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2 Years 6 Months and Night Activities

We’ve been reading to Hannah every night before bed but just today decided to try varying the activities a bit. Ling got her an activity book and glue from Popular Book Store (Ling quips that the Popular Membership card is super worth it, given the ton of stationary and children materials she buys from the book store!), and has been giving it a go.

The series of pictures tells the story. Our girl still can’t fully handle the picture sticking on her own, but with some help from Mommy can just about do one or two.=)


What the pictures here don’t tell though is that just earlier on in that very day, Hannah had super-stressed out Ling with her continued bawling. i.e. she cried over lunch, over her bath time, over her nap, over when Ling was trying to prepare dinner etc.

I got back home from work to find a very red-eyed Hannah and a weary looking Mommy. For the next half-hour had to sit our girl down and ‘psycho’ her to give Ling an easier time. Hannah at least went up to Ling thereafter, said “Sorry Mommy, no more cry-cry’”, and actually sounded very sincere.=)

Christmas Tree!

Though we’ve been staying here at The Rivervale for five years now, we’ve not gotten a Christmas tree for our home before. The catalyst this year round is Hannah – she’s fascinated with the Christmas tree lights! So, over the weekend we went on a spree around Ikea Tampines and the Giant Hypermart next door to pick up what we needed to set it all up. I didn’t have a strong persuasion on the type of tree, apart from that I really prefer a artificial one – and only because I didn’t want to have to do major clean-up with a ‘live’ tree after Christmas!

Many pictures to follow. =)


Looking in a spectacularly happy mood throughout. Ling wanted a 1.6m tree, but Ikea didn't have it - so we picked up a 1.5m tall one from Giant.


The one we decided on was a pine tree type . At SGD119, it cost quite a bit more than the others on display, but what we got was a pretty nice tree that looks like a pretty good facsimile of the real thing.


This is what it looks like straight out of the box.


... and after an evening's decoration! We got a box of assorted baubles, about three different light strings, several small dolls, the star topping off the three, and several others. Didn't finish using them all - too many. Total expenditure was about SGD210 - ouch!


Hannah thoroughly fascinated.=)


Yep that's about her mood right now!


Got her to pose for the camera.=)


Staycation – Activities with Hannah

It wasn’t long after checking into Capella Singapore @ Sentosa that we both arrived at the same conclusion; that given how luxurious the place was (and that I paid a hefty bill for the stay), we both felt that we would rather spend more time in the hotel than in Sentosa itself! I don’t think this will be the last time we’ll visit Sentosa, especially since Hannah’s at such a young age she couldn’t appreciate the sights on the tourist-y island anyway.

So, a few more pictures of our little outing.=)


At the garden-pool area of Capella Singapore. There was a back gate at the hotel which exited right at Palawan beach. There was a mosquito or two though in the 10 minute walk down, so we had to speed-carry Hannah on the walk down and back up later in the return journey.


Singapore really doesn’t have a lot of nice beaches, so this is about as good as it gets. We’d brought Hannah’s beach toys, but ended up not really spending too much time on the beach.


Didn’t take long before Hannah had to stop, and prompted Ling about sand in her shoes.


The suspension bridge linking Palawan Beach to the southern-most point of continental Asia.


Hannah takes a good look at the sea at the top of the four storey tower. Guess who carried her up? Hint: Not Mommy. =)


She’s getting real heavy!


On the walk down, which she manages fine with support from the railings and one of us.


We take turns to carry her, and not unexpectedly, I have an easier time carrying Hannah.


Thought this was a cute photo. Hannah standing on a make-up room stool to brush her teeth.=)



More iPad pictures! This was at The Soup Spoon restaurant where we had lunch on the second day.

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Dinner in Vivocity at the absolutely fabulous Go India restaurant. The restaurant whips out a North Indian buffet for SGD25 a head. Amazingly good stuff. Ling complimented the wait staff several times. The only camera I had on hand was the Samsung Galaxy S, so apologies for the pretty crappy pictures here.

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The food was so good that Hannah kept asking for more. We were very surprised at how easily she adapted to North Indian cuisine. =)


The family photo! Taken on the timer (didn’t bring the wireless remote). Come to think of it; the photo looks weird! We both have unglam legs, so we were trying to hide them with cushios.=)

Staycation @ Capella Singapore – Part 3

More pictures of Hannah adapting to the room and surroundings.=)


Hannah loved the three meter long couch, and spent a lot of her time lazing along it.


Just woke up on the second day morning.


Striking a lady-like pose. Below: Breakfast on the couch.=)



Walking out to the Lobby for the late morning hotel shuttle bus to Vivocity - we availed ourselves of this service frequently!


We arrived early, so we sat her down at the large lawn in front of the hotel to play about.


Bus-ride to Vivocity for brunch. Had a fabulous meal; will blog about that separately.


Back at the hotel's library in the mid-afternoon. We had afternoon tea on what Ling called really expensive bone china tea sets.


Hannah wanted to go back to her usual routine; emptying out a library shelf off books and bringing them back to Mommy. We stopped her and had her settle with just three books!


Walking down the stairs from the library back to the Lobby.


We were greeted warmly everywhere by the hotel staff. Hannah was a little too shy to reciprocate though!


Our girl has re-discovered the joy of being carried everywhere. Both of our arms ached.


At the pool for an afternoon swim. We brought her to the young adult's swim area, which I think is the deepest she's tried so far. And nope, she didn't have problems.=)



Settling in for an afternoon nap. She adjusted quite well on the overall, though she did her usual fidgeting throughout the night, and seemed very alert to any kind of noise. We had to tip-toe around the room while she slept.

Staycation @ Capella Singapore – Part 1

Hands down; the best hotel or resort we’ve both stayed yet.


Capella Singapore @ Sentosa

This is one property where (nearly – see below) everything’s just perfect. We got to the resort pretty speedily in on the early yesterday Saturday afternoon, got the car parked, and found our way to the reception. One thing that struck us immediately was how idyllic Capella felt. It’s strange considering that the hotel was supposed to be at near full occupancy, but hardly anyone was about.

It’s amazing too that every staff we ran into greeted us warmly, with the reception staff even knowing us by name already upon arrival. Interestingly, most of the reception staff weren’t local.


A personal assistant brought us to our room - no. 422.

There was a welcome card in the room. Handwritten, and signed off by the General Manager – not typed-out. I’m sure it’s done for every guest arrival and I’m not sure if the card was written by the GM himself, but it was nonetheless a very nice and warm gesture.


The Welcome Card.

The room was massive – and this was the lowest-priced room even. The size at 77 square meters was about more than half the size of our Rivervale apartment! There was plenty of space for Hannah to move about, and she took joy in simply walking round and round the room, touching and exploring.

Warm earth and traditional colors throughout too, but yet the room was driven by high tech gadgets. Including a full LCD-equipped telephone, power board boxes, ceiling mounted speakers with a Bose CD player, a 42 inch LCD rotatable wall-mounted screen, electrically controlled light settings, curtains and blinds, with mood settings too.


The room, and balcony just yonder.

Most of the wall comprises a large glass window that gave us a view of the garden below, and also Palawan Beach further beyond.


Hannah was fascinated with the room, and in the first 30 minutes walked circles round and round!


Hannah approves of the fantastic view of Sentosa from the three meter long couch.=)

We were glad to see that a baby crib had been laid out too in the room, though it creaked a little as Hannah adjusted herself to it at night. Strangely; crib pillows were not included, though Ling had earlier specifically asked if crib pillows would be included and the answer was yes. When she called the reception to inquire about it again, the final answer came back in the negative. That necessitated a trip back home to pick up Hannah’s pillows (Ling had also forgotten if she’d switch off the living room fan LOL). The one downer in our stay.


The Tub.


Double sinks.


Baby toiletries too.


A large suite of hot and cold beverages, an expresso machine - all in the package.=)


The room was scented; Ling's guess - sandal wood.

We mused that the relatively high price tag for the room – at SGD550+ lowest – might had been instrumental in keeping away most stayers. Plus the relatively low number of rooms versus the very large physical land space the resort is spread out mean that the resort never felt crowded.

Continued in a next post. =)


Our dear girl has become quite attached to a jigsaw puzzle application I bought for her on the iPad. The application – My Jigsaw Puzzles HD – was another one of those USD0.99 apps, but the kind of engagement it has brought to Hannah far surpasses its very low price. The application uses pictures of cutesy animals that she recognizes from flash cards, and puzzles can comprise between 4 to 49 pieces.


My Jigsaw Puzzles HD

Hannah’s learned how to easily work out the 4 piece puzzles in just a few days, and navigate around the program, and can do the 9 piece puzzles with some Daddy assistance. Just incredible how toddlers pick up and learn new things!


A picture of concentration!

Hannah’s Day at the Zoo

Hannah has been able to easily recognize animals from the set of picture cards she has for months now, and I’ve also created a Folder for her on the computer storing online pictures from a range of animals to help her in animal recognition. We decided it was time to let her see the real thing. So, it was a trip to the zoo this holiday morning.

Well, one trip later, mixed results. Great weather, and the trip was accident free. However, with the exception of the elephant and giraffe enclosures, and the ponies at the kid’s zoo, she seemed hard pressed to recognize most of the animals elsewhere or even demonstrate much of an interest in them.

Mommy had this idea of renting a kiddie’s cart, but our girl had little interest in it after the first 10 minutes.

There was a kangaroo lying less than a meter from the exhibit fence at the Outback enclosure.



Having fun with elephants above. The one animal she recognized instantly! There were lots of visitors at the giraffe enclosure, but she got a pretty good look at them.


The obligatory family picture!

The highlight was in the walk-in aviary when Hannah ran after and probably terrorize a few duck. =)

Hannah vs Mosquitoes – Part 2

We just learned one of the probable reasons why we’ve been having an infestation of mosquitoes around our home in the last few weeks. National Environment Agency officers started their visitations to the blocks in the area – which we’re guessing was because other residents had prompted them to do so – and after checks, determined that our neighbors downstairs had potted plants which had turned into little mosquito breeding areas. No wonder!

We’re glad though that the mosquito net has blocked off most mosquitoes from Hannah overnight, though from the two bedtime pictures below taken just now, she still gets the occasional bite from day time.


Diaper changed, in her bed clothes, finished saying prayers, and ready for a final cuddle with Daddy.


She'll only sleep with her 'dog dog' stuff animal toy.:)

Pre-Weekend Pictures!

My apologies for the tardiness in blogging! Work has been dreadfully busy, due in most part because of changed responsibilities at work. Over the last two days I’ve been trying to make up for all the lost time I’ve not been taking pictures and writing about Hannah, upon realizing that each day she grows without us keeping a memory of it is an opportunity lost.

Hannah’s certainly undergoing many changes. She, increasingly, wants her way and with her growing physical size and strength, isn’t disposed against pushing the both of us away when she wants one thing or another! For instance, she used to be perfectly happy to sit on her own when we had dinner in the living room. These days, she’ll insist on sitting on Ling’s lap, and will raise a terrible din when we don’t let her (Mommy needs to eat too).


Thankfully, she still loves spending time with the both of us. Words like ‘read read’ are a trigger point for her, and when we let her know we’re going to take time to read to her, she’ll immediately brighten up, and bring us one of her books.


Hannah’s been also experiencing difficulties sleeping at night with the mosquito net. The instant the net comes down, she’ll holler. We’ve been getting by only because the both of us take turns to sit beside her cot, sing, play with her until she feels secure enough to go to bed. We sure hope it’s just a passing phase, though if not, at least I’ve been able to get Hannah to sleep much easier than Ling (Ling snorts in response that so therefore, Daddy should put her to bed more often!).

Day 9: Osaka – Umeda Sky Building

Our last stop for the Day 9 evening was the Floating Garden Observatory at the top floor of the Umeda Sky Building. This is the seventh tallest building in the city, and actually comprises two skyscrapers that is interconnected with an observatory at the 39th floor. This observatory offers a spectacular 360° view of Osaka, and I was really looking forward to this experience with the memory of going up the Prudential Tower in Boston for the roof top photo shoot still very fresh in mind.

The Floating Garden Observatory itself is a covered and sheltered compound, with a few cafes and couple-seat viewing areas. The real prize though is the roof top that you go up a level more where you can get full 360° views in the open. According to Ling’s itinerary, we had a choice of going up during the day or evening time, but I chose the latter. I’ve done enough day time roof top shoots, and was looking forward to a night shoot instead. The views at least didn’t disappoint, but the photography wasn’t quite so easy! Didn’t have a tripod, and it was freezing cold up top in the open. Shot around 184 exposures and 16 panoramic compositions. I’ve just processed these panoramas, and it’s amazing that even half of them turned out well. Bits of camera shake here and there at the very slow shutter speeds I was using, handheld LOL.

Admission fee is 700円. Worth every yen! All the pictures were taken using the D300 and Sigma 18-250mm.


The Building has an iconic '173' marked everywhere - the building stands at 173 meters tall. I took a series of shots at the ground level to capture the height of the building, and have aching necks to prove it!


The Floating Garden Observatory. Plenty of use of down lights, but these show up as reflections regardless if you try to take pictures of the skyline, though you get fully uninterrupted views.

There are security personnel at the roof top patrolling the grounds to make sure that no one gets any funny (i.e. suicidal) ideas. Also, the circular pathway is lit like this that makes it easy to watch your step.


Lots of bridges for vehicular traffic and trains connecting the Osaka districts together over the river.


Osaka City by night!


Street views from the top. This was taken at the Observatory; it's impossible to do this down pointing angle at the roof top.

Absolutely spectacular views!

The height of the Umeda Sky Building is at 173m; lower compared to Boston’s Prudential Tower’s Skywalk Observatory’s 228m, but no less impressive. Recommended for Osaka visitors! :)