Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

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Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

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Countdown to Jaide's Birthday

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Countdown to Joram's 4th Birthday

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Birthday Program

When Joshua and I were dating, I created a birthday tour in the concept of The Amazing Race all over town. Fast-forward more than a decade later, it would be too tiring for us to travel to more than one place considering our aging bodies. So, I planned the birthday program with an itinerary within walking distance. 

First up, we had a Kagoshima wagyu buffet at Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant. It was a dream come true for my dear Bear bear. LOL Especially since I was there to help him cook the meat optimally with different types of seasoning. Thank God for helping us find the perfect lunch place!

After the sumptuous meal, we took a leisurely walk along the Singapore River to digest the food before heading for our next destination.

As someone averse to exercise, going on the trampoline is probably one of the very few types of physical activity that Joshua enjoys. With that in mind, I booked a jumping session at Amped Trampoline. We've been to the one at Jurong before so we visited the one at River Valley today to check it out. It had a few things that were not available in the West. 

Joshua had some fun doing trust-falls into the foam pool, balancing on a rope, attempting to slam dunk a basketball into a hoop and somersaulting into yet another pit. There was an area dedicated to dodgeball but we did not come with friends so there was no point for us to go there. Also, the gladiator beam was always occupied by kids so we didn't get to try it too. 

What can be more blissful than a body massage after a workout? We ended the day with a relaxing time at Natureland Spa before heading home. It was such a pleasure to spend extended couple-time with my favourite person on earth. Blessed birthday, my beloved husband!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Washi Tape Projects

Starry skies & Northern Lights

A few friends of mine have been introducing to me the concept of washi tape craftwork. I have not really been too interested in them till I found these gorgeous ones at Tokyu Hands. I couldn't resist anymore. The first thing I did was to "zhng" (beautify) my Macbook. 

Then, I decorated my plain white balcony table in green clover to match the theme of that space.

Next, I added a touch of whimsical lilac to my yellow/silver kitchen. 

Finally, I did up the children's desks and drawers at their requests. You should see their great excitement while I was doing that. Hahaha... 


Bright Beautiful Moon

This year, I realise that we have gradually retired the baby sling and stroller. I just need to hold the hands of the younger two whenever we go out. However, keeping all four of them within sight and out of trouble is no less frustrating and exhausting... :P

We tried a different brand of ice-cream mooncakes but the kids could not appreciate the dark chocolate flavour. I guess the company caters more to the adult taste buds. 

I couldn't find the normal light stick bangles this time round but I found these wands instead. The kids loved them... and used them as lightsabers instead!!!

We did our usual sparklers and went home to rest after one last look at the bright and beautiful full moon. And I thank God that we are still able to keep our yearly family traditions going strong!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Birthday Recap

I can't believe that I totally forgot to take any photos for my birthday this year! Now, the only thing left to remind me of what happened was the bouquet Joshua bought for me and the cards from my kids. :P 

It was quite a lovely celebration actually. Joshua went for a couple's massage with me at Ultimate Spa. We also had an oats scrub and a moisturising jacuzzi experience. Then, there was a wonderful dinner with my family at San Laksa Steamboat. At first, I was worried that the kids would not appreciate the food that I love. However, they seemed to have enjoyed it too. My eldest even commented that the meal was much better than he expected! Haha... I'm so glad. 

Age is really catching up on me. I did not bother to dress up and actually went out in my home clothes! I was too lethargic to whip out my phone for pics and even too tired to blog about my birthday celebration till now. LOL

NDP 2016

My eldest even knew
how to use the
chrome filter!

This year, we couldn't go to the swimming pool because of eczema flare-ups in the family but we still ate Pizza Hut for dinner. Instead of ordering delivery like always, we chose to dine-in at the outlet in West Mall because the live telecast was scheduled to start later than previous years. The interesting thing was that, in celebrating the special day, the restaurant had props to pose with and I was pleasantly surprised that the older two children took pretty decent photos.

Bought new flags
for the kiddos

It was our first time celebrating the nation's birthday at our new home and the kids were thrilled to catch a glimpse of the fireworks from our balcony. It was a pity Joram missed it because he fell asleep halfway through the program. LOL

A sofa big enough
for the whole family!

Fireworks from far far away...

Our sleepy little prince.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Same Lesson, New Challenge

I never thought that I would ever say this of my own child but I can't deny it: 
I don't like Jaide. 
And I'm understating... A LOT.

After the turbulent journey with my second born which had a happy ending shortly after she accepted Christ, I thought the same would be true for Jaide. (Read about her salvation story HERE) Unfortunately, the improvement in her behaviour has been marginal. She constantly chooses intentionally to disobey. Jesus may have given her the resources to make good choices but she still has the will to decide if she wants to use those resources, as do all believers. 

And how do I know it is a deliberate choice? She behaves remarkably well in school, at church and whenever she deems beneficial to her. She only shows her true ugly self to her own family.

It is impossible to teach Jaide regarding hygiene. She has no qualms eating from her hands after touching poop or other equally disgusting stuff which makes her very susceptible to stomachaches and food poisoning. She loves to dig her nose and scatter her boogers everywhere, especially on her siblings' beds, much to their horror. And when she makes a mess, she refuses to tell anyone about it till the mess becomes much more widespread from unknowing feet tracking it all over the place. She treats her own drawers as a rubbish dump and picks up trash from the dustbin to play with! Perhaps, she'll be right at home in the future helping needy people at places without proper sanitation? I'm just trying to look on the bright side...

Jaide knows exactly what she wants and has no patience to wait. Unlike most kids who can be persuaded and distracted, she has the persistence to throw a mega tantrum if things don't go her way for an impossibly long time. Just when I think that she has finally gotten over it, her long memory will prompt her to kick a major fuss much later. Yet, she is particularly fond of changing her mind. She is prone to give something to her sibling only to regret her decision and violently reclaim it from the unsuspecting individual. She tends to make a choice one moment, but scream murder the next, falsely accusing us of getting her the wrong thing. 

On top of that, she is extremely reckless and does not heed safety warnings. She has fallen down and injured herself countless times because she simply refuses to listen when we tell her not to play dangerously. She not only hurts herself because of her own wilfulness. She endangers everyone around her as well. 

Jaide is the only one in the family with a high 'D' (Dominant) personality, making it terribly hard for any of us to understand her. It puzzles me to no end why she would refuse to do the things she knows how to do for herself and yet stubbornly insists on doing the things that are way too difficult for her and ruining everything in the process. 

I have even tried to find out if her obstinate trait has a medical cause but she turns out to be the most healthy child in the family. And yet, even though she does not have eczema like 2 of her siblings, she will purposely scratch her skin out of anger till she bleeds. Coupled with her numerous bruises and wounds from her own foolhardy actions, I'm surprised that no one mistakenly believes her to be a victim of abuse!

Nothing that I've tried works consistently; not strict discipline, not soft approach, not reverse psychology, not encouragement, not positive reinforcement, not logical consequences, not countless prep talks and counselling, not even catering to her personality by giving her reasonable freedom to make her own choices. Nothing. She'll purposely refuse to do what I tell her to do and do what I explicitly tell her NOT to do. It is expected that young kids will be mischievous and disobedient from time to time. But she is like that 95% of the time. Those 5% when she does obey, I praise her profusely in the hope she'll be more motivated to behave. Sadly, she goes right back to her default obnoxious mode in no time at all. 

Under such circumstances, it is a remarkably tall order for me to love her like I love the rest of my kids. But I have to train myself. Even though I cringe every time she asks for a hug, I still do so in the same way I do for my other children. No matter how unloveable she is to me, I choose daily to ignore my aversion and champion her whenever her siblings do her injustice. I kiss her, stroke her gently and smile at her sweetly as often as I do for the rest. The last thing I want is for her to think that I treat her unfairly due to bias. Unfortunately, the reality is, I do discipline her so much more often because of her persistent defiance. 

It does not help matters that I have increased workload, suffer from unexplained puritus and is diagnosed with clinical depression this year. I lack my normal physical and emotional capacity to deal with her constant fussiness and end up yelling at her more often than not. As much as I hate to admit it, she is the main reason why I feel so much like an epic failure as a parent. 

I didn't notice how disruptive Jaide is to our family life till my mother-in-law graciously helps me look after her for a while. All of a sudden, there is peace at home. There's no longer someone who would bully the little brother or lead him into mischief. There's no one to annoy or fight with the older two kids. There is no one to constantly push my buttons anymore. The yelling stops. I feel sane for the first time in many years. I am starting to enjoy my other 3 children once again. In fact, my elder girl told me, "It is so nice and quiet without Jaide around."

God has shown me that Jaide will become a powerful leader when she grows up. But in the meantime, how do I survive till then? Other than the perennial lesson in patience and unconditional love while parenting, I now literally have to force myself to see Jaide through the eyes of God. Despite seeming as if her "terrible twos" is never ending, I continually remind myself that her strong stubborn character needs a lot more time to channel towards the positive end and that 5 years old is still considered very young. I fear that her tempestuous personality will get her into more and more serious trouble as she grows older but only God can truly protect her from herself. I can only do my best to ENDURE, press on and pray for her.

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had..."
Romans 15:4-5

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Works in Progress

It was a hot and humid afternoon. My skin itch had returned with a vengeance and my body had barely recuperated from the exertion of the June holidays.

I entered the establishment with four children who refuse to drink my homemade broth and instead, hanker after the tomato soup of the fast-food outlet. The lunch-time crowd was in and yet those four little human beings insisted on squeezing past the press of bodies in the queue to look at the menu at the counter as though they did not know what was available. Four excited voices piped enthusiastically their orders and they changed their minds so quickly and often that I lost track of who wanted what. Combined with my constant admonishment for the children not to destroy public property and desperate appeals for them not to be a nuisance to other people with their monkeying around, we were exceedingly noisy and rowdy, my self-respect in pieces.

Everyday, I ask myself, when will this chaos end? I had many who encourage me that things will get easier as they grow up but that is a dangerous expectation. Even though it is true that there is less physical care-giving needed as the kids grow more independent, the battles of the will correspondingly increase in intensity. One child would loathe to put in any hard work to the point of declining a supplementary class, generously offered by the school, meant to help him improve. Another would blatantly ignore pleas to take care of her skin. There is also the constant tantrum-filled balking at every single instruction given and the wilful refusal to drink water by himself although perfectly capable of doing so.

No. Things will definitely not get easier. It will only get different. To think otherwise is to lose hope whenever the children refuse to obey even though it is all for their own sake. More than ever, I need the resilience that comes from putting my faith and hope in Christ and not trust what I see. I need to hang onto the vision which God entrusted me years ago and the journey is far from over. I need to put things in the right perspective. I must nail my disappointments in my children and myself to the cross and move on. Even as I extend grace to my own flesh and blood, I must extend the same grace to myself whenever I feel like such an epic failure. I am similarly a work in progress. God is not finished with us yet. Although depleted both physically and emotionally, I can rely on God's empowerment each day to give me a second wind. Indeed, to live is Christ. 

“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:35)