Saying it with flowers - Floral Garage

November 04, 2018
Those who know me will agree that I enjoy gifting flowers to friends around me.

In fact, I enjoy giving them much more than receiving them (although I will definitely not say no if you want to shower me with a lovely bouquet!).

Some will say gifting flowers are a waste of money because flowers will eventually perish.

But, I think during the moments they are in full bloom, they not only brighten up a room, but also have a lasting positive impact on one's mood. Nothing and no other gifts will have quite that same effect. Well, at least to me lah!

So, in my usual fashion, I started looking for online shops to order flowers for J's teachers during his kindy graduation concert. I don't usually have a favourite florist and do find it a pleasure to search for new ones just to see what kinds of creations they can come up with.

Floral Garage's name came up and I left everything for them to decide. All I did was just to tell them who I needed the flowers for and that the flowers were meant for thanking J's teachers, and most importantly, I didn't want them to be too huge.

Honestly, I was a little worried that the flowers may turn out below my expectations. But, I was in for a very pleasant surprise.

The two bouquets were very lovely and turned out exactly the way I envisioned them to be. Just the right size and each bouquet represented the personalities of J's teachers. This on the other hand is purely coincidental, I must say. So kudos to the team at Floral Garage.

What impressed me was the effort Floral Garage made to make sure we got the flowers delivered before our specified timing.

And those smiles, and messages of appreciation thereafter were great testimony for the pretty surprise for the hardworking teachers.

So, thank you Floral Garage for the nice surprise!

Floral Garage not only does your regular bouquets, they also have a flower subscription service which is great for people who enjoy having fresh blooms in their homes. So do check them out if flowers make your day as much as it makes mine!

Vely Vely launches new lip products!

October 14, 2018

Simple, natural and nude has always been my everyday makeup style. Nothing over the top, nothing too flashy. 

When I need a "perk me up' in my appearance, whether it is for an important meeting or an evening event, I will turn to a little bit more colour around the eyes and lips.

However, I am honestly not a big fan of lip colour.

Family fun in Tainan - Part 1

September 15, 2018
After all these years, Taiwan remains to be my favourite holiday destination for the family for many reasons, but most importantly, it is the warm hospitality of our regular drivers from Tour Taiwan.

Since I am catching up with travel posts on the blog, let's go back 2.5 years to December 2015 when we were in Taiwan for the year end holidays.

We flew into Kaohsiung as Scoot was having a fantastic promotion and we traveled from Kaohsiung to Tainan. In my opinion, Tainan has so much to offer being the first capital of Taiwan and certainly rich in history.

Honestly, Tainan is very under-rated so I hope it doesn't lose its charm as more tourists set foot there.

Now, let's take a look at some of the interesting places to visit in Tainan!

Hujia Village

A very interesting residential area in the western part of Tainan which exudes the old village charm, much like time stood still, except for the beautiful and colourful painted walls lining the streets.

The village started having cartoon wall murals when 3 sisters had a holiday at their grandmother's who lived at Hujia. They got bored and started painting the walls outside their homes. Villagers started following suit and now this once quiet village started to attract quite a bit of attention from tourists.

We were there in the early morning before any crowd so it was quite an enjoyable walk just discovering the village, and getting surprised by the characters we find as we make the next turn.

Read more about Hujia Village on CNN or just watch our slideshow here. 

The thing about Taiwan is that it provides a "closer to nature" experience for our city kids. The access to all types of animals, and at close encounters makes Taiwan a great educational destination for families with young kids.

Take a look at our experience at what might be the biggest zoo in Tainan with lots of "up close and personal" feeding opportunities with the animals who are mostly alert and excited to have visitors around.

We have been to our fare share of zoos and animal parks, but by far, I always feel Taiwan gives the best hands on experience. 

The Cow's Home.

Another place in Tainan to get up close and personal with animals, or cows as their name suggests. Located at an old unused train station in the Liouying District of Tainan, the farm also houses many other farm animals which I think was one of the highlights for our then 4 year old.

That's the old train station, converted into a souvenir shop. 
Oh, how I miss J at this stage. Writing this now, 3 years on, brings back so much fond memories of my now so little boy. 

I recalled this was the highlight of his day! He absolutely loved this piglet. 

PS. Teacher Lina, if you happen to watch this, do you hear J calling out to you? 

We will continue with other sights and sounds of Tainan in the next post, so stay tuned! 

More posts on where to visit as a family while in Taiwan:

Accommodation Ideas in Taiwan

5) Tainan, Migrantland Leisure Resort 

PS. excuse our different video designes. Trial and error in the progress. :) 

Becoming mom. A second time round

August 22, 2018

Little C turns 6 months old in 2 week’s time and it is perhaps a good time to talk a little about becoming mum, a second time around.

The most frequent questions I get after giving birth were whether baby is easy to care for, if Little C is anything like Fighter J and if Little C feeds well, has a good latch etc.

And very often, people will pepper their questions with a comment that I am not a first time mum and things should be manageable for me.

Well, second time round doesn't mean things are easier because each child is different, whether in temperament or preferences.

So, let's just say my experience becoming mum again is familiar yet new, at times strange.

I was definitely more prepared in terms of what to expect. And, riding on my experience with J, I made my expectations of the people around me very clear, which means I made everyone play by my rules. Oh well, since I just went through 9 months carrying this kid, and a few hours delivering her, I guess I call the shots (or at least I choose to think so).

DIY confinement was a breeze with some thoroughplanning and I shared my experience of self-confinement earlier. For couples like the man and I who don’t like strangers in our house, self-confinement was the way to go for us.

This time around, I was fortunate to still have my helper around, which means all cleaning and housework that I hate doing was taken care of. A far cry from how I was with J.

With C, I was more rested and properly nourished despite doing the night duties myself and I definitely felt happier. And when they say “Happy mummy = happy baby” is so true because C latched better and I was feeding well. Way better than with J which I didn’t last beyond 2 months. In fact, I hated it when he latched, hence I stopped breast feeding even before I can provide enough.

That said, I felt I was able to enjoy J a lot more for the obvious reason of being able to spend a lot more exclusive time with him since I was his sole care giver.

And, the fact that J was the only child, our only for almost 6 years, the biggest challenge I had becoming mom again is finding enough quality time with both kids. More so  over having one-on-one time with J.

The age gap between the 2 kids are quite wide.  This means their needs are very different.

The time I take after each work day to put Little C to bed used to be the time I spent either chatting or just chilling with J. Now, he is left very much to his own devices (pun intended). Despite not liking the increased screen time J is now exposed to, it is a necessary evil.

J wasn’t able to adapt initially and we noticed he enjoyed indulging in his new found freedom onscreen because it was like his daily escape from not being the centre of our attention any more.

However, we slowly found a new norm.

No matter how little time we have at the end of each day, we make sure we leave 30 minutes just for J. Weekends are now also all about him where what he wants to do takes precedence over most other activities.

The look when #bigbro is with her. Definitely a touch person just like J. 

That said and challenges aside, I absolutely love the experience being a mum of 2 now. Their age gap while big, is perfect because J is an absolute darling for being understanding and at the same time a super loving elder brother.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Caitlin's Birth Story

May 09, 2018

C turned 2 months old last week and as cliche as it sounds, time really passes too quickly!

I will be back at work very soon, and I don't even think I am ready.

Anyway, before memories become a blur, here's number 2's birth story.

C was born at exactly 37 weeks, 2 weeks earlier than the experience with J.

However, it wasn't unexpected as she was in the "head down" position as early as the 25th week, and was almost fully engaged at our 35th week obgyn visit.

DIY post-partum confinement

April 17, 2018
Hiring confinement ladies or nannies post-partum is the norm here  in Singapore and our neighbouring countries such as Malaysia.

Well, it certainly makes a lot sense, as mummies can tell you how tiring it is to firstly go through child birth, and then having to get used to a newborn which spells sleepless nights and almost endless feeding, diapering, burping, coaxing , and the list just goes on and on and on...

Goodbye to Dayre, and hello here again!

February 11, 2018

I have never really been gone to be honest. It is just that many of how I feel on a day to day basis found a better space to be on, and I kinda like the idea of blogging on the go.

Now that #Dayre is no more (or soon to be no more), I am not likely to go anywhere else but decided to stay with what I have that is, with this familiar space, FB and IG.

Although I must say blogging here takes a little bit more effort, but let's just see where this takes us.

Blogging have always been my outlet to speak my mind and share what I really feel. No matter which platform, there's always a certain degree of censorship, some less, some more.

Hence, I don't think I will stop blogging, and it is just how often, and what.

Anyway, I am probably going to be here more often then!

Miracles do happen

December 31, 2017
We have battled secondary infertility since 2013, and we are extremely blessed to be about 12 weeks away from welcoming a baby girl into the family.

Our "TTC" (aka as Trying to Conceive) journey for number 2 is well documented on the blog. While I haven't been writing much these days, I am glad I kept this blog because without it, I wouldn't be able to mentally keep track of how many times we have used artificial reproductive technology (ART) to get to where we are.

As we enter the final trimester, and as I psyche myself up for the new year, it will be nice to recount this journey:

- 1st SO-IUI after J turned 1 which ended in an ectopic pregnancy. One of my fallopian tubes ruptured as a result.

- We went on to try 2 more times of SO-IUI. Both were unsuccessful. We also realised that my endometriosis was back, and had to start on treatment before we think about trying to conceive again.

- We embarked on our first IVF. The haul was dismal to be honest. After all the jabs and stimulation, we only managed to extract 7 embryos, where only 2 made it to Day 5 after cultivation. We decided to freeze the 2 fertilised eggs and had them transferred 2 months later.

The two embies did not implant.

- We went on our second round of IVF. We extracted 5 embryos and also ended up with only two day 5 embies.

This time, we did a fresh transfer which was a success that was short-lived.

I miscarried at week 7. It was devastating, and hard for us to decide whether or not to try again. The man and I often quarrelled over what's next, and it was very unhealthy for the marriage because we can never come to a consensus.

- Then J got diagnosed with JDM. And because of the uncertainty of J's illness, we felt a strong urge to give him a sibling. Someone who can look out for him and a friend for life even when both the man and I are not around anymore. Well, at least we felt we should try for number 2 one last time, while we still can.

- So we went on our 3rd IVF while J was on the road to recovery. This time, we had a haul of 13 embryos (much to our surprise), where 5 made it to become day 5 blastocysts.

It was December 2016 when this happened, and we froze all 5 embies, telling ourselves to take our time to decide when to do a transfer.


- We took 2 embryos out of cold storage for a frozen transfer in Feburary, and that frozen cycle didn't work.

- Took a break, and by July, all we wanted to do was use the last of our embryos and be done with IVF. I was clearly exhausted by then. 

Yup. At that time, we were very determined that it will be out last try. If it still doesn't work, it is perhaps fate and a sign that we should really move on already.

- Incidentally, I turned 37 not long before, and we qualified to have 3 embryos transferred at a time. MOH only allows a 3-embryo transfer if we are above 37, and have had 3 failed transfers before. We were just the right candidate for this, and what could be "best-case" scenario? That we end up with triplets lor!

Which.....We did!

As the embryos were 5-days blastocysts, I started to testing 7 days after the embryo transfer and we had a very faint positive. 

The next day, with a difference pregnancy test stick, the results were much clearer. 

And this, on a Clearblue, we were cautiously elated with the results. 

And, I can still recall how the nurses at my doctor's were getting excited when I had abnormally high HCG levels when we were testing for our pregnancy.

All 3 embryos implanted, much to our surprise. How lucky can we be we thought.

However, from the first scan, we were prepared that not all 3 will survive the pregnancy. Whatever the case, we were already glad to have come this far.

At week 7, I was bleeding profusely (thankfully after I arrived back in Singapore from Bintan on a company trip), and we braced ourselves for the worst.

Miraculously, the strongest of the triplets was still there, but at the scan in the A&E, we could only see 2 sacs, one significantly smaller. This means, triplet 1 bled out, triplet 2 wasn't growing well and we prayed that triplet 3 will continue to grow, which brings us to where we are today.

At this point, we can only give thanks for the blessings that have been showered upon us this year.

Retrospectively, as we think about the loss we had in 2016, and J's JDM, our little girl couldn't have come at a better time. Hence, we are looking forward to what 2018 will bring, and we are definitely taking stock on how to manage the changes that may come.

In the meantime, blessed new year everyone!

My Little Climbing Room (with giveaway!)

November 18, 2017
We got invited to one of the newest climbing "playground" in town - My Little Climbing Room last month.

Nestled in a quiet residential neighbourhood at Kovan, which I may add upfront isn't the most accessible location. However, after our visit, I feel it is worth the travel, and is fantastic workout for the kids.

Initially, we were apprehensive about visiting because J has only recently regained his strength and we didn't want him to feel upset or inferior if he wasn't able to complete the challenges.

1 year after Juvenile Dermatomyositis

November 13, 2017
We have crossed the "1st year anniversary" from the time we got J's diagnosis.

He has had Juvenile Dermatomyositis  (JDM) for over a year now, and at this point, we cannot be more thankful for him to have come this far of absolutely showing no signs of his illness. And earlier this month,  we marked the last day he needs to take any prednisone (steroids)

His illness is still active, and we are working hard to help him reach remission. In the meantime, we are also seizing every opportunity to let him enjoy his childhood as we were told even after remission, the odds of it relapsing is 60%.

The events leading up to his diagnosis can be found here. 

I recalled when I wrote that post, I was still overwhelmed with emotions. We didn't know who to listen to and what kind of monster we were facing. Whatever we could find on Dr. Google pointed to this being a battle for years. For some kids, it is a lifetime.

But, we are super super grateful of his pediatrician and his first pediatric rheumatologist (Rheumy, in short) for first diagnosing the the illness and getting him to start treatment immediately. For them, encouraging us to get an appointment with the head rheumy at KKH who is a superb doctor I must say.

We also super love his teachers for welcoming him back when he is at his weakest and worked with us to help him literally get back on his feet. Without all-round encouragement, I don't think our road to recovery will be this smooth.

This is going to be an ultra long post, but do bear with us as I think it is worth us documenting how we got to this point, and it will be helpful for us to revisit should JDM come knocking again.

October 2017 

At diagnosis, he had to go out with caps and lots of sunblock because he is now photo-sensitive. He wasn't able to sit upright without back support.  

The skin issues that came with the illness, and apparently, it is on this side of his body that he is unable to retain fat, otherwise known as lipodystrophy. 

When at home, he lies around more often than anything. 

November 2016 

We started physio exercises, and we had to encourage him to sit up and move towards us (plus plenty other exercises). 

Despite his pain, he often tries to be happy too. 

We finally got an appointment with Dr Tash at KKH, and we had to immediately admit J for his first monthly pulses of high-dose steroids. We were told these were going to be monthly staycations of 3 days each month, and we were uncertain how many months this was going to take. If high dose steroids doesn't make him better, IVIG would be on the cards (thank God, we never needed it). 

On top of monthly pulses of steroids, he has to also be on oral steroids of 40mg (20ml) a day, and this is like ultra high dose, and weekly Methotrexate jabs. 

One of the biggest side effect of such high dosage of steroids is putting on weight, FAST! 

December 2016 

We saw a teeny weeny bit of improvement as J wanted to head outdoors. Thank goodness for steroids, but he is starting to show weight gain. 

We cannot imagine the pain he went through when he was made to carry out his physiotherapy exercises. 

I remembered this development. He came into the bedroom and told me...."Mummy..look! I can sit down on the floor on my own." It certainly felt like we are experiencing J's many firsts all over again. 

January 2017

With his steroids dosage at an all time high, which is also the very reason that allowed him to regain strength, his appetite also grew. He ate like there was no tomorrow, and we had to have something for him to much almost every hour. 

The steroids also made him moody all the time. Managing his emotions was one thing we had to deal with also almost every day. I really missed his jovial-ness a lot. 

This was when J was at his heaviest and also when we realised he also has lipodystrophy, which is parts of his body being unable to store fats and it is obvious from this picture that his right side is significantly smaller as a result. 

But, he continues to be cheeky when he feels like it. 

February 2017

In February, he managed to climb up the slide in our estate, something we haven't seen for some time. I was afraid his legs will give way, but he reassured me he can do it, and the comfort of seeing him slowly getting his "monkey" instincts back is indescribable. We are quietly praying that this streak of good luck will go on. 

March 2017

J has always wanted to go to Legoland across the causeway, and wanting it to be an encouragement for him, we made that trip. He managed to walk for almost 4 hours, without the stroller. We can tell he's exhausted, but he pushed on. Then I wondered where does all that determination in a 4 year old came from. As adults, we sometimes don't even persevere in the face of adversity. 

From not being able to get out bed, not being able to sit up without support right down to not being to pull down his pants to pee to wrestling with his Papa like he used to makes my heart sing. I think he hasn't laughed like that for many months, and we cannot ask for a better road to recovery than this. 

May 2017

J turned 5! And he was able to take part in his School's sports day! And did extremely well because his team won!

July 2017

He managed to complete the obstacle course at Waka Waka (Polliwogs). That smile on his face... we really want to just say "Take that JDM!"

 J is even able to get onto skate and try his first hand at ice-skating which he wanted to try since he turned 4. 

November 2017

This is him today. He is able to run, jump, hop, climb and be like any kid. 

We are absolutely blessed that our JDM journey haven't been the most arduous. We know many more kids out there are fighting a way harder battle, and without the constant sharing and encouragement from the caregivers at this closed group of JDM caregivers (mostly from the US) I am in, I would feel so alone because no matter how I searched and asked, I wasn't able to find someone in Singapore willing to talk about the illness.

Having come this far, we are still fervently praying that he will slowly outgrow JDM. We are told the relapse possibility is at 60%. Certainly on the high side, but we are remaining vigilant that this boy will come up stronger.

Dealing with the illness is one thing. Dealing with needing to juggle being a mom, daughter, employee and wife was extra hard.

Hence, once again, thanks to all our friends and family for standing by us  and providing the support we needed. 

[Phuket Travel] Novotel Resort Surin

July 15, 2017
With J's condition heading in the right direction, we wanted to take on a holiday to celebrate his birthday (which was 2 months ago! LOL!)

J learns by experience, hence we prefer to take him on trips versus buying him gifts. We stopped the travelling for a while, and were more than happy we made this holiday happen sooner than we had expected. 

This was my 4th trip to Phuket, and I wanted to stay at a beach other than Patong, away from the sometimes rowdy crowd. 

By now, you guys probably can tell, I prefer a little bit more peace and quiet when it comes to holiday accomodation choice. 

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