Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Finally Almost Junior Black Belt

Zaky was given a provisional pass for his last Junior Black Belt (JBB) grading test and needed to do 1 more grading test for his pattern. The boy has also decided that he would continue with his TKD class in pursue of his pom.

We sent him for the grading test 3 weeks back. We are so familiar with the routine already. The revisions before the test.
The waiting, then revision again, depending on how long the other grading tests took.
I overheard the master telling the kids that the tester was strict and reminded the kids to do their pattern properly.

Finally, it was his turn to enter the examination hall.
He was in the hall for a long time, which is usually the case with strict tester, who would demand the testees to redo their patterns sometimes.

He was pleased when he was done with the test, though he wasnt 100% sure if he would pass the grading test. Nevertheless, he was in a good mood and entertained his mother's request to pose for pictures.

The grading test results is usually released 2 weeks after the test. The result is revealed through the belt changing ceremony. Since Zaky is already awarded his JBB, he didnt know if he had passed and the father and son pair didnt ask the master. Zzzzzzzzz.

The responsibility fell on yours truely when we sent him for his class last week bcos Lil Shauna skipped her ice skating.

He passed! The certificate, which is recognised in Singapore, will be available in a few weeks' time. Yay! Another milestone clocked.

Mummy Lim

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Family Ride

The spiders had started to build their lovely homes on the kids' bikes. Then, Zaky decided to be a home whacker and declared that we should go cycling. Lil Shauna didnt share his enthusiam but didnt want to be left out. Poor Daddy Lim had to pour sweat and pump the tires the night before. In sitauations like that, it is a blessing to be ignorant, leaving men to do men stuff. It is Ok, I dont need to fight for gender equality; I was very happy being 小女人 and watch youtubes at home.

My alarm clock was set for 6am bcos my weighing scale says that the family ride is probably so leisure that it wouldnt feel like a workout and I should hit the gym before that. I came home to a fully dressed and very ready boy; Lil Shauna was barely out of bed.

The kids were coaxed to take a bite before the ride bcos hungry kids = whiny kids. Lil Shauna was still half awake and Zaky was too excited. I ended up eating the most before we started the ride. Zzzzz.

The plan was for Lil Shauna to use my trusty Giant MTB. We adjusted the saddle height to the lowest and I checked that the height is about the same as her smaller MTB. We would ride and probably had MacD for bfast.

The start of the ride was a little rusty. The kids, particularly Lil Shauna needed to warm up to their bikes. It didnt take long especially when my old MTB is such a comfy ride.

We hit the PCN and go through the Jurong Park.  Lil Shauna's hope was raised when we approched the MacD in Jurong Park. Hello, we barely started the ride, not this MacD, the one at Tradehub!

It was the usual PCN route. The ride somewhat feels easier now that the kids are older and stronger. No joke! Zaky's feet can now touched the ground more steadily when he is on the bike.

We rode on the PCN all the way to the spiral bridge and along the canal where the otters were usually spotted. Zaky didnt complete that PCN the last round bcos he was too tired and hungry. See, I told you that the kids are stronger now. Afterall, we have a figure skater and a Jnr Back Belt.

I would love to go further, possibly to Buona Vista MRT only for kids to whine that they were so hungry and that we had to turn back for bfast. We did just that, it was meant to be leisure anyway. I didnt want to fight with hungry small people. The big people were hungry too. Haha.

The hungry people chomped down the bfast so quickly that I only rememebered pictures when all the food were gone.
Back to our beautiful bikes for home.

In all, we clocked about 22km. This is the longest distance with the kids so far! Seriously, they were not really tired probably just bored. Lol. Yay! More long rides in the future!

Oh, Lil Shauna totally enjoyed my Giant MTB. She said that the bike is easier to peddle, the gears are easier to switch and it is easier to control. Hehehe.

Mummy Lim

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ice Skating 135: Still Knee Pain

Knee guard - checked! Knee pain - still there. Zzzzzzz. Lil Shauna complained of the same knee pain when she was warming up despite the knee guard. I dont know what else to do.

She could barely jump while warming up on ice and concentrated on her spins instead. I caught her almost landing a couple of nice back spins.

Her knee continued to bother her. I told her to tell Coach Raymond if it was jump class, half suspecting that she would bear with the pain and do some half-baked jumps than open her golden mouth. Fourtunately, it was footwork and then spins. Her spins were quite on form and again, she almost land some nice back spins. Her work in progress camel spins look quite decent too.
After class, Coach Raymond asked me what happened to her knee. He knew? It took me a while to realise what he was asking about. Apparently, the princess opened her mouth and told Coach of her knee pain and asked not to do jumps! Wah! This one must applaud.

Seriously, we were all puzzled. There were no dramatic falls. Is it growing pains? We didnt do extra practice too bcos the girl was still complaining of the pain.

The pain didnt go away on Sunday, which means that we skipped practice and off ice for some rest. I asked Lil Shauna to rate her pain on a 1 to 10 pain scale with 10 being excruciating "want-to-die" kind of pain. She said that it was a 7. What????? An ant bite is probably 7 too then. Zzzzzzzz.

The knee pain still didnt go away this morning. Should I bring her to a sports injury doctor? Would a chiropractor help? Haiz.

Mummy Lim

Sunday, September 16, 2018

What's with the Lamppost 1?

It had been 2 weeks since we last cycled. 1st, it was the holidays, then it was the thunderstorm. In the week that we were away, the WWF conquered the Tuas Lamppost (LP) 1. Tuas didnt sound that far away to me; we go to Tuas for work everyday. In actual fact, the route to and back Tuas LP 1 was about 50km.

We were really disappointed to miss the ride bcos of rain last Saturday. We were all up, only to see forecast of thunderstorm. The sky looked clear and we almost ventured out, only backing out when we saw lightning flashes across the sky. The memory of the 5 hours' Hari Raya very wet ride also flashes before my eyes. Ok, stay at home. It did pour and poured very hard. Heng ah. 

At least I hit the treadmill; Daddy Lim just bummed at home. Lol. Which also explains why he was so tempted to ride on Wednesday night when the weather was too nice and one of the WWF mates jioed.

I was very hestitant bcos I realised how my energy level tend to plunge by the end of the day. Surfing youtube sounded more like what one should be on weekday nights. I eventually tagged along bcos Daddy Lim gave me the illusion that there was a big group. I turned up with Daddy Lim to ONLY that WWF mate who jioed. Zzzzzz. Kena bluff.

We started our ride at about 9.30pm. We agreed that we would turn back at 10.30pm. I had no idea where Tuas LP 1 was and was following blindly. The roads were fairly flat and we missed most of the red lights, which I couldnt tell if it was a good thing. Lol. There was a nice breeze, which I again couldnt tell if it was a good thing., especially if it was headwind. The only real complaint was the very bumpy road along a long stretch and we were chased by 2 very ferociously looking dogs, baring its teeth while it chased and barked at us. Fortunately, they gave up after a short chase.

The ride just went on and on, passing by parts of Tuas that I had never been. Oh, we went by the shipyards, where I spent my previous life and I imagined myself on my Phantom, just that this one is very manual.

We finally turned in to the long stretch of road towards Tuas LP 1. I was literally counting down to the number on the lampposts. We past by the mega yard, which was really mega, but lamppost 1 was even further away.

I had to hug lamppost 1 when we finally arrived. Tadah! The all famous lamppost 1.

The way home from lamppost 1 was super tiring. I should have brought a snack to replenish some energy. I was tired and sleepy. We should be in bed!

On the way back, we past by Joo Koon. It was a road that we travelled by car frequently to and back from work. That night, I suddenly realised how freaking long that road is. I never felt that way.

Yday's ride was again to Tuas LP 1. Lol. I am hoping that it looked prettier in daylight. To avoid heavy traffic, we set off at 6am.
I must be a morning person bcos I definitely enjoyed the morning ride more than the night one, despite the same bumpy road. This time, we were only chased by 1 dog. Lol. I guessed the bigger group size also helped.

Proudly present LP 1 again!
The LP must feel very loved. Every other cyclist who arrived at the LP must hug and take pic with it. Lol.

The route slightly differed and we clocked 46km. Daddy Lim is dying to clock a 50km on Strava since the new bike. We are always so close but never clocking 50km. So after bfast with the WWF gang, we went on a small loop and finally clocking 50km on Strava. Yay!
Mummy Lim

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ice Skating 134: Knee Pain

Lil Shauna had been complaining of right knee pain for the last few of weeks and wishing that Coach Raymond would work on her spins instead of jumps. She had been lucky; thay was what he did.

We had 1 week's break and were back on ice on Saturday for class. The break did little help to sooth the knee pain. She was warming up and practicing her jumps off ice before class. Soon after, she started complaining of knee pain. Bcos most of her jumps land on her right knee, it is no surprise that she could have strained or injured her knee.

While on ice, she started working on her spins and was reluntant to jump. The moment she did, the pain hit her. Given that the past few weeks' classes were all on spins, there was a high chance that she would be jumping this week. It is also no surprise that she would rather bear with the pain and do poorly for class than to open her mouth and tell Coach Raymond to work on something else. Zzzzzz. With less than 20 mins before class, I rushed to Watson and bought her a knee guard, hoping that it would help. I opted for a more expensive but adjustable size one over the usual knee sleeve.
The knee guard provided an immediate relief. She said that she could land without pain! Ok, I am not sure if the guard was so magical or the pain wasnt too severe to begin with. Anyway, I was glad that it worked.

I was also glad that I bought the more expensive one. The adjustable straps allowed the guard to strapped itself tightly but comfortably and there is some kind of flexible thin stripes providing the required support. Exactly what we needed.
Class was a little lazy this week. I think it must be the overdosed of holiday. She couldnt do her sit spin properly and didnt nail a loop, loop jump. This called for "tuition" after class despite much protest. Muahahaha.

No wonder tuition teachers are in demand; she managed her sit spin and somewhat of a loop, loop jump in that 15 mins after ice resurfacing. She also did some decent looking camel spin; she just needed to hold her camel spins.

Before class, Coach Raymond also asked if she would like to compete in the National skating competition in March 2019. She could recycle her program and refine her jumps and spins. She is very keen. Yay! One more competition to look forward to!

Mummy Lim

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hong Kong Every Year Day 5: Lido Beach and Home Sweet Home

The original plan was to head to Lido beach after the Mclenhose trail. It was simply impossible. We were in half dead state by the end of the trail and the only thing that I wanted was a good shower.

Lil Shauna had been bugging to visit the beach. I have beach crazy kids. The kids were even willing to sacrifice their sleep for the beach.

Daddy Lim and I spent a lot of time googling the night before for nice beaches that wasnt too far from our hotel. Most of the beaches were at least 1 hr away. We eventually still decided on Lido Beach bcos it sounded easier to reach.

We had to take the mtr again.

Then it was mini bus 302. We managed to tabao tim sum from the mtr station. We had intended to picnic at the beach. So far, the plan was working out as it should.

We saw bus 302 the moment we exited the station and thought that we were really in luck! We ran for the bus, boarded and were happily looking forward to the beach! Then, we realised the bus moving away from Lido beach on google map. Oh no.

Our fear was confirmed; it was the wrong direction. Zzzzzzz. We asked the driver if we should alight and cross the road to take the bus from the opposite direction. It was a chicken and duck conversation. The driver said that it didnt work that way and the bus would turn back at the terminal; we should stay put. I could only hope that the terminal wasnt too far away.

To add on to the woes, we had to top up the fares, leaving us with insufficient balance in our octopus cards for the return trip. At least, the bus turned back soon after and we were finally on our right way to Lido beach.

After the big saga, the driver knew perfectly well that we needed to alight at Lido beach, saving us the need to stalk google map.

Finally, at the beach. The beach has 2 volleyball courts and spectators seats, just what we needed to have our bfast comfortably. It was also sunblock applying time before the kids were let into the sun.
The beach was surprisingly crowded for a Wednesday morning.

Many retirees were having a good game of vball or swim. Hmmm.. I could do such a lifestyle when I retire. Haha.

The kids were happily playing at the beach and soaking their feet. They had been warned that they had no change of clothes.

Lil Shauna was happily looking for seashell and asked me to safe keep this one.
Bcos it was so small, we lost it soon after. Muahahaha.

They also found crabs, including a big but very dead one.

While the kids baked in the sun, we hid in the shade and moved whenever the shade moved. Lol.

I needed to be in the shade. Look at the trail damage - 2 tones.
Lido beach was very decent. Though it was a small stretch of beach, it was clean with a lot of shade. There were also ample shower and toilet facilities and a big lifeguard group.
We didnt have much time and left the beach after about 1.5hrs.

We were told that we could get a bus across the road to bring us to the MTR. While waiting and finding change for the bus, we managed to hail a cab. Haha.

Back at the hotel, we got ready to leave for Singapore and had tabaoed lunch. Actually, nobody was really hungry but Daddy Lim made me tabao so much.

We headed straight for A21 once we checked out; the same bus that brought us from airport.

The flight home was equally comfortable and uneventful. We all enjoyed the SQ flight meal and entertainment. Lalalalala.

We walked so much during the trip such that we all thought that we would lose weight despite the food that we ate. We had been eating.. hungry also eat, not hungry also eat. We must be delusional bcos all of us actually put on weight. Hahahaha.

The only thing that lost weight was our luggage; it ended up lighter than when we headed to HKG but we brought back something extra - the seeds that the kids picked up on the trail. Apparently, these dropped into my sling bag.
It had been a great trip. Ok, holidays are usually good. Just that this trip, I realised how much the kids had grown. Now, eyes on December. Breathe..... Haha.

Mummy Lim

P.S - I had to add on that this is our 1st ever holiday too that Daddy Lim went smoke free! In the past, there were so many irritating moments that we had to wait for him bcos he was craving for his fix, particularly in theme parks or no smoking zones.
Woohoo! Almost 1 month to being smoke free!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Every Year Hong Kong Day 4: Mclenhose Trail Stage 7

It was a blessing – we had been praying for sunny weather for the trip and God grant us sunny days. It was raining right before and after our trip.

We wanted sunny day bcos we wanted to do hiking. Two years back, we conquered the Dragon’s back with the kids. The feeling at the top of the hill was addictive. Now that the kids are older, we wanted to try something more challenging. Plus the fact that HKG is a mountainous country, it is an opportunity not to be missed.

After a lot of researches, we identified the Mclenhose trail as the ONE. The trail comes in 10 different parts or stages, with some being easier and shorter than other. I found this blog with extensive description of the 10 stages - - and decided that we would try stage 7 – Grassy and Needle Hill. Yesh, there are people who conquered all 10 stages and could write a blog post about them! Stage 7 is deemed as moderately difficult. We knew that the kids would generally be able to conquer the trail but expected a lot of whining. Our only worry was the weather; hiking in summer would be much taxing as compared to our last hike in winter. Nevertheless, we pressed on.

The Royce’s blog provided information about the trail length – 6.2km and the amount of time needed to conquer it (2.5 hrs). More importantly, it clearly describes the way to arrive at the starting point and gave a general idea of the different parts of the trail, providing some assurance and certainty amidst the fear of getting lost.

I knew that we had to start early and got simple bfast for the kids. Look at this huge mantou!
I finally remembered to take a picture of the bao shop that we had been patronizing for our tim sum and baos.

It was a mtr ride to Tai Po market. Never been to this part of HKG and didn't even know such a mtr station existed.

Then either a mini bus 23S or 23K to the Wun Yiu road, which is the last stop. Google map recommended 23K and we stick with 23K.
We have prepped the necessary water (5 litres), bread and snacks the night before. Daddy Lim thought that we had more than enough water given that it was only a 3 hr hike. I kiasu, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to buy an additional 1.5 litre of water, which I eventually did before we boarded the mini bus. I rather carry the weight than panic bcos we ran out of water.

The 23k must be one of the more infrequent buses. There was no long q and the kids got bored while waiting.

Finally, our bus!

We didn't exactly know where to alight. Google map is so clever and is able to chart out the “bus stops” of 23K. Then again, we saw passengers informing the driver when they wanted to alight even when it wasn't an identified bus stop. After the last passenger alighted, the bus driver asked us where we were going and we replied the “final stop”. With that, he drove a little more, made a U-turn and declared that that was it. Really? There, the middle of nowhere.

The kids saw a playground and excitedly ran off while the parents tried to find out where's next. That was also where all the sunblock slapping and mosquito repellent spraying took place before we started our journey.

Accordingly to the blog, the Lead Mine Pass is the start of the stage 7 Mclenhose trail. To get there, there is a 2.5km Wilson trail that we 1st have to conquer. Ok, where is the Wilson trail? There was no road sign. Fortunately, a man walking his dog pointed us to the right direction. He said that it was a popular trail and many people do that trail. Sounds good; crowded trail = less chance of getting lost. Time check: 8.45am. A picture before we start and looking all energetic.

Finally, we came to the start of the Wilson trail. It took us 15 mins. I tried but couldn't read the map.

I did take a picture of the emergency phone though. Haha.

And the important sign to tell us that we were on the right track.

The Wilson trail started with stairs; endless stairs.

That turned to big rocks/ stones and dirt track.

At times, we had to use our hands to help with the climb.

At one part, it was like a mini waterfall. Was it bcos it was raining a few days back? Maybe not bcos the stones were covered in algae, a tell-tail that it is not a one-off flooding event. The kids loved the adventure.

I was worried that Zaky would wet his shoes or slipped and fall. Ended up, I lost focus and was the one who slipped and fell. Luckily, I had no injury. Henceforth, I know I should concentrate on myself. The kids were fine; they were doing great, probably better than I was. Lol.

I didn't expect any “waterfall” and kept wondering if we had derailed. It was only when I saw the familiar sign that I was assured that we were still on track.

It was seriously hard work. The 2.5km seemed like forever. There were so many steps to climb. Look how sweat soaked Daddy Lim’s T-shirt was.

We didn't see a single soul along the way. Didn't the uncle said that it was a “popular” trail? I was so excited when somebody finally overtook us that I had to sneak a picture. Daddy Lim had to cheekily asked if he was indeed a “soul”... 7th month leh. He made me double check my pictures. Zzzzz. Human lah, human.

Finally, the Lead Mine Pass! It took us 1.5 hrs to conquer the 2.5km.

We stopped for the toilets. Just when I was finishing my business, I saw huge butterflies/ moths flying at the ceiling. Save me! We also stopped for the bread that we brought and apply mopiko to the many itchy spots.

While resting, we saw other groups attempting the different stages. Ah, we were not the only crazy ones for sure. I was slightly disappointed to see that there was no water points to refill our water. No vending machines too.

Zaky was beat and had wanted to go home already. I hated to tell him that it was just the start of the Mclenhose stage 7 trail. He was whining so much. Lil Shauna was still feeling good until a “something” bit her on her back. She started sobbing and whining about how painful it was.

Despite the noise, there was no way that I would turn back and urge the kids to start walking. I know they would be fine once they start again.
Stage 7 was an easier walk bcos it was service road. Along the way, we saw a couple of rescue/ patrol car and I felt very safe. Haha.

The kids started self entertaining, looking at the seeds on the floor and picking them. They wanted to help the trees spread their seeds by planting them somewhere else. These seeds grow into bean spout like plants.

We also saw a toad, which is so well camouflage if it had been in the forest.

The intention was to conquer both the Grassy hill and the Needle Hill. However, with the whining kids, we decided to head directly for only the Needle Hill, without summiting the Grassy Hill. Zaky in particular needed so much encouragement to continue with the hike.

At the bottom (probably not exactly bottom) of Grassy Hill, it was a winding down hill road right towards needle Hill. Down hill = no good in my perspective bcos what goes down must go up. Fortunately, the incline wasn't too noticeable.

We were walking on the service road for a long time and had no idea where we were heading. Service roads were a lot easier than steps in my opinion. We saw a mountain faraway and Daddy Lim was jokingly asking me to google what that hill was and we would conquer it the next time. We could see tiny moving dots; there were people climbing the hill!

Then, we met a person coming our way. He told us that the faraway hill was the Needle Hill! Zzzzzzzz. There was no turning back of course. The way to this point was too scary to turn back.

Lil Shauna was really strong and had recovered from the insect bite. She led the way most of the time and also up Needle Hill. Here she was, declaring that we had conquered 200 steps.

We were still surviving too, just some distance behind her. At times, I had to yell after her to wait for us. Zaky wasn't too bad either. This was afterall the climax and the exciting part.

The views that accompanied the climb were breathtaking.

Another “dont know how many hundred steps” victory.
Look at how far we had come.
The sun was burning; it was 12.30pm. At one point, I thought we were almost at the top bcos I couldn't see any more steps only to have Lil Shauna telling me that there was another flight of stairs ahead. Zzzzzz. I wanted to die. We had to take multiple stops and give water to the kids. The last that we needed was dehydrated or heat injury. Daddy Lim was complaining that his shirt was just dried not too long ago and now sweat soaked again. Lol.

Finally, after 2 hours since we started stage 7, we conquered the Needle Hill! Lil Shauna said that it was over 850 steps to reach the summit. Coincidentally, we met a climber who helped us to take pictures. Yay!

The views were to die for and we literally almost died. Lol.

What comes up must go down. We couldn't stay for too long bcos it was too hot, we were baking and there was no shade. We started our descent only to notice that there was a smaller hill ahead to conquer. Lil Shauna started complaining and asked why did we go down (the hill) if we had to climb again? Yeah, I had the same question.

While going down required lesser energy, it was a lot more dangerous and we had to constantly remind the kids to take it slow. It would be ugly to roll down the steps.

We started feeding the kids water again bcos we were still sweating buckets from climbing the smaller hill. Our water was running out but we didn't dare to skim on the water for fear of heat injury. Only when we climbed the little hill did we go on water rationing, telling the kids to take small sips instead of gulps. The fear was real bcos we didn't know how much more to go and how long our water would last. I was so glad that I had insisted on an extra bottle of water. It was only after the trail that Daddy Lim told me how I panic when the water was running out. He said that my expression darkened and my tone changed. Yes, I was scared. It was afterall dirt track and no rescue vehicle driving by. We rarely see other hikers too.

The descent wasn't as enjoyable bcos we were out of steam and soon to be out of water. Even Lil Shauna’s energy level dropped. Climbing down the steps hurt our toes and knees and we had to take multiple breaks under the shade.
Most times, I left Zaky with Daddy Lim bcos he kept talking and stopping and I had not much energy left to entertain him. Lol. Daddy Lim did such a fantastic job.

Finally we could see the dam! That was supposed to be the indication of the ending point.

It was a narrow road and that seemed to go on forever. Why did the dam look so far away?!

It was music to our ears when another hiker came our way and told us that we were just 5 mins away from the dam. Woohoo! We eventually made it! Yeah! Cartwheels! Happy dance!

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end. We were told by another hiker that we had to walk for another 20 mins along the reservoir to reach the mini bus stop. At least we could finally get wifi signal and google map. We started our final walk again before shortly coming to a bbq area. Hey!

Vending machines! We got much needed sugar loaded cold drinks and chomp down the remaining bread and snacks. We were too tired to be hungry while hiking. I tried calling for an uber but wasn't successful. With the new founded energy and no other option, we continued the walk.

At one point, Google map pointed us down a long flight of stairs that seems to lead us back into the trail. I refused to follow google map bcos retracing the steps would mean javing to climb that nightmarish stairs. I insisted to ask a local with a fishing rod. He asked us to continue on the road and we ended up following him bcos he was heading to the same bus stop.

We finally saw monkeys along the way. Luckily, we were already done with the food.

We waited a long time for the mini bus. The sun was scorching and the mosquito biting didnt cease. I tried Uber again and wasn't successful. Then we saw the man whom we followed hailed a cab. I want that too! Eventually, we did fine one. Thank God! At the same time, we saw the mini bus coming. It is Ok, I needed to go back to the hotel and not mini bus to mtr. Hohoho. Our 1st taxi ride cost us about SGD20. I dont care.

We had a very much needed rest back at the hotel. We conquered 28k steps.

The kids still had energy to play!

The rest turned to a 3 hours’ rest and we only ventured out of the hotel to the Goldfish market in the evening.

Zaky bugged for new fishes and eventually got a new ornament for the fishes back home. That was seriously the ONLY thing that we bought from the land of shopping.
There were also plenty of pet shops.

We had an easy dinner at MacD before heading back to our room.

It was the only night that we were out until 9pm. Haha. Overall, we walked 33k steps for that 5 hours of hike. What 3 hours hike? Bluff people.

By the way, Daddy Lim plotted the hike on strava when we were back in Singapore and strava says that it was a 10.4km trail! We deserved a pat on our back.

Oh, Lil Shauna did get something from the trip... her favorite honey cakes!
Mummy Lim