Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014

Taking stock of the year that has passed often brings about a sense of dread in me.

What have I achieved in the past year? Oh, nothing much. Same old, same old. Not much of a "career" in the traditional sense. Sure, I've had a kid. Sure, I've had two. Sure, I'm about to celebrate 10 years of marriage in a few months. But other than that? Ho-hum. Nothing much. It's hot today isn't it?

Except, why do I keenly feel the need to identify myself within the confines of a career?

I guess I've always thought I'd be a bit of an achiever when it came to work. (At the very least, I thought I'd be earning more!) And it's a battle I fight each year, when December 31 comes around.

With the drama and adventure of 2013, you'd think I'd have learnt my lesson on what deems as important!

So I guess I really should take stock and refocus on my real achievements hey?
  • I've had a kid! He's turned 7! And he's smart and won't stop talking!
  • I've had another kid! He's just turned 4 months! And he's smart and won't stop coo-ing!
  • Hubby and I have a strong marriage (which I gather, by the rate of relationships dissolving in 2014, is quite a feat).
  • I spent the last year in a job I truly enjoyed, and made new friends, some who remain very close.
  • I spent Christmas in Brisbane with close friends and got to ride the roller-coasters at the theme parks - trust me, this was a huge Win for me LOL.
  • Got to make new friends through Social Media, especially Instagram.

So! What do I look forward to for 2015?
  • Baby hitting new milestones
  • Celebrating 10 years of marriage
  • Deepening meaningful relationships
  • Possibly returning back to work. Possibly.
  • Trying out new cake designs and recipes and hopefully revamp the cake website.
  • Opening a new cafe with hubby and friends.
  • Flying back to Singapore to visit family.
  • Perhaps taking a holiday to a new destination - maybe Japan? Or Europe again (I wish!!)
In the meantime, this being a BABY blog, and since I've just had another BABY,  here're some pictures to drool over (literally, there's saliva everywhere right now!)





Soooo tiny 




Guess which one is Aidan and which is Adam?!






Aidan celebrating his 7th birthday at school 


Made a Minecraft cake



My lovely kikki. K family 





#squishycheeks


Family shot on my birthday 


More piccies to come!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

See you on the other side

Tomorrow everything will change.

Tomorrow, everything will be different.

Because, tomorrow, bubba arrives!!

I was given the option to induce labour by the doctors at my 37-week checkup, due to my history of preterm labour and the minor bleed I had at 27 weeks. After much deliberation, research and weighing out the risks versus benefits, Ege and I decided to go ahead and induce labour tomorrow when I am 39 weeks. So right now I'm feeling terribly excited and terribly nervous and terribly terribly BIG.

Aidan has his moments of excitement about the baby, when he talks to my belly. Just the other day we were pointing out one of the benefits of having a younger brother was that he could eventually fetch stuff for him, like some water LOL. "Nah," Aidan said, "I'll treat him right." I was impressed!

But lately I sense his nervousness. He confessed the other day that he felt we would ignore him because of the baby, and he's a little upset we're not going ahead with the name he's keen on (he'd recently changed his preference to Brent, after the winner of Master Chef 2014.) I know it'll be a big adjustment for him, as he's been an only child for close to 7 years; I just hope the transition for him wouldn't be too hard and he'll adapt, in his own way, eventually. One of the reasons we're having a big splash for his birthday this year is so he won't feel like his special day has been overshadowed by his brother's arrival.

Anyhoos, here's a selfie taken about 6 weeks ago:


Me at 32 weeks


The baby's grown a lot since then!!

Added to the prep we need to make in order to herald bubba's arrival, are also the food I need to cook and freeze, and the tonic soups I'll have to get Ege to make for my "confinement" period, where I would need to "tonify" my body post-birth. My mum was meant to arrive on Monday, however the poor dear was stung by a mozzie and came down with dengue fever! She's recovering well now... but still needs lots of rest and is easily fatigued, so we'd rather her recover fully before making the trip over. Thankfully our dear friends across the road (Ivy and Steve FTW!) have offered to cook for us, and help us out, at least until my in-laws arrive on the 23rd.


My really dumb autocorrect fail LOL.
Whenever I mention to anyone about my mum & how she's had dengue, 
people smile and try to hold back a laugh rather than make sympathetic noises


The Sunday past was interesting. I had the opportunity to share our journey and our story of what happened with the twins at church. The days leading up to it were definitely emotional and hard, as I had to confront and re-visit a lot of my residual feelings, which were also conflated with my nervousness about the current pregnancy, and my fears at the process of labour and childbirth. But it was strangely free-ing and cathartic and therapeutic for me, being up on stage and sharing the pain, but also the hopes and prayers we as a family were holding.

Having it all out in the open meant that everyone knew my version of the story, rather than the bits and pieces that they would have gathered from shadowed whispers. Very rarely would someone have asked about details as they would have been too polite to dredge up the experience, for fear of making me uncomfortable or upset.

But now that we are all on the same page, I feel like I can move on. It was like the windows opened and a breath of fresh air flowed in. Cleansing. Healing. Allowing me space to find trust in God again.

And now I feel that I, We, all of us, can re-focus on the future and the excitement that new Life will bring.

See you on the other side!!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Total Drama Action

Well, so much has happened in the last 6 months I'm not sure where to start!!

For starters, I'd started a new role (promotion I guess?) at my job at kikki. K so I'm currently co-managing the store with another girl.

But that will all change in a few months (12 weeks to be exact) because that when... badumbam! The baby's due.

YES! It's been a rollercoaster ride of 28 weeks but Soh far Soh good (hur hur couldn't resist.) I was put into the pre-term labour clinic for most of the last 6 months because of my history with the twins, but they did a test on my a few weeks ago so I've "graduated" into the regular clinics now, phew!

Except for the scare over the weekend.

I woke up and was getting ready to go out (for a much-anticipated reunion brunch with the Fruitful & Multiply girls I might add!) when I noticed some spotting/bleeding after going to the toilet. I got a little anxious, but called W, who was my ride to the brunch, and she took me straight to the hospital, with Aidan in tow. Ege was working that morning.

I could help freaking out at the hospital's emergency ward. Everything felt like deja vu. Like I was going through the same motions as I did with the twins. It had started with something innocuous, and I had fully expected to go home in a few hours, only to be told that I was dilated and quite likely would go into preterm labour, and the twins wouldn't survive being born at 20 weeks.

So this time round, being wheeled into the birth suite next to the one where I had the twins, I was, pardon my French, shit-scared.

The midwife strapped a device that monitored the baby's heartbeat onto me, and bubs seemed ok and kicking around. But that's what happened with the twins too. They were fully healthy, even when born.

After 4 hours, the doctor finally came to check on me. I'd just been to the toilet again, and there was still blood, and this time round I really felt fear overtake me. I felt a sense of hopelessness and anxiety, and couldn't stop crying. I couldn't cope! I couldn't pray! (And I'm usually pretty calm under this sort of immense pressure - heck, I cracked jokes at the twins' funeral!)

Ege had to grab hold of me and calm me down. The doctor finally came. She and the midwife checked me and couldn't find the source of the bleed, but more importantly, the cervix was closed. CLOSED. NOT DILATED. Which meant that I wasn't going into labour or anything. Thank God, what a relief!!!

To be safe, they kept me at the hospital for a couple of days for observation, just in case. Which I guess is what I needed, to rest. It almost felt like a staycation, watching telly and having meals brought to me! Made a new friend in my room mate too.

All that drama...plus Ege left for Singapore last night! (Although he shortened his trip, so now it's just a week not two!) And back to work today.

But of course, now that bubs is ok, the other one naturally acts up! He was caught (or rather, dobbed in) for kicking a fellow student's butt at the school playground, while another pupil was sitting on the poor kid! One week's yard duty, PLUS he wasn't allowed any screen time both yesterday and today. I know he didn't mean to be a bully, he just joined in with a bunch of other kids thinking it was fun and games, but we needed him to understand the seriousness of it all. He took the punishments well - until I reminded him that no screen time also meant no Masterchef. That's when he started crying LOL!!

The irony was, today at the Maccas playground, he got a little taste of his own medicine! I looked up from reading my papers to see him crying and coming towards me. Turns out 2 other kids in the playground started punching him for no apparent reason. I looked - one looked like he was 5, the other just 3! He didn't retaliate by hitting back at the younger kids, and there was no bruising, but he did have a shock and a fright. And the kids' grandmas made them apologise to him.

The bully had become the bullied.

We still went ahead after that to tennis lessons though, even though he wanted to go home, but I insisted on going, and true enough, he had enough fun to distract him from what had happened earlier. Back to his normal cheerful self. Poor kid!!

Lesson learnt.

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013


If challenges reveal who we truly are, then the past year tells me I'm one helluva kickass motherf***er.

In 2013 I:

Started a new job
Booked tickets for Europe
Cancelled tickets for Europe because I found out..
I was pregnant! After 30 long months of trying and disappointments!
I wasn't just pregnant, I was pregnant with TWINS!
I gave birth to 2 gorgeous little girls; but they died peacefully in my arms.
I buried my girls.
I went back to work.
I starting seeing a therapist.
My husband had quit his job; he moved (temporarily) overseas. For 6 months.
I joined a gym; I hired a personal trainer; I joined the gym's 12-week body challenge.
I juggled work, raising Aidan on my own (with amazing help from my neighbours), my baking business, cake classes and the gym.
I finished my therapy sessions.
My husband returned for a month - yay!
I went to Paris and Brittany for 2 weeks!!
I celebrated the pregnancies of my friends and the births of their children.
I listened to their stories and held them as they cried & bemoaned the difficulties of being a new mother (& I confess, made me appreciate not having to go through the same thing again, yet made my heart wondered if I was missing out.)
I celebrated Aidan turning 6!!
I put up with his tantrums without having a tantrum myself!!
I put up my hand and applied for a promotion.
I got the promotion!
I celebrated my sister's wedding - in Phuket!

And now the year draws to a close, and I'm terribly terribly grateful for the roller coaster ride this year has been. In spite of the challenges thrown my way I think back and I realise how much I do really have, and how much I can hope for in the time to come.

Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone!

PS. Realise I forgot to take a family photo on Christmas Day - but here's us with our Chrissie pressies. I got everything I secretly wanted - wine glasses, a decanter and a new teapot! LOL.


Batman Lego from Sai Yee Tessa and Ton Ton Pierre 


Wine decanter & aerator set - hubby knows me too well! 


New wine glasses 'coz I kept knocking ours over - 
our friends know us too well!


Toshi Milk Jug for E-Gene!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy 6th Birthday Aidan!

It's been a week overdue, but better late than never! (Which seems to be a common thread in my posts lately haha...)

Aidan celebrated his birthday with not one but FOUR parties this year (five if you include the birthday cake he also had at EG's aunt's home). What a lucky duck!

When I asked him what cake he wanted for his actual birthday (back in Melbourne), he wasn't sure.

"How about a mango cake?"
"Yeah! MANGO CAKE!"
"Sure! I'll get you a mango cake then."
"...of Death."

?!! WTH is a Mango Cake of Death?! We both burst out laughing after that, and I settled for the mango gateau at Breadtop. Which to some really is a mango cake of death anyways.

His other 2 birthday celebrations came on the weekend, with a party with school friends at the game arcade at Highpoint, and one at church with church friends.



His little party in Singapore with our families and some friends. 
Aidan got to meet new friends at this party as well - kids of EG's mates.



At EG's aunt's home, with his BFF cousin Anna!


Me and his lego cake. 
3 layered choc-fudge cake with strawberry buttercream 
and cherries (his request!)
SIGH...no more novelty cakes please!


 With Aunty Sue-Lee and Zoe-Grace, whose birthdays fall
on the day after his!
Aunty Yuli made the lovely cake pops!! Yum!!


And...this is just me trolling my son when I found him 
sleeping in this position the night before his birthday. LOLOL!!
 


Since Aidan's turned 6 it's been a bit of a challenge, because I find him really testing my patience. I'm not sure if it's him or if it's me (probably me), but I find it SO hard to be pleasant and controlled sometimes when he takes his time to do things and the lack of urgency frustrates me. It takes forever for him to get ready for school...and we usually end up in a rush when my neighbour, whom we carpool with, arrives. Except for yesterday when he magically JUMPED out of bed, brushed his teeth, got dressed, ALL ON HIS OWN. IN FIVE MINUTES. which means it's VERY POSSIBLE FOR GRUMPY SIX YEAR OLDS TO ACHIEVE THIS. However, he was motivated by the prospect of opening and playing with a new toy, hence today we were back to the same old nag and drag.

And the neighbour turned up early which meant he didn't have time to have brekkie, and had to take his cheese sandwich with him. And a quick instruction to put on his socks and shoes fell on deaf ears as he got distracted (AGAIN!) by the lego behind him, while the neighbour's car was still sitting outside, patiently waiting for us!! I pulled his face to mine and said "FOCUS!!"

It's mornings like these that really annoy me, and starts my day off wrong. I put it down to him being just a 6 y.o. and my need to just be a little bit more patient, but there are days when I wonder if I'm actually cut out for this. Parenting a 6-going-on-16 child, while not bringing out the absolute worse in me, isn't necessarily bringing out my best either. I feel like we're constantly battling each other (and I thought I'd only get the attitude and the "Seriously, Mum?!" from a girl, not a boy!)

However, the pleasant times we spend learning and reading stories just before bedtime are pretty amazing, I have to admit. And just the other night when he got really excited about learning math through YouTube and it was so great to see how his eyes lit up at the thought of learning and discovering something new. He was copiously copying the problem sums from the video, which I thought was pretty hilarious and video-ed as well. And also how he came up with a rhyming song on the spur-of-the-moment. That was pretty amazing.


(For some reason I sound like a deranged puppet when I yelled "One more time!"
It's probably the recording. Or not.)



You can take the boy out of Singapore...



Monday, August 12, 2013

Opt out?


This article was written in the New York Times Magazine recently, and spurred a couple of thoughts (not fully formed mind you!) from me, especially since I'm wondering about my next steps in life (family move, career expansion?)

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/magazine/the-opt-out-generation-wants-back-in.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

My personal experience has been that "opting out" was a struggle for me, particularly because it also coalesced with my lack of achieving a "successful" level of work prior to having Aidan (ie. I had also felt rather "lost" at work just as I fell pregnant).  The first 2 years of Aidan's life was a bit of a wandering-in-the-desert experience because I was told and believed that being a SAHM would be the most beneficial for my child, yet, to be perfectly honest, it was very unfulfilling for me. Less so for the child-rearing, I did enjoy it to varying degrees, but more so for the household duties which I really resented having to bear the burden of. Plus I also felt I wasn't contributing to the family (even though my contribution, many would argue, was significant. I just didn't feel it. I think I tie my identity to work a fair bit?)

Huge credit to E-Gene however, that even after 16 hour days at work he still helped put Aidan to bed and helped with the dishes and laundry, while dealing with a really tired and grumpy wife. Significantly, he also said that I should consider putting Aidan into childcare once a week (and once again, I am grateful to the Australian govt. for child care benefits and welfare that I would never have received in SG), because he felt this, and said to me, that for me to be a good mum to Aidan I had to be in a good place myself. (Hence the Italian lessons I'd always wanted to take!)

I think I was fortunate to have rekindled my love for baking a little later and to have found an outlet for it selling my cupcakes. I found work I was proud of, and that has also led me to other work at kikki. K and finding clarity in what my strengths are. Beyond supplying a small amount of financial independence, I find that both types of work brings great meaning, enjoyment and purpose to me. I do still struggle with guilt, even though I know that the Superwoman-Supermum archetype is a myth and having-it-all is a myth. (CEOs have nannies. Single mums have none.)

Guilt for me translates to this: I wonder if I should pay more attention to Aidan and spend more time engaging in his learning process, when all I wanna do is have a nap in the time between rushing from work to picking him from school and preparing dinner?

If we do move to SG (and that's a very big IF) for Ege's work opportunities, there may be the need to homeschool Aidan, and I struggle deeply with that. It would be a sacrifice of my goals and ambitions for the sake of the family (husband's work, son's education), and that struggle seems to be most often borne by the women in the family (either for economic reasons/opportunities or  otherwise). Ege and I have discussed what the idea of career turn-taking means for us, because he does love being home, and caring for Aidan, but similarly to me, he feels like he won't be "contributing" to the family if he was "merely" a SAHD. Interesting, no?

I admire women like my sister-in-law who seem to find joy and fulfillment in raising a large brood of kids on her own, juggling school runs, meal times, concerts, mother-daughter dates. At the moment I do not think I have the capacity to do so (but that can change because I can probably change to adapt to the situation.) nor am I chasing after the opportunity to do so. I like the work-life balance that I enjoy at the moment, but it is also because I am fortunate enough to have just the one child, and a very involved husband. I am sure few people (irrespective of gender) have that privilege.

Thoughts?


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Psych

Had my 1st session with the psych today, for some grief counselling.

It was helpful, and I went through heaps of tissues! Talking about it always gets hard, but today being the first sesh it tends to be more of an establishment of relationship and issues than anything else.

In other news, Aidan's thriving really well on the 2nd day back at school! He's made a couple of close friends - Aranet and Bovey, who are both funnily enough, about his height. I was spying on him in class today and you could see there was a couple of boys who were taller than him sitting in the back row - the "cool" guys I guess, because they all had their collars up! LOL. Little dudes (one was Asian) were too cute, they probably have older siblings to guide them in the ways of the world, though someone should tell them that collars-up are a) SO 2009, and b) really douchey. But they're 5 years old...I really should keep judgement to myself.

Anyways, here's a polaroid of Aidan eating one of the HUNDRED ice-cream sandwiches I'd won in a competition by Pat and Stick's!




Friday, April 5, 2013

How to save a life

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
  
W. H. Auden                               
 Funeral Blues                               

                                
One precious hour. Eight short weeks ago.

I held my two little angels, then their hands grew cold.

Their hearts stopped, eyes still closed.

One clung to her father's finger, the other hid behind the blows

Tiny

Shy

My Aurora Jade

My Aimee Rose

~~~~~


This post is a long time coming. We'd been trying to conceive for about 2.5, almost 3 years before we received the news:

Hmmm....methinks God wants to tell us something...


And we were overjoyed! I'd come down the stairs; EG thought I'd come to say good night. I brought out the little baby elephant plush toy I'd bought ages ago at a flea market, in anticipation of a baby's arrival, which had gathered dust over the years. He glanced, smiled, then did a double-take! "Really?!" he said. I nodded. We hugged. He cried.

Then we found out I was further along then expected.... and the big news, TWINS! God is good, He'd blessed us over and abundantly for the years of waiting, years of tears and frustration.

And just as quickly, at 20 weeks, we said a big hello to babies Aurora and Aimee. My two gorgeous little girls, who were so eager to say hi to the world they couldn't wait.

But because they were just that little, there wasn't anything the doctors could do to sustain them.

And so we said goodbye... softly, quietly, they tiptoed into the twilight.

No one know why this happens. No one knows why my cervix dilated, or the membranes pushed out, or why I went into early labour. No one knows if it had been happening for awhile before I'd noticed the spotting and gone to the hospital. No one knows if it's caused by hormones, or by sudden growth from twin-to-twin transfer syndrome, no one knows.

And that is horribly frustrating.

But what would it even change? I had my babies for a short while on this earth, and they're now back in Heaven. One day we will meet again.

Each day since then is different, some days are good, some days not so. I cry and rage and double over weeping, missing them heaps. Missing what could have been. The cuddles, the hugs, the tantrums, the food fights. Sure I could have another baby again, but I probably won't have twins again. Two little girls that look almost exactly alike, save for a scar there, a mole on the cheek, subtle differences only a mother would know.

Even in the short hour I had with them, their personalities shone through. The dream I'd had months ago must have been prophetic; Aurora, the firstborn, was tougher, stronger, just as she was in my dream, robustly clinging onto EG's finger. Aimee, shyer, born minutes later, perpetually hiding behind her hand, shielding herself away from the enthusiastic gazes and coos.

Aurora Jade's middle name was after my mum's, Aimee Rose's was after EG's mum. Aimee means Beloved, Aurora means the Dawn.

~~~~~

A short week ago you came into our lives, then you tiptoed quietly into the evening light.

You are Aurora, the new Dawn. You are Aimee, Beloved.

You are dearly missed.

~~~~~




More thoughts to come.

Monday, January 21, 2013

School

I CAN'T BELIEVE HE STARTS PREP NEXT WEEK!!

Has time really flown so quickly? He's really so grown up now, I can't keep up!


 In his new school uniform - Avondale Primary


 Another Lego project he and Dad are starting on!
The Shuttle Expedition!

This is AFTER they built...

The Star Wars Super Star Destroyer

My house is completely overrun with Lego now, just last week EG drove all the way to Cranbourne (1 hour's drive, and another hour back!!) after dinner JUST to pick up an R2-D2 Lego set. Geez! They're getting Lego-mad in this house, and we're running out of surfaces to display them!





Friday, November 23, 2012

Legos and Heroes

Aidan's been really getting the hang of this whole Lego thing, or rather what he calls mini-Lego, because they're smalller than the Legos (Duplos) he used to play with.

He's currently facinated with the Lego Star Wars set I got him from Costco (yay Costco!), and also the Lego Hero Factory series which features robots that you build from scratch. He's so brilliant at it he can make up new ones that match the photos he's seen online based on parts he's already got! WOW! Fine motor skills, hand-eye co-ordination and avid use of imagination, I'm pretty pleased he's find something else to occupy his time other than TV or the computer. But that said, he still spends a lot of time on the Lego website playing games, learning more about the sets he's got and watching videos. Hmm!!







And here's just one of him, lookin' cool-as...

 
All photos courtesy of EG's instagram photostream. Other than robots he's really been getting into Uno as well, and we've played rounds and rounds of it, where he's won fair and square. This morning's scoreboard: Aidan 5 wins, Mum 2. He's really good at it!

Can't believe my little man's starting Prep next year!! How time has flown!!



Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday!!

Wow I can't believe 5 years have passed. 5 years since he was born, 5 years + 9 months since this blog has started.

My goodness, so much has happened! He's evolved and grown and talks so very much more now. Talks and talks and talks...lol...sometimes I can't shut him up!


I spent the weekend making a Transformer cake. Well, not quite one that transforms, just the Autobot logo really!





We had 2 mini parties - one at Kids Church yesterday...

Heehee that's me in my Cookie Monster jumper...
quite apt considering the cupcakes I made for the Kinder party (see end of post)





 


...and one for Kinder today.










Here's what they were all eating - I'll post a tute onto www.buttercup-bakeshoppe.com soon!

Meee wannntt COOOOKIE!! Omnomnomnom...


Looking back, I'm just grateful for the person Aidan's turned out to be. Smart, inquisitive, bouncy, cheerful, often garrulous (although that could be hereditary lol), and does a mean Shuffle (we're working on Gangnam style next). Next year he'll be starting Prep; I wonder what those changes would bring!

So Aidan, my hope for you in the years ahead is that you'll continue to grow in understanding, faith and love. May you allow your Creator to transform you from an innocent Boy into a solid, just, Man. May you learn what it means to fall in love, have your heart broken, and have it healed. May you discover the wisdom of the ancients, and use it wisely. May you find hope in the midst of cynicism, and joy in the profundities of life. May you never lose your sense of Wonder.

May you always be safe, just as you were the day you were born, cradled in my arms.

Love you always.