Our precious one - Ansel's 9th and 10th months

Posted by ~Summer~ on May 10, 2022
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I guess it's taken me some time to finish this but I'm not gonna give up. You see, these growing up videos of the kids are very precious to us and it's better late than never in this case. 

You know, my kids' favourite YouTube channel is not CocoMelon or Nicklelodeon but our very own channel with a compilation of over 100 of our videos over the years. These moments are worth cherishing and the memories are priceless, at least to us. I always tell the kids how lucky they are to have technology that enables them to capture everything so easily but to never forget that the best part is still using our hearts and eyes to see and feel every experience.

Yup, so here's Ansel's latest video which depicts fond moments from his 9th and 10th months. I know the kids are still gonna be very excited to see this later! Each video always makes all of us smile when we realise how much fun we've had as a family, how fast the baby is growing and how absolutely lucky we are to have him in our lives.

******

Dear Ansel,

Happy 10 months old! It's hard to believe that we are just two months away from your first birthday and that you are gonna be a toddler soon!

You love listening to the song Baby Shark and it's what your siblings sing to you to entertain you during mealtimes. It's a good thing you have three of them who can take turns to sing and I hope you know how much all of them love you. You are our 小宝贝, our little avocado, our cutie pie and our precious darling.

Your smile brightens up our day and nowadays, you tend to love at the smallest things and your laughter is just so contagious. Do you remember how you kept laughing when we were shopping in Uniqlo? It made all of us so happy too.

Kiddy rides are one of your favourite things to do and even if it's stationary, you are just very happy to sit on any of them. You especially love anything that has a steering wheel and that's something you have in common with your Korkor who loves cars too. It's nice to have a brother who dotes on you so much and to grow up with, right?

Now, you have two front teeth and it makes you look super cute! Mealtimes are usually a breeze with you because you are not a picky eater and eats nearly everything that I cook or buy for you. You love Gerber puffs a lot and it's your favourite snack for now, and you are also a 水果王 like Korkor because you love all kinds of fruits. 

You've started to crawl and love to explore around the house so it's harder to keep up with the active you these days. But I love seeing that you are a strong, healthy boy who is growing up well. It seems like you are gonna be crawling on all fours instead of like your siblings who did the commando crawl and three-legged crawl. You can also stand with support now and we are always so excited to see you achieving a new milestone. I think it's awesome to have a cheerleader squad who encourages and cheers for you. No matter what happens, we will always be your best supporters.

We went gai gai a lot these two months and tried out new experiences like having a Glam-Party in Jewel, jumping on bouncy castles, having a staycation in a container, visiting Wild Wild Wet and going on the lazy river, feeding birds at Jurong Bird Park, going on your first cable car ride, visiting S.E.A. Aquarium and more! Yes, that's the fun of school holidays and it's fun to hang out as a family. You are well-trained now and can take the public transport with us, take naps anywhere and are generally very happy to be out with us. Woohoo!

At Singapore Zoo, you also went on your first carousel ride and hopefully it's the start of many more to come! Thank you for letting me have the chance to do all the kiddy things once more and experience the wonderful feeling of being a mum to a little one. We've still so much to explore, so much to feel and so much to do in the days ahead. I can't wait to go on more adventures with you!

You had your first Halloween party too and was dressed up as our little cutie pumpkin pie. I know you aren't able to play the games or watch the movie with us yet but it's still a wonderful joy to have you with us - you were in my tummy when we celebrated Halloween last year.

You are my bundle of sunshine and every morning when I see you sleeping peacefully beside me, even if you had peed on the bed or woke me for the nth time in the middle of the night, I still thank my lucky stars and count my blessings for having you in my life. 有你,我真幸福。

Happy turning 10 months old, my dear Ansel.

With lots of love, Mama


Thirty nine

Posted by ~Summer~ on April 26, 2022
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Entering the final year of my thirties feels a little surreal. It is a stark reminder that I am midway through my life already and that time flies regardless of how we try to slow it down.

When you are at this age, I think you tend to view birthdays a little differently. At least for me. No need for lavish gifts, no huge scale parties, no fanciful meals, no starting or ending the day with a bang. That doesn't mean birthdays are not special to me. In fact, we deserve to feel special and be a little happier on our hatch days because it only happens once a year and is an occasion for us to celebrate. After becoming a mum, I tend to care and plan more for my kids' birthdays than my own. Yup, you know what I mean.

But come every 7th of April, I do look forward to intimate celebrations with the family, simple handmade cards from the kids, a nice but not costly meal with the parents and catch up sessions with my closest friends.

I've been feeling more tired than usual and a little out of focus in the past months so I took the chance on my birthday to rethink, recharge and rejuvenate. I am not sure if midlife crisis hit early but it seems like I am trying to find more meaning and fulfillment in life. Ironically, in the process, I kind of lose myself. So yup, I am a work in progress and still trying to find my way, falling and picking myself up time after time. Aren't we all?

Nonetheless, I take pride in my decision to be a stay-at-home mum for the last 12 years and seeing the kids grow up is a validation of my efforts and fruit of my labour. Whenever I need guidance in life, I look at them and they are the beacon of light that helps me to find my direction once more. Thank you for all the love you poured into my heart on this special day.

The Long-Awaited Barbecue

Finally! Yup, it's been over two years since our last BBQ and I can't tell you how much I miss the food! Thanks to the chef hubby, we had a nice gathering with our parents (6+2+2=10 pax!) and my cravings were satisfied. Think BBQ chicken wings, sambal stingray, sotong, corn, sweet potatoes, beef, fish and roasted marshmallow. 

At our barbecue sessions, I am always the one in the pool with the kids while the hubby pengs the food. Yup, we have our roles to play but I think I got the easier one. Haha. Can't wait for the next BBQ already, so thankful that the rules are more relaxed now and we can gather in bigger groups once more. And yes, my family of six finally doesn't need to sit separately at two tables when we dine out. Phew!


A Surprise Cake

On the eve of my birthday, the hubby brought out a surprise chocolate cake, which was unusual because he has never been one who is big on birthdays and there were times when we didn't even get a cake. So yup, kudos for the effort! 

When you have many kids, the best part about birthdays is having them to sing the song, blow out the candles and cut the cake together. Yup, it always makes me feel extra loved being surrounded by them and four seems like the ideal number for me at the point in my life. 不多,不少,刚刚好!


Family Time

Even though the kids still made me frustrated on my actual day - thereby reminding me that parenting never takes a break - they were also very sweet as to suggest for us to dine at Tim Ho Wan because they know this Mama loves the dim sum there. Yummy! Dinner time is always a busy affair because of the baby and the common bickers amongst the rest but I feel glad that we've made it a point not to have electronic devices at the dinner table. Yup, no phones, no iPads, no TV (unless got special show or very nice movie, I might relent). It's a habit that I hope will follow through and that the kids can see the benefits of it in the form of a closely-knitted family.

So no matter how much I nag, chide and punish you all when you do something wrong, please know that I love all of you deep deep and nothing will ever change that, okay?

Asher requested for frozen yoghurt for dessert and I obliged because I wanted to enjoy a sweet treat too, haha. Yes, I have a sweet tooth! See how big these three are now? The eldest is almost catching up with my height already, oh wow. 时间都去哪儿了?


Once again, I am truly thankful for friends who remembered my day and sent your wishes over, be it in the form of flowers, cakes or wishes on social media. I don't deserve such kindness and our family appreciates every gesture very much. Thank you for filling our hearts and tummies too!


A Weekend Getaway

With a stroke of luck, we were offered a 3D2N staycation on my birthday weekend and the hotel even went the extra mile to decorate our room with helium balloons and personally delivered a birthday cake to our room. Oh wow, thank you ibis Style on Macpherson for all the sweet surprises.

It was my first time bringing four kids on a staycation and this being a work trip, it meant I was busy nearly all the time but I was still so deeply thankful for the chance to spend more quality time with them. Despite all you see on social media, please know that we also have our own struggles, bickers, fights, tantrums and battles to deal with behind the scene, yeah?


Love from the Heart

What never fails to touch me on my birthday is the love I get from the kids in the form of handmade cards. These mean the world to me and each of them is simply so precious. I wish I had a big locker to keep all these cards and I know one day when I am much older, looking back and reading every single line of what they wrote will bring tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.

Thank you, my dears, for putting your heart into doing these year after year for Mama. They are worth more than any meal or present because each card that you make is priceless and one-of-a-kind. Keep them coming and I promise to keep writing to you too, okay

That marks the end of my birthday celebration this year and you know what? I think I'm all ready for the big 40 next year. With my loved ones around me and having reached a place in life where I am comfortable with doing the things I do each day and knowing that it is a blessing to be me, I know I am in a good place. And yes, life is truly beautiful.

Thank you for aging with me and sharing my stories with me throughout the years. Sending each of you love and best wishes too!


Happiness is... enjoying cosy celebrations

Posted by ~Summer~ on March 31, 2022
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February was a month of celebration filled with happy moments, milestones and family gatherings. Even though social gatherings and house visits were still limited to five pax, it just meant that we had to celebrate in a more intimate way.

Like I mentioned before, this pandemic has altered the way we celebrate our special days and it might not necessarily be a bad thing. We've learnt that you don't need a big scale event, that parties can be simple and not lavish, that staying home can be fun, that as long as your loved ones are with you, that's more than enough, isn't it?

In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about treasuring the cosy celebrations and reminding ourselves what matters at the end of the day. Love, joy, good health, family - we are truly blessed to have them.

******

Firstly, we ushered in the Year of the Tiger and had reunion lunch, dinner and catch ups with our family and friends. It's a different kind of CNY from the past but similar to last year, there weren't any huge gatherings with the extended family but only small group sessions here and there.

It was a bittersweet feeling for me because while it was my first time being a mum of four and holding Ansel on 大年初一, it was also the first time in my 39 years of life that Popo was not here and we could not go to her house to 拜年, to sayang her and to give her a big, warm hug. 婆婆,好想你哦.


Our reunion meal with my parents was a simple steamboat followed by ice cream and a walk in the park. For the first time, we went on a swing together, went to the exercise corner and stepped on a massage trail barefooted. These are the ordinary moments that will leave an extraordinary impression and lasting memories in our hearts, right?

CNY lasts for 15 days and so our fun continued over the weekends. Check out our gigantic unicorn float? It has been lying around since Angel's unicorn party two years ago so we took it out and gave it a good pump. It is so big that it fits three kids, haha. 

They had a jolly good time as they climbed on board, fell over and did so repeatedly. They also loved playing Ice and Water with my Dad in the small pool and I know I'm gonna miss such simple, fun days when they are much bigger.

We also made our way to River Safari because it is one of our favourite places to visit. I loved the CNY decor they had at the entrances, they were so pretty and perfect for a photo backdrop. 


Seeing the animals up close always excites the kids and that is why we choose to be Friends of Wildlife year after year. While the baby had some one-on-one time with the hubby, I took the older three on the Amazon Quest boat ride because they love it lots.


Huat ah! Lao Yusheng is one of my favourite parts of CNY so we did it more than once with the family. It was so yummy and more than the taste, it was about being together as a family when you lao and say well wishes for each other.

初二 was my father-in-law's 70th birthday so we held a celebration for him at home. I love this shot of my parents and in-laws and hope they will always be able to get along well and talk about anything under the sun.

Life at home goes on which means there are endless chores lying in wait every day. Sometimes, the cooking, washing, cleaning, butt washing, wiping, vacuuming and fetching of kids really wears me out but it's the smiles on their faces that make it all worthwhile. 身为全职妈妈,能天天照顾好你们,这是我的福气。


Time to play! We started a Family Games Night where we come together to play games like Win, Lose or Draw, Hangman, Wordle, Taboo, Pictionary, Connect 4, Spot It, Monopoly Deal and more. The kids each get to choose what they want and even though they sometimes bicker or that the baby messes things up, I think this is a good tradition to have and hope it will be here to stay.


The baby of the family turned one this month and even though I spend every minute of his growing up with him, I still wonder where did all the time go! Haha. 太快了!

After 12 years, our Maclaren buggy which has been used by all the elder siblings finally gave way. I remembered we bought it for $250 back in 2009 and for it to last till now after following us in all our travel in Europe and Asia, I think we made it worth its while. So this lucky baby gets a new stroller for his birthday!



We went shopping for a new one but I was glad I took my time to decide because there happened to be an online baby sale and we snagged an old model Peg Perego stroller for just over $150. It even comes with a brand new Maclaren seat liner. Good deal! Woohoo. 

So far, he seems to love it and slept in it the first day we went out. We got him a steering toy so he can pretend to drive and he finds it fun! The siblings said it is such a cosy seat and they wanna sit inside and be pushed around too. Haha. Oh well, all of your had your turn already when you were little.

I like to bring the kids out and to admit, I am lazy to cook every day too. So we still love going to McDonald's once in a while to have some nuggets and fries or to the food court to have mee hoon kuey and cai png. 


The boys love going on kiddy rides - usually stationary ones - when we are out and it's lovely seeing the two brothers laugh and bond. Asher keeps saying his Didi is the cutest boy ever and it warms my heart knowing that they have each other.

Nature walks are the best and I am glad we enjoy such trips as a family. The kids always love spotting bugs and animals while I just like to take a walk and admire the beautiful scenery. We made our way to Upper Pierce Reservoir this time round and took a few nice photos for keepsake. The family shot was done by placing my phone on a bush and trying umpteen times, haha!

Valentine's Day falls in the month of February and while I was surprised to see that the hubby remembered and bought a humidifier for the house and back massager for me, I was equally surprised to see these handwritten love notes from the kids! Awww, so much love, so much heart. I will happily be your Valentine's till one day you find the love of your life. Thank you for being so sweet, my dears!

I have to say it was a busy, busy month for me and one that got me crafting and coming up with creative ideas once more. Why? Well, because we were gonna have a party at home to celebrate Ansel turning one! Woohoo.

Since his current favourite song is Baby Shark, I decided to make it a Baby Shark themed party and went hunting for materials and game props for the big day.

I shall share more about the party in another detailed post but here are some sneak peeks. The kids and I took charge of the DIY decorations and we had a fun time making them together.

Here is how our wall looks in the end! All printed, painted, cut, pasted and done on our own. Even the bubble letters 'Ansel' were hand drawn too, nice right? Stay tuned for more sharing.

So this precious boy of mine is now a toddler and I find that hard to believe because it seemed like yesterday when he came into the world. Time flies so much, especially when our kids are young, and it only reminds me to cherish the years ahead before my kids move away to homes of their own.


You are so blessed and so loved, dear Ansel. It's awesome growing up in a big family and having so many elder siblings who dote on you and protect you. I hope you enjoyed your party as much they did, hee. We had a blast!

All in all, it was such an exciting month for us and one which was filled with family bliss, warm hugs and fun times.

When we were at the pool, the big girl used pebbles to spell out this word and pulled me over to take a look. I think it is the most important word of all and one which we ought to be deeply grateful for.

L-O-V-E. I hope your month was filled with lots of that too and that your heart is full like mine. Till the next post!


Our First Cake Smash Photoshoot

Posted by ~Summer~ on March 28, 2022
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The baby boy turned the BIG one last month. That is a huge milestone and it's hard to believe that this baby is now a toddler already. Time flies when you are a mum and that is why I love to document my kids' growing up years because they will never be this small again.

We were very much looking forward to his one-year-old photoshoot with Bloom Photography whom we totally trust because we've worked with them before and have always been pleased with the experience and results.

This was gonna be extra special because it was our first Cake Smash photoshoot and the name itself sounds like so much fun, right? You only get to do this when your baby is around one so you bet I cherished it deeply since it was going to be our first and last cake smash themed shoot. Let's check out the pics from that day!


CAKE SMASH

We initially planned for an outdoor photoshoot in East Coast Park because we love nature and I thought it would be good for the kids to have space to run around and have some fun. Alas, the weather didn't hold up that day and we were on our way when raindrops started to fall.

After making a call to our photographer Su Wen, who recommended that we switch to a studio shoot instead to avoid the rain and get better lighting, we changed our course and headed to their studio.

Despite the last minute change, everything was set up swiftly and I was very amazed with their efficiency. Judging by how the kids loved the toys corner in their studio and how everyone seemed comfortable and at ease, I was convinced that things happened for a reason and it was fated that we moved to the studio. See the lovely backdrop below?

I totally LOVE it! The combination of blue and gold colours, of twinkling stars against the sky and floating clouds, of shimmering hues and shiny reflections, it suited baby Ansel to a tee.

The beautiful ombre cake was a highlight of this photoshoot segment and it was provided by Bloom Photography as part of the package. So, so pretty, right? A little wasted to be used for just smashing but it makes for great photo opportunities.

In case you are wondering about outfits, Ansel is wearing his own because I happened to bring along his dark blue jumpsuit which fitted the backdrop perfectly. Bloom Photography provides outfits too (we had a choice of a blue or cream denim jumpsuit) or you can choose to bring along your own. Just note that it will be smeared with lots of cream afterwards but a good wash will get rid of it.

I think a cake smash session can reveal a baby's personality traits, don't you think so? While some might revel in this rare chance to eat cake and make a huge mess, others might be more cautious and gentle with every step they take. Ansel belongs to the latter and he took things slowly, explored bit by bit and was a little confused when his hands were filled with cream. Haha. We placed his favourite Gerber puffs on the cake to entice him to crawl over and get closer. His favourite part was using the spatula to hit the cake and pretend to be cooking.

It's never as easy as it looks and there is a tremendous of work involved behind the scene. Some shots might not turn out the way you want to too and that's totally okay. For instance, Su Wen wanted to capture a shot of Ansel lying on his back with his feet in the air but he refused and would make a fuss and roll over every time we tried. Well, I guess sometimes we just have to let the baby call the shots in this case.


MILK BATH

What do you need after getting yourself all smeared with cream? Well, a good bath, of course! And not just any bath but a milk bath. This was the most enjoyable part of the shoot for Ansel because he took comfort in the warm water and was happy to play with bath toys and just splash around. That mini bath tub is just too cute, right?

See his long hair? I was debating if I should cut his hair short before the photoshoot but was glad I decided not to because it's kind of his signature. Yup, this lucky baby is born with long, thick hair and because of that along with his features, many people mistake him for Korean or Japanese.

Oh, and another benefit about having a studio photoshoot is that unlike in a park, you get a proper toilet to bathe the baby when the session ends. All the baby toiletries were provided too and it made cleaning up much faster and easier for us, which was a good thing as we were headed out for lunch afterwards.

This baby is a smiley, happy boy who is usually cheerful unless he is tired or hungry. Even so, it still takes effort to get him to look at the camera and put on his best smile. We had to play Baby Shark, sing, dance, jump and do antics get his attention. Thankfully, Su Wen is proficient and experienced in this and she patiently tries until she gets a good shot.




Milk baths are so shiok right, my dear baby boy?

FAMILY MOMENTS

While Ansel probably loved the bath most, my favourite part was when we got to come together to take some family portraits for keepsake. These are just too precious to me and I cherish each picture very, very much. Here are some of my top picks.

-> With the birthday boy

We seldom take picture with just one kid but maybe we should do so on birthdays to make the child feel extra special and loved.

-> Parent and kids

It's wonderful having a family portrait but also nice at times to let one parent be in the limelight.

-> Siblings 

Siblings are forever and sibling shots are a reminder to be loving always. You are blessed to have each other.

-> Solo

Solo shots show how much each child has grown and make great profile pics. 

-> Family

But the best of all is still family shots and I treasure these uso much. It's not easy when you have a big family and hope that everyone will smile nicely at the camera but we tried our best and I love the results. Our matching monochrome colours turned out pretty well, right?

5 REASONS TO HAVE A CAKE SMASH PHOTOSHOOT

Cake smash photoshoots are the in-thing nowadays and I am glad we did this for our last baby. If you are still on the fence about it, here are reaons why you should totally do it.

1) They grow up too fast

Cake smash photoshoots are only suitable for babies and toddlers around one year old and from experience, that phase doesn't stay very long. Do it while you still can!

2) It's fun and interesting

It's different from the usual setup and the cake and bath tub are interesting elements that jazz up the whole session and make them engaging and fun for the little ones.

3) Choice of outdoor or studio

Based on your personal preference, you can choose to do it indoor or outdoor. The pictures will turn out quite differently so it's all about what you like.

4) Lasting memories

Transform the fleeting moments into lasting memories while our little ones are still little. Photoshoots will get rarer as the kids all grow up (and we grow old).

5) Family portraits 

It is a good opportunity to get an updated family portrait during the photoshoot too, even though the cake smash is the main highlight. Family photos are a legacy we leave for our kids and each speaks a thousand words.

Thanks to Bloom Photography for all the beautiful pictures, fun experience and priceless memories. Quote "SUMMER" to enjoy 10% off upon booking your session. Terms and conditions apply.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with Bloom Photography. All photos are take and provided by Bloom Photography. All opinions are solely our own.


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