Wanderlust May 2016

Last week, the husband and I returned from a short getaway, just the two of us. We went to cities we’d never been to before, and it was really a breath of fresh air. When we returned, in some ways I felt like I was raring to go, but after landing at 330 or 4am, and settling into bed at 5am, I had to spring out of bed at 7am and send the kids off to school. I felt was the least I could do after not seeing them for a few day right?

Of course, this old chick is not what she used to be, and with the kids refusing to nap that afternoon, I think it took me almost a week to get my body clock back in sync and a few days to get back into the groove of things. I came back to kids who were flu-ish. I was (and notice how I said I!!) completely unprepared for the maths test that was the following day, but thankfully child #1 has been able to grasp the concepts fairly well (he certainly didn’t get those genes from me!), so he didn’t do too poorly. Then I completely forgot about a medical appointment for child #2. And when teachers posted a reminder to parents of an upcoming field trip for child #3 I had a moment of panic that I had completely missed the date or something!

On top of that I have also been busy planning holidays for the rest of the year. One of them also involves 9 other family members, so the planning has not been quite a headache. But it’s certainly a blessing to be able to do so since it means we have the means to travel, and everyone is still healthy enough (referring to the seniors) to go.

Although I would love it if the kids and husband had a year off to travel the world, in reality the work and school work would be hard to manage. I’m definitely thankful we are still able to travel occasionally, and that the husband is able to manage his time (better than most office jobs) to be away from work. I am definitely not turning into a travel blogger, but stay tuned to read more about our holiday adventures!

Melbourne’s Yarra Valley 2016

Healesville

We decided to spend 4 nights in Yarra Valley after 2 nights in the Melbourne CBD (click to read about our short adventures there). I marked (on Google maps) all the places that I was interested in, and then scouted around for places to stay. We found High Street House in a “little” place called Healesville.

We instantly loved High Street House. It was very clean, had 3 bedrooms, and an extra folding bed and a foldable cot and baby bedding. It had all the amenities you could ask for, including a washing machine and dryer. It also came with some laundry detergent and softener and some cooking oil and condiments, which I assume were left by previous occupants. There were also several children’s books including Julia Donaldson and Australian award winners. The kitchen is an open kitchen next to a large living area, where the kids would be playing or drawing while we were cooking. We liked the house a lot! I doubt we ourselves would ever be back to this area again since there are so many places to explore in Australia, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

All the tourist attractions in the area closes at 5pm, so we tried to make sure we were out of the house early, and since the sun set only at around 730pm, we still had time to go to Coles or to the playground before dinner. The house is just a few minutes away from a large Coles which is open until 11pm every day! Since there is not much for dinner options in the area, we cooked all our dinners except for the one night we went to Innocent Bystander, which is coming up in the next post.

On our first day, we went trout fishing at the Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm, which I had read about on Maddy’s blog. She detailed her Melbourne trip so well and even has a printable itinerary, so please head over for more info if you need!

Lucky for us it was a beautiful day, so the drive was gorgeous, and I also read on Maddy’s blog about the winding roads there, but I totally forgot to bring some travel sickness pills. I will definitely remember to bring them on all trips from now on!! My eldest is like me, quite prone to motion sickness, and he rode in the back row got sick halfway through the journey, but all was well after that.

We were in Yarra Valley just after a long weekend of a bank holiday, so probably only the smarter fish were left in the ponds, and we had a hard time getting a bite. After a while, they asked us to fish from the breeding ponds where anyone could get a bite within 10 seconds! Although it wasn’t “real” fishing, the boys have been asking to go fishing so this was the perfect opportunity to do so and a wonderful experience for them.

We brought our haul to have them cleaned up, and the guy at the farm even cut and served one sashimi style for us. We had the salmon for sashimi, whose flesh is white because all the pink colour has gone into its eggs! You learn something new every day. After that we proceeded down the road to the Buxton Hotel where for a small fee they will cook your fish for you. I think it was $25/head but included a drink (including wine or beer), and sides like chips and salads. It was great to eat our freshly caught fish!

One of the mornings, bright and early, we headed to the Healesville Sanctuary. I have heard quite a bit about Healesville Sanctuary, and we love visiting such zoos because there are so many interesting animals that you don’t get to see elsewhere. We thought the Sanctuary was similar to Perth’s Caversham Wildlife Park, but the latter being smaller.

This Sanctuary has a wonderful section of the Animal Hospital, devoted to teaching kids about veterinary, and the best was the pretend play area, which I had to drag the kids away from. I was also finally satisfied that we’d finally seen a platypus since the kids are familiar with Perry the Playtypus, who unlike real platypuses, is a secret agent and is turquoise.

After the sanctuary we headed to pick strawberries and raspberries at U-pick Blue Hills Berries and Cherries. There are actually quite a number of berry picking farms, and even one where you can have a 3 hour tractor experience! Here is a website and map (with a lovely design, I might add) that shows the different farms in the area. I wish we could have gone to the lavender farm, but we just didn’t have the time!

Yarra Valley u-pick

Despite the blazing heat on the day we were out there picking strawberries (I think I came away a shade darker, despite using sunblock!), the kids loved it and loved eating the strawberries along the way. Although the strawberries were a little warm, they were still very yummy. Upon payment, each adult and child gets a box to fill and you can take it all home. If you want to pick extra you just need to pay extra for that. We had 4 adults and 3 kids and we were eating strawberries EVERY DAY for a few days and still couldn’t finish them.

u-pick berries

Eventually we hand carried them home as in HOME HOME. We actually we thought we’d do a picnic on the way to the airport but it rained a lot that day and we ended up carrying it ALL the way, and I had to make jam the next day to prevent them from going bad. I usually make them by boiling it with a bit of water and nothing else and it tastes fine to me, but my husband put in a little sugar for himself.

After berry picking we headed south to Puffing Billy, which was great fun for all ages despite being super touristy. I bought the tickets online in the morning, just to make sure it was still available. You can buy tickets for the current day up to 8am, so just to be sure of the weather and our plans I only did it at 7:55am😀.

We decided to make a round trip from Belgrave to Lakeside, and made sure we arrived early enough not to miss the train, because you know, how it is like having kids around! While waiting for the train to depart we were able to see them load up the coal into the train, while taking photos, and eating our late lunch of pies and stuff we bought from Beechworth Bakery.

Once the train pulled out of the station, we had fun hanging out legs outside of the train cabin and enjoying the views and the fresh air. We were seated in one of the carriages quite close to the front of the train as some of the rear carriages were reserved (maybe for tour groups?). Do be warned not to wear your bestest white tops on this trip because there will be coal bits spewing out of the engine and right into your face. Very tak glam! Thankfully it was our last stop for the day and not the first.

puffing billy thomas percy

One of the highlights along the way was spying Thomas and Percy! They have occasional Thomas weekends, so they were probably getting ready for that. We bought train tickets to Lakeside with a supposedly 45 minute wait at Lakeside for the return train. But when we got to Lakeside, one of the return trains had not departed, and it was already pretty late in the afternoon so we quickly hopped on and were soon on our way back.

On another day, we stopped by the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. These places are great stops for kids, and not much else. You have one glass window to view chocolate making, and there is free chocolate for grabs (some of which we put as toppings on our ice cream), but it is really all too sweet for my liking. Here at the Yarra Vallery version though, it is quite a large estate and they have lots of kids activities such as colouring sheets, and an outdoor play area, and also an orchard of fruits, which might go into their products.

Another place we quite enjoyed was Hedgend Maze. I wasn’t sure what to expect because we’d already been to a maze in Perth, but we enjoyed the maze here too. And they also had several other activities, such as mini golf, brain teasers, a dinosaur dig and a chicken coop where you can feed the chickens. There is also laser tag on the weekends.

The dinosaur dig was impressively put together. Each child had their own bucket (so they wouldn’t fight, I guess??), and they spent a good amount of time “digging”. More like playing with sand.

On our last day, we visited a cellar door in the morning, and drove to the airport for our 7pm flight. The entire trip we had not visited one farm at all, so I was quite insistent that we stop by Collingwood Children’s Farm. It wasn’t a good decision on my part because it was raining the whole day and continued to drizzle while we were there. The animals and all of us were feeling quite miserable so we really didn’t enjoy ourselves there.

What was worse was the traffic from the farm to the airport after 4pm on a Friday! I really should have seen that coming. Although we had a rainy end to the holiday, we had many good days of wonderful weather, and we can’t wait to go back and explore other areas of Melbourne. Coming up is my next post on vineyards. I’ll start writing that right after I reward myself with a glass of wine😀

Melbourne 2016

I am finally getting down to writing about our March school holidays adventure. We flew into Melbourne on a calm, sunny morning after a tiring red eye flight. Perhaps it was because it was Saturday, or that we’d just come on an A380 (more people and bags on a flight?), but the luggage took us a very long time, and so did the rental car. Eventually we were soon packed up and ready to go. (Btw we rented a car from Hertz and it wasn’t even washed properly. Right.)

IMG_0759

At the airport we wanted to buy the Vodafone wireless router which we bought in Perth last year (SO much better than renting an expensive Changi Recommends one), but they don’t have a Vodafone counter there (what?!) and the Optus queue was really quite long. In the end, I couldn’t decide on what we wanted, and we ended up getting a SIM card from one of the shops downtown. Here is the price reference because the first shop  didn’t have stock of this cheapest card, and the second shop ti-gong (pretended not to know anything) until we specifically asked them for the card and said we saw it in another Vodafone shop.

IMG_0757

Citadines on Bourke Melbourne

Our first stop was the Citadines on Bourke Street. We had a 2 bedroom apartment for the 7 of us – 4 adults and 3 kids. It was a slight squeeze, and the 5 of us slept in one room (we moved that extra bed you see above, into the bedroom), but that’s usually how the kids like it anyway. I love that the apartment had a washing machine because, you know, kids. The smaller apartments do not have a washing machine, but there are shared machines on the premises. There is also parking in the building for $30 a night, which is reasonable considering a taxi from the airport to the CBD can cost you around AUD$60.

Citadines on Bourke Melbourne

Master room

Around the hotel, we tried a variety of things, including Pho at Pho Dzung City Noodle Shop (a must for me in Australia) and Spaghetti Tree, a cosy place which is large and bustling eatery, great for a noisy brood of kids. The first two mornings we made our own breakfast, but Melbourne is well known for its vibrant cafe scene, so I insisted we had to go to at least ONE cafe. We ended up at Brother Baba Budan for a take away cuppa, while waiting for our table at Manchester Press Cafe, where the bagels were stunning. I was satisfied:)

 

Union Lane Melbourne

Stopping by Union Lane to see the street art

 

We loved taking the free city trams, and it was so convenient to get around! One of the days after breakfast we headed to Queen Victoria Market (via tram) and bought some fruits for ourselves. It was a weekend and they were having a Turkish cultural festival going on, so we had some lovely kebabs, which I could not get enough of in Dubai last year; followed by fresh oysters from the seafood department. I do not eat oysters or any shell fish like mussels, clams etc (with a few exceptions of clams), but the oysters here were so fresh I actually managed to stomach them. The deli section was also a favourite, with some amazing coffee from Market Lane Coffee. We are all cheese lovers, so we bought some cheese here.

 

We then decided to drive to the South Melbourne Market where there were more oysters and cheese, cheaper than QVM too, and we had tapas and paella at Simply Spanish along the periphery of the market. I liked South Melbourne Market a lot more than QVM as it is less touristy.

South melbourne Market tapas

Tapas

After having our fill, we decided to head to Philip Island to catch the Little Penguins returning from their day at sea. Melbourne is interesting in that the sun sets pretty late, so the penguins only started coming at around 745pm. Initially we were quite undecided whether to drive all the way to see the penguins but we figured this would be the only place we’d ever see wild penguins unless we headed to South Africa, South America or Antarctica, so yeah, suddenly Philip Island didn’t seem like such a long drive away! We didn’t have time to linger at the discovery centre (which would have been interesting!) because we arrived just in time to be seated and by the time we left it was really quite late. It was amazing to see all the penguins up close, and certainly an experience of a lifetime for animal loving peeps like ourselves. On the drive home we stopped by a large McDs with a lovely playround, but like the other McDs we’ve been to in Australia, they are all pretty…poorly maintained. There wasn’t a single table without some rubbish on the table, seat, or floor. Ugh. Maybe take out would have been a better option.

The next day we headed to the Birrarung Marr Playground which was super packed as they had some events going on, so we didn’t stay long. After that we headed to our next stop for 4 nights, which was in Yarra Valley, which I will write about in my next post.

 

P.s. We flew Emirates to Melbourne because they were having an offer for their new route with the Airbus A380s, and perhaps because I was feeling a little like I needed some torture. The flight to Melbourne was uneventful enough, if you don’t take into account the steward who was super kiam-kana (stingy) with the passenger arrival cards, and then crew who don’t look the least bit happy to be doing their job. The return flight had a slightly more friendly crew, but Scout and I had seats that were so stiff we couldn’t even recline them. Aren’t these planes supposed to be new? And about their entertainment system – sure the screen looks new, and it does look like they have SO many movies, but once you discount the different categories – Arabic movies, Classic Arabic, Bollywood Arabia, Classic Bollywood Movies, Indian Regional Movies, Pakistani Movies, South American Movies and African Movies, there really aren’t ALL that many movies left…. I am not going anywhere that SQ isn’t flying to for a while, TYVM.

 

Driving in Singapore – judging a book by its cover.

In my last post, I wrote a “review” on the latest 7-seater BMW 216d Gran Tourer MPV, which we drove around for a week. It was such a great experience for us on so many levels. Firstly, I had not realized how much joy a piece of metal with nuts and bolts could bring (if you don’t understand, please read my last post on how much I liked the car). 

Secondly, as also mentioned in my post, it was an interesting discourse for me on driving in Singapore, a social experiment of sorts. Right from the get go, I felt that I was being bullied on the road; other drivers were less willing to let me into their lanes even when there was construction ahead and I readily used my indicators, or other similar situations. And it happened all day! 

To some extent the car is rather nondescript, as are many other MPVs. It isn’t a large commanding car, it was white, and I guess it wasn’t particularly outstanding and just had a friendly demeanor overall. Perhaps I am just more used to driving a more striking colour.

At any rate, it was interesting to think about how drivers perceive each other based on the car’s exterior. I will be the first to admit, I often roll my eyes when you see those Ah Beng cars. And I often steer clear of weekend cars, just because my experience seems to suggest that they passed an inferior kind of driving test that did not require them to display good driving habits. 

When I mentioned my observations to some friends, they agreed that they too felt that when they were driving larger cars, other drivers tended to give way more readily.
“Never judge a book by its cover” goes the old adage. Are we so ingrained that a bigger car means more money therefore smaller cars should be bullied and larger cars given right of way? Has the COE created a culture that puts too high a social and monetary value on cars? Or that we really feel a sense of entitlement, a sort of I pay taxes therefore I am? Are cars in other countries perhaps viewers mostly as just means of transportation? Thus putting less significance on the “type” of car you drive, and thus drivers are feel less entitlement on the road and display more graciousness for the collective good?

Is that what is wrong with Singaporean drivers and the state of driving in Singapore today, that everyone is too busy judging and feeling that we are entitled depending on how large our vehicles are, that we have forgotten how to be gracious and considerate?

All of us on the roads are just trying to get from Point A to Point B. Perhaps the next time someone asks why Singaporean drivers are not as gracious as those in other countries, I will first ask if they have been gracious and whether if they have been judging anyone recently😉

BMW 216d Gran Tourer – where have you been all my life?

BMW 216d GT

Shell sponsored our rest stops, probably to market their new diesel pumps. They were awesome!

Over the long Easter weekend, we joined a road trip organized by Performance Motors Limited to Kuala Lumpur. PML provided families with their new and first seven seater, the BMW 216d Gran Tourer to drive (unless you owned your own 2series), and led the convoys up. We love driving but we have been a little too chicken to go to Malaysia by our little selves, so we quickly signed up. Before you read on, do note that we signed up and paid for everything on our own, nothing was sponsored, and this post is not sponsored either.

The BMW 216d Gran Tourer admittedly isn’t the hottest girl on the block. I’ve seen a few on the road and always wondered who would spend the money to buy these cars which look like…. they have a little bit of an identity crisis?

Almost looks like a 3 series here?

Almost looks like a 3 series here?

But she would soon prove me wrong. Once we got settled into the car and started going, boy! She is like the girl who hasn’t got model looks, but looks decent enough, and has got so much character she is the life of the party that everyone wants to be friends with. She is Miss Congeniality!

Here’s a little something about me – I love to drive and I think it is one of life’s simple pleasures, especially when there are no kids around because we all know how that can get pretty stressful sometimes. Ok even with kids, I love driving. Since our eldest was born, I have been often been driving the kids around myself, even as screaming babies. I can even make a bottle of formula milk at traffic lights (although it just involves pouring a pre-measured amount of water into a bottle with formula powder ready)! I have loved our last two cars, and we speak so affectionately about them, we even personify them😀

As a family with 3 children, we were on the look out for an MPV for quite a while, but we could not settle on any because we just couldn’t find any one that felt the least bit inspiring. I almost fell asleep testing the Citroen Picasso (no offense to anyone driving the Picasso), and when we tried the Honda Odyssey (which is actually in a more luxury category than this baby), I literally asked “Why is it so slow?”. I was not trying to be rude, but I thought I was in the wrong gear or something. Before you think me a car snob, I could have been easily satisfied with any car as opposed to no car, but in the end we stuck to a saloon even though it doesn’t have the 7 seats we could use in an MPV.

BTW this car belongs to PML, so if you do recognise the car on the road, please do not wave thinking that it's me :D

BTW this car belongs to PML, so if you do recognise the car on the road, please do not wave thinking that it’s me😀

I’m not good with technical engineering details, and you can find out the complete list of features online or in the showroom (be warned, there are plenty of features!), but what I will tell you how much we loved her. For the one week that we had her, the 216d was my mummy van, my inspiration and my partner. Whenever I was with her, she put a smile on my face. One day, as I was approaching her in the multi-storey car park, I had a moment of panic when I couldn’t find her! Did someone steal her overnight?! Was I on the right floor?! Eventually I found her hiding behind a (much) larger 5-series. Gosh, how she even teased me!

I loved that it could fit three kids abreast in their respective car seats in the middle row, and they loved sitting together in their good moments (i.e. not fighting lah). Or taking turns to sit in the front. Or in the third row.

This is the official BMW photo of 3 car seats in the second row. Source.

This is the official BMW photo of 3 car seats in the second row. Source.

I loved the auto tailgate – which means the boot can open and close at the touch of a button (the Odyssey does not even offer this as an option, hello?!) and you can even open it with a swipe of your foot below the tailgate. I loved zipping around – she is light but fast, and almost the same size as a 3 series, which makes it a good size for city driving. She is also fuel efficient – we made it all the way to Kuala Lumpur and back on one tank and still had enough diesel to run around the city for another few days. I also loved how she had so many of the new bells and whistles that BMW technology offers. Park assist, lane departure warning, seats that fold automatically, heads up display… There is even an SOS button which you can press to call in case of emergencies, or in the case of a crash it could even activate itself (and the same SIM card also receives traffic information for your GPS).

And just how intuitive is it? This:

 

Why, don't mind if I do. Could you find me a babysitter, perhaps?

Why, don’t mind if I do. Could you find me a babysitter, perhaps?


Most of all, of course, I loved the drive. Apparently the Diesel and twin turbo engines give the car a lot of torque. Is that last sentence even grammatically correct? What I do know, is that the drive was simply amazing beyond my capacity to describe. Having driven a few models over the years from the 3 and 5 series ranges, I can say with certainty that I like the drive of the 216d so much better than the entry 3 and 5 models, partly due to heavier chassis on the latter cars and less torquey engines.

What I didn’t like? I did find that due to her very unassuming looks, when I was on the roads I felt like I was getting bullied all the time. That no one wanted to give way to me despite my considerate driving and religious use of my indicators. I think this car might need to be in bright blue. Or red, to be more noticed. But! No matter, I let the other drivers judge and be ungracious all they want, because once I was in the clear and had the chance floor it, the other cars were left way behind eating my dust. Ah, retribution and a fast car sure are sweet.

The 216d is a true driver’s MPV. Our last few cars have been the “sporty” type, and even then I loved this. Even drivers who drive everything from M-series cars to X5s were also suitably impressed by the 216d for a car in this category. Buy this if you love to drive and want a practical, reliable, feature-packed, fuel efficient fun MPV. In my mind this has got to be the top of the range MPV in its category.

My husband declared that he would miss the car when we had to return it. As for me, I already know what colour I would like! However, we already have one car and we walk to school and work, so we don’t need another. But if we did, it’s clear what my choice would be. Oh my darling 216d, where were you when we needed a MPV?

 

 

Disclaimer: Actually this post doesn’t even need a disclaimer because nothing was sponsored. We paid for the weekend trip ourselves and received nothing in compensation for this post!

Kuala Lumpur & Petrosians, The Discovery Centre

Over the long weekend, we joined a convoy of cars on a short escapade to Kuala Lumpur. We left on the early morning of Good Friday, along with a good 2-hour’s worth of queue of cars. Horrors!

Eventually we arrived into KL shortly after noon and checked into the MiCasa All Suite hotel, just in time for lunch. MiCasa isn’t the Westin, but it is a very comfortable place to stay. We had a large 2 bedroom apartment which included a king sized bed and 2 super singles, 2 bathrooms and a kitchenette. That night, after the kids had their dinner at the lobby’s Tapas restaurant, they played together in one of the 2 bedroom apartments while the adults were able to have a really good dinner at Cilantro restaurant. And since this highly-acclaimed restaurant was steps away from our rooms,  we were still able to check on the kids periodically and have our dinner in peace! There were 7 kids in total from 3 to 9 years old, but there was also an adult watching them while the rest of us were at dinner. If not, babysitters can be hired for MYR20 an hour.


The next day after a leisurely breakfast, we wanted to do something in the vincinity, and being right in Suria KLCC, we decided to visit the Petrosains Discovery Centre. Also it was convenient that the hotel provides a shuttle to KLCC and several other drop off points.

micasa all suites

I have not heard much about the Petrosians Discovery Centre, and my friends and I found it off a blog post. We thought it was like a petrol museum, because of the association with Petronas, which turned out to be partially true.

The Petrosains Discovery Centre costs RM30.00 per adult and RM18.00 per child for non-residents of Malaysia, and you know what? It is worth every single penny. Everyone from young to old had fun, and even after spending almost 3 hours there, we still had to drag the kids away. It is a science center of sorts, and the three different families who visited the centre all thought that it was much better than our own Singapore Science Centre, which has seen better days.

We first entered to an area of various hands on activities. Within 5 minutes a science show started, and the kids all found it very interesting to learn about sound. After the “show”, they spent a lot of time playing with this digger. As you might know, a digger site has just opened in Singapore, and here at the Petrosains Discovery Centre it is FREE (or rather included in the entry) and there is NO time limit. I think we might have made back our entrance fee just at this area!

 

After the whole section of brain teasers is an oil rig setup. The boys have been asking me how petrol is made, so it was quite timely to be able to feel like you’re on an actual oil rig, with drills, and mock ups of staff quarters for sleeping, kitchen and medical. My husband even got to try going down an emergency chute that they use on rigs. There are also a few interactive stations and games that help aid learning.

 

There was also a section on speed and of course featuring some Petronas F1 exhibits, including a F1 simulator for the Sepang circuit, which my husband said he could spend all day at.

Petrosians Discovery Centre

Spotted throughout the centre are various stations manned by volunteers where you can try your hands on some science experiments. The volunteers are quite well trained and ask very good leading questions to aid the learning. There are also rooms for arts and craft, like making 3D pop up cards, LED greeting cards and playdough.

The exterior of the Petrosains Discovery Centre looks so unassuming but it is quite large inside. Just when you think you’ve reached the end of the Centre, you turn another corner, and there’s another section! We even managed to catch a 3D movie on dinosaurs, which the others thought was worth the entrance fee, although personally I didn’t like the animation style so much (but that’s just me!).

We spent so much time at the Discovery Centre we didn’t even have time for the Aquairum or playground at KLCC.

I would definitely recommend a visit here as it has some local relevance and is great for all ages. And I’m sure the kids wouldn’t mind going back again! It is extremely pram friendly and there are plenty of toilets and water points along the way.

Petrosains, The Discovery Centre
PETRONAS Twin Towers
Level 4, Suria KLCC,
50088 Kuala Lumpur.

 

After 10 years of marriage… 

We crossed a milestone recently – our 10th year of being married. To each other. 

After 10 years and 3 kids, we don’t bother much with the romance, so this is what we had for our anniversary dinner, during which we hardly even talked because we were too busy watching our own movies! 

 

Ok, at least it was on the way back from a lovely week in Melbourne with the kids (and the ILs)! 

Through the years, we’ve had our fair share of joys and tribulations, and while it is true that children put a lot of stress on a relationship, in our case they are also what bind us more closely to each other. I find it difficult to remain in annoyance when I have to be around these three monkeys, each of whom are imperfectly perfect in their own way, and it constantly amazes at how together as a couple we managed to create these little lives. I hate that I can go from feeling pissed off, to dying from cuteness overload. Darn.

Years ago, in the movie Keeping The Faith (2000), Edward Norton played a priest who received some good advice from another priest:

If you are a priest or if you marry a woman it’s the same challenge. You cannot make a real commitment unless you accept that it’s a choice that you keep making again and again and again.

Raising kids is stressful business, and there are many times when we aren’t feeling the love where we are right now. But marriage, like parenting, is a choice and it should be a choice that we make each day to ourselves and our loved ones. 

And although I count my lucky stars that I have someone and some things (specifically Thing 1, 2 and 3), who make it easy to make these choices, without whom life would be incomplete, I think at this juncture it wouldn’t be too much if I gave myself just a little pat on the back, eh?😀