Dear Daniel (@ 4 months old)

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Dear Daniel

You turned 4 months old today! And mama realised that she hasn’t been recording much of your development. It’s not that you are less precious than your sister. It’s just that Mama is learning how to handle both of you and the learning curve is super steep. Now that things have gotten better, I’d better lock some of those memories here.

I remember during your first month, I asked the confinement lady if she was tired since she had to wake up in the middle of the night to bottle-feed you and her reply was,”He’s easy to take care of. Cry so softly and it’s like whimpering unlike some of the babies who scream. He’s considered gentle to me.”

I laughed at her comments but it’s so true. I have not really heard you cry that loudly. The only few times that you did was when you were hungry in the car and when I showered you. Since then, I make sure that you have your fill before we go places.

You take to the bottle well which is a relief for me since Papa is doing the night shift and that means I do not have to wake up in the middle of the night to feed you. I hope you are not giving him a difficult time! He has to work in the daytime, you know? But he has graciously offered to do the night shift because he knows I need the sleep or maybe he’s worried that I would harm you and Jie Jie if I don’t have enough rest? *Just kidding* On the average, you wake up 2 times for milk according to Papa and we didn’t bother to sleep train you since by doing that, you might wake Jie Jie up who has school the next day. We certainly hope you will grow out of it in due time, just like your Jie Jie.

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I want you to know that you have an awesome sister who treasures you a lot. Whenever Mama asks her to look after you, she would never refuse me because she just wants to spend time with you and take care of you like a good Jie Jie. She wishes that you would grow up quickly though because she can’t wait to play with you.

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You are very predictable and adhere to the same routine each day. You nap every 2 hours and have a longer 3-hour nap in the afternoon before retiring for the day at 7pm each day. In terms of bedtime, I must say you are much better than your sister. I don’t have to sing you songs or rock you to sleep. You just, well, fall asleep. Because of that, I could spend the evening with your sister. What a wonderful brother you are!

Today, you flipped and I missed you in action as your sister was asking me to play with her. I got distracted. Sigh! But it’s a neat surprise when I turned to see you in that “flipped” position! I was quite sure your neck was not strong enough since I didn’t really conduct tummy time often enough for you. So, I was surprised and literally cried for joy.

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Mama likes the way you observe your surrounding and this shows that you have a curious mind (colloquially we term it as ‘kaypoh’) and I absolutely love it when you flash that smile of yours whenever we chat you up. So adorable. Stay that way, will you?

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Mama will try to record your milestones and development diligently from now on. It has not be an easy 4 months but I’m reminded that I can always count on the Lord for strength daily. May you grow up to love the Lord and seek Him always.

Love
Mama

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Be present

I’ve been quiet on this space. Fact is, I have been busy…with the kids.

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It started off with this cake, the first cake I made on the first Friday of January. I was mighty pleased with it but it did take a bit longer to make as compared to the other cakes, just because I couldn’t fully concentrate on working on it since I have two other human beings to take care of.

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I love making figurines and these took me two nights to complete after the family has retired for the day. I spent another afternoon baking the cake and working on the Italian Meringue Buttercream before assembling it. It was fun but I have to admit that it was rather stressful as well. I couldn’t give my full attention to the kids and the cake. As a result, the older girl became difficult to manage and needless to say, frustration gripped me.

The cake was delivered but the heart was unsettled. I enjoy making cakes and appreciate the extra ‘pocket money’ that comes with it. Till now, having no income still needs to get a little used to.  Baking cakes for others gives me a certain amount of self-worth. Of course, I know my identity is in Christ and not in these cakes but …

I know that being a SAHM is a calling and boy, it is so difficult and challenging. I was handling a lot of things at one time and that got me short-tempered and exhausted. I was always in a hurry and when Faith does things slowly, it got to me. Some of the common phrases she would hear from me are “Hurry up!”, “Wait,” “I’m busy. Can you be patient?”

Then I came across this article which spoke to me. It couldn’t be more timely. It’s a wake-up call for me to “be present”. I may physically be in the same room as the kids but my mind is elsewhere. Most times, it would be in the kitchen. Other times, it could be found tangled up in the to-do list.  The kids are smart beings and could catch that no matter how interested I may act.

The day I decided to “be present”, things started to turn for the better. I became more relaxed and started to play (I mean, really, I play) with Faith. She must have sensed that change in me and her usual sweet demeanor returned. We could work on a lot of homelearning stuff together because there is no need to spend time on disciplining her. It’s that wonderful.

I really ought to reflect on myself when I see changes in the kids’ behaviour. More often than not, it is a result of our own attitude and behaviour towards them. If they feel loved and secure, I’m sure they will bloom.

Because of my decision to “be present”, Faith’s emotional tank was filled and she could leave me to cook in the kitchen in peace while she busied herself with her own work. I didn’t have to tell her to do that. Sometimes, she even helped to entertain Dan!

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Then a most wonderful thing happened. I’ve decided to be bold and get the girl to take off her diaper when she goes to school. Her school teachers had told me that she was ready to be potty-trained some time back but I didn’t have faith in her ability to do that. All these while, she would wet her pants at home and I would fly into a rage, thereby frustrating her in the process. This time round, I was all cool and the amazing thing was there had been no “accident” at all except on one occasion when she was too engrossed in play when we were attending a workshop. You have no idea how elated I am and I’m praying that she could continue to keep this up. Perhaps by being relaxed, I have indirectly helped to potty-train her?

These past two weeks have been great. Faith gained back her confidence and was joyful all the time. Even the teachers and principal have given me positive feedback. It’s true to a great extent that the children are a reflection of how the parents treat, nurture and develop them. At least, it’s true in my case. I’m a happier mom and wife now and this also translates into a happy family.

I have had victories but I am very aware that there are still challenges ahead and I need to guard myself lest I fall prey to tiredness, frustration, worldly desires and bad thoughts planted in my mind. Pray…and pray unceasingly.

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[via]

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4: 8

Great start!

How’s your first week of 2016?

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For us (at least for me), it has been progressing well. The girl went back to school and she was so happy! There wasn’t any problem for her to get up each morning because she was so looking forward to meeting her friends and teachers. We started exercising as a family on the first Saturday of 2016 and hopefully, we could make this a regular activity. On the weekdays, Dan and I worked out too! After dropping F off at school, I would return home to work on #bbg or go to the park for a 30 minute brisk walk with Dan. He would then be on his tummy for some muscle strengthening! Our exercise plan seems to be working well. We are definitely taking baby steps!

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Since school started, F has been acting more independently though at times, she still whines and wants someone to play with her. These days, she picks up materials that she wants to work on thus releasing me to do my own stuff or to take care of Dan. There are even times that she helps look after the brother while I busy myself in the kitchen. She’s slowly becoming my good helper and Dan’s companion!

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I’m also getting better at food preparation, all thanks to the thermal cooker (this warrants another post). Faith gets really hungry after school and on the way back, she would ask me if the food is cooked. Thankfully, I have it all prepared and the food is ready once we reach home.

It’s been a good week overall and hopefully, the second week will continue to be one that is bright and cheery!

Hope your week’s been a good one too!

What’s up for 2016?

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Happy New Year, everybody!!

I’m one of those who makes resolution every year because I like the challenge (crazy me) and also it serves to remind me of my focus for the year. So here goes. I have eight main ones.

#1 Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) has done the family a great help in understanding His word better. All of us have been in the programme for the past 2 years and last year the hubs got more involved by serving in an area. That also translates to more time away from the family. But I think it’s good for him to continue to serve in that capacity and I’m sure the Lord will strengthen both adults to deal with whatever come our way.

This year, we should still be in BSF studying the book of Revelation. Yup, all 4 of us and we aim not to miss any lesson!

That includes Dan of course and I’m praying real hard that there will be a place for him (the infant class has been full since last year). I’ll continue to pull the girl out from school on the day when there’s BSF because to us, knowing God is ultimately more important than having more academic knowledge.

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#2 I’ll continue to prepare home cooked food and to add to that, to prepare Bento for the hubs to bring to office. Erm, I think he needs to watch his weight and therefore his diet because he has been expanding horizontally since coming back from Boston. Granted that it’s because of the nature of his job and there’s no time for him to exercise since he will be helping me with the kids when he comes back from work. Plus he works night shift (taking care of Dan) so the least I could do is to help him with his diet.

We want to be healthy and not fall sick right, don’t we? So eating right is crucial. It’s more important that exercising although you need both to have optimum results.

Please note that I’m not talking about dieting which is a different thing altogether. I don’t encourage dieting because more often than not, it won’t work in the long run.

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#3 Cook a variety of dishes. Okay, I think I need more variety in my food. I purchased a few cookbooks but I’ve no time to experiment with the recipes. So I hope to be able to cook a few new dishes and add them to the repertoire of meals that I prepare for the family. And every year, I resolve to learn to cook Peranakan dishes and every year, I failed to do that. Is it really that difficult, Lynn?

#4 Exercise together with the hubs. The hubs and I decided that we would still go ahead with #bbg. I’ve taken a look at NTC and Popsugar training Apps but because I’m lazy to design a training plan for ourselves, I think following #bbg is the way to go. It’s tough (oh, so tough!) but I think we must learn to persevere. Personally, I want to run a 5km and then 10km race this year. Who’s interested?

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Did my first run in 2016!

Would love to do a kids dash with Faith. Either GE or SCM ones.

#5 This year, I resolve to enrol F in music class. I don’t know if she will like it but I should at least expose her. If she doesn’t like it in the end, then it’s okay. I didn’t have any music lessons when I was young because my mom doesn’t see the benefits of it even though I wanted to learn. Till now, I’m a bit sore about it. Hahaha..

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Update: Got her enrolled and she started the lesson today!

I will also make swimming a weekly thing and teach F the sports. Not sure if I want to enrol her in a class since I can ‘teach’ but we’ll see how.

I had wanted to put her in some Chinese enrichment class last year but since we put her in school for an additional one hour for Chinese lesson, I don’t see the urgent need to do so. She really enjoys her Chinese lessons in school which is really good.

#6 Do not take more than 1 cake order per month. Much as I enjoy making cakes for others, I have to say that each cake takes up a lot of time and usually it eats into the time which I could spend with Faith and working on resources for her. Also, I compromised on family time during the weekends when there are orders and the hubs has to take care of the kids. Though it’s so kind of him to do that because he wants to support my passion, I think it’s rather unfair to him.

So this year, I will be taking fewer orders but bake more for leisure which makes me happier. There are really a lot to learn. This year shall be a year of learning for me.

#7 Meet up with friends and extend help where necessary. In other words, SERVE. I think I am really poor at this. In 2015, friends asked me out more than I asked them. I’m not exactly an introvert but I think I’ve decided not to make the first move because I wanted time for myself – ME time. But there is value in meeting up with friends to refresh and to be refreshed. Also, I’ve received so much practical help from friends in 2015 that I think the Lord is telling me to do likewise. “Get out of your comfort zone!”

#8 Take care of myself. You know, as a SAHM, we don’t really see the need to dress up cos we are often at home and dressing up (when we need to go out) takes too much of our time. At times, we don’t have time to erm… brush our teeth or clean our face because the kids wake up when we are in dreamland and we have to start ‘working’. In the end, we forgot about cleaning ourselves. I know this sounds yucky but it happened to me once! Then slowly I realised I prefer to dress in t-shirt and shorts and then look like a typical auntie.

Gua gua leh (Goodness gracious me!)

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Btw, this skin brush is really superb! Cleans the face so well!

So as a second time mother now, I make it a point to take care of myself. Skincare is important because I’m getting old and I really ought to put in effort in taking care of my skin. I should take the time to dress well too. I know confidence comes from within but looking good gives extra boost of confidence instantly.

I must also remember that I’ve a toddler girl who is observing and learning everything from me, from how I treat others to how I take care of myself. So I’d better buck up.

So, there you have it. Quite achievable right?

What’s yours? 😉