My little sunshine - Ariel is 2!

Posted by ~Summer~ on 24.4.15
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They say that the terrible twos can be the hardest phase to handle when a child grows up. Mood swings, temper tantrums and frequent use of the word "no". Come to think of it, that can happen no matter how old your child gets, right? So, I'm actually pretty excited about my little one turning two and I look forward to the next year because this is also the phase where she's bursting with toddler cuteness and is super lots of fun to be with.

Opinions and meltdowns aside, this girl is an absolute bundle of joy and never fails to steal the heart of everyone she sees. Her animated laughter, bear hugs and flying kisses, the way she dances and does her booty shake, how she runs up and hides behind my legs, how she sings with her eyes closed, when she plants sweet little kisses all over my face, these are the things that fill my heart with love and remind me why being a mum is one of the best things ever.

So, here are some fond moments from Ariel's 21st to 24th months.


Dear Ariel,

Happy 2 years old, my sweet little princess! You looked so lovely as Queen Elsa at your birthday party and you amazed everyone by how you can sing the whole song of "Let It Go"!

It's been a terrific year with you and I can't tell you how blessed I feel to be your mummy. You have a big heart, you share your last candy, you smile to strangers on the streets, you dance like no one's watching and you give me endless hugs, kisses and joy. 

Watching how you play, bond and get along with jiejie also brings so much joy to my heart and I'm so grateful that you two are going to be sisters, and hopefully best friends, for life. It's easy to see how much you love your big sister from the way you call her name, the way you search the house looking for her when she's in school, the way you lean on her chest to let her dry your hair, the way you lay on her lap and amazingly finished one bottle of milk, the way your face lights up while listening to her sing, the way you two hold hands on the streets, the way you two squeeze into a pram, the way you hug each other and spin around in circles. Awwww. 

You are really my bag of sunshine and you have the power to chase away all the blues whenever Mummy feels sad or tired. It's like no matter what happens, as long as you and jiejie are here with me, Mummy will somehow find the strength, the joy and the determination to make everyday of our lives a happy one. 

May you continue to shine, laugh, dance, sing, play and cherish every precious moment of your childhood! I love you so much!



For more of Angel's and Ariel's growing up videos, visit my gallery here.

Creativity 521 #67 - Fun with spray painting + Kura bed makeover

Posted by ~Summer~ on 21.4.15
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I remember I used to like doing spray painting when I was a kid. I guess it was probably because it meant you could get messy with your fingers and create splatters of paint which could be perceived as artistic.

Anyway, I had an idea of how to turn a spray painting artwork into a bedroom decoration but first, I had to introduce the kids to the concept of spray painting. So we hunted around for spare toothbrushes, gathered some materials from our craft supplies and did something fun!

In this week's Creativity 521, I am sharing with you about our Spray Painting session and how we did a simple Makeover for the girls' new bunk bed.

Materials we used for the spray painting:

1) Toothbrushes
2) Paint
3) Cup for holding water
4) Alphabet stickers
5) Construction paper
6) Scissors
7) Blu Tack
8) Old newspaper

Firstly, Angel used the stickers to spell her name onto a piece of coloured paper while Ariel decided she wanted Mama to cut out hearts for her. By the way, yes, Angel's favourite colour is pink while the little sister loves purple! I stuck the hearts onto the paper using Blu Tack and ensured that both the alphabets and shapes could be easily removed.

Next, mix the paint with some water and once the mixture was ready, it was time to spray! By holding the toothbrush with the bristles facing up, use your thumb to move in a backward direction (that is, towards yourself) and take aim at the paper.

If you can control your strength and make sure you don't put so much paint such that it drips, you will be able to create beautiful textures on the piece of paper. Of course, the girls could do neither and it ended up that their papers had blots of paint on them.

Well, for a first try, I still think they did pretty well! Remove your stickers or shapes to reveal the final artwork. In fact, these stickers or shapes can be used as decorations in other art projects too if you don't bear to throw them away!


Moving on to our big project, remember we bought a Kura bunk bed from IKEA (for just $269!) last month? So far, the girls have been loving it and they like to pretend to be camping and we also have our bedtime storytelling under the tent every night. The good news is Ariel also loves sleeping in the kids' room now and although she still needs me to accompany her before she can fall asleep, at least we have successfully shifted both kids to this room. Woohoo!

Anyway, we bought a blue, instead of green, tent for a reason and that was because I really wanted to personalise their bed to make it the one and only in the world. To what theme? Well, to the theme the girls love the most - Frozen, of course!!!!

Materials used for the makeover:

1) Big pieces of blue paper
2) White paint
3) Toothbrush
4) Comb
5) Scissors
6) 3M tape
7) Blu Tack
8) Glue
9) Glossy photo paper
10) Shiny white paper
11) Colour printer
12) Snowflake punch
13) Paintbrushes
14) Craft knife
15) Old newspapers
16) Container for holding water and paint mixture

Firstly, we did the spray painting using white paint on the piece of blue paper. Unlike the previous time, we decided to use a comb to help us this time round. So all you have to do is use the bristles of the toothbrush to brush against the comb to create patterns as shown in the above picture.

The more strength you use and the nearer to the paper you go, the bigger the dots in the splatter. It doesn't have to be too even or consistent, but do make sure the entire piece of paper is covered.

You might also want to do this out of the house since it can get a little messy and do remember to spread some old newspapers!

There! Done for the first piece! I asked Angel what it resembled and was delighted when she actually answered "Snow!" Repeat this for as many pieces of paper as you may need.

Next, we used the snowflake punch to make dozens of snowflakes from the shiny white paper. This could get quite tough and challenging and I realised it was much easier to step on the punch with your foot than to press it down with your palm!

After that, we used paintbrushes to apply glue onto the snowflakes and stuck them onto the background.

The little sister was in charge of applying the glue.

While the big sister took care of pasting them onto the paper one by one.

See? We completed our first piece and thought it looked pretty awesome! It does give that wintry, snowy and beautiful feel, doesn't it?

Following that, it was my turn to finish off the project! Firstly, I measured and cut out the artwork so that it could fit nicely onto the bed panels and secured it using 3M tape.

Then, I printed out pictures from Frozen onto glossy photo paper and also the names of the kids to personalise their beds. I cut out the letters neatly and glued them in place. For the pictures, the tiny parts had to be cut with a craft knife and once they were done, I stuck them onto the paper using Blu Tack because I wanted them to achieve a slight 3-dimensional effect.

Here's how the decorative artwork looks in the end. Do you like it?

I must say we really love the final look! Not too simple, not too complicated, yet striking, customised and truly unique. I definitely hope it helps the kids to sleep better and sleep happier! Yayyy!

For our DIY tutorials and craft inspiration, visit my gallery here.


To fellow bloggers who have a fun craft session, DIY tip or creative idea to share, come join in the party! Highlight and press Ctrl + C to copy my button above, include it in your post/sidebar and add your link below. I will be hosting Creativity 521 on the 5th and 21st of every month, do hop over for more inspiration. Remember: The sky's the limit when it comes to creativity!

She loves her

Posted by ~Summer~ on 16.4.15
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I don't deny it. Everyday, I have to be a referee, a judge, a middleman, a peacemaker. Right, sometimes I just don't care because I figured out these two need to learn to negotiate and find ways to reconcile by themselves.

It can be something as trivial as who gets to press the lift button, who gets to open the letterbox, who gets to wipe the dinner table, who gets to read a book first, who gets to eat a sweet, who gets the cuter hair clip and so on. Sometimes, it will inevitably result in hair pulling, pushing, snatching, pinching and even hitting.

Yes, so it's not always rainbows and butterflies in my household no matter how many loving pics you see on my social media. Then again, that's just part and parcel of motherhood for any mum who has more than one kid, right? And well, it's not that I have many, I only have two and I feel my hands are full day in, day out.

That said, I have to tell you that I never, ever did have any tinge of regret having more than one. Double the kids, double the exhaustion, but double the joy. That came true for me and I can't say enough how the rewards by far outweigh the responsibilities.

In any case, having a young sibling made my big girl grow up overnight. This year, I witnessed her showing love and concern in a selfless way that made me pale in comparison. I saw her going the distance just to make sure her little sister was safe and sound every time we went out. I heard her singing lullabies and telling bedtime stories just like how I did. I felt for her every time she got bullied or beaten by the wilful toddler.

You know what's the most angelic thing about her? She LETS the sister squeeze, pinch, shove, push or hit her (Yes, I'm still working on the little one's somewhat violent way of showing her frustration), but she never ever retaliates. Sure, she might complain, she might whine and she sometimes weeps in a corner when it gets really painful. But all she needs is an apology, a hug and a kiss from the little sister and they will just make up. Every single time. If the little one is too proud or stubborn to say that she is sorry and refuses to go near, the big girl will not hesitate to go over to her and be the first one to give a loving hug. 

I can't say having two kids makes me love the first more because I already love her so much, but it surely makes me appreciate having her more.


I can spell

Angel: Mummy, mummy, I taught meimei how to spell! She can spell FAMILY now!

Me: Is it? That's awesome, isn't it? Will you wanna show me? *half expecting the little one to say a string of gibberish*

Angel: Ok! Here goes. *says to meimei* Say F.      Ariel: F!

Angel: A.       Ariel: A!

Angel: M.      Ariel: M!

Angel: I.        Ariel: I!

Angel: L.       Ariel: L!

Angel: Y.      Ariel: Y!

Angel: See, I told you she can spell FAMILY.

Can't say I was expecting that, but can't say she was wrong too. In fact, the way the little one pronounced the letters perfectly and the way they echoed each other in unison, that just had to make my heart smile. 


Hush, my little sister

It's not of a surprise to me that Ariel has been throwing tantrums, you know, those classic kind where she bawls for no reason and starts rolling on the floor. When Angel was this age, she had her fair share of such episodes too and I'm glad I learnt the best way to deal with it - just don't care. The more you care, the worse it gets because she gets the attention she was seeking. But if I ignore her pleas, after say ten minutes, it always works and she just suddenly gets over it and stops crying. That is why I can start to talk to her about it and teach her the proper way to voice out her needs and frustration.

Anyway, we were walking back home one day and when we got into the lift, as always, the kids took turns to press the lift buttons. Ariel has been trying to press the 'floor' button now that she is growing taller but since she is still not quite there yet, she didn't have the strength to press it properly. That was when Angel stepped in to help her and even though we told her she could then press the 'close' button, you can jolly well guess what happened. She started whining, complaining, pushed away the big sister and it wasn't long before she made a mountain out of a molehill.

Seriously. She cried all the way as we walked along the common corridor, as I opened the door and as Angel and I both took off our shoes, she decided to just sit down and cry it out. With every scream and every tear that she could master. I bet my neighbour thought that she just scalded herself or that I was torturing my kid or something.

As usual, it was pointless trying to reason with her at that point in time so I decided to move on with the chores and asked Angel to go play in her room too. After a few minutes that seemed like eternity when this sort of thing happens, the crying stopped and I thought maybe she just decided to call it quits since no one was willing to give in to her.

Then, I saw them playing in the kids' room and the big sister said "I went to hug her and tell her to stop crying. Then I helped her to take off her shoes, held her hand and brought her in to play with me. See, she's not crying already."

I swear to you, I was the one who could have cried there and then.

There I was, trying to console myself that I wasn't being unfeeling and hard-hearted by letting my child cry. And there she was, showing me what it means to be kind and have a heart of gold.


Come back, come back!

This was somehow a funny yet rather emotional incident that we had recently.

We were in a neighbourhood mall one day, just the three of us. I bought a chocolate pancake for Ariel who loves to eat it and she was happily munching as we slowly walked to the opposite side of the mall to get home.

She was very distracted by the shops and the passers-by and suddenly, she just decided to stop for a moment. So the big sister and I realised that and we stopped too, just a few steps away from her. The thing was, she didn't seem to notice us and when she got her concentration back seconds later, she turned around to look for us. And she looked in the wrong direction.

For some reason, she didn't think of turning around to see if she could spot us, and when she didn't see us, she decided to run. My first reaction was obviously to call out to her (ok, I admit I giggled a little first) and so I shouted "Meimei!!! Here!!" Not once, but a few times.

My yells did the reverse of what I wanted it to and as bizarre as sounds, my two-year-old could not decipher where the voice was coming from and so she ran even faster. Yes, still in the wrong direction. And the more I called, the more she ran. There, a toddler with chocolate stains all over her mouth, screaming "Mummy! Mummy!" and scurrying with tiny steps was enough to make anyone stare.

We were chasing after her when I heard my big girl give a loud gasp and she not just ran, she sprinted with all her might. You probably know she is a good runner and so yes, she caught up with the little sister within seconds saying "Meimei!!! Not here, we are there!!" and led the crying toddler back to my side.

I tried my best to soothe the toddler and assured her we would never abandon her. I told her we were right there beside her but she didn't see and instead ran away from us. I hugged her tightly and told her I could not imagine what would happen if she were to go missing. I can't let that happen, I just can't.

Then, I saw a look of sadness in Angel's eyes too and turned around to ask if she was feeling all right. She looked at me solemnly and said "Mummy, just now when I was chasing after meimei, I had tears in my eyes. I was so afraid I was going to lose her."



You see, these are the incidents so real and so raw that they never fail to strike a chord and make me an emo mum. For every fight or quarrel that happens, the pure love between the sisters goes a hundred times further in reminding me how blessed I am to have both of them.

I love them both and I know that deep down, she loves her and she loves her just as much too.

Why we love running {Interview with Young Parents magazine and Safari Zoo Run 2015}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 14.4.15
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If you've read the April issue of Young Parents magazine, you might have come across our interview where I shared the reasons behind our love for family runs and races. Till date, Angel has taken part in not one, not two but FOUR runs - namely Cold Storage Kids Run 2013 (800m), Cold Storage Kids Run 2014 (800m), Shape Me and Mini Me 2014 (1.8km) and Safari Zoo Run 2015 (2.8km, read more on this below). That's really quite an achievement for a five-year-old, right? Especially if you consider how she made good timings in all of them, how she improved her stamina along the way and how she learnt to be more determined each time.

When I was asked about the biggest motivating factor for taking part in the runs, as well as how I encourage and let my girl know it's not just about winning, here was what I said.

"For us, no matter what happens, it's never about winning. 
It's about believing and pushing yourself beyond your limits.
There is this immense and indescribable sense of achievement
when we cross the finishing line. Before the start of every
run, I will give my girl a pep talk and encourage her to try
her best. During the run, I will cheer for her when she
starts to pant and at times, hold her hand to assure her
that I am right there. When she crosses the finishing line, 
I congratulate her on a job well done, I tell her how proud 
of her I am and together, we will look forward to the next run!"

Our interview in the April issue of Young Parents. I love this pic that they chose!
Am I painting a rosy picture? Well, I do admit that for every run, I have to drag the kids up before the sun rises. We have to squeeze with the crowd and at times, queue for over an hour under the hot sun before our race category flags off. We have to be subjected to bad weather and the risk of running in the rain, or worse, have the race cancelled. We have to ensure that the toddler is kept happy with one parent while the other accompanies the big girl who is still too young to run alone. 

During the shoot, while Mummy gets her makeup and hair done, the kids watch on and eat junk food.
So, do we really, really love runs so much? Well, yes.

Please don't think that we feel obliged to participate because of the sponsors, because you do have to know that I am quite selective and only take on projects that really interest and benefit us. Also, for every sponsored run, I make it a point to arrive early and leave late so that we can take pictures and explore the activities in order to write a more all-rounded blog post. I even run with a camera in hand sometimes so that I can capture the moment instead of savouring the process with my loved one. I am of course deeply thankful for the sponsorship which I give my time and effort to blog in return, but the only real reason for me to continue participating in run after run is because we truly love and learn from these experiences.

For Angel, she has shown a passion for running since young by how she would refuse to sit in the pram when we travelled in Europe and how at the age of two, she could run for a dozen rounds at the playground without stopping. As her mum, I think I should encourage her to pursue her interests in life and so if she had not indicated her keen interest to participate in the runs or if she had told me after the first try that she didn't like the experience, we would not have come so far.

The thing is, she anticipates and enjoys all these runs so much that it's hard for me to say "No". Each time, I see her unwavering determination to run as far and as best she could and honestly, she is the one who motivates me to do a better job time after time. I mean, seriously, how can a five-year-old run 1.8km without stopping? It's either the distance was calculated wrongly or this girl was really been born to run.

I wish for my kids to learn to never give up. Life is like a race, there will be moments when we feel weary, when we doubt ourselves, when our goals and purpose become a blur. However, you can't just throw in the towel and give up on life, or worse, on yourself. So, running becomes a way for me to teach my children about the importance of perseverance and to build up their self-esteem. Sounds a little idealistic? Yes, that's me.

Anyway, back to the interview, I must tell you I didn't know how much effort went into the making of a thin magazine till now! I realised that photoshoots were conducted not just for the cover models, but also for selected articles so that the photos used were professional and of high quality. Seriously, if I were to submit any of our photos taken at the runs, it would have been impossible to achieve this clean, white background, right?

So, as usual, the makeup and hair styling took close to an hour even though they said to let us be as natural as possible. Wait, Angel had no makeup on because the good thing about being a kid is that you have flawless complexion! So, it was just me who required the most time to get ready.

Once the photoshoot started, we were directed for just a few poses before we were free to do it in any way we wanted. *ahem* Just so you know, while I love the shots where we used the medals to cover our facial features, the jumping shot that was eventually used was what we suggested to do. Woohoo! Who can resist doing a victory jump?

Anyway, the shoot lasted for less than 45 minutes before we called it a day. Quite fast, right? Thanks to a big girl who was so very cooperative and easy to direct, as well as a small girl who was so sweet to watch and wait while munching on chocolate biscuits and making friends with the aunties and uncles.

In case you are wondering, all the attire, shoes and medals belong to us. Did we get compensated for doing this? Nope, not even transport to SPH could be reimbursed. But, we did have a truly enjoyable shoot and these pictures of my big girl and I, they are definitely priceless memories.

Thanks to Young Parents for letting us play a part and for giving us this opportunity! Congratulations on your beautiful new look!

P.S. Do you think Angel and I look alike here? Many people say that she resembles Mummy more and she's happy about it (So am I, of course!). I love that these shots are so close up because we hardly get them, since the little sister will usually be part of the action!


Safari Zoo Run 2015 - Rise up to the Wildest Dash

Yes, I'm finally sharing more about our most recent, and likely most unique, run experience! In case you don't know, my kids lovvveee animals and as Friends of the Zoo, we frequent this place a lot because they never get tired of saying "Hi" to their friends.

So when we knew that our next run was going to happen right in the place that we love so much, the kids were naturally thrilled! Plus, guess what? Ariel could finally participate! Yes, this was her first run and even though it was to be a stroller run, at least it meant that she didn't have to wave goodbye to us at the starting line and wait eagerly for our return at the finishing line!

I must say this run received such an overwhelming and unexpected response that the organisers ran out of kids size shirts very early (or they printed too few)! So when we were given adult sized shirts for all four of us during the goodie bag collection and the shirts could sweep the floor when the kids tried them on, I went through much hassle of checking and following up before we managed to get hold of the last remaining two pieces of kids sized shirts. These had animals printed on the front and totally delighted the kids. Yippee! We do wear these shirts from time to time when we go exercise instead of just chucking them after the run, okay?

Before the run started, we found a good way for the kids to warm up. Bounce in the bouncy castle!

By a stroke of luck, timing and coincidence, it happened that we were allowed to all run together since we were going to be in the same 2.8km course! Yes, how absolutely wonderful it was to run as a family, thanks to the organisers for giving us permission to do so! As we waved goodbye to the cute Nestle KoKo Krunch mascot at the starting line, we were feeling thankful for how things were going and glad that the weather was so perfect that day.

Then, it was time to run, run, RUN! It was definitely a heartening sight to see that so many fellow Singaporeans were also keen to take part in this as parent and child! Isn't sports just a great way to bond and keep fit at the same time?

Now, I must tell you that for us, there are pros and cons of having a run in the zoo. See how our girl was distracted by all her animal friends? Yes, she was ecstatic when she spotted them and would run up to them, saying "Look! Giraffe!", "Here! Rhino!" and we would have no choice but to stop a little, while encouraging her to keep running on the spot. The good thing was, the kids were definitely excited to keep going!

As for me, I was a little distracted by the beautiful scenery too. Well, the zoo was where the hubby and I held our pre-wedding photoshoot back in 2008 and this place just brought back so much fond memories for me.

Another thing that fascinated, and distracted, the kids was the drink stations set up along the way! They were delighted to find isotonic drinks and couldn't help but sip away. Considering that the whole route was 2.8km. I guess it was okay to make two quick stops to quench our thirst.

However, for the second half of the race, we motivated Angel and told her to keep running till we got to the finishing line. We had to conquer tough slopes and it was evident that she started to pant heavily at the last 400 metres or so. The hubby was the one pushing the stroller with the toddler sitting inside, so I was the one who was free to sprint. I remember him telling me "Slow down, Angel is tired already" and so I did, feeling a little guilty that I didn't keep running alongside her. Nonetheless, I could see that she had a look of determination in her eyes and she was really pushing it. So, we slowed down a little but we never stopped.

When we ran up the last slope and round the bend where the finishing line was in view, everyone was in high spirits and we cheered each other on by saying "C'mon! Almost there!", "加油, 加油!" and "We can do it!" Together, as a family of four, we crossed the finishing line and gave each another a congratulatory hug.

See this medal? It's probably the most special, biggest and prettiest one in our collection so far. We really loved the design, don't you?

However, to me, it wasn't the medal that mattered. It was that experience of having been there and done that as a family that I would treasure for the rest of my life. Kudos to the big girl for completing her longest run ever and to the little one for accomplishing her first! You girls rock!

After the run, the girls decided to go for more jumps in the bouncy castle (where does the energy come from, I wonder?) before we proceeded to the Safari Square for the carnival. I was surprised to see that there were only few people there but was extremely glad that we came.

Why? The kids had lots of fun doing sand art, make bricklets for charity, bought amigurumi dolls and even did standing broad jumps as they learnt about animals who could leap!

But the most fun part of it all was at the games booth where kids could fish, throw balls, shoot bullets and toss hoops! The good thing about the place not being crowded was that there was no need to queue and in fact, the girls played at each station twice! Seeing how Angel scored 0 in her first basketball attempt followed by a perfect 3 out of 3 and how it made her over the moon, I reminded myself that happiness can be found in the simplest things in life, not just when you are a kid but even as an adult.

Even more so when you are a mum. Because it takes a little to make your child happy, and your child being happy is all it takes to make you happy.

Thanks to Safari Zoo Run 2015 for the awesome and memorable run experience as a family! We will definitely be back for more!


If you are looking for runs to take part, do note that Cold Storage Kids Run 2015 is happening on 17 May 2015 at The Meadows, Gardens by The Bay! Here are the categories available for sign-up!

Speedy Orange Sprint (Boys/Girls) 
11-12 Years Old Boys/Girls
Individual Competitive (1.6km)

Sporty Apple Sprint (Boys/Girls) 
9-10 Years Old Boys/Girls
Individual Competitive (1.6km)

Boogey Banana Sprint (Boys/Girls) 
7-8 Years Old Boys/Girls
Individual Competitive (800m)

Happy Grapes Family Fun (7-8YO/9-10YO/11-12YO) 
7-8/9-10/11-12 Years Old Child
Parent + Child Fun Run (800m)

Merry Berry Family Fun (5-6YO) 
5-6 Years Old Child
Parent + Child Fun Run (800m)

Jolly Kiwi Family Fun (2-4YO) 
2-4 Years Old Child
Parent + Child Fun Run (800m)
Stroller Family Fun (6-23MTHO) 
6 months-23 months Old Child
Parent + Child (in Pram) Fun Run (800m)

Do you know what this run means for us? It's going to be Ariel's FIRST proper run (no strollers!) and we are really excited for her! While that means the hubby and I will each have to accompany one kid in a different race category, we are looking forward to it and you bet I'll be back to share with you more about our experience! Till then, let's keep running!!!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. I had no obligation to write on any of the above but I thought it would be nice to share our experiences and hopefully we can inspire more parents out there to run with their children!

Thirty two

Posted by ~Summer~ on 8.4.15
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Birthdays are special days. At least, that is what I have believed in all my life.

When I was a kid, my birthdays were intimate affairs spent with the family. Then when I became a teen, birthdays were big gatherings and my friends would make me feel like a star on that special day.

In my early twenties, it became the more the merrier. I remember I invited over 50 friends for my 21st birthday celebration and even in the following years, birthdays would be spent in clubs, KTVs or over steamboat and BBQ gatherings. There was even a year when I received not one, not two, but seven cakes for the same birthday because I had numerous groups of friends and colleagues celebrating it for me.

Then came the late twenties and that was when I became a mum. Suddenly, everything changed. Birthdays still mattered but it seemed like mine could take a backseat so that I could focus on celebrating my kids'. The big gatherings toned down and intimate gatherings took over once again.

Yesterday, I turned 32. Unlike many of the previous years, I wasn't particularly thrilled about the big day. Not because I dreaded the thought of it, but because for some reason, I felt strangely peaceful inside.

A simple cake cutting ceremony with my parents, popo and kids. Still can't believe that cake costs $2.05 from NTUC! And it's yummy! Thank you, my family, for standing by me through these 32 years!

Celebration with the hubby and kids after a Korean BBQ dinner

I woke up as usual, brought Angel to school, spent the day with Ariel and in the evening, we went for a family dinner followed by a simple cake-cutting ceremony. No frills, no thrills. No surprises, no big gifts except for handmade cards. Which, by the way, mean the world to me.

Card made by Angel, who designed and created it on her own. She even drew a library, bed, fan and TV in the house and spelt all the words herself using the alphabet stickers

Card made by the hubby, something he hasn't done in years. In case you are wondering, that artistic silver symbol means 双, which is my chinese name and what my family and loved ones call me

Card made by Ariel. She wanted to draw 'eggs', so I helped her with the outline and she drew in the faces for Papa egg, Mama egg, Jiejie egg and Meimei egg
Yet, deep down, I felt over the moon.

You know that feeling when suddenly life just seems perfect and you're at the best time of your life, enjoying each and every second of your journey and feeling thankful for being where you are today? Yes, that. I felt that so strongly this year.

老了, 老了, is what some people might say. Yes, meaning age is catching up with you and that is perhaps why you start to cherish more and feel contented with what you have, instead of chasing what eludes you.

Special heart-shaped watermelon! Adds on to the sweetness and love that was in my heart that night

They made a wish with me and blew out the candles before I could finish. The thing is, I almost thought I had nothing to wish for this year. Except for a happy, healthy family. And world peace

For me, well, it's more of  到了, 到了. Yes, I reached. Reached the point in my life when I feel blessed, fortunate, loved and happy beyond words. No, life is still far from perfect but at least I've somehow accepted every crack and every flaw wholeheartedly. The way I see it, it's a much better life than I ever could have asked for and a more fulfilling one than I had ever imagined. Loving parents and in-laws. Awesome husband. Great friends. Beautiful kids. Best job in the world. Honestly, I probably don't deserve so much goodness in my life.

When the girls sang the birthday song and gave me sweet kisses, one on each cheek, I was so elated that I could cry tears of joy. My big girl, not too big but big enough to have a nice girly talk with me, sitting on my left lap. My small girl, not too small but still small enough for me to call her a baby, sitting on my right. My husband, not the best man in the world but the best man for me, standing right opposite to capture my big smiles on camera. I had everything I needed in the world. Everything.

If you are reading this, you probably make a difference to my life in a way you don't know too, so thank you for that. I also greatly appreciate all the wishes that poured in from family, friends, readers and even sponsors from near and far. Thank you for remembering me and for dropping those kind messages through Facebook and Whatsapp. All of you have played a part in my life story and that is why I have such a rewarding and happy one. Every inch of me feels grateful today so I just hope to pass on more goodness to others in the little ways that I can. (P.S. My next Spread L.O.V.E post should be up next month! I hope!)

Happy birthday to me. And yes, it's really a happy one this year. 

Sweetest kisses ever. Thank you, my dears, for making me a truly happy mum

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