## Saturday 30 November 2013

### Montessori Activity: Constructive Triangles - Small Hexagonal Box

Age: From 4 years old

Objective(s):

1. To show the child how different triangles can create 4-sided shapes.

2. To prepare the child for geometry.

Materials:

1. The Montessori Large Hexagonal Box
2. 1 mat

Directions:

1. Show where the large hexagonal (六边形) box is kept and bring it to the mat.

2. Place the triangles randomly on the mat.

3. Show the yellow equilateral (等边三角形) triangle.

4. Take the 6 yellow triangles create a hexagon by matching the black lines.

5. Take the 3 green triangles and create a trapezoid (梯形) by matching the black lines.

6. Take the 2 red triangles and create a rhombus (菱形) by matching the black lines.

7. Take the 3 large red triangles and form an equilateral triangle.

8. Take another 3 large red triangles and form an equilateral triangle.

9. Remove 3 of the large red triangles and form a hexagon with the first red equilateral triangle.

10. Remove 2 of the gray triangles to form a rhombus.

11. Name the shapes created one by one.

12. Encourage your child to try.

Video Demonstration:

https://youtu.be/MEEDIBiUs6g

https://youtu.be/_Fg1gkSOG9U
Language:

As you go along, say the name of the shapes formed.

References:

Basic Montessori Learning Activities for Under-Fives by David Gettman

You can find the Montessori rectangular box from amazon:

### Montessori Acitivity: Constructive Triangles - Large Hexagonal Box

Age: From 4 years old

Objective(s):

1. To show the child how different triangles can create 4-sided shapes.

2. To prepare the child for geometry.

Materials:

1. The Montessori Large Hexagonal Box
2. 1 mat

Directions:

1. Show where the large hexagonal (六边形) box is kept and bring it to the mat.

2. Place the triangles randomly on the mat.

3. Take the 2 red triangles and create a rhombus (菱形 língxíng) by matching the black lines.

4. Take the 2 gray triangles and create a parallelogram (平行四边形) by matching the black lines.

5. Take the 4 yellow triangles create a hexagon as shown in the picture.

6. Fold each of the outside 3 yellow triangles inwards to form an equilateral (等边三角形) triangle.

7. Unfold the 3 yellow triangles back to the hexagonal shape.

8. Name the shapes created one by one.

9. Encourage your child to try.

Video Demonstration:

Language:

As you go along, say the name of the shapes formed.

References:

Basic Montessori Learning Activities for Under-Fives by David Gettman
http://faculty.fullerton.edu/syen/mts/sensor/14.htm
http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/visual-sense-constructive-triangles-large-hexagonal-box.htm

You can find the Montessori rectangular box from amazon:

### Montessori Activity: Constructive Triangles - Blue Rectangular Box

Age: From 4 years old

Objectives:
1. To construct all possible shapes by sliding and flipping only 2 triangles.

2. To prepare the child for geometry.

Materials:
1. The Montessori Blue Rectangular Box
2. 1 mat

Directions:
1. Show where the blue rectangular box is kept and bring it to the mat.
2. Take 2 triangles out and make a shape, saying "Let's make a shape using these 2 triangles."
3. Slide 1 triangle against the edges of the other and see the shapes formed.
4. Name the shapes created one by one.
5. Encourage your child to try.

Variations:
1. Flipping over one of the pairs to make new shapes.

Video Demonstration:

Language:
If the child shows interest, name the shape formed: square, rectangle, parallelogram, rhombus (4 equal lengths) and trapezoid.

J tried this for the first time on 8 Dec. 2013 (4Y9M3D). He refused to slide the triangles, preferrbly to make his own shapes and patterns with them. Arrgghhh... some days are like that!

References:
Basic Montessori Learning Activities for Under-Fives by David Gettman
http://faculty.fullerton.edu/syen/mts/sensor/16.htm
http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/visual-sense-constructive-triangles-blue-rectangular-box.htm
http://www.mathsisfun.com/definitions/rhombus.html
http://www.mathsisfun.com/definitions/trapezoid.html

You can find the Montessori rectangular box from amazon:

 8 Dec. 2013 (4Y9M3D) - J made a person with the triangle - head, upper body, lower body and two triangles as legs

 J refused to slide the triangles to make different shapes, preferring to play with it his own way

### Montessori Activity: Constructive Triangles - Rectangular Box

Age: From 4 years old

Objectives:

1. To show different triangles can be used to make different shapes.

2. To prepare the child for geometry.

Materials:

1. The Montessori Rectangular Box
2. 1 mat

Directions:

1. Show where the rectangular box is kept and bring it to the mat.

2. Take all triangles out and spread them out randomly on the mat.

3. Show the child the gray triangle, let him feel it and say, "this is equilateral triangle.

4. Tell the child that "I am going to build different shapes with the triangle."

5. Take out 1 green triangle put it in front of you.

6. Take out the other green triangle and slide it into the previous one by matching the black line together to form a square.

7. Match the two yellow equilateral triangles by the black lines to form a rhombus (i.e. a quadrilateral all of whose sides have the same length) (菱形).

8. Match the two gray isosceles triangles (i.e. 2 equal sides triangles) (等腰三角形) by the black lines to form a rectangle.

9. Match the two yellow scalene right-angle triangles (i.e. triangle with no 2 sides of equal length) (不等边三角形) by the black line to form a parallelogram (平行四边形).

10. Repeat for all the remaining pairs of triangles to form different shapes e.g. the different parallelograms and a trapezoid (梯形) etc.

11. Mix all the triangles up again and encourage the child do it.

12. Show the child how to place the triangles back into the box in the correct order: red triangles, yellow triangles, green triangles and the gray triangle.

Video Demonstration:

Control of Error:

The black lines

Language:

If the child shows interest, name the shape formed: square, rectangle, parallelogram, rhombus and trapezoid.

References:

Basic Montessori Learning Activities for Under-Fives by David Gettman
http://faculty.fullerton.edu/syen/mts/sensor/13.htm
http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/visual-sense-constructive-triangles-rectangular-triangles.htm

You can find the Montessori rectangular box from amazon:

### Montessori Activity: Constructive Triangles - Triangle Box

Age: From 4 years old

Objectives:
1. To show the child that the different triangles all make up an equilateral triangle (i.e. a triangle with 3 equal sides.)

2. To prepare the child for geometry.

Materials:
1. The Montessori Triangular Box
2. 1 mat

Directions:
1. Show where the triangular box is kept and bring it to the mat.
2. Take all triangles out and spread them out randomly on the mat.
3. Show the child the gray triangle, let him feel it and say, "this is equilateral triangle i.e. a triangle with 3 equal sides (等边三角形)."
4. Tell the child that "I am going to build the triangle like this gray one."
5. Take out 1 green triangle put it in front of you.
6. Take out the other green triangle and slide it into the previous one by matching the black line together.
7. Match the 2 yellow isosceles triangles (等腰三角形) (i.e. 2 equal sides triangles) by the black lines.
8. Match the 4 red small equilateral triangles by the black lines.
9. Mix all the triangles up again and encourage the child do it.
10. Show the child how to place the triangles back into the box in the correct order: red triangles, yellow triangles, green triangles and the gray triangle.

Video Demonstration:

Control of Error:

If the newly-constructed figures are not constructed with matching black lines and if they do not match the gray triangle.

Language:
Talk about equilateral triangle and isosceles triangle.

References:
Basic Montessori Learning Activities for Under-Fives by David Gettman
http://faculty.fullerton.edu/syen/mts/sensor/12.htm
http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/visual-sense-constructive-triangles-triangular-box.htm
http://www.mathsisfun.com/triangle.html

You can find the Montessori triangle box from amazon:

 28 Nov. 2013 - 4Y8M25D

## Thursday 28 November 2013

### J Summary (4.5Y) - Memories from Saturday Chinese Class

Here are more pictures:

### The Chinese ABC Phonics Song (Hanyu Pinyin)

Below is the Chinese ABC Phonics Song (Hanyu Pinyin) Song we learned from J's Chinese class on 28 Nov. 2013.  This video is not professionally taken, but I recorded it to remember the tune. It is not quite a nice sounding sound (in my opinion), but it does the job to make it easier for kids to memorize the Chinese phonics:

a b c d e f g

h i j k l m n

o p q     r s t

u ü w   x y z

### How to Organize Your Child's Montessori Classroom?

Designing Your Child's Work & Play Area...

with focus on Functionality, Ease of Management & Simplicity (The FEMS Concept)

As J grows from a baby to a toddler to a boy... soon to start school in a year, his need for a learning environment designed to suit his stage of development increased. I have been putting this off, when I was working full-time. Now that I have the chance to go part-time, I wasted no time in getting J's learning and playing environment organized. In this post, I will share my experience of how our family design our child's work & play area, maximizing on our strengths and working within our limitations.

Montessori Classroom - Language & Sensorial Area

Due to the constraint of separate space, J's bedroom is divided into sleeping area and Montessori Classroom area.

Here is the Montessori classroom area.

Here is a close up of the J's book shelves with each compartment organized as follows: Christian education, Chinese books, English books, Danish books, jigsaw puzzles, educational board games, Workbooks and Encyclopedia.

Here is a close-up of the Sensorial shelf with work trays for displaying sensorial materials for the first 6 compartments and the last 2 reserved for freeplay work trays.

Here is a close up of the language shelf with each compartment organized as follows:

A theme letter compartment, Letter magnets, Letter salt trays, Lego letters and shapes bricks, a compartment with door for the storage of finished work and a compartment for storing the language materials.

It is our plan that each time J has finished a work, he will deposit it into the storage compartment. At the end of the week, he will choose which of the better ones he would want to keep and discard the rest.

Above the shelf stands the ABC boxes containing tiny figurines represent the letters and a set of workbooks he is currently working on. The wooden box contains some spare stationery such as crayons.

We have also included the national flags of Singapore, Denmark and China as part of his heritage education. It is my plan to start School Time with the singing of the National Anthem. Now, which one would we sing, you may ask :-) We will start with the Singapore National Anthem that he has heard since he was a baby as part of his lullaby :-)

In this corner, we have included the Ikea Billy bookshelves.

The first shelf from the left consists of books, mainly baby books. You may ask, hasn't J overgrown baby books now. Not really. They serve as good beginning readers for small children. Included are also some hand-me-down beginner reader books from Singapore, many thanks to my brother.

The next shelf consists of DVDs.

The third shelf consists of CDs, mainly children's songs in Danish, English and Chinese, as well as children's Christian music.

The last shelf at the bottom consists of Chinese books and flash cards for beginning readers. J is learning how to recognize Chinese characters from these materials. We bought them mainly from Singapore and some are hand-me-down from my brother's kids.

The top shelf to the right is allocated for Montessori Practical Life's work trays. J does not do as much Practical Life now, but it is still good to have. So only two work trays are allocated to Practical Life, and they will be rotated accordingly compared to 8 work tray spaces allocated when he started Montessori activity when he was 2 years old.

The next shelf is displayed with Montessori metal inserts spread out for his easy access and selection.

The third shelf is displayed with color pencils and crayons so that he can easily select a pencil to do his metal insert work or other work from the workbooks.

The last shelf is displayed with homemade Montessori Movable Letters useful also for teaching and playing with Chinese Hanyu Pinyin and the frame for the metal inserts.

Another view of the classroom. We don't have space to put the Montessori Maths materials in the same room, and it may not be desired as well. We have displayed them in another room.

Montessori Classroom - Maths Area

We now have a Multi-Purpose Room. In this Multi-Purpose Room, we have allocated a corner for the display the Montessori Maths materials.

This Multi-Purpose Room is used as Guest Room-cum-Clothes Drying Room-cum-Ironing Room-cum-Montessori Maths Classroom.

In this way, we overcome our problem of the lack of space by making a simple room free as much as possible from beautiful, but unnecessary furniture to make space so that with a mattress thrown in, it can quickly be converted to a guest room.

My significant Other and I have talked about it. We could have used our money to buy a bigger house, and spend the money on beautiful furniture such as sofa-bed, etc., but I would have to work full-time, and I would not have the time to do Montessori with J.

This is the best arrangement for us. It also saves on cleaning cost and time, in a smaller place :-)

Here is a close up of the Montessori Maths shelves so that we can rotate the work trays in each compartment.

It is organized in a logical sequence starting from the easiest material for J and increasing in difficulty according to the Montessori curriculum.

Clockwise from left: Number Rods, Spindle Box, Teen numbers from popsicle sticks, Even-&-Odd Numbers, Introduction to Decimal Quantity, Introduction to Decimal System, Golden Beads, Thousand Cubes for the Bank Game.

The Cubes are displayed so that J can go and take them himself, without help from me all the time.

 Updated 23 May 2014

Montessori Maths shelves continued...

 Updated 23 May 2014

We have placed a kids-sized desk and chair in this room as well as a carpet so that he can do his work in this room.

This cabinet serves as storage room for hangers for guest wardrobe and beddings.

Here is how it looks when it is being used as a mutli-purpose room for drying clothes :-)

Free Play Room

Apart from Montessori activities, free play and pretend play is still very important to provide a varied and well-rounded development for the child. As such, we kept J's original playroom downstairs. And it serves mainly as that - a Playroom, but not a Montessori Classroom. He can invite his friends to his Playroom, when he invites his friends over for play dates. Of course, his friends are allowed to his Bedroom-cum-Montessori Classroom too :-)

During the day when we are downstairs, he can also do his work in his Play Room, and thus we included a kids' size desk and chair.

We included a black board for some chalk fun.

Here is a close-up of the Expedit shelves containing the toy boxes.

Each compartment stores a theme toy box that can be rotated.

Clockwise from top: Lego Duplo, Lego Hospital, wooden blocks, wooden blocks again, Lego, Food and kitchen play stuff, wooden train set, art box, baby toys for guest, cutting work trays, swords, dress up boxes.

It is hard work to design and implement your child's Work & Play Area, but it is also a lot of fun. Enjoy the journey. This post is for our memory. We will fine-tune as we go along and as J grows up.

## Wednesday 27 November 2013

### J Summary (4Y8M22D) - J in his New Flyvedragt

It is winter and the weather is getting colder. J dressed in his new "flyvedragt" today ready for the lantern party at his kindergarten this afternoon.

Ingredients:
1. A handful of red cabbage grated or sliced thin.
2. A handful of carrot grated or sliced thin.
3. 2 TBS Chinese sesame oil
4. 1 tsp Chinese oyster sauce
5. Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:
Toss all ingredients together and serve.

Cold salad is a northern Chinese dish. It is the season for red cabbage in Denmark. I bought the red cabbage and carrots ready sliced from IRMA supermarket. J liked this dish. It is very fast to prepare and very healthy too (if you use the oyster sauce sparingly.)

## Friday 22 November 2013

### J Summary (4Y8M18D) - The Men in the House

This morning, I was downstairs. J came down and said to me in Chinese, "Mom, can you make breakfast for Daddy and I? Daddy would like to have tea and Verona bread. Can you boil some water for the tea please?

I said, "Sure, and could you help me please? Let's do it together :-)"

"Mommy, I would like to "hygge sig" with Daddy, because he has been away for the last 2 evenings (fordi han har været væk et par dage). May I be allowed?" (Meaning: Can you prepare the breakfast yourself?)

That's so sweet that J is suggesting to spend one-on-one bonding time with Daddy.

I said, "Yes, you may be allowed."

But of course I took the opportuinity to correct his half-Chinese and half-Danish sentences into full Chinese sentences, and for him to repeat after me, before allowing him to go upstairs to Daddy. And he did it willingly :-)

So up he went to "hygge sig" with Daddy. He took the Danish children songbook up to Daddy.

I better stop for now and get going to prepare the breakfast for the 2 hungry boys.

### J's Lunchbox

Consists of sweet corns, peas, baby carrots, banana, rye bread with honey, Danish meat balls left over from dinner the day before, red pepper fruit and apple slices.

### J Summary (4Y8M17D) - Completed Hundred Board for the First Time

J usually does not have the stamina to go beyond doing 20 for the Hundred Board. I had put it away for sometime. Today, I re-introduced it. J was very willing to select it and we went on to complete the exercise from 1 - 100 for the first time. I commended him for his perseverance and staying power. I think that is more important in life than intelligence.

J's appetite for School Time is gettting bigger and as a result, our School Time is getting longer. It can start from 6.30 - 8.30pm or even 6 - 9pm. As a result, J is going to bed a wee bit too late at 9pm. This means that he is not able to wake up the following morning. This also means that I have less personal time to unwind at the end of the day. We are trying to pull it up earlier, but it will be a challenge for the School Time.

I wondered why we took so long. So I started keeping a log and it showed that on average it takes us 30 minutes for each subject. We do 30 minutes each for Chinese, English, Maths and Reading. And it can take up another 30 minutes to watch youtube videos.

So although I am now going part-time, I am very busy with homeschooling J, fetching him to different activities, organizing play dates and also trying to carve out time for myself and Florian. Thus, still, the only problem I have is time. Shall I spend 3-4 hours a day homeschooling J? It gives great fulfillment to see J's interest in learning, although it is a big sacrifice of my time.

During School Time, when J has a question how certain things work, I will consult youtube. Yesterday, we watched several different clips of how silk is made, the life of a silk worm, how caterpilla transforms into a butterfly. The videos provide a powerful means to illustrate all these knowledge in a mind captivating way.

Now that I go part-time, I have more time for School Time. It feels like I am treading towards the path more characteristics of homeschooling.

 21.11.2013 - Playdate with Sebastien

### Slow Baked Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:
- 500g baby potatoes
- 1-2 TBS olive oil
- salt & pepper
- Hverb de Provence

Directions:
1. Wash and drain potatoes.
2. Toss with olive oil, salt & pepper.
3. Bake for 1.5 hour in oven at 150 degree celsius.

This is a very easy dish. There is no need to peel potato skin. Simply rub with oil, salt and pepper and bake in oven. I am putting it in the "Fast Food category" because it is very easy to prepare. I normally just put the potatoes in the oven, there isn't much work needed after that and I then go on with my errands. Daddy and J love potatoes prepared this way, and they could eat a whole pack of potatoes, if I prepare them this way.

### Reflection: Lesson from The Chinese Bamboo Shoot

If I may be allowed to quote this from the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families" by Stephen Covey:

"In everything you do for your family, keep in mind the miracle of the Chinese bamboo tree. After the seed for this amazing tree is planted, you see nothing, absolutely nothing, for 4 years except for a tiny shoot coming out of a bulb. During those 4 years, all the growth is underground in a massive, fibrous root structure that spreads deep and wide in the earth. But then in the fifth year, the Chinese bamboo tree grows up to 80 feet!"

"Many things in family life are like the Chinese bamboo tree. You work and invest your time and effort, and you do everything you can possibly do to nurture growth, and sometimes you don't see anything for weeks, months or even years. But if you're patient and keep working and nurturing, that "fifth year" will come, and you will be astonished at the growth and change you see taking place."

No no, this is not for J - he is not an exasperating teenager yet :-). Nor is it for my Significant Other. It is for myself. It is so hard for me to develop patience, kindness and graciousness, as the pride, selfishness and stubbornness keep getting in the way. This is a reminder for myself not to give up on myself, but to continue to press on, and hopefully, my "fifth year" will come and that I will be a wise mom to Joshua. Let the change start with me.

It has also once again reminded me to continue with patience, perseverance and hard work in my pursue of homeschooling J and getting into a ocnsistent habit for daily devotion time with J reading the Bible. Though I am not seeing any fruit of my labor, I should just be faithful. Years later, the investment I am doing now may then surfaced out. And even if it does not give much returns, it is never a bad thing putting in all those investments and doing those things together. That in itself is a good enough return. And truly, I am enjoying the journey too :-)

## Sunday 17 November 2013

### J Summary (4Y8M12D) - I Love You, Mommy

It was bedtime, and J was about to fall asleep. I went into J's room to put back the books. J said, "Mommy, I love you." and then he said, "Goodnight, mommy." It filled me with love and warmth. There is nothing more I would ask for in life. I went to him and said, "Thank you for telling mommy that. Mommy appreciates what you said."

### Life's Three Great Questions

I am reading the book "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" by Dr. Francis Collins. In one of the chapters, there is a story about a father who challenged the teenagers during a high school graduation to consider how they planned to answer life's three great questions.

When the time is right, I would like to pose these three questions to J about his life, perhaps during one of our family times together. So I am recording them down in my blog:

1. What will be your life's work?
2. What role will love play in your life?
3. What will you do about faith?

These questions are not easy, and can make one uncomfortable, yet, I think they are very vital to what an effective and meaningful life is all about.

## Saturday 16 November 2013

### Wisdom From Other Blogs: Marriage - Putting Your Husband Before Yourself

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus."

Philippians 2:3-5

The post from Elisha's blog Give Them Roots and Wings illustrated very well how to practise Philippians 2:3-5 in our marriage, and especially the below quote:

"Over the years I died many times inside. But the strange thing was, each time I died, I came alive in a better form. There were always major breakthroughs in my personal life, and our marriage each time I decided to put my husband first, before myself. It became such that whenever we have a major argument, or he did/said things that hurt me, part of me would rejoice even as I wept, because I knew that something marvelous was going to happen after I got over it. Without fail, it would happen."

## Wednesday 13 November 2013

### Reflection: Eating The Bread of Anxious Toil

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Psalm 127:1-2

I am enjoying my part-time very much, in that I have more time I have with J, not having to rush... etc. However, at times there is a part of me that feels nervous. I could not quite pin point down to why I am feeling this way.

But our God is a loving God, and God's grace brought me to this reading and Psalms 127:1-2 and I began to understand that I am eating "the bread of anxious toil." God does not meant for us to eat the bread of anxious toil.

At  work, I am eating "the bread of anxious toil", worrying about what my colleagues think about me, whether I am meeting up to expectations, whether I am fast enough in replying to emails and attending to requests, now that I am on part-time. But I can't do it all. Yet, I should just do my best as to the Lord, and not worry about others' expectations.

At home, I am also eating "the bread of anxious toil." I worry about whether I have responded wisely in handling J. When we relax and do nothing, I worry about not putting in more efforts into developing J's self-discipline. When we work on workbooks, writing, piano, I worry about not providing sufficient fun free time for J, or killing his joy for learning.

God wants us to cast all our anxiety on Him and God spoke right into my heart with the reading I quote below:

"When we grow up we must all work for our bread. And we can either work nervously, worrying about what men will think of us—and so eat the bread of anxious toil. Or we can work with serenity in our hearts, as serving Christ and not men—and so eat the bread of peace. God's will for his children, indeed the sign of whether we are children or not, is that we not eat the bread of anxious toil."

"God does not lay down specific rules for how early we rise for work and how late we knock off at night. But he does lay down this principle for his beloved: Don't rise early and go late to rest out of anxiety, out of fear and fretfulness. If the joy of fruitful labor lures you to work 12 hours a day, so be it. But take heed lest you are really deceiving yourself, and in fact are being driven by anxiety, or by her twin sister, selfish-ambition. Christians will work hard, but they will work more for the joy of all the good their work can bring to others than they will out of fear at what men will think if they fail."

I need to learn to rest in His rested assurance that everything will turn out well, because "God can perform more good for those who trust him while they sleep than they can perform with anxious labor for themselves while awake."

"...yet the sovereign God can and will bring out of nowhere, as it were, a turn of events or attitudes that brings great blessing. And he can do it while we sleep!"

I need to "hand over my anxieties to God and lay my head down in peace" and sleep soundly.

Dear God,

Thank you for your grace and compassion for our welfare, that You do not intend for us to eat the bread of anxious toil. I pray for myself and all moms out there, as we work at home that we will always honor you, seek you first, and cast our cares on You, so that we do not have to eat the bread of anxious toil. In Jesus' most victorious name, I pray, Amen.

Reference:
http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/anxieties-to-be-cast-not-carried

## Sunday 10 November 2013

### J's Lunchbox

Consists of dinner from previous day's left over: fish fingers, baked potatoes, blanched broccoli, frozen green peas (below broccoli), stir-fried beanspouts, quinoa, rye bread spread with thin layer of honey and carrot.

### J Summary (4Y8M5D) - Transiency of it All

As I pondered over our happy times this morning and today, and yet could not help but mourn the transiency of it all..., I am humbly reminded of the meaning of life which to me is summarized in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 12:13:

"...here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."

At the end of the day, one thing is the most important, and that is to fear God and keep His commandments.

Thank you dear God for the simple joy, it is your blessing to us. Help our family to fear and honor you, for that is the whole meaning and purpose of life.

### J Summary (4Y8M5D) - Happy Times

This morning, we woke up. Florian and I were just talking about oh how nice it will be if Joshua is at this age forever... 4+ years old... and I thought oh how wonderful if I am on part-time forever (but with Joshua at 4 years old forever)... able to allocate time for him and family....

But we are both getting older... and Joshua is soon growing up to be a man in no time... how much longer can we... continue to cuddle, kiss and hug him like a 4 years old???

Those thoughts made us thank God for the relative good health we have right now... for the phase right now... may it just last and last...

Oh how I want to freeze time...

I am reminded of the Bible verse:

"I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil - this is the gift of God." - Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

And also of Ecclesiastes 12:1:

"Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"

## Thursday 7 November 2013

### J's Lunch Box

A medley of tapas consists of leftovers from dinner - oven-baked salmon, oven-roasted potatos, chestnuts, ryebread thinly spread with honey, apple slices, Chinese green bean dessert and carrot.

### J's Lunch Box

Consists of apple, mozarrella cheese on tomato slices, ryebread spread with honey and topped with pumpkin seeds, avocado sprinkled with salt, frozen peas, banana and carrot

### J Summary (4Y8M2D) - Succeeded in Playing Piano with Two Hands

We try to stick to practising the piano every day. Five minutes each time is our goal. It is hard work. It requires discipline. At times, J wants to give up. Yesterday, he succeeded playing half the piece simultaneously coordinating it with two hands.

This morning, he succeeded playing the whole piece simultaneously coordinating with two hands.

Then he turned to me and said, "Mommy, thank you for practising piano with me, for going to Chinese class with me, for doing Montessori with me, for bringing me for swimming, for making time so that Daddy can bring me to football. You are the best mom I have." Tears almost roll down my face... I put his hand to my heart and said, "Thank you."

But I was taking it with a pinch of salt... I could not quite believe what he said, as at times he complains about playing piano, etc., at times he is not very self-motivated, so how could he thank me for it? So I asked him again to confirm, "You mean I am the best mom, because I take you to piano lesson and Chinese lesson? He said, "Yes." And he want to continue piano, Chinese and football...

I want to remember today...

This was followed by kissess and hugs and kisses and hugs from him, and I want to remember the look in his eyes as he kissed and hugged me and said those words. He followed me around the kitchen and hugged me from behind. He followed me around the washroom and hugged me from behind.

Up in the washroom, I still didn't quite believe that he would thank me for bringing him for piano class, so I asked him again, "Why do you call me the best mom?" And he repeated the same words with kisses and hugs.

At times, I doubt if we should continue piano, Chinese, football, etc. J would complain that I talk too much. J would tell me not to correct him. Should we persevere on? Should we give up? Should we spend time doing all these with our kids? At times, I am confused.

But today I am reminded that if we persevere on until our kids make progress, they may turn around and thank us for supporting them through their tough learning period, until they make headway bit-by-bit.

Thank you God for clearing my doubts and answering my prayers, each time I am uncertain about what to do, each time as I try to figure out the daily challenges. In Your time, You answered me....

On days when I feel like a Dr. jekyll and Mr. hyde, swaying to-&-fro about my decision in going part-time, I will remember J's words...

Thank you God.

Below are memories of J's performance:

Suzuki concert 21 October 2014 (5Y7M16D)

19 June 2014 (5Y3M14D)

Suzuki concert 29 May 2014 (5Y2M24D):

Concert 23 May 2014 (5Y2M18D):

Suzuki concert 29 April 2014 (5Y1M24D)

## Sunday 3 November 2013

### J Summary (4Y7M28D) - First Time Learning to Play Piano with Both Hands

Today at the music class, the teacher said that J could try to learn to play a song with 2 hands simultaneously. The piece is "Pjerrot Sage til Månen." He is learning to play with left hand accompanyment "C" and "D".

Here is the lyrics:

Pjerrot sa' til månen "Lys nu hvid og klar,
indtil dette brev jegfærdig skrevet har.
Husk, det er Pierette,jeg nu skriver til
om min lille konehun nu være vil"

Og ved månens stråler Pjerrot sad og skrev.
Han var fjorten dageom det halve brev.
Inden han blev færdigkan du nok forstå
så var månen borte -sådan kan det gå.

## Friday 1 November 2013

### J Summary (4Y7M26D) - Becoming More Interested in Phonics

For the past month especially the last few days, J has been very interested in phonics through Leap Frog Letter Magnets Magic Word Builders. It will say the letters required and J will look for the letters. Initially, he had difficulties looking for the letters, but increasingly, he is able to locate the letter magnets requested by Leap Frog. The sounds of the letters are then heard and followed by the combined pronounciation of the 3-letter word. It provided a fun way to learn for him and for me.

I will try to take a video and upload it on this post.

I bought this for J when he was 2 years old, but it is only now at 4.5 years old that he really plays with it meaningfully at a longer stretch of time and truly enjoying it. This morning, he had to leave for the kindergarten, but he asked to continue playing it for our School Time this evening. If could also be that our recent trip to New York has aroused J's interest in English. Lately, he is also speaking more English and took initiative to speak English. Leap Frog Letter Magic Word Builders is available from Amazon:

### Thinking Out Loud...

Courageously, I am stepping out on the journey learning to be a professional mom, one that is not paid... and one that is perhaps going against the flow and approval of the modern society. It is just my first month and I am only half-way there (part-time 50%). I am enjoying it and feeling very fulfilled for the first time in my life after Joshua was born, but I haven't the co...urage to look at this month's pay-check yet. (Ok, promise to let you know if I have changed my mind, after seeing the 50% reduced pay-check

What I have learned from Margaret Thatcher, who perhaps had the greatest and highest professional career a woman could ever have - being a Prime Minister. She made great sacrifices too, not just for a worthy institution, but for her beloved country, the Great Britain, and she too had to be contented with her lot in life.

It is great to have a great corporate career, and it is also equally great to be a professional mom. One is not better than the other. Both have my respect. Both require sacrifice, but we have to be happy with our lot in life. I have chosen the path of devoting my time to being a professional mom. Yes, being a mom. Full stop. That will be my chosen profession for the next 10 years. Enjoy the ride