When The Baby Boy Turns One

Today our littlest one at Punggol Babies officially turns ONE!! Happy birthday Isaac. Welcome to toddlerhood! Here’s a clip for you to revisit the day we celebrated your birthday at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway.

The Celebration

It was a cosy and happy celebration last weekend with family and friends at Makan@Jen, Hotel Jen Orchardgateway; where we held Isaac’s 1st party. All the time, energy and planning was well rewarded when the birthday boy gave his biggest and brightest smile at his very first cake-cutting session.

Planning The Party

Party planning is quite a tiresome task, from the time we decide to plan one celebration to the sourcing of suitable locations, guest list, decoration, the cake and a lot of other little things in between. It all started about six months back and I think we managed to pull through it pretty well. Well done Team (mums, dads and grandparents) Punggol Babies! 😛

The Location

For all events, once the location is locked down, everything else will fall into place. We contacted and shortlisted at least 3 locations and we made our choices based on a few criteria – accessibility, good lighting (for photos), good food and of cos costs. After weighing the various options, Makan@Jen was picked. Because it met all of our requirements and fits the budget.

We were lucky the outdoor open air Makan@Jen Terrace was not occupied that day, and the weather was windy and great. Our guests (especially the little ones) were running around at the terrace and we could watch them from inside too. Who needs planned activities when you got a huge space to do whatever you want!

As it was also the Easter weekend, we had a cute and fun dessert bar to fill our guests with sweets treats and awesome grill and seafood from Makan@Jen kitchen.

The Cake

This is Isaac’s very first birthday cake and extra care had been put into the selection. After trying out the awesome chiffon cake at a friend’s party, it was a no-brainer to go with the same baker who baked it. Placing our order as early as 4 months prior the celebration, we almost didn’t make it to the list as Susanne only takes in limited number of orders per week. Thanks to another customer who so kindly changed her order date, Susanne was able to take on our robot cake request.

When everyone crowded around it as the cake was revealed, they took out their camera and started snapping. Of cos this made the party planners very pleased. Chiffon cake was light and fluffy, the right touch to end off the afternoon after a filling buffet spread at Makan@Jen. You can take a look at Susanne’s creations on her Instagram or website.

The Decoration

It was a finger (and cuticle) tearing and painful process. We had all underestimated the stressed on our fingers for knotting 60 latex balloons!!! We managed to get the place done up as best as we could, after losing precious foil alphabets balloons which stopped us from using any since words couldn’t be formed.

Tips: Instead of using ballon weights to hold down your balloons at party, try using little treat bags instead. It not just helped hold down the balloons, but it helped us have the balloons cleared out too as guests willingly brought home some treats.

Since it was Easter, we prepared some eggs and wanted to hide them around the Terrace for the little ones to find. Alas time was moving faster than we planned, so we mixed them up with the basket of red eggs prepared by Makan@Jen for our guests to help themselves with.

Extending The Celebration – A Family Staycation!

Our party and celebration continues through the weekend as we checked into our hotel rooms at Hotel Jen OrchardGateway. We’ve stayed at this hotel a couple of times and the kids really enjoyed our staycation, so this time round we booked three rooms to accommodate our families.

The rooms booked came with access to Hotel Jen’s Club Lounge on Level 19, Grandpa was most delighted with unlimited supply of beer during cocktail from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. And all of us took this time to just chill and reminisce that afternoon’s celebration. Oh and the Club Lounge makes pretty good spot for photo taking too!

We’ve originally booked a deluxe room for my family as we needed an extra bed for the four of us. Lucky us got bumped up to their Panorama Club room as we requested to have our rooms on the same level as the gramps. This time round, the room wasn’t as huge as our previous family staycation with Hotel Jen, but still we appreciated the space. We even had a gathering that evening in our room to catch the laser show from opposite our room. Isaac was most excited to see those green lights beaming in the night sky.

And of cos we cannot missed out the fun time by the pool at Baywatch@Jen on level 19. This was the one thing that the kids were all looking forward to! Just look at their happy faces!

Can check out my review of the hotel here and here.

This is probably the one party for our family in a long long time. I love party planning, but pulling this off was quite an experience. Even more stressful then those events I plan for work! Good thing we have all agreed that the Punggol Babies will only have one big celebration when they are young. The next one will probably be when they reach 21 ba.

Thanks to everyone who came and made this day so special and fun for our little baby boy. Hope you’ve had an awesome time too!

I shall keep the sentimental post for Mummy Pris, it was a celebration for her too! Over to you now. 🙂

Happy 1st Birthday Isaac!

My Baby’s 1st Birthday and its Significance

A few months back, the husband and i were having a debate about celebrating Isaac’s 1st birthday. He thinks that a simple affair is enough because Isaac still does not know how to appreciate attending party/parties, even if it is his own. To that, i have no doubts about it at all. However, is the celebration really only for Isaac? It took me a few weeks to ponder over it and finally, i decided that I still want to hold a not-so-small-celebration for the bub’s birthday. Here’s why.

My baby is almost a toddler! On this day a year ago, a precious little man came into our lives. When i look back at his photos, I cannot believe how tiny he once was. Looking at him now, I am actually amazed at how much he has grown. Hence, his first birthday is a milestone that I really want to celebrate.

Prior to making that decision, i sat down and thought about what Isaac likes. He likes to play with people, anybody (even any random people on the train) for that matter, he likes it when he is surrounded by kids, he likes being outdoors. I actually think he will enjoy being at the party!

Apart from Isaac’s birthday, it also marks the 1st year of parenthood for G and myself. Being a parent is no easy feat. We gave up our late nights, sleep-in mornings, weekly mahjong sessions and even the entire space in our living room just for Isaac’s play yard. I started to learn how to cook because home cooked food is always better, and I have never cleaned the house so much in my life before. I personally feel that we have not only grown individually, but also as a couple. This is like a parenting anniversary to us. Doesn’t it call for a celebration?

Anyway, I won the debate. Now I am really excited for the party! Venue booked, cake ordered, decor bought. ONE MORE WEEK TO GO!

partyhat

Fun Activities at Waterway Point this March School Holiday!

You know right? We Punggol Babies have been visiting Waterway Point (WWP in short ok) almost every day since it’s opening! Just because it’s so easy and near to our homes. But come the March school holidays, we are going to be there EVERY DAY (if we can) because there’s this super fun thing happening at our favourite neighbourhood mall!

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See! See! GIANT Ball pool is going to be setup at Village Square, West Wing Level 1 from 14 to 20 March 2016 at Waterway Point!

This is the new edition of Play It Forward (With a Twist!). Children will have the opportunity to prolong their Play it Forward experience with a fun five-station obstacle course before diving into the ball pool which spans 8m by 8m and is filled with 100,00 colourful balls. The obstacle course includes fun elements like Walk a Plank, Tunnel Crawl, Foam Stick Curtain Trail and Float Run. What’s more, each participant will receive a free instant-print photo as a memento of the fun at Play It Forward!

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A minimum donation of S$10 will entitle each person to 25 minutes of play in both the obstacle course and ball pool. All proceeds go towards five Family Service Centres. Frasers Centrepoint Malls will match all proceeds dollar-for-dollar up to S$30,000. As part of the Care & Share Movement, from now until 31 March 2016, total donations will also be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Government.

This is taking place between 12pm to 9pm from 14 to 20 March 2016 at Waterway Point (Village Square, West Wing, Level 1)!

Be prepared to queue for this super fun activity! Just look at what happened previously at Play it Forward event.

We can’t wait for the school holidays to come! WWP here we come!!

See more at: Frasers Centrepoint Malls website

How Superheroes Came About

Today as I sat down and thought about how Isaac is turning 1 in the blink of an eye, I started to think how he has changed my life after his arrival. In fact, I think I’ve unlocked some of the superhero powers that I’ve always had unknowingly. Yep, I’ve always secretly thought that I’m a ninja or a superhero of some sort. Now I am just further convinced that I was right all along.

1) Superhero: Wolverine
Skill set : Enhanced sense of hearing
I remember how hubs and I used to watch the telly or listen to music at dangerously high volumes because we kept saying we are unable to hear the words well. With Isaac in the house, my ability to hear has enhanced greatly. Even while he is in the room and I’m in the kitchen, I can hear him or his movements without him having to cry or scream. In more extreme cases, I can even hear my neighbour’s baby’s cries and be able to identify that it is not coming from my baby.

2) Superhero : Miss Invisible’s
Skill set : self explanatory
Whenever the hubby is out, I will have a spectator whenever I use the bathroom. In order not to be out of isaac’s sight, I will sit him down on his high chair while I plant myself on my inspirational throne. Most of the time, I try to pretend I am invisible and that he is not able to see me because it is just so awkward. Hopefully he doesn’t get nightmares from watching me. 🙁

3) Superhero : The Flash
Skill set : Probably the fastest superhero there is
Once I put Isaac down for his afternoon nap, I will take my shower as quietly and as quickly as possible. Hair Shampooed or not, lather washed off properly or not, the moment the baby wails, i am all wrapped up in my towel in less than 5 seconds and out to check on him, hoping that he falls back to sleep.

4) Superhero : Deadpool
Skill set : Accelerated healing factor
I’ve always had a weak immune system since I was a kid, so I tend to fall sick very easily and recovery time is usually slow. Ever since I had Isaac, not only do I fall sick less often, I also recover in a much shorter time when I fall ill because I am determined to get well to look after him. More importantly, because I do not want to pass on any virus / infections to him.

5) Superhero : Shazam
Skill set:  Unknown strength limit. Does not need to eat or sleep when in superhero form
This probably related the most to me during  the first few months of parenthood. Waking up in the wee hours just to feed / express milk, and getting up to check on Isaac  whenever he made the slightest sound. The first month was probably the most tiring since I had to wake up every night to look after Isaac myself. I would wake up multiple times with an hour and a half to sleep in between feeds. There was this one time, I don’t remember sleeping at all and I was way beyond tired that I felt extremely high. Thank goodness Isaac stopped waking up at night for milk when he turned 2 months old.

When hubs returned to work after his paternity leave, I looked after Isaac by myself in the day. When I started out, I did not know his sleeping patterns well and I tried to do the housework while he slept. I thought I would nap once housework was done. Only to realise that once I had my housework done, the baby would wake. My poor management of time led to a sleep and food deprived me. Slowly I learnt how to deal with this by monitoring his routine. In a nutshell, baby’s nap time equals to mummy’s nap time. I simply left the housework to the husband (LOL!), or at least when he is around to look after the baby.

Actually the more I look at Isaac, the more I start to think he may have inherited some of my super genes. Just look at him.
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Now where’s my cape?!

I have a koala in the house!

At the age of 6 months onward, Isaac will get extremely upset whenever I am out of his visibility. Even if it is for a few minutes (or seconds!), even if I am in the very next room. Initially, I would stop whatever i was doing and pick him up just so that he would stop crying. Or I would place him on his high chair in the same room as I am to watch what I am doing. Gross as it sounds, but this meant even when I needed to shower or had to sit on my inspirational throne. He would continue screaming even when my better half attended to him to the extent that his face is tomato red and filled with tears and mucus. Like this.

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This was when I decided to put a stop to it. Here’s what I practise.

1) Keep calm & Inform him what is going to happen
I will sit him down in his cot, and tell him what I am going to do and how long I would take.

Example :  “Mummy is going to put your clothes in the wash, will be back in 5 mins.”

Then proceed to walk out of the room calmly, even if he starts to cry.

2) Mean it when I say it
I try to make sure I have all that I need from the room he is in before leaving. Just so I do not have to leave the room twice. Simply because I realised that me leaving the room a second time agitates him a lot more.

3) Distraction
It could be his favourite toy or some Gerber puffs. For Isaac, watching the news anchor lady usually works. 😡

4) Assurance
When he is inconsolable and screaming at the top of his lungs, I will tell him (from wherever I am) that I am nearby and about to be done. Hearing my voice usually buys me a little more time at what I am doing.

5) Consistency (routine and caregiver)
Fortunately for me, I have my PIL (parents-in-law) to look after Isaac when we go to work. Overtime, he has gotten very attached  to them and has also gotten used to the routine of us dropping him off at gramps’ every morning. This makes things a lot easier for us since we do not have to deal with the whole ‘caregiver is not suitable’ kinda drama.

I must admit that having a baby is really life changing. I never knew I actually can have so much patience for someone until Isaac came along. I know that this phase will pass eventually. For now, this is me, 10 months into parenthood. I will just hang on tight and enjoy the ride!

Restaurant Standard Fish & Chips at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre

Our kids love chips and anything fried! So we always had problem ordering food for them when we dine out, but THIS Fish & Chips at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre is one that we will travel just to have it.

Yummy Fish & Chip at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre

Ci Yuan Hawker Centre is located within the Ci Yuan Community Club along Hougang Avenue 9, and has 40 cooked food stalls, and can seat up to 640 people. Food prices at this Hawker Centre are also kept lower than your usual foodcourts, you can find dishes at $2.80 per serving and drinks at less than $1.00.

And they have family friendly tables and seats too! See how these table and seats are lower than the rest? Fits our two girls nicely. Love it!

This yummy fish & chips is from stall #01-27 known as The Pasta Shop, owned by the same people from Ristorante Da Valentino at The Grandstand. At this stall at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre, you get restaurant quality Italian food at value-for-money price.

Besides this fish and chips, there are many more food options to try, you can check out Miss Tam Chiak’s feature of 17 Must Try Stalls at Ci Yuan Hawker Center. This new hawker centre also has one unique payment system at all their 40 food stalls. Spot that red counter at front of all stalls, this is their e-payment solution. All payment transactions are done through this system, allowing the stall owners to free themselves from handling cash thus more hygienic too.

I very kaypoh, so I checked out this payment solution from behind the counter too. The system is designed in such a way that everyone will be able to use it without much hassle.

When making payment for your food, you just need to insert you notes or coins into the system and it will automatically provide you with change. If you’re wondering if the system will dispense only coins if you were to insert a $50-notes for a $7.00 meal, you don’t have to worry as the system will dispense notes too for change. So smart!

I’m so glad that these smart e-payment solutions are spotted almost everywhere we go. The new self-checkout counters at Fairprice Finest at Waterway Point also accepts cash and works so simply!

Have you seen any other similar solutions too? Or if you have tried the food stalls at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre, please do share which one is good too.

We’ll be back for sure!

Isaac’s First Trip

Many have told us how our baby is still too young to remember even if we were to bring them overseas. The husband also made his stand on not letting Isaac take the plane as he is too young (he’s afraid Isaac’s ear drums will hurt from the pressure). Hence, Isaac’s first trip out of SG is to… Montigo Resort Nongsa. Ideal for us because there is no need for plane ride, nothing much to do except chill & swim, not too expensive.

For our 2D1N trip, this is what we packed for Mister I :
– 12 pieces of diapers
– 2 milk bottles, milk formula, cereal, gerber puffs
– moisturizer, belly oil, shampoo, body wash. Only two teeth now so no need toothbrush. Use my fingers to rub rub can already.
– 2 sets of pjs in case he dirties one set (which he did)
– three sets of light clothings
– thermal swimwear, swimming diaper
– 2 floats in case one has issues inflating
– a handfan
– a box of mosquito patch
– portable electric kettle
– 4.5 litres of water from home
– most importantly his favourite bolster in case he misses his own bed at night
After we are done with packing, I could not help but feel like we are a walking mama shop.

The ferry ride to our destination was a smooth one, as it coincided with Mister I’s nap time so he catnapped all the way on the ferry. He only woke up for milk during the transfer by a shuttle bus (10 mins ride) from the terminal to the resort.
When we arrived at Montigo, we were greeted by the friendly staffs who helped us to transfer our luggage from the shuttle to the reception where we waited to be checked in. We were offered wet towels and iced lemon grass tea while they assisted us with the check in. We were brought to the villa by a buggy.
 The villa we booked was BEAUTIFUL! Three storeys, with sea view and a private pool.
 First level is the living room with a cooking and dining area. Attached with a balcony and private pool.
the huge living area
the huge living area

Private pool
Private pool
Second level is the master bed room and the guest room. Master bed room has a king sized bed, guest room has 2 single beds. Both have their own bathrooms. Did not take any photos of the guest room though.
Spacious bedroom with sea view
Spacious bedroom with sea view
The door behind the bed leads to the bathroom
The door behind the bed leads to the bathroom.

HUGEEE bathroom
HUGEEE bathroom
I love the bathroom! This photo was taken with natural light coming from the roof.

Third level was the roof terrace overlooking the sea. This is an open air space suitable for BBQ and chilling with booze at night. During the day, it is just too sunny for us to even want to go up.

  We traveled within the resort’s premises for meals by calling for the buggy. It is extremely convenient for us especially since we have little children around. We had lunch at a dining place called Tadd’s. They serve local, Asian and western cuisine by the poolside. I did not take a photo of the cafe, but here’s the pool.
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Once we have settled our lunch, Mister I and friends went for a dip in the pool. The folks who accompanied the kiddos had fun looking after them and catching up with each other. This was mister i’s second experience in the pool and I am pleased to say that he has become more confident now. Unlike the first time, there were no tears shed. He simply drifted along with the flow of the water while using his neck float. After which, we switched him into a float that he can sit in. I could tell he was happy as he was kicking the water trying to push himself along.
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Spent the rest of the day chilling in the resort since the kids had to rest after swimming and went for dinner about 7.30pm. Dinner was at their in-house seafood restaurant (Pantai). Went back to the villa after dinner to tuck Mister I to sleep since it was past his bedtime.
Had buffet breakfast at Tadd’s the next morning before check out. Good food equates to happy people equates to a good morning. Traveled back to SG thereafter.

To sum up this trip – Apart from the amount of things we had to pack for the little one, I must say that it was relatively easy travelling with mister I. I was initially worried he may be cranky from the ferry ride as well as the heat but he turned out okay, still happy and self entertaining. He finished his milk and slept during his usual sleeping timings. That being said, I guess we can bring him along next time if we are going somewhere nearby.
Looking forward to our next trip together!