Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Hectic Hectic month...but one to remember for:-

1. Our very first Christmas tree We finally got one at The Verge , (formerly known as Tekka Mall). And the kids had a whale of a time decorating it.

2. The two girls grasping the meaning of Christmas a bit better ..... at least now they understand it is Jesus's Birthday and the day Jesus was born. They sort of understand that it's a time for sharing and giving... though they have yet to fully practise it. It's still way tough explaining the part about Jesus dying on the cross for us. For now, it's still, " Why does Jesus's hands have blood?" Our answer: " The naughty uncles poked him." Next year... next year...

3. Me having the worst flu ever 3 weeks of fever, cough, cold , 2 rounds of antibiotics, and still recovering! I know I know it seems like I am always sick isn't it. Doctors diagnosed it as Mycoplasma, a particularly resistant type of bacteria. Oh well, I'll remember it as the "100 day cough" Sure feels like it.

4. My first "designer" bag from Mark, my darling husband. He always amazes me with how he manages to still find the time to get me something even though he's so busy helping me with the family and dealing with his work and studies... Anyway, I got a Kate Spade! Shereen, I know you'll be saying, " About time right." Ha, I'm slow on this. Anyway, this is my work bag for filling up with my inventory files and stuff, when meeting suppliers or doing other business stuff.

5. The loads of presents the gals received Thank you all Aunties and Uncles! Despite all the great educational toys received, you know girls are girls when they zoomed in on the princess crown and jewellery set.

6. Having my family around me this Christmas. Never take this for granted.

7. Having thought of the best Christmas gift for my dad-in-law. In order to finally get him off his butt and in shape, Mark and I got him a personal trainer gift voucher for 5 sessions! Never forget his face when he received it. Dunno know whether to laugh or cry.

Have a blessed Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ally and Rachel - When the two cousins are feeling loving...

Sisterly Love

That's Angie hiding in her sister's lap as she is afraid of some monster on the TV.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taking care of our bones

Recently, I had my annual health screening. Everything was fine and dandy except for one aspect - my bones. My bone density readings classified me as having osteopenia. That's basically the stage before osteoperosis. In simple terms, my doctor told me that if I did not do anything and left things as they were, I would have osteoperosis by the time I hit my late 40s.

Wow, scary. Up to now, I am still unsure if it is as serious as she makes it out to be, as my readings are osteopenic for only one hip (at -1.2). My spine and all are normal. Normal levels are from -1 and above. But it serves as a good wake up call. On hindsight, I think I do have a number of the risk factors for low bone mass.

* Low body weight - I've always been one of the lightest around.... at a grand weight of 43 kg before and after two pregnancies. No more, no less. I always joked that I had light bones, who would have known it was actually true!
* Low calcium intake - Never really been a milk guzzler. I've known many who drink their milk in the morning and evening since they were young. My parents never bugged me to, and so I drank when I wanted to - at best occasionally. During my second pregnancy, I didn't even take calcium supplements while breastfeeding, tho' I did while pregnant and while breastfeeding my first child. Calcium as an adult was mainly through my milk tea and cereal and vegetables - so I was probably way short of my min daily requirements of at least 1000mg.
* Lack of weight bearing exercises Meaning exercise that puts pressure on the bones and causes them to grow, increase in bone mass. Well, while I did run pretty regularly in the uni, the past years have seen me swimming alot ( as I prefer the water) But swimming is definitely not weight bearing!

So, anyway,it was actually a good thing that I took the bone density test. It's not something many people do and I only did it as it was part of the whole health screening package. In fact, I almost did not do it, as it never occurred to me that I should worry about my bones at my age.

So, just want to advise all you mummies and ladies out there to make sure you get your calcium ( at least 1000 mg/a day) if you are pregnant or nursing. And get your weight bearing exercise. We all hit our peak bone density mass at age 30, so its important to make sure it's as high as possible by the time you reach this age. And from there on, we start losing bone mass and if you were low to begin with, chances of getting osteopenia or osteoperosis are higher.

My action plan now to up my bone mass includes:
* Calcium pills I take two 500 mg pills a day, since my bones are so pathetic. I was also supposed to take a bone -growing medication but I put that on hold temporarily as I may be trying for a third and I can't take that if I am.
* Running with stair climbing for 1/2 hour (2 times a week, working up to 3)
* Osteloates or modified pilates with more weight bearing involved once a week. I love pilates at Sky Pilates and contrary to popular opinion, pilates can be weight bearing. We just do exercises with much more resistance and weight, and avoid most forms of bending forward to prevent injury to the spine.
*Light weights and resistance band exercises ( 2- 3 times a week... this one I am still working on.. only managing once a week for now)
*Loads of calcium enriched foods. This includes 1-2 cups of milk a day, calcium enriched snacks like figs and apricots, spinach, sweet potato, yoghurt. I've also made sure I'm always eating well and not skipping meals.

I hope my next scan in Feb will reveal better results! As for now, all my milk drinking has made me put on 2 kg in the past two months so I'm now 45.2kg - my heaviest non pregnant weight ever! I've now discovered LOW FAT Anlene Calcium Enriched milk ( It's great as a small packet packs in 500mg calcim, 4x the amount of calcium from a regular glass) So, I dont have to drink so much! Realised that skinny as I am, loads of full cream milk will make anybody fat. :( Oops!

So ladies, take care of your bones. Don't take them for granted. There are no symptoms for osteoperosis except when you have your first fracture! In fact, get a bone density test during your next health screening. It's a painless easy test like an X Ray. They just lay you down and do a scan of your spine and hips. Takes about 10 mins in all. Prevention is better than the cure!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A few months makes a world of a difference when babies are under a year.

When they become toddlers, the difference is less stark. But still.

Here's a conversation we had with our two girls Ally (4 years) and Angie (2 years)

So what do you want to be when you grow up?

Ally: Errrm, a teacher!

And how about you, Angie?

Angie: I want to be a DINOSAUR!

Somebody's been watching too much Barney......

Friday, November 07, 2008

Hunting for a Xmas tree

Hey, does anyone know where to get Xmas trees nowadays?

I used to go to Concourse - they had everything! but it's now gone. I'm not sure if Tekka, where some of the tenants went to, sells the trees and ornaments.

Appreciate any comments. Otherwise, my only recourse is Ikea. But I happen to need the tree by next week and Ikea's aren't available yet. Where did all the concourse fellas go to?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hiao Pors!

P1 again

So after the last post about considering doing some volunteering next year so we can get Ally into a top school in our neighbourhood, things have changed.

Well, we initially thought TN ( no prizes for guessing which school this is considering we stay in the east coast) would be great for its rich Chinese roots and grounding. We still think so. Only now, we are not so sure if Ally will take well to what has been said is a very "highly pressured" environment. The same thing you often hear of all the top primary schools.

It may be too early to say, but from what Mark and I have observed .. Ally is a very gentle, sweet, hardworking girl. Above average intelligence but not brilliant. :) Likes cultural stuff like drawing (she takes after her artistic grandmother), singing, acting and dancing ballet. Has a flair for languages and picks things up fast. But here's the deciding factor, she often needs lots of encouragement and praise to keep her confidence level high. This is common for all kids, but we can see the difference when compared to her little sis, Angeline, who is filled with self confidence to the point of arrogance (:)) So, basically, we are not sure if Ally's temperament would suit the pressure that TN may give her.

Of course, we won't know till we let her try studying in the school. But then again, perhaps what we do know is enough to send her to a less competitive environment where she will develop a better sense of self esteem and thrive. Most of all, we want her to ENJOY school.

Then there's another big factor. My in-laws (both teachers), especially my father-in law, are dead set against TN. They seem to have some vendetta against the school. Crux of the matter- as teachers, they have seen how the school places so much emphasis on churning out good students to the extent that lesser students are asked to leave. My father-in-law 's school took in a number of these students who were asked to leave the school, and these students were grateful for the principal giving them a chance. I think he has a strong distaste for what he calls a lack of compassion on the school's part in their quest for a good ranking. He feels we should know that the environment can be very pressurising and that all the students there have to take tuition. He's very against us sending Ally there, though of course we will still have the last say. Tho' if anything happens and we have to take her out, we will probably not hear the end of it. I only know of one TN graduate and he seems very well adjusted and intelligent. So perhaps, TN is a great school if you can take the pressure.

The clear choice would be then to send her to KC, my old school. The argument is that hey, I turned out fine (not scholar material but well rounded enough). Plus it's a convent which is good for maintaining a strong religious grounding (we're catholics), and I know it's strong in drama and the arts. No doubt it is not a top school and the mandarin standard is probably average, but that can be supplemented with fun mandarin enrichment classes.

Still pondering. Would love to hear any comments. Deciding to go to TN is a big decision considering that we're not alumni. So we've got to do volunteer work, or even try to get onto the volunteer list. We're under 1KM when we move to our new place so that raises our chances slightly. But we also have to do other stuff like join Hokkien Huay Kwan or something. Mark and I are also tempted to just screw the whole thing and go to my old school, KC. Really nothing wrong with that.

Any other EAST people out there, with kids going to school in 1 to 2 years time?

Ally Crack Me Ups #1

Every Sunday, after mass, we like to go up to a small petition/offering box at the front of the church, to donate some money.

We get the kids to do it and we tell them it's to help the poor people.

One of these times, Ally stands for a significant amount of time in front of the box, peering into the opening slot. When asked what she's doing, she replies:

" Looking for the poor people inside the box. Where are they?!"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Some pics!

The three amigos who always hang out together - Angie, Rachel (Looking so sexy! Is that cleavage?!) and Ally.

Handsome Ruebens, Rachel's brother and Ally and Alison's cousin. He's only making an appearance now as he gets older and starts to play with the girls more! Handsome boy isn't he?

Angie and Ruebens

Finally, a BBQ we had at our place recently for about 5 couples and their kids. Half are not in the picture ( either in the toilet weeing, in the pool getting wet or somewhere changing their diapers). It was fun but I must say BBQs are different with toddlers. I don't think I ate enough, no time to sit down and pig out!


After receiving all these concerned queries about Ally from my friends (Thank you guys for your concern), I thought I had better write an entry to tell you all is fine! Ally has not spoken about it since and she's her usual self. Maybe she gets a little scared when she walks past the "area" at night but then many kids are afraid of the dark. Only setback to our sleep training for her is that now, she needs the bedroom door open in the afternoon and at night when she goes to sleep by herself. And the night-time sleeping by herself has been put on hold. She sleeps well but she can't fall asleep alone in the room yet. So, she will hang around till my maid has finished bathing and goes into the room to sleep with her. So, Ally sleeps at 8ish 9. My maid does too. Good life! We're thinking of putting the two girls together soon. Hopefully Angeline will be a good influence. That girl sleeps by herself willingly - our best e.g of effective sleep training.

So, anyways, this post breaks the moody spell. Yay! I have to confess that I am the world's worst and laziest blogger. Sometimes I blog so little I forget the password when I want to write something. Try to make up for it somehow.....