Happiness is... taking up a challenge

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 13, 2022
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It might seem daunting when we are asked to take up a challenge, but what is life if we don't push ourselves beyond our limits every once in a while, right?

To me, challenges both big and small exist in our daily lives. Regardless of whether we realise it or not, we are overcoming hurdles in our own unique ways. Be it something as big as having a kid or moving house or as small as cooking a new dish or making a handmade gift, these are the things that stretch us and make us discover that we are so much more capable than we know.

Well, being a parent itself is a daunting challenge and one that doesn't get easier over time - at least, for me, it hasn't and it's already been over 12 long years. It's hard being a stay-at-home mum, it's difficult being a work-from-home mum and it's tough being a full-time working mum too. Multi-tasking is a challenge, carving out one-on-one time for each of our kids is a challenge, taking care of sick kids is a challenge, instilling values is a challenge and even getting the daily household chores done can be a challenge too.

Yup, you get my point. All of us are taking up and overcoming challenges every day in our lives so I think we all deserve a pat on the back for working hard to keep everything going. In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about taking up challenges and giving ourselves credit where credit is due.

Weekends are for family. We try to spend as much time as we can together on weekends, that is why we try not to have any enrichment classes for the kids and we also take time to bring them outdoors. Behind all the smiling pics. it's never easy bringing the whole brood out and like all kids, they get into bickers, fights and throw tantrums too. Sometimes, they take turns to do so and it really makes me want to pull my hair out.

But then again, we get to savour the simple yet rewarding moments too, like how we dabao mee hoon kuey to a rooftop playground, enjoyed a scenic view, exercised at the fitness corner and ended the afternoon with an attempted jumping shot that made us laugh.

The kids took up a huge challenge this month and that is to participate in the National Taekwondo Poomsae Championship. Their coach spurred them on and while they were initially reluctant and skeptical of themselves, they eventually said "Yes, let's try!" and guess what, they returned home with silver medals.

Read more about their experience here and how this challenge has brought about many positive things for them, especially in building up their confidence and strengthening their teamwork.

Sports is a great way to build resilience, improve stamina and strengthen determination. We made time this month to bring the kids for a couple of badminton sessions after I bought a net and new grips online. I remember how my mum used to bring me to the void deck for badminton sessions regularly when I was a kid and I can only wish that I have more time to play with my kids as we really enjoy these bonding sessions.

Unlike the hubby who is an ex-national player, we are not very good at the sport and the kids can't keep up a good rally too. With no training or background, it becomes hard for them to even serve the shuttlecock at times and that is when we remind them that practice makes perfect and the important thing is to never give up and feel that you're a failure. 

Fitness corners are great to hang out as a family too and the kids always love checking out new machines that they have never seen before. I tried to challenge myself to do a pull-up but let's just say I failed badly at that one, haha. Well, for now, let's just work on making sure that we work out from time to time, flex those muscles and perspire!
Cooking is tough when you have more kids, especially a clingy toddler, but it is not totally impossible. I try to keep our dishes simple and sometimes the hubby helps to cook a soup or marinate the meat beforehand too. He doesn't come home for dinner on weekdays because he works late but we do feel his love whenever we taste the dishes he helped to prepare.
I like to think that dining out is easier for us because there is no need to cook, wash dishes or clean up a dirty, oily kitchen and dining area. But that's not to say it's smooth sailing all the time because sometimes we cannot agree on where to go or what to eat, the kids get into arguments and I lose my temper too. See? That's what I mean by saying that almost everything we do can be a challenge at times.

Still, I keep reminding them how blessed they are to be able to have food on their tables, to have Papa and Mama cook for them, to be able to dine at restaurants and eat expensive stuff like xiao long bao and Hai Di Lao, and to have so many loved ones surrounding them every day. 这份幸福,不要当作理所当然。

As a kid, I love to go to pasar malams to eat yummy quick bites and walk around. There is something about the loud noise and oily smell that attract me. So whenever I see a pasar malam nowadays, I will bring the kids too. Yup, I let them eat all kind of 小吃 like fried chicken, Ramly burger, tutu kueh, corn, orh ah mee sua etc.

We also like to play the carnival games from time to time because they are challenging and fun! The kids love the hit-the-balloons-with-the-darts, hook-a-duck, claw machines and shooting games. Even though we might not always get a prize, what matters is the trying process and the fun experience, right?
As for the toddler, he's picking up more skills and more words these days and it's just so wonderful to be able to witness his every milestone. For now, he loves to play with the kitchen toys and loves cutting the birthday cake. He also loves to eat and even though he makes a big mess at every mealtime, it's nice to see him try and seeing him happy makes me happy.

Having elder siblings is a blessing and I love seeing how they push the scooter along so that Ansel can stand and ride on it. He loves the thrill and he loves being doted on too. You are such a lucky boy but you have made all our lives better by just being you, you know?

I gave the hubby a challenge this month too and that is to take care of the baby for two hours on his own! Haha. That was because I wanted to bring the three older ones to watch Top Gun Maverick after reading all the rave reviews. It was truly an awesome movie and a sequel worth waiting for. The hubby survived because Ansel took a nap and also because the arcade was just beside the cinema, haha. Thank you for giving us some time off and hope you enjoyed the father-and-baby bonding session!

Every Heguru lesson, the kids are tasked to solve puzzles, practise their memory and answer hard questions. Most of them are very challenging and make them rack their brains. I think that is also partly why we love the classes so much because they are never mundane. Ansel has only gone for a couple of months but he is loving it already and even mimicks his teacher for some of the activities. It's heartening to see and I'm glad to know that the kids are enjoying their classes so far.

Oh, here are just a few pics of him trying to eat rice on his own. Haha. Yup, the spoon is definitely too big for him but he just wanted to try and so I let him. Now that he is almost one and a half, he is slowly transitioning to eating the same food as us, which makes life a bit easier for me. But I still find outside food too salty and flavourful. So if I can, I'll still try to make homecooked fish porridge or noodles for him.

SYF is back! While the big sister was upset and unlucky to have missed it after training for a long time, no thanks to the pandemic, I am so happy to see that Ariel got to take part in it for the first time! She was truly excited about it and all the extra dance training sessions paid off when I saw their final performance. Their dance was synchronised as they all moved to the beat of "Dance With Me Tonight" and watching her clip brought a tear to my eye. Yup, emo Mama as usual.

This was a message my eldest penned for me which also made me emotional. Haha. Her words of gratitude always make me cry. I have to admit that it isn't easy parenting a teen and as she turns 13 this year, I am reminded of all the tough times we have been in and can only imagine that the road ahead might be even harder.

Still, it's not a journey I would trade for anything else because it's how I grow and learn as a mum too. She makes me want to be a better person and I hope I will never give up on trying to be a good mother to my kids, no matter how dismaying it gets.

We were very lucky to be invited to the National Day preview this year after missing it for the past two years. Yup, that's one of the benefits of having the hubby work in the navy. This year's show was spectacular and I particularly loved how it paid tribute to our frontline workers as we tackled the pandemic and overcame, or rather, are still overcoming one of the biggest challenges that our nation has ever faced.

We also wanna applaud all our brave Red Lions and I think this year's incident served to remind the public of how much effort and time these brave soldiers put in, as well as the risks they face every time they fearlessly jump out of the helicopter. We truly salute all of you!

The fireworks took my breath away and I think it symbolised the light at the end of tunnel and the rainbow after the rain. It's been so long since we witnessed such a magnificent sight and as we sang our hearts out to Majulah Singapura, I truly felt blessed, privileged and thankful.

One of our July highlights was a 2D1N stay at Equarious Hotel! Yup, it was a hard-earned collaboration, otherwise we would never fork out the money for such a luxurious stay in Sentosa. Our first one was in Hard Rock Hotel which we won in a wefie contest and our second one was this. The kids are always happy to go on staycations and it actually doesn't matter where or what we do - they just know it feels like a mini holiday and they treasure every moment of it.

Of course, there are bound to be sibling rivalry here and there and the hubby and I have moments where we can't see eye to eye or can't agree with each other's actions too. It was the same at this staycation but at the end of the day, I think we were just happy to be together as a family. Learning to give and take is an important lesson and as the kids grow up, hopefully they will realise this too. Keeping a family together and closely knitted is never easy but we must always try and never give up, right?

So there you go, I guess each of us has our own unique story and challenges that we face in our daily lives. Some of us are more blessed than the rest so let's never take it for granted. Every day, I feel thankful for having healthy kids, healthy parents and the ability to live another day so I can make the most out of life.

We are worth more than we realise and more capable than we can ever imagine, so jia you, my fellow mums and dads and please know that you are already doing an excellent job in this never-easy-yet-so-fulfilling parenting journey.

Till the next month's highlights!

1 comment:

  1. Love your posts Summer. Well done!

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