Goodbye Virginia Hello Singapore Part 2

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Our first half of the flight back from Washington D.C to Korea was a crazy one. Totally insane! We had the worst time with Baby Dyann for the first time ever. She was extremely difficult for the first few hours even when it was already her sleeping time. We felt so lost and frustrated with her until I could not supress my frustrations and had to discipline her in the lavatory. I felt terrible but I knew that was the only way to stop her from all her tantrums at the same time not being a nuisance to the other passengers. Despite all the tears, I managed to rock her to sleep right after all those drama. Fortunately things got so much better there after and we had no issues with her at all during the flight from Korea to Singapore. Phew! As usual Darian was fantastic throughout the flight! He is really amazing can! heehee 🙂

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Many people were curious about how we manage to bring back all our luggage. They really couldn’t imagine that. So did we actually. I have to say thanks to Papa Yap for being so strong! Even one of the porter mentioned that when he helped with our luggage. We had a total of 8 big luggage, 1 big backpack, 1 baby bag, Darian’s backpack, my handbag, a stroller and two kids… It’s crazy alright!

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We could hardly contain our excitement when we were about to reach Singapore. Darian even cheered in the plane when the plane landed. That was how happy he was. It just showed how much we had missed home and the people. It was really heart-warming to see all those familiar faces at the airport welcoming us back. We felt the love. Thanks for coming! And also thanks for all the welcome back gifts for the kids! They are definitely so blessed. 🙂

As expected we spent our first few days with our parents and relatives, eating lots of delicious homecooked food and local delights. They were so yummy that my diet plan has been shelved for a moment. Haha…  I’m sure the grandparents and relatives are also elated to see the grandkids back in Singapore too. Darian and Dyann absolutely enjoyed their company and have a whale of time playing with them.

Frankly, we were not exactly too affected by the jet lag, but the weather. We definitely took a much longer time adjusting to the weather than the time difference. Is the weather becoming hotter and more humid? Or is it just us? Hmm… It was to the extend that Dyann developed bad rashes all over her face, neck and limbs due to the weather. We had to bring Dyann to the clinic on the third day and that was when I dropped my phone on the road which was never found again. boohoo… Seriously it wasn’t the phone that matters but the photos inside. I lost a number of photos as I didn’t have the time to upload them. I was really upset with that!

Just nearly a year absence, things seem to be falling apart in the house. We spent our first week unpacking our luggage, getting some household replacement, stocking up some necessities, sorting out some administrative stuff. Until now I am left with one last luggage of toy to clear. Darian Yap seriously has too many toys… Anyways a big thank you to my parents in law for maintaining our house. My mother in law even got the kitchen stocked up with food and drinks for us. How awesome is that! 🙂

Finally the whole episode of our life in States had come to an end beautifully. We certainly brought back lots of happy and sweet memories. Once again, thanks to my dearest husband, dearest papa to our two lovely kids, thank you for making this possible for our little family. We love you very much! 🙂

Nevertheless, we are all glad to be back home. Nowhere better than home. Truly! 🙂

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Goodbye Virginia Hello Singapore Part 1

Hi folks! We are back in Singapore since 24th May. For the past two weeks, we were busy settling down, unpacking and handling some unexpected little issues that cropped up along the way. Finally, everything seems to be on track already and I have time to blog again. 🙂 It has been quite a while since I last blogged. I had actually wanted to do some updates before returning back to Singapore, yet back then we were occupied with all the logistics and administrative works, as well as going for our vacation in the east coast as a finale for our US expedition. With all those tedious happenings, I was physically and mentally drained which left me literally zero energy to be sitting in front of the laptop. Therefore, this post and the next will be a summary of our final lap in US as well as the transition from US to Singapore. Sad to say that there will not be many photos attached as I dropped my phone on the third day after we returned in Singapore… *sigh*

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We were officially ‘home-less’ in the US on the 7th May and began ‘hotel-hopping’ before flying back to Singapore on the 22nd. Luckily for us, we managed to sell away our car, furniture to Papa Yap’s friends which made moving out of our apartment much easier. We stayed on the Quantico base camp for 2 nights and attended Papa Yap’s graduation on the 8th. I am really proud of him completing this course with great results and be recognised for his effort. Although he didn’t receive the top international award, his result was still in the top ten percent of the school. Still a job well done Papa! 🙂

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After Papa Yap’s graduation, we flew to Los Angeles the next morning and began our well deserved vacation in the East Coast where we spent our first 6 days free and easy driving from LA to San Diego after which we joined a tour agency for the next 8 days, travelling to San Francisco and Las Vegas. It was a wholesome experience and we enjoyed it to the max, albeit tiring. Having to shuffle around hotels with big luggage and two young kids, waking up really early to join the tour, is definitely not easy. To add on, long distance travels makes it even more challenging. Thank goodness, everything went on pretty smooth for us and Papa Yap and I were glad to receive many compliments about the kids and us throughout the tour. Also, we manage to meet up with Papa Yap’s cousin Zheng Hao and his girlfriend in San Francisco too. How nice! 🙂

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In fact, we could have return straight back to Singapore from LA if we didn’t have so many luggage. Seriously in that way we could also shorten our return flight journey by at least 5 hours… However, due to the number of luggage we had, there was no way that we could bring all over. Hence, our friends on Quantico base camp kept our luggage for us until we are back on the 22nd. Thanks to the Smiths Family! 🙂 So we spent our last day in Quantico running some last minute errand, meeting up with the Smiths and sorting out all the luggage.

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It’s unbelievable that 11 months just went by this fast. This whole US expedition for our family had been a totally amazing one. In this short period, we met many nice friends, travelled to a number of states, learnt about the American’s culture, experienced the four seasons and spent a lot of wonderful family time together. For Papa Yap, it seemed like a fantastic break from his usual hectic work life. As for us, we absolutely enjoyed having Papa Yap to be home for dinner everyday, giving us his undivided attention. What more could we asked for. Most importantly, we realised the kids have grown much attached to him because of this trip too. It’s really a good thing! 🙂 I must say this whole episode would not be the same, if not for all our EWS friends and their family. A big thank you to our American and International friends who simply made our stay there a much welcome and special one. It is really our pleasure to know them and their family. We hope that one day we will meet again wherever it may be and of course if they ever visit Singapore, Papa Yap and I will certainly be more than glad to play host. So till then! 🙂

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A little homesick

It has been almost three months in the States and I think I’m feeling a little homesick since last month. To be honest, I broke down recently which until now I find myself rather emotional, easily irritated and grouchy at the same time. Somehow it kind of affects my Philadelphia trip too. Boohoo 😦 I miss my home, the people and the food. Even though we are strongly independent back in Singapore, at least we know that there are still support for us if we really do need it. Over here, it’s totally impossible. We are all to ourselves.

Just earlier this month, we had quite an experience with the smoke detector at night, and nobody seem to care… I mean there wasn’t even a single soul looking out from their balcony or coming out of their apartment to check things out. It all started while baking a pizza when a lot of smoke was like escaping from the oven causing the smoke detector to sound off. It’s really scary when you don’t even know how to stop it. Well that deafening siren did eventually stop after like 10 minutes or so. The kids and I were totally freaked out by then. Thank you to my always calm husband who handle the situation well. I doubt I will be using that oven ever again! Haha 😉

Papa Yap has a homecoming school ball to attend which I can’t even go with him because of the kiddos. This really sucks… Moment like this, I wish we are back home. At least I know that there are people whom we can entrust our babies to!

Talking about convenience, there is no way better than home! Seriously be it public transport or getting necessities! Back home, when I don’t feel like cooking, I could just bring the kiddos down to get food which apparently is almost a NO NO here. Double Ds and myself are literally cooped up at home until Papa Yap comes back. There is no way that we could possibly go out without a car. Even with car, you need a drive out to get your stuff. How troublesome is that… Hence I must always ensure that we get all of the needs during our weekly grocery shopping.

Well the only good thing about this stay is that I love the fact that Papa Yap is here to study so realistically he has more family time for us. Most days, he would be back by 5pm and we usually have dinner together. To me this is wonderful enough. Back in Singapore, we hardly can indulge in such simple contentment except for weekends and there are even some weekends where he has to work. So where is that so called work life balance?! Haha 😉

Sometimes I wish Papa Yap wasn’t the chosen one for this course and to be given this golden opportunity. I would rather be living in Singapore, you know. But in hindsight, it is really great for his army career. I must say he is currently doing quite well in this course and I am very proud of him! 🙂 Keep it up Papa!

The kids are generally happy regardless of where they are. As long as there are food, play and most importantly their mama and papa around. They are easily contented unlike adults. But trust me, they will be happier with their grandparents, grandaunts, granduncles, aunts, uncles and friends around. Like Papa Yap’s friend who came here two years back, told us that his wife and kids wouldn’t want another stay in Florida. They want to be in Singapore with their extended families members. This is exactly how I feel too.

Due to this stay, I certainly have learn to appreciate Singapore, it’s convenience and people around us more. I thank my parent in laws for helping us out with our home affairs. Also to my parents and sis who give me the moral support that I needed. I know both our parents and relatives are least worried for us and their beloved grandkids knowing that we are capable enough to look after ourselves and the kiddos but I am pretty sure they get a little anxious when they read scary news about US. Yeah don’t worry, everything will be fine.

Looking forward to seeing all those people who cared for us and whom we care for. Till then 🙂

For now I need more positive vibes, keeping my sanity to enjoy this long ‘holiday’. Cheers! 🙂

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Settling down – Accommodation

We spent three nights in an inn before shifting into our apartment because we need to get the basic furniture for the apartment. Yes the apartments here are mainly empty. Can you even imagine going around unfamiliar places sourcing for stuff with a 4 year-old and 11mth old. Gosh… Again we were lucky that Papa Yap’s friend Feroz sold us all his second-hand furniture and household items as he was going to stay in the camp instead. At the same time there were some miscellaneous stuff left behind from Papa Yap’s friend Danny. Thus this really saved us the hassle of going around sourcing for furniture with the duo and at the same time, sped up our time to settle down in Virginia. Basically the big-ticket items we bought were: sofa, dining set, 44 inch television, big shelf, coffee table, 2 small side tables, 3 lamps, bed frame and mattress, 2 high bar chair, vacuum cleaner. Along with household items, kitchen wares, tools and some random stuff.

Well these are essential enough for us to move into the apartment sooner and save up the money on the inn stay. We had settled the apartment lease on Thursday and started shifting the furniture on Friday. So my job was to handle the kiddos and do the unpacking, cleaning and washing while Papa Yap did the manual work. He carried whichever piece of furniture and boxes that he could manage, over from a storage room in another building. It was really tedious for him until he went to Walmart to purchase a push cart which really aided him in transferring the stuff over. However there were still a number of things that required an extra pair of hands and thanks to Feroz for coming over on Saturday to help us with the remaining stuff! Yes, we did manage to shift into our apartment on the fourth night! Kudos to Papa Yap and of course Feroz for lending his hands! 🙂

Our Apartment

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Living hall with a fireplace

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balcony with wood decking

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Open concept kitchen completed with island, refrigerator, oven, stove, microwave and dishwasher. I still don’t see the need for me to use the dishwasher. I am really not that lazy. It takes about an hour to wash the dishes while I could have finished the job in like 15 minutes. So why use the dishwasher? But it is definitely useful when I decide to be lazy at times and perhaps during winter time as well.

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Spacious room

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Big bathroom. A long vanity with two sinks and a big bathtub.

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Closet in the bathroom

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Storage room outside the bathroom

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Washing machine and dryer in another room.

Here are the facilities available for the residents.

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Entrance to the club house and office

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Fireside lounge

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lounge

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The other side of the lounge

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Billiard table

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Athletic centre – gym

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Business centre. Free internet access in both PC and there is a copy and printer machine available too.

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Way to the swimming pool.

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Basketball court

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Playground

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Barbecue area with gas grill

Definitely I do have plenty of ideas to spruce up the apartment and the balcony. But it is really not necessary for me to spend such money considering that it would be just a short-term stay. Totally not practical at all. I would rather spend the money on food or shopping. Yes shopping! You know how crazy it is to be staying near an outlet mall! Haha… It’s like a paradise for women! 🙂 Anyway we are residing outside the base camp which is strategically convenient with a lot of shops and restaurants nearby us that is like 5 to 10 minute drive away. Thank you Danny for the great recommendation and help. We absolutely love the tranquillity here, the cozy apartment and neighbourhood. 🙂

Living in our simple yet cozy little apartment where we called home until next year. 🙂

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Living hall with a round dining table. The carpeted flooring is certainly great for cold weather especially that the entire house is air-conditioned. It does keep our feet warm. But with the kiddos eating around the table, dropping little food crumbs here and there, spilling water. Oh I simply couldn’t stand it. We realised that the Americans has the habit of wearing shoes into the house. Well I suppose it’s their culture and of course I will not insist them to remove their shoes. So each time when the service people leave, I would start vacuuming! Haha…

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TV area with next to the fireplace.

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High chairs at the Island.

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Our room. We decided not to fix up the bed frame and bought another mattress from IKEA. So there is plenty of sleeping space for us! 🙂

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It’s really great to be sleeping with the duo. I have not try co-sleeping with Baby Dyann before. She has been sleeping on her bed since birth and at three months old, she has been sleeping together with Darian in their bedroom. So right now, I am actually enjoying sleeping next to her. heehee 😉

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The duo love the oversized bathtub for sure! 😉

Alright, it is certainly going to be an enjoyable and wonderful stay for us! Awesomeness! 🙂

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Mom’s 48

***5th May 13***

Had a mini birthday celebration for my mom at my place as they all wanted to make it convenient and easier for me with the two kiddos. Bought some dishes including salted egg crabs and chilli crabs, from a quite popular zichar store at Punggol Field but we were very disappointed with the taste. My mom can cook so much better alright… That’s just how disappointing it is. Nonetheless, I believed my mother is still happy to get a birthday treat from us and the birthday gift and cake as well.

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Looks good but did not taste that good. The chilli crab gravy does not taste good at all. Taste rather weird in fact. The salted egg crabs were quite alright. The prawns used in the claypot beancurd and seafood were like over cooked until they were so soggy. The chicken wings and french beans just taste normal. Nothing to rave about. The best dish was the fried mee sua.

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Fruit cake from Prima Deli

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Happy 48th birthday to my mother.

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The two lovely duo with their ah ma and ah gong.

So wishing my mom with good health, wealth and happiness always. 🙂

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Self portraits of Darian and us

***11th April 13***

Darian’s first drawing of himself and us. 😉
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We were all lazing on our bed on Friday night while Darian played with the Ipad. He was playing some apps before he started doodling on the Ipad. He then showed us a drawing of meimei. And we were amazed by his drawing with little details like the hair and hands. Haha… Well he has never draw any stick man before and so we were totally surprised. He began to draw all of us and it was really funny that he drew Papa Yap with a round body. He insisted that Papa Yap is fat and has a round tummy. Wahahah… Seriously funny kid… Of course Papa Yap doesn’t have one. 😉

Well done boy! Love you! 🙂

Hearty big breakkie

Prepared the hearty big breakfast for Papa Yap and he was totally in love with it. Awesome! 🙂 It is seriously one sinful delight that should only be eaten like once a month. Looking at the amount of oil from the bacon… wow… amazingly alot eh! Haha… Anyway the scrambled eggs was my very first attempt and Papa Yap gave a thumbs up for it. According to him, the scrambled egg is really yummy and the taste of it reminded him of his beloved late granny (who dotes on him very much). Glad that he enjoys this so much. So who needs Mc Big breakfast now when we can have this hearty big breakfast. Heehee 😉

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CNY at Punggol Lodge

***16th February 13***

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We had invited Papa Yap’s OCS friends and their family to our place for a CNY gathering session. We are really glad that most of the peeps turn up, making the gathering a successful one. So thanks to Jeff’s, Richard’s, Adrel’s, Luke’s, Joel’s, TT’s, Shaiful’s family and Lek for coming by. There were totally so many kiddos in the house, just like a mini childcare. Perhaps there will be more juniors joining us in near future. heehee 😉 For dinner we had ordered mee siam, chicken wings, nuggets, fishballs and curry puffs. On top of these, Lesley had prepared potato cutlet and jelly as well! And for the kids, I had cooked macaroni soup for them as I don’t think they will want to eat mee siam.

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Yu sheng from Nihon Mura

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Getting ready to toss for another wonderful year of happiness, good health and prosperity! Huat huat huat! 🙂

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The boys washing their hands right after the Lo hei session. Haha 😉

As it was the seventh day of lunar new year , the ren ri 人日, we ordered yu sheng for another round of lo hei session. The seventh day, traditionally known as the common man’s birthday, is the day when everyone grows one year older.  It is also the day when tossed yu sheng, is eaten for continued wealth and prosperity. So how can we not have a lo hei session then? Heehee 😉

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The BFFs

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Meimei with Auntie Yanni

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Adorable baby Tristan

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Our group photo. ( missing out TT’s family and Lek who left earlier)

It was definitely one awesome evening, catching up with them all. And I am sure the kids had a great time too. Marvellous! We were saying that we will make it like a yearly affair until one day when the kids decide not to tag along with us. Heehee… Looking forward to our next round of gathering, most probably at Adrel and Christina’s new apartment! So till then 😉

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CNY: Papa’s comds came to visit

***15th February 13***

It’s friday, the sixth day of CNY. We held a CNY open house at 7pm for Papa’s Yap subordinates. There were just so many guys in the house! Darian was happy to see them. Initially he had some reservations playing with them. After sometime he tried to pull a random guy that he had eyed on into his playroom. Then very soon he took out all his Nerf guns and played with them! My goodness, shooting the bullets all over the house… Haha… 🙂

Oh seriously, what is CNY without Blackjack? It’s like a must do activity during CNY! Heehee. 😉 While  half of the guys and Papa Yap were in ‘card battles’, the others were playing with Darian and watching some DVD movie. One of them bought along Yu Sheng and so they had a Lo Hei session before they left around 10.45pm.

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First batch to arrive.

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First group shot

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Blackjack time

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Some random shot

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It’s the boys’ game.

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And the boys were all happily playing the Nerf!

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Papa Yap distributing red packets

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Second group shot

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Papa Yap Lo Hei with his comds. Huat ah!

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The kids bedroom

The kids’ bedroom is all ready! We have gotten the pretty decals from Decorette Store and photo frames from Ikea to decorate the room. We took almost three hours (with many disruptions by the kids) to install the decals. I am sure that we could complete the task in less than 2 hours time without the kids. It is not that difficult after all. All you need are some masking tape, a pen knife and card to do the magic. Just have to be extra careful, slow and steady when pasting and peeling the decals and it will definitely be a job well done. 🙂

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Papa Yap was really excited about doing up the kids’ bedroom. On the night after we received the decals, he insisted to install the decals while meimei was sleeping. I thought he was crazy! It was already 10pm and he was very persistent about it until meimei woke up! Arghh… After which I stopped him from continuing. Totally Insane! Haha…

We started our groom my room project at 11am and completed everything about 2pm. We were very satisfied with the end result! The room looks great with the decals. Loving it. Even Darian thinks that their bedroom looks good. Awesome! 🙂

Taataa!

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