Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Olivia's First Birthday

Dear Olivia,

One year ago, you came into our lives like a wrecking ball. Parenting was a steep learning curve, perhaps the biggest lesson to be learnt in life. When you just arrived, Mama and Papa have to learnt how to breastfeed, how to swaddle, how to handle poopie, comfort you and how to wake up over ten times throughout the night.
And as you grow older, we learnt how to concoct recipes, how to plan your activities, how to chase after you, how to soothe your mini-dictator's tantrums and decode your googoo's and gaga's.

It wasn't easy. Mama and Papa fight, we quarrel over little things that we never known before, but thank you to our Heavenly Papa who watch over us, we have already made it pass one year! 
Through this time, you taught us...

How to sacrifice - the personal things in life, the alone-time we had, money, all these we sacrifice just to spend a little more time with you.

How to be patient - through communicating with you, and with Mama. 

How to trust - that each and every day will be better than the day before.

How to become better people - so that we can impart right values to you.

How to be a child again - through seeing and exploring the world we thought we knew so well. All through your little eyes.

And above all, how to love - like how God loves us unconditionally, we aim to love you more and more each day, even in your not-so-cute moments.
May God help Mama and Papa to become better parents for you and for Him. Happy ONE year old to my dear princess Olivia. With the authority Heavenly Papa has given Papa, I pray that,

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.

And that's what your name is. Olivia. That whatever you do, you find peace. That whoever you meet, you grant life and blessings. That wherever you go, you bring with you a spirit of reconciliation and victory.
Papa love you deep deep.



~
With lots of love,
Papa Thomas
26.11.2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

11 MUST-TRY Food in Osaka and Kyoto

Ohayo! It's a few months (at the time of writing) since we got back from Japan, but the Nihon bug still bites deep as we realised that we frequent our local Japanese eateries way more nowadays. But to be honest, it is hard to fault us, especially if you've been to Japan. Their streets are beautiful, the culture is amazing, and not to even mention their overt quirkiness (just look at their vending machines). This country is amazing in so many ways, but for this post, I am gonna focus on my favourite - food!

1. Matcha
This is absolutely the pinnacle of all teas, and in Japan, they come in a heck lot of variety - fondue, pancakes, mochi, shaved ice, ice-cream, or if you like the basics - matcha tea. If you're a matcha lover like me, head to Kyoto and have your share. Do you know that it's packed with anti-oxidants? Talking about delicious and cancer-killing health benefits, yes please.

Friday, June 21, 2019

11 Pro-tips for Osaka and Kyoto

Ohayo, our latest and long-awaited trip brought us to the land of the rising sun, among other things, such as its rich history, great sushi, and weird fetishes. Like many others, we faced the common dilemma of where to lose our Nippon virginity - would it be Osaka or Tokyo? We chose Osaka ultimately because it seems to be more cultural appealing, cheaper, and its close proximity to Kyoto and Nara. For now, to us, Tokyo seems just like another city, busy, crowded, albeit lively. So Osaka, it is.

If you haven't, click here to see my 1-week Osaka, Nara and Kyoto itinerary!

After visiting Japan, I understand why it remains a popular holiday destination for Singaporeans. In many ways, Japan is similar to Singapore, just that its cleaner and neater, the people are more friendly and courteous (arguably more beautiful), almost everything looks like an art-piece from their food to toilet seats. It's as if perfectionism seeps in their blood. Despite our existence on the same continent, here are things you should know before you arrive in Japan like a headless chicken. This post will focus on the cities of Osaka and Kyoto which we temporarily made "home" for a week.
See #10 for USJ tips!

1. Get your passes in advance.
There are a lot of different sites to do this, like Klook, Kkday, Changi Recommends, etc. The first thing you should do is to compare their prices and check out their existing promo codes. We went with Klook and got our travel passes (inter-city, SUICA, etc.), 4G SIM card, and attraction passes (USJ, Kaiyukan Aquarium, HEP5). Not only it is cheaper, it also saves you queuing time. You just simply flash the QR code, beep, and you are good to go.
Train leaves on time, just sayin'.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Japan: Osaka + Nara + Kyoto 1-Week Itinerary

Ohayo! Japan is one country that has been on our travel bucket list for the longest time (heck, I was even a huge J-fan before Kpop comes about), and we finally checked it off in May 2019. Because of our pregnancy and the early stages of caring for baby Olivia, it was the first trip we did in almost nine months (the last was Taiwan in August 2018). It wasn't exactly easy to leave our six-month-old baby to go on a holiday, especially for mummy who worried day in and out, but it was a much-needed break.

Here are 11 pro-tips if you're heading to Osaka and Kyoto!

Korea was one of our choices, but then decided to strike it off we have both travelled there in the past, and perhaps, friends have been posting lots on their recent Korea trip. Japan was an alternative, one that I'm glad we chose. It is timeless, and it is amazing how their traditions and cultures still seep deeply in the architecture and its people. It was late spring when we travelled - the warmth in the afternoons coupled with the cool evening breeze.
Read on for:
  1. Our full, actual itinerary (places of interests are marked in orange!)
  2. More travel tips to Japan's Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto districts.
  3. Budget breakdown

Friday, May 31, 2019

Month #5 & 6 - Rolling Over and Starting Solids

These two months have seen some major milestones for baby Olivia, and perhaps, some of the most hectic ones. Her daytime naps are better, but her bedtime remains a total mess - largely due to our habits of latching her to sleep when she wakes. I wouldn't say it's a bad habit because that's just natural for the mother to nurse her child, yet with this sleep association, it isn't exactly healthy for both the parents' and the baby's sleep, as she wakes up approximately 8-10 times from 7am to 7pm. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Advice We Wished We Knew as New Parents

On a faithful afternoon in November 2018, my dear wife and I welcomed our daughter after a long-awaited 40 weeks. Less than a year as husband and wife, we had our (yet another) promotion to parenthood. As compared to the former, this one is literally life-changing and will turn your lives topsy-turvy and in very unexpected ways. Trust me, life - as you know it - will never ever be the same. New responsibilities, change in schedule, and needless to say, a new cause for stress and anxiety. That's right, say good-bye to lots of personal time and sleep. As of the time of writing, we are more than four months into this new role, we are still surviving, taking each day as it is while learning a never-ending list of things.
This post is about advice that we wished we know when we just had our baby, and we thought that it may be of help to new parents. You might have already received tonnes of (unsolicited) advice. I know, I know, we have been there. Your parents telling you one thing, and friends telling you another, there are hundred-and-one methods to sleep train your child, internet resources contradict each other and what not. Read on if you would want to hear our two-cents: