LIVE . LOVE . HURT . HOPE

Breezing through life and loving every moment…

The Simple Joys In Life

I been making a lot of lists lately..so while we’re at it, here’s looking at the little things that are so simple and insignificant, yet will always put a smile to my face or give me that warm fuzzy wuzzy feeling inside…

Going to sleep with rain pouring outside, and knowing I am warm and dry in bed

Waking up in the middle of the night to a thunderstorm after a long dry spell

A cool breezy weekend morning

Chicken curry with lots of soft potatoes

A meal with a side dish of sweet boiled carrots and plump green peas

A neatly arranged bookshelf-preferably mine!

My daughter’s grin

My husband on the phone telling me that he will be back home earlier than planned

Knowing I have a 20-something year old friendship with my girlfriends

Caramel popcorn

Wet sand under my bare feet and waves between my toes!

A brand new shiny saucepan

A happy dog’s wagging tail

Cold butter on warm toasted bread

My grandma’s patchwork quilt (on a cold rainy night)

Fish and chips

A ladybug on my plant

A clean house

My laundry basket empty and no chores

Marketing with mom

…so, what makes YOU smile?

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Snapshots From the Past: Paperboats & Puddles

What a rainy night it is tonight…heavy ran failing in sheets outside. But I oh so love rainy nights, specially when I am tucked warm in bed with my sleeping baby beside me. I have always loved the rain; its calming steady sound against the roof, the distant rumble of thunder and the smell of the wet earth and leaves.

Rain makes puddles. And there are no better puddles than the ones that appeared around the garden of our old house back home. We had a huge garden and the house was surrounded by a network of shallow and deep drainage system to channel away rain water. Perhaps it was because our house was so old that the drains did not do a very good job during heavy downpours, so there would always be big puddles of water everywhere in the garden.

I love love love the puddles! Especially the extra large ones which appeared during very heavy rain. As a child, I had the weirdest imagination. I would imagine us living by the edge of a large lake and would throw stones into the puddles to create ripples and imagine them to be wavelets on the lake. I was fixated with ripples! I remember that well. The larger the puddle, the better the ripples. The more excited I would get. Odd, I know.

Mom would always fold paper boats for me to sail on the puddles during rainy days. She made large ones and little ones and I would launch my fleet of boats into my imaginative lake. I would use a stick to create ripples and watch them bob along and jump for joy.

Nowdays house gardens are so well drained that we hardly find puddles anymore….there are good soil, underground drainage….all sorts of landscaping technologies. These are meant to be an improvement to muddy gardens and waterlocked compounds, of course. But alas, it also means an end to children splashing around water, digging muddy holes for make-believe treasures and launching imaginary fleets of ship. I should perhaps bring Maddy to our local lake in the park to sail paper boats…but then again I might get fined for littering.

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Gone and Back!

It’s been so long since my last post. With work and hubby being away I barely had time in between chores and Maddy. I drafted a few posts but never really finished them because I had wanted to make them perfect and worthwhile. What the heck…I think I will just write whatever that comes to my mind and will try to update as much as possible from now on.

As a start, Madelyn is now one year old!

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Singapore Nov 2010: Family, Together…Priceless Indeed !

I should have written about this a month ago, but there was just too much to do between work and home that left me very little extra time after all the necessities were out of the way. But better late than never, they say! Hubby had to go to Singapore for a week late last month for some work-related training and I have been mentally and physically preparing myself to be home alone with Maddy for the whole 6 days that he was going to be away.

Then one day, two weeks prior to his trip, my brother made a random comment on how I should tag along and go stay with him (my brother and his family lives in Singapore) since Mum and Dad would be there too. What a brilliant idea! But alas I thought, I had just returned to work after 4 months of working from home and felt that it was not right for me to take a vacation so soon. Besides, air tickets from here to Singapore purchased two weeks before a trip was going to cost us lots of money.

Then I was at work and talking to my colleagues and supervisor about how nice it would be if indeed I could tag along and spend time with my whole family. Everyone was going to be there…Mummy, Dad, my brother, sis-in-law, niece and hubby, Maddy and myself. It would be one of those rare times when our family would be together. And my colleagues and surpervisor just said matter-of-factly – “Just Go”.

And the rest was history. No more what-ifs, no more wondering about late flight bookings etc. I spent the next 3-4 days rushing off to have my and Maddy’s international passports made (mine expired and I did not bother getting Maddy one since we didn’t plan for any international trips), bought our flight tickets at a ridiculous price and packed our little bags for the much anticipated trip! I was so excited at the thought of spending a whole week with my family! Hubby was so excited to have us with him there! Maddy was…well….I doubt she knew what was going on.

So off to Singapore we went. I spent almost a whole week bunking at my brother’s little apartment. The lack of extra rooms for Maddy and myself was not an issue…baby and me slept on the living room floor on my niece’s play mattress and we were just fine! I was so proud of my little girl at how easy she adapted to a new place. My parents were thrilled to have their two grandkids together under one roof. We went for breakfast every morning at the coffee shop nearby, then my dad would bring Maddy grocery shopping and stroll along the vegetable sellers and feel smug when strangers commented how adorable Maddy was (*smug*). Maddy made my mum so happy with her squeals and generous smiles and my heart felt as though it would burst from the sheer joy of it all! I cannot put it into words, but it was one of the most memorable trips ever. How silly of me to have hesitated initially about going. I would pay twice the ticket price to have that whole week again!

I spent almost all my time there at home and the remaining one and half days with Hubby cruising the streets of Orchard Road admiring the Christmas lights and indulged in some light shopping. Travelling with Maddy was indeed easy, there wasn’t much to pack as she was still nursing and would eat anything we put on a spoon. Shopping was also a breeze – most of the time she was in her Snuggbaby carrier – admiring her surroundings or snoozing. Oh she was (and still is) such a good baby!!! And I was impressed at the superb nursing/baby rooms available at most malls.

It was sad when the week ended and we had to return home. But I would definitely do it again – specially now that Air Asia will resume its MYY-SIN flights from January next year. Whoopee!

To my buddies in Singapore reading this, I apologize for not calling you up. I selfishly wanted to spend every single minute I had there with my family. Next time, yea? And Zaireen, I have your number from Angel and we must do ayam penyet date next time I am over there, okay?

P/S: I will put up some photos later. 😀

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Back @ Work

In the office, yes. I have had countless people ask me before, when I was going to get back to work. The fact is, I had been working, from home…the fact that I was home did not mean that I was slacking off in my pajamas. I was promptly responding to emails, reading and reviewing reports, returning queries from the fabrication yard…all these while taking care of an infant as well. I had to admit, even though I was at home, I could barely spend time interacting with Maddy…I just spent enough time each day feeding, bathing, changing and putting her down for naps, and then I would be back hunching over my laptop. It did make me feel bad that I used her obsession with certain toys to my benefit, she would play on her own without needing me to be there with her. But during those months, I suppose that was the best I could do…strike an arrangement with the boss to allow me to remain home caring for child. In return for that, I had to honour my arrangement, I would act upon work requirements…as if I was there sitting in my office cubicle. It was TIRING, having to juggle both baby and work…and there were days when I guiltily wished I was back in the office.

So, that worked out fine for about three months…and finally Maddy’s babysitter could start with us and I got back to the usual routine. I am back at work AT THE OFFICE…been two weeks now, and things are going well. Maddy is adjusting well to the babysitter, apart from the occasional fussiness when she sees me come home…it is as if everything is fine while I am away, then when I walk through the door she realizes I have been away and starts missing me! But my worries of her not being able to adjust or not being to nap with the babysitter are unfounded. Things are great! The babysitter is great!

I am still adjusting to my new role as a working parent. It throws at me various questions and decisions that I never had to consider before. I used to and will soon again have, a highly mobile job that involves a lot of traveling. It was fun then, jetting off weekly for work and shopping and meeting up with friends. But things are different now…I now have to consider work and Maddy…she needs me for food and comfort. As much as she is comfortable with her daddy, and will drink formula milk, I still want her to be fully breastfed and she still wants me to put her to sleep at nights. I expressed my wish to hold back on traveling to the boss, and thankfully he was understanding enough to place subordinates with me who might be able to assist me later. I am blessed to be working with such kind people. But you know, even if it does affect my appraisals later on, deep inside I know that doesn’t really bother me. My family is my priority for now.

So, this is still new to me, this fulltime working mom thingy. Gone are the days of sleeping in or taking naps whenever I want to. I wake up at about 6.30am every day to pump milk, then get ready for work. At the office I take 10 minutes out once in the morning and once in the afternoon to pump milk. After a whole day of work, I get home, babysitter leaves and I wash, cook and manage baby…thankfully with some help from hubby. By 9pm when Maddy knocks off for the day…I am ready to sleep myself. Hubby and I try to watch some movies from time to time and talk too. I suppose we don’t spend as much time alone nowdays, but we just adapt to a different life. We sit and quietly watch our sleeping daughter, holding hands. Some things are just better unspoken. And one of them is…”That’s our beautiful baby girl, dear. This is a good life…and I love you very much”.

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October Updates

So many things to update but so little time  to blog about them separately…so I am just going to put them all under one post. Here goes!

Maddy:

The month of October is approaching its end, and she will be turning six months old soon! That means a new adventure  begins soon for our little girl – starting solid food! I have already started her on some carrot puree yesterday and the reaction wasn’t so great. But hey, she has not known anything apart from milk…so her reaction is to be expected. Gonna try again today.

She had her first haircut about 3 weeks ago prior to our trip back home (more about that later!). I badly needed a haircut myself so both of us dropped by my usual hairdresser. She sat very quietly in her Bumbo and didn’t fuss a single bit while the nice lady trimmed off the wild wispy locks around her ears and nape. Now she looks ‘tidier’ and sometimes like a baby boy.

She has been napping wonderfully! I can now pat her to sleep on the mattresses without the need to suckle her and she would nap for about  2 hours in the morning and 2.5-3 hours in the afternoon. Bedtime at night is now much easier…no more needing to suckle her…after her night feed, she usually starts to get sleepy. I put her down, turn her on her side and she is out like a lightbulb! She still wakes up once for a feed about 3-4am but I am fine with that. See, didn’t I say she will find her sleeping mojo at her own pace? 🙂

She has also grown out of her fear and dislike for strangers and rarely fusses now when being held by friends and family members. In fact our little Maddy now is quite the social butterfly…flashing everyone her gummy grins and breaking their hearts with her cuteness!

Me:

I am due back at work in about a week and a half. Maddy’s nanny starts then too. To say that I am nervous is an understatement. I am nervous at the thought of leaving Maddy at home for long hours for the first time. I do trust her nanny, but I am worried at how Maddy will react and behave without me around. Well, there will always be the first time, I suppose and thankfully office is just minutes away so I can always zip back if she gets too upset.

With me returning to work at the office, it also means that I will have to start pumping breast milk while at work. I have not been pumping regularly for the reason that Maddy has always been with me and latching her own directly for a feed has been the best way to go. I did pump for a little while, about once day for some milk in the bottle when I was bottle-training her. But once she got the hang of it, the pumping stopped. While I do not have any problems keeping her fed and happy with direct feeding, I am a little nervous about being able to pump enough milk to keep her happy. I kind of suspect that Maddy isn’t a big drinker…about 2-3 oz per feed seems to be more than enough for her. She drinks about once in the morning, once mid morning, once lunchtime, once mid afternoon and a few cluster feedings in the evening before bedtime. I plan to direct latch her before I head off to work, return home lunchtime for another feed and get back by about 5pm. This means I will need to have ready in the fridge, a daily supply of about 5-6 oz of expressed milk. I am fairly confident that that is achievable…at the very least I can at least produce about 4-5 oz on my low supply days…my expressed volume seems to yo-yo for no apparent reason. On good days I get about 4-5 oz per side…on other days 3 oz from both sides – each pumping. Either way, I should have enough for her daily needs. And if indeed for whatever reason she wants more, an ounce or so of formula milk here and there should be alright. As much as I would like her to be fully on breastmilk, I am not going to be too obsessed about it and stressed myself out because of it (which will eventually affect supply!). After all, once I get back home from work, I will latch her on again and all will be well 🙂

I went shopping for work clothes a week back. Geez… I could hardly find anything that fits! Not that I have grown so much but errm…a breastfeeding mom certainly has trouble fitting her boobs into clothes she used to fit in. I had to buy Medium sizes tops to fit myself into…not ideal but at least it doesn’t look as if I am bursting out of the seams. I think I need to be on the look-out for stretchy tops or nice-looking nursing tops…darn. I have yet to return to my pre-pregnancy weight, my priority now is to eat healthily enough to maintain milk supply for Maddy. Alhough I would like to return to work looking like a hot chick mama, my baby’s needs come first, I suppose. To be able to think that and do it for me…. that is a HUGE thing, because my one big concern (used to) is my weight! Anyway, I can return to work as the hot curvy mama with the glowing skin! Yes! For some reason my complexion is glowing pink with health! I have received many compliments for it he he…maybe it is the glow of the happy mama with the happy giggly baby. 🙂

On the subject of work, I really need to decide on how to juggle work and family next year. Hubby starts going offshore for 4 weeks a stretch and I am predicting that it might be an issue if I need to travel for work. Maddy always needs me during bedtime and I would still like to continue to be around as much as possible during her first few years…at least during her first year. Indeed I need to discuss this with my boss, whether it is possible to switch to a different role based locally with no travelling or just day trips for the next year or so. I am prepared for my career to take a back seat for now, like I said before…it took us some effort and time and some heartache to conceive Maddy and finally be able to hold her in our arms. So I am going to raise her as best as I possibly can.

Us:

Hubby is certainly a wonderful daddy and trying his best to be so much more. He does most of the house chores, while I am in charge of Maddy and cooking our meals. He can now put Maddy down for naps and give her her bottle of warmed chilled breastmilk. I can be away for half a day now and hubby can manage just fine…:D

We went home to Penang for hubby’s brother’s wedding a few weeks back. Maddy was such an angel on the 2 flights back, we were so proud of her. She barely made a sound, just looked around, played and took a long nap as soon as the plane took off. We brought her out shopping, for snacks at the hawker stalls, went for walks and she behaved perfectly during the wedding celebration parties. It was nice…just the three of us 🙂

So those are about the main updates of what we have been up to. Our wonderful lives together continue….

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SNUGG SSC: It’s HERE!!

Omigoshhhh!!! It’s here!!! My Snugg SSC!! Love the prints!!!!

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Away From It All?

No, we are not on vacation..in fact on the contrary. Well, hubby is away again for the second time leaving baby and myself home alone for the weekend. He’s attending a close friend’s wedding in another town, which leaves me alone for two days with my thoughts (and Maddy). Why didn’t he bring us? Well..it would take a 2.5 hour flight followed by another 3 hour car ride, and repeat that the next day for the way back. We thought Maddy isn’t yet ready for that journey.

So I have two whole days alone at home with Maddy. As usual, it wasn’t easy but manageable. I would say that to be able to cook two meals and have two proper showers while with a 4-month old baby probably means I have a good little girl here. But I am also realizing that all my time is spent either on her or work. I do not have a social life anymore, apart from the occasional tea or gatherings at a friend’s house. I wonder if I am slowly being consumed by this new role and abandoning my previous self? I miss gossip sessions with my friends. I miss sleepovers. I miss spur-of-the-moment trips. I miss shopping for myself! I get off currently by scrutinizing websites selling the Prada and Gucci of baby carriers!

Time to smack myself to remind me of who I was before. While motherhood is a wonderful fulfilling new life, I think that it should be an improvement to who I was? Not leaving everything else behind. I am still a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend and an employee. Must remember that conversations do not only revolve around baby and diapers. The world is a bigger place with more news than what Maddy does everyday.

I think by remembering that and striking a balance will make me a better mother, a better woman.

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No More Ice Cream!

I had the weirdest dream last night. In the dream, my face was puffy and I had cheeks like Maddy!!!!
Okay…no more ice cream before bed…
I better hope I do not have cheeks like Maddy. They look best on her!

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Making Them Happy

I try to be on Skype with my parents almost every other night so that they will be able to see Maddy. This way it is as if they can follow Maddy’s growth almost every day. And I hope by seeing Grandpa and Grandma on the screen so often she would not forget them. It makes my mom and dad so happy to be able to see her smile, laugh and grow right in front of their eyes. It makes me happy to see them happy. 🙂

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