Happiness is... finding the little joys

Posted by ~Summer~ on September 21, 2020
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 It's the little things that make life big.

That's what I truly believe in. Alas, along the way, we sometimes try so hard and get caught up in trying to accomplish something remarkable that we fail to cherish all the little moments that give life its magic. If anything, being a mum has taught me to slow down, to see beauty in the mundane, to appreciate the simple moments and not take things for granted. 

Seeing the kids grow up day by day, month by month, year by year, I often ask myself "Have I done everything I can to treasure these fleeting growing up years? Will they think of their childhood days and smile because of all the happiness they've experienced? Did we cherish all these little happy moments while we were blessed enough to have them?"

I hope so. I really so. 

In August's "Happiness is...", it's about finding the little joys in life and holding them dear.

The biggest highlight of our month of August had to be our nation's birthday. For many years, we have been lucky enough to attend the NDP preview shows - that's one of the privileges of being an officer's wife - and the kids have always enjoyed seeing the life action, watching the beautiful fireworks, singing to our national anthem and saying our pledge, and witnessing our mobile column with pride.

This year, everything has become different due to COVID-19 and the NDP is no exception. Nonetheless, we still wanted the kids to feel proud to be Singaporeans and be able to celebrate 9th of August, even if it means we were not able to come together with fellow Singaporeans to commemorate this special day.

Oh wait, actually we did! Well, it was with a couple of hundreds of others instead of 25,000 at the Padang but we were still very excited upon knowing that the mobile column was coming to the heartlands this year. That means we still had a chance to see it up close and let the kids feel the same sense of pride and patriotism that we feel every year. Of course, we couldn't miss putting on the SG tattoos on everyone and we made sure we caught the NDP show in the evening too.

Besides our family of five, we also had our parents join us in the evening for a simple get together as watched the NDP show, gathered to sing We Are Singapore, paid tribute to our frontline workers and be thankful for what we still have despite what the pandemic has taken away. Family has and will always be everything to me.

After the show, we found some time to unwind and relax as we got the grandparents to join us in a dance workout! Yup, it was totally spontaneous but so fun as we got them to get off their seats and boogie with the kids, who were more than delighted to see their grandparents in action. Those big smiles, those cute moves, the hearty laughter - these were the things that made our night so much more memorable.

Wearing a mask is a norm these days and while the girls have been grumbling about how it gets stuffy when they are in primary school for six to eight long hours, we all understand it is something we have to do in order to help us tide through these tough times.

We have been trying out many masks and prefer fabric ones nowadays because it means we don't have to ditch them after every use and feel the pinch, but it also means we have to be diligent in washing them to keep them clean. The good thing is the girls have taken charge of washing their own masks so it makes things easier for me, phew!

Anyway, we were glad that Two Funny Bears sent over these pretty masks with the kids' favourite cartoon characters because it made them happier to wear them out and kept them feeling comfy because of the cotton lining too. Yup, simple things can bring about immense joy, right? The boy was especially pleased with his Avengers prints and I was thankful too because it's not easy finding a mask that he likes and fits him well. That said, I hope I am not the only one who is looking forward to the day when our faces can 重见光明 and not have to hide behind a mask anymore.

It's been ages since we made our way to town and I'm not particularly anxious to make any trip unless I have to. For this day, it was an exciting morning for us as we headed down to the new Skechers outlet in Suntec City to collect our new shoes, woohoo! Yup, I can make an exception for that but still, we left once we were done and headed to somewhere less crowded for lunch.

The kids were so happy with their new kicks and I'm just glad this brand has worked so well and fitted us so comfortably for over half a decade.  While the hubby and I took merely half an hour to choose our styles, the kids took like almost an hour to try on pair after pair till they were happy with their final choices. Yup, too many nice designs to choose from! Thanks to the staff for being so ever patient with us and making sure the kids were satisfied and happy.

With our new shoes settled, it means we were all set to join in the virtual Skechers Friendship Walk 2020! Yup, we might not be able to walk with thousands of other participants this year but we were still determined to complete at least a 5km walk as a family.

Our first stop was at the park because it's just much more spacious, closer to nature, less crowded and the fresh air is so refreshing too. Just so you know, it looks like a piece of cake in taking these family shots but actually, it took us over an hour because of the wet ground, the red ants all over, the kids who felt itchy, and a boy who refused to let Mama take a couple shot with Papa. Haha. Never believe all that you see on social media, yeah? There's always another side to the story and you really never know what goes behind that perfect looking square.

It took me a long time to be able to carve out one-on-one time with the kids but I'm thankful that I finally see the importance of doing so. With the girls having HBL on certain weeks of the month and sometimes they alternate because one is in upper primary and the other in lower primary, this has given me a chance to date them out and go for a mum-and-daughter breakfast after sending the little brother to school.

It might be just a quick and simple breakfast, usually just eggs and bread or porridge at KFC, but I can tell it means the world to my child and giving them my undivided attention for just an hour does wonders to fill up their love tanks. So yup, while the boy has plenty of time with Mama because he only has 3 hours of school each day, I remind myself to deliberately make time and hang out with the girls whenever I can too.

Talking about food, we are still having homecooked meals on weekdays as best as we can instead of dining out or ordering takeaways. Yup, nothing beats the flavour of homecooked food and those happy memories our simple meals create for our children are priceless.

Well, this was probably the most expensive and elaborate meal in the month of August and it was whipped up by the hubby! Yup, I would never bear to buy a ribeye steak or wagyu beef that costs anything over $20 but he is always willing to splurge on food to make us happy and satisfy my cravings that I would otherwise deprive myself of.

See our homecooked Western cuisine? Well, it was really yummy and it's no wonder the kids love having Papa home because he can cook so well, in addition to playing board games with them and taking them for outdoor play.

As for home activities, call it lazy I've kind of reached the point where I usually let the kids decide what they wanna play. If they wanna play with toys, go ahead. If they wanna draw, they know where the drawing paper, crayons and markers are located. If they wanna cook in their toy kitchen, I'll gladly be their customer. If they wanna read, they are free to choose what book they want from our tree of knowledge in the study.

To be honest, most of the time, they surprise me by all the creativity they can come up with. For instance, they love playing 'Baby Mama' where they will role play and come up with all kinds of interesting scenarios to act out. Recently, the eldest has taken up the role of 'teacher' and would come up with Science topics to teach the little sister or help the little brother learn to write his Chinese name and do his Heguru homework. We've also been keeping up with our home workout sessions, be it dance, Yoga or Zumba and all it takes is merely half an hour a day.

One of the projects we did in August was our DIY Terrarium from Masons Home Decor, which you can read all about in this post. It might have been a very simple terrarium to build and didn't take us more than an hour, but the kids were all smiles at the end of it and we loved this beautiful addition to our home garden.

As for myself, I found time to connect with my 姐妹s from secondary school. One of them became a stay-at-home mum this year and stays near me so we can meet up often, for which I am truly thankful for. Another recently became a mum and I was so happy to see her cute baby and know that she is enjoying motherhood. I also met up with a few others over breakfast and late night chit chats at my place and it was a great way for us to catch up and be updated on each other's life. 24 years of friendship - that's surely gotta account for something and I hope they are friends who will stay with me all the way through my life and we can all grow old and become grandmas together. Haha.

Weekends are what the kids and I deeply treasure. Regardless of whether the hubby is around to accompany us or not, I always make sure I bring the kids out for some outdoor fun, to try out a new cafe, to hunt for insects and look at greenery, or simply to scoot and cycle in the park. This was us, enjoying a Sunday breakfast at Fat Po and I was so in love with their freshly made Polo bun. So yummy! The kids are always happy to just go out, be it walk, scoot or cycle, and it really doesn't matter to them what we eat, you know.

I don't know why but I am the type of mum who likes to challenge herself and take on what others might deem impossible or just plain silly. Haha. For August, it was my decision to take the kids all the way to Decathlon at Stadium. As if travelling by an hour via the train was not tiring enough, we walked a good distance to get to Old Airport Food Centre and after taking some time to find a seat amongst the crowd, our reward was to have a plate of yummy Hokkien Mee, a bowl of hot Bak Chor Mee and two cups of sugarcane! Woohoo, there, we settled our dinner for just $14 and it felt absolutely awesome and worthwhile.

Then we made our way to Decathlon where we had to join the long queue to get in. After trying out the bicycles, spending a long time at the pull-up bars and almost giving in to the temptation of getting a trampoline which was on sale, we made our way home with this new baby. Yup, a two-wheel bike for the boy because I was determined to teach him to cycle the next day. Haha. Very spontaneous, I know, but I did it because I knew I could. The hubby was away but I texted him and gave him a shock and he said to go home in a cab since I had three kids, a bag and a bike. Well, I didn't want to give myself the excuse to spend more than I should so we made our way to the MRT station despite it being near 11pm and we were one of the last passengers that night. 是的,我就是那么地任性、固执. The kids were over the moon to get to stay out late though, haha.

Like I said I would, the next day, I took this boy to the void deck and started him on his training! He was hesitant at the start and would hop off the bike within a couple of minutes of trying, saying he wanted his balance bike instead. I was disappointed but didn't want to push him too hard so I let him and allowed the second sister to cycle on his new bike instead - she was looking forward to it all along and was so happy that the height fitted her too.

To my pleasant surprise, the boy came back within a short while and said he wanted to try again! Woohoo! This time round, he was more assured and confident even though I still needed to hold onto his arms or the saddle because he had yet to find his balance. Who would expect that within 30 minutes, I could start to let go because he was doing a fine job on his own! See my IG post and check out my victory dance when this brave boy surprised all of us. To prove that it was not a fluke, he did it again, and again, and again! Even when he fell, he got up, brushed his hands and said it was not painful and that he could go again. Awwww, so proud of you, dear Asher!

You know, I always thought he was the least courageous of the three kids, given how he is scared of the dark, loud noises and roller coaster rides. He needed more of my assurance, my company and my tender loving care when he started school or tried anything new. It wasn't because I didn't have faith in him or that I was prepared for him to fail when I bought the bike; it was just that I wasn't expecting him to be successful on his first session and learn how to cycle in the record breaking time in our family.  So, he really amazed me that day and reminded me that all our kids will bloom in their own time; we just need to keep on believing, keep on watering and keep on loving.

Looking back, I didn't take that many pictures or videos last month, Maybe it was because there were not that many significant moments we had, or maybe it was just my subconscious way of trying to be more present when I was with the kids. It was truly a simple month yet still one with filled milestones, blissful moments and true joy.

Till the next "Happiness is" post, can't believe we are only three months away from the end of 2020!


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