The babymoon and other pregnancy luxuries…

I think I made quite good use of this first week off work. Some of my highlights of the week:

  • Wrapping up some things at work – I knew I would forget some things, like handing in my key card etc. I’m still not used to the fact that I’m not working – it just feels like I’m holidays for a few days and I’m expected to go back to work next Monday.
  • Signing up with Centrelink – it’s such a blessing living in Australia where they actually support you financially for a certain period of time when your baby is born. Of course, the process can take a while, hence why I’m trying to apply early.
  • Buying more baby stuff – I love shopping on Gumtree, honestly. Bought a Baby Bjorn carrier for $80 and the lady also gave me her vibrating rocker that plays music. I still have to head out and buy a few more things at some point.
  • Walking Skittles a few times – We managed to get a bit of sunny spring weather, so I took Skittles down to the reserve. Lovely blossoms all around!

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  • Routine blood tests for pregnancy – I’m so used to blood tests now…
  • Got my hair cut – I’m blessed with thick hair but it can get so incredibly thick sometimes! I swear I lose at least 500g (if not more) when I get a haircut.
  • Meeting up with my girlfriends – In a previous post, I might have mentioned that my girlfriends and I love having hot pot. We’re such creatures of habit (but it was yummy mind you!) Look at me stuffing my face, haha!

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Evidently, I’m quite tired today from all the gallivanting, so going to take it easy. My main goal today is to work on a playlist for my labour – mostly relaxing songs, but also energetic ones where I can chill out and sing along (probably only in the early stages anyway). Music has an amazing way of influencing emotions (and I’m hoping it’ll distract me from the pain too!).

This is my all time favourite song though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1DRDcGlSsE
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f I was only allowed to listen to one song in this world, it would be this one (and even if I couldn’t listen to it, I can play it on the piano so it would resonate with me forever).

Anyway, the main point of my post today was really to talk about my recent Babymoon… Now, before you think that I am a woman of too many indulgences, we actually had a free 1 night stay on a loyalty card we had – and what better way to enjoy it but somewhere memorable yet close to home?

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We went to the Novotel Barossa over the weekend – it’s a relatively secluded resort set against the beautiful backdrop of the Barossa Valley, and it was also the place Daniel and I spent our wedding night.

We initially were planning to go out for some nature walks, perhaps explore the nearby town Tanunda – but it was a bit cold and rainy, so we spent more time indoors. I’m not sure what your idea of fun is, but we really enjoyed our time talking, playing board games, taking baths (separately cos the tub was too small – why are you so tall, Daniel?) and lounging around in the soft fluffy bathrobes. I love hotel bathrobes!

Another highlight was the food – we decided to be lazy and have both meals in the hotel restaurant. I can’t say much for the service (but then again, I have high standards as I used to work in F&B and pick up on any parts of the order of service that they miss) but the food was great!

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I had this for dinner – the salmon was cooked to perfection and all the other elements blended together well. A great hearty dish for a cold night – though a reminder to pregnant ladies, don’t eat too much fish to prevent high mercury levels.

For other expecting mums, I highly recommend taking a babymoon somewhere – preferably during your second trimester. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or action-packed (though if you want to, go right ahead!) – but it’s just a great way to celebrate the event with your partner and to enjoy being husband and wife before the many new duties come along!

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Anyway, that’s all for now! I should really head out to the shops to get more baby essentials. Enjoy your Friday everybody!

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The beginning of the end…

What a week it’s been! I think that besides being tied down with work and commitments, it’s also been a mixture of emotions and new realizations.

I suppose the main thing that happened this week was that I finished up at work. Of course, this was a long-awaited break and I’m really glad that I’ll have this time to prepare myself for my new arrival. Yet I still feel that tinge of sadness and that strange aversion towards so many things changing in my life.

You’d think that with my background, I’d be used to change by now. I went to two preschools, two primary schools, two high schools, two colleges (pre-University) and finally ended up in another country for Uni.

Even with my Bachelor’s Degree, I had to move every 6 months. After 6 months of Uni, I had work placement in Port Douglas QLD; back to Adelaide for 2nd year, then scooted off to Melbourne and finally finished the course in Adelaide. What a time it was!

Mind you, the whole region of Far North Queensland is absolutely gorgeous! I really should do a post about it sometime as it has some real beautiful spots. Here’s me being all hippie at one of the waterfalls there:

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But nevertheless, despite my many encounters with change, we are still not very good friends. I remember, after leaving my last job at Unilodge, I spent many tearful nights thinking of my beloved staff members and tenants (I love you guys still!). I probably don’t feel as attached to my MBA students as I do my tenants (some I never ever met face to face yet!) but I still feel that familiarity and care for these people because I really put my heart and soul into the work that I do.

But nevertheless, one has to move on. I shared this quote with my students:
Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.

Of course, this applies to many people but I believe it resonates in my life right now as I’m always the type who wants to do this and do that but ends up doing nothing at all because I simply can’t decide on what to do or how to do it.

Right now, it’s actually good because I do have a specific purpose that I can’t shy away from. Obligation and responsibility are sometimes the best motivation to help one commit to change. And I’m also the type who performs better under pressure, so I hope that this helps me when I’m dealing with stressful situations in motherhood. Wish me luck!

But anyway, I digress.

Some good times at AIB – shame I don’t have more photos, as I forgot to save them from the Shared Drive:

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Had a little gathering for Chinese New Year… 

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 Casino night where we gambled fake money.

My last day was really enjoyable. A bit crazy, lots to do but enjoyable all the same. I timed my departure at the end of the enrolment period which, evidently, caused everyone to be pretty busy. We had a record-breaking finish due to a combination of reasons, and it’s just really encouraging to see the number of people who are interested in pursuing their MBAs, be it for career advancement, personal development or simply to formalise their management background.

Just doing a little marketing for my workplace – it’s the Australian Institute of Business, a fully accredited business school offering the full suite of business qualifications from Diplomas to Doctorates. I dealt primarily with MBA students, who have found that the unique model and emphasis of the study benefit them greatly.
More details here: http://www.aib.edu.au/

Anyway, the Marketing team went for lunch at the Union Hotel which has pretty nice food. Call me narrow-minded but my ideal pub meal is a chicken schnitzel with mushroom sauce, and that’s usually what I order.

Then we had a bit of a farewell later with the full staff, where I got a huge card, some lovely gifts and an awesome cake:

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I love those little feet! I kept the dark blue ones because they look like smurf feet…

It feels really great to be valued and honestly, I was really blessed over the many months that I worked here. So just a big thank you to all of my awesome workmates, especially the ones in the Marketing team who had to put up with my walking around while talking (including hiding in the closet when the line was bad), my strange Asian videos and my eating seaweed (yes, it is delicious).

So I’ll say goodbye, but I’ve found that goodbyes never truly last forever – paths do cross again and new memories will be made.

But til then, I must remind myself that I haven’t stopped work… in fact, the work has barely started! 😉

Random Monday musings…

This is one of my final manic Mondays for a while… (though soon it may be manic everyday!) I’ve finally come to my last week at work and I realise I really do need the break. The house needs my attention, and it’ll finally give me time to sit back and communicate with my baby.

I know some mums-to-be talk to their babies, play them music, even write them letters. While I do sometimes talk to my baby (mainly “Ouch” or “How did you get your foot there?”), I still feel I don’t know him too well. I struggle with things that aren’t blatant reality (i.e. a baby screaming in your face) but perhaps I just need to slow down, catch my breath and savour this previous time.

Anyway, I might outline the last few days’ highlights.

Day 29

We usually spend part of Saturday at church – this week’s service was in the afternoon. The morning was spent preparing things for church including making some creamy soup (which is always a challenge for me).

I know I’m a Gen Y baby and I grew up in the midst of computers and mobile phones. But to me, technology and kitchens don’t mix. Rather than putting things my veggies into an electric chopper, I chop them by hand (which takes FOREVER). I sometimes whip cream by hand – really tones those triceps!

However, Skittles and I have a mutual agreement that the scariest thing in the kitchen is the dreaded stick-blender. I don’t think I’ve ever braved blending something with it before (not without spraying it all over the walls). Thank goodness for Daniel who is the expert at all things electrical. 🙂

One thing I do enjoy making is risotto – I made this one a few weeks ago with pumpkin, mushroom and chives. Perhaps it’s true that Asians are more comfortable cooking rice.

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Day 28

I like quiet Sundays. 🙂 We had some lovely warm weather so I did some laundry and took our dog for a walk in the reserve. We’re really blessed to have a lovely reserve with a flowing stream, lake and waterfall as well as abundant wildlife (much to Skittles delight – she loves to chase ducks). This pic below was taken a few weeks ago, after some heavy rain.

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Another highlight of the day was watching the new Wolverine. I have to admit that part of the reason why I loved it is because it was set in Japan and people were speaking Japanese. I love Japanese culture and the language – とても美しい! Of course, I enjoyed the action and I do love female fighters.

Back when I was learning Ninjutsu, I honestly wanted to explore a career (in the sidelines, of course) as a female martial arts actress, doing stunts etc. I accumulated a lot of bruises in my growing up years but nevertheless, it was fun (and still is).

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I ended my lovely Sunday with ironing while watching the Formula 1 race, and I decided to iron the baby’s sheets and muslin wraps. Yes, I know I’m strange – people say that I’m nesting but what really happened is that I left them in the dryer overnight and they all got crumpled. And my baby is not going to have crumpled sheets and muslin wraps!

Day 27

As I was saying about manic Monday, it was just one of those busy days at work as usual. I had my Japanese takeaway (probably for the last time in a long time) and resisted going out to buy a bubble tea.

It was announced today (to my great delight) that Air Asia X is flying directly from Kuala Lumpur to Adelaide! This means that if I want to be my stingy ol self, I can still afford to visit home once in a while. I’m only concerned that I might want slightly more frills on my aircraft once I’m travelling with bubs.

Anyway, if anyone wants to jump on their inaugural promotion of AU$99 from Adelaide to Kuala Lumpur, check it out – the sale starts tomorrow:
http://www.airasia.com/au/en/home.page

Question of the day which I have been pondering: pregnancy photos, yay or nay? I don’t really want to spend more money on things (seeing I’m one of the world’s biggest cheapskates) but I was wondering if I should put in the effort to get some done before my belly shrinks back to its normal size (I wish).

Enjoy the rest of your week, folks!

Moons…

It’s been a good weekend despite little annoyances in my life like sore hips (more like sore bum) and a whole lot of ironing. I do admit that housework is not a skill that comes naturally.

I learned how to iron rather late in life. When I was at National Service (which is a 3 month military training stint we have to do in Malaysia, though it was really more like a summer camp with bad maintenance), we had to iron our uniform and wear it out for assembly. I remember having to do push-ups as punishment for “not ironing my shirt” despite hogging the communal iron for over 20 minutes. My dorm mates had to convince the authorities that I did indeed iron it to the best of my ability (despite making it look worse than when I first started out).

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That’s me packing up to go home after National Service (with a nicely pressed uniform – I’m sure a friend must have helped me iron it!)…

Years later, I do admit that I am a bit better at ironing. My brother (sort-of brother, he’s Thai and not blood related but he may as well be) teased me in his speech at my wedding about my lack of housework skills – it went something like this:

One day, Lianne asked me to come out shopping with her for men’s shirts for Daniel. I asked her if Daniel didn’t have enough shirts, and she said no, he had heaps but she couldn’t be bothered ironing them so just bought him new ones.

Yes, I admit I did that last week as well (though people commented on how lovely the colour of his new shirt was!). To cut a long story short, I struggle with housework but I do my best to make do for my shortcomings. Let’s hope that one fine day, it’ll be a skill I master too.

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On a happier note, my husband and I are going to have a babymoon soon. Theoretically, we already had one a few months ago in Glenelg (where we stayed in a lovely hotel by the beach), but this one will be special for the following reasons:

1. We’re going back to Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, which also happens to be the place we spent our wedding night (refer to picture above). In honest truth, I’ve been to greater hotels/resorts (although there are only so many good hotels in Adelaide) but it has some redeeming factors like its beautiful backdrop against the wine-growing hills, the delicious buffet breakfast and the peaceful privacy it offers.

2. It’ll mark the end of my work life for a while – I’m still debating about whether this is a good thing or not, but I’m sure I’ll find so much more meaning in parenthood than ever could be found at a workplace.

3. It’s pretty much free with a membership card I have (had to pay to upgrade though, cos they’re out of standard rooms, but I can’t complain).

By the way, speaking about moons – has anyone seen the moon tonight? I took a peek and it doesn’t look WAY out of the ordinary, but then again, it’s directly above our house (so it may just be the wrong angle for it)

Do check it out sometime anyway: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-23/supermoon-to-appear-in-australian-skies-tonight/4774320

Anyway, all for tonight – another busy yet rewarding week ahead of me. Have a great week everyone!