Monday, 16 January 2017

Girl's Graduation & First Week at Primary School

I can't believe six and a half years passed by just like that. She started preschool four years ago and went through a transition from one preschool to another.

She adapted to her new school very well and made many friends. I was proud of her for being able to do well where ever she is. It was finally my girl's turn to graduate! We attended her graduation and final preschool concert at YMCA.

Tiger year doesn't have that many kids: only 2 kids were from my girl's school, the other two were from other branches.


Looking so cute in her graduation gown! My grown up and very beautiful girl =)
Accepting her scroll from her centre's director when her name was called

Definitely proud moment for us! I couldn't help but visualise that this is probably how she will look, albeit taller, when she graduates from university! What a day that will be for us! (#ifyoucanseeityoucanhaveit) =)

After the graduation ceremony, we watched the kids perform the routines that they had been practising for almost half of the year!

They were dancing to Elvis' rock and roll, hence the outfit
Enthusiastically waving the pom poms
Dancing and shaking
Rolling and swaying

My girl also got the chance to introduce herself and one dance to the audience. She had rehearsed it a few times and nailed it. No stage fright at all! #proudmama (^_^)

My girl with her whole school and her teachers
(it was a really small child care centre with low teacher-student ratio)
Great job girl! We are so proud of you!

A few weeks later, she had to say goodbye to her friends for good as it was truly her last day in preschool. It was just as sad for her to know that she will be leaving her friends to go to Primary One where she now needs to do "big girl stuff" like pee on her own, order food and count coins, all without the privilege of riding a stroller. She's probably thinking, "man, this Primary One thing does not sound fun at all.." I know right.. tell me about it..


I have come up with a longer list of Pros and Cons (couldn't squeeze all in an Instagram post) about how I feel about my girl going to Primary School just so that perhaps I can feel better about it. Well, here goes:

Pros

  • Paying ZERO school fees simply because we're Singapore Citizens 
    • Sorry to say this but we ain't like the rest of the non-SC who can run back to their home country if Singapore is ever in trouble. We're like stuck here for life so yah, we deserve this privilege! *laughs*
    • That's $700++ that we can save every month, which I can now use to send her for enrichment classes that she likes =)
  • Not having to send my girl to and from school
    • Yay for her $60/month school bus! =)
  • My girl learns how to be more independent
    • such as buying her own food, boarding the school bus, writing her homework in her notebook


Cons

  • When my girl has homework, it's like I have homework
    • her teachers send all the parents a message every time the kids have homework or spelling and I'll have to make sure that it is done
  • Having to give free tuition to my girl after I'm tired as hell from working the whole day
    • Granted, this does not change since I've been getting her to do Primary One assessment books since she started K2 but NOT because I wanted her to get a head start and be better than other people. No, I wanted her to start earlier so that this lazy mum can take it easy and not be stressed out so much when she actually starts Primary One.
    • It's really not easy being a Full-Time Working Mum, a Part-Time Blogger and a Part-Time Tuition Teacher *sigh*
  • Travels with my girl can only be done during school holidays
    • when everything is more expensive!
  • Having to wake up early
    • Ok scratch that. 
    • This one is only applicable to my girl and my mum-in-law as my mum-in-law is the one who sends my girl to take the school bus and fetch her back. She knows my girl will be late for her bus if I was the one who sends her to school. I'm a night owl and can't wake up before the sun is up! 
    • I know, I'm terribly spoilt (^_^)


Well, well, what do you know.. it's a tie! *laughs*

~~~~~

Anyway, from here on, I'll be talking about our Primary One experience without any photos as I would like to protect the privacy of my girl so please bear with me.

On 3 January, my girl woke up at 6am for school for the first time in her 6.5 years of existence. She had worn part of her school uniform, comprising of a collared T-shirt and P.E. shorts, to sleep the night before so that the mum-in-law has one less thing to get my girl to do in the morning. The girl is exactly like me you see; our brains don't wake up until 9am and even then, they're not fully awake.

If you know what it's like to dress a drunk person, you will know what it's like to dress a half-asleep, almost-like-drunk 6.5 year old weighing 22 kilograms. It's so much easier to just get her to put on her skirt (yeah, I get her to wear shorts underneath like the rest of us chor lor girls did back in the day. Some of you girls know what I'm talkin' about..). And thankfully, she doesn't even need to wear the skirt on days when there's P.E., which also means less ironing for me! Woohoo! *fist pump*

I mean, how great is her school uniform?! Especially her BLACK school shoes. I mean, no need to do white polishing like ever? Yeeesssss!! *more fist pumps*

Possibly one of the main reasons why I chose this school over another more popular, all white uniform, top school in the vicinity (not like we could get in or bothered to try to get in anyway).

The mum-in-law walked my girl to board her school bus while the hubby and I drove to her school to meet her there. All parents were allowed to observe the kids going through the school assembly for the first time. There were cameras and flashes everywhere, even during the national anthem and the pledge! Like hello, what kind of example are you setting for your kids?!?! *shakes head*.

The Assistant Head of Primary One was this young but very stern teacher who looked very sweet but talked like she meant business. She called out instructions to all the students and they all looked genuinely frightened of her. It turns out that she was my girl's Form Teacher, which made me really happy because I know my girl does better with strict teachers =)

The kids were then led to their classrooms and parents were not allowed to follow. We were to attend parent workshops and wait till recess before we were allowed to observe the kids again.

My girl was paired with a Primary 3 buddy who helped her to buy food. My girl was munching on her slice of pizza when she spotted us and came over to say "hi". Seeing that she was doing well, we told her that we would be leaving and will see her later when she's back from school.

While all the parents were anxiously watching their kids, we left for our date (we're chill like that), just the two of us, in an almost empty JEM where we had free flow wagyu buffet lunch. It was the best lunch ever! =)

The girl came home from school still pretty cheerful that she managed to survive her first day. I didn't want to douse her excitement but I knew it was going to get less cheery as the days go by. But well, we'll just take one day at a time...

I have to say that I do appreciate that her two Form Teachers make it a point to communicate with us parents either via Whatsapp or the app ClassDojo. They send us regular announcements and updates on homework. One of the two even send us photos and videos of the kids enjoying the lessons in class. I enjoy and appreciate all the photos she had sent.

The school's Principal shared with us that she has approximately 30 years of experience in education and has four kids of her own, proving that she is more than capable to lead this school. I sensed that she has a genuine love for children, which was very reassuring.

I am quite happy with everything so far and felt beyond a doubt that I had picked the right Primary School for my girl. Let's hope that years down the road, we would not regret this choice =)

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My Boy's Umizoomi 3rd Birthday!

I know I keep saying this but, I CAN'T BELIEVE MY BABY BOY IS 3!!!

How fast time flies. My boy is not only adapting well to his pre-school but he will be celebrating his birthday for the first time with his classmates.

Since my boy is a BIG fan of Team Umizoomi, the cartoon on Super Math Powers (and I can tell that my boy is really good at Math), we did an Umizoomi theme for his birthday.

I wanted something practical that the parents can use after the party so I went with recyclable bags with a special "customised" birthday label that I did myself affixed on them.

Thanks for coming Umifriend!

To be honest, I was kind of sick of receiving snacks and stationery in the birthday goody bags so for these bags, we bought art colouring sets and balloons instead. I find them more useful and fun for the children. Sorry kids, no fatty snacks for you this time!

On the actual day, I brought the goody bags and other DIY Umizoomi decorations to the school.

Me, busying decorating the cake while my boy looks on excitedly
Left: Printed a picture of Team Umizoomi and stuck chopsticks at the back;
Right: The final rainbow cake from Prima Deli with all the decorations.
Simple mini Umizoomi characters pasted on toothpicks and stuck on the fishballs and sausages.
Boy was so mesmerised by the cake in this family photo!


It's a very simple birthday celebration but I think the boy really enjoyed himself. He looked very serious when the kids were singing to him though (maybe stage fright? Haha!).

Cutting the cake
It's layers of rainbow inside as well!
My boy loves cake (like me hehe) so he got the biggest slice!

I helped the boy give out the goody bags after and he really loved it.

What colour do you want? Here you go!

After the birthday party, we brought the kids to Cool de Sac, where Harvest Kids (our church's children church ministry) members have free entry on weekdays (no need ticket entry any more)! #mychurchissocool *grin*


This is not the kid's first time to Cool de Sac (read about their first experience here) and will definitely not be the last. It's one of our favourite indoor playgrounds!

Running about going crazy on the play structures and Lego area
It's the first time he's getting his arm painted!
He chose an elephant from the list of pictures himself! My boy is so grown up haha!
It is finished! =)

They love getting their bodies painted here. I think the boy went around showing off his elephant for a few days.

Happy birthday my darling boy! May you always gain wisdom and stature as you grow up and find favour with God and with men in all that you do! Mummy loves you! =)

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas at Adventure Cove

The entire Lee Family (i.e. the hubby's side of the family) went to visit Adventure Cove on Christmas Day! It was the first time for most of us so we were pretty excited (the girl and I are theme park addict so naturally we were the most excited!).

Adventure Cove
A selfie while waiting for the rest of the family to arrive

The folks at the door do check your bags for outside food so if you must bring food into Adventure Cove (which *cough* we *cough* did), do so very discretely (like wrapped in a towel at the bottom of a bag of baby diapers and clothes... do NOT say that you learned this from me)! *laughs*

Lockers

The lockers here are expensive in my opinion (costs $10 for the regular and $20 for the big ones!) so I recommend not bringing too many valuables so that you don't need a large locker. The only good thing about the locker is that it can be re-opened as many times as you like.

Life Jackets for all ages

Life Jackets are provided and I find them useful for the Adventure River and Bluwater Bay (wave pool) as the currents can be strong. However, they are not allowed on the slides.

We started our day at Bluwater Bay because it was right at the heart of the water park.

Bluwater Bay, with a lovely view of the cable cars in the background
Girl and I having fun in the waves
We also put our non-valuable but essential items on one of the lounge chairs

As we were early, we started with the first and scariest ride (with the longest queues as the day goes by) of the water park: Riptide Rocket!

This is the first time we get to sit a conveyor belt to ride a slide instead of climbing the stairs!

This ride is not for the faint-hearted man! It is Southeast Asia’s first hydro-magnetic coaster, which explains why I have never gone on something like that before even though I have been to countless of water parks. The ride is really fast, has plunging drops and is some serious business! My girl was so freaked out!

The irony was that even though my girl met the height limit for the scariest ride in the water park, she did not meet the height limit for the rest of the slides which were nothing compared to this! So strange!

Anyway, since the girl couldn't ride the big slides, she contented herself happily with the smaller slides at the kids playground, Big Bucket Treehouse.

The nephews lying in wait (literally) for the buckets of water to splash on them

While the kids busied themselves with the playground, the rest of us went to ride all the slides. The slides were fun, though not as fun as the slides at Melaka Wonderland (they had much shorter queues too). The only slide that was better than Melaka Wonderland was the Riptide Rocket.

Nevertheless, Adventure Cove made up for the lackluster slides with the Adventure River, which was one of the best lazy rivers I've been in! Why? Because we got to get up close and personal with manta rays! So cool!

Adventure River
(it's just like a typical lazy river but longer and with more things to see!)
Managed to take a selfie, but only of half the clan
Floating along a VERY crowded river!
This underwater tunnel is so cool!
We got to view the lovely fish swimming pass us
The Adventure River also travelled passed the Ray Bay, which had the cutest manta rays I've ever seen! So pretty!
Taking lots and lots of selfies with the pretty manta rays!
My boy was slightly freaked out by the caves (he doesn't like the dark very much)
Creepy but very cool!

The other highlight of Adventure Cove for me was snorkeling at Rainbow Reef. It's probably the only place you can snorkel in clear waters in Singapore.

It's not my first time snorkelling (I've snorkelled in Cebu and Thailand before) but it is the first time that I've snorkelled in Singapore!

We're one of the first to enter the Rainbow Reef
Me in the snorkelling gear

As the Rainbow Reef is about 3 metres deep, you must be able to swim in order to enter. Kids are not allowed.

It's called Rainbow Reef because of the colourful fish! So beautiful!
This photo of the hubby is my favourite photo of the day
(Taken by our awesome Sony Xperia Z5 Premium)
Please be careful where you tread.
Do NOT step on the corals because let me tell you, that's not a pleasant experience!
(I was smart enough to keep my body afloat and did not step on anything except for the steps leading out of the pool)

We ended the day with the newest attraction, the Wet Maze and obstacle course. There was a super long queue at the obstacle course and it wasn't as fun as I had expected.

Wet Maze

We had only expected to stay till 3pm but ended up staying till 5pm. If you've never been there, I'd highly recommend going at least once. It is a different experience as compared to other water parks that we're used to =)


I hope you had just as good a Christmas as we did! =)

~~~~~

This post is part of my MadPsychMum Fun in Singapore Guide to all things exciting for kids! 
Check out other fun playgrounds and attractions in Singapore! =)


You can also follow us on Instagram or join us by using our hashtag #mpmfuninsg!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Azura Our Subaru Forester

Our family car, a Honda Stream, was due to be scraped soon so we were in the market for a replacement. Initially we were considering getting a used car but after much calculation by the hubby, we realised a brand new car had lower depreciation (i.e. a new car was cheaper than a used car due to the drop in COE).

Since I liked driving hatchbacks, the hubby was considering an SUV. And since we obviously couldn't afford a Volvo XC90 even though we really love it, the new Subaru Forester was the best alternative (cheaper but with similar horsepower).

Trying out the spacious boot of the Forester at the Subaru showroom

I was quite pleased to find out that the Subaru showroom at Leng Kee had an awesome Kids Corner to entertain the kids while we checked out the cars on display.


Subaru Kids Corner
Door and shoe rack
The space is well decorated, enclosed and padded to ensure your child's safety
The lounge area is next to the Kids Corner
Parents can watch what their kids are up to in the Kids Corner while relaxing in the lounge with a cup of coffee

My kids loved the Kids Corner! So thoughtful of Subaru to provide a space like this for their customers.

After we received news that we won the bid for the COE of our Subaru Forester, we went to Subaru in Toa Payoh to pick it up.

Subaru Toa Payoh
(not as flashy as the Leng Kee one)

Everyone, meet Azura!

Azura is a blue Subaru Forester XT
Under the hood
Our very enthusiastic car sales person took a lot of photos for us!



After driving the car for more than a month, these are the Forester's features that we liked:
  • In-built GPS 
    • although it's not as updated as Google Maps
  • Memory seats for multiple drivers 
    • so that we don't have to keep adjusting the seats whenever either of us takes the wheel
  • Huge sunroof
    • great for Christmas lights watching
  • the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) System matches my existing car seat
    • LATCH systems use strong metal anchors rather than the seat belt to install the car seat
    • this is safer for my boy as he is no longer able to press the seat belt buckle and release the seat belt (thereby endangering himself)
  • Super spacious boot
  • Reverse camera
  • Cruise Control
    • So useful for our road trips to Malaysia
  • Horsepower 
    • the hubby loves it!

In-built GPS and entertainment system
Clockwise from left: Standard steering wheel with cruise control;
High headroom;
In-built Front car camera so that wires don't hang down unsightly.
Sunroof
Light and mirror in the sunshade for the passenger
Sleeping in his car seat which is bolted to the LATCH system
Very spacious boot space
Electronic Rear door
(just press the button and the door will close)
We got the XT (i.e. Turbo) version because the hubby has a need for speed *laughs*

Of course, it is lacking a lot of other features which is why it is a lot cheaper than other SUVs such as the Volvo:

  • Resolution for entertainment screen is so-so
  • Less sophisticated alarm/warning system than the Volvo
  • No dedicated air-conditioning for the back passengers
  • No Park Assist
    • Not sure if I can parallel park this car (-_-)
  • No Auto-Brake for temporary stops (such as at traffic lights) so that you don't have to depress the brake or use the hand-brake

But well for the price we pay, I'd say it's still value for money.

Here's to more road trips and #AdventureswithAzura! =)
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