Happiness is... counting my blessings

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 07, 2017

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!


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