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Time is always best spent with your loved ones and this has been a year forged with many of these beautiful moments. This Halloween season, we fulfilled our promise to our little princess and brought her to Disneyland LA (together with baby Kingsley) before she officially graduates from preschool.
Flight decisions have never been as difficult given that we are now traveling with not 1 but 2 kids for a long haul flight. After several months of consideration and search, we decided to dive straight into a non red eye 15 hour direct flight to San Francisco. The weeks that followed up to the trip was filled with uncertainty on how the kids would fare on the trip and luckily for us, this was just overthinking on our part and we survived the 15 hour flight with no drama.
Knowing that we would be probably be zombified upon arrival in the early morning, I planned a leisurely day in which we did a quick drop by the Golden Gate Bridge before we head to our first accommodation of the trip, Hilton Garden Inn Fairfield. Fairfield is a half an hour’s drive to Napa Valley which made it a good location for families with young kids given that there are more food outlets and stores in the vicinity. On our second day, we travelled to Napa Valley and visited Castello di Amarosa, Old Geyser of California, Napa Premium Outlets. There are several wineries in Napa but most of them close at 5pm hence waking up late that morning did cause quite a bit of limitation in the places we could visit.
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As 2019 approaches to an end, it is the time of the year to pen down Ashley’s dance journey in 2019. It has been an exciting year for our firstborn as 2019 not only marks her maiden voyage as a solo performer but also that of the opportunity of competing in different regionals for Get The Beat dance competition before she starts primary school in 2020.
As what every parents would feel, we were hesitant in our decision to have Ashley perform solo on stage as she has had always the comfort of performing alongside her friends in school. Luckily for us, Luminous Dance Academy’s Xpress Dance Challenge provided the best opportunity for Ashley to have her first experience performing solo on stage and despite initial hesitation in going on stage on her own, Ashley completed her first solo jazz dance routine “Birthday” and was awarded 2nd place for her category.
With the confidence built in the Xpress Dance Challenge, Ashley had the opportunity to compete in three regionals of GTB 2019 (Singapore, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur) where she surprised us with her placings, particularly with her performance in Taipei and Kuala Lumpur of which she was ranked 2nd overall in the Mini Category.
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It has been almost one and a half years since Kingsley’s newborn photoshoot with Studio Memories and we decided it is time to have another family photoshoot before he turns 18 months. Well, as much as we wanted to be fair in letting the kids have photoshoot at the same age (Ashley has her first photoshoot at 8 months with StudioPlay), it proved as a challenge as (1) we wanted Ashley to have a photoshoot with Kingsley when he is a newborn and (2) Kingsley’s eczema condition was quite serious up till recently that he could be off mittens for most parts of the day.
As with all the previous photoshoots, we went hunting for a photography studio in the baby fair as it usually would have the best deals housed in one location given the competition and this time round we decided to go with Face SG family photography studio. If there is anything distinctly different for Face SG, it would be the use of home theme setups for their photo backgrounds and the reason for being our choice this photoshoot.
For the package we signed up in the fair, we were given the choice of 2 themed backgrounds and a white background for the 1 hour photography. On the day of the photoshoot, the photographer showed us their in-house themed backgrounds for selection (these could also be found on their Facebook page) and our little princess chose the Sakura Pink Blossom theme without any hesitation.
Sakura Pink Blossom
There is a first time for everything and this March school holiday, Ashley participated in her first ever runway show during the MaxToon Holiday Carnival at Suntec City North Atrium (the perfect location in which Ashley can have her dance lessons in between the fashion runway sessions). I must confess that I was not a avid follower of MaxToon and they came to my notice last November when Ashley’s dance school asked if we were interested in registering Ashley for an audition to participate in the Nutcracker performance with the National Ballet of China. However, Ashley was unable to join in that audition as the audition day coincided with Kingsley’s 1st birthday celebration and Ashley, being the ever loving sister, would never miss his birthday celebration for anything in the world.
Nevertheless, this event made me notice the emails I received from MaxToon and as fate would have it,an email arrived from MaxToon on an opportunity for Ashley to build her confidence on stage before her solo dance competitions for the year. Before this year (excluding the Xpress Dance Challenge held earlier in March), Ashley has always had her friends on stage with her in every performance and we were unsure if she would still be her bubbly self when she is alone on stage. Therefore, we are taking any opportunity we could have to get her used to going on stage by herself. This holiday season, she was lucky enough to join other kids in strutting down the fashion runway organised by MaxToon with apparel sponsored by KidStyle.
Here are photos taken of Ashley during the fitting session and runway day.
Today is the start of a brand new year and I have managed to steal a few moments to sit down and compile some of the highlights we had in 2018.
Work wise, the past one year has been kind to us with Colin and I achieving new heights and pursuing new direction in our careers respectively. With Colin swamped in work, I was lucky to have the opportunity to have a change in environment to not only learn new things but to also devote more time to the 2 cheeky little babies at home.
Switching gear to the little ones, nothing delights us more than seeing the growth of the sibling bond between Ashley and Kingsley and we hope this bond will continue to grow stronger as they grow up and even grow old. Here are some sneak peeks of the little ones together.
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