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Saving Every $ part 4 30 June, 2015

Posted by dear1dear2 in Uncategorized.
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We emptied our piggy banks again! :D

This time, we employed the help of Baby1 and Baby2 to sort and help to pack the 50 cents and 1 dollar coins. We counted a total of $1090. As usual, we exchanged the coins with my mummy so that she can bring it for use at her workplace.

Normally, we would deposit this savings into our designated savings account for it to start earning interests for us. However, since the saving of coins was to contribute towards our Baby Savings Plan, and we also have a plan to invest in gold coins for our kids, we decided to use this money to buy a gold coin instead. In addition, we topped up the total sum with Baby1’s POSB Kids Savings account (which wasn’t earning much interests at all) and bought a larger gold coin for the kids.

One thing we noticed about buying from UOB is that, for the same weight, a gold bar is cheaper than a bullion coin. See the price list here. We’ve already bought a bullion coin this time, but perhaps we should be buying a gold bar instead the next time.

-Dear1

Pre-reno Spring Cleaning 24 May, 2015

Posted by dear1dear2 in Around the House, Dear1.
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We’re currently in the midst of preparing and converting our study room into a children’s bedroom. And there is a big list of things that we are planning to do to realize this mini renovation project. For the study room, we have:

  1. Clear out all the cupboards in the study room (Spring cleaning).
  2. Give away old furniture to make space for new children furniture.
  3. Paint the room.
  4. Replace the air con (because the existing air con broke down a few weeks ago).
  5. Replace the curtain/blinds (to block out the sunlight, heat, and sounds from the coffeeshops below).
  6. Buy pull-out bed and mattresses.
  7. Buy study tables.

For the rest of the house:

  1. Clear out the toys area.
  2. Re-organize Dear1’s collections (board games and Gundams).
  3. Create more space in the living room.

For the past weeks, we have been slooooooowly clearing out the cupboards. We’ve given away lots of baby stuff to Dear2’s sister. We’ve dug out lots of old bills and statements and receipts and books dated as far back as 2006 when we first moved in. Wow! We’ve really accumulated lots of things over the years.

So, just as we’ve sold our old clothes for recycling the last time, we sold 8kg worth of old clothes and 18kg worth of paper this morning and received $3.40 for our recycling efforts. Thus far, we’ve sold more than 70kg of recyclable stuff and we’re 30kg away from earning our first loyalty reward of $1.50. :)

We’ve also sold off an Osim uPen and a set of speakers that we don’t use anymore to some friends. Dear2 is also taking the opportunity to clean the windows that we have not cleaned in a long time. It’s quite satisfying to clear out the clutter every once in a while. The house does seem brighter and more spacious.

Looking forward to see the final product of our renovation project.

-Dear1

31 May 2015: We sold another 10kg worth of recyclables.

Terrible daddy 6 May, 2015

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear1, For Him For Her.
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The change was gradual. I probably didn’t notice it myself at first. But the signs were there. I was ill tempered, I was irritable, and I had unreasonably high expectations for the children. I was yelling at the children more and more frequently and I became impatient to see “results”. And I was hurting Dear2 because there would be constant yelling (and the resultant crying) around the house.

I’m the problem.

I didn’t think that I had a stress management issue, but now I’m convinced that I do. I’m stressed out when things go out of my control. Like when the air con broke down. Like when Dear2 or the children fall sick. Like when my parents don’t practice my instructions to them. When I get stressed out, my coping mechanism was to get grumpy and to snap and yell at the people around me. And the children were at the receiving end of those far too often.

I’m guessing I had a lot more stress since I started my new job. I agree, it is a stressful job. I’m not going to blame the job. I just means that whatever coping mechanisms that I’ve been using so far to cope has failed miserably. I need to acknowledge that and I need new coping mechanisms.

I need a lifestyle change.

I still don’t have a very concrete idea of how to implement this change. But I know that the simplest guidelines work the best. I’m going to start with helping out more around the house. Working the body is a good way to de-stress. And I can also let Dear2 rest a bit more.

Also, I’ll practice the ABCD model for anger management. I have to become more self-aware of my emotions and belief so that I will have more control. I will practice identifying the Activating trigger, my Belief model, the Consequences of my actions, and final to Dispute the flawed belief/expectations.

More shall come into practice as I read up more on stress management and design a routine that is suitable for myself.

Last weekend, while Dear2 was doing up the photo album, I had a chance to look at many of our recent photos. I see so many happy moments of our family together. At that moment, my heart just broke and tears flowed down my cheeks. I quickly moved to the bedroom so nobody would see. I feel so heartbroken that I’ve been venting my stress on my family members.

I’m so sorry.

I’m also so thankful to be surrounded by my active and cheerful kids, and my supportive wife. I will make that lifestyle change. I’m determined to make it work. I have to appreciate Dear2 more. I have to appreciate the kids more. I have to enjoy my time with them more rather than correcting their behaviours. I have to draw a clear line between work and home.

-Dear1

Baby2 Hospital Bill 26 April, 2015

Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear1, Dollars & Cents.
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Dear2 and I are in the midst of spring cleaning our house. The purpose is to convert the current study room into a children’s bedroom, and thereby “chase” the children out of our master bedroom and “reclaim” the master bedroom for ourselves once again. Hehe…

In the process of spring cleaning, we came across old stacks of bill from TMC for both Baby1 and Baby2. It was then that I realized I had not documented Baby2’s hospital bill here. So here it is (following the same format).

Item description Baby1 (2010) Baby2 (2012)
Mummy hospital package $3175 (4 nights) $3115 (3 nights)
Companion package $240 (4 nights) $170 (3 nights)
Drugs, medicine, supplies, procedure, facilities $263.90 $931.92
FBI/SBI discount for 1 bedded -$100 -$100
GST for hospital $250.52 $288.18
Gynae fees $2461 $3424
Anesthetist fees $450 $600
FBI/SBI discount for professional fees -$100 -$100
Medisave deduction -$4400 -$5500
Cash payable (mummy) $2240.42 $2829.10
Baby package $388 $388
Drugs, medicine, supplies, facilities, etc $593.90 $976.35
FBI discount for hospital -$28.16 -$48.82
GST for hospital $66.77 $92.08
Baby doctor fees $406.40 $395.90
FBI discount for professional fees -$40.64 -$39.59
Medisave deduction -$1181.13 -$1350
Cash payable (baby) $205.14 $413.92
Total cash payable $2445.55 $3243

Some observations:

  1. The 3 nights package for Baby2 was just as expensive as the 4 nights package for Baby1.
  2. The hospital facilities, etc fees was much more expensive for Baby2. This could be because Baby2 was born in the wee hours of the morning while Baby1 was born in the middle afternoon.
  3. Our gynae is $1000 more expensive than before.
  4. Anesthetist fee also went up, but I can’t confirm if it is the same person.
  5. Baby package remained the same, but the facilities, etc fees were up just as with mummy’s cost.
  6. Baby doctor is slightly cheaper. The 2 baby doctors were different and I guess Baby2’s doctor was slightly less experienced.
  7. Despite medisave deduction was increased by $1100, we ended up payable roughly $800 more in cash.

What a big difference! And this was without factoring in ante-natal costs (which was increased as well). There were of course other savings, such as the many baby equipment that we could reuse and therefore did not need to buy.

At the end of the day, nothing is more important than a healthy baby and a healthy family. :)

-Dear1

Glad to be Home 28 March, 2015

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Slice of Life, Travel & Discovery.
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Dear1, Dear2, Baby1 and Baby2 are back from a 11 day Fly-Cruise holiday to Shanghai.  The 8-day cruise departing from Singapore brought us to Vietnam (Vung Tau), Hong Kong, Xiamen, and finally arrived at Shanghai where we stayed for a further 3 days before flying back to Singapore.  Though another eye-opening trip for us (especially for the kids, we tell them “When we travel, we learn things that cannot be taught in schools.”), boy, was I glad to be home when we came back.  Home to Singapore, our home.

Vung Tau was a very quiet town on a weekday.  We went to the Ho May Theme Park.  Though big and with lots of interesting sights, animals and rides, it was way too dusty for my liking.  And the attendants, oh the attendants.  There’s one attendant at every ride, but they’re sooooo glued to their handphones to notice any patrons.  And when we finally managed to catch their attention, the attitude was just nonchalant.  And the shops, oh the shops.  Very big and spacious with lots of items on the shelves.  But customers?  Hardly any.  And if you think being the only customer in an empty shop will excite the sales attendants ($$$!!!), you’ll be surprised that none even batted an eyelid.  Seems to me that people here are merely passing time all day long….

Hong Kong was as usual, busy and bustling.  A little too cold for my liking, and way too crowded for our comfort.  Not surprisingly, traffic was congested on an off-peak morning.  We reserved a table at the One-Michelin star restaurant Lei Garden, and as expected, had to enjoy the dim sum with the clock ticking down to the time given to us to clear the table.

At Xiamen, we decided to take a ferry from the same Cruise Terminal to this little island, Gulangyu.  But the queues to purchase the tickets were horribly full of people!  What’s with Gulangyu or this Cruise Terminal, that’s way too many people!  (Now I finally understood what it means to be 1 billion…)  At Gulangyu, we concluded that it’s another Sentosa.  Full of tourists, tourists who were just walking up and down and up and down the beaches’ shorelines.  Baby1 and I had our first China-toilet experience here, and it was definitely unforgettable.  I had expected dirty toilets, but the very first one that we picked greeted us with a big explosive mass of extremely smelly poo, unflushed.  I never want to mention this horrible experience to anyone again, and I hope Baby1’s memories of China is not marred by this frightful sight and smell.

In Shanghai, I was constantly on my toes.  There’s so many people, adults actually (we didn’t see many kids throughout here), and people are cutting queues at most queues.  I was fearful for the safety of my kids.  On the roads (or even pavements), pedestrians liked to stand any where, and there were constantly many sounds of horns.  But no one even cared about the horns!  For food, we tried a variety of the local meat paus and dumplings, and by the second day, I was very suspicious of these relatively cheap, strongly flavoured meats (think, human meat char siew pau…).

On the flight back, I read from the Straits Times that it was Crimea’s 1 year anniversary joining Russia and separation from Ukraine.  The photo shows a child holding the country’s flag.  To think that in this time and world, there are still people fighting for better living.  And look at our neighbouring countries, haiz…..

I am so glad to be home, home to this clean, fresh air, stable, nice weather, safe, mostly civilised and educated people country.  Though it’s back to the routine, but, ah, I am really glad to be back.

– Dear2

2015 New Year Resolutions 8 February, 2015

Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear2, Dollars & Cents, Food & Beverages, For Him For Her, Learning Training, Slice of Life, Sports & Health, Travel & Discovery.
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We had a bad end/ rough start to 2014/ 2015, so only managed to review and plan out our 2015 new year resolutions recently.  Who cares, there’s still 11 more months in 2015.

As usual, we reviewed our 2014 resolutions first, before coming out new ones.  Though Dear1 and Dear2 did occasionally bring out the 2014 resolutions to remind ourselves, we failed quite miserably in meeting them at the end of the year.  Nonetheless, they did serve as good reminders for us throughout the year.  :)

As of any NYR, the 2015 new year resolutions should be SMART.  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and with a Time.  Here goes:

For Dear2:

– Beauty (take good care of oneself first before you are able to take care of your loved ones): Do daily skin moisturizing and monthly face masks + exfoliation

– Waist: Attain 28″ by year end

– Exercise: Do daily planks (minimum 2x 1min)

– Self Improvement: Try cooking new dish every month

– Cook: Master (盆菜 or other dish) for next CNY by next CNY

– Speak slowly, Listen carefully, Smile more

– Post: Write at least 1 post per month

– Drive: Do 1 morning routine by end of year

For Dear1:

– Weight: Reach 68kg by year end

– Exercise: Do daily planks (minimum 2x 1.5min)

– Self Improvement: Learn 2 programming languages (Python and Julia)

– Temper: Be more tolerant with Baby1 and Baby2

– Post: Write at least 1 post per month

For us:

– Family Activities: Out-of-house/ malls activities once a month

– Couple Activities: Just for Dear1 and Dear2 activity/ new experiences bi-monthly or join 1 (dance) class

– Hugs & Kiss: Hug and kiss Dear1, Dear2, Baby1 and Baby2 everyday

– Travel: 1 long and 1 short trip for this year

– Finance: Save more money in this year

– House: Continue to view house

– Friends and Relatives: Have quarterly gatherings with friends/ relatives

– Nutrition: Eat at least 1 fruit every week

– Family Events: Participate in 1 (cycling) event

– Couple Time: Have just Dear1 and Dear2 time every week

A lot of times, when one reviews the new year resolutions at the end of the year, one will be dismayed that the goals might has changed course along the way.  Time does not stand still, and things are constantly evolving.  So take heart if the circumstances do not go as you’ve wished, for these new year resolutions still serve as a reminder to what your goals were one year back.

Happy New Year!

– Dear2

PS: Last year, we had a couple of monthly goals, but 1 year 12 times was quite hard to achieve given our busy schedules.  So we changed some of these to lower frequency.  Nonetheless, these still require conscious tracking, hence we decided to draw up a list and have them displayed on the kitchen fridge!  :)

100% Authentic 6 January, 2015

Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear2, Slice of Life.
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Dear2 recently came across this battle between Xiaxue and Gushcloud, and suddenly realised that I have been so living behind times!  People are getting famous and earning bucks out of writing blogs, but why has our this blog been so quiet!?!?

Gosh, there are soooooo many newfound ‘celebrities’ now, no bother that you don’t see these celebrities on TV or movies or radios or ads (hmm actually some of them do get to become some form of celebrity afterwards, not only the exposure (read, exposed), but the endorsement money too $$$).  Nowadays, you don’t need to join the Star Search or Project Superstar or Miss Singapore to become known, you just need to write enough juicy blogs and post enough juicer photos and voila, this has become a form of means to stardom too.

But then again, the private lives of these celebrities become part of the excitement too.  Or if you have a super duper cute baby, he unknowingly becomes the attention of xx numbers of fans worldwide, unknowingly.  I wonder what will his thoughts be when one day, he realised what his mum has been doing to his private life all his life, posting every little bit of his growing years to everyone except himself.  The New Trumen Show??

Anyway, as you can tell, Dear1 Dear2 are very primitive/conservative in this aspect.  So we have no endorsement or sponsorship, so you know that we are all natural.  No Gushcloud or Nuffnang, so if we say, yes we like a product or no please steer clear of this, this really comes from us, and us truly.

Truly.

– Dear2

Baby1 and Baby2 Birthdays Height 15 December, 2014

Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear2.
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We have a column of wall in our house where we indicate the kids’ height on their birthdays.  This wall is probably the only wall in the house where we allow any writings on  :p

Dear1 and I started to mark out Baby1’s height when she was 1 year old.  We made her stand against the wall (when the kids were 1 yo, it was harder to make them stand straight, or stand flat against the wall; we even had to support them a bit back then).

When Baby1 was 2 years old, same thing, on her birthday, stand against the same wall, and mark out her height using a pencil.  And we did the same for on all the birthdays for both kids.

During Baby2’s recent 2 years old birthday, we forgot about it, and I only remembered about 1 week later.  Opps!! So I made a slight adjustment in marking out her height.

So here goes, the kids’s heights so far on their birthdays:

Baby1

Newborn – 48 cm

1 yo – 73 cm

2 yo – 86 cm

3 yo – 95 cm

4 yo – 103 cm

Baby2

Newborn – 47 cm

1 yo – 74 cm

2 yo – 87 cm

People always say Baby1 is tall for her age; it seems that Baby2 might be taller than Jie Jie, who knows?

– Dear2

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