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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Little Plaits

she seems to like to have her hair tied up, always quite cooperative when i "play" with her hair. but too little hair ... the rubber bands cannot stay in place for long!! kekeke.






this white "dog" she's hugging (actually it's a polar bear, but when she first saw it, she said that its a dog, so IT IS A DOG =P) was a gift from a fellow passenger on the cruise that we went in May 09. she "charmed" an uncle into buying it for her!! LOL.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Power of Cartoon

It was in early June 09 that we first exposed Kaira to cartoons on TV.

from being disinterested to now, fully engrossed, it's such a fast process!!! scary.

anyway, i wanted to blog this down.

Kaira is very sensitive to the "door opening" sound especially in the evenings cos she knows that it means that Papa's home! Usually, even before the Papa steps in, she would be calling out "Papa Papa" and all ready to run to the door to greet him. she does that everyday. even when she's in the middle of her dinner, she will want me to carry her down so that she can go greet him.

yesterday evening, Papa came home from work. she was watching cartoon. She was so engrossed she didn't know he's back. so i went to her, and told her "Papa's home from work. go and kiss Papa"

and the gal actually shook her head and said "cartoon".

aiyo, papa so dejected ! lost to the new love ! so funnie.

then he asked me, have we started her too early on cartoon watching? LOLOLOLOL.


Afternote :
today, she's back to her "Excited to see papa come home" self. think papa is quite happy abt it :) hehehe

Germany - Cochem

Cochem is a lovely town by the river. Just as i imagined a Rhine town to be :) in fact, it reminds me of some of the japanese villages we visited before. although, a more bustling one.

As it was a last minute addition to our itinerary, we really didn't spend alot of time here. just walking around the town and having lunch before heading home.

Definitely need to spend more time here.... maybe, just maybe, we will visit this place again and also its surroundings. Only ard 2.5 hrs from our place.

Germany - Koblenz

Koblenz.

A big town with various squares. Maybe because its big, it's not that charming or quaint =P

Maybe i had different expectations. Maybe i didn't research enough ...hehehe... i had imagined a nice old town by the river rhine. Old it was. but err, not as beautiful as i had imagined!

that's why i much prefer Cochem and Kobern-Gondorf =P

The hotel we stayed in, was a 15 minute walk to the old town. Had imagined it to be a scenic lovely walk. But i guess this part of the river where Koblenz is situated, just isn't that lovely! so, overall, we were a little disappointed.

but the side trips (to burg eltz and kobern-gondorf) we took were really nice and it was the highlight of our stay in Koblenz.

Since we didn't enjoy Koblenz much, we thought we should not waste our last day there, which was why we made a last minute stop @ Cochem instead. And we were glad we did that cos Cochem was just what i imagined a town by the River Rhine to be.....hehehehe.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kaira in Germany/ 20 month old

She turned 20 months old on the 21st and we were on our german road trip :)

so here's a collection of Kaira in Germany.

@ 20 months old, she's difficult to feed when we are outside. she just wants to play and cannot sit still long enough to finish her food. at times, she even rejects what she normally eats at home! maybe she knows she gets to eat snacks and stuff along the way. =P

she's vocal and repeats what we say all the time.

she continues to want our full attention when we are around.

she's still very sticky to the Papa, especially during holidays! she wants her Papa to do everything with/for her. can be very frustrating for me sometimes :(

Germany - Kobern-Gondorf, MunsterMaifeld

Kobern-Gondorf is abt 15-20 mins drive from Koblenz and the drive there is lovely. It is a small sleepy old town by the river, just as i imagined how a town by the Rhine should be! (unlike Koblenz....heheheh). and around it are vineyards (on slopes).

When we reached there, our first thought was that we should have stayed here instead of Koblenz :p So we spent some time walking around and admiring this quaint old town. as part of the town was on sloping hills, we drove part of the way to explore it.

They have 2 castles here, Schloss Liebig and Schloss von der Leyen. The latter, we drove right through it on the way back -- quite an interesting building.

On the way to and from Burg Eltz, we passed by MunsterMaifeld. We made a stop on the way back from burg Eltz. Smaller and less interesting than Kobern-Gondorf but with some really old houses.

Overall, enjoyed Kobern-Gondorf better and definitely nice side trips from Koblenz :)

Germany - Burg Eltz

From Koblenz, we visited Burg Eltz.

It was a beautiful castle nestled in green and the drive there was great! very scenic and serene.

The website said that from the car park, it was a comfortable 800m walk to the castle -- yup, the way DOWN there was comfortable. But walking up wasn't that comfortable with a toddler in a stroller! but it was definitely a short distance and much better compared to the uphill path to Marienburg Fortress in Wurzburg! ha. took us less than 10 minutes to make our way uphill.

There was a shuttle bus service, so if one doesn't want to walk up the slope, there's an alternative ;) but taking the shuttle bus will mean that we will miss the "photo view point" which gave excellent shots of the castle :)

Germany - Side Trips from Koblenz

I enjoyed our side trips from Koblenz much better than Koblenz old town itself!

Kobern-Gondorf/Munster-Maifeld

Burg Eltz

Germany - Heidelberg

We spent a nite a here, and our hotel was situated in the heart of it all, on the pedestrianised Hauptstrasse!

After 2 days of scenic views, its good to be amidst the hustle and bustle! and of course doing some shopping! :)

we were glad that there's the bergbahn to bring us up to the Castle and Königstuhl :) too tired after the "hike" @ wurzburg to conquer another "uphill task".

Germany - Dinkelsbuehl

Our first stop on Day 3 was Dinkelsbuehl before heading to Heidelberg.

And it was a "good" choice" cos it's a very small and very laidback.

After a tiring day 2 @ Wurzburg, it was a welcomed relief for me ;p just some walking and mostly sitting around having drink/lunch before heading off to our next destination.

To me, Dinkelsbuehl is abit like a miniature Rothenburg, just quieter and more laidback.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Germany - Wurzburg

About 40 minutes drive from Rothenburg, our base for 2 nites, Wurzburg is a more modern town and definitely larger.

We over-tire ourselves here !! due to the 20 minute hike upslope to the fortress =P what an unfit pair =P hehehe.

Germany - Rothenburg ob der Tauber

As beautiful as i imagined it to be. Picture-perfect medieval town. Just whiling away time @ the market square or exploring the small lanes can easily take up a day! if i don't have an active toddler with me, i would have loved to spend a few days relaxing in this town!

the moment we entered the town, we just kept taking pictures!! so pictureques!! and we took so many pictures it was a rather tough job selecting some for this post =P

Our stay was made even more pleasant by our perfect B&B host Karin! She was so nice and efficient and the bedroom we had was just excellent and came with an ensuite bath. besides breakfast, she also provides all guests complimentary unlimited beer, bottled water, coffee & tea -- all for only 23 euros per person per night!!! i was blown away by her hospitability, i will definitely stay with her again if we visit rothenburg (or its surroundings) again! that is provided she's not fully booked (she runs a very bustling B&B!) =)

One thing we didn't do this time was to explore more of the Tauber valley just outside the old town. Would have been a nice hike! Maybe the next time .........

Germany Road Trip

With so many places to see in Germany, whenever i research for trips to germany, i get information overload, resulting in inaction! i have been researching on germany since last year! ha! but after a while, i always give up. I mean, there's so many cities and scenic routes .... the romantic route, the rhine route, the black forest route so on and so forth ..... so so so much to see! where does one start???

this trip of ours, was decided on the the "whim", after watching an episode of globe trekker when Rothenburg was featured. It has been on my "to visit" list so, that kind of got me into action.

And so, in a record time of 2 weeks, research was done, accomodation was booked and on Monday 20 Jul, we set off for our 6D5N road trip with the following itinerary :

Day 1 : Rothenburg
Day 2 : Wurzburg
Day 3 : Dinkelsbuelh/Heidelberg
Day 4 : Heidelberg/Koblenz
Day 5 : Side trips from Koblenze : Kobern Gondorf, Burg Eltz, Munster-Maifeld
Day 6 : Cochem (last minute! decided on Day 5 to visit!)

The above itinerary was my feeble attempt to sample both the romantic route & the legendary rhine route.

The drive was scenic and weather was kind. It rained in Heidelberg, but good thing it started raining when we were about to leave! and when we reached Koblenz, the rain there has cleared. O the last day, it rained while we were driving and we were blessed to have good weather to enjoy Cochem. Thank God.

Since it's a road trip, highlights from the drive!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shades!

Bought her a pair of shades for our coming german road trip! (hoping that we will have plenty of sunshine next week!!hehehe).

With the shades, can see her nose quite flat!! =P




do i look "stylo mylo"?? kekeke

My Choice.

A christian for many years, it is a continuous learning journey for me as I walk with Jesus. It is challenging. Sometimes I feel like giving up. Other times i wonder if it is worth it. Most of the time, I feel very blessed that God loves me and that i can come to Him with my burdens, joys and what nots. He has blessed me in so many ways, so so many ways.....

This song is a reminder to myself that this is the principle on which i want to live my life. A reminder that no matter how things go, what matters is what I choose to do. My actions will reflect my intentions : Whether God is the sovereign Lord in my life.

It's easy to praise and bless the Lord when things are going well. But when the darkness closes in, i want to choose to bless His name as well. Whether i am in the land of plentiful, in the desert place, in the wilderness, in joy, in pain or in sorrow, I will make a choice : To Bless His Name.


******************************

Song : Blessed be Your Name.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Expressing Herself

On saturday, we were shopping and @ Blokker, one of the local stores, Kaira took 2 lunch boxes and told Papa "Kaira buy these". Shopping -- they start young !!

On Tuesday, we were @ the supermarket and she saw a baby in a pram. Without prompting, Kaira went "Baby so cute".

In addition, she's into giving "commentaries" now. Wherever we go, she will "update" us with her commentaries :

Auntie pack.
Uncle eating.
哥哥 slide down.
Big bus coming.

the list goes on.

everyday she surprises us with new phrases that she picks up. and hopefully as she tries to express herself bit by bit, she will be able to get her "needs/emotions" across to us more :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

School

Before i had a kid, i always tell myself that WHEN i have one, i will try my best not to fall into the "kiasu singaporean" mentality trap.

and i guess, God made it a little easier by bringing us out of the country, so there's very little pressure for us and almost zero comparison with kaira's peers in singapore.

but i do participate in the motherhood forums and "learn" through the sharing by other mummies who are looking for schools/childcare for their children ...e.g. that some "popular" places have long waiting lists; that there are mummies who enrol their "yet to be born" child in schools and so forth.

guess every parent wants their best for their child. Just that such actions result in a vicious cycle which is difficult to break, thus fuelling the "kiasu" trap.

and equally "responsible" (may be even more so) for this vicious cycle, are the schools' management. what sensible management would allow a practice such as registering an unborn child? why open up registrations so early in advance resulting in "long queues" ?

the "parent volunteer" scheme for primary school enrolment is another ridiculous thing to me. i really don't know what i will do if i am in singapore.

Anyway, I digress.

i had wanted to say that i realise that i am not able to totally "erase" that "kiasu" DNA in me :(

for our time here, our "general" plan for her education is this : she goes to international school when she is of school going age i.e. age 4 here. from there, we will see how things go.

as for pre-school, my original thought was maybe send her to a dutch pre-school (called peuter plaza) here, so that she can have a good foundation for the language. just in case our stay here becomes longer than we expect. and the playgroup that i bring her to, is in one of these pre-schools and i really like the lady teacher there. she's very caring, loving and i can imagine kaira being in good hands if she attends that pre-school.

plus, i thought it'd be good to "immerse" her in the "local culture", make frens in the neighbourhood etc. that's what it means to live abroad i believe. not living in our own cocoon.

found out recently that the international primary school has an independent nursery attached to it.

hmmmm, now i am contemplating whether to send her there instead next year. but i have not met the teachers there, so not sure how it is.

will 1.5 - 2 years in a dutch pre-school affect her "standards" when she joins the int'l school i wonder?

what if we go back to singapore just before she starts primary school, how "far behind" will she be compared to her peers? maybe i should (if i could) send her to int'l school in singapore in that case.

seriously are these issues at all??? sometimes i wonder. why am i even worried about it now??

she's just a kid!! she should be enjoying herself.

education is afterall, not just about acquiring knowledge. it is about building one's character. building friendships. preparing us to contribute to the society we live in.

may the education she receives (in school or otherwise) prepare her for the lifelong journey of enjoying the life that God has given her.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Freedom. Peace.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom. There is Peace.

Freedom

Not that i am free from troubles, sickness, pain, hurt, or the woes of the world.
For I am in the world as such I have to bear the consequences of my actions, the choices i make. I also experience the consequences of the actions of others. And of course, the lies/attacks of the evil one.

But I have freedom. Freedom to live my life with joy. Freedom to love and choose to love. Freedom from worries. Freedom cos my significance is not in my achievements, how good i am, how much money i have, what others think of me. Freedom cos i have the hope of eternal life with the almighty and loving God.

Psalm 23:4
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 2 :12
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

With this freedom, comes peace. Peace in the knowledge that the Lord's plans are good for me. Peace in the knowledge that no matter what happens, he does not abandon me and his love never fails. A peace that comes because there is trust. Trust in the Lord.

Its simple. Difficult to explain. Yet Real and tangible. One has to experience it to taste the sweetness of love of Jesus.

John 6 : 35-37
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away

John 6 :40
For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

Hot Air Balloon Festival

One year ago, we visited the Eindhoven Hot Air Ballon Festival, our "first" festival here in eindhoven.



This weekend, it's the Ballon Festival again. Although it's kind of rainy, we decided to go take a look....since it brings back memories (of when we first arrived!). Must say the rain did not deter the crowd. GOod thing it was just a slight drizzle. It was crowded. Here's a photo of the 2 of us at this year's event :)


from the photos, all i can say is, i need to cut my hair!!! =P

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I may look sweet and demure

I may look sweet and demure



but i can be a lioness!!! Hehehe.


(p.s. my mummy trimmed my fringe again. think she has improved!! kekeke)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thanksgiving, Again! Hallelujah.

Since mid June, i was "red-faced" literally. this time round, the "face attack" was very bad :( bumps all over the face. very red. and it lasted for close to 3 weeks!!

really really really bad.

this episode made me realised that it may not be food that triggers such a reaction. it could have been the sun. (but i do apply sun block). it could have been something "internal" , that there's nothing i could do then.

anywayz, i did all i can, moisturise, apply sun block, avoid food triggers. but didn't help :( i even tried "new" methods like aloe veral gel, but also no help.

i was really quite upset by my face. i was even thinking of going to see the doctor, and get a referral to see the dermatologist (but i was hesitant cos i did see a dermatologist in the past, when i was in singapore. he was disappointing. no concrete help except steriod cream! that's not very helpful isn't it? but the face was in such a bad shape that i was giving serious thought to seeking professional help again.)

Anyway, one day while i was praying, felt a prompting from the Lord to pray. Honestly, i never prayed about my face before. seems like something so "trivial"??? and so "frivolous" and "vain" ..... whatever.

So i prayed and committed it to the Lord.

The next day, the Lord granted me abit of "wisdom", applied some organic honey on my face and it helped!! hallelujah! and why did i try honey? cos saw an article about the healing properties of honey. must be God's hand to bring the article to my attention.

so everyday i diligently applied a honey mask and the face was getting better.

I also asked a sister here to pray with me.

and just over the weekend, i thought the problem is behind me! but nope, 2 days ago, the bumps starting appearing again!

i was crushed. O Lord, what happened?

But i decided to make a choice. To continue to trust in the Lord and believe in His healing hand. so off to my prayer closet to commit this face of mine to the Lord.

Thank God that today the face is much better. Although i think it's not a complete healing yet....i am praying by faith that i will see less of the redness and bumps
going forward. And a restoration of the skin to "normality".

For the Lord my God is the Healer. Amen.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

What is it like when it's only 2 of us??

Whenever i hear about couples going away for a short "getaway" from the kids, i am so full of envy.

I have not spent a single night away from kaira since she was born (except the 2 nites she stayed in hospital during the initial months, the first night for jaundice and the second nite after her operation).

I am wondering when will i ever have the chance to get away with hubby??? i think we have forgotten how it is like, just the 2 of us!!

I also think i'd feel very weird to be apart from kaira. Such is the irony.

Anyway, i shall continue to "Dream" of a getaway holiday (even if it's 2D1N) with hubbie ....... dream dream dream.

Kaira goes to work

Yesterday, kaira gave me a "surprise".

She took her "handbag", closed the barrier gate, waved and said bye bye to me who was sitting on the playmat in the living room.

I asked her where she's going and she said she's going to work! LOLOL. i was so tickled.

then she walked out of my sight for a few seconds.

When she "came back", she declared she's home from work.

so cute. she played this "game" for 15 minutes with me!!!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Trying to Be In Touch

This being our 6th year away from singapore, it's very easy to be out of touch with what's happening @ home. Plus, we now only make 1 trip back to singapore a year (unlike when we were in hong kong, we go back quite often!)

reading the news online is one way and i follow regularly the blog by Lucky Tan . He's very insightful and gives viable alternative views.

Although i may not agree with everything he says, i find reading his articles gives a different perspective and opens my "eyes" to a side of singapore i may not be that aware of.

If you follow any other bloggers, let me know! :)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Another Farewell

Today, we bade farewell to another fren. A brazilian couple with a 3 year old son who are moving to Florida.

Although we didn't have much time to get to know one another very well, Keila is a dear sister-in-christ and was a dear fren when i had no frens here. So its kind of sad to see her leave although it was something that i already knew early this year that will happen.

Wishing them the very best in their new adventure.

Here's lucas and kaira having some fun. The adults -- we forgot to take pictures. but you can see us in the background of this picture....hehehe.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Dusseldorf

Decided at the last minute to make a day trip to Dusseldorf today and we were glad we made it!

A few reasons :
1) gorgeous day to while away some time by the river
2) germans party early!! (by lunch time, alot of them looked like they have been drinking for hours ...hehehe)
3) most authentic japanese meal i've had this year (and this means alot to me, the japanese food lover =P in fact so excited by the food that we forgot to take pictures of our sumptous meal.)

we had a rather relaxing time just enjoying the city. :)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Swimming Again

Since this week is "extremely hot" ... hehehe... who am i kidding??

ok ok, it is quite warm and sunny here, so i thought i should bring kaira to the pool again for a dip.

Today's my first time bringing her to the pool alone -- with all the barang barang and riding my bike, i am glad i survived! hehehe.

Looking forward to doing it more often with her this summer.

remember i wrote about being quite expensive to go to the public pool here? i found out that on thursdays we get a discount and need to pay only 1 euro per person, so yup, will be bringing her more often on thursdays for a swim!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

First Time @ the Dutch Playgroup

This morning, brought Kaira to a playgroup near our place.

She seemed to enjoy the place and the toys there, maybe cos its the first time, so everything's new! Plus, i am there throughout the time, so she could play @ ease.

Forgot to bring my camera (as usual!)....will try to remember to take some pictures the next time.

Over here, pre-school starts for children aged 2 years 3 months (i understand if there are vacancis they take in from 2 years old), so we have some time in the playgroup before she goes off to pre-school. hopefully she gets used to the idea and teachers and maybe this will be the place where i will enrol her for pre-school next year.

The playgroup is held once a week and basically, the kids just play with the toys, do abit of craftwork, have a snack, sing songs etc. Purely for social interaction. I guess for the mums, it's also a good way to meet other mums.