Friday, 27 February 2015

Day 2 of our splendid LEGOLAND weekend

We were invited by our very lovely sponsors, the team behind LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort for a weekend stay at the LEGOLAND hotel, complete with admission tickets to both the Theme Park and the Water Park, with meal vouchers included.

Read about our fun-filled first day of our LEGOLAND weekend.

DAY 2

7:30am: The kids were up bright and early and all refreshed for another day of fun. They quickly remembered they were in a whole new world and were all in a jolly good mood. They were chatting non-stop and Kate was happily climbing up and down the bunk bed, which left me in a jolly good mood too as I could get organised without interruption.

8.00am: Breakfast is included at Bricks Family Restaurant. When we went down to the lobby for breakfast, the kids just had to pay a visit to the Castle to play for a bit and told me to get a table and settle Kate in first and they will join us shortly. Of course they never did come back and I had to go get them. That's how I managed to snap a rare shot of the lobby with absolutely NOBODY in the photo. 
Hotel Lobby at 8am
Bricks family restaurant is extremely kids-friendly. From the assortment of coloured, plastic cutlery for the kids to choose from, to the smorgasbord of food to cater to even the fussiest eaters, it clearly has the little ones' needs highest on their priority.
Bricks family restaurant
Last night after dinner, Kate saw a life-sized Lego character walking around the hotel and this morning she kept asking to look for the 'Legoman'. Finally, after breakfast, Captain Hook made an appearance and she was delighted.
Nice to meet you, Captain Hook!
I loved that there was so much to entertain the kids at the lobby and I could go up to our room to pack in peace. I don't know about you but I find it very hard to pack properly with kids running around me and always end up getting agitated. So this was something I really appreciated. Kate stood here for a long time watching the older boys dance to the pirate Wii game.
"What are they doing??"
More Lego to ignite their imagination. Here, the kids are spoilt with Lego in a different form. Soft jumbo Lego blocks where they can built thrones, houses, and giant structures.

10.00am: We checked out of the hotel, ready to hit the Theme Park for another full day of fun. We decided to start from the right of the entrance with LEGO CITY as it was more suitable for Kate. Our first ride of the day was the Boating School where the kids get to steer the boat along the course. See Kate's unhappy face? She wanted to steer but couldn't do a proper job so #5 took over and she wasn't pleased about that.
Our private boat
Kate continued with the other rides which were suitable for toddlers such as the City Airport and the Rescue Academy. Meanwhile, the older kids headed off to the other sections which were more suitable for them.
Kate's private jet
Kate is at the age where she loves vehicles and is constantly asking to be taken on the bus, MRT, and even to ride on vans and trucks. She spotted the colourful train snaking through the park and got all excited. The LEGOLAND Express is tagged under #61 on the map. She spent the rest of her time with her grandparents at IMAGINATION and the LAND of ADVENTURE.
"Hi mummy, I'm going on a train ride"
The older kids moved on to MINILAND and marvelled at the intricate and amazingly detailed replicas of the models representing the different countries. The China Miniland has been adorned with a new scene to usher in the Year of the Goat.
China miniland
We made our way to the LEGO Academy and discovered that they ran 2 Robotics classes there with different time slots. The kiasu parent in me encouraged them to sign up quickly (free class, why not?). They were taught how to program the robot to place the ball into the receptacle, and to close it. They were thrilled when they succeeded, and I was impressed. It was also a good bonding experience for the siblings as #5 was stuck halfway and #4 helped him out.

The Robotics classes are for ages 8 and up. You have to go and register as they have limited numbers for each session. Their class didn't start till about 20 minutes later so we ducked right across to the Asian Deli and the kids ordered the Chicken Nuggets Kids Meal (RM18), which comes with a drink and a little toy. The day couldn't be more perfect for them.
LEGO TECHNIC arena
I didn't know what to expect at the Star Wars Miniland, and was amazed by the exhibits on display. And boy, did it bring back fond memories of my childhood. We were pretty spoilt and my brothers had a huge collection of the Star Wars toys. To see them again after 3 decades, in painstakingly built LEGO pieces was extremely nostalgic. Suddenly I was transported back to when I was a child and I could hear my mum's shrill tone admonishing my brother, "If you don't pack up your toys, I will throw your Star Wars away!" Oh gosh, how many times did I say that to #5 about his Lego collection.

The older kids said that the 3 things they enjoyed the most were the Robotics class, LEGO MINDSTORMS (roller coaster ride) and the Star Wars Miniland. As it was a Sunday, which is a school day for the students in Johor, there were no queues and they must have gone for about 10 rides on the roller coaster!
Their faves
You know what was the best part of the whole weekend for me? I realized that this was one rare trip where I didn't have to raise my voice even once. The kids were kept happy and entertained at every turn and so was I at all the well thought-out conveniences to make it that much easier for parents.

Having a room at the hotel is really handy especially if you have kids of different ages or came with the grandparents. The older ones literally made the most of it and played at the Parks for the whole 8 hours. I was happy that Kate (and my dad) still managed to have their naps in comfort and woke up cheery to join us for the rest of the evening. My parents made friends with another set of grandparents from Hong Kong and they were able to sit in the cool comfort of the hotel lobby while the grandkids had their fun in the sun.

I have to say that without a doubt, the LEGOLAND Malaysia resort experience is one that is truly unrivalled, for a fuss-free and happy family weekend away.
Express checkout
FUSS-FREE CHECK OUT:All we had to do was drop our room cards into the express checkout box at the reception counter and that was it! Check out time is at 11am. (Request can be made for a later check-out).

If you're still not convinced, here's 5 reasons to visit Legoland Hotel from Life is in the Small Things blog, and you can also read more from Lil Blue Bottle's Legoland post.

Getting there:

By Car: Use the Tuas Second link and exit at Nusajara Exit 312. Look out for the LEGOLAND signage on the Left. That's it!

By Bus: Coach service is available from the Singapore Flyer at $20 per person. Click here for more details.

Disclaimer: We were sponsored our stay at LEGOLAND Malaysia Hotel inclusive of admission tickets to the Parks and meal vouchers. All opinions are my own.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Our CNY through the lens

Here's what we have been up to for the past few days.

Reunion dinner is always a pretty rowdy affair as the whole clan on the hub's side descends on our house. Some of us go for an early dinner on the other side of the family and come back for round 2. The traditional Lo Hei is the highlight of the meal and we do it when everyone is back.
Yu Sheng
This year we were more controlled and didn't need to send in the dogs to lap up the food from the floor.
Riotous celebration
Annual photo-taking of 3 generations on Reunion night.
The Wee clan
The 2 youngest in the family for now.
Kate's latest 'smiling pose'
The girls had to vacate their rooms as our house was turned into an inn for our relatives from KL. They did it quite grudgingly because they kept asking why couldn't it be the other 2 who had to give up their room. Maybe next year we should draw lots. In the end, they had a great time with their cousins and wished they could have stayed on longer.

The men holding fort in the kitchen. Thankful to have many good cooks in the family.
Seasoned salmon sashimi
Quiet afternoon bonding over card games with their uncle. #5 trying to explain his move. He surprised us by how well-thought out his move was.

More visiting. Little missy telling me the dog bit her finger.

On Sunday night, we had a simple dinner at home as the kids had to settle down and prepare for school. I love eating fried nian gao but had the impression that it was too difficult to make and have to wait for my sis-in-law to make some. #2 loves it too, so we decided to google the recipe. It was surprisingly easy! Just whisk together some flour, baking powder, eggs and cold water, dip it in and fry it. But somehow, the batter didn't turn out crispy. And we found out that we should have refrigerated the block of nian gao to make it easier to slice. Will try again tomorrow with hopefully a better recipe.
Supper with the older girls
This year we had a rather pleasant Chinese New Year as we didn't pack too much activity into each day and could relax, feast, and enjoy one another's company. Kate is also much easier to look after as compared to last year, and thankfully she's very sociable and allowed her older cousins to take care of her.

We are indeed fortunate to have such large families both on my side and the hub's side of the family. Every year as we gather with our extended families, I am reminded to be grateful for familial ties which gives the children roots and traditions to ground them in an ever changing world which is moving towards individualism. I hope they will grow up with the same kampong spirit so evident in our parents' generation.



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Friday, 20 February 2015

A fun-filled weekend at LEGOLAND Malaysia

#5 has been asking for the longest time if we could book a stay at LEGOLAND Hotel as he had seen the advertisements on TV. The hubs does not see any reason why we should pay to "sleep elsewhere when we can come home to our own bed". So the last 2 times, we visited the Parks as a day trip. #5 finally had his wish come true when the generous team behind LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort extended us a stay last weekend.
Pirate themed Premium room
9am: We left our house bright and early so that we could play the whole day at the Water Park which opens at 10am. We took the Second Link at Tuas and was pleasantly surprised that traffic was smooth all the way even though it was a Saturday morning.

10am: It took us a mere 30 minutes to reach LEGOLAND hotel once we cleared the Malaysian immigration. I dropped the kids and my parents at the lobby and the porter collected our luggage. I was wondering what would happen to our luggage as check-in time was only at 4pm, but he assured me that our bags would be kept safe in the luggage holding room. I drove down to the basement carpark to park my car and saw that the hotel opens right out to the entrance of the 2 parks at the basement level. Perfect. I didn't know it was that close.

As I stepped into the lift to head up to the lobby, I was dazzled by the disco lights in the lift! I knew then that the kids would have a swell weekend ahead of them.
Ultra cool lift
There was already a queue of people doing pre-check in so I guess everyone wants to check-in before heading out to the parks. Thankfully the lobby is filled with Lego everywhere to keep the kids occupied while waiting. Several staff were on hand to greet the guests and to provide assistance. I mentioned to a staff that I needed to collect my complimentary tickets and was wondering which counter I should get it from. She went to check with the manager and ushered me to the priority counter which had no queue. (Guests with the annual pass can also use this privileged counter).

The manager on duty was expecting us and his welcome was effusive. He informed me that check-in time was 4pm but not to worry, they had our room prepared for us and we could head straight up. Blogger privilege! So honoured. Before I could even open my mouth to thank him and request for a late check-out for tomorrow, he granted that to us and wished us a happy stay at their hotel. You should have seen the kids' faces. They couldn't believe their mum was treated like a mini-celebrity or something.

The staff are really good with kids and they have a fun little Trade with me policy whereby if you like any of the figurines attached to their name tags (see photo above), you can purchase a figurine from the Gift shop and trade it with them. She explained to me that it was their way of initiating conversation with the guests.
Hotel lobby filled with Lego pieces
Once we got the room access card, the kids couldn't wait to dash up to check it out. There are 3 different themes such as Pirate, Adventure and Kingdom themes, all with various room sizes to choose from. There is a little treasure hunt game with clues around the room to unlock the treasure chest to find a little door-gift within. So exciting. A box of Duplo is provided in the room to keep the kids entertained.

What I really like about the rooms is that the kids have a separate sleeping area with a sliding door in between. This means that while Kate is sleeping in one area, she wouldn't be easily disturbed by the other kids coming into the room.
Partitioned kids' room
11am: The kids would have stayed in the room for a much longer time, but I reminded them that the Water Park was awaiting them downstairs. I needn't have brought so much water along as 4 bottles of mineral water are provided in the room and more can be requested with no extra charge.

This was Kate's first time here at LEGOLAND Water Park and she was extremely excited. We started with the "Build-a-Raft" lazy river which all of us enjoyed together, then the older kids headed straight for the challenging slides while Kate stayed to play at the toddler areas.
"Water Park, here i come"
I'll let you in on a secret. I'm a real chicken and even simple kiddie roller-coasters get me screaming my lungs out. The last time we were here, I didn't dare go on any of the intimidating looking slides. But guess what. This time, I managed to go on ALL the rides! And I actually enjoyed them. What an achievement. My kids were really proud of me.
Climbed all the way up for this photo!
1pm: We took a break for lunch and after that the kids relaxed at the wave pool and lazy river to digest their lunch. They ingeniously used an extra life jacket as their head rest and managed to float around.
"Build-A-Raft-River"
2pm: Kate went back to the hotel room for her nap while the older kids stayed and went down repeatedly on their favourite slides, which were the Slide Racer and Brick Blaster. Last year, #5 didn't dare to go on the scarier ones, but this year, he was much more confident and enjoyed all the rides. My mum told me that when they returned to the room, Kate immediately climbed up to the upper bunk bed, declared it was hers and promptly fell asleep for 3 whole hours.
Water gun
6pm: The older kids played till closing time which was at 6pm. They spent the last hour at this interactive play station building a water gun which shoots water, complete with a peephole. We went back to shower and my dad wanted to eat at BRICKS family restaurant as he likes the wide variety of food available and didn't want the hassle of leaving the hotel. (Children/Seniors RM48++, Adults RM88++). As expected, the restaurant is extremely kid-friendly. Crayons are provided, and even the table cloth can be doodled on. There are sinks conveniently located near the entrance of the restaurant.

Besides BRICKS, there is also an Italian restaurant in the hotel. If you want more options and don't mind taking a little walk, head out to Medini mall which adjoins the hotel. They have KFC, Burger King, The Manhattan fish market, a Chinese restaurant and a Thai restaurant. There is also a convenience store there.

9.30pm: They were all exhausted after a full day of fun in the sun and promptly fell asleep.

The hubs has to concede that Legoland Hotel is much more than just a place to sleep in for the night. It certainly adds to the whole LEGOLAND experience and turns it into a memorable 'mini-vacation' for the kids. It is such a great way to bond as a family and I'm sure we will be back!

Read on for DAY 2 of our splendid weekend away.
BRICKS Family Restaurant Buffet Dinner
During this month of February 2015, to usher in the Year of the Goat, the Hotel has lined up daily activities which include building of LEGO Mandarin / LEGO Goat / LEGO Pineapple, Building of Chinese Characters with LEGO bricks, Lion Dance Performance on 21 February at 10am, and special appearance by the God of Wealth.

Check out my previous review of LEGOLAND Water Park.


  • Toddlers under 3 do not need an admission ticket, but you have to pay RM10 which includes 2 swim diapers. (I guess it's their way of ensuring all babies don appropriate diapers, which is good to know!)
  • Do note that only combo tickets allow for multiple re-entry into the Parks.


Getting there:

By Car: Use the Tuas Second link and exit at Nusajara Exit 312. Look out for the LEGOLAND signage on the Left. That's it!

By Bus: Coach service is available from the Singapore Flyer at $20 per person. Click here for more details.

Disclaimer: We were sponsored our stay at LEGOLAND Malaysia Hotel inclusive of admission tickets to the Parks and meal vouchers. All opinions are my own.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Happy Chinese New Year to our readers :)

Today is the day where all the little kids dress up in their traditional clothes to celebrate chinese new year in school. Kate doesn't like anyone messing with her hair so I had to bribe her with some new toys (recycled from the older kids) while she sat there getting her hair tied. Then I got her to pose for some photos. (I'm normally not like that... this is what blogging has done to me. Now I feel sorry for the 5 older kids.)


Put your hands together like this.

Yes! Nice!
Blur look
Now take these 2 oranges and hold them properly.

Look at me! Smile!

(she's still trying to figure out how to smile nicely)

"Gong xi, gong xi"
Her smile looks so forced that I decided to give her a little tickle.

Much better.

"Ok, mummy, are we done?? Do you want me to do a chicken dance for you as well?"



Here's wishing one and all bountiful goodness and love this lunar new year!


GONG XI FA CAI!


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Kate's antics: Cookie monster

I don't normally bake because somehow the cakes or cookies never turn out as expected. #4 was feeling very festive and suggested we bake some Chinese New Year cookies. I flipped through our cookbooks and found a very simple recipe for almond cookies. My favourite! One of my aunts used to make the best melt-in-your-mouth, fragrant almond cookies, and even though she has gotten old and stopped making them since I was a teen, I still remember them fondly. I envisioned smelling the aroma of freshly baked almond cookies and agreed to bake with #4. Kate wanted in on the action and helped us to mix the ingredients.


"Can this be eaten?"
The recipe was really, really simple, with the steps being "Mix ingredients xyz together, add in the oil, roll into balls and bake." That's it.

Somehow, instead of being melt-in-your-mouth cookies, ours turned out to be crunchy cookies that were hardly fragrant.

Why? Why???

Oh well. The consoling part was that the cookies actually looked decent. The older girls came back from school and commented, "Hey mum, you baked? Wow! Looks professional. Like the real thing. Are you sure you didn't have any help from Auntie C?" But after they tasted it, they gave me a grin, patted me on the shoulder and said, "It's ok, mum. Good try."

Cookie thief
The younger kids didn't know how almond cookies are supposed to be and said they were really yummy.

And Kate?

She was trying hard to decide if they were worth the calories.

"Hmm, let me think..."
We ended up with 6 racks of cookies because I was being ambitious and doubled the batch. The girls brought the cookies to school to share with their friends and luckily they all said it was super yummy. Great. Their classmates can have a free flow supply of crunchy almond cookies for recess this Chinese New Year.


More of Kate's antics:

Nice warm drink
Meow…
The long slope
Santa on a Buggy

~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Thankful for... my parents

When people find out that I have 6 children, the first question that pops up is "How do you manage?" As much as I would like to take credit for being a supermum, I have to admit that it was only possible because I had a lot of family support. The hubs worked from home and was a very hands-on sort of dad, and my parents were also very involved with the raising of the kids.

There was one period when we tried starting our own business and we were very busy. My mum used to come over daily to take care of the children even though they were living all the way in Pasir Ris and we were in the West. It took her more than an hour of commuting and by the time she reached home and finished her housework, it would be close to midnight. I kept asking my parents to move closer but my dad refused as he was accustomed to living in the East. Finally one day, when I realised the toil was getting too strenuous for my mum, I prayed fervently that my dad would change his mind. 

Miraculously, the next day, there was a front page article in the 'Home' section of The Straits Times about a woman who committed suicide due to post natal depression after giving birth to her first child. My dad was very shaken and told my mum, "She is about to give birth to her fourth child, we better move closer to her." Within the month, they had rented a unit in our condominium and moved over.
Doting grandma
About 2 months after I gave birth to #5, I was waking up every 2-3 hours to breastfeed him and I remember feeling extremely tired from the chronic lack of sleep and very sick of being a 'cow' for so many years. It was one of my lowest points and I was almost going crazy dealing with a newborn and 4 other kids. The hubs had to go away for 2 weeks for a business trip and asked if I could manage. I looked at him and said, "Yes, go. I'm coming along too." We asked my mum to come over to stay and left all of them to her. She had to carry the baby most of the time as he kept crying because I had suddenly stopped breastfeeding him and just disappeared. My mum understood my need for a break and never complained.

When my mum accompanies us on holidays, she is always the one who volunteers to stay behind in the hotel to accompany the baby who is sleeping, or any other 'job' that is most uninteresting or unsavoury. To her, being around her grandkids brings enough happiness and she doesn't mind any part of it. My dad encourages her to tag along even though it means he has to take care of his own meals. He knows it is better to have an extra pair of hands and an extra adult to watch over the kids.

During parties, I am usually busy either entertaining or enjoying the food to take notice of what the kids are doing. I can do that simply because I have taken for granted that my mum is always around to ensure the younger kids are properly taken care of. And whenever she comes over, if one child is sick with fever, she will automatically give the child extra care, sometimes even carrying and rocking the child the whole day. She knows that I would have been exhausted staying up all night with the sick child and she would tell me to take a rest while she takes over.

And so the saying goes, "Mothers are the best". I couldn't agree more.

Or is it, "Mother knows best"? I couldn't agree more on this one too.

(Unfortunately, none of my kids think so. Yet.)



Linking up with:


Thankful… for our helper
Thankful… for my family
Thankful… for my mum-in-law



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~




Thursday, 5 February 2015

Lesson #25: Do our kids even know we love them?

A reader wrote in telling me that she was inspired by my Lesson #23: To measure our lives in love. She said that it was inspiring but hard to do and asked if I could write about how to handle stressful situations, and how to lovingly set firm boundaries for her 2 kids.


I won't go into details on how to do that as there are too many scenarios. I'm sure as mums, setting boundaries is something we all know how to do. The question is how to do it lovingly.

I will attempt to answer her question by sharing 2 things I think of to calm myself down whenever I am starting to get really angry with them.

One is to imagine them as teenagers. Well, I don't have to imagine, as my 3 older girls are firmly ensconced in the 'teenage phase'. I can tell you that this is the real litmus test of whether you have done your job well as a parent. They will be faced with peer pressures and negative influences and have to make many choices. What do you want them to be able to draw from? Many happy memories with the family? Being able to easily remember times when you loved them, cuddled them, showed them that you care? Or will they find it hard to picture such memories, and instead only remember that you were constantly shouting at them or barking orders and instructions to them?

When you are able to stop yourself in your tracks and picture your teen desperately needing to draw from a fountain of your loving relationship with them to navigate through the tough adolescent years, you will naturally know how to handle the situation in a more loving manner.

The second thing I think of is being on my death bed. No, I'm not being morbid but after volunteering at a hospice and seeing the realities of life at the end of our days, it has become very real to me. When I am close to death, do I want my kids to be there with me simply because it is their duty to do so? Or do I want to celebrate a life where we had a very close relationship. The older I get, the more I see that it is not a given that parent-child relationships are automatically warm and fuzzy. How will my kids see me? Will they see me as a mother who was only concerned that they went to bed on time, ate their veggies or scored good marks? Or will they see me as a mother who was patient and kind with them, who disciplined them firmly but with love?

There will definitely be days when you can't find it within yourself to show them love. Days when you yourself are so depleted. Be gentle on yourself. If today was a bad day, leave it behind. Tomorrow will be a brand new day. Kids are such amazing beings. They forget. They forgive so easily. They have such a great capacity to love. Sometimes, we have to soften our own hearts to allow them to teach us. To teach us how to love so purely. Not to love them only after they have done what we told them to do. Not to love them only when they have achieved something great. Not to love them only when we are in a good mood.

Many times, we do things because we love them. We scold them, punish them, make them do things they don't want to do all because we want the best for them. We tell them that one day when they are adults, they will understand that we are doing all of this precisely because we love them.

But while they are growing up, do they feel our love? Perhaps we should find ways and space to bring back love into all that we are doing with them and for them every step of the way. Let us strive to learn to love them in ways they understand. Let us not wait until they are parents themselves to realise how much we love them, but let them feel our love accompany them along their journey of life.



Other Thursday lessons (which I've learnt the hard way):

~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~
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