Thursday, May 30, 2013

Of My Littlest Love

In a blink of an eye, this little pumpkin has been doing a fair bit of growing up under our noses.

How do we know?

We simply cannot remember the last time we had a babyish conversation with her!

These days, she's the commander in chief. (at least to her Daddy!) She tells me big plans that she has when she turns four. One of them would include perfecting her Chinese. Oh and growing to be really really tall too.

And just this morning, I was serving her brekkie when she said, "Urgh! Eggs again?! Oh all right, Mummy!" before sitting down and tucking in.

Say what?

Love you kiddo! Don't stop being the funny little kid you are. =)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

246 Common

When you think of caravans and mobile trucks, an often less than glamourous road trip comes to mind, well, 246 Common absolutely changes one's perspective! An, outdoors mobile food cart cum farmers market in the middle of Aoyama and Omotesando, it serves the local community with produce from its farmer's market and late night drinks in the cool winters night. I chanced upon it during my last whirlwind trip to Tokyo with the husband. It was almost at the tail end of winter and we were huddled up snacking on ribbon fries. (Thank God for mobile heaters!)

This little communal area of mobile food trucks is ridiculously charming. There are stalls with the most fantastic designs and decent food to boot. I stumbled upon it during the day and insisted that the husband made a trip back with me the same night. =)

The gals were intrigued and asked to visit it during the trip so off we went for dinner on the last night. It was easy as Sunday morning, there were hamburgers and drinks. Mojitos were going for 500 yen a pop. I had the to die for Salad rice (that I'm dying to recreate.) The weather was perfect. 

Tokyo is always a city that surprises. 

This is just one of them. =)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Be A Good Neighbor

It's a no brainer that when we did our research for the trip, good cult coffee joints were on the top of the lists of me and the gals.

We had a few on the list.
However, due to our busy itinerary *cough shopping cough* we really only managed to hunt down one such store.

A friend, whom I see quite often at my regular local coffee haunt, highly recommended "Be A Good Neighbour" at Sendagaya.

So after filling our tummies with good old Ichiran, we starting our long walk for our first cup of coffee in the land of the rising sun.

Some 15 minutes later, after walking past the streets of Omotesando, we finally reached our destination.

Opened by the former editor of a lifestyle magazine, Be a Good Neighbour is truly a local neighbourhood hole in the wall espresso joint. Located in a slightly light industrial & residential area, it's so tiny that you really just order a cuppa, wait for it and head out to drink it on the streets.  (or you can hang at their bench inside!) It's very cute and quaint, like most Japanese stores. What I loved was the small details like a cute sticker on the cup and little badges that they sell with their emblems.

We ordered our coffee and settled down outside, basking in the warm Tokyo sunshine. The coffee was smooth and for a culture that is used to drip coffee, it was a pretty decent cup. I was pleased to have a good pick me up to start off our trip!

I bought two little badges for the husband. (Just to remind him that we will always have Tokyo!) 

Be a Good Neighbor
3-51-6 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku Station (Yamanote line), Takeshita exit; Kitasando Station (Fukutoshin line)

Open Mon-Fri 8.30am-6pm, Sat & hols 11.30-5pm / Closed Sun

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Reflections of a Mom

I have to say, with the kids in the SG education system for the last few years, the importance of academics has definitely been the top factor in the local childhood education. I never once griped about it because it was my choice to bring them back to Singapore and I knew it was going to be tough.

As much as the media and the ministry has stressed that kids should not spend all their childhood studying, I find that it is a contradiction to the level of standard that my boys are meant to achieve in school. Mediocrity is a no no.

Whilst education carries a heavy weight (because I believe kids should not feel left behind, leading to a lack of confidence), I certainly do not expect straight As from them. I believe in raising well rounded kids. That is, kids who know that there is a life out of the classroom.

That being said, during one of my recent parents teachers meeting, I was told whilst my son had a great attitude and shows leadership potential, he is at 80th percentile for academics, and I was strongly advised to help him to get to the average of 90th percentile, which is expected at this level. Just so he doesn't end up in a class of 'mixed ability.' (No offence to the teacher because he does like my son, and he is actually planning to make him class captain next term.)

As a mother, you worry. You think, oh dear, he's going to end up in the slacker class. Yet on the other hand, 80th percentile is pretty decent, no? I was feeling rather defeated, in all honesty, like I didn't do my job well in educating this child.

My husband, seeing the lines on my face, said, "There's nothing to worry about, at all! He is fine!"

You see, their time is split between school, after school enrichment classes, swimming lessons, music classes and play time. They swim, play rugby, go to Sunday school, attend music & ballet classes on the weekends. Our weekends are not about academics. If I wanna relax on the weekends, why shouldn't my kids do too? Hence, it's not rocket science that we do not spend all day sitting around the table doing work.

What I'm trying to raise my kids to be is not an academic nerd but one that is socially smart and knows his Ps and Qs.

Yet I realise that in order for them to finish this race well, I must always be behind them, making sure they do their homework and supplementing them with extra work to ensure they know their concepts really well. I do so because I know that a child who thinks he's failing, would automatically feel his self esteem plummet.

So what is my approach? We are going to revisit the concepts taught in school this term and we will do a lot more reading. Peppered with patience and encouragement, we'll definitely get there. The grades will come. =)

Like every mom that believes in her kids, I know that whilst I would run beside them to finish this race, I would never discourage them from having life experiences out of the classroom. Because end of the day, a degree would only get your foot in the door, it is up to your attitude and your aptitude to move on in your career and life.

And looking at my kids, I know that straight As or not, they will be a-ok in this life.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I was away for two weekends in a row in the last fortnight.

The husband and I snuck off for a weekend in Hong Kong for our anniversary and then two days later, I was off to Tokyo with the gals (and a husband & baby) for a week long city escapade.

It was the first time I was away from the kids and husband. My first 'grown up' trip, in a way.

Whilst I loved both trips, I did miss the family on the Tokyo leg. Whilst I had nothing to worry about with the childcare. (because the husband and my parents are excellent caretakers of the kids. Their meals and schedules were well looked after. ) It was the little things that made me miss their presence, like small talks or seeing a little japanese little gal looking like Bubba.

Most of all, I miss bed time with this little one. She still co sleeps with us and we would read and sing silly songs every bed time. She would giggle and whisper little secrets to us in bed. On the night that I left, she cried hysterically when D dropped me off. (He pacified her with Maccas.)

And subsequently, she would ask for me at bed time. I managed to FaceTime them the last night I was in Tokyo and she commanded that I "come home NOW".

She was pleased as punched when I surprised her at school pick up! And she said I cannot go on another holiday ever again.

Ahh well... it's good to be home!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Best Time of Our Lives!

Two days ago, we celebrated 8 years of matrimony.

Being the kind of people who celebrates [almost] everything we could, we usually celebrate this and our dating anniversary.

I wanted to save the draggy version of our history till our tenth year anniversary but man! two years is a pretty damn long period to wait so here goes.

It's hard to imagine that we were so young back then when we stood at the balcony of The Richmond Hill restaurant saying personalised vows that would hold meanings deeper than what we knew then. We were both nowhere close to being 'there' on the career route, our wedding budget was minimal then, and as for happily ever after? who knew that it's a lot more work than it seemed.

What I remember was all we knew was that were having the best times of our lives, and we were going to be parents in a few months. He was definitely the one person I wanted to be with, through the good times and bad. It was very exciting but, yet, daunting as well. But we threw all caution to the wind, hoped for the best and grabbed life by the horns! (One of the beauties of being young and somewhat foolish. =p)

Looking at us now, it's so hard to believe that we've come that far and everything that we care for and hold dear has only happened in a span of 8 years. I mean, hello, 3 kids and a whole lot of serious financial commitments didn't seem possible at the beginning but we've made it and it's such a treat standing here and looking back.

It's not always easy. There were times where we would want to chew the other person's head off (more me!). There were poorer times. There were periods where we just didn't see eye to eye. We do our best to ride through them all.

Life is definitely busier. We both have our individual commitments to deal with. Our kids absolutely are  the center of our lives. But what I love is the pockets of time we have with each other. Be it a dinner, or a coffee break or even a short trip... it's times like this that we reconnect. It probably helps that age does mellow the fiery temperaments as one does not hold grudges as long as in the past.

I leave you with this tribute that my dear R posted on Instagram. It totally made my day!

So yes! Happy Anniversary, babe! Many more good years to come. =)
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