Sunday, May 17, 2020

Happy 3rd Birthday, Avalyn!

Avalyn turned 3 years old!

Dear Avalyn

Another year just fly by so quickly! Unknowingly, we spent almost one third of your 2nd year trying our very best to stay safe from Covid-19. Hence, we didn't really have as much outdoor fun or activities as we wish. But, I'm thankful to be able to spend so much more time together together at home.

Nonetheless, you get to visit Malacca and Batam when you were ~2.5 years old. We also had a staycation during Christmas. You joined us for our 10th wedding anniversary celebration! Even though you were not even 3 years old then, you seems to understand the idea of "marry" and "husband and wife". I think it's also because you've watched more shows and cartoons. You also had your first theatre experience with Aladdin.

With the wider exposure (more cartoons!), your thinking is definitely more mature than when your sister was at your age. You are learning to make observations and interpretation. You understand that there is virus out there and make no qualms about staying home. Instead, you asked why are people going out as you watched from kour balcony.

Over the last year, you have picked up countless words and often surprised us with big new words like transform, allergic. You are talking in long sentences. Daddy, me and jie jie often caught ourselves laughing at you because you kept talking non-stop. You can describe what things to us clearly and most of the time, you could explain yourself and relate things very well. Recently, you started singing alot more and we sometimes find you singing at the corner by yourself. Emmalyn often justifies that you learnt from her and that's why she is talking so well. She even complained "It's not fair, you all didn't talk so much to me." And true enough, Emmalyn should take most of the credits in teaching you.

You didn't just learn how to talk and think from her, she also learnt how to play from her. You love to do what she do! You almost skipped all the baby toys and hit straight to the big girls toys like barbie dolls, sylvanian rabbits, duplos and now legos. She's super into pretend play - always ready to pick up a toy and get into the role. Besides all the good stuff, you also picked up much of the cheeky and naughty stuff.

You also enjoy water play, play dough, painting and books! During this stay home period, you have learnt to play so much. You love a playmate and your sister is always your go to! Both of you play very well together but also fight "when the time is up.

I had planned to let you try some classes earlier this year but things got held back due to Covid-19. 什么都是好的。We get to spend more time together and able to discipline/explain things to you. During this stay home period, you get cranky especially in the afternoon as you skip nap. It's hard to get you to nap so most of the time, we just let you skip it and end the night earlier.

You are very expressive and wear your emotions on your sleeves. You always give your sweetest smile. You have a very loud voice. You laugh your heart our alot and are easily tickled but also cry super loud. You are humorous and like to do funny things then laugh at yourself. But when you are cranky, you can be quite a handful and often need extra coaxing. Nonetheless, I think we need to be more firm to you so that you won't keep testing your boundaries. I don't blame it on you because as a 2nd child, you inevitably get slightly lesser attention from us. Sometimes, it's because we are busy. Other time, we leave you with your big sister because both of you are having so much fun together. Regardless, you are certainly not less loved. As your big sister says, "it's not fair, mei mei has 3 people to love and play with her. But I only have 2. I want you to know that we all love you alot. Your sister love more than we can imagine and is very patient towards you most of the time. She loves to hug you and is always there to comfort you when you cry.

At 3 years old, you have gained good control over your body. You could climb stairs, skip, stand one leg, spin and throw yourself onto the sofa. You've also been running around alot. This stay home period, we also see you dance around like a ballerina! You control your hands well and could even attempt to drum like a pro. Few months back, you drew your first drawing of a dog! You also use scissors pretty well now!

You eat fairly well and a wide variety of food and fruits. You could feed yourself but have been getting fussy during this stay home period. You still take your milk 3 times a day. Count yourself lucky, you started eating vitamin gummies after you turn 2 years old and gummies sweet recently.

It took us a while to move both you and your big sister back to your own room. After about 1.5 years, we finally successfully move both of you to sleep in your own room. Both of you still need us to accompany but you definitely sleep better than you nap!

Of all, we are most thankful that you've been a strong and healthy toddler. Apart from one case of Hfmd and "chicken pox", from your sister, you are generally well. We can't determine if you really had chicken pox because we didn't get you checked. Your big sister seen a doctor virtually and was told that she had chicken pox about 3 weeks before you started to have spots. She had a mild one. You had more spots than her but your Daddy didn't think it was chicken pox. Thankfully, we are already staying home so it didn't cause much trouble other than to avoid chicken, eggs and dark sauce. I'm glad that you are cleared now. You are more aware of your potty businesses and attempted to do them in the potty a number of times. You could even take out your own diapers and pants. We haven't been training you as things have been rather overwhelming. I believe you will be off diapers once you are ready!

What a year! We are thankful for everything and thank God for watching after you and our family. Being a mother to a toddler the 2nd time means more experience and patience, but there are still more to learn because you pose new challenges with your wits. Sometimes, we think that you fuss too much because you know what you want and are very persistent. Though more experience, it's actually harder because we now have 2 of you to nurture and so more things to juggle. I'm still learning and will continue to pray that I would have more wisdom to upbring you and your big sister!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Emmalyn's Fun with Abacus 1-Year Progress Update

I panicked a little as I flipped through Emma's math activity books before the start of her primary school. The school asked us to tear the perforated workbook according to units, staple and name them. There is algebra and statistics in a simpler form! I don't remember learning them so I wondered if Emma could catch up as she doesn't have any other mathematics enrichment apart from Abacus at Fun with Abacus.

Emma started learning abacus in February and it has been a year since she's on it. Over the year, she learnt about number bonds (P1 must know!), using abacus to do sums of ones and tens, started on hundreds and also anzan. She can count some sums of ones and tens using an imaginary abacus. 

Anzan, also known as 暗算, is the japanese way of calling mental calculation. Mental calculation or mental arithmetic just uses brain without any help from devices like abacus and calculator. Children who are well trained could work out the sums at super speed. While I don't need her to be able to do that, it would be a bonus if she could calculate faster.

During the class, it's alot about doing the sums - practice makes perfect. It requires alot of concentration and discipline. It was challenging for Emma as she's a rather active girl who can't really sit still. But, we did see improvements in her attention span. And the teachers are also extremely patient to keep guiding her. 

The children will be given a few pages of homework to practise and re-enforce their concepts. There are times she did really well when she wants to but also times that require some more encouragements.

Even though she's can be quite careless at her counting, I can see that still very comfortable with numbers. From her Primary School mathematics activity book, I can see that she's coping well with the sums so far. And, I must credit to Fun with Abacus for building a foundation in mathematics for her. There are still so much for her to pick up and I hope she will continue to love numbers & mathematics. 

If you would like to train up your children mental capacity, go check out their trial or the March Holiday programme. You can choose to attend 3 sessions at any time slots during the month of March at $90. Quote  "Ashlynthiablog" for a $20 off! The programme is opened to children between 4 to 10 years old. Check out the timings here

Through this programme, your children will:
1) Get to know the structure of the Abacus.
2) Know the place value of Ones and Tens on the Abacus
3) Learn to do addition using an Abacus

You can also go for a complimentary trial lesson when you quote "Ashlynthiablog". 

Call or whatapps them at 97865383 or email them at course@funwithabacus for more details!

Related post: Emmalyn's journey with Fun with Abacus (3rd month update)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A working mother's wonders and prayers

I could still vividly remember the very day, some 10 years ago, my ex-boss asked me what's my future goal during a chat. "I want to be a mother", I replied him honestly. I must be out of my mind. Thankfully, I didn't mark the end of my career then. I went on to work a couple more years with him at 2 companies and learnt alot from him and many other bosses.

Now with 2 lovely daughters, I'm thankful to have "achieve" my goal (while still working on my career). But that's not all. I learnt along the way that the journey as a mother has no real ending. There are different seasons of life, some more physically tiring than others, some more mentally draining than most. There are so many things to do and learn yet there are no one way to do parenting. There are many what ifs and only if but there are also many times I'm glad I did this. Indeed, parenthood is such a roller coasting journey and I often ponder how and what I should do best as a mother.

As a sandwich generation, it seems like being a full time working mother is what I've to do now to make a living and support my parents. Nevertheless, I often wish I could work lesser so that I could spend more time on the girls. Given that "success is not guaranteed for any fixed way of parenting", I know that I need to be contented, just do my best in whatever roles God has given me and leave the rest in God's hands.

No doubt, it can sometimes be hard because it's never good enough and we want the best for our children right? It's hard because we are fearful of regrets and failures. It's hard because we see others having them all. It's hard because there are so many temptations. Even as I'm writing this, I'm not sure if I'm able to say that I'm 100% happy and contented with my current life. I'm definitely not unhappy but there are just many things that could be better. 

Last Sunday, I was reminded that we don't live just to enjoy and satisfy our dreams and goals, we live to fulfil God's plans for us - even when it is not what we want. We live to glorify and testify God.

What's God's plan? Am I fulfilling God's plan for me? We would never understand God's purpose and plan for us in life fully, but God will lead us step by step when we seek, ask and knock at the door. And, that's faith. Instead of having me telling God what I want to do and pray for his blessings, I want to learn to pray for his will to be revealed and that he could bless me in order to glorify and testify him.

Whether is it working mother, mompreneur or stay home mother with help or always solo parent, I pray that I could be a women after God's heart and fulfilling his plans for me. At the end of the journey, I want to be able to say "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

To all fellow mummies and Sisters-in-Christ, let's press on and cheer each other on! 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

#thomashlyns turned 10!

February is a month of love - Valentine's Day and most importantly, our Dating & Wedding anniversary!

To celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this year, we took a walk down our memory lane with a fun drive and shoot at important places of our dating, marriage and parenting life! I have always dream to wear another wedding gown at our 10th wedding anniversary and I thought a family photoshoot would be lovely. However, Hubby didn't want to just have a usual photoshoot. Together, we came up with this bigger idea to shoot with more meanings.


We first met at a job interview in 2005. He was my manager and I was looking out for part-time job right after A'level. After almost 4 years, Hubby reminded me that we actually first chatted on Friendster (the old Facebook) in 2004 and I totally forgot about it. Hubby even managed to do a screenshot of our chat.

Through our 4 years of courtship, we watched countless movies! The first movie before we started dating was Saw 2. Sounds like a prefect first date? Honestly, we can't remember which is the first theater we went but Cineleisure is definitely one that we frequented! A fun fact - Hubby kept all the movie tickets till now!


My not-so-romantic ex-boyfriend actually managed to come up with a surprise wedding proposal. And, of course, I said "Yes!".

No matter better place for us to vow to each other. Like what our Reverand has shared, marriage is not just between the both of us. It's God who hold us together.


Here's where we celebrated our love since our wedding and beyond!


I asked Hubby what best represents our honeymoon and he said "Do Do Bird". So thankful to be able to explore the world together! Looking forward to more holidays!


We had our first key a year after we were married! When staying there, I gave birth to Emma, finished my degree and landed at a job that I'm still in now.

It took me almost 2 years - many acupuncture treatments and TCM to conceive Emmalyn and another 4 years to have our rainbow baby, Avalyn. Indeed, God makes all things beautiful in his time!

We moved in to our 2nd home when Avalyn was just a few months old but she's such a big girl now!

No surprise, we had our 2 lightbulbs with us for our wedding anniversary dinner! To them, it's the teddy bears' place!

I'm thankful for how God has brought us together and keep us going ever since. These 10 snapshots represented our journey of faith, love and milestones. It wasn't a journey without challenges. In fact, it was a journey full of challenges but we walked them through because of lots of God's grace! I pray that we will continue to grow and shine as a couple and family for the Lord in the decades to come!

To my dearest hubby, thank you for your love and patience over the past 14 years. Life with you is full ups and downs. You opened up my eyes, my heart and my mind in ways one could never imagine. Looking forward to growing old with you and being silly all over again!

To our lovely daughters, thank you for bringing so much joy to our life. Because of both of you, we are overcoming our weaknesses and learning to be better versions of ourselves.

To our dear family and friends, thank you for loving our rather quiet but sometimes wild family. Please know we are thinking of you more than you think!

Thank you my dearest brother for helping us with the print designs; and Rev Wee for granting us access to the church and praying for us. Thank you @toddleythoughts for making our day alot more special with the customised family tees!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Emmalyn's Primary 1 & new routines!

2020 marks the beginning of our new journey of formal education and earlier wake time. Emmalyn started her primary one last Thursday with quite a “bang" - a shorter than usual bangs and some small dramas.

Emma woke up with much excitement, drank a cup of milk, changed and tied her hair quickly. She's definitely very ready for school! On the other hand, Avalyn wanted to sleep longer. Poor mei mei had to get up early 4 years earlier! The girls need to wake up at 6am (an hr earlier than before) and we would wake up at 5.15am to prepare for work. We try to get them to bed at 8.15pm and fall asleep by 9pm. They used to go to bed at 9pm and sometimes only fall asleep at 10.30pm.

We aim to leave home at 6.45am and reach Emma's school by 7.05am to avoid traffic jam. Avalyn and I are now the first to report to the childcare and work. Thankfully, my boss supports the idea of starting and ending work earlier. I hope to make use of this short breather time to cook dinner, do some housework and rest my mind before the girls come back home at around 7pm. Afterwhich, it would be mad rush to have dinner, catch up, bath, pack bag, do school work and get them ready to bed.

Avalyn started PG2 and is now taught by Emma's K2 teachers who are more strict than her previous teachers. Being a smart and fast learner, she often act up when she can't do to do things her way. So, we are looking forward to her being tamed by her new teachers. At home, we are also learning to be more firm with her.

Back to Emma's Primary 1, parents were able to enter the school and observe the morning assembly and recess on the first 2 days. There were no proper lessons and it's mainly introduction. We haven't receive the timetable but had a packing list for the first few days of the school. During assembly on the Day 1, Emma sat behind her friend from her childcare centre. In between flipping her book for silence reading and chatting with her, her eyes were busy observing the people around. She was blessed to have 2 classmates in her class and another 7 in the same school! It was such an emotional moment especially when the children (P1 and P2) began to sing the national anthem and I can't help but to feel that the once little ones are no longer so little.

After the assembly, we were asked to leave the school and return at recess. Parents were not allowed in the canteen so we could only stand from a distance to observe. We spotted her eating from her snackbox that was meant for the 12pm break in class. After much hard attempts, she finally walked over to say hi and reluctantly be reminded to get proper food. She's really enjoying the independence! While I passed her some money as she forgot to bring her wallet down, I saw a familiar face behind her. I asked for her name and was thrilled to hear “Rxxxx"! It turned out to be my best friend's niece! It's really God's blessing to pair both of them up! She's such a great buddy. During the 2 days, she brought Emma around to buy food and play! The school asked the children to do a card for their buddies and their notes to each other were so sweet!

It was such an exciting moment when we finally see Emma after she left the canteen to explore the other compounds of the school (only the canteen was the restricted area). Seeing how she ran around and played at recess at Day 2, I can totally imagine her enjoying herself, running around and making new friends! However, I do worry if she eat because her mind is all about getting sweet drinks! On Day 2, she bought a packet of grape tea and kept signalling wait when I asked if she had eaten from afar! Whether the hard or easy way, I pray that she will learn to eat responsibly soon! 

I went back to work after recess and receive my first call from the student care on the 1st day! "Mrs Ng, did you happen to pick up her daughter from school today?". "No, I replied". I was feeling anxious, confused and calm at the same time. Ended up, Emma and another classmate were sent off to the wrong dismissal point. They just had a rehearsal at orientation at a few days back! There were still no news of her after 10 mins so I hopped on a cab to school but u-turned back when they called to update that they had located them. What a scare! On Day 2, I asked her to lead me to the dissimal point and the assembly areas just to let her learn the way! 

We later found out more funny and worrying stories from her when she came back! She and her classmate led half the class into the classroom next door and it was her first experience of "getting lost". I guess she might be busy chatting with her friends and just blindly follow the another classroom lines after recess.  She knew almost the names of everyone in the class and even managed to draw out the classroom sitting plan when we asked where she sits. Canteen is no doubt her favourite place as she gets to buy her own food and drinks. She was excited to learn that her buddy is the niece of my friend and she likes her buddy alot!

To our dismay, she was bullied by a boy at her student care. According to her, he scratched her arms, pulled her hair, kicked her and boxed her stomach. She also showed us her scratched marks. He had also taken on other children. Thankfully, she was brave enough to inform the teacher and also let us know about it. She was calm and didn't look too affected or traumatised. We assured her that she had done the right thing and asked her to pray about it and for the boy. I texted the teacher the next day to just to make sure that she is indeed made aware of this and asked her to look into this. At pick up, the teacher shared that the boy is indeed a handful. They had to watch him closely so he didn't disturb other children. I guessed it's inevitable to have some more challenging children in a group. I just pray that Emma will learn to protect herself, the teachers would have wisdom to handle the boy and the boy will learn to control himself.

What an eventful 2 days at school but I'm thankful that Emma is enjoying the school and the independence so far! Proper school has yet to start and I pray that Emma's excitement for school wouldn't dwindle too much or fast! We did up her weekly timetable together on Sunday and she was happy to "plan" out her week. As for me, I really can't help but to feel jittery about juggling work, family, school work and housework and am asking God for greater strength, wisdom and grace every day!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Goodbye 2019! Hello 2020!l

What a joy to be able to wrap up 2019 with a post to reflect and give thanks before the new year start! It's also getting harder to remember all the little details over the years so the best way is to write them down before I forget about them! 

2019 has been a busy but a happening and fulfilling one! It's almost everyday about family, the 2 girls and work but I'm thankful to be able to set aside a very small amount of time for some self care like eyebrow embroidery, eyelash extension, facial, stepped up on skincare and embarked on my invisalign journey. Apart from the constant juggling of time as a full time working mom, I give thanks that there was no major challenge unlike the recent years. I also managed to cook alot more for the family this year and I pray that I could at least keep up for 2020.

This year, we spent much time and focus on Emma's school registration and preparation. I also spent a fair amount of time worrying and praying for Emma's new primary school journey. We are thankful to be able to get into Hubby's old school. Things are also more busy as we had to go through spelling and 听写 on a weekly basis during the school terms for Emma. There was always some school work to run through - not alot but it's a challenge for full time working mom as the time with them on weekdays are really short. Honestly, the girls just want to play after a long day at childcare and sometimes, it can be quite challenging to get Emma's full attention. By God's grace, we pulled through the year and will continue to work hard together in our new journey! I pray that she will enjoy growing up, learning and making friends! 

Over the past year, we have watched Avalyn learnt and grown so well and so much! She's talking like big girl and never fails to impress us with her complete short sentences. Her learning and experiences (even if it's just tagging along) have surely sped up with a big sister around. She does things that are "beyond her age". She played big girl toys like barbie toys and role play at home. She learnt alot from Emma and trying things out herself. She's getting more and more independent though she can be quite clingy at times. Parenting Avalyn is so different from Emma. There are lesser worries about her developments in learning and milestones because she's doing well. For 2020, I pray that we will be more firm to discipline and inculcate stronger values and characters in her as well as Emma. 

As we come to the end of 2019, I just want to give thanks for all the blessings and challenges that bring us to what we are now. I like to thank all close friends for always sticking by even when I wasn't able to meet up more often than I would wish for! I also can't count our blessings enough to have many opportunities and met many inspiring people on the social media front. I've never expect to to have come this far. Many thanks to those who have been following us on our journey, for all their love and support.


A photoshoot to kick start the new year! Thanks to Studio Petite for having us!


Following a year of loss in the family, we had a quiet Chinese New Year but managed to spend some time with our love ones.


Like always, we brought along our 2 light bulbs to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary at Fullerton Hotel!


Our first staycay of 2019! Village Hotel is such a cosy stay at Sentosa and I love their facilities!

Our only full force gathering for the year but I'm glad we have met up in various groups more times (in my memory) than last year! Can't wait to meet u soon!


First ballet examination and I was very proud that she made it through!

Birthday month is made more special with my first solo trip to Lego Conference. It was such an eye opener.


Marking the last year of Emma's kindergarten with trip with one of her school good friend and family!



Avalyn turned 2 years old! It also marked the start of expanding vocabulary. She's talking so much now!

We celebrated her special day with families. On the actual day, we headed to Superpark for some play with the Chens. Janice, I realised we didn't have good photos of our families together this year!



We had a Hen's party for our then bride-to-be and celebrated Mark & Deon's wedding in June! It's such a joy to witness the union of this pair of beautiful couple!


Emma had her first drum recital and played "Fight Song"!


Our family caught Aladdin Musical. This got to be my favourite show of 2019!


We successfully registered for Emma's primary school and thank God for giving her a place at Hubby's old school!




Our first family glamping to celebrate Emma's 6th birthday!



I'm extremely thankful to have the opportunity to be on the national TV. It was such an experience!

We got to spend this fun Halloween at several events. The girls (more of Emma) love it for the novelty and sweet treats. Avalyn had a good time training her courage.



A day trip to JB with the family! Really treasuring all simple moments like this with the family!



The highlight of the year at work has to be organising my company's dinner and dance! I've learnt so much!


Teambuilding with (part of) my work family! I thankful for a friendly and supportive team!


Another sweet & simple celebration for the pillar of our family!

Primary School orientation for Emma! This girl is so ready for her new journey!

Marked the end of her preschool journey with a heartwarming concert!


A short yet relaxing trip to Batam! Wish we can have more getaway like this next year!


Emma drummed to "Roar" at 2nd Drum Recital and to our surprise, she asked to continue learning drum after what seems to be her last recital!




We had our first family trip with Hubby's family to Malacca!


Wrapped up the year with an awesome stay at JW Marriott South Beach! Emma said it's her best hotel stay ever! Lovely room and fabulous service!

Emma performed together with her brothers & sisters-in-Christ at the Church Christmas in front of hundreds of Church Members. I'm so proud of these little children of God! It was such a joy to watch them grow up in the love of God.


This got to be the girls' favourite family photo of the year!


I'm so glad to be able to catch up with close friends during this holidays! Thank you for being in my life!


Missing Janice and family!

That's all for a quick wrap up for 2019! No doubt, my heart is so full!

2020 is an important year as it marks the 10th year since Hubby and I had vowed before God to be husband and wife. I could only praise God for watching after us all these years. As we embarked into a new journey for us to parent a primary school goer and an active toddler, may we have greater wisdom and strength to juggle our different roles, and to shine brighter for God. 

To another exciting year ahead!