The first year of Dawn

To our baby girl who is growing up so fast, we love you more than you know.

Song of Songs 6:10 "Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the starts in possession?"

Here is a video presentation my sister and I made of Dawn getting ready for her party :) Special thanks to Clancy for all the wonderful help.

Another video of Dawn from birth to 12 months. Check out the opening video showing Troy's first time to meet Dawn.

Happy first birthday, anak! You are our sunshine.

You may also view the videos from You Tube by clicking on the following links:

Dawn Turns One
Dawn's Pre-Party Video


Tourniquet Embraces

Last night my 3-yeard old son woke up in the middle of the night with a bad dream. He transferred to our bed and asked me to hug him as he tries to go back to sleep. He wanted me to give him a super tight hug and he was embracing my arm like a tourniquet before an injection. I was in a rather awkward/straining position but I did not want to move.

After a few hours of sleep, my daughter woke me up at four in the morning and wanted me to cuddle her back to sleep. I lie awake watching her sleep comfortably in my arms. She would wake up a little when I try to put her down so I had to carry her a little longer. I was tired and losing sleep but my mind was also thinking, in a few years I would not be able to carry her to sleep like this anymore. She would be too heavy and I will miss every second of these sleepless nights special moments.

I recently watched a video entitled ‘The Gift of an Ordinary Day’ and one of the lines that was so meaningful for me was when the mom talked about her grown-up kids and said ‘I miss saying goodnight in person’.  And I thought, my children will eventually grow up and have families of their own. They will eventually move out of our room, and even move out of the house. I know it will be one of the most difficult transitions in my life - just thinking about it feels like a heavy rock is lodged between my heart and my throat.  But before that day comes, I will enjoy every tourniquet embrace, every kiss, and every waking hour of carrying them back to sleep. Those moments may not be there forever but I will take mental pictures and enjoy those memories for the rest of my life.

To all the parents out there, enjoy each time spent with your kids. Complain less, cherish more. These are the times of our lives.  Don’t let it slip away.


Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Sydney Australia

I found myself in Sydney last January for another business trip. It was my second time to stay at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel and both of my experiences have been nothing but wonderful.

The hotel boasts a grand sandstone facade in historic European fashion. Before becoming the five-star hotel that it is today, the same building was once a bank that became a newspaper office back in the 1800s.

The lobby was just your usual business hotel lobby. Nothing fancy but it was clean and well organized. The hotel employees were all extremely helpful and that highly compensates for the lack of beautiful interior.
During my first visit back in 2010, we were upgraded to the Studio Spa Suite which was just awesome. The room was R.E.L.A.X.I.N.G! It was hard to go out for my business meetings.  I just wanted stay in the room all day. The bathroom even had what they call the 'deep spa bath' which is essentially a whirlpool in a regular spa. It was a perfect ending to a busy work day.
This year, we did not get the Spa Suite but the regular Atrium rooms did not disappoint either. It was a little smaller but the same beautiful interior was there.
The bathrooms were still big and impressive compared to most five-star hotels.
Given that i was on a business trip, i did not get to try the other hotel amenities such as the pool or gym. Maybe next time i can do that.

I highly recommend the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel to all business travellers. It may not be such a perfect fit for families since it's in the center of the central business district.  But it's very convenient to get around Sydney anyway so it can still be ideal for families with kids.

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel is located in 27 O'Connell Street. It's just 5 minutes away from the train station in George Street and short walking distance from all the restaurants in Sydney Harbour. If you're up for a lot of walking, you can even walk to China Town and the Sydney Opera House.

Pictures were taken from the following travel sites:


Fall in Love with the One Who Loves You the Most!

May you meet the one who loves you the most.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."

Fall in love with Jesus today!


Walking Wings

Back in 2008 when Troy was just learning to walk, I heard a lot of comments about not letting the baby use a walker since some research shows that it may have some negative effects on the baby's legs. I am not sure how true but i did not want to take any risk it so i tried other ways to teach him how to walk.

One of the most common step training method was to hold baby's hands up high and guide him to wherever he wants to go. The problem with that method was that after a while, the baby's arms might get tired of being held up for too long, not to mention the back-breaking position you'd be in while reaching down to hold him up.

Another method i've frequently seen was to loop a cloth diaper ("lampin") over the baby's chest and under both his harms and hold it like a leash. I never tried that because i didn't trust myself to hold the "lampin" tight enough for the baby to be 100% secured. Besides, that method still did not address the backpains for the parent or holder.

Finally, one of my friends recommended a solution. Walking Wings!

I started using this when Troy was one year old.  After only a week of use, Troy learned to walk without assistance. I was amazed at how easy it was for the baby and the parent. All you need to do was to wrap the main body of the Walking Wings around the baby's chest and fasten it tightly at the back. Then hold the two long belts which would allow you to walk straight while training the baby how to walk.

When Dawn started showing some interest in walking at 9 to 10 months, i borrowed my friend's Walking Wings again. I thought i'd start early and see how it goes. True enough, after only a few weeks' use, Dawn can now walk confidently walk on her own! The only problem now is for us (parents) to gain the same confidence in letting her do it without assistance. Dawn can easily walk around inside her crib but still needs some guidance when walking on the floor just to ensure she doesn't hurt herself in case she falls.
Dawn on the go
Walking Wings is available at all Rustans Department stores and costs around P1,200 each.  Check it out. It's worth the investment. Your back will thank you for it!


Grieving Forward

When we lost Tyler, one of the best gifts that i received was a book entitled Grieving Forward.

The book is written by a christian author, Susan Duke, who lost her teenage son tragically in a car accident. She talks about the shock and denial, the pain that she thought will never go away, and the struggle to find a new normal in her life.

Here is an excerpt from the book.

"They were the words every mother prays she will never hear.  
Words I had told God i could never bear.  'I'm so sorry,' the doctor whispered, 'we couldn't save Thomas.'  I grabbed the doctor's hands and searched his steel blue eyes for one fragment of hope.  "There must be some mistake,' I said desperately.  "You must have my son confused with someone else in the accident."
But his tear-filled eyes told me he had nothing else to say.  From a place deeper than I knew existed within my soul, a slow, wailing groan began to rise.  Suddenly drained of all strength, I fell to my knees.
The groan became a wild cry.  I couldn't silence the resounding "No!" that escaped my lips and echoed down the hospital corridor.
My face felt hot.  My heart pounded violently.  But my body was as lifeless as the cold tile floor beneath my knees.  I silently screamed, 'Where are you, God? How could you let this happen? I thought we had an unshakeable understanding! I trusted the promise I've read countless times - that You will never give anyone a greater burden than they are able to bear.'
That promise, standing like an invisible guardian over the most vulnerable part of my heart, had secured my faith in my God"

I remember reading the book and thinking that it was exactly how i felt when we lost Tyler. The circumstances were definitely different, but the pain of losing a child felt very familiar. The author wrote about things that made me understand how i felt. She talked about the questions in her mind that mirrored mine.

One thing that most parents who experience loss would say is 'Why did God have to bless me only to take away so soon?' I had the same question before. But also i remember feeling the joy of knowing I was pregnant, the 9 months of motherhood bliss, and even the honor of being a mom to Tyler. Would i really stop loving just to avoid getting my heart broken?

This is what the author had to say.

I thought of the eighteen years of blessings my son had given me: the joy, the laughter, and yes, the dancing, for Thomas loved to dance.  There were times, i admit, i halted between the great memories and the ever-present pain of his absence.  I still have days when missing him is almost more than i can bear.
One day, after a time of pleading with God to take away the pain, my thoughts turned to a 'what if' that changed my perspective and helped me gain acceptance in my grief.  What if I had been given a choice of having and loving Thomas, knowing I'd have him only for eighteen years, or not having him in my life to love at all, thus bypassing the pain:  what would i have chosen?
What would you choose if given the choice? Would it be easier to live without the depths of love you've experienced? Would it be worth the assurance of never having a broken heart?
I can't help but believe, despite the grief that shatters our hearts when we can no longer feel our loved ones' physical embrace, the price of pain is worth all the love they brought to our lives while they were loaned to us by God.
When all is said and done, and i close my eyes each night, i am thankful.
For i know, in spite of my pain, if given the choice, I wouldn't have missed the dance"

More than just the words of the book, one that made this gift extra special were the written post-it notes by my friend, Caths, who gave me this book. She read the book before giving it to me to better understand what we were going through. As she read it, she inserted inspiring notes in the book such as the ones below. This is definitely one of the most sincere gifts i have ever received.
"Fan, through your grief I've come to learn new things, new insights.  Today is your birthday,  I hope that somehow, you will find courage to make new memories."
"Fan, may the question in your heart be quieted (perhaps not by answers) but by love.  Even this grief will not separate you from His love."

For those times when you do not know what to say and how to comfort a loved one. I recommend this inspiring book.

Life may not always be fair. But God is good.

Job 12:22 "He floods the darkness with light; he brings light to the deepest gloom."


Goodwood Park Hotel, Singapore

My job requires that i travel on a regular basis either to visit clients or attend conferences. Unlike most people, I am not that fond of business trips mainly because it would mean days away from my family.

Last December, i found myself in Singapore for an 2-day business trip. I usually stay at the Mandarin Meritus Hotel along Orchard during my previous trips. But this time the company booked me in a different hotel. I tried to request for my accomodation to be moved back to the Mandarin but was told that the Goodwood Park Hotel is the company's first choice in the area. It turned out to be a refreshing change.

You cannot help but be impressed by the grandeur when you see it for the first time.

Goodwood Park Hotel
I later found out that the Goodwood Park Hotel started as an elite club for German expatriates living in Singapore during the 1900s. It was later sold to a Jewish family who converted it to a hotel.

Despite the rich heritage and old world feel of the hotel, the rooms are pretty modern. I was quite relieved since I don't really enjoy staying in rooms that are full of antique furniture and vintage interior. The latter just spells 'horror story' for me. 

We got a good corporate rate of US247++ which is very reasonable considering the hotel class and amenities provided. I checked the hotel's website and the rooms are normally priced from US$300 and up.  They have regular promotional deals with partner travel sites that you may also check out.
Deluxe Room
There was not enough time for swimming but I got to see a quick peak of the pool from the lobby and it definitely looked enticing especially in the hot Singapore weather.

Outdoor Pool
Breakfast is served in the Coffee Lounge near the main lobby. The breakfast buffet covers a wide range of selection - from Japanese, American to Chinese. I would have wanted to stay longer and try each and every cuisine but I had to rush to a meeting so i only got to try some of their creations. Their Eggs Benedicts and Smoked Salmon were the most memorable ones for me.

Goodwood Park Hotel is conveniently situated along Scotts Road which is just a good 5 to 10 minute walk to where all the shops and restaurants are in Orchard.
Definitely worth checking out when you have plans of visiting Singapore with your family.

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Singapore 228221.
Tel: +65 6737 7411

*photos on this blog were taken from the hotel's website 


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