Some toddler life lessons…

We’ve had a number of busy days and late nights, including a staff party, an 18th birthday, singing at an old folk’s home, a church games night and 2 bonfires! I’m actually surprised at how well Jacob is taking all this, without his catch up naps too! But I think I’m going to take it easy the next few days to get him back and rested so he doesn’t just explode on me one day!

But over the past few days, we’ve had quite a few funny moments that really encapsulate life with a toddler, and also have reminded me that one can’t be too careful.

One of these lessons is don’t have permanent markers in your house. Just don’t. Even if they’re hidden in a pencil case in the middle stationery drawer in the study behind closed doors. Because your toddler will find it, and he will use it. This is now our wall calendar – thank goodness it actually was down on the table at the time, not on the wall, otherwise the wall would be blue too!

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Jacob also has a knack of colouring in things that he likes. Like in his colouring books, he’ll full on colour the faces of the things he likes, such as Thomas the Tank Engine’s face or all over Elmo. Here he got hold of some junk mail and has expressed a great preference to a certain bakery item – if you read the small print, it’s iced donuts.

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Another lesson (or more like a fact) is that toddlers sometimes don’t intentionally want to be funny, but they just are. At playgroup, we were discussing Australian animals and the craft for the day was to make an emu with a paper plate and ice cream sticks. Jacob worked hard at it with the other kids and when he was done, he said loudly “The flamingo is finished!!!” I think all us grown ups had a bit of a giggle. Here is his flamingo:

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Also, a quiet toddler is usually a toddler who is up to mischief. I was making breakfast for Jacob and things went quiet – I thought he was in his room, but clearly he was in our room and had climbed into the cot. Yes, those are stickers on Jared’s face. Jared didn’t seem too fussed about it…

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But one important lesson I’ve learned is that my world would be a duller place without my toddler. Happy 2 years and 10 months, Jacob – less than 2 months to your birthday now! Can you believe it? And Jared is 4 months old tomorrow – time flies when you’re having fun!

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September is my favourite month, because it’s my anniversary month (by choice) and my birthday month (by default)! I can’t believe I’m 24 now – part of me still feels like a teenager. I have to admit that I do feel older than 24 sometimes – not many of my friends my age are married with kids. I am indeed blessed though – this is exactly how I would have liked my life to turn out.

That isn’t to say that I haven’t done things in my life that I do regret – rather, I prefer not to dwell on a past that I cannot change, but rather on a future that I can.

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In conjunction with my 24th birthday, I’m going to list out 24 things that have happened in my life (which I don’t regret!):

1. Being born a girl! 🙂 At times, I wondered what it would be like to be a boy, but there are a lot of good things about being female. Like getting a guy to change your tyres by just batting your eyelashes. But I also love being a not-so-girly girl.

2. Growing up in Malaysia. Yes, I don’t have that British accent I always wanted (and I don’t think I ever will – I’m terrible at accents), but it was a good experience. While there isn’t much to say about things like safety, the education system, the drivers and the corruption, children get by pretty well and do enjoy themselves.

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3. Learning to play the piano. This I give credit to my mother, who started me at the age of 3. I must admit that my piano is my hiding place – it is where I pour out the deepest emotion, and it’s one of the few things that can turn a bad day good again.

4. Dancing lots. One of the biggest things in my growing up was doing dance performances. I learned ballet as a child, but that wasn’t really my thing. I remember dancing to songs like ‘Bring it all back’ by SClub7, ‘Larger than Life’ by Backstreet Boys and ‘No Strings Attached’ by NSync. I even did cheerleading in high school.

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5. Writing poems and songs. This formed a huge part of my later childhood and teenage years. It was a means of self-expression but also was something I took pride in. I sometimes look back on the collection that I still have to see where I was at that stage of life.

6. Going to both government and private schools. There are several stark differences between the two types of schools, but I had fun in both places. I remember running wild in my government high school – dealing with things like truancy, gangsters but building some of the best friendships ever. Private high school had its perks too, and probably helped me become a bit more serious about my academic achievement.

7. Winning a writing competition and going to Dublin. I met up with winners from Thailand, the Czech Republic and the US – we had a ball of a time! Goodness, I look so nerdy though:

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8. Learning to drive in Malaysia. Believe me, it’s a challenge (and I think I’d be scared to drive there now, cos I’m so used to driving in Australia now). But we also can drive FASTTTT and not get caught. 😀

9. Starting my first job at 16. I was an ‘Aunty’ at Tumble Tots, which is a child play program – a funny choice for a person who had never dealt with kids before. It was good fun and I earned RM5 an hour. I think it wasn’t so much the money I earned but the ethos of the whole situation that taught me that money doesn’t grow on trees.

10. Learning Ninjutsu. And yes, I kid you not – it’s not some fictional art to turn me into Naruto. I learned so much in my journey – not just the actual techniques, but also how it made me grow as a person. It taught me how to carry myself and how to handle people in different circumstances, and is part of me. It made such a huge impact that I have a tattoo of 忍 on my back – it’s the ‘nin’ in ninja and it means strength & perseverance.

11. Going for National Service in Malaysia. What an eye-opening experience! We experienced insect and frog infested dormitories, using a squat toilet for 3 months, food that made us sick and activities that tested us physically but also emotionally (and perhaps racially). I did love my time and have made some amazing friendships there too.

Stop – coffee break time! Don’t overwork yourself or you’ll end up as tired as this:

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12. Finding Jesus. I didn’t grow up going to church, but I was also searching for something more in terms of spirituality. And I’m so blessed to have found it, and also found not one but two loving churches (USJ SDA Church in Malaysia and Birdwood SDA Church in Australia) to accept me and help me grow.

13. Studying hospitality, particularly focusing on Food and Beverage. It is a vibrant, fast paced industry that is honestly not for everyone but I love it. I love how busy it can get; I love being run off my feet but in the end, doing a good job and being appreciated for it. The downside is that I have high standards at restaurants, and do not tolerate poor service.

14. Moving to Adelaide. I had the choice of doing the course locally, in Switzerland or in Adelaide. In retrospect, Switzerland may have been cool too (though I would have FROZEN in winter – I really hate the cold!) But I really do love Adelaide for its quaint personality, lovely people and the fact that I believe that I was always destined to be here.

15. Working in Port Douglas for 6 months. Yes, this turned out to be an amazing adventure for me. Imagine working in a huge resort, where you did housekeeping in the day and worked at the restaurant at night – exhausted myself completely, but managed to save up some cash. And it was from there that we went on an epic trip in Far North Queensland. I absolutely adore that area and cannot wait to be back.

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16. Working in Melbourne instead of Dubai for my second work placement. I had a job offer from Dubai and was preparing to go, but then changed my mind and remained local. It was the best decision I could have made in terms of my love life, and my husband and I got engaged during that time.

17. Being Asian. That means I can get away with taking epic photos like this:

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18. Having loved and lost before. I honestly don’t regret my past relationships, though perhaps there are some elements of some of them that I would have rather done without. But I think everything is a learning curve, and in some relationships, we have a mutual agreement that it was best not to be together.

19. Marrying the man of my dreams. And getting married young too – I was 21 when I walked down the aisle. But I honestly knew that he was the one, and we are more than happy now!

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20. Having my wedding the way I wanted it to be. Obviously, everyone has an idea of a dream wedding – I knew I wanted my ceremony somewhere, either on a beach or in a garden. I wanted a smaller reception where I could be more personal with my guests. I also wanted to have a specially choreographed dance with all the fancy moves. And I got all that and more. 🙂

21. Honeymooning in Phuket. Staying at a gorgeous resort with a private plunge pool. Going on tours of the gorgeous coastline and islands. Checking out the markets and touristy attractions there, but also getting a local’s perspective from my friend Mann who lives there. And most of all, spending it with my awesome husband!

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22. Getting Skittles. Yes, she is a menace. She has eaten more plastic than any dog I’ve ever known, destroyed most of our garden, run away and killed a neighbour’s chook, and the list goes on… But I love her to bits!

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23. Buying our house. We had been shopping around for a bit and had seen a few that were really not up to mark. I’d driven around to a few real estate agencies and we were told we could view this place that very afternoon. Saw it and fell in love. It’s got a lot of great features, and I just love the fact that it’s so close to a lovely reserve!

24. Having a baby – who I believe is the most gorgeous baby in the world. Do you agree?

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The moral of the story really is that I am so blessed. There are always ups and downs in life, but I do my best to dwell on the moments that make life worthwhile.

Star Wars Dress Up Party!

I had a pretty eventful weekend and have realised that as a pregnant lady, I still do get out and about a bit. No, I’m not like partying every night, but my initial impression of pregnancy made me think I’d be bedridden by this point.

That being said, I do feel pretty tired haha! Oh well, early nights are always good.

The highlight of the week was probably my brother-in-law’s 30th birthday party, which was a Star Wars Dress Up party! I have to admit I don’t know a lot about Star Wars (even after doing a crash course a few weeks ago) but it was still fun to dress up!

A few weeks ago, I discussed my Star Wars costume (and eventually plucked up the courage to wear it): http://ligurl27.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/costumes-and-other-crises/

And the finished product is…

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Tada! Okay, tights at 33 weeks of pregnancy are a bit risqué but cut me some slack – I was just staying in character. My hubby grew a beard to be Obi Wan Kenobi. In a way, I wanted him to dress up at C3PO (that gold English-accent robot) because I know he would have been really quite funny.

There was a Star Wars quiz and I’m quite proud that I knew answers to at least a third of the questions. One question which I guessed right was “Who acted as Queen Amidala’s double?” – it was Keira Knightley! She’s one of my favourite actresses and she does look quite a bit like Natalie Portman, you have to admit. It’s also funny because I can’t think of Count Dooku as anyone else other than Saruman.

Just some trivia for you – some actors you didn’t know were in Star Wars. I actually don’t know anyone there but Keira Knightley (and I thought George Lucas was a director/writer not an actor), but here it is: http://movieline.com/2011/09/17/9-actors-you-didnt-know-were-in-star-wars-movies/

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In line with the Star Wars theme, I made some mini death stars! They’re actually just Weetbix balls but they are pretty yummy – and all it takes is some Weetbix, some condensed milk, melted chocolate (or cocoa powder) and shredded coconut.

I asked Daniel to pick up a tin of condensed milk for my recipe, and he got three (as they were on offer – he has learned well!). As a Malaysian who loves her condensed milk, I had Teh Halia with my breakfast – which is basically hot ginger tea with about 2-3 tablespoons of condensed milk… yum!

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Who says you need alcohol, loud music and excessive frivolity to make a party cool? I love my family and friends here in Australia because they’re all so sporting and never let the enthusiasm waver! Everyone was clad in some sort of costume and joined in the fun.

We’ve had previous awesome parties too, like a Christmas water fight, a Pirate party, a Disney dress up party, etc. What would be your favourite party theme?

And on a final note, I found a new little friend here (who hides a bit of my baby bump) – yay, Yoda! 🙂 Have a great week, you will, everybody! 🙂

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