Sunday, July 15, 2018

Story of Baby #4 - A journey of God's Grace



So.... here I am 30 weeks gone and still haven't wrapped my head around the fact that I'm going to have a 4th baby!

Growing up, I told myself I would never have 4 kids. My parents have 4 children you see. I always found a family with 4 kids too big. You need a larger car, you never really get to travel far because hello crazy expensive plane tickets? And don't even get me started about how would you afford an apartment with 5 bedrooms?

I never even considered myself a person who loves young kids. When I was growing in my parents' church, I would often shun away from serving in the children ministry because hmm... let's just say I have enough "children ministry" at home. My two younger brothers are 8 and 9 years younger than me respectively and I was the defacto nanny chasing after them wherever we went.

Who would have thought that I would end up being a stay-home-Mom who totally found my passion in life by having MY own kids?

Maybe giving birth changed me. My first-time experience being a Mom with Samuel was the hardest. I had a difficult labour and unplanned C-section that left me in so much pain. My husband had started a brand-new job halfway across the country and I was left to my own devices for endless hours! I still shudder at the thought of those brand-new lonely motherhood days when every new experience felt like a challenge and uphill battle! Oh how I used to fret about the sleepless nights or whether I had enough breastmilk. I consulted Dr Google wayyy too often and I doubted myself wayy too much.

Fast-forward almost 7 years and I have 3 young boys (aged 2, 5 and soon-to-be 7). I don't have a nanny or maid. But a trusty dishwasher and a cleaner who comes by once a week.

I have ceased to consult parenting books. I sieve through people's well-meant advice a LOT. I no longer absorb other people's opinions like a sponge. When I get unsolicted advice, I just nod my head and go "uh huh". I go with the flow SO.MUCH.MORE. Kids are sick, ok. Are they dying? Can they breathe? Yes? Ok, let's wait and see how they are tomorrow. I no longer run to the doctor at any sign of distress. I'm able to decipher each child's moods / emotions / tantrums / illness so much better.

And most of all. I'm better able to trust my own instincts and God so much more. Baby doesn't sleep through the night? No biggy. I'll just enjoy snuggling with him cos I know that he WILL sleep-through the night at some point in time!

And each time I have a newborn, I'm more aware of the transience of time. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed Liam's first 2 years. He has made it pretty easy for me too, cos he's an awesome sleeper. But I think it's also coupled with the fact that I didn't stress myself up over every single problem. I embraced the "And this too shall pass" mentality. I never knew if I would go for a 4th, so I treasured each of Liam's milestone / newborn stage as my last.

That said, we DID go for a 4th! So... here's our story!

We both spent a lot of time talking and praying about our decision to go for a 4th. We don't take this decision lightly because we know how full our hands are with 3 kids. I struggled a lot, because I know that our chances of having a 4th boy is well.... very high?

To be honest, I LOVE having boys. I love my 3 boys. I love being a boy mom. And as much as I'd love to have my first girl, I would totally welcome our 4th boy into our family too!

The only thing I need to brace myself is for the comments from people. Moms of 4 babies of one gender whether all girls or all boys are the butt of jokes / mindless comments. I always feel like I need to defend my boys and tell people "No, 3 boys are NOT bad. They are NOT always wild. I'm NOT going crazy with the boys". I don't know how often I got the pitiful look from people for having 3 boys. I LOVE my boys!!! Why on earth would someone tell me it's "a pity" to have 3 boys and I should "try for a girl!" Drives me mad.

First trimester - 

Oh boy. The fatigue hits you like a rock! I was one exhausted Mama! I became a social hermit and cancelled all my social appointments, reserving my limit reservoir of energy just for tending to my 3 kids and my household. Once, I felt asleep on the floor in the hallway(!!) after bringing the kids back home! That was how knackered I was! I was nauseous for the whole of 14 weeks!

Second trimester-

I felt much better physically but my 3 kids and hub fell terribly sick. The hub was sick and lethargic for 4 full weeks! Winter viruses can be brutal!

I went to A&E cos I actually thought I was having a heart attack. It turned out to be a false alarm, thank God! I kept having pressure in my rib cage and I had no idea why. So when my left arm had the worst tingling sensation and I felt my baby finger lose sensation, I really thought it was a heart issue cos that’s what Dr Google said. Google “chest pressure and left arm pain”.

Doc reassured me everything was ok and even hooked me up to a heart machine just to assure me that I was fine! She said it’s most probably due to pregnancy hormones that cause everything to relax including the veins in my arms. When there’s too much fluid in my veins, it might cause a prickling sensation. I googled it and it turned out to be a common pregnancy symptom! Who would have known??!

Hayfever allergies were brutal! My second trimester coincided with the break of spring and while I welcomed the warmer temperatures, I couldn't stop sneezing and my eyes were so swollen and painful from the intense pollen concentration in the air! This being my 4th pregnancy meant that I had to seriously focus on squeezing my pelvic muscles whenever I had to sneeze! Not fun at all!

Fifth Disease scare. Gosh. Gabriel's kindergarten had a case of a kid geting the Fifth Disease, also known as "slapped cheek syndrome". I didn't think much about it until his teacher told my hubby to keep Gabriel away from kindergarten because I'm pregnant. Say what??

I called my gynae and was told that I needed to do a blood test to see if I'm immune to this virus. If I'm not and in the occasion that I contracted this virus, I would have to go for weekly ultrasounds at a specialist to see if baby is getting enough oxygen, because this virus could affect the red blood cell production of a fetus. #faint

I quarantined Gabriel at his grandparents for 5 days while I awaited the blood test results anxiously. It was seriously the most stressful period ever! When the nurse finally called me and told me that somehow by the grace of God, I'm immune to this virus, I totally burst out crying!

Gestational Diabetes .... again! I got tested early this pregnancy at week 20 because of my prior GD experience with Liam. It was quite a bummer, but now that I've been checking my blood sugar for the past 8 weeks and the figures are pretty good, I don't worry about it too much.


God's Blessings in this journey

Truth be told, I really wanted to go back to Singapore in August. But since this baby is due in September, I knew I wouldn't be able to fly in August.

Against my husband's advice, I went ahead to seek permission from Sam's school to ask if he could be excused from school for 2 weeks. We would then combine a 2-week school break together with the 2 weeks special permission break and travel sometime in Spring.

I figured, the most they would say is "no" and at least I know I have tried. Turns out, the school actually agreed to this audacious request of mine! Germany has a very strict no-vacation-during-school-term policy, to the point that policemen would sometimes patrol the airports to see if there are any parents breaking this rule! #facepalm

But guess what? Even after I got this special permission, I was unable to book any air tickets because of the 5th Disease scare and having to do my Gestational Diabetes test! By the time I had my test results and the green light from my doctor to take a flight, it was barely 10 days to the school holiday!

I was so uncertain about going back to Singapore with gestational diabetes because I was worried sick that eating out (which is my main reason for going back when pregnant), would cause my blood sugars to shoot through the roof.

Cheapest plane tickets - On Singapore Airlines no less!


When I checked for plane tickets and realised that Singapore Airlines had ticket prices at only 525€ (usual price hovers around 700€), I knew I had to go to Singapore!!! And hear this... SIA only had 7 tickets left at this price and we bought 5 of those tickets!!! I even had to ask the school to extend the number of days from 2 weeks to 2 weeks + 2 days!

Found the most amazing beach vacation venue!


Again.... we tried to book a beach vacation so we could do the European thing of lazing in the pool and sun, but try as I did, it was so hard finding a reasonably-priced hotel that would be willing to accomodate 3 kids - even if the 3rd kid still sleeps on our bed!

I spent 4 full days scouring the Internet and was just about the throw in the towel when my immediate neighbour came by my house and told me all about her brilliant holiday in Thailand at this amazing resort! And there was exactly where we went!

Managed to keep my sugar levels in check!

Remember my concern about eating out in Singapore? Turns out, everything worked out well! I could indulge in my favourite durians without any sugar spikes!!! I managed to eat everything I wanted and still keep within acceptable sugar ranges most of the time! It was such a relief! It was such a blessing to be able to satisfy my cravings instead of waiting another 1.5 years before I can go back to Singapore!

---------------------------

Yeah, so that's my pregnancy in a nutshell! Sooo much to say in just one update. I knew I had to document my journey because I'm still soooo amazed to see God's footprints in the whole journey! I'm so grateful and thankful for God's grace each step of the way.

And that's exactly how I intend to approach my 4th pregnancy. When people ask me how I will manage with 4 kids without a maid, I'll just say, "With God, all things are possible!"

My only ultrasound photo of our littlest one!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Dear Liam - 2 years old


Why does my 2-year old look like a teenager here?
Dear Liam

I can't believe you're two already! My beloved baby of the family!

My many apologies because Mummy's updates of you have been so sparse. BUT I continue to witness your milestones everyday and cherish every single moment watching you grow up.

You're my third boy. And believe it or not, we love you as if you're our only child! You got the sweetest and most gentle nature. Nothing seems to frazzle you. Ok, I take that back, you seem to have developed a hate relationship with the stroller and would scream, like really scream whenever I put you in there. But I somehow recall your brothers going through the same phase when they were 2 as well.

You understand almost everything we say! But you still don't talk much. Your main vocabulary is "Mama, Papa, Wow, hello, come, go". Your favourite form of communication is nodding your head whenever we talk to you.

You're very very meticulous! Really. You would always pack up your toys after using them. AND you would make sure your brothers do the same! Seriously baby, this totally takes the icing on the cake!!! What a blessing! My cleaning lady comes every Thursday and she tells me how much she loves you boys because you're all so well-mannered and the house looks soooo good for a family with 3 young kids! This makes Mummy so proud and feel so blessed!

You love doing puzzles! You're able to do the alphabet puzzles even upside-down. Like how is that possible? You would look at the letters and decide which hole to put them in! It's not a random thing, but you would realise that "A" and "V" have similar shapes and might interchange their positions.

Mummy plans on toilet-training you once the weather turns warmer. But guess what. I'm already feeling nostalgic that I won't see your cute little butt in your diapers that wobbles when you run around. And don't even get me started on the time when you outgrow all your onesies. I think babies in onesies are the cutest thing ever! There's simply something about seeing all that baby thighs and legs exposed, while you're only wearing your onesie.

You're still a very good sleeper and continue to sleep on the go. We went to the zoo today and when Mummy strapped you in your carseat, she said, "Ok, you got to go nap in the car ok?" You nodded and shortly after the car exited the garage, you were asleep!!! I'm amazed and envious of your ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat!

You have the least routine compared to your 2 brothers at your age. That's very much because you simply have to tag along for school runs and pick-ups and the activities of your brothers.

Your brothers absolutely adore you and allow you to get away with almost everything. Gabriel and you do get into more squabbles than with Samuel because you somehow seem to enjoy irritating your second brother more.

Many times Mummy observes you in your own little world playing with your toys being so lost in your own imagination. And it feels like such a glimpse of heaven. Perfect contentment and enjoyment with no need to complain or feel disgruntled. I wish time would stand still baby. I know that one day you're going to marry a little lady and Mummy wouldn't be most the important woman in your life. And suddenly I begin to understand why mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws are not usually best friends *evil cackle*.

Like your brothers, you absolutely love pressing the buttons in lifts and would have a mini-meltdown if any of your brothers accidentally did your "job". Your brothers would generally allow you to press all the buttons because they realise that it means the world to you.

It's not easy being the youngest in the family and seeing your brothers do all the things you can't do yet. When your brothers ran up the stairs today instead of taking the lift, you looked at them longingly and it broke Mummy's heart to see the sadness in your eyes and the downward frown of your mouth as your lips quivered on the verge of crying.

Your sadness was lifted by the scream of your second brother who in his bid to outdo his older brother, fell on his thigh and was inconsolable. You see baby, there is a time and season for everything. Don't compare yourself to other people especially not to your brothers. You're a unique and special individual made in God's image and He made only ONE you in the whole wide world!!!!

You love kicking balls!! We have this ball at home and you have taken a liking for kicking the ball around the house! You even tried the table soccer thing with Sam and were so earnest to score some goals! I'm thinking of signing you up for football when you're old enough!

Acts of service seem to be your love language. You enjoy throwing away your diapers and even passing me a towel after my shower. I love how you have such a practical primary love language! 

We signed you up for preschool come Fall and I'm already feeling sad that we won't be doing leisurely 1-on-1 breakfasts together anymore but I'm looking forward to you and Gabriel sharing one more year of kindergarten together before Gabe moves on to primary school.

Don't grow up too fast little one!!! We are enjoying your childhood too much to want you to gain too much independence! You love clasping your tiny fingers together to pray and we do love how you enjoy Bible time. We pray that you will have a living and breathing relationship with our creator who made you and who gave His son to die for you!

Love
Mummy & Daddy

My family of 4 guys + me!
Your DIY chocolate cake with strawberries!



The toddler corner where its impossible to get a decent photo!

Monday, April 02, 2018

How my child's "near-death" experience changed Good Friday for me




(Warning: Long post ahead)
We are finally out of the woods since the kids fell sick recently. Sam & Gabe caught the most nasty virus that caused both of them to have 40 degree fevers and chills! Our house was like a dead town for those 7 days! The boys would wake up, eat a little bit for breakfast and crash again on the sofas. I kid you not. They slept as much as newborns!

Despite our best efforts to protect the littlest one, poor Liam still caught the virus. I would consider myself a somewhat seasoned Mom in having to deal with sick kids. But nothing could prepare me for what we experienced.

We brought the kids to the paediatrician and as expected, the doc said its a "virus" and we just have to let it ride its course. In Germany, only temperatures above 39 degrees celsius is considered a fever and doctors recommend giving paracetamol only when there is a fever.

The anxious Mom in me didn't like the "relaxed" approach at first, but after 12 years in Germany, I've come to appreciate that a fever is a body's natural response to fighting infections. And we should give the body time to fight the infection and not resort to fever-suppressing drugs as if the fever were the enemy. It's not!

That said, we don't want our children to boil through the night, so we do check their temperatures regularly and give them fever medicine when we feel that we'd rather they be comfortable. It's a matter of weighing out our options.

That night it happened, I remember feeling Liam's forehead when he was sleeping and he felt fine. Just a bit warm but not too hot.

While ironing some clothes, I suddenly heard the weirdest sound! It sounded like someone was trying to cry but the cry was muffled. I wasn't alarmed but thought I should check on the baby, thinking that maybe he just couldn't get comfortable.

Honestly, its impossible to recap this experience without feeling all teary. I saw my kiddo lying in bed with his eyes wide open but not responding. His body was stiff and I couldn't even tell if he was breathing or not!

I quickly grabbed him and tried to shake him to "wake him up". But it was to no avail. This was when I screamed at the husband to get out of bed. Poor hub, who was also sick, took the baby and tried to "resuscitate" him. He actually said, "Oh, Liam's fine!"

But I looked at Liam and he still looked as lifeless as when I handed him over to Stephan. My thoughts went from "OMG, do I still remember how to do CPR?? Is there a doctor in our block? Is this the last time I'll see my baby alive?" What on earth am I supposed to do??!"

I told my husband, "NO, Liam's not fine. He's still cramping up!"

So we did the next thing we thought to do. We brought Liam to the bathroom and tried to splash water on his face. We realised that his teeth were tightly clenched so Stephan tried to put his finger between his teeth to wrench it open.

I don't really know what happened, but suddenly Liam woke up. I was sooo relieved! But my thoughts wandered to, "Did he experience brain damage? Was he even breathing all this time?" We tried to keep him awake, cos he was sooo drained and sleepy!"

We rang our immediate neighbours' doorbell to ask them to babysit our 2 older kids while both of us rushed to the A&E of the nearest children's hospital. It was almost 11pm when we left.

You know, I may complain about things about Germany but I will never ever complain about the healthcare industry here. There was NO queue at all. We registered and were the next in line to see a doctor.

The doctor gave Liam a thorough examination. Here's what we learnt:-

1. Fever cramps are not as dangerous as it looks. 6% of children get it and they usually get it when at least one parent has a genetic disposition to it.

2. Cramps usually last for about 2-3 minutes. If they last any longer, one should bring a child to the hospital. 

3. NEVER ever pry the mouth open. One could end up breaking off a tooth and the baby might swallow the broken tooth which would cause it to be wayyy more dangerous than leaving the mouth closed

4. It's hard to prevent a fever cramp because its not dependent on how high the body temperature is but how quickly the body temperature changed.

We were given the option to let Liam be hospitalised or bring him home to recuperate. We opted for the latter since we felt relieved enough by what the doctor said and she also gave us her approval to bring him home.

We are sooo thankful for God's protection! We even messaged our prayer warrior friends to pray for Liam when we brought him to the hospital. It was so traumatising. We even second-guessed our parenting decisions, thinking that maybe we didn't give him enough fever meds.

This is such a potent reminder that everyday is a GIFT! It's not a given that we will see our kids grow old, have kids of their own and lead an adult life. I'm reminded of the fragility of life and how not to take any day for granted.

In the monotony of being a stay-home Mom, I sometimes wish that I have more adult interaction or just people who check in on me to find out how I am. But in this day and age when everybody is busy, it's hard! And I'm reminded that I just need to TALK TO GOD! I need to hear His voice and allow HIM to be my constant companion throughout the day. I can only parent from the fullness of LOVE that God pours into my heart.

I must say that when the kids were so sick, I felt so empty! So zapped of any strength and positive energy to encourage my kids. One day, I just took out my guitar and started playing worship songs. My kids had no energy to sing or jump around, but just listened to the music that reminded us that the Holy Spirit is here and He's as close to us as our very breath. Some days, the only prayer I could muster was "Jesus, please help me. Help my kids to recover".

And somedays, I literally had to pray a warfare-type of prayer that the virus can no longer continue! Each kid had at least 2-3 temperature dips when we thought the worst is over, only to have them have a worse version of the fever and vomitting the next day!

Of course Liam's episode with the febrile seizure was the worst. I remember thinking that I'm not ready to say goodbye to any of my children. That's when I had an epiphany.

You know, I grew up hearing about the Good Friday message. Jesus dying on the cross is not new news for me. Listening to Bible stories was part of my childhood as much as learning ABCs was part of my school life.

But now that I'm a Mom, I'm struck by the immense love of God! God loves ME & You so much, He sent His ONLY son to die on the cross for our sins. For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Is this the biggest love on earth?

Yes, I believe it is. I'm a Mom. And I would NEVER ever want my children to suffer. I would rather suffer myself than to see them suffer. God sent Jesus as a blameless sacrifice for MY sins and He (God) had to watch His son (Jesus) suffer in agony for hours while He was tortured and life slowly ebbed away from Him. And this was God's choice!! And Jesus' choice too. This fact still dumbfounds me. I don't think I'll ever be able to send Samuel or Gabriel or Liam to suffer and die for someone else. And that someone else may never even acknowledge the death of my child on his / her behalf. Get what I mean?

I'm so humbled. 

God gives me hope. 

That when this life is done on earth, life STARTS in eternity. 

With no suffering & pain & illness & heartbreak. 

That death does not separate me from me and my loved ones

I will see my Mom again. 

My kids will see me again 

And I actually get to see this Jesus whom I've read about and experienced in bits and pieces IN REAL LIFE!!!!

And can you imagine, seeing GOD???? Seeing the one who made you and me, and the universe??? And being able to see God without dying? Cos I receive a new body and a new spirit and because I'm adopted into the family of God because I receive Jesus as my personal Saviour? 

I'm going to see Abraham, David, all the beautiful women of the Bible and all the spiritual giants I've read about in the Bible.

God is REAL y'all! We are made for eternity! Life does not make sense if death is the end of life as we know it. Our life on earth is to prepare us for life in heaven.

I'll leave you with this video and song that I've been meditating on.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Maiden Skiing trip as a family of five!

We went skiing over New Year's Eve!!! It was a spontaneous decision because our guests have not gone skiing before and Jen asked if I was keen to go!

To be honest, we have never gone skiing with the kids before. It's probably because I can't ski very well and its well.... very expensive! But somehow, this time, I felt sooo keen to try it out! Like how cool would it be to go on a skiing vacation with your best friend and her husband right? And we would be celebrating New Year's Eve on vacation!

We had barely 2 weeks from the time we decided to go skiing to the time we actually went skiing! I had exactly one night to figure something out! Even though 99% of hotels were already fully booked-out for New Year's eve, we managed to find a 4-star hotel that was in Allgäu, had breakfast and dinner included in its price and was only a 2-hour drive from our place!

We had no skiwear for the kids, so we embarked on our next treasure hunt! Do you know how complicated and expensive skiwear can be?! That's when my friend, Fara mentioned Decalthon! This is like Ikea for sportswear and equipment!!! I can't believe that I've been living in Germany for 12 years and I've never been to Decalthon! She also very kindly lent us soo much skiwear!!! So thankful!

The kids LOOOOVED to ski!!! They went skiing for 5 days! The weather unfortunately got really crappy the last 2 days. It was stormy and we were all completely drenched right up to our ski gloves! The kids were such champs though! They never once complained about the sport nor the weather. They just embraced skiing with all the unpredictable elements of Mother Nature. Sam managed to make his way down a blue slope! Gabriel is not that advanced yet, but he got the hang of skiing down a baby slope.

It was sooo amazing for me to rediscover skiing again! The last time I went skiing was possibly 7 years ago, just before I got pregnant with Sam! Skiing has also taken on a whole new dimension because when you see your own kids on skis and see how quickly they master this skill, you feel sooo proud! And they look sooo cute!

I learnt how to ski when I was 25. Skiing is not a forgiving sport to pick up in your adulthood. I guess it depends on your threshold of fear. I'm pretty fearless when it comes to falling down, but I certainly don't have the same fearlessness of a 4 or 6-year old! Kids don't have fear! While adults are scared about falling down, kids only care about speed! I sooo wish I learnt how to ski when I was a kid! That's why I'm soo thankful that we are able to provide our children with this opportunity!

After a 7 year hiatus, my maiden ski down the slope was MAD. I was alone. I was rusty. And the snow was sooo icy!!! That was the worst! I could barely maneuver my turns and I was sooo scared being up there all by myself. (I've never gone skiing alone before. Rem. the last time I went skiing, we had no kids yet!) I took one full hour to get down! I fell down once or twice and had such a hard time getting back on my skis. When I reached the valley, I went straight to buy a bottle of water and that was it! Fear had dried up all my saliva! I was mad at listening to the hub who kept telling me, "You can do it! You already paid 40€ for the ski pass, so go straight up the slope!"

I spent the afternoon practising on my own at one of the lower slopes. It was SO. much better. I signed myself up for a ski course to refresh my skiing skills. It was the BEST decision ever!! I regained my confidence and I learnt the basics of parallel turning. I'm still not great at parallel skiing yet, but I know that once I get there, I'll be soo much better going down steep slopes!

Truth be done, we had to go down a red slope once. It wasn't intentional but they had somehow labelled a slope "blue" when it was anything BUT blue! So I had no other option but to attempt a red slope! It was so very windy and the snow was sooo deep! I kid you not when I tell you that I fell FIVE times! I spent SOO much time trying to get back on my skis! When I fell the 5th time, I refused to listen to all manner of reason from the hub. I took out both my skis, held my sticks and seriously slid down the slope on my BUTT!

It was seriously the most embarrassing and fun thing ever! Only the hub and I were on that slope. When we arrived at the bottom, I looked at the slope and saw Stephan's carefully carved skiing tracks and this person's (aka. Me) vertical butt print down the slope!!! My phone batt died on me, if not I would most certainly have snapped a shot of that!

And suddenly it dawned on me that it was all about FEAR! I had NO problems sliding down the slope on my butt! BUT I was sooo scared to ski down the same slope! The exact same slope! That somehow looked so much more menacing when I was on my skis! The Germans have a word "Kopfkino". It literally means "the cinema that plays in your head".

My ski instructor told our group that when our Kopfkino is playing the wrong film, we're not going to overcome our fear. So we need to program our mind to play the right film! I felt this was such a profound learning experience for me. Not just for skiing but for every aspect of my life!

Skiing is an expensive sport. And the reason why we decided to indulge this year and not for the past 7 years is because we are finally double-income again thanks to my job with ItWorks!!! We now have the breathing capacity to go for "luxurious" stuff and not have to worry about using our credit cards. How cool is that?! I get to supplement my family's income with my SAHM's social media income! Love living in the generation of social media!!!! #powertothestayhomeMom

Skiing photos overload ahead!!! You've been warned!

Absolutely love this photo!!!Look at Liam's disgruntled face!

Cannot tahan!

My 2 munchkins! They look soooo alike here!

All ready to conquer the mountain!

Just before their first ski course!

Kids settled, its the adults turn to have fun! Our first time skiing together after 7 years!

That was before I fell -cum-rolled down a red slope! Looong story!

LOOOVE this girl!

Look at how ecstatic I was?

The kids are taken care over lunch too!

My little monkey Gabriel

He seriously CRASHED in the ski hut straight after skiing!!

Joining another ski school! It was AWESOME!


 We absolutely loved our family room! The kids had a separate room with bunk beds, we had our master bedroom and there was an adjoining living room. Liam slept in his cot next to our bed.

 The food was really exquisite and everything was cooked to perfection. We had exotic food like rabbit meat over the special public holidays. The staff was very attentive and made every bit of our mealtime as close to a date night as possible! It was like a sit-down candlelight dinner - Ah-hem, with kids of course.


We had a hearty breakfast, usually skipped lunch or had a light lunch followed by an AMAZING dinner

German bread is fantastic! But is it just me, or does that bread (in the foreground) look a bit like boobs??! LOL.


Breakfast!

Cheese platter!


Hotel we stayed at: VERY highly-recommended for family with kids!
https://www.allgaeustern.de/en/hotel-allgaeu-bavaria/

Where we did our ski-course: VERY recommended! Competent ski instructors and they have the biggest skiing area for beginners
 http://www.neue-skischule-oberstdorf.de/

http://www.alpin-skischule-oberstdorf.de/: Was great too! But I think I will register the kids in the other ski school the next time. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Turning 35 & Christmas in Strasbourg

Happy New Year 2018!! It's the start of a year and I intend to start of this year by reviving my blog again!

We just came back from our skiing vacation with our friends from Singapore! Jen & I go a long way back! We've known each other since our Junior College days (18 years old!). She and her hubby are based in Scotland now while he pursues his Master's degree.

I think the Singaporeans outnumbered the Germans for once!

At the Stuttgart Christmas market
Pulled pork burger with melted cheese & jalapenos + chilli cheese fries!

Celebrating my 35th birthday in Strasbourg, France

Our December went past in a whirlwind. The hub had a crazy 4 weeks of work when everybody wanted something from him. I've officially entered my mid-30s! We celebrated my 35th birthday in Strasbourg with our lovely neighbours!! It was meant to be a party of 10 but everybody cancelled on me (due to illness), such that only our neighbours could come!

We really spent the day just eating and shopping!! What else right? We found a gem of Japanese restaurant that was rated as the top Japanese restaurant in Strasbourg. It certainly didn't disappoint! There's no sushi there though, just cooked Japanese food. So that was something that I didn't realise! It was an authentic Japanese chef so everything was cooked to perfection!

http://restaurant-matsumotoya.com/ It's a small restaurant, so do make a reservation in advance!


At the Strasbourg Christmas market

Karaage (Fried chicken) and that's Japanese balls!!! Oh SOO good!

The best Pork / Chicken Katsu with rice!!!

I went for the Ebi (prawn) don! TOO good!

Doriyaki and Matcha green tea ice-cream

We were at Matsumotoya for 2 hours before walking around town! Yours truly spent 2 hours at Naf Naf! They were having a sale!! Oh gosh. Naf Naf is bad for my wallet! I got myself 3 tops at 40% off though, so I did feel quite a sense of accomplishment! LOL.

Dinner was at a French seafood restaurant! http://www.brasserie-flo.com/

I spent hours online searching for the ideal restaurant for a party of 10! I know that not everybody would like seafood, so I wanted a good-rated restaurant that offered seafood and regular dishes too. But atlast, it was just 4 of us! So it turned out really cosy too!


At Brasserie Flo



Scallop risotto!!! This was the reason why I chose this restaurant!


What was this called again?

I had such a wonderful birthday present from my neighbours!!! They offered to babysit ALL 3 kids while the hub and I get to go on a date night!!! I mean, seriously. Their present was awesome!!! I never thought that couples without kids would do that for us! It helps too that their apartment is just opposite to ours I guess!!! lol.


Christmas at home

Gabriel had a tummy bug over Christmas. We went for a Christmas circus and left him & the baby at the grandparents. On our way home, he puked ALL over his carseat! Merlion-style! With our 2 guests in the car!!! *facepalm* We told our friends that this was the first time we had a child puke in our car in our 6 years of parenthood. We had to wind down the window for fear that the rancid smell might cause more nausea in the car!

We have the best friends ever! They helped SOOo much in the clearing up of the puke! I mean, only true-blue friends do that! I felt so bad that they had to witness this (gross) side of parenthood with us, but also so fortunate that we had 4 extra hands to make light work.

I insisted that ALL of us drank our Greens (from my company ItWorks) because I really didn't want anybody else to fall sick! It worked sooo well, I must say! Only Gabriel was sick, while Liam had a bit of a rumbly tummy. Everybody else was spared from the dreaded stomach flu!

Since Gabe and my mom-in-law were sick, we decided to have a quiet affair for Christmas. We went to church (without Gabriel) and had steamboat!! This was also a change of tradition because we usually have Raclette for Christmas eve. I must say that it was the best decision ever! Everybody's tummies were happy because of that!

First it was steamboat for Christmas eve

Then Swiss Raclette with scallops, smoked salmon, pork slices and prawns!!

We had a whale of a time!

Can't believe how big our boys are getting! *sob*


It was such a relaxing time because our friends helped a lot with the cleaning-up! Hmmm, Jen is a very clean person so she even offered to mop our floors!!! Hahah. HY helped a lot with the dishes. They were both so efficient that after we put the 3 kids to bed, we would come out to a clean kitchen and dishes that were cleared into the dishwasher! *dream*

We ended our 2017 by going skiing!!! But I think I will blog about that another day!!! Can I just say that even though our December was busy, it was such a fulfilling time!!! SO thankful for friendships that last the test of time! The older you get, the more you realise that deep friendships are hard to come by! I'm so thankful for my barnabas friend and more so for the fact that they went through thick and thin with us and our 3 kids over Christmas!!!

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