Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Musings: The Meaning of Marriage

a long ago save-the-date image by Cherie Lim

This post was meant to go up on my wedding anniversary a week ago, but different things came up and it was left hanging in drafts. Several married readers had a good laugh reading this post and asked me to write my take on marriage - here it is!

So here we go, two years of marriage down and hopefully fifty more to go!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturdays: Birthday Parties

Twin and J.G. at their Macdonalds party


Today the husband turns 30. I know, they look nothing like 30 and they behave nothing like it either. Matching T-shirts and party hats are very difficult things for me to accept. But if there's anything I've learnt from being friends with the twins for over fifteen years, its that these boys sure know how to enjoy a party.

Are you a big birthday party type person? I thought time ought to come to a standstill once we hit 21, what else was there to celebrate about aging?

If you'd like to read more -

Monday, July 20, 2015

Baby Bumps: Week 36

the walking watermelon


Why do we have the misconception that pregnancy is 9 months long when it's really a 40-week long process? Making it more like 10 months, unless humblet decides to emerge this week. Which is apparently totally possible. I'M FREAKING OUT. *In a good way*

As I said in the lastest monday musings post, this edition of baby bumps might well be the very last. And then our lives would be changed forever!

humblet's growth:
This little girl is roughly 44-46cm in length. With a whooping 7.5cm thigh-length (you've got your father to thank) Humblet is now poised, head-down, legs to my ribs, to be delivered whenever the time is right. 

I'm carrying a 2.4kg baby with water bag, placenta etc not included. My body is learning more about centre of gravity than I ever understood in physics class. 

likes / dislikes for food:
Ice cream and anything, everything cold. Might be weather induced and not pregnancy induced but I'm using it as my excuse anyway. I used to really not like ice cream, but this month past I could even have it for breakfast. Not that I did... I'm just saying I could.

Overly tasty foods have been putting me off. Strong seasoning or potent smells make me feel groggy right away. So sticking to fruits, fruits and occasionally ice cream!

Ah! People are advising me to start on a coconut water binge. Fresh coconut water? Will ease the delivery they say. Hmm, we shall see about that.

pregnancy blues:
Just when I thought I was getting used to being pregnant, the reality of being a mother is now hitting me. Just the other day I dreamt that humblet was born and I was a total mess. 

Yes, no matter what people say about women and motherly instincts, I'm still very much afraid of children. Including my own. 

The practice contractions now plague me daily, causing me to really sit and let this reality sink in. Now I know why we're given ten months prior. Its week 36 and still I feel the need for more time. 

mum to-do list:
Washing. Folding. Washing. Folding. Detoxing everything. 

the worst part:
People continue telling me how slim I look when the weighing machine is telling me the cruel truth! ARGH. 

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. 

the best part:
Humblet is coming soon! Behind the whining, complaining and eye-rolling, we are going to see our first child anytime soon and that's exciting. Her kicks when we sing to her or read to her brings us much joy. 

We are so grateful that she is healthy and well. See you soon humblet!

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Hope you're all enjoying the long weekend with family and loved ones. We surely are.

Grateful,
Amy

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturdays: The Godfather

Godfather double-chin & godson fishball

Last Saturday this little man turned one. J.G. was really diligent going about getting a suitable gift. Child-friendly, educational, safe to put in one's mouth, fun etc. Watching him was a treat.

When you marry a friend you've known for fifteen years you *wrongly* assume you know already thing there needs to be known, but hey, always a pleasure to be surprised. Timely too, as it gives me a preview of the kind of father he might be.

Here's a bunch of observations from the data collected -

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Teaching & Cooking

photo source

Yesterday a young teacher shared this reflection which I found hilarious yet true, sharing it here for all you beginning teachers out there -


A teacher on practicum is like 
a chef in someone else's kitchen. 
You know how to cook, but 
you have no idea where anything is. 


Adding on the fact that in many cases, the 'teaching mentor' attached to train you is instead hovering at the back of the classroom, arms folded, lips pursed whilst giving you to occasional death stare.

Those were the days. I was fortunate to have a fun-loving yet effective mentor whom I'm still learning from today. Hope I wasn't too harsh when I had my own beginning teacher to watch over.

Most importantly, when we beginning teachers finally get our own 'kitchens' may we never forget that the children there are aspiring chefs rather than cutlery, pots or pans. Our choice of words, our actions affect and form them more than we realise. Rather than setting high impossible standards that stress them out and cause them to rust or rot, we ought to allow them room to experiment and discover the world of ingredients out there for themselves. That's the only way they make create their own dishes and not replicate our as if education were a cheap fastfood joint. 

Shared a few thoughts on teaching in this post from awhile back if you'd like to have a read.

The long weekend is almost here friends, press on!



Grateful,
Amy

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Musings - Baby Incoming!

Currently deciding whether the weather will hold up enough for me to go for my weekly Monday morning swim. Either way aren’t we grateful for the nightly downpours! It’s been three long scorching months with very sporadic five minute drizzles.

This week we are really going full swing with ‘BABY INCOMING’ preparations. Here are some items that remain on our to-do list:

 Humblet’s real name

The kind elderly folk are concerned I am naming my daughter Humblet for real. Keep calm and wait for the name post.

But yes, I think it’s about time to settle on her name. We settled on her English name quickly enough, but her Chinese name is a little bit tricky. Chinese is a difficult language irrespective of my ethnicity. We want to make sure we’re naming her meaningfully because her name will after all be a legacy we leave behind for her.

 Bath time necessities

As you know, we’ve been flooded with second-hand goodies from so many wonderful parents. Her drawers and our under bed storage is bursting with clothing. Her nursery has two rockers, two music mobiles and a hardy natural wood cot. Additionally, there’s a mass of baby carriers, towels, pamper and milk powder samples.

So much so we were complacent and thought we surely had EVERYTHING a newborn would need. How wrong we were. Thankfully, there’s the checklist for blur new parents. It brought us to the realization we have nothing ready for her bath.

Off we go this week, grateful it’s also the June Sale season overlapping with the biggest Baby Fair of the year. Bath towels, wet wipes, gentle baby-friendly shampoo soap, powder etc. Here we go!

SPACE

With another human joining the home, we are going to need more space. Albeit a tiny human for starters.

This week will also involve clearing our own stuff. Clothes that no longer fit, home decorations that we will never put up, most breakables so long, farewell!

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Looks like a busy week ahead! Not forgetting we’re also going to be setting up my home office station when the furniture arrives. Wow.


Will be putting up Baby Bumps next Monday and who knows that may very well be the LAST edition of Baby Bumps! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Musings

To work or not to work

Motherhood Mondays - Working Mums


As mentioned in the Mother's Day Special, my mum held several jobs during the majority of my childhood years. On the contrary, most of my friends had mothers who were homemakers, many of whom would be at the school gate waiting for them at dismissal time.

It's the final month before the arrival of humblet and some issues we were previously sweeping under the carpet have become pertinent during our pillow talk sessions. Should we get a full-time nanny? Should I work from home? Go back to the office entirely? Or be fully dedicated to the home and humblet?

1. Homemaking is a full-time job 

The first thing we established is that being a homemaker is just like any full-time job. There is no doubt about it. In fact, the 'working hours' of a homemaker may be significantly longer that any other job description out there. Especially when you are dealing with a newborn who needs to be fed two-hourly.

So, like any full-time job it requires commitment, resilience and some amount of passion.

Friends and readers would know I'm not very fond of children, J.G. is more of the child-friendly half of this relationship. Which I am thankful for. But nature has dictated that I shall bear this child and I'm thankful I've had now nine months to let that FACT sink in.

2. Motherhood as a career

But on the flip side, if I were to consider motherhood as merely a career, I don't think I'll last very long. If motherhood were merely a job, that would make humblet merely a charge and me a guardian. Being a mum has a lot more aspects than that.

Educating and nurturing makes you a teacher.
Cooking and cleaning makes you the house help.
But to love, discipline and condition requires a parent. In fact, both parents.

3. Work from home

Currently, the plan is adjust to humblet for the first 3 months of her arrival (while she adjusts to me as her mum) Then try out a largely work-from-home flexi arrangement. Call clients, email manpower and document projects.

I wouldn't call myself a career woman, but I do enjoy my work very much. At this point, I see no reason letting it go unless I suddenly had twins (phew) But I won't be presumptuous to jump back into work full swing once the maternity leave runs out. So we shall take it a day at a time.

4. The best caregiver

Over and above all that's been said and all the opinions we've been offered, we feel that the parent makes the best option as caregiver to a child. A nanny might be a wonderful cook and a strict disciplinarian, but nothing replaces what a mum can offer.

I'm definitely going to make heaps of mistakes as a new mum. Bath water might be too cold, clothing might be too warm, milk might be too thin etc. But I'm determined to love this child with lots of help and I don't think any professional nanny can do that on my behalf.


p.s. our baby stores are exploding! thanks for all the practical love!

Grateful,
Amy

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturdays: Gifts for Boys

It has been a painful morning of running to and from the toilet. Coupled with missing a very important friend's wedding. This weekend seems like it will be a long one.

Whatever the situation might be, with me, there's always reason for fun and laughter.
The downpour this morning is one good reason to celebrate!

This coming week J.G.'s godson turns one and his nephew turns three. Getting gifts for little humans requires some careful thought, especially when one is buying for boys. Go to any kids section in the departmental store and you will see walls of princess dresses, girls' merchandise and basically pink stuff. But the boy's section is a mere fraction of that.

Here are a few of my favourite picks from around the web -

1. Watches

Although the birthday boys may be a little too young for a timepieces, I still think watches are great gifts for boys. Rather than getting those with a digital display, the analog version helps them get used to reading the time. And if they're too young, an analog face will help them get familiar with numbers as well! But then again, it might just be me and my love for watches.

flik flak

2. Affordable T-shirts

Boys have an incredible ability to get themselves dirty. In their infant, toddler days, perhaps leaving them to run around naked is still acceptable. Past a certain age they'll be deemed as indecent. But to buy designer clothing would be simple impractical. At the end of a day out, you might be left with a brown, grass-stained, food speckled thing that is pretending to be a T-shirt.

Thankfully, Uniqlo has a line of really affordable and comfy graphic tees for kids. Like this one I think my nephew would love, he's in this phase where he can name every type of vehicle in a construction site. Here's a front loader Tee for you Dylan!
uniqlo kids



3. Storybooks

Been reading this one to a really intelligent three-year-old and he can practically recite entire stories from memory. Which boy would not enjoy a fun read like Curious George?
curious george storybooks
4. Washable Markers

To channel the little artist in him and spare your furniture damage at the same time. Make sure they are edible too (you never know)! Crayola even has these washable markers for mirrors and windows which are extra fun!

crayola markers

5. Backpacks

Once they're old enough to walk, they are certainly capable of carrying their own snacks, raincoat, bottles and other essentials. A cute animal backpack might entice them to do so more willingly. The bag below, to be very honest, is what the triplets were carrying earlier on in the Korean Variety <The Return of Superman> I found it so cute on them and loved how they were so practical as well.

littlelife crocodile daysack

A shot of them for the fun of it as well.

What are your go to gifts for young boys?

Hope you're having a restful, durian-filled weekend!

Grateful,
Amy

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What's wrong about rights?

#lovewins is the newest and latest hashtag to have, along with the passing of the law that now legalizes same sex marriage in the United States. Suddenly, my facebook feed is flooded with rainbows and profile pic updates.

Christians who have ventured to speak up against this law are under fire. Bible verses flame those who practice it as well as those who support it, while the recipient group fights back with equally vicious quotes. And the clashes continue as I type this. 

With this new bill in place, other groups of people are beginning to find strength and courage to demand for their rights and the recognition of their place in society as well.
When will this battle for rights ever end?

To say they are wrong and we are right is not my place or purpose. 

The bible sets standards which I fail to live by every single day, so who am I to impose these standards on people who do not believe in God or in His Word?

As a Christian, I think to myself - what right do I have to condemn, to withhold love when I am merely living each day by the grace of God?

Thinking about rights, I remember the story of Job. The beginning of the book emphasized how he was blameless and upright, the author described Job’s prosperous life and greatness in much detail. So much so the reader is left baffled when God suggests to Satan who then proceeds to take all of Job’s away, including his sons and daughters, his livestock and even plague his body with agonizing sores. This man had done nothing to deserve all that had happened to him, yet God allowed it anyway.

In the chapters that follow we see Job’s misery increase as his friends are unsympathetic to his plight. He even asks God to tell him exactly what he has done wrong and to take his life. God’s response is recorded over four chapters, most of it speckled with questions – ‘Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?”, “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that is might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?” Or “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” 

Perhaps blinded by his suffering and placing hope in his own righteousness Job sought to question the Lord ‘face to face’. The image is that of a young child demanding his parent of his rights to own the house when he has no means of paying its mortgage. Or the sword telling the blacksmith who made him, that he thinks he'd be good as a bread knife. 

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With these thoughts in mind, I'm taking the stance of prayer and repentance. 
Prayer that more would come to know and receive this loving and gracious God. 
Repentance, for I myself am guilty, daily, of evil thoughts and selfish deeds. 

May this verse be engraved upon my heart, always - “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. Ephesians 2:8-10


consider the wildflowers


Give Generously
Laugh in abundance
Love Unceasingly


With Gratitude,
Amy