day 664 | february 12, 2013 | Exit Dragon, Enter Snake

Since experiencing Chinese New Year celebrations for the first time around 7 years ago, I've come to associate CNY with huge family reunions, lots of food, and at least a set of new clothes. After moving into our first home, I've also come to associate it with the mad panic of spring cleaning. I like the reunions and food bit; the shopping and cleaning, not so much.

This year, I had three goals for the CNY: First is to get a snap of all the little cousins together. Second is to train Roo and Red to independently wish their elders "Happy New Year" without my constant supervision (More coffee time for me in the future), and lastly but more importantly, to get some quality playtime and "hanging around" moments with the little ones to make up for my constantly crazy busy schedule these days.

Chronicled our first three days of the new year in images, and if this sets the tone for the year ahead -- then even this not-so-lucky pig might have a great year despite all the numerologists' and feng shui masters' forecasts. Oink!

DAY 1: 

ROO was excited to collect $2 for her allowance for the week ahead, and in collecting the pretty designs of the new ang paos for her arts and crafts ideas.
It's RED's first "aware" CNY, and she's already well-versed in holding her mandarin oranges together, and greeting everyone "gong xi fa cai!" She's a lot more excited to eat the oranges (and treats), and I'm tempted to simply put candies in her ang pao next year. She'll be much happier for it!
After doing "rehearsals" of chinese greetings at home, and wishing each other luck, goodness and smooth sailing despite the many (anticipated) changes, we packed our simple bags and marched off to their grandparents' place.
RED loved the sunflower seeds!
And while she's usually very eager to share with her younger cousins, she was very "protective" of her seeds.
As part of tradition, we headed over to the temple for prayers. I was happily surprised that the little ones took it on well. While I am not religious, I do believe in earnest thanksgiving and a prayerful contemplativeness that requires us to think back on the year to count the good things, learn from the bad, and keep a positive attitude about what's ahead. 
Love Roo in her retro red dress against the bright red door.
 and Red gets posy in her Elly cheongsam...
After the temple, it was off to the Lao Mah's -- the eldest of the paternal relatives. It was a rainy day, so we were confined indoors. I've been itching to shoot all the little cousins together at grandma's nice little garden. 
Despite the wet weather and random phases of grumpiness, we still managed to get a few gems of the little ones together (and all wearing ELLY clothes too!)
The "best" group shot we could manage of the little cousins (less Baby J and Cousin T as they'd already left). Mission still incomplete -- and will continue to crank on it this year. :)
DAY 2: 

We had a little bit more sun, so we made sure to bring the kids out to the park (in between visiting at the grandparents') for some play. Lovely greens! Can't say it enough -- I just love Bishan Park!
 RED's kicking still has much room for improvement...
It was high tide, so they set a warning barricade over the river path. We're quite stubborn though so we crossed the river despite the fact that we could barely see the steps underneath the water.
The kids were terrified at first, but after crossing the river once, couldn't be pulled away from the river. We all got soaked through!
 Happy dance! Roo amazed herself by stepping into the water without my help. :)
 Playing catch...
Soon it was time to head back to Amah's to greet and wish more relatives. We met a gorgeous dog named Chocolate on the way home. :)
At Amah's home, Little J wears her Elly dress, and looks strikingly alike to the POSB angpao girl. :)

For the first time since I've started celebrating CNY, I finally managed to play Mahjong! Under the tutelage of Uncle A, and with H's patient guidance, I committed many boo-boos, made many assumptions based on Poker, and probably made all my gambling partners sleepy with my pace of play, but I learned a lot! :) I paid for my lesson with $10 worth of loss though, this despite "subsidy" from my dad-in-law who automatically waived off what I owed him.
Finally, before heading home, we invited all the kids to finish off our sparklers with us. Barely had time to catch some snaps as I was manning the candle and supervising six little ones. Thankfully, Red is slow, so by the time she lit up her final sparkler, I was also free enough to take this snap of her confidently holding on to her own little firecracker.
DAY 3:

Easing off visiting, H went over to the temple to pray for the family. He got to see the urn of his dad's granddad, whose ashes had to be flown from China to join the family at the columbarium. We've shown the little ones their great grandfather, and great great grandmother, but have yet to introduce them to their great great grandfather. That's a lot of 'great's!

At home, Roo started off the day with some crafty fun, with Red watching on. I had my breakfast in relative peace, and was even able to catch up on some work. :)
Built a tent out of our dining chairs and a blanket, which the kids had loads of fun with. Red was busy moving between rooms gathering stuff to pile on under their "new home." And we even managed to add in playmate E on the fun, when she visited us for an afternoon playdate.
The day's not yet done. Here's hoping the activity will wear the kids down for an early night, while H and I will probably (maybe, just maybe) take our new pair of running shoes out for a circuit in Bishan Park. IF we manage to summon up that discipline, then it's going to be a phenomenal year ahead.

Happy Chinese New Year! Wishing everyone a year filled with meaning, a positive attitude despite the obstacles, and the versatility to weather the storms that are ahead in this slithering snake year! :)

1 comment:

Madeline Heng said...

Roo looks exactly like you! Haha. Love their red dresses sooo cute! =)

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