Why am I so busy?

So, if you have not noticed already, I constantly complain that I am busy! Yet I also inflict myself with more and more commitments (because that’s just what makes me tick). 

Anyway, I just wanted to share a few things that I do with my time. 

Cleaning. Nope, I don’t have a spa tub at home (but I wish I did!). This is a picture of me when I was working in housekeeping before, hence I should have NO excuse for not knowing how to do housework. 

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Walking Skittles. I’m so happy that I actually have time to walk Skittles almost every day. I think that walking her has been really good for me because it’s helped me control my weight and the fresh air does wonders for the soul! Here is a pic of Skittles when she was really little, on one of her very first walks.

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Baby Bounce. I went to the library’s baby bounce programs and noticed that so many people were attending and having a good time with their babies. It’s an awesome singalong program and a good way for mums to meet other mums too. We have a local ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) Community Centre in the area and I thought it’d be a great program to start up there! So far, we’ve only had a few mums and bubs but I hope the group will grow significantly (and Jacob and I can both make new friends!).

Food Distribution. The ADRA Community Centre also runs a food distribution program where people who are in need can pick up groceries. The food comes from Second Bite, an organisation who collects and redistributes food to agencies like ADRA to reach the community. What’s great is that Jacob can come along with me when I help out here, and he definitely gets involved with the food. Silly boy must think it’s a ball pit- I usually get him out quite quickly but this was a photo moment I didn’t want to miss.

ImageThere are quite a few different programs available at the ADRA Community Centre so for those of you in the local area, check out their Facebook page for more info! 

Writing. I think I might have mentioned this before, but I write for JOM Magazine which is a Melbourne-based, Malaysian-interest magazine. The hard copy version of the magazine is only available in Melbourne but there is a digital copy that you can read on their website. See if you can spot any of my articles! 🙂 I would love to write more, not just with magazines but on a personal level as well.

And here is a picture of myself, Jacob and a small goat:

ImageAlright, I’m just being random now (probably due to disjointed sleep, busy day and silly but cute baby) so I might just rattle off a few random facts about my week. 

– I am LOVING the fact that this is one of the warmer winters Adelaide is experiencing. This week has been a bit rainy but we got some nice sunshine today. I thrive on warm weather (and could happily go back to living in Far North Queensland).

– Doing community work is really uplifting. While earning money is great too (and we need money to live), helping people fulfil their needs is intrinsically rewarding. I’ve just felt really happy to see the way some of the community activities I’ve been involved in has impacted on people’s lives.

– I am SO blessed with opportunities to earn a living. At times, I get so worried that I’m not earning money and feel bad about buying things etc. But God always provides me with what I need and every time I falter, He reminds me that He is taking care of me.

– I got Jacob’s passport photo taken and I have to admit, my baby is gorgeous. Haha!! He had just woken up from a nap so he was relatively docile but still in a good mood from his good rest. I won’t post his picture up here but I can promise you, it’s pretty cute (and better than my passport photo where I look like some refugee).

– A lecturer of mine posted a video of one of our food and beverage classes 5 years ago, and I can’t believe it’s been 5 years!!! That was my first year in Australia and since then, I’ve lived in 3 different states, graduated, worked at 6 different places (not including one-offs and subcontracted work), gotten married and had a baby. Wow. I have been busy!

Alright, I’ve come to the end of my tether so good night all! 🙂

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How to help a new mum…

So, three of my friends were pregnant all around the same time and finally, all their babies are here! The first one was born exactly 6 months (to the day) after Jacob was born, the next one exactly 3 weeks after and the final baby was born on Monday night. I can’t wait for all 4 babies to be together to take some photos together!

In the last few months, I have experienced so many new mums (and their new babies, of course) and there’s been so much trial and error on my part with giving them the support from my end. When I say new mums, I don’t mean just mums who have had their first baby – but any mum who’s just had a baby, be it their first, second, third or fourth child! From experience, these are some of the best things you could do for a new mum…

1. Cook for her
I’m not sure about Caucasians here, but us Asians LOVE a good clear soup when we’re not feeling our best – beef soup’s probably the favourite as it’s just so nourishing! In the Chinese culture, some mums have a ‘confinement’ period where they take it easy and have to follow a strict dietary plan which involves lots of soups! But what I found anyway is that soup is good to encourage breast milk production, so you should have some (even if you’re not Asian, haha!).

If you can’t think of anything to cook (or if you have your hands full), a fruit platter is always welcomed! Or just buy takeaway or treat her to a meal. She’ll thank you as that’s one less meal to cook!

20140408_083711_AndroidJacob my sweetheart is cooking some food for me (though I don’t eat plastic shapes)

2. Help her with cleaning
Even now, I still struggle with finding the time to clean the house – today I managed to vacuum the floor while Jacob was in his cot playing with this musical phone/remote that my parents gave to him. Now he’s mobile, he always finds something to mess up – and don’t even talk to me about eating. Yesterday we had egg yolk smeared all over the high chair and pieces all over the floor.

But yes, I digress – new mums have SO much to take in that the last thing on their mind will be to clean up the house, or at least the last thing they will get to do aside from rocking, feeding, changing, etc. So just offer to do a load of dishes before you go, or even pop their laundry onto the line or fold some clothes. 🙂

3. Offer to babysit
While I love Jacob to bits, there are times that I wish that I could put him away for one hour, just for some me time. I am sometimes wary about getting a babysitter for Jacob, and at times I’d rather not spend money on such things when I can just suck it up and take care of him anyway. But every mum needs a break – so babysitting is a great gift.

Of course, this all depends on your confidence and experience. Before Jacob was born, I admit I would never have offered to babysit for anyone because I’d be so afraid that I’d not know what to do. Even now, I’m happy to babysit babies but am not as sure what to do with toddlers and older kids. What you could just do is hang out with the mum and mind the baby while she can do what she wants to do – even that is a help.

4. Help her run errands
This is particularly handy for ladies who have had C-sections who can’t drive for 6 weeks! There will always be things to do like getting groceries, picking up other kids from school, etc. This helps if you can drive, of course, but even if you don’t, just do what’s in your power to do.

20140408_102116_AndroidJacob can’t drive but he can take out the trash! (Haha, don’t worry – I don’t let my baby touch trash. That’s just a bag of clothes!)

5. Help provide her with resources
I’m not sure about other mums, but I’m an Internet consulter – that is, I always consult the internet to find out information. I know in the first few months (and even now), I search about things like breastfeeding, immunisation, baby poo, etc. When I find good resources, I’m always happy to share with other mums. If you’re a researcher like me (or if you like to pick up brochures from here and there), pick something up for your new mum to read. Do keep in mind to not “push ideas” onto the new mum though – this information is just there for her perusal but in no way are you dictating the way she should parent her child.

6. Spend a bit more time together
One thing I found with motherhood is that sometimes it can be a bit lonely – when your partner is working all day and you’re stuck at home with the baby, it can just drive you up the wall. I know it’s hard for people who work full time, but if you do have time to spend with your new mum, just go over for a visit (or organise to go and have a coffee perhaps). She’ll appreciate the break (and you get plus points if you carry her baby for a while!)

7. Just be a listening ear
I think what’s been really good in these few months of motherhood for me is having people to talk/rant to about the big and small stresses. Like when you have a poo explosion, or when he has a “I want you to carry me all the time” day. Because sharing the burden just makes it lighter and soon enough, you’ll realise it wasn’t such a big burden anyway, and will find the grace to laugh about it.

20140406_080554_AndroidJacob is a great listening ear – plus, he doesn’t give unwanted advice!

New mums out there – do you think I hit the nail on the head? Are there other things that you appreciated when you were a new mum?

I admit that I haven’t done all of these things for the mums I know, but I have tried to do what I can to help them. And I know that little things count – I remember the little things that people did for me when Jacob was little, and I’m so grateful for it. My mum was wonderful with helping me take charge of the house too, getting all the other stuff done so I could just focus on the baby.

But anyway, congratulations to all the new mums I know and I hope that you are all having a wonderful time with your babies. Do enjoy this time lots because you can’t get it back. Photos and videos can immortalize the way your baby is, but he’ll be different every day and one fine day, you’ll look back and wish you were there again – just holding him or her in your arms.

Over and out! 🙂

Busy life in pictures

Argh I have been so busy. Okay, more like I’ve been mismanaging my time a bit. I watched Thor 2 on DVD the other day and it really made my day, haha! But really, aside from that, I have been sorting and cleaning to get the house ready for when my parents arrive (which is like in 1 hour’s time).

Last night, I was just about to get the sheets on the bed when I realised the mattress was wet. And so was the carpet. In fact, it was SOAKED. Why? Dan has a sprinkler system set up to water our side garden, but I don’t think he realised the window was open. So every night, we’ve been watering our spare room. Argh!

So after a lengthy drying process which involved the fan, a heater and a hairdryer, it is almost dry! I still need to air it out but might be fine by tonight, fingers crossed!!!

Anyway, I’d better run to the airport soon, so will just leave you with a few picture highlights:

ImageJacob has a new bib. He doesn’t look too happy about it.

ImageSo, we’ve just put in tiles to our house. This room used to be carpeted but I think it looks so much better with tiles! A bit cluttered with Jacob’s playpen in there, but I think I’ll be using it a lot more now.

20140303_085111_AndroidAnd this is our loungeroom – love the new carpet. My fave colour is green, but for some reason, I love to decorate with red.
What do you think?

20140301_181833_AndroidAnd for the last shot, we took out our baby backpack carrier. I have to admit this is SO much more comfy for bub and me, despite being a bit bulky. Love love love this photo – it’s like both of them are posing. The two awesome men in my life! 🙂

Gotta run, tata! xoxo

To clean or not to clean…

I’ve been doing my best to stay in this week (particularly because it’s quite warm – 35 degrees today!). Jacob has been a bit fussy cos he dislikes hot weather – but for now, he’s settled peacefully on the couch next to me.

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Today I have a bit of a rant to get off my chest. Someone came over to my house the other day and had some snide comments that really were better left unsaid. This person basically said that my house was too dirty for his standards, saying that my floor was so dusty and that my vacuum cleaner didn’t work properly (cos we were trying to vacuum up a mess that HE made). He was saying he couldn’t believe I would live like this, and that I should be as clean as him (who vacuums every day, including all his furniture as well).

Well, excuse me, you also don’t happen to have a 11 week old baby who wants to be carried all the time. Just so you know, I’d just had a friend’s dog over so the dogs were walking through the house, and of course they’d bring half the garden in as well. Your room in your student accommodation place is the size of my bathroom – if my house were that size, maybe I’d have time to vacuum it 5 times a day. And I doubt that you cook dinner every night for yourself and your partner (since you have no partner). Not to mention that all I’ve done for you over the past few years is help you, and is this what I get in return?

There, I’ve said my two cents. I don’t know about you, but if I went to visit a friend’s house, I don’t think I’d even think of saying anything like that. What’s the point of that sort of criticism? It doesn’t benefit anyone. A real friend would offer to vacuum for you, or offer to mind the baby while you cleaned up.

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That being said though, I guess it depends on how close you are to a person. I admit that I’m not close to this person and so it’s clear why I got offended by what he said. But with some of my friends, we can say anything to each other and just know that we still love each other.

A good example is my brother-from-another-mother Taan, who was also my Man of Honour at my wedding. A typical conversation on one of our days would go something like this:

Taan: Sis, don’t go out in the sun today. You’re already so black.
Me: Hmph! Well you better go out running then cos you’re so fat.
Taan: At least I can lose my fat if I exercise. You can’t lose your black.
Me: I can buy whitening cream, okay? 

To explain the ‘black’ comments, basically Asian girls dislike being dark. I don’t mind my tan in winter, but goodness me do I change colour in the summer!

We also tended to kick each other around a lot. This is one of my official wedding photos:

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The truth is, however, I can do better with housework. When Jacob goes down to sleep, I usually do the most urgent tasks at hand – that’s usually laundry and dishes. I try to iron once a week so that Dan has enough shirts for work. And cooking takes a bit of my time too, particularly the preparation. Then, of course, I need to find time to vacuum and mop too. But I’m working on a cleaning schedule and doing my best to stick to it!

But if you give me a choice between vacuuming and reading Jacob a book, you know which one I’d choose. Sometimes I can spend half an hour lying on the floor next to him in his baby gym, or making silly faces with him in a mirror. And if you ask me, I find that time well-spent and much more meaningful than vacuuming.

I’d almost forgotten that I said I’d do a Top 5 in every post – I’ll try to stick to at least one every two posts. Inspired by my ordeal, here are the Top 5 things not to say to a new mum:

5. Eww, your bin stinks!”
Firstly, do you go to people’s houses to smell their bins? Hello, what do people put in bins – pansies? Aromatherapy candles? And I have a baby so what do you think is in there? That’s why there’s a lid to the bin, and if you don’t close it, of course it’ll stink… seriously!

4.Don’t be a spoilsport – why can’t you come out tonight?”
Okay, I haven’t had this said to me before but it would be terrible if anyone did. While I do socialise quite a bit with Jacob, I try to cut his night-time outings to a minimum in order to enforce his bedtime routine. I’m not making excuses – I’m actually making my baby’s well-being priority. And while one can hire a babysitter, sometimes you can be caught off guard (and sometimes you really don’t feel like going out at all!).

3. “I can see you’re not a neat-freak like me… no wonder you let people wear shoes into your house.”
In Asian countries, we take shoes off when we go into somebody’s house. However, I’m fine if people wear shoes into my house – but then, of course, dirt comes in with them too. My friend said this to me the other day and I was thinking “You know, you’re probably the one who brought some of this dirt in since your shoes are still on and you’ve been in and out of my garden too.” Don’t criticize a new mum’s house – help her out instead, and you will be remembered.

2. “So, when are you planning on losing your baby weight?”
Nobody has said this to me either, though I believe it has been implied by some before. Firstly, it is unhealthy to jump straight onto the treadmill and have diet shakes instead of proper meals. Especially if you’re breastfeeding – your baby needs you to have a healthy diet so he can get the right nutrients too. I know that I myself haven’t lost very much baby weight at all, but then again, Jacob’s not even 3 months old. All you need is time…

1. “I think your baby is crying just for attention…” and other negative baby-related comments
If you insult me or my house, I can get a bit annoyed but if you insult my baby, that’s it. You have just unleashed a new mum’s wrath. If you have nothing nice to say about my baby, zip it. Unless you see me feeding my baby drugs or something, you don’t need to tell me what to do or diagnose my baby with anything that it doesn’t have. You have no right. I will hit you hard if you repeat it.

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Have a great rest-of-the-week!

Bargain hunter strikes again…

I think I’ve expressed in previous posts that I enjoy op-shopping. Yesterday, I indulged again and scored some awesome items (for a total of under $20)!

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I love baby books, especially bigger ones with bright pictures. I also love to buy books with Bible stories brought to life and read them to Jacob on Sabbath. The toolbox thing is actually a book too – you can take the shapes of the tools out and play around with them.

And I especially love the wire bead maze (which was only $4). I know that it’s only really for kids from ages 1+, but I can demonstrate it to Jacob at least. For some reason, he loves sitting up (i.e. propped up on the couch or on a pillow) and he loves watching what I’m doing.

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I also scored something for myself for only $7. I apologise for wearing jeans under the dress as I was just too lazy to change. Talk about sloppy mum. And here’s my Jacob picture of the day. He bares some skin and says “Draw me like one of your French girls!”

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I’ve decided that with every post I write (or perhaps every second post – will see how I go), I’ll be posting a Top 5 list. To start off this trend, here are the Top 5 Weirdest things I’ve found myself saying this week:

5. “Should I buy Sophie the Giraffe?”
For those who don’t know what Sophie the Giraffe is, this sounds very strange (especially since my display picture is of a giraffe after falling prey to that Facebook riddle that’s gone viral). I think Daniel thought I had gone a bit bonkers. Sophie is actually a famous French baby teether which is really popular (and also a bit pricy)… should I put it on my Christmas list? Have any of you had experience with her before?

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4. “Don’t put that in your mouth! It has pee on it!!!” 
Please excuse the references to bodily functions. Yes, Jacob is not even a toddler yet and I already have trouble with him putting things in his mouth. Basically, this event involved a small pee disaster and Jacob trying to put his shirt in his mouth. Le sigh. Honestly, it’s not that bad though – these things only happen when you take their diaper off. 😛

3. “Should I study? Or go back to work? Or buy a business?”
Yes, I keep pondering these things despite not having enough hours in the day to clean the house. My rationale is if I earn money, I can afford to hire a cleaning lady….

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2. “I do NOT want a flying grim reaper!!!”
You probably have to watch this video to understand this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB8D2QZ9lA4
My husband loves pranks (especially scary ones), and he was saying he’d love to get a flying grim reaper. Hence my response… I am NOT into Halloween. I am NOT into scary movies. Heck, I get scared seeing my own reflection in the mirror at night (though sometimes I look so bad anyone would be scared). So, yes – NO flying grim reapers please.

1. “Is the bathroom covered with baby poo or was that just a dream?”
Yes, I dream of baby bodily functions too. How pathetic! Is this what my life has come to?

Have a happy week, and wake me up when October ends.

My first baby shower!

This is my first relatively personal post (and hence will explain what’s been keeping me so busy the last few days!)… my baby shower!

I’ve read that normally baby showers are held when the mother is about 8 months pregnant, but I reckon it’s good I had it a bit earlier (I’m about 29 weeks) as I felt more energetic and mobile.

Also, it was good to have enough energy to clean the house before the guests arrived – I do admit that I can get quite slack at cleaning the house, and only pull myself together when under pressure (i.e. started cleaning at 10.00am for a 2.00pm party!) But, at long last, the house was in order (and nobody discovered my “junk” room).

The theme was yellow and green (as we haven’t found out our baby’s gender yet). It was after looking at the napkins that I bought that I realised it was quite a patriotic “Australian” theme – but the balloons softened the effect.

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It’s funny how most of my friends are Asian – now, don’t take it as being biased. I know lots of Caucasian Aussies (and people of other ethnic groups, for that matter) that are really awesome people. It boils down to three factors:

1. When I was at Uni, my course was quite a highly exclusive one where Australians would only pay for it if they were granted scholarships (otherwise, it would be way more than they would need to pay to do a similar course at a local institution). There were only 4 Australians in my graduating class of 100+.

2. At church, my husband grew up with a group of Caucasian Australian & NZ guys, and guess what – majority of them married Asian girls! In the pic above, all of us girls who have partners have Caucasian partners.

3. At work, I’m at an Australian based company but the founders are Singaporean and for some reason, our team is highly multicultural – not to mention, lots of employees LOVE the Asian culture (or at least, love to put on an Asian accent).

But anyway, Asian or not Asian, I love my girls heaps and want to thank them so much for always being there for me!

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And with lots of variety with the guests comes a variety of food! We had lots of yummy things to eat (and drink) – on the top right is one of my party favourites (though it’s hard to take to people’s houses due to spillage, so more of a party at home food). It’s called Honeydew Sago, though I did mine with rockmelon as well. And below is a treat my father-in-law made, called cream lillies! He’s truly a Masterchef – he also does some mean cheesecakes, which you may see in the course of my future posts too.

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And what is a baby shower without games?

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1. Mum-to-be crossword puzzle – it’s so easy to make crossword puzzles online and I had real fun making it. I put in questions like “How much weight did I gain?” (8kg), “What’s my biggest craving?” (KFC) and “What’s my baby’s Chinese zodiac sign?” (Snake).

2. Diaper Derby – the two bottom photos might explain the gist. A group wraps one person up in a ‘diaper’ made from toilet paper – and the person who can catwalk around the room without it falling will be the winner. My niece Esther was the cutest model (and she’s probably used to being in diapers too!)

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3. Guess the price – My mum-in-law bought a whole lot of baby items and we had to rank them from the lowest priced to the most expensive. It was actually pretty tricky – I don’t think any of us got all correct!

4. Guess the mum’s measurements – Basically, I cut a string measuring the actual length around my belly (probably around the bellybutton is best) and then the guests cut a piece that they estimate. Most of them got it way too long! It’s really quite deceptive…

5. Decorate a jumpsuit – All you need is a few plain jumpsuits, some fabric paints, permanent markers and ribbons for a fun decoration session! It’s funny how nobody used any ribbons as majority think my baby’s going to be a boy…
Which one would be your winner out of these?

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6. Catch the what? – At weddings, people catch the bouquet so I thought it was fitting that at a baby shower, guests can catch a diaper and will potentially become the next mum-to-be? Lots of cheering and laughter to follow…

7. Baby names – I also put up posters on the wall for baby names. I love my friends & family – they have such creative ideas!

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And finally, I would love to thank everyone for their thoughtful and gorgeous presents! I really am so blessed!

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