15 signs that you're a mum of 3

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 20, 2017
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I've always wanted to have two kids. At least, growing up, that was what I thought I wanted.

So something must have shrouded my sanity somewhere along the journey of motherhood when I decided to go for a third one, and seemingly bite off more than I can chew. Come on, even my kids can help me to count, with no extra help in the house, I have two and only two hands, right? Sure, I have two legs but they can't help me unhook my nursing bra, hang the laundry or babywear a tired toddler. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking when I told the hubby "Let's try for another baby?", even though I do remember that I felt very passionately about it.

No, it wasn't about wanting to have a son because I would have cherished and loved a third daughter all the same. All I wanted was another healthy baby delivered into our arms because I think I wouldn't have been able to withstand a loss a second time. It wasn't about wanting to be the one with the most kids among my friends or trying to boast to the world that "Look, it's not so hard after all!", which by the way would have been a complete lie. I think, I really think it boiled down to our love for kids and a craving for a big family. Squabbles and fights aside, I see firsthand on how my girls love each other to the moon and back and to me, the best gift I can ever give to them is a sibling to love, to hold and to depend on for life.

So, it only made sense to me to add another one into the equation, even though 1 + 1 = 3 doesn't really tally. To tell you the truth, if I could have as many arms as an octopus (did you know that they have six arms and two legs?) and 0.00001% of Mark Zuckerburg's net worth in my bank, I seriously wouldn't mind having half a dozen kids or more. Yes, I do miss being pregnant and having a newborn to cradle although I think we are quite done for now. Well, let's just say that while this road hadn't been easy, becoming a mum of three is, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I've ever made.

******

Looking back on my motherhood journey so far, while becoming a mum was definitely a big change and an unprecedented challenge of my life, having two kids seemed to be a smoother transition but adding a third one into the brood has altered the dynamics and it is now a different ball game altogether.

Even though I can now be considered somewhat of an expert at breastfeeding, making dinner with a toddler on my chest or taking kids out on the public transport, and despite having been a mum of three for nearly two whole years already, there are so many things that I've yet to master and so many lessons for me to learn every day.

It's definitely not an easy role to be a parent, even more so when you have a brood to look after. So, to fellow mums and dads out there, let's just stop for a second from whatever it is that we are doing all the time and give ourselves a pat on the back. Now, just to give everyone an insight into how being a stay-at-home mum feels like to me at this point, here are some telltale signs that you are a parent of three or more.



1) You realise how outnumbered you are
Two hands for three kids? That's seriously not enough. I used to hold one kid in each hand but now, I can't even do that. Don't get me started on having just a pair of eyes too, because they are simply not enough when your kids decide to run off in different directions. Simultaneously.

2) You hesitate when writing their birth certificate numbers
When it comes to writing the D.O.B for the kids, I think we can still manage though we might take a while to write down the correct year. But if we are talking about birth certificate numbers, yup, we usually jumble up some of the numbers, or get confused about the alphabet at the back.

3) You call them by the wrong name at times
"Mama, did you just call me Meimei's name?" Well, hello, it's hard enough that all your names start with the same letter and have two syllabus and when I'm in a rush, I just can't think clearly okay. Well, at least it makes all of you laugh whenever I do it. Not on purpose.

4) You used to think you nag a lot. Now, you just can't stop
"Have you packed your school bag?", "Can you stop picking out the vege?", "Please don't draw all over my sofa!!!". Yes, I keep telling myself that I don't want to be a naggy mum but after having three kids who are in different phases of growing up and can push my buttons in all sorts of ways, that hope has gone out of the window.

5) You know how it is to feel like a zombie
Bedtime reading with the eldest. Having to help the middle child wee wee in the wee hours, or worse, having to clean up wet bedsheets. Waking up every two hourly in the night to feed the youngest. That, on top of having to deal with household chores for a family of five, fetching three kids to and fro school and classes, running errands and making sure everyone's needs are met, well, it's no wonder we seldom get time to rest and have permanent eye bags.

6) You rarely get to visit the loo in peace
Trust me, something is bound to happen whenever you need to go to the toilet, even if you already tried to sneak in. The youngest, who bangs wildly and attempts to break open the door should you close it, likes to cling onto your leg and stare at you while you do your business (please tell me I'm not the only one). The two elder ones will squabble, shout for "Mummy" or decide it is THE time they need you for something. Anything.

7) You start to set alarms and jot down events in your calendar
No matter how good your memory is, or was before the kids came along, the fact is with more than one kid who go to school and have dismissal at different timings on different days of the week, chances are you will likely need more than one reminder a day. The last thing you want is to forget to pick one of them up, right? Not to mention that you have to attend school events with the elder ones, go for parent-teacher meetings, keep check of doctor appointments and vaccinations for the youngest, and ferry the kids to and fro their enrichment classes. Trust me, it gets confusing at times.

8) You make the most of hand-me-downs
You are thankful for hand-me-downs from your elder two and utilise them to the max, even if it means dressing the baby girl in blue rompers with robot prints or making the boy sit in a bright pink stroller. Yes, new clothes and new baby essentials are overrated because you know jolly well how fast the kid is going to outgrow them. In fact, with three kids, things will inevitably be tight financially and so you try to save in all kinds of ways. Every little bit counts, right?

9) You don't have high hopes of getting into a private hire car
Nowadays, when we try to Grab a private car, the drivers freak out when they see me with three kids and tell me that it is against the safety law. Then they tell us to try and get a GrabFamily car, which by the way has only two booster seats so it defeats the purpose when you have three kids, or just take a taxi which we all know doesn't come equipped with any child-friendly seats yet they comply with the law and can take as many kids as you have. The funny thing is if these private car drivers see me with just one or two kids, they are usually willing to pick us up. Yes, I can't figure out the logic of it all and in any case, we still prefer to stick to public transport as much as possible.

10) You will always have an odd one out when riding on roller coasters
Actually, it's not just roller coasters but anything that requires you to be in pairs, in particularly many of the theme park rides. It's usually the eldest who ends up sitting alone or with a stranger because you and your hubby need to accompany the two younger ones who are not tall enough to sit on their own. Or, if the youngest hasn't even reached the height limit, either you and your hubby will need to be with him/her which still leaves you with an odd number. Yes, that's the arithmetic about having a family of five and no helper.

11) You start to have simple birthday parties or just combine them
Yes, you did wish you could have one awesome party for each kid, year after year. But if you have three kids who are born very near each other's birthday like mine (two of their birthdays are only two days apart and the other is less than a month away), it's gonna be a huge, huge challenge to keep up with the party planning. If you are inviting family members, it's also hard to keep getting them to turn up for the parties which are close to each other. So yeah, don't feel so guilty about not having a grand celebration or combining them because that's just how it needs to be sometimes.

12) You are cooler, calmer and more confident
Baby crying? Let him be. Toddler in terrible twos? Bring it on. Siblings fighting? Tell them to handle it themselves. That's one good thing about being an third time mum because with experience, wisdom and knowledge under your belt, you are way more chill than you were when you first embarked on the motherhood journey. Most of the time now, you know what you need to do, and what not to do, when sticky situations arise and you've learnt to not be bothered by what others may think.

13) You get used to the question "Are they all yours?"
Seriously, I don't know how many times I've answered that question already, especially to curious strangers we meet on the streets. Yes, I'm the mum and I don't have a maid, yes these beings all miraculously came out of my womb, yes I'm happy to have a boy but that's not why I kept trying, yes I know I look haggard, thank you very much and just so you know, I love all of these shrieky little things and wouldn't trade any of them for the world.

14) You wonder why you thought that two wasn't enough
Many of my friends stopped at two so it sometimes makes me wonder why I didn't. Nope, wondering doesn't mean regretting at all. I do think about the times when I had only my two girls and how life has changed since the baby boy came along. It can be unconvincing to try to motivate people to go for their third one when they see how upside down my life is now, but for myself, I know I've never for a second looked back. Which brings me to the last point.

15) You go to bed with a thankful heart
It takes some time to tuck three kids into bed and when you've done so and the house is quiet, you take in all in - the golden silence, the short-lived down time, the feeling of accomplishment, yes, you feel like you've scaled Mount Everest after conquering a day of battles, setbacks, tantrums, whines, bickers and needs. Thrice. And when you do get some time to breathe, you feel the gratitude deep within, you know you are blessed, you feel thankful with every beat of your heart that you have three adorable little ones to love, to hug, to kiss, to look after and to live for.

Life is beautiful as a mum of three. Yes. I know it might not always look like it but trust me, it truly is. As for those eyebags, I think I can live with them for now because one day when the kids are all grown up, I might actually miss having to wake up in the middle of the night for somebody who needs me.

******

This post is part of the "A SAHM's Story" series where I share my experiences, tips and reflections of being a stay-at-home mum. It takes a SAHM to truly understand another and while many might assume that we are tai tais or that we get to shake legs all day long, only we know the amount of toil and sweat we put in just to get past each day. Likewise, only we know the true rewards and unparalleled joy that this job has brought us. Being a mum, and one who gets to witness all her children's milestones and spend precious time with them every day, is still the best thing that has ever happened to me. While I gave my kids life, they gave me a reason to live.


What being a Navy Wife means...

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 13, 2017
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I guess I didn't really know what I was signing up for when I decided to marry a sailor.

It's the same as when I decided to quit my job and followed him to Sweden for his naval training, when we put on our wedding bands and became husband and wife, when we started a family and became Mum and Dad in a home away from home. Sure, you can hear, read and imagine all you want about living abroad, about marriage and about parenthood but when your time comes, you are never fully prepared for it because life is just too full of surprises.

Come to think of it, that's also the beauty of living too, right? That you can never be a know-it-all, that you still stumble and fall no matter how cautious you are, that you learn to pick yourself up, that you become wiser not just with age, but with every experience that makes you stronger and better, that you realise you want to live the Carpe Diem way because life is unpredictable and too short for regrets.

Being a navy wife has taught me so much about life. It has made me more independent, it has given me confidence and strength, it has taught me that nothing is too hard for me to achieve as long as I put my heart and soul into it.

******

I can still recall the first few years of being attached to this man that I now call husband. While I was still enjoying hall life in university and pursing my bachelor's degree, he had already started serving his bond and begun his career in the navy. He is that kind of person who knew what he wanted to be since the beginning, whose reply to the question of why he wanted to join the navy was because he "loved the sun, the sand and the sea", who was born not to be work in an office and be clad in a suit and tie but to be a sailor in uniform and boots and to serve as a son of the sea.

There were things which I felt thankful for, and still do up to this day, to be a navy wife.

I am proud to be with someone who is imbued with a strong sense of patriotism and not only does he love our country, he feels the urge to do his part in protecting our shores, in keeping our people safe and in giving his all to this tiny red dot we call home.

I am grateful that he has a stable job because when I first started working, my pay as a media executive was nothing to boast about and it also seemed like I could get retrenched any minute while he was, and still is, the one with an iron rice bowl. Now that I've 'retired' from the workforce to be a stay-at-home mum and look after our trio, he is the one who brings home the bacon and makes ends meet for our family.

I have much less worry about him going astray given that he is surrounded mainly by manly men in his workplace. Yes, this was one of the things that made me go "Hooray" when I first knew that he was in the navy. Trust me, when you are a plain Jane like me and your other half is a charismatic, wildly popular guy among the girls, it matters. After 14 years of being together, and now that our marriage is stable and has a good chance of lasting forever, I can see how much he has grown and matured from a rather impulsive chap to a mature, sensible man. And I'm lucky to be the one, his one.



But that said, there are so many things about being a navy wife that only a fellow navy wife would understand. Yes, it does take courage and valour to be a sailor but you know what, I think it takes courage and valour to be a sailor's wife too, just that we are neither seen as heroines nor are our roles celebrated or recognised as much.

So if you are a navy wife, or a military wife, like me, and if you find yourself nodding in agreement with the truths that I'm going to say, let me give you an empathetic hug from wife to wife, a high five for making it this far, and a huge pat on the back to motivate each other to keep going strong.

We believe that absence makes the heart fonder
Yes, we have to. Considering how far apart we can be from our spouse and how those days add up to make us have a taste of loneliness over and over again, we have to remind ourselves that our love stays strong, our faith stays unwavering and our marriage stays intact.

We don't really understand his job scope
Even if we do take the time and effort to listen to his description on what he does on board, what goes on during a sailing trip, how the ship functions or the dangers faced at sea, the fact is we still don't understand much of it. Yup, and don't get me started on all the military jargon which is too complicated for my simple mind to make sense of. But what we do know is that his job is vital and that he plays an indispensable role and all we can do is to support and cheer him on.

We don't ask Where, Who, Why or What, only When
If the hubby tells us he is going out for sailing and will not be back for an extended period of time, we don't really ask much questions except the date that he goes and the date that he is expected to return. Yup, the latter can fluctuate but at least we have a good idea of when we, and our kids, can look forward to seeing him again.

We worry because we care
It doesn't matter how many times he has sailed or how we have gotten used to it. The fact remains that we still worry every time he is deployed or goes out to sea because we know, we do know, the risk is always there. Our hearts skip a beat when we hear about accidents at sea and if your hubby is like mine who is submerged most of the time when he sails, you practically don't even get to contact him much at all till the day he returns to shore. I think this constantly worrying is partly why I am getting more white hair too, in addition to being driven up the wall by the kids when he is not around to share my woes with me.

We depend on no one but ourselves
When we are girlfriends and wives, we adapt to loneliness and learn to pass time when our other half is away. When we become mothers, we learn to survive, and eventually excel, at solo parenting. At least, that is how I've trained myself to look after three kids with no help, sometimes not because I want to, but because I have to. If the hubby is out at sea, unless it is a case of life threatening emergency, if not we know that we'd better just handle the situation on our own because he already has so much on his plate. The least we can do is let him return to a home and kids who have been well taken care of in his absence.

We stop asking "What time will you be back?"
I used to look forward to having family dinners with the hubby whenever he is not sailing. Alas, it turns out that even if he is on shore, he will be busy working in his office or on the ship, to the point that he skips his meals and works so much overtime that we seldom get to see him before the kids' bedtime. So nowadays, I either put his leftover food in the fridge or not cook his portion at all since he comes back home too tired to eat on some nights. I've also stopped texting him every day to find out what time he returns (I used to so that I can time our dinner or at least reheat the food for the time he steps in) and just carry on with our evening routine - washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen, bathing the kids, making milk, reading bedtime stories, putting everyone to bed - while patiently waiting for his return when the house is quiet.

We don't plan for vacations
Even if we badly want to, we can't. That is because their work schedule is too volatile and while other families can plan for holidays in advance, save on airfare and look forward to the trips, we know jolly well that we can't do that. The hubby cannot take leave too far in advance and even if he can, the fact is something urgent might just crop up and we might have to forsake the whole trip. Yes, that will surely be a bummer for everyone. So, we've learned to make use of last minute deals, to make plans spontaneously, to be flexible and remain adaptable for changes, and to weave in short getaways instead of long-stay holidays.

We hold the family together
I'm not just a mum most of the time, I'm also a nurse, doctor, teacher, referee, handyman, chef, cleaner and more. Yes, we have to multitask every minute of the day. As a mum who is also a navy wife, I need to take up one more important role - that of the Dad - on more days than one too. You see, our kids have gotten so used to the notion of Daddy working late and that they won't get to see him on most days even if he is not at sea, to the point that they don't ask where he is or whether they will get to see him today. I remember when my eldest was a toddler and the hubby returned after weeks of being away at sea, she cried when she saw his ungroomed look with the grown out beard and for a while, couldn't seem to recognise him. Yes, a little heartbreaking to know but it also means as mums who are present most of the time, we take up the responsibility of holding the family together and we keep our ties going strong. I remember I did a voice recording of the hubby saying good night and singing a lullaby so I could play it for the girl before she slept every night and I showed her photos and videos too. A little bizarre, I know, but anything that helps me to not let Daddy become a stranger to the kids, I would do it.

We don't take things for granted
We used to laugh, or even nod, when our friends comment that our enemies can easily wipe our minuscule country out with a bomb. That was, before we married someone in the military. Since then, we don't take national security for granted, we cherish the peace we have with our neighbouring countries, we appreciate how we can walk down dark alleys at night, we are thankful to be able to raise our next generation in this beautiful city which is rarely given enough credit. That is because we see firsthand how much pain, toil, sweat and effort go into defending our nation and making sure that Singapore remains a safe haven for our people to live in, and thus we learn to never take things for granted. And yes, we are extra proud during the military defense display during National Day Parade because we know, we know.

We are stronger than we know
It's easy to give up being a navy wife, trust me I know, and the fact that we've stuck to this role from then till now says a lot about our endurance and strength. We might have run to the toilet and cried when our kids were not watching, we might have secretly teared on our pillows on lonely, miserable nights, we might have fantasized how it would be like if we had married a spouse with more normal working hours, we might have screamed, shrieked, yelled, nagged, bawled, groaned and lost our sanity more times than we can keep track, but the one constant is that we have never given up. Nor do we intend to throw in the towel in the future.

The truth is while our hubbies fight battles at sea and demonstrate bravery and fortitude, we are also constantly fighting battles - needs battles, emotional battles, mum battles - and even if we don't show it to the world, we are resilient, we can prove our mettle and we are the strong pillars of supports that our sailors need.

In the end, I think I am still a blessed lady to be where I am. Marrying a sailor and becoming a navy wife is worth every bit of this tough journey and if I had the chance to start all over again, I would choose this path in a heartbeat if it means being with you, my dear.


Happiness is... counting my blessings

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 07, 2017
in

The month of August was quite a roller coaster ride for us but thankfully, there were more ups than downs. While the toddler had an episode of high fever and we took him to the hospital for fear of another bout of pneumonia, and the little sister developed such a severe case of hives that she swelled up from her face to her feet, we still survived the month pretty well and managed to squeeze in quite a lot of activities too.

This being our nation's birthday month is one that never fails to remind me just how lucky I am to be a Singaporean, to be born and raised in this country, to have met my other half who spends his life defending our seas, to become a mum and be able to let my three kids grow up in this tiny yet absolutely incredible red dot. Yes, there's definitely nowhere else we would rather be and I hope our kids will grow up to love this country as much as we do, if not more.

In August's "Happiness is...", it's about making a list of things to be grateful for and learning to count my blessings, and to remind myself to not take them for granted, no matter how simple they might seem.



We did our first outdoor photoshoot as a family of five, thanks to Fotoplay! Yes, I finally updated my blog theme and social media profile pictures as you can see. Woohoo! The photoshoot was a very straightforward one and didn't take us more than 45 minutes, but I am so very happy that we now have some nice family portraits. See? We even have a canvas that now hangs proudly in our living room.

Yes I know, some people cannot stand being matchy matchy but we just do it now while the kids still like to wear similar clothes as Daddy and Mummy. I mean, how long more will this last, right? Anyway, we are going to receive more matchy family attires soon and I'm hoping I can conduct a giveaway for those of you who are keen too, okay? Good things must share, right?



Life at home has been good, which doesn't mean that it isn't chaotic all the time but it just means we have gotten used to the rhythm of things around here. By the way, I'm still so much in love with our new home (read more about our A Happy Home and take a tour around our house)!

I introduced the girls to Rubik's cube recently and I didn't expect them to fall in love with them so much. That's definitely good news to me because I much prefer them to play with the cube than watch television. While the little sister is still trying to explore around and play with it, the big girl took a much more serious attitude and asked me to teach her how to solve it. What surprised me was that she learnt at an amazing speed and within a couple of weeks, she fully mastered how to solve a 3 x 3 cube and can now do it with ease anytime, anywhere. You go, girl!


As for our meals, while I admit that I don't cook all the time and am all for eating at kopitiams or food courts to save the hassle, I do try to include at least a few homecooked meals a week. Just like how my mum used to cook for us, my dishes are usually kept very simple but unfanciful. The great thing about kids is that they just seem to love Mama's cooking, don't they? Well, at least I made the effort to fry fish (you know how messy and oily it gets, right?) because nothing beats the alluring aroma of freshly fried fish, right?



In wanting to carve out more time to craft with the kids like how I used to, we finally sat down to do some DIY gifts for Teacher's Day 2017. Read about our Ferrero Rocher chocolate flowers here. I've always felt that such gifts are better to be handmade, no matter how simple they are. And they are not just to be handmade by me, but by the kids so that they can show their appreciation through actions and not just words. We actually spent nearly a week doing all these and I'm just glad we managed to pull it off in time and enjoyed the process of making too.



I've also started doing some simple science experiments with the girls in wanting to introduce them to some basic science concepts. I honestly think these kids have a thirst for knowledge and no matter how little time I have left after doing all the chores, I need to find a way to encourage them to explore, to understand and to learn about the world around them. Let's hope I can find time to do more experiments and if I can, I will share more on the blog soon too!



I'm not going to post pictures of her hives because they are pretty traumatizing (she had patches and bumps on her face, her entire back, her chest, her bum, her legs, her hands and even on her fingertips and between her toes), but let's just say this girl really gave me a scare for two consecutive days. It was her worst episode so far and while the doctor has informed us that it can be triggered from a wide range of things and we cannot ascertain what the cause was, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she won't have to suffer this too often because I knew the itch and discomfort was not easy for her to bear.


I was just telling the hubby that the kids have been generally healthy since we moved to the new home and we hadn't made a trip to the doctor or had to let them take any medicine at all this year. See lar, me and my 乌鸦嘴, once I said that, within a few days, we were queuing up for our turn at the A&E at KKH. Yup, I think my heart will find it hard to take it if this boy suffers from pneumonia and has to have needles poked all over him again. You know, he has this fear of doctors and nurses, or anyone with a mask, ever since. When the doctor wanted to listen to his lungs this time round, he bawled so badly and screamed so loudly that she had to let him recover and wait a while outside before she tried again. I was able to make him fall asleep in my arms and let's just say he has a super efficient detector in him and once the doctor came near us, he started to panic and all his terrified wails began again.

The good was he recovered within a day (phew!) and all was back to normal once more. This boy never fails to make me laugh and he has a way of cheering our day up with his silly antics and infectious laughter. Let's see, how about that time when he took the whiteboard markers and drew all over his body and face, giving himself a 'moustache'? Yup, the sisters and I burst out laughing when he turned around to face us. You are truly my happy pill, dear baby Asher.


On the eve of National Day, we went to the big girl's primary school for a celebration, which included song singing, games and dance too. I loved how her school always invites us to such events and lets me bring along the younger ones too. That's one good thing about being a SAHM, I've never missed any of such events and I know almost all her friends in class too (who also know me as Angel's mummy when they see me!).



Then on National Day itself, we hosted a gathering and invited our immediate families over for a bonding BBQ session. What I love about the new house is that we've been hosting so many more reunions nowadays and it feels good to have such family gatherings from time to time too. That's one good thing about having a hubby and in-laws who can cook! Me, well, I take care of all the cleaning after the guests are gone and that is no joke, okay?



It's a joy seeing how the kids love their cousins and how they all have fun swimming, playing, talking, laughing and doing the things that kids do. We even watched the National Day parade together in the comfort of our house, together with my Mum and Dad, and having family members watching it with you makes all the difference. After all, National Day is about feeling the pride of being Singaporeans while celebrating close family ties too, right?



The girls have been keeping up with their weekly art classes, which they simply love, and I've started conducting my own 'art class' with the toddler too while we wait outside. Seriously, the other parents just drop their kids and go off while I'm always stuck here and have to wait for 1.5 hours. I mean, we don't drive and it isn't that near to walk to the interchange or any shopping mall from the art studio, so it's much easier for me to just wait it out. So, we might as well make the most of the time, right? While he doesn't get to play with phones, he does get to eat some snacks, draw, colour and paint (read our review of these dabble dot markers from Fiddle & Doodle here) too!



We made a huge addition to our library collection this month too, thanks to the SG Books Box Sale. I mean, it's a good thing that we are running out of space on our one-of-a-kind library tree in our study, right? The big girl is truly an avid reader and I'm hoping her love for books will pass on to her younger siblings too. As for myself, I know I used to love reading novels and I'm hoping to reignite that love once more by finding some time for myself not to blog, not to watch TV, not to play Candy Crush but to pick up a book to read. Yes, it's way overdue already and I am actually looking forward to having my own reading time!






Moving onto more outdoor fun, we had our first visit to the Singapore Philatelic Museum! Yes, don't ask why we took so long to come here but I'm just glad we finally did. Learning about stamps around the world and their history was so much more fun than I had expected and we ended up spending a good Sunday afternoon here even though the place wasn't huge. On a side note, I'm so glad that we have so many museums to visit (free of charge) in Singapore. Seriously, I think there's still so much we have yet to explore on our island!


Oh, did I mention that the big girl can finally do a front split after months of trying? Yeah, she's mighty happy about that and I'm happy that she persevered and didn't give up. If anything, she's now the motivator behind her little sister who wishes to one day master a split too. Jia you to both of you, my girls! Mummy wishes she can split too but let's just say it can only be done in my dreams at this age, haha. Okay okay, but I will promise to try with you all, yeah?


Orchard is not a place as kid-friendly as I would like it to be, but we still made our way there not once, but twice in the month of August. Yup, and the second time I did it all myself and took the kids there via public transport. Achievement unlocked! I think I was the only mum who was alone with three kids trying to find a table in the food court at Ngee Ann City, and having to handle a whiny toddler and sisters squabbles in the midst. That's right, to those of you who think that my kids are always very well-behaved in public, well, that's just half of the truth! The other half is that they are just like normal kids who whine, cry, throw tantrums, make a scene and drive me nuts too! Yes yes, ultimately, we are just normal people like you. I might be a tad crazier and bolder than some but it doesn't make me any better, you know what I mean?



In doing our part for charity, the girls and the Daddy also took part in this community event organised by Koufu, where we had to paint on canvases and the art pieces will be auctioned to raise funds for the needy. They were each tasked to paint a bowl of rice and add in a picture of a chick since it is the year of the Rooster. Check out their final artworks above, I thought they did a pretty good job (while I helped Ariel with her work, Angel did hers all on her own!), right?


For the first time in a long while, the last being when I attended Jay Chou's concert last year, I had a night off to attend a friend's wedding, ON MY OWN! Yesh, this was the first time in a long, long while that I didn't have any child or baby strapped to me when I went for a wedding, so you bet I was pretty excited about that. It was a great night spent with friends whom I've known for decades and it was rejuvenating for me to finally talk about something other than kids too. Yes, no guilt about that!



In keeping up our love for family runs, we took part in Shape Run 2017 and had a good bonding time that morning in Kallang. Read more about our run experience here. While it might get tougher trying to catch up with these little ones who will soon have more stamina than me, I'm hoping we can keep this passion for running for years and years to come. It's a great way to keep fit and stay close as a family, in addition to boosting the kids' willpower and teaching them on what it means to never give up.


It's awesome having a hubby who loves the sun, the sand and the sea - and who can play almost any sport quite well! We took the kids to Sentosa for a day of fun and play at the beach and he decided to get a volleyball when I told him that the big girl had shown some interest for it and before we knew it, we were all trying to hit the ball and keep up a rally. Yes, we ain't good at it (yet) but I'm sure we will improve as time goes along. Hopefully, we can one day form our own teams and have a game of beach volleyball! I'm excited just thinking about that, you know.





Since we were in Sentosa and it was the second last day of the national themed Merlion light up show, I hinted to the hubby that we should watch it and thankfully he obliged. It turned out to be nothing like we had watched before and was so spectacular that we stayed to watch it a second time. From the colourful rainbow lion and the sparkly golden one to the Singapore flag themed lion which came complete with fireworks and Singlish words, we were in love with it and the kids couldn't stop admiring the beauty of our Merlion too. It was definitely a great way to end off a great day in the State of Fun!





We definitely made some lasting memories in the month of August and I know these will be a part of the fond moments in the kids' growing up years. I'm just so grateful deep down that I get to be a part of this and so much more, that I get to craft, cook, read, play, run, explore with the kids, that I get to live in an awesome nation with awesome friends and family, that I get to be a mum and enjoy all of the joy that this amazing journey brings me.

I will always remember to count my blessings, to cherish what I have and not crave for what I don't have, to appreciate the beauty of our island, to treasure family bliss and not take any of it for granted. And I hope you do too!


家是唯一的城堡 - Asher is 18 months

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 05, 2017
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Happy holidays! So, our September holidays is packed full of activities and I'm feeling pretty exhausted but happy when I hit the sack every night. We also have a short 3D2N getaway coming up so that's gonna be pretty exciting for the kids too! Woohoo!

Not surprisingly, it's been quite tough trying to find time to do the growing up videos of the kids but like I said before, I will find a way by hook or by crook. I know I am lagging for the girls, who've been asking me when I will finish their videos for last year, but at least I'm still quite on time for the baby boy (okay, he's not really a baby anymore but still...). Yup, gotta make sure I do it for him because both of the sisters had these videos done for them when they were younger too.

I'm hoping he will smile a big smile when he sees this tomorrow. Here's presenting Asher's latest video with fond memories from his 16th to 18th months. Awww, my baby boy (yes, still a baby to me) is one and a half years old already!



Dear Asher,

Happy turning 18 months old! Yup, you are growing up so fast and very soon, you will be entering your terrible twos phase! Just so you know, Mummy is so happy to be with you every day and I know you are too, judging from how much you cling onto me, how you hug and kiss me and how you cry when I go out of sight.

So you learnt to walk when you were 15 months, right? Now, you can jump, you can run and you even try to race with your sisters too! Yes, they still win you every time but I've told them they won't be able to stay victorious for long because in no time at all, you will be taller, stronger and faster than them. When that happens, remember that you will always need to look out for and protect them too, okay?

Well, for now at least, you are so blessed to have the two of them who rush to you every time you whine and cry. They fuss over you more than I do, they get sad when you don't give them a good night kiss, they are tickled by your new tricks, they hold your hand and guide you when we are out, they give up their favourite food just for you and let's just say I'm actually so glad yet quite envious that you have not one, but two sisters! And their love for you speaks volumes, which is really heartening to know.

You had many firsts in this couple of months, including decorating your first cupcake, going on the Madagascar carousel and boat ride in Universal Studios, taking your first cable car ride, riding on spinning teacups, singing at your first karaoke session (well, you only utter a few sounds but those count too, right?), fishing your first rubber duck, eating instant noodles for the first time (ooops), meeting Spider-man in person, rolling around in snow and having a taste of freezing cold, going on the train ride in LEGOLAND, and you even played golf too! Yup, all these and more! You are quite a lucky kid, you know? That said, we must never take life and all the good things we have for granted, okay?

We've been trying to teach you to say more words but it seems like you prefer to take your own sweet time. While you can say "Papa", "Mama" and at times "Jiejie", you refuse to say words like "Please", "Thank you" and "Byebye". Yup, you understand all of them and so much more of the things we say to you, but you just don't want to say them yet. We don't really want to compare you with your sisters, who by the way started blabbering at a young age, because we know you will do fine when you want to. For now, we shall stick to your favourite words like "Bird, bird", "Ball", "Uh oh" and those cute sounds you make, okay? Oh, and you know how to make the animals sounds of tiger, dog and elephant too!

Some people have asked me if you will be going to school next year since by right, you should be in Nursery 1. Still, Mama thinks you don't need to yet and anyway, I think we will be happier to spend our time with each other every morning, right? Those precious three hours of being with you every weekday morning, and you alone, mean a lot to me and I know you enjoy it too. So, let me keep you home with me for at least another year before you start school. That said, you must promise me that you will not always ask to watch the television, okay? In fact, you don't really wanna watch cartoons but you are very interested in the Just Dance videos (for now, you are a fan of One Direction!) and your own growing up videos for now. It's very cute how you will take the remote and pass it to me but it doesn't mean I will cave in every time, yeah? 

Thank you for making me feel so loved and needed every morning, afternoon and night. Haha. Yes, you are still my little koala bear and I don't even know when I will be able to wean you off. To tell you the truth, I enjoy nursing you so much too because I think it might jolly well be the last time I am going through the breastfeeding journey and it's one of my greatest joy of being a mum. So yes, let's just see how long more we can go. I need you more than you ever need me, my dear. And I love you more than you will ever know too. Stay my happy, healthy, charming little boy always, my dear!

With lots of hugs and kisses,
Mummy


Creativity 521 #114 - DIY Ferrero Rocher chocolate flowers

Posted by ~Summer~ on August 29, 2017
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A friend was asking on what gifts to get for the teachers on Teacher's Day and some of us who were present at the table started to share our ideas. I think she was right when she said to the dads "This is usually on a Mum's task list only, right?" Anyway, I let her in on something simple that we were making, and she asked "So you do the same every year, right?"

Well, that's the thing. We make sure that we give out something different every year, no matter how simple and inexpensive our gifts may be. You see, my emphasis is that the gifts have to be made, not bought. Sure, you can get something from the gift stores but you have to add in a personal touch somehow and make it more customised. Yes, to me, handmade gifts are still the best way to get the kids involved and show their sincerity from the heart.



So, this year, we chose to do something not too hard but considering that we did two and a half dozens of them (yup, we gave to their school teachers, their enrichment class teachers, assistants, admin staff and even the cleaning auntie), it was not a surprise that we ended up working on the gifts for nearly a week. Here's sharing all about how we did these yummy, lovely and easy-to-make DIY Ferrero Rocher chocolate flowers in today's Creativity 521.


Materials:

1) A box of Ferrero Rochers (depending on how many you need)
2) Satay sticks
3) Ribbons (one thicker than the other)
4) Cellophane paper
5) Metallic paper / Flower wrapper / Crepe paper (or any other material you can use to wrap the flowers)
6) Scissors
7) Sticky tape
8) Optional: Hole puncher, card stock, colour pencils for personalised tag


Firstly, cut out a square piece of cellophane paper (preferably clear coloured with minimal design), wrap it around a chocolate and stick it in place. I find that this makes it more hygienic and presentable, besides less flimsy and thus easier to work.


Next, cut out another square piece of cellophane paper, preferably one with a bolder design. Fold it upwards along a slanted line in the middle so that you can four corners sticking out. Stick one end of satay stick in the centre of the paper and wrap the paper around the chocolate so that the corners stick out as shown above. Use sticky tape to fasten everything in place.


Well, I initially wanted to have three rochers in every bouquet but let's just say these chocolates ain't exactly cheap and considering that we needed to do over two dozen bouquets, I decided to just stick to one stalk each. Yes, a little measly but I'm hoping the teachers will be touched to see the effort and time the kids put in for this seemingly easy gift.

To wrap up the flower, we used golden metallic paper, flower wrappers and any kind of nice paper I had saved over the years from bouquets and gifts. All we did was to cut a square/rectangle piece, stick the satay stick lengthwise in the middle, make folds on the two sides and bring them to the centre. Wrap the paper around the satay stick and use sticky tape to secure in place. Adjust a little here and there to make your wrapper look as nice as possible, and if you need to, you can just cut away the satay stick at one end to shorten it.


Now, one of the highlights of this project was learning to make ribbon bows! I must tell you, I have so many rolls of ribbons at home and I've kept them for years too. So, I knew I wanted to make a nice bow for the flower so there couldn't have been a better time to take these ribbons out and put them to good use.




To make a ribbon bow, wrap the ribbon neatly around your fingers around 8-10 times. Once one end overlaps the other a little, cut it off as shown.


Fold the middle part backwards, make an inverted V shape cut, and when you open it up, you should have a bow shape as shown. Use a thin ribbon to tie around the middle and make two knots so that it is tightly fastened.



Starting from one side of the bow, put out the innermost ribbon loop towards the left and then the next loop to the right. Twist it a little at the middle part towards the back so that the loops stay in place. Turn to the other side of the bow and do the same, pulling one loop to the left and the next to the right. Keep alternating between the two ends until you finish all the loops.


This is what you will achieve at the end. Beautiful, right? I really love how simple it is to make and how lovely it looks at the end. It's also a great way for the kids to work on their fine motor skills too!


Just to add a personalised message, I designed this tag in powerpoint and printed it out. Yup, I really wanted the teachers to know that they deserve nothing less than gold for everything they've put in for the little ones.


To attach the tag, punch a hole at the tip, slot in one end of the ribbon and then tie the bow around the flower, making sure that it is in the middle facing front.


Let the kids write their own names or any personalised message they have for the teachers and we are all done!



Yup, these are how our Teacher's Day gifts look this year. Simple but sincere, inexpensive yet so dear. It's been quite a while since the girls and I sat down to craft properly so I'm glad we did it together. They miss these times and so do I!


Here's wishing all the teachers out there a very HAPPY TEACHER'S DAY 2017! Thank you for being the guiding light and for making a difference in our little ones' lives.

For more craft ideas and DIY tutorials, visit my gallery here.


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