Been another long while since I did a post on our kids! So, lots of pictures in this update post. I think we’re blessed in that both Hannah and Peter’s birthdays are in the month of June – which nicely coincides with the stipulated school holidays in the public school calendar. We celebrated both their birthdays at home; with friends in Hannah’s case, and with our larger family for Peter. Hannah is of course at an age now where she recognizes the significance of having a birthday, and that it’s not just about having more presents and toys to play with. Peter on the other hand was completely nonplus about it and probably wondered what all the fuss was about when the family all gathered around him for the celebration song.
We went by The Minton over the weekend for a meeting with a curtains/blinds maker we’re interested in engaging. This particular contractor is based in Johore Bahru, but commutes to Singapore every day for work. He was a particularly jolly fellow and we like him, though at times he was chuckling at his own jokes! There’s no lack of curtains/blinds makers in Singapore of course, but for those of us on a budget, the contractors who’re located across the causeway are possibly a more affordable alternative. For our home, we’re looking at day and night curtains for the living/dining room, blinds for the bedrooms/study, and frosted films for the master bathroom windows, and hopefully we’ll receive a quotation from him soon enough as to how much it’s gonna cost us for all these.
Rectification work has also started for the long list of defects we forwarded to the Developer too last midweek. A good number of chips and cracked lines along the wall edges at the front balcony and also bedrooms have been rectified, though others at the back balcony and kitchen have not been touched yet. Workers were also sanding down the parquet flooring on Saturday, and during a follow-up visit on Sunday afternoon, the same floor had just been varnished too. A couple of residents were reporting that the defect rectification team have (accidentally) caused a few more defects when they did their patch-up work – we’re hoping that that doesn’t happen too much for us. We wouldn’t want a continual cycle of new defects caused by rectification teams!
More pictures of The Minton flora here.
Part two of pictures taken at our keys handover day. There wasn’t many persons about, but once most residents have moved in, the scene will probably look quite different.
About nearly 2 years 4 months after we made the big decision to buy a new condo apartment near the school we are hoping to enroll Hannah into in a few years’ time, we finally got the newly minted keys to our new home at The Minton this morning. The place was pretty much crawling with estates security personnel. I was stopped by the guardpost, and had my reported appointment checked against their morning schedule. Drove to the foyer just a few meters away where my appointment was checked a second time, followed by directions where to park at the basement 1 carpark, where I’d be met by a third security person who’d let me through into the lift lobby. Gosh. And only when I was let into the ‘inner sanctum’, was I finally directed to the appointment room where the keys handover was to take place. And later in the morning when I was wandering around taking pictures, I was approached by more security persons wanting to know who I was, taking all those pictures!
The actual keys handover didn’t take long. The Developer representative ran through quickly each of the several dozen documents – forms to fill-up, declarations and indemnity forms for moving house and renovation, warranty statements – then the sets of keys and access cards themselves.
To be fair; lots of residents have expressed disappointment for a variety of things about this condo – though observing my other friends who’re making similar purchases at other places, Singapore home buyers are a really tough bunch to please – but my first impressions of the completed Minton was actually quite positive. Words can’t quite describe how large the compound is, the amount of space in between blocks, and how landscaping and elevation has been used to good effect to make the numerous amenities look more spread-out than they really are.
I’ve got lots more initial impressions to share, so will break my visit into three parts; the first of which are panoramas I composed to give a sense of how big The Minton compound is.
The Minton finally TOPed last week on the 29 November. Though now comes the real wait – keys collection, and since the project is so large with so many apartment units, we’ve been hearing anywhere between 3 to 6 months for key distribution to complete. Our block though is among the first phase of blocks to get keys – not that it really matters that much to us now though, since whether we move in January or June next year now doesn’t make any difference to school and nanny arrangements for Peter and Hannah.
Still – we swung by the project site on Saturday morning to see if kaypoh residents like us will be allowed in for a walkabout. Taking long shots for the last 24 months from the surrounding HDB blocks was interesting only up till a point! No such luck though – the compound was still secured, and with estate and security guards now whom as someone remarked, looked like they meant business. Or maybe it was just the newness of their new postings.
Just a couple of pictures this time. Since we’re all receiving keys soon, I’ve only posted pictures of interest than the usual establishing shots.
The two kids have been at home with Ling over this December holiday stretch, and that’s given them plenty of opportunities to interact and know each other. Ling was remarking that Peter especially seems to enjoy Hannah’s company, possibly because Hannah has a way of making him laugh with her antics. Though come to think of it, Peter hasn’t quite learned how to laugh out loud. His version of laughing is, at the moment, a wide open-mouth grin and silent laughter of sorts!
Every year at about this month I’d do a post on how our kids have grown and changed each month. The last such post was in November a year ago here – here’s the updated one from when Hannah has gone from 3.5 to 4.5 years old. Appearance wise, she doesn’t seem to have changed as much as she did when she was between one to three years old. That said, she seems to be ever-so looking less chubbier around her cheeks since the last few months.
The pictures here were taken on the E-M5, excepting the November 2013 (taken using the E-PL6) and that of September 2013 by her school’s event photographers. I’ll also have to start doing a similar series for Peter soon enough too next year once she’s grown a bit more.=)
It’s a sure sign of old age – in the last week, my back experienced intense pain after carrying Hannah up. On the first occasion last weekend, and because I’d forgotten that I have a bad back, I lifted Hannah up high past eye-level, and the second occasion just this morning, even something as normally minor as lifting Hannah up into the NTUC Fairprice trolley cart caused an immediate ache.
An ongoing discussion about lenses with a blog visitor reminded me that the Olympus 45mm and Panasonic 14mm haven’t been receiving much love since the 25mm and 17mm have become the two mainstays on the E-M5 and E-PL6. The 45mm is still regarded as one of the m4/3 systems finest primes, and though the 14mm isn’t quite in the same league optically, it was picked up for really cheap and a wonderfully small pancake lens that I can use very discretely in public places. The 45mm will be especially tricky out of the house though given how much subject distance I’ll need just for an upper body portrait.
The first round of pictures using the two lenses weren’t so good – I’d gotten so used to the 25mm/17mm that I misjudged depth of field for a couple of pictures I took of Peter and Mommy shot wide-opened (basically, Mommy looked great right down to her facial pores, but Peter’s skin textures were all lost). Below are a couple that turned out alright. The first one’s using the 14mm, and next three with the 45mm – all shot at maximum aperture.
Two more pictures, but going back with the 17mm.
It’s been another 3 weeks, and The Minton has still yet to reach temporary occupancy status. No one seems quite certain what’s the cause for the hold-up, but at this point and how long we’d been told key distribution will take, it looks increasingly likely we won’t be starting our renovation for the new home this year at all now, and it’s even a stretch if we’d be able to move in around Chinese New Year next year. It’s a bit of a dampener, since after all the effort we took to get renovation quotations back in September, we’ll have to get updated quotations now by the probable time we get the keys.
Oh well. I swung by for another visit in mostly cloudy weather again. As expected, there wasn’t any real development going on nor changes observed, apart from placement of new exterior furnishings, and what looks like minor touch-up and rectification works still going on.
As before, do check the Flickr Album for the large-sized pictures.
Both Ling and I posted little stories to share about our ongoing interactions with Hannah. First one from Ling:
Hannah was showing us her dance in the living room just now…
H: “And shake the hips gently this way…”
H: “Cannot shake too hard otherwise the hips will spoil.”
Mommy: “Who told you that?”
Mommy: Huh???? You sure about that?”
H: “Ya. God make our hips and so we cannot spoil them. *demonstrating gentle shaking of hips again*
Mommy: *I want to laugh!*
Motivational Theory for Four Year Old Girls
Daddy: “Hannah, time to brush your teeth and go to bed.”
H: <<Silence>> “mmgghhmmm”
Daddy: “Hannah, time to drink your milk!”
H: <<Silence>> “mmgghhmmm”
Daddy: “Hannah, time to get dressed to go out. What do you wanna wear?”
H: “DADDY, COMING!!! Wait for me in my room OK???”
Hannah has also learned how to roll her eyes. Oh my. Now we’re gonna have to find some way for her to unlearn that LOL.
Took a whole bunch of pictures taken this morning while at brunch with grandparents too, with the E-PL6/17mm and E-M5/25mm interchangeably.