Friday, November 7, 2014

Say hello to Olivia!

It's been so long since I last blogged, and to say that much has happened in the past 6 months is an understatement.  In the past 30 days alone, I have (1) moved to a new home, (2) had a baby and (3) celebrated my first born's 3rd birthday!! Could only have been God's strength that sustained me and made all this possible.  How everything just fell into place in the most perfect of timing.  All that talk I hear about how second child always comes early made me really anxious with me and Jules catching a nasty flu bug when I was 38 weeks.  Then there was the big move which we brilliantly timed so closed to my EDD that I was so afraid Olivia would arrive too early and spoil our plans.  I really need to have more faith because God is always outdoing Himself and leaving us floored by His goodness.  In the end, He made sure that I was completely healed of my flu (which took a good 2 weeks to go away completely) and didn't just make sure we moved in but also made sure we settled in nicely to the new place before He gave Ollie the marching orders out of my womb.

And so 9 October 2014 came and our second daughter - Olivia, Ming-En was born.  

Like her sister, she loved being in utero so much, she had to be invited into the world.  Don't know what's with my kids and wanting to stay snuggled in the womb! Two births later and I actually still don't really know how going into labour feels!!! We left the house 6am that Thursday morning and I remember being in tears as we drove away from home.  My heart was with Jules and I felt so sad that the next time I see her, she wasn't going to be my only child anymore.  It was almost like I felt guilty for taking away her single child status from her.  I was worried how she was going to cope without me putting her to sleep the next few nights (a routine that no one else - not even her daddy - has done for her since she was born).  I was more worried about her than about the impending delivery.  The husband held my hand as we drove down the quiet early morning roads and we said a little prayer.  Prayers and a husband's reassuring hand always makes things better.

By 7.30am, we were settled in the delivery suite.  Unlike her sister who made me work 15 hours before she decided to see the world, labour was much faster this time round.  Induced at 9am and she arrived in time for her first lunch at the breast! Love my anaesthetist who made it so painless with the epidural and love my gynae who helped us with yet another smooth delivery.  I did have similiar complications with my uterus not contracting properly after delivery but it wasn't as severe as with Jules so all in all, a much smoother delivery and a much shorter hospital stay as Ollie was given the all clear with her jaundice level.

Ollie turns one month in a few days and she's rounding up nicely. We're still figuring out her personality and think she's going to be quite quite different from her big sister.  For one, she's more of a crier.  Cries every 3 hours demanding for her food because when it's time for milk, she wants it NOW!  Cries when we put her down for nap unless she deep deep in sleep.  Cries because to her, that's what babies do.  Jules was much less a crier although in the past month, she has cried in the middle of the night more than she has ever cried in the past 3 years!  That has been our greatest challenge to date with two - helping Jules adjust to her big sister status.  And if you think buying her a present and telling her Ollie gave it to her is going to solve the problem, it isn't.  For the past 3 years, she has had me to herself exclusively at night.  I put her to sleep, I nurse her, I soothe her back to bed.  If she wants to hold my hand to sleep, she has my hand.  When she wakes up in the middle of the night, I'm right there by her side.  Ollie's arrival meant that security has now got to be broken with me having to be with Ollie for the night feeds.  We've put her in her own room with the move and the plan for now is that daddy sleeps with her.  Clearly that plan isn't working like we had hoped.  She has woken up every single night since we got home with baby, wiggled her way out of her room (sometimes without waking her sleepyhead daddy) and made her way up the stairs to our room in her sleepy, teary state.  If I'm not feeding Ollie, it's still manageable - I'll carry her and bring her back to her room and pat her back to bed.  But if I happen to be nursing at that time, she goes quite hysterical and will have a complete meltdown with leg kicking actions all thrown in.  The first week was rough and frustrating for us.  On one hand, I know it was tough for her and it really broke my heart seeing her so desperately wanting me by her bedside throughout the night.  On the other hand, I couldn't comprehend why she could not understand that her little sister now needed me more than her at night and that she was not all alone since daddy was with her. I guess I expect too much from my little girl who really is all but 3 years old.  I forget that perhaps no matter how old they get, they really sometimes just need Mama.  We're seeing some improvement of late.  She's starting to understand and accept that she now needs to share Mama (and the breast).  I nursed Jules through my pregnancy (just short nursing sessions for Jules before nap and bedtime) all the way till the night before Ollie's appointed arrival and I guess the last thing I should do is take that one thing that really is just about her and me away from her just because Ollie is now here.

Saying bye to her little sister before heading to school for her birthday celebration!
Was just talking with my doctor this morning who like her husband (my gynae) is always so ready with sound advice and she reminded us that this is a journey we go through as parents.  The early days are not easy and with a toddler, it's not just double, it's alot more because there are emotions to handle.  She cautioned me about managing guilt with my duties as a mum so that I don't slip into post natal depression.  She reminded us too that being parents to two beautiful gals doesn't make us any less a couple and that we should find time for each other as well once we settle everyone into a nice routine.  So we press on in this journey, we have each other, we have our daughters, we have family and most importantly, we have God.  For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Honestly don't know where the past three months went to.  Our lives have been busy with a fair bit of activities and development, I couldn't find time to update this blog.

I miss writing my monthly letters to Jules but she's up to so much lately, I'm just savouring the moments as they are being presented to me rather than dismissing her aside and spending time penning them down.

So here's to sum up our past months . . .
  • Jules has settled amazingly well into school.  She's spent an entire term plus 2 weeks and if what we saw at our recent parents-teachers meeting was anything to go by, I think our daughter truly loves school.  Work aside, it was seeing how she was so totally at ease in her classroom with her teachers and how she so spontaneously went up to hug her Chinese teacher even though she was in the midst of talking to other parents that gave me all the assurance that she was learning in a very positive environment.  Jules is quite selective with her hugs, so seeing how she related to her teachers that day meant a lot to me.  She also had a bunch of little kids literally running towards her shouting "Julianne" the moment they saw her.  It says a lot about her social skills and I'm glad she's not having any issues with that.  Seeing the other happy kids around school that day also reaffirmed our decision to sending Jules there and I'm sure it'll also help set the foundation to her faith especially since she's still too young for our church's sunday school programme. 
  • We are expecting a new addition to the family come October!  We're of course very excited about it but I'll be honest and say that second time round, I've definitely taken a lot of things easier - especially on the food department.  A few sips of coffee here and there, bubble tea runs, sushi (aburi style to lessen the guilt) - I've done it all.  Also holding back on buying stuff since we'll just be using what we have - cot, stroller, play pen etc.  About the only thing we probably need to get is a rocker - which learning from our experience with Jules, we will try not to introduce unless desperate.  
  • With the pregnancy, I'm officially off my breast pump.  Having been exclusively breastfeeding Jules for almost 27 months, my supply dipped drastically after our Hong Kong trip, around 8 weeks or so and I just felt it was pointless to continue pumping.  We slowly and with much struggle successfully transited Jules to soy formula - restorting to spoon feeding her even.  Thankfully she's good with it now although I still nurse her about twice a day with whatever milk I possibly have and I foresee for however long my growing belly can accommodate her nursing position.
  • My aunt fell really ill but is thankfully by God's grace coping with her illness really well.  She's also responding well to the treatment and I know her faith is keeping her strong.  In the early days of the news, she started giving away her valuables to us - and that single act just made me very sad.  But I'm glad the family came together, rallied around her and gave her all the support she needed.  I'm sure that gave her a lot of hope and strength to fight the race and I know our God will never fail.  I remember it was Mothers' Day.  The hubs was transferring my late grandfather's collection of cassette recordings of holidays he took on his cam-corder to his laptop.  I stumbled upon a video of a Europe trip I took with my late grandfather, late uncle and my aunt some 15 years ago.  It brought back a lot of memories of my grandfather and uncle.  And with my aunt in her current condition, I couldn't help but started to cry.  Jules took a tissue, came up to me, dried my tears and said "Mama, don't cry.  It's OK.  I'm here OK?".  That probably made me cry even harder and it was without a doubt the best Mothers' Day present I could ask for.  Words from a 2.5 year old kid - it was just too much for me.  
  • With the arrival of Baby #2 (we're still a little undecided on names but it's likely to be Baby O), we're also preparing for a big change come year end.  (more on that at a opportune time) but for now, let's just say we're all very excited about the change.  I'm hoping it happens before Baby arrives so that we can somewhat settle into a routine of sorts without having to cope with so many changes at one time - but we'll see how the timing all pans out.  

So the past few months have been pretty eventful, a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me but always so filled with God's unfailing love and grace.  I stand amaze. 

We're so glad to be in this journey together with Him who's always so Great.  

Have a wonderful weekend folks!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hong Kong 2014

Very long over-dued post. 

Before Jules started "big girl" school, we took a short post CNY trip to Hong Kong.  We don't usually travel off-peak cos we usually had to wait for the school holidays when the little sis was done with the term.  This time round though, she didn't want to come with us even though she was have a recess break cos she had exams after so it was just my parents and us.  The idea was to take Jules on a short trip before she started school and before our holidays will now henceforth have to be only during school breaks - for the next 20 years at least.  Hong Kong was our choice of destination of (1) the cool weather it would be in Feb (2) good ole Cantonese food that my parents love (3) visiting my aunt and cousin who lives there and (4) DISNEYLAND for the little munch'kin. 

Jules was told months ahead about our upcoming trip to Hong Kong to see Mickey.  Promises of having breakfast with Mickey made her eyes lit up so wide, it was like she didn't believe our words.  She would go to bed saying each night "tomorrow Juju wake up, juju go Mickey house!".  When we still never boarded that elusive flight to Hong Kong, I think she must have thought her parents are just big liars.  

So when the big day came and she saw our luggages lined up at the door, she got really excited!! It was all on her face!  I was actually not in the best of health for the trip - fighting a bad cough and fever and on my second round of antibotics.  But Jules' excitement was infectious and it really made me feel better inspite of the flu.  My dad and sis saw us off and I think Jules was a little sad that the rest of the family won't coming along.  My parents were heading to Macau while we spent two nights in Disneyland before we were to meet up again in Hong Kong city.  It was a short flight - 3+ hours and I was a little concern how we were going to keep her occupied.  All other flights she has taken (with the exception of our 45min flight to Penang) where red eye flights to Australia when she promptly fell asleep.  I was convinced she was going to ask me to open the exit doors and jump off the plane! But no, just like a savvy traveller, she made herself comfortable, buckled herself (and her friend Angel the dog) when the announcement was made for us to do so, sipped on her own cup of apple juice, had mash potato from the child's meal for the first time (I regretted letting her have her way with that mash, it definitely wasn't dairy-free but she was eating it with so much gusto, I couldn't bear to take it away from her.  The price was an afternoon of upset tummy that thankfully cleared up by the end of the day) and watched Frozen on the inflight entertainment.  I didn't even have to take out her coloring or the toys I had packed along.   

We arrived to a cool 12 deg and were a little undressed for the weather.  So we bundled Jules in whatever we could and made a dash for the cab stand.  We checked ourselves into the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and made hat home for that the next 3 days.  On our first evening, we booked a character dining dinner at the hotel which was to be one of the highlights for Jules (or so I thought).  Instead of telling her "you better finish your dinner quick or Mickey won't come take photo with you", I found myself telling her "you better eat else Mama will ask Mickey to come over!".  She was probably the only kid in the entire restaurant afraid of Mickey and his friends.  It is the first time she has ever seen cartoon characters come alive and at such close proximity.  We did bring her to the Disney show last year but were seated a distance from stage so she wasn't so overwhelmed by their size.  But this time, just the sheer size of the characters was enough to scare her off.  We did manage some photos with the characters - not without her clinging onto me for her dear life.  Well at least she still managed to smile.  

We all retreated for an early night after a day of travelling and all that trauma she went through from seeing her life-size Disney friends.  Thankfully she slept like a baby.  We got up all refreshed the next morning ready for a day at the park.  I've heard horror stories about how the crowd can get ugly at the park - stories of queue-cutting, pushing and shoving.  My parents were also convinced that we would somehow lose our daughter in the crowd and insisted we held her close with a leash - which we did but not for very long.  It was a manageable off-peak crowd so we pretty much just let her doing some running around in the nice cool weather.  There weren't many rides that she could take given some height restrictions, but we went knowing this full well so no regrets there.  Plus, the plan was to just stay for a couple of hours (for going even the afternoon parade) cos she had to nap (yes, I'm a bit of a nazi when it comes to her sticking to her naps.  It's that or deal with a cranky child at 6pm.  No thank you.)  We rode on the Cinderella Carousel, Winnie the Pooh's Adventure, It's a Small World and Dumbo.  You should see the look on her face after each ride.   She was totally mesmerised especially by the Its a Small World ride - which is still beautifully done outside out Japan.  Ask Jules today and she still has very fond memories of the park so I take that to mean she had a really good time and it was special.  We visited the Toy Story Land before calling it a day at the park carrying with us lots of gifts and toys for Jules and her cousins. 

If you're planning to visit Hong Kong Disneyland with the kiddos, here are some tips I can offer:
- If you can, stay for 2 nights at any of the 2 Disneyland hotels.  That way, you can spread your visit to the park over 2 days and the kids get their much needed rest in between.  The hotel packages do come with 2 day park entry tickets. 
- For the full Disney experience, it is worth it to pay a little more for the Kingdom Club benefits at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.  The Kingdom Club entitles you to free breakfast (a very decent spread if I may add) and the kids get to meet and greet the Disney characters before bedtime.  There's also free use of the Kids Club room - where they are daily activities for the kiddos.  
- Go off-peak and during the cooler months of between Nov-Feb.  I think it makes time at the park a much more pleasant one.  I can imagine queuing in the heat will just zap up all your energy, irritate the kids and take away that little bit of magic from a Disney holiday. 
- Book a meal at one of the character dining outlets for an experience to dine with your Disney friends.  OK so it didn't turn out the way we had expected but I would imagine if your kiddo is not like mine, it would be really quite fun to have your favourite Disney friends be around at breakfast or dinner.  But I would say just once will do cos the experience is the same - you smile, they snap the photo and you end up feeling obligated to buy the photo merchandises.    

So after 2 very lovely nights in Disneyland, we headed off to the city where we met up with my parents who had a great time themselves in Macau.  The next few days was spent eating and meeting up with my aunt, uncles and cousins who live in Hong Kong.  We only get to see each other once a year (especially my cousins who don't fly home very often unlike my aunt) so it was really nice just hanging out and spending time with them.  And when the locals bring you around for food, you can be assured you've having some of Hong Kong's very best! Oh that roast goose we had for lunch - I still dream of it today.  And Jules polished it up - all by herself.  Didn't even want to share! And it case you're wondering - no it's not for that famous Yung Kee, it's from a hole-in-the-wall eatery on the street next to Yung Kee.  So soooo good. 

The little sweet gestures from the wonderful people at the Landmark Oriental also made our holiday a delightful one!! Topped that with the Disney magic experience, I think it'll be one holiday that Jules will remember for a while! 

Till our next getaway!! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Big Girl" School

You know how at 2 years old, kids love the idea of being a "big girl".  It's like a promotion for them, like they are a step closer to being like Mama and Dada and doing things that they have always been forbidden to do.  

As part of prepping Jules for her big move to Pre-N in kindy, we've been telling her that soon, she'll be going to "big girl's" school.  When we brought her for evening walks and saw the little kids walking on the connector after school dismissal, we will tell her stories about how soon, it'll be her turn too.  That she'll carry her school bag, go to "big girl" school, go up the school bus and take a special magic school bus home all by herself without Mama and Dada.  My dad for one did a fabulous job in making the idea of school sound so fun for her!  

We had to make some adjustments to her nap and bed times since she now had to get up a good 1 hour earlier than her BabyPlanet days which was more flexible on the time you brought the kids in.  Now, school starts at 8.15am which means we needed to leave the house latest 8.10am. 40mins for her to snuggle in bed a little, wash up, change and drink her milk means getting her up 7.30am.  So we shifted her scheduled forward by an hour the day before school started and I think she's adjusting pretty well. 

The school allowed us to be around for the first 3 days of school, much like how they got the kids adjusted too when school started in January.  Because Jules is a year-end baby, they made provision for year end kids to start school later in March, when they were a little more ready.  I'm actually glad we took that option - for one, she didn't have to settle into the new environment amongst other crying children (which I feel is often the reason why all the kids end up crying on the first day of school) and for two, she got all the undivided attention from the teachers and principal being just one of the two new kid in school that day as opposed to January when I can imagine must have been all quite crazy for the teachers.  

Polishing up her snack of chicken porridge

Water play! 

 Well by the end of the first week, I'm glad to report like a proud Mama that Jules did real great!  She surprised me with how well she has adjusted to school and I truly can't be more proud of her.  I spent the first 2 days with her while her Dada took the 3rd day.  On the first day of school, she insisted on holding my hand during assembly and was all shy about going to the front of the assembly hall by herself when the principal introduced her and the other new girl to the rest of Pre-N and Nursery classes.  For the first half an hour in class, she also insisted I sat nearby while she sat on the floor with the rest of her little friends.  By the time playground time and snack time was over, she was comfortable enough for me to peep from outside the classroom.  After a while, at the advise of the teachers, I gradually moved away and pretty much left her by herself.  I toured the school and even went home for a bit.  By that time, I thought she did amazingly well for Day 1, although the real test was boarding the school bus all by herself for the ride home.  I was really nervous for her first ever ride on a bus by herself.  If I recall, she has only taken a bus once in her life - and that was in Sydney on our way to Taronga Zoo.  Let alone take a bus by herself! I was also afraid she'll go up the wrong bus or the bus uncle will forget to drop her off or something or the other - I told you I was nervous! As I was peeping at her from outside the church sanctuary where she was waiting to board the bus, the Principal came up to me and told me that she had told the rest of the bigger kids on the bus that they were big 'Che Ches' and had to help look after Jules.  And that on hearing the words from the Principal, all of them rush to want to hold her hand and take care of her.  It was so reassuring to hear! And so like a champ, my little girl boarded the bus, I trailed the bus from behind and within 5 minutes, she was home.  She was the 2nd kid to be dropped off.  As I picked her from the bus, she waved to her friends on the bus, then turned to be with a big smile - as if she knew she accomplished so much that day and was truly now like a 'big girl'!  It was another one of those proud Mama moments for me!  Oh and did I mention, the bus driver is the very same uncle that use to drive the little sister too when she attended the same Kindy some 18 years ago! I totally still recognise him. 

Welcome song for the 2 new friends

Time to board the magic school bus


Days 2 - 3 went by pretty much without any drama.  Day 4 came and we weren't allowed to hang around anymore.  I brought her into the assembly hall where I was to leave her.  When her teacher took her from me - she screamed murder and was crying for me.  I knew it'll makes things worst if I hung around any further so I suck in all that mummy-guilt and walked out of the hall - trying to act nonchalant to all her cries.  The teacher outside smiled at me and in her motherly and reassuring voice said "She'll be OK, don't' worry".  With that, I said a little prayer and went off to the car.  The Dada was still on leave that day so I told him to go back to school to peep a little if he could but alas, he was chased away.  Well, no news from school is good news so I'm assuming she did eventually settle down and her world was well again.  The husband reported that she was happy when she came down the bus that day so I'm guessing that means she wasn't traumatised by not having either of us with her in school that day.  

Day 5 - Friday, and the grand plan was to drop her off at the school gate without me having to come down from the car and let her teachers walk her into the chapel - like what most of the kids who arrive by car do.  So that parents don't have to park the car and cause traffic disruptions around the estate.  I was very sure she was not going to let us do that but my Dad was confident that she would cause he spent the previous night explaining to her what the drill was going to be like that morning.  He told her repeatedly that Mama was not going into school with her and that her teacher will walk her into the chapel because she was now a "big girl".  So my dad sent us to school that morning and throughout the 5 mins ride to school, we continue chanting the drill to prep her.  And what do you know, we got to the school gate, and our daughter kissed me goodbye, came down the car, held her teacher's hand and walked through the school gate with her teacher.  She didn't even turn round to peep at us again.  (Maybe she knew that would have made things worst) And just like that, in just 5 days, our little girl has proven that once again, I have underestimated her ability to be an independent little girl.  

Maybe she really is like a "big girl" now! Atta girl!! 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Thank You BabyPlanet

I am so behind in my posts.  Things have been a little crazy since the Lunar New Year holidays.  I fell really ill after all that feasting and was on two rounds on antibotics.  Then we went on our short getaway, whisked Jules off for her last day at BabyPlanet and am now working on getting her synced up for her first day of formal pre-nursery. 

So before she starts school on Monday, I thought it'll be fitting to write a "goodbye" post on BabyPlanet - a place she has grown very attached to in the past year. 

We made the decision early last year to send our then 15 month old little munch'kin to school.  Just to keep let her do some growing up on her, make some friends and horn her social skills. And grow up did she.  I would like to think that the 3 hours she spends in school several times a week has indeed played a part in her physical, cognitive and social developments.  She's achieved a lot in the past year and I give credit to the school for contributing to those achievements. 

First Day at BabyPlanet - Mar'13
So we bid the school farewell on Thursday.  I'm not sure if Jules knew what the significance of that day was although we did tell her that she was not going to see her Teachers and friends at Babyplanet anymore after that day and that she was going to big girl school.  When I picked her up from school that day, I reminded her again that she had to give her Teachers a big tight hug cos it was her last day with them.  So before we left, she run to Teacher M and gave her a hug.  She then exclaimed loudly "I want to hug Teacher Z also".  I wanted to cry just hearing her say that.  As she run off into the classroom to hug Teacher Z, I watched from a distance and was trying hard to hold back my tears.  (Didn't want to let the Teachers see this crazy mother crying on her daughter's last day).  After she was done with her hugs, I quickly picked Jules up for a prompt exit out of the school cos tears were starting to roll down fast and I didn't want to look all emo in front of the teachers.  I'm really bad at this goodbye business.  

We made "thank you" photo frames for the Teachers

And as we walked through the school gates for the last time, we left with happy and cherry memories of a wonderful year with Babyplanet.  I think Jules is going to miss the big open space, the fun gym classes and yummy tomato pasta every Monday but she's also off to another big adventure in Kindy, one that we are prayerful will also let her grow and develop albeit in a different way. 

Last ride down the babyplanet slide

So thank you Babyplanet!  You have been awesome!!!  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Of family, feasting and fun . . .

The Lunar New Year long weekend is over but thanks to all the cookies that I have been munching on, I lost my voice and got myself an extended holiday with two days of medical leave.  Thankful the sore throat hit me only towards the end of the 3rd day and I got to enjoy my holiday!  Went back to work today and my boss sent me straight home and gave me strict orders to stay home the next two days.  I think she couldn't bear to hear me speak another word.  

I enjoy the Lunar New Year for all that the season brings - the sun is always out, there is the spring-cleaning part that signifies a new beginning and out with the old, the house is stocked up with food and cookies to represent abundance in the new year, it's reason for new PJs, new clothes, new shoes and fresh linen on the bed and a time of reunion and spending time with family.  

Jules had a really good time with all her little cousins.  She also welcomed a new cousin - Baby J - who arrived just in time to wish everyone "Gong Xi Gong Xi".  

She saw her cousins M & M everyday and got so comfortable with the idea of playing with them that she went to bed the other night saying "Tomorrow, Juju wake up, Juju play dough with Mikaela". 

This year, I picked up Jules' cheongsam from A, Apple Pie at the Not Too Big boutique at Forum.  It went perfect with her little "nian nian you yu" jade necklace - a little piece of tradition that I use to wear when I was a kid.  I also got Sophie a matching outfit so that the both of them could wear them to Gong Gong's office for the lion dance on the 2nd day.  And I actually managed to tie Jules' hair up in 2 little ponytails which she miraculously did not attempt to remove throughout the day! 

Other than the usual visiting and lion dance at dad's office, we also visited my aunt's newly renovated home this year and took the opportunity to do a little crazy photo shoot.  The kids, they thought it was like a big playground! 

It truly was a great start to the year of the Golden Horse!! Hope you and your family had a -varlous time too!! 

Friday, January 31, 2014


May the year of the golden horse bring you and your family lots of love, laughter, blessings and bountiful blessings!!!

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