Monthly Archives: September 2011

Gym Photos

Practising her handstands

Ally has been doing great in her gymnastic classes, she loves her coaches and has settled in well in a new class.

The look of concentration

Dismount!

Learning to do a cartwheel

The ever patient Max who practically grew up in the gym

Trying to emulate his big sister

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Hong Kong Disney Part 2

It was scorching hot by the time we got to the park and Max had fallen asleep once again. We headed to ” Its A Small World” so that we could relax in some A/C.

We bought the kids sunnies to shield their eyes from the scorching sun

 

Max asleep on " It's A Small World"

We were lucky that there wasn’t any queue for It’s A Small World so we just sat on the ride continuously while Max napped. The downside is I had the song stuck into my head for half a day. Since Max was still asleep after the 3 of us were all Small-world sick, we left the ride and bought Ally and ice cream. Since the hotel had given us priority seats for The Golden Mickeys we decided to catch the show. There was an extremely long queue but thank goodness we could skip all that. The show was great, even if it was in Cantonese. Both the children loved the characters and performances. Definitely a must see but do go early to get a good seat.

Ally's turn to nap

Immediately after lunch, Ally fell asleep in the pram and woke up just in time for the parade. We rented an extra stroller for the day, it was much easier for both the kids and ourselves.

The parade was fantastic! The children loved the floats which were so colorful and best of all, they got invited to be apart of the parade as well.

My personal favourite, Eeyore

Ally's favourite, Tinker bell, who looked rather manly

Joining in the parade fun!

After the parade, Ally still wanted to have her photo taken with Tinkerbell so we walked around trying to find her. FINALLY we realised that she had her own little garden set up behind the Dumbo ride so we checked the timings and headed over to Adventure land.

Checking out the drums at Adventure Land

It was time to meet Tinkerbell and Ally was beside herself.

Max joined in the fun

She wanted to see Tinkerbell again after her first photo taking session but I knew Max wasn’t interested so Matt took him on the carousel while Ally and I queued up again. She had a long chat with Tinkerbell about who knows what but she was really happy at the end of it.

A kiss from her favourite fairy

Since it was our last day at Disney, we decided to stay for the castle light up and the beginning of the fireworks. Ally wanted to go back to the club room to say good night to Mickey which meant we had to HURRY.

The castle light up was beautiful

We knew that once the fireworks were over everyone would start to leave and there would be huge queues for the shuttle buses. So we let the kids watch the beginning of the fireworks then we made our way back to the hotel.

She managed to catch the mandarin storytelling

And Mickey came to say good night

 

We had an afternoon flight the next day but I read in their news letter that sometimes the Disney Princesses would make an appearance at the club room at 10.30am. We went for our usual swim, had breakfast and as expected, Ally asked to wear her Sleeping Beauty outfit again. I didn’t mention about the princess appearance since the staff could not confirm and I didn’t want to disappoint her. But lo and behold, who should walk into the club room but Sleeping Beauty herself!

Meeting Sleeping Beauty

Ally was beyond excited, Max took one look at Sleeping Beauty and ran in the other direction. There was no one else in the club room at that time so Ally had Sleeping Beauty all to herself. She was kind enough to sit down and read a story to Ally.

 

 


She spoke to Ally for a long time and you could see the delight in Ally’s face. What a great way for her to end her holiday.

A big hug goodbye

 

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Hong Kong Disneyland- Part 1

We had free ferry tickets from Macau to Hong kong, the hotel provided a shuttle bus to the ferry pier which made everything a lot easier. Ferries depart every 30 minutes and it doesn’t matter what time it states on your ticket, if you’re early and there is space on the ferry, you can get on the earlier one. Which is what we failed to find out until we were there, we were ushered onto an earlier ferry, as a result we had to run from the terminal to the ferry which is quite a distance. Not to mention we had two toddlers and a ton of luggage in tow.

The ferry ride was surprisingly pleasant and smooth, Max slept through the entire journey which took about an hour. We stopped for lunch once we reached Hong Kong and then took the MTR to Disney.

Playing with Ally's bag even though we told him not to

In tears after falling over with her bag

On the train to Disney!

We chose to stay at the Disney hotel on the club level for several reasons. Breakfast was served in the club room daily, not to mention finger food and snacks throughout the day. More importantly, they had a story telling session each night for the children and either Mickey or Minnie would come to say goodnight to the kids after that. This meant that we didn’t have to join the long queues at the Park to take pictures with Mickey or Minnie. We could also watch the fireworks from the balcony on the club level, another way to avoid the crowds. I did think a long time before booking a club room since the rooms aren’t exactly cheap. We didn’t regret out decision in the end.

Check in was quick and easy, we were given a list of activities for the day plus our park tickets that we had pre-booked. Not only that, the hotel gave us fast passes for the park and additional priority seats for either The Lion King or The Golden Mickeys.

There was no way we could take a short nap, the children were far too excited so we changed our clothes and off we went.

It was relatively empty when we reached there, most people were leaving since it was about 4.30pm

We had just missed the local school holidays by a week which made a huge difference in the crowds. We were told that it was crazily crowded just a few days before. Even then we never let the kids out of our sight being the PP (paranoid parents) that we were.

Max's favourite ride, he kept asking us to take him on it over and over again

Max was excited to meet Buzz lightyear

The queue was never more than ten minutes for every ride, except for the car ride at Tomorrow Land which had a waiting time of 30 minutes. We promised Ally that we’ll come back tomorrow for the ride as we knew neither child would last waiting in the heat for 30 minutes.

Ally our family pilot

Ally is in full princess mode at the moment, she was dying to meet Tinkerbell, ever since Grandma had bought her a Tinkerbell outfit from US. We walked into a princess shop and the next thing I knew, she was dressed in a Sleeping Beauty costume. Matt bought it for her as expected, there was no way he could deny his little princess her dress. Plus she did look awfully cute.

Our sleeping beauty

Max and his "pickey" mouse balloon. For some strange reason he can't say Mickey

We headed back to the hotel to watch the fireworks, by then all of us were totally exhausted.

Posing on the balcony

We had a swim in the morning before heading to the park again. Ally was brave enough to go down the water slide all by herself. I had pre-booked a character breakfast for the children, I knew that they would enjoy seeing the characters up close.

Max's favourite, Mickey waffles and pancakes

The kids were so excited to see Mickey and all his friends, we took photographs with all the characters. Max looked a bit confused at times while Ally kept asking me why Mickey and gang didn’t answer her when she spoke to them.

Ally insisted on wearing her Sleeping Beauty outfit again

We headed back to the park with the intention of catching the parade. More about that in the next post.

 

 

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Out and About in Macau

The weather was HOT in Macau but we decided to venture outside of the hotel for lunch and to do some shopping. We headed to a well known shopping area for my mum and aunts to buy some snacks.

The street which was lined with bakery shops and eateries

The minute we stepped out of the taxi, the heat hit us with full force. Unlike Singapore, their humidity is relatively low so it’s just an intense burning heat. We headed to a famous bakery which thankfully had really strong air conditioning. The kids entertained themselves with the water dispensing machine while the adults shopped.  Each time we travel, Matt and I are very paranoid about the safety of our children. Our golden rule is to never let them out of our sight. Ally is easy cos she tends to hang around us but Max is known to wander off if he sees something of interest. We kept him in the stroller most of the time and used a child harness when he wanted to walk about. I know people have different opinions about using a harness but as long as my child is safe, that’s all I really care about.

Max's monkey pal aka his child harness

We had lunch at a local eatery, but this time both children were hungry and tired. In fact Max was so tired he just laid his arms on the table and fell asleep. Matt managed to get a shot of it and it’s one of my favourite photos from the whole trip, he looks so cute!

After lunch we decided to head back to the hotel to escape the heat. Unfortunately there was a long queue for taxis but we made it back eventually.

There is actually lots to do within the hotel, tons of shops to walk about and not to mention the gondola ride which both children wanted to sit. It’s obviously catered for tourist but turned out to be a really enjoyable ride. There are different canals within the hotel though none of them are connected to each other. All the gondola drivers could sing beautifully and we all enjoyed it.

Grandma and Ally enjoying the ride

Max happily snacking on his rasins

Admiring the decor

The slow movement of the gondola was lulling Max to sleep again, I think he could have sat on that gondola the whole day.

There’s also an indoor playground within the hotel, we took the kids there to check it out. It’s bright and airy and most importantly, clean. I have never seen an indoor playground like that before, some of the slides were downright scary with a nearly vertical drop. All kids needed to be in long sleeve and long pants to ride the slides, if they weren’t dressed appropriately, they had sweaters and pants for the kids. Ally was brave enough to try one of the scary slides and seriously, my heart nearly dropped as I walked her up to it. I kept asking her if she really wanted to do it and she kept saying yes. She tried it once and then decided to focus on one of the milder slides which was fine by me. Max stayed mostly in the smaller play area with Matt.

Juggling balls

Taking a break from playing

I didn’t manage to take any photos of Ally cos I was too busy helping her carry up these heavy bamboo mats that she needed to come down the slide on. Don’t recall how many trips I made up and down those stairs but it sure was a good workout.

Throughout the day there are performers around the hotel. We met a stilt walker and managed to catch an opera performance as well.

Even though the opera was sung in Italian, Max was mesmerised and refused to leave. I can’t blame him, they really had beautiful voices.

Listening to the opera

The hotel looked beautiful at night

That night we had tickets to watch Zaia which is a production by Cirque Du Soleil. I had seen one of their productions before so I knew what to expect. But I was very worried that the children would not sit through a 90 minute show. I was also concern that Ally would be scared by the make up and masks of the performers. Turns out I didn’t have to worry at all, the kids loved the show and were so well behaved. At times they got bored especially during the more artistic segments but overall they loved the effects and the acrobatics. We didn’t bring our camera as no flash photography was allowed inside.

Just hanging out and watching cartoons

We spent three days in Macau and really enjoyed ourselves, it’s not the ideal place for children but worth a visit at least once. Our next stop was to Hong Kong disneyland, !

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Venetian Ice World

As part of our trip,  we went to visit the Venetian Ice World exhibition. We knew that temperatures would be around -13 degrees so I made sure to pack thick jackets for the children. Winter coats were provided free of charge upon admission but you had to bring your own gloves and scarves.

The cold does hit you the moment you walk in but it really creeps under your skin as you keep walking through the exhibition. The ice cravings are amazing but honestly my face was freezing so I couldn’t really appreciate the exhibits.

Getting ready to go in

Max looked really cute in his thick coats

Ally loved the exhibit and seemed to be the only one who could withstand the cold

My face was really freezing

I gave my scarf to Max who insisted that I carry him. Think it was hard for him to balance under all those layers

5 layers and counting......

My little penguin

The rest of the adults all bundled up

Finally he decided to walk on his own, or rather waddle

Ally on the ice bridge

Max and I on the ice sleigh

The carousel was amazing

Ally with her favourite penguins

The kids loved the ice slide!

Max kept asking me to take him down the slide

The ice bar

Overall the kids really enjoyed the exhibit, even though they were freezing. If you are planning to go to Macau, it’s definitely worth a visit.

 

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We’re Back!

We just got back from our holiday to Macau and Hong Kong. The kids had a blast and Ally keeps asking when we are going back to Disneyland.

We flew to Macau on Tiger Airlines, the poor children had to wake up in time for a 6am flight but they were too excited about our holiday to grumble.

Both kids were barely awake

Nothing like some bread to keep Max happy

He really wanted to be left alone to eat his breakfast but his mama couldn't stop taking photos

The flight itself wasn’t too bad, both kids were very well behaved. Max slept for about 2 hours and somehow Ally managed to stay awake the entire flight despite waking up at 3am.

Fast asleep, thank goodness

She entertained herself for most of the flight which was a real blessing

Luckily for us the hotel was only 5 mins away from the airport. We were all tired and hungry by the time we reached Macau so our first stop was the food court. The Venetian hotel is massive and it’s very easy to get lost, even with the map given to us.

The decor was impressive, too bad the smell of cigarettes lingered everywhere

One thing to note if you’re traveling with young children, smoking is allowed everywhere in the hotel so the stale smell of cigarettes lingers. We had a non-smoking floor which thankfully was truly non-smoking. The rooms were very generous, we had two queen size beds and an additional sofa bed. My mom shared a similar room with her two sisters and there was still plenty of space for everyone.

Grandma and Ally at one of the lobbies, that's right, there is more than one lobby

The outside of our hotel

Checking out the view from the 3nd floor

The hotel was freezing, especially the hallways and lift lobbies, luckily the children had jackets. I made a mistake of only taking 1 pram with us and due to the vast size of the hotel, we did a lot of walking. This meant that one of us had to take turns carrying one child cos it was really too much for their little legs to walk.

Part of our package included tickets to an ice exhibition and to Zaia, a production by Cirque Du Soleil. I’ll tell you more about that in my next post.

 

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Teaching Maths

Up till yesterday, I never had the inclination to start teaching Ally Maths. She has always shown an interest in the subject but I always found it a pain.

Early on in my education career I managed to cope with Maths but as it got harder and harder, I fell further and further behind. Ironically I even took A math in secondary school and managed to pass it. But not without a lot of pain sweat and tears and I’m just referring to my teacher!

Looking back I realised that the reason I got so lost was because I didn’t have a good foundation in basic concepts. Even back then Math was taught at such lighting speed and I have to admit, I didn’t pay a lot of attention in school.

A friend was doing Right Start Math with her child and shared her experiences with us. It looked very interesting but far too parent intensive for my liking. I didn’t have the patience to prepare the lessons.

Another friend introduced Math U See and at first I was highly skeptical. Not of their teaching method but more of my own ability to teach. Luckily it comes with a DVD which “teaches” the lesson and parents can just model after what is shown. We met with the sole distributor who gave us a short demo of what the program was about. If you’re interested you can watch a video about the program here. http://www.mathusee.com/about-us/demonstration-video/

We started playing about with the materials last night and Ally caught on really quickly. On my part I watched the DVD after the kids slept so that I fully understood what I was suppose to teach her. It’s early days for me to comment on the program but I think we’re off to a good start.

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