Happiness is... making time for play

Posted by ~Summer~ on January 05, 2022

With the easing of restrictions and completion of exams, November was a time for us to celebrate, let our hair down, spend time as a family, find ways to relax, have fun and enjoy life. 

Yup, you have no idea how relieved I was when the year end exams, especially PSLE, were over and the kids and I could look forward to the start of the school holidays. I really, truly love school holidays even though it means the house is always rowdy, messy and chaotic. That is because when you look past the bickers, fights and backtalk, these are the moments filled with warmth, love and joy.

Moments that remind you on why motherhood is so worthwhile. Moments when the kids yell for "Mama" one after another and can't seem to do without you. Moments when you wind up in bed all exhausted yet would willingly do everything you did over and over again. Moments that might never come back again when the kids are all grown up and you will look back and miss these days so, so much that it hurts.

In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about making time for play and cherishing these simple moments of being together, making memories and enjoying each other's company.


I love seeing the kids together on a kiddy ride. Yup, the girls might be getting too big for that but they happily do it for the baby so that they can take care of him. They were all in this big bus one day and it somehow made me emotional seeing them like that. I could feel their glee and you know what, we didn't even insert a coin but they were contented and happy just to sit together like that.

How many annual passes do you have? For us, it's just one and that is Friends of Wildlife membership card. It's the only one that we willingly renew time and again because the kids can never get tired of visiting any of the four parks. This time round, we joined in the Ranger Buddy activities and the kids were thrilled to collect badges at the end of their quest.

Somebody was also very thrilled to go on his first ever carousel ride! Yup, this was at KidzWorld and since members can enjoy 20% off, it was really worthwhile getting the rides. Baby Ansel was so happy throughout and I'm just glad that I will get to enjoy many more years of such rides with him because there's something magical about merry go rounds.

As you probably know by now, we are avid movier goers and while we have been watching Netflix for our weekly movie nights, it is still nice to go to the cinema to catch a family-friendly show every now and then. I am glad to know that we can now go to movie previews once more and every invite that comes in is greatly appreciated and not taken for granted. 

Many people asked me how I manage to bring four kids to the movies on my own and the key is in training them from young! Haha. Yup, they all started when they are babies and mine also like to crawl around, walk around, stand up and down, fidget, whine and make a fuss when they are in the baby and toddler phase. I try to time the movie with their nap time and I bring along snacks to keep them occupied too. Practice makes perfect!

For the last couple of years, we've not been to media events and while I did enjoy the staying home part, I also missed bringing the kids out to check out newly launched attractions and carnivals. So when Changi Airport invited us for a day of fun to check out the Changi Festive Village, you bet I jumped at the opportunity even though it was on a weekday and I would have to travel and take care of the kids on my own. It's a good thing my kids have a big age gap because it means the big girl is kind of like a little helper and she can help me to carry the baby, push the pram, buy food and just make sure everything is in order.

We had a ball of time that day, especially when we saw snowfall in Jewel, when the girls went on the Dino Kart at T4 Departure Lounge and when we played the carnival games and won prizes! It was such a long and exhausting day yet fun to the max and we were thankful for the opportunity to be one of the first families to experience it.

It's been over a year since our last family staycation and I have to admit that we have never booked one for ourselves because I find them too expensive. Yup, it's either media invite or no staycay for us. So I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to review SG Hotel on Wheels and you can read more about our experience here. What made it so special was that I planned for the staycay to be a surprise for the kids and it took place on the day of the firstborn's 12th birthday. Exciting, right?

The baby turns nine months old and it's safe to say that he absolutely loves to go gai gai too! He jumps for joy and beams whenever we put him in the baby carrier, he loves being pushed around in his pram, he likes to explore and is always curious to check out new surroundings, he is good at taking naps on the go which makes it possible for me to bring the kids out in the morning and come home late at night. We can't imagine going anywhere these days with you, dear Ansel!

My kids love water play so while we were on our staycay in Downtown East, we also checked out Wild Wild Wet and had a splashing good time! It was my first time bringing the kids to a water playground on my own and the five of us enjoyed being in the Shiok River together. I kind of look forward to the day when they are all tall enough to go on the exhilarating rides and we will go on them together as a family! For now, we are happy to stick to the milder ones and they are still very fun because we have each other as company.

Going on hiking trips is something we've been doing for the past couple of years and there are still many parks and trails that we wanna check out. This was our first time visiting Tampines Eco Green and even though we suffered some sandfly bites, it was still a memorable trip because we did it in the drizzle and never gave up.

I always think we are very lucky to have so many playgrounds in Singapore and it's like you can easily spend a day checking out the neighbourhood playgrounds around you. We are always excited to chance upon one which we've never been to and these three always have a good time playing catching or hide and seek. Right, they still argue and fight at times but that is just part and parcel of being siblings, right? I know they love each other to the moon and back and that's all that matters.

We haven't been to bouncy castles for a long time too but thanks to Kiztopia, we made it to Jumptopia in Marina Bay Sands and the kids and I took public transport all the way there. It turned out to be worthwhile because we had such a fun time on the giant inflatables! Check out our video here. I loved it when Ansel and I went out the steep, long slide and it made the arduous climb with a baby in hand worth it.

The girls loved the human bubble balls game and it was their first time trying to bump and knock each other over. It was hilarious seeing them do that and I laughed till I cried when I was watching from the sideline. It was such a fun way to celebrate the start of the school holidays and the end of a tough year of HBL and exams. The big girl even caught a cute French Fries plushies from the claw machine which made her super happy since it was her birthday the next day.

One of the new places we checked out was Northshore Plaza and the kids had a fun time in Decathlon with all the different tryout stations. Even the baby was happy to just be crawling through the tunnel even though he got stuck halfway and decided to retreat. Haha. We ended up buying frisbees and sportswear after having a couple of hours of fun in this huge outlet.

This is a new eatery called Downstairs which is located in Northshore Plaza and we fell in love with it, including the yummy food, affordable pricing and all the nostalgic childhood memories that evoked from the dragon playground, chess stone table, orange public phone, metal mailboxes, hopscotch floor markings and more. My kids gave their thumbs up for the food too, including braised pork rice, Hainanese Pork Chop rice, Wanton Mee and Mee Tai Mak Soup, and we had an enjoyable lunch here.

The secondborn did well in her academics this year and surprised me by achieving a Star Award so we celebrated that special day by going for a yummy Japanese dinner at Tampopo. Yup, we love Japanese cuisine, do you too? My kids love ramen, udon, chawanmushi, sushi, gyoza and so on but we usually stick to visiting Genki Sushi. It was a special treat to come here and we did it because of a special dine in promotion - if not, I find it too expensive - so the kids were delighted and we enjoyed the sumptuous meal thoroughly.

What does the baby eat when we are out? Well, I try to bring out home cooked porridge for him whenever I can but if I can't, then we make do with ready pouches or jarred baby food too. He has become accustomed to eating out and is quite a foodie who enjoys his meals, so that is really comforting to know. Check out his happy face!

The three older kids started learning Taekwondo a month ago and I signed up them because it's really cheap! This is under the PA courses and each kid only pays less than $5 for every 1hr 15min lesson. Good deal, right? I wanted it to be a holiday activity for them and the good thing is that three of them can go to the same class for now, woohoo! So far so good, we are enjoying the class - it is conducted under a pavilion at the void decks - and we also like to go for supper after that. Hee. Yes, we do eat McDonalds once in a while as a special treat!

Although the baby can't go for any class right now, he still accompanies the siblings there to watch and cheer for them. Awwww, I will make sure you get to learn new things too when you grow up, okay? For now, I know you are happy to just be stuck to me and I am happy too.

Let's see, the baby now has two bottom teeth and his siblings say the teeth make him look so cute. Haha. I am training and reminding him to not bite during our feeding sessions and so far, he's been good. He gets fascinated when I try to help him brush his teeth and his smile always melts my heart.

Life at home now does not involve books or studying because it's the year end school holidays after all. Since the kids do not have tuition, it means they do not have homework to do too. Shiok! I'm going to let them, and myself, take a long break for these two months and we shall focus on one thing - play.

Yup, play means I get down to play with them too and we've been playing Pictionary Air, Heads Up, Hangman, Win Lose or Draw as well as all these new games which we've received, like the BBQ Skewer and Ice Cream Balance Game. I've come to realise that the kids are contented to play with just simple games and it makes a huge difference when I join in. So yes, I say let's bring it on and play more games every day! We still don't own an iPad and the kids don't play games on phones, and the truth is I'd much rather we sit down and play a board/card game together than do anything that involves a screen.

Other than playing games with each other, I also ask the kids to make sure they play with the baby too! He's blessed to have three elder siblings who all love to play with him, even though he likes to munch on toys more than he likes to play with them for now. He is called the Little Destroyer too because he destroys or chews on everything in his path but we love him for that and cherish this adorable baby phase which will soon pass.

I'm also grateful for all the baby products he has received in the past month, including baby clothes, toys, food and the highlight has to be this 3-D casting that we did of his hand and foot. How very precious, right?

Play time also means having fun with grandparents and I'm glad that my parents are able to have fun with the kids, like how my Dad can be Mr Shark in the swimming pool or how my Mum can play a game of tennis on Wii with them. Family time is so precious to us and every gathering we have is treasured. It's also awesome seeing how my parents get along well with my in-laws and they are all fun-loving grandparents whom my kids are blessed to have.

The year end period also marks the start of a string of birthday celebrations for my kids. While Angel celebrated her 12th birthday at home and at the staycay, Asher had a small party in school with his kindergarten classmates. It was done on the day of his concert rehearsal and since Ariel was going to be the emcee, she could join in the party too which made it extra special for him.

That marks the end of a wonderful month of November and also the completion of Angel's primary school journey. Yup, my big girl has graduated from this six-year journey and I'm so proud of her for coming this far. Maybe she was a tad embarrassed by the signboard we made and how we surprised her at the gate on her Graduation Day. But I believe that one day, she would look back and be thankful for having a family who supports and loves her deeply.

Till more updates next month! Remember to make time for play and have fun, even when life gets busy!

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year! I enjoy reading your blog. I am so happy to see that you are enjoying the new year doing what you enjoy most.


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