Happiness is... feeling exhausted but happy

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 03, 2017
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I go to bed feeling tired every night. Yup, I really do because it's just no joke having to handle three kids day in day out, in addition to looking after our home.

Take yesterday for example, I had a bad episode with the first girl whom I thought was behaving much too stubbornly and me in being stubborn enough to want to get her out of her stubbornness (yup, talk about pot calling the kettle black), we ended up in tantrums, tempers and tears. Yup, I dread to say it but I cried when I finally scooped her into my arms and even though things seemed terrible at first, the good thing that usually comes out of such situations is that we had a heart to heart talk, just me and her, and I actually appreciated that a lot.

Being a mum is seriously not easy, right? To be honest, I don't think it's the physical fatigue that drains me most, but it's the mental and the emotional part that gets to me. Like I've said before, motherhood is a lifelong journey and I'm still learning so much about it every single day - not just in terms of handling my kids, keeping them safe and well and getting to know them inside out, but also learning to manage myself, my train of thoughts and my course of action, in the hope of becoming a better mum and a better person.

That said, you know what's the one thing that keeps me going through all the exhaustion day after day? It's that incredible sense of joy, achievement and gratitude. The joy of being with these three kiddos who drive me up the wall yet melt my heart like no one else can, the achievement of witnessing their milestones and seeing them grow up way too fast, the gratitude of knowing how blessed I am to be where I am and that there is no other place, no other time and no other role that I'll rather be.

In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about feeling exhausted yet happy when I go to bed at night. It's that happiness that helps me overcome all the fatigue and gives me the strength to face a brand new tomorrow, with lessons learnt from the past and hopes for the future. Here's a look at what kept us so busy in the fun-filled of September.

There was only a one-week school holiday in September yet it felt like we did so much throughout the whole month and every day seemed to be pack full of activities.

We were at Changi Airport for the Changi Loves Kids Carnival and though I initially wanted to spend just half a day here, it turned out that we spent the whole day here, had our lunch, played, went to supermarket, played, had dinner and then played somemore! Yup, the kids had a good time on the kiddy rides even though there were only three - a helicopter ride, a carousel and a train ride. It was the first time the girls brought the baby brother on so many rides and didn't need me to accompany them so I could focus on taking photographs and lament the fact that my kids are growing up too fast too furiously for my liking.

There were also a few game stalls where you can throw balls into a lion's mouth, toss rings and catch balls with a claw machine. We were told that these were pretty hard to win but lady luck must have been shining on us because we walked away with not one, but two prizes! Woohoo! I was so happy that we didn't have to pay for the rides and games, but instead redeemed for tokens using the receipts from our meals and from the supermarket. Kids were happy and so was I, win win!

It was a spontaneous trip to Sentosa, thanks to the spontaneous hubby, and it was purely a stroke of luck that we were there for the Sandsation 2017, Southeast Asia's largest sand festival, where we got to marvel at larger-than-life sand sculptures. The girls were awed by them and even asked us if they were built by real people, while the hubby and I were very much tickled by the sculptures depicting our local culture and colloquial slang, for instance gan cheong spider, chope, jialat and so on.

Going on the cable car never fails to thrill the kids and despite it going at a slow pace, they could still pretend that we were in a roller coaster ride or that we were going to fall into the sea (choi!). It just felt so nice to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Singapore while hearing their infectious laughter and enjoying the escape from the hustle and bustle for a while.

It's been a while since we made it to the movies but we did so this month and unexpectedly, we enjoyed watching The Nut Job 2 more than I thought we would! Credit must go to our favourite character Mr. Feng, who is a martial arts expert and super adorable looking mouse voiced by who else but our favourite Jackie Chan. Yup, he made a world of a difference to the show and we loved it every time he appeared.

We don't frequent arcades but when we do, we make sure we have a blast! We've never been to this one in Suntec City and never knew how fun or how huge it was, so we ended up spending one whole afternoon here just collecting tickets after tickets and we amassed thousands of them after spending forty bucks and went home with a small stuffed toy keychain, a small torch light, a small inflatable fish and lollipops. Haha. Yup, the forty bucks could have bought us so much more but it was the process of trying, the fun and laughter, the joy of winning and the bonding experience that we were paying for.

Thanks to USS who invited us for the Chocolate Adventure event previously, we had tickets to go back again and even though there were some hiccups with the complimentary tickets initially, thankfully we managed to solve it after half an hour and were even given a bundle of express passes. Yayyy! I don't think I need to say more about how kids love USS, right? My kids are thrill seekers and so they simply adore this place to the max. Ariel can't get enough of the Transformers ride, Angel is looking forward to her next visit so she can go on Battlestar Galatica, while Asher is still happy to have Mama accompany him on flying dinosaurs or moving jeeps. And yes, I'm so gonna cherish it while one of them is still very much into kiddy rides that don't cause my head to spin too much!

We made our second visit to Hello Kitty Orchid Garden (read my review here) and this time round, we tried the Cowabunga Wagyu, which tasted more like beef rendang, but Angel and I really liked it! The only thing was when we wanted to order one more rice portion - just rice and nothing else, it cost us an extra $5! Yesh, that's extortion and too bad my kids really need to jiak ben one and it was still cheaper than ordering one more course. Yup, the high cost of the food is what deters us from coming here too often and would rather go to the Kopitiam downstairs. #truthabouthaving3kids

This year, we haven't really visited indoor playgrounds that much so during the school holidays, I brought them for some fun at a playground of their choice. Now that the boy is getting bigger, it's really not that cheap to bring all three of them to places like these so I can only feel thankful for the fact many of our shopping malls have free playgrounds for kids to enjoy too. Now that I have a primary schooler at home, it gets easy to forget about how important play is to our kids on some days, and I think I need to work on reminding myself of that. I always think that they can learn a lot from play, be it finding solutions to problems, overcoming challenges, building confidence, communicating with others or resolving conflicts. So yes, no matter how busy life gets, we need to let our children play!

It was a spontaneous decision on my part to squeeze with the crowd at City Square Mall just so the kids could catch the Shimmer and Shine show. Yes, a little mad to attempt to do that when I was alone with three kids but hey, we survived! I even managed to get hold of the coveted Meet & Greet passes and Makeover passes by queuing up for long and using our receipts from the indoor playground, which was a total surprise for the girls. Yup, you bet they were delighted and it was all worthwhile to stay out till past 10pm eventually for their smiles.

Some days we eat out, some days we eat in. I still can't make up my mind on whether it's easier to bring the kids out for a meal so that I don't have to buy groceries, cook and wash up, or it's easier to have a simple meal at home so that I don't have to keep my eyes out for them all the time and have to deal with picky eaters, sibling squabbles or public tantrums. It very much depends on my mood for that day and whether I need to fetch the elder girl from school or if I need to bring them for their enrichment classes, but in both cases, it's still very much a matter of practice makes perfect.

Weekends are usually for sleeping in because they are the only days of the week that we do not have to wake up at 6:30am sharp. However, on one Saturday, we made extra effort to wake early and make our way to East Coast Park so that I could gather with my JC friends! Yup, can't believe we are still in touch after 17 years and still make it a point to have gatherings now and then. Pretty awesome, right? The kids had so much fun playing at the Marine Cove playground too though the sun was scorching and didn't take more than a couple of minutes to melt our McDonalds' ice cream cones!

I told you we did so many things this month, right? And we are not even nearing the end yet! Haha.

The big girl, who has been taking up international dance as a CCA since the start of this year, went for her first public dance performance and it was a proud mama moment for me. I brought her to school early on a Sunday morning to help her with her make up, see her do her final rehearsals before we made our way to the event venue with the teammates and fellow parents. She was the youngest of the participants and even though she forgot her step for a brief second, she recovered so fast and I was proud of her for doing that and not giving up when mistakes happen.

Talking about her, we are likely to be transferring her to a school near our new house next year since proximity remains my biggest consideration. We love her current school but it takes me over 40 minutes to travel there by public transport and it gets very disruptive for her siblings whenever I need to wake them up from their afternoon naps so that I can bring them down to fetch jiejie (there is no school bus whenever there is CCA, and she has CCA twice a week!). We've been surviving as such for the whole of this year ever since we moved but now that we've been offered a place in a school that is within a walking distance from our current abode, considering all the logistics, time and effort that it will help save, I think we are going to take the leap. I can only hope that I can help her to ease into her new environment and continue to motivate her to love school, love her teachers, love her friends and always love learning.

My kids also had their first experience of fun at Diggersite, thank to So.Natty for inviting us to her son's birthday party. And boy oh boy, all three of them had lotsa fun, yes, even the two girls! Who knew that excavators, logging machines and cranes can provide them with hours of fun too?

Oh yes, and there was a sand pit at Diggersite at Orto in Yishun and as you know, sand can keep kids occupied for hours. Yup. I'm still hoping that my kids will always be thrilled to see sand and not find it dirty or yucky, but instead see it as a chance to play, be imaginative and to let their hair down and have a wonderful time.

I have to thank the staff for helping, and suggesting, for us to take this family pic! We were the last family to leave the party and I was glad that we managed to capture this snapshot of us. Yup, it's quite typical of our family - the hubby who is the man of the house, the breadwinner, the head of family who supports us and pulls us along, while I am the stay-at-home mum, the babysitter, the homemaker who slogs behind the scene to keep things going.

I've been saying about wanting to bring the kids for cycling and we finally did so! We rented bikes for the girls and while I was sure that the big girl didn't need my help, she amazed us by conquering steep slopes and learning to stand up while pedaling too! What was even more amazing was that the little sister, who barely knew how to cycle after the last session we had at the void deck, did so well this time and could cycle non-stop for a long distance. She still needed a little help to start off but other than that, she slowly learnt to brake and to turn and wasn't even scared when going up and down the slopes. Such a plucky little one we have! #secondborntrait

It was also a good running workout for the hubby and I because one of us would have to push the baby brother along in his tricycle while the other had to follow behind Ariel just in case she knocked into someone else or veered off the path. It was so much fun though and the kids have been saying they want to go cycling again soon!

Are we there yet? Yes yes, soon! I also don't know how we managed to do so many activities this month! Since mid-autumn festival is coming, we wanted to get ourselves into the mood and thus had a couple of celebrations with our family and in our neighbourhood as well. Yup, someone please tell me it's okay to eat so many mooncakes and zhu zai bing. I've always loved the feeling of carrying a lantern and go on a parade, so it heartens me to see that the kids do too (and we don't use battery-operated lanterns one hor, we only want the traditional ones with candles so that the kids can blow them out after). And yup, that's Mr Ng Chee Meng and we were glad to be able to celebrate the festival with him and get that shot too (did you know that he was previously from the air force before he became the Chief of Defence and subsequently entered politics? So nice that my submariner hubby got to meet him in person!)

Like I mentioned before in my sharing on what it means to be a Navy Wife (thanks for the overwhelming support for that post, by the way!), it's much harder for us to plan for long holidays so we try to weave in short getaways now and then. We were back in Somerset Medini in Johor because we wanted to bring the kids to one of their favourite places again! That was the highlight for us during the holidays and let's just say even though the weather wasn't the best as it could be, we still had lots of fun during that 3D2N trip! I'm working on doing up the review and negotiating for a giveaway for you, so stay tuned for more updates on that.

What's one of their favourite places, you ask? Well, I was referring to LEGOLAND Malaysia, of course! Since we have the annual passes, I think we have to, have to make the most of them and every visit here is like a fun-filled holiday in paradise for the kids. It's hard to believe that LEGOLAND is celebrating its 5th anniversary already but we are just so glad to have shared this journey and watched the parks grow from then till now.

I sometimes wonder when the kids will outgrow their love for these kiddy rides but when I posed this question to the eldest, she said she will not and even if she does, she will still enjoy coming here so that she can look after her brother. Haha. Well, nice answer but we'll see if it turns out to be true. For now, I'll just learn to slowly take a step aside as the girls start to be able to go on rides without being accompanied by a parent while still cherishing the chance to be there for my youngest and cherishing every bit of his innocence and pure joy. Thanks kids, for making me feel like a kid again!

Not everything went well and smoothly this month as the little one fell sick right before we had our family chalet. He ran a high fever for a few days and started coughing badly too. I always worry when he coughs that way, given his two episodes of pneumonia which I seriously don't miss a single bit. Thankfully, this strong little boy managed to recover soon and we didn't have to cancel any of our plans, if not that would have been a bummer!

So the hubby and I managed to sneak in a 'couple date' during the chalet when we went to Sheng Shiong to get the ingredients for our BBQ/steamboat for the family gathering. Right, how romantic hor? Haha. I actually didn't mind because it's so rare that we got to be together without the kids, plus it was a challenge for me to pick out the live seafood even though my hubby is an expert at it.

You know, I have to feel very thankful to have this generous man as my spouse because he doesn't splurge on himself but he does on family and friends. Like for such gatherings, he insists on getting the best, freshest and nicest seafood - oysters, crabs, crayfish, squid, fish, prawns, mussels - just so that everyone who came could tuck in to a yummy, hearty meal. Yup, that's his personality and something that will not change, and it's also part of what drew me to him in the first place.

He is also the only one who will arm himself with a fishing net and buckets and take the girls to hunt for sea creatures. They are always very excited when Daddy catches a crab, shrimp or fish - no matter how small - and it's something that I admire because I can never seem to catch any. Haha. Right, I shall just stick to building sandcastles and taking pictures. It's really nice to have a sporty, outdoorsy hubby like that because he passes this love for nature to the kids and I'd much rather they be out under the hot sun than to watch TV on the sofa.

So, the chalet was really a cosy affair and our tummies were well fed, our laughter was loud and our hearts were full. Again, big thanks to the hubby who was, as always, the BBQ-er because he is just so good at it while I was contented to feed the kids and tuck into nicely grilled food. Nothing beats BBQ corn, chicken wings, sausages, sweet potato, sotong and fish and that aroma, gosh, I love love love it!

Happy birthday to my Dad and to everyone who came to help make the chalet a success, especially to Kids 'R' Simple for letting the cousins join in the celebration though our niece was having PSLE soon. Nothing is more important than family ties in this world and I'm just glad we are keeping these gatherings coming! Yup, we may not have it all together but together, we have it all.

Hope all of you had a great month of September too and that the joy far outweighs any exhaustion, if any! Till more updates next month!


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