Tuesday, February 26, 2013

RWS Staycation 2013 - Day 2: Universal Studio Singapore

Our RWS staycation package comes with two adult free passes to Universal Studio Singapore (USS). Two years ago, I said I would not be coming to USS for a very very long time. Time files and I'm back here again.

On the way to USS, we pass by some unique flower decorations in the form of a green and a red snake to usher in the year of the Snake. There is also a huge golden dragon hanging near the bottom of the flight of stairs.

Photo time with the famous Universal Studio icon, the rotating globe.

What's different this time round is that USS added two rides. One is the highly recommended Transformers The Ride and another the opening-soon Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase. The latter is a slow ride targeted at young kids. I was initially disappoint that it will only open a few days later. Surprisingly they were having soft launch that day so I went with Xavier to try the ride.

Its a slow dark ride where you join Elmo and Super Grover in a journey to outer space to look for the villain who stole the Spaghetti. Strangely Xavier seems visually unhappy after the ride. When I asked him why, he says he don't like the sesame street friends. Mummy on the other hand is all smiles with Elmo beside her.

I then went to try out the Transformers the Ride myself. To me, this is THE best ride of USS. Its a 3D ride with hydraulic vehicles name EVAC to simulate the various movement and speed. Would have gone for more of it if not for the long queue time.

Right beside this attraction, we found a little machine that seems fun to play. It has large lever where you can turn to "Press A Penny". What it does is for $2, it will press a penny with design of your choice as you turn the lever. We did some when we were overseas in Disneyland but those where just a button press and the machines will automatically press one for you. These ones where you turn the lever manually to press the penny seems more fun. Xavier and even Lucas are fighting with us to turn the lever.

Here are our Press A Penny collection. The 2 rows of pennies on the left are from USS and those 2 rows on the right are from overseas. I love the newly pressed Elmo and Cookie Monster pennies. Although you can't see it clearly in the photo, the detailing on the fur looks very good on the pennies.

The next area is Xavier's favourite, Madagascar. It has the King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round that both boys can't get enough of. It also has a slow dark ride call Madagascar: A Crate Adventure that you sit on a boat. Somehow Xavier loves this ride and request to go for it again.Well guess he likes Madagascar more than Sesame Street.

How can holiday be complete without shopping? Both Lilian and I went mad in the Sesame Street shop. The merchandise are so cute even Lucas was taking down all the cookie tins and lining them on the floor. I bought also almost all the sesame street character fridge magnets. So irresistible Xavier took the group photo for us, well done boy.

Sadly Xavier is still scare of mascots so he didn't have any photos taken with mascots. Lilian and I both spare no chance getting close to the mascots. We love Kungffffuuuuuu...

Well at least they are okay as long as the object do not move, like this giant Hershey's Chocolate syrup bottle.

Overall it was a pretty fun staycation. Although day 1 we felt like pulling our hair out and Xavier fell off the bed and hit his head on the first night sort of dampen my mood a little. But we are definitely not ready to bring the boys out on a holiday, not if we wanna enjoy it ourselves.

See the visit to S.E.A. Aquarium on Day 1.

Monday, February 25, 2013

RWS Staycation 2013 - Day 1: S.E.A. Aquarium

Both Lilian and I felt deprived of a good holiday, but we were not confident in bring both boys on an overseas one yet. So we decided to go for a staycation, just to test water and see how the boys react. Plus I really want to bring the boys to visit the newly opened S.E.A. Aquarium.

The S.E.A. Aquarium shares the same building as The Maritime Experiential Museum, so you actually need to enter the museum and walk all the way to the end before you reach the aquarium entrance at B1. The museum does have some interesting exhibits like the full-sized replica of the bow of Admiral Zheng He’s treasure ship (Bao Chuan) Marvel, and the many stories the various exhibits tell.

We were pretty excited about the aquarium. There was a big display on the left of the entrance with what look like a submerged shipwreck to wow us.

As you walk through the clear tunnel, take a moment to look around as there are many different fishes of all colours, shapes and patterns swimming and dancing around. There is also a puppeteer who would engage visitors with different fish puppets to give you more information about the various fishes and encourage you to look for them.

Next up is a glass floor where you can look down to see those fishes that loves swimming close to the seabed. Our curious Lucas think nothing about walking or even jumping on that glass floor just to gain a closer look of what is underneath.

There are a number of huge tanks with countless colour fishes that are so pretty to see. Look at the height of this tank. Venture further in and you would be amazed by the super gigantic tank...

Behold, the Open Ocean zone. I have only seen this sort of display previous in photos or on television. To be able to see this sight in person is awesome. We spent like a good 20 mins just here watching the graceful manta rays glide through the water.

That manta ray you see in the middle of the previous photo is the "star" of this zone. It glides around the tank with a school of small fishes in front all the time. No other manta rays in the tank had that.

Maybe something for this school of rays to inspire to be. Don't you agree they look like they are flying?

Here's a video of the Open Ocean zone.

The following are the close-up shots of the various marine life. I love the colours and the mesmerising movement of the jellyfish.
This is probably the one attraction that I would consider an annual pass. If you haven't been there yet, you are missing something awesome.

Continue to Day 2 USS adventures.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gong Xi Fa Cai 2013!

It's Chinese New Year again, my favourite part of the year. Two national holidays, non-stop feasting and snacking, meeting up with people you seldom see, it's all fun.

This year, Xavier is able to sing all of you two Chinese songs, accompanied by cute dancing from Lucas. Wishing everyone a Healthy and Wealthy Year of the Snake.

Thank you, thank you. I hear shouts for encore! Here are some Gangdam Style Dance attempts by the XL boys. I like Take 2 best. Lucas was so game with his "platform dancing".

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Xavier's 4th Birthday Celebration

Someone told me before that time flies and children grows up very fast. You only realise how fast when you celebrate their birthday. How true. Xavier is FOUR already!

This year his birthday is pretty close to Chinese New Year so we kept it even smaller, splitting it into 3 celebrations. Cake selection was becoming challenging as he would choose a different cake every time we asked him. So with 3 celebration, he get 3 different cakes. Win-win situation. :-)

The first one was at my brother-in-law's place. Lightning McQueen cake, zoom zoom. See how excited he is, beaming from ear to ear.

His cousins were equally excited. Sing song, cut cake time!

Group photos time. Say Lightning McQueen!

Next was the celebration in his school. He wanted another Lightning McQueen cake but we manage to sway him to a Mickey and Friends cake as it seems to resemble his happy class. So there you have the cake, the class and the birthday boy.

He likes bossing around in his class, asking his class if they liked his Mickey and Friend's cake and that all have to sing birthday song to him later. Candles blowing time!

Xavier can't help breaking into the hottest current dance craze, Gangnam Style, with singing from Lucas. Happy faces and family photo time!

The last celebration was a belated one with my parents during the Reunion lunch on Chinese New Year eve lunch. As its gonna be a feast, we restricted Xavier's cake to a small one, more for him to blow his candle then eat the cake. He chose Power Ranger cake this time.

Group photos time. Lucas is happy to give his brother a birthday hug.

Happy 4th Birthday Xavier!

Friday, February 01, 2013

Lucas Promotion to Toddler Class

Today is a big day for Lucas as he is promoted from infant care to toddler class.

The school had been transiting him for the past two weeks, bringing him to his new class to mingle with his future teachers and classmates during the afternoon snack and to take part in some of the class activities.

We are more relax this time, tasking Xavier to play his big brother role and help Lucas ease into his new environment.

Both boys were all cheerful in that morning. Guess Lucas is still unsure what's gonna happen later.

Xavier is happy to show his little brother where to wash his hands in the morning. Then the little boy realise today is different, very different. Turned on his "koala bear" mode and glued himself to Lilian.

Then the time comes for us to leave for work. The teacher has to "peel" crying Lucas off Lilian. Welcome to the Toddler class Lucas.

Well at least the consolation is he didn't cry for long after we left and blend in with his class well. He does try to run off to see his brother in the other class but that should ease after he gets use to the new surrounding.