Last year, B took part in his first race at the Cold Storage Kids Run 2015. It was quite an experience for both of us – especially as mama didn’t realize the race was actually 800m till the day of!
This year, we’re excited to be part of the Cold Storage Kids Run again – this time, with a special appearance by grandpa – 公公 – who is gamely joining in the 3Gen Family Fun Run (also 800m). After all, a family that runs together, stays healthier and happier together too 🙂 Come run with us at the Meadows @ Gardens By The Bay on Sunday, May 22, 2016! On top of that, get a special discount for early bird sign ups with this code: WEMISSYOU16
About the run
Singapore’s Cold Storage Kids Run is Asia’s first kids focused run. Back for its 9th consecutive year, the event theme for 2016 is “Eat Healthy. Get Active”, promoting a healthy lifestyle and family bonding through exercise and a healthy diet. Early bird rates are now available up till 23 March followed by the normal registration period from 24 March to 3 April. This year also features the 3Gen Family Fun Run (which we’ll be participating in), Fancy Dress Family Fun Run, and two child celebrity ambassadors – football protégé Iryan Fandi and running enthusiast Abbie Rose Humphreys. Avid footballer and 10-year-old Iryan is the youngest son of illustrious local football legend Fandi Ahmad while 7-year-old Abbie Rose is the daughter of popular local columnist and author, Neil Humphreys. Visit http://www.kidsrun.com.sg for more info.
Although there were moments of doubt, all things worked out in the end for me to race in this year’s Great Eastern Women’s Run! We had cool and cloudy weather, amazing running buddies that encouraged me on when I was too tired or lazy to train, and … a timely (albeit too short) break between work trips this weekend.
This year was the race’s 10th anniversary. A total of 17,000 women participated today, setting a new record as the largest number of participants in an all-women run in Asia.
What I love about the Great Eastern Women’s Run is that the event celebrates women and encourages us to live a more active lifestyle, while acknowledging the many facets of our lives – from healthy living, social causes, group activities … even, children! The fringe activities include training runs, Piloxing and Kpop X dance fitness classes. Though I’m rather choreographically challenged, I had a fun time following along in the spirit of looking good (I mean, aerobic and body toning). For the first time, participants could donate and donned colourful tutus in a myriad of hues of pink, blue, yellow and purple, in support of three women and children-related charities — Breast Cancer Foundation, Community Chest (Children with Special Needs) and the SingHealth Duke-NUS OBGYN Academic Clinical Program. Furthermore, the race featured its inaugural Princess Dash as 500 girls aged three to nine years, clad in pink princess-like tutus participated in a 100-metre dash, and were rewarded with a “finishers tiara.” What a nice opportunity for moms with girls – making me wish I had a girl too, even though I love my little guy to bits!
So thank you, Great Eastern Women’s Run, for inviting me again this year and making it so hassle free, including delivering our race packs right to our home, sending us useful training tips and timely updates given the perpetual haze. It was a wonderfully organised and meaningful event. I’ll definitely be back next year and maybe, improve my time 🙂
While participating in a survey/article on “hubbies who travel and how moms cope,” I realised how precious (in both the good and rare sense!) family and couple time has been for us. This weekend routine helps ensure that we don’t become strangers in our own home: We typically end the work week with a Friday church couples and kids fellowship, reserve Saturday for core family time, and aim for Sunday evening dates while the kid is off with the grandparents and hubby is still around in Singapore.
One of our weekend morning activities is to catch early breakfast in the neighbourhood hawker centers and then “tour” the surrounding playgrounds and exercise corners before it gets too hot and crowded.
Since becoming a mom, exercise for the sake of exercise has been relegated to the bottom of my sea of priorities. I had all sorts of ideas about how I would be staying fit while bonding with my little one:
After a lot of false starts, here’s how I finally got going:
FIND A MOTIVATION: I joined fellow Singapore Mom Bloggers (Angelia, Christy, Dee, Liz and Meiling) to sign up for the Great Eastern Women’s Run at year end. Running seemed to be the most accessible, effective and efficient form of cardio, indoors or outside, with limited to no equipment needed. The shortest race option of 5K seemed do-able as I’d covered this distance before … back then. Lastly, November seemed far enough away to not panic. Yet.
SCHEDULE IT IN: “We won’t find time to get fit unless we make the time for it!” I realised I needed a set exercise routine as “something else” would always get in the way every time. So one Sunday night, I searched for “5K training plans forrustyout of shape beginners,” adapted them accordingly and came up with a simple, progressive plan which can hopefully be sustained beyond November. This also helped me get right down to actually exercise rather than figure out “what” and “how” to do beforehand.
STAY REALISTIC AND CONSISTENT: I’ve affectionately dubbed my weekly fitness efforts as the “Get in shape to survive a 5K race” plan. It currently looks like this, with target frequency and duration:
1) Interval training (3x/week for 30 mins): Beginning with more jogging than running, evolving into more running than jogging, and eventually fartleks i.e. steady run, jog, then stride (short burst sprints) intervals. For starters, run at an easy pace for 1 min, jog to catch your breath for 4 mins, repeat until you hit your target distance or time. The first time I tried this, I clocked in (cough) 2 km in 23 minutes at around 150-155 bpm. OK, I was distracted by the machine, fiddling with the cardio and interval options before deciding to just adjust the speed manually. But obviously, it’s been a long time since I did much cardio, let alone “training” runs 🙂 As the weeks go by and intervals get more intensive, strength and endurance, speed and aerobic metabolism should improve. I hope!
2) Strength training (2x/week for 45 mins): Doing weight bearing activities and/or attending a weekly reformer pilates class enables me to balance cardio for aerobic health and metabolism with strength training for muscle building and bone density.
3) Cross training (1x/week for 30-45 mins): I’ve read that if we’re training to run, we should include other cardio activities (like swimming, elliptical, bike, climbing) to break the monotony of running, exercise new muscles and prevent injury. Since those beginners plans listed this as optional, this pretty much only happens when I accompany my kid while he’s swimming or take the stairs instead of the lift 🙂
EXERCISE SMART: Some tips for novice runners:
1) EAT a meal or healthy snack with sufficient water 2 hours before. Drink 100 Plus (or sports drink) one hour after to hydrate. Get enough calcium (800-1000 ML per day) with magnesium, vitamins D and K for absorption. Avoid access salt, alcohol and tobacco.
2) SUN is good, but too much isn’t. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a visor or cap. It’s ironic how many folks are vitamin D deficient despite living in sunny Singapore so run in the early morning or late evening to catch some healthy rays if you can.
3) REST after your hardest workouts to reduce risk of injury. Rest at least 1 day prior to the race. Warm up and cool down by walking ~5 mins before and after each run. Don’t do major stretches before running, do it after or on non-running days.
Done reading this post? Time to get up, get out, get movin’!
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Next up is Toddly Mummy, a born-again drama-mama and creative extraordinaire, at least in EV’s and AA’s opinions. She has learnt that motherhood makes one discover talents one never expects one to have, all for the singular purpose of keeping the kids happy. A full-time-working mum, she spends evenings home learning and reading with her kids. On her blog, Toddly Mummy shares her thoughts on parenting, fun moments of home learning sessions and outdoor adventures.
The Far East Organization Children’s Garden offers a delightful blend of obstacle trails, water and sand playgrounds, all integrated with nature, and designed to be interactive for kids from 1 to 12 years old (and the young-at-heart adults). Staff and signboards are placed strategically to ensure both safe and fun play. For parents of very young kids, you’ll appreciate the efforts made to separate the rowdy youngsters from the rowdy toddlers 🙂
Closest carpark is at Satay By the Bay (open air) or Main Visitors. Conversely, if you take public transport, there is a free shuttle bus on weekdays that stops over at the Marina Bay, Downtown and Raffles Place MRTs.
Closed on Mondays for maintenance (same day as Jacob Ballas)
Tuesdays* to Fridays: 10 AM – 7 PM. Last admission at 6:30 PM. *Closed on Tuesday if a public holiday falls on the preceding Monday.
Weekends & Public Holidays 9 AM – 9 PM. Last admission at 8:30 PM
Low energy? Dying of thirst? Cranky kid? No fear. These are near:
1) Large covered amphitheatre overlooking both water play areas where you can bring your own food and drinks
2) Children’s Garden Cafe which has alfresco seating by the Toddler Play Zone (playground and water), open at the same hours as the park, serves drinks, snacks or a light meal (Asian and Western)
3) Satay By The Bay, a short scoot or walk away. Also, the place to park your car if driving. Stalls are open from 8a – 11p
This is part of a blog train on Singapore’s Fun For Free places dedicated to anyone who’s ever needed to think about “where to bring the kids today?” Next up is Elizabeth, a mother to three rambunctious kids. She wifes, moms and writes at motherkao.com. Her family of five can be found at Terminal 3 almost every weekend because apart from not needing to have to queue for long to get dinner there, her kids get to do fun things for free while she indulges in GST-free shopping.
Hubby and I have fond memories of Africa. Beyond its immense beauty, nature, culture and history, it also has personal significance for us as we conceived naturally – after years of trying – upon returning from our South Africa roadtrip. So it’s with much delight that I can share a little bit about Vines and Roots on this blog, with a special offer for our blog readers (details below).
Vines and Roots was founded by a mom who wanted to bring a touch of Africa to Singapore through organic body and skincare products. Made from natural ingredients with proven effectiveness, these products involve no animal testing, no preservatives, are biodegradable and sourced ethically to support fair trade in Africa. They recently launched a new line – Pure Beginnings – which is specially developed for little ones (safe from newborn on).
We had a chance to use and review five Pure Beginnings products:
1. Insect Repellent: Raining almost every day? Dengue fears again? We’ve tried almost every (organic and normal) mozzie patch and spray. Sadly, most are rather ineffective for my bug magnet boy. Worse, some of the cheaper brands smell terrible and leave a nasty, chemical or oily feel. Not this one! The Pure Beginnings repellent is 100% natural, DEET FREE, lightly scented with citronella, lemon eucalyptus, neem and lemon bush. It’s also thoughtfully designed as a roll-on tube so you don’t get your fingers dirty yet can still concentrate which area of skin to apply on for maximum effect.
2. Baby Berry Toothpaste: Featured in the Parents World 2014 Best Organic and Natural Products Awards, this Pure Beginnings toothpaste is excellent! It’s fluoride-free with xylitol, safe to swallow and tastes great too – errm, yes I’ve tried it (I try anything that my son consumes, intentionally or accidentally). B basically brushes his teeth 3x a day – when he wakes or after breakfast, before mid-day nap, and before bedtime. He had no trouble switching from his regular off-the-counter toothpaste to this, and while he now knows how to gargle and spit, he’s also “tasted” Baby Berry and told me that he likes the raspberry flavour!
3. Baby Bum Cream: I usually carry several creams in my bag for sensitive skin, occasional rashes, cuts and bites. With Pure Beginnings, I’ve found a multi-purpose cream that can treat diaper rash, insect bites and stings – saving money AND space! The Baby Bum Cream contains baobab, olive, lavender and tea tree oil, which give it natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. The use of baobab is a nod to its unique African roots whose trees are associated with longevity, oil from its seeds used as moisturisers, and extract of the fruit delivers pre-biotics and antioxidants.
4. Baby Wash and Shampoo: Mild, rosemary and geranium scented, this all-in-one baby wash and shampoo also contains baobab extract, a common ingredient in the Pure Beginnings line. After using this for 2 weeks, we’ve yet to see any dry, rough patches on B’s skin – which he’d normally get with regular soap as he inherited my sensitive skin.
5. Bamboo Baby Wipes: Most wipes are alcohol-based which dry or aggravate sensitive skin. In contrast, these Pure Beginnings wipes are quite gentle due to their organic aloe and baobab extract content. There’s also a slight soapy quality to it too – handy in a mess, especially with younger babies who still drool a fair bit, can’t reach or use regular sinks or aren’t potty trained yet.
Given my own history with ezcema, I was very keen to find affordable yet natural products for B in his early years. I’ve scoured the net and malls comparing and testing most bath and body brands in Singapore. If you look beyond the marketing, many of them contain chemicals, synthetic fragrances, dairy, soy, nuts and gluten which may trigger allergies or aggravate rashes. As such, I appreciate Vines & Roots efforts to be pure and transparent, with clear labels and active use of ingredients such as baobab extract, lemon, citronella, lavender and tea tree. The Pure Beginnings line is a wonderful addition with its natural range of kid-friendly, effective and appealing products.
Just for our readers: Vines & Roots is offering an exclusive 15% discount for all purchases using our blog code “FINALLYMAMA”. Keen to try but don’t know where to start? Check out the various gift combinations available such as this sample travel set below.
You are now 33 months. Just 3 months to go before you turn 3 years old! Everyone warned me about the terrible twos, but the year turned out to be pretty terrific instead. Hopefully I don’t jinx the remaining months 😮 You had your moments of wild, irrational flail-on-the-ground tantrums, but through it all I kept the 3 Ts in mind: Tank up on love, Transition gradually, and Timing matters!
In light of your and mama’s developments this year, here are 3×3 things to celebrate about you!
3 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT YOU
1) THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE: You love reading. You bring books to our bed in the morning, want to read at mealtimes, and negotiate the number of stories for bedtime. You are ever curious. You’ll ask “What happen, mama?” when I’m reading the news or listening to the radio. The library is like your second home where you can occupy yourself flipping through books or telling stories to friends (imaginary or anyone nearby). Your face lights up as you associate what you read with what you see in real life. When your gears start spinning, you turn to me to say “Remember the [book/event/person/item]?” and a wonderful process of discovery ensues. When you see text, you track the words with your fingers as you “read.” You like to call out numbers, upper and lower cases that you recognise from Letterland phonics, and even Chinese characters. It’s truly a delight to watch you learn!
2) A SONG IN YOUR HEART: Since you started carrying a tune, you haven’t stopped making music. Even as a baby, you’d often hum and move to the rhythm and beat. These days, we don’t need alarm clocks because you wake us up with your singing at 7a or earlier! You make us laugh with silly adaptations and lead your friends in rousing renditions of songs from Majulah Singapura to Wheels on the Bus to “一步一步走啊走”. This year we tried some structured music learning at home, and we’ll continue to look for ways to help you hone this gift now and beyond.
3) PASSION FOR VEHICLES: Be they in the air, on the road, on water, in print, real or toy, rides or stickers – you like them all! You observe routes, recall directions, names of roads and who stays where. Your pretend play is getting more creative too. You manipulate everyday things at home, LEGO and wooden blocks, toy vehicles, tracks and figures to form construction sites, accident and rescue operations, traffic jams on the highway, neighbourhood multi-story carparks – all with sound effects and commentary.
One activity you initiated is to lay out your vehicle flash cards and we take turns to find the right one as we play “I Spy” and 这是什么?”
Sometimes I need to set time limits so you don’t get too obsessed (i.e. kick a fuss when it’s time to stop or leave). But this shows me you’re capable of focusing and innovating on what interests you. If only we could figure out how to replicate this for other stuff 😉
3 AREAS YOU’VE GROWN IN
1) (SELF) HELPER: Although I still prompt you to eat faster or finish up, I’m thankful that you continue to help yourself at meal times and have a healthy appetite, drink well, (mostly) eat greens, fruits and are willing to try variety – Asian, Western, Middle Eastern, mild herbs and spices. You even ate durian!
Since we started our first sticker chart on toilet training, you also have less accidents and better control. You let us know when you want to pee and poop instead of us asking or taking you regularly. There’s still occasional overnight bed wetting and leaks (esp. when you’re too excited or shy) but you’ve made great progress that we’ve moved on to a new chart for wearing/undressing clothes and shoes.
Lastly, although you need reminding, you do help to clean up after play, unload dirty clothes into the laundry bag and bring your dishes to the kitchen after meals. Well done!
2) FINE MOTOR SKILLS: Thanks to your current preschool, you’re constantly encouraged to experiment and express yourself through art and craft. Mama is so thankful for the amazing teachers there!
Although there’s less opportunities for us at home together, I cherish the times when we play simple number and finger games and do crafty activities that build your fine motor skills. Of course, you still treat glue like paint, colour all over the page, use brushes, pencils, markers and crayons like stamps, wield the scissors and chopsticks with two hands when your fingers are tired… But you’re getting there. Just persevere and keep up the great work!
3) THE GREAT OUTDOORS: We now do more things outside and for longer before you ask for a “抱抱“! You’ve always been a cautious toddler and not a big fan of being under the hot sun. Yet as you grow, you now scoot with more confidence and speed, are eager to get wet and play in the sand (caveat: area must be “clean and cool” enough), jump in the pool at your weekly swim class, pedal the tricycles at school and ride your balance bike to deliver items and messages from place to place. I only wish you’d wear your safety helmet more often so mama doesn’t worry … too much.
So here’s to you, my little big baby, who’s becoming a big little boy. Love you to the moon and back!
We stopped by Kallang this weekend and checked out the brand new sports hub which opened in June. The hub includes the national stadium, library, recreation room, museum, water playground and retail mall. This July, there are quite a few free or special events as many stores and features are not yet open. We used to visit the indoor stadium and waterfront for weekend brunches and family evenings, but hadn’t returned since the rebuilding works began ~2+ years ago. Last time we were there, B was a wee 3 month old baby! This time, he was an active and chatty 31 month old tot 🙂
I’ve lived with lower back pain since my university days, when I had two bad falls – one on a mountain bike, and another while skiing. For almost two decades, the pain would come and go, and at its most intense, I could be bedridden for a few hours as numbness sets in. I tried all sorts of treatment: physiotherapy, painkillers, muscle relaxants, therapeutic massage, acupuncture and chiropractors. However, years later, the occasional back pain would still be triggered by activities such as: Lugging my work laptop around client sites in Australia and Indonesia, vacationing in Southern Italy and South Africa where we constantly walked, trekked and biked around, and of course, during my third trimester and the newborn months.
I started attending PowerMoves Pilates In The Park four years ago because of their convenient location (Dempsey was near home), timing (beginners class right after work, before dinner) and ambience (beautiful, peaceful, natural surroundings). I moved to the pre-natal class from 17 to 37 weeks pregnant, and then rejoined regular classes about a month after delivering. I’m currently going for a blend of mat and reformer classes. Pilates has proven to be an effective, enjoyable and sustainable lifestyle solution for me. Over time, I find that I’ve developed (or post-pregnancy, regained) a smaller waistline, flatter abs and a stronger core which has helped protect my back and spine. I can honestly say, it’s been a “me” activity I look forward to every week!
Pilates exercises emphasise control and resistance training – with moves that focus on core muscles in the “powerhouse” (abs, pelvic floor, lower back), proper alignment of the spine, and awareness of breath. Working with mat comprises a series of floor exercises, complemented with equipment like the magic circle, fit ball and free weights. Reformer involves the use of a resistance-based machine with springs and ropes for assistance. Exercises can be performed lying down on your back, side or front, sitting, kneeling or standing. On the surface, it might seem that not much is going on, but when you truly activate the powerhouse muscles, you will definitely break out in sweat as you feel your body lengthening and vibrating!
It’s also good to understand what PILATES IS NOT: 1) Pilates isn’t cardio. Over time, pilates exercises will increase your lean muscle mass which helps your body burn more calories, even while you are at rest. In fact, “Cardio is great; but the second you hop off the bike or the treadmill, you stop burning calories. With Pilates, the second you’re done, you start burning calories.” However, if your primary goal is weight loss, then you still need to continue activities like brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming or dance, as well as any necessary diet adjustments.
2) Pilates isn’t yoga. Although both connect mind and body exercises, pilates is non-spiritual and takes a scientific approach. “The breathing is different – in Pilates, you pull your stomach in to build abdominal strength, while in Yoga you allow it to expand as you breathe. Pilates is about the body in motion, while Yoga entails holding the body in a variety of poses.”
PowerMoves Pilates today has 3 lovely garden studios – Dempsey Hill, Rochester Park and Bishan Park, and has won accolades such as the 2014 SHAPE awards for Most Challenging Pilates Class & Most Mummy Friendly Pre-Natal Class, as well as Singapore Tatler’s 2014 Best of Singapore’s Pilates Studios, and Expat Living’s Most Beautiful and Beginner Friendly Pilates Studio. They like to say: “In 10 sessions, you’ll feel the difference; in 20, you’ll see the difference; in 30, you’ll have a whole new body.“ Want a leaner, firmer, fitter you? Take time out from the daily grind to take care of yourself!
For all of July, blog readers get a special complimentary trial mat class (worth S$55). Just contact them via phone or the online form HERE. State your preferred studio, day and time, and give them the code FINALLYMAMA to redeem.
May hasn’t been a merry month so far 😦 Once again, the flu bug hit and everyone got sick – at least once. As B and I are still recovering, I decided some fresh air and a little exploring would do us good. So we headed to Tiong Bahru: B liked the tilting train though the slides and flying foxes were challenging for a 2.5 year old – thankfully it was cloudy, the park looks like it could get real hot! Later on, we strolled through the neighbourhood, stopping by Wu Hu Aquarium (oddly, B wanted to eat fish after this!), Woods in the Books and Tiong Bahru Bakery. Will be back next time to visit Ah Chiang’s Porridge, Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice, Flock or PoTeaTo (with or without B, haha)
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Raising a family while releasing it all to God through each season of work and life