Thursday, March 21, 2019

Keyaki @ Pan Pacific Hotel

Last week, we had a small celebration dinner with friends at Keyaki (4th flr Pan Pacific Hotel).
There are main dining areas but also 3 more exclusive spots .. one is the Garden Pavillion which is like a little stand alone hut (in the background of the pic above) which can hold a small function for like 40-50ppl. And 2 private rooms within the main restaurant (a 6 seater tatami type seating, and also an 8-10 pax room which has regular seating.. we booked this room)
This place is very nicely set up with a Japanese garden and Koi pond surrounding the restaurant. Very picturesque.
So do go early so you can spend some time in the garden and take nice pics.
Our room was nice and cosy (not as cosy as the tatami room though!), the staff was very attentive. the private rooms have a minimum spend, this one was $1k, but we ended up with a $1600 bill so yeah, quite pricey). Good for a special occasion.
This place is ok for kids too as they have high chairs, plastic cutlery and bibs for the small ones).
Food is nicely presented, as one would expect. We ordered quite a range of stuff but here are my favourites of that evening.
Hotategai Motoyaki Grilled Scallop with Egg Yolk Sauce $20

It's one scallop for that price (yikes!), but worth it cos it's huge and they slice the scallop into 3 (pretty thick still), the sauce is luxuriously tasty.
Seven Varieties of Seasonal Sashimi $110
We chose the platter above to share as it comes nicely presented, and has a good mix of everything for everyone at our table. Even if you do ala carte, each slice of salmon is like $7 and one small blob of sea urchin is like $19 (wtf). Taste wise, yes, definitely fresh and good... but I have to say you can get this quality for less $ elsewhere too.
Gyuniku Foie Gras Grilled US Beef with Foie Gras $50

OH MAI GAWD. So gooood. Sooo sooo good. It's a must have. One of the best (both in quality and preparation) foie gras I've had so far. Melts in your mofo mouth. The sauce was nice too, and the beef.. although not some high grade wagyu, it was prepared well and tasted very tender and flavourful. If I go back to Keyaki, I'd just like order this dish and be damn happy. Hahaaa. I didn't eat the snowpeas and tomato and the yellowy wasabe thingy though... yuck.
$9- $12 each

Desserts are quite affordably priced, kinda like mid range restaurant prices... but the standard (to me) was kinda meh. Maybe cos I tend to like more western desserts (they are more sinful and decadent lol). Here it's like soy stuff, black sesame, matcha ice cream and cubed fruits that kind. Me no likey at all.

But oh man... I can still recall vividly the satisfying taste of their foie gras.

Verdict: Overall very pricey (approx $200 per person with minimal alcohol.. not like we were breaking out some special bottle of sake or what)... but with some real gems in their menu. Great ambiance and service. For similar prices, I prefer the food at Fat Cow but Keyaki wins hands down in ambiance, space and set up.

We were there from 6.30 pm to 10pm... way past Myla's bedtime. (My mum was taking care of MJ for us at home). I have this new thing where if we are going to be out late, I bring the kids pajamas along lol. Then change them in the car before we drive home. (I started doing it cos of cranky MJ, but found that it works for Myla too lol)
Sure enough she fell into deep sleep on the way home (slept in some funny spread eagle position in her car seat some more). Had to pry her out of it lol.
Then gingerly carried her home and plopped her straight into her bed. Shower in the morning lor... I not gonna disturb their slumber.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Finding Each Other in the Midst of Chaos

To my dearest Husband,

This month will be our 1st wedding anniversary.

I miss the long talks over candle lit drinks on the smaller balcony upstairs with you late into the night. I miss cuddling and then sleeping in. I miss being able to just up and go to Batam at any given weekend for fishing, seafood, drinks with a live band, and then coming back to the hotel room and still have energy to order room service desserts and a long chat and then some.
I long to experience road trips with you, and travel the world, see New York as you've lived it, to just indulge in us, in you, and giddy romance. 

Instead, we find ourselves in a daily (and nightly) juggling act raising a toddler and an infant. Worrying if each sniffle will turn into the flu. We sleep in separate rooms when the older one is ill so you can sponge her and look after her in the middle of the night, while I take care of the baby in the other room. And this year has been so bad, with Myla starting Nursery and being exposed to so many viruses, she's been sick almost every week.

Instead of the lingering kisses we used to have, I find myself pulling away to do something more practical or urgent (the house chores are never ending and our baby cannot wait 2 seconds for anything). Instead of whispering sweet nothings in your ear, I tell you to help me wash the baby bottles. I try not to do this often, only when necessary... but that’s pretty often enough :/    Thank you for being understanding.
I do still make it a point to tell you how handsome you look (and this is genuine, not paying lip service), make chicken pie (and now Baklava too since you liked it the first time I made it last week), prepare your honey lemon drinks, order little sexy outfits online for whenever we have couple time... small stuff like that which is specially for you. But there's so much more I want to be doing for you, but can't just yet. I look forward to being able to do more with you once things get a bit easier with our little ones. It will come, gradually and even before we know it.
I want to have your next child, but this would drive us further away from sanity so it's an outright NO from me (lol). Our little family makes me the happiest I've ever been but it is also very demanding and exhausting.
Thank you for being such a capable and good provider for this family, we never have to worry about the finances and you take care of us so well. I'm grateful that you're a very present and involved daddy to both our precious children.
Thank you for letting me be a stay at home mum to our kids. I appreciate being able to be here for them at every waking (and sleeping) minute instead of paying someone else to. There are really bad days where I regret this haha and I know sometimes you feel like ARGH why are we going through such hard work when you can well afford to pay for a nanny or helper or the best childcare centres. Trust me,we got this babe.
But my darling, they will only be this age for a fleeting period of their lives (even though time may seem to crawl by right now).
I look back at Myla's picture at our wedding just a year ago and am amazed at how much she's changed. I feel like we were very recently at Mt Alvernia being overwhelmed with MJ's exasperatingly loud entrance into this world, and yet he's already 8 months old and we've come so far with learning to manage him and his high needs.
Time is relative. We've come so much further and experienced so much more than time could dictate. We are a hundred thousand miles from 8 months ago, and a million miles from a year ago.
No matter how tough our day to day lives may be, don’t forget to look for me in the midst of the chaos. We will always find each other. Happy anniversary my love.

Your wife... whose heart aches for you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Sunshine Childhood Playland @Northpoint City

Myla has been asking to go to an indoor playgroud for a  long while now (she saw kids at some indoor playground on a youtube video and pointed it out to us). I used to take her to a few different indoor playgrounds when she was around 1yo and learning to walk because I liked that it had padded floors. 

But then as she grew a bit older, we stopped going, and also she has her own awesome playroom now so we don't really go looking for play gyms and stuff. 
Finally, we took her to one that was closest to us. Sunshine Childhood Playland at North Point City. It's the smallest indoor playgound I've taken her too. But she didn't seem to notice, I guess to her it was still huge and exciting. 
For toddlers, it's $10 on weekdays, and $12 for weekends, and one accompanying adult goes in free. It's also free for babies (less than 12mths) but for the accompanying adult it is $5. We went on a Sunday, and paid $17. For kids (they do accept kids up to 12yo) it's a bit more expensive (I don't remember how much) but I don't think this place is suitable for older than toddler age... it would be very boring, kiddy and small for them.
There are 3 large slides, some climbing elements, and tunnels. The ball pit is large but very shallow. OK for babies and toddlers but yeah for kids above maybe 4yo, it would be crappy. 
Then there's one large section with tables with some legos on them, we didn't go there because boring. Another section with little "houses" and lots of toys like for role playing- supermarket, doctors etc. Quite fun, and Myla enjoyed that but I forgot to take pic. It was a bit messy and chaotic at this section with the weekend crowd. There are also some toy cars for them to sit on and scoot about. 
Their sandpit, was filled with like a white silicon material. Looks like snow. It's clean, and not too busy. Mostly toddlers in there.
MJ enjoyed it too. But we had to watch him like a hawk cos he likes to put everything in his mouth.

That's really about it. Not much else there. But for that price, and the proximity to home, yeah I would take her back there. For as long as she still enjoys it. We want to explore other indoor playgrounds too. Any recommendations?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sleep Training Update: We Have Regressed :(

After the first week of stressful sleep training, we were finally reaping the rewards of it, MJ was sleeping well... I finally had decent blocks of sleep at night. Some minor tweaking was needed here and there but on the whole all was looking so so soooo good.
And then MJ got sick. 3 nights ago, he had a fever (he finally caught it from Myla who caught the virus from Nursery and she herself was down with fever for a whole week before finally recovering.

From what I know, you don't sleep train when baby is unwell. And I wouldn't want to leave him to cry and try to self soothe when he's burning up anyway. Unfortunately, we're still quite new to completing sleep training. Only a couple weeks in the success zone. And we have regressed so badly. Can't seem to soothe him, until he reaches the point of overtiredness, and then that's a whole shit show of its own. Last night we also had to deal with him vomitting, so that's me having to shower and change ... and Adamson cleaning the floors and sheets and MJ's pajamas four times in the middle of the night. Good bye sleep.

We all go to bed exhausted and wake up even more tired than the previous day. He's asleep now, but it took us 3 hours to get him to sleep nothing worked (Tula, rocking, shushing, singing, humming, patting, JUMPING, yaolan, etc We broke all the sleep training rules, just to help soothe him and get him rested).


For now our focus is getting MJ well again, and then see how far we've deviated from the "Good Sleep Path", and take it from there. My worry is he has regressed to his old ways of waking every hour and staying awake crying/screaming for a couple hours at a time each night. I really dread going back to that again. I guess we will find out in a day or two from now once he recovers from this virus. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

I Sleep Trained MJ and Almost Gave Up!

Our start with MJ wasn't fabulous... he really gave us a run for our money. But over the months, we got most issues sorted, and he stopped being a cranky baby and stopped rejecting bottles (he feeds super well with bottles now, thankfully).
BUT he's a horrendous sleeper! At first I thought maybe it's just a newborn thing. So I gave it 3 months, and then it was still as bad... in fact a bit worse with him waking every 2hrs at night instead of 3hourly, crying the house down until he got milk. I read that most babies can sleep through the night when they hit 6 months, and their bellies can store more.  

He hit 6 months but it never got any better, not even a bit. So at this point, I've never had a full night's sleep since he was born (except for one night I was in Batam and left him with my mum)... A typical night - put him to bed by 7pm, 9pm dream feed (if I don't then he will wake shortly after 9pm!), 11pm dreamfeed and I turn in for the night myself, 1am he wakes cries and I feed, he takes maybe 30mins to be rocked to sleep and I can't put him down otherwise he wakes immediately so not like I can co-sleep and lie with him, by 3 am he wakes again, I feed him and he is awake until 4am if I am lucky, if unlucky then 5am he sleeps and I can sleep again. 6am he wakes up for good and my day starts. A few days of this is ok... but MONTHS of this takes a great toll.. both in terms of physical exhaustion and mental stress too. Really some kind of hell. One that I didn't experience with Myla cos she dropped her night feeds and slept through the night on her own when she was around 6-8 weeks old until today.
So I made the (somewhat difficult) decision to start Sleep Training him, and read up about the different methods. I decided that the Feber method would be most feasible. This is with controlled crying, where the parent checks in on the baby at specific time intervals if they are crying. 

So that first night, we did our usual bedtime routine. Milk, bath, diapers and pajamas (multiplied by 2 ah, because I have to do the same for Myla as well, that's why around 5-6pm it's crunch time at our house lol) and then finally read a story together. Put myla in her playroom (she sleeps in there temporarily while I sleep train MJ). Then instead of rocking MJ in the tula and pace about the house like I usually do, I just carried him for a while, said a few soothing words in our bedroom (his cot is in our bedroom), and then put him down, said goodnight and left the room.
Sleep Training Night 1 : He spent the first 20mins just rolling around in his cot and cooing, very calm. So I thought, hmmm this isn't so bad.
 Then instead of sleeping, he started crawling around. (He's quite an early crawler). And then came the crying.
 and hour later... CRYING HYSTERICALLY. And in his desperation, he freaking hit a new milestone and pulled to stand in his cot and was cruising around the edges. WTH... the boy wasn't even 7 months old yet. Of course I was doing all the check ins but there didn't seem to be any progress.

I was wondering how long more do I let this continue. It's past the one hour mark.   :(  But if I call it quits now, then the past 1 hour of struggle would have been for nothing and we would be back to square one. And how long can I continue to live the way it had been going the past 6 plus months??? That's not a great option.

Suddenly, and the 1hour and 20min mark, he fell asleep. AND HE STAYED ASLEEP UNTIL 7AM. That part really shocked me, I thought for sure he would wake in the night and I would be in a dilemma of whether to feed him or rock him or let him cry it out (again!!!???).
By the way, it's important to keep a journal when Sleep training so you can see the pattern, what works or doesn't work, if there's progress etc. My journal is just scraps of paper ... cos I'm like that one... lol.

That 1 hour 20 mins was hell. I knew we were in for a tough first night (compared to some babies who like cry for 30 mins the first night and then fall asleep) because our boy is kind of strong and strong willed.  But it can only get better from here right?

Sleep Training Night 2: He cried for 40 mins, and slept through the night.
Ok, 40 mins is still pitiful and heart wrenching but it's a lot better than night 1. At least it's sub 1 hour. Yay... night 3 will prob be 20 mins?

Sleep Training Night 3: He cried for 45 mins. What the hell man... no progress and it's night 3. Most of what I read online in forums and stuff, babies have a tough first 2 nights and by the third night no more crying.

Sleep Training Night 4: He cried for 1 hour 10 mins. This is a huge set back. Why are we back to this point again? I've been very diligent with the sleep training and not breaking any rules (like using old habits like rocking him or feeding him to make him go to sleep even if he'll just sleep for 2hours max and I have to repeat again).

I decide to give this one week. Mostly because after he goes over that hump of falling asleep on his own, he's then able to sleep through the night and not keep waking and he's able to self sooth and he wakes up happy.

Also, not all babies will have linear progress (most of them do.. like 70% success within 3 days or something and it just gets better each day).. but some babies (MJ is always that "some baby" btw) will have what is called an Extinction Burst.

An extinction burst is a concept from behavioral psychology. It involves the concept of elimination of a behavior by refusing to reinforce it. The undesirable behavior worsens before it improves when you are trying to get rid of it.

Sleep Training Night 5: Same story but he cried for 30 mins instead

Sleep Training Night 6: Wow we are pushing a week now and he isn't magically falling asleep easily when I put him down for the night like what I read online (that most other parents are describing). He slept after 15 mins of crying

Sleep Training Night 7: SAME 15 mins. But less crying during this 15 mins.

Sleep Training Night 8: This is where we are right now, today. He took 20 mins to fall asleep but he hardly cried during this time.

I had forgotten what several hour blocks of sleep felt like. It actually feels like sleep now. Life is starting to feel good again. MJ sleeps soundly and he wakes happy, not cranky, and our daily routine goes much more smoothly (because I am not disgruntled from lack of sleep). I might get fatter, because I can lie down at night and not have to carry him and walk around for several hour. But ok la, that's a good trade off.

So yeah, sleep training was heart breaking especially the first few nights, and it was disheartening when he was regressing and not progressing as quickly as other babies did ( I kept thinking maybe this won't work for him and we should stop)... it didn't work magically overnight... BUT IT WORKED.

We are still in the midst of training and I'm fearful of regression, and I kind of can't believe he's actually sleeping all night (because hello, this boy woke every 2 hours every night, plus would not go down easily after each waking).

I'm very glad I decided to sleep train. Not all babies need it but I think the babies who do need it will benefit from having it. And life is so much better now for us.

If you have any questions etc feel free to leave a message, I'll try to help (though I'm no expert but I feel I've earned my stripes cos MJ not an easy case uh!)

Monday, January 28, 2019

Myla Goes to Work

We travel, and Myla gets excited about going on HOLIDAYYYYY but I don't think she has any concept of countries or that we are in an entirely different country when on holiday. Lol. Similarly, every weekday morning when Adamson leaves home, she will say- Daddy go work. But she doesn't really know what it means or where he goes to.

So Adamson thought it would be a good idea to take her to work with him last week. Just so she can learn what an office is and where he actually goes to everytime he leave in the morning for work.
She had an awesome time at the office, and it was a good daddy daughter bonding day for them.
 She also went around the desks asking for work. "Is there any work for me????!!!" and everytime she finished a task (which just involved colleagues giving her scrap paper to deposit in the shredder haha), she would go back to their desks to collect her pay (coins) and put them in her purse. He said it was so cute that when she collected more money, she would exclaim "Yay! More RORRIPOPS!"

At the end of the day, he took her to buy lollipops with her earnings. I think it was a fun day for both of them and a good learning experience for Myla.
 While they were at work, I took the opportunity to revamp Myla's playroom so that MJ has more crawl space in it and her play areas got more organised.
She has her kitchen space, her block building space, her musical instruments area (all these she's super keen on at the moment)... and I did up the other corner of the playroom to become her "office", she has a desk which she can do her reading, colouring (and also her eating haha) on and behind it, her bookshelf. on the right of that (can't capture in pic) is her puzzle corner where all her jigsaws and flashcards are. She was so delighted to see it when she got home.

P/s - I'm just doing this short blog post because I can't sleep yet, my adrenaline levels are through the roof because I just started sleep training MJ tonight. I hope the rest of the night goes well. Will update on how his sleep training went, in a week or so from now (hopefully we don't give up halfway). Meanwhile Myla and Daddy are sleeping in the spare room while I sleep train MJ. Those that did sleep training, how many nights did it take?

Shit shit shit  some dog just went yapping loudly outside and I see MJ stirring (through the baby monitor)... my heart can't take this. Please don't wake up crying because I don't know how much more I can take to just not rock you back to sleep or give you milk to fall back asleep (and resume your habit of drinking every 2 hours through the night! Gah!).