We had a nice meal, went to a pasar malam for a walk after that before taking a long bus ride home. These are the kind of days I treasure with the kids and the reason why I love holidays too - it gives us the chance to bond, explore, have fun, sleep late and just be spontaneous.

For those of you who love reading Ansel's updates, well, he had his first taste of 小笼包 and surprisingly, he loved it and asked for mouth after mouth! Haha. 识货哦. It's so expensive to dine in Ding Tai Fung these days because 一笼小笼包 is not enough for us and we have to end up ordering two, which makes the bill a hefty sum. So we only visit Ding Tai Fung once every 2 to 3 months and it's a treat that we savour and treasure every time we go.

To celebrate the start of the holidays, I also organised a play date for the girls and invited their besties over. It was nice to get to know them better and also let them know our family better too. We played games, swam, ate and chatted. I surprised them by telling them to head to the pool first while I inflated this ginormous, super huge flamingo so that they could all ride together. They were so shocked when they saw it, haha. I also bought two slices of cake so that we could celebrate the girls' birthdays in advance because I thought it would be awesome if they got to do a cake cutting ceremony with their best friends. So glad all of you had fun, my dears!

Last but not least, we also had several family gatherings because that's what the year end is all about, right? We gathered to celebrate my mum's birthday, Angel's birthday, Christmas and more and it's always nice to see our parents bonding over beer and good food as they catch up with each other's lives.

Yup, if that sounds like jam-packed and fun-filled month of November, just wait till you hear all about our December happenings! That's gonna take a while for me to compile and write but trust that I will slowly but surely get there. I still have so many videos that I wanna make for the kids because they are all precious memories to last for a lifetime. 

Till the next update, everybody, and thanks for always sharing and reading about our highlights!

A Splashing Good Time - Angel is 13!

Posted by ~Summer~ on February 27, 2023
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Turning 13 is a big thing because it means you are officially a teenager. That happened to the big girl last November - yes, how time flies, this blog was started when she was still a baby and we were living in Sweden - and this precious firstborn of mine has now blossomed into a fine young lady. I still remember the first day she came into this world and I will always do, no matter how big she grows.

Just so you know, I am the kind of mum who loves to surprise my kids. For all of their birthdays last year, I kept our celebration plans a secret and only dropped them hints when the big day was approaching - and I did that only because we needed to pack the luggage, haha. I told them how many nights we were staying but declined to reveal the venue and told them to just go with the flow and follow me. It was easy to see that they were curious and truly excited. I love keeping them in suspense and then shouting "Ta-dah, happy birthday!" at the end of it all.

For Angel's 13th birthday celebration, I booked a 3D2N stay at D'Resort as I knew they would enjoy a chalet stay in Downtown East very much. Yes, it's like a hotel stay to my kids. It was quite a good deal because being an NTUC member gave us complimentary access to Wild Wild Wet for all three days, woohoo! Here's sharing more about the splashing good times we had.

On the morning of her actual birthday, we took a cab to Downtown East and that was when the kids first began to realise where we were heading - the younger ones were still quite clueless, haha. It was fun to hear their guesses and I loved sensing their enthusiasm. 

Oh by the way, this was basically a mum-and-kids trip for the most part but the hubby did at least manage to join us for dinner on the first night and we were reunited as a family for Angel's cake cutting ceremony. Some of you were asking how I could manage to visit a water park with four kids in tow so I'll try to share more tips below as we go along.

Enjoying the Simplicity of D'Resort

For accommodation, our room was simple but sufficed to meet our needs. We are the kind of folks who don't need a luxurious room and are okay with less space, less amenities or even a less-than-perfectly-clean room. The kids see every staycation as a holiday and are really appreciative of every opportunity we get to sleep elsewhere other than home. 

We combined the two queen sized beds and pushed them towards the wall so that I would sleep at the outermost side and the kids were all protected and wouldn't risk falling off. I love snuggling with the kids on a staycay and it somehow warms my heart - even if the room is freezing cold - and makes me happy and thankful.

Having Exhilarating Fun at Wild Wild Wet

The first thing we did when we arrived - it was before check-in time - was to deposit our luggage at D'Resort and make our way straight to Wild Wild Wet! Yeap, not a moment to lose. We arrived on a Monday and since the park closes every Tuesday, that gave us merely two days to play here and we wanted to make the most of it.

I had packed our swimwear, change of clothes, towels, toiletries and other necessities in separate bags so that it was easy to grab and go after depositing the bulkier luggage. It was also useful that we had a pram because it could contain all our barang barang as we had to walk a short distance to the park.

We got a little lost the first time and walked into a dead end, haha, so we had to detour and try again. But that was the fun too, being able to explore with the kids and seeing where the road ahead took us. The kids started to grumble a little as the sun was scorching and I had made them walk a long way. But we learned to keep a positive mindset and as long as we kept trying, we would get there one way or another.

For those of you who have not been to Wild Wild Wet yet, it is a family-friendly park designed to cater to the likes of everyone. With a total of 16 rides, toddlers and young kids will love playing at the Kidz Zone which has mini versions of some of the thrilling rides - this was where Ansel spent the majority of his time and loved it, or simply let the current push you along in Shiok River. 

Older kids can try out the moderate rides like Kraken Racer - a four lane mat racer rider, Ular-Lah - a raft slide for up to 6 pax, or the Tsunami Wave Pool to experience the giant waves.

Teens and adults can go for the more extreme rides such as Free Fall - a near vertical slide which looks really intimidating, Slide Up - a tube ride for 2 down a four-storey ramp or Torpedo - a 6-storey free fall ride with twists and turns.

Having four kids of different ages meant that there would be different likes and preferences when it came to the rides. Some rides like Free Fall and Vortex required a minimum height of 1.22cm so Asher could not qualify. Royal Flush required a minimum weight of 35kg and Ariel had to skip that ride (it was the only one she did not qualify for) while Angel just met the requirement as she was 36kg. 

So I had to juggle the needs and wants of everyone while making sure that there was always someone to accompany and look after Ansel. Having more kids also meant I could task the rest to help out when one of them needed me for parent accompany - some rides have that as a requirement if the child is below a certain height. 

For instance, I left Ansel to Angel while I took the rest on Ular-Lah and then passed him to Ariel when I took Angel on Royal Flush. But for most of the time, he was with me and since I am the type of mum who goes around filming the kids so as to make videos, this toddler is a champ by how he didn't complain but patiently waited for the siblings to whizz down the slides so I could catch them in action.

It took some persuasion to get Angel to go on Free Fall - she did it years ago and knew it could be a little scary - but she eventually did it, woohoo. See that long, yellow, almost vertical slide? Yup, that is Free Fall. She also went on Torpedo - the other free fall ride where you enter a capsule and drop down but then twist and turn after - for the first time and that was an achievement for her. Well done, birthday girl!

As for the daredevil Ariel who loves thrills, she went on Free Fall not once but twice and was the youngest, shortest participant at Torpedo. I was told that everyone clapped for her when it was her turn to go. You go, girl!

The boys and I stayed in Jaccuzi Pool for a long time while waiting because Asher loved the mini waterfall here and even piggybacked me all around the pool too. Check out our video below.

Our lunch was settled within Wild Wild Wet and we ordered hotdog buns, nuggets, popcorn chicken ane fries from the food kiosk. There isn't a huge menu selection to choose from but we didn't want to head out so we were very contented to just stay put under the big umbrella and tuck in. Seeing their big smiles made me very happy too and this was a good, memorable and fun-filled mum-and-kids day.

On the day that we checked out, we also did the same thing - deposited our luggage and came over for another round of play. Yes, must make full use of the complimentary passes! This time, we dined at Pizza Hut which was just outside the park before we headed in.

We went on the rides once more and the kids said that I screamed the loudest, which is usually the case because I find it fun then to remain quiet, haha, and I do love the adrenaline rush too! What made this day much harder for me was that I had my menses and thus had to put on a tampon - something I am not used to at all - so that I could continue with the water play and not disappoint the kids. The discomfort made me waddle the entire afternoon but I would do it again in a heartbeat if it meant that the kids would be happy. I knew the birthday girl enjoyed herself very much and that was the most important thing to me that day.

Building Resilience at Upwall Climbing

So what did we do on the second day when Wild Wild Wet was closed? Well, this was Part 2 of my surprise for the kids and I brought them to E!Hub at Downtown East before announcing "Woohoo, you are going indoor climbing!"

Yeap, I had booked tickets to Upwall Climbing when I booked the chalet stay as I knew the three elder kids enjoy this sport and would wanna challenge themselves. We've done indoor climbing several times and I've always found it a good way to build up the confidence, strength, resilience and determination.

While the two sisters scaled most of the walls with ease, some were more challenging and helped to push them beyond their limits. When they couldn't do it the first time round, they took a break, planned their route and tried again. When they succeeded, that look of accompliment and joy on their faces was plain to see and I cheered for them from below too. Yeap, Mama is always your biggest supporter!

As for Asher, I guess the difficulty of the walls here was much higher than any of those that he climbed before. Thus, he got stuck on even his first attempt and started to cry halfway. He couldn't move up from where he was yet he didn't want to drop down and give up too - I have to give him credit for the latter because he hung on for a good 20 minutes or so and we all know that it is very taxing and exhausting, not to mention for a preschooler.

I tried to comfort and assure him by telling him "You can do it, believe in yourself and keep going!", I tried to guide him on which hand to move and where to step, I gave him incentives like telling him we would go to the arcade if he could reach the top etc. Alas, they didn't work and he was still stuck there, alone and afraid. 

So guess what happened eventually? Well, the big sister scaled the wall beside him so that she could be closer to him, she gave him tips and told him how to move past the obstacle, she climbed with him and didn't give up on him or let him give up on himself. Slowly but surely, he made it to the top of the very wall that got him stuck and made him cry. What a feat! I heard another family who commented "The small boy made it to the top!" because one of their kids gave up halfway, so well done, Asher, and thank you, Angel!

How did I entertain the little one while the Korkor and Jiejies were climbing up the walls? Well, thankfully there were some kiddy rides right outside so he was contented to sit and play there. Phew. 

We had prawn noodles after the climb, went shopping at Daiso and then headed to the arcade for some fun too. Frankly speaking, I am thankful that the kids still like to hang out with me. Some friends told me that it's nice that Angel still goes out with us now that she is a teenager, and that not all teens are like that, so I don't take it any of this for granted. I earnestly hope we will continue to do so for many more years - mum-and-kids outings are awesome! - even though I know there will come a day when I will be alone because the kids are all busy with their own social lives. So yup, gotta cherish this while it last.

On her actual birthday, we had dinner at Hai Di Lao together with the hubby who took time off to join us. It's always a treat to dine here because it ain't cheap and the kids know this yummy meal came about because Papa works hard to support the family.

The kids love eating the handmade noodles and seeing the classic dance by the noodle master. This time, it was made even more special for the birthday girl because they presented her with a gift and did a very entertaining 生日快乐 dance performance that made the kids laugh.

At this age, the birthday girl says she doesn't need a big celebration for her special day but is happy so long as the family can get together. Well, I sure hope this chalet stay and all the fun things we did made her feel extra loved and happy. We also had a movie night and watched "Slumberland" when we got back to our room and did some crazy dancing and spontaneous performances too.

Back at home, we had a second round of gathering for her because we always celebrate the kids' birthdays with our parents and the extended family too. The hubby and my father-in-law whipped up some home cooked dishes and we also added KFC to spice things up too. The birthday girl loves the crispy chicken - she only ate the original one when she was younger - and it is a sign of her growing up too.

See the adults vs kids table? Haha. For years and years, I have always been at the kids table because I will have a little one to feed and look after. But I am totally fine with it because it's nice to listen to their stories and it just means we are blessed to have a huge family who can't fit in one dining table.

For her birthday cake, we had this super chocolatey cake from Chocolate Origin because this girl loves anything chocolate! We presented her with handmade cards - the sister and brother even bought her small gifts like stationery and squishies - and I gave her something she needed and loves very much - a Sumikko Gurashi wallet.

Having a big family, to me, is awesome and I don't think our family is that big actually. Four kids seem perfect and ideal for us and I am thankful and glad we are where we are today. It also makes birthday celebrations merry and fun when you have more siblings to play with you, right?

To the firstborn, happy turning 13 and I hope it's okay that I still call you my baby girl from time to time. That's what you'll always be to me and I hope when you spread your wings to explore the world, you will remember that Mama is always here to look over you, to lift you up when you need a hand and to sit down with you when you need a listening ear.

It's been a privilege and blessing to be your mum and I can see how you have grown and bloomed in the last few years. It's not easy being the big sister to three others but you've aced it and you continue to amaze me by how much you dote on the toddler and is able to take care of him.

Thank you for being the responsible and independent one who doesn't need me to nag (much) when it comes to academics and for being the one who constantly challenges my limits but makes me wanna strive to be a better mum each day. 

I love you so much and can't wait to see what life has in store for you as you grow up. Please know that you are very much loved by all of us that that is something that will never ever change.

Hope you enjoyed every bit of your surprise celebration and had fun to the max! I did! Muaks!

Love you, 


Here's a video to remember all the fun times we had and memorable things we did. Happy turning 13, my love!

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