Happiness is... slowing down and enjoying life

Posted by ~Summer~ on June 25, 2020
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Looking through my gallery, I realised I don't have that many pictures taken in May as compared to most other months. Perhaps it was because we stayed home most of the time and were not able to visit places of attraction or do something totally new, fun and exciting. I would like to think that it was also partly because I was trying my best to savour those stay-home days and be truly present when I was with the kids. The first rule would be no distractions and that meant I shouldn't even have my phone, or any other electronic device for that matter, within reach.

Was it a good month? Totally. Sure, there were the usual ups and downs, laughter and tears, joy and frustration - all which were already part and parcel of being a parent. With two kids who were supposed to be enjoying their mid-year school holidays but were stuck at home and another whose school had been closed for nearly three months, you could say there was never a moment of quiet in the house - except when the kids were all in bed. Yet, this merry period was undeniably one of the best months we've had and I can only conclude that the circuit breaker has unexpectedly done my family more good than I thought it would.

In May's "Happiness is", it's about learning to take life at a slower pace and enjoying what it has to offer - like being surrounded by family bliss, giving and receiving love, picking up new skills, reading a good novel, appreciating home cooked meals, enjoying a good night's sleep, having meaningful conversations and so much more.

On Mother's Day, even though the hubby was away, the kids made me feel extra special and extremely loved by making me breakfast and presenting me with their handmade cards. It was nothing fanciful yet my heart was filled to the brim with joy. How blessed I am to have them in my life, to be able to wake up and see their beautiful faces, to feel their hugs and kisses every day, to know that they love me for who I am.

We always bring our mums out to celebrate Mother's Day or give them a treat but since we couldn't do it this year, I still made sure they felt our love. Besides mailing a handmade card and DIY accessories that the kids and I did, I also sent a chilli crab meal to my mum's place to surprise her. She said it was her favourite and it was so yummy!

When he returned, the hubby also presented us with this lovely belated Mother's Day cake and that was definitely a sweet gesture on his part. Thank you! The kids loved the chocolate so much, haha, 超甜的.

We tried to cook at home whenever we could in the last month and I think we only ordered from Grab a couple of times. I don't really enjoy the process of cooking, or cleaning up, but seeing the happy faces on the kids and knowing that they will remember the taste of home give me the determination to keep going. One of our favourite dishes this month was the Emperor Herbal Chicken which took me two hours to cook - one thing we had in abundance during this period was time, right? - but oh those flavours were so worth it.

I used to have many likes and hobbies before the kids came along - like crafting, reading, making beaded jewellery, crocheting and so on. For a long time, I forgot all about them. It's like I got caught up in their lives and kind of forgot my own since we were always rushing to and fro and I was constantly occupied with all kinds of parenting duties.

In an amazing way, the circuit breaker allowed me to take a step back, to rediscover hobbies, to make time for myself and others whom I care about. I found time to take out and organise thousands of colourful beads in my collection which I had built up a decade ago. I found the motivation to take up my wire cutter and rounder and make pairs of earrings and mobile phone straps - which I eventually mailed out to friends as gifts. I realised I had more to teach the kids and all I needed was time and opportunity, which had to be self-created.

For a couple of days, the girls saw me hard at work at making the gifts. I wanted it to inspire them and to let them know that tokens of love can be small but sincere and that no matter how busy life gets, we need to remember to show our love and appreciation. They were intrigued by what I was doing and asked if they could sit down to watch and learn. Why, yes, of course. Halfway through, they decided it was more fun to pretend to set up their own 'bead shop' and pretend to sell all kinds of beads. Haha. Do what makes you happy, my dears.

Amazingly, I also managed to rekindle another passion of mine - crocheting! The girls said "We never knew you could do this!", "You used to have so many hobbies!", "Mummy can make so many things!" which, in a way, made me feel happy that I finally found time for myself. I showed Angel the beanie I knitted for her and the booties I crocheted for her in Sweden when she was just a toddler, and she was so fascinated by them and interested to learn more. Besides making these cute amigurumis - a cupcake, a mug and an ice cream - for each of them, I also taught the girls the basics of crocheting so they could get started on their first projects. We spent hours with our needles and yawn on the sofa, just crocheting, talking, learning, and enjoying this new, slow pace of life.

As mentioned last month, one of the best things about the circuit breaker was having the hubby home much more often than usual. He would try to cook for us whenever possible and that was something I welcomed very much, haha. Let's see. He cooked lobsters, carbonara, soba with tempura, chicken rice, wagyu steak, and even made a pear with snow fungus soup for us. 100 marks for effort!

While the kids were unable to go for their weekly art class at heART Studio, we were thankful that the teachers came up with online tutorials and interactive Zoom sessions so that they could continue to work on their drawing and colouring techniques at home. Art is something that feels therapeutic for us and I hope the kids will always be able to make time for it, no matter how busy life gets.

I was out for a grocery run with the boy and took a photo here for keepsake. Well, I am pretty sure that all three of the kids will remember this COVID-19 period when they grow up but the thing is, will they remember it as a dreadful period because there was no place to go but home or a time where we bonded and spent as a family and did the things we love? I definitely hope it will be the latter. Read my post on the 12 lessons I hope my kids will learn from the pandemic.

I had a rare one-on-one afternoon out with the big girl and it was because we had to go to the hospital for a liquid nitrogen procedure to remove her wart. We spent two hours waiting as we read, talked and shared a chocolate ice blended. She reminds me so much of me at times, and I hope she knows just how much she is loved, no matter how naggy I am or how harsh I can be on her at times.

As for the younger two, they get along well, on most days at least, and love to play together. It's nice having more than two kids, you know, because if you want to play and one of your siblings is busy, at least you have another one to run to. Haha. Since the pool was closed, we had our own water play sessions at the balcony once in a fortnight and it was a good way to make sure that the kids were occupied and entertained for at least an hour. Yay!

Exercise is one of the best ways to keep fit while bond with the kids at the same time. At least, that is how it works in our family. While dancing is still our favourite, we've been taking it much slower and more relaxed nowadays by doing more of yoga and stretching. Yup, we are working on our splits for now! You think there's a chance we can all split by the end of the year? Haha. Let's see if that dream will come true.

We've never done this before - take our entire Sylvanian collection out from the shelves, set up a scenario and come up with a storyline for the figurines to act out. One night, we decided to have a carnival night for them and it was packed with activities like movie under the stars, enjoying treats from pop up food carts. having picnics, going fishing/ swimming / diving and so on. The big girl initially didn't want to share her beloved collection but after much persuasion and an evening of fun, she said "Let's do this again next time, I enjoyed it!" Awww, thanks so much for sharing, my dear.

I said that art is therapeutic, right? I guess that explains why we took up a new form of art last month and did our first few nagomi art projects. Woohoo! Instead of attending online classes and step-by-step tutorials, they asked me if they could just watch a few instructional clips and then try to create their own. I was all for it because I wanted them to know that they had the freedom and choice to do anything they wanted. Besides, it is always through practice and trial and error that you get to hone your skills, right? We definitely enjoyed making these projects and look forward to doing more art pieces soon.

Oh, who received our masterpieces as gifts? Well, the hubby, of course! We all presented him with our labour of love on his special day as he turned a year older. See, I even made him an octopus amigurumi which took me days to complete, it's quite cute, right?

To celebrate his special day which also marked the end of May, we had a steamboat session at home followed by a cake cutting ceremony - my kids still love to blow out candles, do yours too? Yup, I guess many of us celebrated special days in a special way during this period and even though they might be simple, stay-home celebrations, we might be amazed by all the fond memories we made and the warmth in our hearts we will feel when we reminisce in future.

Last but not least, a tiny, squeaky voice also reminded me to sit down, relax and enjoy what life has to offer instead of always busying myself every minute of the day. Dear Lyra, I held you, patted you and stroked you so much more in the past few weeks and it's incredible how you could just fall asleep on my chest, all cuddled up snugly under my palm. Thank you for letting me know how simple life can be and how joy can be found in the little things all around us. We love you!

Slow down, people, slow down. Breathe deeper, enjoy more, worry less and better appreciate life itself. Till more updates next month!


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