Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Relook at 2008, and Happy 2009

2008 had been a terrific year for me. A year of catching up with many, many friends! In fact, it was the year that all my friends living overseas made it to Singapore!! And the best part was that I managed to meet up with most of them despite this year being my so-called "stressful year"!!.

This year we witnessed the fantastic Beijing Olympics, a new "black" president elect for the US, the china milk tragedy, the Sichuan earthquake, the Mumbai tragedy, the Madoff scandal, the closure of some of the biggest investment houses and banks, and the start of a recession despite a glowing outlook at the beginning.

2008 also saw my son receiving his 1st Holy communion, my oldest daughter doing her 1st major exams and making some very important decisions , the children's 1st winter vacation, my son making it to his school soccer team, Little D learning to read and write chinese, my computer crashing twice, and the best part - me surviving all of that without too much stress - really! (or is it age that has made me forgotten all the stress that I really felt during the year??)

But the good part is: when I look back at it, I still think, the year went relatively well.

2009 will dawn on us really soon. The new school year, having 3 children in 3 different schools, with the oldest having her 1st day of orientation today, - (yes! and its not even 2009 yet!), new schedules, new friends to make, 9 subjects to master, new school environment, and the looming recession - Urgh!! I am already feeling the stress!

Here's wishing everyone God's blessings for the New Year, and may 2009 be a year of peace, opportunity, hope, good health and love! Happy 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Blessed Christmas!

Season's Greetings!

Was going to post a picture of our Christmas Tree - this year we got a real tree - but alas our computer died on us last weekend, and wiped out everything. We did a recovery of it and are now trying to piece together everything on it that was lost!! So it looks like its going to be busy days ahead on this end. I hope Santa would be kind and bring me a new computer for Christmas!!

For this festive season - Eat, drink and be merry! But if you drink, dont drive. And do spare a thought for the less fortunate this season. The Salvation Army, the Boys Brigade, and the local charities in your neighbourhood could do with a little more donations.

So here's Wishing you and yours a Blessed and Meaningful Christmas! May the Blessings of Christ shine on you and your family during the festive season!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Doting Father
Generous Brother
Loving Husband
Filial Son

Efficient Employee
Understanding Manager
Handy Man
Wine Lover

Celebrates birthday today
My Husband!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

18 years today!!

Nah! Not talking about my age. Just the number of years I have been married.

Seems like a very long time. But honestly it is not. Time flies , when you are having fun, I guess!!

We have had our ups and downs, good times and bad. We went thru trying years, difficult times, glorious days, etc, but now, I think we have reached a certain level - like in computer games - where we are pretty much on cruise control. Some things he does doesnt irk me as much as it used to, and I guess vice versa. Sometimes we can practically read each others minds. Scary, eh? I guess that comes with being together for a long time.

Well, to my other half - Happy Anniversay! May God bless our marriage with many, many more good years. I love you!!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas is coming!

Christmas is just 10 days away but my christmas shopping is not complete yet. Running out of ideas on what to get. So, have not had much time to blog. Hope you are all doing better on your christmas shopping than I am!!

Christmas Shopping(To be sung to the Tune of Jingle Bells)

Dashing all around
To get my shopping done
Dont know what to get
Running here and there
Hope my choices are good
So I better look
For something that is really great
To spread the joy around!

Oh! Jingle bells, Jingle Bells
Shopping everyday
O what fun, it is to shop
If you have no budget!

A day or two ago,
I thought I'd bought them all
But when I got home
Found I did not
There was mu-ch more to buy
That I forgot
Must be getting really old
So I made a long list!

Oh! Jingle bells, Jingle Bells
Shopping everyday
O what fun, it is to shop
If you have no budget!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter vacation (Part 2)

We spent 2 nights at the beautiful Rusutsu Resort . There were numerous ski slopes, a farm, an amusement park with numerous roller coaster rides (which was unfortunately closed during winter), an indoor swimming pool with a 100m long slide as well as an onsen and lots of shops!!

The children did not want to go skiing and opted instead to go sledding. As the slope for sledding was not as high as the ski slopes, there were no chair lifts to bring us up to the top of the sled slope.
(Trying to make snow angels)

(A pony at the farm)

(Sledding down the slope)

(Little D and her little Snow Princess)

Next stop was Lake Fukuidashi, where we collected Natural spring water for drinking. Here, we also had a beautiful view of Hokkaido's "Mt Fuji", Mount Yotei.

(Near Lake Fukudashi)

(Mt Yotei, also known as the Mt Fuji of Hokkaido)

Then we were on our way to Sapporo. We stopped by Otaru Canal, for some shopping around the area. We went to the music box factory where the children could customise their own Music boxes, choosing the designs from whta was available as well as the music they wanted. There were also loads of chocolate shops there. The famous Le Tao, Royce, Hori, etc. No prizes for guessing, we bought heaps!! After a long afternoon of shopping we finally arrived at our Hotel in Sapporo , the Sapporo Grand Hotel.

(The hotel was all decked out for christmas)

That night we were hosted to dinner at one of the top crab restaurants in Hokkaido. There we were served crab sashimi, crab sushi, crab tonkatsu, crab soup, crab brains, grilled crab, crab chawan mushi, crab salad, crab siew mai. It was another one of those meals - hokkaido king crab everything, that I must have left the restuarant with crabs coming out of my ears.
(Little D admiring the display in the crab restaurant).

Was I afraid of crabs after that? NO! The next morning, we went to a seafood market and guess what I bought? More crabs!!

(Crabs galore)

(That giant crab is for me!!)

(NO, Little D! I am not buying those giant cabbages!)

That afternoon, we went shopping at the numerous shopping malls in Sapporo. We had lunch at Ramen Republic, a place pretty much like their ramen street except that this was in a Shopping Mall (pretty much like Food republic at Wisma Atria in Singapore)

That evening we went for the Sapporo Light Illumination at Odori Park. It was only 4.30pm but look at how dark it was.

(Look at the time on the Sapporo TV Tower in the background)

On our last day there, it started snowing again!

The kids had a wonderful winter vacation, and they are asking for another next year!!

How fast they grow!!

Today Little D turns 4!!

Happy Birthday, my precious little one!

How fast she has grown. I still remember when she was first born and the anxiety we went thru'. The struggles that I had with 3 children, and now with Little D turning 4, things are getting pretty much easier for me.

I feel so guilty for not letting her have a birthday party, despite her repeated requests for one. But many of her friends and classmates are away on vacation, and we ourselves just got back from vacation. I know that by giving these excuses I am trying to make myself feel better, and I know I should not be doing it.

We were just going thru our old videos this recently, and all those videos of the parties of my two older children, do make me feel so guilty for not doing it for little D. They had a party every year from age one until age 6, and little D, apart from her 1st birthday party has not had any since, AND she is old enough to understand and appreciate birthday parties. So that makes me feel even worse!

We will still have a birthday cake for her and dinner with the immediate family as part of the celebrations.

So, I promise to give her a GREAT birthday party next year.

Birthday greetings also go out to iml's oldest who shares the same birthday as Little D! May the Good Lord shower both our children with his blessings for good health, success, contentment and happiness today and always!!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A winter vacation (Part 1)

The kids were all excited about their 1st winter vacation. However, it got off on a shaky start. Our flight was delayed for 3 hours, and it threw our plans off. Instead of arrving at 8am in the morning, we did not get to the hotel until 1pm. By then, the kids were already tired and cranky!!

So instead of the tempura lunch at Asakusa that we had planned, we ended up eating near the hotel. Then it was back to the hotel for a nap. We did not manage to venture off far on that 1st day as our bodies were acclimatising to the cold weather. The kids were thrilled when we went for dinner as they recognised the location to be one of the spots where the show, "I survived a Japanese Game show" which was recently telecast on our local tv, was filmed!! So the rest of the trip they went "Hai! Majide!"

The next morning, when I drew the curtains in my room, I was surprised by the view I got!

It was Mount Fuji!! On my previous trips to Japan, we did not always get to view this magnificent mountain of theirs, but there it was in all its glory, on that clear winter morning. Things were going to go well on this trip, I knew!!

That morning, we made our way to Tokyo Disneyland. It was freezing (even tho the temp was supposed to be 12C, because of the wind chill factor) due to its location at Tokyo Bay. The kids had a wonderful time meeting up with the disney characters, and taking the rides. It was really crowded as it was a Sunday, and average wait for rides was an hour!! However, the crowd was orderly and patient.
With Daisy Duck

(Little D shaking hands with a disney character)

(On the "It's a small world" ride - one of Little D's favourite rides)

We even had to wait an hour just for fast food at lunch. Here's my half eaten Mickey pizza:

The next morning, we made our way to Hokkaido!!

Lunch was at a small little BBQ place, The service and food was excellent, and the lunch room had huge glass windows looking out showing this view:

Then it was off to an outlet shopping mall. Whilst I browsed around, the kids had a great time making their 1st snowman and throwing snowballs (of what little snow they found by the road side) at the tour leader!
(Their tiny snowman)

(Throwing snowballs)

Then it was off to Noboribetsu! Here our hotel had 32 onsens!!Sorry, no photos allowed in the onsen, so here, take a look at the lovely chandelier isntead:

The next morning, we packed up and made our way to Cape Chikyu. it was freezing here, but the view was beautiful!!

There was a light house at the cape!

Lunch was by Lake Toya, and everything we had was scallops! Scallop sashimi, scallop tonkatsu, scallop soup, scallop rice, scallop chawan mushi, scallop ... Mind you some of the scallops were really giant ones, up to 6 inches in diameter!!

Our next stop was My Usu!. We went up via cable car, and trekked up part of the mountain to view the smoke coming out of the volcano's crater. It had last erupted in 2000.
(On the way up)

(See the little hut at the top of the hill? That's where we climbed up to)

(The smoking crater)

After this we made our way for ice cream, and then to Rusutsu, a ski resort. (To be continued)....