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Monday, May 30, 2016

P1 Parenting: First Parent-Teacher Meeting for Sem 1

Last Saturday was our first Parent-Teacher Meeting {PTM} in Lil Pumpkin's primary school!! Oh goodness.. has half a year really passed by since she started Primary 1??? It seems like just yesterday when we had her orientation... 

In her school, the PTM is called 3-C Dialogue Session where it is a time for parents, teachers and even the students to connect, communicate and celebrate the learning of the students.

I like that the kids were involved too and the teachers got the students to reflect on their schooling journey for the past semester, to think about what they did well, and areas which they can improve too. Then during the PTM, the students presented on their reflection to the parents (∩_∩)

For Lil Pumpkin, she told us that she enjoys learning new things in school and playing with her classmates. However, she needs to work on being able to give the speaker her full attention and to be able to listen wholeheartedly without interruption. We were told that sometimes she gets so excited by what she hears that she immediately wants to respond with something.. but if she's not called upon to speak, she would just turn to her friends and tell them! (≧▽≦) Oh dear!

Our appointment was at 9am and we arrived about 15 minutes before that. While waiting, her teachers got the parents to write a word of encouragement to the kids, and for the kids to write a thank-you note to the parents. After which we can display it on the classroom whiteboard when we entered. Such a thoughtful initiative!

As usual, the boy and I weren't really worried about Lil Pumpkin's academic progress. Well, not yet anyway. From the school work she brings home and from the results of whatever mini assessments she has {not many, really}, we know that she is able to cope relatively well.

This was confirmed by her teachers as well who were quite impressed with her Maths and English language & writing skills. Her form teacher showed us some of her English writing work and I must say, I was pretty impressed too! I didn't know that they started writing in paragraphs haha..

For Mandarin, her written skill is strong but speaking still needs more work.. well, no surprise there and something we really, really need to work on (ᗒᗨᗕ)

What the boy and I were most concerned about was how she was doing socially in school. Is she interacting well with her friends? Any relationship problems we should be aware of? Lil Pumpkin is a very sociable person and is someone who treasures friendship very much. However, sometimes she will come home crying about this friend or that. It hurts me to see her like that.

Her teachers have noted that Lil Pumpkin has a "sensitive soul" {exact words used} but there's no friendship problems we should be worried about now. In situations where Lil Pumpkin may have been upset with her friends, it's because they picked up undesirable behaviour or words from older siblings or people they interact with outside of school which they used on their classmates, but the teachers are aware of it and have addressed it with the relevant parents too.

Overall, Lil Pumpkin has adapted very well to her new school life and her teachers are very pleased with that. From our perspective as parents, we can see that too - although Lil Pumpkin wakes up rather groggily most mornings, she doesn't cry and is always happy to attend class and talk about what goes on in school. 

This semester the boy helped to give an occupation talk to the Primary One cohort on his job as a vet {oops I haven't written about that yet!!} and we told the teachers as well that if time allows, we'd be happy to volunteer in other areas if they need us too.

I'm pretty excited to see what Semester 2 will bring! But for now, we're just going to have fun this June holidays together as a family and let Lil Pumpkin rest and do what she enjoys most... playing haha.

I did ask her teachers if there was anything we needed to work on at home during the holidays and they said no... the kids have done a lot during school time. It is time to let them relax..

True that. ヽ(ヅ)ノ


Friday, May 27, 2016

Thailand 2016 | Shopping Haul from Chatuchak, JJ Mall & Local Bangkok Markets

I'm back from my 32nd Muai Thai Camp birthday trip!! #YOLO It was an amaaaaaazing experience. Much more satisfying than I expected and I can't wait to share more about it with you. And I will, I will.. I promise!!! ੧(❛▿❛✿)੭

Right after I sort out all the photos, videos and notes I jotted down about the trip. My trainers took some photos for me too and I'm waiting for them to send those over as well. 

If you've been following my on-the-go updates on Facebook, Instagram and also recently Snapchat {add me at @AiSakuraHaruka}, you'd see that most of the time, I actually stayed in camp to rest and relax since I had early runs each morning and 2 Muay Thai training sessions each day. Pretty intensive.

The training site was rather out of Bangkok city centre so not near any of the usual touristy attractions or shopping areas at all. I didn't intend to go there to shop, eat or massage as I usually do when I'm in BKK though - just train - so it was ok.

There were some markets for the locals nearby which I bought some stuff from and it was a really nice, authentic Thai experience. There was none of the "touristy" stuff and most of the stall owners did not speak English actually. Thank goodness I'm rather good at communicating with others who don't speak any of my languages {good practice from all my travels & previous work}.. and charades haha

Only during the weekend, I made my way down to Chatuchak Market to shop as a special birthday treat (⌒▽⌒)☆

Overall my shopping haul from this trip is {relatively} small but thought I'd share it anyway since I haven't made a shopping haul video in ages, and it serves as a reminder to myself of what I bought too haha. I had time to make the video on the last day before I flew off...

I'm kinda mad over cute rompers now and bought a few this trip. Wore this one on my birthday.. the first time in that week I was actually out of my fitness clothes and probably the first time in many years I wasn't actually wearing a dress on my birthday haha

Check out my shopping haul video above or on my YouTube channel if it isn't showing properly. If you've seen my previous shopping haul / vlog videos you'd know that I usually do it in 1 take with little / no editing so they might be a bit long. Sit back, relax and watch with some popcorn hahaha.

I'd be posting my Muai Thai training videos too so subscribe to my YouTube channel if you don't want to miss them! Stay tuned to the upcoming blog post on my Muay Thai training camp experience at Khongsittha, Bangkok too! xox

Other Shopping Haul videos:


Monday, May 16, 2016

Off for My 32nd Birthday Trip!! #YOLO

I'm in Bangkok again. The third time in the past half year I think haha. But this trip I'm here not for shopping, food or massages {although I might get to enjoy them}... no, I'm actually here for a week-long intensive Muay Thai training camp. Alone.

It's actually a present from the boy for my 32nd birthday, which is coming up this Sunday *grins*

A few weeks back the boy asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I thought about it and I really couldn't think of anything that I wanted / needed to "get", but so many things that I wanted to "experience".

On top of my list, was the chance to experience an authentic Muay Thai training camp in Thailand.

Muay Thai to me is pretty cathartic. There's something about being on the mats and being able to legitimately kick and punch things {or erm, people haha} ferociously that helps to cleanse your soul and mind. It releases your pent-up aggression and stress, and not to mention is a great way to get your body moving and fit. I'm not doing it to be a professional or join fighting competitions, but I do enjoy it as an exercise. 

Some of you know that I took it up for a while a few years back and then stopped due to a very busy lifestyle as a new mum. I wanted to take it up again but time and other factors like my bad knees got in the way... now that I'm stronger thanks to my fitness training with slightly more time at my hand {or maybe just better time management skills hah!}, I reckon that I should try to get back into it.

And there's no faster way to get back into it than to be fully immersed in a Muay Thai training camp where I'll be eating and sleeping on-site, and training 2-3 times a day with local Muay Thai nak muays / experienced boxers.

Does it sound crazy to want to do that?? Maybe, but there are moments in life where you really just gotta #YOLO!!

If there's one thing I don't miss about Muay Thai it's the tedious hand-wrapping though! You can see me practising the wrap in the video above or on my YouTube channel if it isn't showing properly.

Anyway it was a pretty impromptu trip and I'm glad that we sorted everything out. My mum will stay over at our place to help the boy take care of Lil Pumpkin while I'm away for the week. Hubby has always been a very hands-on and involved dad, and I've no doubt that he can manage on his on too, but it's always nice to have an extra pair of hands to help.

And after celebrating the boy and Lil Pumpkin's birthday last week, now is my little time to celebrate.

It's not the first time that I traveled without the boy or Lil Pumpkin, but it's the first time that I'd be completely on my own throughout the entire trip. And also the first time that I'd be celebrating my birthday alone overseas too {I'll be flying back the day after}.

But that's ok. Being alone doesn't necessarily mean you are lonely. Sometimes it's good to be alone to give you time to be yourself and to find yourself. 

As mums, daughters, sisters, friends, we can sometimes find ourselves so overwhelmed by all our different roles and expectations. If possible, it is worthwhile to have little time-outs to rediscover your sense of self, and to make an effort to care for yourself. It is not about being selfish or self-centered. It is about loving yourself, and letting yourself know that you are worth giving yourself 100% of your precious time and concentration. 

In taking care of our own needs and wants first, we are happier and in a better position to fulfill our other roles as mums, daughters, sisters and friends.

That's how I feel anyway and thank you to hubby for understanding this, and for giving this lovely birthday present to me ♥

You can follow my Muay Thai training camp experience on Instagram and Facebook. See you all when I return as a 32 year-old!!! xox


Friday, May 13, 2016

Letter to my girl #18: Happy 7th Birthday!! ♥

Dear Lil Pumpkin,

We celebrated your 7th birthday yesterday. It really is all going by too fast. I am so proud and happy to celebrate your growth and milestones, but each one is a reminder that time is passing by too fast for my liking and I wish I could somehow slow it down to make all these moments last just a little longer.

Every goofy grin, every silly joke, every curious question, every colourful doodle, every time you reach out to hold my hand.. will you still be like this as you get older?  

Just a few days before your birthday you finally confirmed that you wanted me to bake you a Frozen birthday cake. There wasn't much time to plan or prepare so your Daddy said we should buy you a cake instead. I asked you back if you really wanted me to bake the cake, or if you wanted something from the store.

You said, "No Mummy, I want you to bake the cake."

So bake I did. After all, I baked you all your birthday cakes ever since you were born.

I'm not the best baker or cake decorator, but whenever I bake for you, it is always done with all my heart and love. Your 7th birthday cake wasn't the prettiest {although I'd dare say it was oh-so yummy!!} but you looked at it like it was the best, most gorgeous, most delicious cake you'd ever laid eyes on.

Thank you, my darling.

Growing up, Mummy never had to go to school on my birthday since your grandmother said it was my special day and my own special holiday. It really did make me feel very special and I have fond memories of that.

I would have let you off school today as well but your Daddy didn't want you to start this habit. Oh well.

But it was a good thing you went to school as well as I know your teachers and friends made you feel like a rock star on your birthday too by giving you little gifts and wishing you "Happy Birthday!!" throughout the day when they saw you around. You came back beaming and grinning ear-to-ear as you told me about it.

We've never been into big fancy parties mainly because I find it too tedious to plan and organise, but you've never questioned or asked for one. We did have a fun day out after school spending pockets of time throughout the with your extended family, and yup, getting that little feet massage that you desired. "I want to relax", you said.

I wanted to bring you to one of those giant indoor playgrounds as a birthday treat but you opted for a feet massage and fish spa instead. Oh Lil Pumpkin, Mummy is so amused by this! haha #definitelymydaughter

Hope you will enjoy Part II of your birthday celebration at Adventure Cove this weekend too!

Thank you for being the wonderful child that you are. You bring Mummy and Daddy so much joy each day and we never fail to go to bed each night thinking how blessed we are to have you in our lives. You are everything I could ever ask for in a daughter.

I hope that even though you had a simple birthday, you will always remember the love that you felt and were given from everyone that you've touched in your life, both near and far.

Happy 7th birthday, our little precious xox

Love you always,