Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Th end table 2014

Not a year I've particularly loved or liked. You've heard all my moans and grumpy outbursts with such patience that I must thank you. 

Let's do a quick roundup:
1. Health - sucked all round. From parents to extended family, all around the globe we are giving thanks for doctors and nurses keeping us safe and returning us to health. 

2. Singapore - grown on me. I like it more than the previous year. Combination of familiarity with what's where and deciding to be in charge of my own joy. Building my little bubble and letting all the blabber and insensitivity bounce right off it.

3. Kid - Bringer of untold joy, this little one hit the half decade mark and started Big School with aplomb this year. He is growing in confidence, knowledge, love and laughter each day. He is the star of the show that is our life and the laughter of our souls! 

4. Books - Another year of avoiding the Kindle and going for paper. More reading than I envisaged doing and a far wider variety / selection of genres. I've come to enjoy occasionally sharing what I read  with my FB friends and it always brings forth some great suggestions and discussions. As I recently read, Books turn Muggles into Wizards. To many more words and worlds to escape into.

5. Friends - V and I reconnected with Kindergarten friends, met college friends after near on 2 decades, had a wonderful slew of house guests and met some of our dearest London friends - all in this friend filled year. From coffee in Singapore to brunch in a Mumbai home, from introducing our children (aren't we the children?) to catching up in a short Mumbai bistro evening, from brilliant Diwali parties to surprise new Singapore expats, it's been a beautiful year of renewal. Of showing me that technology is to be embraced somewhat and that the rewards for extending ones hand in friendship can bring hugs and great peace.

6. State of the world - Very poor. We are fighting everything from the environment to each other. The Sanctity for Life is a steadily diminishing commodity. I cry for the mothers who lost their children to violence, I cry for the earth whose pain is evident in natural disasters and I cry for us as a people unable to see beyond our own backyards. I pray in 2015 for a bit more gentleness, every gesture to be measured by what it means to someone's joy rather than a selfish interest. I hope to pay my own good life forward every single day, in smiles, hugs, meals, kindness.

On balance 2014 was a year that opened my eyes yet wider and showed me the circle of life - from pain and adversity on the one hand to how a hug or a call or a small kindness can spread the love and bring hope, give solace.

Goodnight, 2014! To you and yours, from me and mine, a wonderful 2015.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Festive

It's been a festive few days. We celebrated Christmas, our anniversary and the renewal of old friendships over 4 beautiful Bangalore days. The traffic was not beautiful but all the gorgeous breeze and cool temperature, the friendliness and smiles made it a wonderful mini break. Here are a few festive pictures from our home in Singapore (prep for Santa to arrive), various places in our travels and our own DIY efforts to be celebratory.

Our main tree in Singapore/ my FB greeting (with Kid not cut out). This is year 5 of book trees. This is the biggest and best so far.

Brownie with meringue snowman at the Ritz Carlton in Bangalore. Cute and tasty is a winning combination.


Lovely little puppet display at the Bangalore airport. And for a change well and interestingly sign marked.

Kids Santa's stocking. All 3 cousins got the same this year (with instructions they are to be reused for many a year to come). Santa found us in Bangalore and left 11 little presents in the stocking.

Gingerbread display at the Ritz Carlton lobby. Kid says 'I have a Lego City, you can have a gingerbread city mama'. This picture does not do it justice.

Chocolate chip muffins baked this morning here in Mumbai - clearly our celebration continues. More cousins and more gup-shup.

Signage at our balcony window in Singapore so Santa can find his way. The bottom has this: Kids name (who has been a very good boy)

And finally here is our DIY tree in Sjngapore. Visual confirmation via picture text that Santa did indeed find our house, follow our sign and leave our presents under the tree. Someone can't wait to go back home in a few days!

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Marrying a Fine Man

It was a cold winters night. Morning hadn't yet broken. Despite all the advice of getting a good nights rest to look 'fresh' on her wedding day the Bride couldn't sleep. She tossed and turned, nervous and excited in equal measure.

At 4.30am she gave up. She crept into the dark living room and called her very Best Friend. Come, quick, what am I doing? Sleep not yet complete she assured the Bride she would be there in no time at all.

They weren't real doubts. She knew him for near on a decade at this point. But it was a life changing moment, a joining with no return, a shift into adulthood more serious than the drinking games, the parties and grown up jobs and clothes. She sat on her bed, waiting.

In no time at all the Best Friend was there, having careened through town in darkness, her outfit for the day neatly pressed on a hanger. And there they sat, on a childhood bed, and laughed away an unanticipated nervousness. The friends' mere presence, there there to hold hands and listen to her gibberish made all the tension slip away.

Morning soon arrived. The Bride and Groom stood under a flower laden tree, surrounded by a hundred of their closest family and friends and were soon declared married by registered decree. A bright crisp Christmas morning made merrier by all the love and sunshine surrounding them.

Thirteen years on I find myself reminiscing about that day. Here I am still married to that Fine Man. Each day an adventure, a perfect fit through the trials and tribulations of life, the gentle eyes and smile that still make my heart flutter. I wouldn't change a thing. Heady heady days. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Fab

Day 2 of the break and the luxury is not letting up. A lazy morning around the house - including a hearty breakfast of hot toasted slices of Flurrys Masala bread - my dad-in-law arrived from Calcutta yesterday - and a few rasogulla's (also courtesy Kolkata). 


After much deliberation and many voting rounds we headed for Dum Pukht at the ITC Maratha near the airport. Our normal go to fancy Indian food is Peshawari (in the same hotel). More curries and a smashing kakori and biryani were promised.


We weren't disappointed. The kakori was delightful and a lotus seed and root seekh was the surprise great appetiser. I'm not a fan of biryani (or any pulao) so stuck to roomali (which turned out to be too dry and thick) and shared too many mains (aloo dum was the surprise winner). The flavours of everything were more complex and it was a far richer meal than Peshwari. I'd go back to Peshawari in a heartbeat. 


The decor was interesting. Like the food, more layers, more complex and far more ornate than the earthier tones of Peshawari. 


Sated beyond any nutritional boundary we headed home where 80% of the household found themselves horizontal spaces to digest food comas. I entertained the 3 kids while trying very hard not to nod off sitting up! Eventually I gave up any idea of rest/ sleep and read while the kids played. 

In the evening the 3 sisters in law ventured out. First a wander through the insipid, overpriced Marks and Spencer. Then a walk through Bandra to admire the twinkling Christmas lights and enjoy the breeze. A challenge to find walkable sidewalks in the crazy traffic but we managed and ended up at Fab India. Wandered through the rich aisles of silk and cotton and leather and wood. Since I had already shopped there last month I had nothing left to buy and instead bought all my masalas and mosquito repellent. I leave you with pictures of a colour extravaganza.






Saturday, December 20, 2014

Li'l Flea Market

In Mumbai for winter break. Day 1 has been a leisurely 'figure it out as we go' sort of day. 8 adults and 3 children mean there are a lot of whims and fancies and palates to be catered for. 

A 5am wander around the house in pitch darkeness did not convince Kid that it was night. His tummy demanded a Singapore breakfast - so we have literally been up since the crack of dawn. A morning of playing shops, noughts & crosses, drawing, running, animal and vehicle counter waterfalls, trains, impromptu Hindi lesson and word games to entertain 2 out of 3 kids. A lunch of pizza and milkshakes at the round the corner Cafe Mangii (a name associated only with unwell dogs I fear but thankfully tasty food).

Then kids and fathers went home while my sis in law T and I wandered over to the Bandra Reclamation for the L'il Flea Market. We chanced upon the advert in the paper this morning and went for a lark, intending to gaze and not buy.


Not quite a brickwork Dilli Haat of artisans, this little pop up flea was on an uneven ground covered in white cloth and filled to the gills with posh arty organic shops. Rs.100 got us a stamp on the hand and the right to enter. I didn't have much hope with this money making beginning - after all they expected me to spend money inside and I assumed that the tables were paid for by the shops rather than the customers. I was however pleasantly surprised both by the variety and quality of things available. Small, home grown but designed and thought through offerings to appeal to a wide market. From kids clothes to shoes, funky crafts, cushions, artworks and clothing, there was a l'il something for everyone. Most store owners were friendly and had put in a lot of thought to their displays. They weren't the artists but the people sourcing them and yet there was a level of passion in telling someone else's craft story that was impressive. There was only partial cover along some lanes from the searing heat - peach and blue lengths of clothe. Added bunting and fluttering lanterns, painted tokris and ribboned circles made it look craftsy and cool - casually thrown together to effect a  soft and welcoming look in a sharp and clear day. There was also a food section complete with fluttering curtains, old style lamps, makeshift tables, benches and floor mats. 

So here is a glimpse of the few hours we spent, cold coffee (me) and lemongrass tea (she) in hand and making impulse purchases.

Ribboned circles at the entry. And half recycled tyres made into little kids see saws.

All paper goods - boxes and punch out figurines. Simple, colourful, beautiful and user friendly.

Posters galore


The only (and very inviting) shade - simple cloth lengths stitched together as makeshift awning.


Tokris to match the awnings.


I fell in love with the fabric of that blue shirt. Scooters! Just adorable. Sadly not my size!


This was my favourite store. This lady Kasmira Rao-Nadndi runs Folkloric - Old tales, new language - and works with traditionalist artisans and craftspeople to bring traditional design and old craft methods into the modern home with an update or twist. Each piece has a story and a royalty that goes back to the artist. I bought the birds on a wire rectangular cushion to sit on the chair in my room. I'll take a picture when I go back.

I also bought a copper bracelet from a store called 'Indrika' that uses recycled materials to create pieces of Jewelry and fabricate some lovely clothes. The bracket looks like a giant nail twisted into a shape that circles a wrist. Unusual and inexpensive and ticks the Eco warrior box.

After a short break to cool down and recompose ourselves I joined T, my MIL, S (the benchmark Sil) and her daughter R on an hours journey to Phoenix Mall to watch PK. I didn't have high hopes when I saw the opening bit of spaceships. It turned out to be a movie that commented on the juxtaposition of the hope and superstition that religion offer the human race. It was sharp and well scripted and Aamir Khan outdid himself in his role as an alien. It didn't offend anyone and used humour to cast its net wide and deep. I would highly recommend it. Beware however of grimacing when you see Anushka Sharma's freshly botox'd pout and very bad wig! 

All in all a fabulous first day of the holidays. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Black and white and red all over


As I stood at the condo gate at stupid o'clock (6.50am to be precise) this morning I was only half paying attention to the Kid who was excitedly telling me all about his concert this afternoon. I smiled, nodded enthusiastically, kissed him, hugged him and promised to be at school, his personal cheerleader, brownies in hand, by 1pm. But really, inside I was half asleep. 

He got on the bus and as I waited for it to pull away I noticed how lovely the light was. I took this picture to remind myself of these early mornings. How we have changed from a family of stragglers at 7.45am to an efficient buzzing household at 6am. This is what Big School is all about: we pay them a hefty fee and they teach us a hefty lesson. Early to bed early to rise? An early start is an enthusiastic start. One can accomplish so much at the crack of dawn. And various others adages that escape my sleep deprived mind. 

As he completes 4 months at Big School and approaches his last week before a 3 week winter break I find I am the most pleased. Only 1 more week of classes for 2014. This has been the term of getting used to this new early routine. And as beautiful as this old Singapore Black and White House opposite our condo gate is I am most thankful for the break from seeing it at unearthly o'clock five days a week.

Lots of lie-ns for mum = happy holidays!!

Written on Friday (12th) and posted a day late!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wise and wine

Or maybe that should be 'wise with wine'

In the past few months I've been attending the occasional lovely little art talks with a bunch of people from our condo (plus friends). Run by the very passionate and talented Claire Kwiatkowski each talk in the series 'Picture this' talks about an artist and a specific piece of art. A few months ago we went to one on Monet and his 'Impression, Sunrise'. It was such a interesting talk, a glimpse into the birth of Impressionism but also Monets' ideas and influences as well as the technological advancements (tubes of paint) that allowed for such a new style to be developed. 


This past Wednesday we went for this, Vincent Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'. Once again Claire held fort and talked not of his perceived madness (the ear cutting etc) but instead of his expansive knowledge and verbose letters to his brother. He moved from place to place over his short life and his work influenced both by his surroundings/ other Masters but also (unwittingly) by his mental imbalance (epilepsy of a kind). She showed us his personality reflected in the steady march of his works from mastering techniques in other mediums before finally picking up a paintbrush and oils at the ripe old age of 30. It was an impressive talk and it made me come home and want to dig up my book of his works and my memories of the museum visit to see just his works. 


Yes that is a bowl of soup by the little hand out! A delicious bowl of carrot and orange soup. You see, the talks are held in various venues and are either coffee morning talks or dinner talks. This was in the same venue we went to last time, a little restaurant in the business district here in Singapore, called SPRMRKT. This is a lovely (if cosy) venue that shuts its doors to the public and lays out 2 long tables (about 25 people) and has a 2 or 3 course menu to choose from - a veg and non veg main option. Also the option of wine. So talk followed by long chatty dinner. On a weekday. Lovely! 

Can't wait for next years 'Picture This' series. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

Turns out that Singapore is full of Americans and they all live in my condo. This is not news to me as we have attended two well attended parades in our condo the past few years. The change has been that now that my Kid studies at an American School we are surrounded by the celebrations of their festivals in addition to their nod to ours. 

In past years we have gone to the parade and tricked/ treated around the condo but Kid was younger and dinner bath and bedtime got in the way of any serious wandering. 

This year however we've taken it up a notch. He had a pumpkin patch visit in school last week and a class Halloween Party at School today. He took his Batman costume (grey tshirt, black tracks, Cape and mask - the latter two borrowed) to school and apparently had a great time doing crafting activities and eating marshmallows. 

Home and a quick snack and costume change (now a train engineer) later we walked to another halloween party in our condo. Then to the poolside for the parade - two circles of the pool. Then off to trick and treat at the various people that signed up to open their apartments up. V got home in time to join forces with Kids and parents while I headed home to open doors and greet the enthusiastic trick and treaters. 

Kid and I talked about decorating a few weeks ago but I left everything to the last two days. I googled and trolled Pinterest for ideas of what both of us could do together. And this is the result:


* I cut out the BOO sign and Kid painted it. 
* The 3 pumpkin tea light holders cost me $6.
* I had black crepe paper and cut out the bats using a neat trick I found on Pinterest. Took me 10 minutes total. 
* The spiders web you see just inside the door - from a $2 packet. We decorated it with spiders made out of pipe cleaners (made a few weeks ago as part of a rainy afternoon activity)
* The pumpkins which look like lanterns are a failed experiment to make pumpkins. I used plain coloured paper instead of card so they didn't retain their shape. Took 30 minutes to cut the strips of paper and another 30 to assemble all 8 pumpkins. 

These were our treats:



* I own the basket. I lined it with a scrap of orange cloth from the linen cupboard. I bought it for a reason but it escapes me now. The sweets were Oreo cookies, smarties, M&Ms and raisins. 
* Bought 90 colouring pens for $6 and asked each kid to choose 2. 
* The eyeballs which have single handedly made me the Coolest Mom are styrofoam balls ($10 for 30), felt tip markers and 20 minutes while watching the news and voila! These were the most popular treat and everyone wanted one. We ran out pretty quick.

Kid had a great time even though exhaustion and hunger got the better of him a few times. Once fed he stayed home and greeted everyone with the most cheerful 'Happy Halloween to you' and sang 'trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat' on behalf of all visiting kids. Loved being the guy handing out the treats and made up rules like 'you must choose two sweets and two pens each'. 

Now he has gone to sleep and we are out to dinner. Happy Halloween people! 

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

No band aids this time

When do we become the parents of our parents? It's a thin and impossible line to see. You see all this time I have been returning to my parents home and letting down my own health guard, letting them nurse me to good health and recover from colds coughs and the obligatory fever every time I visit. It seems the tables have turned, over the years imperceptibly but then this year with a Big Bang.

In the last 6 or so months it would seem like all the slightly older and sometimes still fairly young people in our lives are undergoing medical travails. From breathing issues to heart stents, from broken bones to multiple Myelomas, from heart panics to detached retinas, from high blood pressure to cataracts, from miscarriages to low spirits and memory loss - it's all going on in this family.

And through it all we are trying to do our research about treatment options, helping with logistics, planning trips to visit, sending messages of strength, waiting for updates, including them in our prayers, crossing our fingers, making silent bargains for an exchange of good health and bad and trying to keep spirits up long distance. How many sighs of relief I have breathed each morning, waking up to news of a procedure gone well; wishing my uncle all the strength he can muster, hoping my mum-in-law stays positive through a prolonged treatment, keeping up the spirits of beloveds in the face of loss, and then being the brave face for my mum's painful retina re-attachment done under local anaesthetic.

Upcoming school Fall Break was to be spent between Delhi and Mumbai, celebrating diwali with families. A turn of events yesterday has seen my mum admitted to a Cardiac Unit for chest pain. She's had a slew of tests, an angiogram and now a stent put in to her arteries. I've sat here chewing my nails for 36 hours now, all the while using my calm voice for her (and my own benefit). I refuse to panic. She will be just fine and I have changed my tickets to go to them earlier. 

I'm acutely aware, like never before, that age is catching up with us. And that this is the case with most families, a time when we turn older and the decisions of our youth finally appear in the sheet of our health. There is very little dignity in old age - and all these people I love dearly are holding on with all their might. I don't have a time machine or any band aids quicken the healing process. I do however have ears to listen with, a shoulder to cry on and hands to hold on to. Hold my hand won't you, while I hold my mums hand? Virtual good health vibes and prayers - they all help - and I'm accepting it all. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A word on Motherhood

You may have noticed that this is not a mothers blog in any way.  But I feel compelled to write this down. Mark it down to mid life angst - this will probably be one of a handful of posts on the state of parenting in our household.

For many many years I was asked the question 'why don't you have kids?'. And yes it was often asked subtly (not always though) or with my (purported) interests at heart (because naturally EVERY woman wants to be a mother. Not). But it was also asked with malice and one up-man-ship in mind (I have kids and they have made my life SO much better. Whatever, say I). I learnt to swat away the question, deftly and without pain to either party. I didn't want kids up to a certain point and no one was going to plan my life beside me.

And then five years ago I had a child. And yes he is Magic. M.A.G.I.C. The cherry on my already Sundae of a life. And yes he is one of only 5 people I would jump off an actual cliff for (really, and not just in a hypothetical situation). He and V are mine and mine. We live in our own little bubble for the most part. I love this situation, with no reservations, regrets or wants. It fits me and I fit it.

Meanwhile the question hasn't gone away, merely morphed like an alien looking for a new way invade the savvy humans. Now it's 'why don't you have a second child?'. This is not usually asked with any of the subtlety of the pre-child years. It's usually a direct question from people who have two or more kids. It assumes that because I had one I can naturally have another and therefore it is just me stopping this from happening. Never mind that there may be 300 other factors like health or age or god forbid not wanting to have another child. It's not always one up-man-ship (although it is sometimes), it's sometimes (intentionally) cruel (although they have no clue about my situation one way or another). It's often as if they have found the secret of siblings (whether to play with each other or be there for each other after the parents are long gone) and think everyone should be in the same club. It's not everyone but it's enough that I notice. It's often unasked but always implied in polite dribs. 

I wouldn't mind the question were it from a well meaning but non pitying place. Or a less passive aggressive place where your second kid is not the win of a race. Good for you. You wanted 3 kids or 7 kids and you got them. Seriously I am pleased for you. Whether or not I can have or want a second child or an eight child is entirely irrelevant to your existence. 

Will he be lonely when we are dead and gone? Sure he will. But grief is a lonely situation anyway. Also the state of siblings is not always utopian. You can hope and work for your kids to get along but there is no guarantee they won't fight or ignore each other as adults (far more common to have adult squabbles over inheritance or just not get along than one would think). And I've seen plenty of well balanced and wonderful single children. So that argument doesn't hold any merit. And yes I have a sibling and I know what it's like to have shared history and blood with only one other person. We have a great relationship and he is one of the 5 I'd jump of that cliff for. I'm one the sets that do get along. But I'm aware it isn't so for all others. Also this is not the reason I'm not having more kids. What my reasons are are entirely mine. 

I have strong opinions (you know this) and I'm the queen of telling it straight (you know this too). But I've tempered these and toned down my speak aloud-ness of responses. I instead find other ways to vent my frustration. Words on a page like this work for me. As do cryptic WhatsApp status messages. 

In closing, my son is an only child. This may or may not change; I am approaching my dwindling fertility 40s rapidly and there are other circumstances that govern all decision making. Decisions and lives that you know nothing about and are not yours to comment on. I love that he is my sole focus. I'm not clamouring for more kids. He is what I need and have and want. I'm not judging people with more kids and I wish they would stop judging me. So don't use your passive aggressive shit on me world. I ain't going to be riled up by it anymore. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

OMG

So I was trying to change the password to another gmail account and changed this (Blogger)one by mistake. Then got confused about what it was and couldn't get back in. 

And of course the second it was lost about 345 different possible topics to post on appeared. I've written some of them as notes and hopefully in the next few days I'll post them. 

Wonder if there is anyone still out there waiting for my pearls of wisdom to appear?! Hahaha. 

I'm back. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tomorrow

I've just returned, a little tipsy, from a steak dinner with V. There is apparently no other window of opportunity for us to go and mourn/ celebrate my turning Old for many a month to come. 

I read an article from the New York Times about turning 40 recently and while the woman seemed to be succinctly putting down my thoughts I found one particularly catching. 

It was the one that said that we are 95 percent the same as everybody else and only 5 percent unique. I've been having this thought for over a year now and it's got me depressed to say the least. I've always thought of myself, of us, as more unique than just 5pc. I mean 5 pc, what is that, nothing right?! A year or so ago I realised we were all just ordinary, human and misguided and not unique at all as I had imagined I was heartbroken. This thought made me so so sad and was my thought of rumination for many an evening over this past year. I didn't come to any fine conclusions or positions to refute this. But as a coping with my grief method I think I internalised this pain of ordinariness and moved on. 

Tomorrow I'll wake up to a busy but oh so ordinary day. I don't know what I can do or what anyone could say to convince me that that 5percent of uniqueness is enough to live a full and happy life. I'm struggling with the ordinariness of me as a person - I'll be the first to admit it - but have not the slightest of clue as to what I can take this final year of my 30s and do with it. 

I'll have to ruminate some more over something chocolate. Wish me, won't you?! 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Five - the birthday fun continued

Unlike last years extravaganza I decided a simpler and far more inexpensive party was called for. Last year my two biggest costs were party invitations and birthday cake. This year I did away with physical party invitations and used the RedStamp App to make and email the invitation. I used this picture that the Kid had taken using my phone at the aquarium, sometime in June:


It was a simple and sweet and most importantly FREE invitation sent out by email to the very short list of mums whose kids were invited.

Then came the cake. Kid has a school friend that lives in our condominium. While the boys are very good friends his mum and I have also become firm friends and spend many a play date or poolside or playground time trying to get the kids of expend their boundless energy. She is a great baker - I don't have the patience and the tools to bake much more than an occasional banana loaf - and offered to bake and decorate with me. So we spent a morning at hers decorating (she baked it at 6am!). 

A few weeks ago, when asked what he would like, Kid had said he wanted a minion lego pirate cake. Or a Thomas train again. Explained that it was a pool party and that an ocean theme with the Octonauts might be fun. He totally went for it. He had a few figurines and we borrowed some from another friend. Dettol and detergent soaked to get any grub off. Then we opened bags of Smarties and M&M's and picked out the blue and green ones (different brands different size and shade). He helped in all these activities from seperating out smarties to soaking the figurines and scrubbing them with a brush. Also over the summer he and I built the little aquarium from a cardboard box, pipe cleaners, foam board and string. Instead of throwing it away after the many hours of pretend play that it got we saved it and used it on the party table (previous post).


Here's the making of this cake. 







The cake was delicious and not a single crumb was left.

My friend also made the piñata. She did them for both her kids and decided she was going to make one for Kid. So she made this amazing piñata and we filled it with rubber duckies/ coloured pencils/ erasers and small slinkies. 


Bottom line:
1. Invitations: free (time effort and electricity were used)
2. Cake: free (I will take my friend out for a drink sometime)
3. Piñata: $10 (all materials for outer shell were already in the crafts drawer and I spent $10 on the little toys inside)
4. Pool and function room: free (refundable deposit of $100 to insure against damage - already refunded)
5. Food: pizzas ($300 for 15 very large pizzas and $50 for all the rest of the food)
6. Decorations: kwazii cat pin the tail and the box with the cat to pelt with water balloons (free materials + $4 for water balloons); $25 for the baskets on the table and all those glasses plates and spoons. 
7. Good time had by all: like the ad says, priceless. The party was full of fun and energy and laughter. There was no better way to celebrate. 

And then on Sunday the 6th of July 2014, his actual birthday, my little boy woke up for another day of celebration. And I've been told repeatedly since then that apparently being FIVE is awesome! 


Wish my boy a year of awesomeness, won't you?! 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Whoa! He's Five.

One day you are in hospital about to give birth to a much anticipated child. The next, you wake up and he is FIVE! It all seems like the blink of an eye, but this morning my little baby woke up a Five year old Boy. Half a decade young. 

We had a great little party yesterday, far less stress and work than last year. I'm getting smarter at getting organised and this year I just didn't want the huge wedding-ness of last year. 

I would give you the verbal full on run down in one shot but I'm afraid you'd be comatose by the end so instead let me give you the back story and a sequence of events and the food. 

The plan was to have 10 kids and a pool party. The list expanded to include a few others I hadn't thought of and so that number went up to 14. The tropical weather put paid to the idea of doing everything informally by the pool. We woke up to heavy rain so called the management office and asked for the function room. Luckily it was available so we hastily set it up. 

Sequence of events (not like I imagined but as they turned out):
10: kids arrive and they all put a paw to canvas (activity plus return present).


10.15: pin the patch on Kwazii.


This is a pin the patch game. The idea taken from Pinterest and made one evening last week. I cut out 15 patches and Kid spent an afternoon colouring each one. I popped a little peel-able tack behind each and then at the party when blindfolded the tack was peeled and the patch applied.

10.30: Sponge bucket game: two teams / 4 buckets/ getting the water from one bucket to the other using the sponge. Super fun! 


10.40: all headed to the pool. I hung around for the most part but went back to the function room at 11.20 to set up the food. 

11.40: 14 hungry kids, dry and starving from all that pool fooling around, had this to eat: 


That's 'Sea cucumbers' (cucumbers), 'fishies' (fish crackers), 'sand'wiches (buns with butter and cheese), 'Beach Balls' (apples and oranges), 'Sea mud Squares' (brownies), 'Deep Sea' Jello and 'Take a dip (tortilla chips and salsa). 

This followed by pizza and then this amazing jellyfish piñata my friend made:


Then it was cake (another post) followed by the fun game: water balloons


Forgot to say, this is Kwazii cat from the Octonauts - ties loosely to the underwater theme. I was going for. The other side of the box says 'Shiver me whiskers!!'. I made this between his bus leaving at 8.30am and 9.30am on Friday (when I had to leave to go help bake the cake). On the day we used it for the kids to stand in and take pictures and then the kids pelted it with water balloons. It's more rudimentary than the picture looks but it worked a treat. It was sopping wet and disintegrated by the end but the kids loved it! 

12.45: get a goody bag and pop in the canvas handprint and say bye bye thanks for coming to my party! This is the fronts of the bags - cut out octopus/ pufferfish/ seahorse/ dolphin, all coloured by Kid and his Brother P last Sunday. Then stuck on the bags and googly eyes added on. Small note of thanks included in the bag with two tiny packs of M&M's and a vehicle shaped ceramic money box. 


The backs of the bags were decorated with foam stickers. 

Clear up and then home were we all collapsed in small heaps to recover. Kid and his brother built some Lego while I tried to sort out the various bags and bits and bobs that had come back from the party. 

It's the 6th today and he is FIVE today. We are having a family day with visiting grandparents, V's brother, his wife and my nephew (said brother P) and a friend visiting from London. We are off to have a swim and lunch and then follow a few birthday rituals like cake and presents. Laters! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mid holiday round up


Langkawi is little. And we are on a very lazy break in a very lovely resort. Our days are made up of leisurely meals, beach strolls, swimming, water activities like jet skiing and kayaking, beach footie, cheeky monkey watching, little excursions into town for the cable car, the majestic mangroves, ocean speedboat trips and finally giant bubble jacuzzi baths for the two kids.


We, all 4 adults and 2 kids, have become experts at these vacations. All the adults get some down time/ time to pursue activities they are keen on whether it's a book and a beachside hammock or a trek to gaze at birds. And the remaining adults then juggle the activities to keep the kids occupied. It's works well now, this tag team parenting. And to be fair the boys are so perfectly matched that they keep each other entertained and rarely squabble. 


It's a relaxing time. We are all windswept and thoroughly in love with this little island. The food is fabulous and the people so very friendly. Each evening the kids fall asleep in one of the rooms and with interconnecting rooms we sit in the other, gaze out to sea and enjoy the sunset with glasses of proseco and rounds of Uno beside the variations of 'what would you do/ be/ see/ travel if .....?' which is my favourite chatting game. 


We've had the odd 10 minute storm with billowing sand and pouring rain but all that has done has cool the temperature a bit. All in all it's been relaxing and we still have days to go, lucky us!