Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A look back at 2013

Another year has flown by ever so quickly. This year, the focus was on Kate as we got used to having her around in our family. There's nothing like a little baby to bring so much laughter and joy in the home, and everyone ever so frequently says "Look at what she's doing!" And we'll all be laughing at one of her antics. It could be her patting her big belly and smiling, or nodding her head to a pop song and bobbing along to the tune, or trying to get in and out of a box. Something simple like that. Can't believe it was just months ago when she was still 'botak' and so small. This was her first ride out in her new car seat.
"My throne? Or my prison?"
She goes to the playground with #5 all the time, and sometimes he pushes her so hard that she has to hang on with all her might. Well, the good thing is, her gym teacher says that she has a really good grip. Well trained, well trained.
Full concentration to hang on
At times, he wants to turn her into a cool little dude.
Baseball player?
Sometimes, I don't quite know what the both of them get up to early in the morning.
"I can't see properly, gor gor"
Her aunt bought this costume for her daughter, who refused to wear it as it was too restrictive. So they put Kate in it. She's too stunned to move or cry.
Mummy had a little lamb...
The girls love editing her photos... 
Little gangster
#3 was the one who taught her how to drink from a straw.
Water never tasted so good
But I guess her expression on this one sums it up. She seems to be saying "I've got only 1 big brother and even though he bullies me at times, I know he loves me very much."
"Just 1 gor gor, do I have a choice?"

The other significant thing that happened in 2013 was the birth of this blog! It has come to feel like another baby of mine. It has become such a part of our lives as we share our stories and photos with family and friends on our journey of life. It is really gratifying when people tell me how the blog has helped them, whether it be some parenting advice, some ideas for the kids, or even that it gave them some laughs on a bad day. I want to thank all of your for your support and do continue to follow us on our adventures and invite your friends along too :)

Sane tip: They grow up all too quickly. I have to keep reminding myself to enjoy every moment with them because when we look back, life is made up of the little things. And all the simple moments are the most precious ones.

Save tip: It doesn't take the big and expensive things to build a loving family with happy memories. Looking forward to 2014, I will make a greater effort to scale down our lives and live simply and meaningfully. 

Here's to a more fulfilling 2014

~   mummy wee - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

Sunday, 29 December 2013

A glimpse of Vietnam

Written by #1 (she accompanied her grandma on a trip to Vietnam)

We visited the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This is a must-visit place for anyone visiting Hanoi. His body has been preserved and locals and tourists alike queue up to pay their respects. It was quite an experience. Strict code of dressing is enforced, with no tank tops or shorts. 
Very impressive compound
Went around the city in rickshaws. 
Grandma enjoying her ride
Had a chance to visit a school in the village. They have a huge gong which they use to summon the children at the start of class.
Primary school in the village 
We were given a tour of the villager's homes and they are using this to filter something, I'm not sure what.
Spartan homes
They start a fire to smoke their meats and corn.
Smoked ham?
The kids in the village are kept out of mischief by this simple method. They are being entertained by the dogs.
Such happy children
They harvest their own corn for sale.
Freshly harvested corn
These ladies are all prepared to tout their goods to tourists. They will rush towards the vans and when you alight, they will walk side by side with you and strike up a conversation in English. They will tell you that you will make them happy by buying their handicraft. We ended up buying from them. They are mostly old women or children. 
Spot the baby
Traditional fruit seller trying to sell her fruits to tourists by the river.
Gamely poses for the camera
We visited this cave named 'Surprising cave' that was hardly surprising. Perhaps I'm still not able to appreciate such beauty.
UNESCO-declared World Heritage area
An old woman hawking her wares.
Beautiful seashells
This used to be the capital of Vietnam. Think it is the red river, if I remember correctly.
Sampan ride
Vietnamese noodles are a staple of their diets. We were served this as an appetiser at almost every meal, but a smaller portion.
Yummy Vietnamese noodles
Road-side beancurd seller selling beancurd with ginger syrup.
US$1 per cup
This is at the Hanoi club which is only for expats. Golfing range where they hit the balls into the river. Cool!
Wonder how the balls are retrieved

Sane tip: It was really nice of #1 to accompany her grandma on this trip even though she was initially reluctant to as she was not sure what to expect of Vietnam. In the end, she enjoyed herself.

Save tip: I have realised that there's a lot to see regionally and that when the kids are young, there's no need to take them on far and expensive holidays.

~   mummy wee - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

Friday, 27 December 2013

And life goes on...

I've been resting in bed but once I start to walk, the pain returns. Perhaps the wound hasn't healed completely due to the complications last time. Here's my life in my incapacitated state...

We ate out for Christmas Day dinner with relatives and friends.
I had to be carried up...
And down.
Without me to keep an eye on everyone, Kate managed to wander out into the rain and had a great time all by herself. #3 carried her in and gave her a nice warm bath.
"This is great fun!"
#5 was tasked to look after her but somehow she bumped her face and cried. Thank goodness it was under her eye. Auntie C pacified her with an apple.
Your apple tastes so good
Boxing Day dinner was prepared by #3's tutor as a Christmas gift to us and I couldn't be more thankful.
Shepard's pie
Auntie C whipped up a salad, and she literally threw in whatever she could find in the fridge. Apples, raisins, cranberry and passion fruit. It tasted really good... Guess you can't go far wrong with a salad.
Anything-goes salad
#2 baked chocolate chip and marshmallow muffins for dessert. Ooh.. Decadently delicious!
Christmasy muffins
We had a very lovely simple dinner at home and it was indeed the company that counts. The girls are old enough to join in our conversations and we had good laughs throughout the night.

School is going to start in a week and I'm really annoyed with my inability to move around. Managed to get the earliest appointment to see the doctor in a week. Don't know how they are going to solve the problem if it's a re-opened wound inside. Really not looking forward to more stitches.

Sane tip: There's nothing like being in the company of like-minded people. I have known C for 25 years, and #3's tutor for a couple of years now. Although they met for the first time, it seemed like we have all known each other for ages. New friends or old friends, I do so cherish all my dear friends and I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for being there for me always and to allow me to be there for you. Sounds so sentimental, hor.. But the thing is, we usually don't get a chance to tell them how much we appreciate them, be it friends or family. Let us remember to always pause and take a moment to tell another person how much they mean to us or how much we appreciate them. I'm sure it will brighten another person's day.

Save tip: Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, as I was planning to head into town and hit the shops for the Boxing Day mega sales... And who was the one who wanted a family ban on shopping.. Alas, the heart is willing but the flesh is weak ;)

~   mummy wee - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

A sad Christmas Eve

Every Christmas Eve ever since I was a child, we would have a small and cosy dinner party with close family and friends over at our place. It has been one of our Christmas traditions and even after I got married, we continued that tradition of going back to my mom's place for dinner. Even my in-laws would go over if they were not away on holiday.

However, this is the first time in my life that I didn't make it there. My C-section hurt so badly that I couldn't even walk. It had started to hurt during our HK trip as we did a lot of walking and I guess too much walking and carrying of Kate these past few days had aggravated the wound again, although it's rather unbelievable given that it's been more than a year.

So the kids and the hubs and even his aunt and uncle and cousins went over. My good ol' friends from my secondary school days were also there and one friend even brought her parents along (we are very kampung style, everyone is welcomed!) And I was suddenly left at home. All by myself. You know, it's strange. I love being alone. I love the silence and peace (especially as I'm surrounded by chatter the whole day). But to know that everyone around you is celebrating the occasion and are making merry together while you are alone feels rather depressing.
#2 & #3 decorated the tree at Por Por's house
It got me thinking of all those people out there who do not have family to celebrate this time with. And those who may be having financial or family troubles that they face this season of joy with a heavy heart. For me, it's just this once. What about the elderly who have no family or worse, whose family does not bother about them and every year, it's the same dreary existence for them.

It was a sobering thought and once again, it reminded me that we have to always be thankful for what we have, not the material things but the important things in life, like having a family (even though it may not be perfect), and having good health. And I resolved that I would try harder to instill in my kids a greater sense of giving. And a heart for caring. Not only for their family members, but all whom they come into contact with. That they may always be a light for others.
My sad dinner.. but then again, at least I had food!
It really struck me that all things are relative. If I compared my dinner of chickpeas and water with their banquet of ham and turkey, I would feel so sorry for myself. But if I compared what I had with those images I saw on youtube of little children rummaging dustbins for scraps, I had too much. And instead of feeling depressed, I felt a desire to give. 

I have never been more glad to hear the voices of my kids as they returned home, bearing gifts and food. Suddenly, the gifts were immaterial. I just longed for their presence and to be surrounded by their childlike joy. Having my hubs and all my kids around me, I felt peace. And happiness. Wow. The simplicity of it all astounded me. 

Kate overwhelmed by so many presents
I got the kids to make up some Christmas parcels and instructed the younger 2 to give them to the 'Uncles' working on the garbage truck and to wish them a Merry Christmas when they come around in the morning. #5 was initially reluctant to do so as "the garbage truck is so smelly!" But I explained to him that those uncles have to bear with the smell everyday just to help us remove our trash, so shouldn't we show some appreciation to them?

I opened all my gifts, and the gifts that touched my heart the most? Definitely the handmade ones. #2 spent an entire day making up these 'pyramid of kisses' for all of us.
Lots of hard work and sincerity went into her gift
What a beautiful and sweet gift. 
A labour of love
And #4's handmade card takes pride of place in our bathroom, a place where daddy will see it everyday!
#4 took a lot of effort to craft this card

Sane tip: In my incapacitated state, perhaps I've stumbled upon the key to true happiness. By changing our perspective when faced with difficulties, by putting our priorities where it really matters, and by giving. And of course, by being thankful for all that we already have. Easier said than done? Hopefully I can embody this in the coming year.

Save tip: It dawned on me (again) that we have way too much stuff (maybe I need a 1 year family ban on buying stuff, although I know the hubs will be the first to flout the rule) and that Christmas should be about giving of ourselves to others more so than the giving of presents. May the true meaning of Christmas be in our hearts this season.

Linking up with:

~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Crafting for Charity - Part 2

We sold our first batch of Christmas gift tags and had an order for another batch of 30 tags. Just as I was wondering where I would get more Christmasy paper, an old friend from my Uni days sent me a fb text saying that she had some to donate to us. How wonderful! She even made the effort to come all the way to meet me and passed me 2 huge bags of materials. Thank you so much Sharon, we really appreciate it!
More scrapbooking materials
So it was back to work for the girls and I and we got cracking cutting out more gingerbread man, frogs, and trees. And because we had run out of drink coasters, we had to cut them out from cardboard boxes and including the front and back paper, we cut out more than 100 round circles! The girls did get tired of cutting and we had to do it in batches.
Batch 2: Sold!
One of #4's friend's mum placed an order, and she said that they were the best handmade tags she's seen and she ordered more. She even sent me a text message to thank the girls for their hard work. Ah, so nice to be appreciated for all our efforts. Thanks Wei, for your wonderful support :)
Batch 3: Sold!
We made a variety of themes so that they can be used for various occasions like birthdays etc. Once again, a very big thank you for all of you who have supported this charity drive. All our proceeds will be going to MINDS. We would still be running this for a few more months with the other blogger mums, so if you would like to order some, please drop me an email, but do give us ample time to make them as the girls will be back in school.
Batch 4: Sold!
I think the girls have had enough of scrapbooking for a while! And the table's been in a bit of a mess with all the materials strewn around. So it's time to pack everything up and prepare for Christmas and the new year.

Here's wishing all my dear and faithful readers, a very Blessed Christmas season from all of us.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Party time!

Every Christmas, we attend 2 organised Christmas parties and the kids still look forward to them very much even though they are older now. It has become one of our annual family traditions. We have been going for this Christmas party for the past 10 years and the organiser calls me her most ardent supporter. I also invite a couple of other kids along as we adults like the cosy atmosphere of this party.
My dear lil' guest in her VIP seat
The kids look forward to the simple games like musical chairs, pop the balloon, and some parent-child games.
Musical chairs
They also take this opportunity to make gifts for their grandparents and aunts. They made some pretty keychains and bracelets this round.
Activity booths
And of course, the guest everyone was waiting for… Santa Claus! 
"Nice to meet you, Santa"
The nice thing about this party is that Santa personally hands a gift to every child. And he makes the effort to chat with them and asks if they have been behaving well. In fact, I was so impressed by one Santa a couple of years back. #5 wrote a card to him, and he took the trouble to get our address from the organiser and even wrote a letter back to him! What a kind and sincere man. It was definitely more than just a job to him.
A personal letter from Santa
This is the second time Kate has seen Santa and she still doesn't dare to go near him.
"Let's go back to mummy"
We moved on to another party with the cousins. The girls were busy playing scissors-paper-stones.
My niece smiling sweetly for the camera
The boys were busy looking for their Christmas presents. 
"Hmm.. which one is for me?"
And the adults? Busy makan-ing as usual.
My other niece posing for the camera
Time for the gift exchange. And the best toy? The giant box which held the 'white elephant' stool (in the background). The kids kept taking turns going into the box and playing 'Jack-in-the-box'.
"Merry Christmas, Uncle WH!"

Sane tip: I just love Christmas. It's a time where friends and family gather and enjoy one another's company. We are indeed blessed to be surrounded by a big family.

Save tip: The best toys in life are free!

~  mummy wee - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore  ~
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