Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers
Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers
Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Bible Verse of the Day

Ethan

All about Ethan

This is how I like to hone the creativity in my kids.  Not by telling them what to do and how to do it, but letting them explore and find out for themselves.

In art especially, it is important not to be TOLD what to do but to explore and more often than not, surprise yourself with your creations.

Here are Hannah and Ethan’s cartoon fight scenes!  Can you tell which is whose? :)

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They watched a simple tutorial on the telly and decided that they wanted to do it themselves, and there ya go… I absolutely love it.

Has it already been 10 years since I became a mother?  I really just can’t believe it, but it’s true!

Ethan turned 10 on January 31st and it’s such a heartwarming feeling to see how much he has grown…especially since Facebook “reminds” us of our memories from years ago on such and such a date.

This year, we had initially planned to have a simple football themed party at home but earlier in January, he attended a laser tag birthday party and got hooked.  So we decided to have a small gathering at Laser Warzone in Gurney Plaza instead (otherwise he would be playing pretend laser tag all around the house and I can’t have that!)

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I incorporated the original football theme into this laser tag venue celebration.  Obviously Ethan’s favorite soccer team played a huge role in the theme, food and party pack decor.

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The kids just could not wait to get down to laser tag business.

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They had 4 laser tag games in total and we played 2 solo games and 2 team games.  Of course the cake cutting and food was done right before the last game, so that the kids could “refuel”.

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Laser Tag parties = good workout for the kids with good clean fun (read: they sleep better at night); Also, minimal preparation for the party and the following day Ethan said his friends commented that it was the best birthday party ever!  Guess it was a resounding success! :)

After the party, we did some Chinese New Year shopping and ended up having dinner at Chili’s.  They still gave a free dessert for the birthday boy, so Ethan got his song and dessert too! :)

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 HAPPY BIRTHDAY ETHAN!!!

This week, most kids start a new school year, and so did my kids.  For Hannah, it was also a new school and a whole new experience.

We were initially going to homeschool Hannah but over the holidays, we decided that it would be in her best interest to let her start in a brick and mortar school first.  My little snowflake thrives with friends around her and is very sociable.  Her kindergarten teacher also commented that she looked rather sad when her kindergarten friends were discussing their impending school lives, so we figured she was ready for school.  After all, we can homeschool anytime we want, but we can’t go to regular school that easily if we homeschool first.  I guess it doesn’t hurt to try.

She attended an interview and an assessment test at her new school at the beginning of the holidays.  She was assessed on I.Q., English and Bahasa Malaysia, and I am pleased that she did very well.

So over the holidays, I had been busy getting her school gear, wrapping school books, and oh yeah…ironing school uniforms.

And finally January 5th came!

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Look at how happy she is!  She looks forward to going to school every day, and I am so blessed that my kids don’t complain at all.  No tears and all happiness… ♥♥♥

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She’s definitely gotten a good headstart in school, and she eagerly gets ready every morning.  I am not too bothered about good grades and all, but I believe that the experience she gains from being in a school environment (like a “little world”) is crucial in bringing out the best in her.

  • Hannah has lunch in school, and I allow her to select her meals on her own.  Gives her a sense of independence and accountability.
  • Hannah has her own locker in school, so she can leave most of her books in the locker and only brings back those she needs.  I am against heavy school bags for kids, so this is a good plus point.  I also got her a lock for the locker, with a number combination which she needs to remember.  Again…a very good way to instill responsibility.
  • She has her own planner where she will need to jot down any notes to remind her to do or bring stuff, homework assignments, etc.

She is very happy thus far, and that in turn makes me happy too.  Couldn’t ask for more…

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  • When he discusses video game tactics, and leaderboard scores with his dad, and you have absolutely nothing to contribute to the conversation.
  • When he knows most of the songs on the radio, including the singers
  • When he knows trivia about entertainers you know nothing about.
  • When he figures out how to tune the radio in his room to his favorite radio channel, and spends time “chillin'” by listening to the radio.
  • When he goes off for “jamming sessions” with his friends and performs onstage playing the ukulele in school talent shows (and emerges a winner!)

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[ Apologies for the blurry image – can I say I did that on purpose? ]

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  • When he seems to be hungry for food all the time.
  • When we have to change his shampoo from the kiddie type to the regular kind.
  • When he expresses his “genuine concern” on financial matters.

Why do kids grow up so FAST?

Note: We respect your privacy, so if you see a picture of your child in this post and would prefer for me to blot out his/her face, please email me at joyce.cheah (at) gmail.com and I will do the needful.  Thank you.

Last Saturday, our initial plans of going swimming were dashed when the unhealthy haze still loomed in the air.  So we made a spur of the moment decision and decided to see if we could get tickets to watch a movie instead!

Oh yes.  It had been ages since we had watched a movie in the cinema, and it would be Emma’s very first time! After all, we would be going for Hannah’s school concert in a dark hall soon, so I decided to treat this movie outing as a trial run.

The only movie available and suitable was Inside Out.  Ethan had already learnt that the movie was all about “voices and things in our head”.

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Emma was all excited when we walked together to the cinema.  Of course she had no inkling on what to expect.

This was taken right before the show started.  Apologies for the grainy picture because lighting was bad and errrr….. it was almost time to put away our phones anyway…

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We had the usual popcorn and water for snacks and Ethan offered to share his seat with Emma.  The show was, on the whole, very entertaining and the cinema was nearly a full house.

Get this: Emma SAT THROUGH the entire movie without getting out from her seat!  No crying, no whining and not even once asked for milk!

I am truly, simply amazed!!

After the show, we asked if she had enjoyed the movie and she gives us her usual, wide-eyed, knowing nod.  She said, “I watched the BIG TV!”

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We are Stage Pass Members of the Hard Rock Hotel, and although our primary reason for becoming members was to utilize the pool, we are also given a complimentary night’s stay in the hotel, as one of the benefits of membership.  Our deadline for redemption is in July, so we finally decided to “move” to the hotel for a night last weekend, before the benefit expires.

We only told the kids about it the day before we were to check in, and boy, were they excited!  I was worried they would not be able to sleep that night!

Ethan still had school activities until 4:00p.m., so when we checked in, it was already 5:00p.m.!

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Dinner Shots

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We spent our morning at the pool after a scrumptious buffet breakfast (which included chocolate milk for the kids!!).

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It was a fun and enjoyable holiday away from home, although a short one and not really that far from home… LOL!  Ethan left a little thank you souvenir for the housekeeping staff too!

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I still have a back rub to redeem as part of the membership benefits though…need to make an appointment soon!

Oh yes, we have….when our kids have activities, it follows that the whole family will participate along too…so here’s a brief run-through of what we have been up to.

Easter Celebration

During the Easter weekend’s catechism class, Hannah and her classmates in preschool participated in the meaningful “washing of feet” ritual.

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Family Day

We like to spend our weekends lazing around, enjoying family time together. But a few Sundays ago, our family time was a different kind of family time, when we attended Hannah’s school’s Family Day event at Times Square Penang. It was our very first time at Times Square.. LOL There were fun activities like Treasure Hunt, Minute to Win It, arts and crafts and a few stations for toddlers too.

Needless to say, it was a fun-filled Sunday afternoon full of running and bouncing for the kids.

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Ukulele Performance Evening

The following week’s Saturday saw us attending an informal performance of Ethan on the ukulele together with a few others. He sang and played two songs: Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Rhythm of the Rain. We are ever so proud of him…now I’m wondering if I will be allowed to sing with him on the uke next time… haha…

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Ethan’s Sports Day

Since Ethan’s Sports Day fell on a Monday morning, Emma and I were the only ones attending it. The kids moved from station to station throughout the day and participated in various events, like the obstacle course, sprints, relays, ball dribble and team sports like Captain’s Ball and Tug-of-War. Ethan proudly showed off his silver medal for the ball dribble event and a gold medal for Captain’s Ball. Well done Ethan!

(I think he’s trying to bulk up on some muscles now, cos I told him he has good potential as a sprinter. He ran quite fast but was outrun by the bigger boys)

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Beautiful Friendships

Last but not least, here’s a rare gem of a photo of Emma with perhaps her first friend ever, Izayah.  This was taken during one of Ethan’s and Hannah’s soccer coaching sessions.

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We’re looking forward to an exciting rest of the year, with more and more interesting activities coming up such as Ethan’s school concert (in which he landed the role as one of the main pirate characters!), Hannah’s school sports day (which includes a fund raising event), a short vacation for the kids (hopefully), and of course, Hannah’s school concert at the end of the year.

Watch this space!!

Those of you who follow me on my personal blog Giddy Tigers and also on Facebook, would be aware of the fact that we were in a fender bender about 3.5 weeks ago.  Unfortunately, due to delays and finger-pointing, the car is still under repair and will only be ready this Saturday.  That’s the date that was given to me, and I really hope there will be no surprises.

Anyway, during the days following the accident, we have been making do with just one car, travelling half the island almost every day, with some days Daddy working from home.  However, this week, we could not afford the flexibility because Daddy has a full week of seminars and has visitors coming in, plus he has to travel to Kulim some days, so for this week our schedule is modified with one that does not involve Mommy with a car.

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In the mornings, Ethan will either be dropped off at school by Daddy or I will walk him to school.  It’s a good thing that his school is just about 5-10 minutes’ walk away, and so that’s a bonus.  In the afternoons, I will walk to school to pick him up, bringing along his sisters, complete with hats! 😛  It’s an excellent exercise session, but my only complaint would be the hot afternoon sun.

As for Hannah, since her school is not within walking distance, I arranged for the school van transportation to ferry her to and from school this week.  So far this arrangement is working out well, and Hannah looks forward to her van rides every day.  I see her off at the door and meet her when she gets off the van.

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Emma, on the other hand, will enjoy more home time, since she doesn’t need to be packed into and out of the car, like I usually do during our regular school runs.

Next week, our old schedule will be reinstated.

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Last week, we attended a simple Trade Show Ethan’s class put up. The students were divided in 4 entrepreneurial teams and Ethan’s team was called TMS (Team Services).  They came up with the idea of providing shoulder massages for a fee (RM1 per minute), and in return the “customers” would be entertained to nice ukulele music and served green tea!

Guessed who the ukulele player was? :)

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Hannah wanted to get the 5-minute massage, and in return she got a chance to win something from the lucky draw box too!

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Yeah…while adults were served green tea, the kids were served milo!

It was so interesting to see the kids running their businesses; there was a stall selling cakes and muffins, and yet another selling keychains and bracelets.  The kids even designed and printed their own business cards!

At the end of the day, the funds collected will be channeled towards the class fund to be used in future school trips and to purchase student supplies.  I think this is an excellent exposure for the kids and I’m sure they all had fun running the trade show.

BRAVO!

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After almost a year attending regular school as opposed to homeschooling, I’m evaluating the key takeaways that Ethan has had in a school environment compared to homeschooling.  To be fair, we have constantly asked him if he enjoys school, and we can see that in general, he is having fun, and tells me his favorite subject in school is Math and ICT (Information and Communication Technology).  When asked if he would consider returning to homeschooling, he said he would too.

However, there are a few things that I feel he has benefited from by attending regular school.

  • Responsibility – this covers responsibility for his own belongings and also as a person.  There is marked improvement where we have noticed he doesn’t lose things as easily nowadays, but we are working on strengthening his focus and vigilance.  Misplacing things in a big school is inevitable and ideally we want to reduce that to a zero.  Ethan has also been given responsibility as a student council in his class.  This is basically a class representative position and I will never forget the day he related how he was selected:  The candidates were asked to give a short speech to classmates on why they should vote for them, and they voted.  The one with the highest votes (1 boy and 1 girl) would then be elected.  He now wears his student council pin proudly every day and yes, we are ever so proud of him.
  • Loyalty – I can sense a strong sense of loyalty to his school when he plays soccer for his school against other schools.  His Daddy says this sense of loyalty and belonging to a team will not be the same if he was homeschooled, and not even if he participated in a homeschool event against other teams.  This I would have to agree.
  • Teamwork – In school, he is learning to work in a team, to be part of a team and how to handle conflict.  He would come and report to me who did what, who is naughty and who is good, etc.  Next week, he will be part of a team as part of their Young Entrepreneurs program, and his team will be managing a shoulder massage service.  They will also be serving refreshments and providing music and entertainment for the customers.  Ethan will be playing the ukulele!
  • Socialising – Ethan’s social skills have definitely improved and I have noticed that he is more vocal now.  In school, as we all know, he needs to learn how to interact with kids from different backgrounds, how to handle it when kids are noisy and playful, or quiet and compliant.  Also, how to communicate effectively with teachers and educators and also how to treat them with respect.  When he was homeschooled, we met up with other kids too, but it was maybe 1-2 times a week at the most.  This socialising in school is definitely doing heaps for his confidence and morale.

So did we make the right decision to let him experience school?  I would say yes, weighing in the pros and cons.  But would we consider homeschooling again?  Definitely.  But ultimately, as I have always maintained, we will look at his progress and how each option will benefit him more before we decide.

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