Goodbye, goodbye.

Have you ever had a moment where you’re not sure where inspiration has come from to write something, but as times goes by, the reason becomes clear? This feels almost surreal to me (and it may not be related) but has become somewhat of a tribute for me concerning recent affairs.

My last post was a relatively “down” one and I was going to liven up the mood with pictures of Christmas/New Year’s frivolity and Jacob in the swimming pool, but right now it feels inappropriate seeing that we are close to the heart of a South Australian emergency with bushfires in the Adelaide Hills.

Yesterday, I saw smoke and thought our local shopping centre was on fire. But no, the fire was a bit further off. It still looked pretty smoky though.

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My in-laws live in the hills and shortly after I posted that photo, my mum-in-law shared this photo, which looks even more ominous:

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We normally go up to church today but the roads were all blocked off due to fire risk, so we just gathered at a friend’s house for fellowship. We were told that winds were blowing the fire up our way – this picture was taken not far from our house.

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Our church is based up in Birdwood (which is one of the towns where people were recommended to evacuate) and we know quite a few people who were on the verge of losing their homes. We are continually praying for them, for the firefighters and for the whole fire situation here in Adelaide.

I wrote this song on the 27th of December – I was inspired by the idea of new resolutions and lasting change as the new year approached, as well as Avril Lavigne’s CD that I got for Christmas. The very next day, I read about the Air Asia flight going missing (and eventually found as a wreckage in the sea). And now we have the bushfires and lives are at stake as well.

Could I please ask that you take a listen, and tell me I’m not imagining things when I say that there are subtle messages in this song that leave hints about these recent tragedies? No, I’m not saying I’m a mind reader or that I’m divinely inspired or something. But I just found this just a bit surreal.

So, please permit me to share another sad post, because it feels appropriate at this time. People have lost their homes, firefighters have been injured and the fire is still burning. One of the saddest stories to me is the fire that burnt through one of the kennels and cattery in the hills where many animal lives were lost.

For anyone keen to help out, here’s how you can assist. We went out to a donation centre today to drop off some non-perishable food and drink for the CFS workers, and it was so heartening to see so many generous people there to help out in any way they could. Apparently, there was so much collected that they didn’t have enough space in their utes to bring it to the distribution centres, so some people offered to load their cars and help transport items as well.

The one good thing I can say about the situation is that it brings people together to unite for a cause. And that makes me smile. Take care everybody!

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Tragedies

I was going to put up a Christmas post but in the light of some recent events across the world, I felt that it was almost inappropriate to be celebrating amidst all the grieving.

I was reading an article about The Biggest Tragedies in 2014 and it made me remember how fragile life is; how mortal we are and how suddenly things can take a turn for the worse. Some of these tragedies particularly resonate with me being a Malaysian – I’ve flown with Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia all my life (and my parents still use those airlines on a regular basis) so it does feel a bit surreal at times. In fact, my parents were on an Air Asia flight less than 24 hours before this most recent crash. And I even knew a person on the MH17 flight; an acquaintance from high school and a loving person who is dearly missed by her family.

But really, it’s not all about me. It’s about all those lives lost. It’s about all those people who won’t be able to welcome in the new year with their beloved family members. It’s about ideals torn apart, hearts brokens and promises that weren’t able to be kept. And I think, what if it was me – how would I feel? What would I do?

I’m not sure if you know, but I LOVE Avril Lavigne’s music – I grew up with her music blaring in my rooms and I know the words to most if not all of her songs. I was SO happy to get her Goodbye Lullaby album after my car ate up her CD (radio died on me and ruined my old one) and I feel it’s her best album, or at least one where her emotions really do resonate with mine. One of my favourite songs on this album is “Everybody Hurts” and I’ve been playing it over and over again (much to my hubby’s dismay). Then I remembered that long ago, back in the day when I still had my green guitar, I actually sang a cover version of this song – and here it is:

Okay, it’s not the best video but really, it’s the lyrics that really touch deeply and that’s something I want to share and dedicate to the people in these tragedies.

Don’t know, don’t know if I can do this on my own
Why do you have to leave me?
It seems I’m losing something deep inside of me
Hold on, on to me

Now I see, now I see

Everybody hurts some days
It’s okay to be afraid
Everybody hurts, everybody screams
Everybody feels this way
And it’s okay, it’s okay

It feels like nothing really matters anymore
When you’re gone, I can’t breathe
And I know you never meant to make me feel this way
This can’t be happening

Now I see, now I see

Everybody hurts some days
It’s okay to be afraid
Everybody hurts, everybody screams
Everybody feels this way
And it’s okay, it’s okay

So many questions, so much on my mind
So many answers I can’t find
Wish I could turn back the time
I wonder why

Everybody hurts some days
Everybody hurts some days

Everybody hurts some days
It’s okay to be afraid
Everybody hurts, everybody screams
Everybody feels this way
And it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay

Everybody hurts some days
It’s okay to be afraid
Everybody hurts some days
Yeah, we all feel pain

Everybody feels this way
And it’ll be okay
Can’t somebody take me away to a better place
Everybody feels this way, it’s okay

It’s okay, it’s okay
It’s okay, it’s okay

I know I can’t tell people that it’s okay because it doesn’t feel okay at the moment, and perhaps there’ll be a void that can never be filled. But to all of you out there who are hurting and grieving, be it from a natural disaster, accident or even just personal tragedy in your own life, I pray that you will be able to see the silver lining behind the cloud.

I pray that you will be able to one day lift your head up and smile despite the tragedy that has touched your life – and that you will be okay.

Before the year is up…

Talk about a long hiatus. Yes, sorry, I know I have been AWOL but the last few months have been so jam packed that I thought it best to take a break and do justice to certain areas in my life. And now, most of the things have settled down so I’m thinking of getting back into writing!!!

As of yesterday, my little boy is already 16 months old! Can you believe it? I have a fully-fledged toddler (and a hyper one at that)!!!

So, I thought I’d do a little monthly update to show how far we’ve come so far.

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Little Mr here has 14 teeth and counting!

Height: 81cm

Weight: Almost 10kg, yippie!

Eating:
We initially struggled with his eating – he used to be very finnicky and naughty, throwing most of his meal on the floor. His weight plateaued for a while but since he started walking, things have started picking up and he is a pro right now! You should have seen him wolf down his pizza tonight! He also eats a lot of fruit, which I am quite happy about – and he loves a good fruit smoothie which we have plenty of since it’s summertime.

Favourites: Blueberries, Watermelon, Grapes, Pear, Cheese, Spring Rolls, Chicken, Peas, Corn on Cob, Any sort of Rice, Pasta, Yoghurt.

Sleep: Yes, sleep is a little patchy, and we struggles especially when he first learned to walk. He just LOVES to be awake to do things but he needs to rest for his own good. He is moving to his own room soon (we have finally moved furniture around so his cot can fit in the room) so things should improve from there, I hope! But he still looks adorable when he sleeps, doesn’t he?

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Mobility:
Jacob started walking just shy of 15 months. He had been standing for a while and trying to do stepping movements, but never really got past two steps. Then one day, at church, I think something must have just clicked. He just got up and walked right across the room, and hasn’t looked back since.

In the last few weeks, he’s really picked up speed and is relatively difficult to manage. He runs away from me in the shopping mall and climbs things like chairs, tables, bookcases, etc. No drawers or doors are safe from him so we are slowly child-locking everything. He is relatively clever at working out how things works so he opens tubes and bottles etc. He is loveable but so darn high maintenance at times!

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Words words words:
This little boy is talkative!!! I think his first word was “car” and he said “dada” around the same time. Some of his early words were mama, nana (banana), wawa (flower), star, nanny (his grandmother) and dua (dog). He also has some interesting words, like “murr” for bird, “aah” for a drink and “mannum/my-num” for dummy. And now he talks about books and balls and shoes and the moon. We are SOOO proud of him but we get pretty tired hearing the same words all day long.

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Favourite pastimes:
– Dancing/singing to songs and rhymes we know. He’s great at “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (he sings the ‘star’ bit and does some actions) and also joins in with “Incy Wincy Spider”, “Pat a Cake”, “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes” (he only gets as far as head as it’s a bit fast).
– Drawing – I think he’s going to be a budding artist. He goes through our stationery drawers to find pens and markers to use. And despite my giving him scrap paper to draw on, he always looks for important documents to draw on (failing which, he will draw on the wall or tiles).
– Playing with other kids especially his cousins. He recognises them and points them out in pictures – they usually have an awesome time playing together and it’s great that they’re all relatively close in age.

family photoWe took some awesome family photos the other day!
– Playing with water and swimming. He loves ANYTHING to do with water. When we’re outside, he goes straight to the dog bowl and puts his hands in it. Hence why I’m buying him a sand & water table for Christmas (shhh don’t tell him!)
– Playing with Skittles. He LOVES dogs and just goes right up to them and plays with them. Skittles has knocked him over a few times but I think they’re both getting more used to each other. My babies are so cute!!!

boy and dog

Only a few more sleeps to Christmas, and I know the time is going to fly by. I am praying that Jacob doesn’t destroy more ornaments on our Christmas tree – he’s already broken a few baubles and often redecorates when I’m not looking.

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Just as a fond memory of mine, here’s Jacob being baby Jesus in last year’s nativity at Lobethal. How time flies! Merry Christmas everyone, and may you enjoy this time with friends and family!

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20141208_104050He doesn’t look too happy to see Santa. Oh well!

TV Stars!

Okay, Jacob and I aren’t exactly Hollywood actors but we made a small stage presence in a clip on Today Tonight a few nights ago.

The report was done on a food distribution project I help out with at the ADRA Community Centre Parafield. The project, now known as Wednesday Food Tray was started out by a friend of mine, Lauren, who invited me and Jacob to help her out.

The food from the program comes from Second Bite, which is an organisation that redistributes surplus fresh food to community programs. We pick up all sorts of different food, from bread and potatoes to veggies and fruit and even frozen meat sometimes. I find it somewhat exciting to see what they have for us each week – but what’s more exciting is meeting the people who come along to get food as well and seeing how this food can make a difference in their lives.

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That’s Jacob above helping us sort the food. Or really, he’s just playing in the apple box thinking it’s a ballpit.

Generally, the program services around 50-100 people (meaning people in the household, so we get maybe 20-50 people coming in) but we’ve had monstrous days where all the food is gone and the number is more like 150! And even if we have surplus food at the end of the program, it doesn’t go to waste – some of the fruit and bread go to schools for breakfast programs, and the rest goes to The Shepherd’s Lodge which is a meal program running on Thursday night.

But anyway, here is the clip: Battlers – Today Tonight

Enjoy! And look out for Jacob and me. 🙂

Blossoms.

Yes, I have been on a hiatus. I think I’ve just been a bit too contemplative of late, to the point that the motivation to blog escaped me. 

But a walk in the park nearby spurred me to start again, or at least reminded me of a happier time in my life that I wanted to reflect on. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t say I’m not happy now. But I think I’m the type of person whose happiness comes from looking at things ahead of me rather than living in the moment.

With that in mind, I want to stop to see the blossoms.

20140813_142728I never experienced blossoming trees very much as I was growing up, or at least not the ones that we have here in Australia. It’s not to say that I didn’t see lots of flowers – we had ixora bushes near our apartment and white tiger lillies decorated the sidewalk. I used to climb a frangipani tree near the library I went to and bougainvillea trees were a common sight.

But there’s something about the blossoms at the reserve near my house that make me smile. When I first saw them, I kept calling them sakura because I thought they were cherry blossoms (and then Daniel kindly informed me that not all blossoms are cherry blossoms, lol!). I only really noticed them last year when I was on maternity leave and went for daily walks with Skittles.

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The same time last year, the blossoms looked very similar but I looked quite different! 🙂 And as I was out walking today, I was reminded of the spring of last year where I felt all the hope and joy in the world. Every walk I took in that beautiful reserve reminded me of the miracle of creation and the joy of a new human being who I was longing to meet.

My walk today was a pleasant one, but it made me wonder why things had changed.

Firstly, the reason why I actually went on the walk was not to enjoy the sunny weather, but was really to get a stubborn little boy to sleep. I got him into his pram, fumbled with the straps as he writhed, and got Skittles on her lead – and we were off!

Walking the dog with the pram is a bit of a challenge at times, but it is easier than putting Jacob in the carrier because he’s a bit too heavy for me now. A lot of the walk is focused on getting Skittles to walk beside the pram and not to dart in random directions. I told Daniel that he could get a good Physics question out of our ordeal – namely vectors.

But anyway, so we were walking along, doing the same thing we normally do when we go for walks, and then I saw it. A tree full of blossoms. I stopped for a moment (more because Skittles stopped) and I remembered that I once used to appreciate things a lot more than I do now.

Perhaps it’s the lack of sleep. Daniel blames it on the coffee, which I admit that I’ve been turning to relatively often. But after barely 5 hours of sleep some nights, I justified that coffee was a lesser evil compared to not being able to function every morning. But perhaps it’s the fact that once again, I’ve started setting goals for myself and for Jacob that aren’t coming to pass, and I’m getting frustrated about things that I’m not able to do despite knowing that I don’t actually have to do them.

How does that make sense? I suppose to put it simply, I have been the cause of my own unhappiness. Rather than live in the joy of the moment, I’ve chosen to live aiming to be someone I’m not. And frankly, that is a silly way to live because it just leads to disappointment after disappointment.

20140813_143114This week, I’m going to dwell on the beautiful things in my life. I’m going to come out of my dark corner and bask in the sunlight. And I’m going to bring the people I love with me, too. 🙂

So, remember to stop to see the blossoms. ❤

 

 

Photoshoot!

Many people have said that Jacob’s photogenic – and while I do agree, it is SO hard to take photos of him sometimes (especially when he refuses to cooperate)!

Last week, we enlisted a professional to get some cute shots done for him. He was in a relatively good mood and sat still for about 45 minutes (with the occasional crawl away) so we could get a few shots of him.

Here are some of the shots!

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Thanks for the photos Mikhaela! Do check our her Facebook page – Mikhaela Herriman Photography.

Later this week I’ll be posting some swimming pictures too! 🙂 Over and out!

So, about Sydney…

I’ve been having a problem lately with using the computer in the presence of my little man because HE HATES IT! Or rather, he hates the fact that I can use it but not him. So he comes up to it and slams on the keyboard and on the screen (which is a touchscreen too, by the way) and messes things up, so I simply shut the laptop, put it away and vow to use it again when he’s asleep (only I actually have to do housework when he’s asleep).

So, my point is, I want to minimize typing and will just put some photos up. 😀

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Sydney, over and out!

Travelling with an almost-toddler

Alright – the secret’s out! I’ve been away so that’s why I haven’t been blogging. Honestly, we were only away for less than a week but a lot of time went into preparation and getting things organised for when we were away.

Up to the night before we flew off, this was all that was in our suitcase. At least we remembered the important thing – the nappies! 😛 I swear by Coles nappies now – they’re inexpensive and work well, so how can I complain?

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From this first experience at flight travel, I think travelling with a baby/toddler is a lot of give and take. Naturally, you can’t expect your little one to WANT to sit still when there are so many more fun things to do (like crawling, learning to walk, grabbing things and putting them in your mouth, etc.) So you’ve got to give them the opportunity to do some of the things they want to do, so they’ll then be a bit more civil when told to sit still.

At the Adelaide Airport, there’s this awesome kid’s play area which is like a mini climbing gym. Jacob didn’t really make too much sense of the structure but he did get a chance to crawl around lots before the flight. We also dressed him in loose, comfy clothing – it was quite warm on the plane especially with him next to me, so it was good that his clothing was layered so I could take off one or two layers.

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We also chose flight timing according to his naptime, so that “hopefully” he would fall asleep in the plane. I fed him on the way up and he was a complete angel – slept through the whole 2 hour flight! On the way back from Sydney, he fell asleep again but woke up for some of the flight. Here he is, my little cutie pie:

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When we got to Sydney, we decided to take a train into the city. Our hotel was just a minute’s walk from one of the stations, so we set off. Jacob was really intrigued by the train and loved looking out the window. He nearly pressed the emergency button because it was so bright and shiny – argh! 

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I’ll be making this a short post because I’m in a hurry to get all my laundry (and other tasks) done, and also because I’m annoyed that I had to type this out all over again because WordPress didn’t save. I thought it was autosaving but my internet was cutting in and out, and I think it just disappeared into the abyss of cyberspace. More about Sydney next time! 🙂

But here is a picture of Jacob asleep on the first night – after a long day of travel, he was certainly bushed! Look at the hair!

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Looking back on tomboyish days…

Honey, I’m home! (Once again, sorry for the break)

We’ve had such a busy weekend but I’m counting down the days because it’ll be the school holidays soon and we may have a little excursion scheduled… more details later on! 😉

But anyway, this weekend was the first time I played paintball! Some people were quite surprised at this – perhaps because I seemed to know what it was about, or at least pretended to know? I’ve always wanted to play it but wasn’t allowed because it was too dangerous, and never really had an occasion to do so until this weekend.

So, we got all suited up – it was a press stud suit and reminded me of putting a jumpsuit on Jacob (who was being babysat). I smuggled my phone in and took a couple of photos: Image

I had an awesome first round as I got up to a good spot and managed to shoot a lot of people (won some extra points, whoopee!). I think I have it quite easy because I’m a difficult target to hit – I was easily one of the smallest and shortest in my group. The second and third round weren’t as great for me because I kept getting headshots so I couldn’t see. One of them went straight through my vents and gave me a mouthful of paint! I ended up looking like this:

ImageAnyway, it was good fun but I must admit that it is one expensive game! It was like $20 for 100 paintballs – it got cheaper if you bought them in bulk, but you get the gist. As a result, we had to be quite sparing with our shots (which can be hard when you’re being shot at right left and centre). I probably couldn’t afford to play this game too often, but I had an awesome time (despite the scratches and bruises)! A nice hot shower was in order, especially since we were rained on once or twice in the course of the day.

Playing paintball got me thinking about some of the things I used to do that I don’t anymore. I was never the sporty type (more because I didn’t really stick at a sport long enough to be good at it) but I was, at some point of my life, quite fit. I was probably in the prime of my life at National Service – I was toughened by circumstance, strengthened by faith and agile as anything. My team won quite a few things and I kinda looked a bit tomboyish, to a point that I had a girl hit on me!.

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I don’t think I was ever good at riding a bike, but here I am in a helmet anyway. I had very short hair for the first few years of my life and my mum said I was often mistaken for a boy (much to her annoyance).

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And here’s Mowgli. Oh wait, no, that’s me. Sorry it’s blurry as it was me taking a photo of an old photo. I love swimming (though I’m a bit lazy of late) and used to go fishing with my dad; not rod fishing, but fishing with a jala (net). The net itself was pretty heavy and a lot of the time, we got fish by knocking them out with the weights rather than getting them caught in the net.

ImageBack in the day, when I used to do martial arts, I used to think I was pretty tough. I used to enjoy hanging out with the boys, but come to think of it now, any girl could have done what I did. I used to think that I stood out because I was the girl, and perhaps that was the case to an extent, but I think what’s most important is that it was me being me. I really enjoyed getting roughed up and rolling in the mud, as opposed to getting dolled up with makeup and dresses.

I admit that I’ve toned down of late, perhaps because I’m considered more a ‘woman’ than a ‘girl’ now, and because I play roles like ‘wife’ and ‘mum’ where tomboy doesn’t always fit in the picture. Or does it? I know that the main reason I’ve stopped martial arts is because I need that time for my family – time to prepare and eat a family meal and to get the little one bathed and tucked into bed. I don’t indulge in adventure so much anymore because I’m saving money for family outings and little occasional trips. But I think, deep down, I’m still a tomboy at heart.

I am excited at the prospect of bringing up a little boy – it’s almost like a second childhood for myself. I look forward to learning to play a sport with him, taking him camping, teaching him martial arts moves, riding a bike with him (pedal-type and motorized maybe?), letting him get dirty and not complaining (there’s always Vanish to get rid of mud stains), etc. And one day, he’ll grow up into a man but I hope he’ll still see me as a fun mum who shared similar interests with him.

But I’ve thought to myself before – what if I had a girl first? Would I have bought all things pink and completely changed the decor in my nursery? Would I be playing with dolls instead of cars? I don’t know. Maybe, if I have another child and it happens to be a girl, I will find out. But for now, I’m perfectly happy indulging in boys toys.

Speaking of boys, here are some shots from this week! Here he is with his cousin playing the piano – what musical geniuses they are!

ImageHere he is helping daddy with Maths.

ImageHere he is watching the footy. Adelaide Crows had a great win so I let Jacob wear his Crows scarf around.

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And lucky last one – anyone want to suggest a caption? 😛

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Hope everyone has an awesome week!

10 months old!

Was it really 10 months ago that my little boy was a fresh new face into this world? I can’t even fathom how much our lives have changed in that time, but it’s been a wonderful time!

Here is my 10 month old cherub, thinking “Mum, why would you make me wear this hat?”

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He’s not walking yet, which is a relief, though he does like to scale areas like the playpen or the sides of the sofa. He is an avid crawler though, and gets around very quickly (and follows me around the house like a pet! Awww…)

ImageHe’s covered with yoghurt in the above pic, which is supposedly one of his favourite foods except he doesn’t take anything from a spoon now. He loved having food pouches squirted into his mouth, but mostly he loves handling his own food, as messy as it can be. Favourites are (in stick form) carrots, broccoli and asparagus as well as apples, bananas and strawberries. He’s also at the “dropping” stage where everything he eats goes on the floor at least once. Sigh. At least it builds immunity?

ImageSleep-wise, he’s not too bad lately. We had a few issues when he was growing teeth (his fifth and six ones are already on the way!), but we have also had a few nights where he’s slept through (which is BLISS). 

ImageHe loves the outdoors – being pushed in the pram in the reserve, playing on grass, watching dogs play, etc. It is getting a little cold and rainy now that it’s winter, but we still get a chance to have a play outside once in a while.

ImageHe’s still a sociable baby and loves meeting other people at the social things we do each week, like church, charity work and meeting up with friends/family. 

ImageI can’t deny that I am SO proud of my little boy and what he’s become (even if he is a bit of a rascal at times). I look forward to many more days, months and years full of joy and fun with our little family! ❤

On a final note, I’m feeling generous so I’m running an EOFY sale with 20% off ALL wall stickers. Get the promo code on our Facebook page and thanks in advance! Have a great week everyone!