Happiness is... never losing hope

Posted by ~Summer~ on April 11, 2020

It feels weird to be writing about our February happenings while we are in the the circuit breaker period. But then again, I guess reminiscing the happy moments helps to keep us positive and hopeful that things will return to normal so we can resume our lifestyles very soon.

While we do our part to stay home during this crucial period - please, please, please don't go out if you don't have to, okay? - we also like to look back on our videos and pictures and hopefully, we will all learn to better cherish what we have and not take things for granted anymore.

In February's "Happiness is...", it's about never losing hope and always holding on to the faith in our hearts.

IKEA is one of our favourite places to visit and besides bringing back fond memories of our days in Sweden, another main draw for us has to be the 50 cents soft serve ice cream! They've changed from vanilla to soya flavour but we love it all the same. We also love walking through the aisles and browsing through all the furniture even if we have nothing specific to buy, you know what I mean? Yes, you do that too, I bet. Anyway, it's gonnna be some time before we can visit IKEA again but that just gives us something to look forward to when the time comes. I am so gonna eat two chicken wings, or maybe three or even four, the next time I go. Haha.

My kids rarely get new toys, except on their birthdays and Christmas. Yup, twice a year isn't that bad, right? That said, we do like to walk around in Toys 'R' Us and check out what they have to offer, even if we don't walk out with any purchases eventually. It helps to kill spare time and makes the kids happy, so why not? That said, now that most departmental stores are closed and we realise what are non-essential services, perhaps it's a time for kids to realise that they don't need new toys to keep themselves occupied and happy. All they need is some imagination and they can turn everyday items into interesting 'toys' too. Of course, it will be even better if you have siblings and parents to play with you, which is exactly the opportunities that this Circuit Breaker has presented us with.

Even taking a walk in the park might be harder nowadays because we will still have a fear in our hearts, especially with the rising number of cases. Although the government has told us that it is okay to go to the park for exercise, it gets alarming when you see that many other people think likewise too and it ends up that social distancing might not be that possible after all. The kids and I still try to go for a walk in our neighbourhood once a week but we make sure that we stay away from crowds and be socially responsible. It's so important that we all learn to take things seriously if we wish to help flatten the curve and we must remember that this is only for the time being.

A throwback to February also made me realise it was just the end of Chinese New Year then and we had gatherings with our friends, including steamboat, lao yu sheng and chats about anything under the sun. That was the time when our kids could all play together, when we had no qualms about sharing a hotpot, when distancing was not a norm and when we were allowed to be the social creatures that we are.

Sometimes, I wonder if things will be back to the same as they were previously once the pandemic is over or if we will still have that worry in the back of our hearts, which will inevitably affect the way we socialise. I guess we just can't overthink things at this point but to focus on tiding over the crisis first. We are stronger than we think and that is also why we need to be strong enough to control our urges to socialise during this period. It doesn't mean we stop talking to friends because there's always social media and Whatsapp, it just means we stop seeing them in person for a while. Same goes for our family members, because we love them and want them to be healthy and well.

You probably know that we are avid movie goers and that we love theatrical productions too. These have to be sadly put on hold for the time being for the safety of everyone. That doesn't mean we stop watching family-friendly shows altogether because hey, there's always Netflix and the internet. We usually have movie nights on Fridays and I guess we might increase it to two movies a week during this HBL period because I think it helps to keep all of us sane and happy. I simply love cuddling and snacking with the kids while enjoying a family-friendly show and although they always have a thousand questions after, it just gives us a chance to talk, discuss and bond too. Now, what shall we watch next?

I admit that I was a little disappointed when I first found out that the big girl needed to wear specs because a part of me had hoped that she would inherit my perfect eyesight and be able to stay away from myopia. That said, nearly six months into her Ortho-K journey, she has achieved a perfect 6/6 in her last vision test in school. Yippee! She deserves much credit for being so disciplined during her routines every morning and night and I earnestly hope she will continue to find her motivation to be specs-free and continue taking good care of her lens. Kudos to you, dear Angel!

In view of the pandemic, SYF has been cancelled this year which was a blow to her. That was because it was going to be her first major competition and she had been training hard since last year. Well, I guess it teaches us that life is unpredictable and try as we might, we do not know for sure what will happen tomorrow. It also makes her learn to face her disappointment and pick herself up, which is an important life lesson and I hope that through it all, she can become more resilient and determined. Remember that you need not shine on a stage and you can shine from the bottom of your heart and light up the lives of people around you, okay? Never lose hope and always find the silver lining in every cloud, my dear.

As for myself, I mentioned that I started going for cupping sessions, right? (IG: kappingusg) I did it all through February and ended on the first week of March. Yup, I think I was lucky that I managed to complete it and let's just say that the results were even better than I had hoped for! Instead of losing 4.5kg which I had wanted to because I thought that would be a fantastic result already, I instead dropped a total of 6kg in 6 weeks. Fwah. Yup, even I myself was amazed. My therapist said I was very motivated and disciplined, seeing how I stuck to the no-carbs diet daily so that definitely played a part in achieving the good, consistent results. Well, I never thought I could one day fit into S size dresses and pants again but it seems like I can now. The lesson is to always have hope, be committed, find a method that works for you, persevere, don't give in to temptation, push yourself beyond your limits and you will be able to achieve your goal.

The hubby and I might have our differences just like every couple does but at the end of the day, I hope we will always be able to overcome the hurdles and remember why we together in the first place. While the little girl was the sweetest one who gave me a handwritten card on Valentine's Day, the hubby also surprised me by leaving me a heart shaped note folded using a $100 bill. Haha. It wasn't the money that made me smile but the effort into folding the heart, okay? I am not the 贪慕虚荣 type of girl which was why he married me, I guess. From Day 1, I had already told him no flowers, no expensive gifts and no fancy dinners required on special occasions. But a handmade card, I welcome that anytime.

The kids miss going for art and Heguru lessons but they also understand that those will just have to be put on hold for now. While we could still go out during February after making sure we put on our masks, we are not going onto the streets for now and we are avoiding taking any form of public transport for now too. If you know me, you will know that I LOVE bringing my kids out and being outdoors is a staple of our lives, especially on weekends. But, if we are to make that happen and let everyone be able to enjoy the sun once more, we have to abstain from going out for the time being. I need to do it, so do you. If kids can comprehend the logic behind it, adults should understand it even better, right?

For the latter two weeks of February, we already stopped going out as much even though the kids still had school and I still managed to go to the supermarket every day. It's funny how all that sounds so distant already as I type it out now on 11th of April. It's also scary how a virus has affected the whole world and created chaos.

Anyway, we tried to make life at home fun instead of mundane because I wanted the kids to look forward and enjoying being home with me rather than dread it because they felt cooped or bored.

First up, I let them take on more chores because while they are essential to our lives, they can be fun too, right? For instance, the siblings get to bond as they help me prepare the ingredients for dinner or we get to sing our favourite songs when we are doing the laundry. I also love hearing all of their stories because these three have endless stories to share every single day. Yup, to the point that they keep interrupting each other so we now have a system of raising hand and waiting for your name to be called before it's your turn to share. Haha.

I've been trying to cook more this month for them because homecooked meals are still the best! I love how they always give me encouragement and support and no matter how lousy the dishes are, they finish everything on their plates - okay, it's also because they don't have a choice - and then say "Thank you, Mummy, for cooking for me." It's what makes everything worthwhile, isn't it? I tried cooking omurice recently and this was such a hit with them that I had to cook it a few times. Yay! We've also been eating healthier and that includes drinking our double boiled chicken essence from Tian Yuan Xiang which the kids love. Many of you ask me how I manage to cook with three kids considering that I am usually solo parenting on weekdays. The answer is... to cook simply, to rope the kids in and to disregard a messy house or other undone chores until our tummies are fed.

Pretend play is also a big part of our stay-home life and in case you haven't read it yet, go to my  快乐妈咪 column and see why I find it important for kids to feel bored from time to time. We have expanded our Rainbow Cafe and the kids love being chefs and cooking for everyone in the house. The boy and I also loved to play with make believe guns (see my remote control and hairbrush) and pretend that we are fighting bad guys and monsters together. Haha. These are the moments I will look back on and miss dearly when my kids are all grown up.

Reading is also a big part of our life and I hope I will always find time to read to my kids. Books provide us with knowledge, make us wonder, bring us to places and give us hope. Our friends look at our library and say "Wow, you have so many books!" but the fact is books can never be enough. I hope these kids will always be thirsty for a good story and inspired to read more.

Seeing how the girls are keen to learn to play the piano, I decided to take an afternoon to shift around some furniture in our master bedroom, including moving a pull-out single bed into the kids' room, wiping up tonnes of dust and dirt and shifting our digital piano to a more accessible location. #backache

Right, it's now beside my bed and outside the toilet, haha. I also had a brilliant idea to move our dining bench in which fits perfectly so the kids can now play the piano comfortably. Do they learn music? Well, yes and no. We don't attend formal classes but we do go through YouTube tutorials and download music scores so that we can learn to play some tunes together. I have to be the one to learn first so that I can teach them so it's really a challenge for me too. Yet, seeing how they enjoy learning from me and feeling proud whenever they master a song, that is my motivation to keep going. Ariel especially loves it and she is such a fast learner that I have to learn even quicker to keep up with her pace. Haha. You go, girl!

Of course, dance remains a passion of ours and a fun activity for the whole family. I hope we will never stop dancing! It's such a great way to work out while keeping fit at the same time, don't you think? My kids are great at letting do my own workout too and they will patiently wait till I finish mine so that we can search for Just Dance videos to dance to together. Three of them will take turn to select a song and we can just keep dancing for a good half an hour or more. Check out our ending pose when we finally called it a night. Not bad, right? Hee.

That's all for the month of February and I hope I will have more to share with you next month even though I bet we will be staying home even more! Let's all do our part, be socially responsible and help to break the circuit, yeah? Jia you, Singapore! Together we can, together we shall, together we will.


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