Saturday, October 18, 2008

And he's 11 today...

Brian and his friends have just woken up, it's 10am, and I think they only slept after 4am! I'm pooped too, difficult trying to sleep when 5 boys are in the next room talking loudly and laughing. They all sounded chirpy even at 4am, full of energy these kids! And they had had a full day, first school, then back to my place for bowling, then rushed over to Pokrovsky Hills for Trick or Treat and Haunted House.

This is Brian's first time going Trick or Treat, and my goodness, these kids do get excited over candies, don't they? Many of the houses were decorated really elaborately.

Closer look at the haunted house, which was hosted by Brian's friend Eric M's family; they built this with the help of some neighbours, just to make kids happy! Eric M says everyone calls his family the Crazy Canadians, cos they organise all the crazy stuff, like Haunted House, Snow Fort etc; I told him that he's just such a lucky kid.

Got back to our place at 8pm, cake-cutting, dinner, followed by Harry Potter movie. Didn't bake a cake nor cupcakes, aiyoh, lazy lah, so many things to think about. Bought this mousse-ice-cream-like cake; not nice at all. Should have relied on my own baking. Doesn't matter I guess, these kids just weren't interested in eating, they had loads of treats and were just munching candies while watching the movie.

After the movie, they went into the bedroom and played x-box. I know they stopped playing xbox around 1 plus am, and when I peeked in to wish Brian Happy Birthday, they were all standing on the floor, bed, holding on to one sword or another, but mostly just talking. Another round of xbox and by about 3am maybe, I nudged Eddie to go over and get them to stop playing. Even after stopping xbox, I could hear them talking loudly for another hour. And then suddenly, SILENCE! It's like they all shut down at the same time.

These kids are so witty and smart lah. Not sure if these are the cerebral ones that Brian's teacher was talking about, but they are definitely not nerds. They come across as extremely intelligent kids, easy-going, and very funny too. They talk to adults with no inhibitions at all. And boy, do they talk! But not in a ya-ya or arrogant way; they were pretty mature, and really cool, sweet, good kids.

And Monica, all four of them are oldest boys in their families. 3 of them are from families of only 2 boys, like Brian. Another is the oldest boy but he has an older and younger sister, and a baby brother. So you're right huh, about kids gravitating towards those who are same birth-order as them. And except for the one with the baby brother, all the rest think their kid brothers are annoying!

Thanks to Scrapblog, I was able to make personalised Thank You pictures, and placed these in a glass frame together with Halloween pictures, for each kid to take home and retain the good memories.

Phew, that's one thing done. Now to arrange packing for our trip to Singapore and then onwards to Tokyo. Will be pretty busy the few days I'm in Singapore (computers to repair, visa to renew etc), so won't be making firm plans to meet up with anyone. In December okay?


monlim said...

Wahh... the Haunted House looks fab man! Reminds me of a newsreel I saw about how in certain upper class neighbourhoods in US, the residents go all out to decorate their homes for Christmas.

Haha, birds of a feather! Brian is so mature, naturally he also mixes with the mature kids, which is great. At least you're spared juvenile behaviour in your home!

If you're coming back during Christmas season, do let me know when, would love to have you over for our usual Christmas get-together. We missed you last year.

Lilian said...

Over here too, some of the houses' garages were opened up and decorated really creatively. And one guy just sat in front of his garage door with a scary ghost mask, facing down, like the grim reaper, with a pumpkin container filled with treats; won't say anything even when kids approach him and talk to him; then suddenly lets out a loud shout, to scare the kids. Sit out there in the cold just waiting quietly for kids to come by.

It's great that you guys have a family tradition of holding Christmas parties; kids will cherish the memories. I will probably be in Singapore come December but will head off to Malaysia at least a few days before Christmas. Will let you know.

Roslyn said...

So Halloween is a big thing over there? Haha! I had thought of having a Halloween party, it'll be such fun. Louisa will be attending a Halloween birthday party this year and I'm wondering what to dress her up as. Love your scrap pages. Happy birthday Brian! Oh, going back to Singapore again? Envy! Envy! Tokyo also!!! How I miss Japan.

Lilian said...

Thanks Ros.

I'm sure you'll come up with something fantastic for Louisa, you're so creative. Me? I'm really bad with costume ideas.

Halloween isn't big in Moscow, just in this residential compound next to the American school, I think. Also very big in the school, pumpkins everywhere now.

Anonymous said...

Wow, your virtual scrapbooking is uber cool! Sure beats lugging actual scrapbooks around in your enviable jet-setting lifestyle...

Guess what, I haven't done a single b'day party for my son yet! Do you think he's deprived? :-)

I remember when daughter was 12 she had a sleepover too at an East Coast chalet. Hubby slept-over with them too to 'jagah' them.

Here it's a trend for parents to hold b'day parties at 'gyms' which are actually huge indoors arcade-cum-playgrounds. There are rooms you can book to cut your cake & you can also order drinks & hotdogs & pizzas. Sure saves a lot of cleaning up & preparation! And you can keep the whole party to a time-frame of, say, 2-3hours.

Yes Halloween is a big thing here in Canada too, like USA. Very commercialized. Shelves & shelves of candy in the stores--who can eat them all??? On Halloween's Night the churches will hold alternative activities for the kids so that parents who object to Halloween (its origins are something like the western version of the 'ghost month') can let their kids go to these instead of trick-or-treating. There had been horror stories of spiked candies, so kids are told not to eat the candy before getting home. Parents often accompany their kids while trick-or-treating too, in case of perverts.. Young kids have also been known to be 'traumatized' by some of the more adults-themed Halloween parties, which are actually like horror-theme parks.

Over here adults have a lot of fun too during Halloween & X'mas, and some go all out to decorate their yards. There are streets which hold their very own decorations contests! It's quite pretty to drive round looking at the lights. I guess these are 2 festivities they can look forward to in the cold, dark & wet months of fall & winter.


Anonymous said...

I've just taken a close look at the souvenir pics and man, you've really put in a LOT of effort into this party! Hope Brian appreciates all this... :-)


Lilian said...

YY, Sean hasn't had a single birthday party either. That's why I always tell Brian that he should not complain that Sean gets this or that. Brian said oh that's cos Sean doesn't have any friends! Which is true lah.

Brian really wanted this sleepover/bowling party. I gave him a choice between this and a Nintendo Wii, he didn't bat an eyelid, said, I want the party. Tested him by saying what if it's just sleepover, he said I still want the sleepover. The kids had such a good time, it was worth the effort.

Not that I put in that much effort lah, by many Singapore parents' standards. Eg, I didn't put up any decorations or bake him a cake. The effort came from logistics arrangements, traffic here so bad, and I had to take Sean home from school first, else no space in the car. Got a nanny for Sean while I took the boys bowling and trick or treat. Sean was sweet lah, he knew it was his brother's day, so didn't complain when he had to stay home with the nanny from after school till after 8pm.

And I also walked with the boys for more than 1 hour as they went trick-or-treating, not for fear of predators (though what you said is a scary thought) cos the devt is pretty safe, and everyone knows everyone, BUT to make sure the boys don't lose track of time!

And the souvenir pictures weren't much of an effort. Scrapblog makes things easy. And the parents were thrilled to have the pictures. Though I think the kids would have been happier if I just gave them more candies!

I still can't get over how cool these boys are. The Canadian one was a riot, really funny non-stop jokes, lots of which is Darth-Vader-related "I am your Father!"...This other American boy also very sweet; I enjoyed talking to them all so much. No wonder Brian's so reluctant to leave Moscow.

Anonymous said...

So has Brian picked up any N. American accent yet?

I must say it was a hectic day! All the to-ing & fro-ing... And how much does a nanny in Moscow charge?

I didn't know boys have sleep-overs too! I thot it was a girl-thing.


Lilian said...

When he speaks to his British friends in UK, it was a Brit accent; even though he picked up American accent in his UK school. Over here with his friends, definitely American accent. But you'd never know it if you meet him, with us, it's entirely Singapore accent.

Nanny is about S$15 an hour. Yep, boys love sleepovers, but no painting toenails lah; basically movies, xbox/playstation/Wii, mucking about playing air guitar, lots of jokey-jokey stuff, and very little sleep.

monlim said...

When are you leaving again and when are you back? Apart from Tokyo, going anywhere else? Hope you have time to fit in Disneysea!

Lilian said...

Leaving Sg Saturday and leaving Tokyo Saturday. Yes, 1 day for Disneysea (Sean the scaredy cat doesn't want to go), and 1 day for Disneyland. Depending on weather forecast, will also book day tour to Nikko. And our last night will visit Kamakura (recommended by Japanese mummies here) and stay in a ryokan in Enoshima, a little island close by. Wish us luck!

monlim said...

Sounds soooo fun! Nikko should be lovely now, Autumn colours.

Tell Sean Disneysea nothing to be scared about... must go Indiana Jones ride ok? take the Fast Pass. If he's scared, ask him to cover his ears. It's very fun!!

Must blog about it in detail when you get back!

Lilian said...

I can tell you really love travelling huh? I have a friend whose entire family loves travelling too, they are very thrifty all year but splurge on holidays, maybe not splurge, but in proportion to their annual spending, it's a lot.

We aren't super-enthusiastic travellers; quite stressful planning itinerary and trying to fit in many sights; if get lost also stress; so Tokyo is a good destination, easy to navigate. And I have to remind myself not to be so ambitious, just relax and not be rigid about itinerary.

What Eddie and I are looking forward to is the FOOD! Sean the worry wort keeps asking what is there for him to eat in Tokyo :)

monlim said...

I LOVE travelling. But Kenneth is perfectly happy staying at home :P

Yah, best way not to stress is not to have too rigid an itinerary, so get lost ok lah, just another adventure! (kenneth won't agree with that though...)

Wah, Sean is really quite a worry wort huh? I always thought he was a happy-go-lucky kid! The food is Japan is very kid-friendly so tell him don't worry so much :) And the Japanese love kids, so if they see you have kids, they're extra nice to you (not that they aren't already!!)

Alcovelet said...

Happy Birthday, Brian!!

Talking about travelling, aiya, was supposed to plan for Japan but fail-o again. Am off to the travel agent's Monday to try for somewhere more exotic.

Anonymous said...

I hardly traveled until I married hubby. In fact if not for him I would never have emigrated and would most prob. still be at the same job until I retire! Yes, very scaredy-cat kinda person.

Nowadays he wants to take road-trips everywhere, even 1600km down to San Francisco where my parents are! I almost pengsan at first when I heard it, but we've done it twice already, 8h/day of driving over 2 days, two of us taking 2hr shifts each time, it's quite nice really. The trusty GPS is very useful... can't afford to get lost with gas prices so high these days! Roadtrips also allow him to book hotels on, everytime just the night before, at knock-off prices.

Anyone interested can view my travel pics, including pics of current home, at

(sorry no pics of myself there, I just realized! And no, the user pic is ripped from somewhere... if only it is me, lor..)


Lilian said...

OMIGOSH, YOUR HOUSE! Lau nuah...droooool!

Anonymous said...

Frontage looks big but inside only 2600 sqft--I'm the only maid, lah, and already not keeping it very clean :-)... But lot is big, nearly 10,000 sqft altog. Bought it for C$625K.. in Sgp that's how much a condo costs, right?

Hubby fell in love with it at first sight so we bought it instead of rent as we'd initially wanted to do. At first wanted to hire an interior decorator but after a while, DIY didn't look too bad leh..

It IS a rather unusual house, even the Canadians go ooh & aah when they first step inside. It's what is called the 'Pacific Northwest Style'--lots of big windows to let in the light in the often overcast weather, lots of exposed wood & nestled in natural surrounds due to the abundant evergreens. In my estate, which is over 30yrs old, most of the houses are custom-built. My house was built in 1989, and has a bit of the 'retro' feel inside.

A very lucky find, actually. But still not used to the fact that houses here are entirely built of wood... Just this afternoon, my kiddo blocked up the upstairs WC, flooded the bathroom and water leaked all the way down to the basement!! Across 2 floors leh!! So hubby had a major cleaning job, mopping up with bleach and using deep-cleaning vacuum to shampoo the carpets... He wants to use an 'ozonator' to ozonate the house tomorrow, in case there's any smells... Lucky I don't smell anything so far..


Lilian said...

I love the part where the dining room looks out to the snow covered trees, aiyoh, so nicelah, to have a cuppa and read newspapers there.

Omigosh, pengsan about your little fella flooding the floors, PENGSAN! I am mortified!

Anonymous said...

Yah loh, hubby did all the hard work cleaning-up while I was 'slaving' away trying to answer the math qns that Brian so deftly answered.. Can't stand it!

Will go to recommended PSLE website & practice and then challenge, ok!!

joking lah.. Quite fun to do them without the nightmare of thinking: oh no, what if something like this comes out in PSLE?????