the journey · thoughts · us

Something’s brewing.

When Elliott turned 2 years old, the perennial question of “So when is number 2?” intensified. In fact, the moment he was almost a year old, this question was thrown at us whenever we met up with friends, family, etc. Don’t wait too long, they’d say. Good to have siblings, they’d quip. I always wanted to punch their faces smiled and just mumbled something incoherently, something along the lines of how Elliott is already a lot of work so siblings can wait.

Like I wrote about it here, my heart always broke a little whenever I get that question because if you have been following this blog, you will know that Elliott is our tiny miracle (ok, not so tiny now but still miracle). Dare we hope for….a second child?

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Last year, I turned 40. It was like the big four-zero. The boy and I got married late (I was 33) and we spent a good 4 years trying to get that bun in the oven. There was no big surprise party or huge fanfare when I turned 40. I honestly cannot remember what we did. But the fact is, I am now 40 years old. If – and that is a big fat if – we were to consider a sibling for Elliott, this would almost be the ‘last’ year before it gets a bit too late. I know there are tons of older mothers out there, think Fann Wong, Janet Jackson, blah blah blah. But realistically speaking, I cannot imagine having a child at 45 years old (or later). Even running after Elliott now takes the wind out of me most of the time and I cannot imagine having to care for a newborn as I get older.

So the boy and I sat down to seriously consider this sibling business. Basically, it was now or never. As he aptly puts, if we are successful, Elliott gets a sibling. Hooray! And if we fail, it is ok as well because we already have Elliott. In other words, it wouldn’t be as ‘stressful’ as trying to get a bun in the oven now as compared to the first time when odds were a lot higher. It was with a bit of trepidation, a bagful of hope and slight fear (of failure yet again) that we started on the journey for our second child.

And in October 2016, we found ourselves pregnant.

As usual, the early weeks were nerve-wrecking as we weren’t sure if the pregnancy was going to be viable. Call me paranoid but after trying for so many years, it is hard to relax and be joyful when we find ourselves pregnant. In fact, we were slightly jittery and only shared the news with our closest family and friends.

But nothing quite prepared us for the news at the week 7 scan. This was the scan to see the heartbeat and as always, I had my heart in my mouth. What happened at the scan threw us all slightly off-course.

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Instead of 1 heartbeat, we saw….2. There were two teeny tiny heartbeats. We were having…twins? I was floored. I was happy to have one strong heartbeat and there it was, two heartbeats thumping away. The boy seemed very cool at the news and until today, I am not quite sure how he felt at that moment of truth because you know, men. Strong and silent types.

Except for the first trimester when I was hungry every 3 seconds (no kidding) and was nauseous all the freakin’ time, it has been smooth-sailing. And for that, we will always be thankful. Being pregnant with twins come with its fair share of complications and I am always reminded to take it easy. I am also blessed with a very understanding reporting officer and boss who tells me that the pregnancy takes precedence over work and to rest as much as I can.

Did I mention that my dad is part of a twin? He and his brother are fraternal twins and they don’t quite look alike. I am looking forward to the day when our twins are born and my dad and uncle hold them for a posterity picture.

And in case you’re wondering, we are expecting a boy and a girl. Many have expressed joy at this wonderful combination (if I get a dollar for every single time I hear the term 龙凤胎 uttered, I would have enough money – or more – to buy a month’s supply of diapers). As cliche as it sounds, the health and proper development of the twins are more important than their gender but I must admit that I was secretly relieved that I wouldn’t have to parent 3 boys.

We went from wanting a sibling for Elliott to having two siblings. This means our little family is growing from a one-child family to (gulp) three-children, plus 1 furry one. I don’t know if we’d ever be fully prepared for the arrival of the twins but we will take one day at a time. I never ever thought that one day, I’d be a mother of three but I guess that’s life. Always something unexpected at every turn.

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lil' things that make me happy · me myself and i · us

miss ene checks out: Calla Spa (Suntec City)

On the morning of our 7th wedding anniversary, the boy informed me that he booked me a massage session at Calla Spa located at Suntec City. It was his anniversary present to me. Awww. I remarked that Elliott has his gym class but he said that he will take him there on his own and we can meet up once I’m done with my session.

He made the appointment for 10am and was informed by the receptionist that I can turn up at 9.45am to fill up the forms and to use the Mineral Hot Pool and sauna.

I noted from their address that it is located Suntec Tower 2 and having worked at Suntec Tower 1 previously, I thought I was familiar with the place. Unfortunately (for me), Suntec has undergone quite a transformation and the mall has changed quite a bit.

I found myself at this entrance and realised, upon closer inspection, that this is the back entrance.

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There were no signs to lead me to the main entrance so I found myself wandering about aimlessly for a bit. Made my way out of the building and ah, there it was.

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When I made my way in, there was no one at the reception area except for an elderly “aunty” who looked like she was one of the cleaning crew. She invited me to sit at the waiting area to fill in the form and so I did.

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I found it a bit strange that no receptionist was on duty but as I later found out, the spa only opens at 10am which means that no one has reported for work yet (except for the technical and cleaning crew).

Tip: Arrive after 10am if you’d like the full service experience or you’d end up feeling a bit lost like me!

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As you can see from the pictures, the surroundings, i.e. hardwear, was lovely. Very zen and peaceful environment. However, for a spa that calls itself a ‘prestigious lifestyle and wellness’ spa, I found the lack of a proper welcome when I stepped in a little wanting. In fact, in their email confirmation, it specifically states:

Please do come 30 mins earlier before the treatment time, to allows us to give you a Sap Tour and Register you as our Calla Customer.

Hmm. There was no spa tour provided but never mind.

Anyway, after I was done with the form, I was asked to make my way to the ladies’ changing area. A female bathroom attendant (is that what they’re called?) passed me a locker key that came in the form of a bangle that I can wear around my wrist.

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I also found it fascinating that there was no key. Instead, it was a metal button thingy that you slot into the corresponding locker and voila, your locker is open. Very high-tech!

I was the only customer around so I took the chance to look around the huge changing area.

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Across the neatly folded white towels is a vanity table with hair-dryer, all sorts of lotions, large mirror, etc so that you can get yourself ready again to face the world after your spa session. That area at the end with the curtain is the changing cubicle where you change out of your clothes and into a cotton robe and put on their provided footwear.

I was pleasantly surprised that the footwear given to me wasn’t huge (which is usually the case) and I wasn’t swimming in the cotton robe. It doesn’t seem like much but it is nice knowing that the cotton robes and footwear catered to smaller sized females instead of a one-size-fits-all attire.

In the same (huge) changing area was also the Mineral Hot Pool that I only noticed after I was done with my massage. I did not use it because I did not want to sit in it naked and then have strangers walk in.

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Doesn’t the whole set-up remind you of an old-school sword-fighting show where the hero and heroine hide in some forsaken cave to try and heal from serious wound that they sustained from fighting with the bad guys? 😉

After I was done changing, I was ushered to the massage room for my scrub and body massage. The boy booked me the $188 promotion package that includes a 45-minute body strategist scrub and 60-minute body massage. Description of each treatment is taken from Calla Spa’s website:

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The room where the massage and scrub was to take place comes with an attached bathroom so that one can simply shower to wash off the scrub granules after one is done before continuing with the massage.

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Being a relatively new entity meant that everything looked new and smelt nice and clean which was lovely. I had 2 different ladies for both treatments (both were from China).

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I had a nice chat with the lady who did the scrub treatment and it was during our conversation that I learnt that the spa only opened at 10am. I shared about my experience and she was very receptive to the feedback, saying that she will share it with management.

The second lady who did my deep tissue massage was, in a nutshell, brutal. But I mean that in a good way. She could tell that my body was extremely knotty and worked really hard to iron out the many kinks. In fact, after the massage, I felt remarkably lighter. She shared that not many customers to Calla Spa opt for these ‘hard’ massages as they prefer the soft, relaxing ones that lull them to sleep. Heh.

After I was done with both treatments, I was ushered to the dining area called Bistro. I did not realise that all customers of the spa get to enjoy a complimentary meal.

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By now, there were a few other customers and quite a few were in pairs. It was at this point that I really wished the boy was with me to enjoy the meal together!

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Everything on the menu looked good so after studying it for a bit, I decided to go for the Wild Mushroom Soup and Grilled Salmon Steak with Hollandaise Miso. To be honest, I had very very low expectations of the food quality because this is a spa afterall, right? I would expect their massages to be good but food quality? Hmm….

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To my very pleasant surprise, the food quality was pretty darn amazing! I would be happy to pay for it! The mushroom soup was thick and flavourful and that salmon steak. It was a huge chunk of steak and despite looking like it’s a small portion, I was struggling to finish towards the end of the meal (those who know me will know that I can eat).

The meal capped off the lovely scrub and massage session and I walked out feeling light-footed with a happy belly.

When I was footing the bill, the receptionist (who has since reported for work, obviously) was extremely apologetic about the miscommunication that took place in the morning. I like that a company is willing to take constructive feedback so that they can improve the customer experience.

I’d probably make a second trip back but this time, with the boy in tow. Right – who’s up for baby-sitting Mr Bubu-Pants?

moments · thoughts · us

And then it was 7.

Truth be told, I almost forgot about our wedding anniversary. It was only when I was punching a new entry into my calendar on the phone did I realise that our 7th wedding anniversary was round the corner.

7 years. We are 3 years away from being together for 10 years. Officially, on paper, that is. I don’t exactly remember how long we dated for, to be honest. There was no real date that we got together officially as a couple. We do not celebrate ‘monthsaries’ or even our dating anniversary because honestly, we don’t remember.

I read an interesting blog entry about an imperfect husband and found myself smiling at certain bits because I could relate to it. Like how the boy does not celebrate Mother’s Day for me because (quote) “you’re not my mother” (unquote). I especially like this line that says:

“The fact of life is, when life overwhelms, we become careless, thoughtless, mindless.”

How very true.

When we were just us, it was easy to carve time out for ourselves. To go on dates. To watch movies. To dine with each other leisurely. To binge-watch HK dramas till our stomachs growl and we had to get out of the house to get some food (at 3.30pm on a weekend). As many parents will attest to, life takes a huge change when a child enters the picture. Each day become routine. Each day becomes a matter of completing one task before starting another – wash clothes – hang clothes – shower child – dress child – make milk for child – read to child – wash dishes – pack child’s school bag…you get the picture.

And sometimes, it does get overwhelming. Even boring, mundane. Day in, day out, on weekdays, we are going about our tasks like clockwork.

Also, according to the 5 Love Languages, I am pretty sure that we have different ones. I am taking a wild guess here but for the boy, I believe his Love Language is ‘Acts of Service‘ and ‘Quality Time‘. I just did the online test and this is my top 3 Love Language:

  • Acts of Service

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.

  • Quality Time

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.

  • Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.

Anyway.

I know I speak for the both of us when I say that even though we know that couples need to have their “own time” and to go on “date nights”, we both want to spend our non-working hours with Elliott. We barely see him for a good part of the day. I find it almost mean to not hang out with him in the evenings.

This is where our “couple time” takes a backseat. A far far backseat.

Sometimes, it is easy to get disgruntled amidst the humdrum of daily life. It is easy to get frustrated with the boy when things are not “going the way” that I want it to. It is easy to lose my temper over seemingly “small” issues, like having a crazy-loud alarm ring out loud at 6.45am, shocking me awake.

Then I stop.

I stop and remember that the alarm goes off at 6.45 am because the boy wakes earlier to boil water for Elliott’s milk feed. He wakes earlier to change and take Moon for her morning walk and to feed her first meal of the day.

I also stop and appreciate that he helps out with housework, like ensuring that we have clean underwear by doing the laundry. He also takes care of Moon by ensuring that she gets her weekly shower on Sunday evenings. When the pile of dirty dishes get a bit too high, he helps by washing them.

I also stop and remember that he struggles on a crowded bus on weekday mornings and evenings to get to/from work, while Elliott and I take the car and get to school/work in comfort.

I also remember that at meal times, he orders food that Elliott can eat so that I get to eat what I really feel like having.

There are too many to list and sometimes, it is easy to forget so I’d like to make a note here that I appreciate them all.

Of course, he’s not perfect la. But neither am I. I am sure there is a whole laundry list of things that I do (or not do) that annoy him. But that’s marriage, isn’t it? To accept each other, warts, imperfections and all.

Happy 7th anniversary to us!

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PS. Last year, we had a lovely dinner for 2. This year, we had to bring along a very happy and cannot sit still 电灯泡 to dinner.

another happy occassion! · us

miss ene watches: Les Miserables

Three years ago, we watched Les Miserables at Queen’s Theatre in London. I still remember having roast duck for dinner because the theatre was in the vicinity. It was the boy’s idea to watch it because I am not a fan of musicals. It took me a good 5-6 musicals before I realised that I really don’t like it the moment the cast starts singing (!) and decided that I should stick to watching theatre.

Queen’s Theatre is nothing like the Esplanade Theatre. It is a much smaller venue and I remember thinking that it smelt rather funky. We had stall seats but they were towards the back. I had a vague idea of the storyline – set in France, some guy chases this other guy, people revolt, many people die. So yes, I went into Queen’s Theatre with zero expectations. No wait. Actually, I expected to be bored and was afraid that I was going to fall asleep.

To say that I was blown away is an understatement. I believe I was left…astounded. When the lights came up at the interval, I remember looking at the boy and exclaiming: “OH MY. SO NICE, CAN?! That was amazing!” Or something along those lines.

I am not sure if being on holiday played a part (brain in relaxed, happy mode) but I thoroughly enjoyed the musical in London – the singing, the acting, everything.

When news broke that Les Miserables was going to play in Singapore from May 2016, we both agreed to catch it again. I booked tickets to watch the musical on 4 June 2016 the first day it went on sale (at 9.10am on 2 November 2015, to be exact) and we had awesome seats – second row from front – Row B, seats 9 and 10 which was somewhere in the middle. PERFECT.

June 2016 felt really far away then.

Of course, time flies and suddenly, we enter June 2016 and we found ourselves at the Esplanade Theatre. It was a rare date night out for us both and I was really quite excited. There was a long queue at the entrance of the theatre which I mistook momentarily for the queue to enter. As it turns out, it was the queue to….take a photo (or 10) with the Les Miserables backdrop.

We breezed past the entrance and saw this other backdrop with no queue (!) so if you are watching Les Miserables in Singapore, go snap a picture at this backdrop instead of the one right by the main entrance!

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We were ushered to our seats and to my shock, row B turned out to the first row?! I swear Row B wasn’t the first row when I booked because I specifically did not want to be craning my neck to watch the almost 3-hour show.

For the purpose of this entry, I went into Sistic’s website again and voila! Row A shows up but in actual fact, THERE IS NO ROW A! I’ve marked out what I thought were seats that I booked – second row, at the corner (best seats in the category then). Row B is, in fact, the first row.

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Wow. Front row. I’ve never watched anything live in the front row before so I was looking forward to how the experience will go. It was also the first time that I could peer into the orchestra’s pit and smile at the musicians just below us.

Being this close to the stage also meant that we could see every expression, (popping) neck veins, sweat and…spittle when the cast sang. Many scenes also unfolded right in front of us. Like, ‘3 metres away’ in front of us. One of the highlights of being in the first row was the scene where one of the actors waved the red flag right above our heads for a good 7-10 seconds. We could feel the wind draft! It was akin to a 4D musical experience 🙂

This version of Les Miserables contains new sets and staging. This helped bring alive certain scenes that might have been lost to first-timers to the musical. I won’t spoil it for you but many key scenes became more obvious (instead of having to just rely on your imagination), thanks to technology. The boy also noted that the popular tunes were sung more often (he’s the fan, remember?) which makes it palatable to first-timers.

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My favourite tune is “Do you hear the people sing?” and it always, ALWAYS gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it, especially at the finale scene. The boy’s favourite song is “On My Own“. I caught him bopping his head along whenever the cast sang. Hehe.

 Worth a watch if you haven’t seen it before because the new technological effects make it easier to understand. Plus, the Esplanade Theatre is a great venue. Overall, in terms of singing prowess, we both agreed that the cast in London did a better job.

 

around the neighbourhood · movies · us

Date night: Ip Man 3

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We both cannot remember the last time we watched a movie. We can’t even remember what movie it was. It was that long ago! When the boy went to pick up tickets for the show, he exclaimed: Phwah, when did movie tickets cost so much? ($12.50)

Yep, we haven’t been to the movies in a longgggg time. I decided that it was time to catch one and instead of catching Star Wars: The Force Awakens (because I might actually fall asleep because me is no Star Wars fan), I decided that we’d catch Ip Man 3 instead. It also helped that we have a cinema located a stone’s throw away from our home.

Thanks to my mum who agreed to extend her baby-sitting hours,  we caught the 7.20pm show after a simple dinner of Yong Tau Foo and some adult talk.

I enjoyed the movie very much. Critics have said that the 3rd instalment in the Ip Man series has less fight scenes but I enjoyed seeing the vulnerable and emotional side of the man. I shan’t spoil it for you if you intend to catch it but I found myself tearing which led the boy laughing at me. Yep, I teared at a kungfu movie.

We rushed home immediately after the show and the little man was thankfully, asleep by then. These date nights are lovely but I can never shake off the feeling of guilt that I am extending the babysitting hours of Elliott’s kind grandmas. Oh well.