lundi, décembre 31, 2012


Handsome is growing up fast. When Seb brought him for his vaccination a month ago, he weighed 10kg. Each morning he greets us, I notice that he has grown taller overnight.

He loves to sleep in this position. Just too funny. The boys love the dog. They would go to Handsome to play with him. A1 is being caution most of the time. A2 however, can be found rolling over the dog, playing fetch with Handsome and kissing him.

Handsome is usually gentle with the boys. He can get excited sometimes and starts jumping around. He still does stupid things which includes chewing on everything. Our furnitures, the corner of the walls, doors, cables, and whatever he could get his teeth on. Our house has never been so tidy and neat. We just put everything out of his reach. As he grows taller, we would really need to put everything upstairs or in the guest room.

Most people tell us their dogs calm down overnight when they reach around 18 months old  to 2 years old. I hope for Handsome, he would calm down at 18 months old instead of 24 months old.

Just one more thing to add, we find that he is growing more and more handsome each day. No, we are not being bias dog owner. He is not a photogenic dog. You really have to come see him for real to judge for yourself.

dimanche, décembre 30, 2012

Year end gifts

It is common practise for companies in France to give year end gifts. In my company, we usually receive gift vouchers. For Seb, he has both gift vouchers and a goodies bag. This year, the gift box includes pots of foie gras, terrine de magret de canard fumé (smoked lean duck),  pâté de campagne (meat spread), spice bread, jam and French wines to go with these delightful french food. 

As most pâté contained pig's liver, I did not eat pâté. Nor could I stomach foie gras. I came to love foie gras after I had my kids. And slowly, my taste buds could accept pâté too. I remembered I gave away last year's pâté to some colleagues since Seb does not eat meat. This year, I am keeping everything for myself. I have friends from Singapore visiting in Feb. I will share these french food with my friends then.

Since living in France for so long, I have learnt to eat lots of french food like smelly cheese, foie gras etc.... There are still a thing or two that I just could not take. Boudin noir and goat cheese are two things that I will never see on my plate. Boudin noir is a sausage made of pig's blood. You might think I am not an adventurous eater. The thing is, I love pig's organ soup and braised pig's intestines which are local delights in Singapore. When I mentioned that, French people usually gave me an unbelivable look.

So you tell me, are you an adventurous eater? What new food have you accepted recently and what food do you avoid?

vendredi, décembre 14, 2012

Froot Loops

I asked Seb to bring me peanut butter, Resee's chocolate and a box of Froot Loops from the States. My kind husband did as told and even bought two giant boxes of Froot Loops. Er... that was one too many. I wonder when will we ever finish these two boxes. I missed Froot Loops as the last time I had them was 11 years ago when I was living in the States for 2 months.
My boys love Froot Loops and ask for a bowl and a refill each morning. I am not surprised as looking at the composition, the first ingredient is sugar. We limit their consumption to a small bowl each morning followed by healthier biscuits.

The box was so big it won't fit into my cupboard. I had to pour out the contents into these chinese new year goodies containers. Aren't they pretty? Now, out of sight, out of mind. 

Not really. A1 knows where I keep the Froot Loops and wants a bowl still in the morning.

mardi, décembre 11, 2012

Late fall

It snowed overnight last friday and in the morning, this was the sight of our garden. It was white and beautiful. As Seb was on a work trip, I was alone with the kids. That meant that I had to bring the two boys out when sending A1 to school. I decided not to bring A1 to school as A2 was sick. I did not want to risk A2 getting sicker. Furthermore, the gate was frozen and could only open half way. The car was covered in snow too. The pathway was slippery. I was not motivated to sweep the snow and pour hot water. Well, we just holed up in the house the whole day. 
By afternoon, the snow had mostly melted away. As Christmas is coming, some neighbours put up decorations on the exterior of their houses. The best decorated house I would say belongs to our direct neighbour. The decorations look like display from a shop's window. The lights light up at 5.30pm and was beautiful. We are so fortunate to benefit from this display.

The weather had been rainy too. Yesterday I could not decide if I should pick up A1 by foot or by car as it was raining on and off. When looking out, I saw this double rainbow. Beautiful. It was dark at the front gate and clear sky at the backyard. In the end, the sky cleared and A2 and I went on foot to fetch A1 from school.
Snow is expected again this thursday. A2 is better now. Maybe I will let the kids play in the garden and make a snowman if there is enough snow.

dimanche, décembre 02, 2012

Laptop repaired

Handsome is an active puppy. As with any new domestic pet, we have to teach him the house rules. Like no going up stairs, no going up on the sofa, no jumping on people, do his needs outside. We only have him for 2 weeks so he is still learning.

In these 2 weeks, he had managed to destroy a few things. He tore the sleeve of my leather jacket. He pulled the laptop cable and the laptop fell from the dining table. It was not working after. I thought I would have to buy a new laptop and even went to Carrefour to check out the models. Good thing the next day, I found in my letter box a commerical leaflet from a PC repair shop in the next village. Seb brought the laptop over and it was repaired. Still the shock has broken the screen and now, on the left bottom of the screen, it is dimmer. Yesterday, our music system could not work. Seb checked the cables behind this morning and saw that the Ethernet cable was chewed into half. He replaced the cable and pushed the furniture closer to the wall so that Handsome could not go get the cables. Handsome also tore up my cushion and when we came home from town in the afternoon, we found the stuffing all over the living room. We are learning from experiences on puppy proofing the house.

dimanche, novembre 25, 2012

Ten years

Ten years of marriage for Seb and I. Wow. What a milestone.
On the anniversary day, Seb worked late and came home at 8pm. After the kids were in bed, we had an 'after work' drink. We opened a bottle of champagne and chilled out.
I asked my husband if he remembered where we had our honeymoon. He actually forgot the name of the place. So we started looking up internet to look for the name. I know that it was a resort in Port Dickson, Malaysia but I don't remember the name of the resort either. It was Avillion Port Dickson resort. We spent 3 days there. It was really a mini honeymoon compared to my many Singaporean friends who did 3 weeks of europe tour.
Seb replied that my good life in France more than compensate for that short honeymoon. As usual, my husband is right. I am happy with my life here though there are always little ups and downs.
The next day, Seb came home with a lovely bouquet of flowers to mark our anniversary. A little late but better than never. I just love to have flowers at home. Hoping for more good years to come.

mardi, novembre 20, 2012


This is Handsome. Our new family addition. He is a Viszla and is 2 months old.
We were supposed to get him right after our Rome trip. But since the trip was cancelled, Seb went to pick him up on saturday. Seb did not cancel his leave so he could be at home to take care of our needs.
After 2 days, Handsome is adjusting well. He is an active puppy. He naps a lot in between his play time. He has 3 meals a day and drinks a lot; resulting in wet accidents at home. We tried to put him out as often as possible but sometimes, we just missed the timing.
I am getting better after the fall but still can't bend over to clean up the mess. So Seb is doing all the cleaning up. 
As for the cat dog relationship, hm... Bao Bei was not eating from her cat bowl because Handsome touched it. We had to put away Bao Bei's bowl on the table and gave it to her when she was in the kitchen. Handsome went to Bao Bei twice and got slapped by her. He is scare of her. The both of them are on their guard when they meet.
 The kids are happy to have a puppy. When Handsome got excited and jumped on the boys, they shouted for help. I told A1 that Handsome was going to continue to grow to be a big dog. A1 said he did not want a big dog. With proper education, this dog will be a great pal for the boys. Our family is complete. Or maybe not, I would like to have some pet fish. Well, one thing at a time.....

vendredi, novembre 16, 2012

Rome can wait

Seb and I were to suppose to spend 4 romantic days in Rome starting today. With my domestic accident, the trip is cancelled. I was able to cancel the hotel booking with no cost. As for the air tickets, I bought travel insurance so I was able to get back almost all the money. Not that the tickets cost a lot since we were flying with the budget airline, EasyJet. Since my car accident in Singapore 3 years ago, I came to realise that travel insurance is important. I would always include travel insurance in our holiday budget.

Picking up from my last post, I did not wait until monday for my x-ray. I realised I could not drive in my state and my lower back was still hurting lots. So on sunday, Seb drove me to the hospital while his mother came to take care of the boys. Fortunately, we arrived at the Emergency just before the peak so I was received by the doctor after waiting for an hour. I did an x-ray and was told that my sactrum was fractured. Nothing much to do except bed rest and to sit on cushion. Pain killers were given.

Five days have passed and I am getting better though slowly. I am disappointed over the cancelled trip. It was meant to mark our 10th wedding anniversary. Many kind friends told me that Rome can wait. Indeed. With this accident, the whole household was relying on Seb. He has proven himself that he could be a full time working 'mother' taking care of the kids, me and the housework. His load will be heavier as we are welcoming a new family member tomorrow. One with four legs. Will update more with photos.

vendredi, novembre 09, 2012

Be careful. Don't fall.

I slipped and fell down the stairs yesterday morning. Yeah, the downside of living in a house. I was coming down with a basket of dirty linens. The two boys heard me coming down and started to run towards me from the living room. At the last four steps, I slipped and fell. Seb heard the loud noise and quickly run to me and picked me up. I was in so much pain that I did not notice my boys. They saw everything. Seb carried me to the sofa and I just lied down and waited for the pain to subside a little.

We explained to the boys that 'maman had bobo.', 'maman fell down the stairs.' and 'you must be careful and hold on while coming down.' A1 kept asking 'Pourquoi you fall down?', 'Pourquoi you did not hold the rail?', 'Pourquoi you carry the laundry basket?'. Sigh. In the end, my answer came to something like this 'Because I love you, that's why I was washing your clothes.'

I spent the whole day in bed, lying down on my side as my tailbone was hurting me too much. Thank God, Seb was working from home yesterday so he kept a watch over the boys. I decided to see the doctor as I was still in much pain after a few hours. The doctor could only give me painkillers and a letter to do an X-ray on my coccyx. Even if a bone is fractured, there is nothing much to do except bed rest.  My appointment for X-ray is on monday.

The kids are behaving well. They know that their mother is not well. As I laid in bed, A1 brought me books and toys to comfort me. A2 came now and then and asked 'Maman, encore bobo?' (Mama, again pain?) They loved to jump on our bed and Seb and I had to told them to stop as the movement of the mattress hurt my back.

Today, I could stand and walk but sitting down was still too painful. I sat for half an hour to read books to the boys and then retired to my bed. I told the boys I needed to rest and that they had to play by themselves. They entertained themselves in their rooms and then started 'cooking'. A2 shouted 'à table' (Direct translation is 'To the table' but it meant 'meal time'.) and offered me his crunch up paper. A1 came along too with his. There were various plastic food; egg, cabbage, piece of tart, mushroom etc... My sweet boys.

Now when I used the stairs, A1 would go 'Be careful. Don't fall.' It made me laugh because for once, we had a reverse role. My 3.5 year old boy telling me to be careful.

vendredi, novembre 02, 2012

School work

It is the Toussaint (All Saints') school holidays. A1 has no school and A2 has no daycare for 2 weeks.
On the last day of school, Seb went to fetch A1. His teacher handed Seb a big folder and an A4 size notebook. In the big folder were worksheets that A1 did in school.

In the notebook were photos of activities A1 did in school. Each month, the kids bake a cake to celebrate their classmates birthday. We saw photos taken from the Sept and Oct birthday celebrations. Once, I was told to bring two leeks to school. Now I could see why. I saw photos of all kind of autumn vegetables. The students cut up the vegetables and made a soup. They then tasted the soup. They also tried autumn fruits and different apples. A1 noted in his book that he liked green apples. Finally we know what our boy was doing during his time at school.

Extract from the notebook: A page showing Souricette, the class's mascot.
She follows us everywhere. She is very timid so she speaks in the ear of the teacher or the children. She is our friend and also that of Crokinou who is a little old, sometimes she will come sleep with one of us and after, we will tell what we have done.

Souricette spends each weekend with a student and the student is supposed to tell the class on monday what they have done togather over the weekend. For the 3 year old kids, it would be the teacher prompting and the student answering. We are waiting patiently for Souricette to spend a weekend with us.
We also got to view all sorts of paintings and colouring and handicraft done by A1. He used coton pads to dot a witch that had chicken poxs. He had fingers painting, hand painting, cork painting etc... There were songs about the week, poems about colors and shapes etc...

School seems like lots of fun.

The teacher left a note telling the parents to help the child fill up a page in the notebook describing a day the child spent during the school holidays.

With the rainy and cold weather, the boys stayed at home on most days. I took them to Paris to visit a friend on wed. Yesterday, being Toussaint, was a public holiday, Seb had wanted to take a walk in the forest but with the wet weather, we went to the indoor park/playground Woupi instead. I will wait until the end of the holidays to ask A1 which day in the past two weeks he wanted to tell his classmates.

lundi, octobre 22, 2012

The 'Pourquoi'

Pourquoi in french means WHY? Yeah, A1 is in this phase now. He asks 'Pourquoi?' for everything. Really for everything. It was sometimes just so hard to answer him. Even little things like me asking him to come to the table for dinner, he would ask 'Pourquoi?'. I replied: 'To eat dinner.' Him: 'Pourquoi manger?' (Why eat?) And 'pourquoi' for each reply I returned.
In the bathroom, he asked 'Pourquoi?' when I told him to take off his pants though he knew it was bathtime and the bathtub was filled with water. I know that kids asking 'Why' at this age is normal so we are being patient explaining things to him. However, some trival moments like those mentioned above can be tiring.

Since he started school, his speech has improved a lot. Yesterday morning, his father told him 'Vas chercher tes chaussons.' (Go look for your house slippers.) A1 came to me and said 'Papa say to look for shoes.' It was the first time I noticed him translating to me what his father just told him. I am delighted.

Today, he noticed the framed wedding photo and started identifying the people in it. He went 'Papi, Nainai, Papa, Maman. Where is me and ...' followed by his brother's name. It was too funny. We had to explain to him that they, the boys, were not around yet. Good thing he was distracted at that moment and did not ask that infamous 'pourquoi'. It would be hard to explain to a 3.5 year old how he arrived.

dimanche, octobre 14, 2012

No more diaper for A1

Since a long time, A1 does not wear diaper during the day. He goes to the toilet by himself and even forbids us to enter with him.

At night, it was different. He requested for a diaper. Many months back, I tried to toilet train him for the night when he woke up in the morning with a dry diaper two days in a row. However, he wet the bed on the second night and then insisted in wearing a diaper to bed. I could tell he was not ready.

With the house moving and a new school, I stored away the idea. School started in the beginning of Sept and friends had told me that kids could have wet accidents in the first few days of school due to confusion and stress or not daring to ask for permission to go to the toilet. A1 did not have any accident. Seeing that he was doing well for the day, I decided to make him go diaper free for good.

On 8 September, I told A1 that he was not going to wear diaper anymore for night time. He was alright with it. We assured him that if he wet his bed, it was ok. We made him go to the toilet every night before sleeping though he did not use it each time.  
I did up a chart and in the beginning, the result was discouraging. This was meant as a reward system for him but when I tried to explain to him, he was not interested. So I kept this chart for myself. A sun image meant that there was no wet accident while raindrops on the chart meant that the bed was wet on that night.

When he had three wet accidents in a row, I actually lost my cool and told him harshly to make a big effort. Though we had a washing machine and a dryer, it was no fun stripping the bedsheet and quilt cover and mattress protector each morning and to put them back again after they were cleaned.

At his second triple wet accidents, Seb and I questioned if A1 was ready. We decided to persevere as he was already a big boy at 3 years and 5 months old. Our persistance paid off when from the 24th day onwards, I drew a sun everyday. He was off diaper for good since 1 October. Yipee!

This diaper business is not over for me yet. I am starting potty training on A2. He would sit on the potty when I removed his diaper each time before changing a fesh one. Yet, the potty stayed clean while he warmed up the seat. I wonder when will I do a post 'No more diaper for A2'. I'm being patient. Maybe in a year's time? Or hopefully less.

jeudi, octobre 11, 2012

Well done, boys.

I am so glad. At last, the boys are adapting well; A1to his new school and A2 to his day care.
Since last week, A1 walked through the school gate by himself with a smile. We had progressed gradually from the beginning where he cried at home when putting on his shoes and again at the school gate where we had to carry him and passed him over to the teacher. After that, no more tears at home, just at the school gate. And after that, just being reluctant to walk through the school gate. Finally, entering the school by himself and turning and giving us (A2 and I) a big wave and flying kiss.
As for A2, since last week, he stayed from 9.15am to 12.45pm at the day care twice a week. He ate well for lunch and was always smiling and playing. As I left him this morning and walked out, I overheard the two ladies telling a new interne that A2 was crying a lot for a month and suddenly, he transformed and was enjoying himself at the daycare. The ladies were just as surprised as me as we thought it would take A2 longer to adjust. When I went to pick him up today, he was engrossed in his activity and did not even notice that I was in front of him.
Well done, my boys. I expected them to get use to their new environment one day and that day had come. A month to some might be long but I had no expectation.
The past two times, after picking up A2 from the day care, I drove by A1's school as I knew that the kids would be out at the courtyard after their lunch. I saw A1 playing happily with his classmate running around. Once it was raining lightly, the kids were out too. Ah, the french education. The french belives that kids should be outdoors be it rain or shine. And even when it snows so long as they are dressed appropriately and the rain or snow is not too heavy. If my mom sees this, I don't think she will approve it. I can imagine her reaction and remark. Just this thought makes me laugh. I better keep this detail to myself and not tell her.

dimanche, octobre 07, 2012

To Tutoyer or Vouvoyer? Always a dilemma for me

After 9 years in France, I still get a big headache each time I speak to french people I just know. I never know if we tutoyer or vouvoyer that person. Tutoyer is the informal way of addressing 'you' while vouvoyer is the formal way. In english, we get away with this as everyone is 'you'. In chinese, it is easy as all seniors are '您' out of respect and others are just '你'.

In French, for people whom we do not know but we deal business with in our everyday life like the butcher, the baker, waiters, cashiers etc... we use 'Vous'.
For older people, we usually use 'Vous' even if that person uses 'Tu' at us. We can tutoyer the person if he/she invites us to use 'Tu'. Same goes for boss at the workplace and sometimes even colleagues, teachers in school and neighbours etc.

My problem is that I can't distinct some grey lines.
I vouvoyer my in-laws. So naturally I vouvoyer their friends though some told me that I could tutoyer with them. Yet, each time, I could not decide on which to use. Sometimes, I could start with 'Vous' and then continue with 'Tu'.

Neighbours is another grey area. I have been vouvoyer all my neighbours. And I never paid attention if they vouvoyer or tutoyer with me. I realised it was becase each time a french spoke, I translated in my head from french to english. So when someone said 'Tu vas bien?', I would naturally processed in my head as 'How are you?'. I would answer 'Oui, je vais bien. Et ....' That was when I got stuck. My reply was 'Yes, I'm good. And ....' But which YOU to use in french? I had not listened carefully earlier if that person asked in 'Vous' or 'Tu'. So to be on the safe side, I would end with 'Et vous?'. I did not want to upset someone if that person 'Vouvoyer' me and I 'Tutoyer' back. Now, that person might think I was being a snob by using Vous. She might continue to use 'Tu' if she understood that I am a foreigner or she might revert to 'Vous'.

Recently, we invited our neighbours opposite for an apéritif (a pre-dinner drink). We had a good 2 hours chatting and getting to know each other. They have 2 young boys like us. After they left, I asked Seb 'Did you vouvoyer or tutoyer with them?' Seb replied 'I tutoie as they are our neighbours.' I was like 'Ah bon. I have been using vous throughout the whole time.' Gosh.

I decided to open big my ears now. So far so good. Once I was going to my gym class in the village multi-purpose hall, I met up with a fellow gym mate on the way. We exchanged bonjour and she asked 'Tu habites où?' I paused for 3 seconds before telling her which street I stayed cos I was processing on the 'tu'. She must think that after living here for a few months, I still could not recall my street name.

Another strategy I used was to wait for the person to start a conversation and zoned in on the 'tu' or 'vous' used. These could cause awkward situations as each of us was waiting for the other to start talking. At the school gate each morning and evening, I would say the usual 'Bonjour' to the other mothers. Sometimes, I waited until a mother asked 'How are you?' before replying and asking back in the same way. Most mothers use 'tu' at me which was a relieve for me. Now I have to note who to use 'tu' on and who to use 'vous'. I would certainly need a little black book for that.

On top of that, I would need to note down who gives bise (kiss on the cheek). That itself calls for another post.

This is a long post but as I told Seb, I could write a book just on this. I doubt I can ever adapt this usage of tutoyer and vouvoyer as natually as the french do.

samedi, octobre 06, 2012

The first fire in this house

We finally started the first fire last wednesday. It was rainy and windy outside. Seb was working from home and we decided to start a fire. The temperature in the living room was 20°C before the fire started. Actually it was not that cold to call for a fire but well.... we were tempted to start one since we had all the materials.

Once the wood was burning well and the room was heated up, the temperature went up to 24°C. There were ducts that transferred the heat to the rooms upstairs. We opened the vents on the ceilings to have the heat in the rooms. As the boys' rooms were directly above the living room, their rooms got heated up from 20°C to 25°C. It was too hot in A2's room.

The previous owners told us that their girls were in t-shirts and shorts during winter as the rooms were well heated by the fireplace. They saved on electricity bills as the electrical heaters were seldom used.

It is great to have a fireplace. I'm already planning to buy a pan to roast chestnuts and Seb is thinking of having baked potatoes. Will share photos of the goodies here so watch out.

dimanche, septembre 30, 2012


We are preparing for winter. Living in a house, we have to stock up wood for the fireplace. The boys' grandfather had a "lobang" and one day, he came along with a family friend and unloaded 2 vans of firewood.
It was so kind of the two retirees who not only delivered the wood but stacked them neatly beside the garden shed. 

Seb is really lucky to have such a helpful father. I had seen neighbours chopping, carrying and stacking wood which were delivered just at their gates.

As the nights started to get colder, we went to buy accessories for the fireplace yesterday. We thought of starting a fire yesterday. However, the night was not that cold yesterday. Today's temperature was decent too. Well, once we start our first fire in this house, I will put up a picture. For a Singaporean like me, a fireplace is a novelty. I'm already thinking of roasting chestnuts over the fire. Yummy!

samedi, septembre 29, 2012

A2 at the Garderie (Daycare)

A2 goes to a daycare two mornings a week. It was meant for me to have some alone time. We started in the beginning of Sept and so far, I had only left him for 2.5 hours max. We started with a 10 minutes separation and gradually extended the separation time. It was not easy as A2 cried once I was out of sight. 
After 3 weeks, he still cried a bit when I was away. Last tues and thurs, I managed to do grocery shopping and run errands during that 2 hours break.
The daycare staff was hoping that A2 could stay for lunch next week. I hope he would cooperate. Normally, he should be there from 8h30 to 12h45. If all goes well, I would bring him to the daycare after I send A1 to school at 9am.

jeudi, septembre 27, 2012

Disneyland with A2

The last time I came to Disneyland, I was not a mother yet. With A1, we had only been to Disney Studio the past two times. Few months back, A1 and I went Disney Studio with our friends. The tickets I bought had a promotion where we could visit Disney for the second time in September.

With Lu's mom, we decided to visit Disneyland together in September. We fixed a date and I told A1 about our coming trip. He was not at all keen. He said he was afraid of the fire and he did not want to see Mickey. I guess the fire he remembered either came from the Motor Stunts show or the tram ride we took.

On the day itself, I asked A1 again and he rejected me. Well, I guess he is too young to know that most kids would love to have this chance to visit Disneyland. I decided to bring A2 along. This would be his first trip to Disney.

Lu was disappointed when his mom told him that A2 was coming instead of A1. The last time he saw A2 was in May and Lu played mostly with A1. In his mind, A2 was a baby. However, once we were in Disney, the two boys had fun togather. They hit off immediately. Lu realised that A2 had grown up alot and was fun to be with. When they were climbing up steps, A2 even shouted "Lu, wait!".

Due to an issue with Lu and his mom's annual Passes (it was a black out date for the Pass holders on that day), I offered to bring the two boys into Disneyland. A2 was under 3 so did not need the child ticket I had.   
The boys behaved themselves well when we were in the park. As we were there early, the queue for 'It's a small world' was not long. We took that boat ride and A2 was in awe of the moving dolls. He enjoyed the ride.
Once we finished that ride, the rest of the rides were having a long waiting time. It was not possible to queue 30mins with the 2 boys. I then found an attraction adapted to A2's age with the shortest queue. It was another boat ride called 'Au pays du contes' (Fairytale land).

We saw the witch's house in Hansel and Gretel; the castle in Little Mermaid; Peter and the wolf; the village in Beauty and the Beast; the castle and casts of the Wizard of Oz among other fairytales.

By the end of the two rides, it was time to leave the park. It was time for lunch and we had agreed to have lunch togather. Furthermore, I did not want to stay too long as it was A2's first visit. 2 hours had passed just like that.

It was really difficult to get Lu to reach the exit as he wanted to stay longer. For lunch, we settled at Rainforest Café. It was the first time we were there. We had a table just in front of the big elephant. A2 was pointing at all the animals; monkeys hanging from the trees, giant butterflies, snakes, elephants etc... Our elephant even moved once a while. It was a lovely place for the kids. While having lunch, a stimulated tropical storm could be heard. A2 was alarmed but we managed to calm him down easily. The boys run around the restaurant to look at the marine fishes at the entrance. Lu was taking good care of A2. 
We adults had a good catch up. We were pretty sure that A1 would have freak out with the deco in this restaurant. My two kids have such different characters. One is too prudent while the other is just the opposite.

mercredi, septembre 19, 2012

The firefighters

The boys had 3 plastic firemen helmets from Uncle Tim when they were in Singapore. They love the helmets so much that each evening, they play firemen with their dad.

Seb with his ridiculously small helmet was the fire captain. He would command his firefighters to various tasks. Beginning with exercises like jumping on a leg, swinging the arms; followed by missions to rescue cat on a tree (shelf), putting out fire on various furnitures, catching snakes etc.. I didn't realise that my husband had this hidden talent. He took his part seriously and was such a credible fire captain. The boys were in awe of him and followed his commands well. I often had to laugh out loud. 

A2's helmet was always falling off as he tilted his head high. He was often late for missions as he was so easily distracted by random toys along the way to the destination. Here was A1 trying to put out a virtual fire on A2's bed.

mardi, septembre 18, 2012

The village school

This is how A1's school looks like. There are around 95 students in total ranging from the age of 3 to 10.
At 4.30pm, A2 would be standing right in front of the school gate waiting for his brother. Sweet. I bet he could not wait to be in the same class as his brother next year.
PS: A1 is getting better. He still cries when we reach the school gate but once he is in line, he stops crying. His teacher told us that he participated in the activities and enjoyed himself each day. Phew!

mercredi, septembre 12, 2012


We had a great time in Bali. We spent 6 nights there and stayed in a 2 bedroom appartment at Novotel Nusa Dua Hotel. The kids' grandmother used the equipped kitchen to cook lunches for us on a few occasions.
Once we arrived, we headed to the swimming pool. There were floats and balls available for kids. A1 and A2 enjoyed the pool a lot.
The next days were spent at the pool and at the beach. It was a private beach so it was really clean. The sand was white and the sea was clear. Bali beaches are mainly covered in black volcanic sand. However, Nusa Dua area which is in the south of Bali has white beaches. Thus, this area is dotted with resorts and very touristy.

The boys had fun playing in the sand; building sandcastles, digging, filling the hole with water. They also went into the sea for the first time. They never wanted to touch the water whenever we visited Brittany. Maybe the hot weather and water helped this time. One afternoon, A1 was so tired that he napped on the deck chair. We had to carry him back to the hotel. 
The hotel had trees and flowers everywhere. It was a beautiful and tranquille place. Nature was just at our doorstep. It gave such a relaxing atmosphere; exactly what we were looking for.

Throughout our stay, we only did a day tour. We just wanted to relax. For the kids, there was always something to occupy them in the hotel grounds. Apart from the pool and the beach, the boys played at the mini playground or at the kids' club.
They were too young to be left alone at the kids' club. So there was always me and my mom or Seb hanging around. A2 loved to play with the toys in the  kids' club; especially basketball.
Meal wise, on the first night, we took a taxi to Bali Collection, the nearest shopping mall. It was a cluster of souvenirs shops and boutiques and restaurants targetted at tourists. We were looking for fresh vegetables but the supermarket only had fruits. We bought food for breakfast and yoghurts for the kids. We settled down at a Balinese restaurant for dinner and had a complimentary drive back to the hotel. Almost all restaurants provided this service.
After checking with the hotel staff the next day, we took a taxi out to Hardy's Supermarket and Departmental store. It was a real supermarket and the boys' grandmother did grocery shopping. We had lunch at the staff's canteen as the fast food place at Hardy's run out of food. Thanks to my mom's broken malay, we were accepted at the staff canteen. We had to explain that the fast food had sold out its fried chicken and fries. 
The dinner the night before cost us 70€ while this lunch cost us less than 5€. Of course, beverages were not included and this lunch was really simple. Still, Bali Collection was really a tourist trap. 
One evening, we had dinner at Kendi Kuning. It had a good rating with Tripadvisor. We were not disappointed. The surrounding was nice and our table was on the beach. The food was good. The owner even came to the hotel to pick us up and drop us off after dinner. 
 On our day trip, we asked our driver to bring us to a simple local eatery. Somewhat like the hawker places in Singapore. I was sick of tourist (expensive) restuarants in our neighbourhood. He was concerned that the kids might have stomach upset from these places. In the end, he brought us to an eatery in the Kuta area. It was like the coffee shop in Singapore. We had local dishes and it was really nice. No stomach upsets and no burning a big hole in our pockets. For that complete dinner, we paid 15€. Gosh. We were really ripped off at Nusa Dua. Good thing my mom cooked half the time. The kids ate healthier food and I enjoyed my mom's cooking.
Hardy's became my mom's favourite shopping place. The taxi trip was cheap so we headed there when the kids napped on the pretext that we needed to buy vegetables. We left Seb to take care of the kids. 

It seemed that economy was bad in Bali. All taxi drivers provided day tour services and they even waited for us while we shopped at Hardy's. I had at least 5 name cards from them. Each time, I promised I would pass the name cards to friends visiting Bali.

And the poor economy could be felt in the massage salons too. My mom and I had a 30mins massage at Bali Collection on the first night. On another occasion, while the kids were sleeping, we ladies walked to a street not far from the hotel, just outside the gate checkpoint. We stopped at the first massage salon and had an hour's massage for 13€ each. It was a very special promotion said the salon's owner. Yeah, it was like 70% discount and cost 2€ more than the one we had at Bali Collection. We wished we had found this place earlier.

We really enjoyed our stay at Bali. The kids had lots of fun and Seb is now an expert on Gado Gado. He had that vegetarian dish at almost all the resturants we went to. My mom got to bond with her grandchildren and I got to relax.

mercredi, septembre 05, 2012

This is the way I go to school

A1 started school yesterday. The village school was a stone's throw away so we could all walk to school. We left as a family to send him to school. He was on his balance bicycle and always ahead of us.

School starts at 9am and the gate is open only at 8.50am. We arrived 5 mins before the gate opened. The mayor of the village was there shaking hands with parents. I assumed he was the mayor as he was the oldest man around and everyone seemed to know him. And of course, he came shaking our hands. No stranger would do that except for politicians, right?

As we expected, A1 did not want to go into the school gate. Seb had to carry him in while he struggled and cried. A2 however had no problem of such and even went into the classroom, sat on a chair and started playing with a puzzle. We introduced ourselves to the teacher and her assistant and tried to settle A1. 

A1 is in the class of Petite Section (PS) which translates to Little Section. There are about 12 students so the class is mixed with the Moyenne Section (MS) which translates to Middle Section. Thus the teacher will be taking care of 24 kids of 3 and 4 years old. We do like this idea of having a mix class. Maybe A1 can learn more advance things when the teacher is teaching the MS students.

We brought A1 around the classroom to show him the activities, toys, games, books etc... to familiarize him with his new environment. He was playing when I said goodbye to him and quickly left him. I saw him crying and his teacher trying to calm him down. That was already 9.25am by then. There were also a few kids weeping.

At 1.20pm, I decided to go do grocery shopping. Despite Seb telling me not to, the temptation was too great and I drove by the school to check out on A1. It was lunch break time and the kids were playing in the front court. I stopped at the school carpark  and from the car, I could see my boy standing in a corner with his head down. He was about 50m away from me. He seemed so sad while all the other kids were playing. A school staff came over to him and talked to him. She left when a student came to ask her something. A1 then turned to the leaving assistant and pointing at his nose. I knew that meant that he had runny nose. Did that mean he was crying? Another school staff came over to him and then fetched a piece of tissue paper for him. I assumed they both worked in the canteen as they were wearing white overalls. After that his class assistant came over and talked to him; seemingly encouraging him to go play with the kids in the sand box. I saw A1 shaking his head. The class assistant then took him into the school and I lost sight of my boy. Wow. That scene just broke my heart. Seb was right. I should not have gone peeping on my boy. But at least, I knew he was well taken care of. I left to do grocery shopping after.

At 4.25pm, we arrived at the gate waiting for A1. School ended at 4.30pm and his teacher led the class out in a file of two. We saw A1 holding hand with his classmate and looking happy and proud. He straightened up when he saw us. At the gate, the teacher presented one student at a time and called out his/her name for the parents to come get the kid. When it was A1's time, I went over and gave him a big hug. Seb asked if he had a good day and he said yes. We bombarded him with lots of questions like 'What did you eat?', 'Did you do pipi, caca?', 'What did you do?', 'Do you have many friends?' etc.... He told us what he had for lunch and that he did 5 times pipi and one caca. He did not play with friends but play with toys.

At night, I asked him what he did after lunch, he said he was calling for us. He said 'Papa... many times.' and 'Mama.... many times'. 'Mais pas là'. But we were not there. I felt so sad when he said that. He was calling for us at the school court hoping that we would come bring him home. From the feedback given by the teacher (I actually waited until she was free and asked her questions about A1), he cried a little in the morning but in the afternoon, he enjoyed himself.

Today is a wednesday and there is no school. Tomorrow will be another school day for A1. He is not looking forward to it. I will be bringing A1 to school tomorrow with A2. I hope that A1 won't be too difficult tomorrow morning.

lundi, août 27, 2012

Hair cut ordeals

My 2 boys hate to have their hair cut. A2 used to be alright but as he gets older, he is like his brother. When I moved over to the new house, I did not know any hair cutter around so I called up one and made an appointment for A2. His hair was really messy. He cried very badly at the hair cutter's and the hair cutter was not able to do his job at all. A2 was moving his head around. At one point, I gave him apple sauce in order to calm him down but ended up having apple sauce all over my neck and hair as he struggled to be freed. That painful experience cost me 10€ and only a few strand of hair on the floor.
In Singapore, we really had to cut the boys hair for my brother's wedding. We brought them to the hair cutter which cost $3.80 each. However, it was a dread again for both. We managed to cut A1's hair after I threatened him that the wicked witch would come looking for boys with long hair. Yeah, we are really in the story of Hansel and Gretel so he is scared of the wicked witch. That did the trick. He cried but sat still throughout the hair cut. We bought him toys after for being a good boy. As for A2, he was too young to understand who the wicked witch was.
While visiting ViviCity shopping mall, we went into Toys 'R Us and there was a hair cutter for kids. I was determined to have his hair cut. Despite bribing him with sweets, videos and toys, A2 resisted. Ended up, he was screaming and rolling on the floor while the lady trimmed his hair. It was an expensive haircut but the job was done. Many people who shopped at Toys 'R Us stopped and looked at us. They might be thinking I was the wicked mom.
Well, at least we are now good for the next two months.

mercredi, août 22, 2012

Shortest SG trip ever

The family went to Singapore in the beginning of August. We were there for my brother's wedding which was on National Day. We spent several days in Singapore and after the wedding, the family and the kids' ah ma went to Bali for a week. We stayed in Singapore for a day before heading back home to France.

This time, I did not contact many friends as the stay in Singapore was too short. The kids took 4 days to get over their jetlag so as parents, we were just as tired.

Our new house is far from the airport (80+ km) unlike our old appartment which was just 30+km from Charles de Gaulle airport. We left the house many hours in advance just in case. On the way to the airport, we dropped Bao Bei at the pet hotel. We left her there and felt bad cos she had never stayed in one. 

We arrived at the airport 3 hours in advance and went to the boarding hall once it was opened. The boys were watching aeroplanes and after a while, they started to play with the chairs. They went over and under the armrest. It was really not easy travelling with young children.   
In Singapore, for the first few days, they slept at 8pm but it was their nap time as it was 2pm french time. They woke up at 11pm and then won't go to bed until 2 or 3am. Seb stayed up most nights with the kids. In the mornings, we went to take breakfast nearby and the boys enjoyed their fishball noodle soup. Once they even tried roti prata. While ah ma was doing her marketing buying the freshest fish for the boys porridge, the boys played with some old fashioned balls machine. We had to tell them we were out of coins before they would leave the machines. 
Last year, ah ma bought the boys two fishes which lasted a day. This time, she bought 2 small turtles for the boys. She promised to look after them once the boys went home. The boys had fun playing with the animals.
 They also had lots of fun playing at the playground. They were always asking to go to the park.
On my brother's wedding day, A1 did not want to have his photos taken. So for most family photos, he was absent. He was such a shy boy. We had hoped that he could be the ring bearer for the church wedding but it was just not possible. He was too young and too timid.
Time flies as usual and now we are back to our normal routine. We picked up Bao Bei once we landed and she was well though she had lost weight. As for the boys, they took only 2 days to get pass their jetlag.

The weather in France is almost or even hotter than in Singapore. There are patches of dry grass in the garden and lots of weeds. We will do gardening this weekend. With this good weather, it still feels like holiday. The boys played with their slide and pool in the garden for two hours yesterday.

lundi, juillet 23, 2012

Random activites and joy

The weather was not good for the last 2 weeks and finally it is warm and sunny. In the first 3 photos, the boys were in long sleeves. While I cooked lunch, the boys would play by themselves either in the living room or out in the garden. Sometimes they had fights and to calm them down and have a piece of mind, I actually made them watch cartoons on the laptop.
One day while I was cooking, I checked on them and saw A1 reading a book while A2 was just resting on the floor. A2 was tired as he woke up each morning at 6.30am.

Another time, I caught the boys playing with sticks in the garden.

As for the photo below, this is the forest that is 100m from our house. The trail brings us to the next village 3km away. The village is bigger and has shops. We took the trail on a cloudy sunday and stopped at the village bar for juice and coffee. We bought bread for the kids at the bakery. It was a lovely walk though A1 was tired on the return trip and did not want to continue on his balance bike while A2 wanted to be carried all the time. On top of that, a storm was brewing and we hurried back home barely missing it. What a close shave. 

As summer temperature returns, the boys are in t-shirts and happily playing outdoors. I pumped up a small plastic pool for the kids with the basic balloon air pump. My brother and mum were watching me working slowly via Skype and teasing me. They had better air pumps in Singapore. Well, it did not take me that long after all but my fingers were aching at the end.

The boys enjoyed themselves in the pool. In the end, it seemed like we were running a nudist camp as the 2 boys were in their birthday suits splashing water around and riding their bicycles. No explicit photo here. :)