Another Year Older

Birthdays are overrated. Truly, they are. And this is not because I didn’t have a fantastic, super self-entitled celebration. I did, thanks to the people who love me more than my grumpy self deserves. :)

The thought of turning a year older and not being any much wiser scares me, but if there is one thing I’ve learnt this year it is this:

Image from Earmark Social Goods

Image from Earmark Social Goods

Here’s to the next year, then the big 3-0, then the landslide to 4-0 and beyond, God willing!

Rei’s First Birthday Party at Eatplaylove Café

We celebrated Rei’s first birthday last Saturday with a cosy, little party at Eatplaylove Café and we had an absolute blast! HH and I initially went back and forth on the idea of holding the party at home, versus holding it in an external venue such as the café.

Our Little Girl is One!

Our Little Girl is One!

I’m super pleased with our final decision to have the party at Eatplaylove!

Awesome Points:

  • Beautiful setting – a friend commented that it was like walking into a Pinterest board and this was pretty true. A lot of the decorations and furniture look decidedly hipster and home spun, and we liked the teal and yellow colours of the place.
  • Great food – HH and I enjoy our grub and so do our loved ones, so this was important. We were pretty sick of the usual fries-and-nuggets combinations offered by other kid party venues, and we liked that EPL offered a variety of Asian (green curry chicken, hello!) and Western staples. We did have a meal at the café first before making our decision and got feedback from friends who also held parties there.
  • Party packages with great value – The café not only offers seating and a catered buffet line, they also offer party packages with optional balloon and banner decorations, as well as a comprehensive candy table for just an additional $250. I didn’t do full cost comparisons but I thought it was quite a steal for a candy table with more than five different offerings, including freshly baked cupcakes with customised name toppers.
  • Helpful staff – Props to Thomas and Gayle who worked with us via phone and email to ensure we had the artwork we wanted, the menu options we chose and everything else in place before the big day. Friends also said the staff were prompt with serving up the ice cream dessert and they were especially helpful with helping us keep leftovers and packing favour bags out of the leftover candy. It was really a fuss-free situation!
  • Kids craft table – This was fantastic for our toddler guests who wanted to draw and craft with their parents. It also kept Blake suitably occupied, and I can never complain about that!

Not-So-Awesome Points:

  • Lack of privacy – Well this can’t be helped as it depends on the number of people invited to the party, but we had about 3/4 of the café space. This didn’t prevent other guests from coming into our cordoned off area to take photos with our balloons. At least nobody really disturbed our guests.
  • Short party timeslots – This wasn’t much of an issue for us but it might be for others who want their guests to be able to linger and enjoy the place and food for longer than two and a half hours. Each party slot provided is exactly that long. Though my family stayed around to catch up with each other, we saw the staff setting up for the dinner party slot and they didn’t chase us out but I promptly did the dirty work. :p

So, super chuffed that we could celebrate at ease and enjoy a great time with our dearest friends and families. We had an epic standing “1” birthday cake from Celebrate with Cake, which was the highlight of the party! Watching HH butcher it was painful but also pretty unforgettable.

We also had amazing company – thank you so much to everyone who joined us in our celebration of Rei’s first!

And a rare family shot for the road (gosh our kids are long):

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Happy birthday, sweetie! May you always be happy and kind.

Two and Through

Our Little Duo

Our Little Duo

Just the other night, I was moping over the fact that my baby girl is a month away from toddlerhood, that I am losing my very last infant. Gone are the days of yo-yo sleep deprivation, tiny diapers, steaming and mashing veggies to a pulp, and that general baby helplessness that demands so much worry and love.

I mourned similarly when Blake turned one, but at the same time looked forward to watching him grow big and tall, listening to him string his first few sentences, anticipating his ability to feed himself at the dinner table and helping him to get better grip on his emotions. Basically, just witnessing a little person in the making.

The decision to start and stop having children is such a personal one. When we had Rei very shortly after we had Blake, it seemed natural that we were two and through. After all, we had one of each flavour and we had done our part to build the nation. But HH and I always agreed that somehow, we felt like we were meant to have two boys. And that we had another son out there – or rather, not there.

We couldn’t be happier with our kids and it’s a big enough challenge to juggle work, our personal lives as a couple, and the two children. So we know we are two and through.

There’s no more longing, no more baby fever. I’m terribly excited when I see friends around me getting pregnant with #1, #2, #3 and when they have their sweet little babies. But the urge to have more is gone. Although I know that for some reason, if we ever did try, we would somehow be a family of five. Go figure.

So I look forward to having toddlers, then preschoolers, then preteens, then teenagers, then adults, perhaps with families of their own. I look forward to doing homework with them, to teaching them about Jesus.

I look forward to family vacations that will no longer require a diaper bag full of milk powder and two sizes of diapers. I look forward to meaningful conversations, to teaching them about the values of hard work, to having our own private jokes.

As much as I fear the teen years, I look forward to showing them as much love and patience that my parents did for me. There’s so much ahead, and it never really ends, does it?

To the next stage of our lives – we’re ready, bring it on!

Hari Raya Puasa with the Imps

We are one of those Singaporean families that’s hugely dependent on our live-in helper. As part of Dewi’s recent contract renewal terms, she’s entitled to an off day each week and she usually takes them on Sundays.

This leaves HH and I alone with the kids on most Sundays (save for weekends when I travel for work). For weeks, we holed up at home because Blake couldn’t get over a bad chest infection and we were secretly relieved because we had never tackled both kids out alone before. After Nongsa, however, we’re now armed with our big boy and girl pants and are far braver with the kids.

This week, Dewi arranged to take her off day on Hari Raya Puasa instead, so we decided to lug the kids for dim sum in town.

Not So Happy Chappy

Not So Happy Chappy

This is the happiest Blake looked all morning. He had a major meltdown upon leaving the house after being in “want want want” mode. He wanted a lollipop, he wanted his pacifier, he wanted his book, he wanted pen and paper, he wanted his water bottle, he wanted his aeroplane toy.

We couldn’t and didn’t give him everything he asked for – so cue major wailing and flailing. I swear, there was one point HH rolled Blake out in the stroller and left him by the door while we just stood around next to him, watching him scream. Most times, Blake’s thrilled to go out and is on top of the world just putting his shoes on. Not this morning.

On the other hand, I was babywearing a restless Rei. She had rejected her milk bottle before that, was tugging at my teething jewellery necklace (when she does this, it gives me a neck and backache), was squirmy and just ready for a change of scene. Thankfully both kids enjoy car rides and were happy to be strapped into their respective car seats.

Stoning in the Car

Stoning in the Car

These days, we can’t afford to be picky when it comes to child-friendly restaurants. As long as a restaurant provides high chairs, we’re sold. But when wait staff are careless – to the point of setting down hot dishes and hot pots of tea directly in front of super grabby (and QUICK) kids – it gets unnerving and rather stressful.

Dining with a toddler has armed me with lightning fast reflexes though (even my SIL with two toddler boys attests to this) so we played speedy tetris with the dishes each time they were served.

Our Dim Sum Dolly

Our Dim Sum Dolly

Rei loves congee and she finished a kid-sized bowl of lean pork congee. I even snuck her some soft pieces of carrot cake. She ate it all! I somehow feel that she’s capable of eating a lot more but we’re still stuck on congee, cereal and reallysoftstuff.

The best part of the day? Getting some 流沙包 to go, steaming and savouring them once we all got home and both kids went down for their arvo naps. I regret nothing.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, everyone!

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