Happiness is... being grateful for life itself

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 19, 2020

I always remind myself to count my blessings, to be thankful for every little good thing that comes along, to cherish the time I get to spend with family and to learn to love and treasure my life.

This is especially even more needed on the bad days - trust me, I do have my fair share of them too - when the world comes tumbling down, when everything that can go wrong goes wrong, when I struggle to find my purpose in life, when I ponder about the life choices I've made up to this point. That is when I try even harder to inject positivity into my life and look on the bright side of things because after all, happiness is created, not found.

In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about having a grateful heart and cherishing the little joys in life, including a homecooked meal, a stroll in the park, a good night's sleep, a fun weekend, being together as a family and for life itself.


September was a busy and exciting month for us because we managed to spend more family time together when the hubby took a few days off during the one-week school holidays. It was also our first time visiting the local tourist attractions after the circuit breaker and we were simply thankful to be able to do that once again. 

We decided to renew our 4-park Friends of Wildlife annual pass which had long expired because we figured out it would be worth it since within that week alone, we had made plans to visit not one, not two, but three of the parks, including the Singapore Zoo, Bird Park and River Safari. Actually, we wanted to go to Night Safari too and would have covered it if not for the fact that it was already fully booked for those few days. Haha. Quite ambitious, right? But hey, we did it and we did it in style, covering a few kilometres of walking distance in every park and enjoying ourselves as we came up close with our animal friends once more. Yup, we miss you all so much!

See this couple shot above? The truth was it was swiftly taken when the little boy turned away for a couple of seconds but once he spotted us, he dashed forward crying, whining and making a fuss. Yup, Mama still belongs to him for now and him only. Haha. I can't decide to cry or laugh when he does that but I do find it very sweet and I know this phase will not last.

The Singapore Zoo is still one of our favourite places to visit and even though we didn't make plans to feed any of the animals, the kids were just contented to watch the animals in action and we would sit down, take it slow and just breathe in the beauty of those moments, like the pygmy hippos swimming and chasing each other or the baboons lovingly picking fleas off each other. 

Of course, we stayed from the morning till the zoo closed at 6pm and I was very amazed by how even the boy walked over 5km that day despite skipping his afternoon nap and yet didn't whine at all. Yup, I guess it was just the joy overflowing inside each of us which chased away all the Monday blues that day.

Just two days after our visit to the zoo, we made our way to Jurong Bird Park! We loved going to the Bird Park and ever since the girls found out they could touch and feed mealworms to the birds, they loved it even more. 

Alas, the hubby and I didn't realise that the feeding sessions had to be pre-booked in advance and we missed out on feeding the lories or the birds at African Treetops. Ariel was initially saddened about it because it was what she had been looking forward to all week. Thankfully, with some determination and a stroke of good luck, we managed to pick up a couple of melon seeds and even a few mealworms from the ground left after a feeding and she was happy to be able to feed some birds despite it being for just a few seconds. 知足常乐, right?

Since we missed out on watching shows at the zoo due to the limited capacity, we made sure we at least caught one at Bird Park. Yup, we queued up at least 45 minutes before the High Flyers show was slated to begin and managed to get the first row seats, woohoo. We got to see dozens of flamingos, hear a parrot sing "Happy Birthday" and watch the hornbills in action.

This was a prized shot from that day and I am so glad I dragged the kids to the bridge to take it with me before we left the park. It so happened that there was no one there at that time so we were free to take up the entire bridge and come up with our own poses too. Yay!

Yet another two days later, we found ourselves at The River Safari, woohoo! Yup, I quite liked coming here because it's pretty sheltered and you still get to see a variety of animals, not just marine creatures but squirrel monkeys, pelicans, anacondas and more.

Yup, there is our mandatory shot at the giant tank, we love stopping here to sit down and watch the beautiful fishes swimming to and fro. The kids are always very fascinated by the sharks and stingrays and I remind myself to let them have time to stop, admire and learn rather than hurrying them along each step of the way. Be grateful for every moment, right?

The Once Upon A River show is one of the highlights at River Safari and since they only admit 50 people nowadays due to Covid restrictions, we made sure we were patient enough to wait in line for nearly an hour. Actually, I waited in line while I asked the hubby to take the kids to explore the other exhibits as there was no reason why all of us had to be stuck there before the show commenced. So glad we were one of the last three families to make it within the first 50, phew!

Our happiest moment that day was going on the Amazon River Quest! It was Asher's first ever ride since he just met the minimum height requirement of 106cm and he was simply thrilled. The hubby said he had never sat on it before too which made it extra special for us to be there as a whole family. Yup, all the queueing and waiting was worthwhile! The kids loved going down the rapids and would squeal in delight whenever they spotted an animal up close - we even managed to see a jaguar walking right beside us (separated by a glass, of course!). That was indeed pretty awesome.

Being movie lovers, it was regretful that we couldn't visit the cinemas to catch a show during the circuit breaker. Even though we still had our weekly Friday movie nights where we would watch Netflix and snuggle on the couch, it just wasn't the same as catching a new release in the theatre. So despite how there were many negative reviews for Mulan, the fact was we love and enjoyed it and my girls were very inspired by her filial piety, bravery and honesty. 

Despite it being a busy month, I still tried to carve out one-on-one time for the kids. The more kids you have, the harder it becomes but we still gotta try, right? For now, this boy still spends the most time with Mama since his lessons are short and we get to lunch together every single day. It helps to build up a special, unbreakable bond between us and it makes me truly thankful to be able to be a stay-home mum so I can be with my kids every day of their growing up years.

Well, while putting our priorities on the kids (or on work too, in the case of the hubby),  we must never forget our partners. While we still have many ups and downs to conquer and we will never see eye to eye on more things than one, at least we are determined to stay in this journey together, right? It might have been a very impromptu bak kut teh breakfast date for us but that precious hour of couple time was what I needed to feel positive about things once again and it helped give me the strength I needed to make it through solo parenting days and weeks.

Happy Birthday, Ah Gong! Since we would have exceeded the limit of 5 pax if we were to dine out, we decided to dabao a good dinner to my parents' place to celebrate my Dad's birthday. The kids and I went to buy a cake and collect our orders from Dian Xiao Er and we also ordered a salted egg crab to be delivered over. My parent said the food was yummy, woohoo! The most important thing, to me, is keeping the family close and cherishing every of such gatherings that we get to spend together.

In between our visits to the parks, I also found a day to bring the kids to IKEA to shop for a new bed. Yup, I felt it was time to transit the 4yo to a bed of his own. Actually, he does have a room and a bed in it but since it is far from my room, he has been refusing to move over and insists that he wants to sleep with Mama forever and ever. Haha. I so wanna capture that on video so I can show it to him next time on how clingy yet sweet he can be.

Anyway, we got this cheapest kids bed we could find that cost us $79 for the bed frame and set it up right beside my bed. He was excited to have his own bed and was glad that one side of it had no railing because he wants to "see Mama's face and hold Mama's hand". Haha. 很甜咯. On some nights, he would gently ask me if he could still come up and sleep beside me on my bed and since the hubby is usually away, how can I even come up with one good reason to reject when this boy is the one who makes me feel less lonely and gives me a reason to wake up every morning, right?

We have been getting several media drops in the last couple of months and I can only say I am very grateful for clients who still believe in me despite the fact that there are many more up and coming mum bloggers and influencers in recent years. Sometimes, I doubt myself and my ability to write, share and convince others but I remind myself to keep sharing from the heart and stay true to myself because that is the only way I can keep going without losing my passion.

Each time I receive a sponsored product, my first thought would be to hold a giveaway if they let me, not because I wanna boost my number of followers but because I truly wanna share good things in my life with fellow parents out there. I don't deserve to enjoy them solely on my own and many of you are working just as hard, if not harder than me, in this parenting journey and I think you ought to give yourselves a pat on the back too. I earnestly hope I can keep sharing more good things with you and be able to spread joy and love on my humble platforms, even if it means staying up and having more late nights.

One of my best Christmas presents came early this year and it's our new Dyson Digital Slim vacuum cleaner! Read our full review here. My kids were saying "Usually, mums are excited to get clothes and makeup. Our Mama is soooo happy to get a vacuum." Such a typical stay-at-home mum. Haha, of course I am! I don't need cosmetics or more clothes but I had been eyeing a Dyson vacumm for so many years now but didn't get one yet because of the hefty price tag and because our old one was still serving us well. Boy oh boy, never did I expect that I would one day be able to review one and it's really a dream come true. Yay! Good things are definitely worth waiting for, thanks for making cleaning a breeze for me, Dyson!

Back at home, the kids still chip in whenever I need some help and it's good to know that they have accepted the fact that this is part of their responsibility and not simply because it will reduce my workload - actually, more often than not, it increases my workload or doubles the time taken for me to do the same chore. Still, I am making it a point for them to help out and be useful in the house because this is the way I want my kids to grow up.

We still try to have homecooked meals more often than not and my philosophy is to cook at least 6-7 out of their 10 meals (lunches + dinners) on weekdays. For the rest, we will take away or eat out. As for weekends, it's the time where I give myself a break and let the hubby take over the kitchen or if we are out, which we usually are, we will just eat together outside as a family of five. 

That said, our meals are kept simple and as fuss-free as possible on most days. I've come to realise that the kids actually appreciate me cooking their favourite simple dishes over and over again rather than keep trying fanciful or complicated recipes. They are usually an easy bunch to feed because this Mama has taught them never to be picky when it comes to food and seeing their big smiles at mealtimes is something I am thankful for.

We also cultivate a habit of not wasting food so they know better than to leave grains of rice, a piece of meat or any vegetable on their plates or bowls at the end of a meal. Yup, I would ask them to remain sitting at the dining table till they have devoured every single thing that they are given. Even if they find it mean at times, I hope they will one day appreciate it and understand all about 粒粒皆辛苦 and why it's important for us to never waste food.

If we just take a moment to step back and think about our lives, there might be a bunch of things that we can grumble about or complain that life is unfair, yet I strongly believe that is also a bunch of other things that we've been given and should deeply cherish instead of taking them for granted. Even life itself is worth celebrating and for every breath I continue to take in this world, it's already a gift. Don't you agree?

Hope you guys had a great month of September too. Till the next "Happiness is..." post!


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