Underwater themed birthday party

Time really flies.

Every time I hear the New Year’s countdown and watch the fireworks, I feel like I’ve been transported back in time again to that little labour room suite and I can hear the beeping machine sounds going in the background. The beauty of this yearly visual display is that it reminds me to be thankful for the beauty that is asleep on the couch.

Chloe came down with a surprising fever a day before her birthday. That wasn’t a good sign. Adrian and I have been planning her birthday bash for at least a month now. Our decorations were in place, the caterers have been reserved, the door gifts have been assembled and the guests have been invited. There was no way we could pull out now. Our girl will just have to go through the party pumped with paracetamol… and she was. Thankfully she didn’t have any other symptoms like a bad cough or diarrhea because that would have been awful.

We chose an underwater theme for her 2nd birthday simply because Chloe loves swimming. She enjoys it so much, that the cold pool water wouldn’t deter her and she would not hesitate to jump into an adult pool even before we would. To add to that, she is a good swimmer too albeit with floats. (It’s time for us to send her for swimming classes soon)

 

We took a lot of effort to try to decorate our condo’s function room to make it look like the sea as possible although it is quite an impossible feat considering the size of the room and our budget. Even our main food display had a lot of elements of the sea, be it fish crackers, octopus sausages, watermelon shark, fish candy, blue jelly and blue coloured drinks.

The children definitely enjoyed it with some swimming in the pool and a big castle inflatable to jump in. There were plenty of balloons to share around as well. I know Chloe definitely enjoyed it and she did not seem ill at all that night – thankfully!

 

Can’t believe my little baby is now a little girl who can run, jump, dance and talk.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Chloe!

 

Before I forget

… Because forgetting is so part and parcel of my age now. Oh, the numerous things I’ve forgotten to do or because the lack of time to do it, it slips through the cracks.

It’s a gorgeous morning to begin with. Being downstairs away from my sleeping hubby and daughter and absorbing the breathtaking view of the city I love. The only thing missing is a wonderful cup of hot tea. It’s a beautiful time to reflect on life and blessings.

These two years (FYI, I reflect on birthdays every two years) has been life changing. With my bundle of joy (and hair raising moments) in my life, everything I do seems to revolve around her. Life as a mother is tough but oh so fulfilling. My girl is turning two in two months and it feels like time has just flew by.

My job is now one I enjoy and find much meaning in. Sometimes I do feel that this is what I’m meant to do although there are many waves of moments when I missed my clinical world and the patients I see.

I’m beginning to understand marriage more each day and once when I could not understand how one could love someone more with time, now I do. My husband has been genuinely loving and supportive through our marriage. I do not deserve a man like him.

Much has changed but much also has remain the same. The same passion and prayers through the years are the same ones I pray for today.

Turning 31 really sinks in the fact that I’m definitely in my 30s. Last year it was easily hidden in the zero, without the S. This year, definitely 30s. Sigh.

Mother’s Day thoughts 

I was suppose to share at church service this morning but chickened out last minute. So thought I might just share it here instead as I sat and wrote this early this morning.

Throughout my pregnancy my head dived through the pages of a book made famous by a movie called “What to expect when you’re expecting”. In it were detailed step by step knowledge of what exactly to expect such as the changes of your body and the baby within.

But things changed when I delivered. There was no more book of what to expect. Thus far, motherhood has been full of things that I did not expect.
Here’s a short list of it.

1. I did not expect the degree of pain during delivery. Ironic to say as I speak of one being trained specifically in the field of obstetrics and I should know of it and be prepared for it. Suffice it to say, it exceeded my expectations.

2. I did not expect nursing to be difficult, tedious and never stopping. Another one aspect of motherhood, i thought with ego should be a piece of cake given that it was expected in my job to advocate and train mothers to nurse. The opposite quite happened. The early weeks were a pure struggle. My poor family had to endure my tears and fears.

3. I did not expect motherhood days to be long and the nights even longer. I imagined confinement days to be easy going, with lots of rest with time for maybe a book or two. In reality, I could not believe that it was time for the next feeding (because Chloe was crying) as I felt like I just nursed her 10 minutes ago.

4. I did not expect that I had to practice the level of patience I never knew I had. Being one with a temper, a baby (and now a toddler with quite a tantrum) can certainly tests your patience. I didn’t know that I could have that much of patience, for it is surely not mine but God-given.

5. I did not expect to experience this level of joy. In the biggest irony of all time, I did not expect that Chloe could one minute, make you feel like screaming and immediately the next, that feeling instantly fizzles off and you feel like laughing instead. The way she walks or talks or stands or dances.

6. I did not expect myself to be able to love someone that much. I’m sure all mothers will testify to this. It’s like almost every minute of the day is about my daughter. What’s she doing, is she ok, does she have enough etc. and the best part? She loves reciprocally and equally back without condition. The hugs and kisses she gives are priceless.

Motherhood has been full of unexpectations but also one I could never have gotten through without my big support group. So here are my list of public thanks.

Thank you God, for allowing me to the blessed opportunity to be a mother. Through this role, I have learnt so much about myself, but I have also learnt so much about You, the love and patience you give as a Father to us.

Thank you, Adrian, for being equally so patient and tolerant to my everyday struggles. You have been my pillar of strength, comfort and sanity. Thank you for your love and commitment especially through the endless ridiculous drives back and forth throughout the past one year.

I am also very blessed to have my parents full on alongside me in my parenting journey. Thanks, mom and dad for helping me with Chloe. You know that there was no way I could have gotten through this without both of your helping hands in taking care of her. Chloe is super blessed to being showered with love by so many around her. Thanks especially to my mom, who graciously took on the responsibility to looking after her while I worked. Mom, thank you for your sacrifice. Before this, I’ve understood why you did the things you did for us as children, but now I definitely understand it with a different perspective. Thanks for your years of sacrifice for us. I’m sure that if Tim and Phoebe were here, they would have said the same thing too. We love you.

In closing, yup, motherhood is full of unexpectations, and I guess it’s okay. We’ll get by – as long as we continue to trust and obey the Lord.

Happy Mother’s Day.

My little sister all grown up

It’s only been about three and a half hours since I last said goodbye to my sister at the airport and I’m starting to miss her terribly already.

I do regret encouraging her to take up the American Degree Program at Help Uni when she finished her secondary school studies. Looking back, I should have asked her to go to nearer countries or even study locally. But during that time, I really wanted her to be able to go through tertiary education which my brother and I didn’t quite have the opportunity to.

My sister is the sweetest girl I know. She’s kind, talented and has a big heart. She’s smart and so much braver than me in every possible way. She does what she needs to quietly and hardly ever complaints much. I was really hoping and praying that I would deliver my daughter before she flies to the States, but God seems to have his own reasons for the timing that did not turn out so. Her absence will most definitely be felt in this new journey of mine, but I guess we all knew this day would come – where our little sister grows up and eventually will have to spread her wings to bigger places. For me, I just didn’t think that this day would be so difficult to experience.

Life now will definitely feel very different with the ever-present sister now not around anymore. I will miss our late-night talks (when she mainly listens to me rant most of the time). I will miss being in awe with the knowledge she shares. I will miss teasing and disturbing her. I will miss the girly-girl things we did together like painting each other’s nails. I will miss her encouragement and suport.

As I write this, she will be on her way to Guangzhou for a transit flight to Los Angeles where she will spend a week with friends, then onward to Baylor U at Texas. I know I can’t do much as I could to make it easier for her to adjust herself there but I know I can always pray for her and be the support she needs of me (if she ever does).

Argh. Waterfall tears. I’m already counting down the days until she comes back for her summer holiday!

 

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And so the tradition continues…

Yes. This is my traditional biennial birthday post. I personally think there is so much to remember , to learn and to just be thankful for all the goodness showered upon me when I spend the time to write on these reflections in the early hours of my birthday. This is one practice I truly treasure and quite look forward to every two years – to just look back at what I’ve written and to think how it has all turned out today. Much has changed since 2011 and very soon, we will be celebrating someone else’s birth day.

There is no doubt that there will a lot of changes in this coming two years and perhaps much more of me will have to change to adapt and live to provide for another beautiful being. I think I’ll take today’s reflections toward a more serious tone as compared to the years before of a girl’s wishful thinking and childlike dreams. After all, I will soon become a mother and that’s such a huge deal.

Am I excited? You bet I am. I just can’t wait for the day I get to embrace her and to shower her with all my love.

Am I nervous? Who wouldn’t be? Just the thought of being someone’s mother gives me the palpitations and the more I feel this, the more I realize that I so desperately need God’s guidance in my life. I know for sure that it is a beautiful road ahead – surely bumpy and many drastic turns, but I just pray that God will be with me every step of the way that I might be the best I could be in this life that He has given to me.

From the young adult as she turns 21 and now here I am, entering into the phase of motherhood. I stand so amazed at the many years of blessings and favour He has lovingly shown me. There are so many things to be thankful for – most importantly my family and friends.

God is truly good.

Thank You, God.

Happy 29th Birthday to me!

Fearfully, Wonderfully Made

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:13-18

First January Twenty Thirteen

Fourth consecutive first-day-of-the-year post. I am loving this tradition. 🙂

2010 Me wrote with a lot of anticipation and anxiety as she looks into a future that was pretty uncertain as her housemanship came to a close.

2011 Me wrote a lot about thankfulness. The anticipation and anxiety she had were always won over by God’s grace.

2012 Me wrote again with much hope and anticipation. “There’s a huge step I would be taking this year that would alter the rest of my life.”

Huge step taken. Became a Mrs. The main theme for 2012 was building to that big date in December and my goodness, how fast did that year just zip by. However, along with that main soundtrack that played through the months, there were many other melodies that waved in and out.

I think I can safely say that 2012 has been quite a tough year for most of us, well, at least among the people that I know of.

Some friends fell ill. Some friends whose parents were also not well. Mine included. 2012 has been an awakening year to the reality of my parents’ age and that they are not forever immune to the human diseases that could strike us all.

Some of us lost loved ones, some lost siblings and some lost parents. I did too. My grandmother, the only grandparent I had left, took her last breath a day after my birthday.

There were natural disasters and wars. There were mass murders in cinemas and schools.

However that being said, there were many beautiful moments in 2012 too. Many friends got engaged and some said their “I do’s”. Some friends became parents for the first time. 🙂 Just looking back, 2012 will be a number forever etched in our hearts and our minds as one very memorable year – some memories that will pain and some that will bring forth smiles.

Am I thankful for 2012?

Most definitely. I am thankful for the tears and laughter. I am forever grateful for the family and friends I still have beside me.

What do I hope to write at the end of 2013? I wonder what my post would sound like, come 1 January 2013?

I pray that it will be again, bubbling over with thankfulness as a testament to God’s unending grace and mercy upon my life.

Any resolutions for the year 2013?

2012 has taught me one very important lesson and that is the immense value of family and friends. I have realized that they are irreplaceable and that the fact that they are around today is something we cannot just take for granted. So my goal for the year 2013 is to seek and rekindle the friendships that I have carelessly lost over the years , to strengthen the ones I am blessed with right now, and to start new friendships that will last a lifetime.

I thought of reusing my toast from the years before, but thought it might be best to start with a new one.

So, my dear friends, if you’d raise your glasses with me. To this brand new year, may each day be filled with peace received from our Father above. May the love we share among family and friends multiply in folds through the receiving and giving, that we may be a reflection of the perfect love intended for mankind. May each of us be given opportunities in this new year to be vessels of grace to those who need it. May our days be colourful, that through the shades of difficulty and trials, that we will find strength to overcome it and during the shades of goodness, we will learn to recognize them and be always thankful.

Have a wonderful new year! 🙂