Happiness is... surprising your loved ones

Posted by ~Summer~ on June 25, 2019
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May was a month filled with surprises. Yup, I can't say the surprise was for me since I was the one behind most, if not all, of them but it did feel good seeing my plans come to fruition and the joyful faces around me. Those smiles just make the effort feel so worth it, you know what I mean?

Well, I also can't say there were no hiccups along the way because sometimes the kids would take things for granted or the hubby would complain and I would then start to wonder: So why am I doing all this for if no one appreciates it? Haha yes, that happens too. But then you realised that at the end of it, they do appreciate what you've done for them even if they might not find the right words to express themselves all the time. So, I try to give myself a pat on the back and be reminded that it's more of spreading love and creating joy rather than gaining recognition.

In this "Happiness is..." post, it's all about surprising my loved ones.

The hubby turned 40 in May and yes, that is quite a huge milestone, right? We had a total of five gatherings planned for him which I will share more about at the end. I just wanna say that we also had our fair share of ups and downs last month and I can truly understand why it's hard to keep a marriage going strong. The thing is I know we will still stick together and try to find a solution or compromise, instead of giving up on each other. That's the most important thing, right?

On his actual day, we had dinner at Sakae after he knocked off from work. We had brought along a lychee cake for him (see above, so cute hor? 300g cake!) but instead of cutting it at the restaurant, he suggested to bring home instead and let the staff them clear up faster instead of having to wait for us. Yup, that's him, always thinking for others. And so we did, and added in a fruit feast too along with all the fruits we found at home. Simple but happy, that's the way I want our life to be.

Talking about birthdays, my grandma turned a year wiser too! She suffers from dementia and can no longer remember our names or who we are, but it makes her all the more endearing and we love her all the same. My mum planned a family gathering for her at Pu Tien and even went to the expense of getting her this money cake! Yup, it is a real money cake and grandma had to keep pulling out all the notes, one after another and it got bigger and bigger in denomination! Haha. There was a total of $200 inside the cake which kept her pulling for a good couple of minutes, much to her joy and our amusement. It was so nice, so nice, to see that big smile on her face. Thanks Mum, this was really a surprise for everyone and it made Popo so happy!

We were invited for the preview of the Super Day Camp at SuperPark and it came right after the big girl finished her last SA1 paper. Woohoo, nice surprise and reward for her, right? The kids were so happy to let loose and just be free for that couple of hours. You know, I don't really like the notion of letting our kids play in indoor playgrounds while we parents sit at a far corner to rest and relax. If given a choice, I'd much rather we play and have fun together. Just think about it, how many years more can we do this before they choose to go out with their friends instead or find such play activities too childish? I don't know yet but I do know that day will come soon.

No wonder this Finnish concept behind SuperPark resonates with me so well. After all, we did spend over four years in Scandinavia and saw the differences between our parenting cultures. I guess that is why SuperPark has become one of our favourite places to hang out because the activities are suitable for the whole family and we adults get to join in the fun with our kids too.

The big girl has been asking if she could visit Trick Eye Museum a couple of months ago. Yup, she said she saw the advertisement and felt really interested in it and wanted to visit the place for herself. Seeing how hardworking she had been with her mountains of homework, revision and exams, I had to make it happen for her. Frankly speaking, it hasn't been that smooth the past few months for us because we've had to handle her backtalking, defiance, my short fuse and lack of patience in understanding her. Yup, parenting a tween is definitely as hard as, if not tougher, than what people tell me. Every day is still a learning experience for me but I'm hopeful that we'll overcome all the hurdles together so long as we remind ourselves to love unconditionally.

Thanks to Trick Eye for having us for a media visit right after they revamped! We had so much fun with the AR effects and the kids were really good with their posing and 'acting' lor. Take a look at what we did here!

Right, I did say I was the one behind the surprises but I have to tell you that this little girl of mine surprised and amazed me last month. She has been taking swimming classes for less than a year and I thought she would be going for her Swim Safer Stage 1 test when the coach told us he was making arrangements for the kids. Little did I expect that he would tell me that she could skip the first 3 stages and go for BRONZE directly. Fwah, first test and she is going for bronze! Really?

See, that's what I do when I realise that this secondborn can be so much more capable than what I think of her. She always proves me wrong and shows me that she can excel in areas where I don't expect her to. She passed the test easily and did all the strokes, front flips and underwater swims that I couldn't have done. So, so proud of this girl!

We were excited to be at the premiere of Secret Life of Pets 2 at The Cathay and were pleasantly surprised to see that they had brought in real live animals for the kids to interact with. The girls learnt about adoption of dogs from SOSD and carried them lovingly, stroked cute kittens while the boy plucked up enough courage to pat and play with the rabbits. The show was so hilarious and entertaining too and started our weekend on a perfect note.

As for the boy, he did something he had never done before - go for a haircut! Yup, it's the first time he had his hair cut by somebody else but me and let's just say it took lots of encouragement and assurance - and lollipop bribery - before he was willing to do so. I was amazed by how a haircut made him look so grown up after that. Awww, my baby boy is outgrowing his baby-ness so fast!

Contrary to expectations, he didn't fidget, didn't flinch and didn't complain in the least, Instead, he behaved wonderfully and gave such a big smile at the end when he saw his new look. Yup, I guess I don't need to cut his hair from now on and to tell you the truth, it was hard cutting his hair - I have no idea how to do it so I anyhow humtum one, okay - but I think I'll actually miss it.

In the midst of the big girl's series of Paper 2 exams which took place over four days, we decided to head out for dinner and have some fun. Yup, I'm not a believer of last minute revision because I think it only stresses everyone out without doing any good, and I prefer to keep my fingers crossed and hope that constant hard work and being attentive in class will pay off for her.

Anyway, we were heading to the streets when a sudden downpour came and we had to backtrack and made our way home. I could have easily opted for food delivery while we bathed and waited at home, but where's the fun in that, right? So I took an umbrella and asked them to put on their raincoats so we could head right out again - in the rain, this time. The girls danced around the puddles and it was plain to see how simple things like these could bring them immense joy. Carpe diem, my little ones.

Okay, I had another surprise on Mother's Day and that was because of all these sweet cards and gifts from the kids. I had known about half of them already because we made them together but the girls were still very thoughtful by taking one of our notebooks and a bunch of marker pens to wrap up as gifts for me. Haha. So cute of them. The boy also did his first Mother's Day present for me in school and it made me feel so touched too. This mummy is easily satisfied one, okay? I don't need flowers or expensives gifts, give me a handmade card anytime and I'll be over the moon.

To surprise our mums on Mother's Day, we brought them for a yummy, expensive dinner that they would never have splurged on themselves. Haha. Yup, it was our first visit to the popular Captain K and we tried their tallest 9-tier seafood tower! One kind of seafood on every tier followed by chicken ginseng soup at the bottom, along with our sake and beer, that meal was really a luxury for all of us. It was nice to hear that the parents enjoyed the feast too and yup, they told us not to spend so much for them and we usually don't, but this was a treat for everyone, including myself. So yay!

The hubby and I managed to squeeze in some couple time as we spent an afternoon away from the kids and..... on a yacht! Yup, it was for our friend's birthday celebration and boy, it was my first time having a party on a yacht too. We ate cake and finger food, drank bottles of wine and liquor, chatted and caught up with each other and since it takes place once in a blue, blue moon for us, I'm just glad to see that the hubby had lots of fun and so did I too. I even tried stand up paddleboarding for the first time and the hubby said it was very difficult to balance but I found it okay ley. Hahaha. But oh well, I was terrible at doing my jump off the yacht while he did it with ease and in style. Guess we both have different strengths, right?

My second post in my 快乐妈咪 column came out on the last Monday of May and it's still always a joy and surprise to see my own writing in the papers. I always send them about four pictures for the editor to choose from and I never know which one they would pick. So, flipping through the papers and seeing our photo in it still feels surreal to me and it always makes me happy and ever so thankful.

Back to the birthday celebrations for the hubby, we had a BBQ gathering with his good pals, a buffet dinner with his crew, as well as a 4D3N chalet retreat where I had secretly invited his friends to come over. Yup, I devised the plan a month before his big day, got him to book the SAF chalet for us but told him that it would just be a retreat for us. Little did he know that I had sent out invites to two groups of friends asking them to show up on different days while reserving the last day for our immediate families. A lot of effort in coordinating and keeping everything a secret, okay?

Every chalet stay is like a holiday for the kids and they are always so happy to be able to play at the beach. We went to the beach every day and even though the water was not so clean, - and in fact very dirty hor - the little girl still requested to jump in to swim and we just let her. Haha. We also hunted for sea creatures and the hubby cut his hand while attempting to lift up a rock. Well, just one of the things he does for his kids. It was easy to tell how the kids had fun with their cousins too, even if they were doing nothing much except blowing bubbles and piling sand on top of each other. The simple joys of life, I love these moments so much.

I didn't do too much decorations for the chalet because I doubt he would have appreciated much of it, haha, but we did have a photo gallery showing his pictures since birth and lots and lots of balloons - which the kids helped in blowing up. Surprisingly, the younger two are not scared of balloons and can blow them up to even bigger sizes than me lor. Why are they not afraid one? The big sister is though, which is normal. Lol.

The birthday boy must have had an overdose of cakes this year because, let me count, he had a total of 6 birthday cake! Yup, 6! The two outstanding ones were this submarine one done by his crew and the Liverpool one ordered by his good friend. The motto "You'll Never Walk Alone" was perfect for him to remember his birthday by since he had so many good friends and family who surrounded him to celebrate this special occasion.

Thanks to everyone who helped in one way or another and made these surprise gatherings a success! Woohoo! I sure hope you were happy and had a memorable 40th birthday celebration, dear.

Yup, I guess that's the end of surprises for now but we are in for some really fun time during the school holidays in June. Till more updates soon!


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