Project New Experiences: Day #2 and 3

“If it won’t matter in 5 years, it doesn’t matter.”

Day #2 

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Xaxa in the morning.

 

I decided I would stay in bed 5 minutes longer to cuddle this little face. She loves to come into the room, bright and early, clamber onto bed and cuddle. I usually just get up and stumble all over the room to try and get ready for work. But I’m glad I have constant reminders to hug my baby as much as I can before she gets to a stage where she says “Ok enough!” to me when I hug her. (Yes, Allegra does that to me now!).

I also finished my first New York Times Crossword Puzzle, with dismal results. But because I did finish it, albeit with quite a lot of help, I realised some tips to keep in mind when attempting this confounding exercise:

  1. The answer can be more than one word; and
  2. Even though the New York Times Crossword Puzzle has this reputation for being super difficult, sometimes the answer is really simple. So simple, that you would roll your eyes and kick yourself for not guessing right away.

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Also, I learned about a Chinese philosopher named Zhuang Zi because of a colleague who studied Philosophy in University. He is her favourite philosopher because his writings are in beautiful story form.

Day #3

I learned this quote today from Cher’s mother while watching Cher on the Graham Norton Show:

If it won’t matter in 5 years, it doesn’t matter.

#simpletruth

We also planned a superlastminute trip to Malaysia for this weekend. Exhilarating and oddly satisfying to get everything booked and arranged in such a short period of time.

Looking forward to no jams on the causeway, shopping and food!

Fun With Kaius!

Happy Birthday to my favourite 6 year old!

So Kaius is another year older, and at 6 years old he really is quite fun to hang out with alone. He asks insightful questions, he makes funny comments, and he always surprises me with his thoughtfulness.

I brought him out on his birthday, just me and him, and we went to Universal Studios in Sentosa (before the Trump-Kim hullabaloo) to check out the Jurassic World features they had there.

But first, Slappy Cakes! I always prize new experiences over things and I’m glad he really enjoyed it. Usually when I make pancakes at home, it’s over the gas stove, and there’s always a worry that he might lose his balance and fall whilst bending over on the stool to make pancakes. Plus, here we got to doodle too!

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Next, sight-seeing!

Everybody’s favourite bee.

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He would only ride on Alex the Lion and no one else.

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Of course, we had to stop by to see the dinosaurs.

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This Augmented Reality stop was one of his favourites because we got to pet the dinosaurs!

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As much fun as we were having, and as much as I was trying to spoil him on his birthday, I will forever remember his thoughtfulness and regard for others (me).

There was a Jurassic World live show going on when we were at Universal Studios, and of course we got there late so there weren’t many good spots to watch from. I carried him, all 20kg of him, and tried my best to hold him up so he could see. I didn’t say anything about him being heavy because it was his birthday and he doesn’t usually ask me for much, so I thought bear with it for him. But he knew I was struggling (poor Mummy is not as strong as Daddy!), and after a while, he said he didn’t want to watch anymore. Though he insisted he didn’t want to watch, I knew he was just trying to help me out so I didn’t have to carry him anymore. This is the boy who picked out a T-Rex toy at the gift shop over so many other toys, who wants to read every dinosaur book he has, and loovesss his dinosaur t-shirts.

Of course he wanted to watch the Jurassic World show.

Fortunately for us, as we moved farther away from the stage as I tried to find a better spot for us to watch, we got a really good view of the show. He could watch without me carrying him but I carried him anyway.

I also realised he probably won’t want me to carry him much longer, with him getting bigger and going off to Primary school next year 😦

I’m not sure I’m ready for this!

But you know, as much as I’ve been worried that he might not be ready for formal education, I am comforted that he shows me that he is. He’s beginning to assume more responsibility at home like feeding our pet rabbit, Toffee, daily. He’s eager to learn and he really, really enjoys doing English and Math exercises. And no, it’s really not a chore for him. He really wants to learn and get everything right.

So it was really great timing when Education.com sent over some fun worksheets. Thank you Education.com for helping to make Kaius’ birthday fun!

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Links to worksheets (and answer keys for ease!) below:

Crawl like a bug through this themed maze from Education.com! For more fun, check out these math games

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Paddle through some subtraction practice with this summer themed worksheet from Education.com! Find even more fun subtraction resources here.

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Keep your spelling skills sharp this summer with this word search worksheet. For more great educational games, activities, and worksheets, check out these resources from Education.com.

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

3 Business Tips I Learnt From My Kids

There’s a whole lot my kids have taught me, and it’s not just about being more patient, or not yelling or learning to put them first, by sacrificing the last bite of cheesecake (and a gazillion hours of sleep). I’ve found that if I pay enough attention, the lessons I learned are highly applicable to my professional life too.

Tip #1: Accept & Embrace The Mess 

As a working mother, I work my life around my family and try my best to do that sometimes insane juggling act that seriously, sets even the best of us up for failure. And what’s more, I have tried to keep my professional life separate from my family life and try to kinda live my life in separate blocks. This big yellow one is for work. The red one is for my husband. Blue one is for my son. Pink one for daughter #1 and purple one for daughter #2. And none of them touch.

While that works to a certain extent, it doesn’t account for the spillover effect. The Spillover Effect. Yeah, because Life Is Messy and the gods of all that is chaotic tend to like to conspire to make life more interesting.

Just.

For.

Kicks.

So instead of just getting frustrated that my day is not going according to schedule and getting upset that the kids are taking too long to [insert task here], I have decided to accept and embrace the mess instead of fighting it.

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My son loves his blue sneakers (in the photo above) and always wants to wear them. But he takes a really long time (by adult standards) to put them on, well, because he’s 5. Instead of telling him to hurry up and scolding him for his choice of footwear because he is making everyone late, and in the process upsetting him and myself and giving everyone an unpleasant start to the day, I have suggested that he start putting on his shoes 5 minutes before everyone else does.

Because it is in accepting and embracing the situation as is, that I can figure my way out with much better outcomes, with a less stressed out Mummy and a happier kid (because Mummy is not yelling in frustration).

I have found that whether at my job or any venture that I might explore, it is pointless to wish something were a certain way when it is not. Try as I might, I can’t change people, nor can I change some situations. The sooner I accept and embrace the reality, the easier it would be to make a plan and meander through it with the best results possible.

Tip #2: Lego Blocks Should Be Part of Every Job Interview 

If you want to find out the type of person you are hiring, get them to build something out of Lego blocks. The idea is not really in what they end up building, but to observe their thought processes and questions they ask.

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When my kids and I play with Lego, it’s always intriguing to me at how they express themselves with this platform. My son, the fixer, step-by-step doer and perfectionist, would look at the pictures on the Lego box or in the booklet (if there is one) to replicate what he so desires. He is to-the-point and systematic. If he doesn’t know how to fix it, he tries to troubleshoot but gives up sometimes too soon because the perfectionist in him does not like to attempt tasks he thinks he is not good at. He doesn’t like to ask for help.

Daughter #1 on the other hand, is the imaginative and creative one who colours within and outside the lines, sees what she wants to build in her mind and just starts building (because who cares about instructions?!). Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes she screams in frustration because something is not going her way or a Lego block won’t clutch the way she wants it to. But she asks for help and figures it out in the end.

Of course, what and how the interviewee builds may not be an all-conclusive measure of how this person may be a great fit or useful for a particular role in an organisation, but I think it would be a good overview.

Tip #3: Savour the Highs and Use Them To Power Through the Lows 

Life can be Tough. So can parenting, and work.

I love my kids to the moon and back, and being their Mum has brought me through Super Highs and Super Lows. When I watched my babies learn to roll over, or walk, or when they first said “Mama”, or when my two year old does her Happy Dance. It’s like sunshine on my face and warm soup in my tummy. It is heartwarming and nourishing.

Then there’s the yucky part of parenting, when I’m surviving on 2 hours of sleep because someone got sick, or the babies had to be fed in the middle of the night, or all the kids decide to start fighting and yelling when you’re trying to do something. Those are the times when parenting feels like another job that I have to take care of and it feels like absolute drudgery.

I used to think that when good things happen, I shouldn’t celebrate too much, because when bad things happen, then the fall will be so much harder. But I’ve realised that the good and bad are just part of Life, like they are part of work and business.

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The best way isn’t to not celebrate the highs, or to wish the lows away. But to celebrate these highs and remember them as much as possible, to build up a bank of confidence in my own abilities and a positive mindset so that I will be able to take on the lows with decisive action, drive and tenacity.

 

 

 

Expired Food Art

I was clearing out my supplies and found all this expired flour that I couldn’t bring myself to just throw away.

So I decided to make play dough with it with the kids. Just add water and salt and mix through to the right consistency. The salt is just there to make the dough stretchy so don’t go adding too much. 2 tablespoons to 1kg of flour is more than enough.

My mum used to make this play dough at home when I was a kid and I always wondered why we didn’t add any food colouring. Well now I do! Getting the colour to mix through the dough to get a consistent shade throughout is really tiring work. But I suppose great catharsis if you want to destress.

I call the patchy blue one cookie monster cookie dough – but now I realise it sounds like I’ve made cookie dough out of cookie monster  

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Kaius is 5.

Happy Birthday, Kaius!

I feel like I graduated as a Mother.

Dear Kaius,

You’ve just turned 5 and you have no idea how proud Mummy and Daddy are of you.

You have grown slowly but surely into this thoughtful, inquisitive, cheeky and kind little boy.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the pre-term labour scare at 35 weeks of pregnancy, and then finally the 26 hours of labour at 38 weeks to bring you into this world.

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Hello, my little boy blue.

Everyone says your first child is special.

As middle children, Daddy and I always scoffed at that statement because, well, what do you mean? We’re less special because we’re not the first or the youngest?

But when we had you, we finally understood this. (Although, we also came to the conclusion at that time (having no other children than you) that the first one will be special, the last one will be the baby, hence special, and the middle ones are *sigh* least loved! But I digress.)

And it’s not because we love your sisters any less. (Yes, everyone gets equal share when Mummy and Daddy kick the bucket).

It’s because with you, there were and will be so many “firsts”:

The first time we became “Mummy” and “Daddy”.

 

The first time I had to figure out breastfeeding and cursing at how painful it was at the beginning. (What do you mean I am supposed to do this for at least 6 months?! And why isn’t there some kind of epidural for engorgements??) In spite of all the pain and suffering, I did it for you.

The first time my heart broke when I had to leave you in the hospital when you were only 3 days old because of jaundice. I felt like I was leaving a precious part of me there. And it’s true, isn’t it? You are part of me because you were formed inside me, flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.

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The first time I left you at school and forced myself to walk away even though I could hear you screaming for me.

The first time you called me “Mama”.

Even though we were given this giant responsibility of shaping your life, you have no idea how much you have already shaped ours (and turned it upside down!).

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You have taught me that gentle kisses from your baby are far more precious than anything that can be bought.

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You have taught me the true meaning of sacrifice. Yes, I worked as a lawyer before you were born, and late nights at 1 or 2am were not uncommon. I thought then, that that was sacrifice, for my career. But, seriously, what did I know then? I was only responsible for myself and I could still be selfish. Nobody else needed me for their survival, but you did. And that meant I had to put you first.

I remember once I was holding you in the middle of the night trying to soothe you whilst I was crying because I was so exhausted. But I did it anyway because you needed me.

You have also taught your Father what it means to be his son’s hero.

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Super Daddy!
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After winning 2nd place at the Healthy Baby Contest.

I will always be thankful for your cheeky smile,

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Your gentleness with your sisters,

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Sibling love.

And every time you look at me and say, ”Mama, I love you”, even when we’re in the middle of something. It’s almost like the Universe telling me to STOPBEINGBUSY and pay attention to what matters. Because there will never be a second chance at watching you grow up.

Oh and you know what? It is because of you that we understood, so deeply and assuredly, just how much our own parents love us. Other assumptions, parental mistakes and definitions aside (because I am a lawyer and I gotta catch’em all), it is that self-sacrificial, tender, unconditional, enduring love that will always be there. It is the kind of love that will catch you when you fall, continually and tirelessly look for you when you’re lost, and will be there when you finally want to talk, even if it is to yell expletives.

It is the kind of love that will choose to let you have the last bit of my Cornetto cone with all the yummy chocolate in it even though I really wanted it for myself. Not because I don’t love myself. But because giving it to you and watching you scrumptiously enjoy it made me so much happier.

It is the kind of love that will fight fiercely for you. To. The. Bloody. Death.

Daddy and I are so fortunate to experience these lessons of love with you, first.

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Hello cutie!

In this crazy and uncertain world we live in, of this you can be sure:

Your sisters will always annoy you,

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Hugs from Allegra! Wait till Xaxa is old enough. I don’t know what your face will look like when they both decide to squish you!

Mummy and Daddy will always love you,

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Happy Birthday, Kaius!

And Mummy will always be the one who introduced you to chewing gum 😉

 

Just Mama & Bubba: Kaius

The Great, Enormous Melbourne Mash Up

I think I’ll make it tradition for each kid to travel with me and or the husband alone before going to primary 1. This time it’s me and Kaius, and our Great, Enormous, Melbourne Mash Up. 


(The kids have a book called “The Great, Enormous Hamburger”. And so now everything is “Great” and “Enormous”. Gotta love a kid’s perspective!)

2017

The Year of Change

 

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Being an entrepreneur is not just about what a person does for a living. It is a mindset and a way of thinking – an approach to life.

And sometimes, while you’re figuring things out, you have to make certain changes to fulfil existing responsibilities because life doesn’t stop.

So this year, I’ve decided to close the door on the health supplement and skin care business that I’ve been in for the past 6 years because a change is long overdue.

I’m getting a job while my entrepreneurial activities take a back seat – for now. The thing about being an entrepreneur is this: your mind never really switches off from it. There are always enterprising ideas and questions you ask yourself when you look at different businesses, like “Is this shop really making money selling just this? I wonder what their margins are? This bubble tea thing is not going away!”

I feel like the past 6 years of my life have been a kind of baptism in business by fire. As a lawyer, your knowledge about business is limited, even if you are a corporate lawyer. Your job is to protect your client’s interests, and to document, document and document.

As a business person, your job is profitability. It doesn’t look like a big word, but in many businesses, it can be illusive, even with huge revenues. You can come up with the most creative ideas, but if your numbers still say you’re in the red after your best perceived marketing efforts, then you have failed.

And yes, it can be extremely brutal.

But this is how you become resilient. And this resilience in business, somehow is transferrable to other areas of life.

While I am focusing on getting a job, I’m still doing the things I like to do like spending time with my family, my new Treaterrific! lifestyle hobby business, contributing to women’s empowerment and volunteering where I can (because everyone needs hobbies!).

I’m keeping my inner circle tight and kicking out the trash.

2017 for me, is about change.

Because how we change is how we succeed.

 

My Allegra.*

Of all my children, Allegra is the most spunky. 

She walks with a spring in her step. She sings, dances, skips and hops all at once. 

When she smiles (and it is usually a cheeky smile), her big round eyes light up with eager anticipation. 

Even though she is confident and extroverted, don’t mistake this for an impenetrable shield. Her heart is fragile even though it loves those she deems worthy, fiercely and completely. 

This daughter of mine has such a creative personality – case in point these photos – she’s the girl who will choose to wear her cousin’s Adidas running shoes with her frilly girly socks, jewellery and party outfit. That’s how she rocks her outfits.
I love my children all the same. But she reminds me most of, well, me. 

I hope I live my life in a way that will be a great example for her to follow – as a girl, as a woman, and if she wants, as a wife and mother. 

Most of all I hope I show her that she doesn’t have to be anyone else but her most authentic and amazing self. 

Kids: Kaius & McDonald’s 

Me: OK kids, nap time! Go lie down and I’ll go get my book. 

Kaius: You mean your McDonald’s book? 

Me: (amused) How did you know it’s a McDonald’s book? 

Kaius: Because I saw the McDonald’s sign and I was reading it just now. 

Wow. My son is a lot more observant than I give him credit for and he’s growing up fast. 

How can I not fight to be a good example for him? 

Kaius with Grinding It Out. The Making of McDonald’s by American businessman Ray Kroc. He was responsible for making McDonald’s into the world’s most iconic fast-food brand. 

MamaMission: Botanic Gardens Movie Series

Kungfu Panda 3

As a slightly mad Type A mother, I’m always on a mission, looking for interesting activities and experiences to expose my kids to and I was really excited to have found this event just hours before!

Movie: Kung Fu Panda 3

Venue: Singapore Botanic Gardens, Eco-Lake Lawn (next to Botanic Gardens MRT Station)

Cost: FREE

The great thing about having kids this small (4 and 2), is that they are easily excitable and anything can become a great adventure. And, they love Kung Fu Panda (who doesn’t!).

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We walked, took the train, set up a little picnic with pizza and popcorn, the kids ran around a little and watched pandas roll around the screen under the stars.

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Yeah I didn’t have my picnic mat at home, so we had to improvise with a plastic tablecloth and an old bedsheet for comfort 😀 
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Munching away on homemade pizza and popcorn!

 

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Baby Xaxa loved it too

Of course the biggest worry was getting bitten by mosquitos, but this was easily fixed by a 3 step defence: 1) mosquito patches, 2) citronella spray and 3) citronella diffuser/circulator gadget which does the same thing those citronella tiki-torches – skadoosh!

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Lots of black and white, bouncy fun!

This was NPark’s first time organising a movie screening like this and they are planning to do it for a year. I thought it was really great and I plan to be back every month, if the weather permits.

What would bring it over the top though would maybe if there were snack food vendors (like at Films At The Fort) so that people can have the option of buying food, and maybe fun little keepsakes from the event (e.g. bubbles for the kids to blow, light sticks etc), so that they’ll be reminded of such events and/or Botanic Gardens. Though I realise that there are additional costs involved, I’m sure NParks will be able to find vendors and sponsors who want to reach out to an audience made up of mostly families with young kids.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to this part of the Botanic Gardens so this was interesting for me too. Loved this!